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 Post subject: Ethics
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2004 12:34 am 
So, what is the basis of ethical behavior in society?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2004 12:51 am 
Okay, here's some quick, fever-induced ideas.

1. If we were being precise, ethics != morals. But for here, I think we're safe to use them interchangably.

2. For those just coming in, a thread from over on the Voice and the Snake forum.

3. Interesting article on Biological Basis of Morality vs. a transcendental view of things.

4. An answer that begs the question... they're conventions.

Now, where do the conventions come from, different story.

5. Transcendental answer -- morals are innate, a priori concepts. Now, most if not all religious viewpoints are going to be Transcendental, but you can be a secular Transcendentalist, like Kant. Now, one thing to note about that one... his moral philosophy is founded in his epistemology and metaphysics, so its not like its coming out of nowhere.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 15, 2004 1:38 am 
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Vorpal Bunny Slipper
Vorpal Bunny Slipper

Joined: Sun May 12, 2002 2:54 am
Posts: 2707
Instincts that evolved to foster beneficial interaction and provide social cohesion in social animals + conventions developed by society as the best ways to keep the society functioning as best as it could.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 4:45 am 
I'm not sure that instincts enter into a discussion about morality and/or ethics.
I'm more of the view that morality and ethics are what happens when one rises above instinsts.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 7:14 am 
So what happens when ethics themselves become instincts? You do the "right" thing without thinking about it... are they still ethics, or are they habits?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 10:08 am 
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Vorpal Bunny Slipper
Vorpal Bunny Slipper

Joined: Sun May 12, 2002 2:54 am
Posts: 2707
What makes you say empathy and emotions aren't instincts?

_________________
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, grab es tief unten im Keller ein.
Später dann graben es andere aus, und nennen dein Haus das Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, leg auch ihre weißen Schädel hinein.
Mit Beton gießt du es aus, das Fundament vom Knochenhaus.
Scharr, scharr, verscharr das Gebein, da ist noch Platz, da paßt noch wer rein.
Hier tobte sich der Teufel aus, unten im Keller im Knochenhaus.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 1:45 pm 
What makes you think I said that?

I didn't take that route because the way Pronto phrased that suggests to me that he doesn't consider satisfying your empathy the same as ethics. Honestly, neither do I. I don't think there was any suggestion that empathy wasn't an instinct, however.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 5:37 pm 
Raif wrote:
So what happens when ethics themselves become instincts? You do the "right" thing without thinking about it... are they still ethics, or are they habits?


I'd call that a habit, not a true "instinct". True instincts are built into the brain.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 5:42 pm 
If that's the case, what are our most commonly accepted ethics but traditional habits? :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 5:45 pm 
What's built into the brain and what's not?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 6:19 pm 
How is that relevant to the above question?

We've already defined instinct as nature, habit as nurture.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 8:41 pm 
Raif wrote:
How is that relevant to the above question?

We've already defined instinct as nature, habit as nurture.


What the man is asking, and I'd like to knwo, too, is how do you draw a line between them?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 9:35 pm 
I'll get back to that in a second. I really would like an answer to this, though:
Raif wrote:
If that's the case, what are our most commonly accepted ethics but traditional habits?

Pronto wrote:
I'm not sure that instincts enter into a discussion about morality and/or ethics.
I'm more of the view that morality and ethics are what happens when one rises above instinsts.

Gwalla distinguished between habit and instinct. Now, if you're putting forth that habit and instinct can be the same thing (or close enough to be indistinguishable), then my question still applies. If something is ethical, yet becomes habit and you stop thinking about it consciously, is it still an ethic? Or is it merely habit?

Pronto wrote:
What the man is asking, and I'd like to knwo, too, is how do you draw a line between them?

The short answer to your question would be that instinct would be those things you do naturally without having learned the behavior, while habit is a behavior you do naturally because you've learned it through repetition. Generally the latter would need to first be prompted by some experience. However, with most things, the line would blur.

Example: If you have always avoided stealing without being prompted to do so, that'd almost certainly be instinct. If you have always avoided stealing because you were punished the first time you stole, that'd be habit.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 10:10 pm 
It is ethical to do what is best for others, from their perspectives. If you do something that you would like, but the person whom it is being done to does not, that is not ethical!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 11:07 pm 
Then by your reasoning it's unethical to take care of an alzheimer's patient (who are often both unaware of the situation and difficult to get to cooperate). It's also, apparently, unethical to punish criminals, ask payment from someone who owes you money, and fire employees who don't work. Go figger.


Last edited by Raif on Mon Feb 16, 2004 11:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 11:18 pm 
That's not what I meant. What I meant is, what they see as good for themselves, within the boundaries of their own moral perspective.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 11:19 pm 
Are you defining "Themselves" as the receiver? In that case:

Children have very little moral perspective. Is it wrong to repremand them for doing something they shouldn't? Is it wrong to try and teach them morals? They don't generally like that. In fact, many kids are of the opinion that anything they want to do they should be allowed to. Is it wrong to restrict them from that?

Furthermore, you seem to suggest that it could be wrong to not beat a homosexual to death with a fundamentalist christian. Refusing to do so is against the fundie's morals, and he doesn't like it.

For a more clear cut example along the same lines, is it wrong to deal with a mouse infestation in the presence of a strict vegan never-kill-an-animal type? The vegan doesn't like it, and it's against their moral point of view.

If "Themselves" means the doer, anything they consider moral, whether or not I do, is moral? Are you describing relativism?


Last edited by Raif on Mon Feb 16, 2004 11:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 11:25 pm 
Moral perspective is not the same as moral compass. Moral perspective is the frame of reference from which that person's morals in themselves can be determined to influence the morals of those around him/her. Moral compass is what the person percieves as morals, even if it damages the surrounding people. This is not to say that your morals should be taken into account by your morals; this only stretches to when others are harmed.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 11:27 pm 
Define harm.

Moreover, what kind of "frame of reference" is this? Is it universal? Or is it from the point of view of the holder of said morals? Could you rephrase this definition of moral perspective so that it's more clear?


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