The Diminishing Utility of Morality: a Humanist Perspective
Posted: 14 January 2012 07:41 AM   [ Ignore ]  
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Morality is a reductionist system of rules dictating how an individual is to behave in order to have the privilege of being a member of a society. Morality’s epistemology was limited to what an individual “ought” to do in a given situation. It was previously important to distinguish ought from can in nascent civilization. Civilization was an idea, a successful one, but due to technological limitations it was difficult to relay the information on how to live as a society. Specifically, access to this information and comprehension were limited by a variety of factors which are no longer applicable today.

Linguistically speaking, can subsumes ought. In other words, there are some things that you can do but ought not do, but there are no things that you ought to do, but can not do.  Thus, can allows more types of socially acceptable behaviors than ought. Therefore, can affords more individual liberties than ought. 

In a society, with limited access to information, it was important to distill the most salient points on how to live in a society, which we termed morality. Morality was explained in ancient texts, which often described an all powerful being who became vengeful when his dictums were not followed. Modern technological development has afforded greater access to information on to how to live in society peacefully, while maximizing individual liberties. Also, modern technological convenience has afforded a greater allowance of cognitive faculties to store, index and access this information. Lastly, a more educated populace has provided the individual a greater understanding of this information.

The reductionism of ethics into a morality was once an efficient means to spreading the basic tenets of civilized society. However, morality once used to promote the efficient distribution and understanding of how to live peacefully in society has lost its utility. In fact, it constrains the rights of the individual by dictating how he or she ought to act in a given situation. Now, the individual has access to information, via law, what she can and cannot do in a civilized society and the education to understand the consequences of a breach thereof. Thus, her actions should only be constrained by what she can do. Morality is an archaic vestige whose utility has been almost completely diminished.

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Posted: 14 January 2012 09:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Marlowe - 14 January 2012 07:41 AM

1) However, morality once used to promote the efficient distribution and understanding of how to live peacefully in society has lost its utility.

2) In fact, it constrains the rights of the individual by dictating how he or she ought to act in a given situation.


3) Now, the individual has access to information, via law, what she can and cannot do in a civilized society and the education to understand the consequences of a breach thereof.


4) Thus, her actions should only be constrained by what she can do. Morality is an archaic vestige whose utility has been almost completely diminished.


1 is wrong because the premise- that moral teachings and discussions between individuals are an inefficient means to transmit infomation, including how to live peacefully with others, is a conclusion you base on zero evidence.


re: 2), well , yeah, that’s one the whole definition of moral teachings- to transmit what is right and what is wrong. to people in order to constrain their behavior. That’s a feature, not a bug.

 

3) does to correspond to reality, specifically, no one opens a law book to reference what they should or should not do. How can you live in any society and think it citizens could or should refer to law books to determine how to behave. Perhaps you’re from another galaxy. This is not how humans do or even could possibly derive knowledge about how to conduct themselves except in very special circumstances (can I take this deduction?). 


  If you’re concerned in efficiency, as you mention in 1 above, you’re headed in the wrong direction by suggesting that people are better served by parsing legalese and consulting laws to see how they ought to act. .


as to 4) yeah you and Adolf Hitler have the idea that ” her actions should only be constrained by what she can do. Morality is an archaic vestige whose utility has been almost completely diminished. “


I mean,  wow the people this blog attracts.

 

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Posted: 15 January 2012 05:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Marlowe - 14 January 2012 07:41 AM

Morality is a reductionist system of rules dictating how an individual is to behave in order to have the privilege of being a member of a society. Morality’s epistemology was limited to what an individual “ought” to do in a given situation. It was previously important to distinguish ought from can in nascent civilization. Civilization was an idea, a successful one, but due to technological limitations it was difficult to relay the information on how to live as a society. Specifically, access to this information and comprehension were limited by a variety of factors which are no longer applicable today.

Linguistically speaking, can subsumes ought. In other words, there are some things that you can do but ought not do, but there are no things that you ought to do, but can not do.  Thus, can allows more types of socially acceptable behaviors than ought. Therefore, can affords more individual liberties than ought. 

In a society, with limited access to information, it was important to distill the most salient points on how to live in a society, which we termed morality. Morality was explained in ancient texts, which often described an all powerful being who became vengeful when his dictums were not followed. Modern technological development has afforded greater access to information on to how to live in society peacefully, while maximizing individual liberties. Also, modern technological convenience has afforded a greater allowance of cognitive faculties to store, index and access this information. Lastly, a more educated populace has provided the individual a greater understanding of this information.

The reductionism of ethics into a morality was once an efficient means to spreading the basic tenets of civilized society. However, morality once used to promote the efficient distribution and understanding of how to live peacefully in society has lost its utility. In fact, it constrains the rights of the individual by dictating how he or she ought to act in a given situation. Now, the individual has access to information, via law, what she can and cannot do in a civilized society and the education to understand the consequences of a breach thereof. Thus, her actions should only be constrained by what she can do. Morality is an archaic vestige whose utility has been almost completely diminished.

 


The human mind observes human behavior and notices that life has evolved certain behavioral elements that originate from the obvious benefits of cooperation.
The gene pool’s chances of propagation increase when the individuals follow certain commonly accepted behaviors.
The observed behavior is labeled “morality” and, to the objectifying mind, becomes a thing in itself.
The mind then sets out to discover the origin and mechanics of this objectified entity…..never comprehending that “morality” exists only as one of its ideations.
There is no such thing as morality.
There is only the mind….....ruminating in its own bone yard.

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