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Thread: Morality is About Relationships

  1. #1 Morality is About Relationships 
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    Morality is About Relationships

    I suspect that most of us are willing to agree that, broadly speaking, we have ‘fact knowledge’ and ‘relationship knowledge’. I would like to take this a step further by saying that I wish to claim that fact knowledge is mono-logical and relationship knowledge is multi-logical.

    Mono-logical matters have one set of principles guiding their solution. Often these mono-logical matters have a paradigm. The natural sciences—normal sciences—as Thomas Kuhn labels it in “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” move forward in a “successive transition from one paradigm to another”. A paradigm defines the theory, rules and standards of practice. “In the absence of a paradigm or some candidate for paradigm, all of the facts that could possible pertain to the development of a given science are likely to seem equally relevant.”

    Multi-logical problems are different in kind from mono-logical matters.

    Socratic dialogue is one technique for attempting to grapple with multi-logical problems; problems that are either not pattern like or that the pattern is too complex to ascertain. Most problems that we face in our daily life are such multi-logical in nature. Simple problems that occur daily in family life are examples. Each member of the family has a different point of view with differing needs and desires. Most of the problems we constantly face are not readily solved by mathematics because they are not pattern specific and are multi-logical.

    Dialogue is a technique for mutual consideration of such problems wherein solutions grow in a dialectical manner. Through dialogue each individual brings his/her point of view to the fore by proposing solutions constructed around their specific view. All participants in the dialogue come at the solution from the logic of their views. The solution builds dialectically i.e. a thesis is developed and from this thesis and a contrasting antithesis is constructed a synthesis that takes into consideration both proposals. From this a new synthesis a new thesis is developed.

    When we are dealing with mono-logical problems well circumscribed by algorithms the personal biases of the subject are of small concern. In multi-logical problems, without the advantage of paradigms and algorithms, the biases of the problem solvers become a serious source of error. One important task of dialogue is to illuminate these prejudices which may be quite subtle and often out of consciousness of the participant holding them.

    Our society is very good while dealing with mono-logical problems. Our society is terrible while dealing with multi-logical problems.

    Do you not think that we desperately need to understand CT, which attempts to help us understand how to think about multi-logical problems? Do you not think that it is worth while for every adult to get up off their ‘intellectual couch’ and teach themselves CT?


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  3. #2  
    Forum Masters Degree organic god's Avatar
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    what is CT?


    everything is mathematical.
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  4. #3  
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    It's a small state somewhere on the east coast.
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by organic god
    what is CT?
    CT is an acronym for Critical Thinking. Everybody considers themselves to be a critical thinker. That is why we need to differentiate among different levels of critical thinking.

    Most people fall in the category that I call Reagan thinkers—trust but verify. Then there are those who have taken the basic college course taught by the philosophy dept that I call Logic 101. This is a credit course that teaches the basic principles of reasoning. Of course, a person need not take the college course and can learn the matter on their own effort, but I suspect few do that.

    The third level I call CT (Critical Thinking). CT includes the knowledge of Logic 101 and also the knowledge that focuses upon the intellectual character and attitude of critical thinking. It includes knowledge regarding the ego and social centric forces that impede rational thinking.

    Most decisions we have to make are judgment calls. A judgment call is made when we must make a decision when there is no “true” or “false” answers. When we make a judgment call our decision is bad, good, or better.

    Many factors are involved: there are the available facts, assumptions, skills, knowledge, and especially personal experience and attitude. I think that the two most important elements in the mix are personal experience and attitude.

    When we study math we learn how to use various algorithms to facilitate our skill in dealing with quantities. If we never studied math we could deal with quantity on a primary level but our quantifying ability would be minimal. Likewise with making judgments; if we study the art and science of good judgment we can make better decisions and if we never study the art and science of judgment our decision ability will remain minimal.

    I am convinced that a fundamental problem we have in this country (USA) is that our citizens have never learned the art and science of good judgment. Before the recent introduction of CT into our schools and colleges our young people have been taught primarily what to think and not how to think. All of us graduated with insufficient comprehension of the knowledge, skills, and attitude necessary for the formulation of good judgment. The result of this inability to make good judgment is evident and is dangerous.

    I am primarily interested in the judgment that adults exercise in regard to public issues. Of course, any improvement in judgment generally will affect both personal and community matters.

    To put the matter into a nut shell:
    1. Normal men and women can significantly improve their ability to make judgments.
    2. CT is the domain of knowledge that delineates the knowledge, skills, and intellectual character demanded for good judgment.
    3. CT has been introduced into our schools and colleges slowly in the last two or three decades.
    4. Few of today’s adults were ever taught CT.
    5. I suspect that at least another two generations will pass before our society reaps significant rewards resulting from teaching CT to our children.
    6. Can our democracy survive that long?
    7. I think that every effort must be made to convince today’s adults that they need to study and learn CT on their own. I am not suggesting that adults find a teacher but I am suggesting that adults become self-actualizing learners.
    8. I am convinced that learning the art and science of Critical Thinking is an important step toward becoming a better citizen in today’s democratic society.


    Perhaps you are not familiar with CT. I first encountered the concept about five years ago. The following are a few Internet sites that will familiarize you with the matter.

    http://www.freeinquiry.com/critical-notes.html

    http://64.233.161.104/search?q=cache...&ct=clnk&cd=11

    http://www.chss.montclair.edu/inquir...5/weinste.html

    http://www.criticalthinking.org/reso...glossary.shtml

    http://www.doit.gmu.edu/inventio/pas...g03&sID=eslava
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  6. #5  
    Forum Ph.D. Cat1981(England)'s Avatar
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    My other half always asks me before we go out if she looks fat. My reply to this is always an immediate NO. She then calls me a liar and barks on about it for god knows how long.

    IMHO she is not in any way overweight. She believes whole heartedly that she is.

    Does this particular issue demonstrate that...
    A) That i am a CT and she is not.
    B) That she is a CT and I am not.
    C) We are both CTs.
    D) Nether of us are CTs.

    ?
    Eat Dolphin, save the Tuna!!!!
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  7. #6 Re: Morality is About Relationships 
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    Morality is About Relationships

    I suspect that most of us are willing to agree that, broadly speaking, we have ‘fact knowledge’ and ‘relationship knowledge’. I would like to take this a step further by saying that I wish to claim that fact knowledge is mono-logical and relationship knowledge is multi-logical.

    Mono-logical matters have one set of principles guiding their solution. Often these mono-logical matters have a paradigm. The natural sciences—normal sciences—as Thomas Kuhn labels it in “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” move forward in a “successive transition from one paradigm to another”. A paradigm defines the theory, rules and standards of practice. “In the absence of a paradigm or some candidate for paradigm, all of the facts that could possible pertain to the development of a given science are likely to seem equally relevant.”

    Multi-logical problems are different in kind from mono-logical matters.
    I am not sure if you have defined or described the term 'multi-logical' sufficiently fully for it to be a useful term in this discussion, but we will see.

    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    Socratic dialogue is one technique for attempting to grapple with multi-logical problems; problems that are either not pattern like or that the pattern is too complex to ascertain. Most problems that we face in our daily life are such multi-logical in nature. Simple problems that occur daily in family life are examples. Each member of the family has a different point of view with differing needs and desires. Most of the problems we constantly face are not readily solved by mathematics because they are not pattern specific and are multi-logical.
    Emphasis mine. This is, as I am sure you recognise, a description of the reasoning behind modern game theory, where each participant, or agent, can be considered to have a different goal from an interaction or set of interactions.

    You rightly point out that it is not easy for mathematics to deal with recursive systems like this, but a lot of good progress has been made.

    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    Dialogue is a technique for mutual consideration of such problems wherein solutions grow in a dialectical manner. Through dialogue each individual brings his/her point of view to the fore by proposing solutions constructed around their specific view. All participants in the dialogue come at the solution from the logic of their views. The solution builds dialectically i.e. a thesis is developed and from this thesis and a contrasting antithesis is constructed a synthesis that takes into consideration both proposals. From this a new synthesis a new thesis is developed.
    But this has little to do with logic or even critical thinking, does it? At best it describes one aspect of pragmatics, and at the other end all political debate can be seen as being within this ambit. The problem is that the political debate side of the spectrum can rarely be said to achieve whatever it is you seem to believe could be achieved by the dialectic process.

    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    When we are dealing with mono-logical problems well circumscribed by algorithms the personal biases of the subject are of small concern. In multi-logical problems, without the advantage of paradigms and algorithms, the biases of the problem solvers become a serious source of error. One important task of dialogue is to illuminate these prejudices which may be quite subtle and often out of consciousness of the participant holding them.
    Again I suspect you may be giving dialogue too much of a role here. As Ayer pointed out in Language, Truth and Logic, with dialogue what we can do is expose the logical foundations of a particular argument, and assess its empirical standing. Beyond that, however, we have only opinions, and all the dialogue in the world is not going to change that.

    I agree with you in this: critical thinking is invaluable in helping expose hidden arguments, presumptions agenda and so on. Beyond that, however, in social interaction and moral issues, you are pretty much faced with opinion, and sometimes people believe these arguments are won by: "My outrage is greater than yours" claims.

    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    Our society is very good while dealing with mono-logical problems. Our society is terrible while dealing with multi-logical problems.
    Or we're looking at it the wrong way. If mathematics is, through game theory, beginning to come to an understanding of this and of the limitations of analysis in matters like this, on the other hand we have a many thousand year history of sorting our social problems even before the advent of formal government. Perhaps we ought to consider the more informal ways of social problem resolution that have worked in the past?

    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    Do you not think that we desperately need to understand CT, which attempts to help us understand how to think about multi-logical problems? Do you not think that it is worth while for every adult to get up off their ‘intellectual couch’ and teach themselves CT?
    As I've said earlier, I fear that CT would only take us so far in moral matters...
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  8. #7  
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    You're only wasting your time SW.
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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  9. #8  
    Forum Professor sunshinewarrior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 425 Chaotic Requisition
    You're only wasting your time SW.
    Gotta be tried though. No?
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  10. #9  
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    Yes I suppose. Although I don't bother replying to him anymore. I'm lingering ignore.
    "If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe". - Carl Sagan
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cat1981(England)
    My other half always asks me before we go out if she looks fat. My reply to this is always an immediate NO. She then calls me a liar and barks on about it for god knows how long.

    IMHO she is not in any way overweight. She believes whole heartedly that she is.

    Does this particular issue demonstrate that...
    A) That i am a CT and she is not.
    B) That she is a CT and I am not.
    C) We are both CTs.
    D) Nether of us are CTs.

    ?
    If you were to study CT you would not speak such foolishness.

    If you had never taken a class in or studied a book on math you might very well say that doing so is unimportant. I suspect that if you were to study CT you would change your judgment of the matter. CT is the art and science of good judgment. The problem is how does one who has not studied such matters have the judgment to recognize its importance?

    Therein we can see the problem, uncritical thinking is our major problem because if we do not have a sophisticated intellect we cannot see our problems and thus can never solve such problems.
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  12. #11  
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    Sunshinewarrior

    We can see only what we are prepared to see. You cannot understand this complex matter from a few paragraphs on a forum. You must study the matter by going to the books. If your judgment tells you not to do so then I cannot change your mind; therein lay the danger of a mind uneducated in mattes of Critical Thinking.
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  13. #12  
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    Sunshinewarrior

    We can see only what we are prepared to see. You cannot understand this complex matter from a few paragraphs on a forum. You must study the matter by going to the books. If your judgment tells you not to do so then I cannot change your mind; therein lay the danger of a mind uneducated in mattes of Critical Thinking.
    My point is that we may well be discussing the same issues. Going to the books may help, but only if we have an idea of which books, if any, contain information new to us.

    For instance, Plato's Dialogues of Socrates certainly illustrate the Socratic method of dialectic, but also reveal two major problems that modern philosophers acknowledge:

    1. Socrates' method as demonstrated relies a great deal on leading quesions that therefore do not constitute a dialogue, but rather a form of shaping the other person's mind so as to be more inclined to see things Socrates' way;

    2. Contain many assumptions which, when exposed, leave a lot of his conclusions open to the objections that Ayer raises in LTJ.

    Now if you believe there is yet more to be learnt, with regard to the issue you originally raised, in those Dialogues, by all means tell us something of what you think it is. Otherwise we will be forced to conclude, as most are today, that the method of the Dialectic, whilst impressive in Plato's day, must stand for us as one single philosophical process (with limited value these days) that we use as and when it is relevant. Certainly it is not useful simply as a tag whereby to intimidate those less read in pjilosophy.

    Similar points can be made about Hegel's notion of the dialectic - thesis and antithesis leading to synthesis, or Marx's notion that the Communist synthesis was the end of history.

    Talking through things in order to achieve a perspective on the other person's point of view is a notion as old as the hills, and to a certain extent, properly sits within the fields of psychology and anthropology.

    Morality too, according to Ayer (and he was just re-stating Hume) is really a psychological issue rather than a philosophical one.

    That we still tend to deal with it under the ambit of philosophy is not because we do not recognise this but for two other reasons:

    1. There are still many philosophers concerned about 'foundational' ethics - about attempting to create an ehtical universe with firm foundations (see Rawls et al)

    2. Even within more contingent moral thinking, there is a lot of clarification that can be achieved by thinking through them philosophically - a very challenging book in this regard is Jonathan Glover's Causing Death and Saving Lives that provides a philosophical perspective on the problem of trying consistently to apply certain principles in moral philosophy.

    If there is more you believe that it is possible for us to do, please feel free to say so.
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  14. #13  
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    I recommend "Moral Imagination" by Mark Johnson
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