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The fallacy of cultural relativism
Posted: 30 December 2007 03:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]  
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See your nonsense?
You believe a “culture” is a living thing whose destruction is “genocide”.

Actual individuals are the proper objects for moral concerns; their attitudes, behaviours etc, are not.

For example, it would be no oppression whatsoever in criminalizing the custom of infant circumcision, and thereby, after some time, having destroyed that “culture”.

[ Edited: 30 December 2007 04:02 AM by arildno]
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Posted: 30 December 2007 04:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]  
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I said:

there is nothing in the act of getting a tattoo which is necessarily disrespectful for others.

Since you are clearly unable to understand the sentence structure “nothing..that is necessarily..”, your reply:

I’m gonna get a tattoo that says “ARILDNO SUCKS”

shows your level of intelligence.

[ Edited: 30 December 2007 04:40 AM by arildno]
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Posted: 30 December 2007 04:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]  
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Antisocialdarwinist - 10 December 2007 02:55 PM
arildno - 10 December 2007 10:25 AM

No confusion at all.

National sovereignty can be regarded as a provisional attitude on basis of the lack of resources/skill to force others into behaving morally.
You are still entitled to say you have the right to do so, but you just haven’t got the means to have it done.
National sovereignty is then an issue of Realpolitik, rather than “ideal” politics.

Equating national sovereignty with moral sovereignty would mean you do not acknowledge your moral right to interfere with actions going against your morality since it happens in a “sovereign” nation.

I’m not equating national sovereignty with moral sovereignty.  In fact, I’m not convinced such things exist as moral or cultural sovereignty. 

National sovereignty is not just a provisional attitude adopted by countries with insufficient might to act belligerently.  If anything, I think it’s an example of the “universal morality” you mentioned earlier.

Indeed, regarding as moral whatever happens on the other side.

Good fences make good neigbors.

My point is that I don’t think the west tolerates other cultures, as you claimed in your initial post.  I think the west respects other countries’ borders.

By which you make the fantasy of “national border” into a moral absolute. 

This means you are willing to sacrifice real-life human beings so that your fantasy object, “inviolate borders” can blossom in reality.
For example, if what it takes to uphold that is to accept that adulterous women in Saudi Arabia are stoned to death,then you sacrifice individuals to preserve this fantasy thing.

Just to remind you, a “border” between two countries is not a living thing, and is therefore not a proper object for moral concerns.

But that’s what you are treating it as..

[ Edited: 30 December 2007 04:43 AM by arildno]
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Posted: 30 December 2007 05:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]  
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arildno - 30 December 2007 09:35 AM

By which you make the fantasy of “national border” into a moral absolute. 

This means you are willing to sacrifice real-life human beings so that your fantasy object, “inviolate borders” can blossom in reality.
For example, if what it takes to uphold that is to accept that adulterous women in Saudi Arabia are stoned to death,then you sacrifice individuals to preserve this fantasy thing.

If what it takes to uphold your morals is to accept that my borders are fantasies, then you sacrifice my fantasy for yours.  Why is your it’s-wrong-to-stone-adulterous-women-to-death fantasy any more legitimate than my border fantasy? 

In a later post, I’ll develop a few ideas concerning a universal morality, indeed THE universal morality, and show that the basis for that thinking is, indeed, grounded in unquestionable facts (whether or not I’m wrong in particular developments later on).

Whatever happened to this?  I’ve been on the edge of my seat now for nearly a month.

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Do-gooding is like treating hemophilia—the real cure is to let hemophiliacs bleed to death, before they breed more hemophiliacs. -Robert Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

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Posted: 30 December 2007 07:57 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]  
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Antisocialdarwinist - 30 December 2007 10:25 PM

If what it takes to uphold your morals is to accept that my borders are fantasies, then you sacrifice my fantasy for yours.  Why is your it’s-wrong-to-stone-adulterous-women-to-death fantasy any more legitimate than my border fantasy?

Someday, when you are finished portraying the Devil’s Advocate to any playmates you can find, someone is going to have to illustrate for you the value of a proportional response.

It’s fine to play-act like this as long as you remain tucked securely away behind your computer monitor. Don’t go outdoors, ASD. Who could begin to trust you to serve on any jury trying any matter whatsoever, formal or informal, face to face with other people?

You should ponder the notion that national borders are fantasies much more nebulous than the obscene inappropriateness of stoning any human being to death for any reason, let alone as punishment for the fantasy known as “adultery”.

The reason you should exercise caution is that any society that will stone someone to death for adultery could surely get it into its collective head to stone to death someone who prevaricates to the extent that you so obviously do. The bubble you so obviously live within is one bounded by national borders that can evaporate in the light breeze wafting away from the detonation of a thermonuclear device, the owners of which reside only “a stone’s throw” away from you.

[ Edited: 30 December 2007 08:03 PM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 30 December 2007 10:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]  
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Thank you Salt Creek.

Whereas Anti-Social Darwinist and the others are in the business of portraying morality as preserving non-human/non-living things/fantasies, EVEN through DESTRUCTION of real individuals, my “universal morality” has at its starting point that no such construct is worth more in preserving than..individuals.

Because they happen to be real. And because they are the only ones who can experience that something happens to them. And therefore, are the only proper objects for moral concerns.


The holy border preservation to ASD is just..unholy.

[ Edited: 30 December 2007 10:35 PM by arildno]
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Posted: 30 December 2007 10:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]  
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Salt Creek - 31 December 2007 12:57 AM

You should ponder the notion that national borders are fantasies much more nebulous than the obscene inappropriateness of stoning any human being to death for any reason, let alone as punishment for the fantasy known as “adultery”.

I don’t think it’s so cut and dried.  Aren’t borders, which you and arildno so lightly toss aside, agreements between people trying to coexist?  Much like morality itself, I’d say. 

Salt Creek - 31 December 2007 12:57 AM

The reason you should exercise caution is that any society that will stone someone to death for adultery could surely get it into its collective head to stone to death someone who prevaricates to the extent that you so obviously do.

I’ll bear that in mind during my next Hajj.

Salt Creek - 31 December 2007 12:57 AM

The bubble you so obviously live within is one bounded by national borders that can evaporate in the light breeze wafting away from the detonation of a thermonuclear device, the owners of which reside only “a stone’s throw” away from you.

But detonating nukes isn’t really the same as stoning adultresses, is it?  With nukes, you’ve gone beyond cultural relativism and into the realm of national security.  Even then, it’s a slippery slope:  should we intervene in Iran to preemptively interrupt their on-again, off-again nuclear program?

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Posted: 30 December 2007 10:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]  
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Antisocialdarwinist - 31 December 2007 03:34 AM
Salt Creek - 31 December 2007 12:57 AM

You should ponder the notion that national borders are fantasies much more nebulous than the obscene inappropriateness of stoning any human being to death for any reason, let alone as punishment for the fantasy known as “adultery”.

I don’t think it’s so cut and dried.  Aren’t borders, which you and arildno so lightly toss aside, agreements between people trying to coexist?

Yawn, of course.
But that makes it PROVISIONAL, rather than absolute.

Which means that it can be morally legitimate, on occasion, to break that border.

OOPS, EDIT:

Much like morality itself, I’d say.

And I do not agree with this at all.
Rather, I regard “morality” more akin to science; it is something non-arbitrary, objective, but importantly, not something we have immediate access to.
And, some persons might be more competent than others in determining what morality is..

[ Edited: 30 December 2007 11:02 PM by arildno]
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Posted: 31 December 2007 01:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]  
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But detonating nukes isn’t really the same as stoning adultresses, is it?  With nukes, you’ve gone beyond cultural relativism and into the realm of national security.

Not really.
Since it his culture to destroy your culture, you must respect it, if you are to be a consistent cultural relativist.

That’s just his type of “discourse”, among many others (or was, until he nuked away those other discourses..)

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Posted: 31 December 2007 06:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]  
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Antisocialdarwinist - 31 December 2007 03:34 AM

I don’t think it’s so cut and dried.  Aren’t borders, which you and arildno so lightly toss aside, agreements between people trying to coexist?  Much like morality itself, I’d say.

Borders (and tightly codified, idiosyncratic morality) are a tacit admission by people that they cannot coexist, and are making no attempt to do so. Travel is not broadening, for most people. It obviously hasn’t done much for you in that department. Bear that in mind during your next Hajj, as you surf across the internet safely ensconced behind your computer monitor, sealed off from the possibility of actually coexisting with anyone. There are sub-cultures which promote a belief in suicide terrorism, and are not happy simply to remain behind the monitor. Your beliefs are inconsequential because of your perspective; theirs, not so much. No wonder you are so happy to promote relativism.

You’re not going anywhere. You’ve made yourself the best possible publicist for your own insincerity and insecurity.

Antisocialdarwinist - 31 December 2007 03:34 AM

But detonating nukes isn’t really the same as stoning adultresses, is it?  With nukes, you’ve gone beyond cultural relativism and into the realm of national security.

So how, exactly, are measures taken for “national security” anything but a tacit admission of “national insecurity”, that is, the sense that one’s borders are nothing but a convention which can only be defended by (a threat of) violence? The day that threat is a fantasy, we’ll both be in our graves, and I think that is the absolute on which you are depending. Unless you think Jesus is coming back to fix it.

There are several things you (probably on purpose) leave out of your discourse, in order to pretend that you are actually defending an idea. Consider a photograph of the earth taken by astronauts returning from the moon, or simply in low Earth orbit. Are borders visible in those photographs?

Consider, also, if you will, something called (now tritely) “the butterfly effect”. Never mind your next Hajj. There are little vortices you (and your vaunted ‘national sovereignty’) have no control over. I see that your illusion is the illusion of control. This is really the inviolate principle you worship, not the patent, pathetic hypocrisy about moral relativism that you are playing at here.

You are depending on the TSA (or the DOD) for making sure that Mohammed does not, in fact, travel to the mountain. The least inspection of their practices will allow you to see that these are government-funded agencies, via my tax dollars (and yours, unless you live elsewhere). Basically, your dream of national sovereignty is one that you only require to last for your most personal and particular lifetime. All your fantasies depend on that, and that is why I think your ideas are a joke.

Antisocialdarwinist - 31 December 2007 03:34 AM

Even then, it’s a slippery slope:  should we intervene in Iran to preemptively interrupt their on-again, off-again nuclear program?

Glad somebody’s got his priorities straight. You see, it’s not really about “intervention” and “preemption”,  exotic ideas you leap to in order to distract from the topic. Be assured that all sorts of covert intervention and involvement are going on at all times, in case you didn’t know. They are not specifically aimed at defending “national” security, but rather, at stabilizing the “business climate”.

If you realized how damaging to the “business climate” the ideology behind stoning a woman to death for adultery might actually be, you might understand the virtue of abhorring it. Business is amoral, but as such, has no means for defending its best interests.

This brings me back to the subject I brought up before, which is the idea of a “proportional response”. This is obviously something you do not want to discuss openly. That surprises me, since it holds out the promise of making “relativity” actually mean something in a discourse of so-called “morality” with the potential to turn it into something besides the fantasy that you so desperately need it to be, for reasons one can only guess have largely to do either with a flow of currency, or the meanderings of an apocalyptic cult, or both.

Antisocialdarwinist - 06 December 2007 02:08 AM

All in all, saving people from themselves seems a lot like do-gooding to me.

You could find much more direct ways to say that you believe life is a waste of time, or that “life” and “the internet’ are identified with one another. You could start by killing yourself. That would be a “proportional response” to the sort of vacuity you espouse here.

[ Edited: 31 December 2007 08:51 AM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 31 December 2007 10:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]  
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arildno - 31 December 2007 03:37 AM

Yawn, of course.
But that makes it PROVISIONAL, rather than absolute.

Which means that it can be morally legitimate, on occasion, to break that border.

Well, I can see we’re going to agree to disagree about the significance of borders.  I submit to you that borders define nations which are made up of individuals.  Decisions about borders necessarily impact the lives of individuals who live within them.  The ramifications of “breaking” another country’s borders extend beyond merely saving their individual adulteresses from stoning.  But maybe that’s something you’d rather not put into your morality equation.

arildno - 31 December 2007 03:37 AM

Much like morality itself, I’d say.

And I do not agree with this at all.
Rather, I regard “morality” more akin to science; it is something non-arbitrary, objective, but importantly, not something we have immediate access to.
And, some persons might be more competent than others in determining what morality is..

I think it would be more accurate to say that you regard YOUR morality as “akin to science….”  And everyone else’s as fantasy. 

And why would you say we don’t have access to morality?  Is it because we unwashed masses shouldn’t be allowed to question the morality which Your More Competent Highness deems fit for us?

arildno - 31 December 2007 06:30 AM

But detonating nukes isn’t really the same as stoning adulteresses, is it?  With nukes, you’ve gone beyond cultural relativism and into the realm of national security.

Not really.
Since it his culture to destroy your culture, you must respect it, if you are to be a consistent cultural relativist.

And by that some logic, my right to swing my fist extends beyond your nose.  That argument’s a non-starter.

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Posted: 31 December 2007 10:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]  
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Salt Creek - 31 December 2007 11:58 AM

Borders (and morality) are a tacit admission by people that they cannot coexist, and are making no attempt to do so.

But we are coexisting, for the most part, in spite of all our disagreements.  How can you say we’re making no attempt to do so?  Morality epitomizes our attempts to coexist:  a set of rules by which we all agree to abide.  Borders are a not-so-tacit admission that there is no universal morality.

Salt Creek - 31 December 2007 11:58 AM

So how, exactly, are measures taken for “national security” anything but a tacit admission of “national insecurity”, that is, the sense that one’s borders are nothing but a convention which can only be defended by (a threat of) violence? The day that threat is a fantasy, we’ll both be in our graves, and I think that is the absolute on which you are depending. Unless you think Jesus is coming back to fix it.

Are you implying that the only reason we don’t overrun Canada is because of the Canadian threat of violence?  That Germany would invade France again if not for France’s military deterrent?  I think it’s a stretch to say the threat of force is the only thing keeping us all inside our respective borders.  That’s like saying the threat of arrest is the only thing keeping you from shoplifting.

Salt Creek - 31 December 2007 11:58 AM

There are several things you (probably on purpose) leave out of your discourse, in order to pretend that you are actually defending an idea. Consider a photograph of the earth taken by astronauts returning from the moon, or simply in low Earth orbit. Are borders visible in those photographs?

Nor do those photographs show that stoning adulteresses to death is wrong.  So what?  Are you suggesting we look for universal morality in a photograph of earth?

Salt Creek - 31 December 2007 11:58 AM

You are depending on the TSA (or the DOD) for making sure that Mohammed does not, in fact, travel to the mountain. The least inspection of their practices will allow you to see that these are government-funded agencies, via my tax dollars (and yours, unless you live elsewhere). Basically, your dream of national sovereignty is one that you only require to last for your most personal and particular lifetime. All your fantasies depend on that, and that is why I think your ideas are a joke.

I have no illusions about the TSA or any other government agency.  The fact that we’ve yet to suffer another attack tells me the threat of attack is overstated.  But what’s your alternative?  Why don’t you climb down off your high horse and give me a specific example of your proportional response?  Beyond just killing myself, I mean.

Salt Creek - 31 December 2007 11:58 AM

Glad somebody’s got his priorities straight. You see, it’s not really about “intervention” and “preemption”,  exotic ideas you leap to in order to distract from the topic. Be assured that all sorts of covert intervention and involvement are going on at all times, in case you didn’t know. They are not specifically aimed at defending “national” security, but rather, at stabilizing the “business climate”.

If you realized how damaging to the “business climate” the ideology behind stoning a woman to death for adultery might actually be, you might understand the virtue of abhorring it. Business is amoral, but as such, has no means for defending its best interests.

What a relief it is to hear it from someone in the know that “all sorts of covert intervention and involvement are going on at all times” on behalf of the business climate.  I’ll sleep easier tonight.

And yes, I think you’re right about national security and the business climate.  But you’ll have to explain to me how stoning adulteresses in Saudi Arabia affects the business climate one way or the other.  Would they charge us less for oil if the practice only stopped?  If it was bad for business, we’d obviously have put a stop to it by now. 

Really, Salt, if you insist on living in an ivory tower, you should at least make room among all your lofty principles for a pair of binoculars so you can see what’s happening on the ground.

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Posted: 31 December 2007 12:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]  
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Antisocialdarwinist - 31 December 2007 03:40 PM

Why don’t you climb down off your high horse and give me a specific example of your proportional response?  Beyond just killing myself, I mean.

I’m afraid my recommendation will have to stand. I think it provides you with the best combination of ethical independence and most desirable outcome to all concerned. Short of that, I believe I could confidently recommend sterilization for you and all your offspring, coupled with a nice round of pre-frontal lobotomies.

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Posted: 31 December 2007 01:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]  
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Antisocialdarwinist - 31 December 2007 03:40 PM
Salt Creek - 31 December 2007 11:58 AM

Borders (and morality) are a tacit admission by people that they cannot coexist, and are making no attempt to do so.

But we are coexisting, for the most part, in spite of all our disagreements.  How can you say we’re making no attempt to do so?  Morality epitomizes our attempts to coexist:  a set of rules by which we all agree to abide.  Borders are a not-so-tacit admission that there is no universal morality.

You contradict yourself. I believe it is you who are advocating a “universal morality” that consists of nothing more than the elevation of “consensus” to a universally-accepted value. However, because we observe the occurrence of conflict, we see that there is, in fact, no real “agreement”. You conflate coexistence with acceptance. I am not pitching this at all in terms of “right” and “wrong”; it is your very telling choice to do so. Even more telling in terms of the sort of absolutes you are advocating is the interpretation of de facto practices of keeping hands off with an actual principle of non-interference. Again, the existence of conflict means that you should not gloss over the “for the most part” aspect of your theory.

What do you mean, we are “attempting” to do so? From what do you infer the “attempt”? We coexist without agreement. Inferring a morality from that, particularly one as absolute as you seem to indicate, is just a fantasy you are concocting for yourself. Your fantasy is inferring consent from coexistence. All persons (aside from those happily lobotomized by their fantasies) are capable of breaking consensus, and you offer no solutions of a proportional response in instances of this.

The way I am putting it, in terms of “proportionality”, is far less arbitrary than the one you are concocting here. The proportional response to theft is restitution, not the amputation of the thief’s hand. The proportional response to adultery may be divorce (or it may be forgiveness), but stoning someone to death doesn’t provide a partner with a more faithful spouse. I dunno. It depends on whether one’s aim is to have a faithful spouse, or a fearful spouse. Somehow it is not proportional between males and females in this case. Certainly to understand proportionality, you have to commit yourself to specific goals. Committing oneself only to the goal of consensus is quite to avoid the issue and to lean toward absolutes until one is practically falling over.

The proportional response to a business owner who tries to cheat you is not to patronize his/her shop. If all business owners are cheats, the appropriate response may be to become a business owner yourself. I don’t have all the answers, ASD, as you pretend to do. It’s not that my horse is really higher than yours.

[ Edited: 31 December 2007 01:24 PM by Traces Elk]
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Posted: 31 December 2007 03:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]  
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Salt Creek - 31 December 2007 05:34 PM
Antisocialdarwinist - 31 December 2007 03:40 PM

Why don’t you climb down off your high horse and give me a specific example of your proportional response?  Beyond just killing myself, I mean.

I’m afraid my recommendation will have to stand. I think it provides you with the best combination of ethical independence and most desirable outcome to all concerned. Short of that, I believe I could confidently recommend sterilization for you and all your offspring, coupled with a nice round of pre-frontal lobotomies.

Happy New Year to you, too!

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Do-gooding is like treating hemophilia—the real cure is to let hemophiliacs bleed to death, before they breed more hemophiliacs. -Robert Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land

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