French Revolution compared to Syrian Revolution?

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Re: French Revolution compared to Syrian Revolution?

#41  Postby Pebble » Apr 17, 2016 5:47 pm

Cito di Pense wrote:
Pebble wrote:
Difficult to unpick what this diatribe is about, but in essence you allege that I am inferring an optimal state of man, simply because I suggest tolerance is superior to intolerance - there are two reasonable inferences. 1. that you believe tolerance is not a superior state of affairs. 2. that you are deliberately misrepresenting what I have written. I gave you the benefit of the doubt, perhaps incorrectly.


Pebble, are you inviting me to tolerate foolishness? What have you gained by reaffirming that tolerance is superior to intolerance? You still have provided no examples to test your notion.

When should I be tolerant, and when not? There's a lot of stuff that doesn't concern me. Silly wibble like yours is in that category, but I am interested in whether you would invite me to tolerate foolishness like yours.

Pebble wrote:
I have not asserted that IS started the revolution, simply they are a part of the reality on the ground there. I have not suggested a course of action for Syria, simply asked if the level of tolerance shown there is equally acceptable to you intellectually as that found in the West. Sure there are parts of many countries I would not wish to live in, but when the state backs the intolerance with extreme force, one has a quantifiable different scenario.


Did you want to prove a point, or something? That's an example, but it's not much of a test.


So from the latter may I take it that if I set the bar low enough - as in the example given, then you concede that tolerance is superior to intolerance? As Winston Churchill said to Nancy Astor, then we merely need to haggle over the price.
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Re: French Revolution compared to Syrian Revolution?

#42  Postby Pebble » Apr 17, 2016 6:20 pm

Assuming it is a given that there are some situations in which tolerance is superior, it is also reasonable to propose that there are situations where tolerance is inferior - for example tolerating torture. The question then becomes how much freedom of thought and action is optimal for human society? The answer may be different in different circumstances, there may be no right answer - but if we acknowledge that there are extremes at either end that hold in all conceivable situations, one concedes that there are moral choices. I fully accept that these are arbitrary human choices, but suggest that Sam Harris was not entirely wrong when he suggested that there is a basis for a moral code in human society.
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Re: French Revolution compared to Syrian Revolution?

#43  Postby Cito di Pense » Apr 17, 2016 6:36 pm

Pebble wrote:
So from the latter may I take it that if I set the bar low enough - as in the example given, then you concede that tolerance is superior to intolerance? As Winston Churchill said to Nancy Astor, then we merely need to haggle over the price.


Not at all. You're not presenting me with anything of which to be tolerant. You're merely begging me to be intolerant of fanaticism. If you merely want to diddle the abstraction that tolerance is universally superior to intolerance, count me out.

Pebble wrote:Assuming it is a given that there are some situations in which tolerance is superior, it is also reasonable to propose that there are situations where tolerance is inferior - for example tolerating torture. The question then becomes how much freedom of thought and action is optimal for human society? The answer may be different in different circumstances, there may be no right answer - but if we acknowledge that there are extremes at either end that hold in all conceivable situations, one concedes that there are moral choices. I fully accept that these are arbitrary human choices, but suggest that Sam Harris was not entirely wrong when he suggested that there is a basis for a moral code in human society.


Yeah, Pebble. The chain you're yanking is not the Great Chain of Being. If you want merely to make a long list of things not to tolerate, you give me no instruction that I should tolerate everything not on your fricking list. You and the religious nuts, both, have long lists of things not to tolerate, and I play it by ear. You still practicing?

How am I supposed to figure out if tolerance is superior to intolerance with your big pile of crap?

Pebble wrote:The question then becomes how much freedom of thought and action is optimal for human society? The answer may be different in different circumstances, there may be no right answer - but if we acknowledge that there are extremes at either end that hold in all conceivable situations, one concedes that there are moral choices.


There you go, using the word 'optimal' again, without a license, because you want to prove there are moral choices. Want some moral choices to be universals? Get back in church. Or do as I do, and work on it case by case. You're chasing rainbows.

Do you want me to come up with a statement like, "Under no circumstances is torture to be tolerated." I don't know what all the circumstances are, and I learned a long time ago not to entertain trick questions like yours.
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Re: French Revolution compared to Syrian Revolution?

#44  Postby Pebble » Apr 17, 2016 6:56 pm

Cito di Pense wrote:

There you go, using the word 'optimal' again, without a license, because you want to prove there are moral choices. Want some moral choices to be universals? Get back in church. Or do as I do, and work on it case by case.


The problem with case by case, is that heuristic decision making determines each outcome. As the saying goes hard cases make bad laws. If however, there are some generally agreed principles - for example harming others is generally not approved of, while freedom of expression is generally tolerated, one has a rough guide for when the state or others are over stepping the mark.
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Re: French Revolution compared to Syrian Revolution?

#45  Postby Cito di Pense » Apr 17, 2016 7:55 pm

Pebble wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:There you go, using the word 'optimal' again, without a license, because you want to prove there are moral choices. Want some moral choices to be universals? Get back in church. Or do as I do, and work on it case by case.


The problem with case by case, is that heuristic decision making determines each outcome. As the saying goes hard cases make bad laws. If however, there are some generally agreed principles - for example harming others is generally not approved of, while freedom of expression is generally tolerated, one has a rough guide for when the state or others are over stepping the mark.


"Generally not approved of", eh? Got the good ol' "Tut, tut!" thing going, haven't ya? Parents harm their kids in little ways, and nobody knows about it, and so nobody disapproves. I know. They would if they could. What good is your 'generally disapproved of", then? How much harm is enough to bring down the wrath of Tut? You see, Pebble? This kind of philosophy is good for precisely fuck-all, and here you are, desperately trying to find a way to get someone to admit that this kind of philosophy is good for more than fuck all. Generally? Rough guide? Don't make me fucking laugh. Do some fucking work, and get back to me.

Oh, but yeah. Authoritarian tyranny is worse than an ice cream on hot day. Tut, tut.
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Re: French Revolution compared to Syrian Revolution?

#46  Postby Pebble » Apr 17, 2016 9:54 pm

Cito di Pense wrote:

"Generally not approved of", eh? Got the good ol' "Tut, tut!" thing going, haven't ya? Parents harm their kids in little ways, and nobody knows about it, and so nobody disapproves. I know. They would if they could. What good is your 'generally disapproved of", then? How much harm is enough to bring down the wrath of Tut? You see, Pebble? This kind of philosophy is good for precisely fuck-all, and here you are, desperately trying to find a way to get someone to admit that this kind of philosophy is good for more than fuck all. Generally? Rough guide? Don't make me fucking laugh. Do some fucking work, and get back to me.

Oh, but yeah. Authoritarian tyranny is worse than an ice cream on hot day. Tut, tut.


Presently, I am simply introducing the general concepts - attempting to establish that there is a case for a principle based approach to moral decision making - you know the basics of an empirical approach. What no-one, to my knowledge, has done to date is to attempt to verify that any particular model is valid. By contrast your suggestion of 'case by case' individual by individual determination of 'right and wrong' (or whatever variation of same you prefer to use) is nothing but a return to stone-age guesswork.
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Re: French Revolution compared to Syrian Revolution?

#47  Postby tuco » Apr 18, 2016 12:27 am

Sam Harris did not invent anything. In moral landscape he reformulated the so-called human nature. He also omitted crucial factor: dynamics. Human nature is, probably, to stay but its the dynamics forming the landscape.
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Re: French Revolution compared to Syrian Revolution?

#48  Postby jamest » Apr 18, 2016 12:56 am

I sometimes, as here, wonder what Cito seeks from life, death, or anything. All he does mostly is moan, our own 21st century Socrates, yet without the context of what he wants the victim of his oft-indecipherable rants is left with naught but a confused shrug for a response. Is that their fault?

I think that it's about time that we demand some clarity from this chap. He's taken this clever ploy with words too far and for too long, especially when he uses it as a ruse to undermine somebody or their ideas, not least as an excuse to insult them in a manner which evades consequences wrt the FUA.

The issue here is history, politics and philosophy. If somebody cannot contribute in a manner which is clear to all, then they should join the popcorn queue and stop pretending that their opinion is of significance. Have I made myself clear, or would you prefer me to bring out the word salad and put up the pretense that I am being very intelligent?
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Re: French Revolution compared to Syrian Revolution?

#49  Postby tuco » Apr 18, 2016 1:07 am

In my opinion if I may, Cito di Pense, is quite clever yet uses this potential for his/her own amusement. What this says about her/himself I am not sure, but I believe its loss for the community.
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Re: French Revolution compared to Syrian Revolution?

#50  Postby Cito di Pense » Apr 18, 2016 5:18 am

Pebble wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:

"Generally not approved of", eh? Got the good ol' "Tut, tut!" thing going, haven't ya? Parents harm their kids in little ways, and nobody knows about it, and so nobody disapproves. I know. They would if they could. What good is your 'generally disapproved of", then? How much harm is enough to bring down the wrath of Tut? You see, Pebble? This kind of philosophy is good for precisely fuck-all, and here you are, desperately trying to find a way to get someone to admit that this kind of philosophy is good for more than fuck all. Generally? Rough guide? Don't make me fucking laugh. Do some fucking work, and get back to me.

Oh, but yeah. Authoritarian tyranny is worse than an ice cream on hot day. Tut, tut.


Presently, I am simply introducing the general concepts - attempting to establish that there is a case for a principle based approach to moral decision making - you know the basics of an empirical approach. What no-one, to my knowledge, has done to date is to attempt to verify that any particular model is valid. By contrast your suggestion of 'case by case' individual by individual determination of 'right and wrong' (or whatever variation of same you prefer to use) is nothing but a return to stone-age guesswork.


What's missing here is what you hope to accomplish with this so-called 'principle-based approach'. It's your notion of 'making the world a better place'. I've offered the opinion that technology has made billions of people's lives obviously better, and you're whining that it's also put efficient tools in the hands of tyrants. So it goes, but try to figure that one out. Ditching technology and going back to stone-age guesswork is not my idea of progress, either. You're welcome to go on muttering that tolerance is better than tyranny, but until you explain how you're going to discourage tyranny with something besides technology, as far as I can tell, you're just trying to keep open a small space for the value of wibble in the modern world. "Tut, tut" is not the way to discourage tyrants. Learn that lesson, and you'll be off and running.

jamest wrote:I think that it's about time that we demand some clarity from this chap. He's taken this clever ploy with words too far and for too long, especially when he uses it as a ruse to undermine somebody or their ideas, not least as an excuse to insult them in a manner which evades consequences wrt the FUA.


Is clarity what you want? OK: Edie Brickell says it best:

Philosophy is the talk on a cereal box; religion is the smile on a dog.

Sing with her, James:

I'm not aware of too many things. I know what I know, if you know what I mean.

She says that more plainly than you manage, too, if clarity is still what you're after.

People are entitled to their opinions about the value of philosophy to humanity, when matched up against the value of technology. I doubt if Edie Brickell is the same sort of staunch defender of technological progress I am, but she certainly made use of it in the recording studio, and we're all using it to argue on the internet. Live with it, James. You will, anyway.
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Re: French Revolution compared to Syrian Revolution?

#51  Postby Cito di Pense » Apr 18, 2016 5:35 am

Here's what started this off, boys:

Pebble wrote:
Given that diversity is to a significant degree another word for tolerance, then it has a rather longer history. Without tolerance, the powerful determine what expression is acceptable - there is sufficient information from the past to determine that that is not the optimal state of man.
What part of diversity do you believe is superfluous and why?


Tolerance is great, but it only gets you so far if something intolerable is going on. Diversity is great, too, especially for people who find that the bell curve provides all the diversity they can handle, and sometimes much more. Some people use the word 'diversity' to include 'suffering foolishness gladly'.

Tolerance does not, in my book, include suffering foolishness gladly. I'm not more powerful than any of you, except in terms of getting my ideas out. Pretending that you don't understand what I'm saying does not make me more powerful than you.

jamest wrote:IIf somebody cannot contribute in a manner which is clear to all, then they should join the popcorn queue and stop pretending that their opinion is of significance.


Censorship, James? That's what you propose there. Censorship can go fuck itself off back to the places and times of religious tyranny. Unless you think German sedition rules are at stake here, because Germany is where the server for this forum is running, instead of on the big show going on inside your skull.
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Re: French Revolution compared to Syrian Revolution?

#52  Postby zoon » Apr 18, 2016 8:25 am

Morality is central to human social behaviour, and like all human social behaviour it’s still essentially Stone Age rather than scientific, because we barely begin to understand the physical mechanisms controlling it.

The idea that there is some objective moral truth beyond the physical characteristics of evolved human brains is almost certainly as mistaken as the idea that there are gods. At the same time, however, morality cannot simply be dismissed along with gods as merely unscientific and untrue, because we need it. It’s as central as language to the way we operate.

The problem for scientifically-minded atheists is that morality only seems to work when it’s taken to have the objective force which science says it hasn’t got, and I don’t think there’s any clear consensus yet on how to resolve that problem.

To say that each person can have their own moral code makes about as much sense as to say that each person can have their own language. There is individuality in the details of each person’s use of language or of morality, but unless they are primarily shared enterprises with agreed-upon rules, both morality and language are useless.

Similarly, a radically case-by-case morality is like inventing a language for each situation. If the rules don’t apply across situations, they are pointless. Rules are applied on a case-by-case basis, but if there are no rules to apply then we are talking about personal whim or mob rule, not something that would qualify as morality.

To say that morality should be ditched because it’s unscientific would be to play into the hands of theists. Every functioning human society has a system of moral assumptions at its core. Atheists who make jokes about eating babies are sharing these assumptions; the joke is that atheists are as opposed to egregious moral violations as anyone else.

Perhaps the best we can do is to use morality much as before (including the ongoing attempt to work out what overarching rules may be in play), while accepting that moral laws don’t have the objectivity of scientific ones? But this is never going to feel entirely right?
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Re: French Revolution compared to Syrian Revolution?

#53  Postby Cito di Pense » Apr 18, 2016 10:27 am

zoon wrote:Morality is central to human social behaviour, and like all human social behaviour it’s still essentially Stone Age rather than scientific, because we barely begin to understand the physical mechanisms controlling it.


What in fuck's name would you lose by calling it something other than 'morality', like (for easy example) 'comity'? I think it's that some nominal atheists became attached to the word 'morality' while they were dutifully studying their bibles (or other scripture) and feel the tug of nostalgia for those good old days of supreme judgement. And even some folks who never were bible thumpers got attached to the word because they think it's an essential part of philosophy, which got it from you-know-who, the bible thumpers. Maybe 'comity' isn't enough for such folks, and they feel a craving for the "Tut, tut!" factor that the religious nuts so enjoy. Why shouldn't they have the same kind of fun, too?

Just for starters, tell me what's missing from 'comity' that isn't overburdened by your version of 'morality'. Or do words fail you?

zoon wrote:
To say that morality should be ditched because it’s unscientific would be to play into the hands of theists.


Do you know what really plays into the hands of theists? An idiotic competition over a word you both think you need to use.

And this closes that deal for nominal atheists who spend so much effort wanking on the word 'morality'. It's not because they don't find equal utility in words like 'comity', or because they simply lack the vocabulary. It's about the personal struggle they're having with religionists. It's not really about fixing human society at all, but an old, tired personal competition born of anxiety that the theists are going to run things simply because of the "Tut, tut!" factor. Bull-fucking-shit to that. Waffle and wibble isn't the way to fix that problem, zoon.

zoon wrote:
Perhaps the best we can do is to use morality much as before (including the ongoing attempt to work out what overarching rules may be in play), while accepting that moral laws don’t have the objectivity of scientific ones? But this is never going to feel entirely right?


If you want overarching rules, zoon, stay away from psychobabble and sociological jargon.

zoon wrote:Atheists who make jokes about eating babies are sharing these assumptions; the joke is that atheists are as opposed to egregious moral violations as anyone else.


If they had the common sense to actually joke about it, that wouldn't be the problem. The real joke is ON them, because they're still suffering from the "Tut, tut" noises of the theists, and want some of their own to play with. "Us vs. them" is pretty crude stuff, zoon.
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Re: French Revolution compared to Syrian Revolution?

#54  Postby Hobbes Choice » Apr 18, 2016 10:43 am

zoon wrote:
To say that each person can have their own moral code makes about as much sense as to say that each person can have their own language. There is individuality in the details of each person’s use of language or of morality, but unless they are primarily shared enterprises with agreed-upon rules, both morality and language are useless.

This is a category error. Like there are languages, there are different culturally specific moral codes, but within each of those moralities (or cultures) languages are used to make different moral statements within the specific contexts. So yes each of us does have our own moral code, as it is uniquely formed by understanding our own position within our local moral framework. One should not expect a person brought up in Syria to see the world as a Frenchman, but by a similar token of category no two Syrians can have exactly the same morality. To suggest that would to to suggest that two people could share exactly the same point of view, as it is a POV that determines how a moral code is understood and applied


Similarly, a radically case-by-case morality is like inventing a language for each situation. If the rules don’t apply across situations, they are pointless. Rules are applied on a case-by-case basis, but if there are no rules to apply then we are talking about personal whim or mob rule, not something that would qualify as morality.

I think you are overstating your case severely. All rules always have to apply contingently to the circumstances. For example; causing the death of a person does not automatically lead to execution - nor should it. Pleas to mitigation are heard, and sentencing varies from one judge to another.
Morilty might be the langue; but the practice of it is the parole (excuse the pun).


To say that morality should be ditched because it’s unscientific would be to play into the hands of theists. Every functioning human society has a system of moral assumptions at its core. Atheists who make jokes about eating babies are sharing these assumptions; the joke is that atheists are as opposed to egregious moral violations as anyone else.

Your caricatures of atheists and theists are crap -sorry, but just unworthy. I can see examples of both prejudices about the nature of morality on either side with both the rationalist/atheist and the theist claiming, falsely some idiotic moral objectivism


Perhaps the best we can do is to use morality much as before (including the ongoing attempt to work out what overarching rules may be in play), while accepting that moral laws don’t have the objectivity of scientific ones? But this is never going to feel entirely right?


~The mistake is to pretend a hard-wired or Platonically "real" morality, with overarching rules. When it truth "morality" is just a dustbin term for the oh so human practice of ethical behaviour. It's not a scientific law to which we all follow, but a set of suggestions and normative formulations which apply more or less to given situations, and we cannot expect people having lived vastly different lives to follow our rules just because we think they are better than theirs.

There is no doubt in my mind that those joining ISIS think themselves moral; even acting with complete moral necessity according to what they see as perfectly objectively truth and universal moral rules.
And if you can't understand that, then you wlll never understand your ENEMY.
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Re: French Revolution compared to Syrian Revolution?

#55  Postby Pebble » Apr 18, 2016 12:26 pm

Hobbes Choice wrote:
zoon wrote:
To say that each person can have their own moral code makes about as much sense as to say that each person can have their own language. There is individuality in the details of each person’s use of language or of morality, but unless they are primarily shared enterprises with agreed-upon rules, both morality and language are useless.

This is a category error.


I like the analogy though. it does illuminate the discussion.

Agreed that within a single society individuals have very different moral codes - so the sharing is much more incomplete that one sees with language, but as you say yourself - individuals develop their moral code in response to the society they grow up in, modified by their personal experiences and probably a host of other unknown factors.

However, as with language - society functions because there are accepted codes of behavior. Stray too far from the accepted code and reactions follow - not consistently as in the prescriptions of law, and indeed varying according to the relative power of the enforcers v the transgressors.

No one that I can see is suggesting that morals are entirely hard wired, however the point I see is that there is some basic level at which social behaviour mandates aquiesence to general principles. This may explain why moral codes are universal among humans.
The question then is whether research can determine what the basics are. As I have outlined above - not harming others is fairly widely shared. There also appears to be a hierarchy of how this is applied - family first, clan second, shared belief group, nations etc. However, that is not a reason to dismiss such a principle - rather to see if this could be validly applied more widely.
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Re: French Revolution compared to Syrian Revolution?

#56  Postby Cito di Pense » Apr 18, 2016 1:49 pm

Pebble wrote:the point I see is that there is some basic level at which social behaviour mandates aquiesence to general principles. This may explain why moral codes are universal among humans.
The question then is whether research can determine what the basics are. As I have outlined above - not harming others is fairly widely shared.


If you want general principles, then don't use a word like 'harm' whose import varies from society to society and even family to family. What this means is that you don't really have a fucking clue what the word 'harm' denotes. But as long as another meaninglessly general term exists for you to diddle, I guess that's what you'll keep doing.

Oh, wait. What you're on about is that everybody has some conception of 'harm'. So the fuck what? You're still back on square one, which is that there's one word to denote what fifty people use to denote fifty different things. Semantic masturbation made queasy.

The whole point of philosophy for folks like you is to diddle with meaninglessly general terms. Are you impressed by the fact that there are such features as abstractions in human speech? Welcome to Philosophy 101. Time to move on, Pebble, and I'm sure you could if you really wanted to, but I think this is about as far as you want to go.
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Re: French Revolution compared to Syrian Revolution?

#57  Postby jamest » Apr 18, 2016 2:14 pm

Cito di Pense wrote:
People are entitled to their opinions about the value of philosophy to humanity, when matched up against the value of technology. I doubt if Edie Brickell is the same sort of staunch defender of technological progress I am, but she certainly made use of it in the recording studio, and we're all using it to argue on the internet. Live with it, James. You will, anyway.

What is the value of technological progress without reference to the beings for which it has value? None. So let's hear what you've got to say about 'us', Cito. That's right, do some fuckin' philosophy.
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Re: French Revolution compared to Syrian Revolution?

#58  Postby zoon » Apr 18, 2016 4:54 pm

Cito di Pense wrote:
zoon wrote:Morality is central to human social behaviour, and like all human social behaviour it’s still essentially Stone Age rather than scientific, because we barely begin to understand the physical mechanisms controlling it.


What in fuck's name would you lose by calling it something other than 'morality', like (for easy example) 'comity'? I think it's that some nominal atheists became attached to the word 'morality' while they were dutifully studying their bibles (or other scripture) and feel the tug of nostalgia for those good old days of supreme judgement. And even some folks who never were bible thumpers got attached to the word because they think it's an essential part of philosophy, which got it from you-know-who, the bible thumpers. Maybe 'comity' isn't enough for such folks, and they feel a craving for the "Tut, tut!" factor that the religious nuts so enjoy. Why shouldn't they have the same kind of fun, too?

Just for starters, tell me what's missing from 'comity' that isn't overburdened by your version of 'morality'. Or do words fail you?

Why use an obscure word when a common one does the job better? The word “morality” doesn’t have to be taken to be carrying supernatural baggage.

I’m not entirely clear how far your tut-tutting at tut-tutting is meant to be generalised? You were saying in post #51 that there are limits to tolerance.
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Re: French Revolution compared to Syrian Revolution?

#59  Postby zoon » Apr 18, 2016 4:55 pm

Hobbes Choice wrote:
zoon wrote:
Perhaps the best we can do is to use morality much as before (including the ongoing attempt to work out what overarching rules may be in play), while accepting that moral laws don’t have the objectivity of scientific ones? But this is never going to feel entirely right?


~The mistake is to pretend a hard-wired or Platonically "real" morality, with overarching rules. When it truth "morality" is just a dustbin term for the oh so human practice of ethical behaviour. It's not a scientific law to which we all follow, but a set of suggestions and normative formulations which apply more or less to given situations, and we cannot expect people having lived vastly different lives to follow our rules just because we think they are better than theirs.

There is no doubt in my mind that those joining ISIS think themselves moral; even acting with complete moral necessity according to what they see as perfectly objectively truth and universal moral rules.
And if you can't understand that, then you wlll never understand your ENEMY.

I do agree that many of those joining ISIS think of their morality as objective and absolute. I’m not so happy with the implication that our side is not doing something similar, the assumption that one’s own mindset is the right one is more or less unavoidable?
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Re: French Revolution compared to Syrian Revolution?

#60  Postby zoon » Apr 18, 2016 4:56 pm

Pebble wrote:
Hobbes Choice wrote:
zoon wrote:
To say that each person can have their own moral code makes about as much sense as to say that each person can have their own language. There is individuality in the details of each person’s use of language or of morality, but unless they are primarily shared enterprises with agreed-upon rules, both morality and language are useless.

This is a category error.


I like the analogy though. it does illuminate the discussion.

Agreed that within a single society individuals have very different moral codes - so the sharing is much more incomplete that one sees with language, but as you say yourself - individuals develop their moral code in response to the society they grow up in, modified by their personal experiences and probably a host of other unknown factors.

However, as with language - society functions because there are accepted codes of behavior. Stray too far from the accepted code and reactions follow - not consistently as in the prescriptions of law, and indeed varying according to the relative power of the enforcers v the transgressors.

No one that I can see is suggesting that morals are entirely hard wired, however the point I see is that there is some basic level at which social behaviour mandates aquiesence to general principles. This may explain why moral codes are universal among humans.
The question then is whether research can determine what the basics are. As I have outlined above - not harming others is fairly widely shared. There also appears to be a hierarchy of how this is applied - family first, clan second, shared belief group, nations etc. However, that is not a reason to dismiss such a principle - rather to see if this could be validly applied more widely.

The experimental research is interesting, as you say; I think it does tend to throw up further complexities as well as simpler underlying principles. Two researchers are Paul Bloom, who has looked at proto-moral behaviour in babies, and Joshua Greene, who has written a book “Moral Tribes”, on different moral systems round the world. The link to Joshua Greene is about the trolley problem, which suggests that the wired-in aspects of morality may involve different systems in the brain, not necessarily working together entirely logically.
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