Page 1 of 49 12311 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 489

Thread: To what extent can ethics be anchored in reason?

  1. #1
    tWebber guacamole's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    1,226
    Amen (Given)
    201
    Amen (Received)
    450

    To what extent can ethics be anchored in reason?

    I'm curious how atheists and other non-religious folk find or create ethical rules. A lot of Christians assert that with out God, there is no reason to be good. I'm interested in turning the question around. What is the basis of ethics in non-theistic systems? Preference? Popularity?

    fwiw,
    guac.
    "Shall we mourn here deedless forever, a shadow-folk, mist-haunting, dropping vain tears in the
    thankless sea?"

  2. #2
    tWebber Darth Executor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Kazakhstan
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    6,918
    Amen (Given)
    1699
    Amen (Received)
    2603
    Hedonism or nihilism. The former seems preferable to me but the popularity of liberalism among atheists would indicate that is not a popular opinion.
    "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths." Isaiah 3:12

    There is no such thing as innocence, only degrees of guilt.

  3. #3
    tWebber
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    San Bernardino, Calif.
    Faith
    Atheist
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    1,275
    Amen (Given)
    0
    Amen (Received)
    107
    Quote Originally Posted by guacamole View Post
    What is the basis of ethics in non-theistic systems? Preference? Popularity?
    It depends on the non-theist. Many of us adhere to a consequentialist ethics: We believe that behavior should be judged right or wrong depending on its consequences. Preference or popularity would be among the other options, but they don't fit with my philosophy.
    Last edited by Doug Shaver; 11-01-2017 at 04:37 AM.

  4. #4
    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    37,742
    Amen (Given)
    3444
    Amen (Received)
    17995
    I think there is an actual objective "good" in the universe which only exists because God is good. Atheists will mostly disagree, and try to say what we see as good is doing things for the benefit of society or something like that. But then what does "benefit" mean? It means something "good" which again calls into question how do we know what is "good" or not?

    I mean if you look a Nazi Germany, it would benefit the society of Nazis for you to turn in any Jews you knew, right? But we know that is not "good" even though some of the Nazis would disagree and say it is Good. There is an objective sense of an actual "good" that we recognize, and turning over our fellow humans to be killed is not it, even if it "benefits" that society.

  5. #5
    tWebber Roy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Faith
    Atheist
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    4,243
    Amen (Given)
    424
    Amen (Received)
    1172
    Quote Originally Posted by guacamole View Post
    I'm curious how atheists and other non-religious folk find or create ethical rules. A lot of Christians assert that with out God, there is no reason to be good. I'm interested in turning the question around. What is the basis of ethics in non-theistic systems? Preference? Popularity?
    Reciprocity and respect for others.

    Treat others as you would wish to be treated. Don't treat others how you wouldn't wish to be treated.

    Initially co-operative tit-for-tat.

    Do what thou will lest it harm others.
    Starlight: "In America a lot of tap-water is contaminated with lead or chemicals from fracking, because the right-wing crazies are anti-regulation."
    Lilpixieoferror: "Another day another Starlight fable. What actually causes high lead levels in water is lead pipes or lead solder, not industrial waste from any source. Well, so much for this Starlight fable... I wonder what tomorrow’s made up story will be in his ‘I HATE AMERICAN CHRISTIANS!!!’ quest."

  6. #6
    tWebber seer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    New England
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    19,338
    Amen (Given)
    998
    Amen (Received)
    3934
    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Shaver View Post
    It depends on the non-theist. Many of us adhere to a consequentialist ethics: We believe that behavior should be judged right or wrong depending on its consequences. Preference or popularity would be among the other options, but they don't fit with my philosophy.
    I never understood this. How could anyone really know the long term consequences of any act? An example: you save a 17 year old kid from drowning, that night he drinks to much to celebrate runs his car into a family station wagon and kills all five of them. Was your act of saving him good or bad?
    “The only place outside Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.” C.S. Lewis

  7. #7
    tWebber Rushing Jaws's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Location
    Near my best friend (see photo above)
    Faith
    Ultramontane Papist XPian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    383
    Amen (Given)
    1299
    Amen (Received)
    73
    Quote Originally Posted by guacamole View Post
    I'm curious how atheists and other non-religious folk find or create ethical rules. A lot of Christians assert that with out God, there is no reason to be good. I'm interested in turning the question around. What is the basis of ethics in non-theistic systems? Preference? Popularity?

    fwiw,
    guac.
    Another possibility: moral philosophy from Plato onwards. One does not need to anchor ideas about the Good, or about purposiveness, in theism, of any kind, let alone the specifically Christian kind. In one sense, I agree that without God the notion of goodness has no meaning; but taken in a different sense, I think that is a counsel of despair. It is right to do right, because right-doing is the right way to live; one does not need to bother with Divine revelation to do this: instead, one should follow one’s own highest and best and purest intuitions of what is right, & seek to learn both from one’s mistakes and from the ideas and mistakes of others. Good is to be done, for its own sake, because it is good, with no thought of seeking praise or approval; it is enough if one’s conscience has been well-formed, and is clear of evil.

    I think the idea that some Christians have, that without Divine revelation we would have no clue as to what is good, and would live like brutes, is false. Even if we did not *know* right from wrong, that is no reason to follow our basest appetites; we ought, in such a situation, to follow our best intuitions of what is good, and trust that the more faithfully we follow what light we have, the more light we shall receive. I think we should do this anyway. Even if - to suppose the impossible - there were no God, no Christ, no Heaven, nothing, Christians ought still to live according to the purest, best, highest intuitions of goodness that they have, because it is good to do so. They should still live like Narnians, even if there is no Narnia. (Puddleglum, in “The Silver Chair”).

  8. #8
    tWebber guacamole's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    1,226
    Amen (Given)
    201
    Amen (Received)
    450
    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Shaver View Post
    It depends on the non-theist. Many of us adhere to a consequentialist ethics: We believe that behavior should be judged right or wrong depending on its consequences.
    I've never read anything about that before. The closest resource I have at hand is the wikipedia entry! I will educate myself later. But it's interesting to see someone explain it before I read about it.

    How do you reckon the beneficial or harmful quality of consequences then?

    Thanks,
    guac.
    "Shall we mourn here deedless forever, a shadow-folk, mist-haunting, dropping vain tears in the
    thankless sea?"

  9. #9
    tWebber guacamole's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    1,226
    Amen (Given)
    201
    Amen (Received)
    450
    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    I think there is an actual objective "good" in the universe which only exists because God is good. Atheists will mostly disagree, and try to say what we see as good is doing things for the benefit of society or something like that. But then what does "benefit" mean? It means something "good" which again calls into question how do we know what is "good" or not?

    I mean if you look a Nazi Germany, it would benefit the society of Nazis for you to turn in any Jews you knew, right? But we know that is not "good" even though some of the Nazis would disagree and say it is Good. There is an objective sense of an actual "good" that we recognize, and turning over our fellow humans to be killed is not it, even if it "benefits" that society.
    I largely agree with you--that's why I'm curious about how a consequentialist would explain how to measure something like "benefit" in consequences.
    "Shall we mourn here deedless forever, a shadow-folk, mist-haunting, dropping vain tears in the
    thankless sea?"

  10. #10
    tWebber guacamole's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    1,226
    Amen (Given)
    201
    Amen (Received)
    450
    Quote Originally Posted by Roy View Post
    Reciprocity and respect for others.

    Treat others as you would wish to be treated. Don't treat others how you wouldn't wish to be treated.

    Initially co-operative tit-for-tat.

    Do what thou will lest it harm others.
    Kind of a pragmatic approach then, with a bit of the golden-rule and a little bit of Thomas Hobbes thrown in. In some ways this seems somewhat utilitarian.
    "Shall we mourn here deedless forever, a shadow-folk, mist-haunting, dropping vain tears in the
    thankless sea?"

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •