The pursuit of knowledge and truth, through God, through science, through civil and engaging debate

Goto page 1, 2, 3 ... 27, 28, 29  Next

Reply to topic
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 1: Tue Jan 07, 2020 5:57 pm
Reply
Subjective Morality

Like this post
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.

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 2: Tue Jan 07, 2020 7:42 pm
Reply
Re: Subjective Morality

Like this post
The Tanager wrote:

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 terms of logical objectivity I don't see any difference between these two moral positions.

Your descriptions from the OP:

Absolutism - The absolutist would say X is good or bad for everyone (and thus objectivism) no matter the situation.

Situationalism - The situationalist would say X is good or bad for everyone but qualified by the situation.

Let me take these one at a time and explain why they are both ideas of absolute morality.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Absolutism -

The absolutist would say X is good or bad for everyone (and thus objectivism) no matter the situation.

You appear to have no problem recognizing this as an absolute system of morality. There could exist some absolute and "objective" moral logical formalism existing in some imagined Platonic world. And therefore this simple moral system appears to be carved in stone and easy to grasp.

Let's take X to be "Bad" then we have the following:

Anyone who commits the act of X has done an immoral act. Therefore they have committed an immoral action. If we also allow that their actions determine their moral status, then we can also say that the person is immoral for having committed these acts.

Let's take Y to be "Good" then we have the following:

Anyone who commits the act of Y has done an moral act. Therefore they have committed to a moral action. If we also allow that their actions determine their moral status, then we can also say that the person is moral for having committed these acts.

That's pretty simply and straight-forward. This could easily be carved in an objective stone in a Platonic world and become the basis for absolute objective morality.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Now what about Situationalism?

Situationalism -

The situationalist would say X is good or bad for everyone but qualified by the situation.

The next question to ask is whether this could be carved in stone as an objective absolute law of morality in an imagined Platonic World?

The answer is yes, it can be carved in stone to be an absolute moral formalism.

How so?

Well, don't we need to be consistent when qualifying by a situation? Think

That's the important question. If we aren't consistent when qualifying the situations then we don't have a meaningful system of morality.

So now, we're right back to Absolutism where we were before.

Let X = the moral situation where lying to save someone's life is immoral.

Then if a person lies to save someone's life they have indeed committed an immoral act. Whether they agree with this or not is irrelevant. Remember, we're talking about Situationalism here and not Subjectivism. So what any individual person might subjectively think about this cannot change it. If you lie to save someone's life then even in this Situational moral system you have committed an immoral act, whether you agree with this or not. Your subjective opinion does not matter.

Now Let Y = the moral situation where lying to save someone's life is moral

Again this is based on the situation. So it's Situational moralism. However, this can still be objectively carved into stone in the Platonic World. Now anyone who lies to save someone's life has committed to a moral action rather than an immoral action.

So as you see, even situational moralism is absolute.

The only way you could free it from being absolute is to allow that whether X or Y is moral or immoral is up to the opinion of the people who choose to lie or not lie in this situation. But then you have moved from just being situational to also being dependent on subjective opinion.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Absolute Subjectivism -

As strange as it may seem we can even carve subjective opinionism into stone as an absolute objective morality in an imagined Platonic world.

All we need to do is write up the rules to say that whatever a person sincerely believes to be a moral action, is indeed a moral action, and whatever a person does that they believe to be an immoral action is indeed an immoral action.

Now we have a way to even judge subjective moral opinions based on an absolute objective moral system that can be carved in stone in a Platonic World.

All we need to do is determine whether a person's actions are based on what they truly believe to be moral or immoral actions. Very Happy

And we can philosophically imagine little minions who watch every thought that humans make so they can decide whether the human sincerely believed their actions to be moral or immoral.

So as strange as it may seem even a purely subjective morality could be carved in stone in an absolute objective imagined Platonic world.

It all comes down to how we choose to define this absolute moral code that we crave into the Platonic Stone.

Even a pure subjective opinionated morality can be carved into an absolute objective moral rock. It can simply be made dependent on how sincere the person holding the opinion is. If they are sincere, their opinion stands. If they are insincere their opinion falls. And in this case the only "true immorality" would to simply be to do anything that a person sincerely believes to be wrong.

In this way we can even create our own moral judgements upon ourselves. And some theists (especially in Easter Religions) actually believe that this is indeed the way things are.

But please note, we aren't permitted to lie to ourselves and pretend that we think something is moral when in the core of our being we know it isn't true. So we can't just make up our own moral ideals. We need to sincerely believe them.

Some Christian theists have even argued that this is in harmony with Christian beliefs, because they just toss in the addition premise that God "writes upon our hearts" what's absolutely moral or immoral. Therefore they claim that if we always follow our hearts sincerely will will always do the right thing.

~~~~~~~~~~~~


Why Philosophy is Dead as a Tool for Seeking Truth -

Just as an aside about Philosophy in general .

This is the problem with philosophy. Basically anything goes!

You can always dream up a logical scenario that will fit whatever you're trying to create by simply manipulating your premises, and adding conditions like an imaginary God writing moral laws on the hearts of men, etc.

This is why Stephen Hawking proclaimed philosophy to be "dead" in terms of being a tool that could ever lead to any objective truth.

The reason should be obvious. You can simply manipulate your premises and assumptions however you like to create a logically sounds philosophical system that describes whatever it is you'd like to describe.

How can that ever lead us to truth, unless the truth is that "Anything Goes"?

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 3: Tue Jan 07, 2020 8:59 pm
Reply

Like this post
There is an excellent book by Jonathan Haidt called "The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion". He studies morality as a career and discussed it in depth as the reason people are divided. He identifies 5 attributes of which 3 are essentially agreed upon and half the people consider the other two. I'd highly recommend it as a source for discussing this kind of topic. There's certainly a lot of seeming objective morals, but there are also some very subjective ones. Doesn't have to be all or nothing.

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 4: Tue Jan 07, 2020 9:12 pm
Reply

Like this post
ElCodeMonkey wrote:

Doesn't have to be all or nothing.


Agreed. However, the things I pointed out about philosophy in general still remain true. Philosophically we can make anything true or false. It's entirely dependent upon what premises we're willing to lay out in the first place.

So in philosophy it's never "all or nothing", instead it's just "anything goes". You can define just about anything you want to be logically consistent within its own definitions. Just create the premises you need to make that situation true. Very Happy

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 5: Wed Jan 08, 2020 2:40 am
Reply
Re: Subjective Morality

Like this post
The Tanager wrote:

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.



Objective and subjective are opposites. Absolute and subjective seem to me unrelated.



Quote:

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.


Here, it seems to me, you've slipped into the same confusion as DI. It's as if you're saying that objective and absolute are the same thing.



Quote:


Absolute vs. situational is a sub-issue concerning objectivism.


I don't see what absolute/situational has to do with objective/subjective.

An absolute rule is one with no exceptions. Consider the rule, "Thou shalt not kill." If Joe thinks the rule doesn't apply in cases of self defense, then he thinks the rule is situational. But if Sara thinks the proper phrasing of the rule is something like, "Thou shalt not kill except in self defense," then Sara thinks the rule is absolute; she thinks it is always true for everybody that you shouldn't kill except in self defense.

So, who's right? Does the rule have an exception, or is it absolute? It depends how you think about it.

In other words, the question is a subjective one.





Quote:

The absolutist would say X is good or bad for everyone (and thus objectivism)


What if Joe says that lying is always wrong for anyone who believes that lying is wrong. That rule is both absolute and subjective, isn't it?

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 6: Wed Jan 08, 2020 3:40 am
Reply
Re: Subjective Morality

Like this post
wiploc wrote:

Objective and subjective are opposites. Absolute and subjective seem to me unrelated.


I think before we could ever discuss these terms meaningfully we would need to define them and also agree on those definitions.

In your above statement it appears that you make a distinction between "Objective" and "Absolute" moral values or rules.

I personally don't see how there could be a difference between these two terms.

I have watched William Lane Craig argue for a difference between these terms but I disagree with his opinion on the semantics. I suggest that he's arguing for an absolute moral value in both cases.

In other words, he argues that if morality is situational or contextual, then it's no longer absolute. But in the same breath he claims that there is still an "absolute right or wrong" even within those contextual situations.

So I hold that this is still an absolute morality. Just because morality can depend on context does not mean that it cannot also be absolute.

The example Craig uses is the moral commandment "Thou Shalt Not Kill" He claims that this would only be absolute only if there was never a situation where killing would be ok, like in self-defense. But since it is ok to kill in self defense then it's not an absolute morality, but instead it's dependent on context.

But then he goes on to claim that there still exist an "objective morality" that could then be used to determine whether the killing was indeed justified.

The problem I have with this is that if there exists an "objective morality" that can be used to determine whether a particular context is morally justified or not, then that too is an "Absolute System of Morality". It simply requires more information to arrive at its absolute conclusions. But it still results in an absolute judgement call for everyone who finds themselves in that particular situation or context.

So it's still "absolute".

So I hold that there can be no difference between objective and absolute morality. If a morality is claimed to be objective, then that necessarily makes it absolute as well. The fact that context is included in the ultimate determination doesn't change the fact that the underlying morality is absolute.

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 7: Wed Jan 08, 2020 11:20 am
Reply

Like this post
[Replying to post 2 by Divine Insight]

If you want to talk about the value of philosophy, create another thread and just let me know. You made a philosophical claim that morality is subjective as opposed to being absolute. Are you saying that your claim has no truth to it? Or do you think it is true? I'm willing to analyze whether it is plausibly true or not.

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 8: Wed Jan 08, 2020 11:27 am
Reply

Like this post
wiploc wrote:
So, who's right? Does the rule have an exception, or is it absolute? It depends how you think about it.

In other words, the question is a subjective one.


Is the shape of the earth an oblate spheroid or do we live on a flat earth? You'll get different answers. Those answers will depend on how one thinks about it. It's subjective in that sense, but that is a trivial sense. There is the further question of whether the shape of the earth is objectively true.

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 9: Wed Jan 08, 2020 2:56 pm
Reply

Like this post
I do think the various terms get used in different ways, so all I'm saying is that we need to make sure we are on the same page. Think about water boiling (at least in a simplified way).

1. Is the temperature that water boils at dependent upon the individual human boiling water?

A. Yes.
B. No.

2. Is the temperature that water boils at always the same measurement?

X. Yes.
Y. No, it depends on elevation.

The combinations of opinions would be AX, AY, BX, BY. One of those opinions is correct. Even the opinion that the temperature water boils at is dependent upon both the person and the elevation is exclusive in its claim on truth.

Now, what about moral questions? Using the same system as above.

1. Is moral goodness/rightness dependent upon the individual's opinion?

A. Yes.
B. No.

2. Is moral goodness/rightness the same in every situation?

A. Yes.
B. No, it depends on the situation.

I don't care what terms are used, we just need to be consistent. As far as I can tell, Divine Insight, you were saying that moral goodness/rightness is dependent upon the individual's opinion, where goodness/rightness end up being synonyms for "preference" or "taste."

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 10: Wed Jan 08, 2020 4:14 pm
Reply

Like this post
The Tanager wrote:

I don't care what terms are used, we just need to be consistent. As far as I can tell, Divine Insight, you were saying that moral goodness/rightness is dependent upon the individual's opinion, where goodness/rightness end up being synonyms for "preference" or "taste."


I suggest that you are continuing to make the same mistake I've mentioned before. It appears to me that you simply cannot let go of the idea of an absolute morality or "Absolute right or wrong"

I only need to consider your last two question since we most likely agree on your fist questions about the boiling point of water because that is indeed an objective "absolute" known situation.

But what about the concept of morality?

The Tanager wrote:

Now, what about moral questions? Using the same system as above.

1. Is moral goodness/rightness dependent upon the individual's opinion?

A. Yes.
B. No.


Right off the bat we have come to the problem. Is moral goodness/rightness absolute or a human subjective construct?

If it's absolute then the answer to the above question is "No".

If morality is a human subjective construct then the answer to the above question is "Yes".

So how can we answer this question with first agreeing on whether or not morality is absolute, or a human subjective construct?

The Tanager wrote:

2. Is moral goodness/rightness the same in every situation?

A. Yes.
B. No, it depends on the situation.


Again, without knowing the true nature of the concept of "moral goodness/rightness" it's impossible to answer this question.

Moreover, the answer to this question is totally independent of the answer to first question.

Any one of these scenarios, AX, AY, BX, BY could potentially be true.

The only difference that should concern us lies in the first question.

If A is true in the first question, then morality is indeed a human subjective construct.

If B is true in the first question then morality is objective and absolute. And being absolute wouldn't prevent the second question from potentially having B as the correct answer there as well.

Just because a system of morality is objectively absolute does not prevent it from taking into consideration contexts or specific situations.

As I said in my early post. We can carve into a stone in an imagined Platonic World a system of absolute morality that includes contextual situations. Therefore there is nothing preventing a system of objective "Absolute Morality" from including situational context.

Clarity on My Position:

The Tanager wrote:

I don't care what terms are used, we just need to be consistent. As far as I can tell, Divine Insight, you were saying that moral goodness/rightness is dependent upon the individual's opinion, where goodness/rightness end up being synonyms for "preference" or "taste."


Yes, I do believe that this is the situation we humans find ourselves in.

Can I say that this is indeed the true nature of the world? No I cannot, nor do I make this claim.

Instead I simply point to the fact that everything we know about human moral opinions points to this being the case. No two humans agree on every moral question. This certainly appears to reveal that human ideas of morality are indeed nothing other than human opinions. Not only do individual humans have different ideas of what they think should constitute moral values, but even entire human cultures differ dramatically in their cultural ideas on morality.,

Therefore, we can at least be certain that humans are indeed holding out their own personal subjective opinions on morality rather than reflecting any objective or absolute morality.

What about the universe itself? Does it appear to be constructed according to any objective or absolute rules of morality? I would say no. The world doesn't appear to be based on any objective moral principles. Natural disasters will kill and maim innocent people without regard to any apparently moral rules. Animals will eat each other, and their babies, as well as even eating humans and their babies if given the opportunity. So again, we see no objective morality revealing itself in life on earth. Same thing holds true for biology itself. There doesn't appear to be any objective moral rules built into biological systems. Birth defects occur at random, deadly viruses and bacteria will infect innocent humans causing them great suffering, damage, or even death.

There's just no indication of any objective morality built into our universe.

My Conclusion:

Since there is absolutely no evidence anywhere for any objective morality, and human cultures and human individuals cannot even agree on any consistent moral values, why should we think that any objective or absolute moral values exist at all?

All we have evidence for is human opinions on what individual humans or cultures have created as moral values via what amounts to clearly subjective opinionated methods.

This is where the evidence points.

Even religious groups cannot agree among themselves on any consistent objective morality. Ironically they claim that their Gods have written his absolute objective moral commandments upon their hearts. But it's crystal clear that this isn't the case since given any group of religious people there will always be disagreements over what those absolute moral commandments even are.

So all evidence points to morality as being a human subjective construct, and zero evidence supports the idea that there exists any objective absolute morality that is either carved in stone in some imagined Platonic World, or written on the hearts of men by some imagined God.

So here's what we have:

Morality as a human subjective construct = Overwhelming Evidence.

Morality as an objective absolute code written in stone = Zero Evidence.


So which is more likely to be true? I ask you. Think

Goto top, bottom
View user's profile 
Display posts from previous:   

Goto page 1, 2, 3 ... 27, 28, 29  Next

Jump to:  
Facebook
Tweet

 




On The Web | Ecodia | Hymn Lyrics Apps
Facebook | Twitter

Powered by phpBB © phpBB Group.   Produced by Ecodia.

Igloo   |  Lo-Fi Version