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Thread: Objective Morality (Once More Into The Breach)

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    tWebber mattbballman31's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    I am indeed rejecting your 1) as you expressed it. You see, hidden in your sentence is what I usually find: a hidden universal/absolute.
    We have to define our terms here.

    Universal: A moral value applies to all people.
    Absolute: A moral value is true without reference to individuals or cultures.
    Objective: A moral statement states a fact about the act or state of affairs.

    A moral can be universal without being absolute, and therefore be compatible with ethical subjectivism.

    Thus, 1 could be considered by ethical subjectivists to be universal (a necessary condition for an ethical theory), without saying that 1 is absolute.

    Hidden in front of the "justified" is "universally" or "absolutely."
    Not absolutely. Universally.

    Of course, I am going to point out that this is just a restatement of the definition of subjective/relative morality.
    Nope. Denying 1 implies denying ethical, subjective relativism, per the literature.

    1. Moral principles are justified to the individual expressing them because they're accepted by that person.
    Still has the same problems with practicality. All those caveats were already latent in 1.

    Then I have no problem with the sentence. Unfortunately, it doesn't really say all that much. It seems rather redundant to suggest that find the things I accept to be justified.
    Then you're subject to the practical contradiction argument. That third sentence is worded awkardly. The stipulation of 1 is that the 'moral principle' is justified.

    1. Moral principles are justified to the individual expressing them because they are seen as protecting/enhancing something valued by that person.
    Still doesn't change anything.

    And that is where I think you err. If moral principles are rooted in protecting/enhancing what we have come to value, then there are two avenues to showing a moral principle espoused by an individual to be irrational:

    1) Demonstrate to them that their moral principle does NOT protect/enhance the thing they value.
    2) Make a case for changing what is valued.
    Don't see the error.

    Going about demonstrating the irrationality between the moral principle held and it protecting/enhancing the thing valued implicitly denies 1, even your latest reformulation, because it is 'seen as' protecting/enhancing the thing valued. All that's going on here is that, descriptively, the moral principle doesn't have the desired protection/enhancement properties thought to inhere in the principle espoused; but that's completely compatibile with it being such that someone is morally obliged to accept it, per 1. This is one of the main reasons Sam Harris wants such protection/enhancement properties (i.e. 'well-being') of moral principles to correlate with moral obligations and morally good states of affairs; otherwise, per the ethical, subjective relativist, you could have a number of inverse relationships between the absence of protection/enhancement properties of a moral principle and the idea that, per 1, I'd be morally obliged to go along with it.

    The first is the easier road, if there is indeed a logical flaw in the moral code.
    This is dangerously close to moral objectivism, despite descriptive cases of relativism. If there can be logical flaws in moral codes, then the moral codes with logical flaws are necessarily false, since logic deals in necessity.

    The second is extremely difficult. What people value is rooted in upbringing, culture, psychology, religion, and typically does not change unless there is a seismic shift (i.e., the proverbial paradigm shift) in a person. That can happen as the result of a conversion experience, or a major trauma, or a significant change in circumstances (e.g., new culture, etc.). Simply making an argument for valuing differently, in my experience, rarely results in a significant shift. But it has happened, so it is possible.
    This is more the tact you want to go with. However, going about it, practically applying yourself to it, will commit you to, per my argument, a practical contradiction.


    Since I reject 1) as you articulated it, I don't flaw your logic here.
    And since I don't think your re-articulation of 1 does anything to change the argument, there's still a problem.

    1) Appeal to reason leading to an alignment of the moral codes of the two individuals.
    Again, dangerously close to objectivism, since reason dictates which moral codes are afflicted with legitimate logical flaws, and the moral codes with the logical flaws are necessarily false.

    2) Dismissal (e.g., if the moral issue is a minor one, two people/cultures can simply elect to live with their differences)
    This is a way out. Per 1, dismissal is obligated.

    3) Separate/Isolation (e.g., if the two individuals cannot agree on a major issue, then they will likely separate. If it an individual within a community, they will likely be isolated/rejected)
    Yup. But 1 would oblige the community to see such a rejected/isolated individual as moral, since, per 1, such an individual is morally justified in acting in accord with the moral principles he's prescribed for himself.

    4) Domination (e.g., in the worst-case scenario - there will be open conflict and the contender with the greater power will bend the other individual/culture to their will, either preventing from enacting their moral code or requiring them to enact the moral code of the stronger. Strictly speaking, this does not eliminate the conflict - it suppresses it).
    Domination would be, per 1, practically impossible for an ethical, subjective relativist.


    I hesitate to do this, because I get harped on frequently for it, but I'm going to go back to the definition of the terms.

    Ethics: moral principles that govern a person's behavior or the conducting of an activity.

    Yea, it's way more complicated than this, and as it stands, it's merely descriptive ethics. Ethical, subjective relativism is a view in normative ethics. You also got metaethics, dealing with the meaning/reference of moral terms and the structure of moral reasoning and justification.

    It seems to me you keep using theses in descriptive ethics as a reason/justification for a normative ethic, and descriptive ethics is just the historical, sociological, or anthropological fact that individuals have different moral codes (or, have varying applications of a universal or absolute code, as the case may be).

    I see no basis in this definition for rejecting any of what I have said from the realm of "ethics." Indeed, it is completely about governing behavior. I see no reason to dismiss it as "mere description."
    It's a mere description of the factual status of the moral codes governing behavior. But ethical, subjective relativism is a normative ethic, an ethical theory for interpreting the normative meaning of the descriptions.

    BTW - I'm enjoying the discussion thus far. Civil - and respectful. I hope you see my posts in the same light.
    Cool. I have no reason to act otherwise.
    Last edited by mattbballman31; 02-22-2018 at 02:39 AM.
    Many and painful are the researches sometimes necessary to be made, for settling points of [this] kind. Pertness and ignorance may ask a question in three lines, which it will cost learning and ingenuity thirty pages to answer. When this is done, the same question shall be triumphantly asked again the next year, as if nothing had ever been written upon the subject.
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    tWebber Tassman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post


    I would take the entire premise of "moral concepts are valid if accepted by a culture" to be off-base. Moralizing is an individual activity. What a culture/group finds to be moral/immoral is an expression of what the majority of it's members find to be moral/immoral. Individual members of that culture/society/group can/do disagree with some of the culture/society/group's moral precepts. But there IS a feedback loop. Since what we perceive as moral is rooted in identifying actions that protect what we value - the question becomes: how do we come to value. We come to value initially as influenced by family, community, culture. As we grow through childhood, the bulk of what we value is strongly influenced by these sources. As we mature (if we mature), we begin to sort through those influences, examine them more closely, and perhaps shift these values as we engage with other adults, or gain exposure to new cultures/communities/groups. As those underlying valies shift (if they do), the moralizing based on them likewise shifts.

    We see this dynamic at work all the time. In the U.S., the fairly recent shift towards acceptance and rights for the LGBTQ community is the most recent example, but there have been others throughout history. We also see it in the abortion debate.
    The “feedback loop" is the key. Of course one cannot claim that ‘moral concepts are valid if accepted by a culture”. Just as one cannot claim that the views of individual members that disagree with some communal concepts are necessarily valid. The two components interact with each other. This is what it means to be a member of a social species and this is why moral values change over time...such as the recent rights for the LGBT community and the changing role for women over the past century.
    “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

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    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattbballman31 View Post
    We have to define our terms here.

    Universal: A moral value applies to all people.
    Absolute: A moral value is true without reference to individuals or cultures.
    Objective: A moral statement states a fact about the act or state of affairs.

    A moral can be universal without being absolute, and therefore be compatible with ethical subjectivism.

    Thus, 1 could be considered by ethical subjectivists to be universal (a necessary condition for an ethical theory), without saying that 1 is absolute.

    Not absolutely. Universally.

    Nope. Denying 1 implies denying ethical, subjective relativism, per the literature.
    So agreed up to here. Just a note on the last sentence. We are not in the realm of science and peer-reviewed studies. We're in the realm of philosophy. So I'm not all that stuck to "the literature." If "the literature" has decided that "ethical subjective relativism," requires acceptance of 1), then so be it. We'll need a new name for what I believe. So I believe:

    1) Moral principles are derived by the individual and are justified on the basis of the belief that they protect/enhance things valued by that individual.
    2) The individual applies their moral code universally (i.e., they use it to judge their own actions and the actions of others).
    3) The moral norms of cultures and societies is simply the collective expression of the moral norms of its individuals
    4) Individuals tend to gather/cluster in groups separated by their moral norms.

    To me, that is "subjective" (which means "based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions" or "dependent on the mind or on an individual's perception for its existence." It is also relative, which means "considered in relation or in proportion to something else." If "the literature" has already appropriated the term "subjective relativism" for something else, so be it. Propose a term for what I believe and I'll be happy to use it for our discussions.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattbballman31 View Post
    Still has the same problems with practicality. All those caveats were already latent in 1.
    Your suggestion that I must accept that another person's actions are moral based on THEIR moral code suggests otherwise. You appear to want individuals to accept the moral codes of all other individuals as "moral." That would result in massive, constant, contradiction.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattbballman31 View Post
    Then you're subject to the practical contradiction argument. That third sentence is worded awkardly. The stipulation of 1 is that the 'moral principle' is justified.

    Still doesn't change anything.

    Don't see the error.

    Going about demonstrating the irrationality between the moral principle held and it protecting/enhancing the thing valued implicitly denies 1, even your latest reformulation, because it is 'seen as' protecting/enhancing the thing valued. All that's going on here is that, descriptively, the moral principle doesn't have the desired protection/enhancement properties thought to inhere in the principle espoused; but that's completely compatibile with it being such that someone is morally obliged to accept it, per 1. This is one of the main reasons Sam Harris wants such protection/enhancement properties (i.e. 'well-being') of moral principles to correlate with moral obligations and morally good states of affairs; otherwise, per the ethical, subjective relativist, you could have a number of inverse relationships between the absence of protection/enhancement properties of a moral principle and the idea that, per 1, I'd be morally obliged to go along with it.
    The error lies in asserting that there is no logical way to address someone with a differing moral code. I have presented two. I have already rejected 1) as written and provided how I would express it. Our difference appears to lie in the assertion that one individual must accept another individual's moral code as "moral."

    Quote Originally Posted by mattbballman31 View Post
    This is dangerously close to moral objectivism, despite descriptive cases of relativism. If there can be logical flaws in moral codes, then the moral codes with logical flaws are necessarily false, since logic deals in necessity.
    I would agree that, if someone values X, has moral code Y because they believe it "protects/enhances X," but it can be shown that moral code Y does not actually protect/enhance X, then their moral code has a logical flaw in it and is internal inconsistent - it is a false moral code. The individual is accepting as moral a behavior that threatens what they value.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattbballman31 View Post
    This is more the tact you want to go with. However, going about it, practically applying yourself to it, will commit you to, per my argument, a practical contradiction.
    Although, as I noted, it is difficult to alter what a person values, it is not impossible. I see no contradiction in attempting to.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattbballman31 View Post
    And since I don't think your re-articulation of 1 does anything to change the argument, there's still a problem.

    Again, dangerously close to objectivism, since reason dictates which moral codes are afflicted with legitimate logical flaws, and the moral codes with the logical flaws are necessarily false.

    This is a way out. Per 1, dismissal is obligated.

    Yup. But 1 would oblige the community to see such a rejected/isolated individual as moral, since, per 1, such an individual is morally justified in acting in accord with the moral principles he's prescribed for himself.
    Here is where we part company. The individual, and the collective society, measure morality according to their own moral code, not the moral code of the "other." This is why I reworded 1). The best that ccan be said is that the individual is "possibly acting morally according to their own moral code" (though we can never know if the person is folowing their own moral code or breaking it with any given action). The individual will not be acting according to the observer's moral code.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattbballman31 View Post
    Domination would be, per 1, practically impossible for an ethical, subjective relativist.
    And yet, it is the almost inevitable outcome of a serious disconnect between moral codes between individuals and/or society. If Person A believes "personal property" is a good to be valued, person A will have moral precepts against stealing. If Person B does not even recognize "personal property" as a reality (which occurs in some cultures), so sees no value in it, they will not even have the concept of "theft" in their moral code. Put "Person B" in "Person A's culture, and you will have a clash of moral codes that will have Person B consistently committing acts considered "theft" by Person A and the larger society. If all attempts to convince Person B that the value of "personal property" fail, and Person be keeps "stealing," Person A will take steps to isolate: gates, locks, "keep out" signs, etc. If all of that fails, Person A will invoke society's legal structure (which is likely tohave a law against theft if it is a widely held moral principle), and Person B will be incarcerated. The stronger society dominates the individual. We see this dynamic all the time - and I see no contradiction in it.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattbballman31 View Post
    Yea, it's way more complicated than this, and as it stands, it's merely descriptive ethics. Ethical, subjective relativism is a view in normative ethics. You also got metaethics, dealing with the meaning/reference of moral terms and the structure of moral reasoning and justification.

    It seems to me you keep using theses in descriptive ethics as a reason/justification for a normative ethic, and descriptive ethics is just the historical, sociological, or anthropological fact that individuals have different moral codes (or, have varying applications of a universal or absolute code, as the case may be).

    It's a mere description of the factual status of the moral codes governing behavior. But ethical, subjective relativism is a normative ethic, an ethical theory for interpreting the normative meaning of the descriptions.
    Here you have dropped into a philosophical language that I have long since left behind, and have to admit I do not have a significant interest in getting tangled back into it again. If it is a requirement for continued discussion, then we should perhaps consider ending the discussion here.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattbballman31 View Post
    Cool. I have no reason to act otherwise.
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

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    tWebber mattbballman31's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    So agreed up to here. Just a note on the last sentence. We are not in the realm of science and peer-reviewed studies. We're in the realm of philosophy. So I'm not all that stuck to "the literature." If "the literature" has decided that "ethical subjective relativism," requires acceptance of 1), then so be it.
    I know we're not in the realm of science. And you do know that philosophy has peer-review, right?

    Australasian Journal of Philosophy
    Journal of Philosophy
    Mind
    Noűs
    Philosophy and Phenomenological Research
    Philosophical Review
    Philosophical Studies
    Analysis
    Erkenntnis
    Monist
    Pacific Philosophical Quarterly
    Philosophers' Imprint
    Philosophical Quarterly
    Philosophical Topics
    Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society
    American Philosophical Quarterly
    Canadian Journal of Philosophy
    Continental Philosophy Review
    Dialectica
    European Journal of Philosophy
    Philosophy Compass
    Ratio
    Review of Metaphysics
    Southern Journal of Philosophy
    Synthese
    Biology and Philosophy
    British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
    British Journal of Aesthetics
    British Journal for the History of Philosophy
    Economics and Philosophy
    Ethics
    Journal of Consciousness Studies
    Journal of the History of Ideas
    Journal of the History of Philosophy
    Journal of Philosophical Logic
    Journal of Symbolic Logic
    Journal of Value Inquiry
    Linguistics and Philosophy
    Mind and Language
    Notre Dame Journal of Formal Logic
    Philosophia Mathematica
    Philosophy and Public Affairs
    Philosophy East and West
    Philosophy of Science
    Phronesis
    Review of Symbolic Logic
    Studia Logica
    Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
    Theory and Decision
    Vivarium

    There is a position in normative ethics called ethical, subjective relativism, and the position has been written about voluminously. If you want to defend or espouse another position, that's fine by me.

    We'll need a new name for what I believe. So I believe:

    1) Moral principles are derived by the individual and are justified on the basis of the belief that they protect/enhance things valued by that individual.
    Cool. Do you think there's an objective right and wrong way to maximize the protection/enhancement properties of a value relative to the structure of a given moral code?

    2) The individual applies their moral code universally (i.e., they use it to judge their own actions and the actions of others).
    Cool. I affirm this as well.

    3) The moral norms of cultures and societies is simply the collective expression of the moral norms of its individuals
    Descriptive ethics, since objectivists, absolutists, universalists, subjectivists, emotivists, could all agree here.

    4) Individuals tend to gather/cluster in groups separated by their moral norms.
    More descriptive ethics. Sociologists, historians, and anthropologists would be nodding in aggreement, while the ethicists would just be getting started.

    To me, that is "subjective" (which means "based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions" or "dependent on the mind or on an individual's perception for its existence."
    Okay, cool. The former is different from the latter. I could agree with the former and still be an objectivist, on the descriptive level. As for the latter, that's pretty good; I'd add that, for the subjectivist, moral statements express info about the speaker, which would be the mind. Cool, so far.

    It is also relative, which means "considered in relation or in proportion to something else."
    Well, that's almost trivially true. If morality is subjective, it'll be relative to subjects. But look closer. See what's happening at this point? If morality is subjective (normative ethics), then it'll be relative to subjects (descriptive ethics). Now, you want to distinguish your view from the ethical, subjective relativism I've been articulating. Okay. But your 4 points don't do anything to distinguish it. We've landed back to, "Since morality is subjective, it's also relative." Cool. Provide an analysis, different from mine, of the "morality is subjective" part that's sufficiently distinct from how I've articulated it thus far.

    If "the literature" has already appropriated the term "subjective relativism" for something else, so be it. Propose a term for what I believe and I'll be happy to use it for our discussions.
    A term for what you believe is somewhere along the lines of an, as yet, unanalyzed notion of normative subjectivity justifying various trivial theses of descriptive ethics. You're mixing your drinks in such a way that your mixing the glass with the drink.

    Your suggestion that I must accept that another person's actions are moral based on THEIR moral code suggests otherwise. You appear to want individuals to accept the moral codes of all other individuals as "moral." That would result in massive, constant, contradiction.
    Correct. That's what happens when you're dealing with subjectivity on a 'normative' level. Look at it from this angle.

    Actions come from decisions, decisions come from judgements, judgments come from principles, principles come from values, values come from forms of life, forms of life come from rational justifications . . . . rational justifications can also come from forms of life, and forms of life can come from values. That's the feedback loop.

    Now, the 'values' part of this schema is what you want to render subjective. Cool.

    As a view in ethical theory (not your view, ostensibly), ethical, subjective relativism renders subjective the values, while also posing 1 as a rational justification, which leads to a practical contradiction between the rational justification and the principle (which informs duties). It leads to the practical contradiction between everyone, per the ethical, subjective relativist, having the same rational justification underlying any subjective value they pick, which implies action-guiding principles that clash with the rational justification.

    The error lies in asserting that there is no logical way to address someone with a differing moral code.
    Careful. No practically logical way. There are possible worlds in which one can 'act out' practically impossible behavior, but it would be on pain of irrationality.


    I have presented two. I have already rejected 1) as written and provided how I would express it. Our difference appears to lie in the assertion that one individual must accept another individual's moral code as "moral."
    Yet your re-expression wasn't sufficient enough, per the above. You're attempting to reject the original normative thesis, by re-expressing the original normative thesis as implying various aspects in descriptive ethics. I think what you need to do is cut off, out of the schema, the idea of rational justification, and endorse something like moral non-cognitivism, because the moment you reintroduce rational evaluations of differing moral codes, you're reintroducing objectivity, since moral codes can 'really' live up to, or fall short of, their capacity to realize (or maximize?) protection/enhancement properties, a view that's almost synonymous with Sam Harris' natural, moral realism in terms of well-being.

    To which you say . . .

    I would agree that, if someone values X, has moral code Y because they believe it "protects/enhances X," but it can be shown that moral code Y does not actually protect/enhance X, then their moral code has a logical flaw in it and is internal inconsistent - it is a false moral code. The individual is accepting as moral a behavior that threatens what they value.
    Cool. That's an endorsement of moral objectivism, since there really are correct and incorrect moral codes depending on whether they display internal, 'moral', consistency. This jives with the schema perfectly, since rational justification is the foundation that begins the schematic feedback loop. It's also an endorsement of moral realism, since you're committed to real, mind-independent protection/enhancement properties that may or may not inhere in a moral code depending on the aforesaid logical consistency.

    Although, as I noted, it is difficult to alter what a person values, it is not impossible. I see no contradiction in attempting to.
    Descriptively, you can alter whatever person's values you want. Descriptively, you can succeed. But it's on pain of practical contradiction. Therefore, if your descriptions of the 'altering process' leave out the latent practical contradiction, your descriptions will be false, per the argument.

    Here is where we part company. The individual, and the collective society, measure morality according to their own moral code, not the moral code of the "other."
    More descriptive ethics. Nothing to do with the, as yet, unanalyzed normative theory of subjectivism which you think implies such descriptions.

    And yet, it is the almost inevitable outcome of a serious disconnect between moral codes between individuals and/or society.
    Cool. More descriptions.

    If Person A believes "personal property" is a good to be valued, person A will have moral precepts against stealing.
    Good.

    If Person B does not even recognize "personal property" as a reality (which occurs in some cultures), so sees no value in it, they will not even have the concept of "theft" in their moral code.
    Good.

    Put "Person B" in "Person A's culture, and you will have a clash of moral codes that will have Person B consistently committing acts considered "theft" by Person A and the larger society.
    Good.

    If all attempts to convince Person B that the value of "personal property" fail, and Person be keeps "stealing," Person A will take steps to isolate: gates, locks, "keep out" signs, etc.
    Yup.

    If all of that fails, Person A will invoke society's legal structure (which is likely tohave a law against theft if it is a widely held moral principle), and Person B will be incarcerated.
    Yep.

    The stronger society dominates the individual. We see this dynamic all the time - and I see no contradiction in it.
    And there it is. You don't see a contradiction because you keep surreptitiously justifying a normative theory with descriptive ethics. I think you want to deny all of normative ethics and do history, sociology, or anthropology. I think what you really want to do is to deny cognitive theories of ethics altogether, and go for more non-cognitive theories like emotivism or imperativalism, because you don't sound like a subjectivist at all. But then you sound like a cognitivist again when you do things like reintroduce back into the equation variables like 'logical-internal-consistency' and 'protection/enhancement' properties. You need to work out this inconsistency.

    Here you have dropped into a philosophical language that I have long since left behind, and have to admit I do not have a significant interest in getting tangled back into it again.
    Well . . . I'm tempted to repeat what I said last time in our last conversation. It's really simple. If you don't know, ask. You seem like a reasonable guy. Take your time. No pressure. But if you're done talking about it, no problem. At least you're honest, and don't dodge like Shunyadragon and Tassman,

    If it is a requirement for continued discussion, then we should perhaps consider ending the discussion here.
    Cool. No problem. See ya around.
    Last edited by mattbballman31; 02-23-2018 at 12:57 AM.
    Many and painful are the researches sometimes necessary to be made, for settling points of [this] kind. Pertness and ignorance may ask a question in three lines, which it will cost learning and ingenuity thirty pages to answer. When this is done, the same question shall be triumphantly asked again the next year, as if nothing had ever been written upon the subject.
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    tWebber mattbballman31's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tassman View Post
    The “feedback loop" is the key. Of course one cannot claim that ‘moral concepts are valid if accepted by a culture”. Just as one cannot claim that the views of individual members that disagree with some communal concepts are necessarily valid. The two components interact with each other. This is what it means to be a member of a social species and this is why moral values change over time...such as the recent rights for the LGBT community and the changing role for women over the past century.
    That was so bad Shunya didn't even 'amen' it . . .
    Many and painful are the researches sometimes necessary to be made, for settling points of [this] kind. Pertness and ignorance may ask a question in three lines, which it will cost learning and ingenuity thirty pages to answer. When this is done, the same question shall be triumphantly asked again the next year, as if nothing had ever been written upon the subject.
    George Horne

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    tWebber Tassman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattbballman31 View Post
    That was so bad Shunya didn't even 'amen' it .
    More to the point, you been unable to rebut it.
    “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

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    tWebber mattbballman31's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tassman View Post
    More to the point, you been unable to rebut it.
    Already did.

    Oh, are you still running away from my questions?
    Many and painful are the researches sometimes necessary to be made, for settling points of [this] kind. Pertness and ignorance may ask a question in three lines, which it will cost learning and ingenuity thirty pages to answer. When this is done, the same question shall be triumphantly asked again the next year, as if nothing had ever been written upon the subject.
    George Horne

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