Virtue ethics vs subjectivism

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Kaz_1983
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Virtue ethics vs subjectivism

Post by Kaz_1983 »

When I explain Target virtues ethics to people, they really don't understand -this form of virtue ethics talks more about the consequences rather than purely just the person's character. See my question is, is it possible to be a subjectivist but still value - virtue and vice - this is what all your moral judgments are derived from - is this possible?

But let's say you value honesty, well doesn't that mean when it comes to lying - you ought not be honest? I don't know but can a subjectivist solely base on all moral judgments on the virtues and vices that you value?

All these moral judgments are completely based on the virtue/vices - but yes, what's the difference between Target virtue ethics which takes into the consequences of an action, and subjectivism that is heavily based on virtues and vices?
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Re: Virtue ethics vs subjectivism

Post by Angelo Cannata »

Subjectivism is based on history, all levels of history: history of the universe, of nature, history of all people in this planet, and the personal history of your own life. Every moment you make the synthesis of all these things and you make your choice, decide how to behave, how to put virtues in practice, how to judge them. If you don’t do this, nature, history, your DNA, will do it all the same for you. You can try to add your conscious and intelligent contribution to what is already running.
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Re: Virtue ethics vs subjectivism

Post by Pattern-chaser »

Kaz_1983 wrote: May 27th, 2022, 11:17 pm But let's say you value honesty, well doesn't that mean when it comes to lying - you ought not be honest?
I rather think it means that, if you value honesty, you should not lie. 🤔
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Re: Virtue ethics vs subjectivism

Post by Kaz_1983 »

Pattern-chaser wrote: May 28th, 2022, 6:46 am
Kaz_1983 wrote: May 27th, 2022, 11:17 pm But let's say you value honesty, well doesn't that mean when it comes to lying - you ought not be honest?
I rather think it means that, if you value honesty, you should not lie. 🤔
Ohhhh jeez, I'm so dumb but in my defence it was 1am when I sent that message. Lol
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Re: Virtue ethics vs subjectivism

Post by Ecurb »

Pattern-chaser wrote: May 28th, 2022, 6:46 am

I rather think it means that, if you value honesty, you should not lie. 🤔
This is not logically sound. It may be the case that one can value honesty, and SHOULD lie. We must often forsake some values for others, based on the circumstances. If we value humility, does that suggest we should never be proud? If we value diligence should we never rest?
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Re: Virtue ethics vs subjectivism

Post by Pattern-chaser »

Pattern-chaser wrote: May 28th, 2022, 6:46 am I rather think it means that, if you value honesty, you should not lie. 🤔
Ecurb wrote: May 30th, 2022, 9:25 am This is not logically sound. It may be the case that one can value honesty, and SHOULD lie. We must often forsake some values for others, based on the circumstances.
Not logically sound? It seems so to me. Yes, compromise is a common feature of real life, but if we sacrifice our principles too much, life seems to have less ... value?


Ecurb wrote: May 30th, 2022, 9:25 am If we value humility, does that suggest we should never be proud?
False pride and false modesty are the problems there, I think?
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Re: Virtue ethics vs subjectivism

Post by Pattern-chaser »

On honesty and lying:
Glorifying lies, however “small” or “white” they may seem, creates and reinforces toxic environments. ... A lie is nothing to celebrate.
Link to original article.
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Re: Virtue ethics vs subjectivism

Post by Ecurb »

Pattern-chaser wrote: May 30th, 2022, 10:38 am
Pattern-chaser wrote: May 28th, 2022, 6:46 am I rather think it means that, if you value honesty, you should not lie. 🤔
Ecurb wrote: May 30th, 2022, 9:25 am This is not logically sound. It may be the case that one can value honesty, and SHOULD lie. We must often forsake some values for others, based on the circumstances.
Not logically sound? It seems so to me. Yes, compromise is a common feature of real life, but if we sacrifice our principles too much, life seems to have less ... value?


Ecurb wrote: May 30th, 2022, 9:25 am If we value humility, does that suggest we should never be proud?
False pride and false modesty are the problems there, I think?
Incorrect. The conclusion ("if you value honesty, you should not lie") does not follow from the premise. Someone can value honesty, and yet imagine circumstances where he SHOULD lie. These are myriad (the Gestapo asking where the Jews are hiding, as just one of millions of examples). ONe can also imagine valuing humility and yet being proud of certain achievements or qualities. In fact, perhaps someone who values humility is proud of being honest. Is that a contradiction?

I glanced at your linked article, and it claims that honesty fosters trust. This is obvious, in general. However, why state as a "principle" the minor, legalistic point, and ignore the more basic principle. We (I'd suggest) all want to be deemed "trustworthy". However, if we refuse to lie to keep our friend safe from mortal danger, how trustworthy are we? In this case, isn't a liar MORE trustworthy than someone who always tells the truth?

Honor and trustworthiness are the basic principles that cause us to "value" honesty. Why think of "honesty" as a principle, when there are so many situations in which one is morally required by other more compelling principles to lie?
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Re: Virtue ethics vs subjectivism

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The linked article probably says it better than I could, so I won't just repeat what I've already said. There are ways to deal with the issues you describe, without lying. [I also 'suffer' from this apparently-strange preference for honesty that many autistic people have, and many readers here probably (?) do not.]
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Re: Virtue ethics vs subjectivism

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Pattern-chaser wrote: May 31st, 2022, 7:33 am The linked article probably says it better than I could, so I won't just repeat what I've already said. There are ways to deal with the issues you describe, without lying. [I also 'suffer' from this apparently-strange preference for honesty that many autistic people have, and many readers here probably (?) do not.]
I admit to being relatively ignorant about autism (of course I've read a little about it, and read some of Oliver Sacks' books in which he describes some extreme cases). So I don't want to offer any critique of autistic culture, or the mode of thinking of autists.

Nonetheless, in general (for the general neuro-normative public) I disagree with much of that the article you linked states. (Quotes from the linked article)
Somewhere online I read a blog post written by a nonautistic person who claims that when an Autistic child lies people should celebrate, as the child has reached a cognitive milestone—as if lying is inherently human rather than learned behavior. This blogger, who doesn’t seem to understand Autistic culture, seems to have subscribed to neuronormative myths, among them the myth of developmental milestones, and the myth that honesty is naivete, rather than good behavior.

Dishonesty breeds paranoia. Honesty fosters trust. Where there’s honesty, there’s trust. In my experience, Autistic culture is a community of trust, where I don’t have to question meaning or intentions. Autists are authentic: honest, factual, direct. We don’t use subtext, hidden meanings; nor do we speak in confusing riddles.
I wouldn't want to claim that we should celebrate an autistic child's learning to lie. Nonetheless, for neuro normative chlldren lying and imagining are closely linked. Making up fictional scenarios for games, reading works of fiction, listening to fairy tales and lying differ in some ways, but share many properties. The notion that we can create our own worlds through the act of imagining is similar to the notion that we can create our own situations through lying.

Poetry often involves "speak(ing) in confusing riddles." What's so terrible about riddles? Honesty sometimes fosters trust, and at other times destroys it. Whom does a mafioso trust? The inveterate truth-teller? Or the liar willing to supply an alibi?
“Widespread cultural acceptance of lying is a primary reason many of us will never know love,” hooks writes in “Honesty: Be True to Love” because people who use dishonesty to manipulate and control others cheat themselves out of meaningful, loving relationships.

Glorifying lies, however “small” or “white” they may seem, creates and reinforces toxic environments. When an Autistic child lies, it’s time to examine the environment that pressured them to behave outside of their neurotype. A lie is nothing to celebrate.
As I said, I will go along with the author's critique of neurotypical culture's celebration of autistic lying, and agree that we should examine the autist's environment. However, I disagree that "cultural acceptance of lying" cheats us out of love. For most people, love is built on a foundation of loving half-truths. "You are incredibly beautiful," says the lover, lying by omission by not ending with "to me". All the sweet nothings lovers whisper to each other are half truths, because they are freighted with the weight of cultural expectations about romance. But those cultural expectations are vital for creating romance. "What light through yonder window breaks? It is the dawn and Juliet is the sun...." says Romeo. But Juliet isn't the sun; the dawn isn't breaking. Would any of us prefer Romeo to say, "My hormones are raging right now."? Romeo and Juliet auto-induce their love through lies and poetry. Of course their love affair endes tragically -- but so do all love affairs. That's the human condition.

If lies create delusions, so be it. Some delusions are worth maintaining.
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Re: Virtue ethics vs subjectivism

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Pattern-chaser wrote: May 31st, 2022, 7:33 am The linked article probably says it better than I could, so I won't just repeat what I've already said. There are ways to deal with the issues you describe, without lying. [I also 'suffer' from this apparently-strange preference for honesty that many autistic people have, and many readers here probably (?) do not.]
Ecurb wrote: May 31st, 2022, 11:09 am I admit to being relatively ignorant about autism (of course I've read a little about it, and read some of Oliver Sacks' books in which he describes some extreme cases). So I don't want to offer any critique of autistic culture, or the mode of thinking of autists.
First I should apologise. I linked to the article, a blog post by an autistic person, because I thought/think that the points made are universally applicable. I didn't intend to derail the thread, or perhaps to reach useful conclusions … that apply only to autistic people. I'm sorry for the possible confusion, and for the apparent derail.

I have edited the following quotes, where possible, to remove direct references to autism, leaving a 'snip' symbol ("✂") to show what I've done. I hope this is acceptable.


Ecurb wrote: May 31st, 2022, 11:09 am Nonetheless, in general, I disagree with much of that the article you linked states. (Quotes from the linked article)
Somewhere online I read a blog post written by a ✂ person who claims that when a ✂ child lies people should celebrate, as the child has reached a cognitive milestone—as if lying is inherently human rather than learned behavior. This blogger ✂ seems to have subscribed to ✂ myths, among them the myth of developmental milestones, and the myth that honesty is naivete, rather than good behavior.

Dishonesty breeds paranoia. Honesty fosters trust. Where there’s honesty, there’s trust. In my experience, ✂ culture is a community of trust, where I don’t have to question meaning or intentions. Autists are authentic: honest, factual, direct. We don’t use subtext, hidden meanings; nor do we speak in confusing riddles.
I wouldn't want to claim that we should celebrate a ✂ child's learning to lie. Nonetheless, for ✂ children, lying and imagining are closely linked.
Lying and imaging are, I think, distinguished from one another by intent. One of the very first things any child learns is the difference between fact and 'pretend' or 'make-believe'. Imagining is fun, though it might also be informative or educational, and is universally understood not to be factual. Lying is deliberate deception. Even the youngest children know this, I think.


Ecurb wrote: May 31st, 2022, 11:09 am Poetry often involves "speak(ing) in confusing riddles." What's so terrible about riddles?
There's nothing terrible about riddles, or about poetry either. But I don't think anyone would confuse them with lies.


Ecurb wrote: May 31st, 2022, 11:09 am
“Widespread cultural acceptance of lying is a primary reason many of us will never know love,” Hooks writes in “Honesty: Be True to Love” because people who use dishonesty to manipulate and control others cheat themselves out of meaningful, loving relationships.

Glorifying lies, however “small” or “white” they may seem, creates and reinforces toxic environments. When a ✂ child lies, it’s time to examine the environment that pressured them to behave ✂[that way]✂. A lie is nothing to celebrate.
As I said, I will go along with the author's critique of ✂ culture's celebration of ✂ lying, and agree that we should examine the ✂ environment. However, I disagree that "cultural acceptance of lying" cheats us out of love. For most people, love is built on a foundation of loving half-truths. "You are incredibly beautiful," says the lover, lying by omission by not ending with "to me".

...

If lies create delusions, so be it. Some delusions are worth maintaining.
But what value do the lover's compliments have, when all concerned know it's a ('white') lie, and expect it to be so? Would it not carry much greater meaning and feeling if we simply spoke as we mean? I would add to this my understanding that the way we express our true meaning and intent can be very dependent on the words we choose to do so. But, with the optimum choice of words, we can avoid all untruths and still say what we mean without any form of deception.

And yes, this will sometimes mean that we express only part of the truth, which you call "lying by omission". I don't think that's very fair. No-one can tell the whole and complete truth about anything without including the entire history of life, the universe and everything to what they say. I.e. there is always some part of 'the truth' that is ommitted, for brevity if nothing else.
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Re: Virtue ethics vs subjectivism

Post by Pattern-chaser »

Ecurb wrote: May 31st, 2022, 11:09 am Poetry often involves "speak(ing) in confusing riddles." What's so terrible about riddles?
Pattern-chaser wrote: June 1st, 2022, 8:40 am There's nothing terrible about riddles, or about poetry either. But I don't think anyone would confuse them with lies.
P.S. When the blog poster referred to "speaking in confusing riddles", I think he referred not to literal riddles, but to speaking in a way that deliberately obscures the intended meaning, using implication and 'writing between the lines'.
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Re: Virtue ethics vs subjectivism

Post by Ecurb »

Pattern-chaser wrote: June 1st, 2022, 8:40 am
Lying and imaging are, I think, distinguished from one another by intent. One of the very first things any child learns is the difference between fact and 'pretend' or 'make-believe'. Imagining is fun, though it might also be informative or educational, and is universally understood not to be factual. Lying is deliberate deception. Even the youngest children know this, I think.
That's true. And good and evil acts are generally distinguished by intent. Killing another person accidentally is distinguished from killing someone on purpose, and murdering someone is distinguished from killing someone in self-defense. I would claim that the intent of ANY lie is of utmost significance in determining its moral culpability. Let's look at some examples:

1) Someone hiding the Jews from the Nazis lies about their whereabouts. His intent is to prevent an evil act (killing the Jews).

2) A parent tells his child that Santa Claus slides down the chimney on Christmas Eve, bringing presents to all the good children of the world. His intent is to involve the child in a mystical and enjoyable story; the involvement would be lessened by saying, "Of course that's not really true."

3) A memoirist fudges stories about his life to make his memoir more entertaining and emotionally resonant for his readers. His intent is to bring more joy to others (as well as to sell more books).

If the intent of the liar is to harm others -- as is the case with fraud, or bearing false witness, then, of course the lie is unjustified.

But what value do the lover's compliments have, when all concerned know it's a ('white') lie, and expect it to be so? Would it not carry much greater meaning and feeling if we simply spoke as we mean? I would add to this my understanding that the way we express our true meaning and intent can be very dependent on the words we choose to do so. But, with the optimum choice of words, we can avoid all untruths and still say what we mean without any form of deception.

And yes, this will sometimes mean that we express only part of the truth, which you call "lying by omission". I don't think that's very fair. No-one can tell the whole and complete truth about anything without including the entire history of life, the universe and everything to what they say. I.e. there is always some part of 'the truth' that is ommitted, for brevity if nothing else.
Well, Shakespeare, who put all those lies on Romeo's lips also wrte this sonnet:
My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damask’d, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.
Still, all metaphors are "false compare". They wouldn't be metaphors otherwise. Yet metaphors also add beauty to our language, and understanding to our listeners or readers. Since, as you admit, nobody is privvy to the "whole truth and nothing but the truth", and since (further) our point of view is inevitably incomplete, and often gives us a false picture, why object so vociferously to lies? It is true that lies intend to decieve (by definition) but (as my examples show) this intent is not evil in and of itself. It is evil only if the intent to deceive also intends unjustified harm . This would absolve the noble French Resistance maquis, the parent discussing Santa Claus, and the story-teller stretching the ruth to entertain hs listeners.

Let's suppose that I actually agree with you that lying is inevitably wicked, but have been playing devil's advocate in order to facillitate discussion. My stated position would be a lie. Is that so horrible? If so, why?
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Re: Virtue ethics vs subjectivism

Post by Ecurb »

Here's another beef I have with the article Pattern linked:
Glorifying lies, however “small” or “white” they may seem, creates and reinforces toxic environments.
I disagree. First, nobody "glorifies" white iies. We accept them as a normal lubricant to social interaction. Suppose a faint acquaintance spots me on the street and says, "Ecurb! Long time! How are you doing?" "I'm fine," I reply. "How are you?" Now the truth is that I'm not fine. I'm miserable for some reason I don't want to discuss with my friend. MY conventional reply may be a lie, but it harms nodody, and does two people the favor of not forcing them into an unpleasant interaction.

Suppose you are eating at some cheap, chain restaurant and the server politely asks, "How's your dinner?" Unsurprisingly, given the quality of the joint you have chosen, your dinner is mediocre at best. So you say, "It's fine." I've been to restaurants with people who seem to laud honesty, and think the waitress actually wants a lengthy food critique. It's embarrassing and tedious.

Imagine your wife or girlfriend asks "Do I look fat in this dress." Whatever you do, don't compare her to a species of semi-acquatic pachyderms! Don't start mooing. The proper answer is, "To me, you will always look beautiful." It's a lie But say it anyway.
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Re: Virtue ethics vs subjectivism

Post by Pattern-chaser »

Glorifying lies, however “small” or “white” they may seem, creates and reinforces toxic environments.
Ecurb wrote: June 1st, 2022, 9:01 pm I disagree. First, nobody "glorifies" white lies. We accept them as a normal lubricant to social interaction.
OK, so maybe the quote should read as follows,
Accepting lies (as a 'normal' lubricant to social interaction), however “small” or “white” they may seem, creates and reinforces toxic environments.
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