mererdog

Moral Basics

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4 hours ago, Key said:

Emotion doesn't analyze. It's a reaction to circumstances or experience, therefore a learned response.

That does not match my personal experience. Emotion can have nothing to do with circumstance or experience and everything to do with neurochemistry. Think clinical depression or paranoia, bipolar disorders, etc. Also, in your example of the pot, fear tells the child not to touch the pot again, and it is only when that emotional reaction fades that the sort of carelessness you mentioned occurs. Taking that as an analogy, I am reminded of how guilt can fade through the repitition of a morally questionable act, making it easier to act without questioning our morality...

And while the analytical power of the intellect is an important and useful tool, it often leads us astray. Cognitive bias can lead to some nasty stuff....

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3 hours ago, Dan56 said:

When we reason within ourselves, morality becomes a matter of self-justification.

Can't it also become self-destructive? As when people convince themselves they don't deserve to live, and so kill themselves?

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On ‎3‎/‎30‎/‎2016 at 1:05 PM, mererdog said:

How can you tell that what you are doing is right?

In my opinion, it's easier to know if an action is "wrong" than it is to know what is "right"... If I do no wrong, then I'm doing right.

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5 hours ago, mererdog said:

Can't it also become self-destructive? As when people convince themselves they don't deserve to live, and so kill themselves?

Absolutely... Destructive behavior is often justified, but seldom right. Offing yourself can be self-justified and self-destructive simultaneously.

9 minutes ago, Songster said:

 If I do no wrong, then I'm doing right.

Or your doing nothing at all.. Sometimes we take a risk, it may be wrong, but if we're so afraid of failure that we remain idle, we never have success. Most people are wrong many times before they get it right. Perhaps mistakes and failures aren't so wrong if we learn and grow from the experience. The same theory might be applicable to learning basic moral values.  

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11 hours ago, Dan56 said:

Absolutely... Destructive behavior is often justified, but seldom right

I would tend to agree. And isn't it as common to find that sort of justification in a holy book as from personal rationalization? I mean, I can't think of a religion that doesn't have multiple examples of people who acted destructively and then used some leader's words to try and show that they acted righteously.

You said earlier that you rely on your belief for moral guidance. Would it be fair to say that those beliefs have been shaped by your own sense of right and wrong behavior? Not a process of self-justification, but of justification of the other, as in "There's an exception to every rule and God's usually it"?

I ask because if you take two random Christians and ask them if an act is moral, you will likely get opposing answers, both backed by quotes from the same book. Personally, I suspect this is an example of confirmation bias at work.

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11 hours ago, Songster said:

If an action is morally questionable, inaction is preferable....

But isn't inaction often morally questionable?

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20 hours ago, mererdog said:

That does not match my personal experience. Emotion can have nothing to do with circumstance or experience and everything to do with neurochemistry. Think clinical depression or paranoia, bipolar disorders, etc. Also, in your example of the pot, fear tells the child not to touch the pot again, and it is only when that emotional reaction fades that the sort of carelessness you mentioned occurs. Taking that as an analogy, I am reminded of how guilt can fade through the repitition of a morally questionable act, making it easier to act without questioning our morality...

And while the analytical power of the intellect is an important and useful tool, it often leads us astray. Cognitive bias can lead to some nasty stuff....

Yes and no. Emotion can be a learned response, as well, not just a neural dohickey chemical thingy. ;)

For instance, using the boiling pot scenario, after having been burned before by either touching the pot or the scathing water at some point in life, one would view future boiling pots with some contempt, for lack of a better definition, in their discretion of it.

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1 hour ago, Key said:

Yes and no. Emotion can be a learned response, as well

Right. I was simply pointing out that it is not always. You said it was learned, so I said it can be something else. The tricky part of that is we don't always know the source of our feelings...

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1 hour ago, cuchulain said:

Do you seek concrete answers to our moral decisions, Mererdog?  I don't think my morality is concrete.

The goal is to prompt introspection and to compare and contrast our means and ends. The answers are not as important to me as the process of answering.

And, for the record, mererdog should never be capitalized. It is a very improper noun. ;)

 

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6 hours ago, Key said:

Yes and no. Emotion can be a learned response, as well, not just a neural dohickey chemical thingy. ;)

For instance, using the boiling pot scenario, after having been burned before by either touching the pot or the scathing water at some point in life, one would view future boiling pots with some contempt, for lack of a better definition, in their discretion of it.

But if you saw a woman being raped in an alley and decided inaction was appropriate, your decision to stay neutral could be detrimental to someone else.. If having no definitive moral convictions causes you not to do the right thing, then neutrality is not always a safe way to avoid doing the wrong thing. 

4 hours ago, cuchulain said:

 I don't think my morality is concrete.

No problem, if you need any help, my morality is concrete :).... But of course, any Islamic terrorist would tell you the same thing!!

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Understood, mererdog, no offense intended with the capitalization, just didn't know.  

Concrete is useful in situations, Dan.  But in others, the ability to be flexible rules.

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2 hours ago, cuchulain said:

Understood, mererdog, no offense intended with the capitalization, just didn't know.  

No offense taken. There's a set of jokes surrounding the way the name is written. You just happened to stumble into one of them. :)

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On ‎4‎/‎1‎/‎2016 at 1:26 PM, mererdog said:

But isn't inaction often morally questionable?

Maybe... It would depend on the situation. Most of the choices one has to make are easy. In the near future, I could be forced into a situation where I may have to choose between two evils- vote for Drumpf, or vote for Clinton.... To prevent that from happening, I intend to take action... and cast my vote for Sanders.

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On 4/2/2016 at 7:03 PM, Dan56 said:

But if you saw a woman being raped in an alley and decided inaction was appropriate, your decision to stay neutral could be detrimental to someone else.. If having no definitive moral convictions causes you not to do the right thing, then neutrality is not always a safe way to avoid doing the wrong thing. 

No problem, if you need any help, my morality is concrete :).... But of course, any Islamic terrorist would tell you the same thing!!

Perplexed. How'd you connect my response to your scenario?

I was stating that emotion could be a learned response but does not analyze, whereas intellect does.

In your scenario, it may not necessarily be lack of definitive moral convictions that causes one to not act, it might just be fear of possible consequences if action is chosen. There are people in the world who prefer self preservation at the expense of others, unfortunately. In such case, I wouldn't call that being neutral, but rather isolationist. And I agree it isn't always a safe way.

There may be moral people, but it's the moral practice that is questionable. Until one finds themselves where they must use their morality, one can't be absolutely sure how they will respond, but can only speculate, most often favorably.

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On 4/1/2016 at 1:48 PM, mererdog said:

Right. I was simply pointing out that it is not always. You said it was learned, so I said it can be something else. The tricky part of that is we don't always know the source of our feelings...

I agree, wholly. A fact that even science can't deny.

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3 hours ago, Key said:

There may be moral people, but it's the moral practice that is questionable. Until one finds themselves where they must use their morality, one can't be absolutely sure how they will respond, but can only speculate, most often favorably.

Morals are funny that way. There's what we want to believe. There's what we think we believe. There's what we tell others we believe. But it often isn't until following those beliefs have a personal cost that we find out what we actually believe... Or don't...

Edited by mererdog

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22 hours ago, Key said:

.In your scenario, it may not necessarily be lack of definitive moral convictions that causes one to not act, it might just be fear of possible consequences if action is chosen. There are people in the world who prefer self preservation at the expense of others, unfortunately. In such case, I wouldn't call that being neutral, but rather isolationist. And I agree it isn't always a safe way.

Fear can be an emotion, so staying neutral because your afraid in order to protect yourself at the expense of others, can be a moral decision. My point was that inaction is not always a safe bet. Not wanting to get involved and deciding not to do anything, can be the same as not caring, and that attitude can be construed as a lack of moral conviction. You define self-preservation at the expense of others as neutral, and that of an isolationist. But it can also define a morally deprived selfish person who has no compassion for anyone but themselves. I guess It all depends on the specific situation and how you choose to look at it.  

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