Re: MD Is Morality Relative?

From: Mark Steven Heyman (
Date: Thu Dec 02 2004 - 02:57:58 GMT

  • Next message: "Re: MD Is Morality Relative?"

    On 1 Dec 2004 at 17:28, Platt Holden wrote:
    > My motive is to bring to light and examine basic assumptions, and
    to figure out what's the best morality for a nation to follow until
    the MOQ is widely known and accepted.

    > msh asks:
    > Why just a nation, and not the world? Or, in a nation such as the
    > US, why a national morality rather than one determined by each
    > state, county, city...?

    Well, Ian thinks that "why" questions like these are "damn" questions
    and shouldn't be asked. Only "how" questions are legit. Glad to see
    you don't agree and find that why questions are perfectly reasonable
    questions, like Pirsig's biggy, "Why survive?"

    msh says:
    O, I don't think Ian dislikes all "Why" questions. He just
    recognizes that some "Why" questions are not immediately answerable
    and, sometimes, not even meaningful. Such questions are usually
    asked with a ton of emotional baggage that makes it impossible to
    offer a satisfactory answer. "What is the meaning of it all?" "Why
    am I here?" "How could someone as magnificent as myself have evolved
    by accident?" The answers might very well be: "There is no meaning
    external to the meaning you make for yourself." And "You DID evolve
    by accident, and, BTW, you aren't all that magnificent." But these
    are not the answers the questioners want to hear.

    As for Pirsig's question, I think the answer is in the MOQ: We
    survive to become better. That's it. Why is this not enough?

    My answer to your question is, "Choose the world if you want, or the
    state, county, city--whatever social group suits your fancy. Just be
    sure to cite the basis for your answer--innate moral sense,
    self-interest, historical precedent, religious teaching, natural law,
    contextulism, relativism, etc. and be prepared to justify your

    msh said:
    Well, I offered an answer before. You never said whether or not you
    found it satisfactory. It's clear to me that our "national" morality
    cannot be religious in nature because there are many religions, and
    all of them are contradictory in one way or another, even within
    themselves. Besides, I don't think nations or any other political
    entities should be involved in the business of setting and enforcing
    moral standards of any kind.

    If you are asking for moral guidelines in the implementation of a
    state's legal system, my first choice, sans the MOQ, would be a
    secular-humanist version of the golden rule.

    I don't know the answer. That's why I asked. But, it looks like a lot
    of people find Christian teachings (love they neighbor) appealing as
    a moral base whether they are willing to admit it or not.

    msh says:
    Nothing wrong with loving thy neighbor, IMO. Though the idea did not
    originate with Christianity. And the Golden Rule goes back to
    Confucius, at least.

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