Pretty much sums up the frustration of modern academics
June 14, 2020 at 8:11 pm #31802
If killing babies and not killing anyone can be the result of the same “form,” what makes such a form useful for anything?
Because that form is cooperation, and it can plausibly be shown that it gives rise to a family of human moral values.
Why did the Spartans kill their own babies – or leave them on hillsides? Because they wanted the best soldiers they could get. They were a warlike people, who cooperated tightly together to fight against neighbouring groups. By the sounds of it, their norms were harshly applied.
Quakers don’t want to kill anyone, and this again is a form of cooperation – with the whole world. It’s the same thing as the Spartans were doing – cooperation – but done in a different way. Instead of solidarity with only other Quakers, they feel solidarity with everybody.June 14, 2020 at 8:16 pm #31803
it’s simply making an objective moral claim.
It’s appealing to different norms – of kindness and human dignity. FGM is a patriarchal norm, to do with female subjugation and sexual control by society/males. Sometimes, norms clash, as in this case.
The point is, people who practice FGM also believe in kindness and human dignity, it’s just that they believe in patriarchy more firmly. So we can appeal to our shared norms to appeal to those people.June 14, 2020 at 8:36 pm #31804
it’s been recognized by moral philosophers for centuries that you cannot point to any moral truth.
There are lots of philosophers who still talk about “moral truth” and “correctness” etc. I don’t agree with them. However, it’s interesting to consider that they have a point, in that, the roots of human morality lie in the biological/physical universe of cooperating to survive on planet Earth.June 14, 2020 at 8:44 pm #31805
There are lots of philosophers who still talk about “moral truth” and “correctness”
They do so within their moral systems. Not outside of them, unless they are theologians. It is an extremely important distinction. It’s come thing covered in the Oxford short introduction to ethics.June 14, 2020 at 9:02 pm #31806
Isn’t “moral truth” something that is “true” no matter what? So that would make it true outside of any one moral system. For example, some philosophers say that morality has evolved “to track moral truths”. I think this is nonsense. I find it strange that philosophers devote so much time to meta-ethics (studying the study of ethics) rather than the content of morality itself.
I’m intrigued by the Oxford Short Introduction to Ethics. I’ll send you an e-mail address.June 14, 2020 at 9:40 pm #31807
Reg the Fronkey FarmerModerator
…..Not outside of them, unless they are theologians. It is an extremely important distinction.
I completely agree. The distinction is however lost on many that venture unarmed in debates such as this. People like Hobbes and Descartes rescued philosophy from its forced marriage to theology. Kant destroyed the “proofs” for God, such as the Summa Theologica of Aquinas and today no philosopher of merit wastes time pondering the existence of gods or giving air to ideas of absolute morality. That is left to the self-appointed pastors and priests to tie the minds of their sheep up in knots with.
Religious morality was born in the days of our primitive savagery. Claims to it still having merit reside in the unreasoned mind. Moral ideas have their source in the social life of the community and are not delivered by some supernatural entity. I find the very idea of Jesus dying for our sins to be immoral as I do the indoctrination of children into thinking that such a “sacrifice” is a good thing.June 14, 2020 at 9:44 pm #31808
Reg the Fronkey FarmerModerator
For a few dollars on Kindle, you might like this book.
It may be a little incomplete but it is worth a read, or a least as a reference.
I may have a full version in my PDF collection so I will search for it and email it to you.June 14, 2020 at 9:53 pm #31809
Isn’t “moral truth” something that is “true” no matter what? So that would make it true outside of any one moral system.
That pretty much sums up the problem. Yes, you described moral truth accurately, but I suspect anything that’s true outside any moral system is a tautology or stipulation. The first is irrelevant because tautologies make no claims; the second is imply subjective.
So that would make it true outside of any one moral system. For example, some philosophers say that morality has evolved “to track moral truths”. I think this is nonsense. I find it strange that philosophers devote so much time to meta-ethics (studying the study of ethics) rather than the content of morality itself. I’m intrigued by the Oxford Short Introduction to Ethics. I’ll send you an e-mail address.June 14, 2020 at 10:09 pm #31810
anything that’s true outside any moral system
I think the idea is, there’s an entire moral system that exists independently of the human race. That would presumably be the idea of universal human ethics. Universal human ethics can be shown to have evolved through cooperation with interdependence (and patriarchy), along with the notion of objectivity (the view from anywhere – in my group).June 14, 2020 at 10:12 pm #31811
@regthefronkeyfarmer – Westermarck
I have a paper on “Finnish philosophers” that talks about Westermarck, I’ll give it another look. I’ve encountered him in talking about anthropology.June 14, 2020 at 10:31 pm #31812
I think the idea is, there’s an entire moral system that exists independently of the human race.
Does “human race” mean anything different from homo sapiens? If so, it applies to chimpanzees as well as parakeets and alien beings?
Wow! Tell us more.
June 14, 2020 at 10:36 pm #31814
- This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by Unseen.
You’re right, already the idea seems inconsistent. “Human race” means the entire family tree. Chimpanzees and parakeets have their own more primitive versions of morality, but the principles would be recognisable by humans.June 15, 2020 at 12:22 am #31815
Please tell me what kind of falsifiable test would demonstrate that lying is wrong. I don’t want an argument for what is the most praiseworthy moral system or how we should act. How can you falsify “lying is wrong” outside of a modal system Simon?June 15, 2020 at 7:40 am #31817
I don’t know, I agree with you that there is no moral system out there in the universe waiting for us to discover it. On the other hand, the universe sets up conditions for human beings such that they moral system we have is inevitable and predictable.June 15, 2020 at 8:07 am #31818
I read some stuff by JL Mackie, about this. The question he puts is if moral facts do exist. That if they are real, if they exist independent of human minds? What are they like?
For example we know that gravity exists as a fact in the physical world.
Even if there were no minds the fact and properties of gravitational force would still be true.
But moral truths are not like truths about gravity. In some sense they are queer/strange when we look at them compared to other facts.
The other thing is if there are moral facts which are similar to other facts like the properties and facts about gravity.
Then we would all agree to what they are. But there are among human cultures different moral ideas exist. Even the philosophers have their different moral theories, Kant, Mill, Aristotle and others.
What you then have is Philosophers using their techniques of making philosophical arguments to support or refute particular moral theories.
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