Syria's has irrecoverably lost its culture - HOLY SHIT

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Re: Syria's has irrecoverably lost its culture - HOLY SHIT

Post by The Vortex Empire » 2014-12-23 06:46pm

I would add that the context an artifact is found in is just as important as the artifact itself, so even in the best case scenario that the authenticity of a recovered looted artifact can be determined, a great deal of information has still been lost forever.

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Re: Syria's has irrecoverably lost its culture - HOLY SHIT

Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2014-12-23 06:50pm

The picture from Palmyra looks more like fortification works than damage from war or looting. It is being turned into a major government stronghold. Unfortunately it may come under attack by ISIL soon. I wonder if the Syrian engineers are repairing the cisterns and water distribution systems of the ancient city to again stand a siege. Of course a lot of the damage comes from tunnel mines. Certainly some of the heavier siege mortars can do great execution, but tunnel mining is a really big thing for both sides in Syria, and some of them are fully rivaling the very largest mines like Messines Ridge on the Western Front.

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=f48_1399313710 Here's a video for those who haven't seen them. They are really a testament to the sophistication and intensity of the fighting as a sort of basically medieval positional warfare fought with modern but improvised weapons.
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Re: Syria's has irrecoverably lost its culture - HOLY SHIT

Post by Sea Skimmer » 2014-12-23 09:19pm

I'd agree with that, and looking on google earth that corner of Palmyra is directly against the town on the right and top. It appears they've incorporated berms into a direct defense of the town, and probably linking up to a nearby citadel on a hill overlooking that entire sector on the left. Some other parts of the ruins are a lot further outside the present town though and might be rather more open to looting.
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Re: Syria's has irrecoverably lost its culture - HOLY SHIT

Post by Thanas » 2014-12-23 10:01pm

cmdrjones wrote:Including what Tiriol said: I whoelheartedly agree. What I was making a point about was something Thanas ans I were discussing on the "Why states fail" thread. Sorry for not making that clear. This is a tremendous cultural loss, don't get me wrong, I was (ineffectually apparenlty) asking for clarification about 'cultural evolution.' Thanas implied, (I thought) that even if a culture was so changed from its origins as to be unrecognizable to its forebears then that was a non-issue because of cultural evolution.
And here you fail again. Really, every culture, given a few hundred years between, will be unrecognizable to ancient people. This is what you do not get. Just because Carthagineans from 700AD could not read ancient Carthaginean script does not make them any less Carthaginean. If you want to claim otherwise, I got a few ancient English texts for you to read, where you can try and decipher anything. You'll have fun. :roll:
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Re: Syria's has irrecoverably lost its culture - HOLY SHIT

Post by cmdrjones » 2014-12-24 02:24pm

Thanas wrote:
cmdrjones wrote:Including what Tiriol said: I whoelheartedly agree. What I was making a point about was something Thanas ans I were discussing on the "Why states fail" thread. Sorry for not making that clear. This is a tremendous cultural loss, don't get me wrong, I was (ineffectually apparenlty) asking for clarification about 'cultural evolution.' Thanas implied, (I thought) that even if a culture was so changed from its origins as to be unrecognizable to its forebears then that was a non-issue because of cultural evolution.
And here you fail again. Really, every culture, given a few hundred years between, will be unrecognizable to ancient people. This is what you do not get. Just because Carthagineans from 700AD could not read ancient Carthaginean script does not make them any less Carthaginean. If you want to claim otherwise, I got a few ancient English texts for you to read, where you can try and decipher anything. You'll have fun. :roll:

I've read chaucer in the original middle English, that was bad enough.
So, a people HAVE no fixed identity? I am not making an absolutist argument here. If there was no cultural change, then all the layers of history lost in Syria would be a non-issue, it'd be layer after layer of the same stuff over and over. But, being that we observe these changes and wish to understand them, we recognize the terrible loss that this is.... however, I am simply making the observation that just because societies and languages change, doesn't necessarily make change a desirable and welcome thing.

I have an additional question for you, what about YOUR culture do you view as indispensable, what absolutely cannot be lost over time in order to remain German (or European if you prefer)?
Terralthra wrote:It's similar to the Arabic word for "one who sows discord" or "one who crushes underfoot". It'd be like if the acronym for the some Tea Party thing was "DKBAG" or something. In one sense, it's just the acronym for ISIL/ISIS in Arabic: Dawlat (al-) Islāmiyya ‘Irāq Shām, but it's also an insult.
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Re: Syria's has irrecoverably lost its culture - HOLY SHIT

Post by Thanas » 2014-12-25 10:07am

cmdrjones wrote:I have an additional question for you, what about YOUR culture do you view as indispensable, what absolutely cannot be lost over time in order to remain German (or European if you prefer)?
In the strictest sense nothing as long as that loss is gradual evolution and not due to external, non-standard shocks like war or conquest. Cultures and practices change, that change is by itself nothing bad. For example, bride abduction was standard in German tribes. It is no longer.


EDIT: One should not confuse that as claiming that change by external pressure is generally desirable or the same thing.
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Re: Syria's has irrecoverably lost its culture - HOLY SHIT

Post by Broomstick » 2014-12-25 10:34am

I understand the reasoning behind a slow and careful excavation, but maybe that isn't the best tactic in some circumstances? Is it better to get what we can quickly rather than risk losing so much of a dig? How would we know when to be cautious and when to move fast?
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Re: Syria's has irrecoverably lost its culture - HOLY SHIT

Post by Thanas » 2014-12-25 12:52pm

Broomstick wrote:I understand the reasoning behind a slow and careful excavation, but maybe that isn't the best tactic in some circumstances? Is it better to get what we can quickly rather than risk losing so much of a dig? How would we know when to be cautious and when to move fast?
Well, remember that big debate we had back then about Egypt and taking culture and then transferring it? It always is a balance act.
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Re: Syria's has irrecoverably lost its culture - HOLY SHIT

Post by Broomstick » 2014-12-25 02:43pm

The Middle East has such a history of war, looting, and grave robbing that maybe we should lean towards learn what we can now.

It does make me sad, all around, what's happening there these days. Sure, 10 years ago was bad, but nowhere near like this.
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Re: Syria's has irrecoverably lost its culture - HOLY SHIT

Post by cmdrjones » 2014-12-26 08:57am

Thanas wrote:
cmdrjones wrote:I have an additional question for you, what about YOUR culture do you view as indispensable, what absolutely cannot be lost over time in order to remain German (or European if you prefer)?
In the strictest sense nothing as long as that loss is gradual evolution and not due to external, non-standard shocks like war or conquest. Cultures and practices change, that change is by itself nothing bad. For example, bride abduction was standard in German tribes. It is no longer.


EDIT: One should not confuse that as claiming that change by external pressure is generally desirable or the same thing.
Ok, got it. This I think is at the heart of many of our disagreements. I recognize that you have a greater knowledge base of history than I do, and I think we can agree to disagree in general.
My take is that there IS immutable truth in the universe, and that where our current cultural practices align with that, we should be willing and able to defend it.
Of course borders, languages, cultures etc all change, but even without an external shock, some changes can and should be judged to be ignoble, undesirable, unwanted and/or evil (take your pick) and resisted by any just means.

I'll give an obvious example: Female Genital mutilation. If proponents of this practice move into your community and began to demand that your culture adapt to it, you'd go along with it if it was gradual enough?

To avoid derailing the thread too much though... we've developed the rules of archaeology over the last couple of hundred years to preserve historical artifacts to Learn lessons about the past for this express reason: To avoid repeating mistakes of the past. if we cannot judge actions, practices, mores etc as absolutely WRONG, then how are we to choose amongst them? Who sets the standards? IF the standards change with time/language/culture, then why condemn today what may be acceptable tomorrow?
Terralthra wrote:It's similar to the Arabic word for "one who sows discord" or "one who crushes underfoot". It'd be like if the acronym for the some Tea Party thing was "DKBAG" or something. In one sense, it's just the acronym for ISIL/ISIS in Arabic: Dawlat (al-) Islāmiyya ‘Irāq Shām, but it's also an insult.
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Re: Syria's has irrecoverably lost its culture - HOLY SHIT

Post by Ziggy Stardust » 2014-12-26 05:42pm

It's not that difficult to look at rule-based moral structures that aren't inherently tied to cultural trends. That's why there is such a long history of things like consequentialist ethics and utilitarianism in modern philosophy.

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Re: Syria's has irrecoverably lost its culture - HOLY SHIT

Post by cmdrjones » 2014-12-26 08:39pm

Ziggy Stardust wrote:It's not that difficult to look at rule-based moral structures that aren't inherently tied to cultural trends. That's why there is such a long history of things like consequentialist ethics and utilitarianism in modern philosophy.
Being that utilitarianism is about 'what works' then mayhap we shouldn't be so quick to judge those cultures that made the utilitarian decision to enslave their neighbors especially because it was the best economic decision for many cultures and increased the efficiency of their economies. Id say utilitarianism is amoral AT BEST.
Terralthra wrote:It's similar to the Arabic word for "one who sows discord" or "one who crushes underfoot". It'd be like if the acronym for the some Tea Party thing was "DKBAG" or something. In one sense, it's just the acronym for ISIL/ISIS in Arabic: Dawlat (al-) Islāmiyya ‘Irāq Shām, but it's also an insult.
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Re: Syria's has irrecoverably lost its culture - HOLY SHIT

Post by Alyrium Denryle » 2014-12-26 09:37pm

cmdrjones wrote:
Ziggy Stardust wrote:It's not that difficult to look at rule-based moral structures that aren't inherently tied to cultural trends. That's why there is such a long history of things like consequentialist ethics and utilitarianism in modern philosophy.
Being that utilitarianism is about 'what works' then mayhap we shouldn't be so quick to judge those cultures that made the utilitarian decision to enslave their neighbors especially because it was the best economic decision for many cultures and increased the efficiency of their economies. Id say utilitarianism is amoral AT BEST.
That is not what Utilitarianism is. Please do look up terms before you misuse them. Thanas handles the historical stuff better than I can, but I have been reading your exchanges with gnashing teeth.

Utilitarianism is, at its core, "Take the action, the total consequences of which result in the greatest net good, with good being variously defined as pleasure, fulfillment of held interests and preferences, or broadly defined well-being". The key component in any of them is that everyone is weighed equally. The suffering of a black man counts just as much as the suffering of a white man. Women, Men, Gay People, Straight people, White, Black, Brown. Alles sind gleich.

There is no condition that can exist upon this earth that would make enslaving people acceptable under any formulation of utilitarianism I have ever seen, because there is ALWAYS a better option.

As for cultural evolution, it works just like biological evolution does. I am a fish, amphibian, reptile, mammal, Eurachont, Primate, Hominid, Human. The fact that I have traits that make me a mammal does not in any way diminish the fact that I trace my genetic code back well before fish, and owe much of my body plan to my finned and scaly ancestors.

The same thing goes for cultures. The English today dont superficially resemble the English of 1300 years ago, and they would be unrecognizable to the English of that time. But despite settlement by Norsemen, and outright conquest by Normans, Anarchy, Civil War, the Enlightement and everything since, there are still cultural practices and a cultural identity that can be traced in language, literature, and certain cultural tendencies and practices, food, and everything else. That far back.
I've read chaucer in the original middle English, that was bad enough.
Pfft. Chaucer is easy. Try reading Beowulf. Or listen to this (you might like it too Thanas)

http://youtu.be/7UvesKl8_W8
My take is that there IS immutable truth in the universe, and that where our current cultural practices align with that, we should be willing and able to defend it.
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Re: Syria's has irrecoverably lost its culture - HOLY SHIT

Post by Starglider » 2014-12-27 01:44am

Alyrium Denryle wrote:The key component in any of them is that everyone is weighed equally. The suffering of a black man counts just as much as the suffering of a white man. Women, Men, Gay People, Straight people, White, Black, Brown. Alles sind gleich.
This is not a key component of utilitarianism. It is the notional default because any weighting of individual utility by group is a complication of the basic theory, but the original historical conceptions of utilitarianism definitely included some weighting, in application if not in formulation. Not to be unfair, most philosophers contributing to the theory were well ahead of their time on gender/racial/religious equality, but there was still a significant Christian bias in the early constructions of it. Nearly all seriously proposed general utility functions include a species weighting; suffering and pleasure of non-human animals is either disregarded or weighted on some criteria.

Utilitarianism can and has been applied with weightings such as 'maximise wellbeing of citizens in my nation, disregard wellbeing of enemy nations'. A utility function with absolutely no weightings is actually only possible when applied to a group of beings with identical cognitive architecture (i.e. neurology), because otherwise you are forced to make implicit weighting decisions in the way you measure (or at least quantify) pleasure and pain (and any more abstract measures of utility derrived from them).

It is true that humans are consistent enough in neurology, and utilitarianism is most commonly proposed without explicit intra-human weights, that we can ignore the issue as long as animal welfare is not part of the debate. But it would be wrong to say that utilitarianism cannot be or has not been constructed with discrimination.
Any moral truth can come from only one place. The minds of thinking beings.
While strictly true, morality mostly derives from social behavior and perceptions that were created by natural selection, some quite general to competing and co-operating proto-sentient creatures and some very specific to primate evolutionary history. The remainder comes from game theory which is, as much as maths and logic in general, a universal constant.

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Re: Syria's has irrecoverably lost its culture - HOLY SHIT

Post by cmdrjones » 2014-12-27 03:28am

HAHAHAHAHA :lol:

Oh my sides. It is almost cute. :roll:

You think there is rightness and wrongness written into the fabric of existence? Tell that to the worms that use the eyes of children as their larder. Tell that to Smallpox, Malaria, Tuberculosis, HIV, Ebola, Marburg, Influenza, Syphilis. The only truth in the universe are the laws of physics. Any moral truth can come from only one place. The minds of thinking beings.
So there IS no wrongness or rightness, but somehow parasites and diseases are bad? I'm not sure what you are saying here.
As mentioned better above. Utilitarianism applied to human situations in the real world where we have in groups and out groups means, yes, slavery can easily be determined to be "good" for my group if some other group is doing the work for us.
Utilitarianism is like a hammer, or any other tool, it can be used to build or to smash someone's face depending, hence why I said it's amoral at best. Speaking of gritted teeth, I picture this in my head just a bit... sorry, not sorry.

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Terralthra wrote:It's similar to the Arabic word for "one who sows discord" or "one who crushes underfoot". It'd be like if the acronym for the some Tea Party thing was "DKBAG" or something. In one sense, it's just the acronym for ISIL/ISIS in Arabic: Dawlat (al-) Islāmiyya ‘Irāq Shām, but it's also an insult.
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Re: Syria's has irrecoverably lost its culture - HOLY SHIT

Post by Broomstick » 2014-12-27 05:13am

cmdrjones wrote:So there IS no wrongness or rightness, but somehow parasites and diseases are bad?
No, dumbshit, they just are. Parasites and disease are "bad" to their victims, to their own selves they're "good". There's no Big Daddy in the Sky meting them out as punishment, no Cosmic Adversary sadistically devising them. They just exist.
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Re: Syria's has irrecoverably lost its culture - HOLY SHIT

Post by cmdrjones » 2014-12-27 09:31am

Broomstick wrote:
cmdrjones wrote:So there IS no wrongness or rightness, but somehow parasites and diseases are bad?
No, dumbshit, they just are. Parasites and disease are "bad" to their victims, to their own selves they're "good". There's no Big Daddy in the Sky meting them out as punishment, no Cosmic Adversary sadistically devising them. They just exist.
So Utilitarianism in both your world views is, as I said, at best a philosophical tool. Morality is relative and as we established earlier, cultures evolve, languages and borders change etc. Thank you.

Why then is the title of this thread not - "Syria's has irrecoverably lost its culture - meh"?

To ISIS and the other people destroying those artifacts, doing so could be construed to have maximized their well-being by getting them quick cash to continue their war. If you don't believe in good and evil except in relative terms, I suggest using adjectives like: Distasteful, illegal, barbaric, inefficient, rude and so on.

Right and wrong though are too strong.
Terralthra wrote:It's similar to the Arabic word for "one who sows discord" or "one who crushes underfoot". It'd be like if the acronym for the some Tea Party thing was "DKBAG" or something. In one sense, it's just the acronym for ISIL/ISIS in Arabic: Dawlat (al-) Islāmiyya ‘Irāq Shām, but it's also an insult.
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Re: Syria's has irrecoverably lost its culture - HOLY SHIT

Post by Thanas » 2014-12-27 10:09am

cmdrjones wrote:I'll give an obvious example: Female Genital mutilation. If proponents of this practice move into your community and began to demand that your culture adapt to it, you'd go along with it if it was gradual enough?
No, because that clearly is at odds with the values of the established culture. It also is completely missing the point.

To avoid derailing the thread too much though... we've developed the rules of archaeology over the last couple of hundred years to preserve historical artifacts to Learn lessons about the past for this express reason: To avoid repeating mistakes of the past. if we cannot judge actions, practices, mores etc as absolutely WRONG, then how are we to choose amongst them? Who sets the standards? IF the standards change with time/language/culture, then why condemn today what may be acceptable tomorrow?
I would like to think that you could at least recognize that looting done in total violation of any of the approved methods and laws, looting that makes even the most aggressive European archeologists of the 19th centuries look like schoolchildren in comparison and looting that has no purpose except to pay for further suffering is not an acceptable practice and never would be. Heck, not even the archeologists that plundered Greece and Egypt were ever that brazen. At least they cared for science - this is for profit and what is worse, it is blood money.
cmdrjones wrote:Why then is the title of this thread not - "Syria's has irrecoverably lost its culture - meh"?
Because I am not some grandiose shithead who thinks that nothing in the end matters.
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Re: Syria's has irrecoverably lost its culture - HOLY SHIT

Post by Ziggy Stardust » 2014-12-27 03:28pm

cmdrjones wrote: So Utilitarianism in both your world views is, as I said, at best a philosophical tool. Morality is relative and as we established earlier, cultures evolve, languages and borders change etc. Thank you.

Why then is the title of this thread not - "Syria's has irrecoverably lost its culture - meh"?

To ISIS and the other people destroying those artifacts, doing so could be construed to have maximized their well-being by getting them quick cash to continue their war. If you don't believe in good and evil except in relative terms, I suggest using adjectives like: Distasteful, illegal, barbaric, inefficient, rude and so on.

Right and wrong though are too strong.
So you completely ignore the points being made by everyone else in this thread to continue with your strawman bullshit. At this point it isn't even clear what argument you are trying to make, other than going out of your way to be a shithead about this. (Also, don't think nobody notices the way you quietly ran away from your arguments in other threads after being confronted with evidence that you were wrong. You are not nearly as clever as you seem to think you are).

So, again, I am going to repeat the point that sailed so miraculously over your head:

Utilitarianism is simply one example of a normative ethical system. There are other examples; and we need not restrict ourselves to normative constructs, one may also examine deontological constructs (someone like Starglider or Alyrium who are a bit more formally versed in the subjects can probably elaborate in greater detail than I). For our purposes, it doesn't matter what ethical construct we actually choose to use. The entire point is that all of your blathering about moral relativism betrays a complete ignorance of about 300 years of modern philosophy, starting with Kant. It is entirely possible, and in fact trivially easy, to evaluate actions within ethical constructs that are not strictly tied into cultural norms. Note that this is NOT the same thing as arguing for moral absolutism, or withering everything into irrelevance by appealing to relativism.

Is there still room within a specific construct to argue about what actions are and are not ethical? Sure. Is there room within a specific context to argue about what ethical system is most relevant? Of course. But you are not doing any of these things. Instead, you are continuing to repeat the same points over and over again, completely ignoring what everyone else in the thread is telling you. That's not taking a coherent moral/ethical stand, that's just being a stubborn asshole.

So, please prove me wrong and actually address the arguments being presented. Don't run off and stop posting in this thread once you run out of things to say like you have in every other thread you've participated in thus far.

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Re: Syria's has irrecoverably lost its culture - HOLY SHIT

Post by General Brock » 2014-12-27 09:23pm

Who lost it for them? Who buys the artifacts? In whose interests are these wars instigated? Short answer is, the West and its middle eastern allies. Our governments did this to them in defiance of the standards we expect for ourselves. So are morals and ethics relative, or is there an absolute comfort zone from which human beings function best as human beings in civilized societies?

It was somehow more important to get rid of Assad than consider the consequences of supporting the absolute worst subcultures of Islam against him, and assuming Assad and his people would sit idly by while living Allawites, Christians, Shia, and moderate Sunni were placed at the mercy of the dustbin of history.

Syrian culture is the Syrian peoples. Its a living thing and its bearers are dying in large numbers. Those dead are simply dead, not recoverable. Its not lost upon antiwar observers that ISIS is fueled by foreign fighters and foreign money. Assad would probably not have this revolt had he not ceded to neoliberal economics in mimicry and service to Western elites, and too late, he tried to reform his reforms. The revolt would have been long over were it not for covert support for Islamic militancy, the so-called moderate Syrian revolutionaries that never really were.

Syria's geographic boundaries are a western construction, and the wars have their roots in Western imperialist endeavors tipping internal disputes into a far higher level of depravity than maybe they could on their own.

Syria's has irrecoverably lost its culture - meh. It was not 'lost' implying some neutral invisible hand. Its being stolen from them.

Their human rights weren't respected. Yeah, I'm posting angry but those who weren't antiwar from the beginning over Syria are just whiners. What are you complaining about? This is what bigoted hardball geopolitics comes to. This is what war means.

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Re: Syria's has irrecoverably lost its culture - HOLY SHIT

Post by Simon_Jester » 2014-12-27 11:28pm

General Brock wrote:Who lost it for them? Who buys the artifacts? In whose interests are these wars instigated? Short answer is, the West and its middle eastern allies. Our governments did this to them in defiance of the standards we expect for ourselves.
Excuse me, are you asserting that Western governments are buying the artifacts stolen from Syrian museums and archaeological sites?
It was somehow more important to get rid of Assad than consider the consequences of supporting the absolute worst subcultures of Islam against him, and assuming Assad and his people would sit idly by while living Allawites, Christians, Shia, and moderate Sunni were placed at the mercy of the dustbin of history.
Can you specifically link the groups heavily supported by the West to the looting and destruction of archaeological sites?

Gotcha.
Its not lost upon antiwar observers that ISIS is fueled by foreign fighters and foreign money...
Oh God, not this again. Yes, ISIL has foreign backers, because all Islamic extremist movements do; the majority of them are bankrolled by a handful of interests in the Muslim world such as Saudi oil billionaires.

Are we clear on this?
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Re: Syria's has irrecoverably lost its culture - HOLY SHIT

Post by Thanas » 2014-12-28 05:45am

Brock, take your asshattery elsewhere. The western Governments are not buying the stolen stuff.
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Re: Syria's has irrecoverably lost its culture - HOLY SHIT

Post by cmdrjones » 2014-12-29 08:43am

Ziggy Stardust wrote:So you completely ignore the points being made by everyone else in this thread to continue with your strawman bullshit. At this point it isn't even clear what argument you are trying to make, other than going out of your way to be a shithead about this. (Also, don't think nobody notices the way you quietly ran away from your arguments in other threads after being confronted with evidence that you were wrong. You are not nearly as clever as you seem to think you are).
I never expected it to be 100% clear at first. As for other threads, #1 When I felt I was wrogn I admitted it. When things got so out of control that it was no longer relevant to the subject being discussed, I left. So what?
Ziggy Stardust wrote:So, again, I am going to repeat the point that sailed so miraculously over your head:

Utilitarianism is simply one example of a normative ethical system. There are other examples; and we need not restrict ourselves to normative constructs, one may also examine deontological constructs (someone like Starglider or Alyrium who are a bit more formally versed in the subjects can probably elaborate in greater detail than I). For our purposes, it doesn't matter what ethical construct we actually choose to use.
The key phrase being "For our purposes". I supposed I failed to convey my purpose in the above posts. My apologies.
Ziggy Stardust wrote:The entire point is that all of your blathering about moral relativism betrays a complete ignorance of about 300 years of modern philosophy, starting with Kant. It is entirely possible, and in fact trivially easy, to evaluate actions within ethical constructs that are not strictly tied into cultural norms. Note that this is NOT the same thing as arguing for moral absolutism, or withering everything into irrelevance by appealing to relativism.


I never said it wasn't. But, who is going to care? We're talking about Syria remember? Those looting artifacts aren't going to listen to your carefully constructed philosophical/ethical arguments.
Ziggy Stardust wrote:Is there still room within a specific construct to argue about what actions are and are not ethical? Sure. Is there room within a specific context to argue about what ethical system is most relevant? Of course. But you are not doing any of these things. Instead, you are continuing to repeat the same points over and over again, completely ignoring what everyone else in the thread is telling you. That's not taking a coherent moral/ethical stand, that's just being a stubborn asshole.
I'll give you an example, Thanas was describing to me his views on Cultural evolution vs the standards and mores of German civilization. I was unsure of how to reconcile what I saw as a contradiction between them, because, newsflash, I'm not him. So, I asked him to elaborate, and he did. The entire jaunt into the definition of Utilitarianism was, I thought, a bit of an aside. If you want to take it as a giant insult. well, you are free to do so.
If Utilitarianism is about maximizing well-being, there is nothing wrong with that beyond the problem of its application, hence my point about slavery being acceptable under utilitarianism, because, like any philosophical system it can be applied in multiple ways. It may not be how those who invented it intended, but it would be perfectly acceptable for me to say: "Ok, I am a utilitarian, I find that to maximize the well-being of my group I will use this here Death Star to annihilate a planet of some other group and thus prevent a galaxy wide civil war and untold carnage."

bonus question: why would Kant say that there could be nothing good without qualification aside from goodwill?
Ziggy Stardust wrote:So, please prove me wrong and actually address the arguments being presented. Don't run off and stop posting in this thread once you run out of things to say like you have in every other thread you've participated in thus far.
I don't really think you've presented an argument aside from "you're an asshole"
Terralthra wrote:It's similar to the Arabic word for "one who sows discord" or "one who crushes underfoot". It'd be like if the acronym for the some Tea Party thing was "DKBAG" or something. In one sense, it's just the acronym for ISIL/ISIS in Arabic: Dawlat (al-) Islāmiyya ‘Irāq Shām, but it's also an insult.
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Re: Syria's has irrecoverably lost its culture - HOLY SHIT

Post by cmdrjones » 2014-12-29 08:48am

Ziggy Stardust wrote:It's not that difficult to look at rule-based moral structures that aren't inherently tied to cultural trends. That's why there is such a long history of things like consequentialist ethics and utilitarianism in modern philosophy.

My apologies, again, I missed this post and skimmed over it at first.

OK, so further question: When does modern philosophy start (in your opinion) and how long of a history does something have to have before you would say it has a long history?
Terralthra wrote:It's similar to the Arabic word for "one who sows discord" or "one who crushes underfoot". It'd be like if the acronym for the some Tea Party thing was "DKBAG" or something. In one sense, it's just the acronym for ISIL/ISIS in Arabic: Dawlat (al-) Islāmiyya ‘Irāq Shām, but it's also an insult.
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Re: Syria's has irrecoverably lost its culture - HOLY SHIT

Post by Ziggy Stardust » 2014-12-29 04:11pm

Okay, I was in the middle of responding point-by-point to your last post as I normally would, but it is just increasingly obvious that there is a complete disconnect over what we are talking about. I think you are really misinterpreting what I was trying to say, and in retrospect I admit that I wasn't very clear with the message, and may have misinterpreted your points as well. So I am going to simplify this down:

You said:
My take is that there IS immutable truth in the universe ... <snip> ... if we cannot judge actions, practices, mores etc as absolutely WRONG, then how are we to choose amongst them? Who sets the standards? IF the standards change with time/language/culture, then why condemn today what may be acceptable tomorrow?
I interpret this as an argument in favor of moral absolutism (or moral universalism ... the two are different, and I honestly can't tell from your posts which you find a more appropriate label). Essentially, you seem to be saying to Thanas that you need moral absolutism in order to make moral judgments, because otherwise everything is relative. Is this a correct interpretation of your argument?

My response was to bring up normative ethical constructs (I meant to only use utilitarianism as an example so you understood what I meant; you are right insofar as the specific discussion of utilitarianism was an aside. We can just as easily talk about other deontological and teleological constructs, pragmatism, contractualism, egoism, or any of another dozen subtypes), and pointing out that these are not novel concepts, and in fact have been a major part of philosophy since at least the times of Kant. Since I may not have been clear about the implications of this argument, I will be here: the point of these normative systems is that they provide us with a way to measure moral and ethical worth (in your words "judge actions, practices, mores etc") without either appealing to something as stringent as the moral absolutism you seemed to advocate or the complete moral relativism you seemed to think everyone else was advocating. To put it another way, it is possible to discuss the moral and ethical worth of a specific action within a specific context without making blanket statements like "X is always wrong, all the time, no exceptions" OR "Well we think X is wrong but in culture Y it isn't so who are we to judge?"

Do you understand now the point that I was trying to make, with respect to your quoted statement above?

Now, I said I wasn't going to do a point-by-point thing in the interests of clarifying the main line of debate as I just attempted, but there is one thing I do feel really strongly about addressing:
cmdrjones wrote: OK, so further question: When does modern philosophy start (in your opinion) and how long of a history does something have to have before you would say it has a long history?
Do you honestly and seriously think the most important part of the post you are responding to was the phrase "long history"? Are you really that bad at discerning context? This is the type of posting habit that has led to so many people becoming frustrated with you over these past couple of weeks. Whether deliberate or not, do you understand why this particular response to the quote of mine you are responding to is incredibly irritating?

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