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Thread: Are you morally superior to a crack whore?

  1. Top | #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by SLD View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SLD View Post

    OK, but, if society has morals, however decided upon and what ever they are, then those who adhere to those morals are morally superior to those who do not.

    As I said above, I think people’s issues are with the phrase "morally superior to" rather than to the actual content. We all make moral judgments about others and in doing so we are asserting our moral superiority, even if only silently condemning some others actions.

    SLD
    Then moral superiority is nothing more than majority behavior. That can get tricky because we have majorities all over the place. Shall we use the entire human race, states, this neighborhood, that tribe over there, etc.? Moral superiority is relative so how valuable is it? All those different groups have different behaviors and therefore different morals. Who becomes superior to who?

    Morals are really environmental dictates. A tribe that abandons old people and deformed newborns is no less moral than a society that does not.

    Well social consensus would be more than a bare majority. It would be something the vast majority would agree upon. That can change over time obviously but that’s another issue.

    SLD
    Interestingly, however, it can never change over time unless people outside that majority consensus are in fact morally superior, and then gather a new majority around their new morality. It is true that those new morals can come from within that majority, but those defectors from the old majority immediately become a minority holding a superior morality.

  2. Top | #72
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    Interesting how the dialogue is centered on the notion of superiority.

  3. Top | #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by SLD
    No. that statement almost by definition is absolutely true. That our moral views have changed overtime is a very, very different issue, and utterly irrelevant. You may no longer see such behavior as immoral. But during those times when people viewed such things as homosexuality as immoral, then such people who did not engage in such behavior would have logically concluded that they were morally superior.
    That would not have been the logical conclusion, no. But you miss the point. Even if they had concluded that they were morally superior, that does not imply that they were morally superior. The claim "if society has morals, however decided upon and what ever they are, then those who adhere to those morals are morally superior to those who do not." is false, and would remain false even if those who adhere to those morals believe that they are morally superior to those who do not. There is a crucial difference between the question of whether some some people (say, A1,...,An) believe that B1,..., Bm (which might or might not overlap with A_1, .., A_n) are morally superior to C_1, ..., C_k, and whether B1,..., Bm are morally superior to C1, ..., Ck. The first question is a question about the beliefs of A1, .., An. The second question is a question about moral truth, not about the beliefs of a group - however numerous they might be.


    Quote Originally Posted by SLD
    Yes, but I premised my original point that such examples were not the case. Granted we can almost always find someone else who is engaging in far worse immoral behavior. Maybe you’re a genocidal maniac in which case I dare assume most people would consider a crack whore to be far more morally superior. WRT my question above, I’m assuming you’re not a slaveowner or worse. Now maybe you can find a slaveowner who engaged in some morally praiseworthy deed. US Grant once owned a slave, but later fought against slavery and helped significantly to bring about its destruction.
    But that misses the point. The point is that by claiming something is immoral, one does not claim one is morally superior to those who engage in that something.


    Quote Originally Posted by SLD
    But the example I gave above was a modern US 21st century slaveholder, of which there have been a few examples. So are YOU (not some hypothetical other person) morally superior to a slaveowner? All other things being equal, I’d argue you should view yourself as morally superior to such a person.
    You mean, an adult slaveowner?
    In practice, probably yes, though not of necessity. The person who owns slaves very probably is behaving immorally (though I can easily construct counterexamples).
    However, that example misses the point entirely because:

    1. It asks your interlocutor (me, in this case), and by doing so, puts pressure on that person to lie if the answer is otherwise. But for example, if I were a genocidal maniac, I may well not consider myself probably better than the slave owner, but you would be putting very serious pressure on me to lie about it, lest not be exposed.

    2. Even more crucially (because it does not apply just to genocidal maniacs and the like), your example involves behavior (i.e., owning slaves) that is (usually) so immoral that it's very improbable that I might do worse. But forget about owning slaves, and go for a much less immoral behavior. Consider, for example, an adult who has had time to think about religion, and is a Christian (or a Muslim, or any other religion). I believe that that person is almost certainly behaving immorally by failing to assess the truth of Christianity with a sufficiently cool head. That results in their remaining Christians. In fact, I would say at least (being very conservative here; in reality, I think it's much higher) 90% of Christians are being immoral. But I do not consider myself morally superior to 90% of Christians. It might well be that much more than 10% of them compensate in another manner, by not being immoral where I am, or by supererogatory actions, etc.

  4. Top | #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Interesting how the dialogue is centered on the notion of superiority.

    GLOOP!

  5. Top | #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    That would not have been the logical conclusion, no. But you miss the point. Even if they had concluded that they were morally superior, that does not imply that they were morally superior. The claim "if society has morals, however decided upon and what ever they are, then those who adhere to those morals are morally superior to those who do not." is false, and would remain false even if those who adhere to those morals believe that they are morally superior to those who do not. There is a crucial difference between the question of whether some some people (say, A1,...,An) believe that B1,..., Bm (which might or might not overlap with A_1, .., A_n) are morally superior to C_1, ..., C_k, and whether B1,..., Bm are morally superior to C1, ..., Ck. The first question is a question about the beliefs of A1, .., An. The second question is a question about moral truth, not about the beliefs of a group - however numerous they might be.



    But that misses the point. The point is that by claiming something is immoral, one does not claim one is morally superior to those who engage in that something.


    Quote Originally Posted by SLD
    But the example I gave above was a modern US 21st century slaveholder, of which there have been a few examples. So are YOU (not some hypothetical other person) morally superior to a slaveowner? All other things being equal, I’d argue you should view yourself as morally superior to such a person.
    You mean, an adult slaveowner?
    In practice, probably yes, though not of necessity. The person who owns slaves very probably is behaving immorally (though I can easily construct counterexamples).
    However, that example misses the point entirely because:

    1. It asks your interlocutor (me, in this case), and by doing so, puts pressure on that person to lie if the answer is otherwise. But for example, if I were a genocidal maniac, I may well not consider myself probably better than the slave owner, but you would be putting very serious pressure on me to lie about it, lest not be exposed.

    2. Even more crucially (because it does not apply just to genocidal maniacs and the like), your example involves behavior (i.e., owning slaves) that is (usually) so immoral that it's very improbable that I might do worse. But forget about owning slaves, and go for a much less immoral behavior. Consider, for example, an adult who has had time to think about religion, and is a Christian (or a Muslim, or any other religion). I believe that that person is almost certainly behaving immorally by failing to assess the truth of Christianity with a sufficiently cool head. That results in their remaining Christians. In fact, I would say at least (being very conservative here; in reality, I think it's much higher) 90% of Christians are being immoral. But I do not consider myself morally superior to 90% of Christians. It might well be that much more than 10% of them compensate in another manner, by not being immoral where I am, or by supererogatory actions, etc.
    Well, if it makes you feel better, I think you’re morally superior to 90% of Christians.

    SLD

  6. Top | #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by fromderinside View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Interesting how the dialogue is centered on the notion of superiority.

    GLOOP!
    Speaking for myself, the problem with Christians is the presumption of moral superiority and position of an absolute moral high ground.

    While I detest adults who sell drugs to kids and would like to have their throats cut and the body left in the gutter, I do not feel superior. It for me is a moral position, I am not 'superior' to anyone. Lest I become like Christians.

    As to 'crack whore', there butfor the grace of god go I.

    Literature is full of the stories of the once proud and self righteous who fall. I have seen it enough.

    I worked in a high stress division of Lockheed in the 80s. Some people broke under the stress. Alcohol. One guy I knew had a breakdown and was running down the street screaming. Somebody blew his brains out in a car.

    Unless you have been tested a feeling of superiority is about as meaningful as a Christian hypocrite.

  7. Top | #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Somebody blew his brains out in a car.
    He didn't notice that the lights had changed.

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