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Squishy morality
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Nem



Joined: 14 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 8:17 pm    Post subject: Squishy morality Reply with quote

[Split from WG to preserve topic-ness thereof. Mmm Topic, all chocolatey]

Tamir wrote:
Nem wrote:
Tamir wrote:
Caine shoulda just killed him at the beginning, though.


Kinda surrender the moral highground then though. Razz

Not really. If you can stop a man from doing great evil by killing him, it can be the right thing to do.


As I see it right and wrong in an objective sense don't actually exist. I mean can you imagine a property of an object such that it might be, 'right;' or that it might exact a duty to action upon the individual? It's not even something you can pick up and give someone.

Which raises rather interesting questions as to whether other intangible concepts like truth exist. I mean you can hardly use a property such as 'describing an objective reality' given the unverifiable nature of our perceived reality. In any case to a person who didn't speak your language what you said wouldn't necessarily 'describe' anything to them so it would only be truth to those who understood it. But I digress.

Right and wrong only exist as objective values forced upon people by the societies in which they exist. As such to say someone is losing the moral high ground has more to do with making them look like an unpleasant person, as would be the case in killing someone who's just surrendered to you out of hand, than it does with yielding a net gain in lives saved or whatever other value you attempt to exact the utilitarian argument against.
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Last edited by Nem on Wed Jul 23, 2008 4:39 pm; edited 1 time in total
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JackAce



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nem wrote:
Tamir wrote:
Nem wrote:
Tamir wrote:
Caine shoulda just killed him at the beginning, though.


Kinda surrender the moral highground then though. Razz

Not really. If you can stop a man from doing great evil by killing him, it can be the right thing to do.


As I see it right and wrong in an objective sense don't actually exist. I mean can you imagine a property of an object such that it might be, 'right;' or that it might exact a duty to action upon the individual? It's not even something you can pick up and give someone.

Which raises rather interesting questions as to whether other intangible concepts like truth exist. I mean you can hardly use a property such as 'describing an objective reality' given the unverifiable nature of our perceived reality. In any case to a person who didn't speak your language what you said wouldn't necessarily 'describe' anything to them so it would only be truth to those who understood it. But I digress.

Right and wrong only exist as objective values forced upon people by the societies in which they exist. As such to say someone is losing the moral high ground has more to do with making them look like an unpleasant person, as would be the case in killing someone who's just surrendered to you out of hand, than it does with yielding a net gain in lives saved or whatever other value you attempt to exact the utilitarian argument against.

Shocked


Confused And I'm being told I'm over-analyzing things???


Wink
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Asa



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 22, 2008 10:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nem has an innate degree in philosophy.
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Tamir



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 2:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've heard this from you before, Nem, and I still entirely disagree. But that's for another thread, and another time. (gotta run to uni!)

EDIT: I've gotta ask, why do you even think of assigning morality to objects? Where did that concept come from? I don't think I've ever heard it before - as far as I know, (I guess I've never asked,) everyone I know assigns morality only to choices made by a being with free will.
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theBSDude



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Obects? I think Nem said 'objective.'
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Tamir



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But Nem wrote:
I mean can you imagine a property of an object such that it might be, 'right;' or that it might exact a duty to action upon the individual?
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theBSDude



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry; Nem's post is really, really long.
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Nem



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tamir wrote:
I've heard this from you before, Nem, and I still entirely disagree. But that's for another thread, and another time. (gotta run to uni!)

EDIT: I've gotta ask, why do you even think of assigning morality to objects? Where did that concept come from? I don't think I've ever heard it before - as far as I know, (I guess I've never asked,) everyone I know assigns morality only to choices made by a being with free will.


There are two sense in which we assign morality to objects.

Firstly: Choices don't have an existence of their own, you can't pick a choice up or see it. They're concepts we use to describe the formation of a certain sequence of events and as such they exist only as properties of other things, people, creatures, etc, who are responsible for the choices. If you were to destroy all the sentient life in the universe their choices wouldn't still be floating around somewhere seperately from them made out of some sort of 'choice' material.

In assigning morality to the choice you assign it to the agent that has that choice as a property.

The second sense is that if you can't exact morality again an object people are never morally responsible for anything. If someone can't have being wrong as one of their possible properties the statement that they're in the wrong is rather meaningless.
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theBSDude



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uh... this has degraded into one of those endless discussions of Life, the Universe, and Everything. Maybe we should get back on topic.
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Nem



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 4:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll split this off into a new topic since it's rather crowding the old one. Razz
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spawnofjaws



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aww, these are the topics that people get hurt and offended in!
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

*speaks into lapel*
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Anyway... Nem, your statements are coming off a bit loopy. If we're reading correctly, then you're saying that because people are a subclass of objects, and people own choices, that when you assign morality to a choice you assign it by association to the person who made it, thus to an object. But Tam was, again if we read correctly, expressing disbelief that morality can be assigned to a non-sentient object...
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Nem



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Object is simply a general purpose noun, it doesn't indicate one way or another whether the thing is sentient or not.

My understanding was that Tam was saying we assign morality to a choice made by a thing with free will, and not to the thing IE the object, itself.

Of course if his counter was the one you suggest the textbook response is to question either how exactly a being having free will helps it to be morally responsible, (if it has free will it can choose whether to turn left or right but that hardly makes either of those choices right or wrong it simply states that they exist,) or how free will is really possible, (given that scientific laws govern the interaction of particles and so on.)
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YatesOfYore
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Terry Pratchett: "The Truth may be out there but Lies are in your head."

Anyhow, I'm not entirely sure I see what's to be gained by the argument that a choice is or is not an object. Choice is something we do - an action - and if we're not judged by our actions, then what can we be judged by?

And a practical answer to this question is not "well don't judge then" because as a highly socially structured species, we have to be answerable to one another.

If I'm missing the point of this argument, feel free to ignore me - I didn't see where it originally arose from. Wink
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Squeeself



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 23, 2008 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like Nem's on some pretty deep Objectivism, ala Ayn Rand. Unless Squee is also missing Nem's point.

Squee doesn't even know what topic this originally came from but...just like to point out that killing someone to prevent future evil is the shaky ground of "for the greater good" and the cause of far too many problems in the world today. Doesn't really have much to do with Nem's discussion... Razz
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