Understanding through Discussion


Welcome! You are not logged in. [ Login ]
EvC Forum active members: 88 (8987 total)
39 online now:
AZPaul3, Minnemooseus (Adminnemooseus), PaulK (3 members, 36 visitors)
Newest Member: Robert Smith
Upcoming Birthdays: Theodoric
Post Volume: Total: 877,936 Year: 9,684/23,288 Month: 699/1,544 Week: 91/322 Day: 11/80 Hour: 1/1


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
Author Topic:   A personal morality
crashfrog
Member (Idle past 22 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 12 of 196 (392947)
04-02-2007 11:07 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Neutralmind
04-02-2007 8:57 PM


I've never really believed in a god, but I've always believed in an objective morality. That we all have a natural instinct of what is right and wrong, and that this natural instinct is the same for all of us. I can now see how I am wrong.
But here's the real problem.

I still refuse to believe in it (relative morality).

Then I suspect you just don't know what moral relativism is. You've already accepted that moral relativism is true. You're reacting to some strawman conception of moral relativism, probably one you got from church.

Moral relativism is simply the recognition that morality depends on the situation. Is it right to steal? No, but what about stealing to feed a starving family? Moral relativism is simply the recognition that moral situations are often complex and nuanced, and simple statements like "thou shalt not steal" fail to encapsulate the proper response to every situation.

You do what you feel is right. Almost everybody does what they feel is right. I don't see why that's something you would refuse to believe in.

I'd start "playing" girls just to get sex and doing one night stands. I'd cheat everywhere I could in the working life and so on...

Why? Wouldn't the harm those things would do to you and to others be enough to dissuade you? Surely you're not some kind of sociopath, incapable of feeling empathy for others, right?

I KNOW I would become like that and I have no idea why I wouldn't want to be like that, now that I know (not KNOW) that relative morality is in fact correct.

You don't know why you wouldn't want to be like that? You already don't want to be like that. You just said so!

I honestly don't see what you're confused about. Recognizing relative morality isn't going to make you do things you don't want to do. You don't want to treat women as disposable sex objects? Then don't. Simple as that. You don't want to steal from work? Then don't. Simple as that.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Neutralmind, posted 04-02-2007 8:57 PM Neutralmind has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by anastasia, posted 04-02-2007 11:17 PM crashfrog has not yet responded
 Message 42 by Neutralmind, posted 04-03-2007 4:10 PM crashfrog has responded
 Message 47 by Neutralmind, posted 04-03-2007 4:29 PM crashfrog has responded
 Message 61 by joshua221, posted 04-03-2007 6:35 PM crashfrog has responded

  
crashfrog
Member (Idle past 22 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 56 of 196 (393156)
04-03-2007 5:29 PM
Reply to: Message 47 by Neutralmind
04-03-2007 4:29 PM


Re: Good question...
But if stealing in certain situations is ultimately good and sometimes bad that would mean that there actually is an objective morality.

No. It just means you're wrong about what "good" and "bad" mean.

Look at it this way. Is it bad to eat peanuts? I don't think most people would say so, in fact, they might point to the numerous nutrients and health benefits of peanuts to suggest that peanuts are good to eat.

But what if you have a peanut allergy? Then it would be very, very bad for you to eat peanuts, even if they're good for everybody else. Where's the "objective" morality of eating peanuts? Good or bad? Do we say that peanuts are objectively good, and force the guy with the allergy to eat them, or do we say that they're objectively bad, and prevent anyone from eating them?

Or don't we conclude that the morality of peanut-eating depends greatly on who's to do the eating? That it's relative, in other words?

Don't get hung up on "good" and "bad." Moral relativism doesn't mean that good and bad don't exist. It means that determining which actions are good and which are bad depends on the situation, and it's not something that you can make universal rules about.

Stealing is only good in these situations blablabla , killing is only good in these situations blablabla.

But you could never list every single situation where stealing was OK; you could never identify a set of shared characteristics that encompassed every single situation where it was moral to steal. So clearly we're still not dealing with "objective morality" that's universally true for all people in all situations. We're still at the point where, ultimately, it comes down to your individual conscience.

What I understood is that moral relativism means that everyone makes up their own morality

That's a common misunderstanding. You were lied to by your church*, and by moral busybodies who wanted to prevent you from seeing how reasonable moral relativism is; because once you did, you'd see how often people use language about "morals" to control the behavior of other people for self-serving ends.

*Sorry. You did say that you don't go to church. That's my mistake - I confused you with someone else. Nonetheless you've confused moral relativism with nihilism. They're not the same thing.

Edited by crashfrog, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 47 by Neutralmind, posted 04-03-2007 4:29 PM Neutralmind has not yet responded

  
crashfrog
Member (Idle past 22 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 57 of 196 (393158)
04-03-2007 5:41 PM
Reply to: Message 42 by Neutralmind
04-03-2007 4:10 PM


I'm not really harming anyone now am I, assuming the girl was also looking for a one night of sex?

Then why don't you do it? I mean, why do you think it's wrong?

Do you think maybe the people who are telling you that it's wrong don't have your best interests at heart? But regardless of that - if you don't want to do it, which you've said you don't, then why would you?

It's more about that I would start doing things I want, as selfish as they might sometimes be.

If people aren't being harmed, and you find the behavior satisfying and pleasurable, then what exactly are you afraid of? If you don't even want to do it, then why are you worried that you might?

I really don't understand where you're coming from. There's no reason for you to believe that atheism is going to make you do things that you don't want to do. It's not going to control your mind.

And if you do want to do them, and nobody gets hurt or harmed and everybody has a good time, then I especially don't see what you're worried about. Sure, you'd be doing things that other people might not approve of, but what does that matter? Let them live their own lives. Aren't you smart enough to decide things for yourself?

That my main goal in life is to not act like a jerk to others

If you don't want to be a jerk, why would moral relativism suddenly make you a jerk? If you were about to do something jerky, why wouldn't you realize it?

That if I was to break these responsibilities or went outside my given freedoms I would have violated my "birth rights" and wouldn't no longer be considered worthy of living.

You were born. It happens. Get over it. You are the one that has to live your life. If you feel you have responsibilities, you're the one that has to meet them.

I'm not telling you to become a nihilist; I'm telling you that you're the one who has to make decisions every day about how to live and the effect you want to have on your life, and the lives of others.

But, really. If you think someone is going to come and kill you just because you and a woman had a night of pleasure together, you have some real hang-ups that you should consider professional counseling for.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 42 by Neutralmind, posted 04-03-2007 4:10 PM Neutralmind has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 58 by Neutralmind, posted 04-03-2007 5:59 PM crashfrog has not yet responded
 Message 59 by joshua221, posted 04-03-2007 6:05 PM crashfrog has responded
 Message 99 by Neutralmind, posted 04-05-2007 8:00 PM crashfrog has responded

  
crashfrog
Member (Idle past 22 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 60 of 196 (393168)
04-03-2007 6:24 PM
Reply to: Message 59 by joshua221
04-03-2007 6:05 PM


Re: Excuse me
Explain your stance on morality briefly, please

If you've been paying attention, you'd know that I've already said that this is an impossible task, by definition. The position of the moral relativist is that there is no brief way to communicate a moral stance. Morals are contingent on situation and individual.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 59 by joshua221, posted 04-03-2007 6:05 PM joshua221 has not yet responded

  
crashfrog
Member (Idle past 22 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 63 of 196 (393173)
04-03-2007 6:40 PM
Reply to: Message 61 by joshua221
04-03-2007 6:35 PM


Re: This is what relativism is:
Have you not read of Socrates decimating the Sophists?

I don't need a thousand-years-dead Greek to tell me what to think, I guess.

Why do you have such trouble thinking for yourself?

Can one among you truly reason?

Can you? I've provided the rational basis for my position. You've just asserted, without evidence, that some smart old dead guys agree with you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 61 by joshua221, posted 04-03-2007 6:35 PM joshua221 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 65 by joshua221, posted 04-03-2007 6:46 PM crashfrog has not yet responded

  
crashfrog
Member (Idle past 22 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 64 of 196 (393175)
04-03-2007 6:44 PM
Reply to: Message 61 by joshua221
04-03-2007 6:35 PM


Re: This is what relativism is:
No moral philosopher supports moral relativism.

Strauss? Heidegger? Sartre?

Ringing any bells? Hello?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 61 by joshua221, posted 04-03-2007 6:35 PM joshua221 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 66 by joshua221, posted 04-03-2007 6:48 PM crashfrog has responded

  
crashfrog
Member (Idle past 22 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 67 of 196 (393181)
04-03-2007 6:57 PM
Reply to: Message 66 by joshua221
04-03-2007 6:48 PM


Re: This is what relativism is:
Color me quaking in my boots.

Look, I'm not interested in playing philosophical Pokemon with you.("Sartre-mander, I choose you!")

If you have a response to my arguments, let's hear it. Rebut my reasoning with your arguments, not dusty books. If I want to know what Kant and Hume think, I'll read their books. I don't need you to read them to me.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 66 by joshua221, posted 04-03-2007 6:48 PM joshua221 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 70 by joshua221, posted 04-03-2007 11:51 PM crashfrog has responded

  
crashfrog
Member (Idle past 22 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 71 of 196 (393232)
04-04-2007 12:23 AM
Reply to: Message 70 by joshua221
04-03-2007 11:51 PM


He said there are. Heidegger, Sartre and someone else of little significance.

Strauss. Leo Strauss is of "little significance?"

You're an idiot, Prophex. Living proof that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 70 by joshua221, posted 04-03-2007 11:51 PM joshua221 has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 72 by a servant of Christ, posted 04-04-2007 12:36 AM crashfrog has responded
 Message 77 by ethics, posted 04-04-2007 9:38 AM crashfrog has responded

  
crashfrog
Member (Idle past 22 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 73 of 196 (393238)
04-04-2007 12:41 AM
Reply to: Message 72 by a servant of Christ
04-04-2007 12:36 AM


Yeah. That's pretty idiotic.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 72 by a servant of Christ, posted 04-04-2007 12:36 AM a servant of Christ has not yet responded

  
crashfrog
Member (Idle past 22 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 83 of 196 (393389)
04-04-2007 7:32 PM
Reply to: Message 77 by ethics
04-04-2007 9:38 AM


I am puzzled to why you hold Leo Strauss so highly.

I don't, really. But the degree to which the thought of Strauss has affected the modern American political landscape, particularly modern conservatism, means that it's idiotic to assert that Strauss is some kind of insignificant figure.

The only person who would make such a claim would be someone trying to use arrogant condescension to cover a deep ignorance of the subject. It's a technique used, for instance, by the most pretentious rock music critics. You (if you really are a different person and not just a sock-puppet) have simply retreated to playground antics and name-calling.

Do you have a reply to my arguments, or not?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 77 by ethics, posted 04-04-2007 9:38 AM ethics has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 104 by a servant of Christ, posted 04-06-2007 12:31 AM crashfrog has not yet responded

  
crashfrog
Member (Idle past 22 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 95 of 196 (393559)
04-05-2007 6:50 PM
Reply to: Message 94 by Neutralmind
04-05-2007 6:13 PM


Re: Read the darn thread!
I'm still trying to figure out Crash's post so it may be some while till I post again.

I'm sorry; I didn't mean to post riddles. Let me take another stab at telling you something that, to me, is as simple as can be.

You're worried that, if you embrace a certain philosophical position on the nature of morality, you'll take actions that, currently, you consider immoral.

I see this as basically impossible on one hand, and irrelevant on the other. One of two things must be true:

1) We're talking about something you have no desire to do under any circumstances, currently. Coming to a new understanding of where morality comes from and what morality means isn't going to make you do things you don't want to do. You're in no danger of taking actions that you feel are wrong - any more than you are now, anyway.

2) We're talking about something that you do want to do, but you feel your moral community - that could be your family, or your friends, or your society - disapproves. In that case, a new understanding of the nature of morality might very well leave you feeling more free to do those things, but so what? If you only think they're wrong because others disapprove, and not because of any intrinsic harm, then perhaps your community is simply wrong about them being immoral. As you've perceived, groups of people can have very funny ideas about what is moral and what is immoral, and when you find yourself in disagreement, there's nothing inherently wrong about letting your own conscience be your guide, even when it conflicts with others. Living by your own conscience is what it means to be an adult, to take control of your life. You're the one that has to live your life; no one can make your choices for you because they don't know what you know. They're not in your shoes.

Does that help? Again, I'm not telling you to live without a conscience. Far from it. But when your conscience is in conflict with the conscience of others, there's nothing inherently wrong with living as you see fit. The only consideration should be how your actions will help or harm yourself and others - not whether or not society, friends, or family approve of those actions.

Like I said it's as simple as can be. There's no riddles here.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 94 by Neutralmind, posted 04-05-2007 6:13 PM Neutralmind has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 100 by Neutralmind, posted 04-05-2007 8:01 PM crashfrog has not yet responded

  
crashfrog
Member (Idle past 22 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 97 of 196 (393569)
04-05-2007 7:41 PM
Reply to: Message 96 by Neutralmind
04-05-2007 7:31 PM


Re: Even more confused
Because if there actually was an objective standard of morality, it would be pretty bad if I had done some things believing in making my own morality instead of "obeying" the objective moral code.

If you were punished for not dotting your i's and crossing your t's, even though you thought you were doing what was right to the best of your knowledge, then is that objective moral code a code of Good or a code of Evil?

The latter, I should think. And how could following a morally evil code be something that you would want to do?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 96 by Neutralmind, posted 04-05-2007 7:31 PM Neutralmind has not yet responded

  
crashfrog
Member (Idle past 22 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 103 of 196 (393610)
04-05-2007 11:16 PM
Reply to: Message 99 by Neutralmind
04-05-2007 8:00 PM


But that's just one thing, I think there's something I'd want to do but won't because I think it's wrong in my view of morality.

But you don't know what it is? It sounds like you're worried about nothing.

But, that's what I'm saying aren't I? I have to meet those responsibilities 'cause I owe it... To life.

For whatever reason you feel you have to meet responsibilities, that won't change just because you accept moral relativism. If you failed to meet your responsibilities, you'd be letting someone down. Maybe yourself! I don't see how that would change.

Honestly? I think you're already a moral relativist, you just aren't yet willing to admit it to yourself. That's not uncommon; it took a year before I could admit to myself that I was an atheist. But in the end somebody asked, and I decided I was tired of prevaricating about it. It was a lot longer before I felt I could let my parents know.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 99 by Neutralmind, posted 04-05-2007 8:00 PM Neutralmind has not yet responded

  
crashfrog
Member (Idle past 22 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 130 of 196 (393907)
04-08-2007 11:24 AM
Reply to: Message 129 by Neutralmind
04-08-2007 11:15 AM


Re: Talkin' 'bout my morality...
If I knew that morality was subjective and so I wouldn't be any worse of a human for behaving immorally, I would behave more immorally.

If you knew that morality was subjective, how would what you were doing be immoral?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 129 by Neutralmind, posted 04-08-2007 11:15 AM Neutralmind has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 132 by Neutralmind, posted 04-08-2007 11:52 AM crashfrog has not yet responded

  
crashfrog
Member (Idle past 22 days)
Posts: 19762
From: Silver Spring, MD
Joined: 03-20-2003


Message 138 of 196 (393932)
04-08-2007 1:30 PM
Reply to: Message 135 by Neutralmind
04-08-2007 1:02 PM


But knowing morality is subjective I'm never really doing anything morally "wrong", so I should just ignore that voice inside me ?

Didn't we cover this? Subjective morality doesn't mean that nothing's right or wrong. It just means that you can't establish objective, universal guidelines about what will always be right and what will always be wrong, because there's always situations where the right thing to do is erroneously labeled "wrong" by your code.

There's no reason for you to "ignore" any voices if you don't want to.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 135 by Neutralmind, posted 04-08-2007 1:02 PM Neutralmind has not yet responded

  
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2018 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.0 Beta
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2020