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Why is moral relativism such a bad thing?

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  • #46
    Originally posted by Stoic View Post

    4 could not be true if God's law does not exist. So it presumes that God's law exists, which is the first half of your conclusion.

    The second half of your conclusion, that God requires adherence to his law from all moral beings, is only supported by 5, if it is supported at all.

    It looks to me like you have two conclusions, each of which is contained within a single premise.

    That just makes it two circular arguments, rather than a non-circular argument.


    Another way to look at it: Circular reasoning is not a formal logical fallacy but a pragmatic defect in an argument whereby the premises are just as much in need of proof or evidence as the conclusion, and as a consequence the argument fails to persuade.
    Of course you can simplify:

    God is a moral law giver.
    God requires all sentient moral beings to adhere to His law.
    Therefore God's moral law applies universally.
    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


    • #47
      Originally posted by Starlight View Post
      I don't mind this argument too much*, but it fundamentally doesn't get you where you need to go. My neighbor says he requires adherence to his moral law from all moral beings. God can have a requirement all he likes and I can shrug and say 'whatever' in the same way I would if my neighbor told me his requirements.

      Now it's possible that if I don't do what my neighbor says and he might buy a gun and break down my door and shoot me for it. Likewise it's possible that if I don't do what God says he might do something nasty to me too. But in neither case does might make right in any way that's philosophically interesting.
      Then what makes right Star? Exactly? And you are correct, you don't have to adhere to the laws of the land either, but you will face consequences...

      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


      • #48
        Originally posted by seer View Post

        Of course you can simplify:

        God is a moral law giver.
        God requires all sentient moral beings to adhere to His law.
        Therefore God's moral law applies universally.
        The premises are still as much in need of proof as the conclusion.

        Comment


        • #49
          Originally posted by Machinist View Post
          Is there a logical argument as to why moral relativism is a bad thing?


          1. Believing what is false is a bad thing

          2. Moral relativism is false

          3. Therefore moral relativism is a bad thing



          More seriously, I think moral relativism undermines the ability to significantly communicate about all sorts of issues. What can a moral relativist say about any particular moral issue, that I should care about?

          If MR is true, then whatever it is that they are saying ("People shouldn't own handguns") is only true for them, or their particular moral community, which I may not happen to be a member of. Even if we are in the same moral community, they are not pointing to an objective fact about reality when they make a moral argument, only to their subjective opinion on a matter. So there's a problem with the very basis for a serious conversation about any particular moral issue if we are talking to a MR. I can disagree with their moral view without even being wrong about it - we can both be correct, even if our views are contradictory. ("People should own and carry handguns, to protect themselves from wolverines and rabid squirrels"). All that remains then is force (make them agree with me about my subjective opinion), or separation (break up our community and avoid them).

          If MR is true, then there are no undergirding moral principles or values that reflect the way reality really is, that we should base our own morality on. So, ultimately, anything goes. Even being completely dishonest in conversation...



          ...>>> Witty remark or snarky quote of another poster goes here <<<...

          Comment


          • #50
            I think if someone were to say they believed in moral relativism, they would need to be clear when expressing any view of their own at all on what was moral and what wasn't, why they hold such a view and why anyone else should be interested in what it is.

            e.g. if I say "taste is relative" and say "I find broccoli to be yuck and chocolate tasty", I am making clear that my own views are totally subjective personal preference and that I don't necessarily expect others to share them or conform their actions to my preferences in any way.

            So if I likewise was to say "morality is relative" and say that "I happen to personally find the idea of sex icky, but find robbery fun" and hence view them as 'immoral' and 'moral' respectively, that is not a reason for anyone else to share my subjective personal preferences, nor a reason for anyone else to change their behavior. So a person alleging moral relativism needs to come up with some sort of reason why their own or anyone else's views on morality matter in the slightest.

            Of course, arguably the same could be true for objective morality. There could really exist a true and objective moral code and it might not matter to anyone in the slightest. One can imagine stone tablets with the Teachings of The True Morality floating through space and having no relevance to anyone.

            Comment


            • #51
              Originally posted by seer View Post
              God is a moral law giver.
              God requires all sentient moral beings to adhere to His law.
              Therefore God's moral law applies universally.
              I think the easiest way to see the flaws in your system Seer is to consider a powerful evil (or even just morally average) creator being.

              Imagine some moderately malevolent and very powerful being creates a universe. That being proclaims sovereignty over all created creatures in it, and hands down a moral code for them to adhere to. It's a not particularly nice moral code because the creator being is moderately malevolent, and the moral code tells them to be fairly nasty to each other in various situations. That creator being creates an afterlife for the creatures in that universe and punishes/rewards them according to the moral code that being gave them to follow - if they failed to do the nasty things that the being had ordered them to do, then it punishes them. Some of the beings in that universe quite reasonably say "gosh, that moral code that the creator-being has given us isn't really all that great in our view, and we view it as quite lacking in morality actually, and we're going to be nice to each other instead".

              In this context the Euthrypo dilemma question applies. Do we say that the moderately malevolent being's be-nasty-to-others moral code isn't truly moral for the created creatures in that universe to follow because it's not a particularly great moral code by objective standards of morality? Or do we say that in-that-universe that is the standard of morality, because whatever the creator-being decrees and enforces with its power, is what the creatures in that universe really ought to do out of self-interest?

              IMO you've never given a really clear answer to this in all our discussions, though at times it seems to me you've implied you probably believe that the creator-god gets to set the rules and that if he sets those rules as 'be nasty to each other', then that is what morality is for the creatures.

              Comment


              • #52
                Again, the argument is not referring to any particular moral teaching, any particular god nor any particular religious code.

                If you say x is wrong, then all you're saying is "I believe (or feel) that x is wrong".

                Theoretically, if God exists, and He has an immutable moral law for his creation, then we could say x is wrong based on this immutable standard.

                Asking questions about what that law might be exactly only obscures the simplicity of the irreducible fact that is being argued here.

                Comment


                • #53
                  Originally posted by seer View Post

                  Of course you can simplify:

                  God is a moral law giver.
                  God requires all sentient moral beings to adhere to His law.
                  Therefore God's moral law applies universally.
                  You cannot prove your god exists nor can you prove that your god is a moral law-giver. That is simply what you believe.
                  "It ain't necessarily so
                  The things that you're liable
                  To read in the Bible
                  It ain't necessarily so
                  ."

                  Sportin' Life
                  Porgy & Bess, DuBose Heyward, George & Ira Gershwin

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post

                    You cannot prove your god exists nor can you prove that your god is a moral law-giver. That is simply what you believe.
                    Right, you can't prove God exists. Let's take God out the equation altogether.

                    Think of this exercise as a little hand held puzzle, and that's all it is, nothing more.

                    Without a Universal self-existent standard, then there cannot be anything universal or absolute.

                    Self existence necessarily is.

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Originally posted by Machinist View Post
                      Again, the argument is not referring to any particular moral teaching, any particular god nor any particular religious code.

                      If you say x is wrong, then all you're saying is "I believe (or feel) that x is wrong".
                      That is emotivism. Whereby someone simply feels that something is wrong without making any claim about its wrongness [or its rightness if it is something the individual approves of].

                      Subjectivism is where someone states something is wrong simply because they [personally] disapprove of it

                      Intersubjectivism is where something is deemed to be wrong [or right] because a community believes it to be wrong [or right].

                      If someone contends that a moral value is objective and something apart from us, that it is just "out there" entirely independent of human beings then they are holding to moral realism and moral realism faces an enormous difficulty, whereby it appears to make any knowledge of wrong or right impossible because it is unable to explain how we detect these moral properties.

                      "It ain't necessarily so
                      The things that you're liable
                      To read in the Bible
                      It ain't necessarily so
                      ."

                      Sportin' Life
                      Porgy & Bess, DuBose Heyward, George & Ira Gershwin

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        I see what you're saying here. I would say most theists on this forum would then follow up with Christian teachings.

                        The moral properties, that is, the specific rules are undetectable, so yes that is indeed an enormous difficulty.

                        But that is still beside the point of the irreducible axiom. I don't know why it's that way, but that is the most basic axiom of reality as far as I can tell.

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          But it seems to point to something. It begets the question what or who is the architect of this axiom?

                          Or it could be a reflection of the self existent symmetry.
                          Last edited by Machinist; 05-31-2021, 06:55 AM.

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Originally posted by Machinist View Post
                            I see what you're saying here. I would say most theists on this forum would then follow up with Christian teachings.
                            I suspect most probably would - they would contend [using moral realism] that the objective moral value is simply out there beyond us and explain that by their contention that their deity established this moral value.

                            However, they are then in an invidious position because they cannot [apart from resorting to their theological beliefs] fully justify and/or explain why a particular moral value exists.

                            To do so they resort to a mix of subjectivity and intersubjectivity, with, I suspect, a large dose of emotivism.
                            "It ain't necessarily so
                            The things that you're liable
                            To read in the Bible
                            It ain't necessarily so
                            ."

                            Sportin' Life
                            Porgy & Bess, DuBose Heyward, George & Ira Gershwin

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              Originally posted by Stoic View Post

                              The premises are still as much in need of proof as the conclusion.
                              That was not the discussion - do you agree that it is not circular?
                              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


                              • #60
                                Originally posted by Hypatia_Alexandria View Post

                                You cannot prove your god exists nor can you prove that your god is a moral law-giver. That is simply what you believe.
                                So? That was not the discussion between me and Stoic. Sticking your big nose in again.
                                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

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