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Objective morality and God

janesix
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5/27/2016 9:48:40 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
"If that origin is a mind, even God's, then it is subjective"

I ran across this quote in a youtube video.

https://www.youtube.com...

Discuss.
ken1122
Posts: 484
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5/29/2016 2:36:07 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/27/2016 9:48:40 PM, janesix wrote:
"If that origin is a mind, even God's, then it is subjective"

I ran across this quote in a youtube video.

https://www.youtube.com...

Discuss.

Excellent points on the Video

Ken
keithprosser
Posts: 2,042
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5/29/2016 7:29:29 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
It's the same argument I have been waging a one-man war against on DDO - that because people disagree about moral issues morality is subjective.

To try a different tack, there is a big difference between, (e.g.) genocide being immoral and being able to prove genocide is immoral.

The mistake many people make is to infer that because we don't currently know how to prove whether genocide is (objectively) moral or not then the morality of genocide is a matter of opinion (ie subjective).

I take the view that genocide is clearly immoral and what we should be doing is trying to develop philosophy so that it is provable, not put ourselves in the absurd position of accepting genocide, rape and murder are of equal merit to their opposites.

Re the god angle, I think that because objective morality has been somewhat hijacked by theists there is some antipathy amongs atheists towards it. I think developing an atheist philosophy that excludes god but includes objective morality is entirely possible, For why we should try, see this Sam Harris vid:

https://www.youtube.com...
ken1122
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5/29/2016 8:00:22 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/29/2016 7:29:29 PM, keithprosser wrote:
It's the same argument I have been waging a one-man war against on DDO - that because people disagree about moral issues morality is subjective.

To try a different tack, there is a big difference between, (e.g.) genocide being immoral and being able to prove genocide is immoral.

That"s because the claim "Genocide is immoral" is a judgment call based on opinion.

The mistake many people make is to infer that because we don't currently know how to prove whether genocide is (objectively) moral or not then the morality of genocide is a matter of opinion (ie subjective).

No; the fact that the claim cannot be proven is proof that it is a subjective claim, not an objective one.

I take the view that genocide is clearly immoral and what we should be doing is trying to develop philosophy so that it is provable,

Philosophy cannot be developed that way

not put ourselves in the absurd position of accepting genocide, rape and murder are of equal merit to their opposites.

Acknowledging morality is subjective does not require this.

Ken
ken1122
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5/29/2016 9:23:41 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/29/2016 8:31:42 PM, keithprosser wrote:
Why do you think that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with genocide and rape?

I never said that; I said it cannot be demonstrated as wrong.

Ken
Cryo
Posts: 202
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5/30/2016 2:09:33 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
I agree with much of what was said in the video, but discussions like these often go off the rails because people are talking about different things.

I personally don't believe that morality is objective, and I don't see how it can be. When I say, "X is wrong" for instance, I'm not referring to some objective property of wrongness that exists in the universe inherent in the act of X. I'm merely expressing a belief. I see what X is and what the consequences of X are, and then judge them according to my personal views on what should and shouldn't be. But because I must weigh actions and the consequences of those actions against my beliefs in order to make a statement on whether those actions are right or wrong, how can that statement be anything but subjective?

One can say though that we can create a moral framework based in reality and guided by objectivity and reason, and I absolutely agree with that. For instance, if our goal is to maximize human well being and minimize suffering, then we can look at certain actions and see how they affect people objectively (for the most part, at least). So it depends on what someone means when they say "objective morality". If by "objective morality" they mean a moral framework that is guided by facts in pursuit of a shared goal, then I'd agree that "objective morality" can and does exist. But that's very different from the type of "objective morality" that is being talked about in this video.

Even if everyone agrees that something is wrong, and they argue that it's wrong because of Facts A, B, and C, the foundation of their position is still a shared desire to pursue one outcome over another. Desires are not objective as they cannot exist independently of a mind. In that sense, the sort of universal, mind-independent, "objective morality" does not and cannot exist.
keithprosser
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5/30/2016 3:41:48 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
When I say, "X is wrong" for instance, I'm not referring to some objective property of wrongness that exists in the universe inherent in the act of X. I'm merely expressing a belief.

Why do people always put words like 'merely' in sentences like that? :)

My analysis is different. When you say 'X is wrong' you are indeed expressing a belief - you are expressing you believe X to be 'wrong'. If someone else says 'X is right' then they are expressing their belief that X is right. Everyone seems to then leap to the conclusion that the right/wrongness of X is therefore 'subjective'.

My argument is that such a situation is equally well explained by allowing one of those beliefs to be mistaken.

The analogy is that if you say the world is spheroidal and someone else says the world is flat then it would be absurd to conclude that the actual (ie 'objective')shape of the world is a matter of opinion. The world would be speroidal even if everyone thought it was flat. So if someone (or some group) doesn't see genocide as evil it doesn't mean that genocide isn't objectively evil any more than the existence of flat-earthers means the world isn't objectively spheroidal.

But because I must weigh actions and the consequences of those actions against my beliefs in order to make a statement on whether those actions are right or wrong, how can that statement be anything but subjective?

If we use rape/murder as our example, then I say there is a definite answer to whether rape/murder is moral or not. You and Ted Bundy weigh up the 'actions and consequences' and conclude differently answers (at least I assume you do). I think it much more likely that Ted Bundy got the answer wrong than rape/murder being ok is a serious possibility.
Cryo
Posts: 202
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5/30/2016 5:31:19 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/30/2016 3:41:48 AM, keithprosser wrote:
When I say, "X is wrong" for instance, I'm not referring to some objective property of wrongness that exists in the universe inherent in the act of X. I'm merely expressing a belief.

Why do people always put words like 'merely' in sentences like that? :)

My analysis is different. When you say 'X is wrong' you are indeed expressing a belief - you are expressing you believe X to be 'wrong'. If someone else says 'X is right' then they are expressing their belief that X is right. Everyone seems to then leap to the conclusion that the right/wrongness of X is therefore 'subjective'.

My argument is that such a situation is equally well explained by allowing one of those beliefs to be mistaken.

The analogy is that if you say the world is spheroidal and someone else says the world is flat then it would be absurd to conclude that the actual (ie 'objective')shape of the world is a matter of opinion. The world would be speroidal even if everyone thought it was flat. So if someone (or some group) doesn't see genocide as evil it doesn't mean that genocide isn't objectively evil any more than the existence of flat-earthers means the world isn't objectively spheroidal.

But because I must weigh actions and the consequences of those actions against my beliefs in order to make a statement on whether those actions are right or wrong, how can that statement be anything but subjective?

If we use rape/murder as our example, then I say there is a definite answer to whether rape/murder is moral or not. You and Ted Bundy weigh up the 'actions and consequences' and conclude differently answers (at least I assume you do). I think it much more likely that Ted Bundy got the answer wrong than rape/murder being ok is a serious possibility.

Here's my problem with it. We can determine, as a matter of fact, whether or not the earth is flat, but you can't do the same with morality. It's not like rightness and wrongness are physical properties of the universe that can be observed and measured the way the shape of the earth can. Of course, people's opinions have no bearing on truth. But it's not about what people think, but whether we have any good reason to believe objective morality exists, and if so, whether we have the means to determine what it is. I don't think objective morality exists because I don't think it can exist. Any moral statement that could possibly be made, would be contingent on and influenced by the mind of the being making the statement. That being's mind cannot render an objective evaluation about the "rightness" or "wrongness" of an action. They can only determine whether that action, and its consequences, are desirable or undesirable.

For what it's worth I think Bundy was wrong too, but the distinction here is whether we have any reason to not just say he was wrong, but that he was objectively wrong. What if I disagreed with you about Bundy? What if I said there was nothing wrong about what he did. How would you go about changing my mind?
keithprosser
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5/30/2016 6:27:11 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
What if I disagreed with you about Bundy?
But you don't disagree with me about Ed Bundy so perhaps its not a very uninteresting hypothetical. I suggest a more interesting hypothetical is that we agree that Ed Bundy was evil because Bundy really was objectively evil - which is not an reasonable suggestion! Anyone who doesn't think Bundy was evil is the moral equivalent of a flat-earther... they have a different opinion but it's incorrect.

I find it deeply unsatisfactory that (as things stand) we can't prove something as blatantly obvious as 'the crimes of Ed Bundy are evil'. I suppose its because it's not obvious how such a formal method would work and its easier to say 'I can't come up with a formal method for making moral judgements off the top of my head, therefore morality must be subjective' than do the work required to discover such a formal method.

As I see it, one has the choice between seeking a method to prove Ed Bundy was objectively evil or accepting the possibility what he did was right (or at least 'not wrong'). My taste tends to the former.
Cryo
Posts: 202
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5/30/2016 9:47:58 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/30/2016 6:27:11 AM, keithprosser wrote:
What if I disagreed with you about Bundy?
But you don't disagree with me about Ed Bundy so perhaps its not a very uninteresting hypothetical. I suggest a more interesting hypothetical is that we agree that Ed Bundy was evil because Bundy really was objectively evil - which is not an reasonable suggestion! Anyone who doesn't think Bundy was evil is the moral equivalent of a flat-earther... they have a different opinion but it's incorrect.

I'd say it's a very interesting hypothetical, and since it's hypothetical it doesn't have to be me, it could be anyone who, for whatever reason, doesn't see Bundy's actions as wrong. How do you change their minds? The thing is, while I think objective morality doesn't exist and you think it does, we'd essentially have the same conversation with this hypothetical person. You and I would have no choice but to appeal to their particular set of values and try to draw a connection between what Bundy did and they they consider to be wrong or undesirable. If no such connection could be made, if this person simply didn't have the same set of principles as to what constitutes a "wrong" action, then there's nothing more that could be said. We could only win them over if some part of them already agreed with us.

You can suggest that we both agree Bundy was evil because there is some objective moral standard that exists. Obviously I disagree, but I would ask, how do you know such a thing exists? You say that "they have a different opinion but it's incorrect" but why is it incorrect? How do you differentiate between something that is objectively wrong, and something that everyone happens to agree is wrong?


I find it deeply unsatisfactory that (as things stand) we can't prove something as blatantly obvious as 'the crimes of Ed Bundy are evil'. I suppose its because it's not obvious how such a formal method would work and its easier to say 'I can't come up with a formal method for making moral judgements off the top of my head, therefore morality must be subjective' than do the work required to discover such a formal method.

As I see it, one has the choice between seeking a method to prove Ed Bundy was objectively evil or accepting the possibility what he did was right (or at least 'not wrong'). My taste tends to the former.

Well, I want to clarify that just because morality cannot be demonstrated to be objective, doesn't mean it's automatically subjective. I'm saying that morality is subjective, not because of lack of evidence to the contrary, but because I believe morality itself is a subjective notion. It hasn't been demonstrated not because we haven't figured out a way to find it, but because it is not out there to be found. There is nothing to discover. It's all in our minds. It's okay if your tastes lean away from the idea that Bundy was somehow "not wrong", but that's not an argument. Simply refusing to accept a different position as a possibility doesn't do anything to strengthen your chosen position.
Sidewalker
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5/30/2016 10:32:16 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/29/2016 8:00:22 PM, ken1122 wrote:
At 5/29/2016 7:29:29 PM, keithprosser wrote:
It's the same argument I have been waging a one-man war against on DDO - that because people disagree about moral issues morality is subjective.

To try a different tack, there is a big difference between, (e.g.) genocide being immoral and being able to prove genocide is immoral.

That"s because the claim "Genocide is immoral" is a judgment call based on opinion.

Can ypu give some examples of "objective" knowledge? What are some things that are not a "judgment call based on opinion"

The mistake many people make is to infer that because we don't currently know how to prove whether genocide is (objectively) moral or not then the morality of genocide is a matter of opinion (ie subjective).

No; the fact that the claim cannot be proven is proof that it is a subjective claim, not an objective one.

How do you "prove" objective" knowledge?

I take the view that genocide is clearly immoral and what we should be doing is trying to develop philosophy so that it is provable,

Philosophy cannot be developed that way

not put ourselves in the absurd position of accepting genocide, rape and murder are of equal merit to their opposites.

Acknowledging morality is subjective does not require this.


Ken
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
Sidewalker
Posts: 3,713
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5/30/2016 10:42:19 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/30/2016 5:31:19 AM, Cryo wrote:
At 5/30/2016 3:41:48 AM, keithprosser wrote:
When I say, "X is wrong" for instance, I'm not referring to some objective property of wrongness that exists in the universe inherent in the act of X. I'm merely expressing a belief.

Why do people always put words like 'merely' in sentences like that? :)

My analysis is different. When you say 'X is wrong' you are indeed expressing a belief - you are expressing you believe X to be 'wrong'. If someone else says 'X is right' then they are expressing their belief that X is right. Everyone seems to then leap to the conclusion that the right/wrongness of X is therefore 'subjective'.

My argument is that such a situation is equally well explained by allowing one of those beliefs to be mistaken.

The analogy is that if you say the world is spheroidal and someone else says the world is flat then it would be absurd to conclude that the actual (ie 'objective')shape of the world is a matter of opinion. The world would be speroidal even if everyone thought it was flat. So if someone (or some group) doesn't see genocide as evil it doesn't mean that genocide isn't objectively evil any more than the existence of flat-earthers means the world isn't objectively spheroidal.

But because I must weigh actions and the consequences of those actions against my beliefs in order to make a statement on whether those actions are right or wrong, how can that statement be anything but subjective?

If we use rape/murder as our example, then I say there is a definite answer to whether rape/murder is moral or not. You and Ted Bundy weigh up the 'actions and consequences' and conclude differently answers (at least I assume you do). I think it much more likely that Ted Bundy got the answer wrong than rape/murder being ok is a serious possibility.

Here's my problem with it. We can determine, as a matter of fact, whether or not the earth is flat, but you can't do the same with morality. It's not like rightness and wrongness are physical properties of the universe that can be observed and measured the way the shape of the earth can. Of course, people's opinions have no bearing on truth. But it's not about what people think, but whether we have any good reason to believe objective morality exists, and if so, whether we have the means to determine what it is. I don't think objective morality exists because I don't think it can exist. Any moral statement that could possibly be made, would be contingent on and influenced by the mind of the being making the statement. That being's mind cannot render an objective evaluation about the "rightness" or "wrongness" of an action. They can only determine whether that action, and its consequences, are desirable or undesirable.

For what it's worth I think Bundy was wrong too, but the distinction here is whether we have any reason to not just say he was wrong, but that he was objectively wrong. What if I disagreed with you about Bundy? What if I said there was nothing wrong about what he did. How would you go about changing my mind?

How about Evolution, Big Bang Theory, Quantum Physics: is knowledge of these subjects subjective?

Do we have any good reason to believe objective science exists?
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
keithprosser
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5/30/2016 1:31:51 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
I'm saying that morality is subjective, not because of lack of evidence to the contrary, but because I believe morality itself is a subjective notion... Simply refusing to accept a different position as a possibility doesn't do anything to strengthen your chosen position.

It's "sauce for the goose", isn't it? If I have shown that is is entirely plausible that the view that morality is subjective is also a 'chosen position' rather than a definite fact I've done as much as I wanted to do at this stage.

The reason it matters is that whether Ted Bundy's acts are objectively bad or if their badness is a matter of opinion makes a big difference to any theory of ethics, or of crime and punishment. Sam Harris deals with the reasons it matters better that I can in the YouTube video I linked to above.
ken1122
Posts: 484
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5/30/2016 2:17:24 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/30/2016 10:32:16 AM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 5/29/2016 8:00:22 PM, ken1122 wrote:
At 5/29/2016 7:29:29 PM, keithprosser wrote:
It's the same argument I have been waging a one-man war against on DDO - that because people disagree about moral issues morality is subjective.

To try a different tack, there is a big difference between, (e.g.) genocide being immoral and being able to prove genocide is immoral.

That"s because the claim "Genocide is immoral" is a judgment call based on opinion.

Can ypu give some examples of "objective" knowledge? What are some things that are not a "judgment call based on opinion"

The mistake many people make is to infer that because we don't currently know how to prove whether genocide is (objectively) moral or not then the morality of genocide is a matter of opinion (ie subjective).

No; the fact that the claim cannot be proven is proof that it is a subjective claim, not an objective one.

How do you "prove" objective" knowledge?

As I said before; math, measurements, Things with an actual existence, these things are objective. 1+1=2, water freezes at 32 degrees, Cyanid is poisonous to humans. These are facts that can be proven; thus objective.

Ken
simplelife
Posts: 134
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5/30/2016 2:43:24 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/27/2016 9:48:40 PM, janesix wrote:
"If that origin is a mind, even God's, then it is subjective"

I ran across this quote in a youtube video.

https://www.youtube.com...

Discuss. : :

What comes into the mind is objective information that can't be observed. What forms in an individual mind from the processing of that information is subjective, only because no one else can experience it. If all minds experienced the same exact information and formed images, then it would be objective.
keithprosser
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5/30/2016 6:59:53 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
What comes into the mind is objective information that can't be observed. What forms in an individual mind from the processing of that information is subjective, only because no one else can experience it. If all minds experienced the same exact information and formed images, then it would be objective.

Kepler 62f is an exo-planet 1200 light-years away.

Now we can't possibly know for certain whether there is life on k62f or not with current technology, but one of these statements is true: (a) There is life on k62f. (b) There is no life on k6f.

Of course with current technology we don't know which one is true, but that doesn't alter the fact that either (a) is true or (b) is true.

Let's suppose it is (a) that is true. It would have been just as true if we had never discovered k62f, but in that case no-one would be experiencing any information or forming any images at all.

Objective truth - or anything else 'objective' - is independent of mind by the usual definition of 'objective'. I can't quite see what 'objective' means in what you wrote, simplelife.
keithprosser
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5/30/2016 7:29:08 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
These are facts that can be proven; thus objective.

I don't understand why you place the requirement of 'demonstrable provability' on objectivity.

I - and I think Harris - would accept that if something is objectively true it ought to be provable (although Godel teaches us to be cautious about provability). But something can be unprovable only because we currently lack the tools/intelligence/informtion needed to prove it, and I suspect that is the situation we are in with regard to te existence of objective morality.
ken1122
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5/30/2016 7:42:31 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/30/2016 6:59:53 PM, keithprosser wrote:
What comes into the mind is objective information that can't be observed. What forms in an individual mind from the processing of that information is subjective, only because no one else can experience it. If all minds experienced the same exact information and formed images, then it would be objective.

Kepler 62f is an exo-planet 1200 light-years away.

Now we can't possibly know for certain whether there is life on k62f or not with current technology, but one of these statements is true: (a) There is life on k62f. (b) There is no life on k6f.

Of course with current technology we don't know which one is true, but that doesn't alter the fact that either (a) is true or (b) is true.

Let's suppose it is (a) that is true. It would have been just as true if we had never discovered k62f, but in that case no-one would be experiencing any information or forming any images at all.

Objective truth - or anything else 'objective' - is independent of mind by the usual definition of 'objective'. I can't quite see what 'objective' means in what you wrote, simplelife.

Kepler 62f is a planet with an actual existence. So it is possible to prove if life exists there or not; all one has to do is build a space ship and go there. The fact that such technology doesn"t exist is irrelevant; the planet exists in reality and is not a product of the mind; thus it is objective, as well as all the claims concerning the planet

Morality is the system by which we determine a right action from a wrong action. But in order to say that something is right or wrong, one must have a preference for one outcome over another. Preferences are products of the mind, and therefore, by definition, cannot be objective.

Ken
keithprosser
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5/30/2016 9:08:05 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
Morality is the system by which we determine a right action from a wrong action. But in order to say that something is right or wrong, one must have a preference for one outcome over another. Preferences are products of the mind, and therefore, by definition, cannot be objective.

Can I take that as meaning that when you say 'What Ted Bundy did was evil' what it means is 'I don't like what Ted Bundy did'?
simplelife
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5/31/2016 1:13:33 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/30/2016 6:59:53 PM, keithprosser wrote:
What comes into the mind is objective information that can't be observed. What forms in an individual mind from the processing of that information is subjective, only because no one else can experience it. If all minds experienced the same exact information and formed images, then it would be objective.

Kepler 62f is an exo-planet 1200 light-years away.

Now we can't possibly know for certain whether there is life on k62f or not with current technology, but one of these statements is true: (a) There is life on k62f. (b) There is no life on k6f.

Of course with current technology we don't know which one is true, but that doesn't alter the fact that either (a) is true or (b) is true.

Let's suppose it is (a) that is true. It would have been just as true if we had never discovered k62f, but in that case no-one would be experiencing any information or forming any images at all.

Objective truth - or anything else 'objective' - is independent of mind by the usual definition of 'objective'. I can't quite see what 'objective' means in what you wrote, simplelife. : :

What each individual person perceives in the mind is subjective because he has no evidence to prove that it's true. This is why religious people and scientists can never agree on everything they tell each other. If they learned how they were created, then they would understand why everything they experience is subjective to each individual.
Sidewalker
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5/31/2016 1:13:47 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/30/2016 2:17:24 PM, ken1122 wrote:
At 5/30/2016 10:32:16 AM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 5/29/2016 8:00:22 PM, ken1122 wrote:
At 5/29/2016 7:29:29 PM, keithprosser wrote:
It's the same argument I have been waging a one-man war against on DDO - that because people disagree about moral issues morality is subjective.

To try a different tack, there is a big difference between, (e.g.) genocide being immoral and being able to prove genocide is immoral.

That"s because the claim "Genocide is immoral" is a judgment call based on opinion.

Can ypu give some examples of "objective" knowledge? What are some things that are not a "judgment call based on opinion"

The mistake many people make is to infer that because we don't currently know how to prove whether genocide is (objectively) moral or not then the morality of genocide is a matter of opinion (ie subjective).

No; the fact that the claim cannot be proven is proof that it is a subjective claim, not an objective one.

How do you "prove" objective" knowledge?

As I said before; math, measurements, Things with an actual existence

Math has an actual existence? Do tell, where exactly does math exist?

these things are objective. 1+1=2, water freezes at 32 degrees, Cyanid is poisonous to humans. These are facts that can be proven; thus objective.

Please explain how you "prove" inductive facts,

Ken
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
ken1122
Posts: 484
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5/31/2016 2:27:40 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/31/2016 1:13:47 AM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 5/30/2016 2:17:24 PM, ken1122 wrote:
At 5/30/2016 10:32:16 AM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 5/29/2016 8:00:22 PM, ken1122 wrote:
At 5/29/2016 7:29:29 PM, keithprosser wrote:
It's the same argument I have been waging a one-man war against on DDO - that because people disagree about moral issues morality is subjective.

To try a different tack, there is a big difference between, (e.g.) genocide being immoral and being able to prove genocide is immoral.

That"s because the claim "Genocide is immoral" is a judgment call based on opinion.

Can ypu give some examples of "objective" knowledge? What are some things that are not a "judgment call based on opinion"

The mistake many people make is to infer that because we don't currently know how to prove whether genocide is (objectively) moral or not then the morality of genocide is a matter of opinion (ie subjective).

No; the fact that the claim cannot be proven is proof that it is a subjective claim, not an objective one.

How do you "prove" objective" knowledge?

As I said before; math, measurements, Things with an actual existence

Math has an actual existence? Do tell, where exactly does math exist?

Let me rephrase in a way that is a little more clear:
Math is objective, Measurements are objective, and what we know about things with an actual existence are objective.

these things are objective. 1+1=2, water freezes at 32 degrees, Cyanid is poisonous to humans. These are facts that can be proven; thus objective.

Please explain how you "prove" inductive facts,
What are "inductive facts"?


Ken
Cryo
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5/31/2016 3:43:03 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/30/2016 9:08:05 PM, keithprosser wrote:
Morality is the system by which we determine a right action from a wrong action. But in order to say that something is right or wrong, one must have a preference for one outcome over another. Preferences are products of the mind, and therefore, by definition, cannot be objective.

Can I take that as meaning that when you say 'What Ted Bundy did was evil' what it means is 'I don't like what Ted Bundy did'?

Essentially, yes. It doesn't sound pleasant, but that's really what I think it boils down to. Ted Bundy's actions conflict with what I consider to me moral, and so I use a word like "evil" to express my feelings on the matter. I just don't see how "right" and "wrong" could be anything other than subjective evaluations that we, or any sentient being, can apply to actions.
keithprosser
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5/31/2016 9:35:46 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
Ted Bundy's actions conflict with what I consider to [b]e moral, and so I use a word like "evil" to express my feelings on the matter.

I accept every word of that. But surely you consider Bundy's acts to be evil for a reason - it isn't the case that you toss a mental coin and go 'heads I consider them evil, tails I consider them good'.

I don't suppose you needed to think very long and hard about whether what Bundy did was evil or not - it was immediately obvious to you. So obvious is it that putting an actual reason for thinking Bundy is evil into words is not easy.

A parallel is how you tell a circle from a square. You don't do that by consciously counting sides or measuring angles - you tell a circle from a square because 'circles look round' and 'squares look square'. Our brains come already pre-wired with a 'geometric module' that does the discrimination for in a way we have no conscious knowledge of. (If were born with that knowledge it would be possible for anyone and everyone to write down how to tell circles from squares as an algorithm - it is actually very hard to do that).

I suggest that brains are also pre-wired with another module that doesn't distinguish and classify geometric shapes as 'circle' or 'square' but distinguishes and classifies actions as 'moral' and 'immoral'.

Because we rely on such modules to make our judgements and classifications we don't really know how we tell circles from squares (we 'just can') and we don't really know how we tell moral from immoral (we 'just can').

Ethical philosophy is the working out and refinement of our innate 'moral sense' and just as geometry is the working out and refinement of out inntate 'shape sense'.

I can imagine how brain damage could affect or distort a persons sense of shape so they were not so good at discriminating or classifying shapes (although I haven't located any study relating to that, it is the sort of think brain damage can do).

I am suggesting that Ed Bundy (who I keep wanting to call Al Bundy) has a brain with a faulty 'moral sense' so he does not correctly perceive the objective morality of things. Translated into shapes, he is 'seeing circles as squares'.

Hypothetically Ed Bundy and Ed Gein could be right and everybody else wrong, but I don't think that is likely so I pretty much ignore that possbility because life is too short to spend too much time on billion-to-one shots!

To clarify, I fully accept the possibility that morality is not objective. However the philosophical consequences of whether morality is objective or subjective are huge so it's important to get it right and I don't think that objective morality is getting a fair shake!
Sidewalker
Posts: 3,713
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5/31/2016 9:36:31 AM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/31/2016 2:27:40 AM, ken1122 wrote:
At 5/31/2016 1:13:47 AM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 5/30/2016 2:17:24 PM, ken1122 wrote:
At 5/30/2016 10:32:16 AM, Sidewalker wrote:
At 5/29/2016 8:00:22 PM, ken1122 wrote:
At 5/29/2016 7:29:29 PM, keithprosser wrote:
It's the same argument I have been waging a one-man war against on DDO - that because people disagree about moral issues morality is subjective.

To try a different tack, there is a big difference between, (e.g.) genocide being immoral and being able to prove genocide is immoral.

That"s because the claim "Genocide is immoral" is a judgment call based on opinion.

Can ypu give some examples of "objective" knowledge? What are some things that are not a "judgment call based on opinion"

The mistake many people make is to infer that because we don't currently know how to prove whether genocide is (objectively) moral or not then the morality of genocide is a matter of opinion (ie subjective).

No; the fact that the claim cannot be proven is proof that it is a subjective claim, not an objective one.

How do you "prove" objective" knowledge?

As I said before; math, measurements, Things with an actual existence

Math has an actual existence? Do tell, where exactly does math exist?

Let me rephrase in a way that is a little more clear:
Math is objective, Measurements are objective, and what we know about things with an actual existence are objective.

Math is not a human creation, if there were no humans, there would still be math? Same with measurements?

these things are objective. 1+1=2, water freezes at 32 degrees, Cyanid is poisonous to humans. These are facts that can be proven; thus objective.

Please explain how you "prove" inductive facts,
What are "inductive facts"?

Facts derived from inductive reasoning, "what we know about things with an actual existence" would be inductive facts.

You are calling facts derived through inductive reasoning "facts that can be proven"?

You know a way around the "problem of induction" do you?

Please explain.

Ken
"It is one of the commonest of mistakes to consider that the limit of our power of perception is also the limit of all there is to perceive." " C. W. Leadbeater
Danielle
Posts: 21,330
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5/31/2016 4:38:33 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/29/2016 7:29:29 PM, keithprosser wrote:
I take the view that genocide is clearly immoral and what we should be doing is trying to develop philosophy so that it is provable, not put ourselves in the absurd position of accepting genocide, rape and murder are of equal merit to their opposites.

Holy Confirmation Bias, Batman.

Looking to prove your point instead of looking for the truth isn't righteous.
President of DDO
Fkkize
Posts: 2,149
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5/31/2016 4:58:15 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/31/2016 4:38:33 PM, Danielle wrote:
At 5/29/2016 7:29:29 PM, keithprosser wrote:
I take the view that genocide is clearly immoral and what we should be doing is trying to develop philosophy so that it is provable, not put ourselves in the absurd position of accepting genocide, rape and murder are of equal merit to their opposites.

Holy Confirmation Bias, Batman.

Looking to prove your point instead of looking for the truth isn't righteous.

Implying being pro genocide to be even remotely plausible or acceptable.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
Fkkize
Posts: 2,149
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5/31/2016 5:05:44 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
Implying pro genocide to be an even remotely plausible or acceptable view.
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
Danielle
Posts: 21,330
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5/31/2016 7:18:30 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/31/2016 4:58:15 PM, Fkkize wrote:
Implying being pro genocide to be even remotely plausible or acceptable.

Some people would argue it might be based on a nihilistic, utalitarian or other consequentionalist value.

Either way you are still operating from a total position of bias and intellectual dishonesty in the way you seek to prove a position that you already hold. That might be useful for debate but is not useful for enlightenment and learning.
President of DDO