back to the beginning: morality

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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Sun Mar 22, 2020 5:57 pm

promethean75 wrote:Only Biggs would still be doing philosophy during a global pandemic. But it's times like these that an existential nihilist thrives the most and rolls his sleeves up.

Notice at this very moment none of you could care less whether descartes or leibniz was right regarding primary qualities. Like that's the LAST thing on your minds. And the only reason it ever was on your mind is because nothing important was going on to draw your attention.

Philosophers could use a good crisis once in a while to bring them back to reality, eh Biggs?


Exactly.

Well, sort of.

After all, given the things that are of interest to me philosophically -- morality here and now, immortality there and then -- the pandemic is a perfect example of how, at the existential juncture of identity, value judgments and political power, philosophers either have something substantive to say or they don't.

It's just that however substantive that something might turn out to be, I am no less likely to be fractured and fragmented.

But then no one said that waiting for godot would be easy.

Let alone, that it should be.
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 » Sun Mar 29, 2020 7:15 pm

An Amoral Manifesto Part II
A special extended column from our (erstwhile) Moral Moments columnist Joel Marks.

Out of the frying pan of egoism, therefore, and into the fire of relativism? For if there are only desires that are responsive to the environment, won’t desires vary according to different environments? Yes indeed.

However, there are still two ways to parry this possibility. The first is to point out that human environments, whether natural or cultural, are both like and unlike. So we can count on there being uniformities across all boundaries as well as diversity. And it is surely the same with morality: for while it may be universal that, let us say, one should never torture a child, it is also respectably moral to permit or even require, say, killing human beings in some circumstances (such as to protect a child from being tortured) and to prohibit it in others.


All human beings share the same biological hardware that precipitated the existence of desire in the first place. And while there are indeed any number of historical and cultural and experiential contexts, there are also any number of continuities that revolve first and foremost around all that we must do as a species merely to subsist itself.

Instead, the complications begin to arise in acknowledging just how many different social, political and economic permutations that there are in a world that never stops unfolding in what, from time to time, can be a tidal wave of contingency chance and change. Isn't that basically the case right now with the coronavirus? There are factors we all share in common in dealing with it along with all of the different -- at times vastly different -- sets of circumstances in which we were, are or will be experiencing it.

And if morality revolves around the practical necessity to devise rules of behavior for interacting in these considerably more perilous times, what can't change are the distinctions made between what we believe is true about it and what we can demonstrate is in fact true about it.

This and recognizing that, in addressing it, we are always confronted "for all practical purposes" with intertwining public policies rooted more or less in one or another combination of might makes right, right makes might or moderation, negotiation and compromise.

Ah, but here is an "amoralist" who argues that "it may be universal that, let us say, one should never torture a child..."

On the other hand, this becomes universal for him only in asserting that it is true. Whereas I have no way in which to think myself into believing it myself. On the contrary, given the perspective of a moral nihilist, I am not able myself to encompass an argument that makes...

"In the absense of God, all things are permitted".

...go away.

Now, I have never tortured a child. And I could never imagine myself ever doing something like that. In fact, my own existential self is embodied in a frame of mind that reflects fury at anyone who ever harms a child.

But since I recognize my frame of mind here as an existential contraption rooted in dasein, I can only presume that had my life been very, very different there is no way I can say that would ever have been the case.

And I have no categorical and imperative arguments in which to confront the sociopaths that do abuse children because the experiences embedded in their own lives predisposed them to want to. And they are able to rationalize this by arguing that, in a No God world, their own understanding of morality revolves solely around fulfilling their own wants and needs.
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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