I've been

Discussion in 'IntroSpectrum' started by Radium, Jan 22, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Mcg-

    Mcg- New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Messages:
    183
    a bedrock of good and evil does not mean that i agree that your subjective assessment of what it is is correct, or anyone's subjective assessment for that matter is correct. That is, the fact that we agree that there is a bedrock does not mean that we know what the bedrock is.


    On good and evil only being terms that apply to human societies.

    1-What about between human societies? for instacne, in war. Are you arguing that war of any type, if between socities has no moral character? Same at the individual level between socities. For instance, with slavery. A person enslaving another from another society. Does this action have no moral character? Further, what about outside of society. Say you, me, and ghet are trapped in a mining accident underground, seemingly without hope for being rescued. Me and ghet decide to kill you (for fun), and tell no one of it (we happened to be rescued, although we were not expecting it). At the time, we beleived that we would never be rescued. Is this action amoral?
    The point: I don't think you can argue that human society is the basis for morality, given the above exmples both between and outside of society.

    2- what makes you the authority on what a society deems good/evil or what is good for societies? Here we run into the problem of subjecitvism again. Your subjectivism about what is good/bad for society.


    On Evolutionary bio/Christian fundamentalist perspective.
    These were put up merely to refute your assessment that certain things are INHERENTLY GOOD/BAD. Both perspectives shows that that these things are only CONTINGENTLY GOOD/BAD (thus demonstrating that the core of your argument, which rests on a subjective yet supposedly universal assessment of bad, is flawed)
    test
  2. Radium

    Radium f k

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    Messages:
    5,535
    1 - good-evil for human societies is rooted from and decided by human nature. there are a few constants here to work from. Though its true that there are many differing views as to what is good or evil everything must ultimately reduce back to what is good for society as a whole and by extension, the things the human nature wants

    things like food, shelter, safety, leisure

    So ultimately I think it is up to the people as a whole to decide what is good or evil and the most efficient ways to meet out these ends. There are constants within the human nature however which guide these things to their conclusion.

    so in the case of war or slavery (war is tricky because there are many different reasons/purposes for war)

    That is up to them to decide. But they had better hope they don't make anyone upset at them for doing these things as this may risk the safety of their own society.

    you could lose the war or take such great loss as a result of entering war that your society becomes heavily damaged so much so that the people now wish to alter the way society is governed - or you could enslave people from other society however if the people within your society grow to detest that this is happening as a result of witnessing the clear violation this inflicts upon the well-being of others supposing its within the human nature to do so...

    ultimately these things must still answer to the greater question: will this work for society? everything must surrender its consequences to this. I think history has shown where some wars turned out well for society and bad for others just as it has also shown how slavery has failed. Thus some wars were good and some wars were evil. just as slavery can be considered evil. one thing I will say though is that its perhaps only possible to truly know if something can be good or bad for society in hindsight in the way that say, communism turned out to be clearly wrong in hindsight or the vietnam war turned out to be clearly wrong in hindsight.


    so in sum good and evil is determined by what works for society however what works for society is forced to follow some guidelines in the human nature. this means that there are some very basic things that are good-evil (things directly linked to the requisite demands of human nature) and some other things that are mostly just value judgements that don't directly impact/threaten societies ability to work


    anything that happens outside of society has its own conditions of what is good or evil. for example an ant colony has it own version of good-evil that differs (though actually not greatly) to human society. they are not wrong for this. unless of course it causes them to be killed (they try to come into your house) in which case they would clearly have made a mistake and therefore did something wrong. In the example w/ Ghet I would say this was wrong because it goes against our human nature to just randomly kill each other. The examples not really outside society though since any number of people could be considered society.


    2- I'm not the one who decides what is good or bad for society. Its the conditions of the world that this society exists in that determines that - not me.
    test
  3. Radium

    Radium f k

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    Messages:
    5,535
    you were trying to show how something I consider bad does not necessarily have to be considered bad through an example of a people being perfectly fine and dandy living with disease

    the example you show is flawed because if they truly never considered disease as being bad there would be no reaction against it whatsoever

    My point is that something like disease IS inherently bad and that any reaction against this proves that
    test
  4. Mcg-

    Mcg- New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Messages:
    183
    (I) ON THE SEARCH FOR TRUTH IN MORAL THEORY

    "I will say though is that its perhaps only possible to truly know if something can be good or bad for society in hindsight in the way that say, communism turned out to be clearly wrong in hindsight or the vietnam war turned out to be clearly wrong in hindsight."


    i.e. hindsight bias.

    as mentioned in the other thread, you seem to be making the same mistake here. Its not helpful to have a moral theory that differentiates between good/bad only AFTER the fact. The whole purpose of morality is to guide us in making decisions, not in justifying/condemning ourselves after the fact. so your theory here, about reaction to things supposedly objectively bad, is ultimately subject to hindsight bias, arguably yours.

    See your problem is the problem of the current state of moral theory. Relativism/post-modernism challenges us that our views are not objective - that we engage in hindsight bias, etc... And they are, i hate to admit it, largely RIGHT in their critiques.

    On the other hand, you have neo-modernists who argue that "yes, there is a truth" to morality. They point out the obvious absurdities and flaws with the post-modern/relativist position. These flaws are also CORRECT. They seem to be correct in their analysis that there is something underlying it all... the problem is when we get to specifics...

    Each neo-modern/neo-classicist then puts up his theory, which then proceeds to get demolished by the post-moderns, CORRECTLY so, as they have not passed by the questions posed by the relativists. This is where you/me/we stand now.

    see I actually agree with you, as you know, with the impulse of your positions. But i just can't ignore the relativist critiques that seem altogether correct as well.

    Remember in hiphop when artists were proclaiming that we needed "real hip hop", and all their songs were about this. But yet, songs about "real hiphop" DID NOT AMOUNT TO ACTUAL HIPHOP. same thing in moral theory. We have people proclaiming we need real theory, yet whenever a theory is presented, it gets demolished.

    fyi, thanks for this little debate. its helping me unclog some writing ideas.
    test
  5. Mcg-

    Mcg- New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Messages:
    183
    (II) REFUTATION WITH RADIUM's MORAL THEORY, WHICH UNDERLIES HIS WORLD IS BAD --> COVER-UP with Delusion.

    You argue that "(i)what is good or evil everything must ultimately reduce back to what is good for society as a whole (ii) and by extension, the things the human nature wants."


    (i) - point on society as a "whole". You clarify, in response to my mining accient example, that that: "any number of people could be considered society".
    This raises two obvious new related issues: (1) which society are we talking about. is a family a society? a nation-state? a federation? a state/province/region? a city? a burrough? an individual? an ethnic group? a religious group? a chess club? (2) how do we rank which society(s) moral rules take priority when they conflict? Is it by power, that is the state or religion takes priority? in which case is morality nothing but RAW POWER? who decides?

    You also mention that "anything outside of society has its own conditions of what is good and evil:" Of course, this hinges on us first determining what is outside/inside... so we leave this to later.

    (ii) "by extension, the things that human nature wants".

    Here, you seem to be implying that what is good/evil is derived from what is good for human society 'as a whole', whatever that means, which is in turn derived from constants of human nature. (at least partly)

    If you recall in the other thread, we already pointed out how some of these constants are in fact changing (the example of every child being born to their mother - which was a primary touchstone of family law for 1000s of years).

    You characterize these constants of human nature as WANTS, as in things people desire. You mention, food, shelter, safety, leisure.

    the problem is that (i) you fail to show how each one of these things is constant (food/shelter is self evident, but safety and leisure are probably not), (ii) you fail to show how these basic wants relate to your theory. Simply saying - (a) there are certain immutable truths, (b) they are related to my theory, (c) here is my theory - does not related (a)(b) and (c) together. You have to draw those links.
    test
  6. Mcg-

    Mcg- New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Messages:
    183
    see, the problem is that your theory is running into the common critiques that have plagued moral theories for the past few hundred years. What is interesting here is that your psychological moral theory, which is derived from a moral theory, is being undermined because of it. I remember when I first read about cognitive dissonance wondering if this theory presumes an objective right or wrong which we are dissonating from. The theory seemed to provide no answer. Your theory, and i think many psychological theories in general now that i think about it, presents the same problem.
    test
  7. Mcg-

    Mcg- New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Messages:
    183
    no i only had to show one instance of disease not being inherently bad from 1 perspective, which i showed. i.e. the result is that disease is not necessarily bad. You could argue that this is delusion, but this would be to argue your moral theory in a circular fashion.

    i.e. me: "your theory relies on assumptions of what is bad is objective, specifically your judgments",
    you: "no it doesn't, some things are objectively bad, like disease"
    (c) me: "no disease is not considered bad universally, see fundamentalist Christians"
    (d) you, this example proves my point, as they are deluded.

    basically this forms a circle, your idea thus is unfalsifiable. (i.e. NO ARGUMENT/Example would satisfy you as an exception, since they are automatically classed as delusion and your assessment as objectively bad, again, according to you)
    I argue that maybe you are struck with pessimism rather than them being deluded. (i.e. since we don't know what is objectively good/bad, we can't say!)
    test
  8. Radium

    Radium f k

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    Messages:
    5,535
    to be fair here...

    this "hindsight bias" (like knowing communism as practiced doesn't work after seeing its failures) proves definitively that its impossible to truly know what is good/bad for things like say, society?

    so, the inability to see into the future is what makes things impossible for us to know?

    apparently human beings haven't evolved enough to possess the ability to literally see into the future. I guess this means we should throw every attempt at figuring what is true/false out of the window. since we can't literally see into the future, any moral theory/structure can't be trusted.

    this is actually *looks into the future* true; yet does this means we should throw them completely out of the window?

    Just because people can't see into the future does not necessarily mean that the attempts directed at uncovering objective moral rules can't be true. Further, it does not necessarily mean that this must also make them completely useless either

    by the way this critique can be extended to ANY attempt at understanding reality in ANY way. This is largely just a cop-out though as this road leads to literally nothing. now I ask you: which one is really "useless/not helpful" in the end?

    This (highlighted) is wrong. We use examples from what we have seen already happen (hindsight bias) as guidelines or measuring sticks for what is right or wrong. Hindsight bias actually helps us uncover a more realistic picture. This is hardly worthless.


    In sum, humans can't see into the future and can only make presumptions (based on things that have already happened; hindsight) on the true nature of reality. these presumptions may be true however this is not known before-hand. Thus, you can't really be sure. However, this does not make the presumption useless or even ultimately invalid. It is very absurd to believe that it would.

    Largely, just pointing out the obvious limits of the human ability to understand reality is a useless critique here. This disproves nothing and just gets in the way. I understand why you brought this up but this angle only ever muddles things needlessly. Maybe thats its true purpose though.

    as you have said the problem is when we get into specifics as to uncovering moral bedrock. we should then argue specifics with specifics. the only way we can do that is if we look out and see what has worked in reality and what has failed and from this make presumption on what may continue to work in the future and what would only lead to failure in the future.

    our relationship to hindsight bias is not worthless, rather, it is absolutely necessary.

    so I should hope you drop this angle and start arguing with some specifics of your own when critiquing moral theory since this is the only way at unlocking some truth to things.
    test
  9. Mcg-

    Mcg- New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Messages:
    183
    no hindsight bias does not mean that you can't refer to past examples in any way to justify your theory. Hindsight means looking at the past and making a judgment after the fact. For example, looking now and saying "the Iraq war was bad, because it didint work and led to X,Y,Z outcome. ppl in society were morally outraged after it occured." By contrast, a theory without hindsight bias, like Aquinas Just War theory, has a number of conditions for a just war. According to this theory, the iraq war was not just BEFORE IT OCCURRED, and in hindsight, the theory seems to have been correct.

    hindsight bias does mean that the basis of your judgment of right/wrong can't just/primarily be based on your/society's judgment AFTER THE FACT: "if something can be good or bad for society in hindsight in the way that say, communism turned out to be clearly wrong in hindsight or the vietnam war turned out to be clearly wrong in hindsight." That is, hindsight cannot be the very basis of morality.

    Of course, its important when trying to figure out a moral theory to look at examples in the past, in hindsight. But the whole point of a moral theory is that it is supposed to guide us in living, not simply in assessing/rationalising the past. i.e. its supposed to be future looking. (like how Acquinas just war theory is)

    IN SUM, we should not ignore hindsight, but we should not delude ourselves into thinking it forms the sole basis of theory. A theory must guide/predict, not just assess after the fact.

    fyi Hindsight Bias is ONE of the many challenges relativism/post-modernism poses to us.
    And yes, we can use a circumscribed contextual/applied approach to moral questions. Many have adopted this approach today, and functionally, its what is in use. But then, we can hardly say we have a moral theory (also, the contextual/applied/pluralistic approach to morality poses a whole new slew of problems). I don't think we can just ignore them/general critiques, if our goal is moral theory.


    ii) I looked at specifics in the second post: (II) REFUTATION WITH RADIUM's MORAL THEORY, WHICH UNDERLIES HIS WORLD IS BAD --> COVER-UP with Delusion.
    test
  10. Radium

    Radium f k

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    Messages:
    5,535
    I argue for human nature being the rooting for determining right/wrong based on the things human nature naturally seeks.

    Raw power does in part greatly determine what is right/wrong. However, even this must work within the lines of what human nature wants. Let us look in hindsight at the successes of democracy over say, tyranny. Why is one more prevalent than the other?

    the underlying assumption here is that there is a base nature in humans that seeks out an ideal state of existing. It kind of bumps around blindly in the dark until it stumbles over things that can actually work towards that end.

    So I can admit I don't/can't say definitively as I stand here now what works for sure but I can project some things w/ some certainty. for example I can tell you why running your society as a tyranny would not work as well as running a democracy and why you would likely phase out of existence eventually in the future. This hints towards a possible truth and a peek at what is perhaps a moral bedrock for humanity. People don't like being shuffled around like sheep. therefore maybe you should find a new way of organizing people - OR - people will allow themselves to be shuffled around like sheep but only if you attend to some of their base desires which in turn is more efficiently achieved through democracy anyway. Does this tendency for democracy to eventually float-to-the-top so to speak not hint at some truth to the way things are? does this not betray some underlying tendency within the human nature which we can in turn use to work towards some true moral guide-work?

    and likewise

    for when trying to impose raw power as a means to impose personal views on what is right you must still work inside the limitations of what human nature wants and will allow. raw power can work in this respect but by and large people are going to reject being strong armed. Thus when operating in this you walk a thin rope on what could work and what ultimately wont work. I know this isn't a clean-cut answer but I believe its the best answer possible and the cleanest answer that exists.



    Yeah it seems to have reduced back to that. the argument kind of combines with the other thread at this stage.


    safety and leisure are subject to change in shape and style but I think, so long as we are the human species, they remain basically the same despite anything.

    people will want to have friendship, explore the world and its things, find ways to play, fall in love

    these things remain constant. so a good society would be a place where a human can do these things and avoid things that would stand in the way of them. perhaps humans will find a more efficient way of doing this as they have been doing so already throughout our entire history as a species which can be characterized as a long winding pursuit for the things which lead to happiness. It has a been a long road with many failures and some successes. ultimately, whatever we find to help us meet this goal (tyranny, democracy, virtual reality, whatever) things must fall in line and be conducive to our base human nature and the things that it naturally seeks out.

    ah but I argue there are some unalterable things to being a human. not sure if you agree.
    test
  11. Radium

    Radium f k

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    Messages:
    5,535
    I don't see how this is different that what I was trying to argue. sounds like we are saying the same thing to me.
    test
  12. Radium

    Radium f k

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2008
    Messages:
    5,535
    one thing we do know though

    is that humans die and suffer because of disease

    this makes (most) humans try to find ways to destroy disease. this is the reasonable course of action for humans who want to exist without suffering.

    I argue that this reaction is a fundamental block of our very own human nature. Hence THIS is why disease is objectively bad; disease THREATENS us and our human nature doesn't want this!

    actually, this wrinkle in our nature must necessarily exist because if it didn't, we as a species would be overcome by disease or something like disease eventually.

    think of the dinosaurs and how they were not smart enough to figure out a way to keep their species from extinction. It was always written in their natures to try to continue existing and to avoid suffering, but because they didn't possess the capacity to actually do this, they became driven to extinction. Humans possesses the same type of nature only we are capable of actually overcoming the things that threaten us - like disease, for one thing - with our capabilities.

    so long as humans possess this in their nature disease will be bad.
    test
  13. Mcg-

    Mcg- New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Messages:
    183
    not sure why you went off on a tangent about the relationship between moralty and power.

    I was merely questioning what you mean by "a society", when you say its concerns should carry the day when we talk about morality. here you seemed to have moved your argument to "I argue for human nature being the rooting for determining right/wrong based on the things human nature naturally seeks.", when before this was more extension to the question of what is good for a society.


    so i ask again, is a society a state? a family? people stuck in a mining accident? an individual? a kingdom? a religion? an ethnic group? a church? a city? etc...
    first you need to address this, before we can even begin to get into what is the basis of these societies and how power relates to determining what a society is (assuming you think society is a state)

    -----

    safety and leisure, the desire of them (im assuming you mean desire for htem as a constnat). leisure is a fairly modern concept, on of course, there are those that have too much leisure that end losing it as a result. You can just as easily say that people want to work. in fact, people go nuts when they have too much leisure, and not enough work (marx identifies this basic human implulse to work). Also, not everyone desires leisure, some people can't stand it and are total workaholics.
    safety, not sure this is a constant. What about barbarians/marauders/organized criminals. Wouldn;'t it be safer to submit to the state? yet they CHOOSE not to. its hardly a constant of human nature that people (or even societies) universally at all times want leisure and safety.
    test
  14. Mcg-

    Mcg- New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    Messages:
    183

    here you you seen to have shifted to the argument that because we can adapt, disease is always bad.

    point 1: this is arguable, given the christian fundamentalist example. Also, the evo bio example. Add to the following example:

    we also know that exposure to disease can boost our immune system. for example, children are routinely exposed to chicken pocks on purpose. many parents do not want to over-immunize their children/make things too tidy, as this can weaker their natural defenses to disease. so in both cases, desease is used in a positive fashion to achieve the outcome of better health.


    point 2:
    So because it can be overcome, disease is inherently bad.

    But then - if it can be overcome - where is the delusion?
    If anything - dwelling on disease is pure pessimistic delusion - whereas believing that disease can be overcome is not delusion, but either optimism or even realism.

    To be optimistic about disease being eliminated can hardly be classified as delusion, given your new position.


    If anything, it makes MORE SENSE To say that HEALTH IS INHERENTLY GOOD than DISEASE IS INHERENTLY BAD. but of course, this does not thing to your reaction to the bad delusion theory.
    test
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page

Users Viewing Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 0)