Re: Why Be Moral?
Posted: Sat Mar 14, 2020 9:41 pm
No, It's just the opposite. Contingency is all about there being context for validation. You simply have this wrong.Immanuel Can
h, it's very simple. There's nothing behind them that justifies them. They're all merely arbitrary.
No, no. This was just a way to illustrate contingency. The idea is that contingent propositions are bound to other things; they are not stand alone.I don't want to go to jail in the US or the UK. But I also don't want to go to jail in Saudi or North Korea or Nazi Germany. But in the former, you might go for murder or theft, and the latter three you would go for dissidence, or for exercising free speech, or blasphemy, or being a Jew.
Morally, there's a world of difference. In the first two cases, I would presumably be worthy of being jailed. In the latter ones, my being jailed would be only a function of tyranny. And to pretend that's morally equivalent would be monstrous.
But no, it's not about screaming bloody hell. This is just an example of what it means to have a situation of contingency: such things as the conscience, negative consequences and so on are in the balance and judgment is weighed accordingly. Absolutes are not like this.That depends, doesn't it? I would have to think that what I was doing was wrong, and I would need reasons to believe it was.
It's not about the knife. The point is simply to illustrate contingency and how the terms good and bad apply according to context. It has nothing whatever to do with Macbeth or knives. These just serve to show something else. The "usability" just shows the contingency of the term 'sharp'. So it is with moral judgment: the value that may be in play changes in its being good or bad according to what the situation calls for. It's the same with, say, paper weight, which I may use to hold open the door. We may still call it a paper weight, but it no longer sits on paper. It is now a "good" door stop. See Stanley Fish's "Is There a Text in the Class" for a more elaborate accounting of this term 'contingency'.ou're missing the point, I fear.
The knife is not involved in morality in any way here, except as the chosen instrument of a human being, who is morally capable. "Usability" is not a moral quality.
And no, the issue is not about paper weights.
A dodge?? No, it's just an example of of a given. The idea is that in all we do, as entangled as things get, when you question to the very end of justification and motivation, you inevitably find yourself facing foundational value. Things good or bad in themselves, One cannot argue, for example, that being is love is a bad thing. Now, and you have to pay attention to this: we are talking here of love qua love, or pain qua pain; NOT as it may apply in an entangled situation with variables that valuatively arbitrary. Think, again, like Kant did with his examination of reason qua reason, the essence of judgment, thought. This took him AWAY from application and had nothing to do with incidentals. Saying love is bad is like saying good is bad. It is a contradiction, for love is inherently good ( AGAIN!: NOT good if one's daughter is in love with a serial killer, e.g...........And the issue here has nothing to do with serial killers).No, that's a dodge, a facile escape from the real question. (Side Note: I don't mean you are facile; I mean the answer isn't good, because it's far "too easy.")
If ethics were merely emotive, like "loving something," then we cannot possibly have obligation to do anything we don't "love" to do. But morality is inevitably about things we find difficult to do, but choose to do, so to speak, "on principle."
It is because stealing is so tempting that we have the injunction, "Thou shalt not steal." We have no injunction that reads, "Thou shalt not saw thy leg off," because no sane person ever wants to do that. When emotions and values align, morality doesn't even enter the question. We just do what we please.
I understand. This matter before us is unequivocally NOT about Shakespeare's Macbeth in any way beyond it serving as an example of contingency. If you wish to take issue with this, and how the application of the word 'sharp' is NOT contingent, then tell me.Hey, you picked it.
You should not steal in general because stealing undermines the intersubjective confidence built into the a society's integrity. What "good" is a society's integrity? Without this, we would have to live in the cynical suspicion that we could be robbed on a regular basis. What wrong with this cynical suspicion? It leads to fear, and a life that is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short” to quote Hobbes. What is wrong with this? Nasty is unpleasant, poor is without the means to be comfortable. And these? What is wrong with discomfort? It is analytically bad.No, I don't. That's facile again.
I want an explanation of why I should not steal, on occasions when everything within me wants to steal, and I'm really sure I can avoid getting caught. Because that's when morality comes into play. Nobody needs to give me any reasons not to do what I have absolutely no inclination to do anyway, because it will never happen.
At this point the matter has reached its end. Of course, and you have to pay attention to this: This does not mean that being uncomfortable cannot be contextualized as a bad thing, like my comfort lazing around vis a vis a starving child. This is what I have been trying to drive home: in this world we are entangled with affairs that obfuscate the essence of ethics (again, not unlike they way one's incidental affairs obfuscate the form of reason itself in the search for the essence of reason). These entanglements are problems for ethical reasoning. That is NOT what this is about. This is about metaethics, metavalue.
No, its not about working backwards. It is about a reduction. And there is no presumption. The proof is in the analytical residuum. Look closely at your finger in the flame. Again, you are being invited to give an honest assessment of the event before you. It is not a presumption. You should have this by now.That's phenomenological, alright, but it's also working backwards. And the problem with working backwards is that it presumes the legitimacy of the phenomenon observed, and then tries to explain how it comes about, rather than opening the question of the legitimacy of the phenomenon in the first place -- which is where moral considerations begin.
So a phenomenologist, if he's really a phenomenologist, would walk into a death camp and say, "I observe the phenomenon of dying people here. Let's accept that people die, and ask what sorts of regimes produce this outcome. Let's leave the metaethical question of the legitimacy of Nazi moral values aside...Nazis have values, and so do Jews. Let's just look at them all as phenomena."
Phenomenology will never teach us a thing about morality, because it operationally suspends the kinds of judgments necessary to arbitrate in a moral situation. It does not pass value judgments, far less justify any. Instead, it uses detachment, cold observation, recording and cataloguing of the phenomena. And this produces no moral clarity, even when it makes morality itself into the inert object of its study; for its methodology rules out the very subject matter it hopes to look at.
Phenomenology is not about these historical events. When I refer to the reduction I am referring to Husserl's phenomenological reduction in his Ideas I. I'm afraid you would have to read this to get it, so sorry about that. A good model is Kant and reason. What does he do with judgment? he removes the incidentals. Here, it is the same: it's not about Hitler or death camps.
Now this you should have gotten. Read it again.But then you immediately revert to saying, there IS no God, while dropping the inevitable logical consequence: that under those conditions, morality is no longer objective.
And so you have tea without a teabag.
o make that plausible, you'd have to produce the other teabag. And you haven't. You've only argued that in theory, and if conditions were other than they are, metaethics could conceivably be objective. You've done not a thing to show that, given the conditions of godlessness you insist pertain, the same is true.
At this point you need to step back and consider all that has been said. It has been quite clear.There it is: the phenomenological error.
It has to take for granted that whatever we've got, whatever is "phenomenologically evident" must also be legitimate. Not only DOES it exist, it OUGHT TO exist, assumes phenomenology.
And that's an error of amphiboly, of course, one that would make Hume turn over in his grave.
Hume needs to be put to rest on this. He arbitrarily dismissed value from fact, as did Wittgenstein. They are wrong on this. Granted, one t does not observe the badness of the spear in my kidney, one simply observes the pain. But the badness is far and away the most salient feature.
It is not about moral thinking, but metaethical reduction. Nor is it about beliefs, any more than Kant's Critique is about what anyone believes reason to be essentially. It is about analysis of ethical issues to discover their essence. The phenomenological reduction, and you can read about this online without having to read Husserl's onerous text, is a method for doing this. There is a reluctance on your part to see this for what it is. Just observe the conditions of an ethical matter: You are obliged to serve in the military, but your conscience says no. What is it at root about this kind of thing that makes the matter important at all? It goes beyond explanations of institutions, religious belief and the rest; these are incidental to our question. But there, embedded in competition of obligations, is what is put at risk, and the at risks of ethics is value. It is not about WHAT is valued, but value as such: the good or bad that all things ethical are phenomenologically/ontologically reducible to.I think I see the basic category error you might be making here. It's to equate the claim "(something known as) morality objectively exists," with the claim "objective morality exists."
In other words, the objective fact that human beings happen to indulge in a phenomenon called "moral thinking" does not remotely suggest that their thinking is objectively true, good or right. Even their universal belief in "objective truth" wouldn't be sufficient to make that belief "objectively true."
You're getting warm. To think ethically is NOT to think metaethically. So when you're considering what good it would do to give to UNICEF, or whatever, you stop and ask: I wonder what goodness is in itself. This is the question before us. So yes, stop thinking morally. This is not about what to do.Remove presuppositions". There it is again. In the case of morality, it means, "Look at morality without thinking morally."
The validation is in the analysis of the substance of the ethical situation. Per above.t does. In just this way:
Above, I see the phenomenon of a claim. Indeed so. And yes, I do observe that you've not validated it. Indeed so.
But the obvious conclusion has to be that your claim either lacks validation (at the moment) or perhaps even is not capable of validation by anyone. Either would be a problem.