back to the beginning: morality

This is the main board for discussing philosophy - formal, informal and in between.

Re: back to the beginning: morality

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

Cerebellum gets all the attention but don't skip brain stem day.
User avatar
Xunzian
Drunken Master
 
Posts: 10462
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2006 9:14 pm

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?
Objectivists: Like shooting fish in a barrel!

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
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 34230
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

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?
Objectivists: Like shooting fish in a barrel!

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
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 34230
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

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.
Objectivists: Like shooting fish in a barrel!

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
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 34230
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

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?
Objectivists: Like shooting fish in a barrel!

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
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 34230
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

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!!!
Objectivists: Like shooting fish in a barrel!

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
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 34230
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

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.
Objectivists: Like shooting fish in a barrel!

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
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 34230
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

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.
Objectivists: Like shooting fish in a barrel!

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
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 34230
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

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.
Objectivists: Like shooting fish in a barrel!

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
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 34230
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

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.
Objectivists: Like shooting fish in a barrel!

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
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 34230
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

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.
Objectivists: Like shooting fish in a barrel!

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
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 34230
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

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.
Objectivists: Like shooting fish in a barrel!

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
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 34230
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Sun Dec 15, 2019 4:43 am

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

And here we finally have it: “No existence can be validly fulfilled if it is limited to itself.” Beauvoir’s ethics views the existence of others as an opportunity. In fact it is the only opportunity we have to give reality and meaning to what we do and therefore to what we are: We must invite others to join our projects.


This, in my view, is being wildly optimistic in today's world. Instead, just in perusing news media headlines from day to day, we know that ethics revolves more and more and more around "one of us" thumping "one of them". Folks on opposite ends of the moral and political spectrum seem considerably more intent on "using the existence of others" in order attain [and then sustain] their own political agenda. God help those who don't join in our projects. Thus, here, "hell is other people" because they refuse to objectify themselves as we do.

Beauvoir gives examples of how many of us make poor use, or no use at all, of our freedom. She even explains how freedom for children differs from adult freedom. Children can do what they like to an extent, without being morally judged for it, because they are largely free of responsibilities to others. Not so adults, yet some adults still try and live in the naïve freedom of childhood.


And yet here we know all too well that this "general description" varies considerably down through the ages historically and across all manner of cultural divides. Some children are locked into a moral vice as soon as their parents, church, community etc., are able to begin in on indoctrinating them. Only it is not seen as indoctrination at all, but simply what is expected of those in raising children properly.

As for the good or the poor use of freedom, this too is also an existential contraption by and large. What becomes crucial for existentialists is that freedom revolve more around "authenticity". Treating the self as a subject willing to dig deeper into an understanding of the world around it; rather than as those who tend instead to subsume "I" in one or another God/No God, totalitarian dogma.

Still, from my frame of mind, the "hole"...

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.

...does not go away.

Then this part:

Others try to control or manipulate people in an attempt to limit their freedom – a tactic that according to Beauvoir is ironically doomed to end in self-deception and the limiting of one’s own freedom. A mature and constructive use of our freedom, our only chance of fulfilling ourselves as individuals, involves making a ‘plea’ to others, appealing to them for their attention and cooperation.


All I do here is to extend this "self-deception" to any number of existentialists themselves. It is one thing to make a conscious effort to aim ones behaviors in the general direction of authenticity, and another thing altogether to imagine that this makes dasein, conflicting goods and political economy go away.
Objectivists: Like shooting fish in a barrel!

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
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 34230
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Fri Dec 20, 2019 2:32 am

Einstein’s Morality
Ching-Hung Woo looks at the many facets of Albert Einstein’s approach to ethics.

The main source of disharmony among both individuals and groups seemed to Einstein to be an exaggerated sense of self-importance. Hence he applied his proven ability for correcting misconceptions to the problem of human conceit; and this led him to point to our feeling that we have autonomous free will as a key mistake.


Wow. Two of my main philosophical interests combined: morality and free will.

In other words, how you think about one leading to particular conclusions about the other. And, of course, whether those conclusions are the only ones you were ever able to come to.

As for an elevated or exagerated sense of one's own importance, I'm definitely on board here. Again, presuming I have the capacity -- the free will -- to choose not to be.

Why? Because over the course of the life that we live [and especially in our childhood] there are any number of variables we have little or no understanding of or control over. We merely configure and then reconfigure over and over again what we think we know [or have been indoctrinated to know] about the relationship between genes and memes out in a particular world understood from a particular point of view.

The non-existence of free will seemed to Einstein so obvious that he did not bother explaining his reasoning in any detail, but the subject does present a serious obstacle when people try to follow his thinking on morality.


The part where I get stuck. The part where I'm thinking I must not be understanding the arguments correctly. In a wholly determined universe as I understand it, Einstein would have thought that what seemed obvious to him could not have not seemed obvious to him. And that there was never a question of him bothering to explain his reasoning if he was compelled by the laws of matter to not explain it.


Furthermore, Einstein’s lifelong support for individual freedom against authoritarianism appeared to casual observers as inconsistent with his denial of free will.


Yes, that is precisely my own reaction. Either compelled by nature or not. Einstein's lifelong support of or opposition to anything at all is either embedded in the laws of nature or there is some aspect of the human brain [sans God] that amounted to matter evolving not only into the capacity to achieve conscious thought, but, as well, self-conscious thought that involved the freedom to choose among conflicting options.

So now the author's focus will be on those who are not just "casual observers".
Objectivists: Like shooting fish in a barrel!

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
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 34230
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Sat Dec 28, 2019 8:00 pm

Einstein’s Morality
Ching-Hung Woo looks at the many facets of Albert Einstein’s approach to ethics.

A correspondence between Einstein and his friend Otto Juliusburger on Hitler’s responsibility for the crimes of WWII illustrates how Einstein proposed to deal with the moral consequences of the absence of free will. He acknowledged that since everyone’s action are determined by prior factors, Hitler could not help but to do what he did, and so the moral arguments used for instance to exempt a madman from retributive punishment – that they couldn’t help or didn’t know what they were doing – could also be applied to Hitler.


Really, for many, isn't this possibility the most disturbing aspect of believing that all anyone thinks, feels, says or does is exempt from moral judgment other than as judgments that are no less compelled by the laws of matter.

Yet here we are unable to demonstrate conclusively that this is not the case. Or, rather, I am not able to demonstrate this to myself.

On the other hand, I have to admit that someone that I am totally oblivious regarding has in fact demonstrated that human beings either do or do not have free will. All I can do is to act on what I think is true here and now.

Just like you, right?

Of course my own frame of mind here is all that more convoluted still. Even if I take my leap to autonomy, that autonomy is but the embodiment of dasein and conflicting goods. I am free to react to the behaviors of others, but my reaction appears to be but an existential contraption unable to conclude one way or the other which behaviors are moral or immoral.

In other words, the distinction that lawyers make between a psychopath not knowing right from wrong and someone acting immorally but knowing that it’s wrong, appeared to Einstein unimportant, since both are doing what they must do from the confluence of events ultimately in their brains, which inexorably follow from previous causes.


Up to and including me typing these words and you reading them? How inexorable are the laws of matter?

...instead of focusing on retributive punishment, legal action should be guided by the welfare of mankind; and the welfare of mankind justifies actions to prevent future would-be Hitlers from destroying other people’s lives, just as society might justifiably act to prevent a dangerous delusional schizophrenic from harming others. Einstein also took the non-existence of free will as a wake up call for us not to take our supposed autonomy too seriously: what we jealously protect and shrewdly promote as our autonomy is actually the result of myriads of factors of which we are only vaguely aware.


Back again to this. The part that makes absolutely no sense to me given my own understanding of determinism. The part where it could never have made sense to me.

How is the part about "focusing" here not in turn merely another inherent, necessary manifestation of what can only be? Einstein "took" only what he was compelled to take. The "wake up call" is, in turn, either compelled or not.

As for the "myriad of factors", how vague will any of our understandings of them be going back to an understanding of existence itself?
Objectivists: Like shooting fish in a barrel!

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
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 34230
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby promethean75 » Sun Dec 29, 2019 2:56 pm

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.


bro. all that fracturing and fragmenting happens because you are over-analyzing everything. leave that silly shit to the philosophers and just pick something that pleases you. and don't ask 'why' or if it's 'the right thing to do'. do like me, man. i'm irreproachably absolutely positively indubitably certain that i don't like capitalists. like i don't even examine why anymore. that was ten years ago. whether this is a good or bad thing and whether i am compelled by the laws of nature to do this, couldn't be more irrelevant to me. you gotta follow your nose, biggs. like when you look at the world and recognize that there are stock piles of food going bad while millions of people are starving, or that there are more empty, unused houses then there are homeless people in this country, you know something ain't right. you don't need a transcendental critique of pure reason to figure this shit out, homes.
soundcloud

Harris vs. Peterson; a wittgensteinian exercise in philosophical comedy
promethean75
Philosopher
 
Posts: 2332
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:10 pm

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Sun Dec 29, 2019 8:52 pm

promethean75 wrote:
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.


bro. all that fracturing and fragmenting happens because you are over-analyzing everything. leave that silly shit to the philosophers and just pick something that pleases you. and don't ask 'why' or if it's 'the right thing to do'. do like me, man. i'm irreproachably absolutely positively indubitably certain that i don't like capitalists. like i don't even examine why anymore. that was ten years ago. whether this is a good or bad thing and whether i am compelled by the laws of nature to do this, couldn't be more irrelevant to me. you gotta follow your nose, biggs. like when you look at the world and recognize that there are stock piles of food going bad while millions of people are starving, or that there are more empty, unused houses then there are homeless people in this country, you know something ain't right. you don't need a transcendental critique of pure reason to figure this shit out, homes.


First, of course, this conclusion, in and of itself is, to me, just another manifestation of dasein. You came to it in much the same manner I came to mine: existentially.

Otherwise, one might argue that, actually, using the tools of philosophy or science, one is able to arrive at the one truly rational frame of mind.

But even this conclusion is [to me] just another existential contraption.

And the bottom line [mine] is that in your day to day interactions with others, you are embedded in capitalism up to your eyeballs. Historically, culturally and experientially. It's everywhere in this country. Sure, you can take your own subjective leap to "irreproachably absolutely positively indubitably [being] certain that i don't like capitalists", but that doesn't make my point go away.

And the other bottom line [mine] is that had your life been very, very different, there's no saying beyond all doubt that you would not in fact have become a capitalist yourself. And, in turn, in my view, there is no way that you can be absolutely certain in a world bursting at the seams with contingency, chance and change, that new experiences, new relationships and access to new information and knowledge, won't propel you to change your mind down the road.

That is until someone actually is able to establish beyond all doubt the most rational manner in one is obligated to think about capitalism.

You either grasp this as I do or you don't. But how, in not being me, could you? I'm fractured and fragmented in regard to capitalism because, given the points I make in my signature threads, it still seems reasonable to be. Here and now. Just as, when I was a radical Marxist-Leninist -- an objectivist -- it seemed reasonable to revolt against it.

But the one thing I am definitely not arguing is that my own assessment here [either as an intellectual contraption or taken out into the world of human interactions] reflects the manner in which others are themselves obligated to think about it.
Objectivists: Like shooting fish in a barrel!

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
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 34230
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby promethean75 » Mon Dec 30, 2019 10:25 pm

First, of course, this conclusion, in and of itself is, to me, just another manifestation of dasein. You came to it in much the same manner I came to mine: existentially.


well i wasn't really presenting a formal 'conclusion' because i wasn't advancing an argument. but i did make a few indicative statements of fact so i'll let you have this one.

Otherwise, one might argue that, actually, using the tools of philosophy or science, one is able to arrive at the one truly rational frame of mind.


define 'truly rational frame of mind'. remember that even complete knowledge - say, understanding epistemology in its fullest sense and arriving at an indisputable conclusion about the nature of knowledge - doesn't get past the naturalistic fallacy and provide any existential guidance for what one ought to do to be rational. philosophy and science may work together to get to the bottom of this, but neither can tell you what you should do. i imagine you don't just mean by 'rational' being able to practice good inductive reasoning. you mean something more along the lines of moral judgement and having/holding values. no amount of epistemology can help us here.

And the other bottom line [mine] is that had your life been very, very different, there's no saying beyond all doubt that you would not in fact have become a capitalist yourself.


but i wouldn't be 'me' then, but another me. so i couldn't say 'i could have been otherwise', only 'i might not have been, and something else would have been instead.' we often make the mistake of assuming what is logically possible can also be actually possible. but in a perfectly determined universe, nothing could be other than how it is. so, we can imagine 'logically' an alternate possible course of events which led to me becoming a capitalist, but this couldn't actually happen in this particular universe. this shit gets complicated though with many-universe theory so let's not go there. it's interesting stuff, yes, but i can't find any use in it. that is to say, if i discovered it were true, i still wouldn't do anything differently.

That is until someone actually is able to establish beyond all doubt the most rational manner in one is obligated to think about capitalism.

You either grasp this as I do or you don't.


yeah no i got it... but i avoid this problem in the first place. as there is no 'right' way for events to occur in this universe, there is no 'better or worse' way in the grandest of sense. there are different ways, and our inclinations toward wanting what we do are not founded on some 'rationale' (for reasons mentioned above). justification... in terms of producing lines of reasoning to defend some final conclusion... cannot ever reach a terminus. this is just an aspect of language itself. at some point the advanced thinker will realize that there is no 'philosophy of right' responsible for what has, now, become habit in him, and that his preferences, now, are purely a matter of aesthetics. so not only would i be unable to defend, rationally, my insistence that capitalism must die, but i also don't rely on doing so to be sure it disgusts me. neat, eh? like i said; it's my nose, man. i can sense its putridity and recoil at the smell of it. don't ax me how i know because i'm no philosopher, but i know, bro. i know.
soundcloud

Harris vs. Peterson; a wittgensteinian exercise in philosophical comedy
promethean75
Philosopher
 
Posts: 2332
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:10 pm

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Tue Dec 31, 2019 9:06 pm

Otherwise, one might argue that, actually, using the tools of philosophy or science, one is able to arrive at the one truly rational frame of mind.


promethean75 wrote:define 'truly rational frame of mind'. remember that even complete knowledge - say, understanding epistemology in its fullest sense and arriving at an indisputable conclusion about the nature of knowledge - doesn't get past the naturalistic fallacy and provide any existential guidance for what one ought to do to be rational.


Again, my point here revolves around the assumption that, given this exchange itself, you and I have some measure of autonomy in defining anything at all. Also, that in whatever conclusion we arrive at in regard to the correct definition, that has to be measured against the correct definition given the complete understanding of existence itself.

Then the part where we exclude sim worlds, dream worlds, matrix reality etc.

That aside, I make a distinction between the either/or world and the is/ought world. The world of mathematics, science, engineering, geology, biology, chemistry, physics etc., seem predicated on that which, from the perspective of the human species, seems as close as we have gotten so far to a "truly rational frame of mind".

In other words...

promethean75 wrote:philosophy and science may work together to get to the bottom of this, but neither can tell you what you should do. i imagine you don't just mean by 'rational' being able to practice good inductive reasoning. you mean something more along the lines of moral judgement and having/holding values. no amount of epistemology can help us here.


Yes, that is basically the gist of the arguments I make in my signature threads. Only I don't -- can't? -- exclude my own argument from my own argument. In many respects it is no less an existential contraption rooted in dasein.

And the other bottom line [mine] is that had your life been very, very different, there's no saying beyond all doubt that you would not in fact have become a capitalist yourself.


promethean75 wrote:but i wouldn't be 'me' then, but another me. so i couldn't say 'i could have been otherwise', only 'i might not have been, and something else would have been instead.' we often make the mistake of assuming what is logically possible can also be actually possible. but in a perfectly determined universe, nothing could be other than how it is. so, we can imagine 'logically' an alternate possible course of events which led to me becoming a capitalist, but this couldn't actually happen in this particular universe. this shit gets complicated though with many-universe theory so let's not go there. it's interesting stuff, yes, but i can't find any use in it. that is to say, if i discovered it were true, i still wouldn't do anything differently.


Here, in my view, this sort of assessment needs to be brought out into the world of actual conflicting human behaviors. Such that the points raised are more or less intertwined in a description of any particular ongoing behaviors. That way we see how far the words can go or can't go when it comes to actually resolving the conflict. My point is that once you reach the part where "I" is as fractured and fragmented as mine is, there is no resolution. There are only leaps of faiths to particular political prejudices precariously embodied by "I" in world awash in contingency, chance and change.

You are able to "avoid this problem" by [seemingly] coming to a different set of assumptions regarding "I" here. Also, I never exclude the possibility that there are right and wrong ways to behave. Either given the existence of God or philosophically/scientifically actual deontological obligations.

All I can point out is that "here and now", as an infinitesimally tiny speck of existence in the staggering vastness of "all there is", "I" don't believe that there are.
Objectivists: Like shooting fish in a barrel!

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
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 34230
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Mon Jan 06, 2020 3:23 am

Einstein’s Morality
Ching-Hung Woo looks at the many facets of Albert Einstein’s approach to ethics.

People who meet this logic for the first time tend to become alarmed – what happens to our vaunted freedom if we have no free will? There is actually no need to be alarmed if we distinguish between two kinds of freedoms: a freedom from prior causes, and a freedom from coercion.


Here we go again, he thought. He being me of course. Is this what folks like peacegirl are aiming to communicate to me? My point then being that we distinguish them only as we were ever able to distinguish them. Given that the human brain is just another necessary component of the laws of nature.

The idea of ‘absolute free will’ supposes that our choices are not determined by prior causes; but few of us actually think of freedom in that way. Rather, we feel a loss of freedom when we are coerced, that is, when we are forced to do something or be in a certain state against our values.


Is anyone at all actually foolish enough to believe in "absolute free will"? This would seem to entail one comprising the only entity in the universe. You and nothing else that could possibly impact on what you think, feel, say and do. On the other hand, in a wholly determined universe as some [compelled or not] posit it, feeling a loss of freedom is just another inherent manifestation of the psychological illusion of freedom.

There are certain likes and dislikes that a person regards as characterizing him. This set of values may change with time, but they are stable in the immediate term. Hence it makes sense to redefine ‘free choice’ as a choice compatible with a person’s self-affirmed set of values.


As though "I" over time and the immediate "I" are somehow two different entities in a universe where "I" is of, by and for nature inside and out. From the cradle to the grave. And then all the way back to star stuff.
Objectivists: Like shooting fish in a barrel!

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
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 34230
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby Exuberant Teleportation » Mon Jan 06, 2020 6:31 am

Exuberant Teleportation wrote:
iambiguous wrote:As though "I" over time and the immediate "I" are somehow two different entities in a universe where "I" is of, by and for nature inside and out. From the cradle to the grave. And then all the way back to star stuff.


And this deepest, most profound, and sacred of cosmic connections, tying us all the way back to elements spanning eons of years of evolution should make us feel gratitude and awe towards the supreme creative powers of the universe.

The constants of life are positioned in exactly such a way that we can be forged. Alter this absolute stunning elegance in physical laws only slightly, and the blueprint for life gets sucked into the black hole of oblivion.

And you would have to think that, 1 day, before the big chill, that we will go back to brane stuff, wouldn't you say?


:eusa-violin:
RaptorWizard viewtopic.php?f=10&t=195462

Welcome to the Magical Casey Barbie World!!*

I'm Lugia Prototype XD001 in Pokemon XD Gale of Darkness (Ultimate Weapon, Final Annihilator), the Star Forge Lugia firing AeroBlasts, surging with SuperHolographic Propylon antechamber Polarities, and the SuperUnknown mysteries of the Ruins of Alph in Pokemon Crystal. Wartortle wisdom with age turns Me from fool Meganium, to wise Lugia. Raptors beating Golden State = Red (Tyranitar/Me) transcended Gold (Zarathustra/Ho-Oh) in Pokemon Crystal!!

I programmed Kardashev Macroverse Civilizations Scale levels 10-26 + Bunny Gray Fox atop, and Slowking System + Misdreavus enigma totems + Regigigas Power of One orbs of Lugia into life.

Think about Bunny and You will be Happy Every Day.
Let's Wish for Joy that We each see to shine sparkles of random~Rainbows for If to Will!!*
What's the most enchanting Story?
Imagination + Willpower (Light + Dark) are as Big as the Rainbow
User avatar
Exuberant Teleportation
Philosopher
 
Posts: 3540
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2016 10:34 pm
Location: Celebrate Victory Forever!!*

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:06 pm

Exuberant Teleportation wrote:
Exuberant Teleportation wrote:
iambiguous wrote:As though "I" over time and the immediate "I" are somehow two different entities in a universe where "I" is of, by and for nature inside and out. From the cradle to the grave. And then all the way back to star stuff.


And this deepest, most profound, and sacred of cosmic connections, tying us all the way back to elements spanning eons of years of evolution should make us feel gratitude and awe towards the supreme creative powers of the universe.

The constants of life are positioned in exactly such a way that we can be forged. Alter this absolute stunning elegance in physical laws only slightly, and the blueprint for life gets sucked into the black hole of oblivion.

And you would have to think that, 1 day, before the big chill, that we will go back to brane stuff, wouldn't you say?


:eusa-violin:


:banana-dance: :eusa-violin: :banana-dance:
Objectivists: Like shooting fish in a barrel!

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
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 34230
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Fri Jan 10, 2020 3:46 am

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

For the last couple of years I have been reflecting on and experimenting with a new ethics, and as a result I have thrown over my previous commitment to Kantianism. In fact, I have given up morality altogether! This has certainly come as a shock to me (and also a disappointment, to put it mildly). I think the time has come, therefore, to reveal it to the world, and in particular to you, Dear Reader, who have patiently considered my defenses of a particular sort of moral theory for the last ten years. In a word, this philosopher has long been laboring under an unexamined assumption, namely, that there is such a thing as right and wrong. I now believe there isn’t.


Of course we all know that "for all practical purposes" no human community has ever existed in which there were no "rules of behavior". Behaviors that are either prescribed/rewarded or proscribed/punished.

It merely revolves around one or another rendition and combination of might makes right, right makes might, or moderation, negotiation and compromise. The fact that, historically, philosophy has come into existence hasn't made that part go away. Philosophers have merely given us new ways to think about it.

After all, unless you choose to abandon all contact with others and live entirely on your own, there are always going to be situations in which, in pursuing your wants and your needs, conflicts will occur.

Instead, the question for both philosophers and non-philosophers alike revolves more around the extent to which right and wrong behavior can be grounded in a font such that the community can turn to it when these conflicts do occur.

Either a religious or a secular font.

Consequently, to propose an amoral manifesto is not unlike proposing any one of the hundreds of moral manifestos that are out there. It still has to be embedded in particular contexts understood by different people in different ways.
Objectivists: Like shooting fish in a barrel!

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
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 34230
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:13 pm

Einstein’s Morality
Ching-Hung Woo looks at the many facets of Albert Einstein’s approach to ethics.

Some people who otherwise might like Einstein’s modest approach to morality might be turned away by his statement that “Morality is of the highest importance – but for us, not for God” (Albert Einstein, The Human Side).


This would seem to be an inherently tricky balance. No one is more modest than I am in regard to my own moral values. I believe what I do only because I have convinced myself that what I do believe is the embodiment of dasein out in a particular world understood [here and now] in a particular way. Beyond that my confidence collapses. And yet clearly in any given human community what could be more important than that which is established as behaviors to be rewarded and behaviors to be punished.

It's a predicament that I argue is beyond the reach of philosophers and their tools. Or, rather, that none have convinced me of their own prescriptions and proscriptions.

Einstein did concede that his notions of religion and of God were unusual. For him religious sentiment consisted of awe and reverence for the deep mysteries of the universe, such as why there exist precise and universal natural laws. Many people would feel uncomfortable with the apparent implication that only scientists are fully qualified to enter Einstein’s cosmic religion, but actually, Einstein was by no means an advocate for reliance on reason alone.


Exactly. How could the is/ought world of one particular species of life on one particular planet not be subsumed necessarily in the "deep mysteries of the universe"? Making moral and political objectivism [to me] all the more problematic. Where does human "reason" fit into the explanation of/for the universe itself?

In his youth Einstein avidly read David Hume’s writings, the influence of which can be seen in his making a distinction between the ‘is’ of observable physical facts and the moral ‘ought’. Since science is only about the ‘is’, he conceded that, besides reason, our acquisition of values involves our intuition, as well as the examples set by moral teachers. Furthermore, the human relationships with which morality is concerned often contain so many variables as to defeat rational analysis. As he wrote, “To be sure, when the number of factors coming into play in a phenomenological complex is too large, scientific method in most cases fails us”


There's that word again: intuition. And what is it really but something we invented to "encompass" all of the many aspects of what it means to be human. There's the biological I, the thinking I, the feeling I, the psychological I, the ethnic I, the social I, the political I, the economic I. All imploded down to some "visceral" sense of what it means to embody a "self".

And, to date, who hasn't failed to pin it down with respect to reacting to a particular context in which human behaviors come into conflict over ethical values? Other than [of course] the objectivists. Hundreds and hundreds of them all clamoring to embrace their own hopelessly contradictory rendition of "one of us."
Objectivists: Like shooting fish in a barrel!

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
User avatar
iambiguous
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 34230
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby Parodites » Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:13 am

Ah, Dasein: the phenomenological closure of Being to mankind, by which Heidegger positioned his fundamental critique of Western thought in terms of a bifurcation of truth (to cite my favored secondary literature on the subject, from the pen of Balthasar) into the ontological a la. Thomistic metaphysics/the Absolute of German Transcendental Idealism and the ontic,- the later constituting man's existentia or lived-reality, that is, the basic fact of Existence. For Heidegger, the Western tradition had, from its inception, subsumed the ontic to the ontological: that is destruktion; that is the Heideggerian critique. However, the brilliant answer arrived at by Heidegger to this self-manufactured problematics and monumentally inflated straw-man extended to the entire Life of the Mind, at least on the part of the West, was to conduct a reverse operation in subsuming the ontological and all hope of abstract ontology to the ontic, thereby creating a "phenomenological closure to Being" that, besides framing the consciousness of man in terms of a 'horizon of meaning' or orientation- a "thrown-ness" into Being, prevented any transcendental Absolute from being used as the basis of an ethos and gave us an equally impermeable and yet vague philosophic Angst, into which all hope of a real ethos (as opposed to the merely cursory ethos of Heidegger's mysticism or poetics of the Good) and moral project was swallowed up. You must forgive me for not going along with any of that.

" Because out in the world we live in there can be no such thing as true "gender equality" if we forced women to give birth against their wishes."

You forgot one small detail in your line of thinking. That being the fact that the goal of our legal system (the European quasi-states differ in this respect, to be sure) is not gender equality, Iambiguous. We do not respect the group- any group, as the primary ethical or legal category, but that of the individual. Granting women the right to vote for example was more about recognizing the individuality of women and deepening the concept of the Individual in general than catering to any nebulous group-identity. It is the natural rights of individuals that we codify in law, since only an individual can take responsibility for their actions and exercise agency, whereas it would be unjust to demand that an individual take responsibility for the deeds or misdeeds of a group they are part of, or to demand that a group must take responsibility for the actions of one of its members, be the group in question gender, race, class, etc. Preserving the sphere of natural rights at the level of the Individual is the only way to ensure the long-term stability of a free society. The moment you begin introducing legislation that caters to the interests of the group over and at the expense of individuals, is the moment you introduce potentially irreparable damage to the underlying moral and political fabric: damage that will breed civil unrest eventually,- just as our populace is now experiencing in the recent catastrophic fracturing of the demos into an endless contest of identity politics, after having been leveled in continuous misjudgments of exactly this nature.


With all this in mind, your defense of the woman's "right" to kill her own child due to a need to establish gender equality really just amounts to forcing the unborn child to take responsibility for his mother's impregnation- by dying, which is illogical and therefor unjust.
Last edited by Parodites on Thu Jan 16, 2020 2:34 am, edited 2 times in total.
Qui non intelligit, aut taceat, aut discat.

BTHYS TOU ANAHAT KHYA-PANDEMAI.
-- Hermaedion, in: the Liber Endumiaskia.

ΑΝΤΗΡΟΠΑΡΙΟΝ,
in formis perisseia mutilata in omnia perisarkos mutilatum;
omniformis protosseia immutilatum in protosarkos immutilata.

Measure the breaking of the Flesh in the flesh that is broken.
[ The Ecstasies of Zosimos, Tablet
the First.]
User avatar
Parodites
 
Posts: 207
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2020 12:03 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Philosophy



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: MSN [Bot]