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Ethics: DARE YOU IGNORE IT?

User Thread
 34yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that wittgensteins is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Ethics: DARE YOU IGNORE IT?
Ethics should be sung, not said. Ethics is the frail raft which the virtuous man trusts through churning seas. It pulls us down, it stops us from angling for the stars, even as it puts solid ground beneath our feet. It frees us, by confining us to true freedom.

But I must not figure forth wild and winnowing webs of words. I must speak simply, in the language of truth, and put my finger on what is the case so that my readers may set their eyes upon it.

There will, of course, be a certain amount of pedantry and terminological wrangling. Still, to paint a masterpiece one must first dirty the palette.

So what is ethics? What is its domain? Does it have a domain? Is it less a subject matter and more a way of thinking? Such questions seem valid, and our inability to provide any clear answer to them is prima facie crippling. For clearly when we talk about ethics we are not discoursing on something given in nature, like Botany. Nor does it comprise purely formal knowledge like mathematics. Therefore, ethics is really not a subject at all, or at best only a pseudo-subject.

I think it is fair to say that such an objection cuts no ice. For if what we are really saying when we deny that ethics can be a source of knowledge is that the propositions it proffers have no meaning. This is easily missed, because it is usually assumed by exponents of such an argument that sentences bear the same relationship to thought as a picture to the reality it represents. Words 'stand for' things which can be arranged or concatenated in space; and the relation between things in reality correspond to the relation between the words, purporting to describe it, in a given statement. So meaning is just reference, as Frege called it. This is not the place to go into a detailed scalpel job. Suffice it to say that the said theory cannot account for performative statements, commands, or even such quotidian phrases as 'hello'; and it would just be crazy to bracket them as meaningless. To deny ethics on these grounds, then, is not sustainable. As Isaiah Berlin has pointed out, we seem to be saying something when we make normative claims; and if we aren't, it needs to be shown why not.

An open question:
Can an ethical statement be 'true'? Is it simply 'true' that 'thou shalt not kill' in the same way that 'the speed of light is 186,000 miles per second' is true?

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 28yrs • M •
bswildman is new to Captain Cynic and has less than 15 posts. New members have certain restrictions and must fill in CAPTCHAs to use various parts of the site.
First off, the question should be "dare you ignore them?" Ethics is plural. Secondly, society has given us a set of rules that apply to everyone, so what difference does an individual's moral rules make. The government laws are supposedly fail safe

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 34yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that wittgensteins is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Ethics are plural and yet apply to everyone? The law is fail safe? Such an assertion scotches precisely what the issue is here: which is, to wit, that moral injunctions, if they are mere laws, command rather than demand our assent. Why obey a law? I think what is tacitly assumed by most is that laws, if they are followed, make possible a better life for all than if each answered purely to his own lusts. So it is rational for us to obey the law, at least in the long term. Yes?

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 28yrs • M •
bswildman is new to Captain Cynic and has less than 15 posts. New members have certain restrictions and must fill in CAPTCHAs to use various parts of the site.
Obviously laws are not fail safe. Thats why they were described as supposedly fail safe. Ethics apply to no one but to the person who possess that particular set of ethics. Obviously the group doesn't rationally make a decision to follow the rules for everyone's sake. There is always the person who chooses not to follow those rules which is why we have punishment for broken laws

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 34yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that wittgensteins is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
It would be remarkable if ethics were - as you seem to be saying - contingent, to be cashed out qua the individual in question, and yet there being laws which apply equally to all. Are such laws value neutral regulations, which constitute an overlap in otherwise incommensurable moral schemes?

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 28yrs • M •
bswildman is new to Captain Cynic and has less than 15 posts. New members have certain restrictions and must fill in CAPTCHAs to use various parts of the site.
When I said ethics are only applicable to those who possess them, I meant the punishment of their broken ethics. Obviously, they are the only people who can expect to behave by those rules, and someone else breaks that person's rule...who cares? Basically I am saying we can throw ethics out the window because they only apply to the individual and only if he feels the need to have a good perception of himself. Laws were created by a neutral party and are the only fair way to govern. We don't live in a utopia where people can just be held to their consience. People must be held to their actions which either are or are not legal. Laws cover almost all major religious rules. Like your "thou shalt not kill"

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 34yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that wittgensteins is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
But you're missing the point. You're throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Throw out ethics and you deprive yourself of any notion of rational action. WHY obey the law? Is it just conformism? Surely the law is parasitic on personal morality, which answers the tribunal of reason, and for which any command is entirely arbitrary without its approval.

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 39yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that Squarepants is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
The ethical law has its foundations built on emotion, treat others how you want others to treat you and that law differs from person to person. Even the individuals ethics is constantly changing through different experiences and moods.

'Thou shalt not kill', but its ok to eat meat, kill your enemy at times of war, give the death sentence to has been ruthless dictators in court.

Power is the decider of ethics and that includes emotional power. 'A persons integrity is never more tested than when they have power over voicless creatures'.

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"I hungry"
 33yrs • M •
Matt1705 is new to Captain Cynic and has less than 15 posts. New members have certain restrictions and must fill in CAPTCHAs to use various parts of the site.
Can an ethical statement be 'true'? Is it simply 'true' that 'thou shalt not kill' in the same way that 'the speed of light is 186,000 miles per second' is true?

The latter fact is a truth concerning physical reality. Whereas the former, alludes to a common moral dictating the practice of murder as immoral. A common moral in itself is not a truth of physical reality, but social reality, anything derived from it can not be in the same way true as the speed of light. However, this does not mean that "thous shalt not kill", or rather the moral it alludes to, is not true. If it is true, then it is true but in a different way than the speed of light is true.

I observe the operations of moral judgement in social life much more readily than I can ever observe the speed of light. Although the latter is fact, it is only something I can know intellectually, not something I can say I experience beyond the fact that it is. I experience morals though social infuence in a much greater way than knowing the speed of light. It seems that I can say the speed of light is true but the most I can say about morals is that it is true I experience them.

It is interesting to observe that without people there would be no need for morals and yet many people's personal beliefs rest on the idea that morality is beyond humanity, exists outside our realm and has some metaphysical being.
Just a thought.

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 38yrs • F •
A CTL of 1 means that pupa ria is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Our need of ethics is a truth. It's postulation and use varies from one culture to another, from one era to another . Incest was banned by the church in the middle ages. it is an artificial law against nature. It's domain being social order. It is a requiary as you said for freedom but only in Your cultural frame. If you go to a totaly different culture than yours, per say a tribe in Africa or Mongolia, would your ethics still be efficient? In China they eat monkey brains while the animal is still alive, in the U.S this will be regarded as a crime, cruelty against animals.
"thou shall not kill". This cannot apply on a soldier because killing for a soldier is a necessity. Is it pragmatism?
as you said "ethics should be sang", and it's only by them that you will have an audience, otherwise you will be howling at the moon.


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"I'm the mirror that will make you invisible"
 32yrs • M •
NeoSober is new to Captain Cynic and has less than 15 posts. New members have certain restrictions and must fill in CAPTCHAs to use various parts of the site.
Youve got to be kidding me... "Ethics" is made up just to keep people in line just like all beleifs in a higher power. Just a set of social rules silently agreed on. Soldiers are allowed to kill because they are killing people we dont know so who cares? Actually the church has a few things on this subject as well Nothing to do with ethics really, when you talk about ethics you should just skip the BS and start talking about religion, that is what has dictated "ethics" for a couple thousand years.

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""why""
 38yrs • F •
A CTL of 1 means that pupa ria is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Freedom of speech made some people treat their mouth like a sewer pipe will it be unethical if i disrespect that freedom?
we would refer to religion if the power was still with the church. Is it still? and then why would we refer to religion? are you saying that we lack the sense of thinking whats good for us? these people who set these ethics are human too. What makes them better than you? a responsible and self-aware person is able to create his own ethics and they would reconcile with that of the collectivity...no man is an island thing.

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"I'm the mirror that will make you invisible"
 31yrs • M
A CTL of 1 means that awakendwraith is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
"no man is an island thing."

How do you know this?

"Can an ethical statement be 'true'? Is it simply 'true' that 'thou shalt not kill' in the same way that 'the speed of light is 186,000 miles per second' is true?"

A true ethical statement can not be true in the sense that the speed of light is 186,000 miles per second. An ethic, is open to debate, there for there is a different point of view somewhere. The speed of light on the other hand is undoubtingly correct in being called 186,000 miles per second.

It seems obvious to me the difference between the two. What sort of confusion is someone feeling with this question? Is there something I'm missing.

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"Why cry for those that often cry? Instead, help them smile, and smile for those that smile."
 38yrs • F •
A CTL of 1 means that pupa ria is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
It is a fact unless you are Mowgli. you are an involved member of your society and all of the mankind. The decision you take for yourslef will not only change you it will also change others around you in a direct or indirect way. Even if you chose to live in exile you have to, for example, financialy support yourself, hence the need of exchanging services. In your head you can be an island or a deserted empire, no one will care.

You are missing out on nothing awakened. This is just surgery on a virtuality and i'm an intern. Confusions are made when a concept has a gap in it. False problems should be created in order to validate the rigor of what's being questionned.

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"I'm the mirror that will make you invisible"
 34yrs • M •
A CTL of 1 means that wittgensteins is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
I've been thinking about how to put ethics on a firm footing and it certainly is difficult. After much teeth-gnashing and vacillation, I have come to the not-very-radical conclusion that the good, to which moral people direct their actions, is in some deep sense reducible to the beautiful. When we perform a moral act of any significance, we have in mind an image of ourselves in relation to the world which is not itself, but is indeed more, than the sum of its parts. Something about a state of affairs recommends itself to us: what is it? The response is nothing if not systematic. In the social contract tradition, we are trained to see ourselves as actuated by self-interest, obeying the law because, in the long-run, it protects us too. But, I say, how do we explain guilt? Is it an off-shoot of evolution? Is it implanted in us by God? I say neither; I say that it is the world, the universe, the cosmos as whole, grasped incompletely and with the necessary qualifictions, that is the subject of ethics. Just as a work art intimates the wider order of which it is a part, so the "good" vouchsafes conditions, admittedly highly complex, which are central to the composition of the universe.

Clearly, then, the claims of ethics cannot be proved or demonstrated. It is an area of enquiry quite different from others. But that no more imperils its dominion over human actions than the inability of critics to agree about works of art renders criticism nugatory.

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Ethics: DARE YOU IGNORE IT?
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