Re: Basing Morality on Emotions

From: John Marlow (
Date: Sun Apr 22 2001 - 12:58:42 MDT

By our (okay, my) standards, the universe is quite clearly amoral.
Explain morality? Gee, kinda difficult. As hizzonor said of
pornography, I know it when I see it (and it's my flavor). There's a
tribe which always roasts their monkeys alive before consuming them.
I don't know why; it's even possible they feel this is the only way
to properly liberate the spirit for a happy afterlife, or whatever--
and could be a function of their own "morality." (Thus making
morality a product of culture.)

But I'd still stay the hell away from them.

I don't know that I can properly explain the basis of morality, but
I'm stuck with it, and prefer the company of others so afflicted.

We're nicer folk.




On 22 Apr 2001, at 9:40, Lee Corbin wrote:

> John Marlow wrote: > > > Morality seems to be a human construct; > > certainly not inherent in the universe, > > which clearly couldn't care less. > > Morality is NOT a human construct! The idea that morality obtains > >from culture is one of the most harmful ideas of the 20th century, > whose insidious consequences can hardly be overstated. (To be sure, > traditions and laws issue injunctions as added layers.) > > To a great degree, our morality is in our genes. (See Matt Ridley, > "The Origins of Virtue", and other recent works, email me for list.) > > > And I'd argue that it is perfectly rational to conclude that > > such behavior [murder, mayhem, and genocide] is unacceptable, > > dangerous to society, and not to be tolerated. One needn't > > exercise or indeed possess emotions to reach this conclusion. > > It's certainly not irrational to find murder, mayhem, and genocide > unacceptable, and I too advocate that we not tolerate it. But I > don't understand how you base your value judgments, ultimately, on > anything besides emotion, including your basic "wants". Care to > explain? (Hint: start with the big questions, why do we want to > live, why if we live do want to live we want to be better off > rather than worse off, why should there be anyone but me (or us).) > > And avoid begging the question with "well, evolution made us that > way". True, but we already know that---that's how we got our > emotions. > > Lee Corbin > >

John Marlow

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