A discussion of the criteria you believe an ethical theory is supposed to have

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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Sir-Sister-of-Suck
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Re: A discussion of the criteria you believe an ethical theory is supposed to have

Post by Sir-Sister-of-Suck » Thu Aug 03, 2017 2:26 am

prof wrote:I appreciate that you took the time to do some reading. You focused in on a weak argument, and you found something wrong. The idea that a murderer is 'a living contradiction' did not resonate with you. My point is that one who murders has incongruous values. You don't believe so. Okay. Thank you for the suggestion as to how I can improve the theory by omitting this line of arguing.

Was anything right about the effort behind the manuscript? Did you gain anything of value by reading it?

Is there a way - in contrast with fault-finding - to read a paper constructively?
I'm not sure that it's simply just the one example where my objections are applicable. The idea of going against one-self could be rationed away in almost any apparent immoralty by applying an element of selfishness to the underlying motive. The rapist is against rape happening to him, but not to others. The torturer is against being tortured, but not turturing others, and you see where I'm going with this.

It definitely exposed me to some ideas that I've never heard before, which made me really think about, which is good.

I am probably over-critical of ethical theories having followed a specific form of utilitarianism. I still do in a more intuitive, and personal sense. But I realize that out of pretty much all philosophical discussions, people have the most emotional bias to morality. They deeply want their moral sense to be correct, and you'll rarely ever see someone arguing for a ethical theory they don't want to be true, like negative utilitarianism. Sounds a little too convenient if you ask me. I think it's pretty easy to poke holes into things that people clearly have such an emotional connection to, most of the time.

prof
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Re: A discussion of the criteria you believe an ethical theory is supposed to have

Post by prof » Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:44 pm

Sir-Sister-of-Suck wrote:
Thu Aug 03, 2017 2:26 am
prof wrote:I appreciate that you took the time to do some reading.

... The idea of going against one-self could be...immoralty...[There] is an element of selfishness to the underlying motive. The rapist is against rape happening to him, but not to others. The torturer is against being tortured, but not turturing others, and you see where I'm going with this.

It [the paper, BASIC ETHICS] definitely exposed me to some ideas that I've never heard before, which made me really think about, which is good.

[P]eople deeply want their moral sense to be correct, and if you ask me... people clearly have such an emotional connection to [it] most of the time.
You are correct, S.O.S,

As you may have noted, on the bottom of p. 8, in that document, written this year, to which a link is here
http://wadeharvey.myqol.com/wadeharvey/ ... nce....pdf
this passage occurs:
A case can be made that selfishness is the root cause of all unjust action through the ages. Every crime and injustice has stemmed from selfishness to some extent (except may be in cases of utter madness.)

We are social creatures and being selfish is an impediment to living in society. Hence it is important not to confuse
self-interest with selfishness!

Ethics can teach us to put ourselves in perspective and thereby to live a better life.
So it turns out that you independently hit upon a crucial idea, namely that criminals (including hitmen and other murderers) are all unethical because they are selfish. For selfishness is the opposite of morality and living ethically.

Thanks for your kind words with regard to how the booklet made you think; and the good feeling that thinking hard brings about.

As to your second point, yes, it seems to be the case that most folks are very attached to their belief system, including their set of moral principles. They do have, as you observed, an emotional bias concerning their own views, bordering on dogmatism. Many have a need to be right ...and they think this means they have to make the other guy wrong ...if he has a different view of the matter. They can't allow for multiple perspectives; it seems to threaten their self-esteem. So they get defensive.

Comments? Questions? Additions?

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Sir-Sister-of-Suck
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Re: A discussion of the criteria you believe an ethical theory is supposed to have

Post by Sir-Sister-of-Suck » Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:10 am

prof wrote:
Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:44 pm
So it turns out that you independently hit upon a crucial idea, namely that criminals (including hitmen and other murderers) are all unethical because they are selfish. For selfishness is the opposite of morality and living ethically.
I actually wasn't saying that selfishness is necessarily immoral. In fact, in a very technical sense, I think selfishness is the root cause of every conscious action we make, because we can never do something that simultaneously goes against our will. Even in the good things we end up doing. If you decide to help someone, that's you wanting to get a good feeling about helping that person, or afraid you'll feel bad if you don't.

ForCruxSake
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Re: A discussion of the criteria you believe an ethical theory is supposed to have

Post by ForCruxSake » Fri Aug 04, 2017 3:48 am

Sir-Sister-of-Suck wrote:
Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:10 am
I actually wasn't saying that selfishness is necessarily immoral. In fact, in a very technical sense, I think selfishness is the root cause of every conscious action we make, because we can never do something that simultaneously goes against our will. Even in the good things we end up doing. If you decide to help someone, that's you wanting to get a good feeling about helping that person, or afraid you'll feel bad if you don't.
I remember when I was young, about 11 or 12, I'd take great pleasure in cleaning the entire kitchen, just to see the look on my mother's face when she returned home. Her joy gave me such pleasure... until I realised I was drawing more pleasure from it, than she was. I felt selfish, conflicted, and the guilt that followed made me stop. D'oh!

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Re: A discussion of the criteria you believe an ethical theory is supposed to have

Post by Sir-Sister-of-Suck » Fri Aug 04, 2017 5:55 am

ForCruxSake wrote:
Fri Aug 04, 2017 3:48 am
Sir-Sister-of-Suck wrote:
Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:10 am
I actually wasn't saying that selfishness is necessarily immoral. In fact, in a very technical sense, I think selfishness is the root cause of every conscious action we make, because we can never do something that simultaneously goes against our will. Even in the good things we end up doing. If you decide to help someone, that's you wanting to get a good feeling about helping that person, or afraid you'll feel bad if you don't.
I remember when I was young, about 11 or 12, I'd take great pleasure in cleaning the entire kitchen, just to see the look on my mother's face when she returned home. Her joy gave me such pleasure... until I realised I was drawing more pleasure from it, than she was. I felt selfish, conflicted, and the guilt that followed made me stop. D'oh!
A good example of what I'm talking about, except apply this to everything.

prof
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Re: A discussion of the criteria you believe an ethical theory is supposed to have

Post by prof » Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:39 pm

Sir-Sister-of-Suck wrote:
Fri Aug 04, 2017 12:10 am
prof wrote:
Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:44 pm
So it turns out that you independently hit upon a crucial idea, namely that criminals (including hitmen and other murderers) are all unethical because they are selfish. For selfishness is the opposite of morality and living ethically.
... I think selfishness is the root cause of every conscious action we make...
You are here failing to differentiate between the two concepts, self-interest, and selfishness.

To get a clear understanding of the difference, check out pp. 6-9 HERE:
http://wadeharvey.myqol.com/wadeharvey/ ... nce....pdf

In just a couple of pages it explains that those ideas are not the same, and should not be confused with one another!

Selfish people are NOT moral nor ethical. There is nothing wrong with self-interest, though - provided it is enlightened. The thesis of that book is that when you know what is in your true self-interest you will be ethical :!:

Then you will gain all the benefits that come with cooperation on shared goals, and that comes with creating value in your interactions with others. ...I suggest you study that book on how to live successfully; and later in life you will thank me for this friendly suggestion.


All feedback welcomed.

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Sir-Sister-of-Suck
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Re: A discussion of the criteria you believe an ethical theory is supposed to have

Post by Sir-Sister-of-Suck » Sun Aug 06, 2017 8:58 pm

While I get your desire to try and differentiate between self-interest and selfishness, I think the difference the mostly binary. Whether or not you help someone because it makes you feel good or you help someone only because you're getting something out of it, can be fit into an equation that doesn't really consider anything but your own benefit. It's just creating the illusion of a difference by ignoring the fact that your 'feel goods' is a value you're getting out of it.

I think you might be defining selfishness to be more than just an intent, though, but the actual results from an action. Where selfishness means "you gain and the other person loses". I was talking more about moral intent.

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Re: A discussion of the criteria you believe an ethical theory is supposed to have

Post by prof » Mon Aug 07, 2017 6:54 am

If you push to the head-of-the-line at a checkout counter, getting in front of those who were in line ahead of you, or if you grab the biggest slice of cake at a party before others have had a chance to select a slice, you are being selfish. If you take what doesn't belong to you (theft), or deprive someone else of what they have a right to, your are being selfish.

The opposite way of conducting yourself is to be considerate of others. That is the ethical way.

A third alternative is to give others a cold shoulder, to be indifferent to them, to ignore them. This will not 'grease the wheels' for human relations, for group living. We are creatures who are social.

A leading social-biologist, Richard Dawkins, in collaboration with philosophers, Robert Axelrod, Martin A. Nowak, Peter Singer, and others, have done research on how cooperation evolved.

See: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/gu ... cooperate/

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Evolu ... ooperation

See: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3279745/

The human species is no exception to what other animals learned: that it is better to cooperate than not to. We humans are all (distant or more-closely-related) cousins, since we are descended from a population on Earth that years ago was much, much smaller; so when we are altruistic, or share, or cooperate on a common goal, we are interrelating with our kin. We are literally one human family - although many of us lack awareness of this, or are ignorant, or simple, or stupid.
[Most think they are above average.... :wink: ]

To have enlightened self-interest is to know that ""what helps you, if it really helps you, helps me. We go up or down together." It also is wise to realize that we can create value or destroy it when we encounter another individual, and that creating value is better since we thereby gain more value in life, bringing us closer to a Quality Life, a life of well-being, a life in which we thrive. ...what Aristotle called eudemonia and arete.

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