What is morality

Author: keithprosser ,

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  • keithprosser
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    Is there any such thing as morality?  It is clear that if morality is a 'thing' it is not a thing made of atoms.  Nor is it made of 'energy' because if it was it would be possible to use morality to heat water.   Nor can morality be located anywhere in space.

    We talk about morality a lot on DA... but what - if anything - are we talking about?
  • mustardness
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    --> @keithprosser
    We talk about morality a lot on DA... but what - if anything - are we talking about?
    Integrity of the communitarian

    Universe integrity > ecological  integrity > communitarian integrity > family integrity > fellowship integrity > individual integrity > biological integrity

    All-for-one and one-for-all. Sacrifice for a greater good.

    Omni-considerate

    Wholistic considerations

    Placing ego to the side to let in viewpoint from outside our individual perspective.

    Morality is accessed or created via metaphysical-1, mind/intellect/concepts of humans
  • Mopac
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    The proper way to conduct oneself.

    The highest good is truth, but depending on what you use to relate truth to, you will have different moral standards.

    I am a Christian, so I am to love God with my heart, soul, mind, and strength, love my neighbor as myself, and let God be the judge. This is simple way of describing what morality would be for me. 

  • 3RU7AL
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    --> @keithprosser
    Is there any such thing as morality?  It is clear that if morality is a 'thing' it is not a thing made of atoms.  Nor is it made of 'energy' because if it was it would be possible to use morality to heat water.   Nor can morality be located anywhere in space.

    We talk about morality a lot on DA... but what - if anything - are we talking about?
    Temporal and geographic social norms.

    A mostly unspoken social contract.

    Purely qualitative.
  • Fallaneze
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    --> @keithprosser
    Morality is an awareness of whether our thoughts and actions are affecting other living things in a loving or unloving way. Our conscience prompts us to do what is selflessly loving but this is at odds with our inherently selfish animal nature. We are aware of morality intuitively and our moral knowledge can be improved upon through rational introspection. 

  • keithprosser
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    --> @3RU7AL @Fallaneze
    A typical sentence is 'the morality of murder' which resembles 'the velocity of an electron' gramatically.   Velocity isn't made of atoms or energy either, but its not imaginary - so I don't want to say 'velocity' doesn't exist, but it clearly doesn't exist in the 'concrete' way a table or chair does.

    I would say velocity and morality are 'properties'.   Unlike 'objects' such as tables and chairs, properties do not have independent 'concrete existence' - a property depends on being 'of' an object to 'exist' at all.  

    That is objects and properties 'exist', but they 'exist' in different ways that probably should have different words.  I suggest that when there is ambiguity we use o-exist and p-exist as approrpriate.

    My position is that morality has p-existence, not o-existence.

    Further, properties relate to a quantity.   For example velocity relates to how far something moves in space per unit time.   Mass (another property) realates how much inertia an object has.

    if the above makes sense then 'morality' relates to a quantity - but what of?  i'm not sure....
  • Fallaneze
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    --> @keithprosser
    I agree that morality exists abstractly rather than concretely. Other things exist in the same manner, like information, math, logic, truth, etc.

    When it comes down to it, I don't think that anything perceived is "real." Our perceptions of reality are a construct of information-processing. They're an assimilation of mental properties that don't have independent existence. What does a colorless, shapeless, textureless, object look like? Those features don't physically exist. 

    What's more real is what doesn't depend on observer-relative perception. Morality, math, logic, etc.

  • keithprosser
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    I agree that morality exists abstractly rather than concretely. Other things exist in the same manner, like information, math, logic, truth, etc.
    Not quite because information, math, logic etc are not properties.   One can ask how much velocity an electron posesses but not how much math or logic it has.   That is to say that the 'way that' velocity exists is not the same way that, say, mathematics exists.   That probably needs its own thread, but for now I'd be happy to introduce a-existence (abstract existence).

    I am developing the idea that morality p-exists but is often taken to a-exist (or may be even to c-exists by some people!)
     

  • 3RU7AL
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    --> @keithprosser
    Velocity isn't made of atoms or energy either, but its not imaginary...
    Velocity is well defined and quantifiable.

    Morality is poorly defined and qualitative.

    You are conflating quanta and qualia.  This is a category error.

    It does not follow that 1 + 1 = 2 therefore, I love you.
  • keithprosser
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    --> @3RU7AL
    Hopefully we can discover a well-defined and quantifiable interpretation of morality.   We can avoid category error by interpretting moraluty as a measure of something, just as velocity and mass are measures of something.   The question is 'What is morality a measure of?'

  • 3RU7AL
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    --> @keithprosser
    The question is 'What is morality a measure of?'
    Morality is a measure of social compliance and desire to gain the respect of your peers.

    It can be quantified with this - https://www.debateart.com/forum/topics/712


  • Plisken
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    --> @3RU7AL
    Do you think low social compliance is more moral, or less?  
    Do you think a high desire to gain respect is more moral, or less?
  • 3RU7AL
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    --> @Plisken
    Morality (in this particular context) is only a concern when interacting with other people.

    If you are better at interacting with people (more empathetic/more desiring of respect), you are more moral.

    Low social compliance is considered "anti-social" which is generally frowned upon.

    Desire to gain respect leads people to activities and actions that people actively praise and promote and award and reward.
  • keithprosser
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    --> @3RU7AL
    I don't see how to use that to assign a measure of morality to, say murder or giving to charity.   The former is 'very immoral' (under usual circumstances), the latter is 'very moral' (unner usual circumstances) - but what are those estimates of the morality of murder and charity measures of?


  • 3RU7AL
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    --> @keithprosser
    I don't see how to use that to assign a measure of morality to, say murder or giving to charity.   The former is 'very immoral' (under usual circumstances), the latter is 'very moral' (unner usual circumstances) - but what are those estimates of the morality of murder and charity measures of?
    You've made another category error.

    You can't measure the "morality" of an event.

    You can only measure the morality of a person.

    Only people can be moral.

    Events and actions cannot be moral.
  • keithprosser
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    --> @3RU7AL
    But people are always saying things like 'murder is immoral'.  That seems a natural and correct thing to say, but you appear to outlaw it.


  • 3RU7AL
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    --> @keithprosser
    But people are always saying things like 'murder is immoral'.  That seems a natural and correct thing to say, but you appear to outlaw it.
    "Murder" as the go-to-perfect-example is AXIOMATICALLY IMMORAL.

    "Self-Defense" may look exactly like "murder" in every single particular, but, if it is considered "justified" then it is automatically excluded from the label and social consequences of "murder".

    The specific act of, I don't know, stabbing someone in the face with a screwdriver, is not automatically "murder".

    And, as such, "stabbing someone in the face with a screwdriver" is not an intrinsically "moral" or "immoral" action in-and-of-itself.
  • Plisken
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    --> @keithprosser
    I think if you want an empirically measurable way of viewing morality, it might be a system that observes your ability to go to Afghanistan, live there, and not have grandchildren, and their children's children supportive of murdering people for apostasy.  Another metric might be really tempting circumstances like taking on the role of a king and through all the influence being able to rule with grace, being able to learn from mistakes.  Being able to go from riches to rags and still support a healthy family, or contribute to those around you.
  • drafterman
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    --> @3RU7AL
    I'm not sure I like the phrase "Axiomatically" here, I think "tautological" is better since Murder is essentially defined as an immoral act.
  • janesix
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    --> @keithprosser
    Tables and chairs don't exist "concretely" either. Nothing does.
  • 3RU7AL
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    --> @drafterman
    I'm not sure I like the phrase "Axiomatically" here, I think "tautological" is better since Murder is essentially defined as an immoral act.
    I consider the terms interchangeable.


  • drafterman
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    --> @keithprosser
    Morality is simply a classification of behaviors into acceptable and unacceptable.

  • drafterman
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    --> @3RU7AL
    They have similarities, sure, specifically that they are true in all cases. But they differ in the sense that axioms are the beginning of a logical system while tautologies are the result of one. Necessarily, axioms are not derived from deeper principles whereas tautologies depend on them. They are the end result of the process that is started with axioms.

  • Plisken
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    --> @drafterman
    Why do people say right and wrong, instead of acceptable and unacceptable?

  • drafterman
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    --> @Plisken
    Because people are prone to the is-ought fallacy. Acceptable and unacceptable are descriptive terms. They describe how people respond to certain things. They are the genesis for defining right/wrong, moral/immoral behavior.

    We accept this behavior because doing so is beneficial or not doing so is harmful. We reject that behavior because doing so is beneficial or not doing so is harmful. Then this becomes "right" and "wrong."

    This isn't necessarily bad. It's much easier to teach someone that some behavior is "right" or "wrong" rather than lecture them on the history of why it is right or wrong (the reasons of which can sometimes be lost to time anyway). It is simply more efficient to have the positive or negative connotations encoded into the brain at an early age, especially when it's more important that the behavior be adhered to or avoided than having them understand the reasons why.