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This principle can also be applied to ethics. The only real moral questions we have to answer is therefore how we should move.

If Mr Wolpert is right, and i do believe so, the only effect we can have on our environment is through movement (in various forms). Therefore ethical questions should be much more concerned with our concrete movements, instead of abstract concepts. It would have to be less about concepts of right or wrong, and more about the concrete actions we should do, because the difference you make is not about what you think but about what you do.

So at least it could give us an additional angle, not to ask what is right, but to ask what movement should i do. Starting not in the abstract, but in the concrete.

Telling you what movements you should do in a very concret way, is what religions do quite often (with rituals, etc..), but only few philosophical and moral concepts seem to be able to do so. Therefore, ethical concepts perhaps don't matter as much as they should or could.

Or what do you think?

Topics: Ethical Moral action
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Closing Statement from Boas Loeb

Moral concept's can help us to choose the "right" thing to do. But, like Mr. Wolpert points out, the reason for brains is movements, and only movements can have an effect on the real world. So in the end, moral can help us to do the "right" movements.

If we agree, that the vast majority of all the movement our body does, is not the result of moral thinking, but done intuitively by repeating what we've seen/what we know, then moral concepts do not have any influence on the vast majority of our movement.

So in consequence, moral concept's do help us, but not very often. Even if we agree, that moral concepts can influence the choosing of our movement even tough it is totally unconscious - the point stays:

There are very few moments in life in which you actually have the possibility to chose what you are doing and to control whether this is the right thing to do. Most of the time, you either just do what you've seen other people do or you just do what you always did, unconsiously, without even the possibility to moraly decide. And even if you are in one of these few moment's there's no guarantee that you will really do the "right" thing if it doesn't feel right in any way.

So if we wann do good, we should put a lot more focus to how we intuitively function, what we really do (now! in 10 minutes!) and how people actually do move. Our brain as a whole is made to controll our movements. It obviously doesn't work to just take a very little part of it (the cognitive part) and try to use it, to controll our movement all by itself. That's what the whole brain is for. Let's not forget that.

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    Jul 28 2013: OK let me explain. We are brought up by our parents and our society with a set of values.
    Those values help us develop morals or the concept of right and wrong. Some cultures celebrate when a child has achieved this ability.
    Ethics is the language we use to discuss morals and compare our morals to other people with different morals. Ethics does not tell us how to act.
    It is our morals that drive our choices in how to act.
    Choice is the key. We can choose to act rightly or wrongly in accordance with our morals.
    If you take away choice we might as well be robots.
    It takes choice to create a moral agent. Otherwise we are just running around being told what to do.
    Sorry, I can't live like that. I won't live like that.
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    Aug 2 2013: . .
    Yes!

    On environment, it is not “ethical” to take the risk of being too late.
    We have to "move" immediately.
  • Jul 28 2013: Hi Deebak,
    Thank you for your comment! It's not easy for me to put it in simple words, since it's just a thought i had during this video and i'm not even sure what it really means..

    What Mr Wolpert is saying is, that dreams, ideas and other kind of concepts or beliefs, are not what our brain is meant to do. Our brain was made to decide what we should actually do, which muscles we should contract. The rest, and that means every kind of belief of how our world is, could be or should be, is nothing but help for moving in the optimal way..

    My thought was, that one could apply this line of thoughts to ethics as well.
    Morals are therefore only here to help us decide what we actually want to do, what our next movement is.

    Perhaps this as well seems obvious to you, but i think in the end his line of thought, applied to ethics, do explain in a very logical way, why only our movements are important and not our concepts. So this just emphasizes to me, that i should probably do less thinking about abstract questions, and put more attention in to the question of what i am doing just now.

    I hope i could make my thought a bit clearer!
    • Jul 29 2013: You are right you have to do something to have an effect, but I think you cannot think about movements if you don´t think about ethics first. And only with the help of concepts it is possible to pick the right movements
      • Jul 29 2013: Hi Amos! I do agree with you, that concepts can help us to pick the right movement. But I don't think that ONLY conscious concepts can do that. In fact i'm even convinced, that only very little of our movement is actually conscious, and only in these moments of conciousness, moral decisions depend on these ethical concepts. So most of the time, we just do what feels right, what's intuitive. So intuitive moral concepts seem to be making a much greater difference, no?

        More so, if i think back about the things i did wrong, i usually didn't have any conciousness of them. I wasn't thinking: Oh, that's really wrong or stupid - let's do it anyway.
        So I don't want to say, that these concepts are not important at all! If you think about the concept of human rights, for example, i do think it brought a change of paradigm, that did do a huge difference. But how important is it in your daily life?

        What i think all of this could mean, is a shift of focus from the conscious, morals and other concepts to the actual doing of us and, for example, unconcious or intuitive morals. It probably does have a much greater effect, if you reflect on what you did exactly - with just a very intuitive concept of whether that was right or wrong, than if you'd reflect about what concept of right or wrong you'd like to use in the future.