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Morality MUST be objective

Kleptin
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8/19/2009 1:20:59 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
http://www.debate.org...

Looking for insight on ways to improve/arguments that have not been brought up, etc.

Feel free to vote and include an RFD, as this popular topic seems to have drawn in only 5 votes so far (3 of them being vote-bots)

Also, please share your thoughts. Are there any arguments for objective or subjective morality that you have to share?
: At 5/2/2010 2:43:54 PM, innomen wrote:
It isn't about finding a theory, philosophy or doctrine and thinking it's the answer, but a practical application of one's experiences that is the answer.

: At 10/28/2010 2:40:07 PM, jharry wrote: I have already been given the greatest Gift that anyone could ever hope for [Life], I would consider myself selfish if I expected anything more.
wjmelements
Posts: 8,206
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8/19/2009 1:32:00 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
Naughty, naught, Kleptin. Advertising debates in the forums.

I don't think morality is objective in a secular sense, no. There are plenty of valid moral arguments out there.
in the blink of an eye you finally see the light
Volkov
Posts: 9,765
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8/19/2009 1:46:22 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
Interesting debate Kleptin, but this would have been far more entertaining and informative had your opponent not contradicted himself in the second round, and wasn't prone to using fallacies every couple of lines.

As I said in my RFD though, I would caution against the use of Wikipedia for sourcing; I try to avoid it where I can, and the easy way to get around the negative sourcing of Wikipedia but being able to use the helpful information is to use the sources Wiki provides in your argument.

But, again, interesting debate and good argument!
Kleptin
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8/19/2009 2:05:14 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/19/2009 1:32:00 PM, wjmelements wrote:
Naughty, naught, Kleptin. Advertising debates in the forums.

I would say that there is no better place to advertise the debates :P Besides, if this topic then leads to productive discussion, it would have been worth the naughtiness.

I don't think morality is objective in a secular sense, no. There are plenty of valid moral arguments out there.

How do you explain the fact that many components of our morality are essentially universal, such as rape, murder, and theft?
: At 5/2/2010 2:43:54 PM, innomen wrote:
It isn't about finding a theory, philosophy or doctrine and thinking it's the answer, but a practical application of one's experiences that is the answer.

: At 10/28/2010 2:40:07 PM, jharry wrote: I have already been given the greatest Gift that anyone could ever hope for [Life], I would consider myself selfish if I expected anything more.
Kleptin
Posts: 5,095
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8/19/2009 7:50:18 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
A vote bomber is someone who goes through a particular member's debates and votes him down in all of them without giving reasons or even really reading the debate.

A vote bot is someone who allocates his or her vote to someone in a debate based on their beliefs or for other unethical reasons (such as duplicate account).
: At 5/2/2010 2:43:54 PM, innomen wrote:
It isn't about finding a theory, philosophy or doctrine and thinking it's the answer, but a practical application of one's experiences that is the answer.

: At 10/28/2010 2:40:07 PM, jharry wrote: I have already been given the greatest Gift that anyone could ever hope for [Life], I would consider myself selfish if I expected anything more.
TheSkeptic
Posts: 1,362
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8/19/2009 8:38:06 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
If morality is subjective, then there's no point in having morality in the first place - just like if truth is subjective. If something is subjective, it can't be a standard.
Kleptin
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8/19/2009 8:57:36 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/19/2009 8:38:06 PM, TheSkeptic wrote:
If morality is subjective, then there's no point in having morality in the first place - just like if truth is subjective. If something is subjective, it can't be a standard.

That's the argument that the troll used.

This doesn't adequately explain morality as we witness it in real life. Morality can still be a standard because the object of comparison is the average moral position of a society or culture. The greater the deviation, the more immoral.

1. The way we conclude morality is by weighing values against each other, and every individual's values are determined in part by society and in part by some X factor we can temporarily call "free will".

2. Morality is not completely subjective, because straying too far from the norm is considered immoral. This does not show moral objectivity, but a limit to pure moral subjectivity.

3. There is moral leeway as each person's values across cultures around the world determine their moral decisions.

The best explanation for this phenomenon is that the "standard" in morality is the norm of a given group or society, and this norm is determined by the values and the culture that make up said group or society. Since those things are always in flux, so is morality. This explains why we have changes of morality slowly over time.

Examples: Homosexuality, Slavery, Women's rights

Thus, morality is not a stagnant ruler as explained by objective morality, but rather like a moving target.
: At 5/2/2010 2:43:54 PM, innomen wrote:
It isn't about finding a theory, philosophy or doctrine and thinking it's the answer, but a practical application of one's experiences that is the answer.

: At 10/28/2010 2:40:07 PM, jharry wrote: I have already been given the greatest Gift that anyone could ever hope for [Life], I would consider myself selfish if I expected anything more.
TheSkeptic
Posts: 1,362
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8/19/2009 10:57:18 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
This doesn't adequately explain morality as we witness it in real life.

The sociological nature of morality in today's culture has nothing to do with morality's true nature - if it exists (which we assume for this discussion obviously).

Morality can still be a standard because the object of comparison is the average moral position of a society or culture. The greater the deviation, the more immoral.

1. The way we conclude morality is by weighing values against each other, and every individual's values are determined in part by society and in part by some X factor we can temporarily call "free will".

Are you really saying morality is determined by the culture, by the status quo? If so, it would seem that you would have to damn yourself to epistemological relativism as well, since you believe some moral propositions were once false and then become true (take slavery as an example).

2. Morality is not completely subjective, because straying too far from the norm is considered immoral. This does not show moral objectivity, but a limit to pure moral subjectivity.

How is something "partially subjective"? Even if something can be so, since I have yet a solid opinion concerning that matter, you are using a very shady line when you say it becomes immoral when it "strays too far". Exactly how far must it stray from the norm to be considered immoral?

Furthermore, where's the justification for this?

3. There is moral leeway as each person's values across cultures around the world determine their moral decisions.

The best explanation for this phenomenon is that the "standard" in morality is the norm of a given group or society, and this norm is determined by the values and the culture that make up said group or society. Since those things are always in flux, so is morality. This explains why we have changes of morality slowly over time.

Examples: Homosexuality, Slavery, Women's rights

Thus, morality is not a stagnant ruler as explained by objective morality, but rather like a moving target.

What you are describing is quite similar to cultural relativism. At best, you are giving a descriptive account for how people come to obtain certain moral beliefs, and of how we react to this as a society in whole. This, however, strays far from the intended meta-ethical discussion.
Cerebral_Narcissist
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8/20/2009 4:26:18 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
Morality is subjective.

Some of these reasons overlap,
1: Morality varies from place to place, culture to culture and person to person. It therefore falls into the same category as language, religion and table manners. It is subjective, the product of culture, upbringing, personal interpretation.

2: Morality is taught. We do not have an innate sense of morality. The way it is taught is subjective, the way it is received is subjective.

3: There are no universal taboos, no actions that are regarded as immoral by all cultures. That is because morality is subjective. Not every culture condemns murder, rape, incest or cannibalism.

4: If morality were to be objective then surely there would be some 'external' or objective source, some sort of universal benchmark. The most obvious example of this would be a religious text, this falls down for the following reason.
-Documents such as the Bible do not purport to tell you what is right under what we would generally understand to be a moral system, rather they teach what is loyal to God and what is disloyal to God.
-The authorship of the Bible and the Koran are both in doubt.
-The existence of God is unproven.
-The vast majority of Jews and Christians now live in complete disregard for scripture.
-People of the same religion express differing morality.
I am voting for Innomen because of his intelligence, common sense, humility and the fact that Juggle appears to listen to him. Any other Presidential style would have a large sub-section of the site up in arms. If I was President I would destroy the site though elitism, others would let it run riot. Innomen represents a middle way that works, neither draconian nor anarchic and that is the only way things can work. Plus he does it all without ego trips.
Kleptin
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8/20/2009 5:03:14 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/19/2009 10:57:18 PM, TheSkeptic wrote:
The sociological nature of morality in today's culture has nothing to do with morality's true nature - if it exists (which we assume for this discussion obviously).

Then this discussion is fruitless. In that case, you can argue that there exists an objective morality, but different from the one we actually practice. I'm not sure what your argument would be though...I'm just describing the morality I can see the results of.

Are you really saying morality is determined by the culture, by the status quo? If so, it would seem that you would have to damn yourself to epistemological relativism as well, since you believe some moral propositions were once false and then become true (take slavery as an example).

Yes. I've never heard those terms before but when I think about them, they make a good deal of sense. Just to be sure though, could you summarize the beliefs of an epistemological relativist?

How is something "partially subjective"? Even if something can be so, since I have yet a solid opinion concerning that matter, you are using a very shady line when you say it becomes immoral when it "strays too far". Exactly how far must it stray from the norm to be considered immoral?

Something that is purely subjective would be up to us to change entirely, without restriction. We can't really change what we view to be morally right or wrong, but each individual on the planet has different views. The more malleable a value, the more subjective it is. I stated before that our likes and dislikes were the result of society and a random X factor determined by our very being. This X factor determines how much of society's values we take in and in what way they fall into our heads. From there, our likes and dislikes emerge from a pool of societal values.

Furthermore, where's the justification for this?

Observation. How else can you explain the fact that morality is so similar within one society or culture, but large deviations only take place in a completely different society or culture? In almost all respects, morality works like the evolution of species.

What you are describing is quite similar to cultural relativism. At best, you are giving a descriptive account for how people come to obtain certain moral beliefs, and of how we react to this as a society in whole. This, however, strays far from the intended meta-ethical discussion.

I'm guessing so. Again, I'm confused by the terms. As per my 'descriptive account", I think you mean that I am explaining the mechanism instead of the origin? This is because I view the morality we experience in day to day life to be the one and only morality. Morality cannot be objective because there exists many different people on this planet with deviations from our very own morals, and we have absolutely no way to justify our own as opposed to theirs.

In short, we do not experience an objective morality, and my explanation of all the "cultural relativism" things were to show how a subjective morality works just as effectively as an objective one. I provided the mechanism, the mechanism makes sense, the mechanism correlates with what we view. I crafted a theory that explains the visible data.

Even if there were an objective morality, we would have no way of knowing it, and it would be useless to us.
: At 5/2/2010 2:43:54 PM, innomen wrote:
It isn't about finding a theory, philosophy or doctrine and thinking it's the answer, but a practical application of one's experiences that is the answer.

: At 10/28/2010 2:40:07 PM, jharry wrote: I have already been given the greatest Gift that anyone could ever hope for [Life], I would consider myself selfish if I expected anything more.
JustCallMeTarzan
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8/20/2009 7:02:31 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
All moral judgments carry a subjective component. There is no such thing as a moral action - only moral interpretation of actions. Thus, when one interprets an action, it is up to the individual to decide which moral system to use.

Some moral systems may be more objective than others, but when we say "morality" we generally refer to the process by which moral judgments are made. And this process is subjective.
TheSkeptic
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8/20/2009 1:05:46 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
Well first I want to point out I'm a moral nihilist anyway :P. It's just that I don't find moral relativism at all convincing.

Then this discussion is fruitless. In that case, you can argue that there exists an objective morality, but different from the one we actually practice. I'm not sure what your argument would be though...I'm just describing the morality I can see the results of.

Yes, you are describing how morality is practiced and changed in human society. Of course, though, how we practice morality does not necessarily reflect the true nature of it - after all, we could all just be fooling ourselves into thinking we're acting moral.

Yes. I've never heard those terms before but when I think about them, they make a good deal of sense. Just to be sure though, could you summarize the beliefs of an epistemological relativist?

Epistemology deals with the nature and scope of knowledge, thus meaning an epistemological relativist is a relativist towards truth. In other words, you believe truth is relative, or in flux.

Something that is purely subjective would be up to us to change entirely, without restriction. We can't really change what we view to be morally right or wrong, but each individual on the planet has different views. The more malleable a value, the more subjective it is. I stated before that our likes and dislikes were the result of society and a random X factor determined by our very being. This X factor determines how much of society's values we take in and in what way they fall into our heads. From there, our likes and dislikes emerge from a pool of societal values.

Yes, you're giving me a great sociological account for the upbringing of morality in human society, but this strays from the point. It's not HOW we come to believe in certain moral judgements, or of how they chance due to culture, but of what they really are.

Observation. How else can you explain the fact that morality is so similar within one society or culture, but large deviations only take place in a completely different society or culture? In almost all respects, morality works like the evolution of species.

Read response above. Though, it's interesting you mention morality works like evolution because I agree with that :). Though I suppose that lends opposition against objective morality itself.

I'm guessing so. Again, I'm confused by the terms. As per my 'descriptive account", I think you mean that I am explaining the mechanism instead of the origin?

More like you are giving explaining the current state of morality in today's society but not of what it truly is. For example, we may all be fooling ourselves when in fact the true ethical system is one based on hurting people the most (sounds wacked to me, but let's assume it for now). So even though this may be true, we as humans may not necessarily come to know of it yet, or maybe ever (which is why we have philosophy of ethics). Even though many people practice many different ethical beliefs, this doesn't mean there's different "valid" systems out there. All you can say is that different people have different ethical beliefs for X reasons, irrespective of the true nature of morality.

This is because I view the morality we experience in day to day life to be the one and only morality. Morality cannot be objective because there exists many different people on this planet with deviations from our very own morals, and we have absolutely no way to justify our own as opposed to theirs.

That's like saying truth is subjective because so many different people have different beliefs. Of course not, it just means some people are wrong.

In short, we do not experience an objective morality, and my explanation of all the "cultural relativism" things were to show how a subjective morality works just as effectively as an objective one. I provided the mechanism, the mechanism makes sense, the mechanism correlates with what we view. I crafted a theory that explains the visible data.

You're giving a scientific account for the "morality" we see now, not a meta-ethical account of what morality may be.

Even if there were an objective morality, we would have no way of knowing it, and it would be useless to us.

Actually, this is what my philosophers have attempted - and what many people see as succeeded. Kant wanted an ethical system based on reason. The utilitarians wanted it based on consequences and pain/pleasure. Heck, the Objectivists also have an objective ethical system as well.
Cerebral_Narcissist
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8/21/2009 10:20:30 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 8/21/2009 8:08:26 AM, DATCMOTO wrote:
There ARE somethings that pure stone-cold logic cannot grasp..

And this is relevant to that matter because...
I am voting for Innomen because of his intelligence, common sense, humility and the fact that Juggle appears to listen to him. Any other Presidential style would have a large sub-section of the site up in arms. If I was President I would destroy the site though elitism, others would let it run riot. Innomen represents a middle way that works, neither draconian nor anarchic and that is the only way things can work. Plus he does it all without ego trips.