Saturday, August 15, 2015

6th post in - Re: [FI] Morality Test

This is a reply to an FI post dated Sat, Aug 15, 2015 at 12:04 AM

Re: [FI] Morality Test

On Sat, Aug 15, 2015 at 12:04 AM, Erin Minter <> wrote:
> On Aug 14, 2015, at 7:01 PM, Rami Rustom <> wrote:
>> On Fri, Aug 14, 2015 at 5:36 PM, Erin Minter <> wrote:
>>> On Aug 14, 2015, at 12:39 PM, Rami Rustom <> wrote:
>>>> On Fri, Aug 14, 2015 at 9:35 AM, Erin Minter <> wrote:
>>>>>> How do you know if something is morally good or not? What’s the check? What’s your test?
>>>>>> Say 2 people are thinking about doing something together.
>>>>>> Say one of them has an idea that is being considered as a common preference (cp). A cp is an idea about how to proceed that they both have no criticisms of.
>>>>>> And say one of them has an objection to that idea. Then it’s not a cp. So it’s not morally ok to act on this idea.
>>>>>> If nobody has any objections, then it’s a cp. So it is morally ok to act on this idea.
>>>>> I think the "something" could still be immoral (objectively).  Even if they agreed on proceeding with the action, I don’t think that means the action itself is always moral (will enhance/further/promote their lives).
>>>> I didn't mean immoral objectively.
>>>> I don't think it makes sense to think of it as you are. Because nobody
>>>> is omniscient. So there's no way to omnisciently check if something is
>>>> morally ok or not.
>>> Say the idea is that they both agree (they both *prefer*) to get married and each promise to devote the rest of their lives to each other.
>>> It’s a cp,
>> I don't think you demonstrated that it's a cp.
>> Did they have objections that they didn't address and just ignored in
>> favor of the idea?
> lots of ppl get married because they prefer to get married.  both sides prefer it and want it, when they choose to get married.
> it’s a preference, which they have in common.

if they have objections when they do it, and ignore those objections, then it's not a cp.

>>> but isn’t it immoral? Just because they both prefer it, it doesn’t mean they’ve passed a morality test and what they are doing is moral.
>> But it's not clear to me that they don't have any objections.
> i think lots of ppl really want to get married.  so much so that it bothers them to NOT be married.

that seems off topic. being bothered to not be married doesn't say anything about other objections they have.

>> So let's say they didn't have any objections. So it's a cp. Is it immoral?
>> Well what are you thinking makes it immoral?
> it hinders one’s individuality / growth / learning / life / sense of self.

i'm starting to think we should take a step back.

the question that started this discussion was somebody asking me this:

>>>>>> How do you know if something is morally good or not? What’s the check? What’s your test?

What was meant by it is this:

> If I have a choice to make, and I have an idea about what to choose. How do I know if that's the idea I should choose or not?

So, what I'm focussed on is how to choose. more below.

>> And what do you think they should do instead?
>> Do you think they should not get married while they both want to act
>> on the idea to get married and neither of them has any objections to
>> the idea? But if they did that, it means they both
>> suffer/tcs-coercion.

Erin I think we're not on the same page about this. The original question is about how to choose.

So given the context, what do you think the people should do? more about this below.

> If it’s a CP, there would be an aspect of their method which is moral.  However:
> - there could other aspects of their methods which are immoral.  Like how much have they really thought it thru and looked for flaws / crits with their plan.  Is it a whim-based preference?  A static meme based preference?

Even if those things are the case, I think what's important is what knowledge the people interacting have.

Like, if one of them has some knowledge about that marriage is bad. And if he ignores that and chooses marriage. Then it's not a cp. So choosing marriage in this case is immoral.

Or, if that person has the idea, "well I do have this objection to marriage in general, but I really like this girl and her family and everything seems awesome. And fuck it if things don't work out well we can divorce. No problem." So here he doesn't have any objections to the idea of trying out marriage with this girl.

> - even if it’s a cp, I don’t think that means the actual action itself is necessarily moral.  Which is how you presented it:
>>>>>> How do you know if something is morally good or not? What’s the check? What’s your test?

What was meant by this question is how to choose. It's not meant to ask about how to find out if an action is omnisciently good.

Here's another similar question that could shed light on this.

Let's say 2 people are married. They've been married for a couple of years. They are relatively happy, in the sense that they aren't talking or even thinking about divorce. Neither of them has any objections to staying married. And they both have objections to getting divorced.

Question: Should they stay married or get divorced?

The way you've approached this discussion, it seems to me that your answer would be:

Answer: They should divorce because what they are doing is harmful.

But they don't have knowledge about that. So they can't use that knowledge in their decision-making process.

It's kinda like you're answering like this: If they knew better, they would choose to divorce. Or for the earlier question. If they knew better, they would choose to not marry.

Well I agree with that. But that isn't the topic of discussion. The topic of discussion is about how they should make choices using ONLY the knowledge they do have.

To clarify, if they have knowledge about asking other people's opinions for stuff, then they can do that and then that knowledge which they got from other people becomes their knowledge (not exact copies because there will be error in communication).

Now I'm noticing a problem. I'm talking about how people should choose, and saying that it doesn't make sense to talk about that people should incorporate knowledge that they don't even have into their decision-making. But the thing is that I'm using this cp framework to determine whether a given option should be chosen or not, and this is knowledge that I didn't claim they had. I mean, in the hypothetical I created, I didn't say that they have this knowledge about what is and isn't a cp, nor what harm can come from acting on a non-cp.

So like let's say 2 people are considering the idea of getting married. And they don't know this cp framework stuff. And 1 of them has an objection, but he buries it deep in his mind. He hides it from his partner. He thinks that if he expresses his objection, she'll freak out and dump him. So he bottles it up inside. This isn't a cp. But he doesn't know about that. What should he do? If he marries her, he's doing it with objections still active in his mind. If he doesn't marry her, same thing.

There's the possibility of resolving the conflict, but he doesn't know that he should do that. Nor how to do it. So, what should he do?

Well the 'don't get married' option doesn't pass the morality test. And neither does the 'get married' option. So my morality test would say don't act on either of these ideas. But they don't know this stuff. So how can I expect them to make a choice using knowledge they don't have?

So, I think you (erin) are making the mistake of talking about people making choices using knowledge they don't have. And I think I made the same mistake. Actually maybe you weren't making this mistake and instead you thought I was talking about something else, like whether an action is omnisciently moral.

So now I'm confused about how to think about this.

For my original question to make sense, I think the hypothetical given within the question would have to include that the people in question are learning the answer. So the answer to the question can't just barely explain what counts as a cp and what counts as not a cp. It'd have to explain a whole bunch of nuance. It'd have to connect a whole bunch of cp-finding knowledge with knowledge they already have. And my original answer in the beginning of this discussion didn't do that.

Now I'm thinking my original question should have been worded like this:

Question: Two people are considering interacting with each other. How does either of them determine whether an option they are considering is morally ok or not? There are some givens: These people know that acting against a person's will is morally wrong (somebody else or oneself), and they know how to determine if acting on an option is against somebody's will.

What do you think Erin?

-- Rami

PS, you can post to FI.

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