Goodness; the good person; and true justice

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Reply Sun 31 May, 2009 03:41 pm
'good'? Take a chair, for example. You have a picture in your mind as to what features a chair could have; and if this chair has all those qualities you'd likely call it a good one. So a 'good chair' has everything a chair is supposed to have. Of course, everyone might have a different picture with different qualities in mind, but the basic idea is that what makes anything good is for it to be 'all there' under the name you put on it.

Now that we know what the word "good" means, we can ask the question about what makes a good person. {I am well aware that persons are not chairs, and that different criteria apply. Chairs are extrinsic values while persons are intrinsic values -- in Hartman's sense, not Dewey's.}

Who is a good person? Well, it would be someone who is 'all there.' A good person would have all the attributes that a person ought to have. That person, it is fair to say, would have moral value, would avoid selfishness. Let's describe such a person and see if you would call such an individual 'good.'

That person is one who educates himself, or herself, to do what is truly in his self-interest and who is able to see that "selfishness" is something distinctly different than "self-interest." Allow me to explain. Wisdom is knowing others and enlightenment is knowing yourself [The point to notice is that ethics is not just 'a matter of opinion,' and 'totally subjective,' as some would try to tell you. It can be objective and universal.]

As Dr. Stephen Pinker says, "In many areas of life two parties are objectively better off if they both act in a nonselfish way than if each of them acts selfishly. You and I are both better off if we share our surpluses, rescue each other's children in danger, and refrain from shooting at each other, compared with hoarding our surpluses while they rot, letting the other's child drown while we file our nails, or feuding like the Hatfields and McCoys."

"Granted, I might be a bit better off if I acted selfishly at your expense and you played the sucker, but the same is true for you with me, so if each of us tried for these advantages, we'd both end up worse off. Any neutral observer, and you and I if we could talk it over rationally, would have to conclude that the state we should aim for is the one in which we both are unselfish." (emphasis added.) It's in the nature of things that if we educate ourselves enough we come to develop this insight about our true self-interest. We reach this understanding. Does that make sense? [Let's not get into a digression here on Game Theory in Economics. That is artificial: real life is much more complex than any Game.]

And do you agree with this? {Also a quote from Dr. Pinker}: "If I appeal to you to do anything that affects me - to get off my foot, or tell me the time, or not run me over with your car -- then I can't do it in a way that privileges my interests over yours (say, retaining my right to run you over with my car) if I want you to take me seriously. I have to state my case in a way that would force me to treat you in kind. I can't act as if my interests are special just because I'm me and you're not, any more than I can persuade you that the spot I am standing on is a special place in the universe just because I happen to be standing on it."

That last concept is what we might name "The Consistency Principle in Ethicsdo know what's in their interest, Professor Appiah, put it this way: "We want to make a life for ourselves.
We recognize that everybody has a life to make and that we are making our lives together. We recognize value in our own humanity and in doing so we see it as the same humanity we find in others. If my humanity matters, so does yours; if yours doesn't, neither does mine.

We stand or fall together." Can we come together on this? Do we agree? Isn't it so that I'm better off if you're better off; and you are better off if I am better off? Seeing that idea is having "enlightened self-interest." One who operates on that principle that each of us does better if we all do better is fulfilling his/her true self-interest. There is nothing wrong with self-interest -- provided it is enlightened !

What are the qualities of a good person?

A good person would be one who has everything you would want a person to have: integrity, authenticity, responsibility, honesty, empathy, compassion, kindness, etc. Such an individual would be morally good. He or she would possess morality. For "morality" may be defined as: Moral value.
Hence everything known about value would help us understand morality. .

What is known about value? It is a matter of degree. It has dimensions (on a spectrum.)2 The word 'value' refers to the process, the activity, known as evaluation, which itself is a matching process.

One of the sub-topics of Ethics is justice. Let's examine its opposite for a moment. An injustice is a mismatch (between someone's happiness and what we take to be their merit). For example, a crook must not live high while his victim suffers. In every injustice something is out of balance.

Justice requires giving others their due.
Reparation is a name for the obligation we have to compensate others for past wrongs or for a previous wrongful act. The highest form of justice is reconciliation or rehabilitation. [Vengeance is the lowest form.]

To sum it all up, someone who cares, who has self-respect and enough sense to respect others, would focus upon the facilitating institutions and social arrangements so that human beings are not placed in situations where they will act badly.

For, as Dr. K. A. Appiah, of The Princeton University Center for Human Values, has written "It's good to feel compassion; it's better to have no cause to."

Let's all of us, pursuing our real self-interest, and avoiding selfishness, do what we can to arrange the circumstances in which our excellences can be elicited -- the conditions in which we can flourish.

That will be true justice.

{The plan is to get this lesson and its concepts taught in elementary and high-schools as part of their standard curriculum. Can you facilitate this project? Can you restate it in simpler language that even a child would understand? Can you provide an illustration, some imagery, or a story?}

Comments?
 
William
 
Reply Sun 31 May, 2009 03:57 pm
@deepthot,
Wonderful post. It, IMO, needs no further comment. You did a wonderful job.:a-ok:

Your friend,
William
 
deepthot
 
Reply Mon 1 Jun, 2009 12:14 am
@deepthot,
You are kind, William - and I appreciate your appreciation.


This further comment on the post might be appended:

...We are still fellow-sufferers. We are still connected in so many ways., connected to one another; although many of us are still not conscious of that fact. They lack awareness. At our inner core, we ARE aware of it. That's why it is to our benefit that we come to know our inner Self, come to see the interdependence, the connections.



I said, early in the post, that something is "good" if it has it all. That is, if it has every quality that you suppose things-of-that-sort to have, you will speak of it as good. But what if it has less than all? Then it is "valuable." Then we have other value words, other adjectives, to describe it:

If the item had a few less features we can predict a person may call it 'fair' or 'pretty good' or 'not bad.' If it has only half of those you're looking for, you'd likely speak of it as 'average' or 'so-so' or 'mediocre'. If it had less than half, we'd call it 'bad' or 'not so good'; but if lacked one of the features that define what a chair in fact is, then we will evaluate it as 'lousy' or 'terrible.' What is the definition of a 'chair'? It's a 'knee-high structure with a seat and a back.' If it was missing by having a big hole where the seat should be, we might say "it's simply awful." It's terrible. (But under another name, say, 'a prop for a juggler to balance' it could be 'good'! So whether something is 'bad' or 'good' all depends upon the name we put on it. A good nag is a bad horse. A bad residence could be 'a good slum dwelling.' The gift of the optimist is to name things so we can call them "good.". Optimism is a wonderful quality to have. It's an asset. Pessimism is a lack of vision. It's a deficit. The pessimist is out of kilter and is the killer of hope and encouragement. We need more optimists in this world. Every true realist has to be part optimist.)


If the item had a few less features we can predict a person may call it 'fair' or 'pretty good' or 'not bad.' If it has only half of those you're looking for, you'd likely speak of it as 'average' or 'so-so' or 'mediocre'. If it had less than half, we'd call it 'bad' or 'not so good'; but if lacked one of the features that define what a chair in fact is, then we will evaluate it as 'lousy' or 'terrible.' What is the definition of a 'chair'? It's a 'knee-high structure with a seat and a back.' If it was missing by having a big hole where the seat should be, we might say "it's simply awful." It's terrible. (But under another name, say, 'a prop for a juggler to balance' it could be 'good'! So whether something is 'bad' or 'good' all depends upon the name we put on it. A good nag is a bad horse. A bad residence could be 'a good slum dwelling.' The gift of the optimist is to name things so we can call them "good.". Optimism is a wonderful quality to have. It's an asset. Pessimism is a lack of vision. It's a deficit. The pessimist is out of kilter and is the killer of hope and encouragement. We need more optimists in this world. Every true realist has to be part optimist.)



For further clarification on many of these concepts, see my treatise entitled ETHICS: A College Course, Here, safe to open, is a link to it: http://tinyurl.com/2mj5b3


Also, you may want to check out a version of it for the non-philosopher, for the layman. It is more readable. Its title is LIVING THE GOOD LIFE. You will find it Here:
http://tinyurl.com/24swmd
 
Krumple
 
Reply Mon 1 Jun, 2009 02:58 am
@deepthot,
Quote:
A good person would be one who has everything you would want a person to have: integrity, authenticity, responsibility, honesty, empathy, compassion, kindness, etc. Such an individual would be morally good. He or she would possess morality. For "morality" may be defined as: Moral value.


Well there must not be any good people then, because I have never met anyone like described above. If there is such persons, they are so incredibly rare.

On a side note, it is great to define all these things, but you completely miss an aspect of human nature. A good person might be one who only wants enough for themselves to survive and allow others their fair share. But there are people who don't want to be good. They would rather be "better" than the good person. In their mind, better would mean, having more, higher stature, a lofty position, the ability to rule over everyone else. This is not selfishness this is due to a superiority complex.

All it takes is for someone to say, I don't want to eat animals and neither should you! To make the above stuff no longer work. Because the person who is protesting is trying to force their belief onto the rest of society.
 
William
 
Reply Mon 1 Jun, 2009 05:51 am
@Krumple,
Krumple;65930 wrote:
Well there must not be any good people then, because I have never met anyone like described above. If there is such persons, they are so incredibly rare.

On a side note, it is great to define all these things, but you completely miss an aspect of human nature. A good person might be one who only wants enough for themselves to survive and allow others their fair share. But there are people who don't want to be good. They would rather be "better" than the good person. In their mind, better would mean, having more, higher stature, a lofty position, the ability to rule over everyone else. This is not selfishness this is due to a superiority complex.

All it takes is for someone to say, I don't want to eat animals and neither should you! To make the above stuff no longer work. Because the person who is protesting is trying to force their belief onto the rest of society.


So, in all due respect, you think a superiority complex is a product of human nature and out of our control? I think it is a unfortunate consequence of someone who has been dictated to by those who have superiority complexes which alters perception. I will agree there are a lot of mixed signals being issued out there, and without some semblance of what good is, one can easily deny any possible, unselfish attempt to define one, by using erroneous analogies such as whether it is proper to eat meat or not to defend a position that can't be defended logically and unselfishly. So they secure themselves behind a brick wall called the ego and can only agree with those who think exactly like them. IMO, that makes it impossible for them to learn any definition of what good, or anything else if it differs from their own, because they, in their mind, it is coming from someone who is superior to them for they have no definitions of their own in which to make a sound argument otherwise.

In the respect that you are using "human nature" precludes that it is human nature to do whatever it is you want to do, regardless if it is good or bad. In the context that you are using it, hell, an ax murderer is justified to think the way he does. Someone who is immersed in "self" needs some kind of a support structure in which to defend themselves. Human nature is as good as any since most have no idea of what being human is all about.

Someone who is selfish, cannot hear "selfless" input. The OP was entirely a "selfless" offering and in no way was it selfish in any respect nor was it from a position of superiority. IMO, you didn't hear a word this individual had to say. It was beyond your comprehension. All you could do is find something that would defend how you think, without offering anything as to how you think. Without any concept of what is good, we must conclude there is no concept of bad and anything goes. It that were truly innate in man as it defines "his human nature", we would have cease to exist long ago.

William
 
Khethil
 
Reply Mon 1 Jun, 2009 06:10 am
@deepthot,
Deepthot,

Nice post, I like it very much. The only suggestion I could offer would very-nearly echo Krumple's sentiment: How we define 'good'.

Good addition - thanks
 
deepthot
 
Reply Tue 2 Jun, 2009 03:46 pm
@Krumple,
Krumple;65930 wrote:
Well there must not be any good people then, because I have never met anyone like described above. If there is such persons, they are so incredibly rare.

On a side note, it is great to define all these things, but you completely miss an aspect of human nature.... there are people who don't want to be good. ... To make the above stuff no longer work. Because the person who is ... trying to force their belief onto the rest of society.


Hi, Krumple

As to your first paragraph, that description I offered of "the good person" is an ideal to reach for. It is a possible self-image a person can hold and aspire to. It is a cluster of traits that have moral value when fulfilled by being put into practice -- some of them, or all of them.

Let us co-opt the word "morality" to refer to this process of living up to an ideal (such as that of "the good person") that you may hold. Morality means: moral value. And value (valuation) is a matching process: it means being partially or fully in correspondence (one-to-one) with the meaning of the concept. x is valuable if it to some degree fulfills the meaning of the concept under which x falls. If the concept is "a person" then x is a proper name, and X can more or less live up to what he believe a person ought to be. To fully match up is to be good. x is a good C when x totally exemplifies C-ness. In the earlier posts I merely offered a picture of a possible ideal to help stimulate the imagination. If one has a low ideal for himself he will not rate high in morality, as I propose to use the word.

Thus, if you go along with the model I am proposing, from now on morality means: increasing correspondence with an improving self-ideal. This is a very dynamic process because you must be increasingly implimenting the ideal; and it must be an improving ideal. That is to say, you must be reaching higher. You must not get into a rut, but must want to learn and grow. [Rather than say "you must" it is better to say: "it is preferable if you do." You will gain more value in life if you do.] I am proposing this as a definition of the term, morality.

And it's all about adding value.

It is entirely up to an individual if he or she wants to be a good person.

All I am saying is that if one aims for that (or some similar high ideal), one will acheive a life of more value; for value is a function of meaning. The more valuable life is the more meaningful life. If you want to attain the most value, this is the way to go: aim to be that ideal good person. Aspire to it. You may fall short, but you'll be way ahead. As you say, they are rare. But as Spinoza pointed out, the most noble although rare is worth working for. You feel a real sense of achievement when you acquire that which is noble and rare. {My wife is a good person: she has all those qualities I mentioned in the description to which you allude. She is honest and authentic, etc.}}

Our heroes ought to be among many of those who have won The Nobel Prize for Peace -- not those who have committed violence (no matter how fine-sounding the cause was which they used as a rationalization for what they did.)

Regarding your "side note", as you can tell from my other posts -- see , for example post #17 here --:
[url]http://[URL[/url]="http://www.philosophyforum.com/forum/philosophy-forums/branches-philosophy/ethics/4083-purpose-ethics-2.html"]www.philosophyforum.com/forum/philosophy-forums/branches-philosophy/ethics/4083-purpose-ethics-2.html [/URL]
I am well aware of the existence of those whose ideal is power, of the greedy (who make making money their highest value), of deviants, perverts, the perverse, the tyrants, the psychopaths, the sociopaths and other types of immorality: I didn't miss that aspect.

To keep up with recent scientific findings about human nature, check out this article, especially the 5th paraggraph:
Ode Magazine : The altruism in economics
The lastest inter-cultural research shows that human nature is more altruistic than selfish. The experiments done by Gintis, et. al. demonstrate this as fact.
However, there are those with bad genes, and there are adults who were not physically touched enough as babies, and thus are immature or psychologically cripled. We live in a world with some difficult people and it would be best if we learn how to cope with them without betraying our own authenticity, without lowering ourselves to their level.

Also check out the work of Dr. Jonathan Heidt in the field of Positive Psychology. He is one of pioneers in the new science of Moral Psych.

I hope this helps to clarify some of the points which caught your attention.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Tue 2 Jun, 2009 04:25 pm
@deepthot,
Quote:
As to your first paragraph, that description I offered of "the good person" is an ideal to reach for. It is a possible self-image a person can hold and aspire to. It is a cluster of traits that have moral value when fulfilled by being put into practice -- some of them, or all of them.


In essence you are setting the goal for every individual to achieve, right?

What I am saying, is that you are implying that people will accept this goal? That these are what everyone should aspire to? Or maybe not aspire but should hold as great? I can't quite pin you down on this enough to show that all one has to do is say, "**** good, I wanna dominate..." sorry for the cussing but it was necessary for the point.

Quote:
It is entirely up to an individual if he or she wants to be a good person.


Yes and since this is the case, you can't find a truly good person because the above person I describe doesn't make for an environment conductive enough for such a person to exist in. This is why I can not find anyone who fits your definition of what is good.

Could such a thing happen?

Quote:
Regarding your "side note", as you can see from my other posts, I am well aware of the existence of those whose ideal is power, of the greedy (who make making money their hightest value) of deviants, perverts, the perverse, the tyrants, the psychopaths, the sociopaths and other types of immorality: I didn't miss that aspect.


What you call immorality, I call human behavior. We are constantly in conflict with this type of behavior, we must learn from a young age that cooperation is better than destroying opposition. A young child could have the idea that if it kills all its piers it could have everything to itself. But what is lost by killing everyone in opposition? You lose the ability to have cooperation.

Even a tyrant knows he must have some allies, even though he may never trust his allies, he knows he can't exist without them. A tyrant can never stand alone because there will be more opposition than he could defend against.

You will NEVER be able to get people to NEVER have the idea to NEVER dominate another. Call me negative, but we are built towards this motivation, it is society that makes us blunt and dull to act upon it.
 
deepthot
 
Reply Tue 2 Jun, 2009 07:46 pm
@Krumple,
Krumple;66251 wrote:
In essence you are setting the goal for every individual to achieve, right?

What I am saying, is that you are implying that people will accept this goal?


Not al all. I said that if someone is aware enough about his own true self-interest and if someone wants to optimize the amount of value in his life -- if he "likes to shop for value" rather than over-paying -- then he will listen to the insights of that body of accumulated knowledge known as Ethics, which tells him how to be morally healthy -- just as he may listen to the findings of health science - which teaches him how to be physically healthy, how to eat right, how to shape up, how to sculpt the muscles he may want, how to get a good night's sleep, etc. He is free to ignore all this; get sick ...both morally and physically. Many do, I grant you. They suffer needless pain, avoidable pain. They do not flourish -- in Aristotle's sense of the word. If that's the kind of life you want, good luck to you! You're free. You're free not to listen to your conscience, not to educate and sensitize it, not to be rational, as Pinker explained it. I can't stop you if you want to gainsay whatever moral law humanity may have discovered. I can only work to get ethics into law school curricula, so that better laws are passed when these law students become legislators and judges. {Dirty little secret: Yes, judges on the higher courst do make the law.}

When social deviants and immorally-acting individuals - of which you remind us to be aware about - do break a good law I will feel justice is done when they are quarantined from the rest of society, i.e., when the law is enforced.


Krumple;66251 wrote:

Yes and since this is the case, you can't find a truly good person because the above person I describe doesn't make for an environment conductive enough for such a person to exist in. This is why I can not find anyone who fits your definition of what is good.

...What you call immorality, I call human behavior. We are constantly in conflict with this type of behavior, we must learn from a young age that cooperation is better than destroying opposition. A young child could have the idea that if it kills all its piers it could have everything to itself. But what is lost by killing everyone in opposition? You lose the ability to have cooperation.

Even a tyrant knows he must have some allies, even though he may never trust his allies, he knows he can't exist without them. A tyrant can never stand alone because there will be more opposition than he could defend against.

You will NEVER be able to get people to NEVER have the idea to NEVER dominate another. Call me negative, but we are built towards this motivation, it is society that makes us blunt and dull to act upon it.


That's good pessimism. You will note my analysis of the optimist, the pessimist, and the realist in my essay, LIVING THE GOOD LIFE, on pages 45-49. See http://tinyurl.com/24swmd

In it is revealed, that among other breakthroughs in the field of self-improvement research, a branch of math called Non-linear Dynamic Equations can be used to account for the multiple roles we play in life, the many faces we present to others, what psychologists would call our "multiple selves." All of these variable selves combine to be equivalent to our one Self-Concept.

Rick Ringel, a 49-year-old computer-lab Director, says that human individuals are not so much self-contradictory as they are complex. He explains that the tools that Complexity theorists use -- such as Chaos Theory with its sets of Attractors -- are appropriate for Ethics, especially for the Self-Concept and its accompanying Self-Image.

He also has shown that a model derived from Chaos Theory concludes that the easiest way to overcome a bad habit - or even a bad character trait -- is through new circumstances, rather than attempting to change that behavior in the existing environment. After developing a center without the vice, the range of the attractor with the vice is reduced. In other words, it suggests we can chip away at our vices by bringing good habits into environments that get incrementally more similar to the problem environment. Allow me to clarify this.

You write: "you can't find a truly good person because the above person I describe doesn't make for an environment conductive enough for such a person to exist in. This is why I can not find anyone who fits your definition of what is good."

Is it possible that you just haven't met enough people yet?

I already told you that I have met such people. They had their flaws and petty 'vices' but they were what you, and I, would describe as good persons. [Being nearly 80 years old and having visited 12 countries may have helped. Being on the Board of Managers at my condo association has helped too. I've met some very difficult people and some I would call 'a ganze kerel', a mentsch, a prince-among-men !]

As I point out in the selection of bibliography in my book ETHICS: A College Course, psychopathy has been detected in children as young as age 4. They are unable to share their toys. They are unfeeling when they tear a toy away from another kid, and that kid cries. We KNOW there are difficult cases in this world; you are not informing us of anything we didn't know. The question is how to handle them; how to re-educate or re-train them so that they are not a menace to society. Science is constantly discovering new insights on this. Ethics can incorporate all these advanced techniques in learning how to be more moral. It's all about Self-Improvement. It's all about adding value -- in business and in life.

If those of us who want to be constructive, who do have a sense of values, are strengthened, if we build on our strengths and systematically work to gradually (or suddenly) eliminate our weaknesses, if we get to Know ourselves, Accept ourselves, Create ourselves, and Give ourselves, then we will have an impact on our fellow creatures. We will largely be immunized to the damage they do, we will counteract it.

So stop worrying and start living - as the old book title says.

Who needs pessimism?

(p.s. None of this is meant personally, so don't take it that way. If the suit doesn't fit, don't wear it. I was just speaking generally. )

Google " nonviolent communication " and find out how some people have talked to jihadist terrorists, and various fanatics, and found common ground and reached some agreement on what is right and good. Let's encourage the activism that builds better schools, eliminates slums and re-houses people in nicer homes, works to provide clean, green energy and to solve problems, rather than brood over them, dwell on them, and throw "cold water" on creativity.

What say you?
 
Krumple
 
Reply Tue 2 Jun, 2009 09:10 pm
@deepthot,
Quote:
own true self-interest and if someone wants to optimize the amount of value in his life then he will listen to the insights of that body of accumulated knowledge known as Ethics, which tells him how to be morally healthy
I do not believe that morality involves health of the body. I don't buy this one bit. It is clear after reading your entire post, you are a fascist.

I do think that moral systems are developed on the basis of majority acceptance, they are not innate. It is usually the minority that challenges the moral system into change. I feel we are still under such change even as we speak. One example is War. I am strongly opposed to war yet people still seem to think it is fine and ethical.

I do not think that you can make a peaceful world by forcing morals or ethics through laws. Laws will not make moral people but instead it will only create misery onto that society. Prohibition is my example.

You can wave the "be this kind of person" sign over their heads but you will not get everyone to agree to being that type of person. No matter what quality slap on it. If you try to accommodate people according to who conform and those who do not conform to your ideal good person, you will have war.
 
deepthot
 
Reply Tue 2 Jun, 2009 10:15 pm
@Krumple,
By the way, did you notice this column: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/30/business/30oath.html?_r=2&th&emc=th&utm

We are both very opposed to war as you noticed when you read my bio in Wikipedia.

You write: "I do not believe that morality involves health of the body. I don't buy this one bit."
Where and when did I ever say it did ??!!

I did use that as an analogy, indicatiang that morality implies 'moral health' which is the way it might be explained in the popular media.

You write "it is clear ... you are a fascist. " That's good name-calling.

We agree that "that moral systems are developed on the basis of majority acceptance." I kept stressing how free a person is to reject my proposed model. How could anyone miss that point? I would, however, like them to propose a better one, as a substitute.
I also stressed the value of education as a way to change beliefs.
Does anyone at this Forum want to argue against education? Tell us about it: let's hear your argument.

I also, agreeing with what you said, "do not think that you can make a peaceful world by forcing morals or ethics through laws." My axiological analysis shows that there are three kinds of moral sanctions:
S: statute law [which is the main way we keep criminals in line]
E: common law [which includes social pressure to be decent to one another]
I: moral law [which is what our actively-functioning consciences are in touch with, and which issues pangs, or alarm bells when we violate these universal principles]

I plainly admitted that some people have consciences that are asleep. Did you study my recent thread here on The Structure of Conscience?

You write - with me in mind, I guess "You can wave the "be this kind of person" sign over their heads but you will not get everyone to agree to being that type of person. "

No kidding !

Tell us something we don't know.


You say: "... If you try to accommodate people ..., you will have war. "

What is the reasoning entailed? Why does accommodating people lead to war??? Any proof for this claim?

As is quite clear in what I posted, I am not forcing anyone to do or to think anything. I put forth some ideas and a new paradigm for ethics. If it doesn't appeal to any reader, I cite that old adage: "Don't criticize the woodman unless you bring along your axe." Meaning? Before you knock down someone's theory it would be good if you have another one, a superior one, to offer.

We agree on a lot more than on what we (seem to) disagree. N'est pas?
 
deepthot
 
Reply Mon 20 Jul, 2009 01:57 am
@deepthot,
As I understand it, Ethics is a body of knowledge, a discipline such as Medicine or Musicology. Just as knowledge in any field is valuable to have, so is Ethics.

As you know, Ethics has usually been taught in courses on Moral Philosophy. Physical science was earlier known as Natural Philosophy.

I believe that parts of what is today Moral Philosophy can someday (soon) be The Science of Moral Sense, once scientific methods are applied to traditional ethical concepts. More of what is meant by this is explained in that informal, non-rigorous, journalistic-type essay entitled "Living The Good Life- a paper to which I offered a link in my second post in this thread." Take a look at it if you want more details as to where I'm coming from.

The new science of Moral Psychology has a lot to offer academic Ethics, just as Ethics has informed the experimenters in that new field.

One of my students once said, in a paper, that he had discovered a "moral rule. He phrased it a s follows: "Grow! Once we keep growing - in the sense that we engage in continual self-improvement - then perhaps what we stand for, and believe in, will multiply." He also endorsed these values truth, confidence, and happiness. Do you agree?

Another student argued that how we treat others is of supreme importance. He recommend that we all ask: "Does this work for the greater benefit of society?" This is a concern for the wise application of Social Ethics. At first we may emphasize the individual, since if the individual is abused, the society loses its moral quality, but he admits that we can't really separate the person from the groups of which he is a part and has connection to - except for academic reasons and purposes of teaching and instruction.


Another philosopher recommends that we should "reflect harmony." I can definitely agree with that. It's a good character trait.


I'd be interested to hear your impressions of the attached documents to which I offered links. They covers such topics as What is good?; what is selfishness?; how is that different from self-interest?; who is the true realist? what is morality?; lying and honesty;
happiness; success; can ethics be scientific? etc.


Some Forum members have asked: What does "right" mean in ethics?
It has been written: "Right" is how you act when nobody is watching -- AS IF somebody were watching!

As I (contextually) define the terms, right and wrong: It is right to be good and to do good. It is wrong to be bad and to do bad.

So first we need to focus on what is "good" and "bad." In other words, on value theory (formal axiology.)
Even though the essay entitled LIVING THE GOOD LIFE greatly over-simplifies the subject....but may be a good first start.

Let me know what your thoughts are about it. Did you like the definition of "morality" that it contained? It is new and different.
It would be great to read your opinions of it. Any impressions?
Were you able to read it all the way through?

Did it make any sense?

Is it relevant to life?


One critic wrote: " Advances in technology have perhaps outstripped our ability to handle the potential consequences of those technologies. Nuclear proliferation is an emerging menace. Global warming is another.
"Another powder keg waiting to explode is over population in general I think. That's a result of advances in medical technology as well as improved food production. But the technology and / or the economic models can no longer keep pace with the explosive growth in the population if they ever really could. Many problems today such as terrorism can in some ways be related to over population which leads to despair and hopelessness I think. "



FYI:
Dr Stephen Pinker has written a fairly-good essay for the N.Y. Times Book Review, entitled, "On the Moral Sense." In it he claims that peoplle the world around have an intuitive sense of what is just and what is unjust, what is "the right thing". He says its part of our brain neurology.
All members of this Group should check out this 8-page essay which is attached below:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/13/magazine/13Psychology-t.html?_r=2&pagewanted=print

ANY COMMENTS?
 
deepthot
 
Reply Sat 1 Aug, 2009 08:08 am
@deepthot,
WHAT I LEARNED FROM STANFORD UNIVERSITY'S PHILOSOPHERS ABOUT CHARACTER AND ADAPTED INTO MY OWN MODEL FOR ETHICS-AS-A-DISCIPLINE
[The following consists mostly of excerpts and paraphrases from The SEP: The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Original material is printed in brown ink.]

Anscombe in 1958, drawing largely from Aristotle, called attention to these concepts (among others): moral character, moral education, moral wisdom or discernment, friendship and family relationships, a deep concept of happiness, the role of the emotions in our moral life and the fundamentally important questions of what sort of person I should be and how I should live.

It is not easy to get one's emotions in harmony with one's rational recognition of certain reasons for action.

A person may be honest enough to recognize that he must own up to a mistake because it would be dishonest not to do so without his acceptance being so wholehearted that he can own up easily, with no inner conflict. Thus a distinction can be drawn between doing what we should without a struggle against contrary desires; and employing what might be called "strength of will," that is, having to control a desire or temptation to do otherwise.
When we Intrinsically-value a norm, we tend to act on it wholeheartedly. We ought to keep in mind, though, that being 'a moral person' is a matter of degree. The 'good person' is a high ideal which is rarely reached. We may strive to be good, but it's unlikely that we will fully reach our goal.

Generosity, honesty, compassion and courage (often thought to be virtues) are sometimes faults. For example, courage, in a desperado, enables him to do far more wicked things than he would have been able to do if he were timid. Someone can be so generous that it is no longer admirable; they can be described as "generous to a fault." What ordinarily would be held up as a good character trait to have is here more of a fault than something to admire.

If an intent to be compassionate leads to some questionable behavior at times this does not alter the fact that compassion is a desirable quality to possess. What is wrong is doing immoral acts in the name of 'compassion,' or of any other fine ideal. Let's be aware of that. An "immoral act" is one that violates human dignity, or one that commits an ethical fallacy, such as pulling rank in order to coerce, or taking glee at the opportunity to manipulate someone to our own selfish ends. (To do it without taking glee is also immoral but perhaps not to so great a degree.)

Children and adolescents often harm those they intend to benefit either because they do not know how to set about securing the benefit or, more importantly, because their understanding of what is beneficial and harmful is limited and often mistaken. Such ignorance in small children is rarely, if ever culpable, and frequently not in adolescents, but it usually is in adults. Adults are expected to have "practical wisdom" or "know-how." This is one of the Extrinsic values. Good intentions alone are not enough to avoid "messing up." Children often have good intentions but lack the know-how to implement them well.

If an adult is ignorant of what he needs to know in order to do what he intends it is his responsibility to study up on those required skills, hire someone who is already skilled in that field, or somehow acquire the skill himself. Else he may be held culpable, whereas we would not blame a child for such ignorance. [Ethically speaking, it is best not to blame anyone but we often slip into a judgmental mode before we attain high morality - even as we are on the way to becoming a good person. It really helps to know how to succeed in reaching a goal for self-improvement that you have set.


It has been said that those who have practical wisdom will, for example, not make the mistake of concealing the hurtful truth from the person who really needs to know it in the belief that they are benefiting him.

It is easy to deceive oneself or to have a mistaken conception of what it is to live well as a human being - what it is to truly flourish. Many believe that 'living well,' or living the good life, consists largely in physical pleasure or luxury for example.
They are unaware of when they are morally unhealthy. In contrast, we usually know when we are physically unhealthy. In order to flourish, happiness alone is not enough. One ought to aim for goodness, and treasure the possession of a character in process of becoming a good one.

These are some of the insights I learned.

.....Comments or impressions on your part? I want to hear what you have to say about all this !

p.s. (You may want to see my two treatises on ethical topics in which
character is an important concept. LIVING THE GOOD LIFE http://tinyurl.com/24swmd

and ETHICS http://tinyurl.com/24swmd Both documents are safe to open.

In those writings I use the notion "science" there in the original sense of "a body of knowledge," or a discipline, an area of study, not in the sense of an experimental research effort.)
 
step314 phil
 
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2009 04:01 pm
@deepthot,
Quote:
That person is one who educates himself, or herself, to do what is truly in his self-interest and who is able to see that "selfishness" is something distinctly different than "self-interest."
I don't think it's very reasonable to distinguish selfishness from self-interestedness. The reason (some people, to varying degrees) have evolved to be unselfish is not because doing unselfish things is self-interested, but because being the sort of person whose character naturally tends toward unselfishness is rewarding. If people feel you are by nature an unselfish person, people will tend to love you better, which is rewarding. And being by nature an unselfish person tends to make people think you are by nature an unselfish person.

I think that mostly people are only naturally unselfish in just ways, i.e., they are unselfish in advancing beauty (more in the Greek sense of kalos than in the sense of the English word).

Granted there is also a kind of unselfishness that is akin to being a team player, but there is a higher unselfishness than that. Do people who fall in love only do so after applying game theory? Not much, it is for beauty (of which goodness is the major part) that one loves, and this beauty can be judged by sensitive people before having performed experiments or games.

Perhaps it might seem superstitious to believe people often are so sensitive toward moral character that morality can be judged without having performed games or direct tests of behavior. I shall explain why it is not. The reason people are sufficiently sensitive toward goodness is that the most important love is in the mating sphere. A male who tricks a woman into unjustly freely having children with him or a female who tricks a male into caring for their children more than she deserves may get extra children, but they will be by an insensitive person. Thus, although people who fake moral virtue in order to be loved more unselfishly may have more children, they will be by insensitive faked mates, who will tend to pass this insensitivity genetically to their children. There is no way for a bad person to use his badness to get sensitive children. Accordingly, there is a strong correlation between insensitivity toward moral character and deceptive immorality. And sensitivity is easy to judge--one needs only judge the extent to which another understands oneself. The strong correlation between sensitivity and true moral virtue enables moral character to be judged fairly well by good people. Mostly, I can tell pretty much after looking at a girl for a few seconds whether it is likely I would love her or not, and I'm sure others also can mostly correctly size up moral character fast without requiring a great deal of data.
 
deepthot
 
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2009 06:00 pm
@step314 phil,
step314;83073 wrote:
I don't think it's very reasonable to distinguish selfishness from self-interestedness. The reason (some people, to varying degrees) have evolved to be unselfish is not because doing unselfish things is self-interested, but because being the sort of person whose character naturally tends toward unselfishness is rewarding. If people feel you are by nature an unselfish person, people will tend to love you better, which is rewarding. And being by nature an unselfish person tends to make people think you are by nature an unselfish person.

I think that mostly people are only naturally unselfish in just ways, i.e., they are unselfish in advancing beauty (more in the Greek sense of kalos than in the sense of the English word).

Granted there is also a kind of unselfishness that is akin to being a team player, but there is a higher unselfishness than that. Do people who fall in love only do so after applying game theory? Not much, it is for beauty (of which goodness is the major part) that one loves, and this beauty can be judged by sensitive people before having performed experiments or games.

Perhaps it might seem superstitious to believe people often are so sensitive toward moral character that morality can be judged without having performed games or direct tests of behavior. I shall explain why it is not. The reason people are sufficiently sensitive toward goodness is that the most important love is in the mating sphere. A male who tricks a woman into unjustly freely having children with him or a female who tricks a male into caring for their children more than she deserves may get extra children, but they will be by an insensitive person. Thus, although people who fake moral virtue in order to be loved more unselfishly may have more children, they will be by insensitive faked mates, who will tend to pass this insensitivity genetically to their children. There is no way for a bad person to use his badness to get sensitive children. Accordingly, there is a strong correlation between insensitivity toward moral character and deceptive immorality. And sensitivity is easy to judge--one needs only judge the extent to which another understands oneself. The strong correlation between sensitivity and true moral virtue enables moral character to be judged fairly well by good people. Mostly, I can tell pretty much after looking at a girl for a few seconds whether it is likely I would love her or not, and I'm sure others also can mostly correctly size up moral character fast without requiring a great deal of data.


Greetings, Step:

I can tell, via my sensitivity, that you would make a superior researcher in the field of Ethics. I like your style!

However, you misunderstood my references to tests and to Game Theory.
The former are an instrument for gathering data about what people (in all kinds of sociological categories) DO value, and what their strengths and weaknesses are: informing the testees of areas where s/he can yet develop further - if they want to.

The Game Theory references in my books were to research done by teams of economists, such as Dr. Herbert Gintis, as to whether people are more altruistic than selfish. They found that cross-culturally-speaking people lean in the altruistic direction - they give a helping hand to their "opponent" in a game. I am well aware that games are artificial situations, but they do bring out certain aspects of human life. {For details see the book edited by Gintis, published by the M.I.T. Press, listed in my book's Bibliography.}

As to the issue you raise in your first paragraph, see the 9th post - my reply to jeeprs - at this site: http://www.philosophyforum.com/philosophy-forums/branches-philosophy/ethics/5433-list-ethical-principles.html

It was written at the same time as you were writing your post here, so you probably were not aware of the points it makes about the topic of self interest.. I hope it responds to your concern. I reject "ethical egoism", also known as Ayn Rand's philosophy. It is absurd from an ethical point of view. I do hold it is rational to look out for your self interest, but only if it is an enlightened one, i.e., you have developed your sensitivity to the point where you CARE, genuinely care, about living organisms, at least - for now - on the human level. This is another way of saying that you do not suffer from Moral Astigmatism: you have the capacity to Intrinsically value. It bothers you to see suffering.
Psychopaths lack this characteristic, but I have met one at another forum who tells us he is striving to overcome his born handicap, and that he never has knowingly harmed another. He has not committed violence, although if he sees some brutality he feels nothing with respect to it. It doesn't phase him. He is indifferent. Yet he knows he lacks a trait that others have, and he asks the rest of us to be tolerant of him. If all psychopaths were like him - or like he says he is - they might not be a problem.

So very germane to the "self interest" controversy are pages 80-85, comprising Appendix Two, of this manual:
http://www.wadeharvey.com/Ethics_A_College_Course.pdf
that I highly recommend you re-read that dialog before letting us know if you still feel the same way. I attempt to make the point there that if we really, truly, know our self-interest we will choose to behave ethically. Am I wrong?





 
salima
 
Reply Thu 13 Aug, 2009 07:32 pm
@deepthot,
hello deepthot-
i have read both the papers Living the Good Life and Ethics a College Course and agree with what they are saying. i also read the pinker article and plan to go on to follow more of the links you have provided.

as you have asked for criticism, and specifically mentioned your definition of morality, i will attempt to give some input on what i thought since i feel that the definition can still have room for improvement in order to leave less room for misunderstanding and be yet more specific. i feel there needs to be a more concise wording.

reflecting on these two quotes:
"The term "morality" means: a relation between your physical self and your self-image, both of which form your Self-Concept. "


"Morality, as the science of Ethics uses that term, measures the degree a person lives up to his own standards of true personhood, or conforms to his own high, and evolving ideals for what a person is, and could become. "
I dont feel that these descriptions are satisfactory since they need to be explained further, as indeed you had done. if someone's self-image is that of a serial killer and his idea of evolving ideals would be to kill more people than any other serial killer ever has, it would seem to fit the definitions above.


even if the second definition is revised to read as:
"Morality, as the science of Ethics uses that term, measures the degree a person lives up to or conforms to the highest possible standards and evolving ideals for what a person is, and could become. " whose ideals? objective ones? how do we judge what those standards are? by what criteria? perhaps by going back to your definition of good and using the mathematical concept...

other parts of the papers dont leave room for this confusion or misinterpretation, for example: "A more technical definition: Morality = Increasing correspondence with an improving self-image. This implies that we must all keep growing (in the sense of becoming more empathic, more clear in our values, than before) throughout our lives. And we comprehend that we will get more value out of life, have a more meaningful life, if we are moral."
and:
"A still-more-technical definition of "morality" is this: x є X.
[x, the individual, is a member of the class named "X".
"X" designates the proper name of that individual who has (or, observably, fails to have) the properties that constitute all that that person can be and become.] Note that the structure of the self-concept is the same as that of the concept "value" defined in Chapter Two above. This is appropriate since morality is moral value. The fulfillment is a dynamic process, one of continual self-improvement. Morality can be both objective (in part) and subjective (in part) and thus not totally one or the other."

however, this still allows us to conclude that someone is 'moral' if they yesterday thought it was ok to steal from rich people but not from poor people, and today they have decided that it is wrong to steal from anyone but ok to steal from stores. the first definition is better, because the second by including 'all that person can be or become' would include the 'bad' as well as the 'good'. if it is possible to avoid these terms in the definition it would be best I think. an 'improving self-image' would seem to be safe. the shortestmost concise definition is the best-maybe this one:
Morality = Increasing correspondence with an improving self-image.

in summary, it is not your definition I find confusing, but i feel the way it is stated would lead to confusion.
 
richrf
 
Reply Fri 14 Aug, 2009 01:00 am
@salima,
Hi,

I know people who think a good person is simply one who believes in God (their view of God) and prays to God everyday - all the time. Didn't matter much what you did the rest of the day. It was a very simple approach to calibrating goodness. Can't argue with them, if that is how they feel. Good, I guess, is in the eyes of the beholder, and sometimes can be very simple.

Rich
 
deepthot
 
Reply Sat 15 Aug, 2009 02:56 pm
@richrf,
richrf;83171 wrote:
Hi,

I know people who think a good person is simply one who believes in God (their view of God) and prays to God everyday - all the time. Didn't matter much what you did the rest of the day. It was a very simple approach to calibrating goodness. Can't argue with them, if that is how they feel. Good, I guess, is in the eyes of the beholder, and sometimes can be very simple.

Rich

Hi Rich:

There are still people around today, I'll bet, who believe the Earth is flat. Does that make it so?

You write: "Can't argue with them, if that is how they feel." You don't need to argue. Just find out what those people to whom you refer need as their core values, and see if you too do not also share those values. Let them know that you do. Then build upon that foundation. Little by little expand that common ground. Make friends with these people if you have the time. And some day it might, it just might, occur to them to ask you what you believe. When they seek out your views you have a chance to counsel and share perspectives. Until then it is futile to demonstrate all the good reasons why the good person

I am grateful that at least YOU concur with the ideas set forth there.
is the one I described in the original post.
 
richrf
 
Reply Sat 15 Aug, 2009 05:57 pm
@deepthot,
deepthot;83484 wrote:
Hi Rich:

There are still people around today, I'll bet, who believe the Earth is flat. Does that make it so?


For them it does. And if they hang around other people who also believe it, then for the group it is so. You, of course, can disagree.

[QUOTE]You write: "Can't argue with them, if that is how they feel." You don't need to argue. Just find out what those people to whom you refer need as their core values, and see if you too do not also share those values. [/QUOTE]For them, it is very simple. A God fearing, God praying person is a good person. They agree upon this in their church. I don't agree with their point of view.

[QUOTE]Make friends with these people if you have the time. [/QUOTE]They have no interest in being friends with me nor do they at all like my views. But, they wouldn't mind if I just convert to their views.

[QUOTE]And some day it might, it just might, occur to them to ask you what you believe. [/QUOTE]Everyone changes. But as of right now, they have very firm beliefs on who is good.

[QUOTE]When they seek out your views you have a chance to counsel and share perspectives. Until then it is futile to demonstrate all the good reasons why the good person [/QUOTE]

Actually, nowadays I don't try to counsel nor evangelize. I am content with living my life. However, if someone asks a question, I am more than happy to provide my point of view. I think when people ask, they are interested.

Cya,

Rich

 
William
 
Reply Sun 16 Aug, 2009 08:07 am
@deepthot,
Hello Deepthot,

Let me say first you are to be congratulated on the time and thought you have spent, whole-heartedy, developing your essay. Kudo's!

In that you asked for opinions, I will offer mine and thank you for the opportunity to do so. In theory I agree with what you have to say but am at odd's, to a degree, with some of the analogies you draw and the terms you use in the comparisons you make as you explain what "should" be done from a "teachers" perspective.

deepthot;80704 wrote:
WHAT I LEARNED FROM STANFORD UNIVERSITY'S PHILOSOPHERS ABOUT CHARACTER AND ADAPTED INTO MY OWN MODEL FOR ETHICS-AS-A-DISCIPLINE


First, IMO, character in the terms and definitions you are using can only be shown, and not taught. If they are shown, there is no need to teach. In the conclusions you draw, does not mention one of the main obstacles that make it virtually impossible to teach of which I will bring up later in my opinion.


[QUOTE=deepthot;80704][The following consists mostly of excerpts and paraphrases from The SEP: The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Original material is printed in brown ink.][/QUOTE]
deepthot;80704 wrote:
Anscombe in 1958, drawing largely from Aristotle, called attention to these concepts (among others): moral character, moral education, moral wisdom or discernment, friendship and family relationships, a deep concept of happiness, the role of the emotions in our moral life and the fundamentally important questions of what sort of person I should be and how I should live.


In all due respect, I think the word "should" clearly identifies our "teaching" construct that makes up the the two concepts of "show & tell". It is much more difficult to show "moral character, moral education, moral wisdom or discernment, friendship and family relationships, a deep concept of happiness, and the role of the emotions in our moral life", than it is to "teach it" dictating what one "should" do. To "tell/teach" someone automatically issues that presumption that they "need to be told" for their own well being, assuming an ignorance on the part of the pupil or those being directed, as such. To assume that these "innate values" can be taught is a bit misleading as to truly understand what they mean can only be "shown", not "told" which can be understood in what a "role model" is all about. In other words the teacher must "practice what they teach or it becomes"don't do what I do, but what I teach", as the child/student/ignorant are judged/graded on there ability to "obey". There's a big difference between "mentor/protege" and "teacher/student or master/slave", IMO.

[QUOTE=deepthot;80704]It is not easy to get one's emotions in harmony with one's rational recognition of certain reasons for action. [/quote]

Exactly! Well put! Why is it not easy? IMO, it is because it is unknowable what "one's" experiences in reality they have been exposed to that are represent in those emotions displayed, which are often "mimicked", IMO, from others who are doing the same, defining the words phony, unreal, disingenius, false and so forth. Here is the "paradox". If it were truly "shown" in reality, there would be not need for a "teacher" to tell someone what to do" in order to realize the truth of the qualities you listed and "real" happiness", a good, positive emotion that needs no teaching instruction on how to "acquire" it. Class dismissed.

[QUOTE=deepthot;80704] A person may be honest enough to recognize that he must own up to a mistake because it would be dishonest not to do so without his acceptance being so wholehearted that he can own up easily, with no inner conflict. [/quote]

It fascinates me when a person begins a sentence with "let me be perfectly honest with you" as it indicates at other times they may not be so "truthful or honest". Ha! So often, I want to say, "Please, let me know, ahead of time, when you are not going to be so honest". Ben Franklin's "honesty is the best policy", can get an individual in a whole peck of trouble in this "politically correct" society we are expericening in which people must "bite their tongue" from telling what they "honestly think". Honest is nothing more than a "matter of opinion" of those who profess to be honest, nothing more. as the are deemed dishonest if that opinion differs with another, or bigoted, or hateful or ignorant or stupid so they are forced to obey the dictates of the teacher who tells/teaches them what to do, and has no clue as to how to show it themselves in all contexts of he word itself.

[QUOTE=deepthot;80704]Thus a distinction can be drawn between doing what we should without a struggle against contrary desires; and employing what might be called "strength of will," that is, having to control a desire or temptation to do otherwise. [/quote]

Brilliant statement. What is the stuggle? Where does it come from? What are "contrary desires", deepthot? Who controls those desires and where do they come from that would requre a strength of will that would not "lead us from temptation". (I heard that somewhere before, ha. Please don't fret, I am not going to start quoting scripture, but there is some "good stuff" in those texts once we find that "silver lining" that connects them all). Let me give you a clue as to the most pervasive, tempting device ever created by mankind and it lies in two letters in it's name; TV.

A device that generates billions and billions of dollars every year using temptation, instilling desire and "extrinsic commodities" not needed and brainwashing to the nth degree. It can create, though expert direction, acting, and choreography every emotion known to man and "plays on those emotions", big time. In it's beginning, it wasn't, but it has become "The Vast Wasteland" coined by Newton Minnow at a time when it really wasn't, compared to what it has become and is responsible for an enourmous amount of waste through it's tempting choreography and direction and pays it's actors well to engage in such a "ruse". It is the greatest, covert invasion of "freedom of speech" that has ever been devised along with now, other mass-media, one/way controlled communication enterprises. It not only "controls" freedom of speech, it choreographs what that speech "SHOULD" be, IMO. The term "vast wasteland" was redefined to be "public interest" which it also "choreographs" as it is understood and interpreted, "the public has a right to know". (what "it" (TV "programs" them to know.) Absolutely, deceptively brilliant.And that my friend, is "brainwashing" and it's infection has invaded our public educational system as well, influenced our laws, courts and politicians and the mind of every human being exposed to "it".
Now again I will reiterate what I have related in other posts as to my ignorance of how other countries use television as my opinions are drawn on how it is used in this country. In all truth, it has the capacity to "show" what character means, yet it does all it can to confuse it, IMO.

[QUOTE=deepthot;80704] Generosity, honesty, compassion and courage (often thought to be virtues) are sometimes faults. [/QUOTE]

In all due respect, really? Hmmm?

[QUOTE=deepthot;80704] For example, courage, in a desperado, enables him to do far more wicked things than he would have been able to do if he were timid. [/QUOTE]

Might I offer, rather than define courage in such away you might be speaking of power and greed and desperation, hence the name "desperado". Those have nothing to do with valor, heart, mettle and spirit, IMO, "more" appropriate synonyms of courage, in my opinion which also defines the ambiguity of language and evident in the terms and comparisons you are making. In all due respect.

[QUOTE=deepthot;80704] Someone can be so generous that it is no longer admirable; they can be described as "generous to a fault." What ordinarily would be held up as a good character trait to have is here more of a fault than something to admire. [/QUOTE]

Deepthot, in all due respect, you are defining the ambiguity of language, IMO. What you are defining as " questionionable generosity" IS COERCION, in my opinion. Now, I will agree coercion can be "disguised" as generosity, true enough, but to illustrate comparison in the way you have can be misleading, in all due respect, IMO. Compassion is truly hard to "fake", but it can be done, but not nearly as easy as generosity can be yet you "group" them together as if they are synonyms of each other and they are not. Generosity and compassion are two very different words, IMO. The only way they can be joined are matters of heart and that cannot be faked in it's truest sense and that's the stuff "tears" are made of. Yet I have seen some who can "manufacture" them and they are called actors and only a very few of those can muster up such a feat.


[QUOTE=deepthot;80704]If an intent to be compassionate leads to some questionable behavior at times this does not alter the fact that compassion is a desirable quality to possess. [/QUOTE]


In my opinion, compassion cannot be an "intention or pre-conceived". IMO, it is a "natural response" for if it "is" an intent, it is not compassion and has an "agenda".


[QUOTE=deepthot;80704] What is wrong is doing immoral acts in the name of 'compassion,' or of any other fine ideal Let's be aware of that. (?) [/QUOTE]


Would you please give an example of what the above quote is relating? I am having a hard time associating your usage of "immoral acts, compassion" and the words " fine ideal"? Thanks.


[QUOTE=deepthot;80704] An "immoral act" is one that violates human dignity, or one that commits an ethical fallacy, such as pulling rank in order to coerce, or taking glee at the opportunity to manipulate someone to our own selfish ends. (To do it without taking glee is also immoral but perhaps not to so great a degree.) [/QUOTE]


"Pulling rank....", now talking about food for another thread. wow! Can you realize how many "different" scenarios that offers as it relates to status, master/slave, teacher/pupil, parent/child, intelligence/ignorance, strong/weak, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc. in an effort to manipulate to selfish ends? It is the very definition of the "status quo". (see list)


[QUOTE=deepthot;80704] Children........... often harm those they intend to benefit......[/QUOTE]

I left out....."and adolescents" on purpose as you group them together in that a child is not capable of understanding how they can confuse the two in such as the way you espouse. A child has no idea of what benefit means much less be vendictive enough to use such knowledge to do harm. If it occurs, it is truly by innocent. As far as the adolescent, it can only be learned by observation for if it were "taught" would be a crime. In that regard I will say what the child and the adolescent "do", has an great deal to do with what they "observe" that further defines the mixed emotions of what parents/teacher/masters "show" and what the "tell".

[QUOTE=deepthot;80704]..... either because they do not know how to set about securing the benefit or, more importantly, because their understanding of what is beneficial and harmful is limited and often mistaken. Such ignorance in small children is rarely, if ever culpable, and frequently not in adolescents, but it usually is in adults. [/QUOTE]

Deepthot, in all sincerity, I will reiterate what, both the child and adolescent observe, can be accredited to "the vast wasteland" of TV, especially as it relates to what the child sees and what he hears that is contradictory to what he/she experiences in "real life". As far as the adolescent, we now have the internet to deal with and in some cases the very intellilgent child, also. This is a very "contaminated" adult world we exist in that truly puts more emphasis on what "adults" want and need than that of the child or adolescent and in that many cases the TV even becomes the childs entertainment as they sit and watch what entertains the contaminated adults in many cases as they vicariously belierve what they see is life, and they and their children are brainwashed to believe it is their "right to know" as many believe what they see is the actual depiction of life itself. It's all programming and it is literally, brainwashing.


[QUOTE=deepthot;80704] Adults are expected to have "practical wisdom" or "know-how." [/QUOTE]


Please, if you will excuse me, let me put the above qoute "in other words" that I feel would be more appropriate: "Adults / parents / teachers / instructors / masters are "assumed to have practical "know how". (which in my opinion has nothing to do with wisdom)


[QUOTE=deepthot;80704]This is one of the Extrinsic values. Good intentions alone are not enough to avoid "messing up." Children often have good intentions but lack the know-how to implement them well. [/QUOTE]


In lieu of my "altered" represetntion of what you have originally proposed, I have to say "know-how" can be manipulated therefore negating any sense of the word "value" and it's "intrinsic" meaning that in my opinion can only come without "struggle and contrary desires". In trying to associate the external to the internal what is so very crucial here, IMO, are the costs 'imposed' involving what is considered "extrinsic" and the "considered systemic motivation at the core of the "why", that created them in the first place. It is that "core motivatinn" that is at the root of our competitiveness that skews systemic / extrinsic and / intrinsic values, giving rise and to the very meaning to greed and selfishness,, IMO. Insinuating "money can buy happiness". Humph??? Sorry, I don't buy it!

The very core of every post I have ever posted. It is the very essense of the power of the haves over the have-nots and the root of all our problems. As long as "costs" are part of those equations, extrinsic / objective valve can be greatly manipulated instilling greed. And television is the major source of that manipulation. It has become a most powerful tool of manipulation that can be defined as the "trojan horse" that has invaded our consciousness creating our discontent and creating those desires to want more than we actually need, extrinsically.

[QUOTE=deepthot;80704] If an adult is ignorant of what he needs to know in order to do what he intends it is his responsibility to study up on those required skills, hire someone who is already skilled in that field, or somehow acquire the skill himself.[/QUOTE]

I can only hope what I have espouse will aide in your re-evaluating of what your last statement is truly saying.


[QUOTE=deepthot;80704]Else he may be held culpable, whereas we would not blame a child for such ignorance.[/QUOTE]

Please forgive me, but what you have said is the very definition of entrapment and extortion, in all due respect and the "price one 'must pay' for developing "character". Character "should" not come at a price for in and of itself it is a natural trait barring all outside contaminating/manipulating influence such as cost itself!


[QUOTE=deepthot;80704] [Ethically speaking, it is best not to blame anyone but we often slip into a judgmental mode before we attain high morality - even as we are on the way to becoming a good person. It really helps to know how to succeed in reaching a goal for self-improvement that you have set.[/QUOTE]

Again, it must be shown, not taught, as explained above. Especially when considering a newborn who only has the use of two of his/her senses; sight and sound (and thanks to the "LeBoyer Method" it is not longer requred to "hang an infant from it's heels and slapping it one the ass experiencing it's first exposure to pain including the controvery of circumcison). The very first imput that receive when they enter this reality and we must, must, must be extrimely conscious of that fact. It is of ultimate importance, IMO.

[QUOTE=deepthot;80704]These are some of the insights I learned[/quote][QUOTE=deepthot;80704]
.....Comments or impressions on your part? I want to hear what you have to say about all this !.[/QUOTE]

I have not read "all" of what you have learned. If you would please address what I have noted and thank you for inviting me to offer my opinions. In no way do I mean a disrespect for what you have learned. Just please consider what I "have" said. Smile

Thank you,
William
 
 

 
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