Another attack on moral subjectivism
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30-06-2015, 07:22 AM
Another attack on moral subjectivism
(30-06-2015 07:17 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  
(30-06-2015 07:10 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  I'm going to attempt to construct your basic argument, please correct me if I make an error.

1. If a behavior causes harm and damage, then that behavior is morally wrong (ought not to be done).
2. Slavery is a behavior that causes harm and damage.
C: Slavery is a behavior that is morally wrong (ought not to be done).

The problem lies in premise number 1. We can look back to Stevil's claim that "this glass of water is hot." This is false because it is making an implication that doesn't logically follow, and it goes like this. "if I perceive a glass of water to be hot, then that glass of water is hot." Now let me show you an example that is obviously false. "Picasso's paintings are beautiful." The implication is that "if I perceive Picasso's painting to be beautiful, then his paintings are beautiful." Someone else might look at the same painting and make the claim that they are ugly. We would both be making false claims for the same reason, i.e. the beauty/ugliness CAN ONLY be descriptive of our perceptions of the paintings, not the paintings themselves, likewise the wrongness of slavery can only lie in individual's perceptions/opinions, not slavery itself. We can say I don't like slavery, or I don't like Picasso's paintings, and make true claims, but we can't assign attributes to them that they are not capable of possessing and still make true claims.

Claims are either true, false, or incoherent (not claims). If we can't agree on this, we'll never get anywhere.

Let me add another example that shows the falsity.

1. If a behavior causes harm and damage, then that behavior is morally wrong (ought not to be done).
2. Hunting non-human animals is a behavior that causes harm and damage (at least to the non-human animals we are hunting).
C: Hunting non-human animals is morally wrong.

Would you agree that hunting (human predation on other species) is morally wrong?

Facepalm

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
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30-06-2015, 07:24 AM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(30-06-2015 06:58 AM)ClydeLee Wrote:  It wouldn't HAVE TO BE "adding" them it could be "removing" characteristics.

Sure, perhaps. Just like someone could believe God is omnipotent, and someone else can believe that he's not, removing that very characteristics. While still acknowledging that they both believe in God.

Quote:Being synonymous doesn't mean they can't exist without each other.

That would depend on what is being said exist without the other, lol.

Quote:What is it that you think the non-deity believing Buddhists or "spiritual"/atheist but think there is innate meaning/goals/value in the world types of people are lacking?

The "very definition" if God isn't even that.. That is YOUR idea of God.

My idea of God, is not exclusively my own, it's a common theistic idea of God. Buddhist who believe there in innate meaning/goals/value in the world, in some sense believe the same thing that I do. Though we may differ on what those meanings, goals, and values are. God in this sense is the term used, to refer to what grounds these things; the forces and condition that made them so.

There is no real separation between the God that I believe in, and these innate meaning/goal/values. If I encountered a person who believed these things, and yet considered themselves an atheists, I would have to ask what it is they lack a belief in?

What is this God, they lack a belief in? They clearly don't lack a belief in the God that I believe in, along with many traditional theist, though we may disagree on what that innate meaning is.


Quote: Moral Nihilism is just disbelieving in innate or absolute morality. It doesn't mean you don't believe there is a cultural/social/biological element of what morality is. I think he ignores that element of morality because it's ether deemed too "flimsy" as hes stated or he really doesn't think it's relevant.

That's not a completely accurate definition of moral nihilism. Because this definition doesn't distinguish between moral relativism and moral nihilism.

"According to Sinnott-Armstrong (2006a), the basic thesis of moral nihilism is that "nothing is morally wrong" "

"Moral nihilism is distinct from moral relativism, which does allow for moral statements to be true or false in a non-objective sense, but does not assign any static truth-values to moral statements, and moral universalism, which holds moral statements to be objectively true or false. Insofar as only true statements can be known, moral nihilism implies moral skepticism."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_nihilism
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30-06-2015, 07:27 AM (This post was last modified: 30-06-2015 07:51 AM by Tomasia.)
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(30-06-2015 07:12 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Morality is not about "oughts"

Morality is a social behavior that describes benefits or detriments to a society.

Of course it's about oughts.

Earlier you stated:
""Slavery is wrong" .That can be true. It's true today in the U.S. thanks to the context of knowing the harm and damage it has done."

What does it mean when you add an extra layer to an observation that something is damaging or harmful, by referring to it as immoral, if not to say that one ought not do it?

It should be obvious that by adding a moral dimension, that one is adding a prescriptive rather than descriptive layer to it.
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30-06-2015, 07:50 AM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(30-06-2015 07:14 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Not all claims are subject to only being right, wrong, or incoherent. Especially in a SUBJECTIVE system like morality (or mineral classification or definitions of species, as I've pointed out)

The only thing you pointed out is that the example claims you used were false. They needed to be modified before they could be true. When I get some time, I'll go back to that original post, and show you in detail why they're false, and perhaps how they can be modified such that they would be true.
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30-06-2015, 07:57 AM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(30-06-2015 07:22 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  
(30-06-2015 07:17 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  Let me add another example that shows the falsity.

1. If a behavior causes harm and damage, then that behavior is morally wrong (ought not to be done).
2. Hunting non-human animals is a behavior that causes harm and damage (at least to the non-human animals we are hunting).
C: Hunting non-human animals is morally wrong.

Would you agree that hunting (human predation on other species) is morally wrong?

Facepalm

Let's get rid of the (ought not to be done) part.....

Do you believe that hunting is morally wrong? It seems you would have to if you believe that if you believe that slavery is morally wrong. It also wouldn't make any sense to say that morality is only about human to human behavior. I would guess that almost all moral realists would agree that cruelty to animals is wrong for the same reason that cruelty to humans (which are most definitely animals) is.

Just answer this question.....Is hunting morally wrong?
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30-06-2015, 08:05 AM
Another attack on moral subjectivism
(30-06-2015 07:57 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  
(30-06-2015 07:22 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Facepalm

Let's get rid of the (ought not to be done) part.....

Do you believe that hunting is morally wrong? It seems you would have to if you believe that if you believe that slavery is morally wrong. It also wouldn't make any sense to say that morality is only about human to human behavior. I would guess that almost all moral realists would agree that cruelty to animals is wrong for the same reason that cruelty to humans (which are most definitely animals) is.

Just answer this question.....Is hunting morally wrong?

Depends on the context, society, and the cost vs benefit to society of hunting.

Hunting for sustenance? In the U.S. today, that seems largely morally right (but both hunting and farming meat would need to be revisited if synthetic meat becomes more widely available)

Hunting for sport? In the U.S. today, that's more controversial and society seems to be progressing for that being morally wrong

The world is not black and white when you are asking about SUBJECTIVE systems.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
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30-06-2015, 08:17 AM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(30-06-2015 05:39 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  I found a really thorough post on another website that might help some people gain a better understanding of moral nihilism.
...

I'm still not sure why you think that some people here don't understand it.
Consider

It was quite a good write-up although I have some issues with it and some questions:

(30-06-2015 05:28 AM)bsad Wrote:  ... It is the stance that there is nothing indicating that we ought to do any particular thing over another in any ... non-conditional sense of the word ought.
...

... and in the conditional sense? Therein lies the disagreement, methinks...

If conditional, then what? Laughat

(30-06-2015 05:28 AM)bsad Wrote:  (1)Moral nihilism isn’t an ought claim.
...

Yet the earlier posted video was addressing morality as an 'ought' claim.

(30-06-2015 05:28 AM)bsad Wrote:  ...
Common refutations to moral nihilism (and responses):

While it’s obviously true that there is no objective morality, we still each have our own subject morality.
...

I'll say it again... I (for one) am not claiming that. (which is what confused Tomasia on a different thread, I think).

'Objective' and 'subjective' are words reserved for metrics (at least in the framework that I teach)

(30-06-2015 05:28 AM)bsad Wrote:  ...
So claims like one ought to study music and one ought not study music are both false, as all evidence shows that obligation applies to neither studying music nor not studying music.
...

Again, in the conditional sense? One ought to study music if ... <insert goal here>.
Morality / ethics (+culture+behaviour) is a governance enabler and the theory goes that enabler goals are intrinsic or contextual (personally, I've yet to see a good example of an intrinsic goal but I'm waiting to be enlightened).

(30-06-2015 05:28 AM)bsad Wrote:  ...
While most people today won’t argue the merits of evolutionary psychology,
...

Indeed not. But some of the following is backwards:

(30-06-2015 05:28 AM)bsad Wrote:  ...
Originally, our animal ancestors developed via natural selection these sensations because negative sensations in reaction to life threatening situations more often guided one toward life preserving decisions (from the fear of heights to the loneliness of isolation) and positive sensations in reaction to life preserving decisions more often motivated one toward life preserving decisions (from the pleasure of sex to the perception of cuteness in and high value of children.) Moral claims appeal to these sensations of obligation by making one fear doing contrary to their claim. This fear is of either social unacceptance or the punishment implied in the moral claim, such as religious punishment, or simply the implicit memory of parental punishment when acting against their desires. Likewise, sometimes one is motivated toward behaviors by being convinced of its reward (piety, heaven, etc.) And which behaviors the claims claim to apply to are unsurprisingly often in line with evolutionarily advantageous behaviors or evolutionarily advantageous impulses. Unfortunately, natural selection only requires that one live, not that one necessarily live happily, and the very emotions that kept our ancestors alive and eventually led to our lives today, also happen to be a great hindrance to our wellbeing at times.
...

Wouldn't it be more accurate to state that individual organisms that did 'not have' these sensations did not live long enough to procreate rather than 'having' these sensations are guiding us to self-preservation?

But it's a trivial point and may have something to do with my aversion to the idea that evolution is 'guided'.
More intriguing was the use of the words 'positive' and 'negative' which require context, do they not?

(30-06-2015 05:28 AM)bsad Wrote:  ...
The best way of inspiring positive behavior is
...

Positive for whom? In what context?

Consider

That was a good read, though. Thanks for posting it.

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30-06-2015, 08:47 AM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(30-06-2015 07:24 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(30-06-2015 06:58 AM)ClydeLee Wrote:  It wouldn't HAVE TO BE "adding" them it could be "removing" characteristics.

Sure, perhaps. Just like someone could believe God is omnipotent, and someone else can believe that he's not, removing that very characteristics. While still acknowledging that they both believe in God.

Quote:Being synonymous doesn't mean they can't exist without each other.

That would depend on what is being said exist without the other, lol.

Quote:What is it that you think the non-deity believing Buddhists or "spiritual"/atheist but think there is innate meaning/goals/value in the world types of people are lacking?

The "very definition" if God isn't even that.. That is YOUR idea of God.

My idea of God, is not exclusively my own, it's a common theistic idea of God. Buddhist who believe there in innate meaning/goals/value in the world, in some sense believe the same thing that I do. Though we may differ on what those meanings, goals, and values are. God in this sense is the term used, to refer to what grounds these things; the forces and condition that made them so.

There is no real separation between the God that I believe in, and these innate meaning/goal/values. If I encountered a person who believed these things, and yet considered themselves an atheists, I would have to ask what it is they lack a belief in?

What is this God, they lack a belief in? They clearly don't lack a belief in the God that I believe in, along with many traditional theist, though we may disagree on what that innate meaning is.


Quote: Moral Nihilism is just disbelieving in innate or absolute morality. It doesn't mean you don't believe there is a cultural/social/biological element of what morality is. I think he ignores that element of morality because it's ether deemed too "flimsy" as hes stated or he really doesn't think it's relevant.

That's not a completely accurate definition of moral nihilism. Because this definition doesn't distinguish between moral relativism and moral nihilism.

"According to Sinnott-Armstrong (2006a), the basic thesis of moral nihilism is that "nothing is morally wrong" "

"Moral nihilism is distinct from moral relativism, which does allow for moral statements to be true or false in a non-objective sense, but does not assign any static truth-values to moral statements, and moral universalism, which holds moral statements to be objectively true or false. Insofar as only true statements can be known, moral nihilism implies moral skepticism."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_nihilism

Those terms don't really have a reason to be "distinguished" by eachs individual definition. This is some strange idea that I think you have connecting separate ideas here in both of these topics of discussion.

Yes that definition doesn't directly contradiction what could be unique. That's why you have different definitions for specific thoughts. Why Theism/Gnosticism are separate too, but they can contrast or combine in a variable of ways.

Stevil's position and partially the position the other two seems to be arguing is closer to Amoralism, which isn't the same as Moral Nihilism.

Generally those Buddhists or others of that realm don't believe in this "god' that is a conscious mover or action taker. They don't deem there to be any judger in that sense. Often there just happens to be the universe is universal in all its ways or that just as the order/laws like gravity & electromagnitism, the universe has a code and direction in regards to morality and consciousness. (There is a lot of PRAISING of consciousness in these thoughts) Though they don't think there is any God like Conscious being. As the Buddhist type of universal we are all tapping into the universal consciousness doesn't have any particular being.

What you seem to find, well what's different about? isn't that relevant. It depends on your labels. Are they theist by definition, no. Are they still spiritual and "religious" in the ritual/superstition/guidelines type of way, yes. But those aren't mutually exclusive, these terms have their own meanings for both these topics.

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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30-06-2015, 09:31 AM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(30-06-2015 08:47 AM)ClydeLee Wrote:  Those terms don't really have a reason to be "distinguished" by eachs individual definition. This is some strange idea that I think you have connecting separate ideas here in both of these topics of discussion.

If you're not distinguishing the terms, or believe terms like moral nihilism, moral subjectivism are not mutually exclusive, than it's important to clarify one's position, i.e by stating that you subscribe to moral nihilism, and moral subjectivism, etc.... Or you risk talking past each other.

Quote:Stevil's position and partially the position the other two seems to be arguing is closer to Amoralism, which isn't the same as Moral Nihilism.

I think Stevil (he's welcome to correct me if I'm wrong) subscribes to Moral Nihilism, and believes that good and bad in supposedly moral sense are incoherent.

Quote:Generally those Buddhists or others of that realm don't believe in this "god' that is a conscious mover or action taker. They don't deem there to be any judger in that sense. Often there just happens to be the universe is universal in all its ways or that just as the order/laws like gravity & electromagnitism, the universe has a code and direction in regards to morality and consciousness. (There is a lot of PRAISING of consciousness in these thoughts) Though they don't think there is any God like Conscious being. As the Buddhist type of universal we are all tapping into the universal consciousness doesn't have any particular being.

This concept would still fit into what is being implied by God, and would fall along the lines on pantheistic beliefs. If I believe in a universal consciousness, that life has intrinsic meaning, goals, and values, some sort of narrative arc or direction, I would say that I believe in God, though unlike certain others believers, that I don't believe this God is separate from the universe, or conscious in the sense than we are, etc.., etc..

What this entire arguments breakdown to is one's definition of a God verse the another, and in particular the minimum requirements for that definition. It is akin to arguing that only an omnipotent God can be God, or in your case only something separate from the universe, or something that is conscious like human beings can be a god, rather than something seemingly static.

For me as a traditional theist, arguments with other believers, even the sort of buddhist who believes that life has intrinsic meaning and such, breaks down more so into arguments about that meaning. A person could argue with me whether they believe God is separate from the universe, or whether he is conscious in the way we are, and I may even find some of these arguments persuasive in their own right, and if let's say I did accept them, I would still be a person who believes in God.

What would your arguments be in this case? That "no you can't say that you believe in God in such an instance. That in fact you would be an atheists, etc..?" That God is an old bearded white guy in the sky, conscious, and separate than everything else, that if you don't believe this, than it would be accurate to say you're an atheists?

Quote:Are they theist by definition, no.

Uhm, do they subscribe to beliefs that would put them in same category as other form of theism, such as pantheism, deism, etc..? The answer in my view would be yes.

In my view they are no more atheists, than pantheist are. And have more in common with what I believe, than they let on.
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30-06-2015, 10:11 AM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(30-06-2015 09:31 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(30-06-2015 08:47 AM)ClydeLee Wrote:  Those terms don't really have a reason to be "distinguished" by eachs individual definition. This is some strange idea that I think you have connecting separate ideas here in both of these topics of discussion.

If you're not distinguishing the terms, or believe terms like moral nihilism, moral subjectivism are not mutually exclusive, than it's important to clarify one's position, i.e by stating that you subscribe to moral nihilism, and moral subjectivism, etc.... Or you risk talking past each other.

Quote:Stevil's position and partially the position the other two seems to be arguing is closer to Amoralism, which isn't the same as Moral Nihilism.

I think Stevil (he's welcome to correct me if I'm wrong) subscribes to Moral Nihilism, and believes that good and bad in supposedly moral sense are incoherent.

Quote:Generally those Buddhists or others of that realm don't believe in this "god' that is a conscious mover or action taker. They don't deem there to be any judger in that sense. Often there just happens to be the universe is universal in all its ways or that just as the order/laws like gravity & electromagnitism, the universe has a code and direction in regards to morality and consciousness. (There is a lot of PRAISING of consciousness in these thoughts) Though they don't think there is any God like Conscious being. As the Buddhist type of universal we are all tapping into the universal consciousness doesn't have any particular being.

This concept would still fit into what is being implied by God, and would fall along the lines on pantheistic beliefs. If I believe in a universal consciousness, that life has intrinsic meaning, goals, and values, some sort of narrative arc or direction, I would say that I believe in God, though unlike certain others believers, that I don't believe this God is separate from the universe, or conscious in the sense than we are, etc.., etc..

What this entire arguments breakdown to is one's definition of a God verse the another, and in particular the minimum requirements for that definition. It is akin to arguing that only an omnipotent God can be God, or in your case only something separate from the universe, or something that is conscious like human beings can be a god, rather than something seemingly static.

For me as a traditional theist, arguments with other believers, even the sort of buddhist who believes that life has intrinsic meaning and such, breaks down more so into arguments about that meaning. A person could argue with me whether they believe God is separate from the universe, or whether he is conscious in the way we are, and I may even find some of these arguments persuasive in their own right, and if let's say I did accept them, I would still be a person who believes in God.

What would your arguments be in this case? That "no you can't say that you believe in God in such an instance. That in fact you would be an atheists, etc..?" That God is an old bearded white guy in the sky, conscious, and separate than everything else, that if you don't believe this, than it would be accurate to say you're an atheists?

Quote:Are they theist by definition, no.

Uhm, do they subscribe to beliefs that would put them in same category as other form of theism, such as pantheism, deism, etc..? The answer in my view would be yes.

In my view they are no more atheists, than pantheist are. And have more in common with what I believe, than they let on.

Your choice there would be more akin to a Pantheism, which is something some people do take the stance of. You bicker about this being hardly different, so what? There need not be some grand scale of difference it's just equating to specifics. And gods generally are defined as "beings" or "Spirits" that's how it's described differently. Because you or other religious people combine various ideas into what God means, doesn't transform the concept of what gods are. (It CAN be all that other meaning, but God doesn't have to be, and by definition doesn't include it)

It doesn't matter if they have more in common with you than not. That's the boxing in of ideas that you constantly do. It doesn't actually mean anything that's just your perception. It doesn't alter whether they are or not something. If they don't fit the definitions nor describe their belief by Pantheism or Deism, It's not really a fitting concept.

Just because two ideas and thoughts are highly connected, doesn't mean they are the exact same positions. There is space for them to be separate. The idea is itself what it is... the extra elements of what is generally of almost always associated with it doesn't actually alter it.

Just like here with Moral Nihilism. Yes sure the others here can subscribe to Moral Nihilism... but that isn't the case of what their actual arguments in this thread are being based on. Stevil's position of not believing in morals isn't a position about moral nihilism. There is more than one label to a persons positions, a label being defined doesn't end all that the position can be. It's just that Moral Nihilism isn't all that.

Yeah you should want to clarify your position to stop talking past eachother.. that's why holding onto labels is largely pointless, but so is incorrectly hammering onto them. That's why I've eventually come on to bring this up because Moral Nihilism has been thrown around far too willy nilly in this thread.

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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