Subjective Morality

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The Tanager
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Subjective Morality

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I started this post out of another discussion with Divine Insight. DI has made some arguments for morality being subjective. I'm still trying to get the terminology straight.
Divine Insight wrote:If morality is not absolute, then it can only be subjective. A matter of opinion.
We need to get our terms straight when talking about our human morality. I agree with you concerning 'subjective' being a matter of opinion. Objective, then, would mean not being a matter of opinion. Just like the shape of the earth is not a matter of opinion. X is good or bad for everyone.

Absolute vs. situational is a sub-issue concerning objectivism. The absolutist would say X is good or bad for everyone (and thus objectivism) no matter the situation. The situationalist would say X is good or bad for everyone but qualified by the situation.

In this phrasing, morality can be objectivist without being absolute. Now, I don't care if these are the terms we agree upon or not, but there must be some term for each concept I've presented. If you want to use "absolute" for "objective" above, that's fine. But you've got to tell me what two terms you want to use for what I termed the "absolute vs. situational" sub-issue.

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Re: Subjective Morality

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Bust Nak wrote: Thu Apr 22, 2021 1:19 pmIn one sense I am treating it the same as all those other tastes. I judge them according my taste. i.e. The same way I treat bitter gourd as I do vanilla ice-cream, I judge them by taste.

In the sense that I am treating them differently, I do so because of an objective fact of reality: my taste being a certain, objective way. Or as I like to put it, there is no accounting for taste, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, that's how I roll. i.e. The same reason I treat bitter gourd differently than I do vanilla ice-cream, one is yuck, the other is yum.
Deeper reasons can be given that better explain the differences we are talking about. There is something about the physical makeup of your tastebuds that explain why you like vanilla and not bitter gourds. What is that difference in 'you being you' concerning aesthetics and morality?
Bust Nak wrote: Thu Apr 22, 2021 1:19 pmOpinion being all there is doesn't imply they are equally valid. Validity is measured with a standard, and I made no mention of any standards when I said opinion are all there is to it. Which standard are you referring to here, and more importantly why should I adopt that standard for evaluating validity?
Truth. Is chocolate ice cream the best flavor? Opinion is all that we have. The one that says chocolate ice cream is the best flavor and the one that says chocolate ice cream is not the best flavor are making equally valid claims. If the people mean these as statements about chocolate ice cream itself abstracted from its effect on other beings, then they are both false. If the people mean these as statements about themselves, then they are both true. If you don't think truth should be a standard to use, then why are we even having this discussion?
Bust Nak wrote: Thu Apr 22, 2021 1:19 pm
"Others should conform themselves to this action" is just an longer way of saying "I like this action."
So, saying I like eating chocolate ice cream is the same thing as saying everyone else should eat chocolate ice cream?
No. Instead, saying I like everyone else only eating chocolate ice cream, is the same thing as saying everyone else should eat chocolate ice cream.

Which incidentally, is the same class of statement as I like eating chocolate ice cream.
a. I dislike X.
b. I dislike everyone else conforming themselves to X.

Do you think those statements are synonymous?
Bust Nak wrote: Thu Apr 22, 2021 1:19 pm
So, analogically, I would be saying: it would be irrational of me to say I like people only teaching and learning that the shape of the Earth is objectively spherical, even though I believe the shape of the Earth is a subjective feature of reality.
Why would that be irrational? If I cannot appeal to an objective fact, then of course I am gonna appeal to subjective preference. On the contrary, it would be irrational to act otherwise. As irrational as choosing to eat bitter gourd over vanilla ice-cream because I believe "ice-cream is tastier than bitter gourd" is a subjective feature of reality. I might be struggling to explain this because this is entirely trivial and intuitive to me.
Sorry, perhaps the analogy should read: "it would be irrational of me to say I like people only teaching and learning that the shape of the Earth is spherical, even though I believe the shape of the Earth is a subjective feature of reality."

I took out the 'objectively' before spherical. Do you still think it's rational rather than irrational to say such a thing?

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Re: Subjective Morality

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Post by Bust Nak »

The Tanager wrote: Thu Apr 22, 2021 5:02 pm Deeper reasons can be given that better explain the differences we are talking about. There is something about the physical makeup of your tastebuds that explain why you like vanilla and not bitter gourds. What is that difference in 'you being you' concerning aesthetics and morality?
My retinas and eardrums explains both of those. But that doesn't seem to be any more interesting than how taste buds works in a philosophy discussion. These deeper reasons goes beyond the way people think and into biology.
Truth.
"Bust Nak likes vanilla better" and "everybody likes Vanilla better" are truth claims where we opinion is not all we have. Where opinion is all that we have, we don't have access to truth as a standard, exactly because opinion is all we have. So what applicable standard can you appeal to in order to make the claim that "the one that says chocolate ice cream is the best flavor and the one that says chocolate ice cream is not the best flavor are making equally valid claims?"
If you don't think truth should be a standard to use, then why are we even having this discussion?
"Should be" doesn't enter into the picture here, it's "can be." We are having this discussion because truth still applies where opinion is not all that we have.
a. I dislike X.
b. I dislike everyone else conforming themselves to X.

Do you think those statements are synonymous?
No, they are not. Instead "I dislike everyone else conforming themselves to X" is synonymous with "everyone else should not X."
Sorry, perhaps the analogy should read: "it would be irrational of me to say I like people only teaching and learning that the shape of the Earth is spherical, even though I believe the shape of the Earth is a subjective feature of reality."

I took out the 'objectively' before spherical. Do you still think it's rational rather than irrational to say such a thing?
Same thing applies. Where I cannot appeal to objective fact, I appeal to subjective preference. If I like people only teaching and learning that the shape of the Earth is spherical then I am going to advance that preference so people only teach and learn that the shape of the Earth is spherical; If I like people only teaching and learning that the shape of the Earth is square then I am going to advance that preference so people only teach and learn that instead. It's irrational to not appeal to your own subjective preference where you cannot appeal to objective fact; whether it's square, hollow or round, ice-cream or Earth shape, the exact details don't matter.

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Re: Subjective Morality

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Bust Nak wrote: Fri Apr 23, 2021 4:52 amMy retinas and eardrums explains both of those. But that doesn't seem to be any more interesting than how taste buds works in a philosophy discussion. These deeper reasons goes beyond the way people think and into biology.
How do your retinas and eardrums explain the difference that you are okay with people eating food you dislike but not okay with people acting morally in ways you dislike?
Bust Nak wrote: Fri Apr 23, 2021 4:52 am
a. I dislike X.
b. I dislike everyone else conforming themselves to X.

Do you think those statements are synonymous?
No, they are not. Instead "I dislike everyone else conforming themselves to X" is synonymous with "everyone else should not X."
Surely you can see that you saying the following: "'Others should conform themselves to this action' is just an longer way of saying 'I like this action'" could be confused as you saying that (a) and (b) are the same thing?

Regardless, back to the point. Why do you want people to conform themselves to your opinion on matters of morality but not aesthetics?
Bust Nak wrote: Fri Apr 23, 2021 4:52 amSame thing applies. Where I cannot appeal to objective fact, I appeal to subjective preference. If I like people only teaching and learning that the shape of the Earth is spherical then I am going to advance that preference so people only teach and learn that the shape of the Earth is spherical; If I like people only teaching and learning that the shape of the Earth is square then I am going to advance that preference so people only teach and learn that instead. It's irrational to not appeal to your own subjective preference where you cannot appeal to objective fact; whether it's square, hollow or round, ice-cream or Earth shape, the exact details don't matter.
There is no objective truth on what ice cream flavors we should get when you, Johnny, and I hang out after a hard's day work. What do you mean when you say all you can do now is appeal to subjective preference regarding our various ice cream choices?

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Re: Subjective Morality

Post #774

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The Tanager wrote: Mon Apr 26, 2021 5:39 pm How do your retinas and eardrums explain the difference that you are okay with people eating food you dislike but not okay with people acting morally in ways you dislike?
I had to look it up, it has something to do with my ventromedial prefrontal cortex. Go ask a neuroscientist if you want more detail. Suffice to say it's the same sense taste buds explains the difference that I am okay with chocolate ice-cream but not okay with bitter gourds.
Surely you can see that you saying the following: "'Others should conform themselves to this action' is just an longer way of saying 'I like this action'" could be confused as you saying that (a) and (b) are the same thing?
I guess so, then let me be very explicit:
"I like this action" as in "I like doing this action" is not synonymous with "others should conform themselves to this action."
"I like this action" as in "I like it when others do this action" is synonymous with "others should conform themselves to this action."
Regardless, back to the point. Why do you want people to conform themselves to your opinion on matters of morality but not aesthetics?
Roughly it's because that's how I roll, I am built this way, beauty is in the eye of the beholder; in more detail it is because of my retinas and eardrums; in even more detail, it's because of my ventromedial prefrontal cortex. As before, beyond the superficial explanation, is biology instead of philosophy.
There is no objective truth on what ice cream flavors we should get when you, Johnny, and I hang out after a hard's day work. What do you mean when you say all you can do now is appeal to subjective preference regarding our various ice cream choices?
By appealing to subjective preference I mean picking the option one like best: In the context of ice-cream choices, I like vanilla best; I also like allowing myself, Johnny and The Tanager to pick their own ice-cream get.

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Re: Subjective Morality

Post #775

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Bust Nak wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 10:35 amBy appealing to subjective preference I mean picking the option one like best: In the context of ice-cream choices, I like vanilla best; I also like allowing myself, Johnny and The Tanager to pick their own ice-cream get.
Even in areas that there are objective truths, you can still only prefer the things you prefer. The reason you prefer something has changed. And why you have the preferences you do is what we are talking about. That's where the objectivism and subjectivism distinction can come into play. In ice cream choice you prefer to go with your taste pleasure. In others' ice cream choices you prefer them to go with their pleasure. In moral choice you prefer to go with your emotional pleasure (or whatever). In others' moral choices you prefer them to go with your emotional pleasure rather than their own. That's a key difference for you between aesthetic and moral choices.
Bust Nak wrote: Fri Apr 30, 2021 10:35 amRoughly it's because that's how I roll, I am built this way, beauty is in the eye of the beholder; in more detail it is because of my retinas and eardrums; in even more detail, it's because of my ventromedial prefrontal cortex. As before, beyond the superficial explanation, is biology instead of philosophy.
This biological explanation seems to rest on a naturalistic philosophy or, at the least, determinism being true, which is also philosophical. Do you have support for the philosophy behind these claims?

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Re: Subjective Morality

Post #776

Post by JoeyKnothead »

Subjective morality?

Here's my thinking on this...

Many on the god squad seek to declare they know the thinking of a god they can't show exists - in regards to morality. So, instead of showing their god exists to have him some thinking, they just pride themselves on "To heck with that first bit there, dang all y'all and your danged wedding cakes."

But ya know what they can't do?

Show they know the mind of a god they can't show exists.

But only don't it beat all, them danged wedding cakes are the product of Satan himself.


To heck with such folks.

We ain't never gonna convince em their god is a bigot, and how bout that, they agree with that bigot god.

So let's just give up this argument...

"Yes, the Christian bigot has on him, his bigotry, just as much bigotry as his own imaginary God bigots on his own!"


We who value humanity over superstition are forever obliged to kowtowo to the ignorant, the downright goofy, just so's we can make some peace in a world full of folks so delusional they think folks hop up out of three day old graves.

Lest they vote. And then storm our Capitals hoping to either hang folks, or overturn elections.

'Subjective morality' doesn't exist among those who think they're the only ones who have morals at all.
Discovery is finding things that exist.
Invention is using things discovered.

Create that path and engineer a metamorphosis.

- William

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Re: Subjective Morality

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JoeyKnothead wrote: Sat May 01, 2021 9:38 pmWe who value humanity over superstition are forever obliged to kowtowo to the ignorant, the downright goofy,
Why are these people ignorant? What are they ignorant of?

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Re: Subjective Morality

Post #778

Post by Bust Nak »

The Tanager wrote: Sat May 01, 2021 9:05 am Even in areas that there are objective truths, you can still only prefer the things you prefer. The reason you prefer something has changed. And why you have the preferences you do is what we are talking about. That's where the objectivism and subjectivism distinction can come into play. In ice cream choice you prefer to go with your taste pleasure. In others' ice cream choices you prefer them to go with their pleasure. In moral choice you prefer to go with your emotional pleasure (or whatever). In others' moral choices you prefer them to go with your emotional pleasure rather than their own. That's a key difference for you between aesthetic and moral choices.
Still don't see how that is any more significant than me preferring vanilla ice-cream over chocolate over bitter gourds. I like one thing (picking my own ice-cream) and I like another thing (you picking your ice-cream), but does not like a third thing (Johnny abusing children.)
This biological explanation seems to rest on a naturalistic philosophy or, at the least, determinism being true, which is also philosophical. Do you have support for the philosophy behind these claims?
Don't really care about the philosophical aspects of science. Whatever science presumes in the philosophical sense, I support automatically, simply because I support science.

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Re: Subjective Morality

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Bust Nak wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 5:33 amStill don't see how that is any more significant than me preferring vanilla ice-cream over chocolate over bitter gourds. I like one thing (picking my own ice-cream) and I like another thing (you picking your ice-cream), but does not like a third thing (Johnny abusing children.)
Again, I'm not talking about if it is a more significant kind of difference. All that matters is their is a difference. I'm asking why is it different.
Bust Nak wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 5:33 amDon't really care about the philosophical aspects of science. Whatever science presumes in the philosophical sense, I support automatically, simply because I support science.
Science doesn't presume a philosophy. Scientists do. And they disagree philosophically with each other.

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Re: Subjective Morality

Post #780

Post by Bust Nak »

The Tanager wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 7:59 pm Again, I'm not talking about if it is a more significant kind of difference. All that matters is their is a difference. I'm asking why is it different.
You used the phrase "key difference." That sounded like it's significant. As for why it is different, it's different for the same board reasons why my taste on vanilla ice-cream is different to that of chocolate favor, because of some objective fact about me, whether it is taste buds or eye balls, of the brain that processes the signals.
Science doesn't presume a philosophy. Scientists do. And they disagree philosophically with each other.
Then it follows that I don't automatically support any philosophy, and still not very interested in the philosophical aspects of science. It works, that's good enough for me.

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