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A Case for Inherent Morality
#21
RE: A Case for Inherent Morality
(June 20, 2021 at 11:10 am)JohnJubinsky Wrote:
(June 20, 2021 at 7:01 am)brewer Wrote: This?: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language_a...ion_device

I don't think that the ability to talk has anything to do with morality.

I don’t think that’s what Bel was getting at. His point seems to be that IF humans have an innate ability to acquire language, there’s no reason to suppose that they aren’t born with a similar ability to acquire moral sense.

Personally, I suspect both notions are utter rubbish, but that’s just me.

Boru
‘Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.’ Ralph Waldo Emerson
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#22
RE: A Case for Inherent Morality
(June 19, 2021 at 8:47 pm)Belacqua Wrote:
(June 19, 2021 at 7:58 pm)JohnJubinsky Wrote: I have seen a lot of uncaring parents but their young children are still happy innocent things for a significant period after they are born. I am not saying that all children are born good. I'm saying most are because they are genetically predisposed to it. (Of course not all would be genetically predisposed to it.)

A number of responses here, though I'm not arguing with you. 

First,  I don't know if their "happy innocent" condition can necessarily be called a morality. Happy is more like a mood. Innocent might suggest that they haven't been challenged or tested yet. 

I think some children are born more cheerful than others (while others are sort of grouchy from birth). So as long as their most basic needs are met, they will come across as happy and innocent. And that is probably a genetic disposition, in large part. 

The fact that the parents are uncaring might not affect a pre-moral happy infant so much (again, so long as the basic needs are met) but when we're talking about morality that would be likely to have an effect later on. They would learn, for example, that one need not show care for those around one. 

Of course there are a million variables. Siblings or grandparents or baby sitters, even what they see on kiddy TV. Even Teletubbies teaches stuff like sharing. 

So I guess I'm curious about where we draw the line between a sort of pre-moral happy disposition, and morality per se, which involves choices in how we treat people.

I don't agree that one can be happy and innocent without being moral.
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#23
RE: A Case for Inherent Morality
(June 20, 2021 at 5:48 pm)JohnJubinsky Wrote:
(June 19, 2021 at 8:47 pm)Belacqua Wrote: A number of responses here, though I'm not arguing with you. 

First,  I don't know if their "happy innocent" condition can necessarily be called a morality. Happy is more like a mood. Innocent might suggest that they haven't been challenged or tested yet. 

I think some children are born more cheerful than others (while others are sort of grouchy from birth). So as long as their most basic needs are met, they will come across as happy and innocent. And that is probably a genetic disposition, in large part. 

The fact that the parents are uncaring might not affect a pre-moral happy infant so much (again, so long as the basic needs are met) but when we're talking about morality that would be likely to have an effect later on. They would learn, for example, that one need not show care for those around one. 

Of course there are a million variables. Siblings or grandparents or baby sitters, even what they see on kiddy TV. Even Teletubbies teaches stuff like sharing. 

So I guess I'm curious about where we draw the line between a sort of pre-moral happy disposition, and morality per se, which involves choices in how we treat people.

I don't agree that one can be happy and innocent without being moral.


It doesn’t seem all that problematic. ‘Happy’, ‘innocent’ and ‘moral’ are all relative, subjective states. 

Boru
‘Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.’ Ralph Waldo Emerson
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#24
RE: A Case for Inherent Morality
(June 20, 2021 at 5:48 pm)JohnJubinsky Wrote: I don't agree that one can be happy and innocent without being moral.

I guess this depends on some definitions.

If happiness is an overall condition, like Aristotle's eudaemonia, then we might argue that one must be moral to be happy. On the other hand, we can't say that babies have eudaemonia, so that's something that would have to be worked out.

If happiness is a mood, then I think immoral people can be happy. They feel cheerful and good, despite doing bad things. it's easy for people to justify their bad acts and persuade themselves it's OK to be happy. I suspect a lot of people are this way.

As for small babies being innocent and moral, I would argue that they are innocent because they haven't done anything yet. They have few or no concepts in their minds with which to be guilty. But I wouldn't call them moral, because to me morality implies a way of thinking about what's good, and babies don't have that yet. They are pre-moral.

Or maybe you are defining morality differently? Do you have a view where someone who has taken no actions and has no views of right and wrong can be described as moral?
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#25
RE: A Case for Inherent Morality
(June 20, 2021 at 6:28 pm)Belacqua Wrote:
(June 20, 2021 at 5:48 pm)JohnJubinsky Wrote: I don't agree that one can be happy and innocent without being moral.

I guess this depends on some definitions.

If happiness is an overall condition, like Aristotle's eudaemonia, then we might argue that one must be moral to be happy. On the other hand, we can't say that babies have eudaemonia, so that's something that would have to be worked out.

If happiness is a mood, then I think immoral people can be happy. They feel cheerful and good, despite doing bad things. it's easy for people to justify their bad acts and persuade themselves it's OK to be happy. I suspect a lot of people are this way.

As for small babies being innocent and moral, I would argue that they are innocent because they haven't done anything yet. They have few or no concepts in their minds with which to be guilty. But I wouldn't call them moral, because to me morality implies a way of thinking about what's good, and babies don't have that yet. They are pre-moral.

Or maybe you are defining morality differently? Do you have a view where someone who has taken no actions and has no views of right and wrong can be described as moral?

My point was that through natural selection (founded in genetics) most babies have an inborn sense of right and wrong. Additionally, I don't believe that an action has to be taken to become immoral because we are making moral decisions in our thoughts every minute of our lives. We can become immoral without doing anything except thinking. There is the problem of definitions. One can hide behind that. However, a famous answer to it that I know you have heard is that "I can't define it but I know it when I see it"
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#26
RE: A Case for Inherent Morality
(June 20, 2021 at 7:46 pm)JohnJubinsky Wrote: My point was that through natural selection (founded in genetics) most babies have an inborn sense of right and wrong.

How do you know this to be true? 

I'm not sure that babies who are pre-verbal, who have few or no conceptions in their minds, can be said to be moral.

That they evolved to develop morality, as they acquire concepts, seems likely. But I don't see how morality is present from birth, merely from DNA.

What argument do you have to demonstrate your position?
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#27
RE: A Case for Inherent Morality
(June 20, 2021 at 7:55 pm)Belacqua Wrote:
(June 20, 2021 at 7:46 pm)JohnJubinsky Wrote: My point was that through natural selection (founded in genetics) most babies have an inborn sense of right and wrong.

How do you know this to be true? 

I'm not sure that babies who are pre-verbal, who have few or no conceptions in their minds, can be said to be moral.

That they evolved to develop morality, as they acquire concepts, seems likely. But I don't see how morality is present from birth, merely from DNA.

What argument do you have to demonstrate your position?

I don't know it to be true. It is a theory to me that I believe to be true. The argument that I have to demonstrate my position is presented in my original post.
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#28
RE: A Case for Inherent Morality
(June 20, 2021 at 7:46 pm)JohnJubinsky Wrote: My point was that through natural selection (founded in genetics) most babies have an inborn sense of right and wrong. Additionally, I don't believe that an action has to be taken to become immoral because we are making moral decisions in our thoughts every minute of our lives. We can become immoral without doing anything except thinking. There is the problem of definitions. One can hide behind that. However, a famous answer to it that I know you have heard is that "I can't define it but I know it when I see it"

Speaking for myself, you'll need to provide something more than 'it just feels that way' before I'll consider a genetic component for morals.

I've read some psyc studies claiming infants/toddlers behavior demonstrates the ability to recognize good or bad actions, but that does not mean that they possess genetically derived morals.

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#29
RE: A Case for Inherent Morality
(June 20, 2021 at 8:02 pm)JohnJubinsky Wrote:
(June 20, 2021 at 7:55 pm)Belacqua Wrote: How do you know this to be true? 

I'm not sure that babies who are pre-verbal, who have few or no conceptions in their minds, can be said to be moral.

That they evolved to develop morality, as they acquire concepts, seems likely. But I don't see how morality is present from birth, merely from DNA.

What argument do you have to demonstrate your position?

I don't know it to be true. It is a theory to me that I believe to be true. The argument that I have to demonstrate my position is presented in my original post.

That wasn’t really an argument (and certainly not a theory) as much as a series of unsupported assertions.

Boru
‘Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.’ Ralph Waldo Emerson
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#30
RE: A Case for Inherent Morality
(June 20, 2021 at 8:08 pm)brewer Wrote:
(June 20, 2021 at 7:46 pm)JohnJubinsky Wrote: My point was that through natural selection (founded in genetics) most babies have an inborn sense of right and wrong. Additionally, I don't believe that an action has to be taken to become immoral because we are making moral decisions in our thoughts every minute of our lives. We can become immoral without doing anything except thinking. There is the problem of definitions. One can hide behind that. However, a famous answer to it that I know you have heard is that "I can't define it but I know it when I see it"

Speaking for myself, you'll need to provide something more than 'it just feels that way' before I'll consider a genetic component for morals.

I've read some psyc studies claiming infants/toddlers behavior demonstrates the ability to recognize good or bad actions, but that does not mean that they possess morals.

I can only ask you to read my original post more carefully. It is very well founded in natural selection which is overwhelmingly  accepted by the scientific community.
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