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Old 7th August 2019, 01:58 PM   #241
mumblethrax
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Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
Neither of you failed to act in accordance with what you both, respectively, judged to be better.
One of us did. If I fail to act in accordance with an ethical judgment, I am failing to do what I judge to be better, all things considered.

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How is that an argument against morality being a desire?
It's not, and wasn't presented as such.
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Old 7th August 2019, 11:23 PM   #242
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
First of all, I don't see why it follows,
Sorry, I think you misunderstood me, I'm not arguing that it follows, I just find it likely.

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and second, you don't necessarily calculate prosperity by adding each individual's.
Agreed, though there has to be some function over all individuals. A simple sum is probably not the best function though.
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Old 7th August 2019, 11:41 PM   #243
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Originally Posted by mumblethrax View Post
This assertion needs support. I don't agree that "attention to one's neighbour" is the basic moral norm. It strikes me as tribalistic, which is morally arbitrary.


This idea also needs support.

But to say that empathy is the basis of morality is not merely to say that empathy is necessary for moral action. It is to say that moral principles emerge from empathy.




You're misunderstanding Hume here. We can't deduce an ought from an is. But isn't this precisely what you're trying to do above? Deducing an ought (all of morality) from an is (the neurology of empathy)?


There is a world of difference between saying that a feeling is useful and saying it is the basis of morality. It might well be true that we do better with empathy than without, but that's no reason to put it at the center of normative ethics. We surely make better decisions when informed by sound scientific research, but concluding that science therefore is (or should be) the basis of ethics would be a foolish thing to do.
I used “neighbour" meaning the other men. No tribalism.

You can say that moral "principles" (sic) "emerge" from empathy or you can say that without empathy there is not morality. In any case empathy is a necessary condition because you take empathy away and not sense of responsibility arises in the subject. This is not the case of science. The subject can understand everything about nerves, pain, death and injuries from a scientific point of view. He can see his victim crying and understand what tears mean. He can enjoy this. But without empathy he cannot feel that is doing bad. Science is not the basis of morality.

This is supported by common experience (intelligent killers) and science (Damasio). What other support do you need?

If you put a moral feeling in the basis of your chain of reasoning you avoid Hume's guillotine. Your first statement is not in the form of "x is y" but "I want x" that is to say "x is good". Now you can argue in terms of "to be" without contradiction. I have not misunderstand Hume. This is Hume's solution to the problem.

“To put in the centre” is a vague expression. I only said that that without empathy no morality. After that the “centre” of your reasoning is the feeling of compassion and how it can be more effective, more fiting to circumstances, and so on. This is a job for reason, science and so. All right. Empathy gives the impulse, reason the logic. We can say this if you like.
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Old 8th August 2019, 02:20 AM   #244
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Agreed, though there has to be some function over all individuals. A simple sum is probably not the best function though.
Right. Slaves are sometimes not considered people, though, and surely they aren't considered citizens, so it really all matters on how you calculate it. Which was my point: we can't assume that how we'd calculate it is the only way to go.
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Old 8th August 2019, 02:47 AM   #245
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Right. Slaves are sometimes not considered people, though, and surely they aren't considered citizens, so it really all matters on how you calculate it. Which was my point: we can't assume that how we'd calculate it is the only way to go.
It doesn't matter that some people don't consider them human. They are human. That's an objective fact, not a subjective opinion.

Again, we have already agreed that whether or not we should value human prosperity is a separate question.
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Old 8th August 2019, 02:55 AM   #246
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
It doesn't matter that some people don't consider them human. They are human. That's an objective fact, not a subjective opinion.
I didn't say human, I said people, and citizen. Regardless, it depends how you define human, and there've been many examples of people treating other people like non-humans. We even have a word for that.
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Old 8th August 2019, 03:02 AM   #247
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
I didn't say human, I said people, and citizen. Regardless, it depends how you define human, and there've been many examples of people treating other people like non-humans. We even have a word for that.
Sorry, for some reason I read "people" as "human". Brainfart.

And I'm not denying your point, I think I explicitly agreed with it in the second sentence in my post. I just don't think it changes the fact that human prosperity can be seen as an objective thing.
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Old 8th August 2019, 03:13 AM   #248
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Sorry, for some reason I read "people" as "human".
I'd venture to guess that it's because most of us today just see the words as synonyms.

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I just don't think it changes the fact that human prosperity can be seen as an objective thing.
Well, again it mostly depends on how it's defined. I'm not sure anyone's done that here.
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Old 8th August 2019, 03:32 AM   #249
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post

Well, again it mostly depends on how it's defined. I'm not sure anyone's done that here.
Yes, that's fair.

However, I think that any reasonable definition will fit within certain constraints. A human is a particular species of organism. Prosperity should probably relate to something that the particular humans whose prosperity is being measured would value. I can understand that there may be a lot of nuance in the definitions of both words and thus of phrase, but any definition that didn't consider you and me to be humans, or included ham sandwiches as human, would be flawed. A definition of prosperity that viewed people as being more prosperous doing X than Y when they would freely choose Y over X given accurate information about both and having experienced both, is probably flawed.

There is certainly room for nuance in the definitions and those definitions may change the outcome of our calculus to some extent. I don't see how a reasonable definition could change the outcome to great extremes though.
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Old 8th August 2019, 03:44 AM   #250
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
A human is a particular species of organism.
Yes but it's not a given that someone will use the scientific definition.

I agree with the rest of your post.
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Old 8th August 2019, 05:55 AM   #251
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Sorry, for some reason I read "people" as "human". Brainfart.

And I'm not denying your point, I think I explicitly agreed with it in the second sentence in my post. I just don't think it changes the fact that human prosperity can be seen as an objective thing.
Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
I'd venture to guess that it's because most of us today just see the words as synonyms.



Well, again it mostly depends on how it's defined. I'm not sure anyone's done that here.
This gets to the root of what I was trying to say earlier. You can calculate objectively, once you have the definitions and methods designed. But those definitions and methods are based on what you value, and therefore subjective.

Although perhaps subjective isn't the best term. Call them axiomatic, perhaps, for more accuracy. Once those axioms are decided upon, then the rest can be compared objectively...but the axioms have to be there first.

And this isn't a bad thing; math works more or less the same way. And it doesn't mean you can't call one moral system better or worse than another...but those are essentially relative terms. Better or worse, again, depends on what values are your axioms. But again, once you (or, more likely, society) has "selected" it's set of axioms, you can absolutely compare actions, ethical systems, and so forth to see which one supports those axioms best, or which provides the most practical effect towards reaching your goals/fulfilling your values.

To continue the science analogy, science can't really tell a researcher what he'd like to research; that depends on the researcher's interests. But it can definitely inform that decision, and once that decision is made it's definitely the way to research.
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Old 8th August 2019, 06:02 AM   #252
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Again the whole problem with the "science can't (or shouldn't) tell us why we should do X" is that... nobody has offered an explanation that isn't completely self defining for what can (or should.)

It does seem more and more like people are, intentionally or unintentionally, trying to take everything that they define as "not science" and start acting like it's a unified thing when the only defining factor is what it's not.

It's like the intellectual discussion version of the social discussion term "People of Color." It doesn't matter if your African American, Asian, Native American what matters is you're not white.

If "Well science can't answer this" doesn't lead to what does answer it, what's the point?
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Old 8th August 2019, 06:05 AM   #253
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Originally Posted by Hellbound View Post
This gets to the root of what I was trying to say earlier. You can calculate objectively, once you have the definitions and methods designed. But those definitions and methods are based on what you value, and therefore subjective.

Although perhaps subjective isn't the best term. Call them axiomatic, perhaps, for more accuracy. Once those axioms are decided upon, then the rest can be compared objectively...but the axioms have to be there first.

And this isn't a bad thing; math works more or less the same way. And it doesn't mean you can't call one moral system better or worse than another...but those are essentially relative terms. Better or worse, again, depends on what values are your axioms. But again, once you (or, more likely, society) has "selected" it's set of axioms, you can absolutely compare actions, ethical systems, and so forth to see which one supports those axioms best, or which provides the most practical effect towards reaching your goals/fulfilling your values.

To continue the science analogy, science can't really tell a researcher what he'd like to research; that depends on the researcher's interests. But it can definitely inform that decision, and once that decision is made it's definitely the way to research.
Truth.
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Old 8th August 2019, 07:05 AM   #254
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Again the whole problem with the "science can't (or shouldn't) tell us why we should do X" is that... nobody has offered an explanation that isn't completely self defining for what can (or should.)
That is the point; there isn't one. It is self-defining, basically. Until you identify your goals, and science can't tell you what goals you should pursue. However, if you make the choice on what goals you want, what your values are, then science is the best option for meeting those.

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It does seem more and more like people are, intentionally or unintentionally, trying to take everything that they define as "not science" and start acting like it's a unified thing when the only defining factor is what it's not.
Okay, have no idea what this is about. Some things are not science; the things that aren't are not unified at all. Some things are not science because they're crap (various woo things, stuff that's contrary to logic or reality). Some things aren't science simply because they are not objective (what movies you should like, what your favorite ice cream flavor is). And, even in science, there are things that science itself can't prove: axioms on which everything else is based. We accept those axioms because, using them, we can produce theories and advancements that are practically, demonstrably useful. It's really not any different in morality or ethics. But science can't tell you what the axioms should be...those have to be decided by some other method. We could, for example, take a page from science and use axioms that produce practical results, which is more or less the way morality, ethics, and law has worked throughout the years.

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It's like the intellectual discussion version of the social discussion term "People of Color." It doesn't matter if your African American, Asian, Native American what matters is you're not white.

If "Well science can't answer this" doesn't lead to what does answer it, what's the point?
This confuses me. So you don't listen to music, or watch TV? Science can't answer what music you should listen to or whether or not you should go bowling, that's your choice based on your interests and mood. Doesn't make it pointless.

And morality and ethics do have practical effect. Essentially, discussion of ethics and morality is us trying to come to a group consensus on what the axioms should be for our moral systems. Typically, just like in science, this comes down to which axioms lead to the most useful, practical results.

No one is arguing about that part of it. Once you decide your axioms, your goals, your idea of what morality should accomplish, ten science will help you determine how to apply that.
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Old 8th August 2019, 07:10 AM   #255
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So again what's the question and where are we going with it?

Question: "What do I like Tom Waits music?"
Answer: "No Reason! You just do!"

Okay. Are we... done? Did we just solve philosophy?

People, the problem is if we go "Science goes this far, no further, and we don't have to answer the question beyond that we can just invoke 'because' and call it a day" is other people aren't going to, they are going to keep going and slapping God and Souls and Woo in that space.
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Old 8th August 2019, 07:32 AM   #256
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
So again what's the question and where are we going with it?

Question: "What do I like Tom Waits music?"
Answer: "No Reason! You just do!"

Okay. Are we... done? Did we just solve philosophy?

People, the problem is if we go "Science goes this far, no further, and we don't have to answer the question beyond that we can just invoke 'because' and call it a day" is other people aren't going to, they are going to keep going and slapping God and Souls and Woo in that space.
No, we can probably answer the why. I didn't exactly phrase that correctly. But your argument is essentially telling me that I can, objectively, tell you why you should (or shouldn't) like Tom Waits music. No one is saying "just because" is an answer, only that there isn't an objective way to get to should without already having some axiom, some value or goal, in mind.

We need to develop a set of axioms we can agree on, at all levels. An individual decides on their personal values; a group decides their shared values, all the way up to national and even species level. But to prove the "best" morality, you have to decide what best means. Most people reproducing? Most happiness? Would that be the most 100% happy individuals, or the highest number of mostly happy people? What if making everyone happy would also destroy the species in 3 generations? What takes precedence, continued existence or happiness? Science can't really answer that, because the answer is based on what you should value more, life or happiness. Or conversely, which is worth more, making more people happy or preventing suffering? Is making 10 people extremely happy worth 20 people mildly miserable? Is making 20 people mildly happy worth making 10 extremely miserable? Or worth killing 1? These are questiosn that can't be answered until you've already decided on what you value.

And we can definitely look into neuroscience and psychology to determine why people believe different things, or value different things, but even that doesn't answer whether they should or not...should can only be answered within a system of values.

However, what we can do, is look at various axioms/values and find those that are generally, practically useful and shared by most of humanity. Things like minimizing unnecessary suffering, promoting happiness where possible without causing harm, etc. Once we decide that those are our goals and values (and I agree with you that something like those should be our goal), then science can definitely explore the problem and tell us how to maximize those results.
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Old 8th August 2019, 07:48 AM   #257
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
So again what's the question and where are we going with it?

Question: "What do I like Tom Waits music?"
Answer: "No Reason! You just do!"

Okay. Are we... done? Did we just solve philosophy?

People, the problem is if we go "Science goes this far, no further, and we don't have to answer the question beyond that we can just invoke 'because' and call it a day" is other people aren't going to, they are going to keep going and slapping God and Souls and Woo in that space.
What do you propose, then?

---

In a sense, who cares if they fill it with woo? Science offers nothing for that space. You offer nothing for that space. It's a space that obviously needs filling.

So what do you propose?
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Old 8th August 2019, 07:49 AM   #258
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
So again what's the question and where are we going with it?

Question: "What do I like Tom Waits music?"
Answer: "No Reason! You just do!"

Okay. Are we... done? Did we just solve philosophy?

People, the problem is if we go "Science goes this far, no further, and we don't have to answer the question beyond that we can just invoke 'because' and call it a day" is other people aren't going to, they are going to keep going and slapping God and Souls and Woo in that space.
Why do I like X?
Should I do X?
When X may be "Tom Waits' music". In case you are able to do "Tom Waits' music". (Sorry for your throat).

These are two different questions. Two different solutions. The first is scientific. The second is not.
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Old 8th August 2019, 08:52 AM   #259
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Originally Posted by Hellbound View Post
And we can definitely look into neuroscience and psychology to determine why people believe different things, or value different things, but even that doesn't answer whether they should or not...should can only be answered within a system of values.
Maybe this is all comes down to some sort of distinction between "Science can tell me why I like Tom Waits" and "Why I like Tom Waits can be understood within scientific concepts like psychology" is a distinction I really need to make for my own view of the world.

"Science can answer" and "Science can explain the answer" are... well the same thing to me more or less.

At the end of the day I'm just not going be okay with someone, even on a purely argumentative level, going "Okay now prove to me using only a slide rule and the periodic table of elements why I should care about other people."

And I don't see away to let "axioms" into the discussion that isn't going to let faith and Woo in as well.
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Old 8th August 2019, 08:57 AM   #260
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Maybe this is all comes down to some sort of distinction between "Science can tell me why I like Tom Waits" and "Why I like Tom Waits can be understood within scientific concepts like psychology" is a distinction I really need to make for my own view of the world.

"Science can answer" and "Science can explain the answer" are... well the same thing to me more or less.

At the end of the day I'm just not going be okay with someone, even on a purely argumentative level, going "Okay now prove to me using only a slide rule and the periodic table of elements why I should care about other people."

And I don't see away to let "axioms" into the discussion that isn't going to let faith and Woo in as well.
I'm not sure where the disconnect lies here. Science can absolutely tell you the best way to reach your goals, or how things work, but it can't tell you what your goals should be, because it's something science can't do: value judgment. Without the ability to feel good or bad about something, there is no value.
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Old 8th August 2019, 09:02 AM   #261
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There's no disconnect. I'm just saying if "There is no answer, and not just no practical answer but no possible answer by design" to questions of morality/ethics and we've been asking them basically as long as we've been human and the intellectual needle hasn't moved one inch... what are we doing? Where are we going with this?

If the answer is "There is no answer" we're done. We've solved the puzzle.

And I don't mean that snarkily. "The conclusion we came to is the question was never really valid" is a perfectly fine thing to do. It's true sometimes. Not every question has an answer because some questions are just wrong.

But you can't go "We've determined the question has no answer... let's keep asking it."
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Old 8th August 2019, 09:04 AM   #262
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But there is an answer. It's just not an objective one. It's different for everyone.
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Old 8th August 2019, 09:10 AM   #263
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
I used “neighbour" meaning the other men. No tribalism.
That is tribalistic. For example, there's no reason to exclude non-human animals from consideration that doesn't amount to tribalism.

But empathy is quite bad at the job of turning our concern to other men. Instead, we feel a great deal of empathy for people who are socially proximate, and very little for some poor beggar on the other side of the world. It's almost like it's something we developed when we were living in small kinship groups.

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You can say that moral "principles" (sic) "emerge" from empathy or you can say that without empathy there is not morality.
Well, yes, but you will then be saying very different things.

There are a million and one necessary conditions for engaging in moral reasoning. For example, the universe has to exist. And you have to be alive. But it would be foolish to say "The universe is the basis of morality" or "Being alive is the basis of morality." You are intentionally conflating different ideas in order to try to rescue a failed argument.

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In any case empathy is a necessary condition because you take empathy away and not sense of responsibility arises in the subject. This is not the case of science. The subject can understand everything about nerves, pain, death and injuries from a scientific point of view. He can see his victim crying and understand what tears mean. He can enjoy this. But without empathy he cannot feel that is doing bad. Science is not the basis of morality.
Neither is empathy. Earlier you intimated that we might be too empathic or not empathic enough. In what terms would you make that argument? What is the good you seek in hoping we will be ideally empathic? The answer can't be "Empathy!" which means there is some more fundamental value at work here, and empathy is therefore not the basis of your morality. Or you can keep insisting that it is, and flail around in the dark forever.

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This is supported by common experience (intelligent killers) and science (Damasio). What other support do you need?
What you need is a normative basis that will make sense out of any of this. You can say "Empathy! Science! Serial killers!" but none of that does or can amount to morality.

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If you put a moral feeling in the basis of your chain of reasoning you avoid Hume's guillotine.
No, you don't. You're still failing to appreciate what Hume means. You need an ought before you can get anywhere. Feelings are not normative. If I feel someone else's pain, that's just a declarative fact about the world. It does not imply that I ought to feel their pain.

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Your first statement is not in the form of "x is y" but "I want x" that is to say "x is good". Now you can argue in terms of "to be" without contradiction. I have not misunderstand Hume. This is Hume's solution to the problem.
This is gobbledygook. Hume does not present a solution to the is-ought problem.

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I only said that that without empathy no morality.
This is you disingenuously retreating from what you initially claimed to a triviality (without even doing any work to establish that it's true).

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Old 8th August 2019, 09:15 AM   #264
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
But there is an answer. It's just not an objective one. It's different for everyone.
Not for me. "Ethics and morality" are only about how we interact with each other. Put someone on a desert island by himself and there's no such thing as morality or ethics. If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, everyone on the trolley track lives so to speak.

"Ethics and morality that's different for everyone" is paradoxical, again within my mental framework.
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Old 8th August 2019, 09:42 AM   #265
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Not for me. "Ethics and morality" are only about how we interact with each other. Put someone on a desert island by himself and there's no such thing as morality or ethics. If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, everyone on the trolley track lives so to speak.

"Ethics and morality that's different for everyone" is paradoxical, again within my mental framework.
I think you're half right. No question morality and ethics is a social construct. But I'm unconvinced that a person wouldn't have a sense of morality if he was on a deserted island. I've done a lot of solitary hiking and yet I wouldn't litter or needlessly kill some animal. That said, it would be questionable I would feel that way not having been influenced by others at some point in my life.

And while each of us have our own sense of what is moral and ethical there is something call shared morality.
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Old 8th August 2019, 09:45 AM   #266
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Not for me. "Ethics and morality" are only about how we interact with each other. Put someone on a desert island by himself and there's no such thing as morality or ethics. If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, everyone on the trolley track lives so to speak.

"Ethics and morality that's different for everyone" is paradoxical, again within my mental framework.
But it's factually true. Everyone values different things differently, and their morality is shaped accordingly. The larger society is an amalgam of that. You can't say that people don't have their own conception of ethics, just like you can't stay that there exists objective moral values.
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Old 8th August 2019, 10:39 AM   #267
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Maybe this is all comes down to some sort of distinction between "Science can tell me why I like Tom Waits" and "Why I like Tom Waits can be understood within scientific concepts like psychology" is a distinction I really need to make for my own view of the world.
Because that's not the difference. Both of those questions can be answered by science, and are the same question more or less.

But the question of should you like Tom Waits or not can't be answered by science. That's a value judgement.

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"Science can answer" and "Science can explain the answer" are... well the same thing to me more or less.
Yes, they are. So give any example of "science can explain why I should like this music" or of "science can explain why I shouldn't like that music" that doesn't start with an assumption of what has value. hat's the difference. Science can explain why, but not whether that's morally right or not.

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At the end of the day I'm just not going be okay with someone, even on a purely argumentative level, going "Okay now prove to me using only a slide rule and the periodic table of elements why I should care about other people."
And you don't have to prove that, because that's one of the axioms of your value system. Science can't prove that. The only thing you can do is make an argument from consequences to attempt to appeal to the values of others; "If we care about each other, we'll all be happier", "if we don't care about each other, you're likely to be killed or enslaved by someone else", etc.

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And I don't see away to let "axioms" into the discussion that isn't going to let faith and Woo in as well.
You seem to misunderstand what axioms are, if that's your take. Science itself is based on some axioms, and uses the same argument from consequences to justify those. The axioms chosen for scientific investigation have proven useful and practical, even if they can't be proven.

For example, there's no way to prove we aren't just brains in a jar (I know you hate that, but it illustrates the point) living a simulation. But science argues form practicality and consequences: if we are, there's no evidence to suggest it, and we suffer the consequences of our actions as if it were real, so unless something contradicts that we accept that there actually is a shared reality out there. It's not a logical proof, it's a practical argument. It's based on the axiom of science that gives us "that which is presented without evidence can be dismissed without evidence".

Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
I think you're half right. No question morality and ethics is a social construct. But I'm unconvinced that a person wouldn't have a sense of morality if he was on a deserted island. I've done a lot of solitary hiking and yet I wouldn't litter or needlessly kill some animal. That said, it would be questionable I would feel that way not having been influenced by others at some point in my life.

And while each of us have our own sense of what is moral and ethical there is something call shared morality.
This is pretty much what I've been trying to get to. Just because it isn't objective, doesn't mean it's meaningless or isn't important. No more than a law being passed forcing all music to be variations of Achy Breaky Heart would be meaningless (I'll lead the revolution on that one).

What people are always trying to find in these discussions are a set of values, a moral and/or ethical system, that appeals to the most individuals values. And for most of us we want to be happy, successful, make our own choices, and not suffer. So trying to develop a system that provides that for as many as we can, and in a fashion so that (for example) even those who don't care about others will buy into it (by seeing the personal benefits for group cooperation) is what these discussions are about.
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Old 8th August 2019, 11:22 AM   #268
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Originally Posted by Hellbound View Post
This is pretty much what I've been trying to get to. Just because it isn't objective, doesn't mean it's meaningless or isn't important. No more than a law being passed forcing all music to be variations of Achy Breaky Heart would be meaningless (I'll lead the revolution on that one).

What people are always trying to find in these discussions are a set of values, a moral and/or ethical system, that appeals to the most individuals values. And for most of us we want to be happy, successful, make our own choices, and not suffer. So trying to develop a system that provides that for as many as we can, and in a fashion so that (for example) even those who don't care about others will buy into it (by seeing the personal benefits for group cooperation) is what these discussions are about.
I agree with you mostly, although I do think morals can be objective. But we have to agree on a starting point which is subjective. Sam Harris and others have suggested that what most people mean by morals is well being. That one acts towards personal well being. Ourselves and others. I think John Rawls provides a great start with his original position and the veil of ignorance.

People are going to act in their own self interest. That's a given. But there is a reason that the Golden Rule actually predates the Bible by a thousand years and is found in most human cultures. That's because considering others and even sometimes putting others needs before your own is also in your interest.

Prestige (I think his tongue was in his cheek) that a guiding principle for society should be sociopathy.

Frankly, I believe such a society could not last.
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Old 8th August 2019, 11:30 AM   #269
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Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
I'm trying to be objective, I'm looking for a "universal value" shared by all concerned.

Since the whole concept of ethics and morality is only applicable to animals that can experience well being or suffering and well-being is a universal goal of such organisms, "minimizing suffering and maximizing happiness" seems like such a value.

And this boils down to "life is good".
The instinct of "wanting to live" and self preservation is also a universal property of thinking life, for obvious reasons.

??
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Old 8th August 2019, 12:04 PM   #270
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
I agree with you mostly, although I do think morals can be objective. But we have to agree on a starting point which is subjective.
Then you agree with me completely. I'm working through logic in my head as I type responses, so I tend to ramble, but that's my belief as well. The starting point is necessarily subjective, but form there you can objectively create a code that promotes those values, adjust it in response to evidence, and objectively evaluate actions to that code.

Quote:
Sam Harris and others have suggested that what most people mean by morals is well being. That one acts towards personal well being. Ourselves and others. I think John Rawls provides a great start with his original position and the veil of ignorance.

People are going to act in their own self interest. That's a given. But there is a reason that the Golden Rule actually predates the Bible by a thousand years and is found in most human cultures. That's because considering others and even sometimes putting others needs before your own is also in your interest.

Prestige (I think his tongue was in his cheek) that a guiding principle for society should be sociopathy.

Frankly, I believe such a society could not last.
Yeah, I think we're pretty much on the same page. And I don't think theprestige meant is should be sociopathy, but was musing about how it might work better. But later posts showed research that they try for the "undercut the competition" line a bit too often to work if everyone followed that path .
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Old 8th August 2019, 12:11 PM   #271
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Originally Posted by Hellbound View Post
Then you agree with me completely. I'm working through logic in my head as I type responses, so I tend to ramble, but that's my belief as well. The starting point is necessarily subjective, but form there you can objectively create a code that promotes those values, adjust it in response to evidence, and objectively evaluate actions to that code.
That's my take on it as well.
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Old 8th August 2019, 12:26 PM   #272
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Originally Posted by Hellbound View Post
Then you agree with me completely. I'm working through logic in my head as I type responses, so I tend to ramble, but that's my belief as well. The starting point is necessarily subjective, but form there you can objectively create a code that promotes those values, adjust it in response to evidence, and objectively evaluate actions to that code.
.
Technically, you probably could evaluate moral facts logically once you settle on a subjective moral starting point.

But the large majority of moral systems still have a lot of fuzziness in their evaluations, even if you take their core values as a given.

Example: Utilitarianism.
What exactly are the units of happiness and pain? How do we compare different kinds of happiness and suffering in different people? There's still a lot of subjectivity there. One of my go-to examples is the moral question of when to recommend prostate cancer screenings. If you recommend them at too early an age, you get too many false positives. A false positive may mean unneccessary surgery or medication. It means a whole pile of stress for people who think they have cancer when they don't This presents a risk of all sorts of complications. Surgery can easily result in impotence. How many people unnecessarily impotent are worth catching a few more cases of prostate cancer early and improving their survival odds? Doctors have recently started recommending waiting for screening because they don't think the low odds of catching more early asymptomatic tumors is worth the side effects from false positives. But how can utilitarianism compare these very different kinds of negative outcome?

You could try to fix it by adding more core premises, being more specific in your baseline assumptions. But that inevitably makes your system more arbitrary and leads to more and more absurd implications or places where the theory doesn't match moral intuition.

The more we frontload to allow moral systems to be objectively workable in practice, the wackier it gets.

I used utilitarianism, but the same applies to pretty much any system. Divine command, virtue ethics. etc etc. Either you have absurd super specific rules or you have a lot of room for subjectivity.
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Old 8th August 2019, 12:46 PM   #273
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I think "moral intuition" sums up the problem quite nicely.
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Old 8th August 2019, 03:31 PM   #274
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
You seem to be drifting off topic with your observations.

Are you saying that inspiring admiration in others should be the basis of morality?
Certainly not the basis for morality but can be an indicator pointing the way.

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I think "moral intuition" sums up the problem quite nicely.
Surprisingly I find myself agreeing with you here.

I think we all have an intuition of what is the best moral course of action*. We make judgments on this all the time. I could give you many examples drawn from my own life experience as illustration.

* A moral course of action guided by religion corrupts this intuition.
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Old 8th August 2019, 03:41 PM   #275
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Certainly not the basis for morality but can be an indicator pointing the way.
On the other hand, it can also be a horrible mistake.

History seems to be full of horrible people who successfully achieve horrible things on the strength of all the admiration they've inspired in others.

There's a reason we're wary of the appeal to popularity.

Quote:
Surprisingly I find myself agreeing with you here.

I think we all have an intuition of what is the best moral course of action*. We make judgments on this all the time. I could give you many examples drawn from my own life experience as illustration.

* A moral course of action guided by religion corrupts this intuition.
Or does it?

What if religion is one of the ways that some people express their moral intuition?

It's not like everyone's moral intuitions are always in agreement with each other's. It's not like everyone's moral intuitions are properly calibrated.*

* Properly calibrated to what, though? That's the heart of the debate.
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Old 8th August 2019, 03:55 PM   #276
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
On the other hand, it can also be a horrible mistake.

History seems to be full of horrible people who successfully achieve horrible things on the strength of all the admiration they've inspired in others.

There's a reason we're wary of the appeal to popularity.


Or does it?

What if religion is one of the ways that some people express their moral intuition?

It's not like everyone's moral intuitions are always in agreement with each other's. It's not like everyone's moral intuitions are properly calibrated.*

* Properly calibrated to what, though? That's the heart of the debate.

Oh dear! Just when I thought we might have consensus on something you start sprouting contrary nonsense again.
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Old 8th August 2019, 03:59 PM   #277
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Originally Posted by Thor 2 View Post
Oh dear! Just when I thought we might have consensus on something you start sprouting contrary nonsense again.
Weird flex, but okay.
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Old 8th August 2019, 04:29 PM   #278
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post

Or does it?

What if religion is one of the ways that some people express their moral intuition?

It's not like everyone's moral intuitions are always in agreement with each other's. It's not like everyone's moral intuitions are properly calibrated.*

* Properly calibrated to what, though? That's the heart of the debate.
Do you really think you would be awful to others if you didn't believe in a God? That the only thing stopping you from raping, stealing, lying and killing is a belief in a god?
You don't think you would have learned the golden rule without being taught it in Catechism class?

Do you seriously believe I am without morals because I'm an atheist?
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Old 8th August 2019, 11:31 PM   #279
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
Do you really think you would be awful to others if you didn't believe in a God? That the only thing stopping you from raping, stealing, lying and killing is a belief in a god?
You don't think you would have learned the golden rule without being taught it in Catechism class?

Do you seriously believe I am without morals because I'm an atheist?
Did you quote the wrong post? I don't think your response is related to anything in the post you quoted.
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Old 8th August 2019, 11:35 PM   #280
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
I guess I'm on ignore or something.
Now I seem to be on ignore. In my own thread.

Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
... I do think morals can be objective. But we have to agree on a starting point which is subjective.
I think we all agree.

And I propose that:
Morals and ethics are only applicable to that utterly minute portion of the universe that is able to experience it. IOW minds.

Now I ask:
How subjective is it picking a starting point that is a 'law of nature'?
How subjective is it if that law is not picked arbitrarily, but is the primary objective of all natural life (with or without minds)?
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