Arguments for Non-Subjective Morality

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Divine Insight
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Arguments for Non-Subjective Morality

Post #1

Post by Divine Insight »

In another thread The Tanager has requested a separate thread for his argument for the existence of a Non-Subjective morality.
The Tanager wrote: You made the claim that subjective morality exists in that other thread and this one. I am responding to that claim. I'm also willing afterwards to offer my own reasons for believing in non-subjective morality. If and/or how would one come to know what the non-subjective morality is would be an additional question, but it does not settle this one that we are talking about because of the claims you have made. After this discussion, start a thread on that and I'll share my thoughts.
I would be very interested to hear these arguments.
The Tanager wrote: If and/or how would one come to know what the non-subjective morality is would be an additional question
I agree. First we need to have reasons to even suspect that such a thing exists. I would like to hear those arguments first.

But yes, if those initial arguments are compelling (which I confess to being skeptic about already), a far more important question would be the question of how we could come to know what those moral rules are.

Without this additional knowledge the existence of a non-subjective morality would be useless. A system of morality whose content cannot be known would be meaningless.

So yes, we not only need to have arguments for the existence of a non-subjective morality, but we then need to know precisely what it contains without ambiguity.

Any ambiguity would bring us right back to having to subjectively guess what we think it might contain anyway. So that would hardly be useful and would instantly return us right back to a state of subjective morality.

So yes, we don't just need to know that an objective morality exists, but we also need to know precisely what it contains.
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Re: Arguments for Non-Subjective Morality

Post #101

Post by Divine Insight »

Artie wrote: So now you are saying that moral subjectivists will follow their own personal tastes, feelings, and opinions except when they think they might be arrested by the authorities, fined, imprisoned, or worse?
This is true for everyone Artie. Even religious people have to obey the laws. Have you forgotten that according to their religion it's perfectly fine to burn witches at the stake, to kill non-believers (i.e. heathens), even potentially killing gays which their Bible commands them to do?

Secular laws actually prevent religious people from doing what they believe is moral. Fortunately.
Artie wrote: Well, that is reassuring... "If it wasn't for the fact that I might be arrested and imprisoned I would murder you if I felt like it..." Does that sound like something you could say?
I would never kill anyone simply because "I felt like it". :roll:

On the other hand, yes, there are people that might very well kill for what I consider to be good reasons if there were no laws against it.

So yes, it's the secular laws and the threat of being imprisoned that assures I won't kill someone even if I feel that there is good reasons to kill them.
:D

Let's not forget also that if a jury agrees with me that I had good reason to kill someone they may very well, acquit me of murder charges anyway, even within our current legal system.

Our laws don't say that you aren't allow to kill someone. They say that you aren't allowed to "murder" them. So if you kill someone for good reason and you can convince a jury that you had sufficient reason for killing them, you could be acquitted of murder anyway.

Things are as simple as you apparently seem to think.

In fact, look at what's going on in our world today. Trump just basically got away with murder because the jury refused to convict him. So much for the law. We know that what Trump did was extremely immoral. But because his defense lawyers were willing to lie for him and Republican senators were willing to ignore the truth he got off.

So our legal system has nothing at all to do with morality. You can be as immoral as you want and be legally acquitted.
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Re: Arguments for Non-Subjective Morality

Post #102

Post by Bust Nak »

Artie wrote: I can read you know... DI says "a concept of morality has nothing at all to do with laws. Our laws are not based on morality, nor should they be." And you say that some laws are based on subjective morality.
"law codifies morality. In other words, the law formulates the culture’s morality into legal codes. Again, not every legal code refers to a moral issue, but most laws do have some moral significance."
That's the ideal, but you know full well that when it comes to keeping society order and doing the right thing, the law favors the former over the latter. And more to the point whose moral is the law going to uphold? Theocracies have very different moral than your typical westernise countries.

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Re: Arguments for Non-Subjective Morality

Post #103

Post by Artie »

Divine Insight wrote:
Artie wrote:So now you are saying that moral subjectivists will follow their own personal tastes, feelings, and opinions except when they think they might be arrested by the authorities, fined, imprisoned, or worse?
This is true for everyone Artie. Even religious people have to obey the laws. Have you forgotten that according to their religion it's perfectly fine to burn witches at the stake, to kill non-believers (i.e. heathens), even potentially killing gays which their Bible commands them to do?

Secular laws actually prevent religious people from doing what they believe is moral. Fortunately.
:)
Artie wrote: Well, that is reassuring... "If it wasn't for the fact that I might be arrested and imprisoned I would murder you if I felt like it..." Does that sound like something you could say?
I would never kill anyone simply because "I felt like it". :roll:
Why not if there were no negative consequences for you? Isn't that what moral subjectivism is all about? If you feel like it it's automatically right and if there are no negative consequences for you why not? I eat chocolate when I feel like it even though it has negative consequences for me.

"The subjectivist viewpoint suggests that a person's own perceptions of the world are undeniably correct for that person, thus morality isn't dependent upon social norms. It rejects not only objectivism, the idea that there are overriding moral standards for every culture, but also relativism, in which one's culture determines what one should and shouldn't do. Moral subjectivism reduces morality to pure nihilistic solipsism -- whatever is right for you, is absolutely right. This worldview is great for serial killers and other sundry antisocial types, as it explains away any need to consider others in one's actions.
In a taped statement given by Ted Bundy from prison to one of his surviving victims, Bundy defends moral subjectivism as the reason behind his actions."
https://everything2.com/title/Ted+Bundy ... bjectivism

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Re: Arguments for Non-Subjective Morality

Post #104

Post by Bust Nak »

Commentry via Artie wrote: The subjectivist viewpoint suggests that a person's own perceptions of the world are undeniably correct for that person, thus morality isn't dependent upon social norms.
While this author has the right idea, he missed the point that correctness doesn't apply to subjective matters.
It rejects not only objectivism, the idea that there are overriding moral standards for every culture, but also relativism, in which one's culture determines what one should and shouldn't do.
Not necessarily, relativism merely states that particular point of views determines what one should and shouldn't do, but does not limit said point of views to that of society. Morality relative to individual point of views still falls under moral relativism. Having said that, granted, typically moral relativist uses culture as the default relative reference.
In a taped statement given by Ted Bundy from prison to one of his surviving victims, Bundy defends moral subjectivism as the reason behind his actions.
Ironically, Bundy understood moral subjectivism better than the author of that preamble.

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Re: Arguments for Non-Subjective Morality

Post #105

Post by Artie »

Bust Nak wrote:
Commentry via Artie wrote:The subjectivist viewpoint suggests that a person's own perceptions of the world are undeniably correct for that person, thus morality isn't dependent upon social norms.
While this author has the right idea, he missed the point that correctness doesn't apply to subjective matters.
Huh? First you say that "this author has the right idea" (correct idea) and then you say that correctness doesn't apply to subjective matters?
It rejects not only objectivism, the idea that there are overriding moral standards for every culture, but also relativism, in which one's culture determines what one should and shouldn't do.
Not necessarily, relativism merely states that particular point of views determines what one should and shouldn't do, but does not limit said point of views to that of society. Morality relative to individual point of views still falls under moral relativism. Having said that, granted, typically moral relativist uses culture as the default relative reference.
In a taped statement given by Ted Bundy from prison to one of his surviving victims, Bundy defends moral subjectivism as the reason behind his actions.
Ironically, Bundy understood moral subjectivism better than the author of that preamble.
It doesn't bother you that you are also a moral subjectivist and share the same reasoning as Ted Bundy?
Last edited by Artie on Thu Feb 06, 2020 11:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Arguments for Non-Subjective Morality

Post #106

Post by Bust Nak »

Artie wrote: Huh? First you say that "this author has the right idea" (correct idea) and then you say that correctness doesn't apply to subjective matters?
Is there a problem? He has the right idea but he is missing a vital point. I didn't think that was difficult to understand.
It doesn't bother you that you are also a moral subjectivist and share the same reasoning as Ted Bundy?
Not at all. Why would it bother me? Does it bother you that you and Hitler are both moral objectivist and share the same "for the greater good" reasoning?

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Re: Arguments for Non-Subjective Morality

Post #107

Post by Artie »

Bust Nak wrote:
Artie wrote:Huh? First you say that "this author has the right idea" (correct idea) and then you say that correctness doesn't apply to subjective matters?
Is there a problem? He has the right idea but he is missing a vital point.
And how can he have the right (correct) idea when being right (correct) doesn't apply to subjective matters? Isn't it his subjective idea?
It doesn't bother you that you are also a moral subjectivist and share the same reasoning as Ted Bundy?
Not at all. Why would it bother me? Does it bother you that you and Hitler are both moral objectivist and share the same "for the greater good" reasoning?
No. Don't you share our "for the greater good" reasoning? Is your reasoning only for "your" good or for what is it? Is there a general reasoning at all for moral subjectivists? Or is there no reasoning at all?

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Re: Arguments for Non-Subjective Morality

Post #108

Post by Bust Nak »

Artie wrote: And how can he have the right (correct) idea when being right (correct) doesn't apply to subjective matters? Isn't it his subjective idea?
Correctness doesn't apply to subjective matter, and he is mostly correct in what he was talking about. Put the two together... it's not his subjective idea, it's an objective matter.
Oh! You don't mean right according to some objective yardstick, you mean right according to you and him!
*Facepalm.* No!
No. Don't you share our "for the greater good" reasoning?
No. I go by feels.
Is your reasoning only for "your" good or for what is it? Is there a general reasoning at all for moral subjectivists? Or is there no reasoning at all?
Does the phase there is "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" or "there is no accounting for taste" mean anything to you? While subjectivists can use reasoning to analyse a complex situation to break it down to smaller pieces, we are ultimately still just judging these smaller pieces by feels. This is what I mean: "Is action A moral, hmm, I am not sure how I feel about A. But since A implies B and C, and B and C feels moral, that means A is moral."

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Re: Arguments for Non-Subjective Morality

Post #109

Post by Divine Insight »

Artie wrote: Why not if there were no negative consequences for you? Isn't that what moral subjectivism is all about? If you feel like it it's automatically right and if there are no negative consequences for you why not?
To being with that is NOT the reasoning behind subjective moral opinions. To the contrary every person who has a subjective moral opinion holds that opinion for whatever subjective reasons they might chose.

Is this a problem for "Moral Subjectivism"?

Yes and no.

It would be an extreme problem if a person was trying to hold moral subjectivism up as though it represents some sort of absolutely correct objective morality. :roll:

And that's precisely where you continue to make your mistake.

I'm not arguing in defense of moral subjectivism as though it represents some sort of coherent or meaningful system of morality.

To the contrary, I'm simply pointing out that this is all that exists in our world. Whether this is useful or not as a basis for building a general moral system is a whole different discussion. I'm not the slightest bit interested in debating that topic.

I reject the entire concept of morality, period. It's not even a useful concept as far as I'm concerned.

We already know that most of our laws in society have nothing to do with morality, and those that appear to only do so, either because they just coincidentally agree with someone's subjective moral opinions, or they were put into law by religious zealots who worked toward putting the moral principles of their religion into law.

The bottom line Artie is that the very concept of morality is useless in any practical sense. A secular society that recognizes that concepts of morality are purely human subjective opinions can still make secular laws based on how the society wants to demand that people must behave. We already do that anyway.

By the way, your entire argument that morality should be based on a concept of what's best "for the greater good" is already a subjective opinion. That very idea of what constitutes what's best "for the greater good", is open to subjective opinions. Not everyone is going to agree on what's best "for the greater good".

So you're very proposal for a basis of morality is already based on subjective opinions anyway. So you're already there. You are arguing for moral subjectivism already and apparently you don't even realize it.
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Re: Arguments for Non-Subjective Morality

Post #110

Post by 2ndRateMind »

[Replying to post 1 by Divine Insight]

'm a simple sort of creature. And so it seems to me that philosophy, stripped to it's basics, consists of being (ontology), knowing (epistemology) and doing, (ethics).

At first sight, ethics consists of the balance between the good things we do, and the bad things we do, and Judgement the weight of the one versus the other. But on closer inspection, we do good and bad things dependent on how we see the world, our various epistemologies. And these depend, in turn on how we are, our various ontologies.

So I would say that our ethics depend not so much on what we do, or what we know or believe, but fundamentally on the way we are. It might well be that, come Judgment Day, irrespective of what belief system we subscribe to, or what good works we have managed, God makes His decision on the dispersal of our souls, heaven- or hell-wards, simply on how we are.

How does this fit with the OP? Our ontologies (how we are). are objective. Our beliefs and knowledge (epistemologies) even if incorrect, are also objective. Our ethics, insofar as they affect the world, are still objective. Subjectivity is opinion; objectivity, fact. But there is a subtle collision where our opinions affect the world, and subjectivity meets objectivity. My contention is that where the world is affected, that is where we begin talking objectivity, rather than subjectivity.

Best wishes, 2RM.
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