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Ontological vs. Epistemological Objectivism

socialpinko
Posts: 10,458
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6/17/2012 11:47:55 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
This has been a point that has come up in enough recent conversations that it deserves some clarification. When speaking of moral nihilism in relation to value claims by others, a common response is to deny that that specific value claim is anything other than objective since we can measure how well a situation corresponds to some specific value. (Ignore the point that utilitarianism fails to take this into consideration e.g. impossibility of interpersonal utility comparisons)

While I don't necessarily deny this except in conjunction with most utilitarian claims, I think it reflects a misunderstanding about the moral nihilist claim in the first place. The defense outlines above deals with subjectivity or objectivity in an epistemic sense. It deals with whether we can actually know certain things about the world, like if something corresponds to our values. However, this doesn't refute the point that values are not objective in an ontological sense.

We can know our values and know when they've been satisfied objectively (usually at least) but that makes no ontological claim on the reality of the values. It's measurable whether or not a society conforms to a moral rule like a prohibition against murder. In this sense it is objective. However, that says nothing about the ontological status of the rule's objectivity or subjectivity. I can know if something conforms to my sense of humor but obviously that doesn't mean I have an objective grasp on what really makes something humorous in the more ontological sense.
: At 9/29/2014 10:55:59 AM, imabench wrote:
: : At 9/29/2014 9:43:46 AM, kbub wrote:
: :
: : DDO should discredit support of sexual violence at any time and in every way.
:
: I disagree.
socialpinko
Posts: 10,458
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6/17/2012 11:54:26 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Lol reminds me of the whole PoM problem of mental events being causally objective (having an objecively physical basis) but ontologically subjective (the feeling of mental states).
: At 9/29/2014 10:55:59 AM, imabench wrote:
: : At 9/29/2014 9:43:46 AM, kbub wrote:
: :
: : DDO should discredit support of sexual violence at any time and in every way.
:
: I disagree.