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Moral Realism?

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  • #91
    Originally posted by JimL View Post
    The standard response to this from the objectivist is: Why is it morally wrong to harm the welfare of sentient life? Or more simply put: Why is harming morally wrong?
    To which the objectivist has the same sort of response one would have in science, epistemology, etc.: because that's the answer one would come to after examination of the actions that most plausibly seem to count as wrong.
    It'd be like if someone said "why is the Earth a planet?" You could list a whole bunch of features (F1, F2, F3, ....) in virtue of which Earth is a planet . And someone could then respond, "Why does F1, F2, F3... make something a planet?" And the answer is: because that's the answer one would come to after examination of the objects that most plausibly seem to count as planets (which is just another way of saying: doing science to figure out the features are had in common by objects that seem most likely to count as planets).

    Similarly It'd be like if someone said "why is that belief justified" You could list a whole bunch of features (E1, E2, E3, ....) in virtue of which that belief is justified. And someone could then respond, "Why does E1, E2, E3...? make something justified"? And the answer is: because that's the answer one would come to after examination of the beliefs that most plausibly seem to count as justified (which is just another way of saying: doing epistemology to figure out the features are had in common by beliefs that seem most likely to count as justified).


    Of course, one could throw over the table and refuse to accept that actions plausibly count as morally wrong, and thus stop the process in its tracks. But unless one has argument for doing that, then one is also committed to doing that in the case of scientific terms life "planet", epistemic terms like "justified", etc. After all, one could make the same move and refuse to admit that anything plausibly counts as a planet, or as justified, or ... In fact, many creationists due just this sort of thing when they refuse to admit that anything counts as evolution, unless it meets the absurd definition they employ. Really, it's even worse than that, since would could employ the same reasoning to an account of almost any noun-term. For example, one could use the same process to reject any account of why objects are red, why dogs are mammals, etc. And that's absurd. So, unless one has non-specialpleading grounds for treating the moral case difference, the objection is inapplicable.

    To put the point another way: regardless of the topic you're an objectivist about (science, epistemology, meta-ethics), there's going to be a set of claims that you bottom out at and a set of examples you proceed from. If people simply reject those claims/examples without argument, then progress with them is almost impossible. This is especially the case if they will simply ask "why?" over and over again, in response to any justification you give them. So, for example, if someone is simply going to ask "Why does that make something a planet?" no matter what response one gives them.
    "Instead, we argue, it is necessary to shift the debate from the subject under consideration, instead exposing to public scrutiny the tactics they [denialists] employ and identifying them publicly for what they are."

    Comment


    • #92
      Originally posted by Jichard View Post
      To which the objectivist has the same sort of response one would have in science, epistemology, etc.: because that's the answer one would come to after examination of the actions that most plausibly seem to count as wrong.
      It'd be like if someone said "why is the Earth a planet?" You could list a whole bunch of features (F1, F2, F3, ....) in virtue of which Earth is a planet . And someone could then respond, "Why does F1, F2, F3... make something a planet?" And the answer is: because that's the answer one would come to after examination of the objects that most plausibly seem to count as planets (which is just another way of saying: doing science to figure out the features are had in common by objects that seem most likely to count as planets).

      Similarly It'd be like if someone said "why is that belief justified" You could list a whole bunch of features (E1, E2, E3, ....) in virtue of which that belief is justified. And someone could then respond, "Why does E1, E2, E3...? make something justified"? And the answer is: because that's the answer one would come to after examination of the beliefs that most plausibly seem to count as justified (which is just another way of saying: doing epistemology to figure out the features are had in common by beliefs that seem most likely to count as justified).


      Of course, one could throw over the table and refuse to accept that actions plausibly count as morally wrong, and thus stop the process in its tracks. But unless one has argument for doing that, then one is also committed to doing that in the case of scientific terms life "planet", epistemic terms like "justified", etc. After all, one could make the same move and refuse to admit that anything plausibly counts as a planet, or as justified, or ... In fact, many creationists due just this sort of thing when they refuse to admit that anything counts as evolution, unless it meets the absurd definition they employ. Really, it's even worse than that, since would could employ the same reasoning to an account of almost any noun-term. For example, one could use the same process to reject any account of why objects are red, why dogs are mammals, etc. And that's absurd. So, unless one has non-specialpleading grounds for treating the moral case difference, the objection is inapplicable.

      To put the point another way: regardless of the topic you're an objectivist about (science, epistemology, meta-ethics), there's going to be a set of claims that you bottom out at and a set of examples you proceed from. If people simply reject those claims/examples without argument, then progress with them is almost impossible. This is especially the case if they will simply ask "why?" over and over again, in response to any justification you give them. So, for example, if someone is simply going to ask "Why does that make something a planet?" no matter what response one gives them.
      But what of the category of wrongness itself by which we determine other things to most plausibly fit that same category, most plausibly seem to count as wrong?" That brings us back to the same question i think, no? How is wrongness itself determined?

      Comment


      • #93
        Originally posted by Jichard View Post
        "Sam is a morally bad person."

        "Why?"

        "Because Sam is callous".



        Can you please not conveniently act if you don't understand things when it suits your purposes?
        First, I'm not conveniently doing anything. So why does it follow that Sam is a morally bad person because he is callous? What if his callousness actually helped gain wealth and position for him and his family. Is it not then a good thing - for them? And I keep asking Jichard, even if your position is correct - of what use is it?
        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


        • #94
          Originally posted by JimL View Post
          How is wrongness itself determined?
          Here's a possibly more concrete way of phrasing that question, which I have been pondering myself lately...
          I am a particular fan of the model Jonathan Haidt has developed (called the Moral Foundations theory) based on empirical data and cross-cultural anthropology, which shows that people around the world use 2 (if they are liberal) or 5 (if they are conservative) basic moral concepts when they reason.

          Those moral concepts are:
          1. Well-being. Things that promote the well-being of others are good, while things that harm others are evil.
          2. Fairness / Equality. That a more equitable, just, and fair distribution of resources and opportunities is better than too much disproportionality.
          3. Group loyalty. The interests of family, or country, or cultural group, are to be promoted ahead of the interests of foreigners.
          4. Respect for authority. Respect and deference should be given to legitimate authority, and tradition. For religious people, this includes the commands of God which should be obeyed.
          5. Disgust and purity. Things that are disgusting, unnatural, degrading should be rejected. There is value in sanctity and purity and the sacred.

          Empirical data suggests that conservatives tend to value all five categories about equally when making moral judgments. By contrast, liberals endorse the first two of these as "morality" and typically consider the other three to either have nothing to do with morality (ie amoral) or to be actively immoral. Less charitable ways that liberals might describe the final three things are: "3. Selfishness and bigotry. 4. Mindless obedience. 5. Disgust is a primitive emotional reflex evolutionarily designed to prevent humans eating unsafe food."

          So given the two possible positions (that seem to be common in cultures around the world) of endorsing 1-2 (liberal) or 1-5 (conservative) as "what makes for right and wrong", what might motivate people to choose set as opposed to the other? Or to phase it another way: Why might or might not we want to add 3-5 to the list of things that basically everyone agrees are moral foundations (1-2)?

          Comment


          • #95
            Originally posted by Starlight View Post
            Here's a possibly more concrete way of phrasing that question, which I have been pondering myself lately...
            I am a particular fan of the model Jonathan Haidt has developed (called the Moral Foundations theory) based on empirical data and cross-cultural anthropology, which shows that people around the world use 2 (if they are liberal) or 5 (if they are conservative) basic moral concepts when they reason.

            Those moral concepts are:
            1. Well-being. Things that promote the well-being of others are good, while things that harm others are evil.
            2. Fairness / Equality. That a more equitable, just, and fair distribution of resources and opportunities is better than too much disproportionality.
            3. Group loyalty. The interests of family, or country, or cultural group, are to be promoted ahead of the interests of foreigners.
            4. Respect for authority. Respect and deference should be given to legitimate authority, and tradition. For religious people, this includes the commands of God which should be obeyed.
            5. Disgust and purity. Things that are disgusting, unnatural, degrading should be rejected. There is value in sanctity and purity and the sacred.

            Empirical data suggests that conservatives tend to value all five categories about equally when making moral judgments. By contrast, liberals endorse the first two of these as "morality" and typically consider the other three to either have nothing to do with morality (ie amoral) or to be actively immoral. Less charitable ways that liberals might describe the final three things are: "3. Selfishness and bigotry. 4. Mindless obedience. 5. Disgust is a primitive emotional reflex evolutionarily designed to prevent humans eating unsafe food."

            So given the two possible positions (that seem to be common in cultures around the world) of endorsing 1-2 (liberal) or 1-5 (conservative) as "what makes for right and wrong", what might motivate people to choose set as opposed to the other? Or to phase it another way: Why might or might not we want to add 3-5 to the list of things that basically everyone agrees are moral foundations (1-2)?
            It seems to me that the person who takes all five into consideration is more broad-minded and rational. Don't you agree Star?
            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


            • #96
              Originally posted by JimL View Post
              But what of the category of wrongness itself by which we determine other things to most plausibly fit that same category, most plausibly seem to count as wrong?" That brings us back to the same question i think, no? How is wrongness itself determined?
              You don't need an account of the category wrongness itself, in order to determine what things fit under that category. You can use the things themselves to generate an account of the category. That, for example, is what's often done with categories in other subjects, such as science.
              "Instead, we argue, it is necessary to shift the debate from the subject under consideration, instead exposing to public scrutiny the tactics they [denialists] employ and identifying them publicly for what they are."

              Comment


              • #97
                Originally posted by seer View Post
                Recently a new member here at TWEB attack biblical ethics as being subjective, subjective to God. Which makes sense, but God's law would still be objective to mankind.
                By the way, you never supported that false claim of your's, even though I explained to you why it was false. Instead, you, once again, conveniently claimed to not be able to follow the English language.
                Last edited by Jichard; 07-15-2015, 04:15 PM.
                "Instead, we argue, it is necessary to shift the debate from the subject under consideration, instead exposing to public scrutiny the tactics they [denialists] employ and identifying them publicly for what they are."

                Comment


                • #98
                  Originally posted by Jichard View Post
                  By the way, you never supported that false claim of your's, even though I explained to you why it was false. Instead, you, once again, conveniently claimed to not be able to follow the English language.
                  No, it would still be objective to mankind because it does not originate with man, and it exists independently of man. The very definition of objective. But also like I said even if God's law is subjective to Him - so what? You would still be accountable to that law. And again, even if your position is correct - of what use is it? What authority does it have over anyone? How does it convert the bad man? How is it anymore than academic navel gazing?
                  Last edited by seer; 07-15-2015, 05:23 PM.
                  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


                  • #99
                    Originally posted by seer View Post
                    No, it would still be objective to mankind because it does not originate with man, and it exists independently of man. The very definition of objective.
                    Seer, I've lost track of the number of different times that different posters have brought to your attention that this is a totally wrong and completely false definition of objective. Just stop repeating it already.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Starlight View Post
                      Seer, I've lost track of the number of different times that different posters have brought to your attention that this is a totally wrong and completely false definition of objective. Just stop repeating it already.

                      OK, give me the definition of objective. And it doesn't change my main point, Jichard's theory is no more than academic navel gazing - ultimately useless.
                      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
                        No, it would still be objective to mankind because it does not originate with man, and it exists independently of man. The very definition of objective.
                        That is not the definition of "objective" in meta-ethics, when discussing moral objectivism and moral subjectivism. I know you know this, since you've been told it several times.

                        To tell you this again:
                        It's subjective because God's commands express God's desires.

                        On the standard accounts of "subjective" or "objective" used to define "moral subjectivism" and "moral objectivism", it wouldn't make sense to talk about about something being objective from one of view and subjective from another point of view. Instead, they would be objective simpliciter or subjective simpliciter. To put it another way: if it's mind-dependent, then it's mind-dependent from any view-point. For example, the statement "Jichard dislikes cake" would be subjectively true simpliciter, since it's true or false in virtue on my attitude. That would be the case from my perspective, God's perspective, or anyone else's perspective. Similarly, "God commands X" would be subjectively true simpliciter because it's true or false depending in virtue of God's expressed attitude. And that would be the case from my perspective, God's perspective, or anyone else's perspective.

                        That's why divine command theory is recognized as a forum of moral subjectivism, no matter how much you pretend otherwise. I've even dumbed this down for you by pointing you to Wikipedia on this.


                        But also like I said even if God's law is subjective to Him - so what?
                        Not "subjective to Him". Instead, "subjective simpliciter". That is: "subjective".

                        It means that you can no longer go around pretending that you have a moral objectivist position. You don't; you're a moral subjectivist. It also means that you can drop the pretense about atheism being incompatible with moral objectivism.

                        You would still be accountable to that law.
                        As you've been told, might does not make right, even though you think otherwise. So the mere fact that some powerful being would punish me for not obeying it, hold me accountable for what it says, etc., does nothing to show that what that being says in morally right, morally good, etc. Nor does it show that moral statements are true in virtue of what that powerful punisher says.

                        In all honesty, you seem to have child-like view of meta-ethics and ethics.. except even children know better than to accept the position you do. Basically, you seem to think that ethics and meta-ethics only matter if you're rewarded and punished for obeying some authority figure. Which is pure egoism on your part. It'd be like saying it's only morally right to give to charity, if a powerful being will punish you for not doing it or reward you for doing it; screw how giving to charity helps other's since that doesn't matter. Even children know better than that. For example, even children will thinking hitting other's for fun is morally wrong, regardless of what an authority figure like God says. And that's because children (unlike you) know better than to think morality boils down to doing whatever the powerful say.

                        And again, even if your position is correct - of what use is it?
                        Please don't pretend that this question hasn't been answered. To repeat my answer for the umpteenth time:
                        Moral realism (as a meta-ethical position) answers particular meta-ethical questions, just as Cell Theory (as a biological position) answers particular questions in biology. Different positions answer different questions. So just as Cell Theory isn't in the business of answering the question of which actions are morally good or morally bad, moral realism isn't in the business of answering that question. Moral realism instead answers a different set of meta-ethical questions. That doesn't mean moral realism is useless, anymore than it means Cell Theory is useless. And I've given you links to pages discussing the type of meta-ethical questions moral realism answers

                        What authority does it have over anyone?
                        Same conflation of might with right. There doesn't need to be some "authority" figure in order for moral claims to be objectively true, anymore than there needs to be an authority figure for scientific claims to be objectively true. You apparently think otherwise.

                        How does it convert the bad man?
                        The issue is whether moral realism is true or false, not whether you happen to find it useful for some purpose. What you're doing is as ridiculous as objecting to Cell Theory by asking whether it can convert a bad man. So you made an irrelevant appeal to consequence.

                        How is it anymore than academic navel gazing?
                        It's irrelevant whether you consider it "academic navel gazing", since that has no bearing on whether it's true or not.
                        Last edited by Jichard; 07-15-2015, 06:08 PM.
                        "Instead, we argue, it is necessary to shift the debate from the subject under consideration, instead exposing to public scrutiny the tactics they [denialists] employ and identifying them publicly for what they are."

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by seer View Post
                          OK, give me the definition of objective.
                          It's extremely to deceptive for someone to ask for something they've already been given, as if they haven't been given it.

                          And it doesn't change my main point, Jichard's theory is no more than academic navel gazing - ultimately useless.
                          Apparently you think positions are useless unless they do the ridiculous things you want them to do. So you must think that following are "academic navel gazing":
                          Cell Theory
                          Germ Theory
                          Evolutionary Theory
                          Einsteinian Relativity Theory
                          and so on. After all, unless they do the absurd things you want, they're just "academic navel gazing".

                          When will you stop committing the fallacy of appeal to consequence by objecting to positions on the grounds that they aren't useful in whatever absurd way you demand to use them?
                          "Instead, we argue, it is necessary to shift the debate from the subject under consideration, instead exposing to public scrutiny the tactics they [denialists] employ and identifying them publicly for what they are."

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Jichard View Post
                            The issue is whether moral realism is true or false, not whether you happen to find it useful for some purpose. What you're doing is as ridiculous as objecting to Cell Theory by asking whether it can convert a bad man. So you made an irrelevant appeal to consequence.
                            OK, a moral theory that has no practical use. I get it. At least cell theory has some practical use.

                            It's irrelevant whether you consider it "academic navel gazing", since that has no bearing on whether it's true or not.
                            OK, why is it true?

                            It's subjective because God's commands express God's desires.
                            And how do you demonstrate that your moral views are not simply the expression of your desires or psychology?
                            Last edited by seer; 07-15-2015, 07:34 PM.
                            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 Jichard View Post
                              When will you stop committing the fallacy of appeal to consequence by objecting to positions on the grounds that they aren't useful in whatever absurd way you demand to use them?
                              Remember my questions in the OP: The questions are, where do these moral facts exist? And how are we obligated to them if they do exist?

                              As far as I can tell even with all your wrangling you have not answered these questions.
                              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


                              • Apparently you think positions are useless unless they do the ridiculous things you want them to do. So you must think that following are "academic navel gazing":
                                Cell Theory
                                Germ Theory
                                Evolutionary Theory
                                Einsteinian Relativity Theory
                                No these are all theories that attempt to describe physical qualities in the universe, and can be demonstrated, to degrees. Completely unlike your moral realism.
                                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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