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Moral vs Moral *worth*

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Tsuru
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In any case I resent your implication that it has something to do with the vestiges of religion. ... If only all evil were told that by everyone, it would have no power.

It doesn't have to be told. It has to be proven. That's my whole point. Just calling them evil without providing the reasonable grounds is just throwing an unconnected fact into free space, ungrounded in reality and devoid of reason. If your morality is supported by reason and your goal is to spread the word, just stating it as a truth without providing proof is a very poor way of accomplishing your goal, actually I'm certain that it backfires. And it does because it's the wrong way to do it.

You can post your proof on a forum and leave if you don't find a partner for a reasonable discussion. But just stating something as truth without providing a reasonable foundation for that statement is the realm of religious fanaticism. It doesn't matter what the content is; if it's provided without rational support it's worthless. You can arrive at the fact that 2+2=4 by making two errors on the way that "correct" one another. If you want to make a point, then make it with all you have. And if the only resistance you find is pointless chatter, just move on.

Have people tell one another they're evil without supporting their alleged wisdom with reason and you're back in medieval times. That's why I'm so opposed to moralizing. There is truth and there are moral values, but you betray them both by just stating the results of your thoughts without revealing how you ended up there in the first place.

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If your morality is supported by reason and your goal is to spread the word,

I'm not sure "spreading the word" is necessarily part of the goal though (and it in fact sounds somewhat altrustic as a general principle). The goal of judgement is, generally speaking, to determine that which is good or bad for the judger's life, not to save anybody else's "soul", except to the extent that it serves their own rational self-interest. No one "owes" the evil-doer an explanation for their condemnation, one only "owes" it to himself to be sure that their judgement is correct and the actions that stem from that judgement are appropriate (because of the consequences to one's own self for being inaccurate or unjust). Note that "appropriate" may include explaining to the person why you condemn them or their actions, but that is dictated by the relationship you have with that person. In that sense, one should make sure the judgement is based on sound reasoning and fact.

If a complete stranger commits some evil act in my presence, I may very well simply condemn their behavior and write them off. In exercising MY judgement for MY well being, I owe the complete stranger nothing more. On the other hand, if my sister is spiraling to her death by rampant drug use, I will probably take much more of an active approach to helping her through her evil doings rather than just condemning her and writing her off.

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Have people tell one another they're evil without supporting their alleged wisdom with reason and you're back in medieval times. That's why I'm so opposed to moralizing. There is truth and there are moral values, but you betray them both by just stating the results of your thoughts without revealing how you ended up there in the first place.

Felix,

I don't appreciate the fact that you continue to construe my position as religious. I think RationalBiker addressed the point well; I'd just add that you need to remember that in the context in question, you have already concluded that the person you are condemning is NOT listening, and is NOT open to reason.

If you haven't argued with a person like this, I against suggest you go to a communist board and see how much good it does to continue trying to reason with them. A moral judgment is not always an argument or an attempt to convince someone. Sometimes a condemnation is just a condemnation. There is worth in calling a spade a spade.

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No one "owes" the evil-doer an explanation for their condemnation, one only "owes" it to himself to be sure that their judgement is correct ...

If a complete stranger commits some evil act in my presence, I may very well simply condemn their behavior and write them off. In exercising MY judgement for MY well being, I owe the complete stranger nothing more.

(Bold mine)

A moral judgment is not always an argument or an attempt to convince someone. Sometimes a condemnation is just a condemnation. There is worth in calling a spade a spade.

Okay, just to be clear we're talking about the same thing here. There's a (negative) judgement, which is something you just think and there's a condemnation which is sharing your final (negative) judgement with someone else. I completely agree with both of you on the importance of the judgement for your own life. But I still seriously doubt the value of the condemnation. I think it has a negative effect. I've already stated my reasons.

Why do you think the condemnation (without its rational support) is good? What purpose does it serve?

I still don't see the answer.

If you haven't argued with a person like this, I against suggest you go to a communist board and see how much good it does to continue trying to reason with them.

It doesn't do any good. But what good does it to condemn them?

Also, to lighten things up a little, here's my experience with a communist board:

I posted the question why they believed anyone would work if all of his work was taken away from him and distributed.

The first answer I got was:

They will willingly work for the betterment of the society and thorugh the goodness of their heart.

I couldn't help but reply:

(1)You mean they work for the betterment of others without pay.

(2)What about those who don't?

(3)How's that good?

I was banned immediately. :)

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But I still seriously doubt the value of the condemnation. I think it has a negative effect. I've already stated my reasons.

Why do you think the condemnation (without its rational support) is good? What purpose does it serve?

First, I was talking strictly about one's obligation to provide an explanation. The value of condemnation vs. further explanation is contigent on the individual context.

Second, verbally denouncing or condemning someone's actions does not mean that it is without rational support just because you don't tell them. However, since I assume you mean verbalizing that rational support to the evil doer, move on to three.

Third, it's not likely that someone is going to just say "I hereby condemn you" and just leave it at that. At the very least they would likely say "for stealing that women's purse" (or insert act here). Now whether or not the person makes the connection that stealing purses is wrong or not is another matter but they are not totally clueless as to what the concern is. IF it represents a value to me, further explanation may be in order. Further explanation may in fact be a distinct disvalue if you tick the person off and they decide to assault you. Obviously this can happen with the unexplained condemnation as well which means I may simply avoid the person without so much as uttering anything at all to them.

I hope you realize that I deal with EXTREMELY irrational people EVERY DAY. I have spent a significant amount of my time on the job trying to reason with some people who let it go in one ear and out the other. I lost value (due to frustration) by wasting my time and breath on these people. Now I only do so if I think I have something to gain from it. Otherwise I simply tell them only that which is necessary to resolve my business with them. It's in their best interest to seek the why, not (usually) mine.

Your assumption seems to be that it is ALWAYS in the condemning person's interest to follow through with further explanation or that there is always value to be gained by helping the other person connect the dots. I'm saying it is not always in condemner's best interest, nor is it always their obligation to do so. The value gained from condemnation from the condemner's point of view is that he has now clarified an aspect of his (dis)continued relationship with the evil-doer even if the evil-doer doesn't understand why. I've communicated that I don't like that person or that activity, and that knowledge is gained. Additionally, the condemner may gain a positive reputation with other people that matter more to him (and with whom he may wish to share his further explanation) based on his judgement. The condemner may have also saved himself some time, energy and frustration.

The value possibly gained by the actor is introspection on one's activities such that they may begin to understand something about themselves that other people don't like. Your assumption appears to be that the actor must always be told why what he did was wrong, when in fact he may already know it, or may have the ability to discover himself. If I were to be told by enough people, or even one person who's opinion mattered to me, that I was doing something wrong, I would try to discover myself what that thing was regardless of how much more information they volunteer to give.

There MAY be times when there's better value to providing further explanation to the evil-doer, but that is not always the case.

But it is a potentially altruistic motive to infer some obligation to explain further is always in order. The "evil doer" likely has no right to my association, and no right for me to make him understand why I withold some or all of that association from him. The time and effort that I must invest in another person are mine to determine.

Now all that said, if you remain unconvinced, you can still choose to live with the positive or negative consequences of your approach. That is not my concern.

Edited by RationalBiker
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