Objective Morality
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06-12-2013, 11:32 PM
RE: Objective Morality
(06-12-2013 09:57 PM)djkamilo Wrote:  
(06-12-2013 09:44 PM)Stevil Wrote:  But if human well-being and reduction of human suffering were the goal then abortion might well be off the cards, (unless of course you can dehumanise a foetus

I'm going to have to agree with the conclusion. I'm willing to be convinced otherwise but I believe abortion in many cases to be immoral. Anyone care to enlighten me?

Matt will...
The argument concerns 'bodily rights'...



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06-12-2013, 11:39 PM
RE: Objective Morality
(06-12-2013 11:19 PM)Vosur Wrote:  No, it's more along the lines of "If well-being is achieved in different ways by different people, how do we determine that specific brain states universally correlate with well-being?".

That's like asking if different people get pleasure from eating different foods then how can we "determine that specific brain states universally correlate with" pleasure?

Because many subjective experiences (e.g. enjoying eating apples, enjoying eating chocolate, enjoying eating ice-cream) all map to the same functional regions of the brain. There isn't a part of the brain dedicated to apple-eating-pleasure and another for ice-cream-eating-pleasure. It is the gustatory and olfactory pleasure that is the commonality.

Also there won't be one single pattern of well-being there will likely be a multitude of patterns because well-being is multi-factorial, it isn't a unitary phenomenon. Think of it just like health.
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06-12-2013, 11:42 PM
RE: Objective Morality
(06-12-2013 11:39 PM)Chippy Wrote:  Because many subjective experiences (e.g. enjoying eating apples, enjoying eating chocolate, enjoying eating ice-cream) all map to the same functional regions of the brain. There isn't a part of the brain dedicated to apple-eating-pleasure and another for ice-cream-eating-pleasure. It is the gustatory and olfactory pleasure that is the commonality.

Also there won't be one single pattern of well-being there will likely be a multitude of patterns because well-being is multi-factorial, it isn't a unitary phenomenon. Think of it just like health.
Good answer. Thumbsup

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07-12-2013, 12:00 AM (This post was last modified: 07-12-2013 01:00 AM by DLJ.)
RE: Objective Morality
Can we move the conversation on from the ad hom bullshit please?


My problem with the Harris proposition is...

Actually I don't have a problem with it. There is a scientist testing a hypothesis. All good.

But it might be too narrow in its approach. Time (and empirical evidence) will tell.


I have just had a great discussion with my atheist Vietnamese flatmate where the conversation ranged from the crowds of church-goers out today (i.e. how can they be so stooopid) and her superstitious friend who believes that her marriage breakdown was Karma.

Anyway, Buddha came up and I thought of Harris.

The central tenet of Buddhism is about minimising suffering (and I had a great conversation with a Jain last week covering the extreme version of Buddhism i.e. no suffering at all for anything i.e. drinking water causes suffering to the 'soul' of water. Yeah, I know, right?) so it's not far removed from the 'well-being' debate.

It does not, however, go as far as maximising pleasure (hedonism).

So in essence we need to establish objective scales for a range of stuff... pleasure/pain (well-being) or harm/care being just one.

Here is some stuff from Jonathan Haidt
http://www.moralfoundations.org/

The 6 "moralities" are:
1. Harm / care (empathy)
2. Fairness / cheating (reciprocity)
3. Liberty / oppression (freedom)
4. Loyalty / betrayal (in-group)
5. Authority / subversion (respect)
6. Sanctity / degradation (purity)

I wonder how much of that is addressed by the well-being (Harris) model.

Example from above...
Quote:I'm willing to be convinced otherwise but I believe abortion in many cases to be immoral.

Abortion relates to not just #1 (well-being) but also #3, #5 and #6.
We often observe the disgust-reflex (#6) but most would argue that it is immoral for force (#3 and #5) a woman to have (or not have) an abortion.

Agree?

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07-12-2013, 01:28 AM
RE: Objective Morality
(06-12-2013 11:32 PM)DLJ Wrote:  Matt will...
The argument concerns 'bodily rights'...

I don't agree with either of them.
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07-12-2013, 01:36 AM
RE: Objective Morality
(07-12-2013 01:28 AM)Chippy Wrote:  
(06-12-2013 11:32 PM)DLJ Wrote:  Matt will...
The argument concerns 'bodily rights'...

I don't agree with either of them.

Why doesn't that surprise me?

Tongue

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07-12-2013, 02:28 AM
RE: Objective Morality
(07-12-2013 12:00 AM)DLJ Wrote:  It does not, however, go as far as maximising pleasure(hedonism).

Harris addresses this on page 12. He contends that maximising pleasure is inadequate as the greatest good because it leads to a regress that results from Moore's Open-question argument. Harris argues that equating good with well-being--instead of pleasure--terminates the regress.

Quote:Here is some stuff from Jonathan Haidt
http://www.moralfoundations.org/

The 6 "moralities" are:
1. Harm / care (empathy)
2. Fairness / cheating (reciprocity)
3. Liberty / oppression (freedom)
4. Loyalty / betrayal (in-group)
5. Authority / subversion (respect)
6. Sanctity / degradation (purity)

This looks like virtue-based ethics.

Quote:I wonder how much of that is addressed by the well-being (Harris) model.

Harris is ambiguous on this matter. Although he doesn't explicitly state that he is pursuing a virtue-based system of ethics he does say:

"Both Casebeer and Flanagan have resurrected Aristotle's concept of eudaimonia, which is generally translated as "flourishing", "fulfillment," or "well-being." While I rely heavily on these English equivalents, I have elected not to pay attention to Aristotle. While much of what Aristotle wrote in his Nichomachean Ethics is of great interest and convergent with the case I wish to make, some of it isn't. And I'd rather not be beholden to the quirks of the great man's philosophy." (The Moral Landscape; p.195)

But on page 62 he says "Here is my (consequentialist) starting point:...". Is he developing some consequentialist/virtue-based hybrid?
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07-12-2013, 03:00 AM
RE: Objective Morality
(07-12-2013 02:28 AM)Chippy Wrote:  ...
Is he developing some consequentialist/virtue-based hybrid?

Perhaps he feels it his duty so to do.

Kant argue with that, can we? Big Grin

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07-12-2013, 12:42 PM
RE: Objective Morality
(06-12-2013 11:11 PM)Chippy Wrote:  
(06-12-2013 10:31 PM)Stevil Wrote:  And if your moral beliefs on this matter causes you to support laws against other people performing late-term abortion (thus oblige police to use force on pregnant women) then I disagree with this philosophy.

When the foetus develops a brain that can experience "well-being" then its interests would have to be taken account of in Harris' scheme. But that doesn't entail that the mother's well-being can be ignored. If the birth will harm the mother then obviously there is a moral conflict. We don't yet have from Harris an ethical system that we can use to resolve competing interests.
From my perspective the fate of the unborn and the fate of the mother are not my concern, not my business. I am a third party to this and I have no vested interest to interfere.
Nothing compels me to use physical force on this pregnant woman in order to prevent her having an abortion. Even if I did have some empathy for the plight of her unborn, I am not compelled to risk a violent conflict in terms of attempting to stop her.

(06-12-2013 11:11 PM)Chippy Wrote:  
Quote:If Harris' philosophy is this way inclined then I disagree with Harris' philosophy, thus his philosophy is subjective.

It doesn't follow that if your disagree with something it is subjective. It could be subjective but not because you disagree with it.
The subjective bit is the acceptance of Harris' yardstick.
I don't agree that suffering of others gives me the incentive to interfere.

I'd be willing to bet that if late term abortions were legal then most people would still walk peacefully past an abortion clinic. Most people would not physically attack a pregnant woman.
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07-12-2013, 12:48 PM
RE: Objective Morality
The woman in the video was a poor debater in my opinion, perhaps the Chipster should have debated Matt and obliterated his arguments with awesomeness and flaire.

“The reason people use a crucifix against vampires is because vampires are allergic to bullshit.” ― Richard Pryor
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