Board index Morality

How do we know what's right and what's wrong? how do we decide? What IS right and wrong?

Re: What are some examples of moral absolutes?

Postby Phallic Trophy » Thu May 17, 2018 5:28 pm

Many cultures through history have considered it perfectly acceptable to horribly murder men, women and children for essentially sport, as long as they were members of a hostile tribe. If you look at tribal cultures, you often find that the names in which a certain tribe refers to itself means something like "the people", "real people" or "true people". Members of foreign tribes, with no blood relations, alien customs and strange language, were often treated as effectively nonhumans in wartime - which is nicely documented and explained by human ethology btw. That is not to say that everybody had fun killing babies: but having fun doing it was certainly not ostracized as far as we can tell.

Even if we look at classical sources: Homer describes the murder of Hector's baby boy Astyanax during the sack of Troy without any impilcation of guilt, remorse, or breached taboos. Now, granted, killing Asytanax was necessary from a Greek standpoint, because he was the heir to the Trojan throne, but the way he was killed is so needlessly horrible, that it obviously requires a casually monstrous mind that goes way beyond simply eliminating the enemy: he is torn from her mothers breast by Neoptolemus, who then flings the infant over the wall of the city before his mothers eyes. Some versions of the story speak of Neoptolemus killing the baby in a different way, and then clubbing the king of troy to death with the corpse of his baby grandson. There is nothing in Greek mythology indicating such acts were considered grossly inappropriate, stigmatized or shameful. Neoptolemus is the son of Achilles, and a major hero.

That is not to say, that having fun killing the babies of your enemies was considered a moral imperative: but it is certainly not depicted as wrong either. It was just a thing nobody had serious problem with.
Phallic Trophy
 

Re: What are some examples of moral absolutes?

Postby jimwalton » Thu May 17, 2018 5:31 pm

Thank you for your comment, and this is exactly my point. They would kill children as an act of war or genocide, and maybe even enjoy doing it. But if they didn't kill **their own children** in sport, then they thought killing children for the fun of it was wrong. They believed that killing children of another tribe, as an act of war was OK, and even enjoyable, but that's not the point I was making. Humans acting as barbarians have always done that. But if they don't kill their own children for the fun of it, then there was a moral barrier against doing that. And we find this to be true of all cultures. No one anywhere anytime believes that killing children for the fun of it is right. And that is different than enjoying killing the babies of another tribe. If they didn't kill their own babies with the same pleasure, then they did have a serious problem with it.
jimwalton
Site Admin
 
Posts: 4933
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:28 pm

Re: What are some examples of moral absolutes?

Postby Vermont Choir » Thu May 17, 2018 9:52 pm

It's funny. While I see people dispute the motive for circumcision, (is it for fun or entertainment?), I am not seeing anyone contend that the actual act of circumcising a child does not qualify as an act of torture. I dont see you dispute that end of my contention, for example. Why not? To me, the end result of a child suffering is the same. This is true, whether a parent or community's motive is derived from a sadism, malisciousness or some otherwise shadenfreudian sense of pleasure from witnessing the suffering of babies... or perhaps some other misguided aspiration to be what they consider "good." Maybe you can answer a question for me. When you are aware of a situation such as this, one that I would call the victimization of an unconsenting, vulnerable, unanesthesized infant, on their genitals by surgical modification with little to no scientific justification... why do you focus on the task of diminishing a social perception that everyone else involved in celebrating that act is in part deriving their happiness from a situation that involves a child's suffering instead of coming to the defense of that baby's most basic of human rights, which is the right to live unmolested? You had a choice in front of you. You could focus on the adults, or the child, and your instincts were not to condemn adults, not their motives, and you didn't even address their actions. Neither did you take the moment to speak in defense of the child from the wishes or actions of the adults in a scenario wherein the two parties have inherently conflicting interests. Are you able to explain your reluctance to condemn this action which causes the unnecessary suffering of a child?
Vermont Choir
 

Re: What are some examples of moral absolutes?

Postby jimwalton » Thu May 17, 2018 9:52 pm

Because I'm not talking about unnecessary suffering, unintentional suffering, or even deliberate suffering, like circumcision. Circumcision has both medical and religious motives behind it. It is not torturing a child for the fun of it. No one, but no one thinks it's OK to torture a child **for the fun of it.** While some people may consider that circumcision is an act of torture, certainly it's not done for sport or entertainment. And while the end result of a child suffering is the same, that wasn't my thesis. My contention was that no one thinks it's right to torture a child **for the fun of it**. Since we're talking about an example of a moral absolute, I have presented two. We all agree that it's wrong to torture a child for the fun of it.

> why do you focus on the task of diminishing a social perception that everyone else involved in celebrating that act is in part deriving their happiness from a situation that involves a child's suffering instead of coming to the defense of that baby's most basic of human rights, which is the right to live unmolested?

I am diminishing nothing, nor am I justifying the suffering. This discussion is a search for an example of a moral absolute, and we all agree (and all always have) that torturing a child for the fun of it is wrong.

> you didn't even address their actions. Neither did you take the moment to speak in defense of the child from the wishes or actions of the adults in a scenario wherein the two parties have inherently conflicting interests. Are you able to explain your reluctance to condemn this action which causes the unnecessary suffering of a child?

It's not the discussion at hand or the subject of conversation. It was not the question asked, and so it was not part of my answer. If you wish to talk about human rights, suffering, and condemnable actions, that's another discussion.
jimwalton
Site Admin
 
Posts: 4933
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:28 pm

Re: What are some examples of moral absolutes?

Postby Gully » Thu May 17, 2018 9:56 pm

You think some soldiers don't enjoy warfare?
Gully
 

Re: What are some examples of moral absolutes?

Postby jimwalton » Thu May 17, 2018 9:56 pm

Of course they do, but that's not the point. The point is if those soldiers believe that it's right to kill children for the fun of it. You'll find that universally it is not. They may take pleasure in killing children as an act of war, but then they don't go home and hack the children of their own village to pieces. It's because they don't believe that killing children for the fun of it is right. They only enjoy warfare and may get some rise out of the blood and glory, etc. etc. But no one walks around murdering children during the course of a common day the same as we might eat lunch or have a party. No one. No one thinks that is right. No one ever did.
jimwalton
Site Admin
 
Posts: 4933
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:28 pm

Re: What are some examples of moral absolutes?

Postby Fat Chef » Thu May 17, 2018 10:05 pm

> You don't think that abortion is killing (ending a life) for convenience?

Not all are for convenience and not all are killing. It’s your casual summation of other people’s decisions that disturbs me.
Fat Chef
 

Re: What are some examples of moral absolutes?

Postby jimwalton » Thu May 17, 2018 10:11 pm

> Not all are for convenience

I agree that not all abortions are for convenience. There are some legitimate medical reasons to abort a baby.

> not all are killing

Hmm. That depends on your assessment of when life begins. If the zygote has a different genetic structure than the mother and a different blood type, and if it is made of living cells and has 23 pairs of chromosomes, I think we could conclude that it is a living organism. And if one brings cessation to that living organism, how is it not killing?

> It’s your casual summation of other people’s decisions that disturbs me.

You judge me too casually yourself. I know that the decision to abort is often a difficult and strenuous one. It is sometimes made with difficulty, but sometimes also routinely. We both know that most abortions in the country are abortions of convenience, not of medical necessity.
jimwalton
Site Admin
 
Posts: 4933
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:28 pm

Re: What are some examples of moral absolutes?

Postby Awesome Killer » Sun May 20, 2018 4:13 pm

Many animals are observed playing with their food. "fun" is a survival behavior in many adolescent animals to hone in on their social, fighting, and hunting abilities.

The Romans are a pure example of using the poor, sick, and enslaved in fighting for sport and entertainment.

If morality can be suspected into different scenarios and instances then doesn't it build the case that it is subjective?
Awesome Killer
 

Re: What are some examples of moral absolutes?

Postby jimwalton » Sun May 20, 2018 4:13 pm

> Many animals are observed playing with their food. "fun" is a survival behavior in many adolescent animals to hone in on their social, fighting, and hunting abilities.

Sure. Of course they are. It's instinctual behavior, not an expression of pleasure as we humans have, as far as we can tell.

> The Romans are a pure example of using the poor, sick, and enslaved in fighting for sport and entertainment.

Of course they did, but they didn't torture babies for the fun of it.

> If morality can be suspected into different scenarios and instances then doesn't it build the case that it is subjective?

Some morality is subjective. Different cultures follow different practices and even sometimes different moralities. But there is no culture anywhere on the planet or anywhere in history that says it's right to torture babies for the fun of it. Therefore some expressions of morality are objective and absolute.
jimwalton
Site Admin
 
Posts: 4933
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:28 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Morality

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


cron