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The Tanager
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 07, 2020 5:57 pm  Subjective Morality Reply with quote

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.
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 251: Mon Feb 10, 2020 4:47 am
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The Tanager wrote:

...Even if you like the murderer, even if you are related to the murderer, if you don't want to...for whatever reason... you should still prosecute them.

But these are perfectly compatible with moral subjectivism. Are you still sure things just seem like they are independent from perspective or perception, because you are starting from the premise of objectivism?

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But how do you react to people whose music taste is something you are not fine with?

The same way I react to any instances me not fine with someone's tastes - wanting them stopped and punished.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 252: Mon Feb 10, 2020 4:16 pm
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Bust Nak wrote:
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It seems to me that Euthyphro is saying that prosecuting someone for murder is pious, independent from perspective or perception. Even if you like the murderer, even if you are related to the murderer, if you don't want to...for whatever reason... you should still prosecute them.


But these are perfectly compatible with moral subjectivism. Are you still sure things just seem like they are independent from perspective or perception, because you are starting from the premise of objectivism?


Do you mean it is compatible in the sense of "that's Euthyphro's subjective view" or something else?

Bust Nak wrote:
The same way I react to any instances me not fine with someone's tastes - wanting them stopped and punished.


You want rappers (or classicalists or country musicians or whatever) stopped from making such music and punished for making that music?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 253: Tue Feb 11, 2020 5:00 am
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The Tanager wrote:

Do you mean it is compatible in the sense of "that's Euthyphro's subjective view" or something else?

Not sure what you are getting at here. Would this help?

I am suggesting that the following passage "with regards to the nature of piety and impiety of murder, and of other offences against the gods, piety in every action is always the same, and impiety is always the opposite of piety; and that impiety is one notion which includes whatever is impious" is compatible with subjectivism. As such Euthyphro's agreement with it, does not imply he supports moral objectivism.

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You want rappers (or classicalists or country musicians or whatever) stopped from making such music and punished for making that music?

No, there seemed to be some miscommunication here. These are instances of people's taste that I am fine with. I only want to stop and punish in instances where I am not fine with someone's taste.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 254: Tue Feb 11, 2020 4:10 pm
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Bust Nak wrote:
I am suggesting that the following passage "with regards to the nature of piety and impiety of murder, and of other offences against the gods, piety in every action is always the same, and impiety is always the opposite of piety; and that impiety is one notion which includes whatever is impious" is compatible with subjectivism. As such Euthyphro's agreement with it, does not imply he supports moral objectivism.


How is moral subjectivism compatible with the idea that piety is the same for everyone? Or do you read that phrase differently?

Regardless, I would say Euthyphro's continued comments show that he is talking about moral objectivism.

Bust Nak wrote:
No, there seemed to be some miscommunication here. These are instances of people's taste that I am fine with. I only want to stop and punish in instances where I am not fine with someone's taste.


But the tastes you are not fine with are the moral tastes (like the kiddy fiddling priest), not the aesthetic ones.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 255: Wed Feb 12, 2020 4:53 am
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The Tanager wrote:

How is moral subjectivism compatible with the idea that piety is the same for everyone?

By making it explicit that piety is subjective as opposed to objective.

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Regardless, I would say Euthyphro's continued comments show that he is talking about moral objectivism.

You mean the bits after Socrates prompted him to state that God loving things makes it pious? Surely that's closer to subjectivism than objectivism.

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But the tastes you are not fine with are the moral tastes (like the kiddy fiddling priest), not the aesthetic ones.

Again, how is that any more significant than the music I am not fine is rap, not classical? If anything, the divide between what I am fine with and not fine with is less pronounced with morality than that of music taste. Lying may be okay, maybe it's not, but I have not heard a single piece of rap music that is not an instant turn off.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 256: Wed Feb 12, 2020 10:42 am
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Bust Nak wrote:
By making it explicit that piety is subjective as opposed to objective.


So, what, it's the same for everyone in the sense that whatever it is moral for Person X, it is that for Person X, but what is moral is different for different people? You can make that fit, but that is a confusing, unclear, indirect way.

Regardless of this general point, Euthyphro doesn't say it in isolation.

Bust Nak wrote:
You mean the bits after Socrates prompted him to state that God loving things makes it pious? Surely that's closer to subjectivism than objectivism.


Before the passage we are focusing on here, Euthyphro talks about how his family thinks it is impious for a son to prosecute a father. In response (before and after the passage we are focusing on) he says they are wrong, that it is pious to prosecute one's father if he is guilty, saying this truth comes from the gods...rather than saying something like piety is one consistent thing for you and another consistent thing for me or that this action is pious for myself, but not others.

Socrates then critiques his view, arguing that it is subjectivism. Euthyphro doesn't want to admit this, ties himself in knots, hems, haws, and eventually makes an excuse to leave (with his view undefended or unchanged).

Bust Nak wrote:
Quote:
But the tastes you are not fine with are the moral tastes (like the kiddy fiddling priest), not the aesthetic ones.


Again, how is that any more significant than the music I am not fine is rap, not classical? If anything, the divide between what I am fine with and not fine with is less pronounced with morality than that of music taste. Lying may be okay, maybe it's not, but I have not heard a single piece of rap music that is not an instant turn off.


But this is talking about how things makes you feel. I'm talking about how you act towards those who act on tastes that differ from your tastes. You dislike abusing children. You also want those who act on their like of abusing children to be stopped, punished, etc. You dislike rap music. Do you also want those who act on their like of rap music (or bitter gourds, etc.) to be stopped, punished, etc.?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 257: Wed Feb 12, 2020 12:19 pm
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The Tanager wrote:

So, what, it's the same for everyone in the sense that whatever it is moral for Person X, it is that for Person X, but what is moral is different for different people? You can make that fit, but that is a confusing, unclear, indirect way.

Consider the two statements: "lying is wrong regardless of circumstances" and "lying is fine under if you are protecting Jews from Nazis." Under subjectivism, they are synonymous with "Bust Nak disapprove of lying regardless of circumstances" and "Bust Nak disapprove of lying under certain circumstances" correspondingly.

Both are subjective - they describe what I, a subject, approve or disapprove of. The first is absolute, while the second is not. I don't find it confusing, unclear or indirect at all, because I come naturally with the presumption of subjectivism, you found it confusing because objectivism is what came naturally to you. Hence my original point - it's clear that many objectivist accuse subjectivists of inconsistence simply because they misidentify our actions and thoughts.

Quote:
Before the passage we are focusing on here, Euthyphro talks about how his family thinks it is impious for a son to prosecute a father. In response he says they are wrong, that it is pious to prosecute one's father if he is guilty (saying this truth comes from the gods)...

Did he say it's a truth though, or are you reading truth from a simple moral statement? Saying it is a truth form the gods would indicate that he is talk about objectivism.

In contrast saying it's right to prosecute a killer where the slaying is unjust, regardless of whether the killer is your father or not, only indicate he is talking about absolutism.

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But this is talking about how things makes you feel. I'm talking about how you act towards those who act on tastes that differ from your tastes.

One leads to the other, how I act is based on how thing makes me feel. Me stopping and punishing child abusing priests is based on how that makes me feel (not fine.) Me not stopping and punishing rap musician is based on how that makes me feel (just fine.)

Quote:
You dislike abusing children. You also want those who act on their like of abusing children to be stopped, punished, etc.

Right, but you have to realise, my dislike of abusing childing is not why I want those who act on their like of abusing children to be stopped and punished. "I do not like to abuse children" and "I do not like it when a priest abuses a child" are very different claims. It is the latter that causes me to stop and punish such priests.

"I do not like to abuse children" does not necessity implies "I do not like it when a priest abuses a child," those are separate issues. This much should be obvious to you as you've experienced similar thing yourself - you do not like country music, yet you are fine with people who favor country music, right?

Quote:
You dislike rap music. Do you also want those who act on their like of rap music (or bitter gourds, etc.) to be stopped, punished, etc.?

No, as I said before, I only want those who act on their like to be stopped, punished where I am not fine with their taste. I am fine with tastes favoring rap, I am not fine with tastes favoring child abuse.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 258: Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:53 pm
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Bust Nak wrote:
Consider the two statements: "lying is wrong regardless of circumstances" and "lying is fine under if you are protecting Jews from Nazis." Under subjectivism, they are synonymous with "Bust Nak disapprove of lying regardless of circumstances" and "Bust Nak disapprove of lying under certain circumstances" correspondingly.

Both are subjective - they describe what I, a subject, approve or disapprove of. The first is absolute, while the second is not. I don't find it confusing, unclear or indirect at all, because I come naturally with the presumption of subjectivism, you found it confusing because objectivism is what came naturally to you. Hence my original point - it's clear that many objectivist accuse subjectivists of inconsistence simply because they misidentify our actions and thoughts.


Maybe we mean different things by 'moral subjectivism?' I would describe the above as simple subjectivism. I don't find this confusing, unclear, or indirect. I agree with it. I think it is trivially true. Yes, Euthyphro approves of X. His family disapproves of X. Euthyphro is saying more than this, though. He is saying his family's opinion is objectively wrong. Not just that it is different, but objectively wrong.

Here is the real disagreement between objectivism and subjectivism. On subjectivism, "piety" is different for different people, based on whether each person personally approves of something or not. I think to use the phrase "piety in every action is always the same" to speak to subjectivism in this sense would be confusing, unclear, and indirect. I think the context clearly shows Euthyphro as an objectivist not a subjectivist here.

Bust Nak wrote:
Did he say it's a truth though, or are you reading truth from a simple moral statement? Saying it is a truth form the gods would indicate that he is talk about objectivism.


He says "how little they know what the gods think about piety and impiety," referring to his family members who are angry with his prosecution of his dad. Later he says "what a notable proof I will give you of the truth of my words...of the principle, I mean, that the impious, whoever he may be, ought not to go unpunished. For do not men regard Zeus as the best and most righteous of the gods?..." and then talks about Zeus binding his father, Cronos, because Cronos devoured his sons.

Socrates does not directly ask "are you an objectivist," so the response isn't going to be a direct statement of objectivism or subjectivism, but I think the context shows that Euthyphro is talking about what he believes to be objective fact. Humans can approve of truly impious things. How do we know what objective impiety is? Euthyphro's answer is to look at what the gods do.

Bust Nak wrote:
In contrast saying it's right to prosecute a killer where the slaying is unjust, regardless of whether the killer is your father or not, only indicate he is talking about absolutism.


Phrasing it that way helps me to see the absolute-ness of the claim, but from the context he is still focused on that absolute-ness in an objective way rather than a subjective way (I mean in the second sense above, not what I called 'simple subjectivism'). Euthyphro is not trying to convince Socrates that he (Euthyphro) approves of prosecuting unjust killers. Socrates is not questioning Euthyphro's approval of the action. The discussion is over whether piety is a real thing that is the same for all and how we are to know it.

Bust Nak wrote:
Right, but you have to realise, my dislike of abusing childing is not why I want those who act on their like of abusing children to be stopped and punished. "I do not like to abuse children" and "I do not like it when a priest abuses a child" are very different claims. It is the latter that causes me to stop and punish such priests.


I agree those are different. I'm talking about the latter. The way you feel about them acting on their personal taste in music, food, etc. is different than the way you feel about them acting on their personal taste when it involves abusing a child. This seems to place ethics in a different category.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 259: Fri Feb 14, 2020 4:45 am
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The Tanager wrote:

Maybe we mean different things by 'moral subjectivism?' I would describe the above as simple subjectivism. I don't find this confusing, unclear, or indirect. I agree with it. I think it is trivially true. Yes, Euthyphro approves of X. His family disapproves of X. Euthyphro is saying more than this, though. He is saying his family's opinion is objectively wrong. Not just that it is different, but objectively wrong.

Is he though? Why this and not "he is saying his family's opinion is subjectively wrong. Not just that it is different, but subjectively wrong."

Quote:
Here is the real disagreement between objectivism and subjectivism. On subjectivism, "piety" is different for different people, based on whether each person personally approves of something or not. I think to use the phrase "piety in every action is always the same" to speak to subjectivism in this sense would be confusing, unclear, and indirect. I think the context clearly shows Euthyphro as an objectivist not a subjectivist here.

Can you be more specific as to why you would think I am a objective, if you head me say "the morality of lying is always the same?"

Quote:
Later he says "what a notable proof I will give you of the truth of my words...of the principle, I mean, that the impious, whoever he may be, ought not to go unpunished. For do not men regard Zeus as the best and most righteous of the gods?..." and then talks about Zeus binding his father, Cronos, because Cronos devoured his sons.

I see your point, but that's before he was promoted to link it to gods, right? As soon as Socrates got him to say pious is what is loved by gods, he got into trouble forming a coherent stance.

Quote:
I agree those are different. I'm talking about the latter. The way you feel about them acting on their personal taste in music, food, etc. is different than the way you feel about them acting on their personal taste when it involves abusing a child. This seems to place ethics in a different category.

Again, how is this different from the way I feel about classical music is different than the way I feel about rap music? Does that indicated that classical music is placed in a different category to rap music?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 260: Fri Feb 14, 2020 5:29 pm
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Bust Nak wrote:
Is he though? Why this and not "he is saying his family's opinion is subjectively wrong. Not just that it is different, but subjectively wrong."


What do you mean by "subjectively wrong"?

Bust Nak wrote:
Quote:
Here is the real disagreement between objectivism and subjectivism. On subjectivism, "piety" is different for different people, based on whether each person personally approves of something or not. I think to use the phrase "piety in every action is always the same" to speak to subjectivism in this sense would be confusing, unclear, and indirect. I think the context clearly shows Euthyphro as an objectivist not a subjectivist here.


Can you be more specific as to why you would think I am a objective, if you head me say "the morality of lying is always the same?"


I think the term 'morality' would be the reason. I think moral objectivists and moral subjectivists use that term differently than simple subjectivists. For moral subjectivists the morality of lying is not always the same: it is moral for some, immoral for others. For clarity's sake, I don't think we should use "the morality of lying" to refer to our personal opinions...as personal opinions...on an issue. In making a statement of simple subjectivism one should say something like "my view on lying is always the same." This would still need clarifying concerning absolutism vs situationalism.

Bust Nak wrote:
Quote:
Later he says "what a notable proof I will give you of the truth of my words...of the principle, I mean, that the impious, whoever he may be, ought not to go unpunished. For do not men regard Zeus as the best and most righteous of the gods?..." and then talks about Zeus binding his father, Cronos, because Cronos devoured his sons.


I see your point, but that's before he was promoted to link it to gods, right? As soon as Socrates got him to say pious is what is loved by gods, he got into trouble forming a coherent stance.


I'm not sure what you are asking. The "before he was promoted to link it to gods" is confusing me, I think. Socrates asks Euthyphro what piety is. Euthyphro then offers this "proof." Socrates presses Euthyphro further on the principle of judging what is pious or impious. Euthyphro answers that piety is that which is loved by the gods. And Socrates presses Euthyphro's incoherence from there.

Bust Nak wrote:
Again, how is this different from the way I feel about classical music is different than the way I feel about rap music? Does that indicated that classical music is placed in a different category to rap music?


I'm not sure if I'm understanding your point here. They are in a different category for "how you feel", a like and a dislike category, but I'm not sure if that's relevant to my point or not. If you dislike music X, food X, painting X, etc. you act one way. If you dislike ethic X, you act differently than that.

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