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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Belinda
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Belinda » Wed May 29, 2019 8:24 am

Peter Holmes wrote:
I'm sorry, but all of your examples demonstrate my point. That an action is practical, wise, sensible, and so on does not and can never entail that it is morally right to do it. Moral rightness and wrongness are not properties of things and actions. If they were, we could never argue about the moral rightness and wrongness of a thing or action. And the fact that we do shows that morality is subjective.
I understand how you believe that morality is subjective, and that all my examples demonstrate your point that morality is subjective. Here's an example that demonstrates your point of view:

the ancient church of Overstead was built in the 12th century when church attendance was mandatory for all and it was only an immoral person or a sick person who stayed away from the weekly service. The village of Overstead was sort of changeless through the centuries and it was a shock when a group of farm labourers refused to go to the services because the Squire, the yeomen farmers, and the church authority refused to pay them a decent living wage.

I hope that we can agree that everyones' judgements are always processed by the cognitive part of their brain-minds, and that this principle applies to the Overstead establishment and also to the dissident labourers.

The famous Tolpuddle Martyrs were severely punished by the establishment who retained their moral opinion. The Martyrs made their own moral position clear and it holds good to this day.

I side with the labourers in this historic dispute. With hindsight I see that the balance of power was changing so that the labourers took the risk. Morality is based upon power which is the objective element in judgements . So although we can abstract morality from judgements the source of both the practical and the moral elements is power.
Last edited by Belinda on Wed May 29, 2019 8:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

Peter Holmes
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Peter Holmes » Wed May 29, 2019 8:34 am

Belinda wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 8:24 am
Peter Holmes wrote:
I'm sorry, but all of your examples demonstrate my point. That an action is practical, wise, sensible, and so on does not and can never entail that it is morally right to do it. Moral rightness and wrongness are not properties of things and actions. If they were, we could never argue about the moral rightness and wrongness of a thing or action. And the fact that we do shows that morality is subjective.
I understand how you believe that morality is subjective, and that all my examples demonstrate your point that morality is subjective. Here's an example that demonstrates your point of view:

the ancient church of Overstead was built in the 12th century when church attendance was mandatory for all and it was only an immoral person or a sick person who stayed away from the weekly service. The village of Overstead was sort of changeless through the centuries and it was a shock when a group of farm labourers refused to go to the services because the Squire, the yeomen farmers, and the church authority refused to pay them a decent living wage.

I hope that we can agree that everyones' judgements are always processed by the cognitive part of their brain-minds, and that this principle applies to the Overstead establishment and also to the dissident labourers.
Fair enough. As I said, I think we agree on much or most of this. Thanks, again, Belinda, for engaging so thoughtfully. I can see you care deeply about morality, as do I. Cheers.

prof
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by prof » 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?

Peter Holmes
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Peter Holmes » 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.

How consistently someone follows moral principles is measurable, and so a factual matter. But that doesn't mean the principles are objective - and it doesn't in any way define what those principles are or should be.

To define the morally good is to express an opinion.

Skepdick
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Skepdick » Fri Nov 29, 2019 11:04 am

Peter Holmes wrote:
Fri Nov 29, 2019 10:23 am
Thanks, but objectivity means independence from opinion. Highest ideals or moral principles are matters of opinion, and so subjective.
All principles are a matter of opinion. There is no such thing as "objective principles", because the very principles by which the objective/subjective distinction is drawn are subjective principles - a matter of opinion.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Fri Nov 29, 2019 10:23 am
But that doesn't mean the principles are objective - and it doesn't in any way define what those principles are or should be.
Exactly the same critique can be laid upon the principles by which you draw the objective/subjective distinction.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Fri Nov 29, 2019 10:23 am
To define the morally good is to express an opinion.
Special pleading. To define "objectivity" is to express an opinion also.

Peter Holmes
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Peter Holmes » Fri Nov 29, 2019 12:29 pm

Skepdick wrote:
Fri Nov 29, 2019 11:04 am
Peter Holmes wrote:
Fri Nov 29, 2019 10:23 am
Thanks, but objectivity means independence from opinion. Highest ideals or moral principles are matters of opinion, and so subjective.
All principles are a matter of opinion. There is no such thing as "objective principles", because the very principles by which the objective/subjective distinction is drawn are subjective principles - a matter of opinion.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Fri Nov 29, 2019 10:23 am
But that doesn't mean the principles are objective - and it doesn't in any way define what those principles are or should be.
Exactly the same critique can be laid upon the principles by which you draw the objective/subjective distinction.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Fri Nov 29, 2019 10:23 am
To define the morally good is to express an opinion.
Special pleading. To define "objectivity" is to express an opinion also.
I think we've had this dance already.

Is your claim that there's no such thing as objectivity factual, or just your opinion?

If it's factual, the claim is false. If it's your opinion - who cares?

Belinda
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Belinda » Fri Nov 29, 2019 12:38 pm

Morality is objective within the frame of 'the natural'. By "The natural" I mean human nature is determined by nature and nurture i.e biology and social circumstances. Any individual's biology and social circumstances cause deviations from the hypothetically perfect human being whose biological functioning and whose social circumstances perfectly accord with all the individual's natural needs.

If it's accepted that there is such a hypothetical ideal as the perfect natural human being then it's acceptable that the morality and socialisation of this hypothetical individual is also perfect.

There is an objection to the above scenario. Whereas it's possible to breed and socialise some domestic animals such as dogs so that there actually exist perfect individuals with perfect behaviours , humans are not bred or socialised so they are all the same. Far from it! So in that case, morality is defined by intersubjective consensus, or even political diktat.

In favour of the objective naturalistic idea of the well socialised individual it's a fact that immorality is caused by trauma , illness, or unhealthy parenting .

Skepdick
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Skepdick » Fri Nov 29, 2019 12:50 pm

Peter Holmes wrote:
Fri Nov 29, 2019 12:29 pm
I think we've had this dance already.
We have, and it seems you are still committed to your religion.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Fri Nov 29, 2019 12:29 pm
Is your claim that there's no such thing as objectivity factual, or just your opinion?
It's not a claim - it's my default position that all distinctions are subjective.

You are the one claiming that the fact/opinion distinction is objective - the burden of proof is on you.
Go ahead and put forth the objective principle of distinction between facts and opinions.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Fri Nov 29, 2019 12:29 pm
If it's factual, the claim is false. If it's your opinion - who cares?
Affirming the consequent - you are assuming the fact/opinion distinction before you've objectively justified it.

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henry quirk
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by henry quirk » Fri Nov 29, 2019 2:31 pm

"objectivity means independence from opinion."

Sure, but objectivity doesn't mean opinion can't be held about the objective thing.

Example: Mt Everest obviously exists and exists whether I know of it and regardless of what I think of it.

Moral law/natural law is no different. Ignorance of moral law/natural law, believing moral law/natural law is hooey, doesn't negate moral law/natural law.

#

"Highest ideals or moral principles are matters of opinion, and so subjective."

No, our opinions (subjective notions) about moral law/natural law (what is real) doesn't render the objective 'subjective'.

Peter Holmes
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Peter Holmes » Fri Nov 29, 2019 5:15 pm

Skepdick wrote:
Fri Nov 29, 2019 12:50 pm
Peter Holmes wrote:
Fri Nov 29, 2019 12:29 pm
I think we've had this dance already.
We have, and it seems you are still committed to your religion.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Fri Nov 29, 2019 12:29 pm
Is your claim that there's no such thing as objectivity factual, or just your opinion?
It's not a claim - it's my default position that all distinctions are subjective.

You are the one claiming that the fact/opinion distinction is objective - the burden of proof is on you.
Go ahead and put forth the objective principle of distinction between facts and opinions.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Fri Nov 29, 2019 12:29 pm
If it's factual, the claim is false. If it's your opinion - who cares?
Affirming the consequent - you are assuming the fact/opinion distinction before you've objectively justified it.
What you call your default position is indeed a claim: all distinctions are subjective. Do you think that claim is true, independent of opinion? Do you think it's true regardless of what anyone thinks about it?

Peter Holmes
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Peter Holmes » Fri Nov 29, 2019 5:20 pm

henry quirk wrote:
Fri Nov 29, 2019 2:31 pm
"objectivity means independence from opinion."

Sure, but objectivity doesn't mean opinion can't be held about the objective thing.

Example: Mt Everest obviously exists and exists whether I know of it and regardless of what I think of it.

Moral law/natural law is no different. Ignorance of moral law/natural law, believing moral law/natural law is hooey, doesn't negate moral law/natural law.

#

"Highest ideals or moral principles are matters of opinion, and so subjective."

No, our opinions (subjective notions) about moral law/natural law (what is real) doesn't render the objective 'subjective'.
This is merely to claim that 'moral law / natural law' (which, by the way?) exists in reality, in the way that Mt Everest exists in reality. Burden of proof? - Over to you.

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henry quirk
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by henry quirk » Fri Nov 29, 2019 5:51 pm

This is merely to claim that 'moral law / natural law' (which, by the way?) exists in reality, in the way that Mt Everest exists in reality. Burden of proof? - Over to you.
Yes, I claim that moral/natural law is as real, as objective, as Everest.

As for 'proof', try this: morality has to come from somewhere. Which is more plausible? That morality is 'made up' or that morality is 'recognized'?

Yeah, I'm not impressed either.

Really, the only 'proof' I can offer is the same 'proof' I offer that I have (am a) free will: my experience of myself, in the world. I suspect your experience of yourself, in the world -- if you self-interrogate -- would lead you to the same conclusion.

Insofar as burdens of proof are assigned: I think the true burden lies with those who claim Reality is amoral, that man is just an evolved ape, that free will (and the self free will is inextricably bound to) is an illusion, cuz so much of what man (any man) experiences sez otherwise.

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Sculptor
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Sculptor » Fri Nov 29, 2019 6:04 pm

henry quirk wrote:
Fri Nov 29, 2019 5:51 pm
This is merely to claim that 'moral law / natural law' (which, by the way?) exists in reality, in the way that Mt Everest exists in reality. Burden of proof? - Over to you.
Yes, I claim that moral/natural law is as real, as objective, as Everest.
This is embarrassing.

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henry quirk
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"This is embarrassing."

Post by henry quirk » Fri Nov 29, 2019 6:11 pm

To you, not me.

What, I should wilt cuz you frown and cluck?

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Sculptor
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Re: "This is embarrassing."

Post by Sculptor » Fri Nov 29, 2019 9:09 pm

henry quirk wrote:
Fri Nov 29, 2019 6:11 pm
To you, not me.

What, I should wilt cuz you frown and cluck?
When you climb up your Everest high mountain of sh1t, and stick a flag in it come back and tell us. (Don't forget to take photo). But until then your moral law is just a collection of half baked ideas that few people on this forum agree with, let alone agree that they are "real".

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