Morality
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30-07-2015, 08:55 PM
RE: Morality
(28-07-2015 03:44 PM)epronovost Wrote:  
(28-07-2015 06:13 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  Hey epronovost,

Nihilism is the recognition that morality actually equates to nothing more than preferences. For example, lets look at abortion. If ever there was a moral dilemma, abortion is definitely one. Nihilism is the recognition that there is no right or wrong answer. Abortion is not wrong, and it wouldn't be wrong if abortion was made illegal. Some people reject all abortions, some reject abortion after the 1st trimester, some reject only after the second trimester, and some are willing to accept all abortions including partial birth. Personally, I don't see much difference between partial birth abortion and infanticide. Who is to say that if we are going to allow partial birth abortion, that we shouldn't also allow infanticide? We could place a time limit on infanticide such that it has to be done within an hour of birth, or 24 hours of birth, 5 days of birth. http://www.mrctv.org/videos/warning-grap...ion-filmed

The point is, people are just going to vote based on what they like, which is perfectly compatible with nihilism. With nihilism, you just do what you want, but there are no preconceived notions of being right or wrong, it's understanding that there is no right and wrong. We can still have preferences though.

Hey Matt (I hope i can call you Matt),

Sorry for the late response and the four pages that separate my answer to your comment but a small flame war broke out apparently. I thought I might clarify a bit my thoughts and ask for a bit more detail about moral nihilism. I did a bit of research on the subject of moral nihilism and was wondering which school of moral nihilism would represent best your opinion on the subject. From what you have mentioned until now you seem to be from the expressivism school of thought. I also wonder if you have some books or essay to suggest for further readings. I don't think we will agree on this thread on morality and its nature and one of the reason might be because you and I aren't so gifted and patient to write complete essay to defend our stances. Maybe an author who published on the subject of moral nihilism could indeed present a better case that I could judge for myself.

From my part, like I have alluded before, I would identify myself as a Universal prescriptivist. I could suggest you Sorting Out Ethics. It’s a rather good read and not so long, a bit over 150 pages. It present a system that share similarity with moral nihilism in that it shares a certain form of non-cognitivism, but its universizable nature, based on logic and methodical analysis akin to what I described in my precedent post, gives it a strong utilitarian and an nice illusion of objectivism. This allows it, I think, to hold a lot of explanation power when it comes to describe how human society apply and treat actions in a moral and ethical perspective and how it structure itself. It can also answer in a satisfactory fashion to why and how moal dillema like abortion could be sorted out.

Thank you for the suggestion, I'll check it out.

I'm certainly no expert on what has been written, but I can put some videos up. I'd also be happy to answer any questions you have about my position.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL...Lw3JoJPYg1
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31-07-2015, 05:12 AM
RE: Morality
(30-07-2015 09:33 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(30-07-2015 03:42 AM)DLJ Wrote:  Exactly my point.

It is a fact that 80% of Singaporeans are conservative (based on repeated polling data) and will not take lightly the plans to repeal Section 377A of the Penal Code that makes homosexuality illegal.

Even though science tells us that mammalian homosexuality is natural (an objective fact) the governance decision is to leave the law unchanged but to ignore any reported 'offences'.

In other words, the right decision (based on a risk assessment) is to align to the subjective fact not the objective fact.

Why would the decision be the right one?

Because it is the wisest decision in the context of defined goals.

Wink

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02-08-2015, 09:29 PM (This post was last modified: 03-08-2015 09:06 AM by Matt Finney.)
RE: Morality
(29-07-2015 07:25 PM)Hambone Wrote:  Ok, if morality is not objective, then put your money where your mouth is.....

In my opinion, I think what those Sept 11 hijackers did was right, killing those 5000 people in the World Trade Centre and inflicting the misery on all there family and friends and putting fear into every passengers and America in general. Good on them, I really support what they did.

I also support what ISIS do, cutting off the heads of innocent people, I think what they are doing is right.

You don't agree with me? So what. You are not saying I am factually wrong to think those things above are right or good are you? Sure you can disagree with me, but most people disagree with my choice of woman that I like, same thing, so what. I am not factually wrong am I?

Oh, I also think thick crust pizza tastes better than thin crust pizza.

You're wrong because you think there are right and wrong answers to moral questions. Objective morality doesn't really exist, even though many people believe that it does. Of course many religious people believe in it, but even many non-believers seem to fall victim to this delusion. You'll even hear many atheists refer to certain things as "good" or "evil". Many philosophers set out to find the true nature of "good" and "evil", and seek to find ethical truths. I'm not quite sure if that's caused mostly by our biology (predisposition towards that belief caused by our emotional brains), or the fact that many of us are told quite often as children that objective morality does indeed exist.

The fact that many people dislike killing and rape is not evidence that killing and rape are objectively wrong. See if you can form an argument for objective morality without asking people whether or not they like ISIS. Whether or not people like or dislike ISIS is totally irrelevant to whether or not an objective morality exists.

If you find that you have trouble constructing a good argument, try on the nihilism shoes. See if you can construct a good argument for nihilism.
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02-08-2015, 09:31 PM
RE: Morality
(31-07-2015 05:12 AM)DLJ Wrote:  Because it is the wisest decision in the context of defined goals.

[Image: c9e1095062393a24dab581243efc2de1caad68a4...2060f1.jpg]
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02-08-2015, 11:47 PM (This post was last modified: 03-08-2015 07:04 AM by DLJ.)
RE: Morality
(02-08-2015 09:31 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  
(31-07-2015 05:12 AM)DLJ Wrote:  Because it is the wisest decision in the context of defined goals.

[Image: c9e1095062393a24dab581243efc2de1caad68a4...2060f1.jpg]

Yes, in my opinion, and the majority of Singaporeans' opinion it was wise because it achieved the goal of diffusing some mounting tension that looked like it could have got nasty but also, in my opinion, it was not something that matched my personal set of ethics.

A further interesting question, therefore, is why do people accept decisions they don't like?

Consider

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03-08-2015, 08:31 AM
RE: Morality
(26-07-2015 03:51 AM)Hambone Wrote:  Is morality objective (factual) or subjective (preference/opinion)?

If something is objective, then it is factual, that is, it is true/false independent of human taste preference or opinion. It is DISCOVERED. For example, the earth is not flat is an objective truth. It is factual. It is true regardless of human opinion. This was discovered. Even if their were no conscious beings in the universe, the earth would still not be flat, rather, the shape of sphere/ball.

If something is subjective, then its based on personal taste, preference or opinion. These are not factual. They are mind dependent. These include, food, drinks, movies, music, clothes, holiday destinations etc etc etc. There is NO RIGHT or WRONG.

Where is morality? Is it objective or is it subjective?

Lets first put it in the subjective basket. You will notice that when we look at subjective items, they all result in the same conclusion. No right or wrong. For example, if I say I prefer thick crust pizza to thin crust pizza, am I wrong for preferring that or thinking one is better than the other? No. We all know taste in food is subjective, therefore, there is no right or wrong. Its just opinion.
If I say I prefer hip hop R&B to heavy metal music, am I right or wrong to suggest one is better than the other? Neither, because they are just preferences.
These are just 2 examples. But if you put any item in the subjective basket, you will notice the conclusions are the same, that is, their is no right or wrong.

Now, lets put morality in this subjective basket. If I say I prefer to rape and cause harm to others, is this right or wrong? Well, if you are consistent, then its neither right or wrong, just like in the case of food and music.

Lets look at objective items. I gave the example of the flat earth above. Another example is the sun. The claim the sun exists is an objective truth, it is factual. If their are no conscious beings in the universe, it is still true that the sun exists.
If I say the sun doesn't exist OR the earth is flat, then I am WRONG. I am only WRONG because rights and wrongs ONLY exist in relation to objective items/facts.

Now lets put morality in the objective basket. If morality is objective, then rights and wrongs exist morally.
So, if someone says that raping a person for fun is right, then they are wrong. They are only wrong because we can compare their claim to an objective fact, ie, rape is wrong.

So, what is it? Based on experience, it appears to me, that morality is actually objective.

Lets look at an example....ASSUMING i like rape and you don't. IF I say for the past 6 months, I have had a person in my garage whom I have been raping, torturing and treating woefully, then if morality is SUBJECTIVE, then you can only reply in the same way as if you don't like a food that I like. Their is no right or wrong. Just opinion. Is this really how it is based on experience? Would we treat this case the same way as in taste of food? Experience says we don't.

Now, based on the example, if morality is objective, then and ONLY then can you say my actions are wrong, because you are comparing my actions against an objective truth.

So which one is it?

Now, notice I am speaking ontology, not epistemology. This is not about HOW we know. I can discuss that later.

Secondly, how can objective morality exist in a godless world? Remember I said, if something is objective, it is true or false REGARDLESS of human taste preference or opinion. In fact, they are discovered. Therefore, in a godless world that came about by a mindless and unguided blind process, what are moral facts doing in such a world? Don't moral laws or truths come from a law maker or law giver?

My problem is, atheists often claim morality is subjective, but then go and criticise morality in the OT. If morality is subjective, then your claims that the morality in the OT is wrong is not factual, rather, just an opinion...no different to if I said vanilla ice cream is better than chocolate.....

The very fact atheists make moral claims, is testimony that they are claiming moral facts. But in a godless world, where do these facts come from?

Are atheists actually affirming a moral law giver everytime they make a moral claim?

Instead of comparing chocolate with vanilla ice cream, what about comparing chocolate with dog's excrements?

I would say the vast majority of people would agree that chocolate is far better than dog's excrements. But what is better in this context if taste is entirely subjective? Since people mostly agree that dog's excrements is not gourmet food, then taste must be objective.

Ergo, whoever asserts that chocolate is better thanks dog's crap, is asserting the existence of a creator. For where does the objective reality of taste come from if not from a creator?

Ciao

- viole
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03-08-2015, 01:00 PM
RE: Morality
(26-07-2015 03:51 AM)Hambone Wrote:  Is morality objective (factual) or subjective (preference/opinion)?

If something is objective, then it is factual, that is, it is true/false independent of human taste preference or opinion. It is DISCOVERED. For example, the earth is not flat is an objective truth. It is factual. It is true regardless of human opinion. This was discovered. Even if their were no conscious beings in the universe, the earth would still not be flat, rather, the shape of sphere/ball.

If something is subjective, then its based on personal taste, preference or opinion. These are not factual. They are mind dependent. These include, food, drinks, movies, music, clothes, holiday destinations etc etc etc. There is NO RIGHT or WRONG.

Where is morality? Is it objective or is it subjective?

Lets first put it in the subjective basket. You will notice that when we look at subjective items, they all result in the same conclusion. No right or wrong. For example, if I say I prefer thick crust pizza to thin crust pizza, am I wrong for preferring that or thinking one is better than the other? No. We all know taste in food is subjective, therefore, there is no right or wrong. Its just opinion.
If I say I prefer hip hop R&B to heavy metal music, am I right or wrong to suggest one is better than the other? Neither, because they are just preferences.
These are just 2 examples. But if you put any item in the subjective basket, you will notice the conclusions are the same, that is, their is no right or wrong.

Now, lets put morality in this subjective basket. If I say I prefer to rape and cause harm to others, is this right or wrong? Well, if you are consistent, then its neither right or wrong, just like in the case of food and music.

Lets look at objective items. I gave the example of the flat earth above. Another example is the sun. The claim the sun exists is an objective truth, it is factual. If their are no conscious beings in the universe, it is still true that the sun exists.
If I say the sun doesn't exist OR the earth is flat, then I am WRONG. I am only WRONG because rights and wrongs ONLY exist in relation to objective items/facts.

Now lets put morality in the objective basket. If morality is objective, then rights and wrongs exist morally.
So, if someone says that raping a person for fun is right, then they are wrong. They are only wrong because we can compare their claim to an objective fact, ie, rape is wrong.

So, what is it? Based on experience, it appears to me, that morality is actually objective.

Lets look at an example....ASSUMING i like rape and you don't. IF I say for the past 6 months, I have had a person in my garage whom I have been raping, torturing and treating woefully, then if morality is SUBJECTIVE, then you can only reply in the same way as if you don't like a food that I like. Their is no right or wrong. Just opinion. Is this really how it is based on experience? Would we treat this case the same way as in taste of food? Experience says we don't.

Now, based on the example, if morality is objective, then and ONLY then can you say my actions are wrong, because you are comparing my actions against an objective truth.

So which one is it?

Now, notice I am speaking ontology, not epistemology. This is not about HOW we know. I can discuss that later.

Secondly, how can objective morality exist in a godless world? Remember I said, if something is objective, it is true or false REGARDLESS of human taste preference or opinion. In fact, they are discovered. Therefore, in a godless world that came about by a mindless and unguided blind process, what are moral facts doing in such a world? Don't moral laws or truths come from a law maker or law giver?

My problem is, atheists often claim morality is subjective, but then go and criticise morality in the OT. If morality is subjective, then your claims that the morality in the OT is wrong is not factual, rather, just an opinion...no different to if I said vanilla ice cream is better than chocolate.....

The very fact atheists make moral claims, is testimony that they are claiming moral facts. But in a godless world, where do these facts come from?

Are atheists actually affirming a moral law giver everytime they make a moral claim?

Hello! Sorry I couldn't answer sooner, I have a job this summer that takes up a buncha time. But I've read a few pages and you don't (yet) seem like a dishonest person so I'll answer.

When we talk about morality we first have to define our terms. Morality is the actions taken in accordance with certain values. As the term implies, if there are values them there must be some agent to do the valuing. This means that so long as one agent exists there will be values and there will be actions taken in accordance with those values. However if there were no humans then there would be no agents to do the valuing and morality would have no meaning.

This of course does not offer an answer to the objective vs subjective question. Let's say I value life. If that is the case the choice to eat food and not poison is objectively better aligned to the value of life. If you do not value life, then you have no reason to not eat the poison. If you value a stable and healthy society then raping and murdering your fellows is objectively wrong because it is counter productive to that which you claim to value. If you don't wish to live in a safe and productive society then you have no reason to avoid raping murdering and torching all the buildings around you.

As a species we have evolved to be social, we need a social structure of some sort in order to effectively survive. As such there are certain values that are shared by most people, because those who don't tend not to survive long. Those who tend not to value life over death don't survive to tell about it. Those who do not value a healthy society are generally cast out from it and tend not to reproduce or to otherwise tell about it.
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