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Moral Absolutes

saxman
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3/27/2014 2:53:54 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Arguments for and against the existence of moral absolutes. Religion may be brought i to this discusssion, though it is not obligatory.
SNP1
Posts: 2,406
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3/27/2014 10:46:59 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/27/2014 2:53:54 AM, saxman wrote:
Arguments for and against the existence of moral absolutes. Religion may be brought i to this discusssion, though it is not obligatory.

There are no such things as moral absolutes, however there are some morals that are shared by an overwhelming majority of people. That means that it is not a moral absolute, but it can be somewhat agreed to be seen as a pseudo-absolute moral.
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philochristos
Posts: 2,614
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3/27/2014 11:33:25 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
If there are moral absolutes, I don't think it's relevant whether everybody agrees or not. It's in the very nature of being absolute that it does NOT depend on what people believe.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
blaze8
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3/27/2014 11:38:55 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/27/2014 11:33:25 AM, philochristos wrote:
If there are moral absolutes, I don't think it's relevant whether everybody agrees or not. It's in the very nature of being absolute that it does NOT depend on what people believe.

Also, as a direct consequence of this, moral absolutes are inherently unknowable. We can never know for sure which morals are absolute, and which are not. We can only say we believe one morality to be absolute, and another not.
"For I am a sinner in the hands of an angry God. Bloody Mary full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for me now and at the hour of my death, which I hope is soon. Amen."-Sterling Archer
philochristos
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3/27/2014 11:40:12 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/27/2014 11:38:55 AM, blaze8 wrote:
At 3/27/2014 11:33:25 AM, philochristos wrote:
If there are moral absolutes, I don't think it's relevant whether everybody agrees or not. It's in the very nature of being absolute that it does NOT depend on what people believe.

Also, as a direct consequence of this, moral absolutes are inherently unknowable. We can never know for sure which morals are absolute, and which are not. We can only say we believe one morality to be absolute, and another not.

As a consequence? How does it follow that if moral absolutes don't depend on what people believe that people therefore can't know them?
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
blaze8
Posts: 164
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3/27/2014 11:44:36 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/27/2014 11:40:12 AM, philochristos wrote:
At 3/27/2014 11:38:55 AM, blaze8 wrote:
At 3/27/2014 11:33:25 AM, philochristos wrote:
If there are moral absolutes, I don't think it's relevant whether everybody agrees or not. It's in the very nature of being absolute that it does NOT depend on what people believe.

Also, as a direct consequence of this, moral absolutes are inherently unknowable. We can never know for sure which morals are absolute, and which are not. We can only say we believe one morality to be absolute, and another not.

As a consequence? How does it follow that if moral absolutes don't depend on what people believe that people therefore can't know them?

Because you can never truly know if a morality is absolute or not. It would be absolute independent of your subjective opinion of it's absolute nature. The minute you know for certain a morality is truly absolute, all other morality becomes worthless. But morality differs constantly across time and location. You have no objective method of determining whether or not your morality is THE absolute morality. You can only believe it to be so. And thus, an absolute morality is inherently unknowable, because we have no way to determine objectively a morality's absolute nature.
"For I am a sinner in the hands of an angry God. Bloody Mary full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for me now and at the hour of my death, which I hope is soon. Amen."-Sterling Archer
Df0512
Posts: 966
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3/27/2014 11:54:45 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/27/2014 2:53:54 AM, saxman wrote:
Arguments for and against the existence of moral absolutes. Religion may be brought i to this discusssion, though it is not obligatory.

I think the only possible moral absolute is not to steal. Because no matter where you go everyone knows when they are taking something that isn't theres. Even animals. And they know to run like hell when they got it. Plus everyone hates having their stuff stolen.
philochristos
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3/27/2014 11:55:47 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/27/2014 11:44:36 AM, blaze8 wrote:
At 3/27/2014 11:40:12 AM, philochristos wrote:
At 3/27/2014 11:38:55 AM, blaze8 wrote:
At 3/27/2014 11:33:25 AM, philochristos wrote:
If there are moral absolutes, I don't think it's relevant whether everybody agrees or not. It's in the very nature of being absolute that it does NOT depend on what people believe.

Also, as a direct consequence of this, moral absolutes are inherently unknowable. We can never know for sure which morals are absolute, and which are not. We can only say we believe one morality to be absolute, and another not.

As a consequence? How does it follow that if moral absolutes don't depend on what people believe that people therefore can't know them?

Because you can never truly know if a morality is absolute or not.

Wait a minute. That's your conclusion, so it can't be a premise in your argument or else you'd be reasoning in a circle. I want to know how you got to that conclusion from the fact that absolutes don't depend on people's beliefs.

It would be absolute independent of your subjective opinion of it's absolute nature. The minute you know for certain a morality is truly absolute, all other morality becomes worthless. But morality differs constantly across time and location. You have no objective method of determining whether or not your morality is THE absolute morality. You can only believe it to be so. And thus, an absolute morality is inherently unknowable, because we have no way to determine objectively a morality's absolute nature.

Okay, let me see if I can parse this out.

1. If something is absolute, then it is absolute independent of your subjective opinion.
2. If you know morality absolutely, then other morality becomes worthless.
3. Morality differs from time to time and place to place.
4. There is no objective method to determine whether your morality is absolutely true.
5. Therefore, absolute morality is unknowable.

It is hard to discern a clear line of reasoning in these statements. I don't see how it's possible to use the laws of inference and these statements to arrive at your conclusion. I wanted to know how you go to #5 from #1, but all I see is various disconnected statements. #5 does seem to follow from #4 assuming you add the premise that "Having an objective method to determine whether morality is absolutely true is necessary to know whether it is true," but I don't see what roll #1 plays in your reasoning. I don't see how #2 fits in either. What does the worthlessness of "other morality" have to do with anything? It's not clear what you mean by #3. Do you mean moral beliefs differ from time to time and place to place, or do you mean morality itself differs from time to time and place to place? I get the impression you're confusing ontology and epistemology regarding morals.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
blaze8
Posts: 164
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3/27/2014 12:06:09 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/27/2014 11:55:47 AM, philochristos wrote:
At 3/27/2014 11:44:36 AM, blaze8 wrote:
At 3/27/2014 11:40:12 AM, philochristos wrote:
At 3/27/2014 11:38:55 AM, blaze8 wrote:
At 3/27/2014 11:33:25 AM, philochristos wrote:
If there are moral absolutes, I don't think it's relevant whether everybody agrees or not. It's in the very nature of being absolute that it does NOT depend on what people believe.

Also, as a direct consequence of this, moral absolutes are inherently unknowable. We can never know for sure which morals are absolute, and which are not. We can only say we believe one morality to be absolute, and another not.

As a consequence? How does it follow that if moral absolutes don't depend on what people believe that people therefore can't know them?

Because you can never truly know if a morality is absolute or not.

Wait a minute. That's your conclusion, so it can't be a premise in your argument or else you'd be reasoning in a circle. I want to know how you got to that conclusion from the fact that absolutes don't depend on people's beliefs.

It would be absolute independent of your subjective opinion of it's absolute nature. The minute you know for certain a morality is truly absolute, all other morality becomes worthless. But morality differs constantly across time and location. You have no objective method of determining whether or not your morality is THE absolute morality. You can only believe it to be so. And thus, an absolute morality is inherently unknowable, because we have no way to determine objectively a morality's absolute nature.

Okay, let me see if I can parse this out.

1. If something is absolute, then it is absolute independent of your subjective opinion.
2. If you know morality absolutely, then other morality becomes worthless.
3. Morality differs from time to time and place to place.
4. There is no objective method to determine whether your morality is absolutely true.
5. Therefore, absolute morality is unknowable.

It is hard to discern a clear line of reasoning in these statements. I don't see how it's possible to use the laws of inference and these statements to arrive at your conclusion. I wanted to know how you go to #5 from #1, but all I see is various disconnected statements. #5 does seem to follow from #4 assuming you add the premise that "Having an objective method to determine whether morality is absolutely true is necessary to know whether it is true," but I don't see what roll #1 plays in your reasoning. I don't see how #2 fits in either. What does the worthlessness of "other morality" have to do with anything? It's not clear what you mean by #3. Do you mean moral beliefs differ from time to time and place to place, or do you mean morality itself differs from time to time and place to place? I get the impression you're confusing ontology and epistemology regarding morals.

Sorry, that conclusion was reached after a long discussion with someone, and I condensed it into a brief statement. Let me explain my rationality.

People are shaped by their experiences. Morality is one thing we experience, and it differs on an extraordinary scale. My morality differs from yours. Yours differs from another person's, etc. Let's say you believe your morality is absolute. How do you know? What makes you believe it? Is it the implications of your morality for the world? But what evidence do you have that someone else's morality is not absolute?

Morality is either Relative or Absolute. Clearly, people have different moralities. How do we determine which is absolute? In the process of seeking to determine which morality is absolute, we inherently bring our subjective opinions into the equation. Nothing we do or think can be truly objective. Therefore, your conclusion that one morality is absolute is not based on any objectivity, but rather your subjectively interpreted observations. It's impossible for you to separate yourself from your experiences and your perceptions, and it is so for the rest of us as well. In the end, we can only state we believe a certain morality to be absolute. We can't objectively know it's absolutism. Therefore, a morality which is absolute is absolute independent of our subjective opinion of it's absolute nature, including our opinion that it is absolute. We can never know for sure that it is truly absolute.

IF I haven't cleared it up, I apologize, I'm rushed at the moment, and it was a very long conversation that gave rise to my logic.
"For I am a sinner in the hands of an angry God. Bloody Mary full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for me now and at the hour of my death, which I hope is soon. Amen."-Sterling Archer
philochristos
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3/27/2014 12:23:48 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/27/2014 12:06:09 PM, blaze8 wrote:
Nothing we do or think can be truly objective.

Doesn't that invalidate everything you're saying? It sounds like what you're saying is that since we only have our own minds with which to think, reason, and believe, and since thinking, reasoning, and believing, are subjective processes, that we can never know any absolute truth.

But that seems to be a confusion between the knowing and the thing known. The fact that my knowledge is subjective doesn't mean the object of my knowledge is also subjective.

And I don't see how it follows that if all my believing is done subjectively that none of my beliefs are justified. In fact, that seems like a self-refuting thing to say since it entails that you can't know anything at all, including the fact that you can't know anything. You can't know that any of your premises are true, nor that your conclusion follows from your premises since all of your beliefs about those premises and inferences are subjective.

If anything at all is actually true in the sense of corresponding with the way the world really is, then there are absolute truths, whether anybody knows about them or not. But I see no reason to think that if there are absolute truths (i.e. truths that would be true whether we knew about them or not), I see no reason to think we can't know them.

One of the reasons you gave for why we can't know them is because we have no method by which to know them. But that strikes me as being self-refuting as well because it assumes that before you can know something, you must first have a method by which you know it. If that is the case, then how would you know about your method? Well, you'd have to have a method to know the method. Then you'd have to have a method to know the method to know the method. So you get into an infinite regress. Since you can't arrive at any knowledge from a beginningless series of methods, it follows that if we must have a method by which we know things before we can know them, then knowledge is impossible.

The only way knowledge is possible is if at least in some cases, our knowledge comes before our method. In that case, there are some things we can know without requiring us to have a method by which we know them. So it's no strike against knowing absolute morals that we have no method by which to know them.

Speaking of knowing absolute truths subjectively, it seems to me that the law of non-contradiction is a clear case example of something that is absolutely true, but that we know subjectively (i.e. it is by purely inward reflection that we know it).
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
ADreamOfLiberty
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3/27/2014 12:36:48 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Morality is that which deals with right and wrong. It can only arise (logically) out of values. Values and indeed self-chosen dynamic values are natural to creatures like humans, but to abstract values into a set of moral principles requires reason. When I refer to a moral being it is a being with self-chosen values capable of reason.

Most of our values are subjective, that means they only have objective existence when the scope of our person is specified. Meaning most of our values are personal as well. Abstract principles can be derived from these values, and this will produce personal morality. For instance if I really like canines, I can (and should) create a personal moral principle to be nice to them (or something). However I can't say anyone else is bound by this principle.

Some of our values are objective, that means that they have objective existence for every moral being. One way this can be is if they are logically implied by the definition of a moral being. There is one thing value that cannot be denied logically by a moral being, namely the value of their own judgement. It is a contradiction in terms to say you choose to ignore your own choices.

Self-determination is thus an objective value. In other words you want to do, what you want to do.

Either someone believes this universal value should be respected in others, or they don't. If they don't then they can't logically expect the same from others. If they do they must respect it in others. Respecting the self-determination of others is respecting liberty.

So we have only two logical groups. Those who don't have a valid moral complaint if you lock them up, and those whose own values require that they respect liberty.

This is the origin of the objective morality, a right to liberty.

Copied from http://www.debate.org... #26
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Jonbonbon
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3/27/2014 1:23:04 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/27/2014 11:44:36 AM, blaze8 wrote:
At 3/27/2014 11:40:12 AM, philochristos wrote:
At 3/27/2014 11:38:55 AM, blaze8 wrote:
At 3/27/2014 11:33:25 AM, philochristos wrote:
If there are moral absolutes, I don't think it's relevant whether everybody agrees or not. It's in the very nature of being absolute that it does NOT depend on what people believe.

Also, as a direct consequence of this, moral absolutes are inherently unknowable. We can never know for sure which morals are absolute, and which are not. We can only say we believe one morality to be absolute, and another not.

As a consequence? How does it follow that if moral absolutes don't depend on what people believe that people therefore can't know them?

Because you can never truly know if a morality is absolute or not. It would be absolute independent of your subjective opinion of it's absolute nature. The minute you know for certain a morality is truly absolute, all other morality becomes worthless. But morality differs constantly across time and location. You have no objective method of determining whether or not your morality is THE absolute morality. You can only believe it to be so. And thus, an absolute morality is inherently unknowable, because we have no way to determine objectively a morality's absolute nature.

You can rationally determine what might be considered morally absolute. If you can rationally determine that, then you can justify your belief of what is morally absolute. Epistemologically, knowledge is a justified true belief.
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philochristos
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3/27/2014 1:54:06 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/27/2014 1:23:04 PM, Jonbonbon wrote:
Epistemologically, knowledge is a justified true belief.

Gettier notwithstanding. You should always say, "Gettier notwithstanding" just in case somebody brings up a Gettier scenario as a counter-example. A lawyer once explained to me that acknowledging an objection up front is a good way to "take the sting out" when the objection comes.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
TheGreatAndPowerful
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3/27/2014 1:58:52 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/27/2014 1:54:06 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 3/27/2014 1:23:04 PM, Jonbonbon wrote:
Epistemologically, knowledge is a justified true belief.

Gettier notwithstanding. You should always say, "Gettier notwithstanding" just in case somebody brings up a Gettier scenario as a counter-example. A lawyer once explained to me that acknowledging an objection up front is a good way to "take the sting out" when the objection comes.

I never found Gettier's objections to be particularly compelling. They invoke convoluted beliefs ("I believe the man with 50 cents in his pocket will get the job!") that don't actually occur in reality.
philochristos
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3/27/2014 2:07:48 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/27/2014 1:58:52 PM, TheGreatAndPowerful wrote:
At 3/27/2014 1:54:06 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 3/27/2014 1:23:04 PM, Jonbonbon wrote:
Epistemologically, knowledge is a justified true belief.

Gettier notwithstanding. You should always say, "Gettier notwithstanding" just in case somebody brings up a Gettier scenario as a counter-example. A lawyer once explained to me that acknowledging an objection up front is a good way to "take the sting out" when the objection comes.

I never found Gettier's objections to be particularly compelling. They invoke convoluted beliefs ("I believe the man with 50 cents in his pocket will get the job!") that don't actually occur in reality.

It doesn't matter whether Gettier problem occur in reality because we're just talking about the meaning of knowledge. If it is merely possible but not actual to have a justified true belief without having knowledge, then justified true belief is not sufficient for knowledge. Something more is needed.

But there are real life Gettier problems. I've actually been in one. When I was in the 8th grade, I knew a guy named Chad and a girl named Wendy who were both in the sixth grade. Chad and Wendy were boyfriend and girlfriend. One day, as a joke, I told Chad that Wendy was going to break up with him. He believed me and got upset about it. So I told him it was a joke, and he was relieved.

The next day, he approach me with fire in his eyes because Wendy really did break up with him. He assumed I knew about it and that I was lying when I told him it had been a joke.

So, when I told Chad that Wendy was going to break up with him, he believed it, it was true, and he had justification for thinking it was true (because he had no reason to think I would lie about such a thing and every reason to trust me). Yet Chad did not know that Wendy was going to break up with him.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
Jonbonbon
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3/27/2014 2:15:53 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/27/2014 1:54:06 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 3/27/2014 1:23:04 PM, Jonbonbon wrote:
Epistemologically, knowledge is a justified true belief.

Gettier notwithstanding. You should always say, "Gettier notwithstanding" just in case somebody brings up a Gettier scenario as a counter-example. A lawyer once explained to me that acknowledging an objection up front is a good way to "take the sting out" when the objection comes.

Yeah, I guess most people don't bring it up so I usually don't, but I probably should say that :P
The Troll Queen.

I'm also the Troll Goddess of Reason. Sacrifices are appreciated but not necessary.

"I'm a vivacious sex fiend," SolonKR.

Go vote on one of my debates. I'm not that smart, so it'll probably be an easy decision.

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TheGreatAndPowerful
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3/27/2014 2:17:55 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/27/2014 2:07:48 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 3/27/2014 1:58:52 PM, TheGreatAndPowerful wrote:
At 3/27/2014 1:54:06 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 3/27/2014 1:23:04 PM, Jonbonbon wrote:
Epistemologically, knowledge is a justified true belief.

Gettier notwithstanding. You should always say, "Gettier notwithstanding" just in case somebody brings up a Gettier scenario as a counter-example. A lawyer once explained to me that acknowledging an objection up front is a good way to "take the sting out" when the objection comes.

I never found Gettier's objections to be particularly compelling. They invoke convoluted beliefs ("I believe the man with 50 cents in his pocket will get the job!") that don't actually occur in reality.

It doesn't matter whether Gettier problem occur in reality because we're just talking about the meaning of knowledge. If it is merely possible but not actual to have a justified true belief without having knowledge, then justified true belief is not sufficient for knowledge. Something more is needed.

But I contend that the convoluted beliefs proposed by Gettier aren't possible.

But there are real life Gettier problems. I've actually been in one. When I was in the 8th grade, I knew a guy named Chad and a girl named Wendy who were both in the sixth grade. Chad and Wendy were boyfriend and girlfriend. One day, as a joke, I told Chad that Wendy was going to break up with him. He believed me and got upset about it. So I told him it was a joke, and he was relieved.

The next day, he approach me with fire in his eyes because Wendy really did break up with him. He assumed I knew about it and that I was lying when I told him it had been a joke.

So, when I told Chad that Wendy was going to break up with him, he believed it, it was true, and he had justification for thinking it was true (because he had no reason to think I would lie about such a thing and every reason to trust me). Yet Chad did not know that Wendy was going to break up with him.

I disagree that he had justification. I don't think having no reason to distrust you is enough to satisfy that requirement.
philochristos
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3/27/2014 2:19:45 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/27/2014 2:15:53 PM, Jonbonbon wrote:
At 3/27/2014 1:54:06 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 3/27/2014 1:23:04 PM, Jonbonbon wrote:
Epistemologically, knowledge is a justified true belief.

Gettier notwithstanding. You should always say, "Gettier notwithstanding" just in case somebody brings up a Gettier scenario as a counter-example. A lawyer once explained to me that acknowledging an objection up front is a good way to "take the sting out" when the objection comes.

Yeah, I guess most people don't bring it up so I usually don't, but I probably should say that :P

I never bring it up either. I always hope they've never heard about Gettier so we can just avoid that whole subject. If Gettier does come up, then I say something about it. It just requires an additional criteria for knowledge. I'll say something like, "Knowledge is properly justified true belief," or something like that. By "properly," I mean the justification has something to do with the truth of the belief. After all, justification is what connects the belief with the reality. If it is not connected to the reality, then it's not proper justification. To be proper justification, it has to be connected to the reality.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
fazz
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3/27/2014 2:22:15 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/27/2014 12:06:09 PM, blaze8 wrote:

: People are shaped by their experiences. Morality is one thing we experience, and it differs on an extraordinary scale. My morality differs from yours. Yours differs from another person's, etc. Let's say you believe your morality is absolute. How do you know? What makes you believe it? Is it the implications of your morality for the world? But what evidence do you have that someone else's morality is not absolute?

Actually, morality has a pragmatic approach to it.. The moment you consider relativity as a principle it means you are being immoral.

Ignorance : bliss, Morality: naivete.

: Morality is either Relative or Absolute.

I do not think any human with imperfect information can make an absolute comment. Even when we say, 'God is the best!' or some such tomfoolery, we are only making generalizations. Humans when they make absolute statements unless they are God cannot make absolutes.

So when we say something is morally absolute or that something is Right vs Wrong, these statements are semantically wrong but morally correct. Basically.. Morality does not give a twit what you think?

: In the process of seeking to determine which morality is absolute, we inherently bring our subjective opinions into the equation.

I would argue that the moment you say 'I am subjective' you are semantically being immoral, lol. I know that does not make sense.

: Nothing we do or think can be truly objective. Therefore, your conclusion that one morality is absolute is not based on any objectivity, but rather your subjectively interpreted observations.

This is a semantic trap. To say that morality does not exist is to be a-historical . What History teaches us is that time and time again when someone says 'No! my morality is more absolute than your morality' then they get beaten up and whoever wins is right. And History repeats itself. Over and over again. Until us plebs forget what was written in our text books, scratch our scraggly-heads, and go on whistling to the wind..

: IF I haven't cleared it up, I apologize, I'm rushed at the moment, and it was a very long conversation that gave rise to my logic.

No problem. This is not meant to be a serious discussion. Hopefully!
Jonbonbon
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3/27/2014 2:30:41 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/27/2014 2:19:45 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 3/27/2014 2:15:53 PM, Jonbonbon wrote:
At 3/27/2014 1:54:06 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 3/27/2014 1:23:04 PM, Jonbonbon wrote:
Epistemologically, knowledge is a justified true belief.

Gettier notwithstanding. You should always say, "Gettier notwithstanding" just in case somebody brings up a Gettier scenario as a counter-example. A lawyer once explained to me that acknowledging an objection up front is a good way to "take the sting out" when the objection comes.

Yeah, I guess most people don't bring it up so I usually don't, but I probably should say that :P

I never bring it up either. I always hope they've never heard about Gettier so we can just avoid that whole subject. If Gettier does come up, then I say something about it. It just requires an additional criteria for knowledge. I'll say something like, "Knowledge is properly justified true belief," or something like that. By "properly," I mean the justification has something to do with the truth of the belief. After all, justification is what connects the belief with the reality. If it is not connected to the reality, then it's not proper justification. To be proper justification, it has to be connected to the reality.

Yeah I usually just assume the connection with reality in the word "true."
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philochristos
Posts: 2,614
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3/27/2014 2:46:46 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/27/2014 2:30:41 PM, Jonbonbon wrote:
At 3/27/2014 2:19:45 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 3/27/2014 2:15:53 PM, Jonbonbon wrote:
At 3/27/2014 1:54:06 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 3/27/2014 1:23:04 PM, Jonbonbon wrote:
Epistemologically, knowledge is a justified true belief.

Gettier notwithstanding. You should always say, "Gettier notwithstanding" just in case somebody brings up a Gettier scenario as a counter-example. A lawyer once explained to me that acknowledging an objection up front is a good way to "take the sting out" when the objection comes.

Yeah, I guess most people don't bring it up so I usually don't, but I probably should say that :P

I never bring it up either. I always hope they've never heard about Gettier so we can just avoid that whole subject. If Gettier does come up, then I say something about it. It just requires an additional criteria for knowledge. I'll say something like, "Knowledge is properly justified true belief," or something like that. By "properly," I mean the justification has something to do with the truth of the belief. After all, justification is what connects the belief with the reality. If it is not connected to the reality, then it's not proper justification. To be proper justification, it has to be connected to the reality.

Yeah I usually just assume the connection with reality in the word "true."

True is just the reality itself. Something can be true without us believing it. What I'm saying is that in the case of knowledge, justification connects the truth with the belief. In the case of Gettier problems, you have truth and belief that are connected by correspondence, but they are not connected by justification. The justification in Gettier scenarios is connected to the belief (since it's what causes the belief), but it is not connected to the truth, i.e. the reality of the situation.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
blaze8
Posts: 164
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3/27/2014 6:03:29 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/27/2014 12:23:48 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 3/27/2014 12:06:09 PM, blaze8 wrote:
Nothing we do or think can be truly objective.

Doesn't that invalidate everything you're saying? It sounds like what you're saying is that since we only have our own minds with which to think, reason, and believe, and since thinking, reasoning, and believing, are subjective processes, that we can never know any absolute truth.

It doesn't completely invalidate it. It just means that everything I've written might not be an absolute truth. And yes, that's pretty much exactly what I'm saying. True objectivity is impossible, therefore, even if we stumble across an absolute truth, we can never know it's absoluteness.

But that seems to be a confusion between the knowing and the thing known. The fact that my knowledge is subjective doesn't mean the object of my knowledge is also subjective.

The object may not be subjective, but Morality is not an observable. You can't quantify morality. And even if you could, interpreting that morality's quantifiable units would be entirely subjective. You would determine how to observe it, how to quantify it, you would determine what scale to use, what constitutes what, etc.

And I don't see how it follows that if all my believing is done subjectively that none of my beliefs are justified. In fact, that seems like a self-refuting thing to say since it entails that you can't know anything at all, including the fact that you can't know anything. You can't know that any of your premises are true, nor that your conclusion follows from your premises since all of your beliefs about those premises and inferences are subjective.

I never said it wasn't justifiable. Just that you can never know it to be an absolute truth. And you're entirely right with your last two sentences. Do you know what that reduces all human thought to? Faith. Faith in our subjective opinions of knowledge itself.

If anything at all is actually true in the sense of corresponding with the way the world really is, then there are absolute truths, whether anybody knows about them or not. But I see no reason to think that if there are absolute truths (i.e. truths that would be true whether we knew about them or not), I see no reason to think we can't know them.

We might know of their existence, but only in the sense that they would be truths, not their absolute nature. We can never know whether or not something is absolute or not. So speaking of objectivity or absolute morals is useless, because we can't verify their absolute nature without involving our subjective thought processes.

One of the reasons you gave for why we can't know them is because we have no method by which to know them. But that strikes me as being self-refuting as well because it assumes that before you can know something, you must first have a method by which you know it. If that is the case, then how would you know about your method? Well, you'd have to have a method to know the method. Then you'd have to have a method to know the method to know the method. So you get into an infinite regress. Since you can't arrive at any knowledge from a beginningless series of methods, it follows that if we must have a method by which we know things before we can know them, then knowledge is impossible.

The key was in the absolutes. I have a method, but I don't know it to be absolutely true. We don't have a method to verify a morality's absolute truth. Nor do we have a method to verify any absolute or objective truths. It just means we can't make any absolute or objective statements about the methods we do use and their conclusions.

Unless, of course, you are seeking to devise an objective and absolute truth. In which case, no matter where you look, you won't be able to do so, because you will inherently bring into the equation your own subjective thoughts, shaped by the subjective teachings of those who educated you.

The only way knowledge is possible is if at least in some cases, our knowledge comes before our method. In that case, there are some things we can know without requiring us to have a method by which we know them. So it's no strike against knowing absolute morals that we have no method by which to know them.

Our way of processing knowledge into information about the world is taught to us from a very young age by other humans. Meaning our way of understanding the world was shaped by other subjective minds, making any method we devise a product of the subjective teachings of the person who taught us that numbers exist, colors exist, language is necessary and this is it's construct, etc.

Speaking of knowing absolute truths subjectively, it seems to me that the law of non-contradiction is a clear case example of something that is absolutely true, but that we know subjectively (i.e. it is by purely inward reflection that we know it).

Logic is entirely the devising of the subjective human mind which created it. Therefore, the Law of Non-contradiction is not an absolute truth. And our methods of reflecting inwardly are determined by our experiences and what we are taught and how we are taught to view the world and ourselves, meaning your own inward reflection is not objective or an absolute truth.

That doesn't mean you aren't reflecting, and that doesn't mean your conclusions can't be true, it just means you can't speak to their truth objectively across all space and time, nor absolute truth in all possible circumstances.
"For I am a sinner in the hands of an angry God. Bloody Mary full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for me now and at the hour of my death, which I hope is soon. Amen."-Sterling Archer
philochristos
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3/27/2014 6:21:17 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Oh my goodness, blaze8, I disagree with so much of what you said, that I'm overwhelmed by how much I want to say in response. So I'm just not going to say anything. After all, all conversations must have a stopping place. Not that that's an absolute truth! I suspect my mom, rest her soul, is still out there talking somewhere.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
blaze8
Posts: 164
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3/27/2014 6:24:15 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/27/2014 6:21:17 PM, philochristos wrote:
Oh my goodness, blaze8, I disagree with so much of what you said, that I'm overwhelmed by how much I want to say in response. So I'm just not going to say anything. After all, all conversations must have a stopping place. Not that that's an absolute truth! I suspect my mom, rest her soul, is still out there talking somewhere.

Well, you're entitled to your opinion as much as I am, so I'm glad we at least got to talk it out respectfully.
"For I am a sinner in the hands of an angry God. Bloody Mary full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for me now and at the hour of my death, which I hope is soon. Amen."-Sterling Archer
LittleBallofHATE
Posts: 284
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3/27/2014 7:09:30 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
There is one absolute truth. People who don't believe in moral absolutes, have no morals. Think about that for a minute.
I would agree with you, but then we'd BOTH be wrong.
Jonbonbon
Posts: 2,763
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3/28/2014 8:20:11 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/27/2014 2:46:46 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 3/27/2014 2:30:41 PM, Jonbonbon wrote:
At 3/27/2014 2:19:45 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 3/27/2014 2:15:53 PM, Jonbonbon wrote:
At 3/27/2014 1:54:06 PM, philochristos wrote:
At 3/27/2014 1:23:04 PM, Jonbonbon wrote:
Epistemologically, knowledge is a justified true belief.

Gettier notwithstanding. You should always say, "Gettier notwithstanding" just in case somebody brings up a Gettier scenario as a counter-example. A lawyer once explained to me that acknowledging an objection up front is a good way to "take the sting out" when the objection comes.

Yeah, I guess most people don't bring it up so I usually don't, but I probably should say that :P

I never bring it up either. I always hope they've never heard about Gettier so we can just avoid that whole subject. If Gettier does come up, then I say something about it. It just requires an additional criteria for knowledge. I'll say something like, "Knowledge is properly justified true belief," or something like that. By "properly," I mean the justification has something to do with the truth of the belief. After all, justification is what connects the belief with the reality. If it is not connected to the reality, then it's not proper justification. To be proper justification, it has to be connected to the reality.

Yeah I usually just assume the connection with reality in the word "true."

True is just the reality itself. Something can be true without us believing it. What I'm saying is that in the case of knowledge, justification connects the truth with the belief. In the case of Gettier problems, you have truth and belief that are connected by correspondence, but they are not connected by justification. The justification in Gettier scenarios is connected to the belief (since it's what causes the belief), but it is not connected to the truth, i.e. the reality of the situation.

Oh I see. Thanks for clarifying.
The Troll Queen.

I'm also the Troll Goddess of Reason. Sacrifices are appreciated but not necessary.

"I'm a vivacious sex fiend," SolonKR.

Go vote on one of my debates. I'm not that smart, so it'll probably be an easy decision.

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Vis13
Posts: 27
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3/28/2014 8:27:42 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
Moral absolutes cannot exist because moral implies the good and evil.
Yet, the good and evil are relative notions, which change in ever country and every time.
Indeed, we cannot talk about a hypothetical absolutes moral.
subgenius
Posts: 124
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3/28/2014 9:54:23 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/28/2014 8:27:42 AM, Vis13 wrote:
Moral absolutes cannot exist because moral implies the good and evil.
Yet, the good and evil are relative notions, which change in ever country and every time.
Indeed, we cannot talk about a hypothetical absolutes moral.

But good and evil are not relative notions. Morality merely being a system of behavior exists as a manifestation of good and bad - considering good as acceptable and bad as unacceptable. The idea that good and bad change over time and across geography is silly and unfounded.
Simply because good/bad are considered across time and across geography proves their existence. While you and I may disagree on what is funny, we cannot deny the existence of laughter.
SNP1
Posts: 2,406
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3/28/2014 10:10:53 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/27/2014 11:54:45 AM, Df0512 wrote:
I think the only possible moral absolute is not to steal. Because no matter where you go everyone knows when they are taking something that isn't theres. Even animals. And they know to run like hell when they got it. Plus everyone hates having their stuff stolen.

What about Robin Hood style? Also, what about a starving kid steals in order to get food? Is that wrong? No. If it is a moral absolute then it must be moral/immoral at all time, for all people, no matter where they live.

At 3/27/2014 7:09:30 PM, LittleBallofHATE wrote:
There is one absolute truth. People who don't believe in moral absolutes, have no morals. Think about that for a minute.

And what evidence do you have for that? I know MANY people that have morals do not believe in absolute morals.
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