Objective Morality
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05-12-2013, 02:15 AM
RE: Objective Morality
(05-12-2013 01:53 AM)evenheathen Wrote:  But don't we have to come up with a standard against which to measure?

Yes and that is what Harris is doing. He is proposing human well-being as the standard of measure.

Quote:And how would we agree that said standard is absolute?

We don't want or need an absolute standard we need only an objective standard and we have one in human neurology.

Quote:A humanistic view of life is by no means absolute,

Agreed but we don't need absolutism, objectivity is all that we need.
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05-12-2013, 02:16 AM
RE: Objective Morality
(05-12-2013 01:53 AM)evenheathen Wrote:  But don't we have to come up with a standard against which to measure?

Yes, if we want an harmonious existence. Not everyone does.

(05-12-2013 01:53 AM)evenheathen Wrote:  And how would we agree that said standard is absolute?

I think you don't mean 'absolute' (the extremes of a scale), I think you mean 'optimal'. Sadly, that is always going to remian subjective / relative. Not everyone will agree hence we have political mechanisms (democracy, dictatorship etc.) to ensure that stakeholders' needs are weighed up.

(05-12-2013 01:53 AM)evenheathen Wrote:  A humanistic view of life is by no means absolute, I would argue it is still subjective.

Agreed.

(05-12-2013 01:53 AM)evenheathen Wrote:  With some objective scenarios.

Only once the scale / framework has been established.

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05-12-2013, 02:28 AM (This post was last modified: 05-12-2013 02:34 AM by Chippy.)
RE: Objective Morality
(05-12-2013 01:56 AM)evenheathen Wrote:  Okay, neurology. Got it. Science and shit. Still sketchy though.

All that Harris is arguing in relation to neurology is that at the end of the day all human subjective experience is reducible to a set of neural states and transitions between these states. So the notion of well-being will eventually yield to neuroscience and be describable as some set of brain states. Harris' argument is essentially that this nueroscientific insight can serve as a theory of value and with additions an ethical theory. For the sake of argument, call these desired brain states W. So we have:

Judaeo-Christian axiology: Yahweh's placation; salvation of your eternal soul
Harris' axiology: W
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05-12-2013, 04:39 AM
RE: Objective Morality
(05-12-2013 02:11 AM)Chippy Wrote:  
(05-12-2013 01:34 AM)Stevil Wrote:  What does the word "morality" mean to you?

That answer comes in the form of a:
(a) an axiology i.e. a theory of value;
(b) an ethical theory, i.e. a set of principles regarding (a);
© a praxeology, i.e. a theory of action in relation to (a) and (b).

That is what ethics and meta-ethics are concerned with discovering and justifying. The dictionary definition is just a generic description, it doesn't provide any answers as to what (a), (b) and © consist of.

Harris provides a proposal for (a) and that is what is being defended in this thread. Harris doesn't cover (b) or ©.

By making moral claims about yourself and your property you are implicitly relying on an axiology. You are expressing a valuation so by definition you can't be a nihilist. Those things that contribute towards your self-preservation constitute your theory of value.
OK, lets philosophise regarding this definition. Morality = a theory of values and or a set of principles regarding a theory of values or a theory of action in relation to a theory or set of principles regarding a theory of values.

Let's say I value my freedom very highly. Let's say I equate wealth with freedom, because money allows me to buy what I want.
Let's say my parents are reasonably well off and I and my sister are the heirs.
I thus have a theory that actions that get me closer to being wealthy will increase my chances of freedom.
So I kill my sister in a way that I don't get incriminated. This act doubles my inheritance and since I value my freedom and this inheritance will provide me with money which increases my freedoms thus killing my sister was a moral act.
In order to be a very good boy, and very very moral I then go about killing my parents because I don't want to wait until old age to get my inheritance.
Would you consider my actions to be moral?


Also lets think of who else but Hitler. He values blond hair, blued eyed people. He has negative value on Jews. So his theory is that if he kills Jews then there will be less of them thus less negative value in the world. He certainly can't have them procreating and creating more and more Jews. In Hitler's morals it would be immoral for Jews to procreate and moral for people to kill Jews.
But on the otherhand it would be moral for blond hair, blue eyed people to get together and procreate, but given that blond and blue eyes are recessive it would be immoral for these people to procreate with people with black hair and brown eyes.
Is this true?
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05-12-2013, 07:25 AM
RE: Objective Morality
(05-12-2013 04:39 AM)Stevil Wrote:  ....
Is this true?

Kinda.

The universe does not give two fucks about your sister or you for that matter ... therefore, no absolutes.

Your morals are subjectively fine... for you (and for a few biblical characters now I think about it).

But your actions are in direct contrast to the other actors' morals in this scenario unless your other family members are ok with the whole being killed thing / would do the same to you.

We can say that you are objectively immoral if and only if there is a consensus that harming another human / violating their rights is immoral.

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05-12-2013, 08:00 AM (This post was last modified: 05-12-2013 08:08 AM by houseofcantor.)
RE: Objective Morality
Morality as a relic of chemical intelligence is reactive to the environment. It cannot be absolute as we change environments, nor can it be objective as we change the environment.

(edit - before the citation needed crowd shows upSmile
http://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/brain-chemistry...king-audio
http://spectrum.ieee.org/podcast/geek-li...l-morality

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05-12-2013, 08:34 AM
RE: Objective Morality
If you claim "Objective morality, therefore gawd-X", you have to not only prove why gawd-x and not any other result, AND you have to [i]precisely define objective morality AND prove your claim that it actually exists.[/quote]

It's Special Pleadings all the way down!


Magic Talking Snakes STFU -- revenantx77


You can't have your special pleading and eat it too. -- WillHop
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05-12-2013, 08:53 AM (This post was last modified: 05-12-2013 08:59 AM by DLJ.)
RE: Objective Morality
(05-12-2013 08:34 AM)Taqiyya Mockingbird Wrote:  If you claim "Objective morality, therefore gawd-X", you have to not only prove why gawd-x and not any other result, AND you have to [i]precisely define objective morality AND prove your claim that it actually exists.

Yeah! And good luck with that.

Big Grin

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05-12-2013, 08:59 AM
RE: Objective Morality
(05-12-2013 08:00 AM)houseofcantor Wrote:  Morality as a relic of chemical intelligence is reactive to the environment. It cannot be absolute as we change environments, nor can it be objective as we change the environment.

The forum prophet has spoken.

So it is as it shall be.

Ramen.

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05-12-2013, 09:03 AM
RE: Objective Morality
(05-12-2013 08:59 AM)DLJ Wrote:  
(05-12-2013 08:00 AM)houseofcantor Wrote:  Morality as a relic of chemical intelligence is reactive to the environment. It cannot be absolute as we change environments, nor can it be objective as we change the environment.

The forum prophet has spoken.

So it is as it shall be.

Ramen.

I guess that means my work for the day is done and I can get back to Arkham City. Thumbsup

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