Are we morally obligated to make the best form of society?

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Pattern-chaser
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Re: Are we morally obligated to make the best form of society?

Post by Pattern-chaser » March 21st, 2020, 11:48 am

Watuetu wrote:
March 18th, 2020, 3:50 pm
Reading this makes me think that you believe the world is truly brutal and corrupt.
Well, as the druids say, 'nature is red in tooth and claw'. I.e. nature is not Disney. In that sense, the world is "truly brutal". Corruption, as has been said, is exclusively human.
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Re: Are we morally obligated to make the best form of society?

Post by Alias » March 21st, 2020, 11:30 pm

GE Morton wrote:
March 21st, 2020, 11:34 am
If we behave morally the best form of society will follow as a matter of course.

So the question is premature. We first need to decide what constitutes moral behavior.
We know what good behaviour is. If we stopped letting religion, economics and law co-opt "morality", we'd be a lot less conflicted about right and wrong. But religion, economics and law give us socially accepted excuses to behave badly.
Saying, "Oh, if only Somebody would tell us what's right!" is the oldest cop-out in the oldest holy book and it's still fertile ground for interminable, fruitless, disingenuous debate.
The right time for that question will never come.

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Re: Are we morally obligated to make the best form of society?

Post by GE Morton » March 22nd, 2020, 2:06 pm

Alias wrote:
March 21st, 2020, 11:30 pm
GE Morton wrote:
March 21st, 2020, 11:34 am
If we behave morally the best form of society will follow as a matter of course.

So the question is premature. We first need to decide what constitutes moral behavior.
We know what good behaviour is.
We think we do. Some of us.
If we stopped letting religion, economics and law co-opt "morality", we'd be a lot less conflicted about right and wrong. But religion, economics and law give us socially accepted excuses to behave badly.
Well, law is the embodiment of what we (most of us) think is good (in the West, for the most part).

We need to demystify morality, sever it from myth, naturalism and supernaturalism, clarify its aims and purpose, then approach the subject as we would any engineering problem.

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Re: Are we morally obligated to make the best form of society?

Post by Dreager » March 22nd, 2020, 7:59 pm

It's easy to think we are not doing what we can and should because it is easy to conceptualise all the things at once. But if you chose one of those things to do, you would necessarily eliminate all the others, you can only do so much. And you forget that you already have chosen to do all that you can, you have chosen to pursue the combination of things that appear most worthwhile to you within the limits of your mental faculties. You are not saying you have achieved the perfect combination of good goals to move towards your conception of the 'best form of society' in the fastest way possible, nor that your version is better than anyone else's necessarily. Acting on your own behalf is a position on how the best form of society should work in any case, because who is best placed to act on our behalf?.. Us...

Because of the infinite complexity of our values it is impossible to say whether we are moving further towards or away from the best form of society.

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Re: Are we morally obligated to make the best form of society?

Post by GE Morton » March 22nd, 2020, 10:07 pm

Dreager wrote:
March 22nd, 2020, 7:59 pm

Because of the infinite complexity of our values it is impossible to say whether we are moving further towards or away from the best form of society.
Sure it is. We just have be careful not to assume that the best form of society presumes or requires some particular set of values.

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Re: Are we morally obligated to make the best form of society?

Post by Alias » March 23rd, 2020, 12:50 am

GE Morton wrote:
March 22nd, 2020, 2:06 pm
We need to demystify morality, sever it from myth, naturalism and supernaturalism, clarify its aims and purpose, then approach the subject as we would any engineering problem.
That's what I was attempting to do.
We know what good behaviour is. Teach your children to hang on to their own sense of fairness and rightness, and not let anyone turn them into monsters, for any cause.
But since there is a bit of monster in every one of us, and because we have to deal with the monsters in other people, that's a very tall order. We can't show our children the example we know we should. So we tell them, "Do as I say, not as I do." (Rarely in so many words; all the time in circumlocutions and prevarications. Moreover, we know when we are doing this, even while we're doing it, and that makes us feel so **** about ourselves, we express it as anger at the children who make us feel that way.)
Well, law is the embodiment of what we (most of us) think is good (in the West, for the most part).
See the qualifiers in your brackets? That means you know that our laws do not really embody what we know to be good. They represents all kinds of interests and concepts that have no relation to the golden rule. They represent the best deal, for the moment, that we can make with the monsters in us all.
Those who can induce you to believe absurdities can induce you to commit atrocities. - Voltaire

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Re: Are we morally obligated to make the best form of society?

Post by Terrapin Station » March 23rd, 2020, 10:13 am

GE Morton wrote:
March 21st, 2020, 11:34 am
If we behave morally the best form of society will follow as a matter of course.

So the question is premature. We first need to decide what constitutes moral behavior.
Since different people have both different opinions regarding what's moral and what would amount to the "best form of society," behaving morally isn't going to lead to the best form of society for everyone.

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Re: Are we morally obligated to make the best form of society?

Post by GE Morton » March 23rd, 2020, 11:18 am

Terrapin Station wrote:
March 23rd, 2020, 10:13 am

Since different people have both different opinions regarding what's moral and what would amount to the "best form of society," behaving morally isn't going to lead to the best form of society for everyone.
There are certainly many opinions as to what is moral, but many, perhaps most, of those opinions are not rationally defensible. So we can set those aside.

But I agree that behaving morally will not lead to the best form of society for everyone. It will only lead to the best form of society for those who do behave morally.

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Re: Are we morally obligated to make the best form of society?

Post by GE Morton » March 23rd, 2020, 11:30 am

Alias wrote:
March 23rd, 2020, 12:50 am

We know what good behaviour is. Teach your children to hang on to their own sense of fairness and rightness, and not let anyone turn them into monsters, for any cause.
Some of us know what good behavior is. Some don't. And I think you overlook that there is also a bit of "monster" in some children. Telling them to rely on their own sense of rightness and fairness is recipe for disaster.
See the qualifiers in your brackets? That means you know that our laws do not really embody what we know to be good.
Some of them do, some don't.

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Re: Are we morally obligated to make the best form of society?

Post by Terrapin Station » March 23rd, 2020, 12:35 pm

GE Morton wrote:
March 23rd, 2020, 11:18 am
There are certainly many opinions as to what is moral, but many, perhaps most, of those opinions are not rationally defensible.
How would any moral stance presented as a foundational or root stance (at least in context at a given moment) be rationally defensible?

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Re: Are we morally obligated to make the best form of society?

Post by GE Morton » March 23rd, 2020, 1:31 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
March 23rd, 2020, 12:35 pm
GE Morton wrote:
March 23rd, 2020, 11:18 am
There are certainly many opinions as to what is moral, but many, perhaps most, of those opinions are not rationally defensible.
How would any moral stance presented as a foundational or root stance (at least in context at a given moment) be rationally defensible?
By a "foundational or root stance" do you mean an axiom? An axiom is rationally defensible if it is self-evident.

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Re: Are we morally obligated to make the best form of society?

Post by Terrapin Station » March 23rd, 2020, 3:12 pm

GE Morton wrote:
March 23rd, 2020, 1:31 pm
Terrapin Station wrote:
March 23rd, 2020, 12:35 pm


How would any moral stance presented as a foundational or root stance (at least in context at a given moment) be rationally defensible?
By a "foundational or root stance" do you mean an axiom? An axiom is rationally defensible if it is self-evident.
So (a) how is any moral axiom "self-evident," and (b) how is any "self-evident" axiom, moral or not, rationally defensible? A rational defense of a "self-evident" axiom should suggest that it's not "self-evident" at all.

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Re: Are we morally obligated to make the best form of society?

Post by Alias » March 23rd, 2020, 10:12 pm

GE Morton wrote:
March 23rd, 2020, 11:30 am
Some of us know what good behavior is. Some don't.
What would you say the ratio is?
And I think you overlook that there is also a bit of "monster" in some children.
Not some, all. And I'm not overlooking that: I regard children as human.
Telling them to rely on their own sense of rightness and fairness is recipe for disaster.
What disaster will ensue from people relying on their personal moral compass that does not ensue from people blindly following national and religious leaders? Which kind of disaster is more destructive?
Some of them do, some don't
Those who do - Where did they learn it?
Those who don't - Why not?

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Re: Are we morally obligated to make the best form of society?

Post by GE Morton » March 23rd, 2020, 10:56 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
March 23rd, 2020, 3:12 pm

So (a) how is any moral axiom "self-evident," and (b) how is any "self-evident" axiom, moral or not, rationally defensible? A rational defense of a "self-evident" axiom should suggest that it's not "self-evident" at all.
All theories proceed from some axioms accepted as true without proof, TP. If they did not you would have an infinite regress. An axiom is self-evident if it cannot be plausibly denied, either because it is a tautology, or because the denial would be contrary to all experience.

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Re: Are we morally obligated to make the best form of society?

Post by GE Morton » March 23rd, 2020, 11:01 pm

Alias wrote:
March 23rd, 2020, 10:12 pm
GE Morton wrote:
March 23rd, 2020, 11:30 am
And I think you overlook that there is also a bit of "monster" in some children.
Not some, all. And I'm not overlooking that: I regard children as human.
Telling them to rely on their own sense of rightness and fairness is recipe for disaster.
What disaster will ensue from people relying on their personal moral compass that does not ensue from people blindly following national and religious leaders? Which kind of disaster is more destructive? [/quote]

You just answered your own question. Because for some people, relying on their personal moral compasses would yield some very bad behavior. The "monster" governs their behavior.
Some of them do, some don't
Those who do - Where did they learn it?
Those who don't - Why not?
We were speaking there of laws, not behaviors.

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