Wednesday, November 18, 2009

07 Moral anti-realism / Moral Realism

Slowly but surely, the contours of the contemporary debate on ethics become clearer. Because I awoke from a philosophical hibernation of almost 20 years, it is more or less new to me.

I mean I lectured 10 years on philosophy professionally in RL and then moved on to teaching computer classes at an Academy of fine Arts.

Philosophy never leaves you, but reading the complicated and detailed argumentations again, it feels like updating my Operating system, somehow like updating Windows 3.1 straight to Windows Vista.

But the contours of the current philosophical discourse on ethics become clear now. I obtained the insight with help of reading Ayer on his Emotivism and The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

In the superb article "Moral Anti-Realism", which is related to Ayer and his emotivism, I found a paragraph which in fact describes what I said in my lecture "04 Moral subjectivism( and your own Philosophical Program" . For your information: today is lecture 07 of this project.

Or said in other words, this paragraph put my personal position, I then explained, in the wider perspective of the current philosophical debate on ethics.

- quote begin -
In short, attempts to establish the burden of proof are as slippery and indecisive in the debate between the moral realist and the moral anti-realist as they tend to be generally in philosophy.

The matter is complicated by the fact that there are two kinds of burden-of-proof case that can be pressed, and here they tend to pull against each other.

On the one hand, moral realists face a cluster of explanatory challenges concerning the nature of moral facts (how they relate to naturalistic facts, how we have access to them, why they have practical importance)—challenges that simply don't arise for either the noncognitivist or the error theorist.

On the other hand, it is widely assumed that intuitions strongly favor the moral realist. This tension between what is considered to be the intuitive position and what is considered to be the empirically, metaphysically, and epistemologically defensible position, motivates and animates much of the debate between the moral realist and moral anti-realist.
- quote end -

What struck me in this paragraph was "that intuitions strongly favor the moral realist". It made me think of my words in relation to your own personal philosophical program:

-quote begin -
"To define you personal philosophical program, your way of philosophical dealing with for instance moral judgements, you may discover that you feel more attracted to certain arguments and more in disagreement with other arguments, even tho you may not yet have a good explanation for your preferences."
- quote end -

In other words, take a stand and don't ask "why do I support these axioms, basic ideas, point of view?", but put them to the test. Join the debate and use rational argumentation and logic as your tools.

The second thing that excited me in this paragraph was the observation that "moral realists face a cluster of explanatory challenges concerning the nature of moral facts…"

That is my philosophical challenge for the next 10 years indeed. This is The Philosophy Class in Second Life. A real class not only for you, but absolutely also for me. We are exploring new sims here. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. I appreciate your motivating support and participation.

The Discussion

[13:21] herman Bergson: Thank you ㋡
[13:22] herman Bergson: If you have any questions or remarks..feel free
[13:22] herman Bergson: So good to see you thinking ㋡
[13:22] Gemma Cleanslate: there are many challenges to maintain a philosophy
[13:23] Gemma Cleanslate: a personal one i mean
[13:23] herman Bergson: Yes Gemma, and I formulated mine ;)
[13:23] oola Neruda: i am having a problem with there seeming to be a need for a yes/no .. either/or answer... and yet, i feel it is really shades of grey
[13:23] Gemma Cleanslate: good :-)
[13:23] Gemma Cleanslate: i agree oola
[13:23] Gemma Cleanslate: from the first i have felt that way
[13:23] herman Bergson: It is not about a yes or no oola....
[13:24] herman Bergson: it is that you take a stand....and then put it to the test
[13:24] oola Neruda: they seem to defend positions so strongly... look at it THIS WAY
[13:24] herman Bergson: that doesnt mean your ideas are confirmed or rejected...
[13:24] herman Bergson: it means that you begin a development...
[13:25] herman Bergson: ideas change, are modified...and so on
[13:25] herman Bergson: A number of times I have pointed at that binary is a fallacy..
[13:26] Myriam Brianna: btw, not everything can be shades of grey. Either Mohammed was a historical person, an actual human, or he was not. What in-between can there be?
[13:26] herman Bergson: Like the "You are with me or against me" stand
[13:26] herman Bergson: I agree Myriam....
[13:26] oola Neruda: true Myriam
[13:27] herman Bergson: That is why I refered to rational arguments and logic as your tools
[13:27] Myriam Brianna sighs - gotta go again. Cya, all
[13:27] herman Bergson: Like in our present discourse...
[13:27] Daruma Boa: bye myriam
[13:28] Gemma Cleanslate: :_)
[13:28] oola Neruda: baiee
[13:29] herman Bergson: Next lecture you'll meet Alfred Ayer...
[13:29] Daruma Boa: who is that
[13:29] herman Bergson: a man of great influence philosophically who declares moral concepts as meaningless
[13:29] Abraxas Nagy: ah
[13:29] Gemma Cleanslate: did we not discuss him in the first session??
[13:29] herman Bergson: A British philosopher..declared logical positivist..
[13:30] Gemma Cleanslate: year + age?
[13:30] herman Bergson: Book: Languege Truth and Logic ...1936
[13:30] herman Bergson: Then he was 24!
[13:30] Abraxas Nagy: wow
[13:30] Daruma Boa: oh thats young
[13:31] herman Bergson: Yes but the book had a major impact
[13:31] Daruma Boa: well some r young, but their mind is old^^
[13:32] herman Bergson: our most important question is are moral judgements factual statements which can be true or false or are they not facual statements
[13:32] herman Bergson: if they are factual then there is something mind-independent that can be observed
[13:32] Frederick Hansome: Doesn't it depend on the situation?
[13:33] herman Bergson: if they are not factual..then you cant deduce empirical statements from a moral judgement...
[13:33] herman Bergson: No Frederick...
[13:33] Frederick Hansome: Read a book years ago called "Situational Ethics"
[13:33] herman Bergson: this is really a fundamental issue...
[13:34] herman Bergson: no grey area here...
[13:34] Frederick Hansome: that is puzzling to me
[13:35] herman Bergson: At the end of this project you may have a clear understanding of the meaning of this 'choice'
[13:35] herman Bergson: Yes Frederick, I agree...
[13:35] Frederick Hansome: between....??
[13:36] herman Bergson: But the point morality as it were incorporated in reality as an independent property of being
[13:36] herman Bergson: or is it just something we make up in our mind
[13:36] herman Bergson: for instance....
[13:37] herman Bergson: is morality...the capacity to know the difference between good and bad innate in our DNA or is it just our mind that cooks such a thing up
[13:38] Gemma Cleanslate: good question
[13:38] herman Bergson: do we 'create' morality...ethics..or do we gradually discover ethics?
[13:38] oola Neruda: i think i mentioned instinct last time... motherhood for examples... even animals have that need to care for the young
[13:39] Reisekaufmann Zehetbauer: interesting, have animals also ethics?
[13:39] Gemma Cleanslate: that has been part of the discussion too reise
[13:39] herman Bergson: No..animals have no ethics....that is the whole point...
[13:39] herman Bergson: The instincts oola refers to control the behavior of animals..
[13:40] herman Bergson: we as conscious beings, can choose to be a good or a bad mother
[13:40] Reisekaufmann Zehetbauer: really, whats about the ape groups, that support each other
[13:40] herman Bergson: That is the whole point Reise....
[13:41] herman Bergson: In all social animals we see traits which we recognize as social even altruistic behavior, but it is controled by instinct
[13:41] Reisekaufmann Zehetbauer: i think we can not know this really today
[13:41] herman Bergson: due to our consciousness our position is way more complex
[13:41] Reisekaufmann Zehetbauer: dolphins are also a example
[13:42] Gemma Cleanslate: oh but science has proven that i think
[13:42] Gemma Cleanslate: at least to my mind
[13:42] Reisekaufmann Zehetbauer: they support a dying dolphin. is this only instinct?
[13:43] Gemma Cleanslate: yes actually
[13:43] herman Bergson: yes....because animals work on a stimulus response model
[13:43] herman Bergson: we however can choose...
[13:44] Reisekaufmann Zehetbauer: thats the science now. ok, i accept it. ;-)
[13:44] herman Bergson: An animal is not aware of evil
[13:44] herman Bergson: we are
[13:45] Reisekaufmann Zehetbauer: how good :-)
[13:45] Gemma Cleanslate: interesting tho reise that spain has passed an animal rights law
[13:45] herman Bergson: an animal is aware of danger...
[13:45] Gemma Cleanslate: putting apes on par with humans almost
[13:46] herman Bergson: we are aware of evil....and have to explain it, justify it...
[13:46] Reisekaufmann Zehetbauer: But i remember, that i have read somewhere, that apes can reflect themselves
[13:47] herman Bergson: Yes...even en elephant seems to have so kind of self awareness
[13:47] Reisekaufmann Zehetbauer: i am sorry, i forgot, where the research was...
[13:47] herman Bergson: recognizes itself as individual in a mirror
[13:47] herman Bergson: but the situation is almost biblical...
[13:48] herman Bergson: mankind became aware of evil, wrong doing......
[13:48] herman Bergson: That was Adam and Eve
[13:48] Reisekaufmann Zehetbauer: May be also apes in history *smile*
[13:48] herman Bergson: From the very beginning we have been aware of our situatioon...
[13:49] Frederick Hansome: would you agree that
[13:49] Frederick Hansome: morality is a behavior
[13:49] Frederick Hansome: which requires conscious thought
[13:49] SOLOGO Hoxley: you were comparing animals and humans - i would like to know if there is an opposite in morals between human and avatars
[13:50] herman Bergson smiles
[13:50] Frederick Hansome: thererfore it must be constructed in the mind, and not hardwired
[13:50] herman Bergson: Good question SOLOGO
[13:50] herman Bergson: My answer is YES...
[13:50] SOLOGO Hoxley: herman explain a little
[13:50] Gemma Cleanslate: GOSH I think it is similar
[13:50] herman Bergson: Avatars have other moral standards than humans...not all but a lot have
[13:50] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[13:50] Reisekaufmann Zehetbauer: avatars are real humans, but they can be here be incognito. Thats a difference
[13:51] Daruma Boa: yes its a human on the keys
[13:51] Daruma Boa: but its a part of yourself
[13:51] Reisekaufmann Zehetbauer: Incognito they make things, which they will never do in real
[13:51] herman Bergson: the ladies in this class can confirm that I guess, regarding male avatars
[13:51] Gemma Cleanslate: oh yes
[13:51] Violette McMinnar: lol
[13:51] oola Neruda: hmmmm yes
[13:52] Daruma Boa: but beeing incognito is also a part of yourself. i am, the one u r incognito^^
[13:52] herman Bergson: In the years passed by I have learnt to qualify a number of mainly male avatars as two pixel brains for instance.
[13:52] Daruma Boa: *GIGGLES* :)~~~~
[13:52] Reisekaufmann Zehetbauer: its not easy to be a female avatar on some sims. I studied it also with another avatar
[13:52] Gemma Cleanslate: lol
[13:52] herman Bergson: in pixel one you find "WANNA" and in pixel two you find "FUCK"
[13:52] Gemma Cleanslate: yes
[13:52] Gemma Cleanslate: lolol
[13:52] Daruma Boa: well, being a female is never easy..
[13:53] herman Bergson: is a typical moral incompletenes of the avatar...
[13:53] Violette McMinnar: I have no problem to ay F off to a wanna ****
[13:53] herman Bergson: not of all, but a reasonable number it seems
[13:53] Reisekaufmann Zehetbauer: May be some men in SL think, they can do all here
[13:53] Daruma Boa: yes
[13:53] Daruma Boa: aloha rod
[13:53] herman Bergson: I think that that is the simple case indeed...
[13:54] Rodney Handrick: Hi Daruma
[13:54] Reisekaufmann Zehetbauer: But there are also some women like this...
[13:54] herman Bergson: Welcome are in time today ㋡
[13:54] Daruma Boa: hihi
[13:54] Abraxas Nagy: haaaahaaaahaaaahaaaahaaa
[13:54] Rodney Handrick: Hi Herman
[13:54] SOLOGO Hoxley: so the discussion now is about good and bad
[13:54] herman Bergson: So yes..SOLOGO ..there is a difference in ethics between humans and avatars
[13:55] Daruma Boa: but most ppl learn, that this digital world isnt so easy and "making dreams come true" as they think.
[13:55] Daruma Boa: it has its own rules
[13:55] Violette McMinnar: but doing it all in SL shows the need in men to be like that, don't you think, so it is good they can try t here in sl and see how it works
[13:55] herman Bergson: Oh my Violette....
[13:55] herman Bergson: I wouldnt hope so...
[13:55] Violette McMinnar: lol yes?
[13:56] Violette McMinnar: why not
[13:56] SOLOGO Hoxley: violette, doing what? trying to be free? do avatars have the chance to make a choice
[13:56] Violette McMinnar: a negative or bad experience is still an experience, still teaches something
[13:56] Reisekaufmann Zehetbauer: and there is a avatar development
[13:57] herman Bergson: When some people behave in RL as they behave in SL because it worked there..I would be worried
[13:57] Reisekaufmann Zehetbauer: Reisekaufmann is my second avatar. The first was for fun and playing. I dont use him now
[13:57] Violette McMinnar: so they will burn their finger and understand
[13:57] Reisekaufmann Zehetbauer: Reisekaufmann is more my real self
[13:57] Rodney Handrick: an alter ego reis?
[13:57] herman Bergson: I think it is the other way around Violette...
[13:57] Reisekaufmann Zehetbauer: i have 4 alts. hahaha
[13:58] Rodney Handrick: wow....
[13:58] Violette McMinnar: mmm then they will burn their finger over and over if they are that stupid
[13:58] Reisekaufmann Zehetbauer: but also for research, i made a asian avatar to explore asian mentality
[13:58] Gemma Cleanslate: ahha
[13:59] Gemma Cleanslate: saw you lol
[13:59] Rodney Handrick: Hi Gemma
[13:59] Reisekaufmann Zehetbauer: thats secret, hahaha
[13:59] herman Bergson: Ok....
[13:59] Gemma Cleanslate: rodney
[13:59] Gemma Cleanslate: hihi
[13:59] herman Bergson: I think we are drifting away from the subject
[13:59] Gemma Cleanslate: well time
[13:59] herman Bergson: so ..let's refocus
[13:59] Daruma Boa: its intersting to see here how avatars are styled. cause thats the fanatsy of the "owner";-))
[13:59] Gemma Cleanslate: lol
[13:59] Reisekaufmann Zehetbauer: take us back, Herman
[14:00] SOLOGO Hoxley: question about moral other way round: does the experience as an avatar change moral in rl?
[14:00] Daruma Boa: guess no.
[14:00] Violette McMinnar: it can
[14:00] SOLOGO Hoxley: which way?
[14:00] herman Bergson: Wait...!
[14:00] Violette McMinnar: both ways;p
[14:00] Gemma Cleanslate: have to go
[14:00] Daruma Boa: well most get tired of this world here
[14:00] herman Bergson: I think we have to make a difference here...
[14:00] Gemma Cleanslate: Bye
[14:00] Daruma Boa: and the ones who stay, understand after a while
[14:00] SOLOGO Hoxley: bye
[14:01] Abraxas Nagy: c y Gemma
[14:01] Rodney Handrick: Bye Gemma
[14:01] herman Bergson: SOLOGO is more refering to a psychological change than to a philosophical issue
[14:01] Daruma Boa: bye gemma
[14:01] Reisekaufmann Zehetbauer: nein, derjenige lebt seine fantasien nur damit aus. Sologo. Aber daf├╝r ist eine virtuelle Welt unter anderem auch da.
[14:01] SOLOGO Hoxley: no - i am talking of moral
[14:01] herman Bergson: SL is used for behavior modification
[14:01] Violette McMinnar: my sl xperiences influenced my rl in several areas
[14:01] Reisekaufmann Zehetbauer: This happens also in other virtual worlds
[14:01] Daruma Boa: yes also good 2 talk about your probs with that incognito face
[14:02] herman Bergson: Yes but that is in the realm of psychology
[14:02] Daruma Boa: for some
[14:02] herman Bergson: Philosophically we only dela with justification of moral judgements for instance, or the meaning of concepts..
[14:02] Reisekaufmann Zehetbauer: look at twinity or others
[14:02] Abraxas Nagy: I have to go... see you all next time :D
[14:03] Frederick Hansome: Philosophy is impoverished without psychology
[14:03] Daruma Boa: bye abraxas
[14:03] herman Bergson: bye Abraxas
[14:03] Abraxas Nagy: :D
[14:03] Rodney Handrick: Bye Abraxas
[14:03] Reisekaufmann Zehetbauer: ciao
[14:03] Violette McMinnar: time to go fo me, thanks and see you all next time\
[14:03] Frederick Hansome: good evenitn, all
[14:03] herman Bergson: We are overdue even.....time to dismiss class
[14:03] Reisekaufmann Zehetbauer: But Sologos questions were interesting
[14:04] Daruma Boa: pffft
[14:04] herman Bergson: and a late welcome to Yejiba.. :-)
[14:04] Rodney Handrick: Bye Violette
[14:04] herman Bergson: Dint see you come in Yejiba ㋡
[14:04] Daruma Boa: hey brain
[14:04] Daruma Boa: so, i have to go;-))
[14:04] BrainCrave OHare: hello - very sorry to have missed this

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