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Author Topic: Chivalry
Everard
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Ummm. I'm gonna go the other direction and say that social status and legal protections are inherently tied together and inseperable when discussing, as tom said, a political minority. If, as a society, we treat a class of people as special, that treatment gets yanked into what we do with them politically. In the case of chivalry, women were treated as, basically, lap dogs. Since they were a political minority, that attitude was the dominant attitude of people making the decisions and the laws. They stop thinking of women as citizens in the same way men were thought of as citizens, and so women became powerless... or were treated as dangerous deviants if they behaved as men.

Because Tom is talking about both political and social powers, it makes sense to talk about "citizens." He's not talking about just how chivalry effects how we treat women as members of society, but also the effect that has on their legal standing. If you believe women SHOULD be treated as a special class of CITIZENS, then chivarly has no problems... the results I might see as bad don't seem problematic to you, because you already view differently poltically. And what I might view as problematic are the political results of treating women as special, socially.

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Richard Dey
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Fun:

It has never been so stinging a rebuke of woman to be called unfeminine as it is of man to be called feminine; and that is a human trait learnt at one's mother's knee.

PaH:

As usual, Peetah, you are applauding the bad guys. The "Heretic, Relapsed, Apostate, Idolatress" was nevah raised even to a dame by Charles -- fingered a bastard by his own mother and never the legitimate king of France. And he who financed her ridiculous visions, inspired less by god than the church, enjoyed his orgasms whilst slitting the throats of little boys. As noble causes, I would rank Joan's with the Children's Crusade.

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Pete at Home
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I'm surprised and delighted that you don't count old blue-beard among your patron saints, Richard. Now if you'd only cut NAMBLA out of the loop, I'd be much more comfy talking to you.

Joan's visions never needed financing; it's just her military victories that needed the $$. And win she did, leading knights and peasants alike to victory against the invader. Doesn't matter if the weenie Charles never knighted her. She dressed like a knight, and she led the charges. You can't lead like that without respect. The fact that you dislike her has nothing to do if whether she was a knightly ideal; need I remind you that you dislike the knightly ideal?


quote:
It has never been so stinging a rebuke of woman to be called unfeminine as it is of man to be called feminine;
In our culture, yes.

quote:
and that is a human trait learnt at one's mother's knee.
Human? Nonsense. While all cultures treat men and women differently, specifics like the one you've described vary from culture to culture. From China to Shakespearian England, it was far more shameworthy for a woman to dress like a man than vice-versa. Even the the Talibandits today don't have as much a problem with their terrorist buddies hiding under woman's clothing to escape Americans, but they beat a woman to death for failing to dress like a woman.

One of the charges levied against Joan was that she dressed like a man, and yes, the church took that charge fairly seriously (although not as seriously as Heretic and Apostate). In contrast, men in that day dressed up for common entertainment. A man played Mary in the church passion plays.

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Richard Dey
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St Joan ...? Vivat Burgundia! - Margaret Rutherford, if I remember rightly, in Passport to Pimplico

And I'd always assumed that she was a Lesbian [Embarrassed] ! Thanks for setting me straight.

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Pete at Home
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Richard, please don't credit anything that I said for your current sexual orientation [Razz]
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Richard Dey
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And just what is that, Pete? [Razz] I'll be sexually retired in 4 months, so make up your mind quickly.

I will grant you that, under deconstructionist revisionism, Joan was "gendered" a knight; but the truth does out when one's burnt at the stake -- though I have seen her depicted afire in her armor.

(1) A medieval tenant giving military service as a mounted man-at-arms to a feudal landholder.

(2) A medieval gentleman-soldier, usually high-born, raised by a sovereign to privileged military status after training as a page and squire.

(3) A man holding a nonhereditary title conferred by a sovereign in recognition of personal merit or service to the country.

(4) A man belonging to an order or brotherhood.

(5) By extension, a defender, champion, or zealous upholder of a cause or principle.

(6) The devoted champion of a lady.

My question is: could Joan, defined by (6) per supra, have married a Maid in your system?

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Pete at Home
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quote:
And just what is that, Pete?
Sorry if you missed my bad pun. I was referring to this:
quote:
Thanks for setting me straight
Deconstructive revisionism, if intelligently applied, actually looks at the facts of the case. Joan was "the maid." That's actually what everyone called her, leaving no doubt of her femininity. Joan fit your category 5, By extension, a defender, champion, or zealous upholder of a cause or principle.

Your best argument for gender revisionism would be to say that Joan fit #6 in the abstract, and that the "lady" was France. France, unlike Joan, was obviously no maid. You might argue that Joan could have married the lady France, in a manner of speaking, but even there you would be wrong, because in the knightly ideal, a lady's devoted champion never, ever married her.

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KnightEnder
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I'm missing the jump where treating someone special ends up making them powerless?

Special: respect, reverence, as if they are inherently 'special'.

Or, Tom, are you using 'special' as a euphemism for retarded? Cause that isn't how chivalrous men treat women.

KE

[ May 18, 2005, 01:15 PM: Message edited by: KnightEnder ]

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Pete at Home
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Score, KE!
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A. Alzabo
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quote:
I'm missing the jump where treating someone special ends up making them powerless?

Special: respect, reverence, as if they are inherently 'special'.

Or, Tom, are you using 'special' as a euphemism for retarded? Cause that isn't how chivalrous men treat women.

KE

Not to speak for Tom, but I think the concern is that social codes (chivalry in this case) can be used as weapons by some folks acting in bad faith; when a code of "special treatment" of women is simply a selfish justification for paternalism and patronising behavior towards women. In its worst form, it can be controlling, or even implicitly threatening. Think of much of the Muslim world, where many men would say they were acting towards women out of a similar ethic to chivalry. But I think chivalry has been left behind at that point. It's not supposed to threaten or belittle.

I think this almost like the concerns WP had about politeness. I think a certain level of "throwaway" interpersonal interaction is good. But it becomes smarmy if someone uses politeness insincerely.

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KnightEnder
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That is a heck of a leap to make. And while it might be possible, I don't see any justification for saying one follows naturally from the other.

KE

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Pete at Home
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quote:
I think the concern is that social codes (chivalry in this case) can be used as weapons by some folks acting in bad faith; when a code of "special treatment" of women is simply a selfish justification for paternalism and patronising behavior towards women
Exactly the reservation that I described at the beginning of the thread.
quote:
I could imagine some men using notions of chivalry in order to justify patronizing behavior that actually restricts womens' freedom. For example, our leaders are now considering bills that would restrict our servicewomen from certain dangerous combat situations. I think that it's a good thing for Americans to be concerned about the possibility of our servicewomen being raped. In the Civil War when the rebels announced that they would enslave captured black Union soldiers, Lincoln gave black soldiers the option of quitting. That wasn't patronizing -- when it becomes clear that women troops face a threat that their male counterparts do not face, I think it might be appropriate to give these servicewomen a choice to withdraw from service. But it has to be a choice. Barring women from combat roles is taking the chivalry myth too far, and it's precisely the wrong thing to do when we're at war with an ideology that oppresses women.

Another related danger: some men take it as a personal affront when a woman refuses to accept an offer of chivalry, even when she might have good reason to do so. I think that chivalrous men need to adapt to the particular situation. Law is a fiercely competitive environment, and I find that even the most culturally conservative female law students will fiercely refuse any offer to help them carry books or anything of the sort, even if they are visibly struggling. Part of this might be a visceral distrust of a competitor (law students can be really paranoid, although my school is far more kicked back than most about this; I've only heard of one verified event when someone deliberately concealed books in the library to hurt competitors). But I think it has more to do with the absolute need of law students to appear independent and competent. So when I see someone, particularly a woman, struggling with books or with a heavy bag, I make a subtle offer to help, but I make sure to make it subtle so not to embarrass her, and I absolutely avoid showing any sign of annoyance or hurt feelings when she inevitably refuses my offer.

I think that the chivalrous myth and chivalrous behavior is compatible with the freedom and dignity of women, so long as we exercise common sense and don't go out of our way to make them incompatible.

But what you said applies to any ethic, AA. If you act in bad faith, you can always find a way to exploit any ethic to leverage yourself an unfair advantage over others.
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aupton15
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Most of the objections here seem to hinge on the misuse of chivalrous LOOKING behavior, that does not have the good inherent motivation behind it. As a social construct, whereby everyone is expected to do certain things in order to be seen as polite, I agree that these are possible problems. But what KE seems to have been referring to from the beginning is a personal code of conduct based on his ideals of how people should be treated, and how a person of good character should behave. It's not a social code, it's a personal one motivated by personal beliefs. I don't think he's proposing that more people should ACT chivalrous, but perhaps more people should FEEL chivalrous. It isn't something that could or should be implemented as a social code, but it may be a mindset that should be encouraged of children by their parents, etc. I don't think anybody is advocating a *structure* of behaviors that could be used to suppress or weaken anybody. Only that there might be some benefit to people taking a personal interest in the welfare of those around them.
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Pete at Home
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I'd rather adapt Chivalry as an ethic than turn it into a morality. I think that the new chivalry should include the rule that acts of real chivalry shall not restrict the choices of women nor impinge on their dignity. And I think that's the model of chivalry that will survive, if Chivalry survives at all.
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KnightEnder
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Pete, aupton, well said. Thanks for helping me clarify. The last thing I would expect, or want to see, is chivalry being used to opress women, or anyone for that matter.

Ever see a John Wayne movie? In almost all of them he lauds the toughness and self reliance of his wife. How she fights off the Indians while he is away hunting, or walks ten miles to get medicine for her child.

The idea of chivalry that I personally practice reveres women. And is a code for how men should act toward them and each other. If more young men, particularly in the inner cities, were taught more about honor and chivalry I think our jails would be emptier and there would be fewer single mothers. Of course since this is my 'religion' I'm not insisting that anybody adhere to it, just stating what I believe as asked by WP.

KE

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Pete at Home
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quote:
The idea of chivalry that I personally practice reveres women. And is a code for how men should act toward them and each other. If more young men, particularly in the inner cities, were taught more about honor and chivalry I think our jails would be emptier and there would be fewer single mothers.
Well said sir. Chalk me up as a convert. I rejected chivalry when I was a kid, and later dispised it as a feminist, but I've been more attracted to it as I get older. I've realized that my wife wants to be honored not just as a person but as a woman, as a mother, and as my wife.

And I'd do anything for her.

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A. Alzabo
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quote:
I'd rather adapt Chivalry as an ethic than turn it into a morality. I think that the new chivalry should include the rule that acts of real chivalry shall not restrict the choices of women nor impinge on their dignity. And I think that's the model of chivalry that will survive, if Chivalry survives at all.
I agree with keeping Chivalry as an ethic rather than trying to synchronize moralities amongst all people.

What I'd like to do is gender equitize the concept. Why would you hold the door for a woman, but not hold it for a man under the same conditions? Why would you defend a weaker woman from a threat, but not a weaker man?
It seems like the important aspects of Chivalry remain, without needing to sort people's "place" by gender.

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TomDavidson
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"The idea of chivalry that I personally practice reveres women."

While that's all well and good, there is a practical cost to being revered that some women may not want to pay.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Why would you defend a weaker woman from a threat, but not a weaker man?
You would. That has always been part of chivalry. See above

quote:
While we think of Chivalrous gestures applying "especially to women," that definition implies that it's not [ONLY] to women.

Today I saw an example of what I think of as (modern) principles Chivalry that refer to those weaker than us rather than just kindness to women. Thing 2 started giggling uncontrollaby in church, so I took him out into the Foyer so as not to disturb the meeting. The couches in the foyer are full, but someone stands up, seeing that I've got my hands full of 4-year old, and offers me his seat, which I gratefully accept. But then some older guy comes along, leaning on a cane, so I figure this guy needs it more than me, so I give the place to him. And then, not even 5 minutes later, along comes a guy with a walker that can barely move, and the guy with the cane gives the place to the guy with the walker.

I think this is a form of chivalry that really should have a place in a modern society; the stronger ones giving place and special consideration for those who are physically weaker and that need accomodation.

Gender equitizing is silly in the context of biological reality. Chivalry emphasizes women because it is reasonable to make a rebuttable presumption that a woman will typically be weaker than a man.

[ May 18, 2005, 02:43 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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KnightEnder
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AA, in my brand you defend anybody that needs it, and you hold the door for anybody and everybody. (At times I have ended up looking like a doorman. And gotten a few weird looks when I did it in northern states (when there playing ball)). And, Tom, if they don't need it, or want it, I don't insist. There are some women nowadays that refuse to let you hold the door for them. When that happens you have to respect their wishes. Their actions don't change the fact that I wanted too, and would have, done for them.

KE

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A. Alzabo
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quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Why would you defend a weaker woman from a threat, but not a weaker man?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

You would. That has always been part of chivalry.

I wasn't clear enough with my rhetorical questions to convey what I really meant.
What I was trying to get at was: I would like to see more of the "women's" aspects applied to men, and some of the "men's" aspects applied to women.
Many of the possibly objectionable aspects of Chivalry stem from the fact that the code is "from" men "to" women. I don't think that "cherishing" or "revering" all women in a way different from men is desireable in current times (I actually think that your ethics re: spouse/lover should be a different "section" of the Chivalraic Code). Most women now are colleagues/rivals/whatever, and I think they should be treated the same as men under a Chivalraic ethic -- and should be held to the same ethic themselves.

quote:
Gender equitizing is silly in the context of biological reality. Chivalry emphasizes women because it is reasonable to make a rebuttable presumption that a woman will typically be weaker than a man.

But you can take out the assumptive element, retain the code, and end up with the same results minus any gender-bias "baggage".
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Pete at Home
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Yeah, mistaking oneself for God incarnate could reasonably be categorized as hubris. That's probably why relatively few people sit on the fence where Christianity is concerned. It's either true, or it's the worship of a masochistic megalomaniac, or it's worship based on a cynical lie. Not much middle ground there.

[ May 18, 2005, 02:57 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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KnightEnder
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Sorry, I refuse to pretend that women and men are the same. I love women. I worship, revere, and respect women. And unless they indicate they don't want to be worshipped, revered, respected, or helped, (any or all) I will continue to treat them as if they are special and as a man I am honor bound to help and protect them. Again, until and unless they indicate that they do not want my help or protection. I realize that women are capable of taking care of themselves, and that many women don't want to be treated like women, and like I said in those cases it is wrong to insist that they let you be of service to them. One of the few good things about being from Texas is that the women here still like to be treated like women. IMO, they are better than men, why would they want to lower themselves to our equal?

KE

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Richard Dey
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John: Just don't try throwing down your cloak in muddy Cambridge ...! You'll be kicked to death by the local Amazons. [Wink] They very definitely do NOT wanted to treated as special -- unless, of course, its on 'special women's issues' like equal numbers of professors at Harvard, MIT, Lesley, and Longy.

(Ask them why they completely and totally dominate the Mod Lang department at Harvard -- and why ...!)

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Pete at Home
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quote:
John: Just don't try throwing down your cloak in muddy Cambridge ...! You'll be kicked to death by the local Amazons. They very definitely do NOT wanted to treated as special -- unless, of course, its on 'special women's issues' like equal numbers of professors at Harvard, MIT, Lesley, and Longy.
Yes, that is one minority position. "Don't you give me special treatment! When I want special treatment, I'll demand it."
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Richard Dey
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[Big Grin] and that is just how NOW and its legions operate!
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WarrsawPact
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Is chivalry something one should also expect from women?

A. Alzabo -
quote:
Name the desirable system. Intelligent pragmatists recognize the utility of cooperation where it reaps an advantage (which is pretty often). Hell, even dumb thugs recognize that.

I would say that ethical systems stem from this, rather than being opposed. The definition of ehtics that I tend to go by is that "ethics regulate behavior when morals/values collide." I think most systems of ethics have utilitarian seeds. Not lying in the military, for example, isn't just an individual show of character -- it's important to the mission of the organization, which performs better if information isn't purposely distorted.

That's a pretty good explanation, except that "utilitarianism" is based on its own form of morality. I think you may have been better served by using the simple term "utility" rather than "utilitarian." The word "utilitarian" has been removed in the modern ethical lexicon from simply doing things that *work*. Check it:
quote:
a doctrine that the useful is the good and that the determining consideration of right conduct should be the usefulness of its consequences; specifically : a theory that the aim of action should be the largest possible balance of pleasure over pain or the greatest happiness of the greatest number
--Merriam-Webster

The first part of the definition works; the second part does not do nearly so well.

quote:
First, I don't find "amoralism" to be logically possible for an normal human. Most people have personal values that they feel -- I would say that you do, based on your writings on this forum.
I don't see my own aims as a Good; they are simply my aims.
Where I've been softwired to internalize certain values, I find myself rejecting more and more of them as I become conscious of them. I have a great deal of trouble supporting them intellectually.
Maybe I'm not what you'd consider to be normal.

quote:
See, this is all perfectly funny to me. I'm an amoralist, so all this talk about ethical people being at a disadvantage against unethical people is hilarious. It's simply not true all the time. People who share a certain ethic tend to band together in certain ways, often enforcing against those who do not share the ethic. It's a construct.

I would also say that pretty much any human code or categorization is a "construct." Logic is a "construct." An F-16 is a "construct." Civilization is a huge set of "constructs," both tangible and intangible. I'm not certain that this invalidates reality of these things.

I never said constructs weren't real. They are patently real. That's why they're capable of action.

quote:
Sociopaths often have the charisma you speak of, as well as being amoralists by "wiring." I would also say that they do have a fairly easy time working our system, and that a surprising number of our society's leaders are sociopaths. I think part of what shields them is that normal people have a hard time imagining that someone else would manipulate them without any conscience and will rationalize their behavior.
You may have a point there, but I'm not yet firmly convinced. It's enough to get me thinking.

quote:
Systems of ethics are more powerful at bonding people together than at actually enforcing their system of morality.

And you see no pragmatic utility in this?

Oh, I see utility in it, but there's so much potential for abuse that is screams for dishonesty and hypocrisy. I'm not a big believer in the long-term utility of blind men with swords drawn to protect one another.

quote:
a middle level of "get along" social behavior seems desirable to me. A society full of "brutally honest" (your word choice seems loaded, to me) people doesn't seem like a pleasant place, nor particularly effective. Not to mention that a place full of people rubbing eachother the wrong way doesn't seem conducive to "the utility of cooperation where it reaps an advantage (which is pretty often)."
When people skip the damned drama and are willing to face up to their real strengths and weaknesses, a team can accomplish far more than if they're all so busy buttering each other up that they neglect to mention their flaws. I'm not going to toy with anyone who screws up who I need to help me out and tell them they didn't do so bad on their last task. I'm going to inform them, in detail, of what was wrong with what they did and try to figure out how we can improve.

This works in personal interactions for me quite well, and it especially works well when a group needs to accomplish a task.

If your primary objective is to make sure nobody's feelings get hurt, you aren't going to accomplish jack except making people feel good about themselves despite being utter failures. People *need* swift kicks in the rear, and when I get a well-deserved one I'm grateful.
-=-=-=-=-
Pete:
quote:
You're straining. I didn't say that chivalry has no effect on thought. If it makes it more clear, I'll rephrase: Systems of ethics, such as Chivalry do not regulate thought.

I think that if you internalize them, they certainly do.

If you internalize Clinton by ramming a copy of "My Life" where the sun don't shine, you may have bowel problems. That doesn't mean you can say that Clinton causes constipation.

Well, thanks for not replying to my point, Pete.
Memories and action pathways have a way of strengthening neural connections and self-reinforcing. This is part of the reason it gets harder and harder to change a person's personality as they grow older -- old patterns of thought die hard. If you pick up a value and act it out enough times, it becomes a part of how your brain reacts to a situation.
-=-=-=-=-
A. Alzabo:
quote:
Yuck! But I agree with the sentiment, since I think ethical systems are constructed for exactly when people haven't internalized morals. More to the point, ethical systems regulate the collision of different internal values within groups of people.

If everybody had the same internalized morals, there would be no need for codified ethics.

Unless the morality was relative.
-=-=-=-
Mike_W:
quote:
I think you are confusing altruism and it's motivation (an age old argument that I actually just avoid - never having seen anything of use come of it) with civility and chivalry, which are codes of conduct not necessarily having anything to do with altrusim.
What, then, is a noncompetetive, non-reward-seeking behavior? You're always competing with something, always seeking a reward somehow. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

quote:
I've pointed out twice, that these sets of rules have a positive, one might even say pragmatic impact on the operation of the culture as whole.
We disagree about the impact, and that's what this is about between you and me. I believe that chivalry is an impractical behavior from the point of view of the individual as well as, overall, that of the society. It may be useful to have a certain number of people fooled into the notion, so long as they're doing the acting and not the thinking for the society.

quote:
When I say a human interaction is not a zero sum game, I mean precisely that.
I never disagreed with that. I simply don't think it's part of the equation.
This isn't just about one human losing anytime another wins. Pragmatism goes much deeper.

quote:
Now, you can argue that some of the rules are anachronistic. But, do you wish to argue there is no utility in codes of behaviour where individuals make short term sacrafices ( e.g. giving up a seat on a bus) for the greater good?
I am only arging that chivalry is not the appropriate tool for achieving the "greater good" (assuming there is such a thing). And I do think it is based on a morality, not on simple ethics. There is a Good End implied when you argue that a person should do anything, like make small sacrifices.

quote:
As for direct accountability; how? How can I be held accountable for the negative consequences of my action, such as behaving badly in traffic, when the consequence is much farther down the chain of causation?
We pull people over all the time for "bad" behavior in traffic. We simply set a limit on what we believe to be efficient to directly enforce, and we leave the rest to education/indoctrination.

quote:
Thinking in an evolutionary sense, most cultures (all?) have evolved codes of conduct (chivalry being one) because they are a pragmatic answer to questions that might very well be answered by direct accountabiilty, but no pragmatic means has been found to administer such accountability.
Let's hear about those questions, one by one. Accountability will be supremely easy when privacy is dead. no need for ideological perfection -- just consequence.
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potemkyn -
quote:
Does it bother you that you have condemned heroism to something that "grates" against your nature?
Hey look, I'm still alive. How about that.
quote:
Or is heroism, which I believe is central to a true chivalric ethic, something which must be overcome as well.
I've got no problem with heroes doing the acting. I've got a problem with them doing the thinking.
You wanna be the "hero" who follows a complex set of ethics, by all means, go ahead and serve. Don't you ever do that thinking for someone else, though.

quote:
I mean, afterall, if I were to attempt to save the woman in the burning building, I would only be deluding her about her ability to survive in a hostile environment.
Whoa, barking up the wrong tree there.
There is nothing wrong about saving that woman, per se. I pull teammates *out* of the fire if they can't handle the heat; I don't delude them into thinking that they can survive it. I'll even help them by teaching them how to overcome future fires. After all, they're playing for my team.
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OpsanusTau -
quote:
in order to cooperate, people have to like each other on some level. More accurately, I guess, in order to be cooperated with, people have to be liked or at least tolerated.
I'm quite well tolerated; heck, people like me. People seem to appreciate it when I'm the only person who will point out what they do well and what really needs improvement. A critical eye, which can be brutal and incisive and still not be mean-spirited, is very appreciated by many people.

quote:
So while brutal honesty (as though such a thing were possible!) might be simpler in an Occam's Razor sort of a sense of paring things down to the bare minimum, I feel a good deal more charitably disposed towards the guy who holds the door when my hands are full than I do towards the guy who is routinely rude to me.
That's a good part of the reason I hold doors for people. It just don't do it out of some code of ethics or rules. As Tez reminds me, it's sort of a survival trait -- remarkably low investment of energy that can only help in most situations.

Just don't expect me to put you on a pedestal and run around to open a car door that you're perfectly capable of opening yourself. Want to call me rude for that, fine. You're not going to get much more investment of energy from me in the future. [Wink] jk
-=-=-=-=-=-
I'll answer the rest of you guys later.

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A. Alzabo
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quote:
That's a pretty good explanation, except that "utilitarianism" is based on its own form of morality. I think you may have been better served by using the simple term "utility" rather than "utilitarian." The word "utilitarian" has been removed in the modern ethical lexicon from simply doing things that *work*. Check it:

You are correct that I didn't mean utilitarianism in the philisophical sense. But you seem to know what I meant.

quote:
I don't see my own aims as a Good; they are simply my aims.
Where I've been softwired to internalize certain values, I find myself rejecting more and more of them as I become conscious of them. I have a great deal of trouble supporting them intellectually.
Maybe I'm not what you'd consider to be normal.

I don't know, I don't see my own values as "good" -- just "better than other alternatives I've experienced." And I've gotten over my "Vulcan" phase to understand logic is only one part of the human condition.

[snip]

quote:
Oh, I see utility in it, but there's so much potential for abuse that is screams for dishonesty and hypocrisy. I'm not a big believer in the long-term utility of blind men with swords drawn to protect one another.

I think this is an exaggerated concern. Just saying "Good Morning!" to the cashier, even if you don't really care seems to me to be an acceptable burden. I'm not talking about smarminess or unctuousness -- these are using a construct meant for harmony as a weapon.

quote:
When people skip the damned drama and are willing to face up to their real strengths and weaknesses, a team can accomplish far more than if they're all so busy buttering each other up that they neglect to mention their flaws. I'm not going to toy with anyone who screws up who I need to help me out and tell them they didn't do so bad on their last task. I'm going to inform them, in detail, of what was wrong with what they did and try to figure out how we can improve.

This works in personal interactions for me quite well, and it especially works well when a group needs to accomplish a task.

If your primary objective is to make sure nobody's feelings get hurt, you aren't going to accomplish jack except making people feel good about themselves despite being utter failures. People *need* swift kicks in the rear, and when I get a well-deserved one I'm grateful.

WP, I think we're talking about different things here. I consider most politeness to be the sort of "throwaway" social interactions people have with strangers. I'm not advocating a blanket license to be dishonest, nor a recipe to gloss over error. On the other hand, why give offense for no reason? There are ways to point out problems constructively -- rather than just saying "you suck" to someone you need to work with and expecting them to be impressed with you honesty.

In short, I don't think the "primary objective" of basic politeness or courtesy is "to make sure nobody's feelings get hurt."

quote:
Unless the morality was relative.

I think relative morals are exactly why ethics exist.
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aupton15
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"I'm not going to toy with anyone who screws up who I need to help me out and tell them they didn't do so bad on their last task. I'm going to inform them, in detail, of what was wrong with what they did and try to figure out how we can improve."

I don't think anything about chivalry suggests that you should tolerate poor performance in the workplace. You should point out shortcomings in a respectful way (which is a good idea anyway, as people are notoriously bad learners when they are physiologically aroused, i.e. ticked off about how you spoke to them), but there's no reason to tolerate unacceptable work performance. There's a good place for your "swift kicks" as well, and again nothing contradictory about this and chivalry.

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Mike_W
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WP,
"and we leave the rest to education/ indoctrination".

You mean indoctrination in codes of behaviour that result in better overall outcomes? If not, why bother indoctrinating?

Please review non zero sum games and Nash equillibria. ;-)

The truth is, we don't pull people over all the time for things like passing on the right, left lane hoging, or poor lane changes. And, traffic patterns suffer for it. There's an external cost for such bad behaviour that is not born by the actor (who, in the instance, gets a small gain).

People are simply not held accountable. Perhaps, someday, in a techno police state of someone's imagination. But, not today. And certainly not historically.

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