Is the Good versus Evil dichotomy a valid one?

Discuss morality and ethics in this message board.
Featured Article: Philosophical Analysis of Abortion, The Right to Life, and Murder
Wayne92587
Posts: 1563
Joined: January 27th, 2012, 9:32 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Hermese Trismegistus

Re: Is the Good versus Evil dichotomy a valid one?

Post by Wayne92587 » July 17th, 2017, 11:42 am

Results in Lunacy!, Chaos, Insanity!!!
Results the Greatest Cause of all suffering, a Great Evil!!

You people are getting off track.

Beautiful and Ugly are exactly like Good and Evil, Right and Wrong, Good and Bad.

All moral judgement are the same.

I found some time ago, that by not referring to something being ugly, I found what I at one time as being wrong, bad, was no longer Ugly.

It is the wide swings in judgement, not that one looks good and the other bad that generates the Chaos, Evil.

Good today bad tomorrow.

User avatar
LuckyR
Moderator
Posts: 2726
Joined: January 18th, 2015, 1:16 am

Re: Is the Good versus Evil dichotomy a valid one?

Post by LuckyR » July 17th, 2017, 1:53 pm

Steve3007 wrote:LuckyR:
I don't doubt that there are plenty of people who admire Hitler and think that he did a good thing. That wasn't my point. My point was about people's views of the difference between tastes and moral values. It is rare for people to think that the question of whether Hitler's actions were good or bad is merely a matter of personal taste, like the question of whether a particular object is beautiful or whether Marmite tastes nice. As I said, people sometimes disagree as to what is good and what is evil, but they usually do agree that whatever it is, it is not merely a matter of taste.
We can't have a conversation if I tell you what something (good and evil) is and you only provide info on what it isn't. So. If what qualifies as "good" is NOT a personal opinion, then what is it?

-- Updated July 17th, 2017, 10:55 am to add the following --
Wayne92587 wrote:Results in Lunacy!, Chaos, Insanity!!!
Results the Greatest Cause of all suffering, a Great Evil!!

You people are getting off track.

Beautiful and Ugly are exactly like Good and Evil, Right and Wrong, Good and Bad.

All moral judgement are the same.

I found some time ago, that by not referring to something being ugly, I found what I at one time as being wrong, bad, was no longer Ugly.

It is the wide swings in judgement, not that one looks good and the other bad that generates the Chaos, Evil.

Good today bad tomorrow.
He gets it...
"As usual... it depends."

User avatar
Sayso
New Trial Member
Posts: 9
Joined: July 13th, 2017, 3:46 pm

Re: Is the Good versus Evil dichotomy a valid one?

Post by Sayso » July 17th, 2017, 2:58 pm

So. If what qualifies as "good" is NOT a personal opinion, then what is it?

I'm wondering if this is an indictment of opinion, per se?

Do right opinions every come about? Are you denying there is such a thing as knowledge?

One poster gave the criterion of survival as the basis of good. Without signing on to that view, it is, at least, a positive suggestion, and so deserves to be rejected with some argument, doesn't it?

Why is it so many people are comfortable with groundless denials and rejections? If that question is a proper issue, and not something that just takes us into psychological analysis... The logical form of beginning with a bare denial is that somebody then sets about invalidating that denial, which so often takes the hopeless form of an "ignorantiam."

Spectrum
Posts: 4896
Joined: December 21st, 2010, 1:25 am
Favorite Philosopher: Eclectic -Various

Re: Is the Good versus Evil dichotomy a valid one?

Post by Spectrum » July 17th, 2017, 10:48 pm

LuckyR wrote:Good and evil are not like hot and cold, rather like beautiful and ugly, that is, subject to everyone's interpretation.
True in a way but that lacks substance.

The dichotomy of beautiful and ugly is evolutionary and has survival values.
Generally what is beautiful is signified by symmetry as in facial and body proportion. What is not symmetrical is naturally perceived as ugly, e.g. a damaged eyes, none & rotten teeth, or merely one breast, broken leg, etc. Non-symmetry, i.e. reflect ugliness thus signify a reduced potential to reproduce the next generation. This algorithm is embedded in the DNA of all humans.
Therefore there is some degree of objectivity to beautiful and ugliness in relation to survival values.

Because humans are endowed with self-consciousness, intellect, intelligence, empathy, we can use our discretion to override what is naturally embedded in our DNA. But we cannot deny that degree of objectivity within our evolved sense of beautiful and ugliness.

It is the same for good and evil. Basically and generally [the way nature works] what is good [accompanied by pleasure] is positive to the preservation of the species. What is evil is negative [accompanied by pain] to the preservation of the species.

What is effective Morality need to be grounded on these two basic principles. This is what Kant did with his Philosophy of Morality and Ethics.
What is critical is we need to have very precise definition of 'good' and 'evil' and they must be well grounded to reduce subjectivity.

I agree there is a subjective/relative perspective to good and evil, but such a subjective perspective is not effective for an effective Philosophy of Morality [this section of the forum on Morality and Ethics].

Effective Morality require well grounded 'fixed goalposts' like the concepts of 'good' and 'evil' that are precisely defined for such a purpose.

-- Updated Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:04 pm to add the following --
Sayso wrote:One poster gave the criterion of survival as the basis of good. Without signing on to that view, it is, at least, a positive suggestion, and so deserves to be rejected with some argument, doesn't it?
Basically and generally, what is good [accompanied by pleasure] is positive to the preservation of the species and vice-versa for what is evil. This is how Nature works in general.

Now you may ask, what about the masochist who seek pain for pleasure, even pain for sex which may also aid in preservation of the species. What about homosexuality and other abnormal variations?
Point is Nature is never perfect and there will always be a small percentile of variations which has its pros and cons.
But the positive principle of Nature is it relies on the potential of large numbers, i.e. the larger majority to serves its direction.

I don't think any one can come up with a good argument against Nature on this issue even though it is not perfect.
Not-a-theist. Religion is a critical necessity for humanity now, but not the FUTURE.

Wayne92587
Posts: 1563
Joined: January 27th, 2012, 9:32 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Hermese Trismegistus

Re: Is the Good versus Evil dichotomy a valid one?

Post by Wayne92587 » July 18th, 2017, 3:47 am

This post is a little far-out. I offer it up only as a thought experiment.

The way Lao Tse put it, These two are the same, are of a single source.

As a Singularity having a dual quality issues forth, the second quality is given a different name from the first, the two qualities being the same, there being no great distinction of One from the other, being a Singularity that is both Good and Evil, right and wrong, the distinctions of Good or Bad existing in name only, there being no great differentiation in substance between the two.

These two qualities come paired, one not differing greatly from the other, Good not existing without the Bad, Bad not existing without the good, the truth being that there is no distinction of one to the other until there is an extreme differentiation between the Two, one or the other becoming the cause of unnecessary suffering.

Morality, moral law, the distinction between right and wrong, good and Evil being a dismal failure in its attempt to bring order to the chaos.
Would that I could, I would destroy Moral Law and replace it with the Rule of Law.

The two qualities of a Singularity are born of Absolutely Bad Knowledge being mistaken to be absolutely Good Knowledge.

Steve3007
Posts: 4662
Joined: June 15th, 2011, 5:53 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Eratosthenes
Location: UK

Re: Is the Good versus Evil dichotomy a valid one?

Post by Steve3007 » July 18th, 2017, 9:51 am

LuckyR:
We can't have a conversation if I tell you what something (good and evil) is and you only provide info on what it isn't.
Yes ok. A fair point.
So. If what qualifies as "good" is NOT a personal opinion, then what is it?
I didn't say it isn't a personal opinion. I said it isn't a personal taste. I think, as those words are used in general language, there's a difference. I think that beauty and ugliness are a matter of taste, just like the literal meaning of the word "taste" is. I personally don't like the taste of apple pie. It is not to my taste. It wouldn't make sense for me to make an argument as to why I don't like it. I just don't. By contrast, I'd say that "opinion" has an element of appeals to reason and empirical fact. We can defend our opinions with arguments.

It's often said that "you're entitled to your own opinions but not your own facts". But I think that saying is probably too simplistic because it makes the difference between opinion and fact too black-and-white. Opinion always seems, in my experience, to have an element of appeals to purported empirical facts.

But, on reflection, perhaps if it were possible to distil opinions down by removing everything that is actually an argument about what is or is not factually true, then all we'd be left with is personal taste. The people who would then still disagree would be moral absolutists (often based on religious views) who think that there are some basic irreducible goods and bads which are universally and objectively true.

I had a long discussion on this website, a long time ago, with someone who argued the case for that very thing using Aristotle's concept of "The Good".
"When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea." - Eric Cantona.

User avatar
LuckyR
Moderator
Posts: 2726
Joined: January 18th, 2015, 1:16 am

Re: Is the Good versus Evil dichotomy a valid one?

Post by LuckyR » July 19th, 2017, 3:15 am

Spectrum wrote:
LuckyR wrote:Good and evil are not like hot and cold, rather like beautiful and ugly, that is, subject to everyone's interpretation.
True in a way but that lacks substance.

The dichotomy of beautiful and ugly is evolutionary and has survival values.
Generally what is beautiful is signified by symmetry as in facial and body proportion. What is not symmetrical is naturally perceived as ugly, e.g. a damaged eyes, none & rotten teeth, or merely one breast, broken leg, etc. Non-symmetry, i.e. reflect ugliness thus signify a reduced potential to reproduce the next generation. This algorithm is embedded in the DNA of all humans.
Therefore there is some degree of objectivity to beautiful and ugliness in relation to survival values.

Because humans are endowed with self-consciousness, intellect, intelligence, empathy, we can use our discretion to override what is naturally embedded in our DNA. But we cannot deny that degree of objectivity within our evolved sense of beautiful and ugliness.

It is the same for good and evil. Basically and generally [the way nature works] what is good [accompanied by pleasure] is positive to the preservation of the species. What is evil is negative [accompanied by pain] to the preservation of the species.

What is effective Morality need to be grounded on these two basic principles. This is what Kant did with his Philosophy of Morality and Ethics.
What is critical is we need to have very precise definition of 'good' and 'evil' and they must be well grounded to reduce subjectivity.

I agree there is a subjective/relative perspective to good and evil, but such a subjective perspective is not effective for an effective Philosophy of Morality [this section of the forum on Morality and Ethics].

Effective Morality require well grounded 'fixed goalposts' like the concepts of 'good' and 'evil' that are precisely defined for such a purpose.

Now you may ask, what about the masochist who seek pain for pleasure, even pain for sex which may also aid in preservation of the species. What about homosexuality and other abnormal variations?
.
Don't be shy, what are these "precisely defined" definitions?

-- Updated July 19th, 2017, 12:19 am to add the following --
Steve3007 wrote:LuckyR:
We can't have a conversation if I tell you what something (good and evil) is and you only provide info on what it isn't.
Yes ok. A fair point.
So. If what qualifies as "good" is NOT a personal opinion, then what is it?
I didn't say it isn't a personal opinion. I said it isn't a personal taste. I think, as those words are used in general language, there's a difference. I think that beauty and ugliness are a matter of taste, just like the literal meaning of the word "taste" is. I personally don't like the taste of apple pie. It is not to my taste. It wouldn't make sense for me to make an argument as to why I don't like it. I just don't. By contrast, I'd say that "opinion" has an element of appeals to reason and empirical fact. We can defend our opinions with arguments.

It's often said that "you're entitled to your own opinions but not your own facts". But I think that saying is probably too simplistic because it makes the difference between opinion and fact too black-and-white. Opinion always seems, in my experience, to have an element of appeals to purported empirical facts.

But, on reflection, perhaps if it were possible to distil opinions down by removing everything that is actually an argument about what is or is not factually true, then all we'd be left with is personal taste. The people who would then still disagree would be moral absolutists (often based on religious views) who think that there are some basic irreducible goods and bads which are universally and objectively true.

I had a long discussion on this website, a long time ago, with someone who argued the case for that very thing using Aristotle's concept of "The Good".
Uummm... glad to hear we agree... I think.
"As usual... it depends."

Steve3007
Posts: 4662
Joined: June 15th, 2011, 5:53 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Eratosthenes
Location: UK

Re: Is the Good versus Evil dichotomy a valid one?

Post by Steve3007 » July 19th, 2017, 12:00 pm

Uummm... glad to hear we agree... I think.
I share your apparent uncertainty as to whether or not we agree. So on that we are agreed.
"When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea." - Eric Cantona.

Spectrum
Posts: 4896
Joined: December 21st, 2010, 1:25 am
Favorite Philosopher: Eclectic -Various

Re: Is the Good versus Evil dichotomy a valid one?

Post by Spectrum » July 19th, 2017, 8:48 pm

LuckyR wrote:
Spectrum wrote:Effective Morality require well grounded 'fixed goalposts' like the concepts of 'good' and 'evil' that are precisely defined for such a purpose.
Don't be shy, what are these "precisely defined" definitions?
My focus in not on Moral & Ethics rather my project is on Islam and it Evils at present.

I did have a long discussion with John Bruce Leonard here on the related points;
http://onlinephilosophyclub.com/forums/ ... 86#p288786
Spectrum wrote:I have been proposing a Moral and Ethics Framework & System grounded on Moral Absolute Laws reasoned from evolution and empirical evidence.

These Moral Absolute Laws [theoretical ideals] are the 'oughts' but they are not enforceable but merely to be used as guides, i.e. also fixed goal posts or fixed lighthouses.

'Ought' cannot be 'IS' but they can exist and work complementarily like Yin-Yang.
What "IS" is to be processed and maintained within the Ethical system.
It is like a ship [one or a fleet] near the coast, it uses the fixed lighthouse as a guide and chart its own course depending on the circumstances and its own state potential.

The Moral Absolute Laws are the ideal and no one is expected to achieve them in practice. Maybe by chance one can reach that absolute target but it is not expected to be a regular thing, e.g. no [zero] murder were committed in June 20.. in location X.
What is critical is the emphasis on the Moral Gap management process and one must always ask the question why one's personal standard, actual performance are always far from the ideal. Establishing a continuous improvement mechanism to narrow the various Moral and Ethical gaps will contribute the overall moral competence of the average humans.

The difficulty is how to implement such a Framework and System? The other is how to derive grounded absolute moral laws as guides based on evolution?
You can get an idea of my points re GoalPosts and Absolute Moral Values from that thread.
Not-a-theist. Religion is a critical necessity for humanity now, but not the FUTURE.

User avatar
LuckyR
Moderator
Posts: 2726
Joined: January 18th, 2015, 1:16 am

Re: Is the Good versus Evil dichotomy a valid one?

Post by LuckyR » July 19th, 2017, 8:57 pm

Spectrum wrote:
LuckyR wrote:
(Nested quote removed.)


Don't be shy, what are these "precisely defined" definitions?
My focus in not on Moral & Ethics rather my project is on Islam and it Evils at present.

I did have a long discussion with John Bruce Leonard here on the related points;
http://onlinephilosophyclub.com/forums/ ... 86#p288786
So does that mean: "I don't know" or "I'm not going to tell you"?
"As usual... it depends."

Spectrum
Posts: 4896
Joined: December 21st, 2010, 1:25 am
Favorite Philosopher: Eclectic -Various

Re: Is the Good versus Evil dichotomy a valid one?

Post by Spectrum » July 19th, 2017, 9:41 pm

LuckyR wrote:
Spectrum wrote: (Nested quote removed.)

My focus in not on Moral & Ethics rather my project is on Islam and it Evils at present.

I did have a long discussion with John Bruce Leonard here on the related points;
http://onlinephilosophyclub.com/forums/ ... 86#p288786
So does that mean: "I don't know" or "I'm not going to tell you"?
Read from the link. I have given quite a bit of points therein.
Point out what you do not agree with.
I will try my best to answer within the time constraint.
Not-a-theist. Religion is a critical necessity for humanity now, but not the FUTURE.

User avatar
LuckyR
Moderator
Posts: 2726
Joined: January 18th, 2015, 1:16 am

Re: Is the Good versus Evil dichotomy a valid one?

Post by LuckyR » July 20th, 2017, 2:02 am

Spectrum wrote:
LuckyR wrote: (Nested quote removed.)


So does that mean: "I don't know" or "I'm not going to tell you"?
Read from the link. I have given quite a bit of points therein.
Point out what you do not agree with.
I will try my best to answer within the time constraint.
Ah so. I don't disagree that a motivated and smart individual (such as yourself) can and have tried to "objectively" derive absolutes as a foundation for a universal ethical structure. However, if that were possible (and logical) then widely divergent individuals would derive identical standards. Yet they don't. So these purportedly objective constructs are at least partially subjective. Thus how opinion creeps into the system and hence the basis of my original post.
"As usual... it depends."

Spectrum
Posts: 4896
Joined: December 21st, 2010, 1:25 am
Favorite Philosopher: Eclectic -Various

Re: Is the Good versus Evil dichotomy a valid one?

Post by Spectrum » July 20th, 2017, 3:29 am

LuckyR wrote:
Spectrum wrote: (Nested quote removed.)

Read from the link. I have given quite a bit of points therein.
Point out what you do not agree with.
I will try my best to answer within the time constraint.
Ah so. I don't disagree that a motivated and smart individual (such as yourself) can and have tried to "objectively" derive absolutes as a foundation for a universal ethical structure. However, if that were possible (and logical) then widely divergent individuals would derive identical standards. Yet they don't. So these purportedly objective constructs are at least partially subjective. Thus how opinion creeps into the system and hence the basis of my original post.
Yes, They Don't, only not yet.
You're thinking of the past, present and the near future. It is very obvious in the present state there will be very divergent views due to the wide range of knowledge, intelligence, wisdom, emotional intelligence, spiritual intelligence and other intelligences of people around the world.

My proposal for a Universal Moral and Ethical Framework and System will depend on Team Human where there is a critical mass of humans around the world thinking as one Team.
Once Team Human is established, then each individual will strive to improve their average quotient re knowledge, intellectual intelligence [IQ], wisdom [WQ], Moral [MQ] emotional intelligence [EQ], spiritual intelligence [SQ] and other intelligences.

Let say the average quotients for the above is index at 100.
Then humanity must strive to increase the average quotient to say 120, then to 150 within 50, 75 or 100 years' time.
I am aware with Information Technology, Internet and advancement in other fields of knowledge, humanity is capable to increasing the average Quotient of humanity to greater numbers if not 50 years then the next 75-100 years.

As the various average quotients are increasing in time the critical mass of humans will be able to convene with acceptances of identical standards of absolute moral laws.
Note even now we are setting absolute moral laws and agreeing to it, re slavery, i.e. absolute zero slavery as Laws by all [almost] Nations. This is done without the necessity for theism but rather this improvement was activated by the inherent human empathy as supported by increasing activation of the mirror neurons within the human brain.

By then [75-100 years] humanity would have weaned of theistic morality with its immutable moral laws.

When there is Team Human [comprising the majority of humans in the world], absolute moral laws [as guidance] and [absolute ethical laws [judiciary] will be based on the consensus of all the team members [each individual]. Thus they are guided and obeying moral laws they themselves set for their own conformance.

You need to look at my proposals in terms of toward the next 50, 75 or 100 years and not based on the past, present or near future. By then the critical mass of individual humans within Team Human will have the sufficient competences [various Quotients] to agree on Absolute identical moral standards they can claim as laws they set for themselves.
Not-a-theist. Religion is a critical necessity for humanity now, but not the FUTURE.

Wayne92587
Posts: 1563
Joined: January 27th, 2012, 9:32 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Hermese Trismegistus

Re: Is the Good versus Evil dichotomy a valid one?

Post by Wayne92587 » July 21st, 2017, 10:41 am

It is not Islamic Law, Sharia that is Evil, it is the interpretation and the implementation that is the Greatest cause of Unnecessary Suffering the World Over.

Post Reply