What is [interpersonal] moral legitimacy, and do we need it?

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This topic contains 134 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  Davis 3 months, 3 weeks ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 31 through 45 (of 135 total)
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  • #10894

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    @robert – “The formula Jesus gave us was that human sacrifice is required

    – he actually got himself killed for the sake of being meek and mild.  That’s a strong statement.  If you think about it, self-sacrifice is required if we are to be kind to somebody.  He just took it all the way.

    and that your “sins” are not your responsibility as long as you believe.

    – I agree that this is bullshit, and doesn’t work as an idea in my opinion.  But to be fair, it was those who came after who pushed this line about atonement for humankind’s sins.

    #10895

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Even though values by their very own nature are values & not facts can people get to some sort of consensus?

    – surely everybody wants to thrive.  But principles are something different from values.  Left and Right emphasise different moral foundations (see Jonathan Haidt and moral foundations theory) and seek to thrive by different routes.

    #10896

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    the categorical imperative translates to “how would you like it if everyone behaved like that?” in everyday life.

    – it can mean this, but also it can mean, “what is good for society?” or in other words, a large group.  Even a small group.  I think this formulation is more realistic, because people have always thought and considered what is good for the day-to-day life, or atmosphere, or culture, in their group.

    #10900

    Davis
    Participant

    “what is good for society?” or in other words, a large group.

    Actually, that isn’t the point of the categorical imperative. Besides the main point I’ve already mentioned (holding to your moral rules without justifying exceptions), you must act AS THOUGH others would follow that rule. That doesn’t mean that the point of it is to necessarily make society better, it’s about being consistent with your own rules and holding others to the same standards. That doesn’t mean you expect others to do it. It means you stay true to your own rules AS THOUGH others would follow it. With many moral systems, the betterment of society is not necessarily the goal. It is a desirable outcome (or at leaast a praiseworthy outcome). But I think a lot of people try to jam them into a box with or project onto theme “golden rule” and “utilitarianism” onto other moral systems when that is not the goal that deontological ethicisists and many other moral systems, is to work out moral principles through reason with logical justification. Deontological ethics and many others are not about social engineering. Obviously if most people followed their own moral rules consistently then things would go a lot more smoothly but that is not the point of it. Regardless of if anyone else does it or not it is one of many moral systems where you can work out moral rules through reason and be consistent to them with fidelity.

    #10902

    Brightsky
    Participant

    universalizability principle,

    Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law.

    In my opinion is one important aspect where it is very different to the ” Golden rule”

    #10906

    _Robert_
    Participant

    universalizability principle,
    Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law.

    Lets try that out. Thou shall not steal. Seems reasonable, seems universal, even was commanded by a well worshipped god.

    Now start listing the infinite number of exceptions…

    Thou shall not steal, unless you are stealing from a rich man to feed a starving dying, child, unless you are stealing the other armies’ battle plans , unless you are lost in the woods in deep snow and find a pair of snowshoes leaning against a vacated cabin, ad nauseum…

    When one uses the term “greater good”, objectivity and universality are cooked.

     

     

     

    #10907

    Davis
    Participant

    When one uses the term “greater good”, objectivity and universality are cooked.

    It’s partly the reason why I am really hesistant to take some moral systems seriously. Utilitarianism and consequence based moral systems are more about social engineering rather than the integrity and strength of of moral laws. Greater good is the foundation of these systems and it is next to impossible to work out the interests of everyone, discard cultural norms, make large personal sacrafices and truly consider the interests of everyone. It would require an enormous spreadsheet matrix the size of our galaxy.

    If someone stole from the rich to feed the starving and dying then they would be breaking a broad moral law. For deontological ethics the excuse or reason should be understood but is not as important as admitting that you created an exception and broke your own moral law.

    It is up to the individual to work out moral laws. If they want they can frame their moral laws in highly qualified words like “never steal from someone who will suffer a great loss”. I suppose most people can stand by that law without ever breaking it. However the more qualified a law is, the weaker it is and the less praiseworthy and more open to criticism and scrutiny. You can dilute your moral laws and personalize them, but hopefuly you are aware of this when you do it. Even if it is for a good cause, because of self-interest or belief you can predict the future and believe more people will find an end to suffering and an end to a lot of suffering…more so than those who suffer a little. Notice the word “believe” in there. In other words, it informs you how strong or weak your principles are and how well you can stand up to them. In reality its a very abstract moral system that asks you to be consistent with broad moral laws and have a compass for your own behavior. It’s extremely demanding. And it requires you to think about it every day and be constantly attempting to broaden your moral laws. Deontological moral systems are based on individuals framing moral laws. It isn’t a very popular one because it doesn’t give non-thinking people answers (as some other moral systems and especially dictated moral systems like theology does) and some misunderstand it by believing they must form laws and live like robots never failing. It also lacks a social dimension where people don’t work out the details moral problems to find consensus. It is not a particularly natural moral system and it requires a lot of thought and self-honesty and work on the part of the agent. It will never become a major moral system adopted by the many. That however, doesn’t make it a failed moral system…just a seemingly useless one for most people while for others it is a highly principled and authentic moral sytsem.

    #10909

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    @robert – “When one uses the term “greater good”, objectivity and universality are cooked.

    – I think that the greater good can be universalised, not as the greatest good for the greatest number, but the greatest good for each individual.  This is achieved through universal human rights (or could be) where the individual is given the maximum benefit and minimum harm available to them.

    #10910

    Brightsky
    Participant

    In my thinking there will be weakness in all the normative ethical frameworks. In my opinion it does not mean that they are complete failures.

    One person in the comments gives examples is stealing.

    It reminds me of Prof Kohlberg writings!

    There is an interesting thought experiment which people may know already.

    Related to the comments above called the Heinz dilemma.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinz_dilemma?wprov=sfla1

     

    Its a theory ( not a law) to test a persons stage of moral development. There are 6 stages

    By prof Lawrence Kohlberg.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Kohlberg%27s_stages_of_moral_development?wprov=sfla1

    There is also a good YouTube vid I found which explains it

     

    #10911

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    In my thinking there will be weakness in all the normative ethical frameworks. In my opinion it does not mean that they are complete failures.

    – I think the thing to do is to find a framework that puts them together, with probably a few other bits in there too.

    We have to remember that in part they are artificial, and so don’t match up perfectly with what goes on on the ground.

    #10913

    _Robert_
    Participant

    – I think that the greater good can be universalised, not as the greatest good for the greatest number, but the greatest good for each individual. This is achieved through universal human rights (or could be) where the individual is given the maximum benefit and minimum harm available to them.

    You have a neighbor who has a dog. He wants to let his dog run around on his land and be a dog. The dog loves this. The pet owner believes this is his right. Guess what? Dogs bark a lot. The barking bothers you while you inside of your house even. You think you have a right not to hear barking. Please resolve this with some a greater good that applies to you  two individuals.

    #10914

    Brightsky
    Participant

    Good ideas and comments here!

    • This reply was modified 4 months ago by  PopeBeanie. Reason: removed false html markup
    #10928

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    @robert – I think it’s something of a dilemma.  What would Judge Judy do?

    #10943

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    I think that Kant’s Categorical Imperative could be made useable with two steps:

    1.  introduce a heirarchy of imperatives: so, for example, sanctity of life is more important than not stealing; a humans’ well being is more important than a dog’s, when push comes to shove.

    2.  instead of universalising, scale things up to the whole group, because after all, morality comes in group-sized units of similarity.

    #10945

    Brightsky
    Participant

    1) The first comment, sounds to me like what people do in real life situations. When they face a dilemma when two ethical principles clash. In that one tries to see which is more important.

    I read something called a reflective equilibrium process Prof John Rawls uses this process to arrive at principles of Justice.

    Another person Norman Daniels

    Has a similar process to arrive at a ethical decision. ( The process is context specific so is unique for each dilemma)

    (1) a set of considered moral judgments

    (2) a set of moral principles

    (3) a set of relevant (scientific and philosophical) background theories. To support your decision.

    I think one good applied ethics model is the 4 ethical principles of biomedical ethics.

    ( non-maleficence, beneficence, autonomy & Justice). Beauchamp et Childress.

    In my opinion this kind of deliberate cognitive processes is one of the highest stages of personal moral development.

    “Post- conventional moral” development (Kohlberg’s 5-6 stages of moral development)!

    The Wikipedia page is below.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reflective_equilibrium?wprov=sfla1

     

     

    Instead of relying on external sources of morality like God or other supernatural forces. Which have inflexible dogmatic rules.

    The Atheist might rely instead on internal mental faculties. Such as reason! Which are flexible & context specific etc..

    Think! Atheist?

     

    • This reply was modified 4 months ago by  Brightsky. Reason: Spelling errors
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