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Author Topic:   Morals without God or Darwin, just Empathy
Doddy
Member (Idle past 4221 days)
Posts: 563
From: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 01-04-2007


Message 46 of 184 (381080)
01-29-2007 6:32 PM
Reply to: Message 43 by nator
01-29-2007 5:01 PM


Re: The same but different?
nator writes:

Some of the most complex animal emotional lives can be seen, not surprisingly, in our closest relatives, the great apes.

I found these two stories in an article by Dutch primatologist Frans B. M. de Waal:

quote:
Nadia Ladygina-Kohts, a primatological pioneer, noticed similar empathic tendencies in her young chimpanzee, Joni, whom she raised at the beginning of the last century, in Moscow. Kohts, who analyzed Joni’s behavior in the minutest detail, discovered that the only way to get him off the roof of her house after an escape—much more effective than any reward or threat of punishment—was by arousing sympathy:
If I pretend to be crying, close my eyes and weep, Joni immediately stops his plays or any other activities, quickly runs over to me, all excited and shagged, from the most remote places in the house, such as the roof or the ceiling of his cage, from where I could not drive him down despite my persistent calls and entreaties. He hastily runs around me, as if looking for the offender; looking at my face, he tenderly takes my chin in his palm, lightly touches my face with his finger, as though trying to understand.

These observations suggest that apart from emotional connectedness, apes have an appreciation of the other’s situation and show a degree of perspective-taking. One striking report in this regard concerns a bonobo female named Kuni, who found a wounded bird in her enclosure at Twycross Zoo, in England. Kuni picked up the bird, and when her keeper urged her to let it go, she climbed to the highest point of the highest tree, carefully unfolded the bird’s wings and spread them wide open, one wing in each hand, before throwing it as hard as she could toward the barrier of the enclosure. When the bird fell short, Kuni climbed down and guarded it until the end of the day, when it flew to safety. Obviously, what Kuni did would have been inappropriate toward a member of her own species. Having seen birds in flight many times, she seemed to have a notion of what would be good for a bird, thus giving us an anthropoid illustration of Smith’s “changing places in fancy.”


Edited by Doddy Curumehtar, : Forget to show my signature


"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

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Replies to this message:
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Doddy
Member (Idle past 4221 days)
Posts: 563
From: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 01-04-2007


Message 57 of 184 (381181)
01-30-2007 6:23 AM
Reply to: Message 55 by Larni
01-30-2007 4:27 AM


Re: Ability and Usage are two different things
Larni writes:

Part of your core beliefs include what you are labling morals. These are formed during your life. They are learnt.

But it's important to note that we have parts of the brain specifically designed to hold these learnt associations. Both the biological and the cultural aspects evolved co-dependently - one cannot exist without the other. Why else would most past societies around the world tend to have similarities in morality? I'd say that would be due to innate sense of these things, just as the very reason the overall concept of beauty is shared by all cultures.

Besides, mice probably don't have a culture to teach them things like this, and I'm not sure apes would have much learnt morality, so much of their sense would be biological. But undoubtedly humans have some learnt associations for what is right and not right, because our sense of morality is changing over time (now women and other races are considered equal, nobody is allowed slaves and our standards for modesty are always altering), while our brains are not significantly different.


"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

This message is a reply to:
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Doddy
Member (Idle past 4221 days)
Posts: 563
From: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 01-04-2007


Message 97 of 184 (381792)
02-01-2007 10:35 PM
Reply to: Message 96 by Jon
02-01-2007 4:31 PM


Re: Empathy does not equal Good
Jon writes:

believe that "moral" = "doing what we think is best," and how we arrive at that conclusion may be by taking a number of things into consideration, but not just the feelings of others.

Very much so. Often the moral choice (the one that most people consider is the right course of action), isn't the best for others.

There is a well-known 'trolley dilemma' that indicates this.

quote:
Suppose you are standing by a railroad track. Ahead, in a deep cutting from which no escape is possible, five people are walking on the track. You hear a train approaching. Beside you is a lever with which you can switch the train to a sidetrack. One person is walking on the sidetrack. Is it O.K. to pull the lever and save the five people, though one will die?

Most people say it is.

Assume now you are on a bridge overlooking the track. Ahead, five people on the track are at risk. You can save them by throwing down a heavy object into the path of the approaching train. One is available beside you, in the form of a fat man. Is it O.K. to push him to save the five?

Most people say no, although lives saved and lost are the same as in the first problem.

Why does the moral grammar generate such different judgments in apparently similar situations? It makes a distinction between a foreseen harm (the train killing the person on the track) and an intended harm (throwing the person in front of the train), despite the fact that the consequences are the same in either case.



"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

This message is a reply to:
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Doddy
Member (Idle past 4221 days)
Posts: 563
From: Brisbane, Australia
Joined: 01-04-2007


Message 113 of 184 (382075)
02-03-2007 3:54 AM
Reply to: Message 112 by anastasia
02-02-2007 10:40 PM


Re: Empathy does not equal Good
Anastasia writes:

No thanks. I would rather believe that all men are equal, that there is no 'happy accident' or any stupendous malfunction, but a true and living spirit of God which lives in and equalizes everyone.

And I'd rather believe that I could never get hit by a car when I cross the road. But just because you want to believe something, it doesn't become more likely to be true. Although, many studies have shown that it does increase the likelihood that people will believe it (it's called 'valence effect' in psychology).


"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

This message is a reply to:
 Message 112 by anastasia, posted 02-02-2007 10:40 PM anastasia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 115 by anastasia, posted 02-03-2007 11:20 AM Doddy has not yet responded

  
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