Re: MD Is Morality Relative?

From: Mark Steven Heyman (
Date: Thu Dec 02 2004 - 02:09:00 GMT

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    On 1 Dec 2004 at 18:21, wrote:
    How I define Morality will necessarily support the philosophy of
    Essence, the central thesis of which is that man is an autonomous
    creature in a relational world.

    msh asks:
    I agree with this. But are human beings the only autonomous
    creatures in a relational world? If so, what are your reasons for
    granting autonomy to one kind of animal above others?

    > If the MOQ champions individual autonomy, it appears the MOQ
    > supports the basic thrust of Ayn Rand's "virtue of selfishness."

    We are all selfish by nature; it is not a virtue but a description of
    man's position in a relational world.

    msh says:
    This is the ageless apology for selfish behavior, for which exist so
    many counter-examples it's hard to imagine anyone still thinks this
    way. Here's a thought experiment: There's a small girl alone on on
    a street corner, eating an ice cream cone. From your concealed
    location, you watch a man approach her. The man looks around, thinks
    he is unobserved, then takes her cone and walks away eating it.
    Would you regard this as natural behavior? Would anyone? In fact,
    the man would rightly be regarded as sociopathic, or worse.

    Rand's philosophy was that we should give primary service to self-
    achievement. She was opposed to the morality of altruism which, on
    analysis, has no more ethical substance than Marxist communism. The
    actions of many have been attributed to "an altruistic motive"; but
    concepts such as unselfish devotion, living for others, sharing the
    wealth, etc., just don't lend themselves to a workable morality
    system. Often these activities, particularly when conducted by
    religious groups, have a hidden agenda to influence the
    beneficiaries. Rand was a staunch capitalist who
    believed in the morality of free enterprise, as you and I do.

    msh asks:
    Could you explain why you reject the morality of altruism, yet accept
    the morality of free enterprise? Forget for a moment that there is
    no such thing as a free market, and never has been. I won't even
    bother to ask you about Marxism, as I doubt that you know enough
    about it to even have an opinion.

    Are you unable to think of a single incident from your own
    experience, or your knowledge of history, where an individual acted

    But self-sufficiency, like "everything is Quality", is a pragmatic
    axiom without an underlying metaphysical rationale. I see both Ayn
    Rand and RMP as both philosophically deficient in this regard.

    msh asks:
    The axiom(s) of any metaphysics are pragmatic, not metaphysical. If
    they were metaphysical statements they'd be derived, not assumed.
    What is the underlying metaphysical rationale for your theism?

    > Whether the minister realizes it or not, his support for the view
    > that "society is doomed by the concept of moral relativism" is
    > undermined by his adherence a number of moral absolutes.

    You mean "moral absolutism", of course. I disagree. I think
    Edington has provided vivid examples of terrible acts against
    humanity by individuals who were absolutely convinced they were
    right. They include the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers perpetrated
    by moral absolutists.

    msh asks:
    Would they include retaliatory attacks against civilian populations
    (100,000 innocents and counting) that had NOTHING to do with the 9/11
    attacks? Or is moral absolutism something that occurs only among
    people who don't have their own Air Force?

    > What concerns me that if moral laws are man made and relative, then
    > moral rules are arbitrary and thus no one is obligated to follow
    > them. That's why I believe a society that adheres to moral
    > relativism is doomed.

    msh says:
    Moral rules within the social level ARE arbitrary and man-made.
    That's why behavior within societies must be regulated by fourth
    level laws rather than social-cultural tradition. And these laws
    themselves must be highly dynamic, so that behavior that comes to be
    seen as dangerous to society can be efficaciously outlawed and
    controlled. In order to survive, a society must strive for maximum
    access to intellectual DQ, which means to vigorously encourage a free
    and open interchange of information and ideas.

    Mark Steven Heyman (msh)
    InfoPro Consulting - The Professional Information Processors
    Custom Software Solutions for Windows, PDAs, and the Web Since 1983
    Web Site:

    "Thought is only a flash between two long nights, but this flash is
    everything." -- Henri Poincare'

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