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"Range of happiness and suffering" confers moral s
Posted: 20 February 2007 01:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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Salt Creek,

If ALL that is keeping you from murdering his grandchildren is some stone-age morality…

Therein lies the fallacy, the “if” part of what you just said is not correct.

Because Pete would rather you keep your silly Bible and not murder his grandchildren, which seems the likely alternative should you drop the only principle which is preventing you from doing so.

The inference about what is likely does not follow because your notion of what prevents me from acting is not the ONLY thing that prevents me from acting.

Pete then urges you to consider an alternative, which implies that you should not murder people because you wouldn’t want to be murdered yourself. Get it?

Pete’s position was “don’t do unto others as you don’t want them to do unto you”, which reportedly precedes “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” 

I submit that the former is implied by the latter, which means the latter carries with it all the moral authority of the former, yet also goes beyond mere restraint by calling for justice, love, mercy and grace.

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Posted: 20 February 2007 02:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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[quote author=“Parable”]I submit that the former is implied by the latter, which means the latter carries with it all the moral authority of the former, yet also goes beyond mere restraint by calling for justice, love, mercy and grace.

Why should it be so freaking impressive that you submit this for our consideration? What sort of authority in reasoning are you? You assert that going beyond mere restraint to justice, love, mercy, and grace is superior. That’s just more apologetics. You have not defined any of your terms.

It calls for justice, love, mercy, and grace.

It calls and calls and calls. It’s gotten so that the calling is everything and the doing is nothing. It will never do. You are merciless, in a way. I’ve shut off the ringer on my phone because of you. You’re the credit card marketer that calls at dinner. You’re the wrong number dialer who gets me at three AM. You’re my sister who calls me at six AM Sunday morning on the West Coast because she doesn’t get that it’s not nine AM everywhere. That’s it!! You remind me of my sister! My spinster sister. :D

It calls for justice, love, mercy, and grace. WTF are they?

It calls and calls and calls, but it never does what it calls for, because it doesn’t have the chops to define WTF they are for every goddam person on the planet.

You are on the verge of becoming a Panopeia-class conversation stopper. Don’t go there.

It’s just annoying, and that’s why Pete and I prefer the Confucian alternative. I’m on the Do-Not-Call list now. That’s what my answering machine is telling you.

[ Edited: 20 February 2007 03:13 AM by ]
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Posted: 20 February 2007 03:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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No offense, but could anyone actually reply to my original posting?  I asked about Harris’ use of a creature’s “range of happiness and suffering” as a criteria for granting moral standing.  Does anyone, including Harris, have insights as to how this could be used to combat irrational religiosity and the granting of moral standing on purely theocratic or Koranic/Biblical/Talmudic terms?  “Do unto others…” is a good start, but it isn’t specific enough to provide answers to some of the thornier questions, like abortion.  But abortion’s not my main question. 

I like Harris’ idea of finding a rational criteria for granting moral standing, but a capacity for happiness and suffering seems to have too many holes and I’m looking for someone to elaborate the idea and close those holes.

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Posted: 20 February 2007 03:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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[quote author=“Amy C”]I like Harris’ idea of finding a rational criteria for granting moral standing, but a capacity for happiness and suffering seems to have too many holes and I’m looking for someone to elaborate the idea and close those holes.

Amy, because nobody really knows how to “measure” things like “happiness” and “suffering”, those holes are going to stay open for awhile. I know people whose entire day falls apart over a hangnail. They suffer, but it is self-inflicted. If you can begin to explain to me why people inflict suffering upon themselves, I will be forever in your debt.

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Posted: 20 February 2007 03:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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Amy C,

I like Harris’ idea of finding a rational criteria for granting moral standing, but a capacity for happiness and suffering seems to have too many holes and I’m looking for someone to elaborate the idea and close those holes.

Well said.

I agree that happiness and suffering are problematic standards for ethics, and this is why I started the thread “Happiness and Blessedness as ethical values”, under Comments about The End of Faith, in which I suggest blessedness, as described in the sermon on the mount, is perhaps better suited to this purpose.  I invite you to consider my posts there and see if anything resonates.

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Posted: 20 February 2007 03:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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[quote author=“Parable”]I invite you to consider my posts there and see if anything resonates.

And Amy, I invite you to consider his posts there and decide for yourself whether or not Parable is just blowing smoke rings for which he expresses such profound admiration in the hopes that you’ll be swept off your feet. He for sure does not want to define ‘happiness’ and/or ‘blessedness’. You just know what these things are, intuitively. The holes he will not close for you are those at the center of his smoke rings.

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Posted: 20 February 2007 03:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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Salt Creek,

Why should it be so freaking impressive that you submit this for our consideration?

What does that have to do with my point? 

What sort of authority in reasoning are you?

The issue is not my authority, but the merits of the positions under consideration.

You have not defined any of your terms.

Actually, I have.  But I’m happy to do so again.

Justice: getting what you deserve.
Mercy: not getting what you deserve.
Grace: getting what you don’t deserve.
Love: doing for others what you would want them to do for you.

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Posted: 20 February 2007 03:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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Salt Creek,

He for sure does not want to define ‘happiness’ and/or ‘blessedness’.

And what is your definition of “happiness”?

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Posted: 20 February 2007 03:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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[quote author=“Parable”]Salt Creek,

He for sure does not want to define ‘happiness’ and/or ‘blessedness’.

And what is your definition of “happiness”?

I guess I would substitute the word “authenticity”.

[quote author=“Phil Connors”]I was in the Virgin Islands once. I met a girl. We ate lobster, drank PiƱa Coladas. At sunset we made love like sea otters. That was a pretty good day. Why couldn’t I get that day over and over and over…

But you have to follow the rest of the film, and see where he goes from there. Connors ends up being happy because, when he makes other people happy, it makes him happy to do so. Not because it gives him or them grace, or some other nebulous mantle. Some want to see it as grace. I can’t stop them.

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Posted: 20 February 2007 06:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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Salt Creek,

I guess I would substitute the word “authenticity”.

OK.  What is your definition of “authenticity”?

Do you endorse the idea so long as I am being “authentic”, anything I do is ethical?

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Posted: 20 February 2007 07:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
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[quote author=“Parasite”]OK.  What is your definition of “authenticity”?

Knowing you really can’t live anybody else’s life other than your own. Sure, you still have to teach children not to stick their fingers into electrical sockets. And that they can’t live someone else’s life. If they are ever to live their full lives authentically. You get the picture.

Didn’t you read the remainder of the comment that accompanies the remark about authenticity? It might have given you some context.

Look, Parasite: It’s plain that you see your presence among us here as living your life in Christ. Not very authentic to begin with. Your further ambition to live other people’s lives in Christ is a superfluous and unwelcome frill. In fact, it’s downright Parasitic.

[ Edited: 20 February 2007 07:33 AM by ]
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Posted: 20 February 2007 07:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
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Salt Creek,


I asked two questions:

What is your definition of “authenticity”?

Do you endorse the idea so long as I am being “authentic”, anything I do is ethical?

You said:

Knowing you really can’t live anybody else’s life other than your own.

Interesting way to look at it.

Perhaps another way to phrase my second question is: “How does this definition provide a viable standard for ethical conduct?”

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Posted: 20 February 2007 07:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
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[quote author=“Parable”]Perhaps another way to phrase my second question is: “How does this definition provide a viable standard for ethical conduct?”

What’s your definition of ethical conduct? Along with grace, etc. and all that other crapola.

In a way, it involves what might be termed, er, restraint. Self-restraint. In the Confucian sense. You see, as with TS, we have ended up where we began, knowing the place for the first time.

Look, you really don’t care to discuss the message of Groundhog Day, do you? Or perhaps you are feigning ignorance of it because you feel that confronting its meaning does not advance your agenda. And that’s too bad, because it would help you understand happiness, authenticity, and, yes, ethical conduct. Your loss.

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Posted: 20 February 2007 07:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]  
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Salt Creek,

Didn’t you read the remainder of the comment that accompanies the remark about authenticity? It might have given you some context.

Yes, I did.  And no, it didn’t.

Look, Parasite: It’s plain that you see your presence among us here as living your life in Christ. Not very authentic to begin with. Your further ambition to live other people’s lives in Christ is a superfluous and unwelcome frill. In fact, it’s downright Parasitic.

No, I’m just here to explore some ideas. 

Your projections are your own.  In that sense, you are completely “authentic”.

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Posted: 20 February 2007 08:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]  
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Salt Creek,

I asked

“How does this definition provide a viable standard for ethical conduct?”

You replied

What’s your definition of ethical conduct?

Instead of avoiding the question by asking one that is not relevant to your system of ethics, (i.e. my definition is not part of your system) feel free to use your definition of “ethical” to explain how your definition of “authenticity” leads to your standard by which you live.

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