Is morality objective or subjective?

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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henry quirk
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Post by henry quirk » Fri Nov 29, 2019 11:16 pm

blah, blah, blah
Not a fan of natural law, then: okeedoke.

prof
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by prof » Sat Nov 30, 2019 9:45 am

Peter Holmes wrote:
Fri Nov 29, 2019 10:23 am
prof wrote:
Fri Nov 29, 2019 3:47 am
According to the Unified Theory of Ethics - which was inspired originally by Robert S. Hartman, and carried further by M. C. Katz - the more an individual complies with the highest ideals he or she can imagine, the more moral he or she is.

These highest ideals are moral principles. And the more moral principles to which an individual adheres, lives by, the more moral that individual is.

The compliance can be measured by others. So too can the number of principles to which one is committed be measured. What can be scientifically measured by Moral Psychologists is objective.

Moral Psychology is the experimental branch of Ethics.
[Those psychologists may not want to admit they are ethicists, but that's how I regard them. They probably want to consider themselves psychologists since currently more prestige is associated with that designation.]

The first two paragraphs above tell us how "morality" is defined in the Unified Theory of Ethics, and perhaps that is how best morality is to be understood.

Since the above logical argument is sound, the case is made: "Morality" can be objective.

For further details, see M. Katz - Basic Ethics. {Here is a safe-to-open link to it:
http://www.myqol.com/wadeharvey/PDFs/BASIC%20ETHICS.pdf

Comments? Questions? Feedback?
Thanks, but objectivity means independence from opinion. Highest ideals or moral principles are matters of opinion, and so subjective.

They are subjective and objective at the same time: it is an objective fact that they are deduced from the system of ethics being offered in THE STRUCTURE of ETHICS booklet. They naturally follow from the framework that was constructed to account for the ethical data, and for the situations in which an ethical decision had to be made.

How consistently someone follows moral principles is measurable, and so a factual matter.

Thank you.

But that doesn't mean the principles are objective - and it doesn't in any way define what those principles are or should be.

See above.

To define the morally good is to express an opinion.
As to your last remark -- not necessarily. "Morality" is a term in a system, a well-defined term; it is an integral part of the structure - just as your brain is a part of the organism that is you.

For details, see
THE STRUCTURE OF ETHICS (2019)

http://www.myqol.com/wadeharvey/PDFs/TH ... ETHICS.pdf

A list of some of the moral principles is found on pp. 27-28 of the essay. These are suggested guidelines for living an Ethical life; they are not rules. Other principles, not there listed, may also be derived from the structure proposed.

[In a technical system that is posited opinion is kept to a minimum.
Furthermore, I agree with those who understand that "objectivity" is inter-subjective consensus.]

Skepdick
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Skepdick » Sun Dec 01, 2019 4:21 pm

Peter Holmes wrote:
Fri Nov 29, 2019 5:15 pm
What you call your default position is indeed a claim: all distinctions are subjective.
It's not a claim - it's common sense. Only subjects make true-false distinctions.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Fri Nov 29, 2019 5:15 pm
Do you think that claim is true, independent of opinion?
No I don't. Truth is a human concept, without the subject "truths" or "claims" don't exist.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Fri Nov 29, 2019 5:15 pm
Do you think it's true regardless of what anyone thinks about it?
Such truths do not exist.

It's true because everybody holds the same opinion about it. That's the foundation of scientific "truth".

prof
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by prof » Sun Dec 01, 2019 10:18 pm

Skepdick wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 4:21 pm
It's true because everybody holds the same opinion about it. That's the foundation of scientific "truth".
Greetings, Skepdick

Thanks for bringing out this point. It is the position I hold also. Belinda understands it too.

Anything believed to be a fact is believed by a human being. Facts are objective. Human beings are subjective. If "objectivity " has any meaning, it is a consensus held by subjective creatures.

It is possible thus to be objective and subjective at the same time. Let's not engage extensively in black-or-white thinking, (or as it is called in Formal Axiology circles: dys-systemic thinking.) This kind of confused thinking dogmatically insists that it has to be one or the other - but not both.

Polanyi did a fine job in one of his books arguing that science is permeated with opinion and subjectivity. It is seen in the choice by a scientist as to what field he or she will do their research: it is a personal value decision.

And Habermas has also written extensively on the intersubjectivity of factual beliefs, the consensus idea.

If you tell me that due to an avalanche a rock fell right in front of you, beyond your control, I am expected to accept (your report) that this is so despite your biases and personal perspectives.

Peter Holmes
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Peter Holmes » Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:16 am

prof wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 10:18 pm
Skepdick wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 4:21 pm
It's true because everybody holds the same opinion about it. That's the foundation of scientific "truth".
Greetings, Skepdick

Thanks for bringing out this point. It is the position I hold also. Belinda understands it too.

Anything believed to be a fact is believed by a human being. Facts are objective. Human beings are subjective. If "objectivity " has any meaning, it is a consensus held by subjective creatures.

It is possible thus to be objective and subjective at the same time. Let's not engage extensively in black-or-white thinking, (or as it is called in Formal Axiology circles: dys-systemic thinking.) This kind of confused thinking dogmatically insists that it has to be one or the other - but not both.

Polanyi did a fine job in one of his books arguing that science is permeated with opinion and subjectivity. It is seen in the choice by a scientist as to what field he or she will do their research: it is a personal value decision.

And Habermas has also written extensively on the intersubjectivity of factual beliefs, the consensus idea.

If you tell me that due to an avalanche a rock fell right in front of you, beyond your control, I am expected to accept (your report) that this is so despite your biases and personal perspectives.
There seems to be some confusion here.

We use the word 'fact' to mean either 'a state-of-affairs' or 'a true description of a state-of-affairs' - and those are radically different things - and obviously only the second has a truth-value.

I assume you agree that there are states-of-affairs - that we're part of a real universe containing real things that can be known, and so about which true factual assertions can be made - true by convention and in context, of course.

So, if a rock did fall right in front of me, the factual assertion 'the rock fell right in front of me' is true, given the way we use those signs in this context. It's truth isn't a matter of opinion or consensus. So if someone - or everyone - believe it's false, it remains true, because it correctly describes a real event.

Peter Holmes
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Peter Holmes » Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:23 am

Skepdick wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 4:21 pm
Peter Holmes wrote:
Fri Nov 29, 2019 5:15 pm
What you call your default position is indeed a claim: all distinctions are subjective.
It's not a claim - it's common sense. Only subjects make true-false distinctions.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Fri Nov 29, 2019 5:15 pm
Do you think that claim is true, independent of opinion?
No I don't. Truth is a human concept, without the subject "truths" or "claims" don't exist.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Fri Nov 29, 2019 5:15 pm
Do you think it's true regardless of what anyone thinks about it?
Such truths do not exist.

It's true because everybody holds the same opinion about it. That's the foundation of scientific "truth".
Every factual assertion you make undermines your claim that there are no facts, in the sense of 'true factual assertions'. And of course, truth is what we call truth. What sort of metaphysical delusion are you rejecting?

Skepdick
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Skepdick » Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:32 am

Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:23 am
Every factual assertion you make undermines your claim that there are no facts, in the sense of 'true factual assertions'.
But I am not making any factual assertions. I am only making assertions.

You are the one who is asserting that my assertions are "true and factual". How did you assert that?
Every assertion you and I make undermines the notion of mind-independence. Every assertion you and I make is an opinion.

And it seems to me that IF you agree with my assertion then it becomes a "fact", and if you disagree with my assertion then it remains an "opinion".
Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:23 am
And of course, truth is what we call truth.
Facts are what we call facts also.

Why do you insist on calling some assertions "opinions" and other assertions "facts" if they are both assertions?
Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:23 am
What sort of metaphysical delusion are you rejecting?
The delusion of objectivism and mind-independence.

Peter Holmes
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Peter Holmes » Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:08 am

Skepdick wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 9:32 am
Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:23 am
Every factual assertion you make undermines your claim that there are no facts, in the sense of 'true factual assertions'.
But I am not making any factual assertions. I am only making assertions.

You are the one who is asserting that my assertions are "true and factual". How did you assert that?
Every assertion you and I make undermines the notion of mind-independence. Every assertion you and I make is an opinion.

And it seems to me that IF you agree with my assertion then it becomes a "fact", and if you disagree with my assertion then it remains an "opinion".
Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:23 am
And of course, truth is what we call truth.
Facts are what we call facts also.

Why do you insist on calling some assertions "opinions" and other assertions "facts" if they are both assertions?
Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:23 am
What sort of metaphysical delusion are you rejecting?
The delusion of objectivism and mind-independence.
An assertion is a claim, typically a linguistic expression. If such an assertion is about a feature of reality, then (classically) it is true or false.

For example, if you claim that nothing is mind-independent, then that claim is classically either true or false.

If I claim that we're part of a real universe containing real things which can be known and about which true assertions can be made - those claims are (classically) true or false.

The classical truth or falsehood of these claims about reality is independent of opinion - as is the truth or falsehood of the claim in this sentence's main clause.

I understand your need to keep deflecting my point about the claims you make. But calling them commonsense, or intuitive, or anything else, doesn't get you off the hook. I think your claim is as follows:

'What we call truth and facts and objectivity are matters of opinion, and are therefore subjective.'

That claim directly contradicts itself, and is therefore incoherent.

Skepdick
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Skepdick » Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:25 am

Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:08 am
An assertion is a claim, typically a linguistic expression. If such an assertion is about a feature of reality, then (classically) it is true or false.
An assertion is an assertion. If you are using the words "claim" and "assertion" synonymously - say so.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:08 am
For example, if you claim that nothing is mind-independent, then that claim is classically either true or false.
I am asserting that all distinctions are subjective. Even the true-false distinction - you can no more tell me what "truth" or "falsity" is than you can tell me what "facts" or "opinions" are.

Either you agree with my assertion or you don't.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:08 am
If I claim that we're part of a real universe containing real things which can be known and about which true assertions can be made - those claims are (classically) true or false.
You can no more explain the "real" and "not-real" distinction than you can explain the "true" and "false" distinction.

All distinctions are subjective. Your reasons for drawing the arbitrary distinctions that you've chosen to draw are not available to me.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:08 am
The classical truth or falsehood of these claims about reality is independent of opinion - as is the truth or falsehood of the claim in this sentence's main clause.
Asserting whether an assertion is true is still an assertion!

I assert that "The sky is blue"
You assert that my assertion is "true and factual"
I disagree with your assertion about my assertion.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:08 am
I understand your need to keep deflecting my point about the claims you make.
I am not deflecting your point. I am disagreeing with your conceptual scheme. "real", "true" and "facts" are meaningless words within my conceptual scheme.

The way you speak about your experiences is incoherent to me.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:08 am
But calling them commonsense, or intuitive, or anything else, doesn't get you off the hook.
My assertions are as "common sense" to me, as your assertions are "common sense" to you.

What is it that I am "on the hook" for? Is this a kangaroo court or something?
Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:08 am
'What we call truth and facts and objectivity are matters of opinion, and are therefore subjective.'

That claim directly contradicts itself, and is therefore incoherent.
You assert that there is a contradiction. I disagree with your assertion.

Incoherency doesn't prevent it from being correct. It's just incoherent to you. You are simply unable to parse my assertion.

Peter Holmes
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Peter Holmes » Mon Dec 02, 2019 11:43 am

Skepdick wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:25 am
Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:08 am
An assertion is a claim, typically a linguistic expression. If such an assertion is about a feature of reality, then (classically) it is true or false.
An assertion is an assertion. If you are using the words "claim" and "assertion" synonymously - say so.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:08 am
For example, if you claim that nothing is mind-independent, then that claim is classically either true or false.
I am asserting that all distinctions are subjective. Even the true-false distinction - you can no more tell me what "truth" or "falsity" is than you can tell me what "facts" or "opinions" are.

Either you agree with my assertion or you don't.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:08 am
If I claim that we're part of a real universe containing real things which can be known and about which true assertions can be made - those claims are (classically) true or false.
You can no more explain the "real" and "not-real" distinction than you can explain the "true" and "false" distinction.

All distinctions are subjective. Your reasons for drawing the arbitrary distinctions that you've chosen to draw are not available to me.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:08 am
The classical truth or falsehood of these claims about reality is independent of opinion - as is the truth or falsehood of the claim in this sentence's main clause.
Asserting whether an assertion is true is still an assertion!

I assert that "The sky is blue"
You assert that my assertion is "true and factual"
I disagree with your assertion about my assertion.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:08 am
I understand your need to keep deflecting my point about the claims you make.
I am not deflecting your point. I am disagreeing with your conceptual scheme. "real", "true" and "facts" are meaningless words within my conceptual scheme.

The way you speak about your experiences is incoherent to me.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:08 am
But calling them commonsense, or intuitive, or anything else, doesn't get you off the hook.
My assertions are as "common sense" to me, as your assertions are "common sense" to you.

What is it that I am "on the hook" for? Is this a kangaroo court or something?
Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 10:08 am
'What we call truth and facts and objectivity are matters of opinion, and are therefore subjective.'

That claim directly contradicts itself, and is therefore incoherent.
You assert that there is a contradiction. I disagree with your assertion.

Incoherency doesn't prevent it from being correct. It's just incoherent to you. You are simply unable to parse my assertion.
This is claptrap - as always. You're stuck with some metaphysical assumptions about minds and 'conceptual schemes' - but I have none about what we call truth, facts and objectivity. Your conventional use of words belies your denial that words mean what we use them to mean. Nothing to see here, as far as I'm concerned. Perhaps others can pursue the conversation. Thanks for engaging.

Skepdick
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Skepdick » Mon Dec 02, 2019 1:02 pm

Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 11:43 am
You're stuck with some metaphysical assumptions about minds and 'conceptual schemes' - but I have none about what we call truth, facts and objectivity.
There's no metaphysical assumption here. It's just conception. To say that "you have no conception of X" is to say that X is meaningless.

You have a conception of a cat - it's meaningful to you.
You have no conception of a gurgulax - it's meaningless to you.
I have a conception of a gurgulax - it's meaningful to me.

If you have no conception of "facts", "truth" and "objectivity" then those words are meaningless to you.

How are you using them then?
Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 11:43 am
Your conventional use of words belies your denial that words mean what we use them to mean.
You are incredibly confused. You are observing my conventional use of some words, but you are disregarding my unconventional use of other words. This is called "confirmation bias". Obviously - I learned language by interacting with other people. Obviously - I invented some of my own language to meet my own needs of self-expression.

Of course use is meaning, but if I use the word "fact" for one purpose, and you use the word "fact" for another purpose, then the word has two different uses. Ergo - it has two different meanings. Your meaning and my meaning.

Notice how you are saying "words mean what WE use them to mean".
Notice how you are NOT saying "words mean whatever the user of a particular word intends it to mean".

The foundation of your "facts are true independent of anybody's opinion" is an argument ad populum. The irony!

You are still no closer to explaining to me why you insist on calling some assertions "facts" and other assertions "opinions". As the user of those words - what is the purpose of your distinction?

prof
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by prof » Tue Dec 03, 2019 9:12 am

Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:16 am
prof wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 10:18 pm
Skepdick wrote:
Sun Dec 01, 2019 4:21 pm
It's true because everybody holds the same opinion about it. That's the foundation of scientific "truth".
Greetings, Skepdick

Thanks for bringing out this point. It is the position I hold also. Belinda understands it too.

Anything believed to be a fact is believed by a human being. Facts are objective. Human beings are subjective. If "objectivity " has any meaning, it is a consensus held by subjective creatures.

It is possible thus to be objective and subjective at the same time. Let's not engage extensively in black-or-white thinking, (or as it is called in Formal Axiology circles: dys-systemic thinking.) This kind of confused thinking dogmatically insists that it has to be one or the other - but not both.

Polanyi did a fine job in one of his books arguing that science is permeated with opinion and subjectivity. It is seen in the choice by a scientist as to what field he or she will do their research: it is a personal value decision.

And Habermas has also written extensively on the intersubjectivity of factual beliefs, the consensus idea.

If you tell me that due to an avalanche a rock fell right in front of you, beyond your control, I am expected to accept (your report) that this is so despite your biases and personal perspectives.
There seems to be some confusion here.

We use the word 'fact' to mean either 'a state-of-affairs' or 'a true description of a state-of-affairs' - and those are radically different things - and obviously only the second has a truth-value.

I assume you agree that there are states-of-affairs - that we're part of a real universe containing real things that can be known, and so about which true factual assertions can be made - true by convention and in context, of course.

So, if a rock did fall right in front of me, the factual assertion 'the rock fell right in front of me' is true, given the way we use those signs in this context. It's truth isn't a matter of opinion or consensus. So if someone - or everyone - believe it's false, it remains true, because it correctly describes a real event.
[/quote

Hi Peter

You write: "I assume you agree that there are states-of-affairs - that we're part of a real universe containing real things that can be known, and so about which true factual assertions can be made - true by convention and in context, of course."

Sorry. You jumped to a conclusion when you assumed that I agree that we can KNOW the "real things" of this universe (or this multiverse.) We are too, too tiny to know this vast, mysterious universe. Yes, we guess at it. We hypothesize. ...similar to how a good courtroom lawyer builds a case for a jury -- a jury he strives to convince. That's what creative scientists do. Note how Einstein emphasized the role of imagination in doing good science! He, so far, was our greatest Philosopher/Scientist.
We are to the Universe as is a quark, in an atom, in our thigh to us, is to knowing our life's meaning.

My view is that we each project our own reality. It is a beautiful event when say, your reality and my reality, overlap.
This is known as compatibility. I discussed this early on in the booklet THE STRUCTURE OF ETHICS. That document is available on Kindle, and also -free of charge - at a link - to a pdf, less-well-edited than the Kindle edition - offered in the thread posted here at this forum, "How to construct a superior ethical theory," q.v.[/u

Comments? Questions?

Skepdick
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Skepdick » Tue Dec 03, 2019 10:50 am

Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon Dec 02, 2019 8:16 am
I assume you agree that there are states-of-affairs - that we're part of a real universe containing real things that can be known, and so about which true factual assertions can be made - true by convention and in context, of course.
Peter, even you don't agree with yourself. The problem is that you don't even know it. Observe your own words.

You are talking about "states of affairs" (plural) while talking about "a universe" (singular).
You are talking about "contexts" (plural) which undermines the notion of "a reality" (singular).
You are saying that claims are true "in context", which implies that they are not true "out of context".

In a One True Reality - there is no need for contexts, because there is only one context - reality itself.

A context is a Frame of reference. To argue that there are multiple contexts is to argue that there are multiple frames of reference.

For every context/reference frame in which an assertion is true, there are more contexts/reference frames in which the assertion is not true.

At its core Science espouses subjectivism and relativism. Objectivity is manufactured by social consensus - the exact same mechanism by which "objective morality" is manufactured in the context of society.

surreptitious57
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by surreptitious57 » Tue Dec 03, 2019 1:46 pm

Skepdick wrote:
The foundation of your facts are true independent of anybodys opinion is an argument ad populum

You are still no closer to explaining to me why you insist on calling some assertions facts and other assertions opinions
As the user of those words - what is the purpose of your distinction
I will answer this even though if it was not directed at me because it is important to emphasise the distinction between them
All facts are independent of all opinions and since that is a fact in and of itself then it cannot be an argumentum ad populum

Assertions are not facts but statements expressed as facts even though they lack the logical or empirical rigour to be facts as such
Assertions are therefore simply opinions and remain opinions unless there is sufficient logic or empiricism to actually support them

An opinion is a subjective truth that is held to be true by the one expressing it and requires absolutely nothing else for it to be so
A fact has to be demonstrated to be true so by default is more valid than an opinion because it requires intersubjective consensus

Facts do not need to be asserted but merely stated because by virtue of being a fact then they will be objectively true any way
A fact can never be an opinion / assertion and an opinion / assertion can never be a fact - they are entirely different categories

Skepdick
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Skepdick » Tue Dec 03, 2019 4:01 pm

surreptitious57 wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 1:46 pm
All facts are independent of all opinions and since that is a fact in and of itself then it cannot be an argumentum ad populum
Your logical fallacy is: affirming the consequent. You are pre-supposing the fact/opinion distinction.
surreptitious57 wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 1:46 pm
Assertions are not facts but statements expressed as facts
Observe yourself drawing (yet another) distinction: the assertions/statements distinction.

It's a distinction without a difference.
surreptitious57 wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 1:46 pm
even though they lack the logical or empirical rigour to be facts as such
Assertions are therefore simply opinions and remain opinions unless there is sufficient logic or empiricism to actually support them.
And now that you have invented two sets of distinctions (fact/opinion, assertion/statement distinction) you are making all sort of category errors.
surreptitious57 wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 1:46 pm
A fact has to be demonstrated to be true so by default is more valid than an opinion because it requires intersubjective consensus.
OK. How would you go about demonstrating that the sky is blue?
surreptitious57 wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 1:46 pm
Facts do not need to be asserted but merely stated because by virtue of being a fact then they will be objectively true any way
Am I asserting or stating that the Sky is blue?
surreptitious57 wrote:
Tue Dec 03, 2019 1:46 pm
A fact can never be an opinion / assertion and an opinion / assertion can never be a fact - they are entirely different categories
Categories are properties of the human mind - not of reality.

Categories are epistemology - not ontology.

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