What IS morality, really?
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17-06-2016, 09:08 PM
RE: What IS morality, really?
(17-06-2016 08:14 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  I did a deconstruction of the moral argument a couple of years back, and I think it will copy-pasta into this thread with only a tiny bit of editing. Here it goes.

Quote:Morality, at its most abstract, is a rule system for classification or interpretation of decisions, beliefs, status, or actions on a spectrum of contemptible versus laudable. For example, it might classify one decision as highly contemptible, mildly contemptible, neutral, somewhat laudable, et cetera, whereas another decision might be classified differently. (Alternatively, the word can be used as a person's tendency to conform to some such rule system.) We should be able to agree on this much, even if we will disagree on important details like the particular rules.

Does morality exist? Well, we have rules systems, as described, that seem to fit the bill. We have a great many of them, many of which will agree on a great many points but differ in small or major ways on some details. Nearly everyone employs such a system....

...

Two common definitions of an objective morality are (1) a rules system (as above) that applies equally regardless of some factors such as person, place, time, race, class, sex, knowledge, et al, and (2) a rules system (as above) that is not merely the moral framework of one or more people, but is in some way exercised by some higher power or force. The distinction between these is clear. It is conceivable for a personal moral framework to condemn all acts of rape regardless of other factors, even if it is just a personal moral framework and there is no higher power enforcing this rules system. This is objective morality under definition (1), but not definition (2). It is also possible to conceive of some higher power preferentially enforcing a moral framework for, say, a particular sex, holding the same acts performed by women as contemptuous while at the same time holding them virtuous when the actor is male. This would be an objective morality by definition (2), but not definition (1).

With this in mind, what does it even mean to propose that working for the betterment of the community is the essence of morality? Are you simply defining or identifying a new or existing moral framework, or are you somehow proposing it as correct in some objective manner? And if the latter, what is the nature of this objective correctness?

Your definition does not actually conflict with mine. It's just one way for a community to define its moral code. Also you appear to have misunderstood what I was saying somewhat. I'm not talking about how it should work or how a community chooses its morals but about where the whole concept comes from and how it originates. Some moral principles may actually be long term deleterious to a community but if the community thinks they support it then those can become "moral", at least until the community dies. Some of the biblical prohibitions are like that. Not eating pork may even have had a real benefit at one time. (Trichinosis?) Later on "believing the bible" became more important to the community than the specific value of anything in it so Jews still obey kosher laws if their religious community is important to them.

In fact on a side note, I notice your definitions turning in on themselves.

"objective morality... a rules system (as above) that applies equally regardless of ... person, place, time, race, class, sex, knowledge, et al,". By using that as a definition you have presupposed that there is a morality in defining morality that way. Many communities do not. Many communities think it is moral to have a rules system which varies widely depending on many of those same factors.

"a rules system ... in some way exercised by some higher power or force"
We don't believe such exists and which the huge variety of "rules systems" even within any one belief system would bring into dispute. If, on the other hand, such an idea were proposed in order to create cohesive community with similar values then promulgating the lie becomes a benefit for that community and a religion is born.
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17-06-2016, 09:10 PM
RE: What IS morality, really?
(17-06-2016 08:28 PM)neilxt Wrote:  
(17-06-2016 06:07 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  In fact, social animals behave altruistically quite often. Preservation of the community enhances survivorship of the individual.

Except that's not always the case. One extreme example of moral behavior is to lay down your life for your country.

I wouldn't call "dying for your country" a moral action. But defending one's community could be viewed as defending oneself. So defending your community is still altruistic and beneficial to the individual.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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17-06-2016, 09:12 PM
RE: What IS morality, really?
Oh God no.

Not this horse again.

[Image: dog-shaking.gif]
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17-06-2016, 09:16 PM
RE: What IS morality, really?
A psychological, sociological, religious, philosophical, or other genericly used term.

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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17-06-2016, 09:16 PM
RE: What IS morality, really?
(17-06-2016 08:35 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(17-06-2016 06:03 PM)Dom Wrote:  Yes, but that doesn't mean that the individual does not instinctually preserve others of the same species.

Typically only close kin. Only humans, and very few of them, care about their species.

People frequently risk their life for concepts such as religion, nation, race, not close kin at all and this is generally considered highly moral behaviour, especially within that religion, nation, race, etc...
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17-06-2016, 09:27 PM
RE: What IS morality, really?
(17-06-2016 09:10 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  I wouldn't call "dying for your country" a moral action. But defending one's community could be viewed as defending oneself. So defending your community is still altruistic and beneficial to the individual.
Wouldn't you? Most nations consider it highly laudable, and give high honor (posthumously) to people that do that and high honour, too to people that put themselves at risk of that to achieve their nation's aims. If you are saying that's not a "moral value" then that is only because you are prioritizing your communities differently. Most "patriots" would disagree with you.
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17-06-2016, 09:34 PM
RE: What IS morality, really?
(17-06-2016 09:27 PM)neilxt Wrote:  
(17-06-2016 09:10 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  I wouldn't call "dying for your country" a moral action. But defending one's community could be viewed as defending oneself. So defending your community is still altruistic and beneficial to the individual.
Wouldn't you? Most nations consider it highly laudable, and give high honor (posthumously) to people that do that and high honour, too to people that put themselves at risk of that to achieve their nation's aims. If you are saying that's not a "moral value" then that is only because you are prioritizing your communities differently. Most "patriots" would disagree with you.

I don't comsider such a specific action to be inherently moral. Service to country might be considered honorable and upholding your commitments might be considered ethical, but going and dying in a war being fought for bad/poor/immoral reasons would not make a person's death a moral action just because they went to war and died. Brave to face war and possibility of death? Sure. Dying in war? Don't see how that's a moral choice being made.

Dying in a war to save your comrade? Sure, I'd call that a moral choice. Dying because you've been ordered to? No, I wouldn't call that a moral action or choice. You're picking a very specific case but still leaving it vaguely defined.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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17-06-2016, 09:36 PM
RE: What IS morality, really?
(17-06-2016 09:34 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  
(17-06-2016 09:27 PM)neilxt Wrote:  Wouldn't you? Most nations consider it highly laudable, and give high honor (posthumously) to people that do that and high honour, too to people that put themselves at risk of that to achieve their nation's aims. If you are saying that's not a "moral value" then that is only because you are prioritizing your communities differently. Most "patriots" would disagree with you.

I don't comsider such a specific action to be inherently moral. Service to country might be considered honorable and upholding your commitments might be considered ethical, but going and dying in a war being fought for bad/poor/immoral reasons would not make a person's death a moral action just because they went to war and died. Brave to face war and possibility of death? Sure. Dying in war? Don't see how that's a moral choice being made.

Dying in a war to save your comrade? Sure, I'd call that a moral choice. Dying because you've been ordered to? No, I wouldn't call that a moral action or choice. You're picking a very specific case but still leaving it vaguely defined.

And I'd be more reluctant still to just call dying for your country to be moral knowing how many of my friends signed up and went to war to make the money. It is a job after all too.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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17-06-2016, 10:56 PM
RE: What IS morality, really?
(17-06-2016 09:08 PM)neilxt Wrote:  
(17-06-2016 08:14 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  I did a deconstruction of the moral argument a couple of years back, and I think it will copy-pasta into this thread with only a tiny bit of editing. Here it goes.


With this in mind, what does it even mean to propose that working for the betterment of the community is the essence of morality? Are you simply defining or identifying a new or existing moral framework, or are you somehow proposing it as correct in some objective manner? And if the latter, what is the nature of this objective correctness?

Your definition does not actually conflict with mine. It's just one way for a community to define its moral code. Also you appear to have misunderstood what I was saying somewhat. I'm not talking about how it should work or how a community chooses its morals but about where the whole concept comes from and how it originates. Some moral principles may actually be long term deleterious to a community but if the community thinks they support it then those can become "moral", at least until the community dies. Some of the biblical prohibitions are like that. Not eating pork may even have had a real benefit at one time. (Trichinosis?) Later on "believing the bible" became more important to the community than the specific value of anything in it so Jews still obey kosher laws if their religious community is important to them.

In fact on a side note, I notice your definitions turning in on themselves.

"objective morality... a rules system (as above) that applies equally regardless of ... person, place, time, race, class, sex, knowledge, et al,". By using that as a definition you have presupposed that there is a morality in defining morality that way. Many communities do not. Many communities think it is moral to have a rules system which varies widely depending on many of those same factors.

"a rules system ... in some way exercised by some higher power or force"
We don't believe such exists and which the huge variety of "rules systems" even within any one belief system would bring into dispute. If, on the other hand, such an idea were proposed in order to create cohesive community with similar values then promulgating the lie becomes a benefit for that community and a religion is born.

Actually, in those cases I was trying to pin down what exactly the phrase "objective morality" means, and pointing out that those were the two definitions most commonly employed. I wasn't really adopting either of them as my own position, just trying to identify what people meant when they said the phrase.

So if I understand what you're saying, you're describing morality as a particular moral framework espoused by the community at large (not necessarily in its entirety, but at least in a rough cohesion), and observing that it lines up with things that were of utility (perceived or actual) to its survival, be it in the present or in the past?
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17-06-2016, 11:50 PM
RE: What IS morality, really?
(17-06-2016 08:55 PM)Dark Wanderer Wrote:  sounds like theyre trying to use it as a crutch because they dont believe that their own opinions on what is moral are reliable. seems cowardly to me. i guess that would make sense, if the bible didnt have so many contradictions and had clear cut descriptions on what is moral.
They want people to develop a dependent relationship on the church. That way the church gains control. Gets the money and political power.
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