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Ethics of belief

tarkovsky
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7/5/2012 3:44:53 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I'd like to pose a question concerning the ethics of belief.

What should a person believe and why?

What makes it wrong to believe that our ostensibly natural and orderly world has a corresponding, inscrutable, irrational and supernatural counterpart?

Why should reason govern matters of belief? Why should reason govern belief in metaphysical concerns?

Why should certain beliefs qualify people as 'crazy'; "you have to be crazy to believe that."?
000ike
Posts: 11,196
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7/5/2012 4:02:47 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
I'd say that there is nothing we "should" believe because ethics are relative, but I don't think that's the answer you're looking for.

Reason must govern matters of belief because reason is an objective communicator. You can't argue anything to anyone else, unless the language of that argument is mutually spoken and understood.

A crazy belief is an irrational one....one that demonstrates either minimal knowledge or minimal intellectual effort.
"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
tarkovsky
Posts: 212
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7/5/2012 4:13:59 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/5/2012 4:02:47 PM, 000ike wrote:
Reason must govern matters of belief because reason is an objective communicator. You can't argue anything to anyone else, unless the language of that argument is mutually spoken and understood.

Argument already presupposes reason. Why should I feel secure in my beliefs only under the condition that I am able to give sufficient arguments for them?

A crazy belief is an irrational one....one that demonstrates either minimal knowledge or minimal intellectual effort.

Beliefs are dispositions towards those matters of which we have incomplete or little knowledge. Moreover, beliefs can be held on matters of which we can never have complete knowledge.

Beyond this, the qualifications for belief should differ from those of certain knowledge. To know something, we proffer reasons and rational argumentation as a means of demonstrating our certain or approximate knowledge.

Having belief in something shouldn't be held to this standard. You can have no reasons for believing in something, believing in it nonetheless, and later finding out that it was true. Why should an irrational belief be wrong?
phantom
Posts: 6,774
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7/5/2012 7:14:45 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Belief is moral if it is justified.
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
caveat
Posts: 2,137
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7/6/2012 8:20:28 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/5/2012 3:44:53 PM, tarkovsky wrote:
I'd like to pose a question concerning the ethics of belief.

What should a person believe and why?

Nobody should do anything.


What makes it wrong to believe that our ostensibly natural and orderly world has a corresponding, inscrutable, irrational and supernatural counterpart?

It's not wrong to do so.

Why should reason govern matters of belief? Why should reason govern belief in metaphysical concerns?

By definition, it doesn't. Belief is an opinion or confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof.

Why should certain beliefs qualify people as 'crazy'; "you have to be crazy to believe that."?

Because we as humans function on reason and rationality. To do otherwise is to be crazy. You are questioning the arbitrary definition of a word.
There is an art, it says, or rather, a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss. " Clearly, it is this second part, the missing, which presents the difficulties.
Stephen_Hawkins
Posts: 5,316
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7/6/2012 11:47:31 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
What we should do depends on what our goal is. What our goal is depends on what we want. So what we should do depends on what we want.
Give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach him how to be Gay, he'll positively influence the GDP.

Social Contract Theory debate: http://www.debate.org...
000ike
Posts: 11,196
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7/6/2012 12:27:57 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/6/2012 11:47:31 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
What we should do depends on what our goal is. What our goal is depends on what we want. So what we should do depends on what we want.

lol this.
"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
Man-is-good
Posts: 6,871
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7/6/2012 12:29:05 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Can ethics be ascribed to beliefs that are determined by individual perceptions???
"Homo sum, humani nihil a me alienum puto." --Terence

"I believe that the mind can be permanently profaned by the habit of attending to trivial things, so that all our thoughts shall be tinged with triviality."--Thoreau
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
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7/6/2012 1:45:21 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/5/2012 3:44:53 PM, tarkovsky wrote:
I'd like to pose a question concerning the ethics of belief.

What should a person believe and why?

One should act upon a notion if doing so would seem useful..
If it seems as if the Notion can be useful...

that is, One should treat a notion as Being the case if it seems useful to do so.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
tarkovsky
Posts: 212
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7/6/2012 2:36:45 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/6/2012 8:20:28 AM, caveat wrote:
At 7/5/2012 3:44:53 PM, tarkovsky wrote:

Nobody should do anything.

Why should you have responded that way? You shouldn't have? Then why did you? Do you just do everything out of caprice?

It's good to know what "nobody" should be doing, but what about the rest of us?

It's not wrong to do so.

Then why do so many people have a problem with it?

By definition, it doesn't. Belief is an opinion or confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof.

Then why do many people choose to believe in what is most reasonable? This definition of belief belies the ubiquitous dependence of belief on reason.

Because we as humans function on reason and rationality. To do otherwise is to be crazy. You are questioning the arbitrary definition of a word.

"Crazy" isn't the same as abandoning reason and rationality, in fact, commonly it implies that a person's powers of reason and rationality have been compromised.
tarkovsky
Posts: 212
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7/6/2012 2:44:23 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/6/2012 11:47:31 AM, Stephen_Hawkins wrote:
What we should do depends on what our goal is. What our goal is depends on what we want. So what we should do depends on what we want.

What goal would prompt me to believe in metaphysical matters?

What goal would prompt me to believe that the flying spaghetti monster exists? Because I want to know? This leaves a huge explanatory gap in the actual choice I made.
caveat
Posts: 2,137
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7/6/2012 2:45:33 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/6/2012 2:36:45 PM, tarkovsky wrote:
At 7/6/2012 8:20:28 AM, caveat wrote:
At 7/5/2012 3:44:53 PM, tarkovsky wrote:

Nobody should do anything.

Why should you have responded that way? You shouldn't have? Then why did you? Do you just do everything out of caprice?

It's good to know what "nobody" should be doing, but what about the rest of us?

It's not wrong to do so.

Then why do so many people have a problem with it?

Because belief is faith, and faith is baseless.

If I were to stab you in the chest with a steak knife would you have a problem with it?
Probably.

Would you have a problem with it if I did so believing that you'd be perfectly fine?
Probably.


By definition, it doesn't. Belief is an opinion or confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof.

Then why do many people choose to believe in what is most reasonable? This definition of belief belies the ubiquitous dependence of belief on reason.

Someone can leap off of a 34th story balcony and believe they will live.
Someone can also choose not to, not because of belief, but because of prior experience with gravity and physics suggests they will not live.

The former example exercises belief, the latter, reason.

Because we as humans function on reason and rationality. To do otherwise is to be crazy. You are questioning the arbitrary definition of a word.

"Crazy" isn't the same as abandoning reason and rationality, in fact, commonly it implies that a person's powers of reason and rationality have been compromised.

In this case, being compromised and abandoning yields the same end result. So yes, they are the same.
There is an art, it says, or rather, a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss. " Clearly, it is this second part, the missing, which presents the difficulties.
phantom
Posts: 6,774
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7/6/2012 4:26:23 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/6/2012 2:17:54 AM, tarkovsky wrote:
At 7/5/2012 7:14:45 PM, phantom wrote:
Belief is moral if it is justified.

What constitutes justification?

Logic, circumstance; every rellevant factor as to why you hold that belief.

You can't say the belief that killing babies is right is an immoral belief. In the vast majority of times it would be. However, someone could be justified in holding that view if all rellevent factors in his life pointed to the validity of that statement. Therefore, the morality of belief is dependent on whether the individual can justifiably hold that belief. Religious beliefs, you'll find, are often not moral.
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
tarkovsky
Posts: 212
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7/7/2012 2:17:17 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/6/2012 2:45:33 PM, caveat wrote:

Because belief is faith, and faith is baseless.

If I were to stab you in the chest with a steak knife would you have a problem with it?
Probably.

Would you have a problem with it if I did so believing that you'd be perfectly fine?
Probably.

I really don't understand this.

You've already pointed out the frailty of this example: I have a problem with being stabbed in the chest either way.

It doesn't matter if you did so with every intention of killing me, or believing that I would somehow not die. I'm still pissed off about it and how you feel about it has nothing to do with how I take it.

Someone can leap off of a 34th story balcony and believe they will live.
Someone can also choose not to, not because of belief, but because of prior experience with gravity and physics suggests they will not live.

The former example exercises belief, the latter, reason.

Absurdity can extend from both reason and unreason. Take Timmy, he's about 10 years old or so and has lived his whole life up to this point in a virtual world. In this virtual world people can fly when they jump off 34th story balconies. One day the experimenters take the virtual reality helmet off Timmy while he's sleeping and put him in a duplicate room on the 34th story. Timmy wakes up, believing he still exists in the same virtual world he has since he was but an infant, and jumps off the 34th story balcony as a completely reasonable and rational action.

Or...

For absolutely no reason Timmy wakes up that morning and gets the notion that he is no longer living in the same world he once did and by jumping off the balcony of his 34th story room he might die. He chooses to use the stairs from here on out and lives.

In this case, being compromised and abandoning yields the same end result. So yes, they are the same.

No. It's not. Reason and rationality being compromised by faulty sensory instruments isn't the same as abandoning reason and rationality altogether. They don't even yield the same result.
tarkovsky
Posts: 212
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7/7/2012 2:31:16 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/6/2012 4:26:23 PM, phantom wrote:

Logic, circumstance; every rellevant factor as to why you hold that belief.

You can't say the belief that killing babies is right is an immoral belief. In the vast majority of times it would be. However, someone could be justified in holding that view if all rellevent factors in his life pointed to the validity of that statement. Therefore, the morality of belief is dependent on whether the individual can justifiably hold that belief. Religious beliefs, you'll find, are often not moral.

I guess it's something I should have mentioned in the first post, but morality seems besides the point. Morality is concerned with what is the right thing to do, where ethics is concerned with what we should do.

The two need not be the same.
tarkovsky
Posts: 212
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7/7/2012 12:31:37 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/6/2012 1:45:21 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 7/5/2012 3:44:53 PM, tarkovsky wrote:
I'd like to pose a question concerning the ethics of belief.

What should a person believe and why?

One should act upon a notion if doing so would seem useful..
If it seems as if the Notion can be useful...

that is, One should treat a notion as Being the case if it seems useful to do so.

What if you are presented with two mutually exclusive yet equally valuable unproven propositions?
OMGJustinBieber
Posts: 3,484
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7/7/2012 1:20:52 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Eventually all reasonable arguments and theories will be grounded in assertion or gut feeling - that's not to say they're unjustified. If you keep asking "why" you'll eventually reach that stage. You really can't avoid it though, and turning to pervasive doubt only results in complete philosophical paralysis.

This thread is titled "ethics of belief" but it seems to concern very basic question that appear to go deeper than ethics. One would have to adopt an ethical framework to answer the question, but then you've gone as deep as to question reasons to general. All I can say to that is that if you start deconstructing reason and rationality you've really got nothing left. I have no problem admitting a kind of faith, and IMO the relationship between reason and faith is not as oppositional as its usually made out to be.
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
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7/8/2012 9:34:07 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/7/2012 12:31:37 PM, tarkovsky wrote:
At 7/6/2012 1:45:21 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 7/5/2012 3:44:53 PM, tarkovsky wrote:
I'd like to pose a question concerning the ethics of belief.

What should a person believe and why?

One should act upon a notion if doing so would seem useful..
If it seems as if the Notion can be useful...

that is, One should treat a notion as Being the case if it seems useful to do so.

What if you are presented with two mutually exclusive yet equally valuable unproven propositions?

well... if it's really a deadlock you evaluate whether it seems best just to pick one to act upon, or not act.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
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7/8/2012 9:37:33 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/7/2012 1:20:52 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
Eventually all reasonable arguments and theories will be grounded in assertion or gut feeling - that's not to say they're unjustified. If you keep asking "why" you'll eventually reach that stage. You really can't avoid it though, and turning to pervasive doubt only results in complete philosophical paralysis.

but you can explain yourself with that feeling.. Fit it into your explanation and be reasonable about it.

You just assert and don't explain why... and claim to be reasonable.

This thread is titled "ethics of belief" but it seems to concern very basic question that appear to go deeper than ethics. One would have to adopt an ethical framework to answer the question, but then you've gone as deep as to question reasons to general. All I can say to that is that if you start deconstructing reason and rationality you've really got nothing left. I have no problem admitting a kind of faith, and IMO the relationship between reason and faith is not as oppositional as its usually made out to be.

you don't need "faith" to go with what seems to be... and you don't need "faith" to pursue what you Will.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
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7/8/2012 9:41:26 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/8/2012 9:34:07 AM, mattrodstrom wrote:
well... if it's really a deadlock you evaluate whether it seems best just to pick one to act upon,
if you do this you may see how it works out.. and maybe try out both to see which operates more successfully for ya :)

or not act.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
OMGJustinBieber
Posts: 3,484
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7/8/2012 11:03:59 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
but you can explain yourself with that feeling.. Fit it into your explanation and be reasonable about it.

Every line of reasoning resorts back to assertion.

you don't need "faith" to go with what seems to be... and you don't need "faith" to pursue what you Will.

It depends what sense you use it in. You have faith/trust sources on matters that you have no personal experience with. You can't personally verify every fact or statistic you come across.
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
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7/8/2012 7:49:42 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/8/2012 11:03:59 AM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
It depends what sense you use it in. You have faith/trust sources on matters that you have no personal experience with. You can't personally verify every fact or statistic you come across.

Reasonable trust... If you ask me why I believe/trust something I can explain.

It would seem there are people (I can explain how it seems so if you really like)
It would seem there are people who study things... who are, generally, seemingly qualified to study them... (I can explain how some classes of people would seem qualified to study things)...

Faith is trusting without reason...

I can explain my trust in notions, things, people... from what is apparent to me.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
OMGJustinBieber
Posts: 3,484
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7/8/2012 8:04:02 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/8/2012 7:49:42 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 7/8/2012 11:03:59 AM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
It depends what sense you use it in. You have faith/trust sources on matters that you have no personal experience with. You can't personally verify every fact or statistic you come across.

Reasonable trust... If you ask me why I believe/trust something I can explain.

It would seem there are people (I can explain how it seems so if you really like)
It would seem there are people who study things... who are, generally, seemingly qualified to study them... (I can explain how some classes of people would seem qualified to study things)...

Faith is trusting without reason...

I can explain my trust in notions, things, people... from what is apparent to me.

You're just using "reasonable" as a fill in word. People with faith in God usually argue that their faith is reasonable. Your claims of trust would usually just amount to appeals to authority. You trust Encyclopedia Britannica or CNN because they're authorities despite probably next to no personal experience with many of their subjects.

Like say CNN makes a claim about the height of mount everest. You probably wouldn't usually question that - why? Because CNN is "reputable" and it is "reasonable" to trust CNN. I would bet you've never done any full scale, truly comprehensive corroboration of Encyclopedia Britannica or CNN.
mattrodstrom
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7/8/2012 8:05:06 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/8/2012 11:03:59 AM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
but you can explain yourself with that feeling.. Fit it into your explanation and be reasonable about it.

Every line of reasoning resorts back to assertion.

no.

sensible, well thought out, notions are, ultimately, based in sensational phenomena... and your natural manner of understanding things
(Note: you need not Assert your natural manner of coming to undertandings as reflecting rules of OBJECTIVE REALITY to get "sensible, well thought out, notions" from them)

My belief in People, particular statistic-based facts, and a whole bunch of things included.. Following from coming to a more detailed understanding of the world.

The world which I posit/understand/know through those sensational phenomena.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
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7/8/2012 8:20:53 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/8/2012 8:04:02 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
You're just using "reasonable" as a fill in word. People with faith in God usually argue that their faith is reasonable. Your claims of trust would usually just amount to appeals to authority. You trust Encyclopedia Britannica or CNN because they're authorities despite probably next to no personal experience with many of their subjects.

I trust them b/c my understanding of the world.

That is, b/c I understand that the world contains universities where people (similar in sensory/reasoning capabilities to myself) study these things... a lot... and lots of people do things based upon the notions they come up with.. Things that work, Really well.

I figure I'll go with the notions that came from people similar to myself after much hard study.. and apparently work so well.

Like say CNN makes a claim about the height of mount everest. You probably wouldn't usually question that - why? Because CNN is "reputable" and it is "reasonable" to trust CNN. I would bet you've never done any full scale, truly comprehensive corroboration of Encyclopedia Britannica or CNN.

I would imagine there's a Height estimate that is fairly widespread throughout the internet, guidebooks... and lots of stuff...
I would think, based upon my general knowledge of the world, that that figure was almost certainly done by people educated in how to best measure mountains...

I would imagine there's a good way to measure mountains that people have come up with.. people similar in reasoning capabilities to myself.. who've studied the matter a lot.. and have come up with apparently working notions...

People are apparently similar to myself, and I've learned through experience that they can come up with notions that work..
Educated people who study science in particular.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
OMGJustinBieber
Posts: 3,484
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7/8/2012 8:23:52 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Maybe a better example is history.

Regardless, we both know we won't be convincing the other person. I'd be fine debating this if you're up for it, but there's no point in continuing the discussion.
mattrodstrom
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7/8/2012 8:32:39 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/8/2012 8:23:52 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
Maybe a better example is history.

Regardless, we both know we won't be convincing the other person. I'd be fine debating this if you're up for it, but there's no point in continuing the discussion.

I'd like to debate you on Ethics.

I would explain (as I do all the time) how your arguments are exactly what you say they are.. ultimately Just bare, wholly baseless, assertions...

and how, unlike your shoulds, what I would have done has substantial and convincing reason behind it.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
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7/8/2012 8:34:26 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 7/8/2012 8:23:52 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
Maybe a better example is history.

I would take history with a bit more salt..

but the degree to which I would take it to have occurred is due to the same reasons.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."