Saturday, December 7, 2013

Subject-Object Relations in Deliberate Human Actions (under Ethics)

This article is a continuation of my can of worms I opened in regards to ethics.  I'm attempting to reason through ethics in an unbiased manner apart from God and religious texts for the benefit of friends and society in general.  

Warm up Quotes:

Certain currents of modern thought have gone so far as to exalt freedom to such an extent that it becomes an absolute, which would then be the source of values.  The individual conscience is accorded the status of a supreme tribunal of moral judgment which hands down categorical and infallible decisions about good and evil. To the affirmation that one has a duty to follow one's conscience is unduly added the affirmation that one's moral judgment is true merely by the fact that it has its origin in the conscience. But in this way the inescapable claims of truth disappear, yielding their place to a criterion of sincerity, authenticity and "being at peace with oneself", so much so that some have come to adopt a radically subjectivistic conception of moral judgment. 
Conscience is no longer considered in its primordial reality as an act of a person's intelligence, the function of which is to apply the universal knowledge of the good in a specific situation and thus to express a judgment about the right conduct to be chosen here and now. Instead, there is a tendency to grant to the individual conscience the prerogative of independently determining the criteria of good and evil and then acting accordingly. Such an outlook is quite congenial to an individualist ethic, wherein each individual is faced with his own truth, different from the truth of others. Taken to its extreme consequences, this individualism leads to a denial of the very idea of human nature. 
These doctrines would grant to individuals or social groups the right to determine what is good or evil. Human freedom would thus be able to "create values" and would enjoy a primacy over truth, to the point that truth itself would be considered a creation of freedom. Freedom would thus lay claim to a moral autonomy which would actually amount to an absolute sovereignty.  (all quotes of John Paul II in Veritatis Splendor.  JPII was a philosopher and a great ethicist)

There is this fatal idea strongly held by some in the world today that morality is purely subjective, or relative to one’s opinion.  Obviously, deliberate human actions spring up from a free and unique human subject.  A human subject has the ability to freely conceive of specific actions embedded in context of a defined body with specific functions and integrally related in a personal motive and circumstance (consequences).  And human subjects have the ability to choose to perform their deliberated conceptual actions in reality.  In reality whether these concepts succeed or fail is beside the point.  

On the other hand the subject has no choice over whether or not certain deliberate actions directly damage, harm, or deprive the human target object in their conceived relational actions even if that target is the subject.  Thus there is an objective element to all deliberate human actions.  The target object of deliberately conceived actions is a predefined human (along with form and all bodily functions) and all actions directly related to the human target are in the most generic manner possible predetermined by virtue of the inherent dynamic quality of the action in question. 

Deliberate actions are not perceived via senses prior to performance in reality.  They are normally conceived or visualized via brain prior to performance even if at the velocity of light.  One deliberately works out a plan of action via the brain prior to performing that act in reality.  In the intentional conception of actions the subject is able to resolve whether or not the action in question directly harms, damages or deprives the target in any manner conceivable whether physical, emotional, vital, mental, property, monetary, etc.  This deliberation is the work of ‘conscience’.  Conscience is an act of rational intelligence proper to humans, usually exercised prior to choosing an intentional action.  The conceptual resolution of possible harm or help directly imparted to the objective target along with a resolution of subjective intent, and foreseeable outcome, set in particular circumstances, by the mediator of the action in question; is a process of critical thinking and rational analysis in context of the real body on Earth.  This process integrates, organizes, and even orders the phenomena of the subject’s sensory systems, perceptions, emotions, bodily chemicals, the entire body with its shape, memory, environment, etc. in spite of the assumption that all of these factors may possibly influence or condition a choice.  These factors may or may not induce a choice, but one cannot rationally conclude that in a healthy adult these factors can be used to question or even deny the stated fact of human freedom. 

In regards to human freedom there is one extreme that screams ‘absolute’ as it were.  These are currents of extreme subjectivism and individualism.  And at the other end of the spectrum there is another extreme that cries there is no such phenomenon of freedom or of free will in a rational human subject.  This is a current of extreme determinism.  And in between there are all sorts of unhealthy biases in both society and academia that overemphasize or under-emphasize the subject with his or her body.  It would be impossible for me to criticize them all in such a short article.  

But back to the above train of thought:  Whether or not the human subject decides to exercise his rational thinking and critical analysis in a resolution of his deliberate actions is beside the point.   He has the ability.  This ability is native to the human.  Just because some tribe of Cannibals in Papua New Guinea honors the man who uses lies to entice a member from another tribe into camp so that they can murder and then eat his flesh is not justification for a lack of human freedom or rational act of intelligence in all humans when resolving how to act in the here and now.  In isolation, these Cannibals have nurtured profound cognitive biases for centuries (and to be fair, so have we). But who is to say? Perhaps these tribes target members who use their brains to come to the conclusion that there is no point in severely lying to, murdering, and eating their fellow human.   I assume those who use these types of anecdotes to criticize rational notions of human nature and morality must have ulterior motives or are just plain naïve.  These researchers misuse information:

Mention should also be made here of theories which misuse scientific research about the human person. Arguing from the great variety of customs, behavior patterns and institutions present in humanity, these theories end up, if not with an outright denial of universal human values, at least with a relativistic conception of morality. (JPII, Veritatis Splendor)

All brains of the current human family (not including damaged) are more or less the same.  We are of the same species.  One group calls us homo sapiens sapiens.  Another group calls us rational animals.  Still another group calls us children of God; still another group says just plain humans.  Whatever the label we have singular abilities rooted in the body.  One of these is reason or rationale and this ability is to some degree autonomous.  Unfortunately, most all of us wonderfully endowed humans, the very best of the Universe, are to some degree conditioned or influenced by environment and for whatever reason, an adult may choose not to think critically or rationally analyze prior to acting, or he may be influenced or coerced not to think about or change an intentional choice.  Or an adult simply may not care about his deliberate actions, whether in terms of morality, they impart direct harm to the object.  

But this is ultimately beside the relevant issue of whether or not the fundamental categories of morality are possibly universally prescribed in the brain and body or in other words 'objective'.  Human actions resolve by an objective base and criterion of morality since all human actions conceivable (even types of omissions) presuppose a predefined target object.  The mediator subject of a deliberate action has no ability to override or change whether or not his or her specific mode of behavior directly harms, damages or deprives the target object even if that target object is self.  The specific action in question whether deliberately conceived by the subject via the brain or performed by the subject in reality either directly “harms” or “helps” the objective target and this in spite of personal motive and circumstance (outcome, consequences). 

The quality of the specific mode of action determines whether or not the objective target of the relational action is or is not directly harmed by the mediator of that action.  And there is no possible way for the mediator to change or override the inseparable qualitative direction of the act in question.  Remember harm and help are monikers for any conceivable manner.  Example of Harm: in the specific type of act labelled abortion the mediators directly deprive an innocent prenatal target object of his or her life.  Another popular and prolific example is contraception. In context of using the sexual faculties in consensual sex the male and female mediators deprive one another, the targets, of their gametes.  The male mediator deprives the female target of his gametes.  The female mediator deprives the male target of her gametes and possible use of womb, etc. There are all sorts of motives behind contraceptive sex as well as consequences.  Those biased for this in favor may whine and cry out against me.  But what can I say?   I didn't fashion the male and female forms and sexual faculties.  And it is impossible for anyone to design another human.  It is not for me or anyone to determine nature.

This specific type of action directly deprives the targets in all contexts. Isolated in an honest deliberation contraception is irrational.  Those who practice this type of behavior circumvent Mother Nature in a profound manner. And I'm sure an argument can be made that this sort of behavior might impart psychological damage not only directly to the agents of the act but also to society as a harmful consequence.

On a more uplifting note an example of 'help' could be search and rescue:  the specific mode of behavior called ‘search and rescue’ in all its unique contexts directly saves the life, limbs, or organs of potential targets.  

The subject has no dominion over whether or not his specific actions conceived, deliberately chosen and/or initiated and consummated in reality directly harm a target.  A man or women is in power of his or her own counsel and may act of his or her own accord however the same does not have the ability to change that which is imparted to the target via deliberate personal action.  Either the act directs some sort of harm, deprivation or damage to or in the target or not. And no one can change this reality.  Hence the rational prohibitions which express and safeguard our precious persons.      

Now everyone is on their own personal journey.  A human subject may be mistaken, confused, ignorant or biased of whether or not his specific type of actions directly harm or help to the target, but that is beside the point here (in reality this one of the purposes of rational and unbiased ethics).  When all is said and done the subjective mediator does or does not directly harm an objective target via a specific deliberate act in spite of a subjective motive or personal circumstances.  A subject cannot override or change the quality of certain modes of behavior.  Impossible.  Human freedom is not so autonomous that it could determine the stark reality of our action.  It is for the subject to discover or resolve the inseparable quality of specific modes of actions and accept that certain actions directly harm a precious human target and are to be avoided.  The healthy subject is freely able to avoid certain modes of behavior or change his intentional action.  And if he needs help he can seek it.  

On the other hand there is no limit to how many conceptual actions one can conceive of and possibly perform in reality.  Truly, there is no limit to the good one can conceive of.  And in context to the above example of contraception, there are plenty of other of 'things to do' with your wife or girlfriend . . . boyfriend or husband.  A moral life calls for the originality and creativity typical of the person, the source and cause of his own deliberate acts.  This is the genuine autonomy of humans. 

The prohibition of human acts categorized as Y springs up from critical thinking and rational analysis taking into account all sorts of concepts but especially in light of the target object of the intentional action in question.  The bounty of poetic literature, moral plays, historical, religious and philosophical texts may (or may not) express or safeguard fundamental tenets derived from the human brain conceptualizing in a critical, rational even creatively original mode of thought concerning deliberate human acts which directly relate to targets whether self, family members, and all members of the human family, etc.  Whether one cares to cultivate morality is a whole other issue.  But most morality is common sense even in light of new concepts conceived in the modern era in the field of medicine.  

Ethics/morality is about removing cognitive biases in a critical analysis and rational thinking proper to all humans.  And in this field one that practices ethics can become more refined than one who never practices ethics.

Conscience has rights because it has duties. ---John Henry Newman 
Not only the world, however, but also man himself has been entrusted to his own care and responsibility. ---JP2 
Human dignity requires man to act through conscious and free choice, as motivated and prompted personally from within, and not through blind internal impulse or merely external pressure. Man achieves such dignity when he frees himself from all subservience to his feelings, and in a free choice of the good, pursues his own end by effectively and assiduously marshalling the appropriate means.  (Gaudium et Spes) 

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