Re: Ethics, concretes and foundations.

Joe E. Dees (
Wed, 2 Jun 1999 19:10:02 -0500

Date sent:      	Wed, 2 Jun 1999 18:43:30 EDT
Subject:        	Ethics, concretes and foundations.
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> In a message dated 6/2/99 6:36:14 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
> writes:
> << > Your personal
> > feelings towards guns are irrelevant to the factual question. I think an
> > analysis of the facts shows the anti-gun people to have, by far, the
> > weaker case.
> >
> It is not a stark and bipolar choice between an absolute ban and
> the absence of all restrictions. This is an illicit and absolutistic
> straw-man argument which possesses not even a passing
> acquaintance with the rational, reasonable, targeted and limited
> proposals under discussion. >>
> I don;t think that an "absolutistic" argument is necessarily a straw man. I
> actually think that making it out to be one is a straw man, ironically.
If there is an entire spectrum of choices available (and there are), and one, refusing to acknowledge same, attempts to reduce them all to the archetypical opposition between two extremes, one is perpetrating either misdirection, obfuscation, illicit reductionism, confusion of facts with fears, or actual intentional intellectual dishonesty.
> There are those who have "absolutistic" moral principles, and this does not
> make them irrational or unreasonable.
I disagree. I consider the term "absolutist" to be an excellent synonym for illogical, irrational and unreasoning dogmatism and consider those who are absolutist to be defenders of a cognitively frozen and quasireligious faith (perhaps intoning a mellifluous BANNGGGGG... to the scent of gunpowder incense) rather than seekers after the optimum state of affairs.
>Mabye the reason that this argument is
> going nowhere is because you are arguing past each other. Differenet
> moralities will give different answers to the same situation. If you keep
> this argument so concrete ( " I'm right, obviously" " No, I'm right,
> obviously"), you will get nowhere, obviously ; ).
It is ever thus when the rational must contend with irrational dogmatic fanatical absolutistic zealots. If guns were Allah they'd be the Taliban.
> Perhaps, if its not beyond the bounds of this list, we could try a respectful
> debate on the foundations of transhuman ethics. Without these, any concrete
> instance will be quite beyond any debate, much like differing epistemological
> methods would keep the debate useless.
> Any takers?
A good question is why it is that they deify absolute freedom and denigrate absolute security, rather than seeking the best obtainable blend, when for embodied morals there can be neither absolute freedom nor absolute security.
> William