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objective morality

tacomancer

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I saw this post on another thread, but I am putting it here to avoid derailing.

If there were truly no natural rights, what Hitler did wouldn't have morally been wrong (there could be no absolute morality without natural rights). But even by his culture at the time, he would have been wrong for the mass killings he inspired. Though he was in charge and people feared him; so he was able to get away with it. And I guess he got to define the law. So morally and legally he did nothing wrong. Along accepted social terms, however, he was still wrong.
I guess my question is, why do people need to feel that there is something beyond themselves to determine right and wrong? Do you guys who believe in this philosophy really feel that this is the only way it can be determined? It just amazes me.
 

lizzie

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I guess my question is, why do people need to feel that there is something beyond themselves to determine right and wrong? Do you guys who believe in this philosophy really feel that this is the only way it can be determined? It just amazes me.
Along the same lines, I could ask why you believe in God. People need to believe there is something beyond themselves in determining right and wrong because we all have individual needs and beliefs. It's a way of unifying and maintaining civility. The post you used as an example is spot on imo.
 

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I saw this post on another thread, but I am putting it here to avoid derailing.



I guess my question is, why do people need to feel that there is something beyond themselves to determine right and wrong? Do you guys who believe in this philosophy really feel that this is the only way it can be determined? It just amazes me.
Public morality should be small and specific, when codified into law.
When you get real particular about it, you'll find yourself excusing all sorts of immoral **** and carving out exceptions for groups/things/people you favor.
 

tacomancer

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Along the same lines, I could ask why you believe in God. People need to believe there is something beyond themselves in determining right and wrong because we all have individual needs and beliefs. It's a way of unifying and maintaining civility. The post you used as an example is spot on imo.
I believe in God because I have encountered what I consider to be proof. I don't know if I need to though. I spent the majority of my life as a staunch atheist and am quite comfortable with it, so I am probably good either way.
 

Orion

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As an organized society, our morals tend to relate to respecting the livelihood of others, which is why murder, stealing, rape, etc. is against our collective morality. That, and most of our modern laws are rooted in the first laws, namely the Code of Hammurabi in ancient Babylon. A lot of religious stories come from there too, even though they are now modified.

Our central laws should be few, while allowing for the maximum number of freedoms to the individual, as long as one person's right to thrive does not infringe upon another's.

Anyway... what I basically wanted to say when I first came to this thread was that the words "objective" and "morality" do not belong beside each other.
 

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I guess my question is, why do people need to feel that there is something beyond themselves to determine right and wrong? Do you guys who believe in this philosophy really feel that this is the only way it can be determined? It just amazes me.
There are many varieties of social morals. Nothing I said there said people couldn't come up with their own moral codes. However, in the absence of natural rights, there is an absence of absolute morality. Societies can come up with their own definitions of right and wrong; and what those are defined as will be valid for those communities. Meaning that a society can say that theft is wrong whereas another one can say that it's fine. Morally then theft is wrong in the previous and acceptable in the latter. But if you're from the former, you can say that you think it's wrong but there is no absolute line by which you can say why they are wrong; other than your own personal community has agreed that it is wrong.
 

tacomancer

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There are many varieties of social morals. Nothing I said there said people couldn't come up with their own moral codes. However, in the absence of natural rights, there is an absence of absolute morality. Societies can come up with their own definitions of right and wrong; and what those are defined as will be valid for those communities. Meaning that a society can say that theft is wrong whereas another one can say that it's fine. Morally then theft is wrong in the previous and acceptable in the latter. But if you're from the former, you can say that you think it's wrong but there is no absolute line by which you can say why they are wrong; other than your own personal community has agreed that it is wrong.
I agree with that.
 

Ikari

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I agree with that.
So what was your problem with what I wrote? You can't apply some absolute morality to Hitler's actions if natural rights (and thus absolute morality) do not exist. You have to look at the social and government constructs. He can't be morally wrong as morals under the hypothetical become floppy. Socially there can be wrong doing if the society believes that murder is wrong. And on that front, Hitler most likely is in violation. Because even though not many Germans oppossed him, many still believed against murder. He just had a monopoly upon it. And legally he couldn't be wrong either since he was the end all be all of German law at the time and could define it as he liked.
 

tacomancer

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So what was your problem with what I wrote? You can't apply some absolute morality to Hitler's actions if natural rights (and thus absolute morality) do not exist. You have to look at the social and government constructs. He can't be morally wrong as morals under the hypothetical become floppy. Socially there can be wrong doing if the society believes that murder is wrong. And on that front, Hitler most likely is in violation. Because even though not many Germans oppossed him, many still believed against murder. He just had a monopoly upon it. And legally he couldn't be wrong either since he was the end all be all of German law at the time and could define it as he liked.
I don't see the lack of an objective morality as being a problem and you do. However, your post #6 was logical.
 

Ikari

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I don't see the lack of an objective morality as being a problem and you do. However, your post #6 was logical.
Everything I had said was said in the context of the hypothetical given. I never said the lack of objective morality is a bad thing. I said that Hitler couldn't be held to any absolute morality standard in the absence of absolute morality.
 

tacomancer

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Everything I had said was said in the context of the hypothetical given. I never said the lack of objective morality is a bad thing. I said that Hitler couldn't be held to any absolute morality standard in the absence of absolute morality.
Ok. I misunderstood than.
 

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I think that there is only moral relativism, no absolute morality. However, I think that there are natural rights defined in moral relativism. So all modern cultures will observe the right to life, liberty and property.
 

tacomancer

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I think that there is only moral relativism, no absolute morality. However, I think that there are natural rights defined in moral relativism. So all modern cultures will observe the right to life, liberty and property.
I pretty much agree. I am pretty well convinced that adhering to those principals is instinctual in humans (and some other principals too). However, different societies will follow it to different degrees or perhaps priotize one over another, etc.
 

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So what was your problem with what I wrote? You can't apply some absolute morality to Hitler's actions if natural rights (and thus absolute morality) do not exist. You have to look at the social and government constructs. He can't be morally wrong as morals under the hypothetical become floppy. Socially there can be wrong doing if the society believes that murder is wrong. And on that front, Hitler most likely is in violation. Because even though not many Germans oppossed him, many still believed against murder. He just had a monopoly upon it. And legally he couldn't be wrong either since he was the end all be all of German law at the time and could define it as he liked.
Hitler may have done no wrong, IN HIS TERMS, but the fact that he kept his final solution a secret from his own population as much as was possible suggests that he knew that what he was doing wasn't socially acceptable, even to a German population indoctrinated with ideas of racial superiority and the 'evils' of the Slavs, Jews, Romanies, homosexuals, i.e. his 'Untermenschen'.
 

tacomancer

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Which others?
Caring for others, preservation of a social order, heirarchy and authority are a few that come to mind.

Note I said modern societies.
I know. What I was thinking of when I posted that was Finland, a successful society by pretty much any measure, however, they also have a large social welfare system which would run afoul of what many would consider to be a right to property or liberty. Given their level of taxation, I would say their conception of the right to property is less absolutist than it tends to be in the US.

Canada would be another example of a successful society where things are more relaxed.

I also wonder if you can say that any society that has a socialized health system considers right to life to be more important than a right to property. I am not sure if that argument works, but it would be an example of a society prioritizing life over money.
 
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