Getting an "Ought" from an "Is.

  
By:  Enoch  •  2 weeks ago  •  57 comments

Getting an "Ought" from an "Is.
"Live Your Life As Though Your Every Act Were to Become A Universal Law". Immanuel Kant

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A traditional philosophical problem is can we get an "ought" from an "is". What, if any relationship exists between statements of value and observed data?

By using a sports metaphor to illustrate the point this article presents the view that a normative (ethical value - ought) can and must be derived from descriptive (verifiable - is).

Let's posit that two baseball teams are in a game. 

A runner on first base tries to steal second base. 

A strong armed catcher hurls the ball to the second baseman who tags him out. 

It is not a close play.

Tens of thousands of fans see and agree with the umpire that the runner is out. No question.

The umpire makes the sign that the player, who is lying close to second base, is out. The player does not disagree.

The umpire then directs the player to exist the field.

Says the umpire, you are out. It is the case that you are out. 

You ought to get up and leave the field.

The player replies, it is the case I am out. I will stay put.

You cannot get an ought (I ought to leave the field) because it is the case that I am tagged out (an is).

Using the maxim of philosopher Immanuel Kant, rules must be universal to be valid. If a rule isn't good enough for everyone, it is not good enough for anyone. See Kant's Critique of Pure Ethics, and Critique of Pure Reason for detail. 

Universalizing this rule, not getting an ought from an is, within three innings all eighteen ball players will be lying around second base, sunning themselves. 

Fans by the tens of thousands in the stands have nothing to watch for having bought their tickets.

The game will come to a complete and total halt.

Rules based on what is the case based on the emergence of values, what people ought and ought not to do are needed so that the game can proceed.

Whatever activities make a society run effectively and efficiently, nothing happens unless we can get an "ought" from an "is".

Societies need rules, umpire enforcement and players to engage in the game. 

The question isn't can we get an "ought' from an "is".

The real inquiries here regard are the rules worthy of being made universal?

Is the game worth playing?

Is this the best of all possible games?

Are the rules justified both because the vision and mission of the games can best be achieved by following them.

Are they maximally fair to all concerned?

What do you think?

Why?

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Peace and Abundant Blessings.

Enoch.

 

       

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Enoch
1  author  Enoch    2 weeks ago

Do you think a value can arise from inter-subjectively verifiable data?

Can we get an "ought" from an "is"?

Can society exist without this happening?

Please share your views.

Kindly follow the site CoC, TOS; room rules, and the Four B's. 

Be Positive.

Be On-Point.

Be Respectful.

Or Be Gone!

We can and should listen with an open mind to one another.

P&AB.

Enoch.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
1.1  Vic Eldred  replied to  Enoch @1    2 weeks ago

Interesting question, though I hate to disagree with the great philosopher. A rule need not be good enough for each and every individual, only a majority.

To put it in the words of somebody famous, Kant is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is getting recognized more and more, I notice!

 
 
 
Enoch
1.1.1  author  Enoch  replied to  Vic Eldred @1.1    2 weeks ago

Dear Friend Vic Eldred: Welcome.

Many thanks for your visit.

You grace us with your presence and thoughtful wisdom.

Kant's Categorical Imperative is deductively based.

He was what they called in the Europe of his day a continental rationalist.

He would take a high level principal, and work downward through logic.

As a result, his quantifers were universal, rather than existential. 

In other words, he used terms like "all, every, always, never and none".

He didn't use "many, most, all, some, each" and so forth.

Its a characteristic of this type of approach that a majority rule would not show up in his wiritings.

For him, its an all or not at all deal.

He was deontological, not situational in his ethics.

Stark contrast to John Stuart Mill Jeremy Bentham and the Utilitarians.

Interestingly, they were all concerned with happiness in its highest form as an end goal.

Kant once wrote that the point of ethics isn't to make you happy.

It is to make you worthy of happiness.

Super point Vic. 

As a deep thinker, we always learn from you.

P&AB.

Enoch.  

 
 
 
CB "The Member Formerly Known as Calbab."
1.2  CB "The Member Formerly Known as Calbab."  replied to  Enoch @1    2 weeks ago
Using the maxim of philosopher Immanuel Kant, rules must be universal to be valid. If a rule isn't good enough for everyone, it is not good enough for anyone.

Kant would ask a question of this hypothetical ballplayer:

1. What if all the other players act like you? What if each players sole interest is to get what each wants and places it above all else?

Jesus would say universally: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Luke 6:31.

The player ought to leave the field, because it is universally acceptable and in agreement with the rules laid out before taking the field. Elsewise, you will have a type of chaos as the game breaks down to a version of each player deciding his (or her) own idea of the game.

 
 
 
Enoch
1.2.1  author  Enoch  replied to  CB "The Member Formerly Known as Calbab." @1.2    2 weeks ago

Dear Brother CB: No law, no order.

P&AB.

Enoch.

 
 
 
Kavika
2  Kavika     2 weeks ago

The only thing that I can say is that is sounds like our congress..Ought to quit...jrSmiley_2_smiley_image.png

 
 
 
Enoch
2.1  author  Enoch  replied to  Kavika @2    2 weeks ago

Dear Brother Kavika: Or put on an umpire's uniform and say, "Yer Out"!

E.

 
 
 
CB "The Member Formerly Known as Calbab."
3  CB "The Member Formerly Known as Calbab."    2 weeks ago

In this morning's new, I heard what I consider  a nauseating news story about what is going on in the territory called, The Central Republic of Africa. It is stated that this African area bares the distinction as, "The Worst Place in the World to be A Child." All due to a long-running conflict between the adult inhabitants.

What IS happening - the children are starving to death in droves because the adults can not find a solution to their conflict. Worse still, UNICEF is willing and able to help nourish the poorest and sickest among the children with outside aid. Unfortunately, the fighters won't let the foodstuffs into the country.

The children, the off-spring of these same warring people OUGHT to recognize there is something WRONG with parents who can not come together to protect their own future 'crop' of the nation's children: Their shared creations. What have the children done to cause this? Nothing, that I can see. Many of them are below the age of consent.

The case for children IS they can not look out for themselves. In a world built for adults children can not survive without adult help and supervision. Furthermore, it is the example of all the adults which surround the children that forms patterns for them to "bond with" and multiply starting early in life. Therefore, adults OUGHT to teach children the ways of peace, feeding themselves, and getting along with others.

The Central Republic of Africa adults OUGHT to end their long-term conflict and teach their children what it means to be loving and caring human beings.

 
 
 
Enoch
3.1  author  Enoch  replied to  CB "The Member Formerly Known as Calbab." @3    2 weeks ago

Dear Brother CB: Well said.

I too am saddened and sickened by what is and isn't being done to and for these innocent suffering children.

To fail to plan for the children is to plan to to fail in the present and future.

Worse, this isn't the only place on the planet where this goes on.

Good that you bring this to our attention here.

Of all things about which to worry, this has to be a top priority. 

P&AB.

Enoch. 

 
 
 
Spikegary
3.2  Spikegary  replied to  CB "The Member Formerly Known as Calbab." @3    2 weeks ago

Unfortunately, this is even true closer to where we live.....Venezuela's population (with the exceptionof the 'Leaders') is starving to death and have no access to medicines or even basic neccessities and are blocking borders with aremd military to keep any aid from penetrating their borders.  It is sad to see what the 'ego' of the leaders cause the population of ordinary citizens.

 
 
 
Enoch
3.2.1  author  Enoch  replied to  Spikegary @3.2    2 weeks ago

Dear Friend SpikeGary: GMTA (Great Minds Think Alike).

Current Venezuela policy under Maduro came to my mind when reading CB's incisive post here.

Sad indeed that a single person who is in over his head will hold his own people hostage to retention of power.

Back from the Northern Vacation?

I sent a private email about getting together as weather allows when you return.

I will write you again tonight to set up a sit down over upstate fare.

I am thinking some place with locally genetically engineered tropical produce and 3D printed meat. 

What was that lab in Medina at which we last dined? 

Smiles.

P&AB.

Enoch. 

 

 
 
 
CB "The Member Formerly Known as Calbab."
3.2.2  CB "The Member Formerly Known as Calbab."  replied to  Spikegary @3.2    2 weeks ago

It is the arbitrariness on the part of Maduro to create a new individual policy of barbarity to supercede the universal policy already in place. Is this correct?

 
 
 
Nerm_L
4  Nerm_L    2 weeks ago

Let's see if I can stay within the philosophy of Kant; I'm a little rusty.

In the baseball example the 'is' represents an existential experience while the 'ought' represents a transcendental expectation.  The runner has been tagged out and everyone has shared that same experience; according to the rules of baseball the runner is out.  Does the 'is' give rise to an 'ought'?

The rules of baseball are transcendental.  The game of baseball did not arise naturally, the game is based upon arbitrary rules derived from expectations.  The rules of the game describe what players ought and ought not do.  The 'ought' is implied by the transcendental nature of the rules.  So, the 'ought' gives rise to the 'is' ; not the other way round.

If I remember Kant correctly, morality/ethics are products of the inner self (the mind); establishing transcendental expectations of what ought and ought not be done.  The mind shapes existential experience with an implied 'ought'.  

 
 
 
Enoch
4.1  author  Enoch  replied to  Nerm_L @4    2 weeks ago

Dear Friend Nerm_L: Fascinating perspective.

Thanks for sharing.

Makes us reflect a moment on it.

Always a good sign.

For Kant, the value of an ethical act is that it is self-fulfilling.

A Ding An Sich (Thing in itself) it is the Noumena (value) which is universal.

The Phenomena (Is) is the particular.

How the brain processes and responds to the is based on the categorical imperative is the stuff upon which Phenomenology is founded. 

You may wish to read the works of Edmund Husserl, and Herbert Speigelberg's two volume History of the Phenomenological Movement for more detail.

A decent analogy is in Plato's Allegory of the cave in The Republic.

The forms ("Ought") are eternal. 

How they are instantiated is temporal ("is").

The contrary perspective is best exposited by David Hume in his Treatise on Human Nature.  

Excellent work Nerm.

We are honored by your participation and contribution.

Lots to address here.

P&AB.

Enoch.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
4.1.1  Nerm_L  replied to  Enoch @4.1    2 weeks ago

Well, it has been many, many, many years since I delved into philosophy.  I am, admittedly, fuzzy on which philosopher is which.  I need to dig out my old copy of Sophie's World by Justein Gaardner.  If you have not read Gaardner's book, I recommend it.

For Kant, the value of an ethical act is that it is self-fulfilling.

Yes, the self cannot be excluded from an 'ought'"Good for thee but not for me" means the transcendental expectation cannot be universal.  The Noumena (universal value) means that morality/ethics cannot be subjective.

ADing An Sich (Thing in itself) it is the Noumena (value) which is universal.

The Phenomena (Is) is the particular.

How the brain processes and responds to the is based on the categorical imperative is the stuff upon which Phenomenology is founded. 

That arises from the search for an objective basis with which to define morality/ethics.  Who and what is God? 

Many observe existence in the same manner; therefore, existential experience is universal.  The inductive conclusion is that since existential experience is universal then transcendental expectations must also be universal.  But which arises from which?  Does existential experience shape transcendental expectations or is it the other way round?

Does the 'is' give us an 'ought' - or - does an 'ought' give us an 'is'?  

The problem is that even after arrival at an understanding of universal transcendental expectations, a leap of faith is still required to transform the universal into the objective.

 
 
 
Enoch
4.1.2  author  Enoch  replied to  Nerm_L @4.1.1    2 weeks ago

Dear Friend Nerm_L: Thanks for the heads up about Sophie's World by Justein Gardner. Your recommendation draws a lot of water with me. 

The self is connected to the Noumena by freedom of choice. The "ought" must be universal and objective. It is fore us to elect to adopt and act on it. So opines Kant.

Who and what is G-d? Super question.

Not sure how or if Kant would try to define in a phrase, sentence or paragraph. Phenomenology the philosophical movement of Husserl which grew out of Kantian thought is very influential and was also influenced by Roman Catholic theology. A good place to look is the History of Philosophy by Father Coppleston, if not out of print.

Soren Kirkegaard is the one to read for the leap of faith concept in Protestant theology. If your Hebrew is up to it, read also Moses Ben-Maimon (Maimonides, the Rambam). Thirteen Articles of Faith. "Ani ma'amin bah emunah schlemah".

For Kant and rationalists, Oughh is timeless, universal and objective.

It is our understanding of it which is enhanced when we use it to deduce what we would do with our experiences. Those are subjective. 

Ought comes first. If and how we use it emerges from our experiences and what we do with them for the greater good.

Super points raised Nerm.

We are as grateful as we are impressed.  

Thanks.

P&AB.

Enoch.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
4.1.3  Nerm_L  replied to  Enoch @4.1.2    2 weeks ago

I found a copy of Sophie's World available for download on the Internet Archive, if you are interested.  The Internet Archive does not require an account to access the books.  The book is available in several digital formats.  Here's a link:

Sophie's World: A Novel About the History of Philosophy

BTW, the Internet Archive is also a good source of books on philosophy in general (as well as many other subjects).  It's a go-to resource for me.  Unfortunately the material isn't that easy to sort so it does require a lot of browsing.

 
 
 
Enoch
4.1.4  author  Enoch  replied to  Nerm_L @4.1.3    2 weeks ago

Dear Friend Nerm_L: Wow!

Super tip.

Many thanks.

E.

 
 
 
Krishna
5  Krishna    2 weeks ago

Using the maxim of philosopher Immanuel Kant, rules must be universal to be valid. If a rule isn't good enough for everyone, it is not good enough for anyone. 

I'm wondering-- has there ever been a society where everyone agrees with all the rules?

 
 
 
Enoch
5.1  author  Enoch  replied to  Krishna @5    2 weeks ago

Dear Friend Krishna: Not in my zip code, according to our Town Supervisor, and Chief of Police.

Smiles.

P&AB.

Enoch.

 
 
 
dave-2693993
6  dave-2693993    2 weeks ago

I don't know Enoch.

In any sports game, the players and fans agree to the rules and outcomes because for whatever reason they find a degree of enjoyment in participating to the sets of rules and expected outcomes.

In life, we come across situations and the outcomes are not necessarily universally expected. This, of course can result in conflict. So yes, the is's(?) result in an oughts but the oughts may or may not be expected to anyone caught up in the is as well as third party observers.

I guess this is where cultures/societies over time have evolved rules of "normal" behavior where most members typical adhere to. Then again, for good or for bad, there are always outliers.

 
 
 
Enoch
6.1  author  Enoch  replied to  dave-2693993 @6    2 weeks ago

Dear Brother Dave: There are such things as universals.

They are hens teeth.

Philosophers spend their entire lives in search of them.

In the words of Chester A. Riley, in the TV sitcom of the 50's Life of Riley he counseled his son Jr. who was trying to solve X in his algebra homework.

He told him, "Junior, I Spent three years in the ninth grade trying to find X. Trust me, it doesn't exist"!

Smiles.

For Kant, moral relativism isn't morality at all.

However hard to find, we should not fall short of seeking the elusive universal principal from which to act.

Irs a high bar.

There are practical problems with attaining those.

Agreed.

Sagacious point.

Thanks.

We are indebted.

P&AB.

Enoch.     

 
 
 
Nowhere Man
7  Nowhere Man    2 weeks ago

Man's expectations are bound by what is reality. In a baseball game the boundaries of expectation (ethics) are set arbitrarily, labeled as "rules". Considering baseball as a metaphor of life, we then have to conclude that the ethics one holds are based upon a persons understanding of the "rules" on how the game is played as constructed arbitrarily by those running the society we live in......

Unfortunately, all peoples interpretation of said "Rules" are different based upon their expectations on how those rules apply. So we have "Umpire's" who defend the rules as arbitrarily set. two different societies can have two differing set of rules to effectuate the same purpose. In Baseball we have the American League and the National League. Who play the same game by by slightly different rules (expectations) yet they can play within each others societies by adjustments at the time of interaction.

So the question becomes in baseball which is the better game? AL or NL rules. Each have staunch proponents and opponents, but they seem to get along when the adjustment is made.... WHY?

Cause the expectation (ethics) say they must......

This conundrum expands when you talk about governments and societies with millions of players all expecting different things decided arbitrarily there are a billion different variations.....

How does one decide which set of expectations to follow is the real question.... societies are complicated enough without adding more rules.

And who decides? where are the umpires? in the immediate present action we have none but ourselves, over time we have others as society dictates but the main point is how do we decide in the immediate? What are your ethics when it matters the most? so turning back, what are your expectations when it matters the most? And you are the only judge....

Our behaviors are the measure of our ethics based upon our expectations of what is correct. Is the only rational conclusion here....

You are the culmination of the decisions you have made in the past... The embodiment of the rationalizations you have made to decide what your expectations are. They are individual, and only you can decide if your going to fit into any arbitrary set of expectations, ethics or rules.

The supreme answer is you decide what your going to be in the ethical world you choose to live in...

My advice?

Choose well...

 
 
 
Enoch
7.1  author  Enoch  replied to  Nowhere Man @7    2 weeks ago

Dear Brother Nowhere Man: You have graced us with your humanity, high standards and presence.

We are indeed grateful. 

In the All-Star Game, and world series, as well as spring training games differing rules from the general set per league may be created so the game can be played by teams of distinct leagues and protocols. 

Kant was less concerned with the individual than the societal level.

He never dismissed personal perspectives based on individual experiences, agendas and views as existent.

Instead he sought the high level principals that made the playing of the game possible.

He deduced from there.      

His approach was A Priori (before experience) rather than A Posteriori (after experience). 

That is the difference in approach between him as a rationalist, and say Hume as an empiricist.

Think of it as walking down rather than climbing up stairs. 

Wonderful commentary dear friend.

We always benefit by your keen insights.

Well done indeed.

P&AB.

Enoch.

 
 
 
Nowhere Man
7.1.1  Nowhere Man  replied to  Enoch @7.1    2 weeks ago
That is the difference in approach between him as a rationalist, and say Hume as an empiricist. Think of it as walking down rather than climbing up stairs. 

Yes brother, I'm definitely an adherent to the ideals of Locke and Voltaire, I guess that makes me a freethinker. (although I've never gone so old school that I visited the oracle of the divine bottle yet) And probably never will, I guess there is a touch of Randian in me as well.....

Definitely the school of individualism. I believe that one cannot understand the society one lives in without understanding what makes up that society in the first place.... The issue becomes gaining your truths from the desired as juxtaposed against the reality.

Walking down the stairs doesn't work too well in that situation, one must understand the nature of the society by its construction first before one can deduce it's import.... (or relationships) Besides with the plethora of differing societies, each society can be considered an individual of it's own right. If I wish to study a society as a whole to rationalize how it formed it's hard to start at the top and work your way down. would be an interesting pathway to greater understandings but I see no truths. 

Truths are discovered and revealed, the whole Came to Believe ideal is as individual as a grain of sand on the beach but as impactful as the wave upon the sand. Truths move us...... truth is the moment of real understanding.... and is as individual as the person having the revelation....

So, getting back to the point.... A revealed truth, (that is your is) and the meaning of that truth, (that is your aught) cannot be imparted on a society as a society is made up of it's members necessarily as a collective. And ethics is the rational accumulation of all individual truths with common accepted meanings gathered into a standard within the society one chooses to adhere to....

Interesting discussion, I'm letting it flow, freely, so it might wander off the path so to speak but I'm always game.....

You got me thinking brother, sometimes a risky proposition...

 
 
 
Enoch
7.1.2  author  Enoch  replied to  Nowhere Man @7.1.1    2 weeks ago

Dear Friend Nowhere Man: Its a risk I am very prepared to take.

I am very proud of all, yourself included who came in to put together our views in an atmosphere of fellowship, and seeking of the truth.

This is the best of the News Talkers. Top of the internet. Pinnacle of humanity.

People respecting people and bonding in the harmony of their intellectual journeys.

Its an honor to be a part of this exciting process.

P&AB.

Enoch. 

 
 
 
Nowhere Man
7.1.3  Nowhere Man  replied to  Enoch @7.1.2    one week ago
People respecting people and bonding in the harmony of their intellectual journeys.

It doesn't happen often enough my friend.......

It's an honor to be your friend and invited to such a discussion.....

 
 
 
Nerm_L
7.2  Nerm_L  replied to  Nowhere Man @7    2 weeks ago
Our behaviors are the measure of our ethics based upon our expectations of what is correct. Is the only rational conclusion here.... You are the culmination of the decisions you have made in the past... The embodiment of the rationalizations you have made to decide what your expectations are. They are individual, and only you can decide if your going to fit into any arbitrary set of expectations, ethics or rules.

Isn't that the conundrum?  Our individual behavior is motivated by our internal expectations, desires, fears, etc.  However, others observe that behavior only as a phenomena of nature.  For others to understand the motivations for observed behavior it is necessary for them to understand those expectations, desires, fears, etc.

If our individual behavior is shaped by our own sense of morality/ethics then others must share the same sense of morality/ethics in order to understand the observed behavior.  The sense of morality/ethics must be universal rather than subjectively internalized.

A shared universal sense of morality/ethics means that 'we are our brothers keeper'.  

 
 
 
Enoch
7.2.1  author  Enoch  replied to  Nerm_L @7.2    2 weeks ago

Dear Friend Nerm_L: Astutely observed and expertly stated.

The problem is the chicken and egg predecesor successor of essence vs. existence.

That is the fence separating those who think essence transcends and must be used for existence, vs. existence comes first and shapes essence. 

To muddy the waters, theologically oriented existentialists like Franz Rosenzwerig, Martin Buber, Jacques Maritain and Paul Tillich say we discover our eternal essence which is fixed through active participation in our fleeting and unfolding existence. Contrast that to John Paul Sartre in Being and Nothingness.

When the question was raised in Scripture, "Am I my brother's keeper?" many religious scholars have opined that all which followed in Scripture is a deliberate attempt to answer that question in the affirmative. With that basis living the life most abundantly follows as a life of solidarity with all humanity trough service to others.

Another winner Nerm.

You are on a roll here.

We are most in your debt.

Please keep 'em coming.

P&AB.

Enoch.   

 
 
 
Nowhere Man
7.2.2  Nowhere Man  replied to  Nerm_L @7.2    2 weeks ago
A shared universal sense of morality/ethics means that 'we are our brothers keeper'.  

AS brother Enoch already mentioned you then have the chicken and the egg conundrum.... Which came first, the Act or the Decision to Act....

How can we have an understood truth without deciding what is true? A sense of morality/ethics in a society necessarily stems from the adherents of that society. Going down the stairs we have to track back to the individuals and their expansively varied experiences understandings and decisions based upon such....

You can't have a global ethical understanding without an individual ethical understanding first, and then, all such understandings in a society need to be homogenized into a societal precept of choice, white or black? Ethical or not? right or wrong....

Are we our brothers keeper? in general yes we are, as it relates to a society in general what is good for one is good for all. But then that flies in the face of the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few...

Here is the way I see it, we help the one who needs cause HE/SHE needs it..... overall this helps the community. if everyone helped just one the entire community gets help.

By declaring that the needs of the many are greater we lose the individual, we lose what makes helping special. This is where government screws it up, particularly progressive liberal government, Groups are selfish, groups can only see to what they need. they are not supportive of the general overall society. they require someone from above telling them when it is their turn for societies help. Such management always comes at a price and most of the time the price is so high no help reaches the group.......

Which is ethical? An individual helping another or a group crying for help and getting none cause the many outweigh the few??

Chicken before the egg?

You tell me.

 
 
 
Nerm_L
7.2.3  Nerm_L  replied to  Nowhere Man @7.2.2    2 weeks ago
How can we have an understood truth without deciding what is true? A sense of morality/ethics in a society necessarily stems from the adherents of that society. Going down the stairs we have to track back to the individuals and their expansively varied experiences understandings and decisions based upon such....

Is there a God?  The idea of God represents an independent truth untainted by existence; an objective truth.  An objective truth is true regardless of circumstance.

We cannot understand existence before we experience it yet that does not diminish the universal nature of existence.  Existence 'is' whether or not the individual experiences that existence.  Lack of observation or understanding does not refute existence.  Existence is universally true but is existence objectively true?  

Existence can be observed over time and space by many individuals; that existential experience can be consistently understood by all, meaning that existence gives rise to universal truth.  But the observer is part and parcel with existence.  An existence observing existence taints the observation with subjectivity.  Existential experience cannot provide an objective truth concerning existence; the observer cannot step outside their own existence.  So, existential experience can only provide an universal truth.  Observing existence cannot tell us whether or not there is a God.

The same holds for truth.  We cannot understand truth before we experience it.  But lack of experience does not refute truth.  Truth, like existence, can be universal.  But is that understanding of truth tainted by our own limitations?  In theological terms the question becomes "what can sinners tell us about objective morality?"  

Are we our brothers keeper? in general yes we are, as it relates to a society in general what is good for one is good for all. But then that flies in the face of the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few...

That's another way of saying objective truth (God's truth) supersedes universal truth (society's truth) supersedes subjective truth (the individual's truth).   

 
 
 
Nowhere Man
7.2.4  Nowhere Man  replied to  Nerm_L @7.2.3    2 weeks ago
Is there a God?

You lost me right there.... Conversation is not about god or god constructs....

I thought the conversation was about ethics and how we derive them in a society.

Not criticizing here, just the whole god concept as relates to ethics is a subject I abhor. It is an endless merry-go-round of what ifs and denials.

My point was, as individuals we have to make choices based upon that which confronts us at any given time. Societal ethics is simply a comparison of notes and collectively establishing the most common answers into a set of standards.

The collective stems from the individual that creates the collective is my belief and truth if you wish to call it that... without the individual you cannot have a collective nor a society. 

I choose not to discuss in theological terms.... way to argumentative for most. (not that your arguing anything)

In some way I agree with your conclusion as it fits in Kant's top down approach.... but in others I consider more important to understanding the issue is it should be looked at from bottom up all truths derive from those experiences and conclusions of the individual that derived them and can only be real when that understanding is plain... 

Thank you for as far as it went...

 
 
 
Nerm_L
7.2.5  Nerm_L  replied to  Nowhere Man @7.2.4    2 weeks ago
You lost me right there.... Conversation is not about god or god constructs....

Sigh ...  Wrong God but serves as an illustration.

My point was, as individuals we have to make choices based upon that which confronts us at any given time. Societal ethics is simply a comparison of notes and collectively establishing the most common answers into a set of standards.

My point was that individual choices can be influenced by prejudices and biases.  Prejudices and biases can influence existential experience; people see what they want to see.  In philosophical terms, prejudices and biases lead to untruths since they establish distinctions and exceptions for universal application of truth.  The secular form of the question is "what can bigots tell us about the truth of equality?"

The collective stems from the individual that creates the collective is my belief and truth if you wish to call it that... without the individual you cannot have a collective nor a society. 

A society built upon collective agreement among individuals incorporates the prejudices and biases of those individuals; that leads to institutionalized untruths.  A society can democratically adopt untruths as guiding moral/ethical principles.

The problem of subjective biases influencing moral/ethical principles is not trivial.

 
 
 
Nowhere Man
7.2.6  Nowhere Man  replied to  Nerm_L @7.2.5    2 weeks ago
The problem of subjective biases influencing moral/ethical principles is not trivial.

Didn't say it was. In fact when discussing how the ethics of a society come into being, biases play a HUGE part in the ethical standards of a society. Biases being the inherent basing of morals and ethics on individual experiences in the collective.

Every society is burdened with them. 

How would they not be?  Societies are collections of individuals attempting to enact standards of behavior that all agree to abide by.... each with a bias to their experiences and what works for them....

If that isn't the case? who is creating the expectations? And, when we figure that out, how are they communicating such to us paltry humans sufficiently enough for us to understand and innately follow?

Those are questions that philosophers have been asking for millennia and are still looking for the answer for today...

I say we create them ourselves, and as such, we are faulted by our limited experiences within the realm we choose to live in.

This is where social injustice comes in and is fostered. We like our self explained and patterned world, biases and all, and we greatly dislike change especially from outside our societies....

It's a fault of man and the separate societies he builds, a primary fault. One I'm hoping we will grow out of in time......

A little secret about truths. truths are only true to he that perceives them as a truth.... Therefor, to any specific individual, a truth to one may be an untruth to another.

Whose to judge?

 
 
 
Nerm_L
7.2.7  Nerm_L  replied to  Nowhere Man @7.2.6    2 weeks ago
Didn't say it was. In fact when discussing how the ethics of a society come into being, biases play a HUGE part in the ethical standards of a society. Biases being the inherent basing of morals and ethics on individual experiences in the collective.

Objective truth supersedes universal truth supersedes subjective truth.  Objective truth is not tainted by untruth.  Objective truth is always true regardless of circumstance.

How would they not be?  Societies are collections of individuals attempting to enact standards of behavior that all agree to abide by.... each with a bias to their experiences and what works for them.... If that isn't the case? who is creating the expectations? And, when we figure that out, how are they communicating such to us paltry humans sufficiently enough for us to understand and innately follow?

Is there a God?  Are there objective truths?  Why do you think religion has played such a prominent role in human history? 

Societies anoint an universal moral authority to act as an objective arbiter of truth; representatives of objective truth on earth.   Of course, corruptible humans given authority can taint morality/ethics with prejudices and biases; especially when arbitration of truth becomes more democratic.   An aggregation of subjective truths cannot  result in objective morality/ethics.

Modern society has turned to science as a source of objective truth.  However, science constrains itself to the 'Is'.  So, the philosophical question becomes how existential experience leads to transcendental expectations?  How can we get an 'Ought' from an 'Is'?  

But the purpose of that question is still to establish an universal moral authority that acts as an objective arbiter of truth and is not tainted by subjective untruths.

 
 
 
Nowhere Man
7.2.8  Nowhere Man  replied to  Nerm_L @7.2.7    2 weeks ago
An aggregation of subjective truths cannot  result in objective morality/ethics.

Objective morality/ethics? Does such a thing exist?

How does that work with this precept.....

WHO decides what is moral/ethical? 

Morality/ethics are always questions of what is acceptable to the person judging such.... that is a truth sufficient to call it axiomatic in my opinion...

Hence there is no such thing as objective morality/ethics because all morality/ethics is relative to the accepted/excepted behavior under judgment by the judgment maker.........

This is why all dogmatic religions are false religions and the only true religion in between a man and his god...

When your determining what is ethical/moral, no matter how it is spun, you cannot get away from the individual and his/her experiences....

ALL morals/ethics are individual and relative....

But the purpose ... {sic}.... is still to establish an universal moral authority that acts as an objective arbiter of truth and is not tainted by subjective untruths.

But whose to be the judgor of a persons morals? what is the universal authority? 

A supposition here. If science is the absolute authority, and said absolute authority says that 100 must die for 1,000 to live. Absolute authority says that the 100 will die using an absolute scientific standard.

Zero empathy, absolute scientific fact....  The hard and fast rules of a universal moral authority is anathema to a free society...... 

End of statement IMHO, no man will accept a universal anything when it comes to what he/she believes....

WE are either free individuals or we are cogs in a universal system, there is no inbetween...

 
 
 
Nerm_L
7.2.9  Nerm_L  replied to  Nowhere Man @7.2.8    2 weeks ago
Objective morality/ethics? Does such a thing exist?

Yes, there are objective truths.  Birth is an objective truth; birth is prerequisite for human existence and being human.  Death is an objective truth; all humans will die, death is immutable and unavoidable.  The past is an objective truth; what has been done has been done and cannot be altered.  Free will is an objective truth; the future is not predetermined and can be influenced by the choices we make.  (Free will is point of contention among some philosophers; some argue there is only an 'Is' without any 'Ought'.  But without free will the concepts of morality/ethics and justice become meaningless.)

Sins & Virtues (to avoid a lengthy descriptive label) are universal truths that may or may not be objective truths.

WHO decides what is moral/ethical? 

No one decides.  Objective truth is always true regardless of circumstance; objective truth is not a choice.  The role of a moral authority is to identify what is objective truth, what is universal truth, and what is subjective truth.  Objective truth supersedes universal truth supersedes subjective truth.  Objective truth, itself, establishes the 'ought' and 'ought not' of morality.  A moral authority has also been anointed to act as an objective arbiter of conflict between objective, universal, and subjective truths. 

ALL morals/ethics are individual and relative....

No.  Humans are not allowed to choose their existence; existence is imposed upon humans.  A human cannot choose to be anything other than human.  Birth is an objective truth.  According to Kant, objective morality/ethics are also imposed upon human when they are born.  Objective truth (the source of objective morality/ethics) has always been true, is always true, and will always be true.  Birth imposes the implied 'Ought' and 'Ought not' of objective truth onto human existence; it is impossible to avoid objective truth after being born.

A supposition here. If science is the absolute authority, and said absolute authority says that 100 must die for 1,000 to live. Absolute authority says that the 100 will die using an absolute scientific standard.

Science constrains itself to the 'Is'; science does not delve into 'Ought' or 'Ought not'.  Science may definitely tell us that killing 100 will allow 1,000 to live but science cannot make the choice whether or not 100 'Ought' to be killed.  Objective facts are not a substitute for morality/ethics.

 
 
 
Nowhere Man
7.2.10  Nowhere Man  replied to  Nerm_L @7.2.9    2 weeks ago

So what your saying is that truths equal scientific facts as long as someone adjudges/qualifies the truths as objective.....

I still ask who is that someone?

Science can be equated with philosophy...... using your argument as a base, How do you prove a philosophical fact/truth without opinion?

Opinions require judgment and discernment.

Melding the empirical world with the metaphorical world removing all judgment.

Eliminating "to be or not to be, that is the question" taking the "question" out of the equation.... Turning it into, "it is or it isn't, that is a fact!"

We again arrive at who makes the initial decision of what is fact and what isn't? What judgments or rationality are they going to use to make that decision.... Who gets to decide if they are right or wrong?

Humans are not allowed to choose their existence; existence is imposed upon humans.  A human cannot choose to be anything other than human.  Birth is an objective truth.  According to Kant, objective morality/ethics are also imposed upon human when they are born.  Objective truth (the source of objective morality/ethics) has always been true, is always true, and will always be true.  Birth imposes the implied 'Ought' and 'Ought not' of objective truth onto human existence; it is impossible to avoid objective truth after being born.

I do understand that according to Kant, truth is universal, if it can't be universal then it isn't truth......

And birth and death in that vary narrow definition is the only truth for a human being where everything else is a choice once consciousness takes hold....

Which is necessarily why I am not a Kantian believer....

Once free of the birth and not at the moment of death, humans are free of all imposed forces of "Must Be" they MUST choose their existence in the environment they live in..... Hence "Objective truth" as Kant defines it is an impossibility in my thinking.....

Ought's are a part of life, Humans have to learn to deal with them. Societies are built upon ought's and ought nots. I see that as an absolute truth, (objective truth if you will, I don't make such a distinction) and no human can escape such...

 
 
 
Nerm_L
7.2.11  Nerm_L  replied to  Nowhere Man @7.2.8    2 weeks ago
WHO decides what is moral/ethical?

Why must there be a WHO?  Morality/ethics may be an intrinsic force of nature that makes social organization possible.  A society depends upon morality/ethics to coexist without conflict.  Was morality/ethics arbitrarily created by humans, or, was morality/ethics discovered by humans? 

Are economic principles an intrinsic force of nature that makes economic organization possible?  WHO decides if there is going to be a recession?  WHO decides if the stock market will rise or fall?  Did humans arbitrarily create economics, or, did humans discover principles of economics?  Does a central bank just arbitrarily make up economics depending on circumstances, or, does a central bank apply the discovered principles of economics in as objective manner as possible?  And how do humans utilize the principles of economics to make choices?

This is why all dogmatic religions are false religions and the only true religion in between a man and his god...

When your determining what is ethical/moral, no matter how it is spun, you cannot get away from the individual and his/her experiences....

ALL morals/ethics are individual and relative....

Applying that argument to the example of economics:  Then all economics are individual and relative, the only true economics are microeconomics.   Macroeconomics is a dogmatic fiction that is false economics.

The distinction between microeconomics and macroeconomics isn't that different than the distinction between subjective and universal morality/ethics.  The individual is more concerned with microeconomics and subjective morality/ethics.  However, individuals organized into a society must conform to macroeconomics and universal morality/ethics.

WE are either free individuals or we are cogs in a universal system, there is no inbetween...

WE are only free insofar as conforming to society allows.  If morality/ethics are created according to some sort of democratic agreement (allowing untruths to be become moral principles), then the freedom of the minority will always be more restricted.  That makes universal application of morality/ethics impossible to achieve.  Adopting subjective moral/ethical principles to organize a society is self defeating.  

 
 
 
Nowhere Man
7.2.12  Nowhere Man  replied to  Nerm_L @7.2.11    2 weeks ago

You said here.... @7.2.9

No one decides.  Objective truth is always true regardless of circumstance; objective truth is not a choice.  The role of a moral authority is to identify what is objective truth, what is universal truth, and what is subjective truth.  Objective truth supersedes universal truth supersedes subjective truth.  Objective truth, itself, establishes the 'ought' and 'ought not' of morality.  A moral authority has also been anointed to act as an objective arbiter of conflict between objective, universal, and subjective truths. 

Anointed..... Selected, Appointed, Chosen....... Has been..... Historical Action, Past Deed Done..... Arbiter..... The negotiator, The one who decides, The judger.....

WE are the arbiter....

How does the above fit with......

WE are only free insofar as conforming to society allows.

Absolutely true, we are only as free as we (collectively) allow ourselves to be.

If morality/ethics are created according to some sort of democratic agreement (allowing untruths to be become moral principles), then the freedom of the minority will always be more restricted.

Absolutely true also, as one man's morals (or group of men's morals) may and will be different than another's the determination of what is truth and what isn't is up to the individual whomever that may be individually or in the collective. So yes, in certain Environment's/Societies minorities will be restricted by the majority. Life isn't fair, this hearkens back to our animalistic period unfortunately, man cannot escape what he really is.

That makes universal application of morality/ethics impossible to achieve.

Again absolutely true. Obtaining a rule book that is fairly applied to all is subject to man's ability to judge for himself individually or collectively.

Adopting subjective moral/ethical principles to organize a society is self defeating. 

WE are dealing with a state of man in the individual (whether individually or as a collective individual) we eventually must reach and do work to strive for complete moral hegemony every waking instance of our existence since understanding became apparent to the individuals. We know the profit of such. but it is also the societal unicorn so to speak, that which we will never attain....

Why?

Cause we ARE by nature (or act of our anointed creator) as individuals with free will and we all understand that individuality a little bit different than the others...... so much so that there will never ever be any real moral hegemony, we all have a right to decide.

So even in your own argument, (as highlighted in the first quote above) you state a choice is made by an individual (single or collective doesn't matter the fact that at some point a choice is made is critical to humans developing a society.......

The source of this choice making is a mystery yes, but it is a fact nonetheless. SOMEONE made a choice in how it OUGHT to be.

Your argument is making that same plain. The way it OUGHT TO BE......

That is the eternal human question. The human condition is always the way it is, a balancing of choices so to speak, not the way it OUGHT to be....

So the sum of the argument is man is an imperfect being and does thing the way he thinks they should be as divergent as he is..... He can never attain the way it OUGHT to be....

If your last comment was declarative of your understanding of mans condition, then we agree....

 
 
 
Nerm_L
7.2.13  Nerm_L  replied to  Nowhere Man @7.2.12    2 weeks ago
If your last comment was declarative of your understanding of mans condition, then we agree....

We seem to agree that an individual is the center of their universe.  Our disagreement seems to be how that subjective viewpoint relates to the universe.

I contend that an individual does not need morality/ethics to make choices concerning only themselves.  Individual choices concerning only themselves may result in an existential crisis but will not give rise to a moral dilemma.  Choosing to eat corn flakes instead of oatmeal for breakfast does not require any moral considerations.  If an individual is content with whatever lifestyle they choose, that is an existential choice and not a moral choice.

To me, morality/ethics is not about individual actions but, rather, about individual interactions with the universe around them.  An individual being the center of their universe doesn't translate into the individual being the center of the universe.  An individual's choice of action is based on subjectively existential experience.  However, choice of interactions between individuals are based upon transcendental expectations.  Choice of action concerning self emphasizes the 'Is'.  Choice of interaction between individuals emphasizes the 'Ought'.

Individuals choosing to interact as though they are the center of the universe would be an objective untruth.  Unless that individual created the universe and is responsible for the rational behavior of the universe.  Is there a God?

 
 
 
Nowhere Man
7.2.14  Nowhere Man  replied to  Nerm_L @7.2.13    one week ago
Individuals choosing to interact as though they are the center of the universe would be an objective untruth.  Unless that individual created the universe and is responsible for the rational behavior of the universe.  Is there a God?

I agree here, An individual IS the center of his world in his own mind. Has to be that way to survive. So in the individual it is a truth when all the rationality is eliminated..... that is the micro sense of understanding.....

But in the real world Humans can choose how they interact with it, their environmental reality is that we have to socialize if for the simple reason for propagation purposes. Man did not create the universe, is axiomatic in my humble opinion. So to rationalize creation and developed a social construct called GOD..... God being whatever the individual claims he/she is.

In all things man puts his desirable understandings of right and wrong as he sees it into the god construct.

Is there a god? not in any real sense, only in what one chooses for himself as his/her god....

This is clearly established by the ideal of a very advanced specimen deigning to come down and mingle amongst us with all the wonders he understands that we haven't a clue about... WE have to rationalize him as a god with magical abilities.....

God constructs are imaginings of that which we cannot understand or explain. And in socializing for propagation and survival as a specie, we learn of each others constructs and formulate what a god should be......

Belief is not in and of itself truth. As truth is only what an individual says it is.... Societies are embodiment's of communicated and agreed upon truth. Governments are the physical manifestation of implementing those truths that everyone can agree with.....

This is the basis of the arguments that "God" created governments......

There are three levels of ethics/morality, individual, societal/community, and declared, rationalized agreed upon group ethics/morality.....

An individual does use ethics/morality to make individual judgments and decisions, but the standard of those ethics/morals is much much lower that in a group, or in a society/government.....

This is the concept of ought's and ought not's, it is a rational for how one should be or act in a group and changes depending on the structure and size of the group. (mob mentality is when a group decides collectively that a much much lower standard of ethics/morality is desirous in the group)

I guess that the argument could be made that man iteratively becomes less and less individual as he becomes more meshed with a group....

This is a discussion that has been going on for millennia and will continue to go on ad infinitum.....  Man wants to understand what created/motivates him or in essence how he was created and for what purpose......

So a purpose is rationalized and no one knows the actual answer.... Man's current state is that the rationalization of disparate individual groups haven't come together yet although we do see it happening if we understand history....

I would say there is no center of the universe, man is an individual, to himself he is the center of his universe, to a society, he is a cog of what ought to be..... (and so seldom is)

 
 
 
Transyferous Rex
8  Transyferous Rex    2 weeks ago

As seen in this historical film linked above, the Germans ought to have attempted to prevent the scoring of a goal. Scoring of goals is required by the rules, in order to determine the winner. There are no rules mandating the defending of one's own goal. However, a team ought to do just that. 

 
 
 
Transyferous Rex
8.1  Transyferous Rex  replied to  Transyferous Rex @8    2 weeks ago

Seems like I remember that bit being longer.

 
 
 
Enoch
8.1.1  author  Enoch  replied to  Transyferous Rex @8.1    2 weeks ago

Dear Friend Transyferous Rex: At any length a classic.

Love Monty Python.

Most of it stands up today.

Thanks for sharing.

P&AB.

Enoch.

 
 
 
Enoch
8.2  author  Enoch  replied to  Transyferous Rex @8    2 weeks ago

Dear Friend TR: Great and important point.

E.

 
 
 
TᵢG
9  TᵢG    2 weeks ago

Nicely done Enoch

This begs the question then of objective morality.   Some (many?) human beings operate as though objective morality exists and is (at least partially) known.   For example, one could pose the question:  'is it moral to murder your father?'.   Most everyone would note (with an obvious tone) that murder is clearly immoral (barring circumstances such as self-defense).   Many would argue that this is objective morality in action — that we all 'know' the objective moral truth that murdering one's father is wrong.

But is this really objective morality or is it the result of reason (aka relative morality)?    Might we all 'know' that murdering one's father is wrong because we have practical experience in life and have witnessed the effects of causes?   

There may not be an objective rule that states one must leave the field when called out — we just all know that based on reason and empirical observation of life.

 
 
 
Enoch
9.1  author  Enoch  replied to  TᵢG @9    2 weeks ago

Dear Friend TiG: The vale of the moral model creating exercise is that we try to create a paradigm which will give us an account that can handle what we already know to be true. 

If that happens (not holding my breathe, easier said than done) we can use that to try to get at what we do not know.

Kant would argue that we use reason to deduce from the objective universal to apply it to sort out and decide on action for what we experience. 

Folks on the other side of the fence advocate for just the opposite.

That is the dichotomy between deontological and situational ethics.

On the father issue, Biblically murder is wrong, killing may not necessarily be so, depending on context.

In some situations killing may be a moral imperative. 

One of the Ten Commandments is not to murder.

The word for murder is not the same as the word for kill.  

The words are never used interchangeably in Scripture because they do not mean the same thing.

Killing for self defense of family, self, community, nation in or out of uniform is killing. 

Murder is the taking of human life for some sort of personal gain, or a by product of a mental hygiene disorder.

Another of the Ten Commandments is to honor Father and Mother. 

What if, for example, the father is violent, and the child is in danger of being murdered by the father in a drunken or drug induced or psychotic rage?

Then it is not murder, but killing of that parent in self defense that would be the thing to do.

What I just wrote may not be Mr. Kant would endorse.

I do not find that specific example addressed in his writings.

Great issues raised in your insightful post.

We are grateful.

Indebted to you for this commentary, for founding and running a room where people can come together and think critically Pro Buono Publico. 

Additionally we are appreciative of all who posted here.

This is a high level discussion thread in which all who participated did themselves and this room and site proud.

It harkens back to the early days fo the News Vine.

This is a room where people can come to get smarter.

There is something very right about that.

P&AB.

Enoch.

 
 
 
CB "The Member Formerly Known as Calbab."
9.1.1  CB "The Member Formerly Known as Calbab."  replied to  Enoch @9.1    2 weeks ago

Every child born into this world comes in knowing nothing that is not inherent to it. For example. Though we are born to a girl or a woman we do not know whether or not "mother" is the mid-wife, nurse, or doctor which 'spanks' our behind or the 'anguished and tortured girl or woman laying prostrated on a bed in sweat. What 'rule' instructs the newborn into determining "mom"? Is the rule this 'bonding' which takes place do to repeat action by the same person? Or, is it the spoken word, "mommy" compelled into the child?

For example: A child never told the 'rule' of whom his or her father is has a vacancy inside all its life. It would ask the question until it is answered even if the father was in its orbit on a daily basis.

In my opinion, universal laws/morals come from the authority in a given situation (God, government, congress, leader, mom, dad, coach, an enemy with control over you. . . . ).

Even our universe appears to follow order imposed upon it, for things could be all over the place!

 
 
 
TᵢG
9.1.2  TᵢG  replied to  CB "The Member Formerly Known as Calbab." @9.1.1    2 weeks ago
... universal laws/morals come from the authority ...

Agreed.  In every situation, it seems that any 'universal' (or objective) law necessarily comes from the authority for the universe of discourse.

 
 
 
CB "The Member Formerly Known as Calbab."
9.1.3  CB "The Member Formerly Known as Calbab."  replied to  TᵢG @9.1.2    2 weeks ago

Yes, if would seem that universals are told us. Though, I need to ground this in something, because a day later my train of thought is up in the air!

 
 
 
TᵢG
9.1.4  TᵢG  replied to  CB "The Member Formerly Known as Calbab." @9.1.3    2 weeks ago

One thing that you and I will likely agree on is the criteria to be the arbiter of absolute objective morality (morality for all that exists).   The only possible arbiter for all that exists would be a sentient entity who created / owns / controls same.   To wit, the supreme authority.

We disagree here:

  • To you, the supreme authority is the Christian God.
  • To me, I am not convinced there is a supreme authority for all that exists.   That is, absolute objective morality might not actually exist (IMO).
 
 
 
CB "The Member Formerly Known as Calbab."
9.1.5  CB "The Member Formerly Known as Calbab."  replied to  TᵢG @9.1.4    2 weeks ago

I agree with your assessment of our situation.

 
 
 
It Is ME
10  It Is ME    2 weeks ago

"Ought" we not think a bit more than we do ?

"Ought NOT" seems to be the flavor of these days !

"If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment."

Ernest Rutherford

 
 
 
Enoch
10.1  author  Enoch  replied to  It Is ME @10    2 weeks ago

Dear Friend Is It Me: Quotation from Ernest Rutherford is a chin scratcher.

Thanks for sharing it.

As a society we need more thinking and less drinking to reduce the stinking.

Smiles.

P&AB.

Enoch.

 
 
 
It Is ME
10.1.1  It Is ME  replied to  Enoch @10.1    2 weeks ago
As a society we need more thinking and less drinking to reduce the stinking.

Ever seen "Drunk History". It's a blast...….jrSmiley_10_smiley_image.gif

I seem to ponder more with "Becks". jrSmiley_9_smiley_image.gif

 
 
 
Enoch
10.1.2  author  Enoch  replied to  It Is ME @10.1.1    2 weeks ago

Dear Friend It is ME: Good Call. 

E.

 
 
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