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    (Original post by zaf1986)
    best thing since sliced bread is the expression you're looking for. I do enjoy winding you up, Waddell
    Yes, OK I was just looking for an appropriate 18th century term. I suspect that the politicians of Pitt's era found the sandwich more useful than sliced bread.
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    (Original post by objectivism)
    I've been asked this before, so here is a copy of what i think on the matter. I don't study philosophy formally so, no doubt, my views on this matter are not developing as fast as those who do.


    Relavitism is a theory about the nature of morality. At first blush it seems quite plausible. However, like all such theories, it may be evaluated by subjecting it to rational analysis; and when we analyse relavitism we find it not so plausible as it first appears.

    First, an example of conflicting moralities. Darius, a king of ancient Persia, gathered people from two different cultures: the Greeks and the Callatians. The Greeks tended to burn their dead, and the Callatians tended to eat their dead. When Darius asked the Greeks if they would eat their dead, they were horrified. The Callatians were similarly horrified at the prospect of burning their dead.

    The first thing we need to notice is that at the heart of relavitism there is a certain form of arguement. The strategy used by cultural relativists is to argue from facts about the differences between cultural outlooks to a conclusion about the status of morality. Thus we are invited to accept this line of reasoning:
    1) The Greeks believed it was wrong to eat the dead, whereas the Callatians believed it was right to eat the dead.
    2) Therefore, eating the dead is neither objectively right nor objectively wrong. It is merely a matter of opinion.

    Clearly this arguement is a variation of one fundamental idea. it is a special case of an arguement which says:
    1) different cultures have different moral codes
    2)Therefore, there is no objective "truth" in morality. Right and wrong are only matters of opinion, and opinions can vary from culture to culture.

    To many people, it is very persuasive, but from a logical view, is it a sound arguement?

    the trouble is that the conclusion still might be false. The premise concerns what people believe; their believes might not be right. It could be that the practice was objectively right (or wrong) and the other was simply mistaken.
    So essentially your point is - the fact that there are different moral outlooks doesnt mean that one cant be the correct one?

    True. But thats not the point. The point of noting the varied societal consensi on morality is to show that others in time have entirely different views on what we take as obvious. This thus raises the possibility that it isnt that obvious at all.

    Now. If you are to believe in an objective morality - the question is - where does it come from? What makes it objectively true? What makes murder "wrong" if not simply a societal view on it.

    If you say - killin gis wrong - and I say - Why? then what answer can you give?

    Perhaps:

    Consider this as well: in some societies, people believe the Earth is flat. Other societies hold the earth is roughly spherical. Does it follow, from the mere fact that they disagree, that there is no objective truth? Of course not. nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed. The Earth is spherical, regardless on whether or not some people believed it to be flat. Some people were right, some people were wrong. It takes alot of maturity to admit to mistakes, a maturity most people do not possess.
    That is not to support your argument. The fact that there can be factual truth (although whether it can be verified is another matter) is NOT the same as the notion that a moral precept can be true.

    Why? Because it involves a comment on something other than the physcial state of affairs. In incorporates an abstract metaphysical concept which has not evidence. Notion of right and wrong are not the same as notions of flat or spherical. You havent even shown that right and wrong exist, while clearly we can see that "flat" does. Its question begging to assume right and wrong are meaningful concepts.

    The consequences of taking relativism seriously.
    1) We could no longer say that the customs of other societies are morally inferior to our own. - Take my Nazi example. No one would be allowed to call the holocaust wrong. We would not even be able to say a Jew tolerant society is better than the anti-Semitic one.
    Indeed. Though we can make a subjective judgment. We can assume the grundnorm on whcih our normative system is founded. We can say - according to MY system - that is wrong.

    However if logical anaylisis precludes our saying that there is an objective morality - then it does so. We cant object to the conclusions that that necessitates.


    2)We could decide whether actions are right or wrong just by consulting the standards of our society. - Because the only way I can judge morality is through my own society, if I were a pre-civil war southerner, because my society says slavery is right, then I must accept it, because I can't judge morality by any other barometer other than my own society. Relativism is dangerous because in addition to being unable to criticize other societies, we would become unable to criticize our own. After all, if right and wrong are relative to culture, how would we decide if a cultural decision is the right or wrong thing to do?
    Indeed. Again, a logical conclusion.



    3) The idea of moral progress is called into doubt. - If everything is relative, how do we know making a decision is right or wrong? Freeing the slaves could not have occurred, because that society says slavery is ok. Most people would consider the emancipation of slaves to be moral progress, because someone outside that culture decided that slavery was wrong. 18th and 19th century was, in effect, different societies from the one we have now. To say we have made progress (in terms of racial equality and women's rights, etc, etc) implies that one culture (our modern one) is better than the other one, which is impermissible under relativism.
    Indeed. But because you dont like the conclusion... is not to say that its wrong.


    Simple question - if there is an objective morality - where do you get it from?
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    (Original post by zaf1986)
    Stop putting words in my mouth. I didn't say you advocated dictatorship or censorship. All I said was that you are not even willing to consider another a viewpoint or argument. Its fine considering your own argument to be right, after all everyone does thats why the believe in it - but at least give the other person some respect, that maybe - just maybe - his/her argument may have some merit in it. Thats all.
    Of course i consider others views, otherwise how could i reject them with arguments? Respect? Respect in my view is earned not just given away. Thats my own view on the issue of respect and as your yourself note
    'Its fine considering your own argument to be right'.
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    (Original post by Lord Waddell)
    Yes, OK I was just looking for an appropriate 18th century term. I suspect that the politicians of Pitt's era found the sandwich more useful than sliced bread.
    Always have the last word.... :rolleyes:
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    Simple question - if there is an objective morality - where do you get it from?
    I have also been asked this question before and my basic answer is the senses. That is reality. If you want to know more go to http://www.theobjectivistcenter.org/...etaphysics.asp

    or read below:


    Reality exists as an objective absolute—facts are facts, independent of man's feelings, wishes, hopes or fears.
    — Ayn Rand, "Introducing Objectivism" The Objectivist Newsletter Vol. 1 No. 8 August, 1962 p. 35
    Objectivism holds that there is one reality, the one in which we live. It is self-evident that reality exists and is what it is: our job is to discover it. Objectivism stands against all forms of metaphysical relativism or idealism. It holds it as undeniable that humans have free will, and opposes metaphysical determinism or fatalism. More generally, it holds that there is no fundamental contradiction between the free, abstract character of mental life and the physical body in which it resides. And so it denies the existence of any "supernatural" or ineffable dimension for spirits or souls.

    Let's consider each of these points in turn.

    Relativism and objective reality.
    Today, especially in university departments of literature, there are some fashionable "postmodernists" who claim that we create reality with words, in our own minds. This view is an instance of a position that has frequently reappeared in philosophy: metaphysical relativism or idealism. It is the view that, ultimately, nothing is real except in relation to our perceiving it or thinking of it.

    But reality is not a function of our ideas. It exists, and it is what it is, regardless of whether we want it to be or not. Denying this is the intellectual equivalent of closing one's eyes while driving down the highway. Car crashes do not happen just because one believes they do; they often happen even when we wish them not to. Facts are facts, independently of us. This is why things happen that surprise us. It is why science has been the process of establishing the truth about nature without regard for our preconceptions. It is why babies have to learn: they are discovering the world "out there." Things in reality have real properties and exert causal powers without regard for us and our knowledge of them. Ayn Rand summed up this attitude to reality as the principle of the primacy of existence.

    "The primacy of existence (of reality) is the axiom that existence exists," wrote Ayn Rand in "The Metaphysical versus the Man-Made," "i.e., that the universe exists independent of consciousness (of any consciousness), that things are what they are, that they possess a specific nature, an identity. The epistemological corollary is the axiom that consciousness is the faculty of perceiving that which exists—and that man gains knowledge by looking outward." Consciousness (i.e., the mind) is in essence a faculty of awareness. We are aware of the world around us through sense-perceptions, of course, but even in our abstract and theoretical knowledge we function primarily through identification of how things are. To give a simple example, we decide whether to say "that is a yellow house," but we know that what makes that statement knowledge, rather than hot air, is whether or not it identifies a house that really is yellow.


    My morality, the morality of reason, is contained in a single axiom: existence exists—and in a single choice: to live. The rest proceeds from these. To live, man must hold three things as the ruling values of his life: Reason—Purpose—Self-esteem. Reason, as his only tool of knowledge—Purpose, as his choice of the happiness which that tool must proceed to achieve—Self-esteem, as his inviolate certainty that his mind is competent to think and his person is worthy of happiness, which means: worthy of living. These three values imply and require all of man's virtues…
    — Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged.
    For thousands of years, people have been taught that goodness consists in serving others. "Love your brother as yourself" teach the Christian scriptures. "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need" preach the Marxists. Even the liberal Utilitarian philosophers, many of whom defended free market capitalism, taught that one should act always to attain "the greatest good for the greatest number." The result of this code has been a bloody trail of wars and revolutions to enforce self-sacrifice, and an endless struggle in society to achieve equality among people. Meanwhile, like the barnyard revolutionaries of George Orwell's "Animal Farm," the advocates of uniformity and self-sacrifice strain to prove themselves "more equal than others," so that they may determine how much love is enough, or what your ability is and what your needs should be. It seems loving our fellow man is a fine way to hate him.

    The Objectivist ethics rebuilds morality from the ground up. "You cannot say 'I love you' if you cannot say the 'I'," wrote Ayn Rand. According to Objectivism, a person's own life and happiness is the ultimate good. To achieve happiness requires a morality of rational selfishness, one that does not give undeserved rewards to others and that does not ask them for oneself.

    Traditional moral codes have taught that social life is a war of dog-eat-dog, which must be restrained by self-sacrifice and self-abnegation. "Live simply, that others may simply live," is their slogan. But unlike these doctrines suited to a world of peasant villages and warrior elites, Objectivism was made for the era of industrial capitalism. It teaches what became plain as the West got rich: that a harmony of interests exists among rational individuals, so that no one's benefit need come at the price of another's suffering. Because one person's happiness does not come at the expense of another's, a life of mutual respect and benevolent independence is possible for all. It is the doctrine of "live and let live," to the full and in every way.

    Now how can such a harmony of interests exist? Aren't our interests really in conflict? Aren't we each at the other's throat? The answer is that human beings are not vampires, feeding on each other, nor need we live as hunter-gatherers, simply feeding on limited natural resources. Where animals graze the land, humans can cultivate it. The human mode of living is production: the creation of value from the raw materials around us. Human beings see a rock, and we invent tools, smelting techniques, stone buildings, steel girders, paved streets, and so on and on. We see a tree, and we make furniture, fuel, papers, books, construction materials, medicines, and so on and on. The application of reason to our problems allows us to create solutions. Thus we are not like dogs squabbling over meat or children sharing a pie; we are each creators, making new goods through our productive work, materially and morally.

    Material well-being is possible for everyone, and no one needs to make others poor to get rich. Consider the fact that the richest people in America are entrepreneurs who created products that millions of people were glad to use. And since knowledge, ideas, and other non-material goods can be shared as widely as need be, we are not in fundamental competition with others for our spiritual needs, either. So, because reason is our means of survival, we stand to benefit from every discovery others make, every image or story they share, and every dollar they earn by production and trade.

    Objectivism holds that the purpose of morality is to define a code of values in support of one's own life, a human life. The values of Objectivism are the means to a happy life. They include such things as wealth, love, satisfaction in work, education, artistic inspiration, and much more. We choose many of our values, such as what work we enjoy and who are our friends and lovers. But we cannot choose the need for material goods or for friendship, if a happy life is what we seek. The ultimate choice open to us is whether we want life or not. Life is a choice we must make consciously and seriously, argues Rand, or else we may find that, by default, we have chosen the alternative: suffering and death.

    The cardinal values of Objectivism are Reason, Purpose, and Self. Reason, because it is our means of gaining knowledge, and, through production, our means of survival. Purpose, because each of us has free will and must direct himself toward chosen goals, through a chosen course of life. Self, because without self-esteem, a self-motivating being cannot find the means to continue. Just as one's own needs lie at the heart of the Objectivist ethical code, so should respect for them lie at the heart of one's values.

    The Objectivist ethics is a code that honors achievement and counsels the celebration, not the envy, of greatness. It honors the creativity not only of artists and scholars, but of the producers on whose shoulders civilization rests: industrialists and engineers, investors and inventors. It holds that any work is spiritual that is well and thoughtfully done, no matter what the scale of achievement, from the factory line worker to the corporate CEO, and from the most unknown clerk to the most celebrated movie star.

    The virtues of Objectivism, then, define principles of action that lead to the achievement of objective values, considered in the full context of human life. The key principle of the Objectivist ethics is rationality, as against mysticism and whim. The ethics is a code of benevolence and justice toward other people: holding evil-doers to account for their vices, but treating rational and productive people with good will and generosity. It entails integrity, allowing no breach between our principles and our actions. A rational being practices honesty, loving the truth more than deception; and he lives first-hand, on the basis of his own judgment and effort, so independence is a virtue. The Objectivist ethics places industry and productivity in one's chosen work at the center of life's concerns. It is the code of a person who holds his head up with pride, in an objective appreciation of his merits and in aspiration to improvement in the future.

    Traditional ethics contrast the image of man as an animal with the ideal of man as an otherworldly monk. Man is by nature a ravening beast, on this view, and he must be taught self-denial and self-sacrifice to be angelic and meek. Objectivism holds that man lives best as a trader, acting rationally for his own sake and dealing with others by exchanging value for value. Traditional ethics extol courage in the face of death as a virtue; Objectivism counsels integrity in the long-term pursuit of happiness. Traditional ethics extol charity as the mark of nobility; Objectivism extols productive achievement, because no one exists merely for the sake of others. It is an ethic for those who want all life has to offer, consistently, over the full course of life.
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    (Original post by zaf1986)
    Always have the last word.... :rolleyes:
    Well, it would be churlish of me to leave your post unreplied, wouldn't it now?
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    I have also been asked this question before and my basic answer is the senses. That is reality.
    I'll give you a basic example. Much of the Middle East consider premarital sex as "immoral" yet the Western world finds no problem with it. So is it moral or immoral and how do we decide?


    Well, it would be churlish of me to leave your post unreplied, wouldn't it now?
    Of course, the typically Scottish good mannered conservative that you are....
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    (Original post by objectivism)
    I have also been asked this question before and my basic answer is the senses. That is reality. If you want to know more go to http://www.theobjectivistcenter.org/...etaphysics.asp

    or read below:
    That didnt really address the point.

    That deals with the notion of truth, free will etc. It doesnt explain where MORALITY comes from

    It doesnt explain why right and wrong are meaningful...

    if they come from the senses - how do you escape relevatism. By simply saying "my senses are right"? What makes something that comes from your senses objectively true? What makes it "bad"? Or "good"?
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    [QUOTE]
    (Original post by zaf1986)
    I'll give you a basic example. Much of the Middle East consider premarital sex as "immoral" yet the Western world finds no problem with it. So is it moral or immoral and how do we decide?
    The senses are our tools for survival. What is in accordance with life is good and vice versa. Is premartial sex irrational and so immoral? Yes if you fear death e.g aids, killed by the regime etc. It is not if it brings more pleasure than badness, as it usually does in the west. My criteria is objective - life.
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    (Original post by Lawz-)
    That didnt really address the point.

    That deals with the notion of truth, free will etc. It doesnt explain where MORALITY comes from

    It doesnt explain why right and wrong are meaningful...

    if they come from the senses - how do you escape relevatism. By simply saying "my senses are right"? What makes something that comes from your senses objectively true? What makes it "bad"? Or "good"?
    I've now changed it.
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    [QUOTE=objectivism]

    The senses are our tools for survival. What is in accordance with life is good and vice versa. Is premartial success irrational and so immoral? Yes if you fear death e.g aids, killed by the regime etc. It is not if it brings more pleasure than badness, as it usually does in the west. My criteria is objective - life.
    Is that then not relative to society? Maybe I'm missing something here, because that seems relative to me.
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    (Original post by objectivism)
    I've now changed it.
    to be honest i havent got time to read articles

    if you care to paraphrase though....
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    (Original post by Lawz-)
    to be honest i havent got time to read articles

    if you care to paraphrase though....

    to be honest i haven't got the time or energy. Also all the points made in those articles are very important and reinforce one another.
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    (Original post by zaf1986)
    Is that then not relative to society? Maybe I'm missing something here, because that seems relative to me.
    No because wherever you are you are using an objective standard - your life.
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    (Original post by objectivism)
    to be honest i haven't got the time or energy. Also all the points made in those articles are very important and reinforce one another.
    both so busy
    Although I have yet to see a solution to perenial "whys"
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    (Original post by Bismarck)
    In economics Adam Smith and Milton Friedman (moreso with the latter, but only because many of the economic concepts Friedman touched upon were not known in the 18th century).

    In international relations, Niccolo Machiavelli, Thomas Hobbes, and Hans Morgenthau. I agree with Morgenthau more than with the former two for the same reason as above.

    On a practical level (i.e. those thinkers who got things done), it would have to be Cardinal de Richelieu, von Bismarck, and di Cavour, in that order.

    Out of the ones in the poll, I can't say I agree with any of them, though I agree with Hayek more than with the others.
    I spotted Milton Friedman but Machiavelli? Very Straussian.

    As to me, to be honest I've bypassed most of that crowd and gone straight to Alf Garnett, but I've read quite a bit by Murray R, and haven't disagreed with a word and H's Road to serfdom has been in my bag for weeks, shall get round to it.

    Like technik I often agree with him/her.
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    (Original post by ArthurOliver)
    I spotted Milton Friedman but Machiavelli? Very Straussian.

    As to me, to be honest I've bypassed most of that crowd and gone straight to Alf Garnett, but I've read quite a bit by Murray R, and haven't disagreed with a word and H's Road to serfdom has been in my bag for weeks, shall get round to it.

    Like technik I often agree with him/her.
    Strauss was a philosopher, and I can't stand most of them. The only thinkers I care about are those who are able to relate their arguments to reality, not just to some abstract intellectual diarrhea.

    As for Machivelli, he gets a bad rep from people who never read any of his works. While he doesn't care much about the means leaders use and in fact supports murder and deceit under certain circumstances, he does condemn leaders who pursue ends he consideres immoral (i.e. self-aggrandizement, personal dictatorship, reliance on mercenaries, placing a priority on acquiring wealthy, etc.).
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    (Original post by Bismarck)
    Strauss was a philosopher, and I can't stand most of them.
    Most? What about Strauss specifically? And what of his neocon acolytes? If you have time...
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    (Original post by ArthurOliver)
    Most? What about Strauss specifically? And what of his neocon acolytes? If you have time...
    Straussianism is mostly about style of writing (i.e. write one thing for the ignorant masses and something else for the intellegentsia). If he did put forth any coherent ideology, it's that modernism is bad and that traditional values are good and by extension that society matters more than the individual. Unlike most traditional conservatists, he also thought using radical means to reclaim traditional values was to be encouraged. I could see why former Trotskyists would want to adopt this ideology.

    Personally, I think it's wrong on many levels. Strauss was willing to weaken the economy just to increase societal cohesion. He was willing to undermine the individual just to create his version of a perfect society, which is no better than the nonsense preached by Marx, Keynes, and their acolytes.
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    That’s a remarkably kind viewpoint Bizzy.

    Maybe I’m totally wrong in my rather less friendly appraisal, possibly you’re wrong, he’s certainly little mentioned considering the ******* Neocons are fundamentalist aherents to the ideological perversions of the evil c**t.

    Strauss’s philosophy boils down to the age old and historically discredited aspiration to power and empire (as your mate Machiavelli). His ideology, more coherent and elaborate than you suggest, expresses itself in a presumption of unilateralist self righteousness for those in government above all decent notions of accountability to the obligations of international law for those with the strength or cunning to circumvent or simply ignore such obligations. Familiar? :rolleyes:

    The wonderful neocons go further in stressing a total lack of obligatory accountability to the citizenry as well, which it sees as no better than chattel, to be lied to, manipulated and even sacrificed in order to further the intents of power for its own sake. Still familiar? :rolleyes:

    The neocon ideology, importantly, is not exclusive to either Reps or Dems and actually finds adherents from both sides of the l/r divide, as you probably know. Where they may seem opposed on a few social or cultural issues, their core, generally unconservative philosophy is summed up well here:

    1. They agree with Trotsky on permanent revolution, violent as well as intellectual.
    2. They are for redrawing the map of the Middle East and are willing to use force to do so.
    3. They believe in preemptive war to achieve desired ends.
    4. They accept the notion that the ends justify the means – that hard-ball politics is a moral necessity.
    5. They express no opposition to the welfare state.
    6. They are not bashful about an American empire; instead they strongly endorse it.
    7. They believe lying is necessary for the state to survive.
    8. They believe a powerful federal government is a benefit.
    9. They believe pertinent facts about how a society should be run should be held by the elite and
    withheld from those who do not have the courage to deal with it.
    10. They believe neutrality in foreign affairs is ill-advised.
    11. They hold Leo Strauss in high esteem.
    12. They believe imperialism, if progressive in nature, is appropriate.
    13. Using American might to force American ideals on others is acceptable. Force should not be limited to the defense of our country.
    14. 9-11 resulted from the lack of foreign entanglements, not from too many.
    15. They dislike and despise libertarians (therefore, the same applies to all strict constitutionalists.)
    16. They endorse attacks on civil liberties, such as those found in the Patriot Act, as being necessary.
    17. They unconditionally support Israel and have a close alliance with the Likud Party.

    Two other good links about Strauss - he's important to understand because he's the major philosophic influence on the lowlife pervert unAmerican *******s controlling much US policy.…http://www.alternet.org/story/15935 and http://www.informationclearinghouse....rticle5010.htm

    Should have been included in the poll given his primary importance today…
 
 
 
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