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 - 121 through 135 (of 176 total)
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  • #31819

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    What we have at the moment is facts (biological and physical) leading to a predictable morality.  So, moral realism has a point in my opinion, in that it has its roots in reality.

    #31823

    Karuna
    Participant

    You could say that It’s useful to have morality. Also we all experience morality every day. It’s one of the things which keeps societies stable. Mackie is asking an ontological question about moral facts.

    In my opinion he’s not saying that there are no  human morals.

    For example take the human construct of money. Say an American dollar. It exists for us in our everyday lives, we use it.

    But does it exist independent of human minds? Like gravity?

    Point being that things which are human constructs do appear real to people & they can be very useful.

    In the Groundwork Kant says the same thing you do. It’s obvious that there is a common morality

    ( transition from common rational morality to Philosophical morality)

    But what do you have to presuppose it’s existence?

    He goes on to look at his own metaphysical explanations, then to pure practical reason.

    But there might be a more simple and empirical explanation for human morality.

    One which looks at our evolutionary history as a species and biology.

    I wonder if Kant knew about Evolution and biology would he think differently about the metaphysics of morals?

    #31824

    Davis
    Participant

    So yeah then Simon. It’s dubious to assume there is moral truth. It’s only possible within a moral system.

    And even if the universe set us up to have moral systems (it didn’t by the way) that doesn’t suddenly generate moral truth. Humans only started rationalising and codifying moral systems 10,000 years ago and they only started doing so in an analytical and comprehensive way 2,500 years ago. And even then they’ve generated numerous highly conflicting results, both in the moral systems and the moral laws they generate.

    You can argue for what the most ideal moralsmoral is, as best you can. And within that Noel system point to moral truth…but there is no truth outside that system. You still have to accept the axioms of that system first, with nowhere in the universe to point to to justify it as the absolute right one. And that not even getting into randomly culturally generated moral norms that we accept without even thinking about.

    Finally…the universe didn’t set anything up. Intelligent life emerged out of a meaningless universe. The meaning and moral systems are entirely generated from us. If we didn’t exist there would be no morals at all. When we cease to exist human morality is gone. It is entirely dependent on us. A thousand other alien species could have emerged with their own entirely different “moral truths”. None of it could possibly be true outside their moral systems either. Morality is not written into the fabric of the universe.

    #31825

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Humans only started rationalising and codifying moral systems 10,000 years ago and they only started doing so in an analytical and comprehensive way 2,500 years ago.

    But actual human morality, whether or not it was rationalised and codified, must have begun around 2 million years ago when we hit the savannah and we were required to begin cooperating.  At that stage, we probably had sharing (of scavenged meat), egalitarianism and cooperative breeding.  A proto- human morality.  All of these were innovations over and above the abilities of the other great apes.

    You can argue for what the most ideal moralsmoral is, as best you can.

    I think it’s more instructive, and productive, to discover the morality that people actually have.  After all, ethics and metaethics are supposed to be talking about a real thing: what is that thing?

    #31826

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Point being that things which are human constructs do appear real to people & they can be very useful.

    People’s moral convictions appear real to them, as if they are “true”.  I think this objectivity is an illusion.

    It’s obvious that there is a common morality … But what do you have to presuppose it’s existence?

    The pressure to thrive cooperatively makes our common morality in my opinion.  Together with patriarchal norms which are also part of our common morality.

    #31827

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    I may have a full version in my PDF collection so I will search for it and email it to you.

    If you have a .pdf copy of the Westermarck, I would be interested to see it.

    #31828

    Unseen
    Participant

    If “moral facts” exist, then they are facts about morality, not facts of morality.

    We are left with the ability to enforce what we believe is right for our place and our time. Is what we choose to enforce really right? We can’t have that. (Want a fact about morality? There’s one.)

    I have never seen a moral “principle” that was universal across all cultures. Murder, incest, you name it, there’s been a culture that sanctioned or at least looked the other way. The notion that there are universal moral precepts simply falls flat on its face once seriously scrutinized.

    #31831

    Davis
    Participant

    After all, ethics and metaethics are supposed to be talking about a real thing: what is that thing?

    No Simon. That is not what ethics and metha ethics are “supposed” to be about. That’s what you think it is, almost certainly due to your lack of familiarity with ethics in general.

    #31832

    Davis
    Participant

    All of these were innovations over and above the abilities of the other great apes.

    That doesn’t make them moral truths. And it was only with a proper analysis of ethics that we actually “learn” anything about ethics. What do you know about your own morality if you don’t think about it and truly analyse it? You’re simply a smarter ape. Not a self-aware one.

    #31838

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    If “moral facts” exist, then they are facts about morality, not facts of morality.

    I think there are a number of possible categories of “moral facts”.

    1. facts about morality;
    2. the idea “murder is wrong” is said by some people to be a fact;
    3. the fact, “if I murder someone then I am breaking the norm that says murder is wrong”.

    For something to be right or wrong means that it upholds or violates a (shared) norm.

    I have never seen a moral “principle” that was universal across all cultures. Murder, incest, you name it, there’s been a culture that sanctioned or at least looked the other way.

    But morality doesn’t only consist of banning or promoting murder, incest, theft, lying etc.  It also consists of principles like reciprocity, empathic concern, helping, fairness, cooperation, competition, following norms etc.  Here is a study which claims to find seven universal principles.

    #31839

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    That is not what ethics and metha ethics are “supposed” to be about.

    Ethics is about something: what is it about?  Morality?  If so, then it makes sense to study morality itself.

    #31842

    Unseen
    Participant

    If “moral facts” exist, then they are facts about morality, not facts of morality.

    I think there are a number of possible categories of “moral facts”.

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    1. facts about morality;
    2. the idea “murder is wrong” is said by some people to be a fact;
    • the fact, “if I murder someone then I am breaking the norm that says murder is wrong.”

    For something to be right or wrong means that it upholds or violates a (shared) norm.

    I have never seen a moral “principle” that was universal across all cultures. Murder, incest, you name it, there’s been a culture that sanctioned or at least looked the other way.

    But morality doesn’t only consist of banning or promoting murder, incest, theft, lying etc. It also consists of principles like reciprocity, empathic concern, helping, fairness, cooperation, competition, following norms etc. Here is a study which claims to find seven universal principles.

    2. the idea “murder is wrong” is said by some people to be a fact;

    And many things “some people” say are counterfactual, like that the earth is flat. Facts are that which is the case. That murder is wrong is not a fact. Wrongness is not a property of anything in the world. It is a property of statements, some of them about the world.

    But morality doesn’t only consist of banning or promoting murder, incest, theft, lying etc. It also consists of principles like reciprocity, empathic concern, helping, fairness, cooperation, competition, following norms etc.

    Principles are not factual. We follow principles we agree with and reject the rest, as the result of a decision-making process having everything to do with how we feel about the matters involved.

    Here is a study which claims to find seven universal principles.

    The principles they found, namely  help your family, help your group, return favours, be brave, defer to superiors, divide resources fairly, and respect others’ property, are not facts. They are, if true, simply factual observations about the particular cultures they studied.

    Let me ask, if they had found that reviling homosexuality was common to all, would that then be a fact?

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by  Unseen.
    • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by  Unseen.
    #31847

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    I agree with you about “moral facts” such as “murder is wrong”: I think they don’t exist, too.

    They are, if true, simply factual observations about the particular cultures they studied.

    So, if the cultures are representative of the whole world, are these universal morals?

    #31848

    Unseen
    Participant

    So, if the cultures are representative of the whole world, are these universal morals?

    a) That’s a pretty big “if.”

    b) No. To assert as much is the logical fallacy called “composition.”

    I think Davis has suggest you background yourself a bit in moral philosophy. I agree. Arguing with you about this is basically like shooting fish in a barrel.

    You are constantly confusing nonfacts with facts. Principles, for example are simply rules, not features of the universe no matter how universally they may seem to be adhered to. The prohibition on murder has so many exceptions, varying from place to place and time to time, that clearly it’s just a guideline, like color inside the lines. Were a prohibition on murder to be a fact, to deny it would be an absurdity like denying that water is wet. And any sociologist of note can list off societies where incest was not just practiced and/or tolerated, but in some cases required, even today.

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by  Unseen.
    #31850

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    No. To assert as much is the logical fallacy called “composition.”

    How can you assert, therefore, that there are no universal morals?  How would you design a study to show that there are or are not?  I would do it the same way the people in the study did, using a representative sample of the world’s societies.  I would have a longer list of universal principles to look for.

    Were a prohibition on murder to be a fact, to deny it would be an absurdity like denying that water is wet.

    For the 19th time, I agree with you.  I’m just putting a point of view that some people have.  I am not one of them.  I do not think this.

    I think Davis has suggest you background yourself a bit in moral philosophy. I agree.

    The “background” of moral philosophy has not produced much of any use.  I’ve availed myself of it where necessary.

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