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A scientific approach to morality

Discipulus_Didicit
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8/5/2016 5:44:34 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
A few of you may recognise where this idea comes from. Many of you will google key words of it to find out and pretend you knew all along. Regardless, I am interested in a discussion about its validity. This is pretty mich a copy paste from the book, editted by me a bit because in the book it is presented in the form of a dialogue, which isn't what I was going for here.

Moral sense is an elaboration of the instinct to survive. The instinct to survive is human nature itself, and every aspect of our personalities derives from it. Anything that conflicts with the survival instinct acts sooner or later to eliminate the individual and thereby fails to show up in future generations. This truth is mathematically demonstrable, everywhere verifiable; it is the single eternal imperative controlling everything we do.

But the instinct to survive can be cultivated into motivations more subtle and much more complex than the blind, brute urge of the individual to stay alive. what many misidentify as their 'moral instinct' is in fact the instilling in them by their elders of the truth that survival can have stronger imperatives than that of their own personal survival. Survival of your family, for example. Of your children, when you have them. Of your nation, if you struggle that high up the scale. And so on up. A scientifically verifiable theory of morals must be rooted in the individual's instinct to survive -- and nowhere else! -- and must correctly describe the hierarchy of survival, note the motivations at each level, and resolve all conflicts.

Discuss.
Cobalt - You could be scum too.
Matt - I suppose. But I also might not be.

Kiri - Yeah, I don't know what DD is doing.
Vaarka - He's doin'a thingy do

DD - The best advice most often goes unheeded.
Wise Man - KYS, DD.
DD - Case in point ^
wuliheron
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8/5/2016 11:07:04 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
According to the last century of evidence with a noticeable build up in the last half century in particular, there is nothing scientific about morality because existence itself and the laws of physics support meta-ethics instead. The universe is demonstrably metaphorical, rather than metaphysical, meaning it requires systems logic rather than classical logic because the greater context will inevitably determine its own content. This is Contextualism which is poised to become the next scientific revolution in the next two decades at most as the computers and physicists close in on the same answers.

The greater context determining its own content means morality becomes context dependent like everything else. It simply has no demonstrable meaning in extreme contexts because existence itself is apparently paradoxical as suggested by quantum mechanics. However, it means pattern matching rules the universe and merely by crunching outrageously large numbers anything can be illuminated as never before. The effect is similar to assembling a puzzle having no idea of what it contains only to start to see the patterns once you make a century or so of progress.
Discipulus_Didicit
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8/6/2016 6:06:29 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/5/2016 11:07:04 PM, wuliheron wrote:
According to the last century of evidence with a noticeable build up in the last half century in particular, there is nothing scientific about morality because existence itself and the laws of physics support meta-ethics instead.

Nobody said anything about physics, this is basic highschool level biology. Did you even read the OP?
Cobalt - You could be scum too.
Matt - I suppose. But I also might not be.

Kiri - Yeah, I don't know what DD is doing.
Vaarka - He's doin'a thingy do

DD - The best advice most often goes unheeded.
Wise Man - KYS, DD.
DD - Case in point ^
rross
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8/6/2016 10:21:26 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
If by survival you mean survival and reproduction, which requires specialization and cooperation within the group. Then yes, I suppose so.
matt8800
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8/6/2016 2:43:23 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/5/2016 5:44:34 PM, Discipulus_Didicit wrote:
A few of you may recognise where this idea comes from. Many of you will google key words of it to find out and pretend you knew all along. Regardless, I am interested in a discussion about its validity. This is pretty mich a copy paste from the book, editted by me a bit because in the book it is presented in the form of a dialogue, which isn't what I was going for here.

Moral sense is an elaboration of the instinct to survive. The instinct to survive is human nature itself, and every aspect of our personalities derives from it. Anything that conflicts with the survival instinct acts sooner or later to eliminate the individual and thereby fails to show up in future generations. This truth is mathematically demonstrable, everywhere verifiable; it is the single eternal imperative controlling everything we do.

But the instinct to survive can be cultivated into motivations more subtle and much more complex than the blind, brute urge of the individual to stay alive. what many misidentify as their 'moral instinct' is in fact the instilling in them by their elders of the truth that survival can have stronger imperatives than that of their own personal survival. Survival of your family, for example. Of your children, when you have them. Of your nation, if you struggle that high up the scale. And so on up. A scientifically verifiable theory of morals must be rooted in the individual's instinct to survive -- and nowhere else! -- and must correctly describe the hierarchy of survival, note the motivations at each level, and resolve all conflicts.

Discuss.

The foundation of all morality is empathy. There is no moral question that cannot be answered with empathy. Empathy is an evolutionary adaptation - https://www.psychologytoday.com...
Diqiucun_Cunmin
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8/6/2016 3:35:53 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/5/2016 5:44:34 PM, Discipulus_Didicit wrote:
A few of you may recognise where this idea comes from. Many of you will google key words of it to find out and pretend you knew all along.
This is so weird... I was Googling exactly that last night, but with no knowledge of your thread. D:
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
Discipulus_Didicit
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8/6/2016 6:02:43 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/6/2016 3:35:53 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 8/5/2016 5:44:34 PM, Discipulus_Didicit wrote:
A few of you may recognise where this idea comes from. Many of you will google key words of it to find out and pretend you knew all along.
This is so weird... I was Googling exactly that last night, but with no knowledge of your thread. D:

Haha, stranger things have happened. Have you ever read the book itself?
Cobalt - You could be scum too.
Matt - I suppose. But I also might not be.

Kiri - Yeah, I don't know what DD is doing.
Vaarka - He's doin'a thingy do

DD - The best advice most often goes unheeded.
Wise Man - KYS, DD.
DD - Case in point ^
Discipulus_Didicit
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8/6/2016 6:04:34 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/6/2016 2:43:23 PM, matt8800 wrote:
The foundation of all morality is empathy. There is no moral question that cannot be answered with empathy. Empathy is an evolutionary adaptation - https://www.psychologytoday.com...

You are certainly on the right track with your post, I may follow that link if I have time later and I remember.
Cobalt - You could be scum too.
Matt - I suppose. But I also might not be.

Kiri - Yeah, I don't know what DD is doing.
Vaarka - He's doin'a thingy do

DD - The best advice most often goes unheeded.
Wise Man - KYS, DD.
DD - Case in point ^
keithprosser
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8/6/2016 8:17:00 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
My worry is that what is described in the OP is not morality but grock. Grock is behaviour that provides benefits to the group but not necessarily to the grocking individual. Indeed grocking can often be harmful to the individual, such as when a bee dies from stinging the invader of a hive. The evolution of grock behaviour can seem paradoxical, but it can be explained by (for example) considering replication at the gene level rather than at the organism level, an approach popularised by Dawkins in 'The Selfish Gene' and is now firmly part of orthodox evolutionary theory.

In 'higher' organisms such as man, behaviour is strongly influenced by conscious and semi-conscous mental states. To get a bee to grock, it is only necessary to program a simple, fixed behaviour into it - 'if you sense an enemy, sting it'. To get a human to grock, evolution has to get him or her to 'want to' do it. That is far more complicated and involves the brain valuing grock behaviour highly. This does not force humans to grock, but it does 'nudge' them towards it - we are more 'grocky' i.e. less single-mindedly selfish that we would be otherwise. One way it is achieved is we have evolved to be conscious of the benefits of our grock for others and valuing that benefit. The converse - the negative effect of not grockig or behaving in a non-grock way on others - is also factored into our behavioural choices.

The important thing about grock is that it is purely about behaviour and the tricks brains use to produce grock behaviour, especially in man.

The relationship between grock and morality is an open question.
Diqiucun_Cunmin
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8/7/2016 6:47:53 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/6/2016 6:02:43 PM, Discipulus_Didicit wrote:
At 8/6/2016 3:35:53 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 8/5/2016 5:44:34 PM, Discipulus_Didicit wrote:
A few of you may recognise where this idea comes from. Many of you will google key words of it to find out and pretend you knew all along.
This is so weird... I was Googling exactly that last night, but with no knowledge of your thread. D:

Haha, stranger things have happened. Have you ever read the book itself?

Nope, unfortunately.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
Discipulus_Didicit
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8/7/2016 9:50:45 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/7/2016 9:27:14 AM, BlueDreams wrote:
I'm unsure what the argument is supposed to be.

Not an argument, simply an uncommon observation that the only way to create a law of objectively correct morals is to derive such a law from mankinds instinct to survive and human nature itself, rather than basing it on how we want the world to be.
Cobalt - You could be scum too.
Matt - I suppose. But I also might not be.

Kiri - Yeah, I don't know what DD is doing.
Vaarka - He's doin'a thingy do

DD - The best advice most often goes unheeded.
Wise Man - KYS, DD.
DD - Case in point ^
keithprosser
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8/7/2016 9:57:20 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
It appears to be: Something is required to modify our behaviour so we are not always narrowly selfish and sometimes behave for the good of our group.

Further it suggests that such behavour modification is brought about by being instructed by our parents/elders and without such instruction we would, presumably, behave only in our own narrow self-interest.

The 'take away' notion is that morality is the name we give to what we are taught in order for us to behave non-selfishly. Essentially it is saying there is no such thing as as morality - there is only behaviour. I feel that view is based on tautologically defining morality as behaviour. If morality exists independently of behaviour then the argument is about behaviour, not morality.
Discipulus_Didicit
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8/7/2016 10:35:42 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/7/2016 9:57:20 AM, keithprosser wrote:

Where did you get that definition of the word grok? I only ever heard that word from one place, a book from the same author who wrote the book I took an excerpt from in the OP. From what I remember the definition in that book was something else entirely.
Cobalt - You could be scum too.
Matt - I suppose. But I also might not be.

Kiri - Yeah, I don't know what DD is doing.
Vaarka - He's doin'a thingy do

DD - The best advice most often goes unheeded.
Wise Man - KYS, DD.
DD - Case in point ^
Discipulus_Didicit
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8/7/2016 10:42:07 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/7/2016 6:47:53 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:

Nope, unfortunately.

It isn't a philosophy book by any means, it is a science fiction written in the late fifties. It has many political and philosophical ideas in it however, such as that in the OP. A good read, if you like fiction books. I understand many on DDO dont though.
Cobalt - You could be scum too.
Matt - I suppose. But I also might not be.

Kiri - Yeah, I don't know what DD is doing.
Vaarka - He's doin'a thingy do

DD - The best advice most often goes unheeded.
Wise Man - KYS, DD.
DD - Case in point ^
Diqiucun_Cunmin
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8/7/2016 11:39:38 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/7/2016 10:42:07 AM, Discipulus_Didicit wrote:
At 8/7/2016 6:47:53 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:

Nope, unfortunately.

It isn't a philosophy book by any means, it is a science fiction written in the late fifties. It has many political and philosophical ideas in it however, such as that in the OP. A good read, if you like fiction books. I understand many on DDO dont though.

You read my mind, though; I prefer a philosophy book to a fiction book XD But yeah, I found that out by googling your passage.

When I first read your excerpt, I was reminded of Sam Harris' science of morality, which was what I was googling the other day. What do you think about his ideas?
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
Discipulus_Didicit
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8/7/2016 12:09:07 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/7/2016 11:39:38 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 8/7/2016 10:42:07 AM, Discipulus_Didicit wrote:
You read my mind, though; I prefer a philosophy book to a fiction book XD But yeah, I found that out by googling your passage.

When I first read your excerpt, I was reminded of Sam Harris' science of morality, which was what I was googling the other day. What do you think about his ideas?

Not familiar with the details but I would say that any idea based on moral laws having their root in human nature and survival instinct is an idea with a solid foundation. Is this something you think he would agree with?

Of course, there are many incorrect conclusions that can be drawn from solid foundations. For that reason, I would have to learn more on the subject of Sam Harris before formulating an opinion. I simply do not have enough information.
Cobalt - You could be scum too.
Matt - I suppose. But I also might not be.

Kiri - Yeah, I don't know what DD is doing.
Vaarka - He's doin'a thingy do

DD - The best advice most often goes unheeded.
Wise Man - KYS, DD.
DD - Case in point ^
keithprosser
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8/7/2016 1:24:22 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
Re grok, It was semi-satire. I think its important to distinguish between a theory of behaviour and a theory of morality. Science can - and with theories like the selfish gene - go a long way to explain non-selfish behaviour and the material causes of such behaviour. I wanted to show that what was being proposed was certainly a theory of something but that sometng is not necessarily 'morality' - it can just as well be a theory of 'grok'.
Discipulus_Didicit
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8/7/2016 2:11:00 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/7/2016 1:25:31 PM, keithprosser wrote:
Postscript - I don't know what book is being referenced.

In the OP, Starship troopers by Robert A. Heinlein 1959.

Very high quality book.

Where the word grok came from, Stranger in a Strange land by same, 1961.

Very high book. Just high. High as in LSD. Not saying it's bad, just... high...
Cobalt - You could be scum too.
Matt - I suppose. But I also might not be.

Kiri - Yeah, I don't know what DD is doing.
Vaarka - He's doin'a thingy do

DD - The best advice most often goes unheeded.
Wise Man - KYS, DD.
DD - Case in point ^
sadolite
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8/7/2016 2:16:30 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/5/2016 5:44:34 PM, Discipulus_Didicit wrote:
A few of you may recognise where this idea comes from. Many of you will google key words of it to find out and pretend you knew all along. Regardless, I am interested in a discussion about its validity. This is pretty mich a copy paste from the book, editted by me a bit because in the book it is presented in the form of a dialogue, which isn't what I was going for here.

Moral sense is an elaboration of the instinct to survive. The instinct to survive is human nature itself, and every aspect of our personalities derives from it. Anything that conflicts with the survival instinct acts sooner or later to eliminate the individual and thereby fails to show up in future generations. This truth is mathematically demonstrable, everywhere verifiable; it is the single eternal imperative controlling everything we do.

But the instinct to survive can be cultivated into motivations more subtle and much more complex than the blind, brute urge of the individual to stay alive. what many misidentify as their 'moral instinct' is in fact the instilling in them by their elders of the truth that survival can have stronger imperatives than that of their own personal survival. Survival of your family, for example. Of your children, when you have them. Of your nation, if you struggle that high up the scale. And so on up. A scientifically verifiable theory of morals must be rooted in the individual's instinct to survive -- and nowhere else! -- and must correctly describe the hierarchy of survival, note the motivations at each level, and resolve all conflicts.

Discuss.

science and morality Bwahahahahahahahahahaha
It's not your views that divide us, it's what you think my views should be that divides us.

If you think I will give up my rights and forsake social etiquette to make you "FEEL" better you are sadly mistaken

If liberal democrats would just stop shooting people gun violence would drop by 90%
Discipulus_Didicit
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8/7/2016 2:18:15 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/7/2016 1:24:22 PM, keithprosser wrote:
Re grok, It was semi-satire. I think its important to distinguish between a theory of behaviour and a theory of morality. Science can - and with theories like the selfish gene - go a long way to explain non-selfish behaviour and the material causes of such behaviour. I wanted to show that what was being proposed was certainly a theory of something but that sometng is not necessarily 'morality' - it can just as well be a theory of 'grok'.

It is thought of as a foundation of a theory of morality because when explored deeply enough, it is capable of predicting more than just what a person would do, but also what they should do.

If not human nature and instinct, what do you think a solid foundation would be for a theory of morality that is both universally applicable and acceptable? Or do you think such a thing as a universally applicable and acceptable theory of morals is a fairytale, as I once did?
Cobalt - You could be scum too.
Matt - I suppose. But I also might not be.

Kiri - Yeah, I don't know what DD is doing.
Vaarka - He's doin'a thingy do

DD - The best advice most often goes unheeded.
Wise Man - KYS, DD.
DD - Case in point ^
Discipulus_Didicit
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8/7/2016 2:20:03 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/7/2016 2:16:30 PM, sadolite wrote:
science and morality Bwahahahahahahahahahaha

Responding to the content of the thread rather than just the title is recomended, but admittedly not required.
Cobalt - You could be scum too.
Matt - I suppose. But I also might not be.

Kiri - Yeah, I don't know what DD is doing.
Vaarka - He's doin'a thingy do

DD - The best advice most often goes unheeded.
Wise Man - KYS, DD.
DD - Case in point ^
Skepsikyma
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8/7/2016 2:31:21 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/5/2016 5:44:34 PM, Discipulus_Didicit wrote:
A few of you may recognise where this idea comes from. Many of you will google key words of it to find out and pretend you knew all along. Regardless, I am interested in a discussion about its validity. This is pretty mich a copy paste from the book, editted by me a bit because in the book it is presented in the form of a dialogue, which isn't what I was going for here.

Moral sense is an elaboration of the instinct to survive. The instinct to survive is human nature itself, and every aspect of our personalities derives from it. Anything that conflicts with the survival instinct acts sooner or later to eliminate the individual and thereby fails to show up in future generations. This truth is mathematically demonstrable, everywhere verifiable; it is the single eternal imperative controlling everything we do.

But the instinct to survive can be cultivated into motivations more subtle and much more complex than the blind, brute urge of the individual to stay alive. what many misidentify as their 'moral instinct' is in fact the instilling in them by their elders of the truth that survival can have stronger imperatives than that of their own personal survival. Survival of your family, for example. Of your children, when you have them. Of your nation, if you struggle that high up the scale. And so on up. A scientifically verifiable theory of morals must be rooted in the individual's instinct to survive -- and nowhere else! -- and must correctly describe the hierarchy of survival, note the motivations at each level, and resolve all conflicts.

Discuss.

I think that morality in general is biologically prescribed. We're social animals and cannot survive and compete without some sort of ruling fiction to promote the prioritization of the society above the individual to some degree. I don't think that any specific morality is prescribed; rather, I think that human beings have first formed into different groups, some of which intersect and overlap (ethnicity, nationality, religion, clan/tribe/extended family), and that there is an incredibly complicated and diverse set of moral codes which rule each group and the individuals who belong to one or more of them. Then these moral codes compete on their respective levels (nation vs. nation, religion vs. religion, family vs. family, ethnicity vs. ethnicity) with a large amount of alliance-building that gets incredible complex. The only way for a universal moral code to rule is for these groups to become unified, and that ultimately means geopolitical unification, which I see as an impossibility in the foreseeable future, not to mention the elimination of family and ethnic in-group bias, which goes against deeply ingrained human nature, and absolute doctrinal catholicity, which is also an impossibility, imo.
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
Diqiucun_Cunmin
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8/7/2016 3:08:17 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/7/2016 12:09:07 PM, Discipulus_Didicit wrote:
At 8/7/2016 11:39:38 AM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 8/7/2016 10:42:07 AM, Discipulus_Didicit wrote:
You read my mind, though; I prefer a philosophy book to a fiction book XD But yeah, I found that out by googling your passage.

When I first read your excerpt, I was reminded of Sam Harris' science of morality, which was what I was googling the other day. What do you think about his ideas?

Not familiar with the details but I would say that any idea based on moral laws having their root in human nature and survival instinct is an idea with a solid foundation. Is this something you think he would agree with?
Probably, but I'm not completely sure. You can only learn so much from Google University (and I haven't watched his TED talk, which would have provided more information. I will do so later though)
Of course, there are many incorrect conclusions that can be drawn from solid foundations. For that reason, I would have to learn more on the subject of Sam Harris before formulating an opinion. I simply do not have enough information.
I see.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
Diqiucun_Cunmin
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8/7/2016 3:14:17 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/7/2016 2:31:21 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
the elimination of family and ethnic in-group bias, which goes against deeply ingrained human nature

Why do you think that a universal set of moral values must eliminate in-group bias? I mean, Mencius was a moral universalist, but he believed that such tendencies are an important part of morality. While he believed that we should be kind to those who are not part of our family, our family should come first in priority; similarly, while we should care for animals, humans precede them in priority. In fact, his major objection against Mohism was that Mozi's doctrine of 'universal love' (jian'ai) doesn't allow people to discriminate in favour of their family and against outsiders.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
Skepsikyma
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8/7/2016 10:36:48 PM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/7/2016 3:14:17 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 8/7/2016 2:31:21 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
the elimination of family and ethnic in-group bias, which goes against deeply ingrained human nature

Why do you think that a universal set of moral values must eliminate in-group bias? I mean, Mencius was a moral universalist, but he believed that such tendencies are an important part of morality. While he believed that we should be kind to those who are not part of our family, our family should come first in priority; similarly, while we should care for animals, humans precede them in priority. In fact, his major objection against Mohism was that Mozi's doctrine of 'universal love' (jian'ai) doesn't allow people to discriminate in favour of their family and against outsiders.

Because moral values are a scheme meant to organize social groups, and as long as there are different social groups there will be different codes of behavior. Since the creation of one monolithic social group with one set of monolithic 'rules of engagement' would necessitate the elimination of things like families, ethnicities, nations, and religions, which each contain groups which delineate themselves distinctly from competitors and follow different rules for behavior. Since in-group bias leads to the creation of these groups in the first place, it would be corrosive to any unity. That bias doesn't only lead people to come together, the response is a sorting mechanism: it draws a line between 'people like me' and 'people not like me' and organizes the world accordingly. So things paradoxically tend, in different ways, towards both unity and division.

How are you defining universal morality? Because Mencius may have seen his morals as universal, but so do the Catholic and Muslim. If none of them will ever be universally adopted due to practical consideration, what sense does it make to consider them universal from a detached perspective (I understand that beliefs like that are necessary on an individual level, but are they really true from an objective, outside point of view?)?
"The Collectivist experiment is thoroughly suited (in appearance at least) to the Capitalist society which it proposes to replace. It works with the existing machinery of Capitalism, talks and thinks in the existing terms of Capitalism, appeals to just those appetites which Capitalism has aroused, and ridicules as fantastic and unheard-of just those things in society the memory of which Capitalism has killed among men wherever the blight of it has spread."
- Hilaire Belloc -
BlueDreams
Posts: 199
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8/8/2016 1:23:32 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/7/2016 9:50:45 AM, Discipulus_Didicit wrote:
At 8/7/2016 9:27:14 AM, BlueDreams wrote:
I'm unsure what the argument is supposed to be.

Not an argument, simply an uncommon observation that the only way to create a law of objectively correct morals is to derive such a law from mankinds instinct to survive and human nature itself, rather than basing it on how we want the world to be.

OP doesn't demonstrate this at all.
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
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8/8/2016 3:58:35 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/7/2016 10:36:48 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
At 8/7/2016 3:14:17 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 8/7/2016 2:31:21 PM, Skepsikyma wrote:
the elimination of family and ethnic in-group bias, which goes against deeply ingrained human nature

Why do you think that a universal set of moral values must eliminate in-group bias? I mean, Mencius was a moral universalist, but he believed that such tendencies are an important part of morality. While he believed that we should be kind to those who are not part of our family, our family should come first in priority; similarly, while we should care for animals, humans precede them in priority. In fact, his major objection against Mohism was that Mozi's doctrine of 'universal love' (jian'ai) doesn't allow people to discriminate in favour of their family and against outsiders.

Because moral values are a scheme meant to organize social groups, and as long as there are different social groups there will be different codes of behavior. Since the creation of one monolithic social group with one set of monolithic 'rules of engagement' would necessitate the elimination of things like families, ethnicities, nations, and religions, which each contain groups which delineate themselves distinctly from competitors and follow different rules for behavior. Since in-group bias leads to the creation of these groups in the first place, it would be corrosive to any unity. That bias doesn't only lead people to come together, the response is a sorting mechanism: it draws a line between 'people like me' and 'people not like me' and organizes the world accordingly. So things paradoxically tend, in different ways, towards both unity and division.
But could a universal moral code still allow differences in etiquette/custom/etc.? I mean, we can usually clearly separate universal moral codes (e.g. don't kill, steal, or cheat on your partner) from non-universalisable etiquette (what kinds of offerings you use, whether you should sit or stand in the presence of your superior, whether you should slurp loudly when you eat noodles). Confucius was perfectly happy with altering ancient rites, as long as the underlying moral values remain unchanged, which shows that etiquette and morals seem to exist on different levels. It seems to me that if we make this distinction, a universal moral code can allow for in-group tendencies while permitting differences in norms and mores across social groups.
How are you defining universal morality? Because Mencius may have seen his morals as universal, but so do the Catholic and Muslim. If none of them will ever be universally adopted due to practical consideration, what sense does it make to consider them universal from a detached perspective (I understand that beliefs like that are necessary on an individual level, but are they really true from an objective, outside point of view?)?
I'd say any normative ethical view that purports to be universal (the Categorical Imperative, the greatest happiness principle, etc. would all count). But I believe Mencius' and the Greek virtue ethicists' ethics to be the most universalisable, because they were justified, in a way, by folk psychology (not the most reliable source of psychological science, but plausible enough). I kind of agree with the OP that a science of morality based on extending our instincts is a well-founded one. One of Mencius' primary ideas was to base the cultivation of virtue on 'extending' the intuitive feelings we have towards family members to other people.
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
Discipulus_Didicit
Posts: 3,089
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8/8/2016 4:04:38 AM
Posted: 4 months ago
At 8/8/2016 1:23:32 AM, BlueDreams wrote:
At 8/7/2016 9:50:45 AM, Discipulus_Didicit wrote:
Not an argument,

OP doesn't demonstrate this at all.

I think one of us is missing something...
Cobalt - You could be scum too.
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DD - The best advice most often goes unheeded.
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DD - Case in point ^