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  1. #11
    Glowy Goopy Goodness The_Liquid_Laser's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wandering View Post
    I believe in an absolute morality. But I also believe we cannot fully fathom/understand it. We can only do our best to try to approximate it. So depending on our angle of study, absolute morality will be like the fabled elephant: it will look like a tree, or a snake, or whatever.

    Even relative morality is an approximation of the absolute morality, IMO: it's grasping at the truth that absolute morality is not linearly aligned with our human mind and world. Absolute morality *does* lead to different moral codes depending on the human circumstances one lives in.

    That's my take on it.
    Heh, you stole what I was essentially going to say. So I'll go with, "Uhm...yeah whatever Wandering said is right."
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  2. #12

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    I essentially agree with Wandering and LL, but would like to add my 2 cents anyway.

    Since the question kind-of touched on truth then moved on to morality, I'll start with truth, since its easier in my opinion.

    To me truth is based off of principles

    Principles:
    1. are absolute, but may not be known absolutely.
      I will use the example of F=m*a. This is still as good as true for most applications. But at the time it was codified it was believed to be an absolute truth. It still approximates absolute truth very well.
    2. may or may not apply to a situation.
      Knowing that F=m*a can help you design a building, but has little bearing in comforting a crying child.
    3. are accessible to anyone who can recreate the situations that illustrate these principles (and therefore do not require dogma, or "authority")
      You can verify it you self by plotting out the planets, creating a stable structure, doing some controlled mechanics experiments. There is no need to rely on an authority (except as a means of reducing work).


    I am less sure about morality but believe it to be based off of principles with the same properties.

    In other words, Moral Principles:
    1. are absolute, but may not be known absolutely.
    2. may or may not apply to a situation.
    3. are accessible to anyone who can recreate the situations that illustrate these principles (and therefore do not require dogma, or "authority")

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  3. #13
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Recoleta View Post
    I don't think this topic has been discussed here yet, but if it has, sorry...please disregard.

    This is something I have been thinking about a lot lately, and in the end I have come to the conclusion that there is a need for absolute truth, because if absolute truth does not exist, then what standard do we live by?

    Sure, I could say that "I live by my own standards and morals," but that is really just saying, "Hey, I can do whatever I want because it's right for me." There is absolutely no accountability or standardization of right and wrong....it's all relative. So basically, following with that line of thought, everything should be permissable given certain circumstances.

    Yet, I find it amazing that once "our own standards and morals" are violated by someone else we are the first to appeal to a higher authority by saying, "Hey, that's not fair/right." For example, you've been waiting patiently in the post office line for the last 10 mintues, you are the next one to be helped when all of a sudden some guy just breezes in to the post office and totally cuts you (and everyone behind you) off. Chances are, you or someone else is gonna tell that person to get in the back and wait their turn. But what if he responds, "Well, I'm late for work, and getting to work on time is more important than waiting in line so I'm sure you all won't mind if I just go next." Well, this guy has no problem cutting in line, because he puts his own needs/wants in front of everyone else's. If what is right and wrong is truly relative then you really have no authority to tell the man to get to the back of the line, right?

    To me, relative truth seems like a catch 22. What do you think? I'd like to hear your thoughts.
    I don't like it when other people press me to accept absolute truths I don't believe in, so I have to say no.

    I also don't feel that I only live by "my own" morals or standards, but rather an idea of what is right given a certain situation. There is an ideal solution, the one that falls between harming the fewest people, and permitting freedom of choice. This is important because freedom and life are important. This has nothing to do with truth, it has to do with ethics. Truth is about determining the nature of something, ethics is about evaluating an action as right or wrong. You see patterns in it recur throughout societies. There are distortions unique to each one, but the general pattern of what people consider ethical always seems to be there. What's true, on the other hand, always seems to be refined and changed slightly with new information.

    So truth is relative, but ethics aren't. You can do something unethical and get away with it, but if people know you did it, they're going to feel you were wrong and hate you because of their sensibilities. Truth affects your perception, through which you apply ethics, but the ethics themselves don't change.

    Did that make sense?

  4. #14
    Highly Hollow Wandering's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    In other words, Moral Principles:
    1. are absolute, but may not be known absolutely.
    2. may or may not apply to a situation.
    3. are accessible to anyone who can recreate the situations that illustrate these principles (and therefore do not require dogma, or "authority")
    That's exactly along the lines of what I had in mind, but it's much better explained

    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    This has nothing to do with truth, it has to do with ethics. Truth is about determining the nature of something, ethics is about evaluating an action as right or wrong. You see patterns in it recur throughout societies. There are distortions unique to each one, but the general pattern of what people consider ethical always seems to be there.
    Give me just one example of such universal ethics, please.

  5. #15
    Protocol Droid Athenian200's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wandering View Post
    Give me just one example of such universal ethics, please.
    Well, most agree that killing others is negative, but that it's necessary in some situations such as war.

    So, intentionally killing people who were generally thought of as valid human beings without provocation was considered wrong in most societies.

    Any example I give you can probably be distorted by communicating it, so you may find an exception to this...

  6. #16
    Highly Hollow Wandering's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    So, intentionally killing people who were generally thought of as valid human beings without provocation was considered wrong in most societies.

    Any example I give you can probably be distorted by communicating it, so you may find an exception to this...
    Not so much an exception as pointing out that you've already tried to cover the obvious hole Killing people who were generally thought of as valid human beings. IOW: that general rule is NOT general, since it is founded on something that was never universal to begin with.

  7. #17
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    When people refer to "absolute truth," are they referring more to:

    1. A Platonian "Ideal" of some sort -- there is a higher reality and higher abstraction of truth that we can appeal to, of which we are only shadows?

    or

    2. Some sort of "constant" that is bred into human beings physically, operated on by the general constraints of reality, so that what is "best" and "most effective" for human and cultural growth and development in a moral sense is fairly standardized or at least can be reduced to some general principles?

    (I.e., is "Absolute Truth" some ideal outside of us, or is it a description of the realistic premium human workings?)

    In the former, truth is separate from us; in the later, truth is distilled from us.
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    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  8. #18
    Highly Hollow Wandering's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    When people refer to "absolute truth," are they referring more to:
    Number 1 for me:
    A Platonian "Ideal" of some sort -- there is a higher reality and higher abstraction of truth that we can appeal to, of which we are only shadows

  9. #19
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    I think there is absolute truth, but we rarely stumble upon it, and only then by coincidence....both sides always think that they know it, but it's rare that either side actually does.

    I don't think there is absolute morality. Morality's essentially derived from the internal ethics of the majority of people....although evolution likely drives us to more beneficial ideas of what is right and wrong (protecting your family, self preservation, not killing, etc).

  10. #20
    filling some space UnitOfPopulation's Avatar
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    I guess it's like this.. mind an analogy? As per newtonian & relativistic physics, there's no fixed place in the universe, but it doesn't matter. We live on earth, it's pretty stable.. we can use it as our frame of reference for most of the things. If not, then we have other frames of references to use.
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