Another attack on moral subjectivism
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26-06-2015, 08:10 PM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(26-06-2015 07:59 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  I think I agree with you here for the most part. I definitely think it's a two way street though. I believe emotions affect beliefs unless checked by critical reasoning, and of course moral convictions cause people to have certain emotions.
It's hard to know what comes first, the chicken or the egg.

Moral concepts and language are conditioned onto us from a very early age. Most movies and stories have good guys vs bad guys etc, we have santa giving kids presents for being good. We have gods letting good people into heaven. We fight wars against evil enemies.


It's ridiculous really.
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27-06-2015, 01:38 AM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(26-06-2015 04:37 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  
(26-06-2015 04:27 PM)Chas Wrote:  There is no answer to that other than one's opinion or theology - there is no fact of the matter.

No moral facts. That's really the only thing that moral nihilism claims.

'Is' facts or 'ought' facts?

Wink

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27-06-2015, 03:46 AM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(26-06-2015 07:36 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  With no society, there doesn't really appear to be a decision to make with regards to the morality of to or not to eat meat.
Yeah, I eat meat, I don't see any moral aspect to it. I can eat meat, it gives me nutrition. The animals we eat don't fight back, they don't make our lives dangerous in retaliation to us eating them.

I understand that some people do have moral issues with eating other animals. I respect that they have these personal moral beliefs and have chosen not to eat animals. It's up to them, I don't get a say in what they are to eat.

But, at no point do I ponder what society's POV is with regards to the morality of eating meat.
I know that some people think it is OK and some think it is not OK, I don't even try to assume the answer to the question "what does society think?"
Society isn't a person, society can't have a unified opinion.

(26-06-2015 07:36 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Other animals don't make a distinction and humans before we developed a society where meat isn't necessary for survival didn't really seem to find a moral quandary with it. It isn't black or white. You still seem to keep getting hung up on these either/or scenarios when so rarely is anything either/or.
I'm thinking perhaps instead of you suggesting that Society has a morality perhaps instead you mean to say that you think people's own personal moral systems ought to be built on the context of society.

That perhaps you think it should be the goal of a person's morality (how they base their conclusion of rights and wrongs) that the goal ought to be that which benefits society.

Of course the judgement on what benefits society will still be a personal judgement made by the individual. But perhaps you assume everyone ought to have the benefit of society as their goal and base their judgement of wrongs and rights in that context.

Is this what you are getting at or am I still way off base?
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27-06-2015, 03:55 AM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(26-06-2015 05:23 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(26-06-2015 05:17 PM)tear151 Wrote:  Evolved behaviour, emotion, and agreement, are irrelevant to truth.

Except they are facts, so they are entirely relevant.

And what truth would that be?

It doesnt matter what truth that is, you could be right, but agreement emotion and evolved behaviour still arent valid arguments as if moral law exists or doesnt exist its independant of our belief in it.

"A witty quote means nothing"
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27-06-2015, 06:44 AM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(27-06-2015 03:55 AM)tear151 Wrote:  
(26-06-2015 05:23 PM)Chas Wrote:  Except they are facts, so they are entirely relevant.

And what truth would that be?

It doesnt matter what truth that is, you could be right, but agreement emotion and evolved behaviour still arent valid arguments as if moral law exists or doesnt exist its independant of our belief in it.

How could it possibly exist independent of our beliefs? Consider

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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27-06-2015, 10:24 AM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(26-06-2015 08:02 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(26-06-2015 07:36 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Morality is derived from society, that doesn't necessarily make morality a static thing shared by each individual within a society.
Firstly, thanks for taking the time to try and explain this.
I still don't get it.

To say that morality is derived from society, just doesn't make sense to me.

Society doesn't have moral beliefs. Individual people can have moral beliefs but a society isn't a thinking being. It can't have beliefs.

What do you mean whey you say derived from?

The way I see a society is that it is a collection of interacting individuals.
Sure their behaviors and reactions can influence each other. But regardless of this influence we are still left with a collection of individuals. Morality is a belief held by an individual. Some people having a strong influence on others i.e. their own offspring, can get their offspring to accept the lion's share of their own moral beliefs (values). But that family doesn't have a morality. That family is a collection of individuals each with a set of moral believes (or not if some are nihilists).
Just because 3 out of 4 in the family consider meat eating as immoral this does not mean that it is immoral for a family member to eat meat.
Each individual has formed their own moral beliefs, they have not been derived from the "family morals". The parent's may have had a significant influence on the forming of the child's moral beliefs, but these moral beliefs are the child's not a derivation of the family morals.

Same thing goes for society. Society does not have a mind capable of forming moral beliefs. The moral beliefs of each individual member of society cannot be derived from society morals/values because society morals don't exist.

If one single society member's moral beliefs differ drastically from the majority of members of society this does not make that single member immoral.


(26-06-2015 07:36 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  The vegan's view on the moral quandary of meat is based on a different interpretation of the values of the society they live in than the omnivore.
What if the individual does not believe that society has morals or values?
What if the individual deems society's values as irrelevant to their own position towards whether it is ok to eat meat or not? They don't even try to attempt to interpret a society's values

Personally I don't care what the perception is on what is acceptable society behavior or not. My choices do not take that into regard. I do however consider the reaction from society based on my actions. If I steal then society's governing law and police will lock me up, so I take that into consideration.
But I certain do not have a goal to be a good society member and to align my actions according to what is perceived as the norm for my society.

I'm too old and stubborn to be worried about fitting in.

(27-06-2015 03:46 AM)Stevil Wrote:  
(26-06-2015 07:36 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  With no society, there doesn't really appear to be a decision to make with regards to the morality of to or not to eat meat.
Yeah, I eat meat, I don't see any moral aspect to it. I can eat meat, it gives me nutrition. The animals we eat don't fight back, they don't make our lives dangerous in retaliation to us eating them.

I understand that some people do have moral issues with eating other animals. I respect that they have these personal moral beliefs and have chosen not to eat animals. It's up to them, I don't get a say in what they are to eat.

But, at no point do I ponder what society's POV is with regards to the morality of eating meat.
I know that some people think it is OK and some think it is not OK, I don't even try to assume the answer to the question "what does society think?"
Society isn't a person, society can't have a unified opinion.

(26-06-2015 07:36 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Other animals don't make a distinction and humans before we developed a society where meat isn't necessary for survival didn't really seem to find a moral quandary with it. It isn't black or white. You still seem to keep getting hung up on these either/or scenarios when so rarely is anything either/or.
I'm thinking perhaps instead of you suggesting that Society has a morality perhaps instead you mean to say that you think people's own personal moral systems ought to be built on the context of society.

That perhaps you think it should be the goal of a person's morality (how they base their conclusion of rights and wrongs) that the goal ought to be that which benefits society.

Of course the judgement on what benefits society will still be a personal judgement made by the individual. But perhaps you assume everyone ought to have the benefit of society as their goal and base their judgement of wrongs and rights in that context.

Is this what you are getting at or am I still way off base?

"To say that morality is derived from society, just doesn't make sense to me.

Society doesn't have moral beliefs. Individual people can have moral beliefs but a society isn't a thinking being. It can't have beliefs.

What do you mean whey you say derived from?"


Morality is society dependent. There is no predation without predators. There is no morality without society.

"Same thing goes for society. Society does not have a mind capable of forming moral beliefs. The moral beliefs of each individual member of society cannot be derived from society morals/values because society morals don't exist."

Society need not have a mind in order to dictate a behavior. Altruistic behavior doesn't require a collective conscious mind among the community exhibiting the behavior.

"If one single society member's moral beliefs differ drastically from the majority of members of society this does not make that single member immoral."

I didn't say that it did make them immoral. That is still a black and white portrayal of morality.

"What if the individual does not believe that society has morals or values?
What if the individual deems society's values as irrelevant to their own position towards whether it is ok to eat meat or not? They don't even try to attempt to interpret a society's values"


If the individual does not think society has morals or values, it really isn't relevant as long as they agree to live within the society as a moral actor (agreement here might be remaining within society instead of leaving it). In the same way that it isn't relevant that someone believe in gravity in order to be a pilot, as long as they accept their role as a pilot. Agreement on truth is not necessary in order to function appropriately or even in a "correct" way. If it were, our early civilizations would have crumbled quite quickly.

"I'm too old and stubborn to be worried about fitting in."

The only risk you run by refusing to "fit it" is that your views may become antiquated and possibly verge upon blatantly immoral or unethical. Plenty of stubborn folks refused to accept slavery as wrong. Or workplace sexual harassment as anything other than just "men being men."

"Yeah, I eat meat, I don't see any moral aspect to it. I can eat meat, it gives me nutrition. The animals we eat don't fight back, they don't make our lives dangerous in retaliation to us eating them."

I suppose this is dependent on the way you view the context of murder and death as well as the cost/benefit analysis between murder/death and nutrition. If the cost does not outweigh the benefit, then meat seems to be perfectly reasonable. But it may not always be so if meat becomes unnecessary for humanity (not just individuals) to attain proper nutrition.

"Society isn't a person, society can't have a unified opinion."

An opinion need not be unanimous in order to be accepted. And society is a collective, not an individual mind.

"I'm thinking perhaps instead of you suggesting that Society has a morality perhaps instead you mean to say that you think people's own personal moral systems ought to be built on the context of society."

I am saying that people derive their morality from the society and culture that they live in. If they did not live in a society or in a human culture, they'd have no morality. Only survival instincts.

"Is this what you are getting at or am I still way off base?"

What I am saying is that some behaviors (like altruism) don't appear to have evolved because they confer a direct benefit on the survivorship of the individual, but the survivorship of the collective (at whatever level, mates or community, etc). Morality is an adaptation of altruistic behavior such that individuals behave within a collective for individual and collective survival.

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27-06-2015, 11:00 AM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
TBD,

What is your biggest problem with moral nihilism?

Is it that you think that the moral nihilist is simply wrong in defining what people mean when they talk about morality?

One thing to keep in mind, is that when we talk about defining words, we generally like to define them in a context that most people would use. With the majority of people being religious, I think it's fair to say that most people believe in some type of moral realism. A moral realist believes that certain actions are either "right" or "wrong" regardless of anyone's opinion or societal norms. A moral realist might say something like "slavery is wrong whether any particular society accepts it or not". The only real claim that a moral nihilist is making is that behaviors like slavery or murder are not capable of possessing qualities such as moral or immoral (right or wrong). It's a "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" scenario for nihilists. One person might believe that slavery is right, another might believe that slavery is wrong, whereas a nihilist would say they are both wrong because rightness and wrongness aren't qualities that the behavior of slavery can have.
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27-06-2015, 11:01 AM
Another attack on moral subjectivism
Also, I think when I say society defines morality or that morality is derived from society, you think I mean it is explicitly defined. That's not what I'm saying.

Also, to reiterate why the oxygen example is a bad one. When we look at how we define something (like a behavior or a species), the point is to look at the first level at which the behavior or species becomes unique, not the most basal level. So, it doesn't make sense to reduce morality down to saying that it wouldn't exist without oxygen (at least not as far as we know assuming no other intelligent life exists). You have to ask "what is the first piece of the equation can I remove in order for morality to stop existing?" And the answer to that would be society. Because if you remove the individual, morality still exists as a concept. If you don't have a society, then you have animals living in collectives, but they don't have morals either.

So, morality appears to be society dependent because it is derived from the level of society.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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27-06-2015, 11:02 AM
Another attack on moral subjectivism
(27-06-2015 11:00 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  TBD,

What is your biggest problem with moral nihilism?

Is it that you think that the moral nihilist is simply wrong in defining what people mean when they talk about morality?

One thing to keep in mind, is that when we talk about defining words, we generally like to define them in a context that most people would use. With the majority of people being religious, I think it's fair to say that most people believe in some type of moral realism. A moral realist believes that certain actions are either "right" or "wrong" regardless of anyone's opinion or societal norms. A moral realist might say something like "slavery is wrong whether any particular society accepts it or not". The only real claim that a moral nihilist is making is that behaviors like slavery or murder are not capable of possessing qualities such as moral or immoral (right or wrong). It's a "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" scenario for nihilists. One person might believe that slavery is right, another might believe that slavery is right, whereas a nihilist would say they are both wrong because rightness and wrongness aren't qualities that the behavior of slavery can have.

I think it is fundamentally flawed and reduces morality down into a concept that is useless and so general at the level of the individual, that it isn't relevant or true.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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27-06-2015, 11:06 AM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
TBD

"Slavery is wrong."

Do you believe that the above is a true claim?
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