Backyard Skeptics Message Board › Morality: Where is square 1 ?

Morality: Where is square 1 ?

Cary C.
CaryCook
Tustin, CA
Post #: 54
Andreas,

I've chosen the word "happiness" because I don't know of a better term to label the thing that either makes life worth something or not worth anything. You're welcome to substitute another term if you like.

Let's say morality is limited to humanity - as you suggest.

Would you agree that morality is that set of willful actions that produces the greatest amount of happiness (as I've defined it) to humanity?
John B.
user 80017862
Reseda, CA
Post #: 11
I don't think happiness is square one for morality. Groups of people may gain feelings of belonging and happiness by harming individuals outside their group, but that does not make that harm a moral act. For square one you might have to look outside of humanity to primate behavior, or even to the cooperative behaviors of other social species.
Cary C.
CaryCook
Tustin, CA
Post #: 55
John,

I'm arbitrarily confining the morality discussion to humanity because that's where Andreas wants to start. I agree with you that it will probably expand beyond humanity.

I agree with your statement:
Groups of people may gain feelings of belonging and happiness by harming individuals outside their group, but that does not make that harm a moral act.

I'm not saying morality is affected by any individual's (or group's) feelings about it. I'm saying morality is determined by the happiness (as I defined the term) of the total set (in this case confined to humanity, until Andreas sees reason to expand beyond it).
Suzette
user 12371797
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 62
I don't agree with any link between 'happiness' and 'morality'? I do agree with 'morality' linked to humanity though.
Cary C.
CaryCook
Tustin, CA
Post #: 56
Suzette,

In what way is morality linked to humanity?
Suzette
user 12371797
Los Angeles, CA
Post #: 63
Humanity has defined what 'morality' is, hasn't it?
Cary C.
CaryCook
Tustin, CA
Post #: 57
Suzette,

The question was intended to get you to look at the various ways morality can be linked to humanity.

e.g. Is morality something that facilitates the survival of individual humans, or humanity as a whole?
If so, is that all it is?

Apparently you don't think morality facilitates the happiness of individual humans, or humanity as a whole, but I'm not sure of that. If you give me some clear statements of what you think about the relationship of morality to humanity, I can see if I agree with you.
John B.
user 80017862
Reseda, CA
Post #: 12
I don't think you can make survival square one either.
Maybe you could make some clear statements about what you think constitutes morality, or the various ways you think morality can be correctly defined, basically where you think square one is. If it isn't rooted in primate behavior then where?
Cary C.
CaryCook
Tustin, CA
Post #: 58
John,

I think morality is correctly defined either of these ways:
1. an objective standard for judging what should or should not be
2. a psychological mechanism to facilitate survival of a species
from my website:
http://www.sanityques...­
John B.
user 80017862
Reseda, CA
Post #: 13
Both of your definitions are problematic
1. How can objectivity be determined?
2. How can moral behavior be shown to be a psychological mechanism?
2.1 What about acts that harm individuals or classes of people without threatening the species as a whole?

Morality can not be defined without context. There is no objective reason that eating a peanut butter sandwich is immoral, but there can be conditions under which doing so would cause harm to an individual without threatening the survival of a species. For example eating it in an airplane with an infant with severe peanut allergies where the closed air system is likely to expose the child to airborne allergens in a place without the possibility of medical intervention. I maintain that there is no objective standard that would apply to eating the sandwich on the plane, or a psychological mechanism at play, nor a threat to the species but it would still be wrong to risk the life of another to do so. You will always have to weigh the risks of harm, and those risks are dynamic.
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