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Leland Stone
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On 2008-05-11 14:17, Magnus Eisengrim wrote:
I don't think so, Leland. Inquiry usually begins with vague notions and aims to clarify them in the process. Think for example of the distinction between planets and stars. Ancient astronomers had no idea what planets and stars were, but they noticed

a) they look a little different,
b) stars' relative positions appear to be fixed, but planets "wander" about the sky.

It took a long time for our current understanding of planets and stars to develop, but if the ancients had waited for clarity before inquiry, they never would have gotten anywhere.

Back to the thread, we have some clear cases of right and wrong, but there are lots of ambiguous and difficult ones as well. This seems to me to be a very good place to begin inquiry. Maybe clear ideas of "right" and "wrong" can emerge from the discussion. Maybe it will take longer than we have to live...

John


I dunno, John.

Like you, I see a number of actions, some of which decent people would agree upon and others that would repel them. Thing is, I'm not sure that my preferences are any help at all in determining which one is "right" and which one is "wrong." And I certainly don't trust the preferences of some others -- ancient Romans who thought death by exposure was okay for female infants, or modern Darfur officials who seek to eradicate animism by executing those who worship other than the One True God.

Nuts. It still seems that prior to asking how one decides between right and wrong, one ought to first ask what is right or wrong.


"'I see nobody on the road,' said Alice.

`I only wish I had such eyes,' the King remarked in a fretful tone. `To be able to see Nobody! And at that distance, too! Why, it's as much as I can do to see real people, by this light!'"
landmark
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[quote]On 2008-05-11 22:12, Jonathan Townsend wrote:
Quote:

It gets complicated. I suggest we would do well to introduce a common context and go from there about what would be "good" in that context.


Jonathan: Not sure setting a hypothetical context is that useful. We live in the Here and Now which is not reducible IMO when it comes to morality. Simplifying one's assumptions here is not like temporarily ignoring air resistance in a physics problem. I think we have to go back to first assumptions and postulates--faith if you will--and ask what are the postulates you hold onto? For me, as some others have indicated in this thread, it's some form of The Golden Rule. Otherwise, the answers will often be: "it depends."
Jack Shalom
Jonathan Townsend
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Jack, how can we do that? Remember the example of the fish offering advice to the person..."you must be choking up there, at least put your head in a nice bucket of water..." and you can just imagine if they try to be more "helpful" by getting a robot to help the person ... "yes they must be choking look at them flail- keep their head down till they recover"... "wow it must have been a bad delusion they had, they scared themselves to death"...

;)

all about context IMHO
...to all the coins I've dropped here
landmark
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How do you know if you or anyone else is a fish or not? Got to check what their basic assumptions are first. Asking isn't a bad beginning. At least then, we can begin to understand each other--"Oh, now I get it, you're a fish, that's why you think that way."

I understand your fear that some may wish to impose their assumptions on others, so first let's get those assumptions all out in the open.

If I had to guess, I would think one of your basic assumptions is "Don't presume to know what's best for me." Smile


Jack
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Abstracted notions of right and wrong are just that... simplified versions of rather complicated issues. And they will remain complicated for me until the very end of time. I figure that I don't have that long.

Instead of banging my head on the corner of my desk trying to sort out all of these rather complicated issues, I have found it easier (and far less painful) to take each issue one at a time, relying on my knowledge, experiences, and feelings to guide my decisions. This process works well for me, and it is right for me, though it may not be right for a fish.

;)
Will you walk into my parlour? said the Spider to the Fly,
Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into my parlour is up a winding stair,
And I've a many curious things to show when you are there.

Oh no, no, said the little Fly, to ask me is in vain,
For who goes up your winding stair
-can ne'er come down again.
Nathan Alexander
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I'm prompted by my inner moral intuition that I believe is given to us by our Creator. What we believe to be right or wrong is easy to talk about but I think it's more accurate (and a quick way) to see what a person beliefs are by their actions and responses to things that happen to them.

Some things are quite visceral, and it's hard not to believe (as I see it) that these reactions inform quite readily how we really believe.
JackScratch
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Intent goes a very long way here. It isn't provable, it has to come from within, but if "honest" reflection shows you intend to do the right thing, you can't do much better than that. As intent goes, watching for preconceived notions helps as well.

Simplified. "Try to do the right thing. Never just assume what the right thing is."
stoneunhinged
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Quote:
On 2008-05-13 10:49, Nathan Alexander wrote:
I'm prompted by my inner moral intuition that I believe is given to us by our Creator.


Hm.

What do you mean by "intuition"? This certainly isn't a biblical concept. Just the opposite: Adam and Eve were created without any sense of right and wrong whatsoever. Later, any sense of right and wrong tended towards "wrong" or the sinful.

It's also not a concept of either ancient or modern philosophy. Nor of science.

It sounds cool, but where does the concept of moral "intuition" come from? And who yet has offered anything at all which fundamentally differs from what Aristotle said so very long ago?

Our culture/society/city/family forms "habits" of right and wrong within us. A good society (ideally a "polis") forms "good" habits. In such a society, people make good choices. Not because there is an innate intuition of right and wrong born within us, nor do we simply instinctively discern it. We learn it.

But I'm not asking any of you to take my word for it. If you're really interested in this stuff, read Aristotle for yourself. But it's disingenuous at best to offer alternative theories to theories you've never familiarized yourselves with. Never read Aristotle, or Plato, or Locke or Kant or Nietzsche or or or? So how can you be confident you even know what you're talking about?

Politics and ethics seem to be the only two things in all of human society in which we make no distinction between those who've spent years studying and those who haven't. Socrates, Confucius...what did they know? They lived soooo very long ago, they couldn't possibly have known about modern human beings! And the Bible? Well, I've only read a couple of chapters, but my pastorsays....
Doug Higley
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Golden Rule: What is really right and wrong...what if your a fish or not...what if somebody elses morals do not relate to thinking like you or a carp...who cares...what a bunch of crap.

The Golden Rule as postulated by Confusious has NOTHING to do with any of that extrapolation or imaginary friends in the sky or over the hedge or in the pond.

It is INTERNAL. I do not need to broadcast it or push it outward on anyone else, man or trout, godly or godless. I simply RELY on it for my own reactions.

Treat others as you would have yourself be treated. It has everything to do with your individual desires, traits and moral compass whatever the hell it is or where it came from. It has nothing to do with conforming to an outside or local trend. I don't give a rat what you think or believe or is in the book you follow or the laws you break...my JOB is to be true to myself and have no excuses if things go south or blame to lay at my own door.

If I broke into someones house, I would expect or at least recognize I would get my head blown off. (Two wrongs can make a right...haha) If I treat someone badly (in my estimation) I expect it in return. If I treat someone well and they don't adhere to a Golden Rule...I expect that too. So what. Only thing that counts and is in my control is how I act or what I do. Right or wrong on a societal level doesn't matter a wit IF it's how I accept being treated BACK. Treat others as you would like to be treated. I like to be treated well personally..in my case 'well' means thought of in a good light and otherwise left alone with freedom to think how I have come to think. Don't push your silly crap on me and I won't either to you BUT if you do, I will rely on my compass (Golden Rule) and respond from that platform. Once. Smile (ie: Don't push your luck.)

If you bring harm to my door or family you can expect right and wrong has nothing to do with the response...it then becomes a judgement call and the reptile part of my brain has it's own rule to react to and it ain't gold.

All the flights of philosophical fancy and who's god can beat up somebody elses god or whether it's ok to have a dog poop in Pennsylvania on the sidewalk but not in New Jersey means nothing. Do I want your dog to poop on my lawn outside my house? No. Would I let my dog poop on your lawn in front of your houes? No. Regardless of what's right or wrong...legal or not, I choose what I care to step in or not and offer the benefit of the doubt back at you. Whether you like your lawn fertilized or not has nothing to do with it or me.


And you can ignore all of this because it's none of your business anyway. Smile
Higley's Giant Flea Pocket Zibit
LobowolfXXX
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Quote:
On 2008-05-13 11:24, stoneunhinged wrote:
Quote:
On 2008-05-13 10:49, Nathan Alexander wrote:
I'm prompted by my inner moral intuition that I believe is given to us by our Creator.


Hm.

What do you mean by "intuition"? This certainly isn't a biblical concept. Just the opposite: Adam and Eve were created without any sense of right and wrong whatsoever. Later, any sense of right and wrong tended towards "wrong" or the sinful.

It's also not a concept of either ancient or modern philosophy. Nor of science.

It sounds cool, but where does the concept of moral "intuition" come from? And who yet has offered anything at all which fundamentally differs from what Aristotle said so very long ago?

Our culture/society/city/family forms "habits" of right and wrong within us. A good society (ideally a "polis") forms "good" habits. In such a society, people make good choices. Not because there is an innate intuition of right and wrong born within us, nor do we simply instinctively discern it. We learn it.

But I'm not asking any of you to take my word for it. If you're really interested in this stuff, read Aristotle for yourself. But it's disingenuous at best to offer alternative theories to theories you've never familiarized yourselves with. Never read Aristotle, or Plato, or Locke or Kant or Nietzsche or or or? So how can you be confident you even know what you're talking about?

Politics and ethics seem to be the only two things in all of human society in which we make no distinction between those who've spent years studying and those who haven't. Socrates, Confucius...what did they know? They lived soooo very long ago, they couldn't possibly have known about modern human beings! And the Bible? Well, I've only read a couple of chapters, but my pastorsays....



And yet people born or living in societies and families will generate beliefs contrary to those societies, for example, anti-slavery southerners. Also, identical twins separated at birth will share religious/moral views to an extent beyond that which would be predicted by chance. So while there is certainly a societal/familial element to it, it seems to me that there is something more, as well, whether you call it "moral intuition" or something else. As with most things, there is a combination of nature & nurture at work.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

"...as we reason and love, we are able to hope. And hope enables us to resist those things that would enslave us."
LobowolfXXX
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Quote:
On 2008-05-13 11:24, stoneunhinged wrote:
Quote:
On 2008-05-13 10:49, Nathan Alexander wrote:
I'm prompted by my inner moral intuition that I believe is given to us by our Creator.


Hm.


But I'm not asking any of you to take my word for it. If you're really interested in this stuff, read Aristotle for yourself. But it's disingenuous at best to offer alternative theories to theories you've never familiarized yourselves with. Never read Aristotle, or Plato, or Locke or Kant or Nietzsche or or or? So how can you be confident you even know what you're talking about?




I noticed by the way that you left C.S. Lewis off of your list. Lewis extrapolated to God from a "moral intuition," and whether you agree or disagree with him, he spent a lot of time thinking about it, studying past philosophers, and working out the implications of his belief system. It doesn't make him right, but it does suggest that it's not something to be dismissed out of hand as "something his pastor told him."
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

"...as we reason and love, we are able to hope. And hope enables us to resist those things that would enslave us."
Nathan Alexander
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Lewis did do a good job of laying out a case for ojective moral principles that we all know and share.
stoneunhinged
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Lobo, you're right about Lewis, of course. He certainly didn't simply listen to his pastor. In fact, I would hope that his pastor sometimes listened to him. But I do not count him as belonging to the same tier of thinkers as those I listed. A wonderful thinker, but no Aristotle. I know that it is arrogant for me to judge...but, well, there you have it.

But I think you knew exactly what I was talking about with regard to listening to pastors. Smile I wasn't referring to the C.S. Lewises of the world. I was referring to your average pew sitter who can't find the book of Malachi unless his neighbor helps him.

I don't deny that there exists something like an innate sense of avoiding pain and wanting pleasure, and that intelligent creatures can extrapolate from this a sense of right and wrong which might be called "intuition." But I deny that the principles themselves are intuitive--which is precisely why your previous post about being able to leave one's own habits actually supports what I'm saying. I did not mean, nor did Aristotle mean, that human beings are robots and that habituation is irrevocable.

And in fact I don't even completely agree with Aristotle. I agree mostly with Doug. But if we're going to have a discussion and all, well...let's have a discussion.

Have a beer:

:stout:
LobowolfXXX
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I don't put Lewis in that (Aristotle's) class, either; I just wanted to make the point that a sort of "moral intuition" idea does (can) fit into a considered, intelligent world view.
"Torture doesn't work" lol
Guess they forgot to tell Bill Buckley.

"...as we reason and love, we are able to hope. And hope enables us to resist those things that would enslave us."
Terry Holley
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Speaking of C.S. Lewis, the movie "Prince Caspian" (adapted from the Lewis' book of the same name) opens this Friday. It attempts to convey that there is an objective moral law known to, and binding upon, all of us.

Maybe I'll start a thread on it this weekend!

Terry
Co-author with illusionist Andre' Kole of "Astrology and Psychic Phenomena."
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Quote:
On 2008-05-08 17:02, Jaz wrote:
I flip a coin.


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Jonathan Townsend
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Quote:
On 2008-05-11 20:51, Jaz wrote:
Would it be right or wrong to kill a derelict to save who you consider to be a great president?...

Okay, parse the following statement into clauses and challenge each of the presuppositions to see where you put the whole on your right/wrong scale:

You mean if I if light the candles at the right time and sacrifice the current administration while enough followers intone the rite at the proper astrological moment it would be okay to resurrect Richard Nixon?


Quote:
On 2008-05-13 12:40, Nathan Alexander wrote:
Lewis did do a good job of laying out a case for objective moral principles that we all know and share.

How so?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
JackScratch
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The golden rule only functions properly at the root level. If I am a masochist, that doesn't mean I should harm others. Do not do things to others that you would like them to do to you. Rather, do your best to determine what others actually like, and try to provide that. Never ever assume. I'm not nearly as fond of the Golden Rule as I am of the Social Contract. The Golden Rule has too many potential abuses and misunderstandings. The Social Contract is much simpler. In my own life, I try, very hard, to combine the two.

I say again, it really is all about intent, and only you can truly know your own.

Child: "I didn't mean to."
Parent: "You didn't mean not to either."
C. Loubard
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Doug wrote:

Quote:
If you bring harm to my door or family you can expect right and wrong has nothing to do with the response...it then becomes a judgement call and the reptile part of my brain has it's own rule to react to and it ain't gold.

Ohhh Doug! I assure you the reptile part is every bit gold. have you seen what a sig sauer p220 with the right ammo can do? Gold!! Remember boys and girls, aim small miss small.
stoneunhinged
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Drew, what in the world are you talking about? You must be using the term "Social Contract" in a novel way rather than the traditional Hobbes/Rousseau/Locke way of using it. The Social Contract has nothing whatsoever to do with choosing right or wrong--it is a theory which says that societies are built on an implied agreement between individuals to give up certain natural rights (self-preservation, property, etc.) to enforcement by a civil authority.

In other words, if a group of people firmly believe there is a natural superiority of blue-eyed people over brown-eyed people, but they might enter into a Social Contract which uses a civil authority to protect and enforce their superiority, so that they could hire a police force to do the dirty work for them.

The Social Contract requires a firm belief in Natural Law to work, and upon that a civil authority. How in the world does that help me to make ethical decisions.

Now, a belief in Natural Law--that's interesting. But the Social Contract itself is a political theory dealing with things like states and sovereignty and whether republicanism is better than monarchy.

Which is why your post, as is, makes no sense to anyone who uses the term Social Contract in it's centuries-old presence in the world of political philosophy (which Drew, you might remember I know a thing or two about).

So tell us: what do you mean by "The Social Contract", and what does that have to do with deciding what's right and wrong, and how is it simpler than the Golden Rule?

Jeff
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