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Old 22nd January 2021, 07:38 AM   #201
TragicMonkey
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I think in practical terms, normative moral relativism is self-perpetuating, even if it does contain a logical contradiction in theory. Dictatorships try to impose it from the top down, with varying degrees of success. Democracies just vote or elect their way into relative moral norms over time.

The best I can come up with, overall, is that there is only one rational option for personal morality: Nihilism As I Understand It. I haven't studied a ton of nihilism, so I'm probably using the word wrong in this context, but here goes anyway.

NAIUI is actually best summed up by a paraphrase of Saint Paul: "To me all things are permitted, but not all things serve my purpose." There is no higher moral power than you. There is no arbiter of right and wrong with greater moral authority than you.

There are individuals and groups that are stronger than you. They can impose the consequences of their morality on you by force, but that does not make them right and you wrong. Only you can decide for yourself what is right and what is wrong.

For you, there is no murder, unless you say it's murder. There is no theft, unless you say it's theft. Others may disagree, but all they can do is impose the consequences of their morality on you.

In practice, NAIUI amounts to normative moral relativism. You go along to get along. You comply with the moral norms of your community because it's convenient. It serves your purpose. Your community does not permit certain things, and you color within those lines because it's more profitable to you than going outside them.

But to you, morally, all things are permitted. If it suits your purpose to violate the norms of your community, only you have the standing to decide if that's moral for you. Only you can decide for yourself if the trade-offs are worth it.

If you determine that your neighbor needs killing, but your community's moral norms would not permit it, you might decide to let him live. Not because it is morally superior, but because you don't like the trade-offs that come with your community deciding you've committed murder.

But if it serves your purpose to end his life and take your chances, who has the moral authority to condemn you? Your community? That's just an appeal to popularity - a logical fallacy.

I could point out any number of popular laws and customs that you would find morally repugnant. Slavery, for but one example. And in all times and places, there have been dissenters from the moral norms of that time and place. Even if you were born into a society where slavery was the moral norm, you might still choose to reject it. You might still come to realize that the only true morality is the one you choose for yourself, not the one that society has agreed upon.

I honestly don't see how it could be any other way.
I think you're omitting the possibility that one might have a moral sense that evaluates a given action as morally wrong, but one chooses to perform it anyway because the advantages outweigh that. In other words, possessing a sense of morality is not the same as possessing a drive to be moral. We have the freedom to act however we want to, but we might not be able to convince ourselves that our actions are morally good.
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Old 22nd January 2021, 07:48 AM   #202
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
I think you're omitting the possibility that one might have a moral sense that evaluates a given action as morally wrong, but one chooses to perform it anyway because the advantages outweigh that. In other words, possessing a sense of morality is not the same as possessing a drive to be moral. We have the freedom to act however we want to, but we might not be able to convince ourselves that our actions are morally good.
If you act contrary to your own moral code, that's a personal problem. And of course nobody else has the standing to judge whether you're in compliance with your own morality.

But if it suits your purpose to do something you wouldn't permit yourself to do, that's a good sign that you should do some introspection and think a bit harder about what your personal morality actually permits. Maybe you're still in the process of shedding the norms of your community and forging your own personal morality as god intended.
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Old 22nd January 2021, 08:28 AM   #203
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
If you act contrary to your own moral code, that's a personal problem.
Is it a problem at all? "I recognize that this apple is red. I recognize that this waffle is delicious. I recognize that this murder is wrong." Those thoughts don't stop you from ignoring the apple, abstaining from the waffle, or stabbing that guy in the head. It would only be a problem if you actually wanted to follow your own moral sense, and were disappointed in yourself for not doing so.

Quote:
But if it suits your purpose to do something you wouldn't permit yourself to do, that's a good sign that you should do some introspection and think a bit harder about what your personal morality actually permits. Maybe you're still in the process of shedding the norms of your community and forging your own personal morality as god intended.
I disagree. People have ideas, people commit actions. What is the basis for asserting that certain ideas require certain actions, or else they are not in compliance with some notion of how people should act, imposed by outside forces? As for gods and their intentions that's a separate set of assumptions.
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Old 22nd January 2021, 08:48 AM   #204
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Is it a problem at all? "I recognize that this apple is red. I recognize that this waffle is delicious. I recognize that this murder is wrong." Those thoughts don't stop you from ignoring the apple, abstaining from the waffle, or stabbing that guy in the head. It would only be a problem if you actually wanted to follow your own moral sense, and were disappointed in yourself for not doing so.
This discussion has taken a bobbian turn that does not interest me. Feel free to continue on your own, but I'm bailing out here.
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Old 22nd January 2021, 09:09 AM   #205
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
This discussion has taken a bobbian turn that does not interest me. Feel free to continue on your own, but I'm bailing out here.
Really? I didn't think it was that odd. To me, moral evaluation is an emotion, and one may experience emotions without choosing to indulge them. I hate my neighbor, I love my friend's boyfriend; I can either kill or not kill my neighbor, I can either seduce or not seduce my friend's boyfriend. While my actions might affect other people, whether they are in accordance with my feelings or not is irrelevant to everyone except myself. I don't believe there's a scorecard being tallied up by gods or karma that's awarding points for "yes, he refrained from that murder despite really, really wanting to" or "oh no, he banged that dude which is minus twenty points from his Heaven score".
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Old 22nd January 2021, 09:25 AM   #206
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On further thought, I think the moral sense is more like the sense of beauty. It's a feeling, which you can try to explain intellectually but that never actually works. You find something --a thing, a painting, a sunset, a person, a piece of music-- beautiful, but can you explain why? Break the thing down into its components and analyze them? Work out the principles of what beauty is? And then compare to other people's ideas and see if they're universal principles? I don't think so. Doing Action X feels bad, so I'm not going to do it if I can help it. If I dug deep into psychology or biology or chemistry to try to figure out why I feel that way about Action X, is it going to change anything? I don't think it would. I think morality is more emotion than thought, feelings not principles, and thus trying to work out elaborate rational principles for morality will never work.
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Old 22nd January 2021, 09:51 AM   #207
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Am I the only person who lays awake at night worrying about some minor thing I did decades ago that I knew at the time was wrong but did anyway? Weird, I thought that was more common. Frankly, I thought that was the entire drive behind the sleep aide industry.
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Old 22nd January 2021, 10:08 AM   #208
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Really? I didn't think it was that odd. To me, moral evaluation is an emotion, and one may experience emotions without choosing to indulge them. I hate my neighbor, I love my friend's boyfriend; I can either kill or not kill my neighbor, I can either seduce or not seduce my friend's boyfriend. While my actions might affect other people, whether they are in accordance with my feelings or not is irrelevant to everyone except myself. I don't believe there's a scorecard being tallied up by gods or karma that's awarding points for "yes, he refrained from that murder despite really, really wanting to" or "oh no, he banged that dude which is minus twenty points from his Heaven score".
This is not odd to me at all. If you want to explain your view of morality, that's fine with me.

I'm just not interested in exploring a Russian nested doll of questions along the lines of "but why tho?"

In my view, if you believe morality is A, but you choose B, then either your morality needs closer examination, or you need better self-discipline. Either way, this is something only you have the authority to judge for yourself.

If your view is different, that's fine. If you want to understand how my view works in practice, that's fine. I'm just not going to keep explaining how it works every time you rephrase the question. There's no nested dolls of meaning and interpretation here.

In my view, if your emotion says A and your reason says B, it's up to you and you alone to decide which of those is your moral code and which is your vice. That is the beginning and end of my wisdom.
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Old 22nd January 2021, 10:21 AM   #209
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Originally Posted by Dr. Keith View Post
Am I the only person who lays awake at night worrying about some minor thing I did decades ago that I knew at the time was wrong but did anyway? Weird, I thought that was more common. Frankly, I thought that was the entire drive behind the sleep aide industry.
Yes, you are the only person who does that. Everyone else lies awake thinking of past events that embarrass them. I'd gladly commit tons of horrible sins if doing so would replace the memories of certain past embarrassments.
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Old 22nd January 2021, 10:24 AM   #210
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Yes, you are the only person who does that. Everyone else lies awake thinking of past events that embarrass them. I'd gladly commit tons of horrible sins if doing so would replace the memories of certain past embarrassments.
We need to hang out this weekend
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Old 22nd January 2021, 10:26 AM   #211
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Originally Posted by Dr. Keith View Post
Am I the only person who lays awake at night worrying about some minor thing I did decades ago that I knew at the time was wrong but did anyway? Weird, I thought that was more common. Frankly, I thought that was the entire drive behind the sleep aide industry.
You can come right out and say prostitution. We don't judge
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Old 23rd January 2021, 12:28 PM   #212
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Originally Posted by suren View Post
Imagine there are 5 dying unconscious patients with various organ failures (heart, lung, kidney, etc.). There is a possibility to kill one of them and use his organs to save the other 4. There is no possibility of preference for a victim based on rationality, i.e. we can choose the victim randomly at best.

Is it acceptable to kill someone for the sake of saving others?

Some people might argue that we should leave them to die since we are committing murder which is by itself is very immoral. But what if we were in a similar situation with 100 or even 1000 (both are unrealistic but let's ignore this for the sake of the thought experiment) dying patients instead of 5? Can this number reach to some point where killing 1 person becomes more rational/moral?
In real-life scenarios you can figure out how to do both with a bit of creativity. For your scenario, you can save the kidneys person without killing anyone else since humans can survive on one. Heart surgery is difficult to where it's very difficult to do transplants. For respiratory failure, you will survive it and live on, link related.
https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-top...0care%20center.
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Old 23rd January 2021, 01:12 PM   #213
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Originally Posted by Lupus View Post
In real-life scenarios you can figure out how to do both with a bit of creativity. For your scenario, you can save the kidneys person without killing anyone else since humans can survive on one. Heart surgery is difficult to where it's very difficult to do transplants. For respiratory failure, you will survive it and live on, link related.
https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-top...0care%20center.
Thanks, I know. Of course there are loopholes in this dilemma. It was a bit sloppy thought experiment, but the point was what would you do if you had only two options: allowing a huge amount of victims/suffering or randomly choose few victims.
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Old 23rd January 2021, 09:55 PM   #214
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Here's what you do then, you wait for the first person to die and then you remove the organs from their corpse to save the ones still alive. How difficult it is to get one without loopholes shows how these dilemmas are a poor theory that don't reflect reality. In reality you also wouldn't be the one choosing but one of those 100 lying there, praying that you will be able to survive but helpless to do anything.
Back to "Is it acceptable to kill someone for the sake of saving others?"
If you are killing criminals or enemy soldiers then it's an resounding YES!
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Old 24th January 2021, 01:42 AM   #215
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Originally Posted by Lupus View Post
Here's what you do then, you wait for the first person to die and then you remove the organs from their corpse to save the ones still alive.
Yeah, this option is interesting, in real life it will probably work. Although I mentioned in this thread about this loophole by arguing that even if the patients wouldn't die simultaneously, after the first patient's death it would be too late to save most if not all patients.
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Old 24th January 2021, 10:34 AM   #216
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Originally Posted by Lupus View Post
Here's what you do then, you wait for the first person to die and then you remove the organs from their corpse to save the ones still alive.
You didn't read the OP scenario, did you?
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Old 24th January 2021, 12:07 PM   #217
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Originally Posted by suren View Post
Yeah, this option is interesting, in real life it will probably work. Although I mentioned in this thread about this loophole by arguing that even if the patients wouldn't die simultaneously, after the first patient's death it would be too late to save most if not all patients.
I didn't read the whole thread and missed it. Seems to me like a couple minutes more to live wouldn't matter, take the one who is comatose or has no family to talk to.
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Old 25th January 2021, 08:14 AM   #218
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Originally Posted by Lupus View Post
Seems to me like a couple minutes more to live wouldn't matter, take the one who is comatose or has no family to talk to.
You didn't read the OP scenario, did you?
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Old 25th January 2021, 09:01 PM   #219
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
If you act contrary to your own moral code, that's a personal problem. And of course nobody else has the standing to judge whether you're in compliance with your own morality.

But if it suits your purpose to do something you wouldn't permit yourself to do, that's a good sign that you should do some introspection and think a bit harder about what your personal morality actually permits. Maybe you're still in the process of shedding the norms of your community and forging your own personal morality as god intended.
Knowing what god intends would go a long way toward solving trolley problems.
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Old 25th January 2021, 09:14 PM   #220
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
Knowing what god intends would go a long way toward solving trolley problems.
You'd think; but a lot of atheists seem to make a point of disbelieving in a god they'd be morally bound to oppose even if he did exist. Knowing what God intended wouldn't help them make up their own minds at all.

But it was a throwaway clause I included for people to latch onto if they were having trouble with the concept of moral nihilism.
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Old 25th January 2021, 09:37 PM   #221
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
Knowing what god intends would go a long way toward solving trolley problems.
I suspect He hates public transportation and is trying to discourage its use through all these grisly accidents He stages for the sake of argument.
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Old 25th January 2021, 10:07 PM   #222
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
You'd think; but a lot of atheists seem to make a point of disbelieving in a god they'd be morally bound to oppose even if he did exist. Knowing what God intended wouldn't help them make up their own minds at all.

But it was a throwaway clause I included for people to latch onto if they were having trouble with the concept of moral nihilism.
Hmm, a throwaway clause. If you say so.
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Old 26th January 2021, 09:41 AM   #223
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Yes, you are the only person who does that. Everyone else lies awake thinking of past events that embarrass them. I'd gladly commit tons of horrible sins if doing so would replace the memories of certain past embarrassments.
I'd have to care what others thought of me to be embarrassed.

For TM only: That was pretty hardcore, right? It really made me look deep, don't you think? I know Thermal invited you to his place this weekend, but we could just hang out online and play some video games, right? Let me know, whatevs.
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Old 26th January 2021, 09:45 AM   #224
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
Hmm, a throwaway clause. If you say so.
I do indeed say so. Try me on moral nihilism and you'll see the difference.
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