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Go to: Richard Dawkins - Absolute Morality

andrewsabatier's Avatar Jump to comment 65 by andrewsabatier

@sillygirl: No one can ever hope to be perfectly clear. We exist in an undifferentiated flux within which we create closures (things, ideas, concepts, notions – philosophical, artistic, scientific or religious) that without exception fail in the limit (ie. in the absolute sense). Some closures fail more easily than others and most prevailing closures we don't attempt to make fail. If we pursue RD's propositions they will also fail but it is probably not in our best interests to do this. A lot of what he holds about the world, science and religion is well investigated and argued and therefore, also, very useful – they help us understand the limitations of these particular areas of human experience...


Sun, 02 May 2010 16:18:00 UTC | #464981

Go to: Richard Dawkins - Absolute Morality

andrewsabatier's Avatar Jump to comment 61 by andrewsabatier

@prolibertas: I didn't write or mean better or worse. My points are more semantically specific than you appear to appreciate. At least your equivalents of 'better or worse' are 'process' terms that to a degree reflect the point I'm making. 'Right' and 'wrong' are 'product' terms that are binary (ie. one or the other as the only available options in a system) and on this basis, and to my point, they force absolute judgements. A 'product approach' (ie. moral approach) is distinctly different from continuous assessment – on a micro (which is what I meant by 'in the heat of a topic') and macro basis (an over-riding agenda or objective). All you have done is hold my 'process approach' as the same as a 'product approach'. Realism (ie. empiricism) provides a foundation to such a 'process approach' and it doesn't require any absolute positions and so has nothing to do with morality.

@sillygirl: You miss my point entirely. I'm demonstrating an alternative approach to the reason morality is seen to be necessary in the first instance. A 'goal' provides a reference point that is itself up for continuous adjustment and is not dependant on any absolute position. Life on earth could be held as such an objective. And, neither does such a goal suggest that there might be an ideal or 'ultimate' life or state of health. The goal as 'life' in this instance is not context specific and therefore relatively open and provides a useful linguistic steer in a linguistic space dealing with issues like morality. You might mean only physical life on the planet but I don't impose such a limitation.

Morality appears to have been born of a dualistic view of ourselves. This is an inherently religious approach, and to RD's points in TGD provides an indication as to why morality might be seen to be necessary at all.

A dualistic approach separates the soul/mind/consciousness from the body (ie. the material world) and so suggests that otherworldly absolutes are relevant in the material world and therefore realisable in absolute terms. Morality is one symptom of thinking dualistically and/or religiously.

Absolute positions are not realisable in the world and so can be handled as esoteric material that has a limited impact on what actually takes place in the world. This makes morality an almost entirely religious issue. Like mathematics morality is useful in the world in some instances but will never describe an ultimate approach to dealing with the world. This is why we need the empirical process of science to balance some of the strengths of the religious process, a process from which we should never aim to be entirely free and to which we should also not forget to add art and philosophy.

Atheist should also realise that on what they oppose they are also dependent. Like science, religion has only a part of the overall picture. Atheists should be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.


Sun, 02 May 2010 12:32:00 UTC | #464925

Go to: Richard Dawkins - Absolute Morality

andrewsabatier's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by andrewsabatier

Haven't we outgrown morality altogether?

Surely we do not need to make absolute decisions about right and wrong, no matter what the basis, religious or scientific. Rather we can make our way in the world by making assessments that tend to or away from any particular objective – as opposed to forcing judgements that require only either absolute praise or condemnation.

Sure, decisions need to be made in the heat of a topic but decisions can be made as tendencies relative to a stated agenda, an agenda that itself is up for continuous re-assessment on the same basis?

I don't want to be deciding about whether something is right or wrong. I'd rather be deciding whether something is moving towards greater health or away from it. I don't want to be hamstrung by judgements that force me to think in terms of right and wrong, the most direct expression of which is to speak and communicate with others in these terms. I believe, these terms are inherently religious and are not adequately informed by the three other equally valid existential systems available in the world: philosophy, art and science.

There is no right and wrong in the world. There is only what tends to work towards a particular goal and what tends to work away from that goal. The emergence of life on this planet as one such example.

On this basis I describe myself as post-moral.


Sat, 01 May 2010 15:08:00 UTC | #464578

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