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#12788 - 10/17/08 11:26 AM Universality principle, moral subjectivity and YOU
Dan_Dread Offline
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Moral subjectivity vs moral objectivity , in our society, is invariably a debate that becomes mutually exclusive to the debate between 'Atheism' and creationism. 'God makes the laws!' cries the religionist. Without HIM there is no right and wrong! Of course, this is a point that can be hard to contend with. After all,if there is no objective law giver, how can there be objective morals? Isn't every persons moral boundaries different?

This of course opens the door to ridiculous scenarios like 'since person X likes to kill babies, killing babies is 'right' for person X'. Moral subjectivity in this sense becomes an easy target for the apologist, and it is actually hard to disagree with them. Once you have accepted moral subjectivity you have accepted that any action is as moral as any other, which usually leads the rational non theist to completely throw out the idea of morality.

The problem I see is that morality is quite beneficial to a gainful society. I don't want to have to be in a constant state of preparedness of attack or theft or worse. And I'm not. I have no real reason to be. Where I live, acts of violence are fairly rare. My home has never been vandalized or broken into.

One may conclude that there must be a strong external force here, exerting their view on morality and keeping people in line. Maybe a really strong church influence? Oddly enough the opposite is true. in fact, studies show that in places/groups where religion is the most prevalent, crime is also higher.

So surely it must be a threat of punishment that keeps the people in line? I would hardly think so. Police are seen rarely.

In fact, looking around the earth people mostly live in peace with each other, and for the most part, regardless of religion or government mandate, an overwhelming percentage of us agree on most key issues of what constitutes 'good/evil/right/wrong' Where would one go to find a place that 'murder/rape/theft' were not demonized on some level? If there is no law giver mandating these things, where does this agreeance come from?

My theory is the universality principle. Even though there are no truly 'universal' rules governing the equity and inequity of the universe, within the context of Man, his biology, and his psychology, there is.

People are territorial. People desire self preservation. People dislike harm to their person(and their loved ones). These are three concepts that most (sane) individuals would agree to. If you accept this, a coherent and internally consistent 'universal' morality can begin to take shape.

I do not wish to be killed. Initiation of murder, therefore, is wrong. I do not with to have my hard earned things taken from me. Therefore, theft is wrong. I do not wish to be smashed with a blunt object, or be raped, or be scalded with acid, et al..therefore, initiation of harm is wrong. If you accept the Universality principle, much more than just this can flow from it.

This can only be taken as far as the same courtesies are given back, however;as a general rule of behavior. There will always be those 'evil' sorts that will live by the initiation of force, and they must always be met in kind!

And woe be to the fool that fucks with the wrong hombre.
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#13083 - 10/21/08 11:23 AM Re: Universality principle, moral subjectivity and YOU [Re: Dan_Dread]
Third-Side Offline
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Registered: 10/16/08
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Loc: Maine
I agree with your analysis, it would not have taken the "10 commandments" to figure out, what is right is right and what is wrong is wrong. Unfortunately the true nature of man has been poisoned by the plague of drug abuse and such, thus creating the Psychopathic/Sociopathic behaviors that run rampant throughout society.
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#13085 - 10/21/08 11:37 AM Re: Universality principle, moral subjectivity and YOU [Re: Dan_Dread]
Diavolo Offline
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Registered: 09/02/07
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 Quote:
So surely it must be a threat of punishment that keeps the people in line? I would hardly think so. Police are seen rarely.


This probably will say more than words:

Montreal's 'night of terror'

D.

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#13103 - 10/21/08 01:30 PM Re: Universality principle, moral subjectivity and YOU [Re: Diavolo]
Dan_Dread Offline
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Registered: 10/08/08
Posts: 3810
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
 Originally Posted By: Diavolo
 Quote:
So surely it must be a threat of punishment that keeps the people in line? I would hardly think so. Police are seen rarely.


This probably will say more than words:

Montreal's 'night of terror'

D.


This is interesting.

First, as I pointed out in our conversation in 'politics', yanking the tablecloth out and leaving a void is a very bad idea, as exemplified here.

Second, the fact that we can all watch this and see it as 'wrong' or 'bad' sort of cements my point.
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#13123 - 10/21/08 05:20 PM Re: Universality principle, moral subjectivity and YOU [Re: Dan_Dread]
Diavolo Offline
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I'll reply to the anarchy post later on, it'll take a bit of time.

I don't consider what happens in the movie as bad or wrong, it's just an example of human nature when control is gone. I didn't check it yet but I think there might be examples too from in LA, don't ask me what year hell broke loose there, and I never checked it but I'd sure would like to know how much effect the big blackout had on crime rate.
Another nice example of human nature when released of its control is a book upon Robespierre by I think Ruth Scurr (not sure here, book lies at my partner's and it is in Dutch, so the title can be anything). It sure shattered my romantic views on what happened there.

Add to that some former friends of mine that have had the fine freetime profession known here as 'hooligan' together with some of the more refined (that's sarcastic) environments I've dwelled in during my wild years and I can't come to another conclusion that many humans are only humans when put on a leash.

Mind you, I live in paradise compared to major cities so I can barely imagine the human condition there.

D.

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#13133 - 10/21/08 06:50 PM Re: Universality principle, moral subjectivity and YOU [Re: Diavolo]
Dan_Dread Offline
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Registered: 10/08/08
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Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Well, I am certainly not arguing against reality, I mean, humans are capable of pretty much anything you can give a name to, and some things you couldn't.
However, people are not murdering each other in the streets at the drop of a hat, the streets do not run red with blood.

It really boils down to empathy, which is just rational self interest by proxy.
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#14399 - 11/13/08 11:35 PM Re: Universality principle, moral subjectivity and [Re: Dan_Dread]
Lisa Offline
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Registered: 08/28/07
Posts: 7
Loc: Ontario / SK / Los Angeles
Not sure if this discussion when off into another thread, so I'll try here.

 Quote:
The problem I see is that morality is quite beneficial to a gainful society. I don't want to have to be in a constant state of preparedness of attack or theft or worse. And I'm not. I have no real reason to be. Where I live, acts of violence are fairly rare. My home has never been vandalized or broken into.


I tend to be more wary. Violence is apparently quite common where I live. Rape and vandalism are a gang initiation rite. There are places I don't go without an escort, or avoid completely if possible. I've had my home almost broken into and my car vandalized twice in front of my house, and I wouldn't consider it a bad area.

 Quote:
One may conclude that there must be a strong external force here, exerting their view on morality and keeping people in line.


Maybe it's luck or a currently good situation? Most violent situations I hear of seem quite... unexpected. Invite the wrong guy to a party, a gang dispute occurs, and innocent people get beaten or stabbed. Car trouble in the wrong area at the wrong time and you're attacked with a machete. It's not uncommon to hear of people going around smashing a line of car windows on a weekend. My neighborhood even had car tires slashed for no reason, out of the blue.

When I want to know the real news I listen to a police scanner, and even then there are violent encounters or close encounters you may never know occurred in your area. Ever notice it's becoming more common to not even know your neighbors?

 Quote:
In fact, looking around the earth people mostly live in peace with each other, and for the most part, regardless of religion or government mandate, an overwhelming percentage of us agree on most key issues of what constitutes 'good/evil/right/wrong'


I'm assuming 'mostly' excludes current war, current land disputes, cultural disputes, and an overall history that includes genocide, rape, enslavement and general murder. Without negative influences people seem to play nice. But given the right influence even the common Joe with a grasp of right and wrong can commit horrific crimes. There are studies about it. Some based on solders (who were generally good people) that committed war crimes. Like the Prison Guard study where students played guards and prisoners and weren't directed on how to act, and one where they successfully directed participants to electrocute a person they could only hear when they answered questions wrong. The participants showed distress but the majority continued to increase the voltage even after the actor screamed and pretended to be dead.

I think it's more important to realize that such behavior may not be a minority. There will always be influences that even with the best intentions provoke violent and unusual behavior from people that morally know better.

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#14426 - 11/14/08 04:43 PM Re: Universality principle, moral subjectivity and [Re: Lisa]
Dan_Dread Offline
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Registered: 10/08/08
Posts: 3810
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 Quote:

I'm assuming 'mostly' excludes current war, current land disputes, cultural disputes, and an overall history that includes genocide, rape, enslavement and general murder.

Well, yes. The things you named are overwhelmingly uncommon when compared to the vast widespread peaceful co-existence that is the normal state of human society.Admittedly, there is variation from culture to culture on the commonality of violence, coercion and crime(due, in my estimation, to memetic factors), but even in the most war torn and brutally lawless lands most people tend to gravitate towards peaceful co-existence.
 Quote:

I think it's more important to realize that such behavior may not be a minority.

Perhaps violent impulses, or the capacity for violence, is the norm. On that, in fact I would stake money. The fact that we have a cohesive society and generally peaceful existence tells a different story about what is the norm in the way of actions, however. Think about it. When you walk into a crowd, or out of your door in the morning, do you honestly fear for your life?
 Quote:

There will always be influences that even with the best intentions provoke violent and unusual behavior from people that morally know better.

Of course. I just think the influences keeping us in line are stronger.
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#33631 - 01/07/10 06:18 AM Re: Universality principle, moral subjectivity and YOU [Re: Dan_Dread]
Baron dHolbach Offline
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Registered: 12/29/09
Posts: 162
 Originally Posted By: Dan_Dread
The problem I see is that morality is quite beneficial to a gainful society. I don't want to have to be in a constant state of preparedness of attack or theft or worse. And I'm not. I have no real reason to be. Where I live, acts of violence are fairly rare. My home has never been vandalized or broken into.

One may conclude that there must be a strong external force here, exerting their view on morality and keeping people in line. Maybe a really strong church influence? Oddly enough the opposite is true. in fact, studies show that in places/groups where religion is the most prevalent, crime is also higher.


It seems to me that most people are kept in check by law, social pressure, and prudence. What most call morality is really just social pressure more or less internalized, with the Super Ego being the most internalized manifestation. Prudence and law intersect, of course, since it generally isn't prudent to commit criminal acts, but prudence also argues from the likelihood of retaliation from the potential victim.

The only real constraints I acknowledge any more are prudence, honor, and dignity, with honor being taken in the old sense closest to Japanese face, which means, of course, that honor and dignity intersect.

 Quote:
In fact, looking around the earth people mostly live in peace with each other, and for the most part, regardless of religion or government mandate, an overwhelming percentage of us agree on most key issues of what constitutes 'good/evil/right/wrong' Where would one go to find a place that 'murder/rape/theft' were not demonized on some level? If there is no law giver mandating these things, where does this agreeance come from?


Enlightened self-interest, I would think. What I don't want done to me, I am willing to turn into a law or social convention, so that I must in turn refrain from doing such to others. I accept the constraint on my impulses because that same constraint on the impulses of others is beneficial to me. Over time this all becomes automatic, habitual, instinctive.

 Quote:
My theory is the universality principle. Even though there are no truly 'universal' rules governing the equity and inequity of the universe, within the context of Man, his biology, and his psychology, there is.


I think certainly most humans are wired for prudence, susceptibility to social pressure, a tendency to submit to authority, and a desire to be left alone which engenders a willingness to leave others alone in pursuit of reciprocity. Since the foregoing seems sufficient to me to set in motion the processes of civilization, I no longer seek principles of morality, right and wrong, idealism, simply because I don't need them personally and don't need others to embrace them.

 Quote:
And woe be to the fool that fucks with the wrong hombre.


Indeed. Prudence.
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#33660 - 01/07/10 06:55 PM Re: Universality principle, moral subjectivity and YOU [Re: SkaffenAmtiskaw]
Dan_Dread Offline
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Registered: 10/08/08
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I think maybe you misunderstand me, Mah.

Firstly, when I talk about the universality of certain aspects of human ethics, I am speaking of wiring rather than social pressure or enforced conformity. I am not trying to draw a line between humans and animals so much as I am exploring the natural behavior of the human animal itself.
 Quote:

"I don't think anyone should rob me -> I won't rob anyone -> No one should rob anyone."

Religionists and hardline statists will both insist that people exist in a civilized fashion because of state or religious mandate, but I think your example is a good one for how people actually behave. It is something that functions on an individual level, something evolution has given us, rather than something dictated by outside pressures. Living successfully in groups/societies has always been benificial to our survival as a whole, so naturally the ones that have done it best, historically, have been the ones to dominate the gene pool.


Of course there are exceptions as there have always been. Survival is the highest law for any animal, and any animal will kill when it must, or do what it takes to eat when need be. But that is really here nor there.

You can talk about playing "house nigger" but really, if all the state imposed rules were removed, would you really behave any differently? Would you rape and kill left and right? Handle disputes differently? Deal with people differently?
I don't think I would.
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#33755 - 01/08/10 11:09 PM Re: Universality principle, moral subjectivity and YOU [Re: SkaffenAmtiskaw]
Dan_Dread Offline
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Mah. I didn't interpret any hostility in your post, nor did I intend any. We b homies :P

I just like to go straight for the point.

As for the meat and spuds,

'Rules' really require enforcement, I am not sure if this is the right word to be using. Peoples ethics are quite personal and individual, yet seem to be shared by 99% of the planet. The human animal moves and behaves within a spectrum that is quite narrow compared to what is possible, with few exceptions. We are all essentially clones of each other, and like any other animal we behave quite similarly to each other.

'Ethics' is really just the human animals mechanism for survival in groups, and certain principles seem to be universal among humans, regardless of society. I see this as strong evidence of inherent social predisposition.

The relationship of this to rational (or even irrational ;)) self interest and human behavior is another matter altogether. Something worthy of exploration to be sure.


Edited by Dan_Dread (01/08/10 11:12 PM)
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#33804 - 01/10/10 04:38 AM Re: Universality principle, moral subjectivity and YOU [Re: SkaffenAmtiskaw]
Baron dHolbach Offline
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Registered: 12/29/09
Posts: 162
 Originally Posted By: MawhrinSkel
The evolution of all animals is to a greater or lesser extent contingent upon their ability to coexist. Hence such laws of ethics must necessarily arise to regulate our behaviour, otherwise there'd be mayhem.

Evolving beyond it is another question...


Yes. Evolving beyond good and evil is what Nietzsche was striving for, and myself as well, perhaps most of us here on this forum.

Morality uncritically enthroned in the psyche's royal chambers has its energetic source in the fourth and fifth of the Nine Satanic Sins.

One of the Satanist's strongest motivators is to not be an ass. That psychic driver is most emphatically expressed in the Satanist's unwillingness to commit any of the Nine Satanic Sins. Thus the Satanist may jettison any internalization of what society says is right or wrong, purging its mental apparatus of the fourth and fifth of the nine, yet may still comply with society's laws and mores in order to avoid committing the first or the eighth of the nine.

Getting beyond good and evil is what happens when the Ego finally succeeds in making the Super Ego its bitch, which is what happens when the reality principle fully illuminates the morality principle in the shining light of skepticism, realism, pragmatism, and cynicism, the Ego's metaphorical four arms in its symbolic guise as Shiva the Destroyer. The Ego then takes the Id as its ally but never its master, cutting a swath through life with the sword of indulgence and the shield of prudence, undefiled wisdom having ground hypocritical self-deceit under its heel, and the most vicious animal of all having finally made a meal and a defecation of the last remaining spiritual pipe dreams, so that nothing remains in its body to sicken the vitality of its existence, and its lifelong hunting for whatever prey pleases it may finally be undertaken with undiluted cunning, because the Satanist has learned how not to be an ass.
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#33807 - 01/10/10 06:35 AM Re: Universality principle, moral subjectivity and YOU [Re: SkaffenAmtiskaw]
Doomsage680 Offline
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Registered: 10/01/09
Posts: 111
Loc: NJ, USA
If I may add an evolutionist perspective...
"such laws of ethics must necessarily arise to regulate our behaviour, otherwise there'd be mayhem."
This reminds me of Durkheim's sociology theory- if I am being quite accurate, that religion developed around totems, and that "primitive" peoples deified their values and rules in a special, sacred animal. This totem theoretically united them and gave them identity; different morals, like working together, not killing members of one's own tribe, and respecting authority developed and were maintained by religion.
While Durkheim's theory may be quite valid in many ways, it ignored two important things- one is that it is not based on real evidence of "primitive peoples" and anthropologists who have spent time with tribes report many differences. The other is that this theory doesn't account for the likelihood of our primate ancestors developing strong and complex social groups before evolving into the homo sapiens we are today.

What I'm trying to say is that our morals and ethics, even social contracts, existed before we were even fully human. It is interesting to consider that the rules that helped us survive and maintain some sort of order that was beneficial enough to enough participants might have began as primates.
I agree with you, Mawhrinskel, that survival depends on successful co-existence, though I would say that rather than mayhem, there would simply be death for anything that couldn't co-exist. It would either be excluded by those more prone to groups(and thusly not survive), or it would be killed. There was never a chance for there to be mayhem with a lack of ethics, because they existed in some form before we did.
This leads to one last remark.
In a sort of Machiavellian/social darwinist sense, humans evolved to have diverse personalities for a reason. I've read somewhere that it's beneficial to our species as a whole that there are individualists, to lead and create new necessary ideas (and to deviate from the norm so we may progress), there's those who respect authority and like to follow rules and procedures (so things go smoothly), and there's some others as well who add to the mix.

Our sense of "right and wrong", morals, and ethics, was what allowed us to survive. Nowadays, we don't usually die or lose necessary group membership by breaking social norms, but they still can have dramatic or serious consequences. It seems universal to human nature to place significance in social rules. Everyone has preferences that they like to respect and see respected; the advantage of the satanist is realizing this and disregarding ethics when is suits them. Further, it is to our advantage that others won't break the rules, and can be relied upon to act predictably. In a world of mediocrity and conformity, the last thing a satanist is, is surprised.
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