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The Ontological Argument for Moral Realism

tejretics
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10/9/2015 4:19:53 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
I'm seriously undecided on the issue of moral realism, as a whole. I've shifted back and forth between relativism, subjectivism, moral naturalism, nihilism, and non-cognitivism, and have even been a rational egoist. I'm not interested in a semantic debate. For this purpose, I will clearly define what "moral realism" is. For the purposes of this thread, "moral realism" is merely defined as the idea that certain actions - e.g. torturing babies - ought not to be done.

In this thread, I will defend the ontological argument for moral realism, as defended by Mike Huemer (2013). I want to see what objections people have, so as to make a decision on morality myself. I do not genuinely believe - or not believe - this argument myself.

======

Huemer's argument hinges on the "probabilistic reasons principle." What, then, is it? Huemer explains, "[I]f some fact would (if you knew it) provide a reason for you to behave in a certain way, then your having some reason to believe that this fact obtains also provides you with a reason to behave in the same way." [http://journals.cambridge.org...]

"Although it may seem obscure, the idea here is actually pretty straightforward. Suppose that you"re betting on the outcome of a sports match. The fact that Team A is going to win would, if you knew it, provide you with a reason to bet on Team A. Now suppose that you have some reason to believe that Team A is going to win. For example, they have a talented ball-moving-person who can score lots of points. According to the PRP, your reason to believe that Team A is going to win also gives you a reason to bet on Team A. That's it. Also note that this doesn"t have to be an overriding reason. So it could be that you have more reason (or a greater reason) to spend your money on safer investments, as is almost always the case with gambling, but it's still the case that your reason to believe that Team A will win gives you some reason, however small, to bet on Team A."[https://www.reddit.com...]

If the following conditions hold:

(a) If S knew that P, this would provide a reason for S to Z,
(b) if S knew that ~P, this would provide no reason for S not to Z,
(c) S has some reason to believe that P

Then S thereby has a reason to Z.

======

== Ontological argument ==

So this argument merely concerns an analysis of the state of being, i.e. the ontology, to make a "possible worlds" modal jump from possibility to not perform a certain set of immoral actions. The argument follows:

(Definition): Action 'X' is an action that would be objectively wrong iff. moral realism were true.

(1) The probabilistic reasons principle
(2) If we know that action X is objectively wrong, then we get a reason to not perform action X to be moral
(3) Even if we don't know that action X is objectively wrong, it doesn't provide us a reason to *do* action X
(4) There is some non-zero probability that moral realism is true (i.e. moral realism is possible)
(5) It follows that, in order to not risk X being objectively wrong, we ought not to do action X
(6) Also, we have a reason to avoid performing action X

"This argument is rather straightforward. Premise 1 is just the PRP, which has already been discussed. Premise 2 is just true by definition. Premise 3 seems obviously correct; there's nothing about the non-existence of objective reasons to not torture babies that, by itself, entails that you should torture babies. Premise 4 seems uncontroversial; moral realism doesn't involve any self-contradictory or absurd claims, so there's some chance that moral realism is true. On top of that moral realism is an at least respectable position in contemporary moral philosophy, so there are at least some reasons to think it's true even if those reasons aren't convincing to everyone.
Finally the conclusion (premise 5,6) just follows from the PRP and premises 2-4, which each fill in a spot in the PRP." [https://www.reddit.com...]

Now, to add-on to this and avoid moral relativism/subjectivism:

(1) The premises of the above argument are true independent of interests, desires, and attitudes
(2) The premises of the above argument --> the conclusion
(3) If P is true independent of interests, desires, and attitudes (in the sense relevant to moral realism), and P entails C, then C is true independent of interests, desires, and attitudes (in the sense relevant to moral realism)
(4) Therefore, the conclusion of the above argument is objectively true (i.e. independent of interests, desires and attitudes)

=====

Thus, I conclude that moral realism could be affirmed. Thoughts?
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass
Fkkize
Posts: 2,147
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10/9/2015 4:35:26 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/9/2015 4:19:53 PM, tejretics wrote:
I'm seriously undecided on the issue of moral realism, as a whole. I've shifted back and forth between relativism, subjectivism, moral naturalism, nihilism, and non-cognitivism, and have even been a rational egoist.
If you are interested in a reason to abandon any of them for good, just let me know.

I'm not interested in a semantic debate. For this purpose, I will clearly define what "moral realism" is. For the purposes of this thread, "moral realism" is merely defined as the idea that certain actions - e.g. torturing babies - ought not to be done.
Moral realism has a pretty clear definition.
- moral claims express propositions
- these propositions are either true or false (but not both)
- some of these propositions are true
- they are true in virtue of corresponding to certain moral facts.

In this thread, I will defend the ontological argument for moral realism, as defended by Mike Huemer (2013). I want to see what objections people have, so as to make a decision on morality myself. I do not genuinely believe - or not believe - this argument myself.
The argument was presented in this forum a while ago. I agree with it.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
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: space contradicts logic
sdavio
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10/9/2015 5:24:27 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/9/2015 4:19:53 PM, tejretics wrote:
If the following conditions hold:

(a) If S knew that P, this would provide a reason for S to Z,
(b) if S knew that ~P, this would provide no reason for S not to Z,
(c) S has some reason to believe that P

Then S thereby has a reason to Z.

This is an empty imperative. It essentially just states "You should do what you have a reason to do", which is itself unsubstantiated, and even beyond that, doesn't provide any actual 'ought'. Really, all this means is that "a reason is a reason".

======

(4) There is some non-zero probability that moral realism is true (i.e. moral realism is possible)

It is not possible because of the is/ought gap. I've never heard of anyone arguing that moral realism is merely possible, so this isn't a very useful caveat, and amounts to just presuming your conclusion in advance.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
tejretics
Posts: 6,080
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10/10/2015 2:59:48 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/9/2015 5:24:27 PM, sdavio wrote:
At 10/9/2015 4:19:53 PM, tejretics wrote:
If the following conditions hold:

(a) If S knew that P, this would provide a reason for S to Z,
(b) if S knew that ~P, this would provide no reason for S not to Z,
(c) S has some reason to believe that P

Then S thereby has a reason to Z.

This is an empty imperative. It essentially just states "You should do what you have a reason to do", which is itself unsubstantiated, and even beyond that, doesn't provide any actual 'ought'. Really, all this means is that "a reason is a reason".

But isn't it sound to conclude that if we have a reason to Z and no reason to not Z, then we should do Z?


======

(4) There is some non-zero probability that moral realism is true (i.e. moral realism is possible)

It is not possible because of the is/ought gap. I've never heard of anyone arguing that moral realism is merely possible, so this isn't a very useful caveat, and amounts to just presuming your conclusion in advance.

On circular reasoning, does "moral realism is possible" indicate "moral realism is true?" And, based on the is/ought gap, do you align to moral non-cognitivism?
"Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe." - Frederick Douglass
sdavio
Posts: 1,798
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10/10/2015 5:16:01 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/10/2015 2:59:48 AM, tejretics wrote:
At 10/9/2015 5:24:27 PM, sdavio wrote:
At 10/9/2015 4:19:53 PM, tejretics wrote:
If the following conditions hold:

(a) If S knew that P, this would provide a reason for S to Z,
(b) if S knew that ~P, this would provide no reason for S not to Z,
(c) S has some reason to believe that P

Then S thereby has a reason to Z.

This is an empty imperative. It essentially just states "You should do what you have a reason to do", which is itself unsubstantiated, and even beyond that, doesn't provide any actual 'ought'. Really, all this means is that "a reason is a reason".

But isn't it sound to conclude that if we have a reason to Z and no reason to not Z, then we should do Z?

If we have a reason to do something then that doesn't form any imperative further than the reason itself goes. It's only a "should" insofar as we treat "should" strictly as a synonym for "reason".


======

(4) There is some non-zero probability that moral realism is true (i.e. moral realism is possible)

It is not possible because of the is/ought gap. I've never heard of anyone arguing that moral realism is merely possible, so this isn't a very useful caveat, and amounts to just presuming your conclusion in advance.

On circular reasoning, does "moral realism is possible" indicate "moral realism is true?"

It depends if you are arguing an ethics from empirical premises, or a priori. If it's a priori then possible and true would not be separable. I can't imagine the is/ought gap being bridged empirically, since it's a clash of definitions.

And, based on the is/ought gap, do you align to moral non-cognitivism?

I think that a moral statement is incomplete, since it states that something is necessary, without stating what it's necessary for. There's no "in order to.." And if you provide one, then it's no longer ethics but just causation, like "If you do X, then Y will happen." Usually, the gap is filled in by context, though. The same way, if I were painting and I said "It needs more red..", it might be implicit that I mean "It needs more red in order to improve the painting."
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
Fkkize
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10/10/2015 7:00:22 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
What does any of this have anything to do with Hume's law?
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
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: space contradicts logic
sdavio
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10/10/2015 8:57:48 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/10/2015 7:00:22 AM, Fkkize wrote:
What does any of this have anything to do with Hume's law?

Moral realism implies that a prescription can be derived from descriptive statements.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
Fkkize
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10/10/2015 9:56:34 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/10/2015 8:57:48 AM, sdavio wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:00:22 AM, Fkkize wrote:
What does any of this have anything to do with Hume's law?

Moral realism implies that a prescription can be derived from descriptive statements.

Certainly not the non-naturalism of Huemer and me.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
popculturepooka
Posts: 7,924
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10/10/2015 5:06:43 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/10/2015 9:56:34 AM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/10/2015 8:57:48 AM, sdavio wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:00:22 AM, Fkkize wrote:
What does any of this have anything to do with Hume's law?

Moral realism implies that a prescription can be derived from descriptive statements.

Certainly not the non-naturalism of Huemer and me.

Weren't you a nihilist? Welcome to the light side, friend. :)
At 10/3/2016 11:49:13 PM, thett3 wrote:
BLACK LIVES MATTER!
Fkkize
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10/10/2015 5:10:49 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/10/2015 5:06:43 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
At 10/10/2015 9:56:34 AM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/10/2015 8:57:48 AM, sdavio wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:00:22 AM, Fkkize wrote:
What does any of this have anything to do with Hume's law?

Moral realism implies that a prescription can be derived from descriptive statements.

Certainly not the non-naturalism of Huemer and me.

Weren't you a nihilist? Welcome to the light side, friend. :)

I changed my mind and now am, as any sensible person should be, a moral realist.
Actually I even defended a different argument for moral realism some weeks ago.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
sdavio
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10/10/2015 7:10:01 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/10/2015 9:56:34 AM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/10/2015 8:57:48 AM, sdavio wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:00:22 AM, Fkkize wrote:
What does any of this have anything to do with Hume's law?

Moral realism implies that a prescription can be derived from descriptive statements.

Certainly not the non-naturalism of Huemer and me.

So the implication would be that a statement can be true without being descriptive, or reducible to a description, right? I would question how such a moral statement would differ from an order, like if I said "Stand up!" Calling a demand like that "true" would only make sense if we interpret it as meaning "I want you to stand up." -- which is descriptive. In other words I don't think that applications of truth value to a prescription are intelligible.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
sdavio
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10/10/2015 7:14:46 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
If we strip the word "good" of any notion of preference whatsoever, as well as any implied end - such as "increasing overall happiness" etc - then what information is left in it? It would by definition be an empty imperative and there would be no "reason to be good", which is itself incoherent.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
Fkkize
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10/10/2015 7:18:43 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/10/2015 7:10:01 PM, sdavio wrote:
At 10/10/2015 9:56:34 AM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/10/2015 8:57:48 AM, sdavio wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:00:22 AM, Fkkize wrote:
What does any of this have anything to do with Hume's law?

Moral realism implies that a prescription can be derived from descriptive statements.

Certainly not the non-naturalism of Huemer and me.

So the implication would be that a statement can be true without being descriptive, or reducible to a description, right? I would question how such a moral statement would differ from an order, like if I said "Stand up!" Calling a demand like that "true" would only make sense if we interpret it as meaning "I want you to stand up." -- which is descriptive. In other words I don't think that applications of truth value to a prescription are intelligible.

Moral non-naturalism is not about statements. It posits sui-generis, non-natural, prescriptive properties, unable to be characterized in descriptive terms.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
Fkkize
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10/10/2015 7:27:57 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/10/2015 7:14:46 PM, sdavio wrote:
If we strip the word "good" of any notion of preference whatsoever, as well as any implied end - such as "increasing overall happiness" etc - then what information is left in it?
On the contrary, any attempt to characterize good in non-normative terms necessarily misses out one at least some aspects of its force.
'Good' can at best be defined ostensively.

Imagine someone telling a rapist that it is wrong to rape and someone telling a rapist that rape reduces overall happiness.
It just does not appear to convey the same message.

It would by definition be an empty imperative and there would be no "reason to be good", which is itself incoherent.
Now your touching upon a separate issue. As an anti-Humean I believe that any rational agent, in sincerely judging some act to be good, will also be motivated at least to some extend to perform this act.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
sdavio
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10/10/2015 7:42:58 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/10/2015 7:18:43 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:10:01 PM, sdavio wrote:
At 10/10/2015 9:56:34 AM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/10/2015 8:57:48 AM, sdavio wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:00:22 AM, Fkkize wrote:
What does any of this have anything to do with Hume's law?

Moral realism implies that a prescription can be derived from descriptive statements.

Certainly not the non-naturalism of Huemer and me.

So the implication would be that a statement can be true without being descriptive, or reducible to a description, right? I would question how such a moral statement would differ from an order, like if I said "Stand up!" Calling a demand like that "true" would only make sense if we interpret it as meaning "I want you to stand up." -- which is descriptive. In other words I don't think that applications of truth value to a prescription are intelligible.

Moral non-naturalism is not about statements. It posits sui-generis, non-natural, prescriptive properties, unable to be characterized in descriptive terms.

If they cannot be described or characterized then what is the non-naturalist philosopher doing?
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
Fkkize
Posts: 2,147
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10/10/2015 7:48:16 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/10/2015 7:42:58 PM, sdavio wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:18:43 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:10:01 PM, sdavio wrote:
At 10/10/2015 9:56:34 AM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/10/2015 8:57:48 AM, sdavio wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:00:22 AM, Fkkize wrote:
What does any of this have anything to do with Hume's law?

Moral realism implies that a prescription can be derived from descriptive statements.

Certainly not the non-naturalism of Huemer and me.

So the implication would be that a statement can be true without being descriptive, or reducible to a description, right? I would question how such a moral statement would differ from an order, like if I said "Stand up!" Calling a demand like that "true" would only make sense if we interpret it as meaning "I want you to stand up." -- which is descriptive. In other words I don't think that applications of truth value to a prescription are intelligible.

Moral non-naturalism is not about statements. It posits sui-generis, non-natural, prescriptive properties, unable to be characterized in descriptive terms.

If they cannot be described or characterized then what is the non-naturalist philosopher doing?
Cannot be described or characterized in descriptive terms.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
sdavio
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10/10/2015 7:57:07 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/10/2015 7:27:57 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:14:46 PM, sdavio wrote:
If we strip the word "good" of any notion of preference whatsoever, as well as any implied end - such as "increasing overall happiness" etc - then what information is left in it?
On the contrary, any attempt to characterize good in non-normative terms necessarily misses out one at least some aspects of its force.
'Good' can at best be defined ostensively.

Imagine someone telling a rapist that it is wrong to rape and someone telling a rapist that rape reduces overall happiness.
It just does not appear to convey the same message.

The fact that rape reduces overall happiness leaves out a whole lot of relevant information as to why rape revolts us, but this doesn't mean that that information is "irreducible" and contained in another dimension; the reasons can be precisely studied.

If we said that these supernatural properties were moving us not to rape, then there would really be no "reason" not to rape someone. By raping someone, I'd just be overcoming this irrational force with my will. It would seem just as absurd to say to a rapist, "You shouldn't rape because there is a supernatural order in the universe which doesn't want you to."

It would by definition be an empty imperative and there would be no "reason to be good", which is itself incoherent.
Now your touching upon a separate issue. As an anti-Humean I believe that any rational agent, in sincerely judging some act to be good, will also be motivated at least to some extend to perform this act.

But that motivation is irrelevant from its moral character. In fact, its morality would only become relevant where it contradicts whatever we would want to do anyway. Otherwise it's indistinguishable from preference.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
sdavio
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10/10/2015 7:58:56 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/10/2015 7:48:16 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:42:58 PM, sdavio wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:18:43 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:10:01 PM, sdavio wrote:
At 10/10/2015 9:56:34 AM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/10/2015 8:57:48 AM, sdavio wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:00:22 AM, Fkkize wrote:
What does any of this have anything to do with Hume's law?

Moral realism implies that a prescription can be derived from descriptive statements.

Certainly not the non-naturalism of Huemer and me.

So the implication would be that a statement can be true without being descriptive, or reducible to a description, right? I would question how such a moral statement would differ from an order, like if I said "Stand up!" Calling a demand like that "true" would only make sense if we interpret it as meaning "I want you to stand up." -- which is descriptive. In other words I don't think that applications of truth value to a prescription are intelligible.

Moral non-naturalism is not about statements. It posits sui-generis, non-natural, prescriptive properties, unable to be characterized in descriptive terms.

If they cannot be described or characterized then what is the non-naturalist philosopher doing?
Cannot be described or characterized in descriptive terms.

It seems impossible to describe something without using a description.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
Fkkize
Posts: 2,147
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10/10/2015 8:20:00 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/10/2015 7:57:07 PM, sdavio wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:27:57 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:14:46 PM, sdavio wrote:
If we strip the word "good" of any notion of preference whatsoever, as well as any implied end - such as "increasing overall happiness" etc - then what information is left in it?
On the contrary, any attempt to characterize good in non-normative terms necessarily misses out one at least some aspects of its force.
'Good' can at best be defined ostensively.

Imagine someone telling a rapist that it is wrong to rape and someone telling a rapist that rape reduces overall happiness.
It just does not appear to convey the same message.

The fact that rape reduces overall happiness leaves out a whole lot of relevant information as to why rape revolts us, but this doesn't mean that that information is "irreducible" and contained in another dimension; the reasons can be precisely studied.
Which you can feel free to do. But I object that any comprehensive list of descriptive statements of why rape revolts us is unable to capture some part of what makes it wrong.

If we said that these supernatural properties were moving us not to rape,
It is the things that are good/ bad that motivate us, not the good/ bad.

then there would really be no "reason" not to rape someone.
To cite Derek Parfit:
"I see that this has the non-natural property of being good, but is it good?" (Parfit 2011, 416-17)
Which is nonsensical. In combination with anti-humeanism, your complaint cannot be coherently issued.

By raping someone, I'd just be overcoming this irrational force with my will.
Wait, how do you now conclude that it is irrational?

It would seem just as absurd to say to a rapist, "You shouldn't rape because there is a supernatural order in the universe which doesn't want you to."
"Natural properties alone may feature in what may be called the normatively important facts - that acting so will kill many and save none, say. That natural (but normatively important) fact is the one that agents should respond to, though it does not itself advert to purely normative properties. Nonetheless, there is a further, normative fact, namely the fact that the aforementioned natural fact is a normatively important one. It is in order to accommodate normative facts like this, non-naturalists think, that we need to posit purely normative properties." (A Non-Natural Reason by Any Other Name. . ., Richard Yetter Chappell)

It would by definition be an empty imperative and there would be no "reason to be good", which is itself incoherent.
Now your touching upon a separate issue. As an anti-Humean I believe that any rational agent, in sincerely judging some act to be good, will also be motivated at least to some extend to perform this act.

But that motivation is irrelevant from its moral character. In fact, its morality would only become relevant where it contradicts whatever we would want to do anyway. Otherwise it's indistinguishable from preference.
I don't understand what you are saying.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
Fkkize
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10/10/2015 8:21:11 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/10/2015 7:58:56 PM, sdavio wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:48:16 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:42:58 PM, sdavio wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:18:43 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:10:01 PM, sdavio wrote:
At 10/10/2015 9:56:34 AM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/10/2015 8:57:48 AM, sdavio wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:00:22 AM, Fkkize wrote:
What does any of this have anything to do with Hume's law?

Moral realism implies that a prescription can be derived from descriptive statements.

Certainly not the non-naturalism of Huemer and me.

So the implication would be that a statement can be true without being descriptive, or reducible to a description, right? I would question how such a moral statement would differ from an order, like if I said "Stand up!" Calling a demand like that "true" would only make sense if we interpret it as meaning "I want you to stand up." -- which is descriptive. In other words I don't think that applications of truth value to a prescription are intelligible.

Moral non-naturalism is not about statements. It posits sui-generis, non-natural, prescriptive properties, unable to be characterized in descriptive terms.

If they cannot be described or characterized then what is the non-naturalist philosopher doing?
Cannot be described or characterized in descriptive terms.

It seems impossible to describe something without using a description.
Correct.

As I have said, 'good' can at best be defined ostensively.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
sdavio
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10/10/2015 8:34:04 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/10/2015 8:21:11 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:58:56 PM, sdavio wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:48:16 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:42:58 PM, sdavio wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:18:43 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:10:01 PM, sdavio wrote:
At 10/10/2015 9:56:34 AM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/10/2015 8:57:48 AM, sdavio wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:00:22 AM, Fkkize wrote:
What does any of this have anything to do with Hume's law?

Moral realism implies that a prescription can be derived from descriptive statements.

Certainly not the non-naturalism of Huemer and me.

So the implication would be that a statement can be true without being descriptive, or reducible to a description, right? I would question how such a moral statement would differ from an order, like if I said "Stand up!" Calling a demand like that "true" would only make sense if we interpret it as meaning "I want you to stand up." -- which is descriptive. In other words I don't think that applications of truth value to a prescription are intelligible.

Moral non-naturalism is not about statements. It posits sui-generis, non-natural, prescriptive properties, unable to be characterized in descriptive terms.

If they cannot be described or characterized then what is the non-naturalist philosopher doing?
Cannot be described or characterized in descriptive terms.

It seems impossible to describe something without using a description.
Correct.

As I have said, 'good' can at best be defined ostensively.

You still haven't answered my question of how a non-naturalist philosopher could function without using descriptions.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
Fkkize
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10/10/2015 8:42:04 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/10/2015 8:34:04 PM, sdavio wrote:
At 10/10/2015 8:21:11 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:58:56 PM, sdavio wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:48:16 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:42:58 PM, sdavio wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:18:43 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:10:01 PM, sdavio wrote:
At 10/10/2015 9:56:34 AM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/10/2015 8:57:48 AM, sdavio wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:00:22 AM, Fkkize wrote:
What does any of this have anything to do with Hume's law?

Moral realism implies that a prescription can be derived from descriptive statements.

Certainly not the non-naturalism of Huemer and me.

So the implication would be that a statement can be true without being descriptive, or reducible to a description, right? I would question how such a moral statement would differ from an order, like if I said "Stand up!" Calling a demand like that "true" would only make sense if we interpret it as meaning "I want you to stand up." -- which is descriptive. In other words I don't think that applications of truth value to a prescription are intelligible.

Moral non-naturalism is not about statements. It posits sui-generis, non-natural, prescriptive properties, unable to be characterized in descriptive terms.

If they cannot be described or characterized then what is the non-naturalist philosopher doing?
Cannot be described or characterized in descriptive terms.

It seems impossible to describe something without using a description.
Correct.

As I have said, 'good' can at best be defined ostensively.

You still haven't answered my question of how a non-naturalist philosopher could function without using descriptions.
Wait, I have not proposed that non-naturalists use no descriptions whatsoever. I merely stated that non-naturalists do not characterize or define moral terms in descriptive ways.
Any worry related to this is, I believe, responded to in the quote by Chappell.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
sdavio
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10/10/2015 9:03:34 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/10/2015 8:20:00 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:57:07 PM, sdavio wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:27:57 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/10/2015 7:14:46 PM, sdavio wrote:
If we strip the word "good" of any notion of preference whatsoever, as well as any implied end - such as "increasing overall happiness" etc - then what information is left in it?
On the contrary, any attempt to characterize good in non-normative terms necessarily misses out one at least some aspects of its force.
'Good' can at best be defined ostensively.

Imagine someone telling a rapist that it is wrong to rape and someone telling a rapist that rape reduces overall happiness.
It just does not appear to convey the same message.

The fact that rape reduces overall happiness leaves out a whole lot of relevant information as to why rape revolts us, but this doesn't mean that that information is "irreducible" and contained in another dimension; the reasons can be precisely studied.
Which you can feel free to do. But I object that any comprehensive list of descriptive statements of why rape revolts us is unable to capture some part of what makes it wrong.

Yeah, but until we become omniscient there will always be an element of any description which is incomplete. That seems like a "god of the gaps" type of argument.

If we said that these supernatural properties were moving us not to rape,
It is the things that are good/ bad that motivate us, not the good/ bad.

then there would really be no "reason" not to rape someone.
To cite Derek Parfit:
"I see that this has the non-natural property of being good, but is it good?" (Parfit 2011, 416-17)
Which is nonsensical. In combination with anti-humeanism, your complaint cannot be coherently issued.

So basically, you'd be telling the rapist, "Don't rape, because rape is rape!" This position holds no persuasive power, by definition; again I take up the problem of how the type of philosophy you are espousing could even be possible. Since these non-natural properties are not communicable, they only hold force for those who already agree with them.

The issue is not that I see that something is "good" (in your specific use of that term) and then question whether it's good. It's that I question why I should care that it's good. It seems to me like an arbitrary value assigned to something, holding no persuasive value. If I prefer A over B, but B is "better", why not choose A? Because it's A? It's completely possible that everyone would end up happier with the less moral option, within the way you've characterized it.

By raping someone, I'd just be overcoming this irrational force with my will.
Wait, how do you now conclude that it is irrational?

It would seem just as absurd to say to a rapist, "You shouldn't rape because there is a supernatural order in the universe which doesn't want you to."
"Natural properties alone may feature in what may be called the normatively important facts - that acting so will kill many and save none, say. That natural (but normatively important) fact is the one that agents should respond to, though it does not itself advert to purely normative properties. Nonetheless, there is a further, normative fact, namely the fact that the aforementioned natural fact is a normatively important one. It is in order to accommodate normative facts like this, non-naturalists think, that we need to posit purely normative properties." (A Non-Natural Reason by Any Other Name. . ., Richard Yetter Chappell)

In this quote, it's just asserted that a fact having a certain, incommunicable supernatural property is very important. Since that property is independent of the natural world, I'd argue that it's irrelevant. It's only relevant to those who already consider it relevant, and they do so ostensibly for no reason.

It would by definition be an empty imperative and there would be no "reason to be good", which is itself incoherent.
Now your touching upon a separate issue. As an anti-Humean I believe that any rational agent, in sincerely judging some act to be good, will also be motivated at least to some extend to perform this act.

But that motivation is irrelevant from its moral character. In fact, its morality would only become relevant where it contradicts whatever we would want to do anyway. Otherwise it's indistinguishable from preference.
I don't understand what you are saying.

If I always preferred the same thing that's moral, then we wouldn't need morality nor moral theories. The relevance of morality comes about when the moral imperative contradicts my preference.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
sdavio
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10/10/2015 9:13:01 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/10/2015 8:42:04 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/10/2015 8:34:04 PM, sdavio wrote:
You still haven't answered my question of how a non-naturalist philosopher could function without using descriptions.
Wait, I have not proposed that non-naturalists use no descriptions whatsoever. I merely stated that non-naturalists do not characterize or define moral terms in descriptive ways.

To "characterize or define moral terms in descriptive ways" seems to me almost like a definition of metaethics.

Any worry related to this is, I believe, responded to in the quote by Chappell.

The quote simply asserted the importance of these undefined entities which we're calling "moral properties". Even if I granted that they might be important, this still leaves aside the issue of how they could be communicated about otherwise than via description.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
Fkkize
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10/10/2015 9:15:11 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/10/2015 9:03:34 PM, sdavio wrote:

Yeah, but until we become omniscient there will always be an element of any description which is incomplete. That seems like a "god of the gaps" type of argument.
I call that prima facie justification. I'll do a post on naturalism tomorrow.

If we said that these supernatural properties were moving us not to rape,
It is the things that are good/ bad that motivate us, not the good/ bad.

then there would really be no "reason" not to rape someone.
To cite Derek Parfit:
"I see that this has the non-natural property of being good, but is it good?" (Parfit 2011, 416-17)
Which is nonsensical. In combination with anti-humeanism, your complaint cannot be coherently issued.

So basically, you'd be telling the rapist, "Don't rape, because rape is rape!" This position holds no persuasive power,
What makes you think I would do that? Oo

by definition; again I take up the problem of how the type of philosophy you are espousing could even be possible. Since these non-natural properties are not communicable
Wait, I never made this claim.

The issue is not that I see that something is "good" (in your specific use of that term) and then question whether it's good. It's that I question why I should care that it's good.
See: anti-humeanism about reasons.

It seems to me like an arbitrary value assigned to something, holding no persuasive value. If I prefer A over B, but B is "better", why not choose A? Because it's A? It's completely possible that everyone would end up happier with the less moral option, within the way you've characterized it.
I don't see the reason why anyone would think that it is. If you can formulate a reductio of this sort, then error-theory would of course be the way to go.

By raping someone, I'd just be overcoming this irrational force with my will.
Wait, how do you now conclude that it is irrational?

It would seem just as absurd to say to a rapist, "You shouldn't rape because there is a supernatural order in the universe which doesn't want you to."
"Natural properties alone may feature in what may be called the normatively important facts - that acting so will kill many and save none, say. That natural (but normatively important) fact is the one that agents should respond to, though it does not itself advert to purely normative properties. Nonetheless, there is a further, normative fact, namely the fact that the aforementioned natural fact is a normatively important one. It is in order to accommodate normative facts like this, non-naturalists think, that we need to posit purely normative properties." (A Non-Natural Reason by Any Other Name. . ., Richard Yetter Chappell)

In this quote, it's just asserted that a fact having a certain, incommunicable
Never said they are.

supernatural property is very important.
Non-natural.

Since that property is independent of the natural world, I'd argue that it's irrelevant. It's only relevant to those who already consider it relevant, and they do so ostensibly for no reason.
Again, it is not the non-natural property we should care about, it is the natural states of affairs exemplifying these properties.

If I always preferred the same thing that's moral, then we wouldn't need morality nor moral theories.
That would only be the case if everyone was that way, but evidently that is not the case.

The relevance of morality comes about when the moral imperative contradicts my preference.
Ok, what is your complaint?
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
dylancatlow
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10/10/2015 9:18:50 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
This argument tries to be pragmatic, but ends up recommending that we take for granted something which is unusable in any pragmatic sense. Unless we have some way of knowing what "objective morality" entails, acting as if objective morality exists is meaningless. The only way around this is to show that some interpretation of morality is more probable than another, which I don't see happening in any rigorous fashion.
Fkkize
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10/10/2015 9:22:17 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/10/2015 9:13:01 PM, sdavio wrote:
At 10/10/2015 8:42:04 PM, Fkkize wrote:
At 10/10/2015 8:34:04 PM, sdavio wrote:
You still haven't answered my question of how a non-naturalist philosopher could function without using descriptions.
Wait, I have not proposed that non-naturalists use no descriptions whatsoever. I merely stated that non-naturalists do not characterize or define moral terms in descriptive ways.

To "characterize or define moral terms in descriptive ways" seems to me almost like a definition of metaethics.
It isn't lol
That would beg the question.

Any worry related to this is, I believe, responded to in the quote by Chappell.

The quote simply asserted the importance of these undefined entities which we're calling "moral properties".
Is it not self-evident that what is normatively correct is also important?

Even if I granted that they might be important, this still leaves aside the issue of how they could be communicated about otherwise than via description.
Have you ever communicated goodness via descriptive terms? Note, I am not referring examples of natural states of affairs exemplifying goodness.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
sdavio
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10/10/2015 9:23:40 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/10/2015 9:15:11 PM, Fkkize wrote:
Never said they are.

I'm confused as to where you stand on this; you said that moral properties cannot be characterized in descriptive terms. Are you implying that they are described purely through prescriptive terms? Wouldn't that just be repetition?
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx
Fkkize
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10/10/2015 9:26:00 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/10/2015 9:18:50 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
This argument tries to be pragmatic, but ends up recommending that we take for granted something which is unusable in any pragmatic sense. Unless we have some way of knowing what "objective morality" entails, acting as if objective morality exists is meaningless. The only way around this is to show that some interpretation of morality is more probable than another, which I don't see happening in any rigorous fashion.

It just so happens that Huemer also wrote an entire book on moral epistemology.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
sdavio
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10/10/2015 9:30:07 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 10/10/2015 9:18:50 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
This argument tries to be pragmatic, but ends up recommending that we take for granted something which is unusable in any pragmatic sense. Unless we have some way of knowing what "objective morality" entails, acting as if objective morality exists is meaningless. The only way around this is to show that some interpretation of morality is more probable than another, which I don't see happening in any rigorous fashion.

^ This. Since the moral order remains mysterious, it can't 'prescribe' anything.
"Logic is the money of the mind." - Karl Marx