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Thread: Morality and ethics: what are your values and why?

  1. #61
    Super Senior Member Delphinus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CypressDahlia View Post
    The legal system is not based on justice or revenge, it's based on negative feedback for negative actions. It's a form of Operant Conditioning if anything.
    That might be how it works in practice, but it's certainly not what it's based on. Most modern legal systems were devised well before any form of psychology: they're based mostly on natural law, which is derived both directly and indirectly from Christianity. Christianity's ideas of justice, 'an eye for an eye' and the golden rule ('do unto others as you would have them do unto you'), which are themselves partly plagiarised from Platonic tradition, have everything to do with the basis of western legal systems.
    Are you just disagreeing for the sake of argument?
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  2. #62
    Super Senior Member CypressDahlia's Avatar
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    Psychology is a natural law, so your argument is moot. It's so natural that the theory of Conditioning was actually derived from tests done on a dog. Unless you're willing to argue that dogs also believe in Christianity, justice, revenge and so forth.

    Besides, law basically follows this theory:

    - Laws are devised based on what is most beneficial to the majority of people
    - Punishments are assigned to these laws, should they be broken
    - These punishments are based on gauging how dangerous said criminal is, which is directly associated with what law they have transgressed on
    - Criminals, given the option to not be criminals, commit crimes, thus opting to risk punishment

    Nowhere does revenge equate into this. Justice is a principle applied to the satisfaction of seeing punishments enacted, not what they're based on. To say Christianity equates into this is a stretch. There is a logical way to see everything. Are you disregarding this for the sake of argument? You are, afterall, the one who pursues logic over emotion. lawl.
    Last edited by CypressDahlia; 05-02-2011 at 03:23 PM.

  3. #63
    Super Senior Member Delphinus's Avatar
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    You're confusing how it works with what it's based on. I understand you when you say that law is effectively just a conditioning apparatus, and I agree, but it didn't originate from psychology and therefore debating how it works in those terms is a moot point when considering the merit of the bases of the western world's systems of law. Natural Law is a term in jurisprudence and refers to one theory that legal systems are created with. Psychology is not considered a basis of any legal system active in the world today.

    Quote Originally Posted by CypressDahlia
    Besides, law basically follows this theory:

    - Laws are devised based on what is most beneficial to the majority of people
    - Punishments are assigned to these laws, should they be broken
    - These punishments are based on gauging how dangerous said criminal is, which is directly associated with what law they have transgressed on
    - Criminals, given the option to not be criminals, commit crimes, thus opting to risk punishment
    That's an unreasonably naive and simplified approach to law. I object particularly to your first and third statements.
    On your first point: there's rarely any scientific reason behind any new law, primarily because politicians follow ideologies rather than evidence. A left-wing politician will increase taxes and a right-wing one will decrease taxes regardless of the merits of either option. Their choices are based on a primarily 'big picture' and almost relgious view of the issues, not a view with an eye to objectivity and specificity. Ergo, while the politicians are (hopefully) trying to benefit most people with their decisions, they don't necessarily succeed in doing so.
    On your third point: not so. A criminal could commit the one-time crime of a murder of passion and be put away for life; on the other hand another criminal could commit a string of assaults and escape with nothing more than community service and fines. Claiming the punishments are based on how dangerous the criminals are is, again, a naive and over-simplified approach to the issue.
    Finally, while it's not a major point, your final statement appears to be saying that all criminals choose to break the law. That's also not correct. Under most legal systems proving the intent to commit a crime is necessary to convict a criminal; a defendant can commit any crime up to and including mass murder, but if it was an accident or there were other mitigating factors (mental illness etc.) they won't be convicted despite committing the offence. That is, the actus reus (guilty act) must be accompanied by proof of a mens rea (guilty mind) to secure a conviction.

    Have you ever studied law as a hobby or academically?
    Last edited by Delphinus; 05-02-2011 at 04:15 PM.
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  4. #64
    Fenn
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacon_Barbarian View Post
    What is this shit, I don't even.

    Are you telling me to consider the benefits of violence?

    I'm pretty sure arguing killing is wrong would be the dumbest thing I've ever done, and I am most certainly not going to bother. Someone who disagrees with that is arguing that they should just kill whenever it may be slightly beneficial to them. That person doesn't deserve to be acknowledged, and should be permanently incarcerated as they are a (very) potential menace to society.
    If you are unwilling to consider the possibility of, even for a moment, a value which opposes your own, then you are afraid of the truth. Morals and values must be constantly re-evaluated as one gains new understanding and experience. I'm not suggesting you accept violence, I'm asking you to look at it objectively before writing it off based on "It's just wrong." It's very well you, like I havem will decide logically that it is wrong. Look, now you have concrete justification for your value!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bacon_Barbarian View Post
    Anyway, the whole paragraph above the one about not enforcing my values is as much of an argument as I'm going to make. I agree with Del on @ least 1 thing: their are NO universal truths. That's why it's stupid to even argue. I just said what I believe to put it out there, not to make a point and bully people into agreeing with me.
    No one asked you to bully, just to support your claims. No universal truths does not mean no need to support your values. What do you think ethical codes are, trading cards?

    "Hey look at my morals!"
    "Wow those are cool. Do you like mine?"

    This is the basis for all of your interpersonal behavoir in your life, and how you affect those around you. If you are unwilling to consider that your morals could be ill-founded, then you are displaying willful ignorance, which makes you a poor souce of any moral insight or input.

  5. #65
    Super Senior Member Delphinus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fenn View Post
    No universal truths does not mean no need to support your values. What do you think ethical codes are, trading cards?
    Fenn, I think I love you. That's an amazing way of putting the argument against the normal liberal interpretation of moral relativism. Seriously, PM me your MSN or AIM address, we should talk more.
    Last edited by Delphinus; 05-02-2011 at 04:30 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fenn
    You forgot your F in Modesty.

  6. #66
    Super Senior Member CypressDahlia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delphinus View Post
    You're confusing how it works with what it's based on.
    I don't see the distinction at all. Also, Psychology by definition is a natural law: a basis of law observed through human nature. But that's not the point. You are using the argument of what it's based on to suggest that it is illogical in practice. "It is based on Christianity and other outmoded beliefs therefore our laws are enforced without logical reason." I'm telling you that it is perfectly logical in practice and that our laws are enforced with perfect reason.

    Ergo, while the politicians are (hopefully) trying to benefit most people with their decisions, they don't necessarily succeed in doing so.
    Which is why an extensive voting system, checks and balances and the entire legislative branch exists. In the end, we go as far as possible to please the majority. So, what's your point?

    A criminal could commit the one-time crime of a murder of passion and be put away for life; on the other hand another criminal could commit a string of petty thefts and escape with nothing more than community service and fines.
    A person who can be driven and has the distinct potential to kill is definitely more dangerous than a petty thief. You fail to make a point.

    ...but if it was an accident or there were other mitigating factors (mental illness etc.) they won't be convicted despite committing the offence...
    Exactly. We have exceptions put in place for these types of cases. But I highly doubt this (actually, it's proven that it doesn't) represents the majority of criminals. So, again--what is your point?

    You are just pointing out small exceptions to the rules based on generally arbitrary occurrences: "crooked politicians" and "accidents". Unless you can prove to me that the majority of politicians are crooked, the majority of laws are non-beneficial to society and the majority of crimes are accidents or the results of serious mental illness*, you have not proven the rules wrong.

    * ...and by "serious mental illness", I mean an illness so serious that it causes the criminal to lack better judgment. Any degree of judgment suggests that the criminal willfully committed the crime, thus confirming my fourth postulate.
    Last edited by CypressDahlia; 05-02-2011 at 04:53 PM.

  7. #67
    I get my morals from a religious text because I'm a fucking idiot.

  8. #68
    Fenn
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delphinus View Post
    Fenn, I think I love you. That's an amazing way of putting the argument against the normal liberal interpretation of moral relativism. Seriously, PM me your MSN or AIM address, we should talk more.
    Haha is this the same guy who ruined my argument in the religion topic?

    I'm not sure if you saw my animeboston topic but I'm a web security freak and don't give out that stuff to people I meet online. Just an eccentricity of mine. I'll friend you on here though if you'd like to have some PM conversations though. Again, sorry, just one of my quirks.

  9. #69
    Fifty Fifty Member Bacon_Barbarian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fenn View Post
    If you are unwilling to consider the possibility of, even for a moment, a value which opposes your own, then you are afraid of the truth. Morals and values must be constantly re-evaluated as one gains new understanding and experience. I'm not suggesting you accept violence, I'm asking you to look at it objectively before writing it off based on "It's just wrong." It's very well you, like I havem will decide logically that it is wrong. Look, now you have concrete justification for your value!
    To be responded to later.

    No one asked you to bully, just to support your claims. No universal truths does not mean no need to support your values. What do you think ethical codes are, trading cards?

    "Hey look at my morals!"
    "Wow those are cool. Do you like mine?"

    This is the basis for all of your interpersonal behavoir in your life, and how you affect those around you. If you are unwilling to consider that your morals could be ill-founded, then you are displaying willful ignorance, which makes you a poor souce of any moral insight or input.
    Not quite, but they're damn close. If you come in here and see something new that strikes you, you should learn about it and see if it suits you. Also, I supported them. 2 pages ago. Go back and check. What do you think this was?

    Tit for Tat is a load of Horse Hockey. Why? Because Tit for Tat is equivalent to an Eye for and Eye, and an Eye for an Eye leaves the whole world blind. One must be prepared to let things go. By responding to violence you provoke more violence, and in general violence gets you no-where.
    You even agreed with me.

    ...

    Actually that wasn't very clear. I've considered the benefits of violence. Their are none. OK that's a lie, but it's true I'd say most of the time. Violence leads to more violence which leads to even more violence, etc. etc. All this effort being put into violence could go into places where it really matters. Like curing diseases or feeding the impoverished.

    Their are very few actions where violence can be justified. The reason I say this is because I value life. In all honesty, war wasn't actually that bad before the American Civil war. But now, even if you are fighting for something just, you almost never get it accomplished without hurting innocent lives. The only recent example of a recent war that was actually just would be the 1st Gulf War. It only lasted a few months, did cost that much, very few deaths, and we actually helped some people.

    That explains war, now on to domestic violence. Say some one goes to the mall and steals from multiple stores on multiple occasions while another man (to go a long with Delph) kills another man kills a person in an act of passion. Neither of these men deserve to die. The thief can be made to repay his dues, locked up for a while, and then released. If he continues his ways? Lock him up for good. The murderer is far more dangerous and should be jailed permanently. Why not killed? Because then you sacrifice your own morals and lower yourself to his or her level.

    Capisce?
    My AA thread - Updated 06/28/14

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  10. #70
    Super Senior Member Delphinus's Avatar
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    There will be a longer post here later. For now, though, I'd just like to note that my ethics have shifted from existentialism to absurdism after a period of reflection and some reading. The reasoning is: if all moral codes are based on delusions and phantoms or, ultimately, preferences (basic things like 'life has value' and 'happiness is good'), then they cannot be logically justified in any real sense. That's what I believed anyway.
    But since human motivation is ultimately based on emotions, which cannot be logically justified, preference is therefore yet another logically unjustifiable moral code. Someone might say "I enjoy seeing others happy" but if you quiz them with "Why does seeing others happy make you happy?" then ultimately this will just lead back to empathy. Empathy is a feature of human nature itself, and yet, as I've talked about before in this thread, it's impossible to justify and easy to deconstruct. The motivations of the individual will always be rendered logically incomprehensible.
    What are we left to do? Either we can follow an illogical ethical code (individualism is just another one of these) or we can accept that all morals will ultimately crumble before the absence of meaning in the universe - and move on. Moral codes are meaningless - even the code of my own motivations. I cannot justify my own preferences from a logical standpoint, so I can't hold them up as an ultimate right or wrong.

    Ultimately there is no morality worth subscribing to. The solution: not to follow one, to be amoral (not immoral). Moralities are to me as religions are to an atheist. L'étranger, c'est moi.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fenn
    You forgot your F in Modesty.

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