An objection to the Golden Rule

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Belindi
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Re: An objection to the Golden Rule

Post by Belindi » May 11th, 2018, 6:22 am

mattfara50 wrote:
May 10th, 2018, 11:47 am
Belindi wrote:
May 10th, 2018, 3:02 am

The Golden Rule is combined with universality in its application. That's to say it applies to everybody regardless. The test of universality is John Rawls's veil of ignorance. As Jesus said "Who is my neighbour"(parable of the Good Samaritan).

'Sins' in the context of religious doctrines are the breaking of commands from a deity who personifies a moral system which values tradition over knowledge.
Ok. Thank you for this addition.

Let me write out the thought process of the zealot applying the GR as if it were my own:

I believe that homosexual activity is inherently, universally sinful when performed by humans. I imagine a hypothetical: I am an LGBT person who desires homosexual activity. In that case, I would be less sinful if other people suppressed my urges. I am grateful for their help in protecting my immortal soul. Now that the hypothetical is finished, I feel justified, by the lights of the GR, to suppress LGBT interests. The veil of ignorance is no defense in this case, unless it presupposes some prior moral standard.

Moreover, merely labeling a religious doctrine a traditional moral system does nothing to show, objectively, that it is missing the moral mark. A moral system is not flawed by virtue of its being traditional (though the probability is much, much higher in my opinion).
Right you are Mattfara. The veil of ignorance is necessary but insufficient.

The parable of the Good Samaritan stands, however. The Samaritan freed the injured man from his helplessness. Besides universality there is one other augmentation of the Golden Rule. That is the criterion of freedom. The man who is free to choose who he is is closer to the good than the man who is subject to prejudice and scientifically wrong beliefs.

Is it right to be so paternalistic as to intervene to free a man who has been indoctrinated if he likes life as an indoctrinated man? In the parable we are expected to understand that the injured Jew wanted help from whoever would help him even help from a despised Samaritan. However there are what William Blake called "mind-forged manacles" and people don't know that they are the prisoners.

I'm afraid I have to conclude that The Golden Rule , even with the two attached riders, is not an absolute Rule. We all are condemned to choose to be free or unfree. Understandings of God don't help us with the choice, because 'God' can be interpreted as desiring us to choose freely or alternatively to obey His rules. Bringing social reality into the equation might help here. The social reality of God's rules is that these are interpretations by powerful elites and we know enough to be very sceptical about the motivations of powerful elites.

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Re: An objection to the Golden Rule

Post by mattfara50 » May 11th, 2018, 7:18 am

ThomasHobbes wrote:
May 11th, 2018, 6:02 am

You disagree, obviously.
What the subject believes about OTHER people is not relevant to the GR. That is the whole point.The GR could just as easily append 'judge not lest you be judged', and this is perfectly concomitant with the GR.
Let me use a clearer example. Suppose I am a drug addict living on the streets. My family has given up on me, my friends are gone, and I seem to be irretrievably stuck in these dire straits. Somebody is watching me from afar, and they witness me picking through a dumpster and shoot up behind a building. Is it not their judgment of me that precipitates their trying to help me? I believe it is. But by your interpretation, the GR can't even permit this interaction.

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Re: An objection to the Golden Rule

Post by Belindi » May 11th, 2018, 11:14 am

A similar example but an alternative narrative. I am self sufficient by choice and my comparative poverty has not beaten my will to survive and prosper. I have discovered where the supermarket dumps its out of date produce. I search there for delicious hearts of cabbage and lettuce, root vegetables, and for packs of fruits that contain sound ones. I find bread from the instore bakery which has become hard and take that to make into crumbs for my baking. I also look inside domestic skips and find all manner of useful stuff some of which I recycle and sell on. I have intractable pain for which I take injections of illegal cannabis .A nice man thought I needed help and I told him how I cook cabbage as the basis for a quick, easy, non-fattening meal.

By this interpretation both the actors, the man in the dumpster and the watcher from afar, are free men. Julian Baggini wrote a story called 'The Pig That Wants To Be Eaten'. The free pig if there were such an animal would want to be eaten for reasons, which is why it is free.The unfree pig that wants to be eaten is unable to reason which is why it is unfree.

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The Golden Rule's moral efficacy rests upon freedom through reason.

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: An objection to the Golden Rule

Post by ThomasHobbes » May 11th, 2018, 11:50 am

mattfara50 wrote:
May 11th, 2018, 7:18 am
ThomasHobbes wrote:
May 11th, 2018, 6:02 am

You disagree, obviously.
What the subject believes about OTHER people is not relevant to the GR. That is the whole point.The GR could just as easily append 'judge not lest you be judged', and this is perfectly concomitant with the GR.
Let me use a clearer example. Suppose I am a drug addict living on the streets. My family has given up on me, my friends are gone, and I seem to be irretrievably stuck in these dire straits. Somebody is watching me from afar, and they witness me picking through a dumpster and shoot up behind a building. Is it not their judgment of me that precipitates their trying to help me? I believe it is. But by your interpretation, the GR can't even permit this interaction.
No, it is not judgement. It is feeling. Ever had one? :)

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Re: An objection to the Golden Rule

Post by mattfara50 » May 11th, 2018, 12:51 pm

ThomasHobbes wrote:
May 11th, 2018, 11:50 am
mattfara50 wrote:
May 11th, 2018, 7:18 am


Let me use a clearer example. Suppose I am a drug addict living on the streets. My family has given up on me, my friends are gone, and I seem to be irretrievably stuck in these dire straits. Somebody is watching me from afar, and they witness me picking through a dumpster and shoot up behind a building. Is it not their judgment of me that precipitates their trying to help me? I believe it is. But by your interpretation, the GR can't even permit this interaction.
No, it is not judgement. It is feeling. Ever had one? :)
Of course. But consider the sequence of events. If I don't see the man's circumstances as bad, why would feel bad? Even if the judgment is unconscious, it is necessary for a feeling to arise. Otherwise, why wouldn't my feeling be happy?

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Re: An objection to the Golden Rule

Post by mattfara50 » May 11th, 2018, 11:36 pm

Belindi wrote:
May 11th, 2018, 11:14 am
A nice man thought I needed help....
Has the nice man violated the GR by judging the indigent man? That was the contention between ThomasHobbes and me.

Can you explain how exactly you are applying the GR in your version of the scenario?

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Re: An objection to the Golden Rule

Post by Belindi » May 12th, 2018, 3:04 am

mattfara50 wrote:
May 11th, 2018, 11:36 pm
Belindi wrote:
May 11th, 2018, 11:14 am
A nice man thought I needed help....
Has the nice man violated the GR by judging the indigent man? That was the contention between ThomasHobbes and me.

Can you explain how exactly you are applying the GR in your version of the scenario?
I mean events aren't always what they may seem. You and I believe that getting food from a dumpster and injecting illegal drugs is bad for the man who does it. It's also worth considering that the drug addict if given a new beginning would again choose to become addicted if he was again experiencing intractable social or physical pain.
If the drug addict chose to become a drug addict in full knowledge and understanding that taking the drugs would be the death of him and turn him into a criminal and social loser he would be free as he would have chosen with reason and knowledge ; most of us would agree that is an unlikely scenario. However he would not be a candidate for the nice man's altruism.The GR is a criterion for judgement. I say that it's a good criterion if and only if the nice altruistic man knows the facts and is of sound judgement.

A real life analogue of my silly scenario is religious missionaries who besides providing real health and educational benefits for the natives also interfered with the natives' cultural beliefs. Maybe the natives would have been happier if they had been left to believe what they did believe.

I say "happier" but I believe that happiness is not as good as freedom. Freedom is inseparable from reason. That applies to human beings only, as other animals arguably choose from inherited instinct not from reason and culture. 'Natives' aren't all inhabitants of economically undeveloped countries. 'Natives' applies to unaware traditionalists everywhere. Freedom comes to traditionalists the more they are aware of their history and anthropology.

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The GR gains direction and harmony with reality the more it's applied with knowledge of history and anthropology.

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Re: An objection to the Golden Rule

Post by ThomasHobbes » May 13th, 2018, 10:55 am

mattfara50 wrote:
May 11th, 2018, 12:51 pm
ThomasHobbes wrote:
May 11th, 2018, 11:50 am

No, it is not judgement. It is feeling. Ever had one? :)
Of course. But consider the sequence of events. If I don't see the man's circumstances as bad, why would feel bad? Even if the judgment is unconscious, it is necessary for a feeling to arise. Otherwise, why wouldn't my feeling be happy?
You are not castigating the man for his lifestyle. There is a difference.

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Re: An objection to the Golden Rule

Post by mattfara50 » May 13th, 2018, 11:00 pm

ThomasHobbes wrote:
May 13th, 2018, 10:55 am
You are not castigating the man for his lifestyle. There is a difference.
Nor is the zealot necessarily castigating the homosexual. I think we have equivocated on "judgment." I'm very sleepy for the moment and I can't flesh out my clarification yet. I will tomorrow, time permitting.

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Re: An objection to the Golden Rule

Post by mattfara50 » May 13th, 2018, 11:03 pm

Belindi wrote:
May 12th, 2018, 3:04 am
The GR is a criterion for judgement. I say that it's a good criterion if and only if the nice altruistic man knows the facts and is of sound judgement.
This is essentially what I've been driving at all along, I think. See my original post.

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Greta
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Re: An objection to the Golden Rule

Post by Greta » May 13th, 2018, 11:31 pm

Yes, if a person with a severe paranoid disorder believed that everyone meant them harm then it's best if that person doesn't apply the golden rule. For most people though, myself included, it would seem an excellent starting point from which a nuanced, adult morality can grow, and often does with experience.

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Re: An objection to the Golden Rule

Post by ThomasHobbes » May 14th, 2018, 2:43 pm

mattfara50 wrote:
May 13th, 2018, 11:00 pm
ThomasHobbes wrote:
May 13th, 2018, 10:55 am
You are not castigating the man for his lifestyle. There is a difference.
Nor is the zealot necessarily castigating the homosexual.
Yes the zealot is.

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Re: An objection to the Golden Rule

Post by mattfara50 » May 14th, 2018, 10:59 pm

ThomasHobbes wrote:
May 14th, 2018, 2:43 pm
mattfara50 wrote:
May 13th, 2018, 11:00 pm
Nor is the zealot necessarily castigating the homosexual.
Yes the zealot is.
When someone judges a indigent man, one is not necessarily castigating them. I have listened to some zealots speak about their attitudes towards homosexuals. Some of them simply think that they are misguided and unfortunate, and that they deserve love and help - just like the indigent man.

This is precisely what I'm trying to get at. Thank you for forcing me to make it explicit. The GR is flawed because it can cause well-intentioned people to do harm. The truly compassionate zealot is the case study I've been trying to elaborate.

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Re: An objection to the Golden Rule

Post by Belindi » May 15th, 2018, 4:01 am

mattfara50 wrote:
May 14th, 2018, 10:59 pm
ThomasHobbes wrote:
May 14th, 2018, 2:43 pm


Yes the zealot is.
When someone judges a indigent man, one is not necessarily castigating them. I have listened to some zealots speak about their attitudes towards homosexuals. Some of them simply think that they are misguided and unfortunate, and that they deserve love and help - just like the indigent man.

This is precisely what I'm trying to get at. Thank you for forcing me to make it explicit. The GR is flawed because it can cause well-intentioned people to do harm. The truly compassionate zealot is the case study I've been trying to elaborate.
Antonio Damasio wrote in Descartes' Error: Emotion, Feeling, and the Human Brain:
I propose that human reason depends on several brain systems, working in concert across many levels of neuronal organization, rather than on a single brain center. Both "high-level" and "low-level" brain regions...cooperate in the making of reason.

The lower levels in the neural edifice of reason are the same ones that regulate the processing of emotions and feelings, along with the body functions necessary for an organism's survival. In turn, these lower levels maintain direct and mutual relationships with virtually every bodily organ, thus placing the body directly within the chain of operations that generate the highest reaches of reasoning, decision making, and, by extension, social behavior and creativity. Emotion, feeling and biological regulation all play a role in human reason. [p xvii]

Note that in Damasio's view emotion and feeling are not in opposition to reason but provide essential support to the reasoning process.
The passage above also alludes to Damasio's second topic, the physiological roots of emotional expression:

[T]he essence of a feeling may not be an elusive mental quality attached to an object, but rather the direct perception of a specific landscape: that of the body...
From Descartes'Error;Emotion, Feeling, and the Human Brain. (My underline)

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: An objection to the Golden Rule

Post by ThomasHobbes » May 15th, 2018, 6:06 am

mattfara50 wrote:
May 14th, 2018, 10:59 pm
ThomasHobbes wrote:
May 14th, 2018, 2:43 pm


Yes the zealot is.
When someone judges a indigent man, one is not necessarily castigating them. I have listened to some zealots speak about their attitudes towards homosexuals. Some of them simply think that they are misguided and unfortunate, and that they deserve love and help - just like the indigent man.

This is precisely what I'm trying to get at. Thank you for forcing me to make it explicit. The GR is flawed because it can cause well-intentioned people to do harm. The truly compassionate zealot is the case study I've been trying to elaborate.

There is NO warrant in the Golden Rule to impose your moral standards on another; to castigate another for their views; nor to prevent another making the choices they want about their own life. To do so would be to invite another to do that to you.

By definition were such people as would do these things to claim the GR, they would be bringing down upon themselves the same calumnies.

The problem here is not with the GR, but those who do not understand it, nor apply it, like Christians.

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