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Is morality inherent or learned?

000ike
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8/8/2011 7:32:43 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
If it is inherent, then why do so many people ignore it? If it is learned, then shouldn't we just blame the parents of every immoral person?
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
Ragnar_Rahl
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8/8/2011 7:35:19 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Learned doesn't necessarily mean taught.
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.
Ore_Ele
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8/8/2011 7:38:57 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 8/8/2011 7:32:43 PM, 000ike wrote:
If it is inherent, then why do so many people ignore it? If it is learned, then shouldn't we just blame the parents of every immoral person?

It is learned. But many cases, the immoral behavoir comes directly from children wanting to rebel against their parents and they gather info from outside sources (like other kids rebeling, or pop culture, or whatever).

And in many cases for people, they relearn their morals after they leave their parents and grow up. They tend to learn the morals when they are kids, rebel when they are teenagers and young adults, then as they grow older, then tend to go back to their parent's morals on their own as they see how they work in the real world.

When parents give bad morals or no morals, sometimes kids will learn a new, better set of morals as they grow up (often driven by a desire to not be like their parents). And often, criminal issues occur when people are still in their rebelious stage.
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
000ike
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8/8/2011 7:44:37 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 8/8/2011 7:35:19 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
Learned doesn't necessarily mean taught.

It is a parents responsibility to censor the world and its woes until the child is less impressionable and fragile. Should an untaught lesson somehow be allowed to seep into the child, then the parents were simply not careful enough. Children don't spend that much time away from their parents that they could learn an immoral without their intervention. So regardless of whether the behavior was taught, it still goes back to the parents.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
Ore_Ele
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8/8/2011 7:51:55 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 8/8/2011 7:44:37 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 8/8/2011 7:35:19 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
Learned doesn't necessarily mean taught.

It is a parents responsibility to censor the world and its woes until the child is less impressionable and fragile. Should an untaught lesson somehow be allowed to seep into the child, then the parents were simply not careful enough. Children don't spend that much time away from their parents that they could learn an immoral without their intervention. So regardless of whether the behavior was taught, it still goes back to the parents.

Who is to say that it is the parent's responsibility?
"Wanting Red Rhino Pill to have gender"
000ike
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8/8/2011 7:59:55 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 8/8/2011 7:51:55 PM, Ore_Ele wrote:
At 8/8/2011 7:44:37 PM, 000ike wrote:
Who is to say that it is the parent's responsibility?

Exactly who else do you think is going to teach a child what is moral? The responsibility of parenting isn't just raising a child, but molding and developing a human being. Its not a law, it isn't written, it isn't said (so I can't answer your question) but it is known.

If a child never learned that stealing, for one, is wrong, then it is solely the parents to blame.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
OMGJustinBieber
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8/8/2011 8:18:17 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
To some extent, both, but morality undeniably has a place in evolutionary psychology. Chimpanzees and other primates have concepts of fairness, but our morality can certainly be learned in some way after acknowledging that it has an evolutionary foundation.
Lasagna
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8/8/2011 8:25:05 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
It seems to me that, since children are largely incapable of displaying moral standards, that it must be learned. However I can't say for sure whether someone who doesn't explicitly learn morality will remain a beast...
Rob
DetectableNinja
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8/8/2011 8:38:13 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Exactly who else do you think is going to teach a child what is moral? The responsibility of parenting isn't just raising a child, but molding and developing a human being. Its not a law, it isn't written, it isn't said (so I can't answer your question) but it is known.

If a child never learned that stealing, for one, is wrong, then it is solely the parents to blame.

Yes, but this can only be applied to a certain extent. You're right about teaching a child to not steal, but I think that it isn't a parent's responsibility to mold and develop a child--merely to guide, and keep out of harm's way (legally, physically, etc.) Otherwise a family's morals wouldn't change much from generation to generation.

No, I feel it's much more important for parents to allow their children to develop their own sense of morality. Hence, I say that morality is learned, developed, and decided, but not by any means inherent.
Think'st thou heaven is such a glorious thing?
I tell thee, 'tis not half so fair as thou
Or any man that breathes on earth.

- Christopher Marlowe, Doctor Faustus
Ragnar_Rahl
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8/8/2011 9:15:25 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 8/8/2011 7:44:37 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 8/8/2011 7:35:19 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
Learned doesn't necessarily mean taught.

It is a parents responsibility to censor the world and its woes until the child is less impressionable and fragile.
That's a good way to prevent learning.

Should an untaught lesson somehow be allowed to seep into the child, then the parents were simply not fascist enough.
Fix'd

Children don't spend that much time away from their parents that they could learn an immoral without their intervention.
HAHAHA OH WOW.

Exactly who else do you think is going to teach a child what is moral?
A child with open eyes and a healthy dose of regularly receiving the consequences of their actions quite directly.

That incidentally makes it more likely they'll learn what's actually moral rather than simply inheriting their parents' prejudices.
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.
000ike
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8/8/2011 9:21:29 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
@Ragnar, actually I change my mind, you're right. Children have to learn. I forgot I just got through reading "To Kill a Mockingbird" and the whole lesson was about the father letting his children experience the immorality of racism and the wrongs people do, but still sustain their understanding and faith in mankind.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
Wnope
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8/8/2011 11:56:52 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Some parts of morality are "innate." Namely, an idea of unfairness.

In both chimpanzees and very young infants (parents can attest to this), there is a well-developed sense of fair and unfair. By unfair I mean something like this:

"Sarah F. Brosnan and colleagues conducted a series of behavioral tests with a colony of chimpanzees housed at the University of Texas in order to find out how they would respond when faced with an unfair distribution of resources. A previous study in the journal Nature by Brosnan and Frans de Waal found that capuchin monkeys would refuse a food item when they saw that another member of their group had received a more desired item at the same time (a grape instead of a slice of cucumber). Some individuals not only rejected the food, they even threw it back into the researchers face. The monkeys seemed to recognize that something was unfair and they responded accordingly."
http://scienceblogs.com...

How that idea translates depends on your upbringing and development. "Fairness" can mean not killing a man as opposed to beating him.

Empathy, to a large extent, is innate and part of our mirror neurons. Non-psychopaths will have negative brain reactions in response to seeing another person's negative face.
http://en.wikipedia.org...

These are basically building blocks upon which any moral system can be laid.

It doesn't make evolutionary sense to be born with a particular moral system. If you do, and you grow up in the wrong society, you're dead. Instead, the genetic and biological component of morality is a means of constructing unique moral worldviews. Having different experiences will lead to having different moral worldviews. For instance, a person acquainted with a rape victim might consider the death penalty for rapists while someone entirely inoculated from crime might be for current laws.

If your parents actions teach you that politely asking for fairness comes with free knuckle-sandwich, you grow up much more comfortable including acts of violence as morally acceptable behavior.

The neo-cortex (the most recent addition to evolution of brains) allows us to over-ride these "gut feelings" about fairness when we reflect on them. However, we will still get these "gut feelings" (which tend to be disgust reactions from our limbic system) telling us that whatever we are doing is "wrong" even if we don't believe objective morality exists.
000ike
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8/9/2011 6:40:06 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 8/8/2011 11:56:52 PM, Wnope wrote:
Some parts of morality are "innate." Namely, an idea of unfairness.

In both chimpanzees and very young infants (parents can attest to this), there is a well-developed sense of fair and unfair. By unfair I mean something like this:

"Sarah F. Brosnan and colleagues conducted a series of behavioral tests with a colony of chimpanzees housed at the University of Texas in order to find out how they would respond when faced with an unfair distribution of resources. A previous study in the journal Nature by Brosnan and Frans de Waal found that capuchin monkeys would refuse a food item when they saw that another member of their group had received a more desired item at the same time (a grape instead of a slice of cucumber). Some individuals not only rejected the food, they even threw it back into the researchers face. The monkeys seemed to recognize that something was unfair and they responded accordingly."
http://scienceblogs.com...

How that idea translates depends on your upbringing and development. "Fairness" can mean not killing a man as opposed to beating him.

Empathy, to a large extent, is innate and part of our mirror neurons. Non-psychopaths will have negative brain reactions in response to seeing another person's negative face.
http://en.wikipedia.org...

These are basically building blocks upon which any moral system can be laid.

It doesn't make evolutionary sense to be born with a particular moral system. If you do, and you grow up in the wrong society, you're dead. Instead, the genetic and biological component of morality is a means of constructing unique moral worldviews. Having different experiences will lead to having different moral worldviews. For instance, a person acquainted with a rape victim might consider the death penalty for rapists while someone entirely inoculated from crime might be for current laws.

If your parents actions teach you that politely asking for fairness comes with free knuckle-sandwich, you grow up much more comfortable including acts of violence as morally acceptable behavior.

The neo-cortex (the most recent addition to evolution of brains) allows us to over-ride these "gut feelings" about fairness when we reflect on them. However, we will still get these "gut feelings" (which tend to be disgust reactions from our limbic system) telling us that whatever we are doing is "wrong" even if we don't believe objective morality exists.

That's the most brilliant reply I've read so far.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
Wnope
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8/10/2011 1:06:09 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 8/9/2011 6:40:06 AM, 000ike wrote:
At 8/8/2011 11:56:52 PM, Wnope wrote:
Some parts of morality are "innate." Namely, an idea of unfairness.

In both chimpanzees and very young infants (parents can attest to this), there is a well-developed sense of fair and unfair. By unfair I mean something like this:

"Sarah F. Brosnan and colleagues conducted a series of behavioral tests with a colony of chimpanzees housed at the University of Texas in order to find out how they would respond when faced with an unfair distribution of resources. A previous study in the journal Nature by Brosnan and Frans de Waal found that capuchin monkeys would refuse a food item when they saw that another member of their group had received a more desired item at the same time (a grape instead of a slice of cucumber). Some individuals not only rejected the food, they even threw it back into the researchers face. The monkeys seemed to recognize that something was unfair and they responded accordingly."
http://scienceblogs.com...

How that idea translates depends on your upbringing and development. "Fairness" can mean not killing a man as opposed to beating him.

Empathy, to a large extent, is innate and part of our mirror neurons. Non-psychopaths will have negative brain reactions in response to seeing another person's negative face.
http://en.wikipedia.org...

These are basically building blocks upon which any moral system can be laid.

It doesn't make evolutionary sense to be born with a particular moral system. If you do, and you grow up in the wrong society, you're dead. Instead, the genetic and biological component of morality is a means of constructing unique moral worldviews. Having different experiences will lead to having different moral worldviews. For instance, a person acquainted with a rape victim might consider the death penalty for rapists while someone entirely inoculated from crime might be for current laws.

If your parents actions teach you that politely asking for fairness comes with free knuckle-sandwich, you grow up much more comfortable including acts of violence as morally acceptable behavior.

The neo-cortex (the most recent addition to evolution of brains) allows us to over-ride these "gut feelings" about fairness when we reflect on them. However, we will still get these "gut feelings" (which tend to be disgust reactions from our limbic system) telling us that whatever we are doing is "wrong" even if we don't believe objective morality exists.


That's the most brilliant reply I've read so far.

Hume basically ruined morality for me, so for a good few years I tried to dig up some solution to is-ought and ran across things like these.

One other useful biological concept I learned about is the distinction between our "neo-cortex" dervied moral responses and "limbic" derived. That's a bit of a simplication, but basically humans. The guy who basically pioneered it, Joshua Green, describes it like this:

"More specifically, I have proposed a "dual-process" theory of moral judgment according to which characteristically deontological moral judgments (judgments associated with concerns for "rights" and "duties") are driven by automatic emotional responses, while characteristically utilitarian or consequentialist moral judgments (judgments aimed at promoting the "greater good") are driven by more controlled cognitive processes. If I'm right, the tension between deontological and consequentialist moral philosohies reflects an underlying tension between dissociable systems in the brain."
http://www.wjh.harvard.edu...

In that link is a neurological study of what happens to the brain when you give it the "trolley problem."

Another reason we might think intellectually "utilitarianism says x is the right answer" while another part of us says "but it isn't right. I can't say why, but it is."
Tiel
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8/11/2011 6:33:05 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 8/8/2011 7:32:43 PM, 000ike wrote:
If it is inherent, then why do so many people ignore it? If it is learned, then shouldn't we just blame the parents of every immoral person?

Opinion: It is both inherent and learned. The potential is inherent, the individual meaning and chosen application is learned and developed.

Blaming your parents won't do anything, because whether you remember it or not, when you are a child you chose to act in the way you did. You chose to learn certain things or to not learn certain things. Your parents are there to help you learn, but it is still your choice. Some parents force their children to act/react in certain ways and do their best to brainwash them into the way that they want them to think/act. Such parents are no better than tyrants and get no respect from me.
"Only the inner force of curiosity and wonder about the unknown, or an outer force upon your free will, can brake the shackles of your current perception."
Tiel
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8/11/2011 6:34:47 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 8/8/2011 7:44:37 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 8/8/2011 7:35:19 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
Learned doesn't necessarily mean taught.

It is a parents responsibility to censor the world and its woes until the child is less impressionable and fragile. Should an untaught lesson somehow be allowed to seep into the child, then the parents were simply not careful enough. Children don't spend that much time away from their parents that they could learn an immoral without their intervention. So regardless of whether the behavior was taught, it still goes back to the parents.

Reply: I feel sorry for your kids if you have any or ever decide to.
"Only the inner force of curiosity and wonder about the unknown, or an outer force upon your free will, can brake the shackles of your current perception."
Tiel
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8/11/2011 6:40:29 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 8/8/2011 11:56:52 PM, Wnope wrote:
Some parts of morality are "innate." Namely, an idea of unfairness.

In both chimpanzees and very young infants (parents can attest to this), there is a well-developed sense of fair and unfair. By unfair I mean something like this:

"Sarah F. Brosnan and colleagues conducted a series of behavioral tests with a colony of chimpanzees housed at the University of Texas in order to find out how they would respond when faced with an unfair distribution of resources. A previous study in the journal Nature by Brosnan and Frans de Waal found that capuchin monkeys would refuse a food item when they saw that another member of their group had received a more desired item at the same time (a grape instead of a slice of cucumber). Some individuals not only rejected the food, they even threw it back into the researchers face. The monkeys seemed to recognize that something was unfair and they responded accordingly."
http://scienceblogs.com...

How that idea translates depends on your upbringing and development. "Fairness" can mean not killing a man as opposed to beating him.

Empathy, to a large extent, is innate and part of our mirror neurons. Non-psychopaths will have negative brain reactions in response to seeing another person's negative face.
http://en.wikipedia.org...

These are basically building blocks upon which any moral system can be laid.

It doesn't make evolutionary sense to be born with a particular moral system. If you do, and you grow up in the wrong society, you're dead. Instead, the genetic and biological component of morality is a means of constructing unique moral worldviews. Having different experiences will lead to having different moral worldviews. For instance, a person acquainted with a rape victim might consider the death penalty for rapists while someone entirely inoculated from crime might be for current laws.

If your parents actions teach you that politely asking for fairness comes with free knuckle-sandwich, you grow up much more comfortable including acts of violence as morally acceptable behavior.

The neo-cortex (the most recent addition to evolution of brains) allows us to over-ride these "gut feelings" about fairness when we reflect on them. However, we will still get these "gut feelings" (which tend to be disgust reactions from our limbic system) telling us that whatever we are doing is "wrong" even if we don't believe objective morality exists.

Reply: You are quickly becoming the member I respect most on this website. All of your replies are mostly intelligent, rational, and unbiased.
"Only the inner force of curiosity and wonder about the unknown, or an outer force upon your free will, can brake the shackles of your current perception."
Mestari
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8/16/2011 1:46:05 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
Morality doesn't exist. Psychological conditioning does.
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1. Mestari is never third party.
2. If Mestari claims an intricate and page long TP role, he's telling the truth.
3. Mestari always jointly wins with the town.
3b. If he doesn't he's mafia.
3c. If he was mafia you wouldn't suspect him in the first place.
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5. DP1 lynches are good.
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000ike
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8/16/2011 1:47:16 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 8/16/2011 1:46:05 AM, Mestari wrote:
Morality doesn't exist. Psychological conditioning does.

That is false. Read Wnope's response.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
Mestari
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8/16/2011 2:18:48 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 8/16/2011 1:47:16 AM, 000ike wrote:
At 8/16/2011 1:46:05 AM, Mestari wrote:
Morality doesn't exist. Psychological conditioning does.

That is false. Read Wnope's response.

Is it safe to assume that you do not know much about Joshua Greene and his studies?
Rules of Mafia

1. Mestari is never third party.
2. If Mestari claims an intricate and page long TP role, he's telling the truth.
3. Mestari always jointly wins with the town.
3b. If he doesn't he's mafia.
3c. If he was mafia you wouldn't suspect him in the first place.
4. If you lynch Mestari you will lose because he will be the third party Doctor or some other townie power role.
5. DP1 lynches are good.
6. The answer is always no.
darkkermit
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8/16/2011 3:27:59 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 8/8/2011 11:56:52 PM, Wnope wrote:
Some parts of morality are "innate." Namely, an idea of unfairness.

In both chimpanzees and very young infants (parents can attest to this), there is a well-developed sense of fair and unfair. By unfair I mean something like this:

"Sarah F. Brosnan and colleagues conducted a series of behavioral tests with a colony of chimpanzees housed at the University of Texas in order to find out how they would respond when faced with an unfair distribution of resources. A previous study in the journal Nature by Brosnan and Frans de Waal found that capuchin monkeys would refuse a food item when they saw that another member of their group had received a more desired item at the same time (a grape instead of a slice of cucumber). Some individuals not only rejected the food, they even threw it back into the researchers face. The monkeys seemed to recognize that something was unfair and they responded accordingly."
http://scienceblogs.com...

I'm curious If this phenomena can explain the difference between liberal and libertarian/conservative mindsets.
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PARADIGM_L0ST
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8/16/2011 9:40:31 AM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 8/8/2011 7:32:43 PM, 000ike wrote:
If it is inherent, then why do so many people ignore it? If it is learned, then shouldn't we just blame the parents of every immoral person?:

As with most other biological/sociological questions, it's probably a bit of nature and a bit of nurture. We learn much of what is socially acceptable behavior, but there is little doubt that there exists a natural inclination for empathy, which is where I believe altruism began to form in highly intelligent mammals.

What reason would another dog risk its life to save the life of another dog if this is not a primitive form of altruism? Did the dog learn this behavior or is it innate in him/her?
"Have you ever considered suicide? If not, please do." -- Mouthwash (to Inferno)
Wnope
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8/16/2011 7:43:17 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 8/16/2011 3:27:59 AM, darkkermit wrote:
At 8/8/2011 11:56:52 PM, Wnope wrote:
Some parts of morality are "innate." Namely, an idea of unfairness.

In both chimpanzees and very young infants (parents can attest to this), there is a well-developed sense of fair and unfair. By unfair I mean something like this:

"Sarah F. Brosnan and colleagues conducted a series of behavioral tests with a colony of chimpanzees housed at the University of Texas in order to find out how they would respond when faced with an unfair distribution of resources. A previous study in the journal Nature by Brosnan and Frans de Waal found that capuchin monkeys would refuse a food item when they saw that another member of their group had received a more desired item at the same time (a grape instead of a slice of cucumber). Some individuals not only rejected the food, they even threw it back into the researchers face. The monkeys seemed to recognize that something was unfair and they responded accordingly."
http://scienceblogs.com...

I'm curious If this phenomena can explain the difference between liberal and libertarian/conservative mindsets.

Well, there is a political/neurological scientist named George Lakoff who has an interesting and somewhat convincing argument that there is a basic difference:

http://www.press.uchicago.edu...

His argument is more that liberals and conservatives have different moral frameworks. I highly suggest the article.

To over-simplify, he suggests liberals overall moral framework is based on a concept of "good as caring/empathy" (maternal) versus "good as obedience/power" (paternal).

If the difference is that basic, it's easy to see why political preference is so heavily reliant on parental political preference.

Lakoff is more what you are interested in right now, but another way to look at it is what Steven Pinker argues. That's more about language. Namely, our moral vocabulary comes from unconscious associations with "good" and what we experience.

For instance, we experience being healthy is "good." This leads to the following moral sayings:
1. He is rotten.
2. That evil guy is a bad apple.
3. You are pure.

Another would be the idea of "morality as accounting" were the "good" is seen as a commodity.
1. I owe you one (for the good thing you did to me).
2. You deserve payback.
3. An eye for an eye.
4. I owe you my life.
PARADIGM_L0ST
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8/20/2011 4:50:41 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 8/20/2011 4:47:50 PM, DaveElectric wrote:
I think morality is niether inherent or learned. I think it is guilted.:

How can there be guilt if there was no moral to feel guilty about?
"Have you ever considered suicide? If not, please do." -- Mouthwash (to Inferno)
000ike
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8/20/2011 4:51:14 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 8/20/2011 4:47:50 PM, DaveElectric wrote:
I think morality is niether inherent or learned. I think it is guilted.

So basically, the only way you would care about your own children, the only way you would care about the people dying in other countries is if you felt guilty? That is a personal resolve my friend, I don't believe it applies to most people in the world.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
000ike
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8/20/2011 4:52:13 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
Whoa, hes an anarchist, no wonder. Typical.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
DaveElectric
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8/20/2011 8:43:17 PM
Posted: 5 years ago
At 8/20/2011 4:50:41 PM, PARADIGM_L0ST wrote:
At 8/20/2011 4:47:50 PM, DaveElectric wrote:
I think morality is niether inherent or learned. I think it is guilted.:

How can there be guilt if there was no moral to feel guilty about?

There is always a moral to feel guilty about. Societiy triess to justify its actions with morality. "Guilt" is really a fear response to disobeying or thinking about disobeying a command. Not necessarily a bad thing. Rational people have guilt.