Ethics versus rationality

Should you think about your duty, or about the consequences of your actions? Or should you concentrate on becoming a good person?

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Terrapin Station
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Re: Ethics versus rationality

Post by Terrapin Station » Mon Sep 19, 2016 3:46 pm

I just saw this post:

"As for examples consider:

"(1) a case that a person is in very complicated medical situation which might force us to kill the person


"or (2) killing a dictator which might benefit the society."

The first thing I'd want to clarify is that when we talk about something being ethically wrong or rationally right, we're talking about an individual feeling or reasoning that M is morally right/wrong or that R rationally follows/doesn't follow. There is no morally wrong/right or rationally follows/doesn't follow outside of individuals thinking as much.

So when you ask "why should we feel guilty when our actions are morally wrong but rationally right," you should be asking about an individual, "Why should S feel guilty when S feels that M is morally wrong but that . . . "---here we run into a big problem, because the way you're asking the question implies " . . . but that M rationally follows."

However, moral utterances do not rationally follow or not follow, at least not outside of something like deontological ethics where we're starting with some moral premise already. It's not possible to get to a moral premise that rationally follows or not from something non-moral, because there are no such things. That violates the is/ought distinction.

So we'd need better examples. (2) is a bit simpler (because I have to make up still to fill in the blanks for (1).)

Are you saying that for (2), S, a particular individual, both feels that "it is wrong to kill (period, perhaps)" yet feels that "killing Q (another particular individual--the dictator) is good for society," and that they think the latter to an extent where they'd endorse killing Q? If that's the case, then I'd simply say that S didn't analyze their own views well enough. They don't actually feel that killing is wrong period. They feel something such as "killing is wrong unless condition x, y, z."

Note that the second part there--"killing Q is good for society" doesn't rationally follow from anything that's not already an utterance of a moral stance.

HexHammer
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Re: Ethics versus rationality

Post by HexHammer » Mon Sep 19, 2016 4:30 pm

bahman wrote:The key question is where the laws come from? Laws is the result of practicing rationality in given situation.
This is pure nonsense and babble ..as usual..

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bahman
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Re: Ethics versus rationality

Post by bahman » Mon Sep 19, 2016 6:27 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
bahman wrote: Ethics is a set of moral principles that govern a person's behaviour. Human is a rational being and his/her decision is governed by rationally too. The question is why we should feel guilty of our actions when they are ethically wrong but rationally right?
What would be an example of something that you'd say is (or could be in someone's view) ethically wrong but rationally right?

One reason I'm asking is that I'm not sure how you're using the term "right" on the rational side. So giving an example will help me figure that out.
For examples consider a case that a person is in very complicated medical situation which might force us to kill the person or consider killing a dictator which might benefit the society.

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Terrapin Station
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Re: Ethics versus rationality

Post by Terrapin Station » Mon Sep 19, 2016 6:31 pm

bahman, See my post two up from this one.

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Re: Ethics versus rationality

Post by Ginkgo » Tue Sep 20, 2016 8:19 am

bahman wrote:
HexHammer wrote:
bahman wrote: Human are rational beings. Ethics in fact is the result of practicing our rationalities.

As for examples consider a case that a person is in very complicated medical situation which might force us to kill the person or consider killing a dictator which might benefit the society.
..so why do we have police? ..because they need to catch people that doesn't behave ethically. Rapists, murderers, molesters ..etc.

Here in Denmark our ancestors was pirates that plundered, raped and killed left and right, they believed that might makes right.

Today in USA they have more prisoners than any other country in the world, if you think you can just teach people ethics in order to make them behave ethically, then you are wrong! ..dead wrong! They have a will of their own and can decide if they want to follow ethics or not.
The key question is where the laws come from? Laws is the result of practicing rationality in given situation.
One could argue that deontological ethics has contributed to modern democratic theory and the formulation of some laws. I gave the example of Kantian ethics as one of the best examples of deontological ethics. Kant's ethics is based on human rationality and the ability to formulate what Kant calls, 'the categorical imperative.' Leaving that aside for the moment we can say Kant believed we should treat people as ends in themselves and never as a means to our own ends. To treat people as a means to our ends is to ignore our common humanity and shows a lack of respect for our status as rational creatures. This can be interpreted to say that 'all people are created equal', so no person should be discriminated against before the law.

To answer your question, I would say the democratic tradition and the laws that given our society have come from a variety of ethical theories. Deontological ethics has a long history in Western thought, so its contribution cannot be underestimated.

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bahman
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Re: Ethics versus rationality

Post by bahman » Tue Sep 20, 2016 4:54 pm

Terrapin Station wrote: I just saw this post:

"As for examples consider:

"(1) a case that a person is in very complicated medical situation which might force us to kill the person


"or (2) killing a dictator which might benefit the society."

The first thing I'd want to clarify is that when we talk about something being ethically wrong or rationally right, we're talking about an individual feeling or reasoning that M is morally right/wrong or that R rationally follows/doesn't follow. There is no morally wrong/right or rationally follows/doesn't follow outside of individuals thinking as much.
I think that ethics is objective since we have the tendency to reach a better state of affair.
Terrapin Station wrote: So we'd need better examples. (2) is a bit simpler (because I have to make up still to fill in the blanks for (1).)

Are you saying that for (2), S, a particular individual, both feels that "it is wrong to kill (period, perhaps)" yet feels that "killing Q (another particular individual--the dictator) is good for society," and that they think the latter to an extent where they'd endorse killing Q?
Yes.
Terrapin Station wrote: If that's the case, then I'd simply say that S didn't analyze their own views well enough. They don't actually feel that killing is wrong period. They feel something such as "killing is wrong unless condition x, y, z."

Note that the second part there--"killing Q is good for society" doesn't rationally follow from anything that's not already an utterance of a moral stance.
Well, morality is the result of practising the rationality so I don't understand why killing a dictator is bad?

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Re: Ethics versus rationality

Post by Terrapin Station » Tue Sep 20, 2016 5:22 pm

bahman wrote:I think that ethics is objective since we have the tendency to reach a better state of affair.
How would you define "objective"?

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Re: Ethics versus rationality

Post by bahman » Tue Sep 20, 2016 5:47 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
bahman wrote: I think that ethics is objective since we have the tendency to reach a better state of affair.
How would you define "objective"?
As something which exists independent of our minds.

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Re: Ethics versus rationality

Post by bahman » Tue Sep 20, 2016 5:51 pm

Ginkgo wrote: One could argue that deontological ethics has contributed to modern democratic theory and the formulation of some laws. I gave the example of Kantian ethics as one of the best examples of deontological ethics. Kant's ethics is based on human rationality and the ability to formulate what Kant calls, 'the categorical imperative.' Leaving that aside for the moment we can say Kant believed we should treat people as ends in themselves and never as a means to our own ends. To treat people as a means to our ends is to ignore our common humanity and shows a lack of respect for our status as rational creatures. This can be interpreted to say that 'all people are created equal', so no person should be discriminated against before the law.

To answer your question, I would say the democratic tradition and the laws that given our society have come from a variety of ethical theories. Deontological ethics has a long history in Western thought, so its contribution cannot be underestimated.
What do you mean with the bold part?

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Re: Ethics versus rationality

Post by Terrapin Station » Tue Sep 20, 2016 7:53 pm

bahman wrote:
Terrapin Station wrote:
bahman wrote: I think that ethics is objective since we have the tendency to reach a better state of affair.
How would you define "objective"?
As something which exists independent of our minds.
So what would "since we have the tendency to reach a better state of affair" have to do with that? How would that suggest anything independent of minds?

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bahman
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Re: Ethics versus rationality

Post by bahman » Tue Sep 20, 2016 9:17 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
bahman wrote:
Terrapin Station wrote:
How would you define "objective"?
As something which exists independent of our minds.
So what would "since we have the tendency to reach a better state of affair" have to do with that? How would that suggest anything independent of minds?
What do you mean with the bold part? I don't understand your second question.

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Terrapin Station
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Re: Ethics versus rationality

Post by Terrapin Station » Tue Sep 20, 2016 10:04 pm

bahman wrote:
Terrapin Station wrote:
bahman wrote:
As something which exists independent of our minds.
So what would "since we have the tendency to reach a better state of affair" have to do with that? How would that suggest anything independent of minds?
What do you mean with the bold part? I don't understand your second question.
Look, this is just a matter of very simple logic:

You're defining "objective" as "something which exists independent of our minds."

You had said, "I think that ethics is objective since we have the tendency to reach a better state of affair."

"Since" there should suggest that what follows the word "since" implies the first part, namely, that ethics is objective. Or in other words, the part that follows "since" should function as a support for the claim that "ethics is objective."

However, "since we have the tendencey to reach a better state of affairs" has nothing to do with anything being independent of minds.

This sort of very rudimentary reasoning shouldn't be so difficult for you.

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bahman
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Re: Ethics versus rationality

Post by bahman » Fri Sep 23, 2016 12:56 am

Terrapin Station wrote:
bahman wrote:
Terrapin Station wrote:
So what would "since we have the tendency to reach a better state of affair" have to do with that? How would that suggest anything independent of minds?
What do you mean with the bold part? I don't understand your second question.
Look, this is just a matter of very simple logic:

You're defining "objective" as "something which exists independent of our minds."

You had said, "I think that ethics is objective since we have the tendency to reach a better state of affair."

"Since" there should suggest that what follows the word "since" implies the first part, namely, that ethics is objective. Or in other words, the part that follows "since" should function as a support for the claim that "ethics is objective."

However, "since we have the tendencey to reach a better state of affairs" has nothing to do with anything being independent of minds.

This sort of very rudimentary reasoning shouldn't be so difficult for you.
This I understand (the bold part). So what is next?

Ginkgo
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Re: Ethics versus rationality

Post by Ginkgo » Fri Sep 23, 2016 2:05 am

bahman wrote:
Ginkgo wrote: One could argue that deontological ethics has contributed to modern democratic theory and the formulation of some laws. I gave the example of Kantian ethics as one of the best examples of deontological ethics. Kant's ethics is based on human rationality and the ability to formulate what Kant calls, 'the categorical imperative.' Leaving that aside for the moment we can say Kant believed we should treat people as ends in themselves and never as a means to our own ends. To treat people as a means to our ends is to ignore our common humanity and shows a lack of respect for our status as rational creatures. This can be interpreted to say that 'all people are created equal', so no person should be discriminated against before the law.

To answer your question, I would say the democratic tradition and the laws that given our society have come from a variety of ethical theories. Deontological ethics has a long history in Western thought, so its contribution cannot be underestimated.
What do you mean with the bold part?
Morality to a large extent depends on human motivation. Morality is not a matter of inclination or preferences, but is something objective. However, it is worth keeping in mind that ethics derived from reason is only one side of the coin. There are also subjective ethical theories. Hume's ethical subjectivism is probably the best example.

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Re: Ethics versus rationality

Post by Terrapin Station » Fri Sep 23, 2016 1:09 pm

bahman wrote:This I understand (the bold part). So what is next?
What's next is realizing that ""I think that ethics is objective since we have the tendency to reach a better state of affair" doesn't make any semantic sense, overall, as a sentence.

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