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moral relativism


Totenkopf
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Here's a topic that might cause as many potential headaches as abortion, religion, war, etc. Where do you come down on the issue of moral relativism and why?
The principles of right and wrong that all criteria of judgment are relative to the individuals and situations involved.

Well this is very complex, I believe knowlege is relative.

 

I put it like this, the first forms of knowlege had to go through trial and error and difficult and intense scrutiny before it was accepted by the larger system, which I mean the greater number of people who was debating if to accept it as fact respect other forms of the similar knowlege.

This scrutiny still is in process today it is with science mostly but the laymen use this process too.

Like for example, will new words(slang words) or social knowlege will be accepted as fact or discarded.

 

The principles of right and wrong is depended on the bigger system of the society for a generalisation of the principles.

 

I also believe individual experiences are relative.

As the saying goes, "Everything thing is relative."

 

In a another universe for example, evil maybe encourage and good is look apon with distain.

Of course I don't see the logic in a universe existing when destuction is the norm.

But because I believe that absolutely nothing is impossible, I guest I will have to abandon the use of logic in that case.

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There is no single absolute set of morals that can apply to every single individual in every possible situation. Period.

 

There are a number of commonly accepted guidelines that most of us try to stick to in order to exist in a heavily populated civilized society... but these tend to break down under periods of great stress.

 

I've been told that equates to "moral relativism." I prefer to think of it as the messy reality of human life on Earth.

 

I'm not sure if I really want to get super deep into this discussion though... I've already been pretty far down that road before.

 

But if you can find a single set of rules that will be universally agreed upon by every person born and raised in radically different circumstances in different societies in every single possible circumstance around the planet, I'd like to hear it.

 

Chances are, you won't be able to get 2 people raised under the same roof under otherwise identical circumstances to totally agree on every deep moral dilemma... you'll never be able to get 2 people in different cultures to see eye-to-eye.

 

Is there one single moral code that covers everyone from an elderly nun living in a small French village, to a young radical Sunni Muslim in Fallujah, a middle-aged atheist in London, a homosexual Japanese businessman, an Evangelical teen in rural Kansas, a Tibetan monk, and a head-hunting tribesman in the deepest, nearly unexplored jungles of South America?

 

I really doubt it. Our morals are formed by the ways and circumstances in which we were raised.

Since nobody has the exact same experiences growing up, it's impossible for them to have the exact same moral code.

 

What you see as a sin and/ or an outrageous violation against human rights may simply be life as usual for someone else.

 

There are no absolutes when it comes to the human experience.

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Good thread topic, Totenkopf :)

 

I must say that I agree with Windu6 up to a point. The world is made up of billions of individuals each of whom observes his/her environment from within his/her own unique frame of reference, each in his/her own unique way.

 

The only thing that I know of that is NOT relative is truth, but as to what that truth is, I haven't a clue. ;)

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The only thing that I know of that is NOT relative is truth, but as to what that truth is, I haven't a clue. ;)

Maybe in this universe it maybe so but we have no damn idea with that reasoning in other universes will lead to.

 

I believe also that truth is relative,

maybe not scientific but other truths are relative.

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How could the truth be relative? Can 2+2=5 as well as 4?
Yes, I know how hard it will be to grasp that 2+2=5 to mathematicians on this planet but I believe that it will be the case in some other universes.

I believe absolutely nothing is impossible.

So that is my reasoning for that.

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Yes, I know how hard it will be to grasp that 2+2=5 to mathematicians on this planet but I believe that it will be the case in some other universes.

I believe absolutely nothing is impossible.

So that is my reasoning for that.

OK: I certainly can't argue with your reasoning. I agree with you that nothing is impossible. :)

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Maybe if you're on LSD. But since most of us don't live inside a Hunter S. Thompson novel, I'm going to have to disagree.

Disagree then, you fail to grasp the complexity of existence.

There are infinitely many universes out there.

and also infinitely many possible forms of creations:meaning cartoons maybe be real out there you don't know I don't no one one this planet knows.

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Morality is, in the final analysis, about right and wrong. It is about having a moral standard which applies both to oneself, and to all other people. To be moral one must not do what one WANTS to do, but instead what one feels is morally right. Therefore for morality to function at all, it must contain starkly drawn lines between "right" and "wrong".

 

If we believe that our course of action is moral, it is because we believe it to be morally right, instead of morally wrong. Therefore we believe that we know right from wrong, and that there is a clear distinction between the two. The moral ideal therefore, is to use reason and logic to determine what is morally right, and then go and do it.

 

However, we are human and therefore fallible. Someone may believe that what they are doing is morally right, but they may be incorrect. This does NOT mean that morals are in some way "subjective". It just means that when a person who considers themselves to be moral does something immoral, they got it wrong.

 

Therefore morality is an absolute. There is a right way to do things, and a wrong way. A moral way, and an immoral way.

 

But our execution of morality may be flawed. Our "rating" of morality as individuals is limited by our ability to determine right from wrong, in short, our reasoning ability, our capacity for logic, our capacity to put ourselves in the shoes of others, our sheer intelligence and empathy.

 

Morals are not relative. Some people are better at being moral than others, that's all. ;)

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I'm just curious, AL: Where is this moral standard supposed to come from? Who determines what is moral and what is not? What one person thinks is moral, others will not and so on, so what is the absolute standard?

 

I hope this didn't sound sarcastic or otherwise derogatory, because that's not my intention. :)

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Originally Posted by Qliveur:

I'm just curious, AL: Where is this moral standard supposed to come from?

I'm glad you asked. Morality first starts with empathy. I will explain:

 

People have claimed that morality is based on not doing anything to others that you wouldn't want done to yourself. This is incorrect. It is insufficient, and subjective. A masochist doesn't mind pain, because he likes pain. But it's clearly not right on that basis for him to go around inflicting pain on others, because they won't like it the way he does.

 

So we start, not with "do unto others as you would have them do unto you", which is subjective. Instead, we start with the quality of empathy, which you will possess if you are not a psychopath. It is the ability to put yourself in the shoes of another, and to realise that others feel pain and distress just as you do.

 

So empathy shows us that people other than ourselves have feelings. Then we mix the "do unto others" principle with our innate empathy, and we get... "Every organism feels distress, just as we do. Therefore, we must not inflict anything onto other organisms that causes them distress, unless absolutely necessary for our own self preservation". (I have a right to live, too.)

 

Thus, through the quality of empathy, we arrive at the first basic principles of morality. That others have as much value as we do. That we all feel distress.

 

In short, morality stems from empathy.

 

Originally Posted by Qliveur:

Who determines what is moral and what is not?

Ah, no "person" determines what is moral, morality is an absolute, independent of individual opinion. I will explain:

 

We started with empathy, the desire not to inflict distress on others, and the universal value of life.

 

But now, in order to define what is SPECIFICALLY MORAL, we must use our reasoning power, and logic. Remember, this isn't about "creating" our own morality, it's about uncovering the truth that already exists independent of us.

 

My logic tells me that in order to behave morally towards another lifeform, I have to first determine what will cause it distress. Then, I must not do such things.

 

If I am already causing a lifeform distress by accident, I must determine what it is that I am doing that is causing the distress, and desist from that action.

 

If I have caused distress in the past, I must make what reparations I can.

 

For all animals the basic stuff is easy. Don't wound, don't frighten, don't kill. Don't steal their stuff, don't threaten them, don't cause distress, in other words.

 

Let's take an issue like abortion. In order to behave morally to the foetus, ideally we would have a method of determining on a case-by-case basis whether the foetus can feel pain and distress. From that point on, we would not abort. But in order to behave morally to the mother who doesn't want to have a child, we should abort before that critical time.

 

However, case-by-case tests are not currently available, so as moral people we look to experts to give us a rough time frame in which we can act.

 

That's functional morality. We use our reason and logic to determine the most empathic way to act, and then we do it.

 

But as I said before, we are limited in our perception of morality by our intellectual limits. If we're unable to reason out the truth, then we will be immoral unintentionally. Thus the moral man exercises his reasoning faculties regularly, so that he can always do the very best he can.

 

Originally Posted by Qliveur:

What one person thinks is moral, others will not and so on, so what is the absolute standard?

What individuals think is irrelevant. Morality is an absolute. But we as humans are fallible and may, as I stated earlier, sometimes accidentally do the wrong thing. But it's up to us to always TRY to do the right thing. That too, is basic morality.
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The very flippant answer for the moment because I had a long weekend of meetings, hanging out with friends til nearly 3am this morning, and a little too much imbibing on Friday night in Memphis while enjoying fabulous BBQ and Blues (Beale St. rocks!):

 

Let's see. I decide to embrace moral relativism. Then I decide to enjoy hot puppies sauteed in a warm caramel sauce. Cruelty to animals? Naw, it's 'right' for me, and who are you to say any different?

 

I feel like cleaving spoiled little brats in 2 with a greatsword because they annoy me. Right for me? Sure! Wrong for you? Who cares! Moral relativism FTW!

 

A more serious and far weightier argument later after some sleep and a return to sanity....

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Pretty basic. There's things that are morally wrong (sex outside of marrige for example) but if you're not hurting anyone I really couldn't give a stuff. No actually that's not quite true, I think for example women shouldn't be portrayed the way they are or feel they should portray themselves the way the media says to, but it's their choice whether or not to do so. If your actions hurt people however then it's something that needs to be addressed, and deliberately setting out to harm others is a line you never want to cross. There are times when that's justified though, a good example is my 'should the Jews be wiped out' thread that made people tackle the issue of anti semitism head on, but any premeditated move to hurt others in my opinion is to be met with a swift and decisive response.

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^^^

No way. Tell me you did NOT start a thread on that subject. I did a forum search and didn't find it. Surely you jest. Unless you're talking about the Holocaust thread that digressed into a comparison of Stalin and Hitler, and didn't involve the question of whether or not the Jews should be exterminated.

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Nup. And yeah, people reacted a lot worse than you did. It was in reply to all the bull**** the Jews cop and intended to get the issue out in the open, as people even here were advocating the removal of the Jews and the elimination of Israel. What happened was I was branded worse than Hitler, and still am to this day, and people got banned because they wouldn't stop attacking me on the topic. Yeah, it was provocative, it was meant to be, and it was done in support of the Jews. You can find the thread, edited because of the flame war, here and several related threads here and here.

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I've gotta see this. I'm checking it out now.

 

EDIT: DAAAMN, that's a lot of reading! I didn't even begin to read it all, but I got the gist of why you posted a thread with such an inflammatory title. Chaos in the making can be cool to watch.

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Then I decide to enjoy hot puppies sauteed in a warm caramel sauce. Cruelty to animals? Naw, it's 'right' for me, and who are you to say any different?

 

Well, in some cultures eating puppies is just as acceptable as eating cows. And in some other ones, eating cows is worse than puppies. It's a matter of perspective.

 

That's an example of moral relativism for you. People around the world are extremely different, and there can't be universal standards that apply to all.

 

I await the day there will, but I'll be dust by then.

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I've gotta see this. I'm checking it out now.

 

EDIT: DAAAMN, that's a lot of reading! I didn't even begin to read it all, but I got the gist of why you posted a thread with such an inflammatory title. Chaos in the making can be cool to watch.

 

Well...more like Revan waging war on the Republic so they can be prepared to face the true theat she knew was coming.

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Well, in some cultures eating puppies is just as acceptable as eating cows. And in some other ones, eating cows is worse than puppies. It's a matter of perspective.

 

I was talking about sauteing them live, rather like Hannibal did with that one guy. (altogether now, Eeeuuuwww, Jae! That's sick and wrong!)

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