| Posted 06/20/12 at 06:19 PM||Reply with quote #1 |
|I have watched too many debates where atheists are challenged: what would you do if you came face to face with god, or learnt of his existence after death?|
I would like to ask a similar question in response:
If there was a (hypothetical) proof of gods non-existence how would you react behaviourally? (i.e would you reject the morals of the religious texts and the morals society have created in the form of the judicial system.)
I am an atheist but post on this forum as a philosopher and can therefore only comment on the first through personal experience - if after death I were to find out that there is a god my answer is a bit of a cop-out since I would take a stance that it is not within my power to change what is therefore what I would do is inconsequential as far as I can work out (maybe someone can correct me on that?.)
However the reverse of the question, the one I have put to you has immediate consequences.
| Posted 06/20/12 at 08:19 PM||Reply with quote #2 |
|For the latter (that is, would I reject the morals society created in the form of the judicial system), NO, I would not reject those - that same judicial system would put me in jail if I rejected them and acted contrary to them :-)
As for the morals of the religious texts (not all, but most people on this forum would read that as the Bible) - I would not reject those either because, as I read the Bible, most of the morals I read in there are morals that I find, a priori, objectively true. I don't need a text or society or a judge to tell me it is right to love my neighbor, to not steal, to not murder and so forth. Those don't come from a religious text, those are inherent in my being and objectively true, whether I read them in the Bible or not. I would not torture a baby for fun, whether or not I found that moral law in a text because it is simply wrong. Period.
But that is one reason I, personally, do NOT reject God's existence - it is BECAUSE I have these inherent, objectively true morals that I can't reject. Those, to me, are grounded in a divine moral law giver. Otherwise, why do I have this inherent moral knowledge and why do I feel a duty to obey these morals? To whom or what do I owe this duty to? If it is due, for example, just to evolution then morals be damned - I'll just do what I want and reject them so I can live with wine, woman and song. But I just can't do it. I know that went off on a tangent and wasn't part of the answer you were looking for. But, in short, I would not reject the moral laws I find in the Bible - not because I find them in the Bible - but because they are part of my properly basic moral knowledge that I just have.
| Posted 06/21/12 at 02:30 PM||Reply with quote #3 |
|Thank you for your response. I asked it as a hypothetical scenario because I feel that the fact that culturally separated humans societies can live by quite different moral standards (some even rejecting Cofucius's golden rule) can be viewed as evidence of a lack of moral objectivity.|
In my experience my morality is totally learnt and it is how I manage to survive in society. Even without judicial systems I feel that I would continue to live by the same moral standards. I also know had I grown up in a different time or place my 'morals' would be very different. This means that my morals are now inherent but they were not always.
Do you reject this attempt at explaining how I see a human could conduct themselves morally in the absence of a God.
Also I would be interested to know what the inherent morals humans should have if there is a God?
| Posted 06/21/12 at 07:15 PM||Reply with quote #4 |
|[first, let me apologize for the length of this post, I got carried away :)]
I appreciate your comments. When I first thought about and studied this, I had the same reservations. Specifically, I gave thought to the truth that either biological or social evolution are the source of moral truths.
> Do you reject this attempt at explaining how I see a
> human could conduct themselves morally in the absence
> of a God.
I do reject that, yes, however - the way you worded that question would make me, I guess, think harder here due to the phrase "in the absense of a God." Because, as a theist, I believe in a necessarily existing God. So I can't say how a human could conduct themselves morally in the absense of a God since I don't envision a possible world without a God. However, for the sake of argument, if there wasn't a God, I guess I would have to believe that there would not be any objective moral values since I require a God for that (I have to note: I mean we require the EXISTENCE of God for the ontological grounding of morals - but we don't need A BELIEF in God. Hopefully, that distinction is clear). If a world didn't have God, then by definition there would be no ontological grounding for moral values and duties - we'd all just do what we want and no one would be wrong in doing it. We would be untethered, as it were, from a moral grounding and, as Dostoevsky said, "If there is no God, everything is permitted."
> Also I would be interested to know what the inherent
> morals humans should have if there is a God?
I can answer that by way of what my properly basic moral experience is. Treat people as I would like to be treated. Don't murder innocent people. Do not steal from my neighbor. Do not torture infants for fun I mean, those basic moral laws that I come to know through my basic moral experience. In other words, "I just know." The atheist Dr. Walter Sinnott-Armstrong once said in a debate with Dr. Craig, when asked why it is wrong to harm another member of our species, "It simply is. Objectively. Don’t you agree?" To which I must admit, my answer is YES! I agree :-)
I can point you to this very week's Q&A where Dr. Craig does actually discuss some of this:
"the warrant I offer for belief in objective moral values and duties is not God but moral experience (see pp. 141-3 of On Guard). That such an appeal is not question-begging should be evident from the fact that the majority of non-theists, including atheists, believe in the truth of premiss (2) precisely on this basis."
His term "moral experience" is analogous to my "inherent moral knowledge" I suppose.
He provides quotes from Louise Antony and Peter Cave - two atheists with whom Dr. Craig (and I) also agree with on this point. They essentially agree that there are at least some objective moral truths (in Peter Cave's example, "Torturing an innocent child for the sheer fun of it is morally wrong. Full stop.")
Dr. Craig later goes on to say, which was a good point for me at least:
"In any case, I’d encourage you to simply ask your conversation partner whether he believes in some objective moral values and duties. Ask what he thinks of examples of moral atrocities."
As Peter Cave says, "torturing an innocent child for the sheer fun of it is morally wrong." That is true - objectively true - and I can't see how this could ever be false ontologically. And, in the case of the Moral Argument, you really only need one objective moral value or duty for the argument to hold (that is to say, we can ignore for the sake of argument those gray areas of morals - "is it OK to kill in self-defense" for example).
He continues with a point you bring up and one which I wrestled with:
"You could agree ... that we come to an understanding of morality through biological evolution, societal conditioning, parental influences, etc., etc. All of that is irrelevant to the question of whether objective moral values and duties exist"
So, as you said earlier, "In my experience my morality is totally learnt." This gets to epistemology and is not relevent to whether objective moral values/duties actually exist. How you come to learn them is not necessarily important (e.g. the theist could potentially argue that perhaps God used evolution to help us to discern his objective moral law - just as we continue to increase our scientific knowledge to slowly learn more about the truths of natural law). But be that as it may - I sense you are a relativist when you say, "I also know had I grown up in a different time or place my 'morals' would be very different." But surely, that can't be right. There must be at least some moral values that you see are objectively true. Otherwise, it would mean you would have to really believe that had you lived in a different time, culture or society that you would believe it would be right/morally OK to walk unprovoked into your neighbor's house, slit their infant babies' throats while making the parents watch and then dismembering the parents while they are still alive and walk away. But, surely, that could never be morally OK. Even if that has actually happened in human history - that doesn't make it morally right or acceptable.
The question I ask myself (as a thought experiment, if I play the role of a moral relativist) is: Do I believe that under certain societies, cultures and times that these kinds of actions could ever be morally acceptable? If you truly are a moral relativist, you would have to honestly and sincerely say "yes, in certain cultures, societies and times they could be morally right to do". In fact, to truly be a moral relativist, if a case of the infant killer/parent dismemberer happened today, you can only say at most that you don't like that it happened, but you can't morally condemn the killer - maybe he thinks it is perfectly acceptable and you, being a relativist, cannot condemn him for it. I just can't cross that bridge and thus could never be a moral relativist. My moral experience tells me some things are just objectively wrong - regardless of what any people's opinions on them are.
Now, Dr. Craig gets to what I often thought about - that evolution is the ontological grounding of our morals (to me, this was the strongest objection). Here's what he says:
"Of course, the unbeliever might present the socio-biological account as a putative defeater of (2), in which case you’ve got to deal with it. But I do deal with two versions of this objection in On Guard, pp. 142-4."
I don't have his On Guard book, but I have read a very, very good argument against the socio-biological account for objective morals in "The Blackwell Companion for Natural Theology", Chapter 7, "The moral argument" by Mark D. Linville. I found him to be the most thorough in discussing the theist defeaters to the objection that socio-biological evolution account for moral values and duties. I hate to recommend a book that is so expensive (though the paperback book is out now, less than 50 bucks but that really is the best I've read that addresses the socio-biological evolution objection. Rather than even attempt to regurgitate Linville's arguments, I guess I would just refer to his essay (I think he also has a slimmed down essay in the book "Contending with Christianity's Critics" as well). I wish I had access to a collegiate library so I could read more books on subjects like this - some of these are too expensive for me.
Anyhoo, I appreciate your question and your willingness to discuss. Of the main theological arguments for the existence of God, I found the Moral Argument to require me to think the hardest on (even compared to the Ontological Argument! :-) There are some non-trivial objections that can be raised to the Moral Argument, but, in my opinion, I have found the theist defeaters to ultimately be successful.
| Posted 06/25/12 at 04:08 PM||Reply with quote #5 |
Thank you for that detailed answer! Really got me thinking, when I am challenging points I do not necessarily disagree with them but they are the questions that I have failed to answer satisfactorily myself. I must say that I find your answers much more accessible and better than William Craig, do you study philosophy? If your interested I am a medical student with a keen interest in ethics, I really got thinking about these questions when examining the legalities of stem cell research. The arguments advanced came mainly from moral arguments grounded in religious thinking. The book Unnatural by Philip Ball gives a good introduction to the ideas. I have watched many of William Craig's debates and on the whole find he presents quite a weak argument on the objective moral, though I rarely find the opponent convincing either. (save maybe Sam Harris and Dan Dennett but still not perfect.)
I can accept that without god morals (nor anything else) would exist. But, how can we ever know what the morals are that we should have. If they are just what we inherently know then you couldn't advance the argument of whether something was right or wrong. If a person thought inherently that "torturing an innocent child for the sheer fun of it is morally right" then there's no way of proving that he is wrong.
However as a relativist I can say that within my culture "torturing an innocent child for the sheer fun of it is morally wrong" is objectively wrong because that is what my culture has taught me is objectively wrong. However you are right in saying that I could only have an opinion on the right or wrong of other cultures. - I do not like this stance but it is one I will take for the moment.
The objective of morals seems to me to confer the greatest well-being on the greatest number (and to avoid a utilitarian label) without any detriment to others. Sam Harris would go for - avoiding the worst suffering imaginable for all.
If this is the objective basis for morals then we can give definite answers for the right or wrong way to achieve these goals (there may be more than one way.) I find it hard to find a basis for morals anywhere else?
To take a stronger Hitchins style stance. I could say that the jewish custom of circumcision is objectively wrong and akin to "torturing an innocent child for the sheer fun of it" I know many would disagree in fact I know a whole culture that would disagree. I would disagree that it is torture but I have my reservations about its morality - but as a relavist who am I to complain.
I guess what I'm trying to get at is if morals don't exist without god, then god exists because we have morals. So were back to explaining how different people have different morals? If I tell a person that something is immoral because I inherently know it then they may also say that the opposite is true. Therefore to settle the argument you must base morals on something that you can both hold to be the objective of morals. If the basis of these morals is the well-being of all then there is no need for a god to have objective morals, so god doesn't exist.
I would also argue that if god does exist and created objective morals - if your a theist then could they be out of date and could it be possible that we could now improve on gods objectivity. And if your a deist then truly god help us because from what I've read an intervening god does not work out great for everyone.
Thank you again,
| Posted 06/26/12 at 04:38 AM||Reply with quote #6 |
|[Bendigeidfran - once again, this is a long post - sorry if you have to sift through the chaff to get to the wheat but I am really enjoying this thread with you.]|
> do you study philosophy?
I study philosophy only as an amateur My professional background is that of a computer programmer (my degree is actually in electrical engineering, but I prefer software over hardware )
> I can accept that without god morals (nor anything else) would exist.
> But, how can we ever know what the morals are that we should have.
Can you clarify - was that a typo? Did you mean "wouldn't exist"? The "But" clause made it seem like you were saying "I can accept that without god morals would *not* exist but how can we be sure what our morals should be?"
But now I understand where you are coming from with the question "how can we ever know what the morals are that we should have" since you have pointed out "I am a medical student with a keen interest in ethics, I really got thinking about these questions when examining the legalities of stem cell research." You are asking this question with an eye toward "Applied Ethics". And actually, as I understand it, this is really not germane to the question "Do objective morals exist?" When talking about the Moral Argument, Dr. Craig actually addresses this question (albeit very briefly) in one of his Defenders podcasts when someone asks a very similar question:
"What this question is asking is, “What is the content of our moral values and duties?” And I have not taken a position on that. That is quite open for debate. But this is a discussion of what is called “moral ontology,” that is to say, what the foundations of duty and ethics are. You are asking a question about “applied ethics” or “practical ethics,” that is, “Is this really wrong?” That is not germane to the argument. That is important and interesting, but it is not germane to either premise. "
So, this gets to my earlier point where I said, for the sake of argument, we can ignore those grey areas of morality (such as "is it OK to kill in self-defense?"). I suppose we could add "stem cell research" as a grey area as well - such as "should we use embryos in research to advance medical science if those embryos are just going to be discarded anyway." Applied ethics is a very important topic, but it appears to me that that really doesn't affect whether or not at least SOME things can be easily considered objectively right or wrong. In other words, yes there is a vast array of questions on morality and ethics that clearly aren't easy to discern an answer to "is this right or wrong?" but surely there are at least some things that ARE clearly right and wrong ("it is objectively wrong to strip a mother and her infant child naked, gas them to death and burn their bodies simply because they are ethnically Jewish.").
This was an important point to me when I studied this whole Moral Argument question. And it was part of the reason that made it click for me. When you look at the two premises of the Moral Argument, the whole deductive argument can be sound and valid *even if you concede that there exists only a single objective moral value or duty*.
So, to me, I no longer worried about questions such as "is it OK to kill in self-defense" (and let's add your question about stem cell research to that group of grey questions Not every moral question needs to be easily discerned as right or wrong. What I saw was that, even though there are many moral questions that are not black-and-white, I know there is at least one (and, actually, there are many) that ARE black and white and that's all you need for the Moral Argument to successfully conclude that God exists. And once I realized that, the question became "of those black and white, objectively right and wrong, questions, why are they so?" What possible grounding could I have for such a cut-n-dry answer to the question "would it ever be right, in any culture, society or time, to shove a kitchen knife into the chest of my neighbor's infant just to hear what its squeak would sound like?" (I like coming up with the most absurd and evil sounding moral questions precisely because they are so absurdly obvious! Why is it that they are so absurdly, obviously wrong?)
Your answer to the grounding of these moral answers is to "confer the greatest well-being on the greatest number without any detriment to others." This is a common position - but let me address that at the end.
But I'll also introduce one of the things that I got hung up on - it is the same thing that Dr Craig brings up in that same transcript: "Many people think that our moral beliefs are spin-offs of biological and social evolution and conditioning. Some might say that this socio-biological account of the origins of morality undermines our moral experience."
But how I think of this now is that, at best, what the socio-biological evolution account would prove is that our perception of the moral realm is the product of a gradual and fallible evolution. It does not prohibit the possibility that God is the foundation (or the ontological grounding) of the moral realm. In other words, it doesn't show that objective moral values and duties do not exist, just that we come to perceive them in a gradual (and fallible!) way - perhaps that's just the way God made us.
If moral values and duties objectively exist and are grounded in God, then our gradual apprehension of that moral realm (through evolutionary development) does not undermine the objectivity of that realm just as our gradual apprehension of the physical world (through science, exploration and simply our physical senses) does nothing to undermine the objectivity of the physical realm around us. In both cases there is an objective reality of which we have a gradual apprehension. So even if it is true that socio-biological evolution accounts for the origins of our moral intuitions and experience, it does not eliminate God as the ontological source of the moral realm that we are gradually apprehending.
> So were back to explaining how different people have different morals?
> If I tell a person that something is immoral because I inherently know
> it then they may also say that the opposite is true.
> If a person thought inherently that "torturing an innocent child for
> the sheer fun of it is morally right" then there's no way of proving
> that he is wrong.
I totally sympathize with your question. This kinda gets back to the "social or biological evolution is the source of our morals" issue. Certain societies evolve and who can say who is right or wrong? We can add many more real-life examples to the child torturer example. The Nazis thought it was OK to kill innocent woman and children simply because they were ethnically Jewish. How can we prove they were wrong? They say "tomatoe", I say "to-mah-toe".
I see this as asking the question "How can we be sure that some moral values and duties exist objectively?" (By objectively, we need to be clear - it means "regardless of/independent of the opinions of ANY person or group of people") But now let's consider our physical senses. We trust our physical senses to tell us the objective truth about the physical world around us, unless we have some reason to think our physical senses are "misfiring." Yes, mirages and illusions do happen but does this lead us to believe that our physical senses are never right? No, it doesn't; nobody thinks the occasional mirage or illusion justifies us to never trust our physical senses on a regular basis. If we did, it would lead us to an overwhelming skepticism that would have us believe our senses are fooling us, there is no real physical world, and we are just a brain in a vat of chemicals and what we see and hear are just signals from an evil scientist's electrical probes stimulating our brain cells. In exactly the same way, in the absence of some sort of a reason to distrust our moral experience, it is rational to believe there are objective moral values and duties. These moral experiences impose themselves on us, just as sights and sounds are imposed on us. People who fail to see the difference between good and evil (like the Nazies or child-torturers) are like people that are physically blind. A blind person doesn't have a fully accurate perception of the world, but that doesn't cause us (those with sight) to doubt our perception of the physical world as being an accurate portrayal of what the world really is like. Likewise, someone failing to see the difference between good and evil is morally blind and does nothing to cause us (those with moral clarity) to see the difference between good and evil. In other words, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, we have a properly basic belief grounded in our physical senses that what we see and touch and hear are physically real and not just an illusion due to impulses poking in our brain. Similarly, we can consider our moral experiences as properly basic or "foundational" and are just as real as our physical experiences.
As you said earlier, you clearly don't believe that torturing a child for fun is OK. Why should you think that a person who DOES think that that is OK is anything but morally handicapped and is not apprehending the moral realm properly?
Since you are a medical student, let me give an example using that as a backdrop. Suppose you are examining the eyesight of Bob, one of your patients. You hold up a red piece of paper and ask Bob what color he sees and he says "grey." You can think one of three things - 1) you can think, "there is something wrong with Bob's eyesight - he may be colorblind. He is not apprehending the physical world properly". Or, 2) you can think, "Bob could be right and I'm wrong. Maybe this paper is grey and either I'm hallucinating or it is a mirage that this looks red to me. I need to be skeptical of my own apprehension of the physical world." Or, 3) "It is red to me, and grey to Bob - no problem, there is no right or wrong answer, it's all relative."
I would think you would go with 1). Yes, it is possible you, too, are colorblind or you are having hallucinations. But such unbridled skepticism is unwarranted unless you actually have a reason for thinking you are colorblind or hallucinating. And clearly 3) is not right - it is objectively true the paper is red - no matter what anyone thinks about the matter!
What the theist would say is the objective moral realm is equally accessible just as the objective physical realm is. It is objectively true that "it is wrong to stab an infant just to hear what its squeek would sound like" just as it is objectively true that "the piece of paper is red." A person is morally handicapped if they say otherwise (just as Bob is physically handicapped (aka colorblind) if he says the paper was grey).
> The objective of morals seems to me to confer the greatest well-beingFinally, let me attempt to address this. As you know, you described basically Sam Harris' thinking as well as many others.
> on the greatest number (and to avoid a utilitarian label) without any
> detriment to others. Sam Harris would go for - avoiding the worst
> suffering imaginable for all.
> If this is the objective basis for morals then we can give definite answers
> for the right or wrong way to achieve these goals (there may be more
> than one way.) I find it hard to find a basis for morals anywhere else?
Why think you "ought to" strive for human flourishing or the greatest well-being in the first place? Why not look out for #1 and act out with self-preservation in mind? If God does not exist, then we are nothing but evolved animals and this life is all we have, thus it seems we should act prudently, not morally. If you feel instinct pressuring you to perform some self-sacrificial act then, on atheism, the intelligent thing to do would be to look after your own self interest and preserve your own life! Survival of the fittest! If I see a woman being mugged on the street, why "ought" I help her when I could get a knife plunged into my chest for my efforts? Better her than me. If I'm hungry and have no food, why ought I not break into my rich neighbor's house and steal all the food from his fridge? He's a billionaire, he can afford to buy more hamburgers.
There is no reason that you should obey those kinds of instincts – after all, on atheism/naturalism, they are nothing more than just something ingrained in you over humankind's evolutionary history and there is no real reason to act on them. You ought to resist these instincts. Historian Stewart C. Easton sums it up well when he writes, "There is no objective reason why man should be moral, unless morality 'pays off' in his social life or makes him 'feel good.' There is no objective reason why man should do anything save for the pleasure it affords him."
So you see, if all these "morals" are just instincts (and on atheism/naturalism, what else could they be?), why obey those instincts? What is it about our naturally evolved/ingrained instincts that we should obey them if they would not personally "pay off?"
Moreover, on atheism/naturalism, we could ask why human beings should be considered objectively morally valuable at all? There is no reason to think that the human species has any intrinsic moral value more so than, say, mice or rats or ants. Consider that there are certain values and duties which ought to be done if mice or rats or ants are to flourish (and they may conflict with those values and duties that allow humans to flourish) – why are we not obligated to follow that morality? What is so special about humans?
If you take God out of the picture, then we are just animals that have evolved from apes. Why are our actions morally culpable but when other animals do the same acts, those acts are not morally culpable? When one human causes suffering or kills another human, why is that morally wrong? Animals cause
suffering and kill other animals all the time. When a lion kills a zebra or another lion, it "kills" it but it doesn't murder it. When a shark forcibly mates with a female, that isn't rape. Animals don't have obligations towards one another and are amoral, so there isn't a moral dimension to these acts. If God doesn't exist and we, humans, are nothing more than animals, why think then that we have any moral duties to fulfill?
Suppose we were to say, "maybe these animals do have a moral dimension to their actions". If this is the case and we were to read moral values out of the natural world, all sorts of atrocities would come about – murder, rape, and theft would become the order of the day and survival of the fittest would rule when evolutionary instincts take over. Nobody, not even naturalists, want to read morality out of the evolutionary process we see exhibited in the animal world. Which begs the question – if all of the animal world exhibits such harsh, but amoral, realities and we are nothing more than animals, why don't we think it is OK to act as they do? Why ought we not steal food from our neighbor if we are hungry? Why ought we not rape our neighbor if we are to satisfy our instinctual urge to propagate the species? This cries out for an explanation.
| Posted 06/28/12 at 03:40 PM||Reply with quote #7 |
|Yep a typo, glad you got it though. I now understand what you mean by what the morals are doesn't make any difference to whether they are there or not.|
However, I don't know how you can base the presence or existence of god on the existence of morals? might be a misunderstanding.
There is a challenge with trying to infer morals from studying a situation and that is most involve many actions, which is the immoral one? In your case of gaining pleasure from killing an infant, is it the intention, outcome, the act itself or all that are immoral. And what if the person accidentaly killed the child (in a way that was absent of a moral judgement) but found pleasure in the act and not guilt.
These are challenging questions for me because there are some conditions that cross-wire emotions so that people may experience the "wrong" sensation from a stimulus leading to a display of often confused emotion.
There are also people who can feel (a conscious experience) pain in amputated limbs, they can feel the limbs moving. There are also people who percieve stimuli that aren't there (we all experience this to some degree when talking about or looking at insects.)
So my point is this - our senses are not always telling the truth. And - part of having a human brain is being able to recognise that our senses are telling the truth. It is a spectacular feat that I can sit and see this computer as a clear steady image. The eyes are moving constantly so it is the brain that processes this steadiness (imagine a video camera moving at the speed of the eye, would make you dizzy to look at.) This is then true of all our senses, imagine what that must feel like. Trying to control all those competing inputs, no wonder it breaks down.
The process of defining red is complex, and that test would tell me nothing without other information about my patient. Bob could have grown up in a place where they call red grey, so he is seeing the same red as me (that is experiencing the same neuronal input from the retina) just hasn't learnt my language. In any other sense he could either be able to sense the wavelength or not, and the final possibility sense the wavelength but not be able to process it. Oh, yeah and lying, speech problems, sensory inattention (ignore static object, ignore the right side of your visual field) the possibilities are actually endless.
So what that gets at is if red is actually so hard to define objectively then what chance do we have of defining what a moral is or what those morals are... objectively.
Could the objectivity of morals be directed at intention, outcome, or something completely different. Is it the immediate outcome, or an extended outcome. I am refraining from giving situations since you seem to have so much fun in thinking them up, I have thought of examples for all though if your struggling.
On the idea of instincts and morals. Firstly the woman being attacked. Since I am a pacifist (although a challenged one) I could not "defend" the woman in a sense that was moral to me (if he was truly intent on hurting her, I may have reasoned with him) does that make it immoral. However I would have resisted that primitive impulse to protect for the good of both of us, since having not attacked back I am in perfect state to attend to the woman and ensure her safety.
On the subject of morality in animals, we have had some sort of establishment that morality must have a circumstance. we must view situations as havin the potential to be moral or immoral if we are to have any morals. So wouldn't the animals circumstance define what morals it could have (we seem to have a greater capacity for reasoning than other animals which also seems important in the existence of morals.) So if a shark exhibits rape in its world (they may not see it as rape) whether or not it is moral for that shark it is not moral for us. Why can't we have different moral standards to other animals since we have the capacity for more I think it would be wise to use that capacity?
Also outside of kin and war, there are very few truly self-sacrificial acts in the human or animal kingdoms. Not sure what you make of that?
So a nice long ramble for you, sorry ive taken a while to reply had a project to work on.
| Posted 06/28/12 at 04:10 PM||Reply with quote #8 |
Really got me thinking, and slightly off topic but this video
got me thinking about our one track mind, and how that is often what leads us astray. So... we have the ability to think of lots of reasons for or against an act, the less time we have the less reasons we can give ourselves (at the same time we are considering options) This helps us understand why heat of the moment decisions can be really bad ones. They can also be really good ones. What gives? Maybe its how were trained to respond in each situation, I dont know if theres a study done on how many martial artists have frequent street brawls but it would be interesting to know if those who were trained to react calmly in confrontation did better on the morals exibhited in those situations front. (albiet not every martial art has the same philosophy to conflict, but the more mature ones tend to be against fighting in general almost paradoxically so. Another interest of mine - so let m entertain you. Most of the great leaders of Japanese martial arts wrote a lot in their old age. Some of these book are now crazy popular (the book of five rings, the art of war) and pretty good reads. Some are less popular (judo - jigoro kano) but they all have a conclusion that the best way to fight is to avoid fighting. Its strange how much fighting they had to do to achieve this thought. They go on to embelish in different ways that the resources expelled in fighting far outweigh those in cooperation. I suspect that they realised this all along, as the majority of humans do the majority of the time (or we wouldn't be here.) So back to morals, could it be that they are not morals but simply our reasoning capabilities.
Ok so whats so bad about the dead baby; I get that this is still a problem. So how about this more complex look at what might make us feel discust at a the killing:- we fear death, we can 'feel others pain in the sense that we can mimic the pattern that we would expect someone to have based on visual and audio (maybe sensory and olfactory) input, we fear the death of kin (well documented), we automatically associate with humans, on the whole we are taught that killing is bad,
Im sure you get the gist, but I guess not totally satisfactory because of the ought is thing - gets on my nerves that and I think now that its a strange trick of language. But Im open to ideas,