Why hasn't Ethics made more progress in today's world?

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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prof
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Why hasn't Ethics made more progress in today's world?

Post by prof » Tue Feb 17, 2015 7:10 am

Much of what holds us back is our inability to give up past ways of doing things to consider new approaches. It all starts with an alert and questioning mind. In ETHICS AS SCIENCE, in ETHICS: A College Course, in A Unified Theory of Ethics, and in BASIC ETHICS; A Systematic Approach, Dr. M.C. Katz has proposed a new paradigm for Ethics, which – rather than compete with other theories – absorbs them into itself, integrates the best ideas it can discern from other theories of ethics into a synthesis which constitutes this new paradigm.

For example, the language that follows may be a way to talk about The Inclusivity Principle with people, be they philosophers or laymen, so that they will grasp it, and understand it.

“Let me introduce you to the concept: “zone of concern.” It starts with our own self. It extends to our inner circle of family, close friends and loved ones; then to our office mates, neighbors and acquaintances. Then we may extend it to strangers, if we have developed our character enough to be able to do that. A "great soul" will easily extend it to include the human family in its entirety. A narrow-minded constipated soul will have a small circle as their zone of concern, a circle with a short, stunted and blunted diameter.

It starts with oneself in the center of the zone. Most of the work has to be done here. Only when we have a better understanding do we get to expand the Zone.

So to the question, "Who is our neighbor?" becomes: Who is in our zone of concern?”


Comments? Questions? Improvements?
Last edited by prof on Fri Feb 20, 2015 8:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

mickthinks
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Re: WHY HASN’T ETHICS MADE MORE PROGRESS IN TODAY’S WORLD?

Post by mickthinks » Tue Feb 17, 2015 10:35 am

I have a question, prof.

WHY DO YOU SHOUT YOUR SUBJECT HEADING AT US IN UPPERCASE? IS IT BECAUSE YOU THINK YOUR TOPICS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN OTHER PEOPLE'S AND NEED MORE ATTENTION?

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GreatandWiseTrixie
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Re: WHY HASN’T ETHICS MADE MORE PROGRESS IN TODAY’S WORLD?

Post by GreatandWiseTrixie » Tue Feb 17, 2015 5:32 pm

prof wrote:Much of what holds us back is our inability to give up past ways of doing things to consider new approaches. It all starts with an alert and questioning mind. In ETHICS AS SCIENCE, in ETHICS: A College Course, in A Unified Theory of Ethics, and in BASIC ETHICS; A Systematic Approach, Dr. M.C. Katz has proposed a new paradigm for Ethics, which – rather than compete with other theories – absorbs them into itself, integrates the best ideas it can discern from other theories of ethics into a synthesis which constitutes this new paradigm.

For example, the language that follows may be a way to talk about The Inclusivity Principle with people, be they philosophers or laymen, so that they will grasp it, and understand it.

“Let me introduce you to the concept: “zone of concern.” It starts with our own self. It extends to our inner circle of family, close friends and loved ones; then to our office mates, neighbors and acquaintances. Then we may extend it to strangers, if we have developed our character enough to be able to do that. A "great soul" will easily extend it to include the human family in its entirety. A narrow-minded constipated soul will have a small circle as their zone of concern, a circle with a short, stunted and blunted diameter.

It starts with oneself in the center of the zone. Most of the work has to be done here. Only when we have a better understanding do we get to expand the Zone.

So to the question, "Who is our neighbor?" becomes: Who is in our zone of concern?”


Comments? Questions? Improvements?
I'll tell you why. Soon as I get a bite to eat, and then take a nap, that is. That is, if I still remember after I wake up, or play some games. And then if I'm not too busy, I might talk about ethics with you.

prof
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Re: WHY HASN’T ETHICS MADE MORE PROGRESS IN TODAY’S WORLD?

Post by prof » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:06 pm

mickthinks wrote:I have a question, prof.

WHY DO YOU SHOUT YOUR SUBJECT HEADING AT US IN UPPERCASE? IS IT BECAUSE YOU THINK YOUR TOPICS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN OTHER PEOPLE'S AND NEED MORE ATTENTION?
If you go here, viewforum.php?f=8 - and also go to the next page which follows after that one -those pages which list my thread titles and links to them - you will note that of my 563 posts here, I have done that UPPER-CASE CAPS thing only 12 times ...a small proportion.

I will be more careful in the future now that I know it offends you, mick, and - if I remember (since I am an absent-minded professor) I will avoid that "shouting." Sometimes I use caps to emphasize a point. Mostly it was because the subject was a title of an essay in a headline, and I just carried it over. Also I have weak eyes, and large print helps me see. No implication that my topics are more important than other people's topics is intended.

As to the relevance of my entries to Ethical Theory, I leave that up to you. What do you think about the content, the subject matter? Is it important? That is for you to judge.

Can you make use of any of the ideas? Do any of the concepts offered have merit? It would be great if you could take one of the ideas offered and run with it! Build on a concept and upgrade it to a higher level; that would be beneficial for the human species and for the advancement of human knowledge.

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Bill Wiltrack
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Re: WHY HASN’T ETHICS MADE MORE PROGRESS IN TODAY’S WORLD?

Post by Bill Wiltrack » Wed Feb 18, 2015 9:32 pm

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GreatandWiseTrixie
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Re: WHY HASN’T ETHICS MADE MORE PROGRESS IN TODAY’S WORLD?

Post by GreatandWiseTrixie » Wed Feb 18, 2015 10:09 pm

Ignoring's Bill pointless and obnoxious comment, I made a video for you prof. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_p__K42xs_Y

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Re: WHY HASN’T ETHICS MADE MORE PROGRESS IN TODAY’S WORLD?

Post by mickthinks » Thu Feb 19, 2015 12:18 am

prof wrote:Sometimes I use caps to emphasize a point.
Dude, the subject is already emphasised over the content of posts, so the only reason for adding even more emphasis is to raise your 'voice' over the other members. I hope that once you see that, you'll remember why using all-caps is a bit rude.

I've another question: your subject header talks about progress as if ethics were a project with an identifiable path towards a planned goal. How are you measuring the progress, or lack of it, and what makes you think everyone else will recognise your authority to decide the issue?

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Re: WHY HASN’T ETHICS MADE MORE PROGRESS IN TODAY’S WORLD?

Post by prof » Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:31 pm

It is generally agreed among ethical theorists that we ought to concentrate on becoming a good person, ethically speaking. This means we would think about our obligations and about the consequences of our actions; and about making things morally better.

Ethics, as science, is a project with an identifiable path towards a planned goal. The goal is to gain more insight, to accumulate valuable knowledge, to define ethical terms with more exactitude, to relate these terms to each other, to make predictions such as, for example, if a child is reared in a way where that child is given choices, asked questions, has autonomy recognized, then he or she is more likely to turn out to be a morally-sensitive person than one who was not asked to choose his own path. A morally-sensitive person displays ethical conduct.

I have no authority to decide the issue, and never claimed to have. I defer to the authority of science, a field in which every statement is tentative, dated, and indexed - subject to revision if improved models come along. The project is to make a science out of Ethics. The work of Dr. Katz has made a start, if a feeble one, so it is up to you to carry this along, to upgrade it, to construct it. The project is 'under construction,' as you would learn if you had read the references offered above and also in earlier threads arrived at by clicking on the link given. See: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=13302 - a thread which Blaggard implied is noncontroversial.
Also see its sequel here: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=13696
And see some of the implications of ethical knowledge here: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=10117 and here: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=9512


Open for comment......

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Immanuel Can
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Re: WHY HASN’T ETHICS MADE MORE PROGRESS IN TODAY’S WORLD?

Post by Immanuel Can » Thu Feb 19, 2015 8:48 pm

Ethics has made no progress because it cannot even agree on the most fundamental questions, such as the nature and authoritative weight of different value judgments. In the last three centuries, it has been unable to decide between issues of action and issues of character, between deontological imperatives and consequentialist ones, or between ethics of action or of rule. And it does not even admit of consensus about the basic arbiter or authority behind ethics, so there is no agreed-upon court of appeal for decisions.

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Re: WHY HASN’T ETHICS MADE MORE PROGRESS IN TODAY’S WORLD?

Post by Arising_uk » Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:30 am

Immanuel Can wrote:... so there is no agreed-upon court of appeal for decisions.
Such as?

There are quite a few courts to call upon with respect to ethical decisions.

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Immanuel Can
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Re: WHY HASN’T ETHICS MADE MORE PROGRESS IN TODAY’S WORLD?

Post by Immanuel Can » Fri Feb 20, 2015 5:40 am

Such as?
No problem.

Note the important adjective: "agreed upon." There is not general agreement on which place has the right to dictate morality, or why. Is the the clergy, the legal system, the individual, the UN, the nation, the voting public, aggrieved minorities, ethics scholars...or what?

Some other examples.

Two people -- one believes in consequentialism, another in deontology. Their views rationalize opposite actions. Who's right, and who says they are?

Two more people. One says "right actions" determine morality. Another says it's not actions but "good character" that determines morality. Who's right, and who says?

Two nations. In one, women are property of husbands or other male relatives, and are sliced up by witch doctors in ritual ceremonies. In another, they are free individuals. Which nation is right? Who says?

Two more nations. One says individual rights rule. Another says the collective good overrules individual rights. Who's right, and how do we know? Where's the power to make it stick, once we decide?

Four types of consequentialists. One says individuals have to do the right actions to maximize the chances of consequence X. Another says we can't know what consequences will follow for sure from any action, so instead we should go for social rules that *may* maximize consequence X. A third says, consequence Y is better than consequence X, so we should aim for that instead. A fourth is a pragmatist, and says no rules are binding, no actions are inherently immoral or moral, and all consequentialist goals should be kept as moving targets only: what "works" temporarily is the best we can do, so X and Y should be dropped as goals, and Z should be held only for now, then change to A, B, or C when the need arises. Which one is the authentically moral option? How do you know? And who says?

All these examples really exist. So who has the moral authority and right to sort this mess out? Which one of these incompatible "ethics" perspectives wins, and gets to overrule the rest?

Where's the court that says which one of the deontologists, the consequentialists, the virtue ethicists, the pragmatists or any one of the innumerable, incommensurable religious and ideological ethics should be the master system that dictates to the rest?

prof
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Re: WHY HASN’T ETHICS MADE MORE PROGRESS IN TODAY’S WORLD?

Post by prof » Fri Feb 20, 2015 8:22 am

It is because of all the problem-filled discussion that Immanuel shares with us, that I proposed a new paradigm for Ethics, which – rather than compete with other theories – absorbs them into itself, integrates the best ideas it can discern from other theories of ethics into a synthesis which constitutes this new paradigm. It is a model, a framework, a guide to thinking - akin perhaps to the early model for the atom that was proposed when Quantum Theory was very young.

The first model was later superseded by a better one. This is likely to occur in Ethics too. [So far, in my model, very few key ethical terms are rigorously defined, and even fewer are precisely-related each to each other.

There exists an extensively validated objective test of (an individual's) values and moral priorities, a test which is at one and the same time also projective. It is objective in the sense that its scores are statistics, and various person's or teams' scores can be compared by testers, consultants and value-scientists, and useful conclusions drawn. The test can be, and has been, used as a self-development tool, as a management tool, or as a diagnostic tool by psychiatrists. It measures (among dozens of other qualities) Empathy; hence its results are highly-relevant to ethics.

To anyone intimately-familiar with the history of science, a logical framework and a measuring device are the potential makings of a new science. For example, stoichiometry in early Chemistry.

While, relatively speaking, nothing is settled in science it does - justifiably - serve as a voice that is a little bit more authoritative than mere opinions.

Open for comments........

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Why hasn't Ethics made more progress in today's world?

Post by Immanuel Can » Fri Feb 20, 2015 1:27 pm

I proposed a new paradigm for Ethics, which – rather than compete with other theories – absorbs them into itself, integrates the best ideas it can discern from other theories of ethics into a synthesis which constitutes this new paradigm. It is a model, a framework, a guide to thinking - akin perhaps to the early model for the atom that was proposed when Quantum Theory was very young.
Perhaps you'd best explain, then, how your ethical theory addresses any of the questions I listed...for I cannot see any way it does. It also lacks any authority basis.

Please elucidate: by what sort of authority do you impose your ethic, and what compels us to believe in it?

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Re: Why hasn't Ethics made more progress in today's world?

Post by sjeff70 » Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:27 pm

You could be an example of 'good' ethics. But 'trying' to be ethical is a neurosis.

You cannot change others or their opinions, people have to come to a realization. You can only change yourself: rather than covering up the whole surface of the earth with leather, one can just cover up the soles of one’s feet by wearing leather sandals. Meditation is the only way to do that, through realization (which precludes 'trying').

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Why hasn't Ethics made more progress in today's world?

Post by Immanuel Can » Fri Feb 20, 2015 4:29 pm

You cannot change others or their opinions, people have to come to a realization. You can only change yourself: rather than covering up the whole surface of the earth with leather, one can just cover up the soles of one’s feet by wearing leather sandals. Meditation is the only way to do that, through realization (which precludes 'trying').
If I take your seriously here, then yours is merely a counsel of quietism and resignation to futility. It's nothing more than amoral solipsism.

I say this not because I find it personally frightening or unsettling in some way (I would say "trivial" is a better adjective for it), but because your alleged "ethic" is useless for any society, or any situation at all in which two person are involved -- which is to say, useless for all the situations in which "ethics" are useful at all. For there is no ethical question in a one-person world; ethics comes online only when there is some other person or people in view, and thus we can ask about what we might "owe" them and they might "owe" us to do.

In other words, you haven't "solved" the problems of ethics: you've simply run from them all by trying to deny that they exist. And that "trying" is truly, as you say, "neurotic."

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