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Old 6th August 2019, 07:33 AM   #121
angrysoba
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There's also arbitrary and Arbitrary.

I believe people should be free!

I also believe black people should be enslaved!

To believe both is necessarily to believe in a contradiction.

I can't prove that coherence should be at least one factor of a successful ethics, but I believe it should be.
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 6th August 2019, 07:33 AM   #122
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
The issue I have is your claim that because of the incontestable fact that different people and different groups have different ideas of what is moral, that it follows from that that each individual and group ought to follow those moral values.
Well I'm sure it will please you to know that this is not what I argued at all.

What I meant was essentially that you can't "should" moral values because they are the axioms. They are the ones that determine what should. To do otherwise is just to highlight disagreements between two value systems.
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Old 6th August 2019, 07:35 AM   #123
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Begs the question that there should be a bridge in the first place. This isn't complex, it's fundamentally unanswerable.
Let's say that's true.

It's fundamentally unanswerable it's pointless.

Falsifiability doesn't cease to be a thing in this topic.

Questions without answers by design are fundamentally flawed.
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Old 6th August 2019, 07:35 AM   #124
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Belz..., how would you adjust the following to better reflect your position?

---

Should the Nazis murder Jews?

No.

Why not? They believe they should murder Jews. Why isn't that sufficient?

Because their victims might disagree.
No. They shouldn't murder Jews because I disagree. That's how morals work.

Quote:
Then we have two moralities in conflict with each other. Which one should prevail?
Should has nothing to do with it. It's about which one of the two wins, either by convincing the other to follow your values or by forcing it upon them. I mean, that's what it's always been like.

The only way you can answer a "should" question is with your own value system. So if I were to give an actual answer to your question here, the answer would be "mine".
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Old 6th August 2019, 07:36 AM   #125
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Well I'm sure it will please you to know that this is not what I argued at all.

What I meant was essentially that you can't "should" moral values because they are the axioms. They are the ones that determine what should. To do otherwise is just to highlight disagreements between two value systems.
Huh? How do you square that with this?

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Well my implied answer is that they should be about whatever each individual and group makes them about.
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 6th August 2019, 07:37 AM   #126
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This ain't that hard people.

Right handers: "I can only achieve happiness by killing the left handers."
Left handers: "Well to achieve happiness I sort of need to be... yah know alive and all that jazz"

... isn't a moral question. It's a manufactured absurdity.

Unless someone really think killing Jews was the only way the Nazi could achieve happiness or if they happiness they achieve by killing them outweighed the happiness they took from the Jews by... ya know killing them.

"Maximize happiness" doesn't equate to "Just do / let happen anything anyone says makes them happy."
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Old 6th August 2019, 07:39 AM   #127
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
This ain't that hard people.
Please address the specific people you are talking to.
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 6th August 2019, 07:41 AM   #128
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Huh? How do you square that with this?
Quite easily, actually.

As I said, you can't "should" morals. Morals are the things that "should" other things. So unless you want me to impose my morality on others, theoretically or otherwise, I can only say that morals "should" be whatever they are, and obviously people will (and probably should) act according to their own morals.

What's the issue here?
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Old 6th August 2019, 07:43 AM   #129
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Quite easily, actually.

As I said, you can't "should" morals. Morals are the things that "should" other things. So unless you want me to impose my morality on others, theoretically or otherwise, I can only say that morals "should" be whatever they are, and obviously people will (and probably should) act according to their own morals.

What's the issue here?
The issue is this.

You say, people should do whatever they do.

Then, when asked, should the Nazis kill the Jews, you say:

No they shouldn't.

You have ideas about what people should do, and pretend you don't at the same time.

This is incoherent.
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 6th August 2019, 07:44 AM   #130
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
This ain't that hard people.

Right handers: "I can only achieve happiness by killing the left handers."
Left handers: "Well to achieve happiness I sort of need to be... yah know alive and all that jazz"

... isn't a moral question. It's a manufactured absurdity.

Unless someone really think killing Jews was the only way the Nazi could achieve happiness or if they happiness they achieve by killing them outweighed the happiness they took from the Jews by... ya know killing them.

"Maximize happiness" doesn't equate to "Just do / let happen anything anyone says makes them happy."
It does, however, mean making people unhappy if they get in the way of your principle of maximizing happiness.

And when did we agree that maximizing happiness was the basis of morality, anyway?

So what if Hitler sought to increase his happiness at the expense of Jewish happiness? Is that so wrong?
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Old 6th August 2019, 07:46 AM   #131
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
You say, people should do whatever they do.
No, that's not what I said. The question was about what morals should be about.

Quote:
Then, when asked, should the Nazis kill the Jews, you say:

No they shouldn't.
Yeah, according to MY morals.

Quote:
You have ideas about what people should do, and pretend you don't at the same time.

This is incoherent.
Are you seriously confused about the fact that I can have a personal opinion about something while at the same time saying that it is not an objective truth?
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Old 6th August 2019, 07:47 AM   #132
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
The issue is this.



You say, people should do whatever they do.



Then, when asked, should the Nazis kill the Jews, you say:



No they shouldn't.



You have ideas about what people should do, and pretend you don't at the same time.



This is incoherent.
Not necessarily. Belz is saying he thinks they shouldn't. He's not saying he's right and they're wrong. And he's not saying they should agree with him.
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Old 6th August 2019, 07:48 AM   #133
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Not necessarily. Belz is saying he thinks they shouldn't. He's not saying he's right and they're wrong. And he's not saying they should agree with him.
Well, I think they should, but "should" is inherently a subjective moral judgment. It has no objective value.
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Old 6th August 2019, 07:50 AM   #134
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
So what if Hitler sought to increase his happiness at the expense of Jewish happiness? Is that so wrong?
I'm saying it only becomes an legit moral quandary when reducing someone else happiness really is the only way for a person/group to achieve their happiness and it very, very rarely if ever is.

Bill has a toy. Ted wants the toy. They fight over it. That's only a moral quandary where we have to start weighting happiness against happiness in a world that's the only toy in existence.

Now to the base question is it "wrong" to increase your happiness at the expense of someone else?

No, not in the abstract. It's inevitable in a society where people want and need things from other people.

The problem is people see making other people unhappy as the easiest way to get to that happiness instead of other ways.

Making someone unhappy to make yourself happy when there were other options is certainly immoral.

Hitler didn't have to kill Jews to be happy.
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Old 6th August 2019, 07:53 AM   #135
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Of course. Empathy is the basis of morality.
I don't agree. Empathy might have something to do with the origin (the historical contingencies of a particular field of inquiry) of morality, but it is not the basis (the logical and philosophical foundation) of morality. The earliest known mathematics were developed in order to do things like levy taxes, facilitate trade, and track celestial bodies, but it would be an error to say that any of those things are the basis of mathematics.

Empathy makes for a poor foundation on which build a normative code, not least because of the underlying presumption of ethical egoism. Empathy could only be the basis of morality if my feelings are the basis of morality, which would be an absurdly self-important thing to believe, and immediately runs into problems with the relativity of pronouns. If I reject ethical egoism, then I have no immediate use for empathy--I can just value the well-being of others directly, since I would then have to concede that there's nothing special about me.

Originally Posted by caveman1917
What other motivator of your actions would there be?
Consideration of the interests of others.

Quote:
You presented a situation with two conflicting desires, the desire for good WiFi access and the desire to act ethically, and you choose to follow the latter.
I stipulated the idea that I had conflicting desires, in order to demonstrate that the idea fails either way, while making it clear that I did not in fact experience the dilemma as conflicting desires--instead, the conflict was between my desires and what I owe to others. You can, if you're a high-level Freudian, decide that I must have a desire to fulfill my obligations to others, despite the fact that I say that I don't, if you want to define "desire" as "that which motivates intentional action". But you'd then be left with a vacuous tautology--we are motivated to do that which we are motivated to do.
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Old 6th August 2019, 07:56 AM   #136
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
No, that's not what I said. The question was about what morals should be about.
What's the distinction between saying that the Nazis' morality should be about their killing of the Jews, and that Nazis should kill the Jews?



Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Yeah, according to MY morals.
Yes, and...?

To say, "I think morality should be about [insert moral beliefs here]" and "Morality should be about [insert moral beliefs here]" is really no distinction.



Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Are you seriously confused about the fact that I can have a personal opinion about something while at the same time saying that it is not an objective truth?
No. I am not addressing any claims of yours about objective truth.
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 6th August 2019, 07:59 AM   #137
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Not necessarily. Belz is saying he thinks they shouldn't. He's not saying he's right and they're wrong. And he's not saying they should agree with him.
To make a moral prescription: "You shouldn't..." inherently implies that one action is right and one wrong.

The question is whether Belz thinks "It is right if you believe it, even if I don't believe it is right", which I find incoherent.

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Well, I think they should, but "should" is inherently a subjective moral judgment. It has no objective value.
Huh? The Nazis should kill the Jews, now? Is this because they believe they should?

I really am confused by your position.
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 6th August 2019, 08:03 AM   #138
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
What's the distinction between saying that the Nazis' morality should be about their killing of the Jews, and that Nazis should kill the Jews?
I'm not sure where you're going with this. The Nazis' morality wasn't about that. It was about hard-right, crazy nationalism. Antisemitism was certainly part of it.

Quote:
Yes, and...?
And nothing. That's the entire argument. I disagree with their moral values and their actions. It doesn't mean they were objectively wrong because such a concept is meaningless, which was my whole point.

Quote:
To say, "I think morality should be about [insert moral beliefs here]" and "Morality should be about [insert moral beliefs here]" is really no distinction.
But that's not the distinction I'm making. In fact that distinction makes no sense.

The question was "what should morals be about?" Well, the answer is "they should be about what I find important, and here's what that is." But that's not very interesting because we'll never agree to that. What I said is that there's no objective answer to that.

Quote:
No. I am not addressing any claims of yours about objective truth.
You are, actually, since you responded to it.
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Old 6th August 2019, 08:04 AM   #139
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Huh? The Nazis should kill the Jews, now? Is this because they believe they should?
Maybe if you slowed down and read the post I was responding to in its entirety, especially the bit I quoted before responding, right until the end, you might clear up that confusion.

Quote:
The question is whether Belz thinks "It is right if you believe it, even if I don't believe it is right"
Of course not. It's right if I agree with it.
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Old 6th August 2019, 08:04 AM   #140
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Again not that hard.

Differences in moral codes should be tolerated, even celebrated, when they don't cause objective pain and suffering.

We not limited to "It's my way or the highway, no questions, no context allowed" and "Everything is subjective, nothing is right or wrong."
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Old 6th August 2019, 08:06 AM   #141
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Again not that hard.

Differences in moral codes should be tolerated, even celebrated, when they don't cause objective pain and suffering.
Which, let's be clear, is YOUR ethical code.
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Old 6th August 2019, 08:11 AM   #142
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Which, let's be clear, is YOUR ethical code.
I never said it wasn't.

I'm not getting the "Well that's just your opinion!" variation here.
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Old 6th August 2019, 08:16 AM   #143
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
I never said it wasn't.

I'm not getting the "Well that's just your opinion!" variation here.
No, as long as we all agree that we're just voicing our opinions, that's fine. It's when people start talking about objective morality that my BS meter goes up.
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Old 6th August 2019, 08:18 AM   #144
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Even with questions of subjectivity vs objectivity we have come to some common ground between questions that can't be answered and questions in which "my answer is the only right one even possible for consideration."

Moral systems in which there is more pain and suffering then necessary are "wrong" and I think I should be able to at least present that on a level beyond merely "my opinion."

We can't achieve moral answers while in the same breath denying the concept of moral answers exist.
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Old 6th August 2019, 08:20 AM   #145
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
I'm not sure where you're going with this. The Nazis' morality wasn't about that. It was about hard-right, crazy nationalism. Antisemitism was certainly part of it.
So why should the Nazis morality be about that?
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 6th August 2019, 08:21 AM   #146
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
So why should the Nazis morality be about that?
What part of "you can't 'should' morality" did you not understand? There's no objective answer. The only possible answer one can give is subjective, namely that morality should be like their morality. In this case, mine.
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Old 6th August 2019, 08:27 AM   #147
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
<respectful snip to get straight to the heart of the claim.>

The problem is people see making other people unhappy as the easiest way to get to that happiness instead of other ways.
Why is this is a problem? I mean, obviously(?) it's a problem for the person who is made unhappy. But why is it a moral or ethical problem?

Quote:
Making someone unhappy to make yourself happy when there were other options is certainly immoral.
I think that this begs the question we are trying to debate. You seem to be arguing from a universal moral standard. Something about maximizing happiness. But does this universal standard actually exist? Where does your certainty come from?

Quote:
Hitler didn't have to kill Jews to be happy.
Pretty sure he did.

Actually, I'm pretty sure he wasn't going to be happy no matter what. But if he thought killing Jews would do the trick, what's immoral about giving that a try? Obviously it's going to make a lot of people unhappy. But unless we're stipulating that maximizing happiness is the universaly morality, that doesn't seem to be a real problem.

---

Say I'm a moral superman. Unhindered by the traditions and superstitions of my community. Unconcerned with the needs and wants of others. Constrained only by what is practical and profitable for me. I don't care if you're happy or sad, except in how your happiness or sadness serves my needs. If I can profit from your sadness, is it immoral of me to make you sad?

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Old 6th August 2019, 08:34 AM   #148
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
What part of "you can't 'should' morality" did you not understand? There's no objective answer. The only possible answer one can give is subjective, namely that morality should be like their morality. In this case, mine.
Sorry, I still think you are making no sense.

I think the whole objective/subjective distinction is pointless.

Nobody has to claim that there are some Platonic forms of Morality in the sky to say, "Hey Nazis, you shouldn't be doing that!"

There are a few different ideas that you could take as axioms or first principles for ethics. For example, you could argue, as Joe does, that right action is what maximizes well-being for conscious creatures. Some variations have been popular from Bentham to Harris. The point of that is to persuade.

Or it could be about how to cultivate a good character, etc... or to act in accordance with the Golden Rule, etc...

You can say that people disagree. That's fine. Maybe they can argue a position without claiming that these are "objective values". They can appeal, as I talked about earlier to asking what people's intuitions are about what morality is.

At one and the same time, you are laying down shoulds and saying that shoulds are a no go.

That makes no sense to me.
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Old 6th August 2019, 08:40 AM   #149
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If questions of morality can't even go "Killing 6 million people for no reason is wrong" without the "Just my opinion" modifier what's the bloody point? At that point it's just a creative writing exercise as detached from the real world as Star Trek fan fiction.
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Old 6th August 2019, 08:47 AM   #150
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Sorry, I still think you are making no sense.
Well, I'm sorry about that and I'll try to clarify further.

Quote:
I think the whole objective/subjective distinction is pointless.
Well, I don't think it's pointless when I'm point-blanked asked about what morality should be about. It sounds like an objective question to me. If it was just an opinion poll I'd find it even more pointless, to be honest.

Quote:
The point of that is to persuade.
Sure, I said that myself. Or you could conquer and force people to follow your values.
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Old 6th August 2019, 08:53 AM   #151
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Sorry, I still think you are making no sense.

I think the whole objective/subjective distinction is pointless.

Nobody has to claim that there are some Platonic forms of Morality in the sky to say, "Hey Nazis, you shouldn't be doing that!"
On the other hand, nobody can claim the moral high ground when telling the Nazis not to do Nazi Stuff. Disagreeing with the Holocaust is literally just your opinion. The Nazi is just as entitled to "murder" Jews as you are to say he shouldn't.

Scare quotes because we've reached the point in this discussion where concepts like murder cease to have any useful meaning.

---

What about slavery? Do humans have innate moral value? Is it immoral to enslave them, no matter how practical and profitable it might be to do so? Or are humans just a resource, to be exploited like any other, by anyone in a position to do so?
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Old 6th August 2019, 08:56 AM   #152
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
If questions of morality can't even go "Killing 6 million people for no reason is wrong" without the "Just my opinion" modifier what's the bloody point? At that point it's just a creative writing exercise as detached from the real world as Star Trek fan fiction.
Your argument for morality always seems to stall out at this stage in the debate.

You get as far as declaring, "making someone unhappy to make yourself happy when there were other options is certainly immoral."

But when questioned about the source of your certainty, you give up. Don't give up, Joe! Have the courage of your convictions! Say what you believe, and why!
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Old 6th August 2019, 08:58 AM   #153
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Even in pure argumentatives I'm not the kind of guy who can go up to the cancer victim and withhold their chemo until they prove to my satisfaction their suffering is worth ending.
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Old 6th August 2019, 09:03 AM   #154
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
If questions of morality can't even go "Killing 6 million people for no reason is wrong" without the "Just my opinion" modifier what's the bloody point? At that point it's just a creative writing exercise as detached from the real world as Star Trek fan fiction.
Separately, the holocaust did have a reason. A couple reasons, actually. You might disagree that they were good reasons, but it's ignorant to say there were no reasons.

Are there good reasons to kill millions of people?

What do we mean by good? Profitable? Moral? What's the difference between profitability and morality, except opinion?

You want me not to kill millions of people, fine. But you want me to refrain, without you having to come over here and physically prevent me. You want me to refrain, without you having to figure out some way to make it unprofitable for me. You want some rational argument, that will convince me to refrain without coercion, and to my own detriment. But you have no such argument. All you have, in the end, is a weak-ass attempt to shame me with your expressions of frustration.

But I am a moral superman. I am not concerned with your "shame". Your frustration is your problem, not mine. If you have no rational argument, then you have no standing. If you cannot at least appeal to practicality and profitability, then you aren't even trying.
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Old 6th August 2019, 09:13 AM   #155
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Even in pure argumentatives I'm not the kind of guy who can go up to the cancer victim and withhold their chemo until they prove to my satisfaction their suffering is worth ending.
So? Does the kind of guy you are have some moral significance? My cat is not the kind of guy who can see me come in the door without yelling about it. My other cat is the kind of guy who would rather bite you than speak up, when they're hungry. Should I attach any moral significance to any of this, whether you or a cat?

Also, it seems to me that withholding chemo is a fairly stable strategy for ending a cancer victim's suffering. Given the nature of cancer, and given the nature of chemo, it's probably six to half a dozen either way.

---

And it doesn't have to be about pure argumentatives. It can be about down-and-dirty public policy and your tax dollars. How much of your money should the government spend on treating cancer victims? Is your answer derived from a moral argument, or a pragmatic argument?
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Old 6th August 2019, 09:41 AM   #156
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
So? Does the kind of guy you are have some moral significance? My cat is not the kind of guy who can see me come in the door without yelling about it. My other cat is the kind of guy who would rather bite you than speak up, when they're hungry. Should I attach any moral significance to any of this, whether you or a cat?
No it just means I don't have an answer to the question that's gonna satisfy you and no discussion, especially of one that concerns real human suffering, should stall out to the side that thinks it's the most complicated.
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Old 6th August 2019, 10:17 AM   #157
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
No it just means I don't have an answer to the question that's gonna satisfy you and no discussion, especially of one that concerns real human suffering, should stall out to the side that thinks it's the most complicated.
There's nothing wrong with basing an ethical system on a "kind of guy" basis. That's pretty much what mine is. I don't commit genocide because I wouldn't like being the kind of guy that would make me. I don't steal stuff because knowing it was stolen would ruin my enjoyment of the stuff (unless I thought the victim deserved it, in which case I may well steal something). I would never copy off somebody's creative work because then I'd hate my own, every compliment ever received on it would be like a dagger, every ounce of attention would be as scalding water. Ugh. Doing bad things ruins pleasure, and I likes the pleasures very much!

As far as everybody else goes, my proposed ethical system is to give everybody the freedom to do as they like (let them be the "kind of guy" they'd like to be) provided their doing so doesn't prevent anyone else from being free to live as they like as well. Hence murder would be wrong but assisted suicide okay. Stealing wrong but selling or gifting okay. Slavery wrong, employment or volunteering okay.

It's simple, easy, and doesn't require anything beyond simply deciding to live this way. No gods needed, no logical axioms, no demonstration from nature, no physics.

And it's quite fun, actually, as I've given myself permission to indulge in all sorts of alleged sins and crimes when they hurt nobody, and I enjoy having a thoroughly evil mind while living a perfectly decent and respectable life. Order, harmony, freedom, and happiness, and all because I simply decided to live the way that makes the most sense to me.
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Old 6th August 2019, 10:19 AM   #158
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
No it just means I don't have an answer to the question that's gonna satisfy you and no discussion, especially of one that concerns real human suffering, should stall out to the side that thinks it's the most complicated.
Ah, gotcha. That makes sense.

I guess what confuses me is that you keep making what seems like absolutist statements, about what is a legitimate moral quandry, and what is the highest moral good, and stuff like that.

I'd like to understand where this is coming from. Are these just your opinions? Are you implying an appeal to a universal moral standard that you think we all can or should see?

I don't expect you to satisfy me. I'm not looking for a gotcha. Just trying to figure out where you think your beliefs entitle you to make moral demands on me.
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Old 6th August 2019, 10:30 AM   #159
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Ah, gotcha. That makes sense.

I guess what confuses me is that you keep making what seems like absolutist statements, about what is a legitimate moral quandry, and what is the highest moral good, and stuff like that.

I'd like to understand where this is coming from. Are these just your opinions? Are you implying an appeal to a universal moral standard that you think we all can or should see?

I don't expect you to satisfy me. I'm not looking for a gotcha. Just trying to figure out where you think your beliefs entitle you to make moral demands on me.
Because I don't consider the concept of an "absolute moral statement" to really be a thing.

Again you can say "There are right and wrong ways to build a bridge" without declaring "the is absolutely one right way to build a bridge."

Morality and ethics, again the only parts I can really speak to because they are the only parts I consider valid, are just... applied psychology and sociology to me.

The whole "Is morality subjective or objective" thing doesn't really fit into my headspace.
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Old 6th August 2019, 11:30 AM   #160
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Originally Posted by mumblethrax View Post
I stipulated the idea that I had conflicting desires, in order to demonstrate that the idea fails either way, while making it clear that I did not in fact experience the dilemma as conflicting desires--instead, the conflict was between my desires and what I owe to others. You can, if you're a high-level Freudian, decide that I must have a desire to fulfill my obligations to others, despite the fact that I say that I don't, if you want to define "desire" as "that which motivates intentional action". But you'd then be left with a vacuous tautology--we are motivated to do that which we are motivated to do.
Would someone who would've blocked everyone else out have owed it to the others to have chosen differently?

If no, and there are some people who don't owe that to others, then you could've made the choice to consider yourself as not owing it to others and blocked everyone else out. In other words, you're not in any way constrained by owing something to others if, by choosing to act differently, you don't owe it to them anymore in the first place.

If yes, then clearly "owing something to others" isn't the property distinguishing the behaviours. Both you and the other hypothetical person who blocks everyone out would "owe it to others" but what would distinguish you is that you have a desire to act ethically whereas he doesn't.
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