Re: [The-Burnsville-Socrates-Cafe] 5/14/13 questions and discussion

From: Jon Anderson
Sent on: Thursday, May 16, 2013 9:07 PM
Jim,
I used John's example to emphasize the extreme we must go to to find "support" for an objective morality. That's why I then asked if anyone might provide some less bizarre argument for this absolute (shouldn't an absolute be easy to see?).

I also use this willy-nilly example and its apparent non-occurrence to point not to objective morality, but to objective life. We typically think of ourselves as different from all other animals, but on the willy-nilly score we are identical to all other living things.

Is objective morality our collective inheritance from the earth's earliest life form? If so, I do prefer that to god (it's also pleasantly humbling). Even better, it doesn't require faith!

Jon


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If there is a problem you can do nothing about, why be upset? If there is a problem you can do something about, why be upset?

On May 16, 2013, at 9:42, James Boulware <[address removed]> wrote:

Jon:
  Not to interfere with John's logic, but that was his point. That no society based on the freedom to murder other members of the society at will could ever last. Probably, within his logic, is the  idea that such a freedom is inherently self contradictory with regard to the society's main purpose(that is, the protection of its  members).. At this point, it is interesting to speculate that evil is that which is in contradiction to the coherent foundation of a society. That would provide for a relativistic view since societies obviously have different foundations. This thinking fails in my mind since the ambiguity stems from a societies main purpose is not adequately defined. 
  To jump from John's to statement, to my thinking, evil is that which does not respect the autonomy and freedom of the individual. Thus, for a society to protect its members, it must protect the autonomy and freedom of its members. Much of the ambiguity and relativism is then resolved. 
  Jim Boulware
p.s. In defining freedom, I am now using a residual concept. Individual Freedom is what is permitted after  Government laws and regulations are accounted for. An obvious corollary  to this is that the bigger the Government, the more evil it becomes. Just as an added note, I fully recognize that this implies no Government is preferable, which it is not since membership in a group provides for a baseline level of security. Government is the lesser of two evil when compared to its alternative(no Government).
On May 16, 2013, at 8:56 AM, Jon Anderson wrote:

To Shannon's statement: I am eager for the "basis" for the judgements of which you write to be made explicit. Lacking that it boils down to faith. Faith alone as the basis for anything, let alone our reasons for deciding right or wrong, is too problematic to be allowed.

John's "willy mildly" murder question has the problem of no such society ever existing. Does he have a more likely scenario for demonstrating objective evil, or is that the only way to "prove" it?

Jon

===============================================

If there is a problem you can do nothing about, why be upset? If there is a problem you can do something about, why be upset?

On May 15, 2013, at 11:07, Shannon <[address removed]> wrote:

Just to clarify from last nights conversation, when arguing against ethical relativism my point is not to try to assert that any particular theory is correct but that we can at least say that some theories are better than others.
 
I don't think that when we argue about right and wrong that it is merely expressing a preference. If that were the case, even having the conversation would be silly like arguing chocolate ice cream is better than vanilla (everyone knows that coffee is the best...;) but seriously I agree with the idea that not all decisions will have foundational ethical implications. In that sense, I think that there can be several and at times many "correct" ethical answers (Steve...tolerance to different ideas is a good thing) however when discussing the matter with a person who thinks that killing for fun is perfectly acceptable (willy nilly) I'm gonna have to side with Jim/John...we can be critical of this viewpoint...and I would argue it is wrong and not just a matter of preference.
 
For those of you in support of relativism, how do you reconcile the ability to even have a discussion about the topic...if it is just a preference expression, then we have no basis to evaluate when we think action is good/bad, evil/good, etc whatever evaluative language you want to use. I think that we all make these judgments and have reasons for making those judgments has to have some explanation...that does not mean that we cannot be mistaken about what we think/believe. These kinds of issues are harder to decide because the facts that support them are slippery, but that does not mean that we can't arrive at some as the basis for our claims. 
 
Shannon




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Please Note: If you hit "REPLY", your message will be sent to everyone on this mailing list ([address removed])
This message was sent by James Boulware ([address removed]) from The Burnsville Socrates Cafe.
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