The Instigator
InVinoVeritas
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
Maestro
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

Moral facts exist

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/2/2012 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 915 times Debate No: 22515
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (0)

 

InVinoVeritas

Con

Moral fact: Objective facts upon which moral propositions are founded. [1]

Pro would take the stance that moral facts exist, and Con will take the stance against this.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...

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First round is strictly for acceptance and negotations of definitions and terms of debate.

Thank you.
Maestro

Pro

Thank you, IVV, for this interesting choice for debate. A weighty topic.

I think by "moral facts" you mean stuff people can make a moral judgment on, like "good" or "bad" (in this case, because this "stuff" is an "objective fact")? I'd use your supplied definition, but the source you provided just went whistling right over my head; I knew I should have taken that Philo course when my professor offered, =P. Please correct me if I'm wrong; you could also extend the definition so I can sorta see how you plan to attack it.

In keeping with your profile nomen, perhaps you could chillax and provide less-than-scholarly examples as to why you don't believe in an objective morality? It would be illuminating and fun. Also, it would really help me if you provided some examples or further definitions people use to "prove moral facts exist", because I can't seem to find many discussions on the matter. Not quite sure which way I should be coming in, and the premises do seem to be a bit stacked right from the get-go.
Debate Round No. 1
InVinoVeritas

Con

I. There are no inherent moral features in this world
II. Nothing is inherently right or wrong.
III. Hence, no moral judgments are true
IV. However, our sincere moral judgments try, but always fail, to describe the moral features of things.

We justify I. by stating that moral claims inherently imply moral internalism. In the words of Mackey, "It is necessary and a priori that any agent who judges that one of his available actions is morally obligatory will have some (defeasible) motivation to perform that action." [1]

Another argument: If "stealing from the elderly" is true, then everyone has a reason to not kill babies, correct? "Everyone" would include a ruthless burglar who preys on the elderly because he resents old people and wishes to take advantage of their physical fragility. But, surely, (if we assume that he will suffer no reprisals) the burglar has every reason to steal from the elderly, and, hence, he has no reason not to do so. Therefore, all moral claims are thus false. This argument, the Argument for Disagreement, can alo be attributed to Mackey.

If moral claims are, indeed, wrong, then surely moral facts do not exist, since any claim of such would be invalid.

[1] Joyce, Richard (2001). The Myth of Morality, Cambridge University Press.

Maestro

Pro

Thanks, IVV, for your excellent choice of source material and citations. It is always difficult to weigh the subtler merits of certain philosophies; for every anti-realist like Richard Joyce (who asserted that it is impossible to make good or evil statements in regards to morality) [1], there are moral nihilists like John Mackie (who asserted, definitively, that there are no objective moral features in the world) [2]. This prickly mix of affairs could turn any philosophical discussion sour, but your apt decision to start from a fairly neutral place has allowed us to approach this topic properly and without prejudice.

1. I find it slightly odd, however, that you would use Mackie's Argument in this context when Richard Joyce goes on to say that he believes Mackie's initial premise: "I. There are no inherent moral features in the world" is false [3].

And that, I think, is the crux of this whole discussion: Mackie predicates his entire argument on a statement which the uninitiated are simply supposed to take at face-value. His "justification" is no better: "It is necessary and a priori that any agent who judges that one of his available actions is morally obligatory will have some (defeasible) motivation to perform that action" [4]. In both bald-faced assertions, Mackie does not explain why.

In plain English and not esophagus-clogging grandiloquence, Mackie's "justification" means, quite simply: Before the fact, a person who feels something is morally obligatory must have some sort of (defeasible = irrational) motivation for doing so.

No ejectamenta, Sherlock. But as he does not go on to explain his stance on the "defeasability" of the motivation, the entire statement leaves people at a loss as to what to contest.

2. I think I follow what you mean in your second example: a robber would want to steal from the elderly as they cannot retaliate effectively enough, same as a killer would rather kill helpless people to satisfy his urges without incident and a burglar would burgle an undefended house. These are all, as you say, examples of efficiency that people will tend to gravitate towards.

I do not, however, see how because a robber has "no reason not to do so", it must prove that morality does not exist. I must be missing something crucial in the translation here, and I understand that you must also still be trying to make sense of it all, so perhaps you could expound on this further in the next round. I look forward to your continued discussion.

[1] Cambridge Studies in Philosophy: The Myth of Morality, Chapter 1.5: Pure Evil, Pg. 20. Joyce, Richard. Cambridge University Press, 2001.

[2] Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong, Chapter 1: The Subjectivity of Values, Pg. 15. Mackie, J.L. Penguin Books, 1977.

[3] Cambridge Studies in Philosophy: The Myth of Morality, Chapter 1.4: Internalism About Motivation, Pg. 19. Joyce, Richard. Cambridge University Press, 2001.

[4] Cambridge Studies in Philosophy: The Myth of Morality, Chapter 1.4: Internalism About Motivation, Pg. 18. Joyce, Richard. Cambridge University Press, 2001.
Debate Round No. 2
InVinoVeritas

Con

InVinoVeritas forfeited this round.
Maestro

Pro

Maestro forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
InVinoVeritas

Con

InVinoVeritas forfeited this round.
Maestro

Pro

Maestro forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by InVinoVeritas 5 years ago
InVinoVeritas
head*
Posted by InVinoVeritas 5 years ago
InVinoVeritas
I'm a first-year university student, and I've never taken a philosophy course in my life. I doubt that I would be able to go over your ahead, Maestro.
Posted by GeoLaureate8 5 years ago
GeoLaureate8
Admittedly, it's a very tough burden to bear and difficult to prove.
Posted by GeoLaureate8 5 years ago
GeoLaureate8
Moral facts exist.
Posted by Zaradi 5 years ago
Zaradi
Oh skepticism.
Posted by lannan13 5 years ago
lannan13
I'd take it but how would I argue this.
No votes have been placed for this debate.