When looking through various arguments about ethics and morals I've noticed two modes of thought. There seems to be those that view morality in absolutes, for example the Consistant LIfe Ethic. This sort of thinking seems to be opposed by those that think that morality is circumstantial, take a look at some of the pro-choice arguments(i.e. rape, incest, birth defects, etc.) for example.

Should moraliity be absolute or circumstantial? Why? Is morality based on circumstance hypocritical? Why? Is morality based on absolutes hypocritical? Why?

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Tedster: Meanwhile, I have felch's version of Kumbaya in my head but that has nothing to do with you :-)

I wish Napalm Death would do this. I've emailed them.
Ah, you are a man after my heart.
Morality is a consideration among the living about that which affects survival.
A rock can have no morality.
So that which exists among the living may be said to carry knowledge which assists in it's survival. At it's root, this knowledge is bicameral. Inherited knowledge is instinctual, non-volitional, part of homeostasis. Learned knowledge is empirical, fact based, gained in a learning curve by a theoretical and practical synthesis. These are two distinct intrinsic components of knowledge within any life form. I used the term bicameral because I could use less words with it. I got the idea from Dr. Julian Jaynes. This bicameral knowledge directs a life form to behave in a life enhancing manner.

Instinct is part of the firmware that comes inherited from the species at large to the individual of that species.

Humanity, (although it is in possession of some instinctual behavior) operates using decision trees on the basis of a few simple questions regarding existence and the metaphysically given:
Is our condition here knowable? If the answer arrived at is "yes", the following question is: "By what means"?

Sensory data interpreted by a rational perspective leads to a morality of rational self interest.
Whim interpreted by an irrational perspective leads to a morality that is anti- rational self interest.
Survival in the case of the Human being depends on a rational perspective which takes into account the sensory data as part of the metaphysically given. Failure to evaluate sensory data as such can only reduce the proximity of human paradigm to life enhancing outcomes via such encompassing life processes related to the adequate synthesis of sensory data about the metaphysically given.

Morality as it is related to survival may vary as it relates to the temperament involved in choosing a viable route to survival. Survival is markedly different from non-survival however, so any working practice of morality must have results that are absolutely quantifiable as survival if it is to be judged as effective to the living being employing the morality.

Attaining Virtues (character traits and competencies) cumulative to and corollary towards your life (it's survival) plus Values (Nouns) of the same caliber and quality yield a stance of morality.

A great book on the subject is " Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology" by Harry Binswanger and Leonard Peikoff. It contains extensive philosophical material by Ayn Rand.
As a Humanist, I try to familiarize myself with other secular philosophies and I must say that Objectivism is not nearly as "objective" as it claims to be. Morality should be rational and internally consistent and neither Rand nor Peikoff were either of these things. Basic survival is a pretty low standard of moral behavior and the kind of morality that issues forth from a "philosophy" that claims the measure of human value is monetary is a debilitating set of ideas to structure ones life around, much less a whole society.

I'm not even going to begin to harp on Rand's sexism or ethnocentrism (not racism) because I don't think that it is central to her philosophy. All I'm going to say is that the kind of rational self interest that places the individual ego in the center of the universe and acts in a cooperative or compassionate manner only when it can bring beneficial results to oneself is such a low standard of morality that it boarders on the immoral.

This is the kind of calous egocentrism that gives atheists a bad name. Objectivism is the cartoon version of what secular morality is all about.
Sad attempt at Context dropping mthoreau

!- At one time money was backed by gold, it was not fiat money and symbolized unconsumed goods and stored productivity. It was a safe store for value. The value of things cumulative to and corollary to the ultimate value, YOUR LIFE (without which no other values are discernible to you.) The Bill of Rights and the Writ of Habeas Corpus were held in high esteem, the U.S. Constitution would never have been ratified but for these caveats in LAW, these parameters designed to protect the individual. These "impediments" to your "Humanist Kantian Philosophy" are still in force where intelligent minds have rejected Kant's Categorical Imperative which states "The only moral act a man (woman, child) can achieve is one which all men would agree is a moral act; that is, one which is not self serving". This idea makes a mockery of human effort and would reward you with a judgment of "Good Moral Conduct" when you rescued the child of a perfect stranger instead of your own. You could never select the value of your own child over that of a stranger's if you want Kant's "moral approval" because "all men would NOT agree that rescuing or even nurturing your own child had moral import".
Your dilemma: You would like to read (sociopath philosopher for hire) Kant's drivel OUT of context and condemn those able people who value their own lives and those of their loved ones ABOVE that of a perfect stranger.
Well, I reject your contempt for my values. I find your words unequaled to the task of assessing the code you think I keep. It might help If you understood the value of the man and woman of ability instead of trying to filch their goods, their values, their character by context dropping and calumny. Your own caricature of context dropping altruist calumny is the cartoon version of what secular morality is all about, Kantian ideologue.




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