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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 Gully » Sun May 20, 2018 4:20 pm

Didn't say all infants. Some is enough. One is enough to make it not universal.

I find it pretty ridiculous you claim to know the minds of all people everywhere from every time.
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Re: What are some examples of moral absolutes?

Postby jimwalton » Sun May 20, 2018 4:21 pm

> Didn't say all infants. Some is enough. One is enough to make it not universal.

One is not enough because your illustration of the "one" is a different category than the discussion at hand. Obviously there are individuals in history (psychopaths) who enjoyed torturing children for the fun of it. But we all recognize that behavior as mentally ill and wrong. Obviously there are soldiers who kill babies "for the fun of it" as an act of war. But their culture doesn't consider killing or torturing babies for the fun of it to be right, because they don't engage in that practice outside of warfare. They don't torture or kill their own babies for the fun of it. So your "one" doesn't change that the objective morality exists: there is no culture in history or on the planet that believes killing or torturing babies for the fun of it is right.

> I find it pretty ridiculous you claim to know the minds of all people everywhere from every time.

Oh, it's not a claim. That would be ridiculous. I'm just going by the evidence of anthropology, sociology, science and history. But, hey, if you have evidence of a culture that considers that killing or torturing babies for the fun of it is right and good, I'd be pleased to see your evidence.
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Re: What are some examples of moral absolutes?

Postby Phallic Trophy » Sun May 20, 2018 5:00 pm

> 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...

I'm sorry but that's a bit of goalpost-shifting there, not to mention that are you going to sell basic survival directives as absolute morals? It's like saying that it's an absolute moral to eat when you're starving: lo' and behold, every society does it, and it is considered good. Yeah, not killing your own kids randomly is a no-brainer, because any society that does that simply becomes extinct in short order.

On the other hand, if you're arguing, that evolutionary necessities dictate morals, we agree.

> then they thought killing children for the fun of it was wrong

No. Not as long as they were the children of others—of hostile groups. The issue is specifically that: that the emphasis was not on the fact that they were children, it was on which group they belonged to. Basically, up until the XIX. century, children were perceived as something like "small adults" by society: they worked as soon as there was a work they could do, and they were available for marriage as soon as they reached puberty. In some ages and places, laws acknowledged their responsibility in most matters was limited, but that was far from universal. The spartans, notably, started their rather punishing martial training at age 7. Your assumptions about the perception of children in ancient times are the assumptions of a XXI. century person.

It is obvious that if you treat children in general as more or less like small adults, you also treat the children of your enemies as something like adult enemies of your tribe. And this is what people very often did.

If you want to lay down a universal moral rule among humans, it's probably closer to "we don't kill people of our own group unless other rules dictate it". But again, that's hard to sell as a moral absolute, when ignoring that simply eliminates the whole group sooner or later.

The thing is, if you attempt to formulate moral rules that are universal among humans, you're going to end up with rules that are also evolutionary necessities. Which of course means that they are only "absolute" for this species, and are subject to change.
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Re: What are some examples of moral absolutes?

Postby jimwalton » Mon Jun 25, 2018 7:06 pm

> I'm sorry but that's a bit of goalpost-shifting there

No, not at all. What I have been saying all along is that there is no culture that believes that the torturing of babies for the fun of it is a good thing to do. Some kill or torture babies for religious reasons, some kill or torture babies in warfare or in genocide, and some kill or torture babies when they are mentally disturbed. But no culture anywhere anytime subscribes to the morality that it's generally a good thing—and right—to kill and torture babies for the fun of it.

> Yeah, not killing your own kids randomly is a no-brainer, because any society that does that simply becomes extinct in short order.

Exactly, but that's not even what I'm talking about, because some societies do kill their own children (child sacrifice, abortion). I'm specifying for the fun of it. No culture does that, no culture culture believes it is right and good.

> On the other hand, if you're arguing, that evolutionary necessities dictate morals, we agree.

No, I'm not arguing this at all.

> No. Not as long as they were the children of others - of hostile groups.

Ah, here's the condition that changes the situation. As I said, as an act of war, hostility, or genocide, yep. But not in general.

>The issue is specifically that: that the emphasis was not on the fact that they were children, it was on which group they belonged to.

That's correct, but not in general, not as a cultural good no matter what the situation. There is no culture that believes it is right, regardless of any situations or conditions, to torture or kill children for the fun of it.

For instance, our culture believes that sexual abuse is wrong. In general. Regardless of any situations or conditions. Whether an adult or child, it's wrong. Not every culture believed that (like ancient Rome), but ours does. But there is NO culture, regardless of any situations or conditions, that believed that torturing a child for the fun of it was right and good. None. It's a moral absolute.


Last bumped by Anonymous on Mon Jun 25, 2018 7:06 pm.
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