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Phonic
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18 Apr 2011, 7:51 am

I don't believe in traditional right and wrong, I believe in the greatest good principle - the action that benefits the most people the most amount is the right action.


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19 Apr 2011, 4:38 pm

I'd say that would depend on what the individual situation.

Could you kill someone to save others?

You don't have to answer that. What I am saying is, where do you draw the line?



Last edited by Noob on 19 Apr 2011, 4:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

wavefreak58
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19 Apr 2011, 4:49 pm

Noob wrote:

Could you kill someone to save others?



This is a common question in ethics discussions. Would you offer yourself to be killed to save another? 2 others? 100 others? Would you let 1 person die to save ten? 100 die to save 10,000? 1000 die to save 1,000,000?

Lots of ways to get mired in arguments on this.


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ryan93
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19 Apr 2011, 5:17 pm

I don't believe that morality has any solid foundations; your morality depends on the first principles you take, like "I want to minimise suffering", or "I don't care about suffering". In some respects, I nearly have more respects for Law (or at least the idea of Law) than for morality; the former is only a pragmatic invention, while the latter is to, but claims to be otherwise.


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Apple_in_my_Eye
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19 Apr 2011, 5:20 pm

I don't have any particular spelled-out philosophy. I just try to do what seems right in whatever situation as it lays (lies?) in front of me at that moment.

Overly reductionist and rigid philosophies always seemed to have situations where the prescription offered by the philosophy was horribly wrong. (Or situations where deciding something simple becomes incredibly complicated.) And applying 'patches' for such situations got to be tiresome and disturbing.

Ironically, losing some of my hard-core computer-like thinking ability was helpful in being comfortable with things not always being understandable in that kind of way. (Not saying it's necessarily "better," but for me it works better (with what I've got.))

(And also if it's not spelled out in words, then you don't have to deal with all the built-in assumptions that come with the conceptualizations of how the world works. (if language was free of such stuff there would be no so such thing as "that doesn't translate" or "there's no word for that concept in this language"))



Phonic
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19 Apr 2011, 5:30 pm

Noob wrote:
I'd say that would depend on what the individual situation.

Could you kill someone to save others?

You don't have to answer that. What I am saying is, where do you draw the line?


yes, i would kill someone to save two persons, excluding special circumstance, like the two people im saving a very elderly, and theo ne im killing is very young)


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ryan93
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19 Apr 2011, 5:34 pm

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Overly reductionist and rigid philosophies always seemed to have situations where the prescription offered by the philosophy was horribly wrong. (Or situations where deciding something simple becomes incredibly complicated.) And applying 'patches' for such situations got to be tiresome and disturbing.


Reductionism is an important technique, as it allows you to access the strength of the foundations you are building an idea on. I would advocate an "naturalist" morality, but frankly they can be pretty brutal. I think the non agression principle is optimum in terms of pragmatism.


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YourMother
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19 Apr 2011, 5:45 pm

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I don't believe in premarital sex, I hardly ever swear


These are NOT (moral/ethical) issues.



ryan93
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19 Apr 2011, 5:48 pm

YourMother wrote:
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I don't believe in premarital sex, I hardly ever swear


These are NOT (moral/ethical) issues.


It is if you take your ethics from a two thousand year old Jewish zombie.


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19 Apr 2011, 5:53 pm

Could you accept the same in reverse?



wavefreak58
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19 Apr 2011, 6:27 pm

ryan93 wrote:
YourMother wrote:
Quote:
I don't believe in premarital sex, I hardly ever swear


These are NOT (moral/ethical) issues.


It is if you take your ethics from a two thousand year old Jewish zombie.


Jesus is not undead :roll: He is made alive again. At least get your theology right when displaying your disdain.

FWIW, behaviors regarding premarital sex can be part of secular ethos. We certainly don't consider such behavior between adults and children acceptable, regardless of religious persuasion or lack thereof. Child brides are frowned upon in this culture.


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ryan93
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19 Apr 2011, 6:40 pm

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Jesus is not undead He is made alive again. At least get your theology right when displaying your disdain.


That's just nitpicking. At least I got the disdain across :)

Quote:
FWIW, behaviors regarding premarital sex can be part of secular ethos. We certainly don't consider such behavior between adults and children acceptable, regardless of religious persuasion or lack thereof. Child brides are frowned upon in this culture.


It can be, but I think it's unlikely and I've never really heard a very logical argument equating all consensual adult sex with immorality. Personally, I only accept a moral issues as ones that cause suffering to non-consenting people, so promiscuous sex wouldn't fall under that category (with the exception of cheating).


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19 Apr 2011, 6:54 pm

wavefreak58 wrote:
Noob wrote:

Could you kill someone to save others?



This is a common question in ethics discussions. Would you offer yourself to be killed to save another? 2 others? 100 others? Would you let 1 person die to save ten? 100 die to save 10,000? 1000 die to save 1,000,000?

Lots of ways to get mired in arguments on this.


I don't tend to believe in bringing out a lot of the situations that get brought out to "test" or "clarify" people's ethics. Extreme situations in which different ethics apply are expected to apply to people's ethics in normal situations? Seems dangerous to me, so I don't do it.

My ethics are based almost entirely in my surroundings and less in my head. Meaning, I don't have some kind of complex web of ideas about the world telling me what to do in all kinds of situations. I just have a very few principles (for lack of a better word), and a whole lot of surroundings. The combination of the principles and the surroundings creates the ethical decisions. Trying to apply this kind of ethics to abstract, whitewashed situations with most of the actual "situation" taken out of them until they're stripped to the bone... it's not even possible, for me. All that "situation" that's taken out of them is part of what determines my actions, so I can't comment without being engulfed in the rest of the situation.

And I can't even translate what the principles are, only that those principles are there. And the fact of the surroundings being different every time means the decisions can be slightly different (or majorly different) every time and even appear to contradict themselves. But they only contradict themselves in that stripped-bare mathematics-like world that academic ethicists seem to operate in. In the real world they make total sense. And I've found intuition best in determining what to do rather than a lot of abstract thought (unless intuition tells me to think abstractly about it...), for some reason.


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19 Apr 2011, 7:06 pm

Apple_in_my_Eye wrote:
I don't have any particular spelled-out philosophy. I just try to do what seems right in whatever situation as it lays (lies?) in front of me at that moment.


Wow that's a good explanation of what I do.

Quote:
Overly reductionist and rigid philosophies always seemed to have situations where the prescription offered by the philosophy was horribly wrong. (Or situations where deciding something simple becomes incredibly complicated.) And applying 'patches' for such situations got to be tiresome and disturbing.


In my case, I simply can't sustain the web of ideas that are required for complex philosophies, rigid or otherwise. But I definitely have noticed that those complex philosophies pretty much always result in considering horrible situations ethical, and using the idea that this is more "rational" to mean it is somehow "better" than having these pesky intuitive feelings about what is right or wrong in a situation. (And by feelings I don't mean emotions, although those are there too and don't signify something being terribly wrong and bad.)

Quote:
Ironically, losing some of my hard-core computer-like thinking ability was helpful in being comfortable with things not always being understandable in that kind of way. (Not saying it's necessarily "better," but for me it works better (with what I've got.))

(And also if it's not spelled out in words, then you don't have to deal with all the built-in assumptions that come with the conceptualizations of how the world works. (if language was free of such stuff there would be no so such thing as "that doesn't translate" or "there's no word for that concept in this language"))


That thing about words... if you look enough (maybe you already have), you'll find it applies to ideas as well. And some of the most important aspects of ethics are totally outside the realm of ideas. Web-of-ideas based ethics are doomed to have terrible results at times, because of the limitations of ideas which are just about the same as the limitations of words. If you start looking between the ideas, looking hard into those places where ideas won't go... the most interesting (and possibly the most valuable) things in the world are located in there. Both words and ideas are something representing reality, they're not reality itself, and they fail in roughly the same ways whether it's ideas or words or some other set of symbols. But if when those things fail, a person quietly waits without grasping as hard as they can for the next idea... all kinds of important things become clear, things that are so opposite to ideas that they could never be described in ideas, let alone words, no matter how many words or ideas you come up with. Words and ideas can point there -- or at least, if taken right they point there, if taken wrong they point as far away from there as possible -- but they can never go there. I'm pointing there right now.


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ryan93
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19 Apr 2011, 7:17 pm

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In my case, I simply can't sustain the web of ideas that are required for complex philosophies, rigid or otherwise. But I definitely have noticed that those complex philosophies pretty much always result in considering horrible situations ethical, and using the idea that this is more "rational" to mean it is somehow "better" than having these pesky intuitive feelings about what is right or wrong in a situation. (And by feelings I don't mean emotions, although those are there too and don't signify something being terribly wrong and bad.)


It can be extremely challenging, and an uber reductionist approach to ethics isn't advisable if you want to, y'know, live with other people in peace. Intuition isn't a great approach however; that allows our biological predispositions to racism and sexism to shine through. The best way to approach ethics is to find a good "basis", such as the utilitarian principle or the non-aggression principle (google it, it's brilliant), and then to just figure out stuff in a "common sense" way.

If you look at ethics too hard, the cracks appear, which is fine if you are looking for contradictions within a system, but not so good for ordinary life. Ethics is justified on pragmatic grounds, not by pure reason.


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anbuend
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19 Apr 2011, 7:33 pm

I don't use pure intuition, but my thinking is mostly intuitive so that's most of what I've got to work with to begin with. I don't think it's made me particularly racist, sexist, etc. (at least not in the sense of bigotry) though. I think possibly different people use 'intuition' differently, and I also think that my intuition is more developed than a lot of people's, in a lot of ways (less developed intuition is like less developed rational thought, it doesn't work as well).


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