About Science of Morality, Anyone?
|May 23rd, 2009||#1|
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Science of Morality, Anyone? info
Where, in American culture, is the domain of knowledge that we would identify as morality studied and taught?
I suspect that if we do not quickly develop a science of morality that will make it possible for us to live together on this planet in a more harmonious manner our technology will help us to destroy the species and perhaps the planet soon.
It seems to me that we have given the subject matter of morality primarily over to religion. It also seems to me that if we ask the question ‘why do humans treat one another so terribly?’ we will find the answer in this moral aspect of human culture.
The ‘man of maxims’ “is the popular representative of the minds that are guided in their moral judgment solely by general rules, thinking that these will lead them to justice by a ready-made patent method, without the trouble of exerting patience, discrimination, impartiality—without any care to assure themselves whether they have the insight that comes from a hardly-earned estimate of temptation, or from a life vivid and intense enough to have created a wide fellow-feeling with all that is human.” George Eliot The Mill on the Floss
I agree to the point of saying that we have moral instincts, i.e. we have moral emotions. Without these moral emotions we could not function as social creatures. These moral emotions are an act of evolution. I would ague that the instinct for grooming that we see in monkeys is one example of this moral emotion.
We can no longer leave this important matter in the hands of the Sunday-school. Morality must become a top priority for scientific study.
|May 23rd, 2009||#2|
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Morality is not a science, strictly speaking. It is too much of a social phenomenon and there is too much of the personal and subjective mixed within, for it to be taught as a rational science (I cited this, do not know the xource anymore).
I agree that a scientifical approach to why ppl do things to each other, how, and what possibilities there are to counter such strats or re-educate ppl (ouch!) might be a great venture to pursue.
In the US American angle, from our European POV, also influences that you guys do not have a real *histotry* of moral philosphy (if we consider history to mean assuming a POV that looks beyond 300 yrs+), as your ancestors and founders just a few decades ago went there just to avoid the confrontation with the secular tendencies coming up.
From our POV this makes you, historically speaking, "teeneagers" (if at all), who over the next 500+yrs *will* delvelop something like your own morale philosophy or accepted ethics as a nation (I was tempted to say 5k+ yrs that we have under our belt discussing those aspects of life, but with the acceleration, you might make it even much faster than in 500).
My guess: Someone will have to start and publish: Ideas, thoughts, doubts, and confront the incoming, that is the way to spark a social discussion/movement (about the European/Asian/MidEast angles there is plenty material on the net giving some nice overviews and controversies, but I have made the experience that US citizens rather refrain from enter in such discussions or resort to simpple insults: Part of the prolem, methinks).
A good book to read in this respect: "Zen and the Art of Motorcyle Maintenance" by Pirsig, an US American IIRC.
For self-education on how to address the problem (also by an US American): "The Elements of Moral Science" by Francis Wayland, 1835 and re-edited 1856 , interesting read (for the time it was written and the Puritan bkgnd it comes from; you were looking for an "American" take on moral science!), here the contents:
To see the differences in this take to the European view, I recommend to read David Hume: "Enquiry concerning the Principles of Morals", the secular take by this great Scottish thinker from 1752.
15M(ay): Noooobody! ...expects the Spanish Revolution!:
Update SEP 2011: Now reached US, called "Occupy Wall Street" and they claim they invented it. Thanks for learning from Spain!
Last edited by rattler; May 23rd, 2009 at 14:05..
|May 23rd, 2009||#3|
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Why is grooming, as displayed by monkeys, an indication of moral emotions?
Emotions are instincts; they are something that is part of our genes. They are part of our genetic makeup because they were necessary for the survival of the social species. Some species are loners but some are naturally social. The social species needed emotions that facilitated social unity. Mutual grooming is one means for bonding between individuals and the group.
Would morals count as knowledge? Do emotions count as knowledge? Directly I must say that the emotion of fear is not knowledge. The emotion leads to a feeling and the consciousness of the feeling becomes knowledge. Morality is about relationships, i.e. certain instincts make a social group possible.
Without social cohesion social groups cannot survive. Reasoning about facts is a human means for survival and thriving. The more we know and understand about relationships the better will be our lives. In fact, because we have developed such powerful technology and thus have placed in the hands of people such power that if we do not do a better job about relationships our species cannot long survive.
|May 24th, 2009||#4|
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Where's the connection between morals and emotions ???? One is an expectation of society, the other is probably genetic.
I don't think you have enough to do, is this some pet theory of yours?
|May 24th, 2009||#5|
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I think that emotions like fear, passion, abition, etc. are rather antagonists to the christian model of morality, as this model assumes we act based on reason and knowledge and on the virtues described by it.
OTOH, while not individual knowledge, they sure are species knowledge that has evoluted over the times.
I think in this sense Hume meant to include them in his moral virtue catalogue.
|May 24th, 2009||#6|
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|May 24th, 2009||#7|
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It seems clear to me that we all have very different ideas as to the purpose and meaning of morality. Perhaps the most important domain of knowledge for our survival now that our technology places such great power into our ands and we have no science to help us comprehend why humans do the things we do and can we do better.
Another problem we have is a mutual comprehension of the meaning of the word "science". All this makes clear to me that our educational system is a mess that needs a great deal of work.
Religion has not supplanted morality they have been allowed to define morality. I seek a science of morality to define morality just as physics and chemistry defined many knowledge domains of our natural world. This sounds like a crazy idea because we have all grown up in a world that thought that morality was the business of priests, imams, preachers, and rabbis. A grave error on our part.
The problems that I see on the horizon are such matters of WMD, the consumption of the planet by bigger populations, a lack of water for those billions of people, a financial system that is at this moment collapsing, a world ecology that we are destroying such that at some point it may no longer be able to heal it self, etc.
If the people are not sufficiently sophisticated to comprehend these problems how can they be part of the solution?
|May 24th, 2009||#8|
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1. an inborn pattern of activity or tendency to action common to a given biological species.
2. a natural or innate impulse, inclination, or tendency.
3. a natural aptitude or gift: an instinct for making money.
4. natural intuitive power.
Morals are learned.
1. a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws: the mathematical sciences.
2. systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation.
3. any of the branches of natural or physical science.
4. systematized knowledge in general.
5. knowledge, as of facts or principles; knowledge gained by systematic study.
6. a particular branch of knowledge.
7. skill, esp. reflecting a precise application of facts or principles; proficiency
Generally, another definition fail.
Often number 4 isn't really accepted as a real definition of "science" because it renders the word meaningless.
Last edited by A Can of Man; May 24th, 2009 at 11:54..
|May 24th, 2009||#9|
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Instincts are something genetic, something you are born with, this is not the case with morals. Please at least do us the favour of consulting the dictionary,... any dictionary before posting this crap.
I think that you'd better go away and start again with this. So far you haven't said a single sane thing. Your line if reasoning reminds me a lot of a loony we had here several months ago who tried to lecture combat veterans on tactics.
Just what is your point with all this "very deep and meaningful" twaddle, I seem to smell a pseudo "intellectual" here.
Last edited by senojekips; May 24th, 2009 at 12:35..
|May 24th, 2009||#10|
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Even those who "lack" it (from your and the majoritie´s point of view) have a personal ethics concept, just a very different one than socially accepted.
Last edited by rattler; May 24th, 2009 at 13:25..
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