First here are my thoughts on Real Morality vs. Pseudo Morality:
+Morals (Personal Morality relating to a “self” morality): are not held by all in the same way since all are not held to Orthodox faith and though most start with good and bad or right and wrong values, which usually are personally, familially, socially or religiously give or in some way otherworldly defined, thus not universal.
+Ethics (Social Morality relating to a “others” morality): Ethics are not constrained by a given religion’s value systems to motivate its ideas of right and wrong instead it relies on universal truths found in universal principles of just human action. Ethics is set standers uses to personally engage with others and universal truths assist goals of universal ethics standards. Thus, ethics are general prosocial prescription we as morality aware beings in a rather universal way tend to have some awareness of and it is not just an awareness as in one who holds to ethics often get it applies to all peoples. Some may wish to devalue people but to do so is not really unethical, though often it can lead to unethical behavior. So what I am trying to highlight is how in the behavior that the ethics violation could occur as the internal attitude of devaluing others would only be a possible morals violation such as one who valued virtue and not getting it but failing by the persuasion of devaluing the life of other humans. This simple internal devaluing of humans, that they may be doing is vile. But ethics would not be involved until public behaviors with others, as such ethics is not so much a persuasion as an adherence to a standard(s) that should cover all thus it is highly applicable to utilize in environmental decision making.
Axiology, Naturalism, Realism and Moral Theory Ideas
Real Morality is referring to “ethics” (Social Morality relating to a “others” morality) as opposed to +Morals (Personal Morality relating to a “self” morality) because we use Real Morality or need to to assist in judging the behaviors in a social dynamic behavioral event or interaction and can only accrue in a social dynamic (social behavioral realm) as such all morality propositions removed from a social dynamic and which accrue only in a personal dynamic lack attachment to “Real Morality” referring to the social nature of “ethics.” In other words, if you are by yourself and do something only to yourself, it is neither ethical nor immorality; thus, doing a behavior that is only personal (a believed moral or otherwise) by yourself and only something to yourself, is amorality to everyone but that chosen person doing a behavior that is only personal. One can chouse to personally value some moral standard for themselves but because morals (the personal valued behaviors) as opposed to ethics (the interpersonal/socal valued behaviors; which there is business never business morals as ethics is about our social behaviors we can hold others to, whereas, morals are only something we can hold ourselves to).
I hold the assumptions that to understand morality more fully we need to understand its synthesis and properties by emphasizing its relations to conceptual tools understanding motivation and behavior such as biopsychosocial model, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory, kohlberg’s moral development theory and formal axiology interactions across multiple levels. Real Morality is an emergent aspect limited to a sphere of social dynamics (social) result in human progress and social evolution understood in mental processes of high cognitively developed beings (biological) with developed psychological quality of awareness (psychological) and the so-called moral facts and the values that support or motivate them is limited to the realm of possible harm psychological or physical (actual external world or experiential internal world). Pseudo Morality is seen when holy books or people “cognitively reconstruct” an inhumane idea or behavior to make it into something different from than it is, to something more moral than what it actually is. Or turn something highly immoral into something highly moral. One way to do that is to cloak the behavior “in moral wrappings” or “in divine authority” such as god hates gays, gays are evil, thus killing gays is doing good by destroying evil. This thinking is obviously pseudo morality as gays are not evil but killing them is evil and inhumane idea or behavior thus very immoral. The god justified immorality into what is then called moral is some of the most common pseudo-morality, though political leaders and others in power tend to employ it as well. They all are using “pseudo-moral justifications” to describe something immoral as moral. True morality is not as simply as the golden rule…
Did you know the Golden Rule is found in some variation in all faiths.
Baha’i Faith: “Lay not on any soul a load that you would not want to be laid upon you, and desire not for anyone the things you would not desire for yourself” –Bahu’u’llah
Buddhism: “Treat not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful” –Udana-Varga 5:18
Christianity: “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law of the prophets” –Jesus in Matthew 7:12
Confucianism: “One word which sums up the basis of all good conduct…loving kindness. Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself” –Confucius, Analects 15:23
Hinduism: ” This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you” –Mahabharata 5:15-17
Humanism: “Try to embrace the moral principle known as the ‘Golden Rule’, otherwise known as the ethic of reciprocity, which means we believe that people should aim to treat each other as they would like to be treated themselves – with tolerance, consideration and compassion.” – Maria MacLachlan, Think Humanism
Islam: “Not one of you truly believes until you wish for others what you wish for yourself” –The Prophet Mohammad, Hadith
Jainism: “One should treat all creatures in the world as one would like to be treated” –Mahavira, Sutrakritanga
Judaism: “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. This is the whole Torah: all the rest is commentary” –Hillel, Talmud, Shabbat 31a
Native American: “We are as much alive as we keep the earth alive” –Chief Dan George
Satanism: “Do unto others as they do unto you”; because if you “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” and they, in turn, treat you badly, it goes against human nature to continue to treat them with consideration. You should do unto others as you would have them do unto you, but if your courtesy is not returned, they should be treated with the wrath they deserve.” ― Anton Szandor LaVey, The Satanic Bible
Sikhism: “I am a stranger to no one; and no one is a stranger to me. Indeed, I am a friend to all” –Guru Granth Sahib, pg. 1299
Taoism: “Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss” –T’ai Shang Kan Yin P’ien 213-218
Unitarianism: “We affirm and promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part” –Unitarian Principle
Wicca: “An’ it harm none, do as thou wilt” –The Wiccan Reed
Zoroastrianism: “Do not do unto others whatever is injurious to yourself. –Shayast-na-Shayast 13:29
True morality is a valued behavior we do that interacts with others; it is not really related to what we do to ourselves. Which is why I do not agree with the so-called golden rule as it is what you don’t want do to others but this fails in that its focused on ourselves which is us focused and true morality needs to be other focused on what valued behavior we do that interacts with others. I say treat others the way they should be treated. People have self-ownership, self-rights, right to dignity, freedom, and equality. True morality is a valued behavior we do that interacts with others starting with the conception that people matter, they have worth and value, It is in this way they should be treated.
Pseudo Morality is seen when holy books or people “cognitively reconstruct” an inhumane idea or behavior to make it into something different from than it is, to something more moral than what it actually is. Or turn something highly immoral into something highly moral.
One way to do that is to cloak the behavior “in moral wrappings” or “in divine authority” such as god hates gays, gays are evil, thus killing gays is doing good by destroying evil. This thinking is obviously pseudo morality as gays are not evil but killing them is evil and inhumane idea or behavior thus very immoral.
The god justified immoral into moral is some of the most common pseudo morality though political and others in power tend to employ it as well.
They all are using “pseudo-moral justifications” to describe something immoral as moral.
To me, true morality is not starting with an us or me focused morality as morality is a social interaction exchange thus it must be other focused. “treating others as they should be treated” To me, I see everyone as owning themselves all equal in this right as humans. Moreover, to me morality is behavioral and a social property, there is no immoral thing one can do to themselves as one cannot violate themselves or their own consent as they choose their own actions. Thus, to me, all morality is about others and our interactions with them and them with us. So, morality arises in a social context with all things not that all things have the same moral weight. Therefore, moral relationships with life outside humans have a different moral weight or value.Such as killing 100 humans is not the same as killing 100 dogs, killing 100 fish, killing 100 flies, etc. Of course, the method of killing used should inflict the least amount of suffering to the animal or plant. And to not do that could make it immoral. Such as torturing them to death is immoral even if the killing was not.
So, the golden rule? No thanks, I want real morality not reverse-selfishness driven morality.
Harm is often a violation of trust and a violation of expected trust makes bad things even worse like if I told you a child was killed, you would feel it was terrible but if I further told you it was the child’s doctor that murdered the child out of anger. You would be more angered as doctors are expected to care for people not harm them. And if you think that is bad what if I further told you the doctor who killed the child was her mother would you hold her even mone in contempt as mothers also are expected to care and not kill children, so a violation of trust is terrible and even makes things worse. Therefore, we can see why people that hold places of trust should never abuse them, and that we should hold them accountable if they do violate such trust by harming others. Morality first, that is morality should be at the forefront in all I do. I hope I am always strong enough to put my morality at the forefront in all I do, so much so, that it is obvious in the ways I think and behave. To better grasp, a naturalistic morality one should see the perspective of how there is a self-regulatory effect on the self-evaluative moral emotions, such as shame and guilt. Broadly conceived, self-regulation distinguishes between two types of motivation: approach/activation and avoidance/inhibition. one should conceptually understand the socialization dimensions (parental restrictiveness versus nurturance), associated emotions (anxiety versus empathy), and forms of morality (proscriptive versus prescriptive) that serve as precursors to each self-evaluative moral emotion.
Axiological Morality Critique of Pseudo-Morality/Pseudomorality?
True Morality summed up to me is largely the expression of axiological value judgments/assessments carried into an appropriate valueized action.
Why care? Because we are Dignity Beings.
“Dignity is an internal state of peace that comes with the recognition and acceptance of the value and vulnerability of all living things.” – Donna Hicks (2011). Dignity: The Essential Role It Plays in Resolving Conflict
I am inspired by philosophy, enlightened by archaeology and grounded by science that religious claims, on the whole, along with their magical gods, are but Dogmatic-Propaganda, myths and lies. Kindness beats prayers every time, even if you think prayer works, you know kindness works. Think otherwise, do both without telling people and see which one they notice. Aspire to master the heavens but don’t forget about the ones in need still here on earth. You can be kind and never love but you cannot love and never be kind. Therefore, it is this generosity of humanity, we need the most of. So, if you can be kind, as in the end some of the best we can be to others is to exchange kindness. For too long now we have allowed the dark shadow of hate to cloud our minds, while we wait in silence as if pondering if there is a need to commiserate. For too long little has been done and we too often have been part of this dark clouded shame of hate. Simply, so many humans now but sadly one is still left asking, where is the humanity?
Why Ought We Care?
Because kindness is like chicken soup to the essence of who we are, by validating the safety needs of our dignity. When the valuing of dignity is followed, a deep respect for one’s self and others as dignity beings has become one’s path. When we can see with the eyes of love and kindness, how well we finally see and understand what a demonstrates of a mature being of dignity when we value the human rights of others, as we now see others in the world as fellow beings of dignity. We need to understand what should be honored in others as fellow dignity beings and the realization of the value involved in that. As well as strive to understand how an attack to/on a person’s “human rights” is an attack to/on the value and worth of a dignity being. Yes, I want to see “you” that previous being of dignity worthy of high value and an honored moral weight to any violation of their self-ownership. And this dignity being with self-ownership rights is here before you seeking connection. what will you do, here you are in the question ever present even if never said aloud, do you see me now or are you stuck in trying to evaluate my value and assess worth as a fellow being of dignity. A violation of one’s dignity (Which it the emotional, awareness or the emotional detection of the world) as a dignity being can be quite harmful, simply we must see how it can create some physiological disturbance in the dignity being its done to. I am a mutualistic thinker and to me, we all are in this life together as fellow dignity beings. Therefore, I want my life to be of a benefit to others in the world. We are natural evolutionary derived dignity beings not supernatural magic derived soul/spirit beings. Stopping lying about who we are, as your made-up magic about reality which is forced causing a problem event (misunderstanding of axiological valuations) to the natural wonder of reality. What equals a dignity worth being, it is the being whose species has cognitive awareness and the expense of pain. To make another dignity being feel pain is to do an attack to their dignity as well as your own. What equals a dignity worth being, it is the being whose species has cognitive awareness and the expense of pain. When I was younger I felt proud when I harmed those I did not like now I find it deserving even if doing it was seen as the only choice as I now see us for who we are valuable beings of dignity. I am not as worried about how I break the box you believe I need to fit as I am worried about the possibility of your confining hopes of hindering me with your limits, these life traps you have decided about and for me are as owning character attacks to my dignity’s needs which can be generalized as acceptance, understanding, and support. As I see it now, how odd I find it to have prejudice or bigotry against other humans who are intact previous fellow beings of dignity, we too often get blinded by the external packaging that holds a being of dignity internally. What I am saying don’t judge by the outside see the worth and human value they have as a dignity being. Why is it easier to see what is wrong then what is right? Why do I struggle in speaking what my heart loves as thorough and as passionate as what I dislike or hate? When you say “an act of mercy” the thing that is being appealed to or for is the proposal of or for the human quality of dignity. May my lips be sweetened with words of encouragement and compassion. May my Heart stay warm in the arms kindness. May my life be an expression of love to the world. Dignity arises in our emotional awareness depending on cognition. Our dignity is involved when you feel connected feelings with people, animals, plants, places, things, and ideas. Our dignity is involved when we feel an emotional bond “my family”, “my pet”, “my religion”, “my sport’s team” etc. Because of the core sensitivity of our dignity, we feel that when we connect, then we are also acknowledging, understanding, and supporting a perceived sense of dignity. Even if it’s not actually a dignity being in the case of plants, places, things, and ideas; and is rightly interacting with a dignity being in people and animals. We are trying to project “dignity developing motivation” towards them somewhere near equally even though human and animals don’t have the same morality weight to them. I am anthropocentric (from Greek means “human being center”) as an Axiological Atheist. I see humans value as above all other life’s value. Some say well, we are animals so they disagree with my destination. But how do the facts play out? So, you don’t have any difference in value of life? Therefore, a bug is the same as a mouse, a mouse is the same as a dolphin, a dolphin is the same as a human, all to you have exactly the same value? You fight to protect the rights of each of them equally? And all killing of any of them is the same crime murder? I know I am an animal but you also know that we do have the term humans which no other animal is classified. And we don’t take other animals to court as only humans and not any other animals are like us. We are also genetically connected to plants and stars and that still doesn’t remove the special class humans removed from all other animals. A society where you can kill a human as easily as a mosquito would simply just not work ethically to me and it should not to any reasonable person either. If you think humans and animals are of equal value, are you obviously for stronger punishment for all animals to the level of humans? If so we need tougher laws against all animals including divorce and spousal or child support and we will jail any animal parent (deadbeat animal) who does not adequately as we have been avoiding this for too long and thankfully now that in the future the ideas about animals being equal we had to create a new animal police force and animal court system, not to mention are new animal jails as we will not accept such open child abuse and disregard for responsibilities? As we don’t want to treat animals as that would be unjust to some humans, but how does this even make sense? To me it doesn’t make sense as humans a different from all other animals even though some are similar in some ways. To further discuss my idea of *dignity developing motivation” can be seen in expressions like, I love you and I appreciate you. Or the behavior of living and appreciating. However, this is only true between higher cognitive aware beings as dignity and awareness of selfness is directly related to dignity awareness. The higher the dignity awareness the higher the moral weight of the dignity in the being’s dignity. What do you think are the best ways to cultivate dignity? Well, to me dignity is not a fixed thing and it feels honored or honoring others as well as help self-helping and other helping; like ones we love or those in need, just as our dignity is affected by the interactions with others. We can value our own dignity and we can and do grow this way, but as I see it because we are a social animals we can usually we cannot fully flourish with our dignity. Thus, dignity is emotionally needy for other dignity beings that is why I surmise at least a partially why we feel empathy and compassion or emotional bonds even with animals is a dignity awareness and response. Like when we say “my pet” cat one is acknowledging our increased personal and emotional connecting. So, when we exchange in experience with a pet animal what we have done is we raze their dignity. Our dignity flourishes with acceptance, understanding and support. Our dignity withers with rejection, misunderstanding, and opposition. Dignity: is the emotional sensitivity of our sense of self or the emotional understanding about our sense of self. When you say, they have a right to what they believe, what I hear is you think I don’t have a right to comment on it. Dignity is the emotional sensitivity of our sense of self or the emotional understanding about our sense of self. To me when we say it’s wrong to kill a human, that person is appealing to our need to value the dignity of the person.’ The person with whom may possibly be killed has a life essence with an attached value and moral weight valuations. And moral weight,’ which is different depending on the value of the dignity being you are addressing understanding moral weight as a kind of liability, responsibility, or rights is actualized. So, it’s the dignity to which we are saying validates the right to life. But I believe all living things with cognitively aware have a dignity. As to me dignity is the name I home to the emotional experience, emotional expression, emotional intelligence or sensitivity at the very core of our sense of self the more aware the hire that dignity value and thus worth. Dignity is often shredded similar to my thinking: “Moral, ethical, legal, and political discussions use the concept of dignity to express the idea that a being has an innate right to be valued, respected, and to receive ethical treatment. In the modern context dignity, can function as an extension of the Enlightenment-era concepts of inherent, inalienable rights. English-speakers often use the word “dignity” in prescriptive and cautionary ways: for example, in politics it can be used to critique the treatment of oppressed and vulnerable groups and peoples, but it has also been applied to cultures and sub-cultures, to religious beliefs and ideals, to animals used for food or research, and to plants. “Dignity” also has descriptive meanings pertaining to human worth. In general, the term has various functions and meanings depending on how the term is used and on the context.” Dignity, authenticity and integrity are of the highest value to our experience, yet ones that we must define for ourselves. People of hurt and harm, you are not as free to attack other beings of dignity without any effect on you as you may think. So, I am sorry not sorry that there is no such thing in general, as hurting or harming other beings of dignity without psychological destruction to the dignity being in us. This is an understanding that once done hunts and harm of other beings of dignity emotionally/psychologically hurts and harms your life as an acceptance needy dignity being, as we commonly experience moral discuss involuntary as on our deepest level as dignity beings. Disgust is deeply related to our sense of morality.
Babies & Morality?
“They believe babies are in fact born with an innate sense of morality, and while parents and society can help develop a belief system in babies, they don’t create one. A team of researchers at Yale University’s Infant Cognition Center, known as The Baby Lab, showed us just how they came to that conclusion.” Ref
Animals and Morality?
5 Animals With a Moral Compass Moreover, Animals can tell right from wrong: Scientists studying animal behavior believe they have growing evidence that species ranging from mice to primates are governed by moral codes of conduct in the same way as humans. Likewise, in the book: Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals: Scientists have long counseled against interpreting animal behavior in terms of human emotions, warning that such anthropomorphizing limits our ability to understand animals as they really are. Yet what are we to make of a female gorilla in a German zoo who spent days mourning the death of her baby? Or a wild female elephant who cared for a younger one after she was injured by a rambunctious teenage male? Or a rat who refused to push a lever for food when he saw that doing so caused another rat to be shocked? Aren’t these clear signs that animals have recognizable emotions and moral intelligence? With Wild Justice Marc Bekoff and Jessica Pierce unequivocally answer yes. Marrying years of behavioral and cognitive research with compelling and moving anecdotes, Bekoff and Pierce reveal that animals exhibit a broad repertoire of moral behaviors, including fairness, empathy, trust, and reciprocity. Underlying these behaviors is a complex and nuanced range of emotions, backed by a high degree of intelligence and surprising behavioral flexibility. Animals, in short, are incredibly adept social beings, relying on rules of conduct to navigate intricate social networks that are essential to their survival. Ultimately, Bekoff and Pierce draw the astonishing conclusion that there is no moral gap between humans and other species: morality is an evolved trait that we unquestionably share with other social mammals.
Moral Naturalism (James Lenman)
While “moral naturalism” is sometimes used to refer to any approach to metaethics intended to cohere with naturalism in metaphysics more generally, the label is more usually reserved for naturalistic forms of moral realism according to which there are objective moral facts and properties and these moral facts and properties are natural facts and properties. Views of this kind appeal to many as combining the advantages of naturalism and realism. Ref
Moral fear and Moral love (which together motivate my axiological ethics)?
“Sometimes justice has to outweigh care and sometimes care has to outweigh justice.”
And one may ask or question how do you discern the appropriate morality course of action between what is ethically right? To me, it takes Axiology (i.e. value consciousness: value judgment analysis of ethical appropriateness do to assess value involved).
MORAL FEAR (fight or flight “justice perspective”):
To feel a kind of morality “anxiety” (ethical apprehension to potentially cause harm) about behaviors and their outcomes empathy (I feel you) or sympathy (I feel for you) about something moral that may be done, is being done, or that has been done, thus feeling of distress, apprehension or alarm caused by value driven emotional intelligence concern; moral/ethical anxiety to the possibility; chance (to do something as a moral thinker and an ethical actor) or dread; respect (to take the sensitivity of a personal moral choice that leads one to choose an ethical behavior(s) and grasping the moral weight of the actions involved and potential outcomes this engagement can or will likely create (using data from learning whether theoretical or practical to lessen the effect of an unpleasant choice as much as posable (morality development/awareness/goals/persuasion). “Moral Anxiety, improves us, while Social Anxiety kills. Some anxieties are indicators of healthy curiosity and strong moral fiber, while others are a source of severe stress. Knowing which is which can help you to navigate your personal, professional, and intellectual life more effectively.” Ref Moral fear thus is a kind of morality “anxiety” that motivates a fascinating aspect of humanity, which is that we hold ourselves to high moral standards. With our values and emotional intelligence and moral development, we gain a developed prosocial persuasion thus “tend to self-impose rules on ourselves to protect society from the short-term temptations that might cause us to do things that would have a negative impact in the long-run. For example, we might be tempted to harm a person who bothers us, but a society in which everyone gave in to the temptation to hurt those who made us angry would quickly devolve into chaos. And once we accept that emotion plays some role in complex decisions, it is important to figure out which emotions are influencing different kinds of choices. Therefore, when we make these moral judgments to an extent we are somewhat driven by our ability to reason about the consequences of the actions or are influenced by their emotions to or about the outcomes of the consequences of the actions.” https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/ulterior-motives/201308/anxiety-and-moral-judgment
*ps. MORAL FEAR (fight or flight “consequentialist ethics/utilitarian ethics”) is roughly referring to the fight-or-flight response, also known as the acute stress response, refers to a physiological reaction that occurs in the presence of something that is terrifying, either mentally or physically. The fight-or-flight response (also called hyperarousal, or the acute stress response) is a physiological reaction that occurs in response to a perceived harmful event, attack, or threat to survival. An evolutionary psychology explanation is that early animals had to react to threatening stimuli quickly and did not have time to psychologically and physically prepare themselves. The fight or flight response provided them with the mechanisms to rapidly respond to threats against survival. This response is recognized as the first stage of the general adaptation syndrome that regulates stress responses among vertebrates and other organisms. The reaction begins in the amygdala, which triggers a neural response in the hypothalamus. The initial reaction is followed by activation of the pituitary gland and secretion of the hormone ACTH. The adrenal gland is activated almost simultaneously and releases the hormone epinephrine. The release of chemical messengers results in the production of the hormone cortisol, which increases blood pressure, blood sugar, and suppresses the immune system. The initial response and subsequent reactions are triggered in an effort to create a boost of energy. This boost of energy is activated by epinephrine binding to liver cells and the subsequent production of glucose. Additionally, the circulation of cortisol functions to turn fatty acids into available energy, which prepares muscles throughout the body for response. Catecholamine hormones, such as adrenaline (epinephrine) or noradrenaline (norepinephrine), facilitate immediate physical reactions associated with a preparation for violent muscular action and :
- Acceleration of heart and lung action
- Paling or flushing, or alternating between both
- Inhibition of stomach and upper-intestinal action to the point where digestion slows down or stops
- General effect on the sphincters of the body
- Constriction of blood vessels in many parts of the body
- Liberation of metabolic energy sources (particularly fat and glycogen) for muscular action
- Dilation of blood vessels for muscles
- Inhibition of the lacrimal gland (responsible for tear production) and salivation
- Dilation of pupil (mydriasis)
- Relaxation of bladder
- Inhibition of erection
- Auditory exclusion (loss of hearing)
- Tunnel vision (loss of peripheral vision)
- Disinhibition of spinal reflexes
The physiological changes that occur during the fight or flight response are activated in order to give the body increased strength and speed in anticipation of fighting or running. Some of the specific physiological changes and their functions include:
- Increased blood flow to the muscles activated by diverting blood flow from other parts of the body.
- Increased blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugars, and fats in order to supply the body with extra energy.
- The blood clotting function of the body speeds up in order to prevent excessive blood loss in the event of an injury sustained during the response.
- Increased muscle tension in order to provide the body with extra speed and strength. Ref, Ref
Here is a little on Consequentialist ethics and Utilitarian ethics
*Consequentialist ethics: involves a class of normative ethical theories holding that the consequences of one’s conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness or wrongness of that conduct. Thus, from a consequentialist standpoint, a morally right act (or omission from acting) is one that will produce a good outcome, or consequence. In an extreme form, the idea of consequentialism is commonly encapsulated in the saying, “the end justifies the means“, meaning that if a goal is morally important enough, any method of achieving it is acceptable. Consequentialism is usually contrasted with deontological ethics (or deontology), in that deontology, in which rules and moral duty are central, derives the rightness or wrongness of one’s conduct from the character of the behaviour itself rather than the outcomes of the conduct. It is also contrasted with virtue ethics, which focuses on the character of the agent rather than on the nature or consequences of the act (or omission) itself, and pragmatic ethics which treats morality like science: advancing socially over the course of many lifetimes, such that any moral criterion is subject to revision. Consequentialist theories differ in how they define moral goods. Some argue that consequentialist and deontological theories are not necessarily mutually exclusive. For example, T. M. Scanlon advances the idea that human rights, which are commonly considered a “deontological” concept, can only be justified with reference to the consequences of having those rights. Similarly, Robert Nozick argues for a theory that is mostly consequentialist, but incorporates inviolable “side-constraints” which restrict the sort of actions agents are permitted to do. Ref
*Utilitarian ethics: involve an ethical theory which states that the best action is the one that maximizes utility. “Utility” is defined in various ways, usually in terms of the well-being of sentient entities. Jeremy Bentham, the founder of utilitarianism, described utility as the sum of all pleasure that results from an action, minus the suffering of anyone involved in the action. Utilitarianism is a version of consequentialism, which states that the consequences of any action are the only standard of right and wrong. Unlike other forms of consequentialism, such as egoism, utilitarianism considers the interests of all beings equally. Proponents of utilitarianism have disagreed on a number of points, such as whether actions should be chosen based on their likely results (act utilitarianism) or whether agents should conform to rules that maximize utility (rule utilitarianism). There is also disagreement as to whether total (total utilitarianism) or average (average utilitarianism) utility should be maximized. Though the seeds of the theory can be found in the hedonists Aristippus and Epicurus, who viewed happiness as the only good, the tradition of utilitarianism properly began with Bentham, and has included John Stuart Mill, Henry Sidgwick, R. M. Hare, David Braybrooke, and Peter Singer. It has been applied to social welfare economics, the crisis of global poverty, the ethics of raising animals for food and the importance of avoiding existential risks to humanity. Because utilitarianism is not a single theory but a cluster of related theories that have been developed over two hundred years, criticisms can be made for different reasons and have different targets. Karl Marx, in Das Kapital, criticises Bentham’s utilitarianism on the grounds that it does not appear to recognize that different people have different joys:
Not even excepting our philosopher, Christian Wolff, in no time and in no country has the most homespun commonplace ever strutted about in so self-satisfied a way. The principle of utility was no discovery of Bentham. He simply reproduced in his dull way what Helvétius and other Frenchmen had said with esprit in the 18th century. To know what is useful for a dog, one must study dog-nature. This nature itself is not to be deduced from the principle of utility. Applying this to man, he who would criticize all human acts, movements, relations, etc., by the principle of utility, must first deal with human nature in general, and then with human nature as modified in each historical epoch. Bentham makes short work of it. With the driest naivete he takes the modern shopkeeper, especially the English shopkeeper, as the normal man. Whatever is useful to this queer normal man, and to his world, is absolutely useful. This yard-measure, then, he applies to past, present, and future. The Christian religion, e.g., is “useful,” “because it forbids in the name of religion the same faults that the penal code condemns in the name of the law.” Artistic criticism is “harmful,” because it disturbs worthy people in their enjoyment of Martin Tupper, etc. With such rubbish has the brave fellow, with his motto, “nulla dies sine linea [no day without a line]”, piled up mountains of books.
An article in the American Journal for Economics has addressed the issue of Utilitarian ethics within redistribution of wealth. The journal stated that taxation of the wealthy is the best way to make use of the disposable income they receive. This says that the money creates utility for the most people by funding government services. Many utilitarian philosophers, including Peter Singer and Toby Ord, argue that inhabitants of developed countries, in particular, have an obligation to help to end extreme poverty across the world, for example by regularly donating some of their income to charity. Peter Singer, for example, argues that donating some of one’s income to charity could help to save a life or cure somebody from a poverty-related illness, which is a much better use of the money as it brings someone in extreme poverty far more happiness than it would bring to oneself if one lived in relative comfort. However, Singer not only argues that one ought to donate a significant proportion of one’s income to charity, but also that this money should be directed to the most cost-effective charities, in order to bring about the greatest good for the greatest number, consistent with utilitarian thinking. Singer’s ideas have formed the basis of the modern effective altruist movement. ref
MORAL LOVE (tend and befriend “voice of care perspective”):
To me, this relates to care/caring ethics, which affirms the importance of caring motivation, emotion and the body in moral deliberation, as well as reasoning from particulars.This moral theory is known as “ the ethics of care” implies that there is moral significance in the fundamental elements of relationships and dependencies in human life. Normatively, care ethics seeks to maintain relationships by contextualizing and promoting the well-being of care-givers and care-receivers in a network of social relations. Most often defined as a practice or virtue rather than a theory as such, “care” involves maintaining the world of, and meeting the needs of, ourself and others. It builds on the motivation to care for those who are dependent and vulnerable, and it is inspired by both memories of being cared for and the idealizations of self. Following in the sentimentalist tradition of moral theory, care ethics affirms the importance of caring motivation, emotion and the body in moral deliberation, as well as reasoning from particulars. One of the original works of care ethics was Milton Mayeroff’s short book, On Caring, but the emergence of care ethics as a distinct moral theory is most often attributed to the works of psychologist Carol Gilligan and philosopher Nel Noddings in the mid-1980s. Though there are notable thinkers who express early strains of care ethics such as those that can be detected in the writings of feminist philosophers such as Mary Wollstonecraft, Catherine and Harriet Beecher, and Charlotte Perkins. Offering a general charged that traditional moral approaches contain a kinda of male bias, and asserted the “voice of care” as a legitimate alternative to the “justice perspective” of liberal human rights theory. Annette Baier, Virginia Held, Eva Feder Kittay, Sara Ruddick, and Joan Tronto are some of the most influential among many subsequent contributors to care ethics. Typically contrasted with deontological/Kantian and consequentialist/utilitarian ethics, is that of care ethics.
*ps. MORAL LOVE (tend and befriend “care ethics (ethics of care)/reciprocity (reciprocal altruism) ethics”) is similar to the fight or flight which is also only part of a bigger picture, according to Shelley Taylor, Ph.D., a psychology professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, and her colleagues. In the Psychological Review, as in evolutionary psychology, researchers describe how stress can elicit another behavioral pattern they call “tend and befriend”–especially in females. Tend-and-befriend is a behavior exhibited by some animals, including humans, in response to threat. It refers to protection of offspring (tending) and seeking out the social group for mutual defense (befriending), tend-and-befriend is theorized as having evolved as the typical female response to stress, just as the primary male response was fight-or-flight. This kind of gender determinism within the field is the subject of some controversy but I see it as to limited as well because we tend to use multiple sstrategiesto further sucuresafty depending of avalable resorces and if one regardless of gender persuasion is not able to either adequately defend themselves/or others (the fight part of fight or flight ) or is not able to either adequately flee a given threat (the flight part of fight or flight ) then other options such as The tend-and-befriend theoretical model was originally developed by Dr. Shelley E. Taylor and her research team at the University of California, Los Angeles and first described in a Psychological Review article published in the year 2000.
Here is a little on Care ethics and Reciprocal altruism
*Care ethics: is a normative ethical theory that holds interpersonal relationships and care or benevolence as a virtue as central to moral action. It is one of a cluster of normative ethical theories that were developed by feminists in the second half of the twentieth century. Here is a link to Feminist ethics. While consequentialist and deontological ethical theories emphasize universal standards and impartiality, ethics of care emphasize the importance of response. The shift in moral perspective is manifested by a change in the moral question from “what is just?” to “how to respond?”. Ethics of care criticize application of universal standards as “morally problematic since it breeds moral blindness or indifference.”
Some beliefs of the theory are basic:
- Persons are understood to have varying degrees of dependence and interdependence on one another. This is in contrast to deontological and consequentialist theories that tend to view persons as having independent interests and interactions.
- Those particularly vulnerable to one’s choices and their outcomes deserve extra consideration to be measured according to their vulnerability to one’s choices.
- It is necessary to attend to contextual details of situations in order to safeguard and promote the actual specific interests of those involved.
Care ethics contrasts with more well-known ethical models, such as consequentialist theories (e.g. utilitarianism) and deontological theories (e.g. Kantian ethics) in that it seeks to incorporate traditionally feminized virtues and values which, proponents of care ethics contend, are absent in such traditional models of ethics. While some feminists have criticized care-based ethics for reinforcing traditional stereotypes of a “good woman” others have embraced parts of this paradigm under the theoretical concept of care-focused feminism. Care-focused feminism is a branch of feminist thought, informed primarily by ethics of care as developed by Carol Gilligan and Nel Noddings. This body of theory is critical of how caring is socially engendered to women and consequently devalued. “Care-focused feminists regard women’s capacity for care as a human strength” which can and should be taught to and expected of men as well as women. Noddings proposes that ethical caring has the potential to be a more concrete evaluative model of moral dilemma, than an ethic of justice. Noddings’ care-focused feminism requires practical application of relational ethics, predicated on an ethic of care. Ethics of care is also a basis for care-focused feminist theorizing on maternal ethics. Critical of how society engenders caring labor, theorists Sara Ruddick, Virginia Held, and Eva Feder Kittay suggest caring should be performed and caregivers valued in both public and private spheres. Their theories recognize caring as an ethically relevant issue. This proposed paradigm shift in ethics encourages that an ethic of caring be the social responsibility of both men and women. Joan Tronto argues that the definition of the term “ethic of care” is ambiguous due in part to the lack of a central role it plays in moral theory. She argues that considering moral philosophy is engaged with human goodness, then care would appear to assume a significant role in this type of philosophy. However, this is not the case and Tronto further stresses the association between care and “naturalness”. The latter term refers to the socially and culturally constructed gender roles where care is mainly assumed to be the role of the woman. As such, care loses the power to take a central role in moral theory. Tronto states there are four ethical elements of care:
Attentiveness is crucial to the ethics of care because care requires a recognition of others’ needs in order to respond to them. The question which arises is the distinction between ignorance and inattentiveness. Tronto poses this question as such, “But when is ignorance simply ignorance, and when is it inattentiveness”?
In order to care, we must take it upon ourselves, thus responsibility. The problem associated with this second ethical element of responsibility is the question of obligation. Obligation is often, if not already, tied to pre-established societal and cultural norms and roles. Tronto makes the effort to differentiate the terms “responsibility” and “obligation” with regards to the ethic of care. Responsibility is ambiguous, whereas obligation refers to situations where action or reaction is due, such as the case of a legal contract. This ambiguity allows for ebb and flow in and between class structures and gender roles, and to other socially constructed roles that would bind responsibility to those only befitting of those roles.
To provide care also means competency. One cannot simply acknowledge the need to care, accept the responsibility, but not follow through with enough adequacy – as such action would result in the need of care not being met.
This refers to the “responsiveness of the care receiver to the care”. Tronto states, “Responsiveness signals an important moral problem within care: by its nature, care is concerned with conditions of vulnerability and inequality”. She further argues responsiveness does not equal reciprocity. Rather, it is another method to understand vulnerability and inequality by understanding what has been expressed by those in the vulnerable position, as opposed to re-imagining oneself in a similar situation. Ref
Reciprocal altruism: (the evolution of cooperation)is a social interaction phenomenon where an individual makes sacrifices for another individual in expectation of similar treatment in the future. Originally introduced as a concept by biologist Robert Trivers, reciprocal altruism explains how altruistic behavior and morality can arise from evolutionary causes, as evolution selects for the best possible game theory results. If the benefit is higher than the initial cost, then multiple reciprocal interactions can actually out-compete more “greedy” forms of relationships, thus providing an evolutionary incentive for altruistic behavior. At the same time (and in opposition to unlimited altruism), reciprocity ensures that cheaters are also harmed when they choose to do so and are gradually made less fit as a result of their own behavior. Modern ethnology seems to support at least part of this hypothesis, as many societies on all continents have developed highly complex forms of gift economy where gifts are given with no immediately obvious material return, but the implicit societal expectation of “repayment” in gift form at some later point in time. Amazingly, those societies work. The custom of giving gifts for birthdays in the West may be seen as a remnant of this. It’s not uncommon for someone to engage in this behavior with the object of their affection, i.e. being nice to them with the expectation of a sexual relationship. Since a lot of these situations tend to involve lonely, single straight men, the common term for this is “Nice Guy” — in other words, the suitor’s claim “but I’m a nice guy…” translates to “I went through all the motions and she still won’t sleep with me.” As a general rule, this is not an effective strategy, and often even drifts into stalking behavior. Women who engage in the same behavior do not get as much attention but are still known (naturally) as Nice Girls. Either way, such people are seldom actually nice, and frequently come off as manipulative and bitter without realizing it. The fallacy lies in their equating sexual relationship with being nice – if their expectation of tit for tat was actually equal, aka being nice for being nice and being honest for being honest (which they, coming into relationship with entirely different expectations than they communicate, fail at), they wouldn’t face such a problem. Ref
I see my Axiological driven morality to involve an enmeshed union of both:
fight or flight “justice perspective” and a tend and befriend “voice of care perspective”
Helping is Helpful: Valuing, Motivating, Supporting
How to Grow in Our Positive Outcomes: Gratitude, Empathy, and Kindness
We can become a more quality person by actively being aware and developing a gratitude for life, which supports as well as grows our feelings of empathy, that then motivates the behavior of kindness.
There are several ethical standards that are considered to be self-evident and seem to apply to all people throughout all of history, regardless of cultural, political, social, or economic context. The non-aggression principle, which prohibits aggression, or the initiation of force or violence against another person, is a universal ethical principle. My Examples of aggression include murder, rape, kidnapping, assault, robbery, theft, and vandalism. On the other hand, the commission of any of such acts in response to aggression does not necessarily violate universal ethics. There are obvious reasons why universal ethics are beneficial to society. For example, if people were allowed to kill or steal, this would lead to widespread chaos and violence and would be detrimental to the well-being of society. Most people agree that it’s better to prohibit aggression than to allow everyone to commit it. Therefore, aggression is intrinsically immoral. Although nearly all societies have laws prohibiting aggression, this does not mean that universal ethics are necessarily reflected by that society’s government or its dominant ideology. Universal ethics does not mean the imposition of one set of morals by one group on another. It means a shared way or means of reaching a consensus on norms and values that also accepts diversity. A shared understanding of what is right and what is wrong. In any circumstance or situation, we can start by examining the present state of affairs. This should be done with the aim of gaining an understanding of other cultural differences, history, and tradition, remembering that an explanation is not necessarily a justification. Next, what is the minimum that is acceptable? There has to be an acceptance that some disagreements cannot be resolved at that time. The aim is to change the present situation for the better. Once an acceptable minimum is reached, it is possible to work towards an eventual ideal state. We are all one community and we are all responsible for upholding human rights for each other. More than ever there is a need for agreement on the existence of universally held values and the content of those values. It may prove to be impossible to find one set of universal ethical principles that apply to all cultures, philosophies, faiths and professions but the destination is only part of the journey. The value lies in the search for principles that can be shared by all and can underpin the framework for global dialogue on ethical issues. A universal moral code might be a set of underlying dispositions we are all born with. Or it might be a set of explicit norms and values humans might one day universally accept. But a more important sense of ‘universal moral code’ is of a set of moral values that is universally valid, whether or not it is inscribed in our brains, or accepted by people. Of course, that is a very controversial idea. If there is such a universal moral code, then we have an imperative to try to discover it, and to make it universally accepted (to make it a moral code in the descriptive sense). But this requires thinking hard about ethics, not looking for some code that might or might not be written into our brains. Ref Ref Ref
1.Values (morality motivations): are a amalgam of personal, family, local or extended group environmental, religious and/or cultural content etc. we are what we eat we are the knowledge we consume and the ideas we are sounded by. Values to me thus are self driven ideals others influenced. I like to think myself out of the matrix though if I would have grown up in china would I not be a different me. Born rich and loved as a child be different or adopted be Angelina Jolie be forever changed. Or the love child of Jeffry Dahmer or Mahatma Gondi would I still be the same me with the same values? I think not. Values are not fixed they change throughout one’s lifetime they can be absolute or relative, the assumption of which can be the basis for any sort of chosen action. Thus, a value system is a set of consistent values and measures one chooses because of their connectedness to chosen ideals. Values to me can be a foundation upon which other thinking streams and measures of ideal integrity are based. Those values which are not physiologically determined and normally considered objective, such as a desire to avoid physical pain, seek pleasure, etc., are considered subjective, vary across individuals and cultures and are in many ways aligned with belief and belief systems only truth to a set of people.
2.Morals (personal morality): are not held by all in the same way since all are not held to Orthodox faith and though most start with good and bad or right and wrong values, which usually are personally, familially, socially or religiously give or in some way otherworldly defined, thus not universal.
3.Ethics (public morality): Ethics are not constrained by a given religion’s value systems to motivate its ideas of right and wrong instead it relies on universal truths found in universal principles of just human action. Ethics is set standers uses to personally engage with others and universal truths assist goals of universal ethics standards. Thus, ethics are general prosocial prescription we as morality aware beings in a rather universal way tend to have some awareness of and it is not just an awareness as in one who holds to ethics often get it applies to all peoples. Some may wish to devalue people but to do so is not really unethical, though often it can lead to unethical behavior. So what I am trying to highlight is how in the behaviour that the ethics violation could occur as the internal attitude of devaluing others would only be a possible morals violation such as one who valued virtue and not getting it but failing by the persuasion of devaluing the life of other humans. This simple internal devaluing of humans, that they may be doing is vile. But ethics would not be involved until public behaviors with others, as such ethics is not so much a persuasion as an adherence to a standard(s) that should cover all thus it is highly applicable to utilize in environmental decision making.
In general, I am a Universal Ethicist?
But What Good is a Set of Principles?
There are many tools for decision making, but few (secular) guides to indicate when situations might have an ethical implication. Yet this awareness is a crucial first step before decisions are made. Recognizing the moral context of a situation must precede any attempt to resolve it. Otherwise, what’s to resolve? Ethical dilemmas rarely present themselves as such. They usually pass us by before we know it or develop so gradually that we can only recognize them in hindsight – a little like noticing the snake after you’ve been bitten. But what are the signs that a snake might be present? An ethical framework is like a ‘snake detector’. I offer the following principles as landmarks – generic indicators to be used as compelling guides for an active conscience. They are NOT absolute rules or values. They are more like a rough measurement where an exact one is not possible. They often conflict with each other in practice, and some will trump others under certain circumstances. But as principles that need to be considered, they appear constant. These principles are compatible with the argument that we should simply follow our intuition and rely on the ‘inner voice’. However, that voice is not always audible, and today’s society presents a wide range of complex circumstances that require more guidance than simply ‘concern for others’ or ‘does it feel right?’ And so these principles are offered effectively as a more detailed reference. In a sense, the principles are outcomes of the mother of all principles – unconditional love and compassion – which appears in virtually all faiths, and is expressed here as ‘concern for the well-being of others’. (This principle is at the heart of the stakeholder model of ethics, i.e. what is my impact on others?) At first glance, they will appear obvious and perhaps trite or simplistic. Keep in mind that they are meant to be practical rather than groundbreaking, and that many people have found them useful in the absence of other guides.
“Universal ethics: there are several ethical standards that are considered to be self-evident, and seem to apply to all people throughout all of history, regardless of cultural, political, social, or economic context. The non-aggression principle, which prohibits aggression, or the initiation of force or violence against another person, is a universal ethical principle. Examples of aggression include murder, rape, kidnapping, assault, robbery, theft, and vandalism. On the other hand, the commission of any of such acts in response to aggression does not necessarily violate universal ethics. There are obvious reasons why universal ethics are beneficial to society. For example, if people were allowed to kill or steal, this would lead to widespread chaos and violence, and would be detrimental to the well-being of society. Most people agree that it’s better to prohibit aggression than to allow everyone to commit it. Therefore, aggression is intrinsically immoral. Although nearly all societies have laws prohibiting aggression, this does not mean that universal ethics are necessarily reflected by that society’s government or its dominant ideology. In ethics, a ‘universal code of ethics’ is a system of ethics that can apply to every sentient being.” Ref
Anarcho-Humanism, to me, is atheistic humanism with an unconditional social awareness:
Anarcho (anarchism): “No Gods – No Masters”
Humanism: “No Harm – Do Good”
My core definition of humanism is that humans can solve human problems by human means. I am not saying other things can’t or shouldn’t be added to it but to me a definition of humanism must always contain something coherent to such a thinking or not contradict such as I have offered. Thus, why it is appropriate to say “good without god” when one is a humanist.
Believe in Good, Humanist Morality?
If one states they are a humanist and they believe in good, are they for or against a form of axiology or formal axiology? Axiology is the philosophical study of goodness, or value, in the widest sense of these terms. It may be used as the collective term for ethics and aesthetics—philosophical fields that depend crucially on notions of value—or the foundation for these fields, and thus similar to value theory and meta-ethics. The word “axiology” (Greek: axios = good, worth, or value; logos = “science”) means “study of good”, “study of worth ” or “study of value.” The axiologists sought to characterize the notion of value in general, of which moral value is only one species. They argue (with notable differences between them), that goodness does not exclusively derive from the will, but exists in objective hierarchies. Formal axiology, the attempt to lay out principles regarding value with mathematical rigor, is exemplified by Robert S. Hartman’s Science of Value. The fundamental principle of Hartman’s Science of Value, functions as an axiom, and can be stated in symbolic logic, is that a thing is good insofar as it exemplifies its concept. To put it another way, “a thing is good if it has all its descriptive properties.” This means, according to Hartman, that the good thing has a name, that the name has a meaning defined by a set of properties, and that the thing possesses all of the properties in the set. A thing is bad if it does not fulfill its description. If it doesn’t fulfill its definition it is terrible (awful, miserable.) A car, by definition, has brakes. A car which accelerates when the brakes are applied is an awful car, since a car by definition must have brakes. A horse, if we called it a car, would be an even worse car, with fewer of the properties of a car. The name we put on things is very important: it sets the norm for how we judge them. If one states they are a humanist, are they for or against a form of universal or realism morality? The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations can be seen as an example of global efforts to bring a universalist, equal and common moral justice to all people, and Moral Universalism is, at least in part, the basis for modern human rights, and an integral part of any Humanist philosophy. Human rights which are commonly considered a “deontological” concept, sometimes described as “duty-” or “obligation-” or “rule-” based ethics, because rules “bind you to your duty.” Which T. M. Scanlon advances the idea that human rights, can only be justified with reference to the consequences of having those rights. Secular morality is the aspect of philosophy that deals with morality outside of religious traditions. Modern examples include humanism, freethinking, and most versions of consequentialism. Consequentialism is the class of normative ethical theories holding that the consequences of one’s conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness or wrongness of that conduct. Thus, from a consequentialist standpoint, a morally right act (or omission from acting) is one that will produce a good outcome, or consequence. Consequentialist theories differ in how they define moral goods. Some argue that consequentialist theories are not necessarily mutually exclusive. For example, Robert Nozick argues for a theory that is mostly consequentialist, but incorporates inviolable “side-constraints” which restrict the sort of actions agents are permitted to do. Consequentialists can and do differ widely in terms of specifying the Good. Some consequentialists are monists about the Good. Utilitarians, for example, identify the Good with pleasure, happiness, desire satisfaction, or “welfare” in some other sense. Other consequentialists are pluralists regarding the Good. Some of such pluralists believe that how the Good is distributed among persons (or all sentient beings) is itself partly constitutive of the Good, whereas conventional utilitarians merely add or average each person’s share of the Good to achieve the Good’s maximization. Moreover, there are some consequentialists who hold that the doing or refraining from doing, of certain kinds of acts are themselves intrinsically valuable states of affairs constitutive of the Good. An example of this is the positing of rights not being violated, or duties being kept, as part of the Good to be maximized—the so-called “utilitarianism of rights”. None of these pluralist positions erase the difference between consequentialism and deontology. For the essence of consequentialism is still present in such positions: an action would be right only insofar as it maximizes these Good-making states of affairs being caused to exist. However much consequentialists differ about what the Good consists in, they all agree that the morally right choices are those that increase (either directly or indirectly) the Good. Moreover, consequentialists generally agree that the Good is “agent-neutral”. That is, valuable states of affairs are states of affairs that all agents have reason to achieve without regard to whether such states of affairs are achieved through the exercise of one’s own agency or not. “Consequentialism”, as described by Peter Singer, “start not with moral rules, but with goals. They assess actions by the extent to which they further those goals.” Consequentialism contains in itself no explanation for why pleasure or utility are morally good, or why consequences should matter to morality at all. Nor does consequentialism/deontology make any claims about how we know moral facts (if there are any). That is a meta-ethical question, so the question ‘how do we know that it is wrong to kill?’ is not a normative but a meta-ethical question. Some consequentialists and deontologists are also moral realists. Some are not. Moral Realism a similar position to universal morality, that certain acts are objectively right or wrong, independent of human opinion. that there exist such things as moral facts and moral values, and that these are objective and independent of our perception of them or our beliefs, feelings or other attitudes towards them. Therefore, moral judgments describe moral facts, which are as certain in their own way as mathematical facts. It is a cognitivist view in that it holds that ethical sentences express valid propositions (and are therefore “truth-apt” i.e. they are able to be true or false), and that they describe the state of the real world. Moral Realism has the advantage of purportedly allowing the ordinary rules of logic to be applied straightforwardly to moral statements, (so that we can say, for example, that a moral belief is false or unjustified or contradictory in the same way we would about a factual belief). It also allows for the resolution of moral disagreements, because if two moral beliefs contradict one another, Moral Realism (unlike some other meta-ethical systems) says that they cannot both be right and so there should be some way of resolving the situation. Two main variants of moral realism are: Ethical Naturalism and Ethical Non-Naturalism.
Ethical Naturalism: holds that there are objective moral properties of which we have empirical knowledge, but that these properties are reducible to entirely non-ethical properties. It assumes cognitivism (the view that ethical sentences express propositions and can therefore be true or false), and that the meanings of these ethical sentences can be expressed as natural properties without the use of ethical terms.
Ethical Non-Naturalism: holds that ethical statements express propositions (in that sense it is also cognitivist) that cannot be reduced to non-ethical statements (e.g. “goodness” is indefinable in that it cannot be defined in any other terms). G. E. Moore claimed that a naturalistic fallacy is committed by any attempt to prove a claim about ethics by appealing to a definition in terms of one or more natural properties (e.g. “good” cannot be defined in terms of “pleasant”, “more evolved”, “desired”, etc). Ethical Intuitionism is a variant of Ethical Non-Naturalism which claims that we sometimes have intuitive awareness of moral properties or of moral truths.
Critics have argued that, while Moral Realism may be able to explain how to resolve moral conflicts, it cannot explain how these conflicts arose in the first place. Others have argued Moral Realism posits a kind of “moral fact” which is non-material and unobservable (in the way as objective material facts are observable), and therefore not accessible to the scientific method. Some philosophers who only believe in the physical world and don’t believe in anything immaterial say that they are also moral realists, but when they describes the type of morality that they believe in, often what they are talking about is the moral beliefs that people have acquired through evolution, which is called evolutionary moral realism. This includes the human instinct to care for the well being of others in one’s own group and the instinct to hold others accountable for transgressions against members of the group. A physicalist/materialist understanding of morality is therefore purely descriptive of human nature within a deterministic system. The physicalist/materialist conception of morality differs from normative moral realism, in which one believes that things ought be a certain way or that people should act in a certain way because such states of affairs or actions would be better, not purely as a function of anything physical such as the instincts people have evolved to have, but at least partially for reasons that ultimately transcend the physical world. For example, if someone believes that oppressing others is always wrong even though humans have an instinctual predisposition to favor their own group over others, and this person does not otherwise explain how this belief is descriptive of something in the physical world, then this implies that this person believes in normative morality. A similar concept to normative ethics is prescriptive ethics, which are those that are supposed to logically commit someone to act a certain way. For example, the normative statement “Murder is wrong” can be restated as “Do not murder”, which is prescriptive. This is similar to how doctors can prescribe medications for one to use. Essentially, prescriptive moral statements are prescribed to people in order for them to act morally. Normative statements simply state the relation a certain state of affairs has to rightness or wrongness without telling anyone how to act. The distinction between descriptive and normative/prescriptive morality is important to understand. One study found that 56% of professional philosophers accept or lean towards moral realism and 28%: anti-realism. Cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker has argued that the game theoretic advantages of ethical behavior support the idea that morality is “out there” in a certain sense (as part of the evolutionary fitness landscape). Journalist Robert Wright has similarly argued that natural selection moves sentient species closer to moral truth as time goes on. Writer Sam Harris has also argued that ethics could be objectively grounded in an understanding of neuroscience. He has admitted to being committed to some form of moral realism (viz. moral claims can really be true or false) and some form of consequentialism (viz. the rightness of an act depends on how it affects the well-being of conscious creatures). Being a moral anti-realist is compatible with having, and following, a moral theory: you just think you have reasons to be moral which are not based on mind-independent facts. For example, you might think convention gives you reason to be moral, where conventionalism is traditionally described as a form of non-realism. see: link A delineation of moral realism into a minimal form, a moderate form, and robust form has been put forward in the literature. The robust model of moral realism commits moral realists to three theses:
The semantic thesis: The primary semantic role of moral predicates (such as “right” and “wrong”) is to refer to moral properties (such as rightness and wrongness), so that moral statements (such as “honesty is good” and “slavery is unjust”) purport to represent moral facts, and express propositions that are true or false (or approximately true, largely false, and so on).
The alethic thesis: Some moral propositions are in fact true.
The metaphysical thesis: Moral propositions are true when actions and other objects of moral assessment have the relevant moral properties (so that the relevant moral facts obtain), where these facts and properties are robust: their metaphysical status, whatever it is, is not relevantly different from that of (certain types of) ordinary non-moral facts and properties.
The minimal model, i.e. moral universalism, leaves off the metaphysical thesis, treating it as matter of contention among moral realists (as opposed to between moral realists and moral anti-realists). This dispute is not insignificant, as acceptance or rejection of the metaphysical thesis is taken by those employing the robust model as the key difference between moral realism and moral anti-realism. Moral universalism (also called moral objectivism or universal morality) is the meta-ethical position that some system of ethics, or a universal ethic, applies universally, that is, for “all similarly situated individuals”, regardless of culture, race, sex, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, or any other distinguishing feature. Not all forms of moral universalism are absolutist, nor are they necessarily value monist; many forms of universalism, such as utilitarianism, are non-absolutist, and some forms may be value pluralist. A moral theory must be able to solve and thus to be on solid philosophical grounds:
The ontological problem: an adequate theory must account for ethics without assuming the existence of anything that does not actually exist.
The epistemological problem: if we have knowledge of right and wrong, an adequate theory must explain how we acquire such knowledge.
The experience problem: An adequate theory about ethics must account for the phenomenology of moral experience.
The supervenience problem: An adequate theory must be consistent with the supervenient character of evaluative concepts.
The motivation problem: an adequate theory must account for the internal connection between moral belief and motivation (or if there is no such connection, it must offer an alternative account of how morality guides action).
The reason problem: An adequate theory must account for the place of reason in ethics.
The disagreement problem: An adequate theory must explain the nature of ethical disagreement.
I am a Realist in Many ways,
I have a positive epistemic attitude (belief) towards or in philosophical realism that there is a real external world and that is can be know or substantially approximated by humans objectively.
I have a positive epistemic attitude towards or in scientific realism that the content of the best scientific theories, models, and aspects of the world described by the sciences can be know or substantially approximated by humans objectively.
I have a positive epistemic attitude towards or in logical realism such as that logic is the means of discovering the structure of facts and its projection in the language such as the Law of Non-Contradiction or logical fallacies which represent logical truths pertaining to aspects of the world and can be know or substantially approximated by humans objectively.
I have a positive epistemic attitude towards or in mathematical realism such as that 2 + 2 equals 4 even if there are no intelligences or minds. Because math is in a sense a method of communication or description of and or about aspects of the world quantifying what can be know or substantially approximated by humans objectively.
I have a positive epistemic attitude towards or in value realism roughly speaking “axiological realism,” is that value claims (such as, nurturing a baby is good and abusing a baby is bad) can be literally true or false; that some such claims are indeed true; that their truth can be know or substantially approximated by humans objectively.
I have a positive epistemic attitude towards or in epistemological realism roughly speaking, is that what you know about an object exists independently of your mind. Relating directly to the correspondence theory of truth, which claims that the world exists independently and innately to our perceptions of it. Our sensory data then reflect or correspond to the innate world and that such truths can be know or substantially approximated by humans objectively.
I have a positive epistemic attitude towards or in moral realism roughly speaking, is that some moral claims do purport to report facts and are true if they get the facts right. Moreover, wile not all at least some moral claims actually are true or have connection to additional commitments which the truth can be reached, and those facts in some specified way can be know or substantially approximated by humans objectively.
(Rachels, James. Ethical Theory) a moral theory must be able to solve:
The ontological problem: an adequate theory must account for ethics without assuming the existence of anything that does not actually exist.
The epistemological problem: if we have knowledge of right and wrong, an adequate theory must explain how we acquire such knowledge.
The experience problem: An adequate theory about ethics must account for the phenomenology of moral experience.
The supervenience problem: An adequate theory must be consistent with the supervenient character of evaluative concepts.
The motivation problem: an adequate theory must account for the internal connection between moral belief and motivation (or if there is no such connection, it must offer an alternative account of how morality guides action).
The reason problem: An adequate theory must account for the place of reason in ethics.
The disagreement problem: An adequate theory must explain the nature of ethical disagreement.
Sociological and Psychological Ontology of Morality in Relation to the Objective and Subjective Correspondence to Reality.
To me morality (relatively involves moral actors, moral reasoning, moral capital, moral concerns and moral compulsions) is a thinking in relation of behavior to or with “other” and is involved in a cognitive aware (psychological development of, pertaining to, or affecting the mind, especially as a function of awareness, feeling, or motivation) interaction (most commonly social interaction) by humans and thus is both a subjective aspect in the world as it is only positioned to cognitive aware interaction of humans and objective to impacts on the moral actors, moral reasoning, moral capital, moral concerns and moral compulsions choices positioned to cognitive aware interactions of humans.
Nonhuman animals are not doing or held accountable for this thing/things we label morality, though this does not remove all moral capital they hold or moral weight in our relations to them, because what happens to nonhuman animals can be attach to moral relevant interactions with them or some indirect secondary connections to other factors (i.e. someone’s pet). I feel that morality and the moral relevant choices only relates to occurrences linked to thinking in relation of behavior involved in relation to or with “other” in cognitive aware interaction of humans.
I thus feel with no interaction relation to or with “other” then there is no such thing as morality occurring. In a sense to me when nothing of interaction is happening to an external “other” even if, the internal self in question is a cognitive aware human. Such as, if one is by them self and only do things to themselves there is no morality involved. I feel morality in a sense cannot happen to you by you, it is your interacting with others, other things, or their relation to “other” but to me this is likely an unavoidable reality that corresponds to morality.
Axiology, Realism, and the Problem of Evil (THOMAS L. CARSON)
Although moral realism is the subject of lively debate in contemporary philosophy, it would seem almost all standard discussions of the problem of evil presuppose the truth of moral realism. So, if nonrealism is true, then it would seem we need to rethink and/or re-frame the entire discussion about the problem of evil.
If evolutionary critics of morality seek to critique by revealing the unreliability of evolutionary origins by showing that they have generated moral beliefs we know to be false. Indeed, this sort of critique would be self-defeating, for if we were able to sort true moral beliefs from false ones, then we could rely on that knowledge to correct for any epistemically harmful effect, especially in a gradual or subtle way evolutionary influence on the formation of our moral beliefs.
Moral disagreement (Geoff Sayre-McCord)
The mere fact of disagreement does not raise a challenge for moral realism. Disagreement is to be found in virtually any area, even where no one doubts that the claims at stake purport to report facts and everyone grants that some claims are true.
But disagreements differ and many believe that the sort of disagreements one finds when it comes to morality are best explained by supposing one of two things: (i) that moral claims are not actually in the business of reporting facts, but are rather our way of expressing emotions, or of controlling others’ behavior, or, at least, of taking a stand for and against certain things or (ii) that moral claims are in the business of reporting facts, but the required facts just are not to be found.
Taking the first line, many note that people differ in their emotions, attitudes and interests and then argue that moral disagreements simply reflect the fact that the moral claims people embrace are (despite appearances) really devices for expressing or serving their different emotions, attitudes, and interests.
Taking the second line, others note that claims can genuinely purport to report facts and yet utterly fail (consider claims about phlogiston or astrological forces or some mythical figure that others believed existed) and then argue that moral disagreements take the form they do because the facts that would be required to give them some order and direction are not to be found.
On either view, the distinctive nature of moral disagreement is seen as well explained by the supposition that moral realism is false, either because cognitivism is false or because an error theory is true.
Interestingly, the two lines of argument are not really compatible. If one thinks that moral claims do not even purport to report facts, one cannot intelligibly hold that the facts such claims purport to report do not exist. Nonetheless, in important ways, the considerations each mobilizes might be used to support the other. For instance, someone defending an error theory might point to the ways in which moral claims are used to express or serve peoples’ emotions, attitudes, and interests, to explain why people keep arguing as they do despite there being no moral facts. And someone defending noncognitivism might point to the practical utility of talking as if there were moral facts to explain why moral claims seem to purport to report facts even though they do not.
Moreover, almost surely each of these views is getting at something that is importantly right about some people and their use of what appear to be moral claims. No one doubts that often peoples’ moral claims do express their emotions, attitudes, and do serve their interests and it is reasonable to suspect that at least some people have in mind as moral facts a kind of fact we have reason to think does not exist.
Moral realists are committed to holding, though, that to whatever extent moral claims might have other uses and might be made by people with indefensible accounts of moral facts, some moral claims, properly understood, are actually true. To counter the arguments that appeal to the nature of moral disagreement, moral realists need to show that the disagreements are actually compatible with their commitments.
An attractive first step is to note, as was done above, that mere disagreement is no indictment. Indeed, to see the differences among people as disagreements—rather than as mere differences—it seems as if one needs to hold that they are making claims that contradict one another and this seems to require that each side see the other as making a false claim. To the extent there is moral disagreement and not merely difference, moral realists argue, we need at least to reject noncognitivism (even as we acknowledge that the views people embrace might be heavily influenced by their emotions, attitudes, and interests). While this is plausible, noncognitivists can and have replied by distinguishing cognitive disagreement from other sorts of disagreement and arguing that moral disagreements are of a sort that does not require cognitivism. Realists cannot simply dismiss this possibility, though they can legitimately challenge noncognitivists to make good sense of how moral arguments and disagreements are carried on without surreptitiously appealing to the participants seeing their claims as purporting to report facts.
In any case, even if the nature of disagreements lends some plausibility to cognitivism, moral realists need also to respond to the error theorist’s contention that the arguments and disagreements all rest on some false supposition to the effect that there are actually facts of the sort there would have to be for some of the claims to be true. And, however moral realists respond, they need to avoid doing so in a way that then makes a mystery of the widespread moral disagreement (or at least difference) that all acknowledge.
Some moral realists argue that the disagreements, widespread as they are, do not go very deep—that to a significant degree moral disagreements play out against the background of shared fundamental principles with the differences of opinion regularly being traceable to disagreements about the nonmoral facts that matter in light of the moral principles. On their view, the explanation of moral disagreements will be of a piece with whatever turns out to be a good explanation of the various nonmoral disagreements people find themselves in.
Other moral realists, though, see the disagreements as sometimes fundamental. On their view, while moral disagreements might in some cases be traceable to disagreements about nonmoral matters of fact, this will not always be true. Still, they deny the anti-realist’s contention that the disagreements that remain are well explained by noncognitivism or by an error theory Instead, they regularly offer some other explanation of the disagreements. They point out, for example, that many of the disagreements can be traced to the distorting effects of the emotions, attitudes, and interests that are inevitably bound up with moral issues. Or they argue that what appear to be disagreements are really cases in which the people are talking past each other, each making claims that might well be true once the claims are properly understood (Harman 1975, Wong 1984). And they often combine these explanatory strategies holding that the full range of moral disagreements are well explained by some balanced appeal to all of the considerations just mentioned, treating some disagreements as not fundamentally moral, others as a reflection of the distorting effects of emotion and interest, and still others as being due to insufficiently subtle understandings of what people are actually claiming. If some combination of these explanations works, then the moral realist is on firm ground in holding that the existence of moral disagreements, such as they are, is not an argument against moral realism. Of course, if no such explanation works, then an appeal either to noncognitivism or an error theory (i.e. to some form of anti-realism) may be the best alternative.
Benefit of Seeing Morality as a Matter of Objective Facts
(Liane Young & A.J. Durwin) getting people to think about morality as a matter of objective facts rather than subjective preferences may lead to improved moral behavior, Boston College researchers report in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022103112002375
Reject Moral Realism?
(Geoff Sayre-McCord) those who reject moral realism are usefully divided into (i) those who think moral claims do not purport to report facts in light of which they are true or false (noncognitivists) and (ii) those who think that moral claims do carry this purport but deny that any moral claims are actually true (error theorists).
It is worth noting that, while moral realists are united in their cognitivism and in their rejection of error theories, they disagree among themselves not only about which moral claims are actually true but about what it is about the world that makes those claims true. Moral realism is not a particular substantive moral view nor does it carry a distinctive metaphysical commitment over and above the commitment that comes with thinking moral claims can be true or false and some are true. Still, much of the debate about moral realism revolves around either what it takes for claims to be true or false at all (with some arguing that moral claims do not have what it takes) or what it would take specifically for moral claims to be true (with some arguing that moral claims would require something the world does not provide).
The debate between moral realists and anti-realists assumes, though, that there is a shared object of inquiry—in this case, a range of claims all involved are willing to recognize as moral claims—about which two questions can be raised and answered: Do these claims purport to report facts in light of which they are true or false? Are some of them true? Moral realists answer ‘yes’ to both, non-cognitivists answer ‘no’ to the first (and, by default, ‘no’ to the second) while error theorists answer ‘yes’ to the first and ‘no’ to the second. (With the introduction of “minimalism” about truth and facts, things become a bit more complicated. See the section on semantics, below.) To note that some other, non-moral, claims do not (or do) purport to report facts or that none (or some) of them are true, is to change the subject. That said, it is strikingly hard to nail down with any accuracy just which claims count as moral and so are at issue in the debate. For the most part, those concerned with whether moral realism is true are forced to work back and forth between an intuitive grasp of which claims are at issue and an articulate but controversial account of what they have in common such that realism either is, or is not, defensible about them.
By all accounts, moral realism can fairly claim to have common sense and initial appearances on its side. That advantage, however, might easily outweighed, however; there are a number of powerful arguments for holding that it is a mistake to think of moral claims as true.
(Shin Kim) the cognitivist understanding of moral judgments is at the center of moral realism. For the cognitivist, moral judgments are mental states; moral judgments are of the same kind as ordinary beliefs, that is, cognitive states. But how are we to know this? One manageable way is to focus on what we intend to do when we make moral judgments, and also on how we express them. Moral judgments are intended to be accurate descriptions of the world, and statements express moral judgments (as opposed to command or prescription) just as statements express ordinary beliefs. That is, statements express moral language. The statements that express moral judgments are either true or false just as the statements that express ordinary beliefs are. Moral truths occur when our signs match the world.
Language allows us to communicate with one another, typically using sentences and utterances. A large part of language involves, among many other things, influencing others and us. Normative language, in contrast with descriptive language, includes moral language (that is, moral language is part of evaluative or normative language). It is even more important not to be swayed by moral language because moral reality grips us. It is bad that others try to deceive us, but it is worse that we deceive ourselves into accepting moral facts simply because of the language that we use. That is, moral language — if it is not to describe the world —must not be mistaken as descriptive. Moral language binds us in a certain manner, and the manner in which it binds us is important.
If it is noncognitivism that provides the antirealist a way of rejecting moral truth, moral knowledge, and moral objectivity, the denial of noncognitivism (that is, cognitivism) must be necessary for the realist to properly claim them. Cognitivism is the view that moral judgments are cognitive states just like ordinary beliefs. It is part of their function to describe the world accurately. The realist argument that stems from cognitivism — as we saw from the above argument— is oftentimes guided by the apparent difficulties that the noncognitivist analysis of moral judgments faces. For instance, there is the famous Frege-Geach problem, namely, the noncognitivist difficulty of rendering emotive, prescriptive or projective meaning for embedded moral judgments.
Geach (1965) uses the “the Frege point,” according to which “a proposition may occur in discourse now asserted, now unasserted, and yet be recognizably the same proposition,” to establish that no noncognitivist (“the anti-descriptive theorist”) analysis of moral sentences and utterances can be adequate.
Consider a simple moral sentence: “Setting a kitten on fire is wrong.” Suppose that the simple sentence means, “Boo to setting a kitten on fire!” The Frege point dictates that the antecedent of “if setting a kitten on fire is wrong, then getting one’s friends to help setting a kitten on fire is also wrong” must mean the same as the simple sentence. But this cannot be because the antecedent of the conditional makes no such assertions while the simple moral sentence does. In other words, the noncognitivist analysis of moral sentences cannot be given to the conditional sentences with the embedded simple moral sentence. The problem can be generally applied to cases of other compound sentences such as “It is wrong to set a kitten on fire, or it is not.” Even if the noncognitivist analysis of the simple sentence were correct, compound sentences within which a simple moral sentence is embedded should be given an analysis independently of the noncognitivist analysis of it.
This seems unacceptable to many. For the following argument is valid: “It is wrong to set a kitten on fire, or it is not; it is not ‘not wrong’; hence, it is wrong to set a kitten on fire.” If the argument is valid, then the conclusion must mean the same as one of the disjuncts of its first premise. The argument would be otherwise invalid because of an equivocation, and the noncognitivist seems to be forced to say that the argument is invalid.
The Frege-Geach problem demonstrates the noncognitivists’ requirement of adequately rendering emotive, prescriptive, expressive, or projective meaning of those moral sentences that are embedded within compound moral sentences. (For more on the Frege-Geach problem, see Non-Cognitivism in Ethics. See also Darwall, Gibbard, and Railton 1992: 151-52.)
What do Professional Philosophers Believe?
What are the philosophical views of 1,972 contemporary professional philosophers?
On God: atheism 72.8%; theism 14.6%; other 12.6%.
Meta-ethics: moral realism 56.4%; moral anti-realism 27.7%; other 15.9%.
Moral judgment: cognitivism 65.7%; non-cognitivism 17.0%; other 17.3%.
Moral motivation: internalism 34.9%; externalism 29.8%; other 35.3%
Science: scientific realism 75.1%; scientific anti-realism 11.6%; other 13.3%.
Truth: correspondence 50.8%; deflationary 24.8%; epistemic 6.9%; other 17.5%.
It should be acknowledged that this target group has a strong (although not exclusive) bias toward analytic or Anglocentric philosophy. As a consequence, the results of the survey are a much better guide to what analytic/Anglocentric philosophers (or at least philosophers in strong analytic/Anglocentric departments) believe than to what philosophers from other traditions believe. http://philpapers.org/archive/BOUWDP
Consider the Judgment (Shin Kim)
“Suffering from lack of food is bad.” The judgment is usually expressed with the statement “suffering from lack of food is bad.”
Call it a “B-statement.” Sometimes, we find it necessary to express it with “it is true that suffering from lack of food is bad.” Call it a “T-statement.” (To complete it, there are “F-statements” like “it is false that suffering from lack of food is bad.”) We use T-statements to emphasize partiality toward “being true to the world.” However, regardless of what motivates us to use T-statements, the explicit ascription of truth in T-statements commands our attention. Does the T-statement add anything extra to the B-statement? If so, what is it that the T-statement says over and above the B-statement?
There are two broad ways to answer the question: deflationism and various forms of substantial theory (or what we called above “inflationist theory”). Substantial theorists deny that the B-statement and the T-statement are exactly the same while the deflationist maintains that the difference is merely stylistic. If the deflationist has her way, then it is obvious that antirealists could have truth in moral judgments. (David Brink argues against the coherentist theory of truth with respect to moral constructivism. See Brink 1989, 106-7 and 114; see Tenenbaum, 1996, for the deflationist approach.) Antirealist moral truths would seem irrelevant in marking the realist territory. If some form of substantial theory is true, then the T-statement adds something to what the B-statements say. Here are two alternatives.
Letting a coherence theory of truth stand in for the range of “modified theories” (namely, the inflationist theories of truth that are different from the correspondence theory of truth), and the “B-proposition” for what the B-statement describes about the world, the T-statement adds that:
(1) The B-proposition corresponds to an actual state of affairs.
(2) The B-proposition belongs to a maximally coherent system of belief.
It is worth noting also that even the non-descriptivist may say that the T-statement adds to the B-statement, insofar as the B-statement expresses something other than the B-proposition. The non-descriptivist has two alternatives as well.
The T-statement adds that (letting a coherence theory of truth stand in for the range of “modified theories,” and the “B-feeling-proposition” stand in for the range of non-descriptivism, for example, the speaker dislikes suffering from lack of food):
(3) The B-feeling-proposition corresponds to an actual state of affairs.
(4) The B-feeling-proposition belongs to a maximally coherent system of belief. We may say that the T-statement specifies truth conditions for the B-proposition or for the B-feeling-proposition. It could be objected that the non-descriptivist must deny that there are truth-conditions for moral language. Nonetheless, she need not object to moral language describing something about the world figuratively.
If option (1) were true, then there would have to be an actual state of affairs that makes the B-statement true. That is, there must be a truth-maker for the statement, “suffering from lack of food is bad,” and the truth-maker is the fact that suffering from lack of food is bad. But no other alternatives require the existence of the fact for them to be true.
If one ignores deflationism, truth in moral judgments gives rise to exactly four alternative theories of truth. Realists cannot embrace options (3) and (4) because, as we saw, non-descriptivism is sufficient for moral antirealism. The remaining option (2), although it is a viable option for the realist, falls short of guaranteeing that there are moral facts. In other words, moral realists must find other ways to establish the existence of moral facts, even if option (2) allows a way of maintaining moral truths for the realists. Modified theories, for example, the coherence theory of truth are simply silent about whether there are B-facts. That is, option (2) could be maintained even if there were no B-facts such as suffering from lack of food is bad. Thus, the most direct option for realists in marking her territory from the above list of alternatives is (1). It appears then that the correspondence truth in moral judgments properly marks the realist territory. This is captured in C2:
(C2) S is a moral realist if and only if S is a descriptivist; S believes that moral judgments express truth, and S believes that the moral judgments are true when they correspond to the world.
Is C2 true? No, it is not. For the antirealist may choose to deny that moral judgments literally describe the world.
Axiology (value science) & Neuroscience (brain science)
(Demarest, Peter D.; Schoof, Harvey J. ) Axiogenics™ is, “the mind-brain science of value generation.” It is a practical life-science based on applied neuro-axiology1 — the integration of neuroscience (brain science) and axiology (value science). Neuroscience is the study of the biochemical mechanics of how the brain works. We are, of course, primarily interested in the human brain, which, owing to our genetics, is one of the most complex and magnificent creations in the known universe. Axiology is the study of how Value, values and value judgments affect the subjective choices and motivations of the mind—both conscious and sub-conscious. Formal axiology is the mathematical study of value—the nature and measurement of value and people’s perception of value. Both axiology and neuroscience have existed separately for years.
In many ways, the two sciences have approached the same question (What makes people tick?) from opposite directions. Neuroscience, a relatively young science, seeks to understand brain function and explain human behavior from a neuro-biological perspective. In contrast, for 2500 years, axiologists have sought to understand and explain human behavior and motivation from the perspective of the moral, ethical, and value-based judgments of the mind. Many human sciences, including neuroscience and axiology, have come to the realization that the mind-brain is value-driven. That is, Value, values, and value judgments drive many, if not most or even all, of the processes of both the brain and the mind, including our sub-conscious habits of mind.
Think about it—have you ever made a conscious choice that wasn’t, at that moment, an attempt to add greater value at some level? Unfortunately, to our knowledge, the neuroscientists and axiologists have not been comparing notes. Consequently, until now, the amazing value-based connection between the mind and brain has been overlooked. This book makes that connection and more. Axiogenics is not some rehashed mystical, moral, or religious philosophy, nor is it a newfangled twist on the rhetoric of so-called “success gurus.” It is a fresh, new paradigm for personal, leadership and organizational development. It is a science-driven technology for deliberately creating positive changes in how we think, how we perceive, the kinds of choices we make, and the actions we take.
Life is about adding value. Whether you realize it yet or not, your entire life is about one thing: creating value. Virtually every thought, action, choice, and reaction you have is an attempt to create or preserve value. Success in life, love and leadership requires making good value judgments. Real personal power is in knowing which choices and actions will create the greatest net value.
Axiogenics is based on four core principles. They are:
1. Value drives success in all endeavors.
2. Your mind-brain is already value-driven.
3. There is an objective, universal Hierarchy of Value.
4. Accurately answering The Central Question is the key to maximizing your success.
Demarest, Peter D.; Schoof, Harvey J. (2011-06-24). Answering The Central Question (Kindle Locations 130-136). Heartlead Publishing, LLC. Kindle Edition.
Moral Reasoning & Crime (Carey Goldberg)
People who commit crimes are dumb, but what happens is, in the moment, that information about costs and consequences can’t get into their decision-making.
Research shows that brain biology governs not just our choices but also our moral judgments about what is right and wrong.
Using new technology, brain researchers are beginning to tease apart the biology that underlies our decisions to behave badly or do good deeds. They’re even experimenting with ways to alter our judgments of what is right and wrong, and our deep gut feelings of moral conviction.
One thing is certain: We may think in simple terms of “good” and “evil,” but that’s not how it looks in the brain at all.
In past years, as neuroscientists and psychologists began to delve into morality, “Many of us were after a moral center of the brain, or a particular system or circuit that was responsible for all of morality,” says assistant professor Liane Young, who runs The Morality Lab at Boston College. But “it turns out that morality can’t be located in any one area, or even set of areas — that it’s all over, that it colors all aspects of our life, and that’s why it takes up so much space in the brain.”
So there’s no “root of all evil.” Rather, says Buckholtz, “When we do brain studies of moral decision-making, what we are led into is an understanding that there are many different paths to antisocial behavior.”
If we wanted to build antisocial offenders, he says, brain science knows some of the recipe: They’d be hyper-responsive to rewards like drugs, sex and status — and the more immediate, the better. “Another thing we would build in is an inability to maintain representations of consequences and costs,” he says. “We would certainly short-circuit their empathic response to other people. We would absolutely limit their ability to regulate their emotions, particularly negative emotions like anger and fear.”
If it’s all just biology at work, are we still to blame if we commit a crime? And the correlate: Can we still take credit when we do good?
Daniel Dennett a professor of philosophy at Tufts University who incorporates neuroscience into his thinking and is a seasoned veteran of the debates around free will. He says it’s not news that our morality is based in our brains, and he doesn’t have much patience for excuses like, “My brain made me do it.”
“Of course my brain made me do it!” he says. “What would you want, your stomach to make you do it!?”
The age-old debate around free willis still raging on in philosophical circles, with new brain science in the mix. But Dennett argues that science doesn’t change the basic facts:
“If you do something on purpose and you know what you’re doing, and you did it for reasons good, bad or indifferent, then your brain made you do it,” he says. “Of course. And it doesn’t follow that you were not the author of that deed. Why? Because you are your embodied brain.”
Antisocial Personality; Not a Lack of Intelligence
Sociopaths and psychopaths, or the catch all clinical diagnosis of Antisocial personality disorder, fall under the above description, except intelligence is often high. Consequences do not seem to detour them, so definitely something not right in the mind/brain, however, this is not lack of intelligence.
Here are some books relating to this: The gift of fear, by Gavin Debecker. Without conscience, by Robert hare, Men who hate women and the Woman who love them, and the Sociopath Next Door.
Too quick to condemn?
However, But don’t be too quick to condemn all Sociopaths and psychopaths, or those with the clinical diagnosis of Antisocial personality disorder, because just having Mental Health Issues does not mean you cannot be moral. A scientist who studies psychopaths found out he was one by accident — and it completely changed his life.
Around 2005, Fallon started to notice a pattern in the scans of some of the criminals who were thought to be psychopaths, which led him to develop a theory: All of them appeared to have low levels of activity in a region of the brain located towards its center at the base of the frontal and temporal lobes. Scientists believe this region, called the orbital cortex, is involved in regulating our emotions and impulses and also plays a role in morality and aggression.
One day, Fallon’s technician brought him a stack of brain scans from an unrelated Alzheimer’s study. As he was going through the scans of healthy participants, they all looked normal — no surprises. But then he got to the last one.
It looked just like those of the murderers.
The identity of the brains in the scans had deliberately been masked so as not to bias theresults. But Fallon couldn’t leave it alone. “I said, we’ve got to check the [source] of that scan,” Fallon recalled recently to Business Insider. “It’s probably a psychopath… someone who could be a danger to society.” Turns out, the image wasn’t a scan of just any random participant — it was a scan of his own brain. http://www.businessinsider.com/psychopath-who-studies-psychopaths-2015-7 Here’s What It’s Like To Live As A Nonviolent Psychopath
Axiological Realism (Joel J. Kupperman)
Many would consider the lengthening debate between moral realists and anti-realists to be draw-ish. Plainly new approaches are needed. Or might the issue, which most broadly concerns realism in relation to normative judgments, be broken down into parts or sectors? Physicists have been saying, in relation to a similarly longstanding debate, that light in some respects behaves like waves and in some respects like particles. Might realism be more plausible in relation to some kinds of normative judgments than others?
Babies and Morality?
Are we born with a moral core? The Baby Lab says ‘yes’ Moreover, Studies have shown babies are good judges of character in fact, Even Babies Think Crime Deserves Punishment thins should make you consider The Case for Objective Morality.
Animals and Morality?
5 Animals With a Moral Compass Moreover, Animals can tell right from wrong: Scientists studying animal behaviour believe they have growing evidence that species ranging from mice to primates are governed by moral codes of conduct in the same way as humans. Likewise, in the book: Wild Justice: The Moral Lives of Animals: Scientists have long counseled against interpreting animal behavior in terms of human emotions, warning that such anthropomorphizing limits our ability to understand animals as they really are. Yet what are we to make of a female gorilla in a German zoo who spent days mourning the death of her baby? Or a wild female elephant who cared for a younger one after she was injured by a rambunctious teenage male? Or a rat who refused to push a lever for food when he saw that doing so caused another rat to be shocked? Aren’t these clear signs that animals have recognizable emotions and moral intelligence? With Wild Justice Marc Bekoff and Jessica Pierce unequivocally answer yes. Marrying years of behavioral and cognitive research with compelling and moving anecdotes, Bekoff and Pierce reveal that animals exhibit a broad repertoire of moral behaviors, including fairness, empathy, trust, and reciprocity. Underlying these behaviors is a complex and nuanced range of emotions, backed by a high degree of intelligence and surprising behavioral flexibility. Animals, in short, are incredibly adept social beings, relying on rules of conduct to navigate intricate social networks that are essential to their survival. Ultimately, Bekoff and Pierce draw the astonishing conclusion that there is no moral gap between humans and other species: morality is an evolved trait that we unquestionably share with other social mammals.
Moral Naturalism (James Lenman)
While “moral naturalism” is sometimes used to refer to any approach to metaethics intended to cohere with naturalism in metaphysics more generally, the label is more usually reserved for naturalistic forms of moral realism according to which there are objective moral facts and properties and these moral facts and properties are natural facts and properties. Views of this kind appeal to many as combining the advantages of naturalism and realism.
Realism, Naturalism, and Moral Semantics (David O. Brink)
he prospects for moral realism and ethical naturalism have been important parts of recent debates within metaethics. As a first approximation, moral realism is the claim that there are facts or truths about moral matters that are objective in the sense that they obtain independently of the moral beliefs or attitudes of appraisers. Ethical naturalism is the claim that moral properties of people, actions, and institutions are natural, rather than occult or supernatural, features of the world. Though these metaethical debates remain unsettled, several people, myself included, have tried to defend the plausibility of both moral realism and ethical naturalism. I, among others, have appealed to recent work in the philosophy of language—in particular, to so-called theories of “direct reference” —to defend ethical naturalism against a variety of semantic worries, including G. E. Moore’s “open question argument.” In response to these arguments, critics have expressed doubts about the compatibility of moral realism and direct reference. In this essay, I explain these doubts, and then sketch the beginnings of an answer—but understanding both the doubts and my answer requires some intellectual background.
Formal Axiology: Efficiency of good?
“I thought to myself, if evil can be organized so efficiently [by the Nazis] why cannot good? Is there any reason for efficiency to be monopolized by the forces for evil in the world? Why have good people in history never seemed to have had as much power as bad people? I decided I would try to find out why and devote my life to doing something about it.” – Robert S. Hartman
Formal Axiology is a specific branch of the science of Axiology. The late Dr. Robert S. Hartman developed this science between 1930 and 1973. It is a unique social science because it is the only social science that has a one to one relationship between a field of mathematics (transfinite set calculus) and its dimensions.
More About Formal Axiology http://www.cleardirection.com/docs/formalaxiology.asp
More About Dr. Robert S. Hartman http://www.cleardirection.com/docs/articles/drhartman.asp
The Dimensions of Value
Dr. Hartman identified three dimensions of reality, which he called the Dimensions of Value. We value everything in one of these three ways or in a combination of these dimensions. The Dimensions of Value are Systemic, Extrinsic, and Intrinsic.
More About The Dimensions of Value
Formal Axiology – Another Victim in Religion’s War on Science (William J. Kelleher)
This essay will review a book entitled
The Essentials of Formal Axiology, by Rem B. Edwards.
Formal Axiology is R.S. Hartman’s foundation for the development of value science. In order to properly discuss Rem’s book we will first summarize Hartman’s understanding of Formal Axiology and his hopes for a science of values. What are “values”? “Values” are the ideas and feelings of people about such matters as likes/dislikes, right/wrong, good/bad, beautiful/ugly, and other preferences. Clearly, it is a fact that people have values. But a science which can raise our knowledge of values above that of ideas, feelings, and opinion has yet to be developed. Robert S. Hartman was a philosopher of science who believed he had found a way to place the study of values on a footing that is every bit as precise and above mere opinion as are physics, chemistry, and the other natural sciences. Indeed, he presented his “Formal Axiology” as the foundation upon which a “Second Scientific Revolution” would be launched.
This foundation consists primarily of three parts. These are his Value Axiom, the three dimensions of value, and his Value Calculus. While it may seem difficult to understand at first, due to its unfamiliarity, upon sufficient reflection, the reader will come to see that Hartman’s system truly can make researching and analyzing values as precise and illuminating of value reality as any natural science is about its subject matter. Just as the chemical formula for “water” is H
O, so Formal Axiology has the capacity to make the structure of values and of valuing equally as precise. Let us consider the three elements of Formal Axiology before turning to Rem’s treatment of the subject.
The Three Elements of Formal Axiology
The first part of Formal Axiology is the Value Axiom, or the definition of “good. ”Hartman defines “good” as conceptual fulfillment. That is, a thing is a good such thing if it fulfills the definition of its concept, or classification. For example, suppose we define a “chair” as an object with a back, a seat, and four legs. Then we look around the room and find just such an object. By matching the thing with our conception of it, we know at once that it is a chair. Beyond the initial identification of the object, we can also formulate a judgment as to how good of a chair the thing is. We can add to our specifications for the goodness of a chair by requiring that it has padding, or can rock, or can be folded and stored away. One chair can be compared to others. Then, using our conception of a good chair, we can make assessment about which chairs are “better,” or “worse,” or “average,” and “best,” etc.
We can assign a numbered scale to the predicates in our definition, and measure exactly how much better or worse one chair is compared to another. Suppose we say that on a scale from 1 to 10, a three foot high seat is worth 5 points. A tilted back is worth 6 points, while a straight back is only worth 2, etc. To illustrate, suppose that newly weds, Mary and John, go shopping at a furniture store, using the criteria we have discussed. They compare several sets of chairs, adding up the points for each set. Then Mary spots a set of chairs that not only measure up, but that she just loves, and must have. As to the second element of Formal Axiology, this Mary and John scenario illustrates what Hartman calls the three dimensions of value. These are the extrinsic, systemic, and intrinsic.
In the extrinsic dimension, object and conception are matched together. As we have seen, this process can result in measurable degrees of goodness.
In the systemic dimension of value, only identity is considered. An object is a “chair” or it isn’t. Beds and tables weren’t on John and Mary’s shopping list today. The systemic entails the process of classification, or taxonomy. Identifying a thing is the first step taken before the more elaborate measurement of degrees can be undertaken.
The intrinsic dimension of values is in the realm of feeling rather than in the more rational realm of measuring degrees or of making either/or judgments. Mary’s love of the set of chairs she and John bought can’t be quantified or even fully explained. The chairs just fit her aesthetic sensibility, and the vision of how she wanted to decorate her living room. They also remind her of her happy childhood, and her holiday visits to Aunt Jane’s house. The third element of Formal Axiology is the more formal part, the Value Calculus. Here is the computational aspect that makes precise value sciences possible. Hartman developed a system of notation using the letters S (systemic),E (extrinsic), and I (intrinsic) to represent the three dimensions of value as categories, and using the same letters as ways of notating how the object in the categories is being valued. To illustrate this computational system, let us continue to follow John and Mary as they shop. When Mary was shopping she first scanned the store’s inventory to identify which objects are chairs or not. Since chairs are things, they are in the extrinsic value category. Her classifying of things as chairs or non-chairs is a systemic valuation of them. In the Value Calculus, this would be notated as E S. This is read as “E power S,” or the systemic valuation of an extrinsic value.
Mary’s love of the chairs she and John bought can be notated as E I; or, E power I. That is, the intrinsic valuation of an extrinsic value. Most of the chairs she saw, she felt indifferent to; hence, there was no valuation beyond the quick systemic valuations she made to identify the objects as chairs or not. Some of the chairs were so ugly, in her estimation, that she just hated them. This valuation would be notated as E I; or, E sub I – the intrinsic disvaluation of an extrinsic value.
Value Calculus Realism
Hartman’s Value Calculus takes a realistic, or fact-based, view of the world. People have and act upon values. Value scientists will seek to understand what those values are, and to analyze their structure. That empirical orientation is why the Value Calculus can serve as the formal side of the yet to be developed value sciences. To illustrate this realism, suppose that after church on Sunday Mary comments to her friend, Jane, that there are three things she loves most in the world. These are God, her new husband John, and her old dog Fido (no kids yet).How would a value scientist notate these value situations, or instances of valuing? Since the science of value has an empirical orientation, God is seen as a conception in Mary’s mind; hence, notated as S. Since she loves God, the valuation is intrinsic, or I. The Value Calculus formula for this is S I – read as S power I; or, as the intrinsic valuation of a systemic value. As to Mary’s valuation of John, the Value Calculus has a special rule: persons, and only persons, are always notated as I in the initial position of the Value Calculus formula. So her love of John is notated as I I – I power I; or, the intrinsic valuation of an intrinsic value. Since Fido is a non-human organism, or a thing in the world, his initial value category is E, an extrinsic value. Hence, E I – read as E power I; or, as the intrinsic valuation of an extrinsic value. Comparing value structures and trying to account for the similarities and differences will one day be a regular part of practicing value science. Instances of valuing can be far more complex than this illustration of Mary’s feelings. So, the Value Calculus uses “nesting” to notate further permutations of value. For example, notice that the formula for Mary’s love of Fido has the same value structure as her love of her new chairs: E I.
But suppose Mary protests that she loves Fido even more than her chairs because he is a living thing, and the chairs are inanimate objects. So Mary’s love of Fido as a living organism requires a different value structure than her love of the chairs. Since “life” is a principle, or conception, which adds value to Fido, a different formula can be used: [E S] I; or, the intrinsic valuation of the systemic valuation of an extrinsic value. Take another example: Mary has surgery to remove the mole on her nose, and is delighted with the results. From the value scientist’s point of view, the value structure of this situation is, [I E] I. The doctor operating on Mary to improve her looks is marked as I power E, because Mary is an intrinsic value being acted upon, and action is an extrinsic value. Mary’s delight with the results is an intrinsic valuation of the doctor’s extrinsic valuation of her. So, this more complex formula is read as I power E power I; or, the intrinsic valuation of the extrinsic valuation of an intrinsic value. In the future, computers will be able to workout extremely complex value structures. In the Value Calculus, superscripts represent what Hartman calls “compositions”(positives) while subscripts are for “transpositions” (negatives) of value. For example, Mary hated that mole on her nose. The mole is an extrinsic value, and her hate for it an intrinsic disvaluation. The formula: E I; read as E sub I, or an intrinsic disvaluation of an extrinsic value. This is the same value structure as her distain of the ugly chairs in the furniture store.
The Threat to Religion-based Morality
In a nutshell, then, this is Hartman’s Formal Axiology. It is the foundation, or computational framework, for the development of value sciences, but it is not value science in itself. Particular value sciences will have to be founded by pioneering thinkers. Hartman wrote that a new science of “ethics” will be developed unlike any of the existing ethical theories that philosophers and religious partisans have been arguing over for centuries. Value science, he hoped, would “secularize ethics,” and displace religion, superstition, and the current variety of ethical philosophies with an empirically based scientific method of thinking about ethical values. Hartman was fully aware of the threat Formal Axiology is to religion as a moral authority in the world today. He wrote that just as Galileo’s use of a formal system brought “revolutionary changes … in [pre-scientific] natural philosophy… the transition to moral science [will bring] radical changes in moral philosophy.”
Hartman envisioned a scientific ethics that would eventually displace religion as an authoritative, but not authoritarian, source of moral advice. He was aware, as we all are, of the shameful wars that dogmatic and fanatical religions some times engage in against one another. Each side believes itself in possession of The One Truth, and therefore Morally Superior to apostates, infidels, and the heretics in the opposed religions. In the value structure of such deadly conflicts, ideas and doctrines are regarded as more important than the real human beings who are murdered in the name of such “Truths.” Indeed, such murder is often considered “morally good” by the Believers. But the Value Calculus can expose this hypocrisy. Killing a person in the name of a religion is formulated as [I E] S; or, the systemic valuation of the extrinsic disvaluation of an intrinsic value. The religious warriors think it is “good,” or morally honorable, to kill folks with different views. But the formal structure shows that no matter how good one sees such killing, the disvaluation of a person is contained in the self-delusion that the act was a purely positive act. Thus are religious warriors confronted with the Real Truth, the Truth of Formal Axiology. Using the Value Calculus, ideas are never more important than people. Hartman wrote that Formal Axiology “thus helps expose the real evils – the disvalues posing as values – of our civilization … which are chronic diseases of the so-called Christian world and which arise from its inverted hierarchy of values.”
Hartman predicted that among the coming value sciences would be a new form of political science which could become an authoritative, but not authoritarian, source of political wisdom. It would analyze the value structures of laws, policies, and government practices.
Indeed, he outlined 18 different branches of the value sciences. Among these are a new form of aesthetics, economics, psychology, sociology, epistemology, jurisprudence, and literary criticism – all yet to be developed. Formal Axiology is intended to provide the formal system for the value sciences like mathematics provides the formal system for the natural sciences, such as astronomy, biology, chemistry, and physics. Hartman predicted that just as the natural sciences have produced amazing and revolutionary benefits for humanity, when the value sciences develop and mature, so they will enrich the quality of human life beyond what is currently thought achievable. Hartman introduced his Formal Axiology, and discussed his hopes for it, in his1967 book,
The Structure of Value
Unfortunately, the book was slow to catch on, and tragically, Hartman died in 1973. A group calling itself “The Hartman Institute,” headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee was given possession of Hartman’s voluminous unpublished writings, by his grieving widow, Rita, and in exchange they pledged to make his work known to the world. Rem Edwards was one of the founding members of that group, and the book we are reviewing heres hows how they have gone about fulfilling their pledge to Rita Hartman (who is now deceased.)
The Augustinian Plot
Rem’s book presents itself as an explanation of R.S. Hartman’s Formal Axiology. But it is not that at all. Unhappily, it is a rambling, repetitious, screed bent upon so mutilating and misrepresenting Hartman’s work that no one will be interested in learning more about it. It is, in short, not a difference of opinion, but an act of sabotage. A little history will put this poison pill in its proper context.
In the Fifth Century, Saint Augustine formulated Church doctrine with such books as The City of God, which, among other things, disparaged Pagan beliefs and the study of nature. Philosopher Michael Polanyi notes that Augustine “denied the value of a natural science which contributed nothing to the pursuit of salvation. His ban destroyed interest in science all over Europe for a thousand years.”
As interest in science began to re-emerge with the Renaissance, one of the major challenges to Christian beliefs was brought by Copernicus. He claimed that the universe did not revolve around Earth, as Church officials taught, but that Earth revolved around the sun. Galileo used a telescope to gather evidence which, among other things, supported Copernicus. In the 1630s the blessed Bishops of the Catholic Church threatened Galileo with torture and prison if he didn’t recant some of his more offensive findings. Mindful of what happened to Giordano Bruno, Galileo complied. The astronomer Bruno went even further than Copernicus, and asserted that our sun was just one among many in the universe. In 1600 he was burned at the stake after the Inquisition declared him guilty of heresy. Over the years, many other scientists, as well as witches, heretics, Pagans, and suspected or known nonbelievers suffered imprisonment, torture, and death for their independence of mind. But religion’s war on science didn’t stop in ancient Europe. It has continued wellin to modern times. For example, Christian Fundamentalists had a law passed in Tennessee prohibiting the teaching of Darwin’s theory of evolution in public schools, because they said such teachings contradicted the Bible. The Scopes Trial was conducted in that Bible Belt state in 1925, and high school teacher John Scopes was convicted and fined $100 for “teaching Darwin.” (A new Model T Ford, then, cost around $300.)
Now, if Rem and his group of True Believers in the Scope’s Trial sub-culture have their way, value science will suffer a fate like that of natural science under Augustine, and be neglected for the next 1000 years. They have already let Hartman’s main book, The Structure of Value, go out of print, even as they publish a stream of their own works on “Christian Values.” They have kept Hartman’s papers locked up in Tennessee, not put online, inaccessible to the world for nearly 40 years. Their Augustinian plot is well on its way towards success.
Hartman’s Unitary Vision
As stated above, Hartman’s Formal Axiology consists primarily of three parts. These are his Value Axiom, the three dimensions of value, and his Value Calculus. Hartman presented these conceptions with math-like clarity. However, Rem’s strategy is to save religion by discouraging anyone from seeing the opportunity to build value sciences on the foundation Hartman has provided.Rem does this by misrepresenting the parts of Formal Axiology as the muddled musings of a Perplexed Philosopher, who deserves feint praise for his efforts butwho has not left us with anything useful.For example, Hartman presents his “Value Axiom” as the core insight for FormalAxiology. It not only defines the meaning of “good,” but it enables the valuescientist to see that the value realm consists of three dimensions of value – theextrinsic, the systemic, and the intrinsic. Awareness of these three dimensionsmakes possible the Value Calculus, which uses the letters E, S, and I. But, as wewill see, the unity of Hartman’s vision is deceptively presented by Rem as anamateurish hodge-podge of disconnected nebulous notions.The role of vision in science has been well documented. Thomas Kuhn, thehistorian of science, has written that a field of natural science is defined by a“paradigm,” which is a vision of the field shared by its practitioners. Over time,this paradigm is “articulated” by working scientists.
Hartman understood thiswhen he wrote that the “cumulative process of science is the differentiation of theunitary vision.”
Formal Axiology was his “unitary vision.” This vision captured, for him, “the infinite unity of the whole field … the integrative core of the totality of all the phenomena in question.”
He saw the Value Axiom as “the symbolic form of the core of [the] phenomenal field [of values].” Hartman came to know the Value Axiom through “a direct and immediate intuition.”
Rem refuses to honor Hartman’s presentation of the Axiom of Value as the foundation for a science of values. Instead Rem refers to the Value Axiom throughout his book as “the Form of the Good.” He uses that term scores of times, while Hartman never used it in The Structure of Value.
Rem uses the term in an attempt to characterize Hartman as a ladder day Platonist who has succeeded where Plato failed; that is, at defining the Form of the Good. Rem condescendingly praises this as an achievement that all academic philosopher scan admire, but of no practical use. By associating Hartman with Plato, who pursued “Forms” and had no interest in the mundane studies of science, Rem’s rubric aims to distract his readers from Hartman’s decidedly non-Platonic scientific intentions. While Hartman held a “unitary vision” of Formal Axiology, Rem denounces that as delusional. He argues ad nauseam that the three dimensions of value are neither inclusive of the entire value realm, nor deducible from the Axiom of Value, but are mere constructs and “attachments.” Rem challenges Hartman’s discussion of the three dimensions of value by asking, “How do we know that there are only three?” Without skipping a beat, Rem answered his own question by proclaiming, as if speaking for all humanity, “We don’t.” But he pats Hartman on the head for at least making a “great start” on thinking about values.
Actually, Rem’s claim that the three dimensions of value “cannot be deduced or inferred from” the Value Axiom is true from a hyper literal-minded point of view. The three dimensions of value cannot, literally, be deduced from the words “goodness is conceptual fulfillment.” But Rem’s failure to see the unity of parts does not mean that no unity exists. Hartman often referred to “Gestalts;” that is, the vision of relations within a whole, as opposed to picking at words about the vision. A landscape painting might feature a tree, but there is also the sky, clouds, birds, the ground in which the tree is rooted, grass, flowers, and a blanket upon which picnickers are enjoying themselves. When a viewer says “the focus of this painting is a tree,” the rest of the picture “cannot be deduced or inferred from” the literal words about the painting. But all the parts are there when the picture itself is looked at, as a whole. Hartman wanted people to know that when contemplating the Value Axiom, which he primarily illustrated with examples of extrinsic value, the other two dimensions come into view as completing the Gestalt of the value realm. For the holistic thinker, the three dimensions cover the field, but not for Rem, who insists that the three dimensions were pulled from a hat. Indeed, Rem’s insistence that Hartman’s three dimensions can’t be “inferred or derived from it [the Value Axiom], despite his claim to the contrary, ” actually attributes a claim to Hartman that he never made.
For Hartman, the three dimensions of value constitute the entire value realm of the human mind, and are neither “inferred” nor “derived” from anything. At best, Rem is simply reifying his own value blindness.
The Moral Fallacy
Rem’s main strategy is to undermine Hartman’s claim that Formal Axiology is a “science,” and make it appear to be just another moral philosophy. Although Hartman uses such words as “good” and “goodness,” and even “bad” on occasion, he intends Formal Axiology to be a method for describing and analyzing actual value situations, and not at all a philosophy about prescribing what kinds of thoughts or actions are right or wrong, good or bad. For Hartman, Formal Axiology is no more a moral system than is chemistry. But if Rem can effectively muddle this distinction in the minds of his readers, and make Formal Axiology appear to be morally prescriptive, then scientific minded folks will turn away from it rather than use it to develop the value sciences that Hartman hoped would follow. Early in his book, Rem sets the stage for the “faith based” line of attack he will take against Hartman’s efforts to establish a foundation for the science of values. After expounding on what he mislabels “the Form of the Good,” Rem criticizes both Hartman and Plato for failing to see that there could also be “a Form of the Bad.”
Rem tries to give Hartman’s use of the word “goodness” a moral gloss by contrasting it with the term “badness.” Rem writes that, “badness, evil, or ‘sin,’ as the theologians would say, has real power and reality in itself; and, despite Hartman, it is not mere privation of goodness.” Human vices, for Rem, “are real and powerful inner forces or manifestations of evil that actually exist.” Rem believes in “morally bad people. Hitler, for example, was not a bad man simply because he lacked [good qualities]. No, he was a bad man because he possessed demonic power, hatred, malice, viciousness, cruelty, etc.” Here Rem seeks to undermine the very possibility of a science of value, independent of religion, by associating Hartman’s Value Axiom not only with the speculative philosophy of Plato, but with such bizarre theological notions as that “badness, evil, or ‘sin,’” have as much “reality” as wind and rain, or arms and legs.
For Rem, “values” cannot be understood, except through the interpretive framework of religious morality, the only frame of reference he can imagine. As Hartman intended it, when “good” is defined as conceptual fulfillment, then goodness can be measured on a scale from good, to fair, to not good, or bad. A “bad” chair, for example, is one that collapses when you sit on it. Hartman’s use of the words “good” and “bad” are descriptive of measurements based on defined concepts. In Formal Axiology, these words are as completely free of any moralizing connotations as are the degrees measured by a thermometer. Temperature extremes may cause people some discomfort, but few people would call them “evil,” or “morally bad.” But Rem wants to pollute that scientific moral detachment and clarity by baptizing his presentation of “the Form of the Good” with Holy Water. Hartman saw this type of confusion coming, and warned against what he called the “Moral Fallacy.” This is a logical “confusion of different types of frames of reference, such as … the axiological with the moral.” It also occurs in the confusion of “goodness in general with moral goodness.”
For value sciences, “goodness in general” is the Value Axiom – that goodness can be measured as degrees of conceptual fulfillment. “Moral goodness” is a subset of goodness in general. Indeed, there won’t be any single theory of “moral goodness” in the value sciences, as there is in religion. Instead, moral goodness will be divided up as applied elements of the value science “ethics,” the value science “psychology,” “political science,” and other yet to be spelled out value sciences. These fields of pure research will develop applied branches which will then make recommendations about “morals,” that is, how to avoid or reduce value transpositions and enhance value compositions. One analogy is the growth of public health knowledge over the past century.
As an example of Formal Axiology’s non-moralistic perspective, a murder can be “good.” That is, if a “good murder” is defined as “the unlawful killing of another person without leaving any evidence behind,” then one murder can be better than another. A “bad” murder would be one at which the murderer left behind his business card and a video tape of him committing the crime. The value structure of murder is I E; the extrinsic disvaluation of an intrinsic value. In Formal Axiology, killing a person is always the extrinsic disvaluation of an intrinsic value. This is not a moral position, but an axiologic formula. So, a good murder does not make murder good. From the moral point of view, a homicide can be justifiable. The value structure of a “justifiable homicide” would be [I E] S – the systemic valuation of an extrinsic disvaluation of an intrinsic value.
While the same value structure as killing in the name of a religion, a justifiable homicide is free of self-deception because it recognizes the disvaluation of the victim, but excuses the wrongdoer from punishment. The value structure of the moral disapproval of killing a person is [I E] S; the systemic disvaluation of the extrinsic disvaluation of an intrinsic value. This is the same value structure of a conviction for murder under the law. The purpose of the Moral Fallacy, as an axiologic maxim, is to preserve Formal Axiology’s status as a “science,” and to keep it from being misunderstood as amoral philosophy. But, “despite Hartman,” Rem persists in committing the Moral Fallacy on every page of his book, in line with his project of misrepresentation. For Rem, there is no scientific point of view from which to understand values, but only that of his Old Time Religion.
Components of the Value Calculus
As we have seen, there are three primary components of the Value Calculus. These are the initial position, in which the object of valuation is notated, the valuation of that object, and nesting as a way to show successive valuations. For Rem, Hartman’s Value Calculus is an abomination. He seems to find two aspects of it especially repugnant. We noted earlier that because value science is empirically oriented, God is classified as a conception in the minds of people. As such, God is a systemic value (which can be valued intrinsically by believers).Also, placing an individual person, and only an individual person, in the initial position as an I, or intrinsic value, is a rule of operation for the Value Calculus. But Rem wants God to be treated as real, and to be valued as an I-value in the initial position of the Value Calculus. If he cannot have his way, then he will try to destroy the Value Calculus.
Why Only Persons in the I-value Category?
Regarding his first objection, Rem raises a legitimate question; that is, why is the I-value in the initial position of the Value Calculus reserved only for persons? In other words, why did Hartman treat people in the Value Calculus as categorically unique in value compared to any other living creature, or any thing, or any idea? It appears that Hartman has built the seemingly moral principles of honor or respect for the individual person into the Value Calculus. But upon what grounds? One reason seems to be that Hartman took it as a matter of fact that one person’s life has special value in the minds of other persons. In recognition of this fact, persons get a special spot in the Value Calculus. But this value is non-quantifiable. Except for some lawyers and insurance agents, most folks would likely agree that, aside from business and legal affairs, intuitively “you can’t put a price on a human life,” at least not as a universal measure. Since the value of a person’s life cannot reasonably be quantified, and no limit can be put on it, Hartman sometimes used the term “nondenumerable infinity” for a person’s value. In this sense, the term “intrinsic value” refers to the special category of persons, whose value is immeasurable. Thus, he is not saying that all persons “ought” to be valued intrinsically, but only that for the Value Calculus this “is” the most fitting category for persons. This marker for the Value Calculus does not mean that folks cannot, or should not, regard other folks with disrespect, contempt, dislike, or even hatred. But those are valuations about the I-value category. Such valuations do not define the category itself, which is built into the Value Calculus.
While Hartman does not say this, it seems that another weighty reason for giving persons a special category in the Value Calculus is that doing so enables the calculus to work. In other words, it is an intellectual commitment in the same sense that the commitment to “zero” is necessary for mathematics to work. Nobody has ever seen, touched, or measured “zero,” or nothing, but the concept is a necessary a priori condition for a useful mathematics. People might reasonably disagree that persons universally deserve a special and exclusive spot in the Value Calculus, but without it there can be no Value Calculus for Formal Axiology. Hartman wrestled quite a bit with the problem of justifying a special spot for persons. He agreed with Kant, who wrote that respect for other people means that they should be treated “as ends in themselves, and not as means to an end. ”Formally, this maxim compares I E with I E. Kant’s doctrine has been widely accepted intuitively by people for over two centuries, although often violated. Hartman also offered his own speculative argument, or “proof,” of the infinite value of persons, as opposed to the limited value of extrinsic and systemic values. In short, besides agreeing with Kant, he also agreed with Aristotle’s understanding of “man” as “the rational animal,” and made human reason, or thinking power, one of the bases for the special category of persons as intrinsic values.
But Hartman’s intrinsic value category for persons is regarded with horror by Rem, who sees it as heresy. Thus, Rem throws everything he’s got at it, in the hope that something negative will stick with the reader. “Traditional Christian theology,” Rem righteously declares, “was much more inclined to call us human beings infinitely bad than to call us infinitely good, something that Hartman never realized or considered.”
A believer in the First Commandment, Rem invokes the wisdom of those theologians who see granting persons intrinsic value as a form of “heresy and a blasphemous self-deification.” Such a value category for human beings is “definitely not anywhere in the Bible.” A Knight of Faith, defending the doctrine of Original Sin, Rem reminds his readers that “Traditional Christianity clearly did not affirm that we have infinite value because of properties that we inherently possess [such as being born sinners].” Rem goes on at some length “refuting” Hartman’s special value category for the person. Concluding this section, Rem seriously wonders whether the Christian theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr (and perhaps Elvis), would see Hartman as “a devil in disguise, a finite being pretending to be infinite?” If Rem’s first line of attack has not put the fear of Jehovah in his readers and sent them running from the Value Calculus, he has other resources. As another line of attack he simply misstates Hartman’s conception of the category “intrinsic value” so that it will include all “conscious beings.” Then he makes up the term “intrinsic value-objects,” uses it as if it were a part of Formal Axiology’s terminology, and repeatedly states that it includes “people and other conscious beings like animals and God.”
To make Hartman look confused, Rem offers the baseless observation that in deciding what to include in the Value Calculus category of intrinsic value, Hartman’s “position on animals was ambiguous, to say the least.” Rem takes credit for clarifying Hartman’s perplexity by adding animals to the category, “as well as other unique conscious beings like God.”
This misrepresentation reveals one of Rem’s tactics, which is to conflate uses of the word “intrinsic,” like in a shell game, and then attribute the confusion he causes to Hartman to make him appear as a Perplexed Philosopher. After executing this slight of hand, Rem innocently declares, as if speaking for the members of the Hartman Institute, “This leaves us wishing that Hartman would just make up his mind!” But it is Rem who is the obscurantist, not Hartman.
Rem’s Attack on the Forms of Valuation
Having demolished the clarity of the I-value category, or hoping he did so, Rem goes to work on the three forms of valuation. Rem knows that if the S, E, I forms of valuation are not as clear and distinct as the numbers 1, 2, and 3, the Value Calculus will seem to his readers to be a useless hodge-podge of blurry notions. Then Hartman’s foundation for the science of values will appear to be about as solid ground as a mud puddle, and no one will want to try to build on that. To that end, Rem shamelessly states the sheer fabrication that a “continuum of feelings runs throughout the three dimensions, so no sharp affective lines separate them.”
Why not say this? Since Hartman’s book has been out of print for at least a couple of decades, who’ll know the better? In case the reader missed the point, he repeats that S, E, or I valuation “typically differs significantly by degrees,” and that “all valuations are on a continuum of feelings; the lines between them are never drawn with exactitude.” Also, “The lines between the three are not absolutely sharp.” Let us then re-examine the differences between the three forms of valuation to test the veracity of Rem’s remarks.
A systemic valuation is a linear assessment of whether or not a thing fits in a certain category. Suppose Joe spots a coin in the street. He picks it up and assesses its proper category in an instant. Clearly, a penny is not a nickel, nor a dime a dollar – no matter how wishfully he feels that it were otherwise. The notation for Joe’s act of classification is E S; an extrinsic value, the coin, valued systemically. No feeling involved here, just a classification. But suppose Joe is a member of the Anti-Penny League, a group that demands Congress abolish the penny. He might view the coin with the feelings of anger and disgust. Then the value situation would be E I; an intrinsic disvaluation of an extrinsic value. If he goes to church and drops the penny in the poor box to make a contribution, he values it extrinsically; E E. If he then praises himself for his unbounded generosity; [E E] I. This is how feeling is accounted for in the Value Calculus. There isn’t any S or E feeling, but only I represents feeling as either superscript or subscript. If all valuations are a muddle on a continuum, as Rem has presented them, then of course lines cannot be drawn. But that is not how the Value Calculus works. Rem’s mendacious explanation of S, E, I valuations would make the Value Calculus untenable – a result he and his ilk value intrinsically.
I Value Intensity
An intrinsic valuation is a positive or negative feeling about something. Anything imaginable can be valued or disvalued intrinsically. A house, a car, an idea, a philosophical system, a TV program, a fairy tale, a star, the moon, a Martian, another person. It can be a slight feeling or a strong feeling. Indifference is no feeling about something, and thus not an intrinsic valuation. But the tiniest step, positive or negative, beyond indifference is an intrinsic valuation. Mary’s interest in the TV show, “Days in Our Lives,” is a positive feeling, and her disgust with “The Friday Night Fights” a negative feeling. John’s feelings are the reverse. But these are not intense feelings, so neither wants to murder the other for their different preferences. Rem, however, writes as though the “I” in intrinsic value stands for “intense.” For example, he characterizes the intrinsic valuation of systemic values, such as ideas, or philosophies, as involving “Intense curiosity or wonder,” “intense concentration,” or otherwise being “intensely involved” with an idea, etc.
Rem earnestly assures us that “If we love anything with all our heart … we evaluate it intrinsically, we are one with it.” From there, Rem’s continuum moves to dimensions with less intense valuations. “Extrinsic evaluation is liking but not loving.”
Rem further mutilates the lines that distinguish valuations by telling his readers that when negative emotions are “in their extreme forms they manifest intrinsic disvaluation. They may also be quite tame, mild, ordinary, and less extreme, thus extrinsic.” Nonsense!
Unlike the feelings of intrinsic valuations, and the either/or categorizations of systemic valuations, the extrinsic valuation is made with quantifiable degrees of fulfillment. As we saw in the example of a “chair,” the predicates in the definition of a thing can be numbered and matched with the corresponding properties of the thing. The number of matches between predicate and property can be counted. This count can be used as a measure of goodness. If the thing has 10 properties that match each of the 10 predicates, it is an excellent such thing. Five matches might be average, and one, two, or no matches, “bad.” For example, a “good” toilet bowl would make a “bad” chair. (Of course, in value science a “bad” chair is not a “sinful” chair, except perhaps for Rem and his cohorts.)The measure of a thing’s goodness can be made more precise by taking a closer look at each match of predicate and property. How well, or fully, a property matches up to its corresponding predicate can, for example, be rated on a scale of 1 to 10.
There is no limit on the number of predicates someone can set out as a measure of goodness. Specifying a back, a seat (for one sitter), and four legs only sets up three predicates. But many more could be added. The type of wood, the style of the design, the thickness and length of each part, etc. can be requirements for the measure of goodness. Then each match of these rated 1 to 10. Thus, Hartman notes that for extrinsic valuation the predicates and properties can be numbered into infinity (a “denumerable infinity”). Fortunately, for most practical purposes that will not be necessary! But the point here is that extrinsic valuationsare based on quantifiable matches, and are not vague feelings.As we have said, for the Value Calculus, intrinsic valuations are alwaysexpressions of feeling. They may be positive, and notated as a superscript, or negative, and notated as a subscript. But the intensity of feeling has no formal notation in the Value Calculus. Once the value structure of a value situation is formalized, people can be asked as a separate step to rate their feelings, for example, from 1-10. But such ratings are entirely subjective, both personally and culturally relative, and not amenable to the degree of objectivity required for formal expression in the Value Calculus. While value structures are universal among humans, the personal meanings and experiences of feelings are not. As the various value sciences emerge, they will explore personal meanings and experiences of feelings in greater depth.
Formal Axiology is the general system to which each new value science will connect as a subsystem, like the various natural sciences connect to mathematics.
Math and the Cult of Hartman Fixers
Besides his Ph.D. in philosophy, Hartman also had a law degree and a Ph.D. in math. Given his interest in math, there are some lengthy discussions of that subject in The Structure of Value. For example, in reference to the Calculus of Value, he writes, “There are nine compositions and nine transpositions of the three value categories.”
That is, each of the S, E, I categories of value can be valued with a positive or a negative systemic, extrinsic, or intrinsic valuation. By notating an S, E, I valuation subscript or superscript in connection with a value category, a “secondary value combination” is created. There are, then, 18 (and only 18) possible secondary value combinations, as follows: Compositions: S S, S E, S I; E S, E E, E I; I S, I E, I I
Transpositions: S S, S E, S I; E S, E E, E I; I S, I E, I I
As mentioned earlier, nesting begins with tertiary combinations. There are “108[possible] tertiary value combinations.” Using a double nest, there are “648quaternary combinations, and so on.”
Theoretically, there is no end to the complexity of Value Calculus combinations for illuminating value situations. We also saw above that there is plenty of opportunity for mathematical complexity in the application of extrinsic value. Hartman writes, “like a mathematical formula in the natural sciences, a value formula is capable of infinite interpretation.”
Indeed, Hartman was so taken by the parallels he saw between mathematics and the applications of extrinsic value and the Value Calculus that he frequently digressed into discussions of math throughout his book. Hartman experimentally drew parallels between his concepts of systemic, extrinsic, and intrinsic values, and mathematical theories of “finite numbers,” “denumerable infinities,” and “non-denumerable infinities.” He thought that by making such heuristic comparisons, there would be all kinds of “interesting possibilities for the axiological scientist.”
Although a math lover (thus, S I, the same value structure as the love of God), Hartman was fully aware that it was only incidental to Formal Axiology, and not essential to it. That is one reason why he specified the “Metaphysical Fallacy;” an error of axiologic reasoning that occurs when “the mathematical frame of reference of the natural sciences is confused with the axiological frame of reference of the [yet to be developed] moral sciences.”
Commission of this Fallacy shows a failure to understand that Hartman intended his Value Calculus to be the primary computational system for the value sciences, analogous to the role of math in the various natural sciences but not reliant upon it. Just as math enables natural scientists to articulate formal structures for the phenomena they study, so the Value Calculus will enable value scientists to articulate the formal structures of their phenomena. Unable, or unwilling, to separate the wheat from the chaff, Rem completely misrepresents the role of math in Formal Axiology. Seeing that Hartman took his parallels “from set theory and transfinite math,” Rem leaps to the unwarranted and false conclusion that transfinite mathematics is as essential to Formal Axiology as are the Value Axiom and the three dimensions of value. Although Hartman warned against the confusion of math with the Value Calculus, Rem writes deceptively that “He thought there could be no real science without mathematical formulas.”
Then Rem rejects as “unworkable…Hartman’s own calculus of value, based as it was on applied transfinite mathematics and set theory.” Too bad: “Formal axiology will just have to find another math” Rem declares triumphantly, “We are only halfway there in creating a science of value.” And, “Having a formal calculus of value that is isomorphous with its subject matter still awaits the insights of creative mathematicians.”
Thus Rem hopes to discourage everyone but a few “creative mathematicians” from trying to develop any value sciences based on Hartman’s Formal Axiology. Taking their cue from Rem, the Board of Directors of the Hartman Institute has made one of their five most “important goals … To develop a formal Calculus of Value that really works.”
Oblivious to the meaning of the Metaphysical Fallacy, the Quest for this Holy Grail has inspired a whole crop of Hartman Fixers and other Lilliputians. Their motto seems to be “We must fix Hartman before we understand him!” The Institute publishes a pricey members-only journal full of “Hartman fixes.” Although pledging their dedication to “fixing” Hartman, the honorable Board, as noted above, has let his main book go out of print, and since 1977 has kept his unpublished materials stored in about 60 boxes in Knoxville.
Rem dedicates this book “to the loyal Officers and Board Members of the Robert S. Hartman Institute.” He praises them for toiling selflessly to fulfill the promise they made to Hartman’s widow, so as to obtain legal possession of Hartman’s published and unpublished writings, lectures, and speeches. According to Rem, that promise was “to make Hartman’s work available to the world.” viii This promise is their self-set standard of goodness. Applying this standard to the efforts put forth so far, how would you rate them? Judging by their behavior, one might wonder whether their actual intentions have always been to duplicate the success of St. Augustine. With lots of help from Rem, they are doing “good” at that!
William J. Kelleher, Ph.D.Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
From this primary value axiom two “fallacies” and two “enhancements” follow.
Value Fallacies: The Ideological Fallacy — to value ideas over persons. The Instrumental Fallacy — to value persons solely for their usefulness.
Value Enhancements: The Ideological Enhancement — using ideas to enhance or enrich the lives of persons. The Instrumental Enhancement — using persons to enhance or enrich their lives.
Several members have made fortunes as business consultants using the Hartman Value Profile, but these “HVP millionaires” refuse to fund the publication of a free, peer-reviewed open access online journal from which scholars around the world could learn, and to which they could contribute to help in the development of the value sciences.
Axiology: Two Worlds in Three Dimensions of Value http://www.valueinsights.com/axiology3.html
Natural morality describes a form societal norms or religious teachings. Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is central to the acceptance of a natural morality. Ref
We, humans, tend to think of emotions as dangerous forces that need to be strictly controlled by reason and logic. But that’s not how the brain works. In the brain logic and reason are never separate from emotion. Even nonsense syllables have an emotional charge, either positive or negative. Nothing is neutral. The seven networks of emotion in the brain: SEEKING, RAGE, FEAR, LUST, CARE, PANIC/GRIEF, and PLAY. In Pankseep’s Affective Neuroscience, he explains that there “is good biological evidence for at least seven innate emotional systems….” Panksepp explains that some of these “universally recognized emotions correspond to the ‘infantile’ feelings that young children exhibit.” These emotional systems are genetically encoded into the subcortical neurocircuitry of the mammalian brain. Stimulating different subcortical areas via electrodes produces emotional reactions in animals. In contrast, “We cannot precipitate emotional feelings by artificially activating the neocortex either electrically or neurochemically,” writes Panksepp. He points out, however, that “emotionality is modified by cortical injury.” He also emphasizes: “Emotive circuits have reciprocal interactions with the brain mechanisms that elaborate higher decision-making processes and consciousness.” Panksepp points out that each major emotional system “has intrinsic response patterning mechanisms” in place. Real world experience can, however, affect the natural expression of primal emotional systems. For example, Panksepp writes: “Most cats that have been reared only with other cats will hunt and kill mice and rats, but those that have been reared with rats from the time of birth show no such inclination.” Ref According to ScienceDaily, a number of recent studies support the role of emotions in moral judgment, and in particular a dual-process model of moral judgment in which both automatic emotional processes and controlled cognitive processes drive moral judgment,” explained Young. “For example, when people must choose whether to harm one person to save many, emotional processes typically support one type of non-utilitarian response, such don’t harm the individual, while controlled processes support the utilitarian response, such as save the greatest number of lives. Our study showed that utilitarian judgment may arise not simply from enhanced cognitive control but also from diminished emotional processing and reduced empathy.” The researchers’ findings show there is a key relationship between moral judgment and empathic concern, in particular, specifically feelings of warmth and compassion in response to someone in distress. In a series of experiments, utilitarian moral judgment was revealed to be specifically associated with reduced empathic concern, and not with any of the demographic or cultural variables tested, nor with other aspects of empathic responding, including personal distress and perspective taking. The study of 2748 people consisted of three experiments involving moral dilemmas. In two of the experiments, the scenario was presented to participants in both “personal” and “impersonal” versions. In the first experiment’s “personal” version, participants were told they could push a large man to his death in front of an oncoming trolley to stop the trolley from killing five others in its path. In the “impersonal” version, participants were told they could flip a switch to divert the trolley. In the second experiment’s “impersonal” scenario, participants were given the option of diverting toxic fumes from a room containing three people to a room containing only one person. In the “personal” scenario, participants were asked whether it was morally acceptable to smother a crying baby to death to save a number of civilians during wartime. The final experiment included both a moral dilemma and a measure of selfishnesses. The moral dilemma asked participants if it was permissible to transplant the organs of one patient, against his will, to save the lives of five patients. In the selfishness measure, participants were asked if it was morally permissible to report personal expenses as business expenses on a tax return to save money. This experiment provided the researchers with a sense of whether utilitarian responders and selfish responders are alike in having a lower empathetic concern. In other words, do utilitarians endorse harming one to save many simply because they endorse harmful, selfish acts more generally? The results suggest that the answer is no; utilitarians appear to endorse harming one to save many due to their reduced empathic concern and not due to a generally deficient moral sense. In each experiment, those who reported lower levels of compassion and concern for other people — a key aspect of empathy — picked the utilitarian over the non-utilitarian response. However, other aspects of empathy, such as being able to see the perspective of others and feel distress at seeing someone else in pain, did not appear to play a significant role in these moral decisions. Similarly, demographic and cultural differences, including age, gender, education, and religiosity, also failed to predict moral judgments. “Diminished emotional responses, specifically, reduced empathic concern, appear to be critical in facilitating utilitarian responses to moral dilemmas of high emotional salience,” the researchers concluded. ” Ref According to MARC D. HAUSER, surprisingly, our emotions do not appear to have much effect on our judgments about right and wrong in these moral dilemmas. A study of individuals with damage to an area of the brain that links decision-making and emotion found that when faced with a series of moral dilemmas, these patients generally made the same moral judgments as most people. This suggests that emotions are not necessary for such judgments. Our emotions do, however, have a great impact on our actions. How we judge what is right or wrong may well be different from what we chose to do in a situation. For example, we may all agree that it is morally permissible to kill one person in order to save the lives of many. When it comes to actually taking someone’s life, however, most of us would turn limp. Another example of the role that emotions have on our actions comes from recent studies of psychopaths. Studies suggest that clinically diagnosed psychopaths do recognize right from wrong, as evidenced by their responses to moral dilemmas. What is different is their behavior. While all of us can become angry and have violent thoughts, our emotions typically restrain our violent tendencies. In contrast, psychopaths are free of such emotional restraints. They act violently even though they know it is wrong because they are without remorse, guilt or shame. These studies suggest that nature handed us a moral grammar that fuels our intuitive judgments of right and wrong. Emotions play their strongest role in influencing our actions—reinforcing acts of virtue and punishing acts of vice. We generally do not commit wrong acts because we recognize that they are wrong and because we do not want to pay the emotional price of doing something we perceive as wrong. Ref According to John Shook, those who claim that only religion can supply moral objectivity are either ignorant of what the term ‘objective’ means, or they are using ‘objective’ in a peculiar way to actually mean ‘absolute’. ‘Objective’ is the contrary of ‘subjective’ — where ‘subjective’ means dependence on a subject (an individual person), ‘objective’ means independent from an individual person. Science knows about objectivity. And science can study subjectivity, too. However, if morality is reduced to just what psychology can grasp, then there is a risk of justifying moral subjectivity. In a previous post I pointed out how a naturalistic understanding of morality should support moral objectivity . And then I read Paul Bloom’s essay “How do morals change” which also worries that psychology can’t have the whole story about morality. Morality is a paradigm example of something that can be, and usually is, independent from any individual person. Whether a deed is moral or immoral does not depend on the judgment or feeling or whim of any single person. Unless that person is God, a religious person might say. However, the simplistic religious view that morality depends on the will of God is just subjectivism on a cosmic scale. Naturalists of course do not regard ethical ideals as absolute moral truths, either. However, people do appeal to ethical ideals when they compare, criticize, and modify the moralities of cultures. From the standpoint of naturalism, it is perfectly natural to expect people to try to change a morality using ethical thinking when they see problems with that morality. And it also quite natural to expect that ethical ideals are the sorts of things that people do not agree about, and that ethical ideals also change or disappear over time. Culture is not the opposite of nature; we are naturally moral. It is a misunderstanding of naturalism if you suppose that a naturalistic understanding of humans must entirely strip away culture and ignore how humans are cultured humans. If you want to study humans unaffected by culture, study early-term fetuses or study isolated genes, but you won’t find morality there. It is also a misunderstanding of naturalism if you expect that a naturalistic understanding of morality must derive warm moral ‘oughts’ from cold scientific facts. 19th Century naturalists once talked that way — they perpetuated the root religious notion that morality could be discerned in the natural design of things — again obscuring how people are naturally encultured. A contemporary naturalist should not repeat outdated religious notions. Humans naturally use the cultural wisdom bestowed by earlier generations. This natural fact explains how religions teach morals and pass down ethical ideals, by the way. There is nothing in objective morality that cannot fit into the naturalistic worldview. Wrongly supposing that morality can’t be natural is akin to supposing that agriculture can’t be natural. Basic morality and higher ethics, and even religious ethics can all fit into a naturalistic worldview. Ref
Ethical Thinking or Moral Reasoning Should be Rational AND Emotional
Contradicting the Standard Stereotypes of Emotions and Reason
There are certain stereotypes and common misconceptions about the relationship between cognition and affect. For example, it is common for people to say things that imply:
- that their emotions and reason are often in conflict with each other,
- that emotion and reason function independently of each other,
- that it is possible to be an emotional person (and hence do little reasoning),
- that it is possible to be a rational person (and hence experience little emotion)
- that rational persons are cold, mechanical, and lack such desirable traits as compassion and sympathy,
- that emotional persons are lively, energetic, and colorful (though they are poor reasoners or do not follow their reasoning when making decisions),
- In this view one must give up the possibility of a rich emotional life if one decides to become a rational person,
- Likewise, one must give up rationality if one is to live life as a passionate, highly motivated person would.
These ways of talking do not, in my view, make sense of who and what we are. Rather they support a myth that is an albatross on all our thinking about who and what we are. They lead us away from realizing that there is thinking that underlies our emotions and the emotions that drive our thinking. They lead us to think of thought and emotion as if they were oil and water, rather than inseparable constituents of human cognition. They lead us to think that there is nothing we can do to control our emotional life, when in fact there is much we can do. Ref
Visual perception and emotion are traditionally considered separate domains of study. In this article, however, we review research showing them to be less separable that usually assumed. In fact, emotions routinely affect how and what we see. Fear, for example, can affect low-level visual processes, sad moods can alter susceptibility to visual illusions, and goal-directed desires can change the apparent size of goal-relevant objects. In addition, the layout of the physical environment, including the apparent steepness of a hill and the distance to the ground from a balcony can both be affected by emotional states. We propose that emotions provide embodied information about the costs and benefits of anticipated action, information that can be used automatically and immediately, circumventing the need for cogitating on the possible consequences of potential actions. Emotions thus provide a strong motivating influence on how the environment is perceived. Ref
Everyone loves ethics, “You” love ethics just like everyone does in relation to themselves, “you” love ethics (you are happy for others to treat you ethically). Maybe, you like many of us, can miss this ontology of social interaction which makes everyone love ethics, and how this fact is not just a morality fact but also just a fact of our being a social animal: we love ethics towards themselves so we just need the rationalism and humanism to sometimes grasp the need to extend this to others as we are just a different “them” and they too are just a different “me” (a human being).
Ethics are the standard used to support and respect rights, the value of rights is the person, that a high standard of ethics wishes to adhere to. A good person helps themselves, yet a great person my friend is found when one helps others. I am saying all one must be to be good is done to themselves, Whereas, the fullness of good, to the level of or state of greatness, happens when one helps others. Kindness is hard at times, as it often requires a death of my ego to allow the life of my potential for empathy and care.
Being mean is easy. I wish to do what can be hard; kindness. Being mean is easy it takes nothing but loss of control, which I am still too often prone to falling into. That said I would like to strive to be kind even it is not extended to me as I don’t want to just follow my weakness I wish to champion my strength, as I wish to more than just not lousing control I wish to be the one in control exhibiting if I can live up to it an example of bravery. This bravery is not out of bravado but the flushing of negative in a heart set free, to me the fact that I strive a young life of profound unkindness almost ruined me forever. I want to be more than the pain that made me or the abuse and unkindness that all but unsaved me. I could be the nothing or the everything if I choose, what was done it out of my control but what I do is not just in my control, it is as if I have all my life been lost if an attitude of attack but now with axiology, humanism and rationalism on a quest like gilded Knights of long ago to perjure a beloved treasure.
I see now, as one who was to often as a child not shown kindness, that life’s journey is made wealthy by the added a human behavioral health resource treasure, a wellspring of renewing, which in found in kindness. I wish to be so strung I have no fear of looking weak and instead show others what a life now bent on helping can really be, when I am brave in my kindness. Anyone can be kind to the kind even a madman but to be sure-footed to travail and be the better person is a gift I give to myself as I am going to do my best to make the world I would be proud to tell others about. It is not a meaningful argument to say well some disagree wanting the freedom to be untrustworthy, unsafe, and not free to all employees or the public with good adherence to high valued behaviors. The fact that there are thieves mean nothing in relation to the unethics of stealing.
Societies, all of them even anarchist ones except for maybe some version of anarcho-primitivism, will hold an ethic even if it is as simple as the principle of non-aggression. Which is enforced if it is violated. It is enforcing a societal ethic expectation or a universal ethical standard, So, again we all love ethics in how others treat us, people only want it confused so much, when and if it requires them to apply ethics to others. But again this is a self-beneficial as theirs is a connection too good and well being.
Grasping ethics to me involves a reconnecting of it to the ontology of humans in the social moral train they cannot escape “We are Moral responsible beings. This fact is more important hen some preserve; it requires our personal as well as social advancement to succeed. Could we not succeed? Sure we can fail but what good is that and even if we do succumb to unethics, hell we seem bent on doing such at times. However, we are doing so at our own emotional pearl, then just a thing that is some ethic behavioral gift one gives to others. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hot-thought/201006/ethical-thinking-should-be-rational-and-emotional
I try not to believe everything I think and only believe deeply in things with some amount of valid and reliable, reason and evidence. Moreover, I strive to stay in an open relationship with the truth thus be open to new truth. I try to be multicultural but never confuse this to be cultural relativism.
Some commit the error of assuming that the multiculturalist position necessarily implies an attitude of cultural relativism, or is subsumed under it. Observe the thinking of one of the most prominent advocates of multiculturalism: Canada’s Will Kymlicka. He includes under this heading all approaches which maintain that there are certain claims made by ethnic / cultural groups which are in keeping with the liberal principles of freedom and equality, and which justify granting certain special rights to minorities. Thus multiculturalism “in contrast to communitarianism“ does not stand in opposition to liberalism; rather, a liberal order is a condition of multiculturalism’s very existence. So Kymlicka terms his position “liberal culturalism.” The multiculturalist calls for certain group rights as complementary to the liberal order that until now has borne the stamp of the white, middle-aged, heterosexual male with no disabilities. But the liberal order claims universal “not relative“ validity. Hence the multiculturalist advocates a monistic or pluralistic world view, not one of cultural relativism! Ref
Individualism or Collectivism?
Rather than a collectivist which I do favore over individualism, I value the inbetween of mutualism thinking. I do see a point in not losing one’s rightful individualism in complete group emotion to the point this is one’s identity as only a group seems less than a helpful universal standard but also we are not being helpful in exclusionary individualism denying our group connectedness and support. I am thus in the land between some collectivist ideals but understanding or appreciate the understanding even if in a group am always an individual. not as a attitude but as this is how I actually think we are: the ontologically of social environment and the responding psychology and biology.
To me, when I refer to a muralist seeing that the group is not an individual neather is one only able to concern themselves with themselves and thrive to wellbeing past survive or selfishness of only irritating ones self to the limits of individualism with always be a respite of one that only hold a self understanding to navigate the world a non-individualism structure at the core of most societies, that one can get outside of mentally but not really internationally with the requirements social living with other humans in a society, something we have been doing thought not always very well and often keep going back to the limit of flushing of everyone including ones self actions have emotional consequences and often emotional consequences bring phical problems in us and other in which we inter relate.
Rationalism and Humanism?
According to Psychology Wiki: Rationalism, also known as the rationalist movement, is a philosophical doctrine that asserts that the truth can best be discovered by reason and factual analysis, rather than faith, dogma or religious teaching. Rationalism has some similarities in ideology and intent to humanism and atheism, in that it aims to provide a framework for social and philosophical discourse outside of religious or supernatural beliefs; however, rationalism differs from both of these, in that:
“As its name suggests, humanism is centered on the dignity and worth of people. While rationalism is a key component of humanism, there is also a strong ethical component in humanism that rationalism does not require directly but towards thinking. As a result, being a rationalist does not necessarily mean being a humanist.”
Atheism, a disbelief or lack of belief in God, can be on any basis, or none at all, so it doesn’t require rationalism. Furthermore, rationalism does not, in itself, affirm or deny atheism, although it does reject any belief based on faith alone. Historically, many rationalists were not atheists. Presumably, people who are rationalists today generally do not believe that theism can be rationally justified, because modern-day rationalism is strongly correlated with atheism. As a result, most—if not all—prominent rationalists today, including scientists such as Richard Dawkins and activists such as Sanal Edamaruku are atheists. Ref Or lesser prominent is Damien Marie AtHope who champions rationalism, atheism and humanism.
Level 1 – Pre-conventional morality:
At the pre-conventional level (most nine-year-olds and younger, some over nine), we don’t have a personal code of morality. Instead, our moral code is shaped by the standards of adults and the consequences of following or breaking their rules. Authority is outside the individual and reasoning is based on the physical consequences of actions.
- Stage 1. Obedience and Punishment Orientation. The child/individual is good in order to avoid being punished. If a person is punished, they must have done wrong.
- Stage 2. Individualism and Exchange. At this stage children recognize that there is not just one right view that is handed down by the authorities. Different individuals have different viewpoints.
Level 2 – Conventional morality:
At the conventional level (most adolescents and adults), we begin to internalize the moral standards of valued adult role models. Authority is internalized but not questioned and reasoning is based on the norms of the group to which the person belongs.
- Stage 3. Good Interpersonal Relationships. The child/individual is good in order to be seen as being a good person by others. Therefore, answers relate to the approval of others.
- Stage 4. Maintaining the Social Order. The child/individual becomes aware of the wider rules of society so judgments concern obeying the rules in order to uphold the law and to avoid guilt.
Level 3 – Post-conventional morality:
Individual judgment is based on self-chosen principles, and moral reasoning is based on individual rights and justice. According to Kohlberg this level of moral reasoning is as far as most people get. Only 10-15% are capable of the kind of abstract thinking necessary for stage 5 or 6 (post-conventional morality). That is to say most people take their moral views from those around them and only a minority think through ethical principles for themselves.
- Stage 5. Social Contract and Individual Rights. The child/individual becomes aware that while rules/laws might exist for the good of the greatest number, there are times when they will work against the interest of particular individuals. The issues are not always clear cut. For example, in Heinz’s dilemma the protection of life is more important than breaking the law against stealing.
- Stage 6. Universal Principles. People at this stage have developed their own set of moral guidelines which may or may not fit the law. The principles apply to everyone. E.g. human rights, justice and equality. The person will be prepared to act to defend these principles even if it means going against the rest of society in the process and having to pay the consequences of disapproval and or imprisonment. Kohlberg doubted few people reached this stage.
Problems with Kohlberg’s Methods
- The dilemmas are artificial (i.e. they lack ecological validity)
Most of the dilemmas are unfamiliar to most people (Rosen, 1980). For example, it is all very well in the Heinz dilemma asking subjects whether Heinz should steal the drug to save his wife. However Kohlberg’s subjects were aged between 10 and 16. They have never been married, and never been placed in a situation remotely like the one in the story. How should they know whether Heinz should steal the drug?
- The sample is biased
According to Gilligan (1977), because Kohlberg’s theory was based on an all-male sample, the stages reflect a male definition of morality (it’s androcentric). Mens’ morality is based on abstract principles of law and justice, while womens’ is based on principles of compassion and care. Further, the gender bias issue raised by Gilligan is a reminded of the significant gender debate still present in psychology, which when ignored, can have a large impact on the results obtained through psychological research.
- The dilemmas are hypothetical (i.e. they are not real)
In a real situation, what course of action a person takes will have real consequences – and sometimes very unpleasant ones for themselves. Would subjects reason in the same way if they were placed in a real situation? We just don’t know. The fact that Kohlberg’s theory is heavily dependent on an individual’s response to an artificial dilemma brings question to the validity of the results obtained through this research. People may respond very differently to real life situations that they find themselves in than they do with an artificial dilemma presented to them in the comfort of a research environment.
- Poor research design
The way in which Kohlberg carried out his research when constructing this theory may not have been the best way to test whether all children follow the same sequence of stage progression. His research was cross-sectional, meaning that he interviewed children of different ages to see what level of moral development they were at. A better way to see if all children follow the same order through the stages would have been to carry out longitudinal research on the same children. However, longitudinal research on Kohlberg’s theory has since been carried out by Colby et al. (1983) who tested 58 male participants of Kohlberg’s original study. She tested them 6 times in the span of 27 years and found support for Kohlberg’s original conclusion, that we all pass through the stages of moral development in the same order.
Problems with Kohlberg’s Theory
- Are there distinct stages of moral development?
Kohlberg claims that there are but the evidence does not always support this conclusion. For example a person who justified a decision on the basis of principled reasoning in one situation (post conventional morality stage 5 or 6) would frequently fall back on conventional reasoning (stage 3 or 4) with another story. In practice it seems that reasoning about right and wrong depends more upon the situation than upon general rules. What is more individuals do not always progress through the stages and Rest (1979) found that one in fourteen actually slipped backwards. The evidence for distinct stages of moral development looks very weak and some would argue that behind the theory is a culturally biased belief in the superiority of American values over those of other cultures and societies.
- Does moral judgement match moral behavior?
Kohlberg never claimed that there would be a one to one correspondence between thinking and acting (what we say and what we do) but he does suggest that the two are linked. However, Bee (1994) suggests that we also need to take account of:
- a) habits that people have developed over time.
- b) whether people see situations as demanding their participation.
- c) the costs and benefits of behaving in a particular way.
- d) competing motive such as peer pressure, self interest and so on.
Overall Bee points out that moral behavior is only partly a question of moral reasoning. It is also to do with social factors.
- Is justice the most fundamental moral principle?
This is Kohlberg’s view. However, Gilligan (1977) suggests that the principle of caring for others is equally important. Furthermore Kohlberg claims that the moral reasoning of males has been often in advance of that of females. Girls are often found to be at stage 3 in Kohlberg’s system (good boy-nice girl orientation) whereas boys are more often found to be at stage 4 (Law and Order orientation). Gilligan replies:
“The very traits that have traditionally defined the goodness of women, their care for and sensitivity to the needs of others, are those that mark them out as deficient in moral development.”
In other words, Gilligan is claiming that there is a sex bias in Kohlberg’s theory. He neglects the feminine voice of compassion, love and non-violence, which is associated with the socialization of girls. Gilligan reached the conclusion that Kohlberg’s theory did not account for the fact that women approach moral problems from an ‘ethics of care’, rather than an ‘ethics of justice’ perspective, which challenges some of the fundamental assumptions of Kohlberg’s theory.
But as I see it both Gilligan as well as Kohlberg is on the right tracts because: Ethical Thinking or Moral Reasoning Should be “Rational AND Emotional.”
Progressive Logic by William J. Kelleher, Ph.D.
Summary: What are the implications of Formal Axiology for assessing the value implications of public policies, laws, and government actions?This can already be seen in the history of Progressive reforms throughout American history. What does the Abolition movement have in common with the anti-child labor movement, the demands for compulsory public education, pro-choice, euthanasia, criminal justice reform, and other public policies considered“progressive”?
Shows that the common element is a logic of values which takes as its basic premise that “all persons always deserve positive regard.”From this primary value axiom two “fallacies” and two “enhancements” follow.Value Fallacies:The Ideological Fallacy — to value ideas over persons.The Instrumental Fallacy — to value persons solely for their usefulness.Value Enhancements:The Ideological Enhancement — using ideas to enhance or enrich the lives of persons.The Instrumental Enhancement — using persons to enhance or enrich their lives.These principles of value logic are applied to numerous aspects of American life,culture, and public policies. Ref
“Morality requires both thinking and feeling.”
Value Calculus Realism?
Hartman’s Value Calculus takes a realistic, or fact‐based, view of the world. People have and act upon values. Value scientists will seek to understand what those values are, and to analyze their structure. That empirical orientation is why the Value Calculus can serve as the formal side of the yet to be developed value sciences.
Subjective Things in the World but Making Objective Conclusions?
“The first part of Formal Axiology is the Value Axiom, or the definition of “good. ”Hartman defines “good” as conceptual fulfillment. That is, a thing is a good such thing if it fulfills the definition of its concept, or classification. For example, suppose we define a “chair” as an object with a back, a seat, and four legs. Then we look around the room and find just such an object. By matching the thing with our conception of it, we know at once that it is a chair. Beyond the initial identification of the object, we can also formulate a judgment as to how good of a chair the thing is. We can add to our specifications for the goodness of a chair by requiring that it has padding, or can rock, or can be folded and stored away. One chair can be compared to others. Then, using our conception of a good chair, we can make assessment about which chairs are “better,” or “worse,” or “average,” and “best,” etc.”
My point (Damien AtHope) about subjective things in the world but making objective conclusions I am referring to let’s say the chair explanation above. The concept of chair is subjective as it only relates to humans; as such, fish would not see any chair as having a good or bad status, but as humans who do hold the concept of chair we can make some objective statements of what makes a good chair.
Axiological Investigations (JONAS OLSON)
Sometimes it may be a legitimate as well as advisable tactic to postpone, as far as possible, commitments to controversial stands on the semantics, ontology, epistemology, and psychology of value and evaluative judgements, in the course of our formal axiological investigations. It also deserves to be emphasised that the discussions in this introduction and in the essays do not presuppose a particular normative position. It is sometimes assumed that questions about value are of interest exclusively to philosophers of a consequentialist or teleological bent. But surely, deontologists, contractualists, virtue ethicists and anyone with a serious interest in moral philosophy should pay some consideration to questions about good and bad. And if so, anyone with a serious interest in moral philosophy should pay some consideration to conceptual and structural issues about value, i.e., to formal axiology.
I have already stated that the focus of this thesis is formal axiology. The issues I want to discuss are those in terms of which I outlined the discipline of formal axiology. For the purpose of making the discussions as clear and well-focussed as possible, I want to bracket what I take to be the core issues in meta-ethics; those issues that jointly constitute meta-ethics in the narrow sense of the term. That is, my approach to the formal axiological discussion will be agnostic and unprejudiced with respect to issues concerning the semantics, ontology, epistemology, and psychology of normative judgements.
My reason for adopting this approach is purely pragmatic; the core issues in meta-ethics are much discussed and highly complex. To postpone, at least initially, the final verdicts in these areas therefore strikes me as a wise methodological tactic. But the legitimacy of bracketing these issues in the formal axiological discussion may be doubted. For instance, it might be assumed that questions about intrinsic or final value are of interest only to philosophers inclined to accept some kind of realism about value, or that accepting realism is necessary in order to be entitled to make use of the concept of intrinsic or final value. If these assumptions were correct, my methodological approach would be wrongheaded from the start. But the assumptions, whether real or imagined, are groundless. Theorising about value does not presuppose a realist view of the semantics or the ontology of value. Even if you are an error theorist and believe that there are no value properties in the world, or if you are an expressivist or prescriptivist and believe not only that there are no value properties, but also that evaluative terms do not purport to describe anything, you need not deny that there is a concept of intrinsic or final value that is useful in normative theorising.
Obviously, these different theories will differ in their ultimate analyses of the concept of intrinsic or final value, but a welcome consequence of adopting an unprejudiced theoretical point of departure is that we can, temporarily at least, postpone the pursuits of finding answers to these questions. This is not to sweep difficult problems under the carpet. It is an attempt to steer clear of a massive problem complex in order to enable and facilitate advancements in formal axiology. However, even granted the legitimacy and advisability of adopting an approach that is unprejudiced and agnostic on the core issues in meta-ethics, it is an open question how far we can advance in formal axiology while maintaining this agnosticism. It is surely an unwarranted assumption that all formal axiological theories are innocuous with respect to these issues. But such questions must, I believe, be tackled as they crop up in the course of investion.
It also deserves to be emphasised that the discussions in this introduction and in the essays do not presuppose a particular normative position. It is sometimes assumed that questions about value are of interest exclusively to philosophers of a consequentialist or teleological bent. But surely, deontologists, contractualists, virtue ethicists and anyone with a serious interest in moral philosophy should pay some consideration to questions about good and bad. And if so, anyone with a serious interest in moral philosophy should pay some consideration to conceptual and structural issues about value, i.e., to formal axiology.
However, a caveat must be entered here as well. Just as it is an open question how far we can advance in formal axiology while remaining agnostic on the core issues in meta-ethics, it is an open question how far we can advance in formal axiology while remaining agnostic on normative issues. But once again I find it methodologically advisable to avoid, as far as possible, controversial normative commitments, and to tackle these questions if and when they crop up in the course of our formal axiological investigations.
Moral Skepticism and Moral Disagreement (Brian Leiter)
“Moral realist” explanation for the data—the data being the existence of incompatible philosophical theories about morality—is both less simple and less consilient. First, of course, it posits the existence of moral facts which, according to the more familiar best-explanation argument I have defended elsewhere (“Moral Facts and Best Explanations” in E.F. Paul et al. (eds.), Moral Knowledge [Oxford: Blackwell, 2001]), are not part of the best explanation of other phenomena. Second, the moral realist must suppose that this class of explanatorily narrow moral facts are undetected by large number of philosophers who are otherwise deemed to be rational and epistemically informed. Third, the moral realist must explain why there is a failure of convergence under what appear (and purport) to be epistemically ideal conditions of sustained philosophical inquiry and reflective contemplation across millennia. We can agree with Peter Railton that we lack “canons of induction so powerful that experience would, in the limit, produce convergence on matters of fact among all epistemic agents, no matter what their starting points” (“Moral Realism,” Philosophical Review ), and still note that there exists a remarkable cross-cultural consensus among theorists about fundamental physical laws, principles of chemistry, and biological explanations, as well as mathematical truths, while moral philosophers, to this very day, find no common ground on foundational principles even within the West, let alone cross-culturally.
Moral realists—who, for purposes here, will just mean those who deny skepticism about moral facts—have developed a variety of “defusing explanations” (I borrow the phrase from John Doris and Alexandra Plakias) to block the abductive inference from apparently intractable moral disagreement to skepticism about moral facts. Moral disagreement is, after all, an epistemic phenomenon, from which we propose to draw a metaphysical conclusion. The ‘defusing’ explanations of moral disagreement propose to exploit that fact, by suggesting alternate epistemic explanations for the disagreement, explanations that are compatible with the existence of objective moral facts. I want to consider here the most promising response.
The standard optimistic refrain from philosophers ever since “moral realism” was revived as a serious philosophical position in Anglophone philosophy in the 1980s has been that under improved or idealized epistemic conditions—conditions of full information and rationality—there would be convergence on the objective moral facts.
With respect to very particularized moral disagreements — e.g., about questions of economic or social policy — which often trade on obvious factual ignorance or disagreement about complicated empirical questions, this seems a plausible retort. But for over two hundred years, Kantians and utilitarians have been developing increasingly systematic versions of their respective positions. The Aristotelian tradition in moral philosophy has an even longer history. Utilitarians have become particularly adept at explaining how they can accommodate Kantian and Aristotelian intuitions about particular cases and issues, though in ways that are usually found to be systematically unpersuasive to the competing traditions and which, in any case, do nothing to dissolve the disagreement about the underlying moral criteria and categories. Philosophers in each tradition increasingly talk only to each other, without even trying to convince those in the other traditions. And while there may well be ‘progress’ within traditions — e.g., most utilitarians regard Mill as an improvement on Bentham—there does not appear to be any progress in moral theory, in the sense of a consensus that particular fundamental theories of right action and the good life are deemed better than their predecessors. What we find now are simply the competing traditions — Kantian, Humean, Millian, Aristotelian, Thomist, perhaps now even Nietzschean — who often view their competitors as unintelligible or morally obtuse, but don’t have any actual arguments against the foundational principles of their competitors. There is, in short, no sign — I can think of none — that we are heading towards any epistemic rapprochementbetween these competing moral traditions. Are we really to believe that hyper-rational and reflective moral philosophers, whose lives, in most cases, are devoted to systematic reflection on philosophical questions, many of whom (historically) were independently wealthy (or indifferent to material success) and so immune to crass considerations of livelihood and material self-interest, and most of whom, in the modern era, spend professional careers refining their positions, and have been doing so as a professional class in university settings for well over a century — are we really supposed to believe that they have reached no substantial agreement on any foundational moral principle because of ignorance, irrationality, or partiality?
Does this line of argument prove too much? Is not the apparently intractable disagreement among moral philosophers regarding foundational questions mirrored in many other parts of our discipline? Are not metaphysicians and epistemologists also locked in intractable disagreements of their own? Think of debates between internalists and externalists in epistemology, or between presentists and four-dimensionalists in the philosophy of time. If disagreement among moral philosophers supports an abductive inference to denying the existence of moral facts, what, if anything, blocks that inference in all these other cases?
Here are some of my related blogs:
T.R.U.E. “The Rational Universal Ethics”
I wish to make a difference in others’ lives to give back what was given to me. I wish to bring about change in myself and others. I wish to be bold in what I believe in and to match my actions with my words. I believe that many forms of bigotry and hate such as Ethnocentrism, Racism, Sexism, Monosexism, Monogamist Prejudice, Genderism, Homophobia, Lesbophobia, Transphobia, Genderqueerphobia, and Biphobia not a phobia in the clinical sense but forms of prejudice are still major problems in the world today.
If one observes the virtues of (T. R. U. E. “The Rational Universal Ethics” or “The Responsible Universal Ethics”) that connect to all things as that of the connectedness equality like those which mirror the rays of the sun, fall down equally with a blind but fair indifference.
(what is being expressed is that this sun shining will not favor one over another, no, the same upon everyone offering its light to all plant, animal, human, women, men, single or married, homosexual, bisexual, heterosexual, nonreligious, religious, people of means and those without, able-bodied and those which special needs, people of color, and those who are not, those with access to resources and those which out, young and elderly, etc.)
All who wish to follow T. R. U. E. thus embodying a universalize equalitarian standard of ethics should strive to be like a ray of connected light to the world, shining equally and freedom to all of the world. By such efforts a nonbiased unitive ethical approach is possible, one would have an increase in positive feelings to help others understanding equalitarian connectedness.
If you don’t think different you will not behave differently, if you have never lived differently it is hard to see things differently and if you do not strive to understand difference one is thus unknowingly or not bound by limited encapsulation.
This issue of equality needs more than a voice of reason; it needs the momentum of action and more action. Take the statement “A woman is as good as a man” demonstrates that as a whole society believes that a woman must prove that she is as good as a man. This thought alone proves society believes a man is good without having to prove himself.
However, I like saying the statement the opposite way, “A man is as good as a woman” to many it sounds odd for it confronts learned biases and gives the impression that women are superior to men. I wish to bring change for all so no one has to prove worth to be equal.
I believe equal is a behavior and not merely a state of being. Thus everyone can be treated in an equalitarian manner and devoid of the need for the quantifying requirement of fitting someone’s value assessments to achieve an equal status.
The So-Called Love of bible god is Actually a Pseudo Love.
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