Yes people existed before morality
Agreed. This is one of the points I was trying to make. Can we convince everyone else of this?
it is not true that people have always coexisted to their mutual benefit. There have been people who have live together successfully and people who have not lived together successfully and that is how we learned what it takes -- the guidelines of morality that enables people to live together successfully to their mutual benefit. There is more to human community and society than just numbers.
When people decide to live in a community or society, a moral system develops. Agreed that some of them are terrible and self-destructive. There are bad moral systems. But just because a society self-destructs doesn't mean they were without a value system. It just means that society's value system was perhaps not a good one. Communal living guarantees a moral code of some type.
I only try to echo back what I think I'm hearing from you to make sure I'm understanding you, not to upset you. So I'm going to do it again:
Are you defining morality as that which allows for humans to successfully live and work together to the benefit of all?
If so, then we might be on the wrong page. I'm working from the idea that morality is a collection of values held. See the definitions here
. I'm going with definition 2. It seems like you are talking about definition 3.
I definitely agree that some moral systems are better than others and I would favor moral systems that do the greatest good for the most people without infringing on individual freedoms. But I don't consider morality as the ideal way for a society to conduct itself, but just a snapshot of its currently held values. It's something that needs continual refinement.
obama5493 is probably a bot that copied the words of gary_s on the first page of this thread merely in order to post the link in the signature without detection.
I didn't catch that...
There seems to be a need for a more flexible institution than traditional marriage and that may be exactly what is needed to bring about changes in social expectations in a way that is more natural and grass-roots.
Communism, short circuiting what motivates innovation and enterprise obviously does not work and allowing people to do whatever they want without controls and regulations is also a recipe for disaster.
Agreed. Compassionate Capitalism is what we need. I guess we are slowly heading in the right direction. I don't understand those who suggestion there should be no government regulation (like gun laws). Everyone benefits from some regulation in some way. For example, traffic laws are government regulation. Should we do away with traffic lights and stop signs and speed limits because that is government regulation and we should be able to drive however we want?
This is more of your excessively simple minded A=B mentality which cannot comprehend more complex relationships between factors like "symptoms" and "necessary but not sufficient". I find it tiresome and unworthy of comment.
I was being intentionally simple-minded to illustrate that it is not a simple matter of saying if you have A and B and C present, then the act is immoral. I doubt if it is possible to make an exhaustive list of symptoms of what is required for something to be immoral. I agree that human acts tend to be complex, so it would seem that such a list would be impossible.
But this seems to point towards personal morality (where everyone gets to decide what is good and what is bad for him/herself). How do we decide what factors, symptoms to consider when judging an act as immoral? Depression and extreme stress are indicators of immorality under certain circumstances. You didn't comment on the imprisonment of Pfc. Manning. Is his treatment in prison immoral or justified.
Social expectations CANNOT justify a persons actions. An effectual morality must be a guide for social change, and your morality like many in the past is an empty justification of the status quo, used to prop up the insanities of such things as the Third Reich and a southeastern United States ruled by the Klu Klux Klan.
Social expectations do justify a person's actions. Thomas Jefferson at once proclaimed that all men were created equal and owned slaves. I don't think we begrudge him of the fact that he owned slaves, but the social climate of the time made such a circumstance acceptable (maybe even mandatory: he was rich and owned alot of property that it might have been unacceptable to not have slaves) and so we forgive him for owning slaves even though we consider that wrong now. I think most of us would like to think that if he were alive today or during the civil rights movement, that he would have come down on the side of anti-slavery. Perhaps that's how we decide on people like that: What would their moral views be today? I think based on the evidence that Jefferson would have been anti-slavery.
Also, we like to think we'd take our modern moral sensibilities with us if we were somehow magically transported to the past. Would you have been a slave owner or otherwise supported the institution of slavery if you were alive back then? I'd like to say no (for myself), but there is no way to really know. I traced my ancestry back to the 1860's and in one census report my forefather's family was listed along with what I suppose was a slave. It is shameful for me to even admit this.
I believe any moral system will always have room for improvement. What props up those awful societies is the idea that morals are absolute and unchanging and then they go about justifying their actions by these morals, at least in the case of KKK. As for Nazis, that was very similar to the Prison Experiment. What happens there is a stratification, where one group's situation is not considered in the development of the morals of the society. I think this could be a natural law. In the event that a people is split in two, and one group's welfare is no longer regarded as important, great atrocities will occur, because the moral system that results will tend to favor one group and abuse the other. Thus, such stratification and belittlement must be avoided. Much like the plight of the gypsies in Europe today. Sad and unjust in supposedly progressive Europe.
I'm starting to suspect that you might be operating under the principle that if you do not like the conclusion, you will reject it regardless of the reasoning behind it. Your primary concern seems to be that you do not like the idea that society determines its own morality, for good or bad. So while I feel we agree on many points, as soon as we take it to conclusion, you accuse me of oversimplifying and reject my conclusion without much counterpoint.
Which just goes to show how morally vacuous your social relativism really is.
Your social relativism remains as unsupportable and morally vacuous as divine relativsm. Social expectations CANNOT justify a persons actions.
You provided no reasons for this, except you don't like it. You engaged in nice dialogue throughout your post, but near the end, you are short on words in justifying your rejection of my final conclusion.
It is evidently socially impolite to point out hypocrisy when one sees it...
Is this what allows untenable positions to remain tenuously tenable?