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  1. #1
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    Morality: Absolute or Relative?

    Is morality absolute or relative?

    Absolute morality: same moral standard applies to all people in all places at all times.

    Relative morality: there is no necessary, universal moral standard, it is relative to people, places, and times.

    I argue for absolute morality. There are definite rights and wrongs in the world. There are a variety of views about morality, its application, where it comes from, etc... Some say that it is inherent in all people, others say that it comes from a society, or by majority. Some say that the only moral to follow is that you do not harm another person, other than this, you are free to do as you please w/o violating any "moral code".

    I'll give a more lengthy argument for absolute morality soon. Feel free to give your own brief overview about morality.
    -=]Apokalupsis[=-
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  2. #2
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    Re: Morality: Absolute or Relative?

    I say no to ethical relativism. As we have seen from history from things like the Soviet Union, that man isn't naturally good. You can explore the fact that man is not naturally good by asking questions such as; Why do you lock your doors at night?

    If man was inherently good, you wouldn't need to lock your doors at night.

  3. #3
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    Re: Morality: Absolute or Relative?

    hehe I was going to try and put up an argument re: relative morality...but so adamantly disagree that it's difficult for me to put forth an argument I'd consider valid.

    It's good practice though. I'll prolly still throw some in here pro-relative just for the practice.
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  4. #4
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    Re: Morality: Absolute or Relative?

    From other arguements I have seen, the ethical relativists consider man good because man was born with emotions, he can care about others, he feels anger, sorrow, pity, and happiness.

    Then again, man wants whats good for himself, he will kill, steal, pillage and rape as long as he feels its relative to him.

  5. #5
    DeadPool
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    would you find a socity that eats there dead and reguards bural as disrepectfull. immoral.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeadPool
    would you find a socity that eats there dead and reguards bural as disrepectfull. immoral.
    Hmm, the way I see it is, if they regard burial as disrespectful, then one could conclude that they would do something else to respect there deceased, perhaps they have a spiritual connection with there loved one if they eat he/she, maybe this gives them the feeling that consuming there ancestors keeps them alive within them thus carrying on the values and traditions of the past in a modern society. Or maybe the young chief eats the old chief gaining all of his power and thus becoming more "awe-some" in his society. Which makes him god.

    Some of us might find this obscene however it is with the best intentions that a tribal society can come up with, eventualy they will evolve there ways of thinking and eventualy end this practice. This usualy happened in the past, I believe Sargon the great of Sumeria practiced this as well, and so did a number of Sumerian kings after him, eventualy this practice is degraded and lost in its meaning.
    Do or do not, there is no try. - Master Jedi Yoda
    He's Kermit on acid who happens to carry a big stick when pissed off. Big deal. - Apokalupsis
    Actually, didn't Frank Oz do Bert as well? We're cousins! - Withnail in reference to Bert and Yoda

  7. #7
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    Is morality absolute or relative?
    Just the fact that you are arguing either side is proving absolute morality. "Quarreling means trying to show the other man is in the wrong." - C.S. Lewis

    Whenever one engages in an argument, it is for the purpose of disproving or to shed light on the faulty logic presented by the other (their logic is INCORRECT). By doing so, they are thereby proving that there is indeed a right and wrong to the given situation. The fact that this site exists, and that moral relativists even present arguments and refutations only helps my case.

    What if they are arguing something they don't necessarily believe in, you ask? Even so, their perspectives at least show that they believe in a right and wrong, regardless of whether or not the perspective is a true representation of right and wrong. When a moral relativist says "all morals are relative", they are making an absolute statement.

    Nos.

  8. #8
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    I recognize that name C.S. Lewis, he wrote the Chronicles of Narnia didnt he? I used to read his books when I was in the 5th grade

    Great quote BTW, arguing would prove that your trying to prove the other person wrong I suppose, or maybe just to correct him/her.
    Do or do not, there is no try. - Master Jedi Yoda
    He's Kermit on acid who happens to carry a big stick when pissed off. Big deal. - Apokalupsis
    Actually, didn't Frank Oz do Bert as well? We're cousins! - Withnail in reference to Bert and Yoda

  9. #9
    shift
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    Whenever one engages in an argument, it is for the purpose of disproving or to shed light on the faulty logic presented by the other
    When a moral relativist says "all morals are relative", they are making an absolute statement.
    And they aren't being inconsistent in doing so.

    A moral relativist is only necessarily a relativist about morals. They can believe that truths are absolute (like "there are sixty minutes in an hour"), for example. So they can point out flaws in faulty logic if they want. They can't say that you are absolutely, morally wrong for using bad logic, but they can say that you are logically wrong.

    Common Response:
    Yes, but by the act of arguing about it, they show that they have a moral need to argue for the truth in public.

    Rebuttal:
    Sure, their actions may reflect a need - you could even say a moral need - to expose faulty logic, or to argue for moral relativism and against moral absolutism.

    Again, there is no contradiction here. A moral relativist has no problem being motivated by his or her morals, just like s/he has no problem with Freddie the Indigenous Person being motivated by his morals.

    Common Response:
    Then why do they have a problem with my morals - specifically, my moral that I should be an moral absolutist?

    Rebuttal:
    Heh, I agree. According to the rules of logic, it is impossible to be a 'true' moral relativist - it is the same as Russell's Paradox (in set theory).

    So afaik the best way to talk about the issue is:

    Moral absolutist has morals, and acts on them. Considers people who don't have those morals, or have other morals, to be lacking.

    Moral relativist has morals, and acts on them. Has no beef with people who don't have those morals*, or who have other morals.

    *except for people who don't have the moral that you shouldn't have a beef with people who don't have your morals*, or who have other morals.

    Note the recursive * :D

    So the difference between a moral relativist and a moral absolutist is that the relativist has a beef with fewer people's morals - NOT that the relativist has no beef with anyone's morals.

  10. #10
    shift
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    Actually, I suppose someone could even be amoral, but like moral relativism (or moral absolutism) for aesthetic reasons or something. "Your morals are prettier than hers."

    But I guess "moral relativist" usually means that you actually feel a moral compulsion to not judge other people's morals as good/bad, not some other aesthetic/addictive/neurotic sort of compulsion.

  11. #11
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    The dilemma for moral absolutists is: which absolutist is right?

    The practical distinction (and problem) with absolutists is their phrasing. Now many absolutists can have differing opinions about what is absolute, but then so do relativists. They differ in that relativists acknowledge others, and that their view, relative to their own history, cultural influences, location, technological development, etc. makes a different set of rules and social contract.

    Really, many morals are really just social contract. This is classic Enlightenment thought, the likes of Rousseau, Locke, etc. Those applying for absolutist status do seem rooted in other intention beyond their own society.

    Now, absolutist moral codes are also rooted in god-concepts which include religious authority, which naturally humans believe are absolute. Of course we are going to think our god (not the other guy's god) is the one true god, and has the ultimate authority, including setting moral code. Problem is, there's no real god enforcing morality, it's humans assuming the role of god, using force, coercion, fear, threats, promises, tyranny, political power, etc. That humans are the ones assuming the power of the gods and acting with such an authority implicates such power-seekers' own morality, and beliefs. If they really thought their god existed, why would they need to act in his place?

    So, I suspect even absolutists have an innate sense that morals are more in line with social contract than they care to admit. There's just too much human intervention on behalf of god to really sell the claim that it exists. Anyway it's humans saying god exists in whatever form claimed, not god. Do I have grounds to be skeptical? You bet.

    Now, I do have a sense, from my own experience, that we are moved to act with great compassion, with love, with a duty to others, in a way that is not conceptually bound like many social morals are. I don't believe any man-made god concepts are very good and worthy of a positive judgment and belief, so I rely on my own sense. Deepak Chopra wrote a book called "The Path to Love" some years ago where he described this sort of intuitive sensation of love/morality/god, to paraphrase:

    Love permeates the universe, and we humans are like radio sets that tune in, or tune out of sensing this love.

    This comes at a cost of surrendering certain frameworks of thought, control, ideals, and so on, things common to the Western style of contemplation. We have to clear the mind of antagonisms and allow an openness and tolerance, perhaps through meditation. So love and morality are not rules to apply and strive for, but an experience that resonates through our own spiritual essence, living in tune and in balance, in cooperation and not in conflict.
    Last edited by F1Fan; February 11th, 2004 at 10:38 PM. Reason: Punctuation dilemma. But no moral problem.

  12. #12
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    I feel that most human beings exhibit both good and bad traits. In effect we have potential for good and evil. These combined the vaguries of personal perception of what is best for us - whether material or 'spiritual' (things like ethics, morals, justification and the like) - allows us collectively to engage in actions that range from moral absolute to immoral absolute. Relativism being that big 'tweeny' in the middle.

  13. #13
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    If morals come from types religion or beleifs then different relgions or beleifs have different morals. Then different people have different morals and one cannot say that morals are absoute, because the justification for or against a moral is with another moral. One must simply choose the most logical set of morals. Then those morals become the absolute morals for the person that has decided to follow what they beleive to be the correct set of morals. In turn spawning arguments like these that challenge the in and outs of morals.
    If you cannot answer a mans argument, all is not lost; you can still call him vile names. - Elbert Hubbard :D

  14. #14
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    Average I.Q.: '..... Then those morals become the absolute morals for the person that has decided to follow what they believe to be the correct set of morals .........'

    If that was the case then why are they so ofen modified or ignored, or alternatives 'justified'. Most moral absolutists have a hard time struggling through life, they often seem depressed or cynical - faced with a moral dilemma they do not compromise in their predetermined course and are nailed to 'their' own cross, so to speak. This may be a physical or emotional experience for them. Most of humanity does not stick to such a 'high and punishing ground'.

    View the film, 'The Cardinal', to see what moral torment moral absolutism can put a person through.
    Last edited by FruitandNut; April 16th, 2004 at 02:47 AM.
    "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." - Anais Nin.
    Emitte lucem et veritatem - Send out light and truth.
    'Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt' - Julius Caesar (rough translation, 'Men will think what they want to think')
    Kill my boss? Do I dare live out the American dream? - Homer Simpson.

  15. #15
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    FandN,
    Then the argument lies not with the moral itself but in the way the individual deducted that his or her moral choice was correct? No? If this is the case are'nt you just arguing against ingnorance? Can this battle be won? (If yes there is hope for me yet)
    If you cannot answer a mans argument, all is not lost; you can still call him vile names. - Elbert Hubbard :D

  16. #16
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    Average IQ: If everyone was a moral absolutist, especially in politics, the mere fact that it is impossible for humans to all agree with what is the moral absolute, in many instances would see more 'head on crashes', and head on crashes with nukes on board can be extremely dodgy. If there is a loving and careing God, and I for one believe that, then He(sic) will understand the dilemma and forgive, so long as some effort is made. We have to, after all, fit in with society after some fashion. I don't think He wants us all to be martyrs or fill the gaols with 'righteousness'. We have to get along with our neighbour's absolutes also, or peacefully convice them of 'the error' of their ways. Yes, somewhere there is ignorance, nearly always there is incomplete information. Be careful of judging in an absolute way. Somewhere I hear the echo, 'Judge not lest ye shall be judged' which can be translated as, 'People in glasshouses shouldn't throw stones.'

    In the case of the abortion issue there are head on clashes between moral absolutists - is it right to kill a moral absolutist because their understanding is different to ours? Can two wrongs make a right. Peaceful demo is one thing violence is another. Jesus is reported to have chided Peter for acting in similar fashion in the Gethsemane incident.

    ps. I am proLife, but I am sure glad I have not had to face The Cardinal's dilemma. I am quite relieved that I can do a Pontius Pilate on that one and leave it to others.
    Last edited by FruitandNut; April 18th, 2004 at 01:35 AM.
    "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." - Anais Nin.
    Emitte lucem et veritatem - Send out light and truth.
    'Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt' - Julius Caesar (rough translation, 'Men will think what they want to think')
    Kill my boss? Do I dare live out the American dream? - Homer Simpson.

  17. #17
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    Basically, if God exists, morality is absolute, and if He does not, morality is an empty phrase. Any morals atheists have are self-imposed and can be judged only by efficient and practical they are. I don't think such rules can really be called "morals", though.

    Since I believe God exists, I believe morals are absolute. That doesn't mean, however, than anything I say is right is right and anything I say is wrong is wrong. Some issues are pretty clear, like murder, but others, like cussing, can be ambiguous. That's why we debate.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Admiral
    Basically, if God exists, morality is absolute, and if He does not, morality is an empty phrase. Any morals atheists have are self-imposed and can be judged only by efficient and practical they are. I don't think such rules can really be called "morals", though.
    What makes a moral a moral? If morality has to do with man's response to fellow man, then God's existence/non isn't necessarily relevant to the existence of morals (be they absolute or relative).

    How does the existence of God establish that morality is absolute?
    An adequate answer must entail an explanation as to what constitutes the fundamental difference between this 'absolute morality' and the variety of observed socio-cultural mores.

    Morals subscribed to by atheists are no more or less self-imposed than those subscribed to by theists. Everyone is subject to cultural influences and everyone makes his own moral judgments based on the sum total of various influences (both external and internal) that have formed his ideological framework.

  19. #19
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    Morality is relative to the culture.

    "One man's religion is another man's belly laugh."
    ~Heinlein.
    But if you do not find an intelligent companion, a wise and well-behaved person going the same way as yourself, then go on your way alone, like a king abandoning a conquered kingdom, or like a great elephant in the deep forest. - Buddha

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Admiral
    Basically, if God exists, morality is absolute, and if He does not, morality is an empty phrase.
    Who is man to decide that god exists, and then claim absolute morality based on that decision?

    Any morals atheists have are self-imposed and can be judged only by efficient and practical they are. I don't think such rules can really be called "morals", though.
    Is a believer any more 'clean' in his choices if he attributes his dogmatic 'mortality' via the self? You seem to imply that it is different that one person thinks he decides what is moral from his own process of mind versus another who simply attributes his own process of mind to a god he believes exists. I'd say from what we see of religious thought that accepting one's own responsibility for morality gives better results than being an agent for 'god' and a standard set of 'moral' rules that can be implemented immorally. You might disagree, but ask yourself, why.

    Since I believe God exists, I believe morals are absolute.
    Are you really ready for this kind of accountability? You're not god (I'm assuming) so how sure can you be about what you believe is true?

    That doesn't mean, however, than anything I say is right is right and anything I say is wrong is wrong. Some issues are pretty clear, like murder, but others, like cussing, can be ambiguous. That's why we debate.
    That's the whole rub. Outright murder is bad social relations in any society, don't need god to inderstand this. But what is murder to self defense? A guy comes up to you with a stick, about to hit you and you shoot him dead, is that fair? Maybe we should prosecute you for not learning non-lethal self-defense. Is that fair?
    Just another hostile non-theist.

 

 
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