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Atheist Discussion on Morality

Bennett91
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12/29/2014 4:39:16 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
This thread is primarily for atheists and agnostics, any attempt to declare morality from God or the supernatural will be against the OP. However if any religious morals have non-religious reasons to be considered they are welcome.

If there a cohesive definition of morality? How should derive morality? On what basis do we proclaim right and wrong, if even possible? Can we so without an objective base? Do we risk slipping into nihilistic thinking or relativism? Is the atheist attempt at morality a futile effort in personal opinion imposed on others?

My personal take is that morality can be legitimately established and cohesively applied to society. My version of morality is context based also known as contextualism. It's subjective based on the given context given that no context is necessarily universal. An act can either be good or bad depending on the given context that act occurs in.

There may be a couple weaknesses to this theory of morality. 1) it could lead to relativism. If we can not judge the actions of others based on their context this could allow others to commit immoral acts while saying "this is our context". I counter this by saying if we look at a the greater context we can still deem certain acts as immoral. 2) It may require a measure of presuppositional morality, even if an act requires context there is a possibility that I'm deeming that act immoral based on the idea that it is just "bad". Perhaps a counter would be that it wouldn't be a presupposition if we have good reason but eventhat may require the presuppositions that consequentialism or harm ethics may entail.

What do you all think? Are there any other ideas for morality? Is contextualism a viable options or does it have fatal flaws?
SNP1
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12/29/2014 6:27:44 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
This is my take on morality.

There are no actual "rights" or "wrongs". They are constructs that humans invented.

What is "right" and "wrong" is different for each person. We each make our own moral code. We might derive it from ethics (the commonly shared moral positions of the society in which we live), we might get it from empathy, we might have been raised a certain way.

We can say that someone is doing "wrong" if there is a moral position that is agreed upon by the vast majority of people within society (meaning we can say that murder is "wrong", while it is, in reality, not right or wrong).

What is ethical can change over time as the common moral positions change. If something is agreed upon 40-60%, then it is debatable (abortion fits this right now).

Now, as to why morals were first developed, they helped in the development of societies.

Imagine 2 tribes, one where murder, thievery, rape, etc. were "wrong", the other where there were no wrongs. Which one would survive? The one where there were things that were considered "wrong". They would then pass these beliefs on. Over time, ethics and morality, in a way, evolved through a system similar to natural selection.
#TheApatheticNihilistPartyofAmerica
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Envisage
Posts: 3,646
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12/29/2014 6:37:28 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/29/2014 4:39:16 AM, Bennett91 wrote:
This thread is primarily for atheists and agnostics, any attempt to declare morality from God or the supernatural will be against the OP. However if any religious morals have non-religious reasons to be considered they are welcome.

If there a cohesive definition of morality? How should derive morality? On what basis do we proclaim right and wrong, if even possible? Can we so without an objective base? Do we risk slipping into nihilistic thinking or relativism? Is the atheist attempt at morality a futile effort in personal opinion imposed on others?

Glad you are finally now grappling these questions. The answer of course is to embrace nihilism.

My personal take is that morality can be legitimately established and cohesively applied to society.

The word "established" implicitly concedes moral realism is false.

My version of morality is context based also known as contextualism. It's subjective based on the given context given that no context is necessarily universal. An act can either be good or bad depending on the given context that act occurs in.

Why is an act within contextualism good or bad? Because you defined it so by fiat? It's okay if that's the case, only that you again implicitly concede moral realism is false.

There may be a couple weaknesses to this theory of morality. 1) it could lead to relativism.

To which your only objection to seems to be that you just don't like it.

If we can not judge the actions of others based on their context this could allow others to commit immoral acts while saying "this is our context". I counter this by saying if we look at a the greater context we can still deem certain acts as immoral.

Seems to be an application of collectivism. Fine.

2) It may require a measure of presuppositional morality, even if an act requires context there is a possibility that I'm deeming that act immoral based on the idea that it is just "bad". Perhaps a counter would be that it wouldn't be a presupposition if we have good reason but even that may require the presuppositions that consequentialism or harm ethics may entail.

What do you all think? Are there any other ideas for morality? Is contextualism a viable options or does it have fatal flaws?

Why should I care about contextualism? How is that a model for how we "ought" to behave? You need something better than "I don't like it" or something along those lines.

While contextualism is good for establishing... context (lol) and it has application in *what* is moral given different systems, it doesn't actually provide a moral framework by itself.
Bennett91
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12/29/2014 7:13:57 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/29/2014 6:27:44 AM, SNP1 wrote:
This is my take on morality.

There are no actual "rights" or "wrongs". They are constructs that humans invented.

What is "right" and "wrong" is different for each person. We each make our own moral code. We might derive it from ethics (the commonly shared moral positions of the society in which we live), we might get it from empathy, we might have been raised a certain way.

We can say that someone is doing "wrong" if there is a moral position that is agreed upon by the vast majority of people within society (meaning we can say that murder is "wrong", while it is, in reality, not right or wrong).

What is ethical can change over time as the common moral positions change. If something is agreed upon 40-60%, then it is debatable (abortion fits this right now).

This sounds like moral relativism legitimized by ad populum.

Now, as to why morals were first developed, they helped in the development of societies.

Imagine 2 tribes, one where murder, thievery, rape, etc. were "wrong", the other where there were no wrongs. Which one would survive? The one where there were things that were considered "wrong". They would then pass these beliefs on. Over time, ethics and morality, in a way, evolved through a system similar to natural selection.

What can we say about morality if it's a product of evolution?
Bennett91
Posts: 4,205
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12/29/2014 7:42:35 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/29/2014 6:37:28 AM, Envisage wrote:
At 12/29/2014 4:39:16 AM, Bennett91 wrote:
This thread is primarily for atheists and agnostics, any attempt to declare morality from God or the supernatural will be against the OP. However if any religious morals have non-religious reasons to be considered they are welcome.

If there a cohesive definition of morality? How should derive morality? On what basis do we proclaim right and wrong, if even possible? Can we so without an objective base? Do we risk slipping into nihilistic thinking or relativism? Is the atheist attempt at morality a futile effort in personal opinion imposed on others?

Glad you are finally now grappling these questions. The answer of course is to embrace nihilism.

And what does nihilism tell us? How would you form nihilism into a moral framework? Or at least what are we supposed to do in regards to forming a legal system?

My personal take is that morality can be legitimately established and cohesively applied to society.

The word "established" implicitly concedes moral realism is false.

Oh you got me! How could I be so foolish?! It's not like I said contextual morality was subjective or anything!
... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ... . . . . . . . . . ...................... VVVVVVVV
My version of morality is context based also known as contextualism. It's subjective based on the given context given that no context is necessarily universal. An act can either be good or bad depending on the given context that act occurs in.

Why is an act within contextualism good or bad? Because you defined it so by fiat? It's okay if that's the case, only that you again implicitly concede moral realism is false.

This is the 2nd problem I mentioned with my theory. It required other moral ideas to back up why the context matters. For example the act of homicide. In the context of self defense I'm comfortable saying it's morally permissible, in the context of killing in cold blood I'd say it's wrong. But in order to make a distinction I'd need to draw upon harm ethics (which would posit needless harm is bad) to make sense of why one context is good or bad. But invoking harm ethics for homicide leads to a problem, it may be turning contexual morality into a needless middleman for the application of harm ethics furthermore contextual morality may just be a framework for other morals to roost depending on context.
I'm sure you're wondering the question "but what makes harm bad?" That would probably relegated to values, if one goes against a persons value not to be harmed then it's bad, idk.

There may be a couple weaknesses to this theory of morality. 1) it could lead to relativism.

To which your only objection to seems to be that you just don't like it.

I don't like it for reasons. It's not just that I don't fancy it. Take for example female genital mutilation. Relativism would simply say it's their culture, therefore it's morally acceptable. I would object because it's a practice designed to manipulate women and harms them with the objective to deny them sexual pleasure. It's a crude procedure usually done with dirty shards of glass. It is needless and the end goal of female chastity can be carried out in a less obtrusive manner.

If we can not judge the actions of others based on their context this could allow others to commit immoral acts while saying "this is our context". I counter this by saying if we look at a the greater context we can still deem certain acts as immoral.

Seems to be an application of collectivism. Fine.

A form of global collectivism or humanism.

2) It may require a measure of presuppositional morality, even if an act requires context there is a possibility that I'm deeming that act immoral based on the idea that it is just "bad". Perhaps a counter would be that it wouldn't be a presupposition if we have good reason but even that may require the presuppositions that consequentialism or harm ethics may entail.

What do you all think? Are there any other ideas for morality? Is contextualism a viable options or does it have fatal flaws?

Why should I care about contextualism? How is that a model for how we "ought" to behave? You need something better than "I don't like it" or something along those lines.

While contextualism is good for establishing... context (lol) and it has application in *what* is moral given different systems, it doesn't actually provide a moral framework by itself.

Yes I coming to see that now.
Envisage
Posts: 3,646
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12/29/2014 7:59:00 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/29/2014 7:42:35 AM, Bennett91 wrote:
At 12/29/2014 6:37:28 AM, Envisage wrote:
At 12/29/2014 4:39:16 AM, Bennett91 wrote:
This thread is primarily for atheists and agnostics, any attempt to declare morality from God or the supernatural will be against the OP. However if any religious morals have non-religious reasons to be considered they are welcome.

If there a cohesive definition of morality? How should derive morality? On what basis do we proclaim right and wrong, if even possible? Can we so without an objective base? Do we risk slipping into nihilistic thinking or relativism? Is the atheist attempt at morality a futile effort in personal opinion imposed on others?

Glad you are finally now grappling these questions. The answer of course is to embrace nihilism.

And what does nihilism tell us?

That moral Anti-realism entails.

How would you form nihilism into a moral framework?

You don't. You simply drop the useless moral terminology.

Or at least what are we supposed to do in regards to forming a legal system?

Self-interest seems to be the most useful thing to regard for legal systems. The population wants to fulfil their self-interest (you can apply contextualism, or collectivism to this too), thus a government which works to maximise self-interest of the population is going to be the most desirable by the people.

Note that I am not advocating for myopic self-interest here.

My personal take is that morality can be legitimately established and cohesively applied to society.

The word "established" implicitly concedes moral realism is false.

Oh you got me! How could I be so foolish?! It's not like I said contextual morality was subjective or anything!

Great.

... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ... . . . . . . . . . ...................... VVVVVVVV

Ah.

My version of morality is context based also known as contextualism. It's subjective based on the given context given that no context is necessarily universal. An act can either be good or bad depending on the given context that act occurs in.

Why is an act within contextualism good or bad? Because you defined it so by fiat? It's okay if that's the case, only that you again implicitly concede moral realism is false.

This is the 2nd problem I mentioned with my theory. It required other moral ideas to back up why the context matters.

So you just convolute the issue.

For example the act of homicide. In the context of self defense I'm comfortable saying it's morally permissible, in the context of killing in cold blood I'd say it's wrong.

BUT WHY! JUST WHY!? You have completely skipped over the problem. Again, I have no problem if your answer simply is (because that's how I have defined "moral"), but be explicit if you are going to do that.

But in order to make a distinction I'd need to draw upon harm ethics (which would posit needless harm is bad) to make sense of why one context is good or bad. But invoking harm ethics for homicide leads to a problem, it may be turning contexual morality into a needless middleman for the application of harm ethics furthermore contextual morality may just be a framework for other morals to roost depending on context.

This just convolutes the issue. Now you posit harm is "bad" depending on context. Again, WHY!?

I'm sure you're wondering the question "but what makes harm bad?" That would probably relegated to values, if one goes against a persons value not to be harmed then it's bad, idk.

You should have started with this, since this is the breaking point in any moral philosophy which argues for realism. So now you are defining moral as something along the lines of "acting in accordance with societies' values", again I have absolutely no problem with defining it so, but make it explicit if you are.

There may be a couple weaknesses to this theory of morality. 1) it could lead to relativism.

To which your only objection to seems to be that you just don't like it.

I don't like it for reasons. It's not just that I don't fancy it. Take for example female genital mutilation. Relativism would simply say it's their culture, therefore it's morally acceptable. I would object because it's a practice designed to manipulate women and harms them with the objective to deny them sexual pleasure.

I struggle to see how this can possibly be made into a sound premise-conclusion argument. The presuppositions here are as thick as treacle. Now you are stating denying them sexual pleasure is "bad", or manipulating women is "bad".

BUT WHY IS THAT BAD?!

It's a crude procedure usually done with dirty shards of glass. It is needless and the end goal of female chastity can be carried out in a less obtrusive manner.

Again, WHY IS THAT BAD?! You simply are just pushing back the problem. Kicking the can further down the road. It doesn't solve anything other than appealing to emotions.
Bennett91
Posts: 4,205
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12/29/2014 8:42:23 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/29/2014 7:59:00 AM, Envisage wrote:
At 12/29/2014 7:42:35 AM, Bennett91 wrote:
At 12/29/2014 6:37:28 AM, Envisage wrote:
At 12/29/2014 4:39:16 AM, Bennett91 wrote:
This thread is primarily for atheists and agnostics, any attempt to declare morality from God or the supernatural will be against the OP. However if any religious morals have non-religious reasons to be considered they are welcome.

If there a cohesive definition of morality? How should derive morality? On what basis do we proclaim right and wrong, if even possible? Can we so without an objective base? Do we risk slipping into nihilistic thinking or relativism? Is the atheist attempt at morality a futile effort in personal opinion imposed on others?

Glad you are finally now grappling these questions. The answer of course is to embrace nihilism.

And what does nihilism tell us?

That moral Anti-realism entails.

Entails what?

How would you form nihilism into a moral framework?

You don't. You simply drop the useless moral terminology.

And where does that get us? How is one to have just cause to stop acts like rape, stealing, murder and female genital mutilation other than "we don't like it"?

Or at least what are we supposed to do in regards to forming a legal system?

Self-interest seems to be the most useful thing to regard for legal systems. The population wants to fulfil their self-interest (you can apply contextualism, or collectivism to this too), thus a government which works to maximise self-interest of the population is going to be the most desirable by the people.

But then this just makes me do what you're doing and ask WHY? What makes self-interest a valid reason of government?

Note that I am not advocating for myopic self-interest here.

I was about to 'but what about collective action problems???'

My version of morality is context based also known as contextualism. It's subjective based on the given context given that no context is necessarily universal. An act can either be good or bad depending on the given context that act occurs in.

Why is an act within contextualism good or bad? Because you defined it so by fiat? It's okay if that's the case, only that you again implicitly concede moral realism is false.

This is the 2nd problem I mentioned with my theory. It required other moral ideas to back up why the context matters.

So you just convolute the issue.

Probably, I should read some books about contextualism before I just run with the idea lol.

For example the act of homicide. In the context of self defense I'm comfortable saying it's morally permissible, in the context of killing in cold blood I'd say it's wrong.

BUT WHY! JUST WHY!? You have completely skipped over the problem. Again, I have no problem if your answer simply is (because that's how I have defined "moral"), but be explicit if you are going to do that.

But saying "because I say so" doesn't seem legitimate.

But in order to make a distinction I'd need to draw upon harm ethics (which would posit needless harm is bad) to make sense of why one context is good or bad. But invoking harm ethics for homicide leads to a problem, it may be turning contexual morality into a needless middleman for the application of harm ethics furthermore contextual morality may just be a framework for other morals to roost depending on context.

This just convolutes the issue. Now you posit harm is "bad" depending on context. Again, WHY!?

I started the thread saying context matters. Context matters because it gives us a greater understanding of the intents and reasons of the actors. It denies objective statements like "homicide is always bad" and it is context that allows us to understand the difference between both scenarios of homicide. Why is self defense ok? Because it's an attempt to defend ones most basic self-interest, the preservation of ones own person. Why murder is bad (for more context say an innocent person) is because it ignores the other persons value of self preservation. If you're going to ask why ignoring a persons self interest is bad then I ask you to answer it first.

I'm sure you're wondering the question "but what makes harm bad?" That would probably relegated to values, if one goes against a persons value not to be harmed then it's bad, idk.

You should have started with this, since this is the breaking point in any moral philosophy which argues for realism. So now you are defining moral as something along the lines of "acting in accordance with societies' values", again I have absolutely no problem with defining it so, but make it explicit if you are.

Not quite. I haven't been arguing for realism at all, and neither for societal values.

There may be a couple weaknesses to this theory of morality. 1) it could lead to relativism.

To which your only objection to seems to be that you just don't like it.

I don't like it for reasons. It's not just that I don't fancy it. Take for example female genital mutilation. Relativism would simply say it's their culture, therefore it's morally acceptable. I would object because it's a practice designed to manipulate women and harms them with the objective to deny them sexual pleasure.

I struggle to see how this can possibly be made into a sound premise-conclusion argument. The presuppositions here are as thick as treacle. Now you are stating denying them sexual pleasure is "bad", or manipulating women is "bad".

BUT WHY IS THAT BAD?!

You're making it sound like I'm trying to make objective claims. These claims are confined to the context. Do we not have good reason to say FGM is bad? Is their violation of body, free will, and self-interest not bad? We can say it's bad because it violates the Golden Rule or that humans ought to be able to live w/o needless or preventable suffering.

It's a crude procedure usually done with dirty shards of glass. It is needless and the end goal of female chastity can be carried out in a less obtrusive manner.

Again, WHY IS THAT BAD?! You simply are just pushing back the problem. Kicking the can further down the road. It doesn't solve anything other than appealing to emotions.

Does consequentialism mean nothing? Can we look at the opportunity cost of an action and say what is good bad from that? With FGM we can empirically say that if women were allowed to have more control over their bodies the living conditions and the standards of living in that society would go up. Why can't we put the moral label "good" on a practice that would increase standard of living and put the label "bad" on a practice that keeps that society in a worse off condition?
dhardage
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12/29/2014 9:09:10 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Perhaps it is overly simplistic but I'm an advocate of the principle of Enlightened Self-Interest. It is easily shown that a society in which everyone understands that it's in their best interest to help look out for everyone else's best interest would be most likely to survive. A society doesn't need thieves, that's contrary to the collective self interest. Same for murderers, rapists, and other less-than-beneficial types. At the most basic level, if we make our neighborhood safe, we will be safe. Scale that up to city, state, nation, and finally world and I think things could be a lot better.

Do I see this happening? No, there is too much opposition, too much individualism, too much of a power structure that would quash any sizable attempt to make such things happen. It's mostly a really nice dream.
Envisage
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12/29/2014 10:01:10 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
That moral Anti-realism entails.

Entails what?

It just means it follows logically. Nothing is inherently right or wrong, regardless of context. And these debate son what is moral are usually just squabbling over the definitions of "good" rather than the concepts they relate to.

How would you form nihilism into a moral framework?

You don't. You simply drop the useless moral terminology.

And where does that get us? How is one to have just cause to stop acts like rape, stealing, murder and female genital mutilation other than "we don't like it"?

It's in the next bit, and yes, pretty much "we don't like it". Thats just about it. What do you have against rape, stealing, murder, and FGM? I presume you don't like it, or don't like the idea other people experience it.

I am willing to bet a significant amount of money that's the only genuine reason why you are against those, and want to delude yourself into accepting realism to make your objections to it carry more weight than it really does.

I know this feeling myself. I watched a video a few days ago on dog slaughtering for the fur trade, which I was violently disgusted by (especially since I own pet dogs), but I know in my head it's no "worse" than slaughtering cows, and I eat those all the time. My objection to dog slaughtering is no better than your objection to rape.

We just don't like it, and want things to be different.

Or at least what are we supposed to do in regards to forming a legal system?

Self-interest seems to be the most useful thing to regard for legal systems. The population wants to fulfil their self-interest (you can apply contextualism, or collectivism to this too), thus a government which works to maximise self-interest of the population is going to be the most desirable by the people.

But then this just makes me do what you're doing and ask WHY? What makes self-interest a valid reason of government?

I was arguing from pragmatics, rather than a truth about what is moral. The simple fact is we want to fulfil our desires, which is tautologically true, since our desires is by definition what we want. Thus, IF we want to fulfil our desires, then we ought to implement a system to fulfil our desires to fulfil it.

Government is simply a social construct of the people of a sovereign, thus it's really up to the people what they want of their government. Pragmatically, a government is most sensibly used just to fulfil the desires of it's population, the government serves the people for the people. It grants easy access to self-interests such as food, shelter, resources, employment and security. That's the primary reason for US (we) to prefer it.

Probably, I should read some books about contextualism before I just run with the idea lol.

*facedesk*

For example the act of homicide. In the context of self defense I'm comfortable saying it's morally permissible, in the context of killing in cold blood I'd say it's wrong.

BUT WHY! JUST WHY!? You have completely skipped over the problem. Again, I have no problem if your answer simply is (because that's how I have defined "moral"), but be explicit if you are going to do that.

But saying "because I say so" doesn't seem legitimate.

You still haven't answered the question. HINT: There is no sound answer.

But in order to make a distinction I'd need to draw upon harm ethics (which would posit needless harm is bad) to make sense of why one context is good or bad. But invoking harm ethics for homicide leads to a problem, it may be turning contexual morality into a needless middleman for the application of harm ethics furthermore contextual morality may just be a framework for other morals to roost depending on context.

This just convolutes the issue. Now you posit harm is "bad" depending on context. Again, WHY!?

I started the thread saying context matters. Context matters because it gives us a greater understanding of the intents and reasons of the actors. It denies objective statements like "homicide is always bad" and it is context that allows us to understand the difference between both scenarios of homicide. Why is self defense ok? Because it's an attempt to defend ones most basic self-interest, the preservation of ones own person. Why murder is bad (for more context say an innocent person) is because it ignores the other persons value of self preservation. If you're going to ask why ignoring a persons self interest is bad then I ask you to answer it first.

So now you retreat to self-interest. Sounds an awful lot like what I was just advocating, only I don't refer to it as a moral system. You seem to now argue values are fundamental to what is right and wrong. You are just redefining "good" and "bad" at will.

Now you surely see why I think it's a useless label. You keep changing the value (pain, self-preservation, harm, self-interest, etc) but skip over the question of why any of these are even remotely relevant to moral realism in the first place. You don't ground your assumptions, it's like playing a game of whack-the-mole with you.


You should have started with this, since this is the breaking point in any moral philosophy which argues for realism. So now you are defining moral as something along the lines of "acting in accordance with societies' values", again I have absolutely no problem with defining it so, but make it explicit if you are.

Not quite. I haven't been arguing for realism at all, and neither for societal values.

You argue there exists a standard/context/whatever by which something genuinely is "good" or "bad" and that statement would be "true". Yet you lack any truth conditions you can possibly fulfil for it to be so.

I don't like it for reasons. It's not just that I don't fancy it. Take for example female genital mutilation. Relativism would simply say it's their culture, therefore it's morally acceptable. I would object because it's a practice designed to manipulate women and harms them with the objective to deny them sexual pleasure.

I struggle to see how this can possibly be made into a sound premise-conclusion argument. The presuppositions here are as thick as treacle. Now you are stating denying them sexual pleasure is "bad", or manipulating women is "bad".

BUT WHY IS THAT BAD?!


You're making it sound like I'm trying to make objective claims. These claims are confined to the context. Do we not have good reason to say FGM is bad?

No, we don't. That's my point.

Is their violation of body, free will, and self-interest not bad?

No, it's not. That's my point.

We can say it's bad because it violates the Golden Rule or that humans ought to be able to live w/o needless or preventable suffering.

You just shift the goalposts yet again. How many times are you going to redefine what would qualify as "good" and "bad"?

Now we have pain, self-preservation, harm, self-interest,and now the "golden rule". You simply keep kicking the can down the road.

Does consequentialism mean nothing? Can we look at the opportunity cost of an action and say what is good bad from that?

At best you can get "good for me" or "bad for them" or "bad for society" statements with context. Which is fine, but that's clearly now what you are hoping for. You have still yet to come up with a principle by which things are moral. Again you can just define moral to be "what minimises hard" or "what maximises self-interest" etc., but at least be honest about it.

With FGM we can empirically say that if women were allowed to have more control over their bodies the living conditions and the standards of living in that society would go up. Why can't we put the moral label "good" on a practice that would increase standard of living and put the label "bad" on a practice that keeps that society in
Envisage
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12/29/2014 10:02:05 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/29/2014 9:09:10 AM, dhardage wrote:
Perhaps it is overly simplistic but I'm an advocate of the principle of Enlightened Self-Interest. It is easily shown that a society in which everyone understands that it's in their best interest to help look out for everyone else's best interest would be most likely to survive. A society doesn't need thieves, that's contrary to the collective self interest. Same for murderers, rapists, and other less-than-beneficial types. At the most basic level, if we make our neighborhood safe, we will be safe. Scale that up to city, state, nation, and finally world and I think things could be a lot better.

Do I see this happening? No, there is too much opposition, too much individualism, too much of a power structure that would quash any sizable attempt to make such things happen. It's mostly a really nice dream.

Wow, someone that agrees with me. That's new.
dhardage
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12/29/2014 10:20:21 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/29/2014 10:02:05 AM, Envisage wrote:
At 12/29/2014 9:09:10 AM, dhardage wrote:
Perhaps it is overly simplistic but I'm an advocate of the principle of Enlightened Self-Interest. It is easily shown that a society in which everyone understands that it's in their best interest to help look out for everyone else's best interest would be most likely to survive. A society doesn't need thieves, that's contrary to the collective self interest. Same for murderers, rapists, and other less-than-beneficial types. At the most basic level, if we make our neighborhood safe, we will be safe. Scale that up to city, state, nation, and finally world and I think things could be a lot better.

Do I see this happening? No, there is too much opposition, too much individualism, too much of a power structure that would quash any sizable attempt to make such things happen. It's mostly a really nice dream.

Wow, someone that agrees with me. That's new.

I've had over half a century of observation and consideration to come to my conclusions. I don't claim in great revelations or even original thinking but 'do unto others as you'd have them do unto you' and 'love thy neighbor as thyself' seem like pretty good advice. It's just a pity that so few people want to follow it.
dhardage
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12/29/2014 10:36:31 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/29/2014 10:27:11 AM, Wylted wrote:
My morals begin and end with

"Do What though Wilt" (Aleister Crowley)

My version reads "And it harms no other, do what thou wilt shall be the whole if the law"

A book I read once had a character describing himself as a rational anarchist.He would obey the laws he felt were right and ignore those he felt were wrong, fully aware that there would be consequences. Once he explained it I understood it to be a very reasonable outlook.
Wylted
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12/29/2014 10:39:47 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/29/2014 10:36:31 AM, dhardage wrote:
At 12/29/2014 10:27:11 AM, Wylted wrote:
My morals begin and end with

"Do What though Wilt" (Aleister Crowley)

My version reads "And it harms no other, do what thou wilt shall be the whole if the law"

A book I read once had a character describing himself as a rational anarchist.He would obey the laws he felt were right and ignore those he felt were wrong, fully aware that there would be consequences. Once he explained it I understood it to be a very reasonable outlook.

The "and it harms no other". I just don't think the last part is necessary. I also disagree with the assertion that hurting other people is wrong. The only wrong type of hurt is the hurt I feel.
bornofgod
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12/29/2014 10:44:25 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/29/2014 4:39:16 AM, Bennett91 wrote:
This thread is primarily for atheists and agnostics, any attempt to declare morality from God or the supernatural will be against the OP. However if any religious morals have non-religious reasons to be considered they are welcome.

If there a cohesive definition of morality? How should derive morality? On what basis do we proclaim right and wrong, if even possible? Can we so without an objective base? Do we risk slipping into nihilistic thinking or relativism? Is the atheist attempt at morality a futile effort in personal opinion imposed on others?

My personal take is that morality can be legitimately established and cohesively applied to society. My version of morality is context based also known as contextualism. It's subjective based on the given context given that no context is necessarily universal. An act can either be good or bad depending on the given context that act occurs in.

There may be a couple weaknesses to this theory of morality. 1) it could lead to relativism. If we can not judge the actions of others based on their context this could allow others to commit immoral acts while saying "this is our context". I counter this by saying if we look at a the greater context we can still deem certain acts as immoral. 2) It may require a measure of presuppositional morality, even if an act requires context there is a possibility that I'm deeming that act immoral based on the idea that it is just "bad". Perhaps a counter would be that it wouldn't be a presupposition if we have good reason but eventhat may require the presuppositions that consequentialism or harm ethics may entail.

What do you all think? Are there any other ideas for morality? Is contextualism a viable options or does it have fatal flaws?

God created morality to keep His people focused on good and evil ( the tree of the knowledge of good and evil ) rather than listen to His voice and obey His commandments and learn about the tree of life.
dhardage
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12/29/2014 10:49:10 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/29/2014 10:39:47 AM, Wylted wrote:
At 12/29/2014 10:36:31 AM, dhardage wrote:
At 12/29/2014 10:27:11 AM, Wylted wrote:
My morals begin and end with

"Do What though Wilt" (Aleister Crowley)

My version reads "And it harms no other, do what thou wilt shall be the whole if the law"

A book I read once had a character describing himself as a rational anarchist.He would obey the laws he felt were right and ignore those he felt were wrong, fully aware that there would be consequences. Once he explained it I understood it to be a very reasonable outlook.

The "and it harms no other". I just don't think the last part is necessary. I also disagree with the assertion that hurting other people is wrong. The only wrong type of hurt is the hurt I feel.

Then, my friend, you lack empathy. You also endanger yourself for if you do what you will and harm others in the process, you threaten your own existence from retribution. Your morality, in my view, is self defeating as it ignores the propensity for men to be social and their need to be in groups. If you threaten other members, the group will take action. Police, courts, that sort of thing, or even a good punch in the nose. I prefer my version.
Wylted
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12/29/2014 11:02:37 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/29/2014 10:49:10 AM, dhardage wrote:
At 12/29/2014 10:39:47 AM, Wylted wrote:
At 12/29/2014 10:36:31 AM, dhardage wrote:
At 12/29/2014 10:27:11 AM, Wylted wrote:
My morals begin and end with

"Do What though Wilt" (Aleister Crowley)

My version reads "And it harms no other, do what thou wilt shall be the whole if the law"

A book I read once had a character describing himself as a rational anarchist.He would obey the laws he felt were right and ignore those he felt were wrong, fully aware that there would be consequences. Once he explained it I understood it to be a very reasonable outlook.

The "and it harms no other". I just don't think the last part is necessary. I also disagree with the assertion that hurting other people is wrong. The only wrong type of hurt is the hurt I feel.

Then, my friend, you lack empathy.

I have empathy. It would hurt me greatly to harm somebody else, in a significant way. So my refusal to harm another is for completely selfish reasons but I don't find doing so immoral.

You also endanger yourself for if you do what you will and harm others in the process, you threaten your own existence from retribution.

It's not my will to be harmed, so that's something I take into account.

Your morality, in my view, is self defeating as it ignores the propensity for men to be social and their need to be in groups.

I'm social when I see fit, but I can go without it. I don't think it's self defeating at all but I think how I'm describing it comes across as harsher than it is and in practice it doesn't look much different than any other philosophy that society deems acceptable.

If you threaten other members, the group will take action. Police, courts, that sort of thing, or even a good punch in the nose. I prefer my version.

It's not my will to go to prison or get punched. I think my actions and how I practice my philosophy, relay that.
dhardage
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12/29/2014 11:09:41 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/29/2014 11:02:37 AM, Wylted wrote:
At 12/29/2014 10:49:10 AM, dhardage wrote:
At 12/29/2014 10:39:47 AM, Wylted wrote:
At 12/29/2014 10:36:31 AM, dhardage wrote:
At 12/29/2014 10:27:11 AM, Wylted wrote:
My morals begin and end with

"Do What though Wilt" (Aleister Crowley)

My version reads "And it harms no other, do what thou wilt shall be the whole if the law"

A book I read once had a character describing himself as a rational anarchist.He would obey the laws he felt were right and ignore those he felt were wrong, fully aware that there would be consequences. Once he explained it I understood it to be a very reasonable outlook.

The "and it harms no other". I just don't think the last part is necessary. I also disagree with the assertion that hurting other people is wrong. The only wrong type of hurt is the hurt I feel.

Then, my friend, you lack empathy.

I have empathy. It would hurt me greatly to harm somebody else, in a significant way. So my refusal to harm another is for completely selfish reasons but I don't find doing so immoral.


You also endanger yourself for if you do what you will and harm others in the process, you threaten your own existence from retribution.

It's not my will to be harmed, so that's something I take into account.

Your morality, in my view, is self defeating as it ignores the propensity for men to be social and their need to be in groups.

I'm social when I see fit, but I can go without it. I don't think it's self defeating at all but I think how I'm describing it comes across as harsher than it is and in practice it doesn't look much different than any other philosophy that society deems acceptable.


If you threaten other members, the group will take action. Police, courts, that sort of thing, or even a good punch in the nose. I prefer my version.

It's not my will to go to prison or get punched. I think my actions and how I practice my philosophy, relay that.

Perhaps your actions and practice do but your words do not. "Do as thou wilt" actually sounds sociopathic, IMO, showing that you do not value the welfare of anyone but yourself. If you actually placed no limits on doing as you wish I would say you will soon run afoul of that social nature I mentioned. It's good to know that you are practical enough to realize the pitfalls and make an effort to avoid them.

I think perhaps you misunderstood my use of the word 'social'. I don't mean just being in the company of others, but thinking of oneself as part of a larger group. A tribe, a nation, a race, all of the divisions of population we have devised as a race over the centuries.
Wylted
Posts: 21,167
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12/29/2014 11:22:09 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/29/2014 11:09:41 AM, dhardage wrote:
At 12/29/2014 11:02:37 AM, Wylted wrote:
At 12/29/2014 10:49:10 AM, dhardage wrote:
At 12/29/2014 10:39:47 AM, Wylted wrote:
At 12/29/2014 10:36:31 AM, dhardage wrote:
At 12/29/2014 10:27:11 AM, Wylted wrote:
My morals begin and end with

"Do What though Wilt" (Aleister Crowley)

My version reads "And it harms no other, do what thou wilt shall be the whole if the law"

A book I read once had a character describing himself as a rational anarchist.He would obey the laws he felt were right and ignore those he felt were wrong, fully aware that there would be consequences. Once he explained it I understood it to be a very reasonable outlook.

The "and it harms no other". I just don't think the last part is necessary. I also disagree with the assertion that hurting other people is wrong. The only wrong type of hurt is the hurt I feel.

Then, my friend, you lack empathy.

I have empathy. It would hurt me greatly to harm somebody else, in a significant way. So my refusal to harm another is for completely selfish reasons but I don't find doing so immoral.


You also endanger yourself for if you do what you will and harm others in the process, you threaten your own existence from retribution.

It's not my will to be harmed, so that's something I take into account.

Your morality, in my view, is self defeating as it ignores the propensity for men to be social and their need to be in groups.

I'm social when I see fit, but I can go without it. I don't think it's self defeating at all but I think how I'm describing it comes across as harsher than it is and in practice it doesn't look much different than any other philosophy that society deems acceptable.


If you threaten other members, the group will take action. Police, courts, that sort of thing, or even a good punch in the nose. I prefer my version.

It's not my will to go to prison or get punched. I think my actions and how I practice my philosophy, relay that.

Perhaps your actions and practice do but your words do not. "Do as thou wilt" actually sounds sociopathic, IMO, showing that you do not value the welfare of anyone but yourself. If you actually placed no limits on doing as you wish I would say you will soon run afoul of that social nature I mentioned. It's good to know that you are practical enough to realize the pitfalls and make an effort to avoid them.

I think perhaps you misunderstood my use of the word 'social'. I don't mean just being in the company of others, but thinking of oneself as part of a larger group. A tribe, a nation, a race, all of the divisions of population we have devised as a race over the centuries.

I view myself as an individual. I don't want to be associated with any race or other group. My interests align almost perfectly with the transhumanist movement so I have a hard time not referring to myself as a transhumanist but I don't feel any special belonging to anything and I wish more people were like that.

I know it's a weakness to shed these group identities when others don't but I think it makes more more relatable to more groups. It's why as a white guy I can have friends who are literally black supremacists. I don't take their hate towards white people personally because I don't label myself as white.

When they say the world would be better with the white race eliminated, it hardly registers that they're talking about me. There might be a lot less hate in this world if people didn't feel obligated to associate with groups they were born into. Or worse political or religious groups.

I seriously have good friends and contacts because I refuse to wear a label either internally or externally. There are some extremely good, but hateful people out there who I'd never have the pleasure of associating with if it weren't for not identifying with groups.

I'm not a sociopath so this philosophy is good for me. For a sociopath any philosophy is bad. They seem to distort any philosophy they cling to. Even if it's a really loving philosophy, sociopaths apply it in a sick way.

The best thing to do with sociopaths is to not give them any power. Society needs them and is better for having a handful of them but it's our responsibility to realize they exist and treat them appropriately. They're typically not interested in philosophy of any sort anyway.

In summary- A sociopathic philosophy is good to balance people out who have extreme empathy, like me but likely self defeating for an actual sociopath. The philosophy helps me walk what the Buddhists call the middle path. It would harm that for a sociopath.

A
dhardage
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12/29/2014 11:29:13 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/29/2014 11:22:09 AM, Wylted wrote:
At 12/29/2014 11:09:41 AM, dhardage wrote:
At 12/29/2014 11:02:37 AM, Wylted wrote:
At 12/29/2014 10:49:10 AM, dhardage wrote:
At 12/29/2014 10:39:47 AM, Wylted wrote:
At 12/29/2014 10:36:31 AM, dhardage wrote:
At 12/29/2014 10:27:11 AM, Wylted wrote:
My morals begin and end with

"Do What though Wilt" (Aleister Crowley)

My version reads "And it harms no other, do what thou wilt shall be the whole if the law"

A book I read once had a character describing himself as a rational anarchist.He would obey the laws he felt were right and ignore those he felt were wrong, fully aware that there would be consequences. Once he explained it I understood it to be a very reasonable outlook.

The "and it harms no other". I just don't think the last part is necessary. I also disagree with the assertion that hurting other people is wrong. The only wrong type of hurt is the hurt I feel.

Then, my friend, you lack empathy.

I have empathy. It would hurt me greatly to harm somebody else, in a significant way. So my refusal to harm another is for completely selfish reasons but I don't find doing so immoral.


You also endanger yourself for if you do what you will and harm others in the process, you threaten your own existence from retribution.

It's not my will to be harmed, so that's something I take into account.

Your morality, in my view, is self defeating as it ignores the propensity for men to be social and their need to be in groups.

I'm social when I see fit, but I can go without it. I don't think it's self defeating at all but I think how I'm describing it comes across as harsher than it is and in practice it doesn't look much different than any other philosophy that society deems acceptable.


If you threaten other members, the group will take action. Police, courts, that sort of thing, or even a good punch in the nose. I prefer my version.

It's not my will to go to prison or get punched. I think my actions and how I practice my philosophy, relay that.

Perhaps your actions and practice do but your words do not. "Do as thou wilt" actually sounds sociopathic, IMO, showing that you do not value the welfare of anyone but yourself. If you actually placed no limits on doing as you wish I would say you will soon run afoul of that social nature I mentioned. It's good to know that you are practical enough to realize the pitfalls and make an effort to avoid them.

I think perhaps you misunderstood my use of the word 'social'. I don't mean just being in the company of others, but thinking of oneself as part of a larger group. A tribe, a nation, a race, all of the divisions of population we have devised as a race over the centuries.

I view myself as an individual. I don't want to be associated with any race or other group. My interests align almost perfectly with the transhumanist movement so I have a hard time not referring to myself as a transhumanist but I don't feel any special belonging to anything and I wish more people were like that.

I know it's a weakness to shed these group identities when others don't but I think it makes more more relatable to more groups. It's why as a white guy I can have friends who are literally black supremacists. I don't take their hate towards white people personally because I don't label myself as white.

When they say the world would be better with the white race eliminated, it hardly registers that they're talking about me. There might be a lot less hate in this world if people didn't feel obligated to associate with groups they were born into. Or worse political or religious groups.

I seriously have good friends and contacts because I refuse to wear a label either internally or externally. There are some extremely good, but hateful people out there who I'd never have the pleasure of associating with if it weren't for not identifying with groups.

I'm not a sociopath so this philosophy is good for me. For a sociopath any philosophy is bad. They seem to distort any philosophy they cling to. Even if it's a really loving philosophy, sociopaths apply it in a sick way.

The best thing to do with sociopaths is to not give them any power. Society needs them and is better for having a handful of them but it's our responsibility to realize they exist and treat them appropriately. They're typically not interested in philosophy of any sort anyway.

In summary- A sociopathic philosophy is good to balance people out who have extreme empathy, like me but likely self defeating for an actual sociopath. The philosophy helps me walk what the Buddhists call the middle path. It would harm that for a sociopath.

A

I can see that we have a fundamental difference of opinions. There is no benefit in a sociopathic mentality and empathy for on another is not a bad thing. While tribalism, the us against them mentality, is detrimental it is not a true reflection of an empathetic people because they limit it to a small group and deny it to the rest of the population. I see universal empathy as the way to safety, security, and happiness.
bornofgod
Posts: 11,322
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12/29/2014 11:33:33 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/29/2014 11:22:09 AM, Wylted wrote:
At 12/29/2014 11:09:41 AM, dhardage wrote:
At 12/29/2014 11:02:37 AM, Wylted wrote:
At 12/29/2014 10:49:10 AM, dhardage wrote:
At 12/29/2014 10:39:47 AM, Wylted wrote:
At 12/29/2014 10:36:31 AM, dhardage wrote:
At 12/29/2014 10:27:11 AM, Wylted wrote:
My morals begin and end with

"Do What though Wilt" (Aleister Crowley)

My version reads "And it harms no other, do what thou wilt shall be the whole if the law"

A book I read once had a character describing himself as a rational anarchist.He would obey the laws he felt were right and ignore those he felt were wrong, fully aware that there would be consequences. Once he explained it I understood it to be a very reasonable outlook.

The "and it harms no other". I just don't think the last part is necessary. I also disagree with the assertion that hurting other people is wrong. The only wrong type of hurt is the hurt I feel.

Then, my friend, you lack empathy.

I have empathy. It would hurt me greatly to harm somebody else, in a significant way. So my refusal to harm another is for completely selfish reasons but I don't find doing so immoral.


You also endanger yourself for if you do what you will and harm others in the process, you threaten your own existence from retribution.

It's not my will to be harmed, so that's something I take into account.

Your morality, in my view, is self defeating as it ignores the propensity for men to be social and their need to be in groups.

I'm social when I see fit, but I can go without it. I don't think it's self defeating at all but I think how I'm describing it comes across as harsher than it is and in practice it doesn't look much different than any other philosophy that society deems acceptable.


If you threaten other members, the group will take action. Police, courts, that sort of thing, or even a good punch in the nose. I prefer my version.

It's not my will to go to prison or get punched. I think my actions and how I practice my philosophy, relay that.

Perhaps your actions and practice do but your words do not. "Do as thou wilt" actually sounds sociopathic, IMO, showing that you do not value the welfare of anyone but yourself. If you actually placed no limits on doing as you wish I would say you will soon run afoul of that social nature I mentioned. It's good to know that you are practical enough to realize the pitfalls and make an effort to avoid them.

I think perhaps you misunderstood my use of the word 'social'. I don't mean just being in the company of others, but thinking of oneself as part of a larger group. A tribe, a nation, a race, all of the divisions of population we have devised as a race over the centuries.

I view myself as an individual. I don't want to be associated with any race or other group. My interests align almost perfectly with the transhumanist movement so I have a hard time not referring to myself as a transhumanist but I don't feel any special belonging to anything and I wish more people were like that.

I know it's a weakness to shed these group identities when others don't but I think it makes more more relatable to more groups. It's why as a white guy I can have friends who are literally black supremacists. I don't take their hate towards white people personally because I don't label myself as white.

When they say the world would be better with the white race eliminated, it hardly registers that they're talking about me. There might be a lot less hate in this world if people didn't feel obligated to associate with groups they were born into. Or worse political or religious groups.

I seriously have good friends and contacts because I refuse to wear a label either internally or externally. There are some extremely good, but hateful people out there who I'd never have the pleasure of associating with if it weren't for not identifying with groups.

I'm not a sociopath so this philosophy is good for me. For a sociopath any philosophy is bad. They seem to distort any philosophy they cling to. Even if it's a really loving philosophy, sociopaths apply it in a sick way.

The best thing to do with sociopaths is to not give them any power. Society needs them and is better for having a handful of them but it's our responsibility to realize they exist and treat them appropriately. They're typically not interested in philosophy of any sort anyway.

In summary- A sociopathic philosophy is good to balance people out who have extreme empathy, like me but likely self defeating for an actual sociopath. The philosophy helps me walk what the Buddhists call the middle path. It would harm that for a sociopath.

A
You would make a great saint my friend. We're not here to judge anyone. We're only here to tell God's people that we're created in the same exact mind. It's the illusions that God formed for His people to experience themselves and this world that are confusing. It's a good thing we won't be confused by what we observe in the next age.
DanneJeRusse
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12/29/2014 12:16:44 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/29/2014 12:07:27 PM, Benshapiro wrote:
Instinct can be a basis for objective morality.

Except, for the fact that instinct can often be wrong.
Marrying a 6 year old and waiting until she reaches puberty and maturity before having consensual sex is better than walking up to
a stranger in a bar and proceeding to have relations with no valid proof of the intent of the person. Muhammad wins. ~ Fatihah
If they don't want to be killed then they have to subdue to the Islamic laws. - Uncung
Without God, you are lower than sh!t. ~ SpiritandTruth
Jingram994
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12/29/2014 1:14:32 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/29/2014 10:01:10 AM, Envisage wrote:
It's in the next bit, and yes, pretty much "we don't like it". Thats just about it. What do you have against rape, stealing, murder, and FGM? I presume you don't like it, or don't like the idea other people experience it.

I couldn't disagree more strongly. Morality, generally speaking, does not have non-cognitive elements. However any individual, or number of individuals, may subjectively feel about something, if they cannot state a genuine, legitimate *reason* not grounded in their personal feelings regarding *why* something is 'wrong', then they have not given an argument for that thing being wrong. Rape inherently violates consent; we can reason that violating consent is not moral as having the ability to be taken seriously as a person (which is what consent indicates, essentially) is a necessary aspect of being a sapient being capable of meaningful individual existence, emotions, reasoning etc., else we relegate literally everything relating to this concept to having no real, determined or assigned value at all, ever, which seems patently unrealistic and at odds with how individual beings actually think, feel and generally function. Feelings do matter inasmuch as they inform consent and general decision-making, but that doesn't equate to something being immoral *because* of how a random individual feels. And the feelings of individuals who simply are not affected by a given situation don't matter *at all* to any reasonable definition of morality.

I am willing to bet a significant amount of money that's the only genuine reason why you are against those, and want to delude yourself into accepting realism to make your objections to it carry more weight than it really does.

If he can enunciate a reason outside of his personal feelings regarding *why* he believes X is immoral, that simply is not true. Such reasoning may or may not be inspired by his feelings, but so long as he can state a legitimate reason it doesn't matter. You can disagree with the reasoning, or actually argue the core principles leading through said reasoning to his conclusion, but you can't just say "I don't share those principles so there, you're wrong".

I know this feeling myself. I watched a video a few days ago on dog slaughtering for the fur trade, which I was violently disgusted by (especially since I own pet dogs), but I know in my head it's no "worse" than slaughtering cows, and I eat those all the time. My objection to dog slaughtering is no better than your objection to rape.

An animal, which had done no wrong and did not 'deserve' to be killed out of hand, was butchered so that part of its body could be harvested. In the instance of the dog, this was done for the sake of fashion, essentially, which is not something anyone actually 'needs', whereas everybody *does* need food to continue living. Assuming you put any value on human life, killing a cow (which, unlike many breeds of dog, can't just be released into the wild and expected to survive, so they're going to die regardless) to eat can be justified, whereas killing a dog which is not likewise going to be used for sustenance cannot.

Government is simply a social construct of the people of a sovereign, thus it's really up to the people what they want of their government. Pragmatically, a government is most sensibly used just to fulfil the desires of it's population, the government serves the people for the people. It grants easy access to self-interests such as food, shelter, resources, employment and security. That's the primary reason for US (we) to prefer it.

Correct. This does not necessarily make any government that does whatever it's constituent citizens want a 'good government', just an efficient one. For example, the majority position in a given country may want to violently eradicate a small minority of individuals within the country who are harming nobody; government assistance to do just that cannot be justified and is beyond the bounds of what any government has legitimate authority to do.

You still haven't answered the question. HINT: There is no sound answer.

Killing in self-defence is morally acceptable as I, as an individual, matter at least as much as any other individual, including the one attempting to kill me. Assuming I have not done anything to warrant someone trying to kill me, I have the right to exercise approximately as much force as is being used against me against anyone attempting to harm me, and the individual attempting to kill me actually deserves to have such force used on them. This right follows directly from the root value of individual people having value in themselves.

You argue there exists a standard/context/whatever by which something genuinely is "good" or "bad" and that statement would be "true". Yet you lack any truth conditions you can possibly fulfil for it to be so.

Right. All we can do is *reason* what moral values *should* be. Something being moral or immoral *requires* there be an actual, in-context reason for it being so, else it is just a tautological, meaningless value and not what 'morality' is actually used to mean. Showing that something is moral does not require fulfilling a 'truth value', it requires showing legitimate reasoning from reasonable core principles.
So, "Individuals have inherent worth, and deserve to be taken seriously as individuals, thus rape, which is a violation of consent, is immoral" is a reasonable, legitimate moral statement.
"Rape is immoral, [because] I don't like it" or "Rape is immoral because X 'holy" book says so' are not, as they are not based on reasoning, and even if you could tangentially figure it that way are not based on reasonable principles.

No, we don't. That's my point.

Running from the assumption that individuals matter/have value (it seems kind of odd that you would argue against this as a core principle, as you appear to have an opinion and I would assume you take it, and your ability and right to have & share it, at least as seriously as I do my own), the mere fact that the people it is done to have not actually consented to it occurring is reason for it to be considered immoral. Even if we didn't consider it so, it is still involuntary bodily mutilation done for no legitimate medical reason, so no reasonable person or group of people *should* even consider doing it regardless.

At best you can get "good for me" or "bad for them" or "bad for society" statements with context. Which is fine, but that's clearly now what you are hoping for. You have still yet to come up with a principle by which things are moral. Again you can just define moral to be "what minimises hard" or "what maximises self-interest" etc., but at least be honest about it.

'Context' is situational, not individual-or-perspective-dependent. Circumstances matter, what individuals involved personally feel (with regards to the morality of the situation, not the circumstances themselves; ie. a woman being terrified about an upcoming, involuntary and unnecessary, operation and not wishing to undergo it *does* matter, as that constitutes 'not consenting' and is what makes such an operation immoral, whereas the opinion of anyone else involved in the situation does not matter, as the morality of the operation is not dependent upon *their* consent). Morality is dependent upon the reasoning of moral agents, and to a lesser extent the feelings of moral agents who are actually affected by the situation, at least inasmuch as this will inform their consent or lack thereof. Something that does not affect moral agents cannot be moral or immoral.
SNP1
Posts: 2,403
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12/29/2014 2:37:42 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/29/2014 7:13:57 AM, Bennett91 wrote:
At 12/29/2014 6:27:44 AM, SNP1 wrote:
This is my take on morality.

There are no actual "rights" or "wrongs". They are constructs that humans invented.

What is "right" and "wrong" is different for each person. We each make our own moral code. We might derive it from ethics (the commonly shared moral positions of the society in which we live), we might get it from empathy, we might have been raised a certain way.

We can say that someone is doing "wrong" if there is a moral position that is agreed upon by the vast majority of people within society (meaning we can say that murder is "wrong", while it is, in reality, not right or wrong).

What is ethical can change over time as the common moral positions change. If something is agreed upon 40-60%, then it is debatable (abortion fits this right now).

This sounds like moral relativism legitimized by ad populum.

Let me try to explain it better.

Let's take 2 people, X and Y.

X finds the word "potato" to be immoral.
Y says the word "potato".
X is offended.

So what. Morals do not actually exist.

Now, let's say that we are talking about a society.
Let's say that 90% find the word "potato" immoral.
Now, Y says "potato".
90% of the people would be offended, but so what?

Morals still do not exist.
However, now we can talk about ethics (societal level morality).

If Y is the type to say potato a lot, it might be harder for him to find a job, make friends, etc.
This is because saying the word "potato" is unethical.

There are still no real "rights" or real "wrongs", but there can be impacts from actions you might take when the majority hold certain views.

As you said it, relativism legitimized by ad populum.

While there are no "rights" or "wrongs" for not following societal ethics, societal ethics can still be important. How they are important is that they can impact which laws get made or not.

Now, as to why morals were first developed, they helped in the development of societies.

Imagine 2 tribes, one where murder, thievery, rape, etc. were "wrong", the other where there were no wrongs. Which one would survive? The one where there were things that were considered "wrong". They would then pass these beliefs on. Over time, ethics and morality, in a way, evolved through a system similar to natural selection.

What can we say about morality if it's a product of evolution?

Morality itself is not a product of evolution. Empathy is, which can help establish certain moral views, a product of evolution.

Which morals get passed on (when you teach the next generation of what is "right" and "wrong") follows something similar to evolution.
If someone does not find murder immoral, and they murder someone, they are less likely to raise kids (someone might kill them back, they might get arrested, etc.), and therefore less likely to pass on their view of morality.

Not biological evolution, but moral evolution.

Again, morals do not actually exist.

Morals do not exist in reality.
Morals do exist in practice (practicality).
#TheApatheticNihilistPartyofAmerica
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Skepsikyma
Posts: 8,280
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12/29/2014 11:53:53 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Morality could be used to describe two things. The first is a culturally imposed code of conduct which regulates the actions of members in regard to one another, and governs the nature of humans on a social, national, and religious level. The second is an individual code of conduct, which for each person guides their relationship to both the physical world around them and the other people around them. The first type is what most think of when they think of a religious moral code, and usually takes predominance over any personal code when a person is religious. Reform movements, revolutions, and ideological innovations begin when the cultural code and the personal codes of its followers drift to a point where there is a stark discrepancy, and a reconciliation must take place lest the group loose its cohesion.

What happens with many atheists, in my opinion, is that they are alone in their grievances, a reconciliation never takes place, they break from their religion. However, they never really scrap the morality which they inherited from it, seeking to shore up moral axioms which have become essential to them through rationalization. They are also influenced, of course, by cultural norms and political ideology. These influences, and the degree to which they are abandoned or maintained, and their overlap make the many moral codes of atheists inexhaustibly variable.
"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 -
Amoranemix
Posts: 521
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12/30/2014 3:00:06 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I'll present my insights as they differ from what other people have presented. I made an original post in the thread 'The subjectivity of objective morality' where I explain what morality being (sub/ob)jective can mean and provide a type definition for morality, i.e. give my view on what sort of concept morality is. It is assumed to be read :
www.debate.org/forums/religion/topic/58373/

There is much more to be said, but I'll skip to get to the point to reduce people's excuse for not reading my post : I propose a definition for morality, i.e. I will provide a moral standard by which classification is to be done. I use a standard where morality is a real number. So it is actually a formula that can in principle be calculated. Unfortunately so far my laziness has prevented me from working out the details.

I rely on the following concepts: well-being, intention, interior world and exterior world.
Intention is the motive, goal, awareness of consequences of an agent and as most people will agree, is important for establishing morality.
The world is divided in two parts : the interior world, that is the agent itself, and the exterior world, which is everything but the agent.
The world is the universe plus everything else there might be, like Heaven and Hell.

Now I rely on the following postulate :

Well-being is a quantifiable property with intrinsic value.

Well-being is a property of the world, but also of subsets of the world (like humans). Anything physical can have well-being, but most have well-being zero. Happyness is the most obvious form of well-being. The opposite of well-being is ill-being :

ill-being = - well-being

Intention can also be transformed into a number as the expected change of the exterior world's well-being associated with the intended action. (That is a simplified definition because it ignores the interior world.) So if I do something expecting it to decrease the well-being of the exterior world (like stealing) that would be a malevolent intention.

Then it is just a matter of playing around with the defined concepts to arrive at a satisfactory formula. A not so satisfactory but simple formula to determine the moral value (mv) of an action is :

mv(action) = intention(action)

The above formula says that the morality of an action equals the agent's expectation of how the action will change the well-being of the rest of the world.
So if an agent rapes babies because he thinks it is good for them to be raped, then that would be benevolent of him. It would also be stupid, but that is a different issue.

The above morality is too simple, but you should get the idea. It takes into account context (since it involves the whole world) and can be applied to any situation to give you an objective moral value. The main problem is that it is in practice incalculable. The spirit of the formula can however be applied and is applied in civilized societies today. A bonus for apologists is that it doesn't require a god.

There is more to be said on this subject, but I don't even know whether people are interested, so I'll leave it at that for now.
The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth.
Bennett91
Posts: 4,205
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1/4/2015 12:39:40 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 12/30/2014 3:00:06 PM, Amoranemix wrote:
I'll present my insights as they differ from what other people have presented. I made an original post in the thread 'The subjectivity of objective morality' where I explain what morality being (sub/ob)jective can mean and provide a type definition for morality, i.e. give my view on what sort of concept morality is. It is assumed to be read :
www.debate.org/forums/religion/topic/58373/

There is much more to be said, but I'll skip to get to the point to reduce people's excuse for not reading my post : I propose a definition for morality, i.e. I will provide a moral standard by which classification is to be done. I use a standard where morality is a real number. So it is actually a formula that can in principle be calculated. Unfortunately so far my laziness has prevented me from working out the details.

I rely on the following concepts: well-being, intention, interior world and exterior world.
Intention is the motive, goal, awareness of consequences of an agent and as most people will agree, is important for establishing morality.
The world is divided in two parts : the interior world, that is the agent itself, and the exterior world, which is everything but the agent.
The world is the universe plus everything else there might be, like Heaven and Hell.

Now I rely on the following postulate :

Well-being is a quantifiable property with intrinsic value.

Well-being is a property of the world, but also of subsets of the world (like humans). Anything physical can have well-being, but most have well-being zero. Happyness is the most obvious form of well-being. The opposite of well-being is ill-being :

ill-being = - well-being

Intention can also be transformed into a number as the expected change of the exterior world's well-being associated with the intended action. (That is a simplified definition because it ignores the interior world.) So if I do something expecting it to decrease the well-being of the exterior world (like stealing) that would be a malevolent intention.

Then it is just a matter of playing around with the defined concepts to arrive at a satisfactory formula. A not so satisfactory but simple formula to determine the moral value (mv) of an action is :

mv(action) = intention(action)

The above formula says that the morality of an action equals the agent's expectation of how the action will change the well-being of the rest of the world.
So if an agent rapes babies because he thinks it is good for them to be raped, then that would be benevolent of him. It would also be stupid, but that is a different issue.

The above morality is too simple, but you should get the idea. It takes into account context (since it involves the whole world) and can be applied to any situation to give you an objective moral value. The main problem is that it is in practice incalculable. The spirit of the formula can however be applied and is applied in civilized societies today. A bonus for apologists is that it doesn't require a god.

There is more to be said on this subject, but I don't even know whether people are interested, so I'll leave it at that for now.

The reason I didn't respond to this was because it your formulaic morality still requires subjective numeric inputs. Also, well being is not a great base line because it precludes self sacrifice as a "good". Also your link didn't work and I'm too lazy to copy paste into the URL lol
Amoranemix
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1/4/2015 2:59:57 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
Sorry about the bad link. Here is the correct one for 'The objectivity of subjective morality' :
http://www.debate.org...

Your observations hardly constitute a reason for not responding.

It does require subjective input in practice. What subjective numeric inputs does my morality require in principle ? And even if that is the case, so what ? Can you propose a morality that is perfect ?

Please explain how well-being precludes self-sacrifice as good.

Sorry for not responding to other people's posts yet, but I don't have time now and I am just doing what everyone else does, except that I read every post.
The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth.
Bennett91
Posts: 4,205
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1/4/2015 7:06:36 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 1/4/2015 2:59:57 PM, Amoranemix wrote:
Sorry about the bad link. Here is the correct one for 'The objectivity of subjective morality' :
http://www.debate.org...

Your observations hardly constitute a reason for not responding.

It does require subjective input in practice. What subjective numeric inputs does my morality require in principle ? And even if that is the case, so what ?

Because people would place diff numerical values to the same factor. The formula would not be objective in any way (as described "objectivity of subjectivity".

As for the so what, you're formula is not really any better than my contextual morality. They both boil down to nihilism and morals are personal and subjective so trying to put them in some formula doesn't really add anything other than formalizing the subjectivity.

Can you propose a morality that is perfect ?

Of course not. Only a person proclaiming an objective moral source, like religion, would claim to have a perfect moral solution.

Please explain how well-being precludes self-sacrifice as good.

Assuming well-being constitutes personal well being, self sacrifice like martyrdom would make no sense.