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Isambard
11-28-2007, 12:07 AM
Hello.

Here's me again, writing a short essay that will never be graded or even seen as opposed to studying for my exam ^_^

Im feel like stretching my legs and taking on the basis for almost all religious and contemporary secular morality, "ethic of reciprocity" otherwise know as, "The Golden Rule".

Good chance you may have heard of this, especially if you are christian as its usually (falsely) claimed to originate from christianity.

The saying essentially goes like this ""treat others as you would like to be treated".

Now I'm sure many of you would agree with this statement and say that if everyone followed this, the world is a better place as it promotes empathy and perspective-taking.

Some may even see me as a prick for trying to disprove this idea.

Well I am a prick, so here goes my shake on the issue;)

The underlining problem behind the idea of the "Golden Rule" being infallible is that you are inherently assuming that that everyone shares your frame of mind and criterias.

This also makes the claim that using the 'golden rule' promotes empathy and perspective-taking bunk as in reality its the reverse. You need the latter to have the former. Let me demonstrate.

If you are normal in your diet like me, and enjoy a fine piece of steak, then chances are you may not sympathize with the cow that became your meat.
To you, its simply an animal and the golden rule wouldnt apply in such a situation. The question "how would you like to be eaten" then becomes frivolous to you because you don't eqate the cow with yourself.

Now, let us look at an example closer to home. Prior to the Holocaust, Jews were in the same situation as the cow in the previous example. No, they werent being eaten :-P, but they werent equated with the person making the moral judgement. If asked "how would you like to be discriminated agaisnt for your faith", the anti-semite would just say "well Im not evil, therefore you cant compare".

Now you may say, "but Isaac, the example with a cow used an animal to a person, whereas the jewish example uses two people".

To which I would say you've proven my point. For the Golden Rule to fulfill the claims of proponents, we would have to have a universal definition of "person, people, ethical treatment, hierarchy of worth etc.". If you are still unsure, throw in a person vs. person example where one of the people is a serial killer/rapist. Chances are the criminal will be seen as "less-than a person" and the golden rule will fall into a similar problem as it did with trying to use it on the anti-semite. "Im not a serial rapist/killer!, if I were I would want you to stop me"

So one would have to have empathy already established with someone/thing with the same "likeness" to you with which you can do perspective-taking and identify with.

The relativity of the criteria on which the golden rule depends on, and the fact that is contributes nothing of its own, merely a reflection of something that would already have to be there, makes the Golden rule little more than a placebo for those claiming to be moral.

-Cheers!:D
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Keltoi
11-28-2007, 12:44 AM
I'm not sure I see the point. Your example of the Nazis and anti-semitism doesn't really make your point at all, since you are basically saying they didn't equate the suffering of Jews to their own suffering. Doesn't that lend credence to the thought that if they had perhaps the Holocaust might never have happened?

You can't condemn morality because some people aren't moral.
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Isambard
11-28-2007, 12:50 AM
Originally Posted by Keltoi
I'm not sure I see the point. Your example of the Nazis and anti-semitism doesn't really make your point at all, since you are basically saying they didn't equate the suffering of Jews to their own suffering. Doesn't that lend credence to the thought that if they had perhaps the Holocaust might never have happened?

You can't condemn morality because some people aren't moral.
Well I wasnt using the Nazis persay, but the mind-set prior to the Holocaust. You had widespread anti-semeticism based on similar arguements used agaisnt feeling empathy for your meat products or for a criminal.

You would already have to have empathy to apply even cite the golden rule which is where is gets redundant.
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Keltoi
11-28-2007, 12:40 PM
Yes, you would have to already have a sense of morality for the "golden rule" to be effective. That doesn't make the "golden rule" any less moral. I believe that the "golden rule" assumes that all people share a basic sense of human morality. I believe that to be true. However, some people can be pushed to ignore this morality for the sake of some other cause. That isn't a failure of the "golden rule", but a human failure.
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snakelegs
11-29-2007, 01:11 AM
do you feel any differently if it is phrased in the negative:
do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you?
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Isambard
11-29-2007, 01:13 AM
Originally Posted by snakelegs
do you feel any differently if it is phrased in the negative:
do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you?
Same problem of the relativistic nature of "other".
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snakelegs
11-29-2007, 01:18 AM
well, where both would break down is when you make a fellow human "other" - as the nazis did with the jews and as is normally done with "the enemy". then, either way would be irrelevant and are just empty words.
it seems that it is dependent on your regard of another as an equal. once you have classified him as either sub or "other" - no holds barred.
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IbnAbdulHakim
11-29-2007, 10:59 AM
Well I am a pr!ck
i stopped reading at that , have some self respect :|


Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullaah
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IbnAbdulHakim
11-29-2007, 11:03 AM
Originally Posted by Keltoi
I'm not sure I see the point.
you and me both


i read the whole article now and i dont see how you disproved anything, that may be my fault though.


Well, at least you tried eh.
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aamirsaab
11-29-2007, 12:02 PM
Originally Posted by Isambard
Hello!

Here's me again, writing a short essay that will never be graded or even seen as opposed to studying for my exam ^_^.
Ah I love this guy - he always gives me a brain exercise when I need it! :D


The saying essentially goes like this ""treat others as you would like to be treated".

Now I'm sure many of you would agree with this statement and say that if everyone followed this, the world is a better place as it promotes empathy and perspective-taking.
Yah!


The underlining problem behind the idea of the "Golden Rule" being infallible is that you are inherently assuming that that everyone shares your frame of mind and criterias.
Yah.

If you are normal in your diet like me, and enjoy a fine piece of steak, then chances are you may not sympathize with the cow that became your meat.
To you, its simply an animal and the golden rule wouldnt apply in such a situation. The question "how would you like to be eaten" then becomes frivolous to you because you don't eqate the cow with yourself.
True.

Now, let us look at an example closer to home. Prior to the Holocaust, Jews were in the same situation as the cow in the previous example. No, they werent being eaten :-P, but they werent equated with the person making the moral judgement. If asked "how would you like to be discriminated agaisnt for your faith", the anti-semite would just say "well Im not evil, therefore you cant compare".
Alrighty.

I think I understand your post in general but the whole point of the ''Golden rule'' is to prevent 'bad' things i.e. Person A gets smacked in the face. Person C laughs. Person B says ''how would you like to be smacked in the face?'' to person C (the one who was laughing). The whole point of person B's question was that A the smacking in the face was wrong and B the fact that person C laughed at it was also wrong.

Basically, the rule about treating others as you would like to be treated is just that.

I think however what you are trying to say is that this rule is bs due to the fact that there are certain situations where this rule is not applied but it should given the rulings set out. To which, I do agree.

I also understand that a lot of the so called rulings of ethical conduct (or moral obligations to society if you want to get posh :p) are a load of bs. Take for example not condeming a bad event - in reality there is no need to condemn (or a public outcry at) the death of a baby because this is globally and inherently accepted as bad in the first place. Conversely, for world affairs types of situations, condemnation is required (by society).

It boils down to the fact that society likes to bend the rules for situations. Hypocritical, yes. But, if you play by the rules of the system, you get far in life.

Harsh indeed but that is how it is.

p.s; I do not condone any actions of violence on civilians/innocent people.
p.p.s; Not condemning someone is not the same as agreeing or condoning with them. Unfortunately, society doesn't see it that way....:(
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Isambard
11-29-2007, 06:15 PM
Originally Posted by aamirsaab
I think however what you are trying to say is that this rule is bs due to the fact that there are certain situations where this rule is not applied but it should given the rulings set out. To which, I do agree.

Its not that there are certain situations in which it doesn't apply, it's the Rule is based on an individual's ability to empathize with someone/thing first, then the golden rule is attempted to be used to make someone who disagrees, agree with you.

This is problematic because it is based on personal ability to relate and not on a universal. The Golden Rule then depends on how you contextualize a situation.

You may turn a deaf ear for pleas to realize a homocidal murderer because you can't relate. The situation gets a little different if said murderer, murders out of a mental condition because you don't necessarily relate to killing ppl, but you can empathize with harming others out of ignorance.

There is also the relativity of personal likes/dislikes. For example, in the ancient greek Poli, sex with young boys was seen as a pure form of love an encouraged. Today, such an act will land you in jail.

The empathy one feels is based ability to take another (person or things) perspective as well as a very personal or even cultural understanding of norms.

So then the Nazis were following their understanding of the golden rule, just that their cultural understanding of a person is very different than ours. Same with the vegan/Janist vs. our understanding of cattle as simply food.


It boils down to the fact that society likes to bend the rules for situations. Hypocritical, yes. But, if you play by the rules of the system, you get far in life.

Agreed. Societies of all sorts are riddled with contradictions and the "ethical norm" seems to vary widely thruout history.
I also wanted to add something that perhaps I wasnt clear about.

The reason why the golden rule is redundant is those putting it forth already have the "end" of the arguement. You cant have the golden rule without.

So citing the golden rule is like saying "Make sure you enjoy the company of your friends". Bit of a redundant statement because you would only be friends with people whos company you already enjoy.

Good to see yaa again:D
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aamirsaab
11-29-2007, 06:42 PM
Originally Posted by Isambard
I also wanted to add something that perhaps I wasnt clear about.

The reason why the golden rule is redundant is those putting it forth already have the "end" of the arguement. You cant have the golden rule without.

So citing the golden rule is like saying "Make sure you enjoy the company of your friends". Bit of a redundant statement because you would only be friends with people whos company you already enjoy.
Lol, it probably would have been better to put that last paragraph in the original post - it's a good summary of your original post and gives a more clearer example. I understand your angle now. I don't however see the golden rule as neccesarily bad though but I guess sometimes it can be a bit pointless. It's kind of like a rhetorical statement that equates to the same thing as telling someone to shut it.

Good to see yaa again:D
Well, I didn't want you getting lonely.
:p
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