Another attack on moral subjectivism
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07-07-2015, 01:54 PM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(07-07-2015 06:22 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Let’s just a nip something in the butt here. I didn’t invoke magic or god at any point. And judging that you confessed previously to being bewildered by religious language and meanings, anytime make assumptions about my religious beliefs, it’s likely to elicit a facepalm. I’m not particularly interested in your misconceptions about what my religious beliefs are. Earlier Clydelee suggested that one could hold a teleological view of the world, like many buddhist do without evoking a God, my merely believing this is the way things are. And I can’t say that I particularly disagree with this. So magic, nor God is not necessarily required here.
Bullshit!
You have previously stated in this thread that you believe your god has imprinted on the human heart the objective morals.
This is magic and fairytales.


(07-07-2015 06:22 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Secondly, you should cut the crap, all of us are doing the same exact thing here. Someone appealing to evolution is no more wildly speculating than you are when you're appealing to “social conditioning”, and perhaps they’re even less speculative than your suggestions.
Bullshit!
If you don't know that parents tell their kids that Santa gives presents to good kids, if you don't know that parents put their kids in naughty corner for being bad, or reward for being good, then perhaps you live in a cave!
Social conditioning isn't speculative. An imprinted heart or an evolved moral sense are speculative.


(07-07-2015 06:22 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  I don’t think anyone disagrees with this besides probably you and some nihilist of course. At best you’d have to appeal to some evolutionary explanation about this intuitive understanding. But anyone should be able to recognize the inadequacy of trying to resort to explaining it by social conditioning.
You're an idiot!
There is no intuitive understanding. Kids punch and hit each other all the time.
They are conditioned either via parents and teachers telling them not to do it and punishing them or via the other kids hitting them back.
They eventually learn to associate this as bad behaviour and realise that bad behaviour isn't tolerated.
There is no need to invoke evolutionary explaination for beliefs. There is no need to invoke magical gods.
People can believe whatever they want. They can believe in ghosts, luck, fairies, gods and demons. There really is no rational explanation for people's beliefs.

(07-07-2015 06:22 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
Quote:We don't kill and rape each other because we would then show everyone that we are dangerous and then others would retaliate on us, not because we are immoral, but because we are dangerous.

Yea, that makes a lot of sense. That I don’t go around raping and killing everybody because of fear of retaliation. That I don’t beat my wife, because I’m afraid she’s gonna stab me if I do. Please.
Your an idiot!
Its not about fear. Ive already discussed this with you. But you don't understand because you are an idiot!

(07-07-2015 06:22 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Everyone here knows your views are a farce, and I think you at some level even you know that too.
You're an idiot!
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07-07-2015, 02:53 PM (This post was last modified: 07-07-2015 02:57 PM by Tomasia.)
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(07-07-2015 01:54 PM)Stevil Wrote:  Your an idiot!
Its not about fear. Ive already discussed this with you. But you don't understand because you are an idiot!

Perhaps this escalated a bit too quickly, which is perhaps more the result of my peevishness more so than yours, You say it’s not about fear of retaliation, or fear of consequences, yet I can’t think of a single example of countless ones I can remember you offering, that wasn’t about that. And as far as I can remember in our previous conversation, while you claimed it wasn't about fear, you never adequately explained how it wasn't. And you continual use of examples in which it is about fear only enforce this.

Quote:If you don't know that parents tell their kids that Santa gives presents to good kids, if you don't know that parents put their kids in naughty corner for being bad, or reward for being good, then perhaps you live in a cave!

Punishing or rewarding folks for good or bad behavior, is not particularly means of defining what good or bad is. If this were the case all that child would know is what to do to gain rewards, and what to do to avoid punishment. But these concepts expand well beyond what normally punishable or rewardable. You seem to suggest that good and bad are remnants of some childhood conditioning, enforced by rewards and punishments, which I don't think anyone actually believes besides you.

Quote:There is no intuitive understanding. Kids punch and hit each other all the time.
They are conditioned either via parents and teachers telling them not to do it and punishing them or via the other kids hitting them back.
They eventually learn to associate this as bad behaviour and realise that bad behaviour isn't tolerated.
There is no need to invoke evolutionary explaination for beliefs. There is no need to invoke magical gods.
People can believe whatever they want. They can believe in ghosts, luck, fairies, gods and demons. There really is no rational explanation for people's beliefs.

Of course there’s an intuitive understanding. In fact the basic concept of the golden rule is built on that intuitive understanding. That by recognizing what one would not want done to oneself, we recognize what we shouldn’t do to others. My little nieces and nephews seem to understand that much, that when I ask them how they would feel if someone treated them that way, in this reflective consideration can recognize why treating their sibling in such away is wrong. This particular intuitive understanding, provides an explanatory scope to other notions, such as dependency on dehumanization etc..

As I’ve already highlighted for you before, factors like empathy are a means of extending oneself unto other, to relate to their pain and suffering, and their experiences. So it shouldn’t be controversial that we can recognize the wrong in doing something to others that we wouldn’t wish on ourself. How do you think non-violent resistance movements build their support? Or how a non-violent march on Selma, met with the violence of police officers, was able illicit a public reaction, and moral outrage, among a society that historically deemed all of this acceptable?

Quote:There is no need to invoke evolutionary explanation for beliefs. There is no need to invoke magical gods.

So we can invoke evolutionary explanations to explain behaviors, but not the sort of beliefs those behaviors often evoke? What are the sort of beliefs that arise when one feels empathy for another? If not beliefs about their fundamental relationship with each other?
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07-07-2015, 03:32 PM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(07-07-2015 02:53 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  You say it’s not about fear of retaliation, or fear of consequences, yet I can’t think of a single example of countless ones I can remember you offering, that wasn’t about that. And as far as I can remember in our previous conversation, while you claimed it wasn't about fear, you never adequately explained how it wasn't. And you continual use of examples in which it is about fear only enforce this.
I have no fear of fighting David Tua in a boxing ring. If I were to meet the man in the ring, he would remove my head from my shoulders, I have no doubt of that. But I have no fear because I don't entertain the idea. I'm not a trained boxer, I'm not a heavyweight.
If I were a heavyweight boxer I might entertain the idea. If my manager had signed me up to the fight I might even be fearful.
But why would I fear something that I don't participate in?

Regarding murdering people, I have no need or desire to murder someone. I live a comfortable life, I don't need to risk my comfort in this way. So I am not playing that game, I am not fearful because I don't entertain it. Not because it is immoral, not because I am a good person. But because I have no need and the risk far and above outweighs any benefit.
We all calculate our actions, whether it is a job or an investment or a social interaction, we assess risk vs benefit, we do what we are comfortable with. It is gross overstatement to suggest we don't do things because of fear. It's not a pissing contest, it's not a show of whose the bravest or who is the most manly.

(07-07-2015 02:53 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  Punishing or rewarding folks for good or bad behavior, is not particularly means of defining what good or bad is. If this were the case all that child would know is what to do to gain rewards, and what to do to avoid punishment.
That's how it starts off, but parent's don't want to dish out rewards everytime, so there is the Santa concept of "He is watching and at the end of the year you might not get a present" or the god concept of "He is watching and at the end of your life you will go to hell". Then as kids mature many develop an elaborate moral belief, while some maintain their god concept of heaven and hell.

(07-07-2015 02:53 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  You seem to suggest that good and bad are remnants of some childhood conditioning, enforced by rewards and punishments, which I don't think anyone actually believes besides you.
It develops into elaborate moral beliefs and is supported by tweeny, teenage and young adults movies of good vs bad. It is everywhere.


(07-07-2015 02:53 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  Of course there’s an intuitive understanding. In fact the basic concept of the golden rule is built on that intuitive understanding.
Nah, this is a belief of yours, it is unsubstantiated.

A person in power doesn't adhere to the golden rule. The big kids are more often the bullies, the rulers are often self serving.
If you were immortal, had immense powers you would probably, over time change your views. Perhaps even become as insidious as the god of the old testament is portrayed. Demanding people worship you, demanding obedience. Killing at your whims.



(07-07-2015 02:53 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  
Quote:There is no need to invoke evolutionary explanation for beliefs. There is no need to invoke magical gods.

So we can invoke evolutionary explanations to explain behaviors, but not the sort of beliefs those behaviors often evoke? What are the sort of beliefs that arise when one feels empathy for another? If not beliefs about their fundamental relationship with each other?
Who knows what each person chooses to believe? It's a personal thing, they don't have to justify or support their beliefs.
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07-07-2015, 03:36 PM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(07-07-2015 02:53 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  So it shouldn’t be controversial that we can recognize the wrong in doing something to others that we wouldn’t wish on ourself.
Sure, there is a logical-ness to assume we "ought" to treat others the way we want to be treated. Especially given that we are vulnerable and we live in a society with others.

It doesn't take a "moral truth" authority to imprint this onto us. It doesn't take a genetic moral sense to be able to work out this. The answer is likely far more mundane.
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07-07-2015, 04:03 PM (This post was last modified: 07-07-2015 04:10 PM by Tomasia.)
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(07-07-2015 03:36 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(07-07-2015 02:53 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  So it shouldn’t be controversial that we can recognize the wrong in doing something to others that we wouldn’t wish on ourself.
Sure, there is a logical-ness to assume we "ought" to treat others the way we want to be treated. Especially given that we are vulnerable and we live in a society with others.

It doesn't take a "moral truth" authority to imprint this onto us. It doesn't take a genetic moral sense to be able to work out this. The answer is likely far more mundane.

I don't think society exists in the everyday going and comings of people. People are not prone to this larger considerations in response to some immediate stimuli.

And If fear elicits considerations, so does empathy. And these supposed moral senses are in fact often provoked by empathy. While fear can produce a sort of logical-ness, empathy can produce a similar sort of logical-ness as well, giving appearance to a similiar interaction, but based on underlying different motivations. Just like man's financial concerns can lead to businesses relationships that parallel the ones among friends at least, on the surface.

If I come across a woman being attacked on the street, this may in fact evoke my empathy, I might feel pulled to intercede and help her, almost as if I had no choice in the matter at all. That thing pulling me to intercede, may in fact be felt so strongly, that I believe I am obligated to intercede, to come to her aide, to help her, and that's what's being done to her is wrong. One can perhaps suggest that even though this strong feeling evoke these beliefs, that it's just an illusion.
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07-07-2015, 06:57 PM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(07-07-2015 04:03 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  I don't think society exists in the everyday going and comings of people. People are not prone to this larger considerations in response to some immediate stimuli.
To a large degree, I agree. Society is a red herring in the moral landscape as the moral judgements and perceived obligations etc are decided at the individual level.
Although, a lot of us understand that we do have an individual influence on society and hence there is incentive to behave within society in a way that we want reciprocated on ourselves and the other people that we may care about. (It's not about expectation or an unwritten or tacit agreement, it's about attempting to improve the odds via our own influence - albeit limited)
(07-07-2015 04:03 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  And If fear elicits considerations, so does empathy. And these supposed moral senses are in fact often provoked by empathy.
It would make sense (to me) to attempt to further define what we mean when we speak of "moral senses". It's very ambiguous at the moment, I can't make sense of it.
We may experience empathy by imagining ourselves in another's shoes. If something looks physically painful or emotionally distressful, then we may image how that would feel. Our empathy isn't a RADAR for moral infractions. In my view empathy has nothing to do with moral rights and moral wrongs. What it is, is our own imagination considering how we would feel if that happened to us.
(07-07-2015 04:03 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  If I come across a woman being attacked on the street, this may in fact evoke my empathy, I might feel pulled to intercede and help her, almost as if I had no choice in the matter at all. That thing pulling me to intercede, may in fact be felt so strongly, that I believe I am obligated to intercede, to come to her aide, to help her, and that's what's being done to her is wrong. One can perhaps suggest that even though this strong feeling evoke these beliefs, that it's just an illusion.
Yes, this moral obligation is a belief of yours. Some people will intercede, some won't. Some people will consider the safety of themselves, they might consider the flow on effect if something happens to themselves i.e. the impact on their dependent children etc.
Some people will consider that they want to belong to a society that helps each other out when they are in trouble, so they might look to influence society by behaving in a manner consistent with that desire.
Some people may believe it is their Christian/Muslim/Jewish/Hindu etc obligation.
Beliefs can be very strong. They can cause people to shake uncontrollably, to take action as if they aren't consciously in control of their own bodies, they can speak in tongues etc. Some people can interpret this as something otherworldly, perhaps even divine.
I understand how many people interpret their feelings as a "moral sense" something special, something of special importance. I personally however don't take my empathy to such a grandiose level.
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08-07-2015, 05:25 AM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(07-07-2015 06:11 AM)diddo97 Wrote:  
(07-07-2015 06:09 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  I'm not sure you understand my position. I'm a moral nihilist, I don't believe that moral truths exist.

Then why are you using morals to argue against evolution? Huh

That certainly was not my intention. I'm arguing against the notion that there are moral truths. Many atheists (such as Sam Harris and Lawrence Krauss) believe that moral truths exist, and that they can be discovered using scientific method, and I think this is an absolutely ridiculous idea.
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08-07-2015, 05:38 AM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(08-07-2015 05:25 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  Many atheists (such as Sam Harris and Lawrence Krauss) believe that moral truths exist, and that they can be discovered using scientific method, and I think this is an absolutely ridiculous idea.

I agree with this. Moral truth is a wish. Moral truths have been continually changing over all of human history. And yet humans remain productive and the genes handed down.

Moral truths would seem to depend upon what age and what place one is born into.

Byzantium was Christian and lasted over a 1000 years. It worked.

Nazism could have worked but they over reached.

Islam has worked.

Chinese dynasties have worked.

The British monarchy and its empire worked.

Each with a different philosophy and each in their own way.

NOTE: Member, Tomasia uses this site to slander other individuals. He then later proclaims it a joke, but not in public.
I will call him a liar and a dog here and now.
Banjo.
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08-07-2015, 05:40 AM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(07-07-2015 07:06 AM)ClydeLee Wrote:  
(07-07-2015 06:49 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  I can easily see how evolution causes altruism and empathy, and how these things can be beneficial to the survival of a society, but fail to see how that's incompatible with moral nihilism.

It's not.

It's just doesn't really make sense for someone to understand that but claim they don't think morality exists. That is to say, Morality of all contexts and not just a specific one.

To say that and say I don't believe in nominative morality at all, sure that's fine. But simply saying morality isn't merely that in discussion when you are talking about social implications and impacts based on humans moral senses is silly. You are talking about the total meaning. The thread has never been one sided to only bickering against absolute moral/black&White ways because it's about questioning how people talk and communicate. There still are plenty of atheists who don't believe in moral truths who will say things like in a gay rights conversation about denial of equality being wrong... It doesn't always mean they think there is a definitive wrong, people communicate in fluctuated thoughts and sometimes being firm and rigid makes a point come across better to the opposition.

I think many atheists believe that there is a definitive wrong. I understand that some nihilists might claim something is wrong as a slip of the tongue, after all, with most people believing in an objective morality, that type of talk is very ingrained in our language. I don't have problems with slips of the tongue. My problem is that when atheists are asked to elaborate on what they mean, many don't admit to their moral beliefs only being personal preferences, they still want to hold that there are moral truths that exist, and that they know many of them. Sam Harris for example, claims that the amount of skin that a woman should cover with clothing, could be objectively known. IMO he should be laughed out of the room for even hinting at that.
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08-07-2015, 06:46 AM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(07-07-2015 06:57 PM)Stevil Wrote:  Although, a lot of us understand that we do have an individual influence on society and hence there is incentive to behave within society in a way that we want reciprocated on ourselves and the other people that we may care about.

Society only enter into consideration, when the thing in consideration is society. People can consider society when supporting laws, of addressing political concerns. When it comes to coming across a woman being attacked in the middle of the street, no consideration for society exists.

Quote:It would make sense (to me) to attempt to further define what we mean when we speak of "moral senses". It's very ambiguous at the moment,

Those particular things behind that perception of good guys and bad guys, or behind that perception of that side that wants the victim to live is the good side, and the one that wants the victim to die is the bad side. Or when we hear a story of a man who aided a wounded stranger on the road, and about how several people just walked by, it is what goes behind that perception of that man who came to his aid as “good”.

Here’s a good study of young children, that probably does a good deal in correcting your views. The studies suggests that children are “intuitive moralist”, and know good deal more about the distinction between morality, convention, and utility that he or she can deliberately formulate:

“It is frequently thought that children confuse morality with prudence, believing right and wrong is defined by reward and punishment…..When initially asked for a justification children do indeed sometimes express themselves in the idiom of reward and punishment. However the child does not seem to define the rightness or wrongness by punishment. Rather, the resulting punishment for transgression is seen as demonstrating of it’s wrongness. In other words, the child is not stating that because you will be punished it is wrong, but instead stating your will be punished because it is wrong. In fact, when the issue is pressed further and children are asked a question like “what if there were no punishment for the transgression”, they main that the act would still be wrong.” […] Children “have an intuitive grasp of both form and substance of adult moral codes. By a formal grasp we mean that the young intuitive moralist understands the principles of obligatoriness, generalizability, important, and so forth that distinguish moral prescriptions from nonmoral prescriptions. By a “substantive” grasp we mean that the five-year-old understands which of his prescriptions are moral (e.g. promised should be kept), which are conventional (e.g. greeting should be returned), and which are prudential (e.g. sharp objects should be handled carefully).”

https://humdev.uchicago.edu/sites/humdev...sChild.pdf

So the moral sense, are those senses, perceptions that are present even in young children to intuitively distinguish moral prescriptions from nonmoral ones.

Quote:Yes, this moral obligation is a belief of yours. Some people will intercede, some won't. Some people will consider the safety of themselves, they might consider the flow on effect if something happens to themselves i.e. the impact on their dependent children etc.
Some people will consider that they want to belong to a society that helps each other out when they are in trouble, so they might look to influence society by behaving in a manner consistent with that desire.

If I were to be a methodological naturalist for a minute. There’s perhaps nothing that distinguishes a person who intercedes in defense of a stranger, than a dog who intercedes in defense of it’s owner, or it’s pups. But we don’t particularly believe that dog acted out of any real rational considerations, as if he had a real choice in the matter. The act interceding appears impulsive, like a knee-jerk reaction. But humans being self-aware agents, with a language to process our actions, we search for means of articulating what took plus in that impulsive reaction. It felt obligatory, it feels as if he “ought to have responded that way”. That he had a duty to do so. It’s not as much a belief here, but that sense of obligatoriness is acknowledged intuitively even in children, and perhaps has less to do with social conditioning than you think. At best, from a purely naturalist perspective, we have to concede this as an “illusion”. A side affect of being self-aware, conscious, creatures, have to make sense of our behavior, even impulsive ones in light of this.
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