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Moral Error Theory

Fkkize
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5/19/2015 10:45:11 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
This is Richard Joyce's argument for his moral error theory from The Myth of Morality.

For any x:
1. If x morally ought to Q, then x ought to Q regardless of what his desires or interests are.
2. If x morally ought to Q, then x has a reason for Q-ing.
3. Therefore, if x morally ought to Q, then x can have a reason for Q-ing regardless of what his desires and interests are.
4. But there is no sense to be made of such reasons.
5. Therefore, x is never under a moral obligation.

Where x is any person and Q is an action. 1,2 and 4 need justification.

1. This is more or less self evident. If we say "you ought not kick your baby" we don't simply hide the conditional "...if you desire healthy offspring". It is irrelevant whether or not someone likes to kick babies, they simply ought not do it.
2. Imagine we want to (morally) condemn a criminal for her actions. We might say something like "you ought not have done that!", but matters don't end here for we would still have to counter any "so what?" responses. "You simply mustn't!" is probably not going to be very convincing. We are looking for something to engage the criminal, something the ignoring of would be in some manner illegitimate on her part. We are trying to provide her with a reason to refrain from doing something.
4. Here his discussion gets fairly lengthy and complicated so I will try to give a short justification for this premise. I can't guarantee that I present this one correctly.
For an action to provide a reason for carrying it out, it must adhere to practical rationality, the questioning of which no longer seems intelligible, like "I know that I have a desire to stay alive but why should I not drink this cup of poison?"
After all it still seems fairly easy to come up with examples to the contrary. "I know that it is morally wrong but why should I keep my promise if I could instead gain a personal benefit?". We would most likely not call somebody like this a nice or a moral person but he is certainly not irrational.
I know I dumbed down this part pretty hard, but the point should be clear.

What do you think?
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
Nac
Posts: 326
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5/19/2015 12:55:22 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/19/2015 10:45:11 AM, Fkkize wrote:
This is Richard Joyce's argument for his moral error theory from The Myth of Morality.

For any x:
1. If x morally ought to Q, then x ought to Q regardless of what his desires or interests are.
2. If x morally ought to Q, then x has a reason for Q-ing.
3. Therefore, if x morally ought to Q, then x can have a reason for Q-ing regardless of what his desires and interests are.
4. But there is no sense to be made of such reasons.
5. Therefore, x is never under a moral obligation.

Where x is any person and Q is an action. 1,2 and 4 need justification.

1. This is more or less self evident. If we say "you ought not kick your baby" we don't simply hide the conditional "...if you desire healthy offspring". It is irrelevant whether or not someone likes to kick babies, they simply ought not do it.
2. Imagine we want to (morally) condemn a criminal for her actions. We might say something like "you ought not have done that!", but matters don't end here for we would still have to counter any "so what?" responses. "You simply mustn't!" is probably not going to be very convincing. We are looking for something to engage the criminal, something the ignoring of would be in some manner illegitimate on her part. We are trying to provide her with a reason to refrain from doing something.
4. Here his discussion gets fairly lengthy and complicated so I will try to give a short justification for this premise. I can't guarantee that I present this one correctly.
For an action to provide a reason for carrying it out, it must adhere to practical rationality, the questioning of whih no longer seems intelligible, like "I know that I have a desire to stay alive but why should I not drink this cup of poison?"
After all it still seems fairly easy to come up with examples to the contrary. "I know that it is morally wrong but why should I keep my promise if I could instead gain a personal benefit?". We would most likely not call somebody like this a nice or a moral person but he is certainly not irrational.
I know I dumbed down this part pretty hard, but the point should be clear.

What do you think?

Very innovative. This argument is very intriguing.

I would like to see if I can raise a substantial objection. It would allow for me to further evaluate the argument's strength.

As a disclaimer, I am simply raising objections from any perspective. As a moral subjectivist, I agree with the argument through my disagreement with moral absolutes. I simply wish to see if this argument will convince someone who disagrees with me.

1. In premise 2, the statement can be restated to say that every moral action has support. Premise 3 can then be restated to say that this reason necessarily defeats all other reasons. However, this is not implied from the argument. The argument implies that moral obligations are supported by reason and that they must be performed regardless of personal feelings. It does not imply that one of these statements applies to the other.

I will most likely post more later.

Thank you for posting this. I don't recall seeing an argument about this subject.
Fkkize
Posts: 2,149
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5/19/2015 1:41:59 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/19/2015 12:55:22 PM, Nac wrote:

Very innovative. This argument is very intriguing.

I would like to see if I can raise a substantial objection. It would allow for me to further evaluate the argument's strength.

As a disclaimer, I am simply raising objections from any perspective. As a moral subjectivist, I agree with the argument through my disagreement with moral absolutes. I simply wish to see if this argument will convince someone who disagrees with me.

1. In premise 2, the statement can be restated to say that every moral action has support.
But "support" is a rather vague term.

Premise 3 can then be restated to say that this reason necessarily defeats all other reasons.
I am not quite sure how to interpret this. The moral reason defeats all other reasons for guiding ones actions? I guess that is fine, but then you have to be carefull when rephrasing P2) into "support" instead of "reason".

However, this is not implied from the argument. The argument implies that moral obligations are supported by reason and that they must be performed regardless of personal feelings. It does not imply that one of these statements applies to the other.
Ok, I think I understand your complaint now. True, 3. might not seem to follow from 1. and 2. at first. However this is due to Joyce first presenting a basic form of the argument and reworking it step by step over the course over the first couple of chapters.
The original third premise goes like this:
3. Therefore, if x morally ought to Q, then x has a reason for Q-ing regardless of whether Q-ing serves his desires or furthers his reasons.

1. If P then D
...then x ought to Q regardless of his desires.
2. If P then R
...then x has a reason for Q-ing.
3. If P then (D & R)
...then x ought to Q regardless of his desires and x has a reason to Q.

-> If x morally ought to Q, then x has a reason to Q and ought to Q regardless of his desires.
-> If x morally ought to Q, then x has a reason to Q regardless of his desires.
This implies the possibility of those action guiding reasons or in other words:
If it is possible to have a reason to Q regardless of ones desires then one can have a reason for Q-ing regardless of what his desires and interests are (here "possible" does not denote a modal quantifier).

4. Not (D & R)
5. Not P

I will most likely post more later.

Thank you for posting this. I don't recall seeing an argument about this subject.
My pleasure. If error theory interests you I recommend J.L. Mackie's Ethics. Inventing Right and Wrong and of course Joyce's book (although his defence of P4) is not the most entertaining peace of literature to the hobby philosopher, his error theory as a whole, his evolutionary explanation for moral dispositions and his fictionalist account are pretty intruiging).
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
Nac
Posts: 326
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5/20/2015 11:30:20 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/19/2015 1:41:59 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 5/19/2015 12:55:22 PM, Nac wrote:

Very innovative. This argument is very intriguing.

I would like to see if I can raise a substantial objection. It would allow for me to further evaluate the argument's strength.

As a disclaimer, I am simply raising objections from any perspective. As a moral subjectivist, I agree with the argument through my disagreement with moral absolutes. I simply wish to see if this argument will convince someone who disagrees with me.

1. In premise 2, the statement can be restated to say that every moral action has support.
But "support" is a rather vague term.
My apologies. I intended to create variety. Reason is essentially what I meant.

Premise 3 can then be restated to say that this reason necessarily defeats all other reasons.
I am not quite sure how to interpret this. The moral reason defeats all other reasons for guiding ones actions? I guess that is fine, but then you have to be carefull when rephrasing P2) into "support" instead of "reason".
Does the reformulation above help?

However, this is not implied from the argument. The argument implies that moral obligations are supported by reason and that they must be performed regardless of personal feelings. It does not imply that one of these statements applies to the other.
Ok, I think I understand your complaint now. True, 3. might not seem to follow from 1. and 2. at first. However this is due to Joyce first presenting a basic form of the argument and reworking it step by step over the course over the first couple of chapters.
The original third premise goes like this:
3. Therefore, if x morally ought to Q, then x has a reason for Q-ing regardless of whether Q-ing serves his desires or furthers his reasons.

1. If P then D
...then x ought to Q regardless of his desires.
2. If P then R
...then x has a reason for Q-ing.
3. If P then (D & R)
...then x ought to Q regardless of his desires and x has a reason to Q.

-> If x morally ought to Q, then x has a reason to Q and ought to Q regardless of his desires.
-> If x morally ought to Q, then x has a reason to Q regardless of his desires.
This implies the possibility of those action guiding reasons or in other words:
If it is possible to have a reason to Q regardless of ones desires then one can have a reason for Q-ing regardless of what his desires and interests are (here "possible" does not denote a modal quantifier).
I can see where I was mistaken now. Thank you for your thorough reformulation.

My issue was my inability to accurately grasp the conjunction of P and D. I decided to utilize premise 4 to assist in this process, and it seemed to imply the existence of a reason which overrides all others.

However, my issue is now with premise 4. How is there no case in which both exist? In the example you provided, there existed two reasons. The existence of a moral obligation would discern between these two decisions, thus invalidating the claim against the internal inconsistency of moral obligations. Whether this obligation is fulfilled in all cases is irrelevant to the claim's existence.

I thank you for continuing this dialogue. As a moral subjectivist, I agree with the conclusion. I wish to test this idea to ascertain its ability to arrive at this conclusion.
4. Not (D & R)
5. Not P

I will most likely post more later.

Thank you for posting this. I don't recall seeing an argument about this subject.
My pleasure. If error theory interests you I recommend J.L. Mackie's Ethics. Inventing Right and Wrong and of course Joyce's book (although his defence of P4) is not the most entertaining peace of literature to the hobby philosopher, his error theory as a whole, his evolutionary explanation for moral dispositions and his fictionalist account are pretty intruiging).

Much appreciated. I will need to see his further arguments, as this concept is immensely entertaining.
sdavio
Posts: 1,798
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5/20/2015 11:52:27 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
Basically, a morality is only convincing insofar as it overlaps with whatever we already prefer, right? If that's what this is saying, then I think it's an important insight although the presentation is kind of inelegant.. I mean, it's much more cutting when put as something like Hume's "You can't get an ought from an is".. although maybe there's something else new in this that I'm missing.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
Fkkize
Posts: 2,149
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5/20/2015 1:44:35 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/20/2015 11:30:20 AM, Nac wrote:
At 5/19/2015 1:41:59 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 5/19/2015 12:55:22 PM, Nac wrote:

Very innovative. This argument is very intriguing.

I would like to see if I can raise a substantial objection. It would allow for me to further evaluate the argument's strength.

As a disclaimer, I am simply raising objections from any perspective. As a moral subjectivist, I agree with the argument through my disagreement with moral absolutes. I simply wish to see if this argument will convince someone who disagrees with me.

1. In premise 2, the statement can be restated to say that every moral action has support.
But "support" is a rather vague term.
My apologies. I intended to create variety. Reason is essentially what I meant.

Premise 3 can then be restated to say that this reason necessarily defeats all other reasons.
I am not quite sure how to interpret this. The moral reason defeats all other reasons for guiding ones actions? I guess that is fine, but then you have to be carefull when rephrasing P2) into "support" instead of "reason".
Does the reformulation above help?
But then you have the original premise again.

However, this is not implied from the argument. The argument implies that moral obligations are supported by reason and that they must be performed regardless of personal feelings. It does not imply that one of these statements applies to the other.
Ok, I think I understand your complaint now. True, 3. might not seem to follow from 1. and 2. at first. However this is due to Joyce first presenting a basic form of the argument and reworking it step by step over the course over the first couple of chapters.
The original third premise goes like this:
3. Therefore, if x morally ought to Q, then x has a reason for Q-ing regardless of whether Q-ing serves his desires or furthers his reasons.

1. If P then D
...then x ought to Q regardless of his desires.
2. If P then R
...then x has a reason for Q-ing.
3. If P then (D & R)
...then x ought to Q regardless of his desires and x has a reason to Q.

-> If x morally ought to Q, then x has a reason to Q and ought to Q regardless of his desires.
-> If x morally ought to Q, then x has a reason to Q regardless of his desires.
This implies the possibility of those action guiding reasons or in other words:
If it is possible to have a reason to Q regardless of ones desires then one can have a reason for Q-ing regardless of what his desires and interests are (here "possible" does not denote a modal quantifier).
I can see where I was mistaken now. Thank you for your thorough reformulation.

My issue was my inability to accurately grasp the conjunction of P and D. I decided to utilize premise 4 to assist in this process, and it seemed to imply the existence of a reason which overrides all others.

However, my issue is now with premise 4. How is there no case in which both exist? In the example you provided, there existed two reasons. The existence of a moral obligation would discern between these two decisions, thus invalidating the claim against the internal inconsistency of moral obligations. Whether this obligation is fulfilled in all cases is irrelevant to the claim's existence.
Could you give an example of a situation where you have a reason to do something without desiring something about the action/ its consequences?

Much appreciated. I will need to see his further arguments, as this concept is immensely entertaining.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
Fkkize
Posts: 2,149
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5/20/2015 2:03:18 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/20/2015 11:52:27 AM, sdavio wrote:
Basically, a morality is only convincing insofar as it overlaps with whatever we already prefer, right? If that's what this is saying, then I think it's an important insight although the presentation is kind of inelegant..
I guess one could say that, yes.

I mean, it's much more cutting when put as something like Hume's "You can't get an ought from an is".. although maybe there's something else new in this that I'm missing.
Contemporary realists get around the is-ought gap and the naturalistic fallacy pretty consistently, but fail in other respects.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
Nac
Posts: 326
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5/20/2015 4:30:43 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/20/2015 1:44:35 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 5/20/2015 11:30:20 AM, Nac wrote:
At 5/19/2015 1:41:59 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 5/19/2015 12:55:22 PM, Nac wrote:

Very innovative. This argument is very intriguing.

I would like to see if I can raise a substantial objection. It would allow for me to further evaluate the argument's strength.

As a disclaimer, I am simply raising objections from any perspective. As a moral subjectivist, I agree with the argument through my disagreement with moral absolutes. I simply wish to see if this argument will convince someone who disagrees with me.

1. In premise 2, the statement can be restated to say that every moral action has support.
But "support" is a rather vague term.
My apologies. I intended to create variety. Reason is essentially what I meant.

Premise 3 can then be restated to say that this reason necessarily defeats all other reasons.
I am not quite sure how to interpret this. The moral reason defeats all other reasons for guiding ones actions? I guess that is fine, but then you have to be carefull when rephrasing P2) into "support" instead of "reason".
Does the reformulation above help?
But then you have the original premise again.
I suppose so.
However, this is not implied from the argument. The argument implies that moral obligations are supported by reason and that they must be performed regardless of personal feelings. It does not imply that one of these statements applies to the other.
Ok, I think I understand your complaint now. True, 3. might not seem to follow from 1. and 2. at first. However this is due to Joyce first presenting a basic form of the argument and reworking it step by step over the course over the first couple of chapters.
The original third premise goes like this:
3. Therefore, if x morally ought to Q, then x has a reason for Q-ing regardless of whether Q-ing serves his desires or furthers his reasons.

1. If P then D
...then x ought to Q regardless of his desires.
2. If P then R
...then x has a reason for Q-ing.
3. If P then (D & R)
...then x ought to Q regardless of his desires and x has a reason to Q.

-> If x morally ought to Q, then x has a reason to Q and ought to Q regardless of his desires.
-> If x morally ought to Q, then x has a reason to Q regardless of his desires.
This implies the possibility of those action guiding reasons or in other words:
If it is possible to have a reason to Q regardless of ones desires then one can have a reason for Q-ing regardless of what his desires and interests are (here "possible" does not denote a modal quantifier).
I can see where I was mistaken now. Thank you for your thorough reformulation.

My issue was my inability to accurately grasp the conjunction of P and D. I decided to utilize premise 4 to assist in this process, and it seemed to imply the existence of a reason which overrides all others.

However, my issue is now with premise 4. How is there no case in which both exist? In the example you provided, there existed two reasons. The existence of a moral obligation would discern between these two decisions, thus invalidating the claim against the internal inconsistency of moral obligations. Whether this obligation is fulfilled in all cases is irrelevant to the claim's existence.
Could you give an example of a situation where you have a reason to do something without desiring something about the action/ its consequences?
I thought the statement was that we have a moral obligation in spite of our desires. This statement seems to imply that the reason coincides with these desires, which does not seem to be implied by the argument.

If it is the former, then your example works. You should generally behave according to the Categorical imperative (or any other posited obligation) in spite of its lack of benefits.
Much appreciated. I will need to see his further arguments, as this concept is immensely entertaining.
R0b1Billion
Posts: 3,732
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5/20/2015 7:18:58 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
For any x:
1. If x morally ought to Q, then x ought to Q regardless of what his desires or interests are.
2. If x morally ought to Q, then x has a reason for Q-ing.
3. Therefore, if x morally ought to Q, then x can have a reason for Q-ing regardless of what his desires and interests are.
4. But there is no sense to be made of such reasons.
5. Therefore, x is never under a moral obligation.

Morality, for me, is not about "oughts" at all. It is based on "ought-nots." I believe this is an important error here... Consider that ANYTHING you do has to have a reason. Why am I on DDO? Why and I eating? Why am I singing? Everything we do has some sort of reason, and morality is the condition of when this reasoning fails. I am on DDO to interact with people... I am eating for energy... I am singing for recreation. But if I do something immoral, like hurting somebody, the reason I am using to underline that action becomes flawed. I am hurting this person because, for example, I expect to feel better. But even if we allow that the Ends justify the Means (which I wouldn't), the simple practicality of the matter is that an immoral action fails to justify itself. Hurting others does NOT give us, on balance, a net positive utility (i.e., I expect to feel better and my reasoning is flawed - even though I may get some pleasure, it will surely be outweighed by guilt, social reactions to my wrath, etc.). Immorality is actions that hurt yourself and others (the two are really not distinguishable since what helps one always helps all) because you are using bad logic - which takes the form of vices (pride, greed, wrath, gluttony, lust, sloth, and envy) - which are all the negative balances we all have due to our ability of intelligence. Intelligence cannot exist without the ability to abuse the privilege of being intelligent, and these are the seven ways in which we are able to abuse it.

You are assuming that we can do anything we want, void of reason, but morality only comes into play when we try to impose reason... you are assuming that there is nothing but senselessness behind our actions unless we go out of our way to impose a justification. People don't act randomly and senselessly, we are always acting upon some sort of reason and that reason can be judged based on whether it is being tainted by vice. Morality is NEVER about "x ought to Q," it is ALWAYS about "x ought not to Q."
Beliefs in a nutshell:
- The Ends never justify the Means.
- Objectivity is secondary to subjectivity.
- The War on Drugs is the worst policy in the U.S.
- Most people worship technology as a religion.
- Computers will never become sentient.
Fkkize
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5/21/2015 4:18:23 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/20/2015 7:18:58 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:
For any x:
1. If x morally ought to Q, then x ought to Q regardless of what his desires or interests are.
2. If x morally ought to Q, then x has a reason for Q-ing.
3. Therefore, if x morally ought to Q, then x can have a reason for Q-ing regardless of what his desires and interests are.
4. But there is no sense to be made of such reasons.
5. Therefore, x is never under a moral obligation.

Morality, for me, is not about "oughts" at all. It is based on "ought-nots." I believe this is an important error here...
"You ought to Q"
"You ought not P"
Q: not kill
P kill
There is no substantial difference between these fomulations and both fall prey to the argument.

Consider that ANYTHING you do has to have a reason. Why am I on DDO? Why and I eating? Why am I singing? Everything we do has some sort of reason,
Yes, that is a matter of practical rationality.

and morality is the condition of when this reasoning fails.
No idea what you are trying to say, especially if this is supposed to amount to an objection.

I am on DDO to interact with people... I am eating for energy... I am singing for recreation. But if I do something immoral, like hurting somebody, the reason I am using to underline that action becomes flawed. I am hurting this person because, for example, I expect to feel better. But even if we allow that the Ends justify the Means (which I wouldn't), the simple practicality of the matter is that an immoral action fails to justify itself. Hurting others does NOT give us, on balance, a net positive utility (i.e., I expect to feel better and my reasoning is flawed - even though I may get some pleasure, it will surely be outweighed by guilt, social reactions to my wrath, etc.).
How is this related to the argument?

Immorality is actions that hurt yourself and others (the two are really not distinguishable since what helps one always helps all) because you are using bad logic
It is neither my argument nor my logic.

- which takes the form of vices (pride, greed, wrath, gluttony, lust, sloth, and envy) - which are all the negative balances we all have due to our ability of intelligence. Intelligence cannot exist without the ability to abuse the privilege of being intelligent, and these are the seven ways in which we are able to abuse it.
So you content that morality is beneficial for us? I agree, that is why I would describe myself as a fictionalist. However this does not mean that something like moral obligations actually exist.

You are assuming that we can do anything we want, void of reason,
Never said that, never implied it. On the contrary, I said that we need a reason for an action to motivate us to performe it.

but morality only comes into play when we try to impose reason... you are assuming that there is nothing but senselessness behind our actions unless we go out of our way to impose a justification. People don't act randomly and senselessly, we are always acting upon some sort of reason and that reason can be judged based on whether it is being tainted by vice.
Is it a hobby of you to talk past everything I write?

Morality is NEVER about "x ought to Q," it is ALWAYS about "x ought not to Q."
See above. This is planely untrue, imagine a drowning child. Would you say "one ought to save the child!" or "one ought not not save the child!"? Ordinary folk definetly pick the last and double negatives are really redundant when trying to persuade others.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
Envisage
Posts: 3,646
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5/21/2015 4:34:56 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/19/2015 10:45:11 AM, Fkkize wrote:
This is Richard Joyce's argument for his moral error theory from The Myth of Morality.

For any x:
1. If x morally ought to Q, then x ought to Q regardless of what his desires or interests are.
2. If x morally ought to Q, then x has a reason for Q-ing.
3. Therefore, if x morally ought to Q, then x can have a reason for Q-ing regardless of what his desires and interests are.
4. But there is no sense to be made of such reasons.
5. Therefore, x is never under a moral obligation.

Where x is any person and Q is an action. 1,2 and 4 need justification.

4. Here his discussion gets fairly lengthy and complicated so I will try to give a short justification for this premise. I can't guarantee that I present this one correctly.
For an action to provide a reason for carrying it out, it must adhere to practical rationality, the questioning of which no longer seems intelligible, like "I know that I have a desire to stay alive but why should I not drink this cup of poison?"
After all it still seems fairly easy to come up with examples to the contrary. "I know that it is morally wrong but why should I keep my promise if I could instead gain a personal benefit?". We would most likely not call somebody like this a nice or a moral person but he is certainly not irrational.

Interesting argument, it does give a nice insight into the fact that our reasons tend to correspond with our desires. However I don't see you ever defending P4 successfully. The reason for P4 need not be associated with practical rather rationality. One example that comes to mind is a theological one, where the reason would be it goes against God's nature. Another example is assuming utilitarianism and then the reason becomes "It causes harm".

It would be successful if they entailed a contradiction in terms, but they are convoluted enough that if they do, then it's not immediately apparent how.
Fkkize
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5/21/2015 4:56:13 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/21/2015 4:34:56 AM, Envisage wrote:
At 5/19/2015 10:45:11 AM, Fkkize wrote:
This is Richard Joyce's argument for his moral error theory from The Myth of Morality.

For any x:
1. If x morally ought to Q, then x ought to Q regardless of what his desires or interests are.
2. If x morally ought to Q, then x has a reason for Q-ing.
3. Therefore, if x morally ought to Q, then x can have a reason for Q-ing regardless of what his desires and interests are.
4. But there is no sense to be made of such reasons.
5. Therefore, x is never under a moral obligation.

Where x is any person and Q is an action. 1,2 and 4 need justification.

4. Here his discussion gets fairly lengthy and complicated so I will try to give a short justification for this premise. I can't guarantee that I present this one correctly.
For an action to provide a reason for carrying it out, it must adhere to practical rationality, the questioning of which no longer seems intelligible, like "I know that I have a desire to stay alive but why should I not drink this cup of poison?"
After all it still seems fairly easy to come up with examples to the contrary. "I know that it is morally wrong but why should I keep my promise if I could instead gain a personal benefit?". We would most likely not call somebody like this a nice or a moral person but he is certainly not irrational.

Interesting argument, it does give a nice insight into the fact that our reasons tend to correspond with our desires. However I don't see you ever defending P4 successfully.
As I've said, the defence is rather lengthy and complicated. Joyce goes over Humean Intrumentalism, non-Humean intrsumentalism, Railton's and and McDowell's realism and Hamfort's relativism and many other things.

The reason for P4 need not be associated with practical rather rationality. One example that comes to mind is a theological one, where the reason would be it goes against God's nature.
I guess then one would need a desire to please God.

Another example is assuming utilitarianism and then the reason becomes "It causes harm".

It would be successful if they entailed a contradiction in terms, but they are convoluted enough that if they do, then it's not immediately apparent how.

I might respond in more detail later.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
Fkkize
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5/21/2015 5:41:40 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/20/2015 4:30:43 PM, Nac wrote:

Could you give an example of a situation where you have a reason to do something without desiring something about the action/ its consequences?
I thought the statement was that we have a moral obligation in spite of our desires. This statement seems to imply that the reason coincides with these desires, which does not seem to be implied by the argument.

If it is the former, then your example works. You should generally behave according to the Categorical imperative (or any other posited obligation) in spite of its lack of benefits.
That's the crux. We formulate moral obligations as CI's, but whenever someone questions the reason for why they should care, they discover that there is none/ these alleged reasons make no sense. That's where P4) comes from.

Much appreciated. I will need to see his further arguments, as this concept is immensely entertaining.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
Fkkize
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5/21/2015 5:50:06 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/21/2015 4:34:56 AM, Envisage wrote:

Interesting argument, it does give a nice insight into the fact that our reasons tend to correspond with our desires. However I don't see you ever defending P4 successfully. The reason for P4 need not be associated with practical rather rationality. One example that comes to mind is a theological one, where the reason would be it goes against God's nature. Another example is assuming utilitarianism and then the reason becomes "It causes harm".
Minor note, in a case where someone claims harm is immoral and shouldn't be inflicted/ frustrating God's desires is wrong and should not be done, wouldn't you be the first one to say "Why should I care?"
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
Nac
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5/21/2015 6:32:27 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/21/2015 5:41:40 AM, Fkkize wrote:
At 5/20/2015 4:30:43 PM, Nac wrote:

Could you give an example of a situation where you have a reason to do something without desiring something about the action/ its consequences?
I thought the statement was that we have a moral obligation in spite of our desires. This statement seems to imply that the reason coincides with these desires, which does not seem to be implied by the argument.

If it is the former, then your example works. You should generally behave according to the Categorical imperative (or any other posited obligation) in spite of its lack of benefits.
That's the crux. We formulate moral obligations as CI's, but whenever someone questions the reason for why they should care, they discover that there is none/ these alleged reasons make no sense. That's where P4) comes from.
Would this reason need to be self-evident? It seems as if it could be explained through the lens of empathy (i.e. You would dislike it if Y were done to you, so you should not do Y.)

Much appreciated. I will need to see his further arguments, as this concept is immensely entertaining.
Fkkize
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5/21/2015 7:26:04 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/21/2015 6:32:27 AM, Nac wrote:
At 5/21/2015 5:41:40 AM, Fkkize wrote:
At 5/20/2015 4:30:43 PM, Nac wrote:

Could you give an example of a situation where you have a reason to do something without desiring something about the action/ its consequences?
I thought the statement was that we have a moral obligation in spite of our desires. This statement seems to imply that the reason coincides with these desires, which does not seem to be implied by the argument.

If it is the former, then your example works. You should generally behave according to the Categorical imperative (or any other posited obligation) in spite of its lack of benefits.
That's the crux. We formulate moral obligations as CI's, but whenever someone questions the reason for why they should care, they discover that there is none/ these alleged reasons make no sense. That's where P4) comes from.
Would this reason need to be self-evident?
Arguable this was Kant's intention when coining the term "categorical impertaive".

It seems as if it could be explained through the lens of empathy (i.e. You would dislike it if Y were done to you, so you should not do Y.)
But then you would have a desire to do it. Acts motivated by empathy are still acts of practical rationality.


Much appreciated. I will need to see his further arguments, as this concept is immensely entertaining.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
Envisage
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5/21/2015 8:18:56 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/21/2015 5:50:06 AM, Fkkize wrote:
At 5/21/2015 4:34:56 AM, Envisage wrote:

Interesting argument, it does give a nice insight into the fact that our reasons tend to correspond with our desires. However I don't see you ever defending P4 successfully. The reason for P4 need not be associated with practical rather rationality. One example that comes to mind is a theological one, where the reason would be it goes against God's nature. Another example is assuming utilitarianism and then the reason becomes "It causes harm".
Minor note, in a case where someone claims harm is immoral and shouldn't be inflicted/ frustrating God's desires is wrong and should not be done, wouldn't you be the first one to say "Why should I care?"

I don't disagree here, I am just thinking of how to formulate it into a form of dilemma, or a statement. I mean, it's pretty obvious that any colloquial/"everyday" moral statement/position does in some form come back to self-interest, and there are numerous ways to argue that. This seems a neat and tidy way to do it if the formulation can be fixed.
s-anthony
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5/21/2015 1:00:39 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/19/2015 10:45:11 AM, Fkkize wrote:
This is Richard Joyce's argument for his moral error theory from The Myth of Morality.

For any x:
1. If x morally ought to Q, then x ought to Q regardless of what his desires or interests are.
2. If x morally ought to Q, then x has a reason for Q-ing.
3. Therefore, if x morally ought to Q, then x can have a reason for Q-ing regardless of what his desires and interests are.
4. But there is no sense to be made of such reasons.
5. Therefore, x is never under a moral obligation.

Where x is any person and Q is an action. 1,2 and 4 need justification.

1. This is more or less self evident. If we say "you ought not kick your baby" we don't simply hide the conditional "...if you desire healthy offspring". It is irrelevant whether or not someone likes to kick babies, they simply ought not do it.
2. Imagine we want to (morally) condemn a criminal for her actions. We might say something like "you ought not have done that!", but matters don't end here for we would still have to counter any "so what?" responses. "You simply mustn't!" is probably not going to be very convincing. We are looking for something to engage the criminal, something the ignoring of would be in some manner illegitimate on her part. We are trying to provide her with a reason to refrain from doing something.
4. Here his discussion gets fairly lengthy and complicated so I will try to give a short justification for this premise. I can't guarantee that I present this one correctly.
For an action to provide a reason for carrying it out, it must adhere to practical rationality, the questioning of which no longer seems intelligible, like "I know that I have a desire to stay alive but why should I not drink this cup of poison?"
After all it still seems fairly easy to come up with examples to the contrary. "I know that it is morally wrong but why should I keep my promise if I could instead gain a personal benefit?". We would most likely not call somebody like this a nice or a moral person but he is certainly not irrational.
I know I dumbed down this part pretty hard, but the point should be clear.

What do you think?

If society, or society's god, demands a morality that contradicts any given individuals morality, then, in the eye's of the individual, to conform would be wrong; however, in the eye's of society, the individual would be justified.

Even though some may see this in error, it doesn't negate the reality of it.
Nac
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5/21/2015 4:18:06 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/21/2015 7:26:04 AM, Fkkize wrote:
At 5/21/2015 6:32:27 AM, Nac wrote:
At 5/21/2015 5:41:40 AM, Fkkize wrote:
At 5/20/2015 4:30:43 PM, Nac wrote:

Could you give an example of a situation where you have a reason to do something without desiring something about the action/ its consequences?
I thought the statement was that we have a moral obligation in spite of our desires. This statement seems to imply that the reason coincides with these desires, which does not seem to be implied by the argument.

If it is the former, then your example works. You should generally behave according to the Categorical imperative (or any other posited obligation) in spite of its lack of benefits.
That's the crux. We formulate moral obligations as CI's, but whenever someone questions the reason for why they should care, they discover that there is none/ these alleged reasons make no sense. That's where P4) comes from.
Would this reason need to be self-evident?
Arguable this was Kant's intention when coining the term "categorical impertaive".
It seems as if we can question any ideal. Knowledge, metaphysics, and ethics seem to be no exception.

It seems as if it could be explained through the lens of empathy (i.e. You would dislike it if Y were done to you, so you should not do Y.)
But then you would have a desire to do it. Acts motivated by empathy are still acts of practical rationality.
I apologize, but I do not follow.

Does the moral obligation need to be in line with our desires? I can see nothing suggesting so from the argument, but perhaps I am misinterpreting it.

Thank you for continuing this dialogue. I apologize for the delays.

Much appreciated. I will need to see his further arguments, as this concept is immensely entertaining.
R0b1Billion
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5/21/2015 4:25:14 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/21/2015 4:18:23 AM, Fkkize wrote:
At 5/20/2015 7:18:58 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:
For any x:
1. If x morally ought to Q, then x ought to Q regardless of what his desires or interests are.
2. If x morally ought to Q, then x has a reason for Q-ing.
3. Therefore, if x morally ought to Q, then x can have a reason for Q-ing regardless of what his desires and interests are.
4. But there is no sense to be made of such reasons.
5. Therefore, x is never under a moral obligation.

Morality, for me, is not about "oughts" at all. It is based on "ought-nots." I believe this is an important error here...
"You ought to Q"
"You ought not P"
Q: not kill
P kill
There is no substantial difference between these fomulations and both fall prey to the argument.

There is a world of difference between ought and ought not! When you pull a rope through a hole, all of the threads combine into one point. When you push a rope through a hole, all of the threads spread in every different direction. Just as one might err and say that these both are the same, since you are applying the same direction of force through the same point, you are erring by saying ought and ought not are identical formulations. By telling somebody they ought not do something, you are essentially pulling the rope; they have initiated a discrete action on their own, and you are questioning their wisdom, likely telling them they have exhibited some sort of selfish tendency. By telling somebody they ought to do something, you are now pushing the rope; you are suggesting a course of action creatively, you are enforcing your perspective upon that person. In the former, they have initiated an action and you have pointed out errors in their reasoning; in the latter, you are doing the reasoning and the impetus being carried out is only your own. Morality only works one way, if you think it works both ways then you will never understand it.

Consider that ANYTHING you do has to have a reason. Why am I on DDO? Why and I eating? Why am I singing? Everything we do has some sort of reason,
Yes, that is a matter of practical rationality.

and morality is the condition of when this reasoning fails.
No idea what you are trying to say, especially if this is supposed to amount to an objection.

My objection is that only somebody who has initiated an action under their own volition can be held morally responsible for something, you can't just look at somebody and tell them they ought to act and impose that condition from the outside in. You're on DDO... what's your reasoning for that? Perhaps I can find a reason why you ought not be, and there will be a moral basis. But it is entirely different for me to say you ought to be on DDO, to just create that reasoning myself and then somehow hold you morally accountable for not taking my advice, my creative input.

- which takes the form of vices (pride, greed, wrath, gluttony, lust, sloth, and envy) - which are all the negative balances we all have due to our ability of intelligence. Intelligence cannot exist without the ability to abuse the privilege of being intelligent, and these are the seven ways in which we are able to abuse it.
So you content that morality is beneficial for us? I agree, that is why I would describe myself as a fictionalist. However this does not mean that something like moral obligations actually exist.

That is perhaps my main point through all of this, isn't it? I can't obligate you to do anything - that would be an "ought." But if you carry out an action, I can perhaps tell you that you ought not have.

Morality is NEVER about "x ought to Q," it is ALWAYS about "x ought not to Q."
See above. This is planely untrue, imagine a drowning child. Would you say "one ought to save the child!" or "one ought not not save the child!"? Ordinary folk definetly pick the last and double negatives are really redundant when trying to persuade others.

I'm assuming you meant to say that folks would pick the first, not the last. OK let me play this scenario out for you. A child is drowning next to you in the pool. What do you do? a) save the child b) something else. I would never say you ought to save the child, but I would question just about anything else you would have done. I would say you ought not have sat there licking your popsicle playing with your iPhone. It was the wrong course of action. You saw the child drowning, decided that your popsicle was going to melt and you wanted to catch up on facebook, and chose that course of action, and I would say you ought not have. While you may consider this a technicality, and I certainly understand that we all know that I am thinking to myself "he ought to have saved the child," we are trying to cut hairs here and that's the way people like to hold moral debates... despite the fact that every hour of the day we make a moral decision and those are much simpler to assess. The fact is that you must make a decision when you see the child drowning, and it is physically impossible not to. You must push the rope so to speak, you must take the information at hand and decide to either save the child or else put something in a class higher than that and then act upon that. I would question anything you would hold in higher regard as a very wrong decision!
Beliefs in a nutshell:
- The Ends never justify the Means.
- Objectivity is secondary to subjectivity.
- The War on Drugs is the worst policy in the U.S.
- Most people worship technology as a religion.
- Computers will never become sentient.
Fkkize
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5/22/2015 8:00:22 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/21/2015 4:25:14 PM, R0b1Billion wrote:

There is no substantial difference between these fomulations and both fall prey to the argument.

There is a world of difference between ought and ought not! When you pull a rope through a hole, all of the threads combine into one point. When you push a rope through a hole, all of the threads spread in every different direction. Just as one might err and say that these both are the same, since you are applying the same direction of force through the same point, you are erring by saying ought and ought not are identical formulations. By telling somebody they ought not do something, you are essentially pulling the rope; they have initiated a discrete action on their own, and you are questioning their wisdom, likely telling them they have exhibited some sort of selfish tendency. By telling somebody they ought to do something, you are now pushing the rope; you are suggesting a course of action creatively, you are enforcing your perspective upon that person. In the former, they have initiated an action and you have pointed out errors in their reasoning; in the latter, you are doing the reasoning and the impetus being carried out is only your own. Morality only works one way, if you think it works both ways then you will never understand it.
Just reformultate the argument from "ought" to "ought not" and voila, the argument still stands. If you have a point, please make it clear instead of telling a story every time.

and morality is the condition of when this reasoning fails.
No idea what you are trying to say, especially if this is supposed to amount to an objection.

My objection is that only somebody who has initiated an action under their own volition can be held morally responsible for something, you can't just look at somebody and tell them they ought to act and impose that condition from the outside in.
So...you say that people are mistaken when they morally condemn others for their actions? Why then do you disagree with the argument?

You're on DDO... what's your reasoning for that?
I like to discuss ideas intelectually with others. A pleasure this side evidentially does not provide me with everyday.
This is a matter of practical rationality, I have a desire and I act in accordance.

Perhaps I can find a reason why you ought not be, and there will be a moral basis.
To quote a main justification from the argument: "why should I care?"

But it is entirely different for me to say you ought to be on DDO, to just create that reasoning myself and then somehow hold you morally accountable for not taking my advice, my creative input.
So you're trying to justify your ought/ ought not distinction again...
I don't know why it is not apparent to you but "you ought not be on DDO" and "you ought to be on DDO" are contrary propositions. Of course only one (if any) could be true, this does not in any way shape or form justifies your superfluous distinction. And again, why should anyone care whether they ought or ought not be on DDO?

So you content that morality is beneficial for us? I agree, that is why I would describe myself as a fictionalist. However this does not mean that something like moral obligations actually exist.

That is perhaps my main point through all of this, isn't it? I can't obligate you to do anything - that would be an "ought."
The same applies to "ought not".

But if you carry out an action, I can perhaps tell you that you ought not have.
Umhh no.

Morality is NEVER about "x ought to Q," it is ALWAYS about "x ought not to Q."
See above. This is planely untrue, imagine a drowning child. Would you say "one ought to save the child!" or "one ought not not save the child!"? Ordinary folk definetly pick the last and double negatives are really redundant when trying to persuade others.

I'm assuming you meant to say that folks would pick the first, not the last. OK let me play this scenario out for you. A child is drowning next to you in the pool. What do you do? a) save the child b) something else. I would never say you ought to save the child, but I would question just about anything else you would have done. I would say you ought not have sat there licking your popsicle playing with your iPhone. It was the wrong course of action. You saw the child drowning, decided that your popsicle was going to melt and you wanted to catch up on facebook, and chose that course of action, and I would say you ought not have. While you may consider this a technicality, and I certainly understand that we all know that I am thinking to myself "he ought to have saved the child," we are trying to cut hairs here and that's the way people like to hold moral debates... despite the fact that every hour of the day we make a moral decision and those are much simpler to assess. The fact is that you must make a decision when you see the child drowning, and it is physically impossible not to. You must push the rope so to speak, you must take the information at hand and decide to either save the child or else put something in a class higher than that and then act upon that. I would question anything you would hold in higher regard as a very wrong decision!
If you are making analogies or thought experiments, please, at least try to skip redundant details or make them clear. Push the rope??
And finally I am still free to respond "why should I care about what I ought not have done".
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
Fkkize
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5/22/2015 8:10:25 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/21/2015 4:18:06 PM, Nac wrote:

It seems as if it could be explained through the lens of empathy (i.e. You would dislike it if Y were done to you, so you should not do Y.)
But then you would have a desire to do it. Acts motivated by empathy are still acts of practical rationality.
I apologize, but I do not follow.

Does the moral obligation need to be in line with our desires? I can see nothing suggesting so from the argument, but perhaps I am misinterpreting it.
Moral obligations can coincide with our desires, but evidentially they don't always.
The latter case illuminates why moral obligations make no sense, since in those cases one can easily ask "why should I care?".
The former case does not undermine moral obligations, because questioning them would be nonsensical as demonstrated in the poison example of my OP.

Thank you for continuing this dialogue. I apologize for the delays.
No problem, every feedback is very appreciated.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
R0b1Billion
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5/22/2015 8:10:30 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/22/2015 8:00:22 AM, Fkkize wrote:

Just reformultate the argument from "ought" to "ought not" and voila, the argument still stands.

I don't think we are going to be able to scale this mountain, and will have to agree to disagree (which is the norm on DDO anyway).
Beliefs in a nutshell:
- The Ends never justify the Means.
- Objectivity is secondary to subjectivity.
- The War on Drugs is the worst policy in the U.S.
- Most people worship technology as a religion.
- Computers will never become sentient.
Nac
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5/23/2015 10:18:17 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/22/2015 8:10:25 AM, Fkkize wrote:
At 5/21/2015 4:18:06 PM, Nac wrote:

It seems as if it could be explained through the lens of empathy (i.e. You would dislike it if Y were done to you, so you should not do Y.)
But then you would have a desire to do it. Acts motivated by empathy are still acts of practical rationality.
I apologize, but I do not follow.

Does the moral obligation need to be in line with our desires? I can see nothing suggesting so from the argument, but perhaps I am misinterpreting it.
Moral obligations can coincide with our desires, but evidentially they don't always.
The latter case illuminates why moral obligations make no sense, since in those cases one can easily ask "why should I care?".
I apologize for my previous lack of eloquence. My intention in affirming the value of skepticism and inquiry was to establish uncertainty in regards to premise 4. In my eyes, the concept which is challenged is irrelevant to the validity of the inquiry. The measure I utilize to determine this value is the level of uncertainty one can raise about a concept.

Additionally, my intention in attacking the previous claim was to contest the notion that an act which we have reason to do must necessarily align with our desires. The interpretation I derived from your contention against my empathy argument was that you were positing the above notion as implied from the argument. I still have a degree of uncertainty as to whether you assent to the claim or not. I would like to ensure my counter for this point is fully clarified, however, so I would like to address it. My apologies if you do not hold this claim.

P3) (Aq)(Ad)(Er) Mq>Idq&Srq
For all q and for all d, if a is moral, then d is irrelevant to q and an r which supports q exists, where q is an action, d is a desire (or interest) and r is a reason. This premise follows logically from the two previous premises.

However, this premise seems to have been in use when you contested my empathy argument.
P) (Aq)(Ar) Mq>Srq
For all q and for all r, if q is moral, then r supports q, where q is an action and r is a reason.

This premise leads to a contradiction, since there are numerous reasons (most of which are formed by desires) to act differently. However, this is not implied by the premises. The premises state that the action should be followed regardless of one's desires and that a supporting reason exists. It does not imply that all reasons support the action, or that the reason coincides with our desires. This is the reason why I posited empathy, and still maintain that position.

I should take a moment to sincerely apologize for my lack of clarification in previous posts. I needed to express my contention completely, and I failed to do so. For this, I apologize.

The former case does not undermine moral obligations, because questioning them would be nonsensical as demonstrated in the poison example of my OP.

Thank you for continuing this dialogue. I apologize for the delays.
No problem, every feedback is very appreciated.
Fkkize
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5/23/2015 11:47:17 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/23/2015 10:18:17 AM, Nac wrote:

P3) (Aq)(Ad)(Er) Mq>Idq&Srq
For all q and for all d, if a is moral, then d is irrelevant to q and an r which supports q exists, where q is an action, d is a desire (or interest) and r is a reason. This premise follows logically from the two previous premises.

However, this premise seems to have been in use when you contested my empathy argument.
P) (Aq)(Ar) Mq>Srq
For all q and for all r, if q is moral, then r supports q, where q is an action and r is a reason.
In predicate calculus lower case letter from the begining of the alphabet denote objects or subjects, not variables. Putting them inside a universal/existential quantifier is as far as I know invalid.

This premise leads to a contradiction, since there are numerous reasons (most of which are formed by desires) to act differently. However, this is not implied by the premises. The premises state that the action should be followed regardless of one's desires and that a supporting reason exists. It does not imply that all reasons support the action,
I am not quite sure if I can follow you. It seems to me that you think of moral reasons (MR) as overwriting all other reasons given a certain situation. The other reasons in question however are practical reasons, the overwriting of which is not possible.

When I first presented my explanation of P4) in formal logic I accidently used D instead of ~D. My apologies.
I propose this version of P3) in predictate calculus:
P3) (Ax) Mx > ~Dx & Rx
For all x, if x is morally obligatory, then x ought to be done regardless of the agents desires & there is a reason to perform x.
Where x is an action.
And similarly:
P4) (Ax) ~(~Dx & Rx)
For all x, it is not the case that x ought to be done regardless of the agents desires and there is a reason to perform x.

However empathy provides an agent both with a desire and a reason to perform an action. If it just so happens that the action in question is also a morally required one, then perhaps the fact that people say it is obligatory may influence the agent's desires accordingly. However this does not undermine the notion of the incoherence of moral obligations. Pointing out the obligation may just form a new desire, in that case it still adheres to practical rationality together with the moral obligation. They are not mutually exclusive.

I am not sure whether I addressed or even understood your complaint. I apologize if I did not.

or that the reason coincides with our desires. This is the reason why I posited empathy, and still maintain that position.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
Nac
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5/23/2015 12:49:53 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/23/2015 11:47:17 AM, Fkkize wrote:
At 5/23/2015 10:18:17 AM, Nac wrote:

P3) (Aq)(Ad)(Er) Mq>Idq&Srq
For all q and for all d, if a is moral, then d is irrelevant to q and an r which supports q exists, where q is an action, d is a desire (or interest) and r is a reason. This premise follows logically from the two previous premises.

However, this premise seems to have been in use when you contested my empathy argument.
P) (Aq)(Ar) Mq>Srq
For all q and for all r, if q is moral, then r supports q, where q is an action and r is a reason.
In predicate calculus lower case letter from the begining of the alphabet denote objects or subjects, not variables. Putting them inside a universal/existential quantifier is as far as I know invalid.
I apologize, I have not reviewed predicate calculus all too recently. My intent was to use letters which intuitively denote their corresponding subject.
This premise leads to a contradiction, since there are numerous reasons (most of which are formed by desires) to act differently. However, this is not implied by the premises. The premises state that the action should be followed regardless of one's desires and that a supporting reason exists. It does not imply that all reasons support the action,
I am not quite sure if I can follow you. It seems to me that you think of moral reasons (MR) as overwriting all other reasons given a certain situation. The other reasons in question however are practical reasons, the overwriting of which is not possible.
Based on my understanding of the argument, the moral reason coincides with the action which should be followed regardless of desires or interests. This implies that this reason should override practical reasons, unless the moral action is given a qualifier to exclude these practical reasons from being superseded.

I am uncertain as to your reason for concluding that a practical reason cannot be overwritten. Could you please elaborate?
When I first presented my explanation of P4) in formal logic I accidently used D instead of ~D. My apologies
No worries. I was still able to comprehend the premise, which minimizes its effect massively.
I propose this version of P3) in predictate calculus:
P3) (Ax) Mx > ~Dx & Rx
For all x, if x is morally obligatory, then x ought to be done regardless of the agents desires & there is a reason to perform x.
Where x is an action.
And similarly:
P4) (Ax) ~(~Dx & Rx)
For all x, it is not the case that x ought to be done regardless of the agents desires and there is a reason to perform x.
To ensure you do not believe I am ignoring parts of your post, my complaint is with premise four, and I will be addressing it under your next point.
However empathy provides an agent both with a desire and a reason to perform an action. If it just so happens that the action in question is also a morally required one, then perhaps the fact that people say it is obligatory may influence the agent's desires accordingly. However this does not undermine the notion of the incoherence of moral obligations. Pointing out the obligation may just form a new desire, in that case it still adheres to practical rationality together with the moral obligation. They are not mutually exclusive.
I believe I finally understand. Please tell me if this is correct.

Your assertion (or the assertion of the argument) is that a moral obligation should be fulfilled regardless of desires. However, there is never a case in which desires are irrelevant to an action which can be considered to be a moral obligation. Therefore, one side of the conjunction is precluded, which can be used to negate the existence of moral obligations.

Based on the previous exchange, it appears as if I was incorrect in ascertaining the nature of your argument, so I will wait until you affirm the proposition to continue.

I am not sure whether I addressed or even understood your complaint. I apologize if I did not.

You need not blame yourself. I have been repeatedly told I need to be more concise. I will attempt to condense my reasons below. For the sake of brevity, I will remove pleasantries and qualifiers which exhibit subjectivity from my explanation, as this would obfuscate my claims.

1. The support for premise 4 in the OP is faulty. The questioning of any claim is intelligible, so long as it is well supported. Thus, we cannot reach the conclusion.

2. Premise 3 only states that a reason supporting a moral action exists and that it should be followed regardless of desires. The existence of other reasons do not matter in the slightest when judging this. All premise 3 implies is that this single reason should be followed regardless of other reasons. To follow other reasons or see them as valid does not mean that moral obligation do not exist. The latter simply means they are questioning a fact, which can be done if one does not have experience with it. The former simply means your action is immoral.

3. Premise 3 also does not imply that desires and moral obligation cannot coexist. It simply means that the moral obligation should trump desire.

I hope my matter of fact tone did not irritate you. This is all conjecture, so I most assuredly do not believe that these concepts are set in stone. I simply wished to streamline my concerns, as my attempts to remain amicable led to convolution.

or that the reason coincides with our desires. This is the reason why I posited empathy, and still maintain that position.
Fkkize
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5/23/2015 2:18:40 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/23/2015 12:49:53 PM, Nac wrote:

I am uncertain as to your reason for concluding that a practical reason cannot be overwritten. Could you please elaborate?
See point 1.

To ensure you do not believe I am ignoring parts of your post, my complaint is with premise four, and I will be addressing it under your next point.
However empathy provides an agent both with a desire and a reason to perform an action. If it just so happens that the action in question is also a morally required one, then perhaps the fact that people say it is obligatory may influence the agent's desires accordingly. However this does not undermine the notion of the incoherence of moral obligations. Pointing out the obligation may just form a new desire, in that case it still adheres to practical rationality together with the moral obligation. They are not mutually exclusive.
I believe I finally understand. Please tell me if this is correct.

Your assertion (or the assertion of the argument) is that a moral obligation should be fulfilled regardless of desires. However, there is never a case in which desires are irrelevant to an action which can be considered to be a moral obligation. Therefore, one side of the conjunction is precluded, which can be used to negate the existence of moral obligations.
Spot on.

Based on the previous exchange, it appears as if I was incorrect in ascertaining the nature of your argument, so I will wait until you affirm the proposition to continue.

I am not sure whether I addressed or even understood your complaint. I apologize if I did not.

You need not blame yourself. I have been repeatedly told I need to be more concise. I will attempt to condense my reasons below. For the sake of brevity, I will remove pleasantries and qualifiers which exhibit subjectivity from my explanation, as this would obfuscate my claims.

1. The support for premise 4 in the OP is faulty. The questioning of any claim is intelligible, so long as it is well supported. Thus, we cannot reach the conclusion.
Sure, even the law of the exluded middle has been questioned. However the error theory is aimed at everyday moral talk and is not intended to present certain proof (or rather disproof), but is advocated as what the current evidence points to. It presupposes that every other moral theory, not directly addressed by it, fails. This would include the whole noncognitivist camp. Moreover I am interested in how you would question my poison example without adding another subjective desire (perhaps you would somehow save your children by drinking it?) or somehow invoking skepticism.

2. Premise 3 only states that a reason supporting a moral action exists and that it should be followed regardless of desires. The existence of other reasons do not matter in the slightest when judging this. All premise 3 implies is that this single reason should be followed regardless of other reasons.
To be more precise, P3) states that it is possible to have an overwriting reason to do something you do not desire. See point 3.

To follow other reasons or see them as valid does not mean that moral obligation do not exist.
That is why the argument does not try to arrive at this conclusion. This argument in particular merely concludes that noone is ever under a moral obligation.

The latter simply means they are questioning a fact, which can be done if one does not have experience with it. The former simply means your action is immoral.
But then we arrive at the problem of internalism again. One can know the immorality of an action, but why should he care? One can be told about a certain obligation, but why should he care?

3. Premise 3 also does not imply that desires and moral obligation cannot coexist. It simply means that the moral obligation should trump desire.
But it does not have to explicitely state that. "...can have a reason for Q-ing regardless of what his desires and interests are." does not mean every moral obligation is contrary to one's desires.

I hope my matter of fact tone did not irritate you.
Feel free to continue like this.

This is all conjecture, so I most assuredly do not believe that these concepts are set in stone. I simply wished to streamline my concerns, as my attempts to remain amicable led to convolution.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
RuvDraba
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5/23/2015 4:15:20 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/19/2015 10:45:11 AM, Fkkize wrote:
For any x:
1. If x morally ought to Q, then x ought to Q regardless of what his desires or interests are.
2. If x morally ought to Q, then x has a reason for Q-ing.
3. Therefore, if x morally ought to Q, then x can have a reason for Q-ing regardless of what his desires and interests are.
4. But there is no sense to be made of such reasons.
5. Therefore, x is never under a moral obligation.

What do you think?

I think it conflates morality and ethics, Fkkize, and overlooks the distinction between Qing and appearing to Q -- or what we might call multi-agent reasoning.

Here's the morality distinction. Morality: Q is better than S. Ethics: x ought to Q. So obligation is an expression of ethics, based on morality but is not itself morality, since the same moral comprehension might produce more than one ethical frame.

Moreover, P and R may also sometimes be good, and it may be that ethically, x ought to P only in some circumstances and either Q or R in others because there's no assurance that ethics is not informed by context and not just principle.

Back on point 3, if x knows he's obliged to Q, then there's always incentive for x to be seen to be Qing, whether or not x actually is. So in other words, x may be able to gain the benefit of being seen as ethical without paying any price for ethics.

That makes a lot of sense, and we often see this behaviour in self-interested persons under public scrutiny for their authority: politicians, government agencies, corporates, religious institutions, shopkeepers and parents.

So it can remain true that ethically, x ought to Q, while x reasons that pragmatically, he need only be seen to Q.

And now there is no conflict in terms, and no reductio ad absurdem. But there is still ethical obligation.
Fkkize
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5/23/2015 4:51:29 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/23/2015 4:15:20 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 5/19/2015 10:45:11 AM, Fkkize wrote:
For any x:
1. If x morally ought to Q, then x ought to Q regardless of what his desires or interests are.
2. If x morally ought to Q, then x has a reason for Q-ing.
3. Therefore, if x morally ought to Q, then x can have a reason for Q-ing regardless of what his desires and interests are.
4. But there is no sense to be made of such reasons.
5. Therefore, x is never under a moral obligation.

What do you think?

I think it conflates morality and ethics, Fkkize, and overlooks the distinction between Qing and appearing to Q -- or what we might call multi-agent reasoning.

Here's the morality distinction. Morality: Q is better than S. Ethics: x ought to Q. So obligation is an expression of ethics, based on morality but is not itself morality, since the same moral comprehension might produce more than one ethical frame.
Both terms overlap in their meaning and they have been used more and more interchangably in the literature.
But if you want to distinguish them then morals are individual principles of right and wrong while ethics deals with sets of those principles.

Moreover, P and R may also sometimes be good, and it may be that ethically, x ought to P only in some circumstances and either Q or R in others because there's no assurance that ethics is not informed by context and not just principle.
How does this undermine the argument?
Whether one's obligation to act in a certain way is expressed with or without context is not really relevant. I can formulate imperatives that purport to hold at any given time and I can formulate them in a way such that they would apply to every person if they were in the same situation as the subject in question.

Back on point 3, if x knows he's obliged to Q, then there's always incentive for x to be seen to be Qing, whether or not x actually is. So in other words, x may be able to gain the benefit of being seen as ethical without paying any price for ethics.
But again, why should x care about that? I see what you are getting at, however if the subject does not already value social praise, this will hardly convince him.

That makes a lot of sense, and we often see this behaviour in self-interested persons under public scrutiny for their authority: politicians, government agencies, corporates, religious institutions, shopkeepers and parents.
Those people have a subjective desire guiding their actions. I am not sure how this would undermine the argument.

So it can remain true that ethically, x ought to Q, while x reasons that pragmatically, he need only be seen to Q.

And now there is no conflict in terms, and no reductio ad absurdem. But there is still ethical obligation.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
RuvDraba
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5/23/2015 5:19:14 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 5/23/2015 4:51:29 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 5/23/2015 4:15:20 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
I think it conflates morality and ethics, Fkkize, and overlooks the distinction between Qing and appearing to Q -- or what we might call multi-agent reasoning.
Here's the morality distinction. Morality: Q is better than S. Ethics: x ought to Q. So obligation is an expression of ethics, based on morality but is not itself morality, since the same moral comprehension might produce more than one ethical frame.
Both terms overlap in their meaning and they have been used more and more interchangably in the literature.
They should not be interchanged. A moral understanding of good and bad (not right and wrong) is needed for an effective ethical understanding of what we owe one another.

But if you want to distinguish them then morals are individual principles of right and wrong while ethics deals with sets of those principles.
Right and wrong pertains to custom and law as well as ethics. Morality is about what is good or bad.

Moreover, P and R may also sometimes be good, and it may be that ethically, x ought to P only in some circumstances and either Q or R in others because there's no assurance that ethics is not informed by context and not just principle.
How does this undermine the argument?
Because if Q or R can both be ethical, then one can pick a choice for reasons other than just ethics, so you lose the reductio.

Whether one's obligation to act in a certain way is expressed with or without context is not really relevant.
It's relevant because context can create a choice of actions, while principle often holds that only one action is legitimate.

That makes a lot of sense, and we often see this behaviour in self-interested persons under public scrutiny for their authority: politicians, government agencies, corporates, religious institutions, shopkeepers and parents.
Those people have a subjective desire guiding their actions. I am not sure how this would undermine the argument.
That's the point of ethics, Fkkize: to consistently reconcile self-interest with interpersonal and societal accountability, whereas morality is our apprehension and concern for our impacts. One can be moral but not always ethical (e.g. robbing the rich to help the poor), or ethical yet morally ignorant (e.g. always telling the truth, even when it is cruel and unnecessary to speak at all.)

The reductio ad absurdem argument you listed is based on the idea that obligatory reconciliation is illogical and therefore impractical. My refutation is the observation that people practically adhere to ethics in word, but not always in deed. So logically they accept the obligation of ethics and may even desire such obligation to apply to others, but nevertheless avoid the cost to themselves. Their hypocrisy shows there is a conflict of interest, but not contradiction of rationale.