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Are humans inherently evil?

Discussion in 'The Philosopher' started by Kasz, Jul 29, 2008.

  1. razoredge

    razoredge Member

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    Good grief, is driving a car "evil" because its the current mode of transportation ? Was riding a horse evil because it shit in the road and then dried and created a dust which settled in surrounding homes ?

    People only considered the consequences of their actions to others ONLY due to the fact that religion also considered the same and placed repentence values upon doing so ?

    allrightythen
     
  2. Blowtus

    Blowtus Member

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    Morality is more than simply considering consequences, it is a positing of specific ways to act. The consequences our actions have for others are usually considered, but that can be done 'morally' or 'immorally', for a given moral standpoint. The absolute validity of any moral standpoint, in the absence of any known absolutes, is a pretty fair topic, imho.

    I have been reading a bit of Simone De Beauvoir's 'Existentialist Ethics' and find the positing of 'freedom of consciousness' as absolute, but not realised in action, pretty interesting. A summary of the position is below:




    "Existentialism does have an ethical foundation, however; the difficulty lies in recognizing it. To recognize the foundations of existential ethics, one must recognize the “truths” behind the philosophy. The basis for most philosophical schools is a set of “universal truths” agreed upon by the proponents of the philosophy. The school can be simple, having just one rule: “There are no universal truths.” Of course, that rule is then a universal truth and a paradox. Existentialism’s basis is a simple set of truths relating to sentient life, as discussed in the opening paragraphs of this document:

    * First, sentient beings exist, then they spend a lifetime defining an individual essence;
    * All sentient life forms, namely humans, have free will;
    * Every action, expression, or thought is the result of a decision;
    * Decision making is a stressful, solitary act, even when part of a group; and
    * Any decision can and usually does have negative aspects.

    These “truths” form the foundation of existentialism. Existential values are those values recognizing the importance of free will, the anxiety experienced by others, and the potential consequences of decisions upon other beings, sentient and not. The foundations of any ethical system employed by existentialists can be reduced to the following statements:

    1. Existentialism requires constant thought, expression, and action — the active development of one’s essence.
    2. All decisions are individual, with each being responsible for his or her choices.
    3. The most important decisions are those affecting the free will of other individuals, other matters are less important.
    4. Some may be affected negatively, their choices reduced by a decision, so decisions must promote freedom among the greatest number of beings.
    5. Limiting the number of options available to an individual in any situation reduces that being’s freedom to express a free will.
    6. There is no such thing as a demand, since one can always accept death as a choice."
     
  3. Einherjar86

    Einherjar86 Active Member

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    I'd say it is a form of morality, and it's linked to religion. A person's character is shaped by their morals. We know that certain virtues have been adopted by Christianity as characteristics that people should model their lives on. I think that, in our modern time, we've come to respect and accept a wider variety of virtues. However, many of these would not be in keeping with the tradition of the seven cardinal virtues. I think that virtue ethics is a modern attempt at evaluating and interpreting different perpectives on virtue. Initially, however, virtues were very religious. It's only in modern times that we're trying to break them away from religion. As I said earlier, many people who don't believe in God still want to believe in right and wrong.
     
  4. razoredge

    razoredge Member

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    Or could it be that it just takes a bit of thought and that most thinkers in the past had some spiritual beliefs, be it Native Americans, Budists, Greeks, Jews or Christians ?

    NO ! I TELL YOU... ITS JUST THAT DAMN REPRESSIVE BIBLE... ROBBING MY RIGHTS DAILY TO DO AS I FUCKING PLEASE AND CASTING MAN MADE NEGITIVE WORDS TOWARD MY ACTIONS

    [sigh]
     
  5. Blowtus

    Blowtus Member

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    My understanding is that virtue ethics arose in the ancient Greek and Chinese cultures. Confucianism particularly is quite evidently removed from religion, afaik.
     
  6. Einherjar86

    Einherjar86 Active Member

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    I worded my last post really badly, now that I look back at it. Virtue ethics did arise during the time of Ancient Greece. However, their culture was still deeply embedded in religion and mythology. Morals and virtues are ideals that were created because people feared what consequences would await them after death. In medieval times they were even used in sermons to dissuade questionable behavior. It's only in modern times that we're beginning to try and fit them into our conceptions of wrong and right without the influence of religion.
     
  7. razoredge

    razoredge Member

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    morals and virtues came to be by walking a mile in another mans shoes, considering consequences, fear of returned retaliation, it just so happens that mankind has been highly spiritual throughout its existance. This hardly means mankind could not rationalize or think or consider without the fear of various spiritual beliefs. Many of which were little more than guidelines or stories or fables passed down by elders that had more than a few years to observe the end results of certain actions.

    The difference is, today we spend all sorts of time trying to excuse and validate ill actions towards others for personal self gain. A result of twisted laws and loss of true natural selection.
     
  8. monoxide_child

    monoxide_child New Metal Member

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    if you say that all religion is a cult, then you could say that making (or even just wanting) someone wait untill marriage for sex could be considered evil because you're denying that person the ability to have multiple sex partners and marry the one that's the best in bed. (yes, this is a reference to one of the other threads)
    i couldn't marry someone before having sex with them and
    i couldn't marry someone that's bad in bed
     
  9. monoxide_child

    monoxide_child New Metal Member

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    i think we might have covered this earlier, but the concept of religion needs to be seperate from the concept of evil
    not merely for what i said in my previous post, but for most of every thing else as well
    each religion has it's own set of "rules" for a person to follow in order to be able to go into it's version of "heaven" but the different religions have different (and indeed contradictory) rules, so which religion to follow? which religion gets you into heaven instead of hell? from you post you seem to be "christian" so what if i told you that the "correct" religion was hinduism? what if i told you that all christians go to the hindu version of hell?
    evilness is not a matter of folowing rules as they appear in a religious context
    evilness should be measured in terms of malicious intent, something more along the lines of moral relativism

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_relativism
     
  10. monoxide_child

    monoxide_child New Metal Member

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    american "freedom of religion" was created in response to the "protestants" that were "PROTEST-ing" chatholocism, the "freedom of religion" originally meant to be merely "the freedom to believe in and/or create differing denominations of christianity" the "freedom of religion" was never really meant to include the freedom to be non-christian, as evidenced by "the salem witch trials"
     
  11. monoxide_child

    monoxide_child New Metal Member

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    i went over this already but i think i can phrase it better now killing and stealing are against the law because people have the instintive impulse to do these things, it is only the law itself that controls the people at all, it's those that break the law frequently that are showing us who humanity really is underneath the masks that are worn by those that never break the law in their entire lives
     
  12. monoxide_child

    monoxide_child New Metal Member

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    whether or not an action is considered evil should be determined by wheather or not the individual performin the action had "malicious intent"
     
  13. monoxide_child

    monoxide_child New Metal Member

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    religion exists as a coping mechanism for death, the idea of "heaven" soothes those afraid to die and those who loved the people who died, and "hell" is after-death punishment for those who were malicious durring life
     
  14. Einherjar86

    Einherjar86 Active Member

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    Very good. However, it also serves as basically a guide book for how to conduct one's life; a list of moral guidelines. Without religion, without spirituality, what purpose would mankind have of morals and virtues, except that acting in such a way would serve an individual better in the long run? I'm saying that acting out of the pure belief that something is inherently "wrong" stems from an idea that there is a universal order that threatens punishment if broken.
     
  15. Silver Incubus

    Silver Incubus Dead Hands Justin

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    I certainly don't buy that as a response. I still think that morality stemmed from the tribal community, by the fact that in order to survive and prosper that they needed to be civil and act in certain ways that would benefit them. You don't need that religious mysticism to have that. The usefulness of the stories is only to show the cause and effect of ones actions. I think a much better explanation for religion having a start is that the stories describe the follies of man through some sort of similar situation between real people, embellished with supernatural for the entertainment aspects and told to younger generations. It takes no religion to understand that if you help your tribe hunt for food, you'll get a portion of it. Or if you help them farm their land, they will help you farm yours. So to kill one of your tribe is useless unless that member is not reciprocating, undermining others generosity, or has a lust for killing other members of their tribe. the same goes for stealing.

    The real problem came from religion to start with. Those with hidden knowledge gained power, by predicting things like eclipses and then as the naive and ignorant are exploited they begin to see divinity in the person who then claims divinity in one form or another. It is through this that the rule of kings and pharaoh's came to be. Religion then became a means to control the people with controlling their beliefs. Then those whom claim divine power can create the rule for the masses, while violating them themselves, gain even more of an advantage.

    So in reality, religion corrupts morality, by interjecting nonsensical superstitions into the equation. That is because the powerful, whom tend to become corrupt, create moral laws based on their own ideals, and the best way to control the masses.

    I will post more later, I'd like to hear your response to this.
     
  16. razoredge

    razoredge Member

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    Certainly, mankind would never have figured out that an eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth would leave everyone blind and hungry if not for fear of punishment from "The Lord". We would still be living in barbaric tribes, raiding, raping and pillaging other villages, if not for fear of "The Lord". Buddists fucked that all up though but anyhow thank goodness Christians had "The Lord" to do all their thinking for them.[satire]
     
  17. Einherjar86

    Einherjar86 Active Member

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    This isn't morality. This is acting in the best interest of oneself. You're outlining it perfectly. The only reason tribal members act this way is because they know they won't be treated equally if they act differently (in a negative manner). They aren't doing it out of the "goodness" of their own hearts.

    Objective morality is incapable of proving. It requires blind faith in what you're doing is correct. Tribal members act in the same way that dogs do (not to degrade them to animals, but this is the truth); they know that if they don't adhere to the laws/customs of the village, they will be treated poorly. Members of a tribe aren't born inherently knowing how to behave within the community. They're conditioned to behave in such a way by their elders.
     
  18. Blowtus

    Blowtus Member

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    Yeah - but the way that they learn what is in the best interests of themselves, is in part through the tribal morality. In a lot of situations moral actions can be seen to be those that just 'makes sense' in the long run. 'Morality' (and some laws, no doubt) very often just provide the short term consequences necessary for short sighted individuals (children are an excellent example) to act in a manner that is also good in the long term.
     
  19. razoredge

    razoredge Member

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    Interesting that animals have ethics, did "God" place fear in them too ?

    Myself I would not want to degrade dogs to the level of humans.
     
  20. Einherjar86

    Einherjar86 Active Member

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    Not in the sense we're speaking of in this thread. The question is "Are humans inherently evil?" This raises the possibility of there being inherent moral regulations that all humans are "supposed" to abide by. Doing something for the sake of benefitting yourself is not morality in this sense, because there's no inherent quality in that; there's no universal standard. These "morals" can change from day to day.

    Once again razor, what the hell are you talking about? Animals don't have ethics, if that's what you're saying. Animals have inherent instincts that seem to possess moral or ethical origin; but they actually don't. They act that way because it's most beneficial to them, and evolution has favored those animals that act in such a way.
     

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