Where does morality come from? – My take.

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This topic contains 102 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Simon Paynton 1 month, 1 week ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 61 through 75 (of 103 total)
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  • #51957

    Unseen
    Participant

    @ Simon

    John Rawls emphasized the concept of each person possessing an inviolability founded on justice. Some definitions:

    Inviolability: This refers to the inherent worth and dignity of every individual, something that should not be violated or compromised. Each person is unique and irreplaceable, deserving of basic moral protections and respect.

    Founded on justice: This clarifies that the inviolability is not simply an intrinsic human quality, but it stems from principles of fairness and equal consideration. A just society recognizes and protects the rights and well-being of all its members, not just some.

    Cannot be overridden by the welfare of society as a whole: This is the crucial point. Rawls argues that even if maximizing the overall good of society requires sacrificing the essential rights or dignity of some individuals, it is still unjust. The well-being of the majority cannot justify infringing upon the inviolable rights of even a single person.

    Rawls’s philosophy is yours turned inside out and upside down. Whereas you emphasize the individual’s duty to society, he’s all about society’s duty to the individual.

    You don’t talk about justice at all.

    #51958

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Rawls’s philosophy is yours turned inside out and upside down. Whereas you emphasize the individual’s duty to society, he’s all about society’s duty to the individual.

    You don’t talk about justice at all.

    I talk about justice, but interpersonal justice.

    you = me (basis of fairness and justice). Without the group, without we > me, there is only interpersonal justice and compassion.

    However, you’ve got a point.  Rawls is attempting to design an ideal morality for a society.  I’ve been describing what people do, and feel they ought to do, and why.  It’s two different ends of looking at things.

    #51959

    Davis
    Moderator

    Simon, I do have to say that you’ve certainly gained a much stronger understanding of common moral systems and the development of moral thought, but I think you still need to spend some time working out some of the concepts of your system, and thinking through a little more on what sets it apart from others. I would focus less on “competing” with other moral systems, and disparaging other systems and instead coming up with a more convincing reason for others to take yours more seriously.

    #51966

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    thinking through a little more on what sets it apart from others. I would focus less on “competing” with other moral systems, and disparaging other systems and instead coming up with a more convincing reason for others to take yours more seriously.

    I’m not studying how to compete with and disparage the other moral systems.  I’m studying evolutionary ethics.  Mine is now a mature theory that other people can either take seriously or not, it’s up to them.  Other people are either hide-bound, and therefore don’t recognise what they’re seeing, or they’re invested in their own paradigm, and want to keep on ploughing that furrow. It’s always a struggle to get people to accept new ideas, if they already have plenty of their own.

    If you would like to dig up an unresolved question or difficulty from one of the other moral systems, I should be able to resolve it in an instant, using mine.

    #51967

    Unseen
    Participant

    @ Simon

    I talk about justice, but interpersonal justice.

    I’m not going to reread everything you wrote to make sure, but I don’t recall you ever using the term “justice.” Rawls defined justice as fairness, another term I don’t recall you ever using. You describe a system where the duties appear to be all one way, putting the individual in service to groups consisting of multiple individuals in a sort of utilitarian servitude.

    You also give the individual the right to opt out if he doesn’t agree with their values.

    “Always do what promotes the welfare and/or happiness of the group. Or don’t.”

    A moral system should provide help in making real decisions.

    A woman is faced with a tough choice: she’s pregnant and she wants to have a child someday, but right now she wants to be working on her education and career. She’s considering an abortion.

    Let me add an actual fact that should allow you to apply your system: From a social standpoint, the U.S., like China and Japan, is headed toward a demographic apocalypse because people are growing old at a pace well ahead of the rate of new births. The country needs women of childbearing age to have babies in order to help future taxes keep pace with late life public welfare needs.

    What should she do?

    #51968

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    I’m not going to reread everything you wrote to make sure, but I don’t recall you ever using the term “justice.” Rawls defined justice as fairness, another term I don’t recall you ever using.

    Well, your recall is mistaken, I said them both right there.

    “Always do what promotes the welfare and/or happiness of the group. Or don’t.”

    You’re misrepresenting and straw-manning my position.  However, if this is your understanding, I probably haven’t explained myself very well.

    A joint goal generates the need for morality.  Not “is moral”, or “is right”, but generates the need for morality.  A joint goal requires a joint agent: a group, team, partnership, society, whatever: a number of people acting together.  As it is pursuing the joint goal, the joint agent regulates its members, and they regulate each other, in the direction of the joint goal.

    Now, if the joint agent is large, and its joint goal is “thriving, surviving, and reproducing together”, that gives a lot of leeway for unusual things to happen, requiring a lot of different moral principles, where the individual has to think for him or herself.  If I were living in Russia right now, I would want to get out.

    A woman is faced with a tough choice: she’s pregnant and while she wants to have a child someday, but right now she wants to be working on her education and career. She’s considering an abortion. …

    What should she do?

    This involves:

    • me-concerns: the concern the woman has for her own future.
    • you-concerns: the concern the woman has for her unborn child.
    • we-concerns: concern for wider society.

    All of these have the ultimate goal of achieving, restoring or maintaining mutual benefit.  The ways to achieve this goal are called moral principles or values.

    These are the factors she has to weigh up for herself or with the help of someone else to advise her or talk things through with her.  It’s a moral dilemma: by definition, there’s not a simple easy answer.

    Now, you are obligated to tell us how one of your “real” moral systems would answer this question.  If you don’t, then either you’re copping out, or they’re not “real” at all.

    #51971

    Unseen
    Participant

    Now, you are obligated to tell us how one of your “real” moral systems would answer this question.  If you don’t, then either you’re copping out, or they’re not “real” at all.

    Nonsense. I’m engaging in creative crititicism, so I’m under no obligation to provide z system of my own, especially since I have some doubts as to whether coherent, consistent, and practical moral philosophy is even possible. I just used Rawls for comparison to highlight where I think yours is lacking.

    I can modify a well-known political statement, though, to cover morality. “All politics is local” can be expressed in the moral realm similarly: “All morality is local.” What is considered, right, proper, and just is what one learns from the social environment in which they grew up. That is certainly true of most people, if not all.

    #51972

    _Robert_
    Participant

    I doubt that many people even have a “moral system”. Just learned behaviors like the monkeys we are. A guy robbing a store or buying a child-bride isn’t spending a lot of time “pontificating” moral principles.

    #51973

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    I have some doubts as to whether coherent, consistent, and practical moral philosophy is even possible.

    So you admit that your “real” moral systems are not real.

    It’s never going to be possible to provide nice neat answers to moral dilemmas.  Life just isn’t like that.  Morality isn’t like that.

    #51974

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    A guy robbing a store or buying a child-bride isn’t spending a lot of time “pontificating” moral principles.

    True, but there’s a whole science behind it, which is interesting.  People spend their entire careers on it, getting nowhere.

    #51978

    Davis
    Moderator

    Rob, the person who does whatever the hell he wants when it suits his needs, still reverts to his own set of values when the following happens:

    When someone insults him

    When he reads about someone being the victim of a miscarriage of justice

    When he agrees/disagrees with his scheduled surgery being postponed because someone more urgent has been prioritised

    When a controversial law comes out and he speaks his mind about it

    Whether the average person thinks about something does not mean it is not relevant to your life. I have the most primitive understanding of the speed of light and electromagnitism, but that is essential stuff when it comes to the satellites orbiting the earth that make my GPS work. Equally, whether you spend any time in your adult life thinking through your moral system (whatever it is), it is the basis for the legal system of the laws (and justice system) as well as basic human rights, it is used in the hospitals you visit, the companies and governments deciding new policies such as on tech privacy and AI (every time you use the internet) and it is used by governments every day when allocating funds to groups in need (think anyone who has ever had extended sick leave, maternity leave, government benefits etc).

    #51979

    People spend their entire careers on it, getting nowhere.

    I say the same of Theology 🙂

    #51980

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    I know I disparage the other moral systems for not being able to provide consistent, coherent answers.  But they have done an excellent job of delineating the moral landscape, and asking the right questions.  Utilitarianism is fairly simple to implement if it is formulated correctly (i.e., forget “the greatest good for the greatest number”).  It’s also, in the right formulation, the basis of the moral domain “collaborative foraging for mutual benefit” which is a fundamental human activity.

    If the other moral philosophers were to take an evolutionary approach, all would become clear, and their “unanswerable” questions could be dashed off in seconds.

    #51984

    Unseen
    Participant

    So you admit that your “real” moral systems are not real.

    I’m not offering a moral system and don’t think I ever proffered one as “real.” There’s nothing to admit.

    #51993

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    It’s been a very productive exchange.  By putting my theory to the test, I’ve been able to improve it no end.

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