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Moral Relativism vs Absolutism

the_croftmeister
Posts: 678
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6/23/2013 7:20:55 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
This thread arises from a debate (tied) regarding the possibility of an objective morality without the existence of god.

My opponent was 2-D who claims morality can vary from person to person while still remaining objective in nature. I take the opposite view that the fact that it varies from person to person makes it relative and hence non-objective.

As we ended up disputing a lot of our points in comments I thought it would be better to have a forum topic for discussion since it allows for shorter turn around time than debates and also facilitates external input.
the_croftmeister
Posts: 678
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6/23/2013 7:25:42 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
My current point is that while there are objective measures (like health and well-being or development towards a goal) that we can use to investigate our moral decisions, the choice of the objective measure to use is effectively arbitrary and based on either our emotional reactions or intellectual investigation as to the potential causes for these emotional reactions.

Since emotions are inherently subjective (perhaps my opponent disputes this, we may need to investigate this further), the choice of objective tool is subjective and thus we cannot say that one morality is 'objectively better' than another only that it is 'objectively better with respect to objective tool A'. Since the choice of measure or tool is subjective, this doesn't remove subjectivity from the argument, merely moves it from the measure to the choice of measure.

Thoughts anyone?
000ike
Posts: 11,196
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6/23/2013 7:32:33 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
God given morality is still subjective morality. A logical absurdity does not cease to be absurd because you gave it divine origins.
"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
benevolent
Posts: 1,040
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6/23/2013 7:56:47 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
Wipe all life from existence. Is morality then objective? Yes, it is. Is this then God? Few would dispute it. But then there's division in the universe, different people born into different worlds, and God ceases to exist. There is no morality, nothing matters, but perhaps if we were to reconcile people to one another, to create an objective morality once again (or for the first time), would God then reappear?

Whether his morals are objective or subjective is of little matter to the moralist. People try to explain too much stuff away.
the_croftmeister
Posts: 678
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6/23/2013 8:04:28 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/23/2013 7:32:33 PM, 000ike wrote:
God given morality is still subjective morality. A logical absurdity does not cease to be absurd because you gave it divine origins.

I disagree, I think given knowledge of the 'facts' of the worlds by nature of having created those facts could give god the ability to have an objective view. Whether we should accept and use this view for ourselves is a different matter entirely.
This would be down to definitions though. I still wouldn't accept the morality of a God even if it was objective (and by some definitions of subjectivity perhaps this is enough to make his morality subjective).

Regardless, the debate is not about whether god makes morality objective, but whether it can still be objective 'without god'.
The_Fool_on_the_hill
Posts: 6,071
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6/23/2013 9:31:50 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/23/2013 7:20:55 PM, the_croftmeister wrote:
This thread arises from a debate (tied) regarding the possibility of an objective morality without the existence of god.

The Fool: Religion is subjective in nature, that is why called a FAITH. And thats the whole reason why church is separate from state in the first place. Not that we are doing that much better anyways, but better then people burning at the stake, I say.

Subjective and objective, can be circumvented by universals, as they are transitive through subjective and objectivity. For example we all feel pain. Even though pain is a subjective feeling, it is universally bad. That is suffering in itself, for itself, as an end is bad. The Subjective feeling itself is a Fact of the matter, and it is a fact of the matter that health, wellbeing and dignity is good in itself.

For we need not have a believe that we are in pain, or feeling well, as it is an incorrigible intuition. A believe presupposes a Projection of an idea in ones mind beyond the Idea itself, as it is trivially true as an idea alone.

It is when one asserts that there is a corresponding reality to the idea which the concept of "belief" becomes relevant.

For example I have an Idea of a leprechaun, and a Unicorn, while I don't even believe in leprechauns or unicorns.

For me to believe In unicorns is to suppose that there exist unicorn beyond my idea of one and despite me having an Idea of one or not.

We need only slowly and with prudence assent with the best of our knowledge to the best possible combination of principles which satisfy this criteria with the least possible Contradiction of the worth of any person for another.


These principles are to always remain in constant flux, never cemented, like any science it is imperfect as the knowledge of the best combination will always be, but it self-evolving, and error correcting over time.

No Ideology/religion Needed.

Fool..........

"The bud disappears when the blossom breaks through, and we might say that the former is refuted by the latter; in the same way when the fruit comes, the blossom may be explained to be a false form of the plant's existence, for the fruit appears as its true nature in place of the blossom. These stages are not merely differentiated; they supplant one another as being incompatible with one another." G. W. F. HEGEL
2-D
Posts: 226
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6/24/2013 1:42:04 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Your forum topic may demonstrate the real issue. I will not take the side of absolutism but this may be what people think of when they hear me say 'objective morality.' What I mean is that I can demonstrate that one moral code works better than another by referencing facts alone.

Emotional reactions, in my view, arise from the ideas we accept and are no more reliable than our opinions to evaluate a moral code. Interesting enough I do dispute that emotions are subjective (they push us toward correct and incorrect ideas) but this may just side track the issue. Personal opinions are not automatically right and neither are the emotions that support them. Personal preference should be taken into account when evaluating a moral code but there are many other issues to consider.
the_croftmeister
Posts: 678
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6/24/2013 2:43:55 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/24/2013 1:42:04 AM, 2-D wrote:
Your forum topic may demonstrate the real issue. I will not take the side of absolutism but this may be what people think of when they hear me say 'objective morality.' What I mean is that I can demonstrate that one moral code works better than another by referencing facts alone.

Emotional reactions, in my view, arise from the ideas we accept and are no more reliable than our opinions to evaluate a moral code. Interesting enough I do dispute that emotions are subjective (they push us toward correct and incorrect ideas) but this may just side track the issue. Personal opinions are not automatically right and neither are the emotions that support them. Personal preference should be taken into account when evaluating a moral code but there are many other issues to consider.

Works better at doing what?
Stephen_Hawkins
Posts: 5,316
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6/24/2013 7:01:58 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Morality is deciding what we ought to do in the general. This includes firstly personal development, and secondly communal development. The former is objective in an ontic sense, while the latter is intersubjective in the ontic sense. Moreover, without morality in society, we cannot have a community. So at worst we have a "Noble Lie", at reasonable we have an ethical system which would be no different to the one we currently have in practice.
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AlbinoBunny
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6/24/2013 8:49:35 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/23/2013 7:56:47 PM, benevolent wrote:
Wipe all life from existence. Is morality then objective? Yes, it is.

Being homosexual is always wrong? Eating pig is always wrong? Intrinsically? I disagree.

Is this then God? Few would dispute it. But then there's division in the universe, different people born into different worlds, and God ceases to exist. There is no morality, nothing matters, but perhaps if we were to reconcile people to one another, to create an objective morality once again (or for the first time), would God then reappear?

Whether his morals are objective or subjective is of little matter to the moralist. People try to explain too much stuff away.

Are you suggesting that only God has objective morality? God has neither subjective morality, nor can we have objective morality without one?
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AlbinoBunny
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6/24/2013 8:51:33 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
It depends what you place value in. Whether you think it should be given value for a specific reason, or it's intrinsic. Also, can there be more than one possible best morality? Or two equally moral, but different types of morality?
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benevolent
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6/25/2013 7:15:54 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/24/2013 8:49:35 AM, AlbinoBunny wrote:
At 6/23/2013 7:56:47 PM, benevolent wrote:
Wipe all life from existence. Is morality then objective? Yes, it is.

Being homosexual is always wrong? Eating pig is always wrong? Intrinsically? I disagree.

There would be no conception of these things, though. There would be no wrong which is constantly thrown in God's face.

Is this then God? Few would dispute it. But then there's division in the universe, different people born into different worlds, and God ceases to exist. There is no morality, nothing matters, but perhaps if we were to reconcile people to one another, to create an objective morality once again (or for the first time), would God then reappear?

Whether his morals are objective or subjective is of little matter to the moralist. People try to explain too much stuff away.

Are you suggesting that only God has objective morality? God has neither subjective morality, nor can we have objective morality without one?

Mmm, I think I may have spoken somewhat abruptly, actually. I think I actually sought to counteract the PoE with this post, trying to call to mind a monistic mind. But then, moral objectivity/subjectivity would matter somewhat there, wouldn't it? But, not by any conventional means, at least. I saw our OP as trying to explain God away with his argument, as trying to explain morality away completely, and rebelled - perhaps a bit of an emotional topic for me, but you'd see people approach it that way: "nothing matters!" So, I undertook to reinstate meaning to morality, a little bit of objectivity, say - to bring back God.
benevolent
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6/25/2013 7:18:20 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Moral Relativism might be considered to go completely out the window as regards the brain in a vat thought experiment, though. Interesting thought, no? However depressing...
Quan
Posts: 97
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6/25/2013 8:03:17 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
There is no meaning in something that does not serve a higher purpose. A standard moral code is necessary to build and maintain civilizations. There are objective criteria by which to measure morals relative to a given civilization and time period. In other words, morality is relative but not subjective.
the_croftmeister
Posts: 678
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6/25/2013 7:28:21 PM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 6/25/2013 8:03:17 AM, Quan wrote:
There is no meaning in something that does not serve a higher purpose. A standard moral code is necessary to build and maintain civilizations. There are objective criteria by which to measure morals relative to a given civilization and time period. In other words, morality is relative but not subjective.

This would work if there were an objective way to tell where a given civilisation starts and the next one begins, but even this is a subjective line in the sand. Most people identify with more than one community and would disagree with other members of said community as to where that community ends. You can make objective comparisons between moral codes sure, but these objective comparisons are arbitrary, there is not only one acceptable way to do such comparisons and different methods come to different results. This is not to say that one individual cannot adopt one method of aggregation and thus come to the conclusion that under their chosen basis of measurement that moral code A is better than moral code B, I just say that someone, somewhere has to make this choice and this choice is a subjective one.