Dennis Edwall

Are There Moral Standards?

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I have trouble understanding this from a causal perspective. In your view, does morality elicit emotions or do emotions cause morality?

...

For the record, I happen to think it is more complex since some values are prewired, some values are prewired to develop automatically with growth, and some values are chosen, and some prewiring can be undone through choice. On the emotional side, some emotions are prewired, some are indicative of intense trauma (or positive experience) and even deep verbal premises, and many can be influenced by conscious choice.

I'm saying emotions are the source of morality, although cognition is a vital part of the full moral mechanics. Morality is not emotional judgment per se. We can be angry or happy without any moral valence to the issue at hand. However, cognition without emotion is amoral (psychopaths).

My take is that we feel things (emotions) that are by their nature deemed as "good" or "bad" based on the positive/negative valence of the experience. These basic good/bad emotional experiences are modularized as motivational mechanics with the purpsoe of directing us to seek out certain things (basic needs). For example, we feel attachment to our parents when growing up, desiring physical nurturing and comfort. Experiments have shown that if an infant receives no comfort and nurturing from another human source, the infant dies regardless of receiving adequate food and shelter. So very clearly here, there is a set of emotions (affiliative ones) that direct children to seek attachment with parents, and these children cannot survive otherwise. There is also evidence that in older age groups, attachment-related emotions and memories can be repressed from other emotional and cognitive experiences. In other words, attachment-related motives are modularized both emotionally and cognitively from other motives.

With emotions established as motivators towards fulfillment of basic biological needs, I think cognition then comes into play (that which makes us distinctly human, since animals do not display characteristics of moral judgment). I think our cognitive faculties pay attention to our subjective experiences and attempt to model a set of identities and behaviors that hinge around the emotional experiences (the emotions become the premises upon which cognitive morality is built). The cognitive organization established around specific emotional themes becomes the source of all moral judgments. But, and here's what I've been thinking, if my dominant motive module is attachment, then my dominant (cognitive) assessment faculty is premised on attachment-related emotions. If I then experience emotions related to achievement (pride/anger), my dominant cognition does not use these emotions as premises for morality.

Chris

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Chris,

You might be interested in looking at some of the science on this, say with the work of Silvan Tomkins. Here is a thread that can get you started (if you are not already familiar with this):

The Wonderful Way Shmurak Faces Emotion

I, too, am interested in the emotional basis of our normative abstractions. I believe it is an oversimplification to say (or insinuate) that they are only emotion-based, but I do not think it is an oversimplification to notice that almost any normative abstraction (or moral value) develops cognitively over time by starting from nonverbal affects.

I have recently become enamored with the work of Malcolm Gladwell. I picked up a book of his called Blink almost at random and I became hooked. This book deals with the lightening-fast value judgments we all make (which is a crucial issue for any morality) and there is enough science presented to satisfy anyone looking for it.

I am now in the middle of a book by Gladwell called Outliers, which deals with not-so-obvious conditions that foster high achievement. (I have not yet read The Tipping Point by him, but I intend to get it.)

Just based on your statements, I highly recommend these two avenues. I believe you will find a lot of value among them.

I believe these approaches (in addition to Cialdini's work on influence and that of a few others) can be wedded to Objectivist ethics quite easily. Not without a fight from the orthodoxy since a few Objectivist epistemological concepts like "tabula rasa" need to be overhauled, but I definitely see a great deal of common ground.

Michael

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I think the fear of banishment from a tribal group--the fear of being alone--has a lot to do with how we experience, create, use and need morality. Such banishment used to be tantamount to a death sentence.

--Brant

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Brant,

I have been toying with the idea of an 80-20 split (or something similar) on an individual-to-species standard. This definitely covers the way psychology works. (One example is the tribal banishment mechanism you mentioned.) We are not individual derelicts floating adrift in the universe. We are individual human beings. So I think this 80-20 split should include morality and politics as well. But there is a lot of work to do in order to properly ground this idea in rational terms.

This 80-20 split is practically the way it already works in modern life, but there are always religious commandments and social charges like altruism involved. This is an inquiry I will be making after my Internet marketing thing is well underway.

Michael

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I think the fear of banishment from a tribal group--the fear of being alone--has a lot to do with how we experience, create, use and need morality. Such banishment used to be tantamount to a death sentence.

--Brant

Yes, indeed, I agree.

To me, it makes the most sense to develop any reality based moral arguments based on evolution. Morality is a tool that humans can use to greatly influence their survival, reproductive, and kin success factors, but it's complex. Many different strategies (moralities) emerge out of this complexity, and it seems we're left with multiple moral codes at best.

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Brant,

I have been toying with the idea of an 80-20 split (or something similar) on an individual-to-species standard. This definitely covers the way psychology works. (One example is the tribal banishment mechanism you mentioned.) We are not individual derelicts floating adrift in the universe. We are individual human beings. So I think this 80-20 split should include morality and politics as well. But there is a lot of work to do in order to properly ground this idea in rational terms.

This 80-20 split is practically the way it already works in modern life, but there are always religious commandments and social charges like altruism involved. This is an inquiry I will be making after my Internet marketing thing is well underway.

Michael

Yes, I agree. Look at Evolutionary Psychology, Evolutionary Ethics for some good thoughts on this.

To me anyway, ethics makes a helluva lot more sense when it's removed from philosophy and is sciencized, evolutionized, or othewise biologized.

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Brant,

I have been toying with the idea of an 80-20 split (or something similar) on an individual-to-species standard. This definitely covers the way psychology works. (One example is the tribal banishment mechanism you mentioned.) We are not individual derelicts floating adrift in the universe. We are individual human beings. So I think this 80-20 split should include morality and politics as well. But there is a lot of work to do in order to properly ground this idea in rational terms.

This 80-20 split is practically the way it already works in modern life, but there are always religious commandments and social charges like altruism involved. This is an inquiry I will be making after my Internet marketing thing is well underway.

Michael

Yes, I agree. Look at Evolutionary Psychology, Evolutionary Ethics for some good thoughts on this.

To me anyway, ethics makes a helluva lot more sense when it's removed from philosophy and is sciencized, evolutionized, or othewise biologized.

Morality is part of philosophy--but not exclusive to it--else there is little need for philosophy. Just as science gets it due so should philosophy. The ultimate trick is the integration, not the negation. But first we need to understand what belongs to which and why. My working premise is Objectivism claims too much for itself and philosophy as such.

--Brant

Edited by Brant Gaede

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There is a conceptual problem here.

How can you remove physics or biology from science? You can't because they are branches of science.

Ditto for ethics and philosophy. Ethics is a branch of philosophy (and religion, which, conceptually, is a form of philosophy albeit not historically).

Just because there are overlaps between philosophy and science in understanding human nature, that does not mean you can destroy either category at whim. Both disciplines exist in human knowledge for a reason.

Michael

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There is a conceptual problem here.

How can you remove physics or biology from science? You can't because they are branches of science.

Ditto for ethics and philosophy. Ethics is a branch of philosophy (and religion, which, conceptually, is a form of philosophy albeit not historically).

Just because there are overlaps between philosophy and science in understanding human nature, that does not mean you can destroy either category at whim. Both disciplines exist in human knowledge for a reason.

How can you remove science from philosophy?

--Brant

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How can you remove science from philosophy

Brant,

You don't. They overlap, just like inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning do. Both are based on observation, but use different predominantly methods for arriving at knowledge. However, each uses some of the processes of the other.

I found a good metaphor for this when I was thinking about the fundamental axioms. I stated (back on SoloHQ) that the fundamental axioms could be considered like different facets of the same gemstone. You can't remove them from the gemstone, but you can look at each separately.

The same kind of thinking applies to science and philosophy.

Michael

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How can you remove science from philosophy

Brant,

You don't. They overlap, just like inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning do. Both are based on observation, but use different predominantly methods for arriving at knowledge. However, each uses some of the processes of the other.

I found a good metaphor for this when I was thinking about the fundamental axioms. I stated (back on SoloHQ) that the fundamental axioms could be considered like different facets of the same gemstone. You can't remove them from the gemstone, but you can look at each separately.

The same kind of thinking applies to science and philosophy.

Michael

I disagree. Physical science used to be considered part of philosophy. It was even called "natural philosophy." We didn't have distinct sciences called physics or biology or psychology until fairly recently. Many writers have noted the process of the sciences "differentiating out" from philosophy and becoming distinct areas of study.

This is not to say that a given person cannot wear both hats. But he has to keep clear on which hat he is wearing!

Rand wrote about removing cosmology from philosophy. She considered it an error for philosophers to speculate about the origin of the universe. She said that all philosophers qua philosophers can do is to exercise a philosophical veto over any scientific theories that don't make sense (that violate the laws of logic). She believed the same thing about philosophy in relation to the other sciences. By the same token, scientists can employ philosophical methods in constructing, critiquing, and perhaps rejecting a scientific model. They don't have to wait for a philosopher to come over and do it. There are no "union rules" forbidding it, as I sometimes see on gigs where musicians are not allowed to move an electrical chord or adjust a microphone stand. (Sheesh!)

Nor is this to say that philosophers do not incorporate relevant facts discovered by science into their models. Or at least refer to them while developing their models. For instance, Rand referred to various facts about human awareness, such as the progression from sensations to perceptions to concepts. These facts are a matter of scientific observation, and they are grist for the philosopher's mill. And it is worth pointing out that they were first made at a time when there was no separate science of psychology. It was part of philosophy, as Aristotle did it.

But it's important to realize that while science and philosophy are not, or should not be, hermetically sealed from one another, they can and are and should be "removed" in the sense of made conceptually disitinct from one another.. Further, philosophers should not engage in armchair scientific theorizing any more (or less) than physicists should. All theories, while perhaps inspired in the shower or at the supermarket, should be based on observed facts and established knowledge, not dreamt up in a desperate fever, as some theories of the mind-body relationship have been, as well as some of the earliest cosmological views of the world and some of the most recent cosmologies seem to have been.

REB

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Roger,

I hold a view of philosophy that I believe is correct. I used to be a bit fuzzy on it, but it started becoming clear with Rand's observation that the difference between philosophy and science is that philosophy can be done by any normal person without the aid of specialized knowledge or equipment whereas science needs both.

I am curious as to your thinking, though. What difference do you find between science and philosophy? Or better, what does each discipline cover?

Barbara once wrote to me that philosophy is the branch of knowledge that deals with the fundamental nature of the universe when I mentioned that I considered it as a kind of set of instructions on how to use your mind (and awareness). At the time I said philosophy, but I was thinking more about epistemology and not so much the other branches.

But supposing we agree that philosophy does deal with the fundamental nature of the universe. How is this knowledge validated? Introspection? Pointing? Big thick books?

I am starting to go in another direction from this process. I believe induction from observation is at the root. And I am in agreement with Rand that it is knowledge easily available to anyone.

I do not consider science to be a branch of philosophy, but instead a different form of processing observations (mostly deduction, measurement and testing).

Michael

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Roger,

I hold a view of philosophy that I believe is correct. I used to be a bit fuzzy on it, but it started becoming clear with Rand's observation that the difference between philosophy and science is that philosophy can be done by any normal person without the aid of specialized knowledge or equipment whereas science needs both.

I am curious as to your thinking, though. What difference do you find between science and philosophy? Or better, what does each discipline cover?

Barbara once wrote to me that philosophy is the branch of knowledge that deals with the fundamental nature of the universe when I mentioned that I considered it as a kind of set of instructions on how to use your mind (and awareness). At the time I said philosophy, but I was thinking more about epistemology and not so much the other branches.

But supposing we agree that philosophy does deal with the fundamental nature of the universe. How is this knowledge validated? Introspection? Pointing? Big thick books?

I am starting to go in another direction from this process. I believe induction from observation is at the root. And I am in agreement with Rand that it is knowledge easily available to anyone.

I do not consider science to be a branch of philosophy, but instead a different form of processing observations (mostly deduction, measurement and testing).

Michael

A scientific theory is

1. quantified

2. empirically testable

which implies it is potentially falsifiable.

Philosophic principles are treated as though they are self evident, not requiring any empirical testing and beyond falsification. In short, philosophy is not well glued to sensible reality.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Roger,

I hold a view of philosophy that I believe is correct. I used to be a bit fuzzy on it, but it started becoming clear with Rand's observation that the difference between philosophy and science is that philosophy can be done by any normal person without the aid of specialized knowledge or equipment whereas science needs both.

I am curious as to your thinking, though. What difference do you find between science and philosophy? Or better, what does each discipline cover?

Barbara once wrote to me that philosophy is the branch of knowledge that deals with the fundamental nature of the universe when I mentioned that I considered it as a kind of set of instructions on how to use your mind (and awareness). At the time I said philosophy, but I was thinking more about epistemology and not so much the other branches.

But supposing we agree that philosophy does deal with the fundamental nature of the universe. How is this knowledge validated? Introspection? Pointing? Big thick books?

I am starting to go in another direction from this process. I believe induction from observation is at the root. And I am in agreement with Rand that it is knowledge easily available to anyone.

I do not consider science to be a branch of philosophy, but instead a different form of processing observations (mostly deduction, measurement and testing).

Michael

A scientific theory is

1. quantified

2. empirically testable

which implies it is potentially falsifiable.

Philosophic principles are treated as though they are self evident, not requiring any empirical testing and beyond falsification. In short, philosophy is not well glued to sensible reality.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Bob,

It is true that philosophical matter is not quantifiable, but that does not mean it does not have objective evaluative content. The content is ordinal rather than cardinal. I can be more or less certain. I can can be more or less just, but I cannot quantify certainty or justice in a philosphical context.

Jim

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Bob,

It is true that philosophical matter is not quantifiable, but that does not mean it does not have objective evaluative content. The content is ordinal rather than cardinal.

Jim

Aristotle's philosophy lead to empirically falsified conclusions. Has it been discarded? No? Then being falsified has no impact on the philosophy and that is one of its problems. What philosophy that you know about has been tossed because it produced false conclusions?

As to being quantitative, anything that does not admit an objective measure is opinion, not knowledge.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Bob,

It is true that philosophical matter is not quantifiable, but that does not mean it does not have objective evaluative content. The content is ordinal rather than cardinal.

Jim

Aristotle's philosophy lead to empirically falsified conclusions. Has it been discarded? No? Then being falsified has no impact on the philosophy and that is one of its problems. What philosophy that you know about has been tossed because it produced false conclusions?

As to being quantitative, anything that does not admit an objective measure is opinion, not knowledge.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Those portions of Aristotle's philosophy that have led to falsified conclusions must be reevaluated or tossed out if we have a commitment to objectivity.

Ordinal measures are objective, however they are comparative rather than quantifiable. How would you quantify your certainty that the U.S. is more just than Iran and on what basis?

Jim

Edited by James Heaps-Nelson

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Ordinal measures are objective, however they are comparative rather than quantifiable. How would you quantify your certainty that the U.S. is more just than Iran and on what basis?

Jim

Count the number of women who are stoned for adultery. That is cardinal, not ordinal.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Ordinal measures are objective, however they are comparative rather than quantifiable. How would you quantify your certainty that the U.S. is more just than Iran and on what basis?

Jim

Count the number of women who are stoned for adultery. That is cardinal, not ordinal.

Ba'al Chatzaf

I could ask you how you know stoning women for adultery is wrong, but that doesn't get at the measurement question. Suppose I have somepne who works to lower taxes because they think it will result in more governmental revenue and someone who works to lower taxes because they think taxation is morally wrong. Which argument is more just and how would you quantify that?

Jim

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I've never posted on this site and there is a lot to read. Forgive me if I am about to go on and on about something that is in another post, but after reading through this thread I have a few questions/ideas I want to toss out here.

I do not see the difference between the wheel, philosophy, ethics, physics or any of the other subjects/objects/names that have been tossed out at each other in this discussion. Humans aren't any different than any other animal that makes his home on this earth. Birds have beaks and fly, other animals have spines or sharp teeth. Each of their evolutionary advantages provides them with the tools of survival their species requires. We have a huge complex brain that allows us to mimic and/or improve upon all of those characteristics. In what sense has our biologically, physically or otherwise scientifically-reality limited mind broken the bounds of the rational world such that it can create something that works and is real but would not be limited by those same laws? i.e. How does our brain create these "conventions'" that are not bound by the laws of physics if the brain is indeed bound by the laws of physics and the created convention is supposed to have an effect on our proper functioning/survival within reality?

To ask for the proof of deriving ethics from physics I cannot offer anymore than that. As the logicians/mathematicians here know to prove that not A is false is to prove that A is true. The consequences of accepting that ethics is not tied to or otherwise derivable from the laws of reality seems to be equivalent to saying that there is some other world/place/space/realm out there where ethics exists and we have to figure it out subjectively down here. Then, wouldn't that bring the question back to a Plato v. Aristotle anyway? What would be the difference between calling out ethics a convention and something like say a bible?

As for the idea of what works for you might not work for me, it is not dispositive of error production in reality. Clearly erroneous decisions and judgments are made everyday; their existence/occurrence is not proof that they must be correct. There very well may be a law somewhere that allows the murder of humans by dropping them feet first into wood chippers but that does not prove it's correct-ness. I'd call now Baal's earlier post on the limitation that 1) cannot cause extinction and 2) must not be impossible in reality and ask, how is this not sufficient to show that ethics, if it pretends to be functional, must necessarily be limited by reality?

Michael asks how you can separate the particular sciences, and then ethics from philosophy. Wouldn't that same argument continue on back and therefore wouldn't we have to ask whether any of those bodies of knowledge, and the intent that we create and study them in order to get closer to the objective truths of reality, be anything but limited by the physical laws of reality?

Emmanuel

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I've never posted on this site and there is a lot to read. Forgive me if I am about to go on and on about something that is in another post, but after reading through this thread I have a few questions/ideas I want to toss out here.

I do not see the difference between the wheel, philosophy, ethics, physics or any of the other subjects/objects/names that have been tossed out at each other in this discussion. Humans aren't any different than any other animal that makes his home on this earth. Birds have beaks and fly, other animals have spines or sharp teeth. Each of their evolutionary advantages provides them with the tools of survival their species requires. We have a huge complex brain that allows us to mimic and/or improve upon all of those characteristics. In what sense has our biologically, physically or otherwise scientifically-reality limited mind broken the bounds of the rational world such that it can create something that works and is real but would not be limited by those same laws? i.e. How does our brain create these "conventions'" that are not bound by the laws of physics if the brain is indeed bound by the laws of physics and the created convention is supposed to have an effect on our proper functioning/survival within reality?

To ask for the proof of deriving ethics from physics I cannot offer anymore than that. As the logicians/mathematicians here know to prove that not A is false is to prove that A is true. The consequences of accepting that ethics is not tied to or otherwise derivable from the laws of reality seems to be equivalent to saying that there is some other world/place/space/realm out there where ethics exists and we have to figure it out subjectively down here. Then, wouldn't that bring the question back to a Plato v. Aristotle anyway? What would be the difference between calling out ethics a convention and something like say a bible?

As for the idea of what works for you might not work for me, it is not dispositive of error production in reality. Clearly erroneous decisions and judgments are made everyday; their existence/occurrence is not proof that they must be correct. There very well may be a law somewhere that allows the murder of humans by dropping them feet first into wood chippers but that does not prove it's correct-ness. I'd call now Baal's earlier post on the limitation that 1) cannot cause extinction and 2) must not be impossible in reality and ask, how is this not sufficient to show that ethics, if it pretends to be functional, must necessarily be limited by reality?

Michael asks how you can separate the particular sciences, and then ethics from philosophy. Wouldn't that same argument continue on back and therefore wouldn't we have to ask whether any of those bodies of knowledge, and the intent that we create and study them in order to get closer to the objective truths of reality, be anything but limited by the physical laws of reality?

Emmanuel

It is the fact that our existence/nonexistence depends on recognizing that human beings have certain requirements for sustaining life. The human conventions you speak of are our codified protection of our ability to act as humans to sustain our life.

Jim

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I could ask you how you know stoning women for adultery is wrong, but that doesn't get at the measurement question. Suppose I have someone who works to lower taxes because they think it will result in more governmental revenue and someone who works to lower taxes because they think taxation is morally wrong. Which argument is more just and how would you quantify that?

Jim

To condemn taxation as morally wrong is to condemn government as morally wrong since taxes are the only practical means of sustaining a government (be it good or bad). So what is the better justification for not having exceedingly high taxes? It is that a lower tax rate will not only increase government revenue but will make the life of producers easier. I favor the pragmatic argument for lowering taxes, since I have come to believe that some government i necessary to the peace and prosperity of our society.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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I could ask you how you know stoning women for adultery is wrong, but that doesn't get at the measurement question. Suppose I have someone who works to lower taxes because they think it will result in more governmental revenue and someone who works to lower taxes because they think taxation is morally wrong. Which argument is more just and how would you quantify that?

Jim

To condemn taxation as morally wrong is to condemn government as morally wrong since taxes are the only practical means of sustaining a government (be it good or bad). So what is the better justification for not having exceedingly high taxes? It is that a lower tax rate will not only increase government revenue but will make the life of producers easier. I favor the pragmatic argument for lowering taxes, since I have come to believe that some government i necessary to the peace and prosperity of our society.

Ba'al Chatzaf

So what do you say when a government is voted in that favors a 60% tax rate rather than 25% tax rate and argues that the money would be better used for pursuing Dr. Quack's cancer cure, better education for special needs students, better conditions for zoo animals, universal health insurance and social security for everyone 55 and older. After all we all want to cure cancer, make sure zoo animals have proper conditions, hope that special needs students are mainstreamed and seniors live in good conditions right? There are many more special needs students, animal lovers, people that need health insurance and seniors than producers. Why shouldn't they just vote their pocketbook and aren't they just as deserving of the money as anybody else?

Jim

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So what do you say when a government is voted in that favors a 60% tax rate rather than 25% tax rate and argues that the money would be better used for pursuing Dr. Quack's cancer cure, better education for special needs students, better conditions for zoo animals, universal health insurance and social security for everyone 55 and older. After all we all want to cure cancer, make sure zoo animals have proper conditions, hope that special needs students are mainstreamed and seniors live in good conditions right? There are many more special needs students, animal lovers, people that need health insurance and seniors than producers. Why shouldn't they just vote their pocketbook and aren't they just as deserving of the money as anybody else?

Jim

Experience has shown that government do not generally use money wisely. We should grant to government the least amount that enables government to perform its proper functions which are:

1. Keep the peace in the nation -- police force.

2. Provide a proper venue for settling disputes -- law courts

3. Keep foreign enemies from our gates -- military

4. On those rare occasions when nature goes on the rampage, provide emergency assistance for the brief time required for private civilian forces to deploy to deal with the emergency.

I have a riddle for you. What is a camel? Answer: A horse designed by Congress

Ba'al Chatzaf

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So what do you say when a government is voted in that favors a 60% tax rate rather than 25% tax rate and argues that the money would be better used for pursuing Dr. Quack's cancer cure, better education for special needs students, better conditions for zoo animals, universal health insurance and social security for everyone 55 and older. After all we all want to cure cancer, make sure zoo animals have proper conditions, hope that special needs students are mainstreamed and seniors live in good conditions right? There are many more special needs students, animal lovers, people that need health insurance and seniors than producers. Why shouldn't they just vote their pocketbook and aren't they just as deserving of the money as anybody else?

Jim

Experience has shown that government do not generally use money wisely. We should grant to government the least amount that enables government to perform its proper functions which are:

1. Keep the peace in the nation -- police force.

2. Provide a proper venue for settling disputes -- law courts

3. Keep foreign enemies from our gates -- military

4. On those rare occasions when nature goes on the rampage, provide emergency assistance for the brief time required for private civilian forces to deploy to deal with the emergency.

I have a riddle for you. What is a camel? Answer: A horse designed by Congress

Ba'al Chatzaf

Bob, I agree with you. I also think the moral argument against taxation is more effective than the practical one. The Republican party does better when they argue that people should keep more of what they earn then when they argue that lower taxes yield larger governmental revenues.

The problem with granting the morality of taxation is that you have to establish the principle of rights to argue for limited government. I really don't care that much about that portion of taxes that goes to fund proper governmental functions, but I do care about the fact that the failure to establish and protect without quarter the moral basis of rights leads to an ever-increasing erosion of rights and growth of government.

One of the most pernicious effect of the Bush Administration was that corporate welfare and pork has helped give shelter to arguments for the welfare state. Capitalism is most effectively argued for on a moral basis. If you cede the moral high ground, you lose.

Jim

Edited by James Heaps-Nelson

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Michael asks how you can separate the particular sciences, and then ethics from philosophy. Wouldn't that same argument continue on back and therefore wouldn't we have to ask whether any of those bodies of knowledge, and the intent that we create and study them in order to get closer to the objective truths of reality, be anything but limited by the physical laws of reality?

Emmanuel,

This is very close to how I think. Both philosophy and science are observation-based bodies of knowledge, so they grow from the same root and are intertwined at many points. (That is why I call them facets of the same gemstone.) And the reason we observe is to interact with our environment, which is mostly done at a perceptual level to survive or perform prewired (involuntary) functions. When we reach the conceptual level, behavior and areas of knowledge become more complex, but they are all still part of the same organism and arise from the same nature of that organism.

For the life of me, I cannot imagine science without some worldview, and when I see worldview devoid of science, I see talking snakes and parallel universes (like heaven and hell) and so forth. But even then, in order to apply ethics, some science has to be involved to show people, with good chances of prediction, the causality of bad behavior. Otherwise, they don't swallow the mythology and move on to something else.

Interestingly enough, both philosophy and science operate with axioms.

btw - I have not been aware of anyone trying to derive ethics from physics, although I do see much overlapping between the two.

Also, I find the argument amusing that something cannot be proven in reality unless it is falsifiable, when the same line of thought usually claims that (1) something is only falsifiable according to logic (propositions), and (2) logic is not connected to reality.

I have always had a problem with this, er... logic...

:)

Michael

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