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Good, Bad, and Biases
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Posted 10/9/14
Have you ever realized a large portion of morality is biased? First, let me establish some terms. Good is morally correct, is it not? Bad is morally incorrect, a synonym for evil, in some cases. Now, let's continue.

If you hear a song you like, it is good. If you hear a song you dislike, it is bad. What makes these songs good or bad? Your preference. But why does your preference decide what is morally correct or incorrect? What if the 'good' song has vulgar language and misogynist tones? What if the 'bad' song is a perfectly clean song with no such things?

Let's go further.

Say you're walking along the sidewalk and a man runs into you. He continues forward after doing so, without so much as a sorry. This man is bad, right?

What if that man was an undercover cop on his way to a robbery, knowing that he could stop the robbers and save innocents if he made it in time, and that stopping to apologize might rob him of that chance? Is he still 'bad?'

So, you see, we describe things as 'good' if they are beneficial to us, or if we like them. We describe them as 'bad' if they aren't beneficial to us, or if we dislike them, regardless of the overall benefit they provide.

Discuss.
Posted 10/9/14
I might be missing the point a little, but with your example of being ran in to, I've never thought of a person as bad. Just rude.

Indeed with music, films, etc it does make me laugh what is good and bad, because all it comes down to is personal taste. You can only defend your opinion by making some valid statement within that subject.

I can personally dislike a film and still consider it 'good.'

I don't think everyone uses good or bad as a means of benefit for everything. And then there is that whole, what's good or bad anyway?
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Posted 10/9/14
I'm the best.
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Posted 10/9/14
Hm, first off I think this should go into extended discussion.

Good and bad don't just rely on your prefences they rely on your perception, now for the most part good and bad isn't the best way to describe things due to the circumstances you can't percieve going on in the situation. On the subject of morality, people are raised from different morals, so one person's good is another person's bad.

I think we should just judge the lesser evil, you know that one saying "not good or evil, just different shades of gray." Or something along those lines. Well anyway sorry for the small unorganized train of thought. I'm not very good at jotting my thoughts down in an organized manner.
Posted 10/9/14 , edited 10/9/14
I think you're trying to outline the importance of tentative language and proper wording.
When someone asks "How are you?" most will say "Good" meaning "I am well" and the use of the word 'good' makes no sense.
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Posted 10/9/14
The difficulty with your argument is you start by saying morality is biased, but than you focus on the ambiguity of the terms such as "good" vs "bad" which frankly, does not have much to do with morality. Morality is a social construct that is greater than personal opinions. Just because they both use terms like good and bad does not make them synonymous.

Outside of that, I believe you are correct in stating that morality as a social construct can be biased. When people come together to form a society they must decide on the rules or morals that are beneficial for the society as a whole. Until those guidelines are established and taught to the entire society than individual member of the society could very well have biased bases of morality.

Cheers!
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Posted 10/9/14 , edited 10/9/14
This is very similar to the quote by Winston Churchill. "History is written by the victors"

I think humanity has a central core of morality or a universal basis. Children being harmed, women being raped, people being tortured, and so on. I think such things are intrinsic to human morality with few exceptions.

Beyond that morality is decided upon by whichever culture is dominant in a given society, and is based on the specific qualities and desires of that given culture.

For the most part, what is "good" and "bad" in this world and human society is relative. What is forgivable and unforgivable generally relies on the society or culture that defines it which gives way to biased thought.

Biased would mean that morality is unfairly and prejudicial implemented by society. There are definite examples of this through out history. Clearly those who are included in the dominant culture are going to be thought of more often and given more care.

I think as human culture become more homogeneous though, that bias will continually diminish though it will probably never go away completely. There will always be something to define one group over another.
Posted 10/9/14 , edited 10/9/14

AliceLilit_ wrote:
quote by Winston Churchill. "History is written by the victors"


Chirchill was a pretty smart guy but it was a foolish thing to say.
History is written by whomever writes it.
The only people that can tell you history are it's survivors, even if all of those are the victors then they can still disagree.
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Posted 10/9/14
yon cannot compare morality to personal preferences.Your idea of morality is also to simplified. Morality cannot be summed down to good and bad behaviour. Human morality is not a simple concept and philosophers have argued over the concept of what makes an action good. Is something good because says it is? is goodness good in of itself? Good and evil do not truly exist they are human concepts and change depending on the individual like how musical taste changes from person to person.

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Posted 10/9/14 , edited 10/9/14

Sir_jamesalot wrote:


AliceLilit_ wrote:
quote by Winston Churchill. "History is written by the victors"


Chirchill was a pretty smart guy but it was a foolish thing to say.
History is written by whomever writes it.
The only people that can tell you history are it's survivors, even if all of those are the victors then they can still disagree.


I think his quote was a generalization on his personal view of society and how it operates.

Anyone can write history and people will always disagree. History is written either by irrefutable facts or "facts" that people are willing to believe, history does not have to be true. Survivors can write their own history and whatever they say becomes truth or accepted history because there is no one there to refute the story. History as told by the victors is more likely to be accepted because it is written by those in power or those with the most social or cultural dominance. There will be people of course who will argue that events happened differently, and even if it's true history boils down to what people are most willing to believe.

"...the principle which is quite true in itself that in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses of a nation are always more easily corrupted in the deeper strata of their emotional nature than consciously or voluntarily," Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf. Hitlers Big Lie theory.

That is most often misquoted as "The bigger the lie, the more people are willing to believe it." Those who are to be believed have the most credibility, it doesn't matter how they got it.

Morality is also determined by the victors, those in power, or those who people are most willing to believe.
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Posted 10/9/14 , edited 10/9/14
Let's examine the premises one by one.

1. The term "good" can be understood to mean moral and ethical correctness, and the terms "bad" or "evil" can be understood to mean moral and ethical incorrectness.

That's fine, those are legitimate understandings of the terms, though they don't actually refer to anything specific since no moral or ethical system has yet been input. It's a good skeletal structure to serve as a starting point for evaluating moral and ethical systems, though it ignores the possibility of morally and ethically inert actions. Once you add that possibility, we're on the right track for getting some analyses going.

2. The terms "good" and "bad" may also be interpreted as judgments of an action or object's subjective quality. This indicates that morality and ethics are a matter of personal preferences.

You're correct to note that both uses of the terms "bad" and "good" are value judgments (that's what those words are for), but they're judgments being made within separate value systems. For example, it would be odd to see a context in which the following statements are interchangeable:

"This is a good hot dog."

"This is a morally/ethically correct hot dog."

Maybe if we were talking about kosher dietary restrictions we could treat these statements as equivalent, but if we do that then we won't have any idea whether the speaker actually enjoys or prefers the hot dog. We'll only know that the speaker considers the hot dog to be morally/ethically correct according to a particular moral/ethical value system.

The key thing to note is that people can be bound by their moral/ethical systems to engage in or refrain from actions in a way which is contradictory to their personal preferences. Our hypothetical Orthodox Jew might think kosher hot dogs taste awful, but those are the hot dogs which kosher dietary restrictions allow to be eaten (and so are the only ones our hypothetical Orthodox Jew eats). The statement that something is considered morally or ethically "good" doesn't entail anything about that thing's status as preferable, not even from the speaker's point of view. It is merely a valuation of something as right or wrong according to some system of ethics and morals.

3. Information asymmetries limit our ability to make accurate moral judgments.

They certainly do.
Sogno- 
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Posted 11/15/14
i'm the goodest of them all
Posted 11/15/14
Confession:


When I worked, I was super nice to the Asian people. I was nice to everyone, very nice actually, but extra nice to them. It wasn't even on purpose, I just realized it not too long ago.

I feel like as long as your bias' don't turn into "I like __ and only __" it's fine. Everyone is biased. It's just making sure your biases aren't overruling your judgement, your attitude, or how you treat people, in a negative sense.

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Posted 11/15/14
Totally get you. I used to question this ages ago.

What I came to find was that we assign goodness to things that are beneficial to us. (either directly or indirectly).

"Good", and similar words,. "Beneficial", "benefactor", "benevolent".... just to go with a few, tend to be associated with morally approved concepts and ideals. The core concepts of giving, protecting, and sacrificing ourselves for a greater cause or for someone else is something we desire, and as such we call it "good", This can get us into trouble when it comes to the "hard choices" and trying to decide between taking an action we do not desire for a result that we do, or we refrain from the action and suffer an undesirable consequence. (consequentialism versus deontology)

Beyond a desirable outcome, there's little to no real rationale for something to be ethical or not. That's why there's a WHOOOOOOOOLE branch of philosophy called "ethics". For ages people have argued where our ethics come from and what, specifically is ethical. Where as it may have started with a belief that "god" has passed them down, it hasn't stayed that way.Going back to that deontological vs. consequential ethics, you could probably pick the ethics of Kant, with his Categorical Imperative, and the statement that one should treat others as ends rather than means,... basically, there's a code of figuring out whether an action is moral or not, and obeying the rules and the morality generated by those rules is of the utmost importance, damn the consequences. Then on the other hand, you have Mill and utilitarianism. Basically saying the whatever makes the most people the most happy (and that Socrates dissatisfied is better than a fool satisfied... you can look these things up on your own).

These rules set down guidelines on figuring out what is morally sound, but do not actually say WHAT in particular is moral. Nevertheless, they all still talk about what is beneficial to the self to society, etc. which is all about preference.

(also let's toss in Hume, cause he's awesome and it's one of my favorite quotes: "Reason Is and ought be a slave to the passions" Link: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/emotions-17th18th/LD8Hume.html In fact, that pretty much answers everything... anyhow, I'm going to just leave the above..)

Posted 11/16/14 , edited 11/16/14
i've wanted to kill people before. still do. i'm thinking of changing careers to law enforcement.
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