back to the beginning: morality

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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby Xunzian » Thu Oct 03, 2019 4:40 am

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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Thu Oct 10, 2019 7:39 pm

"Our Morality: A Defense of Moral Objectivism"
After our recent ‘Death of Morality’ issue, Mitchell Silver replies to the amoralists.

The drive to organize our judgments of actions into a logical structure, the urge to rationalize or justify them, is surely one significant explanation of the existence of permissibility rules.


This merely assumes that because philosophers down through the ages have attempted to organize our value judgments into what is construed to be either reasonable [permissible] or unreasonable [impermissible] behaviors, that this in and of itself accomplishes the task of actually demonstrating that moral and immoral behaviors can be properly distinguished. At least until you bring their intellectual contraptions down to earth.

Those who value reason and psychic harmony will likely be attracted to rules that justify their gut feelings. If you feel that bull-fighting is wrong, and you like to have reasons for your feelings, you will be open to a rule that implies bull-fighting is wrong. But the causal chain can also go in the opposite direction.


Exactly! So, tell us, what behaviors ought to either be permissible or impermissible in regard to bullfighting?

Here I'm thinking I must be misunderstanding his point. Am I?

"Gut feelings" as the basis for permissibility?

An inclination for rational orderliness may cause your moral feelings to align with your current theoretical commitments. Some who have no pre-theoretical moral dislike of bull-fighting may well come to have a moral dislike of it because a rule they accept brands it as wrong. Many a philosopher has become a vegetarian not out of any sympathy for animals, but from a love of consistency and acceptance of a permissibility rule that forbids causing gratuitous suffering.


How then are the conclusions we come to regarding "consistent" behavior not more the embodiment of the manner in which I suggest that value judgments here are more the embodiment of dasein? One person's gratuitous suffering is another person's grand entertainment.

And, so, back again to this: then what?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Fri Oct 18, 2019 3:44 am

"Our Morality: A Defense of Moral Objectivism"
After our recent ‘Death of Morality’ issue, Mitchell Silver replies to the amoralists.

Metaethics and Moral Disagreement

Although it brings all possible actions under a single standard, a permissibility rule can be complex, and its application sensitive to circumstances. A permissibility rule may require that the time, place, effects, and the nature of the people involved be considered when evaluating an action. It may even take into account the acceptance of different permissibility rules by other people.


He notes this as though these factors and others are merely incidental to the fact that someone has aligned himself with a set of "permissibility rules" that, as far as he is concerned, encompasses an objective morality.

Is that what he is arguing?

If so, it seems preposterous to me. What happens when your set of rules come into conflict with other sets of rules. What happens when new experiences prompt you or others to want the rules to be changed?

Yes, one can see rules of this sort -- a single standard -- being sustained in, say, an Amish community. One for all and all for one set of moral prescriptions established by "the elders".

But how many of us live in that sort of community? Instead, given the interactions most of us engage in there is always the possibility of that which you construe to be permissible behaviors will be deemed as anything but by others.

Indeed, objectivity demands the incorporation of information from as many perspectives as possible. Information about other peoples’ rules should shape a moral perspective, but it doesn’t undermine its validity.


But: what happens when these many perspectives are not able to arrive at the optimal perspective? Imagine, for example, taking his argument to those fiercely at odds in regard to conflicting goods that have rent our species now for thousands of years. Which perspectives will take precedence when it comes down to enacting actual laws in which certain behaviors are punished if engaged.

Let's look at his example:

For instance, I know that there are people who categorically accept the rule that one should never mistreat their holy scriptures. I accept no such rule, but my awareness of others’ acceptance of the rule, combined with a rule I do accept, that everyone should show respect for others’ feelings, results in me not mistreating others’ holy scriptures. I do not respect the ‘holy scripture rule’ in itself; but I respect the holders of that rule, and in doing so I must often respect their rule. But this derivative respect for their permissibility rules does not mean I accept their rules to make my moral judgments.


Okay, but in a world where religion is often more or less intertwined with political power, the respect you have for another's "permissibility rules" may well be shunted aside. You are instead construed to be an infidel. The Other are only interested in sustaining the one true set of righteous behaviors. Their own.

Same with secular ideologies. In some cases moderation, negotiation and compromise are embraced based on the assumption that this is the least dysfunctional manner in which to reduce conflict among those who are most strongly invested in their own permissible behaviors. But this is basically predicated on the assumption that right makes might is just as unreasonable as might makes right.

And where in the world does objective morality fit in here?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Wed Oct 23, 2019 6:06 am

Our Morality: A Defense of Moral Objectivism
After our recent ‘Death of Morality’ issue, Mitchell Silver replies to the amoralists.

Relativists, Nihilists, Amoralists and Objectivists

If you, dear reader, claim in perfectly good faith not to accept any permissibility rules, then I could in haste judge that you are without morals. But not to worry; I believe that your moral nihilism is probably only a theoretical posture, inconsistent with your actual acceptance of permissibility rules, as reflected in your actual judgments of particular actions.


For me, it's not a question of accepting or not accepting permissibility rules but of exposing the gap between such rules [in any given community] and objective morality.

Clearly, down through the ages, historically and culturally, men and women have been able to establish rules of behavior. A consensus is reached based on one or another combination of might makes right, right makes might and democracy and the rule of law. This is permissible, that is not. But what does this or that have to do with conflicting goods that often come into existence between communities? Or how contingency chance and change within any one particular community precipitates new contexts in which some want the rules to be changed?

It's not a question of being without morals, but of recognizing how clearly "situational" moral and political narratives are out in the real world of human interactions; rather than in a world of words assessment in a philosophy magazine.

It is the moral objectivists who are more likely to embrace a "theoretical posture". Worse, to the extent that some try to impose their own "permissibility rules" on the entire community, we know where that leads. "Permissibility" comes to revolve around a sacred or a secular dogma.

Although your acceptance of permissibility rules implies that you accept that those rules are applicable to all actions and judgments, including your own theoretical judgments, your permissibility rules may allow you (as mine do me) to temporarily pretend that you do not accept them, in order to see what might in theory follow from their non-acceptance. But temporarily playing the amoralist in order to try and imagine how the world looks from that perspective, is not genuine amorality.


Temporarily pretend? People who embrace objective morality in the modern world today, don't do a whole lot of pretending. They are generally hell bent instead on insisting that their own permissible rules of behavior ought to be yours and mine as well.

On the other hand, sure, I am completely mussing his point here.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Mon Oct 28, 2019 7:16 pm

Our Morality: A Defense of Moral Objectivism
After our recent ‘Death of Morality’ issue, Mitchell Silver replies to the amoralists.

The assertion of a robust moral relativism means adopting a perspective from which all permissibility rules are viewed as equally valid.


First of all, "robust" is all in the mind of the beholder. To the extent that my own understanding of moral nihilism is in fact a reasonable frame of mind, there is very little in the way of a robust reaction on my part. Instead, "I", in being both fractured and fragmented and down in an existential hole, precipitates considerably more glum and gloomy reactions to the world around me.

Yes, "I" have more options in not being anchored to an objectivist font, but: those options are never construed by me to be anything other than existential contraptions rooted both precariously and problematically in dasein.

And the narratives conveyed by those on differing sides of any particular human interactions that precipitate conflicting goods are deemed less to be "equally valid" and more to be predicated on assumptions that the other sides can't necessarily make go away.

So, given one or another set of assumptions, the arguments of the pro-life camp and the pro-choice camps can be construed as reasonable.

Then what? Sans God.

It is important (and often difficult) to keep in mind that moral relativism is not the descriptive claim that people have different and conflicting moral judgments; rather it is the normative claim that no moral judgment is more or less correct than any other. To become a sincere moral relativist one must abandon one’s permissibility rules without embracing other permissibility rules. A relativist could consistently act in accordance with any permissibility rule, but she cannot consistently believe there are any justifications for these actions.


This is not at all what I am arguing given my own particular rendition of moral nihilism. My point is that if one assumes the priority embedded in the abortion conflagration is the "natural right" of the unborn baby to live, then "permissibility rules" will be very different from the ones embraced by those who insist the priority must be embedded instead in the "political right" of women to choose abortion.

Then what are philosophers/ethicists able to determine are permissible or unpermissible behaviors?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Mon Nov 04, 2019 3:01 am

Our Morality: A Defense of Moral Objectivism
After our recent ‘Death of Morality’ issue, Mitchell Silver replies to the amoralists.

Here [believe it or not] he addresses the question, "Is it immoral to eat carrots?"

Now if your permissibility rules conflict with the rules I accept, we are both objectivists, but we’re in fundamental moral conflict. To remain true to my acceptance of rules that allow but do not demand carrot eating, I must conclude that you are mistaken to think eating carrots is immoral. True to your different permissibility rules, you must judge my moral indifference to carrot consumption morally incorrect.


Now, from my frame of mind, the focus here revolves less around the fact that Jim believes eating carrots is permmisible while Jane believes it is impermissible, but why they came to believe this given the life that they have lived. What actual experiences with carrots did they have that led them to this conclusion? What were they told about carrots by others? What had they read about carrots that drew them to conclude what they did?

Then the part where the reasons they give either do or do not appear reasonable. Why should it be either permissible or impermissible to eat carrots? Are there actul demonstrable facts about carrots that would obligate all rational and virtuous men and women to either consume or not to consume them?

Finally, the part where one side or the other is actually able to enforce a policy [through political power, through the law, through rewards and punishments] that establish actual consequences in regard to eating carrots.

Anyone tempted to take a perspective above the fray will either have permissibility rules from which she can judge which of us is correct (if either), or she has not accepted any permissibility rules. If she has accepted permissibility rules, they will either allow or disallow carrot eating. She is an objectivist, just like us, and can weigh in on our dispute.


Meaning the more individuals you involve here the greater the likelihood that permissible rules of behavior [believed to reflect objective morality by each party] will become hopelessly entangled in conflicting goods.

Then this part...

If she accepts no permissibility rules whatsoever, the very idea of moral permissibility has no claim on her, and she has nothing relevant to offer those of us who do feel the pull of permissibility rules. She is not an objectivist, and both you and I (albeit by virtue of different rules) must conclude that she is without morals. Hardly someone we should ask to arbitrate our moral dispute over carrot eating.


Again, from my frame of mind, it's not that one does not accept permissibility rules. After all, whenever human beings forge a community, rules of behavior follow. Name me even a single community where this was not the case. Instead the question comes to revolve more around why different individuals come to accept different assessments of "okay to do", "not okay to do"; and then the extent to which conflicts that arise as a result of this are able to be either reconciled or resolved by, among others, philosophers using the tools at their disposal.

All he is basically arguing here is that if the folks in group X all agree that through one or another God or political ideology or set of assumptions rooted in reason or in an enlightened frame of mind, agree on what is permissible that makes morality objective!!!
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:01 am

Our Morality: A Defense of Moral Objectivism
After our recent ‘Death of Morality’ issue, Mitchell Silver replies to the amoralists.

Relativists, Nihilists, Amoralists and Objectivists

If you...claim in perfectly good faith not to accept any permissibility rules, then I could in haste judge that you are without morals. But not to worry; I believe that your moral nihilism is probably only a theoretical posture, inconsistent with your actual acceptance of permissibility rules, as reflected in your actual judgments of particular actions.


No, as a matter of fact, when confronting conflicting goods as a moral nihilist, it seems reasonable to me that "I" be both fractured and fragmented.

But: Given the following philosophical assessment:

If I am always of the opinion that 1] my own values are rooted in dasein and 2] that there are no objective values "I" can reach, then every time I make one particular moral/political leap, I am admitting that I might have gone in the other direction...or that I might just as well have gone in the other direction. Then "I" begins to fracture and fragment to the point there is nothing able to actually keep it all together. At least not with respect to choosing sides morally and politically.

Indeed, my challenge to others is that they take their own assumptions about "permissibility rules" and bring them out into the world by focusing in on a particular context. How is their own assessment of "I" here not fractured and fragmented? How are they not drawn and quartered when confronting conflicting goods?

For me, the extent to which a moral nihilist can have moral values revolves around accepting them as existential contraptions derived from dasein and then practiced only in taking leaps to particular political prejudices. Such that, giving new experiences, relationships and access to ideas, "I" is ever subject to reconfiguration in a world of contingency, chance and change.

All I can ask of others here is to explain how, given their own lives, this is not applicable to them.

Although your acceptance of permissibility rules implies that you accept that those rules are applicable to all actions and judgments, including your own theoretical judgments, your permissibility rules may allow you (as mine do me) to temporarily pretend that you do not accept them, in order to see what might in theory follow from their non-acceptance. But temporarily playing the amoralist in order to try and imagine how the world looks from that perspective, is not genuine amorality.


What on earth is this supposed to mean? Where are particular examples of how this "temporary pretense" might actually play out when value judgments come into conflict?

Anyone here accept his point? If so, how then would you describe it "for all practical purposes" in your conflicted interactions with others?

Sure, I may well be missing his point. If "your acceptance of permissibility rules implies that you accept that those rules are applicable to all actions and judgments" where does the part about pretending come in when others challenge you with opposing rules of behavior? Here the party with the most power prevails, or one side is able to convince the other side to abandon their own rules and accept theirs, or together they agree through moderation, negotiation and compromise to accept a set of behaviors in which both sides get something but no side gets everything.

Like in the real world for example.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Thu Nov 14, 2019 9:17 pm

Our Morality: A Defense of Moral Objectivism
After our recent ‘Death of Morality’ issue, Mitchell Silver replies to the amoralists.

The assertion of a robust moral relativism means adopting a perspective from which all permissibility rules are viewed as equally valid. It is important (and often difficult) to keep in mind that moral relativism is not the descriptive claim that people have different and conflicting moral judgments; rather it is the normative claim that no moral judgment is more or less correct than any other. To become a sincere moral relativist one must abandon one’s permissibility rules without embracing other permissibility rules. A relativist could consistently act in accordance with any permissibility rule, but she cannot consistently believe there are any justifications for these actions.


Here I am tugged in conflicting directions. On the one hand, in the absence of a God or the secular equivalent, it's true: all things are permitted. Why? Because, for one reason or another, all things can be rationalized. After all, look at the history of human behavior to date. What behaviors haven't been rationalized? At times as an end in itself, at times as a means to an end.

And then those who are able to justify any and all behaviors because they reason that in the absence of God or any other demonstrable objective morality, their own self-interests becomes the font of choice. For them everything revolves around not getting caught for doing things they know that others deem to be immoral or sinful.

At the same time, however, it is not true that "permissibility rules" are just dismissed out of hand as all equally valid. It depends on the context and the actual substantive arguments made by those arguing for one rather than another set of behaviors. The part embedded in dasein embedded in a particular historical and cultural community in which rules of behavior are necessary to forge a consensus regarding the least dysfunctional society.

Thus:

If you sincerely and fully, even if only in theory, accept, say, a rule that it’s immoral to torture people, a rule that it’s immoral not to torture people, and another rule that torture is morally indifferent, then you’ve taken an incoherent theoretical position that’s equivalent to the denial of morality – moral nihilism.


Yeah, that is one way to look at it. And where is the philosophical argument able to encompass all possible contexts in which torture may occur? An argument in which there is no doubt regarding what one is obligated to do or not do as a rational and moral human being.

Instead, out in the "for all practical purposes" real world that we live in, different people have different opinions about torture. Rooted in particular daseins interacting out in a particular world. Assumptions can be made by those all along the political spectrum. And, one way or another, actual laws have to be enacted to deal with contexts in which torture is a reality.

And here enforced behaviors can revolve either around might makes right, right makes might, or democracy and the rule of law.

Then the extent to which any particular individual comes to be as "fractured and fragmented" as I am out in the is/oight world. That too is no less the embodiment of dasein.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Wed Nov 20, 2019 7:17 pm

Teaching Ethics: What’s The Harm?
Patrick Stokes discusses some of the ethical problems arising in teaching ethics.

When we come into the ethics classroom, we find ourselves tasked with discussing many of the traumas that our students are dealing with outside the university. Philosophy, at its best, connects directly and meaningfully with everyday life – and everyday life can be incredibly hard to talk about, and to teach ethics is, unavoidably, to discuss topics that can be confronting and even traumatic, from matters of life and death, to more everyday problems of power and suffering.


There it is. How does one realistically discuss/teach the philosophy of ethics without taking the technical arguments out into the world and testing them against conflicting moral assessments of what is unfolding given conflicting descriptive assessments of what is unfolding? And then the gap between what individual daseins describe as happening and what they believe ought to be happening instead.

Especially for those intent on arguing that actual moral obligations can be adduced [philosophically or otherwise] given the most rational assessments that there are.

For all the talk of ‘safe spaces’ on campus, the ethics classroom must be a fairly daunting prospect for anyone who has been assaulted, lost a loved one, or ended a pregnancy, just to name a few. In one of my units, my students discuss abortion, euthanasia, sex work, and pornography – all topics that have pronounced capacities to bring up painful life experiences.


Exactly. I would bring followers of Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Kant etc., into these daunting, painful contexts and explore with them the manner in which the components of my own moral philosophy [nihilism] are out of sync with their own assessments. And as soon as they attempted to yank the discussions up into the clouds of intellectual contraptions I'd yank them back down. I'd make it a stipulation that in my classroom, discussion of moral and political value judgments are always intertwined in theory and practice.

Sometimes they choose to share their experiences. Just recently, in a discussion on euthanasia and the introduction of voluntary assisted dying in our state, a student mentioned that his family were very conscious of this due to his mother’s terminal illness. These can be useful moments for teaching, but they can also make the very discussion itself seem glib or crass. And for every student who shares their experiences, you can be sure there are many more who choose not to.


What am I missing here? The discussion is about the pros and cons of euthanasia and a student and his family is embedded precisely in this at times excruciating moral dilemma...but bringing it up is "glib and crass"?

I'd make it clear that in my classroom students were expected to bring the ideas professed by philosophers down through the ages out of the technical clouds by intertwining the definition and meaning given to words in any particular argument out into the world that they themselves have experienced.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Thu Nov 28, 2019 8:22 pm

Simone’s Existentialist Ethics
Anja Steinbauer on Simone de Beauvoir’s Ethics of Ambiguity.

“My life is my work,” Simone de Beauvoir once said. Spoken like a true Existentialist: to her, life and thought were inextricably linked; we are what we do.


But the ambiguity here derives precisely from the complex and convoluted interaction between what we think and what we do. We think what we do based on the panoply of variables in our lives that are largely beyond our control. Let alone being able to completely understand.

After all, a Marxist or a fascist or a misogynist or a feminist or a liberal or a conservative or an objectivist or an existentialist or a nihilist or a Platonist or a Kantian or a Nietzschean can all claim to be what they do.

So, the far more important question is why do we choose to think the thoughts that precipitate the things that we choose to do.

From my frame of mind, this part...

Existentialism is a philosophy that outlines the conditions of human existence but rejects any conception of human nature; a philosophy that affirms human freedom but emphasizes that it brings with it not happy empowerment but anguish and despair, a philosophy that stresses that humans have choices but expresses little optimism that we will make good use of them or even understand what it would mean to make the right choice.


...still requires one to reconfigure it as a "general description intellectual contraption" into a description of a particular context, out in a particular world construed from a particular point of view.

And here the components of my own moral philosophy are no less applicable to her.

Beauvoir’s Existentialism is scattered through her many works, both literary and theoretical, including her classic feminist text The Second Sex. However, it finds it’s clearest and most rigorous form in her relatively underrated book The Ethics of Ambiguity.


Trust me: the book you are looking for here is her novel The Blood of Others. The ideas encompassed here may not be clear and rigorous in an academic sense, but they take her scholastic argument about an ambiguous ethics out into the world --- a particular world in which certain French citizens risked their life and limb in the resistance against Hitler's Nazis.

The title is intriguing and unattractive at the same time: The fact that an Existentialist talks explicitly about ethics (rather than simply stressing our inescapable freedom) is a rare treat, but surely an ethics that bonds itself to ambiguity is hardly promising to propose any useful answers to moral problems?


And that [in my view] basically explains the reaction of many here to my own take on morality being an existential contraption rooted in dasein. And not just the objectivists. To feel fractured and fragmented down in a reality "hole" is the last thing most of us wish to think or want to believe is a reasonable point of view.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Tue Dec 03, 2019 6:06 pm

Simone’s Existentialist Ethics
Anja Steinbauer on Simone de Beauvoir’s Ethics of Ambiguity.

Beauvoir accepts Sartre’s Existentialist tenets that there is no human nature and that human freedom is absolute, i.e. that in any situation whatever we always have a choice. In other words, human life is not on autopilot, nor is there an instruction manual telling us how to make the right decisions. This means that there is a good deal of ambiguity, and, in short, Beauvoir tells us to face up to it and live with it.


Which is precisely what most of us choose not to do. For many because they have been indoctrinated to view themselves and the world around them in a particular way out in a particular community; and then basically they embody this received identity all the way to the grave.

Or because they have come to embody one or another rendition of this: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296

Either way it is the psychology of objectivism that sustains their capacity to resist disturbing frames of mind that often prevail when confronting moral/political ambiguity and uncertainty head on.

Indeed, it's not for nothing they are everywhere in this philosophy forum. And on most others. What they all share in common of course is the belief that there is in fact a "real me" able to connect the dots [philosophically or otherwise] to the "right thing to do".

They all swear by that, don't they? Instead where the exchanges often become quite fierce -- think liberals vs. conservatives here -- is when all sides insist it is their own moral narrative and political agenda that must prevail. Why? Because all rational and virtuous human beings are obligated to think what they do. Then around and around they go.

Some just go further and exclude entire groups from their ranks. Based on gender or race or ethnicity or sexual preference.

Which also explains why so many of them avoid at all cost bringing their political ideals out into the world as I have come to understand it given the components of my own moral philosophy. They'll be sticking with their objectivist "serious philosophy" one suspects until the day they die.

Here, the liberals may heap scorn on the conservatives heaping scorn right back on them, but: they all cling to the ideals themselves. Only the moral foundation and the political prejudices ever change.

That and the definitions.


Given this ambiguity there would seem to be very little opportunity for moral theorizing. Not so, objects Beauvoir to this standard Existentialist conclusion. We must not expect absolute solutions and lasting answers: “Man fulfils himself in the transitory or not at all.” But this doesn’t mean that all ways of living, and all courses of action, are equally good. The way forward is to look at the nature of our relationship to other people.


Here of course is where this particular existentialist reconfigured himself into a moral nihilist. All courses of action can be rationalized in a No God world. If only because the "nature of our relationships" can in turn become attached existentially to various sets of assumptions that prevail on all sides of the conflicting goods wars.

And then the perspective of the narcissists and sociopaths. There may well be a philosophical argument that obviates the assumptions they make about human interactions in a No God world, but I haven't come across it of late.

Only I am the first to acknowledge that my own arguments here cannot be excluded from my own arguments here.

Of course all you need but do here is to insist that I exclude them anyway. Anything to keep yourself up out of the hole yourself. After all, look what is at stake here if you do start to tumble down into it.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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iambiguous
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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Mon Dec 09, 2019 9:25 pm

Simone’s Existentialist Ethics
Anja Steinbauer on Simone de Beauvoir’s Ethics of Ambiguity.


Sartre’s Existentialism leads to a clear individualism, in which the fact that there are other people presents a constant threat of falling into ‘bad faith’. Others judge us and impose limits on us to the unbearable degree that “hell is other people”.


Actually, given the conflicting assessment of the relationship between "I" and "we" that plagued the relationship between Sartre and Camus, Sartre's existentialism leads to anything but a "clear individualism". After all, who associates that with Maoism?

Instead, Sartre recognized just how foolish it is to ignore the points raised by Marx and Engels in regard to social, political and economic interactions...given the existence of a particular political economy. And given the very real historical components embedded in class struggle.

What makes other people hell, is their tendency to objectify us. They refuse to see is as an individual subject and subsume us in their own rendition of the "human condition". They become objectivists. I merely expand on that given the components of my own personal philosophy.


By contrast, Beauvoir’s own individualism is more nuanced, in a Kantian way: “Is this kind of ethics individualistic, or not? Yes, if one means by that that it accords to the individual an absolute value and recognizes in him alone the power of laying the foundations of his own existence...The individual is defined only by his relationship to the world and to other individuals…. His freedom can only be achieved through the freedom of others.”


Nuanced? Here, however, it is "characterized by subtle shades of meaning or expression" in yet another intellectual contraption. Freedom? Okay, but freedom given what particular context viewed from what particular point of view. Simone de Beauvoir obviously grappled with the idiosyncratic/historical, personal/political relationship between "I" and "we" when tackling gender in The Second Sex.

In other words, women are both individuals who embody one or another set of personal experiences and, historically, culturally, politically etc., members of the female sex. It seems futile to try to pin that down so as to establish definitively where "I" ends and "we" begin.

Then it's just a matter of the extent to which in approaching it at all, "I" becomes more or less fractured and fragmented.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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iambiguous
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