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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 seer View Post

    Not finished yet? You speak like there is an objective moral goal to reach. Perhaps we will simply revert to greater and more violent tribalism - that kind is of what it feels like of late.
    That's just optimism on my part. I can certainly imagine things getting better (from my subjective point of view). But you could be right, and things might get worse from here.

    Comment


    • Originally posted by Stoic View Post

      That's just optimism on my part. I can certainly imagine things getting better (from my subjective point of view). But you could be right, and things might get worse from here.
      Is it really just your subjective view? Don't you really believe in universal moral truths? Or hope for them?
      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
        Is it really just your subjective view? Don't you really believe in universal moral truths? Or hope for them?
        I'm not sure exactly what advantage there would be in having universal moral truths, over very strongly held opinions. If there are universal moral truths, it's clearly not enough to keep people from disagreeing about what is right and what is wrong.

        I suppose it might make me feel better to know that the person who disagrees with me about moral matters is objectively wrong, rather than someone who holds a minority opinion. But how do I know that he's the one who is wrong, and not me? It still comes down to the fact that one of us holds the minority opinion, as far as I can tell.

        Of course, universal moral truths would be useful for someone who is trying to convince people that there is a God, since they would be hard to explain naturally. But I'm not interested in convincing anyone there is a God.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Stoic View Post

          I'm not sure exactly what advantage there would be in having universal moral truths, over very strongly held opinions. If there are universal moral truths, it's clearly not enough to keep people from disagreeing about what is right and what is wrong.

          I suppose it might make me feel better to know that the person who disagrees with me about moral matters is objectively wrong, rather than someone who holds a minority opinion. But how do I know that he's the one who is wrong, and not me? It still comes down to the fact that one of us holds the minority opinion, as far as I can tell.
          It would mean that there is an objective moral goal to move towards, a right way ethically for humans to be, and that our intuitive belief in absolute right and wrong is not merely a useful fiction. When you said we are not finished yet I have trouble believing that you were merely stating a preference - like a preference for ice cream.




          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
            It would mean that there is an objective moral goal to move towards, a right way ethically for humans to be,
            I'm not sure what the advantage of an objective moral goal would be.

            and that our intuitive belief in absolute right and wrong is not merely a useful fiction.
            Well, that would be nice for people who have an intuitive belief in absolute right and wrong.

            When you said we are not finished yet I have trouble believing that you were merely stating a preference - like a preference for ice cream.
            It seems to me that it would be as easy to argue that there is something objectively wrong with someone who doesn't have a preference for ice cream, as it would be to argue that there are objective moral truths.

            Comment


            • Originally posted by seer View Post

              Except that survival, like with chimps, includes stronger tribes killing weaker tribes and taking their territories and stuff.
              Which doesn't change anything he said. You've surely heard of the term "a just war". We just manage to tell ourselves that all wars we are involved in are just (i.e., moral).
              America - too good to let the conservatives drag it back to 1950.

              Comment


              • Originally posted by seer View Post
                It would mean that there is an objective moral goal to move towards, a right way ethically for humans to be, and that our intuitive belief in absolute right and wrong is not merely a useful fiction. When you said we are not finished yet I have trouble believing that you were merely stating a preference - like a preference for ice cream.
                If there is an objective/absolute morality (and I'm not saying you've claimed/suggested there is), how would/could we ever know what it is? I don't believe we could, which is why we have (at least effectively) a subjective morality. For all I know, your moral views (whatever they are) might be the objective, absolutely correct ones, and any moral views that disagree with yours are objectively wrong. But how could we ever know? How could you ever demonstrate it?
                America - too good to let the conservatives drag it back to 1950.

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Electric Skeptic View Post
                  Which doesn't change anything he said. You've surely heard of the term "a just war". We just manage to tell ourselves that all wars we are involved in are just (i.e., moral).
                  The point is, if there are not universal moral truths then what wars we call moral or not is immaterial, all moral considerations are no more than legal or moral fictions. Nice bed time stories we tell ourselves.
                  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 Electric Skeptic View Post
                    If there is an objective/absolute morality (and I'm not saying you've claimed/suggested there is), how would/could we ever know what it is? I don't believe we could, which is why we have (at least effectively) a subjective morality. For all I know, your moral views (whatever they are) might be the objective, absolutely correct ones, and any moral views that disagree with yours are objectively wrong. But how could we ever know? How could you ever demonstrate it?
                    If morality is objective, it would not be surprising if comparisons of morals, by which you could judge moral principles, were objective, and recognizable. So "love fulfils the law", we can see how that would be true, and gives a framework for all morality.

                    Blessings,
                    Lee
                    "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by seer View Post

                      Except that survival, like with chimps, includes stronger tribes killing weaker tribes and taking their territories and stuff.
                      Indeed. Tribal warfare has been a common feature of human history also - including among Judeo/Christians - only with bigger and better weapons because we are cleverer. . .





                      “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 seer View Post

                        The point is, if there are not universal moral truths then what wars we call moral or not is immaterial, all moral considerations are no more than legal or moral fictions. Nice bed time stories we tell ourselves.
                        They are more than “legal or moral fictions”. Communal standards of acceptable behavior are necessary, because they lend themselves to the survival of intelligent communal animals such as us.







                        “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 Electric Skeptic View Post
                          No and no. Go learn.


                          You used ad hominem and it did not help your argument.
                          No I didn't.
                          ...>>> Witty remark or snarky quote of another poster goes here <<<...

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Tassman View Post

                            Indeed. Tribal warfare has been a common feature of human history also - including among Judeo/Christians - only with bigger and better weapons because we are cleverer. . .
                            But you can't call these things immoral. When chimps do this to each other do you call that immoral?


                            They are more than “legal or moral fictions”. Communal standards of acceptable behavior are necessary, because they lend themselves to the survival of intelligent communal animals such as us.
                            Of course they are fictions, there is no morality in biology except what we make up.


                            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
                              But you can't call these things immoral.
                              We can and do.

                              When chimps do this to each other do you call that immoral?
                              No, chimps are not members of our society, and would not understand our moral rules, or the consequences of not following them.

                              Of course they are fictions, there is no morality in biology except what we make up.
                              We make up morals based on our values, many of which are determined by biology.

                              For example, logic alone won't get you to the conclusion that pleasure is better than pain, or that living is better than dying, But if you start out with these (and other) values, which the vast majority of us share because of our common biology, you can work out rules that help most of us achieve these values, at relatively minor cost. The cost, of course, is having to obey these rules ourselves, and being willing to help enforce them. Refining these rules so that they achieve the maximum value for the most people, at the least overall cost, so that as many people as possible will be willing to accept them, is an ongoing process.

                              A moral agent is someone who understands the current set of rules in his society, and the consequences of violating them, and is able to choose whether or not to follow them.

                              (If you like, this is all my opinion, and you are not bound to agree with it. What matters if whether you are willing to accept the rules of your society, or prefer to accept the consequences of not following them.)

                              Comment


                              • Originally posted by Stoic View Post
                                We can and do.
                                Well of course we make things up.


                                No, chimps are not members of our society, and would not understand our moral rules, or the consequences of not following them.


                                We make up morals based on our values, many of which are determined by biology.
                                Like your value of destroying the neighboring tribe and taking their stuff? But you conceded my point about them being made up.

                                For example, logic alone won't get you to the conclusion that pleasure is better than pain, or that living is better than dying, But if you start out with these (and other) values, which the vast majority of us share because of our common biology, you can work out rules that help most of us achieve these values, at relatively minor cost. The cost, of course, is having to obey these rules ourselves, and being willing to help enforce them. Refining these rules so that they achieve the maximum value for the most people, at the least overall cost, so that as many people as possible will be willing to accept them, is an ongoing process.
                                Or you start out with the value that causing others pain for your gain is a good thing.

                                A moral agent is someone who understands the current set of rules in his society, and the consequences of violating them, and is able to choose whether or not to follow them.

                                (If you like, this is all my opinion, and you are not bound to agree with it. What matters if whether you are willing to accept the rules of your society, or prefer to accept the consequences of not following them.)
                                So I should have been an obedient Nazi in 1930s Germany?
                                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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