Re: MD Is Morality Relative?

Date: Sat Dec 04 2004 - 01:31:06 GMT

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

    Hello again, Platt --

    > > "Everything is Quality" is axiomatic. You can't deny it without
    > > it, for your denial will assert the quality of truth.
    > I don't follow your logic here, Platt. If I deny that everything is
    > Quality I am admitting it? How so?

    > Wouldn't you agree that your denial is true, and that truth is a value,
    > i.e., a moral quality?

    As I didn't mean "self-evident", axiomatic was obviously the wrong word.
    Aphorism, or possibly even cliche, would have been a more proper term. (You
    see, I don't put much stock in such sayings.)

    Here's a quote from Nathaniel Brandon's little paperback "Who is Ayn Rand?"
    which addresses the morality of her Objectivism. "If man chooses values
    that are consonant with the facts of reality and the needs of his own
    nature, these values will work in the service of his life. If he chooses
    values that are in contradiction to reality and to his nature, they will
    work for his own destruction. No man whose values were consistently
    irrational could continue to exist."

    It seems to me that this is pragmatism, pure and simple.
    I don't much care for it because 1) the "reality" inferred here is based on
    empirical objectivism -- Rand's metaphysical foundation, 2) I don't accept
    the view that values are rational, and 3) by defining morality as what is
    "consonant" and "consistent" with objective reality, it is restrictiveof
    individual freedom. Dagobert Runes, in fact, defines "objectivist ethics"
    as "...the view that ethical truths are not relative, that there are certain
    actions which are right and certain objects which are good for all
    individuals alike." I wonder if Pirsig has not done the same thing with the
    MoQ by tying it to empirical objectivism.

    > You assume morality applies only to relationships between people. Pirsig's
    > metaphysics is based on morality that applies to everything, and what's
    > more, is the driving force behind creation and evolution. By expanding
    > the common meaning of morality to include everything from atomic particles
    > to Rachmaniov's Third Piano Concerto, I think maybe he's got ahold of
    > something.

    The only connection I can see between morality and Rachmaninov's 3rd
    Concerto is that it would be immoral to attempt to play it without a very
    able pianist on the bench -- I would suggest resurrecting the late
    Sviatoslov Richter, whose recording I own. Platt, this insistence on
    attributing morality to biology, physics and arithmetic will be the death of
    me yet! Man may be constructed from many levels, but morality expresses
    man's values, not the laws of the universe. Are you aware of any other
    philosophers who have extended morality to non-human entities? I'm simply
    not able to make that connection, so I guess it's an area where we part

    > Maybe it would help to bring your philosophy and Pirsig's closer together
    > if we all could agree with him that Quality, morality and value all mean
    > the same thing, i.e. some things are better than others.

    Again, I would exclude morality from this trio. And Quality also, if -- and
    I'm still not clear on this -- it is meant to infer a primary source.
    Quality must be born of an absolute source in which attributes like
    "quality" do not (yet) exist. [Why I chose Essence as the Source.]

    > You probably are familiar with his "categorical
    > imperative" -- "Act only on the maxim whereby thou canst at the same time
    > will it should become universal law."

    Is this not the same as "Contextualism" which you defined for Steve? I see
    little real difference between Kant's moral imperative and the Golden Rule.
    Would you call either of these morality systems "absolutist"?


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