Reason: Personal Excuse or Social guidance

This article is a follow-up to the article Weighing Without a Scale: Duty, Honour and Dignity, and though this article stands on its own it is recommended to read the linked article first. Here we attempt taking a step down on the abstractness scale and discuss more concretely the problems connected to duty raised in the above mentioned article in the context of modern society. We ask the question: is it reasonable to think that uniform social norms can be arrived at and obeyed by appealing solely to the individual’s reason?Quotation-George-Bernard-Shaw-funny-people-Meetville-Quotes-34937 Continue reading

Weighing Without a Scale: Duty, Honour and Dignity

Jacques-Louis_David_-_Oath_of_the_Horatii_-_Google_Art_Project

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.
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Do not Imagine All the People…

Our studies and discussions of humanity and all that is related – our societies, cultures, beliefs – are full of assumptions. When the mathematician states “assuming X is true, then Y holds”  he, or perhaps I should say she in our age, is very aware that “X” is not necessarily true, and if it is not then one cannot guarantee the statement. However, when we speak about each other and our societies the assumptions are left unstated and take the form of convictions.

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Human Cognition 102

Here is a sequel of the previous publication, Human Cognition 101, dedicated to human cognition and consciousness. We continue the journey through the labyrinth of reason and try to examine when we believe, how we behave and why we object.

Maximus&Magnus

M. C. Escher. Relativity

Reason’s Lack of Reasons

If reason is our use of logic in verifying facts, forming beliefs and justifying said beliefs and practices, then it is clear what a limited part of consciousness reason is, and how dependent it is on the instinctual.

There are several major religions each with millions of believers in the world, the collection of which the vast majority of humanity belongs to. They play a large role in most individuals view of life, humanity and the universe. And they are all logically incompatible. Continue reading

Human Cognition 101

Ad-hoc explanations out of the air

We publish the parts of a bigger article which is being in elaboration now. As everything else posted at M&M, this text is going to consider several absolutely non-related issues, the only common point of which is human consciousness. Maximus&Magnus           

Tradition

“Gammel vane er vond å vende” [1] 

Norwegian proverb

One always hears about how valuable tradition is, but how detrimental it can be is often forgotten. If something has been thought about – and maybe also taught about! – a particular way for years and even generations, how difficult is it not to think about it differently! Not only must one’s own habit be combated, but a certain way of doing things is often accompanied by a belief that this is how it should be done. And beliefs are not something we easily trade… Continue reading

Evolution, Religion and Society

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

Gravity of Morals

Traditionally morality has been defined in terms of rational categories detached from humans. The morality of an action or idea is determined by checking abstract criterias: loyalty, honesty, honour, harm, justice and so on. The important question is, how did we arrive at these terms? If one is to argue that honesty is moral, one shows that it satisfies certain criterias, or lead to certain consequences. Where did these criterias come from? Why these consequences?

The answer does not lie in logic detached from Man. We do not eat because we logically deduce that we will die if not, but because we are drawn to it. Indeed, we can give no reason for living other than a force that draws us. It does not make sense to talk of morality without such a force.

The moral concepts and principles we have made cannot be explained other than as a result of a force – and it is this force that is morality. Continue reading