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Avoiding Agreeing to Disagree

CGBSpender
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7/23/2011 12:38:40 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
"What makes ethics more than a matter of mere "intuition" or haphazard choice is that it is connected by these common concepts, which means that we can talk about our different conceptions by using a vocabulary of shared concepts, showing by examples what we mean by our conceptions. " - F. Haynes (1)

The writer has an obvious Marxist/Feminist slant, but I think that this quote is independent of either of those influences (more analytic/pragmatic if anything) and is an interesting idea capable of being taken on its own. If Haynes is right, then to find common understanding is the first duty of those debating ethics (or really anything). It is never enough to agree to disagree because, once a common understanding is agreed upon and developed, there should always eventually be a clear answer.

Thoughts?

(1) http://www.ffst.hr...[]=kant
Rockylightning
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7/23/2011 1:45:32 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
1. There are some things I can agree to disagree on. (Religion, philosophy)
2. There are counter-examples, stuff I will not respect your decision for. (Hard drugs, Child Rape, etc)
innomen
Posts: 10,052
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7/23/2011 1:56:14 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
"What makes ethics more than a matter of mere "intuition" or haphazard choice is that it is connected by these common concepts, which means that we can talk about our different conceptions by using a vocabulary of shared concepts, showing by examples what we mean by our conceptions. " - F. Haynes

What a bunch of nonsensical gobldygook.

Generally the conflict in an ethical stance comes in values, or what the greater good is. If you value life over rights, and i find lives are expendable for one's rights - neither is necessarily wrong, it's more a conflict of where one places their values. If one person finds it morally reprehensible to eat meat and slaughter animals for food, but doesn't bother to recycle, and another person eats beef and meat daily, but is a fanatic about recycling, is one person more ethical than the other person? If so, aren't you simply utilizing your own values in judging the others?
CGBSpender
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7/23/2011 1:59:26 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/23/2011 1:45:32 PM, Rockylightning wrote:
1. There are some things I can agree to disagree on. (Religion, philosophy)

I am not challenging the fact that you can agree to disagree on these topics. What I am saying is that, if the above quote is true, you are simply ignoring the intellectual responsibility to test the corectness/legitimacy of any claim you hold through debate.
If someone said that the corectness of certain claims couldn't be tested then maybe "agreeing to disagree" would be defensible, but the above quote would suggest that ethical claims are testable as a matter of concept clarification.

2. There are counter-examples, stuff I will not respect your decision for. (Hard drugs, Child Rape, etc)

It's not a matter of respecting someone's decisions or not. You can agree with someone and not respect them for it you can disagree and still respect them. The compulsion to agree is different from the compulsion to respect. It's a matter of testing the validity of claims. Respect is a separate issue.
belle
Posts: 4,113
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7/23/2011 2:05:43 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/23/2011 12:38:40 PM, CGBSpender wrote:
"What makes ethics more than a matter of mere "intuition" or haphazard choice is that it is connected by these common concepts, which means that we can talk about our different conceptions by using a vocabulary of shared concepts, showing by examples what we mean by our conceptions. " - F. Haynes (1)

The writer has an obvious Marxist/Feminist slant, but I think that this quote is independent of either of those influences (more analytic/pragmatic if anything) and is an interesting idea capable of being taken on its own. If Haynes is right, then to find common understanding is the first duty of those debating ethics (or really anything). It is never enough to agree to disagree because, once a common understanding is agreed upon and developed, there should always eventually be a clear answer.

Thoughts?

(1) http://www.ffst.hr...[]=kant

is the implication that if everyone fully understood moral concepts they would all agree on what is right? that seems to be the meaning you're drawing from the quote, but when i read it, i think its implying that concepts are not "mere" intuitions because they are not entirely private... they can be communicated to other people and talked about amongst people. to which i would say.... so what?

i guess its confusing out of context.
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
CGBSpender
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7/23/2011 2:08:22 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/23/2011 1:56:14 PM, innomen wrote:
"What makes ethics more than a matter of mere "intuition" or haphazard choice is that it is connected by these common concepts, which means that we can talk about our different conceptions by using a vocabulary of shared concepts, showing by examples what we mean by our conceptions. " - F. Haynes

What a bunch of nonsensical gobldygook.

Is that how you spell "gobldygook"? haha This is the first time I've ever seen it written.

Generally the conflict in an ethical stance comes in values, or what the greater good is. If you value life over rights, and i find lives are expendable for one's rights - neither is necessarily wrong, it's more a conflict of where one places their values. If one person finds it morally reprehensible to eat meat and slaughter animals for food, but doesn't bother to recycle, and another person eats beef and meat daily, but is a fanatic about recycling, is one person more ethical than the other person? If so, aren't you simply utilizing your own values in judging the others?

Right, but the idea of this quote is that at sompe point you are going to have to hit common ground by virtue of the fact that language works at all. That common ground will necessarily develop into something that can be worked with. This is a much more productive attitude than saying there is no common foundation to our two different value statements and so we will not even investigate into the possibility.
CGBSpender
Posts: 82
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7/23/2011 2:13:25 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/23/2011 2:05:43 PM, belle wrote:
At 7/23/2011 12:38:40 PM, CGBSpender wrote:
"What makes ethics more than a matter of mere "intuition" or haphazard choice is that it is connected by these common concepts, which means that we can talk about our different conceptions by using a vocabulary of shared concepts, showing by examples what we mean by our conceptions. " - F. Haynes (1)

The writer has an obvious Marxist/Feminist slant, but I think that this quote is independent of either of those influences (more analytic/pragmatic if anything) and is an interesting idea capable of being taken on its own. If Haynes is right, then to find common understanding is the first duty of those debating ethics (or really anything). It is never enough to agree to disagree because, once a common understanding is agreed upon and developed, there should always eventually be a clear answer.

Thoughts?

(1) http://www.ffst.hr...[]=kant

is the implication that if everyone fully understood moral concepts they would all agree on what is right? that seems to be the meaning you're drawing from the quote, but when i read it, i think its implying that concepts are not "mere" intuitions because they are not entirely private... they can be communicated to other people and talked about amongst people. to which i would say.... so what?

i guess its confusing out of context.

I invite you to read the article; it is interesting for very different reasons than I find this quote interesting.

Your understanding of it and mine are directly linked to each other. That they are not merely private means that they can be dealt with amongdt people. That they can be dealt with amongst people means that meaningful, productive ethical discourse is possible.

In answer to your question "so what?", this directly opposes some relativist/nihilistic moral conceptions. It also provides a framework with how to go about a discussion about ethics. Not to mention that the "agreeing to disagree/we'll never understand each other" mentality is quite prevalent in our society and so is worth criticizing.
belle
Posts: 4,113
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7/23/2011 2:20:47 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/23/2011 2:13:25 PM, CGBSpender wrote:
In answer to your question "so what?", this directly opposes some relativist/nihilistic moral conceptions. It also provides a framework with how to go about a discussion about ethics. Not to mention that the "agreeing to disagree/we'll never understand each other" mentality is quite prevalent in our society and so is worth criticizing.

i don't think a nihilist or even a relativist would say that we can't sensibly communicate about ethical or moral concepts... rather they would argue that either the context of a specific moral pronouncement (x is wrong, etc) is partly determinative of its truth, or that all moral claims are false (or meaningless).

i also think theres a difference between agreeing to disagree and deciding that there cannot be mutual understanding. perhaps two people simply value different things and thats why they must agree to disagree.
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
CGBSpender
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7/23/2011 2:34:36 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/23/2011 2:20:47 PM, belle wrote:
At 7/23/2011 2:13:25 PM, CGBSpender wrote:
In answer to your question "so what?", this directly opposes some relativist/nihilistic moral conceptions. It also provides a framework with how to go about a discussion about ethics. Not to mention that the "agreeing to disagree/we'll never understand each other" mentality is quite prevalent in our society and so is worth criticizing.

i don't think a nihilist or even a relativist would say that we can't sensibly communicate about ethical or moral concepts... rather they would argue that either the context of a specific moral pronouncement (x is wrong, etc) is partly determinative of truth

Saying morality is context specific is not relativism, so much as it is contextual objectivism--in which there are decided values that necessarily interact differently based on all the factors of a situation. A relativist would argue that there aren't any decided values and that it's up to some party (be it society, individual, or time period) to make up those values.

or that all moral claims are false (or meaningless).

If something is meaningless than it cannot be communicated since communication means mutual understanding and a meaningless statement cannot be understood. It's also important that we distinguish between meaningless and false. "I am wearing blue pants" is a false statement, but it is not meaningless. "My capitalism is rambunctious" is a meaningless statement and so can't be true. Since a nihilist would argue that moral claims are meaningless this line of reasoning directly contradicts them.


i also think theres a difference between agreeing to disagree and deciding that there cannot be mutual understanding. perhaps two people simply value different things and thats why they must agree to disagree.

I understand that, but what I'm saying is that leaving it "we have different values" is a kind of failure to understand the Other's values and one's own values as well.
Wnope
Posts: 6,924
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7/23/2011 2:40:31 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/23/2011 12:38:40 PM, CGBSpender wrote:
"What makes ethics more than a matter of mere "intuition" or haphazard choice is that it is connected by these common concepts, which means that we can talk about our different conceptions by using a vocabulary of shared concepts, showing by examples what we mean by our conceptions. " - F. Haynes (1)

The writer has an obvious Marxist/Feminist slant, but I think that this quote is independent of either of those influences (more analytic/pragmatic if anything) and is an interesting idea capable of being taken on its own. If Haynes is right, then to find common understanding is the first duty of those debating ethics (or really anything). It is never enough to agree to disagree because, once a common understanding is agreed upon and developed, there should always eventually be a clear answer.

Thoughts?

(1) http://www.ffst.hr...[]=kant

If this were the case, wouldn't we expect members of any given moral theory to agree with each other? That is, Utilitarian 1 may agree with every presupposition that Utilitarian 2 has, yet they may disagree on whether a situation.

Suppose two people agree to follow the ten commandments. If you give them various moral choices (would you prefer to steal or not honor thy father) then you may find differences between the two even though they have the exact same presuppositions.

If you maintain that all moral decisions should be evaluated based on their consequence, and I say that all moral decisions should be evaluated based on their means, then we are both using the same semantic presuppositions but disagreeing. And in this case, there is no "testing" which leads to the same answer.
OMGJustinBieber
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7/23/2011 2:47:57 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
It's imperative to find common ground before any discussion of morality can take place. I just went through a discussion with Ragnar where he plainly stated that a world that did not involve him where everyone suffered to an immense extent for no deeper purpose was not a bad world. You can't really discuss ethics with someone like that.

Once individuals can agree that ethics should focus around well-being - which it would seem most ethical systems do - then the conversation begins. Will a rule-based system or consequential system be better suited to filling the well-being of human beings, and to a greater extent conscious beings in general? Does heaven exist, and if so how does this change the calculus? Certain core assumptions need to be shared being any intelligible discussion can occur.
CGBSpender
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7/23/2011 2:54:21 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/23/2011 2:40:31 PM, Wnope wrote:
At 7/23/2011 12:38:40 PM, CGBSpender wrote:
"What makes ethics more than a matter of mere "intuition" or haphazard choice is that it is connected by these common concepts, which means that we can talk about our different conceptions by using a vocabulary of shared concepts, showing by examples what we mean by our conceptions. " - F. Haynes (1)

The writer has an obvious Marxist/Feminist slant, but I think that this quote is independent of either of those influences (more analytic/pragmatic if anything) and is an interesting idea capable of being taken on its own. If Haynes is right, then to find common understanding is the first duty of those debating ethics (or really anything). It is never enough to agree to disagree because, once a common understanding is agreed upon and developed, there should always eventually be a clear answer.

Thoughts?

(1) http://www.ffst.hr...[]=kant

If this were the case, wouldn't we expect members of any given moral theory to agree with each other? That is, Utilitarian 1 may agree with every presupposition that Utilitarian 2 has, yet they may disagree on whether a situation.

Suppose two people agree to follow the ten commandments. If you give them various moral choices (would you prefer to steal or not honor thy father) then you may find differences between the two even though they have the exact same presuppositions.

If you maintain that all moral decisions should be evaluated based on their consequence, and I say that all moral decisions should be evaluated based on their means, then we are both using the same semantic presuppositions but disagreeing. And in this case, there is no "testing" which leads to the same answer.

Fair point. I would respond to that by saying that there are more presuppositions than just the one held in common at play which causes the disagreement. And so with every new set of pressupositions introduced the process needs to be repeated. With every new set of suppositions the process becomes easier because the means to evaluate those sets of presuppositions are based on prior common ground.
The testing leads to greater internal consistency and mutual understanding.
innomen
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7/23/2011 3:24:47 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/23/2011 2:08:22 PM, CGBSpender wrote:
At 7/23/2011 1:56:14 PM, innomen wrote:
"What makes ethics more than a matter of mere "intuition" or haphazard choice is that it is connected by these common concepts, which means that we can talk about our different conceptions by using a vocabulary of shared concepts, showing by examples what we mean by our conceptions. " - F. Haynes

What a bunch of nonsensical gobldygook.

Is that how you spell "gobldygook"? haha This is the first time I've ever seen it written.

Generally the conflict in an ethical stance comes in values, or what the greater good is. If you value life over rights, and i find lives are expendable for one's rights - neither is necessarily wrong, it's more a conflict of where one places their values. If one person finds it morally reprehensible to eat meat and slaughter animals for food, but doesn't bother to recycle, and another person eats beef and meat daily, but is a fanatic about recycling, is one person more ethical than the other person? If so, aren't you simply utilizing your own values in judging the others?

Right, but the idea of this quote is that at sompe point you are going to have to hit common ground by virtue of the fact that language works at all. That common ground will necessarily develop into something that can be worked with. This is a much more productive attitude than saying there is no common foundation to our two different value statements and so we will not even investigate into the possibility.

Common ground by virtue of a common language? Any headway toward agreement will require a compromise of values. However, it is possible to agree to disagree by simply understanding the disparity in values, without relinquishing any of one's values, it just requires more understanding and less judgment - and sometimes a good measure of apathy helps too.
CGBSpender
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7/23/2011 3:42:53 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Common ground by virtue of a common language? Any headway toward agreement will require a compromise of values.

This is very probably true. In fact, this process encourages that by looking at what is understood by both parties. The pursuit of agreement becomes less of an adversarial process and more of a study in clarification. It does this on focusing by what can be discussed and drawing answer from there.

However, it is possible to agree to disagree by simply understanding
the disparity in values, without relinquishing any of one's values, it just requires more understanding and less judgment - and sometimes a good
measure of apathy helps too.

Yes, the above quote does not advocating judging the beliefs of others by one's own beliefs; it advocates analyzing what is actually believed by all sides and building on that which can be agreed upon.
I am not saying you can't agree to disagree, I'm saying that when you do your shirking important ethical responsibility to actually have justification for your beliefs.
Ragnar_Rahl
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7/23/2011 3:46:18 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/23/2011 2:47:57 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
It's imperative to find common ground before any discussion of morality can take place. I just went through a discussion with Ragnar where he plainly stated that a world that did not involve him where everyone suffered to an immense extent for no deeper purpose was not a bad world.
Correction, it's bad for them, not me. :)
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
OMGJustinBieber
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7/23/2011 3:51:33 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/23/2011 3:46:18 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
At 7/23/2011 2:47:57 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
It's imperative to find common ground before any discussion of morality can take place. I just went through a discussion with Ragnar where he plainly stated that a world that did not involve him where everyone suffered to an immense extent for no deeper purpose was not a bad world.
Correction, it's bad for them, not me. :)

Correction, I asked whether you thought this world was preferable to a "good" world and you claimed you did not care if you were not involved.
Ragnar_Rahl
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7/23/2011 3:52:11 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/23/2011 3:51:33 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 7/23/2011 3:46:18 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
At 7/23/2011 2:47:57 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
It's imperative to find common ground before any discussion of morality can take place. I just went through a discussion with Ragnar where he plainly stated that a world that did not involve him where everyone suffered to an immense extent for no deeper purpose was not a bad world.
Correction, it's bad for them, not me. :)

Correction, I asked whether you thought this world was preferable to a "good" world and you claimed you did not care if you were not involved.

True. "Bad for them" does not influence my preferences. It does influence theirs :)
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
innomen
Posts: 10,052
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7/23/2011 4:03:50 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/23/2011 3:42:53 PM, CGBSpender wrote:
Common ground by virtue of a common language? Any headway toward agreement will require a compromise of values.

This is very probably true. In fact, this process encourages that by looking at what is understood by both parties. The pursuit of agreement becomes less of an adversarial process and more of a study in clarification. It does this on focusing by what can be discussed and drawing answer from there.

However, it is possible to agree to disagree by simply understanding
the disparity in values, without relinquishing any of one's values, it just requires more understanding and less judgment - and sometimes a good
measure of apathy helps too.

Yes, the above quote does not advocating judging the beliefs of others by one's own beliefs; it advocates analyzing what is actually believed by all sides and building on that which can be agreed upon.
I am not saying you can't agree to disagree, I'm saying that when you do your shirking important ethical responsibility to actually have justification for your beliefs.

The only point that any agreement would be made, is the point where one side, or both relinquishes their values. That is what you are asking for when you are looking for common ground. Understanding is irrelevant other than it may permit greater persuasion, but ultimately you are speaking of a compromise of values; the value needn't be abandoned, but diminished.
Rockylightning
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7/24/2011 2:09:29 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/23/2011 2:47:57 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
It's imperative to find common ground before any discussion of morality can take place.

This.
CGBSpender
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7/24/2011 7:20:15 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/23/2011 4:03:50 PM, innomen wrote:
At 7/23/2011 3:42:53 PM, CGBSpender wrote:
Common ground by virtue of a common language? Any headway toward agreement will require a compromise of values.

This is very probably true. In fact, this process encourages that by looking at what is understood by both parties. The pursuit of agreement becomes less of an adversarial process and more of a study in clarification. It does this on focusing by what can be discussed and drawing answer from there.

However, it is possible to agree to disagree by simply understanding
the disparity in values, without relinquishing any of one's values, it just requires more understanding and less judgment - and sometimes a good
measure of apathy helps too.

Yes, the above quote does not advocating judging the beliefs of others by one's own beliefs; it advocates analyzing what is actually believed by all sides and building on that which can be agreed upon.
I am not saying you can't agree to disagree, I'm saying that when you do your shirking important ethical responsibility to actually have justification for your beliefs.

The only point that any agreement would be made, is the point where one side, or both relinquishes their values. That is what you are asking for when you are looking for common ground. Understanding is irrelevant other than it may permit greater persuasion, but ultimately you are speaking of a compromise of values; the value needn't be abandoned, but diminished.

It's exactly that mentality that is counterproductive to any kind of productive discussion. It's not a competition. You are talking about instrumental rationality (i.e. accomplishing the goal of getting someone to believe what you believe) which is a sort of agreement. I am talking about transperant rationality which promotes real and meaningful agreement because understanding IS a prerequisite for real consent.
I'm not asking anyone to relinquish their beliefs, I am asking a person to suspend their beliefs in the name of examining the roots of those beliefs. If they "relinquish" their beliefs, it will be because there was an internal inconsistency somewhere. It is for the good of all beliefs involved that this process should take place.
belle
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7/24/2011 12:40:54 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/23/2011 2:34:36 PM, CGBSpender wrote:
Saying morality is context specific is not relativism, so much as it is contextual objectivism--in which there are decided values that necessarily interact differently based on all the factors of a situation. A relativist would argue that there aren't any decided values and that it's up to some party (be it society, individual, or time period) to make up those values.

part of the context of a remark is who is making it, and in what society/culture. hence relativism. in any case it doesn't follow that the fact that multiple people from different cultures can discuss morality that relativism is false.

If something is meaningless than it cannot be communicated since communication means mutual understanding and a meaningless statement cannot be understood. It's also important that we distinguish between meaningless and false. "I am wearing blue pants" is a false statement, but it is not meaningless. "My capitalism is rambunctious" is a meaningless statement and so can't be true. Since a nihilist would argue that moral claims are meaningless this line of reasoning directly contradicts them.

i did distinguish between meaningless and false... thats why i said "false or meaningless". i think meaningless was probably the wrong word though because you seem to be misinterpreting what i meant by it. a nihilist would think moral claims are meaningless in the same way a scientist would think that claims about phlogiston are meaningless because they don't refer to anything in the real world. moral beliefs are like concepts without irl references.

I understand that, but what I'm saying is that leaving it "we have different values" is a kind of failure to understand the Other's values and one's own values as well.

on the other hand, not everyone will or should have the same values... and you seem to be implying that if you really understood someone else's values and they were legitimate, you would share those values. that seems to be a pretty big assumption.
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
CGBSpender
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7/24/2011 1:27:42 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/24/2011 12:40:54 PM, belle wrote:
At 7/23/2011 2:34:36 PM, CGBSpender wrote:
Saying morality is context specific is not relativism, so much as it is contextual objectivism--in which there are decided values that necessarily interact differently based on all the factors of a situation. A relativist would argue that there aren't any decided values and that it's up to some party (be it society, individual, or time period) to make up those values.

part of the context of a remark is who is making it, and in what society/culture. hence relativism. in any case it doesn't follow that the fact that multiple people from different cultures can discuss morality that relativism is false.

Yes, but there is a difference between saying that the context affects the morality of something and the context creates the morality. Saying that person affects the morality of something is an objective claim. Saying that there is no measure of the morality except the person/society is a very different claim (though it is also an objective claim which is one of the problems with relativism, but that's a different issue). The idea being discussed supports the first claim, namely that context is involved, but there are basic values within those context does in fact negate relativism.


If something is meaningless than it cannot be communicated since communication means mutual understanding and a meaningless statement cannot be understood. It's also important that we distinguish between meaningless and false. "I am wearing blue pants" is a false statement, but it is not meaningless. "My capitalism is rambunctious" is a meaningless statement and so can't be true. Since a nihilist would argue that moral claims are meaningless this line of reasoning directly contradicts them.

i did distinguish between meaningless and false... thats why i said "false or meaningless".

Sorry, I took the or to mean that I could take each one as being interchangeable.

i think meaningless was probably the wrong word though because you seem to be misinterpreting what i meant by it. a nihilist would think moral claims are meaningless in the same way a scientist would think that claims about phlogiston are meaningless because they don't refer to anything in the real world. moral beliefs are like concepts without irl references.

No, I understand that. What I am saying is that if that were the case, then communication as Haynes means it would be impossible. So it goes directly against that conception of morals.


I understand that, but what I'm saying is that leaving it "we have different values" is a kind of failure to understand the Other's values and one's own values as well.

on the other hand, not everyone will or should have the same values... and you seem to be implying that if you really understood someone else's values and they were legitimate, you would share those values. that seems to be a pretty big assumption.

Really, what I feel this quote is getting at is that there are underlying common beliefs among opposing beliefs that can form the basis of a productive discussion. And this is something that can and should be pursued. It will necessarily lead to a belief that is based on the commonalities between beliefs (neither one of the starting beliefs). If you mean I am assuming people would be reasonable, than yes, but all I mean by it is that in order to have a productive discussion you need to be reasonable, which isn't an assumption so much as it is setting out a requirement.
Wnope
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7/24/2011 1:36:29 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/23/2011 2:54:21 PM, CGBSpender wrote:
At 7/23/2011 2:40:31 PM, Wnope wrote:
At 7/23/2011 12:38:40 PM, CGBSpender wrote:
"What makes ethics more than a matter of mere "intuition" or haphazard choice is that it is connected by these common concepts, which means that we can talk about our different conceptions by using a vocabulary of shared concepts, showing by examples what we mean by our conceptions. " - F. Haynes (1)

The writer has an obvious Marxist/Feminist slant, but I think that this quote is independent of either of those influences (more analytic/pragmatic if anything) and is an interesting idea capable of being taken on its own. If Haynes is right, then to find common understanding is the first duty of those debating ethics (or really anything). It is never enough to agree to disagree because, once a common understanding is agreed upon and developed, there should always eventually be a clear answer.

Thoughts?

(1) http://www.ffst.hr...[]=kant

If this were the case, wouldn't we expect members of any given moral theory to agree with each other? That is, Utilitarian 1 may agree with every presupposition that Utilitarian 2 has, yet they may disagree on whether a situation.

Suppose two people agree to follow the ten commandments. If you give them various moral choices (would you prefer to steal or not honor thy father) then you may find differences between the two even though they have the exact same presuppositions.

If you maintain that all moral decisions should be evaluated based on their consequence, and I say that all moral decisions should be evaluated based on their means, then we are both using the same semantic presuppositions but disagreeing. And in this case, there is no "testing" which leads to the same answer.

Fair point. I would respond to that by saying that there are more presuppositions than just the one held in common at play which causes the disagreement. And so with every new set of pressupositions introduced the process needs to be repeated. With every new set of suppositions the process becomes easier because the means to evaluate those sets of presuppositions are based on prior common ground.
The testing leads to greater internal consistency and mutual understanding.

Yes, testing may lead to greater internal consistency, but you're missing the fact that you can't "test" moral presuppositions.

Let's say there are two deontologists, A and B. They agree on basic "don't violate the ten commandments." A says to B "if your only choices were violating the sabbath and dishonoring thy father, what would you choose?"

B says "I would rather violate the Sabbath."

A says "I would rather dishonor thy father."

This "test" results in two different answers, but neither can be said to be "better." Instead, they just simply added their own presuppositions. "Testing" only leads to the two agreeing if B convinces A that dishonoring thy father is better.

Even if they could agree here, we could present the next situation in which they would disagree based not on verbal miscommunication but presuppositions.
CGBSpender
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7/25/2011 1:11:20 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/24/2011 1:36:29 PM, Wnope wrote:
At 7/23/2011 2:54:21 PM, CGBSpender wrote:
At 7/23/2011 2:40:31 PM, Wnope wrote:
At 7/23/2011 12:38:40 PM, CGBSpender wrote:
"What makes ethics more than a matter of mere "intuition" or haphazard choice is that it is connected by these common concepts, which means that we can talk about our different conceptions by using a vocabulary of shared concepts, showing by examples what we mean by our conceptions. " - F. Haynes (1)

The writer has an obvious Marxist/Feminist slant, but I think that this quote is independent of either of those influences (more analytic/pragmatic if anything) and is an interesting idea capable of being taken on its own. If Haynes is right, then to find common understanding is the first duty of those debating ethics (or really anything). It is never enough to agree to disagree because, once a common understanding is agreed upon and developed, there should always eventually be a clear answer.

Thoughts?

(1) http://www.ffst.hr...[]=kant

If this were the case, wouldn't we expect members of any given moral theory to agree with each other? That is, Utilitarian 1 may agree with every presupposition that Utilitarian 2 has, yet they may disagree on whether a situation.

Suppose two people agree to follow the ten commandments. If you give them various moral choices (would you prefer to steal or not honor thy father) then you may find differences between the two even though they have the exact same presuppositions.

If you maintain that all moral decisions should be evaluated based on their consequence, and I say that all moral decisions should be evaluated based on their means, then we are both using the same semantic presuppositions but disagreeing. And in this case, there is no "testing" which leads to the same answer.

Fair point. I would respond to that by saying that there are more presuppositions than just the one held in common at play which causes the disagreement. And so with every new set of pressupositions introduced the process needs to be repeated. With every new set of suppositions the process becomes easier because the means to evaluate those sets of presuppositions are based on prior common ground.
The testing leads to greater internal consistency and mutual understanding.

Yes, testing may lead to greater internal consistency, but you're missing the fact that you can't "test" moral presuppositions.

Let's say there are two deontologists, A and B. They agree on basic "don't violate the ten commandments." A says to B "if your only choices were violating the sabbath and dishonoring thy father, what would you choose?"

B says "I would rather violate the Sabbath."

A says "I would rather dishonor thy father."

This "test" results in two different answers, but neither can be said to be "better." Instead, they just simply added their own presuppositions. "Testing" only leads to the two agreeing if B convinces A that dishonoring thy father is better.

Even if they could agree here, we could present the next situation in which they would disagree based not on verbal miscommunication but presuppositions.

What you are testing is the legitimacy of the ethical claims as sound ideas wich requires: one, validity i.e. internal consistency; two, true premises.

This "test" allows us to examine the internal consistecy of ethical claims. This test relies on the idea that there are concepts that have a kind of intersubjective truth (functionally, the only kind that matters to a discussion). Now, as I see it, people are arguing against the legitimacy of this test based on the idea that it doesn't guarentee soundness because it only treats the validity (or lack their of) of an ethcal claim and not the truth of its premises. What I am trying to say is that the only way this "test" works is if you first accept that there must be mutual understanding of certain concepts. That mutual understanding, for the purposes of the dicussion and life, acts as true premises.

What is important to keep in mind is that within the context of a debate some concepts have to be true in order for there to be a discussion (the criteria for a good argument for example) and so by virtue of having discussions, this test discovers what is true by what is necessary to have the discussion. Therefore, within the context of the ethical debate, this method is highly useful and productive.

I am arguing that people who argue that we should not have debates because they are ultimately useless should not argue that because I am presenting a framework for a discussion that always leads to a conclusion. Therefore agreeing to disagree because there is no other recourse is faulty. "People will believe what they want to believe" is not a proper ethical attitude, because there is a framework that utilizes what they believe to persuade them (and indeed yourself) to other beliefs.
belle
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7/25/2011 1:32:43 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/24/2011 1:27:42 PM, CGBSpender wrote:
Yes, but there is a difference between saying that the context affects the morality of something and the context creates the morality. Saying that person affects the morality of something is an objective claim. Saying that there is no measure of the morality except the person/society is a very different claim (though it is also an objective claim which is one of the problems with relativism, but that's a different issue). The idea being discussed supports the first claim, namely that context is involved, but there are basic values within those context does in fact negate relativism.

moral relativism doesn't necessarily equal epistemological relativism. saying that there is no measure of morality except the person/society is indeed an objective claim, and theres no contradiction unless the person is trying to say that EVERYTHING is relative. in any case, its the same as the first claim, but stronger. thats the only difference. from the fact that we can communicate about something, it doesn't follow that we inherently agree about it. if that were the case, every debate would be over before we started :P

No, I understand that. What I am saying is that if that were the case, then communication as Haynes means it would be impossible. So it goes directly against that conception of morals.

don't be silly, people communicate about things that don't exist all the time. see: fiction.

Really, what I feel this quote is getting at is that there are underlying common beliefs among opposing beliefs that can form the basis of a productive discussion. And this is something that can and should be pursued. It will necessarily lead to a belief that is based on the commonalities between beliefs (neither one of the starting beliefs). If you mean I am assuming people would be reasonable, than yes, but all I mean by it is that in order to have a productive discussion you need to be reasonable, which isn't an assumption so much as it is setting out a requirement.

why must a compromise be reached for communication to take place though?

heres a sample discussion...
me: i really like red! its my favorite color!
you: i really like blue! its my favorite color!

in order for us to communicate, must we both change our favorite color to purple? lol...
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
CGBSpender
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7/25/2011 2:28:43 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/25/2011 1:32:43 PM, belle wrote:
At 7/24/2011 1:27:42 PM, CGBSpender wrote:
Yes, but there is a difference between saying that the context affects the morality of something and the context creates the morality. Saying that person affects the morality of something is an objective claim. Saying that there is no measure of the morality except the person/society is a very different claim (though it is also an objective claim which is one of the problems with relativism, but that's a different issue). The idea being discussed supports the first claim, namely that context is involved, but there are basic values within those context does in fact negate relativism.

moral relativism doesn't necessarily equal epistemological relativism.

Fair enough.

saying that there is no measure of morality except the person/society is indeed an objective claim, and theres no contradiction unless the person is trying to say that EVERYTHING is relative.

The contradiction comes when people say that morality isn't relative and so you get a theory that says that morality is relative and not relative at the same time.

in any case, its the same as the first claim, but stronger.

Not true. If I listened to the bible (hardly a relativistic document), I would believe that killing is wrong except when you're a soldier. There is a situation where the context affects the morality and it's not relative. Saying that context is a factor and context determines morality are not just stronger and weaker versions of themselves. The second statement crosses a threshold which makes it a categorically different claim.

from the fact that we can communicate about something, it doesn't follow that we inherently agree about it. if that were the case, every debate would be over before we started :P

Certain things must be agreed on in order to communicate, i.e. the meaning of words, the syntax of the language, the rules of the debate. I'm proposing working off of those things which must be necessarily agreed on in order to debate to further the debate. Why do you think most debates start off with the clarification of the resolution? I'm not saying we have to agree on everything, but we do have to agree on some things.


No, I understand that. What I am saying is that if that were the case, then communication as Haynes means it would be impossible. So it goes directly against that conception of morals.

don't be silly, people communicate about things that don't exist all the time. see: fiction.

Fiction does exist, but as a potentiality. Mark Twain said the only difference between reality and fiction that fiction has to be credible. In order to understand what the fiction is, it must hav frame of reference in our own world. The greater the fiction, the more relateable to reader. The definition of existence doesn't just mean physical existence (otherwise ideas would be impossible), but anything that is capable of being. Anything that is capable of being must have being as a necessary part of it and not a predicate and so does exist. For a better understanding of this, see Spinoza's "Ethics".

Really, what I feel this quote is getting at is that there are underlying common beliefs among opposing beliefs that can form the basis of a productive discussion. And this is something that can and should be pursued. It will necessarily lead to a belief that is based on the commonalities between beliefs (neither one of the starting beliefs). If you mean I am assuming people would be reasonable, than yes, but all I mean by it is that in order to have a productive discussion you need to be reasonable, which isn't an assumption so much as it is setting out a requirement.

why must a compromise be reached for communication to take place though?

It's not a matter of compromise it's a matter of suspding one's own beliefs in pursuit of the answer to a question. Remember, if you're right, than the honest pursuit of an answer should lead you back to your point of view.


heres a sample discussion...
me: i really like red! its my favorite color!
you: i really like blue! its my favorite color!

in order for us to communicate, must we both change our favorite color to purple? lol...

haha this is something of a straw man. Both of these statements can be right because they are dealing with different thing i.e. my preference and your peference. These are not two sides of a debate, these are simply two statements. If both said that their favourite colour was the best colour than there would be a debate and they would have to clarify their definition of best and so on and so forth. This is not an ethical debate however and so is also a poor analogy.
belle
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7/25/2011 5:25:44 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/25/2011 2:28:43 PM, CGBSpender wrote:
The contradiction comes when people say that morality isn't relative and so you get a theory that says that morality is relative and not relative at the same time.

ok. but the claim "all morality is relative" is not itself a moral claim. its not a claim about the rightness or wrongness of actions. its a claim that denies the existence of objective standards of morality. but it doesn't apply to itself.

Not true. If I listened to the bible (hardly a relativistic document), I would believe that killing is wrong except when you're a soldier. There is a situation where the context affects the morality and it's not relative. Saying that context is a factor and context determines morality are not just stronger and weaker versions of themselves. The second statement crosses a threshold which makes it a categorically different claim.

meh. you said it yourself- saying that context is a factor vs saying that it is the determining factor. in other words... is context a factor or is it the ONLY factor. in both cases you grant context a role, its just the degree to which you grant it power that differs.

i know this thread is getting lost though, because i have no idea why that particular point is relative to the initial discussion o.o

Certain things must be agreed on in order to communicate, i.e. the meaning of words, the syntax of the language, the rules of the debate. I'm proposing working off of those things which must be necessarily agreed on in order to debate to further the debate. Why do you think most debates start off with the clarification of the resolution? I'm not saying we have to agree on everything, but we do have to agree on some things.

absolutely. like definitions. but contra your quote, agreeing on basic definitions doesn't lead to agreement as to how best to achieve "the good" or even what "the good" might look like.

morality is about values. even if two people agree on all the relevant facts, they may hold different things to be important. maybe one is more concerned with freedom, whereas another is more concerned with fairness. so given the same facts, they will reach different conclusions on what moral stance to take. they can communicate all this amongst themselves without getting any closer to an agreement because neither is willing to change their values.

or on the other side of it... both a pro life and a pro choice advocate would agree that human life needs to be protected... but they disagree on what exactly constitutes a human life. again, they can communicate about this all they want, but that doesn't mean that one will necessarily adapt the conceptualization of "life" that the other has.

Fiction does exist, but as a potentiality. Mark Twain said the only difference between reality and fiction that fiction has to be credible. In order to understand what the fiction is, it must hav frame of reference in our own world. The greater the fiction, the more relateable to reader. The definition of existence doesn't just mean physical existence (otherwise ideas would be impossible), but anything that is capable of being. Anything that is capable of being must have being as a necessary part of it and not a predicate and so does exist. For a better understanding of this, see Spinoza's "Ethics".

re: anything capable of existing must exist. completely irrelevant to the topic at hand. also seems to commit some kind of fallacy (by definition anything that doesn't exist cannot exist?). anyways, we're talking about objective morality, not fiction. it was just an example. take unicorns if you prefer. are they not capable of existing because they don't exist? are we not capable of talking about them because they don't exist? i think its pretty clear that the answer to both of those questions is no. so nihilists aren't challenged at all by the fact that we can communicate about morality.

It's not a matter of compromise it's a matter of suspding one's own beliefs in pursuit of the answer to a question. Remember, if you're right, than the honest pursuit of an answer should lead you back to your point of view.

thats an entirely different claim than assuming a consensus will be reached. i think its perfectly possible that in many cases reasonable people can and do disagree. don't you?

haha this is something of a straw man. Both of these statements can be right because they are dealing with different thing i.e. my preference and your peference. These are not two sides of a debate, these are simply two statements. If both said that their favourite colour was the best colour than there would be a debate and they would have to clarify their definition of best and so on and so forth. This is not an ethical debate however and so is also a poor analogy.

i thought it was quite vivid. lol

anyways, take the abortion and value arguments as i outlined above if you want better examples.
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
CGBSpender
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7/27/2011 7:35:38 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
First of all, sorry for the delayed response.

At 7/25/2011 5:25:44 PM, belle wrote:
At 7/25/2011 2:28:43 PM, CGBSpender wrote:
The contradiction comes when people say that morality isn't relative and so you get a theory that says that morality is relative and not relative at the same time.

ok. but the claim "all morality is relative" is not itself a moral claim. its not a claim about the rightness or wrongness of actions. its a claim that denies the existence of objective standards of morality. but it doesn't apply to itself.

Yeah, but that's not where I'm saying the contradiction comes from. When someone says something is always wrong no matter who you are, that is an ethical claim that is at once accepted and rejected by relativism. That is not what this thread is about though.


Not true. If I listened to the bible (hardly a relativistic document), I would believe that killing is wrong except when you're a soldier. There is a situation where the context affects the morality and it's not relative. Saying that context is a factor and context determines morality are not just stronger and weaker versions of themselves. The second statement crosses a threshold which makes it a categorically different claim.

meh. you said it yourself- saying that context is a factor vs saying that it is the determining factor. in other words... is context a factor or is it the ONLY factor. in both cases you grant context a role, its just the degree to which you grant it power that differs.

Ok, yes, but you're ignoring that the role is not only greater or lesser but categorically different. A president is not just a mayor with more people they are different roles.


i know this thread is getting lost though, because i have no idea why that particular point is relative to the initial discussion o.o

Certain things must be agreed on in order to communicate, i.e. the meaning of words, the syntax of the language, the rules of the debate. I'm proposing working off of those things which must be necessarily agreed on in order to debate to further the debate. Why do you think most debates start off with the clarification of the resolution? I'm not saying we have to agree on everything, but we do have to agree on some things.

absolutely. like definitions. but contra your quote, agreeing on basic definitions doesn't lead to agreement as to how best to achieve "the good" or even what "the good" might look like.

morality is about values. even if two people agree on all the relevant facts, they may hold different things to be important. maybe one is more concerned with freedom, whereas another is more concerned with fairness. so given the same facts, they will reach different conclusions on what moral stance to take. they can communicate all this amongst themselves without getting any closer to an agreement because neither is willing to change their values.

or on the other side of it... both a pro life and a pro choice advocate would agree that human life needs to be protected... but they disagree on what exactly constitutes a human life. again, they can communicate about this all they want, but that doesn't mean that one will necessarily adapt the conceptualization of "life" that the other has.

This example is precisely why this framework is so useful. It takes an impossible normative debate and turns it into a difficult, but manageable descriptive one. That people fail has more to do with the massive presuppositions that go into that debate that do not get dealt with in this manner. The point is that it's not a matter of simply irreconsilable values, it is a matter of clarification.


Fiction does exist, but as a potentiality. Mark Twain said the only difference between reality and fiction that fiction has to be credible. In order to understand what the fiction is, it must hav frame of reference in our own world. The greater the fiction, the more relateable to reader. The definition of existence doesn't just mean physical existence (otherwise ideas would be impossible), but anything that is capable of being. Anything that is capable of being must have being as a necessary part of it and not a predicate and so does exist. For a better understanding of this, see Spinoza's "Ethics".

re: anything capable of existing must exist. completely irrelevant to the topic at hand. also seems to commit some kind of fallacy (by definition anything that doesn't exist cannot exist?). anyways, we're talking about objective morality, not fiction. it was just an example. take unicorns if you prefer. are they not capable of existing because they don't exist? are we not capable of talking about them because they don't exist? i think its pretty clear that the answer to both of those questions is no. so nihilists aren't challenged at all by the fact that we can communicate about morality.

It isn't irrelevant and again you are confusing physical existence with that of ideas. The potentiality I'm talking about has more to do with Wittgenstein's ideas of facts as opposed to objects (which you are treating it as). Reality is the sum total of all these potentialities, it msut be otherwise it wouldn't be capable of change. That morality is communicable would make it a fact. That it is a fact would mean that different moralities have something in common (i.e. the most basic clarification). The point is that something must be there.


It's not a matter of compromise it's a matter of suspding one's own beliefs in pursuit of the answer to a question. Remember, if you're right, than the honest pursuit of an answer should lead you back to your point of view.

thats an entirely different claim than assuming a consensus will be reached. i think its perfectly possible that in many cases reasonable people can and do disagree. don't you?

If they are both rational, that they disagree must mean that they are working on different presuppositions. Therefore, their lack of agreement is due to a failure to use this process.

haha this is something of a straw man. Both of these statements can be right because they are dealing with different thing i.e. my preference and your peference. These are not two sides of a debate, these are simply two statements. If both said that their favourite colour was the best colour than there would be a debate and they would have to clarify their definition of best and so on and so forth. This is not an ethical debate however and so is also a poor analogy.

i thought it was quite vivid. lol

anyways, take the abortion and value arguments as i outlined above if you want better examples.
belle
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7/27/2011 3:56:09 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/27/2011 7:35:38 AM, CGBSpender wrote:
If they are both rational, that they disagree must mean that they are working on different presuppositions. Therefore, their lack of agreement is due to a failure to use this process.

but the point is that in many cases "use of this process" is the heart of the debate! is a fetus a human being or not? we can talk about it all we want, but it doesn't cause an objective answer to fall into our laps.

in any case, it doesn't always have to be about definitions. it could also be that they just think different things are important (ie values). for example, take two people who believe that global warming exists and agree that taking action x will serve to decrease the negative consequences by some percentage y, but will cause economic harm in the present because it will cost a lot of money to implement. one person may want to implement it because they think that the harm in the present is a necessary evil to reap the benefits later, and will be pro x. the other may think that the benefit of y% isn't enough to justify the expense here and now, and will be con x. assume they both agree on exactly what the benefit in the future will be and exactly what the cost will be in the present. do you think such a situation is possible? of course if the two people agreed on values ahead of time there would be no issue, but... so what? their disagreement on what is important is the issue.
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
CGBSpender
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7/28/2011 6:31:26 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 7/27/2011 3:56:09 PM, belle wrote:
At 7/27/2011 7:35:38 AM, CGBSpender wrote:
If they are both rational, that they disagree must mean that they are working on different presuppositions. Therefore, their lack of agreement is due to a failure to use this process.

but the point is that in many cases "use of this process" is the heart of the debate! is a fetus a human being or not? we can talk about it all we want, but it doesn't cause an objective answer to fall into our laps.

in any case, it doesn't always have to be about definitions. it could also be that they just think different things are important (ie values). for example, take two people who believe that global warming exists and agree that taking action x will serve to decrease the negative consequences by some percentage y, but will cause economic harm in the present because it will cost a lot of money to implement. one person may want to implement it because they think that the harm in the present is a necessary evil to reap the benefits later, and will be pro x. the other may think that the benefit of y% isn't enough to justify the expense here and now, and will be con x. assume they both agree on exactly what the benefit in the future will be and exactly what the cost will be in the present. do you think such a situation is possible? of course if the two people agreed on values ahead of time there would be no issue, but... so what? their disagreement on what is important is the issue.

Yes, I understand that and I have addressed this issue in this threwad many times. The starting ponit of this debate would be breaking down what the different values are to their most basic justification. In this case it would be why they believe now is more important than later or vice versa. Once you broke each view point down to its most basic assertion the debate would be much simpler.
For example in Utlitarianism, by John Stuart Mill, he argues that in fact the values of Kantians and utilitarians are in fact the same. That is the sort of productive beginning to a debate otherwise no debate is ever really possible.