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In Harmís Way

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Huan Yi
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0 posted 02-17-2006 04:47 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


What moral obligation does one
have to risk his life for a stranger
in danger?

Essorant
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1 posted 02-17-2006 05:24 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

http://piptalk.com/pip/Forum8/HTML/000575.html
Brad
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2 posted 02-17-2006 05:26 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Do you mean moral imperative?
Huan Yi
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3 posted 02-17-2006 07:03 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


I'm not speaking about sharing food
but rather burning building.
Ron
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4 posted 02-17-2006 07:42 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Moral obligation is an oxymoron.
Essorant
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5 posted 02-17-2006 07:59 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Not if you practice what you preach.
Local Rebel
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6 posted 02-17-2006 08:22 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

To practice or not is a choice.  Ron's point.
Essorant
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7 posted 02-17-2006 08:33 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

How does that exempt it from being an obligation?
I never meant it wasn't a choice.  But rather that it is a binding between saying and doing.  To me that is an obligation and a choice.
Local Rebel
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8 posted 02-17-2006 08:37 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

I may be obligated to pay my taxes.  To pay my taxes though, is a choice.
Mandamus
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9 posted 02-17-2006 09:08 PM       View Profile for Mandamus   Email Mandamus   Edit/Delete Message     View IP for Mandamus

One's moral position might compel a person to risk his life for another.  I don't have a problem with the idea of a "moral obligation" as long as it is understood as an internal force that compels a person rather than an external influence.

Regarding the burning building, there might be social pressures that push us to rush into the burning building to save a stranger, but that isn't a moral obligation ... it is a social, or possibly and ethical, one.

Mandamus
Essorant
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10 posted 02-17-2006 09:33 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Local Rebel

"I may be obligated to pay my taxes.  To pay my taxes though, is a choice. "

That's what I hoped were shown, Local:  That there is both an obligation and a choice.  You are obligated (obligation) to pay, and you choose (choice) to pay.   Isn't it the cooperation of both that works best?


Mandamus,

"that isn't a moral obligation ... it is a social, or possibly and ethical, one."

"social" and "ethical" aren't moral??     

Mandamus
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11 posted 02-18-2006 07:08 PM       View Profile for Mandamus   Email Mandamus   Edit/Delete Message     View IP for Mandamus

Social and ethical influences are about what ought to be.  Moral is a description of what is.  Ethics and morality are terms with different meanings.
LeeJ
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12 posted 02-23-2006 07:05 AM       View Profile for LeeJ   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for LeeJ

I don't believe at the time, one thinks about morals or obligation, it's a reflex/reaction deep within us that drives us on to help someone in harm's way?  

Cloud 9
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13 posted 02-23-2006 01:04 PM       View Profile for Cloud 9   Email Cloud 9   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Cloud 9

I agree with LeeJ. Here is a story for you.

A couple of months ago, a man was on his way to work in the mist of traffic. He sees ahead of him an accident and a car has went off the embankment. He pulls over, calls 911 and helps this woman. She has kids with her. During this time of him "helping someone in harms way", his work truck that he was driving is stolen with all of his tools in it. The end to this story is the woman and her kids came out with only minor injuries. However, because of his heroism, he was given a truck from one of the local dealerships and HomeDepot replaced all of his tools. Oh and they found his truck totaled.

So is this considered a "moral obligation?"
Huan Yi
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14 posted 02-24-2006 10:41 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


ďI don't believe at the time, one thinks about morals or obligation, it's a reflex/reaction deep within us that drives us on to help someone in harm's way?Ē

Are we suggesting an instinctive morality that overcomes the urge to preserve
personal life?  Is this somehow an evolutionary distinction between a higher and lower
form of the species Man?


ďA couple of months ago, a man was on his way to work in the mist of traffic. He sees ahead of him an accident and a car has went off the embankment. He pulls over, calls 911 and helps this woman. She has kids with her. During this time of him "helping someone in harms way", his work truck that he was driving is stolen with all of his tools in it. The end to this story is the woman and her kids came out with only minor injuries. However, because of his heroism, he was given a truck from one of the local dealerships and HomeDepot replaced all of his tools. Oh and they found his truck totaled.

So is this considered a "moral obligation?" Ď

Donít understand; how was he to foresee an award; besides was his life ever in danger?  
Brad
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15 posted 02-25-2006 04:11 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
Social and ethical influences are about what ought to be.  Moral is a description of what is.  Ethics and morality are terms with different meanings.


I don't understand this.

Brad
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16 posted 02-25-2006 05:17 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

categoricalimperative

quote:
Kant's most well known contribution to ethical discussion is the Categorical Imperative. These are ends in themselves and the basis for all action (in contrast to Hypothetical Imperatives which are a means to an end (E.g. If you go on a diet then you will lose weight) and do not have to be followed (E.g. I do not have to go on a diet)). In religious terms a Hypothetical Imperative could be 'If you obey God then you will get to heaven' but a Categorical Imperative would be 'Obey God! It is your duty' (although it is conceivable that all religious Categorical Imperatives are in fact Hypothetical Imperatives but this would depend on one's presuppositions)'. Thus, according to Kant, one does not question Categorical Imperatives as they are fundamental truths of the universe.


This is why I think imperative is a better word than obligation here. Though I'm not completely happy with the example given above ('Do your duty!' is an imperative), the basic idea is that there is a right thing to do in all circumstances and regardless of outcome.

The problem with obligation is already touched on:

quote:
I don't have a problem with the idea of a "moral obligation" as long as it is understood as an internal force that compels a person rather than an external influence.

--Mandamus

Why muddy the waters? If a moral act is freely chosen that choice is already internal. How much you really want to do it or why you chose it isn't really the issue --I think.

Imperative is better because, again I think, John isn't really asking whether the right thing to do is something you have to do but whether the right thing to do is right regardless of outcome or circumstance.

If I'm wrong, I'm sure he'll correct me.

Huan Yi
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17 posted 02-25-2006 05:53 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


Brad,

"Imperative" is the better word.

John
Stephanos
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18 posted 02-25-2006 07:48 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

quote:
Is this somehow an evolutionary distinction between a higher and lower
form of the species Man?

quit sneaking in that telos, that materialistic evolutionists aren't allowed.  What does "higher" or "lower" have to do with evolution?


quote:
The problem with obligation is already touched on:


Already touched on perhaps, but not established, or really explained.  Why is the idea of obligation problematic, when it comes to the question of moral behavior?


quote:
John isn't really asking whether the right thing to do is something you have to do but whether the right thing to do is right regardless of outcome or circumstance.


"Having to do" something would constitute coercion, not obligation.  But, I think I know what you mean.  However, even if we only ask whether an action is "right" regardless of outcome, we will soon ask ourselves what "obligation" we have to moral rightness.  So the question, is inextricably involved, if you ask me.


Stephen.
Stephanos
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19 posted 02-26-2006 12:06 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Brad,

Kant viewed the "categorical imperative" as a function of pure reason, therefore making it a universal, since reason (in Kant's thinking) was the unifying theme of reality.  Conversely, he also spoke of this in terms of "autonomy" ...


"Autonomy of the will is that property of it by which it is a law to itself independently of any property of objects of volition.  Hence the principle of autonomy is: Never choose except in such a way that the maxims of the choice are comprehended in the same volition as a universal law" (from "Funamental Principles of the Metaphysics of Morals")


But wasn't Kant trying to have his cake and eat it?  If "Pure Reason", as abstraction, is the source of the categorical imperative, then it is much more like the heteronomy that he was trying to avoid.  Either his autonomy was only apparant, or his "imperative" was only apparant.  


I really don't think Kant ever explained adequately why one should accept his imperative, as really and truly imperative, without resorting to a subtle form of heteronomic morals.    


Stephen.
Brad
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20 posted 02-28-2006 10:58 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I have to defend Kant?

Not quite sure what you're getting at here, Stephen.

As I understand it, the only way to be autonomous is to act in terms of universal law. Anything less is heteronymous.

I see this is a definition, not a sloppy shift in thinking.

This may not make much sense as we use the words today, but I think his point was that autonomy of will (self-directedness) isn't autonymous if you don't conform to universal law (Reason).

Easy example:

I want to have a drink tonight. Today, we might argue that having a drink even if my wife gets angry is being autonomous, "I don't care what other people think."  

But Kant's point is that urges and whatnot aren't truly a part of the self (or at least triggered by other than the self). Thus, having a drink is heteronomous (other directed) precisely because it is an urge.

Or to put it another way, as a self-directed individual, I don't really want to have a drink.

Is that what you mean?
Stephanos
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21 posted 03-03-2006 12:40 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

No, Brad, you don't have to defend Kant.

I just digressed to a discussion of Kant, since it caught my interest a bit more than the current discussion of whether "imperative" or "obligatory"  is the better word.  Incidentally, I think Kant's choice of "imperative" over "obligatory" is of no real significance, other than the fact that the former seems more impersonal, and thus rings better with his non-authoritarian view of ethics.  Otherwise the words are pretty much synonymous.


I guess it just seems to me that (whether you agree with Kant or not) a discussion of his views on ethics may cut to the underlying issues of this thread, more directly.  Because whether or not morals come from "reason" or not, the anti-rational philosophers (Shopenhaur comes to mind) at least taught us to question what authority lies in reason.  What makes any of the dictates of reason truly "imperative"?  


As far as your example of having a drink ... I don't think that actions or urges would necessarily correspond to reason, based upon the categories of "internal" and "external".  The urge to drink is itself an internal desire.  One may disregard what people think, in order to make the right choice.  But one may also disregard what people think, in order to make the wrong choice. ... "I'm going to have another drink, I don't care what people think."  

My understand of Kant's use of "heteronomic" has to do with external authority ... such as moral teachers, religious institutions, God as orthodox Christian Theism holds, etc ...  Man becomes autonomous, in the sense that he must "by his own reason" make moral decisions.  Yet Kant crosses his own Phenomenal / Noumenal divide, when he speaks of reason being universal.  Maybe he escapes that charge when he says "as if" ... but then it begs the question, why "as if universal" , if it's only "as if"?    
  

Stephen.
Huan Yi
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22 posted 03-03-2006 01:09 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


Meanwhile, the house burns down and the person inside dies,
which is a kind of solution . . .
Ron
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23 posted 03-03-2006 02:54 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

And you stood by, John, waiting to see how others would choose?
Huan Yi
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24 posted 03-03-2006 08:49 AM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi


Oh I think you can make a pretty good
guess . . .
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