Should Morals Be Judged In A Cultural Context?

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Re: Should Morals Be Judged In A Cultural Context?

Post Number:#91  Postby Spectrum » April 21st, 2017, 12:52 am

Iapetus wrote:Reply to Spectrum:

Basically a good judgment is one that effectively subsume a minor premise to the major premise [a standard]. Whether it is morally good or not will depend on the moral degree of the major premise.


I don’t understand this. It appears that you are saying that a judgement is ‘good’ if it is based on ‘good’ standards. Without useful information about ‘good’, that seems meaningless to me.

It is the imperative principle that for an effective Moral and Ethical System to work there must be an absolute 'good' to act as a fixed goal to ground all ethical decisions. Point is do you agree with this principle?
Otherwise everyone will be fighting with moving goal posts.

The next issue is how do we arrive at what is absolute good and why do we need an absolute good.
What is good is a big issue within the philosophical community and too complex to deal within few posts.
Nevertheless I have given some clues in various postings on how we can derive what is good as moral groundings based on preservation of the species.

Your next few paragraphs are difficult to make sense of, but I gather that you are suggesting that each ‘collective’ – which you have not explained or defined – needs fixed ethical standards, though we know that people will not keep to them. The example you offer is “Killing of another human being is not permissible, period! no ifs nor buts”.

The 'collective' I refer to is 'humanity' i.e. all humans.
As mentioned above humanity need fixed goal posts [the best one can arrive at] to guide and close the gap between the reality [what is going] and the ideal.

Example:
Are you familiar with the "Zero Defect" concept and mission practiced by many companies.
Obvious 'Zero Defect' in manufacturing and services is an ideal that is not attainable all the time, but yet many companies and organizations adopt such theme as a vision or objective.
The advantage of adopting such an ideal is it provide a fixed goal post for the company to strive against and close the gap between actual performance and ideal.

Note the saying;
"Aim for the moon. If you miss, you may hit a star."

It is the same for a Moral and Ethical System.


But you also want to separate judgements into;
1. Judgment of the action, i.e. killing another human being,
2. Judgment of the person who killed.

It strikes me that this lands you with a logical and ethical dilemma. You have already made a pre-judgement of the action; it is not permissable. Furthermore, you have asserted that there are, “no ifs nor buts”. What, then, is the purpose of judging the person who killed? There is no point in anybody offering extenuating circumstances because, according to you, there can be none. There is no point, therefore, in having a trial because the decision has already been made. By judging the action, you have automatically judged the person who committed the action. The concept of justice has just flown out of the window.

You are conflating two points here.

When we judge the actions alone [not the person] we are focusing on the issue of the total 'killing' within the system. The objective is to deal with 'killings' and not the person. It this case we are dealing with total statistics and various analysis. The focus is prevention and developing continual improvements towards the ideal on the long term basis.

As for the individual, we have to judge the person to decide whether preventive actions need to be taken on an individual basis, e.g. what if the person is judged to be a serial killer, thus the appropriate preventive actions need to be take on the short term basis.

You then go on to condemn ‘evil muslims’ on the basis that you have determined that they and their ‘ideology’ are evil. Granted that you accept that not all muslims are necessarily evil but I don’t find any of this to be anything but self-fulfilling.

I did not condemn 'evil Muslims' on a derogatory basis but fact is SOME Muslims [as with SOME humans] are by nature unfortunately born with an active evil tendency. This is a fact [subject to debate].
I stated part [not whole] of Islam contain an evil and malignant element. This has to be subjected to proofs and I have discussed this point over many posts.

Then to the now-redundant concept of accountability of the individual:

Obviously the individual should be held accountable for his actions. As for the individual his judgment will be based on two perspectives, i.e.

1. Collective and personal moral standards - conscience
2. By legislature and judiciary laws based on specific constitutions.

Conscience is a personal thing. You have not explained how this is relevant to any judgement. Your ‘specific constitution’ has removed all need for a case for the defence. All that is needed, according to you, is evidence that the event took place. The judgement which follows is automatic; “… no ifs nor buts”.

Conscience is actually a whole judiciary system within the person's mind.
The individual has to be the defendant, the prosecutor, the judge and jury for his own actions within his own mind and psyche. So 'judgment' [as defined subsumption of minor premise to major premise] is very relevant within the individual mind.
Actually this aspect of conscience is more relevant to the Philosophy of Morality and Ethics than the political-legislature system of the collective.

As mentioned earlier, I did not say we ignore the person's act. We need to deal with the individual through the political-legislature-judiciary system. This is not exactly a moral issue.

Judgment of the person who killed is easy for a competence judge, i.e. just compare evidence of his acts with what is within the enacted Laws and whatever provisions allowed, e.g. the child killers case you cited.


Judgement in your world would, indeed be easy; the closed-circuit TV would have confirmed many of the events. In the real world, where people matter, such trials can take months, involve thousands of items of evidence, invite extremely complex arguments and are very, very far from easy. That is because information matters and judgement based on information – rather than assertion – supports the concept of justice.

I stated easy because the judge do not have to entangle with moving goal posts and personal subjective opinion and beliefs.

I have explained why your attempt to separate the action from the person is illogical and contradicts all concepts of justice.

My views promote and develop justice on a system-basis [for all humanity] and cater to the individual's circumstances.
Not-a-theist. Religion is a critical necessity for humanity now, but not the FUTURE.
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Re: Should Morals Be Judged In A Cultural Context?



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Re: Should Morals Be Judged In A Cultural Context?

Post Number:#92  Postby Belindi » April 21st, 2017, 2:59 am

Eduk wrote:Car A, B and C were all driving too close to the car in front. Car A had to stop hard, Car B had to stop harder, Car C hit car B.

Do you mean that there was a proportional increase in the force of the three emergency stops? But if so, each of the drivers could have allowed for an emergency stop of the car in front. If none of the three did so they were all morally culpable. I don't think not allowing for stopping time is a recognisable crime, is it?
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Re: Should Morals Be Judged In A Cultural Context?

Post Number:#93  Postby Eduk » April 21st, 2017, 3:17 am

Well you could say it was dangerous driving but in real life i doubt anyone would want to prosecute. The main point though is just that three equal errors leads to one person taking the blame. Morally car a and b are responsible for the accident in part but legally all blame will be put on car c.
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Re: Should Morals Be Judged In A Cultural Context?

Post Number:#94  Postby Belindi » April 21st, 2017, 5:18 am

Eduk wrote:Well you could say it was dangerous driving but in real life i doubt anyone would want to prosecute. The main point though is just that three equal errors leads to one person taking the blame. Morally car a and b are responsible for the accident in part but legally all blame will be put on car c.


I take your point that the law is unfair to the driver of car C . I'll concede that previous criminal history has to be considered.

Blanket condemnation of a whole class of people , such as prostitutes, unmarried mothers, unveiled women, infidels, socialists, financial advisors, raggedy dressed people, dark- skinned people, and cyclists is wrong.

However there is a common view that rich bankers, owners of big houses in central London, estate agents, devout Muslims, Russian oligarchs, devout Christians, devout Jews, Saudi princes, former criminals, uninformed people, priests, or fascists are suspect. It's suspect categories that are the problem when we claim that morals are culturally relative. There is a case for condemning whole cultures such as unethical banking , or fanatical Islam.

So why not condemn the cultural practice of prostitution, or single unmarried motherhood? Or meat- eating which is due to be disapproved of right now and perhaps legislated against by taxing it and raising public consciousness about it?

Don't you think, Eduk, that whole cultures of belief and practice need to be reviewed and changed ? And that "cultural context" is not a good enough excuse for bad behaviour?

Multiculturism especially regarding religious tolerance is a bad idea, and I hope that multiculturism is a defunct idea or soon will be.
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Re: Should Morals Be Judged In A Cultural Context?

Post Number:#95  Postby Eduk » April 21st, 2017, 6:36 am

I think we can all agree bigotry is wrong :) Although we likely all disagree on what is and isn't bigotry :)

In my opinion morals are an emergent phenomenon. You could define moral behaviour as any behaviour which leads to greater long term survival chances for your individual genes. This is not a terrible definition in my opinion and when applied thoughtfully answers many many moral questions but honestly I think morals are real (much like consciousness), I don't view altruism as purely selfish.

I think morals are subjective and objective. The real world is objective and our morals have emerged from this objective world. Our experience is subjective so we need to be careful but there are degrees of subjectivity.

In the end you need to do your best to define what morals are. Morals are real but hard to define (like consciousness). Some people will do a better job than others. I like to be practical. I want a long content fulfilling life for me and the people I love and everyone else. I am a human. Certain things make me content and fulfilled, mostly the same things make the people I love content and fulfilled, mostly the same things make most every other human content and fulfilled. In this manner you can build an imperfect view of a subjective morality based on objective reality. In this manner I think the vast majority of moral questions can be answered reasonably.

Although an individual could be born genuinely with a different moral outlook and genuinely have a different objective and subjective moral reality. The question here is is this going to work in the long term and as a whole. For example I could break into a sperm bank and replace all the sperm with my own (well maybe not all). This would clearly be of huge short term benefit to my genes and also clearly highly immoral. However the long term outlook is what suffers. A society of selfish, short sighted, immoral humans is not going to be a great long term bet either for quality of life or life expectancy.

Blanket condemnation of a whole class of people

Even if you are talking about Nazi's you still need to take into account the specifics. All the other examples you give are much less extreme but it still holds. People are not so simply categorised and cause and effect applied to humans is complex. We can understand someone and empathise with them even if we think they are highly dangerous and steps need to be made to reduce their capability for harm.

Religious tolerance is a complex subject. I wouldn't condone rounding all extremists up and putting them into a camp. But at the same time I don't condone their extreme viewpoints. In the real world secularism protects the religious and the non religious. It's not perfect and mistakes are made but this is just life, I don't think the whole system needs to be ripped up just tweaks here and there in specific cases.

To Kill a Mocking Bird presents an interesting moral outlook. Basically one rule for most people most of the time but different ones in specific cases. One of the examples was of allowing hunting out of season for one individual as the individual was not a great man and not capable of doing significant damage and any amount of food on the table for his children was a good thing. Clearly this is not a simple moral quandary but I think real life is likewise, not simple.
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Re: Should Morals Be Judged In A Cultural Context?

Post Number:#96  Postby Iapetus » April 21st, 2017, 11:09 am

Reply to Fooloso4:

I asked why you had just introduced the term, ‘competency’. Your reply is:

It has been at issue from the start. My first response to you #48.


I am assuming – since you have not explained specifically – that you are refering to the capacity of any person to understand the consequences and implications of their actions. In which case, competency is an apt and appropriate term. It is a pity that you did not use it in our conversations prior to your last post. You did use it once, but to Belinda, not me, in post no #54.

I don’t deny that this has been an issue from the start; one of several. But you have ignored most of the other issues and you continue to do so. On several occasions, when asked a testing question, you have resorted to something irrelevant about brain damage. So let’s try to get it clear now. You and I seem to be in agreement that competency is a significant factor in judging moral responsibility of a person. If somebody can be demonstrated to be incapable to understanding ‘moral’ issues, then they are incapable of taking ‘moral’ responsibility. This may be the result of brain damage but it may also result from insufficient brain development. It may be that the brain has not had time to develop sufficiently; thus babies and children are not usually deemed to be capable of being held to account. It may also be due to psychological trauma. There are many reasons why somebody may not be regarded as competent and, therefore, be judged as not ‘morally’ responsible.

Somewhere along the way you got lost and forgot the discussion of competency.


That is outrageous and dishonest of you. To cite just one instance; in three successive posts I have refered you to the specific case of James Bulger, where the competency of the two boys who tortured and killed him was taken up as an issue by the European Court of Human Rights. It was you who “got lost and forgot the discussion”, by failing to acknowledge what I wrote and not writing a single word by way of response! I reminded you twice! I did not use the term, ‘competency’, specifically. But, then, neither did you.

I have, however, gone to great lengths to address other factors regarding moral responsibility. I wrote a long paragraph about various justifications in post #77. You seem to have “got lost and forgot the discussion”, because, once more, you offered no response. It enabled to you talk about brain damage as if it is the only thing that matters. I ended the paragraph with this observation; “I am not saying that any of these are ‘acceptable’. I don’t have to. But they are ‘justifications’ and your asserting that there are no justifications does not get round this. If you are implying that you have made a judgement about these justifications, then that is your subjective opinion and nothing more”. I reminded you about this in my last post but, again, you seem to have “got lost and forgot the discussion”.

But you do not treat them differently in so far as you treat them as all others - independently. You think that even in the case where the person lacks competency intentions and motivations matter. My point is that their intentions and motivations do not matter. Moral judgment of them has been taken off the table.


This is a red herring which you are employing to avoid the significant questions. Don’t worry; I’ll remind you again later. I don’t have to dodge questions. As I have said more than once, intentions and motivations are an essential part of any moral judgement. Even when “the person lacks competency”. The ‘lacks competency’ refers to the ability to make ‘moral’ judgements. That does not mean somebody doesn’t have intentions and motivations. The motivation might be, ‘blood is a pretty colour; I want to seem some’, or, ‘I don’t like that boy; I am going to make him shut up’. The judgement may still be made and it may be that the person lacks competency. That leaves you to justify your “their intentions and motivations do not matter”, though there are many, many other points which you need to address beforehand.


I wish now to say something about the context of our discussion. Competency, intentions and motivations are all relevant in making a moral judgement about the person in relation to the choice of actions they make. This, however, is only half of the discussion.

You have told me that a moral judgment can only be about two things, an action and an actor.

You have told me that the action may be judged to be immoral but not the man.

You have told me that, If we are not judging the person, then we are judging the action.

When I ask questions about these, you either avoid them or try to change the subject. This time you have gone on at great length about competency. I can understand why and competency is only the smokescreen.

So I have to quote some of the significant points from my last post where you appear to have “got lost and forgot the discussion”:

“I want to know if an action can be judged morally independently of the actor. Why can’t you give me a direct answer? You seem to be avoiding the question; I can understand why. Yet it is the crux of our discussion. I don’t know whether or not I am wasting my time”.

"I am asking what happens if no judgement is made of the actor. This is because you said, 'If we are not judging the person, then we are judging the action'”.

"I am asking, regardless of the judgement of the person, how you can judge the action separately. How many times do I have to ask this?"

"You are saying that if we are not judging the person – not making a moral assessment – then we are judging the action - making a moral assessment. How does this not mean that the person and the action are independent? It is your qualification, not mine. What am I missing?"

You will take me all around the houses and anywhere else but you will not answer the questions directly.

Then, even more bizarrely, you offer, out of the blue:

In general, however, a moral assessment takes both the actor and the action into consideration and does not treat them independently.


Please don’t try to tell me that this is what you have been saying all along because it isn’t. If that is what you tell me, then you have been wasting my time.

Have you changed your mind?

Your statement says, “In general …” Does that mean that there are exceptions? If so, then what general form would these exceptions take?

If you try to lead the conversation elsewhere before answering all the questions you owe me, then I shall take it that you have conceded the argument.
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Re: Should Morals Be Judged In A Cultural Context?

Post Number:#97  Postby Fooloso4 » April 21st, 2017, 2:15 pm

Iapetus:

It is a pity that you did not use it in our conversations prior to your last post. You did use it once, but to Belinda, not me, in post no #54.


From #54:

Iapetus:
If it was a judgement of actions, then a lion can be immoral.


Only actions by moral agents are judged to be moral or immoral. A moral agent is someone competent to reason and deliberate about moral choices. A lion is not.


Iapetus:

On several occasions, when asked a testing question, you have resorted to something irrelevant about brain damage.


If I mentioned competency or brain damage that is because it was relevant to my answer.
Somewhere along the way you got lost and forgot the discussion of competency.



That is outrageous and dishonest of you.


If you ask:

Why are you writing about competency? I have not mentioned it. It is a new term which you have just introduced.


That tells me you got lost somewhere along the way.

To cite just one instance; in three successive posts I have refered you to the specific case of James Bulger, where the competency of the two boys who tortured and killed him was taken up as an issue by the European Court of Human Rights.


So then why say:

Why are you writing about competency? I have not mentioned it. It is a new term which you have just introduced.


But they are ‘justifications’ and your asserting that there are no justifications does not get round this.


Once again: in what case is murder and torture ever morally permissible? If you cannot provide such a case then my claim that there is no moral justification stands.

That does not mean somebody doesn’t have intentions and motivations. The motivation might be, ‘blood is a pretty colour; I want to seem some’, or, ‘I don’t like that boy; I am going to make him shut up’.


I did not say they do not have intentions and motivations. I said they are not relevant because the person has been determined to not be competent. That means that any judgment of the person, including intentions and motivations, is off the table.

The judgement may still be made and it may be that the person lacks competency.


If the judgment of competency has not been made then I would take intentions and motivation into consideration and conclude that this is an immoral person who did this. But when the judgment has been made and I am aware of it, then I will not judge the person. If I made a judgment without knowing the person lacked competence then I would change my assessment when I found this information out.

You have told me that a moral judgment can only be about two things, an action and an actor.


What else can a moral judgment be about? If you cannot come up with anything then these are the only two options.

You have told me that the action may be judged to be immoral but not the man.


Yes, in the case where the person is not competent.
You have told me that, If we are not judging the person, then we are judging the action.


Yes, see above. If you can point to something else that a moral judgment is about then you will have shown me to have been wrong. If your claim is that we can never judge one without the other, then that is a point of fundamental disagreement. My position is that there are acts such as murder and torturing of children that can never be morally justified and are thus always judged to be immoral.

When I ask questions about these, you either avoid them or try to change the subject. This time you have gone on at great length about competency. I can understand why and competency is only the smokescreen.



I just answered them yet again. I have answered them consistently. Competency is not a smoke screen.


There is no need for a smoke screen. All of this is basic stuff.

“I want to know if an action can be judged morally independently of the actor. Why can’t you give me a direct answer?


I have answered. My answer is that a) in cases of competency the action is judged independently of the actor, and b) when the action cannot be justified under any condition, information about the actor does not change the evaluation of the act. In all other cases, both are part of a moral judgment.

"I am asking what happens if no judgement is made of the actor. This is because you said, 'If we are not judging the person, then we are judging the action'”.


It is only in cases of competency that no moral judgment of the actor is made. In other cases the actor is judged. We have been through this several times. I keep answering and you keep saying that I have not been answering. I have discussed this in good faith but my patience is wearing thin.

Then, even more bizarrely, you offer, out of the blue:


In general, however, a moral assessment takes both the actor and the action into consideration and does not treat them independently.


Out of the blue?!

#69:
So, while knowledge of circumstances can alter our judgment of an accident and bombing, our judgment of child torture does not depend on circumstances, including the competency of the agent.

#74:
Third, I am saying that we do consider and judge the person acting. Moral judgments are about both the actor and the action.
Fourth, the decisions and motivations of the person is only one piece of the puzzle.
… judgment can only be made when we know the whole story, and that includes knowing the circumstances

#83:
In general, however, a moral assessment takes both the actor and the action into consideration and does not treat them independently.


#88:
Given the distinction between moral agents and those who are not, I think you will find that I have said nothing puzzling or contradictory or controversial.


Iapetus:

Your statement says, “In general …” Does that mean that there are exceptions? If so, then what general form would these exceptions take?


Are you serious? Lack of competency is the exception. Those who are not competent are not moral agents, and so they are not judged.
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Re: Should Morals Be Judged In A Cultural Context?

Post Number:#98  Postby Iapetus » April 22nd, 2017, 10:06 am

Reply to Spectrum:

It is the imperative principle that for an effective Moral and Ethical System to work there must be an absolute 'good' to act as a fixed goal to ground all ethical decisions. Point is do you agree with this principle?
Otherwise everyone will be fighting with moving goal posts.


No, I certainly do not agree with this principle. Your assertion of the idea does not oblige others to believe the same thing. There are many philosophies which are not based on a ‘fixed goal’ and these include descriptive moral relativism, meta-ethical relativism, normative relativism and utilitarianism. Philosophers such as Baruch Spinoza, David Hume, Friedrich Nietzsche, Ruth Benedict and Edward Westermark have written in contradiction of the idea. Your problem with ‘moving goal posts’ suggests that perhaps, you have not encountered such ideas. There is not much that I can do about that.

I have explained what I see as the problem with ‘good’ and you have ignored it. You have made no attempt to define ‘good’ and seem to have no idea how to measure it. In which case, what is the point of using the word?

Nevertheless I have given some clues in various postings on how we can derive what is good as moral groundings based on preservation of the species.


I am not interested in “some clues in various postings”. If you have an explanation, then offer it. If not, then your point has no validity.

The 'collective' I refer to is 'humanity' i.e. all humans.


Then why couldn’t you say so at the outset? This, by the way, increases your problems of explanation enormously because it requires everybody to accept the same ‘moral authority’.

As mentioned above humanity need fixed goal posts [the best one can arrive at] to guide and close the gap between the reality [what is going] and the ideal.


You have said that and I have told you that I disagree. And I am one of upwards of seven billion humans. What, therefore, are the odds that many others disagree with you?

You then spend some time trying to explain the concept of an ideal. I understand the concept. I even responded to your example – ‘killing is not permissable’ – in my last post. It was, by the way, an extremely poor example and I explained why.

Part of my explanation was as follows:
“But you also want to separate judgements into;
1. Judgment of the action, i.e. killing another human being,
2. Judgment of the person who killed.

It strikes me that this lands you with a logical and ethical dilemma. You have already made a pre-judgement of the action; it is not permissable. Furthermore, you have asserted that there are, “no ifs nor buts”. What, then, is the purpose of judging the person who killed? There is no point in anybody offering extenuating circumstances because, according to you, there can be none. There is no point, therefore, in having a trial because the decision has already been made. By judging the action, you have automatically judged the person who committed the action. The concept of justice has just flown out of the window”.


You are conflating two points here.

When we judge the actions alone [not the person] we are focusing on the issue of the total 'killing' within the system. The objective is to deal with 'killings' and not the person. It this case we are dealing with total statistics and various analysis. The focus is prevention and developing continual improvements towards the ideal on the long term basis.

As for the individual, we have to judge the person to decide whether preventive actions need to be taken on an individual basis, e.g. what if the person is judged to be a serial killer, thus the appropriate preventive actions need to be take on the short term basis.


I am conflating two points because they are intimately linked and I have just explained precisely why. To summarise; “By judging the action, you have automatically judged the person who committed the action”.

You don’t seem, however, to understand the implications of what I wrote. Your ‘moral principle’ - “Killing of another human being is not permissible, period! no ifs nor buts” - does not allow for a judgement of the human because that human has been prejudged. This has absolutely nothing to do with “total statistics and various analysis”. There is nothing in your ‘moral principle’ which requires a focus on “prevention and developing continual improvements towards the ideal on the long term basis”. What it does guarantee is that justice – consideration for the needs of all persons concerned in the light of the circumstances – is not something to even be considered.

I did not condemn 'evil Muslims' on a derogatory basis but fact is SOME Muslims [as with SOME humans] are by nature unfortunately born with an active evil tendency. This is a fact [subject to debate].



If you do not intend ‘evil’ to be used in a derogatory sense, then perhaps you could explain what you do intend by it. If something is a fact and it is subject to debate, then how is it a fact? If your argument is that some muslims are not nice (‘evil’ is your judgement but you don’t seem clear about how you are using it), then perhaps you can explain why that could not be the case for any other group of humans on the planet. Or even the totality of humans on the planet, since that is what you are writing about.

Conscience is actually a whole judiciary system within the person's mind.


I don’t care what you think it is; if it is in the person’s mind, then it is, as I said, ‘a personal thing’.

The individual has to be the defendant, the prosecutor, the judge and jury for his own actions within his own mind and psyche. So 'judgment' [as defined subsumption of minor premise to major premise] is very relevant within the individual mind.


This is meaningless to me and I see no relevance to your example of a ‘moral principle’, where judgement of the individual is automatically excluded.

As mentioned earlier, I did not say we ignore the person's act. We need to deal with the individual through the political-legislature-judiciary system. This is not exactly a moral issue.


Your ‘moral principle’ prohibits any interpretation of the person’s act. In that sense it makes the judiciary system largely redundant and destroys any concept of justice. And you say that “This is not exactly a moral issue”!

I stated easy because the judge do not have to entangle with moving goal posts and personal subjective opinion and beliefs.


You do not seem to understand that different people have different ideas. They may even have different ‘moral principles’. That is why we have a judiciary system, in order to apply judgements in relation to differing sides of the argument. If the resolution was easy, then the case would never have come to court. If you expect judgements to be easy, then you have no awareness of the complications.

My views promote and develop justice on a system-basis [for all humanity] and cater to the individual's circumstances.


That is precisely what they don’t do and I have explained, in great detail, why.
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Re: Should Morals Be Judged In A Cultural Context?

Post Number:#99  Postby Spectrum » April 23rd, 2017, 2:11 am

Iapetus wrote:Reply to Spectrum:

It is the imperative principle that for an effective Moral and Ethical System to work there must be an absolute 'good' to act as a fixed goal to ground all ethical decisions. Point is do you agree with this principle?
Otherwise everyone will be fighting with moving goal posts.


No, I certainly do not agree with this principle. Your assertion of the idea does not oblige others to believe the same thing. There are many philosophies which are not based on a ‘fixed goal’ and these include descriptive moral relativism, meta-ethical relativism, normative relativism and utilitarianism. Philosophers such as Baruch Spinoza, David Hume, Friedrich Nietzsche, Ruth Benedict and Edward Westermark have written in contradiction of the idea. Your problem with ‘moving goal posts’ suggests that perhaps, you have not encountered such ideas. There is not much that I can do about that.

The concept of 'moving goal posts' is always a sign of weakness in philosophy. Therefore I don't believe the philosophers you mentioned would buy the concept of 'moving goal posts' in doing their philosophy.
I believe all genuine philosophers will want to ground their philosophies onto fixed goals post if not as near as possible.

Note my proposals rely heavily on Kantian morality-ethics which I am very familiar with [a bit rusty at present]. No.. Kantian Morality is not deontological but rather it is system-based as I had been proposing.

I have explained what I see as the problem with ‘good’ and you have ignored it. You have made no attempt to define ‘good’ and seem to have no idea how to measure it. In which case, what is the point of using the word?
I am not interested in “some clues in various postings”. If you have an explanation, then offer it. If not, then your point has no validity.

Note it took me 3 years of full time study to get a good grasp of Kant's morality and ethics. Thus is not practical for me to throw in a nicely 'canned' point at one go in a very limited forum like this. Thus the best I can give are clues toward an understanding what is meant by 'good.' This is a very complex issue within the Philosophy of Morality.
Measurement of good and evil? Note the subject of axiology.

What is the point?
The concept of 'good' and 'evil' is critical to the Philosophy of Morality, thus how can we ignore these concepts.

The 'collective' I refer to is 'humanity' i.e. all humans.

Then why couldn’t you say so at the outset? This, by the way, increases your problems of explanation enormously because it requires everybody to accept the same ‘moral authority’.

You are expecting too much. In a complicated philosophical discussion like this, you cannot expect to be fed all the time.

Kantian Morality is not for now but setting up a continual improving system towards the future and yes, where ideally everyone accept the same 'moral' laws and ethical maxims because these moral laws are established and owned by the individual[s] themselves as a team.
How Kant Moral System works is setting the ideal and driving/working towards the ideal [knowing full well the ideal is an impossibility]. The ideal as a fixed goal post enable the setting of a benchmark for optimal continual progress using Gap or variance analysis.

Thus the mission is for humanity to develop each individual human from being apes [not to long ago] to being an uberman [Übermensch] with the highest moral-ethical competence.

As mentioned above humanity need fixed goal posts [the best one can arrive at] to guide and close the gap between the reality [what is going] and the ideal.


You have said that and I have told you that I disagree. And I am one of upwards of seven billion humans. What, therefore, are the odds that many others disagree with you?

Sorry it is too late for you, me and the rest of the present generation to get into this but the proposal is directed at future generations.
Point is we need to establish the ideals and generate effective strategies now so that humanity can progress more expeditiously towards the ideal in the future.
Note it is already happening in some ways at present but too slow at the present era, e.g. it took too long for the humanity to improve on the ethics related our near-abolishment of slavery [the ideal established within the UN].

You then spend some time trying to explain the concept of an ideal. I understand the concept. I even responded to your example – ‘killing is not permissible’ – in my last post. It was, by the way, an extremely poor example and I explained why.

Part of my explanation was as follows:
“But you also want to separate judgements into;
1. Judgment of the action, i.e. killing another human being,
2. Judgment of the person who killed.

It strikes me that this lands you with a logical and ethical dilemma. You have already made a pre-judgement of the action; it is not permissable. Furthermore, you have asserted that there are, “no ifs nor buts”. What, then, is the purpose of judging the person who killed? There is no point in anybody offering extenuating circumstances because, according to you, there can be none. There is no point, therefore, in having a trial because the decision has already been made. By judging the action, you have automatically judged the person who committed the action. The concept of justice has just flown out of the window”.

I don't think you understood my proposals fully on a system basis.

Yes, it is a pre-judgment but it it necessary as a grounding.

I stated 'Killing is not permissible, period, no ifs and no buts'.
This is the reason-justified ideal moral absolute which is not to be enforceable but merely to be used as a guide.

In practice the guide above will be used as;
1. A basis for individual morality since the above is set by oneself as part of a team.
2. A basis for political, the legislature and the judiciary because humans are not perfect.

Why do you say there is no trial?
There are two levels of trial here, i.e.

1. one moral and one ethical.
The individual and the community will understand, the killing is morally wrong but since this is not enforceable on the individual, the community and individual will have to do whatever is necessary, e.g. self-improvement. The individual may feel his guilt and promised not to do it again.

2. the legislature and the judiciary
The individual understand s/he is morally wrong, but also understand as an individual s/he is also subjected to the law established by politicians.
Within the judiciary the individual will be given a fair trial because s/he could not control his/her basic impulses for whatever reasons.
Now even when the killing is morally wrong, it could be legally wrong or legally right within the stipulated laws.

The advantage of this system is because there is moral ideal that killing is wrong, there will be a moral-gap if it is found to be legally right. There are many cases where criminals got away with obvious murders, thus the moral-legal gap will drive humanity to find improvements.
Otherwise there will be resignation and indifference, i.e. 'what can we do because the laws are like that!'

This is one reason why the ideal moral absolute 'Killing of another human being is not permissible period, no ifs nor buts' is necessary. It is a fixed goal post to drive improvement and establish more refined justice for individuals.


I am conflating two points because they are intimately linked and I have just explained precisely why. To summarise; “By judging the action, you have automatically judged the person who committed the action”.

You don’t seem, however, to understand the implications of what I wrote. Your ‘moral principle’ - “Killing of another human being is not permissible, period! no ifs nor buts” - does not allow for a judgement of the human because that human has been prejudged. This has absolutely nothing to do with “total statistics and various analysis”. There is nothing in your ‘moral principle’ which requires a focus on “prevention and developing continual improvements towards the ideal on the long term basis”. What it does guarantee is that justice – consideration for the needs of all persons concerned in the light of the circumstances – is not something to even be considered.

Again you refuse to acknowledge why my system-based moral framework is necessary for continuous improvements.

I told you the moral-legal GAP will drive any conscientious person to seek improvement to close the gap. One of my forte is Variance Analysis between standards set and actual performance. This is a human default, note homeostasis and all sort of control mechanisms against standards.

This is why most effective and organized human beings set pre-judged standards, e.g. budgets, etc. to compare their actual performance as a management tool.

The using of individual or society happiness, satisfaction, utility, etc. are too subjective and vague, thus difficult to manage moving goal posts.

I did not condemn 'evil Muslims' on a derogatory basis but fact is SOME Muslims [as with SOME humans] are by nature unfortunately born with an active evil tendency. This is a fact [subject to debate].

If you do not intend ‘evil’ to be used in a derogatory sense, then perhaps you could explain what you do intend by it. If something is a fact and it is subject to debate, then how is it a fact? If your argument is that some muslims are not nice (‘evil’ is your judgement but you don’t seem clear about how you are using it), then perhaps you can explain why that could not be the case for any other group of humans on the planet. Or even the totality of humans on the planet, since that is what you are writing about.

How can we progress on 'good' if we do not define what is 'evil'.
I define 'evil' as any human act that is net-negative [sub-optimal] to the well being of the individual and thereto humanity. E.g. lying, stealing are low degree evil while genocide is the highest.
DNA wise ALL humans has an inherent evil potential to commit evil and approximate 20% [guess] are born with an active tendency to commit evil of some degrees. [lying, stealing, corruption, and the likes].
Note the concept of evil is getting trendy these days,
https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/concept-evil/

Conscience is actually a whole judiciary system within the person's mind.


I don’t care what you think it is; if it is in the person’s mind, then it is, as I said, ‘a personal thing’.

You seem to be ignorant of the what is takes in the Philosophy of Morality which must start with the individual[s] and not merely philosophy theories.
The critical factor to improve on the Moral-Ethical wisdom of humanity is to increase the moral competence of each individual via the appropriate neural connectivity [foolproof methods] in the individual's brain. This is the way to go in the future.

The individual has to be the defendant, the prosecutor, the judge and jury for his own actions within his own mind and psyche. So 'judgment' [as defined subsumption of minor premise to major premise] is very relevant within the individual mind.


This is meaningless to me and I see no relevance to your example of a ‘moral principle’, where judgement of the individual is automatically excluded.

see point above re focus on the individual.
Morality and ethical is not mainly a decision [trolley] issue for the individual.
Morality-ethics is not like when someone sees $10,000 cash on a street and start looking around to see whether there is any one around or start generating alternatives on what to do.
A good action is one that is made spontaneously based on the moral competence of the individual.
If one see $10,000 on the ground, the good person will spontaneously take it the proper authority and ensure it is given the owner or whatever is deemed right.

As mentioned earlier, I did not say we ignore the person's act. We need to deal with the individual through the political-legislature-judiciary system. This is not exactly a moral issue.


Your ‘moral principle’ prohibits any interpretation of the person’s act. In that sense it makes the judiciary system largely redundant and destroys any concept of justice. And you say that “This is not exactly a moral issue”!

Note my two levels of judgement mentioned above. Despite the ideal moral standard, the point is no humans will be perfect all the time, thus a judiciary system must be set up. The judiciary system is set up by politicians elected by the individuals and justice will be met within that system. If the gap analysis find weakness, then it can be changed via the laws based on consensus of all.

I stated easy because the judge do not have to entangle with moving goal posts and personal subjective opinion and beliefs.


You do not seem to understand that different people have different ideas. They may even have different ‘moral principles’. That is why we have a judiciary system, in order to apply judgements in relation to differing sides of the argument. If the resolution was easy, then the case would never have come to court. If you expect judgements to be easy, then you have no awareness of the complications.

Yes, different people will have different 'moral principles'. That is why an absolute moral principle [reasoned and justified] set up by each individual and agreed by all must be established to ground all variations.
'Easy' in my case is relative to the 'moving goal posts'. When there are 'moving goal post' then there are potential sectarian issues. The theists will not agree with the secular version. Within each there will be different factions and then we will have wars and violence because there is no common consensus at any level. Note the insistence on sh:t sharia laws.

My views promote and develop justice on a system-basis [for all humanity] and cater to the individual's circumstances.


That is precisely what they don’t do and I have explained, in great detail, why.

I find your views very narrow and lackadaisical.

Example;
If you encountered a lecturer with very high expectations and the highest he has given to any student so far is 80/100, you will resign to that, accept it and do the normal because there is no way you can do to change the lecturer's expectations.

Me on the other hand, I will set my preparation based on a standard of 300/100 [very ideal]. If I do not score 100%, there is a good chance I can score >80% near to 100%.
Not-a-theist. Religion is a critical necessity for humanity now, but not the FUTURE.
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Re: Should Morals Be Judged In A Cultural Context?

Post Number:#100  Postby Iapetus » April 23rd, 2017, 8:04 am

Reply to Fooloso4:

With regard to ‘competency’:
RuleOnu suggested child torture as an example of a scenario to test the validity of objective morality. In post #38, to Belindi, I suggested, “If somebody with serious brain damage was discovered torturing a child, then they would certainly need to be stopped but to call their act ‘immoral’ if they had little or no capacity to determine ‘morality’, would certainly invite discussion, at the very least”. Though this was not addressed to you, it demonstrates my understanding of the ‘competency’ argument before we entered into discussion.

Our discussion regarding competency started in post #63, when you asked;

Should the actions of a brain damaged man be judged differently than those of a man who is not? The action is the same, but the brain damaged man may not responsible for his action, and so, the action may be judged to be immoral but not the man.


I replied immediately, in post #64, with a paragraph. In post #70, I refered you to the case of James Bulger, killed by two boys who were considered below the age of moral competency. I asked questions and, not satisfied with a minimal response, I reminded you of the case again in post #77. Despite pressing my point, all you could offer in post #83 was:

I do not think it necessary to explain why torturing and killing a two year old child should be considered immoral.


The European Court of Human rights certainly had a view on it. And it was related to competency.

In post #86, I reminded you again about the James Bulger case, saying, “I don’t think that many people would disagree if I suggest that their actions were vile, cruel and horrible. But, beyond simple assertion, you have not said why they should be considered immoral”.

In post #88 you made no attempt to answer this question, whilst twice repeating my original point about brain damage. Then you have the nerve to accuse me:

Somewhere along the way you got lost and forgot the discussion of competency.


Your accusation was outrageous and dishonest. It was outrageous because I can quote relevant comments from several different posts, particularly the more recent ones. It was dishonest because, with regard to the James Bulger case, I reminded you twice.

The reason I reminded you about the James Bulger case is that you seem to think that competency is self-evident and agreed upon. It is not. It is something which needs to be assessed and judged. Whether that judgement is by you or by others, it is an integral part of any moral assessment. So I am not the one who has “got lost”. But, four times now, you have dodged the issue. In post #77 I asked, “How did you decide it did not involve moral wrongdoing if you did not make a judgement of it? Whether or not you made a judgement of it, why can you not judge the action?” Your response, once more, dodged the issue:

A judgment and a moral judgment are not the same. Not every wrong involves moral wrongdoing.


And so to your regular sidestep whenever I ask you specifically about judging actions independently of the person. For example; "You have also not made any reference to my request for circumstances when the action needs to be judged independently".

I have done so repeatedly: the circumstance is when the person is not competent.


You resort to commenting about the person and avoiding any comment about the action. In other words, avoiding the question. If ever you address the action, it takes the form of an assertion, not an explanation. In other words, avoiding the question.

You have never explained how you would judge the action without you or somebody else judging the person. You have never explained how competency has any bearing on judgement of the action.


With regard to child torture:
Again, I entered into discussion about this before our first exchanges.

In post #69, you stated; “our judgment of child torture does not depend on circumstances, including the competency of the agent”.

In my reply I asked what is it about this action which leads you to condemn it as immoral without reservation, when you choose not to judge other acts without additional information, including the killing of 50,000 inhabitants of a city.

Your response consisted of two comments:

The action of torturing a child, however, is still an immoral act...

As to torturing a child, I cannot think of any case in which the circumstances make it an acceptable act.


Two assertions. No explanation.

In post #77 I offered 220 words on how child killing and torture has been justified. Then I finished with, “I am not saying that any of these are ‘acceptable’. I don’t have to. But they are ‘justifications’ and your asserting that there are no justifications does not get round this. If you are implying that you have made a judgement about these justifications, then that is your subjective opinion and nothing more”.

You replied thus:
If it is true that it is always immoral to torture a child then the circumstances do not matter.

I do not think it necessary to explain why torturing and killing a two year old child should be considered immoral.


… even though this is precisely what I did ask you in post #70. Again, no explanation. Again, avoiding the point.


With regard to the main point of the discussion:
In post #63, you stated,

…the action may be judged to be immoral but not the man.


This is the comment which, for me, prompted the discussion. You implied that a moral judgement of the action could be made separately from a moral judgement of ‘the man’. You restated the idea subsequently:

“If we are not judging the person then we are judging the action”


We have been all round the houses with this and you have never been able to give me an explanation of how you could morally judge the action without judging the person. Your invariable get-out clause is related to competency. But competency is related to the person and not to the action. You have used it as a way of avoiding the question. You have not told me how you would judge the action. Even as late as post Post #96, you cannot offer an explanation. All I get is another assertion:

If your claim is that we can never judge one without the other, then that is a point of fundamental disagreement.


Then, out of the blue, in post #83 you state:

In general, however, a moral assessment takes both the actor and the action into consideration and does not treat them independently.


This is what I have been arguing all along. It is not the same as:

“If we are not judging the person then we are judging the action”


But you have never been able to tell me how you would judge the action.

I have asked you twice if you have changed your mind and you won’t tell me. I wonder why.

I also asked you; “Your statement says, 'In general …' Does that mean that there are exceptions? If so, then what general form would these exceptions take?” Your reply is:

Are you serious? Lack of competency is the exception. Those who are not competent are not moral agents, and so they are not judged.


The desperate, desperate competency thing. Competency is related to a judgement of the person and not the action. This still leaves you with the same, unanswered problem. If you accept competency, then do we judge the person and the action together, or can we make a separate moral judgement of the action. If the latter, then how? If you reject competency, then can you still make a separate moral judgement of the action? If so, then how?


So, for the third time; have you changed your mind?.
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Re: Should Morals Be Judged In A Cultural Context?

Post Number:#101  Postby Belindi » April 23rd, 2017, 8:28 am

Can we agree that the judgement of evil( bad, wrong,wicked) acts is absolutely discernable, but that the judgement of evil (bad, wrong, wicked) persons depends upon their moral competence?

I think that in courts of law the act is invariably illegal, but that according to how merciful ,or liberal, the judge is the moral competence of the accused is an extenuating factor which in the cases of young children and insane persons allows them to be free of retribution but also allows them to be rehabilitated, socialised, educated, or restrained whichever is appropriate to public safety.

-- Updated April 23rd, 2017, 8:30 am to add the following --

The accused's religion, ethnicity, race, or previous good record should not be extenuating factors to any degree whatsoever.

-- Updated April 23rd, 2017, 8:31 am to add the following --

Sorry no edit capability. I mean "the judgement of the accused".
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Re: Should Morals Be Judged In A Cultural Context?

Post Number:#102  Postby Iapetus » April 23rd, 2017, 9:47 am

Reply to Spectrum:

Spectrum, I thought my last response to you was long at 1,200 words. Your reply is more than twice as long and I find much of it incomprehensible. In the spirit of the Forum I shall make an effort to respond but please don’t presume that I shall continue to do so if you are unable to express yourself more clearly and concisely.

The concept of 'moving goal posts' is always a sign of weakness in philosophy.


Because you say so?

Therefore I don't believe the philosophers you mentioned would buy the concept of 'moving goal posts' in doing their philosophy.
I believe all genuine philosophers will want to ground their philosophies onto fixed goals post if not as near as possible.


Then perhaps you could research them! You want to dismiss views – including my own - simply on the basis that you don’t want to believe them. This is an argument from ignorance, in every sense of the word. If you consider that they are not “genuine philosophers”, then perhaps you might need to research the ‘no true Scotsman’ fallacy. Then you have the nerve to immediately quote a philosopher who you think supports what you believe. I don’t care how long you have studied him; you have completely destroyed any point you might want to make.

You tell me that you are refering to ‘the collective’ of all humanity. I reply; “Then why couldn’t you say so at the outset? This, by the way, increases your problems of explanation enormously because it requires everybody to accept the same ‘moral authority’”.

You are expecting too much. In a complicated philosophical discussion like this, you cannot expect to be fed all the time.


I made a statement. I expect you to respond with reasoned argument. If you are unable to do so, then don’t fall back on such a desperate comment. It doesn’t serve you well.

I explained that you used the term ‘good’ twice, without defining what you meant or explaining the context. You could try to address that problem but, instead, you have tried to tell me about Kantian philosophy. I am not interested because it does nothing to answer my point and, particularly, because of your earlier dismissal of philosophers.

I don't think you understood my proposals fully on a system basis.


I don’t understand what you mean by, “on a system basis”. I understand enough to ask questions which you are unable to answer.

I stated 'Killing is not permissible, period, no ifs and no buts'.
This is the reason-justified ideal moral absolute which is not to be enforceable but merely to be used as a guide.


That is the precise problem. Your wording means that you are unable to use it as a guide. You have stated that “Killing is not permissible, period, no ifs and no buts”. In other words, no exceptions. You have left no room for leeway. You have destroyed any possibility of flexibility.

Why do you say there is no trial?


I shouldn’t have to repeat myself here. If you want a detailed explanation, then please read my previous post. If you have a specific question about that explanation, then please ask it.

Again you refuse to acknowledge why my system-based moral framework is necessary for continuous improvements.


I acknowledged your ‘framework’ and explained in detail why it would be disastrous, particularly in relation to any concept of justice.

I told you the moral-legal GAP will drive any conscientious person to seek improvement to close the gap. One of my forte is Variance Analysis between standards set and actual performance. This is a human default, note homeostasis and all sort of control mechanisms against standards.


You didn’t tell me anything of the sort. I don’t know what GAP means and I can make no sense of that first sentence. Or of the next two, if it comes to it. If your knowledge of variance analysis corresponds in any way to your knowledge of probability, certainty and venn diagrams, then I won’t hold my breath in anticipation. I understand what homeostasis means but I have no idea why you have included the term here. If it was for effect, then it hasn’t worked.

How can we progress on 'good' if we do not define what is 'evil'.


‘We’ haven’t progressed on ‘good’ because you have made no attempt to do so. Your attempt to define ‘evil’ does absolutely nothing to answer my question about why you said that you were not using it is a derogatory sense. Nor do you answer any other part of that paragraph. To remind you; “If you do not intend ‘evil’ to be used in a derogatory sense, then perhaps you could explain what you do intend by it. If something is a fact and it is subject to debate, then how is it a fact? If your argument is that some muslims are not nice (‘evil’ is your judgement but you don’t seem clear about how you are using it), then perhaps you can explain why that could not be the case for any other group of humans on the planet. Or even the totality of humans on the planet, since that is what you are writing about.”

Of ‘conscience’, I said; "I don’t care what you think it is; if it is in the person’s mind, then it is, as I said, ‘a personal thing’".

You seem to be ignorant of the what is takes in the Philosophy of Morality which must start with the individual[s] and not merely philosophy theories.
The critical factor to improve on the Moral-Ethical wisdom of humanity is to increase the moral competence of each individual via the appropriate neural connectivity [foolproof methods] in the individual's brain. This is the way to go in the future.


Whatever my ignorance consists of, you have not specified. You have said absolutely nothing about the ‘personal thing’. Instead, you have thrown in a few ‘philosophical’ words in no obvious order and of which I can make precious little sense.

Note my two levels of judgement mentioned above. Despite the ideal moral standard, the point is no humans will be perfect all the time, thus a judiciary system must be set up. The judiciary system is set up by politicians elected by the individuals and justice will be met within that system. If the gap analysis find weakness, then it can be changed via the laws based on consensus of all.


Your two levels of judgement are self-excluding because of the wording of your initial premises, as I explained. Yet it is obvious that “no humans will be perfect all the time”. It is a pity then, that your ‘system’ excludes them from reasoned justice.

I find your views very narrow and lackadaisical.

And my dad is bigger than your dad.

Me on the other hand, I will set my preparation based on a standard of 300/100 [very ideal]. If I do not score 100%, there is a good chance I can score >80% near to 100%.


More 'statistical' gibberish. It is utter, utter nonsense. Haven’t you learned by now?

-- Updated 23 Apr 2017, 19:13 to add the following --

Reply to Belindi:

Can we agree that the judgement of evil( bad, wrong,wicked) acts is absolutely discernable, but that the judgement of evil (bad, wrong, wicked) persons depends upon their moral competence?


If you are asking me then, no, I cannot agree with that. If the term, ‘evil’ is associated with a supernatural force – as it usually is – then it makes no sense to me. The same would apply if it was associated with demonic possession. If it is used as a throwaway synonym for ‘nasty’, then I could go along with it but, in doing so, I would be aware that this entailed the risk of somebody else reading something more ‘demonaic’ into it. There are, after all, plenty of alternatives, including base, ignoble, dishonourable, corrupt, iniquitous, degenerate, villainous, nefarious, sinister, vicious and malevolent, many of which are more precise. These descriptions can be applied to acts without implying separate moral judgement.

‘Moral’ judgement of people must take account of their intentions and motivations. It does not ‘depend’ on moral competence. Moral competence is part of the judgement process. An examination or assessment must take place before the judgement is made.

I think that in courts of law the act is invariably illegal, but that according to how merciful ,or liberal, the judge is the moral competence of the accused is an extenuating factor which in the cases of young children and insane persons allows them to be free of retribution but also allows them to be rehabilitated, socialised, educated, or restrained whichever is appropriate to public safety.


Courts in the ‘western’ world tend to be reluctant to apply the term ‘moral’ to judgements because they understand that, in a world with a multiplicity of faiths and beliefs, the term can create more conflict than it resolves. Judgements tend, instead, to use the concept of ‘reason’, implying that a process of argument and counter-argument has taken place and a judgement made which takes account of that process. Laws usually have defined boundaries because they have to apply to everybody. There is usually, however, an implied assumption that they need to be interpreted in the light of individual circumstances. If those individual circumstances involve competence to stand responsible, then the judgement must take account of that. In the UK, these interpretations are, themselves, collected and refered to in future cases, thus establishing a process of ‘case law’. Whilst being extremely complicated, this does have the benefit of being able to respond to longer-term social changes. In states with a written constitution, new interpretations may be written up as amendments to the constitution.
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Re: Should Morals Be Judged In A Cultural Context?

Post Number:#103  Postby Fooloso4 » April 23rd, 2017, 2:27 pm

Iapetus:

With regard to ‘competency’:


With regard to competency you said:

Why are you writing about competency? I have not mentioned it. It is a new term which you have just introduced.


And now you contradict yourself by pointing to all the times you talked about competency.

You have never explained how you would judge the action without you or somebody else judging the person.



Of course I have! I said that if there are no circumstances in which the action is morally justified or morally acceptable then the action is immoral and no judgment of the person will change that.
You have never explained how competency has any bearing on judgement of the action.


I have explained this as well. I said that lack of competency has no bearing on the judgment of the action. The person is not responsible for the action but we can still assess whether it is ever morally acceptable to do 'X'. In some cases the answer may be yes, but in others the answer is no.

The reason I reminded you about the James Bulger case is that you seem to think that competency is self-evident and agreed upon.


No, I said that I am not qualified to make that judgment. It is a legal and/or medical judgment to be determined by a judge or appropriate medical professional.

“How did you decide it did not involve moral wrongdoing if you did not make a judgement of it? Whether or not you made a judgement of it, why can you not judge the action?” Your response, once more, dodged the issue:


I did not dodge the issue. Not every judgment is a moral judgment just as not every wrong is a moral wrong. This is what you said:

There can be no moral judgement directed at the driver who has a heart attack and the driver who is struck by another because they had no choices to make. (#67)


So, you made a judgment but it was not a moral judgment directed at the driver, but you insist that I must be making a moral judgment of the driver?!

You have never explained how you would judge the action without you or somebody else judging the person.


I have done so repeatedly. I pointed out that there are some actions that are always immoral. The judgment of the action in such cases are not changed by knowing anything about the person. You may not agree. You may think it perfectly moral to torture children for fun, or that the person did not act immorally because he did not know what he was doing.

You have never explained how competency has any bearing on judgement of the action.


Competency has no bearing on the action, only on the actor. That is what I have been saying and that is what you took exception to, but now you think I should explain how competency does have a bearing on judgment of the action.

In post #77 I offered 220 words on how child killing and torture has been justified.


What you presented were questionable practices. The fact that such practices were or are acceptable to certain peoples or groups is not a justification, unless you hold that whatever a culture or group does is morally permissible. That the actors are underage or brain damaged or for some reason determined not to be responsible does not mean that the action is not immoral.
If you are implying that you have made a judgement about these justifications, then that is your subjective opinion and nothing more”.


From my first post on this topic:
I think it important to distinguish between moral relativism and cultural relativism. In short, moral relativism is the recognition that there are no absolute moral authority, and cultural relativism is the claim that what is right and wrong is culturally determined. Some make claims for moral relativism that go much further than others. For some it means that morality is solely a matter of whatever the individual decides, or individual relativism, but others recognize the social nature or morals and so we are not free to decide for ourselves what is right and wrong, good or bad; that moral deliberation is essential. (#9)


It is not my subjective opinion and nothing more. It is my subjective opinion based on moral deliberation that invites further moral deliberation. I explain a bit further:

The goal of moral deliberation, as I see it, is to determine what seems best. It is a tentative and ongoing practice. We may not agree and we may in time come to see things differently. We do not discover final answers but working solutions to particular problems. (#13)


So, when I say that torturing a child is always an immoral action and ask you for examples to show that I am wrong, I am not asking about what others have done but what we should conclude about such actions. If it were discovered that you are in the slave market do you think it morally justified because you can point to cases of slavery?

… even though this is precisely what I did ask you in post #70. Again, no explanation. Again, avoiding the point.


If you cannot see that it is immoral to torture children what could I or anyone else say to help you see that?

We have been all round the houses with this and you have never been able to give me an explanation of how you could morally judge the action without judging the person. Your invariable get-out clause is related to competency. But competency is related to the person and not to the action. You have used it as a way of avoiding the question.



Once again, different cases are treated differently. In most cases there is a judgment of both the actor and the action. There are, however, exceptions: When it has been determined by a qualified professional that a person is not competent then no moral judgment is made of that person. When the action is one that is always immoral without exception then the action can be judged without regard to the person. But since moral judgments are about actors and actions even when the action is judged to be immoral we may still judge the person who is competent. If and how that person is judged must be taken on a case by case basis.

You have not told me how you would judge the action.


What action? I have said that I will always judge some actions such as child torture and murder to be immoral. Other actions are judged on a case by case basis and usually take into consideration the actor.

In general, however, a moral assessment takes both the actor and the action into consideration and does not treat them independently.

This is what I have been arguing all along. It is not the same as:


“If we are not judging the person then we are judging the action”


Of course it is not the same! They are different cases. The first refers to the majority of cases where both the actor and the action are taken into consideration. The second refers to cases where we do not make a moral judgment about the actor because he lacks competency. We treat cases of competency differently than we do cases where the actor is not competent.
But you have never been able to tell me how you would judge the action.


What action? I have said that I would always judge some actions to be immoral such as child torture. Other cases, such as the bombing, would be judged on a case by case basis. Some bombings may be justified, and some may not. Nothing more can be said without addressing a specific case.

I have asked you twice if you have changed your mind and you won’t tell me. I wonder why.


Changed my mind about what? I do not think I have changed my mind about anything. I did say that my assessment of a particular individual or a particular action might change if additional information comes to light.

Competency is related to a judgement of the person and not the action.



That is correct, but first, it is not a moral judgment of the person, it is a professional judgment that determines a person is not able to make moral distinctions and so the person is not morally judged. Second, this is a point I have maintained all along despite your claim that they cannot be judged separately. You seem to have finally understood that point! yes, competency is related to a judgment of the person and not the action. And that means if the person is not competent we take moral judgment of the person off the table and judge only the action.

If you accept competency, then do we judge the person and the action together, or can we make a separate moral judgement of the action.


If the person is competent then I judge both. But, as I have said, my assessment of the person may not change my assessment of the action.

If you reject competency, then can you still make a separate moral judgement of the action? If so, then how?


I am not sure what this means. If you mean that it has been determined that the person is not competent, then the person is not morally responsible and is not morally judged. The action, however, was still committed and we can deliberate as to the morality of the action - is it morally permissible to do X? It should be kept in mind that moral judgment is not only about what has been done, but is also about what should or should not be done. We can and do raise questions about actions that have not yet been done. We can and do ask if we or someone else should or should not do 'X'.
So, for the third time; have you changed your mind?


About what? I am in the process of changing my mind with regard to our conversation. I began by regarding it as a way of clarifying issues, but when you keep asking the same questions over and over and ignoring the answers I have begun to change my mind as to whether this conversation serves any useful purpose. I have not yet made up my mind whether to continue.
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Re: Should Morals Be Judged In A Cultural Context?

Post Number:#104  Postby Spectrum » April 23rd, 2017, 10:59 pm

Iapetus wrote:I don’t understand what you mean by, “on a system basis”. I understand enough to ask questions which you are unable to answer.

It is has eaten into budgeted time [I have lots of other work-in-progress on hand]. OK, I won't go into the details.

One key word is "system" thus system-based and I have been proposing a Moral & Ethical Framework & System all along.

One of my forte is System Theory and this is transposed into my Philosophy of Morality & Ethics [Kantian centered].

I am sure you understand what is a 'system', but perhaps you are not that perceptive how it fit into my main premise. Note;

A system is a set of interacting or interdependent component parts forming a complex or intricate whole.[1] Every system is delineated by its spatial and temporal boundaries, surrounded and influenced by its environment, described by its structure and purpose and expressed in its functioning.
A basic system has an sub-input system, a process, output and control mechanism to ensure whatever objective set are controlled. - w:ki

IF you are very well verse and has an active working knowledge of System Theory then you are more likely to understand what I have been saying [via transposing one into the other].

What I have presented is very complex system of Morality and Ethics, so I don't expect any one to grasp it immediately and easily. Nevertheless if you have applied a higher degree of the Principle of Charity I believe you would have gain some [something is better than nothing] incremental knowledge.

My point;
Within a system approach one need to take into account the 'wood' [overall actions in this case] and the 'trees' [the individuals] as complementary.
Not-a-theist. Religion is a critical necessity for humanity now, but not the FUTURE.
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Re: Should Morals Be Judged In A Cultural Context?

Post Number:#105  Postby Belindi » April 24th, 2017, 4:14 am

Iapetus wrote:

There are many philosophies which are not based on a ‘fixed goal’ and these include descriptive moral relativism, meta-ethical relativism, normative relativism and utilitarianism. Philosophers such as Baruch Spinoza,


Spinoza depended his large ethical system from reason. Nietzsche supported freedom from unreason. Hume was reason personified; look at his statue in Edinburgh placed where he confronts the statue of John Knox. Hume said "The rules of morality are not the conclusion of our reason."


A fixed goal is usually taken to be the opposite of no serious and weighty content at all. This is untrue. Hume said that when priests are wrong they are evil, but when philosophers are wrong they are only ridiculous.

A man who disbelieves that God exists is a man who very often has an alternative to God as a permanently fixed goal, and posits instead a compass of reason and a map of science in order that wherever that man finishes up he will be in a good place. In other words, there are many good places which are barred to a man who believes that there is only one "fixed goal". The way you get there matters more than where some ancient autocrat has proclaimed you need to end up.

-- Updated April 24th, 2017, 4:20 am to add the following --

BTW, Iapetus, in a later post you sort of objected to my usage of 'evil' ,saying in effect that evil implies supernatural. True, many people think that this connotation of 'evil' defines the concept of evil. The problem for me is finding a word that substitutes for 'evil' without the connotation of supernatural.

If you know of a synonym for 'evil' which is as all-embracing but lacks the supernatural connotation please tell.
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