Equestrian wrote:Then it's obvious that you do not have a clear understanding of the moral position for which you argue.
That's not the only option that would account for our disagreement.
Equestrian wrote:Moral relativism is the belief that there are no universally valid moral principles. Morals are subject to each individual, therefore what "ought" and what "ought not" is strictly derived from the individual; not derived from the group, community or society.
No. It is not. There can be no moral questions if only the "individual" is considered. Outside of the context of a community, "morality" is meaningless.
Equestrian wrote:I'll demonstrate the contradiction once again, this time I'll break it down remedially. Hopefully it will finally sink in.
First you are asserting that there are two points of origin from which morality is derived. One is from each individual and the other from community consensus. The former is subjective and the latter is objective.
No. You are not even close. I will repeat again my position in the hope that this time a miracle will occur and you will finally understand it.
First... you are confusing the purpose of moral systems with the origin of moral systems. The purpose of a moral system is to mediate between the competing interests of individuals, or between individuals and their communities. It is all about delivering the greatest net benefit to the community.
Not all moral systems, however actually achieve
that purpose. And this is primarily based upon how they originate.
A moral system that actually does represent community consensus (i.e. a rationally derived moral system) is generally superior to a moral system that is imposed by force or intimidation against
the consensus of the community. The latter include most religious moral systems that claim a revelatory origin.
Now... I do not believe that moral systems derive from two points of origin. I believe that a rationally derived moral system derives from a process that has at least two consecutive steps.
Moral systems do not and cannot directly derive from any individual. Instead, the initial determination of "good" and "bad" is an individual exercise... i.e. we each evaluate goodness of badness based upon our personal sense of how we desire to be treated by others. This is very personal, very individual, likely to be somewhat diverse, and sometimes quite pathological. This is also why any individual's or any any small group's determination of "good" or "bad" cannot serve as the foundation for a moral system. There are people whose valuations of "good" or "bad" would be destructive to the community's interests, and they cannot be allowed to establish moral authority.
It is the posterior process of building a community consensus that allows us to account for individual pathology and protect ourselves, as a community, from the destructive potential of the patholog or psychopath. It is there that we assemble, for the first time, a moral system that codifies the community's consensus regarding what is most widely understood and shared regarding "good" and "bad." We each bring with us our individual conclusions regarding "good" and "bad" and together reach agreement over which "goods" are assigned moral weight as "oughts." Some but not all individually perceived "goods" will make the cut to become "oughts." There will be compromises and disagreements, but the end result of this rational process will be a moral system that, while not universally followed, still serves as the framework for the community's ability to influence behavior for the good of the whole.
So... the first step, individual assessment of "good" vs. "bad" is a subjective and relative exercise. And the second step, community assessment of "oughts" is also a subjective and relative exercise, though it strives to utilize objective inputs when available.
That's how it should work. That's not how it always works.
This process as described is the "rational" process which I strive to defend. But it historically has often been short circuited by brute force and intimidation. While the first step goes on constantly by default, the second step of consensus building is sometimes left out completely, and an individual or small group imposes a moral system designed to benefit that small group, not the larger community. It is these circumstances that generally create the "immoral" moral systems that are so often characteristic of dictatorships and theocracies.
The fact that dogmatic moral systems like Christianity and Islam skip the step of building community consensus accounts for the often immoral behavior of the members of the preferred group.
Equestrian wrote:You are arguing from two ethical forms of relativism--subjectivism and conventionalism-- which are in direct conflict with each other. Subjectivism views morality as a personal decision (nothing is morally valid), where conventionalism views moral validity by communal acceptance.
I am not. I am simply deferring to what "is" before pretending to determine what "ought."
All moral systems are human derived. All moral systems are relative, even those that do not realize it. No moral systems require a miraculous explanation; neither the good ones nor the bad ones
Equestrian wrote:This presumes another moral imparative. If the key reason we developed a moral system was to direct behaviors to conform to what is advantageous to community, then what was the key reason to develop the moral system in the first place?
Huh? You just answered that yourself: to direct behaviors to conform to what is advantageous to the community.
Equestrian wrote:What need is there to develop a "moral system" to engineer behaviors that benefit the community if human behavior is already directed by the need to benefit the community?
To account for diversity, of course. Refer again to the discussion above regarding pathalogs and psychopaths.
Equestrian wrote:You are asserting that the moral notion of slavery back then is inferior to the moral notion of slavery today. Now that is amusing, because what you're really saying is that slavery is actually wrong.
I believe it is. It was not a rationally derived moral system, and so it ended up being immoral.
bad moral systems. These are the ones that fail, for whatever reason, to serve their purpose of protecting the shared interests of the community. They are the ones that violate rational community consensus.
Equestrian wrote:No, Mr. Huxley. According to your notion of morality, slavery must have been advantageous for the community and thus morally virtuous, as morality is derived from communal consensus, i.e. what is beneficial for the community.
No, Mr. Equestrian. According to my notion of morality slavery is an immoral
system because it is not
advantageous for the community. And it is not advantageous at least partly because the entire community (to include the slaves) was not part of the process of building consensus.
Equestrian wrote:So because slaves cost too much, the people determined that slavery was a detriment to their community and decided to free them, give them equal rights and now slavery is immoral. This is patently absurd.
I was not referring to the cost of slaves. I was speaking of the societal costs.
Equestrian wrote:If what is morally right is just defined as whatever the community majority believes is morally right, then a reformer (such as Martin Luther King) is morally wrong.
No. A reformer such as Martin Luther King is the catalyst for a new, more rational consensus. He was a critical advocate for stepping back from a moral system imposed by force that benefited only a certain part of the community and changing the moral system to be more rational, more comprehensive, more genuinely consensual and ultimately superior.
You need to get off the oblivious "moral neutrality" misconception that undermines your effort to understand what is being said.