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Noam Chomsky & I Take Down Objective Morality

jat93
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1/16/2013 2:11:24 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
There is no such thing as morality because each situation is different and each decision must be tailored for each unique situation; ideological thinking can only be limiting; one must consider all the possibilities, and weigh all the values. Of course there is no such thing as objective morality. Take the most basic moral rules that any sane person would accept: Don't murder. Don't steal. Don't cheat on your spouse. These may be general rules, but rules have exceptions and are meant to be broken on occasion when necessary. Are there not times when killing another human being may be moral? Say one person among a group of people had an extremely lethal, extremely contagious disease and there were, hypothetically, but two options: kill the mofo or let everyone else die. What to be done?

I guess my point is that "objective" morality cannot exist because objective values do not exist: they are contingent upon the unique details of the situation in which one finds themselves.

To quote Noam Chomsky from the attached video which any self respecting philosopher should watch:

"There are conflicting values. And, taken in isolation, each of the values is quite legitimate. So the value of preserving human life, or for that matter the life of any organism. That is a value that we should accept - you shouldn't just go arbitrarily kill some animal because it's fun to kill it... On the other hand, most people will agree to swat a mosquito. Okay, well the idea that life should be valued, has come into conflict with another value... The value we hold are not absolute; they are always contingent. They conflict. And life is made up of decisions in complicated situations... If you listen to just one in isolation, yeah it might sound legitimate, but you have to ask what it means under particular conditions."

This is the death of absolute values. Combined with Nietzsche's thoughts on the ubermensch, "beyond good and evil", and master-slave morality, etc, it's clear that we're living in a world where all human actions just boil down to opinions and preferences.... And much of the time we don't even have control over those opinions and preferences, due to "education" from schools and parents, and biological/genetic facts and predispositions. Morality is for the weak minded, the fearful, those who can't bear the onus of thinking for themselves in every situation.

Down with the constraints of ideological thinking, by which the vast majority of the population has been enslaved. Morality is a fictional construct that tends to serve the powerful, the elite. Notice: Killing is wrong for you average citizens, except when done by the state on a massive, genocidal scale. Stealing is wrong except by the state to the tunes of trillions of dollars. Etc etc etc. The powerful are held down by no ideology, no morality. Alas, the burden of the wise and powerful: with no guiding ideology/morality, you've got to think for yourself all the time. Are you up to the challenge of the post-moral society? If not, you'll be left in the 20th century. Observe the zeitgest of our times, as seen in computers, internet, social media, etc, and you'll see that what I'm saying is true. Modernism, with all its structures which only obfuscate and oppress, is dying. The doctrine of the age: discover yourself, be unique, be who you are, be the best version of who you can be, impossible is nothing, strive for greatness, don't be constrained by ideology. I hope and believe (those 2 things usually dont go hand in hand for me) that the progression of the 21st century will validate this.

Thoughts?
jat93
Posts: 1,440
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1/16/2013 2:13:27 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Woops, forgot to attach the video, here it is. Mmm, a Chomsky-Singer combo, a modern philosophers wet dream if you ask me. Some Foucault and Habermas and it'd be perfect.

https://www.youtube.com...
innomen
Posts: 10,052
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1/16/2013 3:04:09 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
You look at the 20th century as an example of moral societies? I cannot think of another century that had as many examples of immoral or amoral societies, often at particularly grand scales.

Because there is no perfect consistency in objective values doesn't mean that they don't exist, but rather our understanding of them is often limited by our own gotcha mentality. Is life to be valued? Yes. Is all life of equal value, no. Remember: "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines."
000ike
Posts: 11,196
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1/16/2013 5:09:06 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/16/2013 3:04:09 AM, innomen wrote:
You look at the 20th century as an example of moral societies? I cannot think of another century that had as many examples of immoral or amoral societies, often at particularly grand scales.

Because there is no perfect consistency in objective values doesn't mean that they don't exist, but rather our understanding of them is often limited by our own gotcha mentality. Is life to be valued? Yes. Is all life of equal value, no. Remember: "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines."

"No perfect consistency of values", is not the reason why objective morality does not exist. What proof do you have for its existence or justification for the belief thereof? Objective morality is an emotionally founded principal that seems obvious at first, but is defeated by the lack of any serious justification (not even necessarily by the presence of a great counterargument).
"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
Noumena
Posts: 6,047
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1/16/2013 6:14:13 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Have you ever looked into Habermas or Hoppe's take on ethics? It sort of bypasses your objections. Not saying they're right, just that your argument seems to be tailored to a rather dated form of morality.
: At 5/13/2014 7:05:20 PM, Crescendo wrote:
: The difference is that the gay movement is currently pushing their will on Churches, as shown in the link to gay marriage in Denmark. Meanwhile, the Inquisition ended several centuries ago.
Sidewalker
Posts: 3,713
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1/16/2013 6:39:29 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Objective =/= Absolute

The argument is a strawman.
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
vbaculum
Posts: 1,274
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1/16/2013 10:56:57 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/16/2013 2:11:24 AM, jat93 wrote:
There is no such thing as morality because each situation is different and each decision must be tailored for each unique situation; ideological thinking can only be limiting; one must consider all the possibilities, and weigh all the values. Of course there is no such thing as objective morality. Take the most basic moral rules that any sane person would accept: Don't murder. Don't steal. Don't cheat on your spouse. These may be general rules, but rules have exceptions and are meant to be broken on occasion when necessary. Are there not times when killing another human being may be moral? Say one person among a group of people had an extremely lethal, extremely contagious disease and there were, hypothetically, but two options: kill the mofo or let everyone else die. What to be done?

I guess my point is that "objective" morality cannot exist because objective values do not exist: they are contingent upon the unique details of the situation in which one finds themselves.

To quote Noam Chomsky from the attached video which any self respecting philosopher should watch:

"There are conflicting values. And, taken in isolation, each of the values is quite legitimate. So the value of preserving human life, or for that matter the life of any organism. That is a value that we should accept - you shouldn't just go arbitrarily kill some animal because it's fun to kill it... On the other hand, most people will agree to swat a mosquito. Okay, well the idea that life should be valued, has come into conflict with another value... The value we hold are not absolute; they are always contingent. They conflict. And life is made up of decisions in complicated situations... If you listen to just one in isolation, yeah it might sound legitimate, but you have to ask what it means under particular conditions."

Statements about morality are different from statements about values.

Moral reasoning starts with something all people must acknowledge: they value their own well-being and that of a few others, i.e., friends, family, etc.

Morally objective statements are those that do not conflict with the these values that all people must acknowledge they have.

In other words, to say that it is permissible to harm someone, because you don't value their well-being, is wrong (incorrect). It's wrong because it 'conflicts' (contradicts) other beliefs you must have: "I value my own well-being", "I value my son's well-being", etc. To say these things is to acknowledge that you value well-being in general, because, objectivly, there is no status difference between your family and anyone else. So to insist that it is impermisible for others to harm you or your loved ones compels you to affirm that it is impermisible to harm others. If you didn't affirm this, you would be wrong because you would be contridicting other beliefs you can't help but to hold.

This is the death of absolute values. Combined with Nietzsche's thoughts on the ubermensch, "beyond good and evil", and master-slave morality, etc, it's clear that we're living in a world where all human actions just boil down to opinions and preferences.... And much of the time we don't even have control over those opinions and preferences, due to "education" from schools and parents, and biological/genetic facts and predispositions. Morality is for the weak minded, the fearful, those who can't bear the onus of thinking for themselves in every situation.

Down with the constraints of ideological thinking, by which the vast majority of the population has been enslaved. Morality is a fictional construct that tends to serve the powerful, the elite. Notice: Killing is wrong for you average citizens, except when done by the state on a massive, genocidal scale. Stealing is wrong except by the state to the tunes of trillions of dollars. Etc etc etc. The powerful are held down by no ideology, no morality. Alas, the burden of the wise and powerful: with no guiding ideology/morality, you've got to think for yourself all the time. Are you up to the challenge of the post-moral society? If not, you'll be left in the 20th century. Observe the zeitgest of our times, as seen in computers, internet, social media, etc, and you'll see that what I'm saying is true. Modernism, with all its structures which only obfuscate and oppress, is dying. The doctrine of the age: discover yourself, be unique, be who you are, be the best version of who you can be, impossible is nothing, strive for greatness, don't be constrained by ideology. I hope and believe (those 2 things usually dont go hand in hand for me) that the progression of the 21st century will validate this.

Thoughts?
"If you claim to value nonviolence and you consume animal products, you need to rethink your position on nonviolence." - Gary Francione

THE WORLD IS VEGAN! If you want it
Noumena
Posts: 6,047
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1/16/2013 11:18:27 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/16/2013 10:56:57 AM, vbaculum wrote:

Statements about morality are different from statements about values.

It depends on the moral system. Focusing on contradictions in will (maxims) is more the Kantian bent then something universal in morality. Utilitarianism takes the "greater good" as a worthwhile value, not as something we all necessarily accept in acting.

Moral reasoning starts with something all people must acknowledge: they value their own well-being and that of a few others, i.e., friends, family, etc.

Except that this isn't always the case. We can imagine a suicidal murderer who doesn't value either of these things. Under his maxims of interaction, he's acting perfectly reasonably. That's why I would prefer Hoppe and Habermas' thinking on the matter. It's not that we contradict our will, but that we contradict the basic presuppositions of argument. To justify some norm of behavior, you're necessarily limited by the way discourse functions. Certain statements (norms in the moral sphere) just go against that i.e., force and non-universalized norms in Hoppe's philosophy and prohibitions on free discourse (and the rejection of non-universalized norms) in Habermas'. It doesn't matter what you consciously will or what you happen to accept. It deals with the underlying framework that you have to tacitly accept in order to argue in the first place.
: At 5/13/2014 7:05:20 PM, Crescendo wrote:
: The difference is that the gay movement is currently pushing their will on Churches, as shown in the link to gay marriage in Denmark. Meanwhile, the Inquisition ended several centuries ago.
SovereignDream
Posts: 1,119
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1/16/2013 11:39:07 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/16/2013 6:39:29 AM, Sidewalker wrote:
Objective =/= Absolute

The argument is a strawman.

Exactly.

To claim that morality is objective is just to claim that there is an action that is either truly right or truly wrong to be taken in a given situation. Claiming that morality is objective does not commit oneself to the claim that killing another human being is wrong in all cases, even in those of self-defense, etc. That would be moral absolutism.
MouthWash
Posts: 2,607
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1/16/2013 11:27:28 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/16/2013 2:11:24 AM, jat93 wrote:
There is no such thing as morality because each situation is different and each decision must be tailored for each unique situation; ideological thinking can only be limiting; one must consider all the possibilities, and weigh all the values. Of course there is no such thing as objective morality. Take the most basic moral rules that any sane person would accept: Don't murder. Don't steal. Don't cheat on your spouse. These may be general rules, but rules have exceptions and are meant to be broken on occasion when necessary. Are there not times when killing another human being may be moral? Say one person among a group of people had an extremely lethal, extremely contagious disease and there were, hypothetically, but two options: kill the mofo or let everyone else die. What to be done?

I guess my point is that "objective" morality cannot exist because objective values do not exist: they are contingent upon the unique details of the situation in which one finds themselves.

To quote Noam Chomsky from the attached video which any self respecting philosopher should watch:

"There are conflicting values. And, taken in isolation, each of the values is quite legitimate. So the value of preserving human life, or for that matter the life of any organism. That is a value that we should accept - you shouldn't just go arbitrarily kill some animal because it's fun to kill it... On the other hand, most people will agree to swat a mosquito. Okay, well the idea that life should be valued, has come into conflict with another value... The value we hold are not absolute; they are always contingent. They conflict. And life is made up of decisions in complicated situations... If you listen to just one in isolation, yeah it might sound legitimate, but you have to ask what it means under particular conditions."

This is the death of absolute values. Combined with Nietzsche's thoughts on the ubermensch, "beyond good and evil", and master-slave morality, etc, it's clear that we're living in a world where all human actions just boil down to opinions and preferences.... And much of the time we don't even have control over those opinions and preferences, due to "education" from schools and parents, and biological/genetic facts and predispositions. Morality is for the weak minded, the fearful, those who can't bear the onus of thinking for themselves in every situation.

Down with the constraints of ideological thinking, by which the vast majority of the population has been enslaved. Morality is a fictional construct that tends to serve the powerful, the elite. Notice: Killing is wrong for you average citizens, except when done by the state on a massive, genocidal scale. Stealing is wrong except by the state to the tunes of trillions of dollars. Etc etc etc. The powerful are held down by no ideology, no morality. Alas, the burden of the wise and powerful: with no guiding ideology/morality, you've got to think for yourself all the time. Are you up to the challenge of the post-moral society? If not, you'll be left in the 20th century. Observe the zeitgest of our times, as seen in computers, internet, social media, etc, and you'll see that what I'm saying is true. Modernism, with all its structures which only obfuscate and oppress, is dying. The doctrine of the age: discover yourself, be unique, be who you are, be the best version of who you can be, impossible is nothing, strive for greatness, don't be constrained by ideology. I hope and believe (those 2 things usually dont go hand in hand for me) that the progression of the 21st century will validate this.

Thoughts?

Stop sucking Chomsky's dick. And haven't I refuted this BS about meta-ethical moral realism?
"Well, that gives whole new meaning to my assassination. If I was going to die anyway, perhaps I should leave the Bolsheviks' descendants some Christmas cookies instead of breaking their dishes and vodka bottles in their sleep." -Tsar Nicholas II (YYW)
MouthWash
Posts: 2,607
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1/16/2013 11:30:20 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/16/2013 11:27:28 PM, MouthWash wrote:
At 1/16/2013 2:11:24 AM, jat93 wrote:
There is no such thing as morality because each situation is different and each decision must be tailored for each unique situation; ideological thinking can only be limiting; one must consider all the possibilities, and weigh all the values. Of course there is no such thing as objective morality. Take the most basic moral rules that any sane person would accept: Don't murder. Don't steal. Don't cheat on your spouse. These may be general rules, but rules have exceptions and are meant to be broken on occasion when necessary. Are there not times when killing another human being may be moral? Say one person among a group of people had an extremely lethal, extremely contagious disease and there were, hypothetically, but two options: kill the mofo or let everyone else die. What to be done?

I guess my point is that "objective" morality cannot exist because objective values do not exist: they are contingent upon the unique details of the situation in which one finds themselves.

To quote Noam Chomsky from the attached video which any self respecting philosopher should watch:

"There are conflicting values. And, taken in isolation, each of the values is quite legitimate. So the value of preserving human life, or for that matter the life of any organism. That is a value that we should accept - you shouldn't just go arbitrarily kill some animal because it's fun to kill it... On the other hand, most people will agree to swat a mosquito. Okay, well the idea that life should be valued, has come into conflict with another value... The value we hold are not absolute; they are always contingent. They conflict. And life is made up of decisions in complicated situations... If you listen to just one in isolation, yeah it might sound legitimate, but you have to ask what it means under particular conditions."

This is the death of absolute values. Combined with Nietzsche's thoughts on the ubermensch, "beyond good and evil", and master-slave morality, etc, it's clear that we're living in a world where all human actions just boil down to opinions and preferences.... And much of the time we don't even have control over those opinions and preferences, due to "education" from schools and parents, and biological/genetic facts and predispositions. Morality is for the weak minded, the fearful, those who can't bear the onus of thinking for themselves in every situation.

Down with the constraints of ideological thinking, by which the vast majority of the population has been enslaved. Morality is a fictional construct that tends to serve the powerful, the elite. Notice: Killing is wrong for you average citizens, except when done by the state on a massive, genocidal scale. Stealing is wrong except by the state to the tunes of trillions of dollars. Etc etc etc. The powerful are held down by no ideology, no morality. Alas, the burden of the wise and powerful: with no guiding ideology/morality, you've got to think for yourself all the time. Are you up to the challenge of the post-moral society? If not, you'll be left in the 20th century. Observe the zeitgest of our times, as seen in computers, internet, social media, etc, and you'll see that what I'm saying is true. Modernism, with all its structures which only obfuscate and oppress, is dying. The doctrine of the age: discover yourself, be unique, be who you are, be the best version of who you can be, impossible is nothing, strive for greatness, don't be constrained by ideology. I hope and believe (those 2 things usually dont go hand in hand for me) that the progression of the 21st century will validate this.

Thoughts?

Stop sucking Chomsky's dick. And haven't I refuted this BS about meta-ethical moral realism?

Oh, scuse me. You're just talking about descriptive moral realism. In other words, you've contributed nothing except affirming something everyone already agree with.
"Well, that gives whole new meaning to my assassination. If I was going to die anyway, perhaps I should leave the Bolsheviks' descendants some Christmas cookies instead of breaking their dishes and vodka bottles in their sleep." -Tsar Nicholas II (YYW)
Noumena
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1/16/2013 11:32:56 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/16/2013 11:27:28 PM, MouthWash wrote:

Stop sucking Chomsky's dick. And haven't I refuted this BS about meta-ethical moral realism?

The reason I stay on this site is because of the respectable level of discourse and argumentation I find here on a daily basis.
: At 5/13/2014 7:05:20 PM, Crescendo wrote:
: The difference is that the gay movement is currently pushing their will on Churches, as shown in the link to gay marriage in Denmark. Meanwhile, the Inquisition ended several centuries ago.
MouthWash
Posts: 2,607
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1/16/2013 11:54:03 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/16/2013 11:32:56 PM, Noumena wrote:
At 1/16/2013 11:27:28 PM, MouthWash wrote:

Stop sucking Chomsky's dick. And haven't I refuted this BS about meta-ethical moral realism?

The reason I stay on this site is because of the respectable level of discourse and argumentation I find here on a daily basis.

I don't respect idols or pseudo-philosophy.
"Well, that gives whole new meaning to my assassination. If I was going to die anyway, perhaps I should leave the Bolsheviks' descendants some Christmas cookies instead of breaking their dishes and vodka bottles in their sleep." -Tsar Nicholas II (YYW)
vbaculum
Posts: 1,274
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1/18/2013 9:05:12 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 1/16/2013 11:18:27 AM, Noumena wrote:
At 1/16/2013 10:56:57 AM, vbaculum wrote:

Statements about morality are different from statements about values.

It depends on the moral system. Focusing on contradictions in will (maxims) is more the Kantian bent then something universal in morality. Utilitarianism takes the "greater good" as a worthwhile value, not as something we all necessarily accept in acting.

Moral reasoning starts with something all people must acknowledge: they value their own well-being and that of a few others, i.e., friends, family, etc.

Except that this isn't always the case. We can imagine a suicidal murderer who doesn't value either of these things. Under his maxims of interaction, he's acting perfectly reasonably.

I think it is always the case. Death removes well-being from the equation since it ends the potential for well-being. It's true that the actions of your suicidal murderer don't illustrate a contridiction in his beliefs. However, he must value his own well-being while he is alive and would thus be in error for causing his victims to suffer - and though the victims of a murder can't be said to suffer since they no longer exist, it's almost always the case that any death results in suffering because loved ones of the murder's victims are left behind to grieve. So, in actuality, the suicidal murder is almost surely contridiction his own beliefs and is therefore wrong.

Despite all this, moral reasoning, and thus objective moral truths, would exist even if it were true that not every member of our species possesed the necessary requirements for its engagement - just as the rules of chess exist objectivly despite the fact that not everyone likes (values) chess.

That's why I would prefer Hoppe and Habermas' thinking on the matter. It's not that we contradict our will, but that we contradict the basic presuppositions of argument. To justify some norm of behavior, you're necessarily limited by the way discourse functions. Certain statements (norms in the moral sphere) just go against that i.e., force and non-universalized norms in Hoppe's philosophy and prohibitions on free discourse (and the rejection of non-universalized norms) in Habermas'. It doesn't matter what you consciously will or what you happen to accept. It deals with the underlying framework that you have to tacitly accept in order to argue in the first place.

Yeah, I remember that you favor argumentation ethics, though I confess I haven't fully groked it yet. However, I'm not clear on why it's necessary for a coherent ethical framework given what I've said - though this is probably an area where we disagree for a while.
"If you claim to value nonviolence and you consume animal products, you need to rethink your position on nonviolence." - Gary Francione

THE WORLD IS VEGAN! If you want it