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Thread: Should

  1. #1
    Global Moderator Polemarch's Avatar
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    Dec 2013
    Los Angeles


    Do ethics have any value? Does it really matter what people think "should" be done? Where do ethical and moral frameworks come from anyway? Do they serve a purpose, and are they helpful?

    How do you frame up difficult decisions when they have the potential to impact other people? Is your utility or happiness more important than someone else's?

    At what point during a pregnancy does an abortion become wrong?
    Is there anything wrong with stealing from a rich person if you don't get caught? What about cheating on your spouse in a loveless marriage?
    Does income inequality matter to anyone but the poor?
    If you can only succeed at someone else's expense, is it wrong to try?

    Who decides, and do you personally care? If so, why? What is your personal moral code, what is it influenced by, and how have you come to that?
    We didn't land on Plymouth Rock. Plymouth Rock landed on us.

  2. #2
    Amen P-O's Avatar
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    Dec 2013
    We use moral language to talk about how we will feel about actions, and what we'll think about a person who performs them. Does it really matter what anyone else thinks? Sometimes. It's ultimately a method for people to exercise control over each other without overt violence. That's useful in a society, obviously. The idea that everyone will follow some agreed upon rules is comforting.

    I think the costs of immoral behavior show themselves when you interact with people. I think people who think that there are moral rules and that they matter tend to think and talk in a way that makes them seem more trustworthy.

    Personally, I don't like to frame things in terms of rules. I don't really have explicit moral principles that I follow. I generally take things on a case by case basis and evaluate it by just employing my empathy.
    In general, my happiness is more valuable than other people's.

    I understand that my sense of morality is a luxury, and I treat it as such. I'm willing to violate my morals if the costs of keeping them are too high.

    On abortion: I think as the pregnancy nears its end, abortion feels wrong, but it's not a line I would hesitate to cross if I thought the child wouldn't be properly cared for...or if the child would burden my life to some extreme extent that I didn't want to endure.

    I would rob the rich person if i stood to make enough money and the chances of getting caught were sufficiently low. But it's still wrong.

    Why do I care? There's some element of our humanity that we should hang on to for practical reasons. Living in this world is probably an empty hellish experience if you emotionally divorce yourself from all of society.
    Violence is never the right answer, unless used against heathens and monsters.

  3. #3
    New Member Mr Write's Avatar
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    Jan 2014
    Behind every "should", there is prefixed - explicit or not - "for the purpose of x". Given no context, x is ambiguous (or worse, vacuous); though the default is usually a common human goal like "increasing overall happiness", or something like that which we are programmed to do to perpetuate our existence in general. From here, we can bypass philosophy and go straight to biology for answers.

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