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Morality Isn’t Real

 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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28 February 2018 18:33
 
Chaz - 28 February 2018 05:57 PM

There’s nothing wrong with my initial post on this topic. I stated my thought and left it open for discussion. It’s not self defeating just because you don’t understand properly.. I’ve read every comment on here and most of them refute what I said while proving my point

Well, since everything is under control I will graciously bid you good day then.

 
Cheshire Cat
 
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Cheshire Cat
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28 February 2018 20:25
 
Chaz - 28 February 2018 03:47 PM

I think you missed the part at the beginning where I said its compassion broadened. Animals have compassion not only for their offspring but also for the ones they group with. Also that quote from Jesus isn’t rational. If you treated people the way you want to be treated, you’ll end up as a rug with people walking all over you, and when someone treats you in way that you don’t like wouldn’t that be them showing you how to treat them?

In all honesty, I think removing feelings such as compassion from morality isn’t possible. We are not disembodied minds living in some abstract realm, we are thinking and feeling beings, the product of millions of years of evolution and certain behaviors have helped us survive, including the basket of general rules we call “morality.”

Religions created the first formalized set of rules about how one should behave. With this in mind, I cannot think of a single religion that does not believe that one should not lie, that one should not steal, that one should not take life unnecessarily, and that one should refrain from inappropriate sexual behavior. And these rules generally apply to complete strangers. I would say that what I have been referring to as the golden rule, seems to roll all of the above rules into one more encompassing thought.

Brick Bungalow - 28 February 2018 05:15 PM

Things like the golden rule and other common axioms are great but they are also, in a sense trivial. They are (mostly) uncontroversial. They are broad and general in scope. Because of this they really don’t delve into the challenges presented by measuring ones moral compass against the real world. They solve issues of mental illness or criminality.

Can I ask again, do you subscribe to moral realism or the idea that moral claims can be true in the same sense that factual claims can be true?

I don’t think the “Golden Rule” is trivial. Perhaps it is uncontroversial because it is the bedrock from which our species has managed to survive and it is also the basis for religious morality. It is ubiquitous.

As far as your last sentence is concerned, our civilized world of nations and governments is too complex for a simple morality to apply anymore; this is why we have developed law. Each society takes it’s moral questions and concerns about human behavior, then, in a case by case basis, encodes detailed rules for everyone to live by. I think it’s the best we can do, but it will never be perfect.

 
 
Chaz
 
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Chaz
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01 March 2018 08:31
 
NL. - 28 February 2018 06:14 PM

Well done. However, I understand that by my own definition of real, compassion can be on the list of things that exist, but aren’t real. I include compassion on my list of what’s real, because it’s not based on opinion.

I posted this thread in search of boredom killing, and it’s done well. My full stance on morality not being real, is hard to articulate, but I’ll try.

What I mean by real, is based on facts and opinions, but I leave room for things to be real if they aren’t based on opinion, and change from person to person. What you have compassion for changes, but it doesn’t change itself. I also separate what’s real from what exists. Morality exists, but it’s not real, because the definition of right and wrong is subject to the individual. Suicide bombing is wrong to us, but right to the people who do it. That’s a vast difference, but compassion is in both sides.

 
Chaz
 
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01 March 2018 08:40
 
Cheshire Cat - 28 February 2018 08:25 PM

I’m not removing feelings from morality, I’m saying morality is based on feelings, and opinions, which aren’t concrete across cultures, or civilization. Morality isn’t real because moral facts don’t exist.

 
sojourner
 
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01 March 2018 09:12
 
Chaz - 01 March 2018 08:31 AM
NL. - 28 February 2018 06:14 PM

Well done. However, I understand that by my own definition of real, compassion can be on the list of things that exist, but aren’t real. I include compassion on my list of what’s real, because it’s not based on opinion.

I posted this thread in search of boredom killing, and it’s done well. My full stance on morality not being real, is hard to articulate, but I’ll try.

What I mean by real, is based on facts and opinions, but I leave room for things to be real if they aren’t based on opinion, and change from person to person. What you have compassion for changes, but it doesn’t change itself. I also separate what’s real from what exists. Morality exists, but it’s not real, because the definition of right and wrong is subject to the individual. Suicide bombing is wrong to us, but right to the people who do it. That’s a vast difference, but compassion is in both sides.


The specifics of who or what you feel compassion for changes among people. The specifics of what you think is moral changes among people. For compassion to be categorically different in the way you describe, I think you’d need to show that some significant percentage of people feel no moral impulses at all (above and beyond the hypothetical percentage of people who feel no compassion at all.) Otherwise, they’re both fairly ubiquitous subjective states with different specifics involved.


Fwiw, I think the only headway philosophy has made in developing a ‘logical’ case for morality is self interest. Some people will take this to a fairly superficial level so that ‘morality’ sounds like ‘enlightened sociopathy’, to my mind - a case that I think is at least logically coherent if not subjectively appealing. I think that, depending on what you posit to be the nature of human minds and relationships to one another, you can take this idea a good bit further. I.e.:


- If there is some self evident ‘greatest good’ state that is possible in any sentient mind, that tracks with traditionally ‘moral’ acts such as expanding one’s circle of concern and altruism while decreasing selfishness, then you can say this path of morality is justified in a ‘self evident’ way, in that anyone who reached its full conclusion would agree that this is their most preferred state.


- If human beings are interdependent in such a way that it is always in your best interest to assist them in the same manner you would ‘assist’ your arm or leg if it was injured. It makes no sense for us to say “Well, my leg is injured, but you know what, I’m pissed off at it and we’re not on speaking terms right now, so I’m just gonna let gangrene set in. That will teach it a lesson.” I opened up Google News this morning to see that apparently Russia is going to annihilate us all with nuclear weapons. I did not feel despair so much as creeping nihilism - “What the point of anything? We’ll probably all be dead tomorrow anyways.” I said awhile ago that something in Russian politics reminded me of that movie The Ring. Remember that line - “You take one person’s tragedy and force the world to experience it… spread it like sickness.” Whatever happened to Russia during Stalin’s terror, during WWII, during the 90s, it didn’t just go away. And eventually things like that spread, if you leave other people to metaphorically rot in a well, outside your circle of concern. If your global neighbor is feeling a lot of nihilism and despair, at some point, it’s going to impact you too. The same is true of terrorist hotbeds, I think. Look at ISIS. Areas that contain a lot of suffering and problems rarely contain them as their problem for very long - soon they are your problem too. Subjective states tend to spread. Meaning we have a vested interest in the happiness of others by default, if we have any interest in our own.


I think if you agree with the above concepts (which certainly aren’t 100% a given, but aren’t inconceivable either,) then you have a pretty solid basis for something ‘logical, self-evident’ (if not ‘objective’, exactly) morality. It exists as much as any subjective state, like joy and sorrow, exist.

 
 
Cheshire Cat
 
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01 March 2018 09:53
 
Chaz - 01 March 2018 08:40 AM
Cheshire Cat - 28 February 2018 08:25 PM

I’m not removing feelings from morality, I’m saying morality is based on feelings, and opinions, which aren’t concrete across cultures, or civilization. Morality isn’t real because moral facts don’t exist.

Don’t you agree, that for the most part, the majority of cultures and civilizations have stood on the notions that one should not steal from others, that one should not harm or kill others, that one should not lie, and that one should adhere to some form of sexual restraint?

It seems pretty universal to me.

I’m not sure what “facts” you are searching for.

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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01 March 2018 10:41
 
Cheshire Cat - 28 February 2018 08:25 PM

As far as your last sentence is concerned, our civilized world of nations and governments is too complex for a simple morality to apply anymore; this is why we have developed law. Each society takes it’s moral questions and concerns about human behavior, then, in a case by case basis, encodes detailed rules for everyone to live by. I think it’s the best we can do, but it will never be perfect.

With respect, that wasn’t the thrust of my question. Regardless of historical or biological origin I was asking whether or not you think moral prescriptions can count as facts or have a truth value comparable to a factual claim. I will concede every tangent about complexity, ambiguity, difficulty or context that we might wish to pursue. The issue of realism versus anti realism still presses us.

For me, morals are not factual. They are prescriptive. They are statements of preference. They point to a speculative future in our creative imagination rather than the past or present which we can evaluate on the basis of measurement. The truth value of a moral claim lies in its utility. The satisfaction conditions are almost completely distinct from those of a factual claim.

I think this is important because I think a clear understanding is important and because I think moral dogmas tend to be the most dangerous ideas in our discourse. I think the greatest harm at the largest scales occurs reliably for moral reasons and specifically for rigidly dogmatic reasons.

 
Jb8989
 
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01 March 2018 12:13
 

Morality is more about social behavior than human behavior. There’s a meaningful difference, especially when considering the distinction between being anti-estalishment and being anti-social.

 
 
Chaz
 
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01 March 2018 14:24
 
NL. - 01 March 2018 09:12 AM

.

That’s too much based on a misunderstanding. Compassion itself doesn’t change. It is a specific definition, the only thing that changes about compassion is who or what you have it for. Morality doesn’t have a specific definition the way compassion does. Morality changes from person to person, compassion doesn’t.

 
Chaz
 
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01 March 2018 14:34
 
Cheshire Cat - 01 March 2018 09:53 AM

Don’t you agree, that for the most part, the majority of cultures and civilizations have stood on the notions that one should not steal from others, that one should not harm or kill others, that one should not lie, and that one should adhere to some form of sexual restraint?

It seems pretty universal to me.

I’m not sure what “facts” you are searching for.

Actually I don’t know what makes you think that. You never heard of people raping and pillaging? I’m not looking for facts, I said moral facts don’t exist, which is true

 
Chaz
 
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01 March 2018 14:43
 
Jb8989 - 01 March 2018 12:13 PM

Morality is more about social behavior than human behavior. There’s a meaningful difference, especially when considering the distinction between being anti-estalishment and being anti-social.

I can’t figure out where the logic went with what you said. Who told you morality is about behavior? And I don’t even know what the second part means at all. The distinction between anti establishment and anti social? What are you talking about? Those two things have absolutely nothing to do with each other.. I can’t see any logic at all..

 
sojourner
 
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01 March 2018 15:09
 
Chaz - 01 March 2018 02:24 PM
NL. - 01 March 2018 09:12 AM

.

That’s too much based on a misunderstanding. Compassion itself doesn’t change. It is a specific definition, the only thing that changes about compassion is who or what you have it for. Morality doesn’t have a specific definition the way compassion does. Morality changes from person to person, compassion doesn’t.


That is a speculative assertion at best, but either way, to say that ‘morality doesn’t exist’ (as opposed to ‘morality is subjective / intersubjective / formulaic / objective / etc.) creates a standard wherein you claim not to believe a wide class of other concepts don’t exist. At which point it becomes a word game, wherein you’re saying something doesn’t exist even though you plan on spending every day for the rest of your life pretending to believe it exists. What does it mean to say “Money doesn’t exist” but to continue using it? Again, I think we’re into whimsical semantic musings at that point. If you want to frame it that way, that’s fine, but I’m not seeing what the practical implications of such a stance are.

 
 
Jb8989
 
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02 March 2018 04:00
 
Chaz - 01 March 2018 02:43 PM
Jb8989 - 01 March 2018 12:13 PM

Morality is more about social behavior than human behavior. There’s a meaningful difference, especially when considering the distinction between being anti-estalishment and being anti-social.

Who told you morality is about behavior?

 

What people do is how they’re morally judged. How they feel and think internally isn’t on display. It’s how they act that expresses their intentions and highlights their values, and in turn provides others with an opinion on their morals.

 
 
EN
 
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EN
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02 March 2018 05:07
 

The consequences of doing something considered “immoral” in a given community can be very real, and range from minor disapproval to death.  If the consequences of a particular mental construct are real, it’s hard for me to say the construct itself is not real.  You can define anything out of existence, but the fact is that concepts of morality have quite concrete and tangible effects.

 
Jan_CAN
 
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02 March 2018 05:36
 

What is real?  Everything that is real cannot be measured or seen under a microscope.  Science and logic are very important, but so are history, art, philosophy, etc.  A view of the world we live in using science alone limits one’s view of reality and the human experience.

 
 
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