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    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Default Universal Feel?

    I. What Universal Feel is

    The question that I am concerned with in this discussion is whether or not there us a Universal moral law that ought to be imposed upon all persons. I regard such a law as a Universal Feel.

    The following constitute examples of Universal Feel.

    (1) The belief of some Muslims that all persons should be Muslims.
    (2) The belief of some Marxists who believe that workers of the world should unite.
    (3) Adolf Hitler's conviction that the Nazis should conquer the world.

    What do all three of these cases have in common? They impose a combination of values upon the entire world. In other words in order to be a Muslim, a Marxist or a Nazi you must endorse certain values. If it occurs that one of the three groups occupies the entire world, it is necessarily the case that certain values will be imposed on everyone.

    These are instances of heavy use of Universal Feel. They are certainly rare and it would strike most of us as deeply surprising if there will be a time when we will be forced once more to be concerned with the influence upon the world of another of such groups. What I wish to discuss in this inquiry is not any particular historical event, but the underpinning concept of the worldviews of groups who attempted to force their values on others.

    In order for us to discover another instance of the maxim of the Universal Feel we need not examine significant historical events that caused wars or internecine revolutions. We need not look any further than our local community of religious zealots or a traditional family structure observed in third world countries or their emmigrants who reside in the United States.

    What is observed is the following; the maxim regarding the existence of a moral fact is accepted as true. Moral propositions are not taken to be merely abstract and general notions. They are regarded as very clear and specific as well as applicable to all circumstances of life. In other words there is a moral truth to your problem of getting up at eight in the morning or at nine in the morning. Not only is it true that there is a 'right' answer for you to find under such circumstances, but it is not merely what is 'right' or 'fitting' for you, it is something that must be accepted by everyone. Those who are not doing the 'right' thing must be taught what is right. If they deny their responsibility do as they are told, they shall be subjected by means of extreme coercion. Certainly some religious groups and some family structures, however archaic or traditional will deny that they have moral prescriptions regarding all activities, yet the principle holds true. Although prescriptions for all activities may not be found within their ethical theory, they certainly have many prescriptions. Some Muslim groups of religious zealots believe that their Holy Book informs them of the proper way of eating meals and proper ways of going to sleep. Needless to say, many members of religious communities and of families that operate upon archaic principles find that they are overwhelmed by a variety of rules that their institution insists they should accept.

    There are two ways such actions could be justified; either by the Theorem of Feel or in fiat, or by an argument that there is an objective moral law which prescribes the proper way of behaving. Whether or not there is an objective moral law is a matter that is to be discussed elsewhere. Here I merely wish to gauge the Ethical implications of Universal Feel and pose the question of whether or not the results merit the continuation of the use of this method.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    II. Is Universal Feel justified?

    My approach to this question is strictly hedonistic. In order for an action to be deemed worthwhile, it must lead to a palpable good of some kind. The proponent of Universal Feel will insist that what is truly good or bad is supported by a moral law. A famous view of this kind regarding such matter belongs to Kant and is now known as Deontic. (Deontological Ethics (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy) ) In summary, this system of ethics is founded on duties. A virtuous act is one that conforms to the moral law and it is our duty to follow it. Therefore what leads to our pleasure or pleasure of anyone is irrelevant. In the strictest sense of the word Kantian deontology is not an instance of universal feel as it is merely a philosophical assertion that there is a 'right' way for everyone to do all things. However, should a politician become a Kantian and attempt to force Kantian ethics on the entire world, then indeed Universal Feel would take place.

    Whether or not the Kantian ethical views can provide a philosophical justification for the existence of a moral law is once more, a question to be reserved for another inquiry. The question of this discussion is, even if it is the case that we have proof of the existence of the moral law, by Kantian means or otherwise, should it be enforced. If so, to what degree? In condensed form, this inquiry assumes that there is a universal moral law and that the 'right' thing to do is to enforce it, should we do it?

    Here we have arrived at a challenging problem which could be illustrated as follows.

    Argument 1: Presupposes that there is a moral law and it compels us to correct the behavior of those who are wrong. (Universal Feel)

    Premise 1: Right things to do are those that should be practiced at all times.
    Premise 2: There is a right way for all persons to do all things.
    Premise 3: Some persons do the wrong thing.

    Conclusion: We must correct them because our duty is to make them do the right thing.

    Argument 2: There is a Moral Law but it does grant us a duty to correct those who are wrong.

    Premise 1: Right things to do are those that should be practiced at all times.
    Premise 2: There is a right way for all persons to do all things.
    Premise 3: Some persons do the wrong thing.

    Conclusion: We should not correct them because the moral law does not grant us a duty to correct those who are wrong.

    Argument 3: There is a moral law, it does compel us to correct those who are wrong, but we should do wrong and chose not to correct them.

    Premise 1: Right things to do are those that should be practiced at all times.
    Premise 2: There is a right way for all persons to do all things.
    Premise 3: Some persons do the wrong thing.

    Conclusion: There is a moral law, it does compel us to correct those who are wrong, but we should do wrong and chose not to correct them.

    It is desirable that we analyze the implications of each of these arguments and evaluate them for acceptability.

    A. Argument 1: Presupposes that there is a moral law and it compels us to correct the behavior of those who are wrong. (Universal Feel)

    Examples of such laws have been clearly pointed out earlier. Prima facie, this view appears almost wholly untenable as it caused immense suffering to mankind. However, is it all that it is truly responsible for? This appears questionable as the few fanatics who have slaughtered and chastised millions would claim that they received purpose and meaning to their lives. They would attest that they felt superior to all others and in their view this alone is enough for us to feel good about their accomplishments. Most of us would regard this view as repugnant because we or those who are of importance to us suffered at their behest. They would exclaim that our remonstrations are irrelevant as we are simply wrong.

    If it is the goal of this law that is rigid and inflexible to ensure that all people act a certain way, it is necessarily the case that one of the two will happen. Either all persons of the world will accept the law or those who do not accept and those who endorse it will be wrong. Those who do not endorse will be wrong because not following the stipulations is wrong and failing to inspire others to follow is also wrong. Hence those who do 'right' will be determined to get those who do 'wrong' to conform by all means necessary. As a result of this, one of the following scenarios will be inevitable. (1) All persons will gladly accept the terms of those who espouse the law in question.(2) All persons will grudgingly (3) All persons will not accept the terms of those who endorse the law because they will fail to contact them all. (4) All persons will not accept the law in question because they will protest and defeat the intruding force. (5) All persons will accept the law in question after they have been subdued by the intruders.

    It is unclear which is the most likely to happen in all cases as the answer to this question largely depends on how powerful the group of fanatics is. If the group is powerful enough ,they will not be satisfied with anything other than statements (1). (2) or (4). If the power of the group in question is obvious and it is clear that all resistence is futile, the entire world may submit willingly. If the group is not that powerful, then they will resist.

    If the group truly is powerful enough to convince the world to submit without any resistance, would such an action be performed wilfully (1) or out of coercion (2)? In order for the entire world to submit to the group in question wilfully, they must believe that what the group does is desirable. If the entire world believes that the group of fanatics was doing the right thing from the beginning, it remains perplexing why they have not been behaving in the same way. The most clear-cut answer one can concoct is that they were willing to do so, but have failed. In that case, they gladly would accept the authority of the group in question because they would see this as a mere opportunity and not an imposition. This is the concept that is known as positive liberty, or the freedom to acquire desirable qualities of character. Thus, the conquering tribe should not be seen as tyrants, but as liberators.

    Is the population of the entire world that is convinced that they can be overrun by the powerful forces likely to see the forces in question as tyrants or liberators? In order for them to see the 'conquerors' as liberators, they must obviously agree with their values. This leads us to ask the question regarding what values are. A value is a psychological state of positive emotive affirmation regarding a certain ethical maxim (a should or should not statement). How do people form ethical principles? Either through abstract reasoning or through personal experiences. For example, one may believe that abortion is wrong because one starts with the premise that all things that can be naturally conceived by humans have souls. One may have another premise that murder is wrong. A third peremise that killing things that have souls is murder. Therefore one may conclude that abortion is wrong.

    On the other hand, one may arrive at the same conviction on emotional grounds. He may recall the time when his church community and his family urged this notion upon him. This is a classical instance of acquisition of values through personal experiences.

    One should imagine a variety of personal experiences different individuals have undergone in their lifetimes and what impact this carried with regard to how their values were formed. In addition to this one should consider a variety of thought-experiments performed by those who rely on reason more than value-centered thought. With regard to the latter point, it should be considered how creative and idiosyncratic visionaries tend to be in concocting their worldviews. There are hundreds of mystics throughout this planet who have views that we hitherto could not have even thought possible. In short, there is a high quantity of possibilities with regard to a variety of personal experiences one may have had and thought-experiments that led the individual to have the personal values that he does. As a result, it certainly seems unlikely that he could accept the regime of conquerors willfully.

    Thus, it will be the case that if the group in question is powerful enough to convince the entire world to surrender without any resistance, this would be done so grudgingly and not gladly.

    If it is the case that it is not clear that the group in question is clearly -powerful enough to dominate the world, there will be resistance. Significant casualties will be the result.

    In all other cases, there will be losses on both sides as well. Hence, the radical version of Universal Feel is unacceptable.

    B. Argument 2: There is a Moral Law but it does grant us a duty to correct those who are wrong.

    This regime is significantly more peaceful than the one depicted in argument 1. However, it is one that is difficult to conform to properly. If one believes that he is right and others are wrong, it is his natural inclination to attempt to correct them. He will only refrain from doing so unless he has a clear idea that unless he does not correct them, he will cease to be right and if he ceases to be right, he will no longer be in the position to correct them.

    In other words, although the person in question may know that the right thing to do is not to correct others, this way of functioning is counter-intuitive to him and unless he is self-disciplined he will fail to stay true to his moral code. People who endorse such a moral code are frequently led to implicitly disdain individuals that in their view are wrong. They may be self-disciplined enough to avoid attempting to impose sanctions upon them, however, the sheer belief that the other person is wrong invariably entails negative feelings about them. For this reason it is common to observe religious persons who believe that they are not to judge the infidels as in their view only God has the right to judge anyone, are known to appreciate those who share their beliefs more than those who do not. Their relationship to non-believers is analogous to the relationship between native tribesmen and visitors from an unknown land. Simply put, if the people in question regard being 'right' as important, perhaps even the most important thing in life, and being 'right' consists in meticulously following a list of dictates, than those who are not concerned with following such a list must indeed seem foreign them. The sheer difference in personal values will make it difficult for the people in question to avoid harboring feelings of negativity towards those that they deem different from themselves. Great self-discipline is required in order for one to avoid generating such sentiments. If these feelings continue to accumulate, they may be elevated to mere hostility. When one harbors feelings of hostility towards another person or a group, he will have an inclination to undermine them. Even greater self-discipline is required to avoid doing this.

    Hence, the case B is also problematic because it is a notable fact about case B that it may lead to the same result as case A. For the very least, it is likely to lead to a result that is a similar problem as the one noticed in case A, however, perhaps one to a lesser degree. Nonetheless, it entails negative consequences that merit our attention. As a result, it can be declared that argument 2 is also unacceptable.



    C. Argument 3: There is a moral law, it does compel us to correct those who are wrong, but we should do wrong and choose not to correct them.

    This engenders a paradox. It is entailed that wrong is what we should not do, yet we should do wrong. The only plausible way this could be resolved is if the notion of 'wrong' is re-defined. It could be said that what is wrong is simply what the mystical moral law states which we do not understand. Because we do not understand it, we could not know that it is wrong. Simply put, this is a rejection of the notion that there is a moral law. Provisionally, it is taken on trust that there is a moral law, yet once we realize that the prescriptions of the moral law are false, we ipso facto renounce it. This is now known as Moore's paradox. (Moore's paradox - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia )

    If the person in question does not realize this, inner conflict will be inevitable. He will always be working under the assumption that he is doing something wrong. One the one hand, if he does not follow the mystical moral law, he will think that he is doing something wrong on the grounds of practical considerations. On the other hand, if he does what is merited by practical considerations, he is violating the moral law. The two are incompatible, hence one mus tbe rejected.


    III. Concluding thought

    There is something deeply troubling about the notion of Universal Feel. Even if it is true that there is an objective moral law, it is a mistake to establish a system of ethics upon it. Even if the existence of the moral law was obvious and could be proven with the same clarity and rigor that mathematical expressions can be, it is not at all evident that the entire world population will accept it. Their rejection of the moral law will lead to conflicts that will entail great casualties. Why are the methods of practicing ethics discussed in this inquiry known as the Universal Feel?
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

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    Senior Member sculpting's Avatar
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    yippiie more SW questions!!!

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    it's a nuclear device antireconciler's Avatar
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    It's kind of a good question where Universal Feel comes from. I think it has something to do with a kind of mistake a person exercising any kind of disciplined activity makes when they observe that that discipline is having positive results in their life. Many disciplines can accomplish this simply because there is some link to be found between disciplined activity (giving structure and thus purpose to one's life) and happiness. The mistake appears to be that this person thinks it is the PARTICULAR discipline in its external embodiment (the various physical movements, gestures, rituals, etc.) which is what is allowing the person a kind of UNIVERSAL purpose. In a sense, this is naturally true. No universal purpose is possible without some external manifestation of structure. However, it is an error to believe that that universal purpose has but one particular embodiment, for other embodiments are possible.

    For example, you would be right to consider yourself an embodiment of life, and as a conscious individual, the greatest embodiment, in all your particularity, which necessarily excludes all others. It would be an error, however, to believe that your human neighbor is not also the greatest embodiment of life, although they have differences in their particularity which exclude your own. The paradox is between the self and other, that they are necessarily opposed, yet necessarily not what they are without them, and thus include them within each other. The subject simply IS division and otherness, which is manifest creation.
    ~ a n t i r e c o n c i l e r
    What is death, dies.
    What is life, lives.

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    desert pelican Owl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    Why are the methods of practicing ethics discussed in this inquiry known as the Universal Feel?
    Because...

    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    A value is a psychological state of positive emotive affirmation regarding a certain ethical maxim (a should or should not statement).
    and its practitioners want everyone to share their emotive dispositions?

    just a guess.

    perhaps when I finally get around to posting a response in the formal debate thread, and that debate gets wrapped up, then we can start another one on ethics.

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    Dreaming the life onemoretime's Avatar
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    I'd say that it's nothing more than the tribal impulse taken to a mass scale - that there is an "us" that is characterized by commonalities (religion, social class, race and culture), and that because we're "us", we are by definition better than "them" - people who are not like "us", who do things differently than "us". This is a manifestation of group selection - people who are part of the ingroup are more likely to share similar genes than those in the outgroup. Consequently, genetic competition drives the in group to dominate the outgroup, either through conquest and rape (ensuring that the ingroup's genes are propagated even in outgroup offspring), or through extermination (ensuring that there is no genetic competition from the outgroup)

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    Senior Member WickedQueen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    The following constitute examples of Universal Feel.

    (1) The belief of some Muslims that all persons should be Muslims.
    (2) The belief of some Marxists who believe that workers of the world should unite.
    (3) Adolf Hitler's conviction that the Nazis should conquer the world.

    Yeah, they don't read their own Book.

    O disbelievers! Neither do I worship what you worship. Nor do you worship Whom I worship. And neither will I ever worship what you worship. Nor will you worship Whom I worship. For you is your religion, and for me is mine.
    (Quran, 109:1-6)

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    Senior Member sculpting's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    I. What Universal Feel is

    The question that I am concerned with in this discussion is whether or not there us a Universal moral law that ought to be imposed upon all persons. I regard such a law as a Universal Feel.

    They impose a combination of values upon the entire world. .

    What I wish to discuss in this inquiry is not any particular historical event, but the underpinning concept of the worldviews of groups who attempted to force their values on others.

    . We need not look any further than our local community of religious zealots or a traditional family structure observed in third world countries or their emmigrants who reside in the United States.

    In other words there is a moral truth to your problem of getting up at eight in the morning or at nine in the morning. Not only is it true that there is a 'right' answer for you to find under such circumstances, but it is not merely what is 'right' or 'fitting' for you, it is something that must be accepted by everyone. Those who are not doing the 'right' thing must be taught what is right. If they deny their responsibility do as they are told, they shall be subjected by means of extreme coercion.

    .[B] Here I merely wish to gauge the Ethical implications of Universal Feel and pose the question of whether or not the results merit the continuation of the use of this method.?
    So rather than focus on the example of one particular regime taking over the world, perhaps look at a messier example. Take one particular religious group trying to force thier moral codes upon those around them in thier localized society.

    This worked pretty well in the past. I have always thought of religion as something that popped into the brain of an NF and then became a tool the SJs used to keep the SPs from getting into trouble. So you have an SJ religion that has a strict moral interpretation of right and wrong-say the baptists. As long as the localized population has social/moral codes (ie Fe) that matches with the imposed codes you are fine. The Universal Feel is in line with what society expects. Of course it represses individual freedom and sure we have to burn the NTs at the stake, but heh, you need something to fuel the BBQ on the 4th of July.

    Now the problem comes when two sets of universal feel collides. An extreme example might be two cultures colliding, but for fun we can use the poor mormans. The mormans vs the baptists. (My baptist ex mom in law swears the mormans are going to hell and that the catholics worship mary)

    So now you have two sets of universal feel that do not agree. And of course they will have arguments, disagreements, and hopefully not murder each other as they spend the next 20 to 50 years sorting out what the new Fe standards should be for that particlar localized community. This doesnt seem unreasonable.

    So to answer your above question, Law for the masses, but it leads to a solid foundation of civilized behavior and an agreed upon set or rules that is the result of mixing the two sets of moral codes. You are meeting most folk need's with this approach, recognizing it may have flaws.

    So a few problems:
    1) Nobody stays put anymore and we all have the internet. Localized moral codes differ depending upon where you go. Thus nowdays there will be neverending conflict. The greater the diff, the greater the conflict.
    2) The more specific the moral code-ie what time is bedtime vs you should not kill each other, the worse this problem will be.
    3) Each time a new moral code is introduced there will be a transition period which could lead to societal unrest, which in general is not ideal.


    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    I.
    II. Is Universal Feel justified?

    My approach to this question is strictly hedonistic. In order for an action to be deemed worthwhile, it must lead to a palpable good of some kind. The proponent of Universal Feel will insist that what is truly good or bad is supported by a moral law.

    . The question of this discussion is, even if it is the case that we have proof of the existence of the moral law, by Kantian means or otherwise, should it be enforced. If so, to what degree? In condensed form, this inquiry assumes that there is a universal moral law and that the 'right' thing to do is to enforce it, should we do it? ?
    Assuming the rules being enforced via the moral code have been in place for some amount of time, they will likely closely match/have become accepted as the accepted values of the populace and thus be beneficial. You could find exceptions-like groups who sacrifice thier children to god but it seems like most cultures dont stray too incredibly far into detrimental territory, even with imposed moral codes. Those that do, dont seem to last-ie the nike alien cult. In general once the rules are adopted and conformed to, you dont want to rock the boat too much, as unrest is not good for stability.

    It seems like a combination of A-for very severe offenses and B-for more minor infractions is what most societies opt for. Thie seems reasonably stable-making the assumption that a stable society=a good society of course. B relies much more on peer pressure, and this is the magic of the SFJs. Even if it isn't a punishable law, being excluded from social interaction due to your lack of proper adherence is enough to push most to conform without the need for a massive death toll.

    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    I.
    This leads us to ask the question regarding what values are. A value is a psychological state of positive emotive affirmation regarding a certain ethical maxim (a should or should not statement). How do people form ethical principles? Either through abstract reasoning or through personal experiences.

    One should imagine a variety of personal experiences different individuals have undergone in their lifetimes and what impact this carried with regard to how their values were formed. In addition to this one should consider a variety of thought-experiments performed by those who rely on reason more than value-centered thought.
    ?
    Thank you for this. I had no idea what values are so I failed my Fi test.

    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    I.
    III. Concluding thought

    There is something deeply troubling about the notion of Universal Feel. Even if it is true that there is an objective moral law, it is a mistake to establish a system of ethics upon it. Even if the existence of the moral law was obvious and could be proven with the same clarity and rigor that mathematical expressions can be, it is not at all evident that the entire world population will accept it. Their rejection of the moral law will lead to conflicts that will entail great casualties. Why are the methods of practicing ethics discussed in this inquiry known as the Universal Feel?
    I agree that in theory this seems like a bad idea. Yet in practice if the rules were sufficiently generic and open, they could be made to fit most cultures. You see this with most of the ten commandments and the golden rule. Most human cultures map out fairly similiar generic rules which support the human condition. It's only when they get too specific that things go awry.

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    EvanTheClown (ETC) Clownmaster's Avatar
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    Personally, I think the only Universal Feel or Universal Law practices that have justification to exist and have any chance at being universally adopted (without extreme use of force) are those laws that can pass Immanuel Kant's Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals "test." (For those who don't know, Kant's the one who tried to find a way to take a logical way to explain ethics, and if you want any form of universal regulation, a moral one is the kind easiest to enforce and for the masses to follow)

    Take an act, and apply it to "what if everyone did this," and if you get any contradictions, then its an immoral act.

    e.g. the act of Stealing. If everyone stole, then nobody would own anything for fear of it getting stolen, so there would be no property to steal.

    for Killing, there would be nobody left

    for Lieing, nobody would trust anyone, therefore there's no point in lying because they wouldn't believe you even if you were telling the truth

    And just have the laws be "Don't Steal. Don't Lie. Don't Kill" and so forth.

    Because you can't spell "Slaughter" without "Laughter"

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    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    There is something deeply troubling about the notion of Universal Feel. Even if it is true that there is an objective moral law, it is a mistake to establish a system of ethics upon it. Even if the existence of the moral law was obvious and could be proven with the same clarity and rigor that mathematical expressions can be, it is not at all evident that the entire world population will accept it. Their rejection of the moral law will lead to conflicts that will entail great casualties. Why are the methods of practicing ethics discussed in this inquiry known as the Universal Feel?
    Well I think its impossible to suggest that the world could exist without universal moral certainties, life would break down, even people consider the abstract, philosophically questions about universal moral certainties they generally behave in conformity with a set of universal moral absolutes.

    Philosophically it can be described as practical as opposed to abstract reasoning, analysts and psychologists describe it variously as behaviour conditioning, cognitive development, theory of mind, maturation, personal growth and development.

    I tend to have a problem with debates like this, especially those which tend toward moral relativism, in part because I find them divorced from reality and only really afford the momentary relief of anxiety to individuals who are ill at ease or positively violating some universal norm, ie prioritising crack or alcohol over parenting, molesting or neglecting children etc.

    Neitsche (spelling) kicked it off with his "beyond good and evil" in reality that's a iron dichotomy, you cant go beyond that, you can either be especially good or especially evil and you can argue about how that is conceptualised from one time to another but its not something you can transcend and suddenly be neither good nor evil as you eat children or sacrifice your life that others may live.

    Its all well and good choosing examples which are or have the appearence to outsiders of totalitarianism, irrationality, dictatorship but dont neglect to realise the consequences of trying to dispense with universal norms or moral certainites per se.

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    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clownmaster View Post
    Personally, I think the only Universal Feel or Universal Law practices that have justification to exist and have any chance at being universally adopted (without extreme use of force) are those laws that can pass Immanuel Kant's Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals "test." (For those who don't know, Kant's the one who tried to find a way to take a logical way to explain ethics, and if you want any form of universal regulation, a moral one is the kind easiest to enforce and for the masses to follow)

    Take an act, and apply it to "what if everyone did this," and if you get any contradictions, then its an immoral act.

    e.g. the act of Stealing. If everyone stole, then nobody would own anything for fear of it getting stolen, so there would be no property to steal.

    for Killing, there would be nobody left

    for Lieing, nobody would trust anyone, therefore there's no point in lying because they wouldn't believe you even if you were telling the truth

    And just have the laws be "Don't Steal. Don't Lie. Don't Kill" and so forth.
    That's similar to Rawls' theory about a veil of unknowing and that anyone who did not know whether they where high born or low would choose the same, this is justice.

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