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An Objective Source for Morality?

AtheistExile
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12/9/2009 6:52:49 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
Nature is, as Alfred Lord Tennyson said, "red in tooth and claw". It has no morals. Morality is a human construct that usually reflects our social norms. As such, morality is formed by an amalgam of influences from family, religion, culture, philosophy, evolution and the arts. This amalgam of influences varies from person to person and is relative to our exposure to, and experience with, these influences.

Almost half the human race subscribes to a religion that claims morality is objective because it is handed down by (an Abrahamic) God. Most of the rest of us believe that morality is relative and subjective. Can morality be objective without being handed down by God? It's commonly claimed, by the religious, that it can not – that, without God, morality has no authority.

Nature may not have any morals but it does have a prime directive that compels all living organisms: Survive. We eat, drink, breathe and procreate for survival. At all levels: genetic, individual, cultural and across species, survival dictates the terms of life. Survival is a basic, objective, fact of life: shouldn't morality conform to it? Could there be a more objective, fundamental, basis for morality? If so, what is it?

Morality, because it is a human construct, can only be relative. There are no objective morals "in the wild" waiting to be discovered. Unlike morality based on scripture, morality based on survival enjoys a solid, objective, rationale: those things that best enhance and promote survival are better than those things that don't. Though survival is objective, any moral value derived from it would still be relative because, in the end, we decide, as individuals, what best conforms to the prime directive. Even the utilitarian "greatest good for the greatest number" creed suffers from this relativity: who decides what is the greatest good or who the beneficiaries should be?

But at least we would have an objective standard -- a source -- for morality that reasonable people can agree is elemental and objective. So, assuming we formulate morality based on survival, what would the differences and consequences be for us as a species?

Let's take North Korea and Iran, for example. Both are unstable, rogue, nations with nuclear ambitions. Wouldn't survival be best served if we stripped them of nuclear capabilities? Perhaps. But politics would blur the lines -- just as it does now. Morality is conspicuously absent from much of politics. What holds survival value for one nation might not be the same for another nation or for the planet. The prime directive is too easily forgotten.

For an example of individual morality, take human rights, for instance. Equality, protection of property, pursuit of happiness, freedom and justice: these can all be seen as necessary to best promote peace and prosperity; both of which are survival values. This morality would still be relative and subject to interpretation (emphasis and implementation).

So, the survival values and morals derived from the prime directive are subject to interpretation: objectivity is immediately lost. The prime directive is probably most useful as a starting point and as an objective test for moral validity: if there's no survival value in a proposition, it's not a moral one. In theory, it should be far better to have an objective source for morality but, in practice, I don't see a significant difference.

Anyway, that's my fledgling ideas on a moral system based on an objective source: the survival instinct. What is morally good offers survival value. What is MORE objective than survival? Certainly not religion -- which one would you choose . . . and why?
Jim Ashby
http://AtheistExile.com...

"Knowledge is a relatively safe addiction . . . that is, until it becomes idolatry." ~Anonymous

"The Abrahamic religions have been THE most persistently divisive influence in the history of mankind." ~Jim Ashby
gr33k_fr33k5
Posts: 321
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12/9/2009 7:12:26 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
except that morality based on survival while it may work for animals. .. does not work for humans. . . . if it did. . . .how did we get our current governments and societies, how did we get religion? It doesn't make sense. . . either we should have a perfect society, or there should be anarchy governed only by the laws of nature. . . .
I am free, free indeed!

ignorance is bliss
Reasoning
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12/9/2009 7:16:54 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
Can you prove that survival is objectively a good thing?
"What we really ought to ask the liberal, before we even begin addressing his agenda, is this: In what kind of society would he be a conservative?" - Joseph Sobran
AtheistExile
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12/9/2009 9:11:49 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 12/9/2009 7:12:26 PM, gr33k_fr33k5 wrote:
except that morality based on survival while it may work for animals. .. does not work for humans. . . . if it did. . . .how did we get our current governments and societies, how did we get religion? It doesn't make sense. . . either we should have a perfect society, or there should be anarchy governed only by the laws of nature. . . .

You're not really absorbing what I wrote. A moral system based on survival is just a hypothesis. NOTHING in what I wrote asserts that it's actually a working system in practice -- now, or in the past. You completely miss the point.

The point is: What would be a perfectly objective basis for morality? I offer the survival instinct as the only objective basis I can think of. Religion is NOT an objective basis: it requires that you subscribe to its doctrine AND can ascertain, somehow, WHICH religion you should subscribe to.

The simplistic notion that, "either we should have a perfect society, or there should be anarchy governed only by the laws of nature", is a false dichotomy: societies have always existed, and will always exist, between those extremes.
Jim Ashby
http://AtheistExile.com...

"Knowledge is a relatively safe addiction . . . that is, until it becomes idolatry." ~Anonymous

"The Abrahamic religions have been THE most persistently divisive influence in the history of mankind." ~Jim Ashby
gr33k_fr33k5
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12/9/2009 9:38:39 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 12/9/2009 9:11:49 PM, AtheistExile wrote:
At 12/9/2009 7:12:26 PM, gr33k_fr33k5 wrote:
except that morality based on survival while it may work for animals. .. does not work for humans. . . . if it did. . . .how did we get our current governments and societies, how did we get religion? It doesn't make sense. . . either we should have a perfect society, or there should be anarchy governed only by the laws of nature. . . .

You're not really absorbing what I wrote. A moral system based on survival is just a hypothesis. NOTHING in what I wrote asserts that it's actually a working system in practice -- now, or in the past. You completely miss the point.

The point is: What would be a perfectly objective basis for morality? I offer the survival instinct as the only objective basis I can think of. Religion is NOT an objective basis: it requires that you subscribe to its doctrine AND can ascertain, somehow, WHICH religion you should subscribe to.

The simplistic notion that, "either we should have a perfect society, or there should be anarchy governed only by the laws of nature", is a false dichotomy: societies have always existed, and will always exist, between those extremes.

yes. . . i see your point . . . .and consider myself chastised . .. . .=]
I am free, free indeed!

ignorance is bliss
AtheistExile
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12/9/2009 9:56:34 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 12/9/2009 7:16:54 PM, Reasoning wrote:
Can you prove that survival is objectively a good thing?

Hmmm . . . my first impulse is to say that NOT surviving is always a bad thing. But then again, 99% of all species that have ever existed are now extinct. I'd say that it's a good thing for humans that dinosaurs are long gone.

I'm only half serious when I say that. Survival, in the final analysis, matters at a genetic level: what will best propagate my genes is of the highest survival value. The single greatest guarantor of gene propagation is the sex drive. All else being equal, the more children I leave behind, the more likely my genes will propagate. Intelligence, physique, strength, sociability . . . none of these traits are much good unless I love women to excess. The more women I get pregnant, the more children I have and the more I mix my genes into the gene pool.

This means that, based on survival, the morality of men and women have different motives. Men can have hundreds of children, women can have only a small fraction of that. Men are best served by profligate philandering and women are best served by securing a mate to both procreate with and to help with child rearing (especially during pregnancy and while the child is still a baby). Modern societies are equalizing this equation a bit but there's still quite a divergence in male-female self-interests.

How moral is this, really? Well, any normal judgment of morality is a subjective value judgment . . . which is why I sought an objective basis for morality. In theory, an objective basis for morality means right and wrong can be determined independent of what I believe.

But the ring of truth is not relative. It sounds the same to everybody. Half of us are male and half of us are female. But we're all human. If an objective basis for morality leads to a gender divide, then either that morality is inherently unfair OR the gender divide is a fact of life . . . and of survival.

Hmmmm . . . my musings are leaving me dissatisfied and unresolved. Any ideas?
Jim Ashby
http://AtheistExile.com...

"Knowledge is a relatively safe addiction . . . that is, until it becomes idolatry." ~Anonymous

"The Abrahamic religions have been THE most persistently divisive influence in the history of mankind." ~Jim Ashby
mattrodstrom
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12/10/2009 6:52:55 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
Human nature
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
omelet
Posts: 416
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12/10/2009 7:05:55 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
Morality is not objective, because nothing is objectively better than anything else. Killing myself right now it not objectively inferior to continuing about my day as normal.

However, it is subjectively inferior according to me, and that's what matters.

Truly, I can hardly see how religious folks call their own morality objective, especially when they reject so many moral prescripts in their holy books as immoral (stoning gays, stoning people who lift a productive finger on sundays, etc). But even if they agreed with their holy book, why does coming from God make morality objective? It still seems to be based on opinion, just a divine one. In Christian mythology, there is even another divine source that disagrees with God: Satan. God's word is seen as absolutely true just because, what, he's more powerful? That's already a subjective premise, and you cannot use subjective premises to support a conclusion as being objectively true.
AtheistExile
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12/11/2009 4:03:38 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/9/2009 6:52:49 PM, AtheistExile wrote:

Nature may not have any morals but it does have a prime directive that compels all living organisms: SURVIVE. We eat, drink, breathe and procreate for survival. At all levels: genetic, individual, cultural and across species, survival dictates the terms of life. Survival is a basic, objective, fact of life: shouldn't morality conform to it? Could there be a more objective, fundamental, basis for morality? If so, what is it?

It appears that survival as the basis of morality is not a new idea. This idea was previously advocated by Ayn Rand. I'm no sure that ANY of my ideas have ever been truly original. I always find that somebody else has "got there first".
Jim Ashby
http://AtheistExile.com...

"Knowledge is a relatively safe addiction . . . that is, until it becomes idolatry." ~Anonymous

"The Abrahamic religions have been THE most persistently divisive influence in the history of mankind." ~Jim Ashby
omelet
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12/11/2009 7:13:17 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/11/2009 4:03:38 AM, AtheistExile wrote:
At 12/9/2009 6:52:49 PM, AtheistExile wrote:

Nature may not have any morals but it does have a prime directive that compels all living organisms: SURVIVE. We eat, drink, breathe and procreate for survival. At all levels: genetic, individual, cultural and across species, survival dictates the terms of life. Survival is a basic, objective, fact of life: shouldn't morality conform to it? Could there be a more objective, fundamental, basis for morality? If so, what is it?

It appears that survival as the basis of morality is not a new idea. This idea was previously advocated by Ayn Rand. I'm no sure that ANY of my ideas have ever been truly original. I always find that somebody else has "got there first".

Of course, even Rand's "Objectivism" is not objective. It relies on a main assumption that is not objectively true - that we as humans should not willingly take actions that harm our selves. This of course is an idea that most people agree with, because the opposing view has been very heavily selected against by nature. However, survival is still merely a subjective goal, just one that most surviving people happen to share. Of course, if we broaden the sample size to include people who aren't alive right now, we find a very large number of counter-examples (though of course, valuing survival is still more common, since it is more widespread due to natural selection).

And of course, by the mere fact that other moral philosophers have advocated self-disinterested generosity, it seems that only doing things in one's own self interest is not objectively true either. That's not a surprise - it's a human idea, not some fundamental truth of reality. It just happens to be an idea that leads to more personal happiness, something most people actively pursue.
Marauder
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12/11/2009 7:58:01 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
What is the minimum requriment for a moral view to count as objective? that it does not come from you? Or from other people? An idea must have a source. It is not possible for it to come from nowhere.
One act of Rebellion created all the darkness and evil in the world; One life of Total Obedience created a path back to eternity and God.

A Scout is Obedient.
omelet
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12/11/2009 8:44:53 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/11/2009 7:58:01 AM, Marauder wrote:
What is the minimum requriment for a moral view to count as objective? that it does not come from you? Or from other people? An idea must have a source. It is not possible for it to come from nowhere.

Objective:
1 not influenced by personal feelings or opinions.
2 not dependent on the mind for existence; actual.

Subjective:
1 based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.
2 dependent on the mind for existence.

It would have to be a fundamental, indisputable fact rather than simply a popular opinion. While it's a fact that most people who are currently alive strive to survive, it's not a fact that they should; just as it may be a fact that most people who are in a certain chess tournament like to play chess, but it's not an objective fact that liking to play chess is superior to not liking to play chess.

Morality asks what we "should" do, and there frankly is no objective answer to that question.
Ragnar_Rahl
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12/11/2009 9:33:55 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
2 not dependent on the mind for existence
Objective things can depend on the mind. This computer objectively exists, as does the operating system inside. Without a mind there would be no computer.

Perhaps you mean some specific kind of dependence?
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
Ragnar_Rahl
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12/11/2009 9:35:33 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
It would have to be a fundamental, indisputable fact rather than simply a popular opinion. While it's a fact that most people who are currently alive strive to survive, it's not a fact that they should
It's a fact that if they strive to survive, then they should refrain from eating poison.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
mattrodstrom
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12/11/2009 9:41:33 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/11/2009 9:33:55 AM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
2 not dependent on the mind for existence
Objective things can depend on the mind. This computer objectively exists, as does the operating system inside. Without a mind there would be no computer.

Would you agree that (it's a reasonable assumption that) w/o physical reality there would be no mind.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
omelet
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12/11/2009 9:50:09 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/11/2009 9:33:55 AM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
2 not dependent on the mind for existence
Objective things can depend on the mind. This computer objectively exists, as does the operating system inside. Without a mind there would be no computer.
While a mind was its source, the truth of its existence would continue without any minds - its existence is presently independent from minds.

Perhaps you mean some specific kind of dependence?
Perhaps the above clarified. I got the definitions from the Oxford dictionary, so it's not like I made them up.
omelet
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12/11/2009 9:55:39 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/11/2009 9:35:33 AM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
It would have to be a fundamental, indisputable fact rather than simply a popular opinion. While it's a fact that most people who are currently alive strive to survive, it's not a fact that they should
It's a fact that if they strive to survive, then they should refrain from eating poison.
That I agree with, at least to a large extent (poison can also be used to become immune to that very poison, but I understand your point).

While it's true that certain actions are objectively going to be more successful at reaching certain goals than other actions, it's not objectively true that any goals are better than any other goals, and also not objectively true that any actions are superior to any other actions in a general sense (taking a lethal dose of poison may be a superior action if the goal is suicide, but it's not a superior action when no particular goal is in mind).
mattrodstrom
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12/11/2009 1:14:38 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/11/2009 1:07:12 PM, wjmelements wrote:
http://fallacyfiles.org...

Indeed, but if you say that our concepts of right and wrong are determined by nature, you escape the fallacy.

Natural realities aren't "good" or "bad" they just are. Good and bad are products of humanity. Humanity is a product of nature.

Our having morality, isn't according to the universe/objectively good or bad, but just is.

Now according to that human nature, things can be "good" or "bad" b/c those are concepts of human nature.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
Ragnar_Rahl
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12/11/2009 2:59:53 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/11/2009 9:41:33 AM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 12/11/2009 9:33:55 AM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
2 not dependent on the mind for existence
Objective things can depend on the mind. This computer objectively exists, as does the operating system inside. Without a mind there would be no computer.

Would you agree that (it's a reasonable assumption that) w/o physical reality there would be no mind.
Yes.

While a mind was its source, the truth of its existence would continue without any minds
"without any minds" it would never exist in the first place. With minds in the past but none in the future it will continue to exist until it weathers away of course, but this does not alter the fact of dependency, simply the location.

Perhaps the above clarified. I got the definitions from the Oxford dictionary, so it's not like I made them up.
So Oxford fails :)

While it's true that certain actions are objectively going to be more successful at reaching certain goals than other actions, it's not objectively true that any goals are better than any other goals,
Agreed, nevertheless, not all claims of objective ethics claim the objectivity lies in the goals :)
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
mattrodstrom
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12/11/2009 3:10:24 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/11/2009 2:59:53 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
At 12/11/2009 9:41:33 AM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 12/11/2009 9:33:55 AM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
2 not dependent on the mind for existence
Objective things can depend on the mind. This computer objectively exists, as does the operating system inside. Without a mind there would be no computer.

Would you agree that (it's a reasonable assumption that) w/o physical reality there would be no mind.
Yes.

Do you think there exists any other necessary factor? God, spirit "stuff", mind "stuff"? like another plane of existence or anything.

Or do you see the mind as coming from the physical world?
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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12/11/2009 3:17:16 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/11/2009 3:10:24 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 12/11/2009 2:59:53 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
At 12/11/2009 9:41:33 AM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 12/11/2009 9:33:55 AM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
2 not dependent on the mind for existence
Objective things can depend on the mind. This computer objectively exists, as does the operating system inside. Without a mind there would be no computer.

Would you agree that (it's a reasonable assumption that) w/o physical reality there would be no mind.
Yes.

Do you think there exists any other necessary factor?
I'm agnostic on that question, except that

God
doesn't exist.
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
mattrodstrom
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12/11/2009 3:29:02 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/11/2009 3:17:16 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
At 12/11/2009 3:10:24 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 12/11/2009 2:59:53 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
At 12/11/2009 9:41:33 AM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 12/11/2009 9:33:55 AM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
2 not dependent on the mind for existence
Objective things can depend on the mind. This computer objectively exists, as does the operating system inside. Without a mind there would be no computer.

Would you agree that (it's a reasonable assumption that) w/o physical reality there would be no mind.
Yes.

Do you think there exists any other necessary factor?
I'm agnostic on that question

So you don't think: another factor is necessary.

So it's plausible that the physical world, in and of itself, can explain it.

Do you agree with my charecterization?
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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12/11/2009 3:31:48 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/11/2009 3:29:02 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 12/11/2009 3:17:16 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
At 12/11/2009 3:10:24 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 12/11/2009 2:59:53 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
At 12/11/2009 9:41:33 AM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 12/11/2009 9:33:55 AM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:
2 not dependent on the mind for existence
Objective things can depend on the mind. This computer objectively exists, as does the operating system inside. Without a mind there would be no computer.

Would you agree that (it's a reasonable assumption that) w/o physical reality there would be no mind.
Yes.

Do you think there exists any other necessary factor?
I'm agnostic on that question

So you don't think: another factor is necessary.

So it's plausible that the physical world, in and of itself, can explain it.
I don't know whether it's necessary or not, and whether the physical world can explain it or not. What are you getting at?
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
mattrodstrom
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12/11/2009 3:42:34 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/11/2009 3:31:48 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:

So it's plausible that the physical world, in and of itself, can explain it.
I don't know whether it's necessary or not, and whether the physical world can explain it or not. What are you getting at?

I see the "physical world" as the best explanation of Objective reality available from experience.

I think that we ought to attempt to explain all things in terms of Phys. reality, unless it becomes clear that it would be unreasonable to do so.

I don't see why the mind cannot be explained as coming from phys. reality, and indeed the evidence that it does; through correlation of phys. injury to the brain affecting people's minds, to the theory of evolution giving an explanation for how such extremely complex nervous systems can come to be; is overwhelming.

If you believe in "phys. reality" and don't "believe" in another kind of reality, I can't see how someone could not say: the Brain is the source of "the mind".

And if someone would say such a thing, I can't see how the physical laws which govern the brain don't govern the mind.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
Ragnar_Rahl
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12/11/2009 4:06:55 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/11/2009 3:42:34 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 12/11/2009 3:31:48 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:

So it's plausible that the physical world, in and of itself, can explain it.
I don't know whether it's necessary or not, and whether the physical world can explain it or not. What are you getting at?

I see the "physical world" as the best explanation of Objective reality available from experience.
So how des it explain free will?


I think that we ought to attempt to explain all things in terms of Phys. reality, unless it becomes clear that it would be unreasonable to do so.
It is unreasonable to explain something in terms of another thing just because it's not impossible, reason dictates that you have positive evidence.


I don't see why the mind cannot be explained as coming from phys. reality
Irrelevant. What aspect of known physical reality do you choose to explain the observed phenomena of free will with?

and indeed the evidence that it does; through correlation of phys. injury to the brain affecting people's minds
That is no such evidence. That is merely evidence that the brain is a necessary cause of mind, not evidence that it is a sufficient one.


If you believe in "phys. reality" and don't "believe" in another kind of reality, I can't see how someone could not say: the Brain is the source of "the mind".
Simple. We have perfectly intact brains that don't give off any evidence of causing minds.


And if someone would say such a thing, I can't see how the physical laws which govern the brain don't govern the mind.
I can't reach the moon by lifting my arm, but I can imagine doing it, clearly the laws are rather different :).
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
mattrodstrom
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12/11/2009 4:38:22 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/11/2009 4:06:55 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:

I see the "physical world" as the best explanation of Objective reality available from experience.
So how des it explain free will?..... What aspect of known physical reality do you choose to explain the observed phenomena of free will with?

I suppose I am putting the 'observed physical reality' above the 'observed free will', and I can see why this appears unjustifiable.

I guess I do so b/c given a world in which I "observe" both, it appears that the insane complexity of the physical reality, the brain, and the great degree of correlation with mental happenings in people, makes it seem as though that phys. reality can concievably account for the 'observation' of free will.

I guess, ultimately, I am just putting one 'observation' ahead of another and can see how this seems without reason.

I guess the great complexity and great stability of patterns of observed phys. reality along with it's proven usefulness in making predictions of future experience allows me to give it precedence.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
mattrodstrom
Posts: 12,028
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12/11/2009 4:44:08 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
And I guess the observed fact that we can f* with the mind in all sorts of physical ways, so there is no reason why the mind isn't determined by the physical.

Meanwhile it appears that no matter what other's think about reality, the physical patterns remain the same.
"He who does not know how to put his will into things at least puts a meaning into them: that is, he believes there is a will in them already."

Metaphysics:
"The science.. which deals with the fundamental errors of mankind - but as if they were the fundamental truths."
Ragnar_Rahl
Posts: 19,297
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12/11/2009 7:04:36 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 12/11/2009 4:38:22 PM, mattrodstrom wrote:
At 12/11/2009 4:06:55 PM, Ragnar_Rahl wrote:

I see the "physical world" as the best explanation of Objective reality available from experience.
So how des it explain free will?..... What aspect of known physical reality do you choose to explain the observed phenomena of free will with?

I suppose I am putting the 'observed physical reality' above the 'observed free will',
What physical observations contradict it anyway?


I guess I do so b/c given a world in which I "observe" both, it appears that the insane complexity of the physical reality, the brain, and the great degree of correlation with mental happenings in people, makes it seem as though that phys. reality can concievably account for the 'observation' of free will.
I observe a watch. I do not thereby assume that because it is complex, my food is an illusion.

proven usefulness in making predictions of future experience

Lo cassandra, what's the weather like tomorrow?
It came to be at its height. It was commanded to command. It was a capital before its first stone was laid. It was a monument to the spirit of man.
alto2osu
Posts: 277
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12/12/2009 12:00:47 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
I wish I'd caught this thread a little earlier on :) Going back to the original poster, I don't think that even "survival" or basic instincts may prove the basis for any sort of objective morality, and the cognitive abilities of human beings is the reason why. Every critter on the planet has survival programmed into their genes to whatever extent. However, not every critter on the planet has a system of moral or ethical codes. What separates human beings from their animal brethren is merely the capacity to "metacognize," if I can make up a word for what it is we do with our instincts. We have an unsurpassed ability to either change our environment to meet our own survivalist needs or to flat out ignore instinctual impulses. Other animals do not have this ability. I would most accurately characterize what we call "morality" as a decision making process that must necessarily be varied depending on how our instincts are bent to fit our circumstances. It is the end product of a cognitive problem solving process. So, while our instinct to survive may be the impetus for that decision making, each person or society or nation, etc. will come to its own conclusions based on myriad factors that influence how they choose to best survive.