What IS morality, really?
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18-06-2016, 01:15 PM
RE: What IS morality, really?
(18-06-2016 12:34 PM)neilxt Wrote:  
(18-06-2016 08:13 AM)Fatbaldhobbit Wrote:  "I was just following orders." is not a sufficient defense for war crimes or any criminal activity.

By whom?

By our modern society. That defense has been attempted in numerous criminal and military trials. It is not accepted as valid.

(18-06-2016 12:34 PM)neilxt Wrote:  At some stage someone is saying that humanity is a community we all belong to and at some stage you should have absorbed and prioritized our moral values.

Not humanity as a whole. Countries vary in what is socially acceptable. Those who live in a particular country or society are obliged to abide by the moral values of that place.

Help for the living. Hope for the dead. ~ R.G. Ingersoll

Freedom offers opportunity. Opportunity confers responsibility. Responsibility to use the freedom we enjoy wisely, honestly and humanely. ~ Noam Chomsky
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18-06-2016, 01:18 PM
RE: What IS morality, really?
(17-06-2016 09:10 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  
(17-06-2016 08:28 PM)neilxt Wrote:  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.

Also, this statement by you "You are still trying to assign a value assessment to a moral choice and call that moral. I am not." isn't true. For example, you've asserted that "Except that's not always the case. One extreme example of moral behavior is to lay down your life for your country." You're assigning "value" to moral choices too. I've already pointed out the flaw in making a blanket generalization about "dying for your country" as not being inherently moral.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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18-06-2016, 01:20 PM
RE: What IS morality, really?
(18-06-2016 01:15 PM)Fatbaldhobbit Wrote:  
(18-06-2016 12:34 PM)neilxt Wrote:  By whom?

By our modern society. That defense has been attempted in numerous criminal and military trials. It is not accepted as valid.

(18-06-2016 12:34 PM)neilxt Wrote:  At some stage someone is saying that humanity is a community we all belong to and at some stage you should have absorbed and prioritized our moral values.

Not humanity as a whole. Countries vary in what is socially acceptable. Those who live in a particular country or society are obliged to abide by the moral values of that place.

Exactly. The "I was just following orders" defense doesn't absolve you from 1) the criminal actions you've committed or 2) the moral ramifications of your actions.

How many Nazis were imprisoned for war crimes?

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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18-06-2016, 01:27 PM
RE: What IS morality, really?
(18-06-2016 01:20 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  How many Nazis were imprisoned for war crimes?

Not enough.

Many war criminals have been executed for "following orders".

I'm sure the military personnel can elaborate but there are required classes that teach ethics. A soldier is not required to follow orders that are unethical and is required to disobey such an order.

It doesn't always work out that way, but at least an attempt is made.

Help for the living. Hope for the dead. ~ R.G. Ingersoll

Freedom offers opportunity. Opportunity confers responsibility. Responsibility to use the freedom we enjoy wisely, honestly and humanely. ~ Noam Chomsky
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18-06-2016, 03:14 PM
RE: What IS morality, really?
(18-06-2016 10:33 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  neilxt,

So if morality is subjective and everyone has their own ideas about it, what's the meaningful difference between morality and preference.

For example, if person "A" likes killing animals and eating them, and person "B" thinks it is wrong to kill animals for food, what does that tell us about morality? I would say nothing, it only tells us about the preferences of person "A" and "B". What say you?
It tells us a lot about morality.

Morality is a subset of the broader umbrella "preference"
All moral beliefs are personal preferences however not all preferences are moral beliefs. For example choosing Sparkling Lemon over Cokeacola is a preference that most people wouldn't consider a moral choice.
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18-06-2016, 03:31 PM
RE: What IS morality, really?
(18-06-2016 03:14 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(18-06-2016 10:33 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  neilxt,

So if morality is subjective and everyone has their own ideas about it, what's the meaningful difference between morality and preference.

For example, if person "A" likes killing animals and eating them, and person "B" thinks it is wrong to kill animals for food, what does that tell us about morality? I would say nothing, it only tells us about the preferences of person "A" and "B". What say you?
It tells us a lot about morality.

Morality is a subset of the broader umbrella "preference"
All moral beliefs are personal preferences however not all preferences are moral beliefs. For example choosing Sparkling Lemon over Cokeacola is a preference that most people wouldn't consider a moral choice.

Most people who use the word morality (moral realists) do not consider it to be preference, but I get what you're saying.

What I'm getting at is that there is no way to determine whether or not it is moral to kill and eat animals. If someone claims that eating animals is immoral, it's impossible to prove (or know) that the claim is true. In fact, we can know that the claim is unfounded.

The problem is that people make moral claims all the time (especially politicians). Such as, all women should have the right to an abortion, slavery is wrong, letting the rich buy legislation is wrong, etc...., Politicians make moral claims all the time, but they are unfounded. In fact when someone makes a moral claim to me like "genocide is wrong", I process that in my mind as "oh, ok, you mean that you don't like genocide." In their mind they don't see it as merely a preference, but rather more like an objective fact.
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18-06-2016, 04:41 PM
RE: What IS morality, really?
(18-06-2016 03:31 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  In their mind they don't see it as merely a preference, but rather more like an objective fact.
For people that aren't religious and don't believe in a god authority as being a the source of moral "facts", don't these people tend to consider morality as being subjective, therefore not objective facts?

If they deem it as subjective then it is preference isn't it. I know it's not a whim because they tie it to something e.g. Causing physical harm/pain on people is labelled as "bad" and hence anything that does that is "wrong". So they consider it "wrong" to beat someone up in order to take their stuff. EVEN when it is their own preference to have that other person's stuff.

So they have a conflict of preferences. They want the other person's stuff, and perhaps they have the ability to take it but they also want people not to be harmed.
The thing is, this isn't consequentialism. There is no consequence in harming others or taking the stuff (not in this conceptual space). There is no hell. From a moral perspective we don't consider the coercion of prison etc as we are making a free choice and moderating ourselves based on our own beliefs and desire to be a "good" person (whatever that means to the individual with the beliefs).


But in reality there is a consequence of harming others, we paint ourselves as dangerous and hence become a target of people that want a safe society. So we don't go around harming people, because we generally can't get away with it, even if we don't guilt ourselves. This thinking doesn't go down well with many people because they see it as cowardice, so in order not to be cowards they justify that they don't harm people because it is the "wrong thing to do" so hence they have no interest, no desire, no preference to harm others.

I'd say that if we were invincible, we had superhuman powers etc, then our perspective would change. We wouldn't become a superhero out to save the victims of the world, but instead, we would take what we want, do what we want. We would have little concern for others. Just as we tend to have little concern for the plight of the cows that we eat.
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18-06-2016, 08:13 PM
RE: What IS morality, really?
(18-06-2016 03:14 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(18-06-2016 10:33 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  neilxt,

So if morality is subjective and everyone has their own ideas about it, what's the meaningful difference between morality and preference.

For example, if person "A" likes killing animals and eating them, and person "B" thinks it is wrong to kill animals for food, what does that tell us about morality? I would say nothing, it only tells us about the preferences of person "A" and "B". What say you?
It tells us a lot about morality.

Perhaps you could elaborate on this? What does the example I gave tell us about morality?
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18-06-2016, 11:52 PM
RE: What IS morality, really?
(18-06-2016 08:13 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  Perhaps you could elaborate on this? What does the example I gave tell us about morality?

Quote:For example, if person "A" likes killing animals and eating them, and person "B" thinks it is wrong to kill animals for food, what does that tell us about morality?
It tells us that different people have a different opinion about what is right and what is wrong.
Neither person is objectively incorrect. We have no way to objectively resolve the dispute.

Morality is an individual belief system. People can believe whatever they want, you can't really challenge beliefs that aren't based off logic and evidence.
So each person is correct.
For person A, killing and eating animals is morally fine. For person B killing and eating animals is immoral. Doesn't matter what the majority of society thinks. It only matters what the individual thinks or believes.

So I am a person who doesn't think it is immoral to eat animals, but one of my colleagues is vegetarian. I accept that for her it is immoral to eat animals. I don't hassle her because it is correct for her. It's her decision, her belief, it has no impact on me. One of my other colleagues was hassling her. I just thought that other colleague was lacking fundamental understanding of morality and personal opinions.
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19-06-2016, 05:18 AM
RE: What IS morality, really?
(18-06-2016 11:52 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(18-06-2016 08:13 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  Perhaps you could elaborate on this? What does the example I gave tell us about morality?

Quote:For example, if person "A" likes killing animals and eating them, and person "B" thinks it is wrong to kill animals for food, what does that tell us about morality?
It tells us that different people have a different opinion about what is right and what is wrong.
Neither person is objectively incorrect. We have no way to objectively resolve the dispute.

Morality is an individual belief system. People can believe whatever they want, you can't really challenge beliefs that aren't based off logic and evidence.
So each person is correct.
For person A, killing and eating animals is morally fine. For person B killing and eating animals is immoral. Doesn't matter what the majority of society thinks. It only matters what the individual thinks or believes.

So I am a person who doesn't think it is immoral to eat animals, but one of my colleagues is vegetarian. I accept that for her it is immoral to eat animals. I don't hassle her because it is correct for her. It's her decision, her belief, it has no impact on me. One of my other colleagues was hassling her. I just thought that other colleague was lacking fundamental understanding of morality and personal opinions.

I don't think we have any significant disagreement, I just don't like the wording you choose. For example, I would never say that eating animals is immoral for person B. I think that's misleading and it sounds funny. Some people like to say that everyone can have their own truth as well, but that sounds goofy to me too. I think it's a lot more accurate to simply say that person B dislikes killing/eating animals.

The problems (and confusion) come when people start making moral claims as if they are not merely subjective opinions. Obviously the religious do this all the time, but I've heard many atheists do this as well. As Tomasia will help point out, a lot of atheists try to have their cake and eat it too. They might claim subjectivity to morality, but then they'll try to say that things like genocide and slavery are objectively wrong. I can try to find some examples if you'd like....
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