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Appeal to Majority and Fallacies

Kleptin
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12/31/2009 11:05:33 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
I'd like to make something very clear. Lately, I have been getting responses saying that my notion of how morality works is fallacious because it is an appeal to the majority and as such, is an invalid argument simply because of that fact.

It is important that people understand why a fallacy is a fallacy, not simply recognize them. There is a formality when it comes to identifying fallacies and rejecting arguments as a result of them.

A fallacious argument:

A. The majority believes that God exists
B. Therefore, God exists.

My argument:

A. The majority of people believe that action X is immoral
B. What is immoral is determined by the majority of people
C. Therefore, action X is immoral.

Focus: Prove the truth of B.

I have had several people tell me that doing so is useless because I have committed a logical fallacy. This is not a logical fallacy, this is what happens when people are used to identifying fallacies without understanding the mechanisms of said fallacies.

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

I invite everyone to read the "Exceptions" section. It explains in good detail why it is that my argument is not a logical fallacy. I am arguing that morality is in the same category as Democracy and social convention. The only way my argument can be invalidated is by attacking this notion. There is no Ad populum fallacy.

Thank you.
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TheSkeptic
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12/31/2009 11:11:36 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
My argument:

A. The majority of people believe that action X is immoral
B. What is immoral is determined by the majority of people
C. Therefore, action X is immoral.

I agree - if this is the format of your argument then you do have a logically valid argument. However, I would love to hear such an argument for B. Cultural relativism has been more of a "fad" philosophy than anything else -- advocated only by undergraduate philosophy majors and social scientists.
Cody_Franklin
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12/31/2009 11:31:01 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
A problem I have with people pointing out supposed appeals to popularity is that, many times, such accusations are taken a bit too far. While the fallacy itself is constructed in such a way as to say "just because in a majority believes in X does not make X correct", many people who accuse others of appealing to popularity are so overjoyed to call "fallacy", that they may call something incorrect simply because the majority supports it.

Has anyone else encountered these kinds of "eager beavers"? I'm sure that, on a website full of debaters, people other than myself have come across people who are all to eager to call "fallacy" on any and every argument brought up.

It's kind of like crying "wolf", I think.
TheSkeptic
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12/31/2009 11:32:25 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/31/2009 11:21:57 PM, theLwerd wrote:
A lot of philosophers are moral relativists...

And? A lot of philosophers have been theists as well.
Danielle
Posts: 21,330
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12/31/2009 11:38:57 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/31/2009 11:32:25 PM, TheSkeptic wrote:
At 12/31/2009 11:21:57 PM, theLwerd wrote:
A lot of philosophers are moral relativists...

And? A lot of philosophers have been theists as well.

Yeah, and both are hotly debated topics. I thought you were a "moral skeptic" anyway.
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TheSkeptic
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12/31/2009 11:40:22 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/31/2009 11:32:25 PM, TheSkeptic wrote:
At 12/31/2009 11:21:57 PM, theLwerd wrote:
A lot of philosophers are moral relativists...

And? A lot of philosophers have been theists as well.

To add on this: when I say cultural relativism, I am obviously referring to the ethical version (since it was a response to Kleptin's original post). Secondly, cultural relativism and moral relativism aren't synonymous.
Danielle
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12/31/2009 11:41:31 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/31/2009 11:31:01 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
A problem I have with people pointing out supposed appeals to popularity is that, many times, such accusations are taken a bit too far. While the fallacy itself is constructed in such a way as to say "just because in a majority believes in X does not make X correct", many people who accuse others of appealing to popularity are so overjoyed to call "fallacy", that they may call something incorrect simply because the majority supports it.

Has anyone else encountered these kinds of "eager beavers"? I'm sure that, on a website full of debaters, people other than myself have come across people who are all to eager to call "fallacy" on any and every argument brought up.

It's kind of like crying "wolf", I think.

Cody - There are plenty of people who cite fallacies on this site all the time when in fact no fallacy is being committed. I especially love when people who use logic terms don't even understand the concepts behind logic (I won't mention names, but...). Needless to say, I know where you're coming from. I'm just confused as to Kleptin and Skeptic's argument that one is blatantly wrong if they say something is only considered moral or immoral because of culture or population... because subjective morality and moral relativism is actually a widely held view. I can think of a handful of philosophers off the top of my head who support this view. Protagoras, for one, Nussbaum, Spinoza and Nietzsche (sort of), etc... I'm not saying I agree, but I don't think that the idea of subjective morality is limited to "inferior philosophers" or inferior people.
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Danielle
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12/31/2009 11:42:30 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/31/2009 11:40:22 PM, TheSkeptic wrote:
At 12/31/2009 11:32:25 PM, TheSkeptic wrote:
At 12/31/2009 11:21:57 PM, theLwerd wrote:
A lot of philosophers are moral relativists...

And? A lot of philosophers have been theists as well.

To add on this: when I say cultural relativism, I am obviously referring to the ethical version (since it was a response to Kleptin's original post). Secondly, cultural relativism and moral relativism aren't synonymous.

Cultural relativism and moral relativism are both fields in which people site the "ad populum" fallacies which was in fact the point of Kleptin's original post.
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Cody_Franklin
Posts: 9,483
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12/31/2009 11:49:14 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/31/2009 11:41:31 PM, theLwerd wrote:
At 12/31/2009 11:31:01 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
A problem I have with people pointing out supposed appeals to popularity is that, many times, such accusations are taken a bit too far. While the fallacy itself is constructed in such a way as to say "just because in a majority believes in X does not make X correct", many people who accuse others of appealing to popularity are so overjoyed to call "fallacy", that they may call something incorrect simply because the majority supports it.

Has anyone else encountered these kinds of "eager beavers"? I'm sure that, on a website full of debaters, people other than myself have come across people who are all to eager to call "fallacy" on any and every argument brought up.

It's kind of like crying "wolf", I think.

Cody - There are plenty of people who cite fallacies on this site all the time when in fact no fallacy is being committed. I especially love when people who use logic terms don't even understand the concepts behind logic (I won't mention names, but...). Needless to say, I know where you're coming from. I'm just confused as to Kleptin and Skeptic's argument that one is blatantly wrong if they say something is only considered moral or immoral because of culture or population... because subjective morality and moral relativism is actually a widely held view. I can think of a handful of philosophers off the top of my head who support this view. Protagoras, for one, Nussbaum, Spinoza and Nietzsche (sort of), etc... I'm not saying I agree, but I don't think that the idea of subjective morality is limited to "inferior philosophers" or inferior people.

Whoa whoa whoa... Don't set up a straw man on me, here. ;)

Honestly, though, I think that Kleptin's argument is fairly valid inasmuch as the premises are accepted; while I think that interesting arguments could be made for B, I also think that, as you've cited, relativistic ethics maintain a strong hold on a lot of intelligent philosophers, which I feel gives that system some degree of merit.

I get the feeling that nothing I just said made any sense, or even had any substance, but it's nearing 2 AM, I've had a long day, and I think I deserve a bit of credit on that front. :P
TheSkeptic
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1/1/2010 12:01:22 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
I'm just confused as to Kleptin and Skeptic's argument that one is blatantly wrong if they say something is only considered moral or immoral because of culture or population... because subjective morality and moral relativism is actually a widely held view. I can think of a handful of philosophers off the top of my head who support this view. Protagoras, for one, Nussbaum, Spinoza and Nietzsche (sort of), etc... I'm not saying I agree, but I don't think that the idea of subjective morality is limited to "inferior philosophers" or inferior people.

You cite several philosophers (the usual ones who come up - it's debatable whether or Nietzche is an anti-realist or not), but don't you see the trend? Some of them lived ages ago, and their thought has either been worked on or rejected - I take the latter (it's like Aristotle, great guy but got a lot of stuff wrong that we gratefully worked upon). As for Nussbaum, I thought she was a universalist/utilitarian of sorts.

Look, I'm not saying cultural relativism is crap because it's not advocated by a lot of people (that would be hilarious for me, a moral skeptic, to say) but I haven't come across an even remotely convincing argument for it besides attempts to move from the descriptive to prescriptive, or a rewiring of the normative definition of morality.

If there is some set of arguments out there, then by all means clue me in. I personally got distracted from relativism in my reading and focused, rather, on universalism vs. nihilism.
GeoLaureate8
Posts: 12,252
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1/1/2010 12:18:26 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
I'm surprised at how many reject subjective morality. Generally, objective morality is associated with theism. Unless you guys support moral skepticism (is it the same as nihilism?)

I personally support objective morality, though I'm not sure if I can really back it up.
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TheSkeptic
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1/1/2010 12:23:27 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
Unless you guys support moral skepticism (is it the same as nihilism?)

Moral nihilism is subsumed under moral skepticism - the other two are epistemological moral skepticism (saying we can't have any moral knowledge) and noncognitivism (that moral claims aren't truth-apt).
Ragnar_Rahl
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1/1/2010 10:04:05 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
I also think that, as you've cited, relativistic ethics maintain a strong hold on a lot of intelligent philosophers, which I feel gives that system some degree of merit.

Izzat a fallacy, or are you going to argue that there are genuine authorities on reality in general, in which case it's just a contradiction?
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Ragnar_Rahl
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1/1/2010 10:06:06 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
Furthermore, calling "Fallacy" when ya see it is the shortest possible path to them showing their premises if it's something else. If their premise is nothing less than the premise that when held unconsciously creates the fallacy (Like kleptin's) it generally means their argument tells you nothing new, since you already know you don't agree with that premise, unless they have an argument for it too.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Cody_Franklin
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1/1/2010 10:11:07 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 1/1/2010 10:04:05 AM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
I also think that, as you've cited, relativistic ethics maintain a strong hold on a lot of intelligent philosophers, which I feel gives that system some degree of merit.

Izzat a fallacy, or are you going to argue that there are genuine authorities on reality in general, in which case it's just a contradiction?

I'm not really arguing for or against anything, actually. Just making an observation. The "argument" I was making is thus: Ethical relativism may be entirely incorrect, but the fact that it is advocated by a number of people known to be intelligent ascribes it enough legitimacy to warrant its consideration as a valid moral theory.
Cody_Franklin
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1/1/2010 10:15:07 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 1/1/2010 10:06:06 AM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
Furthermore, calling "Fallacy" when ya see it is the shortest possible path to them showing their premises if it's something else. If their premise is nothing less than the premise that when held unconsciously creates the fallacy (Like kleptin's) it generally means their argument tells you nothing new, since you already know you don't agree with that premise, unless they have an argument for it too.

I have no argument with you there. There's nothing wrong with calling someone on a fallacy; however, it irks me a bit when people make those accusations of almost every argument they come across (straw man being a particularly popular manifestation of that overzealous attitude). Many tend to be a bit trigger-happy when it comes to pointing out "fallacies", that's all I'm saying.
Danielle
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1/1/2010 10:31:49 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 1/1/2010 12:01:22 AM, TheSkeptic wrote:

You cite several philosophers (the usual ones who come up - it's debatable whether or Nietzche is an anti-realist or not), but don't you see the trend? Some of them lived ages ago, and their thought has either been worked on or rejected

Name one philosopher whose work HASN'T been worked on or rejected. Please, by all means. Also, I know all about Nietzsche's moral views - that's why I said "sort of."

Look, I'm not saying cultural relativism is crap because it's not advocated by a lot of people (that would be hilarious for me, a moral skeptic, to say) but I haven't come across an even remotely convincing argument for it besides attempts to move from the descriptive to prescriptive, or a rewiring of the normative definition of morality.

I'm confused. How can a moral skeptic completely reject the possibility of moral subjectivism or cultural relativism? One of the most common arguments for moral skepticism in the first place is that no moral claim can be accepted by everyone.

Meta-ethical subjectivists see ethical judgments as neither true nor false, but that their truth is dependant on expressions or reactions of commands, preferences and emotions. Normative subjectivism claims that ethical judgments can be true, but that their truth depends entirely on whether they accurately report th sentiments of those who issue the judgments (which may or may not be possible). For instance, Mary Midgley presented ethical relativism in that actions are right if and only if they comport with the ultimate ethical standards of the society which they are performed.

Now don't get me wrong - I'm not saying that I agree with various philosophers who were subjectivists, more or less. For instance, Hobbes claimed that an act is right if it is permitted by the rules agreed upon by self-intrested parties seeking to band together to escape anarchy (lol), and of course we know that Kant's idea and Mill's idea fell short to say the least. But anyway, if you're not a moral subjecitivist (any branch of subjecitivsm) than you're a moral objectivist. And if you're a moral skeptic as you claim, then how can you reject subjectivism all together? Even if its's based on metaphysical standards, those standards are still applicable to some theories of subjectivism.
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TheSkeptic
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1/1/2010 5:32:09 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Name one philosopher whose work HASN'T been worked on or rejected. Please, by all means. Also, I know all about Nietzsche's moral views - that's why I said "sort of."

I'm not denying this, what I am saying is that if you want to show that there is some considerable literature defending cultural relativism, then it would be better to provide arguments rather than the names of philosophers -- especially if the arguments used by said philosophers are outdated. It's like citing me the names of philosophers long ago who's work inspired classical arguments for compatibilism that have now been largely superseded by the contemporary version of compatibilism; I'm not saying the classical compatibilists are thus proven to be wrong (who the hell knows, they could perhaps have always been right) but unless some revised/new argument is provided, I can't help but look at cultural relativism to be philosophically empty.

I'm confused. How can a moral skeptic completely reject the possibility of moral subjectivism or cultural relativism? One of the most common arguments for moral skepticism in the first place is that no moral claim can be accepted by everyone.

Yeah, and I don't like that argument :P.

Meta-ethical subjectivists see ethical judgments as neither true nor false, but that their truth is dependant on expressions or reactions of commands, preferences and emotions.

Moral error theory is cognitivist.

Normative subjectivism claims that ethical judgments can be true, but that their truth depends entirely on whether they accurately report th sentiments of those who issue the judgments (which may or may not be possible).

Moral error theory states that moral claims are truth apt, but they are all false.

But anyway, if you're not a moral subjecitivist (any branch of subjecitivsm) than you're a moral objectivist.

And yet, there's an obvious distinction between the three. Moral objectivists/universalists supports that moral claims are truth apt and robust. Moral subjectivism states that the truth of a moral claim is dependent on the attitudes/conventions/culture/practices/etc. of people, and thus moral claims aren't robust or universal. Moral error theory states that moral claims are truth apt but at the same time are all false.

And of course, non-cognitivism is the other meta-ethical view. But those three systems I listed can all be categorized under a cognitivist thesis while being distinct.

And if you're a moral skeptic as you claim, then how can you reject subjectivism all together? Even if its's based on metaphysical standards, those standards are still applicable to some theories of subjectivism.

Do you mean some theories of skepticism (I prefer error theory)?
Danielle
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1/1/2010 9:13:15 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Let's start here: What exactly is your view on morality? I know you're a moral skeptic but what is the main argument you have for your position since you don't like the other one?
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TheSkeptic
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1/1/2010 10:00:42 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 1/1/2010 9:13:15 PM, theLwerd wrote:
Let's start here: What exactly is your view on morality?

I am a moral skeptic, and more specifically a moral error theorist. As to which version of moral error theory I subscribe to, I'm not sure yet and am still reading (though I probably lean towards the global falsity version - the one advocated by J.L. Mackie).

I know you're a moral skeptic but what is the main argument you have for your position since you don't like the other one?

There are several, and if you've read Mackie's Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong then you'll know where I'm getting the ideas from - after all, it was that book that introduced me to the concept.

The ones I've find compelling from Mackie is the argument from queerness -- http://en.wikipedia.org... -- and the idea that motivational externalism would lead to the denial of objective moral values. Also, Richard Joyce has a couple books on the evolution basis of morality, which helps doubt moral objectivism.

And hell, you can say things such as the is-ought problem fuel it as well.
Danielle
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1/1/2010 10:29:55 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
I've never read Mackie so I will read up on that and I guess take it from there. As far as normative subjectivism arguments, off the top of my head I can recall the argument from democracy, the argument from disagreement, the argument from tolerance, the argument from atheism, etc.

As far as meta-ethical subjectivism, I recall Hume being a big fan (he talked about moral judgments vs. factual judgments a lot) but eh. Vi and I went on a coffee date tonight and talked about this a little bit.

Anyway as far as modern arguments, going back to Mary Midgley (the cultural relativist I mentioned) she brings up the example of wayfarers in Japan. A samurai sword was supposed to be able to slice through someone in a single blow. Failure to do so would result in injuring the person's honor, the honor of their family, their ancestors and even the emperor. So, in order to test these swords out to make sure they worked properly, wayfarers had to be expended. They were the ones who were sliced with the sword to ensure that it only took one blow to work properly. I'm not sure if these people volunteered or not (it wouldn't appear so...) but she mentions that wanting to know whether or not they gave consent is a Western idea; it is a moral standard that WE apply in our culture but is not necessarily respected or expected in theirs. Now if one is raised in that kind of environment, are they acting immorally if they don't consider consent? What if they're ignorant to that principle in general? Are they really willingly acting immorally then?

To clarify further, ideals like discipline and devotion are/were extremely significant in Japan; they placed a lower value on individual life, generally speaking. So these are just some cultural examples she raises among others and things we have to keep in mind when viewing another culture's behavior. I'm not saying that an appeal to tradition is correct, but I don't know if it's fair to say that they're choosing to act immorally given their values. Anyway I'm not advocating moral subjectivism of any kind like I said, but again, there are arguments for it that aren't entirely "out there."

Skeptic - In case I don't get around to reading the link you posted tonight, what do YOU think makes an action right or wrong? What factors need to be considered? Again, I still don't understand how if you're a skeptic that you can completely rule out subjectivism. It seems to me that being a skeptic in itself is accepting that subjectivism might be true.
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TheSkeptic
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1/1/2010 11:38:54 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 1/1/2010 10:29:55 PM, theLwerd wrote:
I've never read Mackie so I will read up on that and I guess take it from there. As far as normative subjectivism arguments, off the top of my head I can recall the argument from democracy, the argument from disagreement, the argument from tolerance, the argument from atheism, etc.

Even though I don't concretely know what those arguments explicitly entail (I probably encountered them without the title), those arguments probably don't work for me.

As far as meta-ethical subjectivism, I recall Hume being a big fan (he talked about moral judgments vs. factual judgments a lot) but eh. Vi and I went on a coffee date tonight and talked about this a little bit.

Hume's thoughts on meta-ethics is interesting and definitely inspiring for some of the groundwork of my skepticism (he was a big influence for Mackie's error theory though ironically he believed in moral internalism), but obviously I'm not in complete agreement with him.

Anyway as far as modern arguments, going back to Mary Midgley (the cultural relativist I mentioned) she brings up the example of wayfarers in Japan. A samurai sword was supposed to be able to slice through someone in a single blow. Failure to do so would result in injuring the person's honor, the honor of their family, their ancestors and even the emperor. So, in order to test these swords out to make sure they worked properly, wayfarers had to be expended. They were the ones who were sliced with the sword to ensure that it only took one blow to work properly. I'm not sure if these people volunteered or not (it wouldn't appear so...) but she mentions that wanting to know whether or not they gave consent is a Western idea; it is a moral standard that WE apply in our culture but is not necessarily respected or expected in theirs. Now if one is raised in that kind of environment, are they acting immorally if they don't consider consent? What if they're ignorant to that principle in general? Are they really willingly acting immorally then?

Ah yeah, I've read the same article (don't remember if it was her direct work or someone referring to her) - anyway, I'm not sure what the point this example is in relation to moral skepticism. For the cultural relativist, I'm sure we both know the answer to your questions. For the moral objectivsts, he would probably say that what the samurai did was wrong (in most ethical theories this would probably be the case). For the moral nihilist, who denies that anyone can act immorally, this question would be missing the point.

To clarify further, ideals like discipline and devotion are/were extremely significant in Japan; they placed a lower value on individual life, generally speaking. So these are just some cultural examples she raises among others and things we have to keep in mind when viewing another culture's behavior. I'm not saying that an appeal to tradition is correct, but I don't know if it's fair to say that they're choosing to act immorally given their values. Anyway I'm not advocating moral subjectivism of any kind like I said, but again, there are arguments for it that aren't entirely "out there."

As I've said before, the people aren't immoral though their actions are. For example, let's assume that Kantian ethics was sound and thus the "one and only true ethical theory" - this would fit nicely with a moral objectivist coat. So if the Japanese samurai did such a thing without knowledge of Kantian ethics, and he had noble intentions with relation to feudal Japanese principle, then he wouldn't be truly morally responsible. Now, if he had knowledge of Kantian ethics and accepted it, then he would be held morally responsible -- to be truly morally responsible for an action, you must be aware of the principle first.

This could get murky, as it delves into the topic of moral responsibility but at the very least I'm not sure where you are going with such an example. Not to mention that such an argument has easy knock-down refutation (the slippery slope to moral isolationism is a big one).

Skeptic - In case I don't get around to reading the link you posted tonight, what do YOU think makes an action right or wrong? What factors need to be considered?

To be honest, I'm not sure. As of now, I uphold some pragmatic, bare, form of consent as an overriding principle (similar to the principle of non-aggression and other thoughts surrounding contractian theories) but I'm still on the fence. Moral skeptics have written on this subject called moral fictionalism, but I haven't come around to reading a lot of it. I've also been looking into universal prescriptivism, which is another interesting twist on ethics but alas...classes are coming up.

Again, I still don't understand how if you're a skeptic that you can completely rule out subjectivism. It seems to me that being a skeptic in itself is accepting that subjectivism might be true.

So being a moral skeptic would force me to believe that the truth value of moral claims are mind-dependent? Or are you claiming something else, because the former makes no sense to me.
Danielle
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1/2/2010 11:58:13 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
I don't understand what you don't understand. When I asked what makes something right or wrong, you said that you're not sure. But if you're not sure, then it doesn't rule out subjectivism entirely (so to claim it's inferior is without basis). There are many types of moral subjectivism -- we've mentioned at least 4. The only way you can rule out any form of subjectivism entirely is to be a moral objectivist which you're not. For instance, you said that right now you hold some form of consent as a principle, but a consent argument can work either in favor of moral objectivists OR subjectivists (such as the wayfarer argument I gave you). For instance, many people find euthanasia to be morally wrong despite consent (i.e. they were "tricked" into giving consent). Another good example is revenge. Some people believe that an eye for an eye is morally just whereas other assert that certain things - like murder - are always wrong even if the other person murdered first.

Anyway the reason I gave the example is because you said there weren't any recent arguments for relativism that appealed to you and so I gave a modern one to see if it DID appeal to you. But my overall point is that if you don't even know what you think makes something right or wrong, how you could rule out subjectivism when the only way to do that is to claim objectivism? To be a skeptic means you accept that some form or subjectivism might be true. Moral skepticism asserts that no one has any moral knowledge. But if giving consent is something that you value, then you acknowledge that to violate consent is wrong. So I guess I'm not understanding (1) how you're a moral skeptic and (2) how a skeptic can completely reject subjectivism.
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TheSkeptic
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1/2/2010 6:32:21 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 1/2/2010 11:58:13 AM, theLwerd wrote:
I don't understand what you don't understand. When I asked what makes something right or wrong, you said that you're not sure. But if you're not sure, then it doesn't rule out subjectivism entirely (so to claim it's inferior is without basis). There are many types of moral subjectivism -- we've mentioned at least 4. The only way you can rule out any form of subjectivism entirely is to be a moral objectivist which you're not.

I can't see how you are coming to this dichotomy - nihilism and subjectivsm are meta-ethically different. Subjectivsts believe that moral claims are truth apt but aren't static, while nihilists believe moral claims are truth apt but the propositions are FALSE. There can never be an instance of a true moral value for the nihilist, unlike the subjectivist.

For instance, you said that right now you hold some form of consent as a principle, but a consent argument can work either in favor of moral objectivists OR subjectivists (such as the wayfarer argument I gave you).

I mentioned moral fictionalism for a reason - there are works on the idea that we can have good reason to follow moral guidelines without truly believing in them.

Anyway the reason I gave the example is because you said there weren't any recent arguments for relativism that appealed to you and so I gave a modern one to see if it DID appeal to you.

Yeah, and I've heard that one. As I'm sure you know, it's largely ineffective given once again another failed attempt at moving from the descriptive to the prescriptive and plus the interesting counterargument of moral isolationism.

But my overall point is that if you don't even know what you think makes something right or wrong, how you could rule out subjectivism when the only way to do that is to claim objectivism?

...because you don't have to claim objectivism. As I stated before, there are fundamental meta-ethical differences between nihilism and subjectivism. Subjectivism allows for the possibility of someone to be moral or immoral, but nihilism does not.

To be a skeptic means you accept that some form or subjectivism might be true. Moral skepticism asserts that no one has any moral knowledge. But if giving consent is something that you value, then you acknowledge that to violate consent is wrong.

Again, refer to moral fictionalism. I won't be upfront about this subject - I do agree that my current standing on ethics is troubling, to say the least. It's not something I'm comfortable with, and right now I'm still reading more to find out.

So I guess I'm not understanding (1) how you're a moral skeptic and (2) how a skeptic can completely reject subjectivism.

1. I gave you a couple of arguments in name.
2. Because the two are meta-ethically different.