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Thread: If moral realism is false, what is the job of moral philosophy?

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    Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Interaction with minimal friction or conflict between people and nation states.

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    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    Yes, possibly. Religions that included codes were organized before the rise of city states and early city states were most likely tribal. The obvious rise of organized religion probably occurred around the time writing arrived, a time which corresponds pretty well with the rise of cities, permitting inclusion of many spoken folk tales be included within their structures making them most likely becoming fixed common practice narratives in place.

    DBT, you capture my thinking pretty well though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fromderinside View Post
    What is the job of moral philosophy?

    The job of moral philosophy is to lessen the effects on members of tribal brutality.
    That was and still is the self-imposed and openly declared task of two of the Abrahamic religions, and they were, and are, brutal about that task. The Hebrews were no better if the Bible is any guide and their descendants, lo and behold, are the same about land and property and morality of it all. Ain't human nature wonderful?

    And the job of moral philosophy is to give employment to philosophers.
    Last edited by 4321lynx; 04-01-2020 at 04:21 PM.

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    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    Ah, the good old days. Drunks on the street collecting coin and adherents as they burped on about The Good Life. God. Even Gods for all occasions, and, yes, why one should behave this way or that. Then came the age of F4s and minstals and drafts when saviors popped out of the sands speaking of fish, loaves and the promised land in Oregon. A place where milk, honey, a woman in every hovel, and looking good while eating grapes were things if you just joined dropped, turned and served meth man.

    I remember it as if it were yesterday dreaming there in upstate New York.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    I'm not sure I would go along with that. I don't think we use logic as much as we might like to think. I'd say we use emotion a lot, possibly much more.

    I would say that we form our moral opinions very quickly, based on 'gut instinct' and/or intuition. We may reason about them subsequently but I think that (a) it's post-hoc, (b) doesn't easily or often lead us to a new or different opinion (the original one takes quite some shifting in other words) and (c) often isn't logical, except in the colloquial sense.
    It might be so in everyday life. But if we try to carefully construct a moral system, then I think more deliberation is called for.

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    Senior Member Tharmas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fromderinside View Post
    Yes, possibly. Religions that included codes were organized before the rise of city states and early city states were most likely tribal. The obvious rise of organized religion probably occurred around the time writing arrived, a time which corresponds pretty well with the rise of cities, permitting inclusion of many spoken folk tales be included within their structures making them most likely becoming fixed common practice narratives in place.

    DBT, you capture my thinking pretty well though.
    Here's an interesting article that addresses that very question.

    Small societies, so the argument goes, were like fish bowls. It was almost impossible to engage in antisocial behaviour without being caught and punished – whether by acts of collective violence, retaliation or long-term reputational damage and risk of ostracism. But as societies grew larger and interactions between relative strangers became more commonplace, would-be transgressors could hope to evade detection under the cloak of anonymity. For cooperation to be possible under such conditions, some system of surveillance was required.

    What better than to come up with a supernatural “eye in the sky” – a god who can see inside people’s minds and issue punishments and rewards accordingly.
    The authors use a history database - Seshat - that's recently been developed.

    Our statistical analysis showed that beliefs in supernatural punishment tend to appear only when societies make the transition from simple to complex, around the time when the overall population exceed about a million individuals.
    Anyway, it looks like an interesting read.

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    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    Psychological police here. Please report all incidents of instinct attribution to your local shrink. Something is definitely wrong.

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    Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Instinct being another form of memory.

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    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    Still, You shouldn't recall it.

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    Deus Meumque Jus
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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Are you conflating "objective" with "real"? If so, why? Human constructs are always subjective, but they are also real. I am not stating a fact when I say that abortion is a moral evil. But you are stating a fact if you then observe that I object to abortion. I see no reason why, without conceding the existence of some absolute morality, a philosopher couldn't discuss, debate, and even advocate for the relative benefits of one moral perspective over another. If you see the purpose of moral discussion as the attainment of certain goals within certain contexts, rather than the attainment of some illusory perfection, you realize pretty quickly that the latter was a theist distraction from the real goal anyway. Humans are not made happy by being "objectively perfect", but by meeting their needs and those of others.
    This gets to the heart of the matter pretty concisely, imo.

    As far as philosophy is concerned with a subjective, contextual morality, I don't think very much so. Moral code is culturally constructed and enforced, regardless of what someone managed to write down in a book somewhere. Moral philosophers might try to speak authoritatively to sell books, but their impact is usually negligible.

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