Nitpicky? Hell yes.
Started by Inevitable Droid, November 07, 2010, 11:16:45 AM
Quote from: "Inevitable Droid"I don't know if anyone will be interested in this, but the only way to find out is to put it out there for consideration.It occurs to me that an atheist ethical community could develop, if such was desired. I mean a community with boundaries, such that, one is either in or out, and if in, one has particular activities that one is expected to engage in, ignoring which would put one out, despite one's pretense at being in. The particular activities would be (1) one's own rational inquiry into ethics, undertaken for one's own edification, with the serious intent of putting one's own conclusions into practice; (2) assisting others in the community, to the extent of one's expertise, in satisfactorily pursuing #1; and (3) advertising the existence and availability of the community to the general public.The above in itself is a complete thought which can be independently debated as to desirability and feasibility. From here I will merely offer how I personally would go about #2, which to me is the crux of the matter, as without it, there's no discernible value to the enterprise.Ethics is the study of right conduct, what it is and how to accomplish it. The word right has over a dozen definitions, but for purposes of ethical inquiry I define right as (1) the most just; (2) the most reasonable; (3) the most socially appropriate; (4) the most utile; (5) the most sane; and (6) the most authentic. I therefore would guide ethical inquiry in the direction of studying the six principles listed, such that, in real world sitiations, one could (1) recognize each of the six and recognize its opposite or absence to one's own satisfaction; (2) prioritize each of the six against one another according to one's own scale of weights; (3) identify for each one the balance point between too much and too little emphasis in one's own decision process; and (4) enumerate methodologies for actualizing all six oneself to the extent recommended by one's own prioritizations and balance point formulations. Given the foregoing, an atheist ethical community would be collecting, developing, preserving, and providing access to literature on the six listed principles, and helping novices to navigate what in effect would be a database, mechanized at least to the extent of existing on the web. A cardinal maxim would be that each inquirer is an independent ethical agent, burdened with the responsibility of independently determining what is right and how to accomplish it, with the community there to suggest directions of inquiry and then stand back, hands off.I'll stop here and see if anyone wants to talk about any of this.
Quote from: "Khalliqa"I am more interested in the "capability approach"... this is not ethics.. but I mention it here because imo the goal of ethics is similar to the capability approach and that is to maximize human potential... individually and collectively..http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capabilities_approach
Quote from: "Inevitable Droid"Quote from: "Khalliqa"I am more interested in the "capability approach"... this is not ethics.. but I mention it here because imo the goal of ethics is similar to the capability approach and that is to maximize human potential... individually and collectively..http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capabilities_approach The above would fit the category of what I now am more interested in than ethics; namely, pragmatic idealism, by which I mean, "taking on aspirations for an ideal society because one perceives that ideal, if realized, as conducive to one's particular goals."So far I've come at pragmatic idealism in two ways. First, I suggested we could strive for a society in which it was commonplace for a person to make a sincere attempt at balancing personal responsibility, self-actualization, benevolence, and fairness, grounded in complete and accurate data and valid logic. Secondly, I suggested we might strive for a society in which it was commonplace for a person to think in terms of what would be good for "me; he/she/it/them; we; and you," with an eye toward balancing the sometimes conflicting demands of the four pronoun paradigms.The two approaches of course dovetail. Nothing in either of them implies or requires any sort of theology, and that's why I think atheists might find them appealing. Both approaches also emphasize teaching people to think for themselves, rather than spoon-feeding them the answers, or, worse, ramming those answers down their throats, and here again, I think atheists would see an appeal.
Quote from: "Khalliqa"YES!!!!!!!!!! I agree with all that you have stated..
QuoteHowever consider that many ancient societies considered it moral to execute innocents in favor of balancing nature.. or appeasing gods..
QuoteNow clearly.. we are speaking of a community not prone to fanciful illogic... but I mention it here as a sort of admittedly weak attempt to present the fact that varying opinions regarding what it means to be fair/balanced.. to accept responsibility and self actualization may fundamentally counter another member/citizen's viewpoints..
QuoteI maintain that one would eventually go down the road to defining very subjective quality of life issues and lobbying for consensus in that regard..
Quote from: "LARA"Hmmm. Inevitable Droid seems that you might want to check out Secular Humanism and Ethical Societies.
Quote from: "Whitney"Morals are basically the grouping of ethics accepted by a given culture as right. If you think that morals are just as made up as god (not going to argue against that here) how can you consider ethics not equally made up? Btw, I haven't read it yet but didn't Sam Harris come out with a book in which he claims to explain how ethics are justified through biology or something like that?
Quote from: "Inevitable Droid"I checked into secular humanism. Wherever I found it, there was this notion that atheists can be moral in an objective sense, and then Kant (or someone like him) would get mentioned. When I was exploring morality on various threads here on this message board, part of my motivation (not all, but part) was to see whether I could buy into objective morality, or else, if I couldn't, whether I could develop a subjective alternative, or something else that stood at the mid-point between objective and subjective, to the extent that made any sense - all in the hope of being able to engage with secular humanism. None of these worked for me. The same epistemology that makes me drop the God concept makes me drop the morality concept as well. Just as we can't get to God from a starting point of logical empiricism, or math or formal logic, so likewise we can't get to morality from those starting points either. I finally concluded that just as God is useless baggage, so likewise is morality. We don't need either of them. Unfortunately, a side effect of my conclusion is that I can't seriously engage with secular humanism. I could do it half-heartedly but I don't see the point.
QuoteEthics is the study of right conduct, what it is and how to accomplish it. The word right has over a dozen definitions, but for purposes of ethical inquiry I define right as (1) the most just; (2) the most reasonable; (3) the most socially appropriate; (4) the most utile; (5) the most sane; and (6) the most authentic.
QuoteI finally concluded that just as God is useless baggage, so likewise is morality. We don't need either of them. Unfortunately, a side effect of my conclusion is that I can't seriously engage with secular humanism. I could do it half-heartedly but I don't see the point.
Quote from: "LARA"I'm hazarding a guess that the terms 'ethics' and 'morals' aren't interchangeable in this discussion.