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Author Topic:   Morality! Thorn in Darwin's side or not?
Stile
Member (Idle past 153 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 151 of 438 (505998)
04-21-2009 11:06 AM
Reply to: Message 142 by Granny Magda
04-20-2009 11:35 AM


A selfish nitpick for the good guys
Granny Magda writes:
There is no moral act which can claim to be uninfluenced by selfishness, as I have already demonstrated up-thread.
Actually, I believe that you have only demonstrated that there is no moral act which does not result in something that can be considered beneficial for the original actor (possibly only an internal feeling).
And I would agree with such a statement.
However, there is a difference between beneficial results and selfishness.
To me, the core definition of selfishness includes a personal motivation towards self-improvement. If that motivation is not present, then the simple actualisation of a possible future benefit is not justification to call the orignial action selfish.
Basically, just because good stuff happens doesn't mean the person originally acted in such a manner as to attain those good things. When good stuff happens to a person, it doesn't automatically make that person selfish. Such a thing is too simple and redefines the word "selfish" to no longer include any amount of personal motivation towards self-improvement.
And, if the person's motivation is unselfish, then I would say that the moral action is unselfish.
Example 1:
I open the car door for my wife because I think it would make her happy.
This moral action is unselfish.
Possible result A: My wife thanks me, smiles, and I feel happy too. The action was still unselfish as long as I wasn't hoping for or intending for this result.
Possible result B: My wife slaps me because she wants to do things herself and not be seen as "weak". The action was still unselfish as long as I wasn't hoping for or intending a beneficial result.
Example 2:
I open the car door for my wife because I hope it will help me feel better in some way.
This moral action is selfish.
Possible result A: My wife thanks me, smiles, and I feel happy too. The action was selfish because I got the selfish result I wanted.
Possible result B: My wife slaps me because she wants to do things herself and not be seen as "weak". The action was still selfish because my motivation for the action was selfishly oriented.
I propose that whether or not a moral action is selfish is determined by the motivation for the action, not the following results.
I fully admit that I cannot show you that any specific motivation was actually selfish or not. However, this includes the fact that you cannot show me that any specific motivation was actually selfish, let alone all moral actions.
I agree with you on the whole that morality is not a problem for evolution. However, I think that this side-point for your arguement is flawed. Morality isn't a problem for evolution for the same reason echo-location is not a problem for evolution. There's nothing to prevent such a trait, there's at least some reasoning as to why it could be useful, and all verifiable information about the trait points to a naturally occuring answer.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 142 by Granny Magda, posted 04-20-2009 11:35 AM Granny Magda has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 164 by Granny Magda, posted 04-23-2009 1:26 PM Stile has replied

  
Stile
Member (Idle past 153 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 165 of 438 (506177)
04-23-2009 2:05 PM
Reply to: Message 164 by Granny Magda
04-23-2009 1:26 PM


Re: A selfish nitpick for the good guys
Granny Magda writes:
I can't help but suspect that these types of subconscious motivations govern our actions far more than we would like to suppose.
I fully agree that if (when, perhaps?) such a thing is shown to be true for all actions, then you will be correct.
But, we're not there yet...
And there's the rub. We can't really know what motivates us to act, not ultimately.
That's exactly my point. Because we can't really know, we can't rule out the fact that certain conscious moral decisions very well may be fully determined by our conscious minds. In which case, we can't yet say that it's strictly impossible for a pure, selfless act to exist.
I have no problem with you saying it's unlikely. My nitpick was just to add pause when saying it's absolutely impossible. We don't know such a thing yet.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 164 by Granny Magda, posted 04-23-2009 1:26 PM Granny Magda has not replied

  
Stile
Member (Idle past 153 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 167 of 438 (506240)
04-24-2009 8:30 AM
Reply to: Message 166 by onifre
04-23-2009 7:01 PM


A nitpick for another thread
Google has been kind enough to show me a thread here that actually discusses this topic.
The off-topic-ness here is pretty much all my fault, so here's a link to another thread if anyone wants to further discuss the selfish/selflessness of actions:
Message 8

This message is a reply to:
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Stile
Member (Idle past 153 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 170 of 438 (508502)
05-14-2009 11:09 AM


Simple and obvious
ICANT writes:
If morality exists without God, where did it come from?
Morality came from people. We think things up, it's what we do.
So, where did the "Golden Rule" come from?
As with all morals, it came from people thinking up ideas of how to interact with others.
Why does morality exist?
Morality is the term used to describe the guidelines of how people interact with others. The term "others" includes all mundane beings. It may also include imaginary or non-mundane beings. Actual existence in reality is not a pre-requisite. I can even have a morality that governs my relationship with an imaginary friend or illusion.
Morality exists because people exist who interact with others.
Why did it (morality) begin to exist?
Because people began to interact with others.
Asking why morality exists is like asking why communication exists.
People interact with others.
The signals (whatever they are) making up those interactions are called communication.
The guidelines (whatever they are) governing those interactions are called morality.
Both the signals and the guidelines are created by people.
Even if God existed.
Even if God created a system of morality for all people.
It's still each person's choice to follow that morality or not.
Therefore, even the ones who choose to follow God's morality are still creating that one guideline (to follow God's morality) themselves.

Replies to this message:
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Stile
Member (Idle past 153 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 179 of 438 (516737)
07-27-2009 8:46 AM
Reply to: Message 176 by Cedre
07-27-2009 6:37 AM


Where is the absolute morality?
Cedre writes:
The best answer he could give is ‘because normal people of this society care for each other and don’t steal from each other’.
What makes you think that an answer of "because this is God's ultimate morality" is any better?
Let's say we have two people. Both are good, decent folk. One is a good, decent person because she decided that she'd rather be a good person than a bad person. The other is a good, decent person because he decided to follow God's ultimate standard.
Which one is "better?" Why would you assume that a morality based on an appeal to authority is more firmly grounded then one that is built from first principles?
But, before we can discuss whether or not an appeal to an absolute moral standard is "better," we first have to show that it actually exists.
I have never come across an absolute moral standard that governs this existence. I have heard many, many people declare that their deity or holy book claims to have an absolute moral standard. But each and every one of them have never, ever been able to actually show that what they say is an actual part of reality. For the length of recorded history of the planet. Think you can be the first? Please go ahead, I'd love to be a part of breaking history.
Of course, I should warn you that the reason why these people can't show their concepts are actually real... is because they aren't. Personally, I find it incredibly irresponsible for people to base their life's entire system of morality on something they are unable to differentiate from pure imagination. But perhaps that's just me.
I can show you that the morality I accept is based in reality. It is an objective system that is based on a single, basic, subjective concept: making people sad is wrong, making people happy is good.
But this thread is not about my moral system. If you'd like to discuss my specific moral system, please take it to one of the threads that already discusses such things. Like either of these two:
Message 1
Message 1

This message is a reply to:
 Message 176 by Cedre, posted 07-27-2009 6:37 AM Cedre has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 183 by Cedre, posted 07-27-2009 10:40 AM Stile has replied

  
Stile
Member (Idle past 153 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 185 of 438 (516759)
07-27-2009 11:18 AM
Reply to: Message 183 by Cedre
07-27-2009 10:40 AM


The impotent thorn
Cedre writes:
Firstly I would ask you to reveal the standard you employed in measuring these persons to be good, decent folk, how did you determine that if morality is merely subjective?
Umm... you quoted my answer to that in your own post:
Stile writes:
I can show you that the morality I accept is based in reality. It is an objective system that is based on a single, basic, subjective concept: making people sad is wrong, making people happy is good.
Cedre writes:
This exactly what I have been saying without God morality becomes something that people can accept, drop and handle as they wish, its like a fashion trend, in today out the next day.
Except you're wrong. Even with God morality is something that people can accept, drop and handle as they wish. And they do, as we can see how immorallity and corruption is a problem in all societies, regardless of how much they respect God.
First, you have not shown that an absolute morality exists.
Second, even if it does, everyone still has a subjective choice to accept or reject the absolute system. Which means... all the problems you simply claim that an absolute moral system deals with are completely incorrect.
The issue goes a bit deeper than the superficial. It really doesn't matter what's called "good" and "bad" or even what really is good and bad.
What matters is people's actions and the results of those actions.
Even if there is an absolute moral system that says "thou shall not steal"... do you really think this is going to stop thiefs from stealing??
What stops theifs from stealing does not depend on the existence of an absolute moral system of judgement.
What stops theifs from stealing is the result of their actions and the reprucussions of the rest of society.
Now, again, do you think people are going to punish a theif because "he broke an absolute system of morality??" That's ridiculous. People punish a theif simply because they want to protect what's theirs and attempt to teach (or force) the theif not to do it again.
As you can see, the existence of an absolute moral system is completely irrelvent to:
-why the theif wants to steal
-why the theif actually does steal
-why the rest of the people want to stop the theif
-why the rest of the people want to punish the theif
-how the rest of the people actually punish the theif
So.. if an absolute moral system is completely irrelevent, why do think it's so important? What possible difference is it going to add to the situation?
Thanks for your posts. We've moved from saying "you can't show that an absolute system of morality exists" to saying "even if an absolute moral system does exist, it is useless, irrelevent and completely impotent."
Well done.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 183 by Cedre, posted 07-27-2009 10:40 AM Cedre has not replied

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Stile
Member (Idle past 153 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 205 of 438 (737922)
10-02-2014 9:26 AM
Reply to: Message 202 by Wyrdly
10-02-2014 4:50 AM


Wyrdly writes:
This is a fascinating old thread, and sorry to revive it so late on but I didn't see anyone cover my issue with the argument
Necromatic recovery of old threads is not discouraged around here.
Staying on topic and keeping topics organized is a much higher priority.
Feel free to delve into the depths and see what you can pull back!
And welcome to EvC, it's nice here with lots to see. Hope your stay and enjoyment of the site is a long one.
'Without God everything is permitted.' - Dostoyevsky
Is there anything of the atrocities of history (or present day) that make you think certain things are actually "not permitted" in some higher-plane?
It would seem to me that there's nothing preventing people choosing to do whatever they choose to do.
That may not sit well with our ideas of fairness or justice. But, well, reality has shown itself to be consistently uncaring about our individual feelings on all matters.
Since a party or its leader a human, their authority is fallible and the foundations of the morality they create are questionable.
What is it about a God that would make their authority unquestionable?
Such a God sounds very... abusive.
In the absence of a god what reason do I have to behave according to anyone's so called morality?
Your own personal decision, of course. Just like everyone else.
What do you think is a "better morality"?
1 - Trying to do good things because God tells you they are good and you should do them.
2 - Trying to do good things because you personally want to do things that are good.
To me, one sounds like doing chores and the other sounds like being a nice person. What do you think?
If there really is no God we can rely on... this would only make morality less of a consideration for people who are already bad people anyway. If they're already bad people getting away with whatever they can... what difference would this make?
Without a benevolent, caring, all-powerful God watching over everyone... personal morality is more important and more powerful to the individual who wants to do good things just because they are good. Because then there's no other source for good things.
The problem with the argument you're making is that you're turning anyone who follows God and does good things into a weasel... simply doing certain things God says to do in order to get on God's good side.
If anyone follows God but just does good things for the sake of good things... then people who don't follow God can also do good things just for the sake of good things... and the worries of your argument are no longer applicable.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 202 by Wyrdly, posted 10-02-2014 4:50 AM Wyrdly has not replied

  
Stile
Member (Idle past 153 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


(1)
Message 214 of 438 (739735)
10-27-2014 1:12 PM
Reply to: Message 211 by Wyrdly
10-27-2014 12:15 PM


Good and Bad
Hi Wyrdly! Welcome to EvC! It's fun here and there's lots to see, I hope you stick around
Wyrdly writes:
this avoids the root of the question of what is good, what is moral.
Exactly.
I noticed you didn't answer this question, though. I think the answer is easy, although a bit unsettling without understanding.
This is a falsehood though, it doesn't bring you any closer to authentic existence or understanding an objective "good" than following any made up religion.
Right.
What makes you think that there is an objective "good"?
Or maybe you think such a thing does not exist?
And what is "authentic" existence? How is it better than regular-old every-day existence?
My point is that empathy not make good. altruism does not = good. To think these things is a very post-enlightenment western perspective.
Saying such a thing seems to imply that you do indeed know what "good" is. Can you inform us?
My position is that there is no such thing as an objective "good."
"Good" and "Bad" only exist as concepts that we create and agree upon as social creatures.
My evidence for this is all the information you can find out there of conflicting ideas of what is good and what is bad.
If objective ideas existed... there would be more agreement.
Since there is no agreement, especially in the minute details... I propose that there is no such thing as objective Good and objective Bad.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 211 by Wyrdly, posted 10-27-2014 12:15 PM Wyrdly has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 217 by Dogmafood, posted 10-27-2014 7:51 PM Stile has replied

  
Stile
Member (Idle past 153 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 222 of 438 (739827)
10-28-2014 9:13 AM
Reply to: Message 217 by Dogmafood
10-27-2014 7:51 PM


Re: Good and Bad
ProtoTypical writes:
Stile writes:
My position is that there is no such thing as an objective "good."
Hey Stile, so does this mean that for something to be objectively good that it would have to be good for everybody?
No, that's not what I meant to imply.
I do understand what you're saying... "everybody agrees" is a sort of definition for "objective."
I was going for a more rigorous definition of objective, though. One which does not rely on people.
Like "a boulder is heavier than a feather" is not objective because everyone agrees. It's objective because it can be measured and shown to anyone.
This is what I meant by 'no such thing as an objective "good"'.
There is no external measurement system for "good" that indicates good/bad is some sort of intrinsic property of a situation or idea.
It's just a concept that we think about (and likely made up).
I can think of a few things that are good for everybody like health or prosperity.
Again, it's not the sort of thing I was aiming for.. but even as an aside... I would disagree
I have nothing off the top of my head, but if you want, I can search the internet... are you sure it will be impossible for me to find a single person in the entire world that does not want to be healthy? Or another single person who does not want to "prosper"?
I'm pretty sure I could find a single person who would not be included in your "everybody" statement.
Some people commit suicide. That's pretty accepting that you have no desire to get healthy, you only want to stop. Kind of gets in the way of you achieving prosperity too.
Are you saying that there's no such thing as suicide? Honorable Seppuku?
Huh... maybe I did have something off the top of my head
I'm sure I can find more if I tried to search, even.
I do concede, though... that the vast majority would agree with your idea here.
Don't you need people to have morality?
Exactly my point.
If you need people then it cannot possibly be "objective" (in the rigorous sense of the word I'm going for here).

This message is a reply to:
 Message 217 by Dogmafood, posted 10-27-2014 7:51 PM Dogmafood has replied

Replies to this message:
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Stile
Member (Idle past 153 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 224 of 438 (739833)
10-28-2014 9:43 AM
Reply to: Message 220 by mike the wiz
10-28-2014 5:55 AM


mike the wiz writes:
which means that every suggestion they make can't be tested. Think about it, if you help mother, it's your selfish gene, if you help mother's friend it's the selfish gene, if you help mother's friend's dog, it's the selfish gene, if you commit suicide it's the selfish gene...
It cannot possibly be the selfish gene if you commit suicide before reproducing or helping anyone else to reproduce.
Even your examples refute your own idea. It's very confusing.
Freewill. ("doesn't really exist")
I don't think it matters if Freewill actually exists or not.
We're still here.
We still make actions that affect other people.
We still have to protect the rest of society from those of us who do actions that negatively affect other people.
Even if we could definitively prove that Freewill did not exist in any possible way... it would only be a simple change to our laws and life would continue exactly as it does not.
Sentencing would change from "You chose to do this... now you must go to jail and accept your consequences" to "You did this... now you must go to jail, sorry about your luck."
Nothing would change. It doesn't make a difference to practical life.
People are very good at adapting and accepting things that don't change practical life. Because it's really easy.
Design. (only an "appearance")
Again, it doesn't matter.
So what if we're designed?
Fossils still exist.
Science still gets us to the moon.
God still doesn't care enough to actually intervene to do anything in this life.
The afterlife is still unknown to us.
Nothing changes, again.
Morality (only "relative")
Morality is only relative. That's why there's so many disagreements on what is and is not moral.
That's why laws change from culture to culture and era to era.
If morality was not relative, it would not be so different across cultures and time.
This is simply a fact. And an easily verified, obvious one, at that.
Human uniqueness. (By giving example of rudimentary, irrelevant similarities in animals, playing the "quantitive" game.)
I have no idea where you're going with this one.
But I'm pretty sure it doesn't matter either.
DNA, (not really "information")
Maybe DNA is intelligently designed, maybe it's not. Again, you seem to make a big kerfuffle about nothing.
Fossils still exist.
Science still gets us to the moon.
God still doesn't care enough to actually intervene to do anything in this life.
The afterlife is still unknown to us.
Nothing changes, again.
And we're still back to figuring this all out for ourselves. If you don't learn from history, you're doomed to repeat their mistakes. God hasn't affected anyone's life more significantly than random chance for the last 2000 years. Maybe if you hope and believe this entire life you'll be rewarded with a great afterlife! Or... since that's a pretty selfish motivation... it would be better for you to try and change this world for the better while you're here instead.
Maybe, by not interfering in the last 2000 years, God's giving you the strongest hint ever... that you should try to help things out without relying on Him.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 220 by mike the wiz, posted 10-28-2014 5:55 AM mike the wiz has not replied

  
Stile
Member (Idle past 153 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 235 of 438 (740045)
10-31-2014 9:15 AM
Reply to: Message 233 by Dogmafood
10-31-2014 1:03 AM


Re: Good and Bad
ProtoTypical writes:
I agree that there is no external point of reference but the environment itself is a reference point. By that I mean that good can be measured by an entities success within any given environment.
I completely agree. In fact, it's what I base my own morality on.
The wording you've used here is very important, though, so I'd just like to stress it a little:
Good can be measured by an entities success within any given environment.
It doesn't have to be measured that way.
If we are going to measure good that way, then we have to agree upon such a thing.
IF we do agree... then we now have a basis for morality. From this agreed-upon-basis, we can objectively judge things against it.
This is how we can create a meaningful, objective moral system.
We just need to remember that the agreed-upon-basis is not itself objective, but simply based upon some common subjective agreement.
I wouldn't say that we invented the concept of good. Our notions of good are driven completely by our nature and we certainly didn't invent our nature.
I can agree with this. It's quite possible that our basic good/bad concept evolved within us before we were "humans."
But, it doesn't really matter.
A full stomach is good.
This, I cannot agree with
A full stomach is only "good" if we agree upon a standard basis in the first place.
Some people think that hunger strikes are good. These people would not agree that a full stomach is "good."
Ah but the truly healthy and prosperous person would never find themselves in the position of wanting or needing to commit Seppuku.
The problem here is your qualification of "truly healthy and prosperous..."
These are subjective terms that have no objective basis either.
Again... we're left with starting from a subjective basis that needs to be agreed upon initially.
IF we agree that heath and prosperity are things we should morally aim for... THEN Seppuku or other rational methods of suicide can be seen as immoral.
I, however, do not agree that "health and prosperity" are things we should morally aim for
The concept of morality requires the self aware actor. Without this we only have amoral behaviour. Can we say objectively that amoral behaviour is good or bad?
My entire point is: "No, I don't know of a method where we can objectively identify amoral (or any other kind of) behavior as good or bad."
Which is why we need to agree upon a basis initially.
Then we can objectively judge things against that agreed-upon-standard.
Because of this I say: There is no such thing as objective morality, all morality is relative.
We can, however, agree to a basis and objectively judge things against that.
Some people agree upon the commandments in the Bible.
They can then objectively judge things against the commandments in the Bible.
But, we know that there is no objective basis for the Bible or it's commandments.
My initial standard has a few things involved:
1. I think it is good to help people and bad to hurt people. (Fairly basic).
2. I think that the only person who can be the ultimate judge on whether or not they were helped or hurt is the person who is affected by the action. (Because people are different and like/dislike different things).
3. Therefore, what is "good" and "bad" is different for each and every person you run into. (Evidenced by the confusion of morality that differs completely between cultures and time and even friends)
This results in a counter-intuitive system for morality.
That is, according to my method, it's simply impossible to know (100% sure, anyway) if something is good or bad before you do it. You can only know after it's done by getting the feedback from the person you affected.
Most people don't like that part and simply throw the entire method out at this point because it's not 'easy.'
But, really, I don't see a way around it. If you're really interested in step 1 (helping others and not hurting them).
I'm certainly open to ideas for "better" morality systems... but that term is obviously subjective in itself as it refers to the agreement for the initial-standard.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 233 by Dogmafood, posted 10-31-2014 1:03 AM Dogmafood has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 237 by Dogmafood, posted 11-01-2014 8:23 AM Stile has replied
 Message 240 by RAZD, posted 11-01-2014 9:16 AM Stile has replied

  
Stile
Member (Idle past 153 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 244 of 438 (740224)
11-03-2014 9:06 AM
Reply to: Message 237 by Dogmafood
11-01-2014 8:23 AM


Re: Good and Bad
ProtoTypical writes:
Success within the environment is the most objective standard that we can employ given that there are no external or more universal reference points.
"Most" objective?
I think this is the problem. Are you sure you understand what "objective" means? You can't be kind-of objective. And something can't be more-objective than another thing.
If you do think so... perhaps you could show me this scale-of-objectiveness that you're using to judge how objective something is?
You seem to be making a subjective judgement (you personally like the idea of judging against success within the environment)... but you're just typing out the word objective and hoping that it means something.
If "success within the environment" was an objective standard... you wouldn't have to convince me of it, you could just show me.
Like how 10" is objectively longer than 8"... I don't have to convince you of it, I can show you a ruler.
And 10" long is not "more objective" than 8" long... they're just both objective measurements.
How is "success within the environment" a more objective standard than, say, things that are closer to the colour green?
Other than you personally find "success within the environment" to be more helpful to your life than "things that are closer to the colour green?" (Which is a subjective judgement).
The environment and laws of nature are like the board and the rules of the game. They are entirely objective and universally applicable.
I agree with this... once we agree that we should use that standard... you can make objective judgements against it.
But the same goes with my closest-to-green example.
We can objectively show what colours are closest-to-green by using a spectrometer.
But why should we use the closest-to-green standard?
Why should we use the environmental standard?
You haven't answered that question... that's what makes morality relative... because you can't answer that question. Or, at least, I don't think you can. And no one has ever been able to in the history of searching for an answer to morality.
I would challenge anyone to produce a more objective standard.
Things that are closer to the colour of green.
There. Just as objective.
Now what?
I say that it does matter because the evolution of our nature preloaded us with our behaviour patterns that are all selected based on their tendency to help us survive and procreate.
This is a reason why the standard resonates with you, personally.
This is a subjective reason for the basis of your system.
This is not objective in any way.
May as well use my standard of what's-closer-to-being-green just because colours have absolutely nothing to do with being human... they are an external reference point.
So these characteristics all come from an amoral environment where good characteristics are retained and bad ones are not.
Here you have accidentally done some circular logic.
"Good characteristic are retained and bad ones are not" is only valid-true if you already assume your conclusion... that Good = health and prosperity. If we assume my conclusion... that Good = Green... then good things are not necessarily retained.
Besides:
Colours on the spectrum are amoral as well.
Green is good, red is bad.
Health and prosperity are not really subjective terms.
Then provide a definition that doesn't rely on a person's subjective feelings.
Do that, and I'll provide you with an example of a person who does not agree that your definition is "good."
It's as simple as that to end the argument that the standard of health and prosperity are "objective" standards.
What is good is different for each subject but the assessment of good/bad is the same for each subject.
I don't think you have shown this to be true.
I think that the assessment isn't the same for each subject either.
You can assess it using Health and Prosperity.
I can assess it by seeing what's-closest-to-green.
Aztecs assess it another way.
Japanese assess it another way.
It's the fact that the assessments are different that results in 'what is good' being different.
ProtoTypical writes:
Stile writes:
I, however, do not agree that "health and prosperity" are things we should morally aim for
I meant to ask you why not.
Well, in a way I actually agree... but you have to define "health and prosperity" my way for me to agree
If we define it another way (which is what I assumed you were doing)... then I don't agree.
If we define "health and prosperity" to be something specific, like, say... living long or having a family or being rich or having lots of resources available... then I cannot agree simply because there will always be people who do not want to live long, or have a family, or be rich, or have lots of resources. People are different, and want different things.
If, however, we define "health and prosperity" to mean something along the lines of "whatever makes the individual happy.." then I do agree. But, I only agree because this then aligns with what I've been saying from the beginning... that good/bad can only be decided by the person being affected by the situation. That is, "being happy" is something that each individual can only decide for themselves, and it's going to be different for many people. Because that's the way people are.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 237 by Dogmafood, posted 11-01-2014 8:23 AM Dogmafood has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 247 by Dogmafood, posted 11-04-2014 5:07 PM Stile has replied

  
Stile
Member (Idle past 153 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


(1)
Message 245 of 438 (740227)
11-03-2014 9:16 AM
Reply to: Message 240 by RAZD
11-01-2014 9:16 AM


Re: Good and Bad
RAZD writes:
Natural selection is 'good' ...?
Selfish greed is 'good' ... ?
Person A stealing from person B means person A is 'good' and person B is 'bad' ... ?
I don't understand the point you're trying to make with these questions. It went over my head, so I can't comment, sorry.
RAZD writes:
Stile writes:
IF we do agree... then we now have a basis for morality. From this agreed-upon-basis, we can objectively judge things against it.
This is how we can create a meaningful, objective moral system.
A logical structure based on a priori assumptions doesn't make it objective.
Absolutely correct.
You did not understand what I was saying, though.
I did not imply that the basis for the morality became objective.
I said that we can objectively judge things against that basis.
For example:
I subjectively choose that things closer-to-the-colour-green are good and red is bad.
Once this is in place, we can make objective measurements against the system... we can use a spectrometer to see exactly how good something is by seeing how close it is to the colour green.
This doesn't make the basis for the system objective in any way.
But the measurements... the judgements against the system... are still objective. That's all I was saying.
We see behavior we recognize as similar to what we feel is moral behavior in other social animals.
It is not so straightforward. Our intelligence allows us to have a large scope.
We can do this.
But many people do not.
Therefore... there is no deeper "ultimate" meaning hidden in here anywhere.
You do this because if everybody behaves this way then you benefit.
It's possible to do it for that reason.
But this is not my motivation.
I do it because I want to help people and not hurt them.
And, since you're not the boss of me, my statement trumps yours

This message is a reply to:
 Message 240 by RAZD, posted 11-01-2014 9:16 AM RAZD has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 260 by RAZD, posted 11-17-2014 4:42 PM Stile has replied

  
Stile
Member (Idle past 153 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 249 of 438 (740446)
11-05-2014 9:15 AM
Reply to: Message 247 by Dogmafood
11-04-2014 5:07 PM


Re: Good and Bad
I do not think that simplicity and apparentness are necessary qualities of objective and just because the topic is complicated shouldn't disqualify it from being assessed objectively.
I agree that "complicated" is not a disqualifier for objectivity.
But, objectivity does need to have a full explanation (guide, comparison, metric...) or else it is open-ended. If it's open-ended, I'm not sure if it's objective.
Well because morality doesn't have much to do with what colour things are...right?
I agree.
My point with that example is that "morality" has no connection with "survival" either. My point is that you're forcing a connection here, so why can't I force a connection with the colour green?
In order to have morality you need a self aware being and every self aware being will possess a will to survive.
Okay. I agree with this 2-part statement alone.
"In order to have morality you need a self aware being".
and
"Every self aware being will possess a will to survive."
There are many things a self-aware being will possess as well, though. Here are a few:
-desires
-fears
-curiosity
As well, there are many things (like morality) that require a self aware being. Again, a few examples:
-personal happiness
-sense of competition
It will be a part of their nature. No self aware being will evolve without the primal will to survive. It can't happen and therefore we can know that trying to survive long enough to propagate is an essential quality of existence for a self aware being.
I believe this could be argued (by means of dumb luck). But to make my point, it is irrelevant. So I accept this.
Therefore, if a self aware actor is achieving this we can recognize it as success within the environment. This is an objective goal set by the nature of our existence and judged objectively by the environment in which we exist.
Again, I can agree to this statement.
My issue is... how are you linking this objective-goal to morality?
All you've said is that people can have this objective-goal of survival... and that people also have morality.
You've given no explanation for why the two must (or even should) be linked.
Why not link our goal of survival to competition instead? Or happiness?
Why not link morality to our fears or curiosity instead of survival?
What if there is something "moral" that is not decided by considering survival (personal or species)... does that counter this argument?
I see that "self-aware beings have morality" is objective.
I see that "a goal of self-aware beings is to survive" is objective (or, at least... I'm not going to argue against it here).
I do not see that the two are objectively linked in the way you're implying.
Can you objectively explain their link?
Can you show me why good is along-the-lines of surviving and why bad is along-the-lines of dying out?
(I believe this would include definitions for the words "good" and "bad" and why they must be linked to surviving and cannot be linked to other things instead.)
I think that you are not able to offer such definitions or explanations. This is why I say that your objective argument (about morality being linked with survival) isn't valid.
Even if you do create such definitions, I think it will be trivial to provide a situation in which your definitions do not jive with what we normally identify with "good" and "bad." In which case, your objective argument would not be valid again.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 247 by Dogmafood, posted 11-04-2014 5:07 PM Dogmafood has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 254 by Dogmafood, posted 11-05-2014 7:42 PM Stile has replied

  
Stile
Member (Idle past 153 days)
Posts: 4295
From: Ontario, Canada
Joined: 12-02-2004


Message 256 of 438 (740595)
11-06-2014 8:50 AM
Reply to: Message 254 by Dogmafood
11-05-2014 7:42 PM


Re: Good and Bad
ProtoTypical writes:
I think that the will to survive is the most primal of all and is necessary for any other goal to exist. So while curiosity and competition may also be necessary or beneficial I think that without the will to survive you wont survive long enough to be curious about anything much. (A competitive nature is very close to having the will to survive.) So it is a hierarchical thing. Without survival there is nothing.
I understand what you're saying here. And I can agree with it, even.
But... I still don't see a connection between what you're talking about and "morality."
What if morality should not be linked to something that is our primary evolutionary goal? What if it's an emergent property of our intelligence and should be separated from our evolutionary roots because it surpasses that level of basic instinctive savagery?
How can we tell or know?
I would say that if you have a goal that is identifiable as part of your very nature and if morality is 'right' behaviour then it follows that knowingly working towards that goal is moral.
This is the phrase that I don't understand... until you mention this:
Of course this assumes that our natural behavior is 'right' behavior.
...which is entirely my point.
If we're assuming that our natural behavior is "right" behavior, then I completely agree with you.
My point, and issue, is why should we make this assumption?
I don't see a reason to.
No I don't think that I can give an objective reason beyond the thought that without survival there is nothing and something seems more interesting than nothing.
Right. Which is a personal, subjective reason of your own (it seems "interesting").
I don't think there's anything wrong with this... I just wouldn't call it 'objective.'
On top of all this:
Why do you even want morality to be objective? (or do you? ) What makes objectivity better than subjectivity?
For example:
Let's say God exists. And that God actually has decreed that our morality is to honour God.
Does this make subjective morality of helping others and not hurting others more or less "good"?
To me, it makes it even better to have a priority of helping others and not hurting others even if there is some other objective goal that may (or may not) be in conflict with that.
Sort of like doing something because you think it's the right thing to do instead of doing something just because you're "following orders."
Orders can be objective, but doing something because your own subjective ideas motivate you... is more powerful.
In this sense, to me, it doesn't even matter if we can come up with some sort of "entirely objective morality" because the subjective basis for morality created by using my intelligence and experiences is even more important to me anyway.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 254 by Dogmafood, posted 11-05-2014 7:42 PM Dogmafood has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 258 by Dogmafood, posted 11-16-2014 12:27 PM Stile has replied

  
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