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Thread: Building a Moral Philosophy Out of Subjective Feeling

  1. #11
    half mystic, half skeksis Array jenocyde's Avatar
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    Jan 2009


    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    Even if they both stem from belief, we have to look at where that belief stems from. Here's an example. Using feeling as a compass, I could say "when I feel bad about my actions, however slightly, I know that action is bad." Using logic, you could say "if everyone did what I'm about to do, the world would fall apart. Since I'm not better than anyone else, I can't rationally do this." Both lead to a belief that the activity is immoral, but the source of that belief is different.
    I so badly want to agree with that but everyone has different ideas as to what would make the world a better place - think of people like NAMBLA, for instance.

    My friend and I always clash because he's a staunch socialist and I am staunchly not. We've both lived in countries where there have been varying degrees of socialism and he feels that this is the best way to go (and I'm talking about the real deal, here - not universal health care...) I feel it does such a disservice to individual liberties. Which of course makes him think I just want to squash others with my big capitalist pig feet or something. At this point, which moral stance is correct?

    Who, in your system, would be the ultimate judge of morality - or would you leave it up to each citizen to choose their own morality?

  2. #12
    See Right Through Me Array Bubbles's Avatar
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    Mar 2009


    That brings up an interesting distinction. The golden rule is a system that utilizes FEAR as a primary motivator (combined with logic). If you FEAR others acting that way towards you, you refrain.
    I disagree with this one statement, while I understand the rest of your points. Frankly someone who believes in treating others as they wish to be treated does not expect a tagging-on of "as long as they treat me nice back." In fact, it usually sucks for the follower because their behavior is rarely reciprocated. It's not about fear, it's about the values, respect, and the 'good-feeling' you mentioned earlier. People who follow this system out of fear are paranoid, and will wind up disappointed.

    Hopefully this made sense.
    4w3, IEI, so/sx/sp, female, and Cancer sign.

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  3. #13
    Senior Member Array Aleph-One's Avatar
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    Apr 2009


    The rational examination of moral behavior seems, at least to me, to lead to these kinds of conversations where we're left choosing between somewhat arbitrary convention or nihilism. Neither choice is acceptable, so the methodology of the conversation must be flawed. If we make a sweeping generalization or state what we believe to be a maxim in a discussion about morals, it is usually not hard to pose a problem which would seem to provide a counterexample to that maxim. It seems that we are, by engaging in the examination of moral behavior, hoping to obtain general laws of morality as a justification for our preexisting notions of what is moral. When we cannot do this (and we can't, as shown by the counterexamples) we are prone to scrap whole moral theories, and this is the flaw in the methodology.

    It is forgotten that we do always take things autonomously and in stride. We don't actually hold ourselves to maxims, just general guidelines which we tend to allow exceptions to based on what we believe the outcomes of our behavior to be. We can even hold general guidelines which would seem to be inconsistent with each other, but this apparent inconsistency is really just the product of a misplaced belief that moral guidelines are binarily valuable. The methodology of a discussion such as this, in other words, seems to assume that none of us can "draw the line somewhere" -- even though almost no one here actually believes we are so incapable of independent thought. The solution to ethical dilemmas and the apparently missing foundations of morality is common sense, or something I would like to call intuitionistic consequentialism.

    This approach does not need a defense from first principles. We are all apparently moral people without having what we might consider sufficient justification for those morals. Problems of moral epistemology are, I believe, somewhat fruitless in any case. Suppose I could find a way to prove, absolutely, what is and is not moral. Would that stop everything that is wrong in the world? Not likely. It is better to concentrate on how to stop genocide, how to stop violent nationalism, how to stop lynchings and maulings and theft and so on, rather than to concentrate on how or why we know these things are wrong in the first place.
    Aleph-One, you look like the kind of person who would spend his spare time building a giant robot to hold the government for ransom. -Some Guy on the Internet

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