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


Message 61 of 113 (385828)
02-17-2007 12:25 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by joshua221
02-16-2007 10:28 PM


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

Regardless of whether or not there's a "real" morality that individual societies may or may not have accurately perceived; if you admit that there are societies that have developed moral systems that deviate from that "real" morality, then you've admitted the truth of my position - societies do produce morality.

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.

Completely backwards. The fact that you can develop moral systems that people are just fine with, irrespective of the "real" morality everybody is supposed to have, proves my point that it's entirely possible, and common, for societies to be developing their own morality. Which is exactly what you say doesn't happen.

Your argument is inconsistent.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by joshua221, posted 02-16-2007 10:28 PM joshua221 has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 64 by anastasia, posted 02-18-2007 5:09 PM crashfrog has responded

  
ringo
Member
Posts: 16333
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 62 of 113 (385833)
02-17-2007 1:05 PM
Reply to: Message 60 by Phat
02-17-2007 10:38 AM


Phat writes:

If society does not determine what is true, do you believe that truth is knowable?

I think that's the crux of the matter: the difference between "the" Truth and the knowable "truth".

If "the" Truth can be acquired by reason, then TweedleProphex should be about to lay out that reasoning for us. So far, nothing.

So far, the knowable "truth" seems to be different "truths" known by different societies.


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ReverendDG
Member (Idle past 2215 days)
Posts: 1119
From: Topeka,kansas
Joined: 06-06-2005


Message 63 of 113 (385915)
02-18-2007 5:45 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by joshua221
02-16-2007 5:37 PM


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.

no they believed there is no one truth when arguing about morality, if you can't pinpoint what morality is, muchless pointout were immoral and moral begins and ends, who is right?

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

i think you need to go look up what these words mean, they hardly relate to each other in how we use them, you are making fine lines in how they relate to eachother

the way we use sophism has nothing to do with relativism, and heck the greeks didn't use it that way either, nor does conventionalism have much to do with ethics, it has mostly to do with manners and how we do things in polite society

Hopefully it is clear that Conventionalism is dead.

mostly i just see you making stuff up trying to redefine words you really don't understand. this is a pure strawman argument
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anastasia
Member (Idle past 4057 days)
Posts: 1857
From: Bucks County, PA
Joined: 11-05-2006


Message 64 of 113 (385977)
02-18-2007 5:09 PM
Reply to: Message 61 by crashfrog
02-17-2007 12:25 PM


Crashfrog writes:

Regardless of whether or not there's a "real" morality that individual societies may or may not have accurately perceived; if you admit that there are societies that have developed moral systems that deviate from that "real" morality, then you've admitted the truth of my position - societies do produce morality.

Good, good, good. Drawing some lines. Societies do produce moral CODES I think, which subsequent behaviours are defined by. According to a particular moral code something is either bad or good.

My main problem is that codes change; what was once bad is now good. What was once good was now bad. But that is soooo weird to me. On a surface level it appears true.

Can we really say slavery was once moral, or only that it was once acceptable in some moral code? I don't think it was ever moral.

Can we say the Inquistion was once moral? Can we say that imprisoning homosexuals and scientists was once moral?

Sure, it was acceptable as per that society's code, but I don't think we can view morality as limited by any code. It is something bigger, to me, at least.

So, to be blunt, society creates moral codes, obviously, and they are based on the greatest common denominators in that society's path to whatever is 'better'. I believe we can go backwards when we start denying what is already accepted as moral. Or we can go forwards. It just seems so obvious to me that if we keep looking for something better we have acknowledged an ideal. The 'ideal' can be God, or just a natural assessment of the failures of the current code. It is not a huge big deal to get into the origins of what is better, or whether or not an ideal absolute can be achieved, but morality in general is simply doing what is best according to what we DO know.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 61 by crashfrog, posted 02-17-2007 12:25 PM crashfrog has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 65 by kuresu, posted 02-18-2007 5:31 PM anastasia has responded
 Message 66 by crashfrog, posted 02-18-2007 6:34 PM anastasia has responded
 Message 78 by nator, posted 02-19-2007 8:39 PM anastasia has responded

    
kuresu
Member (Idle past 617 days)
Posts: 2544
From: boulder, colorado
Joined: 03-24-2006


Message 65 of 113 (385979)
02-18-2007 5:31 PM
Reply to: Message 64 by anastasia
02-18-2007 5:09 PM


Morality: limited by code
Can we really say slavery was once moral, or only that it was once acceptable in some moral code? I don't think it was ever moral.

Can we say the Inquistion was once moral? Can we say that imprisoning homosexuals and scientists was once moral?

Sure, it was acceptable as per that society's code, but I don't think we can view morality as limited by any code

what is the difference between saying "slavery was once moral" and "slavery was once acceptable under a different moral code"?

no difference that I can find--esp. if you accept that morals (what is viewed as moral) changes with time. you do:

Societies do produce moral CODES I think, which subsequent behaviours are defined by. According to a particular moral code something is either bad or good.

or, moral is good, immoral bad. that's the effect of your statement. what's good or bad is determined by the code of morality--thus, morality is limited by the code.

that's not to say the code can't change--it obviously has, and most likely will again.

oh, and one last thing:

I don't think it was ever moral

by your moral code. this moral code, however, wasn't in use by those who advocated slavery (though some did call it a necessary evil in antebellum US). To them, slavery was perfectly natural and a proper way to use non-humans (applicable only to American slavery, really. slavery in the classical era had a much different color).
This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 67 by anastasia, posted 02-19-2007 11:29 AM kuresu has responded

    
crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 66 of 113 (385990)
02-18-2007 6:34 PM
Reply to: Message 64 by anastasia
02-18-2007 5:09 PM


My main problem is that codes change; what was once bad is now good.

Well, yes. Change happens. If you're expecting things to be eternally the same, well... in the words of the Dread Pirate Roberts, "get used to disappointment."

Can we really say slavery was once moral, or only that it was once acceptable in some moral code? I don't think it was ever moral.

See, I can't see what possible merit these sorts of questions have. People considered it moral (indeed, God's own commandment) then; now, they don't. And indeed, we should all wonder what is accepted now that future generations will find us culpable for. (Pollution, perhaps, or overfishing. Who knows?)

The morals changed then not because somebody discovered slavery was bad, but rather - somebody was able to convince several somebodies that it was, and they each convinced several more, and then in the midst of a great social upheaval, those people convinced leaders to take a stand against the practice, and the consensus of society was revealed to be that slavery was an abomination.

Sure, it was acceptable as per that society's code, but I don't think we can view morality as limited by any code.

But that's exactly what it's limited by, because the only reason slavery is viewed as immoral in our society is because society saw fit to change the code. They didn't see that "slavery is bad" was written on some hitherto-unknown tablets handed down from on high; no scientist discovered precepts against slavery written on the fabric of the universe.

We just changed our collective mind. It was a process of collaboration and conversation - and, indeed, bloodshed. But it's the same process by which society produces anything. Everything. It's the same process that produces art and science. It's just people talking with each other about what they think is right and wrong, and what they think people should do.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 70 by anastasia, posted 02-19-2007 12:07 PM crashfrog has responded

  
anastasia
Member (Idle past 4057 days)
Posts: 1857
From: Bucks County, PA
Joined: 11-05-2006


Message 67 of 113 (386059)
02-19-2007 11:29 AM
Reply to: Message 65 by kuresu
02-18-2007 5:31 PM


Re: Morality: limited by code
kuresu writes:

what is the difference between saying "slavery was once moral" and "slavery was once acceptable under a different moral code"?

There doesn't have to be any difference, unless you accept or agree with my delineation of one.

Morality changes, yes.

I don't see it, say, like changing the color of your shirt from red to green. I see it more like changing from sack cloth to Gucci. It gets to the point where you can't be received in society while wearing sack-cloth. But even if sack-cloth came back into fashion, and stranger things have happened, would it be 'ok' if slavery did? I think most people would say no. Doesn't mean it never would...but for right now there it seems that we aren't really looking for change, but for 'better'.

Not an exact science at all;

What is better than Gucci? Anything, as long as it is in fashion.

What is better than not keeping slaves? Just keeping a few? Treating them well? Or only making slaves of 'inferior' people? Yeah right, but we used to think that was the best we could do.

So, you don't have to agree, but maybe you can understand more what I mean.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 68 by Woodsy, posted 02-19-2007 11:40 AM anastasia has responded
 Message 69 by kuresu, posted 02-19-2007 11:42 AM anastasia has responded
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Woodsy
Member (Idle past 1478 days)
Posts: 301
From: Burlington, Canada
Joined: 08-30-2006


Message 68 of 113 (386062)
02-19-2007 11:40 AM
Reply to: Message 67 by anastasia
02-19-2007 11:29 AM


Re: Morality: limited by code
I have seen some references to interesting research (in Dawkin's books and the Beyond Belief seminar among other places) that indicates that some widespread tendencies around morals are "hard wired", as one might expect of evolved critters.

I wonder if what we see as moral progress is our innate moral tendencies escaping the chains of rigid religions, ideologies, traditions etc.


This message is a reply to:
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kuresu
Member (Idle past 617 days)
Posts: 2544
From: boulder, colorado
Joined: 03-24-2006


Message 69 of 113 (386063)
02-19-2007 11:42 AM
Reply to: Message 67 by anastasia
02-19-2007 11:29 AM


Re: Morality: limited by code
that didn't really answer anything. you're saying that there is no difference in the two statements (slavery was moral; slavery was acceptable (truncated versions). and yet, you say there is a difference.

also:

What is better than not keeping slaves? Just keeping a few? Treating them well? Or only making slaves of 'inferior' people? Yeah right, but we used to think that was the best we could do.

under your moral code, slavery cannot, and is not, moral. Hence, it should not be allowed back. The problem is, it can become moral once again because moral codes change. no matter how much this burns, it's a possibility.

that doesn't make slavery moral in your code, mind you.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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anastasia
Member (Idle past 4057 days)
Posts: 1857
From: Bucks County, PA
Joined: 11-05-2006


Message 70 of 113 (386065)
02-19-2007 12:07 PM
Reply to: Message 66 by crashfrog
02-18-2007 6:34 PM


Cradhfrog writes:

See, I can't see what possible merit these sorts of questions have. People considered it moral (indeed, God's own commandment) then; now, they don't. And indeed, we should all wonder what is accepted now that future generations will find us culpable for. (Pollution, perhaps, or overfishing. Who knows?)

No, but I wouldn't use any analogies of over-fishing or pollution. We already acknowledge that they are undesirables. In order for morality to change, really change, future generations would have to hold us culpable for not polluting enough. This is why I did delineate between 'acceptable' and moral. Change happens, of course, but I think morality evolves, rather than substitues interchangeable ideas.

So, instead of 'what once was good is now bad', it is more, what once we THOUGHT was good we now know is not.

The morals changed then not because somebody discovered slavery was bad, but rather - somebody was able to convince several somebodies that it was, and they each convinced several more, and then in the midst of a great social upheaval, those people convinced leaders to take a stand against the practice, and the consensus of society was revealed to be that slavery was an abomination.

How can anyone convince others without first discovering an alternative? That is what I mean by morality not being limited to a society's rules. It is often hindered by the rules, the same as science or technology. But someone, somehow, has to 'discover' a better idea, and begin the tough process of convincing others. I think that is what the light at the end of the tunnel story was all about.

But that's exactly what it's limited by, because the only reason slavery is viewed as immoral in our society is because society saw fit to change the code. They didn't see that "slavery is bad" was written on some hitherto-unknown tablets handed down from on high; no scientist discovered precepts against slavery written on the fabric of the universe.

Of course not, and neither did they discover the instructions for the first electric refridgerator. But think about pollution. We had to evolve through the lower processes first to 'discover' the harm of pollution. It was all a battle for making things better; more productivity, faster machines, bigger factories, all good. No one thought before all of this to NOT progress because pollution would result. People were prefectly moral in their actions because they just didnt know any better at the time. We now do, and it will now be immoral forever to burn any toxic chemicals, to use asbestos, to improperly dump waste, etc.

So, I say, morality is defined by society's current knowledge, but not limited to it. We just changer our collective minds, sure, but someone had to do the discovering and the convincing that something was better. And, of course, some people will always fight tooth and nail to hold onto their immoral behaviour, becuase it benefits them. Nice and preachy, but seriously, how many news stories do you see about illegal dumping? :)


This message is a reply to:
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anastasia
Member (Idle past 4057 days)
Posts: 1857
From: Bucks County, PA
Joined: 11-05-2006


Message 71 of 113 (386067)
02-19-2007 12:26 PM
Reply to: Message 68 by Woodsy
02-19-2007 11:40 AM


Re: Morality: limited by code
Woodsy writes:

I have seen some references to interesting research (in Dawkin's books and the Beyond Belief seminar among other places) that indicates that some widespread tendencies around morals are "hard wired", as one might expect of evolved critters.
I wonder if what we see as moral progress is our innate moral tendencies escaping the chains of rigid religions, ideologies, traditions etc.

Interesting, but because this correlates what I have been saying about 'hard-wired' morality, and is the naturalistic explanation for what I would say is 'from God', as in, God hard-wired it. I would expect an alternate theory to be out there which explains obvious tendencies, sans God. And I am not being sarcastic or disdainful, I really do think our collective urge to 'get better' must be hard-wired somehow.

As far as the other point, interesting too. Even if I believe that God is the creator and programmer of morality, it is certainly possible that any over-acceptance of what religions teach could be a hinderance to self-analysis, reason, knowledge, and conformity with natural tendencies. Of course, natural tendencies also include very immoral behaviour, maybe........

Example; we seem to not like super-promiscuous behavior, or marital infidelity. At the same time, we love it. We like variety, and freedom, and opportunity, and choice. So, are we secretly hard-wired as monogomous animals, like birds, or opportunistic as cats? Haha, we 'secretly' have a choice, and that is what the Bible and morality and religion is all about; using our other skills, like empathy and intelligence, to 'discover' what is hard-wired already. Weird. Now we try to abandon pre-fab ideas to allow ourselves to be 'natural' and we still have no idea if we are naturally this or that, because we still have a choice. Dualism...sorry, I am seeing some humour for some reason. Good point, though.


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anastasia
Member (Idle past 4057 days)
Posts: 1857
From: Bucks County, PA
Joined: 11-05-2006


Message 72 of 113 (386070)
02-19-2007 12:52 PM
Reply to: Message 69 by kuresu
02-19-2007 11:42 AM


Re: Morality: limited by code
kuresu writes:

that didn't really answer anything. you're saying that there is no difference in the two statements (slavery was moral; slavery was acceptable (truncated versions). and yet, you say there is a difference.

I see a difference but it is only in context.

Try again; slavery was never moral, but it was acceptable because we didn't know any better. Therefore, many of those who kept slaves were probably moral people. Who can tell? If the Israelites knew they didn't like being slaves, they should probably know they shouldn't like keeping slaves. I don't think anyone thought like that back then; equality was more physical. The Isrealites wanted to be equal to those who had possessions and good fortune, and this included having slaves. 'Casting' people in roles is still not abolished, but we are much more focused on the equality of people regardless of possessions.

under your moral code, slavery cannot, and is not, moral. Hence, it should not be allowed back. The problem is, it can become moral once again because moral codes change. no matter how much this burns, it's a possibility.

Sure, but it would be flying in the face of all that we do know, choosing to go back to the horse and buggy and destroying all evidence of the automobile.


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crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 73 of 113 (386085)
02-19-2007 1:57 PM
Reply to: Message 70 by anastasia
02-19-2007 12:07 PM


No, but I wouldn't use any analogies of over-fishing or pollution. We already acknowledge that they are undesirables.

We? We who? These things are still going on, you know. Much as slavery persisted for a while even though there were abolitionists.

Your comment doesn't make any sense.

So, instead of 'what once was good is now bad', it is more, what once we THOUGHT was good we now know is not.

But they knew slavery was right and just back then, too. They knew so because the Bible told them. Now we "know" they were wrong. How do you explain this?

That is what I mean by morality not being limited to a society's rules. It is often hindered by the rules, the same as science or technology. But someone, somehow, has to 'discover' a better idea, and begin the tough process of convincing others.

That doesn't bear any relation to the history of abolitionism, so it's not clear to me what you're talking about. For as long as humans have practiced slavery, humans have also felt that it was wrong.

So, I say, morality is defined by society's current knowledge, but not limited to it.

I don't know what that sentence means. If society defines morals, then obviously society is the source of morals.


This message is a reply to:
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 Message 74 by anastasia, posted 02-19-2007 7:18 PM crashfrog has responded

  
anastasia
Member (Idle past 4057 days)
Posts: 1857
From: Bucks County, PA
Joined: 11-05-2006


Message 74 of 113 (386113)
02-19-2007 7:18 PM
Reply to: Message 73 by crashfrog
02-19-2007 1:57 PM


I think we are completely on a different page communication-wise. My apologies.

Crashfrog writes:

We? We who? These things are still going on, you know. Much as slavery persisted for a while even though there were abolitionists.

Your comment doesn't make any sense.

What I was saying was exactly the first sentence you said; these things still go on even though we know better. It takes awhile to convince society, and awhile longer to come up with a course of action that puts an end to pollution. My point is that since we know better, we can't go back to when we didn't.

But they knew slavery was right and just back then, too. They knew so because the Bible told them. Now we "know" they were wrong. How do you explain this?

The same way; moral evolution, progress, etc. Even the Jews who live now and follow the OT don't think slavery is moral, and it is still in the Bible.

That doesn't bear any relation to the history of abolitionism, so it's not clear to me what you're talking about. For as long as humans have practiced slavery, humans have also felt that it was wrong.

Good, so what is moral doesn't really change, does it? But whether it is acceptable to act immorally does.

I don't know what that sentence means. If society defines morals, then obviously society is the source of morals.

No, society defines morality, not morals. I will try to be clearer;

What a society thinks is moral, determines whether it views a particular citizen as moral. As opposed to; what a society THINKS is moral determines what IS moral. That is just my opinion, so you do not have to agree.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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kuresu
Member (Idle past 617 days)
Posts: 2544
From: boulder, colorado
Joined: 03-24-2006


Message 75 of 113 (386116)
02-19-2007 7:25 PM
Reply to: Message 74 by anastasia
02-19-2007 7:18 PM


since we know better, we can't go back to when we didn't

somehow this doesn't seem quite right. we have a tendency to backslide, especially when you have extreme conservatism/nationalism and a culture/society that does not look favorably (either disliking or indifferent) on education.

If we can slide back on technology, science, treatment of minorities, treatment of women, erode civil liberties, what makes you think that slavery won't happen again?

(not we as in USA, but we as in humans)


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