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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FlashDangerpants
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by FlashDangerpants »

popeye1945 wrote: Mon Jan 24, 2022 7:18 am
FlashDangerpants wrote: Fri Jan 21, 2022 1:15 pm
popeye1945 wrote: All these contingencies are still the property of the subject, you are inferring that the physical relations of the outside world change the essence of meaning, this is not so. All inflections of meaning still belong to the subject, never the object.
In which case there is no point in referencing the topic of universal subjectivity, nobody needs to care about it.
The fact remains that there is a subjectivity inherent to some sorts of question such as "which is nicer X or Y" and that form of subjectivity is not present in questions for which we can all look at the sky, or under a stone to find an asnwer.
So your claim that it's subjective just because everything is subjective fails to account for the ways in which morality might be subjective in which not everything is subjective. Which it is.
I am afraid your babbling here, for not only meaning but thought itself is the property of the subject, not the object. As in a shell game the prize would be under all the shells, one cannot lose with subjectivity, without it there is no object, no prize, no objective world. The only way morality can be made objective is for the subject to create it in the outer world/object, in the form of the manifestation of systems and structures, the biological extensions of the values held in subjective consciousness.
Yeah. So your point is that objectivity is a myth and therefore moral objectivity is too, right? So why tack on a contradictory bit about how to make morality objective at all?

We have a concept of objectivity that applies to certain things such as emprical observations etc, and we have this concept of subjectivity that applies to daydreams and opinions about which is the best colour. And we have reason for making such distinction.

The question of whether moral precepts can be seen as objective within these terms is interesting. The argument that nothing at all is objective is boring.
popeye1945
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by popeye1945 »

Flash,

The physical world is an objective world, an objective world is a meaningless world, and it remains so in the absence of a conscious subject. The physical world is not a myth on its own, on its own it is meaningless. Biological consciousness feels, thinks, understands, and imagines thus is able to create in that outer world manifestations, moral structures, and systems that are meaningful to itself, for all meaning belongs to a self, a biological consciousness. Biological consciousness creates in the outer world, what it creates in the world becomes objective reality and is still only known to itself and only valued by itself.
Peter Holmes
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Peter Holmes »

popeye1945 wrote: Mon Jan 24, 2022 2:07 pm Flash,

The physical world is an objective world, an objective world is a meaningless world, and it remains so in the absence of a conscious subject. The physical world is not a myth on its own, on its own it is meaningless. Biological consciousness feels, thinks, understands, and imagines thus is able to create in that outer world manifestations, moral structures, and systems that are meaningful to itself, for all meaning belongs to a self, a biological consciousness. Biological consciousness creates in the outer world, what it creates in the world becomes objective reality and is still only known to itself and only valued by itself.
Just to jump in here...

Consciousness doesn't 'create in the outer world' so it doesn't create 'objective reality'. Unless, of course, you have evidence for this claim. Features of reality (facts) just exist. And we (conscious beings) can know them and say true things about them. And that's what what we call objectivity amounts to. And the point is, there are no moral structures in reality - which is why morality isn't and can't be objective.
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Terrapin Station
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Terrapin Station »

Peter Holmes wrote: Mon Jan 24, 2022 10:12 am
Terrapin Station wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 10:23 pm
Peter Holmes wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 3:27 pm
I thought I'd posted a reply to this, but I can't find it. So sorry if this is repetition.

As a physicalist, I believe that only physical things exist, and that to say non-physical things exist is to equivocate.

If you think things such as truth, knowledge, meaning, intention, identity, justice, and so on - the supposed things that philosophers talk about - are physical things, what empirical evidence do you have for their existence?

And if you think such supposed things are 'mental entities', but that mental entities are physical things, I ask the same question. (Obviously, brains and electrochemical processes are physical things for which we have empirical evidence.)

In other words, for a physicalist, the idea of a mental entity or phenomenon has absolutely no explanatory value. Occam's razor applied.

(Would saying 'X is a physical phenomenon' have any discriminatory value?)
Nope. C'mon man.

You said that you think there are meanings, there is knowledge, etc., right?

Are you saying that there are meanings, there is knowledge, etc., but those things do not exist?
Do you think mathematical objects, such as numbers, exist? Are you a Platonist?

Mathematical language exists, of course. But what and where is the number one?

Claim: 'we say that things such as sentences can have meanings; therefore meanings exist.'

Okay. Does the meaning of a sentence exist in the same way that a sentence exists? If not, what and where is the meaning of a sentence, and in what way does it exist? (Bewitchment by the devices of our language: a noun must be the name of a thing of some kind that exists somewhere, somehow.)

C'mon, man. Critical thinking.
I'm happy to answer your questions once you answer mine. Asking me questions isn't answering the question I asked you. First of all, "Are you saying that there are meanings, there is knowledge, etc. but those things do not exist" is a yes or no question. Answer yes or no or tell me why you can't.

I'm not doing anything else or answering any question you ask until you answer what I asked.

Do that, and then I'll demonstrate to you how easy it is to simply, directly answer questions that someone asks. But you need to answer what I'm asking you first.
Peter Holmes
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Peter Holmes »

Terrapin Station wrote: Mon Jan 24, 2022 3:27 pm
Peter Holmes wrote: Mon Jan 24, 2022 10:12 am
Terrapin Station wrote: Sat Jan 22, 2022 10:23 pm

Nope. C'mon man.

You said that you think there are meanings, there is knowledge, etc., right?

Are you saying that there are meanings, there is knowledge, etc., but those things do not exist?
Do you think mathematical objects, such as numbers, exist? Are you a Platonist?

Mathematical language exists, of course. But what and where is the number one?

Claim: 'we say that things such as sentences can have meanings; therefore meanings exist.'

Okay. Does the meaning of a sentence exist in the same way that a sentence exists? If not, what and where is the meaning of a sentence, and in what way does it exist? (Bewitchment by the devices of our language: a noun must be the name of a thing of some kind that exists somewhere, somehow.)

C'mon, man. Critical thinking.
I'm happy to answer your questions once you answer mine. Asking me questions isn't answering the question I asked you. First of all, "Are you saying that there are meanings, there is knowledge, etc. but those things do not exist" is a yes or no question. Answer yes or no or tell me why you can't.

I'm not doing anything else or answering any question you ask until you answer what I asked.

Do that, and then I'll demonstrate to you how easy it is to simply, directly answer questions that someone asks. But you need to answer what I'm asking you first.
Do you understand equivocation? Using a word in two or more different ways? If you do, you can see why your question is incoherent, as I explained with the example of mathematical objects. The premise 'if there are mathematical objects, then mathematical objects exist' is a conceptual mess, given a physical use of the word 'exist'.

If, as a physicalist, you say that mathematical objects - or any other abstract things, such as meanings - exist, then you must clarify your use of the word 'exist' in that context. In other words, if you think they exist in a non-physical way, you must, as a physicalist, justify that claim.

Try these claims:

1 There are what we call cats; therefore cats exist.
2 Cats have what we call claws; therefore claws exist.
3 There are what we call meanings; therefore meanings exist.
4 Sentences have what we call meanings; therefore meanings exist.

You've said that I may be deaf to the use of language in these contexts. But if you really can see no difference between the uses of 'exist' in 1 and 2, and its uses in 3 and 4, then I suggest the problem is yours.
FlashDangerpants
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by FlashDangerpants »

popeye1945 wrote: Mon Jan 24, 2022 2:07 pm Flash,

The physical world is an objective world, an objective world is a meaningless world, and it remains so in the absence of a conscious subject. The physical world is not a myth on its own, on its own it is meaningless. Biological consciousness feels, thinks, understands, and imagines thus is able to create in that outer world manifestations, moral structures, and systems that are meaningful to itself, for all meaning belongs to a self, a biological consciousness. Biological consciousness creates in the outer world, what it creates in the world becomes objective reality and is still only known to itself and only valued by itself.
Okay then. In that case do you agree that "biological consciousness" draws distinctions between observations that are deemed objective on the basis of observability within that objective world and ones which are deemed subjective on the grounds that they are not observable in that objective world?

These are the terms in which the question of whether morality is subjective or objective arise.
Skepdick
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Skepdick »

FlashDangerpants wrote: Mon Jan 24, 2022 4:30 pm Okay then. In that case do you agree that "biological consciousness" draws distinctions between observations that are deemed objective on the basis of observability within that objective world and ones which are deemed subjective on the grounds that they are not observable in that objective world?

These are the terms in which the question of whether morality is subjective or objective arise.
All you've done is you've emphasized the distinction between public vs private information.

Both of us can observe that it's raining - public information.
Only you can observe that you are thirsty - private information.

Unless you are going to insist that being thirsty is subjective, you have failed to justify your double-standard.

What makes your thirst "objective", but your morality "subjective"? I guess you are going to give me this crap about the function of the distinction again...
Last edited by Skepdick on Mon Jan 24, 2022 4:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Terrapin Station
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Terrapin Station »

Peter Holmes wrote: Mon Jan 24, 2022 3:45 pm
Terrapin Station wrote: Mon Jan 24, 2022 3:27 pm
Peter Holmes wrote: Mon Jan 24, 2022 10:12 am

Do you think mathematical objects, such as numbers, exist? Are you a Platonist?

Mathematical language exists, of course. But what and where is the number one?

Claim: 'we say that things such as sentences can have meanings; therefore meanings exist.'

Okay. Does the meaning of a sentence exist in the same way that a sentence exists? If not, what and where is the meaning of a sentence, and in what way does it exist? (Bewitchment by the devices of our language: a noun must be the name of a thing of some kind that exists somewhere, somehow.)

C'mon, man. Critical thinking.
I'm happy to answer your questions once you answer mine. Asking me questions isn't answering the question I asked you. First of all, "Are you saying that there are meanings, there is knowledge, etc. but those things do not exist" is a yes or no question. Answer yes or no or tell me why you can't.

I'm not doing anything else or answering any question you ask until you answer what I asked.

Do that, and then I'll demonstrate to you how easy it is to simply, directly answer questions that someone asks. But you need to answer what I'm asking you first.
Do you understand equivocation? Using a word in two or more different ways? If you do, you can see why your question is incoherent, as I explained with the example of mathematical objects. The premise 'if there are mathematical objects, then mathematical objects exist' is a conceptual mess, given a physical use of the word 'exist'.

If, as a physicalist, you say that mathematical objects - or any other abstract things, such as meanings - exist, then you must clarify your use of the word 'exist' in that context. In other words, if you think they exist in a non-physical way, you must, as a physicalist, justify that claim.

Try these claims:

1 There are what we call cats; therefore cats exist.
2 Cats have what we call claws; therefore claws exist.
3 There are what we call meanings; therefore meanings exist.
4 Sentences have what we call meanings; therefore meanings exist.

You've said that I may be deaf to the use of language in these contexts. But if you really can see no difference between the uses of 'exist' in 1 and 2, and its uses in 3 and 4, then I suggest the problem is yours.
So there are "two different senses" of "there is" and/or "exist" that you're using, and you're hesitating to answer because you believe that the sense you're using will be misunderstood? Can you make explicit the two different senses? (And why wouldn't you just answer where you make explicit the sense that you're answering under the in the first place, to make sure that you're not understood as you anticipate?)

Just fyi, by the way, I do not use different senses of "exist"/"there is," etc. And I'm not sure what someone's different senses might be. You'd need to explain that to me.
popeye1945
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by popeye1945 »

Peter Holmes,

Consciousness doesn't 'create in the outer world' so it doesn't create 'objective reality'. Unless, of course, you have evidence for this claim. Features of reality (facts) just exist. And we (conscious beings) can know them and say true things about them. And that's what what we call objectivity amounts to. And the point is, there are no moral structures in reality - which is why morality isn't and can't be objective.
[/quote]

Peter,

Consciousness does indeed create things in the outer world, in fact, all of humanity's creations might be termed biological extensions. You are surrounded with such creations, buildings, cars, bridges, boats, and planes you get the idea. Just as a spider's web is a biological creation which comes from its natural being so too human creations come out of their natural being. Morality is first, a sensitivity, idea, a concept but, if it remained just throughs things it could not serve the greater humanity in a given society. Morality gets written down, made into laws, builds pretentious structure which claim to be the source, read churches. There indeed are no natural structures of morality in the natural world, basically because in nature there is no morality. To quote Hericitious, " To god all things are right and good, only to man somethings are and somethings are not." Biology creating structures in the outer world makes gives them objective existences.
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Terrapin Station
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Terrapin Station »

popeye1945 wrote: Mon Jan 24, 2022 5:58 pm
Peter Holmes,

Consciousness doesn't 'create in the outer world' so it doesn't create 'objective reality'. Unless, of course, you have evidence for this claim. Features of reality (facts) just exist. And we (conscious beings) can know them and say true things about them. And that's what what we call objectivity amounts to. And the point is, there are no moral structures in reality - which is why morality isn't and can't be objective.
Peter,

Consciousness does indeed create things in the outer world, in fact, all of humanity's creations might be termed biological extensions. You are surrounded with such creations, buildings, cars, bridges, boats, and planes you get the idea. Just as a spider's web is a biological creation which comes from its natural being so too human creations come out of their natural being. Morality is first, a sensitivity, idea, a concept but, if it remained just throughs things it could not serve the greater humanity in a given society. Morality gets written down, made into laws, builds pretentious structure which claim to be the source, read churches. There indeed are no natural structures of morality in the natural world, basically because in nature there is no morality. To quote Hericitious, " To god all things are right and good, only to man somethings are and somethings are not." Biology creating structures in the outer world makes gives them objective existences.
He probably didn't mean that consciousness is not a motivator for creating things like buildings, etc. He probably meant that things like buildings are not somehow brought about by consciousness alone--in other words, they're not literally created somehow just from consciousness.
popeye1945
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by popeye1945 »

Peter,

Consciousness does indeed create things in the outer world, in fact, all of humanity's creations might be termed biological extensions. You are surrounded with such creations, buildings, cars, bridges, boats, and planes you get the idea. Just as a spider's web is a biological creation which comes from its natural being so too human creations come out of their natural being. Morality is first, a sensitivity, idea, a concept but, if it remained just throughs things it could not serve the greater humanity in a given society. Morality gets written down, made into laws, builds pretentious structure which claim to be the source, read churches. There indeed are no natural structures of morality in the natural world, basically because in nature there is no morality. To quote Hericitious, " To god all things are right and good, only to man somethings are and somethings are not." Biology creating structures in the outer world makes gives them objective existences.
[/quote]



He probably didn't mean that consciousness is not a motivator for creating things like buildings, etc. He probably meant that things like buildings are not somehow brought about by consciousness alone--in other words, they're not literally created somehow just from consciousness.
[/quote]

Terrapin,
Yes, things in consciousness to be brought into objective reality involves the physical creation of physical things.
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Sculptor
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Sculptor »

Peter Holmes wrote: Mon Jan 24, 2022 3:45 pm Try these claims:

1 There are what we call cats; therefore cats exist.
2 Cats have what we call claws; therefore claws exist.
3 There are what we call meanings; therefore meanings exist.
4 Sentences have what we call meanings; therefore meanings exist.
5. Cats exist therefore evil exists.

On questions of objectivity and subjectivity we can pretty much agree on the bland banal facts. But you and I cannot see the same cat -
ever. You might see an elegant, feminine furry beauty, but all I see is a sneaky, conniving, treacherous self serving furry animal killer.
You can fudge it and try to offer a middle ground for reasons of "objectivity", but there is very little we are going to agree upon as valid criteria.

This reflection is trivial when it comes to cats, but staggeringly important when it comes to matters of morality.
FlashDangerpants
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by FlashDangerpants »

Skepdick wrote: Mon Jan 24, 2022 4:55 pm
FlashDangerpants wrote: Mon Jan 24, 2022 4:30 pm Okay then. In that case do you agree that "biological consciousness" draws distinctions between observations that are deemed objective on the basis of observability within that objective world and ones which are deemed subjective on the grounds that they are not observable in that objective world?

These are the terms in which the question of whether morality is subjective or objective arise.
All you've done is you've emphasized the distinction between public vs private information.
Pretty much, yes.
Skepdick wrote: Mon Jan 24, 2022 4:55 pm Both of us can observe that it's raining - public information.
Only you can observe that you are thirsty - private information.

Unless you are going to insist that being thirsty is subjective, you have failed to justify your double-standard.

What makes your thirst "objective", but your morality "subjective"? I guess you are going to give me this crap about the function of the distinction again...
Why wouldn't I argue that my thirst is a subjective experience?
popeye1945
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by popeye1945 »

Skepdick wrote: Mon Jan 24, 2022 4:55 pm Both of us can observe that it's raining - public information.
Only you can observe that you are thirsty - private information.
Unless you are going to insist that being thirsty is subjective, you have failed to justify your double-standard.
What makes your thirst "objective", but your morality "subjective"? I guess you are going to give me this crap about the function of the distinction again...
Why wouldn't I argue that my thirst is a subjective experience?
[/quote]

Skepdick,

All experience is subjective experience for only biological consciousness is able to experience, and experience is knowledge/meaning, the objective world is meaningless, in the absence of a conscious subject.
Veritas Aequitas
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Veritas Aequitas »

Peter Holmes wrote: Mon Jan 24, 2022 3:45 pm Do you understand equivocation? Using a word in two or more different ways? If you do, you can see why your question is incoherent, as I explained with the example of mathematical objects. The premise 'if there are mathematical objects, then mathematical objects exist' is a conceptual mess, given a physical use of the word 'exist'.

If, as a physicalist, you say that mathematical objects - or any other abstract things, such as meanings - exist, then you must clarify your use of the word 'exist' in that context. In other words, if you think they exist in a non-physical way, you must, as a physicalist, justify that claim.

Try these claims:

1 There are what we call cats; therefore cats exist.
2 Cats have what we call claws; therefore claws exist.
3 There are what we call meanings; therefore meanings exist.
4 Sentences have what we call meanings; therefore meanings exist.

You've said that I may be deaf to the use of language in these contexts. But if you really can see no difference between the uses of 'exist' in 1 and 2, and its uses in 3 and 4, then I suggest the problem is yours.
Your views are in a mess because you are grounding your claims based on an assumption of Philosophical Realism,
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophical_realism
which is grounded on a psychological impulse driven by an existential crisis.

'Exist' or existence is not a predicate.
"Exist" or "is" is merely a copula that joins the subject to the predicate.

Whatever "exist" or "is" must be predicated or conditioned upon a credible Framework and System of Knowledge [FSK].

Thus
  • 1 There are what we call cats; therefore cats exist as conditioned by the Scientific [biology] FSK.
    2 Cats have what we call claws; therefore claws exist, as conditioned by the Scientific [biology] FSK.
    3 There are what we call meanings; therefore meanings exist, as conditioned by the Semantics FSK.
    4 Sentences have what we call meanings; therefore meanings exist, as conditioned by the Semantics FSK.
Whatever the proper meaning of any term it must be conditioned by the Semantics FSK and whether the term and its meaning say 'cat' exists as real, it must be conditioned by the Scientific [biology] FSK.

So, whatever "exist" or "is" must be predicated or conditioned upon a credible Framework and System of Knowledge [FSK].

Objective moral principles exist as conditioned by the Moral FSK which is a near equivalent to the credible Scientific FSK.
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