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Morality Discussion


The debate is finished. The distribution of the voting points and the winner are presented below.

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After 3 votes and with 16 points ahead, the winner is...

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Three days
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I'm not aiming for a full on debate here, but rather a back and forth discussion about the possibilities of morality. If it turns into a debate, that's cool too.

I will dip my toes into the water by stating that I will be advocating for Moral Particularism and I will define some terms.

Morals (noun) = Values by which one judges something to be moral or immoral.
Moral (adjective) = A judgement that something coheres with a moral value.
Immoral (adjective) = A judgement that something does not cohere with a moral value.
Morality (noun) = A broad system of Morals used to judge something to be moral or immoral.

Moral Particularism = A general belief that there are no moral absolutes.

Absolute = Something that is not qualified or limited in any way (to be exactly itself and nothing else in all times and places)

Objective = true regardless of one's opinion.

Subjective = that which aligns with one's opinion whether it is true or false.

Intrinsic = existing apart from humanity.

Universal = That which is true without exception across a particular group or field of thought.

I apologize to the voters in advance for making things complicated. If this does not turn into a hard debate, then I suggest that voters vote based on who brought the best points to the conversation.

Round 1
Alright.  Let's try to pin down some positions.  

I think morality has no absolutes.  (That is to say that no moral is ALWAYS right or wrong in every situation)

This means that no one can every say that murder, or genocide, or infanticide, or anything -cide can be wrong or right in every situation.   

I believe this to be the case for two key reasons. 

1.  There are more than one moral values and they can contradict each other at times due to the synthetic truths of reality that are necessarily beyond prediction for our tiny human brains.  Therefore, when a contradiction happens, one has to prioritize their values and choose the one that prevails.  The amazing thing is the it's not always the same value winning out.  Generally, personal well being wins out, but it has been known to go other ways when using very hyperbolic examples. 

2.  Moral values imply an imperative.  It's saying that X is important to you personally and that you will act in a way as to achieve X.  This means that any application of the value that does not meet this imperative is a contradiction.  This means that if applying X prevents you from obtaining X then X cannot be achieved in that scenario and falls downward on the priority list in that situation. 

So my conclusion from all this (informal conclusion)  is that we can't really say that X value is absolute wrong or right by our moral standards.  However, we can say that X value is wrong or right in Y situation every time assuming that all variables that pertain to the situation are identical. 

So that's my moral views in a nutshell.  Let's talk about the rough part now.  Objectivity.  

I'm going to start out with the caveat that I don't necessarily care if morality is objective or subjective unless it has a huge impact on it's practical use.  

Also, I feel like equivocation tends to happen on this topic.  Some parts of the moral system are subjective and some are objective and it can even be indirectly related to intrinsic reality.  

Based on the definitions I provided in the description, I would say that the explanation for why we have moral judgements stems from evolution.  This would be the intrinsic driving force that started it all.  Although, evolution shouldn't get too much of the credit, because it was just Frankenstein in the equation.  We, the monsters of Frankenstein are the ones who evolved it into what it is today.  We took our biological process and applied it in the environment and since it favored group behavior it was a nice fit for natural selection.  

Thus, the reason we act morally is because it helped us survive and in fact, most moral judgements seem to be reducible to survival behaviors.... but not all of them. 

Nobody can sincerely deny that there is a subjective element to the puzzle.  

This is where moral judgements come into play.  Basically everybody gets a starter kit of very basic axiomatic morals.  This is not an ought statement, but rather a descriptive one.  Objectively speaking, humans want to survive on average,  that's just a fact.  

From this objective goal, the agent has many choices of how to interpret their survival.  Basically, everybody encounters situations and other values and then decides whether or not they are moral.  Humans tend to do this in an absolute sense which is why morals tend to feel absolute.  

However, this seems pragmatic and humans tend to shed this behavior during tough moments.  

So from all this, I would ultimately say that Morality is objectively based but has branched out into smaller subjective sects that have varying degrees of objectivity left within them depending on how they developed.  

I await your thoughts on the matter.  I will not be making an effort to rebuttal or refute anything you say, but rather I will attempt to take whatever you say to it's logical conclusion to see where it goes.  
Round 2
Since my opponent has not posted an opening argument yet, I am forced to pass. 
I just realised I agree with moral particularism. It's dirty and has many shady moral implications but I agree with it.
I'm a nihilist after all.
I concede.
Round 3
I appreciate your honesty.  Thanks for the discussion. 
Morality is nothing more than satisfaction with oneself = good.
Round 4
I think morality is based on evolution and is not necessarily selfish on the individual level.  It's only selfish on the genetic level.  That means somebody can be selfless because it's selfish for the species. 
No. People who are selfless for the species are only selfish because their self is satisfied with that being their goal.
Round 5
That's only true if you start with the assumption that choosing to do something is the same as doing it for yourself.  

It is quite possible to help someone begrudgingly and not enjoy it.  

You're also assuming that people are always logical. 

Somebody could jump in front of a bullet by making a split second decision and never even consider their own benefit.  It could be a knee jerk reaction.  Now you could argue that they didn't decide to do that.  But morality isn't a decision, it's a disposition. 
Morality is a decision. Momentary selflessness is nothing more than an urge to stop oneself panicking by acting before thinking.