God and Good

Discuss philosophical questions regarding theism (and atheism), and discuss religion as it relates to philosophy. This includes any philosophical discussions that happen to be about god, gods, or a 'higher power' or the belief of them. This also generally includes philosophical topics about organized or ritualistic mysticism or about organized, common or ritualistic beliefs in the existence of supernatural phenomenon.
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Marvin_Edwards
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Re: God and Good

Post by Marvin_Edwards » May 16th, 2020, 9:07 am

Terrapin Station wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 8:38 am
"Good" is simply a term of preference. In a moral context, it's a term of preference about personal and interpersonal behavior that the assessor feels is more significant than etiquette. The behavior that S prefers, either in itself, or because of aspects or consequences that S prefers, is considered good to S. "Good" is always to someone.
So then, when Trump suggested injecting bleach into a patient's vein to kill the corona virus, was his opinion just as "good" as the opinion of the doctors?

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Re: God and Good

Post by Terrapin Station » May 16th, 2020, 9:23 am

Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 9:07 am
Terrapin Station wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 8:38 am
"Good" is simply a term of preference. In a moral context, it's a term of preference about personal and interpersonal behavior that the assessor feels is more significant than etiquette. The behavior that S prefers, either in itself, or because of aspects or consequences that S prefers, is considered good to S. "Good" is always to someone.
So then, when Trump suggested injecting bleach into a patient's vein to kill the corona virus, was his opinion just as "good" as the opinion of the doctors?
First, "was his opinion just as good" isn't the moral sense of "good." (Which doesn't have to be a problem, but if we're wanting to discuss the moral sense of "good," the sense you're employing there is not the moral sense.)

Re the sense that you're using, you appear to be trying to conflate "accurate" with "good" there, but "good" has a whole host of connotations that "accurate" does not have. "Good" is a value judgment. "Accurate" is not. One might positively value accuracy--"It's good to be accurate; it's good to say things that are true," at least in a given situation (a lot of people, including me, do not positively value accuracy or truth in every situation), but "accurate" and "good" are not the same thing. If they were the same thing, then "It's good to be accurate" should be redundant, or at least a tautology--a la "It's accurate to be accurate."

Re whether we value one opinion over another (again, this still isn't the moral sense of "good"), that's something that each individual decides (or rather intuitively feels--it's often not an intentional decision), and there's no way around that, because no matter where we look, we can't find valuations outside of individuals thinking about things in a value-oriented way.

Trump probably valued his opinion as much as anyone else's--he typically does. So in his view, it would be just as good.

Many others, including me, didn't value his opinion that much.

When it comes to valuations, we can't be right or wrong, because there's nothing to get right. There are no extramental valuations to match.

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Re: God and Good

Post by Gertie » May 16th, 2020, 10:27 am

Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 8:02 am
Gertie wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 6:41 am


Love Good is great, but first people have to agree what Good is. And before that find criteria to base that agreement on. Otherwise we're left with a multitude of subjective inclinations about Good, often clashing, sometimes violently. Inclinations which evolved to work well when we lived a very different way.

I offered Harris's The Wellbeing of Conscious Creatures as the grounding for what is Good.

And I believe consciousness is key, because of its qualiative nature. By which I mean the what it is like 'feeliness' of consciousness, which is what gives us a quality of life, and makes being alive meaningful, important, a fitting basis for morality. I can kick a doll's head in without causing harm if it has no consciousness, but not a person's. Or a dog's. Probably a mouse, maybe an ant.

So wellbeing is rooted in the ability to consciously experience suffering, joy, and everything in between. I claim then that this is the founding justification for morality, and the touchstone by which to consider Oughts, moral duties.

It frees us from the inane back and forth over Subjective v Objective, which the death of God as 'The Good' and authoritative Moral Law Giver left us stuck in, by asking us to think afresh in terms of What Matters. And Mattering is rooted in qualiative conscious experience.

It's not easy in terms of coming up with hard and fast rules, because conscious subjects have different notions about what makes for their own wellbeing. But reality isn't always simple, or problems perfectly solved.
We call something "good" if it meets a real need we have as an individual, as a society, or as a species. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is about the basic motivations of human behavior. At the base of the pyramid are the physiological needs for air, water, food, homeostasis (protection from extremes of heat and cold), sleep, etc. And at this level an individual's "real needs" are scientifically objective. Things get fuzzy and gray as we move up the pyramid to things like "self-actualization". But since we have a solid foundation of objectivity at the physiological level, we might hope for the possibility of objectivity as we move up the pyramid.

I haven't read anything by Harris since he screwed up free will. My impression is that he is one of today's pop cult leaders, similar to Alan Watts back when I was in college.

Morality could certainly be described as caring for the well-being of oneself and others.
If we look at Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs, the most basic level is about staying alive and maintaining homeostasis. Which of course we've evolved to try to do. So lets ask why that's important in a Moral context, why it matters.

My answer is because living humans (and other species) are Conscious and Therefore have a Quality of Life. Life in itself isn't a guarantor of having a consciously experienced Quality of Life.

Think of a daffodil or bacteria, or think of an irreparably brain dead person being kept alive on a ventilator. If there is no consciousness, no qualitative experiential states, then what of value or meaning is lost by death?

Imo this is why Morality lies within the realm of Consciousness, it has no place or meaning outside it. A universe of dead rocks has no use for Morality. It became relevant when conscious, experiencing creatures evolved.

Once we grasp that, we can start to build a new morality fit for purpose.

Harris gave it a go, and fair play to him. He also recognised that a morality for conscious Subjects with different notions of what well-being means for them, isn't easy to create hard and fast rules for, once you get past the basics which most people agree on. So he talked about a 'Moral Landscape', and Goldstein similarly talks about a 'Mattering Map'.

I think that's realistic and practical, but not at all simple. It also implies that personal freedom has to be balanced against the common good. Again that's messy. But consciousness is complex and messy, and doesn't comfortably fit with measuring and weighing and objectively measurable 'units of wellbeing'. So we have to deal with that as best we can, not pretend it isn't like that so we can have neat answers. We need to be nimble and flexible in our thinking. But it does give us this axiomatic grounding for Morality and touchstone to always refer back to which we currently don't have - The Wellbeing of Conscious Creatures.

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Re: God and Good

Post by Marvin_Edwards » May 16th, 2020, 12:00 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 9:23 am
Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 9:07 am

So then, when Trump suggested injecting bleach into a patient's vein to kill the corona virus, was his opinion just as "good" as the opinion of the doctors?
First, "was his opinion just as good" isn't the moral sense of "good." (Which doesn't have to be a problem, but if we're wanting to discuss the moral sense of "good," the sense you're employing there is not the moral sense.)
Oh, but it is! An opinion is good if it produces good consequences and bad if it produces bad consequences. Trump's notion of ingesting bleach would produce very bad consequences. Why? Because there is a "real need" to avoid poisoning the body with toxins. The doctor's opinion was better because it produced morally good results.
Terrapin Station wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 9:23 am
Re the sense that you're using, you appear to be trying to conflate "accurate" with "good" there, but "good" has a whole host of connotations that "accurate" does not have.
Accuracy is usually good, because the person who is good wants to be accurate. However, as Kant pointed out, all virtues (including accuracy) can be corrupted by a bad will (e.g., accurately causing harm).
Terrapin Station wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 9:23 am
"Good" is a value judgment. "Accurate" is not. One might positively value accuracy--"It's good to be accurate; it's good to say things that are true," at least in a given situation (a lot of people, including me, do not positively value accuracy or truth in every situation), but "accurate" and "good" are not the same thing. If they were the same thing, then "It's good to be accurate" should be redundant, or at least a tautology--a la "It's accurate to be accurate."
Actually, accurate is also a value judgment. Whether accuracy is good or bad depends upon whether you are trying to be accurately good or accurately evil.
Terrapin Station wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 9:23 am
Re whether we value one opinion over another (again, this still isn't the moral sense of "good"), that's something that each individual decides (or rather intuitively feels--it's often not an intentional decision), and there's no way around that, because no matter where we look, we can't find valuations outside of individuals thinking about things in a value-oriented way.
And yet among these people we find opinions about what is "good" (injecting bleach) that are objectively bad. They are not subjectively bad, because the bleach injection will be bad for you no matter what your personal values happen to be. Injecting bleach is objectively bad, in a moral sense.
Terrapin Station wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 9:23 am
Trump probably valued his opinion as much as anyone else's--he typically does. So in his view, it would be just as good.
Many others, including me, didn't value his opinion that much.
When it comes to valuations, we can't be right or wrong, because there's nothing to get right. There are no extramental valuations to match.
The forking bleach in the forking hypodermic needle is objectively, morally, bad for any and every individual. Don't you agree?

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Re: God and Good

Post by Terrapin Station » May 16th, 2020, 12:42 pm

Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 12:00 pm

Oh, but it is! An opinion is good if it produces good consequences and bad if it produces bad consequences.
Not that "just as good" is about consequences in this case anyway, but you're claiming that "consequences" are sufficient for morality on your view?

Is it a moral matter whether you put on your socks or shoes first? There are different consequences in both cases, no?

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Re: God and Good

Post by Marvin_Edwards » May 16th, 2020, 3:33 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 12:42 pm
Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 12:00 pm

Oh, but it is! An opinion is good if it produces good consequences and bad if it produces bad consequences.
Not that "just as good" is about consequences in this case anyway, but you're claiming that "consequences" are sufficient for morality on your view?

Is it a moral matter whether you put on your socks or shoes first? There are different consequences in both cases, no?
It is "best" to put your socks on first, and then your shoes. It would be "bad" to put your shoes on first, and then put your socks over your shoes. Yes. It is a moral issue. Not one that anyone would debate (oops, sorry, did you wish to debate this, to argue that putting shoes on first is better?)

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Re: God and Good

Post by Terrapin Station » May 16th, 2020, 4:28 pm

Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 3:33 pm
Terrapin Station wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 12:42 pm


Not that "just as good" is about consequences in this case anyway, but you're claiming that "consequences" are sufficient for morality on your view?

Is it a moral matter whether you put on your socks or shoes first? There are different consequences in both cases, no?
It is "best" to put your socks on first, and then your shoes. It would be "bad" to put your shoes on first, and then put your socks over your shoes. Yes. It is a moral issue. Not one that anyone would debate (oops, sorry, did you wish to debate this, to argue that putting shoes on first is better?)
You ignored the question:

Is it a moral matter?

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Re: God and Good

Post by Marvin_Edwards » May 16th, 2020, 5:16 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 4:28 pm
Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 3:33 pm


It is "best" to put your socks on first, and then your shoes. It would be "bad" to put your shoes on first, and then put your socks over your shoes. Yes. It is a moral issue. Not one that anyone would debate (oops, sorry, did you wish to debate this, to argue that putting shoes on first is better?)
You ignored the question:

Is it a moral matter?
It's right there in the middle: "Yes. It is a moral issue." Please continue.

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Re: God and Good

Post by Terrapin Station » May 16th, 2020, 6:09 pm

Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 5:16 pm
Terrapin Station wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 4:28 pm

You ignored the question:

Is it a moral matter?
It's right there in the middle: "Yes. It is a moral issue." Please continue.
Okay. So do you think this is a common thing to refer to by "morality"--things like whether to put your shoes or socks on first?

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Re: God and Good

Post by Marvin_Edwards » May 16th, 2020, 6:18 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 6:09 pm
Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 5:16 pm


It's right there in the middle: "Yes. It is a moral issue." Please continue.
Okay. So do you think this is a common thing to refer to by "morality"--things like whether to put your shoes or socks on first?
Well, if your child puts on his shoes without his socks, what do you say? "That's not right, son. You need to put your socks on first." He did something wrong, and you lovingly correct him. It probably wasn't his intent to do something wrong, so we don't blame or scold. So, already we have the concepts of "right" and "wrong".

But let's continue. What about the criteria for moral judgment? Morality seeks the best good and the least harm for everyone. Is there some harm in putting on his shoes without his socks? Yes, the boy is likely to get blisters on his feet. So, putting on the socks and then the shoes has objective moral value.

Anything else I can help you with?

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Re: God and Good

Post by Terrapin Station » May 16th, 2020, 6:51 pm

Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 6:18 pm
Terrapin Station wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 6:09 pm


Okay. So do you think this is a common thing to refer to by "morality"--things like whether to put your shoes or socks on first?
Well, if your child puts on his shoes without his socks, what do you say? "That's not right, son. You need to put your socks on first." He did something wrong, and you lovingly correct him. It probably wasn't his intent to do something wrong, so we don't blame or scold. So, already we have the concepts of "right" and "wrong".

But let's continue. What about the criteria for moral judgment? Morality seeks the best good and the least harm for everyone. Is there some harm in putting on his shoes without his socks? Yes, the boy is likely to get blisters on his feet. So, putting on the socks and then the shoes has objective moral value.

Anything else I can help you with?
Wow, that is bizarre. So you actually believe that what people have in mind by "morality" are the practical conventions of doing anything. It's weird that you could be that out of touch with normal language usage, normal behavior, etc.

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Re: God and Good

Post by Marvin_Edwards » May 16th, 2020, 7:32 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 6:51 pm
Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 6:18 pm


Well, if your child puts on his shoes without his socks, what do you say? "That's not right, son. You need to put your socks on first." He did something wrong, and you lovingly correct him. It probably wasn't his intent to do something wrong, so we don't blame or scold. So, already we have the concepts of "right" and "wrong".

But let's continue. What about the criteria for moral judgment? Morality seeks the best good and the least harm for everyone. Is there some harm in putting on his shoes without his socks? Yes, the boy is likely to get blisters on his feet. So, putting on the socks and then the shoes has objective moral value.

Anything else I can help you with?
Wow, that is bizarre. So you actually believe that what people have in mind by "morality" are the practical conventions of doing anything. It's weird that you could be that out of touch with normal language usage, normal behavior, etc.
Sorry you feel that way. And sorry you think that pushing my buttons will make you feel better about yourself.

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Re: God and Good

Post by Jing or Jang » May 16th, 2020, 11:33 pm

Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 14th, 2020, 1:36 pm
....................... We envision Heaven, where people live in peace and every person is valued. It can only be reached when each person seeks good for himself only through means that are consistent with achieving good for all.
Hmmmmmmm.
Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 14th, 2020, 1:36 pm
If God exists, then that is His command .......
Who told you this?

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Re: God and Good

Post by Jing or Jang » May 16th, 2020, 11:39 pm

Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 6:18 pm
Well, if your child puts on his shoes without his socks, what do you say? "That's not right, son. You need to put your socks on first." He did something wrong, and you lovingly correct him. It probably wasn't his intent to do something wrong, so we don't blame or scold. So, already we have the concepts of "right" and "wrong". ....
Already "we" have this concept? You may have the concept of shoes without socks being "wrong" but do not speak for humanity on the subject of "right" and "wrong". That in itself is a "wrong".

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Re: God and Good

Post by Terrapin Station » May 17th, 2020, 8:38 am

Marvin_Edwards wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 7:32 pm
Terrapin Station wrote:
May 16th, 2020, 6:51 pm


Wow, that is bizarre. So you actually believe that what people have in mind by "morality" are the practical conventions of doing anything. It's weird that you could be that out of touch with normal language usage, normal behavior, etc.
Sorry you feel that way. And sorry you think that pushing my buttons will make you feel better about yourself.
?? Why would you be "sorry" that I feel that way. I find it fascinating.

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