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 promethean75 » Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:52 am

Don't do it, Biggs. Just... let it go, man. Let it go.
promethean75
Philosopher
 
Posts: 3404
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:10 pm

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby Parodites » Thu Jan 16, 2020 2:35 am

promethean75 wrote:Don't do it, Biggs. Just... let it go, man. Let it go.

Let it go? Well I for one, am just getting started; so:




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.

"Abortion then is a human tragedy in my view precisely because, like so many other moral conflagrations, it necessarily involves a conflict of legitimate rights."

Our rights reflect what the Socratic-Platonic thesis speaks of as the "Unity of Intelligibles", just as God's virtues are all perfectly harmonious and interchangeable, in keeping with Ramon Llull's ars magna. In the terminology of symbolic logic, such metaphysical abstracts are commutative in their functionality. Truth is the aesthetic unity of the Intelligible; Beauty is the Intelligible unity of Truth. That is not meant to be mrely a poetic line, and I will explain exactly what that means. It means that ours rights cannot contradict one another, just as our Ideas cannot: as argumentation proceeds only after our having defined a set of axioms and definitions, so the sole issue for whose solution the entirety of our politikeia was conceived arises in the fact that, with as careful a geometry as they may have practiced, the branches of our Government were not successfully invested by our Founders with that same level of harmony as is invested to the soul, nor could they be: a harmony grounded, as is the moral project of the West, on a metaphysical capacity which humans alone, out of the total stock of nature, possess. It saddens me to read things like this, which you quote: "Christianity attempted to recuperate the suffering of history by projecting a divine plan that assigns it a reason in the here and now and a recompense later ... " Really, that's what you got out of the Abrahamic texts?

We can take physical reality and isolate elements within it based on whatever arbitrary parameters we wish (a process I call heuresis) in order to extract from it: patterns. There is a potentially infinite number of these patterns, and more to the point: we can then take a few of those patterns and repeat the process- abstracting data from this new set of elements on a secondary level of analysis, using an entirely different set of parameters. And then we can repeat this process again, in this way generating still more wide-ranging and broader patterns, and by a continuous derivation of the 'alien third' against whose Universe the stammered dyad of our sequential logic is abrupted, that is,- by means of a new set of parameters for further levels of reflection, we reach the concept of the "ontos" (meant to suggest the errant bifurcation of the ontic and ontological) as an application of Pierce's triadic universe of symbolic logic and the Bataillean auton of transcendental reflection to what I call the process of Reification, that is,- the Negative as preserved in the face of the leveling synthesis of Hegelian totalization: the philosophical Negativity involved in the Platonic vocal plurality or aporia of Truth. That aporia, that silence,- that Negation firmly beyond all capitulation, deliverance, or subsumption, represents a kind of metaphysical capacity for transcendental self-reflection and recursive scaling, constitutive of the homoficans or daemon through which anthropos or the human-being is grounded in that which is not human, the poesis constitutive of his vital element or Becoming and ultimately, that power through which the reshaping of Nature in the image of God is accomplished,- the animating principle of our moral instinct: ethos; ethos anthropos daemon, following Heraclitus. The idea at the center of the Republic, as well as Plato more broadly considered, ie. the anabasis or act of ascending to reunite with our soul,- the doctrine of anamnesis and the escape from the Cave of Shadows toward Gnosis,- to become one of the bearers of light,- is a mythic narrative meant to provide a model for organizing these different levels of recursive, embedded abstraction, approaching their transcendental object ad infinitum like the infinite series of PI- for it is a difficult thing to manage and to get through them, endless as they are. This ascent is an ascent toward the Good. Toward true selfhood, and toward Beauty,- things which, to go back to the notion of intelligible unity, are at this height of Thought all one and the same thing.

" The day before yesterday the Founding Fathers kept black slaves."

And you keep brown ones, to make your iphone and clothes and food. But that is irrelevant. I would just ask if the writer have preferred Jefferson to free all his slaves, shove them out the door and wait for all the elderly ones to starve to death after being unable to find any work, or the young to starve as well, after failing to secure work due to a lack of any technical skills? Old slaves, or those without any skills, cannot find work: therefor they cannot eat, therefor starve. If you are going to free slaves, then you need more than revolutionary optimism, you actually need a well thought out plan and some kind of peremptory social infrastructure to aid in easing the mass transition of a large number of them into free society. No, better still: I would ask the writer what she would do if she was Jefferson at the time? How would she have gone about freeing the slaves without inadvertently causing them as much suffering due to political negligence as they had experienced due simply to the malevolence of other men.
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: 209
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2020 12:03 pm

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Thu Jan 16, 2020 4:23 am

Parodites wrote: 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.


Un-oh, another Serious Philosopher!

In other words, with me, you're off to a bad start. :wink:

Parodites wrote: 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.


From my frame of mind [and admittedly that's all it is] an intellectual contraption on steroids! A gigantic general description that just begs for a particular context in which to assess the extent to which the definition you give to these words placed in this order is what all reasonable people are expected to be in sync with.

Parodites wrote: "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."


When is the last time a man was confronted with an unwanted pregnancy? A pregnancy that could play havoc with his life? A job or a promotion on the line, turmoil in family, censure from pro-life friends or colleagues, important plans that need to be shelved.

Parodites wrote: 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,


You're talking about the community or the nation as a whole. I'm talking about an actual individual who becomes pregnant and does not want to be. Perhaps because of a defective contraception, perhaps as a result of rape or incest. All human interaction involves trade offs between "I" and "we". And, in regard to abortion, there are clearly conflicting moral narratives and legal agendas all up and down the political spectrum. Why should everyone accept your own political prejudices as the optimal or the only rational point of view? What are you, the last of the philosopher-kings?

Parodites wrote: 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.


Again, a series of assumptions embedded largely in a world of words that make no reference to any specific sets of circumstances in which, once again, we are confronted with arguments passionately embraced by those from the extreme left all the way to the extreme right. And all points in between.

Consider: https://abortion.procon.org/

My point being that, given different sets of assumptions, both sides are able to make reasonable arguments in support of either the "natural right" of the baby to live or the "political right" of women to choose.

And then the argument I make in regard to individual value judgments here being embedded existentially in the manner in which I construe the meaning of dasein. In particular, the points I raise on this thread: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382

Parodites wrote: 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.


My defense is merely the embodiment of my own political prejudices [here and now] derived from the manner in which I construe the meaning of dasein here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529

I do not argue that those who are opposed to abortion have a less reasonable point of view. Instead, "I" construe my self here as fractured and fragmented, tugged ambivalently in both directions; as, for all practical purposes, down in a "hole".

This one:

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.
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: 37716
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Thu Jan 16, 2020 4:27 am

promethean75 wrote:Don't do it, Biggs. Just... let it go, man. Let it go.


I'm sorry my friend but he -- she? -- needs to be taught a lesson.

Either that or I do. :wink:
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: 37716
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby Parodites » Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:10 pm

"When is the last time a man was confronted with an unwanted pregnancy? A pregnancy that could play havoc with his life?"

And when was the last time a woman was confronted with being that unwanted pregnancy, somehow survives her own mother's attempt to murder her, and then finally questions her about it in adulthood?

Besides, the funny thing is, men are confronted with unwanted pregnancies that can play havoc with their life all the time, it is just that we have no say in the conversation about letting that pregnancy continue or not, despite it carrying half our DNA.

" Un-oh, another Serious Philosopher! In other words, with me, you're off to a bad start."

No; nobody hates philosophers more than I do. The existence of another challenges my bid for absorbing the mortis imago, in Ovidian language, into the image of my own morto imaginis and Self-hood; for silencing death, world, and god, in the image of my own EIDEIA.

"Again, a series of assumptions embedded largely in a world of words that make no reference to any specific sets of circumstances in which, once again, we are confronted with arguments passionately embraced by those from the extreme left all the way to the extreme right. And all points in between."

Just as I explained in the paragraph about heuresis: yes. Well first of all, they aren't assumptions they're axioms and definitions: self-evident truths, as our spiritual Fathers would say, assuming you belong, too, to the US; and second, the whole point is to develop a theoretical framework without any reference to any one particular circumstance. Through the abstract moral principle, heightened and abstracted from all particularity: we judge the particular, in such a way as to draw out latent associations between events that would otherwise remain occulted, forever hidden from our sight. This is the point of philosophy, that is,- to conceive extreme cases, or abstract principles, that would allow us to test and find previously inaccessible patterns between apparently unrelated things in the world of our experience. Hence, to something else you said,

"A gigantic general description that just begs for a particular context in which to assess the extent to which the definition you give to these words placed in this order is what all reasonable people are expected to be in sync with."

I would add that: I do not attempt to keep people in sync with it; just the opposite. I want to disconcert them by using these higher-level abstractions to create absurd, or what would be absurd scenarios at the level of the concrete, which would help to induce a change in perspective for a person, and facilitate their questioning various particulars they thought they knew quite well. My point is to provide a "new set of parameters" to borrow my own expression from the post, through which to force latent associations at the level of the disparate particular into consciousness. For at the highest level of abstraction, on which the famed Socratic equation of Virtue=Beauty=Truth is derived, there are no latent associations, and all is bound up equally by the depths, in which "everything is law", to cite the poet of the Duino Elegies, Rilke.

"You're talking about the community or the nation as a whole."

No, I am talking about the abstract ethical and legal category of the Individual and the nation as a whole, whose members can all be equally conformed to that abstract category.

"I'm talking about an actual individual who becomes pregnant and does not want to be. Perhaps because of a defective contraception, perhaps as a result of rape or incest."

We can't legitimize murder for the sake of such extenuating factors; I don't support the death penalty either. I spoke of the significance of responsibility as applied to that abstract category of the individual, which- although all interaction is an interplay of I and We, is nonetheless granted legal and moral primacy in our Constitution. If the woman cannot take responsibility for the pregnancy out of her own volition in becoming pregnant due to a rape, she still has the potential to accept responsibility that, for whatever reason: a life now depends on her. That trumps any impulse to demand that the fetus takes responsibility for having been so conceived.
Last edited by Parodites on Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:23 pm, edited 1 time 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: 209
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2020 12:03 pm

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby promethean75 » Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:22 pm

No; nobody hates philosophers more than I do. The existence of another challenges my bid for absorbing the mortis imago


Bro wtf. That's exactly why I hate philosophers too! Every time I'm fixin to absorb my mortis imago, some fucking philosopher gets right in the way.
promethean75
Philosopher
 
Posts: 3404
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:10 pm

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby Parodites » Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:30 pm

promethean75 wrote:
No; nobody hates philosophers more than I do. The existence of another challenges my bid for absorbing the mortis imago


Bro wtf. That's exactly why I hate philosophers too! Every time I'm fixin to absorb my mortis imago, some fucking philosopher gets right in the way.


The mortis imago, [the image of Death] through which the whole veil of Nature is permeated and torn: not your. That the expression is declined in such a way as to accept either a subjective or objective clause, is a bit of a grammatical clue as to it actually being Ovid's take on the equally noteworthy expression from out of the Aeneid,- the Virgilian 'lacrimae rerum', which so many have attempted to translate but none have truly managed. In Latin, the subjective-objective case can both be implied simultaneously through the genitive, but in English either one or the other must be explicitly granted. Aeneas was contemplating the great heroes of Troy while gazing upon a mural at the temple of Juno, the full recitation being: sunt lacrimae rerum et mentem mortalia tangunt.
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: 209
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2020 12:03 pm

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby promethean75 » Thu Jan 16, 2020 1:41 pm

The mortis imago


Yeah I knew that. I was just testin you. Makin sure you knew your shit.

Aeneas was contemplating the great heroes of Troy while gazing upon a mural at the temple of Juno


Yup. Not only are we absolutely certain this guy Aeneas existed, but we also know for certain where he was on the night of June 2nd, what mural he was looking at, and exactly what he was thinking.
promethean75
Philosopher
 
Posts: 3404
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:10 pm

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby Parodites » Thu Jan 16, 2020 2:15 pm

promethean75 wrote:
The mortis imago


Yeah I knew that. I was just testin you. Makin sure you knew your shit.

Aeneas was contemplating the great heroes of Troy while gazing upon a mural at the temple of Juno


Yup. Not only are we absolutely certain this guy Aeneas existed, but we also know for certain where he was on the night of June 2nd, what mural he was looking at, and exactly what he was thinking.


Yeah man I was talking about the poem. The Aeneid. Written by Virgil... This guy named Aeneas is pretty important in it. He's the son of the goddess Aphrodite, I don't think the Aeneid is meant to be a historically accurate representation of anything. And the thing I just said, like. That's from said poem... ?
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: 209
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2020 12:03 pm

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby promethean75 » Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:30 pm

do me a favor. when i'm an asshole, don't be all polite and civil when you respond, because it's rude. it makes me feel bad.

my thing with poetry is that when we are trying to draw from it things we can use in building philosophical points, we run an interpretational risk in doing so. it's one thing to say '... and when achilles did x and y, he was being brave', and quite another to read all into it and imagine there's some meaning that's meant for us to discover while putting together a few arguments to bolster a philosophical idea.

i have a hard enough time trying to figure out what the hell a philosopher means, much less a poet.
promethean75
Philosopher
 
Posts: 3404
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:10 pm

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Fri Jan 17, 2020 7:38 pm

iambiguously wrote: When is the last time a man was confronted with an unwanted pregnancy? A pregnancy that could play havoc with his life?



Parodites wrote: And when was the last time a woman was confronted with being that unwanted pregnancy, somehow survives her own mother's attempt to murder her, and then finally questions her about it in adulthood?

Besides, the funny thing is, men are confronted with unwanted pregnancies that can play havoc with their life all the time, it is just that we have no say in the conversation about letting that pregnancy continue or not, despite it carrying half our DNA.


You're missing my point. Sure, any particular individual in any particular set of circumstances can raise the arguments that those in both the pro-life and the pro-choice camps do. Conflicting goods let's call them.

My question however is this: to what extent can either science or philosophy determine which argument reflects that which rational and virtuous men and women are obligated to embrace?

Also, I suggest that each of us as individuals come to embody one set of political prejudices rather than another based largely on the existential trajectory of their life. Again, I encompass that on this thread: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382

How about you? What crucial variables in your life predisposed you to think this way rather than that way about abortion? Either you accept my point regarding dasein here or you are able to obviate it by coming up with an argument that does in fact resolve the issue deontologically once and for all.

Don't skip this part okay?

iambiguously wrote: Again, a series of assumptions embedded largely in a world of words that make no reference to any specific sets of circumstances in which, once again, we are confronted with arguments passionately embraced by those from the extreme left all the way to the extreme right. And all points in between.


Parodites wrote: Just as I explained in the paragraph about heuresis: yes. Well first of all, they aren't assumptions they're axioms and definitions: self-evident truths, as our spiritual Fathers would say, assuming you belong, too, to the US; and second, the whole point is to develop a theoretical framework without any reference to any one particular circumstance. Through the abstract moral principle, heightened and abstracted from all particularity: we judge the particular, in such a way as to draw out latent associations between events that would otherwise remain occulted, forever hidden from our sight. This is the point of philosophy, that is,- to conceive extreme cases, or abstract principles, that would allow us to test and find previously inaccessible patterns between apparently unrelated things in the world of our experience.


Another general description intellectual contraption that would, for all practical purposes, be meaningless if proposed to those in the thick of the political struggle to sway the Supreme Court here in America to lay off Roe V. Wade.

Then more of the same:

Parodites wrote: I would add that: I do not attempt to keep people in sync with it; just the opposite. I want to disconcert them by using these higher-level abstractions to create absurd, or what would be absurd scenarios at the level of the concrete, which would help to induce a change in perspective for a person, and facilitate their questioning various particulars they thought they knew quite well. My point is to provide a "new set of parameters" to borrow my own expression from the post, through which to force latent associations at the level of the disparate particular into consciousness. For at the highest level of abstraction, on which the famed Socratic equation of Virtue=Beauty=Truth is derived, there are no latent associations, and all is bound up equally by the depths, in which "everything is law", to cite the poet of the Duino Elegies, Rilke.


I spent many years involved in political organizations that confronted the abortion wars head on. Back then I was a left wing objectivist. Thumping the right wing objectivists. Or, rather, back then, so I thought. One thing for sure though...almost no one I knew then would have a fucking clue as to what anything you propose here has to do with the nitty-gritty existential rights of the unborn to live vs. the rights of pregnant women to choose.

iambiguously wrote: You're talking about the community or the nation as a whole.


Parodites wrote: No, I am talking about the abstract ethical and legal category of the Individual and the nation as a whole, whose members can all be equally conformed to that abstract category.


Huh? Come on, what would that mean to a flesh and blood woman pregnant and not wanting to be? Or to a pro-life advocate speaking for the unborn that they insist should not be destroyed? That's what it always comes down to. Particular men and women interacting in a particular set of circumstances viewed from a particular point of view. So much more so than "the abstract ethical and legal category of the Individual and the nation as a whole".

iambiguously wrote: I'm talking about an actual individual who becomes pregnant and does not want to be. Perhaps because of a defective contraception, perhaps as a result of rape or incest.


Parodites wrote: We can't legitimize murder for the sake of such extenuating factors; I don't support the death penalty either. I spoke of the significance of responsibility as applied to that abstract category of the individual, which- although all interaction is an interplay of I and We, is nonetheless granted legal and moral primacy in our Constitution. If the woman cannot take responsibility for the pregnancy out of her own volition in becoming pregnant due to a rape, she still has the potential to accept responsibility that, for whatever reason: a life now depends on her. That trumps any impulse to demand that the fetus takes responsibility for having been so conceived.


Right. As though those on the other side of the political spectrum don't have their own arguments in defense of a woman's right to choose. Hell, we can't even pin down the precise moment when the unborn becomes a "human being". For some it's the day of conception, for others a beating heart, for others its capacity to live outside the womb. While others are even able to rationalize abortion on demand. Or, for that matter, infanticide.

My point however is always the same. Are you an objectivist here? In other words, is your argument above regarding a woman who has been raped accepting the responsibility of raising the rapist's child seen by you to be her moral obligation as a rational human being...or not?
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: 37716
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Mon Jan 20, 2020 7:03 pm

Yo, Parodites, you're up!! :wink:
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: 37716
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Wed Jan 22, 2020 3:24 am

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

The long and the short of it is that I became convinced that atheism implies amorality; and since I am an atheist, I must therefore embrace amorality.


Three points.

1] I agree that in a No God world there does not appear to a Humanist equivalent of either omniscience or omnipotence. And without an all-knowing and all-powerful perspective on human interactions, who gets to say which mere mortal's perspective reflects the optimal, go-to assessment when confronting conflicting value judgments. Or, rather, no one has convinced me of late that their own moral narrative generates the most rational and virtuous set of behaviors.

And, sans God, there is every possibility that immoral behaviors can be chosen and the perpetrator is never caught. And, in not being caught, is never punished.

2] if "amoral" is understood to mean, "lacking a moral sense; unconcerned with the rightness or wrongness of something" this does not preclude the necessity to establish rules of behavior in any human community. One can have a moral sense and be concerned with sustaining the least dysfunctional interactions in a community, without positing one or another God. Or, like me, they can come to believe that their own values "here and now" are just existential contraptions subject to change given new experiences. But still recognize the need to pursue rules of behavior.

3] Many call themselves atheists. But that does not necessarily preclude the existence of God. When push comes to shove, in the context of understanding what lies behind "all there is", who really knows the explanation? So, for all practical purposes, we are all basically agnostics.

I call the premise of this argument ‘hard atheism’ because it is analogous to a thesis in philosophy known as ‘hard determinism.’ The latter holds that if metaphysical determinism is true, then there is no such thing as free will. Thus, a ‘soft determinist’ believes that, even if your reading of this column right now has followed by causal necessity from the Big Bang fourteen billion years ago, you can still meaningfully be said to have freely chosen to read it.


Here, however, regarding this distinction, I get "stuck" again. Given hard determinism as I understand it, any discussion of right and wrong/ethical and unethical behavior is merely a necessary, inherent manifestation of nature itself. Making the debate itself just another component of what was never not going to be.

As for "soft determinism", how is what a soft determinist believes not in turn just another inherent component of nature unfolding only as it can/must given the laws of matter. If someone wants to believe that they have freely chosen to read something they were never, ever going to not read, it's still a mystery to me how, for all practical purposes, this distinction is made.

I might be missing something of course but how was I ever really able to not miss it if my own brain is itself but more matter necessarily in sync with the laws that make it what can only ever be. What it can only ever do.

Analogously, a ‘soft atheist’ would hold that one could be an atheist and still believe in morality. And indeed, the whole crop of ‘New Atheists’ are softies of this kind. So was I, until I experienced my shocking epiphany that the religious fundamentalists are correct: without God, there is no morality. But they are incorrect, I still believe, about there being a God. Hence, I believe, there is no morality.


I get this distinction though. Or I think I do. It revolves around my 2nd point above. In other words, using one or another No God font, you are able to convince yourself that re deontology [philosophical imperatives] or ideology [political imperatives] or nature [biological imperatives] it is possible to know definitively which behaviors to prescribe and which behaviors to proscribe. "I" is not "fractured and fragmented" at all once you grasp the one true oversall assessment of human interactions.

And then there are people like me.
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: 37716
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Mon Jan 27, 2020 8:54 pm

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

Why do I now accept hard atheism? I was struck by salient parallels between religion and morality, especially that both avail themselves of imperatives or commands, which are intended to apply universally.


Isn't this true? With religion the obligation is derived from God. With philosophy, the obligation is derived from Reason. And if not applicable universally then certainly applicable to all those who wish to be thought of as rational human beings right here on Earth.

In the case of religion, and most obviously theism, these commands emanate from a Commander; “and this all people call God,” as Aquinas might have put it. The problem with theism is of course the shaky grounds for believing in God. But the problem with morality, I now maintain, is that it is in even worse shape than religion in this regard; for if there were a God, His issuing commands would make some kind of sense. But if there is no God, as of course atheists assert, then what sense could be made of there being commands of this sort?


Of course this part is readily dispensed with. How? By simply asking the secular objectivists if they need God to sustain their own authoritarian dogmas.

They will tell you "no" and then either ignore you or shun you or punish you for refusing to become "one of us". That's the reality, isn't it? In a No God world where no one is able to definitively disprove this "ism" or that "ism" is necessarily false, then all of them become "necessarily" true merely by believing that they are.

That's why folks like me here are particularly loathed. Not only do we refuse to take sides, we suggest instead that the sides themselves are fabricated existentially over the course of time historically and around the globe culturally. And that, further, each individual's own personal experiences can be profoundly different from others.

In sum, while theists take the obvious existence of moral commands to be a kind of proof of the existence of a Commander, i.e., God, I now take the non-existence of a Commander as a kind of proof that there are no Commands, i.e., morality.


But this is no less his own existential contraption, isn't it? He has no way of knowing whether new experiences, new relationships or access to new ideas will change his mind. Instead, he makes his own assumptions here the "commands" that he obeys.
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: 37716
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Sat Feb 01, 2020 7:04 pm

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

It used to be a standard argument for God’s existence that the obvious and abundant design of the universe, as manifested particularly in the elegant fit of organisms to their environments, indicated the existence of a divine designer. Now we know that biological evolution can account for this fit perfectly without recourse to God. Hence, no Designer, no Design; there is only the appearance of design in nature (excepting such artifacts as beaver dams, bird nests, and architects’ blueprints).


Except that any number religious folks will make what they construe to be a crucial distinction between explaining how biological life evolved on planet Earth and explaining how life itself came to evolve out of what is clearly the overwhelming preponderance of matter in the universe: the brute facticity of "stuff" utterly lacking in any components of life at all. Let alone matter able to become conscious of itself as matter able to become conscious of all the other things that allow for the invention of, say, this laptop computer and the internet. Or the human "conscience".

In other words, while it might be presumed that a God, the God is not necessary to explain the existence of these words that I am typing and you are reading, there is, in turn, no way in which to entirely rule Him out.

Just so, there are no moral commands but only the appearance of them, which can be explained by selection (by the natural environment, culture, family, etc.) of behavior and motives (‘moral intuitions’ or ‘conscience’) that best promote survival of the organism. There need be no recourse to Morality any more than to God to account for these phenomena.


Okay, but even in a No God universe, there may well be no moral commands here on planet Earth other than those that are compelled by the very laws of nature themselves. In other words, merely the appearance of morality given that choice itself is merely the psychological illusion of free will. The evolution of life may be but a necessary component of whatever lies behind the explanation for existence itself.

Though, if autonomy is assumed, sure, it may be possible to explain morality as somehow inherently intertwined instead in the evolution of life on Earth into the human brain. The brain is hard-wired for survival and it sets out the parameters in any particular context for distinguishing between surviving [good/moral] and not surviving [bad/immoral].

Philosophers [among others] just take it further by coming up with the idea that all of this revolves around ideals and principles, and natural rights and moral obligations.

Categorically and imperatively 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

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: 37716
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Fri Feb 07, 2020 8:13 pm

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

A statement like “If anything is wrong, this is” is naturally interpreted as a rhetorical emphasis of just how wrong the speaker considers this to be. But if I, as an amoralist, were to say “If anything is wrong, vivisection is,” I would mean it literally, not rhetorically; that is, the ‘if’ would have real force for me, even suggesting that I do not believe that anything is wrong (since morality does not exist): all the more, that I do not believe that vivisection is wrong.


This is basically the argument that some will throw at me. They do believe in objective morality, so they can point to this or that behavior as particular examples of the "wrong thing to do". Whereas I am not able to convince myself that any behaviors at all are inherently, necessarily wrong. So, some will retort, "what are you saying, that torturing a baby is okay?!"

And, admittedly, there is part of me that hesitates in concluding that, in the absence of God, all things [such as this] are permitted. But I can't come up with a definitive philosophical argument that, in the absence of God [or His secular equivalent] is able to demonstrate which behaviors all rational and virtuous human beings are, in fact, obligated deontologically to either choose or to eschew.

And what of the narcissists and sociopaths, who, for whatever reasons, given experiences in their lives very different from my own, have come to conclude that morality revolves around that which sustains their own personal satisfactions. Period.

How would someone demonstrate that this frame of mind is necessarily wrong in a No God world?

Of course that does not mean I think vivisection is right or even permissible, since those are moral notions also. I just don’t like vivisection. So my intention in making the utterance would be at variance with the impression it would leave in my listener’s mind; and knowing this, I would be a deceiver.


"In reality" of course this part can get especially convoluted. He likes and dislikes things as opposed to insisting that he likes things because they are moral and dislikes things because they are immoral. But liking and disliking something from my frame of mind is no less an existential contraption rooted in dasein.

And in that respect how is vivisection -- https://animal-testing.procon.org/ -- not just one more example of conflicting goods?

Deception here is still just a point of view embedded in a world where value judgments are subjective assessments ever subject to change given new experiences.

Even performing experiments on human beings is able to be rationalized by some. Consider the film Extreme Measures: https://youtu.be/SBRFmU-3mf8

My reaction to it:

viewtopic.php?f=24&t=179469&p=2367738&hilit=extreme+measures+directed#p2367738

Precipitating reactions of others:

https://www.nrin.nl/ri-collection/libra ... ures-1996/
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: 37716
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Tue Feb 11, 2020 6:49 pm

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

...if I were only trying to persuade a Kantian vivisectionist of the error of her ways, its usage, it seems to me, would pass muster even morally. I would be using reasoning to show my interlocutor that what she was doing violated her own moral/theoretical commitments.


This is how I always imagine approaching those Kantians who embrace human morality deontologically. Those that all concur human beings have an obligation to behave morally as a rational necessity.

So, let's examine the lives that they live. Are there behaviors they choose in their interactions with others relating to the treatment of animals that are in conflict? How then would one of them go about convincing the others that as a rational necessity their own views on animal rights reflects the one true moral obligation of all reasonable men and women?

In other words, if we lived in a world where all who claimed to be Kantians came to the same conclusion regarding their own interaction with and their own thinking and feeling about animals, that would be one thing. If, on the other hand, they [like all the rest of us] came to different conclusions what does it tell us about how "for all practical purposes" Kant's philosophical assessments play out in the real world?

My own view of morality itself would be irrelevant; my interlocutor can assume what she likes about my meta-ethics. It would be exactly as if I were talking with a religious believer about the proper treatment of other animals: whether or not the believer knew I was an atheist, it would be perfectly proper for me to try to convince her that there is Biblical support for a benign ‘stewardship’ of other animals – would it not? I need not believe in the concept of stewardship myself, nor in its divine sanction, in order to invoke it undeceivingly when arguing with someone who does. Just so, it seems to me, morality.


Yet this is nothing more than another "general description intellectual contraption" in and of itself. The point is not that we assume different things about either meta-ethics or ethical behavior [God or No God] but how we come to the views that we do as individuals.

Bottom line [mine]: are our thoughts and feelings about animals predicated more on the accumulation of actual experiences we have out in a particular world understood in a particular manner, or is it possible using the tools of the scientists, philosophers, naturalists or theologians, to determine how one ought to think and feel and behavior in regard to animals in our lives.

Can conflicting goods here be subsumed in a categorical and imperative moral obligation on the part of all those who wish to be thought of as rational human beings?
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: 37716
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Sun Feb 16, 2020 8:26 pm

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

I have explained how an amoralist, such as I have become, could still continue to argue in the mode of morality. Although this risks being deceptive and hypocritical, it can also be done aboveboard because the amoralist could be appealing to his or her interlocutor’s (or reader’s) moralism.


Me too. More or less. Only this is extremely difficult to explain to those who embrace one or another moral narrative and political agenda rooted in objectivism. The part about "I" being "fractured and fragmented" in particular.

Maybe I will be more successful this time...maybe not.

I start with the obvious. That, if you choose to interact with others socially, politically and/or economically [in whatever human community], your wants and needs will almost certainly come into conflict with others. Over any number of things. One way or another [between individuals or between individuals, groups and the state], "rules of behaviors" will be a necessary condition in order to avoid a Hobbesian "law of the jungle".

The "social contract" is born. But: so too are countless arguments regarding what that contract should consist of.

So, basically, a moral nihilist such as myself, starts with this "for all practical purposes" explanation for "morality". Or, in philosophy, ethics. In other words, sans God, I don't believe these rules of behavior [whether invented or discovered] exist essentially, objectively, necessarily, intrinsically etc. So they have to concocted in any particular community in order to facilitate the least dysfunctional social interactions. It then comes down [in each community] to one or another general consensus regarding what these rules are derived from. In a No God world that leaves such alternatives as reason or political ideology or the most rational understanding of nature. Or, as well, any one of hundreds of so-call spiritual paths to enlightenment.

But: I am not able to subscribe to any of them. Instead, I have come to conclude that my own value judgments were fabricated at birth by others out in a particular world. And that as I acquired the capacity [in this modern world, given human autonomy] to choose for myself, this "self" is no less embedded largely in the experiences and relationships and access to information, ideas and knowledge that "I" came to embody existentially in a world that I can only really grasp or control up to a point.

And then the paths chosen by any number of the more narcissistic "amoralists": might makes right derived from political and economic power.

Sure, there may be a way [philosophically or otherwise] to transcend this and to comprehend a "real me" in sync with "the right thing to do", but I have not come upon it now for years and years.

Now it revolves around this:

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.

Instead, I can only seek out the narratives of others in places like this who do not think as I do.
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: 37716
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Sun Feb 23, 2020 9:03 pm

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

...if I were conversing with someone who believed that meat-eating is morally good because it promotes the greatest good of the greatest number, I could point out that this utilitarian credo is supposed to apply to all sentient beings and not only to human beings; so that if one tallied up the net pleasure and pain being experienced not only by the human meat-eaters but also by the animals being bred and slaughtered for eating under the current regime of factory farming, one would likely conclude that eating meat does not lead to the greatest good and hence is wrong.


Here, of course, all the meat-eater has to do is argue that her moral narrative revolves solely around the sentient human beings in her community. There would seem to be no argument able to demonstrate that human communities must take into account the welfare of all living things.

At best there might be hard evidence that either eating or not eating meat has a significant impact on how long you live or on how healthy you are however long you live. But, again, given all of the many, many different historical and cultural and interpersonal contexts there are to be taken into consideration, how would even this be pinned down with any degree of finality?

Consider all the different moral fonts available to an individual interested in exploring the question of animal rights: http://home.sandiego.edu/~baber/gender/ ... ories.html

What might a member of each camp argue is the right thing or the wrong thing to choose when confronted with that Big Mac?

And, here, the one I often zero in on is this one: The Ethical Egoist:

"Right and wrong is determined by what is in your self-interest. Or, it is immoral to act contrary to your self-interest. Ethical Egoism is usually based upon Psychological Egoism -- that we, by nature, act selfishly."

Not that there aren't reasonable arguments against this frame of mind as well. But, again, out in a particular context, how are these conflicting arguments broached and described; and then reconciled or resolved existentially?

Meanwhile, I myself, as an amoralist, believe meat-eating is neither right nor wrong; but I would have done nothing dishonest in convincing my interlocutor that it is wrong, that is, by her lights.


"By her lights" is precisely my point. How, for each of us, is this not embedded in the manner in which I construe the meaning of dasein in my signature threads? How, in relationship to the consumption of animal flesh, is this not a potent ingredient in your own sense of identity here.

And, then, once the philosophers and the ethicists have taken that into account, what conclusions might they come to in regard to animal rights that would come closest to the moral obligation of the rational human being?
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: 37716
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Sat Feb 29, 2020 8:41 pm

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

But even within the same society, there can be large differences in knowledge. I speak from personal experience regarding even my own knowledge, for, to stay with my example, I was blissfully unaware of the horrors of factory farming until only a few years ago. Most people in our society continue to be, even though the practice has been prevalent for the last fifty years. Thus, there is a good chance that I would be able to influence my interlocutor’s carnivorous desire and behavior simply by introducing her to the relevant facts.


This part is always tricky for me. The relationship between what someone knows about something, all that can be known about it, and how this gap in and of itself can have a significant impact on their own moral reasoning.

If you go about the business of consuming animal flesh without any real understanding at all of factory farming, of the suffering that the animals often endure in order to sate your appetite for meat, it is all the easier to avoid seeing your behavior as a moral issue at all.

With these new facts, though, you might change your mind. Change your eating habits altogether.

Or you can choose to consume animal products only once you are able to assure yourself that the animals you are eating endured an absolute minimum of pain and suffering. Though no less butchered in the end.

With all other conflicting goods in turn there are facts that can be known if you make an effort to accumulate them before choosing behaviors.

But what there does not seem to be is the sort of knowledge that would enable one side or the others to demonstrate that their own facts obligate rational and virtuous human beings to behave one way rather than another.

And there is still the argument of those who could not care less about what the facts are if the fact is that the only thing that matters to them is satisfying and fulfilling their own selfish wants and needs. This is always the argument that most troubles me because it seems to require the existence of God in order make the argument null and void.

If there is no font that knows all and is all powerful, then it comes down to the conflicting moral and political narratives of mere mortals.

Thus...

But what if my amoral interlocutor were just as versed in the facts of factory farming as I but still did not care about animal suffering, or simply loved eating meat more than she loved animals? At this point the dialogue might serve no purpose. But that certainly would not mean that I had no further recourse, even honest recourse.


Yes, but this "honest recourse" either succeeds in persuading another to adopt your own subjective assumptions about the treatment of animals, or it doesn't. What is always most crucial to me is how exchanges of this sort are rooted in the components of my own moral philosophy. Such that even your own value judgments "here and now" are no less existential contraptions and, as such, are ever open to change given new experiences, new relationships and access to new sources of information and knowledge.

And in the best of all possible worlds...

For example, I could try to bring around as many other people as possible to my way of seeing (and feeling) things, so that ultimately by sheer force of numbers we might reduce animal suffering and exploitation by our purchasing practices and voting choices. In this effort I could join with others to employ standard methods of ‘marketing,’ such as advertising campaigns and celebrity endorsements. These things are not inherently dishonest simply in virtue of being strategic.


...one's motivation and intention here can be honest or dishonest, but, for me, this too is just another manifestation of dasein.

Then I'm back to how I have never been all that successful in explaining it to others. I figure that's because of one of two reasons:

1] my explanation is wrong...end of story.
2] my explanation is right...but is rejected by others because they simply cannot or will not accept the implications of my own frame of mind being applicable to them.

The part about becoming "fractured and fragmented" out in the is/ought world is simply more than they can accept about their own self.

After all, I remember my own grueling transformation all those years ago.
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: 37716
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Wed Mar 04, 2020 3:01 pm

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

I conclude that morality is largely superfluous in daily life, so its removal – once the initial shock had subsided – would at worst make no difference in the world. (I happen to believe – or just hope? – that its removal would make the world a better place, that is, more to our individual and collective liking. That would constitute an argument for amorality that has more going for it than simply conceptual housekeeping. But the thesis – call it ‘The Joy of Amorality’ – is an empirical one, so I would rely on more than just philosophy to defend it.)


Still, what this all revolves around [in my view] is not keeping morality in or removing morality from our lives. It is more about the word you want to use to describe that which will always be a part of any human community: rules of behavior.

How to sustain the least dysfunctional interactions by rewarding some set of behaviors and punishing other sets.

And I also believe that calling the world a "better place" will still remain an existential contraption rooted in daseins grappling with conflicting goods in a "real world" -- historically, culturally and experientially -- where those with the most political and economic power almost always prevail.

Turning this into an intellectual or a philosophical discussion and debate changes none of that.

A helpful analogy, at least for the atheist, is sin. Even though words like ‘sinful’ and ‘evil’ come naturally to the tongue as a description of, say, child-molesting, they do not describe any actual properties of anything. There are no literal sins in the world because there is no literal God and hence the whole religious superstructure that would include such categories as sin and evil. Just so, I now maintain, nothing is literally right or wrong because there is no Morality.


This is the part that seems reasonable to me given the assumption -- and that, for now, is all it ever seems to be -- that we live in a No God world. Sans God there does not appear to be a way to establish beyond all doubt that any human behavior is necessarily, intrinsically good or evil. How would that be done? Especially the arguments of those who would molest children or go on a mass-killing spree, and predicate it entirely on their own selfish motivations. What do you say to them, "can't you see that what you did is terribly, terribly wrong?!" Meanwhile their own frame of mind is rooted in variables rooted in a life so far removed from yours that a communication breakdown is inevitable.

Again, unless I am not thinking this through carefully enough and there is a philosophical, deontological assessment [in a Godless universe] able to obviate the behaviors of the narcissistic sociopaths. An argument demonstrated to be so airtight, it could not be refuted. Some may still choose to be evil, but they can't deny that's what they are.

Yet, as with the non-existence of God, we human beings can still discover plenty of completely-naturally-explainable internal resources for motivating certain preferences. Thus, enough of us are sufficiently averse to the molesting of children, and would likely continue to be so if fully informed, to put it on the books as prohibited and punishable by our society.


But how is this still not a general description intellectual contraption? Yes, there clearly seems to be a global consensus -- derived from both genes and memes -- that molesting children is as close to a "universal taboo" as our species is likely to come. But enough if still happens to lead one to suspect there are other factors embedded in the human condition -- also derived from both genes and memes -- that allow many to rationalize going down that path anyway.

But without an omniscient, omnipotent font cognizant of, and able to punish all such behaviors, it just gets kicked back into the multifaceted, conflicted, subjective jumble of human reactions that can be all over the board.
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: 37716
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Fri Mar 13, 2020 6:14 pm

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

As a defender of amorality, I am continually challenged by two allegations: egoism and relativism. But both are bogies. Let me explain why.

That an amoralist would be an egoist seems to follow from the idea that morality is precisely a check on our selfish tendencies. Morality’s main reason for being is group cohesion, without which most personal endeavors could not even get off the ground. All of us depend on the viability of our group; hence we must imbibe very strong motives ‘with our mother’s milk’ to favor the group over our personal ego, if only for our personal good in the long run. Furthermore, my own way of speaking about amoral motives suggests an egoism, for I believe that, in the final analysis, we are moved solely by desire. The bottom line is what we want. Is that not egoism pure and simple?


Of course this brings us to that age old antinomy: the head or the heart?

Only in the modern world where capitalism prevails, head or heart morality often revolves around me, myself and I. And even the amoralists are likely to be tugged in that direction. And even to the extent "I" and "we" are configured it often relates to that other distinction proliferating around the globe: "one of us" or "one of them".

You see it in the coronavirus pandemic that is sweeping the globe. All that talk about coming together as one to beat this thing will always have to contend with the "but what about me?" mentality? And [of course] keeping "them" out. In America now it's not just the Chinese but Europeans too.

It's always going to be a tug of war between I and we and them. An ever shifting political tug of war. Though, sure, if you are still able to root this in one or another objectivist font then your morality is sustained by that. Then it all comes down to whether or not [re the coronavirus or some other calamity] events upend it all.

The above arguments conflate egoism with other things. The first argument reduces egoism to selfishness. But egoism is much farther-seeing than selfishness. Long-term self-interest is egoism’s goal, and its rational pursuit a component of its charge. A hefty dose of other-concern would plausibly be part of any true egoist’s makeup since his or her own prospects depend on others’.


Still, from my vantage point, it depends always on whatever you conflate the ego with to that which either is or is not derived subjectively, subjunctively from dasein. What behaviors can be deemed reasonable in a particular context? How might the Golden Rule make sense here and now but not there and then? What new circumstances demand new points of view?

What are you selfish regarding? How did you come to be selfish regarding this? Could a new situation change this? There's being selfish before the coronavirus outbreak and being selfish after. Or being selfish now and being selfish if the pandemic cannot be contained and explodes across the globe all the more virulently. All of this is ever and always evolving into or devolving from whatever actual facts that all can agree on.

Even so, however, an amoralist is neither necessarily nor essentially egoistic. This is because one’s fundamental desires could be for anything. Just because a desire is one’s own does not mean that what one desires is only one’s own welfare. You could just as deeply desire the welfare of your neighbor as the welfare of yourself, and even more so, such that you would sacrifice yourself for her. Thus, when I say that an amoralist is motivated solely by desire, I do not mean to imply any sort of egoism whatever.


See how arguments of this sort unfold as "general description intellectual contraptions?"

"Desire", "egoism", "your welfare", "your neighbor's welfare".

When? Where? How? Why? Under what conditions?

My own amoral frame of mind is derived largely from the way in which I -- "I" -- have thought myself into grappling with human interactions in my signature threads. My "ego" like my "superego" was fabricated by others re my fortuitous birth and then throughout my childhood, given the biological imperatives that compel me in ways I have no real access to.

Just like you. Then it's all about the trajectory of our personal experiences, relationships and access to ideas, and how philosophers either are or are not able to take that into account in order to come up with the most rational understanding of that which we have come to call morality and ethics.
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: 37716
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby Dan~ » Sat Mar 14, 2020 4:48 am

iambiguous wrote:From Henry Staten's, Nietzsche's Voice:

Our moral beliefs did not fall from heaven and neither are there credentials we can flash like a badge to establish our moral probity. Consider all the rest of human history, including most of the planet at the present moment. What are we to say about this overwhelming spectacle of cruelity, stupidity and suffering? What stance is there for us to adopt with respect to history, what judgment can we pass on it?...Christianity attempted to recuperate the suffering of history by projecting a devine plan that assigns it a reason in the here and now and a recompense later, but liberalism is too humane to endorse this explanation. There is no explanation, only the brute fact. But the brute fact we are left with is even harder to stomach than the old explanation. So left liberalism packages it in a new narrative, a moral narrative according to which all those lives gound up in the machinery of history are assigned an intelligble role as victums of oppression and injustice...Only very recently is it possible for someone like Schutte [Ofelia Schutte, who in her book Beyond Nihilism: Nietzsche Without Masks castigates Nietzsche for his authoritarianism.] to write as she does, with so much confidence that the valuations she assumes will be received as a matter of course by an academic audience, just as much as a Christian homilist writing for an audience of the pious. And only within the protective enclosure of this community of belief can there be any satisfaction in the performance of this speech act, any sense that anything worthwhile has been accomplished by this recitation. When this moral community by means of this recitation reassures itself of its belief, it comes aglow as the repository of the meaning of history, as the locus that one may occupy in order to view history and pass judgment on it without merely despairing and covering one's eyes and ears. There may not be any plan behind history, nor any way to make up their losses to the dead, but we can draw an invisible line of rectitude through history and in this way take power over it. Against the awesome 'Thus it was' of history we set an overawing majesty of 'Thus it ought to have been'.

But our liberalism is something that sprang up yesterday and could be gone tomorrow. The day before yesterday the Founding Fathers kept black slaves. What little sliver of light is this we occupy that despite its contingency, the fraility of its existence, enables us to illuminate all the past and perhaps the future as well? For we want to say that even though our community of belief may cease to exist, this would not effect the validity of those beliefs. The line of rectitude would still traverse history.


This is more or less the way it is, right? Every day we are confronted with each new numbing rendition of the Human Condition: cruelity, stupidity and suffering. And out in the world are all of these hundreds and hundreds of "moral communities" trying to make sense of it all...trying to put it all in perspective...trying to rationalize it all away in Meaning...in God...in Ideolgy...in Truth. In The Way. Theirs. That they all hopelessly conflict and contradict each other does not mean many, many additional refrains won't be joining the chorus of "rectitude" in the years to come. Long after we are all gone.

I like the honesty of Staten's words above. I like the way he refuses to pretend human interaction can be portrayed [realistically] in any other way. It is, after all, something we are not supposed to dwell on. This: that there is no more or less authentic way in which to live. There is only history unfolding in all of its brute naked facticity. A cauldron of cacaphonous contingency. It simply is. And each of us, one by one, will die and then for eternity it will be as though we had never been born at all.

Unless, of course, Staten's "line of rectitude" above is merely one more self-delusion. But then how in the world would we go about determining that? How would we even begin to do this when we have no real way of figuring out the legitimacy of our own line?

Perhaps, when all is said and done, Schopenhauer wasn't pessimistic enough.


Life is like a skunk:
Sometimes it really stinks.
You get accustomed to eating meal-worms.
Life span is low.

Humanity invents "humane" as a real thing.
History isn't a war between good and evil men.
Most "victims" are foolish.
They refuse to unify and establish a better government.
So foolish are they, that they demand change while not being willing to change.
I like http://www.accuradio.com , internet radio.
https://dannerz.itch.io/ -- a new and minimal webside now hosting two of my free game projects.
Image
User avatar
Dan~
ILP Legend
 
Posts: 10348
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2005 8:14 am
Location: May the loving spirit of papa hitler watch over and bless you all.

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Sat Mar 21, 2020 6:57 pm

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

It remains an empirical question whether or to what degree human beings or any particular human being is egoistic. It might even be true that all of us are thoroughgoing egoists. I doubt it, but I cannot prove that is false since we sometimes have hidden motives.


One thing for sure. The individual's ego is derived from a particular mind linked to a particular set of sense perceptions embedded in a particular body out in a particular world. We can't think and feel about the world around us from another's point of view. There are only the factual, material, empirical continuities that we are able to communicate back and forth such that we either are or are not able to grasp what another is talking about. Things we can agree about either because there is no other way in which to think about them or because we have convinced ourselves that this is the case.

Then it can only come down to what specific interactions the discussions revolve around and dealing with any possible discrepancies when it comes down [as it always does] to establishing rewards and punishments for choosing one behavior rather than another.

That which philosophers have come to embed historically in any number of intellectual contraptions pertaining to "ethics" or "the Good". But, really, which points of view are applicable to all of us, philosophers or not.

That's always been my own focus here. Human beings interacted on planet Earth long, long, long before the surplus laborers we call philosophers ever came into existence.

After all, in regard to the coronavirus pandemic, what can philosophers tell us about ethical behavior that those who are not philosophers can? Here their own egos communicate just like all the rest of ours do. Demonstrably or not. Either in regard to a priori relationships or to a posteriori relationships. And especially where in regard to a set of circumstances the two must be intertwined.

In this or that context, what can we actually prove to others is in fact true.

But suppose it were true [that we all egoists]. This would still not put amorality at any moral disadvantage since ‘ought implies can’.

That dictum is a presumption of morality’s: there cannot be a moral obligation to do something impossible, like jump to the Moon. Well, if we really were egoists, then it would be impossible for us to be moral. Therefore morality could only be a sham. Amorality, then, would at least have the ‘moral’ advantage of being honest (however inadvertently).


This is all hopelessly abstract though. What does it mean to be or not to be an egoist given an actual set of circumstances in which different people are pulled and tugged by any number of variable combinations in conflicted directions. And the distinction made between egoism [preoccupation with oneself] and egotism [an enhanced sense of one's own importance].

How might they be distinguished in regard to our behaviors in confronting the coronavirus?

It would seem that both are less likely to take others into consideration in regards to conflicting goods, but for any number of egoists, it is as though you don't even exist at all. Whereas any number of egotists would seem more likely to embrace objectivism. They take others into account only to the extent they feel superior to them if they do not share their own moral and political agendas.

Either way it still comes down to defending distinctions between right and wrong behavior that goes beyond what someone thinks is true in their head. And an amoralist is less the embodiment of dasein when push comes to shove and an actual behavior must be chosen.
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: 37716
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:03 pm
Location: baltimore maryland

Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby promethean75 » Sun Mar 22, 2020 2:50 am

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

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

Philosophers could use a good crisis once in a while to bring them back to reality, eh Biggs?
promethean75
Philosopher
 
Posts: 3404
Joined: Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:10 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Philosophy



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot]

cron