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Are we forced to accept moral relativism?

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GE Morton
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Re: Are we forced to accept moral relativism?

Post by GE Morton » March 20th, 2019, 2:13 pm

Belindi wrote:
March 20th, 2019, 11:24 am
A society is not a society unless there is a working consensus of what the members of it ought to do.
Of course it is. A "society" is merely a group of people so situated as to be able to interact, and who do interact at least occasionally. A casual glance around any modern civil society will tell you that there is nothing approaching a consensus as to "what members ought to do." Some people are Christians, some are Muslims, some are satanists, some are atheists --- all of whom have different ideas about what people ought to do. Some people are monogamists, others are polygamists. Some are fascists, others are socialists. Some are inventors, some are thieves. Some people are pediatricians, others are pedophiles. But they're all members of the society.

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LuckyR
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Re: Are we forced to accept moral relativism?

Post by LuckyR » March 20th, 2019, 6:03 pm

GE Morton wrote:
March 20th, 2019, 10:39 am
Belindi wrote:
March 20th, 2019, 5:47 am

Morality of any collective originates in social consensus even when that social consensus is created by the rulers.
Groups don't have moralities, Belindi. Only moral agents do. It is true, of course, that the private moralities of many people are absorbed, with little analysis or reflection, from their personal social circles (parents, teachers, friends, etc). It is also true that people with similar or at least compatible moralities may join together to practice and promote their views. They would be collectives. But modern civil societies are not collectives.
No but they have ethical standards.
"As usual... it depends."

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Re: Are we forced to accept moral relativism?

Post by Belindi » March 21st, 2019, 5:32 am

There is dynamic tension between personal morality and collective morality which can result in social cohesion. Social cohesion is often taken to be unadulterated good. However a high level of social cohesion leads to insularity or nationalism. Modern times are plagued by dissolution of social cohesion, which is sometimes called low moral standards. Many individuals feel uncomfortable loss of identity as social cohesion is reduced, and nationalism , even extreme 'blood and soil ' morality , is a growing response to anomie (Durkheim).

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Eddie Larry
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Re: Are we forced to accept moral relativism?

Post by Eddie Larry » March 23rd, 2019, 10:08 am

It is a shame that humanity has not really accepted relativity as the basis of human thinking until Einstein early in the 1900’s. All truth functional statements are the statements of a person. We call this person a subject. That is where we get the term subjectivity. The is no exit from this fact. Our beliefs about morality or science, objective facts, are the beliefs of persons, of subjects.

That said, subjects have an interest in their beliefs and try to impose them on the world. Some are better at this than others and use persuasion rather than violence. Basically, each individual has an interest in making his or her beliefs absolutes. So the game is on and it has been on for millions of years. It is called evolution.

Relativity thinking allows us a much better handle on what is going on, IMO, of course.

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Re: Are we forced to accept moral relativism?

Post by Belindi » March 24th, 2019, 5:37 am

Is moral relativism the same as or similar to post modernism?

Yes, it is, in the following important way:

In making decisions it's necessary to compare one option with others. Not to do so would be dangerously and probably pathologically impulsive.
Like post modernism, moral relativism is, or should be a springboard to decision. Nobody can go through life not making any decisions and to try to do so is like imitating a maggot.

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aveenire
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Re: Are we forced to accept moral relativism?

Post by aveenire » April 7th, 2019, 1:39 pm

no we are not forced to anything at all. even if we break some traffic laws we are not forced by anyone at all.

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Re: Are we forced to accept moral relativism?

Post by Sculptor1 » May 21st, 2019, 4:14 am

Intellectual_Savnot wrote:
March 14th, 2019, 12:36 pm
"We hold these truths to be self-evident..." Those were Benjamin Franklin's words, and they speak well of American mindset. He was right, any objective moral value must be based in those very truths, being the only ones we hold self-evident. Because we hold them self-evident, we feel inclined to impose.
BTW the phrase is usually attributed to Thomas Jefferson.
You mean the guy that owned an army of slaves?

I think the closest we can come to moral objectivism is Thomas Paine's ; "Whatever is my right as a man is also the right of another; and it becomes my duty to guarantee as well as to possess."

Such words went unheard by the so called "founding fathers", who denied rights to the majority of Americans until well into the 20thC.

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Re: Are we forced to accept moral relativism?

Post by Intellectual_Savnot » June 4th, 2019, 11:10 pm

Actually the words I quoted were an edit made by Benjamin Franklin, separate from the works of Thomas Jefferson.

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Re: Are we forced to accept moral relativism?

Post by Intellectual_Savnot » June 4th, 2019, 11:11 pm

I also totally agree.

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Re: Are we forced to accept moral relativism?

Post by Belindi » June 9th, 2019, 7:55 am

Cosmology is now at the modern stage of relativity(Einstein). In the late 19th century cultural relativism began to be understood. Moral relativism is closely related to cultural relativism .

Moral relativism is now a global idea.

The one candidate for a moral absolute is love, universal love.

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Re: Are we forced to accept moral relativism?

Post by Hereandnow » June 9th, 2019, 9:16 am

Belindi
The one candidate for a moral absolute is love, universal love.
You might be right about this, in fact.I think you are, but the idea needs to be examined. After all, you're talking about an absolute. Can we ever make a claim about absolutes. How are statements about absolutes different from relative, or contingent ones? To be an absolute, something has to be a stand alone condition, not in any way bound to context, as is the case with good couches and bad martinis. Of course, such things are grounded in taste, or subjectivity, but then all contingent ethical propositions come down to this since relative goods beg the question of what could be called originary value: Couches can be assessed for their comfort, their look, their style, and so on; but these, once queried as to their value, reduce to taste and their objectivity is understood to be intersubjectivity, and this latter is just a generalization of individual taste.

Take love as a true given (as I do, but few philosophers I have read do) and you find yourself having to defend the concept of an absolute. How does one do this? Wittgenstein said it is nonsense to say it although I will always question this: He clearly takes moral absolutism seriously, but insists it cannot be made sense of because there is no accommodation for it in the logical grid of our thinking. Ethics is not present in the factual scheme of meaningful talk. But to talk about it seems to be required to satisfy the call for addressing all that is given in our world. To fail to speak of it, there is something unsaid that must be, well, said.

I tend to side with G E Moore and his non natural quality argument, but I have to look into this more. It seems right to me: to say something is morally absolute, like not torturing others, rests with a very strange idea, which is the moral "good and bad". Torture hurts like the devil, but what does it mean to say hurting is bad?? Bad in itself? Sure, bad for this or that, but bad in itself is, and one has to agree with Wittgenstein, too weird to say. It's like trying to "say" a color. The moment you open your mouth, you are in a factual and relative domain where one thing gets its meaning from the matrix. That's not absolute. But then, we don't say colors, we talk about them. Why does ethics and value get dismissed? Because we cannot "see" them. Ethical absolutes are not empirical. But can we really deny the badness of a root canal without anesthesia? A non natural quality, that what good and bad ethical propositions talk about.
I am with you, ethical good and bad are absolutes, and love (which is happiness; no difference that I can see) is somehow foundational to it all.

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Re: Are we forced to accept moral relativism?

Post by Belindi » June 9th, 2019, 1:14 pm

HereandNow wrote:
How are statements about absolutes different from relative, or contingent ones? To be an absolute, something has to be a stand alone condition, not in any way bound to context,
You answered your own question. Universal love is unlimited love ; universal love is not limited to circumstances.

A cosmological example of spatial absolutism is heliocentrism where the Sun is absolutely fixed and Earth moves relative to the Sun.

Politically , absolutists are those who believe that their own community's culture is absolutely the best for all times , places ,and other examples of cultures. Such people tend to be either extreme right wing or extreme left wing.

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Hereandnow
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Re: Are we forced to accept moral relativism?

Post by Hereandnow » June 9th, 2019, 2:39 pm

Belindi
You answered your own question. Universal love is unlimited love ; universal love is not limited to circumstances.

A cosmological example of spatial absolutism is heliocentrism where the Sun is absolutely fixed and Earth moves relative to the Sun.

Politically , absolutists are those who believe that their own community's culture is absolutely the best for all times , places ,and other examples of cultures. Such people tend to be either extreme right wing or extreme left wing.
I'm not talking about loose talk grounded in univiersalizing something. Just qualify something as universal, and magically, the concept makes sense: it's just that thing and it applying to all. More serious attempts to absolutize something require making sense of something being an absolute at all; and it's not just that it is accidentally true for all of a class, but rather, here, it is true for, and I'll borrow the term, Being in eternity. It's as IF God made it so, but without God; it's like a commandment built into existence that cannot be violated, period.
Absolutes are tricky things because to make sense of it you have to conceive how we can know such a thing absolutely. to do this, you have show the distinction between mere contingent goods and bads, like good knives and chairs, and so on, and ethical goods and bads. These latter are impossible to demonstrate. For, as above, we can describe all that may go into something ethically bad, like torturing someone, but the ever elusive "badness" of the pain is like some platonic form of the Bad. Very difficult to posit such a thing and be held to a respectable standard verification and justification. After all, Show me the badness, the goodness of love, nt=ot just love, which is evident, but the goodness of it, as if love were God's love, but without God.
Like I said, I am on your side. I believe ethical goods and bads are absolutes. I say simply, as perhaps you do: the badness is worn on the sleeve of the event that stands before you. I is as evident as the color orange is to "orange" in common parlance.
But the problem arises, and it is a serious one, where your claim that X is absolutely bad, say, and you know this; you understand it. As we are capable as language and logic users to make language do this. that is a tall order. One has to look at what language is, and what we are. Absoluteness expressed in propositions?? How does one access the "truth" of it? Even mathematical ideas are difficult impossible to make into absolutes. Do they not depend on our rational constitution?

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Re: Are we forced to accept moral relativism?

Post by Sculptor1 » June 9th, 2019, 3:56 pm

Belindi wrote:
June 9th, 2019, 7:55 am
The one candidate for a moral absolute is love, universal love.
Meaningless hyperbole.
I cannot see what you are driving at here since not all things are capable if love, nor is anything capable of loving everything.

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Re: Are we forced to accept moral relativism?

Post by Hereandnow » June 9th, 2019, 5:21 pm

Not so, Sculptor1: love in question is not about the things perceived; it is about the perceiver. S/he is agency of meaning projected on to things. It never was love of this or that. Love is a condition that qualifies all that comes before it as loved. Walt Whitman's poems are often like this as he celebrates without bias, the base and the virtuous. For it is Whitman who is the sublime agency of valuation who valorizes all things. If you have ever been in love, I mean with a person, you will note that all things all things you see, you pass by" their presences are assimilated into love.

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