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Old 08-08-2018, 01:53 AM   #26
Original Position
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Re: Do you believe there is a moral baseline?

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Originally Posted by Pokerlogist View Post
A thief "wants" to steal your money for the "outcome" of getting high on meth. Is that the of personal wants and outcomes that the "aggregate" of society should accommodate in its moral system?
I don't know where you are going with this, but if you are asking my personal opinion I think it should be illegal and generally is immoral for someone to steal other people's money to get high on meth. I think the desires and life outcomes of meth-addicted thieves should be included as morally valuable in our moral thinking, not sure if that counts as "accommodating" them. I don't think our desires are enough to morally justify an action if that is relevant.
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Old 08-08-2018, 02:56 AM   #27
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Re: Do you believe there is a moral baseline?

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A thief "wants" to steal your money for the "outcome" of getting high on meth. Is that the of personal wants and outcomes that the "aggregate" of society should accommodate in its moral system?
Iím not suggesting society supplicate to the desires of the drug addicted thief, no. Our conventional approach of attempting to get our drug addicted thief to suppress his destructive desires is insufficient. Our morality needs to evolve to where it approaches this problem by helping this person gradually bring forth all his desires and integrate them. And Iím not suggesting talk therapy.

This is the role religion is supposed to assume but has been unable to successfully. As a result, so much of the moral conversation ignores the darkness at the bottom and instead focuses at a more manageable level (the hypothetical level, societal level, legal level, etc).
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Old 08-09-2018, 11:41 PM   #28
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Re: Do you believe there is a moral baseline?

There is a moral baseline towards ourselves, as we take care of ourselves but if we go more or less crazy. If we apply it to others also, other than what is good for us, depends on the mystery of compassion.
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Old 08-10-2018, 03:22 AM   #29
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Re: Do you believe there is a moral baseline?

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tame can you give some examples what you think might be moral baselines, or what you expect others would give as them?

The "never be crossed" line seems to me to be too strong a condition for many people's moral views to assert anything as meeting that condition.
This would be similar to subjecting consequentialism to deontological constraint. A consequentialist may deny that killing an innocent is always wrong if the consequences are better and the deontologist disagree, this is a pretty fundamental question in moral philosophy. The never to be crossed line is just a deontological constraint.
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Old 08-10-2018, 05:16 PM   #30
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Re: Do you believe there is a moral baseline?

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Do you believe there is a moral baseline?
Socially? Sure. It is constructed naturally between social beings.

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Do you think there should be one?
Personally? Sure. It would seem that any social being who isn't a literal psychopath would believe there should be one.

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Do you think it is permanent?
Do you know anybody how hasn't changed their moral beliefs over time?

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Why do you / do you not consider it to be an objective one?
I have yet to find two people that I could lock in a room, ask countless question of various moral situations, and get identical responses. That would be objective.
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Old 08-11-2018, 03:04 PM   #31
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Re: Do you believe there is a moral baseline?

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Socially? Sure. It is constructed naturally between social beings.



Personally? Sure. It would seem that any social being who isn't a literal psychopath would believe there should be one.



Do you know anybody how hasn't changed their moral beliefs over time?



I have yet to find two people that I could lock in a room, ask countless question of various moral situations, and get identical responses. That would be objective.
Then you misunderstood, the question was never "do you believe all your morals are absolute?", it was "do you think there are moral lines that should never be crossed?".

As for the last objection, even the most ardent believers in objective morals would generally agree that people's perception of morals differ.
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Old 08-18-2018, 12:18 PM   #32
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Re: Do you believe there is a moral baseline?

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This would be similar to subjecting consequentialism to deontological constraint. A consequentialist may deny that killing an innocent is always wrong if the consequences are better and the deontologist disagree, this is a pretty fundamental question in moral philosophy. The never to be crossed line is just a deontological constraint.
A strict version of utilitarianism says it is always wrong to not do the action which maximizes pleasure. This would count just as much as an absolute moral baseline as the more specific universal rules you find in deontological systems.
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Old 08-18-2018, 12:55 PM   #33
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Re: Do you believe there is a moral baseline?

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I was not really looking for some logical justification for morals, I am more curious to see how people genuinely think about morals. With "moral baseline" I was thinking of certain moral values that people think should never be crossed.

I have this notion (which might be incorrect) that most of us hold certain moral values to be external and others to be internal, regardless of what ethical theories we espouse. Perhaps I am wrong.

That isn't intended as direct criticism of various views on subjective or objective morals, but I do feel that when we frame discussions specifically towards theories of that ilk that we tend to automatically frame our morals in them. It is, I guess, more a criticism of how we tend to discuss morals.
I think there is an existential question here, about what counts as my genuine thoughts about morality. On the one hand, I have many moral beliefs and goals to which I consciously assent. On the other, I'm a fallible human being whose actions are guided by all sorts of more or less mysterious causes, only some of which seem to be these consciously assented to moral beliefs. A Christian would say I have a sin nature that inclines me towards selfishness, short-term pleasure, and triviality, and that the purpose of a moral and spiritual life is to bring it more in line with these moral beliefs. So are the revealed preferences of my actions my actual "moral" values, or are the ones to which I consciously assent my genuine values?

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An analogy could be economics. An economic model that models human decision making as rational is compelling because it is simple and elegant, and it is indeed easy to fit our behavior into such models. Very intelligent men and women have done so for a long time. The problem arises when we start modelling irrational behavior as rational. "Joe bought the car he could not afford because he wanted higher status" sounds perfectly fine, but it obfuscates problems with the model.
Your analogy ignores a crucial distinction. Economic models are descriptive, ethical models are normative. In fact, many moral theories assume that humans generally don't have the right moral values and so take as a central task the project of changing your moral baseline to become congruent with what is actually moral.
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Old 08-18-2018, 03:06 PM   #34
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Re: Do you believe there is a moral baseline?

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Originally Posted by tame_deuces View Post
There are many theories regarding morals. Objective morality, subjective morality, relative morality, evolutionary theories of morality and aesthetic theories of morality - to name but a few.

On theme that often repeats itself revolves around something I have come to think of as "the moral baseline". A set of moral values which should not be crossed. It is not really that important to this line in the sand which moral theory you subscribe to, that is more relevant to your reasoning as to why.

We have had a lot of threads that revolve around this issue. Sometimes in good faith ("do you believe X is permissible?") and sometimes in bad ("you believe X is permissible!"), so it seems to be a topic that engages people. For good reason, morals is perhaps the most important shaper of our cultures beyond biological necessities (I realize that one can argue that a fair bit of morals stem from biological needs, but at least consider that for a fair bit of morals that is a bit of a stretch).

So my questions become simple enough: Do you believe there is a moral baseline? Do you think there should be one? Do you think it is permanent? Why do you / do you not consider it to be an objective one?

A last note: There should be no need to let this thread devolve into a quarrel of competing theories of morality, we have plenty of those.

All I know is legality does not equal morality (marijuana, abortion etc).. so morality is relative. The 10 commandments is close to a moral baseline. So ya Iíll stick with Moses on this one.
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Old 08-21-2018, 04:31 AM   #35
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Re: Do you believe there is a moral baseline?

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Originally Posted by Original Position View Post
I think there is an existential question here, about what counts as my genuine thoughts about morality. On the one hand, I have many moral beliefs and goals to which I consciously assent. On the other, I'm a fallible human being whose actions are guided by all sorts of more or less mysterious causes, only some of which seem to be these consciously assented to moral beliefs. A Christian would say I have a sin nature that inclines me towards selfishness, short-term pleasure, and triviality, and that the purpose of a moral and spiritual life is to bring it more in line with these moral beliefs. So are the revealed preferences of my actions my actual "moral" values, or are the ones to which I consciously assent my genuine values?
I don't think we should ignore shame or guilt as moderating variables of ethical behavior, they do after all tell us something about the potential for future behavior. But at the end of the day actual actions matter more. It's nice if the guy who steals my car has regret, because it increases the chances of rehabilitation. But my car would still be stolen.


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Your analogy ignores a crucial distinction. Economic models are descriptive, ethical models are normative. In fact, many moral theories assume that humans generally don't have the right moral values and so take as a central task the project of changing your moral baseline to become congruent with what is actually moral.
To an extent that is true about the purest academic models (or perhaps "principles" would be a better word). Much of economics is applied with normative elements however. Keynesian economics not only tells you of the mechanisms behind boom and bust cycles, but also how the state should proceed to prevent them.

But it is true that ethical models are rarely predictive or descriptive, but imagine an economic policy that went down a similar route. We'd have very legitimate grounds to question its application.
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Old 08-21-2018, 12:20 PM   #36
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Re: Do you believe there is a moral baseline?

So curiosity is an impetus for gaining knowledge about morals and baselines. Why did that happen? Is curiosity a moral baseline?
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Old 10-28-2018, 07:04 PM   #37
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Re: Do you believe there is a moral baseline?

I don't believe in morality.
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