Foundations of objective ethics

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Foundations of objective ethics

Postby rogita on December 27th, 2016, 11:06 am 

These assumptions look plausible.

1) Freedom is an objective property of the universe opposite to determinism; it is responsible for the development of the universe (evolution) and at the same time is the aim of this development. Determinism is repeatability, regularity, certainty.

2) Freedom is fundamentally unknowable; the question of the existence of freedom is insolvable. Determinism is learned by observations and reflections. Determinism predetermines the future but freedom makes the future unpredictable and unknowable by denying determinism.

3) Freedom is perceived as Good and determinism as Evil. Freedom begets all other values. The duty of man, the purpose and meaning of human existence is to overcome determinism and to make the world freer. Cognition is part of this process. Knowledge entails responsibility; the criterion of truth is movement to freedom.

4) The man is one who follows his moral duty, who is striving to freedom. The unwillingness or inability of a sentient being to be a man brings it down to the level of animals. The animal follows the laws of the universe, submits to forces without trying to overcome them.

5) There is no absolute moral law; ethical norms are derived from the general contract. The basis of the consent is rejection of all forms of violence. Ethics of the contract includes the conclusion of the contract (honesty, openness, objectivity) and compliance with it (fidelity to his word, adherence to rules, responsibility for violation).

6) Ethical norms are formal; they are constantly improving; the old are replaced by new, more free and fair - this is the essence of moral progress. The meaning of the norms is to stimulate creative and constructive activities by limiting violence. The ethics treats people as abstractions; all private is ignored.

7) Personal relations are governed by a sacrificial morality (emotions, love, care, etc.), and catastrophic situations by a heroic morality. Both types of morality are informal, limited in space and time, and require a clear separation from the public space (non-personal relations) governed by the ethics.
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Re: Foundations of objective ethics

Postby Braininvat on December 28th, 2016, 12:55 pm 

The ethics treats people as abstractions;


Can you give some supporting argument as to why this would be a good idea? In my experience with making ethical choices and decisions, I have not found it helpful to think of real people as abstractions. Seems like when philosophers take that approach, we get totalitarian Marxism or other systems in which actual people do not, historically, fare so well.
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Re: Foundations of objective ethics

Postby rogita on December 28th, 2016, 1:51 pm 

Braininvat » December 28th, 2016, 12:55 pm]
The ethics treats people as abstractions;


Can you give some supporting argument as to why this would be a good idea? In my experience with making ethical choices and decisions, I have not found it helpful to think of real people as abstractions. Seems like when philosophers take that approach, we get totalitarian Marxism or other systems in which actual people do not, historically, fare so well.


You cannot organize society if you try to take into consideration personal aspects of every man. Society requires formal norms but formality requires to abstract people. When you allow personal attitude to interfere with formal institutions functioning you got corruption, favoritism, collusion, clanship etc. However, formal norms can conform to ethics or not, so different kind of societies are possible.

In personal relations, on the contrary, you make personal sacrifices and that requires a different kind of morality.
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Re: Foundations of objective ethics

Postby mitchellmckain on January 8th, 2017, 4:54 pm 

rogita » December 27th, 2016, 10:06 am wrote:These assumptions look plausible.

Pehaps they look so to you. Perhaps we can explain why they do not look plausible to us.

rogita » December 27th, 2016, 10:06 am wrote:1) Freedom is an objective property of the universe opposite to determinism; it is responsible for the development of the universe (evolution) and at the same time is the aim of this development. Determinism is repeatability, regularity, certainty.

Freedom is NOT an objective property but a highly subjective judgment and whether it is opposite determinism is debatable -- the fact that I am sort of on your side in that debate does not change this.

rogita » December 27th, 2016, 10:06 am wrote:2) Freedom is fundamentally unknowable; the question of the existence of freedom is insolvable. Determinism is learned by observations and reflections. Determinism predetermines the future but freedom makes the future unpredictable and unknowable by denying determinism.

The first sounds like a mystification of "freedom" which I do not find plausible at all.

rogita » December 27th, 2016, 10:06 am wrote:3) Freedom is perceived as Good and determinism as Evil. Freedom begets all other values. The duty of man, the purpose and meaning of human existence is to overcome determinism and to make the world freer. Cognition is part of this process. Knowledge entails responsibility; the criterion of truth is movement to freedom.

Your perception is not shared by myself at all. I disagree with determinism, but that does not make it evil. The diversity of human thought is a good thing -- an asset for the survival of human civilization in much the same way that the diversity of the gene pool is an asset for the survival of the species.

rogita » December 27th, 2016, 10:06 am wrote:4) The man is one who follows his moral duty, who is striving to freedom. The unwillingness or inability of a sentient being to be a man brings it down to the level of animals. The animal follows the laws of the universe, submits to forces without trying to overcome them.

The body of man is an animal and is just as bound by the laws of the universe as any living thing in the universe. The animals are our biological brethren and we would be wise to acknowledge and embrace this relationship. Furthermore I reject the magical religions which believe in a god opposed to the laws of nature as if these were not created but God for a good purpose.

rogita » December 27th, 2016, 10:06 am wrote:5) There is no absolute moral law; ethical norms are derived from the general contract. The basis of the consent is rejection of all forms of violence. Ethics of the contract includes the conclusion of the contract (honesty, openness, objectivity) and compliance with it (fidelity to his word, adherence to rules, responsibility for violation).

I disagree. It is true that much of morality is a product of convention (however necessary those conventions may be), but this does not alter the fact that moral absolutes can be derived from sound reasoning which show why some things are conducive to higher forms of life and other things are destructive to life. However it is true that morality derived from authoritarian dictations is not absolute but relative to the deity/religion you believe in.

rogita » December 27th, 2016, 10:06 am wrote:6) Ethical norms are formal; they are constantly improving; the old are replaced by new, more free and fair - this is the essence of moral progress. The meaning of the norms is to stimulate creative and constructive activities by limiting violence. The ethics treats people as abstractions; all private is ignored.

No they are not constantly improving. I do believe there are significant improvements from times past but these were not inevitable but fought for at the price of blood, sweat and tears and must be guarded with the same. There are also areas with significant setbacks and people working to destroy what has been gained.

rogita » December 27th, 2016, 10:06 am wrote:7) Personal relations are governed by a sacrificial morality (emotions, love, care, etc.), and catastrophic situations by a heroic morality. Both types of morality are informal, limited in space and time, and require a clear separation from the public space (non-personal relations) governed by the ethics.

Most people would identify the sacrificial with the heroic so I am unclear about what you are trying to say here.
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Re: Foundations of objective ethics

Postby mitchellmckain on January 10th, 2017, 10:38 pm 

Braininvat » December 28th, 2016, 11:55 am wrote:
The ethics treats people as abstractions;


Can you give some supporting argument as to why this would be a good idea? In my experience with making ethical choices and decisions, I have not found it helpful to think of real people as abstractions. Seems like when philosophers take that approach, we get totalitarian Marxism or other systems in which actual people do not, historically, fare so well.


I am reminded of a favorite part of Tactics of Mistake by Gordon Dickson, page 57

The immediate teaching of philosophers may be gentle, but the theory behind their teaching is without compunction--and that's why so much bloodshed and misery has always attended the paths of their followers who claim to live by those teachings. More blood's been spilled by the militant adnerents of prophets of change than by any other group of people down through the history of man


Rather than as an absolute I would take this as a caution about the tendencies of ideology. I do not think it is impossible for a philosophy or its adherents to fail to incorporate the human element and compassion into their thinking and practice. But I do think there is a tendency for even the the most love and compassion oriented groups to wander over the line to an ideology without compunction just as Dickson describes.
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Re: Foundations of objective ethics

Postby Serpent on January 10th, 2017, 11:25 pm 

rogita » December 27th, 2016, 10:06 am wrote:
2) Freedom is fundamentally unknowable.

If this is so, everything else you said is invalid.
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Re: Foundations of objective ethics

Postby BadgerJelly on January 11th, 2017, 2:19 am 

I have only one comment.

Ethics is objective only in the sense that we describe a hypothetical situation and knowingly approach it as an exercise of exploration not to draw any conclusions.

As an example, if I ask you if it is right to kill one person to save one thousand people, the point is not to actually attmept to reach a conclusion only to explore the hypothetical situation further, expand it and ready yourself for such future moral problems. What you think you would do in situation X may very well not be what you would do in situation X. To explore such ethical problems is to harness your will toward what you consider the better thign to do is amd enforce your view so as not to fail in some action. We all want to do the "noble" thing. If we've put no prior thought into such a "noble" act then we may not carry it out and fall prey to preset ideas, instinctual behaviours or socially imposed norms.
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Re: Foundations of objective ethics

Postby rogita on January 13th, 2017, 4:20 pm 

mitchellmckain » January 8th, 2017, 4:54 pm wrote:
rogita » December 27th, 2016, 10:06 am wrote:1) Freedom is an objective property of the universe opposite to determinism; it is responsible for the development of the universe (evolution) and at the same time is the aim of this development. Determinism is repeatability, regularity, certainty.

Freedom is NOT an objective property but a highly subjective judgment and whether it is opposite determinism is debatable -- the fact that I am sort of on your side in that debate does not change this.


Every judgment is subjective unless it is made objective by overall concensus of all sentient beings in the universe. The consensus is only possible if based on the common ground. The only possible such ground is freedom (including the freedom of every party to that hypothetical agreement to have a dissenting opinion). That is why freedom is objective.

Please note that your disagreement actually proves this (unless you are not free to have your own opinion, in which case you also prove this).
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