Hypothetical Situation

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Gazer
 
Reply Mon 18 Jan, 2010 11:22 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;120810 wrote:
So that means, I suppose, that it was all right for the Nazis to murder six million Jews (in the context of German society at that time)?


Well I would say that the the German society, before the rise of Hitler, had very similar social norms with all the other societies, so in that way they were part of all the other societies-- Europe etc. were in reality one big society because of the similarity in social norms, so when Germany broke of and violated the social norms of that society, they were committing a gross crime.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Mon 18 Jan, 2010 12:02 pm
@Gazer,
Gazer;120817 wrote:
Well I would say that the the German society, before the rise of Hitler, had very similar social norms with all the other societies, so in that way they were part of all the other societies-- Europe etc. were in reality one big society because of the similarity in social norms, so when Germany broke of and violated the social norms of that society, they were committing a gross crime.


I would extend that to all of humanity. If you don't mind saying that all the countries involved in WWII were part of one big culture, then why not extend that to all the more tribal people, on the basis of their shared humanity?


Gazer;120811 wrote:
I am suggesting the possibility of vast and impenetrable differences between different societies, I still think there can be very similar societies as well (As most societies are).

I think our psychology (if that is what you mean by biology) and instincts do lead to certain social norms being established, but it is only after those norms have been established right and wrong come into play.


This sounds to me like you are saying that if an explorer came across an alien society, he should not interfere. I don't think humanity is that different from each other, if you look up a list of things that are consistent across all cultures you will find 100's of things.
Quote:
I do not accept a minority view can trump a majority view. When society was aimed at the happiness of the elite, that changed because soon that view became the view of the minority and the majority challenged that view. Society changed. Also, all that change occured within the context of a single society in the middle of change, which is very different from saying that a single explorer's view can trump those of the majority who are in a different society just because he has guns and they don't.
Do you object to slavery in the US? The civil war was a pretty clear example of the northern culture forcibly changing the southern culture.

Quote:
To answer your question, no, because no matter if a culture's values allows them to interfere with another culture, that value still doesn't mean anything to that other culture, it's still meaningless. The value itself is self contradictory. Notice that I still think one can disagree and argue against certain values, I just do not think you can stomp into another culture and change it forcibly.
How is it self contradictory? I don't follow your train of thought here.

Quote:
True, facts are not subjective, but the ability to see those facts are, and whether people can or can not see those facts depends largely, I think, on the morals one is brought up with.
Yes, which is why some cultures are better than others.

Quote:

I don't think it's wrong to want to change values in other cultures, I think it's wrong to go and change those values forcibly, without the other culture having a say. You can argue against values, but you can't force your values upon another culture.
We generally do follow the policy of self determination. But often there is force being used within a culture.


Essentially, I think you are drawing lines arbitrarily. Each person has a different idea about how things should be done, each country has dozens of cultures, each culture is divided on certain issues. Presidents are elected with 51% vs 49%. The police enforce laws that millions disagree with.

Your point of emphasis seems to be that modern, developed countries should not use force against primitive, native tribes. But the idea of the noble savage is misguided, and the dividing line is artificial. It is hard to understand and judge other cultures, but there are times when we can (based off the knowledge of our shared humanity--that is what makes it knowable). And in some cases force is the best way to go.

**********************

Well, the above is what I wrote before, but aren't you actually arguing for pacifism rather than cultural or moral relativism? I missed that before, sorry.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 18 Jan, 2010 01:49 pm
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;120827 wrote:
I would extend that to all of humanity. If you don't mind saying that all the countries involved in WWII were part of one big culture, then why not extend that to all the more tribal people, on the basis of their shared humanity?




This sounds to me like you are saying that if an explorer came across an alien society, he should not interfere. I don't think humanity is that different from each other, if you look up a list of things that are consistent across all cultures you will find 100's of things.
Do you object to slavery in the US? The civil war was a pretty clear example of the northern culture forcibly changing the southern culture.

How is it self contradictory? I don't follow your train of thought here.

Yes, which is why some cultures are better than others.

We generally do follow the policy of self determination. But often there is force being used within a culture.


Essentially, I think you are drawing lines arbitrarily. Each person has a different idea about how things should be done, each country has dozens of cultures, each culture is divided on certain issues. Presidents are elected with 51% vs 49%. The police enforce laws that millions disagree with.

Your point of emphasis seems to be that modern, developed countries should not use force against primitive, native tribes. But the idea of the noble savage is misguided, and the dividing line is artificial. It is hard to understand and judge other cultures, but there are times when we can (based off the knowledge of our shared humanity--that is what makes it knowable). And in some cases force is the best way to go.

**********************

Well, the above is what I wrote before, but aren't you actually arguing for pacifism rather than cultural or moral relativism? I missed that before, sorry.



The notion of what is a society, and what is a culture, is pretty tricky. Isn't it? We have to ge those straight first.
 
NeitherExtreme
 
Reply Mon 18 Jan, 2010 03:26 pm
@Gazer,
It seems to me that some arguments here are based on the premise that respecting other's cultural norms is not only a virtue, but that it is the highest virtue... Now, if someone holds the personal belief that it is the most important virtue, that's all well and good. But, if we are going to be talking about relative morality, etc., then "respecting others cultures" is not, and can not be, an absolute "moral".
 
awoelt
 
Reply Mon 25 Jan, 2010 08:37 pm
@Gazer,
First in order to play missionary (I understand i am sounding as if describing the sexual position, but i mean as a catholic or LDS missionary) he must have an understanding of why this is wrong. He may possibly be the one to be primitive. In ancient israel after capturing a city they would kill all older men and any woman who had had intercourse. How barbaric? however if you consider this practice you will find it is necessary to prevent sexual disease. If this explorer finds these people to be primitive and knows a reason to not burn rape victims he may act as a missionary.
 
Owen phil
 
Reply Tue 26 Jan, 2010 05:17 am
@Gazer,
Situations like what you describe are prevelant in the 'real' world of eg. Saudi Arabia...immoral justice??

Exclusive: Saudi Rape Victim Tells Her Story - ABC News

Should we, who consider this kind of justice "absurd", intervene?

I think we must, do you?
 
Gracee
 
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 12:31 pm
@Gazer,
Gazer;120552 wrote:
Think of this:

An explorer encounters a society completely cut of from the rest of the world. In his opinion, they are primitive. He witnesses a woman being burnt for being raped.

Does he have the right to intervene?

I will wait until someone states an opinion and why he/she thinks this before explaining anything in detail.


Yes - the golden rule/the categorical imperative - do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Everyone has some notion of this idea with regard to morality, which is why some semblance of it is seen in most legal systems.
The man would see the woman and want to help, because he would probably like to be saved if he was about to be burnt at the stake. If in doubt, in my opinion, one should act according to this maxim.
 
chad3006
 
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 02:43 pm
@Gazer,
The explorer will have no choice but to act in accordance with his individual temperament. He will take the path of least resistance. If inaction inflicts more suffering on his conscience than does his perception of any other consequences, he will act. The opposite is true of an explorer who has opposite temperament.
Whether or not he has the "right" to do so is of no consequence. The explorer is bound by his perceptions himself and of the world.
 
Pepijn Sweep
 
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 04:30 pm
@Gazer,
Gazer;120817 wrote:
Well I would say that the the German society, before the rise of Hitler, had very similar social norms with all the other societies, so in that way they were part of all the other societies-- Europe etc. were in reality one big society because of the similarity in social norms, so when Germany broke of and violated the social norms of that society, they were committing a gross crime.


:perplexed: Even the USA has a longer history then the "country" Germany. It was not a nation state till 19 cent. The German (speaking) people also live in other countries. Anglo-Saxon is one of the German languages.

Social norms in The Netherlands are different from Great-Brittain or Belgium. Luxembourg is more like the Rheinphalz.:Glasses:
 
Pyrrho
 
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 06:11 pm
@Gazer,
Gazer;120562 wrote:
Right and wrong are based on social norms. Therefore, from the society being encountered's point of view, burning the woman is the right thing to do, it is their social norm (sorry, perhaps I did not make this clear). It is only from the explorer's view that what they are doing is wrong, and since there is no one else from his society, this view is meaningless. As the opinion only has meaning in the context of his society, his beliefs do not apply to those not from his society.

Does he have the right, or would he be right, to intervene?


According to what you have stated, social reformers are always wrong. This is because they disagree with the norms of their societies. Thus, for example, the first agitators against slavery in the U.S. were wrong, because they were against the norms of their society. The first people to argue that women should be allowed to vote were wrong, because they were against the norms of their society. And so on, for every social reformer, no matter what the reform. Do you really believe that? If not, then you can't consistently believe that "Right and wrong are based on social norms."
 
mike90t09
 
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 01:14 am
@Gazer,
Gazer;120552 wrote:
Think of this:

An explorer encounters a society completely cut of from the rest of the world. In his opinion, they are primitive. He witnesses a woman being burnt for being raped.

Does he have the right to intervene?


No. He doesn't have the right to intervene because he is not in his natural society. That would be considered disrespectful. If he tries to intervene he will be burned as well for reasons he will never understand.

What he should do is study the culture and their behaviors. Know the reasoning behind what they do and try to offer the new way of life. The civilized way of life. Do not force anything upon anyone. It isn't necessary.
 
 

 
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