A Challenge for Moral Realists
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
03-01-2016, 01:52 PM
RE: A Challenge for Moral Realists
(03-01-2016 01:25 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  
(03-01-2016 12:02 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  No I don't think I can prove it anymore so than I can prove to a solipsist that a reality outside of his own mind is sure to exist. In fact on the argument of objective morality, I'd find myself in the same position if the question was about objective truth, asked by someone who believes truth is subjective.

But I do have a question as to how your own nihilism is workable. Lets say you have children, let's say your son is verbally abusing another child, participating in bully another kid, perhaps his teachers even turn a blind eye here.

Do you avoid using the word "wrong"? Do you avoid telling them that's it wrong, because of your moral nihilism?

Or would you tell them something along the lines, that it bother daddy's sensibilities, feeling, so they should avoid doing it because it upsets you? etc..?

Depends....

My wife is about 7 weeks pregnant with our first, so this is something I will have to work out.

I might say something like, "you should be nice to other children because you want them to be nice to you, and the best way to get people to be nice to you is to be nice to them."

We'll probably do the whole Santa Claus thing too...."be nice because Santa's watching etc..."

Probably be some "be nice because I said so dammit!", as well.

When my child does become old enough to understand, I would explain that as far as I can tell, there is no right or wrong way to live your life. I would be honest and tell him/her that no one has answers to the big questions...such as: Why are we here? What are we supposed to do with our lives? etc... And that for all we know, there might not be answers to such questions.

I think, even though you prefer to avoid the word, what you in the end here desire for your children, is probably no different that what my father desired of me, or what I desire for my own children. To be good, to value kindness over cruelty, to be honest, considerate of others, to be fair, to be just etc.... At the end of the day the reason why your son being bullied is troubling, is that you don't want your child to embody the sort of character and values of a bully, not just when he is a child, but just as much when he is grown and no longer under your control.

While we often are confused about deciding on policy matters, what the right thing to do is, given a particular situation, I think we're not particularly confused about what it means to be good, even if we struggle to articulate it. When I was reading the account of one the 12 year old girls involved in the stabbing of another twelve year old, one of the girls who stabbed the victim had spoken of how the good part of her wanted her to live, and the bad part of her wanted to die. We want our children to be composed of that good part, to be the sort that desires to save life, rather than to take it. You want them to choose this out of their own autonomy, but you still desire they choose this for themselves. In fact you'd likely take your children's moral failings, quite personally.

While you might try and find ways to encourage your children to be nice, but the more significant part here, is to why you desire they be nice in the first place. You don't have to be nice to be successful, or even popular. Even a bully can be quite popular, and a nice guy can finish dead last.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
03-01-2016, 01:54 PM
RE: A Challenge for Moral Realists
(03-01-2016 01:38 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  
(03-01-2016 01:34 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  When you say "system that improves by evolving", what exactly do you mean?

For example, do you mean that abolishment of slavery was an improvement?

For that to be the case, it seems like it would have to be a fact that slavery should be abolished, which could only be consistent with moral realism. Unless I'm missing something....Consider

You're missing a lot because you're assuming only your view can be correct.

Views begin to change on slavery in a society. Slavery begins to be seen as immoral whereas it was once seen as moral by the population. Then laws change on slavery after the moral question of slavery changes from moral to immoral.

In retrospect (for a society with these evolved views on slavery), slavery was obviously immoral and something one ought not do whereas it was once something one ought to do if you required labor to bring your crops to harvest.

I'm not doubting that societies change over time.....

Let's use a different example using hypothetical societies.

Society "A" passes a law that makes gay marriage legal (whereas it was illegal), and society "B" passes a law that makes it illegal (whereas it was legal). Did they both make an improvement? Did neither make an improvement? (I guess it's your use of the word "improvement" that's throwing me off lol Big Grin)
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
03-01-2016, 01:58 PM
RE: A Challenge for Moral Realists
(03-01-2016 01:39 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  You can see the conflict of these evolving views in the writings and actions of the founding fathers with respect to the moral question of slavery in the US.

And you can find in the writings of folks who supported slavery, like General Lee, speaking of the immorality of it all.

"There are few, I believe, in this enlightened age, who will not acknowledge that slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil."

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
03-01-2016, 01:58 PM
A Challenge for Moral Realists
(03-01-2016 01:54 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  
(03-01-2016 01:38 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  You're missing a lot because you're assuming only your view can be correct.

Views begin to change on slavery in a society. Slavery begins to be seen as immoral whereas it was once seen as moral by the population. Then laws change on slavery after the moral question of slavery changes from moral to immoral.

In retrospect (for a society with these evolved views on slavery), slavery was obviously immoral and something one ought not do whereas it was once something one ought to do if you required labor to bring your crops to harvest.

I'm not doubting that societies change over time.....

Let's use a different example using hypothetical societies.

Society "A" passes a law that makes gay marriage legal (whereas it was illegal), and society "B" passes a law that makes it illegal (whereas it was legal). Did they both make an improvement? Did neither make an improvement? (I guess it's your use of the word "improvement" that's throwing me off lol Big Grin)

Making a society's morals congruent with their laws and customs.

Society A will judge society B as immoral. Society B will judge society A as immoral. But each will judge themselves as moral. You couldn't have picked a better example to show morals as relative and subjective. Thumbsup

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes TheBeardedDude's post
03-01-2016, 01:59 PM
A Challenge for Moral Realists
(03-01-2016 01:58 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(03-01-2016 01:39 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  You can see the conflict of these evolving views in the writings and actions of the founding fathers with respect to the moral question of slavery in the US.

And you can find in the writings of folks who supported slavery, like General Lee, speaking of the immorality of it all.

"There are few, I believe, in this enlightened age, who will not acknowledge that slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil."

And you can find those calling it morally good (those people still exist mind you. They see the US's slavery as having been a good thing for the black population).

Keep cherry picking. It suits you.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
03-01-2016, 02:02 PM
RE: A Challenge for Moral Realists
(03-01-2016 01:54 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  I'm not doubting that societies change over time.....

Let's use a different example using hypothetical societies.

Society "A" passes a law that makes gay marriage legal (whereas it was illegal), and society "B" passes a law that makes it illegal (whereas it was legal). Did they both make an improvement? Did neither make an improvement? (I guess it's your use of the word "improvement" that's throwing me off lol Big Grin)

Yea, I'd like to see that part addressed as well. I'm not sure how you can speak of something that's believe to be subjective, being an improvement among one society as opposed to the next, or to even imagine such as thing as moral progression.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
03-01-2016, 02:02 PM
RE: A Challenge for Moral Realists
(03-01-2016 01:28 PM)popsthebuilder Wrote:  
(03-01-2016 01:05 PM)Fatbaldhobbit Wrote:  So..... He's his own god? Blink
I am Noone.

Equivalent to nothing but what God has imparted. I am not God in any way shape or form. The things that have been shown to me are by the will of God, thankfully, somewhat regardless of my own will.

So God speaks to you personally?

How do you know it wasn't mental illness?

How did you determine that it was "god"? If you believe in the supernatural then how do you know it wasn't the devil?

If you assume it was god, you are believing that the creator of the entire universe, the being that composed DNA, that devised astrophysics, gravity, the ultimate being, speaks to you.

Not only does he speak to you, but he doesn't speak to the rest of us.

Worse, he doesn't give you the arguments that would convince us.

Personal revelation is only relevant for that person. It cannot help anyone else.

Help for the living. Hope for the dead. ~ R.G. Ingersoll

Freedom offers opportunity. Opportunity confers responsibility. Responsibility to use the freedom we enjoy wisely, honestly and humanely. ~ Noam Chomsky
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Fatbaldhobbit's post
03-01-2016, 02:02 PM
RE: A Challenge for Moral Realists
(03-01-2016 01:10 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  I'm not sure how we're suppose to work out a better system of morals, by rendering morality as subjective.
Well, once you realise that moral beliefs are merely personal opinions then you realise that there are no moral truths. You then discard the idea of enforcing or expecting your own moral beliefs to be adhered to by others.

You instead look for an alternative basis for law. One that recognises the diversity of cultures, beliefs and opinions within society.
You then focus the purpose of government on the stability of society rather than on the morality of society. This means you will no longer get "offended" when others transgress what you believe to be "the right thing to do".

Regarding a "better" system of morals, once you realise that morals are just personal opinions, you either give up on the idea or morality OR you redefine morality to mean "How should I best behave in order to improve my own life or in order to feel "good" about my own decisions and actions.

Perhaps you then go on a journey of discovery to explore and determine what is important to you, to determine what "good" means to you and how important it is to you to be "good" and how this stacks up against how important it is to you to improve your own lot in life and the lot of those people that you have built personal connections with. Establish what personal sacrifices you would personally make in order to commit to being "good" (whatever that means to you).
Create some "values" which are fast track "rules" or "guides" to help you to make make decisions quickly, rather than having to go into indepth analysis on every decision.

Above all else,

Live life and learn.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 2 users Like Stevil's post
03-01-2016, 02:05 PM
RE: A Challenge for Moral Realists
(03-01-2016 01:59 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  
(03-01-2016 01:58 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  And you can find in the writings of folks who supported slavery, like General Lee, speaking of the immorality of it all.

"There are few, I believe, in this enlightened age, who will not acknowledge that slavery as an institution is a moral and political evil."

And you can find those calling it morally good (those people still exist mind you. They see the US's slavery as having been a good thing for the black population).

Keep cherry picking. It suits you.

And those who believe it's morally good are wrong, just like folks who believe the earth is flat are wrong. You'd have to believe all sorts of lies to try and render it as a good thing.

Even Lee observes that those that are enlightened, acknowledge the evil of slavery.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
03-01-2016, 02:06 PM
RE: A Challenge for Moral Realists
(03-01-2016 01:58 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  
(03-01-2016 01:54 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  I'm not doubting that societies change over time.....

Let's use a different example using hypothetical societies.

Society "A" passes a law that makes gay marriage legal (whereas it was illegal), and society "B" passes a law that makes it illegal (whereas it was legal). Did they both make an improvement? Did neither make an improvement? (I guess it's your use of the word "improvement" that's throwing me off lol Big Grin)

Making a society's morals congruent with their laws and customs.

Society A will judge society B as immoral. Society B will judge society A as immoral. But each will judge themselves as moral. You couldn't have picked a better example to show morals as relative and subjective. Thumbsup

So, did either society make an improvement?

You said that morality is a "system that improves by evolving". I guess I'm challenging your claim. I fully understand that societies change, but how do you know if an improvement has been made?

(basically, I'm accusing you of being a moral realist)
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Matt Finney's post
Post Reply
Forum Jump: