The Common Misconception of Bias

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The Common Misconception of Bias
Sexism and Racism

FALLACY1

Particularly in the past few decades, the surge in tolerance and legality of ethnicity, gender and homosexuality has lead to a rather huge shift in moral standpoints. It is generally accepted that discrimination, including ethnic bias (racism) and gender bias (sexism), is largely immoral, and the explanation as to why it is immoral is almost universally understood; because distinction in skin colour, or sexual physiology, are not valid justifications of peoples’ intrinsic value. Unfortunately, this moral standpoint has caused a huge confusion in identifying bias situations – leaving people to be ostracized when they do not deserve it.

A Lady's False Accusation of Racism on Facebook

A Lady’s False Accusation of Racism on Facebook

I had just recently saw an image (portrayed above) of a woman complaining about a certain image’s racist remarks on Facebook, despite the fact that no racism nor negative stereotype was even remotely conveyed in the image. She gave a further explanation as to why she considered it racist, suggesting that the descriptive words used (slackass etc.) were inherently targeted towards black people, but her justification was nonetheless refutable, and simply misunderstood. Although some people agreed with her, I felt compelled to send the lady, whose anonymity remains, a message explaining in detail as to why the image in question was not biased at all. While the message* (below) was directed at her comment specifically, it still relates to any situation in which people’s comments are inaccurately accused of having biased undertones – something which I see far too often. Hopefully, the following message will give some clarity in identifying discrimination.

Original Image, Accused of Racist Pretense

Original Image, Accused of Racist Pretense

Facebook Message

I saw an image which showed you accusing an image of having racist pretense, and I’m going to tell you why that post isn’t racist:

     Firstly, the post wasn’t relative to black people at all.There were no suggestions that black people are lazy/slack etc. and the adjectives were attributed to the person in the picture, who was wearing ridiculously baggy pants. The mockery was targeted towards the clothing style. Just because you associated baggy clothing and laziness to black people, it doesn’t mean that the post associates its comments to black people.

     In fact, if you claim that those adjectives were typical of a black person, then you’re not only falsely interpreting the original post, but you’re the one perpetuating the negative stereotype on black people.
Secondly, even if it did claim that black people wear ridiculously out-of-proportion clothing, it still doesn’t constitute as racism, or any bias for that matter. See the definition of racism below;

racism: Noun
Prejudice or discrimination directed against someone of a different race based on such a belief.” – Google result, definition

Just because the concept of black people wearing baggy clothing is considered stereotypical, it doesn’t mean that black people are marginalised or discriminated against; a stereotype can have truth to it, and that exempts it from racism. If somebody said that black people predominantly live in the housing Projects, which is true, then it would be a stereotype – not racism, because the comment is based on statistical evidence and it’s not suggesting that black people live in the projects BECAUSE they’re black. It didn’t claim that people vary in intelligence/character according to their skin-colour – it didn’t even remotely portray a stereotype about anybody.

If you’re ever confronted by anything which people deem as racist, then remember the fallacy: correlation does not imply causation.

If black people are statistically more likely to live in poverty, then it’s suggesting that black people correlate with poverty. It doesn’t, however, suggest that black people are the cause of poverty. In this case, if somebody ever suggested that black people wear baggy clothing, then they’re giving a correlation between baggy clothing and black people – not a causation.

Morgan

Personal Analysis of “All Along the Watchtower”

Updated:
13/03/2013

[1]     “There must be some way out of here” said the joker to the thief
     “There’s too much confusion”, I can’t get no relief
     Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth
     None of them along the line know what any of it is worth.

[5]     “No reason to get excited”, the thief he kindly spoke
     “There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke
     But you and I, we’ve been through that, and this is not our fate
     So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late”.

     All along the watchtower, princes kept the view
[10]     While all the women came and went, barefoot servants, too.

     Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl
     Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl.

Bob Dylan Portrait

Bob Dylan Portrait

Personal Analysis of All Along the Watchtower
by
Bob Dylan

During the surge of music proceeding the Beatles, Bob Dylan stood out as a profoundly influential musician of his time, and perhaps for future generations as well. Bob Dylan was considered the pioneer of lyrical writing, as he integrated riveting story-telling into musical passion. Songs such as Like a Rolling Stone and Hurricane were prime examples of Dylan’s story-telling genius, and other songs such as Mr Tambourine Man and All Along the Watch Tower were a testament to his avant-garde, poetic side.

Possibly the most revealing sentiment about the lyrics of All Along the Watchtower is extracted from the final verse;

[11]   ” Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl
          Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl

The lines paint an introductory scene for the listener, suggesting that the song’s chronology is reversed. This revelation was established by English Literature professor Christopher Ricks, saying that “at the conclusion of the last verse, it is as if the song bizarrely begins at last, and as if the myth began again.

From Christopher’s finding, the lyrics tell quite an interesting, almost Biblical, tale of both a Thief and a Joker (1). Throughout the first lines, the Joker talks of a matter of freedom to his companion, the Thief. The Joker’s tone seems rather stressful as he claims that “there must be some way out of here.” Obviously, the two are both retained in some form of imprisonment. Unlike the fellow prisoner, the Thief’s tone is particularly firm as he says;

[6]     “There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke
           But you and I, we’ve been through that, and this is not our fate
           So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late.”

The thief’s comment gives value to the scene as it suggests that the two strangers have apparently known each other for quite some time, almost as though they’re inseparable friends. The response also gives clarity to the two protagonists’ philosophical perspective: that life is contrarily a divine experience. A traditional middle-aged castle with Princes, sprawling crowds of women and “Foot servants, too” is presented in the lines preceding the final verse (9, 10). The picture of the Castle, or more specifically a Watchtower, in the relevant lines gives the perspective of seeing the forest for the trees. While the expansive Castle is visualised as being magnificent, the community within its gates is very hierarchical in social status. The Princes who “kept the view” (9) are established first as the wealthy class, following with the women, who are the middle-class, and poverty-stricken foot servants being presented last. The social Hierarchy is a blatant reference to Western culture’s burden of wealth distinction.

watchtower_quoteYet, with both the characters’ Philosophical values, imprisonment and the social Hierarchy are evident, how do the three correlate? When evaluated from its reversed structure, it becomes clear that the two characters were, in fact, the riders approaching the watch tower. Their subsequent imprisonment is not necessarily justified, however the assumption is made that the two were wanted thieves, or bandits, judging from the mysterious aura shrouded around their identity; it certainly explains why the protagonist is referred to as the Thief.

Naturally, the Joker’s pseudonym implies that the character is comedic and light-hearted, as though life is “but a joke” (6). However, the identity of the Joker is unmasked when the Thief expresses their Philosophical belief that life is quite serious, and divine in nature. It seems that, in light of being in abandonment, the two characters express their genuine identity, as opposed to what the titles convey.

Along the Watchtower, however, the general population goes about their day free from imprisonment. Their identities (i.e. the Princes, the women & the foot servants) are never expressed differently throughout the entire lyrics. Instead, their pseudonym remains the same – the Princes are wealthy, the women are maids, and the foot servants are poor. As such, lines 9 & 10 are directly communicating the political dilemma of class distinction and the negative impact of a mass society which judges people based on their social status and popularity. In this sense, the Joker and the Thief are positioned as people who are direct victims of demanding social expectations. This is further emphasized in the following lines, “Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth
     None of them along the line know what any of it is worth” (3), as it suggests that monetary value of objects, particularly retail prices, don’t testify to their intrinsic value. The mentioning of Businessmen validates the concept of class distinction, and it gives a more accurate detail as to what privileges the wealthy have lost to the poor. According to the song; the poor, as William Blake said, “see a world in a grain of sand”, while the businessmen find 5 dollars in a bag of sand.

Perhaps their imprisonment is metaphorical in the sense that it shows the consequences of revealing one’s independent identity. The Joker is sentenced to abandonment from the populace as the song reveals that his beliefs contradict his pseudonym. The Thief serves as a close companion to the Joker, being the only one who has remained in the cell of confinement with his friend. In this sense, a genuine friendship goes beyond the confines of social abandonment, and the masks of everyday life are not  just worn over the face, but rather the soul.

The lyrics pose an unusual stance, making it rather difficult to interpret the meaning for some. Like many pieces of literature, however, the texts are entirely open to a myriad of different interpretations. Nobody quite knew what Shakespeare was expressing in his sonnets, and Chaucer never did leave behind cliff notes for his writings. In some respects this is the beauty of literature – one text may have no meaning to one person, yet it may offer profound relevance to the human condition for another person. All Along the Watchtower is considered the latter for me. It expresses a great political and social turmoils in youth culture with typical Dylan song-writing, and it serves as a quintessential example of how literature is endlessly open to interpretation.

Rationalising the Ethics of Justice: Theft and Murder

Justice is Blind

Justice is Blind

A common question which is asked by the general public when it comes to Ethics is; “How do our Laws really determine what’s right and wrong?”

Such a question is the quintessential starting point for most Ethical debates, and it’s quite alarming as to how many people do not understand why the most essential ethical codes are in place today. Two of the most essential ethical codes which are governed in laws are theft and murder. While being accepted as insidious acts of immorality, most people during their youth years question as to why they are so unjust. The points made here will hopefully establish why these two common acts of injustice are implemented in the laws today. The distinction between morality and Ethics is established below as well in a concise, informative manner.

While the words “Moral” and Ethics” both derive from the Greek word “Mos”, meaning custom, the two are different in terms of Philosophy. Ethics, in terms of Philosophy, are the codes of what we personally believe in right and wrong. Ethics are the thoughts. Morality, however, is that which is objectively right, and it determines that which is objectively wrong. Morality is the ACT of right, while Ethics are the thoughts of right. That’s why the laws which the Government implements are considered ethical codes, because they’re laws which the people of the government think govern justice.

If one were to take candy from a baby, then they’re using force to retrieve something which was originally in rightful ownership of the baby. The baby earned the candy through non authoritarian methods, and it was unlawfully taken by somebody who exploited the governing system in exchange for nothing. In the movie, “The Gods must be Crazy”, the narrator suggests that ownership is something which is determined by the Governing system of justice in order to maintain a sense of equality and freedom for people. For example, to “own” a mars bar legally you have to exchange something for it. This trading of ownership is a fundamental part of western society, as it tries to equalize the privileges among society. If you take a candy from the baby, then the baby has lost ownership of an object and gained nothing else in ownership. The only case in which this is ethical is if the baby warranted for you to have the candy in exchange for nothing, otherwise the baby has essentially lost something and the scales of equality are skewed.

The case of murder being immoral can be rationally justified as well, similarly to theft. If you murder somebody with a gun, for example, then you’re using certain mechanics to propel a certain object into the victim’s body, with the intention of killing them. When the trajectory hits the brain, in this case, and the victim has been killed, then you have essentially exploited the laws of physics in order to make somebody lose their right of life without their consent. When somebody loses their life, they lose every possible freedom that they originally had: they lose the freedom of buying an object, like a croissant, and eating the croissant. Once the victim loses consciousness, they have lost the capability of doing, or even experiencing, anything. Upon murdering somebody, you have essentially destroyed every freedom of the victim in order for your own purpose (whether it’s for monetary gain or just pleasure). Unlike theft, where you take away the freedom of a baby to enjoy a candy, you literally take away every possible freedom, and every memory, from that person. That’s why murder is widely considered as the most immoral, revolting act against equality and freedom that anybody can commit.

Narcissism, Egoism and Altruism

Narcissism, Egoism and Altruism

Narcissus and his reflection

Narcissus and his reflection

The myth of narcissus tells the tale of a man, known as Narcissus, who looked over the shore of a lake and observed his own reflection, commenting that his own appearance was beautiful. However, Narcissus fell into the water, rippling his reflection and leaving him to drown. From this myth, the philosophy of narcissism and egoism (variably referred to as “egotism”) arise, claiming that our own appearance is a proportional reflection on our morality.

Psychological egoism is the theory in which human motivation is intrinsically self interested. Even when we appear (or think ourselves to be) altruistically motivated, It is still all about personal benefit. This philosophy often assumes itself in the role of economics and politics, where businessmen maintain their business entirely for their own economical gain, and politicians are often quick to spend the people’s tax money on their own wage. Particularly in modern society, psychological egoism is abundant as people have the conception that their worth is empirically based on their bank account’s digits.

This philosophy is interesting, and its validity is indubitable. Psychological egoism, narcissism, and general egoism is present in today’s social networking technology, and is never shy to present itself in amidst of society. Even if somebody were to claim that their compliments to another person was entirely in the interest of others, an egoist would argue that generosity towards others is in their own interest because their sense of selflessness is just a foundation for their sense of nicety or virtuousness.

Many philosophers, such as Hobbes, believe in what is known as the social contract. The idea of social contracting is that mankind mutually agrees to expend their unbridled egoism for the sake of maintaining social order. In Leviathan, Hobbes explains mankind is naturally brutish and often willing to harm others for their own survival; in essence, mankind’s brutish mentality leads to man being both prey and predator to each other. With social contracting, however, people band together in order to invest in a Government system with laws and regulations, in order to maintain survival and not live in a state of anarchy.

The strong do what they will; the weak bear what they must.

-Hobbes

The opposite of egoism, however, is what is known as altruism. Altruism is the philosophical belief in which man is naturally self sacrificial at the expense of others. For example, if somebody was required to give CPR to a relative, then they will proceed to do it even if doing so is emotionally unbearable. However, while this may be evident even in today’s society, egoism is certainly far more abundant.

Freedom: Are Human Beings Free?

Freedom and Determinism: Are Human Beings Free?

Is freedom an idea which is available to us in modern society, and in general history? Or is it that freedom is an illusion which no man could possibly possess? If freedom is illusory, then it leaves the question as to why it is an ideal so sought after in mankind. The problem of freedoms is at the core of meta-ethical reflection, as it is the possibility of moral behaviour. Hence, if freedom is a myth – a curtain laid across the stage, or Universe – then so is morality.

Assuming that freedom is a legitimate ideal, which plays a significant role in the play of life, then there are two types of freedom to consider; these are: negative freedom (freedom from constraint or coercion), and positive freedom (freedom for inclusion). Negative freedom is essentially about not stopping an individual from doing what they want, regardless of the consideration of other’s liberty. Positive freedom, however, is the participation of what is genuinely good for an individual, while considering the freedom of others.

In contemporary society, people are often skewed towards negative freedom, often due to the conception that the Government is stripping society of freedom. Yet, as stated in my statement regarding Government conspiracies, the general idea of a Government is to maintain civility and equality at the expense of negative freedom. Leviathan by Hobbes reinforces this fundamental, albeit generalised, ideology.

Facticity

Things which are naturally granted to ourselves which we do not determine, but determine us. Such things include:

-Moods

-Family of origin;

-Genetic Constitution;

-Socio-political circumstances;

-Access to (and quality of) education;

-Culture;

-Native language(s);

-Actions of others;

I personally believe that I have free will, and my entire life isn’t determine by another force or nature. However, I am compatibalist in the sense that I understand facticity. Often in life we have to “play the cards we’re given”, and, as such, not everything is determined by our independent free will.

The Libertarian Thesis

In the absence of physical coercion etc.; human beings have free-will or agent: their decisions and actions are their own. The case of the Libertarian Thesis essentially boils down to the experience of deliberation, making Libertarianism incompatible with determinism.

Libertarianists rebut the argument of determinism by claiming that “I could have done otherwise had I so chosen.” For example, a Libertarianist, in defence of their belief, could say that a Determinist chose their belief in becoming a Determinist. As well as this, one could claim that just because X caused Y, it does not necessarily mean that X is the cause of Y.

Other Philosophers on Ethics

Other Philosophers on Ethics

AJ Ayer, a leading 20th Century philosopher, believed that moral statements are technically meaningless; but they involve emotive and prescriptive element. Essentially, Ayer believed that, because morality has no relation to science, it has no purpose. Charles Stevenson claimed, however, that it is possible to give reason for our likes and dislikes, rather than intuition or emotional desire.

Moore believed that the good was not something that could be defined or reduced to naturalistic categories (Hume): Naturalistic fallacy. Moore’s approach to ethics was a very intellectual and intuitive approach. He believed that, quite simply, man knows what is good through intuition. Intuition is both a rationalist and emotive decision-making about making facts about the world, such as morality. The philosopher Shaftesbury believed the faculty by which we naturally discern the difference between good and evil (known as moral sense). Moral sense is best described briefly as the aggregation of both intuitive morality and naturalistic ethics.

The idea of intuitive morality is that you naturally know the difference between good and evil, without being able to distinguish the knowledge as either intellectual or emotive. A prime example of intuitive morality is the case of Nazi Germany and their philosophy, for it is considered naturally wrong to kill somebody entirely for their race.

Adam Smith believed that the principle of moral sentiment is essentially based on sympathy (sympathy being the innate human desire to identify with the emotions of others). Smith also claimed that if man had a lack of sympathy for other human beings then there is something wrong with you, and you are regarded as immoral. This is an emotive approach, to some extent, as sympathy is naturally considered as a human emotion.

 Levinas on Ethics as ‘first philosophy’

Levinas’ entire method of thinking about the origins and nature of ethics is so very different from the majority of analytic moral philosophy. The roots of moral imperative lie prior to rationality, language, emotions, intuitions, and even the constitution of the self. Ethics, according to Levinas, is grounded in the primordial pre-conscious call of the ‘other’, who calls me into my responsibility for his/her welfare. The ethical encounter with the other is the touchstone of the subject’s freedom.

Ethics of War

Ethics of War

The morality of War; a Controversial subject

 

There are essentially three primary positions of which one can take on the issue of whether or not a war can be justified, and what tactics are permissible;

–          Realism    

War is an inevitable function (nothing particularly wrong with war). Some realists go so far as to claim that war is not an issue of morality; but rather amoral.

–          Just War Theory

War is inevitable, but only in absolutely extreme cases of national crimes in opposing states. War can be moral if justified appropriately.

–          Pacifism

War is always immoral and sub-human. Pacifists often compare war with murder, in which murder, regardless of the situation, results in punishment by the court of law.

Many realists, in terms of war, justify their belief that war is necessary by claiming that the soldiers in frontline and military of the state are fighting for their own nation’s freedom and equality. Realism is often biased and arrogant, but it is quite valid in the political view of war, for history evidently shows that remorseless military leaders succeed by not considering morality in interstate conflict. The pacifist of war believes in the contrary to the realist, comparing war with mass murder.

The “Just war” theory is in between the realists and pacifists, as such theorists consider the implications and necessities of war. This theory is rather dependant on the individual’s opinion, but it generally claims that war is only necessary when the opposing state is committing brutish acts of immorality and political movements, particularly when it affects their own state.

“Right… is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.”

-Thucydides

Thomas Hobbes, a 17th Century English political philosopher, wrote a book titled Leviathan, which discussed the necessity and purpose of a Government, which somewhat justified the realist view on war. The Prince, by Machiavelli, a 16th Florentine political philosopher, also supported the realist view on war by explaining that a politician of the state should dress well to earn respect of the masses and still maintain the position of power as much as possible. Both of these philosophers, as well as Thucydides, argued that the great politician will convince the masses to put their very life on the line for the state.

Personally I believe that War is sub-human, and can be overcome by reasonable negotiation. Unfortunately, many different cultures act sub-human on a national scale, and it is often another country’s duty to intervene – sometimes with force. As for rulers, while Machiavelli offers a lot of merit when it comes to maintaining power amongst a nation, it certainly doesn’t make for a good ruler. In Plato’s Republic (book I), Socrates argues with Thrasymachus as to whether or not the greatest ruler is immoral, Thrasymachus supporting injustice and Socrates supporting Justice. Eventually Thrasymachus submits into Socrates’ persuasion and they mutually conclude that the ruler’s duty is to enforce rules which condone justice and extinguish injustice, and that the ruler’s subject is the people, just as the doctor’s subject is their patients bodies, and not themselves.

Hume’s Critique of Rationalist Ethics

Hume’s critique of Rationalist ethics

Hume’s empiricism ruled out bot reason and Religion in ethics, particularly because of their intangible matter. Instead, Hume claimed that ethics and moral decisions is distinguished by emotional consideration. Hume also believed that, because reason is ruled out of his rationalist ethical approach, facts and logic cannot determine ethics and moral value. Hume’s absolute distinction of ethics is between what is, and what ought to be. In fact, Hume when so far as to establish a logical fallacy known as “Hume’s Guillotine”.

“’Tis not contrary to reason to prefer the destruction of the world to the scratching of my   finger. ‘Tis not contrary to reason for me to choose morality…”

-Hume

A reason as to why Hume claimed that reason cannot be at the basis of moral life is that ideas and facts alone lack any motivating power. Hume’s argument is a persuasive, albeit realist, approach to ethics; initially, it seems logical that moral actions are based on analysis of what action grants greater emotional ease, or lesser emotional pain, as a consequence of the situation. Yet, using a Utilitarian approach to determining morality is as though man reasons to conclude which action takes the least toll on emotional pain, or greatest measure of natural generosity.

Unfortunately, Hume does not provide us with any reason for his confidence in the ultimate triumph of benevolence over egotism (and malevolence). It is though Hume assumes that man, even a sceptic, must trust his belief of genuine human kindness with certainly more trust than man’s self-control and morality.

As well as this issue, it is observed that man is not entirely moral or nice, and instead often taking on the role of benevolence for our own desire of greed and selfish nature. Hume has a rather optimist trust that man desires ethical code more so than their own selfish benefit. Hume’s belief is a rather emotional determinist approach to ethics; for, in the midst of making a moral decision, intuitive emotions and desires arise to determine our moral decisions – leaving rationality to swim in the depths of our mind, unable to grasp for air. The Iliad displays quite an accurate depiction of a case of emotional determinism, in which Achilles abandons what is rationally thought of an ethical decision, for his emotional desire.

Of the extracted texts from A Treatise of Human Nature, Hume introduces his premise of argument that morality is emotive by acknowledging that Mainstream Western Philosophy regards reason more so than passion, and how the two are considered polar opposites of each other. Jeff McMahan, however, considers that moral action is interpreted by the brain’s cognitive function and intuition, rather than being entirely based on rationality or emotive responses.

Hume establishes that passion is due for consideration in ethical decision making, and notes that he plans on elaborating on his premise by proving that “reason alone can never be a motive to an action,” and, “that it can never oppose passion in the direction of will…” (1) Hume founds the assumption that ethical thinking is not adequate with reason, but rather passion, by observing that reason is the analysis, and discovery, of truth. Hume’s foundation investigates ethics in a rather subjective, expressionist, perspective – as opposed to objective ethics.

Because of this subjective approach, Hume continues by stating that false judgement by reason draws “no manner of guilt” as a consequence when an immoral action, based on false judgment, should subsequently bare emotional pain. For example, if one were to commit an immoral action, such as thievery, the consequence may be a feeling of guilt, and their guilt impacts on their decision on whether or not to turn themselves in for committing the crime. In this respect, emotion naturally evokes the sense of distinguishing morality from immorality.

Hume also points out that reason can, however, impact on moral decision making, but only when it “excites a passion by informing us of the existence of something which is a proper object of it; or when it discovers the connection of causes and effects.”

In the previous hypothetical situation presented, the thief may use reasoning in order to conclude whether or not he/her should hand themselves’ in, but their reasoning is due to the guilt being a result, or “effect”, of their action, leaving them with the impression that thievery is essentially wrong.

Jeff McMahan, in Moral Intuition, argues the validity of intuition as a factor for morality, and whether intuition consists of any cognitive, rational or emotive elements. Throughout the extracted reading, McMahan focuses on two primary theories concerning the nature behind intuitive ethics; the first being a metaphysical, occult approach, while the second theory suggests that “intuitions are indubitable.”

The latter theory regarding intuition’s veridicality is almost immediately dismissed by McMahan as he establishes that intuitive nature can, and is often, doubted through reasoning, as well as varying between cultural and religious background. Peter Singer, a moral Philosopher, is quoted in the extracted texts, suggesting “that all the particular moral judgments we intuitively make are likely to derive from discarded religious systems.” Singer’s statement further validates McMahan’s thesis that intuition is a cognitive function which is very, if not entirely, dependent on the individual’s cultural & religious background. McMahan’s approach to ethics is similar to Hume’s in the respect that both theses regard ethics as being relativist.

As well as this, McMahan takes into consideration man’s general intuitive thought, particularly referred to as common sense. McMahan notes that our common sense of nature and the external world has often led us to believe falsehood. In the chapter “Theory Unchecked by Intuition” (97), the example of science overruling our original perception of the world is founded. In this comparison between science (specifically physics) and instincts, McMahan acknowledges that man regards science as more reliable than their instinctive counterpart, as the studies in science are much more concise and explanatory, as well as coexisting with the laws of nature.

Personally, I consider morality to be quite significantly dependent on all three philosophical factors – emotive, intuitive and rational. It seems rational to assume that intuition often determines whether or not something is immoral, but only in the confines of a brief moment in making a moral decision. Like McMahan established, however, intuition is relative between cultures and different religious backgrounds. Yet it is in man’s nature to rationally consider the implications of a decision based on whether or not it is ethical. As previously suggested by Hume in the hypothetical situation of the thief, ethical reasoning could potentially be due to our emotional state at the time.

If I were to “pick a side”, then I would most certainly determine my moral principles not by my instinct, or passion, but rather from reasoning. For, although cultural relativism is abundant, I do believe that an objective critique of morality can be established through rationality and logic. It is entirely possible to allow reason, passion and intuition coincide with each other in meta-ethics. Through reason, one can establish that passion generally determines moral decisions, particularly in the spur of the moment, and our intuition understands that, through experience, which emotions are negative and which emotions are positive. So, from this correlation of three different philosophical standpoints, one can quite easily understand where they fit into place.