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Bartholomew
10-28-2008, 08:45 PM
What would you call a system of codefied ethics and morals that ignored divinity, myth, and the questions of beforelife and afterlife?

For instance, what if someone took the bible, the koran, and the pali canon, and shredded them of their mystical trappings, leaving behind a few selections of pages.

In them, one would find the last seven commandments of the Christian Decalogue, the Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path, and the Koranic social laws which do not pertain to God.

Suppose a group of people, for the sake of greater social good, adopted these three aspects of these three religions.

What would you call their amalgamation? A philosophy? An atheistic religion? Something else?

Opine!

mab
10-28-2008, 08:53 PM
Sounds a bit like an ideal version of 'the law' to me! Its an interesting idea. But if you're an existentialist I supose you make your own laws....

Williebee
10-28-2008, 08:56 PM
"The Accord" ?

"The Oath" ?

"The Laws" ?

"The Code" Arr ?

Bartholomew
10-28-2008, 09:04 PM
"The Accord" ?

"The Oath" ?

"The Laws" ?

"The Code" Arr ?

Cool ideas for a specific name. I'm really looking for umbrella terms, though.

"It isn't a religion," he replied, "It's a(n) _______."

Bartholomew
10-28-2008, 09:06 PM
Sounds a bit like an ideal version of 'the law' to me! Its an interesting idea. But if you're an existentialist I supose you make your own laws....

Maybe.

I got into a rather banal arguement with a mahayana Buddhist from the Nichiren sect, and realized that my beliefs aren't *exactly* in line with common Buddhist beliefs, though I hold that they are in line with the Buddha's original intent.

I'm seriously thinking of starting my own "religion." Of unifying the various things of value I believe humanity has expounded or uncovered over the years, and leaving enough room for the spiritual to still proclaim their God exists.

Dale Emery
10-28-2008, 09:16 PM
An ethic
A code of ethics
A credo
A philosophy
A worldview
A canon
A pact or compact
A constitution
Values
The Way
The Path

And there must be some words that suggest how the principles were derived (i.e. by distilling them from the great moral texts of humanity).

Dale

Medievalist
10-28-2008, 09:21 PM
What would you call a system of codefied morals that ignored divinity, myth, and the questions of beforelife and afterlife?

Morals are based on engaging in right behavior for fear of punishment.

Ethics are based on engaging in right behavior for its own sake.

Bartholomew
10-28-2008, 09:22 PM
A Constitution of Values Derived from Humanity's Greatest Creeds?

CoVaDeHuGreC.

Ew. X_X

Bartholomew
10-28-2008, 09:24 PM
Morals are based on engaging in right behavior for fear of punishment.

Ethics are based on engaging in right behavior for its own sake.

I'd best include both, then.

maxmordon
10-28-2008, 09:24 PM
A Constitution of Values Derived from Humanity's Greatest Creeds?

CoVaDeHuGreC.

Ew. X_X

Wasn't this Dune's Orange Catholic Bible?

veinglory
10-28-2008, 09:29 PM
This is hardly a hypothetical. There are many ethical frameworks devoid of religion. They (e.g. humanism, behaviorism, utilitarianism) are usually called philosophies. Religion is just a philosophy plus an invisible hall monitor ;)

Higgins
10-28-2008, 09:33 PM
This is hardly a hypothetical. There are many ethical frameworks devoid of religion. They (e.g. humanism, behaviorism, utilitarianism) are suually called philosophies. Religion is just a philosophy plus an invisible hall monitor ;)

And philosophy is just the nightmare of imagining we are all hall monitors.

Bartholomew
10-28-2008, 09:49 PM
This is hardly a hypothetical. There are many ethical frameworks devoid of religion. They (e.g. humanism, behaviorism, utilitarianism) are usually called philosophies. Religion is just a philosophy plus an invisible hall monitor ;)

How come such systems don't seem to attract the same numbers as religions do? What makes such an ethical framework less attractive?

Williebee
10-28-2008, 09:54 PM
Humanity's Greatest Creeds?

Now you've gone and gotten subjective on us.

But then, if it is to be your religion, that would be fine. :)

veinglory
10-28-2008, 10:03 PM
I think more people are utilitarian than are Christian. They just don't go on about it all the time, the don't even need to know the name of the creed--they just follow it. Utilitarianism is basically the creed that you should do as much good and as little harm as possible. Christianity is a partly a subset of it (and partly a subset of deontology.) I think you may mistake living according to a philosophy with mistaking it for a hobby, quest, cause, faction or political party. I would consider such category errors fallacies, not something to envy and emulate. The best philosophy is just part of living well, it may be utterly unconscious IMHO and still 100% effective.

Bartholomew
10-28-2008, 10:04 PM
Now you've gone and gotten subjective on us.

But then, if it is to be your religion, that would be fine. :)

Greatest as in Largest.

Ruv Draba
10-29-2008, 12:36 AM
Morals are our understanding of what's good and bad. That understanding is being updated constantly due to new knowledge or changing circumstances. At any time some of it is contentious and not all of it is to be found in ancient texts.

Ethics are our understanding of what we owe one another. Ethics undergo constant discussion for both moral and political reasons. While morals are assertions of good and bad, ethics are assertions of principle -- which are short sentences that pack a big punch. 'Killing is bad' is a moral, while 'Thou shalt not kill' is an ethic. 'Cigarette smoking is bad' is an emergent moral, and so is 'Environmental destruction is bad', while 'Save the environment for future generations' is an emergent ethic. 'Do as you would be done by' is an old ethic; 'Do as he would be done by' is a newer one that we can see operating in pluralistic and multicultural societies.

You can have morals without superstition or fear of punishment. You can simply have an interest in and a commitment to what is good. And even without shared religion, humanity still has shared notions of good: food, water, shelter, health, love, friendship, belonging, respect, trust -- we can find these concerns in every society.

The appropriate names for these things -- whether they are religiously-based or not -- remain 'morals' and 'ethics'. We all have them personally and they're also embedded in our cultures and subcultures.

fullbookjacket
10-29-2008, 04:20 AM
Well said, Ruv.

I like Dale said. Call it a "Compact."

Or a cool, Latin-sounding name. I've always loved "Magna Carta."

Niniva
11-08-2008, 07:30 PM
I've noticed that religious people -tend- to take the morality and leave behind the framework. If I'd been raised in a less fundamentalist home, I'd probably think I was a Christian.

As to the crux of your question, "It's not a religion; it's a way of life"? Somewhat cliche. "...A code of morals and ethics"? Concrete but bland, unless you translate it into Latin. "...the Unifying Ethic"

The reasons for the lower numbers: 1. No intercession; no buffer between you and the cold, hard world. 2. No threat of punishment for evil beyond that of Survival of the Fittest. 3. No reward for goodness beyond that warm, fuzzy feeling in your heart, a reputation for moral exactitude, and a sense of your own worth in the universe.

The lesser attraction is primarily custom. To break with custom carries a price; Deist could only go so far without incurring religious wrath. I lost a lot (family, love, comfort) when I realized that I found fundamentalism repugnant.

David Conner
02-12-2009, 03:03 AM
Suppose you heard somebody in danger calling out for help. A part of you feels an urge to stay clear, lest you endanger yourself. This is due to your instinct for self-preservation. Another part of you feels an urge to help the person in danger. This is due to your social instinct, or your instinct to preserve your species. But there is also a third urging that tells you that you should suppress your instinct to remain safe, and follow your instinct to help the person in danger. Now, this urging to suppress one instinct and encourage another, cannot, in itself, be either of them. What do you suppose is the source of this urging?

veinglory
02-12-2009, 03:17 AM
Is there a reason it can't be the aforementioned social instinct? (a.k.a. empathy)

David Conner
02-12-2009, 05:01 AM
First of all, the vast fund of experience shows us that the instinct for self preservation is far stronger than the general instinct for survival of the species. Although in some species, including humans, defending ones immediate offspring usually trumps all other instincts.

Secondly, the urge to suppress one instinct and embrace another involves distinguishing between two opposing values. If this distinguishing energy originated from either of these values, it would always choose itself. In fact, there would be no choice. But this is not the case. One of the most remarkable things about humans is that we can choose. In fact, in a situation where the only variable is the human will, the outcome may at one time go one way, and at another time turn out differently. That is why I say that the thing that chooses between two instincts cannot, itself, be either of them. Furthermore, this urging, if answered, weighs against the survival of the individual in which it occurs. Therefore it cannot be a natural instinct to that end. Also, if answered, this urging is a redundancy of the social instinct. If that was necessary, the social instinct would simply become stronger. That would be a simpler and more reliable path. So this urging, which calls for a value judgement, does not meet the efficiency requirement of a natural instinct. Again I ask, where does it come from?

Buffysquirrel
02-12-2009, 05:46 PM
Guilt.

David Conner
02-12-2009, 09:50 PM
Guilt is an emotion that tells us when we have transgressed some part of our value system. It is not a source of our value system any more than a fire alarm is a source of the fire. Although guilt occurs after the fact, it can be a motivator when we exercise wisdom by avoiding behaviors of a nature that have previously induced guilt. In any case, it can only come to bear after the value has been established.

Ruv Draba
02-13-2009, 09:05 AM
First of all, the vast fund of experience shows us that the instinct for self preservation is far stronger than the general instinct for survival of the species.Human minds don't just function by instinct; they function by learned behaviour.

Some fear seems innate (e.g. fear of falling, which even babies experience). Other fear is learned. Some compassion seems innate (a desire to comfort infants can be seen even in toddlers); other compassion must be learned (e.g. don't pick up cats by their middles or drag puppies by their tails).

We know for sure that humans can learn to act selflessly in the protection of others. If they couldn't then emergency workers would panic like sheep.

Where does morality come from then? Most of it comes from what we teach ourselves.

If morality is a cultural artefact does that make it entirely arbitrary? I don't believe so -- our empathy is innate and our objective knowledge can be grown and shared.

AMCrenshaw
02-13-2009, 09:19 AM
If morality is a cultural artefact does that make it entirely arbitrary? I don't believe so -- our empathy is innate and our objective knowledge can be grown and shared.

But this is using a word in the word's definition: you, rather arbitrarily, say that empathy has part in moral activity. So, in your definition, empathy has its part in morality; empathy is innate; since some part of morality is innate, morality is not arbitrary. But of course you would have to say this from an objective viewpoint-- a scientific one. Internally pure logic, though, isn't it?


AMC

kuwisdelu
02-13-2009, 10:56 AM
It's nothing more than a set of morals.

In taking them out of context, they are equally devoid of meaning except through interpretation.

Once you decide to provide an explanation or reasoning to them, then I would call it a philosophy.



Personally, I don't think a set of morals is enough. Without a guiding philosophy of some sort behind them, they are bound to fail at some point when an issue arises in which they are not directly applicable or even suggest contradictory solutions.

aruna
02-13-2009, 11:12 AM
Personally, I don't think a set of morals is enough. Without a guiding philosophy of some sort behind them, they are bound to fail at some point when an issue arises in which they are not directly applicable or even suggest contradictory solutions.

It's not a guiding philosophy that is needed so much as a human being who actually LIVES that life, someone absolutely incorruptible by power and all its perks and can influence others; standard bearers. Such people are few and few between. The only religions that survive and grow seem to be those that have such a human force behind them: Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, the Rishis of Hinduism, Guru Nanak of the Sikhs. Without humans to show how it is done philophical systems implode. - they cannot stand alone.

David Conner
02-14-2009, 12:33 AM
It's not a guiding philosophy that is needed so much as a human being who actually LIVES that life


We come very close to agreeing on this point. However, I wish to develope your idea further by pointing out that Jesus did not set a good example for us by setting up and demonstrating a guiding philosophy. According to the bible... and I qualify this out of respect for the forum I am writing in...according to the bible, Jesus set a perfect example for us by submitting himself totally to the will of His father, whose guiding philosophy was already established.

Fulk
02-14-2009, 02:00 AM
How come such systems don't seem to attract the same numbers as religions do? What makes such an ethical framework less attractive?

I think the appeal of religion to most people is the draw of being brought into an afterlife, or eternal paradise. Ethical and philosophical systems based outside of religion tend to focus on the here and now, and I think most would assume that the life you live is the only one you have, and afterwards, nothing. It's not comforting to think that there's no life beyond, and so the mind copes by adopting religion to stave off fears of dying.

Dommo
02-14-2009, 03:16 AM
I agree fulk. The real selling point of Christianity, and many other religions is the afterlife aspect of it. Suppose you had a religion that said "Death is eternal, you cease to exist upon dying", and I'm pretty sure most people would head to the one that at least promised eternal life.

aruna
02-14-2009, 11:25 AM
We come very close to agreeing on this point. However, I wish to develope your idea further by pointing out that Jesus did not set a good example for us by setting up and demonstrating a guiding philosophy. According to the bible... and I qualify this out of respect for the forum I am writing in...according to the bible, Jesus set a perfect example for us by submitting himself totally to the will of His father, whose guiding philosophy was already established.

However, this is the atheism and non-theistic board and you must understand that its members have the right not to see your Saviour as such. The OP expressly mentioned that the philosophy he is proposing should be a non-religious one, and I think we should respect that.

David Conner
02-15-2009, 09:04 AM
It's not a guiding philosophy that is needed so much as a human being who actually LIVES that life... Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, the Rishis of Hinduism, Guru Nanak of the Sikhs. Without humans to show how it is done philophical systems implode. - they cannot stand alone.


I do not presume that I can change anyone's belief about religion or philosophy. I did not even suggest what "is needed." You did that. What I did was point out that, according to the Bible, which is the sole record of all that we know about Jesus, his role on Earth was different than you suggested. This is no more of a philosophic imposition than your statement that Guru Nanak was a human who showed us how it is done.

aruna
02-15-2009, 10:40 AM
I do not presume that I can change anyone's belief about religion or philosophy. I did not even suggest what "is needed." You did that. What I did was point out that, according to the Bible, which is the sole record of all that we know about Jesus, his role on Earth was different than you suggested. This is no more of a philosophic imposition than your statement that Guru Nanak was a human who showed us how it is done.

Well, I could go into more detail about various individuals in order to set them apart but I was making a general statement, and I did not want to put any name above the other. The point I tried to make is that a "code of ethics" is useless unless there is a human being behind it as a living model.

Bartholomew
02-15-2009, 10:55 AM
I do not presume that I can change anyone's belief about religion or philosophy. I did not even suggest what "is needed." You did that. What I did was point out that, according to the Bible, which is the sole record of all that we know about Jesus, his role on Earth was different than you suggested. This is no more of a philosophic imposition than your statement that Guru Nanak was a human who showed us how it is done.

There are other sources that reference Jesus. If there weren't, he'd probably be considered completely mythical.

benbradley
02-15-2009, 11:04 AM
What would you call a system of codefied ethics and morals that ignored divinity, myth, and the questions of beforelife and afterlife?

For instance, what if someone took the bible, the koran, and the pali canon, and shredded them of their mystical trappings, leaving behind a few selections of pages.

In them, one would find the last seven commandments of the Christian Decalogue, the Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path, and the Koranic social laws which do not pertain to God.

Suppose a group of people, for the sake of greater social good, adopted these three aspects of these three religions.

What would you call their amalgamation? A philosophy? An atheistic religion? Something else?

Opine!
I'd say what you describe would be a moral philosophy or an ethical philisophy. I may have written about these before, but:

There ARE groups that are trying to do very approximately what you state, not so much basing things specifically on any Commandments, but rather having a general ethical group of people. This group meets once a month:
http://fellowshipofreason.com/
The founder has written a book of the same name (it's from small-run/vanity type press and it's rather expensive), I've read it and found it interesting. He says good things about the social benefits of churches, and has formed the fellowship with such things in mind.

There are also Ethical Societies, also called Ethical Humanist Societies. There are maybe a dozen of these in the USA. They have regular Sunday services, and als offer services such as weddings for those in the community who want a secular service.

How come such systems don't seem to attract the same numbers as religions do? What makes such an ethical framework less attractive?
I for one don't consider it less attractive! And I somewhat question another's response that the popularity of religion is because it offers everlasting life. While that may be true for osme, I think that oversimplifies things, and that it's more that religion is entrenched in the lives of the vast majority of people, and it's "the thing to do." People derive immediate benefits from going to church, such as the social aspects and potluck dinners, not just down-the-road things like the Afterlife. A secular group can (and some do, as I mention above) offer these social events, but it may not be regarded the same way. I think many regard the religion of their childhood (and thus their adulthood) much like family - like 'em or hate 'em, you're stuck with 'em.

aruna
02-15-2009, 11:28 AM
People derive immediate benefits from going to church, such as the social aspects and potluck dinners, not just down-the-road things like the Afterlife. A secular group can (and some do, as I mention above) offer these social events, but it may not be regarded the same way. I think many regard the religion of their childhood (and thus their adulthood) much like family - like 'em or hate 'em, you're stuck with 'em.

Not only that: they derive a sense of closeness, intimacy, being part if a family. Extreme hapiness. Ever watched a congregation leaving a church after a session of passionate devotional singing? Their faces are ecstatic!
It's the emotional component which draws people to religion... a mere code of behaviour seems dry, does not give that personal sense of fulfillment.

Ruv Draba
02-15-2009, 01:53 PM
But this is using a word in the word's definition: you, rather arbitrarily, say that empathy has part in moral activity.Are you suggesting that there's a functional morality anywhere in the world that ignores compassion? Or are you saying that we can have compassion without empathy? If so, please show me how.

But of course you would have to say this from an objective viewpoint-- a scientific one.Because there's physical evidence to support that empathy appears before advanced language does, yes. We also see empathy all through mammalian behaviour. There's also strong evidence to show that people whose empathy dysfunctions display asocial or antisocial tendencies and amoral and even immoral behaviour.

Cassiopeia
02-15-2009, 03:13 PM
Cool ideas for a specific name. I'm really looking for umbrella terms, though.

"It isn't a religion," he replied, "It's a(n)_________."societal archetype

Dommo
02-15-2009, 03:38 PM
The thing is Ruv, it's possible to simulate empathy. Sociopaths do it all of the time, and not all sociopaths are are bad people. A system of morality based on logic and objectivity(e.g. you don't steal because you don't want to condone theft from yourself, etc.), would probably work. Even someone without empathy could probably understand that.

I figure that's how the sociopaths who don't stir up trouble, get through their days, because they think along those lines of logic. It's more of a self preservation type of system, where they do "moral" things to protect themselves.

Ruv Draba
02-16-2009, 12:58 AM
The thing is Ruv, it's possible to simulate empathy. Sociopaths do it all of the time, and not all sociopaths are are bad people. A system of morality based on logic and objectivity(e.g. you don't steal because you don't want to condone theft from yourself, etc.), would probably work. Even someone without empathy could probably understand that.We know that social codes based on idealogical visions and not empathy can produce some pretty atrocious results. For instance, the main argument against genocide has not been one of logic, but empathy.

That's not to say that an empathic code can't also be logical though.

As for sociopaths, the term is an umbrella one, covering people who find it easy to switch their empathy off (e.g. pathological liars), to people who have great difficulty actually experiencing empathy at all, to people who are somewhat empathic but also delusional. The diagnostic criteria for asocial personality disorders (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisocial_personality_disorder) include a disregard for rules of any kind, so despite what the writers of Dexter (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0773262/) would have us believe, I don't think that an argument of 'logical morality works for sociopaths' will generally fly.

Ruv Draba
02-16-2009, 01:41 AM
Some more about the importance of empathy in human well-being... The following from Sidran (http://www.sidran.org/sub.cfm?contentID=76&sectionid=4) on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder:

PTSD can affect anyone at any age who has been exposed to a traumatic event where he/she experienced terror, threat (or perceived threat) to life, limb or sanity, and his/her ability to cope was overwhelmed. Conservative estimates show that 9–10 percent of the general population has PTSD. Among people who were victims of specific traumatic experiences (rape, child abuse, violent assaults, etc.), the rate of PTSD is 60–80 percent.
What's significant about this is that it's not just scary, overwhelming or painful events that cause PTSD. Human-caused traumas are far worse than bigger scary or painful events that aren't directly caused by humans. Here's the incidence of PTSDs for major traumas (http://www.sidran.org/sub.cfm?contentID=66&sectionid=4):

Rape (49 percent)
Severe beating or physical assault (31.9 percent)
Other sexual assault (23.7 percent)
Serious accident or injury, for example, car or train accident (16.8 percent)
Shooting or stabbing (15.4 percent)
Sudden, unexpected death of family member or friend (14.3 percent)
Child's life-threatening illness (10.4 percent)
Witness to killing or serious injury (7.3 percent)
Natural disaster (3.8 percent)If morality is to have anything to do with our physical, psychological and social well-being, it clearly must be based on understanding our empathy.

kuwisdelu
02-20-2009, 01:57 AM
I think the appeal of religion to most people is the draw of being brought into an afterlife, or eternal paradise. Ethical and philosophical systems based outside of religion tend to focus on the here and now, and I think most would assume that the life you live is the only one you have, and afterwards, nothing. It's not comforting to think that there's no life beyond, and so the mind copes by adopting religion to stave off fears of dying.


I agree fulk. The real selling point of Christianity, and many other religions is the afterlife aspect of it. Suppose you had a religion that said "Death is eternal, you cease to exist upon dying", and I'm pretty sure most people would head to the one that at least promised eternal life.

I guess that's a personal perspective thing. I find it more comforting to believe I'll simply cease to exist once I'm dead.


Are you suggesting that there's a functional morality anywhere in the world that ignores compassion? Or are you saying that we can have compassion without empathy? If so, please show me how.

Because there's physical evidence to support that empathy appears before advanced language does, yes. We also see empathy all through mammalian behaviour. There's also strong evidence to show that people whose empathy dysfunctions display asocial or antisocial tendencies and amoral and even immoral behaviour.

I'd absolutely say you don't need empathy for compassion. Take for example autism. Autistics generally have trouble empathizing with others, but they still have compassion.

It's not so much a lack of empathy that can lead to antisocial and immoral behavior, but a lack of compassion.

veinglory
02-20-2009, 02:00 AM
The thing is Ruv, it's possible to simulate empathy.

I would say simulated or cognitive empathy *is* empathy so far as a culture is concerned. If a culture demands or rewards a quality, from caring for others to large breasts--how you aquire it isn't terribly important.

AMCrenshaw
02-20-2009, 03:52 AM
Are you suggesting that there's a functional morality


Every morality is functional for somebody. Ain't it? :) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morality: "morality means a code of conduct which is held to be authoritative in matters of right and wrong"

But in all fairness, I imagine you envision what wiki calls morality in a "normative or universal sense".



amoral and even immoral behaviour

That's tricky isn't it? I'd like to see those tests. How do they test for "immoral" behavior? Is there a scientifically agreed-upon morality I'm unaware of? I didn't think so, but...


If morality is to have anything to do with our physical, psychological and social well-being, it clearly must be based on understanding our empathy.

What I would like to consider, then, because I like the direction you're going (and have been before), Ruv, is:

If empathy is innate to the average human being-- and I think we can agree that it is-- then what needs to improve in order to produce an objectively-based (no real way of disagreeing with it kinda) morality is the understanding of empathy. This is what you've said before, and I believe it.

But, OK. What I think you owe people is, Why does empathy + the understanding of empathy and an understanding of the consequences of our actions = 'good' and possibly universal--in that humany sort of way-- morality?



I'd absolutely say you don't need empathy for compassion. Take for example autism. Autistics generally have trouble empathizing with others, but they still have compassion.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compassion
http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=compassion

The word compassion, of course, was created using "together" and "to suffer" or "to suffer with". So, in reality, compassion absolutely needs empathy or else there is no way to enter into the place of the other. As for anti-social people: "Assume a virtue, if you have it not."

AMC

Ruv Draba
02-20-2009, 05:53 AM
I'd absolutely say you don't need empathy for compassion. Take for example autism. Autistics generally have trouble empathizing with others, but they still have compassion.Example please?

Ruv Draba
02-20-2009, 06:02 AM
What I think you owe people is, Why does empathy + the understanding of empathy and an understanding of the consequences of our actions = 'good' and possibly universal--in that humany sort of way-- morality?Bits that I won't bother arguing about because I think that the arguments would be stupid:

Morality is about propagating good for ourselves and others;
Compassion is essential to our understanding of good, and key to our desire to promote good;Why I think that empathy, sympathy and understanding are key to compassion:

Without empathy it's hard to understand or anticipate our impacts
Without sympathy we think only of ourselves
Understanding links cause to effect. Without it we can't know what to do or refrain from doing to promote good or spare people harm.I'm not sure that there's anything else to explain.

AMCrenshaw
02-20-2009, 08:34 AM
I guess I just don't understand what separates this from moral absolutism. If you were arguing that from that beginning why didn't you say so?

:)


AMC

Ruv Draba
02-20-2009, 08:48 AM
I guess I just don't understand what separates this from moral absolutism. If you were arguing that from that beginning why didn't you say so?:tongue:tongue:tongue That jangling sound must be you pulling my chain.

Since our understanding of one another continues to develop, and since our ability to apply and interpret empathy continues to grow, how can a morality based on human compassion ever be absolute? Surely it must be challenged and renegotiated as we learn. But that doesn't make it arbitrary, personal or unaccountable as some postmodernists have argued. If compassion is founded on empathy and understanding, and empathy is a shared trait and understanding is sharable then a morality founded on compassion can clearly be shared and agreed. Indeed, I'd argue that key parts of our modern morality are developing in just such a way.

Fulk
02-20-2009, 01:24 PM
I guess that's a personal perspective thing. I find it more comforting to believe I'll simply cease to exist once I'm dead.


Oh, I'm certain it is. I definitely feel that simply ceasing to exist seems much preferable compared to some others' depictions of the afterlife--even paradise. Praising a god for eternity doesn't seem very satisfying or exciting. If it sounded as if that were a draw for me, I apologize.



It's the emotional component which draws people to religion... a mere code of behaviour seems dry, does not give that personal sense of fulfillment.

Maybe I'm a weirdo, but simply doing good and trying to help others is fulfilling enough for me. Granted, it's still an emotional reaction that I benefit from, but it's devoid of the religious trappings, and so I guess it would be a simple code of behavior.

AMCrenshaw
02-20-2009, 06:44 PM
That jangling sound must be you pulling my chain.

Tsk. I suppose my sarcasm is more readable than I thought.


Indeed, I'd argue that key parts of our modern morality are developing in just such a way.


Thankfully.

AMC

Ruv Draba
02-21-2009, 03:56 AM
I would say simulated or cognitive empathy *is* empathy so far as a culture is concerned. If a culture demands or rewards a quality, from caring for others to large breasts--how you aquire it isn't terribly important.I don't think it matters what part of our brain does empathy; what matters is how it connects with our sympathy.

Empathy alone isn't all benign. We use it in bullying (at which teen girls for example, are notoriously adroit), seduction, deceit, lie-detection, coercion, torture, hunting, pursuit... Empathy's a very handy survival trait whether you're a parent, a con-man or a psycho-killer.

In the same fashion, sympathy alone isn't all benign either. Without empathy, sympathy lets us believe that -- qu'elle surprise -- the whole world wants what we want. I like ice-cream so everyone must like ice-cream. I'm heterosexual, so gay people clearly need curing.