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  • Originally posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    I say, "The meaning/purpose I choose for my life is to leave the world a better place than I found it."
    The word "better" implies an objective standard ("better" compared to what, and for whom?). You also beg the question that "to leave the world a better place than I found it" is meaningful in and of itself ("implication of a hidden or special significance") and that such activity can give your life meaning.

    Originally posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    So tell me, MM. Which statement is wrong and how is it wrong?

    Belief 1: From an atheist position, there is no objective, absolute, eternal meaning to life or living: meaning ends when the mind(s) that conceived it end(s)
    Belief 2: From an atheist position, meaning (symbolism, purpose, value) is subjectively derived by the sentient mind.
    Belief 3: Meaning is only "objective" in so far as one person's subjective meaning is objectively real to another person.

    Which one(s) is(are) false beliefs, in your opinion?
    #1 is mostly fine up to the colon but should be simplified to "From an atheist position, life is meaningless." As for the rest, to say that "meaning ends" implies that it ever existed in the first place, so the second half of that statement would contradict the first.

    #2 is false. "Meaning" and "meaningfulness" can not be simply plucked out of thin air. Words have meaning because they refer to things that objectively exist; otherwise, they would be literally meaningless. You can prove this to yourself by making up a word -- let's say "twapplegorg" -- and then try to give it meaning without ever linking it to something that actually exists. It can't be done.

    #3 just looks like typical carpedm9587 word-salad nonsense.

    And so you're left with #1: From an atheist position, life is meaningless.
    Some may call me foolish, and some may call me odd
    But I'd rather be a fool in the eyes of man
    Than a fool in the eyes of God


    From "Fools Gold" by Petra

    Comment


    • Originally posted by carpedm9587 View Post
      Adrift, you're splitting hairs here a bit more than a tad. If MM puts forward an argument, he is the one putting it forward. It is the argument he is making. Saying "your argument" doesn't mean "you created this and no one has ever thought of it." It means nothing more than "the argument you are putting forward."

      I have to admit that this is a little silly, IMO. I'm going to leave the last word on this topic to you.
      If you can't understand why it's important to clarify who is arguing for what, and where the argument originates, then I don't know what to tell you. It's not splitting hairs, and it's not silly.

      Originally posted by carpedm9587 View Post
      How is what you said in any way negating the statement "meaning is what is derived by sentient minds?" Your statement is a little ambiguous. If it's a "greater sentient mind," it's still a sentient mind, right? Are you suggesting you can have "meaning" without "sentience?"
      In a sense. I'm suggesting that there are philosophical and religious schools of thought that do not see "the meaning of life" narrowed down to sentient beings ascribing meaning (as you put it). In, say, a pantheistic system like Taoism, one avoids defining purpose. You don't ascribe or derive meaning from anything, nor is meaning ascribed to or by you, rather (in some convoluted fashion that I don't quite understand) you merely live spontaneously within the natural order of things, and that is, in a sense, the meaning of life. I'm sure if lao tzu was around he could complicate it further. The point is merely that schools of thought on what constitutes "the meaning of life" are far from simple.

      Originally posted by carpedm9587 View Post
      Because your responses suggest you didn't understand the argument.
      Trust me, everyone gets it.

      Originally posted by carpedm9587 View Post
      I don't assume your questions aren't honest, so you don't need the qualifier.
      The qualifier is a turn of phrase used pretty commonly in normal conversations.

      Originally posted by carpedm9587 View Post
      As for the girl, her meaning is no different than mine: it will be what she chooses it to be for as long as she has a life to live. There are many examples of people in horrendous situations who chose to make their last moments about helping, saving, or protecting others. Or about defiance in the face of injustice. When one can no longer derive meaning in life - then they will likely find a way to end that life.
      Well, I mean, that's the rub...she doesn't choose anything. She has no choice. She is a victim of circumstance. Millions of others throughout the world have been and continue to be as well. There are people right now who are enduring human trafficking who do not have the ability to choose anything. Who cannot help, save, or protect others. Who are merely surviving. Your assertion that they can simply find meaning by creating their own is to spit in their face. See, the issue here is that you're so stuck in "I am right" mode, than you're not seeing the bigger picture. These people still have value, they still have worth, purpose, and meaning, but it's not that which they create, it's that which is endowed within them.

      Originally posted by carpedm9587 View Post
      Since that discussion, I have been sampling some of their writings. In general, I find that is exactly what they (at least the ones I have sampled) do. Like me, they acknowledge that there is no "ultimate" (as in eternal, absolute, objective) meaning to anything. And then they do what theists do: deny that subjective meaning is "real." My conclusion is that they are making the same error theists are making - and their day-to-day actions belie their stated beliefs.
      Wait what? Of course if they deny your subjective sense of meaning they're going to deny an objective meaning of life. You thought that I was arguing that they denied your sense of meaning, but accepted an objective one? They're atheists. How would they conceivably do that, or better yet, how is it conceivable that you thought I would think they could do that?

      Originally posted by carpedm9587 View Post
      Of course I cannot "KNOW" that. That is the reason for the "IMO." I assumed you knew that meant "in my opinion."
      Yes, I know what IMO means. But your IMO was so baseless as to be nonsense.

      Originally posted by carpedm9587 View Post
      And Rosenberg's roots don't alter my suspicion one iota. We live in a culture saturated with theistic concepts. We marinate in them whether we have the beliefs or not. We use expressions like "oh my god." We have money that says "in god we trust." We listen to prayers before significant government events. We are surrounded by churches. Our language is festooned with theistic concepts. Our history is rife with theology. It's in our Declaration of Independence. You cannot live on this planet in society and not absorb theistic ideas and mindsets.
      Oh brother. Who is more likely "culturally saturated with theistic concepts?" You, a self-described former Christian (and as I recall, a rather dedicated Christian at that) turned apostate, or an atheist who was born into a radically left, uber-atheist family, who then went on and spent the greater part of his life as a professional philosopher with an emphasis on metaphysical naturalism and atheism? Trust me (turn of phrase), Rosenberg is twice the atheist you are.

      Originally posted by carpedm9587 View Post
      Agreed. I write here quickly, and don't do the editorial cycle I do when I write courses and books. However, it is not clear that everyone understands the arguments. A fair number of the responses suggest that is not true. I find myself, often, feeling like the guy who just said, "The car is blue" only to get responded to with "It is not - it has four tires!"
      It seems to me that if anyone here doesn't understand your arguments, it's you. Maybe that's why your posts are so long, you're attempting to harmonize in your mind through these large writing blocks your own contradictory claims, and/or convince yourself you know what you're talking about. Something to mull over.
      Last edited by Adrift; 06-14-2019, 05:29 PM.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
        The word "better" implies an objective standard ("better" compared to what, and for whom?).
        Says who? It's my meaning and purpose (subjective to me) so "better" is also subjectively measured by me. I think less poverty is better than more poverty. If I can achieve that, I will have left the world a "better" place, by my assessment.

        What is it with you folks and you'r need for everything to be "objective" to be meaningful? You cannot seem to escape this type of thinking...

        Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
        You also beg the question that "to leave the world a better place than I found it" is meaningful in and of itself ("implication of a hidden or special significance") and that such activity can give your life meaning.
        It doesn't "give my life meaning." It is the purpose (that sense of "meaning") to which I select to devote my life. There is no symbology involved, and I am not making a statement of value - so that leaves meaning as "purpose." Does "reducing poverty" make my life "meaningful" (as in, "have an impact")? It will to someone who finds less poverty a good thing, and won't to someone who doesn't think so.

        When we say "he lived a meaningful life," we usually simply mean "what he did with his life are things that are important to me." Nothing more - nothing less. At last, that's what I mean.

        Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
        #1 is mostly fine up to the colon but should be simplified to "From an atheist position, life is meaningless." As for the rest, to say that "meaning ends" implies that it ever existed in the first place, so the second half of that statement would contradict the first.
        First, I prefer NOT to use "From an atheist position, life is meaningless" because it's not true. My life is meaningful if I find meaning in it. My mind is capable of conceiving meaning, so it is subjectively meaningful. There is simply no basis for claiming an objective "meaning" to my life because there is no objective metric against which to assess it.

        The second betrays your mindset - and is patently false. Before someone invented the penny and named it - neither the word nor the object existed - so there was no meaning to be ascribed. Then they were invented and suddenly we had a new word and a new object both imbued with meaning by sentient minds. When the universe is at its heat death, and there is no thought or sentience remaining, the word and object will again not exist, and there will be no mind to ascribe meaning to them. Unless you want to suggest that the "meaning" of the word and object becomes absolute and eternal the moment the meaning is conceived? What an odd thought that would be: finite and limited mind creating infinite and eternal meaning. Odd, that...

        Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
        #2 is false. "Meaning" and "meaningfulness" can not be simply plucked out of thin air. Words have meaning because they refer to things that objectively exist; otherwise, they would be literally meaningless. You can prove this to yourself by making up a word -- let's say "twapplegorg" -- and then try to give it meaning without ever linking it to something that actually exists. It can't be done.
        Oh horse hockey. You are trying to argue that because the symbol is associated with a particular objective reality, that somehow make it "objective meaning." As you previously noted, any object or symbol can be assigned any meaning whatsoever. The assignment is completely subjective. "Penny could mean "the smallest value coin," "the thing I breathe through," or "that steaming pile the dog left on the lawn." What symbol is assigned to what reality (i.e., the "meaning" of the symbol) is subjectively selected, and I think you know it.

        Likewise, "acting to reduce poverty" is an objectively real set of actions. If I find "life" to be meaningful because someone engages in "reducing poverty," then so be it. Both assignments are arbitrary, both have objectively real associations, and you are trying to make hay without the benefit of any land.

        Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
        #3 just looks like typical carpedm9587 word-salad nonsense.
        Since it seems to be difficult for you, let me help you out. If there were a sentient god, that god would be able to derive meaning. That god's stated "meaning" would be objectively real to me but subjective to that god. Your "meaning" is objectively real to me, but subjective to you. You remember the definitions of subjective and objective, right?

        Subjective: based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions.
        Objective: not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.

        So your belief that "living life is meaningful when lived in concert with god's will" (assuming that is your belief) is subjective to you - but objective to me. My personal feelings or opinions do not alter that fact of your belief. Your feelings and opinions, of course do.

        Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
        And so you're left with #1: From an atheist position, life is meaningless.
        I am left with "life's meaning is subjectively derived." And you are left without much of an argument, because you keep tripping over yourself.
        The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King

        I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Adrift View Post
          If you can't understand why it's important to clarify who is arguing for what, and where the argument originates, then I don't know what to tell you. It's not splitting hairs, and it's not silly.

          In a sense. I'm suggesting that there are philosophical and religious schools of thought that do not see "the meaning of life" narrowed down to sentient beings ascribing meaning (as you put it). In, say, a pantheistic system like Taoism, one avoids defining purpose. You don't ascribe or derive meaning from anything, nor is meaning ascribed to or by you, rather (in some convoluted fashion that I don't quite understand) you merely live spontaneously within the natural order of things, and that is, in a sense, the meaning of life. I'm sure if lao tzu was around he could complicate it further. The point is merely that schools of thought on what constitutes "the meaning of life" are far from simple.
          I don't think I said otherwise, and I am aware that my own philosophy around these things is not "mainstream."

          Originally posted by Adrift View Post
          Trust me, everyone gets it.
          The responses do not suggest that is true. And this exchange is not likely to resolve anytime soon, so I'll leave the last word to you.

          Originally posted by Adrift View Post
          The qualifier is a turn of phrase used pretty commonly in normal conversations.

          Well, I mean, that's the rub...she doesn't choose anything. She has no choice. She is a victim of circumstance. Millions of others throughout the world have been and continue to be as well. There are people right now who are enduring human trafficking who do not have the ability to choose anything. Who cannot help, save, or protect others. Who are merely surviving. Your assertion that they can simply find meaning by creating their own is to spit in their face. See, the issue here is that you're so stuck in "I am right" mode, than you're not seeing the bigger picture. These people still have value, they still have worth, purpose, and meaning, but it's not that which they create, it's that which is endowed upon them.
          Adrift - each of us finds ourselves in situations we cannot control, but we are never without choice. Until our mind is snuffed out, we continually have choices. The choices may be constrained, but they exist. I watched my father go, over the course of two years, from a robust man who traveled the continent with his wife, to a frail husk gasping his last on his death bed (cancer). As his disease progressed, his circle closed. First he could not travel extensively, so he took short trips around the area to beloved spots, or rode the ferry. Then he couldn't drive, so he walked. His walks got progressively shorter until he couldn't leave the apartment. So he walked up and down the living room. Then he had to use a walker to get to the bathroom. And then he needed help to get to the commode next to his bed. Finally, he couldn't leave his bed. At each step, his choices narrowed - but he never succumbed to "I am a victim." He accepted his boundaries, and made choices within them.

          Even a person with "locked-in syndrome" has choices about what they do with their mind, and how they choose to mentally spend their time. And in those choices, they can elect what meaning they will bring to their lives.

          Originally posted by Adrift View Post
          Wait what? Of course if they deny your subjective sense of meaning they're going to deny an objective meaning of life. You thought that I was arguing that they denied your sense of meaning, but accepted an objective one? They're atheists. How would they conceivably do that, or better yet, how is it conceivable that you thought I would think they could do that?
          These are the kinds of responses that lead me to believe that you guys really don't get the points being made. Nothing about what you just said was in what I posted. ANd nothing about what you thought I thought is actually what I thought (I think I pulled a synapse on that last sentence... )

          Originally posted by Adrift View Post
          Yes, I know what IMO means. But your IMO was so baseless as to be nonsense.
          Your opinion is duly noted.

          Originally posted by Adrift View Post
          Oh brother. Who is more likely "culturally saturated with theistic concepts?" You, a self-described former Christian (and as I recall, a rather dedicated Christian at that) turned apostate, or an atheist who was born into a radically left, uber-atheist family, who then went on and spent the greater part of his life as a professional philosopher with an emphasis and metaphysical naturalism and atheism? Trust me (turn of phrase), Rosenberg is twice the atheist you are.
          I have to wonder if it is possible for any of you to post without the condescending emojis. I guess the answer is "no." Be that as it may...

          You paint a false dichotomy. The fact is, we all marinate in our culture and history. Who is more likely to be "culturally saturated?" Well, I guess you could argue it either way. One could claim that the person who grew up in a Christian home, went to seminary, and considered himself "born again" is more likely to be strongly influenced by theistic themes. Alternatively, one could argue that someone who HAD that upbringing and separated from it is more likely to be tuned to, and sensitive to, the various ways that theme has infiltrated our culture and influenced us. Which is correct? I suspect it differs from person to person - and there is no fixed answer.

          Originally posted by Adrift View Post
          It seems to me that if anyone here doesn't understand your arguments, it's you. Maybe that's why your posts are so long, you're attempting to harmonize in your mind through these large writing blocks your own contradictory claims, and/or convince yourself you know what you're talking about. Something to mull over.
          Again - your opinion is duly noted. Yes - I sometimes work out ideas in these discussions. Then there are those ideas that have long since been worked out. This is one of the latter. The "life is meaningless" rant from both theist and atheist is nonsense, for the reasons I have cited. I agree it has no objective/ultimate/eternal meaning. That is obvious. That does not mean it has "no meaning." Subjective meaning is real - exists - and is quite commonplace in the human experience. To deny this is simply self-refuting, because you have to use language to deny it - which is subjectively assigned meaning.
          The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King

          I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Adrift View Post
            ....you're attempting to harmonize in your mind through these large writing blocks your own contradictory claims, and/or convince yourself you know what you're talking about.
            So it's not just me...
            Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

            Comment


            • Originally posted by seer View Post
              So it's not just me...
              Absolutely not.

              It's pretty much every theist I've ever encountered.
              The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King

              I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

              Comment


              • Originally posted by Adrift View Post
                These people still have value, they still have worth, purpose, and meaning, but it's not that which they create, it's that which is endowed within them.
                You just summarized the entire debate in a single sentence. I have nothing else to add.
                Some may call me foolish, and some may call me odd
                But I'd rather be a fool in the eyes of man
                Than a fool in the eyes of God


                From "Fools Gold" by Petra

                Comment


                • Originally posted by carpedm9587 View Post
                  Adrift - each of us finds ourselves in situations we cannot control, but we are never without choice. Until our mind is snuffed out, we continually have choices. The choices may be constrained, but they exist. I watched my father go, over the course of two years, from a robust man who traveled the continent with his wife, to a frail husk gasping his last on his death bed (cancer). As his disease progressed, his circle closed. First he could not travel extensively, so he took short trips around the area to beloved spots, or rode the ferry. Then he couldn't drive, so he walked. His walks got progressively shorter until he couldn't leave the apartment. So he walked up and down the living room. Then he had to use a walker to get to the bathroom. And then he needed help to get to the commode next to his bed. Finally, he couldn't leave his bed. At each step, his choices narrowed - but he never succumbed to "I am a victim." He accepted his boundaries, and made choices within them.

                  Even a person with "locked-in syndrome" has choices about what they do with their mind, and how they choose to mentally spend their time. And in those choices, they can elect what meaning they will bring to their lives.
                  I'm sorry to hear about your father's predicament before his death. I'm no stranger to illness and death, so I sympathize, but your father's life still had meaning even at his worst, not because of any meaning he proscribed, but because his value was innate. An 8-year old child being shuffled into Auschwitz isn't fighting the system. She isn't succumbing to "I am a victim," she is a victim. She doesn't have choices, she has circumstances foisted upon her well outside of her skill set, abilities, and understanding. She can't help others, she's helpless. To say either that she still has the ability to make her own meaning, when she clearly does not, or that she is meaningless if she cannot is, again, to spit in her face. You're not seeing the bigger picture.


                  Originally posted by carpedm9587 View Post
                  These are the kinds of responses that lead me to believe that you guys really don't get the points being made. Nothing about what you just said was in what I posted. ANd nothing about what you thought I thought is actually what I thought (I think I pulled a synapse on that last sentence... )
                  Let's break it down then:
                  Originally posted by carpedm9587 View Post
                  Since that discussion, I have been sampling some of their writings.
                  The discussion and atheist in question are those atheists that both MM and I showed you, who reject your concept of subjective meaning.

                  Originally posted by carpedm9587 View Post
                  In general, I find that is exactly what they (at least the ones I have sampled) do.
                  What is it that they exactly do? This goes back to my previous post, "you didn't initially accept that the atheists I cited were speaking of 'making one's own meaning.' You thought they were speaking of the greater meaning that theists hold." So, from the context of the part of my post you were replying to, the thing that you find that they "exactly do" is that they reject the greater meaning that theists hold. They reject objective meaning. You act as though this is some revelation. Otherwise, what's the significance of you "sampling some of their writings" and coming to this particular conclusion as though it were news to anyone?

                  You double down on this in the next sentence,

                  Originally posted by carpedm9587 View Post
                  Like me, they acknowledge that there is no "ultimate" (as in eternal, absolute, objective) meaning to anything.
                  But, of course, this has never been in question. MM and I weren't showing you atheists who both rejected your limited understanding of subjective meaning, but then accept our greater understanding of objective meaning. That's absurd. They're atheists. Of course they reject our understanding of objective meaning.

                  Originally posted by carpedm9587 View Post
                  And then they do what theists do: deny that subjective meaning is "real."
                  Well of course. That's why we presented them to you.

                  Originally posted by carpedm9587 View Post
                  My conclusion is that they are making the same error theists are making - and their day-to-day actions belie their stated beliefs.
                  And we also believe they are in error, but because in their day-to-day (like you) their actions belie their stated beliefs.

                  Originally posted by carpedm9587 View Post
                  I have to wonder if it is possible for any of you to post without the condescending emojis. I guess the answer is "no." Be that as it may...
                  Don't preach that to me. I've seen you use these emoticons nearly since your return, all the while complaining when others use them in reply to you. In this medium, emoticons are perfectly fine ways of expressing one's non-verbal expressions. You used them yourself a couple times in the post I'm replying to. If you don't like their usage, then stay away from message forums. It's a useful part of the mode of communication on non-verbal forums like this. If I was talking to you in person, I'd be shaking my head right now.

                  Originally posted by carpedm9587 View Post
                  You paint a false dichotomy. The fact is, we all marinate in our culture and history. Who is more likely to be "culturally saturated?" Well, I guess you could argue it either way. One could claim that the person who grew up in a Christian home, went to seminary, and considered himself "born again" is more likely to be strongly influenced by theistic themes. Alternatively, one could argue that someone who HAD that upbringing and separated from it is more likely to be tuned to, and sensitive to, the various ways that theme has infiltrated our culture and influenced us. Which is correct? I suspect it differs from person to person - and there is no fixed answer.
                  Then why suggest that they are the ones more culturally saturated by theistic concepts? That they are the ones that "have not completely let go of their theistic roots?" You don't know that, so don't use that as an excuse for why they have a different view of subjective meaning than you do.
                  Last edited by Adrift; 06-14-2019, 08:37 PM.

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by carpedm9587 View Post
                    I have been clear, form the outset, that I conclude belief in god is a matter of faith - whether you believe such a being exists, or believe it does not. I think the theist makes a lot of irrational leaps, and engages in a great deal of "arguments from uncertainty" to arrive at "god exists," and from that basis then makes some amazing statements about their level of certainty and absolute knowledge.



                    So, a little off here. The first part is correct: we all derive our moral values. "Choose" is not a word I would use, nit because it isn't accurate - but because it conveys the connotation of a degree of randomness. That is a drum the average moral absolutist/objectivist loves to pound, so I prefer not to feed that misconception. But I have been very clear that I think the Christian is not exempt from this process. The moral average absolutist/objectivist is still left trying to figure out which of the slate of "absolute/objective" moral principles that have been put forward since the dawn of man is the "right" one, and then to interpret that slate.

                    But the latter part of your statement is a bit off. I did not say there is no meaning outside of what humans create - I said meaning is a function of sentience. It is the sentient mind that derives meaning. Assuming god exists and is sentient, then god too would derive meaning. But there is no "meaning" if there is no mind to conceive it.

                    God doesn't derive meaning, He assigns it. Things have a purpose or end insofar as He endows then with it.


                    Originally posted by carpedm9587
                    Why would I do that? Truth is nothing more than the alignment between a statement/claim and reality. Truth exists where there is alignment between statement and reality, and does not exist when there is no such alignment. How could I conclude "objective truth does not exist?"



                    Yes.

                    You just accepted that everything is subjective, ergo you have abandoned objective reality.

                    OK, perhaps you didn't mean precisely that, here.

                    One of the problems in this discussion is that you assume that because we are all unique individuals with our subjective experience of reality, this means that morality must be also subjective.

                    (That's the hypothetical you agreed to: "If morality is necessarily subjective because we all choose the values we live by, then everything is subjective, because we are all individuals with unique perspectives and experiences.")


                    This confuses two senses of the term 'subjective' when it comes to morality.


                    Objective morality= the view that there are moral values that are true regardless of what people think.

                    Subjective morality = the converse of the above. There are no moral values that are true except those which people accept as true, and people accepting moral values as true makes those values true ('for them')


                    Both positions are completely compatible with the fact that people can, and do, individually (and 'subjectively' ) choose what moral values they hold as being true. So your observation (that even moral objectivists have to decide for themselves what morals they will live by, etc) is true but irrelevant to the question.


                    Originally posted by carpedm9587
                    We can't. Indeed, it is very likely what we each experience as "green" is slightly different. That is because the experience of "green" is within the mind, and the reality that creates the experience "green" is received from different physical places and/or at different times (i.e., we can't both be in the same place at the same time), filtered through the receptors (eyes), electrical plumbing (nerves), as interpreted in our central processor (brain). Any difference between our location/time, receptors, electrical plumbing, and processing can alter the experience of "green." That does not change the fact that the object we are both looking at is absorbing particular wavelengths of photons and reflecting others to our receptors. The object we are looking at is objectively real (or so we have to assume), but our experience of it is subjective.



                    I don't know what a "complete subjectivist" is, but I can tell you that, so far, quite the opposite is true. Recognizing the uniqueness of our experiences gives me the ability to empathize more. When my wife reacts to something differently than I, I can appreciate that there is something going on for her that is not the same as what is going on for me - even if we are looking at the same things. It colors all parts of my life - though imperfectly, I will acknowledge. There are some behaviors that I still find difficult to deal with.
                    The more someone moves towards subjectvism in their worldview, the less basis they have for being able to communicate with others in any meaningful way. We are each locked in our unique experiences with now way to share or communicate them to others. That's a poison that will eat away all your relationships.




                    Originally posted by carpedm9587
                    I get that a lot, and it simply is not true. But I doubt I will convince anyone here of that. There appears to be this underlying belief that the moral absolutist/objectivist has that someone who is a moral relativist/subjectivist is therefore required to "honor" everyone else's moral code. As if we are supposed to say to the Maoist that Seer continually refers to, "Oh - you believe that it is moral to murder others to further your own power? Alrighty then. Good on you, mate. Off you go. Stick to your guns, comrade!"

                    Sure you can say that they are wrong, but your worldview only allows you to say that they are wrong according to your individual morality, and you are forced to concede that they are right according to their morality, which is just as valid for them as yours is for you. There is nothing about objective reality that you can point to to show that their actions, motives, or moral beliefs conflict with reality.

                    When you argue for, or against, something in the area of morality, you aren't arguing about objective reality. When you try to convince someone on TWeb to adopt your moral views, you aren't trying to convince them that they should change from having some false belief about reality to having some true belief, because your worldview doesn't have such things.


                    In your worldview, moral values are in the same (ontological??) class of values as all other values - such as that someone dislikes it when people who eat with their mouth open; or when someone thinks that blue is the best colour; or thinks that one should support the sports team in their hometown, not the one with the players you like best; or ...

                    There is no difference at all, in principle, between you saying 'it is wrong to steal' and someone saying 'it is wrong to eat with your mouth open'. Ditto 'it is wrong to lie' and 'it is wrong to think yellow is better than blue'




                    Originally posted by carpedm9587
                    When we derive a moral framework, we use that framework to not only assess our own behavior - but that of any other sentient being around us. We hold the moral framework because we believe it is best. We recognize that if all humans valued as we value, and moralized as we moralize, the world would conform to our idea of "best." So we strive to convince those around us to adopt our views. We gather with those who share our views to have a society that aligns with our idea of "best," and for protection against those who do not so align. When we cannot convince others to share our views, we resort to the only options possible: ignore (for the trivial things), isolate/separate (for the more concerning things) or contend (for the most critical things).

                    So your moral worldview reduces to questions of self-interest, and nothing else. Since there is nothing external to people that we can appeal to as a basis for morality, we can only appeal to self-interest, and ultimately, our own self-interest. It's not wrong for someone else to have a conflicting moral view to ours, it's simply inconvenient to us. We're not convincing someone to change their moral views to align with ours because they are not aligned with external reality, but because it suits us better and makes our life more comfortable if others do what we want them to do.

                    There are, I'm sure, moral values that you would resort to personal violence to defend. You would (I assume) be prepared to physically harm someone who was themselves physically harming someone else, if that was what it took to stop them.

                    But that is no different than physically harming someone to get them to stop eating with their mouth open, or to get them to stop wearing yellow. That is the outcome of your worldview. That is literally insane.





                    Originally posted by carpedm9587
                    I've been following the thread, and have elected not to add my voice to the discussion. Frankly, the conversation seems more about who is and is not a Christian than a real discussion on morality. I'm not interested in trying to define who is or is not a Christian. That is for Christians to concern themselves with. If Buttigieg claims to be Christian, and the externality of his beliefs aligns with at least some Christian sects, then I'll take him at his word. There are Christians who accept homosexuals, and Christians who do not. There are Christians who accept the concept of the Trinity, and Christians who do not. There are even Christians who believe Jesus was the son of god, and some who do not. I realize many on one side or the other of each of those issues will point to the other side and claim vehemently that the others are NOT Christians. That is their concern. It is not something I engage in.

                    It's a shame that you've passed over the discussion about Tassman's moral claims, since it illustrates quite nicely why a moral subjectivist has nothing important to say about morals to anyone else.



                    Carpedm, I believe that at it's highest there is something incredibly beautiful about morality, about our moral sense. At that point there is something that calls us out of ourselves, beyond ourselves. Something transcendent. We can see it when someone does something entirely self-sacrificial, something truly altruistic. There's some thing there that we all feel deeply, that we all feel we should aspire to, given the opportunity.

                    Yet that doesn't - can't exist - in your worldview. Man - each to themselves - is the sole measure of morality. There is no way, and no reason, to transcend yourself and your self-interest. Your moral horizon is circumscribed to the dimensions of your good-will and your selflessness.

                    That is tragic. I hurt for your loss.
                    ...>>> Witty remark or snarky quote of another poster goes here <<<...

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Adrift View Post
                      I'm sorry to hear about your father's predicament before his death. I'm no stranger to illness and death, so I sympathize, but your father's life still had meaning even at his worst, not because of any meaning he proscribed, but because his value was innate. An 8-year old child being shuffled into Auschwitz isn't fighting the system. She isn't succumbing to "I am a victim," she is a victim. She doesn't have choices, she has circumstances foisted upon her well outside of her skill set, abilities, and understanding. She can't help others, she's helpless. To say either that she still has the ability to make her own meaning, when she clearly does not, or that she is meaningless if she cannot is, again, to spit in her face. You're not seeing the bigger picture.
                      First, my story about my dad was not about soliciting sympathy. It was about the inevitable course we all follow. As we age, our circle inevitably closes, much as his did. I reject your "victimhood" approach and your insistence that value has to be assigned externally, or is simply "innate." A thing has value to the degree it is valued. It's no more complex than that. It is true in life and in economics. People don't have "innate value." The very concept is meaningless. Value is an assessment of worth. To some people, the little girl walking to her death at Auswitchz was valueless. Certainly the Nazi's assessed her as such. To herself, she had life and value. To most of the rest of us, she was valuable because she is a member of our species, a part of the greater whole, and because we can see the potential she has a a thinking, feeling human being. Until someone somewhere sees something as valuable - it has no value.

                      Originally posted by Adrift View Post
                      Let's break it down then:


                      The discussion and atheist in question are those atheists that both MM and I showed you, who reject your concept of subjective meaning.


                      Understood. Like you they either think subjective meaning doesn't exist - or it's a "fiction" or an illusion. They are wrong. Subjective meaning is ALL that exists (with regard to meaning). YOu cannot have value without a valuer.

                      Originally posted by Adrift View Post
                      What is it that they exactly do?
                      They deny the obvious existence of subjective meaning. And they used subjectively derived language to do it - defeating their own argument in the process.

                      Originally posted by Adrift View Post
                      This goes back to my previous post, "you didn't initially accept that the atheists I cited were speaking of 'making one's own meaning.' You thought they were speaking of the greater meaning that theists hold." So, from the context of the part of my post you were replying to, the thing that you find that they "exactly do" is that they reject the greater meaning that theists hold. They reject objective meaning. You act as though this is some revelation. Otherwise, what's the significance of you "sampling some of their writings" and coming to this particular conclusion as though it were news to anyone?
                      Not a surprise. I reject objective meaning as well. So here's how it breaks down:

                      Theists (generally) - Accept objective meaning, reject subjective meaning.
                      Atheists (generally) - Reject objective meaning, reject subjective meaning.
                      Michel - Rejects objective meaning, accepts subjective meaning

                      Originally posted by Adrift View Post
                      You double down on this in the next sentence,
                      Not sure how this is "doubling down," but I agree with the other atheists and disagree with theists on the existence of subjective meaning.

                      Originally posted by Adrift View Post
                      But, of course, this has never been in question. MM and I weren't showing you atheists who both rejected your limited understanding of subjective meaning, but then accept our greater understanding of objective meaning. That's absurd. They're atheists. Of course they reject our understanding of objective meaning.
                      I never said you did. This is a misunderstanding of my posts on your part. As I said - I don't think you are getting what I am saying.

                      Originally posted by Adrift View Post
                      Well of course. That's why we presented them to you.
                      And I disagree with all of you concerning subjective meaning. This is why I say that the average atheists has not let go of the theistic indoctrination that "subjective meaning is an illusion," or (more generally) that subjective things are unreal and only objective things are real.

                      Originally posted by Adrift View Post
                      And we also believe they are in error, but because in their day-to-day (like you) their actions belie their stated beliefs.
                      Except that, with respect to subjective meaning, you actually agree with them, and THAT is where I am saying their actions belie their beliefs - as do yours.

                      Originally posted by Adrift View Post
                      Don't preach that to me. I've seen you use these emoticons nearly since your return, all the while complaining when others use them in reply to you. In this medium, emoticons are perfectly fine ways of expressing one's non-verbal expressions. You used them yourself a couple times in the post I'm replying to. If you don't like their usage, then stay away from message forums. It's a useful part of the mode of communication on non-verbal forums like this. If I was talking to you in person, I'd be shaking my head right now.
                      Actually - except for humorous exchanges - I generally eschew emoticons that are designed to belittle. I'm not claiming perfection, mind you - I generally eschew emotional outbursts in writing - but I have managed to have a few here. I might in a discussion with someone. The rolling eyes is simply meant to belittle. The same is true of and a variety of other emoticons. Many of the people here simply struggle with having a discussion that is civil and adult. You are among the better of that group. I frankly was surprised to see you using the emoticon. As for preaching - I don't consider a simple call for civility "preaching," if you do, then

                      Originally posted by Adrift View Post
                      Then why suggest that they are the ones more culturally saturated by theistic concepts? That they are the ones that "have not completely let go of their theistic roots?"
                      Because it is the only explanation I can conceive for the amazingly self refuting belief that "subjective meaning is an illusion."

                      Originally posted by Adrift View Post
                      You don't know that, so don't use that as an excuse for why they have a different view of subjective meaning than you do.
                      Adrift, I will put forward my best opinion on why a thing is so. If you don't agree, you're free to tell me you don't agree. You're also free to try to tell me what I can and cannot say. If I'm behaving poorly, and you call me on it, hopefully I will have the self-respect to listen, apologize, and adjust my behavior. If you simply don't like what I'm saying, then I will leave it to you as to whether you do or do not discuss with me. My best explanation for why so many atheists hold this bizarre "subjective meaning is an illusion" position is that they have marinated in theism and it has skewed their thinking. If someone has an alternate explanation for how they can hold such a self-refuting position - I'm all ears.
                      The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King

                      I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

                      Comment


                      • Originally posted by MaxVel View Post
                        God doesn't derive meaning, He assigns it. Things have a purpose or end insofar as He endows then with it.
                        I stand corrected. Derive was, indeed, the exact wrong word. My philosophical position that all meaning is subjective is not consistent with "derived." I used the wrong word. Sentient minds assign meaning - they do not derive it. Thanks for the correction.

                        Originally posted by MaxVel View Post
                        You just accepted that everything is subjective, ergo you have abandoned objective reality.
                        No. I have affirmed that the human experience is limited to the subjective. We subjectively experience what is objectively real. That is so obviously true to me, I don't know how it can NOT be obvious to someone else. The tree exists. The experience of "tree" that we have is a collection of electro-chemical processes in the brain. It is representational. It is a subjective experience.

                        Originally posted by MaxVel View Post
                        OK, perhaps you didn't mean precisely that, here.

                        One of the problems in this discussion is that you assume that because we are all unique individuals with our subjective experience of reality, this means that morality must be also subjective.

                        (That's the hypothetical you agreed to: "If morality is necessarily subjective because we all choose the values we live by, then everything is subjective, because we are all individuals with unique perspectives and experiences.")
                        To be clear - if I actually did agree with that statement, then I read it too quickly. I object to "everything is subjective." I do not deny the existence of an objective reality. I believe the physical universe as well as logical and mathematical absolutes are objectively real. But things like value, meaning, and morality are entirely subjective.

                        Originally posted by MaxVel View Post
                        This confuses two senses of the term 'subjective' when it comes to morality.

                        Objective morality= the view that there are moral values that are true regardless of what people think.

                        Subjective morality = the converse of the above. There are no moral values that are true except those which people accept as true, and people accepting moral values as true makes those values true ('for them')
                        And I believe the second exists, and the first does not. I have no basis for believing the first to exist - but I see the second in operation all around me, and it confirms to my experiences internally.

                        Originally posted by MaxVel View Post
                        Both positions are completely compatible with the fact that people can, and do, individually (and 'subjectively' ) choose what moral values they hold as being true. So your observation (that even moral objectivists have to decide for themselves what morals they will live by, etc) is true but irrelevant to the question.
                        Max - it's not just that they choose what they think is true (morally). it is that HOW they choose it is aligned to how they value. This is what morality is generally about.

                        Originally posted by MaxVel View Post
                        The more someone moves towards subjectvism in their worldview, the less basis they have for being able to communicate with others in any meaningful way. We are each locked in our unique experiences with now way to share or communicate them to others. That's a poison that will eat away all your relationships.
                        So far - no problem. Indeed, it has enhanced my relationships by recognizing that we each have our unique experiences, and "what is happening for Michel is not necessarily what is happening for someone else." Your assignment of this dynamic to the class "poison" is simply wrong.

                        Originally posted by MaxVel View Post
                        Sure you can say that they are wrong, but your worldview only allows you to say that they are wrong according to your individual morality, and you are forced to concede that they are right according to their morality, which is just as valid for them as yours is for you. There is nothing about objective reality that you can point to to show that their actions, motives, or moral beliefs conflict with reality.

                        When you argue for, or against, something in the area of morality, you aren't arguing about objective reality. When you try to convince someone on TWeb to adopt your moral views, you aren't trying to convince them that they should change from having some false belief about reality to having some true belief, because your worldview doesn't have such things.

                        In your worldview, moral values are in the same (ontological??) class of values as all other values - such as that someone dislikes it when people who eat with their mouth open; or when someone thinks that blue is the best colour; or thinks that one should support the sports team in their hometown, not the one with the players you like best; or ...

                        There is no difference at all, in principle, between you saying 'it is wrong to steal' and someone saying 'it is wrong to eat with your mouth open'. Ditto 'it is wrong to lie' and 'it is wrong to think yellow is better than blue'
                        So first, my hearty congratulations on being the first to express this in an accurate way. As a moral subjectivist, I am not required to acknowledge that someone's moral position is as valid as mine - but I am required to acknowledge that it is as valid for them as mine is for me. The "for them/me" is important because it recognizes there is no universal measuring stick. I completely agree with the statements you have made here.

                        Indeed, I have been the first to say that morality is a type of preference, not different in kind from a food preference or a movie preference. Seer loves to jump on this as a mechanism for trivializing "subjective morality." As I have noted many times, our preferences are rooted in what we value. We value pizza. We value life. The two lay (for most people) on pretty much opposite ends of the "value" spectrum that ranges from "trivial things I prefer/value" to "critical things I prefer/value." They are different to us in degree, but they are not ontologically different. We tend to use the word "morality" for actions related to the most critical things on that spectrum.

                        Originally posted by MaxVel View Post
                        So your moral worldview reduces to questions of self-interest, and nothing else. Since there is nothing external to people that we can appeal to as a basis for morality, we can only appeal to self-interest, and ultimately, our own self-interest. It's not wrong for someone else to have a conflicting moral view to ours, it's simply inconvenient to us. We're not convincing someone to change their moral views to align with ours because they are not aligned with external reality, but because it suits us better and makes our life more comfortable if others do what we want them to do.
                        In general, yes. We seek to protect what we most value, and a society that shares the same moral positions we hold will best protect what we value. Because we share a great deal in common (our species, this planet, mortality, our biological needs, etc.), there is significant alignment to those things we most value, so there is significant alignment to our moral frameworks.

                        Originally posted by MaxVel View Post
                        There are, I'm sure, moral values that you would resort to personal violence to defend. You would (I assume) be prepared to physically harm someone who was themselves physically harming someone else, if that was what it took to stop them.
                        I would hope I would have the courage to. I cannot say "yes" until I've been faced with that choice.

                        Originally posted by MaxVel View Post
                        But that is no different than physically harming someone to get them to stop eating with their mouth open, or to get them to stop wearing yellow. That is the outcome of your worldview. That is literally insane.
                        Ahhh..I figured it had to happen eventually. Seer plays this game too. Grab something most of us place on the trivial end of the "value" continuum and treat it as if it were on the most valued end. Yes, in my worldview, it is possible that someone can place "chewing with your mouth closed" at the "extremely valuable" end of the spectrum. If they did, their moral code might drive them to kill someone who chews with their mouth open. We would, indeed, generally consider such a person insane, because their valuing is so extremely at odds with the rest of us. They would have to value "closed mouth chewing" over "life." If we could not talk them out of that position, we would take the usual steps to address the issue. We probably would not ignore them if they show a tendency to kill people who chew with their mouths open. We would probably isolate/separate them - probably in a facility for people with psychological disorders. If confronted by them trying to kill someone chewing with their mouth open, we would (hopefully) physically contend with them to prevent them being able to act on this belief.

                        Originally posted by MaxVel View Post
                        It's a shame that you've passed over the discussion about Tassman's moral claims, since it illustrates quite nicely why a moral subjectivist has nothing important to say about morals to anyone else.
                        Moral subjectivism has nothing necessarily important to say about orals to anyone else. But let's look at your argument a bit more closely. Why is it that you think the moral subjectivist has nothing important to say? Presumably because it lacks an objective standard to appeal to. So the argument boils down to, "moral subjectivism is not good because it's not objectivism." As I have said to Seer on many occasions, this is not an argument. It simply notes that one thing is not the other. The law of identity tells us that. But you are not just reminding us that A is not B. You are trying to claim B is better than A. But you have not made that case. All you have done is remind us "A is not B."

                        Yes - subjective morality provides no objective reference point. Agreed. So what? The legal system provides no objective reference point. We don't deny its utility. The general theory of relativity tells us that space and time have no objective reference point. Yet the universe continues to function quite well.

                        If you are going to claim "B is better than A," you have to do more than simply remind us that "B is not A."

                        Originally posted by MaxVel View Post
                        Carpedm, I believe that at it's highest there is something incredibly beautiful about morality, about our moral sense. At that point there is something that calls us out of ourselves, beyond ourselves. Something transcendent. We can see it when someone does something entirely self-sacrificial, something truly altruistic. There's some thing there that we all feel deeply, that we all feel we should aspire to, given the opportunity.

                        Yet that doesn't - can't exist - in your worldview. Man - each to themselves - is the sole measure of morality. There is no way, and no reason, to transcend yourself and your self-interest. Your moral horizon is circumscribed to the dimensions of your good-will and your selflessness.

                        That is tragic. I hurt for your loss.
                        A nice speech, but the sense of pity is not required. I'm not having a problem with finding something incredibly beautiful about morality any more than I am finding it difficult finding something incredibly beautiful about how we can create and frame laws. You see, Max, we all base morality on what we value - but that does not mean we are limited to valuing ourselves. I value life - ALL life. So it translates to my moral framework. I value happiness - not just my own - but the happiness of those around me. There is room for the transcendence you point to in a subjective moral framework. Indeed, we tend to see those around us who value things beyond themselves as valuing at a higher level - probably because their valuing includes us.

                        Is there selfishness there? Of course. Pure altruism doesn't exist. We act as we do because some part of us wants to - because we derive some form of satisfaction in making that choice. No choice is ever "pure" because we are human - we are limited - we are imperfect - we are finite. We are a convoluted mess of motivations. When I feed the poor - a part of me is acting on my valuing ALL life. Part of me is experiencing delight in that grateful smile I receive from the person getting the food. That's life.

                        ETA: I would also like to add that you are one of the people online that I MOST delight in having exchanges with. While we disagree, and will "cross swords" intellectually, you keep the arguments about the arguments, and seem to eschew condescension, ridicule, and personal attacks. You are keen of mind and force me to think. You are probably the person here I have most said "I stand corrected" to. As an educator, I know that a significant amount of learning (most?) happens when we make errors and have to correct them - so you're forcing me to learn! My thanks.
                        Last edited by carpedm9587; 06-15-2019, 09:35 AM.
                        The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King

                        I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by carpedm9587 View Post
                          I stand corrected. Derive was, indeed, the exact wrong word. My philosophical position that all meaning is subjective is not consistent with "derived." I used the wrong word. Sentient minds assign meaning - they do not derive it. Thanks for the correction.



                          No. I have affirmed that the human experience is limited to the subjective. We subjectively experience what is objectively real. That is so obviously true to me, I don't know how it can NOT be obvious to someone else. The tree exists. The experience of "tree" that we have is a collection of electro-chemical processes in the brain. It is representational. It is a subjective experience.



                          To be clear - if I actually did agree with that statement, then I read it too quickly. I object to "everything is subjective." I do not deny the existence of an objective reality. I believe the physical universe as well as logical and mathematical absolutes are objectively real. But things like value, meaning, and morality are entirely subjective.



                          And I believe the second exists, and the first does not. I have no basis for believing the first to exist - but I see the second in operation all around me, and it confirms to my experiences internally.



                          Max - it's not just that they choose what they think is true (morally). it is that HOW they choose it is aligned to how they value. This is what morality is generally about.



                          So far - no problem. Indeed, it has enhanced my relationships by recognizing that we each have our unique experiences, and "what is happening for Michel is not necessarily what is happening for someone else." Your assignment of this dynamic to the class "poison" is simply wrong.



                          So first, my hearty congratulations on being the first to express this in an accurate way. As a moral subjectivist, I am not required to acknowledge that someone's moral position is as valid as mine - but I am required to acknowledge that it is as valid for them as mine is for me. The "for them/me" is important because it recognizes there is no universal measuring stick. I completely agree with the statements you have made here.

                          Indeed, I have been the first to say that morality is a type of preference, not different in kind from a food preference or a movie preference. Seer loves to jump on this as a mechanism for trivializing "subjective morality." As I have noted many times, our preferences are rooted in what we value. We value pizza. We value life. The two lay (for most people) on pretty much opposite ends of the "value" spectrum that ranges from "trivial things I prefer/value" to "critical things I prefer/value." They are different to us in degree, but they are not ontologically different. We tend to use the word "morality" for actions related to the most critical things on that spectrum.



                          In general, yes. We seek to protect what we most value, and a society that shares the same moral positions we hold will best protect what we value. Because we share a great deal in common (our species, this planet, mortality, our biological needs, etc.), there is significant alignment to those things we most value, so there is significant alignment to our moral frameworks.



                          I would hope I would have the courage to. I cannot say "yes" until I've been faced with that choice.



                          Ahhh..I figured it had to happen eventually. Seer plays this game too. Grab something most of us place on the trivial end of the "value" continuum and treat it as if it were on the most valued end. Yes, in my worldview, it is possible that someone can place "chewing with your mouth closed" at the "extremely valuable" end of the spectrum. If they did, their moral code might drive them to kill someone who chews with their mouth open. We would, indeed, generally consider such a person insane, because their valuing is so extremely at odds with the rest of us. They would have to value "closed mouth chewing" over "life." If we could not talk them out of that position, we would take the usual steps to address the issue. We probably would not ignore them if they show a tendency to kill people who chew with their mouths open. We would probably isolate/separate them - probably in a facility for people with psychological disorders. If confronted by them trying to kill someone chewing with their mouth open, we would (hopefully) physically contend with them to prevent them being able to act on this belief.

                          It's not a game. It's the logical result of your position. You're simply special pleading for the values you personally like. Adding a bunch of people who agree with you doesn't change the fact that there is no ontological difference between those and any other ones, and it's still special pleading with appeal to popularity added on.


                          Imagine a world where the majority had a bunch of bizarre and eclectic moral values - not chewing with your mouth open / only support your hometown sports teams / never wear yellow ('evil!') / never step on a crack ('break your mother's back') / stealing isn't wrong if you don't get caught at the time / etc - and enforced those with the power of the state, including fines, jail sentences and even executions. That imaginary world** is no less moral than the present one. It might even be more moral if a bigger percentage of people lived consistently by its moral codes. It's only 'different'.


                          I realise that it looks like 'a game' to you, and may feel offensive - argumentum ad absurdum - but your worldview requires it to be the case.





                          **Awful except for the mouth open stuff. I agree with that




                          Originally posted by carpedm9587
                          Moral subjectivism has nothing necessarily important to say about orals to anyone else. But let's look at your argument a bit more closely. Why is it that you think the moral subjectivist has nothing important to say? Presumably because it lacks an objective standard to appeal to. So the argument boils down to, "moral subjectivism is not good because it's not objectivism." As I have said to Seer on many occasions, this is not an argument. It simply notes that one thing is not the other. The law of identity tells us that. But you are not just reminding us that A is not B. You are trying to claim B is better than A. But you have not made that case. All you have done is remind us "A is not B."

                          Yes - subjective morality provides no objective reference point. Agreed. So what? The legal system provides no objective reference point. We don't deny its utility. The general theory of relativity tells us that space and time have no objective reference point. Yet the universe continues to function quite well.

                          If you are going to claim "B is better than A," you have to do more than simply remind us that "B is not A."

                          Um, it's because - in your worldview - you can't point to anything but your personal opinion as a basis for your moral criticism of others.** And you can't easily, if at all, justify why your personal opinion is more true or better than mine in any particular area where we disagree on moral values.

                          Yet you're willing to use force on me to constrain me to do things how you think they should be done. Just who do you think you are? You don't really know me, apart from our limited interactions here, you don't know my circumstances, my background, my struggles, my culture, what I know and don't know, anything that would enable you to make informed and wise decisions about what is best for me. Yet you presume to tell me what I must and mustn't do, what I should value, and how I should live. How dare you! How arrogant.

                          ('me' here includes everyone else.)



                          **I don't do that. I point to what I believe to be objectively true about reality. I may be wrong about that, but when I make a moral criticism, I am pointing to something greater than myself, something true even if I don't want it to be that way, even if it's personally inconvenient, even if I fail to live up to it.


                          Originally posted by carpedm9587
                          A nice speech, but the sense of pity is not required. I'm not having a problem with finding something incredibly beautiful about morality any more than I am finding it difficult finding something incredibly beautiful about how we can create and frame laws. You see, Max, we all base morality on what we value - but that does not mean we are limited to valuing ourselves. I value life - ALL life. So it translates to my moral framework. I value happiness - not just my own - but the happiness of those around me. There is room for the transcendence you point to in a subjective moral framework. Indeed, we tend to see those around us who value things beyond themselves as valuing at a higher level - probably because their valuing includes us.

                          Is there selfishness there? Of course. Pure altruism doesn't exist. We act as we do because some part of us wants to - because we derive some form of satisfaction in making that choice. No choice is ever "pure" because we are human - we are limited - we are imperfect - we are finite. We are a convoluted mess of motivations. When I feed the poor - a part of me is acting on my valuing ALL life. Part of me is experiencing delight in that grateful smile I receive from the person getting the food. That's life.

                          ETA: I would also like to add that you are one of the people online that I MOST delight in having exchanges with. While we disagree, and will "cross swords" intellectually, you keep the arguments about the arguments, and seem to eschew condescension, ridicule, and personal attacks. You are keen of mind and force me to think. You are probably the person here I have most said "I stand corrected" to. As an educator, I know that a significant amount of learning (most?) happens when we make errors and have to correct them - so you're forcing me to learn! My thanks.

                          I'm blushing. Likewise, you do make me think, and I feel that you're a genuinely nice person.
                          ...>>> Witty remark or snarky quote of another poster goes here <<<...

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                          • Originally posted by MaxVel View Post
                            Likewise, you do make me think, and I feel that you're a genuinely nice person.
                            I agree, carpe makes me think, not in a "He makes a good point; perhaps I should reevaluate my position" sort of way but more in a "How do I best explain and defend my position?" sort of way. One of things that first attracted me to tWeb many, many years ago was to test Christian beliefs and see if they really could stand up to direct challenges from atheists. Happily, the answer has been a resounding "yes".

                            And, yes, carpe does seem like a nice guy, and he and I would probably get along great if we ever met in person as long we steered clear of any topics related to politics and religion.
                            Some may call me foolish, and some may call me odd
                            But I'd rather be a fool in the eyes of man
                            Than a fool in the eyes of God


                            From "Fools Gold" by Petra

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                            • Originally posted by MaxVel View Post
                              It's not a game. It's the logical result of your position. You're simply special pleading for the values you personally like. Adding a bunch of people who agree with you doesn't change the fact that there is no ontological difference between those and any other ones, and it's still special pleading with appeal to popularity added on.
                              Have you ever noticed, Max, that if we ever had a discussion about "risks to my life," few of us would even think to include "meteor strike" on that list? The possibility is there. It is a natural consequence of how the laws of the universe function that any one of us could be killed by such a thing at any moment. But it is not in our thoughts because the possibility is so remote as to be essentially non-existent. No human being in history is known to have been killed by being struck by a meteor.

                              But this is essentially what the person arguing for subjective morality almost always ends up heading for. The incidence of someone valuing "not seeing chewed food" above "life" is almost non-existent; but out it comes, as if it were a perfectly common appearance.

                              If you encounter a person who values this way, and so sees it to be perfectly acceptable to kill someone over it, you hauling out your bible and pointing to the absence of such a moral code there will do pretty much nothing to convince them either. Your appeal to a moral code they have not adopted will not help you one whit. You will end up doing the same thing I have to do: ignore (probably not), isolate/separate, or contend.

                              That is what any two people will end up doing when they do not agree on a moral precept.

                              Originally posted by MaxVel View Post
                              Imagine a world where the majority had a bunch of bizarre and eclectic moral values - not chewing with your mouth open / only support your hometown sports teams / never wear yellow ('evil!') / never step on a crack ('break your mother's back') / stealing isn't wrong if you don't get caught at the time / etc - and enforced those with the power of the state, including fines, jail sentences and even executions. That imaginary world** is no less moral than the present one. It might even be more moral if a bigger percentage of people lived consistently by its moral codes. It's only 'different'.
                              So let me insert the words that you, like Seer, omit in your sentence. What you are actually saying is, "That imaginary world is no less objectively moral than the present one." To that I say, "correct, it's not." Because morality is subjective, there is no objective standard, so there is no way to make the objective statement, "that world is more/less moral than this one." You have to specify the moral framework from which the assessment is being made - then you can make the assessment. And you are back to "subjective moralism is worse because it's not objective." You can make the claim if you wish - but you will have to do more than assert it to convince. From what I can see, all you are doing is reminding us that subjective is not equal to objective, and then claiming that is a basis for declaring it worse.

                              Originally posted by MaxVel View Post
                              I realise that it looks like 'a game' to you, and may feel offensive - argumentum ad absurdum - but your worldview requires it to be the case.
                              I am not "offended" in the least, Max. I wish it were possible to convey how useless the line of argumentation is, but my experience is that the moralist who subscribes to morality as objectively based is somehow not wired to see that. I have never found a way to successfully convey the point.

                              Originally posted by MaxVel View Post
                              **Awful except for the mouth open stuff. I agree with that
                              You and me both. I have sometimes been tempted to pick up my phone and camera app and just let them watch themselves...

                              Originally posted by MaxVel View Post
                              Um, it's because - in your worldview - you can't point to anything but your personal opinion as a basis for your moral criticism of others.** And you can't easily, if at all, justify why your personal opinion is more true or better than mine in any particular area where we disagree on moral values.
                              Semi-correct. The nature of morality is rooted in sorting actions based on what we value. So if I encounter someone with a differing moral code, two things are possible:

                              1) We value differently so we then reason to differing moral codes.
                              2) We value the same but one of us has made an error of reasoning and arrived at differing moral codes

                              The first is a challenge. To align the moral codes requires us to convince the other person to value differently. My discussion with Seer (and others) about homosexuality is a good case in point, and has taught me the futility of approaching the argument as I have approached it.

                              The second is easier. If we value similarly and one of us has made a rational error in reasoning to a moral position, then it should be possible to uncover the error and align the positions.

                              If neither can be done, then we are back to ignore, isolate/separate, and/or contend (as we always have been).

                              Originally posted by MaxVel View Post
                              Yet you're willing to use force on me to constrain me to do things how you think they should be done. Just who do you think you are? You don't really know me, apart from our limited interactions here, you don't know my circumstances, my background, my struggles, my culture, what I know and don't know, anything that would enable you to make informed and wise decisions about what is best for me. Yet you presume to tell me what I must and mustn't do, what I should value, and how I should live. How dare you! How arrogant.

                              ('me' here includes everyone else.)
                              I am another human on this planet doing what all of the other humans on this planet do every day. When moral frameworks do not align and cannot be aligned - we ignore the issue if we consider it fairly trivial. We isolate/separate for more serious things. We contend for the most serious issues.

                              Example: You believe it is immoral to have sex outside of marriage, I believe it is morally neutral. The difference does not impact our day-to-day lives and I can still join you for a beer (well, a seltzer - I stopped drinking some time ago).

                              Example: You believe it is immoral to be in a same-sex marriage, I believe it is perfectly moral. If I have friends in that marriage, I will probably not be including you on any invitations to gathering in my home when same-sex couples are present. If you insist on being vocal about it, I probably will cease to include you in my circle of friends.

                              Example: You believe it is perfectly moral to take anything that is in anyone's possession because all things should be held communally and god forbids the concept of "personal possessions." I will again isolate you from my circle of friends, but if you insist on acting on your beliefs and taking my things, I will eventually invoke law enforcement and seek to have you punished and/or incarcerated. If we were not in a society, but rather were two individuals "out in the woods" with this difference, I probably would have to resort to booby-trapping my land and letting you know there are lethal booby traps to prevent you taking my possessions.

                              Originally posted by MaxVel View Post
                              **I don't do that. I point to what I believe to be objectively true about reality. I may be wrong about that, but when I make a moral criticism, I am pointing to something greater than myself, something true even if I don't want it to be that way, even if it's personally inconvenient, even if I fail to live up to it.
                              From my perspective, Max, you are doing nothing of the kind. What you are doing is pointing to the moral frameworks documented by other men and claiming them to be "the objective standard." Well - they are objective to you in that they were the moral frameworks of other people, but they are not "the objective standard." They are just someone else's moral framework set down on paper (or papyrus, as it may be). And you have adopted that particular framework because of how you value.

                              There is no moral framework anyone can point to that was not subjectively conceived by the mind of a sentient being and documented by the hand of a sentient being. There is no basis for thinking any of these is "objectively real" any more than there is a basis for believing there is an objective standard for laws.

                              This is an error Seer continually makes: he tries to align moral principles with logical and mathematical ones. But moral principles have little in common with logical and mathematical principles, so his argument reduces to "moral principles are like logical principles, so if logical principles are objectively real/true, then moral principles are as well." That's like me saying, "people are like cars, so if cars have four tires, people have four tires." If we are going to make an analogy, the two things we are equating need to have at least a few things in common.

                              Moral principles are like legal principles. Both govern actions. Both show variation from community to community. Both show enormous similarity from community to community. No one argues that "legal principles" are rooted in an "objective standard," or calls laws "meaningless" because two states, countries, nations might have different legal structures. So I have to wonder why they make this claim for moral principles.

                              Originally posted by MaxVel View Post
                              I'm blushing. Likewise, you do make me think, and I feel that you're a genuinely nice person.
                              I have my moments. One thing that TWeb is forcing me to face is my tendency to become defensive when someone says something about me that is untrue or reflects badly on me. It gives me a venue to exercise letting people say/think what they will about me, and moving on without having to convince them I'm not X and am Y instead. It is a skill I am not good at. I know, cognitively, that what someone says about me does not alter who and what I am. But my self-defense mechanism kicks in far more frequently than I like. But I am getting a LOT of practice here!

                              And I am slowly getting better at it. Maybe, someday, I'll achieve perfection!

                              ETA: Oh yeah - and I'm wordy. That one DOESN'T seem to be improving...
                              Last edited by carpedm9587; 06-15-2019, 12:24 PM.
                              The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King

                              I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

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                              • Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
                                I agree, carpe makes me think, not in a "He makes a good point; perhaps I should reevaluate my position" sort of way but more in a "How do I best explain and defend my position?" sort of way. One of things that first attracted me to tWeb many, many years ago was to test Christian beliefs and see if they really could stand up to direct challenges from atheists. Happily, the answer has been a resounding "yes".

                                And, yes, carpe does seem like a nice guy, and he and I would probably get along great if we ever met in person as long we steered clear of any topics related to politics and religion.
                                Isn't it interesting. That was actually my original reason for joining TWeb - only about atheist beliefs. And I too am happy to report that the answer has been a resounding "yes."

                                The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King

                                I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

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