The Nightstar Zoo

Nightstar IRC Network - irc.nightstar.net
It is currently Mon Nov 20, 2017 6:42 am

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 10 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Evangelizing Ethics
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 11:44 am 
Probably my biggest pet peeve in ethical discussions is the classic "don't force your beliefs on other people" line and all of its varients, without any indication that the speaker of the line realizes he is forcing a belief when he says that.

In past usually when a moment like this would occur I would try to point out the contradiction. And usually tempers would flare, and they would refuse to try to defend their position.

The problem came when I find myself wanting to appeal to the line I so thoroughly loathed, yet I could not be intellectually honest with myself and use it. So I sought a way to be able to use the idea and be consistent.

Now, when studying some work on problems facing the philosophy of mathematics in the early 20th century, I reread the problem they faced with predication, particularly the problems with the idea of impredicability. Basically, if you say something is impredicatable, you have predicated it, and thus you have a contradiction.

The solution came with the theory of types, and that there are types of predication. And thus in a given level impredicatability can be applied without any problems to lower type of predication.

How does this apply to ethics?

Make standard ethical systems a set of one type. And make the claim "Don't force ehtical beliefs" an ethical view of a higher type. So, the contradiction ceases to be.

That sound reasonable?


Top
  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 11:48 am 
Offline
Vorpal Bunny Slipper
Vorpal Bunny Slipper

Joined: Sun May 12, 2002 2:54 am
Posts: 2707
If it helps you sleep at night.

Perhaps a better method to reconcile this would be to make a distinction between "force" and "suggest".

_________________
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.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 11:56 am 
That would change the difference in degree, not really the kind, and I think the same problems would occur.


Top
  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 1:27 pm 
I don't think this applies as it does to mathematics. Look over that post again. It seems to me as if you're trying to justify saying something that you find contradictory.

Like Jer, I don't find it contradictory. "Don't force your views on other people" is indeed a suggestion.

As to why the same problems would occur... how? Suggesting that someone not force another person to do something is not a contradiction. Forcing someone to not force another person to do something is the situation you're describing.


Last edited by Raif on Mon Feb 16, 2004 2:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Top
  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 1:51 pm 
I think you mean Jer, not Gerald :P

I'm considering the possibility that eventually you will reach a situation where someone will try to invoke a "Don't give suggestions" sentiment. The reason they are similiar is because both are purposing normative claims with the unstated assumption that one set is superior to another set.

Is it just a suggestion? I would say that one need only to look into political discussions to find the time and place when it stops being a suggestion and becomes something a bit stronger.


Top
  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 2:13 pm 
Gerald wrote:
I think you mean Jer, not Gerald :P

Fixed. You two need less phonetically similar names. :)

Quote:
I'm considering the possibility that eventually you will reach a situation where someone will try to invoke a "Don't give suggestions" sentiment. The reason they are similiar is because both are purposing normative claims with the unstated assumption that one set is superior to another set.

My bike may be superior to yours, and I may say so. That doesn't mean I'm commanding you to buy one.

Quote:
Is it just a suggestion? I would say that one need only to look into political discussions to find the time and place when it stops being a suggestion and becomes something a bit stronger.

A strongly-worded suggestion is still a suggestion. The only case where it could be more than a suggestion is if there were rules created or invoked to force the person to either take the suggestion or, for instance, get banned from the board. I can't think of any such examples, currently.

Every time you hear someone say "There Oughtta Be a Law," that's when it's an attempt at force. (Note: It remains an attempt unless it gets passed. My third eye tells me someone will bring that up.)


Top
  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 2:20 pm 
Say we're dealing with government, and we're dealing with the issue of homosexual marriage. And the quote, unquote conservatives want to keep the image of marriage as being strictly applied to heterosexual couples.

Or say abortion. Or cloning. Or any issue that there are moral viewpoints tied up strongly in the debate.

Somewhere, someone is going to make the "Don't force beliefs" appeal. And from my PoV when it comes to governmental decisions the "Don't force beliefs" does not operate as being a suggestion but as being a restriction: overall, one is not allowed to make policy that would force a belief. Therefore, that particular belief is more or less forced on him.


Top
  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 2:26 pm 
Even then, the person who wants the restricting belief still believes it. In the example you give they don't even really have to acknowledge that the other side exists.

Be careful to remember the distinction between thought and action, belief and behavior.


Top
  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 2:34 pm 
I think you're reasonable. Some ethical rules are well worth forcing on others - like "don't murder" - while others are mere conventions and don't necessarily apply to other people, times, or places - like "don't walk around naked".

Which brings the problem to distinguishing the two. Good luck.


Top
  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Feb 16, 2004 2:52 pm 
Once again: Distinguish action and belief.

Murder and nudity are both actions. Nudism is a belief, and there is absolutely no law forcing you to not believe in it. Furthermore, nudists have places where they can perform the action of being nude unrestricted.

Before you cite me on the marriage example, it's also important to distinguish between laws that govern all of the population and laws that restrict only part of it (anti-gay marriage laws restrict only a portion).


Top
  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 10 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group