"Authority and Moralism"

To: egoism@topica.com
Subject: Re: Does morality require individuality?
From: David McDivitt 
Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2000 21:31:19 -0800

Yes, that's what Dennis has been posturing all along but has never said. You verbalized it quite well. This implies a rational basis to morality. If everyone was equally rational, or, if everyone had the same basis for the rationality they do have, we would have little to debate here.

In question is who controls or seeks to control rationality and final rational outcomes. This expressly is not a function of rationality itself, as if rationality is a magic wand. Dennis has refused to acknowledge any aspect of authority in either morality or knowledge. Tracy, you appear to do the same.

I do not feel it appropriate to dispense with rationality or morality completely as another egoist might. Discounting these is seen as a means to sidestep societal control, by denying control of the mind. Instead of ceding intellectualism away to moralists, I feel it better to meet their challenge, bring more to the table, and aggressively negotiate new outcomes based on the premise of civil liberty.

>From: "T. Harms"
>Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2000 17:47:24 -0800
>David G. McDivitt wrote:
>>> ... To say humans are somehow inherently moral denotes some
>>> transcendent, spiritual, or esoteric quality which simply is not born out
>>> except through the mouthing of it.
>Dennis Hudecki replied:
>>To say that humans are moral is only meant to imply by me that humans are
>>subject to moral standards in their behaviour.
>That statement sounds good to me, Dennis, so far as it goes. It deserves
>to be fleshed out. Here are the three different ways I can see moral
>standards applying to persons:
>First, a moral standard may apply because of its direct subscription by the
>person. That is, a man may apply it to himself.
>Second, a moral standard may apply as a matter of logical implication as a
>consequence of other things that the person has adopted. For example, a
>person might have adopted in their own heart the value of treating other
>people with appropriate dignity yet not recognize that this (along with
>other tenets) implies that they should not steal. In such a case they are
>subject to the moral standard by virtue of their wider subscriptions and
>participations, even if they have a deliberate and conscious refusal of the
>standard in question.
>Third, the standard may be insisted on by others. An individual may be
>subjected to expectations that involve the normative standard.
>The truly interesting one among these three is the second. What happens in
>the first and third categories is only coherent (in consideration of
>ethics) by way of reference to the application of objective limits to
>subjective being. Ethics is about actual people wrestling with problems of
>valuation through rules. The objectivity of the rules -- and especially
>the objectivity by which these rules can be compared, contrasted, and
>considered one against the other -- is crucial to the objectivity of ethics
>and morality.
>Values and valuation, on the other hand, are wholly subjective. I have
>found it tedious in the extreme to watch how regularly the discussions on
>this list have dwelt on the idea that the objectivity of morality (and/or
>ethics) shall be decided by whether or not values are objective. That
>emphasis always involves ignoring the sort of objectivity that makes a
>difference, which is objectivity that enables logical conflicts among
>concepts to be resolved by examination of implications. Such examination
>allows for the resolution of critical preference favoring some rules (e.g.
>normative standards) over others. Because these conflicts and implications
>are properties of the rules themselves, wholly independent of any questions
>of actual personal subscription or belief, ethical inquiry is objective.
>This objectivity also applies to the results of ethical inquiry. (By this
>I mean the logical results, not psychological consequences.)

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