The Instigator
reasonable75
Pro (for)
Losing
10 Points
The Contender
Cerebral_Narcissist
Con (against)
Winning
13 Points

There is an objective morality

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/5/2011 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,907 times Debate No: 18634
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (45)
Votes (5)

 

reasonable75

Pro

Conditions:

1. Pro will argue in favor of there being an objective morality
2. Con will argue against there being an objective morality

Definitions:

Objective: "of, relating to, or being an object, phenomenon, or condition in the realm of sensible experience independent of individual thought and perceptible by all observers: having reality independent of the mind"

Morality: "the differentiation among intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good (or right) and bad (or wrong)."

Sources:

http://www.merriam-webster.com...

http://en.wikipedia.org...

-By the way I'm a newbie


Round 1 argument:

Morality depends upon the existence of subjective experience:

Imagine a universe with no subjective experience. Imagine a universe containing no conscious life. Then ask yourself could there be immorality in such a place? Pondering this question I think you’ll quickly realize that there couldn’t. Is the asteroid immoral for hitting the planet? There has to be subjective experience involved for us to even begin to speak of morality. In fact how could morality be spoken of in the first place if there were no subjective experience?

Morality is a manger of subjective experience:

Morality depends upon the existence of subjective experience. If this is the case, then morality must be a manger of subjective experience. Go ahead and try to think of something we care about in moral terms that doesn’t have to do with subjective experience. Why does even the religious person who professes to be God’s submissive servant believe such an act to be moral? Well, because they believe that their subjective experience and perhaps the subjective experiences of others will be better off in the long run. Why is murder bad? Well, because it is an absolute violation of a person’s ideal subjective experience. Why is rape bad? Well, because it is by definition a trumping of a person’s ideal subjective experience. Who are the people we see as “nice” or “mean”? “Nice” people are those who don’t violate our ideal subjective experience or perhaps even put our ideal subjective experience ahead of their own, while “mean” people are those who readily violate our ideal subjective experience. Now many people may argue that it doesn’t matter, because morality is in fact nothing more than an illusion. An illusion brought about by social conditioning and evolutionary processes. Ideologies like moral relativism and moral nihilism would have us believe that objective morality doesn’t exist. Others however, will say that objective morality does exist but only if it’s based on their God or gods. Others still have argued for morality based on the systems of utilitarianism, prioritarianism, etc. All of these notions I will argue are mistaken.

Everyone has an objectively ideal subjective experience:

Let’s notice for a moment that everyone objectively has things that they want to happen to them and things they don’t want to happen to them. We’ll call these facts their “objectively ideal subjective experience”. Of course there would be certain contentions that would need to be considered for something to truly be someone’s “objectively ideal subjective experience”.

Required contentions:

For one, they couldn’t be lying about their “objectively ideal subjective experience”, because obviously it would then not be objectively their ideal subjective experience. They also couldn’t be too naive to know what their objectively ideal subjective experience really is. Lastly, they couldn’t be deluded in their idea of what their objectively ideal subjective experience is. When I say deluded I mean that they couldn’t be so cut off from reality, and un-open to other possible subjective experiences that they’re unable to judge what objectively their ideal subjective experience really is.

Speaking a little of application:

Everyone has an objectively ideal subjective experience, and knowing this is acknowledging that some experiences are better or worse at least objectively for that individual. If this is the case and if morality is a manger of subjective experience, well then violating someone’s objectively ideal subjective experience would be objectively wrong in a moral sense. And indeed I will argue that the “immoralities” that we really care about, the ones that are truly far reaching arbitrarily obscure subjective experiences.


Remember the contentions:

1. Can’t be lying about your ideal subjective experience

2. Can’t be too naive to know what your ideal subjective experience is

3. Can’t be deluded –so cut off from reality, and un-open to other possible subjective experiences- that you're unable to judge what your ideal subjective experience is

These three contentions are not only required but safeguard against irrationality.

Why there will be acts that consistently objectively violate objectively ideal subjective experiences:

Because we are so similar there will be acts that will regularly objectively violate objectively ideal subjective experiences. Rape is probably the easiest to deem as objectively immoral. It by definition objectively violates one’s objectively ideal subjective experience. If someone wants to be raped, well then it’s no longer rape. Murdering will also consistently objectively violate objectively ideal subjective experiences. There are very few who wish to be murdered, and even fewer that do and wouldn’t be in contradiction with one or more of my contentions.

Why should the universe care?

Some may be still thinking well so what if people objectively have ideal subjective experiences, what makes the universe care about this? Nothing will make the universe care about this, but why would that matter? All that matters is that in a universe containing subjective experience, those subjective experiences will have objectively ideal subjective experiences, and to violate them is to be objectively wrong in a moral sense.

There is certainly much more to cover, but I think this makes for a good start.

I thank Con for agreeing to engage in this debate.



























Cerebral_Narcissist

Con

Apologies to my opponent for taking so long to reply. I wanted to bring a bit more order to my arguments, as it is I've still rambled more than I've wanted to.

Counter-Arguments

"Morality depends upon the existence of subjective experience:
Imagine a universe with no subjective experience. Imagine a universe containing no conscious life. Then ask yourself could there be immorality in such a place? Pondering this question I think you’ll quickly realize that there couldn’t."

My opponent has unwittingly argued that morality must therefore be by definition subjective. When we call something objective we speak of it "having reality independent of the mind" (from my opponents own definition).

For there to be objective morality, morals must exist physically or as descriptions of physical reality. Thus if mankind and all life capable of observation were destroyed the earth would still exist, the laws of logic would still exist in the earth could not be both the earth and not the earth at once, the laws of mathematics would still exist, that is because these are objective.

If morality can not survive the destruction of the observer then it does not exist objectively.

"Morality is a manger of subjective experience: "

I have nothing new to add to this section it is effectively dealt with above or is simply part of my opponents case building.

"Everyone has an objectively ideal subjective experience:"

Everyone may have an opinion on what their ideal subjective experience is, what makes this opinion objective?

"Remember the contentions:
1. Can’t be lying about your ideal subjective experience"

Well this is in effect superfluous you have an idea of what your ideal subjective experience is or you do not.

"2. Can’t be too naive to know what your ideal subjective experience is
3. Can’t be deluded –so cut off from reality, and un-open to other possible subjective experiences- that you're unable to judge what your ideal subjective experience is"

I challenge both of these contentions, what if someone firmly believes that their ideal experience is to spend an evening in a brothel, having once done so they find themselves distraught realising belated it is a violation of their morality thus destroying any joy they may have?

In addition I do not believe that this is even a moral system, let us say that going with a friend to a bar is a better experience than staying at home and trimming my nasal hair. Does this therefore make going to the bar moral, and staying at home to trim my nasal hair amoral.

"Why there will be acts that consistently objectively violate objectively ideal subjective experiences:
Because we are so similar there will be acts that will regularly objectively violate objectively ideal subjective experiences. Rape is probably the easiest to deem as objectively immoral. It by definition objectively violates one’s objectively ideal subjective experience."

1: My opponent still needs to obtain an objective value for this argument to even to work.
2: If this brings joy to the rapist and grief to the victim are both participants working within the same objective framework?
3: My opponent appears to be equating happiness with morality, what makes this objective?

"Why should the universe care?"

I believe that such references are more illustrative and poetic on the part of moral relativists and nihilists, the universe does not care about the melting point of iron but it is still an objective fact.

"All that matters is that in a universe containing subjective experience, those subjective experiences will have objectively ideal subjective experiences, and to violate them is to be objectively wrong in a moral sense."

My opponent assumes some form of hedonism or pleasure based morality, this is not unreasonable, however this is an arbitrary choice, what gives this objective value? What distinguishes my opponent from a moral relativist?

Though I like the approach my opponent has taken I believe at this point he has failed to meet a basic burden or proof for the existence of objective morality.

My Arguments

Argument 1: No Evidence for Objective Morality
To repeat from before, for there to be objective morality, morals must exist physically or as descriptions of physical reality. Thus if mankind and all life capable of observation were destroyed the earth would still exist, the laws of logic would still exist in the earth could not be both the earth and not the earth at once, the laws of mathematics would still exist, that is because these are objective. No reason exists to apply this definition to morality,

Argument 2: Morality is by Definition Logically Meaningless, Circular and Arbitrary, not Objective.

My opponent states,
Morality: "the differentiation among intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good (or right) and bad (or wrong)."

However good/right or bad/wrong in what way? Do we mean factually wrong or right? No we mean good/bad, moral/immoral, virtuous/sinful. That which is good is moral, that which is moral is good. The generic description of morality is blatantly meaningless, self-referential. This is a far cry from physical reality, the laws of logic and therefore objectivity.

Argument 3: Moral Statements are not Truth Propositions, therefore not Objective.

When we make a moral statement such as rape is wrong, charity is right, cheating is wrong, fidelity is right etc, what are we actually saying?

Are we saying that these actions are factually wrong or right? Are they factual truth propositions akin to physical reality? No they are expressions of personal opinion.

What distinguishes these two statements objectively?
"It was wrong of me to sleep with my girlfriends sister".
"Chocolate cake is the best".

My opponent may argue that moral statements may be assessed in a way that has the most utility for happiness, well being, etc. He may indeed imply logic to such an assessment. So though the process of evaluation may be objective, the premise is entirely subjective.

Argument 3: Moral Statements are Invariably Appeals to Emotion, therefore not Objective.

Bob is a horrible man, he cheated on this wife.
An 85 year old man dating a teenager, that's disgusting.
A foetus has a right to life.

These are all appeals to emotion. Emotion is not objective fact.

What objective reason do we have to assume that Bob is obligated to remain faithful to his wife?
Why do you we equate our disgust with an old man dating a teenager with a moral judgement that actually has real meaning.

Argument 4: But we all Like x and/or We all dislike Y

The existence of commonalities in our likes and dislikes does not imply that something has objective existence. We all dislike pain, is pain objectively wrong? Is pain objectively immoral? No of course not.
Debate Round No. 1
reasonable75

Pro

“My opponent has unwittingly argued that morality must therefore be by definition subjective. When we call something objective we speak of it "having reality independent of the mind" (from my opponents own definition).”

My argument involves the realization that objective-subjective distinctions make it a logical rule that an objective morality exists. This is well within the idea of “having reality independent of the mind”, which simply means that it is a framework that functions void of opinion. Or as the definition stated previous to that part: “in the realm of sensible experience independent of individual thought and perceptible by all observers”.

“For there to be objective morality, morals must exist physically or as descriptions of physical reality. Thus if mankind and all life capable of observation were destroyed the earth would still exist, the laws of logic would still exist …” “Everyone may have an opinion on what their ideal subjective experience is, what makes this opinion objective?”

As a whole there seems to be some misconceptions functioning in this exchange, but what my argument truly entails is to point out that because of how objective-subjective distinctions work it is a logical rule that an objective morality exists. When con says “Everyone may have an opinion on what their ideal subjective experience is, what makes this opinion objective?” He must fail to realize that sciences like sociology and psychology are in fact in part based off of the very premise that there are objective facts to be known about subjective experience. Say “You are depressed” this very well could be an objective fact about your subjective experience. You could very well not be lying about being depressed, you could be less than naïve on what depression is, and might not be deluded in reference to your mental state. This I think you will see follows similarly with my argument. “You don’t want to be raped” could very well be an objective fact about your ideal subjective experience. You could very well not be lying about not wanting to be raped, you could be less than naïve on what rape is, and might not be deluded in what your ideal relation is with the concept of rape.

“If morality can not survive the destruction of the observer then it does not exist objectively.”

If my argument is correct well than an objective morality is a logical requirement because of the way objective-subjective distinctions work. My statement: “Imagine a universe with no subjective experience. Imagine a universe containing no conscious life. Then ask yourself could there be immorality in such a place? Pondering this question I think you’ll quickly realize that there couldn’t.” still would stand and correctly so. To illustrate this lets take con’s own example:

“the universe does not care about the melting point of iron but it is still an objective fact.”

This is true, but if we apply con’s same challenge to this statement we see that even iron’s melting point doesn’t hold up as an “objective fact”. Imagine a universe with no iron. Imagine a universe containing none of the element Fe. Then ask yourself could there be a melting point for iron in such a place? Pondering this question I think you’ll quickly realize that there couldn’t.

“what if someone firmly believes that their ideal experience is to spend an evening in a brothel, having once done so they find themselves distraught realising belated it is a violation of their morality thus destroying any joy they may have?”

I’m unsure how con thinks he has demonstrated grounds for dismissing contention 2 and 3. Is it not true that if you’re too naïve to know what your ideal subjective experience is, you than don’t really know with any accuracy what it would be if you were exposed to a given situation? (You’ve pointed this out in your example yourself I think) Is it not true that if you’re deluded you are than in no state to know what your ideal subjective experience really is? In fact if your too naïve to know what your ideal subjective experience is or deluded in reference to what your ideal subjective experience is it’s obvious that you don’t really know objectively what your ideal subjective experience is. I see no way in which to get past this reality.

“…going with a friend to a bar is a better experience than staying at home and trimming my nasal hair. Does this therefore make going to the bar moral, and staying at home to trim my nasal hair amoral.”

Nope by no means, If your desire to go to the bar with your friend overrides your desire to have your noise hair trimmed then that’s an objective fact to be know about your ideal subjective experience, while if your desire to have trimmed noise hairs did in fact override your desire to go to the bar with your friend then that would also be an objective fact to be known about your ideal subjective experience. In neither situation is there any kind of violation.

“If this brings joy to the rapist and grief to the victim are both participants working within the same objective framework?”

This is an excellent question that allows me to demonstrate further how my argument for an objective morality works.
Consider the following:

1. Bob is a clinical psychopath and very much objectively enjoys raping random people
2. Jill is strolling by Bob’s apartment and objectively dislikes the idea of being raped

The likely potential results will either be:

1. Bob rapes Jill
Or
2. Bob doesn’t rape Jill

Now con might argue that neither result 1 or 2 is any better than the other even when following my argument for an objective morality. In either case, con might say, an objectively ideal subjection experience will be violated. This I think is a lack of thinking fully. Notice first that both Bob and Jill can hold their own objectively ideal subjective experience referencing the idea of rape without being objectively immoral. (No objective violating of an objectively ideal subjective experience occurs without actual action) You’re not incurring a violation by simply thinking something. (Though different thoughts may hold higher and lesser risk factors for the potential of objective immorality occurring in the future)Result 2 has actually in a sense been occurring all this time; it isn’t until Bob rapes Jill that an objectively ideal subjective experience is violated. My point can be illustrated further with the following:

Group 1:
1. A violates B = B is violated (Bob rapes Jill)

Group 2:
1. B violates A = A is violated (Jill rapes Bob)

Group 3:
1. A leaves alone B = B is left alone (Bob leaves Jill alone)
2. B leaves alone A = A is left alone (Jill leaves Bob alone)

Group 3 is the only one in which no objectively ideal subjective experience is being violated.

“My opponent appears to be equating happiness with morality…My opponent assumes some…pleasure based morality...”

Pursuing pleasure and happiness may very well be interlocked with your objectively ideal subjective experience, but I haven’t made the claim that they are. My argument in actuality is completely open to whatever is your ideal subjective experience as long as it objectively really is. (Ergo my contentions)

“the laws of logic would still exist”

Agreed and if my argument is coherent and logically true than such a statement’s truth is all the existence of an objective morality requires.

"It was wrong of me to sleep with my girlfriends sister". –If this objectively violates an objectively ideal subjective experience than yes it was objectively wrong in a moral sense. I won’t rule out the possibility though that your girlfriend was perfectly fine with it-

"Chocolate cake is the best."–No violation of an objectively ideal subjective experience involved with this. Also chocolate cake could very well be objectively the best tasting food in relation to your subjective experience-

“An 85 year old man dating a teenager, that's disgusting.”-Could be in contradiction with my contentions

I both thank con for taking on this debate and for the excellent conduct that he has shown.
Cerebral_Narcissist

Con

The Nature of Objectivity
As my opponent indicates there is a point of contention with regards our definition of objectivity, my opponent does make a partially valid response. For instance, he argues for a moral system that 'functions void of opinion' and furthermore reminds us that "sciences like sociology and psychology are in fact in part based off of the very premise that there are objective facts to be known about subjective experience."

However the problem is that for there to be objective morality there does need to simply be a code of morality void of opinion or even that there are objective facts, what is required is that moral propositions are objective truth statements.

Thus for instance,
Bob thinks killing is wrong, may be an objective statement. In that his brain physically contains the thought that killing is wrong.

However for objective morality to exist we must be able to make objective moral statements that are true, or false. Thus if Bob was to say "killing is wrong" or "It was wrong for Jane to kill Sarah" we must be able to analyse those statements and determine if they are true or false in a manner analogous to logic or mathematics.

To address every single discrepancy in our assumptions on the nature of objectivity would land us in a semantic quagmire it is also superflous. The specific issue, that of objective moral truth statements is a critical point that I believe invalidates my opponents case.

My opponent states,
"If your desire to go to the bar with your friend overrides your desire to have your noise hair trimmed then that’s an objective fact to be know about your ideal subjective experience, while if your desire to have trimmed noise hairs did in fact override your desire to go to the bar with your friend then that would also be an objective fact to be known about your ideal subjective experience. In neither situation is there any kind of violation.
"

However the point remains as to how this is a moral equation, my opponent equates ideal experiences, or desirability with morality. If morality is founded on ideal subjective experiences then actively choosing a less desirable course of action must be immoral, but this is not an objective moral system, and it is not a moral system under normal uses of the term.

Bob and Jill
I do not understand my opponents argument here.
Bob's ideal experience is to rape Jill.
Jill's ideal experience is not to rape Jill.

My objections are,
1: Why is morality equated with ideal experience? What is the objective basis for this.
2: How if there ideal experiences and therefore their moralities differ, can there be a single true objective morality? Are they not both moral relativists, does not the situation illustrate moral relativism?

To summarise
Moral Statements are not objective moral truth statements, therefore there is no objective morality.
Ideal experience is not traditionally the basis for morality, my opponent has failed to make this connection and even if he did there is no objective reason for this, so he would in fact be a moral relatavist.
My opponents case is fatally incomplete and I do not believe he has met his BoP. He has provided a starting point, but the case in unfinished.
Debate Round No. 2
reasonable75

Pro

Just in case there’s any confusion, here’s what I’m arguing:

  1. Morality is dependent upon the existence of subjective experience
  2. Morality is a manger of subjective experience
  3. Subjective experiences have objectively ideal subjective experiences
  4. To objectively violate an objectively ideal subjective experience is to be objectively wrong in a moral sense.


Contentions:

1. Can’t be lying about your ideal subjective experience
2. Can’t be too naive to know what your ideal subjective experience is
3. Can’t be deluded –so cut off from reality, and un-open to other possible subjective experiences- that you're unable to judge what your ideal subjective experience is(To be in contradiction with one or more of these contentions is to be less than objective in reference to your subjective experience)


“However the problem is that for there to be objective morality there does need to simply be a code of morality void of opinion or even that there are objective facts, what is required is that moral propositions are objective truth statements.”

To objectively violate an objectively ideal subjective experience is to be objectively wrong in a moral sense. –I maintain that this is void of opinion and objectively true-

Break down:

“To objectively violate an”

Explaining the presence of a legitimate obstruction (No subjectivity creeping in here)

“objectively ideal subjective experience”

Representing the fact that subjective experiences legitimately have things that they want to have happen to them and things they don’t want to have happen to them.( Con now seems to be in agreement with this as he stated: “Bob thinks killing is wrong, may be an objective statement. In that his brain physically contains the thought that killing is wrong.”

“is to be objectively wrong in a moral sense.”

This is to signify the connection between morality and subjective experience. Since morality is dependent upon the existence of subjective experience, morality must then be a manger of subjective experience. So therefore, to objectively violate an objectively ideal subjective experience is to objectively violate or worsen what morality manages. Now con might ask well who says morality shouldn’t mange subjective experience so that’s its worse or so that it is violated? To my ears this is like asking well who’s to say worse is worse? I want to remind you that my argument has yet to stray from objectivity, what is worse is worse than what is better. I haven’t decided what is better, what is better is objectively so because of how ideal subjective experiences are and because of how objective-subjective distinctions work. So to objectively violate or worsen what morality manages is to objectively violate or worsen what morality could be sustaining.

Violate: “to break, infringe, or transgress”

Worse: “bad or ill in a greater or higher degree; inferior in excellence, quality, or character.”


“However the point remains as to how this is a moral equation, my opponent equates ideal experiences, or desirability with morality. If morality is founded on ideal subjective experiences then actively choosing a less desirable course of action must be immoral,”

This is confusion; it isn’t entirely true to say that my argument “equates ideal experiences… with morality”. Rather my argument points out that morality is a manger of subjective experience. (Not that they are one and the same) When judging the morality of an act I’m arguing that you must ask this question: “Does it objectively violate an objectively ideal subjective experience?” If so, then it is worse in a moral sense then if you were to sustain from such an act. Plus what is less desirable isn’t as straight forward as con seems to think. For instance you may very well have more fun going to a movie with your friends than going to your son’s baseball game, but even so it maybe that you in fact desire making your son happy more so than gaining fun for yourself.


“Bob and Jill

I do not understand my opponents argument here.

Bob's ideal experience is to rape Jill.

Jill's ideal experience is not to rape Jill.”

Bob and Jill’s desires in this situation:

B (Bob) desires C (To rape)

J (Jill) desires D (To not be raped)

What they need to do to get what they want:

B needs to violate J to get C

J needs to not be violated to get D

Bob would be the only one objectively violating an objectively ideal subjective experience.


“My objections are,

1: Why is morality equated with ideal experience? What is the objective basis for this.

2: How if there ideal experiences and therefore their moralities differ, can there be a single true objective morality? Are they not both moral relativists, does not the situation illustrate moral relativism?”

  1. Dealt with.
  2. “To objectively violate an objectively ideal subjective experience is to be objectively wrong in a moral sense.” This is the core premise of my argument and it itself isn’t relative. There maybe relativity in what subjective experiences have for an objectively ideal subjective experience, but the statement “to objectively violate an objectively ideal subjective experience is to be objectively wrong in moral sense.” will always be true, therefore not relative. What con seems to maybe be arguing is really the equivalent of saying that because the levels of gravitational pull vary in the universe, then therefore the fact that gravity objectively exists and works the way it works is not an objective fact.


From an application stand point there is much more I could discuss, but really that isn’t so much what this debate is about. First and foremost we must realize that moral questions have objective answers.

I thank both Cerebral_Narcissist and the readers for spending their valuable time on this debate.


Sources:

http://dictionary.reference.com...

http://dictionary.reference.com...

Cerebral_Narcissist

Con

My opponent states,
1: Morality is dependent upon the existence of subjective experience

2: Morality is a manger of subjective experience

3: Subjective experiences have objectively ideal subjective experiences

4: To objectively violate an objectively ideal subjective experience is to be objectively wrong in a moral sense.

I would agree with point 1, I would agree with point 2, I am uncertain as to point 3 however I contest point 4.

My objections are.

1: My opponent has failed to make the case that the fulfilment of an objectively ideal subjective experience is moral, or the violation of an objectively ideal subjective experience is immoral.

2: This is not what morality is defined as, it is what morality could be defined as, but as there is no objective reason to base morality on this concept my opponent is a moral relativist arguing for his own subjective view of morality.

3: Objectively ideal subjective experiences are in what way objectively ideal? In terms of the production of happiness or well being? What is the objective reason for valuing these principles above others, is the pursuit of happiness intrinsically moral?

4: What if it were the case that my objectively ideal experience was to marry a specific person, this action, whether I knew it or not would have the greatest utility of all possible actions for the pursuit of happiness. For whatever reason this marriage violated the moral opinions of my Priest. Objectively who is right?

My opponent has failed to address these issues.

My opponent does attempt to address point 2 here,

"Since morality is dependent upon the existence of subjective experience, morality must then be a manger of subjective experience. So therefore, to objectively violate an objectively ideal subjective experience is to objectively violate or worsen what morality manages."

Morality is a manager, not the manager, morality is the arbitrary emotive distinction of what is right or wrong in reference to morality itself.

Again how are subjective experiences to be judged, again how is this morality? My opponent seems to still be arguing for a sort of utilitarianism-hedonism, a replacement for morality?

"This is confusion; it isn’t entirely true to say that my argument “equates ideal experiences… with morality”. Rather my argument points out that morality is a manger of subjective experience. (Not that they are one and the same)"

Actually by definition it has to do the former as well as the latter for it to hold water at all.

 

"Bob and Jill’s desires in this situation:

B (Bob) desires C (To rape)

J (Jill) desires D (To not be raped)

What they need to do to get what they want:

B needs to violate J to get C

J needs to not be violated to get D

Bob would be the only one objectively violating an objectively ideal subjective experience."

My opponent has simply rephrased my point without rebuttal. Why should Bob care about violating another's objectively ideal subjective experience?

Bob's objectively ideal subjective experience is to rape Jill. Jills objectively ideal experience is to avoid being raped by Bob. If morality is founded upon the pursuit of ideal subjective experiences then it is moral for Bob to attempt to rape Jill, immoral for him to not rape Jill. It is moral for Jill to run away, immoral for her to submit. They each have differing and conflicting moralities, if we even accept that this is a moral scenario (which opponent must do), he must therefore accept that this is an example of moral relativism.

I would like to thank my opponent for an interesting debate, it has certainly been thought provoking and I'll be interested in feedback from the voters on this.
Debate Round No. 3
45 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by reasonable75 5 years ago
reasonable75
hmmm I understand your point, but I don't think it's quite as difficult as you might think to recognize how people generally want to be treated and don't want to be treated.
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 5 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
What I was getting at concerning objective-subjective distinctions is this - If we are using your framework, the moral import of an actor's action depends entirely on subjective considerations. For sake of argument, we'll call two people Actors A and B.

When Actor A acts with respect to Actor B, moral rightness or wrongness of A's act would be evaluated on whether he comported with or violated B's ideal subjective experience. If it comports, objectively right (or neutral) and if it violates, objectively wrong.

The whole idea of objectivity is consistency without regard to the actor's (moral) preferences. But here, A has no moral preferences one way or the other. This system just shifts the preference to another actor, not divest the system of it entirely. Objective morality here would still depend on B's subjective preferences. In short, it is the same as saying that subjectivity is objective so long as it is comported with.

Further, another staple of objective morality is the stability of moral rules that are a priori applicable to all actors. It's clear that this system would not allow for any stable moral rules other than the proviso - don't violate subjective preferences. But such a general rule is not a moral system.

A moral system has several necessary factors. I haven't thought them all through, but suffice to say they include the necessity that actors are aware of moral rules, and the necessity that actors can engage in moral reasoning (without the first, you cannot do the second).

I would ask here how actors become aware of others' subjective preferences... ?

Also, is there really a "right" and "wrong" here? It makes little sense to say that there is, but in principle, you cannot know which is which before you act. Conceptually, you may be able to define right and wrong, but as a substantive claim, the system is a complete failure.
Posted by reasonable75 5 years ago
reasonable75
I don't know much about the "infinite moral rules" idea however...

And as I've already said my position has evolved pretty significantly since this debate. (Though I'm still firmly a moral realist)

Thanks for the comment JustCallMe Tarzan. I would be interested in knowing what your position is...
Posted by reasonable75 5 years ago
reasonable75
I've actually modified my position since this debate...

Ya, I actually agree more with you cerebral then you might think. (even though we sit at opposite ends when speaking of moral realism vs moral nihilism) Your right to point out that moral assertions sit upon premises. Is the Holocaust immoral? Well, if you're swayed by the reasons behind valuing empathy and human life then ya it was quite immoral. I fail to see the difference between these premises and those in which science, logic, etc stand on. I could say: "2 + 2 = 4", and someone might say: "Well I don't agree". I may then write out a mathematical proof and after doing so assert: "see 2+2 does = 4.". they could response: "Well, I don't believe in this thing you call logic." I might go on to explain the many reasons for why valuing logic is a good thing, but at some point I will have nothing left to say, at some point you simply most accept or deny whether or not those reasons make it appropriate to value logic. This follows with anything we speak of, and our choices will translate in a real way into the world we live.

Morality requires no greater premises then science, ultimately with anything we speak of we have to decide what we value.

As for JustCallMe Tarzan:

I would have answered his first objection with saying that such a situation is inevitably going to contain an amount of objective immorality. Since Bob was the instigator and the reason for there being the potential for any objective immorality, he would rightfully be the one stopped. Ideally such a situation wouldn't happen all together, you shooting Bob would be the best bad situation.

The "infinite moral rules" argument just simply seems to me to be wrong. To objectively violate an objectively ideal subjective experience is objectively immoral (or vice-versa) are the only rules.

"Not knowing what is the right thing to do" wouldn't change whether or not there is a right or wrong thing to do.
Posted by JustCallMeTarzan 5 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
Pro's syllogism from R3 fails a simple thought experiment:
>>"
1. Morality is dependent upon the existence of subjective experience
2. Morality is a manger of subjective experience
3. Subjective experiences have objectively ideal subjective experiences
4. To objectively violate an objectively ideal subjective experience is to be objectively wrong in a moral sense."

Let's revisit Bob again. And let's further suppose that Bob would very much like not to be killed... But I see Bob going into a stadium full of people with a bomb strapped to his butt, so I shoot him in the head. I've objectively violated his ideal subjective experience, but what I did cannot possibly be described as objectively "wrong" unless you are willing to defend the untenable proposition that both murdering Bob and letting him blow up the stadium would equally "wrong" or that it is "right" to not murder him and let him blow up the stadium... or that it is "right" to not kill him, but "wrong" to let him blow up the stadium...

As a more fundamental flaw, it is completely impossible for an objective moral criteria to depend entirely on subjective preferences. This model would also run into the problem of infinite moral rules, as well as the problem of actors not being able engage in moral reasoning because they do not have information about other people's subjective preferences...
Posted by reasonable75 5 years ago
reasonable75
If we're promoting subjectively ideal experience then we might not really be promoting ideal experience.
Posted by reasonable75 5 years ago
reasonable75
my overall argument*
Posted by reasonable75 5 years ago
reasonable75
"Ok, so why is "not violating subjectively ideal experience" THE WAY to better what morality manages. Why cant I say: we want to better what morality manages, so we should always promote subjectively ideal experiences."

Either actually fits into my argument, "not violating" would ensure at least morally neutral acts, and "promoting" would include morally positive acts. I'm not saying this argument is right for sure, but I'm not certain if it's wrong ether.
Posted by reasonable75 5 years ago
reasonable75
hmm, maybe we will have to debate this.
Posted by Raisor 5 years ago
Raisor
That is not what I was saying, but I also dont see how your formulation avoids those problems either.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Mr.Infidel 5 years ago
Mr.Infidel
reasonable75Cerebral_NarcissistTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Counter bomb.
Vote Placed by izbo10 5 years ago
izbo10
reasonable75Cerebral_NarcissistTied
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Reasons for voting decision: cerebral is a moron who doesn't understand objective.
Vote Placed by JustCallMeTarzan 5 years ago
JustCallMeTarzan
reasonable75Cerebral_NarcissistTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro's moral system amounts to no more than the assertion that there are objective facts regarding subjective preferences about propositions of moral import, and "wrong" means to violate that subjective preference... But this conceptualization does not escape the subjective nature of the system - see my comment for more.
Vote Placed by Raisor 5 years ago
Raisor
reasonable75Cerebral_NarcissistTied
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments
Vote Placed by wiploc 5 years ago
wiploc
reasonable75Cerebral_NarcissistTied
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Reasons for voting decision: The Instigator (Pro) gets to set the definitions, so I expected him to define "objective" and "morality" in such a way as to assure his victory. Instead, he defined morality as being mental (intentions, desires, etc.) and objectivity as being divorced from the mental. That makes "objective morality" into an oxymoron. Con pointed out this fatal flaw.