Bull Ring Are morals absolute or relative

Discussion in 'The Bull Ring' started by ding, Jan 16, 2019.

  1. ding
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    ding Confront reality

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    The purpose of this debate is to discuss whether morals are relative or absolute.

    forkup will debate the position that morals are relative.

    ding will debate the position that morals are absolute and that it is the perception of morals that are relative.

    I will ask the mods if they are interested in being judges.

    forkup would you like to go first or would you like for me to go first.
     
  2. forkup
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    forkup Gold Member

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    You go first. I'm still at work and the phone doesn't lend itself to typing a decent position.
     
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  3. ding
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    ding Confront reality

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    ding's assertion #1: Morals are absolute.

    Point #1: Not all behaviors have equal outcomes.

    Societies and people which behave with virtue experience order and harmony. Societies and people which behave without virtue experience disorder and chaos. So we can see from the outcomes that not all behaviors have equal outcomes. That some behaviors have better outcomes and some behaviors have worse outcomes. This is the moral law at work.

    Point #2: Morals are effectively standards.

    Standards exist for reasons. When we deviate from standards and normalize our deviance from the standard, eventually the reason the standard exists will make itself known and be discovered. The reason this happens is because error cannot stand. Eventually error will fail and the truth will be discovered. In other words, the reason why the standard exists will make itself known through outcomes.

    Point #3: Standards exist independent of men.

    The definition of standard is a level of quality or attainment. For any given thing there exists a standard which is the highest level of quality or attainment. This quality or attainment is independent of our perception of the standard. We can establish any standard we wish, but it is the outcomes that will determine whether or not it is the highest standard which exists.
     
  4. forkup
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    forkup Gold Member

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    I will first answer your posts and than give you my own position.
    I will condense your points into a central assertion. If you feel I misstate your position feel free to correct me.

    One can judge the morality of actions by judging the outcome.
    This is demonstrably false since the same actions commonly have different outcomes. Say if I get awoken at night by someone breaking into my house. I go to the stairwell and I notify the burglar that the police has been notified. The person proceeds to go out of my house were he is subsequently picked up by the police. Morally I have done the right thing. Nobody got hurt and the thief goes to jail.
    What though if the guy is unstable and instead he chooses to fire a gun at me out of frustration? Then instead of having made a right choice by yelling down, I'm dead.

    If an action is immoral it will eventually fail.
    Harder to disprove because eventually is vague. Just to put it into perspective. Slavery existed in a formalized form for millennia. I think we can agree that it was immoral?

    Morality exist outside of man.
    I don't think so. In my example the only thing that changed in the outcome was the reaction of the burglar.
     
  5. forkup
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    forkup Gold Member

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    Morality is relative:

    Morality is a construct of man. It's the framework in which we judge our actions to be right or wrong. As such it is relative and subject to change
    - It is relative within time. Slavery has been accepted for thousands of years. I think we can both agree that it is immoral. But I don't think the Roman's would agree with that opinion.
    -It is relative within cultures. Quite a few countries reserve the right to kill criminals if that culture deems the crimes bad enough. I find it demeans the credibility of the state. Quite a few people disagree with that opinion and I'm not arrogant enough to find those opinions immoral.
    -It's even relative within a single person. I don't like the death penalty. Yet, say I catch someone raping my wife. I would feel morally justified to use deadly force to protect her.
     
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  6. ding
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    ding Confront reality

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    ding's assertion #2: Man's perceptions of morals are relative.

    Point #4: The consequences of violating moral laws are not immediate.


    One of the reasons that moral laws are not obvious to everyone is that violating moral laws are not like violating physical laws. When we violate a physical law the consequences are immediate. If you try to defy gravity by jumping off a roof you will fall. Whereas the consequences for violating moral laws are more probabilistic in nature; many times we get away with it.

    Point #5: Man knows right from wrong and when he violates it rather than abandoning the concept of right and wrong he rationalizes he did not violate it.

    You can see this behavior in almost all quarrels and disagreements. At the heart of every quarrel and disagreement is a belief in a universal right and wrong. So even though each side believes right to be different each side expects the other to believe their side should be universally known and accepted. It is this behavior which tells us there is an expectation for an absolute truth in morals.

    Point #6: It is man's subjectivity that leads to his perception of morality.

    So the question that naturally begs to be asked is if there is a universal code of common decency that is independent of man how come we all don't behave the same way when it comes to right and wrong? The reason man doesn't behave the same way is because of subjectivity. The difference between being objective and being subjective is bias. Bias is eliminated when there is no preference for an outcome. To eliminate a preference for an outcome one must have no thought of the consequences to one's self. If one does not practice this they will see subjective truth instead of objective truth. Subjective truth leads to moral relativism. Where consequences to self and preferences for an outcome leads to rationalizations of right and wrong.
     
  7. ding
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    ding Confront reality

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    Conclusion:

    If there were never a universal truth that existed man would never have an expectation of fairness to begin with because fairness would have no meaning. The fact that each of us has an expectation of fairness and that we expect everyone else to follow ought to raise our suspicion on the origin of that expectation.

    Th definition of virtue is behavior showing high moral standards. Standards exists for reasons. Reasons for standards exist in and of themselves and are independent of man. Man is free to choose any standard he wishes but he will suffer the consequences for normalizing his deviance from the higher standard.

    Moral laws are not obvious to everyone because the consequences for violating moral laws are probabilistic and because man is subjective and rationalizes that he didn't do wrong when he does. There is however, one time when moral laws are obvious to man; when someone violates the moral law against him. When that happens he has an expectation that it should be universally understood and known to everyone.
     
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    You need to take a broader view and look at diametrically opposed behaviors to understand what I am saying about standards and how outcomes reveal the higher standard.

    Two loving people will always have a better relationship than two hateful people. To honest people will always have a better relationship than two dishonest people. Two thankful people will always have a better relationship than two thankless people. Two humble people will always have a better relationship than two arrogant people. Two selfless people will always have a better relationship than two selfish people. Two people who practice fidelity will always have a better relationship than two people who practice infidelity. Two people who are kind to each other will always have a better relationship than people who are cruel to each other. Two forgiving people will always have a better relationship than two people who hold grudges. Two responsible people will always have a better relationship than two irresponsible people. Two accountable people will always have a better relationship than two people who make excuses and blames others for their failures.

    Not some of the time. All of the time. These behaviors are independent of man. These behaviors exist in and of themselves. These behaviors are in effect standards of conduct.

    Now to respond directly to your argument - which I believe is a fringe argument - each person must decide for themselves what they will do in situations like that. Their response has no bearing on the standard. We dropped two atom bombs on Japan. Was it the moral thing to do? No. It was the lesser of two evils in the eyes of Truman. His obligation was to his people. Did it please him to kill all of those Japanese? I hope not. The worst thing we can ever do is to rationalize an evil as a right. We do not move from good to evil is one fell swoop. We move from good to evil in incremental steps. Just look at WWII and what happened to the Jews. That was an incremental process and it was done through rationalizations. The worst thing you could do would be to shoot the guy and justify your actions as moral because that just makes it easier to take the next life. The moral position would be to admit you did wrong and feel remorse for doing it. In fact, I would think the first thing I would do if I shot and killed an intruder would be to throw up after the threat was neutralized. Why? Because inherently I would know it was wrong.
     
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    ding Confront reality

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    That isn't really what I said. What I said was this, "Standards exist for reasons. When we deviate from standards and normalize our deviance from the standard, eventually the reason the standard exists will make itself known and be discovered. The reason this happens is because error cannot stand. Eventually error will fail and the truth will be discovered. In other words, the reason why the standard exists will make itself known through outcomes.

    What I am describing to you is something called normalization of deviance and it is a real thing. Standards, like truth are discovered when error fails. Error will eventually fail and reveal itself. The Challenger explosion is a perfect example of this. The O-ring gasket on the solid fuel rockets had a criticality 1 designation. Which means if they ever saw heat, the fleet would be grounded. When they discovered signs of damage from heat on the O-ring gasket, they performed tests to show that they would still hold if they were damaged. They literally normalized their deviance from the standard and the space shuttle exploded 51 seconds after launch. But not until they had gotten away with it for a few times. You can take the same concept and apply it to your life. You believe in being faithful to your spouse. Then you cheat on your spouse. What happens? You get away with it. At this point you have three options (unless you are a sociopath that is) you can confess, you can go crazy or you can rationalize that it was good for your marriage. Now let's say you do the latter one and keep on cheating. You are more than free to cheat on your wife, but predictable surprises (i.e consequences) will eventually show you why the standard of fidelity exists in the first place. Surely I do not need to explain the consequences of getting caught cheating, right? So if you compare the two outcomes; fidelity and no drama versus infidelity and drama, I would hope you would understand what I am trying to explain to you about how the reasons for standards reveal themselves through outcomes.
     
  10. ding
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    Again, that isn't what I said. I said, "Standards exist independent of men. The definition of standard is a level of quality or attainment. For any given thing there exists a standard which is the highest level of quality or attainment. This quality or attainment is independent of our perception of the standard. We can establish any standard we wish, but it is the outcomes that will determine whether or not it is the highest standard which exists."

    As I explained before when I compared diametrically opposed behaviors (i.e. loving vs hateful, honest vs dishonest, thankful vs thankless, humility vs arrogance, selfless vs selfish, fidelity vs infidelity, kindness vs cruelty, forgiveness vs grudges, responsible vs irresponsible, accountable vs blame), these behaviors are standards of conduct. The definition of standard is a level of quality or attainment. The definition of virtue is behavior showing high moral standards. Yes, they are human behaviors but they were not created by man. They were discovered by man. Moral laws, like physical laws and biological laws are not invented by man. These laws of nature exist in and of themselves and are discovered by man.
     

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