back to the beginning: morality

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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Mon Oct 26, 2020 5:20 pm

Darwin On Moral Intelligence
Vincent di Norcia applies his mental powers to Darwin’s moral theory.

Morality makes society possible, Darwin explained, by minimizing criminal behaviour and social conflict:

“No tribe could hold together if murder, robbery, treachery, &c., were common; consequently such crimes within the limits of the same tribe ‘are branded with everlasting infamy’; but excite no such sentiment beyond these limits.”


This is true. Historically hundreds and hundreds of cultures [big and small] have come up with their own more or less one-size-fits-all moral transcripts. And it does work in providing the community with "rules of behavior" that act as a fundament for depositing "I". First "the gods". Then a God, the God. Later these were replaced in some parts of the world by secular facsimiles. Political ideologies and the like.

And, of course, there have been those down through the ages who "deduced" philosophical arguments into existence. The Intellectual scaffolding from which all rational men and women could "theoretically" note their actual obligations when confronting conflicting value judgments.

In truth, social life does wither in regions of high crime and violence, as people tend to avoid high a risk interactions and threatening situations. In prohibiting harm to others, and in condemning and punishing criminal conduct, the moral sense reduces the risks and encourages association. With the help of such ‘moralistic aggression’, the moral sense enables the wider spread of reciprocal altruism.


In truth, none of this really changed just because the economic base allowed for the existence of the surplus labor we call philosophers. The need for "rules of behaviors" in any community is just plain commonsense. And these rules revolved more around the arguments from folks like Margaret Mead, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Marvin Harris and Karl Marx than from Plato, Aristotle, Descartes and Kant.

Altruism, like egotism is hard wired into the human brain. What brings them out is embedded in any number specific contexts.

The result is that in normal functioning social life, violence and criminal conduct are relatively rare. Indeed, our sense of justice and fairness may be an evolutionary result of reciprocity supported by a socially-interactive moral sense. Of necessity everyday social life must be low risk. The incidence of aggressive behaviour is much lower in social animals than the shop-worn Hobbesian myth about an allegedly ‘natural’ tendency to warlike violence would lead one to predict. The countless peaceful interactions of everyday social life far outweigh the incidence of violently aggressive behaviour, as even the most rudimentary observation shows.


The results speak for themselves for most of us. We go about the business of interacting with others from day to day to day given any number of rules accepted by all parties. And, in fact, to the extent that the objectivists are able to persuade large swaths of the population to accept their own moral narratives and political agendas, those rules can be made to seem as natural as breathing in and out.

But what are those rules? And who decides they should be the rules? And who is able to enforce them? How about "normal functioning social life" in the midst of a world wide pandemic? Or in times of war or economic calamity? Or, for any number of reasons, your personal life goes through a tumultuous change? Situations in which you are forced to take a closer look at how morality comes to be what it is in the world around you.

Situations in which you see the way things are and you don't like them. Situations that need to be changed. But changed to 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 » Mon Nov 02, 2020 6:52 pm

Darwin On Moral Intelligence
Vincent di Norcia applies his mental powers to Darwin’s moral theory.

For Darwin, morality is altruistic. Trivers defines altruism as “behaviour which benefits another organism, not closely related”. Individuals, Darwin felt, would risk their lives and endure torture for the welfare of the group/


Think about how this clearly seems to be an appropriate description of some people you know. And yet how profoundly inappropriate for others. Think about Donald Trump being brought up in Fred Trump's household. An altruistic environment do you suppose?

No, the evolution of biological life on planet Earth has culminated to date in a species in which individuals are hard wired genetically to embody a selfless, altruistic regard for the welfare of the group. But also hard-wired genetically to embody just the opposite behaviors.

You tell me if very different historical, cultural and experiential contexts didn't predispose one frame of mind over the other?

And it's not for nothing that the capitalist political economy clearly rewards those willing to emulate the Donald Trumps of this world: me, myself and I. And then all the way to the bank. Or in his case perhaps bankruptcy

Now, sure, what apologists for this dog-eat-dog, survival the fittest political economy -- so far removed from altruism -- will insist is that it's all perfectly "natural" behavior. Capitalism comes the closest to "human nature".

Or, as phoneutria puts it:

"nature is hierarchical
people are selfish"

Deal with it.

Self-sacrificing hard-core altruism, like selfish egoism, cheating and violence, neither encourages nor rewards social interaction. On such harsh, punitive bases as these, social relationships could not emerge, would not be sustained, and would not have survived and evolved as they have. Any hard-core-altruistic social animals that emerged would soon become extinct. It follows that hard-core altruism is not a viable, or intelligent, social option. Altruism needs to be mutual.


Over and again, both sets of behaviors are possible because our brain is hard-wired biologically by the evolution of life on earth such that some will embody one set more than the other...depending in large part on how as children they are indoctrinated to view themselves out in the world with others. But the bottom line is that unlike these creatures -- https://www.thedodo.com/21-animals-bein ... 68711.html -- humans are social beings. But we are not so much "hard core" altruistic or selfish...shaped and molded genetically through instinct...as shaped and molded instead by a far, far more complex, profoundly problematic admixture or both genes and memes.

Deal with 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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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Thu Nov 12, 2020 6:43 pm

Darwin On Moral Intelligence
Vincent di Norcia applies his mental powers to Darwin’s moral theory.

Morality and Intelligence

The moral sense, Darwin held, requires extensive mental powers:

“The following proposition seems to me highly probable – namely, that any animal whatever, endowed with well-marked social instincts, would inevitably acquire a moral sense or conscience, as soon as its intellectual powers become … nearly as well developed, as in man” (pps.71-2).


Here's what I reconfigure this into: subsistence, survivial.

As with all other creatures on earth, the human species of necessity must acquire the means to sustain its very existence: food, water, shelter, defense, the capacity to reproduce.

But: Unlike all other creatures, the human species has acquired this extraordinary capacity to communicate all of this through language able to convey the sort of memetic complexities that are simply unknown to lions and tigers and bears.

Or even to our closest relatives the chimps. After all, how many philosophy forums do they have? So, we have the same basic needs as all other creatures, but we also have the capacity to "think up" particular "rules of behavior" to regulate our wants and needs. Let's call this morality.

But: how social are we?

Again, unlike other creatures, the manner in which we make distinctions between "I" and "we" and "them" involves considerably more variables. Variables that become entangled in historical and cultural contexts. Variables that evolved into the modern industrial state...and now the postmodern industrial state.

What of, "well-marked social instincts" that "inevitably acquire a moral sense or conscience" then?

“Conscience,” he said, “is by far the most important… of all the differences between man and the lower animals”. Still, he said dogs may have a conscience.


Yes, you know what's coming: We'll need a context of course.

Something that dogs never get around to broaching.

Indeed, Darwin held that there were differences in degree rather than in kind between man and the higher animals in their mental faculties. He reiterated the point a few pages later. The standard of morality improved “as man gradually advanced in intellectual power and was enabled to trace the more remote consequences of his actions; as he acquired sufficient knowledge to reject baneful customs and superstitions … as from habit... instruction and example”. Moral actions, then, need not all be deliberate: they can also be habitual, and even impulsive.


Improved? Or, rather, became far more complicated given the gap in evolution between the human brain and the chimp brain and the monkey brain and the brains of all the "lower" creatures. And what is the word that most separates us from them? How about this one: memes. And then, memetically, the gap between human interactions on the level of the "village" and on the level of the "postmodern industrial state".
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 Nov 24, 2020 6:12 pm

Darwin On Moral Intelligence
Vincent di Norcia applies his mental powers to Darwin’s moral theory.

A Sense of Darwin’s Morality

Darwin’s theory of the moral sense, its close connection with the social instincts, and the extensive mental powers it demands, is well-argued, and based on extensive study and observation.


Okay, but my reaction to this revolves around those who think they do understand and share Darwin's sense of morality...and are willing to explore that with me here in regard to conflicting value judgments that are well known around the globe.

How are "social instincts" applicable to the abortion wars, or to the red state/blue state conflagrations? Or to the extremely contentious capitalism vs. socialism political and economic agendas?

The moral sense, one is led to conclude, is not only a product of evolution, it also implies an objective normative ethic (that is, practical knowledge about right and wrong). If the moral sense, like sociability, is innate, it might be something like a predisposition due to a deep moral code. That deep code would include only a few general ethical norms, such as care for the survival, reproduction and well-being of oneself, others, one’s community and one’s habitat, and a bias for reciprocity. It might be said to constitute a minimal objective normative ethic.


And then when I react here with "we'll need a context of course", some act as though I don't really get philosophy at all.

As though philosophers/ethicists, in exploring the "innate moral sense", are not [like all the rest of us] all over the board with respect to their own moral and political value judgments. Yes, it appears we come into the world with a biological propensity to make distinctions between right and wrong, good and bad behaviors. But how on earth would that be manifested if a child really was raised by wolves or kept completely isolated from others? History, culture and experiences are all profoundly embedded in the end results here.

Instead, the "deep code" here is not all that far removed from we describe as "instinct" in all other animals.

Thus:

Such an evolutionarily-grounded deep moral code would not imply that evolutionary adaptations or advantages either determine or justify specific moral choices. On the contrary, individual decisions reflect complex, intelligent interactions between individuals, their cultures, and the changing environments and situations in which they operate.


In other words, "in general". But: how exactly would we go about exploring this relationship existentially...in regard to that "particular context"? How are the points I make regarding "dasein", "conflicting goods" and "political economy" not also pertinent in regard to the reactions of specific individuals out in a particular world viewing it in a particular way?
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 Dec 02, 2020 6:00 pm

Darwin On Moral Intelligence
Vincent di Norcia applies his mental powers to Darwin’s moral theory.

A weak link in Darwin’s moral theory is that the extensive mental powers he correctly indicates as essential to the moral sense’s operations seem inadequate to the complex social tasks required by the social instincts. Interpreting and assessing the moral significance of others’ behaviour and negotiating mutually-beneficial relations, requires additional, specifically social abilities beyond the essentially reflective moral powers required by Darwin: social skills such as verbal communication, interpreting another’s body language, empathetic projection, and understanding other’s social mores, customs and norms, and negotiating good relations with others.


And all of this unfolds given ever evolving changes in human interactions as a result of, among other things, scientific advances, technological changes, the stuff Marx spoke of in regard to the "dialectical material" evolution in political economy. Verbal communication, body language, empathy, a grasp of social mores, customs and norms, negotiating good relationships with others, etc., ten thousand years ago is not likely to overlap with those things today. Not to mention the components that I propose in my own signature threads here.

These social competences go beyond any private thinking. Instead, they call for socially-oriented developmental flexibility in the brain and mind.


Yes, but clearly how this all plays out over the years and decades, will depend in large part on the actual "situation" that any individuals find themselves in. Thus "private thinking" is likely to pop up over and again. In this thread for example. Who is to say which point of view is the most "competent"?

Reciprocal altruism, a central component in human morality according to most naturalistic theorists – this writer, for instance – therefore requires a set of complex cognitive and social powers. Dealing with violations of reciprocity such as violence, theft, and cheating, by, for example, imposing sanctions or negotiating reconciliation, represents further complex challenges. It requires all the above social powers, and moral aggression, to direct our emotions and actions to identifying, and correcting, injustices.


Again, are we to imagine that how these components played out historically in communities in which "we" took precedence over "me" are not going to change [even dramatically] in a modern world in which as a result of the ascendency of capitalism "me" is often likely to be the starting point instead for many.

And that those who champion socialism are just intent on bringing it all back around more to "we" instead.
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 Dec 09, 2020 5:27 pm

Darwin On Moral Intelligence
Vincent di Norcia applies his mental powers to Darwin’s moral theory.

Conclusions

Darwin has presented an elegant naturalistic ethic, whose lineage goes back to Aristotle, Hume and Spinoza. His evolutionary understanding of human morality does not entail its reduction to anything simpler, living or inorganic. On the contrary, human morality’s social and mental complexity implies an unpredictable emergence from earlier primate morality and intelligence. As Darwin showed, our moral intelligence is part of humankind’s evolving social nature as an animal species.


Still, if this isn't argument that revolves around not knowing when, morally, genes give way to memes and then back again, what else is it?

It's like arguing about when sheer futility gives way to sheer stupidity among those who insist that they actually do grasp when and where and how and why genes and memes are intertwined. If only in every possible human interaction. Yes, regarding all of this philosophers can put in their two cents. But take their own intellectual contraptions down out of the clouds and focus in on an actual discussion and debate relating to race and gender and sexuality and every other set of circumstances where value judgments come into conflict. Won't they pop up all along the political spectrum...just like all the rest of us?

There "natural" ethics can become anything but elegant as those on all sides scream at and curse each other.

Darwin also claimed, presciently, that the moral sense should extend beyond humans to care for ‘the lower animals’ and ‘all sentient beings’. It has taken over a century for us to learn how profoundly right he was. Morality, we now understand, should reinforce the ecological interdependency of humans and other species.


The "moral sense" in the best of all possible world? The "moral sense" in which those who choose to use and abuse and slaughter animals for profit come to "see the light" and stop doing so because objectively it's the "right thing to do"?

And that this is somehow to be understood as also the "natural" thing to do given a true understanding of the evolution of biological life on planet earth? Of course that also includes the part where nature has left all the other animals on earth engaging in the daily spectacle of "kill or be killed". Literally survival of the fittest. All genes, no memes. Which is what the Satyrean ubermen among us want to insist is also the case for the human species. Memes or not.

The time has come for philosophy to fully recognize the depth and grandeur of Darwin’s naturalistic view of morality, society, intelligence and evolution. For it can help us understand our moral obligations, not only to each other but also to the “endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful” that evolve around and within us.


Now all we need is a context, right?
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 Dec 18, 2020 7:45 pm

Crimes and Misdemeanors
Terri Murray gets to the core of ethics with Socrates and Woody Allen

“I remember my father telling me, “The eyes of God are on us always.” The eyes of God. What a phrase to a young boy. What were God’s eyes like? Unimaginably penetrating, intense eyes, I assumed. And I wonder if it was just a coincidence that I made my specialty ophthalmology.”
– Judah (in Crimes and Misdemeanors)


It's not for nothing, in my view, that any discussion of morality/ethics must begin with God.

Why? Because, from my own frame of mind, if there did in fact exist an omniscient and omnipotent entity then how could the components of my own moral philosophy not be subsumed in Him? Anymore than the moral philosophies of everyone else.

Indeed, given an omniscient God, how could any of our moral narratives actually be derived from free will? Everything and anything existing could only be an inherent, necessary manifestation of God.

“O my friend, why do you who are a citizen of the great and mighty and wise city of Athens, care so much about laying up the greatest amount of money and honor and reputation, and so little about wisdom and truth and the greatest improvement of the soul, which you never regard or heed at all? Are you not ashamed of this?”
– Socrates (in Plato’s Apology)


Wisdom? Truth? Improvement of the soul? How I would love to have spent a few hours -- days? -- with him [and Plato] discussing those things. Out in a particular context for example. Moral and political idealism only make sense to me given the existence of one or another rendition of an omniscient and omnipotent God. And, in their own way, didn't they mange to define and to deduce one into existence.

Since the mid-Sixties, Woody Allen has graced our screens with humorous, quirky films. From his oeuvre of more than sixty movies, one in particular stands out as a philosophical masterpiece. Crimes and Misdemeanors was released in 1989, but the question it poses is as old as the hills: whether living an ethical life is worthwhile in itself. The higher the cost of doing the right thing (or avoiding doing the wrong thing), the harder the choice. Allen addresses this conflict between egoism and altruism by drawing a realistic character who is forced into a dilemma between protecting his happiness and reputation through committing an evil deed, or renouncing the evil deed, knowing that this will cost him his social status and happiness.


After Another Woman, this is my favorite film of his.* And precisely because it explores the moral parameters of human interactions given a God or a No God world. And aside from whether living an ethical life is a good thing in and of itself, in the absence of God which of us as mere mortals get to say what that actually consists of when push comes to shove and particular behaviors in particular sets of circumstances are either rewarded or punished.

* https://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtop ... s#p2398418
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 » Sat Dec 26, 2020 7:53 pm

Crimes and Misdemeanors
Terri Murray gets to the core of ethics with Socrates and Woody Allen

In a sense, even to ask the question ‘Why should I be moral?’ presupposes an amoral, self-interested outlook, since asking ‘What’s in it for me?’ totally negates the idea that virtue might be its own reward and discounts any motive other than a selfish one.


And I go on and on about this. Why? Because the only thing that is possibly more disturbing than the human suffering caused by dueling objectivist -- Hitler/Stalin -- is the suffering caused by the "show me the money" moral nihilists that own and operate the global economy. And the sociopaths who will use and abuse others based solely on the assumption that the center of the universe morally revolves around their own self-interests.

Intuitively it seems that anyone who has to ask what he will get in return for a good deed is probably not a virtuous person, since the question itself presupposes that a self-interested calculation of reward is the only motivator.


That's not the point from my perspective. For the egotists, the narcissists, the sociopaths etc., the world is not divided up between those who are virtuous and those who are not. It is divided up between what they want and desire [for whatever reason] and anyone who stands in the way of them getting it. For them virtue revolves only around having or not having options. And not getting caught when those who do deem their behaviors immoral come after them.

If push comes to shove, in a dilemma between his own interests and the interests of others, the egoist will always look out for Number One. An ethical life, if it is to be distinguished from selfishness – which seems the opposite of an ethical life – must involve altruism performed from a genuine regard for one’s fellow human beings.


And then of course there are those like John Galt. The supreme egoist. But cut more in the mold of Nietzsche's Uberman. Ego determines the course of his action. But it is an ego attached to "right makes might". It is an ego attached to philosophical principles that sets him apart from mere might makes right thuggery.

Selfishness is not problem, only the source from which it is derived.
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 Jan 03, 2021 8:23 pm

Crimes and Misdemeanors
Terri Murray gets to the core of ethics with Socrates and Woody Allen

The Greeks

Yet, it still seems to make sense to ask how being good benefits us. If there is no benefit to being good, then moral rules are unfounded and would appear altogether unreasonable. Crimes and Misdemeanors wrestles with this paradox, in ways redolent of ancient Greek attempts to deal with situations in which there was a conflict between moral duty and self-interest.


Here though "good" is just a word that we invented because, for all practical purposes, in any given community, certain behaviors are going to be either rewarded or punished. And clearly to the extent that you are rewarded [in whatever manner] for doing this instead of that that is a good thing and not a bad thing.

It's just that going back to the pre-Socratics, the Greeks are thought to have come up with a new way of thinking about and then exploring this. Let's call it philosophy. Here in the "West" for example.

Yet here we are, thousands of years later, and, just like the Greeks, still squabbling ferociously over which behaviors really are the good ones and not the bad ones.

Why? Well, cue the arguments I make in my signature threads here. Or provide us with arguments of your own.

In Book II of Plato’s Republic, an affluent Athenian called Glaucon attacks Socrates’ view that justice is intrinsically preferable to injustice. On Glaucon’s view, justice is nothing but a social convention that arises from human weakness and vulnerability: since we can all suffer from injustice, we make an implicit social contract to be decent towards one another. We only allow these constraints on our freedom because we know we would stand to suffer even greater losses in their absence. He argues that justice is not something practiced for its own sake, but is something one engages in out of fear and weakness, or prudence. He claims that most persons act justly not because they think it’s better to do so but really because they lack the power to act unjustly with impunity.


Now, imagine a "human condition" where the overwhelming preponderance of men and women around the globe thought like Glaucon. So, of course one or another rendition of God or political ideology or deontology or true "natural" behaviors had to be invented. Social interactions had evolved from the brute facticity embodied in might makes right, had gone through any number of right makes right historical creations, and, with the advent of capitalism, had "settled" on one or another variant of democracy and the rule of law.

But: the right makes might objectivist are always around to wrench that back. We've got any number of them right here. Most being reactionaries. Some fancying themselves as one of Nietzsche's Ubermen. A few practically Nazis.

And then the moral nihilists who figure that "show me the money" is as good as it gets in their own best of possible worlds.

Now, in Crimes and Misdemeanors, we know the trajectory that Judah Rosenthal chose. Or, rather, given a new experience revolving around a new relationship... stumbled into?

Existentially as it were.
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 Jan 11, 2021 6:31 pm

Crimes and Misdemeanors
Terri Murray gets to the core of ethics with Socrates and Woody Allen

To illustrate his point [that most persons act justly not because they think it’s better to do so but really because they lack the power to act unjustly with impunity], Glaucon tells the story of Gyges the Lydian, who discovered a ring with magical powers that allowed him to be invisible on command. Possessing the ring gave Gyges the power to commit injustices with complete impunity. He exploited its powers to the full, seducing the queen, killing the king and seizing the throne. Glaucon concludes his story by claiming that anyone in possession of such powers would be a fool not to use them, and that the only reason anyone would pretend to disagree with this is for the appearance of social respectability. Given the magic ring, not even the most ardent moral idealist would be able to resist the temptation to use it to their advantage.


This is another example of the hypothetical "what would you do?" Given one or another "situation". Everyone has their own frame of mind, many of them in conflict. Then the philosophers among us shift the discussion to that which all virtuous men and women ought to do. To that which all rational men and women are obligated to do.

Then I note my own arguments which suggest that such discussions are ultimately futile in a No God world. That what actual flesh and blood human beings end up choosing to do has less to do with philosophy and more to do with the complex intertwining of personal experiences, relationships and a particular sequence of knowledge, information and ideas that no two people are likely to ever share in common.

And then the sociopaths among us who scoff at such intellectual/hypothetical arguments altogether and insist that right and wrong revolve solely around whatever gets them that which satisfies and fulfills their wants and needs. For example, these folks: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machiavel ... psychology)

Socrates takes exception to this outlook and tries to refute it. He wants to demonstrate that the supreme object of a man’s efforts, in public and private life, must be the reality of goodness rather than its mere appearance.


Exception noted. But what never changes is that the objectivists among us take exception to every argument that refuses to accept their own frame of mind as the starting point. And then the sociopaths who are always ready, willing and able to take advantage of those who live their principled lives like an open book.

As for pinning down Goodness itself, Socrates left that part to Plato. Plato in and out of the cave, Plato inventing a "world of words" Republic owned and operated by the philosopher-kings.
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 Jan 21, 2021 5:47 pm

Crimes and Misdemeanors
Terri Murray gets to the core of ethics with Socrates and Woody Allen

Socrates takes exception to this outlook and tries to refute it. He wants to demonstrate that the supreme object of a man’s efforts, in public and private life, must be the reality of goodness rather than its mere appearance .

Socrates’ main adversaries to this point-of-view were the Sophists. These teachers of rhetoric were the ancient Greek counterparts to modern-day marketing experts and spin-doctors. They specialized in the art of persuasion, and their aim was to win public favour for their client, irrespective of whether this was beneficial or harmful. To Socrates, their skill consisted largely in “making the worse cause appear the better”.


For me of course any attempt to demonstrate that there is in fact "the reality of goodness rather than its mere appearance", comes down to a demonstration that an omniscient and omnipotent God does in fact exist. Otherwise, mere mortals contend with "good and evil" given the manner in which I encompass that in my signature threads.

So, Google "socrates and god's existence" and you get this: https://www.google.com/search?source=hp ... ent=psy-ab

Google "plato and god's existence" and you get this: https://www.google.com/search?source=hp ... HIQ4dUDCA0

You tell me.

If either or both of them believed in the modern equivalent of a God/the God/my God, then in the absence of definitive evidence that He does exist, I would bring their arguments here: https://www.ilovephilosophy.com/viewtop ... 5&t=186929

As for the Sophists, how would they be differentiated from what today we would call sociopaths? Any argument that allows you to sustain that which is perceived to be in your own best interest is the right argument. And the sociopaths [and moral nihilists] have, in my view, always posed the biggest obstacle to the objectivists and the deontologists among us.

Plato’s Gorgias provides what is probably the clearest attempt by Socrates to answer the Sophists’ opposition of nature and law. Callicles is Socrates’ third and final opponent in this dialogue. He refuses to grant Socrates’ premise, that doing wrong is more base than suffering wrong. Callicles claims that Socrates has erred in assuming that the ethical truth is consistent with conventional social rules. In reality, he says nature’s laws of survival and self-protection are superior to man-made principles. Laws encoding justice and fairness are inconsistent with nature’s laws, even if Socrates’ previous two opponents were ashamed to say so.


Here of course we encounter a frame of mind that is in the general vicinity of Satyr and his ilk. Memes may seem persuasive but, in the end, it all comes down to genes. Your behaviors are either more in sync with Nature or with whatever "social constructs" happen to be in vogue when you're around.

Ah, but how do we pin down with any degree of certainty what Mother Nature intends for us? Here, the distinction is between "might makes right" and "right makes might". Between those who read and understand Nietzsche and those who don't. In other words, for the Übermensch among us, their own assessment of nature revolves around their vastly superior intellect. In regard to, among other things, race and gender and sexual preference, they, as "serious philosophers", concoct these dense thickets of intellectual contraptions to explain all of that to us.

Here, for example: https://knowthyself.forumotion.net/f6-agora
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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