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Old 19th January 2021, 10:04 AM   #121
theprestige
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
They could indeed do that, and there would be absolutely nothing I could do about it. So I don't see a point to getting preemptively upset about it.

For the record, I would be absolutely fine with being mummified in a massive mausoleum, but anyway.
I'm pretty sure I could come up with some way to desecrate your body and assassinate your character, such that you'd leave instructions to your surviving friends and family, "I know I'll be dead and won't actually care, but promise me you'll do whatever you reasonably can to keep theprestige from having his way with my remains."
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Old 19th January 2021, 10:05 AM   #122
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Again, we are speaking of reactions now to hypothetical future events. Unless you are claiming that you now would have no emotional reaction to finding out something unpleasant will happen in the future after your death?
In regards to the bag of chemicals that is no longer me? People can do whatever they want with it, skin it, use it as a scarecrow, eat it I really have no objection. And yes I do feel the same way if it was the sack of chemicals that used to be someone I love.

Personally I’d rather us develop a culture that we make the best possible use out of dead bodies, whether that be organ donation or used as growbags for tomatoes, or canned dog food. The living people can still have all the funerals and memorial parties they want, we obviously don’t need a body for those.
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Old 19th January 2021, 10:07 AM   #123
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
I met an ER doc who wrote a book about what happens to dead bodies. It was entertaining enough, but his fundamental point was that death itself is a mutilating experience, so don't hesitate to allow organs to be harvested from your loved one's body on those grounds. He said you could die with an organ donor card in every pocket, but it your next of kin doesn't consent, there is a good chance no one will benefit from those organs. I mean some places might immediately do the Y cut and take everything useful, but it was something many doctors hesitated to do without the express approval of family members. He hated to see healthy organs wasted and time was of the essence. The problem was particularly acute with kidneys. He wrote that a long time ago; I don't know if the situation has changed since then.
I do think it is weird how compartmentalised people can be about this sort of thing. They don’t want the body desecrated by having organs removed, but want an open coffin for viewing totally ignoring what that usually involves.
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Old 19th January 2021, 10:19 AM   #124
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
In regards to the bag of chemicals that is no longer me? People can do whatever they want with it, skin it, use it as a scarecrow, eat it I really have no objection. And yes I do feel the same way if it was the sack of chemicals that used to be someone I love.
So when you replied

Originally Posted by Darat View Post
I’m not dead.
you meant no, you would have no objection to someone defiling your grandmother's grave for a funny TikTok video?
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Old 19th January 2021, 10:27 AM   #125
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Can we define 'defiling' so we can judge how funny it would be?

My remains are supposed to go to Rutgers medical for harvesting and maybe student dissection, then they cremate and mail the ashes back to whoever. Its the 'no funeral costs' plan. Then they get put in my wife's Catholic mausoleum thing with a nameplate that says "+1". The Church and my wife don't think it's funny but my kids get it.
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Old 19th January 2021, 10:36 AM   #126
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
So when you replied



you meant no, you would have no objection to someone defiling your grandmother's grave for a funny TikTok video?
The grave is on private property so yes I would have problems with someone using it without permission. If they paid a fair sum I’d give them permission to do anything they want with the grave, but I’m not the only grandchild so I’d have to split the fee.

Only one of my grandmothers is even in a grave, the other was sprinkled somewhere my mother thought she had been happiest. Not too many years ago the place was bulldozed and the local farmer built a hay barn on top of it. We thought it was funny.

Honestly I have zero attachment to the remains of anyone, I just don’t associate them with the remains. I remember the first dead body I saw of a loved one - an aunt, me and another relative poked at the body in the coffin that we didn’t think looked anything like her, the body was rock hard and obviously wasn’t her. I have even less attachment to my future remains.
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Old 19th January 2021, 10:42 AM   #127
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
The grave is on private property so yes I would have problems with someone using it without permission. If they paid a fair sum I’d give them permission to do anything they want with the grave, but I’m not the only grandchild so I’d have to split the fee.

Only one of my grandmothers is even in a grave, the other was sprinkled somewhere my mother thought she had been happiest. Not too many years ago the place was bulldozed and the local farmer built a hay barn on top of it. We thought it was funny.

Honestly I have zero attachment to the remains of anyone, I just don’t associate them with the remains. I remember the first dead body I saw of a loved one - an aunt, me and another relative poked at the body in the coffin that we didn’t think looked anything like her, the body was rock hard and obviously wasn’t her. I have even less attachment to my future remains.
I think the issue here is that some of us, in our haste to assure everyone we don't believe in special sanctity of human remains, are going too far out the other side. It's perfectly fine to respect a human corpse at least as much as any other piece of property. You don't have to respect it more, but you certainly don't have to respect it less.

I don't like the notion that anybody, after my death, would mistreat my corpse or any of my other possessions. I don't think that's weird, and it's certainly not a philosophical or theological position that must be squared with all other principles.

Not everything is a ******* litmus test for What You Truly Believe.
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Old 19th January 2021, 10:52 AM   #128
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
This is pretty much where I'm at. Moral philosophers can babble all day about how there is no one "good" or "right" answer to the Trolley Problem.

Meanwhile, in real life, we have to come up with the best answers we can all the time. Medical professionals. Military commanders.

Hell, Hillary Clinton's whole campaign promise of reducing or eliminating coal jobs, in the name of making a better tomorrow for more people than she was promising a worse today, was just her presenting a real-world trolley problem and her real-world solution.
Philosophers generally *don’t* say there is no right and wrong answer.
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Old 19th January 2021, 10:54 AM   #129
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
The currency in this case is human organs. The automatic-in policy treats human organs as commodities, and uses an ethically-questionable sales gimmick to maximize revenues of human organs.
What’s “questionable” about the “gimmick”? As you say these questions have to be answered somehow.
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 19th January 2021, 11:18 AM   #130
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I think the auto-enroll, auto-bill gimmick to exploit people's inattention and maximize profits is unethical.

Yes, the questions do have to be answered somehow, but it doesn't follow that therefore every answer is on equal ethical footing.
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Old 19th January 2021, 11:40 AM   #131
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
This is pretty much where I'm at. Moral philosophers can babble all day about how there is no one "good" or "right" answer to the Trolley Problem.
You have no understanding of the actual work of moral philosophers.
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Old 19th January 2021, 11:54 AM   #132
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Originally Posted by Myriad View Post
Okay, there's a starting point, which also adds some clarification. It's not the outcome that's necessarily objectionable, it's who decides it.

Now suppose the circumstances are as before, and it's one of the specific scenarios where you would sacrifice your own life. The problem is, this time you're in a coma and unlikely to revive (due to the condition that's also threatening your life) before you either die or are cured by transplant surgery. Fortunately, you have a close friend or relative whom you trust and who has your power of attorney. That person knows all your views about such situations, and on that basis is certain that you'd sacrifice your life if you could, and therefore volunteers your life and organs on your behalf. Is that acceptable?
I think this is more complicated and raises more questions. What if the friend didn't know what the others would do in that situation?

This means that he could choose me with some probability (readiness of self sacrifice seems not to be a very common trait, so probably I would be the best in this regard).

However, whether or not he knew the others' readiness of self sacrifice, this would mean he probably chose a victim with above average moral character to save people with average moral character... From the consequentialist point of view this is questionable.
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Old 19th January 2021, 11:55 AM   #133
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Good idea, except it turns out that the only person who could save the five was the medical professional you killed, and her organs are not compatible with the patients. Oh no!!! Also, she was working on life-saving research on curing cancer. D'oh! Congratulations, your deontological outrage just led to a way worse outcome!

But she was also a sado-masochistic child killer and killed eleventy-nine children!!!!

I can make it up ridiculous nonsense just as well as you.
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Old 19th January 2021, 12:01 PM   #134
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
You have no understanding of the actual work of moral philosophers.
Since morality is totally arbitrary and based solely on time and circumstance - moral philosophers do nothing but waste air.
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Old 19th January 2021, 12:02 PM   #135
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
You have no understanding of the actual work of moral philosophers.
They seem to make a point of doing a piss-poor job of presenting any work worth understanding.
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Old 19th January 2021, 12:07 PM   #136
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Originally Posted by rockinkt View Post
Since morality is totally arbitrary and based solely on time and circumstance - moral philosophers do nothing but waste air.
So you're a complete moral nihilist?

That puts you in a small minority. Do you have an argument for that? Careful, it will be difficult to argue without using philosophy and I know you don't want to do that!
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Old 19th January 2021, 12:08 PM   #137
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
They seem to make a point of doing a piss-poor job of presenting any work worth understanding.
Really? Who are you reading lately?
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Old 19th January 2021, 12:13 PM   #138
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Originally Posted by Gord_in_Toronto View Post
I continue to get a good chuckle from this thread from those that seem to think the question is answerable. It is not. There is no equation to assign numbers to the variables and get a solution. At one time I worked for a government ministry of health (in a non-medical role). If there was such an equation, we would have used it for budgeting.
Yeah, these are my thoughts, it seems that such problems can't be always be formalized like mathematics or economics. This also means that we cannot have perfect laws.
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Old 19th January 2021, 12:16 PM   #139
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Originally Posted by suren View Post
Yeah, these are my thoughts, it seems that such problems can't be always be formalized like mathematics or economy. This also means that we cannot have perfect laws.
We can't have a lot of perfect things: laws, society, people...pretty much anything involving people is gonna be messy and imprecise.
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Old 19th January 2021, 12:18 PM   #140
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Originally Posted by rockinkt View Post
Since morality is totally arbitrary and based solely on time and circumstance - moral philosophers do nothing but waste air.
Disagreed. We can come up with guidelines that gave wide application if we set moral standards.
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Old 19th January 2021, 12:24 PM   #141
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
So you're a complete moral nihilist?

That puts you in a small minority. DO you have an argument for that? Careful, it will be difficult to argue without using philosophy and I know you don't want to do that!
I have a very strong set of moral principles that fit in perfectly well with this period of time in my country.
Calling me a moral nihilist because I state that morality is arbitrary based on time and circumstance is such an absurd response it makes me wonder if you are trolling me.
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Old 19th January 2021, 12:34 PM   #142
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Originally Posted by rockinkt View Post
I have a very strong set of moral principles that fit in perfectly well with this period of time in my country.
Calling me a moral nihilist because I state that morality is arbitrary based on time and circumstance is such an absurd response it makes me wonder if you are trolling me.
So you're not a nihilist, but believe that no formal discussion or study of morals can have value?

Weird position for someone on a skeptics forum to take that something exists but can't be examined. Feels like an invisible dragon in your garage kind of position.
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Old 19th January 2021, 12:41 PM   #143
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Disagreed. We can come up with guidelines that gave wide application if we set moral standards.
Who sets the moral standards? You? Your friends? Your religion? Your country?
Hilarious to think that you can get everybody in the world to agree with a basic set of moral standards. It has never happened in the past. It isn't happening now, and certainly is not going to happen in the near future.
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"I've met Bob Dylan's bodyguards and if Steve Earle thinks he can stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table, he's sadly mistaken." Townes Van Zandt
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Old 19th January 2021, 12:43 PM   #144
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
So you're not a nihilist, but believe that no formal discussion or study or morals can have value?

Weird position for someone on a skeptics forum to take that something exists but can't be examined. Feels like an invisible dragon in your garage kind of position.

Why are you putting words in my mouth or pretending you can read my mind?
My statement stands on its own. Morality is arbitrary. Like I stated in my post above - it is hilarious to think that you can get everybody in the world to agree with a basic set of moral standards. It has never happened in the past. It isn't happening now, and certainly is not going to happen in the near future.
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"I've met Bob Dylan's bodyguards and if Steve Earle thinks he can stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table, he's sadly mistaken." Townes Van Zandt

Last edited by rockinkt; 19th January 2021 at 12:45 PM. Reason: typos
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Old 19th January 2021, 12:54 PM   #145
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Originally Posted by rockinkt View Post
Who sets the moral standards? You? Your friends? Your religion? Your country?
Hilarious to think that you can get everybody in the world to agree with a basic set of moral standards. It has never happened in the past. It isn't happening now, and certainly is not going to happen in the near future.
Um. Who...is trying to get everyone in the world to agree on anything? Personal morals are one set, societal another, religious yet a third...but a moral philosopher explores assumptions and unquestioned beliefs. That's not conceptually different than an economic theorist or anyone who explores the boundaries. Do you pooh-pooh engineers who push the boundaries of our knowledge and assumptions too?
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Old 19th January 2021, 01:55 PM   #146
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
The currency in this case is human organs. The automatic-in policy treats human organs as commodities, and uses an ethically-questionable sales gimmick to maximize revenues of human organs.
Casting it as a "currency" poisons the well. Human organs are not currency, they are a source of potential lives saved, and there is always a shortage of them. Always.

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I'm pretty sure I could come up with some way to desecrate your body and assassinate your character, such that you'd leave instructions to your surviving friends and family, "I know I'll be dead and won't actually care, but promise me you'll do whatever you reasonably can to keep theprestige from having his way with my remains."
I'm sure you could, and I could indeed leave such instructions. But if they are not followed, and you do whatever it is you do, what am I going to be able to do about it? Nothing. I just can't be upset about something that might happen to my lifeless corpse (or, for that matter, my reputation) in the future.
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Old 19th January 2021, 02:17 PM   #147
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Originally Posted by rockinkt View Post
Why are you putting words in my mouth or pretending you can read my mind?
Mys statement stands on its own. Morality is arbitrary. Like I stated in my post above - it is hilarious to think that you can get everybody in the world to agree with a basic set of moral standards. It has never happened in the past. It isn't happening now, and certainly is not going to happen in the near future.
I apologize if I've misinterpreted you. I'm trying to follow what seem to me to be the clear implications of what you've said. It's possible that I've misinterpreted your position. But I'll ask you to be open to the possibility that you don't understand the implications of your stated position.

Let me break it down.

When you say "moral philosophers do nothing but waste air." I take that to mean that there is no value in the work of moral philosophy and they should not work at it. Would you like to disagree or clarify there?

When you say you hold moral positions, I take that to mean... that you hold moral positions.

I put those together and it seems like you're saying that you hold a set of beliefs, but the area of those beliefs should not be studied. Show me where I've gone wrong.

(Minor aside: you seem to be under the impression that the work of moral philosophers is centered on getting everyone in the world to agree to a set of moral standards. If so, you're mistaken. Even for the ones who believe they're arguing for the objective truth of some set of standards, universal adoptions doesn't really matter, and it isn't a goal of anyone sane and publishing. There is no universal acceptance of any scientific findings either, but that doesn't make scientific research useless.)
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Old 19th January 2021, 04:52 PM   #148
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Originally Posted by rockinkt View Post
Since morality is totally arbitrary and based solely on time and circumstance - moral philosophers do nothing but waste air.
Is it based solely on time and circumstance?

On Tuesdays murder is wrong but on casual Friday anything goes? That kind of thing?
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"The thief and the murderer follow nature just as much as the philanthropist. Cosmic evolution may teach us how the good and the evil tendencies of man may have come about; but, in itself, it is incompetent to furnish any better reason why what we call good is preferable to what we call evil than we had before."

"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 19th January 2021, 04:57 PM   #149
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Is it based solely on time and circumstance?

On Tuesdays murder is wrong but on casual Friday anything goes? That kind of thing?
Not to put words in rockinkt's mouth, but I think they were more saying that what was considered morally approrpriate in the 1600s is not necessarily morally appropriate now. The definition of morality has changed over time.
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Old 19th January 2021, 06:06 PM   #150
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
This tends towards solipsism.

It also dismisses any argument for social change based on appeal to outcomes for future generations.

Global climate change will kill thousands and harm millions more in the future? I could make some radical changes to my own lifestyle to prevent this from happening at some point after my death?

Ahem.

I'll be dead and uncaring.
I, like you, like all of us, are the product of a few billion years of Natural Selection. We grow and thrive not by selection of the fittest but co-operation as promoted by empathy to others. Of course I care about the future world and the beings who will live in it. My rational self says, "it does not matter you'll be dead", but I can cry anyway.
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Old 19th January 2021, 06:59 PM   #151
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Not to put words in rockinkt's mouth, but I think they were more saying that what was considered morally approrpriate in the 1600s is not necessarily morally appropriate now. The definition of morality has changed over time.
And how did it change? Is there something about revolutions around the sun that changed morality?
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 19th January 2021, 07:34 PM   #152
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
And how did it change? Is there something about revolutions around the sun that changed morality?
Well, for a start we no longer consider it okay to torture people into confessing that they're witches.
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Old 19th January 2021, 07:56 PM   #153
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Well, for a start we no longer consider it okay to torture people into confessing that they're witches.
Indeed. But are we to assume that there is nothing to decide whether or not witch burning is okay other than the calendar year? I would argue no. And furthermore that the supposedly acceptable moral attitude of burning witches was based on a false belief that doing so bad better outcomes than not. It seems not to be a purely arbitrary thing such as whether the word “witch” denotes a with rather than the word “sheep’, but based on false beliefs. This is why the whole “morality is purely arbitrary”’ argument doesn’t work for me. Morality is often based on strong intuitions about what values are more important. That’s what moral philosophers try to tease out with thought experiments.
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"The thief and the murderer follow nature just as much as the philanthropist. Cosmic evolution may teach us how the good and the evil tendencies of man may have come about; but, in itself, it is incompetent to furnish any better reason why what we call good is preferable to what we call evil than we had before."

"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 19th January 2021, 08:08 PM   #154
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Um. Who...is trying to get everyone in the world to agree on anything? Personal morals are one set, societal another, religious yet a third...but a moral philosopher explores assumptions and unquestioned beliefs. That's not conceptually different than an economic theorist or anyone who explores the boundaries. Do you pooh-pooh engineers who push the boundaries of our knowledge and assumptions too?
Engineers deal with falsifiable science and their concepts that do not fit current science are considered nice but useless.
"Nice but useless" is perfect description of moral philosophers.
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Old 19th January 2021, 08:13 PM   #155
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
Well, for a start we no longer consider it okay to torture people into confessing that they're witches.
Hilarious!
Why do people insist that their personal morality that reflects their society's beliefs are somehow representative of the world?

Witch-hunts are practiced today throughout the world. While prevalent world-wide, hot-spots of current witch-hunting are India, Papua New Guinea, Amazonia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. While an unknown problem in vast parts of the Western population, body-counts of modern witch-hunts by far exceed those of early-modern witch-hunting.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_witch-hunts
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Old 19th January 2021, 08:14 PM   #156
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Indeed. But are we to assume that there is nothing to decide whether or not witch burning is okay other than the calendar year? I would argue no. And furthermore that the supposedly acceptable moral attitude of burning witches was based on a false belief that doing so bad better outcomes than not. It seems not to be a purely arbitrary thing such as whether the word “witch” denotes a with rather than the word “sheep’, but based on false beliefs. This is why the whole “morality is purely arbitrary”’ argument doesn’t work for me. Morality is often based on strong intuitions about what values are more important. That’s what moral philosophers try to tease out with thought experiments.
What makes you think that the Inquisitors didn't have strong intuitions about what values are more important?

I'm in agreement with rockinkt that morality is a construct of society and evolves over time. But that doesn't mean that I think morality is meaningless. In fact, I think morality has become better over time, and that we now have a greater understanding of morality and why it's important than we did in the 1600s. I think that this is one of the reasons why things are better now than they were then. Better and more complete moral philosophy.
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Old 19th January 2021, 08:18 PM   #157
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Originally Posted by rockinkt View Post
Hilarious!
Why do people insist that their personal morality that reflects their society's beliefs are somehow representative of the world?

Witch-hunts are practiced today throughout the world. While prevalent world-wide, hot-spots of current witch-hunting are India, Papua New Guinea, Amazonia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. While an unknown problem in vast parts of the Western population, body-counts of modern witch-hunts by far exceed those of early-modern witch-hunting.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_witch-hunts
It's true. Good moral philosophy has been lacking in certain areas of the world, and not due to any fault of their own. It's tragic.
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Old 19th January 2021, 08:39 PM   #158
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
What makes you think that the Inquisitors didn't have strong intuitions about what values are more important?
I didn’t say they didn’t. They clearly did! But they were also clearly wrong.

Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I'm in agreement with rockinkt that morality is a construct of society and evolves over time. But that doesn't mean that I think morality is meaningless. In fact, I think morality has become better over time, and that we now have a greater understanding of morality and why it's important than we did in the 1600s. I think that this is one of the reasons why things are better now than they were then. Better and more complete moral philosophy.
Yes, but then that goes against rockint’s claim that it is all just “arbitrary”. Otherwise what would it even mean to say “morality is better than it was in the 1600s”. Clearly what you are saying is the complete opposite of what rockint has been asserting.
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 19th January 2021, 08:48 PM   #159
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
I didn’t say they didn’t. They clearly did! But they were also clearly wrong.
From our modern perspective, yes. But not from the perspective of the moral philosophy that they had at the time, which, of course, was largely church-based. There are still people today who firmly believe that it is good and moral to not make cakes for gay couples. They feel very strongly that this is the correct thing to do, and they would also say that we are very clearly wrong. Whose perspective gets the moral authority?

Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Yes, but then that goes against rockint’s claim that it is all just “arbitrary”. Otherwise what would it even mean to say “morality is better than it was in the 1600s”. Clearly what you are saying is the complete opposite of what rockint has been asserting.
Yes, I only said I agreed with two statements there - that morality is a construct of society and that it has changed over time. Morality is absolutely not arbitrary. In fact, I think the statements "morality is a construct of society" and "morality is arbitrary" are contradictory.
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Old 19th January 2021, 08:58 PM   #160
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
From our modern perspective, yes. But not from the perspective of the moral philosophy that they had at the time, which, of course, was largely church-based. There are still people today who firmly believe that it is good and moral to not make cakes for gay couples. They feel very strongly that this is the correct thing to do, and they would also say that we are very clearly wrong. Whose perspective gets the moral authority?

Yes, I only said I agreed with two statements there - that morality is a construct of society and that it has changed over time. Morality is absolutely not arbitrary. In fact, I think the statements "morality is a construct of society" and "morality is arbitrary" are contradictory.
Obviously the justification for burning witches is false. No? Is that really just a matter of opinion? If one person thinks that witches have evil powers and they stop the crops from growing and turn the villagers into newts and should be dunked in water until they confess and thereafter must be burned alive and another person says that these beliefs are simply false and there is no empirical evidence for the claims, then do you truly believe that nobody can say which is right?

The same goes for modern witch hunts.

As for baking cakes, if 50 percent agree with one side and another 50 percent agree with the other side does rockint have a strong moral conviction that both sides are right (as he suggests he is strongly in favour of whatever his community has decided and will blindly follow whatever it is his community dictates?)
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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