A question, A question for all here at ILP

You appear to be taking this very personally, I wasn’t talking about you or confusing you with anyone. I was referring to the OP’s mention of certain people (not you) who assume saving the child is in some Nietzschean sense evidence of Judeo-Christian slave morality. I hope that’s cleared things up.

I…don’t disagree with any of this. See my second post in this thread :wink:

I lean most to Blurry’s responses. I do know that not all humans have the same instincts or upbringing, the response a person has to such a situation has as much to do with upbringing as it does with instinct. Lets bring ethnicity and bigotry into this along with gender.
Would a male that is bigoted against the child’s ethnicity be more or less likely to rescue the child? What about a female bigot?
Which gender has the deepest instincts to save life? Can a bigot’s instincts overcome upbringing?
There are yeses and no s to this because personal experience and where your mind is at, at that time, that can cause an odd decision.

I have saved two children - with no biological imperative.

There are no duties required of saving adults for the following reasons : The act of saving an adult, may put the victim (the object of the act of saving) and the savior into a position of lesser well being. Example, if the person being saved, is moved in an way which does not take into consideration the consequences (medical or otherwise) of such an act.

A child is another matter. Psychologically there is a yet of undefined primary relation between an adult and a child, undifferentiated, so i would not signify that as a product of instinct, but a yet to be understood cognitive process? An adult will act out of an implicit understanding, deriving it’s motive from various ethical, religious and rote behavior points of view, which , conflated into the will to act, by virtue of the force of such confusion.

Most people will, in the event of dealing with adults, may valuate the risks, the level of involvement/responsibility more cogently, than with children.

What I was trying to say is that there is no obligation or reason for you to save the child based on genetic perpetuation. Example: a lioness saves her cub from drowning, she doesn’t save the cub of a rival pack of lions.

Why does it need to be based on genetic perpetuation? Or are you saying it probably doesn’t need to be (which is my stance)?

Your views are culturally specific, not universal.
In the same way there are cultural differences for dogs.
I understand that in Vietnam they eat dogs- a thing that for most British persons is horrific.
Today my dog suffered an injury. I did not hesitate to get her to the Vet where they had to perform an operation to repair her legs, this cost £400, with more expense to come. No problem - she is one of the family
In some countries the dog would now be in the pot and saving the family a week’s food money.

In human culture some children who are not part of the family, group, tribe do not qualify as worthy of saving - even to the point of becoming food, like a dog.
This is not exceptional. Cultures close to our own such as ancient Greece, home of Plato and Aristotle commonly left unwanted children on the mountain to be exposed until they died. An extreme form of contraception, but not remarkably different from helping a child drown.

So it is easy to pretend from our cosy couch, getting our moral guidance from Walt Disney, and I Love Lucy, but it takes a mental leap to understand that our narrowly defined culture of empathy and charity is not at all common in the human field of existence and what is more is very fragile and susceptible to change, revision and dissolution.
Spend some time studying anthropology and moral absolutes disappear.

Cultural specificity is implied by the cogent, rather than instinctive behavior suffered by parts of the universal application. Of course i was specific, and that is why application of values appears relatively more instinctive toward children generally, but in fact it is the underlying knowledge of this relativity, that changes how the values effect behavior. Have i not made this qualification,Your comment would be more relevant, Lev.

Sorry about Your dog! Hope it’s well.


You have not understood my statement, right?

On the contrary, my own narrative revolves around examining such philosophical contraptions as “deontology”, “categorical imperative”, “moral duty” etc. as they may or may not be applicable to an actual moral conflict like abortion. I would never argue that objective morality does not exist. How could I possibly know that for certain? I can only point out that I have not come upon an argument of late that leads me to believe that it does exist. Instead, I point to what I construe to be the limits of logic and reason in confronting conflicting goods in the absense of those stone tablets from God.

No, I have adressed that in turn on my thread with James. For example, Mary could have been pregnant, told no one and secretly aborted the baby. So she had an abortion [an objective fact because in fact she did have one] but there is no one able to confirm it. That is why even pertaining to certain empirical and phenomenal truths, God is necessary. Mere mortals are not in possession of omniscience. And, no, there is no way we can absolutely rule out solipsism or human “reality” being just a manifestion of some demon’s dreams etc…

Instead, I make the distinction between things we are clearly better able to confirm as true objectively [like, say, the existence of the technology we use to conduct this exchange] and things that are more likely to reflect only a subjective point of view [like, say, that my argument is better than yours].

After all, one could insist that Barack Obama, Nouri Maliki, ISIS and the current turmoil in Iraq are not really “out there” in “reality”. I’d suggest that objectively they almost certainly are. But how is noting this different from arguing what might be the right thing to do about it?

Noted. Thanks.

Have you examined the nature of the argument which you would find convincing? Is it even possible for such an argument to exist?

Well, I’d have to hear the actual argument first. Re abortion, the fetus [the baby to some] is destroyed or the pregnant woman is forced to give birth to it.

Or, re capital punishment, the prisoner is executed and his family grieves or the prisoner’s life is spared and his victum’s family feels they have been denied justice. But even here there might be exceptions within each family.

Same with all the other moral conflicts most of us are familiar with. “Goods” come into conflict. How then does the ethicist resolve that?

Or, re the drowning child, surely a preponderance of most folks in most communities would form a consensus that the only Good here is saving the child. But is that the same thing as demonstrating that others are morally obligated to save the child?

I don’t think so. For all the reasons I noted above.

I’m asking how a general argument would be formulated in order for you to accept it. What conditions would it need to satisfy?

To me, it seems that although you say that you are looking for the argument,in fact your requirements are so extreme that such an argument is logically impossible.

And maybe you know, but you’re playing the game of looking.

See Phyllo, I think we agree more often than you think.

If someone is going to make a general argument – an argument in which the words used in the argument don’t pertain to any actual existential conflict – how is that not going to be one in which the argument is true if and only if everyone agrees on the definition [meaning] that is given to the words used IN the argument?

And that seems to be what James S. Saint is ever intent on exploring.

Not me. Make your “general argument” and then demonstrate how it might be relevant “out in the world” of actual human behaviors that come into conflict with regard to value judgments that have come into conflict.

A general argument might reflect something like the Golden Rule. But when it is brought down to earth it quickly becomes entangled in all manner of subjective narratives.

To wit:

onlyagame.typepad.com/only_a_gam … _rule.html

Yes. No reasoning.

That’s actually a really good article. Nice find.

Learn then. Swimming is awesome and wonderful for the body and the mind.