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

User avatar
henry quirk
Posts: 6380
Joined: Fri May 09, 2008 8:07 pm

Re: again

Post by henry quirk » Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:53 pm

Now analyse the claim 'slavery is morally wrong' in the same way. To which fact does this refer?

I intend to show you once I have your exact standard.


Again: you do accept that real things can sometimes exist only in a certain context, or when certain conditions are in place, yeah?

Bear with me, Pete. Again, I want to pin down exactly what your standard is.

Peter Holmes
Posts: 724
Joined: Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:53 pm

Re: again

Post by Peter Holmes » Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:58 pm

henry quirk wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:53 pm
Now analyse the claim 'slavery is morally wrong' in the same way. To which fact does this refer?

I intend to show you once I have your exact standard.


Again: you do accept that real things can sometimes exist only in a certain context, or when certain conditions are in place, yeah?

Bear with me, Pete. Again, I want to pin down exactly what your standard is.
Please can you spell out what 'things can sometimes exist only in a certain context' means? I don't mean to be awkward - I just don't know what 'existence in a certain context' is getting at.

And what do you mean by 'real things'? Physical, spatio-temporal things - or something like that?

User avatar
Immanuel Can
Posts: 7609
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:42 pm

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Immanuel Can » Mon Feb 17, 2020 6:02 pm

Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:47 pm
... the claim's truth-value is independent from judgement, because the moon, in fact, either is or is not made of cheese. That's what makes this an objective matter.
That's right, Pete...it is.
Now analyse the claim 'slavery is morally wrong' in the same way. To which fact does this refer?
Well, defining slavery as a particular "use" of a human being, it can be objectively right or wrong, depending on whether or not this is the right "use" for somebody to make of another human being. Let's start with that broad claim.

The question, then, comes down to "What is the moral value, the moral status, of a human being?" Are human beings the kinds of entities that can be legitimately used as we use an ox or a horse? Is a human being the kind of entity we can legitimately use as a possession? Is it the kind that we can legitimately deprive of property, beat, exchange, and endlessly expend for our own purposes?

Or not?

User avatar
henry quirk
Posts: 6380
Joined: Fri May 09, 2008 8:07 pm

Re: again

Post by henry quirk » Mon Feb 17, 2020 6:03 pm

Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:58 pm
henry quirk wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:53 pm
Now analyse the claim 'slavery is morally wrong' in the same way. To which fact does this refer?

I intend to show you once I have your exact standard.


Again: you do accept that real things can sometimes exist only in a certain context, or when certain conditions are in place, yeah?

Bear with me, Pete. Again, I want to pin down exactly what your standard is.
Please can you spell out what 'things can sometimes exist only in a certain context' means? I don't mean to be awkward - I just don't know what 'existence in a certain context' is getting at.
I covered that with my example of my hunger, a real biological event that occurs within a certain context, namely me.

Hunger is real, but only exists within a certain context, and: it exists independent of what I or you think about it.


what do you mean by 'real things'? Physical, spatio-temporal things - or something like that?

examples I've used: stone, hunger, fire...all measurable, all independent of opinion

Peter Holmes
Posts: 724
Joined: Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:53 pm

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes » Mon Feb 17, 2020 6:14 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 6:02 pm
Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 5:47 pm
... the claim's truth-value is independent from judgement, because the moon, in fact, either is or is not made of cheese. That's what makes this an objective matter.
That's right, Pete...it is.
Now analyse the claim 'slavery is morally wrong' in the same way. To which fact does this refer?
Well, defining slavery as a particular "use" of a human being, it can be objectively right or wrong, depending on whether or not this is the right "use" for somebody to make of another human being. Let's start with that broad claim.

The question, then, comes down to "What is the moral value, the moral status, of a human being?" Are human beings the kinds of entities that can be legitimately used as we use an ox or a horse? Is a human being the kind of entity we can legitimately use as a possession? Is it the kind that we can legitimately deprive of property, beat, exchange, and endlessly expend for our own purposes?

Or not?
The claim 'the moon is made of cheese' is true or false, because the nature of the moon is a feature of reality. But the claim 'slavery is morally wrong' doesn't have that objectivity. To define slavery in the way you do, and then to say it's morally wrong to treat a human that way is to beg the question - using a moral judgement to defend a moral judgement. And to say a human has a moral status is to express a judgement - not to state a fact. At the bottom is a moral opinion, which is subjective. (We've been here a hundred times. Anything different coming?)

User avatar
Immanuel Can
Posts: 7609
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:42 pm

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Immanuel Can » Mon Feb 17, 2020 6:26 pm

Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 6:14 pm
The claim 'the moon is made of cheese' is true or false, because the nature of the moon is a feature of reality. But the claim 'slavery is morally wrong' doesn't have that objectivity.
We don't know that. We're investigating to find out what's behind it.
To define slavery in the way you do, and then to say it's morally wrong to treat a human that way is to beg the question
Good thing I didn't impose any moral judgment on the situation. Rather, I only asked you what your view was. Is a "human being" the kind of entity that can legitimately be used as chattels, as a work-horse, or as a tool of some other purpose?

I didn't tell you what you had to think. I just asked you what you did think.

Peter Holmes
Posts: 724
Joined: Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:53 pm

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes » Mon Feb 17, 2020 6:58 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 6:26 pm
Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 6:14 pm
The claim 'the moon is made of cheese' is true or false, because the nature of the moon is a feature of reality. But the claim 'slavery is morally wrong' doesn't have that objectivity.
We don't know that. We're investigating to find out what's behind it.
We do know that, because a value-judgement is a value-judgement, and is not a factual claim with a truth-value that we can investigate.
To define slavery in the way you do, and then to say it's morally wrong to treat a human that way is to beg the question
Good thing I didn't impose any moral judgment on the situation. Rather, I only asked you what your view was. Is a "human being" the kind of entity that can legitimately be used as chattels, as a work-horse, or as a tool of some other purpose?

I didn't tell you what you had to think. I just asked you what you did think.
Oh, in my opinion, slavery is morally wrong - and I have reasons for holding that opinion, reasons that boil down to other moral opinions. But there's no fact at the bottom that magically turns all those opinions into facts.

surreptitious57
Posts: 3838
Joined: Fri Oct 25, 2013 6:09 am

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by surreptitious57 » Mon Feb 17, 2020 7:01 pm

Skepdick wrote:
surreptitious57 wrote:
Skepdick wrote:
If all assertions express judgements beliefs or opinions and assertions is ALL that humans make
They are not all that humans make as you know very well

Some assertions can be tested empirically using the scientific method
Some assertions can be tested logically using valid or sound arguments

Some assertions cannot be tested either empirically or logically at this point in time
Some assertions cannot be tested either empirically or logically at any point in time
4 different kinds of assertions
2 different kinds that can be tested therefore going beyond just a statement to either verification or falsification
Is an assertion therefore still an assertion if it has either been verified or falsified - no because it has been tested
An assertion only remains an assertion when it cannot be verified or falsified

User avatar
Immanuel Can
Posts: 7609
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:42 pm

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Immanuel Can » Mon Feb 17, 2020 7:17 pm

Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 6:58 pm
We do know that, because a value-judgement is a value-judgement, and is not a factual claim with a truth-value that we can investigate.
I understand that that is your gratuitous position. What makes it gratuitous is that you don't actually have reason to know it's true that the value-judgment has no factual basis.
To define slavery in the way you do, and then to say it's morally wrong to treat a human that way is to beg the question
Good thing I didn't impose any moral judgment on the situation. Rather, I only asked you what your view was. Is a "human being" the kind of entity that can legitimately be used as chattels, as a work-horse, or as a tool of some other purpose?

I didn't tell you what you had to think. I just asked you what you did think.
Oh, in my opinion, slavery is morally wrong - and I have reasons for holding that opinion, reasons that boil down to other moral opinions.[/quote]
I figured it was. You don't seem an unpleasant person, and that intuition is very common.

I would suggest that even people who advocate slavery are doing it merely in bad conscience -- at least prior to the time their consciences are anaesthetized by having done it enough.

So we have an intuition. But why? Why is it that we have such an intuition?

Let's tell the story the purely secular way.

We are all chance products of processes put into play by the big accident at the beginning of time, whatever that darn thing was. Here we are. Yet, strangely, some of us have an intuition that there is an "oughtness" to how we should treat others, that we "ought not" to make them our slaves.

Let us try to account for that intuition, using only secular terms. Maybe your account looks something like this: "without reason, the evolutionary process threw up a piece of inexplicable flotsam...the belief that enslaving people was wrong. Why we have that belief, nobody can say, because there's no 'why' to it. It was just a weird side-effect of what happened to happen."

If that's how it is, then there is no reason why people must not enslave each other. The fact of the intuition is purely accidental, and its real import is nothing. But that mysterious intuition is just dismissed, in such an account. It's really not accounted for at all.

So we have an intuition of "wrongness," but no explanation at all for why it exists.

There are two possibilities, though. As above, that it's completely gratuitous, accidental and meaningless. Or secondly, that it is our moral radar warning us that something really IS wrong there, in an ultimate and objective way.

And neither of us will be able to venture to answer that, unless we know whether this world is, as you might suppose, the random product of an indifferent cosmos, or the deliberate creation of a moral God. If it's the former, then unquestionably, the intuition means nothing. If it's the latter, though...
But there's no fact at the bottom that magically turns all those opinions into facts.
Well, we'll see. It seems we're nowhere near the bottom yet.

Peter Holmes
Posts: 724
Joined: Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:53 pm

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes » Mon Feb 17, 2020 7:50 pm

IC

A value-judgement is a value-judgement.

It follows that whatever facts we deploy to justify that value-judgement can have absolutely no bearing on its status as a value-judgement.

(But if there were moral facts, a god would be 'subject' to them, as it would be to all other facts.)

The only reason I can see for your introduction of the word 'intuition' is that it smuggles in the idea of knowledge by the back door. I don't 'intuit' that slavery is morally wrong. I just believe it is.

User avatar
Immanuel Can
Posts: 7609
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:42 pm

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Immanuel Can » Mon Feb 17, 2020 9:56 pm

Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 7:50 pm
IC

Your reasoning is faulty. A value-judgement is a value-judgement - or do you deny that fact?
It begs the question.

Nobody denies that a value judgment is a value judgment. That's circular. The real question is, "Is that ALL a value-judgment is?" :shock: That is, the question is not whether or not somebody is valuing something...the question is whether or not the thing they're valuing is actually valuable.
If you agree, it follows that whatever facts we deploy to justify that value-judgement can have absolutely no bearing on its status as a value-judgement. And I wonder why you're so determined to deny that fact.
That's not true. A value judgment can be a good one, or it can be a bad one. What will make the difference is its relationship to what is objectively valuable.
Perhaps you want there to be moral facts. But that doesn't square with your theism, because if there are moral facts, a god is 'subject' to them, as it is to all other facts.
Euthyprho dilemma. :D It's an old one, and long ago debunked. I can't believe you're recycling it.

I can answer it if you care. I've done so for others before. But I don't suppose you do actually care about it.
The only reason I can see for your introduction of the word 'intuition' is that it smuggles in the idea of knowledge by the back door. I don't 'intuit' that slavery is morally wrong. I just believe it is.
You speak for yourself there, since you use "I." I spoke of the more general intuition we all have about it. I would suggest that the intuition or belief (no, I'm not saying "knowledge") that we all have that slavery is wrong would be based on something. And I would say the secular explanation...that it's just a weird, irrational byproduct of contingent forces...comes across as awfully thin by comparison.

Skepdick
Posts: 3225
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:16 am

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Skepdick » Tue Feb 18, 2020 5:24 am

surreptitious57 wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 7:01 pm
2 different kinds that can be tested therefore going beyond just a statement to either verification or falsification
Is an assertion therefore still an assertion if it has either been verified or falsified - no because it has been tested
An assertion only remains an assertion when it cannot be verified or falsified
You keep using the word "assertion" - I can only imagine because all of your examples are assertions.

There are sub-types of assertions, different modes/mechanisms for asserting. But we are dealing with assertions.

Veritas Aequitas
Posts: 3256
Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 4:41 am

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Veritas Aequitas » Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:53 am

Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 2:08 pm
Veritas Aequitas wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 6:32 am
Immanuel Can wrote:
Sun Feb 16, 2020 10:17 pm
"Value" if it exists objectively at all, is something only secure in the assessment made by God Himself. Among humans, "value" is a verb...it's "valuing," a thing we do, as we try to figure out what the objective value of a thing might really be. That's why so many of us can get it wrong so often, and why so many estimates of higher and lower value differ.
God?
A small side comment turns into a major question? Naw.
I saw this. Aside from the obvious grammar error in the OP, there were myriad logic errors in the exchange. But again, there is no relevance here, as nothing in my statement required anybody to believe in God. It only went so far as to say, "The only entity that even potentially could know what objective value is, would be God."

It was a hypothetical claim, as you can tell by the word "if." I can make arguments for God...this is not one. And this is not the thread for that.
My point is, the question of god is a non-starter.
Therefore there is no question of "if" there is a God on this issue re Morality.
"Value" by default cannot be absolutely-objective but is always conditioned by the human conditions.
Then it's imaginary. It's just something people "make up" in their heads, and can be different for different people, and different over time, and different over cultures, and even wrong altogether.

Which means the term "value" has no significant import. It just means, then, a thing people choose, temporarily, to feel may be important. You could hardly make it more trivial.
I stated "value" cannot be absolutely-objective, but nevertheless can be made 'objective' within a framework and system of knowledge and basis.
For example Scientific Knowledge is objective but not absolutely-objective.
Nonetheless we can have "values" that are objective
This is direct contradiction of what you just said yourself.
Nope!
As I stated, "values' can be made 'objective' not absolutely-objective.
Note my examples;

OUGHT from IS is Possible
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=27245

The UN Declaration on Slavery is an Absolute Moral Law
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=28426
Both obviously wrong. There is no basis in the UN for an absolute moral law. If the law were absolute, the reasons would pre-exist the UN. And no, the is-ought problem not only isn't helped by your thread, it's not even really understood by you in your thread.

I don't know why you bother citing threads.[/quote]
I have already provided sound arguments within those threads and there are no convincing counters against my claims.
Humans cannot practice a standalone 'best' moral values but only the optimal-ethical-values relative to one's conditions [internal and external] as closed as possible to the ideal objective moral law.
You mean the "ideal objective moral law" you said doesn't exist, or the one you said does? :shock:
I meant they do not exists ontologically.
However, the ideal objective moral law can be reasoned and idealized.
This is similar to the reasoned 'perfect circle' which has certain specific measurements.
Without ideal objective moral laws a person would not have any basis [fixed goals] to assess his performance to duty whether he is progressing or regressing.
A person could have all the goals he wanted. What he could not have is objectively right goals. That's different.
As I had argued, humanity can reasoned out the ideal objectively right goals and used them as guide within an effective Framework and System of Morality and Ethics.

You stated
"The only entity that even potentially could know what objective value is, would be God."
In reality, the Abrahamic theists claimed their God exists are real, but such a God issue moral laws that are evil laden, e.g. condoning slavery. The Islamic God condoned killing of non-believers based on very vague threats to the religion.

On the other hand, the secular as in the UN came up with secular moral laws on the abolishment of all forms of slavery to be used as an ideal guide without enforcement or a threat of hell.

Peter Holmes
Posts: 724
Joined: Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:53 pm

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes » Tue Feb 18, 2020 8:53 am

Immanuel Can wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 9:56 pm
Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon Feb 17, 2020 7:50 pm
IC

Your reasoning is faulty. A value-judgement is a value-judgement - or do you deny that fact?
It begs the question.
Not so. It's an application of the logical rule of identity, which is a tautology.


Nobody denies that a value judgment is a value judgment. That's circular. The real question is, "Is that ALL a value-judgment is?" :shock: That is, the question is not whether or not somebody is valuing something...the question is whether or not the thing they're valuing is actually valuable.
And there's your question-begging problem. You want there to be things that are 'actually valuable', but value can only be a matter of judgement, and therefore subjective. For a thing to be valuable, there must be a valuer.
If you agree, it follows that whatever facts we deploy to justify that value-judgement can have absolutely no bearing on its status as a value-judgement. And I wonder why you're so determined to deny that fact.
That's not true. A value judgment can be a good one, or it can be a bad one. What will make the difference is its relationship to what is objectively valuable.
Question-begging - as you can surely see. That a value-judgement is a good ot bad one is itself a value-judgement, and therefore subjective. And the existence of the 'objectively valuable' is the moot point. Assuming there is such a thing begs the question. (I assume you know about question-begging, which is what makes your mistakes here puzzling. You can't assume a conclusion in your premise.)

Perhaps you want there to be moral facts. But that doesn't square with your theism, because if there are moral facts, a god is 'subject' to them, as it is to all other facts.
Euthyprho dilemma. :D It's an old one, and long ago debunked. I can't believe you're recycling it.

I can answer it if you care. I've done so for others before. But I don't suppose you do actually care about it.
I've never seen a convincing refutation of Euthyphro. Assuming objectivity is independence from opinion, please can you refute it in a nutshell? I'd be very grateful to see how you do it.

The only reason I can see for your introduction of the word 'intuition' is that it smuggles in the idea of knowledge by the back door. I don't 'intuit' that slavery is morally wrong. I just believe it is.
You speak for yourself there, since you use "I." I spoke of the more general intuition we all have about it. I would suggest that the intuition or belief (no, I'm not saying "knowledge") that we all have that slavery is wrong would be based on something. And I would say the secular explanation...that it's just a weird, irrational byproduct of contingent forces...comes across as awfully thin by comparison.
1 Here's a Cambridge definition of intuition: '(knowledge from) an ability to understand or know something immediately based on your feelings rather than facts'. So here, intuition is a supposed route to knowledge, as I pointed out. And this is back-door moral cognitivism - begging the question again.

2 Your account of secular morality is false and tendentious - a straw man you can complacently dismiss as weird, irrational, and so on. Still, that's safer than actually having to address a rational explanation and justification for secular morality - which is, to the distress of many theists, vastly morally superior to their own.

User avatar
Immanuel Can
Posts: 7609
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2013 4:42 pm

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Immanuel Can » Tue Feb 18, 2020 3:06 pm

Veritas Aequitas wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 6:53 am
My point is, the question of god is a non-starter.
Then t's a silly point. Nobody believes it but, apparently, you. 92% of the world thinks it's probable God exists. 96% thinks it's at least plausible. 99% thinks it's an issue to be discussed, because outright Atheists obviously think that, as they think it's meaningful to declare their position on it.

So you're all alone.
I stated "value" cannot be absolutely-objective, but nevertheless can be made 'objective' within a framework and system of knowledge and basis.
That's just a mistake, then.

You don't understand Hume's Guillotine. You think you've solved that one too, I see.
Note my examples;

OUGHT from IS is Possible
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=27245
QED. You think that you have casually solved a problem that continues to perplex philosophers. Either you're exceptionally clever to a magnificent degree -- so clever, in fact, that even experts cannot follow the intricacies of your reasoning -- or you're making another mistake that they CAN see, and just can't see it yourself.

I would argue for the latter.
I have already provided sound arguments within those threads and there are no convincing counters against my claims.
This is exactly what I mean. Everyone but you can see problems you don't acknowledge, apparently.

A "convincing" argument is not tested by whether or not you want to be convinced, or whether you personally can be convinced -- it's tested by whether or not you should be, if you understood the argument.
This is similar to the reasoned 'perfect circle' which has certain specific measurements.
Did you mean "proportions"? Or perhaps "symmetry"? Maybe "ratios"? Because in terms of things like diameter or perimeter, "the perfect circle" has no specific measurements.
...the secular as in the UN came up with secular moral laws...
:lol: Heh. You don't know any history, obviously.

There's nothing at all "secular" about the UN's "moral laws." They're derived from Locke's Theism. Heck, ironically, even your term "secular" has its origins in religion. Classic.

I see your problem, now. It's that if you personally don't happen to know something, you assume there's nothing to know. You'll find that doesn't actually work in real life.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest