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"New York Philosophy" Message Board › The Natural Origins of Morality

The Natural Origins of Morality

John
broughton
New York, NY
Post #: 160
This thread is to discuss the origins of morality from a secular viewpoint.

The 5/23 meeting is focused on this theme.
PiWi
user 3398759
Virginia Water, GB
Post #: 56
This thread is to discuss the origins of morality from a secular viewpoint.

The 5/23 meeting is focused on this theme.

I'll get started with the 10,000 ft view:

The origins of morality from a secular viewpoing:
- logical: Kant's categorical imperative, or the golden rule (do unto others what you would like to be done unto you, and it's variations)
- genetic: we have an innate tendency for empathy, and a basic sense of fairness/justice
- social: in a large society of individuals, you need certain rules in order for society to maintain its integrity/effectiveness
- evolutionary: the last 2 above were shaped by biological and cultural evolution mechanisms
A former member
Post #: 248
This thread is to discuss the origins of morality from a secular viewpoint.

The 5/23 meeting is focused on this theme.

I'll get started with the 10,000 ft view:

The origins of morality from a secular viewpoing:
- logical: Kant's categorical imperative, or the golden rule (do unto others what you would like to be done unto you, and it's variations)
- genetic: we have an innate tendency for empathy, and a basic sense of fairness/justice
- social: in a large society of individuals, you need certain rules in order for society to maintain its integrity/effectiveness
- evolutionary: the last 2 above were shaped by biological and cultural evolution mechanisms

I'd say that's false about the genetic one. Prove it.
PiWi
user 3398759
Virginia Water, GB
Post #: 60
This­ thread is to discuss the origins of morality from a secular viewpoint.

The 5/23 meeting is focused on this theme.

I'll get started with the 10,000 ft view:

The origins of morality from a secular viewpoing:
- logical: Kant's categorical imperative, or the golden rule (do unto others what you would like to be done unto you, and it's variations)
- genetic: we have an innate tendency for empathy, and a basic sense of fairness/justice
- social: in a large society of individuals, you need certain rules in order for society to maintain its integrity/effectiveness
- evolutionary: the last 2 above were shaped by biological and cultural evolution mechanisms

I'd say that's false about the genetic one. Prove it.

There are a myriad of experimental and theoretical studies exploring the innate part of empathy, altruistic behavior, sense of fairness etc...

Here are a few references:
Altruism found in animals (Wilson 1978, Lawick-Goodall 1968, Teleki 1973 etc...)
Sense of fairness in capuchin monkeys (keith chen 2005, Brosnan and de Waal 2003)
Genetic roots of empathy: 71% variance due to genetic influence (Batson, Matthews, Horn & Rosenman 1981)
Babies empathize with other babies' grief (Sagi and Hoffman 1982)
Twins studies show altruism, agression accounted for 50% by genetic influence (Rushton, Fulker, ...1986
Twin studies of antisocial behavior have found about 50% of genetic influence (Rowe 1986)

The whole recent mirror neuron discovery also reinforces the notion of inherited empathetic behavior.

There are many more, but time is short, and these can give you a first sense of what's out there.

PWi
A former member
Post #: 102
This thread is to discuss the origins of morality from a secular viewpoint.

The 5/23 meeting is focused on this theme.

I'll get started with the 10,000 ft view:

The origins of morality from a secular viewpoing:
- logical: Kant's categorical imperative, or the golden rule (do unto others what you would like to be done unto you, and it's variations)
- genetic: we have an innate tendency for empathy, and a basic sense of fairness/justice
- social: in a large society of individuals, you need certain rules in order for society to maintain its integrity/effectiveness
- evolutionary: the last 2 above were shaped by biological and cultural evolution mechanisms

To mention Kant and logic in the same breath is simply abominable. He undermined reason and made it a hand servant to the most illogical, faith - which he explicitly sought [successfully] to defend, as its destruction as the Enlightenment took hold, began to gather pace.

His "Critique of Reason" is evidence enough to show that he is evil incarnate with his most irrational morality being self-sacrifice as the highest virtue, value and duty. It is not accidental that the architect of the Final Solution, Adolf Eichmann was a Kantian.

Man is not born with any "innate" emotion - it is taught and is a direct result of our episto-psychology. Man has an emotion faculty, but is not programmed.

To claim innate tendencies as you have done validates tyrranies such as the Soviets.
A former member
Post #: 103
This thread is to discuss the origins of morality from a secular viewpoint.

The 5/23 meeting is focused on this theme.


The true secular perspective is the truth. Anything else is arbitrary and therefore invalid as error.

Why is the secular the truth? Because secularism embraces the only absolute that there is, reason [method] based on logic [and there is only one logic. There os no such thing as "my logic" and "your logic" for example.

Anyone stating otherwise is embracing a reality that is subjective - and reality is objective, as Aristotle showed.

Anything that embraces the mystical, such as "spiritually" or has religious overtones cannot claim to be secular, and like humanism, is psuedo-secularism.
PiWi
user 3398759
Virginia Water, GB
Post #: 62
This­ thread is to discuss the origins of morality from a secular viewpoint.

The 5/23 meeting is focused on this theme.

I'll get started with the 10,000 ft view:

The origins of morality from a secular viewpoing:
- logical: Kant's categorical imperative, or the golden rule (do unto others what you would like to be done unto you, and it's variations)
- genetic: we have an innate tendency for empathy, and a basic sense of fairness/justice
- social: in a large society of individuals, you need certain rules in order for society to maintain its integrity/effectiveness
- evolutionary: the last 2 above were shaped by biological and cultural evolution mechanisms

To mention Kant and logic in the same breath is simply abominable. He undermined reason and made it a hand servant to the most illogical, faith - which he explicitly sought [successfully] to defend, as its destruction as the Enlightenment took hold, began to gather pace.

His "Critique of Reason" is evidence enough to show that he is evil incarnate with his most irrational morality being self-sacrifice as the highest virtue, value and duty. It is not accidental that the architect of the Final Solution, Adolf Eichmann was a Kantian.

Man is not born with any "innate" emotion - it is taught and is a direct result of our episto-psychology. Man has an emotion faculty, but is not programmed.

To claim innate tendencies as you have done validates tyrranies such as the Soviets.

I agree with you we have faculties, not rigid programs. And certain people have faculties that will express themselves more readily than others, given the same environmental stimuli.

That's what I mean by innate tendencies. An innate tendency needs the environment in order to be expressed, yet that requirement doesn't negate it's innate nature. We have the innate potential to see, but without any visual stimuli in early childhood, that capability is lost. But at the same time, certain people have - all other things being equal - a genetic profile that gives them a better chance to have 20/20 vision than others.

Our capabilities are the results of the interplay of innate faculties and learned behaviors.
And the studies i mentioned in another post show that this is not true just for vision or a bunch of physical traits or diseases, but also for certain emotional ones, and yes, certain traits related to moral attitudes.

PWi
A former member
Post #: 108
­This thread is to discuss the origins of morality from a secular viewpoint.

The 5/23 meeting is focused on this theme.

I'll get started with the 10,000 ft view:

The origins of morality from a secular viewpoing:
- logical: Kant's categorical imperative, or the golden rule (do unto others what you would like to be done unto you, and it's variations)
- genetic: we have an innate tendency for empathy, and a basic sense of fairness/justice
- social: in a large society of individuals, you need certain rules in order for society to maintain its integrity/effectiveness
- evolutionary: the last 2 above were shaped by biological and cultural evolution mechanisms

To mention Kant and logic in the same breath is simply abominable. He undermined reason and made it a hand servant to the most illogical, faith - which he explicitly sought [successfully] to defend, as its destruction as the Enlightenment took hold, began to gather pace.

His "Critique of Reason" is evidence enough to show that he is evil incarnate with his most irrational morality being self-sacrifice as the highest virtue, value and duty. It is not accidental that the architect of the Final Solution, Adolf Eichmann was a Kantian.

Man is not born with any "innate" emotion - it is taught and is a direct result of our episto-psychology. Man has an emotion faculty, but is not programmed.

To claim innate tendencies as you have done validates tyrranies such as the Soviets.

I agree with you we have faculties, not rigid programs. And certain people have faculties that will express themselves more readily than others, given the same environmental stimuli.

That's what I mean by innate tendencies. An innate tendency needs the environment in order to be expressed, yet that requirement doesn't negate it's innate nature. We have the innate potential to see, but without any visual stimuli in early childhood, that capability is lost. But at the same time, certain people have - all other things being equal - a genetic profile that gives them a better chance to have 20/20 vision than others.

Our capabilities are the results of the interplay of innate faculties and learned behaviors.
And the studies i mentioned in another post show that this is not true just for vision or a bunch of physical traits or diseases, but also for certain emotional ones, and yes, certain traits related to moral attitudes.

PWi

With respect PiWi, it is the innate description that is error. There are the structures, but no individual possesses any emotion until they begin to absorb cognitively.

I consider a good example is the emotion of humor. The most developed sense of humor on this planet is British because it ranges through many levels and is extremely nuanced.

In the USA I have discovered that British-type wit can get one into trouble or the reaction is a confused or puzzled stare. At the same time there Americans who do enjoy British humor and these tend to be people from a certain sector.

But there is no evidence that Man is not born tabula rasa.
A former member
Post #: 1
But there is no evidence that Man is not born tabula rasa.

This is utterly wrong, and you can easily convince yourself of that fact by picking up almost any modern academic book or peer-reviewed scientific journal on cognitive sciences, psychology, etc. People do come pre-wired in certain ways, some more so, some less, and we can certainly learn to handle emotions (to some extent). But the claim that we are a blank slate has been clearly and experimentally refuted already a long time ago.

By your reasoning you would actually have to side with Christian fundamentalists who claim that being gay is just a life style choice or learned behavior, whereas any serious clinical research shows that this is plain wrong.
A former member
Post #: 109
But there is no evidence that Man is not born tabula rasa.

This is utterly wrong, and you can easily convince yourself of that fact by picking up almost any modern academic book or peer-reviewed scientific journal on cognitive sciences, psychology, etc. People do come pre-wired in certain ways, some more so, some less, and we can certainly learn to handle emotions (to some extent). But the claim that we are a blank slate has been clearly and experimentally refuted already a long time ago.

By your reasoning you would actually have to side with Christian fundamentalists who claim that being gay is just a life style choice or learned behavior, whereas any serious clinical research shows that this is plain wrong.

First what is tabula rasa? Since Man has no automatic knowledge, he can have no automatic values - since he has no innate ideas, he can have no innate value judgements.

Man is born with an emotional mechanism, just as he is born with a cogntive mechanism - but at birth BOTH are tabula rasa. It is the cognitive one that determines the emotional.

The "wiring" you describe given iin the example of homosexuality is not pertinent because that is something that he has no control of.

So gay or lesbian people are born and do not make the choice.

To ascribe my view to be in line with Christian fundamentalists as you ahev done is beyond silly.

Choice is a matter of conscious decision
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