Science, reason and moral questions
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03-05-2017, 06:46 PM
RE: Science, reason and moral questions
(03-05-2017 06:29 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(03-05-2017 06:17 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  I've not said that we need moral beliefs. I've said we need objective moral principles. A belief and a principle are different things. belief is the confidence with which we accept that a proposition is true and it ranges from very tentative to near certainty. Beliefs are not irreducible primaries and neither are propositions since they in tern are reducible to concepts. What we need is a mental grasp of a fact/ facts relevant to man's life integrated into concepts. Then we need to integrate those concepts into propositions or principles, then we can judge whether or we accept the truth of that proposition.
I'm still not clear on what a moral principle is and how it differs from a moral belief.
A principle is an integration of concepts that identifies a fact/ facts of reality. Belief is the degree to which we accept that a principle is true. principles identify general knowledge. A moral principle is no different in form than any general principle. Moral principles identify facts which man needs to know in order to conduct his life. e=mc squared is also a principle but it identifies a fact about the fundamental forces of nature. God created the universe ex nihilo is a principle which purports to identify a fact about the universe but I don't accept this principle as true even tentatively because it entails an inherent contradiction. The law of identity is a general principle which I know to be true, it's not just a belief because it's truth is rationally undeniable.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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03-05-2017, 08:31 PM
RE: Science, reason and moral questions
(03-05-2017 06:46 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  
(03-05-2017 06:29 PM)Stevil Wrote:  I'm still not clear on what a moral principle is and how it differs from a moral belief.
A principle is an integration of concepts that identifies a fact/ facts of reality. Belief is the degree to which we accept that a principle is true. principles identify general knowledge. A moral principle is no different in form than any general principle. Moral principles identify facts which man needs to know in order to conduct his life. e=mc squared is also a principle but it identifies a fact about the fundamental forces of nature. God created the universe ex nihilo is a principle which purports to identify a fact about the universe but I don't accept this principle as true even tentatively because it entails an inherent contradiction. The law of identity is a general principle which I know to be true, it's not just a belief because it's truth is rationally undeniable.
OK, I'm still not there yet.

I'm not sure why some principles can be labelled with the "moral" descriptor.
Facts are evidence based knowledge (True Justified Beliefs). Unjustified beliefs are generally called "beliefs".

Now a fact such as "I need water to survive" is just a fact, I don't see how morality applies to it.
Perhaps you could believe that I am acting immorally if I don't drink water. But that is not a fact, "If don''t drink water I will die" is a fact, not a moral fact, but simply a fact. "It is wrong not to drink water such that one consequently dies of dehydration" is an opinion, a belief.
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04-05-2017, 03:38 AM (This post was last modified: 04-05-2017 03:56 AM by Robvalue.)
RE: Science, reason and moral questions
I had an interesting discussion with someone before who was an atheist trying to claim that there could be "moral facts".

I said that this is a contradiction in terms, and that such "facts" would be dependent on a subjective value system. And even if there was somehow a sort of inherent morality to reality, it would again be utterly meaningless and pointless.

I illustrated this point by saying that if this person somehow knew for certain that it was a "moral fact" that rape was a moral action, would they change their opinion to match this "fact"? They answered that they would not. I can't think of any other instance where someone would continue to hold onto an opinion which estimates a fact, and to use that opinion when making judgements, when they have the actual fact in question available.

So the person was rejecting their own hypothesis about moral facts, effectively. (They say they consider rape immoral, even "knowing" that it isn't, according to their own claim.)

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04-05-2017, 03:48 AM (This post was last modified: 04-05-2017 03:53 AM by Robvalue.)
RE: Science, reason and moral questions
(03-05-2017 06:46 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  
(03-05-2017 06:29 PM)Stevil Wrote:  I'm still not clear on what a moral principle is and how it differs from a moral belief.
A principle is an integration of concepts that identifies a fact/ facts of reality. Belief is the degree to which we accept that a principle is true. principles identify general knowledge. A moral principle is no different in form than any general principle. Moral principles identify facts which man needs to know in order to conduct his life. e=mc squared is also a principle but it identifies a fact about the fundamental forces of nature. God created the universe ex nihilo is a principle which purports to identify a fact about the universe but I don't accept this principle as true even tentatively because it entails an inherent contradiction. The law of identity is a general principle which I know to be true, it's not just a belief because it's truth is rationally undeniable.

But you don't need to know any "moral principles" to conduct your life. People don't need to understand morality one bit in order to "use" it. Some people don't even have any morality, but can have very successful lives (psychopaths).

Fact wise, all we can do is note that humans, and some other animals, do generally care about each other. Individuals do this to greater or lesser degrees, and rate different aspects of wellbeing/life to their own subjective values. We can study why this is. Trying to say what the "correct" way to care though, is entirely a NTS in my opinion.

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04-05-2017, 07:11 AM
RE: Science, reason and moral questions
(04-05-2017 03:48 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  
(03-05-2017 06:46 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  A principle is an integration of concepts that identifies a fact/ facts of reality. Belief is the degree to which we accept that a principle is true. principles identify general knowledge. A moral principle is no different in form than any general principle. Moral principles identify facts which man needs to know in order to conduct his life. e=mc squared is also a principle but it identifies a fact about the fundamental forces of nature. God created the universe ex nihilo is a principle which purports to identify a fact about the universe but I don't accept this principle as true even tentatively because it entails an inherent contradiction. The law of identity is a general principle which I know to be true, it's not just a belief because it's truth is rationally undeniable.

But you don't need to know any "moral principles" to conduct your life. People don't need to understand morality one bit in order to "use" it. Some people don't even have any morality, but can have very successful lives (psychopaths).

Fact wise, all we can do is note that humans, and some other animals, do generally care about each other. Individuals do this to greater or lesser degrees, and rate different aspects of wellbeing/life to their own subjective values. We can study why this is. Trying to say what the "correct" way to care though, is entirely a NTS in my opinion.

You don't need any knowledge in order to live your life? Really? How do you rate different aspects of well being without first having a grasp of what wellbeing is? Blank out.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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04-05-2017, 07:33 AM
RE: Science, reason and moral questions
(03-05-2017 08:31 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(03-05-2017 06:46 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  A principle is an integration of concepts that identifies a fact/ facts of reality. Belief is the degree to which we accept that a principle is true. principles identify general knowledge. A moral principle is no different in form than any general principle. Moral principles identify facts which man needs to know in order to conduct his life. e=mc squared is also a principle but it identifies a fact about the fundamental forces of nature. God created the universe ex nihilo is a principle which purports to identify a fact about the universe but I don't accept this principle as true even tentatively because it entails an inherent contradiction. The law of identity is a general principle which I know to be true, it's not just a belief because it's truth is rationally undeniable.
OK, I'm still not there yet.

I'm not sure why some principles can be labelled with the "moral" descriptor.
Facts are evidence based knowledge (True Justified Beliefs). Unjustified beliefs are generally called "beliefs".

Now a fact such as "I need water to survive" is just a fact, I don't see how morality applies to it.
Perhaps you could believe that I am acting immorally if I don't drink water. But that is not a fact, "If don''t drink water I will die" is a fact, not a moral fact, but simply a fact. "It is wrong not to drink water such that one consequently dies of dehydration" is an opinion, a belief.

Stevil, I just spent quite a bit of time typing a response to you and unfortunately in my groggy state this morning I hit preview instead of post and It is lost. So this will have to wait until later as I have to get to work but I think I know the source of the problem. So I'll make the time to respond again, but I can't now.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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04-05-2017, 12:00 PM
RE: Science, reason and moral questions
(03-05-2017 02:33 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  No it doesn't. The axioms I speak of are baseline recognitions, the very base of knowledge. They come way, way before any thoughts of morality or the is/ ought problem. By definition an axiom does not assume any prior knowledge because there isn't any knowledge prior to the axioms. They are implicit in all knowledge. They are conceptually irreducible primaries.

So your moral axioms aren't true? But then how do you claim moral knowledge? Are you straying from the justified-true-belief model of knowledge?

"I think part of the appeal of mathematical logic is that the formulas look mysterious - you write backward Es!" - Hilary Putnam
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04-05-2017, 02:09 PM
RE: Science, reason and moral questions
(04-05-2017 12:00 PM)Naielis Wrote:  
(03-05-2017 02:33 PM)true scotsman Wrote:  No it doesn't. The axioms I speak of are baseline recognitions, the very base of knowledge. They come way, way before any thoughts of morality or the is/ ought problem. By definition an axiom does not assume any prior knowledge because there isn't any knowledge prior to the axioms. They are implicit in all knowledge. They are conceptually irreducible primaries.

So your moral axioms aren't true? But then how do you claim moral knowledge? Are you straying from the justified-true-belief model of knowledge?

I don't even recognize such a thing as a moral axiom. Axioms identify facts at the very base of knowledge. They are conceptually irreducible which moral principles certainly are not. They all rest on prior knowledge. The axioms are the bedrock of knowledge. They are the starting point of knowledge. There is no knowledge more fundamental than them and that's why they ground knowledge in reality. They are also incontestably true. They would have to be true in order to try and contest them. They give us a conceptually irreducible, objective starting point. They are the standard by which truth is judged. All truths reduce to the axioms. All truths are of the form A is some aspect of what A is and all falsehoods are of the form A is something which it is not. That's what I mean by grounding knowledge. The primacy of existence principle establishes the relationship between my mind and the objects of my consciousness. This gives me a basis for distinguishing the real and the unreal, the subjective from the objective. The objective theory of concepts gives a model for forming open ended entity classes or generalized knowledge, also known as concepts, from particulars. So it also gives us a model for induction. The process of forming concepts is essentially a process of induction. So when you asked me how I establish something objectively, that's why I listed the axioms, the primacy of existence and the objective theory of concepts. That would be my answer for how I justify any knowledge, not just moral principles.

No I haven't strayed from the justified true belief model of knowledge because I've never accepted it. I think it is fundamentally flawed. I don't think that knowledge is composed of beliefs but concepts, so I hold to the conceptual model of knowledge. Beliefs are not primaries. Knowledge is composed of propositions which are in turn composed of concepts. concepts are how we retain and organize the vast majority of knowledge.

Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. - Ayn Rand.

Don't sacrifice for me, live for yourself! - Me

The only alternative to Objectivism is some form of Subjectivism. - Dawson Bethrick
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04-05-2017, 11:43 PM (This post was last modified: 04-05-2017 11:49 PM by Robvalue.)
RE: Science, reason and moral questions
(04-05-2017 07:11 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  
(04-05-2017 03:48 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  But you don't need to know any "moral principles" to conduct your life. People don't need to understand morality one bit in order to "use" it. Some people don't even have any morality, but can have very successful lives (psychopaths).

Fact wise, all we can do is note that humans, and some other animals, do generally care about each other. Individuals do this to greater or lesser degrees, and rate different aspects of wellbeing/life to their own subjective values. We can study why this is. Trying to say what the "correct" way to care though, is entirely a NTS in my opinion.

You don't need any knowledge in order to live your life? Really? How do you rate different aspects of well being without first having a grasp of what wellbeing is? Blank out.

I said you don't need knowledge about morality. Please re-read my post. I didn't say you don't need any knowledge at all.

If you're suggesting that animals which live in groups have "knowledge about morality", then you're stretching that phrase to be rather meaningless. They're not going to even have conscious moral principles, most likely.

For even some humans today, and specifically our ancestor species, the morality comes straight from emotions/subconscious, whether they realize it or not. They just act accordingly. They may never have paused to consider what "moral principles" they are using. It's instinctive. Now we are more advanced and have to worry less about survival, we have the opportunity to ponder and to consciously evaluate our principles.

So you could say, as a tautology, any animal (including humans) that displays "moral behavior" has its own moral principles. Whether they are consciously aware of what those principles are, is a different matter. The principles are subject to change, particularly in humans, where we often do have the chance and ability to reflect. But these are highly personal, although due to evolution, there will of course be big overlaps. These overlaps do not represent objectivity. Well-being is such a vague term that it can't easily be measured. Everyone values certain aspects differently.

Again, I refer you to psychopaths. They have no morality. They have no moral principles, unless you include pure pragmatism as moral principles, which I think would make the term meaningless. They don't do things because they care about the well-being of others. They're not capable, in the same way as you and I. Successful ones mimic it because it's practical to do so. Some are so good at it that you'd never know. This is a scary prospect of course, because as soon as this stops benefiting them they can alter their behavior in extreme ways that those of us bound by morality could not easily do.

Clearly many people don't understand their own morality, because they think it comes "from God" rather than from their emotions and instincts, and indirectly from their ancestry.

For God's sake, will I ever shut up? I mean really. I bore myself to tears.

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04-05-2017, 11:56 PM
RE: Science, reason and moral questions
Let me say one more thing:

All behavior breaks down to pragmatism in the end, if you keep on pushing. But that doesn't mean it's all equivalent.

To me, the difference between pragmatic behavior and moral behavior is the motivation. Moral animals really care about other animals. They feel for them. A pragmatic animal such as a psychopath doesn't care, it just does whatever it takes to achieve what it wants. It will only go out of its way to help if there's ultimately something in it for them.

Acting morally makes you feel good, and you feel guilty when you act immorally. It's the actual act itself, not just the consequences, which get a response. It's driven by emotions. Pure pragmatism isn't, at least not in the same way.

OK I'll be quiet now Tongue

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