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PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2004 7:36 am 
Question: Is it so much that in some cultures killing is acceptable and others it is not, or is it more of a matter than across the board there is a belief in "Do not kill without just cause", and the problem of that matter is what constitutes "just cause"?


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2004 8:18 am 
Gerald wrote:
Question: Is it so much that in some cultures killing is acceptable and others it is not, or is it more of a matter than across the board there is a belief in "Do not kill without just cause", and the problem of that matter is what constitutes "just cause"?


That, and "who does the rule apply to". There were laws against murder in every bloodthirsty dictatorship...They just weren't applied uniformly.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2004 8:38 am 
Real-world example:

...For those of you who support that ethics are relative...

...are you willing to concede that people who think that George W. Bush does good as President are right, and that you can't make a judgement call because the definition of good is relative?

...are you willing to concede that evangelical Christians who wish for the schools to only teach Creationism are not any more wrong than those who only want to teach evolution?

Also, if you say that things are relative, then there's no reason to accept rationality or logic as being universely seen as good.

Are totalitarian regimes okay, since the value people place on freedom and human rights are relative?


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2004 8:42 am 
sun tzu wrote:
Gerald wrote:
Question: Is it so much that in some cultures killing is acceptable and others it is not, or is it more of a matter than across the board there is a belief in "Do not kill without just cause", and the problem of that matter is what constitutes "just cause"?


That, and "who does the rule apply to". There were laws against murder in every bloodthirsty dictatorship...They just weren't applied uniformly.


Of course, we can go back to the beginning to the difference between cultural and ethical relativism. Just because different people/cultures have these different values doesn't mean that they are all equally "true."

I'm willing to say that at least one group is deeply misguided. It's another question to explain the how's and why's, and who is closest to the correct answer (if anyone).

Also..

Dr. Kelly Smith wrote:
How to be an absolutist without getting beaten up:

An absolutist is the opposite of a relativist – he’s someone who thinks there are objective rights and wrongs in ethics. Another thing which makes people sympathetic to relativism is that we all know an absolutist who is a really annoying jerk. But there are different kinds of absolutists and you should be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Here are some of the possibilities, arranged roughly in descending order of irritation coefficient:

a) The know it all fascist. This is someone who thinks that, not only is there a right and wrong in ethics, he knows precisely what it is. Moreover, he wants to force everyone to adopt his views and will not tolerate opposition. This is the kind of thing one sees occasionally from, say, right wing religious zealots. It can be extremely irritating indeed.

b) The tolerant know it all: Here we have someone who thinks there is a right answer and thinks he has it, but is not especially interested in forcing others to think as he does. He will argue with you if you wish, but is perfectly content to let you believe otherwise unless some really important ethical principle is at stake.

c) The ethical scientist: Here is someone who believes there must be a right answer to ethical questions because he understands the dangers of relativism. Moreover, he believes he has thought about ethics enough to have some really good hypotheses about what some of these answers are. However, he realizes this is all very complicated and is willing to admit he does not have all the answers and that even his most favorite positions might ultimately turn out to be misguided.

d) The deep structure ethicist: This is someone who believes that all, or at least most, ethical beliefs share a common structure. That is, there is a common framework shared by all ethical systems, but we don’t see this because we are blinded by all the details in which systems vary. For example, he might say that all societies in all times have rules that say “You can not kill without just cause”, it’s just that different societies have different ways to spell out what constitutes “just cause”. Some modern theologians make this sort of move when it comes to different religions – they are all talking about the same basic entity (God), just in different terms, etc. This is also a bit like Noam Chomsky’s theories of “deep structure” of language, if you are interested.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 28, 2004 2:14 pm 
mm...I'd be a mix of B and C. ;)

D sounds like it's edging over into relativist territory, though.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 1:51 pm 
I hate A.
B is nice, but seems like someone who thinks himself as better
I totally dig C.
And D is a nitpicker IMO.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 3:44 pm 
Gerald, you're going about this all wrong. Rather than debating the absoluteness or relativeness of good and evil, first demonstrate the existance of good and evil.
I'll let you take a shot at that. Then I'll point out where you went wrong. :)
It's common mistake, it's based on something that almost everyone wrongly assumes to be fact.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2004 8:24 pm 
I'd like to think I am a C character.

However, defining good and evil is rough. Mostly because evil is doing something that is morally wrong, which begs the question of what set of morals we're dealing with.

What's evil in one culture could theoretically be accepted behavior somewhere else.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2004 1:36 am 
It amounts to the same thing, Pronto. Just formulated differently. Barely.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2004 4:37 am 
IMO, that definition will depend on the cultural background (As Ford pointed out) you had. Probably mixed with experience from yourself.

So I don`t think you could produce a straightforward defintion of good or evil.

Off course I could be horribly wrong.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2004 8:55 am 
Ishidan wrote:
Then consider: if a pattern of behavior was truly innate, you would not have to be told about it, much less have it clarified by verbal instruction. Violating it would not need to be classed and punished as a violation against God or State, because being innate, it cannot be violated or modified. In fact, you would not even know you had it


Just because the theoretical conscience is innate, rather than culture-taught, doesn’t mean that instruction is unnecessary. Assume the Judeo-Christian ethical system is correct and any man with reason could arrive at it, for the moment. It would still take time and it is possible that reason would be supplanted by some early trauma taking place before the man followed the thought to its logical conclusion. I mean, ethics is kind of complicated, isn’t it?

Is it alright to do this? Why? Because A. Why A? So on and so forth…but if people have already completed the logic chains, why not let other people read it and judge for themselves? It’s quicker.

Why not use referrals, if you can? It is possible to arrive, using only reason, at various scientific facts – I mean, that’s what most scientists did – but we still teach it at schools so everyone knows relevant facts rather than having than having people commit the same mistake over and over again.

Also, I guess it is possible we are crossing wires on what ‘innate’ means. I mean it as natural tendencies. But not as instinct. It needs to be developed. Like, innate intelligence, or an innate aptitude for math. And for example: it’s innate for people to dislike hurting themselves, but later they will do so or override the urge to avoid it, for other reasons. So, for me and what I mean by innate, it is possible to violate innate behavior patterns. So, if it is possible to override it, then it might be important to reinforce it by teachings.

I can see things not being condemned as they were here, but I do think that things we consider ‘evil’ being ‘good’ is not the same as being tolerated or practiced. Duelling may have been popular, but someone who went around indiscriminately killing for no reason would still have been kinda looked at askance, right? Rape was okay, in certain societies, but it was not virtuous, was it? I dunno, perhaps it was, but AFAIK it isn’t.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2004 9:19 pm 
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WingsOver wrote:
Assume the Judeo-Christian ethical system is correct and any man with reason could arrive at it, for the moment. It would still take time and it is possible that reason would be supplanted by some early trauma taking place before the man followed the thought to its logical conclusion...Is it alright to do this? Why? Because A. Why A? So on and so forth…but if people have already completed the logic chains, why not let other people read it and judge for themselves? It’s quicker.


No. 1, you commit a begging-the-question error. You start with the assumption that what you are trying to prove is correct (your ethical system), and work that into the framework of your proof.

No. 2. If it takes time to learn, it is not innate. If there are alternate logic chains that may be followed (which clearly there are, otherwise, you've just managed to insult every religion on Earth that is not Judeo-Christian, claiming them to be merely the product of a trauma), it is not innate. It is situational.

No. 3, you forget that teaching can go in all directions, which in turn negates your concept. Earlier, I dismissed discussion of war. I shall return to it now to demonstrate ethical modification through teaching.

One major part of training a soldier is to instill into the person that:
1. Orders from your superiors are to be obeyed. This is not necessarily "respect your elders": a 25 year old fresh-out-of-the academy Lieutenant has the authority to order around a 40 year old First Sarge.
2. Killing other humans is your job--but only ones you're told to kill. You WILL get punished for killing somebody at random.

I stopped reading your post after that part, sorry.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 07, 2004 1:18 pm 
Ishidan, I think you missed the point of her post, mostly by the point at which you decided to quote thread it.

Ishidan wrote:
No. 1, you commit a begging-the-question error. You start with the assumption that what you are trying to prove is correct (your ethical system), and work that into the framework of your proof.


She didn't say that an individual starts off with the assumption that the belief structure is correct. She said that assume the assumption is correct, and that over time people would come to that conclusion. If the usage of Judeo-Christian ethical system in the example is insufferable, replace it with "Theory of Evolution." Assume the Theory of Evolution is true, and that, over time, people will come to the conclusion that it is true. Also, I would make an appeal to a positivist approach: you being with the logicial construction of a framework, and you evaluate the world based on the structure of the framework.

Ishidan wrote:
No. 2. If it takes time to learn, it is not innate. If there are alternate logic chains that may be followed (which clearly there are, otherwise, you've just managed to insult every religion on Earth that is not Judeo-Christian, claiming them to be merely the product of a trauma), it is not innate. It is situational.


What about a priori ideas?

Or good old fashioned Platonism?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 10, 2004 10:39 pm 
Hmm. I think you just lost me. Are you suggesting that systems of belief are "a priori" in that you can come to believe in them by thinking about it (like 2 + 2 = 4 to quote the Wikipedia?) I thought you were agnostic. :?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2004 1:30 pm 
Madcat wrote:
Hmm. I think you just lost me. Are you suggesting that systems of belief are "a priori" in that you can come to believe in them by thinking about it (like 2 + 2 = 4 to quote the Wikipedia?) I thought you were agnostic. :?


It's very possible to have a secular yet trascendental world view.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2004 3:27 pm 
You know, these last few posts make a LOT more sense after the ingestion of much cough syrup. Try it and see.


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