Can Science Determine Moral Values?

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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Apr 07, 2016 11:57 pm

toroid: how else would you study highly abstract notions of morality?
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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby Poodle » Fri Apr 08, 2016 6:48 am

Bobbo - are you intentionally misreading what people say?

Since when did the study of "highly abstract notions of morality" include the invention and analysis of impossible situations? Morality, put simply, is the differentiation between 'right' and 'wrong' behaviour. In an invented world in which logic and causality have, apparently, been abolished, there is no right and wrong.

You may as well determine your notions of morality by studying chicken giblets.

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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby toroid » Fri Apr 15, 2016 2:36 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:toroid: how else would you study highly abstract notions of morality?


Your post reads as if it was in the middle of another thread. I had a difficult time putting it in context. For me using a Forum without maintaining logical continuity when exchanging posts relating to a concept is the beginning of complete disaster in being able to make sense of what's going on. (My limitation, not yours.)

For me some things are ultimately a tragic waste of time, even if saying so requires ultimately taking an anti-intellectual position. I essentially ain't intellectual, rather just a traveler on this virtual road.
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At another major Forum dealing with related topics I've been banned as a spammer for disagreeing with a well known figure's non-scientific interpretation of the implications of his scientific work, when a long time member championed them. IMHO, that Forum is essentially a fund-raising site for atheist inspired political strategies and essentially tolerates virtually no dissention from its party line.

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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby Tom Palven » Wed Jul 06, 2016 10:24 am

Poodle wrote:Bobbo - are you intentionally misreading what people say?

Since when did the study of "highly abstract notions of morality" include the invention and analysis of impossible situations? Morality, put simply, is the differentiation between 'right' and 'wrong' behaviour. In an invented world in which logic and causality have, apparently, been abolished, there is no right and wrong.

You may as well determine your notions of morality by studying chicken giblets.


I agree, Poodle.

How can we reach conclusions on highly abstract aspects of morality/ethics when some people (conservatives) booed Ron Paul for citing the Golden Rule? We can't even seem to agree that we should respect others as we wish to be respected.
If one can be taught to believe absurdities, one can commit atrocities. --Voltaire

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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby Monster » Wed Jul 06, 2016 1:01 pm

OutOfBreath wrote:
ElectricMonk wrote:The trolley test is bull - all it shows is what people think they ought to say, with no connection to their actual utilitarianism.

There's some truth to that. Even if I could rationalise killing fewer overall, I couldn't have persuaded my arms to actually do the push. And I would in no way have the "perfect information" that it would work.

So, theoretically, yes. In practice, no.

Peace
Dan

That's really it. The perfect information part. In reality, it's impossible to have perfect information.

toroid wrote:At another major Forum dealing with related topics I've been banned as a spammer for disagreeing with a well known figure's non-scientific interpretation of the implications of his scientific work, when a long time member championed them. IMHO, that Forum is essentially a fund-raising site for atheist inspired political strategies and essentially tolerates virtually no dissention from its party line.

I'm very curious to know which site is that.
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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby marom1963 » Thu Jul 14, 2016 7:02 am

It would be easier to get the fat guy to help you shove several skinny guys off! Why start w/somebody bigger than you, when he could be your ally?
Shove em all off!
Then, when it's all over, take the fat guy out for a nice meal. But get your story straight - they all jumped, including the conductor. And that baby carriage just rolled right off.

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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Thu Jul 14, 2016 9:17 am

marom: In real life, Kirk would have flunked the Kobayashi Maru. Your performance is irrelevant when you go outside the assigned parameters. Adults: color within the lines.
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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby Skepticon of Pyrrhonia » Thu Jul 14, 2016 8:55 pm

I also agree the trolley mind experiment is crap. There is no moral obligation to harm anyone.

I think what science can say about human beings is that most of us have a sense of morality and that morality is subjective and tied to personal sentiments and beliefs. It is not objective.

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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby jpfitz » Tue Jul 19, 2016 12:27 am

The thoughts behind the trolley question are really ones feelings/emotions to committing murder or harm to another human. I believe there are more people who would pull the lever than not.

Has the inference of adding a skew to the question, let's say a mass murder was the individual standing on the track? This is a simple skew, yes I realize.

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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby Gord » Wed Jul 20, 2016 9:33 am

You could also skew it to put someone you love on one track or the other. Would you kill your (mother/father/sister/brother/husband/wife) to save ten other people? Would you kill ten other people to save your (mother/father/sister/brother/husband/wife)?

Making people feel things and then try to rationalise what they feel...ew.
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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby OlegTheBatty » Wed Jul 20, 2016 6:23 pm

The only life you have moral agency over is your own, but the trolley problem ilk never allow you to use your own body to derail the trolley.

The trolley problem is based on an appeal to emotion fallacy.
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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby jpfitz » Wed Jul 20, 2016 8:41 pm

Gord, no, I wouldn't intervene with any human life in the trade, good person, nuclear family member or person considered by society as "evil" . Being a gentleman is difficult.

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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby Gord » Fri Jul 22, 2016 1:22 am

jpfitz wrote:Gord, no, I wouldn't intervene with any human life in the trade, good person, nuclear family member or person considered by society as "evil" . Being a gentleman is difficult.

Ouch. I think most people on the internet would say they'd shoot someone who was about to shoot their [insert loved one here].
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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri Jul 22, 2016 5:38 am

OlegTheBatty wrote:The only life you have moral agency over is your own, but the trolley problem ilk never allow you to use your own body to derail the trolley.

The trolley problem is based on an appeal to emotion fallacy.

There is no fallacy in asking a person what they would do in any given situation. There is no fallacy in studying/appreciating/measuring how family/tribe associations influence decisions we make.

Its how Science Can Determine Moral Values.

Are you sure you know what a fallacy is?
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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby OlegTheBatty » Fri Jul 22, 2016 8:37 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
OlegTheBatty wrote:The only life you have moral agency over is your own, but the trolley problem ilk never allow you to use your own body to derail the trolley.

The trolley problem is based on an appeal to emotion fallacy.

There is no fallacy in asking a person what they would do in any given situation. There is no fallacy in studying/appreciating/measuring how family/tribe associations influence decisions we make.

Except, that's not what the trolley problem does.
It's also a false dichotomy - offering fewer choices than are actually available.
Its how Science Can Determine Moral Values.

Are you sure you know what a fallacy is?

:scratch: Can you eat it? Is it better than donuts? :mmmmdonuts:
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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Fri Jul 22, 2016 11:00 pm

OlegTheBatty wrote:It's also a false dichotomy - offering fewer choices than are actually available.

No. Its a hypothetical with two alternatives, NOT as you take it an argument. So...you don't know what context is either.

OlegTheBatty wrote: Are you sure you know what a fallacy is?
:scratch: Can you eat it? Is it better than donuts? :mmmmdonuts:


No you cannot eat a fallacy. Its an error in logic. Logic is not present when given a choice between two alternatives. You see the difference? I'm sure you do........just don't know how to say thank you. Many here are like that.
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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby OlegTheBatty » Sat Jul 23, 2016 8:46 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
No you cannot eat a fallacy. Its an error in logic. Logic is not present when given a choice between two alternatives. You see the difference? I'm sure you do........just don't know how to say thank you. Many here are like that.

It is an error in logic if fewer choices are given than are available. Are you an idiot or a wooist?
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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Jul 23, 2016 8:59 pm

OK...I'll play along. Its called a hypothetical. NOT a logic problem.

That is three strikes....we need to change the game from baseball. Any ideas?
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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby OlegTheBatty » Sat Jul 23, 2016 9:14 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:OK...I'll play along. Its called a hypothetical. NOT a logic problem.

That is three strikes....we need to change the game from baseball. Any ideas?

It is an argument. Whichever choice you make, a conclusion is drawn from it. The conclusion depends on what the questioner is trying to prove. Your choice is built into the argument.

To be a valid argument, it needs to include all possible choices. In the trolley problem, the choice of sacrificing yourself is never included, so the possibility of making the only truly moral choice is precluded.

Whichever choice is made, conclusions about morality are made. The whole thing is an appeal to emotion. The false dichotomy distracts people from analyzing the problem rationally, and is designed to invoke emotional thought processes.
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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Jul 23, 2016 9:22 pm

OlegTheBatty wrote:It is an argument.
No, its not. Strike 4. Its a hypothetical. No right or wrong answer. No logic...just preferences. Why not call it a chicken and stew it?
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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby OlegTheBatty » Sat Jul 23, 2016 9:30 pm

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:
OlegTheBatty wrote:It is an argument.
No, its not. Strike 4. Its a hypothetical. No right or wrong answer. No logic...just preferences. Why not call it a chicken and stew it?

It's not a piece of wood, it's a stick. :lol:
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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Jul 23, 2016 11:49 pm

Well Oleg...as best as I can follow your logic, you are demonstrating your fallacy of false dichotomy by failing to include the option of its a can of tuna. Just following your lead.
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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby Gord » Sun Jul 24, 2016 12:10 am

bobbo_the_Pragmatist wrote:Well Oleg...as best as I can follow your logic, you are demonstrating your fallacy of false dichotomy by failing to include the option of its a can of tuna. Just following your lead.

No you're not. He's giving an analogy of what you're saying, not what he's saying. "It's not a piece of wood" is to "it's not an argument" as "it's a stick" is to "it's a hypothetical".
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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sun Jul 24, 2016 12:27 am

I suppose it boils down to what "is" means?
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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby Gord » Sun Jul 24, 2016 8:06 am

Probably not.
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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby Gord » Mon Jul 25, 2016 5:45 am

This video talks about (amongst other things) the trolley problem:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fwn1tGJ477w
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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby ElectricMonk » Mon Jul 25, 2016 7:17 am

:thumbsup:

"If you want to sacrifice the lives of the few for the good of the many, sacrifice your own {!#%@} life"
- excellent take-home message
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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Mon Jul 25, 2016 8:06 am

EM==again, that option is NOT PART of the hypothetical. What is it with you'se guys? Can't handle a hypothetical. Amusing.

The trolley experiment was touched upon tn the PBS series "The Brain" last night. Science uses the hypothetical to study how the brain works as it turns out that depending who the various people are in the hypothetical that different areas of the brain are involved when you contemplate the hypothetical. I find that interesting as the trolley HYPO has excellent analytical aspects without ever going into the actual brain biology of it all and the whole world of additional issues that that raises.
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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby scubadivesteve » Sun Sep 25, 2016 7:56 am

Short answer: No it can't.

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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby Tom Palven » Tue Oct 04, 2016 9:58 am

Just saw this statement on line:

You don't need religion to have morals.

If you can't determine right from wrong you lack empathy, not religion.
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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Tue Oct 04, 2016 1:19 pm

TP==thats exactly right.

.....................and as time lazily proceeds, we find more and more complex behavior has a strong genetic basis. Thats why we don't expect much empathy from a coconut.
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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby Scott Mayers » Wed Oct 12, 2016 6:51 pm

ElectricMonk wrote::thumbsup:

"If you want to sacrifice the lives of the few for the good of the many, sacrifice your own {!#%@} life"
- excellent take-home message

The dilemmas involved is what made me think precisely this and why I'm 'logically nihilistic'.

There is NO such thing as a supreme morale for anything. If there was, we wouldn't even have evolved. The function of evolution of consciousness for animals derives a 'motivation' hardwired program that ASSIGNS what is or is NOT good arbitrarily of the environment we are in during a period of development. This is a program that simply might do something like,

"I will tend toward (the first moving thing I see when program begins)" [think ducklings when they hatch, for instance]

This isn't always one simple event like birds but is easily summed up as this. The 'I will tend towards X' takes whatever X is present during the window to decide arbitrarily What it will emotionally 'favor' versus those things that are 'unfavorable'. This goes for even 'values' like Pain and Pleasure. These assignments simply allow animals a means to determine WHAT to seek for or avoid. Our consciousness SERVES this function to optimize INPUT (food, resources) and exclude things that will likely threaten the body as a whole.

If we lose this artificial factor (morality/emotions), this defeats the very thing that motivates survival. In fact, IF nature itself 'favored' all beings by default, animals, as one life form, would lack a NEED to exist as such. We'd need no brain just as a plant doesn't. So, morality, or any 'valued' concept, like pleasure AND pain, serve local interests of each individual ONLY. Otherwise, we'd need a Supreme entity to dictate these (and what justifies many to embrace religion!)

The 'trolley' problems are excellent examples of simplified dilemmas that illustrate our misfortune. I used to believe in a 'utilitarianism'. But now I know that no view is any more valid other than to which side favors you PERSONALLY. Its deluded to feign that even if you are on the most popular side, that this is sufficient to support Utilitarianism.

I don't LIKE these truths because it means that for any society, the only most universal means to solve moral/emotional problems (or almost any other) is to look forward to DEATH itself!! I support passing the torch to robots too. I don't believe that they could actually be functional as a Spock though WITHOUT a similar type of motivational assignment function though.

This is also WHAT Nature itself is about.....it is based NOT on 'consistency', but rather, 'inconsistency' derived by CONTRADICTION as a 'force' and THE 'force' of anything being anything at all.
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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby Scott Mayers » Wed Oct 12, 2016 7:15 pm

Tom Palven wrote:Just saw this statement on line:

You don't need religion to have morals.

If you can't determine right from wrong you lack empathy, not religion.

See my post above. The second (underlined) is absolutely false. Morals are local assignments that we take in as children from our environment just as a duck 'assigns' what it should default to follow as any initial moving thing it sees and interpret it as "good".

Had to edit to point out my disagreement. I know that religion is NOT a 'necessity' but taking 'culture' in society as a part of what is 'religion', it is generally true because the assignment-function is based on nothing more nor less than one's present environment. As such, NO morality exists. And ONLY if one takes such assumptions about ANY universality to some set of morality, THAT is still religious because nature itself doesn't give a {!#%@} whether we love everyone or hate everyone; it doesn't 'care' if Donald Trump, for instance, got in power and immediately pushed the nuclear button for complete selfish reasons.

On the other hand, to most of us all, we actually 'favor' a preference for the intentions of someone who is most appealing for a good reason: we are most likely OF that majority.
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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby ElectricMonk » Wed Oct 12, 2016 7:23 pm

I think utilitarianism is totally valid and at the same time completely useless: we would have to be aware of the consequences of our actions in advance, if possible 1, 10 or 100 years into the future.
The concept is right (though maximizing wellbeing or happiness are probably not the best parameters), but without a time machine it just can't be implemented, except in thought experiments.,
I've come up with a set of rules that describe our reactions to technologies:
Spoiler:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.
- Douglas Adams

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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby Tom Palven » Sat Oct 29, 2016 3:55 pm

Scott Mayers wrote:
Tom Palven wrote:Just saw this statement on line:

You don't need religion to have morals.

If you can't determine right from wrong you lack empathy, not religion.

See my post above. The second (underlined) is absolutely false. Morals are local assignments that we take in as children from our environment just as a duck 'assigns' what it should default to follow as any initial moving thing it sees and interpret it as "good".


Adam Smith drew A Theory of Moral Sentiments, 1759, from many sources. He discusses an emotion described by Greek Stoics and labelled "sympathie" by French philosophers, which he called "sympathy" and which has evolved into the word "empathy."

According to Smith:
"Though our brother is on the rack, as long as we ourselves are at ease, our senses will never inform us of what he suffers. They never did, and never can, carry beyond our own person, and it by the imagination only that we can form any conception of what are his sensations...By the imagination we place ourselves in his sensation ...enduring all the same torments...His agonies begin to affect us ..and (we) begin at last to shudder at what he feels..."

Smith also said that "Beneficence...to feel much for others and little for ourselves...to restrain our selfish and indulge our benevolent affections constitute the perfection of human nature, and can alone produce among mankind that harmony of sentiments and passions in which consists their whole grace and propriety."

So, apparently Smith, fwiw, thought that empathy was hard-wired in normal human beings and not learned as children, since we are not taught to shudder at the sight or blood or at other's pain.

But, the reverse seems possible, that religions can teach us not to empathize with other religions, and military indoctrination can harden us to the pain of others, and indeed wish to inflict it.
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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby OlegTheBatty » Sat Oct 29, 2016 8:12 pm

Tom Palven wrote:
Scott Mayers wrote:
Tom Palven wrote:Just saw this statement on line:

You don't need religion to have morals.

If you can't determine right from wrong you lack empathy, not religion.

See my post above. The second (underlined) is absolutely false. Morals are local assignments that we take in as children from our environment just as a duck 'assigns' what it should default to follow as any initial moving thing it sees and interpret it as "good".


Adam Smith drew A Theory of Moral Sentiments, 1759, from many sources. He discusses an emotion described by Greek Stoics and labelled "sympathie" by French philosophers, which he called "sympathy" and which has evolved into the word "empathy."


Online Etymology Dictionary wrote:empathy (n.) Look up empathy at Dictionary.com1908, modeled on German Einfühlung (from ein "in" + Fühlung "feeling"), which was coined 1858 by German philosopher Rudolf Lotze (1817-1881) as a translation of Greek empatheia "passion, state of emotion," from assimilated form of en "in" (see en- (2)) + pathos "feeling" (see pathos).


According to Smith:
"Though our brother is on the rack, as long as we ourselves are at ease, our senses will never inform us of what he suffers. They never did, and never can, carry beyond our own person, and it by the imagination only that we can form any conception of what are his sensations...By the imagination we place ourselves in his sensation ...enduring all the same torments...His agonies begin to affect us ..and (we) begin at last to shudder at what he feels..."

Smith also said that "Beneficence...to feel much for others and little for ourselves...to restrain our selfish and indulge our benevolent affections constitute the perfection of human nature, and can alone produce among mankind that harmony of sentiments and passions in which consists their whole grace and propriety."

So, apparently Smith, fwiw, thought that empathy was hard-wired in normal human beings and not learned as children, since we are not taught to shudder at the sight or blood or at other's pain.

But, the reverse seems possible, that religions can teach us not to empathize with other religions, and military indoctrination can harden us to the pain of others, and indeed wish to inflict it.


There are brain structures for empathy which mature at about age 15. Sociopaths don't seem to have the ability. Kids sympathize much more than they empathize. Empathy is a learned skill, which is why it can be brainwashed away. Some kids don't learn, even though they have the ability. This is most common in broken homes and broken cultures.
. . . with the satisfied air of a man who thinks he has an idea of his own because he has commented on the idea of another . . . - Alexandre Dumas 'The Count of Monte Cristo"

There is no statement so absurd that it has not been uttered by some philosopher. - Cicero

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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby Tom Palven » Sat Oct 29, 2016 10:22 pm

OlegTheBatty wrote:
Tom Palven wrote:
Scott Mayers wrote:
Tom Palven wrote:Just saw this statement on line:

You don't need religion to have morals.

If you can't determine right from wrong you lack empathy, not religion.

See my post above. The second (underlined) is absolutely false. Morals are local assignments that we take in as children from our environment just as a duck 'assigns' what it should default to follow as any initial moving thing it sees and interpret it as "good".


Adam Smith drew A Theory of Moral Sentiments, 1759, from many sources. He discusses an emotion described by Greek Stoics and labelled "sympathie" by French philosophers, which he called "sympathy" and which has evolved into the word "empathy."


Online Etymology Dictionary wrote:empathy (n.) Look up empathy at Dictionary.com1908, modeled on German Einfühlung (from ein "in" + Fühlung "feeling"), which was coined 1858 by German philosopher Rudolf Lotze (1817-1881) as a translation of Greek empatheia "passion, state of emotion," from assimilated form of en "in" (see en- (2)) + pathos "feeling" (see pathos).


According to Smith:
"Though our brother is on the rack, as long as we ourselves are at ease, our senses will never inform us of what he suffers. They never did, and never can, carry beyond our own person, and it by the imagination only that we can form any conception of what are his sensations...By the imagination we place ourselves in his sensation ...enduring all the same torments...His agonies begin to affect us ..and (we) begin at last to shudder at what he feels..."

Smith also said that "Beneficence...to feel much for others and little for ourselves...to restrain our selfish and indulge our benevolent affections constitute the perfection of human nature, and can alone produce among mankind that harmony of sentiments and passions in which consists their whole grace and propriety."

So, apparently Smith, fwiw, thought that empathy was hard-wired in normal human beings and not learned as children, since we are not taught to shudder at the sight or blood or at other's pain.

But, the reverse seems possible, that religions can teach us not to empathize with other religions, and military indoctrination can harden us to the pain of others, and indeed wish to inflict it.


There are brain structures for empathy which mature at about age 15. Sociopaths don't seem to have the ability. Kids sympathize much more than they empathize. Empathy is a learned skill, which is why it can be brainwashed away. Some kids don't learn, even though they have the ability. This is most common in broken homes and broken cultures.


I'm not so sure that empathy is only learned, ie. my previous comment about queasiness at the sight of human blood, although there is no doubt that children and dogs that are abused may become vicious.
If one can be taught to believe absurdities, one can commit atrocities. --Voltaire

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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby bobbo_the_Pragmatist » Sat Oct 29, 2016 11:30 pm

I don't want to jump into the standard discussion of Nature vs Nurture but I found

You don't need religion to have morals.

If you can't determine right from wrong you lack empathy, not religion.


to be right on the mark for a variety of issues. Thanks for posting it.
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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby Tom Palven » Mon Oct 31, 2016 12:52 pm

OlegTheBatty wrote:There are brain structures for empathy which mature at about age 15. Sociopaths don't seem to have the ability. Kids sympathize much more than they empathize. Empathy is a learned skill, which is why it can be brainwashed away. Some kids don't learn, even though they have the ability. This is most common in broken homes and broken cultures.


There are apparently some people born with damaged or missing portions of the brain that would normally create instinctive social-bonding emotions.

These people, who might be labelled autistic or sociopathic, might lead decent, productive, lives or not, probably depending, as you say, on their upbringing.

However, I don't understand your comment that kids sympathize more than they empathize. Isn't sympathy one of the products of empathy? We feel sympathy for a person's loss or misfortune because we empathize with them and know how they feel? People probably do learn how others feel about their ups and downs from their own experiences. Is that what, or part of what, you mean?
If one can be taught to believe absurdities, one can commit atrocities. --Voltaire

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OlegTheBatty
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Re: Can Science Determine Moral Values?

Postby OlegTheBatty » Mon Oct 31, 2016 5:47 pm

Tom Palven wrote:
OlegTheBatty wrote:There are brain structures for empathy which mature at about age 15. Sociopaths don't seem to have the ability. Kids sympathize much more than they empathize. Empathy is a learned skill, which is why it can be brainwashed away. Some kids don't learn, even though they have the ability. This is most common in broken homes and broken cultures.


There are apparently some people born with damaged or missing portions of the brain that would normally create instinctive social-bonding emotions.

These people, who might be labelled autistic or sociopathic, might lead decent, productive, lives or not, probably depending, as you say, on their upbringing.

However, I don't understand your comment that kids sympathize more than they empathize. Isn't sympathy one of the products of empathy? We feel sympathy for a person's loss or misfortune because we empathize with them and know how they feel? People probably do learn how others feel about their ups and downs from their own experiences. Is that what, or part of what, you mean?

My sympathy is how I feel about your situation. I have little sympathy for others because other people's problems do not make me feel bad.
Empathy is understanding how you feel about your situation. I have a lot of empathy for others; I relate to how you feel.

Sympathy is about the self, empathy about the other person.

Empathy does not grow out of sympathy, they are separate skills.
. . . with the satisfied air of a man who thinks he has an idea of his own because he has commented on the idea of another . . . - Alexandre Dumas 'The Count of Monte Cristo"

There is no statement so absurd that it has not been uttered by some philosopher. - Cicero


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