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Can thoughts be moral or immoral?

fromderinside

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Its a problem when one considers faeries and gods as real.

Fairies and gods are not real, but thoughts are real.


I give you that mental activity is real and measurable. However the mental activity arising in one instance becomes consciousness of a feeling, in an other instance becomes an awareness of a condition. From a material perspective they seem to be the same. That is tracing back to inputs one finds they arise in the same way. Seems to me that mental activity of a particular sort needs to be consistent to be material.
 

Wiploc

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Its a problem when one considers faeries and gods as real.

Fairies and gods are not real, but thoughts are real.


I give you that mental activity is real and measurable. However the mental activity arising in one instance becomes consciousness of a feeling, in an other instance becomes an awareness of a condition. From a material perspective they seem to be the same. That is tracing back to inputs one finds they arise in the same way. Seems to me that mental activity of a particular sort needs to be consistent to be material.

I can't decipher that.

Does it have something to do with fairies and gods being real, or have you changed the subject?
 

fromderinside

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I was trying to communicate the transient nature of thought in both locus and content while we can follow the more or less constant physical nature of nervous activity underlying it. Thought does not seem to adhere onto physical activity. The only way I can rationalize this is that thought is like that of the construction of faeries and spirits and only exists in the moment with no consistent material substance underlying it. And like faeries thought need not be associated with material activity.

I cannot find a way to connect one construction in the brain, a thought arising out of impacting some language elements, with an analog that is consistent. It is not until that thought is executed that we see it's intent and derivation. In fact that is the way we can see that faeries and spirits are unreal when we see we cannot connect them to reality.
 

Wiploc

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I was trying to communicate the transient nature of thought in both locus and content while we can follow the more or less constant physical nature of nervous activity underlying it. Thought does not seem to adhere onto physical activity. The only way I can rationalize this is that thought is like that of the construction of faeries and spirits and only exists in the moment with no consistent material substance underlying it. And like faeries thought need not be associated with material activity.

I cannot find a way to connect one construction in the brain, a thought arising out of impacting some language elements, with an analog that is consistent. It is not until that thought is executed that we see it's intent and derivation. In fact that is the way we can see that faeries and spirits are unreal when we see we cannot connect them to reality.


I still can't follow that. If you're arguing that fairies are real, I need to reinterpret post 47.

I'd particularly like you to rephrase this: "thought is like that of the construction of faeries. [emphasis added]" I think it's gibberish, a mistake. But if you think it is meaningful, I want to understand the meaning.
 

fromderinside

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I'm quite specific in arguing faeries are not real. I use that point to show a relation with the construction or creation of thought.

I cannot find a way to connect one construction in the brain, a thought arising out of impacting some language elements, with a material analog that is consistent

It is not until that thought is executed that we see it's intent and derivation. In fact that is the way we can see that faeries and spirits are unreal when we see we cannot connect them to reality.
 

rousseau

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Maybe I can explain it better with the following example. One can think or fantasize about actions that are generally considered immoral, such as shooting someone that they don't like, but if they don't act on those thoughts, nothing immoral has occurred. So, there is no reason to feel guilty or concerned about those thoughts, as long as the person has no intentions of actually carrying out that fantasy.

Don't most people fantasize about things at one time or another that aren't considered moral. Having the thoughts isn't immoral, even if the things that we are thinking about are immoral. If you don't get that, I give up. :D


I get it. You were perfectly clear.

But you can't prove that no thoughts are immoral by giving an example one thought that doesn't happen to be immoral.

"Joe" hired a female engineer (back, I think, in the seventies) who screwed up some project. Joe declared that he would never hire another woman. Now, somebody talked Joe around, but that was a bad thought while he had it. It was a wrong and hurtful attitude.

It would have been better, more moral, for Joe to have been more alert to his prejudices, to have been less willing to generalize in that way.

I think we have to start asking ourselves - what is morality - what is the relevance of morality - or - why be moral.

People obsess over what is or isn't moral, but in my view this behaviour itself has roots in biology - discovering and following explicit and implicit moral norms makes one desirable in an evolutionary context. So I think that's our 'why' - morality is inextricably linked with evolution and biology. We are driven to understand, follow, and create moral norms so we can be looked at positively by our social group.

To me this creates the sphere of relevance for morality - we choose what is moral and we decide to be moral - because of the real-world effects our moral philosophy has on our behavior, and the effects our behavior has on our life outcomes. So we can discuss and define 'thought' all day, we can claim a thought is immoral - but in real terms it's the expression of thought, and interpretation by other humans that has actual impact and where the moral domain actually matters.

It's a perspective shift. This entire thread is made up of people obsessing over what is moral, which is exactly what the real moral domain wants us to do - determine thought / behavior that makes us more desirable. If we stop obsessing over what is ethical or not, and start looking at how morality actually exists as a construct, then we reveal that only human expression has moral content - as in - content that can be interpreted by observers.
 

southernhybrid

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I still think we are interpreting what was meant in the OP very differently from each other.

And btw, I've never fantasized about killing someone or anything like that, but I do have friends and relatives who have such thoughts and go so far as to verbalize them to me. None of these people would ever put these crazy fantasies into action, which is why I have a very difficult time understanding anyone who believes that thoughts in and of themselves have anything to do with one's personal morality.

As far as what is moral, there are human universals that are generally considered immoral in all cultures, but there are also personal morals which are the result of both genetics and how we are influenced by our environment. That, of course belongs in another discussion.
 

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I still think we are interpreting what was meant in the OP very differently from each other.

And btw, I've never fantasized about killing someone or anything like that, but I do have friends and relatives who have such thoughts and go so far as to verbalize them to me. None of these people would ever put these crazy fantasies into action, which is why I have a very difficult time understanding anyone who believes that thoughts in and of themselves have anything to do with one's personal morality.

As far as what is moral, there are human universals that are generally considered immoral in all cultures, but there are also personal morals which are the result of both genetics and how we are influenced by our environment. That, of course belongs in another discussion.

I don't really think the topic necessitates a separate discussion.

Really, it goes part and parcel with what I have been saying all along: what is commonly seen as a monolithic topic ("morality") is not a single mechanism but rather two completely separate models: one is an intrinsic driver of behavior that informs personal decisions and the other is an extrinsic driver of behavior that informs what is appropriate for anyone; that both "subjective" (moral) morals exist AND objective ethical rules exist. One is merely an emotional and personal approximation driven by evolved and believed expectations and the other is a prescription for social activity.

The conflation of the two allows for an interesting conflict, and the one of the OP: a conflation of morals and ethics on behalf of only acknowledging ethics then implies that thought cannot be "immoral (conflated with unethical)" because only actual external social actions are leveragable by ethics!

And then on the other side people try to drag ethics into morality.

It is patently frustrating because both sides are right (insofar as their usages of "morality" are concerned). But the incessant conflation of these two fundamentally different mechanisms then has cause everyone to talk past each other.

A thought can be immoral, violating the expectations we have for ourselves. A thought cannot be unethical, because it does not violate the reasonable expectations we can have for each other.
 

ruby sparks

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I still think we are interpreting what was meant in the OP very differently from each other.

Possibly, but I think that's ok because there's scope to think about it in more than one way, or context.

For example, you are obviously right, as regards the examples you gave, and I don't think anyone disagrees. The law should not and by and large does not punish anyone just for thinking about killing someone.

But also, there are ways in which the law does take thoughts into account (eg most notably mens rea, or remorse). And many, many situations don't involve laws at all. Sometimes, they don't even involve other people (most people have a conscience, and morally judge their own thoughts).

And for example, and in another way, in a different context, if I were to stop myself from, say, killing someone, or I (self)talk my way out of hating someone, that would normally involve (what seem to fit the description of moral) thoughts, and nothing more than that, and if so, the answer to the OP question would be yes, thoughts alone can be moral (or immoral).
 
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ronburgundy

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Not even in principle.

moral

/ˈmɒr(ə)l/
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adjective
adjective: moral


1.
concerned with the principles of right and wrong behaviour.



Thoughts are not behaviour.

It may surprise you to learn that dictionary definitions are not facts about the objective meaning of ideas. They are nothing more than a record of the current state of unstable changing linguistic conventions. In addition, many thoughts are the result of willful control of one's attention, selective retrieval of information, etc., which can be classified as "behavior", since even the definition you blindly rely upon does not limit behavior to physical movement. And BTW, talking and writing are physical movements, so even a definition the required this would still include writing or speaking one's thoughts as potentially immoral.
 

ronburgundy

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Yes.

Thoughts are often willful and controlled by the person via controlled attention, selective retrieval of information, selective biased evaluation of information, etc.. Writing and speaking thoughts are physical acts that have objective causal impacts than can harm others, making them immoral and unethical. In addition, thoughts causally influence all types of "actions". Since thinking something is known to causally impact all types of actions that can harm others, willfully propagating thoughts likely to produce harmful actions can itself be immoral.

On a highly related note, willful ignorance, such as faith, is inherently immoral. These are mental processes that produce specific thoughts and beliefs that have no correspondence to reality. Since our beliefs cause actions, and actions can harm, faith based beliefs can cause harm by their inaccuracy. It is reckless negligence not to make at least some minimal effort to ensure that one is not causing others undue harm, and being willfully ignorant, faithful, or dogmatically committed to beliefs is the epitome of failing to make that minimal effort.
 

fromderinside

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As I understand NS organization, information proceeds from internal and external sources and functions to and through the NS where thoughts are generated at frontal cortex and translated into communicative signals after prior cortical processing based on those inputs and other neural storage and processing inputs.

Many models exist for how theses functions are realized. For analytic and explanative convenience models are generated to explain these functions. The model you present ronburgundy is a mixture of several models among many seeking to make sense of what the brain and associated squirts and tweaks do when accomplishing its functions.

At the level you present many presumptions need be made before one travels into what you believe is actually being done. I would summarize your approach as that of a rationalistic cognitive processor model. Much has to be made clear by the model user before profitable discussion about it can be carried out. There are way to many brush strokes unanchored in what you wrote for anything profitable to come from your statement other than wha?

If you wish us to contribute you need to flesh out your model. For instance, you need to get from rational statements to material statements before anyone can understand how you incorporate them (material statements such as what constitutes thoughts) into your model.
 

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Words (spoken) are nothing more than thoughts made audible. (...sticks and stones may break my bones but names can never hurt me. etc etc.)

@Metaphor - if thoughts are morally neutral/harmless, then surely the mere hearing of a person's thoughts can't pose any moral harm, right?

#Voltaire #FreeSpeech
 

fromderinside

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Speaking is an material action giving thought source and intent as pointed out earlier.

@Metaphor if thoughts are morally neutral ..... they stay that way until they are spoken, written, acted upon. We should know this because spirits and faeries remain harmless when they are spoken - have no substance - unless given powers which are acted upon.
 

ronburgundy

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As I understand NS organization, information proceeds from internal and external sources and functions to and through the NS where thoughts are generated at frontal cortex and translated into communicative signals after prior cortical processing based on those inputs and other neural storage and processing inputs.

Many models exist for how theses functions are realized. For analytic and explanative convenience models are generated to explain these functions. The model you present ronburgundy is a mixture of several models among many seeking to make sense of what the brain and associated squirts and tweaks do when accomplishing its functions.

At the level you present many presumptions need be made before one travels into what you believe is actually being done. I would summarize your approach as that of a rationalistic cognitive processor model. Much has to be made clear by the model user before profitable discussion about it can be carried out. There are way to many brush strokes unanchored in what you wrote for anything profitable to come from your statement other than wha?

If you wish us to contribute you need to flesh out your model. For instance, you need to get from rational statements to material statements before anyone can understand how you incorporate them (material statements such as what constitutes thoughts) into your model.

IF you want to argue against any notion of will and choice that's fine, but that merely concludes that nothing can be immoral b/c no one has control over the decisions of how to act. That makes the OP moot and the very idea of morality nonsensical. To the extent that any volitional control over action exists, it can only do so via volitional control over the mental processes that trigger overt physical action.
 

ronburgundy

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Words (spoken) are nothing more than thoughts made audible. (...sticks and stones may break my bones but names can never hurt me. etc etc.)

@Metaphor - if thoughts are morally neutral/harmless, then surely the mere hearing of a person's thoughts can't pose any moral harm, right?

#Voltaire #FreeSpeech

You come to a crosswalk next to a blind man. You say out loud "The light is green." when it is in fact red. He steps into the street and is killed.
You have not acted other than to voice your thoughts, yet by any sane ethical philosophy (and by the standards of almost all humans) you have done something immoral. Speech can definitely be immoral, and since we are likely to say what we believe, beliefs that can cause harm via their inaccuracy can be immoral if they are the result of willful systematic bias rather than random unavoidable error.
 

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IF you want to argue against any notion of will and choice that's fine, but that merely concludes that nothing can be immoral b/c no one has control over the decisions of how to act. That makes the OP moot and the very idea of morality nonsensical. To the extent that any volitional control over action exists, it can only do so via volitional control over the mental processes that trigger overt physical action.

Yes, if we want to have a meaningful conversation about morality, we have to assume free will exists.
 

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To the extent that any volitional control over action exists, it can only do so via volitional control over the mental processes that trigger overt physical action.

To me, this gets to the core of one way (perhaps not the main or only one) that thoughts are moral/immoral, in and of themselves, as I see it. It doesn't seem to make any sense to say that there is nothing moral about never-outwardly-expressed thoughts when they are the only things that are involved in you not moving on to stage 2 (speaking) or stage 3 (overtly doing) something immoral, when inwardly, privately, by thought alone, you 'stop yourself' (or, alternatively, feel bad after you did do something, though that's a slightly separate issue).
 

fromderinside

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As I understand NS organization, information proceeds from internal and external sources and functions to and through the NS where thoughts are generated at frontal cortex and translated into communicative signals after prior cortical processing based on those inputs and other neural storage and processing inputs.

Many models exist for how theses functions are realized. For analytic and explanative convenience models are generated to explain these functions. The model you present ronburgundy is a mixture of several models among many seeking to make sense of what the brain and associated squirts and tweaks do when accomplishing its functions.

At the level you present many presumptions need be made before one travels into what you believe is actually being done. I would summarize your approach as that of a rationalistic cognitive processor model. Much has to be made clear by the model user before profitable discussion about it can be carried out. There are way to many brush strokes unanchored in what you wrote for anything profitable to come from your statement other than wha?

If you wish us to contribute you need to flesh out your model. For instance, you need to get from rational statements to material statements before anyone can understand how you incorporate them (material statements such as what constitutes thoughts) into your model.

IF you want to argue against any notion of will and choice that's fine, but that merely concludes that nothing can be immoral b/c no one has control over the decisions of how to act. That makes the OP moot and the very idea of morality nonsensical. To the extent that any volitional control over action exists, it can only do so via volitional control over the mental processes that trigger overt physical action.

There you go. Volition, choice. I see no reason why reason need be constrained by whether decisions are controlled. A mechanistic model of neural function suggests that whatever will be has to be presaged by what has been. But does that eliminate whether one can decide? I don't see how. One can be conscious of alternatives even if things are determined. What one perceives need have no effect on what what is done leaving the illusion of conscious control in place. We are talking inside versus outside here not whether there is actual control. That is one may frame what has happened to suit one's perspective on things whether or not one has actual control on the flow of things.

I think that leaves us with a sense of what should be and what is even though what is is determined. If that is generalized to persons through awareness and similarity we have conscious perspective of what should and should not be with the person a reference, or morality.

Re Wiploc's view that morality demands free will that need not be the case. One may perceive oneself as an agent without actually having agency. All that is necessary is an awareness that one is unique which can be true in either a willed or determined individual. It matters not if one controls or flows for such perceptions to exist.

Ruby Sparks addresses another truism which exists in the determined an free willed individual again without being relevant to whether one can express a sense of right and wrong over what one perceives. We are individuals as the result of us being individual instances of something, not out of any actual self control or governance over behavior. Each here has perspective from here and tends to ascribe cause and effect to that status from the fact of being an individual. It doesn't matter if we are or not we believe we are self determining.
 

Jarhyn

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Not even in principle.

moral

/ˈmɒr(ə)l/
Learn to pronounce



adjective
adjective: moral


1.
concerned with the principles of right and wrong behaviour.



Thoughts are not behaviour.

It may surprise you to learn that dictionary definitions are not facts about the objective meaning of ideas. They are nothing more than a record of the current state of unstable changing linguistic conventions. In addition, many thoughts are the result of willful control of one's attention, selective retrieval of information, etc., which can be classified as "behavior", since even the definition you blindly rely upon does not limit behavior to physical movement. And BTW, talking and writing are physical movements, so even a definition the required this would still include writing or speaking one's thoughts as potentially immoral.

And the fact is, we as humans need the words to express certain ideas. So sometimes we split words that were treated as synonymous so that we can express such nuance instead.

You are absolutely right insofar as language is a fabric that bends, shifts, tears. There are objective ways things are, but there is no objectively right way for language to encode ideas other than "whatever works".

I have explained to metaphor, people here, people elsewhere, people out in the world, Uber drivers, friends, coworkers. When I have the time to discuss it in person, I tend to make a good impact and cleave the two concepts. I'm usually just more of an asshole about it here because I know I'll never convince Metaphor that he might just be ignoring an entire element of human behavior.

I will note that when one utters "sociopath", one utters a phrase generally intended to communicate "someone with a dangerous lack of a primary human response to various stimuli, such as a lack of any feeling of responsibility to apply scrutiny to their own thoughts."*

In fact, such behavior reminds me of a story titled "Candidae", or even another titled "The Stranger".

*Though not solely. Generally this is just a single overwhelmingly common aspect of the cluster of concepts that swirl about "sociopath", major but not always necessary or sufficient.
 

fromderinside

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Intresting. Should we consider Will as did Voltaire or should we consider happenstance as did Camus.

I don't think we're that far along on understanding consciousness.

Since it is not clear that any thought that can be said to be conscious, may be an articulated, sub-vocal or other level of muscle participation in closing link between what the brain creates and what the mind hears. If that is the case then any conscious thought is the result of an mechanical action.

On the other hand if heard thought is pure neural activity processed as conscious entity - a fact I very much doubt to be true - then it too is must be considered an action.

Having said both I'm holding off on the idea that thought is an action unless it is clearly enacted consciously. That is I believe conscious thought is observed.

As for whether the precursor to conscious thought is also observed is an issue still in the lab as far as I can ascertain. Try looking through recent, last 20 years of research, on whether there is not consciousness is an agent. Will as illusion stuff.

We're pretty sure humans act. Its just that do we do so out of volition or reaction.
 

Wiploc

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I remember another example of someone choosing to modify his thoughts.

This is from Uncommon Therapy by Milton Ericson.

A guy was, let's say, 34 years old. He was a virgin because whenever he was about to get in bed with a woman, he felt a powerful urge to kill her. He was afraid he would kill her, so he never got into the bed.

He went to Dr. Ericson, who was into short-term behavior modification. Some people say we should do long-term psychotherapy, because behavior modification treats only symptoms, not causes.

Ericson argues that symptoms are what we're supposed to treat. We all have causes. The people who go to doctors do so because of symptoms.

Ericson gave his patient a thick rubber band. He instructed the patient to wear the rubber band on his wrist. Every time he thought of harming a woman, he was to pull on that rubber band as hard as he could, and then let go.

Two weeks later, the man was no longer a virgin.
 

Jarhyn

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I remember another example of someone choosing to modify his thoughts.

This is from Uncommon Therapy by Milton Ericson.

A guy was, let's say, 34 years old. He was a virgin because whenever he was about to get in bed with a woman, he felt a powerful urge to kill her. He was afraid he would kill her, so he never got into the bed.

He went to Dr. Ericson, who was into short-term behavior modification. Some people say we should do long-term psychotherapy, because behavior modification treats only symptoms, not causes.

Ericson argues that symptoms are what we're supposed to treat. We all have causes. The people who go to doctors do so because of symptoms.

Ericson gave his patient a thick rubber band. He instructed the patient to wear the rubber band on his wrist. Every time he thought of harming a woman, he was to pull on that rubber band as hard as he could, and then let go.

Two weeks later, the man was no longer a virgin.

Which is to say, his conscious thought about his unbidden feelings enabled better outcomes. Accepting that he had a moral duty to police his thoughts resulted in better thoughts and prevention of atrocity. The mere act of believing in free will put him on a course to improvement for himself and others.

This is an excellent example of why thoughts must be capable of being considered immoral.
 

fromderinside

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How about an objective analysis rather than a rational one? Linkages such as those you suggest are not to be found supported in the scientific literature. First no one takes a history of conscious thought nor unbidden feelings - whatever they are - and better outcomes are determined post hoc so predicting is a bit of a problem.

Yours is a ghastly example on moral thought valance is a mishmash of ad hoc mind flatulating.
 

Jarhyn

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How about an objective analysis rather than a rational one? Linkages such as those you suggest are not to be found supported in the scientific literature. First no one takes a history of conscious thought nor unbidden feelings - whatever they are - and better outcomes are determined post hoc so predicting is a bit of a problem.

Yours is a ghastly example on moral thought valance is a mishmash of ad hoc mind flatulating.

Are you kidding, this is undergrad level foundational psychology: evaluation of our thoughts precedes evaluation of our actions.

I've taken this to heart, giving myself a suitably painful smack from a hair tie every time I get a racially disparaging invasive, and it seems to be helping.

You are flat out wrong in your assertion. Plenty of people take a history of conscious and unbidden thoughts. It's called a "diary", and further, plenty of us have the brain cells to rub together to understand that ethical action requires evaluating probabilities of outcome before the fact, so much so that it is generally these probabilities rather than post-hoc which motivate the decision of whether to correct the behavior of the person in question.
 

fromderinside

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Yes I read that too as an undergraduate. Then I went onto take study of the brain seriously by becoming a psychophysical neuroscientist.

I come from that side of psychology that lets measurement of of inputs determine how we consider how we process what we sense and experience. I'm not from that school which puts electrodes in the cortex and then builds models of how that activity might arise to understand how the brain processes things.

That of which you speak has it's place, along with philosophy, for asking questions about how we behave. But having set the stage they must fall back when it is found that what comes in is incompatible with what one presumes about things. What I just wrote about is called falsification. Once falsified other ways to get at what is actually going on need be pursued.

My reading of the current state of neuroscience is that physical measurement of activity must be built up from the outside to get at how the brain became what it is. For instance respiration is always an indication of behavior in oxygen consuming beings. Therefore oxygen uptake is a better measure of activity than is coincidental electrical activity one might record.

This lesson has been brought home over and over again.

PS: I think the recent clash of evidence based inference with indoctrination based inference in the US demonstrated just how badly things can go if we take intellectual shortcuts to belief systems.
 

Jarhyn

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Yes I read that too as an undergraduate. Then I went onto take study of the brain seriously by becoming a psychophysical neuroscientist.

I come from that side of psychology that lets measurement of of inputs determine how we consider how we process what we sense and experience. I'm not from that school which puts electrodes in the cortex and then builds models of how that activity might arise to understand how the brain processes things.

That of which you speak has it's place, along with philosophy, for asking questions about how we behave. But having set the stage they must fall back when it is found that what comes in is incompatible with what one presumes about things. What I just wrote about is called falsification. Once falsified other ways to get at what is actually going on need be pursued.

My reading of the current state of neuroscience is that physical measurement of activity must be built up from the outside to get at how the brain became what it is. For instance respiration is always an indication of behavior in oxygen consuming beings. Therefore oxygen uptake is a better measure of activity than is coincidental electrical activity one might record.

This lesson has been brought home over and over again.

PS: I think the recent clash of evidence based inference with indoctrination based inference in the US demonstrated just how badly things can go if we take intellectual shortcuts to belief systems.

Sorry but no. You can't compare autonomic with conscious processes like that.

Breathing, in it's "cadence of thought" is very different from, say, walking down the street to the store. For one, executive decision is almost entirely denied of the individual. It's a "service" more than a runtime module. It runs in its own thread and takes only limited control signals when the walking thing is much more intrinsically linked and explicitly steered by the conscious processes.

When discussing morality of thought, we need to focus on the actual boundary because it's there that action happens, where we decide which invasives we accept and which we reject.

We cannot reasonably deny the fact that thoughts come unbidden and that we, in our heads, absolutely may and generally do engage in reacting to those thoughts that come in.

The basics of behavior modification seem to indicate that the character of that reaction (and in some cases through administering "artificial" consequences in lieu of delayed negative consequences for actual actions) had impacts on the frequency of the phenomena and the frequency of the phenomena absolutely has impacts on the secondary behavior.

The point is to say that we as people MAY and OUGHT engage in internal strategies which lead to better action calculus, and thus to better action.

Thoughts can thusly be "immoral" as they do not lead to the reactions we wish in the contexts we wish them to happen in.
 

Politesse

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My reading of the current state of neuroscience is that physical measurement of activity must be built up from the outside to get at how the brain became what it is. For instance respiration is always an indication of behavior in oxygen consuming beings. Therefore oxygen uptake is a better measure of activity than is coincidental electrical activity one might record.
That sounds absurd to me, I would want every possible measure for analysis. There's no good reason to choose to ignore a set of data.
 

fromderinside

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In my example one needs take in to account likelihood that a particular measure isn't just extraneous phenomena. We have examined neural electrical activity to the ner-do-well and we have found general activity not particularly relevant to underlying neural local function. Sure there is onset and awareness indices but they are way too weak or late to provide index even to threshold. Point is study of local function requires something more onto time and activity expected by underlying processes.. At this stage of study there are lots of good reasons to ignore particular sets of data.

My argument relates to matching process to activity not some general index like REM. Every good statistician knows the risks of adding variables just to get significance. Does rings-of-Saturn effects ring any bells?
 

fromderinside

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My reading of the current state of neuroscience is that physical measurement of activity must be built up from the outside to get at how the brain became what it is. For instance respiration is always an indication of behavior in oxygen consuming beings. Therefore oxygen uptake is a better measure of activity than is coincidental electrical activity one might record.

That sounds absurd to me, I would want every possible measure for analysis. There's no good reason to choose to ignore a set of data.

If you want to build a universal model that might be the case. However scientists tend to constrain their investigations to particular aspects of the material and function they investigate. They reduce their investigation to a minimize number of variables to facilitate identification and function.

Continuing on from my previous post We know there is a continuum from first life to current life. Its most evident within phyla. Phylogeny recapitulates ontogeny still works. Its one reason we take the work of Crick seriously when he talked of necessary elements for consciousness.

We also, in my field, make lots of use of mechanical and electrical models when we attempt to emulate behavior. We've found that response increases in fidelity and completeness with duration so we model with growth models from electrical applications. At the same time we look at underlying principles of organization of tissue that likely facilitate such growth functions and usually find confirming evidence therefrom.
 

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Hi laughing dog,

IMO, a thought without any accompanying action is neither moral or immoral. Questions of right or wrong only come into play when you interact with the world around you.

If someone cuts you off in traffic and speeds away, an angry fantasy of road-raging the other driver might well pop into your head for an instant. However, if you let the moment pass & stick to safe driving, you did the right thing. Anger is a normal emotion, and we shouldn't be guilt-tripping ourselves every time we have a fleeting "bad thought", if the thought was never translated into action.

Lets say instead you are always short of money, and you start thinking up elaborate plans to rob a bank. If you actually did it, your action would be wrong and immoral. If you started casing the place, bought a gun, researched successful bank robberies on-line, bragged to your wife, etc., I'd say you were also taking actions that would be immoral -- even if your wife turns you over to the cops before you could carry out the robbery. However, if all this planning just stayed between your ears for decades on-end, and you died, then your thoughts about robbing the bank were neither moral or immoral. They were just a waste of mental energy.

Finally, obsessive thoughts/fantasies of a violent or negative nature are signs of a mental health issue, not immorality. Whoever has them needs a medical intervention, before we need to call the cops when they try and act on them.
 

Jarhyn

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You must hold yourself responsible for the things you think. Nobody else has the power or right to so so, so YOU MUST. This is what morality means to me.
 

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Ethics, those to me are something different. Those describe that which others ought, together, hold each other accountable for, and how they must account, for the best of all.

To speak is free, unless you speak of intent to doing harm to someone else who is not publicly and clearly intending to harm you or someone else first. That's the extent of it. Then others must judge you. And you must judge yourself if you continue to wish to be considered moral. They may only to that extent judge you not moral in their eyes.

To do an immoral thing is unethical. It means a violation of principles we can expect people to uphold, because it directly harms us.

This creates a heirarchy of expectation and accountability.
 

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Yes, but not a hierarchy based on support by material evidence.

It's based on logical conclusion. If nobody else can hold you accountable for what you think then you are the one who must do it. If you don't, and you let those thoughts out I have the RIGHT to call you immoral, and deal with you as I will within that judgement.

I cannot do more than that, ethically, justifiedly, join with others, unless you act on it, or make communications that you will, in a way that harms me or others, in which case I WILL do something about it and seek coordination with others to stop it, and only to the extent it is forced to become necessary.
 

Jarhyn

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What you wrote looks more like setting up judgmental method rather than preparing responses founded in moral value.

It means I am the God of my own body. If there is some demon in me, I must be the one to put it away. Nobody else can, for this is a part of me. And sometimes these demons in us grow from exposure to whatever feeds them. Sometimes what feeds them is simply letting them run amok inside who we are, suggesting unacceptable ways of looking at the world without consequence or challenge of reason. There is an "I" inside me. I AM. I steer me. I ultimately decide who I am and what I do. I pity anyone who does not have the temerity to take control of who they are.
 

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Morality assumes all human life is equally deserving of life and equally deserving to not be harmed.

The criminal justice system and the legal system work under the assumption that humans have freedom of will and have control over their actions. Assuming freedom of will does not in itself cause any harm. Humans can be harmed by environments and actions taken after a verdict of guilt though.

Aaron Burr said: "I am the one thing I can control". To wait is to control.

But hating your fellow man is what apes filled with hormones do.

The trick is to not act, just think. Then you can claim you are as pure as the driven snow.
 
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