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?

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Logik
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik » Mon Jan 14, 2019 11:15 am

Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:46 am
A rule has no truth-value, so it's neither true nor false.
The rule has no truth-value. The rule is what establishes the criteria and mechanisms by which we determine truth-value.
Without axiomatic rules you cannot assert anything!

If we take "=" to mean "compare two things to one another" then the proposition "A=A" can be interpreted as "Is A the same as A"?

Then we can have two different rules/axioms.
* A=A ⇒ ⊤ (two things can be the same)
* A=A ⇒ ⊥ (two things can never be the same)

Which one is "correct"? It's a matter of choice!

The same goes with things you classify as 'errors'.
In order to assert error-value - you necessarily have a set of rules.

The consequence of the above is that both truth-value; error-value or any assertion for that matter is a function of choice. The choice of rules you adhere to.

Since rules are prescriptive by definition it leaves us in a very precarious paradox: How do we decide which prescriptions to adhere to? What if we choose different rules?
Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:46 am
As I've explained above, a rule has no truth-value, so it can't be an error. Your mistake is to treat it as a factual assertion instead of a rule, and then conclude that the rule leads to contradiction.
The rule has no truth-value. Choosing to adhere or ignore any particular rule produces different truth-value for the same grammatical proposition.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:48 pm
Here's the conflation and confusion at work. You're mistaking the application of rules (we call this a rock and this a pebble) for the things and properties we talk about, using the rules. Things and properties don't name, categorise and describe themselves. That thing, with those properties, is not in itself a rock or a pebble - so, of course, we can call it either or both.
You are failing to recognise that when you have overlapping definitions you are already guilty of a contradiction.

A thing can not be two different things at the same time and in the same sense.

If some rocks are pebbles then necessarily some things are "rocks" and "pebbles" at the same time and in the same sense.
This violates the law of non-contradiction. And you are yet to answer whether you have chosen to adhere to it or not...
Peter Holmes wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:48 pm
If you mean that the social behaviour we describe as morally good and bad is not a linguistic matter - that's trivially true, and also not the moot point. The issue is whether a moral assertion is factual, so that morality is objective (a factual matter). No demonstration so far.
Sorry. Your premise is entirely artificial.

Animals do not have spoken or written language yet they exhibit morality.

To insist that morality is all about the truth-value of the linguistic assertion "murder is wrong" is a fundamental misconceptualisation of morality and objectivity.
Nobody can meet the subjective criteria which you have chosen as the mark of "objective morality".

It is a confirmation bias. A self-fulfilling prophecy that “morality is linguistic”.

Logic/language is constructive and constructed.
Objectivity is constructive and constructed.
Morality is constructive and constructed.
Society is constructive and constructed.

Objective morality is constructed and goes hand-in-hand with social contract theory.
Last edited by Logik on Tue Jan 15, 2019 8:07 am, edited 3 times in total.

Belinda
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Belinda » Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:54 pm

Logik wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:27 pm
Belinda wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:53 pm
You can define the natures of purpose bred animals and truly wild animals. Humans are different as humans are neither purpose bred nor wild but are artificial products of cultures.
Sure we are complex beasts, but statistical clusters/patterns emerge with such large sample sizes and therefore - so do theories of human values.

I can't say that all cultures embrace "equality" for example, but I can say that majority of cultures see murder as unacceptable.

Things like life, love, variety are some of the "terminal" human values. I repeat: this is through a holistic lens, it's not universally true, but it is cumulatively true.
That's a fair procedure for politics of law making within a society of people who have reached a working consensus. But "cumulatively true" does not apply to human nature because human nature is fluid unlike other top predators that have evolved alongside and at the same pace as their environments. Due to sapiens being formed largely by culture, and much less than other animals less by genetic change, sapiens is not adapted to natural environment but forces large swathes of natural environment to his needs. And more to the point sapiens can and does change his needs and abilities according to his technological developments.

Belinda
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Belinda » Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:21 pm

Belinda wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:54 pm
Logik wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:27 pm
Belinda wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 8:53 pm
You can define the natures of purpose bred animals and truly wild animals. Humans are different as humans are neither purpose bred nor wild but are artificial products of cultures.
Sure we are complex beasts, but statistical clusters/patterns emerge with such large sample sizes and therefore - so do theories of human values.

I can't say that all cultures embrace "equality" for example, but I can say that majority of cultures see murder as unacceptable.

Things like life, love, variety are some of the "terminal" human values. I repeat: this is through a holistic lens, it's not universally true, but it is cumulatively true.
That's a fair procedure for politics of law making within a society of people who have reached a working consensus. But "cumulatively true" does not apply to human nature because human nature is fluid unlike other natures of top predators that have evolved alongside and at the same pace as their environments. Due to sapiens being formed largely by culture, and much less than other animals less by genetic change, sapiens is not adapted to natural environment but forces large swathes of natural environment to his needs. And more to the point sapiens can and does change the nature of his needs and abilities according to his technological developments.
Religions have been the cultural institutions that have been in charge of morality and ethics. Unfortunately religions have been nearly always taken over by ruling elites and used to perpetuate the status quo of power with those elites. Nietzsche wanted a new religion for a new human age that has supervened upon the age of faith, the old faiths now being maladaptive.

Logik
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik » Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:10 am

Belinda wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:54 pm
That's a fair procedure for politics of law making within a society of people who have reached a working consensus. But "cumulatively true" does not apply to human nature because human nature is fluid.
It is fluid but within a finite range of possibilities and in a somewhat predictable fashion. Think a Lorenz system. There are a few attractors - a few common themes/recurring values that seem to permeate the human condition since history has been recorded.

I think we have good grasp on what we humans want and need at the various stages our lives.

The phenomenology of the human experience has not changed much through the centuries even though society has.

Belinda
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Belinda » Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:18 am

Shakespeare has King Lear say what human nature is and is not:


Is man no more than this? Consider him well. Thou
owest the worm no silk, the beast no hide, the sheep
no wool, the cat no perfume. Ha! here's three on
's are sophisticated! Thou art the thing itself:
unaccommodated man is no more but such a poor bare,
forked animal as thou art. Off, off, you lendings!
and a poor bare forked animal is what man is apart from the trappings of his culture.

Peter Holmes
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes » Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:09 am

We can try to justify our moral values and judgements by appealing to facts. We've been doing it since at least Aristotle.

One argument is that, generally, humans need and want so-and-so, so it's morally right that they should have those things. This is the 'human nature' argument.

Belinda challenges it by pointing out that 'human nature' isn't a fixed or predictable thing. Logik defends it on the grounds of generality.

I suggest the real problem is the mistake of thinking that an appeal to facts can be anything other than subjective - a matter of opinion. It's not that a fact IS a matter of opinion, but that which facts we choose to cite, and how we interpret their implications, must be an individual or collective choice.

For example: people need food to survive (fact); people should have food (moral judgement). We can explain and justify the moral judgement by appealing to the fact. But the fact doesn't entail the moral judgement. And why should people be allowed to survive? - It's judgements all the way down, how ever convinced we are that there's a factual foundation at the bottom. Moral objectivism is the deluded belief in a foundation.

Logik
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik » Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:20 am

Peter Holmes wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:09 am
I suggest the real problem is the mistake
I am tired of beating around the bush of your hypocrisy so I am going to ask you directly.

1. Do you agree to this proposition: It is impossible to make any choices without a value-system.
2. Do you agree to this proposition: it is impossible to make any assertions and determine the truth-value of propositions without rules.

Do you think it is objectively possible (based on facts) to determine what is a 'mistake'?

I think I have structured my questions in a way that yes/no answers would suffice.

Why does the statement "murder is wrong" lack truth-value.
But the statement "moral objectivism is a mistake" doesn't?

They are grammatically identical!

Belinda
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Belinda » Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:46 am

Peter Holmes wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:09 am
We can try to justify our moral values and judgements by appealing to facts. We've been doing it since at least Aristotle.

One argument is that, generally, humans need and want so-and-so, so it's morally right that they should have those things. This is the 'human nature' argument.

Belinda challenges it by pointing out that 'human nature' isn't a fixed or predictable thing. Logik defends it on the grounds of generality.

I suggest the real problem is the mistake of thinking that an appeal to facts can be anything other than subjective - a matter of opinion. It's not that a fact IS a matter of opinion, but that which facts we choose to cite, and how we interpret their implications, must be an individual or collective choice.

For example: people need food to survive (fact); people should have food (moral judgement). We can explain and justify the moral judgement by appealing to the fact. But the fact doesn't entail the moral judgement. And why should people be allowed to survive? - It's judgements all the way down, how ever convinced we are that there's a factual foundation at the bottom. Moral objectivism is the deluded belief in a foundation.
I agree entirely.

I had mooted the idea that the natural human being is the objective reason and justification for what humans ought to have of natural right.But there are no natural rights . I objected to my own proposition by demolishing the natural human being, apart from the poor bare forked animal status.

However , for example, the pathos of the speech by King Lear makes me feel that the poor bare forked animal has natural rights. And we know for a fact that man would not be viable man unless he was able to nurture his young for eighteen or more years in a morally organised society. It remains for well intentioned humans to plan how best to nurture other humans together with the whole natural environment.

Why should sapiens be allowed to survive? Nobody can answer except by reference to a deity Who reveals the answer. It may become apparent that sapiens is so deeply unethical in his nature as revealed by his deplorable history that we all commit mass suicide. Or conversely optimists continue to trust in humans whose lives were candles lit in the darkness.
Last edited by Belinda on Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

Logik
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik » Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:57 am

Belinda wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:46 am
Why should sapiens be allowed to survive?
Because such faux-skepticism/doubt is a performative contradiction. And from a contradiction anything follows.

To say "Why should sapiens be allowed to survive?" Is to choose rhetoric over doxastic commitment to dying.

Actions speak louder than words.

Belinda
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Belinda » Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:35 pm

Logik, some examples of performative contradiction:



1.)
(Hereby) I’m not communicating anything.
2.)
I don’t intend to be understood at all.
3.)
I definitively lost the capacity of formulating comprehensible phrases sev-eral years ago.
4.)
Argumentation by means of negation does not allow for the slightest clar-ification of things.


While I agree that actions speak louder than words I'm having difficulty about suicide being an example of performative contradiction. Could you please try to explain further?

It does seem to me that the pessimist about the sum of human actions is right, and if there were a Platonic Form of Justice then humans would be unforgivable. Unless, and as optimists would argue, there have been human lives which were so just that these lives serve to save us all from mass guilt.

Logik
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik » Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:46 pm

Belinda wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 12:35 pm
While I agree that actions speak louder than words I'm having difficulty about suicide being an example of performative contradiction. Could you please try to explain further?
Perhaps I am being hyperbolic with suicide, so let me tone down the emotional aspect in favour of elucidating my argument.

Take these two propositions.

Wittgenstein: Whereof one cannot speak thereof one must be silent.
qui tacet consentire videtur : He who remains silent vigorously consents

Peter is of the opinion that moral claims have no truth-value. So whether we ask "Why should sapiens be allowed to survive?' or "Why should we save the life of sapiens?" are both equally meaningless moral inquiries. And that statements like "Murder is wrong" and "We should not kill other humans" have no truth value whatsoever.

So imagine this exchange between interlocutors.
Speaker A: Why should sapiens be allowed to survive? <Insert rhetoric here>
Speaker B: I question your doxastic commitment to your philosophical position. In the absence of any justification to remain alive you cannot rationally object to death at this very moment. As a test of your fortitude I will hereby end your life (Speaker B unsheathes knife) while muttering "Whereof one cannot speak thereof one must be silent. qui tacet consentire videtur."

How much are you willing to bet on Speaker A's martyrdom?

The irony of all this is that even if Speaker A wishes to be a martyr, then you are observing natural selection in action.

The reason I brought up suicide is merely to remind the person arguing against survival that the choice of death exists. Right here, right now.
And yet they choose rhetoric over doxastic commitment.

Belinda
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Belinda » Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:11 pm

Logik wrote:
So imagine this exchange between interlocutors.
Speaker A: Why should sapiens be allowed to survive? <Insert rhetoric here>
Speaker B: I question your doxastic commitment to your philosophical position. If you are truly committed then you will not object to death at this very moment, for why should you be allowed to survive? I hereby proceed to end your life (Speaker B unsheathes knife) while muttering "Whereof one cannot speak thereof one must be silent. qui tacet consentire videtur."

How much are you willing to bet on Speaker A's martyrdom?
There are actually people who believe themselves to be so irredemiable that they welcome death and would rather be killed by someone else than by themselves. I have actually met such an unhappy person. So how much I 'd be willing to bet on speaker A's martyrdom would depend upon speaker A's perspective. This business about God and Saviour is more far reaching than atheists sometimes think it is

Logik
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik » Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:33 pm

Belinda wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:11 pm
There are actually people who believe themselves to be so irredemiable that they welcome death and would rather be killed by someone else than by themselves. I have actually met such an unhappy person. So how much I 'd be willing to bet on speaker A's martyrdom would depend upon speaker A's perspective. This business about God and Saviour is more far reaching than atheists sometimes think it is
OK. How much would you bet if you had zero prior knowledge about the speaker?
A randomly-sampled human from Earth.

Again. I am appealing to statistical truths. The median of the distribution.
Obviously distributions have outliers. This is the world we find ourselves in - inductive/probabilistic knowledge is all we have.

You could say this is a form of John Rawls' Veil of ignorance which is equivalent to the statistical principle of maximum entropy ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principle ... um_entropy )

I am willing to bet that majority of people would recant on their argument against survival.

And that statistical fact is what makes morality objective. Majority of humans believe that life is worth living.
It is conventionally true.

Belinda
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Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:13 am

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Belinda » Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:59 pm

Logik wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:33 pm
Belinda wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:11 pm
There are actually people who believe themselves to be so irredemiable that they welcome death and would rather be killed by someone else than by themselves. I have actually met such an unhappy person. So how much I 'd be willing to bet on speaker A's martyrdom would depend upon speaker A's perspective. This business about God and Saviour is more far reaching than atheists sometimes think it is
OK. How much would you bet if you had zero prior knowledge about the speaker?
A randomly-sampled human from Earth.

Again. I am appealing to statistical truths. The median of the distribution.
Obviously distributions have outliers. This is the world we find ourselves in - inductive/probabilistic knowledge is all we have.

You could say this is a form of John Rawls' Veil of ignorance which is equivalent to the statistical principle of maximum entropy ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Principle ... um_entropy )

I am willing to bet that majority of people would recant on their argument against survival.

And that statistical fact is what makes morality objective. Majority of humans believe that life is worth living.
It is conventionally true.
I looked up 'information entropy' and I can't understand. I understand 'median' as midpoint of the range in question. I suppose most people including yourself have not seen any adequate sample of humans who state that they would choose not to be killed in those circumstances that we discussed. So my impression is just that : an impression. I guess that most people would answer on your question from their impressions only. I'd bet that the great majority would choose to not be killed by the man with the big knife. A smaller number would [positively choose to be killed by a gentle medially assisted death.There are many variables among which I can't find an adequate principle to confirm objective morality , and am thinking that there are the two attitudes towards objective morality; optimism or pessimism. The optimist believes or trusts in objective morality and the pessimist doesn't. The ball is in God's court, or Plato's.

I think you know more than I about stats and I may have missed some idea.

Logik
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik » Tue Jan 15, 2019 3:18 pm

Belinda wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:59 pm
I looked up 'information entropy' and I can't understand. I understand 'median' as midpoint of the range in question.
Translated into English it means "when you have no data, assume a standard distribution". 50/50 odds.
Belinda wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:59 pm
I suppose most people including yourself have not seen any adequate sample of humans who state that they would choose not to be killed in those circumstances that we discussed. So my impression is just that : an impression.
Take the assumed standard distribution. It assumes that 50% of people want to live and 50% of people want to die. If that were true, what would you expect to see in practice? High suicide rates?

The highest suicide rate anywhere in the world is 30 people per 100000. 0,03%

So it seems our assumption that 50% of people don't want to live is a gross over-estimation.
Belinda wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:59 pm
I guess that most people would answer on your question from their impressions only. I'd bet that the great majority would choose to not be killed by the man with the big knife. A smaller number would [positively choose to be killed by a gentle medially assisted death.
And they are welcome to do so, only I suspect that would only have a maximising effect on those who wish to remain alive.
Belinda wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:59 pm
There are many variables among which I can't find an adequate principle to confirm objective morality , and am thinking that there are the two attitudes towards objective morality; optimism or pessimism. The optimist believes or trusts in objective morality and the pessimist doesn't. The ball is in God's court, or Plato's.
Plato's dead and God is silent. The ball is in our court.

The only consciousness that can make decisions is us.
The only entity that can classify things into categories be it "subjective"/"objective", "right"/"wrong" or "left"/"right" is us - humans.
Belinda wrote:
Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:59 pm
I think you know more than I about stats and I may have missed some idea.
There's no magic in statistics. Metaphorically - it's just a tool for maximizing signal and minimizing noise.

It's an amplifier.

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