What Exactly Does "Objective" Morality Mean?
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01-02-2018, 10:38 AM
What Exactly Does "Objective" Morality Mean?
(31-01-2018 10:50 PM)Glossophile Wrote:  I think debates on morality could be streamlined and made more effective if the debaters clarified and agreed on the relevant definitions from the outset. What do you think?
I don’t think definitions would help. Either side sees the problem differently.

For me, “objective morality” would exist apart from god and would apply to that god as well. That’s not the kind of god we see depicted in the Bible. That god tells its followers not to kill but has no problems committing genocide and ordering its followers to commit genocide and infanticide.

Any morality which relies on a god would have to be subjective. This god could change its mind about what is good or bad. This renders the morality arbitrary and nearly chaotic. This is what gets Christians like William Lane Craig is trouble, in my opinion. By leaning on his god for morality, he then finds himself in the unenviable position of having to defend blatantly immoral acts, like that of YHWH ordering its followers to commit genocide and infanticide.
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01-02-2018, 11:05 AM
RE: What Exactly Does "Objective" Morality Mean?
(01-02-2018 10:16 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(01-02-2018 10:01 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  You didn't answer the question, I see.

Subjective morality is what we observe: everyone decides for themselves what they think is acceptable and not acceptable. So that's perfectly coherent and consistent with reality.

Okay so just to further clarify, based on the definition of subjective:

sub·jec·tive
səbˈjektiv/Submit
adjective
1.
based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.

Do you believe that morality is a matter of personal feelings, tastes, or opinions?

Would you say your belief that torturing innocent babies just for fun is morally wrong, is an expression of your personal feelings on the subject, like we might say of your taste in music or fashion?

Still avoiding my question, I see.

It is a matter of personal opinion, yes. Some people might feel that there's nothing wrong with it. People would tend to take morality more seriously than music, but yes, each person will differ in what exactly they find acceptable or not acceptable. It just so happens that, since we evolved together, there is generally quite a big overlap between our opinions, and often near-consensus on some matters.

Are you going to answer my question now?

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01-02-2018, 11:07 AM
RE: What Exactly Does "Objective" Morality Mean?
(01-02-2018 09:42 AM)true scotsman Wrote:  An objective moral code is one that is based on the observable, verifiable facts of reality. An objective morality is not based on the whim of the moment, on empathy, on what someone says is right, on what society says is right or what some supernatural being says is right. It recognizes the absoluteness of reality and assumes the primacy of facts over feelings.

A moral code is a set of values and principles to guide one's choices and actions which in turn determine the course of one's life. It's a set of values which correspond to the facts relevant to the task of living one's life according to one's nature. These facts are what they are independent of one's feelings. something is right because it corresponds to reality. If one gets his moral code based on the say so of others or of society or of some preacher or a book or just by the whim of the moment, then one's moral code is subjective. If one gets his moral code from identifying facts and the recognition that facts are absolutes, i.e. obtain independently of conscious activity, then one's moral code is objective.

Also objective morality assumes free will, which I define as the ability to think or not to think.
All well and good in theory, but not all facts are perceived / interpreted / applied in the same way by all comers. Sometimes, x number of people can see the facts in x > 1 <= x ways. If there's not a 100% consensus about a given fact, then it doesn't matter that there's an objective fact "out there" to be seen -- it's not being seen, and therefore it's ambiguous.

The above paragraph can be true even if the set of x people are all rationalists, empiricists, and have some basic grounding in a sound epistemology, understand logical fallacies and their significance, and so forth.

Sometimes there are both benefits and harms to a given course of action. Sometimes, they are nearly equal. Sometimes, they are not, but you, your family, or your group are getting the short end of the stick.

There will always be moral ambiguities, but that doesn't mean that most moral questions can't be resolved on the preponderance of evidence, or that moral questions can't be objective enough to have utility.

But there will always be difficult moral conundrums that can't be resolved in some Spock-like fashion that can be demonstrated via some proof to be "objectively right".
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01-02-2018, 11:07 AM
RE: What Exactly Does "Objective" Morality Mean?
Tommy equates torturing babies with food and fashion.
He should have his garbage searched, and his basement dug up.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein It is objectively immoral to kill innocent babies. Please stick to the guilty babies.
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01-02-2018, 11:10 AM
RE: What Exactly Does "Objective" Morality Mean?
Lol Big Grin He always picks that example because it's completely outrageous, instead of any actual moral dilemma for which there is no objective way of determining the "right" answer. If this "objective morality" can't handle anything more nuanced than torturing babies or looking through my record collection, it's not much use, is it?

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01-02-2018, 11:19 AM
RE: What Exactly Does "Objective" Morality Mean?
(01-02-2018 09:29 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  Let's say we discovered torturing those innocent babies that keep coming up is objectively moral. Would Tom then give the go-ahead for doing this? Or would he ignore this "moral fact" in favour of his own opinion? If morality is to be objective, it does not require itself to happen to correlate with what anyone feels is right or wrong, or how they think it should be determined. Can't have it both ways.

Actually, you can see this exact behavior in action with stuff like slavery.

I was on a Facebook group mainly populated by fundamentalists, who tend to see the Bible as literally true. Someone brought up the parts in the Old Testament that promoted, or at least condoned, slavery.

Now, they've grown up in a culture that says slavery is wrong, but their super legit, objective morality book is saying otherwise. Cue the mental gymnastics to rewrite those portions, claiming that the Hebrew word could also mean "servant". When asked why the Bible instructs the correct way and circumstances for beating your slaveservant, they say "well, you don't have to, you just can".

So, I'd say that the current culture, subjective morality trumps what they see as objective, in that they'll filter that objective morality through their subjective mores.

Now we just have to wait for them to get on board with
  • gays being people, too
  • women being equal to men
  • science not just being atheistic lies
, so they can rewrite their Biblical views on those topics.
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01-02-2018, 11:24 AM
RE: What Exactly Does "Objective" Morality Mean?
(01-02-2018 11:10 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  Lol Big Grin He always picks that example because it's completely outrageous, instead of any actual moral dilemma for which there is no objective way of determining the "right" answer. If this "objective morality" can't handle anything more nuanced than torturing babies or looking through my record collection, it's not much use, is it?

I picked that example because in removes certain ambiguities.

It's quite interesting that you dodge the idea of implying it's subjective, in light of the definition of subjective.

I mean would you say some morality is objective and some isn't subjective, or it's all subjective. If you mean its all subjective, than it's all a matter of taste, even torturing innocent babies just for fun.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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01-02-2018, 11:30 AM
RE: What Exactly Does "Objective" Morality Mean?
(01-02-2018 11:07 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  Tommy equates torturing babies with food and fashion.
He should have his garbage searched, and his basement dug up.

I equate subjectivity with preferences such as in food and fashion.

I use these examples because they're neutral enough to discuss the meaning of subjectivity.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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01-02-2018, 11:31 AM
RE: What Exactly Does "Objective" Morality Mean?
(01-02-2018 09:20 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  The debate is all bullshit. People LEARN , or purposely adopt their value systems, based on *something*. Objective AND subjective morality is all bullshit.

I think the quibbling about it all is pretty much bullshit.
Objective and subjective morality are most often red herring material.

(01-02-2018 09:25 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Either morality is objective or subjective, there is no inbetween. You could say it's subjective and cultural and social influences play a part in our subjective preferences here, as they do in our taste in music of food.

If morality is not subjective, then it's objective--your hand waving aside.

No in between - really Tomas? And who are you to decide this for another?

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Although ... lately, I have had really bad hair days. Dodgy

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01-02-2018, 11:34 AM
RE: What Exactly Does "Objective" Morality Mean?
(01-02-2018 11:05 AM)Robvalue Wrote:  
(01-02-2018 10:16 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  Okay so just to further clarify, based on the definition of subjective:

sub·jec·tive
səbˈjektiv/Submit
adjective
1.
based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.

Do you believe that morality is a matter of personal feelings, tastes, or opinions?

Would you say your belief that torturing innocent babies just for fun is morally wrong, is an expression of your personal feelings on the subject, like we might say of your taste in music or fashion?

Still avoiding my question, I see.

It is a matter of personal opinion, yes. Some people might feel that there's nothing wrong with it. People would tend to take morality more seriously than music, but yes, each person will differ in what exactly they find acceptable or not acceptable. It just so happens that, since we evolved together, there is generally quite a big overlap between our opinions, and often near-consensus on some matters.

Are you going to answer my question now?

You can disregard my last post, because I missed this response.

I went back through our chain of responses, and wasn't able to find the question you asked me?

Can you repeat it.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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