A Moral Universe

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Gertie
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Re: A Moral Universe

Post by Gertie » September 16th, 2020, 6:43 am

cont'd -
If I read you aright, your answer is a qualified Yes, that moral thought is natural to man, sourced in human nature.

The reason I (dunno about Hume) can't give a straight yes/no answer is this - the term 'moral intuitions' lends a moral framing which didn't exist when these intuitions evolved. Simple as that. In themselves they are factually described as evolved responses which enable our particular species' survival. And from a Selfish Gene pov, the survival of the body until reproduction where adaptation can occur, is the way genes survive from generation to generation. This is the Source, which doesn't require or imply imo, the prefix ''moral''. (Your opinion might differ!)

The qualification has to do with a distinction you draw between moral intuition on the one hand and moral thought (intuition framed by discourse) on the other. Have I read you correctly?

If so, what are these moral intuitions before they are "conditioned" by discursive framing? And whence this discursive moral framing? How do we come by this template?
I can't give you a precise answer, but we now have the outline of a compelling account coming together of how these survival adaptations came to be conceived of as moral, about right and wrong for its own sake.

The pro-social /unselfish predispositions are what the term 'moral intuitions' usually refer to. These are neurological adaptations primarily enabling social bonding (in turn rooted in the evolution into mammals who have to care for their helpless offspring - remember Pat Churchland? ) Things like love, caring, cooperation, fairness, loyalty, trust, altruism, etc.

Along with that came reputation (being known as a trustworthy cooperator), private guilt and public shame. And despising and punishing selfish cheaters who disrupt group cohesion This is the source of the approval/disapproval response.

And suspicion of strangers, 'the other', as potential competitors and enemies (The tribal response - tribalism evolved when we lived in tribes, natch, now we don't it's a big problem).

It's not hard to imagine how these came to take on connotations of right and wrong. Religious type beliefs shaping the concept of morality and placing it in the world (or heavens) outside of us, with rules codifying Oughts. Then cultural transmission via religion, leaders, institutions, education, archetypal myths and stories, social mores and so on, reinforcing and developing them.

Natural philosophy, and what philosophy has come to be, playing a role too in conceptualising morality as thing in itself, in the world, discoverable through religious revelation, or reason or whatever. And we're dropping in on Hume as he's saying ''Hang on a minute, logic and reasoning can't find this morality everybody talks about somewhere out there in the world, it's just us going yuck or yummy!''

Gertie
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Re: A Moral Universe

Post by Gertie » September 16th, 2020, 6:45 am

Is this how you hoped it would go Angel, I'm getting awful wordy?

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Terrapin Station
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Re: A Moral Universe

Post by Terrapin Station » September 16th, 2020, 11:47 am

Angel Trismegistus wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 3:02 am
to be sure, as you say, "not everyone has the same ethical stances."
That's all I'm looking for.

Okay, so how does a normative (by way of principles they disagree with) apply to someone who has an unusual moral stance?

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Angel Trismegistus
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Re: A Moral Universe

Post by Angel Trismegistus » September 16th, 2020, 4:55 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 11:47 am
Angel Trismegistus wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 3:02 am
to be sure, as you say, "not everyone has the same ethical stances."
That's all I'm looking for.

Okay, so how does a normative (by way of principles they disagree with) apply to someone who has an unusual moral stance?
The disagreement does not lie in the principle of morality, which is universal and objective and without which morality would not exist. The disagreements arise in the area of moral judgment. Your "moral stances" lie there.
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Angel Trismegistus
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Re: A Moral Universe

Post by Angel Trismegistus » September 16th, 2020, 5:22 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
September 15th, 2020, 6:58 am
Angel Trismegistus wrote:As for causes worth dying for, these have become rare over the last half-century, ...
On the face of it, if true, that would be a good thing wouldn't it?
Would it?
Steve3007 wrote:
September 15th, 2020, 6:58 am
...in the course of the last four or five generations, during which moral values have all but disappeared.
According to your idiosyncratic definition of morality, that would mean that the laws of physics have stopped being applicable, yes?
No, according to my idiosyncratic definition of morality, man is a special case to begin with, the only morally ambiguous being in the universe, whose nature (i.e., human nature, i.e., rational self-consciousness) places him outside the moral order of the universe where he operates as a free moral agent.

NB Reposted because I screwed up the quoting earlier and was not sure you received notification.
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Angel Trismegistus
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Re: A Moral Universe

Post by Angel Trismegistus » September 16th, 2020, 5:25 pm

Gertie wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 6:45 am
Is this how you hoped it would go Angel, I'm getting awful wordy?
It's even more than I'd hoped for, Gertie. I'm delighted!
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Angel Trismegistus
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Re: A Moral Universe

Post by Angel Trismegistus » September 16th, 2020, 5:34 pm

Gertie wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 6:21 am
Angel
But this appeal to subjectivism pulls the rug out from under Hume's Is/Ought distinction, doesn't it? Or is Hume merely making a point for moral subjectivists in the gallery? Does Hume's thesis apply to morality per se, or only to a subjectivist morality?
Not sure I understand your objection? I introduced the term subjective, in the sense that morality isn't an objective fact about the world (we can discover through reason). Hume says moral judgements are rooted in emotional responses.
My objection is you (and perhaps Hume -- that's what we're here to find out) beg the question if you assume that morality is subjective. The subjectivity of morality follows from Hume's Is/Ought argument. Therefore, moral subjectivity cannot be used to argue for the Is/Ought distinction. Our task is to test the validity of the Is/Ought distinction. Relying on what follows from the Is/Ought distinction (i.e., emotivism) to argue for the Is/Ought distinction ain't philosophical cricket.
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Terrapin Station
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Re: A Moral Universe

Post by Terrapin Station » September 16th, 2020, 5:41 pm

Angel Trismegistus wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 4:55 pm
The disagreement does not lie in the principle of morality, which is universal and objective and without which morality would not exist.
This is good--it might clear up a lot. So on your view, the principle is different than something a person would be conscious of? It's different than something that an individual thinks?

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Angel Trismegistus
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Re: A Moral Universe

Post by Angel Trismegistus » September 16th, 2020, 5:50 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 5:41 pm
Angel Trismegistus wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 4:55 pm
The disagreement does not lie in the principle of morality, which is universal and objective and without which morality would not exist.
This is good--it might clear up a lot. So on your view, the principle is different than something a person would be conscious of? It's different than something that an individual thinks?
Correct. A moral agent is thinking about the rightness or wrongness of a prospective action or judging the rightness or wrongness of a completed action. He/she is not thinking about his thinking about rightness and wrongness. The principle is what has him thinking about the rightness or wrongness of certain conduct in the first place.
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Angel Trismegistus
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Re: A Moral Universe

Post by Angel Trismegistus » September 16th, 2020, 6:05 pm

Gertie wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 6:43 am
cont'd -
If I read you aright, your answer is a qualified Yes, that moral thought is natural to man, sourced in human nature.

The reason I (dunno about Hume) can't give a straight yes/no answer is this - the term 'moral intuitions' lends a moral framing which didn't exist when these intuitions evolved. Simple as that. In themselves they are factually described as evolved responses which enable our particular species' survival. And from a Selfish Gene pov, the survival of the body until reproduction where adaptation can occur, is the way genes survive from generation to generation. This is the Source, which doesn't require or imply imo, the prefix ''moral''. (Your opinion might differ!)

The qualification has to do with a distinction you draw between moral intuition on the one hand and moral thought (intuition framed by discourse) on the other. Have I read you correctly?

If so, what are these moral intuitions before they are "conditioned" by discursive framing? And whence this discursive moral framing? How do we come by this template?
I can't give you a precise answer, but we now have the outline of a compelling account coming together of how these survival adaptations came to be conceived of as moral, about right and wrong for its own sake.

The pro-social /unselfish predispositions are what the term 'moral intuitions' usually refer to. These are neurological adaptations primarily enabling social bonding (in turn rooted in the evolution into mammals who have to care for their helpless offspring - remember Pat Churchland? ) Things like love, caring, cooperation, fairness, loyalty, trust, altruism, etc.

Along with that came reputation (being known as a trustworthy cooperator), private guilt and public shame. And despising and punishing selfish cheaters who disrupt group cohesion This is the source of the approval/disapproval response.

And suspicion of strangers, 'the other', as potential competitors and enemies (The tribal response - tribalism evolved when we lived in tribes, natch, now we don't it's a big problem).

It's not hard to imagine how these came to take on connotations of right and wrong. Religious type beliefs shaping the concept of morality and placing it in the world (or heavens) outside of us, with rules codifying Oughts. Then cultural transmission via religion, leaders, institutions, education, archetypal myths and stories, social mores and so on, reinforcing and developing them.

Natural philosophy, and what philosophy has come to be, playing a role too in conceptualising morality as thing in itself, in the world, discoverable through religious revelation, or reason or whatever. And we're dropping in on Hume as he's saying ''Hang on a minute, logic and reasoning can't find this morality everybody talks about somewhere out there in the world, it's just us going yuck or yummy!''
On "the Source": Why is action taken to survive not "moral" in your opinion?
The rest of the "compelling account" sounds plausible to me.
So when you use the term "intuition" you refer to these "pro-social /unselfish predispositions" that likely arose as a result of increasing levels of socialization and acculturation down through the ages? Is that correct?
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Terrapin Station
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Re: A Moral Universe

Post by Terrapin Station » September 16th, 2020, 6:06 pm

Angel Trismegistus wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 5:50 pm
Terrapin Station wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 5:41 pm

This is good--it might clear up a lot. So on your view, the principle is different than something a person would be conscious of? It's different than something that an individual thinks?
Correct. A moral agent is thinking about the rightness or wrongness of a prospective action or judging the rightness or wrongness of a completed action. He/she is not thinking about his thinking about rightness and wrongness. The principle is what has him thinking about the rightness or wrongness of certain conduct in the first place.
So where would you say the principle obtains? (In other words, where would it exist as a principle?)

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Re: A Moral Universe

Post by Gertie » September 16th, 2020, 6:24 pm

Angel Trismegistus wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 5:25 pm
Gertie wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 6:45 am
Is this how you hoped it would go Angel, I'm getting awful wordy?
It's even more than I'd hoped for, Gertie. I'm delighted!
uh-oh I've stumbled into your trap! :wink:

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Angel Trismegistus
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Re: A Moral Universe

Post by Angel Trismegistus » Yesterday, 2:13 am

Terrapin Station wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 6:06 pm
Angel Trismegistus wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 5:50 pm

Correct. A moral agent is thinking about the rightness or wrongness of a prospective action or judging the rightness or wrongness of a completed action. He/she is not thinking about his thinking about rightness and wrongness. The principle is what has him thinking about the rightness or wrongness of certain conduct in the first place.
So where would you say the principle obtains? (In other words, where would it exist as a principle?)
A nominalist asks me such a question?

Or rather questions, plural. These are two different questions here as I read them. And the second is much more abstruse than the first. Where a principle "obtains" is where it operates as a principle, and in this case that is pretty obvious, no? In and about the actions and interactions of man with man. The second question smacks of a conceptual realism you have repeatedly disavowed in your posts, no? In nominalist terms, the principle "exists" merely as the name of certain standard of mental and emotional orientation that bears on the assessment of certain kinds of human behavior. In realist terms, the principle is inscribed in the very being of man-in-the-world. Either way, the principle is active in mankind as a whole and has been at least throughout the history of mankind, allowing of course for exceptions and transgressions.
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Angel Trismegistus
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Re: A Moral Universe

Post by Angel Trismegistus » Yesterday, 2:20 am

Gertie wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 6:24 pm
Angel Trismegistus wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 5:25 pm

It's even more than I'd hoped for, Gertie. I'm delighted!
uh-oh I've stumbled into your trap! :wink:
Cue the wicked laughter. Zoom in on wild glittering eyes.
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Angel Trismegistus
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Re: A Moral Universe

Post by Angel Trismegistus » Yesterday, 4:37 am

Sculptor1 wrote:
September 13th, 2020, 6:05 am
I just love the way the Universe decides to make a star go super nova and possibly wipe out life on the other side of the galaxy.
Marvin_Edwards wrote:
September 11th, 2020, 10:13 pm
We call something "good" if it meets a real need that we have as an individual, as a society, or as a species.
Belindi wrote:
September 11th, 2020, 1:45 pm
The trouble with that advice is nobody knows the nature of things.
Terrapin Station wrote:
September 11th, 2020, 7:59 am
The reason I'm asking you this, by the way: Is that if we can't give an example of something in discordance with nature, we have an ethics (per your argument) where everything is morally right and nothing is morally wrong.
Papus79 wrote:
September 10th, 2020, 2:25 pm
Interesting. What set or broader concepts is that a container for?
Gertie wrote:
September 10th, 2020, 12:31 pm
I see it fundamentally differently, in that the Is/Ought distinction is the basis for distinguishing morality from nature (the way the world Is).
Wossname wrote:
September 10th, 2020, 6:07 am
No moral universe for me. But humans striving (and often failing) to work out and do the “right” thing? That sounds more like it.
Count Lucanor wrote:
September 9th, 2020, 6:36 pm
The rest of the universe just doesn't care about anything.
Jklint wrote:
September 11th, 2020, 5:25 am
The universe couldn't stand or create anything if it were confined to any morality.
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____________The Moral Fundament____________
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