Challenge to proponents of objective morality
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28-08-2017, 12:07 PM
Challenge to proponents of objective morality
(24-08-2017 02:18 PM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(24-08-2017 11:51 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Nice strawman, I never claimed there’s only a single objective truth.


And now you’re claiming there are many objective truths, which is a bit different then claiming there is no objective truth.

If your argument is that there are many objective truths, I have never argued otherwise. And your attempts to drag me into that argument involves one huge strawman.

They are only "objective" truths because we define them to be. Axioms are by definition "objective", there is no need to state it. The whole purpose of the definition itself is to remove any subjectivity from it.

"Given a line and a point not on the line, it is possible to draw exactly one line through the given point parallel to the line." is an axiom in Euclidean geometry.

The contradictory "There exist two lines parallel to a given line through a given point not on the line." is an axiom in Lobachevskian geometry

They are a contradiction but both are nonetheless objectively true. In fact, they are both as objectively true as you can possibly get. So I don't know where you think you're going with this concept of "objective truth" but it is elementary to show it will lead exactly nowhere except forcing you to accept contradictions and throw away the Aristotelian logic you so clearly depend on.

You seem to be working off of one immense strawman. I never claimed that objective truths can’t be contradictory, can’t be relative, or conditional.

So whoever you’re imagining yourself as arguing with here, is clearly not me.




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07-09-2017, 02:15 AM
RE: Challenge to proponents of objective morality
I've been thinking about the definition of morality, as it relates to religious theists. It seems that most of them, at least the ones that aren't hardcore fundamentalists, try to imply that morality is ultimately about acting in peoples' best interests.

I can see this making sense when people are preaching, and using whatever tactics they can come up with to try and convert people. If they sincerely believe that we are headed down a path which is going to be really harmful to us, it is reasonable that they make some attempt to warn us. I see it as them shouting to us as we walk towards the edge of a cliff that we're unaware of. There is a balance of how far it is reasonable to go in such situations, of course. Continuing the metaphor, would you physically restrain someone who is about to walk off a cliff? What would you do if they continued to walk towards it even after you grabbed them and pulled them back?

What doesn't make any sense though is killing people for religious reasons. Of course, you'd hope non-fundamentalists would never condone this anyway. This can't be in their best interests, because you're assuring they go down that wrong path, with no chance to turn back. It's the equivalent of pushing the person off a cliff.

How does shunning and otherwise inconveniencing people fit in? Maybe it could be argued that this is ultimately an attempt to make the person want to rejoin the group, and that it's in their best interest to try, even if it amounts to blackmail.

I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
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07-09-2017, 04:52 AM
RE: Challenge to proponents of objective morality
(07-09-2017 02:15 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  How does shunning and otherwise inconveniencing people fit in? Maybe it could be argued that this is ultimately an attempt to make the person want to rejoin the group, and that it's in their best interest to try, even if it amounts to blackmail.

It works both ways. It is simultaneously pressuring them to come back if they still have some residual belief, and keeping them away to protect the group if they don't. People are conflicted, so you are encouraging one side and discouraging the other.
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18-10-2017, 08:13 PM
RE: Challenge to proponents of objective morality
Morality is a label imbued with immense cultural baggage, it can mean anything to anyone. It is like calling something "tasty." I think it is fine for atheists to speculate on what rational "morality" can mean, to try to formulate a "secular morality," I certainly agree that something akin to what "moral" has traditionally meant is probably necessary for societal existence. I certainly grant that religious people did not invent morality, nor does someone need to be religious to live what has traditionally been seen as a "moral life."

But, at the same time, I sort of feel like some atheists have been suckered by religious moralists into feeling the need to be more moral than the fundamentalists would ever be. Truth is, it isn't your duty as an atheist to out-perform religionists in the morality department. Live your life, don't worry about it, most conservative religionists who profess a belief in objective morality are divorced and committing all sorts of mortal sins as I type this. Angel
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22-04-2018, 05:06 AM (This post was last modified: 22-04-2018 05:11 AM by EvieTheTurtle.)
RE: Challenge to proponents of objective morality
(08-08-2017 12:09 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  1) Define what morality means.

Morality is a spectrum of needless harm. The less needless harm committed, the more moral, the more needless harm committed, the more immoral.

Quote:How do you determine how moral or immoral an action is?

With logic, experiments and science, ideally. But it is not required to figure out whether specific X action in practice is moral or immoral in order to have an objective morality. Things can be moral or immoral in principle, even if we can never figure them out in practice.

We know poison is bad for our health.... we don't have to figure out what is healthy or unhealthy perfectly to admit there's a difference between healthy and unhealthy. It's the same with morality for me: We don't need to figure out perfectly who is being harmed and who isn't, to know that suffering exists and some things make people suffer more than others.

Quote:2) Describe any situation you like, which contains some sort of conflict of interest between outcomes.

Can you elaborate on this?

Do you mean like, a hard moral decision? Again, I don't think it's relevant. But I'll try: there's the classic trolley problem... which I'm sure you're familar with. People will disagree on that... but the fact people disagree doesn't mean there isn't a right answer in principle. There will be more suffering in one case than another. The question is: The one person that's killed... do they suffer more than they many that are killed if you don't save them? There's a right answer to this question in principle, even if we can never figure it out in practice.

Quote:(So this could be a case of limited resources, interdependency between outcomes, the "lesser of two evils", and so on. In other words, it's not a very simply case like, "do this bad thing or don't do it".)

It's certainly complex. But in principle there's a right answer to the question "Who suffers the most?" and "Can suffering be aggregated?" and all this stuff.

Quote:3) Explain how you can resolve this situation according to your definition of morality, to find the objectively most moral (or perhaps least immoral) action to take.

Again, I don't think that is required at all for an objective morality. But personally I take the view that we are not conscious of what other people feel and they are not conscious of what we feel, we merely project what we think they feel... that's how empathy works. We give our best guess. Basically, there's a consciousness barrier (which is precisely why we can never know for certain that anyone else is conscious but we know for certain that we are)... and because suffering requires consciousnes, suffering can't be aggregated between individuals.

So, say with the trolley problem. If the person who is killed suffers more than any one of the other people, then it is wrong to kill one person to save 4 others.

With 4 people dying in the same way, from a trolley, the chances are that the greatest sufferer will be amongst the bigger group, just purely based on numbers. So it makes sense to kill the 1 to save the 4.

If, however, you instead have the fat man example, of dropping a fat man onto the track.... to kill him. I think the reason why that case seems different to people intuitively, is because that is a different way of killing the person to a trolley. Maybe he suffers more than the others.

So to me, it's wrong to do that to the fat man to save the 4 others (or is it 3 others? I can't remember) if he suffers more than they do. But if any one of them suffers more, then it's right to kill him.

Quote:(This should, of course, not make use of any subjective value judgements or interpretations of concepts that aren't explicitly defined in part 1.)

Have fun!

I disagree with that because I don't actually have to come up with answers in practice to have an objective morality. All I need is to accept the fact that there are objective answers in principle. That's all I mean by 'objective morality'. There's right and wrong answers to moral questions, whether we can figure them out or not.

Same with health, even if it were impossible to figure out what foods were good for us and what foods were bad for us... it wouldn't mean that some foods weren't better for us objectively than others.

Or think of the game chess, there are many different openings and strategies. There are many different ways to win. There are objectively right and wrong moves regardless of the fact that there are many different correct strategies. Same with morality too, there may be many ways to prevent someone from suffering, or many different peaks of well being, but this doesn't mean there's a conflict just because there's not one perfect picture. And no one has to agree on anything... the whole point of an objective morality is that there are right and wrong answers to moral questions independent of what anyone thinks.

Anyway, that's how I see it.

"Sometimes we need to speak oddly to see clearly." - Galen Strawson

"I rely upon people reading my posts and making up their own minds. If they're so easily swayed by crowd opinion that they take that and not my behavior as the metric for me, well, I'm not losing much at all." - Thumpalumpacus
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22-04-2018, 05:16 AM
RE: Challenge to proponents of objective morality
(08-08-2017 11:31 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  I do not agree that morality isn't objective, even if all the answers are beyond our current information. As I said, the world is objective and there are real answers out there, even if we don't know them yet. Objective morality is always a work in progress.

I love your analogy about the objective world. Never used that one before when speaking of objective morality, it's perfect.

"Sometimes we need to speak oddly to see clearly." - Galen Strawson

"I rely upon people reading my posts and making up their own minds. If they're so easily swayed by crowd opinion that they take that and not my behavior as the metric for me, well, I'm not losing much at all." - Thumpalumpacus
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16-05-2018, 06:02 PM
RE: Challenge to proponents of objective morality
(08-08-2017 12:09 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  This is a challenge to anyone who thinks that morality is objective, whatever morality may mean to them.

1) Define what morality means. How do you determine how moral or immoral an action is?

2) Describe any situation you like, which contains some sort of conflict of interest between outcomes.

(So this could be a case of limited resources, interdependency between outcomes, the "lesser of two evils", and so on. In other words, it's not a very simply case like, "do this bad thing or don't do it".)

3) Explain how you can resolve this situation according to your definition of morality, to find the objectively most moral (or perhaps least immoral) action to take.

(This should, of course, not make use of any subjective value judgements or interpretations of concepts that aren't explicitly defined in part 1.)

Have fun!

1) Morality is empathy and reciprocity.

2) Two people share food. The food is shared, but divided unequally.

3) The sharee with the lesser portion demands empathy and reciprocity.

4) The sharer with the greater portion makes an objective judgment of the food portions according to both their conditions of need for food.
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16-05-2018, 07:35 PM
RE: Challenge to proponents of objective morality
There are countless definitions of what morality is, and/or what it consists of.
Nobody gets to tell anyone what it means for someone else.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein It is objectively immoral to kill innocent babies. Please stick to the guilty babies.
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17-05-2018, 12:22 AM
RE: Challenge to proponents of objective morality
(16-05-2018 06:02 PM)Nero Wrote:  [quo

1) Morality is empathy and reciprocity.

Well, I feel like I have a moral responsibility toward people for whom I feel no empathy.

And I feel like have a moral responsibility toward people who have no chance to reciprocate.

So I think morality is separate from those two things.
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17-05-2018, 08:16 AM
RE: Challenge to proponents of objective morality
(17-05-2018 12:22 AM)Belaqua Wrote:  
(16-05-2018 06:02 PM)Nero Wrote:  [quo

1) Morality is empathy and reciprocity.

Well, I feel like I have a moral responsibility toward people for whom I feel no empathy.

And I feel like have a moral responsibility toward people who have no chance to reciprocate.

So I think morality is separate from those two things.

Morality is empathy and reciprocity. Moral responsibility is interchangeable with empathy and reciprocity. Your feelings may appear different, but your actions are the same. The empathy and reciprocity exist.
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