What could make morality objective?

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

Logik
Posts: 4041
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:48 pm

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik » Wed Jan 30, 2019 8:14 am

surreptitious57 wrote:
Wed Jan 30, 2019 8:13 am
There has to be some basic understanding of definitions as everyone cannot just get to decide their own version of the truth
Definitions are hardly the problem though. The mis-interpretation of definitions is the problem.

It it murder or is it permanent sleep?
Is it assault or is it a disincentive?
is it theft or temporary borrowing with intent to return at a future date?

Philosophy is the art of drawing re-interpretative distinctions.
surreptitious57 wrote:
Wed Jan 30, 2019 8:13 am
It cannot be defined by what someone thinks it is but what it actually is otherwise it ceases to have any real meaning at all
I don't know. The feeling of pain is far more real to me than the definition.

It's very hard to mis-interpret a kick to the testicles despite Peter's insistence on absolute linguistic truths.

User avatar
SpheresOfBalance
Posts: 5383
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2011 4:27 pm
Location: On a Star Dust Metamorphosis

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by SpheresOfBalance » Sun Feb 03, 2019 2:58 am

Peter Holmes wrote:
Sat Jan 19, 2019 10:04 am
In the attempt to demolish the distinction between facts and opinions - which, paradoxically, demolishes the case for moral objectivism - the following quotation has been offered without critique, as though it's undeniably true. (I omit the shouty graphic emphasis.)

'Unlike deductive arguments, inductive reasoning allows for the possibility that the conclusion is false, even if all of the premises are true Instead of being valid or invalid inductive arguments are either strong or weak, which describes how probable it is that the conclusion is true. Another crucial difference is that deductive certainty is impossible in non-axiomatic systems, such as reality, leaving inductive reasoning as the primary route to (probabilistic) knowledge of such systems.'

So the claim is: 'deductive certainty is impossible in non-axiomatic systems, such as reality'.
And the embedded claim is: 'reality is a non-axiomatic system'.

Well, blow me down. And we idiots always thought reality was an axiomatic system that organised itself into propositions deduced from axioms and chained into valid inferences. What fools we've been. That thing we call a dog is a non-axiomatic system, so we can't say anything deductively valid about it. Everything we say about it can be only inductively and probabilistically true.

But let's be serious.

1 Reality isn't linguistic, so of course it isn't an axiomatic system. Axioms are rules in a linguistic system.
2 Deduction and induction are linguistic practices - ways of constructing arguments with signs. They express or manifest 'reasoning' in the way factual assertions express or manifest 'thought'.
3 Every factual claim (proposition with a truth-value) necessarily uses deduction from linguistic rules (axioms).
4 A factual inductive argument has factual claims as premises.
5 So induction is just as 'axiomatic' (rule-governed) as deduction.

The absurd claim 'reality is a non-axiomatic system' is a fine demonstration of conceptual confusion - mistaking what we say about things for the way things are - the map for the terrain.

There are three things: features of reality; what we believe and know about them, such as that they are the case; and what we say about them, which (classically) may be true or false. To muddle these things up is a mistake.
Peter Holmes, ha ha, that's funny!

PH, all that humans have at our disposal are our conceptualizations of reality. And if you use language to try and undermine language you have just undermined your undermining. Understand? All one can do as Wittgenstein attempted, is to try their best to remove all ambiguity from language, to make it as precise as one can, as it's all humans have at their disposal.

Not that I really want you to be silent, but convey to me anything here in this forum without using language... I won't hold my breath.

For each subject everything else is an object. If it were ALL about EITHER you OR I, NOT both, it would be subjective. Morality is the language between us that attempts to ensure we "ALL" get a fair shake; it's all about not treading on one another. And with that endeavour in mind it has to be objective in nature for it to work. No one person or group has the right to say what is moral and what is not.

So morality must be rule based, as it's all that it can be. "The Golden Rule" or (The Fundamental Social Axiom) as I like to call my corrected version is a good place to start. Though much like religion many try and thrust upon others their own version of morality, that suits their own particular wants and desires at the expense of others. As religion is further squashed into oblivion due to scientific proofs, morality shall be reshaped to be all inclusive as it should be.

User avatar
SpheresOfBalance
Posts: 5383
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2011 4:27 pm
Location: On a Star Dust Metamorphosis

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by SpheresOfBalance » Sun Feb 03, 2019 3:21 am

Belinda wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:05 pm
SpheresofBalance, you are right that I'm not a real atheist but am becoming more Platonic week by week. I call myself an atheist when I talk to some people for whom God is a set of rules.
I tend to agree with you here, but go further. No creator of everything, that is all knowing, would entrust knowledge of it's existence, to any particular subset of humankind, especially in such an unenlightened time, as it would know that largely humankind is filled with liars, such that belief in them would be questioned. Not the best way to spread any bit of knowledge would it be to do, as the, (so called), believers would like us to believe. Knowing the history of humankind as I do, the belief in gods/a god, is more likely to be due to not knowing the truth of those things that we've feared, death being the main one. So it's not surprising that their god promises everlasting life in their heaven.

But this does not exclude the possibility of a creator of the universe, that we may one day come to know.
;-)


By "consciousness of fellow feeling" , which is a clumsy phrase, I mean feelings of affection in my body which often change the expression on my face and the way I move my body. These feelings can give rise to remorse if I deny them. The Golden? Rule, if I don't obey it makes me feel guilty,but not remorseful. Well founded as it is the Golden? Rule is just a rule.
Personally, I disagree with your meanings of guilty and remorse, and see them along a gradient, that they are of the same emotional content, just at different positions along the gradient. To feel guilty would be immoral acts of a lessor degree than those that evoke remorse. We tend to grade "bad," "evil" or "immoral" things along a gradient, one might feel guilty of a white lie, but feel remorse at causing anothers death. Same emotion at different degrees!

Peter Holmes
Posts: 528
Joined: Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:53 pm

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes » Sun Feb 03, 2019 11:21 am

SpheresOfBalance wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 2:58 am
Peter Holmes wrote:
Sat Jan 19, 2019 10:04 am
In the attempt to demolish the distinction between facts and opinions - which, paradoxically, demolishes the case for moral objectivism - the following quotation has been offered without critique, as though it's undeniably true. (I omit the shouty graphic emphasis.)

'Unlike deductive arguments, inductive reasoning allows for the possibility that the conclusion is false, even if all of the premises are true Instead of being valid or invalid inductive arguments are either strong or weak, which describes how probable it is that the conclusion is true. Another crucial difference is that deductive certainty is impossible in non-axiomatic systems, such as reality, leaving inductive reasoning as the primary route to (probabilistic) knowledge of such systems.'

So the claim is: 'deductive certainty is impossible in non-axiomatic systems, such as reality'.
And the embedded claim is: 'reality is a non-axiomatic system'.

Well, blow me down. And we idiots always thought reality was an axiomatic system that organised itself into propositions deduced from axioms and chained into valid inferences. What fools we've been. That thing we call a dog is a non-axiomatic system, so we can't say anything deductively valid about it. Everything we say about it can be only inductively and probabilistically true.

But let's be serious.

1 Reality isn't linguistic, so of course it isn't an axiomatic system. Axioms are rules in a linguistic system.
2 Deduction and induction are linguistic practices - ways of constructing arguments with signs. They express or manifest 'reasoning' in the way factual assertions express or manifest 'thought'.
3 Every factual claim (proposition with a truth-value) necessarily uses deduction from linguistic rules (axioms).
4 A factual inductive argument has factual claims as premises.
5 So induction is just as 'axiomatic' (rule-governed) as deduction.

The absurd claim 'reality is a non-axiomatic system' is a fine demonstration of conceptual confusion - mistaking what we say about things for the way things are - the map for the terrain.

There are three things: features of reality; what we believe and know about them, such as that they are the case; and what we say about them, which (classically) may be true or false. To muddle these things up is a mistake.
Peter Holmes, ha ha, that's funny!

PH, all that humans have at our disposal are our conceptualizations of reality.
Not so. We have reality itself, and we have our ways of talking about it: language. I have no idea what a 'conceptualization of reality' is, and I doubt very much that you do either. It's just metaphysical blather.
And if you use language to try and undermine language you have just undermined your undermining. Understand? All one can do as Wittgenstein attempted, is to try their best to remove all ambiguity from language, to make it as precise as one can, as it's all humans have at their disposal.
1 I've no idea why you think I'm trying to 'use language to undermine language'. My argument is that there's no foundation for our linguistic practices beneath those practices. Reality doesn't categorise itself, or organise what we believe and know about it.
2 The claim that Wittgenstein was trying 'to remove all ambiguity from language' is false. His later work was all about exploring the inexhaustible variety of linguistic contexts and practices. I think you've got this completely wrong.

Not that I really want you to be silent, but convey to me anything here in this forum without using language... I won't hold my breath.

For each subject everything else is an object. If it were ALL about EITHER you OR I, NOT both, it would be subjective. Morality is the language between us that attempts to ensure we "ALL" get a fair shake; it's all about not treading on one another. And with that endeavour in mind it has to be objective in nature for it to work. No one person or group has the right to say what is moral and what is not.
1 The claim that 'morality is the language between us' is metaphysical nonsense. Our moral values and behaviour are not linguistic in any way whatsoever. It's the moral assertions we make that are linguistic.
2 You're merely making moral assertions: 'everyone should get a fair shake'; and 'it's wrong to tread on other people'. And I agree with them.
3 I think you misunderstand objectivity, which just means reliance on facts: true factual assertions. Achieving fair shakes for everyone isn't about the objectivity of moral assertions - it's about persuading everyone to accept them and act accordingly.
4 I agree that what is moral and immoral isn't in anyone's or any group's gift. But that's not because there are moral facts. It's a consequence of there being no moral facts - of morality not being objective.


So morality must be rule based, as it's all that it can be. "The Golden Rule" or (The Fundamental Social Axiom) as I like to call my corrected version is a good place to start. Though much like religion many try and thrust upon others their own version of morality, that suits their own particular wants and desires at the expense of others. As religion is further squashed into oblivion due to scientific proofs, morality shall be reshaped to be all inclusive as it should be.
Some version of the golden rule may be 'a good place to start'. But that it is is a moral value-judgement - not a fact. It may be practical and sensible and evolutionarily adaptive for social mammals to 'do as you would be done by' - but why does that make it morally right to do so? There's no deductive or inductive connection.

Logik
Posts: 4041
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:48 pm

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik » Sun Feb 03, 2019 11:54 am

Peter Holmes wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 11:21 am
SpheresOfBalance wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 2:58 am
Peter Holmes wrote:
Sat Jan 19, 2019 10:04 am
In the attempt to demolish the distinction between facts and opinions - which, paradoxically, demolishes the case for moral objectivism - the following quotation has been offered without critique, as though it's undeniably true. (I omit the shouty graphic emphasis.)

'Unlike deductive arguments, inductive reasoning allows for the possibility that the conclusion is false, even if all of the premises are true Instead of being valid or invalid inductive arguments are either strong or weak, which describes how probable it is that the conclusion is true. Another crucial difference is that deductive certainty is impossible in non-axiomatic systems, such as reality, leaving inductive reasoning as the primary route to (probabilistic) knowledge of such systems.'

So the claim is: 'deductive certainty is impossible in non-axiomatic systems, such as reality'.
And the embedded claim is: 'reality is a non-axiomatic system'.

Well, blow me down. And we idiots always thought reality was an axiomatic system that organised itself into propositions deduced from axioms and chained into valid inferences. What fools we've been. That thing we call a dog is a non-axiomatic system, so we can't say anything deductively valid about it. Everything we say about it can be only inductively and probabilistically true.

But let's be serious.

1 Reality isn't linguistic, so of course it isn't an axiomatic system. Axioms are rules in a linguistic system.
2 Deduction and induction are linguistic practices - ways of constructing arguments with signs. They express or manifest 'reasoning' in the way factual assertions express or manifest 'thought'.
3 Every factual claim (proposition with a truth-value) necessarily uses deduction from linguistic rules (axioms).
4 A factual inductive argument has factual claims as premises.
5 So induction is just as 'axiomatic' (rule-governed) as deduction.

The absurd claim 'reality is a non-axiomatic system' is a fine demonstration of conceptual confusion - mistaking what we say about things for the way things are - the map for the terrain.

There are three things: features of reality; what we believe and know about them, such as that they are the case; and what we say about them, which (classically) may be true or false. To muddle these things up is a mistake.
Peter Holmes, ha ha, that's funny!

PH, all that humans have at our disposal are our conceptualizations of reality.
Not so. We have reality itself, and we have our ways of talking about it: language. I have no idea what a 'conceptualization of reality' is, and I doubt very much that you do either. It's just metaphysical blather.
And if you use language to try and undermine language you have just undermined your undermining. Understand? All one can do as Wittgenstein attempted, is to try their best to remove all ambiguity from language, to make it as precise as one can, as it's all humans have at their disposal.
1 I've no idea why you think I'm trying to 'use language to undermine language'. My argument is that there's no foundation for our linguistic practices beneath those practices. Reality doesn't categorise itself, or organise what we believe and know about it.
2 The claim that Wittgenstein was trying 'to remove all ambiguity from language' is false. His later work was all about exploring the inexhaustible variety of linguistic contexts and practices. I think you've got this completely wrong.

Not that I really want you to be silent, but convey to me anything here in this forum without using language... I won't hold my breath.

For each subject everything else is an object. If it were ALL about EITHER you OR I, NOT both, it would be subjective. Morality is the language between us that attempts to ensure we "ALL" get a fair shake; it's all about not treading on one another. And with that endeavour in mind it has to be objective in nature for it to work. No one person or group has the right to say what is moral and what is not.
1 The claim that 'morality is the language between us' is metaphysical nonsense. Our moral values and behaviour are not linguistic in any way whatsoever. It's the moral assertions we make that are linguistic.
2 You're merely making moral assertions: 'everyone should get a fair shake'; and 'it's wrong to tread on other people'. And I agree with them.
3 I think you misunderstand objectivity, which just means reliance on facts: true factual assertions. Achieving fair shakes for everyone isn't about the objectivity of moral assertions - it's about persuading everyone to accept them and act accordingly.
4 I agree that what is moral and immoral isn't in anyone's or any group's gift. But that's not because there are moral facts. It's a consequence of there being no moral facts - of morality not being objective.


So morality must be rule based, as it's all that it can be. "The Golden Rule" or (The Fundamental Social Axiom) as I like to call my corrected version is a good place to start. Though much like religion many try and thrust upon others their own version of morality, that suits their own particular wants and desires at the expense of others. As religion is further squashed into oblivion due to scientific proofs, morality shall be reshaped to be all inclusive as it should be.
Some version of the golden rule may be 'a good place to start'. But that it is is a moral value-judgement - not a fact. It may be practical and sensible and evolutionarily adaptive for social mammals to 'do as you would be done by' - but why does that make it morally right to do so? There's no deductive or inductive connection.
There is no way to convince a logocentrist ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logocentrism ).

“There is reality and there is what we say about it”.

That is his axiomatic truth. That is all there is and all that can ever be!
He has no thoughts of his own. To think for yourself is "just metaphysical blather" (and even that idea Peter acquiesced from Wittgenstein and the logical positivists)

To attempt to conceptualise and describe our experienced of worldly phenomena.
To invent new concepts and new language like Mathematics. It is not allowed in Peter's world-view.

"It's just metaphysical blather".

Spoken like a man who has surrendered his faculties to think to the Oxford Dictionary.

And yet - he can find no dictionary to define the meaning of this word:
Shannon.png
Shannon.png (22.1 KiB) Viewed 466 times
We have reality itself, and we have our ways of talking about it: language.
The error in Peter's ways lies in his premise above.

Why do we even need to talk about reality? What purpose does it serve?

If we are to remain silent do "facts" and "truth" disappear?
Last edited by Logik on Mon Feb 04, 2019 2:04 am, edited 3 times in total.

surreptitious57
Posts: 3615
Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2013 6:09 am

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by surreptitious57 » Sun Feb 03, 2019 12:24 pm

Logic wrote:
Why do we even need to talk about reality ? What purpose does it serve ?

If we are to remain silent do facts and truth disappear ?
We dont have to talk about reality but do so because we have the ability to and are naturally curious
The purpose it serves is to make us understand it more through science / mathematics / philosophy
Facts and truth do not disappear if we remain silent because they are contained within the physical
Universe itself so are not just abstract concepts

Logik
Posts: 4041
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:48 pm

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik » Sun Feb 03, 2019 12:30 pm

Proofs of impossibility are amongst the greatest achievements of science. They tell us what is a pipe dream, a pie in the sky!

Proofs of impossibility tell us which of our ideals are a waste of time. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proof_of_impossibility
Among the most important proofs of impossibility of the 20th century, were those related to undecidability, which showed that there are problems that cannot be solved in general by any algorithm at all. The most famous is the halting problem.
The decidability criterion in Logic ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decidability_(logic) ) makes Peter's conception of "facts" to be utter nonsense.

Given any English sentence (X)
Given two subjects (Peter, Logik)

By the impossibility of the decidability criterion one would ask. Is X a fact?

Peter decides "Yes. X is a fact".
Logic decides "No. X is not a fact."

Which just leaves us with yet more decision-problems.

Is Peter wrong in answering Yes?
Is Logic wrong in answering No?

To resolve this dilemma you have to define the meaning of "wrong". And I want to see you do that without dragging the discussion into the moral realm.

Unless somebody has invented a universal machine for answering Yes/No questions ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oracle_machine ) humans are the only entities who get to DECIDE.

Given the decidability problem, the only coherent conception of "objectivity" is inter-subjective consensus. Is it a bandwagon fallacy? No. It's pragmatic necessity. Because Peter's conception of 'objectivity' is IMPOSSIBLE. And his conception of 'facts' is logocentric and a dogmatic illusion.

Be kind to theists. Even if the label themselves atheists. Their faculties to think for themselves are less than optimal.
Last edited by Logik on Sun Feb 03, 2019 12:42 pm, edited 5 times in total.

Logik
Posts: 4041
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:48 pm

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik » Sun Feb 03, 2019 12:31 pm

surreptitious57 wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 12:24 pm
We dont have to talk about reality but do so because we have the ability to and are naturally curious
The purpose it serves is to make us understand it more through science / mathematics / philosophy
Facts and truth do not disappear if we remain silent because they are contained within the physical
Universe itself so are not just abstract concepts
"Understanding" is an abstract concept.
"Curiosity" is an abstract concept.
"Purpose" is an abstract concept.
"Truth" is an abstract concept.

Without concepts and thought you have no language.

surreptitious57
Posts: 3615
Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2013 6:09 am

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by surreptitious57 » Sun Feb 03, 2019 12:57 pm

Logic wrote:
By the impossibility of the decidability criterion one would ask Is X a fact ?

Peter decides Yes
Logic decides No

Which just leaves us with yet more decision problems

Is Peter wrong in answering Yes ?
Is Logic wrong in answering No ?
Do you have any methodology that can differentiate between what you label as facts and non facts ? Yes we do
Then why not use it ? We can [ and do ] use it but it is not entirely reliable because of the problem of induction

You are not omniscient and so the problem of induction will always be there but you can still apply your methodology as imperfect as that is
The alternative is not to have any methodology at all which you are free to choose but if you do so you will never learn any thing ever again

Logik
Posts: 4041
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:48 pm

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik » Sun Feb 03, 2019 1:19 pm

surreptitious57 wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 12:57 pm
Do you have any methodology that can differentiate between what you label as facts and non facts ? Yes we do
Then why not use it ?
Well that is PRECISELY what I am doing. I am USING the system!

If the system can answer the yes/no question "Is X a fact?"
then
The system can answer the yes/no question "Is X a moral fact?"

surreptitious57
Posts: 3615
Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2013 6:09 am

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by surreptitious57 » Sun Feb 03, 2019 1:29 pm

Logic wrote:
The system can answer the yes / no question Is X a moral fact ?
Can you give both the definition of and an example of a moral fact ?
And in what specific way do moral facts differ from non moral facts ?

Logik
Posts: 4041
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:48 pm

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik » Sun Feb 03, 2019 1:36 pm

surreptitious57 wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 1:29 pm
Can you give both the definition of and an example of a moral fact ?
And in what specific way do moral facts differ from non moral facts ?
I don't know. Peter can define them for you - I am not a stickler for definitions.

My point is that if you have a machine that can answer yes/no questions (e.g solve the decision problem).

Then it can answer "Is murder wrong?"

HOW the machine decided the answer is not important, least you begin questioning the color of the sky.

Is the sky blue? Yes. The sky is blue.
Is murder wrong? Yes. Murder is wrong.

What makes "The sky is blue" a fact? Inter-subjective consensus on the meaning of "blue".
What makes "Murder is wrong" a fact? Inter-subjective consensus on the meaning of "wrong".

surreptitious57
Posts: 3615
Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2013 6:09 am

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by surreptitious57 » Sun Feb 03, 2019 1:52 pm

Logic wrote:
You cant answer the HOW question anymore than you can answer HOW you ve decided that the sky is blue

The wrongness of murder is the same as the bluenes of the sky
It is blue because that particular colour frequency on the electromagnetic spectrum is what is reflected within the retina of my eye

The wrongness of murder is a moral issue while the blueness of the sky is a scientific one so different criteria are being used here

Logik
Posts: 4041
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 12:48 pm

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik » Sun Feb 03, 2019 1:55 pm

surreptitious57 wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 1:52 pm
It is blue because that particular colour frequency on the electromagnetic spectrum is what is reflected within the retina of my eye
Trichromats ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trichromacy ) perceive different frequencies to Tetrachromats ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetrachromacy ) perceive a different frequency to Pentachromats ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentachromacy ).

They each have a different experience of the sky. They all call it "blue".
surreptitious57 wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 1:52 pm
The wrongness of murder is a moral issue while the blueness of the sky is a scientific one so different criterion are being used here
The frequency of light reflected by the sky is a scientific issue. And it still boils down to a decision-problem.

Is the frequency of light reflected by the sky X? Yes or No. It requires a social consensus on the meaning of "frequency" and a social consensus on the meaning of "light".

The "blueness" of the sky as interpreted by your retina/brain is a social consensus issue on the use of language.

surreptitious57
Posts: 3615
Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2013 6:09 am

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by surreptitious57 » Sun Feb 03, 2019 2:11 pm

Logic wrote:
They each have a different experience of the sky . They all call it blue
Blue like any colour is on a spectrum ranging from the very dark to the very light and everything in between
So different people seeing different shades of the same colour through their retina is not actually a problem
They can qualify their observation by saying what shade they are seeing so others might compare it to theirs

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest