Originally Posted by mamabadger
I run short of possibilities at this point. Even the supposedly universal values are (A) interpreted as demanding different kinds of moral acts, or forbidding different immoral ones, depending on the individual belief system, and (B) not in themselves based on logic.
Are there other ethics or morals which can develop out of logic, and nothing else?
I personally believe, and have some evidence for this in my own research, that human society is hard wired to have core moral values - honesty, empathy, justice, etc - because:
1. humans rely on our societies to survive. Mothers traditionally do not give birth alone, because birth for humans is much more dangerous than for other animals. We have an extended period of babyhood/toddlerhood where it is physically impossible for a mother to gather enough calories for herself and her offspring AND carry the baby in her arms in most traditional hunter/gather environments, requiring communal support for raising children. And we are pretty weak - no sharp claws, soft skin that is easily pierced, etc.
Our strength is in our communal intelligence - together we are unstoppable (as evidenced by our explosion of 6 billion people from an estimated 1 million 10,000 years ago).
2. societies without a shared code of ethics such as honesty, justice, fairness, empathy - those societies fail, because those rules are required for a community of people to work together for a long time (generations). And when I say societies fail, I mean the individuals in them either all die, the society adapts these rules, or the society is overrun by another society which is better organized/stronger, etc.
Humans over and over again, throughout history, create independently variations of the golden rule, plus variations of the 10 commandments. Thou shalt not kill members of your own group (because a society cannot function when members are afraid of each other). Thou shalt not steal (because a society cannot function when its members do not respect the work and accomplishments of the others), etc etc etc. Treat people how you want to be treated. We always come back to the core basics, because they are central to our survival as a species.
Now, sure, there are individuals who lack these morals, but I see this as a disability, not an exception. Those individuals often have a very hard time living in society - we routinely expel those who break our rules (prison or exile).
And these core morals can be displayed in very different ways, especially related to gender and age based roles, customs, rituals, etc.
Where I think a lot of our morals break down is that they evolved in small communities, where accountability and repercussions were immediate and transparent. As we got bigger, it was easier to distance ones behavior from its impact. And I think this is the core of morality today - how do we apply these basic core values to living in our increasingly complex, and often geographically distributed world.
My 3 cents.