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A Case(?) For Amoralism

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A Case(?) For Amoralism
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devilsadvocateUser avatarPosts: 246Joined: Sun Aug 08, 2010 8:28 pm

Post Re: A Case(?) For Amoralism

Laurens wrote:
devilsadvocate wrote:I don't think uniqueness is getting us anywhere. There's many unique things about humans we tend to value good and bad, so uniqueness in itself cannot be the sole criteria.

I think that's a matter of perspective.

In some aspects humanity doesn't seem to get anywhere despite being unique.

In other respects you can see that it has got us rather far. I am communicating my thoughts for others across the world to see, in a symbolic form... We are edging ever further towards understanding the universe... There are many instances in which I'd argue that our uniqueness as a species does get us somewhere.

But it depends how you define progress and what you chose to focus on. If you look at all the wars and famines etc. throughout the world then you might be inclined towards a different point of view...

When I said "uniqueness doesn't get us anywhere" I meant the statement to be in the context of figuring out ethics. Sure we are unique in the way we have more highly developed empathy than other species, but we are also unique in our ability to nuke the planet into wasteland. A trait being unique is not enough reason to value it as being good. That's what I had in mind when I said "uniqueness cannot be the sole criteria".
Jazz isn't dead, it just smells funny.
Thu Feb 07, 2013 3:39 pm
DreamPosts: 10Joined: Sat Oct 25, 2014 4:54 am

Post Re: A Case(?) For Amoralism

CosmicJoghurt wrote:Greetings.

I'll try to be as succinct as possible.

I'm an agnostic atheist. Therefore my morals don't come from God (never mind how this wouldn't work). I'm also not convinced by any atheistic (meaning lacking the premise of the existence of God) moral system I've encountered, and I'll explain why.

Every atheistic moral system I've read about attempts to relate good deeds (however they might be concluded), to deeds we ought do, and bad deeds to deeds we ought not do. In other words, each system describes a line of reasoning to arrive at the definition of good and bad deeds, and then uses those conclusions to say that we ought and ought not do those deeds.

My question is, how does one go from saying a deed is good (I'd shortly describe it as: something that brings or contributes to overall happiness, well being and/or peace) to saying it is the right thing to do (and vice versa for bad deeds)?
How does one claim that we ought do good deeds? I haven't read anything about this. It is my impression that it is assumed that we ought be good and ought not be bad.

This is the reason why I'm a moral nihilist - I recognize that some things are overall bad to do and other things are overall good to do. I don't, however, see any reason to associate these with "right" and "wrong". I rarely see other people who share this point of view.

With this said, I'm nowhere near educated in any branch of philosophy. I'm limited to my own thoughts, LoR, and the amazing... Google.

Speak. Please.


I don't understand how the question relates to the topic.

Are you asking whether we are amoral, is it wrong/good to be amoral, should we be amoral?

I'm not satisfied with all comments given here.

Firstly there is the issue of what we think we are and who we really are. Deontologists are those who believe in the golden rule and what jesus said (if you get slapped in the face, turn the other cheek), which is, regardless of the circumstances, whether your life or the life of loved ones is at stack, you can't hurt the people that is hurting you. Do those unaware that they are following deontology, are they like this in the real world? Sadly some are but most aren't. Deontology is immoral.

Then we have guys like the ozymandias in Alan Moore's Watchmen, who killed thousands to save millions. These people are utilitarianists. They do what contributes to the best outcome to most people. Think bomb of Hiroshima

Utiliarianisms is a sub category of consequentialism. Pure consequentialism are those who do things based on the outcome alone, think sociopaths (sociopathworld.com).

Rulling out deontology as being unrealistic and immoral, in the real world would it be most moral as a utiliarianist or consequentialist? To answer this we need to determine if in general we are empaths or altruists.

This question I often ask, lets say you're in a situation which you have to decised to the person you hold most dear, whether it's your son, mum, etc., if you should let this person live or dye to save 30 strangers. Every sincere person says they rather let the 30 strangers die (I up the number, have reached 300). This show's two things, our perception of morality is objectively altruistic (according to evolutionary game theory) and subjectively emphatic. Therefore the majority of people are firstly consequentialists.

Now is consequentialism more moral than utiliaranism. Killing 30 people to save 1 isn't by any means moral regardless how one justifies the action, therefore people are immoral in that regard but many consider it wrong or strange to take someone's life who you hold dear to save strangers. Sociobiology explains this better (although their methods are deductive).

Now where does amorality come into this? I guess it's a matter of perception. A serial killer could consider cannibalism amoral. Then there are situations that are genuinely amoral which many consider immoral, like having sex with your sister using protection, sex with a dead turkey, eating the meat of an ass cheek from a dead corpse (this really occurred occasionally during the Russian war).
Sun Dec 21, 2014 11:55 am
Dragan GlasContributorUser avatarPosts: 3214Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:55 amLocation: Ireland Gender: Male

Post Re: A Case(?) For Amoralism


Dream, you left out the third one, Virtue Theory, which is a modern version of Aristotelian ethics.

We discussed atheistic bases for morality here.

All here who aren't aware of it might find it of interest.

Kindest regards,

"The Word of God is the Creation we behold and it is in this Word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man."
The Age Of Reason
Sun Dec 21, 2014 1:05 pm
DanDareUser avatarPosts: 14Joined: Tue May 19, 2015 11:34 am Gender: Male

Post Re: A Case(?) For Amoralism

CosmicJoghurt wrote:My question is, how does one go from saying a deed is good (I'd shortly describe it as: something that brings or contributes to overall happiness, well being and/or peace) to saying it is the right thing to do (and vice versa for bad deeds)?
How does one claim that we ought do good deeds? I haven't read anything about this. It is my impression that it is assumed that we ought be good and ought not be bad.

Most people have a care for themselves. If something benefits them they may call it good, if it harms them they may call it bad.

When living in a world with other people, if you think as I described you will wish to solicit behaviours from others that are beneficial to you and discourage behaviours from them that are harmful to you.

If you understand that they are most likely to have the same goals then "good" behaviour is when both exchange benefits. The difficulty is often in different sets of what benefits one compared to the other. In these situations communication becomes a "good" behaviour as it can increase your income of benefits. It turns out that most humans have similar enough sets of "what harms me" and "what benefits me" that vague, shared definitions of these sets can form. "Good" vs "Bad".

Once people group together and form a community with shared sense of "good" and "bad" they may treat others outside the group as resources whose wishes don't matter. This however results in outsiders banding together to maximise good in their group and minimise harm from yours. Eventually groups can realise they are in the same position that individuals were in before they formed groups. So the groups start trying to get "good" behaviour from one another.

At this point the terms good and bad can be used to condition people's behaviour as a shorthand behaviour guide or signpost for maximising cooperation. You will find there are also many "cheats", i.e. strategies that benefit you without having to share the benefit, or which benefit you but at other people's cost, and which can be hidden so others don't label it bad. The bad label brings actions against you. Such strategies can last for a long time before "consequences" happen. Again its in everyone's interest to suppress cheating.

Large numbers of humans make it very hard. Into the mix I have described comes the problems of knowledge and "logic bubbles". People see things from limited perspectives. What seems "good" in one perspective is bad from another.

A person in the midst of such groups will tend to try and be "good", at least appear to be, to maximise the benefits and minimise the harms from everyone around them. Having good empathic sense helps with this but also adds an additional dimension. You transfer the desire for maximum benefit and minimum harm to yourself to a desire for similar things for others. Again it helps if you know what that means from their point of view rather than your own.

None of this is absolute and all flows from statements of "by and large".
Tue May 19, 2015 2:20 pm
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