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?

Moderators: AMod, iMod

uwot
Posts: 4506
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:21 am

Re: A Critique on Objective Morality

Post by uwot » Fri Apr 15, 2016 1:03 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:You think there's a law against "assuming"? :shock: Because that's what the syntax you use would literally indicate.
Hmm. No sign of intellectual integrity yet, then.

Obvious Leo
Posts: 4007
Joined: Wed May 13, 2015 1:05 am
Location: Australia

Re: A Critique on Objective Morality

Post by Obvious Leo » Fri Apr 15, 2016 1:15 pm

uwot wrote:
Immanuel Can wrote:You think there's a law against "assuming"? :shock: Because that's what the syntax you use would literally indicate.
Hmm. No sign of intellectual integrity yet, then.
Nor logical consistency, alas.

User avatar
Immanuel Can
Posts: 6768
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:42 pm

Re: A Critique on Objective Morality

Post by Immanuel Can » Fri Apr 15, 2016 3:25 pm

I'll simplify the question:

Is your objection to my words objective or subjective?

Obvious Leo
Posts: 4007
Joined: Wed May 13, 2015 1:05 am
Location: Australia

Re: A Critique on Objective Morality

Post by Obvious Leo » Fri Apr 15, 2016 8:50 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:I'll simplify the question:

Is your objection to my words objective or subjective?
Your question is stupid because all statements of opinion are subjective by definition. However some can be supported by reasoned argument and some can't.

User avatar
Immanuel Can
Posts: 6768
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:42 pm

Re: A Critique on Objective Morality

Post by Immanuel Can » Fri Apr 15, 2016 9:16 pm

Obvious Leo wrote:
Immanuel Can wrote:I'll simplify the question:

Is your objection to my words objective or subjective?
Your question is stupid because all statements of opinion are subjective by definition. However some can be supported by reasoned argument and some can't.
Funny: it looked a very, very easy question to me: two mutually-exclusive alternatives. But okay.

Give me your "reasoned argument" for your moral objection to my words. You say you've got one: let's see what you've got.

User avatar
A_Seagull
Posts: 886
Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2014 11:09 pm

Re: A Critique on Objective Morality

Post by A_Seagull » Fri Apr 15, 2016 9:24 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
A_Seagull wrote:I'll take it as an opinion then. :)
Can you justify that? :wink:
I don't need to :)

I don't hold that 'justification' is a means to 'truth'.

uwot
Posts: 4506
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:21 am

Re: A Critique on Objective Morality

Post by uwot » Fri Apr 15, 2016 9:31 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:Give me your "reasoned argument" for your moral objection to my words.
As you think it is appropriate to demand that people respond to your questions, you presumably have no objection to explaining this:
Immanuel Can wrote:It seemed clear to me you were assuming that people's agreement had something to do with our judgment about whether or not objective morals could exist.
What did I actually say that made you think that?

User avatar
Immanuel Can
Posts: 6768
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:42 pm

Re: A Critique on Objective Morality

Post by Immanuel Can » Fri Apr 15, 2016 10:07 pm

uwot wrote:As you think it is appropriate to demand that people respond to your questions, you presumably have no objection to explaining this:
Immanuel Can wrote:It seemed clear to me you were assuming that people's agreement had something to do with our judgment about whether or not objective morals could exist.
What did I actually say that made you think that?
None at all.

You said,
I know enough about the philosophical history of ethics to know that there never has been a universal axiom that is ever likely to be universally accepted
.

So I must wonder why would it matter whether or not an axiom was "universally accepted," if you already knew that people's agreement has nothing to do with whether or not objective morals exist?

If it was my mistake to assume your intention there, I think your wording made it quite a natural error to make. However, feel free to explain what you really meant, because of course there's no value in me attributing to you a position you actually don't intend.

uwot
Posts: 4506
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:21 am

Re: A Critique on Objective Morality

Post by uwot » Fri Apr 15, 2016 11:05 pm

You really should learn to understand context, Mr Can. Look again:
uwot wrote:
Immanuel Can wrote:You judge the law as "right": you must do so on the basis of a universal axiom, or you've got nothing.
I know enough about the philosophical history of ethics to know that there never has been a universal axiom that is ever likely to be universally accepted.
The point I was making is that the law is not premised on universal axioms.
Anyway, since you are suddenly so accommodating, can you explain what makes you think I "judge the law as "right""?

User avatar
Immanuel Can
Posts: 6768
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:42 pm

Re: A Critique on Objective Morality

Post by Immanuel Can » Fri Apr 15, 2016 11:28 pm

uwot wrote:Anyway, since you are suddenly so accommodating, can you explain what makes you think I "judge the law as "right""?
Not "suddenly," I trust. I do my best to remain civil. Unfortunately, the medium of text does not often allow a nuanced sense of tone to come through. Something well-intended can strike the neutral observer as ironic, or something said lightly can be taken as pointed. It's difficult to overcome that, but I work to avoid personal insults, slights and so forth. If anything comes across that way, it's inadvertent.

However, my thought was that you suggest "that's why we have the law" is relevant to the question of what we do without objective morals. I was merely pointing out in return that we cannot know what "laws" are good or bad without recourse to some prior code of morality. This prior code gives us confidence that, for example, murder is wrong but charity is right. Thus, when the laws conform to that, we judge them as "good" or "right" laws. When they do not, we have confidence to judge them as "wrong" or "bad" laws.

And we all do this: not just moral objectivists like myself, but the most ardent self-proclaimed relativist. I have yet to meet a relativist who, for example, would argue that all the laws of his or her country were perfect and unimprovable. If a country ever gets to that state, perhaps we'll all move there (and probably ruin it in the process, I imagine); but for now, every one of us judges human laws by some set of "rights" or higher principles. So many people find the laws on, say abortion, in their country either too constricting or too expansive. They find the laws of property either too privatized or too socialist. They find their laws of criminal justice either too lax or too rigorous...and all of us judge those laws by something we take to be above them...even when we aren't actually conscious that that is how we're doing it.

Is that clearer?

uwot
Posts: 4506
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:21 am

Re: A Critique on Objective Morality

Post by uwot » Sat Apr 16, 2016 9:50 am

Immanuel Can wrote:...I work to avoid personal insults, slights and so forth. If anything comes across that way, it's inadvertent.
It beggars belief that you could be so condescending, patronizing and just plain rude without trying.
Immanuel Can wrote:...we cannot know what "laws" are good or bad without recourse to some prior code of morality.
The problem you have is that you cannot persuade anyone here that your 'prior code of morality' is itself good. I don't know whether god exists, but I am quite certain it is not the parochial lunatic described in the bible, that you apparently believe is the mother lode of morality.
Immanuel Can wrote:...every one of us judges human laws by some set of "rights" or higher principles.
It depends on what you mean by 'set'. Some of us are content to operate with the simple principle that exploiting or injuring others is immoral; not because of some 'set of "rights"', but simply because that is what immoral means.
Immanuel Can wrote:...and all of us judge those laws by something we take to be above them...even when we aren't actually conscious that that is how we're doing it.

Is that clearer?
The question was:
uwot wrote:...can you explain what makes you think I "judge the law as "right""?
You apparently don't understand the difference between judging the principle of having laws as right and that all laws are therefore right. This despite exchanges such as these:
On Tue Apr 12, 2016 1:57 pm uwot wrote:
Immanuel Can wrote:Ah, but the law is not always moral, no?
That's right, Immanuel; that's why we have the law.
On Wed Apr 13, 2016 7:44 am uwot wrote:
Immanuel Can wrote:So now, you're saying the law is also immoral? Or you're saying "Whatever the law says is always right?" What is the claim you wish to advance?
The law and morality are different things. People have to vote and sometimes fight for the laws they want, because whatever the law says is not always right. As we are constantly discovering, if you leave law making to others, they will make laws that suit themselves, regardless of any morality.
It has always been clear that you do not pay any attention to what people actually say. As a result, you keep churning out the same old nonsense, oblivious to the fact that it has been soundly refuted by a number of contributors.

Obvious Leo
Posts: 4007
Joined: Wed May 13, 2015 1:05 am
Location: Australia

Re: A Critique on Objective Morality

Post by Obvious Leo » Sat Apr 16, 2016 10:15 am

uwot wrote:It beggars belief that you could be so condescending, patronizing and just plain rude without trying.
He wouldn't get away with it in my country, mate. When we insult somebody downunder we do so openly and stand ready to cop whatever comes back at us as a consequence. If you fart in the elevator you should have the balls to brag about it.

User avatar
Immanuel Can
Posts: 6768
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:42 pm

Re: A Critique on Objective Morality

Post by Immanuel Can » Sat Apr 16, 2016 1:54 pm

uwot wrote:Some of us are content to operate with the simple principle that exploiting or injuring others is immoral; not because of some 'set of "rights"', but simply because that is what immoral means.
That's circular. We can't expect people to find any principle rational or morally compelling because we say "that's what it means." We can expect them to accept our definition of the concept, perhaps, but not then to concede that the concept is in any way justified.

If it worked so easily, I could just say "God" and then tell you you had to accept His existence because it was definitional. But I'm pretty sure you'd call the bluff on that one, so I think I'm justified in calling the very same bluff on your side.

From a rational perspective, you need warrant for your claim, "Exploiting or injuring others is immoral." It's manifest that many people do not share it. ISIL cuts off the hands of some people, flogs adulterers, and hangs homosexuals from cranes or burns them alive in cages...and calls it moral. Closer to home, Nietzsche called all that "slave-morality," and declared it contrary to "the will to live." Social Darwinists say that society only progresses if the weak are defeated and destroyed by those with more power and vitality. So there's no way you can urge your axiom to be accepted without reasons.

Do you have any to support your case?

[Later] On second thought, I think a certain amount of mutual goodwill is required in order for any philosophical discussion to go forward profitably. Upon reflection, I see we do not have the requisite interpersonal capital on both sides. So perhaps there's no more to be said. Let's stop there.

Be well.

User avatar
A_Seagull
Posts: 886
Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2014 11:09 pm

Re: A Critique on Objective Morality

Post by A_Seagull » Sat Apr 16, 2016 10:50 pm

Obvious Leo wrote:
uwot wrote:It beggars belief that you could be so condescending, patronizing and just plain rude without trying.
He wouldn't get away with it in my country, mate. When we insult somebody downunder we do so openly and stand ready to cop whatever comes back at us as a consequence. If you fart in the elevator you should have the balls to brag about it.
I shall try to remember to take the stairs next time I visit your fine country. :)

uwot
Posts: 4506
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 7:21 am

Re: A Critique on Objective Morality

Post by uwot » Sun Apr 17, 2016 6:47 am

Immanuel Can wrote:We can't expect people to find any principle rational or morally compelling because we say "that's what it means."
We don't have to, we have the law. It is there because people have fought and died for the freedoms we take for granted; often at the hands of people inspired by the same book you hold so much store by.
Immanuel Can wrote:From a rational perspective, you need warrant for your claim, "Exploiting or injuring others is immoral."
I don't need a watertight logical proof. For practical purposes, all I need is for enough people to agree. Luckily for me, I live in a country where a lot of the hard work has already been done.
Immanuel Can wrote:It's manifest that many people do not share it.
It is manifest that there is no single moral axiom that everyone shares. Were that not so, there would be no such subject as Ethics.
Immanuel Can wrote:...Nietzsche called all that "slave-morality," and declared it contrary to "the will to live." Social Darwinists say that society only progresses if the weak are defeated and destroyed by those with more power and vitality. So there's no way you can urge your axiom to be accepted without reasons.
I don't expect to persuade everybody and frankly, only a complete idiot would believe they could.
Immanuel Can wrote:Do you have any to support your case?
I'm not the objectivist.
Immanuel Can wrote:[Later] On second thought, I think a certain amount of mutual goodwill is required in order for any philosophical discussion to go forward profitably.
Goodwill in this situation starts with respect.
Immanuel Can wrote:Upon reflection, I see we do not have the requisite interpersonal capital on both sides.
I have all the interpersonal capital necessary to engage you directly. You on the other hand, do not distinguish any of the individuals challenging you from your mythological, capitalised 'Atheist'.
Immanuel Can wrote:So perhaps there's no more to be said. Let's stop there.
That is entirely your decision.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests