Humanism

Pretty much sums up the frustration of modern academics

This topic contains 175 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Reg the Fronkey Farmer 4 months, 1 week ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 91 through 105 (of 176 total)
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  • #31773

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Versions. Relative the the particular cultures. Relativism.

    Versions of the same concepts.  Helping is simple, fairness is complex, and different cultures carry them out in different ways.  That’s the universality we have.  We might expect the answer to be fairly abstract.

    #31774

    As soon as we start comparing moral systems morality becomes relative (to our own).

    #31775

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Yes, I think “objective morality” is people’s own morality: the morality of the group.  The large group provides the objective point of view, the “view from anywhere”, where all rational people agree on what’s right.

    #31776

    Can we then forget about Biblical morality as it talks of absolutes and consign it to the dustbin of bad ideas. Any sentence that begins with “thou shalt” is a command that upon consideration of its potential value become meaningless.

    #31777

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Religious people seem to want or need moral absolutes, for things to be definitely right or wrong.  I’m not sure why this is.  I think each person is like the large groups of the world – morally unique, but sharing some morality with other people.  We all have things we think are definitely right and wrong.

    #31778

    Religious people seem to want or need moral absolutes, for things to be definitely right or wrong. I’m not sure why this is….

    It is because they are religious! They think they are being watched by a celestial dictator (Hitchens’ term) so must do what they are commanded to do by their Bible.  Their rules are absolutes. They constantly talk of “absolutely morality”. It never takes long before one of them with ask us where we get our morals from if we do not believe in their god. (Yet they never seem to question where Hindus get theirs from).

    If you do not make the effort to work out your own moral system and code of ethical behavior then your standards will always be lower than those of us that do make the effort.  Don’t swallow your morals in tablet form.

    #31779

    Ever ask a Christian if it OK for a woman to covet their neighbor’s husband? Why is there no commandment against this??

    #31783

    Karuna
    Participant

    I was thinking, if humans went through a Hunter gatherer stage and later formed complex societies. Then when they were in small groups they needed cooperation to survive.
    That cooperation requires group norms like don’t kill don’t steal stuff like that.
    This cooperative behaviour would actually be adaptive.
    Culture would aid in the transmission of those norms.
    This might be the common morality of all human groups. If you like a base morality.
    It’s base because they are the norms and requirements for any cooperative group.
    Like a primitive social contract?
    Then depending on local circumstances you will get a superstructure of relative moral norms contingent of local factors and history and culture
    I think this is what Noam Chomsky was saying in the video. That if there is culture then you have to presuppose at least a common morality. Because a specific type of norms are required to aid social cooperation. For culture to be transmitted it requires cooperative group stability over the generations.

    #31784

    Unseen
    Participant

    Versions. Relative the the particular cultures. Relativism.

    Versions of the same concepts. Helping is simple, fairness is complex, and different cultures carry them out in different ways. That’s the universality we have. We might expect the answer to be fairly abstract.

    I don’t know why you can’t see that once you get into different versions for different culturs, it becomes subjective not objective. The Spartan version of how to treat others has hardly any resemblance to the Quaker version.

    #31785

    Karuna
    Participant

    I think what Simon Payton is saying is that each culture has forms. Like platonic forms or archetypes. There is such a thing as Spartan, and Quaker helping as a structure. Or there is such a thing as law.
    Is it the form which is universal, compared to the specific content.

    The relative part is the contents of the structure so Spartan laws would be different to Quaker laws. However in my opinion both the Spartan and the Quaker would to some extent agree what a law is and what its use is in their respective societies.

    #31786

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Exactly.  The structure of cooperation, and its shared evolutionary heritage, are universal.  The content of the structure varies locally.

    The Spartans and the Quakers both cooperate(d) internally towards their goals.  The proposed universality of helping, fairness and obligation comes from its hypothesised small-group origins.

    #31796

    Unseen
    Participant

    I think what Simon Payton is saying is that each culture has forms. Like platonic forms or archetypes. There is such a thing as Spartan, and Quaker helping as a structure. Or there is such a thing as law. Is it the form which is universal, compared to the specific content. The relative part is the contents of the structure so Spartan laws would be different to Quaker laws. However in my opinion both the Spartan and the Quaker would to some extent agree what a law is and what its use is in their respective societies.

    A “form” that allows cultures as divergent as the societies of Sparta and the Pennsylvania Quakers is fairly useless, wouldn’t you say?

    Plus, let me ask a difficult question for anyone to ask in the affirmative: Is there really any such thing as a form that allows one society to “help” by the institution of infanticide while the other “helps” by forbidding killing under any circumstance.

    Also, who is here to argue for the reality of platonic forms? Where is this place, because it isn’t in the physical world. Does it get us into a dualism? Most philosophers nowadays are materialists.

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by  Unseen.
    #31798

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Is there really any such thing as a form that allows one society to “help” by the institution of infanticide while the other “helps” by forbidding killing under any circumstance.

    Both societies are collaborating internally towards a joint goal (the survival of individuals and the group).  Helping each other arises as a consequence.  The people in Sparta had solidarity with each other.

    platonic forms

    Abstract forms or ideas.

    #31800

    Unseen
    Participant

    Is there really any such thing as a form that allows one society to “help” by the institution of infanticide while the other “helps” by forbidding killing under any circumstance.

    Both societies are collaborating internally towards a joint goal (the survival of individuals and the group). Helping each other arises as a consequence. The people in Sparta had solidarity with each other.

    platonic forms

    Abstract forms or ideas.

    If killing babies and not killing anyone can be the result of the same “form,” what makes such a form useful for anything?

    Abstractions are subjective in their application.

    #31801

    Davis
    Participant

    You have to draw a distinction between moral relativism as a meta-ethical view and moral relativism as used within a moral system.

    In the first case, outside of recieved dogmatic morality (like from a Church or say in an oppressive dictatorship) it’s been recognized by moral philosophers for centuries that you cannot point to any moral truth. That you must adopt a moral system, through reason, first before “truth” has any meaning. In otherwords there’s no experiment you can do that will help you confirm this statement is true: it is wrong to kill. You can only do that after adopting a moral system.

    Moral relativism in the post-modern sense is quite apart from that. Especially in terms of cultural-relativism which claim that we should not (or in the most extreme cases we cannot) apply our moral standards to those outside our system. For example in North Africa and parts of the Middle East when they chop of girls genitals in FGM, applying our own subjective morality to them is not just wrong but damaging. In otherwords the relativism is system dependent as though we all live in these moral bubbles and we ought to stay inside of them. This helps post-modernists do things like obsessively attack patriarchy, sexism, discrimination against women, the sexual objectification of women in Western countries (which they should) but be silent about (or tacitly defend or sneakily deny or downplay) such mistreatment in other exotic cultures (especially if those people are marginalized people in their own country). Hence our problems are generated from reprehensible actions within our own bubble, but not outside of ours.

    This is rancid bullshit. Calling out the brutality of FGM in another culture is not a call to arms to say we must impose our values on them, it’s simply making an objective moral claim. If it is wrong in a moral system if I do it then it’s wrong anywhere else whether it’s culturally accepted or not. If you lose the value of a moral principle because it’s simply accepted within a context, then you lose the whole value of the moral system.

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