Silb wrote:I think you will not find any more argument to back this up than any religious person to defend their faith. I think it is an irrational belief.
So, what you meant was that no one has supported my position, so I won't find anything to use in my defense, and won't be able to come up with anything of my own?
And this is like someone defending his or her religion, who would be in the same situation?
First, my belief is not irrational, in that it's based on reason. As I said, we're talking about a first principle grasped prior to experience, as distinguished from understanding. And I'm not the only one to believe this, though I prefer not to bring in champions to fight for me. (Of course, I may borrow weapons if they’re better than mine.)
And I tend to disagree that it hasn't been argued and supported (see above) or that it's like religion or belief in god. That is faith, and can't be proven. You believe it in spite of lack of evidence. (If you believe it in spite of overwhelming valid evidence against it, we're talking about the phenomenon of persistence of belief, which is another thing entirely.)
No one can prove or disprove the existence of god. There's no evidence for or against it. By saying "There's nothing to prove," I seemed to be saying, "It's my faith," and you rightly called me on it.
But I wasn't implying that there is no evidence, but rather that it is self-evident. Debating axiology (value theory) is as useful as debating metaphysics, epistemology, and logic. It can be fun, but I’m interested in real life: you are what you do when it counts.
Hamlet philosophized and delayed action ‘til it was too late. Alexander looked at the Gordian knot and decided not to waste endless hours proving he could navigate the intricacies of linear topological enigmatology. He wanted the rope separated, so he cut the knot. Not fair (pun!) according to the rules of enigmatology, but it brought about the desired result.
I distinguish ethics, what is right or wrong based on reason, from morals, what is considered right or wrong behavior based on social custom. You can rationalize and moralize all you want…
…but you still know that you’re doing it. (And remember what Sweeney Todd said: “Freely flows the blood of those who moralize.”)
You can’t prove anything with analogies (or perhaps one should say you can prove anything with analogies) but they can be useful for illumination. Let’s take heat: a form of energy transferred between systems by virtue of their temperature differences.
(BTW: the correct response in a debate would be, "Ethics and heat are not equivalent." But the value of an analogy is determined by whether the points of contingency outweigh the points of non-contingency, and I'm only illuminating.)
Scientists don’t need to give you that definition, nor do your parents have to teach you what heat is. You perceive it, like a first principle, prior to experience and outside of understanding. And the heat is an intrinsic quality of the object you touch.
I claim ethics are like heat (bearing in mind the wise men and the elephant): call it whatever your language dictates; decide what your favorite temperature is based on personal preference and societal norms (you may live in Death Valley or the Arctic, but you will agree that there is a very narrow band of livable temperatures between Absolute Zero and infinity): it exists, outside of language or society.
Silb wrote:minus any 'supernatural' hypothesis, like "morals exist absolutely, independently of anything whatsoever"
I don’t make this claim, any more than I would claim god created heat. You could argue that god made it, or that he made all the energy in the world, or whatever you like, but I don’t say either heat or ethics are supernatural. Heat can’t exist without matter; ethics can’t exist without people’s behavior and actions. Where matter or people came from is irrelevant.
You can always evaluate an action, and correctly: does it hurt someone? If yes, it’s unethical; if no, it’s either ethical or neutral. Taking something away from someone, whether it’s money, food, their health or their life, hurts them or someone else.
You know this is unethical when you’re old enough to reason, because you know it would hurt you, and you don’t want that to happen. We all know this. (If you don’t or can’t care if you hurt yourself or others, you’re probably an aberration: I don’t include sociopaths, etc., because they’re damaged. Heat exists even if you have no ability to feel.)
Using this to guide you will enable you to avoid unethical behavior in your actions, and help to make the world a better place, and avoid harming yourself physically, mentally or spiritually (NB: not in the sense of endangering your immortal soul).
Using philosophical theories like Relativism or Materialism to rationalize or justify behavior, or to say you can’t know the ethics of a situation, so do what you want, will allow unethical behavior and make the world worse, and may hurt you as well.
BunnyWithStick wrote:Personally, I don't think right and wrong exist except in the mind and in society. If you feel like having a low-level argument, try to prove that right and wrong exist in the sense most people think they do.
A more enjoyable argument would be to prove anything outside of yourself exists, and even then you can only prove it to yourself (Cogito ergo sum).
Silb wrote:Prove me wrong.
Can’t; see above.
Silb wrote:(NB: I love debates.)
Yes you do, and you’re very good at them. Your motto could be “Disputatio ergo sum."
But be nice: when I point at the moon, no arguing about my finger.