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How can objective morality exist?

phantom
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12/9/2012 3:03:35 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
A few disclaimers.
____

-This thread is more in reference to secular objective morality. Religious objective morality doesn't really interest me in the purpose of this thread but you're free to add your opinion on it if you care to.

-I'm not a moral nihilist.

-I'm not a moral subjectivist either.

-I believe in a relativistic moral type that is fairly close to objectivism but not quite.

____

Now on to my point. We call logic objective because it's absolute and exists completely independent of agency. Mathematics is not dependent on our human perception of it. 5 added to 7 will always result in twelve regardless of whether humans are there to perceive it as such. Morality on the other hand, contains no such attributes. Morality is entirely dependent on agency. There is no such thing as an objective moral value. It's not an objective fact that murder is wrong. It may be a fact in one sense, but not an objective fact. Values are all dependent on our perception as agents on the nature of life. Take away all agency and no longer are there true or false moral values. It becomes meaningless. Compassion is not right or wrong except in correlation to an agents perception of the idea of what compassion is and entails. Take away all agency and the laws of logic entail nothing about the moral value of compassion. In order for morality to be objective, it has to rest on objective things. It can't rest on agency and still be objective and it doesn't rest on bare logic. Logic itself doesn't entail morality. Only moral agents do.
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
TUF
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12/9/2012 3:16:14 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Good points. I know I am kind of biased, but I would like to hear some opposing words to this.
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000ike
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12/9/2012 3:21:54 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Advocates of objective morality may raise the point that moral rules don't cease to exist when agents cease to exist. Rules are not contingent on their relevancy. Rules are dormant until an event occurs within their jurisdiction. That's why 1+1 will still be 2 even though no one in the world is adding.

But you're still correct, objective morality doesn't work. If you use logic to prove objective morality, you will always fail. Is and ought are diametric concepts. Logic is a description of reality, not an idealization of it and can therefore never produce a non-contingent ought. What logic can do is take an end and find what means achieve it. So rather than simply saying "you ought not steal. Period"...you would say "if ____, you ought not steal." and that would be a version of subjective morality.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
socialpinko
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12/9/2012 5:18:53 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/9/2012 3:21:54 PM, 000ike wrote:
Advocates of objective morality may raise the point that moral rules don't cease to exist when agents cease to exist. Rules are not contingent on their relevancy. Rules are dormant until an event occurs within their jurisdiction. That's why 1+1 will still be 2 even though no one in the world is adding.

But you're still correct, objective morality doesn't work. If you use logic to prove objective morality, you will always fail. Is and ought are diametric concepts. Logic is a description of reality, not an idealization of it and can therefore never produce a non-contingent ought. What logic can do is take an end and find what means achieve it. So rather than simply saying "you ought not steal. Period"...you would say "if ____, you ought not steal." and that would be a version of subjective morality.

I don't buy this. When you try to moralize or justify some ethical code of conduct you do so necessarily by recourse to argumentation. In doing this you also do so by recourse to logical truths/rules. Disregarding them just leads to incoherency. Therefore, in arguing about anything at all, you presuppose certain ethical truths (i.e., standards of behavior). It's not about an idealization of reality or finding a mystical "ought" in nature, it's more about what can be argumentatively supported and what cannot. Things like murder, stealing, rape, etc. can't be argumentatively justified. Therefore discourse ethicists (Hoppe, Kinsella, et al.) aren't justifying morally good behavior, but are simply using discourse analysis as a logical metric against which to criticize certain behaviors as unsupported/irrational.

Ethics (codes of behavior) have been too long dominated by a mystic fetishism surrounding concepts like wrong and right that any different methodology is looked at a priori suspiciously. Schools like utilitarianism, natural law, deontology, etc. are built around looking for "the good" and criticizing anything that doesn't adhere to it. Discourse ethics on the other hand is really just a negative system, an application of logical criticism to standards of behavior.
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: : At 9/29/2014 9:43:46 AM, kbub wrote:
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socialpinko
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12/9/2012 5:34:42 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Inb4 "I'm not making ethical prescriptions so discourse analysis doesn't apply"

Whether the person making the prescription (and I use the word here loosely as someone supporting anything) is a nihilist or a Christian, it doesn't matter. All that mattes is that the support/prescription exists. Once that happens, it's open to criticism. So Ike, even if you're saying something like: "I make no qualms to ethical truths, though I prefer stealing", it's still vulnerable to discourse analysis.

Inb4 "But ethical truths have to be categorical"

Discourse analysis bases its critical style off of logic i.e., it criticizes illogicality/performative contradictions. As logical truths are themselves categorical, it follow that the criticism/conclusions of discourse analysis re themselves legitimately categorical.
: 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.
000ike
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12/9/2012 5:39:38 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/9/2012 5:18:53 PM, socialpinko wrote:
At 12/9/2012 3:21:54 PM, 000ike wrote:
Advocates of objective morality may raise the point that moral rules don't cease to exist when agents cease to exist. Rules are not contingent on their relevancy. Rules are dormant until an event occurs within their jurisdiction. That's why 1+1 will still be 2 even though no one in the world is adding.

But you're still correct, objective morality doesn't work. If you use logic to prove objective morality, you will always fail. Is and ought are diametric concepts. Logic is a description of reality, not an idealization of it and can therefore never produce a non-contingent ought. What logic can do is take an end and find what means achieve it. So rather than simply saying "you ought not steal. Period"...you would say "if ____, you ought not steal." and that would be a version of subjective morality.

I don't buy this. When you try to moralize or justify some ethical code of conduct you do so necessarily by recourse to argumentation. In doing this you also do so by recourse to logical truths/rules. Disregarding them just leads to incoherency. Therefore, in arguing about anything at all, you presuppose certain ethical truths (i.e., standards of behavior). It's not about an idealization of reality or finding a mystical "ought" in nature, it's more about what can be argumentatively supported and what cannot. Things like murder, stealing, rape, etc. can't be argumentatively justified. Therefore discourse ethicists (Hoppe, Kinsella, et al.) aren't justifying morally good behavior, but are simply using discourse analysis as a logical metric against which to criticize certain behaviors as unsupported/irrational.

Ethics (codes of behavior) have been too long dominated by a mystic fetishism surrounding concepts like wrong and right that any different methodology is looked at a priori suspiciously. Schools like utilitarianism, natural law, deontology, etc. are built around looking for "the good" and criticizing anything that doesn't adhere to it. Discourse ethics on the other hand is really just a negative system, an application of logical criticism to standards of behavior.

I'm fine with discourse ethics so long as you don't attempt to extrapolate a statement of "ought" from it. You can say that actions such as murder and rape are not logically defensible, but then again, that has nothing to do with morality, which would be an objective idealization of reality. Logically indefensible does not reduce to ethically wrong.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
popculturepooka
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12/9/2012 5:46:12 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/9/2012 3:21:54 PM, 000ike wrote:
Advocates of objective morality may raise the point that moral rules don't cease to exist when agents cease to exist. Rules are not contingent on their relevancy. Rules are dormant until an event occurs within their jurisdiction. That's why 1+1 will still be 2 even though no one in the world is adding.

But you're still correct, objective morality doesn't work. If you use logic to prove objective morality, you will always fail. Is and ought are diametric concepts. Logic is a description of reality ,, not an idealization of it and can therefore never produce a non-contingent ought. What logic can do is take an end and find what means achieve it. So rather than simply saying "you ought not steal. Period"...you would say "if ____, you ought not steal." and that would be a version of subjective morality.

Lol, no it's not. Logic is an essentially prescriptive and normative discipline (not descriptive). Huh, that sounds just like morality and ethics.
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000ike
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12/9/2012 5:47:56 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/9/2012 5:46:12 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 12/9/2012 3:21:54 PM, 000ike wrote:
Advocates of objective morality may raise the point that moral rules don't cease to exist when agents cease to exist. Rules are not contingent on their relevancy. Rules are dormant until an event occurs within their jurisdiction. That's why 1+1 will still be 2 even though no one in the world is adding.

But you're still correct, objective morality doesn't work. If you use logic to prove objective morality, you will always fail. Is and ought are diametric concepts. Logic is a description of reality ,, not an idealization of it and can therefore never produce a non-contingent ought. What logic can do is take an end and find what means achieve it. So rather than simply saying "you ought not steal. Period"...you would say "if ____, you ought not steal." and that would be a version of subjective morality.

Lol, no it's not. Logic is an essentially prescriptive and normative discipline (not descriptive). Huh, that sounds just like morality and ethics.

what a compelling argument. I'm in awe
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
popculturepooka
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12/9/2012 5:52:09 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/9/2012 5:47:56 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 12/9/2012 5:46:12 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 12/9/2012 3:21:54 PM, 000ike wrote:
Advocates of objective morality may raise the point that moral rules don't cease to exist when agents cease to exist. Rules are not contingent on their relevancy. Rules are dormant until an event occurs within their jurisdiction. That's why 1+1 will still be 2 even though no one in the world is adding.

But you're still correct, objective morality doesn't work. If you use logic to prove objective morality, you will always fail. Is and ought are diametric concepts. Logic is a description of reality ,, not an idealization of it and can therefore never produce a non-contingent ought. What logic can do is take an end and find what means achieve it. So rather than simply saying "you ought not steal. Period"...you would say "if ____, you ought not steal." and that would be a version of subjective morality.

Lol, no it's not. Logic is an essentially prescriptive and normative discipline (not descriptive). Huh, that sounds just like morality and ethics.

what a compelling argument. I'm in awe

It's not interested in compelling you (which is really just a statement about your psychology). I'm just pointing out your error.
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OMGJustinBieber
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12/9/2012 5:56:55 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/9/2012 5:46:12 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 12/9/2012 3:21:54 PM, 000ike wrote:
Advocates of objective morality may raise the point that moral rules don't cease to exist when agents cease to exist. Rules are not contingent on their relevancy. Rules are dormant until an event occurs within their jurisdiction. That's why 1+1 will still be 2 even though no one in the world is adding.

But you're still correct, objective morality doesn't work. If you use logic to prove objective morality, you will always fail. Is and ought are diametric concepts. Logic is a description of reality ,, not an idealization of it and can therefore never produce a non-contingent ought. What logic can do is take an end and find what means achieve it. So rather than simply saying "you ought not steal. Period"...you would say "if ____, you ought not steal." and that would be a version of subjective morality.

Lol, no it's not. Logic is an essentially prescriptive and normative discipline (not descriptive). Huh, that sounds just like morality and ethics.

Do you mind explaining?
000ike
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12/9/2012 5:57:45 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/9/2012 5:47:56 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 12/9/2012 5:46:12 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 12/9/2012 3:21:54 PM, 000ike wrote:
Advocates of objective morality may raise the point that moral rules don't cease to exist when agents cease to exist. Rules are not contingent on their relevancy. Rules are dormant until an event occurs within their jurisdiction. That's why 1+1 will still be 2 even though no one in the world is adding.

But you're still correct, objective morality doesn't work. If you use logic to prove objective morality, you will always fail. Is and ought are diametric concepts. Logic is a description of reality ,, not an idealization of it and can therefore never produce a non-contingent ought. What logic can do is take an end and find what means achieve it. So rather than simply saying "you ought not steal. Period"...you would say "if ____, you ought not steal." and that would be a version of subjective morality.

Lol, no it's not. Logic is an essentially prescriptive and normative discipline (not descriptive). Huh, that sounds just like morality and ethics.

what a compelling argument. I'm in awe

To be clear, I mean that you didn't provide an argument at all. You just laughed, asserted something, and then felt accomplished. Logic describes the is of reality. It describes things are true, not things that should be. If it did in fact describe things that should be, perhaps logical laws would include an auxiliary verb like "ought" and "should" to describe an idealization. My argument seems, more or less intuitively self-evident. You hold the BoP. Where's you're proof?
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault
Ren
Posts: 7,102
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12/9/2012 6:22:13 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/9/2012 3:03:35 PM, phantom wrote:
A few disclaimers.
____

-This thread is more in reference to secular objective morality. Religious objective morality doesn't really interest me in the purpose of this thread but you're free to add your opinion on it if you care to.

-I'm not a moral nihilist.

-I'm not a moral subjectivist either.

-I believe in a relativistic moral type that is fairly close to objectivism but not quite.

____

Now on to my point. We call logic objective because it's absolute and exists completely independent of agency. Mathematics is not dependent on our human perception of it. 5 added to 7 will always result in twelve regardless of whether humans are there to perceive it as such. Morality on the other hand, contains no such attributes. Morality is entirely dependent on agency. There is no such thing as an objective moral value. It's not an objective fact that murder is wrong. It may be a fact in one sense, but not an objective fact. Values are all dependent on our perception as agents on the nature of life. Take away all agency and no longer are there true or false moral values. It becomes meaningless. Compassion is not right or wrong except in correlation to an agents perception of the idea of what compassion is and entails. Take away all agency and the laws of logic entail nothing about the moral value of compassion. In order for morality to be objective, it has to rest on objective things. It can't rest on agency and still be objective and it doesn't rest on bare logic. Logic itself doesn't entail morality. Only moral agents do.

Logic is not as objective as you're making it out to be -- just like morality, a logical premise only follows in context.

That said, morality is not like mathematics, because they derive from the same framework -- logic and reason -- but apply to different applications (on one hand, describing reality, and on the other, interacting with it). Of course, you cannot have standards for how one can best maneuver reality by mere descriptions of it. Did you learn to drive a car from descriptions? One can describe a car's steering system up, down, left, and right, but one would still never be able to glean the procedure for making a right turn, although that does not detract from the objectivity of that procedure. Moreover, a right turn as one learns it is not directly and objectively applicable to every single right turn that one makes. Nonetheless, that does not detract from them all being right turns (or, variations thereof), nor does it detract from its general procedure.

The point is that both morality and mathematics derive from logic, which derives from reason. You cannot interpret these as separate entities, because they will all lose their meaning. For example, let's consider mathematics as a science. In accordance to the framework to which mathematics refers, there is a given procedure one must follow in order to manipulate concepts. So, simply knowing that 2 + 2 = 4 is not enough. In fact, knowing that 2 + 2 = 4, 2 * 2 = 4, 2 - 2 = 0, and 2/2 = 1 is not enough. You must also understand the order of operations -- parenthesis, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, subtraction -- in order to solve any statements that contain more than one of those premises. That order of operations is, in essence, a moral premise -- the correct way to go about things when engaging mathematics.

So, we can now put this functional statement together: "a reasonable person will logically assess what they encounter, and have a moral reaction."

Do you contend that assertion?

Consider that each of these things lead to the next, but they are mutually exclusive. Because a person is reasonable, they are logical, and thus logically assess what they encounter. Because that person logically assessed what they encountered, they could glean the correct reaction, and act accordingly, which would be the moral thing to do.
Ren
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12/9/2012 6:25:55 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/9/2012 5:56:55 PM, OMGJustinBieber wrote:
At 12/9/2012 5:46:12 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 12/9/2012 3:21:54 PM, 000ike wrote:
Advocates of objective morality may raise the point that moral rules don't cease to exist when agents cease to exist. Rules are not contingent on their relevancy. Rules are dormant until an event occurs within their jurisdiction. That's why 1+1 will still be 2 even though no one in the world is adding.

But you're still correct, objective morality doesn't work. If you use logic to prove objective morality, you will always fail. Is and ought are diametric concepts. Logic is a description of reality ,, not an idealization of it and can therefore never produce a non-contingent ought. What logic can do is take an end and find what means achieve it. So rather than simply saying "you ought not steal. Period"...you would say "if ____, you ought not steal." and that would be a version of subjective morality.

Lol, no it's not. Logic is an essentially prescriptive and normative discipline (not descriptive). Huh, that sounds just like morality and ethics.

Do you mind explaining?

Logic is prescriptive and normative, but the OP and Ike are comparing it to science and mathematics, which are (purportedly) descriptive exclusively.
YYW
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12/9/2012 7:21:18 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/9/2012 3:03:35 PM, phantom wrote:
A few disclaimers.
____

-This thread is more in reference to secular objective morality. Religious objective morality doesn't really interest me in the purpose of this thread but you're free to add your opinion on it if you care to.

-I'm not a moral nihilist.

-I'm not a moral subjectivist either.

-I believe in a relativistic moral type that is fairly close to objectivism but not quite.

____

Now on to my point. We call logic objective because it's absolute and exists completely independent of agency. Mathematics is not dependent on our human perception of it. 5 added to 7 will always result in twelve regardless of whether humans are there to perceive it as such. Morality on the other hand, contains no such attributes. Morality is entirely dependent on agency. There is no such thing as an objective moral value. It's not an objective fact that murder is wrong. It may be a fact in one sense, but not an objective fact. Values are all dependent on our perception as agents on the nature of life. Take away all agency and no longer are there true or false moral values. It becomes meaningless. Compassion is not right or wrong except in correlation to an agents perception of the idea of what compassion is and entails. Take away all agency and the laws of logic entail nothing about the moral value of compassion. In order for morality to be objective, it has to rest on objective things. It can't rest on agency and still be objective and it doesn't rest on bare logic. Logic itself doesn't entail morality. Only moral agents do.

2 + 2 = objective morality.
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Ragnar_Rahl
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12/9/2012 7:57:44 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Morality is entirely dependent on agency. There is no such thing as an objective moral value. It's not an objective fact that murder is wrong. It may be a fact in one sense, but not an objective fact.
Gravity is entirely dependent on mass, so it's not objective?

There can be objective facts about agency.
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.
phantom
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12/9/2012 8:45:06 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/9/2012 6:22:13 PM, Ren wrote:
At 12/9/2012 3:03:35 PM, phantom wrote:
A few disclaimers.
____

-This thread is more in reference to secular objective morality. Religious objective morality doesn't really interest me in the purpose of this thread but you're free to add your opinion on it if you care to.

-I'm not a moral nihilist.

-I'm not a moral subjectivist either.

-I believe in a relativistic moral type that is fairly close to objectivism but not quite.

____

Now on to my point. We call logic objective because it's absolute and exists completely independent of agency. Mathematics is not dependent on our human perception of it. 5 added to 7 will always result in twelve regardless of whether humans are there to perceive it as such. Morality on the other hand, contains no such attributes. Morality is entirely dependent on agency. There is no such thing as an objective moral value. It's not an objective fact that murder is wrong. It may be a fact in one sense, but not an objective fact. Values are all dependent on our perception as agents on the nature of life. Take away all agency and no longer are there true or false moral values. It becomes meaningless. Compassion is not right or wrong except in correlation to an agents perception of the idea of what compassion is and entails. Take away all agency and the laws of logic entail nothing about the moral value of compassion. In order for morality to be objective, it has to rest on objective things. It can't rest on agency and still be objective and it doesn't rest on bare logic. Logic itself doesn't entail morality. Only moral agents do.

Logic is not as objective as you're making it out to be -- just like morality, a logical premise only follows in context.

That said, morality is not like mathematics, because they derive from the same framework -- logic and reason -- but apply to different applications (on one hand, describing reality, and on the other, interacting with it). Of course, you cannot have standards for how one can best maneuver reality by mere descriptions of it. Did you learn to drive a car from descriptions? One can describe a car's steering system up, down, left, and right, but one would still never be able to glean the procedure for making a right turn, although that does not detract from the objectivity of that procedure. Moreover, a right turn as one learns it is not directly and objectively applicable to every single right turn that one makes. Nonetheless, that does not detract from them all being right turns (or, variations thereof), nor does it detract from its general procedure.

Lol, I don't get the purpose of this analogy sorry.

The point is that both morality and mathematics derive from logic, which derives from reason. You cannot interpret these as separate entities, because they will all lose their meaning. For example, let's consider mathematics as a science. In accordance to the framework to which mathematics refers, there is a given procedure one must follow in order to manipulate concepts. So, simply knowing that 2 + 2 = 4 is not enough. In fact, knowing that 2 + 2 = 4, 2 * 2 = 4, 2 - 2 = 0, and 2/2 = 1 is not enough. You must also understand the order of operations -- parenthesis, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, subtraction -- in order to solve any statements that contain more than one of those premises. That order of operations is, in essence, a moral premise -- the correct way to go about things when engaging mathematics.

So, we can now put this functional statement together: "a reasonable person will logically assess what they encounter, and have a moral reaction."

Do you contend that assertion?

Yes but if you changed it to "a reasonable moral agent will logically assess what moral situations they encounter, and have a moral reaction" I would probably agree.

Consider that each of these things lead to the next, but they are mutually exclusive. Because a person is reasonable, they are logical, and thus logically assess what they encounter. Because that person logically assessed what they encountered, they could glean the correct reaction, and act accordingly, which would be the moral thing to do.

I'm not sure you fully understand my point because I'm not making sense of the purpose of some of your analogies.

Morality stems partially off of logic, I would never deny that. But it's still fully dependent on agency. Moral reasoning requires a logical setup but it also requires moral agency. Take away agency and only pure logic remains but nothing that could be called morality. Morality is dependent on logic but also moral agents. If it were only dependent on logic, than it could quite conceivably be called objective but it is not. The very idea of morality assumes moral agency. That's because it's a construct of agency. Morality is merely a result of our impressions and ideas of the world. The key point is it's dependent on us, not pure logic. Mathematics is independent of us which is why it's objective. Morality contains no such truths.
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
phantom
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12/9/2012 8:46:59 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/9/2012 7:57:44 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
Morality is entirely dependent on agency. There is no such thing as an objective moral value. It's not an objective fact that murder is wrong. It may be a fact in one sense, but not an objective fact.
Gravity is entirely dependent on mass, so it's not objective?

I'm not saying everything that's dependent on something is not objective. That's a strawman.

There can be objective facts about agency.

Agreed but not moral facts.
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
Ragnar_Rahl
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12/9/2012 8:48:48 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/9/2012 8:46:59 PM, phantom wrote:
At 12/9/2012 7:57:44 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
Morality is entirely dependent on agency. There is no such thing as an objective moral value. It's not an objective fact that murder is wrong. It may be a fact in one sense, but not an objective fact.
Gravity is entirely dependent on mass, so it's not objective?

I'm not saying everything that's dependent on something is not objective. That's a strawman.
What, if not that, is the logical structure of your argument?

There can be objective facts about agency.

Agreed but not moral facts.
Moral facts are facts about agency obtaining or failing to obtain its ends by given types of means.
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.
FREEDO
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12/9/2012 8:57:06 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
This is a blog post I made on Moral Nihilism a long time ago.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

It has been my humble observation that many of the non-religious are confused with the topic of morality and ethics in how it would be rationally extended from their particular breed of reasoning. Don"t get me wrong, the religious aren"t the masters of logical consistency, but this is specifically directed towards the unbeknownst confusion asserted from those who claim the negation of faith. By confused I refer to internal inconsistency within their perspective. In this blog-post I will discuss how the rational extension of non-religiosity in regard to ethics leads to Nihilism.

Regardless of how unpleasant it may seem to refer to morality as an illusion, the intellectually-honest non-religious individual must do so in-order to hold internal consistency.

First, a definition of terms; morality and ethics is a description of values and behavior that one ought to have. It is not simply describing behavior that is but rather behavior that ought to be.

To define ethics as simply a type of behavior in no way means that one ought to behave that way. The famous philosopher, David Hume, aptly pointed out that it is logically impossible to derive an ought from an is"or a value from a fact. So while you may define Altruism, compassion, and kindness as ethical behavior, you are really just describing a type of behavior that is, not one that ought to be.

It"s important to properly understand that ethics and morality is based on how things ought to be. To say giving food to the homeless is kind is completely different than saying that one ought to give food to the homeless. The statement that giving food to the homeless is kind, that is a fact. But to derive a value out of that, saying being kind is a value, that does not logically derive from the fact that giving food to the homeless is kind. You could also say the statement that beating up the homeless for fun is unkind is a fact"so would you then say that you ought to value being unkind, simply because it is a fact? No, all you are doing is stating facts and you"ll never get a value out of that. If someone kills another in cold-blood, it is a fact, it is what is whether or not one ought to have done it.

Now, remember, saying one ought to do this or do that is entirely different than the subjective statement of "I prefer to do this or that". For example, I prefer water to soda but that does not mean I say one ought to drink water. A Nihilist may be reading this now who understands and agrees with everything I"ve written so far. Most likely they are someone who would say "I prefer people to be kind" or "I strongly dislike killing", but they acknowledge that as their own subjective preference and they don"t believe in any kind of morality. So subjective preference, of preferring things to be a certain way, is in no way at all what morality and ethics is about. In this sense, Nihilists are Egoists. The Egoist who says self-pleasure is moral has purely a semantical difference with Nihilism, in actuality there"s no difference in how they behave.

To pull morality out of a hat, to derive an ought from an is, requires some convoluted sense of faith. So if you"re an individual who claims to be non-religious and asserts no code of morality then, congratulations, your ethics are consistent with your reasoning which produced your rejection of faith.

I also find it necessary to point out two different attitudes of Nihilism; Passive and Active.

Passive Nihilism is indicative of a decline in a personal sense of control. It is characterized by the inability to create, or in the extreme to react. The Passive Nihilist is one who, when faced with the world"s uncertainty, withdraws and refuses to engage the world. For him, uncertainty is a sufficient condition not to proceed through life, and so paralyzed by fear of the unknown and unknowable he does nothing or even to the extent that it can no longer be bared which results in insanity or suicide. The famous philosopher Frederich Nietzsche described this condition as "the weary Nihilism that no longer attacks..a passive Nihilism, a sign of weakness".

Active Nihilism on the other hand, is indicative of a relative increase in a sense of personal control. The Active Nihilist sees freedom where the Passive Nihilist sees loss or meaninglessness. He chooses action and creation instead of passivity and withdrawal. For him, the lack of objective standards of moral truth motivates self-created standards and criteria. The Active Nihilist is not active despite the unknown but because of it. He possesses a store of creative energy and power which allows him to impose personal meaning on the world while never forgetting that he is the source of it all and progenitor of that meaning. He is heroic in this sense, facing the world with courage and purpose.

This short inquiry is not exhaustive in the least and would be chancy to change any minds but I felt it necessary of my own desire to give my two cents on the matter. Nihilism can be a very confusing thing for some people, especially those who see Nihilists like me who would easily confuse me with come kind of Gandhi character espousing robust Altruism. But so I don"t disappoint their mis-guided view of Nihilism as a meaningless, heartless and void of all things good I"ll close off by saying that I wish all my Nihilist friends well while they go brutally anal rape some crippled people and blow-up a church.
GRAND POOBAH OF DDO

fnord
phantom
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12/9/2012 9:10:49 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/9/2012 8:48:48 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
At 12/9/2012 8:46:59 PM, phantom wrote:
At 12/9/2012 7:57:44 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
Morality is entirely dependent on agency. There is no such thing as an objective moral value. It's not an objective fact that murder is wrong. It may be a fact in one sense, but not an objective fact.
Gravity is entirely dependent on mass, so it's not objective?

I'm not saying everything that's dependent on something is not objective. That's a strawman.
What, if not that, is the logical structure of your argument?

In order for moral facts to be objective, they need to rest on objective grounds. The law of gravity is objective but moral facts both require moral agency as well as being relative to the type of agency. Because we're a certain type of moral agents, a certain type of morality arises. Morality cannot be compared to gravity because morality is purely an immaterial idea. Moral agency is relative rendering morality relative.

I think that's sound but you've actually pressed me there.


There can be objective facts about agency.

Agreed but not moral facts.
Moral facts are facts about agency obtaining or failing to obtain its ends by given types of means.

That's purely descriptive. Morality is normative.
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
Ren
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12/10/2012 9:41:53 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/9/2012 8:45:06 PM, phantom wrote:

Lol, I don't get the purpose of this analogy sorry.

You cannot take a descriptive premise and derive a certain and factual application.

Logical Syllogism:

A. All snapes are snopes.
B. Some wints are snopes.
C. Therefore, some wints are snapes.

Moral Syllogism:

A. Pain is bad.
B. Touching fire generates pain.
B. One that feels pain should avoid touching fire.

But, morality is rarely applied to simplistically on a day-to-day basis. Such a simple premise is practically processed automatically.

Instead, I introduced a moral framework -- a procedure, or way or going about things, and used that to exemplify although it's impossible to go from a descriptive assertion to a moral assertion, the descriptive assertions still assert the framework to which the moral assertion must derive. In other words, although you cannot glean from the description of a steering mechanism how to make a right turn in a vehicle that has it, that description still states the parameters under which the procedure to steering a car, for example, must abide.

Accordingly, one can tell you from actually driving a car with power steering that you can only turn the wheel so sharply without losing control of the car, and extremely sharp turns can flip the car. This is a consequence of the steering mechanism's construction. So, to a new driver getting behind the wheel for the first time, it is factual, objective, and true advice to tell them "you shouldn't turn the wheel sharply."

Morality's definition:

1.the quality of being moral
2.conformity, or degree of conformity, to conventional standards of moral conduct
3.a system of moral principles
4.an instruction or lesson in morals

Morality is what gives meaning to what people do... it's a categorization that determines whether an action acts as a means to a general end. As an American, it means being a productive member of society. As a member of a household, it means contributing to that household and remaining amicable, supportive, and hospitable to the people in it. In public, it means being courteous, which is just another word for generally considerate and conducive to positive feedback. It is correct behavior, and you know as well as I that it's objective, or none of this would have any meaning. But it does, because it is literally a manifestation of the paradigm we thought up and maintain every single day. To deny morality is to deny that paradigm, and though it's true that we're nothing more than a bunch of primates playing a bunch of dramatic roles in a collectively dreamed-up play, unless you've found a way to live despite it, there comes a time when one must grow up and learn to live within it.

Morality stems partially off of logic, I would never deny that. But it's still fully dependent on agency. Moral reasoning requires a logical setup but it also requires moral agency. Take away agency and only pure logic remains but nothing that could be called morality. Morality is dependent on logic but also moral agents. If it were only dependent on logic, than it could quite conceivably be called objective but it is not. The very idea of morality assumes moral agency. That's because it's a construct of agency. Morality is merely a result of our impressions and ideas of the world. The key point is it's dependent on us, not pure logic. Mathematics is independent of us which is why it's objective. Morality contains no such truths.

I'm not sure what you mean by agency. Could you please elaborate on that?

Mathematics would not exist if humanity didn't exist. I'm not sure what makes you think that mathematics was around before humanity was, but the Romans and Palestinians brought us the math we practice today, and it's not the only functional mathematical framework that exists. In fact, none of the mathematical frameworks, including the one to which you're most familiar, are perfect or immutable. There will always be exceptions. Kurt Godel is famous for proving it.
phantom
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12/10/2012 11:18:39 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Ok, I concede. You and Ragnar are right.

Cheers.
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
Ragnar_Rahl
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12/10/2012 3:20:50 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/9/2012 9:10:49 PM, phantom wrote:
At 12/9/2012 8:48:48 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
At 12/9/2012 8:46:59 PM, phantom wrote:
At 12/9/2012 7:57:44 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
Morality is entirely dependent on agency. There is no such thing as an objective moral value. It's not an objective fact that murder is wrong. It may be a fact in one sense, but not an objective fact.
Gravity is entirely dependent on mass, so it's not objective?

I'm not saying everything that's dependent on something is not objective. That's a strawman.
What, if not that, is the logical structure of your argument?

In order for moral facts to be objective, they need to rest on objective grounds. The law of gravity is objective but moral facts both require moral agency as well as being relative to the type of agency.
And gravitiational facts require mass sbject to gravity.

Because we're a certain type of moral agents, a certain type of morality arises. Morality cannot be compared to gravity because morality is purely an immaterial idea.
Whatchoo mean? It's never applied to the behavior of anything but material creatures!

Moral agency is relative rendering morality relative.
Relative to the agent like gravity is relative to mass.

There can be objective facts about agency.

Agreed but not moral facts.
Moral facts are facts about agency obtaining or failing to obtain its ends by given types of means.

That's purely descriptive. Morality is normative.
Define normative before I address :P
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.
Kinesis
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12/10/2012 3:54:01 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/9/2012 5:46:12 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
Lol, no it's not. Logic is an essentially prescriptive and normative discipline (not descriptive). Huh, that sounds just like morality and ethics.

Elaborate? Logic has a number of facets but I'm not sure how it's prescriptive. It describes how to construct sound arguments and how to express language without ambiguity. Where does the prescriptivity come into it?
socialpinko
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12/10/2012 3:54:08 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/9/2012 5:39:38 PM, 000ike wrote:
At 12/9/2012 5:18:53 PM, socialpinko wrote:

I don't buy this. When you try to moralize or justify some ethical code of conduct you do so necessarily by recourse to argumentation. In doing this you also do so by recourse to logical truths/rules. Disregarding them just leads to incoherency. Therefore, in arguing about anything at all, you presuppose certain ethical truths (i.e., standards of behavior). It's not about an idealization of reality or finding a mystical "ought" in nature, it's more about what can be argumentatively supported and what cannot. Things like murder, stealing, rape, etc. can't be argumentatively justified. Therefore discourse ethicists (Hoppe, Kinsella, et al.) aren't justifying morally good behavior, but are simply using discourse analysis as a logical metric against which to criticize certain behaviors as unsupported/irrational.

Ethics (codes of behavior) have been too long dominated by a mystic fetishism surrounding concepts like wrong and right that any different methodology is looked at a priori suspiciously. Schools like utilitarianism, natural law, deontology, etc. are built around looking for "the good" and criticizing anything that doesn't adhere to it. Discourse ethics on the other hand is really just a negative system, an application of logical criticism to standards of behavior.

I'm fine with discourse ethics so long as you don't attempt to extrapolate a statement of "ought" from it. You can say that actions such as murder and rape are not logically defensible, but then again, that has nothing to do with morality, which would be an objective idealization of reality. Logically indefensible does not reduce to ethically wrong.

That's not the purpose of discourse analysis though. It's not saying something is "wrong" it's just saying any argument for it will necessarily be logically incoherent. You can ignore that if you want and go on supporting things that you happen to value (the State, coercion, violence, etc.), but at the very least you can't get away with denying that they're indefensible positions.
: 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.
GeoLaureate8
Posts: 12,252
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12/10/2012 4:10:45 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
This is an ABSURD question. HOW can objective morality exist? How can anything exist?

How it can exist is this: just like anything in the Universe, if it doesn't have inherent contradictions in its nature then it CAN exist.

DOES it exist is a separate question altogether.
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
FREEDO
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12/10/2012 4:18:07 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/10/2012 4:10:45 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
This is an ABSURD question. HOW can objective morality exist? How can anything exist?

How it can exist is this: just like anything in the Universe, if it doesn't have inherent contradictions in its nature then it CAN exist.

DOES it exist is a separate question altogether.

I like this.
GRAND POOBAH OF DDO

fnord
phantom
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12/10/2012 5:07:59 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/10/2012 3:20:50 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
At 12/9/2012 9:10:49 PM, phantom wrote:
At 12/9/2012 8:48:48 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
At 12/9/2012 8:46:59 PM, phantom wrote:
At 12/9/2012 7:57:44 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
Morality is entirely dependent on agency. There is no such thing as an objective moral value. It's not an objective fact that murder is wrong. It may be a fact in one sense, but not an objective fact.
Gravity is entirely dependent on mass, so it's not objective?

I'm not saying everything that's dependent on something is not objective. That's a strawman.
What, if not that, is the logical structure of your argument?

In order for moral facts to be objective, they need to rest on objective grounds. The law of gravity is objective but moral facts both require moral agency as well as being relative to the type of agency.
And gravitiational facts require mass sbject to gravity.

Because we're a certain type of moral agents, a certain type of morality arises. Morality cannot be compared to gravity because morality is purely an immaterial idea.
Whatchoo mean? It's never applied to the behavior of anything but material creatures!

Moral agency is relative rendering morality relative.
Relative to the agent like gravity is relative to mass.


There can be objective facts about agency.

Agreed but not moral facts.
Moral facts are facts about agency obtaining or failing to obtain its ends by given types of means.

That's purely descriptive. Morality is normative.
Define normative before I address :P

At 12/10/2012 11:18:39 AM, phantom wrote:
Ok, I concede. You and Ragnar are right.

Cheers.
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
phantom
Posts: 6,774
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12/10/2012 5:08:43 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/10/2012 4:10:45 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
This is an ABSURD question. HOW can objective morality exist? How can anything exist?

How it can exist is this: just like anything in the Universe, if it doesn't have inherent contradictions in its nature then it CAN exist.

DOES it exist is a separate question altogether.

You clearly have no idea what the purpose of this thread was.
"Music is a zen-like ecstatic state where you become the new man of the future, the Nietzschean merger of Apollo and Dionysus." Ray Manzarek (The Doors)
000ike
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12/10/2012 5:16:21 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 12/10/2012 4:10:45 PM, GeoLaureate8 wrote:
This is an ABSURD question. HOW can objective morality exist? How can anything exist?

How it can exist is this: just like anything in the Universe, if it doesn't have inherent contradictions in its nature then it CAN exist.

DOES it exist is a separate question altogether.

um, no. Your post is invalid.
Phantom is asking how they reconcile the concept of objective morality with logic. Since often we debate about things that are logically possible, the question to be debated thereafter is whether or not they exist or are true. In this case, objective morality doesn't seem logically possible, and that must be addressed before going on to determine its existence.
"A stupid despot may constrain his slaves with iron chains; but a true politician binds them even more strongly with the chain of their own ideas" - Michel Foucault