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Author Topic:   Conventionalism is Dead - Society does NOT determine what is moral.
joshua221 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 1 of 113 (385656)
02-16-2007 5:37 PM


Society determines what is moral.

Any intellectual can see that this case for justice is pathetic.

Anything goes. If a man killed me for looking at him, and society allowed it, this death would be just and correct.

We determine what is right and moral with reason. We are born with the ability to know what is right. We do not determine what is moral through societal majorities.

Societal majorities don't reason, societal majorities are not rational beings.

Socrates

A group of men emerged out of ancient Greece who thought that the goal of life was to live the best life you could, the happiest life that you could - to "win the game of life". To live for oneself was established as the moral life. They were known in Greece as the most intelligent and the most respected - they established huge amounts of money from their practices. They would take money to teach people how to "defend themselves" in arguments. This was amazingly valuable because of the court system in Greece. If someone charged you with a crime, you had to defend yourself, if you were judged innocent by your 500 peers then you were allowed to choose any punishment for the accuser - if a severe punishment was put into place, one could offer to pay a fine normally, but this was actually a reasonable system of justice - better than our current system in America. So these sophists would teach people the art of "eristics" the art of winning a debate for the sake of winning not for the sake of finding out what is true or right. They argued not to know but to remain ignorant and to win. (Eris was the Goddess of Argument of Discord). They would charge a lot of money for their services - they became "successful", they were rich they lived a good life. They Won the "game of life". That is their entire purpose - to win the game of life. To win you became rich and old.

These men believed that no truth existed and that everyone's opinion was correct. What you believe is "true for you", and what I believe is "true for me". Of course living in this manner completely shuts down the need for reason and knowledge. It breeds ignorant individuals who seek success, comfort, and money instead of truth.

It is called "Relativism", "Sophism", and "Conventionalism".

"Conventionalism" is specifically what jar was referring to, "society determines truth". "Society determines what is moral".

These men were called Sophists.

A man called Socrates would emerge out of this.

Plato, his best student recorded almost exactly the words of Socrates. (This was found by a speech at Socrates death that was written down by Plato in "The Apology", a man who also attended the death/trial was there and recorded the exact same happenings and words) (The Greeks could not use paper and pens the way we do, their memories were extraordinary from repeated use.) Socrates in short, told the people of Athens that the good life was the examined life, a life in pursuit of truth and knowledge. He went through Athens asking questions to educate people in what he knew. The questions became increasingly disturbing as he kept asking because they destroy the beliefs and ignorance of those asked. The process was very unsettling. People began to detest this man of truth.

In Plato's works, he recorded dialogues between Sophists and Socrates where Socrates refutes their claims through his famous "Socratic Method". He starts with a question such as, "What is Justice". The Sophist would reply - "Whatever the elders say is right and just, is just", Socrates would continue asking questions about how they came to this conclusion until they realized that they were utterly mistaken. Socrates would then tell them what Justice really is and most would feel offended and walk away.

Socrates in short believed, that justice was for each to "mind his own business" and do what each does best.

This post is probably a dishonor to Socrates and Plato, but I feel it is good enough for this purpose.

Hopefully it is clear that Conventionalism is dead.

This was way too much for such a statement.


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AdminPD
Inactive Administrator


Message 2 of 113 (385657)
02-16-2007 5:39 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 3 of 113 (385660)
02-16-2007 5:43 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by joshua221
02-16-2007 5:37 PM


Anything goes. If a man killed me for looking at him, and society allowed it, this death would be just and correct.

If you lived in that society and you'd both been raised to believe that, and everybody around you had as well, it what sense wouldn't it have been just and correct?

I mean the fact that societies exactly as you describe existed, and the people who lived in them thought that was just fine, would seem to prove you completely wrong.

Your argument has a considerable uphill battle to fight, considering that we directly observe societies doing exactly what you say they don't, and can't, do.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by joshua221, posted 02-16-2007 5:37 PM joshua221 has responded

Replies to this message:
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Doddy
Member (Idle past 4018 days)
Posts: 563
From: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 01-04-2007


Message 4 of 113 (385665)
02-16-2007 6:13 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by joshua221
02-16-2007 5:37 PM


prophex writes:

We are born with the ability to know what is right. We do not determine what is moral through societal majorities.

If this is true, why is it that different societies have different codes of morals and ethics? Or do you deny that this occurs?


"Der Mensch kann was er will; er kann aber nicht wollen was er will." (Man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills.) - Arthur Schopenhauer

Help inform the masses - contribute to the EvoWiki today!

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Archer Opteryx
Member (Idle past 1707 days)
Posts: 1811
From: East Asia
Joined: 08-16-2006


Message 5 of 113 (385669)
02-16-2007 6:43 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by joshua221
02-16-2007 5:37 PM


Oh, the Humanity!
prophex:

We determine what is right and moral with reason. We are born with the ability to know what is right. We do not determine what is moral through societal majorities.

Societal majorities don't reason, societal majorities are not rational beings.

I see you haven't got to John Locke yet.

'Individual = Good / Society = Bad' is a false dichotomy. Society is made up of individuals.

If you believe that individual human beings are rational--and you say you do--and that individuals are born with the ability to discern right from wrong--and you say you do--then you have little to fear from 'societal majorities.' After all, the 'majority' is nothing but a group of these reasoning creatures possessing an innate capacity to know what is right. As is the minority, for that matter.

These creatures operating in a group will logically possess greater resources than any one individual--precisely because the group consists of a plurality. Hence the term 'collective wisdom.'

And the fact that the majority population of a community is, in fact, a group gives it a built-in insurance. The numbers make it resistant to being skewed too far off center by the extremist or aberrant beliefs of less rational individuals. The quality of the insurance depends mainly on freedom of speech. This freedom allows as many ideas as possible to be heard and sorted. (If the group is structured as a dictatorship, the aberrant beliefs of a few already prevail. Collective wisdom is suppressed.)

For a group to find insurance against herd mentality is, of course, another matter. But this should cause you no worry. Your belief in the innate reasoning ability and moral discernment possessed by human beings precludes any serious damage from this.

Human beings are social creatures. Community is how we do things.

___

Edited by Archer Opterix, : html.

Edited by Archer Opterix, : tinkering.


Archer

All species are transitional.


This message is a reply to:
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CK
Member (Idle past 2237 days)
Posts: 3221
Joined: 07-04-2004


Message 6 of 113 (385676)
02-16-2007 7:13 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by joshua221
02-16-2007 5:37 PM


Big wow - you've discoved that epistemology thought is bound by issues of ontology.

quote:
It is called "Relativism", "Sophism", and "Conventionalism".

This is a very simplistic and wrong understanding - those are different but epistemological related concepts - are you paying for this education? get your money back*.

EDIT: Actually are you getting this from wikipedia? their article on conventionalism is woeful and very misleading.

* to be fair, most under-graduate programs teach difficult concepts like this at such a simplistic level that they only bear a very minor realationship to the concept under discussion.

"Social Constructionism is Dead - Society does NOT determine what is moral." would be a more accurate (well sorta) title for this thread.

Edited by CK, : No reason given.

Edited by CK, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
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jar
Member
Posts: 30936
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004


Message 7 of 113 (385691)
02-16-2007 8:19 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by joshua221
02-16-2007 5:37 PM


If a man killed me for looking at him, and society allowed it, this death would be just and correct.

Why wouldn't it be just and correct?

Why didn't you also quote were I have said, many times, that morality is a social contract?


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
This message is a reply to:
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nator
Member (Idle past 279 days)
Posts: 12961
From: Ann Arbor
Joined: 12-09-2001


Message 8 of 113 (385707)
02-16-2007 10:06 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by joshua221
02-16-2007 5:37 PM


Oh Jesus, not AGAIN.

OFF TOPIC - Please Do Not Respond to this message or continue in this vein.
Take comments to the Moderation Thread.
AdminPD

Edited by AdminPD, : Warning


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joshua221 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 9 of 113 (385710)
02-16-2007 10:28 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by crashfrog
02-16-2007 5:43 PM


Your argument has a considerable uphill battle to fight, considering that we directly observe societies doing exactly what you say they don't, and can't, do.

I acknowledged those societies, actually they were central to my rebuttal to the statement that society determines morality.

If you lived in that society and you'd both been raised to believe that, and everybody around you had as well, it what sense wouldn't it have been just and correct?

There are men chained to a wall, all they see is darkness and shadows. They perceive this to be reality. A prisoner escapes and travels a treacherous path, a path so treacherous that many others would have turned back to the wall and the shadows, a path so difficult that many would die on the way. But this prisoner makes it to the end of the path and begins to see light from the end. He reaches the end and discovers what reality really is. He sees what is real. The man returns to his fellow prisoners to tell them but they don't believe him - they persecute him and tell him that he is wrong - that these shadows are truth - reality.

As are the people in this allegory of Plato's chained to a wall, so are those in these societies who do not know true morality, only a distortion and falsity of it... What society tells them is far from moral, yet they accept and believe it.

You yourself have been imprisoned at birth and have yet to escape.

What society discerns as true or moral is far from it.

I mean the fact that societies exactly as you describe existed, and the people who lived in them thought that was just fine, would seem to prove you completely wrong.

The existence of ignorance, of darkness, of these prisoners does not prove that there is no light - it proves that you have yet to see it.


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anglagard
Member
Posts: 2185
From: Socorro, New Mexico USA
Joined: 03-18-2006


Message 10 of 113 (385711)
02-16-2007 10:29 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by joshua221
02-16-2007 5:37 PM


Please Elaborate
Prophyx writes:

We are born with the ability to know what is right.

Since, according to you, all people are born with the ability to know what is right, then you, as a subset of all people, should be able to tell us what is right and what is wrong.

Please provide specific examples.


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joshua221 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 11 of 113 (385712)
02-16-2007 10:31 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Doddy
02-16-2007 6:13 PM


If this is true, why is it that different societies have different codes of morals and ethics? Or do you deny that this occurs?

They are not educated. They live in ignorance and sometimes expound it for their own benefit.

Only few escape from the cave and see the light, most live in the darkness and call it truth. Most live in the darkness and call it moral. Most live in the darkness and call it beauty.


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joshua221 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 12 of 113 (385713)
02-16-2007 10:35 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by CK
02-16-2007 7:13 PM


This is a very simplistic and wrong understanding - those are different but epistemological related concepts -

I know. For this purpose and for you people it was good enough.

Actually are you getting this from wikipedia? their article on conventionalism is woeful and very misleading.

I read books.

"Social Constructionism is Dead - Society does NOT determine what is moral." would be a more accurate (well sorta) title for this thread.

I deal with philosophy, go read up on Conventionalism related to the Sophists.

Edited by prophex, : No reason given.


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joshua221 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 13 of 113 (385714)
02-16-2007 10:36 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by jar
02-16-2007 8:19 PM


I was told not to by AdminPD.
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joshua221 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 14 of 113 (385715)
02-16-2007 10:37 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Archer Opteryx
02-16-2007 6:43 PM


Re: Oh, the Humanity!
I see this misunderstanding developing - I have tried to remedy it. Read the allegory of the cave in response to the second reply that I got.
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sidelined
Inactive Member


Message 15 of 113 (385717)
02-16-2007 10:40 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by joshua221
02-16-2007 10:28 PM


prophex

As are the people in this allegory of Plato's chained to a wall, so are those in these societies who do not know true morality, only a distortion and falsity of it.

Please explain to me the correct moral response to the following exercise.

You are an inmate in a concentration camp. A sadistic guard is about to hang your son who tried to escape and wants you to pull the chair from underneath him. He says that if you don't he will not only kill your son but some other innocent inmate as well. You don't have any doubt that he means what he says. What should you do?

Take your time and think hard.


This message is a reply to:
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