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 PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 3:01 pm Reply with quote  
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  Darth Skuldren
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So would you say Vergere leans toward the bad or toward the good? Cool
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 PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 3:02 pm Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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I wouldn't know I haven't read it. Embarassed
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 PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 3:15 pm Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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Maybe a re-introduction to relativism can help breathe life back into the forums. Razz

I was recently listening to a lecture and the subject of relativism came up. It explained how exactly relativism happens. If you really think about it maybe it's a given, but I hadn't really heard it put into words. Basically when society elevates equality as the god of morality- the highest and, really, only important aspect, relativism is only natural. If you reject good and evil and focus merely on equality, good and evil themselves become "flavours". Preferring evil things over good things becomes like preferring chocolate over vanilla. So a virtue that is placed on a pedestal- at he expense of other virtues- brings about an evil. Sad.
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 PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 9:45 pm Reply with quote  
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  Rouge77
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Equality is not only a good thing, it's the basic principle of real justice and a decent society. Perhaps a society truly based on equality can not be ever truly achieved, that some people will always get privileged treatment and others are mistreated for whatever reason, but an equal society is a goal that all decent people everywhere should strife for.

If humanity wants to do more than just exist, it needs good, even utopian goals. And an equal society wouldn't see "good" and "evil" as "flavours", but it would see true evil as evil and would cherish good deeds.

A society without equality deserves to go: It should be changed beyond recognition or brought down. Either through political or violent action, whatever works.

Seems like your lecturer tried to claim that equality is an evil thing and that inequality, misjustice is a morally good thing and should be supported. Without innocents getting kicked in the head and trampled in mud, virtues couldn't be supposedly cherished. The typical excuses made through the ages to support rotten societies. That privileged persons can't smell the roses if poor kids aren't dying in gutters.

A person who lectures so can't really have any virtues, even he pretends or believes so himself, and is thus himself evil. Let's have people like him feel the results of inequality in their daily life for a few decades, perhaps that should make human beings out of them.


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 PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 11:49 am Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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You misunderstood me. The lecturer said that equality, while good in itself, is used for evil when it becomes a "god"- the be all and end all of morality. Sorry if my post wasn't clear.

If the idea of a virtue being used for evil seems strange just think of humility and pride. You can be proud of being humble and thus cease to be humble. Or courage. You need courage to lead a massacre.
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 PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 5:59 pm Reply with quote  
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  Rouge77
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Reepicheep wrote:
You misunderstood me. The lecturer said that equality, while good in itself, is used for evil when it becomes a "god"- the be all and end all of morality. Sorry if my post wasn't clear.


I don't think that any real thing can become evil that way, it's just prejudiced people who attack equality by claiming it to be an evil when it is supposedly "gone too far". I think equality is the basis of all morality that is above the tribal-ethnic-religious etc identification, a morality that is connected to empathy towards all humanity.

I remember for example a strike by medical students in Delhi a few years ago. They were from upper Hindu castes and went on strike because the government had put quotas for low caste and casteless Hindus and people of other identification to help them get into the same university.

A basically civil rights case, an entrenched elite opposing greater rights for the oppressed majority, but the student opposition was based on their concept of Hindu morality, where equality is wrong and unnatural and inequality good and just as long as it is they who benefit from it.

In one famous Hindu tale, a low class archer for example was as good as "lord" Krishna in archery and was punished by cutting off some of his fingers so that he couldn't shoot well anymore. This, according to the story and Hindu morality, was a good and just action, because a low caste person being as good as an upper caste person in anything was against everything that Hinduism stoods for and the situation had to be "corrected" to bring back the natural order of things in Hinduism.

According to the upper caste Hindus, in the same manner this equality in university education was wrong because a)it hurt them, meaning less upper caste Hindus would get in and b)they opposed equality on principle and said that all higher learning should be reserved for them, because higher learning was supposedly beyond both the "just" position in life and the capabilities of people from the lower castes.

Like the archer of the tale, low caste or casteless people should never be as good or held in same standing as them and this was, according to the students, their birth-right. They supported their privileged status, but also both their own worldview and their own concept of morality which is connected to it.

So, saying that equality can be an evil thing leads down a slippery slope to a situation where inequality is suddenly a good thing and something that should be defended.

Reepicheep wrote:
If the idea of a virtue being used for evil seems strange just think of humility and pride. You can be proud of being humble and thus cease to be humble. Or courage. You need courage to lead a massacre.


I don't think so. You need courage to refuse to lead or take part in a massacre, especially if doing so will put yourself in harms way. Dozens of soldiers have been killed in Libya by Ghaddafi's forces for refusing to shoot civilians. It demanded courage to refuse, it would have been easier just to go along - and survive at the expense of other's lives.


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 PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:43 am Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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But it also demands courage to kill. Fighting disgracefully still takes courage. Do you think Blackbeard didn't have courage?

I still disagree that equality can't be used for evil, because evil's essence is corrupted goodness. Alcohol, food, sex, literacy, courage, companionship, imagination etc are all good in themselves but can all be used for evil. You can imagine the pure state of something without the perversion, but you can't imagine a perversion without its pure state.
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 PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 4:07 pm Reply with quote  
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  Salaris Vorn
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Reepicheep wrote:
But it also demands courage to kill. Fighting disgracefully still takes courage. Do you think Blackbeard didn't have courage?


I think you're really treading thin ice here because if the simple act of killing requires courage that means that the Nazi SS were among the bravest people in the world because of their whole sale slaughter of millions. I don't think that's what you mean but you must realize that by saying the act of killing is courageous you're in essence putting a positive value on killing regardless of circumstances and more to the point there is the implication that the higher the body count the greater the courage of the individual (courage being seen as positive value and opposite to the negative cowardice).

I don't think you can have "courage" and fight disgracefully. In my understanding courage requires a degree of honor and if you fight without honor (read disgracefully) you cannot be fighting with courage.
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 PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:13 pm Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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Dictionary.com wrote:
the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.

Sounds like Blackbeard. And just to clear things up, killing (as in cold-blooded killing) doesn't require courage, only a strong stomach. However, fighting (whether you fight honourably or like a brutal fiend) does require courage. Thus the virtue courage can be used for evil.
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 PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 12:09 am Reply with quote  
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  Salaris Vorn
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Reepicheep wrote:
Dictionary.com wrote:
the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.

Sounds like Blackbeard.


Granted, it nevertheless is very context based. Taking on an outgunned merchant ship where the crew lacks the training to put up a real fight isn't courage. Just because there is the remote chance that they can kill you doesn't mean it really requires courage to fight them (you can't be a coward true but you don't have to be particularly brave to pick a fight where the odds are highly in your favor). Taking on the Royal Navy however does require courage.

Just because you have the courage to fight a strong enemy doesn't mean you are also acting with courage when you pick a fight a much weaker one even though the possibility of danger to yourself is present in either case.

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And just to clear things up, killing (as in cold-blooded killing) doesn't require courage, only a strong stomach. However, fighting (whether you fight honourably or like a brutal fiend) does require courage. Thus the virtue courage can be used for evil.


Except that is not what you said. You said it takes courage to massacre people, that pretty much means either killing in cold blood or a fight where there is almost no chance of you dying (which might as well be cold blood). You even seemed defended the idea that the individual who opts to massacre people requires courage to take the lives the same as the person who refuses to massacre people.

Also you said "dishonorably" NOT brutal fiend. Not completely equal to one another. A dishonorable person will always use underhanded/cowardly tactics to beat an enemy (faking surrendering for example), possibly because they LACK courage to fight fairly.

Whereas a brutal fiend might just use unconventional tactics but not ones that manipulate the code of behavior to trick an enemy into letting their guard down. I think it would be possible for someone to use brutal tactics while recognizing when they go from fighting brutally to fighting as a coward and hacking down defeated foes in cold blood. For example, a brutal fiend might beat their enemy to death with a mace and get into a real frenzy but that doesn't mean that they are "evil" for not fighting like Arthur's knights and by the same token doesn't mean brutal tactics will result in killing of defeated foes. A brutal fiend might fight dishonorably true but they don't HAVE to fight dishonorably.

I might also point out you have yet to give an example where inequality was the good choice and equality would have resulted in evil.
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 PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 1:32 am Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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Oy. Now I'm just getting confused! Razz


Okay. I apologize for being sloppy. Forget everything I said and I'll restate:

In essence evil is perverted goodness (i.e. corruption).

Relativism (the belief that right and wrong are not absolute truth, but merely biased opinions of people and cultures) may very well come from people elevating equality above all other morality. Saying it is the supreme virtue. By doing this, people who do evil things will be "just doing their own thing and we musn't be judgmental". Now I'm not saying humanity (or at least the vast majority of humanity) is at the point where we can't tell good from evil. All I'm saying is that if you follw equality being the supreme virtue through to its natural conclusion, the result is relativism.

Using a hypothetical example from the dream I mentioned in the other thread, say people deemed murder lawful. The reasoning was that "some people are born sociopaths and we musn't be judgmental". Now I know this is a very extreme example but do you begin to see what I'm getting at?

One more shot at proving courage can be used for evil. How about a suicide attack. An evil? For sure. An evil requiring courage? Also, for sure. Death, obviously, is one of the major fears. Or if you snuck into a building with armed guards everywhere (the odds are definitley against you) and you attempt to blow the building up. Again, I would say this is something that requires courage.

Even if you can't accept courage as a virtue that can be used for evil, there are many more as I have previously said (Alcohol, food, sex, literacy, companionship, imagination etc).
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 PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 12:06 pm Reply with quote  
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  Cerrinea
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Quote:
One more shot at proving courage can be used for evil. How about a suicide attack.


In this example courage is replaced by fanaticism based on an ideological belief whether it's religious or some other source. You're mistaking the erosion of moral character and the effects of brainwashing for courage.

Quote:
Using a hypothetical example from the dream I mentioned in the other thread, say people deemed murder lawful. The reasoning was that "some people are born sociopaths and we musn't be judgmental". Now I know this is a very extreme example but do you begin to see what I'm getting at?


First off, I can't use your dream as an example. It isn't empirical evidence; it's a reflection of your subconscious. Secondly throughout history nearly every culture/society has developed the same fundamental taboos (moral and/or legal code), in many cases independent of each other. That murder, rape, incest are taboo is nearly universal in every society, past and present. Now what is considered murder, rape or incest can vary from culture to culture, but the basic premise is the same. These things are disavowed by society as a whole, whether it's a primitive or sophisticated culture. Humanity, for whatever reason, innately forbid that which is most dangerous to itself. We could be hardwired for this as a species survival mechanism, and/or it could be that man simply possesses innate goodness. Those cultures which have gone counter to the fundamental taboos have not survived. Their own corruption eventually resulted in destruction.
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 PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 1:29 pm Reply with quote  
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  Salaris Vorn
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Cerrinea wrote:
Quote:
One more shot at proving courage can be used for evil. How about a suicide attack.


In this example courage is replaced by fanaticism based on an ideological belief whether it's religious or some other source. You're mistaking the erosion of moral character and the effects of brainwashing for courage.


Couldn't have said it better myself.

As Cerrinea said a hypothetical example is not empirical proof of equality resulting in something worse than inequality.

This being said I think I've figured out where you're coming from with relativism. To begin there is actually more than one type of relativism. The relativism you are using is known as "Ethical (Moral) Relativism" where you can't judge another culture/group and produces the problem of giving up ethical or moral judgement. In essence it is a case where you must judge a culture by its own standards rather than a universal one. It still seems unlikely that this could produce an extreme of seeing murder as ok because sociopaths are people too. There are certain practical limitations here as a culture that is an anarchy is not likely to survive

Now there is another type of relativism known as "Methodological (Descriptive) Relativism" where you suspend judgment to understand the context of a practice. After you understand the context you can still judge a behavior based on ethics/morals. This type is pretty much widely accepted as good relativism as it allows the observer to make a final judgment after studying a culture while avoiding a knee jerk reaction against something that is foreign to your culture. For example, a knee jerk reaction would be to look down on a Samurai committing ritual suicide because in Western religion suicide is bad. However, with Methodological Relativism closer examination would demonstrate that the Samurai was doing so to preserve his honor within the accepted cultural norms of his culture and that while the act is foreign to us you can pass judgment that a Samurai's ritual suicide is not a bad/evil. On the other hand you can study the Hindu practice of throwing widows on their husband's funeral pyre, understand it within its cultural context and still come to the conclusion that it is in fact bad because most widows do not do so willingly.

So there is more to relativism than what was explained in that lecture.
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 PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 2:19 pm Reply with quote  
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  Reepicheep
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Cerrinea wrote:
In this example courage is replaced by fanaticism based on an ideological belief whether it's religious or some other source. You're mistaking the erosion of moral character and the effects of brainwashing for courage.


But don't you see? This is exactly what I'm talking about. This is a perversion of courage, used for evil and you can't expect courage, hen used for evil, to look glorious like when it is used for good. It would be like saying I've mistaken consumption for gluttony.

Cerrinea wrote:

First off, I can't use your dream as an example. It isn't empirical evidence; it's a reflection of your subconscious
The reason I used a hypothetical example is because if I used a real example (something along the lines of homosexuality) it will have already been accepted into our culture and will be hard to convince people it is an evil. I don't see why a hypothetical answer can't work anyway. Just pretend my dream was real and you can see what I'm getting at.

Salaris Vorn wrote:

Now there is another type of relativism known as "Methodological (Descriptive) Relativism" where you suspend judgment to understand the context of a practice. After you understand the context you can still judge a behavior based on ethics/morals. This type is pretty much widely accepted as good relativism as it allows the observer to make a final judgment after studying a culture while avoiding a knee jerk reaction against something that is foreign to your culture. For example, a knee jerk reaction would be to look down on a Samurai committing ritual suicide because in Western religion suicide is bad. However, with Methodological Relativism closer examination would demonstrate that the Samurai was doing so to preserve his honor within the accepted cultural norms of his culture and that while the act is foreign to us you can pass judgment that a Samurai's ritual suicide is not a bad/evil

This is a great example of relativism being made by "equality". Either life is precious or it isn't. Also keep in mind that people's moral compass can be supressed by their cultural indoctrination (think Nazi Germany). I hate to make this comparison between the two, but the Nazis belived it was just and noble to purify the human race because they were blinded by indoctrination. Couldn't the same be said for the Samurai?

I'm going to see if I can find the actual lecture so I can post a transcript...
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 PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 5:44 pm Reply with quote  
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  Cerrinea
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Quote:
Cerrinea wrote:
In this example courage is replaced by fanaticism based on an ideological belief whether it's religious or some other source. You're mistaking the erosion of moral character and the effects of brainwashing for courage.


But don't you see? This is exactly what I'm talking about. This is a perversion of courage, used for evil and you can't expect courage, hen used for evil, to look glorious like when it is used for good. It would be like saying I've mistaken consumption for gluttony.


Yes, I would say that brainwashing and breaking down moral fiber is a perversion of courage, but it is not courage. And that's not what you said. You did not qualify courage in any way. You said it took courage. What would take courage would be for someone to resist the brainwashing (all but impossible under true brainwashing circumstances), and the degeneration of personal morality.

Quote:
The reason I used a hypothetical example is because if I used a real example (something along the lines of homosexuality) it will have already been accepted into our culture and will be hard to convince people it is an evil. I don't see why a hypothetical answer can't work anyway. Just pretend my dream was real and you can see what I'm getting at.


You can use any hypothetical as an example, but you can't offer it as empirical evidence or proof. And you certainly can't ask people to pretend it's real for the sake of your argument. I could just as easily make up anything to support my argument and demolish yours. It's best to offer real examples in these cases. You have to stand or fall by your example and argument.

Quote:
This is a great example of relativism being made by "equality". Either life is precious or it isn't


Well, not really but I'll accept your premise for the moment. A huge and powerful government commits legal murder yet is condemned by other governments on the same level of development and basic ideology as this government. Relativism? My real life example is the United States and the death penalty. We systematically and legally murder our condemned citizens, a practice eschewed by most (if not all) western democracies. Our society allows it so you could make an argument that there is relativism in our collective social psyche. Has our moral compass been suppressed by our social indoctrination? Mine certainly hasn't because as you stated, murder is murder. And it is the very equality (promoted by both our government and our society) you argue that leads to relativism that has allowed my mind to remain independent of popular belief.

Quote:
the Nazis belived it was just and noble to purify the human race because they were blinded by indoctrination


The Nazis, demonstrated by their frantic, last-ditch efforts to hide what they'd done from the advancing allies, never believed their actions were just and noble. The Nazis defined their ideology; they weren't brainwashed by it. They were sociopaths who used expedient means to gain control and set their agenda in motion. They brainwashed the young, and intimidated or murdered all opposition.
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