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

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

Post by Alias » March 24th, 2020, 12:12 am

GE Morton wrote:
March 23rd, 2020, 11:01 pm
[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? ]

You just answered your own question.
No, and neither did you.
Because for some people, relying on their own moral comapasses would yield some very bad behavior.
Examples of very bad behaviour devised by a person following his own imperfect conscience: failing to stop at a traffic light and causing a car crash; refusing to help put out somebody else's fire; seducing a colleague's wife.
(The monsterly behaviour of individuals is not a result of reliance on their sense of right, but of overruling it. Criminals and abusers know they're doing wrong. Demagogues are sometimes unclear on the concept.)
Examples of very bad behaviour resulting from people ignoring their own conscience and blindly following national and religious leaders: Crusade I though XII; WWI & II; 9/11
[Those who do - Where did they learn it?
Those who don't - Why not?]

We were speaking there of laws, not behaviors.
Why and when did we switch from speaking of good behaviour to speaking of laws?
I'm aware that the knowledge of law varies widely in the population - and that the law considers ignorance of it no excuse for breaking one.
But that's very different from a personal sense of what's good and fair. Personal conscience often drives the righteous person to oppose an immoral law.
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 fionaimmodest » March 24th, 2020, 12:45 am

We are morally obliged to be the best form of ourselves and that means to help those who cannot help themselves regardless if they deserve it or not. I believe it is the reason for our existence. Every individual has a different part to play. Yours may be big, others may be of less significance. But nonetheless, we are all obliged to contribute to making life better.

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

Post by Terrapin Station » March 24th, 2020, 8:22 am

GE Morton wrote:
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.
You didn't answer either of my questions. Note that I didn't ask you what "self-evident" refers to.

Let's start with (a). How is any moral axiom something that cannot "plausibly be denied" (just what are we supposed to be believing re plausibility, by the way) or something that is "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 24th, 2020, 9:28 am

Alias wrote:
March 24th, 2020, 12:12 am

Examples of very bad behaviour devised by a person following his own imperfect conscience: failing to stop at a traffic light and causing a car crash; refusing to help put out somebody else's fire; seducing a colleague's wife.
There are many more examples than those, e.g., shooting up a school because other kids have teased you, bombing a synagogue because you hate Jews, beating your wife because she forgot to buy beer, sticking up convenience stores because you think the world owes you a living, etc.
(The monsterly behaviour of individuals is not a result of reliance on their sense of right, but of overruling it. Criminals and abusers know they're doing wrong. Demagogues are sometimes unclear on the concept.)
They know what they're doing is illegal, but don't believe it is wrong.
We were speaking there of laws, not behaviors.
Why and when did we switch from speaking of good behaviour to speaking of laws?
Here is the exchange to which I responded:

You: "See the qualifiers in your brackets? That means you know that our laws do not really embody what we know to be good."

Me: Some of them do, some don't.
Personal conscience often drives the righteous person to oppose an immoral law.
Yes. But not often enough.

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

Post by GE Morton » March 24th, 2020, 9:38 am

Terrapin Station wrote:
March 24th, 2020, 8:22 am

You didn't answer either of my questions. Note that I didn't ask you what "self-evident" refers to.
Er, yes, you did. You asked, "How is any "self-evident" axiom, moral or not, rationally defensible?" A proposition that is self-evident is rationally defensible prima facie. It is its own proof.
Let's start with (a). How is any moral axiom something that cannot "plausibly be denied" (just what are we supposed to be believing re plausibility, by the way) or something that is "contrary to all experience"?
A moral theory postulates a goal statement. The axiom then asserts that one ought to act in ways that further that goal. That cannot be denied without repudiating the stated goal.

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

Post by Terrapin Station » March 24th, 2020, 11:22 am

GE Morton wrote:
March 24th, 2020, 9:38 am

A moral theory postulates a goal statement. The axiom then asserts that one ought to act in ways that further that goal. That cannot be denied without repudiating the stated goal.
Oy vey.

A moral axiom. Or, once again, a moral stance that's taken, at least in the instance at hand, as foundational, or as a root stance.

What I asked you is "How would any moral stance presented as a foundational or root stance (at least in context at a given moment) be rationally defensible?"

You suggested that the moral stance would be "self-evident." So re that, I asked you, which you ignored, how any moral stance would be "self-evident."

Say that Joe says that for him, at least in instance x, "One should murder people whom one finds annoying" is a foundational moral stance (and we could add that Joe feels this stance is "self-evident").

Betty says that for her, a foundational moral stance is "One should not murder, period." (And she says this is "self-evident" to her, if you like.)

Now, how do we rationally defend either of those moral stances against the other?

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

Post by GE Morton » March 24th, 2020, 11:54 am

Terrapin Station wrote:
March 24th, 2020, 11:22 am
GE Morton wrote:
March 24th, 2020, 9:38 am

A moral theory postulates a goal statement. The axiom then asserts that one ought to act in ways that further that goal. That cannot be denied without repudiating the stated goal.
Oy vey.

A moral axiom. Or, once again, a moral stance that's taken, at least in the instance at hand, as foundational, or as a root stance.
I don't know what a "moral stance" is. There are moral goals, moral theories, moral axioms, moral principles, moral rules. I've defined all of those at one time or another in this thread.
You suggested that the moral stance would be "self-evident." So re that, I asked you, which you ignored, how any moral stance would be "self-evident."
No, I didn't. I said a moral axiom must be self-evident.

Ditch the "moral stance," and stick with defined terminology.

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

Post by Terrapin Station » March 24th, 2020, 11:59 am

GE Morton wrote:
March 24th, 2020, 11:54 am
Terrapin Station wrote:
March 24th, 2020, 11:22 am


Oy vey.

A moral axiom. Or, once again, a moral stance that's taken, at least in the instance at hand, as foundational, or as a root stance.
I don't know what a "moral stance" is. There are moral goals, moral theories, moral axioms, moral principles, moral rules. I've defined all of those at one time or another in this thread.
You suggested that the moral stance would be "self-evident." So re that, I asked you, which you ignored, how any moral stance would be "self-evident."
No, I didn't. I said a moral axiom must be self-evident.

Ditch the "moral stance," and stick with defined terminology.
I just gave you examples of moral stances re Joe and Betty and asked you a question about it. That's what I'm asking you about, because that's what I was talking about when I made this comment: "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." You then brought up rational defensibility.

So I'm asking how we rationally defend "One should murder..." or "One should not murder . . . " (or any other moral stance) when they're taken to be foundational or root stances by the people uttering them.

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

Post by GE Morton » March 24th, 2020, 1:22 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
March 24th, 2020, 11:59 am

So I'm asking how we rationally defend "One should murder..." or "One should not murder . . . " (or any other moral stance) when they're taken to be foundational or root stances by the people uttering them.
If by "foundational," or "root stance," you mean axiomatic, then we dismiss it prima facie since neither of those propositions is self-evident.

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

Post by Terrapin Station » March 24th, 2020, 3:55 pm

GE Morton wrote:
March 24th, 2020, 1:22 pm
Terrapin Station wrote:
March 24th, 2020, 11:59 am

So I'm asking how we rationally defend "One should murder..." or "One should not murder . . . " (or any other moral stance) when they're taken to be foundational or root stances by the people uttering them.
If by "foundational," or "root stance," you mean axiomatic, then we dismiss it prima facie since neither of those propositions is self-evident.
What do you mean we "dismiss it"?

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

Post by Alias » March 25th, 2020, 12:49 am

GE Morton wrote:
March 24th, 2020, 9:28 am
Examples of very bad behaviour devised by a person following his own imperfect conscience: ]
They know what they're doing is illegal, but don't believe it is wrong.
Sometimes that's an accurate assessment, as in: It's illegal to teach a slave a to read.
Sometimes behaviour they know is wrong is legal: as in, buying the water poor Farmers need for their crops.
Wife-beaters always know it's wrong, whether it's legal (far longer, historically) than not.
I didn't include mental illness or drug-induced besrserking, because the question of right and wrong doesn't obtain.
[Personal conscience often drives the righteous person to oppose an immoral law.]
Yes. But not often enough.
So, you agree that personal moral compass is more reliable than blind obedience to leadership?
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 GE Morton » March 25th, 2020, 10:00 am

Alias wrote:
March 25th, 2020, 12:49 am

So, you agree that personal moral compass is more reliable than blind obedience to leadership?
Yes. But the former is not terribly reliable either.

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

Post by Actioninmind23 » March 25th, 2020, 10:27 am

Terrapin Station wrote:
March 17th, 2020, 8:45 am
In my opinion it would be nice if more people actively worked to make "the best form of society."

Of course, one problem with this is that we don't all agree on what the best form of society would be. So some people actively working to make the best form of society wind up doing things that are diametrically opposed to what other people think is the best form of society. That's kind of how you get into messes like this in the first place.
Really people don't want to face reality and they are living in an imaginary world, with a fade perspective, only they see what institutions believe which is the correct behaviour in order to mitigate subtle information.

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

Post by Actioninmind23 » March 25th, 2020, 11:34 am

Dreager wrote:
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.
I think all people would be an aim to treat unless the desire of people to look after others is deceived by our natural sense of individuality. If survival is the opposite feeling that we have from the alienated state, normally it is a consequence that humans suffer from the affluent society. For this reason, it is difficult to think about other people as we would do if we were ourselves in that critic situation.

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

Post by MoralIdentity » March 25th, 2020, 4:59 pm

"Obligation" is a word that carries a lot of baggage. Moral obligation requires a who and a whom. You're not morally obligated to save a drowning person, even if you can swim. Though, if something happens to that person, you might be morally responsible. Once we begin telling people what they HAVE to do, we are overruling their autonomy, which tosses their moral compass out the door. I do, though, believe that to be moral you have to at least UNDERSTAND the premise of morality. I.E. that the well being of sentient life is important, and that the main goal is to eliminate suffering.

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