A Challenge for Moral Realists
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
04-01-2016, 10:49 AM
RE: A Challenge for Moral Realists
(04-01-2016 09:54 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(04-01-2016 06:58 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  I wasn't referring to you there.

Given your previous post, it looks like you are.

The previous post was a nod to you, the second one wasn't. I could have wrote a white guy in Beverly Hills, but farm was just the first word that came to mind.

"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
04-01-2016, 01:22 PM
RE: A Challenge for Moral Realists
(04-01-2016 09:39 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "An action such as slavery or prostitution can't be immoral within a society. But can be either legal or illegal."

In general, we assign legality of an issue based on our collective morals.
We don't have to use morality as a foundation for law. If we insist on using morality as the foundation then we cannot separate religion from law.

For example most people consider adultery to be immoral. However, most people don't think we should make adultery illegal. Same thing for lying.

There is a more profound reason to make something illegal rather than supporting some idealistic moral belief.

(04-01-2016 09:39 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  It isn't true that it is unanimously agreed upon as immoral in that instantaneous moment. That isn't relevant to the point I am trying to make.
I'm not saying that there needs to be a unanimous agreement for something to be considered a society moral. I am saying that society cannot have morals even if there is a unanimous agreement on something. Society is merely a collection rather than a thinking, believing entity.

(04-01-2016 09:39 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Here, let me put it this way. In a society, morals exist. Absent a society or collective community, morals don't exist
I think morals can exist without a society.

A lone person can consider it immoral to masturbate, can consider it immoral to eat meat, can consider it immoral to torture animals. But this is beside the point. I only bring this up because the language that you use to make your claim above is made in an absolute sense as if what you are saying is true rather than merely your own opinion.

(04-01-2016 09:39 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Because I am not trying to paint morality (at the individual or societal level) as black and white or cut and dry.
Personally I think it is cut and dry. Societies can't have moral beliefs because a society is merely a collection and is not a thinking entity.
Individuals can have moral beliefs and can base their beliefs on anything they so individually choose. The individual is always right even if there are logical holes in their reasoning. If you believe that "it is immoral for a person to lie" then you are correct that "you do indeed believe that it is immoral for a person to lie".

(04-01-2016 09:39 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  So, when I say that in retrospect slavery was wrong, I am not saying that it is now or was then agreed on 100% immoral.
I understand that you are not saying that everyone agrees.
But I would like to ascertain how it is that you decide what the morality of that particular society is.
Do you decide based on:
- implemented law?
- popular opinion?
- opinion reaching a particular threshold (perhaps 40% support)
- based on your personal experience with a sample of people within that society?

It seems to me that you, in some way need to take a helicopter view, and make your decision (as to what the morality of the society is) without coming up with a method for discovery. You need it to be ambiguous so that you can't be proven wrong.
(I know this may sound like I am accusing you of being intellectually dishonest. I think what you are claiming is a common thing that most people do, it is making a generalisation. And generalisations are generally incorrect, they don't represent all people and they don't even need to represent the majority all they do is represent your own perception.)

(04-01-2016 09:39 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  That is what I am saying about morality. It exists at the individual level AND the societal level.
I don't accept that it exists at the society level.
You can generalize and form a personal perception of society and that would be a belief that you personally hold regarding that society, but in my opinion your belief and perception doesn't constitute a fact about that society and doesn't give any indication as to the stance of any particular individual living within that society.
You could, for example make a claim that NZ is a Christian country, a Christian society but I (as a kiwi) would disagree with you. I am not a Christian and I don't accept that NZ is a Christian society. Generalisations and perceptions aren't accurate, they aren't very useful.

(04-01-2016 09:39 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  The observation that not all individuals in the society share the same moral choices, is no more relevant than the observation that an individual's moral can evolve over their lifetime too (18 year old me would have been against gay marriage, would probably have called atheist immoral satan worshippers, I was all for bombing the middle east into oblivion, etc).
It is relevant because it shows that even at a particular point in time, you cannot paint society with one stroke of the brush. Society does not have a moral belief.



(04-01-2016 09:39 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  You seem to suggest that an action can only be labeled immoral or moral at the societal level, if it is unanimous.
This is not what I am saying. I am saying that society isn't a thinking entity, society doesn't have beliefs. Even if all people within the society believe something it does not mean that this belief is owned at the society level.

(04-01-2016 09:39 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  This is the reason we establish our societies with laws and legal systems to judge the context of any given action so as to come to as close to a consensus opinion as possible.
We create laws so that we can co-exist within a society where we compete for limited resources. Not so that we can have governance over moral disagreements.



(04-01-2016 09:39 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "The individual is always correct given that moral beliefs are owned by the individual.
Society doesn't have moral beliefs, society doesn't have any beliefs, society can't think. Society is merely a collection."


The individual is not always correct. Opinions aren't facts, you can't label opinions as always correct or always wrong. Only the Sith deal in absolutes, and this black and white scenario is far too simplistic.
It's not about black and white thinking. It's about respecting the individual. Each individual is correct when it comes to their own beliefs.
If you believe in the Greek gods then you are correct that you do indeed believe in the Greek gods. If you believe that it is immoral to eat meat then you are correct that you do indeed believe that it is immoral to eat meat. It is a fact that you believe it to be immoral to eat meat.





(04-01-2016 09:39 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  And yes, societies do have morals.
If a society does have morals then how do we objectively discover those society morals? Do we carry out at census and determine the morals by the majority opinion?


(04-01-2016 09:39 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  We establish our laws and customs off of our morals,
I disagree. We don't have to base law off moral beliefs and quite often things that people believe to be immoral they don't want implemented into law. i.e. adultery or lying.


(04-01-2016 09:39 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "If you deem eating meat as immoral and you are on an island (a society with two others) and if those others all agree that eating meat is moral then this does not change your own opinion that eating meat is immoral."

You're leaving out the most important pieces of moral discussions, the discussion. Why is eating meat moral or immoral?
I'm actually not very interested in the why.
I don't consider anything to be immoral. You can't convince me that there is any reason to label anything as being immoral.
However I do respect and acknowledge that you may have determined (for whatever reason personal to you) that something is immoral. For you, you hold this belief. I accept that you have this belief. I accept that it is true that you hold this belief. I acknowledge and respect that you belief this thing to be immoral.
That however has little impact to my own decision making. If, for example you believe that eating meat is immoral, well, your belief alone, wont stop me from eating meat.


(04-01-2016 09:39 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  This is the crux of the argument, people label something moral or immoral and then claim that there can be no agreement reached, but the discussion of the reasons for each label is how and why the moral choice among the collective can be reached. That is after all, how we govern ourselves.
I'd be happier if we agreed to develop a diverse society that gives people autonomy rather than controls them to adhere to a majority moral position.
If gay people having sex in the privacy of their own home presents no danger to others then I am not interested in a debate about whether gay sex is immoral or not. I have no interested in supporting laws against it even if it is "immoral". Basically, I just don't care if something is immoral or not.


(04-01-2016 09:39 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  I'm not a fan of punishment either, I'd rather we rehabilitate first and foremost. But we can't always do that sadly.
I don't even care if we rehabilitate a person or not. My only concern is that any danger be removed. If that means locking someone up, putting them to death or rehabilitating them, I'm not precious as to which method is used.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
04-01-2016, 02:17 PM
RE: A Challenge for Moral Realists
(04-01-2016 01:22 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(04-01-2016 09:39 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "An action such as slavery or prostitution can't be immoral within a society. But can be either legal or illegal."

In general, we assign legality of an issue based on our collective morals.
We don't have to use morality as a foundation for law. If we insist on using morality as the foundation then we cannot separate religion from law.

For example most people consider adultery to be immoral. However, most people don't think we should make adultery illegal. Same thing for lying.

There is a more profound reason to make something illegal rather than supporting some idealistic moral belief.

(04-01-2016 09:39 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  It isn't true that it is unanimously agreed upon as immoral in that instantaneous moment. That isn't relevant to the point I am trying to make.
I'm not saying that there needs to be a unanimous agreement for something to be considered a society moral. I am saying that society cannot have morals even if there is a unanimous agreement on something. Society is merely a collection rather than a thinking, believing entity.

(04-01-2016 09:39 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Here, let me put it this way. In a society, morals exist. Absent a society or collective community, morals don't exist
I think morals can exist without a society.

A lone person can consider it immoral to masturbate, can consider it immoral to eat meat, can consider it immoral to torture animals. But this is beside the point. I only bring this up because the language that you use to make your claim above is made in an absolute sense as if what you are saying is true rather than merely your own opinion.

(04-01-2016 09:39 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Because I am not trying to paint morality (at the individual or societal level) as black and white or cut and dry.
Personally I think it is cut and dry. Societies can't have moral beliefs because a society is merely a collection and is not a thinking entity.
Individuals can have moral beliefs and can base their beliefs on anything they so individually choose. The individual is always right even if there are logical holes in their reasoning. If you believe that "it is immoral for a person to lie" then you are correct that "you do indeed believe that it is immoral for a person to lie".

(04-01-2016 09:39 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  So, when I say that in retrospect slavery was wrong, I am not saying that it is now or was then agreed on 100% immoral.
I understand that you are not saying that everyone agrees.
But I would like to ascertain how it is that you decide what the morality of that particular society is.
Do you decide based on:
- implemented law?
- popular opinion?
- opinion reaching a particular threshold (perhaps 40% support)
- based on your personal experience with a sample of people within that society?

It seems to me that you, in some way need to take a helicopter view, and make your decision (as to what the morality of the society is) without coming up with a method for discovery. You need it to be ambiguous so that you can't be proven wrong.
(I know this may sound like I am accusing you of being intellectually dishonest. I think what you are claiming is a common thing that most people do, it is making a generalisation. And generalisations are generally incorrect, they don't represent all people and they don't even need to represent the majority all they do is represent your own perception.)

(04-01-2016 09:39 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  That is what I am saying about morality. It exists at the individual level AND the societal level.
I don't accept that it exists at the society level.
You can generalize and form a personal perception of society and that would be a belief that you personally hold regarding that society, but in my opinion your belief and perception doesn't constitute a fact about that society and doesn't give any indication as to the stance of any particular individual living within that society.
You could, for example make a claim that NZ is a Christian country, a Christian society but I (as a kiwi) would disagree with you. I am not a Christian and I don't accept that NZ is a Christian society. Generalisations and perceptions aren't accurate, they aren't very useful.

(04-01-2016 09:39 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  The observation that not all individuals in the society share the same moral choices, is no more relevant than the observation that an individual's moral can evolve over their lifetime too (18 year old me would have been against gay marriage, would probably have called atheist immoral satan worshippers, I was all for bombing the middle east into oblivion, etc).
It is relevant because it shows that even at a particular point in time, you cannot paint society with one stroke of the brush. Society does not have a moral belief.



(04-01-2016 09:39 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  You seem to suggest that an action can only be labeled immoral or moral at the societal level, if it is unanimous.
This is not what I am saying. I am saying that society isn't a thinking entity, society doesn't have beliefs. Even if all people within the society believe something it does not mean that this belief is owned at the society level.

(04-01-2016 09:39 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  This is the reason we establish our societies with laws and legal systems to judge the context of any given action so as to come to as close to a consensus opinion as possible.
We create laws so that we can co-exist within a society where we compete for limited resources. Not so that we can have governance over moral disagreements.



(04-01-2016 09:39 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "The individual is always correct given that moral beliefs are owned by the individual.
Society doesn't have moral beliefs, society doesn't have any beliefs, society can't think. Society is merely a collection."


The individual is not always correct. Opinions aren't facts, you can't label opinions as always correct or always wrong. Only the Sith deal in absolutes, and this black and white scenario is far too simplistic.
It's not about black and white thinking. It's about respecting the individual. Each individual is correct when it comes to their own beliefs.
If you believe in the Greek gods then you are correct that you do indeed believe in the Greek gods. If you believe that it is immoral to eat meat then you are correct that you do indeed believe that it is immoral to eat meat. It is a fact that you believe it to be immoral to eat meat.





(04-01-2016 09:39 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  And yes, societies do have morals.
If a society does have morals then how do we objectively discover those society morals? Do we carry out at census and determine the morals by the majority opinion?


(04-01-2016 09:39 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  We establish our laws and customs off of our morals,
I disagree. We don't have to base law off moral beliefs and quite often things that people believe to be immoral they don't want implemented into law. i.e. adultery or lying.


(04-01-2016 09:39 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "If you deem eating meat as immoral and you are on an island (a society with two others) and if those others all agree that eating meat is moral then this does not change your own opinion that eating meat is immoral."

You're leaving out the most important pieces of moral discussions, the discussion. Why is eating meat moral or immoral?
I'm actually not very interested in the why.
I don't consider anything to be immoral. You can't convince me that there is any reason to label anything as being immoral.
However I do respect and acknowledge that you may have determined (for whatever reason personal to you) that something is immoral. For you, you hold this belief. I accept that you have this belief. I accept that it is true that you hold this belief. I acknowledge and respect that you belief this thing to be immoral.
That however has little impact to my own decision making. If, for example you believe that eating meat is immoral, well, your belief alone, wont stop me from eating meat.


(04-01-2016 09:39 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  This is the crux of the argument, people label something moral or immoral and then claim that there can be no agreement reached, but the discussion of the reasons for each label is how and why the moral choice among the collective can be reached. That is after all, how we govern ourselves.
I'd be happier if we agreed to develop a diverse society that gives people autonomy rather than controls them to adhere to a majority moral position.
If gay people having sex in the privacy of their own home presents no danger to others then I am not interested in a debate about whether gay sex is immoral or not. I have no interested in supporting laws against it even if it is "immoral". Basically, I just don't care if something is immoral or not.


(04-01-2016 09:39 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  I'm not a fan of punishment either, I'd rather we rehabilitate first and foremost. But we can't always do that sadly.
I don't even care if we rehabilitate a person or not. My only concern is that any danger be removed. If that means locking someone up, putting them to death or rehabilitating them, I'm not precious as to which method is used.

"I'm actually not very interested in the why.
I don't consider anything to be immoral. You can't convince me that there is any reason to label anything as being immoral."


Then there is no discussion to be had if the "why" for doing or not doing something is of no interest to you.

If there is nothing to be labeled immoral, then there is nothing to be labeled moral. Meaning that to you, morality does not exist, but then you argue that it does exist at the individual level.

This line of thinking is muddled and convoluted and contradictory.

You keep taking things that I say to an extreme of absolution too. For instance, when I say "In general, we assign legality of an issue based on our collective morals" I mean that we generally (not always) assign legality based on our perceptions of morality. And we do criminalize things like adultery and lying in some cases. In a divorce preceding, adultery can be grounds for divorce as well as grounds for how the settlement is split. If you commit perjury, you're lying to the courts.

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
04-01-2016, 02:29 PM
RE: A Challenge for Moral Realists
(04-01-2016 02:17 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "I'm actually not very interested in the why.
I don't consider anything to be immoral. You can't convince me that there is any reason to label anything as being immoral."


Then there is no discussion to be had if the "why" for doing or not doing something is of no interest to you.
I'm interested to know how you can derive a social morality when morality is an individual belief.
I don't know how anyone can suggest what the morals of NZ are. We are made up of a bunch of diverse people.

(04-01-2016 02:17 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  If there is nothing to be labeled immoral, then there is nothing to be labeled moral. Meaning that to you, morality does not exist, but then you argue that it does exist at the individual level.
Moral beliefs exist. Just like religious beliefs exist.
Moral truths don't exist, just like gods don't exist even though many people believe in them.


(04-01-2016 02:17 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  You keep taking things that I say to an extreme of absolution too. For instance, when I say "In general, we assign legality of an issue based on our collective morals" I mean that we generally (not always) assign legality based on our perceptions of morality. And we do criminalize things like adultery and lying in some cases. In a divorce preceding, adultery can be grounds for divorce as well as grounds for how the settlement is split. If you commit perjury, you're lying to the courts.
We don't want to put adulterers in prison. Why? Because we don't see them as a danger to society. We use prisons to protect society from real threats rather than to punish moral transgressors. Law isn't about enforcing moral beliefs.

In NZ divorce settlement has nothing to do with whether someone cheated or not. Entitlement is based on real things such as if children are involved, if a partner gave up their career to look after children, length of marriage, relationship property etc.

With perjury, our legal system would have issues in functioning. But we don't lock up Dad for telling his kids that they are off to Disneyland when instead they are just going to the beach.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
04-01-2016, 02:53 PM
RE: A Challenge for Moral Realists
(04-01-2016 02:29 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(04-01-2016 02:17 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "I'm actually not very interested in the why.
I don't consider anything to be immoral. You can't convince me that there is any reason to label anything as being immoral."


Then there is no discussion to be had if the "why" for doing or not doing something is of no interest to you.
I'm interested to know how you can derive a social morality when morality is an individual belief.
I don't know how anyone can suggest what the morals of NZ are. We are made up of a bunch of diverse people.

(04-01-2016 02:17 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  If there is nothing to be labeled immoral, then there is nothing to be labeled moral. Meaning that to you, morality does not exist, but then you argue that it does exist at the individual level.
Moral beliefs exist. Just like religious beliefs exist.
Moral truths don't exist, just like gods don't exist even though many people believe in them.


(04-01-2016 02:17 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  You keep taking things that I say to an extreme of absolution too. For instance, when I say "In general, we assign legality of an issue based on our collective morals" I mean that we generally (not always) assign legality based on our perceptions of morality. And we do criminalize things like adultery and lying in some cases. In a divorce preceding, adultery can be grounds for divorce as well as grounds for how the settlement is split. If you commit perjury, you're lying to the courts.
We don't want to put adulterers in prison. Why? Because we don't see them as a danger to society. We use prisons to protect society from real threats rather than to punish moral transgressors. Law isn't about enforcing moral beliefs.

In NZ divorce settlement has nothing to do with whether someone cheated or not. Entitlement is based on real things such as if children are involved, if a partner gave up their career to look after children, length of marriage, relationship property etc.

With perjury, our legal system would have issues in functioning. But we don't lock up Dad for telling his kids that they are off to Disneyland when instead they are just going to the beach.

"I'm interested to know how you can derive a social morality when morality is an individual belief."

The same way you construct behaviors of any species as a whole from the collective of individual behaviors.

Coral polyps don't have any structural effect on coastlines as individuals, but collectively they can act as a storm buffer.

Individuals derive moral opinions based on internal reasoning that they can then extrapolate out to the level of society (a collective agreement on moral reasoning).

"I don't know how anyone can suggest what the morals of NZ are. We are made up of a bunch of diverse people."

Different countries and cultures have different values, no? The United States prides itself on being a country that places significant value on freedom and (despite what the conservative right thinks) diversity.

"Moral beliefs exist. Just like religious beliefs exist.
Moral truths don't exist, just like gods don't exist even though many people believe in them."


I'm okay with the first 2 sentences, because brains believe things. Without a brain to believe them, they wouldn't exist.

And yes, moral "truths" don't exist because morality is fluid. It isn't static over time nor is it the same between cultures at the same time. It might even be heterogenous within a culture such that discussing the morals of a country makes no sense (in some cases, that would be muddled), but what about the morals of smaller collections within that country? The Deep South here in the US would probably extrapolate out a different set of morals than the Northeastern US. When I say societies or cultures and discuss these with respect to the laws within a country, I am simplifying it a bit.

"We don't want to put adulterers in prison. Why? Because we don't see them as a danger to society. We use prisons to protect society from real threats rather than to punish moral transgressors. Law isn't about enforcing moral beliefs."

We don't put adulterers in prison because of the value system we place on the harm adultery is perceived to cause. We use prisons in part to protect from threats, in part to punish, and in part to rehabilitate. They are not for a singular purpose.

Law is about enforcing a civil society. Morality is (as a social construct) about living sustainably within a society. Law is a reflection of moral values in many cases. I see morality and legality as heavily derived versions of altruism.

"In NZ divorce settlement has nothing to do with whether someone cheated or not."

I did not say it is the only reason in the US, but it is often a reason.

"Entitlement is based on real things such as if children are involved, if a partner gave up their career to look after children, length of marriage, relationship property etc."

These factors can be here too, but as can adultery if one of the partners is perceived to have broken the social contract of marriage (or a prenuptial agreement).

"With perjury, our legal system would have issues in functioning. But we don't lock up Dad for telling his kids that they are off to Disneyland when instead they are just going to the beach."

Once again, you are taking something I did say (perjury is an example of criminalizing lying) and extrapolating it to a different and unrelated example. I did NOT say that lying is as a whole, illegal. What I did say is that, depending on the context, lying can be criminalized. Why? Because of the ethical and moral implications of it.

For instance, many of us on this site would view religion as an immoral institution, due in no small part to the fact that it is a system based upon untruths (some that are outright lies) that are perpetuated in society and can have detrimental influence. If people kept their religious bullshit to themselves and it only affected their lives, I wouldn't give a shit about religion. But people do use their religious views as an excuse to try and interject their opinions into my life (they want their opinions on morality that are based on religious answers to the question of "why" regarding moral/immoral renderings for individual moral questions). I don't live in a religious society, I live in a secular one. So the collective morality of any religion is supposed to have no effect on my life.

This is why the morals derived from religions can and should be rejected by the way, because they don't allow the "why" to be discussed. To religions, the "why" is dictated by a god. It isn't arguable. It is immutable. It can't be moral in any meaningful sense as that requires discussion of the "why" and religions don't allow it. Religious morality adherents are amoral if they simply follow their religious moral guidelines because they are told to.

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
04-01-2016, 02:57 PM
RE: A Challenge for Moral Realists
(04-01-2016 07:05 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(04-01-2016 02:06 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Too bad that, no matter your belief or interpretation, it is evidently the much edited, borrowed, stolen, misquoted, and mistranslated fictitious work of fallible men with relatively straightforward and mundane power struggles and political goals. Drinking Beverage

The bible has been much edited, stories have been borrowed and reimagined, mistranslated, incorporating history and myth, is work written by fallible men, often dealing with power struggle and political goals. Yet an inspired work.


Come on now, really? Facepalm

[Image: Not+like+the+other.png]


Given what we do know, based upon the evidence, the claim that the Bible is "inspired" is entirely unfounded. Indeed all of the evidence points to it's very human origins and creation, just like all other books humans have created without supposed divine intervention. By what criteria is the Bible "inspired", but the Book of Mormon is not? Or the Iliad? Or the Epic of Gilgamesh? Or fucking Fiddler on the Roof or The Great Gatsby? No

[Image: E3WvRwZ.gif]
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 5 users Like EvolutionKills's post
04-01-2016, 03:54 PM
RE: A Challenge for Moral Realists
(04-01-2016 02:53 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "I'm interested to know how you can derive a social morality when morality is an individual belief."

The same way you construct behaviors of any species as a whole from the collective of individual behaviors.

Coral polyps don't have any structural effect on coastlines as individuals, but collectively they can act as a storm buffer.

Individuals derive moral opinions based on internal reasoning that they can then extrapolate out to the level of society (a collective agreement on moral reasoning).
But there really is no collective agreement on moral reasoning.
Some people reason that things are moral because:
- god said so
- it benefits the collective
- it maximises happiness and minimises suffering
- it benefits the self
- it meets Kant's directives
- ...
There are a great variety of reasonings that are used by different individuals.

(04-01-2016 02:53 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "I don't know how anyone can suggest what the morals of NZ are. We are made up of a bunch of diverse people."

Different countries and cultures have different values, no?
No. Countries don't have values. Individuals can have values, countries can't.
Individuals can think, countries can't.

(04-01-2016 02:53 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  The United States prides itself on being a country that places significant value on freedom and (despite what the conservative right thinks) diversity.
There are many people in the US that pride themselves and/or their country on it's support for freedom and diversity.
There are also many people in the US that are embarrassed by the lack of freedom and diversity supported within their country.

The country itself does not have pride. Pride is a human emotion. Countries don't have emotions. One cannot say that US is a prideful country based on it's value of freedom and diversity. If a person does say this then it instead only reflects the perception and belief of that speaker it does not reflect a truth about the US country.


(04-01-2016 02:53 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "Moral beliefs exist. Just like religious beliefs exist.
Moral truths don't exist, just like gods don't exist even though many people believe in them."

And yes, moral "truths" don't exist because morality is fluid.
Not only is moral beliefs fluid but also moral beliefs are held by individuals. They are not collectively owned.

(04-01-2016 02:53 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  It might even be heterogenous within a culture such that discussing the morals of a country makes no sense (in some cases, that would be muddled), but what about the morals of smaller collections within that country?
Any time you are talking about moral beliefs you must consider that each individual owns their own moral beliefs. Any attempt to generalise on a group of individuals is merely a generalisation.

If you had a group of three people. You could say that all the people in the group agree that X is immoral. You could say that most of the people in the group agree that X is immoral but you cannot say that for the group X is immoral. Especially when at least one person disagrees. But even if all people agree, what's to say one person doesn't change their mind or perhaps a new person joins the group. It is never sufficient to say that the morality of the group is such and such.

(04-01-2016 02:53 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  The Deep South here in the US would probably extrapolate out a different set of morals than the Northeastern US.
But of course you will find people from the North move to the South or perhaps a person brought up in the South just happens to be more aligned with the majority opinion of people who reside in the North.

The South does not have a collective morality. You could say that the majority of people in the South believe that it is immoral to not believe in god, but you couldn't say that it is immoral in the South to not believe in god.


(04-01-2016 02:53 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  When I say societies or cultures and discuss these with respect to the laws within a country, I am simplifying it a bit.
Yes, you are generalising.
But it is disingenuous to do so. It is disingenuous to say that it is immoral in South USA not to believe in the Christian god. The honest equivalent would be simply to state that most South USA residents believe it is immoral not to believe in the Christian god.
I'm thinking that the terminology that you are using is ambiguous and can cause misunderstandings.

(04-01-2016 02:53 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  We don't put adulterers in prison because of the value system we place on the harm adultery is perceived to cause.
If you want a legal system based on value and morals then you can't really complain if the religious majority want to enforce their values and morals with use of law.

(04-01-2016 02:53 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  We use prisons in part to protect from threats, in part to punish, and in part to rehabilitate. They are not for a singular purpose.
I don't accept moral punishment as being a mandate of government and I don't accept it as being my responsibility either. I don't accept that prisons rehabilitate prisoners.

(04-01-2016 02:53 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Morality is (as a social construct) about living sustainably within a society.
No, morality isn't about that at all. Morality is about right and wrong. Sustainability is something else, not related to morality. Many Christians think it is immoral not to believe in their god, or to blaspheme their god or to work on the sabbath. None of these things impact the sustainability of society.

(04-01-2016 02:53 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Law is a reflection of moral values in many cases. I see morality and legality as heavily derived versions of altruism.
Legality has nothing to do with morality or altruism. Legality is merely the rules under which those governed must abide or else face legal consequences.

(04-01-2016 02:53 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "Entitlement is based on real things such as if children are involved, if a partner gave up their career to look after children, length of marriage, relationship property etc."

These factors can be here too, but as can adultery if one of the partners is perceived to have broken the social contract of marriage (or a prenuptial agreement).
Then the contract is dissolved. But did the contract include penalties for this specific transgression? There are many reasons why people cheat. It could be that the marriage was a farce, that one person didn't give any respect or love to the other. The other person consequently fell in love with another but was not granted a divorce and perhaps the divorce process takes a couple of years. Is it wrong for this person to move out and have a loving relationship with another while still married in a loveless (non relationship) under law?

(04-01-2016 02:53 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Once again, you are taking something I did say (perjury is an example of criminalizing lying) and extrapolating it to a different and unrelated example. I did NOT say that lying is as a whole, illegal. What I did say is that, depending on the context, lying can be criminalized. Why? Because of the ethical and moral implications of it.
I am merely pointing out that there is a very weak correlation between law and perceived morality. A scientist could consider that perhaps law is based on something else other than morality. And go seek that rather than continually defend the position that law is based on morality.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
05-01-2016, 02:17 AM
RE: A Challenge for Moral Realists
(03-01-2016 11:13 PM)popsthebuilder Wrote:  
(03-01-2016 09:04 PM)ClydeLee Wrote:  So?
It's not true and negates or neuters any real potential for life to be otherwise. Chaos isn't beneficial to very much I don't think.

You don't think it is x, or you do think something is x. But you are really just stuck in that scenario. You want to take something like personal experience as something to take account from, but you don't know or are able to think if that is even your personal experience or what you think is your personal experience.

You think X wasn't productive or beneficial FOR YOU. Stop asserting your presumed "right" value onto someone else without any reasoning in it. It's ridiculously contrasting to even what you claim to want while you do it.

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes ClydeLee's post
05-01-2016, 09:07 AM
RE: A Challenge for Moral Realists
(04-01-2016 03:54 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(04-01-2016 02:53 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "I'm interested to know how you can derive a social morality when morality is an individual belief."

The same way you construct behaviors of any species as a whole from the collective of individual behaviors.

Coral polyps don't have any structural effect on coastlines as individuals, but collectively they can act as a storm buffer.

Individuals derive moral opinions based on internal reasoning that they can then extrapolate out to the level of society (a collective agreement on moral reasoning).
But there really is no collective agreement on moral reasoning.
Some people reason that things are moral because:
- god said so
- it benefits the collective
- it maximises happiness and minimises suffering
- it benefits the self
- it meets Kant's directives
- ...
There are a great variety of reasonings that are used by different individuals.

(04-01-2016 02:53 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "I don't know how anyone can suggest what the morals of NZ are. We are made up of a bunch of diverse people."

Different countries and cultures have different values, no?
No. Countries don't have values. Individuals can have values, countries can't.
Individuals can think, countries can't.

(04-01-2016 02:53 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  The United States prides itself on being a country that places significant value on freedom and (despite what the conservative right thinks) diversity.
There are many people in the US that pride themselves and/or their country on it's support for freedom and diversity.
There are also many people in the US that are embarrassed by the lack of freedom and diversity supported within their country.

The country itself does not have pride. Pride is a human emotion. Countries don't have emotions. One cannot say that US is a prideful country based on it's value of freedom and diversity. If a person does say this then it instead only reflects the perception and belief of that speaker it does not reflect a truth about the US country.


(04-01-2016 02:53 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "Moral beliefs exist. Just like religious beliefs exist.
Moral truths don't exist, just like gods don't exist even though many people believe in them."

And yes, moral "truths" don't exist because morality is fluid.
Not only is moral beliefs fluid but also moral beliefs are held by individuals. They are not collectively owned.

(04-01-2016 02:53 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  It might even be heterogenous within a culture such that discussing the morals of a country makes no sense (in some cases, that would be muddled), but what about the morals of smaller collections within that country?
Any time you are talking about moral beliefs you must consider that each individual owns their own moral beliefs. Any attempt to generalise on a group of individuals is merely a generalisation.

If you had a group of three people. You could say that all the people in the group agree that X is immoral. You could say that most of the people in the group agree that X is immoral but you cannot say that for the group X is immoral. Especially when at least one person disagrees. But even if all people agree, what's to say one person doesn't change their mind or perhaps a new person joins the group. It is never sufficient to say that the morality of the group is such and such.

(04-01-2016 02:53 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  The Deep South here in the US would probably extrapolate out a different set of morals than the Northeastern US.
But of course you will find people from the North move to the South or perhaps a person brought up in the South just happens to be more aligned with the majority opinion of people who reside in the North.

The South does not have a collective morality. You could say that the majority of people in the South believe that it is immoral to not believe in god, but you couldn't say that it is immoral in the South to not believe in god.


(04-01-2016 02:53 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  When I say societies or cultures and discuss these with respect to the laws within a country, I am simplifying it a bit.
Yes, you are generalising.
But it is disingenuous to do so. It is disingenuous to say that it is immoral in South USA not to believe in the Christian god. The honest equivalent would be simply to state that most South USA residents believe it is immoral not to believe in the Christian god.
I'm thinking that the terminology that you are using is ambiguous and can cause misunderstandings.

(04-01-2016 02:53 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  We don't put adulterers in prison because of the value system we place on the harm adultery is perceived to cause.
If you want a legal system based on value and morals then you can't really complain if the religious majority want to enforce their values and morals with use of law.

(04-01-2016 02:53 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  We use prisons in part to protect from threats, in part to punish, and in part to rehabilitate. They are not for a singular purpose.
I don't accept moral punishment as being a mandate of government and I don't accept it as being my responsibility either. I don't accept that prisons rehabilitate prisoners.

(04-01-2016 02:53 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Morality is (as a social construct) about living sustainably within a society.
No, morality isn't about that at all. Morality is about right and wrong. Sustainability is something else, not related to morality. Many Christians think it is immoral not to believe in their god, or to blaspheme their god or to work on the sabbath. None of these things impact the sustainability of society.

(04-01-2016 02:53 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Law is a reflection of moral values in many cases. I see morality and legality as heavily derived versions of altruism.
Legality has nothing to do with morality or altruism. Legality is merely the rules under which those governed must abide or else face legal consequences.

(04-01-2016 02:53 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "Entitlement is based on real things such as if children are involved, if a partner gave up their career to look after children, length of marriage, relationship property etc."

These factors can be here too, but as can adultery if one of the partners is perceived to have broken the social contract of marriage (or a prenuptial agreement).
Then the contract is dissolved. But did the contract include penalties for this specific transgression? There are many reasons why people cheat. It could be that the marriage was a farce, that one person didn't give any respect or love to the other. The other person consequently fell in love with another but was not granted a divorce and perhaps the divorce process takes a couple of years. Is it wrong for this person to move out and have a loving relationship with another while still married in a loveless (non relationship) under law?

(04-01-2016 02:53 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Once again, you are taking something I did say (perjury is an example of criminalizing lying) and extrapolating it to a different and unrelated example. I did NOT say that lying is as a whole, illegal. What I did say is that, depending on the context, lying can be criminalized. Why? Because of the ethical and moral implications of it.
I am merely pointing out that there is a very weak correlation between law and perceived morality. A scientist could consider that perhaps law is based on something else other than morality. And go seek that rather than continually defend the position that law is based on morality.

I have to keep repeating myself in answering the same questions over and over, this conversation isn't going anywhere because you fundamentally reject what I mean when I use the term morality.

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
05-01-2016, 09:17 AM
RE: A Challenge for Moral Realists
(04-01-2016 02:29 PM)Stevil Wrote:  [quote]I’m interested to know how you can derive a social morality when morality is an individual belief.
I don't know how anyone can suggest what the morals of NZ are. We are made up of a bunch of diverse people.

We can likely make all sorts of distinctions between NZers and Americans, the sort of comedy they tend to prefer, temperaments they often value, the sort of novels and characters that appeal to them, the sort of political representatives they are inclined to get behind. We all to some degree have some notion of the society or world we want to live in, and the sort of people we desire to inhibit that world. Morality is often representative of variety of these temperances, that we hold, and desire that others hold as well.

Perhaps your ideal for society, is one in which everyone just minds there own business, refrain from unnecessary violence or force, that affords a great deal individual autonomy and privacy, and tolerance. Perhaps you find the very idea or morality cumbersome, and prefer that it be removed from our language all together, because it’s rather childish and naive, and causes more problems than its worth. And what you would like to see is more and more people representative of yourself, being the ones in power, and influencing the laws and regulations of society in ways that you deem as more appropriate.

In our societies, we can no longer speak of a single entity called a society anymore, societies seems to be composed of a multiple of different societies and communities, with often conflicting concerns and interest. A liberal humanists desire for his country being different than the Tea Parties, all vying for a seat of power to dictate and shape society to their respective visions.

Perhaps tolerance and privacy, free speech, separation of church and state are very important to one constituency, while less important to another constituency.

And the values of one constituency, call them moral values if you will, compete with each other, seeking to gain popularity, draw appeal, perhaps the way we can say of fashion, and music trends that at any given moment are in vogue. The similarity here is the effort to popularize any set of values need not be deliberate, different cultural and political climates can push us to one direction over the other, like terrorism can make right wing values more appealing, and liberal humanistic sentiments even less so.
Perhaps for some people the very idea of conservative, traditional values illicit a sense of disgust, for other terms like secularism, liberalism, tolerance, can make them queasy as well.

Morality, moral language, is often expressions of these very values. The language that contains the sort of characters, and persons, we seek to popularize, political views and policies we prefer to see expressed, and the vices for which we seek to see expunged. Some of these values might be equally held by competing constituency, such as concepts like human dignity, the equality of men, the pursuit of happiness, liberty, and justice.

But what it’s interesting about our modern predicament, is that societies that sort of left the question of morality absent, that have imagined it as an old relic, a thing of non-concern, are beginning to see an eroding of the social fabric, the rise of decadence. So we find nations like Japan, trying to reinstitute morality, returning to traditional ethics, with an eye on the past, rolling back of liberal values, and introducing educational guidelines, that include traditional Shinto moral instructions.

Why you’re appeal to the abandoning of morality is a relative new phenomena, it’s also very short sighted. It’s symptom of a trend in which moral direction seems absent, in which the trend is towards a sort of nominal moralism, that seem indistinguishable from nihilism. This is in no way an optimistic trend, it just invites a sort of decadence, that over values the individual, to the disregard of everyone else. When it starts to unravel a bit more, we’ll likely panic, and seek to reintroduce a strong moral ethic back into society, trying endow our youth with a moral direction, to resolve the aimlessness. Whether that works is anyones guess.

"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
Post Reply
Forum Jump: