2 of 5
2
Is Morality Relative?
Posted: 05 August 2011 11:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6055
Joined  2009-02-26

IMO, when an evil person does not know he is evil, he is just plain “mad”.

Morals require a sane mind.

 Signature 

Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind.
W4U

Profile
 
 
Posted: 05 August 2011 03:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  491
Joined  2008-02-25

The universality or absoluteness of morals come from how they are defined.  Evil is defined as destructive.  Moral good is defined as constructive.  Killing, no matter what rationalizations can be found to justify it, (such as self defense) is always going to be at its core a destructive act.  Self defense killing could be justified by looking at the special circumstances around it, but it would be a lesser of two negative choices, kill or be killed.  Just looking at the act itself and not the special conditions that are added on to it, killing could never be considered a morally good thing to do by any society.  You’d have to change the definition of good and evil to do that.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 05 August 2011 03:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  264
Joined  2008-11-10
Write4U - 05 August 2011 11:23 AM

IMO, when an evil person does not know he is evil, he is just plain “mad”.

Morals require a sane mind.

Thought experiment time: What if God exists, and the thing He likes the most is when someone murders someone else?  Your reasoning is circular.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 05 August 2011 03:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6055
Joined  2009-02-26
john76 - 05 August 2011 03:27 PM
Write4U - 05 August 2011 11:23 AM

IMO, when an evil person does not know he is evil, he is just plain “mad”.

Morals require a sane mind.

Thought experiment time: What if God exists, and the thing He likes the most is when someone murders someone else?  Your reasoning is circular.

Believing in a god is insane. Believing that a god would justify murder is madness.  No sane person would accept such a premise.

 Signature 

Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind.
W4U

Profile
 
 
Posted: 05 August 2011 03:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  491
Joined  2008-02-25
john76 - 05 August 2011 03:27 PM

  Thought experiment time: What if God exists, and the thing He likes the most is when someone murders someone else?  Your reasoning is circular.

If God liked murder and God defines good, then God would be defining destructiveness as good.  A society based on such a god, if it was possible to exist in the first place, would quickly destroy itself.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 05 August 2011 04:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  264
Joined  2008-11-10
brightfut - 05 August 2011 03:53 PM
john76 - 05 August 2011 03:27 PM

  Thought experiment time: What if God exists, and the thing He likes the most is when someone murders someone else?  Your reasoning is circular.

If God liked murder and God defines good, then God would be defining destructiveness as good.  A society based on such a god, if it was possible to exist in the first place, would quickly destroy itself.

Not if this society bred a certain class of people whose sole purpose in the society was to be murdered when they reached the age of thirty.  You could grow a certain group of people just to kill them and leave the others alone.  But you could do this thought experiment with other values.  The highest value in a society could be stealing a rich person’s fortune to demonstrate cunning.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 05 August 2011 04:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  264
Joined  2008-11-10
john76 - 05 August 2011 04:25 PM
brightfut - 05 August 2011 03:53 PM
john76 - 05 August 2011 03:27 PM

  Thought experiment time: What if God exists, and the thing He likes the most is when someone murders someone else?  Your reasoning is circular.

If God liked murder and God defines good, then God would be defining destructiveness as good.  A society based on such a god, if it was possible to exist in the first place, would quickly destroy itself.

Not if this society bred a certain class of people whose sole purpose in the society was to be murdered when they reached the age of thirty.  You could grow a certain group of people just to kill them and leave the others alone.  But you could do this thought experiment with other values.  The highest value in a society could be stealing a rich person’s fortune to demonstrate cunning.


Anyway, those are my thoughts as to why morality is relative.  The greates evils of one society could be the greatest goods of another.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 05 August 2011 04:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  491
Joined  2008-02-25
john76 - 05 August 2011 04:25 PM

Not if this society bred a certain class of people whose sole purpose in the society was to be murdered when they reached the age of thirty.  You could grow a certain group of people just to kill them and leave the others alone.  But you could do this thought experiment with other values.  The highest value in a society could be stealing a rich person’s fortune to demonstrate cunning.

The society you talked about did not put killing as its highest value.  A privileged few in the society are exempted from the killing.  They get to decide who has to die.  The only way the society can survive is by subordinating the killing to other values.  The survival of the privileged few are the higher values.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 05 August 2011 04:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  264
Joined  2008-11-10
brightfut - 05 August 2011 04:47 PM
john76 - 05 August 2011 04:25 PM

Not if this society bred a certain class of people whose sole purpose in the society was to be murdered when they reached the age of thirty.  You could grow a certain group of people just to kill them and leave the others alone.  But you could do this thought experiment with other values.  The highest value in a society could be stealing a rich person’s fortune to demonstrate cunning.

The society you talked about did not put killing as its highest value.  A privileged few in the society are exempted from the killing.  They get to decide who has to die.  The only way the society can survive is by subordinating the killing to other values.  The survival of the privileged few are the higher values.

I don’t think you’re defining “highest” properly.  But the point is murder is a non-negotiable requirement for getting into heaven.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 05 August 2011 04:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6055
Joined  2009-02-26
john76 - 05 August 2011 04:25 PM
brightfut - 05 August 2011 03:53 PM
john76 - 05 August 2011 03:27 PM

  Thought experiment time: What if God exists, and the thing He likes the most is when someone murders someone else?  Your reasoning is circular.

If God liked murder and God defines good, then God would be defining destructiveness as good.  A society based on such a god, if it was possible to exist in the first place, would quickly destroy itself.

Not if this society bred a certain class of people whose sole purpose in the society was to be murdered when they reached the age of thirty.  You could grow a certain group of people just to kill them and leave the others alone.  But you could do this thought experiment with other values.  The highest value in a society could be stealing a rich person’s fortune to demonstrate cunning.

shades of the “Ferengi Rules of Acquisition”

 Signature 

Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind.
W4U

Profile
 
 
Posted: 05 August 2011 10:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2681
Joined  2011-04-24

Good and Evil are the root of moral definitions aren’t they?  The example of killing is easy to understand, but still changeable.  IMO, killing is not always a “negative” thing; there are good reasons for some types of killing, even though by definition, it is destructive like Brightfut says.  Worldwide, I think every society considers killing for no reason to be bad - but what constitutes that good or bad reason can vary widely, and that variation is enough to “throw a wrench in the works” so to speak. Example:To me, killing somebody because you think they are possessed by the spirit of a dead enemy, is wasteful and tragic, but the New Guinea headhunters don’t feel the same. That is a good reason for them. And then there is the added headache of rationalists trying to challange that behavior without seeming like racist imperialists, even if it is bad to us it is “their thing” so we have no right to wreck it. The fact that people don’t share morality all over is unavoidable.

 Signature 

Raise your glass if you’re wrong…. in all the right ways.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 05 August 2011 11:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6055
Joined  2009-02-26

Perhaps one universal moral may be defined as “respect”.  Respect is a fundamental property of advanced survival techniques.
It is practised by almost all living organisms. Caution and respect are the better part of valor in any natural environment.

Respect is a fundamental moral directive. I rate it high.

 Signature 

Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind.
W4U

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 August 2011 12:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2681
Joined  2011-04-24
Write4U - 05 August 2011 11:56 PM

Perhaps one universal moral may be defined as “respect”.  Respect is a fundamental property of advanced survival techniques.
It is practised by almost all living organisms. Caution and respect are the better part of valor in any natural environment.

Respect is a fundamental moral directive. I rate it high.

I don’t know if it’s a “moral”, but yes, I 100% agree that respect and caution are fundamental to survival!

 Signature 

Raise your glass if you’re wrong…. in all the right ways.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 August 2011 07:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  491
Joined  2008-02-25
mid atlantic - 05 August 2011 10:45 PM

Example:To me, killing somebody because you think they are possessed by the spirit of a dead enemy, is wasteful and tragic, but the New Guinea headhunters don’t feel the same. That is a good reason for them. And then there is the added headache of rationalists trying to challange that behavior without seeming like racist imperialists, even if it is bad to us it is “their thing” so we have no right to wreck it. The fact that people don’t share morality all over is unavoidable.

Their moral reasoning is based on the idea that spirits of dead enemies exist.  Rational arguments can be made that they don’t exist, so that gives us the right to challenge their morals in the public square of debate.  If we had no rational arguments based on reality then we could not challenge their morals.  It would just be our culture vs their culture.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 August 2011 08:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2681
Joined  2011-04-24
brightfut - 06 August 2011 07:51 AM
mid atlantic - 05 August 2011 10:45 PM

Example:To me, killing somebody because you think they are possessed by the spirit of a dead enemy, is wasteful and tragic, but the New Guinea headhunters don’t feel the same. That is a good reason for them. And then there is the added headache of rationalists trying to challange that behavior without seeming like racist imperialists, even if it is bad to us it is “their thing” so we have no right to wreck it. The fact that people don’t share morality all over is unavoidable.

Their moral reasoning is based on the idea that spirits of dead enemies exist.  Rational arguments can be made that they don’t exist, so that gives us the right to challenge their morals in the public square of debate.  If we had no rational arguments based on reality then we could not challenge their morals.  It would just be our culture vs their culture.

Yes, but many progressive people would argue that it is immoral to challenge them at all, even if we can give good reason why they are wrong.  In other words, the very act of disrupting their culture is a moral violation. Ultimately one is still making a right/wrong judgement against another.

 Signature 

Raise your glass if you’re wrong…. in all the right ways.

Profile
 
 
   
2 of 5
2