Another attack on moral subjectivism
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02-07-2015, 10:52 AM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
He says a hell of a lot in a few words.
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02-07-2015, 12:29 PM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
Okay, let's apply the word society more generally to mean "community of social animals." That doesn't change anything I have said about morality being an emergent behavior from society (for humans and perhaps the precursory behaviors exist within other animal "societies" but we label them as altruism).

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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02-07-2015, 12:31 PM (This post was last modified: 02-07-2015 12:57 PM by TheBeardedDude.)
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.

Gets the point across really well. Humans are born into society these days (perhaps as long as the genus Homo has been around and maybe even before if we use a more general view of society as "community of social animals")

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
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02-07-2015, 01:47 PM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(01-07-2015 03:48 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "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
If one person makes a sacrifice then it isn't mutually beneficial.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altruism
Quote:Altruism or selflessness is the principle or practice of concern for the welfare of others.
This definition does not require mutual benefits, it just requires that an individual acts for the goal of the benefit of others rather than for the benefit of themself.

I don't think a moral system requires a person to foresake their own benefits and to instead focus on the benefits of others.

I don't think people call an action "immoral" due to it's selfish nature, but I do think some people call an action "immoral" because they see it as harmful to others or breaking with tradition or going against their belief of their god's laws, or...

I do think self sacrifice in unnecessary and often cited as a "righteous" act or an act of a hero. "Oh, he jumped in front of that bus and saved that kid, what a wonderful guy. Pity he died though"
But most people don't forsake their own self interests. Most people don't kill themselves to save others, most people don't give away all their money to the poor and needy. Many people give money to charity because it is spare change and they get warm fuzzies or they think it will get them into heaven or they think it is their duty as a Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu etc.

Anyway, to get to the point.
Morality is a judgement made on actions as a result of perceived choices (by a perceived moral agent) in particular, choices between perceived right actions and perceived wrong actions.

Although altruism can be pondered and potentially can be an outcome of a person who gets excited about the ideas of being a morally good person, altruism isn't necessary when defining what morality is, and is not qualifying criteria with regards to assessing whether an action was moral or immoral. It's just noise.

Even the idea that morality is tied to society is just noise. Morality is a judgement of actions based on choices. We don't really need to consider the concept of society.

Society is a container of the members of society. Each member has their own moral beliefs (or none). There is the concept of influence because we are influenced by others, not society as a whole, but by others that we interact with and perhaps they in turn had be influenced by others that we hadn't interacted with. But a person alone on an island can feel moral guilt for masturbation or for disturbing a birds nest. A member of one society can interact with a member of another society. They could punch them, and some people would call that immoral even though they don't belong to the same society.
Societies are clumpy. They are made up of different cultures, different races, people from different religions etc. Many places have a China town. There are many Chinese that live in an English speaking country for decades and don't learn much English because they stick to Chinese stores and Chinese friends, they watch Chinese TV and only speak Chinese at home. They carry with them their Chinese culture and customs and beliefs and these may be very different from the English locals. We cannot say that society has a morality without over generalising.

If you have no "oughts" you cannot judge others, at best your own moral beliefs can only be a personal guide for yourself. If you feel guilt for doing something "wrong" it is you who is doing this to yourself. You have imagined an obligation and imagined a punishment for yourself (guilt). Our empathy is merely an emotions, it does not tap into any moral truths, it is not a means of discovery of moral truths. Just because you have an emotional response you cannot assume that this applies to others.

Morals are personal opinions, nothing more. There is no unwritten social contract, no tacit agreement. If you assume other people have taken on this "agreement" then you will be personally disappointed many times.
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02-07-2015, 02:17 PM (This post was last modified: 02-07-2015 02:35 PM by TheBeardedDude.)
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(02-07-2015 01:47 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(01-07-2015 03:48 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "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
If one person makes a sacrifice then it isn't mutually beneficial.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altruism
Quote:Altruism or selflessness is the principle or practice of concern for the welfare of others.
This definition does not require mutual benefits, it just requires that an individual acts for the goal of the benefit of others rather than for the benefit of themself.

I don't think a moral system requires a person to foresake their own benefits and to instead focus on the benefits of others.

I don't think people call an action "immoral" due to it's selfish nature, but I do think some people call an action "immoral" because they see it as harmful to others or breaking with tradition or going against their belief of their god's laws, or...

I do think self sacrifice in unnecessary and often cited as a "righteous" act or an act of a hero. "Oh, he jumped in front of that bus and saved that kid, what a wonderful guy. Pity he died though"
But most people don't forsake their own self interests. Most people don't kill themselves to save others, most people don't give away all their money to the poor and needy. Many people give money to charity because it is spare change and they get warm fuzzies or they think it will get them into heaven or they think it is their duty as a Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu etc.

Anyway, to get to the point.
Morality is a judgement made on actions as a result of perceived choices (by a perceived moral agent) in particular, choices between perceived right actions and perceived wrong actions.

Although altruism can be pondered and potentially can be an outcome of a person who gets excited about the ideas of being a morally good person, altruism isn't necessary when defining what morality is, and is not qualifying criteria with regards to assessing whether an action was moral or immoral. It's just noise.

Even the idea that morality is tied to society is just noise. Morality is a judgement of actions based on choices. We don't really need to consider the concept of society.

Society is a container of the members of society. Each member has their own moral beliefs (or none). There is the concept of influence because we are influenced by others, not society as a whole, but by others that we interact with and perhaps they in turn had be influenced by others that we hadn't interacted with. But a person alone on an island can feel moral guilt for masturbation or for disturbing a birds nest. A member of one society can interact with a member of another society. They could punch them, and some people would call that immoral even though they don't belong to the same society.
Societies are clumpy. They are made up of different cultures, different races, people from different religions etc. Many places have a China town. There are many Chinese that live in an English speaking country for decades and don't learn much English because they stick to Chinese stores and Chinese friends, they watch Chinese TV and only speak Chinese at home. They carry with them their Chinese culture and customs and beliefs and these may be very different from the English locals. We cannot say that society has a morality without over generalising.

If you have no "oughts" you cannot judge others, at best your own moral beliefs can only be a personal guide for yourself. If you feel guilt for doing something "wrong" it is you who is doing this to yourself. You have imagined an obligation and imagined a punishment for yourself (guilt). Our empathy is merely an emotions, it does not tap into any moral truths, it is not a means of discovery of moral truths. Just because you have an emotional response you cannot assume that this applies to others.

Morals are personal opinions, nothing more. There is no unwritten social contract, no tacit agreement. If you assume other people have taken on this "agreement" then you will be personally disappointed many times.

"If one person makes a sacrifice then it isn't mutually beneficial."

It is if that sacrifice doesn't result in a decrease in survivorship. Especially if it is beneficial to the actor that the recipient of the altruistic behavior is alive (social animals often find that it is easier to survive as a group instead of an individual and in that way, even non-reiprocated altruism is beneficial to the actor).

"This definition does not require mutual benefits, it just requires that an individual acts for the goal of the benefit of others rather than for the benefit of themselves."

Benefit of the self and benefit to others are not mutually exclusive.

"I don't think a moral system requires a person to foresake their own benefits and to instead focus on the benefits of others.

I don't think people call an action "immoral" due to it's selfish nature, but I do think some people call an action "immoral" because they see it as harmful to others or breaking with tradition or going against their belief of their god's laws, or..."


Couple of things
1) I didn't equate selfishness with immoral
2) You are hinting at what I am saying when you say that people call something "immoral" when it goes against "tradition or going against their belief of their god's laws" <- that is what I am hinting at. People deem something moral or immoral based on a person's behavior towards society's systems. Not because they are individual choices for the benefit of the individual.

"Anyway, to get to the point.
Morality is a judgement made on actions as a result of perceived choices (by a perceived moral agent) in particular, choices between perceived right actions and perceived wrong actions."


Yeah, and who does that judging in order to deem it moral or immoral? Because if it were only the individual doing what they thought was necessary to survive, then morality isn't a concept that serves any purpose.

"Although altruism can be pondered and potentially can be an outcome of a person who gets excited about the ideas of being a morally good person, altruism isn't necessary when defining what morality is, and is not qualifying criteria with regards to assessing whether an action was moral or immoral. It's just noise."

You're missing the point when I bring up altruism. Would altruism exist in a nonsocial species? No. And I am saying the exact same thing for morality but it has one additional level, would morality exist in nonsocial animals or animals with some measure of social interactions but not societies? No.

"Even the idea that morality is tied to society is just noise. Morality is a judgement of actions based on choices. We don't really need to consider the concept of society."

Then you are in a bit of a pickle. Who is the judge?

"Society is a container of the members of society. "

Tip, when explaining or defining a word, don't use that word in the description/definition. It makes your definition/description meaningless.

"Each member has their own moral beliefs (or none)."

That are derived from the society in which they live.

"There is the concept of influence because we are influenced by others, not society as a whole, but by others that we interact with and perhaps they in turn had be influenced by others that we hadn't interacted with. "

Society is made up of individuals, and society also transcends individuals (a lot of people take morals, values, beliefs, etc, from collections of work. Books, TV, politics, etc), so trying to say that only individuals (somehow independent of society) have an influence on other individuals, is patently false in human cultures.

"Societies are clumpy. They are made up of different cultures, different races, people from different religions etc. Many places have a China town. There are many Chinese that live in an English speaking country for decades and don't learn much English because they stick to Chinese stores and Chinese friends, they watch Chinese TV and only speak Chinese at home. They carry with them their Chinese culture and customs and beliefs and these may be very different from the English locals. We cannot say that society has a morality without over generalising(sic)."

I never said societies were homogenous. In fact, that is why I would say morality is subjective, because societies at different times (or different societies/cultures separated spatially or generationally) will have differing values, morals, and beliefs. In many cases, I'd say this comes from the understanding of the choices they see being made within society.

So, when people keep asking "is slavery wrong?" The answer seems quite clear thanks to a sordid history that we have with slavery. As well as the social ramifications of the collapse of an economy based on forced labor based on racism. Slavery is seen as wrong because those who used their individual brains to observe the effects, came to realize that what had come to be seen as a benefit to society, had far more negative effects.

"If you have no "oughts" you cannot judge others, at best your own moral beliefs can only be a personal guide for yourself. If you feel guilt for doing something "wrong" it is you who is doing this to yourself. You have imagined an obligation and imagined a punishment for yourself (guilt). Our empathy is merely an emotions, it does not tap into any moral truths, it is not a means of discovery of moral truths. Just because you have an emotional response you cannot assume that this applies to others."

You can absolutely judge others without "oughts." At least if you are intelligent enough not to be need to told what to do.

As for the feeling "guilt" for something, why would the individual ever feel guilt for doing what is necessary to survive if not for the realization of its effects on others?

It is THAT interaction with others that gives the moral/immoral actor perspective on how their actions impact others, making their actions moral/immoral. If that individual is acting in their benefit for surviving, there would be no reason to feel guilt.

And guilt for certain actions and behaviors, is something someone feels because of the fear of being judged BY OTHERS.

"Just because you have an emotional response you cannot assume that this applies to others."

I don't assume others hold my same values, I ask and find out. Societies are collectives of people with shared goals and values (yes, there is heterogeneity and there are subcultures, but they are all there as a community for mutually beneficial survival. You buy food at a store because it saves you the time and money needed to grow it yourself. You buy locks at home depot so you don't have to make them yourself. Etc)

"Morals are personal opinions, nothing more. There is no unwritten social contract, no tacit agreement. If you assume other people have taken on this "agreement" then you will be personally disappointed many times."

If morals are personal opinions, then just start calling what you say a personal opinion because you are negating everything one might associate with morality (politics are personal opinions too, but personal opinions with respect to a specific set of values/questions/goals around social and economic issues. Morals are personal opinions formed from society about the interactions that individuals have with one another.)

There is an unwritten agreement and social contract. You were born into society, you didn't get that choice. People may interpret their roles differently, and some may see the world more selfishly, but that does not mean that they are not members of the same society as I.

If you don't think that there is an unwritten agreement that you have entered into with society, go to any human society today and just start doing what you deem necessary to survive based on your personal opinions and see how long you're tolerated.

"Yep, this house looks good, I'll just take this. I personally feel I should reproduce, that woman looks good, I'll just mate with her. Hey! Why are you people so mad?!!! I am just acting morally based on my personal opinions!!!!!!"

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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02-07-2015, 04:02 PM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(02-07-2015 02:17 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "If one person makes a sacrifice then it isn't mutually beneficial."

It is if that sacrifice doesn't result in a decrease in survivorship. Especially if it is beneficial to the actor that the recipient of the altruistic behavior is alive (social animals often find that it is easier to survive as a group instead of an individual and in that way, even non-reiprocated altruism is beneficial to the actor).
Then in my opinion it isn't a sacrifice and it isn't selfless, it is a calculated action in order to gain benefit for the self.

(02-07-2015 02:17 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "This definition does not require mutual benefits, it just requires that an individual acts for the goal of the benefit of others rather than for the benefit of themselves."

Benefit of the self and benefit to others are not mutually exclusive.
That's right, but altruism ignores the benefit of the self and assumes the driving motivation is for the benefit of others.


(02-07-2015 02:17 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "I don't think a moral system requires a person to foresake their own benefits and to instead focus on the benefits of others.
I don't think people call an action "immoral" due to it's selfish nature, but I do think some people call an action "immoral" because they see it as harmful to others or breaking with tradition or going against their belief of their god's laws, or..."

Couple of things
1) I didn't equate selfishness with immoral
2) You are hinting at what I am saying when you say that people call something "immoral" when it goes against "tradition or going against their belief of their god's laws" <- that is what I am hinting at. People deem something moral or immoral based on a person's behavior towards society's systems. Not because they are individual choices for the benefit of the individual.
1. Fine
2. Some people think that way. But this isn't a qualifying criteria in order to call something morally significant. A person can think something as immoral merely because they don't like it, perhaps it makes them uncomfortable or sad.
According to Aryan Rand it is immoral to do things that don't benefit yourself. I disagree with her, but of course for her she is entitled to belief whatever she want. If she thinks selfless things are immoral then that is what it is for her, according to her belief system.

(02-07-2015 02:17 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "Anyway, to get to the point.
Morality is a judgement made on actions as a result of perceived choices (by a perceived moral agent) in particular, choices between perceived right actions and perceived wrong actions."

Yeah, and who does that judging in order to deem it moral or immoral? Because if it were only the individual doing what they thought was necessary to survive, then morality isn't a concept that serves any purpose.
Agreed, I don't think the concept of morality serves any useful purpose.
Many people, take their own moral beliefs and use them to justify judging others, ostracising others, shaming them, imprisoning them, fighting wars against them. Morality can be used in a very harmful and distructive way. "The road to hell is paved with good intentions"

(02-07-2015 02:17 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "Although altruism can be pondered and potentially can be an outcome of a person who gets excited about the ideas of being a morally good person, altruism isn't necessary when defining what morality is, and is not qualifying criteria with regards to assessing whether an action was moral or immoral. It's just noise."

You're missing the point when I bring up altruism. Would altruism exist in a nonsocial species? No. And I am saying the exact same thing for morality but it has one additional level, would morality exist in nonsocial animals or animals with some measure of social interactions but not societies? No.
I don't agree with your correlation.

(02-07-2015 02:17 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "Even the idea that morality is tied to society is just noise. Morality is a judgement of actions based on choices. We don't really need to consider the concept of society."

Then you are in a bit of a pickle. Who is the judge?
Anyone can make a judgement.
The person making the action can make a judgement and can feel guilt if they believe they have failed to live up to a perceived moral obligation.
The recipeint of the action can make a judgement and can feel that they have been wronged.
An independant observer can make a judgement and can feel that the recipeint has been wronged or can judge that the actor hasn't done the right thing.

(02-07-2015 02:17 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "Society is a container of the members of society. "
Tip, when explaining or defining a word, don't use that word in the description/definition. It makes your definition/description meaningless.
I think it is pretty clear that I am making a distinction between individuals vs society. Society is just a collection of individuals.
(02-07-2015 02:17 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "Each member has their own moral beliefs (or none)."

That are derived from the society in which they live.
So you assert. I disagree. I would say "that could be influenced by certain individuals within a society". I don't think "it can be derived from" because society is a container and there is no common morality, no authority on morality, no document declaring what is right or wrong.
Even if you have total knowledge of a society you cannot then derive a morality.

(02-07-2015 02:17 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "There is the concept of influence because we are influenced by others, not society as a whole, but by others that we interact with and perhaps they in turn had be influenced by others that we hadn't interacted with. "

Society is made up of individuals, and society also transcends individuals (a lot of people take morals, values, beliefs, etc, from collections of work. Books, TV, politics, etc), so trying to say that only individuals (somehow independent of society) have an influence on other individuals, is patently false in human cultures.
It's not false. I belong to NZ society, but I am interacting with you. You are not from NZ. I can read a book by people who are long dead and belonged to a different society and I can be influenced by them. I can sit down and philosophise and (conincidentily) come up with similar thinking that other who I have never met, never interacted with, never read their books, never been influenced by have come up with. My philosophising is not due to any social interaction or any society.

(02-07-2015 02:17 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "Societies are clumpy. They are made up of different cultures, different races, people from different religions etc. Many places have a China town. There are many Chinese that live in an English speaking country for decades and don't learn much English because they stick to Chinese stores and Chinese friends, they watch Chinese TV and only speak Chinese at home. They carry with them their Chinese culture and customs and beliefs and these may be very different from the English locals. We cannot say that society has a morality without over generalising(sic)."


I never said societies were homogenous. In fact, that is why I would say morality is subjective, because societies at different times (or different societies/cultures separated spatially or generationally) will have differing values, morals, and beliefs.
I know you are not meaning this but it reads this way. It reads that you think a society is homogenous given a particular society and a particular point in time.
But this is not the case, as any point in time in any society you will have individuals with conflicting moral viewpoints.

(02-07-2015 02:17 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  In many cases, I'd say this comes from the understanding of the choices they see being made within society.
I don't agree with this viewpoint but I understand that your own view of morality is centered around the concept of "society"

(02-07-2015 02:17 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  So, when people keep asking "is slavery wrong?" The answer seems quite clear thanks to a sordid history that we have with slavery. As well as the social ramifications of the collapse of an economy based on forced labor based on racism. Slavery is seen as wrong because those who used their individual brains to observe the effects, came to realize that what had come to be seen as a benefit to society, had far more negative effects.
This is your own belief. There are people who think slavery is right and people like me who think it is neither right nor wrong.

(02-07-2015 02:17 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  As for the feeling "guilt" for something, why would the individual ever feel guilt for doing what is necessary to survive if not for the realization of its effects on others?
There are many Catholics that feel guilt for things that have no victims. e.g. gay sex, sex outside of marriage, sex with contraception, masturbation, use of IVF, impure thoughts, for being human... for being lazy, for having pride, for being greedy...

(02-07-2015 02:17 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  It is THAT interaction with others that gives the moral/immoral actor perspective on how their actions impact others, making their actions moral/immoral. If that individual is acting in their benefit for surviving, there would be no reason to feel guilt.
A person could feel guilty for acting out of "cowardice" and saving themselves rather than trying to help someone else in danger.

(02-07-2015 02:17 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  And guilt for certain actions and behaviors, is something someone feels because of the fear of being judged BY OTHERS.
Nah, people can feel guilt for letting themself down.

(02-07-2015 02:17 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "Just because you have an emotional response you cannot assume that this applies to others."

I don't assume others hold my same values, I ask and find out. Societies are collectives of people with shared goals and values
We are never going to agree on this point. I see a society as a collection of individuals with differing goals and values, you see society as a collecive with shared goals and values.

(02-07-2015 02:17 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "Morals are personal opinions, nothing more. There is no unwritten social contract, no tacit agreement. If you assume other people have taken on this "agreement" then you will be personally disappointed many times."

If morals are personal opinions, then just start calling what you say a personal opinion because you are negating everything one might associate with morality (politics are personal opinions too, but personal opinions with respect to a specific set of values/questions/goals around social and economic issues. Morals are personal opinions formed from society about the interactions that individuals have with one another.)
OK, to be more clear.
Morals are personal opinions with regards to what is right or wrong.


(02-07-2015 02:17 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  There is an unwritten agreement and social contract.
We are never going to agree on this point either.

(02-07-2015 02:17 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  If you don't think that there is an unwritten agreement that you have entered into with society, go to any human society today and just start doing what you deem necessary to survive based on your personal opinions and see how long you're tolerated.
I don't disagree that some people will react to my actions in certain ways. Especially those people whom I threaten or whom have a strong conviction of their morals and a desire to have me conform to their moral beliefs.
As a moral nihilist, I certainly factor into my decision making the potential reaction others may have to my actions. I don't strive to do the right thing, I strive to navigate a successful life for myself.
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02-07-2015, 04:03 PM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(02-07-2015 02:17 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  You can absolutely judge others without "oughts." At least if you are intelligent enough not to be need to told what to do.
OK, this is very interesting. If you don't have a belief or expectation that a third party ought to behave in a particular way (ought to make particular choices) then how do you judge them?
I mean if they do X then you can only merely state that you have observed them to do X. If you are to make a claim that they made the immoral choice then you are claiming that they ought not to have made that choice. Aren't you?
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02-07-2015, 04:07 PM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
"OK, to be more clear.
Morals are personal opinions with regards to what is right or wrong."


Let's just distill it down to this point. Where do individual morals come from?

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02-07-2015, 05:24 PM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(02-07-2015 04:07 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "OK, to be more clear.
Morals are personal opinions with regards to what is right or wrong."


Let's just distill it down to this point. Where do individual morals come from?
Various sources depending on the person that holds the moral beliefs.

It could come from one or many of the following or perhaps even other things that I haven't thought of:
1. Empathy - ability to put yourself in another's shoes, coupled with a belief that it is not right to do to others what you wouldn't want done to yourself or simply interpreting feelings of empathy as being uncomfortable and somehow revealing of a moral truth.
2. Traditions - some people have a resistance to change, they are either conservative by nature or they have been taught to think this way perhaps by their parents, or an organisation they belong to i.e. church or political party.
3. Conditioning - Via various media (tv, radio, books, stories, music) via parents, friends, role models etc.
4. Philosophical ponderings - Introspective review using logic and some axioms.
5. Religious teachings - Accepting a religious leader or orginasation as a moral authority, or using logic with certain axioms related to a perfect creator.
6. Conflating survival with morality.

My take on the above is:
1, 4 and 6 don't necessarily require other people.
2, 3 and 5 require other people but can span the influence of individuals from multiple societies or can include influence of only a subset of individuals within a society. 2, 3 and 5 don't require society to have a common goal or common values.
6. Isn't really morality, it's a selfish desire to survive but in my opinion people often confuse this with morality. i.e. many people believe murder to be immoral.
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02-07-2015, 07:08 PM
Another attack on moral subjectivism
(02-07-2015 05:24 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(02-07-2015 04:07 PM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  "OK, to be more clear.
Morals are personal opinions with regards to what is right or wrong."


Let's just distill it down to this point. Where do individual morals come from?
Various sources depending on the person that holds the moral beliefs.

It could come from one or many of the following or perhaps even other things that I haven't thought of:
1. Empathy - ability to put yourself in another's shoes, coupled with a belief that it is not right to do to others what you wouldn't want done to yourself or simply interpreting feelings of empathy as being uncomfortable and somehow revealing of a moral truth.
2. Traditions - some people have a resistance to change, they are either conservative by nature or they have been taught to think this way perhaps by their parents, or an organisation they belong to i.e. church or political party.
3. Conditioning - Via various media (tv, radio, books, stories, music) via parents, friends, role models etc.
4. Philosophical ponderings - Introspective review using logic and some axioms.
5. Religious teachings - Accepting a religious leader or orginasation as a moral authority, or using logic with certain axioms related to a perfect creator.
6. Conflating survival with morality.

My take on the above is:
1, 4 and 6 don't necessarily require other people.
2, 3 and 5 require other people but can span the influence of individuals from multiple societies or can include influence of only a subset of individuals within a society. 2, 3 and 5 don't require society to have a common goal or common values.
6. Isn't really morality, it's a selfish desire to survive but in my opinion people often confuse this with morality. i.e. many people believe murder to be immoral.

On point 1) You don't think your number 1 requires other people, when it requires you consider the effects of your actions on other people by putting yourself in other people's shoes? And why would that matter for morality at the individual level of survival is the goal?

2) where do traditions come from? (Do non-social or non-societal animals have traditions?)

3) societal

4) why would a non-social animal ponder on any philosophical issues? How does that lead to morals? (My guess is you'd end up equating this to your point 1)

5) religious or societal teachings. (Religion being a societal construct)

6) how does how something equates to aiding the individual equate with morality? For instance, water is more efficient for surviving via hydration than soda. Is drinking water moral and sofa immoral from a survival standpoint on morality? Why would your desire to survive as an individual, ever lead to the construction of moral beliefs? (I see now your writing on #6 but I'm too lazy to delete this)


Also, I've never said morals can't be constructed from multiple societies (or subcultures within a society/societies)

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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