The Atheist Agora

What matters – actions or consequences?

This topic contains 102 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Unseen 3 months, 3 weeks ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 76 through 90 (of 103 total)
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  • #40876

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    If the two aren’t mixed, then there’s something wrong with them, because in actual real life, the phenomena they seek to describe, are mixed.

    I’d rather study real life than -isms.  This is precisely my point: moral philosophy is mired in ignorance of its own making.

    #40877

    @ Simon – All other things being equal, higher quality cooperation would be expected to lead to higher quality results.

    In real world practical application or in theory? Could you further expand on that statement please. What “other things”?

    #40878

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    If there were two sets of circumstances, with everything the same, and something needed fixing – if one person did their job well (living up to ideal standards) then the results are very likely to be better than if the other person did their job poorly (not living up to ideal standards).

    #40879

    Davis
    Moderator

    If there were two sets of circumstances, with everything the same, and something needed fixing

    I guess this is as close as you are capable to conceding something. There are advantages and disadvantages to all moral systems. None of them are inherently correct. None of them possibly could be as morality isn’t written into the fabric of the universe. There are simply preferred moral systems which best meet your own values, which you believe are more ideal than any others for the way you would like human interaction to function. And on top of that, some moral systems clearly have obvious advantages in certain situations (though again, that is not the same as saying they are the right way to do things). I am not going to piss on other moral systems like you do, though I will say I abhor those which lead to inequities. And even more so, I won’t make judgements on moral systems I am ignorant about as you do.

    You are truly missing out on a fascinating exploration of societal change and development by not learning the history of the development of ethical systems and moral thought. Your loss.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 4 weeks ago by  Davis.
    #40881

    If there were two sets of circumstances, with everything the same, and something needed fixing – if one person did their job well (living up to ideal standards) then the results are very likely to be better than if the other person did their job poorly (not living up to ideal standards).

    To take that to its logical conclusion; if everyone embraced the ideal standards in going about their business, we would then reach a point that could be described as “the best of all possible worlds” or I suppose, Utopia. This is not practical or reflective of how humans cooperate. It is how Pangloss saw the world in Candide. Voltaire did not pull his punches when tackling the arguments of Leibniz.

    BTW – What are “ideal standards” and who sets them and on what authority?

    #40885

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    What are “ideal standards” and who sets them and on what authority?

    Ideal standards are virtuous performance of one’s work in carrying out the task.  For example, in fixing a car, in best practice one would do everything necessary to make sure it is done properly: don’t lose any pieces, make sure everything is tightened appropriately, leave the thing clean and tidy, whatever.  So, they are set by the demands of the job in hand, and by the person whose car it is, who is expecting to get back a perfectly functioning car.

    In the case of morality, the job in hand is to collaborate to thrive and survive together, whether that is by doing some particular collaborative task, or just living alongside one another in a group.  So, the requirement is to follow the social and practical ideals of cooperation, and these are moral ideals (egalitarianism, fairness, helping, diligence, commitment, etc.).  These are enforced by the self upon the self, and by the self upon others, in self-governance and mutual “partner control” on behalf of “us”.  After all, others are taking a risk by relying on me.

    we would then reach a point that could be described as “the best of all possible worlds” or I suppose, Utopia. This is not practical or reflective of how humans cooperate.

    We would reach an optimum outcome under the circumstances.

     

    #40886

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    There are advantages and disadvantages to all moral systems. None of them are inherently correct. None of them possibly could be as morality isn’t written into the fabric of the universe.

    By “correct”, I mean “factually accurate”.  If it is insisted that two complementary systems are mutually exclusive – this is just silly and pointless dogmatism.

    #40888

    Davis
    Moderator

     If it is insisted that two complementary systems are mutually exclusive – this is just silly and pointless dogmatism.

    And there I thought you were actually capable of conceding anything. My terrible mistake.

    #40889

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    @davis – explain why it’s not silly, pointless and dogmatic: “just because”.  Give some actual reasons based on real life or facts of some kind.

    In my opinion, this is an example of where conventional moral philosophy is unhinged from everyday life.  If the study of morality is a science of everyday life – something’s wrong if someone can’t give real-world reasons why something is so.

    #40891

    Ideal standards are virtuous performance of one’s work in carrying out the task.

    Yes, Simon but only in an ideal world. In the mundane routine of everyday life most people carry out tasks to serve their own personal interest or the interests of people they share their lives with. Those people in turn reciprocate with acts of their own. I admit at times their actions may reach some zenith of excellence but never when they realise it is Day 3 without food.

    We would reach an optimum outcome under the circumstances.

    Again, this is “the best of all possible worlds” concept.  If you use the word “optimum” then the best possible outcome is implied. As I mentioned above (or vide supra as Jakelafort might excellently write), it was Pangloss in Westphalia who was obsessed with this notion of ideals. In the real world beyond the castle there is the “problem of evil” to be dealt with to a lesser or greater extent. Ideals are standards we can make efforts to achieve but in everyday life we know morality is relative and ideals somewhat absolute.

    #40892

    Davis
    Moderator

    Simon…do you want me to write to every philosopher, political scientist, dictionary, encyclopedia, intellectual and publishing house and try to get them to change the definition and character of “utilitariansim” and “deontological moral systems”? Because if you do…you will have to give me a good reason to other than the fact that some guy, who cannot even be bothered to educate himself sufficiently on either system…doesn’t like how they are defined and is frustrated that the two are systems which are exclusive to one another and cannot be combined.

    I don’t think I will have much success, I cannot see how this would motivate anyone to take me seriously and I hope by now the above text gives you some insight into how absolutely bonkers ridiculous you are being. You might as well ask me to try to change the definition of “presidential democratic republic” and “tyrannical absolute hereditary monarchy” so that they could somehow be “combined”. Well…no matter how much you’d like that, no matter how dogmatic you think those definitions are…ain’t gonna happen. Not only could I be less motivated to try, the odds of that succeeding are 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000

    000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

    000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

    000000000000000000001%

    I think there are better chances of 25 meteorites simultaneously landing on the elected heads of 25 different countries tomorrow at noon Greenwich mean time.

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by  Davis.
    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by  Davis.
    #40896

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    In the mundane routine of everyday life most people carry out tasks to serve their own personal interest or the interests of people they share their lives with. Those people in turn reciprocate with acts of their own. I admit at times their actions may reach some zenith of excellence but never when they realise it is Day 3 without food.

    That’s the messy core of morality, right there.

    the “problem of evil”

    This doesn’t negate my hypothesis at all, but supports it.  When people behave in a needlessly selfish way: when they are greedy, dominant, cruel etc. then this results in a less than optimum outcome.

    it was Pangloss in Westphalia who was obsessed with this notion of ideals.

    But surely he said that we do live in the best of all possible worlds (like a Polyanna(?)), when in fact, we don’t, pretty much because some people are evil when they don’t need to be.  If everything was as it needs to be, then we would live in the best of all possible worlds.  But since some people are needlessly selfish, then everything is not what it could be – they could have acted differently.  So, we don’t live in the best of all possible worlds.  But people behaving according to moral principles, with wisdom, produces an optimum outcome – the best world possible considering that there are evil people in it.

     

     

    #40897

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    @davis – so the answer is “just because”.  I’ve identified a weakness that you yourself have agreed with.  I’m sure a moral philosophy professor would not be so dogmatic.

    #40898

    When people behave in a needlessly selfish way: when they are greedy, dominant, cruel etc. then this results in a less than optimum outcome.

    Or it results in the optimum outcome achievable given the circumstances.

    The word “needlessly” is not necessary because people do act in selfish ways. By that I mean they act to achieve their own interests first. They do not act to “ideal standards” to achieve “optimum outcomes”.  You seem to be acknowledging my point because you have now changed your wording from “ideal standards to achieve optimum outcome” to “people behaving according to moral principles”. Is that a lowering of the bar of accommodate the Problem of Evil? When you introduce ideals (or idealism) into a discussion about actions and consequences you cannot juxtapose it with reality without bringing out the skeptic in me. Due to the relative nature of morality and the deterministic aspect behind our actions we cannot settle for a “one size fits all” moral theory. Such thinking, especially if it is dealing with ideals as the best approach to moral behavior, smack of religious overtones to me.

    I recently had a really good Dal curry with a homemade ice-cream for dessert. I don’t call it “afters” because sometimes I might decide to eat it before my main course. Smash the System! But I don’t think I will ever stir the ice-cream into my Dal and eat them as one meal. Both work fine separately and individually.

    #40899

    Davis
    Moderator

    @davis – so the answer is “just because”.  I’ve identified a weakness that you yourself have agreed with.  I’m sure a moral philosophy professor would not be so dogmatic.

    Jesus bloody donkey crackers. What happened to you Simon? Where did you go wrong?

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by  Davis.
    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by  Davis.
    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by  Davis.
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