A Critique on Objective Morality

Should you think about your duty, or about the consequences of your actions? Or should you concentrate on becoming a good person?

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creativesoul
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Re: A Critique on Objective Morality

Post by creativesoul » Tue Oct 25, 2016 5:10 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
creativesoul wrote:I'm not saying that all sets of morals are equally good. I'm not saying that there can be and/or is no such a thing as universal morality. I'm saying that it is universally true that all codes of conduct are relative/subject to historical, cultural, and/or familial particulars.
This is an interesting claim. "All codes of conduct are relative/subject to historical, cultural and/or familial particulars."

Firstly, if I may ask, how did you arrive at it?

Was it by an empirical investigation you did? Was it by some sort of logical deduction you could explain? Was it by way of the authority of an expert you trusted, or common axiom you heard repeated? Or are you making a claim of what you guess/hope/believe to be true, but without the support of such things?

Secondly, to me, it looks very much like a universal axiom itself. It seems to me that if it's not, then it would read, "Many codes of conduct are...etc." or perhaps, "This or that historical, cultural or familial perspective is that all codes of conduct...etc." But it looks very much like you intend it as a pure universal, since you start it with "all."

In that case, it might be a very short one, but it looks like a one-precept "code" of how one should conduct one's belief, and it looks like it is not anticipated to be "relative/subject to historical, cultural and/or familiar particulars."

Is that right?
Yup. That's about right. By the way, I meant to say that I'm not saying that there cannot be and/or is no such thing as universal morality. It was arrived at via observation, common sense, and deduction...

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Hobbes' Choice
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Re: A Critique on Objective Morality

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Tue Oct 25, 2016 8:00 pm

Gary Childress wrote:
Hobbes' Choice wrote:
Gary Childress wrote:
Do we really? Can we be certain? If quantum physics is correct then many of our common sense conceptions of reality are essentially wrong. We can maybe understand the world through mathematics and numbers but outside of that it seems like we humans are pretty clueless. And morality is not something that can be derived through mathematics. I encounter morality as something imposed upon me by encountering others, not something either I or the other person "creates". When I encounter someone we seldom seem to sit down and sign a social contract or proceed to engage in a philosophical discourse beforehand. Usually the encounter is one where we are either in some agreement over morality or else we sort of slowly work things out somehow (when there is good will present between us).
If not people, then who?
Maybe a god or some sort of spiritual entity? I don't know. I don't think I "make" the rules (at least not the moral ones). I just try to follow them.
A follower??
You are part of the problem and will never be part of the solution.
Why not just offer Immanuel Can your wrists, and he can shackle you to his scheme.

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Immanuel Can
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Re: A Critique on Objective Morality

Post by Immanuel Can » Tue Oct 25, 2016 8:31 pm

creativesoul wrote:Yup. That's about right.
By the way, I meant to say that I'm not saying that there cannot be and/or is no such thing as universal morality.
Yes, I understood that. Granted.

But there's now a problem: if there's no "universal morality," then how can your claim that all morality is relative be universally true? For if it were, then we would surely have a universal duty to believe that morality is relative (assuming a basic of morality is the duty to believe what one knows to be the truth) ...and that makes no sense, even on its own terms, since it self-contradicts.

But now, if there IS a universal morality -- as you say there might be -- then suddenly it's not any longer true that it's "particular," or "relative, or "cultural" or "familial" only: for then it would have to be universal.

Now, in your defence on that point, I suppose what you might mean is what Londoner indicts as "uninteresting," namely the claim that morality is articulated among various "cultures," "families" and so forth. But then Londoner would be right to say that your observation was simply trivial. To grant it, even in entirety, wouldn't settle or even be particularly relevant to the question in hand, namely whether an objective morality exists: for as I pointed out in response to him, it could easily be BOTH -- that is, a morality that was articulated by a particular community, family, or whatever, could turn out to be consonant with a universal morality.

But then, why point it out at all, since it then would not have anything to do with the question in hand? :shock:

So what did you mean us to conclude: that different people groups talk about morality, or that no morality can be more than particular TO those groups, and hence only apply (if at all) within those groups?
It was arrived at via observation, common sense, and deduction...
Now, if you would be so kind, could you describe that process for me?

I mean, what exactly did you do in order to arrive at this conclusion? Did you catalogue all the particulars of the various moralities? Did you design an experiment and "observe" the results? By what line of logic did you "deduce" it? To whose "common sense" did you refer -- that is, from which "common" or community did you get the particular "sense" that guided your answer?

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Re: A Critique on Objective Morality

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Tue Oct 25, 2016 9:24 pm

Gary Childress wrote:
Re: a universally applicable morality, I don't see any logical barrier to developing one. The UN’s UDHR is a step in that direction. Maybe it still has kinks to work out, I don’t know. .
You avoided the main question i put to you, and that would have involved you in addressing the issue of "objective".

If the UNs UDHR is designed to appeal to "universally", lets just say to humans, in what way is that "objective".
Without addressing the definition you are simply confusing Objective with humanly universal, which is not the same thing at all.

If objective things exist regardless of human opinion of them, such as the Moon, or the Sea, that hardly applies to moral "laws".

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Gary Childress
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Re: A Critique on Objective Morality

Post by Gary Childress » Wed Oct 26, 2016 2:57 am

Hobbes' Choice wrote:
Gary Childress wrote:
Re: a universally applicable morality, I don't see any logical barrier to developing one. The UN’s UDHR is a step in that direction. Maybe it still has kinks to work out, I don’t know. .
You avoided the main question i put to you, and that would have involved you in addressing the issue of "objective".

If the UNs UDHR is designed to appeal to "universally", lets just say to humans, in what way is that "objective".
Without addressing the definition you are simply confusing Objective with humanly universal, which is not the same thing at all.

If objective things exist regardless of human opinion of them, such as the Moon, or the Sea, that hardly applies to moral "laws".
If you look back at my post a while back I confessed that I was maybe confusing terminology. If by "objective" you mean morality that would exist in the absence of human beings in the universe then I assume it likely (barring the possibility that there exists a supreme spiritual being or some aspect of reality we are just not cognizant of or something) that no such thing would exist.

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Gary Childress
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Re: A Critique on Objective Morality

Post by Gary Childress » Wed Oct 26, 2016 3:01 am

Hobbes' Choice wrote:
Gary Childress wrote:
Hobbes' Choice wrote:
If not people, then who?
Maybe a god or some sort of spiritual entity? I don't know. I don't think I "make" the rules (at least not the moral ones). I just try to follow them.
A follower??
You are part of the problem and will never be part of the solution.
Why not just offer Immanuel Can your wrists, and he can shackle you to his scheme.
I don't know whether I am part of the problem or you are. Are you saying that you don't follow moral rules? Do you just make them up by fiat or something? Are you above morals? Do they not apply to you? :?

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Re: A Critique on Objective Morality

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Wed Oct 26, 2016 8:06 am

Gary Childress wrote:
Hobbes' Choice wrote:
Gary Childress wrote:
Re: a universally applicable morality, I don't see any logical barrier to developing one. The UN’s UDHR is a step in that direction. Maybe it still has kinks to work out, I don’t know. .
You avoided the main question i put to you, and that would have involved you in addressing the issue of "objective".

If the UNs UDHR is designed to appeal to "universally", lets just say to humans, in what way is that "objective".
Without addressing the definition you are simply confusing Objective with humanly universal, which is not the same thing at all.

If objective things exist regardless of human opinion of them, such as the Moon, or the Sea, that hardly applies to moral "laws".
If you look back at my post a while back I confessed that I was maybe confusing terminology. If by "objective" you mean morality that would exist in the absence of human beings in the universe then I assume it likely (barring the possibility that there exists a supreme spiritual being or some aspect of reality we are just not cognizant of or something) that no such thing would exist.

Good, then objective would not be a thing you could "discover". Since you thought it might, I'm glad to have cleared that up for you! As you will recall you posited that such a 'discovery' might be made.

On the issue of God. Would such an entity have such a rule book, it is odd that he waited until a couple of thousand years ago to tell, people. And then put those rules in the mouth of a minor rabbi in an oppressed country, and whose message after so long as only yet reached a minority and has seemingly been superseded by many other morals, never having been established in any place.

Objective would be a thing that humans would have to "invent". Our claim to make that Universal, would be aspirational only, and our claim to make that 'objective' (in the sense of a collective agreement of all), would be ambitious and probably involve compulsion.

Rights generally might attract the tag; universal, but objective would, I feel, be a misnomer. Rights can be declared, but are rarely enforced. They are mostly noticed in their breach and the lack of a power to enforces them.

creativesoul
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Re: A Critique on Objective Morality

Post by creativesoul » Thu Oct 27, 2016 3:54 am

Immanuel Can wrote:
...there's now a problem: if there's no "universal morality," then how can your claim that all morality is relative be universally true?
I'm not seeing the problem.

Being subject/relative to historical, cultural, and familial particulars is something that all codes of conduct have in common. That's easy enough to refute. All it takes is one example to the contrary. Got one?


...But now, if there IS a universal morality -- as you say there might be -- then suddenly it's not any longer true that it's "particular," or "relative, or "cultural" or "familial" only: for then it would have to be universal.
I'm not seeing the problem.

If there is a universal morality, then it would consist in/of shared codes of conduct(at least by current conventional standards/definitions of morality). In other words, it can be true that codes of conduct are subject/relative to individual particulars and that all of those share a set of codes.

creativesoul
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Re: A Critique on Objective Morality

Post by creativesoul » Thu Oct 27, 2016 3:55 am

Gary Childress wrote:
Hobbes' Choice wrote:
Gary Childress wrote:
Maybe a god or some sort of spiritual entity? I don't know. I don't think I "make" the rules (at least not the moral ones). I just try to follow them.
A follower??
You are part of the problem and will never be part of the solution.
Why not just offer Immanuel Can your wrists, and he can shackle you to his scheme.
I don't know whether I am part of the problem or you are. Are you saying that you don't follow moral rules? Do you just make them up by fiat or something? Are you above morals? Do they not apply to you? :?
Don't pay much heed to Hobbes'. He's just a dick most of the time.

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Immanuel Can
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Re: A Critique on Objective Morality

Post by Immanuel Can » Thu Oct 27, 2016 4:13 am

creativesoul wrote:
Immanuel Can wrote:
...there's now a problem: if there's no "universal morality," then how can your claim that all morality is relative be universally true?
I'm not seeing the problem.

Being subject/relative to historical, cultural, and familial particulars is something that all codes of conduct have in common. That's easy enough to refute. All it takes is one example to the contrary. Got one?
It's not me that has it...it's you! :shock: When you make a universal statement, like "all morality is relative," it can only be relatively true, meaning in some cases it's false. :shock: If it's true in every case, then it's universal: but then it's not true for you to claim it's relative anymore. There is now one universal...and you yourself have declared it; but by declaring it, you've also denied it.

Your whole argument, then, is SELF-defeating. We don't even need to get into the controversy, because your real problem is an inability to be consistent with yourself.

I don't say that to try to be mean or to float an insult: I'm just pointing out that your statement rationally refutes itself. There simply can be no such thing as a "universal relativism," anymore than there can be a "married bachelor" or a "square circle."
...But now, if there IS a universal morality -- as you say there might be -- then suddenly it's not any longer true that it's "particular," or "relative, or "cultural" or "familial" only: for then it would have to be universal.
I'm not seeing the problem.
Yes, I can see you're not getting it quite yet. But I think you will. Just process it again.
If there is a universal morality, then it would consist in/of shared codes of conduct
Non-sequitur. That's not true. It doesn't follow that if a universal morality exists, that all people have to believe in it, or share in it. If one person did, that would be fine: he would be right, and everybody else would be wrong. If one culture did, then the same would follow. Or if two or three cultures did, same thing. There's no reason it cannot be like that.

But in actuality, it would not even be necessary for any person to believe in it. The Earth was, in fact, still round when NOBODY believed it was. (That's how objective facts work: it doesn't matter what one believes about them at a given time: they're so anyway. And it's one's beliefs that need to conform to reality, not reality that bends to fit the belief.) So there could be a universal code that nobody yet knows, yet which some of us are striving to approximate by our invented moral codes: rather like "the perfect circle" -- nobody's ever had one, but it's a darn useful concept for guiding those who are trying to draw good circles. Or there could be an actual, objective moral code, and only a few, or some, but not all people know what it is...and some others are simply wrong to some degree, or totally off base.

But there's no reason to suppose everybody automatically has the same degree of knowledge of the universal code, if such exists. In fact, if it were so it would be very strange: we don't all have the same grasp of maths or basic facts, so why would we think objective moral knowledge would somehow have to be spread equally across the populace? If it was, it would be the only thing that was.

creativesoul
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Re: A Critique on Objective Morality

Post by creativesoul » Thu Oct 27, 2016 4:44 am

Immanuel Can wrote:
creativesoul wrote:
Immanuel Can wrote:
...there's now a problem: if there's no "universal morality," then how can your claim that all morality is relative be universally true?
I'm not seeing the problem.

Being subject/relative to historical, cultural, and familial particulars is something that all codes of conduct have in common. That's easy enough to refute. All it takes is one example to the contrary. Got one?
It's not me that has it...it's you! :shock: When you make a universal statement, like "all morality is relative," it can only be relatively true, meaning in some cases it's false. :shock: If it's true in every case, then it's universal: but then it's not true for you to claim it's relative anymore. There is now one universal...and you yourself have declared it; but by declaring it, you've also denied it.

Your whole argument, then, is SELF-defeating. We don't even need to get into the controversy, because your real problem is an inability to be consistent with yourself.

I don't say that to try to be mean or to float an insult: I'm just pointing out that your statement rationally refutes itself. There simply can be no such thing as a "universal relativism," anymore than there can be a "married bachelor" or a "square circle."
...But now, if there IS a universal morality -- as you say there might be -- then suddenly it's not any longer true that it's "particular," or "relative, or "cultural" or "familial" only: for then it would have to be universal.
I'm not seeing the problem.
Yes, I can see you're not getting it quite yet. But I think you will. Just process it again.
If there is a universal morality, then it would consist in/of shared codes of conduct
Non-sequitur. That's not true. It doesn't follow that if a universal morality exists, that all people have to believe in it, or share in it. If one person did, that would be fine: he would be right, and everybody else would be wrong. If one culture did, then the same would follow. Or if two or three cultures did, same thing. There's no reason it cannot be like that.

But in actuality, it would not even be necessary for any person to believe in it. The Earth was, in fact, still round when NOBODY believed it was. (That's how objective facts work: it doesn't matter what one believes about them at a given time: they're so anyway. And it's one's beliefs that need to conform to reality, not reality that bends to fit the belief.) So there could be a universal code that nobody yet knows, yet which some of us are striving to approximate by our invented moral codes: rather like "the perfect circle" -- nobody's ever had one, but it's a darn useful concept for guiding those who are trying to draw good circles. Or there could be an actual, objective moral code, and only a few, or some, but not all people know what it is...and some others are simply wrong to some degree, or totally off base.

But there's no reason to suppose everybody automatically has the same degree of knowledge of the universal code, if such exists. In fact, if it were so it would be very strange: we don't all have the same grasp of maths or basic facts, so why would we think objective moral knowledge would somehow have to be spread equally across the populace? If it was, it would be the only thing that was.
I have no idea what you're going on about here... It seems like an epistemological issue from my seat. Despite your fervor, you've misunderstood.

Some basic groundwork...

Morality is conventionally defined as a term used in one of two ways(descriptively and normatively) in order to refer to codes of conduct.

All known codes of conduct have differences, and those differences bear witness to the fact of morality being subject/relative to historical, cultural, and/or familial particulars. I simply pointed this out...

It is of no negative consequence whatsoever that that much is true of all moralities. That's just the way it is.

Now, regarding what would count as universal morality while keeping the relevant fact(s) reported upon above in mind...

Since morality refers to codes of conduct, and all codes of conduct are subject/relative to historical, cultural, and/or familial particulars, then it only follows that the only way a code of conduct could be rightfully called "universal" is if it consisted of codes that were shared by all of the different moralities.

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Immanuel Can
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Re: A Critique on Objective Morality

Post by Immanuel Can » Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:59 pm

creativesoul wrote:I have no idea what you're going on about here... It seems like an epistemological issue from my seat. Despite your fervor, you've misunderstood.
All known codes of conduct have differences, and those differences bear witness to the fact of morality being subject/relative to historical, cultural, and/or familial particulars. I simply pointed this out...
Logically fallacious. Incorrect. That's what I pointed out.

If people have differences, it does not conduce to the conclusion that there are only relative answers. That's an error in thinking.

There are an infinite number of wrong answers to the question "What is 2+2." No part of those infinite possibilities for disagreement implies that the answer is relative. You've confused ontology (what is actually real) with epistemology (what do people know about what is real).
It is of no negative consequence whatsoever that that much is true of all moralities. That's just the way it is.
In fact, it's of no consequence to the question AT ALL. Think carefully, and you'll see it.
Now, regarding what would count as universal morality while keeping the relevant fact(s) reported upon above in mind...
If we do, we'll be wrong right away.
Since morality refers to codes of conduct,
Fallacy of Presumption. You've accidentally begged the central question: is morality objective? You haven't shown whether or not it is, because the above claims do not conduce to showing it.
and all codes of conduct are subject/relative to historical, cultural, and/or familial particulars,

Again, this has not been rationally established as true by you.
then it only follows that the only way a code of conduct could be rightfully called "universal" is if it consisted of codes that were shared by all of the different moralities.
Not surprisingly, then, false conclusion. What else is likely to derive from two uncertain premises? But now it has this additional error: that it supposes that a morality couldn't exist unless a) people knew it did, and b) everybody knew it equally. There's no reason at all to suppose either a) or b) is true: there are many counter cases. For example, a) is defeated by the claim "The world is round," since at one time nobody believed it, yet it's true; and b) is defeated by the fact that science works, since many cultures do not have it, and there's no equal access to its deliverances.

Just go over it again carefully. You'll see it, I'm sure.

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Hobbes' Choice
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Re: A Critique on Objective Morality

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Thu Oct 27, 2016 7:57 pm

creativesoul wrote:
Immanuel Can wrote:
I'm not seeing the problem... objective moral knowledge would somehow have to be spread equally across the populace? If it was, it would be the only thing that was.
I have no idea what you're going on about here... It seems like an epistemological issue from my seat. Despite your fervor, you've misunderstood..
Don't worry - he doesn't know what he's going on about either!! :lol:

He's confused about the contextual meaning of objective.

creativesoul
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Re: A Critique on Objective Morality

Post by creativesoul » Sat Oct 29, 2016 4:13 am

Immanuel Can,

You're arguing with your own imagination. I put forth the standard definition of morality. I also made a claim regarding the fact of all known moralities being determined and/or directly influenced by historical, cultural, and familial particulars. I've offered no argument, therefore there's no possibility for fallacious argumentation. I've made no claims about 'relative answers', so you're off target there as well. You've invoked, ironically enough, mathematics as support for your line of thinking on the matter. The only reason 2+2=4 is because the definitions of those symbols have strict meaning. Numbers are nothing more and nothing less than names of quantities. Those names and the quantities which they refer to, signify, symbolize, and/or 'represent' are iron clad. We do not let it equal anything else.

What they mean however is completely subject/relative to humankind, for there is no meaning inherently within any symbol/sign/signifier.

The same holds good for the term "morality". I'm reading through your posts here, and it seems to me that you're not using the term in order to refer to codes of conduct.

creativesoul
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Re: A Critique on Objective Morality

Post by creativesoul » Sat Oct 29, 2016 7:04 am

There are foundational, operative, and quite universal common denominators within all thought/belief. These remain extant even after removing all the individual particulars. I would not call them "objective" because they require a subject. They are elemental constituents of thought/belief. Thought/belief requires an capable agent. I would not call them "subjective" because without any possibility of being objective, there is no possibility of "subjective" being meaningful. It is inadequate anyway. The dichotomy cannot properly take account of truth and meaning. Everything ever thought, spoken, and/or written necessarily presupposes both truth and meaning. Thus...

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