Justification of knowledge and morality/ethics

Author: Shed12 ,

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  • Shed12
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    Can knowledge be justified? 

    Does inquiry into why something is good (or bad) undermine goodness?

  • ethang5
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    Can knowledge be justified? 
    Sure. Logic is the process of doing so.

    Does inquiry into why something is good (or bad) undermine goodness?
    I don't see why it would.
  • Shed12
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    --> @ethang5
    How does logic do it?

    I don't see why it would.
    If something is good, is it necessary that there be any justification or any reason why? If you didn't know that something was good, how could any amount of investigation lead you to conclude it was good? And if it could, then it mustn't be obvious. It could be mistaken as bad (if it is good) or there might be an argument for its badness.
  • ethang5
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    How does logic do it?
    Through the process of cross verification and networked rationalization.

    If something is good, is it necessary that there be any justification or any reason why?
    Not to the good. But our world is not comprised of only the good, and the evil deserves an answer when they ask for justification.

    If you didn't know that something was good, how could any amount of investigation lead you to conclude it was good?
    None would as long as you don't know what is good. But restricting the evil from investigating good on the grounds they would never conclude it was good, is a unfair reason for doing so.

    The justification of good, is not dependent on anyone's conclusion. Good is self verified and self justified. It is obvious only to those who already have a love of the truth.
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @Shed12
    Good and evil are subjective and we would have to agree on a standard upon which to base them before we can discuss them rationally. As for justifying knowledge I'm not sure quite what you mean. If you mean epistemologically then probably not. If you mean morally then that depends on what we consider moral and why.
  • Shed12
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    --> @ethang5
    Thank you.
  • ethang5
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    You are welcome. We get too few philosophy questions and posts here.
  • Shed12
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    --> @secularmerlin
    Why not use good as it is? What could it be based? I don't think it needs to be based on anything but itself.

    I meant what does it take to make something knowledge. Or, what makes knowledge knowledge.
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @Shed12
    Why not use good

    What is good? How do you determine good from evil? We need a common standard or our conversation will be meaningless.
  • Shed12
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    --> @secularmerlin
    I don't know how to say it. There are things that are good, and they are also desirable. I don't think goodness is desirableness is the full story but it's a start.
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @Shed12
    If you do not know what you mean by good and evil (or cannot articulate it) then how shall we have an intellectual conversation on the subject?
  • Shed12
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    --> @secularmerlin
    We can't.

  • ethang5
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    What about two people who agree on what they mean by good and evil? Could they talk?
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @Shed12
    I'm sorry to hear that.
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @ethang5
    Only if they can agree on a standard of morality for the purposes of the discussion. As an example I do not agree that the bible is a good authority on morality and you don't believe that anything else can be but we could for the purposes of this discussion agree that we will base our arguments about morality on what promotes human wellbeing and then we could make objectively true statements based on that criteria. Agreeing on a basis for comparison is the only way to remove subjective opinion from the argument. Unless we remove subjective opinion from the argument we become like three year olds yelling "is not" "is too" at each other ad nauseam.
  • Goldtop
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    --> @secularmerlin
    How about defining evil as "intentionally harming others" and good as "not intentionally harming others"? Does that cover it?
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @Goldtop
    We could measure actions by that standard though we are not guaranteed to define harm the same way in every case.
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @Goldtop
    I think you and I may also disagree on the degree to which "intentionally" matters and possibly about its meaning.
  • ethang5
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     Was also asking shed12.
  • Outplayz
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    --> @secularmerlin
    I define evil as malicious imprisonment, rape and murder and all the degrees thereof. For instance, torture would be imprisonment and possibly murder. Mentally harming another would be imprisonment. Beating someone up would be imprisonment. Sexual assault would fall under rape. Etc. 

    Lying to someone would fall under imprisonment but without malice it would just be bad not evil. Lying to someone resulting in death, rape, etc.. would fall under evil. That's how i distinguish the differences. 
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @Outplayz
    What about those things makes them objectively evil? Are there mitigating circumstances like murdering a murderer? Is there a difference in your mind between killing and murder if so what is that difference and is that difference objective or subjective?

  • Goldtop
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    --> @secularmerlin
    Harm - physical injury, especially that which is deliberately inflicted.


  • Goldtop
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    --> @secularmerlin
    One is either intentional or not.

  • secularmerlin
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    --> @Goldtop
    What do you mean by intentional? What does that word mean to you?

    Do you recognize only physical injury as potential harm? 
  • Outplayz
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    --> @secularmerlin
    Murdering a murder is committing evil to punish evil. In that it would be evil/good. It's still evil, but also good that something that is only evil got erased. Killing would still be evil. War is evil. But apply the above, one could be good and evil where one is usually only evil. For instance, if the war is to topple a ruler that is only evil... kills, imprisons, rapes, etc. Then something good is committing evil to stop that pure evil. The soldiers that fight for that pure evil would need to be evaluated individually. Why are they personally fighting for that evil? If it is so they don't get killed by said ruler then they are also committing evil for a good... to save their own lives. But they are still committing evil when they are killing another. There is also degrees of this and i think the degrees can be best described by forgiveness or thoughts of forgiveness. If one learns the solider's family would have been killed if he didn't fight... then even if he/she cannot be forgiven... a sense of understanding or a thought of forgiveness could follow. Pure evil however cannot be forgiven or it would be extremely very hard to forgive. 

    Is any of this objective? I don't know if i could truly say that with certainty. We are the ones defining all this which would always point towards subjectivity. However, i think we would mostly always define the above mentioned evils as evil. Even someone that is evil would think it's evil if someone murdered them (well they wouldn't know), or did some form of imprisonment or rape. There could be degrees of it... maybe someone wants to be raped, in which case that would turn it good for them, but stay as evil for the one committing it. (*Edit: I just noticed this last example is tricky. The one committing it technically wouldn't be committing evil if the person wanted to be raped. It's an example of the evil/good in that case.)