The point of studying ethics
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
19-07-2017, 07:52 AM
RE: The point of studying ethics
(19-07-2017 07:21 AM)Szuchow Wrote:  
(19-07-2017 07:14 AM)Full Circle Wrote:  Great discussion.

And yet, as an example, if you are at war and need to deceive the enemy that you are landing somewhere other than Normandy then lying is certainly effective in reaching your goals.

Instead of is I would use can be as there is no guarantee that subterfuge will be successful.

Also I'm not sure if this could be called lying, even if it fit definition. For me it is just valid strategy - misdirection.

Yes, the rules of engagement in war are different than in ordinary interactions. Anyone who would complain "The enemy lied to us!" would be removed from command.

Other examples of the rules being different are in telling jokes or stories. If the goals are to make others laugh or to entertain them, then lies and exaggerations are permitted strategies. So there are different word games, and most all participants understand the rules.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Thoreauvian's post
19-07-2017, 07:56 AM
RE: The point of studying ethics
(19-07-2017 07:52 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  Yes, the rules of engagement in war are different than in ordinary interactions.

So many caveats to those pesky morals and ethics. Tongue

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Full Circle's post
19-07-2017, 08:10 AM
RE: The point of studying ethics
(19-07-2017 07:56 AM)Full Circle Wrote:  
(19-07-2017 07:52 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  Yes, the rules of engagement in war are different than in ordinary interactions.

So many caveats to those pesky morals and ethics. Tongue

We were still arguing that ethics deserve detailed discussions, so the complexity of such considerations only serves that point.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Thoreauvian's post
19-07-2017, 08:30 AM (This post was last modified: 19-07-2017 08:47 AM by Robvalue.)
RE: The point of studying ethics
I would say that morality, as a concept, is ill-defined. You can't make any definitive statements about it until you've declared how you are measuring it, and what assumptions you are making. You are then making statements about that particular moral system.

Everyone on the planet could write down how they think the morality of an action should be measured. If, by some miracle, 90% of people in the world wrote down exactly the same way of measuring it, then that would be a practical, useful definition of morality. It could be called type A morality, say. Let's say 9% of the people all wrote down another way of measuring it. That would also be useful, let's call it type B morality. If everyone else has written down something different, then their definitions are useless in terms of making any general statements about morality. The best you could do is look for trends between them.

If the whole world write down different things, which is very likely, then none of them are of any practical use (except again to look for trends) in making general statements.

Some group of people can get together and discuss their ways of measuring morality and come to an agreement, and then that has a practical use to them. But individual people just announcing what morality "is", and who say anyone who disagrees is "wrong", is entirely comitting the No True Scotsman fallacy.

So really, somewhat like God in fact, you can't say anything much about morality until there has been some sort of agreement about what is being discussed. And no one will change anyone else's mind by refusing to discuss the underlying assumptions and ways of measuring morality.

I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
19-07-2017, 08:43 AM
RE: The point of studying ethics
To clarify further, I find it ridiculous to state that any particular action has an inherent amount of "morality" associated with it, which is independent of anyone judging it. It would be like in an RPG, where "+5 morality" comes out of the top of your head when you do something. Morality is not a property of reality, it's an evaluation of it. (Or it's simply a scientific model of behaviour.)

Can we agree that suffering/harm is bad and happiness/freedom is good? Sure, probably most of us can. And so we can move on from that point, to at least make vague practical statements. For those that don't, we can only try and persuade them to our way of thinking.

I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
19-07-2017, 01:26 PM (This post was last modified: 19-07-2017 01:30 PM by nosferatu323.)
RE: The point of studying ethics
(19-07-2017 06:12 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  
(18-07-2017 07:21 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  I really don't think there is much disagreement here. We all seem to agree that morality is subjective.

I do not agree that morality is subjective. I think it is relative to our objective interests, which are based on our very real human nature.

That is why I think we can make valid judgment calls when people are lying and hypocritical.

However, I do agree that people who think morality is merely subjective should avoid the hypocrisy of making strong moral judgments (a vaild judgment itself). They have some cognitive dissonance to work through.

I don't have to say "lying is bad." All I have to say is that lying is inaccurate and therefore ineffective.

Quote:I do not agree that morality is subjective. I think it is relative to our objective interests, which are based on our very real human nature.
You are assuming that there is something common in human interests. If there is such thing as the "essentially common human interests" I would agree with you. But I think this is not the case and I think you are relying on something non-existent to make moral judgements.

Even if it is true and there is such thing, for your morality to have some objective flavor, you must be clear about those "common human interests". What are those interests exactly? How can you justify that these interests are necessarily common in all human beings?

Quote:I don't have to say "lying is bad." All I have to say is that lying is inaccurate and therefore ineffective.
If you don't say "X is bad/good/right/wrong" then you are not making any moral judgements.

"lying is ineffective" is not a moral judgement. Even if this proposition can be supported by some evidences (which I think it can't), it doesn't show anything about morality. Because this proposition is not a moral one.

In fact I think lying and hypocrisy are very effective. Can you imagine what happens if all our politicians stop lying and being hypocrites? I think it would be disastrous. Truth is not usually desirable for the masses. I think the masses need a healthy dose of delusion for their well-being and therefore authorities usually lie to them. The delusion of a threat for example, which is a very useful device to keep the stability of a society.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
19-07-2017, 01:53 PM (This post was last modified: 19-07-2017 02:04 PM by nosferatu323.)
RE: The point of studying ethics
(19-07-2017 08:43 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  To clarify further, I find it ridiculous to state that any particular action has an inherent amount of "morality" associated with it, which is independent of anyone judging it. It would be like in an RPG, where "+5 morality" comes out of the top of your head when you do something. Morality is not a property of reality, it's an evaluation of it. (Or it's simply a scientific model of behaviour.)

Can we agree that suffering/harm is bad and happiness/freedom is good? Sure, probably most of us can. And so we can move on from that point, to at least make vague practical statements. For those that don't, we can only try and persuade them to our way of thinking.

Quote:Can we agree that suffering/harm is bad and happiness/freedom is good?
Even if we can, it doesn't solve any problem. As an example, for a believer suffering means eternal suffering and happiness is eternal happiness. So a believer would be happy when he is thinking that he is moving towards that eternal happiness, even if he is going through a lot of pain, it's not suffering for him/her. In fact a believer might voluntary choose extreme pain to achieve his/her eternal happiness, but it isn't suffering for him. It's certainly not the case for a non-believer.

I think there is nothing objective about suffering and happiness. I think it can't solve the problem of subjectivity of morality.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
19-07-2017, 02:05 PM
RE: The point of studying ethics
(19-07-2017 01:26 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  You are assuming that there is something common in human interests. If there is such thing as the "essentially common human interests" I would agree with you. But I think this is not the case and I think you are relying on something non-existent to make moral judgements.

Even if it is true and there is such thing, for your morality to have some objective flavor, you must be clear about those "common human interests". What are those interests exactly? How can you justify that these interests are necessarily common in all human beings?

If you don't say "X is bad/good/right/wrong" then you are not making any moral judgements.

Common human interests: clean air, clean water, nutritious food, health, shelter, constructive relationships, stable communities, useful work, sex, and so on. All moral systems are based on these objective interests, and their correctness is measured in how effective they are at achieving them.

The whole point of what I have been saying to you is that I think your idea of what morality is and isn't is far too restricted. That's why "X is bad/good/right/wrong" is not altogether required -- unless you really think saying things like "clean air is good and people who poison it are bad" is really helpful.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
19-07-2017, 02:12 PM
RE: The point of studying ethics
(18-07-2017 06:40 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  
(18-07-2017 04:28 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  And I think that is wrongheaded. Preferences cannot be evaluated outside of context. "Better" is by any definition subjective.

I think the notion of "better" can be objective in some cases. A better scientific theory is the one that is more accurate in describing the natural phenomena, I think it's implied by the definition of science.

Relativistic Mechanics is better than Classical Mechanics. I think this is pretty unambiguous.

This, too, is context-dependent. If I'm designing a machine to work in non-relativistic conditions, classical mechanics is "better" because it works just as well in that context, but is significantly easier to use. Real-life engineers very seldom bother to use relativistic mechanics.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
19-07-2017, 02:16 PM (This post was last modified: 19-07-2017 02:22 PM by nosferatu323.)
RE: The point of studying ethics
(19-07-2017 02:05 PM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  
(19-07-2017 01:26 PM)nosferatu323 Wrote:  You are assuming that there is something common in human interests. If there is such thing as the "essentially common human interests" I would agree with you. But I think this is not the case and I think you are relying on something non-existent to make moral judgements.

Even if it is true and there is such thing, for your morality to have some objective flavor, you must be clear about those "common human interests". What are those interests exactly? How can you justify that these interests are necessarily common in all human beings?

If you don't say "X is bad/good/right/wrong" then you are not making any moral judgements.

Common human interests: clean air, clean water, nutritious food, health, shelter, constructive relationships, stable communities, useful work, sex, and so on. All moral systems are based on these objective interests, and their correctness is measured in how effective they are at achieving them.

The whole point of what I have been saying to you is that I think your idea of what morality is and isn't is far too restricted. That's why "X is bad/good/right/wrong" is not altogether required -- unless you really think saying things like "clean air is good and people who poison it are bad" is really helpful.

Quote:Common human interests: clean air, clean water, nutritious food, health, shelter, constructive relationships, stable communities, useful work, sex, and so on. All moral systems are based on these objective interests, and their correctness is measured in how effective they are at achieving them.
I'll be the first exception to your "common set". As a believer, all the things you mentioned mean nothing to me compared to my interest in my spiritual well-being.

Food and water are among my interests, but I have far more greater interests. If your morality serves these lower interests, it's not useful for me. I will have my own morality which serves my "higher" interests and might have a great deal of contradictions with yours. So I (and I guess many others) won't buy your objective morality, which means it's not an objective morality.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: