The Lone Man

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adam320
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Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2016 12:38 pm

The Lone Man

Post by adam320 » Wed Mar 16, 2016 1:03 pm

Hey guys

I've been thinking about a thought experiment and wanted your opinion, thoughts, or input. :D

Introduction
Say the earth had just one man living in it, who has no exposure to other human beings.
Then for this human being, does ethics exist?

If you say it does not exist, then you are of the opinion that ethics must be a social construct.
If you say it does exist, then you are of the opinion that ethics is constructed from the individual.

I think the obvious conclusion (without going into further details) is that ethics does not exist in this case, and I think perhaps most people would generally agree.


The Question
Given the above thought experiment, how is it that some people claim that ethics is always "relative"? and that ethics is something that each person should construct for themselves?

Thank you for your time :D

Philosophy Explorer
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Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2014 7:39 am

Re: The Lone Man

Post by Philosophy Explorer » Sun Mar 20, 2016 2:21 am

adam320 wrote:Hey guys

I've been thinking about a thought experiment and wanted your opinion, thoughts, or input. :D

Introduction
Say the earth had just one man living in it, who has no exposure to other human beings.
Then for this human being, does ethics exist?

If you say it does not exist, then you are of the opinion that ethics must be a social construct.
If you say it does exist, then you are of the opinion that ethics is constructed from the individual.

I think the obvious conclusion (without going into further details) is that ethics does not exist in this case, and I think perhaps most people would generally agree.


The Question
Given the above thought experiment, how is it that some people claim that ethics is always "relative"? and that ethics is something that each person should construct for themselves?

Thank you for your time :D
How about his interaction with animals and plants? Is he under obligation to treat them well?

PhilX

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Greta
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Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2015 8:10 am

Re: The Lone Man

Post by Greta » Sun Mar 20, 2016 6:07 am

adam320 wrote:Hey guys

I've been thinking about a thought experiment and wanted your opinion, thoughts, or input. :D

Introduction
Say the earth had just one man living in it, who has no exposure to other human beings.
Then for this human being, does ethics exist?

If you say it does not exist, then you are of the opinion that ethics must be a social construct.
If you say it does exist, then you are of the opinion that ethics is constructed from the individual.

I think the obvious conclusion (without going into further details) is that ethics does not exist in this case, and I think perhaps most people would generally agree.


The Question
Given the above thought experiment, how is it that some people claim that ethics is always "relative"? and that ethics is something that each person should construct for themselves?

Thank you for your time :D
For a lone man, the other animals and plants would be his peers, his fears and his prey. His value systems would be aligned with those of the animals he was closest to. Ethics is a social construct, but the social groups need not be human. Certainly all animal groups have their value systems - accepted and taboo behaviours.

duszek
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Location: Thin Air

Re: The Lone Man

Post by duszek » Sun Mar 20, 2016 1:01 pm

How about standards towards oneself ?

Morality comes from mores = customs (or good habits).
The man can notice that slouching is not good for his shape and train himself to move around gracefully.

It could be considered as part of his morality.
Or not ? :?

Jaded Sage
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Re: The Lone Man

Post by Jaded Sage » Fri Apr 01, 2016 9:43 am

Great question, my friend.


Ethics seems to be a social construct, but that doesn't mean he would be unethical. It often starts as superstition. If this is an Adam, then it seems he would start his own set of rules to follow for survival, which, of course, is all ethics really is. This would also be combined with an innate sense of empathy, which is the basis of good ethics.

So the answer is that it is both.

bergie15
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Joined: Tue Jun 11, 2013 12:18 am

Re: The Lone Man

Post by bergie15 » Tue Jun 14, 2016 5:34 pm

Yes, I think that the man would have to have some sort of ethical standards for himself- even if he is alone.

yiostheoy
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Location: California USSA

Re: The Lone Man

Post by yiostheoy » Tue Jun 14, 2016 6:30 pm

bergie15 wrote:Yes, I think that the man would have to have some sort of ethical standards for himself- even if he is alone.
Adam the O/P never came back after his one post. Your resurrection of his thread has lifted the veil on this short thread.

Would you justify crapping all over the place in your Garden Of Eden? Certainly not. You would pick a specific spot for that and hopefully dig out a trench. Make sure the spot is away from water so you don't poison your water supply or that of the other animals.

Would you justify killing animals just for the sport? Certainly not. You would not waste meat or pelts. My dad taught me not to waste meat when I was a kid -- it is an American Midwestern value -- an animal had to die so you could have meat on your plate.

Would you set fire to your habitat just to watch it burn? If you do then you are crazy. Clearing land for planting is useful but wanton burning is not.

Would you cut yourself just to smell the blood and smear it all over yourself? If you do then you are really crazy. Self destructive acts are called masochism and are self defeating.

"Ethics" addresses what "should" you do. Not what can you do.

Ethics applies to the Earth, the plants, the animals, the air, the water, to yourself, as well as to others.

This thought experiment is rather silly. It is based on a bad definition of ethics. Like all contradictions arising from fractured philosophy the fault is in the use of language at the definition phase early on.

sthitapragya
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Re: The Lone Man

Post by sthitapragya » Wed Jun 15, 2016 7:14 am

bergie15 wrote:Yes, I think that the man would have to have some sort of ethical standards for himself- even if he is alone.
I agree. Ethics are the byproduct of the economics of survival. If some kind of behaviour consistently rewards him, it will become part of his ethics.

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