Another attack on moral subjectivism
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29-06-2015, 01:51 PM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(29-06-2015 01:32 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(28-06-2015 11:04 PM)Stevil Wrote:  Nah, you can be influenced by things that you aren't dependent on.

Okay. And? You can also be influenced by things that you do depend on.

I don't think that you have established a dependant relationship between a person's moral beliefs and their society.

A stranded person alone on a desert island can feel guilt from being lazy, from swimming all day rather than spending their time building shelter, finding fresh water, finding food etc.
They have no society, but they feel guilt for letting themself down. They believe that they "ought" to built shelter, but they can't be bothered. they consider their inactions to be immoral.

Perhaps they see a nest of eggs and they disturb it. They later see the mother come back and abandon the nest. They feel guilt for having destroyed the nest. They consider it immoral even though there is no society.


A person can have moral beliefs independent of society. But they can also be influenced (in forming their moral beliefs) by other people (individuals) or by media (TV, internet, books), they can't be influenced by society, society is a container, not a thing, but they can be influenced by specific touch points (interactions) of specific people (parents, friends, role models, etc). People are more likely to be influenced at a younger age or at a time of personal crisis (religions target these people), older people are less likely to be influenced. A male irreligious man brought up in western culture but relocated to Saudi Arabia is much less likely to consider woman driving cars as immoral, or kissing in public as immoral etc.

"I don't think that you have established a dependant relationship between a person's moral beliefs and their society."

A moral belief is a social behavior. I am defining it as a society-dependent behavior of a social animal.

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29-06-2015, 01:58 PM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(29-06-2015 01:32 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(28-06-2015 11:04 PM)Stevil Wrote:  Nah, you can be influenced by things that you aren't dependent on.


Okay. And? You can also be influenced by things that you do depend on.
I don't think that you have established a dependant relationship between a person's moral beliefs and their society.

A stranded person alone on a desert island can feel guilt from being lazy, from swimming all day rather than spending their time building shelter, finding fresh water, finding food etc.
They have no society, but they feel guilt for letting themself down. They believe that they "ought" to built shelter, but they can't be bothered. they consider their inactions to be immoral.

Perhaps they see a nest of eggs and they disturb it. They later see the mother come back and abandon the nest. They feel guilt for having destroyed the nest. They consider it immoral even though there is no society.


A person can have moral beliefs independent of society. But they can also be influenced (in forming their moral beliefs) by other people (individuals) or by media (TV, internet, books), they can't be influenced by society, society is a container, not a thing, but they can be influenced by specific touch points (interactions) of specific people (parents, friends, role models, etc). People are more likely to be influenced at a younger age or at a time of personal crisis (religions target these people), older people are less likely to be influenced. A male irreligious man brought up in western culture but relocated to Saudi Arabia is much less likely to consider woman driving cars as immoral, or kissing in public as immoral etc.


EDIT: I've just thought of a way some moral beliefs can be dependent on society.
A person with a desire to live within a society may come to a personal belief that stealing from other society members is immoral. They might come to this belief because of course they don't want their own stuff to be stolen from other society members and they can understand why other society members would get angry at them if they stole from them.
Without society you can't have a moral such as "it is immoral to steal from other society members". So some moral beliefs are dependant on there being a society. It is derived from the desire to belong to a society, rather than being derived from society. Completely the opposite of "influence"

"A stranded person alone on a desert island can feel guilt from being lazy, from swimming all day rather than spending their time building shelter, finding fresh water, finding food etc.
They have no society, but they feel guilt for letting themself down. They believe that they "ought" to built shelter, but they can't be bothered. they consider their inactions to be immoral."


If you are saying that a person who is born and raised outside of a society will have a moral sense, please demonstrate that this is possible as I know of no such study or information that would support that assertion.

If you are saying that a person from a society becomes stranded (like Tom Hanks in Cast Away) will have a moral sense, I agree. They will take their society-developed social beliefs and behaviors with them. It isn't like I am saying that a person who develops these beliefs would have them dissolve away if society disintegrated. I am saying that they develop these behaviors because they are social animals living in a society.

You're suggesting that something that is born from (or develops from) something can only exist as long as the thing it descended from exists. Hogwash.

For instance, whether you recognize it or not, you have mannerisms and behaviors that you have acquired from both of your parents. It isn't like you'd stop walking a certain way or rolling your eyes a certain way if separated from them. And you would never have developed these parent-specific behaviors if you had not been raised by them and had instead been adopted by someone else.

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29-06-2015, 02:42 PM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
"A person with a desire to live within a society may come to a personal belief that stealing from other society members is immoral. They might come to this belief because of course they don't want their own stuff to be stolen from other society members and they can understand why other society members would get angry at them if they stole from them.
Without society you can't have a moral such as "it is immoral to steal from other society members". So some moral beliefs are dependant on there being a society. It is derived from the desire to belong to a society, rather than being derived from society. Completely the opposite of "influence" "


The first part I have a problem with. "A person with a desire to live within a society..." I am hung up here. If someone is raised within a society and then opts out, their moral compass has already been influenced/set by society.

"So some moral beliefs are dependant on there being a society."

You are still missing my point. Any belief you label as a moral belief, is derived from society and is society-dependent.

Here, let me try and use an example that has been put out there before. "Is slavery wrong?"

Persons A (let's assume we have multiple individuals with similar backstories) are not born in human society and are instead born to a set of parents who have never lived in a human society and who's ancestors have never lived in a society (and all persons A live independent of one another). If you ask them if slavery is wrong (assuming that they still know what the concept is), I don't believe you'll find any consistent answers (that is, some would say yes and some would say no. In either case, they would likely find their own rationalizations for their own independent answers.)

Persons A are animals without one of the defining characteristics of modern humans: societies. Why would they have a moral behavior or a moral sense, if that moral sense and behavior are evolved social traits? They would have behaviors (they would still eat), but would they even know that there are those who would consider them immoral if they had another human as a slave? Or would they be shamed if they knew others felt shame for masturbating?

We see at least some social animals that seem to have some understanding of fairness. But this still requires them to be social animals. Why would humans not living in a societal setting (or raised in one), develop moral senses/behaviors if there were no pressure from society to do so?



Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
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29-06-2015, 03:02 PM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(29-06-2015 01:58 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  
(29-06-2015 01:32 PM)Stevil Wrote:  I don't think that you have established a dependant relationship between a person's moral beliefs and their society.

A stranded person alone on a desert island can feel guilt from being lazy, from swimming all day rather than spending their time building shelter, finding fresh water, finding food etc.
They have no society, but they feel guilt for letting themself down. They believe that they "ought" to built shelter, but they can't be bothered. they consider their inactions to be immoral.

Perhaps they see a nest of eggs and they disturb it. They later see the mother come back and abandon the nest. They feel guilt for having destroyed the nest. They consider it immoral even though there is no society.

A person can have moral beliefs independent of society. But they can also be influenced (in forming their moral beliefs) by other people (individuals) or by media (TV, internet, books), they can't be influenced by society, society is a container, not a thing, but they can be influenced by specific touch points (interactions) of specific people (parents, friends, role models, etc). People are more likely to be influenced at a younger age or at a time of personal crisis (religions target these people), older people are less likely to be influenced. A male irreligious man brought up in western culture but relocated to Saudi Arabia is much less likely to consider woman driving cars as immoral, or kissing in public as immoral etc.


EDIT: I've just thought of a way some moral beliefs can be dependent on society.
A person with a desire to live within a society may come to a personal belief that stealing from other society members is immoral. They might come to this belief because of course they don't want their own stuff to be stolen from other society members and they can understand why other society members would get angry at them if they stole from them.
Without society you can't have a moral such as "it is immoral to steal from other society members". So some moral beliefs are dependant on there being a society. It is derived from the desire to belong to a society, rather than being derived from society. Completely the opposite of "influence"

"A stranded person alone on a desert island can feel guilt from being lazy, from swimming all day rather than spending their time building shelter, finding fresh water, finding food etc.
They have no society, but they feel guilt for letting themself down. They believe that they "ought" to built shelter, but they can't be bothered. they consider their inactions to be immoral."


If you are saying that a person who is born and raised outside of a society will have a moral sense, please demonstrate that this is possible as I know of no such study or information that would support that assertion.

If you are saying that a person from a society becomes stranded (like Tom Hanks in Cast Away) will have a moral sense, I agree. They will take their society-developed social beliefs and behaviors with them. It isn't like I am saying that a person who develops these beliefs would have them dissolve away if society disintegrated. I am saying that they develop these behaviors because they are social animals living in a society.

You're suggesting that something that is born from (or develops from) something can only exist as long as the thing it descended from exists. Hogwash.

For instance, whether you recognize it or not, you have mannerisms and behaviors that you have acquired from both of your parents. It isn't like you'd stop walking a certain way or rolling your eyes a certain way if separated from them. And you would never have developed these parent-specific behaviors if you had not been raised by them and had instead been adopted by someone else.

Where did the first society get it's morals from.

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29-06-2015, 03:05 PM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(29-06-2015 03:02 PM)tear151 Wrote:  
(29-06-2015 01:58 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "A stranded person alone on a desert island can feel guilt from being lazy, from swimming all day rather than spending their time building shelter, finding fresh water, finding food etc.
They have no society, but they feel guilt for letting themself down. They believe that they "ought" to built shelter, but they can't be bothered. they consider their inactions to be immoral."


If you are saying that a person who is born and raised outside of a society will have a moral sense, please demonstrate that this is possible as I know of no such study or information that would support that assertion.

If you are saying that a person from a society becomes stranded (like Tom Hanks in Cast Away) will have a moral sense, I agree. They will take their society-developed social beliefs and behaviors with them. It isn't like I am saying that a person who develops these beliefs would have them dissolve away if society disintegrated. I am saying that they develop these behaviors because they are social animals living in a society.

You're suggesting that something that is born from (or develops from) something can only exist as long as the thing it descended from exists. Hogwash.

For instance, whether you recognize it or not, you have mannerisms and behaviors that you have acquired from both of your parents. It isn't like you'd stop walking a certain way or rolling your eyes a certain way if separated from them. And you would never have developed these parent-specific behaviors if you had not been raised by them and had instead been adopted by someone else.

Where did the first society get it's morals from.

How do you pinpoint a first society?
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29-06-2015, 03:06 PM
Another attack on moral subjectivism
(29-06-2015 03:02 PM)tear151 Wrote:  
(29-06-2015 01:58 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "A stranded person alone on a desert island can feel guilt from being lazy, from swimming all day rather than spending their time building shelter, finding fresh water, finding food etc.
They have no society, but they feel guilt for letting themself down. They believe that they "ought" to built shelter, but they can't be bothered. they consider their inactions to be immoral."


If you are saying that a person who is born and raised outside of a society will have a moral sense, please demonstrate that this is possible as I know of no such study or information that would support that assertion.

If you are saying that a person from a society becomes stranded (like Tom Hanks in Cast Away) will have a moral sense, I agree. They will take their society-developed social beliefs and behaviors with them. It isn't like I am saying that a person who develops these beliefs would have them dissolve away if society disintegrated. I am saying that they develop these behaviors because they are social animals living in a society.

You're suggesting that something that is born from (or develops from) something can only exist as long as the thing it descended from exists. Hogwash.

For instance, whether you recognize it or not, you have mannerisms and behaviors that you have acquired from both of your parents. It isn't like you'd stop walking a certain way or rolling your eyes a certain way if separated from them. And you would never have developed these parent-specific behaviors if you had not been raised by them and had instead been adopted by someone else.

Where did the first society get it's morals from.

You are still straw manning my argument. The humans living in the society, derive their morals from society, through interacting with one another as a society, to learn what is beneficial to the society (moral) and what isn't (immoral).

Horse = society
Cart = morals

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29-06-2015, 03:07 PM
Another attack on moral subjectivism
And the precursor interactions (altruistic behavior) provides the context for the development of the morals within a society.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
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29-06-2015, 04:17 PM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(29-06-2015 01:58 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "A stranded person alone on a desert island can feel guilt from being lazy, from swimming all day rather than spending their time building shelter, finding fresh water, finding food etc.
They have no society, but they feel guilt for letting themself down. They believe that they "ought" to built shelter, but they can't be bothered. they consider their inactions to be immoral."


If you are saying that a person who is born and raised outside of a society will have a moral sense, please demonstrate that this is possible as I know of no such study or information that would support that assertion.
No, hard to do a study by taking a new born baby from its mother and isolating it on an island.
We can only ponder.
I'm not saying that a person "will have a moral sense" becasue I don't have a moral sense. I don't think a moral sense is mandatory for anyone.
I'm just highlighting that a person can feel moral guilt for letting themself down which is distict from the situation of letting down others in your personal sphere.
(29-06-2015 01:58 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  You're suggesting that something that is born from (or develops from) something can only exist as long as the thing it descended from exists. Hogwash.
No, I'm not saying that.
People can and do imagine things up all the time.
A primitive person can imagine that a volcano god is angry hence the volcano is errupting. They can imagine that they have displeased the volcano god and they can imagine a set of rights and wrongs that may please or displease this volcano god.
They then go about trying to please the imaginary volcano god, rather than trying to please other people within their society. They might even sacrifice some virgins (member's of their own society) in order to please the volcano god.
(29-06-2015 01:58 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  For instance, whether you recognize it or not, you have mannerisms and behaviors that you have acquired from both of your parents. It isn't like you'd stop walking a certain way or rolling your eyes a certain way if separated from them. And you would never have developed these parent-specific behaviors if you had not been raised by them and had instead been adopted by someone else.
Sure, I have some behavioural traits which are genetic, and some which are learned from my parents, some which are learned from my friends, some from media (tv, movies, books, internet...), some from philisophical ponderings.
Society has taught me nothing. Only certain people, certain media that I have experienced. This is a much smaller subset of society. Society isn't homogenous.
I currently have no moral beliefs.

(29-06-2015 02:42 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  The first part I have a problem with. "A person with a desire to live within a society..." I am hung up here. If someone is raised within a society and then opts out, their moral compass has already been influenced/set by society.
If they have a set of moral beliefs then it has been influenced by the interactions this person has had with individuals and with media, as well as their own biological state, their own capability to deal with emotions and to interprete them, their own capability to philosopically examine and understand existence.
(29-06-2015 02:42 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "So some moral beliefs are dependant on there being a society."

You are still missing my point. Any belief you label as a moral belief, is derived from society and is society-dependent.
I disagree with this assertion. Society is a container, not a thinking thing.
If they have been influenced then they have been influenced by individuals that they have interacted with.
(29-06-2015 02:42 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Here, let me try and use an example that has been put out there before. "Is slavery wrong?"
...but would they even know that there are those who would consider them immoral if they had another human as a slave? Or would they be shamed if they knew others felt shame for masturbating?
[/quote]
Who knows how an individual comes up with their moral beliefs? I suppose it varies from person to person.
(29-06-2015 02:42 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Why would humans not living in a societal setting (or raised in one), develop moral senses/behaviors if there were no pressure from society to do so?
Because they can put pressure on themselves. They can be introspective.

(29-06-2015 03:07 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  And the precursor interactions (altruistic behavior) provides the context for the development of the morals within a society.
I disagree with this. The ultimate context for development of moral beliefs is survival, mortality and competition for limited resource.
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29-06-2015, 04:18 PM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
Perhaps it would be best to find what we agree on....

Let's reexamine the very simple claim of "slavery is wrong."

Do we all agree that this claim has to be false?

We can make lots of true claims regarding the morality of slavery, but "slavery is wrong," most definitely isn't one of them.

For example: "most people believe that slavery is wrong." "The majority of Americans believe that slavery is objectively wrong." If these claims are descriptive of reality, then they are true.

But "slavery is wrong," can never be true because the rightness and/or wrongness can only be descriptive of a being's experience or feelings about slavery, not slavery itself.

There is no context in which "slavery is wrong," could be true. At best we could say "the majority of Americans used to believe that slavery was right, but now the majority of Americans believe that slavery is wrong."

Can we all agree to this?
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29-06-2015, 04:23 PM
Another attack on moral subjectivism
(29-06-2015 04:18 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  Perhaps it would be best to find what we agree on....

Let's reexamine the very simple claim of "slavery is wrong."

Do we all agree that this claim has to be false?

We can make lots of true claims regarding the morality of slavery, but "slavery is wrong," most definitely isn't one of them.

For example: "most people believe that slavery is wrong." "The majority of Americans believe that slavery is objectively wrong." If these claims are descriptive of reality, then they are true.

But "slavery is wrong," can never be true because the rightness and/or wrongness can only be descriptive of a being's experience or feelings about slavery, not slavery itself.

There is no context in which "slavery is wrong," could be true. At best we could say "the majority of Americans used to believe that slavery was right, but now the majority of Americans believe that slavery is wrong."

Can we all agree to this?

No. You're applying a moral sense of right and wrong in a context that doesn't make sense when you apply it to a past society that didn't view it as morally wrong.

It's morally wrong today. It wasn't a good thing then, but we know that now in hindsight. It takes context and learning to decipher a moral stance.

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