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  1. #1
    Senior Member run's Avatar
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    Default For those who believe in objective morality

    I've been wondering... is there an objective politeness? I think politeness and interacting with others is part of morality, but it seems like not quite the same thing. Perhaps its relative to culture. Or maybe just politeness opinions are relative to culture, and there is an objective demeanor that we all aim at.

    Also, my gut tells me we shouldn't be blameworthy for being rude without knowing it. Although, I don't practice this wholly. Being rude to someone isn't acceptable to me, but that could be just our culture's values instilled in me. Personally, I'm generally offended not by what you say, but how you say it.

    But I think I'm full of shit. What do you think?

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    Nickle Iron Silicone Charmed Justice's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by run View Post
    I've been wondering... is there an objective politeness? I think politeness and interacting with others is part of morality, but it seems like not quite the same thing. Perhaps its relative to culture. Or maybe just politeness opinions are relative to culture, and there is an objective demeanor that we all aim at.

    Also, my gut tells me we shouldn't be blameworthy for being rude without knowing it. Although, I don't practice this wholly. Being rude to someone isn't acceptable to me, but that could be just our culture's values instilled in me. Personally, I'm generally offended not by what you say, but how you say it.

    But I think I'm full of shit. What do you think?
    Well let me say this, growing up I was made, like most, to say "please" and "thank you", even if I didn't mean it. Hell, if I hated something that someone gave me, I was raised to smile and pretend that I didn't. I still have an issue now with telling people in my family who have money and have no problem spending it on themselves, to stop buying me dirty old used clothes from the FashionDump and that I'd rather have nothing at all. :steam:

    "Please" and "thank you", or other linguistic shows of politeness, are not required in our home by our kids and we have never done anything but use the words a lot when talking to them, and each other. If they don't use the words, I assume it's because they don't mean them, or because they forgot. Sometimes we ask them if they forgot. Usually, the answer is "yes". But sometimes it's because they didn't like something, and they didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings, so they say nothing.

    I try to assume the best of everyone, and realize that cultural differences can cloud our opinions of what "rude" really is. Nonetheless, when it's clear to me that someone is being rude, I usually just hit them with a linguistic sucker punch and eventually walk away.

    As for politeness and morality? I don't know. Someone can be polite for purely selfish reasons. I take politeness at surface value, and pay more attention to a consistency in actions. It's nice when people are polite, and I believe politeness lubricates a social relationship. But I think the degree of one's politeness alone, largely depends on how badly you want to appear friendly, and non-threatening, or what you were taught to do.

  3. #3
    Priestess Of Syrinx Katsuni's Avatar
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    Being "polite" didn't really exist in the way we know it before louis XIV's reign... and it was only introduced as a weaponized form, along with fashion.

    As such, it's kind of hard to state that there's an objective, standard concept... every culture adopts their own preferances, and some really just don't care. Some are highly vicious in how they treat each other with brutal honesty, no beating around the bush at all.

    I would not be surprised at all if there's a language out there somewheres which does not contain any greeting of any sort, as in no 'hi, hello, good day' or anything.

    I would equally not be surprised if some languages have absolutely no 'please and thank yeu' equivilent, other than possibly one introduced after western culture's influence gained hold, in which case it's probably similar to katakana, where there's words basically ripped from other languages and modified to fit local pronounciation, as there's absolutely no local equivilent to the term.

    But yeah... the idea of handshakes, waving, please, thank yeu, greetings, goodbais, etc.... these are all manufactured and cultural in origin.

    About the ONLY thing that I can think of which's universal... would be a smile. And that's less politeness, than it is just automatic expression of appeasement, similar to a cat's purr. Most of the smiles yeu give off are instinctual, based on yeur being happy, etc, not specifically done for the sake of being polite. So even that doesn't really stand up to scrutiny.

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    Senior Member run's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katsuni View Post
    But yeah... the idea of handshakes, waving, please, thank yeu, greetings, goodbais, etc.... these are all manufactured and cultural in origin.
    How about this: Politeness is objective, and the opinions about how politeness is carried out is relative to culture. Just a proposition. There's a distinction between politeness opinions and objective politeness.

    But its weird - when I'm impolite, I know it, and the other person knows it. No way can I rationalize a way to say "we have different opinions" Every time I'm impolite, I know it and they do too. I feel like I'm breaking a clear rule when I'm impolite.

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    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by run View Post
    I've been wondering... is there an objective politeness? I think politeness and interacting with others is part of morality, but it seems like not quite the same thing. Perhaps its relative to culture. Or maybe just politeness opinions are relative to culture, and there is an objective demeanor that we all aim at.

    Also, my gut tells me we shouldn't be blameworthy for being rude without knowing it. Although, I don't practice this wholly. Being rude to someone isn't acceptable to me, but that could be just our culture's values instilled in me. Personally, I'm generally offended not by what you say, but how you say it.

    But I think I'm full of shit. What do you think?
    Ethics are commands with regard to what one should do. 'Objective' morality is a combination of such commands. Their goal is to achieve whatever seems to be the most desired by the community in question. Moral statements are not analogous to laws of physics. They are not objective in that sense. When someone tells you otherwise, they are merely trying to get you to behave in a certain way because they or others are benefited from you doing that.

    In short, what ethical maxims one abides by are contingent on his character and circumstances. (Note, people who reside in one community tend to have rather similar natures, hence they often desire the same thing and on that note believe that morality is completely objective. Yet someone from another community is likely to strongly disagree with their conception of 'morally correct' behavior.) On that note, ethics has more in common with the arts than the sciences. The moral judgments one pronounces tell us more about the person making such judgments rather than about the matter that he comments on. Whereas in the case of the sciences, what is communicated tells us little about the communicator and a lot about what is communicated.

    The only plausible way to frame morality as an objective enterprise of inquiry is by claiming that human nature compels people to be very similar and thereby the laws of common decency must be the same everywhere in the world. The reason why cultural values differ from nation to nation is because some communities simply misunderstand the moral law. That is not the case, the majority of our personality is conventionally instilled upon us rather than innate. We have adjusted to our environments in order to survive accordingly and have devised heuristics which inable us to continue to do so and such heuristics we hitherto regarded as moral principles. For instance, a man in the desert would believe that it is morally right to value the community more than his own individuality, and a man in the forest (who relies on his tribe much less) may be less strict with respect to how he should relate to his community.

    Bottom line is, our circumstances influence what we think we should do more than our innate, natural qualities. Most communities had different circumstances from one another and not the same, not even superficially similar. For this reason most communities legitimately disagree about what is morally appropriate. It is not the case that some merely misunderstand the nature of objective morality.
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    Priestess Of Syrinx Katsuni's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by run View Post
    How about this: Politeness is objective, and the opinions about how politeness is carried out is relative to culture. Just a proposition. There's a distinction between politeness opinions and objective politeness.

    But its weird - when I'm impolite, I know it, and the other person knows it. No way can I rationalize a way to say "we have different opinions" Every time I'm impolite, I know it and they do too. I feel like I'm breaking a clear rule when I'm impolite.
    Check solitary walker's post for further info, but I'll give my own take (again) here XD

    Politeness in and of itself isn't objective. 'Being rude' is often heavily cultural, as in the ONLY reason yeu 'know' yeu're being rude, is yeu intentionally act so against yeur own cultural upbringing.

    There can be some really really screwed up forms of 'rudeness' which is why there's even such a term as 'culture shock'.

    For example, in holland, it's considered excessively rude as a guest, to not eat every last thing placed before yeu on a table given to yeu by a host. This was quickly discovered by the people housing a pair of boarding students when they kept eating everything, and the adults just figured they were really hungry, and the kids were begging them silently to stop giving them food because they were full long ago, but had no choice as it'd been ground into their mentality to such degree. There was no 'please no more' allowed culturally as even that would be considered highly offensive.

    It's hard NOT to offend another culture due to things like this, it's entirely cultural to the point that yeu could not possibly hope to even guess whot their ideals are, or whot they consider 'polite'.

    For an even stronger example, we can go back to the original introduction of modern manners.

    Louis XIV wanted total, absolute, pure power. He subverted the other nobles through bizzare cunning, by adding such things as fashion and manners, which changed literally weekly, so that they would invest all their time learning new manners, all their finances in buying new clothes to match the trends, and at the same time, he would offer noble titles to anyone who was willing to pay for them, meaning that the power distribution was greatly widened in general by the fact that there were so many MORE new nobles to spread it between, but focused on himself because all these NEW nobles were pouring all their money straight into Louis himself, meaning HE had monies, all the other nobles were broke, either from paying for the title, or from spending all their time and money on the rapid pace of fashion and manners.

    At one point, due to this weaponized version of manners, it was customary for everyone to trim all their fingernails quite trim, EXCEPT for the nail on their left pinky finger. If yeu wanted into a room, it was considered impolite to knock on the door, that would be highly rude and offensive. Instead, yeu had to scratch on a the door with yeur left pinky, in which case a servant specifically paid to do nothing except sit at the door and listen carefully, would hear yeu and let yeu in.

    And thus even the "knock before entering" rule we have now would've been considered highly offensive, as it could interrupt a discussion at a table. Whot's good manners to us, would've been highly offensive to another culture.

    So no, there isn't really an 'objective baseline' of manners, because even the most basic of concepts can be highly subverted by culture.

    A recent past one for the states, and still sometimes considered so today in select areas... a white person waving at a black, though INTENDED to be friendly, was highly offensive to the whites in the area, and sewed great fear into the black population for the eventual retribution they'd face.

    A more modern one would be excessively retarded feminists, who if yeu hold the door open to them, will be PISSED OFF that yeu basically implied they were too weak to do it themselves. (even if yeu hold the door open for everyone behind yeu just to be kind, regardless of gender)

    Quite bluntly stated, there is no standard, other than personal and cultural. One man's politeness, is another's insult.

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