Moral absolutism

pikatore

Registered Member
#1
I've been back and forth in another thread about whether or not morals naturally associate with an action or idea.

I think that different societies/people defines thier morals and draw different lines on different things, showing that morality is fluid.

Your thoughts?
 

ExpectantlyIronic

e̳̳̺͕ͬ̓̑̂ͮͦͣ͒͒h̙ͦ̔͂?̅̂ ̾͗̑
#2
Even naturalistic ethical absolutism seems to hinge on an anthropomorphization of nature. What would it mean for ethics to be absolute if not that nature itself holds some opinion on such matters?
 
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pikatore

Registered Member
#3
I think that certain morals are commonly held because of thier neccesity for a successful population growth. Killing each other on a whim is discouraged, ultimately not because God said so, but because it is rather pointless and detremental to our future success. It's built in. Morals don't have to have God's blessing to be popular.
 

ExpectantlyIronic

e̳̳̺͕ͬ̓̑̂ͮͦͣ͒͒h̙ͦ̔͂?̅̂ ̾͗̑
#4
Here's an interesting question I just thought up: what are ethics absent language? If we say that murder is wrong even when that proposition cannot be expressed--due perhaps to murder causing harm--aren't we guilty of equivocation? To consider what is wrong to be that which causes harm is to assume an ethical stance, but what in nature suggests we should take that stance?

It would also seem that if the two terms ('wrong' and 'harmful') indicate the same thing, then we could eliminate our use of the term 'wrong' altogether, as it simply suggests 'causing harm'. Now if we're just pointing out that murder causes harm, without also suggesting that it is wrong, are we making an ethical statement? Which brings us back to the question of what ethics are absent language.


Edit: I suddenly understand what G.E. Moore meant when he said we can't reduce talk of 'good' to talk of something else. Terms like 'wrong' or 'good' suggest personal feelings concerning something, and don't simply convey something like 'helpful', 'harmful', or whatnot.
 
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pikatore

Registered Member
#6
Care to define "built in"? Even the animals kill each other on whim's so the term "instinct" wouldn't work here either. ;)
To humans, it is built in. We are social animals, we have a strong tendency to collect together in groups, thus we develop these basic rules of thumb that allow us to on the very basic of levels, maximise the benefit of being in a group.

Lions, for example, are different in thier social makeup. A male lion will preside over multiple females, and selfishly guard them against any potential rivals. A lion that challenges and kills another lion that leads a pride will tend to commit infanticide, and kill all cubs so that his genes are definetely going to be passed on.

However, many species of birds will have multiple partners, and will collect thier young with other young in the community, and practice more altruistic behaviors towards each other, one being taking care of and protecting other birds' young.

Even animals behave intrinsically in very different ways, due to that way that they have evolved to interact with each other.
 

Kazmarov

For a Free Scotland
#7
I think you could say that any absolute morality is rooted in whatever is evolutionarily necessary for progress in a society.

However, biological evolution, as I have said, in a large part stops at consciousness. We are self-destructive, we help the weak rather than let them perish, and different societies form different ideas about crime, taboo, and ethics.

Killing is bad. But there is no consensus as to how bad. Some people think murderers should be killed, others think they should live in prison forever, some think they should be rehabilitated and released. In old Scandinavia, fines were paid for killing rather than a more formalized punishment.

I think in order for a point of morality to be "absolute", it has to be hopelessly broad.
 

ExpectantlyIronic

e̳̳̺͕ͬ̓̑̂ͮͦͣ͒͒h̙ͦ̔͂?̅̂ ̾͗̑
#8
Kazmarov said:
However, biological evolution, as I have said, in a large part stops at consciousness. We are self-destructive, we help the weak rather than let them perish, and different societies form different ideas about crime, taboo, and ethics.
That seems to conflict with recent evidence that suggests humans are evolving faster due to the size of our population. More people means more mutations. Furthermore, I'm not sure how consciousness is even a factor here. After all, hummingbirds may very well be conscious for all we know.

We do not thwart evolution by helping people to survive to pass on their genes. Those creatures which are selected for by natural selection (and thus 'strong') are those that survive and reproduce, and which creatures will do so depends largely on environmental circumstances.

If environmental circumstances are such that a person you'd consider to be weak survives, then it is not because evolution has somehow been thwarted, but rather because your idea of 'weakness' does not align with that of nature (which really has no such ideas, of course).
 

Doc

Trust me, I'm The Doctor.
V.I.P.
#9
I think that morals drive the decision making process, but there's more factors than just morals. What about common sense, feelings, and self-preservation?

Morality is easily fluid. Each country and culture, all the way down the the singular person is going to have different morals and values. It all comes down to how you were raised and what you choose to believe.
 

kittykate789

Registered Member
#10
Absolutism seems irrelevant in a world with so many cultures and belief systems. There seems to be hardly any completely cross-cultural rules except that causing pain to others is wrong in the most general sense. Its impossible to say that morality is either completely absolute or completely relative, but the question I think is where we can draw the line. For instance, Female Genital Mutilation is horrific, yet completely acceptable in many cultures, so can we condemn it?