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OfflineMalachi
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are "ethics" worth talking about?
    #1831258 - 08/19/03 10:20 PM (13 years, 3 months ago)

a buddy of mine and I where talking earlier today and he told me that
"ethics" are meaningless, that it doesn't really mean anything to call something "ethical" since it's subjective, and that therefore gov't has no business using ethics as a front for rational decision making. I countered that ethics are required for some gov't action, like preventing little girls from fucking old guys, but he pointed out that this example is better argued from a rational perspective, that there isn't real consent on the part of little girls- consent being the real standard, a rational standard. so really I have 2 questions.... does "ethic" mean anything, and is the value of consent moral or rational?


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The ultimate meaning of our being can only be fulfilled in the paradoxical leap beyond the tragic-demonic frustration. It is a leap from our side, but it is the self-surrendering presence of the Ground of Being from the other side.
- Paul Tillich


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Offlineneutralizer
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Re: are "ethics" worth talking about? [Re: Malachi]
    #1831289 - 08/19/03 10:31 PM (13 years, 3 months ago)

This is a Christian nation boy, if you don't like it you can get out...

At least, that's the sentiment you'd probably get if you asked people around where I live.

I think that most people try to base their ethics or morals on Christianity. Unfortunately most people don't examine things the way we do, so they don't see it the way we do. But you are right about it being somewhat subjective. I think that, for ease in policy making, they draw a line that is somewhat parallel to Christianity and go from there.


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There are things known, and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors - Morrison


Edited by neutralizer (08/19/03 10:33 PM)


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Re: are "ethics" worth talking about? [Re: Malachi]
    #1831343 - 08/19/03 10:47 PM (13 years, 3 months ago)

Subjective or not, it still has meaning. Ethics are a way of defining acceptable behavior to a particular social group. Of course there are no moral absolutes, and each social group has a duty of reaching a consensus of what it deems acceptable.

Now, it would be wrong if you try to impose your moral ideals on another group.

Also, I believe rationality is also subjective. If you were to see me, running through the forest stripping my clothes off, yelling profanities, and slapping my naked body, you might think that very irrational. However, if you were to approach me, and discover I was covered in fire-ant bites, it would make sense. It just isn't always as obivious.


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I keep it real because I think it is important that a highly esteemed individual such as myself keep it real lest they experience the dreaded spontaneous non-existance of no longer keeping it real. - Hagbard Celine


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Anonymous

Re: are "ethics" worth talking about? [Re: HagbardCeline]
    #1831367 - 08/19/03 10:56 PM (13 years, 3 months ago)

no


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OfflinePDU
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Re: are "ethics" worth talking about? [Re: ]
    #1831601 - 08/20/03 12:11 AM (13 years, 3 months ago)

Ethic's are not worth talking about at all, completely subjective, absolutely personal, and cannot be categorized among a very broad group of people. Even as strict a group...such as "christians" have widely varrying ethic belief system's. True Ethic's are formulated through knowledge, and personal experience generally, and cannot apply to a group difinitively, if one does generallize and ethic, the ethic is more of a rule or a belief which has been imposed, rather than a true ethic. No?


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OfflineHagbardCeline
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Re: are "ethics" worth talking about? [Re: PDU]
    #1831675 - 08/20/03 12:42 AM (13 years, 3 months ago)

PDU, these are perfect reasons why we SHOULD talk about ethics.

Ethical debates defines what is acceptable. Some people are very near-sighted, and fail to forsee the consequences of their actions. Medical research is an excellent example of this. While few would argue the morality of treating disorders with medicine, what about genetic manipulation on a fetus suspected of having Downs-Syndrome? What about making that same baby have blue eyes? Increased intelligence?

These are VERY REAL problems that deserve attention, for what we do to today, could have unforseen consequences we will have to pay for tommorow.

This is just one of many examples. Doctor - Patient confidentiality. Lawyer- Client privledge. Even if these people don't share the same view as you, don't you want them held to upholding these?


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I keep it real because I think it is important that a highly esteemed individual such as myself keep it real lest they experience the dreaded spontaneous non-existance of no longer keeping it real. - Hagbard Celine


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OfflinePDU
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Re: are "ethics" worth talking about? [Re: HagbardCeline]
    #1831700 - 08/20/03 12:52 AM (13 years, 3 months ago)

Actually you are right. My post was more directed at "debating' ethic's, ive done this many time's and if two people are close minded and set in their way's...niether one is generally going to change their mind. You offered good examples Hagbard.

Im having a hardtime putting my thoughts into word's here...
I need to give this some thought.


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OfflineMalachi
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Re: are "ethics" worth talking about? [Re: HagbardCeline]
    #1832231 - 08/20/03 04:19 AM (13 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

Ethics are a way of defining acceptable behavior to a particular social group. Of course there are no moral absolutes, and each social group has a duty of reaching a consensus of what it deems acceptable.



but consensus is never reached. you phrase it like a social group is a singular entity, when "it" isn't.
Quote:

Now, it would be wrong if you try to impose your moral ideals on another group.



how so? where we wrong to impose our morals on germany? or pol pot?
isn't every "social group" divided into subgroups with different values?
Quote:

Also, I believe rationality is also subjective. If you were to see me, running through the forest stripping my clothes off, yelling profanities, and slapping my naked body, you might think that very irrational. However, if you were to approach me, and discover I was covered in fire-ant bites, it would make sense. It just isn't always as obivious.



that doesn't mean that reason is subjective, it just means that perception is limited - a good reason to not rely on perception alone. once the error is recognized, it's all rational.


--------------------
The ultimate meaning of our being can only be fulfilled in the paradoxical leap beyond the tragic-demonic frustration. It is a leap from our side, but it is the self-surrendering presence of the Ground of Being from the other side.
- Paul Tillich


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OfflineMalachi
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Re: are "ethics" worth talking about? [Re: HagbardCeline]
    #1832238 - 08/20/03 04:24 AM (13 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

HagbardCeline said:
PDU, these are perfect reasons why we SHOULD talk about ethics.

Ethical debates defines what is acceptable. Some people are very near-sighted, and fail to forsee the consequences of their actions. Medical research is an excellent example of this. While few would argue the morality of treating disorders with medicine, what about genetic manipulation on a fetus suspected of having Downs-Syndrome? What about making that same baby have blue eyes? Increased intelligence?

These are VERY REAL problems that deserve attention, for what we do to today, could have unforseen consequences we will have to pay for tommorow.

This is just one of many examples. Doctor - Patient confidentiality. Lawyer- Client privledge. Even if these people don't share the same view as you, don't you want them held to upholding these?




so you want these things decided based on how they adhere to an ethic? see, I'd prefer it if these sorts of important issues where decided rationally, with consent / individual freedom being the base. it's all fine and good to talk about the morality of this or that, but nothing can ever be decided based on morals- they are innate, whereas rationale can be talked about.


--------------------
The ultimate meaning of our being can only be fulfilled in the paradoxical leap beyond the tragic-demonic frustration. It is a leap from our side, but it is the self-surrendering presence of the Ground of Being from the other side.
- Paul Tillich


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OfflineRhizoid
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Re: are "ethics" worth talking about? [Re: Malachi]
    #1832393 - 08/20/03 06:36 AM (13 years, 3 months ago)

If ethics means some set of rules that derive from a shared set of values, then I think it's relevant to talk about ethics. The examples HagbardCeline mentioned show this type of ethics. But if you look in a dictionary there seems to be no distinction between ethics and morals. In some cases they are even given as synonyms to each other. If that's how the word is used, then claiming that some decision is motivated by ethics is just another way of phrasing that someone is imposing his morals on the decisions.

I think things like codes of ethic have an important function in many parts of society, but unfortunately it's a slippery word, and whenever a politician uses the word "ethic" in the context of a political decision, it's a sign that he is soon going to lie, or has just been lying, and wants to distract his audience from this.

In fact, I think "politician's ethic" would be about things that reflect shared values among politicians, like returning a favor to another politician, respecting another politician's turn to speak, not using physical violence in a political debate, and other things that have to do with the way politics is being done rather than the content of political decisions. Anyone agree?


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OfflineMalachi
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Re: are "ethics" worth talking about? [Re: Rhizoid]
    #1832398 - 08/20/03 06:43 AM (13 years, 3 months ago)

well, since most politicians don't follow the ethic, what's the point of proclaiming it to be? essentially what I saying is that morality can't be really shared. we can group actions together, but I don't think we can group people based on moral intent. ethics are a fantasy standard that is the major way in which politicians dupe the people: it's reasonable to think that polls motivate all politicians, with morals or an "ethic" being just an ostensible cover story. the same goes for the protistan ethic, doctors ethics, etc etc. individuals are the only things with morals.

I know I'm repeating myself, it's cause I'm still working this out.


--------------------
The ultimate meaning of our being can only be fulfilled in the paradoxical leap beyond the tragic-demonic frustration. It is a leap from our side, but it is the self-surrendering presence of the Ground of Being from the other side.
- Paul Tillich


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OfflineRhizoid
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Re: are "ethics" worth talking about? [Re: Malachi]
    #1832453 - 08/20/03 07:45 AM (13 years, 3 months ago)

Hmm, I think I would put it this way: morality is about weighing values against other values, which is inherently subjective. But some values are shared with other people, and it's in this shared space ethical rules and standards can exist.

A medical doctor's confidentiality is such an example, because it comes from the shared value among doctors that having a patient's trust is good. It makes it easier to diagnose and treat the patient.

I think the debate about euthanasia is a good example of a debate that concerns medical ethics. Let's suppose that mercy killing of humans gets legalized (I believe it's already legal in Switzerland and Holland). Now I think it would be a good idea if doctor's ethics included a rule not to perform mercy killings, in order not to risk patients' trust. Having a separate profession that performs mercy killings is a better solution. However, in the debate preceding the legalization of euthanasia it is meaningless to talk about ethics, because both sides of the debate will claim to be "motivated by ethics". Any such arguments can be removed from the debate without any loss of substance.


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OfflineMalachi
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Re: are "ethics" worth talking about? [Re: Rhizoid]
    #1832516 - 08/20/03 08:42 AM (13 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

A medical doctor's confidentiality is such an example, because it comes from the shared value among doctors that having a patient's trust is good. It makes it easier to diagnose and treat the patient.



sure, but it's just as true that telling people that you will keep confidentiality is good for business.

Quote:

Now I think it would be a good idea if doctor's ethics included a rule not to perform mercy killings, in order not to risk patients' trust.



so it's a rational decison, it's not that killing patients is bad, it's that you don't want to risk their trust (ergo their money).
regardless of legal issues, the "doctor ethic" will remain the same: various conflicting values. the doctors who donate their time to doctors without boarders have a very different "ethic" than, say, a plastic surgeon.

Quote:

But some values are shared with other people, and it's in this shared space ethical rules and standards can exist.





this is the crux of it. I don't think we can possibly share this space, cause we can never really know that someone elses morals are the same as ours. even if someone shows consistency of action, humans are too dynamic to pin down. only you know your values.


--------------------
The ultimate meaning of our being can only be fulfilled in the paradoxical leap beyond the tragic-demonic frustration. It is a leap from our side, but it is the self-surrendering presence of the Ground of Being from the other side.
- Paul Tillich


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OfflineRhizoid
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Re: are "ethics" worth talking about? [Re: Malachi]
    #1832738 - 08/20/03 10:42 AM (13 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

this is the crux of it. I don't think we can possibly share this space, cause we can never really know that someone elses morals are the same as ours. even if someone shows consistency of action, humans are too dynamic to pin down. only you know your values.



No one else's values are exactly the same as mine, but there are parts that overlap and show consistency, and that is the shared space I'm talking about.

Have you read "Lila: An Inquiry into Morals" by Robert M. Pirsig? In that book Pirsig makes the distinction between static and dynamic Quality, where Quality with a capital Q is the metaphysical property that determines whether something is good or bad. I see Pirsig's dynamic Quality as essentially the manifestation of free will applied to novelty, in the context of moral judgements. And static Quality is knowledge about patterns in previous moral judgements. Pirsig's argument is that both the static part (rules) and the dynamic part (choice) are necessary parts of morality. And I agree, because no set of rules will cover every conceivable case or be appropriate for every situation, and a complete lack of rules is like having no memory and no capacity for learning from experience.


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OfflineMalachi
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Re: are "ethics" worth talking about? [Re: Rhizoid]
    #1834035 - 08/20/03 05:04 PM (13 years, 3 months ago)

yeah, that sounds right - I don't think that an everchanging metaphysical kind of value is something that industry professionals or social groups or any other groups that are labeled at "ethical" can share. the value that they're using is static, and since that is only a part (I think a far less significant part) of morality, it'd be unreasonable to call it an ethic. perhaps if we qualified it as a static ethic.

Wittgenstein is what got me thinking, as he says that a great deal of language doesn't really mean anything, or at leas that there's no real point ot talking about them - specifically metaphysics and ethics.

it's not like I like positivism, but it seems like he's right too me.

how about a modern non-christian based moral or ethical categorical impreative? I was thinking it's be based on consent/ individual freedom (do as you will as long as it doesn't infringe on others) but this seems like a reason based rules, not "moral".


--------------------
The ultimate meaning of our being can only be fulfilled in the paradoxical leap beyond the tragic-demonic frustration. It is a leap from our side, but it is the self-surrendering presence of the Ground of Being from the other side.
- Paul Tillich


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Offlinefungulus
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Re: are "ethics" worth talking about? [Re: Malachi]
    #1834076 - 08/20/03 05:18 PM (13 years, 3 months ago)

I agree with Malachi in that ethics are based alot in perception. Perception is learned(or dictated). Look at America. Ethics change based on popular opinion (perception). Therefore they mean nothing! If they can change at the whim of a social party or media group, then they are not ethics at all. Real ethics never really change. What was true in Plato's time or Socrates' time holds true today. Of course there are new issues facing us, but who is deciding the ethics of these issues (bio-tech, etc.)? It's those who have interest (those who make money on it), like pundits, stock holders, career polititions. It's a different era and ethics are not enough anymore. How about common sense (logic), which is not based on perception, but reality (science). Let the Christians have ethics and the rest of us with the ability to think and reason for ourselves should dictate social, buisness and political courses through common sense! It seems to me that people think alot alike, we just say it differently.


Edited by fungulus (08/20/03 05:24 PM)


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OfflinePhred
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Re: are "ethics" worth talking about? [Re: fungulus]
    #1834865 - 08/20/03 09:14 PM (13 years, 3 months ago)

fungulus writes:

Ethics change based on popular opinion (perception). Therefore they mean nothing! If they can change at the whim of a social party or media group, then they are not ethics at all. Real ethics never really change. What was true in Plato's time or Socrates' time holds true today.

There are contradictions in your above statement.

The fact of the matter is: there is such a thing as an objective ethics which holds true for all humans in all societies. It is called "Natural Law".

The problem is that most people confuse "ethics" or "morals" with "custom" or "taboo". For example, Victorian England held it immoral for a woman to expose her ankles to view. Clearly this is not objectively immoral or unethical -- it is merely an arbitrary and ultimately short-lived societal opinion on proper manners.

On the other hand, there is no civilized society at any time in recorded history which held that random rape, murder, or theft against the members of that society was moral.

Another area where many people get confused is they believe that in order for an action to be unethical or immoral, it must be acknowledged as such. This is patently untrue. Sacrificing innocents to the gods was an immoral act whether the Aztecs recognized it or not. Slavery is an immoral institution whether the slave owners admitted it or not.

Malachi is correct -- a right action is right and a wrong action is wrong, regardless of what popular opinion of the time has to say about it.

pinky


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OfflineMalachi
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Re: are "ethics" worth talking about? [Re: Phred]
    #1834945 - 08/20/03 09:35 PM (13 years, 3 months ago)

pinksharkmark- but if universal natural law is the only ethic, then why use the word "ethic" at all? it has connotations of a specific group or era that does acknowledge (ostensibly) an arbitrary moral code.

on a side note, why isn't "connotate" a word??


--------------------
The ultimate meaning of our being can only be fulfilled in the paradoxical leap beyond the tragic-demonic frustration. It is a leap from our side, but it is the self-surrendering presence of the Ground of Being from the other side.
- Paul Tillich


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OfflineMalachi
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Re: are "ethics" worth talking about? [Re: Malachi]
    #1834948 - 08/20/03 09:36 PM (13 years, 3 months ago)

am I just spelling it wrong?


--------------------
The ultimate meaning of our being can only be fulfilled in the paradoxical leap beyond the tragic-demonic frustration. It is a leap from our side, but it is the self-surrendering presence of the Ground of Being from the other side.
- Paul Tillich


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InvisibleDoctorJ
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Re: are "ethics" worth talking about? [Re: Malachi]
    #1835587 - 08/21/03 12:22 AM (13 years, 3 months ago)

the only ethics that matter are situational ethics.

For every unthinkably heinous deed, there is at least one situation in which it would be acceptable (use your imagination). Having and adhering to a rigorous code of ethics limits the operational flexibility of the individual.

I think the situational application of ethics is a constant judgement call. Some times you call it right, sometimes you call it wrong, but in the end you always have to live with the consequences of your choices.


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peace, pot, and microdot!


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