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Re: Moral Camouflage or Moral Monkeys?

Thanks for posting that article, famfav5. I read the whole piece, and was struck by the support it contains for the thinking I developed independently some time ago and have been trying to explain to my critics in this thread. They seem to feel that my explanation was an effort somehow to justify myself, but that was not my intention at all, nor is it the point. The point of my posts here was to explore the well-springs of morality with the intelligent readers here. I am saddened that some people here would rather snipe disrespectfully than to converse seriously and with good intentions. I see that as the sign of a small mind, regardless of psychological tendencies.


To quote further from the article:

"(1) You do what you do — in the circumstances in which you find yourself—because of the way you then are.

(2) So if you’re going to be ultimately responsible for what you do, you’re going to have to be ultimately responsible for the way you are — at least in certain mental respects.

(3) But you can’t be ultimately responsible for the way you are in any respect at all.

(4) So you can’t be ultimately responsible for what you do.

The key move is (3). Why can’t you be ultimately responsible for the way you are in any respect at all? In answer, consider an expanded version of the argument.

(a) It’s undeniable that the way you are initially is a result of your genetic inheritance and early experience.

(b) It’s undeniable that these are things for which you can’t be held to be in any way responsible (morally or otherwise).

(c) But you can’t at any later stage of life hope to acquire true or ultimate moral responsibility for the way you are by trying to change the way you already are as a result of genetic inheritance and previous experience.

(d) Why not? Because both the particular ways in which you try to change yourself, and the amount of success you have when trying to change yourself, will be determined by how you already are as a result of your genetic inheritance and previous experience.

(e) And any further changes that you may become able to bring about after you have brought about certain initial changes will in turn be determined, via the initial changes, by your genetic inheritance and previous experience."

That pretty much covers it, I think, and if Zay or Zenemy don't want to see it, that unthinking resistance says a lot I think.

I reply to your question about narcissism and psychopathy: As I wrote in another thread, there is a current theory that psychopathy is a particularly strong form of narcissism. I doubt this. My idea, as you know, is that what we call "psychopathy" really isn't a "pathy" at all, but a normal human personality variant. Narcissism, on the other hand, I do consider pathology, although in contemporary Western culture it is beginning to seem almost normal since so many suffer from it--and make the rest of us to suffer them.

I do like your idea, however, that a psychopath, since he cannot be moved emotionally and seems not to require much connection to others, might be more easily lost in narcissism, and have no road back from it, than a so-called "normal." That may be. Recent posts in this thread seem to back up your idea.

Daniel, I am sorry that the original idea of the thread seems to have been lost. As Hexi said, it was just getting good (although I don't think he meant it in the way that I do). Perhaps you would like to start a new one on morality in one form or another.

Be well.