Moral Relativism with Teallaura (Reply 2)
My first reply
Teal's first reply.
You obviously didn't read what I wrote I specifically note that in the text of my last post I was attempting to demonstrate that:Originally posted by Teal
...is false.Originally posted by Me
As such, this is relevant.
That's kind of the point of the entire post. Read the post all the way through, then come back and replyOriginally posted by Teal
ExactlyOriginally posted by Teal
A few things here:Originally posted by Teal
People have different perception of risks. Take a look at this.
Other humans are both perceived to be (see above) and are actually a larger threat. They're intelligent, afterall.
It's a contributing factor, as is everything I present.Itís a non-issue for our purposes - you need something that makes the probability of a culture accepting murder overwhelmingly low. By your own admission this doesnít get us there and Iíd argue while it might decrease probability somewhat its counterpart, selfishness, cancels that out.
As I previously mentioned, the selfishness motivation would also favour a society in which murder is not allowed - for reasons of not being murdered and not wanting to worry about murdered.
It's important not to understate the extent to which empathy and altruism plays a part in most people's decision making process.
In the vast majority of cases we require justification if we're going to kill - as... we've basically both said. The reasons that people will accept vastly differ between different cultures and even between people in cultures - which you would expect without an objective moral standard. You're very much focused on the idea that all cultures are against killing for killing's sake rather than the huge quantity of other ways that they do differ. Off the top of my head, here's some reasons in different cultures that people would accept as justification for killing:
- [The victim was] an enemy.
- ...or they were just not in the "in-group"
- For family honour.
- Committed a crime [of variable seriousness] . (Referring to lynch mobs/vigilante justice rather than state-sanctioned)
- "Your honour, he had it coming." (The "Texas defense")
- Deserter in an army.
- weaker than you.
It's also probably important to note that someone with no justification to kill someone also has no reason to kill someone. I talk about this in more detail later.
True, but we also have a lot more contact with people close to us than not. The chance of being murdered by someone you know is small (because the chance of being murdered by someone, in general, is small) - and a lower murder rate is, as I'm sure you'd agree, optimal for smooth operation. Would you be more or less willing to trust and socialise with people if murder was acceptable in your society?And people kill loved ones all the time - in fact the likelihood in any murder is that the victim knew the killer and usually had a close or strong relationship with them. We humans can be hurt most deeply by our loved ones and are ironically more likely to kill a loved one than a stranger. This does not reduce the probability of murder being morally acceptable - it does the exact opposite.
Firstly - as I previously mentioned - someone without justification for their actions also has no reason to perform that action.Um, Chris, I already disproved this. Societies presently exist and are sadly stable that tolerate murder. They do not do so sans caveat, thatís true, because sane human beings require justification for their acts - but my argument is that is because morality is objective. In a morally relative world justification should not be a psychological need - yet we see it in even the most murderous of cultures/societies.
Iím pretty sure Chris accepts the same premise but for the viewing audience Ďjustificationí or Ďcaveatí in this instance is not necessarily the same thing as a legitimate justification. Most would accept self-defense as legit justification (and no, self defense isnít murder, itís just the easiest example) but would not accept stealing the victimís shoes as just cause.
Secondly - Acting rationally is beneficial. To expend effort killing a person with no justification or benefit is irrational and detrimental to the person.
The sort of person who will take action without reason is incredibly rare and also probably pretty short lived. To have an entire society of those people... or at least, enough of them so it's the prevailing opinion? Highly improbable, particularly as people don't pop up in a vacuum - they're highly exposed to culture and the ideas and beliefs of people around them as they grow up.
A society that is run too suboptimally is unlikely to last very long. Your example - Nazi Germany - lasted 12 years. I would agree that both individuals and societies don't always act rationally.This is your best argument and itís pretty good. But it rests on the false assumption that all cultures will act in their own best self -interest (that they will be rational). Nazi Germany self-destructed because it turned on a segment of its own population. The examples of repressive and oppressive cultures are numerous. Such cultures can be stable and survive long periods. They also use the repressed/persecuted elements as labor - often involved in agriculture. Can you think of a better way to poison people than to be harvesting and processing - even cooking - their food? Trust isnít what keeps the oppressors safe - terror is. So to can less discriminately murderous cultures develop along Ďmutual self-interestsí to either police laborers or insulate themselves. Yes, it means subcultures develop but virtually all cultures have subcultures so that isnít a problem for my argument.
I grant that in a rational society this factor does indeed reduce the probability of murder being regarded as acceptable - but since my contention all along has been that most cultures would not regard murder as acceptable even in a morally relative world this does not defeat my argument. I do not agree that this would reduce the probability sufficiently low such that we would see no outliers - I explained why above.
One thing to note is that you're using the term "murder" here. I think we're being a little imprecise in our wording. Shall we define it - for our purposes - as being the same as "(malicious killing of a human being) sans caveat (justification)"?
Murder is morally acceptable in South America?This is demonstrably false - South America. Surprisingly stable, yet volatile and with astronomically high murder/violence rates.
I was apparently half-asleep when I first wrote this, because I missed the obvious problem with the idea of a society in which malicious killing of a human being sans caveat is morally acceptable - the fact that (the vast majority of) people don't do things for no reason. It's the height of irrationality to do so.Even with the points Iíve granted would reduce the probability combined, there is not enough here to reduce probability that low given that we see counter examples in most of those cases. Granted they arenít perfect (they all function with caveat) but they donít need to be. You now need to show why caveat would affect the probabilities sufficiently - otherwise, the counter examples disprove the points and thereby the thesis.
Again, we're talking about whether or not we'd expect a society in which malicious killing of a human being sans caveat is morally acceptable. I present the following reasons:
- People who act without reason are rare. It's highly irrational to do so, expending effort to kill someone without reason is not beneficial. Someone who acts like that is unlikely to be particularly successful.
- People don't appear out of thin air and are heavily influenced by their society, parents and other people. The sort of person to kill malicious without justification does exist - but it's rare, as I believe you've previously agreed to.
- For it to become the prevailing opinion in a society, all (or at least a majority) people in that society have to hold it - given the rarity of people who would hold that maliciously killing people without reason is acceptable is rare, a society in which this was acceptable would be even more so.
As such - even without an objective moral basis - we would expect the vast majority of people and the all of the societies that have ever existed to not find killing malicious without reason acceptable.