Morality
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27-07-2015, 04:45 PM (This post was last modified: 27-07-2015 04:57 PM by Tomasia.)
RE: Morality
(27-07-2015 04:25 PM)epronovost Wrote:  The ethical debate is what are the good methods to acquire goods and the wrong ones and on what basis do we determine that. What is going to be the barometer? Then we assign name to those different types of acquisition for example gifting, buying, stealing, blackmailing, exchanging, etc. Morals are thus dependant on a context and can be subjective from time to time.

But what is that makes the wrong ones wrong, and the good one's good? Are the ways deemed as wrong ways to acquire goods, objectively wrong? Or is wrong subjective here as well?

What is the meaning of wrong here? Are you stating something descriptive by it, or prescriptive by it?
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27-07-2015, 05:51 PM (This post was last modified: 27-07-2015 05:55 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Morality
(27-07-2015 04:45 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  What is the meaning of wrong here? Are you stating something descriptive by it, or prescriptive by it?

Neither. Wrong is proscriptive. At least in terms of most legal systems and social structures.

There is only one really serious philosophical question, and that is suicide. -Camus
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27-07-2015, 06:30 PM (This post was last modified: 27-07-2015 07:42 PM by Matt Finney.)
RE: Morality
(27-07-2015 04:25 PM)epronovost Wrote:  My first objection was about the fact that we don't explain thieving his wrong thus you must not rob people.

You have to realize that there is a huge difference between the claims," I don't like x," and "x is wrong." Simply claiming to not like x doesn't include any implications, but when people claim that x is wrong, it is implied that because it is wrong, x ought not to be done. What else would be the point in claiming it's wrong? You may as well just say that you don't like x if that's all that you mean.

(27-07-2015 04:25 PM)epronovost Wrote:  That's a biased view of an action. It's a fallacious, because it smuggle the conclusion in the premise.

I don't think it is. If people only meant that they don't like something, they would just say that. They wouldn't go around claiming it to be wrong.

(27-07-2015 04:25 PM)epronovost Wrote:  You don't analyse the real action thus you can't understand the implication, the logical process behind morals and ethic surrounding that type of action. Of course from that point of view moral nihilism seems logical, but that's because of a faulty premise. The real action when we talk about robbing is the action of acquiring goods.

No. When we talk about robbing, we are talking about acquiring goods by use of force.

(27-07-2015 04:25 PM)epronovost Wrote:  The ethical debate is what are the good methods to acquire goods and the wrong ones and on what basis do we determine that. What is going to be the barometer?

Can you go further into this? What do you mean by "good methods"? Are you only talking about what's socially acceptable? Or are you talking about which method yields the most goods in the least amount of time? or the least amount of work?

(27-07-2015 04:25 PM)epronovost Wrote:  Then we assign name to those different types of acquisition for example gifting, buying, stealing, blackmailing, exchanging, etc.

Sure, we give different methods different names. Makes sense to me.

(27-07-2015 04:25 PM)epronovost Wrote:  Morals are thus dependant on a context and can be subjective from time to time.

When you say morals, do you mean moral truths? Or are you just talking about peoples' preferences?

(27-07-2015 04:25 PM)epronovost Wrote:  My second problem was that moral nihilism also forces us to deny our capacity to interpret or form judgement about pretty much everything.

No it doesn't. In fact I'm very judgmental, mainly of religious and dishonest people, but judgmental nonetheless.

(27-07-2015 04:25 PM)epronovost Wrote:  It denies any form induction or deduction which prevent any form of scientific advance or even basic observation. Here is an example, fact: I feel a chair under my two ass cheeks and holding my back so I ought to be sitting on it. Did I just successfully determined an ought from an is? If so did I just defeated the premise of moral nihilism?

You didn't determine an ought from an is, you just made it look like you don't know what the word ought means in this context, or you're purposely being dishonest.

There are 2 definitions of the word ought.

1. used to indicate duty or correctness, typically when criticizing someone's actions.
"they ought to respect the law"

2. used to indicate something that is probable
"five minutes ought to be enough time"

You're using definition number 2 in your example. When someone says that people shouldn't commit rape, they aren't using definition number 2 and merely saying that it's improbable that someone would commit rape, they are assigning a duty and correctness, and if they are moral realists, they might believe that they are making a truthful and factual claim about rape. They might think that it's a fact that people shouldn't commit rape.

When you say that you ought to be sitting on a chair, all that you really mean is that it is apparent that you are sitting on a chair, or that it is likely that the thing of which you're sitting on is a chair.
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27-07-2015, 08:52 PM
RE: Morality
@Matt Finney
I can't tell you honestly if when I wrote earlier about moral if I was referring to moral truth or not. Considering the vagueness of the term, I am not even sure of what you mean or imply has moral truth. Truth is which is true in accordance to fact and reality or fact/belief accepted as true. So is moral truth just a subjective judgement shared by pretty much everybody?

I must admit my usage of the word «ought» was wrong in my example. What I wanted to express was that it’s possible to derive a sound judgement from a fact. In my example it was an expression of probability that I was most certainly sitting on a chair. In a moral context my «ought» would mean that I would most probably be right to do a thing and thus I should do it. This is especially important because when we judge the morality of an action, it's not the action itself that is judged, but the circumstances. What we all agree about stealing is not that it's wrong to take stuff for yourself, but to do it without the consent of its owner when it wasn't vital for you or other to have it. You could say that the hurt feelings of the owner, and any other disadvantages that the absence of the stuff might generate, is subjective and you would be right. The good thing is that we have a general consensus on that question which seems to indicate that we have reached the closest point of objectivism or absolute we can in term of morality.

In general we establish good things from bad things, by establishing if a method of action generates harm to others by using our sense of empathy, than analysing the situation to see if it was avoidable by using another method that would yield similar results. We then observe if the method logically extrapolated to a large number of individual would improve, deteriorate or don't affect the community. Following that, we will examine in which circumstances a person wouldn't oppose to be submitted to such an action. Finally we establish if exceptional and new circumstances have presented themselves. A frequent examination of this process must be conducted to insure that certain elements haven't been overlooked, making morality, ethics and laws a constantly evolving process based on observation, causality, cooperation, logic and projection. The worst thing about morality is that you usually don't know you did something wrong until it's too late to go back. That's why the axiom about hell being paved by good intentions is well representative of reality. I hope this help you identify my vision of morality.

If you say you can judge people under a nihilistic point of view, I would like to know on what basis and on what consequences. I would also like to know how it relate to law and governance which are direct product of morality and vice-versa.
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28-07-2015, 06:13 AM (This post was last modified: 28-07-2015 06:19 AM by Matt Finney.)
RE: Morality
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.
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28-07-2015, 09:22 AM
RE: Morality
(26-07-2015 09:56 PM)Fodder_From_The_Truth Wrote:  
(26-07-2015 09:48 PM)Hambone Wrote:  Of course each society designates an authority. Different countries with different rules. If that is actually what defines right and wrong, then it simply becomes relative, or subjective....

If this is the case, then what Stalin did isn't wrong as a fact, its just an opinion that what he did was wrong, no different to me thinking I am the best looking man that ever existed. Just a subjective opinion?

So where does a supernatural law giver come into play? Why does there need to be such a thing? And most importantly, prove it.

I'd also recommend enrolling in Intro to Psychology and Sociology 101 at your local university.

So in order for something to exist it has to be proven, otherwise it doesn't exist?
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28-07-2015, 09:24 AM
RE: Morality
(26-07-2015 11:04 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(26-07-2015 09:14 PM)Hambone Wrote:  If there is no reason that arose or the way they are, then the laws themselves came about by a blind unguided process. Random chance.
That's not correct.
That's like saying that if I roll a dice the number that faces straight up is by random chance.
Whereas there is zero probability of a 7 appearing and zero probability of a 0 appearing. There is 16.67% chance that a 1 appears, 16.67% chance that a 2 appears.
100% chance that the number is either a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6.
The structure and form of the dice define the probabilities. The probabilities are not random.
Why do you think the probabilities of the laws governing the universe are random? Do you understand what the universal constants are and how they might be explained? Do you understand what a graviton is and what the graviton field is? Do you understand what a Higgs field is? How can you make a claim such as that laws are random, when you don't understand what the laws are and how they are all interrelated?

If there was NO INTENTIONALITY for the laws to be the way they are, then they occurred randomly.
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28-07-2015, 09:25 AM
RE: Morality
(28-07-2015 09:24 AM)Hambone Wrote:  
(26-07-2015 11:04 PM)Stevil Wrote:  That's not correct.
That's like saying that if I roll a dice the number that faces straight up is by random chance.
Whereas there is zero probability of a 7 appearing and zero probability of a 0 appearing. There is 16.67% chance that a 1 appears, 16.67% chance that a 2 appears.
100% chance that the number is either a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6.
The structure and form of the dice define the probabilities. The probabilities are not random.
Why do you think the probabilities of the laws governing the universe are random? Do you understand what the universal constants are and how they might be explained? Do you understand what a graviton is and what the graviton field is? Do you understand what a Higgs field is? How can you make a claim such as that laws are random, when you don't understand what the laws are and how they are all interrelated?

If there was NO INTENTIONALITY for the laws to be the way they are, then they occurred randomly.

No. You don't understand what the word "random" means.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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28-07-2015, 09:30 AM
RE: Morality
(27-07-2015 01:15 AM)Reltzik Wrote:  
(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?

I would suggest that your analysis is incomplete because it ignores multiple options.

First, I would add a third category to your factual versus opinion/preference category: Convention. With convention, a large body of people agree (sometimes unconsciously or subconsciously, sometimes through unquestioned childhood indoctrination) to and adopt a certain assertion as true, usually with a pragmatic purpose. One good example is which side of the road to drive in.

But that says nothing about actually the truth. I am not interested in epistemology here, rather ontology.

In civilized parts of the world, we drive on the right side of the road. *ducks and covers* In other parts of the world, they drive on the left side of the road. There isn't really much objective reason to adopt one over the other. What's important is that everyone drives on the SAME side of the road... whichever side is the standard in that part of the world.

I don't see how this has anything to do with the argument. I am not arguing about epistemology.

Now, is "we should drive on the right side of the road" objective or subjective? It's not subjective -- it transcends the simple opinions or preferences of an individual. It's more solid than that. But it's not objective -- it can vary in time and place. It's less firm than that. It's somewhere in the middle.

Other examples of conventions can include vocabulary (is it dog, perro, or hund?), whether to use a . or a , to indicate the divide between the ones place and the tenths place in decimal notation, and just how much personal space one is supposed to give someone else. (If you are French, NEVER VISIT AUSTRALIA.)

I would suggest that morality (or, at least, our working understanding of morality) fits pretty nicely into this category of convention.

A claim based on subjective morality that the OT morality is wrong would, indeed, be a subjective claim... but a strong one. One's tastes and preferences can be shared by society at large, for example. It could be akin to declaring that skunk-flavored ice cream tastes bad. Or worse, garlic-chocolate ice cream. (For the morbidly curious, visit Gilroy. I accept neither legal nor ethical liability for the consequences.) At some point, this passes the critical threshold of widespread opinion and becomes convention.

But its nevertheless simply a subjective claim, which is no different to claiming chocolate cake tastes better than banana bread or I am the best looking man that ever existed.

We might even go a bit further. If we have a species-wide instinctive revulsion against certain activities (say, for example, eating feces... yes, I know there are exceptions to this, I'm feeling lazy on the examples front, NO I DON'T NEED LINKS TO COUNTEREXAMPLES!), is it objective then? At what point would we be able to declare something objective?

I honestly don't know what an objective moral would look like, that would be different from a widely-accepted convention. Can we build an objectivity-meter that would twitch if we point it at one? Is it that we can put our finger on why violating it is a bad idea (like, say, a doomsday machine that wipes out humanity)? If so, and if we can identify why it is bad through methods independent of morality, then what use is morality?

We seem to appeal to them everyday.

These aren't epistemic questions I'm asking. They're basic definition questions. What counts as a moral? What does truth or falsity actually indicate in the context of morals?

They are epistemic.


I would also take issue with the claim that an objective morality would require an objective moral-giver. If there was some objective morality, then it would indeed exist.... like the universe. Or as part of the universe. But just as the existence of the universe does not necessarily imply a creator, the existence of morality would not necessarily imply a moral-giver. As an alternative (not one that I believe, but one that highlights why this is an unjustified leap of logic), consider Taoism. In Taoism, the Tao is a state/path/habit/force of right-being and right-acting. It could be considered a moral code, or at least as including a moral code. Yet it is not an intelligent agent and is not at the whim of an intelligent agent. It is simply a natural force, defining right conduct much in the same way that gravity defines down.

How would objective moral facts or truths exist in a universe where their is no law giver? What are they doing there?
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28-07-2015, 09:33 AM
RE: Morality
(27-07-2015 05:00 AM)goodwithoutgod Wrote:  
(26-07-2015 09:19 PM)Hambone Wrote:  And here it is.......is their any obligation to promote the flourishing of the human species and maximise happiness? Who imposed this obligation?

Their are no obligations in the animal kingdom. We see torture, rape, killing for sport etc etc. Why would you think all of a sudden their are these obligations and duties on human beings that aren't their for animals? Who imposed these?

To suggest that there are these obligations and duties imposed on humans would be illusory.

Can't come up with any original thoughts huh? We also see love, parenting, and sacrifice in the animal kingdom, we also see monogamy, and homosexuality in the animal kingdom...what's your point? To suggest a "moral" standard had to have been applied by an hubris , egocentric, childish, invisible, transcendental, un-witnessed super being is not only disingenuous, it is unnecessary.

But these aren't right or wrong in the animal kingdom. When my neighbours cat tortures a mouse for hours and hours and finally kills it for sport, do you think it thinks it has done anything wrong? Of course not.
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