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Old 02-17-2019, 05:29 PM   #8251
jamison20000e
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Right: eat, sleep, enjoy loved ones and being able to say anything???
 
Old 02-18-2019, 05:54 AM   #8252
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Enorbet, your moral theories work very well for majorities, but they do not explain why I as an individual should not adopt the position of a "free rider", taking what I want and relying on the moral conformity of all the others to keep the society on which I depend going.

I don't do that because I know it would be wrong, but where does that idea come from? If you answer that it is engrained into me by evolution, that would certainly explain why I feel the way I do, but still, why should I not override that feeling whenever it is in my self-interest to do so?

I believe that ethics and morality must be part of some transcendent reality or they have no moral standing. You can't get from an "is" to an "ought" by any kind of mental gymnastics.
 
Old 02-18-2019, 04:20 PM   #8253
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Well hazel it seems to me that as much as legislating morality is an infringement, our most fundamental laws like those against Robbery and Murder are based on morality as well as the simple fact that civilized society runs smoother and is more productive when all adhere to those fundamentals.

Therefore you as a Free Agent would have substantially greater risk in a society where there is vertical mobility. The only reason for example that there are drug dealers is because A) Contraband is hugely profitable (though at great risk) and B) Most such criminals have few other choices to get ahead, usually being in a disenfranchised environment.

Ultimately it's all about Cost/Benefit. So why be a more profitable free agent who risks fines and/or long term imprisonment when you could attain a slightly reduced level of lifestyle with no such risk? As long as that gulf isn't too large one would be foolish to accept such risk. This even begs the condition where part of the Social Contract involves government actually seeking to keep upward mobility possible as opposed to the rigidity imposed and often preferred by a wealthy few. The benefit to them in return is they get to live in a more sane and healthy environment where people have the means to buy expensive, comfortable things.
 
Old 02-18-2019, 04:31 PM   #8254
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Laws against crime mostly work because only a minority of people are sufficiently immoral to want to steal and murder. Members of this minority can be, and usually are, kept in line by threatened punishments.

But you can't keep a majority down that way; the judicial system would soon be overwhelmed. So why do most people not do these things? And why do we not do all those nasty things that are not actually illegal (and therefore pose little risk to us) but could net us a lot of profit if we did them?
 
Old 02-18-2019, 05:01 PM   #8255
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hazel View Post
Enorbet, your moral theories work very well for majorities, but they do not explain why I as an individual should not adopt the position of a "free rider", taking what I want and relying on the moral conformity of all the others to keep the society on which I depend going.

I don't do that because I know it would be wrong, but where does that idea come from? If you answer that it is engrained into me by evolution, that would certainly explain why I feel the way I do, but still, why should I not override that feeling whenever it is in my self-interest to do so?
Have you read Kant? It's old stuff, so I'm wondering if you have and if there have been advancements on his "Categorical Imperative"?
 
Old 02-19-2019, 12:30 AM   #8256
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Have you read Kant? It's old stuff, so I'm wondering if you have and if there have been advancements on his "Categorical Imperative"?
I haven't actually read him, but I understand that his definition of sin is "the kind of behaviour that wouldn't work if everybody did it". For example, if everyone stole, there wouldn't be any point in stealing because you couldn't hold on to your ill-gotten gains. Actually that's not dissimilar to Enorbet's argument that if everybody betrayed everybody else's trust, society couldn't function. But that still doesn't explain why individuals shouldn't break the covenant when it's convenient for them to do so. After all, I know that everybody else is not going to follow my example.
 
Old 02-19-2019, 05:25 AM   #8257
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If it was actually possible for an individual to survive all on his own, then maybe in that condition whatever that person's values are can be called perfect since it works for that person. However as soon as we add even one more individual there is the potential for conflict and how that is resolved is everything. Once the numbers start reaching tribal levels, let alone cities, counties, states and nations perfection become less and less probable, maybe even impossible. That said no system can be perfect and even it is perfect at one moment it may soon evolve to being imperfect but that's no justification to not seek the best even if it is only just "good enough" in practice.

My point is that social contracts work but they work best when it is a "two way street" based on the principles that minimize conflict and much more importantly since conflict is inevitable, provide the means for just and peaceful resolution. I submit this is doable or at least may one day become doable when laws and the morality they are based on are real world values and not some mystical know all parental figure whose existence can only be verified (if then) after we die.

I worked my way through college as a Traffic Engineering Aide and there was this great book that proposed that traffic laws work best when they are based on evidence of what will feel right and safe to 80% of drivers. We would run radar all day long logging in all the cars, their license numbers and speeds. It was utterly commonplace that we would get complaints after we factored in that data with environmental data that can affect traffic and safety which justified a raise in speed limit.

For example we would go into a community that had a speed limit of 15mph which remained at 15mph for miles even when it was a dead end community with a long, straight stretch of entry with no houses or intersections finally followed by a populated area at the isolated community. Environment changed but law was rigid.

One example of this I recall changed the long desolate entry stretch to 40mph and then a 1000foot slow down buffer zone of 30mph till finally at 25mph when houses and/or intersections began to show up. I remember several community meetings where some spokesman would stand up and say, sometimes yell, "You're going to kill our kids!" It was amazing how many times we could show that exact person who yelled was caught driving at 40-50mph in the populated area before we raised the limit and then from the radar study after the limit was adjusted, at 25-30mph. Not only that but we could show that when the limit was low cars traveled at all manner of speeds, probably depending completely on how much of a hurry they felt that moment instead of anything external to them. This means pedestrians, including children playing, had no means to judge how fast a give car was approaching since nobody travelled at the posted 15mph speed but the pattern was completely random. After the limit was raised to 25mph and the buffer zone was in place between the residential zone and the now 40mph rural zone, almost 90% of the traffic was within a very small margin of the posted speeds and much easier for pedestrians to gauge. It was simply way better for way more people. Isn't that worthy goal?

When the laws are unreasonable or not helpful they get ignored. Once they become reasonable and helpful most people obey because it is obvious it is in their self-interest. Yes this was only simple traffic law, but the principle does apply everywhere because it is about human nature.
 
Old 02-19-2019, 06:10 AM   #8258
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enorbet View Post
When the laws are unreasonable or not helpful they get ignored.
And there you have prohibition in a nutshell! When the prohibition amendment was brought in, some people did ask, "What will happen if people refuse to obey it?" and they were told, "Once it's the law, people will fall into line because it is the law." Well, they didn't, did they!
Quote:
Once they become reasonable and helpful most people obey because it is obvious it is in their self-interest.
No. Most people obey reasonable laws, not because they are necessarily in those people's self-interest, but because they can see that it is good and reasonable to behave in that way. Outside of terror states like Hitler's Germany or Stalin's Russia, laws have to mesh with people's inbuilt sense of what is right and what is fair if they are to be obeyed in practice.

That instinctive moral sense is a given. Every normal person has it and those who don't are called sociopaths and regarded as mentally ill. And no normal person feels comfortable going against it, even if he has been told that it's only an evolutionary hangover and has no final authority. In his heart he knows that's not so.
 
Old 02-19-2019, 02:43 PM   #8259
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Aren't "good and reasonable" and "in one's self interest" at the very least peas of the same pod?
 
Old 02-19-2019, 06:33 PM   #8260
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I forget is drinking poison good for us, let's ask the cults?
 
Old 02-20-2019, 05:34 AM   #8261
hazel
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Quote:
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Aren't "good and reasonable" and "in one's self interest" at the very least peas of the same pod?
No, they are quite independent and often opposed. I know that the general social prohibition on telling lies is a good thing because it aligns with my personal sense of right and wrong. Therefore I try not to lie to people. But it is often very much in my self-interest to do so.
 
Old 02-20-2019, 02:26 PM   #8262
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I disagree hazel. Lying is not a simple act since it is not clear who is victimized/damaged by the difference between a lie and the truth. It always involves two people and either one can become the victim or perpetrator. If you tell a truth and it is used as a weapon against you who is the perpetrator? If someone(s) invades your home and asks where your money is or your loved ones are hiding nobody owes them Truth. Truth vs/ Lying implies a bond of Trust. OTOH if you lie to damage someone that is obviously a transgression and wrong. It isn't as simple as always being honest no matter what and to whom. It's very different from robbery or murder.
 
Old 02-20-2019, 04:22 PM   #8263
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hazel View Post
That instinctive moral sense is a given. Every normal person has it and those who don't are called sociopaths and regarded as mentally ill. And no normal person feels comfortable going against it, even if he has been told that it's only an evolutionary hangover and has no final authority. In his heart he knows that's not so.
I'm confused about this dichotomy you're trying to set up between "instinctive moral sense" and "evolutionary hangover". Why not say "evolutionary derived instinctive moral sense"? Where did this "hangover" and "no final authority" stuff come from?
 
Old 02-21-2019, 05:09 AM   #8264
enorbet
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Where did this "hangover" and "no final authority" stuff come from?
That answer seems self-evident to me considering all lifeforms have rules that govern actions and the only "final authority" is Life and Death. Rocks haven't morality because there is no choice, no consequence. Morality is a consequence of Life.
 
Old 02-21-2019, 05:58 AM   #8265
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Originally Posted by ntubski View Post
I'm confused about this dichotomy you're trying to set up between "instinctive moral sense" and "evolutionary hangover". Why not say "evolutionary derived instinctive moral sense"? Where did this "hangover" and "no final authority" stuff come from?
What I mean is that an evolutionary derived instinctive moral sense only has authority for me as long as I don't know that it arose merely as a byproduct of evolution. Once I learn that, I no longer have any reason to follow it when it goes against my immediate self interest.
 
  


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