Another attack on moral subjectivism
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13-07-2015, 01:26 PM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(13-07-2015 08:17 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  A way to think of the question, is what are people implying when they refer to a rule as moral?
For non religious people they generally conflate survival with morals.
For religious people they generally conflate what they are told as being their gods' laws with morals.

In both circumstances these situations disqualify as morality.
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13-07-2015, 01:49 PM (This post was last modified: 13-07-2015 01:55 PM by Tomasia.)
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(13-07-2015 01:26 PM)Stevil Wrote:  For non religious people they generally conflate survival with morals.
For religious people they generally conflate what they are told as being their gods' laws with morals.

None of these reductions are as true as you imagine. It's not particularly difficult to pit a non-religious person's moral beliefs in conflict with survival. A non-religious person would likely agree that it's a good to save, or hide jews during the holocaust, while acknowledging that it jeopardizes their survival by doing so.

And what does your notion of survival break down to here? Is it a product of social conditioning? A biological disposition? If so do you mean survival, or just a desire to avoid harm?

Quote:In both circumstances these situations disqualify as morality.

If both these situations disqualify them as morality, what would qualify them as morality? What's the criteria here to qualify as morality?
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13-07-2015, 02:03 PM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(13-07-2015 01:49 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  If both these situations disqualify them as morality, what would qualify them as morality? What's the criteria here to qualify as morality?
I've recently stated this.

An arbitrary rule rather than an enforced law, such as lying, or sex outside of marriage or masturbation, or abortion, or blaspheme, these have the potential to qualify as morally significant actions.

People have the free choice to choose to lie or have sex or to masturbate without any coercion. Potentially without any ramifications from other people or with regards to the safety of themselves of others who might then be motivated to retaliate.

If a person doesn't lie because they are worried that if they do then people won't trust them and this will limit their future options then this disqualifies as morality.

But if a person gets a "moral sense" dispite any lack of real consequences then this continues to have the potential to be morally significant. We would then need to investigate whether this "sense" has been conditioned or not. What is it that parent's teach their kids, what message is on tv? what message do school teachers present? Have the kids been taught myths like santa, easter bunny, gods and heaven and hell?
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13-07-2015, 02:38 PM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(13-07-2015 02:03 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
Quote:I’ve recently stated this.

An arbitrary rule rather than an enforced law, such as lying, or sex outside of marriage or masturbation, or abortion, or blaspheme, these have the potential to qualify as morally significant actions…….. If a person doesn't lie because they are worried that if they do then people won't trust them and this will limit their future options then this disqualifies as morality.

I doubt you’d fine many folks who believe in morality that subscribe to your definition of moral prescriptions. But let’s just inquire about this a bit more.

You claim a moral prescription, is an arbitrary rule, if reasons are attached to that rule such as “people won’t trust you”, than in negates the prescription from being a moral one, because arbitrariness is required. In your view there is no such thing as moral reasons?

Let’s take masturbation for example, as long as the prohibition against it is arbitrary it qualifies as moral in your view, where as if some where to say masturbation is wrong because it sexualizes human relationship, corrupts a loving relationship, by making the other an object of one’s sexual desire, rather than as an equal, portrays them as means rather than ends, or yada yada, regardless if these reasons are factually accurate, attaching these reasons to the prohibition against masturbation, make it no longer a moral prescription in your view. Is that about right?

But continuing on, if arbitrariness is a requirement for moral prescription, yet not all arbitrary prescriptions are moral ones, what other criteria would be required beyond arbitrariness to meat the criteria of a moral prescription?

[quote]But if a person gets a "moral sense" dispite any lack of real consequences then this continues to have the potential to be morally significant.

Consequences in relationship to oneself, or also in relationship to others excluding oneself? How would you exclude consequences from a child’s perception that harming others is morally wrong? Doesn't “harm” in and of itself entail consequences? Just like a morality that conceived relationally?

Quote:We would then need to investigate whether this "sense" has been conditioned or not. What is it that parent's teach their kids, what message is on tv? what message do school teachers present? Have the kids been taught myths like santa, easter bunny, gods and heaven and hell?

If there are two categories here, of socially conditional senses, and non-conditional senses, we’d have to know in which category a sense that certain things are wrong fall into, such as the child’s perception that hurting others is wrong. How about a sense that square peg fit into square holes? Does that require social conditioning, or can a child free of this, be able to draw that conclusion on his own, based on intuitive knowledge?

Ehat are non-socially conditioned senses? Avoiding harm, seems to be one. Would you agree? Can you name some other ones? My assumptions is that your argument for a socially conditioned perception, rather than an intuitive one, innate one, is dependent on great deal of confirmation bias to make it work.
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13-07-2015, 03:29 PM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(13-07-2015 02:38 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  I doubt you’d fine many folks who believe in morality that subscribe to your definition of moral prescriptions.
Because they haven't carefully defined morality.

I doubt many atheists would subscribe to your definition of moral prescriptions (because your moral prescriptions don't appeal to morality and only appeal to whether a rule is important and general and external i.e. objective.


(13-07-2015 02:38 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  You claim a moral prescription, is an arbitrary rule, if reasons are attached to that rule such as “people won’t trust you”, than in negates the prescription from being a moral one, because arbitrariness is required.
No, this is not my claim. You haven't been paying attention.
My claim is that if something boils down to personal safety then it is selfish rather than selfless or altruistic thus not morality.

If it boils down to the safety and stability of society then again selfish because most people belong to some sort of society, interacting with others.

If it boils down to opinion on other societies then it is merely an extrapolation of one's foreseen need within one's own society. Perhaps an opinion grown from an idealistic view (kids are often idealistic).

Following laws makes one law abiding, not moral. Laws are encouraged by coercion, morality is a "free will" choice without coercion.

If we are to discover morality we need to look in places where people aren't coerced. Santa giving presents to good children or good people going to heaven amounts to coercion.




(13-07-2015 02:38 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  In your view there is no such thing as moral reasons?
I'm interested in this idea of moral sense. I am weary that it is conflated with other things. I'd be interested in how we can discover a moral sense and ensure that we aren't mistaking it for something else far mundane.

(13-07-2015 02:38 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  Let’s take masturbation for example, as long as the prohibition against it is arbitrary it qualifies as moral in your view
As long as there is no coercion and the person gets to freely choose without any punishment to do it or not.

(13-07-2015 02:38 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  where as if some where to say masturbation is wrong because it sexualizes human relationship, corrupts a loving relationship, by making the other an object of one’s sexual desire, rather than as an equal, portrays them as means rather than ends, or yada yada, regardless if these reasons are factually accurate, attaching these reasons to the prohibition against masturbation, make it no longer a moral prescription in your view. Is that about right?
No, these reasons don't disqualify it as morally significant. A person can believe in the sanctity of these things and can believe that masturbation somehow destroys the sanctity. That is their belief, as long as they aren't forcing this onto other people, as long as they aren't arresting other people or punishing them, then other people get to freely choose. Then we would see that some people believe in the sanctity thing and some people don't.

We would then need to look and see why some people think that sanctity is a thing. Most likely these people have been told to think that way by religious leaders. So they imagine this moral obligation (preserve sanctity) and feel guilt when they violate this, where as others do the same action and feel no guilt at all.
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13-07-2015, 03:39 PM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(13-07-2015 02:38 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  Ehat are non-socially conditioned senses? Avoiding harm, seems to be one. Would you agree? Can you name some other ones? My assumptions is that your argument for a socially conditioned perception, rather than an intuitive one, innate one, is dependent on great deal of confirmation bias to make it work.
I'm just asking questions.
Is the idea of "avoiding harm" something that is socially conditioned?

I can see parent's tell their kids not to harm others all the time. I can see kids programs containing this message all the time.
Do you not see these things?
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13-07-2015, 05:24 PM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(13-07-2015 03:39 PM)Stevil Wrote:  I'm just asking questions.
Is the idea of "avoiding harm" something that is socially conditioned?

Do you think imagining oneself in another persons shoes is socially conditioned? Or just a feature arising out of our innate empathy?

Quote:I can see parent's tell their kids not to harm others all the time. I can see kids programs containing this message all the time.
Do you not see these things?

Yes, I have. Just like parents often ask their kids to imagine themselves in another persons shoes: "How would you feel if that was done to you, etc....". Just because we articulate and provoke these sort of introspection, doesn't mean these intuition and features are depedent on this provoking for their existence. They arise organically from our sense of empathy as well.
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13-07-2015, 05:36 PM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
Sorry to jump in, but I see an issue with that previous statement about "our innate empathy".

It's pretty clear that there's a genetic/developmental component to the empathy level in our brains, meaning it is clearly an evolved trait that, like sexuality, is not a binary solution-set, but rather a spectrum akin to a bell-curve.

At the bottom end of the curve is total sociopathy, and at the top are people so empathetic they go into panic attacks if they see harm done to another, or get bottled-up and into therapy from trying to "absorb" knowledge of the evil in the world. I am pretty far on the empathy side of the curve; my best friend mocks me and calls me "Crusader" because of it.

Okay, carry on.

Except that I want to strongly agree with whomever said, above, that laws and morality are VERY different things, and that laws are often deeply immoral. NOW carry on! Tongue

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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13-07-2015, 05:44 PM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(13-07-2015 05:24 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  Do you think imagining oneself in another persons shoes is socially conditioned?
It can be, yes. Not to say that this is always the case though.
Are we conditioned to put ourselves into the "shoes" of a cow at the meat works?
Nah, when we see a slab of meat at the grocery store we don't tend to picture how it got there.

But when we see it then it is easy for some of us to imagine ourselves as the cow at the works.

(13-07-2015 05:24 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  Or just a feature arising out of our innate empathy?
This would be circular logic.
We feel empathy because we have imagined ourselves in the other's place. But then you are saying that it is our empathy that drives us to imagine what it would be to be in the other's place. Voila, a circle of logic.



(13-07-2015 05:24 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  They arise organically from our sense of empathy as well.
Empathy isn't a moral sense. It does not detect if a moral transgression has occured. It is merely an emotional response to imagining how it would feel if you were in the other's place. No moral transgressions need to occur.
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13-07-2015, 06:19 PM
RE: Another attack on moral subjectivism
(13-07-2015 05:44 PM)Stevil Wrote:  It is merely an emotional response to imagining how it would feel if you were in the other's place. No moral transgressions need to occur.

You seem to put a full stop at the “imagining how it would feel to be another’s place”. You seem to recognize that this can take place without social conditioning. Do you believe that this ability to imagine ourselves in other person shoes, can provoke a variety of other beliefs, void of any real social conditioning?

Quote:It is merely an emotional response to imagining how it would feel if you were in the other's place. No moral transgressions need to occur.

Imagining how someone feels, is reflective on the life of someone else, in a sympathetic way. Seeing someone being a hurt by another person, with whom you empathize with, can provoke you to believe that what happening to that person is not right. No social conditioning is required here. You can be led to this beliefs, by this reflection. A real moral transgression need not occur, but an illusory one at the very least might arise.
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