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Offlinedaimyo
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Ethics
    #5434389 - 03/23/06 03:01 PM (15 years, 8 months ago)

Out of all the things I ponder, ethics reigns supreme. Specifically, meta-ethics.

Where did morals come from? Are they objective/absolute? Or are they subjective/learned?

If objective/absolute:

  • Where'd they come from?
  • Did God instill them into all of his creatures?
  • Are they woven into the fabric of the universe?
  • What causes the fluctuation of moral standards from society to society, or time to time?
  • What are the absolute morals?


If subjective/learned:

  • Are they derived from culture?
  • Are they dependent on the individual?
  • What role does gender play?


--------------------
"I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."


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Invisibledblaney
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Re: Ethics [Re: daimyo]
    #5434439 - 03/23/06 03:14 PM (15 years, 8 months ago)

Are they objective/absolute? Or are they subjective/learned?

They are not absolute. There can be no morality outside of someone to act and perceive actions as being moral or immoral.

They are subjective, and can be learned and taught, but they can also be discovered inside of yourself.

Are they derived from culture?

Essentially, yes. The social leaders (in a democracy, the majority) determine the rules of the society, which means they determine what's right and wrong, good and evil, moral and immoral.

There are no absolute rights and wrongs, just as there are no absolute goods or evils, for what one person may see as being good, another may consider an atrocious evil. It depends on perspective, which is subjective.


--------------------
"What is in us that turns a deaf ear to the cries of human suffering?"

"Belief is a beautiful armor
But makes for the heaviest sword"
- John Mayer

Making the noise "penicillin" is no substitute for actually taking penicillin.

"This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it." -Abraham Lincoln


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Offlinedaimyo
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Re: Ethics [Re: dblaney]
    #5434461 - 03/23/06 03:23 PM (15 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

dblaney said:
They are not absolute. There can be no morality outside of someone to act and perceive actions as being moral or immoral.



God?

Quote:

dblaney said:
There are no absolute rights and wrongs, just as there are no absolute goods or evils, for what one person may see as being good, another may consider an atrocious evil. It depends on perspective, which is subjective.



Do you dismiss the idea that morals may be absolute, but some individuals are flawed(mental/genetic defect) and can't "feel" them? That is to say, their subjective view is out of line with the objective truth.


--------------------
"I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."


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Invisibledblaney
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Re: Ethics [Re: daimyo]
    #5434594 - 03/23/06 03:57 PM (15 years, 8 months ago)

No, God is not anthropomorphic.

That is to say, their subjective view is out of line with the objective truth.

What is this objective truth? Clearly it cannot exist separately from reality, otherwise it wouldn't be real. So it follows that if you want to call anything "objective truth", then it must be reality. If reality is the objective truth, then it's not possible for anything that exists to be out of line from the objective truth.

The morals of the vast majority of people are along the lines of the Ten Commandments or the Seven Deadly Sins. But there are those who disagree and have different sets of morals. For instance, Hitler. He felt that so long as the ends were what he considered to be good, then any means could be justified.


--------------------
"What is in us that turns a deaf ear to the cries of human suffering?"

"Belief is a beautiful armor
But makes for the heaviest sword"
- John Mayer

Making the noise "penicillin" is no substitute for actually taking penicillin.

"This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it." -Abraham Lincoln


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InvisibleSkorpivoMusterion
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Re: Ethics [Re: daimyo]
    #5434909 - 03/23/06 05:13 PM (15 years, 8 months ago)

Not all morals are objective and not all morals are subjective. But the fact is, there can be a science of ethics with an objective basis. Objectivism is [as far as I know] the one and only that has developed such a philosophy [and all other related areas] with the kind of objective, scientific basis that is seen in any other actual science. The assertion that morality is a matter of factual truth, is perhaps Objectivism's sharpest feature.

"The Virtue of Selfishness" is a book entirely on this matter of ethics and morality alone.

Basically: One's ethical premises is determined by their deeper metaphysical premises and epistemology. Hence to have an objective standard of ethics, one's metaphysical and epistemological premises must be objectively formulated as well. What is ethics? Ethics is a set of rules, or values, or algorithms, if you like, by which an individual human being makes choices. Why is there any need for ethics? Because we have to make choices in order to live.
Therefore life is the standard of ethical value for the simple fact that making life's choices is what ethics is for.

Reason is the method by which one should operate upon the ethical standard, i.e., make ethical decisions. Reason is the only common ground on which all human beings can meet. Because reason is the primary tool of survival for human beings, it is the primary value in human existence.


In religious moralities, you will see they are also typically absolute, i.e., "this is right, and that is wrong, universally, and there is no question about it." But they are also arbitrary. If one questions their stances, the answer ultimately is: "Because God says so", or because "it's always been like that."


What we need is a morality that tells us what is right and wrong absolutely and universally; and yet which can be justified by reason.

Objectivism provides just that.

Once more, I recommend the aforementioned book to anyone who is seriously interested in learning such a subject any further.



--------------------
Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and sweet as love.


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InvisibleMushmanTheManic
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Re: Ethics [Re: SkorpivoMusterion]
    #5434977 - 03/23/06 05:44 PM (15 years, 8 months ago)

As far as I am concerned, any valuation or ethics is subjective, arbitrary, and ultimately based on personal preference rather than any "factual truths."

As soon as you make the assertion survival is better than non-survival (or any similar value judgement), you're making a value judgment based on your own preference. Survival isn't inherently 'better' than non-survival. The universe is silent; it has no opinion. [As an atheist] There doesn't seem to be an intrinsic 'base' in the universe which we can build our morals upon.

A morality that tells us what is right and wrong absolutely and universally is exactly the kind of religious thinking I don't want. I'd much rather have a flexible and adaptable set of ethics based on my own conclusions.


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Invisibledblaney
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Re: Ethics [Re: SkorpivoMusterion]
    #5435105 - 03/23/06 06:33 PM (15 years, 8 months ago)

What we need is a morality that tells us what is right and wrong absolutely and universally

I don't think such a thing exists. As mushman says, assertions on what is good and what is evil are based on the preferences of the person or persons making the assertion. Not only that, but in different situations, the same action may be both good AND evil.

For instance, if I assert that killing is wrong universally and absolutely. If X wakes up one morning and decides he wants to take his anger out on some random person and walks up to Y and shoots him in the head, that would be wrong. However, in the same example, if Y happens to have a sword on him, and beheads X before he can shoot him, that would be alright. It's also alright to execute someone for some particularly heinous crime.

Can you think of any action that would be absolutely and universally wrong (or right) in any and all situations?


--------------------
"What is in us that turns a deaf ear to the cries of human suffering?"

"Belief is a beautiful armor
But makes for the heaviest sword"
- John Mayer

Making the noise "penicillin" is no substitute for actually taking penicillin.

"This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it." -Abraham Lincoln


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InvisibleSkorpivoMusterion
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Re: Ethics [Re: MushmanTheManic]
    #5435753 - 03/23/06 09:49 PM (15 years, 8 months ago)

any valuation or ethics is subjective, arbitrary, and ultimately based on personal preference rather than any "factual truths."

Facts are not subjective, nor are they arbitrary. We may have a personal preference towards certain facts, but the facts themselves are based on natural laws of existence.
Therefore, an ethical science based on facts are not arbitrary or subjective.


As soon as you make the assertion survival is better than non-survival (or any similar value judgement), you're making a value judgment based on your own preference. Survival isn't inherently 'better' than non-survival. The universe is silent; it has no opinion.

The is-oughts in the Objectivist ethical science is based on the fundamental if-then standard of: IF one should further their existence, THEN these are the objective moral standards that one can follow. The fundamental choice is to be a rational man or suicidal animal.
If one has logically thought things through and fully concluded that they do not want to further their own existence, then they are free to end it at their own will or they simply do not apply to the discussion at hand.

Dblaney:

I don't think such a thing exists. As mushman says, assertions on what is good and what is evil are based on the preferences of the person or persons making the assertion. Not only that, but in different situations, the same action may be both good AND evil.


Can you think of any action that would be absolutely and universally wrong (or right) in any and all situations?


I think you are getting the impression that Objectivism prescribes specific purposes or 'concretes' or final actions - sort of like the Christian "Ten Commandments".
In actuality, Objectivism holds ethical standards, by which to measure or gauge a man's action in a specific purpose - a concrete.

Man's interest [not to be confused with "desires"] is defined as that which benefits his life. It is an evaluation of the facts of reality. Since the nature of man's life has particular, objective requirements, determining whether something promotes his life is a statement of fact.

It is in man's interest to follow a science of ethics which hold values that are objectively beneficial to one's own existence.

"The three cardinal values of the Objectivist ethics - the three values which, together, are the means to and the realization of one's ultimate value, one's own life - are: Reason, Purpose, Self-Esteem, with their three corresponding virtues: Rationality, Productiveness, Pride."
The Virtue of Selfishness

The objective fact is that these are all standards which promote one's own existence, that serve as an ethical ground upon which one can make decisions in their lives.

Of course, it goes much more in-depth and comprehensive than this, but I'll stop here. If anyone wants to know more, they can buy the aforementioned book and read for themselves.




--------------------
Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and sweet as love.


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InvisibleMushmanTheManic
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Re: Ethics [Re: SkorpivoMusterion]
    #5435864 - 03/23/06 10:29 PM (15 years, 8 months ago)

Therefore, an ethical science based on facts are not arbitrary or subjective.

"Ethical science"?
Science can only deal with value judgments which can be put into operational terms (thus removing the value judgment altogether).

For instance, science cannot say: "This medication was good for the patient." "Good" isn't an operational term, its conceptual and ambiguous. But, science can say: "This medication doubled the reproduction of erythrocytes."

Whether or not you label the doubling of erythrocytes as a good thing is your preference.

This 'ethical science', regardless of whether it incorporates facts, is still based on preference. A fact is a fact; to what end you use it for is subjective.

If your body is deprived of oxygen for long enough, then your life will cease. This is a fact. Whatever ethical standard you wish to apply to this fact, whether you think it should happen or shouldn't, is secondary and subjective. The ethical interpretation of this fact is based on your opinion of that fact, not derived from the fact itself.


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OfflineMarkostheGnostic
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Re: Ethics [Re: daimyo]
    #5436087 - 03/23/06 11:44 PM (15 years, 8 months ago)

Good questions, one and all.

I choose to be governed by Compassion. This is the measure of Truth. I base my decision on certain Experiences of Higher Consciousness - Very High Consciousness, plus what teachings are available in the Names of Christ and Buddha (primarily). The Experiences (and ONE in particular) left me with an abiding sense of Ultimate Reality AS Compassion. Thus, I endeavor to be mindful of, and to incorporate (incarnate) Compassion in every moment of my existence. Oftimes I fail (like bug-spraying insect infestations) and being a less-than-perfect human being to others, yet I still endeavor to put Compassion first. It transforms me, it causes me to transcend my unruly desires. The transcendence of desires gives me peace. In peace I have clarity. In clarity I have fearlessness which yields even greater peace. Collectively the lifestyle of these things gives me meaning, and fullfillment and contentment.

I am more Enlightened than I was, and I hope to become more Enlightened than I am. I am a closed system. I am not open to more experience. experience happens but I an not hungry for it and I do not pursue it. As Ram Dass once put it, all there is is one's 'sadhana,' one's discipline. It is not a popular position this far from the mid 1970s, but it is still true. Thus, ethics can be rooted in metaphysics, it does not have to be merely utilitarian.


--------------------
γνῶθι σαὐτόν - Gnothi Seauton - Know Thyself


Edited by MarkostheGnostic (03/23/06 11:53 PM)


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InvisibleSilversoul
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Re: Ethics [Re: MarkostheGnostic]
    #5436098 - 03/23/06 11:49 PM (15 years, 8 months ago)

My thoughts exactly, Markos. If you feel compassion, and have the wisdom to know how to act on that compassion, then you are an ethical person. Simple as that.


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OfflineMarkostheGnostic
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Re: Ethics [Re: Silversoul]
    #5436111 - 03/23/06 11:52 PM (15 years, 8 months ago)

Simple [and profound] as that. Thank you.


--------------------
γνῶθι σαὐτόν - Gnothi Seauton - Know Thyself


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InvisibleSkorpivoMusterion
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Re: Ethics [Re: MushmanTheManic]
    #5436385 - 03/24/06 12:53 AM (15 years, 8 months ago)

For instance, science cannot say: "This medication was good for the patient." "Good" isn't an operational term, its conceptual and ambiguous. But, science can say: "This medication doubled the reproduction of erythrocytes."

Whether or not you label the doubling of erythrocytes as a good thing is your preference.


You and I both agree that there is naturally going to be a preference in how one uses the facts to their rational benefit. However, I maintain that the premises on which such preferential choices have an objective, factual basis - that is to say, one's ethical actions are based on objective criterion - for instance, the fact that X-action[s] will lead to XYZ-effect, or: that X-action[s] double the erythrocytes, or: using the faculty of reason supports one's survival.



--------------------
Coffee should be black as hell, strong as death, and sweet as love.


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InvisibleMushmanTheManic
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Re: Ethics [Re: SkorpivoMusterion]
    #5436681 - 03/24/06 01:52 AM (15 years, 8 months ago)

Alright... I can agree with that.


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Offlinefresh313
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Re: Ethics [Re: daimyo]
    #5436710 - 03/24/06 02:02 AM (15 years, 8 months ago)

there can be no ethics since theres no objective right or wrong. 
maybe u could call them personal values.


"Reason is the method by which one should operate upon the ethical standard, i.e., make ethical decisions. Reason is the only common ground on which all human beings can meet. Because reason is the primary tool of survival for human beings, it is the primary value in human existence." -skorp

:mushroomgrow: :mushroom2:


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Invisibledblaney
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Re: Ethics [Re: SkorpivoMusterion]
    #5437726 - 03/24/06 11:50 AM (15 years, 8 months ago)

Man's interest [not to be confused with "desires"] is defined as that which benefits his life. It is an evaluation of the facts of reality. Since the nature of man's life has particular, objective requirements, determining whether something promotes his life is a statement of fact.

It is in man's interest to follow a science of ethics which hold values that are objectively beneficial to one's own existence.

What about when the interests of one man collide with the interests of another man?

"The three cardinal values of the Objectivist ethics - the three values which, together, are the means to and the realization of one's ultimate value, one's own life - are: Reason, Purpose, Self-Esteem, with their three corresponding virtues: Rationality, Productiveness, Pride."
The Virtue of Selfishness

The objective fact is that these are all standards which promote one's own existence, that serve as an ethical ground upon which one can make decisions in their lives.


Alright, let's say I'm the leader of a powerful country. I happen to notice that there's a large group of people who are being extremely lazy, are not really contributing to society as a whole, and are corrupting alot of people. Now let's furthermore posit that I have the three virtues which you say should form the ethical ground of people.

Using rationality, I reason that I should get rid of these people somehow, because they are not contributing to the productivity of society, and are actually being detrimental to it. I reason that I should at least try to be humane, so I see if I can expel them from the country. However, no other country will take them in. So I reason that I could imprison them, but that would use up too many resources, so I reason the only other option is to exterminate them. I wonder if I'm making the right decision, but only for a moment, because I have pride.

It seems to me like this idea for a backbone of any ethical system could be used to justify practically any act, such as the Holocaust.


--------------------
"What is in us that turns a deaf ear to the cries of human suffering?"

"Belief is a beautiful armor
But makes for the heaviest sword"
- John Mayer

Making the noise "penicillin" is no substitute for actually taking penicillin.

"This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it." -Abraham Lincoln


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InvisibleEternalCowabunga
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Re: Ethics [Re: Silversoul]
    #5437767 - 03/24/06 12:06 PM (15 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

Paradigm said:
My thoughts exactly, Markos. If you feel compassion, and have the wisdom to know how to act on that compassion, then you are an ethical person. Simple as that.




Interesting. This is what the Stoics say. They say you must be in the right state of mind (congenial/compassionate) and once you become compassionate to all of existence you will always act ethically. If you are not in the right state of mind, all your actions will be misguided or vicious.


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OfflineBlueCoyote
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Re: Ethics [Re: dblaney]
    #5438053 - 03/24/06 01:55 PM (15 years, 8 months ago)

I think dblaney is right, but skorpivo will answer, that then the rational model was not developed far enough.
One can see compassion as an rational concept, too, but then one misses the feeling of its existence inside ones 'heart', I think.
What is it, what 'pure rationalists' miss ? Where, at which point, and why (what do they not accept ?) do they strive apart ? I wonder.


--------------------
Though lovers be lost love shall not  And death shall have no dominion
......................................................
"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."Martin Luther King, Jr.
'Acceptance is the absolute key - at that moment you gain freedom and you gain power and you gain courage'


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InvisibleSilversoul
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Re: Ethics [Re: BlueCoyote]
    #5438082 - 03/24/06 02:06 PM (15 years, 8 months ago)

I have to wonder how you objectively justify your own existence. I mean, of course most of us want to survive(though even that doesn't account for suicidal people), but that is subjective, not objective.


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OfflineBlueCoyote
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Re: Ethics [Re: Silversoul]
    #5438147 - 03/24/06 02:29 PM (15 years, 8 months ago)

Hmm, me ? Have I ? :laugh:
If you are talking to me, hmmm..no, but let me think of objective justification of ones existence.
Hard to see, but as long as man and woman are related in some 'natural' way, I would see my existence objectively justified in some explainable way. Aeh, right ?


--------------------
Though lovers be lost love shall not  And death shall have no dominion
......................................................
"Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men."Martin Luther King, Jr.
'Acceptance is the absolute key - at that moment you gain freedom and you gain power and you gain courage'


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