What I admire about WordPress is that the biggest part of the users is American. While Germans are concerned about having a stable society, Frenchmen about beauty and pleasures of life, Russians about absolute truth, Americans are in obsession to prove that they are “good persons”. Continue reading
What is duty? – A dictionary will let us know it is a moral or legal obligation. Legal obligations we can make unambiguous sense of. One is obligated in the sense that failure to comply will lead to persecution in a clearly defined manner. The obligation of law is not an invisible bond, but a simple statement of consequences – do this, or else…
Moral duty, on the other hand, is a mystery. Indeed, we have done legal duty a disservice, for the law is not in truth meant as a statement of consequences; if it were, what then when there are no observers, no one to enact the promised consequences! The law states, as the moral duty does, that one should. Here the moral duty sets a period while law, perhaps in admittance of should’s obscurity, adds a tangible motivation; a because. You should; if you do not, then… Law made the astute observation that handcuffs are more certain to be binding than should.
Recently I started to read the book “Natural Justice” by Ken Binmore, and in his introductory chapter he talks about the evolutionary basis for morality. For his part this is meant only as an introduction of sorts, and therefore the exposition is shortened and simplified, and so it would be unfair to criticise it too harshly for avoiding some issues. But, it did get me to think about some common presentations and arguments from evolution that I feel are too much of a simplification – especially if the goal is to make ethical and political claims based on human nature. I will in this article raise some general questions considering how one argues from and presents evolution, and in particular I will present important concerns about the focus on religious beliefs, that is beliefs containing deities or the divine, by certain atheistic groups. Continue reading
Why does there not exist individuals who deeply believes in certain Gods, with a complete mythology around it about creation, traits, morality and so on, that is completely detached from the beliefs of any other person on earth? Religion does not exist without society.
Viewing religion only as the belief in a supernatural being begs the question why all religions say something about why’s and what’s. Christianity is not the belief “God exists and Jesus is his son”, and Islam is much more than “There is only one God, and Muhammed is his prophet”; they are ways of life and ways of thinking; they are law, philosophy and community.
In the video a system of morality called “secular morality” is presented. This conception has as its foundation the dialectical pair “well-being/harm” – and the object is to maximize well-being and avoid harm. To label actions as “moral” and “immoral” (good/bad) according to this morality, a “moral triangle” is presented, consisting of the points “intent”, “well-being/harm” and (moral) “rights/values”. An action is given the label moral if the intent is to cause well-being, the consequence is well-being, and no moral rights or values are violated. An immoral action is just the opposite.
There are three points to the critique I give here: intent, rights/values and well-being. Given that the whole basis of the morality is well-being/harm, we have some objections and questions to how and why intent and rights/values make their way into a system of labelling actions according to this morality. Lastly, such a system will have to rely on a clear and specific understanding of well-being, but such an understanding seems so far to be lacking.
The presentation deserves one’s attention because of the healthy consistency in its framework. It has a wider scope than presented here, making clearer a lot of points on morality issues in general. Continue reading
If there ever was a man in possession of a “pure” reason, it has to be Socrates: it only spoke to him once, saying all it could ever say: “I know that I know nothing”. Ask a computer a moral question, or, to be really cliché, the meaning of life, and it will use its only tool, logic, to give the most reasonable answer thinkable: silence.
Science is often held up as the counterpart to religion, as if to imply that religion is for those “too stupid” to understand or accept science. It is a favoured hobby of the atheists (ah, generalizations: it makes critique so much easier!) to point to the overwhelming atheism amongst highly educated people and scientists, and conversely the theists reply by mentioning great scientists that were/are religious, to show that there is no contradiction in “believing” in both science and religion. The conclusion is readily apparent, of course: there are contradictions, but inconsistency of belief, thoughts and emotions is a prominent feature of man.