Working on a Sunday to keep me in beer and bets

A forum to seperate the more serious discussions from the lighter topics in Off-topic.

I agree that these are immoral

Porn - immoral
11
9%
Smoking - immoral
10
9%
Obesity - immoral
6
5%
Gambling - immoral
8
7%
Drunkenness - immoral
12
10%
Breaking a promise - immoral
33
28%
Losing your patience - immoral
6
5%
Holding a grudge - immoral
12
10%
Not keeping the Sabbath holy - immoral
10
9%
Sex before marriage - immoral
9
8%
 
Total votes : 117

Re: Working on a Sunday to keep me in beer and bets

Postby Wellington » 17 Nov 2011, 18:05

TheCraw wrote:The Craw is getting 5 hours of sleep a night


Lucky!

Lack of sleep is the mind killer.
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Re: Working on a Sunday to keep me in beer and bets

Postby Dar Krum » 17 Nov 2011, 19:44

Wellington wrote:
Dar Krum wrote:I believe that we agree.


That's a happy discovery. It makes me flourish. ;)

I'm curious what TheCraw and other "none of the above" reponders think about this line of discussion.

My belief would be that human flourishing is something that can be measured and is objective.


Human flourishing is an interesting concept as a standard for morality. How do you measure it? How do you make trade-offs between different forms of human well-being (e.g. how to make the choice of a pay cut that comes with improved work conditions)? Is human flourishing different from Utilitarianism?


It has been a lot of years since I last read up on utilitarianism. Bentham, Mill, and Singer all discuss happiness in their positions which is certainly valid. My problem with happiness is that it is a difficult metric to utilize. That which makes us happy is not universal. While there is no universal standard for flourishing either, I am thinking that it is easier to establish what flourishing is and to categorize most (all?) behavior as aiding in the flourishing of humanity or not. So my short answer is yes, flourishing and Utilitarianism are different.

Regarding a pay cut for improved working conditions, I am not sure how I would measure it. I believe Harris would like to hook you up to some sort of brain scan and see what the answer is that way. I will be a bit more vague and say to choose whichever benefits you, your family, and society in the most positive manner. On the grand, humanity/societal stage, I am guessing that such a decision is so insignificant as to be more or less morally neutral.
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Re: Working on a Sunday to keep me in beer and bets

Postby dlbrenner » 17 Nov 2011, 20:23

Wellington wrote:If morality is subjective, on what basis do you judge an action moral or immoral?

Dar Krum wrote: Harm and intent.

dlbrenner wrote: I see that as the basis for how an action is judged to be either legal or illegal.

Wellington wrote:Legality is judged based on the content of laws and its interpretation by courts. Do you disagree with that, dlbrenner?


No - I do not disagree.
I agree that legality is judged based on the content of laws and its interpretation by courts.

However, the creation of the content of those laws - and the resulting interpretation - should be built around the concept of "harm and intent".

(apologies - I was not very clear before)



But that question would be better suited to the debate if it were answered by TheCraw.

[EDIT]: for clarity
Last edited by dlbrenner on 22 Nov 2011, 00:25, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Working on a Sunday to keep me in beer and bets

Postby Wellington » 18 Nov 2011, 01:12

Dar Krum wrote:Regarding a pay cut for improved working conditions, I am not sure how I would measure it. I believe Harris would like to hook you up to some sort of brain scan and see what the answer is that way. I will be a bit more vague and say to choose whichever benefits you, your family, and society in the most positive manner. On the grand, humanity/societal stage, I am guessing that such a decision is so insignificant as to be more or less morally neutral.


I should have picked an example with higher moral stakes. How about the case of a man who is out of work, has exhausted all possibilities of financial assistance, and whose family now faces starvation, who is offered a large sum of money to assassinate someone? I realize the scenario is over-the-top, but how would the principle of human flourishing balance the improvement of the family's well-being if the man takes the job versus the preservation of the intended victim's well-being if the man refuses?
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Re: Working on a Sunday to keep me in beer and bets

Postby Dar Krum » 18 Nov 2011, 15:02

Wellington wrote:
Dar Krum wrote:Regarding a pay cut for improved working conditions, I am not sure how I would measure it. I believe Harris would like to hook you up to some sort of brain scan and see what the answer is that way. I will be a bit more vague and say to choose whichever benefits you, your family, and society in the most positive manner. On the grand, humanity/societal stage, I am guessing that such a decision is so insignificant as to be more or less morally neutral.


I should have picked an example with higher moral stakes. How about the case of a man who is out of work, has exhausted all possibilities of financial assistance, and whose family now faces starvation, who is offered a large sum of money to assassinate someone? I realize the scenario is over-the-top, but how would the principle of human flourishing balance the improvement of the family's well-being if the man takes the job versus the preservation of the intended victim's well-being if the man refuses?


With an infinite number of scenarios, this could be a bit of a dangerous path to go down, but...

IMO, the decision to refuse the assassination job is likely the moral one as the act of assassination is one that undermines our confidence in society and its ability to protect us from bad things. Or something like that. The more pressing moral question in that situation might be how to fix a society or what led a person within that society to be so desperate as to consider such an offer in the first place?

Again, there is a scale of moral in play. Societal flourishing as a whole is at the top of the scale/pyramid, but one must be able to provide for ones family or else humans are not going to be as concerned with the higher moral demands associated with universal human flourishing. I see it as a moral Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Indeed, at th top of his pyramid, Maslow lists morals. Before we can get to the a higher form of moral responsibility, certain of our more basic needs need to be met before we can realistically expect each person to be able to act in a way that aids in universal flourishing.
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Re: Working on a Sunday to keep me in beer and bets

Postby beowulf7 » 18 Nov 2011, 15:07

Just saying that I'm watching this section of debate with great appreciation...
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Re: Working on a Sunday to keep me in beer and bets

Postby dlbrenner » 28 Nov 2011, 22:14

DK, Steelfish, beowulf, Kian, Crunkus, Craw, Kierador, Rick - and any others:

:arrow: If morality can be different for different people, then are all concepts of morality considered to be equally valid?
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Re: Working on a Sunday to keep me in beer and bets

Postby Dar Krum » 29 Nov 2011, 01:06

dlbrenner wrote:DK, Steelfish, beowulf, Kian, Crunkus, Craw, Kierador, Rick - and any others:

:arrow: If morality can be different for different people, then are all concepts of morality considered to be equally valid?


As I am more in Harris' camp than out, I will answer that by saying all concepts of morality are equal as long as they the outcome of any action based on them is designed to encourage human flourishing and can be measured to do just that.
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Re: Working on a Sunday to keep me in beer and bets

Postby Wellington » 29 Nov 2011, 05:36

Dar Krum wrote:
dlbrenner wrote:If morality can be different for different people, then are all concepts of morality considered to be equally valid?


As I am more in Harris' camp than out, I will answer that by saying all concepts of morality are equal as long as they the outcome of any action based on them is designed to encourage human flourishing and can be measured to do just that.


I think the earlier conversation between DK and me at least indirectly answered dl's question. Interestingly, I interpret our conversation as answering the question negatively, while DK's answer quoted above seems to be positive. But I think the apparent contradiction can be resolved.

I believe DK and I agreed that morality is an objective standard, in other words, moral judgements are more than just a matter of what the individual making the judgement believes; there are moral criteria that apply to all of us that can be used to judge the true morality of any particular moral judgment. (We didn't pursue the nature of objective morality much beyond DK's mentioning human flourishing as a candidate.)

From this perspective, I think the answer to dl's question is clearly, "no". While it is possible that in a given situation different people may make contraditory moral judgements, since there is an objective standard for morality it is possible to judge which individual judgement is more valid by comparing them to objective morality. (However, both judgements being equally invalid is a possibility.) Therefore, the contradictions in individual moral judgements do not stem from alternative personal "moralities", but from disagreement over the nature of objective morality.

DK's quoted answer appears to be a contradictory, "yes". But I note how he phrases his answer: different moral concepts are equal, as long as they increase human flourishing. It is this human flourishing that DK earlier held up as a candidate for an objective standard for morality. So I think he's ultimately saying that different moral judgments are valid if they conform to objective moral standards. And I can agree with that.

Having established morality's objective nature, the content of objective morality is left as flame-bait for another thread. ;)
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Re: Working on a Sunday to keep me in beer and bets

Postby beowulf7 » 29 Nov 2011, 11:37

Maybe...

all morality's ARE equal - if viewed in terms of the universe. But that does not mean they are all acceptable to any particular group

Personally when reptiles from the planet X arrive and we realize that they prefer to eat their meat alive or we stand before the great hive consciousness of the Bee empire having to explain why are so individualistic and why anyone other than the queen has sex then I think it will be apparent that other moralities may be valid but just not suitable for us. I believe that my contention that morality is largely driven by our form of society actually fits in with the "flourishing" idea. What makes species, groups and individuals flourish will be different from case to case.

Hence I have an issue with any absolute absolute (deliberate double) morality - rather I would say that the "current standard morality can be defined for this species at this time". We can have a gold standard rather than a permanent fixed rule.

I understand that this means, in effect, that I am saying that there is NO absolute morality.

However, I do not care. What is is only what we perceive to be. We can only affect the world around us and if we, as a group, decide on a set of moralities then I'm happy that we run with them. We can also decide what tolerance of other people's morality we accept (anyone who eats meat or drinks alcohol should acknowledge that a big part of humanity thinks that they are immoral acts but tolerates your alternative morality - there is such a thing as a "good meat eater").

Everything is relative. Sometimes eating meat is ok, sometimes killing is "right" and I have once committed altruistic adultery - there is much wisdom in the "walk a mile in my shoes" adage.

That does not mean that all moralities are equal. Nope, not even an issue. Morality, law, ethics are all social constructs and we make decisions everyday about what is permissible. That's what grown ups do. Children, academics and union leaders :mrgreen: may seek to use arguments along the "ah - you cannot accept the principal of X and then limit where it applies!"(see spoiler) but in the real world we do it all the time. It's not easy, it's not perfect, but its the difficult and error-prone way that we get along as a species. I accept that Indian society has different morality to the UK and I tolerate that - I do not tolerate "honour" killing

Which is partly why I find the idea of an unchanging constitution or bill of rights worrying - we need the freedom to acknowledge the situational nature of issues and manage the outcomes accordingly. A "scriptural" approach to the law is in danger of lacking the flexibility to make use of our humanity and intelligence
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