Stages of evolution in ethical insight through history

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Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 07:50 pm
We can analyze ethical development through the ages into three major stages by means of employing the three basic dimensions of value known to Value Theory, namely S, E, and I.:

S-value (Systemic Value): a selfish, self-centered concern with my own survival and my own welfare;

E-value (Extrinsic Value): a favoring of the welfare of my kin and/or my in-group members - my tribe;

I-value (Intrinsic Value): favoring the harmony of my human species, and even compassion toward mammals, and caring about the Earth's envirnoment. (Ecological harmony.)

We know our true self-interest when we have reached the stage where we Intrinsically value both ousellves (Self-respect) and other persons (Empathy aand Kindness - or at least courtesy and respect).. Then we are wise and enlightened..

Humans have evolved: in the Pleistocene Era they were at the S-value stage. Ten thousand years ago we had evolfed to the E-vale level of development.

In the 21st Century we are evolving to an Intrinsic level of development. We are coming to appreciate that the harmony of the entire human species is in our best self-interest.

Seek wisdom and enlightenment in order to flourish


As to further details on the derivation and meaning of the dimensions of value and their profound implications for ethics -- even enabling the definition of the very field itself, see the essay linked in the signature.

That paper - or tract - cited may be described as follows:

This essay, entitled A Unified Theory of Ethics is a work in progress. It is an invitation to continue the process of constructing a unified theory which will suggest hypotheses to be empirically tested, employing scientific methods. Eventually this will result in a secular foundation for a universal ethics which will be both objective in its theoretical principles as well as subjective in application.

The author is working to increase the amount of useful information in the world.


Further evidence for claims made in the tract:

New study shows that pessimism can cause heart disease; optimism can lower the risk. See:
Optimistic women may have lower risk of heart disease - CNN.com


ON GENEROUS GIVING and ETHICAL LIVING
Club members who give half their money away

Also see the new Epilogue and the new Bibliography in this booklet:http://tinyurl.com/yzvojzu
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 07:51 pm
@deepthot,
In general, I agree with you. There is, at the center of us, a universal image of the good. But it is manifested as a Nazi here and a Pacifist there. The truth is behind them both. Pure negativity......and Wissen...
 
deepthot
 
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 08:01 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;134980 wrote:
... The truth is behind them both.... .


Oh. You found the truth? :bigsmile:
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 08:02 pm
@deepthot,
deepthot;134990 wrote:
Oh. You found the truth? :bigsmile:



Well, I think that Hegel found the truth. I'm waiting to see it refuted....:sarcastic:
 
deepthot
 
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 08:15 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;134991 wrote:
Well, I think that Hegel found the truth. I'm waiting to see it refuted....:sarcastic:

Hegel ?!? He advocated subservience to The State or the authorities.

Does this fit in with your satanism viewpoint? If you want to really flourish and have practical wisdom get rid of the satanism ideology.


You write: "In general, I agree with you. There is, at the center of us, a universal image of the good. But..."

Let's let that light 'at the center' shine. No ands, ifs, or buts !!!!!
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Tue 2 Mar, 2010 08:37 pm
@deepthot,
deepthot wrote:

S-value (Systemic Value): a selfish, self-centered concern with my own survival and my own welfare;

E-value (Extrinsic Value): a favoring of the welfare of my kin and/or my in-group members - my tribe;

I-value (Intrinsic Value): favoring the harmony of my human species, and even compassion toward mammals, and caring about the Earth's envirnoment. (Ecological harmony.)

Humans have evolved: in the Pleistocene Era they were at the S-value stage. Ten thousand years ago we had evolfed to the E-vale level of development.

In the 21st Century we are evolving to an Intrinsic level of development. We are coming to appreciate that the harmony of the entire human species is in our best self-interest.


I don't know about this. Doesn't it put ants at the E level?

Why this system instead of something like Kohlberg's stages of moral development?

Like this:

Quote:
Level 1 (Pre-Conventional)

1. Obedience and punishment orientation

(How can I avoid punishment?)

2. Self-interest orientation

(What's in it for me?)

Level 2 (Conventional)

3. Interpersonal accord and conformity

(Social norms)
(The good boy/good girl attitude)

4. Authority and social-order maintaining orientation

(Law and order morality)

Level 3 (Post-Conventional)

5. Social contract orientation
6. Universal ethical principles

(Principled conscience)

 
deepthot
 
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 01:03 am
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;135034 wrote:
I don't know about this. Doesn't it put ants at the E level?


Greetings, Jeb

Ants can be valued all three ways. Usually they are E-valued if and when "ants" is taken as a category or classification.
If Entomology is studied casually, then ants are S-valued, as part of a theory - a subset of Zoology.
However, if a full-time Entomologist really, really LOVES his work, and he specializes in ants, he may well value them Intrinsically: he might I-value them. Also an ant-fetishist would too.


Jebediah;135034 wrote:

Why this system instead of something like Kohlberg's stages of moral development?

Like this:


I was already familiar with Larry Kohlberg's work, having given him a plug in my book, ETHICS; A Collee Course. I am glad, though, that you presented him here for the benefit of any members of the Ethics Forum who may not have previously been acquainted with his excellent work in Psychology, life-cycles of an individual, ethics -- and where they all overlap. So thanks for that.

Whereas he, Kohlberg, was concerned with the moral growth of an individual and the stages through which a person goes, I was writing in the o.p. about the evolution of the human species.

This could be a case of confusion ...similar to the one between "apples" and "elephants." If there was any confusion, I trust that it is now cleared up.

p.s. An early edition of Psychology Today displayed Kohlberg's chart in more than six stages, and in living color. That magazine effectively popularized new developments in psychological research.. I recall it although this appeared about 51 years ago. He was greatly influenced by Piaget; and by Erickson who was a colleague of his at Harvard.
Here is a quotation from Wikipedia on (a much more extensive discussion of) the topic:

"The theory holds that moral reasoning, the basis for ethical behavior, has six identifiable developmental stages, each more adequate at responding to moral dilemmas than its predecessor.[2] Kohlberg followed the development of moral judgment far beyond the ages studied earlier by Piaget,[3] who also claimed that logic and morality develop through constructive stages.[2] Expanding on Piaget's work, Kohlberg determined that the process of moral development was principally concerned with justice, and that it continued throughout the individual's lifetime,[4] a notion that spawned dialogue on the philosophical implications of such research.[5][6]"
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 01:32 am
@deepthot,
deepthot;135005 wrote:
Hegel ?!? He advocated subservience to The State or the authorities.

Does this fit in with your satanism viewpoint? If you want to really flourish and have practical wisdom get rid of the satanism ideology.


You write: "In general, I agree with you. There is, at the center of us, a universal image of the good. But..."

Let's let that light 'at the center' shine. No ands, ifs, or buts !!!!!



That "but" is called reality. Lucifer means light-bringer. But his true face is the Logos. hegel is misrepresented, in my opinion. he thought that the perfect society was classless, and legal personhood for all, and engagement in a common meaning. he speculated on the living essence of culture. his phenomenology is about the evolution both of society and the philosophers mind.

it's dangerous when idealism neglects consciousness of its shadow. look at plato's republic. look at Heidegger. i scrap by in this rotting empire w/o stealing or deceiving, so i'm not sure if you're tone is appropriate. satanism is symbolic. both blake and shaw are aware of that. so was dante, and martin buber. it's a state of liberty that is not yet sure of its direction.. it's an ironic pragmatic state. well , the absoute truth is not the truth abot everything but only the absolute. pragmatism, satanism, and irony still have their proper use. a man with a beautiful wife who loves him is not going to lay down in front of tanks. he going to take care of her first, and others later.... and i think your ethics probably incorporates a hierarchy w/ self near the top. well that is satanism.

talking philosophy is one thing but your tone is not cool, man. you talk as if you know me. i grant that you know my ideas, to the degree that they click for you. but you don't recognize that hegel is perhaps the greatest philosophers, so there's a place in my mind where you haven't been . Read Kojeve & then talk to me on hegel.
 
deepthot
 
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 02:35 am
@deepthot,
"Satanism" to me connoted "veneration or admiration of Satan as a supernatural deity." I apologize for the misunderstanding. I also, when I heard the word used, was reminded of the philosophy of The Church of Satanism, founded in 1966.

I see it has quite a different meaning for you. The beauty of formal axiology is that it encourages the ferreting out of these differences via its understanding of the structure of concepts.

Thank you for straitening me out on this. I was wrong not to find out exactly what you meant. I jumped to conclusions - something which I do too often. I am truly sorry if you were offended;

To me, being cool and having morality are often the same thing, since it is viewed as uncool to pose, to be a phony or an imposter. Authenticity is highly valued by today's highschool population in the USA, I am glad to report. [Generalizations are unsafe. There are, no doubt, exceptions.]

 
jeeprs
 
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 04:32 am
@deepthot,
deepthot;134977 wrote:
in the Pleistocene Era they were at the S-value stage. Ten thousand years ago we had evolved to the E-value level of development.


Might I ask what is the evidence for this schema?
 
Pepijn Sweep
 
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 08:23 am
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;135034 wrote:
I don't know about this. Doesn't it put ants at the E level?

Why this system instead of something like Kohlberg's stages of moral development?

Like this:


Smile I think it's our fear of the un-understandible what makes us categorise everything till the smallest detail. I can't think of a lineair progression towards awareness; or moral development for that matter. Civilisations have a tendencie to end & be forgotten. I really hope we can work out a common moral of the people; it should come first of all, but leave people room for private matters. Religion, culural heritage, political & economical systems should bend for a Declaration of Humanity.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 09:20 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;135302 wrote:
Might I ask what is the evidence for this schema?


Yes, this is part of what I was wondering.

deepthot;135253 wrote:
Greetings, Jeb

Ants can be valued all three ways. Usually they are E-valued if and when "ants" is taken as a category or classification.
If Entomology is studied casually, then ants are S-valued, as part of a theory - a subset of Zoology.
However, if a full-time Entomologist really, really LOVES his work, and he specializes in ants, he may well value them Intrinsically: he might I-value them. Also an ant-fetishist would too.


Ah, but I meant the ants themselves. They are very selfless, and favor the welfare of their kin highly. Well, it's more of a side point. I was thinking that simply valuing your kin doesn't indicate moral development, but for humans to do so it probably does Smile

deepthot wrote:

I was already familiar with Larry Kohlberg's work, having given him a plug in my book, ETHICS; A Collee Course. I am glad, though, that you presented him here for the benefit of any members of the Ethics Forum who may not have previously been acquainted with his excellent work in Psychology, life-cycles of an individual, ethics -- and where they all overlap. So thanks for that.


I apologize, I didn't mean to imply that you weren't familiar with him. Anyone who has taken intro psych is. I just wanted to be clear.

deepthot wrote:
Whereas he, Kohlberg, was concerned with the moral growth of an individual and the stages through which a person goes, I was writing in the o.p. about the evolution of the human species.


I understand now. But I think kohlberg's chart shows that evolution neatly. I don't think we are genetically any more moral than we were in the stone age. Our progress is a result of ideas.

The early civilizations had punitive law as a basis for enforcing rules (which we still have) and religion as a spiritual enforcer (which we still have). The primary difference seems to be the advancements in post conventional moral reasoning over time, with new understanding of universal ethical principles.

But I feel like the stages as they are laid out:

Quote:
S-value (Systemic Value): a selfish, self-centered concern with my own survival and my own welfare;

E-value (Extrinsic Value): a favoring of the welfare of my kin and/or my in-group members - my tribe;

I-value (Intrinsic Value): favoring the harmony of my human species, and even compassion toward mammals, and caring about the Earth's envirnoment. (Ecological harmony.)
Don't acknowledge that altruism and community have been important to humans from the beginning. And I don't understand the intrinsic value category. It seems like "favoring the harmony of the human species" is just "favoring the welfare of my kin" extended. They say we only have the biology to strongly care about a close group of people (and this will always be true, I don't think there will be advancement here). But we've had ideas for a while that allow us to care about larger groups of people (patriotism etc).

I would say that we have a base level of innate morality that hasn't changed, and that there is instead the evolution of ideas. And I wouldn't put environmentalism and animal rights on a higher level than other ethical ideas.
 
deepthot
 
Reply Wed 3 Mar, 2010 05:47 pm
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;135355 wrote:

I would say that we have a base level of innate morality that hasn't changed, and that there is instead the evolution of ideas. And I wouldn't put environmentalism and animal rights on a higher level than other ethical ideas.


Sometimes I get the impression that you haven't read my book and the two booklets....

---------- Post added 03-03-2010 at 05:53 PM ----------

jeeprs;135302 wrote:
Might I ask what is the evidence for this schema?


I got the idea from this link:

www.sciencemag.org/cgi/eletters/316/5827/998#10 251

It was a research study by several researchers, some of who are Neurologists, some Geneticists, and some Moral Psychologists. They were responding to a theory put forth by Johnathan Haidt.

---------- Post added 03-03-2010 at 06:30 PM ----------

Jebediah;135355 wrote:
,,,, I don't think we are genetically any more moral than we were in the stone age. Our progress is a result of ideas.

The early civilizations had punitive law as a basis for enforcing rules (which we still have) and religion as a spiritual enforcer (which we still have). The primary difference seems to be the advancements in post conventional moral reasoning over time, with new understanding of universal ethical principles......



More accurately, our moral development is a result of the interaction between the human phenotype and the environment (which includes the cultural environment.)

We are liable to pick up some of our moral notions from popular songs, from a remark an uncle or aunt made, from a teacher or parent serving as a role model, from another kid our age we encountered once, or from most anywhere. Those who have lived in more than one country as they were growing up have experienced more than a single cultural perspective.

So far, religion has been the major teacher of ethics. To that I would like to add a 'science', in the sense of 'a cumulative body of reliable knowledge'. The new discipline would inform in re theory, but also practice, that is, it would provide "how-to" information -- such as how to break one's bad habits, how to most-efficiently engage in self-improvement, how to speed up one's moral growth, and thus advance to a higher stage on the Kohlberg scale, how to develop empathy, etc.

Perhaps the two papers listed at the end of the Bibilography in the essay to which a link is given in the signature below -- perhaps those three scribblings -- provide a start in the process, with the new paradigm, the new frame of reference which they offer.

If that framework is expanded, built on, made more exact and more comprehensive, and new sub-models are added, thanks to your efforts, the growth in ethical knowledge will be truly phenomenal. We will then have a direct route to moral wellness just as we now have seen the spread of knowledge in the area of physical wellness. We know the ingredients of that kind of heald; now it would be preferable to learn about moral health.
 
deepthot
 
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 07:20 pm
@Pepijn Sweep,
Pepijn Sweep;135348 wrote:
Smile I think it's our fear of the un-understandible what makes us categorise everything till the smallest detail. ... I really hope we can work out a common ... Declaration of Humanity.


Believe me, Pepijn, when I tell you that I don't work out every detail in the paper cited in the link found below. Ethics is such a vast field and has so many applications, so many dilemmas arising every day, that the model (of models, of models) will likely never work out every detail. After more than 400 years in existence has Physics worked out every detail about the physical, chemical and astronomical world? It hasn't even come up with a definition of gravity which covers every case !!

What items would you put into a Declaration of Humanity; and how would you justify them if pressed to do so? Would they be any different from the ones my theory derives? [Read Living The Good Life and also A Unified Theory of Ethics to see to which prinicples I refer.]
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 4 Mar, 2010 09:02 pm
@deepthot,
deepthot;135292 wrote:
"Satanism" to me connoted "veneration or admiration of Satan as a supernatural deity." I apologize for the misunderstanding. I also, when I heard the word used, was reminded of the philosophy of The Church of Satanism, founded in 1966.

I see it has quite a different meaning for you. The beauty of formal axiology is that it encourages the ferreting out of these differences via its understanding of the structure of concepts.

Thank you for straitening me out on this. I was wrong not to find out exactly what you meant. I jumped to conclusions - something which I do too often. I am truly sorry if you were offended;

To me, being cool and having morality are often the same thing, since it is viewed as uncool to pose, to be a phony or an imposter. Authenticity is highly valued by today's highschool population in the USA, I am glad to report. [Generalizations are unsafe. There are, no doubt, exceptions.]


Yes, I agree w/ all of this. Our backgrounds are different. Yes, I know of that other use of the term. No one reads the Romantics much these days.

The old ethical knowledge was figurative. Science now aims at a universal poetry. I actually like the reductive/purified style of science, but it has made us all suspicious of the old wisdom. Not you but other perhaps mistake the jargon for what it ideally refers to, true science.

I do think there is a universal/transcendental ethical drive, but I don't think formalization can be perfect. Still, it's worth a try. And clarification can only help.

---------- Post added 03-04-2010 at 10:03 PM ----------

deepthot;135669 wrote:

So far, religion has been the major teacher of ethics. To that I would like to add a 'science', in the sense of 'a cumulative body of reliable knowledge'. The new discipline would inform in re theory, but also practice, that is, it would provide "how-to" information -- such as how to break one's bad habits, how to most-efficiently engage in self-improvement, how to speed up one's moral growth, and thus advance to a higher stage on the Kohlberg scale, how to develop empathy, etc.

Sounds good. I think for some, a pure ontology will itself inspire most of this. But pure ontology is a minority pursuit.
 
deepthot
 
Reply Fri 5 Mar, 2010 08:20 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;136308 wrote:
Yes, I agree ....------ Post added 03-04-2010 at Sounds good. I think for some, a pure ontology will itself inspire most of this. But pure ontology is a minority pursuit.


Would you please clarify how a pure ontology inspires Ethics? What differentiates a "pure ontology" from an "ontology"?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Fri 5 Mar, 2010 09:54 pm
@deepthot,
deepthot;136762 wrote:
Would you please clarify how a pure ontology inspires Ethics? What differentiates a "pure ontology" from an "ontology"?


Well, to call an ontology pure is just to praise it...

Both Wittgenstein and Hegel, in their different styles, described ethics as transcendental, or something hard-wired. I can imagine someone in their satanic phase being turned around by the logic of these two men. For this logic is not only persuasive but beautiful.

It is arguable but but no means obvious that Wittgenstein unites the three, that is logic, ethics, and beauty. In any case, he calls all of them transcendental, and his own book, the sublime Tractatus, is a fusion of logic, ethics, and beauty.

He says very little of ethics and beauty directly, but logic he grinds to its core, which is tautology and contradiction. And this is heart of Hegel's logic. In Hegel, the contradicting or negative element is man's ability to conceptualize and more importantly re-conceptualize...to the point where attains consciousness that what he is nothing that he can conceive, but only infer, as he is the generation of concepts. So the mind-matter distinction, and the self-other distinction is accidental, as Wittgenstein also made clear. This demolition of bad logic, the same bad logic so often at the core of rationalization, is a radical opening in an only apparently closed circle. Blake called it the Mundane Shell, if memory serves. We take our prejudices for realities. The shackles of the mind are mind-made. To see this is to dissolve them.
 
deepthot
 
Reply Sat 6 Mar, 2010 02:54 am
@deepthot,
You write: "We take our prejudices for realities. The shackles of the mind are mind-made. To see this is to dissolve them."

The Unified Theory of Ethics strongly agrees with this. The treatise ETHICS: A College Coursehttp://tinyurl.com/2mj5b3 spent some time and space emphasizing this point. - as did The Introduction to LIVING THE GOOD LIFE. http://tinyurl.com/24swmd
The word "science" in those two essays is used to mean "a cumulative body of knowledge." Their foundations are Non-naturalist (in G. E. Moore's sense) yet their output would be, in a sense, natural (science), since they deal with human nature, including its moral quality.

Yes, the theory employs language in order to communicate, but let no one infer from this that iit is 'merely an exercise in language.' That would be a form of reductionsim that is not appropriate to the subject matter.
 
deepthot
 
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 05:14 pm
@deepthot,
In my original post I wrote that a higher stage of ethical insight - the one into which we are currently evolving - would be the " favoring the harmony of my human species, and even compassion toward mammals, and caring about the Earth's environment.."

I would like to add to that this comment. In this stage of development there are no strangers !!

We are becoming a global village; we are networking; we are increasingly aware of our interdependence; we share ideas over the internet. Why even at this Forum we reveal ourselves, and we are from all over the planet. This generation volunteers aid and 'a helping hand' more than any previous one did. According to a two-page article in the Parade Magazine (supplement syndicated in many Sunday newspapers throughout the U.S.A.), dated March 7, 2010, a new poll reveals "COMPASSION COUNTS MORE THAN EVER." It tells us there is a boom in volunteering. Many friends have been made from all over the globe, due to technology. This could not have occurred in the 17th century. What are the implications of this for Ethics?

It is a fact that we hold any single one of our close relatives as more valuable than multiple strangers, say when we had to choose who to rescue in the Trolley Dilemma. Your girlfriend, your daughter, or your granddaughter is tied to track in the train's path. And 5, 7, 11, 15 .... people were tied to the other (sideline) track. A train is approaching rapidly. You hold the switch in your hands. You are asked who you will likely rescue: her or them.

The vast majority elect to rescue her. They regard her as highly precious. Ask them if there is an upper limit on the number of strangers on the sideline track that would be sacrificed. They can't name one. If this girl's preciousness has no upper limit, we say that the number is indefinitely high. It is a (practical) infinity. If one individual can be that precious, then - from the perspective of their grandfather, or parent - why not the next? And the next? Why not you, or I? To the moral philosopher, why not anyone alive? .....Today, there are no strangers.

From the viewpoint of Ethics we are all highly valuable; we are all precious. How valuable? No upper limit. The conclusion is that each person is worth (at least the equivalent of) 100 persons. Why stop there? Why not a 1000? Why not a million?. Logically, each individual has infinite worth. That's the bottom line of this reasoning. And that is the starting point for the new Ethics.

[Counter-intuitive? Maybe. But so what.] :cool:

Your comments?Smile



 
jeeprs
 
Reply Wed 10 Mar, 2010 05:22 pm
@deepthot,
there is a traditional Buddhist saying (which may not be necessarily taken at face value but is very much to the point) - paraphrased as follows:

"In your many lives all of those who are now strangers were once your dearest relatives, and all those who are now your relatives will in another life be strangers. Accordingly the wise treat all with equal compassion".
 
 

 
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