Is Objective Morality Possible?
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07-02-2013, 10:11 PM
RE: Is Objective Morality Possible?
(07-02-2013 09:54 PM)Reltzik Wrote:  
(07-02-2013 04:39 PM)fstratzero Wrote:  I think another possible way to measure morality might be through people who have suffered psychological trauma, but then again not all immoral things result in trauma.
Nor is all trauma necessarily the result of immoral things. Consider, for example, the trauma of a child who sees Mommy get struck by lightning.

The morality of Zeus!

Shocking

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08-02-2013, 05:31 AM
RE: Is Objective Morality Possible?
(07-02-2013 04:36 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  
(07-02-2013 04:29 AM)hedgehog648 Wrote:  The trouble with Sam Harris' argument is that he assumes that human suffering is objectively bad.

By assuming that he has already made his morality subjective.


A fair point.

He's using one subjective claim, to create an objective scale. And while he does make a subjective assumption, it is one based in sound reason and logic. All fields of science have to make certain subjective assumptions in order to pursue objective truths. You need to subjectively value logic, reason, evidence before you can accurately gauge and measure objective truths like Newtonian mechanics. If you require that a science of morality to be entirely 100% objective, then you are requiring it be self justifying in a way no science can.

To quote Sam in his own words, "If someone doesn't value evidence, what evidence are you going to provide to prove that they should value it? If someone doesn’t value logic, what logical argument could you provide to show the importance of logic?"

If you'd like a more in depth presentation of these ideas, you might like to see Sam's debate with the infamous William Lane Craig. For the sake of brevity, and those that have ever already seen a WLC debate (I've you've seen one, you've seen them all), here is an edited version to be only Sam Harris speaking.

:EDIT:

To skip ahead to Harris' third rebuttal where he really gets into justifying his subjective assumptions for an objective morality, jump to 30:15

Also, one of my favorite Harris quotes.
"Is the worst possible misery for everyone really bad? Once again, we have hit philosophical bedrock with the shovel of a stupid question."



I've seen that debate before, I remain unconvinced.

I don't agree that science makes subjective assumptions to pursue objective truth. Scientists themselves may do so, but the process of science itself is purely objective. Scientists can subjectively decide on what they value in order to make their choice of pursuing a career in science, but that is before the science has begun. You don't need to value evidence and truth in order for the things that science discovers to be true, reality will be reality whether you think evidence is important or not.

Sam Harris is trying to take a subjective claim and then do science with it, which is a different thing. He is trying to get reality to conform to his belief that human suffering is bad, with no scientific basis for doing so. He could make an argument that he is building a moral system that promotes the survival of humanity, but not an objective morality.
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08-02-2013, 01:16 PM
RE: Is Objective Morality Possible?
Just to reiterate, there is no possible way to have objective morality.

It's like saying that objectively oranges taste good.

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08-02-2013, 01:21 PM
RE: Is Objective Morality Possible?
(08-02-2013 01:16 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  Just to reiterate, there is no possible way to have objective morality.

It's like saying that objectively oranges taste good.
There are aspects, or bases, of morality that are near universal among humans and have evidence of an evolutionary basis. That foundation layer of morality is, I would argue, objectively true.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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08-02-2013, 01:38 PM
RE: Is Objective Morality Possible?
(08-02-2013 01:21 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(08-02-2013 01:16 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  Just to reiterate, there is no possible way to have objective morality.

It's like saying that objectively oranges taste good.
There are aspects, or bases, of morality that are near universal among humans and have evidence of an evolutionary basis. That foundation layer of morality is, I would argue, objectively true.
That's an appeal to popularity. Just because it's popular doesn't make it true. If something is objectively true, then it's true on all accounts... that is simply not possible with morality.

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08-02-2013, 01:39 PM
RE: Is Objective Morality Possible?
(08-02-2013 01:38 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  
(08-02-2013 01:21 PM)Chas Wrote:  There are aspects, or bases, of morality that are near universal among humans and have evidence of an evolutionary basis. That foundation layer of morality is, I would argue, objectively true.
That's an appeal to popularity. Just because it's popular doesn't make it true. If something is objectively true, then it's true on all accounts... that is simply not possible with morality.

Popular? No, evolved. Built in.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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08-02-2013, 01:57 PM
RE: Is Objective Morality Possible?
(08-02-2013 01:39 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(08-02-2013 01:38 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  That's an appeal to popularity. Just because it's popular doesn't make it true. If something is objectively true, then it's true on all accounts... that is simply not possible with morality.

Popular? No, evolved. Built in.
But, it's still not objective because it's not universal.

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08-02-2013, 02:34 PM
RE: Is Objective Morality Possible?
(08-02-2013 01:21 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(08-02-2013 01:16 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  Just to reiterate, there is no possible way to have objective morality.

It's like saying that objectively oranges taste good.
There are aspects, or bases, of morality that are near universal among humans and have evidence of an evolutionary basis. That foundation layer of morality is, I would argue, objectively true.
Like what? I can't think of anything that everyone who has ever existed has agreed on morally speaking.

There have been people who were perfectly fine with murdering babies, raping them, eating people . . .

Even if there is something everyone agrees on, just because there is a consensus does not make something objectively true. Nor does the lack of objectivity mean we should not act on the consensus.

To show something is objectively good or bad, empirical evidence must be provided. That evidence cannot rely on feelings, emotions or opinion in any way or it will not lead to an objective conclusion.
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08-02-2013, 03:13 PM
RE: Is Objective Morality Possible?
(08-02-2013 01:21 PM)Chas Wrote:  There are aspects, or bases, of morality that are near universal among humans and have evidence of an evolutionary basis. That foundation layer of morality is, I would argue, objectively true.
As I've said on the first page, one person may choose a religious scripture as their parameter for determining what is morally good and what is morally bad, a second person may choose human well-being as a parameter and a third person (you) may choose evolutionary aspects as a parameter. You can determine morality objectively only after you have made a subjective choice regarding your parameters. This is, as far as I can see, no different with your example.

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08-02-2013, 04:09 PM
RE: Is Objective Morality Possible?
(08-02-2013 01:57 PM)kingschosen Wrote:  
(08-02-2013 01:39 PM)Chas Wrote:  Popular? No, evolved. Built in.
But, it's still not objective because it's not universal.
It is as universal as can be measured through the noise of childhood indoctrination and socialization.

The results of tests of common morality score well beyond any differences in culture, race, or religion.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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