Re: MD Is Morality Relative?

From: Ian Glendinning (
Date: Fri Dec 03 2004 - 22:54:04 GMT

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

    Platt, Mark,

    I did in fact say "why" was just a word and we would simply argue its
    semantics, rendering the word useless.

    The uses of the word "why" which I "damn" as intolerable (useless) are those
    teleological ones, deliberately asked from the position, or designed to
    elicit responses, addressing purpose, beyond intentional individuals. Asked
    that way, no matter of (apparent, assumed, proposed) fact "explanation" is
    going to satisfy the question, if the reason does not include "purpose".
    Ipso facto, literal God is the answer, QED. The oldest trick in the book.
    Catch-22 (again).

    Asked the right way "why" (eg by what possible worldly processes does this
    come to be) is a reasonable question.


    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Mark Steven Heyman" < >
    To: < >
    Sent: Thursday, December 02, 2004 2:57 AM
    Subject: Re: MD Is Morality Relative?

    > On 1 Dec 2004 at 17:28, Platt Holden wrote:
    > ph:
    > > 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...?
    > platt:
    > 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?
    > platt:
    > 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
    > assumptions."
    > 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.
    > platt:
    > 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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