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Thread: Can thoughts be moral or immoral?

  1. Top | #21
    Super Moderator ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metaphor View Post
    Yeast makes bread fluffy, but yeast is not fluffy.
    Goodness knows why you think that is any kind of response to what I said.

    As a type of analogy, it doesn't even necessarily hold anyway. For example, green food colouring makes cake green, and green food colouring is green.
    "Let us hope that it is not so. Or if it is, let us pray that the fact does not become generally known."

  2. Top | #22
    Super Moderator ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metaphor View Post
    That thoughts can be about morality does not mean thoughts can be moral.
    Rewording previous claims is not advancing an argument, and ignoring points made by others in the interim is arguably intellectually dishonest.

    To summarise what has already been posted: Morality is, it seems reasonable to say, only what is judged to be moral or immoral, and thoughts can be and commonly are judged to be morally wrong, not least by the person themselves, but also legally, by others. Examples of both have been given already. Furthermore, a dictionary definition has been given which states that the (mental) holding of a principle can be said to be moral. And also, how thinking is both a behaviour and an (often deliberate) activity has been described. Plus, your food analogy has been shown by counterexample to be logically flawed.
    "Let us hope that it is not so. Or if it is, let us pray that the fact does not become generally known."

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    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    Thoughts only if acted upon can be treated by rules governing morality. I've never identified a moral thought in the laboratory and I've used EEG and MRI methodologies. One might argue that software capable of predicting action might be that method, but it still depends on execution or behavior to bring the pot to boil.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Metaphor View Post
    Yeast makes bread fluffy, but yeast is not fluffy.
    Goodness knows why you think that is any kind of response to what I said.

    As a type of analogy, it doesn't even necessarily hold anyway. For example, green food colouring makes cake green, and green food colouring is green.
    Oy gevalt. Oy gevalt.

    The purpose of the analogy is to refute that something that imparts a quality to something else does not have to have the quality itself. laughing dog seemed to think he had made some kind of unassailable claim that because intent made actions moral or immoral, intent itself had to be moral or immoral.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Metaphor View Post
    That thoughts can be about morality does not mean thoughts can be moral.
    Rewording previous claims is not advancing an argument, and ignoring points made by others in the interim is arguably intellectually dishonest.

    To summarise what has already been posted: Morality is, it seems reasonable to say, only what is judged to be moral or immoral, and thoughts can be and commonly are judged to be morally wrong, not least by the person themselves, but also legally, by others. Examples of both have been given already. Furthermore, a dictionary definition has been given which states that the (mental) holding of a principle can be said to be moral. And also, how thinking is both a behaviour and an (often deliberate) activity has been described. Plus, your food analogy has been shown by counterexample to be logically flawed.
    If somebody decides that thoughts can be immoral, they are using language in a personal way that does not accord with common usage.

    A "guilty mind" in law does not mean thoughts are moral or immoral. It is a simple category error.

    The dictionary definition you are referring to, I assume, is laughing dog's:

    One definition of moral is

    adjective
    adjective: moral

    1.
    concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of human character.
    Right and wrong behaviour and human character. A moral person is somebody who can be characterised as somebody who tends to behave morally.

    Thoughts about morality are not moral or immoral. It is a category error. Thoughts about the colour green are not green thoughts.

    My food example was not logically flawed. It would have been flawed had I been trying to argue that nothing that imparts a property can contain the property itself, which would be a stupid thing to argue. It was to show that something that imparts a particular value does not necessarily have to have the value itself.

  6. Top | #26
    Super Moderator ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metaphor View Post

    If somebody decides that thoughts can be immoral, they are using language in a personal way that does not accord with common usage.

    A "guilty mind" in law does not mean thoughts are moral or immoral. It is a simple category error.

    The dictionary definition you are referring to, I assume, is laughing dog's:

    One definition of moral is

    adjective
    adjective: moral

    1.
    concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of human character.
    Right and wrong behaviour and human character. A moral person is somebody who can be characterised as somebody who tends to behave morally.

    Thoughts about morality are not moral or immoral. It is a category error. Thoughts about the colour green are not green thoughts.

    My food example was not logically flawed. It would have been flawed had I been trying to argue that nothing that imparts a property can contain the property itself, which would be a stupid thing to argue. It was to show that something that imparts a particular value does not necessarily have to have the value itself.
    What are you even on about? You're mostly just rehashing things you've already said that have been answered. For example, there is no point in (again) resorting to a dictionary definition that suits you after I have provided a different one that's also from an everyday dictionary.

    I was citing your definition.

    Your food example was logically flawed if it was being used to support, by analogy, your claim that thoughts are not moral.

    Mens rea applies to crimes, so it's clearly and obviously not a category error.
    "Let us hope that it is not so. Or if it is, let us pray that the fact does not become generally known."

  7. Top | #27
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    I'll keep it simple. The things that we think aren't moral or immoral. They are just thoughts that pop into our heads. We have no control over our thoughts. So, if someone makes me angry due to their behavior and my anger makes me wish the person was dead, but I don't tell the person that I want him dead and I don't try to hurt or kill him, that is just a harmless thought, one that might calm me down in my moment of anger and help me move on to something better. As long as no action is taken as the result of our unpleasant thoughts, I don't see how an argument can be made that having such thoughts is immoral.

    The same goes if it's the other way around. If I see a stray dog who looks hungry by the side of the road and I feel sadness and wish that the dog could be helped but I do nothing to help that dog, then my thoughts were worthless, as my empathy did not motivate me to help the dog. Feeling sad for a victim doesn't equate with being moral, as we can't help what we think, as far as I can tell.

    I don't see how an argument can be made that thoughts alone are moral or immoral if those thoughts don't lead to any action.

  8. Top | #28
    Super Moderator ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post
    I don't see how an argument can be made that thoughts alone are moral or immoral if those thoughts don't lead to any action.
    People often morally judge their own thoughts and attitudes. Prejudices or other opinions they may hold, for example. And others will judge them too, if they hear about them in, for example, situations where they are being aired as views, away from scenarios that would involve action (or inaction). Religion has appropriated it, so that in some religions there are said to be wrongs (ok, sins, they call them) in thought, word and deed, but it's only reflecting human psychological nature. And they're all closely inter-related (and often happening at the same time). Can we even say a certain action was morally wrong if there were no thoughts? I don't think so. If you killed someone with an axe for no good reason while you were genuinely fully asleep, you can get acquitted.
    "Let us hope that it is not so. Or if it is, let us pray that the fact does not become generally known."

  9. Top | #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by southernhybrid View Post
    I don't see how an argument can be made that thoughts alone are moral or immoral if those thoughts don't lead to any action.
    People often morally judge their own thoughts and attitudes. Prejudices or other opinions they may hold, for example. And others will judge them too, if they hear about them in, for example, situations where they are being aired as views, away from scenarios that would involve action (or inaction). Religion has appropriated it, so that in some religions there are said to be wrongs (ok, sins, they call them) in thought, word and deed, but it's only reflecting human psychological nature. And they're all closely inter-related (and often happening at the same time). Can we even say a certain action was morally wrong if there were no thoughts? I don't think so. If you killed someone with an axe for no good reason while you were genuinely fully asleep, you can get acquitted.
    Sure, but if you keep your thoughts to yourself, there is nobody but you to judge them. I don't judge my thoughts because I know I can't help what I think and I don't put any potentially dangerous thoughts into action. But to be honest, I rarely have thoughts that are about hurting others. When I do, it's usually just an immediate emotional reaction to something that other person has done or said.

    My sister, who suffers from anxiety, frequently feels guilty because of something that she thought about. I'm always telling her not to feel guilty but I guess feeling guilty is another emotion that some people can't help feeling. I've never been guilt ridden over things that I can't control, especially when it comes to thoughts.

  10. Top | #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metaphor View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by laughing dog View Post
    One definition of moral is

    adjective
    adjective: moral

    1.
    concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of human character.


    It seems to me that means thoughts (since principles are thoughts) can be moral or immoral.

    Again, I am not asking about whether having a particular thought is moral or immoral. Just whether a thought can moral or immoral.
    Thoughts can be about morality but that doesn't make any thought moral or immoral.
    Thou shalt not kill is a moral statement.

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