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Morality Is Variable Within Certain Limits

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Posted by S.H. Le on June 14, 2001 11:47:49 UTC

Hi Brian,

"then what we call evil, is nothing more than a perception of our senses. In which case, it by neccessity is entirely subjective and dictated by societial mores."

Is anything we ever experience outside the perception of our senses? Recent advances in social cognitive psychology seem to indicate that a big part of experience is subjectively determined. Two people can observe an identical stimulus event, but interpret them in completely different ways based on prior experience. I can try to elaborate on this more if you like.

"I am sure you would agree that pedeophila is morally wrong [evil]. If morality is subjective [and therefore varaiable] there could concievably come a day when the societial norms would allow such behaviour."

I think individuals experience morality subjectively, but in a social setting, the true test of morality is survival - given certain codes of conduct, can a society survive/flourish with those rules. We know that murder can't be permissible in societies because mass paranoia would cause people would go into seclusion, thus breaking down the social system.

I see morality as a product of evolution to facilitate the survival of groups of people. To keep large groups of individuals together, you need to develop rules so that they'll stay together - once the rules are bent to such a degree that people are threatened by it, the moral system fails and so it doesn't persist. So morality is variable, but not beyond certain critical limits.

I think the development of love also is an evolutionary creation intended to keep people together, but i'm digressing a bit.

Pedeophilia, I my view, would cause mass hysteria because people are so threatened by it. The only way pedeophilia might become morally permissible, is if somehow it became conducive to survival of the species - which at this point, i really don't see happening, although it's not entirely impossible.

"I think that evil is real and this reality is evidence of an absolute moral state of affairs. How could evil exist in the absence of good? If good exists then there must be a source of 'goodness', if you will. And as an existential reality, it would not be unamenable to an evolutionary process, that is, it would be immaterial."

Good acts are those that promote survival of the species - the source of which, i think is evolution. I surprised to find that evolution explains altruism - it typically happens between related individuals, such as a parent risking life for their children. We admire those acts because of their consequences - if everyone adopted them, it would help all people survive. Maybe that's also why we find martyrdom in religions to be so appealing, it represents sacrificing oneself for the collective good.

Regarding specific moral questions (like cloning for example), it's unclear how these issues will effect survival, so there's a lot of grey. There's a lot of grey.

Anyway, take care Brian.

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