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moral grammar

Axel Honneth reconciled social theory? and moral philosophy into his moral grammar: a struggle for recognition in the grammar? of decision making is the first and most important step.

This complements and extends Lakoff's idea of deep framing, in which the (more basic than language) conceptual metaphors must first match the mindset of the plaintiff? faction. Once a term or concept is correctly framed, it can be recognized as real, as it does not disturb existing mindest?s to recognize it as real. In particular, very few cliche?s, idiom?s, slogans must be abandoned.

Closely related are the concepts of being "on message", deep trolling?, and moral cognition.

abortion example


The concept of a "culture of life?", for instance, which developed as the Roman Catholic Church? and Republican Party? sought a new way to frame issues around birth control?, abortion and euthanasia?, was clearly the example of reframing the more overtly political "pro-life" concept. That rhetoric was challenged by "pro-choice" terminology, and was being impigned upon by green politics and other movements which could more scientifically and legitimately claim to be talking about what was good for all life on the planet Earth. Shifting to a cultural frame of reference made positions credible that otherwise might be simply dismissed as unscientific.

By shifting the moral grammar from one that relies on what might be interpreted as a scientific or biological concept of "life", to an explicit emphasis on culture, the deep framing of the argument now favoured those who sought a reconciliation with ethical tradition?s and continuing practices, even oppressive practices, of past civilization.

Internet example


The moral grammar of large public wikis, for instance, has been largely formed by anonymous trolls excluded by the less-than-democratic methods by which decisions about voice and identity were made. Their struggle to gain some recognition for terms like systemic bias, political dispute, faction, sysop vandal? and Pointy Haired Boss matured the polity? of such institutions as Wikimedia and the Open Politics Foundation. Now it is generally recognized that these misfits make stuff go and that excluding them is a good way to simply fail badly.

Any set of troll-friendly administrator guidelines expresses a moral grammar of collaborative editing and collaborative writing that reflects the deep framing of the trollish influence on these wikis.

morality of command


A command grammar is a minimal imperative verb-oriented grammar required to command machines to behave in ways that are desired by a single command hierarchy with humans "at the top", and more deterministic layers of responses written into programs. More sophisticated commands regarding constraints and inhibitions, e.g. Isaac Asimov?'s Three Laws of Robotics?, have been speculated as becoming required as machines become autonomous/trusted.

As of today, however, all human command verbs are far more complex than any command that can be given to machines. So, a moral grammar relies on conditioning? rather than programming? to ensure compliance? by the object of the command. As more autonomous, sophisticated, dangerous machines are trusted with tasks of life-changing import, such as surgery, combinations of conditioning and programming, such as neural network?s, may be required.

The mechanistic paradigm may clash with conventional moral philosophy and other mindsets, when it comes to deciding how exactly infrastructure and machinery must be controlled, by whom, and what inputs should be regarded - or ignored. For instance, green politics would grant a voice to persons whose homes are being destroyed by some natural resource extraction process, that might not be granted under neoclassical economics, if they do not "own" their homes. Terms like "own", "home", "destroy" are all part of the moral grammar of making such decisions.


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