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Meta-Ethics

annhasle
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9/30/2010 9:26:07 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Within Meta-Ethics, there are three general questions:

1) What is the meaning of moral terms or judgments?
2) What is the nature of moral judgments?
3) How may moral judgments be supported or defended?/ Why should I be moral?

Which theory do you agree with for each question? And, why?

Also, are morals necessary? Would there be a negative consequence to having no morals in our society?

I'll go first!

1) Error-Theory: There are no moral 'rights' and 'wrongs' and each theory that claims to have the 'truth' is false. All propositions in accordance to morality are wrong.

2) Moral Nihilism: Since there are is no moral knowledge, there is no 'nature' or need for morality. All theories in support of morality hold the same amount of truth and necessity... none.

3) Moral Skepticism: You cannot be morally justified or condemned since no moral position can rightfully judge you. Since there is no moral knowledge... they'd be judging you based on an empty claim of truthfulness. Pointless, much?

Alright, now it's time for everyone else to step in and give us a run-down of your beliefs. Please, give explanations and reasons to why you do or do not believe in them...

Go!
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kogline
Posts: 134
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10/2/2010 11:34:39 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
i agree with reasoning, morals do not exist. i usually refer to myself as a moral nihilist, but im interested in the difference between error theory, moral nihilism, and moral skepticism. they seem to be pretty similar.

also do you think it's inconsistent to be an atheist and a moral realist?
if state farm has perfected teleportation technology why do they still sell car insurance?
annhasle
Posts: 6,657
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10/2/2010 1:33:11 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 10/2/2010 11:34:39 AM, kogline wrote:
i agree with reasoning, morals do not exist. i usually refer to myself as a moral nihilist, but im interested in the difference between error theory, moral nihilism, and moral skepticism. they seem to be pretty similar.

They're all pretty close but believing in error-theory doesn't automatically make you a moral nihilist. And being a moral skeptic has key differences than moral nihilism.

I decided to lay out all three questions since believing in one theory does not mean you must believe in the other. I mean, someone who believes in divine command theory would most likely be a moral objectivist, but being a moral objectivist doesn't require you to believe in divine command theory. Does that make sense? :/

also do you think it's inconsistent to be an atheist and a moral realist?

Not at all. I have met atheists who are moral objectivists, realists and absolutists.
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annhasle
Posts: 6,657
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10/2/2010 1:44:01 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 10/2/2010 1:40:30 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
I've actually been doing a bit of research on Nihilism myself.

Really? For a couple months I played around with the idea of being a moral nihilist but moral skepticism has really worked out for me. Have you found it interesting or something you could follow?
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kogline
Posts: 134
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10/2/2010 1:46:42 PM
Posted: 6 years ago

Not at all. I have met atheists who are moral objectivists, realists and absolutists.

i have as well, but it seems odd to me that someone would choose not to believe in a god because there is no evidence that one exists, and then turn around and say there are objective moral truths about the universe even though there is no evidence of them.(using the basic definition of morality: right and wrong action.)

im not saying its impossible, just inconsistent.
if state farm has perfected teleportation technology why do they still sell car insurance?
J.Kenyon
Posts: 4,194
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10/2/2010 1:50:42 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 10/2/2010 1:44:01 PM, annhasle wrote:
At 10/2/2010 1:40:30 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
I've actually been doing a bit of research on Nihilism myself.

Really? For a couple months I played around with the idea of being a moral nihilist but moral skepticism has really worked out for me. Have you found it interesting or something you could follow?

Moral skepticism is a form of nihilism.
annhasle
Posts: 6,657
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10/2/2010 1:50:56 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 10/2/2010 1:46:42 PM, kogline wrote:

Not at all. I have met atheists who are moral objectivists, realists and absolutists.



i have as well, but it seems odd to me that someone would choose not to believe in a god because there is no evidence that one exists, and then turn around and say there are objective moral truths about the universe even though there is no evidence of them.(using the basic definition of morality: right and wrong action.)

im not saying its impossible, just inconsistent.

Some have chosen to believe that even though there is no 'god', there are still 'rights' and 'wrongs' that each society should subscribe to and follow, regardless. Believe me, I find it to be illogical to believe in either of those.... There is not God and there really shouldn't be a God... and the idea of 'morals' is just as logically corrupt. :/
I'm not back. This idiot just upset me which made me stop lurking.
Cody_Franklin
Posts: 9,483
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10/2/2010 1:51:42 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 10/2/2010 1:44:01 PM, annhasle wrote:
At 10/2/2010 1:40:30 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
I've actually been doing a bit of research on Nihilism myself.

Really? For a couple months I played around with the idea of being a moral nihilist but moral skepticism has really worked out for me. Have you found it interesting or something you could follow?

I've found it extremely interesting. I'm currently working on a logical problem, trying to decide whether to maintain Objectivism or adopt Nihilism. I think it's something which I could follow, though I can't say for sure what kind of person I would become if I were to be a Nihilist.
Cody_Franklin
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10/2/2010 1:52:14 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 10/2/2010 1:50:42 PM, J.Kenyon wrote:
At 10/2/2010 1:44:01 PM, annhasle wrote:
At 10/2/2010 1:40:30 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
I've actually been doing a bit of research on Nihilism myself.

Really? For a couple months I played around with the idea of being a moral nihilist but moral skepticism has really worked out for me. Have you found it interesting or something you could follow?

Moral skepticism is a form of nihilism.

Skepticism is epistemic, while nihilism is metaphysical. :P
J.Kenyon
Posts: 4,194
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10/2/2010 1:56:14 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 10/2/2010 1:52:14 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 10/2/2010 1:50:42 PM, J.Kenyon wrote:
At 10/2/2010 1:44:01 PM, annhasle wrote:
At 10/2/2010 1:40:30 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
I've actually been doing a bit of research on Nihilism myself.

Really? For a couple months I played around with the idea of being a moral nihilist but moral skepticism has really worked out for me. Have you found it interesting or something you could follow?

Moral skepticism is a form of nihilism.

Skepticism is epistemic, while nihilism is metaphysical. :P

Meh, I would classify error theory as more epistemic. I think it's a bit ridiculous, not something I take seriously.

Moral skepticism claims that there is no justification for believing in moral facts. It entails nihilism.
annhasle
Posts: 6,657
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10/2/2010 1:57:02 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 10/2/2010 1:50:42 PM, J.Kenyon wrote:
At 10/2/2010 1:44:01 PM, annhasle wrote:
At 10/2/2010 1:40:30 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
I've actually been doing a bit of research on Nihilism myself.

Really? For a couple months I played around with the idea of being a moral nihilist but moral skepticism has really worked out for me. Have you found it interesting or something you could follow?

Moral skepticism is a form of nihilism.

They have some common ground, yes. But there are differences between the two.
I'm not back. This idiot just upset me which made me stop lurking.
Cody_Franklin
Posts: 9,483
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10/2/2010 1:58:50 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 10/2/2010 1:56:14 PM, J.Kenyon wrote:
At 10/2/2010 1:52:14 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 10/2/2010 1:50:42 PM, J.Kenyon wrote:
At 10/2/2010 1:44:01 PM, annhasle wrote:
At 10/2/2010 1:40:30 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
I've actually been doing a bit of research on Nihilism myself.

Really? For a couple months I played around with the idea of being a moral nihilist but moral skepticism has really worked out for me. Have you found it interesting or something you could follow?

Moral skepticism is a form of nihilism.

Skepticism is epistemic, while nihilism is metaphysical. :P

Meh, I would classify error theory as more epistemic. I think it's a bit ridiculous, not something I take seriously.

What's your main criticism of error theory?

Moral skepticism claims that there is no justification for believing in moral facts. It entails nihilism.

Not necessarily. Skeptics will usually argue that moral truths may exist, but that we cannot know them. Nihilists claim that they absolutely do not exist. I can definitely see where skepticism leads to nihilism, though.
J.Kenyon
Posts: 4,194
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10/2/2010 2:00:08 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 10/2/2010 1:57:02 PM, annhasle wrote:
At 10/2/2010 1:50:42 PM, J.Kenyon wrote:
At 10/2/2010 1:44:01 PM, annhasle wrote:
At 10/2/2010 1:40:30 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
I've actually been doing a bit of research on Nihilism myself.

Really? For a couple months I played around with the idea of being a moral nihilist but moral skepticism has really worked out for me. Have you found it interesting or something you could follow?

Moral skepticism is a form of nihilism.

They have some common ground, yes. But there are differences between the two.

There are many different varieties, but skepticism in it's most common form denies that any moral judgment can be true or false. It's one of several ways of arguing for nihilism.
annhasle
Posts: 6,657
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10/2/2010 2:00:37 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 10/2/2010 1:51:42 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 10/2/2010 1:44:01 PM, annhasle wrote:
At 10/2/2010 1:40:30 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
I've actually been doing a bit of research on Nihilism myself.

Really? For a couple months I played around with the idea of being a moral nihilist but moral skepticism has really worked out for me. Have you found it interesting or something you could follow?

I've found it extremely interesting. I'm currently working on a logical problem, trying to decide whether to maintain Objectivism or adopt Nihilism. I think it's something which I could follow, though I can't say for sure what kind of person I would become if I were to be a Nihilist.

More enlightened? That's nothing to fear. Morality does not ensure 'moral' actions just like amorality does not ensure 'immoral' actions. I'm sure you can still be the person you aspire to be, without the concept of morals looming overhead. <shrugs>
I'm not back. This idiot just upset me which made me stop lurking.
J.Kenyon
Posts: 4,194
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10/2/2010 2:00:54 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 10/2/2010 1:59:19 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 10/2/2010 1:56:41 PM, Kinesis wrote:
I'm an agnostic about everything. Including the things that make this claim logically incoherent.

How do you live?

Hypocritically.
annhasle
Posts: 6,657
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10/2/2010 2:04:38 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 10/2/2010 2:00:08 PM, J.Kenyon wrote:
At 10/2/2010 1:57:02 PM, annhasle wrote:
At 10/2/2010 1:50:42 PM, J.Kenyon wrote:
At 10/2/2010 1:44:01 PM, annhasle wrote:
At 10/2/2010 1:40:30 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
I've actually been doing a bit of research on Nihilism myself.

Really? For a couple months I played around with the idea of being a moral nihilist but moral skepticism has really worked out for me. Have you found it interesting or something you could follow?

Moral skepticism is a form of nihilism.

They have some common ground, yes. But there are differences between the two.

There are many different varieties, but skepticism in it's most common form denies that any moral judgment can be true or false. It's one of several ways of arguing for nihilism.

That's the 'common' form. But I rarely choose the 'common' form of anthing. :P

I believe moral skepticism to raise doubts about all moral knowledge, moral facts or properties, and also reasons to be moral. That is different than moral nihilism but I could very well be on my way to nihilism.
I'm not back. This idiot just upset me which made me stop lurking.
Cody_Franklin
Posts: 9,483
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10/2/2010 2:06:10 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 10/2/2010 2:00:37 PM, annhasle wrote:
At 10/2/2010 1:51:42 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 10/2/2010 1:44:01 PM, annhasle wrote:
At 10/2/2010 1:40:30 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
I've actually been doing a bit of research on Nihilism myself.

Really? For a couple months I played around with the idea of being a moral nihilist but moral skepticism has really worked out for me. Have you found it interesting or something you could follow?

I've found it extremely interesting. I'm currently working on a logical problem, trying to decide whether to maintain Objectivism or adopt Nihilism. I think it's something which I could follow, though I can't say for sure what kind of person I would become if I were to be a Nihilist.

More enlightened? That's nothing to fear. Morality does not ensure 'moral' actions just like amorality does not ensure 'immoral' actions. I'm sure you can still be the person you aspire to be, without the concept of morals looming overhead. <shrugs>

I think it's one of those things I need to try out. Maybe debate it here on the forums on a few issues, see how it works in everyday discourse. If it doesn't hold up to logical scrutiny, I can't claim it's correct. :P
GeoLaureate8
Posts: 12,252
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10/2/2010 2:09:40 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 10/2/2010 1:58:50 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
Not necessarily. Skeptics will usually argue that moral truths may exist, but that we cannot know them. Nihilists claim that they absolutely do not exist. I can definitely see where skepticism leads to nihilism, though.

This.
"We must raise the standard of the Old, free, decentralized, and strictly limited Republic."
-- Murray Rothbard

"The worst thing that can happen to a good cause is, not to be skillfully attacked, but to be ineptly defended."
-- Frederic Bastiat
annhasle
Posts: 6,657
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10/2/2010 2:10:31 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 10/2/2010 2:06:10 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 10/2/2010 2:00:37 PM, annhasle wrote:
At 10/2/2010 1:51:42 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 10/2/2010 1:44:01 PM, annhasle wrote:
At 10/2/2010 1:40:30 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
I've actually been doing a bit of research on Nihilism myself.

Really? For a couple months I played around with the idea of being a moral nihilist but moral skepticism has really worked out for me. Have you found it interesting or something you could follow?

I've found it extremely interesting. I'm currently working on a logical problem, trying to decide whether to maintain Objectivism or adopt Nihilism. I think it's something which I could follow, though I can't say for sure what kind of person I would become if I were to be a Nihilist.

More enlightened? That's nothing to fear. Morality does not ensure 'moral' actions just like amorality does not ensure 'immoral' actions. I'm sure you can still be the person you aspire to be, without the concept of morals looming overhead. <shrugs>

I think it's one of those things I need to try out. Maybe debate it here on the forums on a few issues, see how it works in everyday discourse. If it doesn't hold up to logical scrutiny, I can't claim it's correct. :P

That's a good way to approach it. I've been a skeptic for awhile and mainly have been reading about nihilism so I can be sure I can defend it before I profess to follow it. But skepticism usually leads to nihilism more times than objectivism does. How'd you start wanting to look into nihilism? Was there a specific instance where objectivism didn't hold up to your scrutiny or perspective?
I'm not back. This idiot just upset me which made me stop lurking.
J.Kenyon
Posts: 4,194
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10/2/2010 2:14:14 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 10/2/2010 1:58:50 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:

What's your main criticism of error theory?

The ontological form doesn't apply to ethical non-naturalism. The epistemological arguments are insubstantial and largely irrelevant.

Moral skepticism claims that there is no justification for believing in moral facts. It entails nihilism.

Not necessarily. Skeptics will usually argue that moral truths may exist, but that we cannot know them. Nihilists claim that they absolutely do not exist. I can definitely see where skepticism leads to nihilism, though.

There are two forms of epistemological moral skepticism.

Dogmatic skepticism about moral knowledge is the claim that nobody ever knows that any substantive moral belief is true.

Dogmatic skepticism about justified moral belief is the claim that nobody is ever justified in holding any substantive moral belief.

Then there are several varieties of metaphysical moral skepticism.

Skepticism about moral truth is the claim that no substantive moral belief is true.

Skepticism about moral truth-aptness is the claim that no substantive moral belief is the kind of thing that could be either true or false.

Skepticism about moral truth-value is the claim that no substantive moral belief is either true or false (although some moral beliefs are the kind of thing that could be true or false).

Skepticism with moral falsehood is the claim that every substantive moral belief is false.

Skepticism about moral reality is the claim that no moral facts or properties exist.
annhasle
Posts: 6,657
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10/2/2010 2:18:06 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 10/2/2010 2:17:20 PM, popculturepooka wrote:
My meta-ethics: Goddidit. :D

ROFL :P
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Cody_Franklin
Posts: 9,483
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10/2/2010 2:25:21 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 10/2/2010 2:10:31 PM, annhasle wrote:
At 10/2/2010 2:06:10 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 10/2/2010 2:00:37 PM, annhasle wrote:
At 10/2/2010 1:51:42 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
At 10/2/2010 1:44:01 PM, annhasle wrote:
At 10/2/2010 1:40:30 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
I've actually been doing a bit of research on Nihilism myself.

Really? For a couple months I played around with the idea of being a moral nihilist but moral skepticism has really worked out for me. Have you found it interesting or something you could follow?

I've found it extremely interesting. I'm currently working on a logical problem, trying to decide whether to maintain Objectivism or adopt Nihilism. I think it's something which I could follow, though I can't say for sure what kind of person I would become if I were to be a Nihilist.

More enlightened? That's nothing to fear. Morality does not ensure 'moral' actions just like amorality does not ensure 'immoral' actions. I'm sure you can still be the person you aspire to be, without the concept of morals looming overhead. <shrugs>

I think it's one of those things I need to try out. Maybe debate it here on the forums on a few issues, see how it works in everyday discourse. If it doesn't hold up to logical scrutiny, I can't claim it's correct. :P

That's a good way to approach it. I've been a skeptic for awhile and mainly have been reading about nihilism so I can be sure I can defend it before I profess to follow it. But skepticism usually leads to nihilism more times than objectivism does. How'd you start wanting to look into nihilism? Was there a specific instance where objectivism didn't hold up to your scrutiny or perspective?

Now that you ask, I don't remember precisely what got me looking into it, though. There have always been a few questions I've been unable to answer. For example, most claim that morality allows one to live well, and that acting immorally leads to a kind of self-destruction; however, one can certainly act immorally in some cases, get away with it, and never suffer any negative consequences. What, then, is the point of acting in a moral manner all of the time? This thought sort of dispels the notion that morality is categorically necessary.

Another example is the fact that morality isn't a law of nature in the way that conservation of mass and energy are. Morality is not an inherent property, which means that it is necessarily formulated somewhere. Morality, as a concept, can be defined many different ways. Objectivists argue that morality is a code of values to guide your choices toward an end (the ultimate purpose being happiness). Others, like Christian, establish morality as a set of rules designed against your "sinful" nature. In any case, it seems to be a matter of someone's preferences (whether society's, God's, or an individual's) dressed up, contained, and weighed against the preferences of others. The word "should", for example. Rather than being ethically prescriptive, however, morality has changed such that the use of the term tends to denote something akin to "it would be beneficial if...". Example: If you want to get better, you should go to the doctor. That's what Objectivism would say, anyhow, since visiting a doctor when sick is in one's rational self-interest.

So that I don't rant forever, let me put it this way: morality seems to be more about giving good advice, rather than objectively evaluating something as good or bad. There's not an actual standard out there.
J.Kenyon
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10/2/2010 2:28:49 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 10/2/2010 2:25:21 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:

Now that you ask, I don't remember precisely what got me looking into it, though. There have always been a few questions I've been unable to answer. For example, most claim that morality allows one to live well, and that acting immorally leads to a kind of self-destruction; however, one can certainly act immorally in some cases, get away with it, and never suffer any negative consequences. What, then, is the point of acting in a moral manner all of the time? This thought sort of dispels the notion that morality is categorically necessary.

Another example is the fact that morality isn't a law of nature in the way that conservation of mass and energy are. Morality is not an inherent property, which means that it is necessarily formulated somewhere. Morality, as a concept, can be defined many different ways. Objectivists argue that morality is a code of values to guide your choices toward an end (the ultimate purpose being happiness). Others, like Christian, establish morality as a set of rules designed against your "sinful" nature. In any case, it seems to be a matter of someone's preferences (whether society's, God's, or an individual's) dressed up, contained, and weighed against the preferences of others. The word "should", for example. Rather than being ethically prescriptive, however, morality has changed such that the use of the term tends to denote something akin to "it would be beneficial if...". Example: If you want to get better, you should go to the doctor. That's what Objectivism would say, anyhow, since visiting a doctor when sick is in one's rational self-interest.

So that I don't rant forever, let me put it this way: morality seems to be more about giving good advice, rather than objectively evaluating something as good or bad. There's not an actual standard out there.

I'll debate you on any of those claims.
Cody_Franklin
Posts: 9,483
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10/2/2010 2:30:17 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
I guess it's that the concept of morality only works if you accept arbitrary definitions as necessary. Consider moral codes which list "happiness" as the highest good. When you ask why, they'll merely tell you that maximizing happiness is the reason for which morality exists. It's nothing more than the institutionalization of subjective preferences. It's more of a "how-to" that we've created for ourselves, rather than an objective code of right and wrong.