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  1. #61
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    Came across an aphorysm that has made a lot of sense to me over 40 years of co-habitation with TLWSHLWM. "Love is a decision." Often the decision is preceded and followed by emotion, strong emotion, but the individual makes a decision to act, either in acquiessence to the emotion or despite it. Which means that my emotions are not responsbile for my actions, my morality, how I choose to live my life. They flavor my actions but are not the base on which they are built. At least most of the time. I have yet to acheive perfection in any facet of my life.
    So, I think I agree with:
    That statement is essentially one which says that your personal identity is what you choose it to be. But it's a continuum. We cannot help but be shaped by previous and novel socializing forces (like work environments, university, the military, whatever), but we do sometimes get to choose which of those qualities we internalize, and which we simply wear on the outside in order to get along.
    though I would eliminate "sometimes" and everything after 'internalize."
    I often describe myself as a chameleon, able to blend into whatever surroundings I may encounter. When I was young, I thought this was a flaw. At this point in my life, I think it is a skill allowing me to socialize without changing anything about myself. For example, if I am with some of my relatives, I know which subjects are certain to provoke nasty debates. I value family relationships so I decide to not engage in those topics. Changes nothing about my self-identity, merely allows me to "decide to love" my relations. I always assume they are doing the same thing.

  2. #62
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    A great deal of morality can be deduced logically. Especially the sort of tenets that pop up throughout space and time: such as the Golden Rule.

    Which underpins most of the "laws" that are also pretty universal. WHY shouldn't we murder, steal and lie?

    Just as there are innate, hard-wired esthetics in our brains (like the Golden Mean), there are some extremely elemental elements that lead to moral concepts.

  3. #63
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    You say innate. I suspect they are all learned. We learn to kill? Actually, I think we learn not to. We learn to steal? I think we learn not to. We learn to be monogomous? I think we learn not to. And as HE states so eloquently, much of what we do is based upon decisions, whether or not influenced by emotions in ways we know or don't know.

  4. #64
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    As a matter of fact, things like the phi relationship are NOT learned, they're wired in. You get into you can get some pretty heavy guys to tell you LANGUAGE is hard-wired in.

    The idea that moral symmetry is also born into us is a very valid one and difficult, at any rate, to refute.

    You mis-understand me. I didn't say anything about learning to kill or steal or whatever. They are both pretty natural behaviors, observable in children. It think you've gotten me backwards here.

  5. #65
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    They are both pretty natural behaviors, observable in children.
    LTC Dave Grossman is going to be very surprised since he wrote a book contending just the opposite. It's On Killing, Back Bay Books, Little, Brown, and Co, 1996.

  6. #66
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Moral symmetry? And what exactly is that?

  7. #67
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lin View Post
    As a matter of fact, things like the phi relationship are NOT learned, they're wired in.
    Can you provide a study that provides the basis for these facts?

    The phi relationship is a loosely adjusted number at best. The fact that proponents of phi as the divine number tend to see it everywhere is quite apparently confirmation bias. Depending on who you ask, phi either appears everywhere, or it appears pretty much nowhere. As it relates to the human face, for example, phi only applies to a front-on 2d measurement. Phi is a nice trick of math, sure. But beyond it's function as a descriptor of certain ratios, how are we to apply value to it?

    You get into you can get some pretty heavy guys to tell you LANGUAGE is hard-wired in.
    While many scholars will agree that the capability for language is wired in, studies run pretty near 100% in agreeing that the expression of language (phonemic awareness, both in terms of utterance and perception) is learned. We should all know this. I can't speak Indian -- it sounds like gobbledygook to me. Pick a language you don't know -- while you're capable of learning it, until you develop the phonemic awareness of the language you can't understand the language.

    In addition, studies of individuals with language difficulties (or no language) range in type but generally indicate that the capability to develop language will disappear if not acquired by a certain age (somewhere mid-puberty). This would point to the likelihood that the brain structure for language is shaped by external stimulus, rather than structured internally as a "hard" system.

    Likewise, moral sense and the expression of moral understanding appears developmentally with constructed language expression. This would indicate that morality, like language, is primarily a learned behaviour based on an underlying cognitive/neural apparatus that allows for the capability to categorize actions. The extent to which language and morality are tied together may run as high as 100% -- but this is a huge area of argument amongst linguistic theorists.

    The idea that moral symmetry is also born into us is a very valid one and difficult, at any rate, to refute.
    Yeah what's this "moral symmetry"? I've never heard this term before... If it's difficult to refute, I'd like to know some specifics on support for it.

  8. #68
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    LTC Dave Grossman is going to be very surprised since he wrote a book contending just the opposite. It's On Killing, Back Bay Books, Little, Brown, and Co, 1996.
    I doubt he'll be all that surprised, but I'm absolutely dumbfounded to learn there are books with different perspectives from other books.
    (The idea that children have to learn to steal is absurd from the get-go. Does this come before or after they learn that there is such a thing as other people's property? For that matter, who is going around teaching these little angels how to squeeze goldfish and kittens to death?)

    Re: phi--it's not a "number", I've never seen anybody claim divinity for it, the Golden Mean is a pretty established factor in esthetics (one of the very few, actually) recommend, I dunno, wikipedia to clear this up)

    Re: hard wiring--check out Chomsky for openers.

    Re: babies are amoral little monsters who just want to eat everything they like and destroy everything they dont--spend some time around children.

    Re: moral symmetry--if you don't understand that phrase, I don't know how to help to you. Examine the Golden Rule. If you don't see the symmetry, I don't know what to tell you.
    See also: What goes around, comes around.
    Last edited by lin; March 10th, 2008 at 12:47 PM.

  9. #69
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    Stealing is a moral judgement; property and ownership are ideas that must be learned and until they are learned there is no stealing.
    So squeezing gold fish and kittens makes the children killers. Wow! I apologize. I thought killing had to do with removing people from this life. Tell me, please, are the folk in the stockyard offing the beef, the lambs, the pigs, are they 'killers'? Are the guys hauling in the shad, swordfish, clams, lobster, shrimp, are they 'killers'?
    Is it immoral to kill a goldfish? I have done so. A kitten? I would if given a chance. A dog? I have done so. A horse? I imagine circumstances where I would. A people? You do that in war, don't you?

  10. #70
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    If the golden rule is innate, then why don't young people understand it?


    Moral symmetry = there is no ethical significance in the mere distinction between acts and omissions?

    Is that what you're referring to?

  11. #71
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lin View Post
    Re: phi--it's not a "number", I've never seen anybody claim divinity for it, the Golden Mean is a pretty established factor in esthetics (one of the very few, actually) recommend, I dunno, wikipedia to clear this up)
    Phi = 1.618 in ratio to 1. Phi is also known as "the divine proportion" and is argued to be "God's signature upon his creation" by a variety of religious groups, including Kabbalists amongst others. A quick search of wikipedia aught to clear this up, what with all their accurate information and primary sources...

    Re: hard wiring--check out Chomsky for openers.
    Done. "Manufacturing Consent" is particularly applicable to this argument, though Chomsky's views and predictions, while popularly held by university kids, have by and large failed to generate any particular scientific support beyond sensationalism. Can I also recommend to you Julia Kristeva? Jack Chambers? BF Skinner? Jean Piaget? Also John Locke, David Hume, JJ Rosseau?

    Re: babies are amoral little monsters who just want to eat everything they like and destroy everything they dont--spend some time around children.
    May I ask your profession and education that gives you accurate information about children?

    Re: moral symmetry--if you don't understand that phrase, I don't know how to help to you. Examine the Golden Rule. If you don't see the symmetry, I don't know what to tell you.
    Do you mean cause and effect? Quid quo pro? Sadism?

    Do you mean that for every Good act there is an equal and opposite Evil act? For every beautiful thing there is an ugly thing? Or do you mean that Good begets good, Evil begets evil? Or is the ration not 1:1 but 1.618:1...?

    Must Good and Evil exist in balance? (a la Anakin Skywalker kills all the good Jedi so that there is only 1 good Jedi and 1 evil Jedi left, thus achieving balance? -- which is morally grey, I might add. Doing evil to create balance - is that not a morally relativistic position?)

    See also: What goes around, comes around.
    Indeed. Words to live by...
    Last edited by Fung Koo; March 10th, 2008 at 02:42 PM. Reason: got scolded :( (heheheh)

  12. #72
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Fung, let's try to keep the personal out of it, okay? I know you didn't start it, but playing along only exacerbates the problem.

    Lin, likewise. If you could refrain from the smugness people might pay more attention to what you are saying. They also might be more inclined to want to understand your POV.

    I have three sons. They were all quite different actually. One was extremely passive and even as an very young boy, wouldn't hurt a fly. My oldest on the other hand was as wild as could be, though not hurtful. My youngest was very destructive. If you did spend time raising children, you would know that they are all different.

    Moral understanding is a different function. The separation between action and evaluation is wide. Kids may or may not do what adults consider to be 'the right thing', but they don't know the difference until they are taught what's expected of them. That doesn't mean though that they always do 'the wrong thing'.

  13. #73
    >:|Angry Beaver|:< Fung Koo's Avatar
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    Is that better?




    No one ever likes it when you make the golden rule literal...

  14. #74
    GemQuest Moderator Gary Wassner's Avatar
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    Well, it's actually odd to invoke the golden rule in a discussion of this sort anyway. Treat others as you would want to be treated? Why? Why should one action require the other? The presuppositions are enormous. It would seem to me that you treat people according to how you evalute their worth, not your own.

  15. #75
    Just Another Philistine Hereford Eye's Avatar
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    Reality versus the ideal?

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