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   Author  Topic: The Idea of Good and Evil  (Read 2491 times)
Gods Apprentice
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The Idea of Good and Evil
« on: 2004-02-29 04:42:08 »
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Re:The Idea of Good and Evil
« Reply #1 on: 2004-03-01 01:43:14 »
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Re:The Idea of Good and Evil
« Reply #2 on: 2004-03-03 01:25:55 »
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Re:The Idea of Good and Evil
« Reply #3 on: 2004-03-05 23:54:19 »
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Re:The Idea of Good and Evil
« Reply #4 on: 2004-03-06 15:32:06 »
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Re:The Idea of Good and Evil
« Reply #5 on: 2004-03-06 17:16:09 »
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Re:The Idea of Good and Evil
« Reply #6 on: 2004-03-06 21:23:09 »
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Looking at the way this thread is progressing, it's beginning to sound as if morality is a purely social and cultural convention.

In fact, I'm reminded about what Marx said (sorry, but Kitha started it ) about human beings essentially being intrinsically tied to the circumstances of their society.

I doubt anyone here would disagree: A C16th feudal lord, a !Kung tribesman and a modern westerner are all going to be different in what they believe to be right and wrong. The needs of the culture will always impose some sort of conditioned ethical standard on those within it. We can't escape this conditioning, only be aware of it and factor it into our reasoning.

But here's the rub: there are moral universals. And I would argue that they have roots in both our genetic heritage and our present nature and faculties.

Nobody likes being oppressed, tortured or having members of their family killed, or their possessions stolen, etc etc. Consequently there is always a common core of ethical standards in all cultures. More than that, as I've said before: there is such a thing as an innate moral sense- a genetically inherited faculty present in all humans.

I'm not entirely sure you could ever precisely pin down these universals to everyones satisfaction except in the very broadest terms. But they are there.


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Re:The Idea of Good and Evil
« Reply #7 on: 2004-03-07 06:19:28 »
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Re:The Idea of Good and Evil
« Reply #8 on: 2004-03-07 12:14:38 »
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Quote from: romanov on 2004-03-06 21:23:09   

I doubt anyone here would disagree: A C16th feudal lord, a !Kung tribesman and a modern westerner are all going to be different in what they believe to be right and wrong.

A few sentences later, romanov disagrees with himself:


Quote:

Nobody likes being oppressed, tortured or having members of their family killed, or their possessions stolen, etc etc. Consequently there is always a common core of ethical standards in all cultures.

Was this obvious contradiction on purpose?
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Re:The Idea of Good and Evil
« Reply #9 on: 2004-03-07 14:18:08 »
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Re:The Idea of Good and Evil
« Reply #10 on: 2004-03-09 15:52:01 »
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romanov
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Re:The Idea of Good and Evil
« Reply #11 on: 2004-03-09 18:18:27 »
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Quote from: David Lucifer on 2004-03-07 12:14:38   

Quote from: romanov on 2004-03-06 21:23:09   
I doubt anyone here would disagree: A C16th feudal lord, a !Kung tribesman and a modern westerner are all going to be different in what they believe to be right and wrong.


A few sentences later, romanov disagrees with himself:

Quote:
Nobody likes being oppressed, tortured or having members of their family killed, or their possessions stolen, etc etc. Consequently there is always a common core of ethical standards in all cultures.


Was this obvious contradiction on purpose?



Yes. That was the point of the sentence beginning with 'but' in between:

Quote:
But here's the rub: there are moral universals. And I would argue that they have roots in both our genetic heritage and our present nature and faculties.


My point was that genetic and sociological factors influence our conception of right and wrong, not one or the other. I just wouldn't like to guess at the tradeoff.





romanov
« Last Edit: 2004-03-09 19:21:16 by romanov » Report to moderator   Logged
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Re:The Idea of Good and Evil
« Reply #12 on: 2004-03-09 22:45:02 »
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Re:The Idea of Good and Evil
« Reply #13 on: 2004-03-22 20:26:20 »
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Good and evil are concepts created by humans to prescribe the way we think we should act.  There is no "universial good/evil" because the term is meaningless outside human experience. In addition there is no widesweeping definition of good and evil that aplies to every human since in theory you are free to think however you like. It has been the mission of religions and society to develop a comprehensive definition of good and evil and impose it upon people in order to allow society to exist. You could choose to consider good and evil as actions that respectively propagate and destroy cohesive society as was suggested earlier, but you must then realize that there are an infinite combinations of morals that would facilitate this definition; all that is required by that definition is that all the members of said society agree or at least abide by that code.  However, you are not required to think that way, and it would be 'right' for someone to believe the opposite.

In western society you are required to believe what is good and evil according to what the law dictates (at least in practice or you will face legal consequences), but are otherwise free to choose how you define good and evil actions yourself. Most likely you will develop these morals based largely if not entirely on that of your society.  If you live in an Islamic nation then as a citizen you are required to hold the Quar'an as your moral book, in practise. In the United States you are required to hold a decidedly more Christian based law than if you lived in some Euorpean countries. This is your duty as a citizen. This is not to say that you have to BELIEVE these doctrines, just abide by them. Its the law.

Good and evil are the rules you choose to live your life by. Some are chosen for you by society, others are yours to choose. Some you will follow, some you will break and if you don't feel bad about it then it wasn't your moral in the first place, merely one leftover from your upbringing.

Earlier I said that good and evil are purely human concepts. I think that in fact all lifeforms naturally have a moral code, based on their instincts, including ours.  A bacteria's 'instincts' are to reproduce and survive. For it that is good, death is evil. Most animals have decided that being killed is a bad thing, so it is evil. This trend is clearly present in many of our society's morals.
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Re:The Idea of Good and Evil
« Reply #14 on: 2004-07-12 14:43:10 »
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