Can people arrive at a common set of morality and ethics using only logic and reason?

Feb 2016
42
United States
Kinda divided on that.

While it's possible in broad terms to generally agree certain things are just wrong (killing in cold blood for no legally justified reason is verboten is usually agreed on by nigh everyone most of the time), adding culture and personal values to the equation means it varies for everyone on an individual level, but in a general collective sense, it's usually possible to find a standard of morals and ethics most people can abide by most of the time, if only preserve their own individual moral autonomy from encroachment by anyone else.

Basically, outside of really general principles, and then not 100% of time, not really sure it's possible.
 

Naomasa298

Forum Staff
Apr 2010
35,487
T'Republic of Yorkshire
(killing in cold blood for no legally justified reason is verboten is usually agreed on by nigh everyone most of the time)/QUOTE]

The Japanese samurai, during the Edo period, had the right to strike down a peasant for any reason whatsoever.

In practise, they didn't kill peasants for no reason, as local lords tended to not be very happy if one of their peasants was arbitrarily killed - peasants were valuable as workers of the land.
 
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Feb 2016
42
United States
The Japanese samurai, during the Edo period, had the right to strike down a peasant for any reason whatsoever.

In practise, they didn't kill peasants for no reason, as local lords tended to not be very happy if one of their peasants was arbitrarily killed - peasants were valuable as workers of the land.
Hence usually.

There are always cultural and personal factors that skew how a baseline for morality and ethics are established, and in this case, it was practicality and pragmatism that effectively negated the exception to the rule most of the time.

Yeah, a samurai could cut down a peasant if they wanted to in theory, but in practice it would displease their boss and was thus discouraged even though it was consider a legal right on paper. And since crossing their lord was a grave offense for a samurai, the loophole usually closed itself as a result.
 

specul8

Ad Honorem
Oct 2016
3,477
Australia
No those are exceptions, that are codified usually in great detail... The need to codify these exceptions, shows that everyone understands that this is deemed to be "not good"
Exceptions ?

I guess you got confused reading what I wrote ; "You would have to demonstrate that it was 'arrived at' by 'using reason and logic alone, without resorting to faith or feelings' for it to qualify . " - which you didnt demonstrate .

If you where just ignoring this aspect and trying to show the death penalty being 'exceptions' , 106 countries have the death penalty. How many countries are in the world ? 195 .

Some exception !

Or are you claiming plunder is an exception ? If so, you need to look at how one of the biggest Empires in the world got started, and what that Empire did after it got started . Its all down in history, if you care to read it .


But I am sure it is 'comforting' and a lot less confronting to think our 'civilisation' is NOT based HISTORICALLY on murder and stealing .
 

specul8

Ad Honorem
Oct 2016
3,477
Australia
Surely though the point is that there isn't universal agreement about what acts are 'exceptions'.
Actually I don't think murder is ever considered OK, as 'murder' surely means 'wrongful killing', so I reckon probably all would agree that murder is wrong (as that is a tautology).
However different people and different societies have different ideas about what sorts of killing are justified and what sorts are wrongful.so would not agree about exactly which sorts of killing count as murder.
I can agree too that wrongful killing is wrong :cool:


Now, can we agree on a definition of 'wrongful' ? Specifically, that type of wrongful that justifies murder .
 
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specul8

Ad Honorem
Oct 2016
3,477
Australia
The Japanese samurai, during the Edo period, had the right to strike down a peasant for any reason whatsoever.

In practise, they didn't kill peasants for no reason, as local lords tended to not be very happy if one of their peasants was arbitrarily killed - peasants were valuable as workers of the land.
Well .... you cant count peasants !

" We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, ... "

What about the Negroes ? - We said all MEN are created equal .

Why didnt women get to vote ? ...... < ahem , taps the Declaration at relevent bit > - Men .
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,632
Las Vegas, NV USA
You can prove almost anything with logic by playing with the axioms, (the founding assumptions). As for reason, it's deliberative thinking based on knowledge rather than feelings or attitudes. The common principles of morality seem to be based on empathy, not logic or reason. Once certain moral principles are accepted then logic and reason can be used based on these principles.
 
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Theodoric

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
2,984
Yötebory Sveriya
This is an unanswered question dating to (at least) the dawn of philosophy. It has received a lot of attention by history’s greatest philosophers.

Plato’s Republic, which discusses morality in the form of a Just society; defines justice as an essential value of society. Injustice is rather defined as deception or mistreatment of others for personal gain; which is not morality itself, but a large slice of it.

The story begins with two people holding magic rings; one used it justly and the other does not. It’s clear the guy who uses it unjustly benefits the most, particularly because everyone thinks his wealth and good fortune are a result of his virtues.

Socrates defeats this argument by building an entire society and showing how injustice/corruption harms that society.

Since humans are social creatures, I tend to feel Plato’s core argument is quite good - even if some of his items are out of date, or understood differently today. Plato does justify lying as moral in cases where society functions better following a lie (his example, the inherent caste system, which he admits is a myth, but feels that if those wise enough to know the myth are able to manage society using the myth, then it is most certainly moral to lie).

Anyway, I think if we pick a value that is common to the world we can derive objective morals from those values. But not all people are logical, and many are ignorant, which makes it impossible to derive universal values: one example is many people do not value others based on rather arbitrary physical differences, a person with black skin might be closer from a genetic perspective to one person with white skin than that person with white skin is to another with white skin, but yet it is the skin colour that person has arbitrarily selected as the significant difference: this is the sort of ignorance that does exist in certain regions of the world.

So, I think it is possible; but not if the world permits ignorants or illogical thinkers into positions where such decisions are made.

I like to think that morality is something that is general to most people in the world. Not killing or hurting others, this is mostly universal, but there are some people who seem to lack that part of their brain or their psychology that most people have.
 
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Jun 2016
1,863
England, 200 yards from Wales
I can agree too that wrongful killing is wrong :cool:


Now, can we agree on a definition of 'wrongful' ? Specifically, that type of wrongful that justifies murder .
Probably not - noting, for instance, the example of the Samurai and the peasants quoted above. Many people used to think it was not wrongful killing to execute people for having the wrong religious opinions, fortuanately most no longer think so.
Then there are many opinions about what killing in warfare is justified (even apart from the question of whether the war in question is justified).
 
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