Are right and wrong and the related duties possible without absolutes

Homepage Forums Small Talk Are right and wrong and the related duties possible without absolutes

This topic contains 161 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Davis 1 month, 3 weeks ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 76 through 90 (of 162 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #39918

    _Robert_
    Participant

    we ARE apes and apes are us

    But we’re different from the other great apes – we have much more compassion, we have fairness, and we have a set of abstract ideals and principles. Other apes are basically competitive rather than cooperative.

    Oh yeah? That mushroom cloud over Hiroshima was partly composed of vaporized women and children. Ethics of absolutes, LOL. Of  course that was part of the response to the beheadings of POWs by the Japanese who made contests of severing heads from bodies with swords. But that was nothing new as the ancient Assyrian king demanded baskets full of heads so he could have the scene remembered in stone.

    Sure we cooperate with our own tribes to some extent that is barely possible but I would not dare say we have any morality to teach to a gorilla.

    #39919

    I recently played “Days Gone” on the playstation. It’s an “end of world” game where “the infected” (like zombies) similar to the Walking Dead story. A comment is made by someone about the good inherent in humans that separates us from other species. My character replies with the following;

    The only thing keeping us from turning into savages is about nine square meals. Try going hungry for three days — there’s no such thing as a starving patriot.

    Try having a discussion with him on day 4 about empathy and morality.

    #39921

    Unseen
    Participant

    This doesn’t seem to involve the overarching universal ethical absolutes you seem to agree with in your first-part answer.

    I believe those personal inviolable principles are normally called “red lines” or “white lines”, by lawyers. In theory, we can have both universal over-arching and personal ethical absolutes.

    In theory, there’s all sorts of false nonsense. If you can have both personal ethical absolutes AND overarching inviolable ethical absolutes, that’s pretty much deferring to the personal version, isn’t it?

    I don’t know about war, but murders as early as 430,000 years ago have been discovered.

    Not in terms of disregard for the lives of other humans.

    Yes, murder isn’t the same as organised warfareIf you can get away with it, why stop yourself? Where’s the benefit?

    That’s a good point. But while people do tend to act better when others are watching, they don’t necessarily remove their moral sense when they’re alone. I think it depends on conscientiousness as a personality trait – how much effort we put in to fulfilling ideal standards.

    I think it’s a difficult choice for many of us to first let our internalized norms slip. However, as time goes by, experiencing no consequences, people let their personal ethical standards slip. The club’s secretary may at first pull a few bucks out of donations to pay for the toy their child wants, but as time goes by other needs cry out for money and before s/he knows it, $5 becomes $25 becomes $100, etc. Instead of applying either sort of standard, the person invents justifications, “I’ll pay it back” eventually becomes “they don’t pay me what I deserve,” and eventually justifications aren’t even considered.

    Even when no-one else is watching, do we let our compassion fail towards another living being who is present before us? Reputational concerns come into it, but we are not very likely to deny help we could give to someone who needs it. Compassion is at the root of human rights.

    Human rights and rights in general fall into either of two categories: enforceable legislated rights and imaginary rights.

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by  Unseen.
    #39923

    Unseen
    Participant

    we ARE apes and apes are us

    But we’re different from the other great apes – we have much more compassion, we have fairness, and we have a set of abstract ideals and principles. Other apes are basically competitive rather than cooperative.

    It’s interesting that cooperation is more a trait of lower forms of life than the great apes: lions, wolves, bees, ants, and termites, for example. Humans are the exception far from being the rule.

    #39924

    jakelafort
    Participant

    Cool article Reg.

    Springer sounds like the perfect unstuffathon. Or even the precaloric super burner. Author i just read indicates average through hiker burns 5 to 7 thousand calories a day on app trail. I often am killing myself hiking and somewhat oblivious but when i walk with someone less fit or zealous i get to enjoy my surroundings so either way it is a win being in the great outdoors.

    #39925

    jakelafort
    Participant

    I suspect we all were ready to jump on Simon for his apes cooperation take. But how about that Grape Ape? If you know that cartoon you are probably 50 yrs old minimum.

    #39926

    TheEncogitationer
    Participant

    Reg,

    And this is why I and many others practice Survivalism and Emergency Preparedness. It is not just to survive, but to live in a manner fitting to Man, The Rational Animal. And not because the world is nothing but desaster and destruction, but because much good exists in the world and is worth saving and preserving.

    And, hey! Cannibalism is just not sustainable.

    #39927

    Unseen
    Participant

    So that is a norm that becomes a part of the ethics of the group. On the other hand in big cities all over the world is you are down and out you can’t count on the generosity of others. It seems mendicants appeal more to guilt among their targets than to a reciprocal duty between haves and have-nots. Most of the encounters between passersby and mendicants is similar to passersby and pigeons. Just ignore and be about your business. I say this to say that at any given time the ethics reflects the economics.

    Maybe not just the economics, but the social situation as well. Is it an emergency situation (like the Appalachian trail)? Is it a small group (where people are known and trusted, and likely to reciprocate again), or a large group (where people don’t know or care about others who are strangers)?

    Nowadays, groups with common values and interests constitute quasi-tribes. Gun lovers, health and wellness nuts, environmentalists and hikers. They view the world in terms of in people and out people.

    God for religious people is like an anti-Ring of Gyges – He’s always watching.

    That hasn’t made religious people more moral than unreligious people. They’re just forgiven.

    #39928

    Unseen
    Participant

    You can’t have overarching universal ethical absolutes that apply to everyone without something sufficiently like a deity or an extraworldly authority of some sort…

    …or can you?

    I’m not arguing for that. I’m just throwing that out for consideration and discussion.

    #39929

    Unseen
    Participant

    Does relativism make one alone in the universe?

    #39930

    _Robert_
    Participant

    The only over arching ethical rule I think exists is simply to survive at any cost. Those who do not have that “instinct” and are suicidal or just don’t care about their well-being are deemed mentally unstable. Most would probably not seek to punish those who turn to cannibalism or even commit murder of a weaker person in a survival situation. Yeah, high morals are best discussed from a comfy chair with a sniffer of brandy.

    Fire-bombing a city full of civilians like Hamburg or Tokyo seems like the right thing to do but the gassing of Roma and Jews is a terrible war crime. If Germany had won the war than American and British generals would have been executed for war crimes. Is “who started it” important to an absolutist because if not…there can be no justice on this planet.

    PS. The professor said “absolutely” nothing. Probability says he’d be pulling the bomb bay doors over women and children if drafted into the Air Force. There were a few dissenters but they were dealt with harshly.

     

    #39931

    Unseen
    Participant

    PS. The professor said “absolutely” nothing. Probability says he’d be pulling the bomb bay doors over women and children if drafted into the Air Force. There were a few dissenters but they were dealt with harshly.

    Today, we have young men and women flying drones and killing foreign civilians from a chair in a nondescript building on a military base somewhere in the Southwest (Arizona? Nevada? California?). They work probably with a cup of Starbucks by their side and go home to a partner and maybe some children of their own. Many of them are wracked with guilt over what they are asked to do.

    There’s a moral code they are violating that conflicts with a duty. Cognitive dissonance.

    #39932

    _Robert_
    Participant

    PS. The professor said “absolutely” nothing. Probability says he’d be pulling the bomb bay doors over women and children if drafted into the Air Force. There were a few dissenters but they were dealt with harshly.

    Today, we have young men and women flying drones and killing foreign civilians from a chair in a nondescript building on a military base somewhere in the Southwest (Arizona? Nevada? California?). They work probably with a cup of Starbucks by their side and go home to a partner and maybe some children of their own. Many of them are wracked with guilt over what they are asked to do. There’s a moral code they are violating that conflicts with a duty. Cognitive dissonance.

    We tell ourselves we must do this for our own safety, our only absolute duty.  So they may feel guilty but they will be reminded over and over again by citizens and leadership that we must do this for our survival… which is a lie. It is probably just to protect financial interests of the wealthy.

    #39933

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    You can’t have overarching universal ethical absolutes that apply to everyone without something sufficiently like a deity or an extraworldly authority of some sort… …or can you?

    An overarching universal ethical principle has to apply in every situation.  That’s what makes it universal and overarching.  A religious person would presumably say “I try to do what God wants in every situation”.

    Many of them are wracked with guilt over what they are asked to do.

    That’s a moral injury – an injury to one’s sense of who one is, morally.

    #39934

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    The only over arching ethical rule I think exists is simply to survive at any cost.

    I think that human life is a constant tug-of-war between competition (or self-interest) and cooperation (or cooperative morality).  Just like there’s a constant tug-of-war between hierarchy and egalitarianism, or patriarchy and women’s rights.

Viewing 15 posts - 76 through 90 (of 162 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.