Why Be Moral?

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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Immanuel Can
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Re: Why Be Moral?

Post by Immanuel Can » Fri Mar 13, 2020 4:29 pm

RCSaunders wrote:
Fri Mar 13, 2020 3:53 pm
Why would anyone choose anything if they believed it would deprive them of what they wanted?
Actually, we human beings do that quite a bit. That's because there's a different between proximal and distant "goods."

Let us take an example.

I know that lying to my wife is bad -- it will harm our relationship, make me a bad person, and put us both into a mode of discourse in which we are deprived of access to reality relative to each other. Bad, bad, bad.

But my wife asks me, "Do you like this new dress."

No, I don't. It looks like an explosion in a toilet paper factory, and is an entirely unflattering garment in every possible way. And if I can see that, so will others. But her eyes are shining, and she seems thrilled with her purchase, and anything I say about the dress will all too easily transfer into a criticism of her person or her taste...the easiest way out consists in me lying to her, or at least evading the truth cleverly.

So what do I do? I do want a good and honest relationship with my wife. I know that lying will damage that, and is not the route to get me there. But I also want not to create a conflict, or to seem mean, or to spoil her moment of happiness with her new purchase...

So for many people, the answer would have to be, "Lie now, and feign ignorance later." You won't damage your relationship with your wife (too much), and you'll avoid an uncomfortable situation now.

But what happened to my commitment to realism, and to truth?

Nick_A
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Re: Why Be Moral?

Post by Nick_A » Fri Mar 13, 2020 4:32 pm

RCSaunders wrote:
Fri Mar 13, 2020 2:20 pm
Nick_A wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 5:18 am
=RCSaunders post_id=446250 time=1583953415 user_id=16196]
While philosophers debate what morals or ethical principles are, or if morality is objective or subjective, the one question that is carefully evaded is:

Why should anyone observe any moral standards?

The possibility of moral principles assumes individuals a have choice about how they behave. If human behavior were determined by something other than individual choice, whether there were moral principles or not would not matter, since no one could choose either to observe or evade them.

If there really are moral principles, however, then one must choose to either conform to those principle or defy them. The question is, even if there are moral principles, why should anyone bother with them? What difference does it make if someone lives morally or not?



Man made morality is relative. Collectives invent their own morality to assist their acquired psychology
1943
"No matter how idealistic and necessary a group is, each member must first be loyal to his conscience.” Albert Einstein, in Einstein and the Poet – In Search of the Cosmic Man by William Hermanns (Branden Press, 1983, p. 73. – conversation in August 1943)
1954
“We will be destroyed unless we create a cosmic conscience. And we have to begin to do that on an individual level, with the youth that are the politicians of tomorrow…. But no one, and certainly no state, can take over the responsibility that the individual has to his conscience.” Albert Einstein, in Einstein and the Poet – In Search of the Cosmic Man by William Hermanns (Branden Press, 1983, p. 141. Conversation in Summer of 1954)
Objective conscience is a universal principle a person can remember. You have to decide if it is worth making the sincere efforts necessary for remembering or continually debating man made morality.
I may be missing your point here, Nick, but I do not see how your description of, "objective conscience," as the basis of moral principle answers the question of why anyone should observe those principles even if true.
Intellectual consciousness enables us to experience facts and how they interact. Conscience works in the same way. It is what enable us to experience universal values which support consciousness. We use objective facts but have become incapable of receiving objective values. It is the human condition.

Understanding why people pursue science is normal yet for some reason the need to experience objective values through conscience seems odd because our emotions have become corrupted so it is denied. Yet some are drawn to experience objective values through their conscience as Einstein described. For a society to remain free it needs an agreed upon balance of objective facts and values. It is rejected so the future cannot look promising.

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RCSaunders
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Re: Why Be Moral?

Post by RCSaunders » Fri Mar 13, 2020 4:57 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Mar 13, 2020 4:29 pm
RCSaunders wrote:
Fri Mar 13, 2020 3:53 pm
Why would anyone choose anything if they believed it would deprive them of what they wanted?
Actually, we human beings do that quite a bit. That's because there's a different between proximal and distant "goods."

Let us take an example.

I know that lying to my wife is bad -- it will harm our relationship, make me a bad person, and put us both into a mode of discourse in which we are deprived of access to reality relative to each other. Bad, bad, bad.

But my wife asks me, "Do you like this new dress."

No, I don't. It looks like an explosion in a toilet paper factory, and is an entirely unflattering garment in every possible way. And if I can see that, so will others. But her eyes are shining, and she seems thrilled with her purchase, and anything I say about the dress will all too easily transfer into a criticism of her person or her taste...the easiest way out consists in me lying to her, or at least evading the truth cleverly.

So what do I do? I do want a good and honest relationship with my wife. I know that lying will damage that, and is not the route to get me there. But I also want not to create a conflict, or to seem mean, or to spoil her moment of happiness with her new purchase...

So for many people, the answer would have to be, "Lie now, and feign ignorance later." You won't damage your relationship with your wife (too much), and you'll avoid an uncomfortable situation now.

But what happened to my commitment to realism, and to truth?
I would never lie to my wife, or anyone else, because I cannot seek anything by faking reality. Nobody's, "feelings," one's own or anyone else's, are ever a reason for making a decision. But your hypothetical case is absurd. Fashion and taste are entirely subjective and, quite frankly, I have no opinion about others', only my own. My wife would be beautiful to me in a burlap sack.

And none of this has to do with the original question.

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Why Be Moral?

Post by Immanuel Can » Fri Mar 13, 2020 4:59 pm

RCSaunders wrote:
Fri Mar 13, 2020 4:57 pm
I would never lie to my wife, or anyone else.
You've never lied?

Or do you just mean, "At present and going forward, I don't intend to lie..."

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Re: Why Be Moral?

Post by RCSaunders » Fri Mar 13, 2020 5:11 pm

odysseus wrote:
Fri Mar 13, 2020 4:15 pm
... Wittgenstein ...

Value is not a contingent matter; it is absolute. This is a thesis that can be elaborated on, but it depends on if you are interested enough in the thing you seek: an absolute basis for moral obligation that is grounded in the world and not dogmatically. Let me know.
I'll let you know later when I make my general response to all these comments.

For now, I'll only say I regard Wittgenstein and all the logical positivists as near idiots who have done unforgivable damage to the field of philosophy. All values are relative attributes. Nothing is inherently good, bad, right or wrong. Before there can be a value, there must first be some objective, purpose, end or goal relative to which a thing is good, bad, right, or wrong.

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Why Be Moral?

Post by Immanuel Can » Fri Mar 13, 2020 5:19 pm

RCSaunders wrote:
Fri Mar 13, 2020 5:11 pm
Before there can be a value, there must first be some objective, purpose, end or goal relative to which a thing is good, bad, right, or wrong.
Right. That's good. I agree.

But there's a difference between "valuing" something, and a thing that has "value."

For example, some people prize very highly the idea of racial purity. They are "valuing" it. But I don't think any of us would be happy to say that racial purity was an inherently valuable commodity.

So a thing doesn't become intrinsically valuable merely because someone values it. Rather, we can see that people can be valuing non-valuable things.

Not all "objectives, purposes ends or goals" are legitimate. Racial purification is not a legitimate activity, and racial purity is not a legitimate goal. So the goal itself, the end toward which the moral behaviour tends, the purpose to be achieved, and the objective being sought needs to be right.

And, we might well ask, how do we assess that? If the goal gives us the answer to "why be moral," how to we test the quality of the goal? It's certainly not the case that any old "goal" will do.

Nick_A
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Re: Why Be Moral?

Post by Nick_A » Fri Mar 13, 2020 6:19 pm

RC
Before there can be a value, there must first be some objective, purpose, end or goal relative to which a thing is good, bad, right, or wrong.
Group minds with the greatest prestige are the decision makers deciding objective purpose for humanity. opposing them for the sake of truth and not furthering a man made agenda is an unforgivable sin which will will even get you killed. Hell hath no fury like an expert scorned

odysseus
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Re: Why Be Moral?

Post by odysseus » Fri Mar 13, 2020 6:51 pm

RCSaunders
I'll let you know later when I make my general response to all these comments.

For now, I'll only say I regard Wittgenstein and all the logical positivists as near idiots who have done unforgivable damage to the field of philosophy. All values are relative attributes. Nothing is inherently good, bad, right or wrong. Before there can be a value, there must first be some objective, purpose, end or goal relative to which a thing is good, bad, right, or wrong.
Don't dismiss Wittgenstein, regardless of how much damage you think he's has done. He was right about ethics, though, I do take issue with how dismissive he was to discussing metaethics.

And regarding the end or goal, etc.,these presuppose the very thing you want to understand, which is exactly WHAT it is that makes ethics,well, ethical. Having a goal presupposes desire, caring, and so forth; what are these? they are about something. What is this? You haven't gotten to the basic questions. What you seek is ontology, ethical ontology, and the question of justification always turns here.
At any rate, looking forward your your response.

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Re: Why Be Moral?

Post by RCSaunders » Fri Mar 13, 2020 7:54 pm

odysseus wrote:
Fri Mar 13, 2020 6:51 pm
RCSaunders
I'll let you know later when I make my general response to all these comments.

For now, I'll only say I regard Wittgenstein and all the logical positivists as near idiots who have done unforgivable damage to the field of philosophy. All values are relative attributes. Nothing is inherently good, bad, right or wrong. Before there can be a value, there must first be some objective, purpose, end or goal relative to which a thing is good, bad, right, or wrong.
Don't dismiss Wittgenstein, regardless of how much damage you think he's has done. He was right about ethics, though, I do take issue with how dismissive he was to discussing metaethics.

And regarding the end or goal, etc.,these presuppose the very thing you want to understand, which is exactly WHAT it is that makes ethics,well, ethical. Having a goal presupposes desire, caring, and so forth; what are these? they are about something. What is this? You haven't gotten to the basic questions. What you seek is ontology, ethical ontology, and the question of justification always turns here.
At any rate, looking forward your your response.
"And regarding the end or goal, etc.,these presuppose the very thing you want to understand, which is exactly WHAT it is that makes ethics,well, ethical." That is definitly not the question I asked. The question is, why should anybody behave ethically, even if they know, exactly what ethics is? Suppose you are able to explain exactly what ethics is to someone, how do you answer their question, "So what!? Why should I do that?"

odysseus
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Re: Why Be Moral?

Post by odysseus » Fri Mar 13, 2020 9:45 pm

"And regarding the end or goal, etc.,these presuppose the very thing you want to understand, which is exactly WHAT it is that makes ethics,well, ethical." That is definitly not the question I asked. The question is, why should anybody behave ethically, even if they know, exactly what ethics is? Suppose you are able to explain exactly what ethics is to someone, how do you answer their question, "So what!? Why should I do that?"
If I told you, because God said so you would laugh, as would I. But, if I gave you the supposition, the assumption that God said so, the affair would be entirely different, because you would be logically bound to the assumption. This is the way absolutes work. You can ASK why should I do X, but the answer is already answered, for an indefeasable moral authority has made the matter closed ( I mean, once you assume something, your logic is bound to it, whether you actually believe it or not). You still can choose to disobey, but that's not the point.

Here, I am simply using God to illustrate what an absolute would be regarding a coercive moral obligation. Remove God, the myth, the fiction, and take the moral absolute as a concept for moral indefeasablity. Is there anything in the world of our affairs that possesses this absolute, that would otherwise issue from God, something that has this same moral authority, AS IF there were a God, but then, without God?

Such an affirmation to this is moral realism, which I defend. I follow Moore (who did not defend absolutism in ethics,as I know; not the point, I follow his judgment that ethics presents a non natural property) and others: the proof is in the pudding, if you will. Put the lighted match to your finger--does this not possess the moral authority, inherently, that prohibits? Of course this is not the full argument. I can give it now or later as you wish. It is an argument that distinguishes contingent from non contingent good and bads.

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Re: Why Be Moral?

Post by Age » Fri Mar 13, 2020 10:08 pm

odysseus wrote:
Fri Mar 13, 2020 9:45 pm
"And regarding the end or goal, etc.,these presuppose the very thing you want to understand, which is exactly WHAT it is that makes ethics,well, ethical." That is definitly not the question I asked. The question is, why should anybody behave ethically, even if they know, exactly what ethics is? Suppose you are able to explain exactly what ethics is to someone, how do you answer their question, "So what!? Why should I do that?"
If I told you, because God said so you would laugh, as would I. But, if I gave you the supposition, the assumption that God said so, the affair would be entirely different, because you would be logically bound to the assumption. This is the way absolutes work. You can ASK why should I do X, but the answer is already answered, for an indefeasable moral authority has made the matter closed ( I mean, once you assume something, your logic is bound to it, whether you actually believe it or not). You still can choose to disobey, but that's not the point.

Here, I am simply using God to illustrate what an absolute would be regarding a coercive moral obligation. Remove God, the myth, the fiction, and take the moral absolute as a concept for moral indefeasablity. Is there anything in the world of our affairs that possesses this absolute, that would otherwise issue from God, something that has this same moral authority, AS IF there were a God, but then, without God?
Yes.
odysseus wrote:
Fri Mar 13, 2020 9:45 pm
Such an affirmation to this is moral realism, which I defend. I follow Moore (who did not defend absolutism in ethics,as I know; not the point, I follow his judgment that ethics presents a non natural property) and others: the proof is in the pudding, if you will. Put the lighted match to your finger--does this not possess the moral authority, inherently, that prohibits? Of course this is not the full argument. I can give it now or later as you wish. It is an argument that distinguishes contingent from non contingent good and bads.

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Why Be Moral?

Post by Immanuel Can » Fri Mar 13, 2020 11:34 pm

odysseus wrote:
Fri Mar 13, 2020 9:45 pm
Remove God... Is there anything in the world of our affairs that possesses this absolute, that would otherwise issue from God, something that has this same moral authority, AS IF there were a God, but then, without God?

Such an affirmation to this is moral realism, which I defend.
And it would need a defense. It would really need it.

It would need much more than saying, "I defend moral realism." Because barring an actual defense, "I defend" again means only "I defend...but no one else has any reason/obligation to." :shock:

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bahman
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Re: Why Be Moral?

Post by bahman » Fri Mar 13, 2020 11:59 pm

Why be moral? Because otherwise, the government will punish you. So you are basically afraid of the society who is blindly making the rules.

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Immanuel Can
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Re: Why Be Moral?

Post by Immanuel Can » Sat Mar 14, 2020 1:42 am

bahman wrote:
Fri Mar 13, 2020 11:59 pm
Why be moral? Because otherwise, the government will punish you. So you are basically afraid of the society who is blindly making the rules.
So the rules are, you say, "blind." But they're "moral" too, you say.

And the government makes them stick by means of a threat of force, not rationality or moral justification, so you act out of being "afraid" of being "punished," not out of any sense of rightness.

And governments must all be "moral," regardless of their differing natures, because anything the government "punishes" you for is that which is not "moral".

Well, I'm not seeing a lot of logic there.

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bahman
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Re: Why Be Moral?

Post by bahman » Sat Mar 14, 2020 2:07 am

Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Mar 14, 2020 1:42 am
bahman wrote:
Fri Mar 13, 2020 11:59 pm
Why be moral? Because otherwise, the government will punish you. So you are basically afraid of the society who is blindly making the rules.
So the rules are, you say, "blind." But they're "moral" too, you say.
Yeah. It is blind since any law which is agreed in any society is the result of what the nature of the majority is. The majority dictates, even if it is cannibalism.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Mar 14, 2020 1:42 am
And the government makes them stick by means of a threat of force, not rationality or moral justification, so you act out of being "afraid" of being "punished," not out of any sense of rightness.
The government is a part of any modern social system but yet they follow what the majority ask for. They couldn't simply get the power unless they lie to people.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Mar 14, 2020 1:42 am
And governments must all be "moral," regardless of their differing natures, because anything the government "punishes" you for is that which is not "moral".
Yes, I get punished if I do something which the majority does not consider as moral.
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sat Mar 14, 2020 1:42 am
Well, I'm not seeing a lot of logic there.
The logic is just there.

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