Objective morality

Discuss arguments for existence of God and faith in general. Any aspect of any orientation toward religion/spirituality, as long as it is based upon a positive open to other people attitude.

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runamokmonk
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Re: Objective morality

Post by runamokmonk » Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:35 am

Yes, I think so. Not sure what you mean, I guess.

I disagreed with, organism qua organism, and the argument. The argument is of an abstract Organism not based in the facts of reality. In reality, organisms, human organisms, have in fact sacrificed. The sacrifice does not change the fact that they were acting in the capacity of an organism. Therefore, the argument/descriptions of organisms needs to change to fit reality.

The fact of harm, does not relate to a disvalue, if it is to save or help something that is of value.

The fact of harm does not tell what on ought to do. The fact of harm to oneself, is only a categorical disvalue, if one values themself as highest value.


Either way, the organism is acting in the capacity of an organism. Sacrifice does not change the fact that it is an organism.

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met
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Re: Objective morality

Post by met » Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:50 am

Come on Miles, Metacrock, runamokmonk, and Met, address the argument please.
ok....
Robin Yergenson wrote: 12. Given our lack of omniscience, we typically have to base choices and actions on our greatest probability for obtaining benefit. Harmonious rights reciprocity is one.
13. It follows then that in a social context, we ought to act in harmonious ways and we ought not act in predatory ways.
Rob
I've been told that game theory experiments suggest that's NOT really what's in our individual (materialistic) self-interests. What's in our individual self-interests is to LOOK to others like we're acting in harmonious ways, while REALLY acting in predatory ways. That, they say, is the best real strategy, and we could probably make arguments like that quite sensibly from RL experiences too, don't you think? (In fact, I think we are all very concerned with that, with our image, with putting the best possible spin on ourselves, being seen by others in the best possible light...)

... So, if being "good" only in appearance is really the best thing for our own interests, how do you base moral action on "greatest benefit for you as an organism?" It might be "best for everyone on average, but many, or most, of us tend to view ourselves as at least a little ABOVE average.


(IOW, as the mystics all say: the ego, that's the probelm.... ) ;)
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Re: Objective morality

Post by Metacrock » Tue Jul 31, 2012 5:58 am

Robin Yergenson wrote:12. Given our lack of omniscience, we typically have to base choices and actions on our greatest probability for obtaining benefit. Harmonious rights reciprocity is one.
13. It follows then that in a social context, we ought to act in harmonious ways and we ought not act in predatory ways.
Rob
one of the reasons I keep losing interest in discussion here is because you just don't listen. you don't respond to the thins l say. Like here. you are still assuming that utilitarian assumptions are the only logical assumptions are so natural they are just givens and we don't have to justify the. They are not givens, you do have to justify them and you can't.

Because they assume that the individual is just a cog in the machine and they reduce the individual to an aggregate. I don't accept that I insist that you try to justify it. But you refuse to do so becuase you keep assuming it's a given.
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Re: Objective morality

Post by mdsimpson92 » Tue Jul 31, 2012 9:19 pm

Metacrock wrote:one of the reasons I keep losing interest in discussion here is because you just don't listen. you don't respond to the thins l say. Like here. you are still assuming that utilitarian assumptions are the only logical assumptions are so natural they are just givens and we don't have to justify the. They are not givens, you do have to justify them and you can't.
I think he is making more Teleological assumption. I don't really see much of an emphasis on "ends justify the means" or "maximize utility." I might see an emphasis on well being but his idea seems to have a bit more of an aristotlean view (though not Aquinas' view). But yeah, they aren't givens.
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Re: Objective morality

Post by Metacrock » Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:10 am

mdsimpson92 wrote:
Metacrock wrote:one of the reasons I keep losing interest in discussion here is because you just don't listen. you don't respond to the things l say. Like here. you are still assuming that utilitarian assumptions are the only logical assumptions are so natural they are just givens and we don't have to justify them. They are not givens, you do have to justify them and you can't.
I think he is making more Teleological assumption. I don't really see much of an emphasis on "ends justify the means" or "maximize utility." I might see an emphasis on well being but his idea seems to have a bit more of an aristotlean view (though not Aquinas' view). But yeah, they aren't givens.
I didn't just greatest good for greatest number but the basic consequential assumption that outcome governs value or determines moral content. It seems to be natural inference of his approach that since outcomes determines good if we have a beneficial outcome we have done good, and if pain is accrued we have done bad. Then it also assumes pleasure over pain is the supreme value.

One reason I reject the teleological view is because it reduces the individual to an aggregate. I prefer the deontolgoical partly because with Augustine you have the value of each individual as an end int itself.
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Re: Objective morality

Post by mdsimpson92 » Thu Aug 02, 2012 10:57 pm




The thing is, Rob, is that I agree with those principles in general. It appeals to the aristotlean ethicist in me.

Does that mean that you agree that the oughts of point 3 follow from the points preceding it? If not why not? And you say,



What I was trying to do was point to how having an inherent telos behind us.

While I agree that there is a moral order, a direction behind us. Is that what you mean by telos? Beings with preferences gives rise to the notion of purpose associated with obtaining those preferences, but I can’t say that there is a purpose behind us. And you say,



Meta and metacrock seem to have responded with the fact that even if we have the intended telos to flourish it does not follow that we necessarily should. So they are somewhat attacking your argument.

I’m not comfortable having to represent a position that I don’t hold and since I don’t expect you to, hopefully they will chime in. But for now you quote met and say,



met wrote:
(ie There's no reason our built-in purposes or natures, even if those things really exist, "should" be followed. Just as likely that they "should" be overcome. )

He does have a point. I will try to play a bit of devil's advocate to keep you amused. I could argue that there is a part of our nature that is irrational and tends towards malice and violence. We can see that throughout history. Does that mean that there is an ought that we humans should be violent?

I agree that most of our predispositions need to be put in perspective and at times even overcome. That is why I will be the first to agree that genetics and determinism do not define morality. The bottom of our objective (non-whim based) value system does. When I cease to exist, so does the objective (non-whim based) value system that pertains to me. That puts my life at the bottom of my value system whether I get it or not. You say,



On the other hand, I might reply that values can still potentially come from these purposes. They do not necessarily have to be genetic but can come from relationships. For instance, there is values that come with being a "good" husband, or a father, or as a citizen. While these might seem a bit relativist due to what roles are entailed in culture, these responsibilities are still very real and have a purpose base on what a person "is".

Edit: However, I can see a rebuttal coming from my idea being to relativistic. A hitman for the mafia also has a role coming from his "society." So my idea doesn't completely follow through because it doesn't have enough of a universalist punch and has more value in communities

We get a great deal of value from personal relationships. And yes, culture is part of the complex set of conditions that need to be taken in context when identifying proper moral actions. The hitman who kills predators who have broken their implicit contractual agreement to recognize the rights of others may actually have a moral basis. The hitman who kills innocent harmonious people has himself broken that implicit contract. Since the contract is in our best interest to honor, and since honouring it only when it is convenient is no contract at all, we “ought” to honor it fully, but this moral ought is rooted in rational self interest, not the will of society, not the will of our genes, and not will of some external authority.
Sorry if I have misrepresented your view on that Rob. Though I might disagree that these contracts are fully taken in as part of rational self-interest. I fear that is may be making too much of a blank slate for people, the same mistake as Rawls and his view of the self. We don't pick our parents for instance. While I do think that is part of what we are I am not totally convinced that that contract is really one that the children choose. But that is my personal issue with certain forms of the social contract idea. But in the case of the mafia individual, I can see where you're coming from, though that could be a case of overlapping societies, for instance, if his "contract" is with the mafia rather than the rest of society. I could easily see some of the earliest mafia members having that mentality.
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runamokmonk
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Re: Objective morality

Post by runamokmonk » Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:16 pm

Indentured servitude was a contractual agreement too. It may be called an agreement but the servant's autonomy was sold. According to how I understood the above quote, this could be justified.

I can say it is wrong because I do value autonomy and fairness.

You might say that this conflicts with his rights. But rights are from social change. This would involve changing and even breaking contractual agreements.

People today agree to contracts from economic, political and environmental pressures. The one who arranges the terms of the contract usually gears it in their favor and can afford lawyers.

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Re: Objective morality

Post by mdsimpson92 » Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:26 pm

runamokmonk wrote:Indentured servitude was a contractual agreement too. It may be called an agreement but the servant's autonomy was sold. According to how I understood the above quote, this could be justified.

I can say it is wrong because I do value autonomy and fairness.

You might say that this conflicts with his rights. But rights are from social change. This would involve changing and even breaking contractual agreements.

People today agree to contracts from economic, political and environmental pressures. The one who arranges the terms of the contract usually gears it in their favor and can afford lawyers.
Hence the general problem that I find with putting morality around social contracts, even if they provide context that inform our moral decisions.
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Robin Yergenson
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Re: Objective morality

Post by Robin Yergenson » Sun Aug 12, 2012 2:39 am

Hello to met coming from Shanghai (I’m here on business),

I had said,
12. Given our lack of omniscience, we typically have to base choices and actions on our greatest probability for obtaining benefit. Harmonious rights reciprocity is one.
13. It follows then that in a social context, we ought to act in harmonious ways and we ought not act in predatory ways.
To which you responded,
I've been told that game theory experiments suggest that's NOT really what's in our individual (materialistic) self-interests. What's in our individual self-interests is to LOOK to others like we're acting in harmonious ways, while REALLY acting in predatory ways. That, they say, is the best real strategy, and we could probably make arguments like that quite sensibly from RL experiences too, don't you think? (In fact, I think we are all very concerned with that, with our image, with putting the best possible spin on ourselves, being seen by others in the best possible light...)

... So, if being "good" only in appearance is really the best thing for our own interests, how do you base moral action on "greatest benefit for you as an organism?" It might be "best for everyone on average, but many, or most, of us tend to view ourselves as at least a little ABOVE average.
Yes, that sounds right. Very good point. So then, consider the following two options (not an exhaustive list). To LOOK to others like we're acting in harmonious ways:

1. We can take the pirate’s code of “steal when you can, trade when you must” as our guiding principle and go about life tricking people into thinking we’re “good” while cleverly stealing and preying upon them whenever possible, or
2. We can recognize how difficult the web of deception is to maintain and opt instead to actually recognize and guide our choices and actions by honoring the implicit rights reciprocity contract that is the basis for civilized society.

Now, if one of these is more likely to yield success at living and thriving, that’s the one that we ought to do. Do you agree? And which one would that be? For either choice, please support your answer.

Rob

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Re: Objective morality

Post by Robin Yergenson » Sun Aug 12, 2012 3:09 am

Hi Miles,

I’m visiting Shanghai for the first time following a week in Kawasaki, Japan. A coworker who lives here took me out to see the sights yesterday. I was so drenched in sweat after just seeing the Pudong area that we had to come back to the hotel to change before continuing to the Puxi area. He wanted to take me out again today but I asked to stay cool and dry and catch up on things instead. You say,
Sorry if I have misrepresented your view on that Rob. Though I might disagree that these contracts are fully taken in as part of rational self-interest. I fear that it may be making too much of a blank slate for people, the same mistake as Rawls and his view of the self. We don't pick our parents for instance. While I do think that is part of what we are I am not totally convinced that that contract is really one that the children choose. But that is my personal issue with certain forms of the social contract idea. But in the case of the mafia individual, I can see where you're coming from, though that could be a case of overlapping societies, for instance, if his "contract" is with the mafia rather than the rest of society. I could easily see some of the earliest mafia members having that mentality.
I’m not claiming that children choose contracts. I’m claiming that since self benefit is the proper basis for objective morality, and since rights reciprocity is generally in the best interest of rational beings to enter into, it is what we ought to do. And since our success as a species has resulted in large part due to our ancestor’s having grasped that fact to a sufficient degree, we wind up being born into a society that has rights reciprocity as one of its preconditions. Until we demonstrate otherwise, it is assumed that we’re on board with it. Do you agree?

Rob

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