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Featured The Morality of The Golden Rule

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by Watchmen, Nov 2, 2019.

  1. Watchmen

    Watchmen Well-Known Member
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    Is the so-called Golden Rule a pillar of morality? I don’t think so because how we want to be treated is not necessarily how another might like to be treated. For example, Sunstone might enjoy a good spanking and engage in sexual banter with friends whereas I do not. So if Sunstone treated me the way he likes to be treated, that would actually be sexual harassment in many jurisdictions. Thoughts?
     
    #1 Watchmen, Nov 2, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2019
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  2. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    Honestly, an excellent thread topic. But you have my sexuality all wrong so far as the spanking goes...just ask the ladies in your neighborhood church choir. :D

    Seriously, though. Great thread idea.
     
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  3. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    First off, I agree with you here, and for precisely the same reason as you put forth.

    Second off, do you yourself espouse any maxim comparable to the Golden Rule? Just curious. I don't care to debate, but I might want to discuss the advantages and disadvantages.

    Last, what do you think of the Confucian Silver Rule, “Do not do unto others as you would not have them do unto you.”?
     
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  4. Watchmen

    Watchmen Well-Known Member
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    Glad you like the thread! Thanks.

    I don’t know that I espouse any maxim. If forced, I suppose I would say the maxim I try to live (and constantly fail at) is simply: Be kind.

    I’m not familiar with the Confucian Silver Rule, but it is certainly interesting. My first impression is that it generally works, but there could be exceptions. I’ll need to give this some more thought! Thanks.
     
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  5. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium Veteran Member
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    There's a societal pillar of morality.

    There is also a personal pillar of morality.

    The former amounts to acceptable societal behaviors. The latter amounts to acceptable behaviors from a personal perspective (and acceptable with those one chooses to invite to into such perspective).

    In other words, you might not find the erotic dancing girl cages in @Sunstone's living room morally acceptable. And you might not find the paisley speedos and plaid socks in my weekend Ra ritual morally acceptable.
     
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  6. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    My moral principles are very simple: Think and Care.

    Thinking requires figuring out what the consequences of your actions could be and Caring requires taking into consideration the thoughts, hope, and desires of others.

    Both the Gold and Silver rules have problems when another person differs strongly in what they desire from you. So, to not do what you would not want may well deny some happiness to another that you can provide. To do to others what you would want is to assume your desires are what all others desire.

    In both, the problem is that you aren't thinking about what the other person wants and caring enough to take that into consideration. Both are too self-centered in their reasoning, in my opinion.
     
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  7. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    There is a huge difference between morality and aesthetics. The paisley speedoes are morally fine, but offensive for other reasons. :)
     
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  8. beenherebeforeagain

    beenherebeforeagain Rogue Animist
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    I suggest reading up on Kant's categorical imperative

    Categorical imperative - Wikipedia

    to quote:

    A categorical imperative, on the other hand, denotes an absolute, unconditional requirement that must be obeyed in all circumstances and is justified as an end in itself. It is best known in its first formulation:

    Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law.[1]
    Kant expressed extreme dissatisfaction with the popular moral philosophy of his day, believing that it could never surpass the level of hypothetical imperatives: a utilitarian says that murder is wrong because it does not maximize good for those involved, but this is irrelevant to people who are concerned only with maximizing the positive outcome for themselves. Consequently, Kant argued, hypothetical moral systems cannot persuade moral action or be regarded as bases for moral judgments against others, because the imperatives on which they are based rely too heavily on subjective considerations. He presented a deontological moral system, based on the demands of the categorical imperative, as an alternative.
     
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  9. beenherebeforeagain

    beenherebeforeagain Rogue Animist
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    Not, of course, that Kant is a be-all, end-all of moral reasoning...but he's a pretty good start...
     
  10. columbus

    columbus yawn <ignore> yawn

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    I don't consider the Golden Rule anything like a pillar of morality.

    It's a pithy little rule of thumb. It's a quick way to assess the morality of a choice, in a simplistic sort of way. But it is simplistic, and there are much more sophisticated methods thinking people can apply to a question.

    True story:
    A guy beat up another guy so badly the victim needed surgery.
    The perp explained his actions with the Golden Rule.
    "If I was a f*gg*t I'd want somebody to beat the queer out of me!"

    The Golden Rule is good to an extent, but it's simplistic. It's no moral pillar.
    Tom
     
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  11. leov

    leov Well-Known Member

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    your example would not qualify under the Golden Rule as you were delivered a pleasant emotion while you deliver unpleasant one to somebody else.
     
  12. Heyo

    Heyo Veteran Member

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    With all its ambiguity and flaws, Kant's formulation of the Golden Rule is still my favourite single sentence rendition.
    Every attempt to improve on it invariably requires more space.
     
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  13. Heyo

    Heyo Veteran Member

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    The Golden Rule may not be a pillar of morality but it sure is a foundation. There would be no moral philosophy without it. The principle of reciprocity (basic Golden Rule) is a thing that is implemented in any moral system in some form.
     
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  14. stvdv

    stvdv Veteran Member

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    Great saying, and I take this saying as:
    Treat others and yourself with respect.
    (Consider doing unto others what they want you to do unto them, not what you want to do unto them)
     
    #14 stvdv, Nov 2, 2019
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  15. lewisnotmiller

    lewisnotmiller Grand Hat
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    Interesting topic, I have a couple of quick thoughts...
    1. There are different versions of it. I like the version that says 'Dont do to others what you don't want done to you', as it seems less self-righteous.

    2. This could still lead to @Sunstone spanking people, but it's not actively encouraging him to.

    3. Distilling morality down to a single sentence isn't going to work, but the general thrust of this is a useful concept to always keep in mind.
     
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  16. stvdv

    stvdv Veteran Member

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    I like the saying "Hurt Never, Help Ever"

    But I find "Hurt Never" easier, as it's not always easy to know what is the best Help to give. Of course asking the person might solve this. Would also maybe solve the selfrighteousness a bit.

    From spiritual POV they say "as long as you think 'I help him', it's just Ego, and easily you put yourself above the other". Chances are that physical help + emotional damage zero each other out.

    I rather see it as an opportunity to improve myself; that helps to get rid of that, what you call, "selfrighteous" problem here.
     
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  17. Mock Turtle

    Mock Turtle 'Some of you humans are just so funny!'
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    The Golden Rule, or any such variant, and including any Kantian notion, could be very much a guide as to how to behave, as could 'do no harm', but none can encapsulate the numerous situations we find ourselves in, where one rule might favour one viewpoint over another. I might start to believe in some divine nature if such a rule existed. :rolleyes:
     
  18. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    There's a lot about Kant that I like, but an issue I have with the first formulation of his Categorical Imperative is that it leaves unresolved the question of what is good or bad. It seems likely that we would only will to become a universal law of behavior that which we think is a good behavior, but where does our judgement that something is a good behavior come from?

    Certainly not from the act of willing it to become a universal law. No, it seems more likely that our judgment something is a good behavior is made prior to --- and governs -- our decision to will that it become a universal law. But if that is the case, then on what grounds or basis do we deem a behavior good? Kant's imperative is mute about that.

    I think that most likely, in order to determine what behaviors are good, we will look at their probable consequences. Which, if true, means the Imperative in most cases can be reduced to some one set or another of contingencies.

    Of course, that is not by any means a fatal criticism of the Imperative. Ethical principles are not required to specify what is good (or bad), but only how to do good (or avoid bad). Take the Utilitarian Principle, for instance. It urges us to maximize (or at least optimize) everyone's "greatest good", but it in at least most formulations does not go into much detail about what constitutes "the greatest good". So I am not suggesting here that the Imperative is fatally flawed, but only that it is most likely not an escape from moral contingency -- as it is so often claimed to be.
     
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  19. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to live in a world where everyone bases their actions on the Categorical Imperative.
     
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  20. beenherebeforeagain

    beenherebeforeagain Rogue Animist
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    even the second and third formulations get progressively longer, as does the reasoning used to justify them...but also more clearly limits the individual's personal selfish interpretations...which also make it more unrealizable in practice...
     
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