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"Feeling" Morality

Kleptin
Posts: 5,095
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3/16/2012 2:24:24 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
A lot of discussions on the objectivity/subjectivity of morality are initiated by a discrepancy between how we "feel" and what we think is right or wrong.

For example, a topic asks "If morality is subjective, then why is rape wrong?" We can come up with some situation in which rape would lead to a moral good, but the argument is meant to toy with our feeling that rape is so exclusively evil that we have to question moral subjectivity.

There are many situations in which we need to rationalize moral subjectivity when we do "feel" that something is strongly morally aligned one way or another.

It is my personal opinion that morality is poorly described by the terms "Objective" and "Subjective". Morality operates in the same way evolution does, and is similarly selected for and controlled by a population and an environment.

I would argue that people generally know where an action ranks in terms of the moral scale, and they ALSO have their own personal view as to where that action ranks. There are aspects of both objectivity and subjectivity.

I believe that at the very heart of it, there are key foundations in our socio-ethical activities related to biology and how well we perform as a society. This is why murder, theft, and rape are generally seen as evil. Not because they are objectively evil, but because they are tied to our biology more strongly than other acts.

From there, other things are developed that are specific to each society. I feel that the AVERAGE of what society feels is morally good or evil is made clear to all members of a society by interaction, the media, etc. Our specific opinions are determined by our upbringing, environment, personal lives, etc. and they can affect others. By affecting other people with our personal moral opinions, we can exert some level of influence on the moral AVERAGE.

Unlike moral subjectivity or objectivity, this notion of morality in flux explains why:

People with personal opinions of moral extremity are viewed as insane or dangerous and thus, are removed from society and have their influence negated.

Large amounts of people who have a moral tilt can eventually impact all society and perform a moral shift.

This is nearly identical to natural selection and evolution. I feel that this ENDS the argument between moral objectivity and subjectivity. Morality is an evolutionary system, constantly in flux, derived from society.
: 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.
Kleptin
Posts: 5,095
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3/16/2012 3:25:23 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/16/2012 2:50:11 PM, Ren wrote:
What is this "evil" you speak of?

It depends. In a small handful of situations, it is an act that negatively impacts the fitness of our species.

In the vast majority of situations, it is a subjective concept people attribute to things which they define as ethically wrong, or which are based on traits that people believe are ethically wrong.
: 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.
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
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3/16/2012 4:22:49 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Firstly.. This is Subjective... Subject being that Amorphous "General/Average Society" you were talking bout...

Secondly... This is similar to the first argument I ever made here:
http://www.debate.org...
edited version:
I submit that nature does provide these "Human Rights" of which I speak. Specifically, they are the natural product of Human emotional feeling and reason which develops when people interact, and need a framework for their interaction. Human feeling, reason and interaction, are all natural realities dictated by our natural evolution. Rights are concepts, that is they are developed in people and I am not claiming that they are written directly into our DNA, nor am I claiming that all people develop the same said concepts, or necessarily any at all. I am claiming that such types of concepts naturally and dependably arise in groups of people.

I again submit that, thanks to the reasons stated above, said rights are naturally provided in regards to interaction between peoples, through Human nature and dependable social constructs which encourage said conceptual "rights" (governing human interaction) to come into being.

You say: "I would argue that people are not naturally inclined to interact."
I say: Balderdash!
Not only is your statement refuted by the existence of social structures, or rules, in all groups of people ever encountered, but is refuted by logical evolutionary analysis. Group structures, and their cohesion, would logically play a role in a persons ability to live and reproduce, and thus it would make sense that traits which encouraged it would evolve, or at least not be thrown out, being that pretty much all mammals have grouping tendencies.
Behavior is extremely regular+there is logical evolutionary benefit = There is strong evidence to call behavior NATURAL

If you look to my argument that human rights are products of our natural qualities you will see that it is logical, and based off of premises which are evident, that is that reason, feeling and interaction are natural qualities of people.

"People don't have to show others "rights" if it is beneficial to the self as Mr. Hitler proved." - Absolutely, I never claimed that they did have to. However those that do not, are felt to be abhorrent and immoral by people who have a full knowledge of the facts (that is including knowledge that there is No reason to think of Jews,gays,etc as sub-human)

You essentially claim that the good of the self is what makes natural morality, I say that this proves you have a misunderstanding of what morality traditionally means, and probably lack any understanding of contemporary evolutionary theory on the matter.

Now... I still agree with that argument.. But I am more careful in how I word things (granted, I had to word things that way given my position in the debate)..

I would not call Socially Constructed rules "moral" Rights... For, given that What is Moral is what "Should be done" this assumes that there's good reason to act in accord with those socially constructed rules..

There is not always good reason to go along with that social construct... It depends upon the nature of the acting person and the situation that they're in.

I found the Packed nature of the word "morality" too unwieldy and imprecise.. and so cut off using it to mean a social construct.. and now only use "morality" to mean "what should be done"

However, I then Abandoned using it to mean even this.. as, even here, the implications of the word "morality" seemed too overloaded..
For people often assume the "shoulds" of morality to be Universal and applicable to all.

Now I usually try to steer away from the word "morality" and simply speak of Shoulds...
"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."
Ren
Posts: 7,102
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3/16/2012 5:42:39 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/16/2012 3:25:23 PM, Kleptin wrote:
At 3/16/2012 2:50:11 PM, Ren wrote:
What is this "evil" you speak of?

It depends. In a small handful of situations, it is an act that negatively impacts the fitness of our species.

In the vast majority of situations, it is a subjective concept people attribute to things which they define as ethically wrong, or which are based on traits that people believe are ethically wrong.

So, in other words, evil has no definition, but can be accepted as something that other people consider unpleasant for some unexplained reason, or rarely, a threat to the species?

How am I supposed to derive any meaning from your statement (which relied on the meaning I give to the word "evil") with such a definition?

We can come up with some situation in which rape would lead to a moral good, but the argument is meant to toy with our feeling that rape is so exclusively (?) that we have to question moral subjectivity.

This is why murder, theft, and rape are generally seen as (?). Not because they are objectively (?), but because they are tied to our biology more strongly than other acts.

From there, other things are developed that are specific to each society. I feel that the AVERAGE of what society feels is morally good or (?) is made clear to all members of a society by interaction, the media, etc.

Feel me?
Kleptin
Posts: 5,095
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3/16/2012 6:53:31 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/16/2012 5:42:39 PM, Ren wrote:
So, in other words, evil has no definition, but can be accepted as something that other people consider unpleasant for some unexplained reason, or rarely, a threat to the species?

Yep. That's actually the clearest definition of evil I have ever heard that also happens to be correct, especially since my argument is essentially that good and evil don't really exist. I'd be more than happy to hear you define good and evil in a better way. Just FYI, you're going to encounter problems.

How am I supposed to derive any meaning from your statement (which relied on the meaning I give to the word "evil") with such a definition?

LOL Your deficiencies are not my problem XD
: 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.
Kleptin
Posts: 5,095
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3/16/2012 7:05:14 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/16/2012 4:22:49 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
Firstly.. This is Subjective... Subject being that Amorphous "General/Average Society" you were talking bout...

In a sense, yes. However, this "General/Average Society" doesn't really have much sway over morality. No more so than a species has control over its own evolutionary path.

Secondly... This is similar to the first argument I ever made here:

This is a repost of a repost of a repost of a repost. I must have made this morality topic once a year since 2006 on other sites, and since the inception of DDC. It's not a new argument in any way >.>

Now... I still agree with that argument.. But I am more careful in how I word things (granted, I had to word things that way given my position in the debate)..

I would not call Socially Constructed rules "moral" Rights... For, given that What is Moral is what "Should be done" this assumes that there's good reason to act in accord with those socially constructed rules..

Semantics. You know what I'm talking about, I know what you're talking about. We're grownups here. I call them by what other people can most easily identify them as.

There is not always good reason to go along with that social construct... It depends upon the nature of the acting person and the situation that they're in.

No, the social construct isn't a general moral rule like "Don't steal". A person in a particular situation would generally know what society would think about the action he is about to take, GIVEN the situation (Starving children, loaf of bread in window)

I found the Packed nature of the word "morality" too unwieldy and imprecise.. and so cut off using it to mean a social construct.. and now only use "morality" to mean "what should be done"

However, I then Abandoned using it to mean even this.. as, even here, the implications of the word "morality" seemed too overloaded..
For people often assume the "shoulds" of morality to be Universal and applicable to all.

Now I usually try to steer away from the word "morality" and simply speak of Shoulds...

Meh.
: 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.
Ren
Posts: 7,102
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3/16/2012 9:48:28 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 3/16/2012 6:53:31 PM, Kleptin wrote:
At 3/16/2012 5:42:39 PM, Ren wrote:
So, in other words, evil has no definition, but can be accepted as something that other people consider unpleasant for some unexplained reason, or rarely, a threat to the species?

Yep. That's actually the clearest definition of evil I have ever heard that also happens to be correct, especially since my argument is essentially that good and evil don't really exist. I'd be more than happy to hear you define good and evil in a better way. Just FYI, you're going to encounter problems.

Wrong, bad, immoral, incorrect, disastrous, deleterious, harmful, irascible or misbehaving.

How am I supposed to derive any meaning from your statement (which relied on the meaning I give to the word "evil") with such a definition?

LOL Your deficiencies are not my problem XD

<__<
Utopian
Posts: 48
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3/20/2012 12:21:15 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
There are some general instincts that shape our moral views, like empathy and alturism, but morality really is subjective.

Morality varies by culture to culture, era to era, and person to person.

I can't think of anything that is universally considered to be wrong.

There are tribes that think it is perfectly acceptable to have raiding parties, attack other villages, kidnap the women and girls, and claim them as their wives. The women eventually accept their new predicament. That is rape, and it is how their whole culture functions.

Our individual gut feelings about right and wrong are shaped by the culture we are raised in.

For example, eating animals. It's OK to eat a cow, pig, chicken, goat, or lobster.
But not OK to eat a dog, cat, horse, or dolphin.
Why?

There is no reason for the distinction, it's just our culture.

Yet, many people would be deeply repulsed at the thought of a plate full of grilled dog meat, yet have no problems eating a steak or a bucket of chicken.