A Deconstruction of the Moral Argument
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09-05-2014, 08:54 PM (This post was last modified: 09-05-2014 10:31 PM by Reltzik.)
A Deconstruction of the Moral Argument
This one's addressed to JW since he's not going to stop pestering the rest of us until we stop rolling our eyes and trying to shoo him away, and instead offer up a response to this old rhetorical fraud.

Morality, at its most abstract, is a rule system for classification or interpretation of decisions, beliefs, status, or actions on a spectrum of contemptible versus laudable. For example, it might classify one decision as highly contemptible, mildly contemptible, neutral, somewhat laudable, et cetera, whereas another decision might be classified differently. (Alternatively, the word can be used as a person's tendency to conform to some such rule system.) We should be able to agree on this much, even if we will disagree on important details like the particular rules.

Does morality exist? Well, we have rules systems, as described, that seem to fit the bill. We have a great many of them, many of which will agree on a great many points but differ in small or major ways on some details. Nearly everyone employs such a system. JW seems to refer to these individually held rule systems as "subjective morality". I shall refer to them as a person's "moral framework".

The question in premise 1 of the Moral Argument asks, if any of these rules systems are CORRECT in some objective manner. This question must be thoroughly deconstructed before it can be answered. What would it even mean for such a system to be objectively correct? The proposition must be clearly defined before it can be asserted or considered. This is an essential step. If the assertion has no meaning, then it cannot mean anything. It can represent nothing and it can imply nothing and it can signify nothing. On the other hand, if it does have a meaning, it is possible that its implications will allow us to test its veracity. A clear understanding of what would constitute an objective morality might give us a way of identifying what was objective morality and what wasn't. Failing to fully define objective morality opens the way to the equivocations that reside at the heart of the moral argument.

To the best of my knowledge, JW has not presented us with a clear definition of what it would mean for a morality to be objective. Therefore, I shall cover some of the more commonly advanced definitions. He may provide his own definition at a later time if he chooses.

Two common definitions of an objective morality are (1) a rules system (as above) that applies equally regardless of some factors such as person, place, time, race, class, sex, knowledge, et al, and (2) a rules system (as above) that is not merely the moral framework of one or more people, but is in some way exercised by some higher power or force. The distinction between these is clear. It is conceivable for a personal moral framework to condemn all acts of rape regardless of other factors, even if it is just a personal moral framework and there is no higher power enforcing this rules system. This is objective morality under definition (1), but not definition (2). It is also possible to conceive of some higher power preferentially enforcing a moral framework for, say, a particular sex, holding the same acts performed by women as contemptuous while at the same time holding them virtuous when the actor is male. This would be an objective morality by definition (2), but not definition (1).

Either proposition might be sensible to consider and analyze on its own, so long as it is clearly defined. However, the Moral Argument which JW persists in advancing hinges upon a fallacious equivocation between these two meanings, using one and then discarding it for the other as convenient, and hoping that inadequately specifying what it means for a morality to be objective versus subjective will suffice as a smoke screen to hide the rhetorical slight of hand. The first part of the moral argument, the claim that objective morality exists, depends on establishing objective morality of type (1), or at least will challenge on the grounds of definition (1) any person who rejects this part of the moral argument. For example, if I deny that there is an objective morality, I might then be charged with believing that there are situations where the torture of children is not contemptible, which would only make sense if I had meant to reject objective morality as defined by (1). Then the switch happens, and the second part of the moral argument -- that there must be some higher power authoring or enforcing this rule system -- suddenly swaps in definition (2) of objective morality. It is nothing more than a rhetorical bait and switch, a smoke and mirrors game. The tool of a fast-talking scam artist, echoed by someone who fell for the scam. It should be noted that the assertion of (2)'s existence presupposes the existence of a higher power, making the Moral Argument an exercise in circular reasoning... yet another type of scam.

In any event, the onus for clearly defining what would constitute objectivity in morality falls upon the person who wishes to employ the concept. If someone asks whether I believe that objective morals exist, I have every right to ask for clarification of the question before I answer, just as if someone had asked me if zarks exist.
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09-05-2014, 09:40 PM
RE: A Deconstruction of the Moral Argument
Thank you for writing this out, but it seems many of the same points have been raised to him repeatedly, and dismissed without any real response.

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”
― Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes
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09-05-2014, 09:56 PM
RE: A Deconstruction of the Moral Argument
He's patently incapable of actually reading, understanding, and responding to an argument. All he does is repeat his position over and over again with different analogies or ways of phrasing it. Which makes him utterly pointless to discuss anything with...
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09-05-2014, 10:01 PM
RE: A Deconstruction of the Moral Argument
BUT WITHOUT GOD THEN NAZIS THEREFOR GAAAWD

TROLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

... this is my signature!
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09-05-2014, 10:18 PM
RE: A Deconstruction of the Moral Argument
Actually, I did learn something from it. I never considered #1 as a possible definition for objective morality by itself, so the switching always just seemed like wild inconsistency and poor definitions to me.

Jesus is my Stalker: He has graced me with his unconditional love, but if I reject it and refuse to love him in return, he will make my life Hell.
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12-05-2014, 12:06 AM
RE: A Deconstruction of the Moral Argument
What version of the moral argument are you referring to? It does not appear to be the one I am using.
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12-05-2014, 12:50 AM
RE: A Deconstruction of the Moral Argument
(12-05-2014 12:06 AM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  What version of the moral argument are you referring to? It does not appear to be the one I am using.

(09-05-2014 10:01 PM)cjlr Wrote:  TROLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”
― Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes
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12-05-2014, 07:19 AM
RE: A Deconstruction of the Moral Argument
(12-05-2014 12:06 AM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  What version of the moral argument are you referring to? It does not appear to be the one I am using.

[Image: skeptical-sm_zps59fc1324.png]

(09-05-2014 08:54 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  To the best of my knowledge, JW has not presented us with a clear definition of what it would mean for a morality to be objective. Therefore, I shall cover some of the more commonly advanced definitions. He may provide his own definition at a later time if he chooses.

...

In any event, the onus for clearly defining what would constitute objectivity in morality falls upon the person who wishes to employ the concept. If someone asks whether I believe that objective morals exist, I have every right to ask for clarification of the question before I answer, just as if someone had asked me if zarks exist.

How about you read the fucking post before responding to it?
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12-05-2014, 07:49 AM
RE: A Deconstruction of the Moral Argument
(12-05-2014 12:06 AM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  What version of the moral argument are you referring to? It does not appear to be the one I am using.

Yes because you just make shit up as you go along, shifting goalposts. equivocating on the fly, and trying to change the subject eith red herrings when you get cornered.

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12-05-2014, 08:11 AM
RE: A Deconstruction of the Moral Argument
(12-05-2014 12:06 AM)Jeremy E Walker Wrote:  What version of the moral argument are you referring to? It does not appear to be the one I am using.



Were you a thoughtful individual you would employ self doubt. But you are not, so you don't.

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