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Moral Absolutism vs. Relativism

mattrodstrom
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4/28/2010 9:29:36 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/28/2010 9:27:14 PM, Rob1Billion wrote:
at least, in the "law of love?"

what?!
"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."
Kleptin
Posts: 5,095
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4/28/2010 9:30:24 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/28/2010 9:27:14 PM, Rob1Billion wrote:
Can we not say that moral absolutism exists, at least, in the "law of love?"

Doesn't account for moral outliers. (suicidal people, psychos, crazies, masochists).

My explanation however, both explains the impact of moral outliers and gives the exact mechanism as to why the golden rule represents the best moral code we have.
: At 5/2/2010 2:43:54 PM, innomen wrote:
It isn't about finding a theory, philosophy or doctrine and thinking it's the answer, but a practical application of one's experiences that is the answer.

: At 10/28/2010 2:40:07 PM, jharry wrote: I have already been given the greatest Gift that anyone could ever hope for [Life], I would consider myself selfish if I expected anything more.
GeoLaureate8
Posts: 12,252
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4/28/2010 9:32:43 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/28/2010 9:30:24 PM, Kleptin wrote:
At 4/28/2010 9:27:14 PM, Rob1Billion wrote:
Can we not say that moral absolutism exists, at least, in the "law of love?"

Doesn't account for moral outliers. (suicidal people, psychos, crazies, masochists).

My explanation however, both explains the impact of moral outliers and gives the exact mechanism as to why the golden rule represents the best moral code we have.


Precisely. Though, try telling that to TheSkeptic.
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
mattrodstrom
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4/28/2010 9:46:10 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/28/2010 9:29:36 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 4/28/2010 9:27:14 PM, Rob1Billion wrote:
at least, in the "law of love?"

what?!

what's the law of love?
"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."
InsertNameHere
Posts: 15,699
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4/28/2010 9:55:17 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/28/2010 9:46:10 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 4/28/2010 9:29:36 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 4/28/2010 9:27:14 PM, Rob1Billion wrote:
at least, in the "law of love?"

what?!

what's the law of love?

Nevermind that, I don't even know wht this thread is even supposed to be about. Moral absolutism? Relativism? You've lost me there.
belle
Posts: 4,113
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4/28/2010 10:01:35 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/28/2010 9:30:24 PM, Kleptin wrote:
At 4/28/2010 9:27:14 PM, Rob1Billion wrote:
Can we not say that moral absolutism exists, at least, in the "law of love?"

Doesn't account for moral outliers. (suicidal people, psychos, crazies, masochists).

My explanation however, both explains the impact of moral outliers and gives the exact mechanism as to why the golden rule represents the best moral code we have.

LOL you want a "moral outlier" as you put it to do unto you as they want done unto them?

sounds scary!
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
GeoLaureate8
Posts: 12,252
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4/28/2010 10:05:20 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/28/2010 9:55:17 PM, InsertNameHere wrote:
Nevermind that, I don't even know wht this thread is even supposed to be about. Moral absolutism? Relativism? You've lost me there.

Is there an objective moral standard or are morals relative?
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
Digamma
Posts: 6
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4/28/2010 10:35:52 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Is there an objective moral standard or are morals relative?

Well, an ethical theory debate! Cool. Both relativism and objectivism (which is a word I may have invented for the purpose of this discussion) have their pros and cons. To figure out which is best, we first must define what each is.

Relativism can basically be summed up as "You do what you think is right, I'll do what I think is right, and we'll all be cool." Relativists postulate that there are NO objective moral standards, and that one's moral code entirely depends on how one was raised and what a person has experienced.
Moral Absolutists believe that there are strict moral laws that apply to all people. The degree and number of these laws vary with the degree of how absolute an Absolutist is, but their defining characteristic is that they believe that there is at least ONE absolute moral law.

Relativism has several problems:

i. As a theory, it has no way to explain the conflict of beliefs. If I come from the civilization of Crazies and our moral code states that it is right to kill any outsiders, a moral relativist would be forced by his beliefs to say that our beliefs are correct. And if you come from SunshineFlowerLand, and you believe that not being murdered is correct, a relativist would agree. But when I come to your peaceful village in SunshineFlowerLand and murder you, a moral relativist cannot handle this! We are both morally correct, but our beliefs conflict! This is an irreconcilable contradiction that essential rips relativism into moral-theory-shreds.

ii. Relativism is also unable to cope with change. 300 years ago, slavery was believed to be morally correct in many countries. A relativist would say, "Ok, to each their own." But these days, slavery is considered abhorent. Once again, both the past and present are correct with conflicting beliefs! So why DID our views on slavery change? One possible theory is that there is an absolute moral code that we are slowly working our way towards. Which brings us to Absolutism!

Absolutism also has a problem:

i. Absolutism seems like a good theory, and is indeed supported by what seems to be the presence of actual absolute moral laws (for example, killing without reason is seen as universally wrong). Yet, there are people who seem to kill for no reason at all! Absolutism cannot explain the absence of rationality. Despite this, it is still a much stronger theory than relativism currently is.

To conclude, the answer is neither. Which is really unfortunate, because it seems like there either ARE or ARE NOT absolute moral laws. There is no in-between. Welcome to the wonderful but confusing world of ethical theory!
Rob1Billion
Posts: 1,338
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4/28/2010 11:14:30 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Mattrodstrom: The law of love is simply that love is a pure form of morality; all good moral theory will come to the conclusion that loving others (figuratively speaking, anyway) is the right thing to do. More practically, it means that when contemplating action, if you make your choice under the intent that you love the other person, then you will do them no harm. Kleptin is now going to say that this is subjective, and it is hard to imagine that there would be no exceptions given an infinite amount of situations, but on the other hand any specific situation is solvable using this reasoning.

There is a fable that explains it adequately: in short, there is a society that forms and makes laws about every little wrongdoing (kind of like what we have today) and then a new ruler comes in and makes a new law: the law of love. After that, the ruler starts removing all the other laws slowly, one by one, until all that remains is the law of love and no other laws are even necessary. This is because if you love all others like yourself, you will always be acting selflessly and crime is never even considered.
Master P is the end result of capitalism.
belle
Posts: 4,113
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4/28/2010 11:19:23 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/28/2010 11:18:19 PM, FREEDO wrote:
Love is an absolute for me.

what does that mean?
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
Rob1Billion
Posts: 1,338
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4/28/2010 11:25:43 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Can we not say that moral absolutism exists, at least, in the "law of love?"

Doesn't account for moral outliers. (suicidal people, psychos, crazies, masochists).

My explanation however, both explains the impact of moral outliers and gives the exact mechanism as to why the golden rule represents the best moral code we have.

My moral system involves intentions. Good and bad. Good intentions are prudence, justice, temperance, and fortitude. Faith, charity, and hope are subordinate to these (in the sense that they only work with the former 4 in mind) and are also perfect intentions. Wrath, greed, lust, sloth, gluttony, envy, and especially pride are the seven perfectly bad intentions. Analyzing actions based on these intentions will provide consistent results. Love is a sort of nirvana, if you will, that is achieved if you follow these intentions. Are you ready for another round, Kleptin? The golden rule is not perfect, like my system of intents, because it can be wrapped around immorality. If I like prostitutes, then the golden rule would indicate that buying my buddy a prostitute for the night is a moral action.
Master P is the end result of capitalism.
Rob1Billion
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4/28/2010 11:29:22 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Digamma correct me if I'm wrong (like I have to ask) but I believe your explanation condemning moral absolutism does not apply to my belief system as I outlined it.

I believe my system would be called rule deontology, in a basic sense. It is rule as opposed to act based because I obviously use rules instead of a situational ethical approach, and it is deontological as opposed to teleological because it is concerned with the nature of the actions rather than the ends it produces.
Master P is the end result of capitalism.
Freeman
Posts: 1,239
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4/28/2010 11:31:57 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/28/2010 9:32:43 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
At 4/28/2010 9:30:24 PM, Kleptin wrote:
At 4/28/2010 9:27:14 PM, Rob1Billion wrote:
Can we not say that moral absolutism exists, at least, in the "law of love?"

Doesn't account for moral outliers. (suicidal people, psychos, crazies, masochists).

My explanation however, both explains the impact of moral outliers and gives the exact mechanism as to why the golden rule represents the best moral code we have.


Precisely. Though, try telling that to TheSkeptic.

I don't buy it either, and I'm a moral realist. Rob, you should debate this with theSkeptic. I think he would rip you apart on this topic, but it would still be interesting to watch. ;)
Chancellor of Propaganda and Foreign Relations in the Franklin administration.

"I intend to live forever. So far, so good." -- Steven Wright
GeoLaureate8
Posts: 12,252
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4/28/2010 11:37:43 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/28/2010 11:31:57 PM, Freeman wrote:
I don't buy it either,

Why not? I know I was wrong in the past to say that it proves objective morality, but I still say that it is the best method of determining morality and the best way to act moral in a relative environment.

You don't agree that the ethical standards that you want to be applied to yourself should be applied to others?
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
Freeman
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4/28/2010 11:44:02 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/28/2010 11:37:43 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
At 4/28/2010 11:31:57 PM, Freeman wrote:
I don't buy it either,

Why not? I know I was wrong in the past to say that it proves objective morality, but I still say that it is the best method of determining morality and the best way to act moral in a relative environment.

You don't agree that the ethical standards that you want to be applied to yourself should be applied to others?

It's possible to formulate a utilitarian calculus that, if followed, would maximize the well-being of conscious creatures better than the golden rule. The golden rule is ok, but it's also dogmatic and can be even be counterproductive.
Chancellor of Propaganda and Foreign Relations in the Franklin administration.

"I intend to live forever. So far, so good." -- Steven Wright
GeoLaureate8
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4/28/2010 11:50:20 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/28/2010 11:44:02 PM, Freeman wrote:
At 4/28/2010 11:37:43 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
At 4/28/2010 11:31:57 PM, Freeman wrote:
I don't buy it either,

Why not? I know I was wrong in the past to say that it proves objective morality, but I still say that it is the best method of determining morality and the best way to act moral in a relative environment.

You don't agree that the ethical standards that you want to be applied to yourself should be applied to others?

It's possible to formulate a utilitarian calculus that, if followed, would maximize the well-being of conscious creatures better than the golden rule. The golden rule is ok, but it's also dogmatic and can be even be counterproductive.

You still didn't provide an alternative. You simply stated that's it's possible to come up with a better alternative. To be honest though, I don't think there could be any higher standard than the Golden Rule. It seems like you just want to a create an artificial objective standard, even at the stake of suppressing people' own moral compass.
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
Danielle
Posts: 21,330
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4/28/2010 11:54:44 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/28/2010 11:25:43 PM, Rob1Billion wrote:
Love is a sort of nirvana, if you will, that is achieved if you follow these intentions.

"Love" is what we call the physical reaction we feel depending on the amount of serotonin present in our brain and whether our neurons are firing or not...? Basically, the amount of dopamine in your brain increases when "falling in love" creating this feeling of intense energy, exhilaration, focused attention, etc. Then, in long term relationships, oxytocin the peptide hormone that promotes a feeling of bonding and connection is released... So, hmm, yeah. Not sure if you can base an entire ethical theory around manifestations of an individual's brain :P
President of DDO
belle
Posts: 4,113
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4/28/2010 11:57:30 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
geo, the golden rule only works if everyone wants the same thing which obviously isn't true. its nice if you squint your eyes and don't take it to mean anything specific, but then so are a lot of things. kant's categorical imperative would probably beat out the golden rule if taken loosely.
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
GeoLaureate8
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4/28/2010 11:57:46 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/28/2010 11:54:44 PM, theLwerd wrote:
At 4/28/2010 11:25:43 PM, Rob1Billion wrote:
Love is a sort of nirvana, if you will, that is achieved if you follow these intentions.

"Love" is what we call the physical reaction we feel depending on the amount of serotonin present in our brain and whether our neurons are firing or not...? Basically, the amount of dopamine in your brain increases when "falling in love" creating this feeling of intense energy, exhilaration, focused attention, etc. Then, in long term relationships, oxytocin the peptide hormone that promotes a feeling of bonding and connection is released... So, hmm, yeah. Not sure if you can base an entire ethical theory around manifestations of an individual's brain :P

For that definition of "Love" that may be true, but that version of "Love" you refer to is just infatuation.
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
Rob1Billion
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4/28/2010 11:58:04 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
"Love" is what we call the physical reaction we feel depending on the amount of serotonin present in our brain and whether our neurons are firing or not...? Basically, the amount of dopamine in your brain increases when "falling in love" creating this feeling of intense energy, exhilaration, focused attention, etc. Then, in long term relationships, oxytocin the peptide hormone that promotes a feeling of bonding and connection is released...

So, hmm, yeah. Not sure if you can base an entire ethical theory around manifestations of an individual's brain :P

I'm afraid, Lwerd, that there is nothing in reality that isn't based on your brain so I wouldn't take that a strong argument!
Master P is the end result of capitalism.
GeoLaureate8
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4/29/2010
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/28/2010 11:57:30 PM, belle wrote:
geo, the golden rule only works if everyone wants the same thing which obviously isn't true.

I admitted that morals would still be relative, but is still the best tool we've got to act in moral ways.

kant's categorical imperative would probably beat out the golden rule if taken loosely.

Explain.
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
Rob1Billion
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4/29/2010 12:00:01 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
Freeman, I have notified theskeptic of this thread and anxiously await his criticisms of my theory.
Master P is the end result of capitalism.
Freeman
Posts: 1,239
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4/29/2010 12:03:57 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/28/2010 11:50:20 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
At 4/28/2010 11:44:02 PM, Freeman wrote:
At 4/28/2010 11:37:43 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
At 4/28/2010 11:31:57 PM, Freeman wrote:
I don't buy it either,

Why not? I know I was wrong in the past to say that it proves objective morality, but I still say that it is the best method of determining morality and the best way to act moral in a relative environment.

You don't agree that the ethical standards that you want to be applied to yourself should be applied to others?

It's possible to formulate a utilitarian calculus that, if followed, would maximize the well-being of conscious creatures better than the golden rule. The golden rule is ok, but it's also dogmatic and can be even be counterproductive.

You still didn't provide an alternative. You simply stated that's it's possible to come up with a better alternative. To be honest though, I don't think there could be any higher standard than the Golden Rule.

I don't think your imagination is as vivid as it could be. And besides, the golden rule is completely and utterly arbitrary. It leaves us with 6 billion different people all of whom have slightly different notions about what should be done to them.

It seems like you just want to a create an artificial objective standard, even at the stake of suppressing people' own moral compass.

No, the golden rule could even be part of some utilitarian calculus. My point is that it is incomplete.
Chancellor of Propaganda and Foreign Relations in the Franklin administration.

"I intend to live forever. So far, so good." -- Steven Wright
belle
Posts: 4,113
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4/29/2010 12:05:30 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/29/2010, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
kant's categorical imperative would probably beat out the golden rule if taken loosely.

Explain.

"Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law."

act in such a way that others will consider you action just. completely erases the problem of the golden rule, namely that the way i wish to be treated may be odious to you. granted its an appeal to popular moral sentiment, but so is the golden rule. and we're taking these things metaphorically...
evidently i only come to ddo to avoid doing homework...
GeoLaureate8
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4/29/2010 12:06:43 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/29/2010 12:03:57 AM, Freeman wrote:
No, the golden rule could even be part of some utilitarian calculus. My point is that it is incomplete.

Ok, I can agree with that. There's obviously flaws that could be improved.
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
Puck
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4/29/2010 12:15:20 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 4/28/2010 10:35:52 PM, Digamma wrote:
objectivism (which is a word I may have invented for the purpose of this discussion)

Tehe.