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Is it wrong to eat your dog, etc?

ruby sparks

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1. A family's dog was killed by a car in front of their house. They had heard that dog meat was delicious, so they cut up the dog's body and cooked it and ate it for dinner.

2. A woman was dying, and on her deathbed she asked her son to promise that he would visit her grave every week. The son loved his mother very much, so he promised to visit her grave every week. But after the mother died, the son didn't keep his promise, because he was very busy.

3. A woman is cleaning out her closet, and she finds a national flag that had been in the closet unused for many years. She doesn't want the flag anymore, so she cuts it up into pieces and uses the rags to clean her bathroom.

4. A brother and sister like to kiss each other on the mouth. When nobody is around, they find a secret hiding place and kiss each other on the mouth, passionately.

5. A man goes to the supermarket once a week and buys a dead chicken. Before cooking the chicken, he has sexual intercourse with it. Then he cooks it and eats it.

Which, if any, of the above scenarios do you consider to be immoral to at least some degree, and why?

Affect, Culture, and Morality, or Is It Wrong to Eat your Dog?
http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.385.1825&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Can you think of any other similar morally ambiguous (or as some researchers call them, 'morally dumbfounding') scenarios?

Morally dumbfounding actions: "disgusting or disrespectful actions that are judged to be moral violations, even when these actions are harmless and/or for which no good immoral reasons can be given".

Searching for Moral Dumbfounding
https://www.collabra.org/articles/10.1525/collabra.79/
 
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Shobha

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These are Jonathan Haidt's examples, right ?
They reveal that our moral revulsion/disgust often has no rational reasons ...
 

MxM111

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It all depends what you call moral.

If moral is currently culturally acceptable moral values, then I suspect that all of the examples are wrong.

If you accept moral wrong as something that increases probability of suffering and decreases probability of well being, then provided that other people are not upset about your actions, then the last two are wrong. # 4 is wrong because of the probability to have sexual intercourse and have a baby with genetic problems. But since it usually can be mitigated, it is only slightly wrong. #5 is wrong because of the possible disease transfer. Again, if there are mitigation, it is only slightly wrong.

Edit: I am less certain with #2. If by violating it, it increases probability that the son will lie to alive people, then it is also "slightly wrong", but it depends on circumstances. If he is not visiting her grave because he works as doctor and he is busy because he literally saves people lives, then it is not wrong. In any way, we are splitting hairs here.
 

Treedbear

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1. A family's dog was killed by a car in front of their house. They had heard that dog meat was delicious, so they cut up the dog's body and cooked it and ate it for dinner.

The family's granny died and they wondered what it would taste like so they cut her up and put her on the grill. It's a moral issue because it's too similar to cannibalism. The family dog is a pet and killing and eating symbols of our affection is morally objectionable, ie morally wrong.

2. A woman was dying, and on her deathbed she asked her son to promise that he would visit her grave every week. The son loved his mother very much, so he promised to visit her grave every week. But after the mother died, the son didn't keep his promise, because he was very busy.

It would have been immoral for the woman to ask her son to make the promise, but for her condition at the time and the difficulty of having reasonable discussions about spiritual issues, etc. at the moment. Therefore her son's promise was compassionate and morally appropriate, but carried no obligation.

3. A woman is cleaning out her closet, and she finds a national flag that had been in the closet unused for many years. She doesn't want the flag anymore, so she cuts it up into pieces and uses the rags to clean her bathroom.

As long as she doesn't attract public attention to it there's no problem. Personal patriotism is meaningless. On the other hand I found it a little disturbing back in 2001 when the manager of the company cafeteria tossed all the tiny America flag decorations in the trashcan after lunchtime. Made the whole 911 thing seem like so much of a farce.

4. A brother and sister like to kiss each other on the mouth. When nobody is around, they find a secret hiding place and kiss each other on the mouth, passionately.

Same as the answer to #3, except that sexual desire knows no bounds and, since incest is immoral for genetic reasons, such desires should be repressed for moral reasons.

5. A man goes to the supermarket once a week and buys a dead chicken. Before cooking the chicken, he has sexual intercourse with it. Then he cooks it and eats it.

You'd need a professional psychoanalyst to figure that one out. But cooking and eating the object of his sexual desire is a bit unsettling.
 

abaddon

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The family's granny died and they wondered what it would taste like so they cut her up and put her on the grill. It's a moral issue because it's too similar to cannibalism. The family dog is a pet and killing and eating symbols of our affection is morally objectionable, ie morally wrong.

But, was it a beloved pet? You're substituting granny for the dog for emotional effect.

I consider these 2 basic questions: 1) is a sentient being having its interest in staying alive and healthy ignored? 2) is there emotional harm to either the family or the extended societal circle around them?

In the dog-eating scenario, the answers are 1) No violation of animal rights, as the dog is dead by accident. 2) No, because the very act of eating the dog indicates there's no emotional trauma.

Treedbear's observation that the mother was wrong for wanting the promise is an interesting insight. I agree about the dying mom being wrong. Not keeping the promise is understandable in this case.

---------------

Of all the scenarios, the only one that stands out as probably the most immoral behavior, is the incest of the brother and sister because that can lead to bad things. It's just not clear to me whether possible negative consequences make the kissing itself immoral.

The one that has absolute zero negative connotation to me is the flag as rags. I'm more concerned with how wrong it would be to require people to feel patriotic, or to have to show it by idolizing mere symbols.
 

Treedbear

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The family's granny died and they wondered what it would taste like so they cut her up and put her on the grill. It's a moral issue because it's too similar to cannibalism. The family dog is a pet and killing and eating symbols of our affection is morally objectionable, ie morally wrong.

But, was it a beloved pet? You're substituting granny for the dog for emotional effect.

I consider these 2 basic questions: 1) is a sentient being having its interest in staying alive and healthy ignored? 2) is there emotional harm to either the family or the extended societal circle around them?

In the dog-eating scenario, the answers are 1) No violation of animal rights, as the dog is dead by accident. 2) No, because the very act of eating the dog indicates there's no emotional trauma.

Dog lovers may disagree. The practice of eating dogs might also be emotionally unsettling. I'm not a dog-person, but while it's not as serious as eating human flesh it's wrong for the same reason. Morality is strongly dependent on symbolism which is why it doesn't matter whether the dog or the granny were already dead, and interring or cremating the bodies might even be considered a waste. The Donner party wouldn't have survived the winter if they hadn't eaten their dead companions, but both the social and the personal stigma was there all the same. Morality is inherently based on cultural norms, and our culture loves dogs and other pets almost as much as grannies. I wasn't trying to tap into your emotional response but only offering it as a more explicit example for why I think it is true.



Of all the scenarios, the only one that stands out as probably the most immoral behavior, is the incest of the brother and sister because that can lead to bad things. It's just not clear to me whether possible negative consequences make the kissing itself immoral.

If it was passionate kissing it was to some extent emotionally compelled. Not a good situation when it involves siblings or a neighbor's spouse.

The one that has absolute zero negative connotation to me is the flag as rags. I'm more concerned with how wrong it would be to require people to feel patriotic, or to have to show it by idolizing mere symbols.

Respect for national symbols is a moral good if you consider yourself a citizen of that nation. It's a different and more serious issue when disrespecting that symbol is a matter of free speech. But apathetic disregard is not morally acceptable because being a citizen implies a basic belief in the moral integrity of that nation and its people.
 

Treedbear

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Treedbear's observation that the mother was wrong for wanting the promise is an interesting insight. I agree about the dying mom being wrong. Not keeping the promise is understandable in this case.
...

Of course I was assuming certain norms existed about the mother-son relationship that might be completely wrong. It's easy to imagine the mother had every reason to believe her son would honor the request based on family or social norms. It might even have been customary for the dying person to make such a request and that it was the norm for all sons to maintain the custom. If the son had secretly never intended to honor that tradition then he was living a lie. Morality is relative in the sense that it is strongly dependent on context. In a similar scenario the son might have promised his mother to do the flowers out of the desire to comfort his mom even though she never mentioned it to him. He might have done it out of feelings of guilt or inadequacy and trying to impress her by his devotion. In that case he's stuck with the obligation since the motivation was his own. Of course he might not follow through, from which you get lingering guilt and unresolved internal conflict.
 

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1. A family's dog was killed by a car in front of their house. They had heard that dog meat was delicious, so they cut up the dog's body and cooked it and ate it for dinner.

2. A woman was dying, and on her deathbed she asked her son to promise that he would visit her grave every week. The son loved his mother very much, so he promised to visit her grave every week. But after the mother died, the son didn't keep his promise, because he was very busy.

3. A woman is cleaning out her closet, and she finds a national flag that had been in the closet unused for many years. She doesn't want the flag anymore, so she cuts it up into pieces and uses the rags to clean her bathroom.

4. A brother and sister like to kiss each other on the mouth. When nobody is around, they find a secret hiding place and kiss each other on the mouth, passionately.

5. A man goes to the supermarket once a week and buys a dead chicken. Before cooking the chicken, he has sexual intercourse with it. Then he cooks it and eats it.

Which, if any, of the above scenarios do you consider to be immoral to at least some degree, and why?

Affect, Culture, and Morality, or Is It Wrong to Eat your Dog?
http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.385.1825&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Can you think of any other similar morally ambiguous (or as some researchers call them, 'morally dumbfounding') scenarios?

Morally dumbfounding actions: "disgusting or disrespectful actions that are judged to be moral violations, even when these actions are harmless and/or for which no good immoral reasons can be given".

Searching for Moral Dumbfounding
https://www.collabra.org/articles/10.1525/collabra.79/

I don't find most of these morally dumbfounding. The fundamental issue is that these researchers believe that morality is based on "harm". It isn't.

1) Clearly wrong. You respect the ones you love, even after their death. If you owned a dog and didn't love it, then I would consider that morally wrong as well.
2) This depends on exactly what "very busy" entails, but if this wasn't something extreme, and merely something like "too busy at work", then *clearly* it is morally wrong. It is wrong not to keep your promises, especially to your family.
3) This isn't wrong at all. National symbols don't deserve reverence.
4) Not wrong, although most would find it disgusting.
5) Buying the chicken is already wrong. Having sex with it is probably the least of the wrong things here.


Not very dumbfounding at all.
 

J842P

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Same as the answer to #3, except that sexual desire knows no bounds and, since incest is immoral for genetic reasons, such desires should be repressed for moral reasons.
Nothing can be "immoral for genetic reasons", I'm not even sure what that means. Incest isn't immoral, although, conceiving a child could be considered immoral, given the risks. But obviously, sex can be had without producing a child quite easily.
 

Treedbear

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Same as the answer to #3, except that sexual desire knows no bounds and, since incest is immoral for genetic reasons, such desires should be repressed for moral reasons.
Nothing can be "immoral for genetic reasons", I'm not even sure what that means.

It means that the possibility of one's offspring having serious genetic defects is greatly increased as a result of incestuous sexual relations.

Incest isn't immoral, although, conceiving a child could be considered immoral, given the risks. But obviously, sex can be had without producing a child quite easily.

Then explain why it's still illegal for siblings to marry each other in 47 out of 50 states in the US.
 

J842P

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It means that the possibility of one's offspring having serious genetic defects is greatly increased as a result of incestuous sexual relations.
Sure, I already agreed that conceiving a child with a close blood-relative would be immoral. But sexual contact per se isn't wrong. You can use contraceptives, or terminate any pregnancy. Obviously, if you are not willing to do that, then it would be immoral.


Then explain why it's still illegal for siblings to marry each other in 47 out of 50 states in the US.

Why should I have to explain that? That is totally irrelevant to the ethics of the situation, and more generally, the legality of an act is completely irrelevant to the morality of an act. That is simply a category error. Unless you want to allow for all sorts of things, up to and including genocide, to be moral.
 

Bronzeage

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Public morality and social moral codes have two elements.

The first is it defines proper behavior and actions in relation to other people. This is things like who you can have sex with, and who you can't. In the extreme, who you can kill without retribution, and who you can't. In modern times, this is mostly used in war, but killing in self defense is allowable, if it can be justified.

The second element is how we deal with those who violate the moral code. This is even murkier than the code itself. Sometimes there is no sanction. It might be no worse than public scorn, or it might spill over into the legal system.

Violations of any moral code in any culture come in degrees and the sanctions come in even more degrees.
 

J842P

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Public morality and social moral codes have two elements.

The first is it defines proper behavior and actions in relation to other people. This is things like who you can have sex with, and who you can't. In the extreme, who you can kill without retribution, and who you can't. In modern times, this is mostly used in war, but killing in self defense is allowable, if it can be justified.

The second element is how we deal with those who violate the moral code. This is even murkier than the code itself. Sometimes there is no sanction. It might be no worse than public scorn, or it might spill over into the legal system.

Violations of any moral code in any culture come in degrees and the sanctions come in even more degrees.

Moral codes don't always have to do with your actions in relation to other people. We see many moral codes that censure actions to objects, animals, and to yourself.
 

Treedbear

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Public morality and social moral codes have two elements.

The first is it defines proper behavior and actions in relation to other people. This is things like who you can have sex with, and who you can't. In the extreme, who you can kill without retribution, and who you can't. In modern times, this is mostly used in war, but killing in self defense is allowable, if it can be justified.

The second element is how we deal with those who violate the moral code. This is even murkier than the code itself. Sometimes there is no sanction. It might be no worse than public scorn, or it might spill over into the legal system.

Violations of any moral code in any culture come in degrees and the sanctions come in even more degrees.

Moral codes don't always have to do with your actions in relation to other people. We see many moral codes that censure actions to objects, animals, and to yourself.

But all of them actually do have some relationship with how society needs to function. I believe in Kant's categorical imperative. An action is right if you can will that the maxim of an action become a moral law applying to all persons. It also needs to be recognized that morality often functions on a symbolic level. That's why cruelty to animals is unacceptable as they are sentient beings and since it can translate into cruelty to other sentient beings such as humans.
 

Bronzeage

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Public morality and social moral codes have two elements.

The first is it defines proper behavior and actions in relation to other people. This is things like who you can have sex with, and who you can't. In the extreme, who you can kill without retribution, and who you can't. In modern times, this is mostly used in war, but killing in self defense is allowable, if it can be justified.

The second element is how we deal with those who violate the moral code. This is even murkier than the code itself. Sometimes there is no sanction. It might be no worse than public scorn, or it might spill over into the legal system.

Violations of any moral code in any culture come in degrees and the sanctions come in even more degrees.

Moral codes don't always have to do with your actions in relation to other people. We see many moral codes that censure actions to objects, animals, and to yourself.

It's pretty much the same thing. Some animals are food and some are friends. Friends get the protection of our moral code. Moral codes define how a person is expected to deal with the world, objects, animals and possibly to oneself.
 

abaddon

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It also needs to be recognized that morality often functions on a symbolic level. That's why cruelty to animals is unacceptable as they are sentient beings and since it can translate into cruelty to other sentient beings such as humans.
Kant had the idea that animals don't matter in themselves, because they don't reason and are not autonomous. They're not an "end in themselves" but (exactly as with Aquinas) their end use is for humans.

That's some dated stuff there.

What's wrong with direct regard for nonhuman animals? Why isn't it enough? After all, they like their lives and would themselves prefer not to be treated cruelly.
 

Treedbear

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It also needs to be recognized that morality often functions on a symbolic level. That's why cruelty to animals is unacceptable as they are sentient beings and since it can translate into cruelty to other sentient beings such as humans.
Kant had the idea that animals don't matter in themselves, because they don't reason and are not autonomous. They're not an "end in themselves" but (exactly as with Aquinas) their end use is for humans.

That's some dated stuff there.

What's wrong with direct regard for nonhuman animals? Why isn't it enough? After all, they like their lives and would themselves prefer not to be treated cruelly.

First, it's good to see some lively discussion around here again. It seems people have gone way overboard with this idea of social isolating, not that there's anything wrong with that. :)

My own opinion is that the fundamental basis of all morality is the survival of the species (human beings in the present case). So any decisions about how we are to treat animals should be based on whether it will serve the over-all interests of the human race. Right now the idea that we can continue to harvest animals as a source of food and continue to maintain a tolerably livable environment is in question. Therefore there is a call for more "animal rights". Prior to that there was a lot of sentiment for the prevention of cruelty to animals. As I suggested this is due to our increasing awareness of their ability to feel and think in ways not that much different than humans. My argument is that our respect for other human beings is to a large extent based on our ability to identify with them. If we treat them cruelly then we are more likely to treat each other cruelly. But we will never treat animals with the same regard and respect that we do other humans. It just isn't viable as a survival strategy.
 

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Treedbear,

I'm thinking you're saying something very important about how behaviors towards animals reflect on us.

But consider also how humans putting our own interests first reflects on how poorly we treat the rest of life on earth. Observe for example, the mass extinction event. Humans behave like we're center-stage. All the rest of earth's life is background scenery to our own self-absorbed drama. The result is catastrophic. We could be more mutual than that.

I don't agree with anyone suggesting giving animals all the same rights as humans. Differing capacities matter. But before killing a food animal it should have the space to live something like the life it evolved to live. And then kill it as "kindly" as possible. Better yet, kill it with the deepest respect since it's our kin.

Life has to eat life, but humans can do it better than we do. Animists knew this and made a ritual when taking another life. "I am sorry for killing you, my brother!" That's a good lesson to moderns, who feel cut off from "nature" and have a harder time caring about it. Animist's behavior seems superstitious to ... rational people? or are we rather more a lot of dissociated people? Animism seems to me like a prescientific recognition of biological mutualism. It kept many humans mindful of what they are: a feature of earth's life.

Am I concerned about a family that'd eat its dead pet? Before, I would have answered "Not if it's dead already". But on second thought, yes I really should be. If they see meat whenever looking at animals then they're pretty fucked up. If there were a lot of people like that, it'd be worrisome. And it's an actual problem, inasmuch as we look at our kindred species as pretty props in our background scenery or as walking meat ("resources").

The problem though is for earth's life generally. I disagree with the first sentence of your second paragraph, as I'm an ecocentrist. But the rest of your post has got me reconsidering some aspects of my stance. So, thanks for expanding on your idea of symbolism's role in ethics.
 
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MxM111

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while it's not as serious as eating human flesh it's wrong for the same reason. Morality is strongly dependent on symbolism which is why it doesn't matter whether the dog or the granny were already dead, and interring or cremating the bodies might even be considered a waste.

So your argument is that it is wrong because of symbolism, i.e. because the current culture considers it wrong? I think by virtue of the question this is not allowed argument. You can think of the original question as "is our culture is wrong that we consider eating dog (or grandma) wrong?". What if we had different symbolism? What if eating someone/body is a sign of respect and attempt to preserve a part of that person in you? To think about it, it would not be bad tradition: you taste a dog (or a person) and think "I need to remember this taste forever". It may help to bring closure.
 

MxM111

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Public morality and social moral codes have two elements.

The first is it defines proper behavior and actions in relation to other people. This is things like who you can have sex with, and who you can't. In the extreme, who you can kill without retribution, and who you can't. In modern times, this is mostly used in war, but killing in self defense is allowable, if it can be justified.

The second element is how we deal with those who violate the moral code. This is even murkier than the code itself. Sometimes there is no sanction. It might be no worse than public scorn, or it might spill over into the legal system.

Violations of any moral code in any culture come in degrees and the sanctions come in even more degrees.

Moral codes don't always have to do with your actions in relation to other people. We see many moral codes that censure actions to objects, animals, and to yourself.

But all of them actually do have some relationship with how society needs to function. I believe in Kant's categorical imperative. An action is right if you can will that the maxim of an action become a moral law applying to all persons. It also needs to be recognized that morality often functions on a symbolic level. That's why cruelty to animals is unacceptable as they are sentient beings and since it can translate into cruelty to other sentient beings such as humans.

Sorry to bring such example but it is considered immoral in many cultures "to have sex with yourself", also known as masturbation. No relationship with society is required (talking from my friend's experience).
 

skepticalbip

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while it's not as serious as eating human flesh it's wrong for the same reason. Morality is strongly dependent on symbolism which is why it doesn't matter whether the dog or the granny were already dead, and interring or cremating the bodies might even be considered a waste.

So your argument is that it is wrong because of symbolism, i.e. because the current culture considers it wrong? I think by virtue of the question this is not allowed argument. You can think of the original question as "is our culture is wrong that we consider eating dog (or grandma) wrong?". What if we had different symbolism? What if eating someone/body is a sign of respect and attempt to preserve a part of that person in you? To think about it, it would not be bad tradition: you taste a dog (or a person) and think "I need to remember this taste forever". It may help to bring closure.
Actually eating the dead, especially the parents, was a common sign of respect or even duty in some cultures. It is called Endocannibalism: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endocannibalism
 

MxM111

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Yes, it is also called "grok that person completely" (Stranger in a strange land). This is for sure not a new idea.
 

rousseau

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What is moral is inextricably linked with what those in your immediate community will accept from you without punishing you. A lot of these 'moral relativity' questions only come about when disparate cultures become aware of one another.

Person [A] over here thinks person over there is immoral because they do things differently, but this has no bearing on person , and until it does person has no reason to care.
 

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I don't find most of these morally dumbfounding. The fundamental issue is that these researchers believe that morality is based on "harm". It isn't.

1) Clearly wrong. You respect the ones you love, even after their death. If you owned a dog and didn't love it, then I would consider that morally wrong as well.
My wife drives a car she inherited from her dad. If she gets a new car and sells the current one for scrap metal, is that clearly wrong because it means she didn't love her father, or loved him but is now disrespecting him? What's the difference between a car one's father isn't using any more, and a dog body that one's dog isn't using any more?

My folks had a dog, and I loved her, but it was her personality, her behavior, her affection for us -- her mind -- that I loved. When that was gone, wasn't the body left behind just another of her former possessions, the same as her chewing bone?

2) This depends on exactly what "very busy" entails, but if this wasn't something extreme, and merely something like "too busy at work", then *clearly* it is morally wrong. It is wrong not to keep your promises, especially to your family.
Let's say the mom was dying from a gunshot -- she was a hit woman who'd been hired to do a revenge killing, and the daughter of the last man she murdered hunted her down and shot her, and the actual promise she got her son to promise was to kill the girl who'd shot her and to visit her grave every week and give her a progress report until he'd avenged her. It is wrong not to keep your promises, especially to your family, so it follows that it would also clearly be morally wrong for her busy son not to murder the girl, yes? No. I assume you'd agree with me that the son ought to end the cycle of revenge killings and not kill the girl.

You can't make an immoral thing become moral by saying "I promise to". It follows that "It is wrong not to keep your promises" is not a top-level unconditional duty. It's a derived rule-of-thumb that applies in normal situations because it serves some more fundamental principle. So why should we keep our promises? What's the more fundamental principle? It seems to me we need to identify the reason for keeping promises if we want to know whether it still applies to promises to dead people.

3) This isn't wrong at all. National symbols don't deserve reverence.
They don't? What is declining to eat a dog's body out of respect, if not reverence for a symbol? Do you mean we owe love to our dogs but not to our countries?

5) Buying the chicken is already wrong.
What's wrong with buying a chicken? Are we supposed to get our chickens by sneaking into the chickencoop and making off with one, to honor the fox god? Or do you mean it's wrong because it harms the chicken? Morality isn't based on harm.
 

MxM111

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Person [A] over here thinks person over there is immoral because they do things differently, but this has no bearing on person , and until it does person has no reason to care.


You are really on something here. Is it immoral to do things differently? It is simple question but think about it. It may be the cornerstone between different political movements (conservative vs liberal), different types of society (dark ages vs resonance) and so on.
 

ronburgundy

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I don't find any of these immoral, b/c there is no harm and I determine morality on the basis of actual harm caused to others.

I don't find most of these morally dumbfounding. The fundamental issue is that these researchers believe that morality is based on "harm". It isn't.

Most universal ethics are based on harm. List the things that 90% of humans would agree are immoral, and they'll likely all strongly related to causing harm to others.


1) Clearly wrong. You respect the ones you love, even after their death. If you owned a dog and didn't love it, then I would consider that morally wrong as well

Disrespect causes harm to the living. Respecting the dead is merely an extension of that harm principle, and the many who don't extend it to the dead, don't b/c they know it causes no harm.

2) This depends on exactly what "very busy" entails, but if this wasn't something extreme, and merely something like "too busy at work", then *clearly* it is morally wrong. It is wrong not to keep your promises, especially to your family.

A large % of humans would disagree that a promise to a dead person carries any moral obligation, precisely b/c they are dead and thus unharmed by the broken promise. Even those who had a problem with it would view it as much less unethical than breaking a promise to visit her in the retirement home, and that is precisely b/c that would cause emotional harm to the mother.

3) This isn't wrong at all. National symbols don't deserve reverence.

I agree, b/c symbols cannot be harmed, and any harm caused by people's attachment to symbols is self-inflicted. Note that if you said she tore it up in public some people would then find it wrong, precisely b/c then it would have a negative emotional impact on others.

4) Not wrong, although most would find it disgusting.

Agree that it isn't wrong, b/c no one is harmed. If they had sex, it becomes potentially wrong due to the harm of deformities on offspring. Or if one of them didn't consent or was too young to know what they were doing then it would be wrong, again b/c of harm caused.

5) Buying the chicken is already wrong. Having sex with it is probably the least of the wrong things here.

Sex with a dead things can't cause harm so not immoral, unless it's viewed as a kind of violating another person's property, which is partly why necrophilia is viewed as wrong. Also, like #1, it's much about how it might harm the still living loved one's of that person.

Buying a chicken is only wrong if you assume a being with rights not to harmed has been harmed.
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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I agree, b/c symbols cannot be harmed, and any harm caused by people's attachment to symbols is self-inflicted. Note that if you said she tore it up in public some people would then find it wrong, precisely b/c then it would have a negative emotional impact on others.
Immorality for me is connected to causing harm. If I take the wild patch of land beside my house, clear it and plant trees and a lawn the vast majority of people will like it and doing so ostensibly causes no harm. Most people would see it as an improvement.

But many people would like to see it kept wild because humanity are not the only life that matters. A good moral decision would be to allow a large part of the land to remain wild.

In reading this thread I'm struck between the similarity between what persons hold to be moral and just being superstitious. Clearly, having negative feelings about using an old flag for a rag is to be superstitious, even if one had someone close lose a life in uniform.
 

Valjean

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#5 I see as wrong, inasmuch as it supports cruelty and the killing of sentient beings.

The rest are merely symbolic violations of Haidt's sanctity and the purity foundations. They are inconsequential.
 

Bomb#20

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Immorality for me is connected to causing harm. If I take the wild patch of land beside my house, clear it and plant trees and a lawn the vast majority of people will like it and doing so ostensibly causes no harm. Most people would see it as an improvement.

But many people would like to see it kept wild because humanity are not the only life that matters. A good moral decision would be to allow a large part of the land to remain wild.

#5 I see as wrong, inasmuch as it supports cruelty and the killing of sentient beings.

The rest are merely symbolic violations of Haidt's sanctity and the purity foundations. They are inconsequential.
Interesting. So suppose we all stop killing sentient chickens and having sex with/eating them; sheep and cattle likewise. Then it will take less of the earth's surface to feed us all. What do you think we should do with the freed-up land? Plant lawns, or let it return to the wild so other kinds of sentient beings who matter can live on it? If a good moral decision would be to turn a large part of the land back into wilderness, which of Haidt's foundations make that a good moral decision? Looks like sanctity/purity. But those are inconsequential. You'd vote for lawns, then?
 

Valjean

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Immorality for me is connected to causing harm. If I take the wild patch of land beside my house, clear it and plant trees and a lawn the vast majority of people will like it and doing so ostensibly causes no harm. Most people would see it as an improvement.

But many people would like to see it kept wild because humanity are not the only life that matters. A good moral decision would be to allow a large part of the land to remain wild.

#5 I see as wrong, inasmuch as it supports cruelty and the killing of sentient beings.

The rest are merely symbolic violations of Haidt's sanctity and the purity foundations. They are inconsequential.
Interesting. So suppose we all stop killing sentient chickens and having sex with/eating them; sheep and cattle likewise. Then it will take less of the earth's surface to feed us all. What do you think we should do with the freed-up land? Plant lawns, or let it return to the wild so other kinds of sentient beings who matter can live on it? If a good moral decision would be to turn a large part of the land back into wilderness, which of Haidt's foundations make that a good moral decision? Looks like sanctity/purity. But those are inconsequential. You'd vote for lawns, then?
Decreasing our dependency on meat would have health and environmental benefits.
Lawns? Environmental wastelands.

The biosphere we depend on is a complex, interactive system. It was self-sustaining until a planetary infection of hominins started mucking up the works.
I'd say let the freed up acreage resume its natural function. ;)
 

Bomb#20

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If a good moral decision would be to turn a large part of the land back into wilderness, which of Haidt's foundations make that a good moral decision? Looks like sanctity/purity. But those are inconsequential. You'd vote for lawns, then?
Decreasing our dependency on meat would have health and environmental benefits.
Lawns? Environmental wastelands.
Not for the grass.

The biosphere we depend on is a complex, interactive system. It was self-sustaining until a planetary infection of hominins started mucking up the works.
I'd say let the freed up acreage resume its natural function. ;)
I.e., stop infectious hominins from planting lawns on it. I.e., cause it to turn back into habitat for wild birds and small furry woodland creatures. I.e., cause wild birds and small furry woodland creatures to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. I.e., cause billions of sentient beings to be cruelly killed by nature red in tooth and claw (assuming you allow predators to take part in this process; to die lingering deaths by starvation and disease if you don't). Death by natural causes isn't as much fun as it looks.

Voting against lawns supports cruelty and the killing of sentient beings. Why is it wrong for a human to kill and eat a chicken, but not wrong for a human to help a fox kill and eat a chicken?
 

Torin

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1. A family's dog was killed by a car in front of their house. They had heard that dog meat was delicious, so they cut up the dog's body and cooked it and ate it for dinner.

2. A woman was dying, and on her deathbed she asked her son to promise that he would visit her grave every week. The son loved his mother very much, so he promised to visit her grave every week. But after the mother died, the son didn't keep his promise, because he was very busy.

3. A woman is cleaning out her closet, and she finds a national flag that had been in the closet unused for many years. She doesn't want the flag anymore, so she cuts it up into pieces and uses the rags to clean her bathroom.

4. A brother and sister like to kiss each other on the mouth. When nobody is around, they find a secret hiding place and kiss each other on the mouth, passionately.

5. A man goes to the supermarket once a week and buys a dead chicken. Before cooking the chicken, he has sexual intercourse with it. Then he cooks it and eats it.
My evaluation of a lot of these would depend on how the person taking the action viewed it.

If someone ate their dog, I would associate that with a lack of care and respect for their dog. That's what it would indicate if I, personally, ate my dog. But maybe they don't view it that way. I could imagine a culture where eating the dead was seen as a sign of respect.
 
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