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 13 posts - 91 through 103 (of 103 total)
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  • #52280

    unapologetic
    Participant

    I don’t believe the OP was asking a philosophical question.

    As the OP, I wasn’t being philosophical in any way. But hay, take this discussion in any direction you want.

    #52281

    Unseen
    Participant

    I don’t believe the OP was asking a philosophical question.

    As the OP, I wasn’t being philosophical in any way. But hay, take this discussion in any direction you want.

    You were quoting me when those were Simon’s words. And I am taking the question in a philosophical direction because Simon seems to think sociology has something to say to philosophy.

    #52282

    Unseen
    Participant

    If that were true, what would the function of philosophy be, then?

    I don’t know, it’s hard to tell the difference. They both derive abstract patterns from the data (theories or hypotheses). Is it the subject matter? Is it the technique? I would venture that science is about the physical world, and philosophy seeks to explain the world of human beings. But then we have the sciences of psychology and anthropology.

    I don’t think you really understand what theories and hypotheses are if you think they are data in anything like the same sense as polling data or research data.

    Sociology may discover that Spartan society killed deformed male babies without asking if that was really right. Philosophy asks if a society’s moral system is really right.

    Society gets into the question of what a society’s moral system is. Philosophy looks at that result and asks if it’s justified.

    #52283

    unapologetic
    Participant
    Robert wrote: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.
    [thumbs up]
    #52284

    unapologetic
    Participant

    You were quoting me when those were Simon’s words.

    Oops, sorry. I’ll be more careful with the ‘quote’ button.

    #52285

    unapologetic
    Participant

    Unseen wrote:
    if I were to find myself the last person on Earth … could I even have a morality?

    I don’t think it would matter. Not worth thinking about.
    But you might want to consider what the animals in your surroundings feel about your actions.

    Unseen wrote:
    “Where does morality come from?” is a philosophical question in search of a philosophical answer

    I disagree. Morials as a whole, did not derive from philosophy, any more than deriving from religion. Philosophy and religion came much later.
    Some specific morals may come from a specific philosophic perspective.
    But we can hold conflicting perspectives and conflicting morals.
    And some previously held morals could have been morphed by changing philosophies.
    Morals should not be considered just a branch of philosophy, nor religion.

    Unseen said:
    Should I register as a Republican for the upcoming primary in hopes of helping to keep Donald Trump off the ballot, even though I won’t vote for anyone the GOP puts forth for the 2024 election?

    My answer is yes. I did. (the PA primary is April 23rd).
    I acknowledge that is unethical. but that is mild, compared to Rump’s questionable ethics. So I feel justified.

     

    I hope I attributed these statements correctly.

    #52287

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Sociology may discover that Spartan society killed deformed male babies without asking if that was really right.  Philosophy asks if a society’s moral system is really right.

    Society gets into the question of what a society’s moral system is.  Philosophy looks at that result and asks if it’s justified.

    OK, but those are examples of philosophical and scientific subject matter.  I’m looking for general definitions which distinguish science as a thing from philosophy as a thing.  I’m not sure there are any.

    They both come up with hypotheses and theories about data.  What’s the difference?  Subject matter?

    #52291

    Unseen
    Participant

    I’m looking for general definitions which distinguish science as a thing from philosophy as a thing.  I’m not sure there are any.

    It’s the difference between “is” and “ought.” Sociology finds out what is the case. Moral philosophy asks what ought to be the case. When sociologists stray from polling and research and other forms of data gathering to prescribing behavior, they are straying into the jurisdiction of the moral and/or social philosopher and become subject to their criticism.

    #52293

    Davis
    Moderator

    Science and Philosophy have some overlap but are absolutely distinct. Even within Philosophy and Science there are so many different fields with different aims and methodologies.

    Science deals with both the physical and the pure sciences, both practical and theoretical. Science heavily influences other STEM subjects (maths, engineering) as well as business. It generally uses the “scientific method” but that method is defined and applied differently depending on the field, and even within the field. That is, the method is distinct between say: theoretical physics and evolutionary research. In theory, every claim should be falsifiable, a scientist should be prepared to revise their ideas based on new findings, research or theories and knowledge/results are usually accumulative and collaborative.

    Philosophy uses a diversity of methods to explore what is: right, being, knowledge, existence and also explores theology, logic, critical thinking as well as higher level abstract persuits which can include all encompassing systems and explanations. Methods range from critical thinking, critical analysis (those are both quite different) and approaches of which some could be falsifiable while other are not. Some approaches are partially relativistic (that is, only can be the case within the system such as moral systems) or on utility (for example arguing which has been the most effective and productive method for gaining reliable knowledge). These fields are to different extents, interrelated. There is no one single definition of philosophy. It is several fields of enquiry with different methods (just as science is).

    Their over lap comes in those cases where both fields include falsifiable claims, where the subject matter is similar (for example currently in artificial intelligence) and that they both (to varying degree though) have applicability (such as in bioethics). There is a LOT of non-overlap. You can see different approaches to different topics:

    Moral behaviour:

    Science could for example look into how brain chemistry functions when a person deals with a challenging moral dilemma
    Philosophy might analyse the soundness of a moral claim within a moral system

    Science can investigate the properties of a vacuum and speculate on the existence or non-existence of “nothingness” in space

    Philosophy can discuss the abstract concept of non-existence, what it means for something to not exist and for something to not be possible to exist.

    Scientific medical research can speculate on procedures which may be less damaging to patients
    Philosophy can discuss applicable moral systems which help doctors (and hospitals) set up standards on making life or death decisions in place of a patient who is unable or incapable of making that choice themselves.

    As you can see, there is a lot of overlap and a whole lot more non-overlap. They are very different. Explaining what they are and their differences are not so straight forward.

    #52294

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    It’s the difference between “is” and “ought.” Sociology finds out what is the case. Moral philosophy asks what ought to be the case.

    It’s a neat distinction, yet philosophy can’t tell us what we ought to do.  It can tell us what we ought to do if we have certain goals.  Science comes up with those goals.  Is that science or philosophy?

    #52295

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Evolutionary ethics is philosophising about science.

    #52297

    Unseen
    Participant

    philosophy can’t tell us what we ought to do.  It can tell us what we ought to do if we have certain goals.  Science comes up with those goals.  Is that science or philosophy?

    I don’t think I’ve ever met any well-educated person who’s so ignorant of philosophy and its role in the overall scheme of things. You have things ass-backwards.

    What you say philosophy does (“tell us what we ought to do if we have certain goals”) is actually what science does. “If you want to fight a pandemic, you blah blah blah” “If you want to set up a base on Mars you must blah blah blah”

    Philosophy can help you decide what goals are worthy (“If medicine is in short supply, what is the best, most just, way of distributing it?” “How important is setting up a base on Mars vs. alleviating suffering on Earth?”) What is just cannot be settled with a simple calculation or measurement.

    Moral philosophy operates on a “meta” level, above and beyond the gathering and collating of data.

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by  Unseen.
    #52302

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Philosophy can help you decide what goals are worthy (“If medicine is in short supply, what is the best, most just, way of distributing it?” “How important is setting up a base on Mars vs. alleviating suffering on Earth?”)

    But you have to admit, philosophy cannot actually tell us the definitive answers to these things.  Evolutionary ethics can describe what we find important or worthy, and why.  It recognises a plurality of potentially conflicting values.

    Philosophy can raise questions that we have to answer in coming up with a solution that we find to be the best.

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