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Developing a moral code
Posted: 27 November 2016 08:38 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Something that has been gnawing at me is how subjective morality and human rights are. As a child I found such things to be self evident because I came from a religious background and as such didn’t have to question the whole “be good and get to heaven”. Thought now that am older and that doesn’t hold much sway anymore it makes me wonder why everyone follows the code we put forth. Why is it the right thing? According to whom? Why should we pay their ideas any mind? Why not do as we wish and damn who says otherwise? I get it that it’s to avoid the punishment from society but why does society have to follow their own code? Couldn’t they make up one that enourcages discrimination and get away with it? What makes it wrong? Why care about others and the future of humanity? Who deemed that important?

Does morality essentially boil down to someone’s “say so”? Because it seems to me without a threat of cosmic punishment, our morality doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on.

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Posted: 21 December 2016 02:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Like you, I have been thinking much about morality lately.  There are many moralities, but I wonder if a single “correct” morality might be constructed.

I think three authors are on the right track:  Sam Harris in his book The Moral Landscape and Robert Johnson in his book Rational Morality.  If you haven’t read them, you might want to check them out.  Also, Matt Dillahunty has a nice overview of morality at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAQFYgyEACI
I am mostly in agreement with these three authors.

I think the road to a “correct” morality should start with what all persons value—survival, well being, and advancement.  We can then “try out” different moral rules to see what impact their implementation would have on securing and maintaining the three basic values.  This approach makes me an advocate of consequentialism.

So, what do you think the foundation of morality should be?

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Posted: 21 December 2016 03:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Welcome Gary. Hope you have patience. You have selected two of our biggest trolls to respond to. Tita is a master at starting out with a decent philosophical question, then going absolutely nowhere. He uses question marks a lot, but to him, every question is rhetorical. I’ve approached his queries from every angle, made some of my most impassioned speeches to him, and he continues to say, “but I just don’t see any other way of looking at this.” Sometimes he finds someone else on the internet who agrees with him and calls that evidence. I like adding to the “Life is a curse” thread because it has become a list of things about life having meaning, how to find it, how to deal with existential angst, etc.

So, have fun.

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Posted: 21 December 2016 03:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Lausten - 21 December 2016 03:13 PM

Welcome Gary. Hope you have patience. You have selected two of our biggest trolls to respond to. Tita is a master at starting out with a decent philosophical question, then going absolutely nowhere. He uses question marks a lot, but to him, every question is rhetorical. I’ve approached his queries from every angle, made some of my most impassioned speeches to him, and he continues to say, “but I just don’t see any other way of looking at this.” Sometimes he finds someone else on the internet who agrees with him and calls that evidence. I like adding to the “Life is a curse” thread because it has become a list of things about life having meaning, how to find it, how to deal with existential angst, etc.

So, have fun.

Their responses aren’t sufficient so I would listen to them. Especially this one, the responses don’t help in the slightest to someone who fully understands the issue

[ Edited: 21 December 2016 03:35 PM by Titanomachina ]
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Posted: 21 December 2016 03:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Gary Whittenberger - 21 December 2016 02:12 PM

Like you, I have been thinking much about morality lately.  There are many moralities, but I wonder if a single “correct” morality might be constructed.

I think three authors are on the right track:  Sam Harris in his book The Moral Landscape and Robert Johnson in his book Rational Morality.  If you haven’t read them, you might want to check them out.  Also, Matt Dillahunty has a nice overview of morality at:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAQFYgyEACI
I am mostly in agreement with these three authors.

I think the road to a “correct” morality should start with what all persons value—survival, well being, and advancement.  We can then “try out” different moral rules to see what impact their implementation would have on securing and maintaining the three basic values.  This approach makes me an advocate of consequentialism.

So, what do you think the foundation of morality should be?

But then wouldn’t the question then be why should we value survival, well being and all that? What makes that more moral then simply extinguishing humanity?

My biggest worry is that if morality isn’t concrete then there wouldn’t be any way to persuade someone who wants to kill you from doing so, since there is no sufficient reason as to why they shouldn’t do so. I know that such a case isn’t common, and I try to avoid violence at all costs, but in such a situation it makes me wonder that “morality” needs a method of enforcement to be worth anything. Otherwise it’s just words.

[ Edited: 21 December 2016 03:33 PM by Titanomachina ]
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Posted: 21 December 2016 05:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Titanomachina - 27 November 2016 08:38 PM

Something that has been gnawing at me is how subjective morality and human rights are. As a child I found such things to be self evident because I came from a religious background and as such didn’t have to question the whole “be good and get to heaven”. Thought now that am older and that doesn’t hold much sway anymore it makes me wonder why everyone follows the code we put forth. Why is it the right thing? According to whom? Why should we pay their ideas any mind? Why not do as we wish and damn who says otherwise? I get it that it’s to avoid the punishment from society but why does society have to follow their own code? Couldn’t they make up one that enourcages discrimination and get away with it? What makes it wrong? Why care about others and the future of humanity? Who deemed that important?

Does morality essentially boil down to someone’s “say so”? Because it seems to me without a threat of cosmic punishment, our morality doesn’t have much of a leg to stand on.

Morality is part of the survival instinct. If you want to live as long and as well as possible and have your loved ones live as long and as well as possible, develop a moral code that organizes society to help each other survive. But I don’t think it’s a conscious decision to do this. It’s survival instinct.

Lois

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Posted: 21 December 2016 07:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Read this thread that CC started in the Humanism forum. The talk and the linked article give some good information on how and why humans developed morals codes. Having widely agreed upon morals and values helps us survive. Whining about life having no meaning does not help us survive. Fortunately, nihilists rarely find girlfriends so don’t reproduce often. (That’s a joke.)

That’s a joke, son

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Posted: 21 December 2016 07:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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DarronS - 21 December 2016 07:20 PM

Read this thread that CC started in the Humanism forum. The talk and the linked article give some good information on how and why humans developed morals codes. Having widely agreed upon morals and values helps us survive. Whining about life having no meaning does not help us survive. Fortunately, nihilists rarely find girlfriends so don’t reproduce often. (That’s a joke.)

That’s a joke, son

Hmmm, makes sense.

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Posted: 22 December 2016 08:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Titanomachina - 21 December 2016 03:29 PM

Their responses aren’t sufficient so I would listen to them. Especially this one, the responses don’t help in the slightest to someone who fully understands the issue

That’s funny coming from the man who ignores most responses he gets.
Oh yeah, they don’t achieve his high philosophical/intellectual bar.

Exccuuse us.    tongue wink

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Posted: 22 December 2016 09:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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More like not going under his low bar.

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Posted: 22 December 2016 12:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Congratulations to CC for finding something that didn’t elicit a negative response from our favorite nihilist

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Posted: 22 December 2016 12:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Lausten - 22 December 2016 12:28 PM

Congratulations to CC for finding something that didn’t elicit a negative response from our favorite nihilist

I’m not a nihlisht but I find it hard to argue against them.

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Posted: 22 December 2016 01:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Reply to Titanomachina

TM:  But then wouldn’t the question then be why should we value survival, well being and all that? What makes that more moral then simply extinguishing humanity?

GW: Notice that I did not say we should value those three things.  I said that we DO value those three things.  That seems to be a good starting point for developing a morality – a set of rules for governing the interactions of persons.  Do you have an alternative starting point which you think is better?  If so, please present, explain, and justify it.

TM:  My biggest worry is that if morality isn’t concrete then there wouldn’t be any way to persuade someone who wants to kill you from doing so, since there is no sufficient reason as to why they shouldn’t do so. I know that such a case isn’t common, and I try to avoid violence at all costs, but in such a situation it makes me wonder that “morality” needs a method of enforcement to be worth anything. Otherwise it’s just words.

GW: Morality can be made concrete by writing it down and distributing it.  Morality has a method of enforcement – criticism, disapproval, shaming, and ostracism by the community.  But you seem to want more than that.  Yes, some moral rules should be made into laws, and a great many of them are.  But we should do our best to make sure our moral rules are correct.

GW: Suppose we wish to develop a correct morality.  Please give your answers to these questions:
1.  Who should decide the morality?
2.  By what method should that person or persons decide the morality?
3.  What should be the starting point of the morality?
4.  What basic characteristics should the morality have?

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Posted: 22 December 2016 01:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Response to Loist

L:  Morality is part of the survival instinct. If you want to live as long and as well as possible and have your loved ones live as long and as well as possible, develop a moral code that organizes society to help each other survive. But I don’t think it’s a conscious decision to do this. It’s survival instinct.

GW: I agree with you halfway.  We seem to have some moral instincts, but they do not constitute a morality.  Our instincts can lead us astray.  If we “develop a moral code,” as you say, then it is a conscious decision to do this.  Morality is not instinct although it will draw on instinct.  I think we should use reason to develop a viable morality.

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Posted: 22 December 2016 03:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Gary Whittenberger - 22 December 2016 01:23 PM

Reply to Titanomachina

TM:  But then wouldn’t the question then be why should we value survival, well being and all that? What makes that more moral then simply extinguishing humanity?

GW: Notice that I did not say we should value those three things.  I said that we DO value those three things.  That seems to be a good starting point for developing a morality – a set of rules for governing the interactions of persons.  Do you have an alternative starting point which you think is better?  If so, please present, explain, and justify it.

TM:  My biggest worry is that if morality isn’t concrete then there wouldn’t be any way to persuade someone who wants to kill you from doing so, since there is no sufficient reason as to why they shouldn’t do so. I know that such a case isn’t common, and I try to avoid violence at all costs, but in such a situation it makes me wonder that “morality” needs a method of enforcement to be worth anything. Otherwise it’s just words.

GW: Morality can be made concrete by writing it down and distributing it.  Morality has a method of enforcement – criticism, disapproval, shaming, and ostracism by the community.  But you seem to want more than that.  Yes, some moral rules should be made into laws, and a great many of them are.  But we should do our best to make sure our moral rules are correct.

GW: Suppose we wish to develop a correct morality.  Please give your answers to these questions:
1.  Who should decide the morality?
2.  By what method should that person or persons decide the morality?
3.  What should be the starting point of the morality?
4.  What basic characteristics should the morality have?

The punishments you describe actually embolden those who break the code. Also writing it down doesn’t make it concrete, it’s just ink on paper.

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Posted: 22 December 2016 04:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Reply to Titanomachina

T:  The punishments you describe actually embolden those who break the code.

GW: No, punishments lower the probability of violations.  Also, you are the one who called for enforcement.  What do you suggest as an alternative to punishments?

T:  Also writing it down doesn’t make it concrete, it’s just ink on paper.

GW: No, writing it down does make it concrete (tangible).  Also, you are the one who called for concrete.  What do you suggest as an alternative?

GW: I asked you four questions about morality and you didn’t answer them.  Are you going to just ask questions, or are you going to make this a true discussion and answer some?

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