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for Of the Balance of Right and Wrong Black and White

3/26/2010 c1 Lord Vivian Darling
A hopelessly vague debate,but now NO TRUST's reviewed here,it should get interesting...
3/26/2010 c3 Lord Vivian Darling
Morality hasn't been 'destroyed'.It never WAS.It's a concept,not a thing,& concepts change with time.So many laws/taboos alter/fade.Right/Wrong will never be certain for this reason.
3/17/2010 c2 15No Trust
Predictably, participants in this discussion - on both sides - go on to (very badly) conflate five completely different things:

1. Moral facts; what is, in fact, right or wrong.

2. Moral beliefs; what people think to be morally right or wrong.

3. Personal bias; what people approve of and disapprove of.

4. Psychology; what people are motivated to do.

5. Behavior; what people do, in fact, end up doing.

Please stop making such confused arguments. You're making the ghost of Socrates cry.
3/17/2010 c2 23amegakorobu
Alright, I'll bite.

Who says I can't kill anyone I please?

~You do. Apparently. I'm sure that are plenty of people out there who think this is perfectly acceptable behavior. And they believe they are right. Then there's you and some other people - who believe it's wrong. But how do we know which is the truth?

Who says I can't take what I want, when I want it, simply because it is my desire?

~Can't you? Surely you're able to if you really want something. What holds you back? Your personalmorals. Not the morality of someone else. What holds you back is what you belief is right or wrong.

Who's to say that I'm wrong in any case?

~A collective group of people with similar morals will likely think you're wrong. But on the other hand, a group of people with similar morals opposite the other group will think you're right.

Here's where I disagree with you though - that we don't have the right to decide the truth. But a fact will be perceived differently by people. And there some people who will try to dispute said fact and they may actually succeed. Things that were thought to be "right" once before may now actually be "wrong" - just look at the health industry. These people change their minds left and right about what's good for us based on supposed "fact".

Some people may think you're wrong, some people may think you're right. Let's get this straight though: You cannot be both.

On this, you are quite right. Because one person will always see it one way or another. They will not see me as being both right and wrong. But which side is the correct one? Now, that is the question isn't it?

I think a world of just black and white is boring. The shades of grey make the world interesting and show us how differently people can think and view the world.
3/17/2010 c1 akumaxkami
In all honesty, it's really always been this way. As far back as mankind has held intelligence and opinions right and wrong has always been in the eye of the beholder.

When are we going to realize that there is one right, and one wrong, and we do not decide either one?

Then who decides if not us?

The deal is simple - we all perceive the world differently. We all view things differently and that's a good thing. Without such diverse views of the world and morality, we'd all be sheep. Or I guess, today, robots just following a program. And what fun would that be?
3/17/2010 c1 No Trust
I'm not sure if my opinion is all that contrary to yours. I believe that moral relativism is mistaken and wrong, and I agree that it's disturbingly prominent in pop philosophy (even if academic philosophy has largely moved past it). I was just pointing out some conflations that you (and most people who write or speak on this topic) seem to make, and correcting a bad argument that you (and a most other people who write or speak on this topic) seemed to be making.
3/17/2010 c1 17Essence of Hope
Thank you for reviewing! :-) I'm grateful for your full analysis of the topic. Though it counters my opinions, I'm more than glad to hear them. I think it helps us to keep an open-mind, while still holding firm in our beliefs. This is a problem that has been present for centuries, so whether we start a huge debate over it here or not, I don't think it'll be solved anytime soon. :)

Thanks again everybody!

~Essence
3/17/2010 c1 15No Trust
Like most people who feel the need to blither on about this topic, you badly confuse a number of philosophical doctrines of varying interrelatedness and logical dependence. On the one hand,

1)Ethical consequentialism: The theory that rightness or wrongness is determined solely by moral goals with no moral "side constraints" besides maximizing some measure of good (whether it's pleasure -either in a hedonistic sense or a more utilitarian sense- or social cohesion, or wealth and/or power, or personal virtue, or whatever). Consequentialism can be further broken down into "rule consequentialism" (the theory that good consequences are maximized by following certain prudent rules rather than aspiring directly to maximize good consequences) and "act consequentialism" (the theory that one ought to act directly for the purpose of maximizing good consequences).

2)Situation ethics: The view that there are moral facts but that they so radically underdetermine ethics that right and wrong can only be decided on a case-by-case basis, taking account of all contexts. This usually amounts to direct, or act, consequentialism... with ADD. So lumping this in with consequentialism isn't completely wrong, but is still sloppy.

3)Actual moral relativism: The theory that rightness or wrongness are determined by approval or disapproval, either that of the agent, or of the speaker, or of the observer, or of the society/class/race, or of God. A CRITICAL feature of moral relativism is that, under a relativist theory, the exact same act, in the exact same context and with the exact same consequences, can be both morally right and wrong, depending on whose perspective you see it from. In other words, Mohamed's allowances for lying (whether you agree with them or not) do not amount to moral relativism.

4)Moral relativism is, further, very often confused with moral skepticism or antirealism (whether error theory or noncognitivism or outright nihilism).

5)Argument from disagreement. Moral antirealists often point out widespread disagreements over morality and metaethics as part of an argument against moral realism. Of course this is a silly argument when they make it. You don't do this, exactly, but you do trot out a related argument, which I guess is something like:

1. There are many prominent disagreements about various topics related to morality.

2. Disagreements about moral obligations, rules, etc. amount to moral relativism.

3. Therefore, moral relativism is taking over the world.

But the argument fails, because premise 2 is just false. That's not what moral relativism is.

People have been arguing passionately over various topics related to morality for thousands of years. People have been arguing passionately about EVERYTHING for thousands of years. Disagreements over ethics don't imply moral antirealism (or the dominance of moral relativism) any more than disagreements over historical events imply that we're all brains in a vat (or are evidence of the spreading dominance of external world skepticism).
3/16/2010 c1 67moongazer7
Brilliant! That's exactly the problem with the world and that's the problem I've been struggling against for almost two years now. Moral relativism is tearing the world appart and scaring people and pressuring them to do right which they don't know which it is.

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