|Ch. 5: The Metaphysical Claims of Religion Are False
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|Author:||Interbane [ Sun Apr 12, 2009 1:30 pm ]|
Grim: "There is nothing metaphysical about writing your findings or observing nature."
Right, that's my point.
Grim: "You seem to be suggesting an absolutist notion of morality that is misplaced, realistically."
I'm not suggesting an absolutist notion of reality. How could it be if we are the authority? The source we have is subjective.
Grim: "Evolution as an argument for the content of moral development is exactly what is illogical."
Why? Evolution has given us the mechanism by which we're moral. Some of that mechanism is pertinent to everyday relationships. The ossified morals we've developed are influenced in this way, but are primarily created using reason.
|Author:||Grim [ Sun Apr 12, 2009 6:45 pm ]|
By talking in terms of codes and authorities you are implying absolutes. Subjectivity matters little when you are being compared to a code by an authority. Believe me I understand your contradiction. It is difficult subject matter and the distinctions are subtle. The fact is that even if subjectivity is inevitable, and it is, we cannot rely on evolutionary theory or a biological explanation for external objectification of right and wrong, even though highly determinate, evolutionary morality is inherently contradictory when compared to the expectations of modern society. The implication is that since our biology cannot be used to form objectivity we must appeal to higher faculties. However, since we use our biological structure to create thoughts and reason we can never be truly objective (the dilemma of the participant observer). The best we can hope for is a state of enlightened metaphysical awareness that is often rejected by popular physical theories, some of which I have probably argued for as rational. Since we can not completely dismiss the metaphysical effect we all feel it must be within our understanding as a real and functional expression, while no one can deny the reality of physical impulses. This is the source of moral subjectivity. On one hand we are all naturally metaphysically idealists on the other we are tethered to physical impulses. The true nature of either is anything but definable in terms of relationships. It would be prohibitively difficult to make a determinate assumption regarding the degree to which someone is more metaphysical than physical or vice versa. However, since society as a notion is more metaphysical than deterministic (evolutionary) it is much more useful in moral terms to speak of our abstract developments rather than our physical ones. Continually however the development of codes and authorities fallaciously ignores the implications of physicality causing moral conflict. It is no good to say that evolution gave us the impulses and capacity for moral behavior because nature as evolution no longer exists within us. In the same way that it is no good to claim that an appeal to reason will create compromise to our evolutionary biological capacities for impulse as reason its self is physical and what we understand is only an interpretation.
"The man who speaks of the “State of Nature” speaks of a state which no longer exists, which may never have existed, and which probably never will exist. It is a state of which we must, nevertheless, have an adequate idea in order to judge correctly our present condition." --Preface to Rousseau's Discourse on Inequality
Also by Rousseau in The Social Contract:
"The passage from the state of nature to the civil state produces a very remarkable change in man, by substituting justice for instinct in his conduct, and giving his actions the morality they had formerly lacked. Then only, when the voice of duty takes the place of physical impulses and right of appetite, does man, who so far had considered only himself, find that he is forced to act on different principles, and to consult his reason before listening to his inclinations. Although, in this state, he deprives himself of some advantages which he got from nature, he gains in return others so great, his faculties are so stimulated and developed, his ideas so extended, his feelings so ennobled, and his whole soul so uplifted, that, did not the abuses of this new condition often degrade him below that which he left, he would be bound to bless continually the happy moment which took him from it for ever, and, instead of a stupid and unimaginative animal, made him an intelligent being and a man."
Yes but no. I cannot deny that we have evolved to be as we are today, but I can deny that we are solely the products of evolution rather than each individually the result of it.
|Author:||Interbane [ Mon Apr 13, 2009 1:01 am ]|
Right, that's my point.
Grim: "So what."
Grim: "By talking in terms of codes and authorities you are implying absolutes."
No, I'm not implying absolutes. Codes can be flexible and account for relative interpretations. Authority can be of the qualitative type, subjective and not absolute.
Grim: "Subjectivity matters little when you are being compared to a code by an authority."
If the authority is a group of your peers(a very large group), which is the only option concerning morality, they base the codes on subjective grounds and constructed with reason. The inherent flaws of subjectivity aside, it's the only option.
Grim: "The fact is that even if subjectivity is inevitable, and it is, we cannot rely on evolutionary theory or a biological explanation for external objectification of right and wrong, even though highly determinate, evolutionary morality is inherently contradictory when compared to the expectations of modern society."
That's why I disagreed with Robert about evolution being an external authority. If anything, it's internal. Even then I'm not sure I'd call it an authority. I said more or less the exact same thing above. Are you confusing my position with Roberts? When you mention evolutionary morality being at odds with society's expectations, I agree. We've evolved the mechanism by which to follow morale standards(if you don't like the word codes). Society's expectations are those standards. The in-group and out-group comparison is a great example of this disjunction.
Grim: "Since we can not completely dismiss the metaphysical effect we all feel it must be within our understanding as a real and functional expression, while no one can deny the reality of physical impulses."
My opinion is that the metaphysical effects we feel are higher order manifestations of neuronal activity. We call these effects metaphysical due to our inability to understand how the brain works in a higher level complexity. What precisely do you consider metaphysical? Are the thoughts that flow through my head while typing this response metaphysical? There's no reason to think this is anything other than neuronal activity, albeit structured in an extremely organized way similar to computer processors, so that information is deliberated.
Grim: "However, since society as a notion is more metaphysical than deterministic (evolutionary) it is much more useful in moral terms to speak of our abstract developments rather than our physical ones."
Read this in full if you haven't run across it yet, it's interesting:
http://www.marxists.org/reference/subje ... popper.htm
Grim: "It is no good to say that evolution gave us the impulses and capacity for moral behavior because nature as evolution no longer exists within us."
Nature as evolution no longer exists within us? I'm not sure I follow. I stated before that I didn't really agree with evolution being the authority, since it's a process. What evolution has produced, us humans, are vessels with moral capacity due to the processes of evolution that created us.
Here's an overview of "The Science of Good and Evil" by Michael Shermer. His 'provisional morality' framework is very compelling and I think has more truth to it than other explanations of morality. It mentions how evolution has given us moral impulses and capacity.
Grim: "In the same way that it is no good to claim that an appeal to reason will create compromise to our evolutionary biological capacities for impulse as reason its self is physical and what we understand is only an interpretation."
Are you saying we can't use reason to overcome our evolved impulses? What of contraceptives? Our desire for sex is in order to reproduce, but using our brains we've derailed the objective of this impulse. That there are exceptions doesn't make a case against it.
Grim: "I cannot deny that we have evolved to be as we are today, but I can deny that we are solely the products of evolution rather than each individually the result of it."
That's why I say moral standards are primarily developed using reason. Reasoning people have done in the past, if popularized, is part of our collective knowledge. I'm not saying that our knowledge is a product of evolution, if that's what you're inferring. I'm saying our capacity for and tendency to abide by moral standards is what has evolved, not the moral standards themselves. Yet both are necessary for a full accounting of morality.
|Author:||Grim [ Mon Apr 13, 2009 2:31 am ]|
A Code is a type of legislation that purports to exhaustively cover a complete system of laws or a particular area of law as it existed at the time the code was enacted. In government, authority is often used interchangeably with the term "power". However, their meanings differ: while "power" refers to the ability to achieve certain ends, "authority" refers to a claim of legitimacy, the justification and right to exercise that power.
If your reasoning for the use these two definable terms, borrowed from Wikipedia, as relative were valid when faced with accusation for breach of code by an authority on the subject it would be a logically valid argument for the guilty part to say that at some future time the law will be changed and the authority will no longer hold claim to power and so the individual is innocent. In evolutionary terms this is the equivalent of basing biological research on a time when humans have developed currently non-existent physical features. Not a funding hot spot. We don't suddenly change the requirement for a person to be considered authoritative without good reason, if we did there would be a shifting of roles rather than a complete cessation of function. If the code changes it is replaced but its successor, a new authority or one revised to fulfill the updated function emerges.
A subjective notion of right and wrong hardly fulfills the requirements for the use of a code by an authority.
But the mechanism is not dependent on evolution it is a result of it. Reread the quotes of Rousseau. The argument from evolution is comparable to an argument from design, it says something but not very much. It seems beyond obvious that we have evolved a plethora of capacities distinctly human, but moral society is not a product of the evolution rather a result of it. Imagine an independent human, born outside of society, it would take a contemporary observer to distinguish current notions of morality and social normality, no such notions or distinction arise of evolutionary origin alone and would have to be taught to the independent entity. A human has the capacity to learn English no doubt evolved over time, that does not mean that because of evolution he does not have to learn. Master and slave morality you refer to perhaps? of course proximity causes one to influence the other so there can never be perfect comparison or disjunction for that matter. The question becomes a social observation concerning the effect of social Spencerism.
But of course I agree.
Well...metaphysics is defined as the investigation into what types of things there are in the world and what relations these things bear to one another.
Care for a quick summary? Perhaps a key quote or two?
Reread Rousseau. Now that you are born evolution is only an amusement. You are as evolved as you will ever be. Morally evolution can offer ideas about relativism and give some perspective to why we are here debating the subject. To say that evolution is what has created or striving is to evade the question of what it is we are now and why we are currently striving. As I mentioned evolution is amusing, little more. The only evolution we experience is of the social kind.
But of course. He agrees perfectly with what I have been saying. Provisional is just another way of expressing perspective. Evolutionary moral perspective is much different from the social moral perspective as we know it none-the-less similarities or overlap will inevitably remain.
There are limits to reason, there are limits to human comprehension and capabilities, we can never fully overcome our impulses. What of them? Reread Rousseau. Within the terms you have set how can you separate the desire for sex from anything else. The frames of reference are much too interchangeable to hopefully or realistically produce anything productive. Our laughter makes us feel better, using our brains we watch movie that synthesize the objects of our laughter. Now, how is there any difference between my question and yours? There isn't, so the particular are meaningless and the question needs to be reworded to better reflect the true factors. Reread those quotes from Rousseau.
|Author:||Interbane [ Mon Apr 13, 2009 10:46 am ]|
Grim: "Care for a quick summary? Perhaps a key quote or two?"
I'll browse through and pick a quote while at work. Unless you've already read it and are offering me a summary!
Going to work now...
|Author:||Interbane [ Tue Apr 14, 2009 2:56 pm ]|
Grim: "But the mechanism is not dependent on evolution it is a result of it. Reread the quotes of Rousseau."
Have you read the quotes? What I’m saying is very simple and is in line with both Rousseau and Shermer. Tell me what you think my position is, in detail. Perhaps that will clarify where you’re misunderstanding me. If you are stuck on the word like "code" and "authority", they aren't critical and can be changed, as I've said. This quibbling ignores the core idea.
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