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existential ethics?

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  • kenhumphries
    ... Can there be existential basis for ethics, for determining which decision is right and which decision is wrong? It must be a play on words that is flying
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 31, 2005
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      Siobhan said:
      >but the hitch is that legally only she or her husband had the right
      >to decide if she wanted to continue

      Bill said:
      >Eduard made it a point to stress that state sponsered reactions
      >to such problems like child rearing must be lock step and have a
      >resemblance to the Hitler breading camps for procuring good little
      >Nazis.
      >...
      >It all arises from a basic disregard for the individuals worth and
      >prominance.

      Louise said:
      >The existentialist truth is this: when one is lacking in vital
      >information, then abstraction, that needful duty, turns to
      >generalisation in the wrong domain, becoming intrusive.

      Can there be existential basis for ethics, for determining which
      decision is right and which decision is wrong? It must be a play on
      words that is flying right over my head. Existential ethics is an
      oxymoron if there ever was one. If Kirkegaard and Sartre have
      anything in common it must be the hopelessness of any genuine basis
      for making the right decision - and the inescapable individual
      responsibility in spite of that hopelessness to make the right
      decision nevertheless. We are concrete beings in a concrete
      universe whose knowledge, indeed whose actual sentient being, can
      only be abstraction - vital information or not. As such we are
      hopelessly separated from the universe and ourselves.

      What ethic can existentialism offer other than to assign
      responsibility and authority. In Terry Schiavo's case, her husband
      had the responsibility and authority for the decision regarding her
      feeding tube. At first I agreed with him, later I disagreed.
      Surely he could have passed that responsibility to her parents.
      There are two big problems with my opinion: irrelevance and
      arrogance. It's none of my business. Neither was it anyone else's
      business. It only became the judge's business because a dispute
      erupted that was his job to settle. The judges did well to respect
      the husband's authority. Everyone else expressing an opinion was,
      like me, irrelevant and arrogant.

      Surely, if the individual is hopeless in his decision making, the
      process can only be corrupted when more people are added to the
      fray. Right, left, Christians, athiests, capitalists, bureaucrats,
      on and on ad infinitum all believe they not only manage their own
      lives with effortless facility, but demand to manage everyone else's
      as well. A regular person has practically no authority. Even
      buckling his seat belt and cutting his grass are prescribed for
      him. If existentialism has anything of value to teach it is that no
      one knows what is right - on small matters or clearly profound
      matters such as Terry Shaivo. We can allow people some authority in
      their own lives to be wrong when they will, and live with their own
      consequences. Or can we?

      Ken
    • Trinidad Cruz
      ... If Kirkegaard and Sartre have anything in common it must be the hopelessness of any genuine basis for making the right decision - and the inescapable
      Message 2 of 2 , Apr 2, 2005
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        --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "kenhumphries" <existlist@k...> wrote:

        "If Kirkegaard and Sartre have anything in common it must be the
        hopelessness of any genuine basis for making the right decision - and
        the inescapable individual responsibility in spite of that
        hopelessness to make the right decision nevertheless."

        To paraphrase Sartre: the pitiless excitation of life against
        inevitable death. In an active human reasonance in spite this fact
        lies the existential ethic. The recognition of no basis is the
        fundamental ethic of existentialism. From there one can assimilate
        scientific progress toward understanding an inevitably changing
        cosmological view and formulate changing time framed tenable ethics
        for the human condition. Most humans resist motion and change in
        ethics. Science itself can never be stationary in its view, or it is
        not good science. It is never properly assimilated into the
        formulation of ethics because its influence is kept by stationary
        moralists at the back door. Scientific information must pass through
        the moralists' assimilation on its way to public understanding. The
        fantasy of God-belief is a particularly virulent form of moralism that
        utilizes fear and populism. Sartre considered atheism an inevitable
        fortunate accident of existentialism. That is also an ethic, and it
        arises from the original ethic of no basis for ethic formulation.The
        last step toward real human ethics is the assimilation of scientific
        information directly into ethical theory without the burdensome and
        falsifying influence of populist moralism.

        Trinidad Cruz
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