Another attack on moral subjectivism
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01-07-2015, 02:52 PM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(01-07-2015 02:44 PM)ClydeLee Wrote:  
(01-07-2015 02:31 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  From what I can gather about your view, particularly when you implied, that you don't generally use the term immoral, or moral because it's silly, is that in your view rather than rendering it entirely meaningless when people claim something is moral or immoral, you try and peel it away to understand what they mean by it. If it's some appeal to tradition, if they are saying something is harmful to society, etc....? And then deciding if you agree with their sentiment or not.

My question would be why do you find it silly to use such terms, but yet don't think it's silly for others to use them?

Oh I do think it's silly for them to use them. It's not like they're not going to stop using them though but I also think just because they use them, doesn't mean they believe in an aboslute morality.

I think that's the issue that's what motivated the OP. Hearing that and being annoyed. If it's a general population of people saying it, sure they could mean it they could also have that loose liberally moral relativist position. Though it could be people of an atheist, none absolute moral degree who just say it when they don't mean the strongest implication of what they say. That's just how people communicate constantly. Like saying that movie sucks, when they don't like that movie. I'll give you a tinge of credit that there's some element to the similar to "musical taste" case you kept making in the past. It's just got some other value system elements that makes it different in my view.

I think I can sympathize with your point. I should also say that moral absolutism and objective morality are not one and the same, and I think for the most part the thread has been about objective morality and moral nihilism.

But I would like to know why do you think the terms are silly? I would think it would be for much of the same reasons that folks like Stevil, and Matt, and Tear subscribe to moral nihilism, but I'm curious to hear your perspective on the supposed silliness?
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01-07-2015, 03:13 PM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(01-07-2015 01:44 PM)ClydeLee Wrote:  Did people agree or sign a contract to start thinking Flannel clothing was cool? When ripped jeans were being worn by lots of people was there a universal conscientious among everyone that it was something popular? Are skicaps called Toques or Beanies? Depends on where you are from and when you are from.
Decent analogy.
Some major differences regarding morality are:
Moral claims aren't portrayed as observations of popular opinion but almost always tie back to the claimant's own personal beliefs.
People don't tend to get upset or put shame onto others for not following fashion trends.

When people make moral claims such as X is immoral, they don't qualify it such as "by popular opinion people tend to think X is immoral". When they say that X is immoral they tend to speak on a grand scale almost as if it is a fact that X is immoral.

(01-07-2015 01:44 PM)ClydeLee Wrote:  Yes this is morality in a "descriptive" as they call it sense.
If you want to say Morality is only Morality in this world of Oughts and absolute topics then you're limiting actual philosophically and socially defined ideas of what morality is for only 1 angle upon what it is.

If we are more clear with our communications and only take morality in a descriptive sense then it seems (to me) to have no value.

Going back into the analogy of fashion.
I'm in a store looking to buy a shirt. The shop attendant directs me to a range of shirts and tells me that they are all the fashion. My eyes glaze over and I walk past that section and continue looking for shirts that appeal to me.

Fashion (and I guess descriptive morality) only makes sense to people who care about trying to fit in more that they care about being true to themselves. They modify themselves to fit social norms. I have no interest in this. I am more interested in being true to myself. I only care what others think if their reaction is going to be too much of an obstacle to me.

With a fashion claim it is obvious that when a person says "This is fashionable" they are saying that there is currently a sales spike (not necessarily a majority opinion) towards that fashion aspect.
With a moral claim it isn't obvious if a person is merely saying that they perceive that there is a majority opinion within society that such and such is detrimental to society. If the claimer is making the claim "X is immoral" then clearly the claimant themselves holds the belief that "X is immoral". It isn't obvious that they think it is immoral because it is detrimental to society or perhaps for some other reason. It is difficult to understand what a person actually means when they say "X is immoral" other than that they personally believe X to be wrong (for whatever reason personal to them).
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01-07-2015, 03:21 PM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(01-07-2015 02:09 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  So, what is it that separates humans from other animals (including other social animals)? It appears to be the formation of societies
Don't chimpanzees, Gorrillas, wolves, Elephants, Dolphins etc have societies?

(01-07-2015 02:09 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  but a collective with shared goals and values that they explicitly communicate with one another and amend through time, explicitly or implicitly.
This is a fundamental difference between us.
I think society is a collection rather than a collective.
I don't think we have shared goals and values. I think these are dependent to each individual and are not necessarily the same as others.


(01-07-2015 02:09 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  My view of morality is more subjective than you seem to like as it largely rejects end-member "moral choices" (black/white right/wrong).
No, I understand that you believe morality is subjective.
I just struggle to understand how subjective morality is any different to a personal opinion about what is right vs wrong.
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01-07-2015, 03:24 PM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(01-07-2015 02:17 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  But one other piece I want to be explicit about, the notion that the self can't benefit when the society benefits is an example of how you oversimplify what I say. The self can benefit when the society benefits, but the society can't always benefit when the individual does (like economic policies that favor the 1%)
Sure, but why would I care about the benefit to society?
Why wouldn't my interests be for myself?
If what benefits me also benefits society then great for society.
If what benefits me doesn't benefit society then so be it, there are limited resources we must compete.

What does it matter if something is perceived as being altruistic or not?
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01-07-2015, 03:48 PM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(01-07-2015 03:21 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(01-07-2015 02:09 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  So, what is it that separates humans from other animals (including other social animals)? It appears to be the formation of societies
Don't chimpanzees, Gorrillas, wolves, Elephants, Dolphins etc have societies?

(01-07-2015 02:09 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  but a collective with shared goals and values that they explicitly communicate with one another and amend through time, explicitly or implicitly.
This is a fundamental difference between us.
I think society is a collection rather than a collective.
I don't think we have shared goals and values. I think these are dependent to each individual and are not necessarily the same as others.


(01-07-2015 02:09 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  My view of morality is more subjective than you seem to like as it largely rejects end-member "moral choices" (black/white right/wrong).
No, I understand that you believe morality is subjective.
I just struggle to understand how subjective morality is any different to a personal opinion about what is right vs wrong.



(01-07-2015 03:24 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(01-07-2015 02:17 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  But one other piece I want to be explicit about, the notion that the self can't benefit when the society benefits is an example of how you oversimplify what I say. The self can benefit when the society benefits, but the society can't always benefit when the individual does (like economic policies that favor the 1%)
Sure, but why would I care about the benefit to society?
Why wouldn't my interests be for myself?
If what benefits me also benefits society then great for society.
If what benefits me doesn't benefit society then so be it, there are limited resources we must compete.

What does it matter if something is perceived as being altruistic or not?

"Don't chimpanzees, Gorrillas, wolves, Elephants, Dolphins etc have societies?"

No.
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/society

"This is a fundamental difference between us.
I think society is a collection rather than a collective.
I don't think we have shared goals and values. I think these are dependent to each individual and are not necessarily the same as others."


But we are a collective, you're focusing on differences instead of similarities.

Society doesn't have a shared goal of survival and improvement? News to me. (the specifics about how to survive and improve may differ but once again, you're focusing on the specific differences within the collective).

"No, I understand that you believe morality is subjective.
I just struggle to understand how subjective morality is any different to a personal opinion about what is right vs wrong."


Individual choices, beliefs, and behaviors exist and would exist independent of society. But applying the label "moral" to belief or choice or opinion or behavior, implies more than an individual assumption. Morality applies to interactions between individuals within a society.

"Sure, but why would I care about the benefit to society?"

Because you are a member of it. When society flourishes, it is because the individuals are flourishing. When only individuals are flourishing, the collective may not be (my 1% example)

"Why wouldn't my interests be for myself?
If what benefits me also benefits society then great for society.
If what benefits me doesn't benefit society then so be it, there are limited resources we must compete."


You're reducing the point and oversimplifying it.

What benefits the individual, is indeed a selfish way of approaching life if that is all you care about, clearly some people approach it that way. We are social animals though, and we tend to form social bonds that exceed the individual needs into collective needs as well.

Society enables more people to be able to survive and thrive. In that way, society enables moral choices, because moral choices exceed the individual.

Just looking at it as "what is right and wrong for me" is survival, not morality.

"What does it matter if something is perceived as being altruistic or not?"

Altruistic isn't a perception, it is a described behavior of mutually beneficial social interaction where one individual makes a sacrifice (that doesn't result in a substantial loss to their survivability) to aid another individual in the population. In that way, more than one benefits. And often times, altruism is reciprocated such that when you help an individual, that individual becomes more likely to help you in the future if you need it. This has been observed in vampire bats where unsuccessful bats (vampire A) on any given night receive nourishment from a more successful bat (vampire B), i.e. they vomit blood back up into the others mouth. It was then observed that more often than not, vampire A will reciprocate the altruistic interaction if vampire B is unsuccessful on a subsequent night.

Morality exceeds the individual, and in that way it might also benefit the individual.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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01-07-2015, 03:57 PM
Another attack on moral subjectivism
Also, if you do something that negatively affects society (or you're non-beneficial enough to a society), the collective will engage you to prevent you from further draining resources or causing harm.

Or in other words, they'd dispose of you the same as they would any other animal that kills humans indiscriminately (even if those animals were only trying to survive.)

For instance, with the animal example, we recognize that the animal is only looking out for itself to survive, but we recognize that the harm (or the fact that it might inhibit or non benefit us) is in need of us removing it.

A human doing the same thing, would get the same treatment.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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01-07-2015, 04:10 PM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(01-07-2015 03:48 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "Don't chimpanzees, Gorrillas, wolves, Elephants, Dolphins etc have societies?"

No.
http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/society
1. an organized group of persons associated together for religious, benevolent, cultural, scientific, political, patriotic, or other purposes.
Now if we replace the word "persons" with "individuals" then item 1 applies to chimpanzees, Gorrillas, wolves, Elephants, Dolphins as they associate together for "other purposes"
2.a body of individuals living as members of a community; community.
applies to chimpanzees, Gorrillas, wolves, Elephants, Dolphins
3.the body of human beings generally, associated or viewed as members of a community:
the evolution of human society.

If we replace "human beings" with "individuals" then this applies to chimpanzees, Gorrillas, wolves, Elephants, Dolphins
4. a highly structured system of human organization for large-scale community living that normally furnishes protection, continuity, security, and a national identity for its members:
American society.

If we replace human with "species" and define large-scale as being more than 10 then this applies to chimpanzees, Gorrillas, wolves, Elephants, Dolphins
5. such a system characterized by its dominant economic class or form:
middle-class society; industrial society.

This doesn't apply to chimpanzees, Gorrillas, wolves, Elephants, Dolphins because they haven't developed the concept of currency, but this is a specific type of society rather than a definition of what must apply for something to be considered a society.
6. those with whom one has companionship.
applies to chimpanzees, Gorrillas, wolves, Elephants, Dolphins
7.companionship; company:
to enjoy the society of good friends.

applies to chimpanzees, Gorrillas, wolves, Elephants, Dolphins
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02-07-2015, 09:56 AM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
"Geladas live in a complex multilevel society similar to that of the hamadryas baboon."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gelada#Social_structure





Seems to me that the word "society" would be the best descriptor in the case of these baboons.
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02-07-2015, 10:24 AM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
I just wanted to leave this here for y'all to chew on:

Quote:No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thine own were:
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.
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02-07-2015, 10:31 AM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(02-07-2015 10:24 AM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote:  I just wanted to leave this here for y'all to chew on:

Quote:No man is an island,
Entire of itself,
Every man is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thy friend's
Or of thine own were:
Any man's death diminishes me,
Because I am involved in mankind,
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.

Get this religious monk trash out of here! Beat_stick

Smartass I actually really like John Donne and had that and some other "poems" of his memorized at some point. It does have a fitting ring to the point being made by some.

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