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 No.1552

File: 1567379306438.png (953.33 KB, 1280x905, 256:181, war.png) ImgOps Google

Can science decide questions of morals?

The current method of deciding moral questions seems to be might, accepting that people fight for what they believe, so might relates to how well moral ideas resonate.  The problem, if you value life and property, is incompatible moral ideas can resonate with different populations or individuals and the result can be unpleasant.  

Science has done a great job of confirming and rejecting models of physical systems based on objective tests, so is it possible to borrow any of these tools for questions closer to the heart?

(You might reject the use of the term science for that, so if you have a better word, that's fine.)

 No.1555

Sure. If you can ask a specific testable and falsifiable question then you can apply scientific methods to it regardless of the discipline.

 No.1556

>>1555
What would you see as grounds for falsifying a moral statement?

 No.1557

No. Morality comes from people and how people think. You can get as close as you want with signs to how people think, but ultimately, how they think is how they think. Science isn't actually what would play a part in that. You are simply observing the process.

 No.1558

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>>1552
>Can science decide questions of morals?
No.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Is–ought_problem

Fundamentally, it is impossible to derive an "ought" statement from a set of "is" statements.

 No.1559

File: 1567386094662.png (203.9 KB, 1024x1024, 1:1, foundation.png) ImgOps Google

>>1558
I suppose I'm talking more about engineering than science, then.  Engineers say we ought make a bridge that won't collapse, then use science to determine what that means.  So the question moves to whether there might exist an ought that most everyone could agree to, a foundation for moral engineering? Well, something more than the mightiest ought prevail.

 No.1561

>>1558
Sure you can.

Pizza IS on sale today. Pizza IS usually expensive. But today pizza IS not expensive.

I ought to buy some pizza!

 No.1562

>>1552
I don't agree that might decides morality. That's literally "might makes right", a phrase used by people to criticize that notion.

I think morality comes from a place of empathy and understanding. So I don't think it's possible to scientifically explain unless you quantify things like happiness, individuality, liberty, freedom etc. Can you scientifically quantify happiness? I don't think so.  

 No.1563

A project set up and via science we can calculate the probability for success. And we can do a risk analysis to determine the results and probabilities of negative outcomes.

This will give us a myriad of data.
But can we have an objective way to interpret the results and determine whether the project should be initiated?

We can calculate the risk, but whether it is worth it is a manmade decision.

 No.1564

>>1561
>Pizza IS on sale today. Pizza IS usually expensive. But today pizza IS not expensive.
does not logically entail
>I ought to buy some pizza!

 No.1565

>>1564
How so? Logically, if there is something you wish to obtain, and it's being sold for less than it's usual price, you should pay the smaller price for it.

 No.1566

>>1565
I can just imagine your robot servant coming back to you.
> Have you put the money on the bank like I instructed?
< Negative, there was a sale on pizza.

 No.1567

>Can science decide questions of morals?

No. Morals do not exist in any material sense. Science really only serves to answer questions about material realities.

>The current method of deciding moral questions seems to be might

Okay ... so ... this seems like a really ... fascist assumption.

I don't  think there's really anything left to answer in light of that.

 No.1568

>>1567
Facists are a kind of authority.  If you can not be respectful of authority, you have nothing to add, so your post is disregarded.

 No.1569

>>1562

People use might to to enforce how they've quantified things like happiness and liberty.  Therefore that is how we currently decide morality.  Today's morality has largely already been determined by this, far in the past, or in some cases fairly recently in the past.

 No.1570

>>1569
I'm not sure I follow. Most of history is full of people rebelling against authority in the pursuit of those things.

 No.1571

>>1570
>Most of history is full of people rebelling against authority in the pursuit of those things.

Using might.

 No.1572

>>1571
Not always.

But anyway, most societies create morals among themselves without it being forced upon them.  Plus there are things ingrained in humans that lend themselves to morals.

Humans have an innate desire for fairness, so most societies discourage things like theft. Most humans mourn the dead, so things like indiscriminate murder are taboo in most societies. Things like religion and laws are just people attempting to collect and codify understood taboos such as those to try and make work for all the people in the community.

That's why I don't think creating scientific answers for this is possible. "Is it wrong to kill?" is a philosophical question, not one that can be answered by science. It has a different answer depending on what society one lives in AND one's own personal views. That... ain't science.

 No.1573

Suppose 'might makes right' can have several meanings.  I'm thinking of might as power generally, not just physical violence, to be clear.  Persuasion and economic power decide moral questions as well as guns and knives.

You could take a strong just-world belief, in which all might, or I suppose, a lack of it as well, is justice.  Of course, I think, that comes to nothing useful as everything is equally moral.  It's most respectful, though, since you have nothing judgemental to say about anyone ever.

In practice, I think it's safe to condemn random acts of violence by criminals.  They do not seem much of a factor in morality, and the acts oppose powerful states.  You'd have to make an exception for rebellion that leads to a new state or social change, perhaps.  Suppose things are gray for states in flux.

>>1562
>morality comes from a place of empathy and understanding
I think so.  I'm not always clear with my words.  I expect those with understanding are usually granted social power.

>>1569
>Today's morality has largely already been determined by this
Yeah, conquest is no longer common.  I read a book that claimed, basically, 'conquest ain't what it used to be.'  In an agrarian culture, land is the biggest prize.  It's not as clear how you'd use soldiers to occupy Facebook or Google to steal their wealth.

Or perhaps conquest is not seen as a moral act.  However as you mention, the conquests of the past influence who controls what, and if they were unjust, current political systems might come into question.

 No.1574

>>1573
>However as you mention, the conquests of the past influence who controls what, and if they were unjust, current political systems might come into question.
I think at some point people need to let bygones be bygones.  Like, it wouldn't make sense to seriously consider a claim the the UK has a right to take over America as its former colony, or for Mongolia to assert a right over Finland, or for Russia to claim that they were tricked into selling Alaska for below its true worth.

 No.1575

>>1568

I think I would have a lot to add as someone who does not respect authority, who does not accept any real justifications made for that authority's legitimacy.

No morals or a
ethics are of any worth if they are derived solely from the whims of an authority figure

 No.1576

File: 1567553735186.jpg (Spoiler Image, 15.55 KB, 300x300, 1:1, s-l300.jpg) ImgOps Exif Google

>>1575
What if the authority figure is     God    ?

 No.1577

No, but I don't really consider absolute solved morality a realistic or achievable goal. More an optimisation problem. Rationality is by definition the means which is most likely to produce the desired outcome, and so the best tool to solve the optimisation problem.

 No.1578

>>1576

Wouldn't matter.

Morals derived from an authority figure logically cannot be absolute, if that god could, hypothetically, change them on a whim.

And it would mean the morals are fundamentally arbitrary.

 No.1579

>>1575
>solely from the whims of an authority figure
Authority figures seldom present themselves as operating on their whim.  A King is in communion with God.  Law enforcement in a democracy responds to the will of the people.  A republic enforces rights.  A dictator, probably, is leading a country through threat or trouble.

Yet each uses force, which implies people with authority and people without -- the subjects of that authorized force.

If you got rid of authorities, at least in the sense of someone authorized to use force against another, you'd have to get rid of the state.  Which is anarchy, where everyone is their own authority.  I'm told that kills people (in a bad way), though.  Humans can't be trusted to operate that much as individuals, they need authorities above them to maintain order.

Granted, I guess you're not telling me that.

 No.1597

>>1552
I mean, i always saw morality as a fundamentally basic optimization problem: Maximize happiness. While certainly that doesn't look exactly the same for everyone, there's a lot of commonalities. Basic needs, fulfillment, following passions, that sort of thing. To me, a lot of that is just good social structures to take care of basic needs and keep society running, and everyone being strong-minded enough to be true enough to themselves to really discover their passions without just falling in line or caving to social whims, while still being considerate enough of the whole to not pursue passions that would be destructive to the whole. There's going to be a cornucopia of edge cases of course, but that's kindof how i see the equation, which seems to certainly be, at least to some extent, compatible with the scientific process.

Of course, at some point, this requires people to self-actualize. I think a lot of people end up in a sort of mental survival mode, even, perhaps especially, the very very wealthy, where they just exploit exploit, breed breed, as much as they can, like dumb wild beasts. They get so caught up in survival, or "the game" that they forget how to be happy or to cultivate their soul with passions/exploration/learning/improvement. They get so caught up surviving they forget why they survive. For the very poor, this is understandable, and i think it's better for everyone if we can use social safety-net systems to get them past that mindset and join society as productive, self-actualized members. For the ultra wealthy, well, i think if affluenza is going to be a legal defense, then it should be considered a mental disorder that needs treating, same as any other, perhaps treated more aggressively. I honestly believe it's probably at least, and probably much more, destructive than something like ADD or OCD. They cause far more problems for the people around them, they're like a plague, taking and taking and taking, consuming consuming consuming, without ever cultivating a human soul. We need to treat these people, they are honestly sick and a danger to society as they are. They'd be happier, and they wouldn't cause so much misery to those around them.  

 No.2302

>>1597
Hello, Attractive Leopard.

>I mean, i always saw morality as a fundamentally basic optimization problem: Maximize happiness...at least to some extent, compatible with the scientific process.

One of the motivations for this thread was my reading of Sam Harris’ “The Moral Landscape.”  That’s basically his argument, although he prefers the term ‘welbeing’ to happiness.  I think it means similar.

>especially, the very very wealthy,

Because perhaps they feel targeted because of their wealth, or have further to fall?

>they forget how to be happy or to cultivate their soul with passions/exploration/learning/improvement.

Like people making themselves a slave to profit?  Someone who has pulled themselves up has had to put their whole self into earning money, and it becomes a habit.

>affluenza is going to be a legal defense, then it should be considered a mental disorder that needs treating, same as any other, perhaps treated more aggressively.

I think affluenze is a term you have for...greed.  In some kind of theory making money involves providing a needed good or service to another, so in a – possibly economy, at least – greed = altruism.  Where people separate these ideas, the idea is you can get rich by exploiting others.

>They'd be happier, and they wouldn't cause so much misery to those around them.

You see greed as a pretty major problem, I think.

 No.2305

>>2302
>Hello, Attractive Leopard.

Hello, Gorgeous Porpoise!

>One of the motivations for this thread was my reading of Sam Harris’ “The Moral Landscape.”  That’s basically his argument, although he prefers the term ‘welbeing’ to happiness.  I think it means similar.

Oh neat! I've never heard of it, but it sounds interesting. I might just pick that one up! Yea, well being and happiness are probably interchangeable in this particular context. Works well enough for the argument i was making, anyway.

>Like people making themselves a slave to profit?  Someone who has pulled themselves up has had to put their whole self into earning money, and it becomes a habit.

Yea, exactly! Like, i highly doubt any of these billionaires want to work 15 hour work days sitting in board meetings all day, and yet that's exactly what they do! Why not retire in luxury? Why not spend all the money to go surfing in the bahamas? Or have an art collection? Or donate to a cause you care about? To me, it seems they've forgotten the endgame, that is, spending money to make yourself happy, to increase your wellbeing, and have gotten stuck in a (make money to make money to make money....) loop.

>I think affluenze is a term you have for...greed.

When i say affluence, i was actually referencing the defense that's been cited in the brock turner, and has been used as a legal defense before. That's why i used that particular terminology.

https://www.hg.org/legal-articles/what-is-the-affluenza-defense-31843

You could probably tell already, but i'm not a fan, but i'll leave it at that. That's the idea anyway. Yea, it's basically greed, but i guess, greed in the context of it actually affecting your brain and legitimately making you mentally unstable. I don't think all greed necessarily fits into that category, but you have the right idea, anyway.

>In some kind of theory making money involves providing a needed good or service to another, so in a – possibly economy, at least – greed = altruism.  Where people separate these ideas, the idea is you can get rich by exploiting others.

Yea, i certainly think you can get rich either by exploiting others, or simply get rich by virtue of already being rich.

>You see greed as a pretty major problem, I think.

Yes, very much so. To me, greedy people don't seem happy or fulfilled even with absurd amounts of wealth. So it makes me wonder what the point of being that wealthy even is. That wealth could certainly make many, many people much, much happier, so for it all to be amassed by people who don't even seem to appreciate it is very tragic to me. I think these people would be a lot happier if they retired and found a passion that makes them happy and doesn't step on other peoples' toes too much rather than spending their lives in an endless, joyless loop of money makes money makes money.

 No.2308

>>2305
>i highly doubt any of these billionaires want to work 15 hour work days sitting in board meetings all day, and yet that's exactly what they do! Why not retire in luxury?

Some well-known tech entrepreneurs are workaholics -- Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos.  At some point Elon Musk became aware his work hours were probably effecting his health, I think he did end up cutting back.  I think it can be hard to do nothing, though.

>donate to a cause you care about?

Bill Gates transitioned to fighting tropical diseases, and I think most of the super-rich are donating to various causes.

>(make money to make money to make money....) loop.
Yeah, the Ebenezer Scrooge thing.

>been used as a legal defense before.

Huh, really?  I mean, not that I'm to judge the powers that be, but taking the stance in some official capacity that wealth can render people...sociopathic criminals, I mean, rational minds might come to some deductions about excessive wealth's value in society that the wealthy wouldn't care for.

>people don't seem happy or fulfilled even with absurd amounts of wealth....spending their lives in an endless, joyless loop of money makes money makes money.

I agree there.  Happiness and money tend to correlate up to the point of meeting your basic needs (and perhaps those of your loved ones), then I think it gets more complicated.

 No.2321

>>2308
>Some well-known tech entrepreneurs are workaholics -- Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos.  At some point Elon Musk became aware his work hours were probably effecting his health, I think he did end up cutting back.  I think it can be hard to do nothing, though.

Elon musk i get. He actually has a vision. He has goals he wants to achieve related to pushing tech forward and improving humanity. He's spent a ton of money on developing cutting-edge tech, so i see him as doing rich correctly!

Jeff Bezos, i don't get him nearly as much. Amazon is convenient and all, but it hardly strikes me as moving the world forward in the same way ol' musky is. I don't get at all why bezos doesn't retire.

>Bill Gates transitioned to fighting tropical diseases, and I think most of the super-rich are donating to various causes.

It's hard for me to quite tell where legitimate interest ends and tax break incentives begin in these cases.

>Huh, really?  I mean, not that I'm to judge the powers that be, but taking the stance in some official capacity that wealth can render people...sociopathic criminals, I mean, rational minds might come to some deductions about excessive wealth's value in society that the wealthy wouldn't care for.

Yea, the logical endpoint of that is not something to be taken lightly. It'll be interesting to see if that goes anywhere moving forward. I mean that might legitimately be a mental disorder though. Maybe being that spoiled warps your perception to the point of actual crippling mental illness. It might actually be cool if we could treat these people. Maybe that's been the secret Achilles  heel to capitalism and we can actually find and fix it. How cool could that be?!

 No.2330

>>2321
>actually has a vision
Right, getting humanity to Mars so humanity survives if all those on Earth die.

>Jeff Bezos
An obsession with customer service and creating the everything store.  Does sound a bit more pedestrian than Musk's vision.  Like Walmart before, trying to help people live better by exploiting economies of scale, pushing out inefficient small scale shops, to deliver products cheaper...so when you work at Walmart you can still buy things.

>tax break incentives begin in these cases
On the small scale, deducting donations from taxable income means you pay less taxes, but still leaves you with less money overall since you remove the donation from your wealth.  But I am...not rich, and it may be different there.

>being that spoiled warps your perception
My understanding is that mental illness is usually biological and it takes extremes to  induce it through experience.  An often studied case involves children severely neglected in Romanian orphanages, some developing autism like symptoms.  PTSD from war zones is another case of experience giving rise to illness.  It's hard to think getting expensive presents on your birthday or living in an extra big house is trauma in the same league.

I do think the mechanisms of creating and maintaining social hierarchy are poorly understood, partly because it's a sensitive topic.


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