From: phyllis bergiel (email@example.com)
Date: Tue May 06 2003 - 13:45:36 BST
Couldn't disagree more.
1. You are committing the fallacy of equivocation in your use of the word
morality. You begin by using morality in the sense of moral values (a more
global level) and then switch to a set of specific cultural ones (I would
say conventional=relative ones, but I've heard you don't recognize that
2. Seems to me the two don't conflict at all. They are two different
things. Rationality or reason = logic. The method, language or system of
philosophy. One uses reasons to explain/uphold specific morals, which can
be seen as rules or acts.
> Trying to use rationaility to change
2a)Isn't there a differnce between changing and latching?morality doesn't
> rationality doesn't care, it is cold and calculating and unfeeling. Pure
> rationality comes up empty when confronted with the big questions; what
> anything matter to rationality, why would it care if people are happy or
alive or anything?
3) Think about the theory of utilitarianism. The Greatest Happiness
principle. It is a moral theory that is supported by rational argument. The
conflicts, when they occur, of this theory are not if humans should be
happy, but which humans, the many or the few or one, Mr. Spock.
Rationality needs a foundation of moral precepts
3a)example of a moral precept please
> which to act rationally, it can't do it on its own.
4)You're right here in saying rationality can't do it on its own - a
language needs something to talk about, and morals are thought and talked
about in language.
Trying to impose change
> on morality without respecting morality as its own motive for change,
5)don't understand this statement
> rationality against morality, becomes something like authoritarianism,
> whoever is most powerful imposing their idea of what is rational.
6) Nope, because if all humans are capable of being rational, then you can't
impose something on someone if they agree with it, and if its a sound
argument, they will (See Habermas). If they don't, one can try to persuade
them through reason. The only time rationality is authoritarian, is when it
happens to be accompanied by power, you can't conflate the two - My
four-year old would agree with you, my husband would not, even if I'm using
the same rational argument to get them to pick up their socks (only an
> Rationality is in the eye of the beholder (though we usually agree about
> it),exactly, see 6.
whereas morality, properly understood, is shared by the entire culture.
8) Ok Johnny, you define culture. It's a myth. There never was any single
homogenous culture, and its even more the case today. And no person belongs
to only one culture. From the moment we are born, we are immediately part
of a culture(s) and a subculture (s). I'm American and female and
midwestern and middle class, , of x religion or none, of y ethnicity, a baby
boomer or a gen x'er or y'er, etc. Since, as far as I know these "cultures"
don't agree on many questions of morality, what is right?
Reason can tell us, morality, if by that you mean a specific set of morals,
That said, I do agree with you that some moral theories, based only on
reason seem pretty cold. Kant's been accused of that for years, as has
utilitarianism. However, modern psychology and sociology can be added to,
not replace, traditional theories of deontology and utilitarianism. I try
to do this in the form of narrative and care theory, but I think they must
be only in addition to, not replacement of the others.
This is why I find Pirsig so interesting. I do think intellect should trump
society. While individuals can be wrong, as a group they can be more wrong
and more hostile to change and more powerful. Intellect corrects this. But
when he leaves that fifth level open, this is where I see the ability to
incorporate something before intellect has time to analyze it. X is good
or I like X even if right now I can't tell you why.
And since I like concrete examples, let me share one. I have a horse, Ben.
Ben has arthritis in one elbow, though the joint should fuse and be painless
eventually, he'll never be rideable again. If I were to use reason alone,
seeing him as livestock, the solution would be to send him to the killers
for the per pound $. Duty theory + utilitarianism
However, I have feelings for the horse. Does he have a right to live, do I
have a relationship with him which should be cared for? you bet.
I could just as easily say that I have a duty to a faithful pet, or the
consequences of killing him would cause me so much psychological harm that
no amount of $ would make me happy, etc.
I think DQ is what allows me to respond no even before I think all that out
when someone says he should be put down.
> >You're right, this is the first response on it I've rec'd.
> > > You're right about earlier non-conformists, those are good examples.
> > >
> > > And I'm glad you love Edwards, "Sinners..." is some great imagery.
> >Carse's book on Edwards called "The Visibility Of God", I recommend that
> >one the most, for its treatment of Edwards failure to save
> > > America from the lasting effects of a private morality.
> >Thanks for the recommendation, my summer reading list is filling nicely.
> >That's why I love
> > > Lila so much, though it pulls its punch and doesn't connect the dots,
> > > almost restores morality to its full importance.
> > >
> > > regarding the morality of reformers, they usually are either at the
> > > intersection of two cultures, helping to control the merging of
> > > (and thus figuring out how to be is moral as possible, but necessarily
> > > immoral in some regard in both cultures), or they are helping to
> > > intersecting moral patterns in one culture that have developed over
> > > They start out being immoral in some regards, using persuation to
> > > people to change their normal behavior by pointing to other elements
> > > morality. They convince people over time that most people would
> > > new way for some moral reason, but they have to be able to give an
> > > moral reason as their persuation for people's wills to change,
> >You've just highlighted my concern, quite nicely too, about
> >If it rejects rationality as an arbiter as it seems to, then it doesn't
> >an accepted moral reason.
> >Lilaesquely, the intellectual level is the static latch for making
> >from the dynaimc level "stick" If you destroy the intellectual
> >before the gains are fixed societywide, it won't work. (?!)
> >What do you think?
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