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Cogito ergo sum

Here in the Philosophy forum we will talk about all the "why" questions. We'll have conversations about the way in which philosophy and theology and religion interact with each other. Metaphysics, ontology, origins, truth? They're all fair game so jump right in and have some fun! But remember...play nice!

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Atheism And Moral Progress

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  • Originally posted by Jim B. View Post
    Don't you see how this point directly contradicts ethical subjectivism? If you can conclude that your subjective moral beliefs and desires are 'mistaken' and can be overriden by criteria of reason and rationality, then your subjective moral beliefs and desires are not always the ultimate arbiters of your moral actions. Unless you maintain that reason and rationality are 'rooted in' your subjective opinions, beliefs, and desires, but then you'd have to say that the same is true of philosophers, mathematicians and physicists, in which case ALL knowledge is 'rooted in,' ie 'begins in' subjective experience, but that trivial point does not establish that all knowledge is therefore subjective in nature.



    Yes, but this is the very point I'm making and the point you're apparently missing.



    The argument has to do with intra-subjective wrongness, about assessing oneself as being wrong.



    We've gone over this before. Ethical subjectivism is about moral deliberation and principles, about beliefs and desires, not about failing to live up to our principles.





    The point though is that morality is not a good fit for this kind of understanding of moral deliberation which is based off of one's current mental state. Your own explanation of it, above, where you talk about being mistaken in your moral beliefs in light of reason and rationality, points up the problem with such a simple mechanistic, atomisitic model of deliberation. The fact that it doesn't fit does NOT depend upon an objectivist assumption, as you yourself attest to, above, but is evidenced by "morality talk" of any and every variety. There is ineliminable moral talk by people about actually really being mistaken in their own moral beliefs and really having moral disagreements.



    The problem is not that it cannot be objective but that it cannot fit with the concept of "morality" as you yourself have shown above.
    I am not saying, as much as you'd like me to be saying it, that it can;t be subjective because then it wouldn't be objective. What I am saying is that subjectivism, in order to be coherent, would require a sweeping revisionism of the entire concept of morality which you yourself are not capable or willing to undertake.


    "Having an itch," like my moral beliefs and desires, is a subjective, not an objective, reality. I have privileged access to the itch that no one else has. Unless I am deluded, I cannot be wrong that I have an itch or that I had an itch one minute ago. Unless I am deluded, I cannot be wrong about my current moral beliefs and desires or about the moral beliefs and desires I had an hour ago. If I am accurate in my knowledge, such knowledge, in either the case of the itch or the beliefs and desires, cannot be wrong. The nature of the knowledge is secondary. The inccorigible nature of either kind of knowledge was the point.

    You actually make my point in mentioning that with my moral mental state, it is implicated in thoughts, ideas, opinions, and I would add in reasons, unlike the itch, all of which are trans-temporal in nature, which makes the idea of their being 'rooted in' one immediate, more or less arbitrarily chosen, occurrent mental state quite adsurd.
    Just want you to know I am not ignoring you. However, I'm on a business trip (teaching a 5-day class) and I only have time for short responses (if at all). Your posts require more thought and time, so I probably won't be responding until I return home on Saturday.
    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 seer View Post
      And again Carp, subjective is not relative. If the law of God exists it may be subjective to Him (Adrift would disagree) but it is not relative or ever changing, and is universal, and possibly objective if Adrift's argument is correct.
      To be clear, my view is that it would neither be subjective or objective (from God's point of view). If subjective, then God takes the horn of Euthyphro's dilemma that suggests that he wills the good. If objective, then God takes the horn of the Euthyrpho dilemma that suggests that the good is something that God recognizes beyond himself, and/or that he conforms himself to. I agree with Dr. Craig that God neither merely wills the good, nor that the good is something he recognizes outside of himself, but that by being the greatest conceivable being, a being of pure perfection, and creator of all that there ever was, is, and will be, is the good. His commands are based upon his very nature. From OUR perspective, then, the good is objective because God, by his very nature, is the basis of the "good."
      Last edited by Adrift; 09-16-2019, 07:45 PM.

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Adrift View Post
        To be clear, my view is that it would neither be subjective or objective (from God's point of view). If subjective, then God takes the horn of Euthyphro's dilemma that suggests that he wills the good. If objective, then God takes the horn of the Euthyrpho dilemma that suggests that the good is something that God recognizes beyond himself, and/or that he conforms himself to. I agree with Dr. Craig that God neither merely wills the good, nor that the good is something he recognizes outside of himself, but that by being the greatest conceivable being, a being of pure perfection, and creator of all that there ever was, is, and will be, is the good. His commands are based upon his very nature. From OUR perspective, then, the good is objective because God, by his very nature, is the basis of the "good."
        I'm not sure that actually makes sense, how would you define good with respect to god alone?

        Comment


        • Originally posted by JimL View Post
          I'm not sure that actually makes sense, how would you define good with respect to god alone?
          If the greatest conceivable being, an absolutely perfect being, and the creator/sustainer of everything is "the good," then it follows that the commands issued by that being are good. We define the good by that which flows from God's absolutely perfect nature. Anything that falls short/misses the mark of "the good" is moral sin.

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Jim B. View Post
            Here's a youtube video that's pretty good. I posted it especially for the "Normative Web" argument by Terence Cuneo. One of the other argument s begs the question as stated but can be re-stated to where it doesn't.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjkgD4w9w1k
            Great video! I especially appreciate the exercise of establishing epistemological duties in reasoned discourse, and I find this one of the greatest weaknesses of carpe's epistemology. carpe seems to want to argue that there are ways one can progressively reason out of wrongly held views, but in order to do so he implicitly holds right reason as an objective standard to progress towards.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by seer View Post
              Positive according to whom?
              Positive according to the countries with equitable 'human rights' that have topped the World Happiness Report and Human Development Index. Or would you prefer no ‘human rights’ in a dictatorship.

              What is your point? There are no objectively better or worse morals, just moral change.
              Yes. The moral values of society have demonstrably “changed” over the millennia and religious values have changed along with them. E.g. Do you not consider that abolition of two centuries of slavery in the largely Christian US to be “better” than what went on before?

              I said the majority of Christians for the majority of time had nothing to do with slavery, do you have evidence otherwise? There are two billion Christians earth today, more than at any other single time in history. Where are we practicing slavery?
              Actually, according to the Global Slavery Index “forced labor” STILL occurs in many contexts in the predominantly Christian United States.

              https://www.globalslaveryindex.org/2...united-states/

              But the point you keep ignoring is that Christian societies had a great deal to do with the establishment of colonies worldwide resulting in the near destruction of the indigenous cultures of the original inhabitants. King Leopold of Christian Belgium was quite the equal of the non-theist brutal dictators you like to keep referencing, as were many other Christian leaders.

              Yes or no Tass, was it primarily Christians that led the Abolition movement in the West? I will be waiting for your answer.

              And, does it say that slavery is good? That we should have slaves? And how are we to treat our fellow man - slaves or not?
              It was Christians who initiated slavery in the US in the first place. Presumably, as Christians holding to “objective moral values”, it was moral to own slaves. And yet two centuries later they decided their “objective moral values” had changed and that slavery was bad. And they abolished it. All except the Christians in the South of course. They held on to it as long as they could.

              And how many Christians support it? Do you have the number for and against?
              Well you’re a Christian in the US. Do YOU support the 1964 Civil Rights Act?

              Some thing objectively immoral which doesn't exist in your world
              “Objectively immorality” doesn’t exist in ANY world including yours. See above.

              Compared to nothing. Maoists or Stalinist or Inquisitors or Racists are only doing what nature created them to do. Why do you dislike these acts of nature so much?
              These are not “acts of nature” per se. The only “act of nature” in this context is the evolution of the necessary social behavior of humanity to survive as cooperative intelligent social animals. This communal behavior is exercised via many forms of governance including dictatorships, theocracies, democracies, monarchies, oligarchies or plutocracies etc.
              “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by carpedm9587 View Post
                I've done a bit of poking around, visiting at least five different dictionaries and philosophical sources. All of the definitions of "moral" and "morality" are some variation of: "principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior." Not a single one specifies that the behavior must be related to interpersonal interaction.
                I think that “morality” is only meaningful in a social context in that it can codify rules of behavior to enable a social species like us to function as a community.

                I stand by my original post: morality is about sorting action into "ought" and "ought not." The term "morality" is generally applied when the behavior relates to the things we value/cherish most deeply (i.e., life, liberty, happiness, etc.). That behavior is commonly associated with interactions in the context of a society, but are not necessarily so related.
                Yes. Exclusively I would say. One’s behavior if alone as an isolated individual may be unwise or foolish with regard to one’s survival…what one eats etc., but not "immoral" as such.

                Examples of the latter include prohibitions against such things as suicide and masturbation. These prohibitions can arise with or without a society/culture to relate them to.
                On what basis do you conclude that “such things as suicide and masturbation” are immoral in and of themselves if one is isolated and alone. It seems to me you are assuming without evidence that there exists an objective moral standard.
                “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Adrift View Post
                  To be clear, my view is that it would neither be subjective or objective (from God's point of view). If subjective, then God takes the horn of Euthyphro's dilemma that suggests that he wills the good. If objective, then God takes the horn of the Euthyrpho dilemma that suggests that the good is something that God recognizes beyond himself, and/or that he conforms himself to. I agree with Dr. Craig that God neither merely wills the good, nor that the good is something he recognizes outside of himself, but that by being the greatest conceivable being, a being of pure perfection, and creator of all that there ever was, is, and will be, is the good. His commands are based upon his very nature. From OUR perspective, then, the good is objective because God, by his very nature, is the basis of the "good."
                  I agree generally with this Adrift but... If God's law is subjective to Him (which I think it is because He is the Subject) He still would not be impaled on one of the horns since His moral law is grounded in His immutably good moral nature. So even if His law is subjective, neither does He merely will it, nor is He beholden to an external moral standard.
                  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 Adrift View Post
                    ...but in order to do so he implicitly holds right reason as an objective standard to progress towards.
                    Exactly!
                    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 Jim B. View Post
                      Here's a youtube video that's pretty good. I posted it especially for the "Normative Web" argument by Terence Cuneo. One of the other argument s begs the question as stated but can be re-stated to where it doesn't.

                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjkgD4w9w1k
                      Excellent points, especially the honesty part...
                      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 Adrift View Post
                        If the greatest conceivable being, an absolutely perfect being, and the creator/sustainer of everything is "the good," then it follows that the commands issued by that being are good. We define the good by that which flows from God's absolutely perfect nature. Anything that falls short/misses the mark of "the good" is moral sin.
                        Right, so how are you defining "Good" when using it to characterize an attribute of god?

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by seer View Post
                          I agree generally with this Adrift but... If God's law is subjective to Him (which I think it is because He is the Subject) He still would not be impaled on one of the horns since His moral law is grounded in His immutably good moral nature. So even if His law is subjective, neither does He merely will it, nor is He beholden to an external moral standard.
                          But is not subjective to him, it is him. He is the good. You don't talk about any of God's other essential attributes as being subjective to him, do you? It seems to me that it's just unnecessary language that adds a layer of confusion when you talk about moral goodness being subjective to God even if you do so while maintaining that the goodness is grounded in his nature.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Tassman View Post
                            Positive according to the countries with equitable 'human rights' that have topped the World Happiness Report and Human Development Index. Or would you prefer no ‘human rights’ in a dictatorship.

                            Yes. The moral values of society have demonstrably “changed” over the millennia and religious values have changed along with them. E.g. Do you not consider that abolition of two centuries of slavery in the largely Christian US to be “better” than what went on before?
                            The point is Tass, in moral relativism there is no moral progress, nor can there be since there are no objective moral values to move towards or away from.



                            Actually, according to the Global Slavery Index “forced labor” STILL occurs in many contexts in the predominantly Christian United States.

                            https://www.globalslaveryindex.org/2...united-states/
                            Are you joking? What about secular cultures like North Korea or China or Cuba where they enslave whole populations?

                            But the point you keep ignoring is that Christian societies had a great deal to do with the establishment of colonies worldwide resulting in the near destruction of the indigenous cultures of the original inhabitants. King Leopold of Christian Belgium was quite the equal of the non-theist brutal dictators you like to keep referencing, as were many other Christian leaders.
                            I don't get your objection as an atheist - all these are merely evolution in practice. We find the same thing in the animal kingdom.

                            Well you’re a Christian in the US. Do YOU support the 1964 Civil Rights Act?
                            I support everything except for Title II.


                            These are not “acts of nature” per se. The only “act of nature” in this context is the evolution of the necessary social behavior of humanity to survive as cooperative intelligent social animals. This communal behavior is exercised via many forms of governance including dictatorships, theocracies, democracies, monarchies, oligarchies or plutocracies etc.
                            Of course they are acts of nature, there is nothing else in your world.
                            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 Adrift View Post
                              But is not subjective to him, it is him. He is the good. You don't talk about any of God's other essential attributes as being subjective to him, do you? It seems to me that it's just unnecessary language that adds a layer of confusion when you talk about moral goodness being subjective to God even if you do so while maintaining that the goodness is grounded in his nature.
                              Really Adrift I'm not following. I do believe that God's nature is immutably good. My nature is both good and bad - does that mean that my nature is objective?
                              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 JimL View Post
                                Right, so how are you defining "Good" when using it to characterize an attribute of god?
                                I'm not sure I understand the question. Presumably in the same way most people define or recognize moral goodness in concepts such as love, charity, generosity, justice, faithfulness, kindness, etc. We simply recognize God as the source of these things.

                                Comment

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