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 21, 2019 9:18 am

Peter's claim so far.
a moral assertion makes a factual claim about a feature of reality.
From decision theory this is incoherent because the notion of "facts" requires a CHOICE.
Suppose that we have the assertion X which (allegedly) makes a claim about reality.

Anyone can simply ask the question "Is X a fact?". This is a question with a yes/no answer.

Who decides the answer, via what algorithm and in what context?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decision_problem

Peter is unwilling to offer transparency in his decision-making process, or how he has managed to solve the bootstrapping problem of "first true statement". Instead he appeals to the authority of the dictionary for defining words.

I bet he hasn't bothered to read the definition for "definition"
a statement of the exact meaning of a word, especially in a dictionary.
"Exact meaning of a word" sure is an oxymoron for somebody who claims to agree with Wittgenstein.

The Paradox of Imprecision in Language: https://scholar.uwindsor.ca/cgi/viewcon ... gnificance

Logik
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik » Mon Jan 21, 2019 9:38 am

Here is my conventional use of the word "objectivity" and "truth", Peter.

Objective truths.

Any linguistic expression which is accepted or asserted as true from most perspectives and in all (or most) contexts.
How is truth of the expression asserted? It doesn't matter!

What matters is that it has high degree of certainty due to its large sample size.

You have been unable to explain how you assert the truth-value of any of the prepositions in any of your deductions. And yet - you accept them and USE them as being true.

From this definition "Murder is wrong" is true. How is it asserted to be true? It doesn't matter!

What matters is that it is asserted. And that most observers agree with the assertion.

Making it statistically significant, and therefore a fact.

Peter Holmes
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes » Mon Jan 21, 2019 10:09 am

If anyone's interested, my discussion of morality, which includes my argument against moral objectivism, is at:

http://www.peasum.co.uk/420676773

And it would be refreshing to get some other perspectives here.

Logik
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik » Mon Jan 21, 2019 10:11 am

Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon Jan 21, 2019 10:09 am
If anyone's interested, my discussion of morality, which includes my argument against moral objectivism, is at:

http://www.peasum.co.uk/420676773

And it would be refreshing to get some other perspectives here.
More nonsense. In the very first paragraph you speak of rules, Peter.

RULES.
1 Moral rules
Moral rules are instructions for how we should treat each other, such as: be kind and do no harm. Many of us learn the rules, or the behaviour they promote, from early childhood. And, arguably, because we are social animals, a human community is unlikely to thrive, or perhaps even exist for long, without at least some such rules.
According to you we can negotiate linguistic RULES.
We seem to agree on the RULES of logic.

Apparently we can also agree on the RULES for deductive, inductive and abductive reasoning.
The RULES by which we make assertions.
Apparently we can agree on the RULES of philosophical discourse.
We can agree on the RULES of games. Like Chess and Football.
We can agree on the RULES of the road for pedestrians and drivers.
We can agree on the RULES of rationality. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rational_choice_theory

Every single RULE defines how we should act. In reasoning. In speaking. In playing games. In debating.

All of the above RULES are objective! This is an empirical claim.
Rules have measurable effects on human behaviour.

So why do you think that we can't use the exact same process for producing objective moral rules?!?

Can you spell "special pleading"?

Peter Holmes
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes » Fri Jan 25, 2019 10:40 am

Pending a full response to the tendentious description of my argument - and particularly the surprising definition of objectivity as whatever's popular - I suggest there's a problem with the claim that facts are subject to choice.

1 If facts are subject to choice, then the claim that facts are subject to choice is itself subject to choice.
2 If the claim that facts are subject to choice is subject to choice, then facts may not be subject to choice.
3 So if facts are subject to choice, then facts may not be subject to choice.
4 A claim that entails a contradiction is false.

Or, substituting 'opinion' for 'subject to choice':

1 If facts are opinions, then the claim that facts are opinions is itself an opinion.
2 If the claim that facts are opinions is an opinion, then facts may not be opinions.
3 So if facts are opinions, then facts may not be opinions.
4 A claim that entails a contradiction is false.

In other words, to say the factual claims of decision theory are not subject to decision theory is special pleading.

Logik
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik » Fri Jan 25, 2019 10:57 am

Peter Holmes wrote:
Fri Jan 25, 2019 10:40 am
Pending a full response to the tendentious description of my argument - and particularly the surprising definition of objectivity as whatever's popular - I suggest there's a problem with the claim that facts are subject to choice.

1 If facts are subject to choice, then the claim that facts are subject to choice is itself subject to choice.
2 If the claim that facts are subject to choice is subject to choice, then facts may not be subject to choice.
3 So if facts are subject to choice, then facts may not be subject to choice.
4 A claim that entails a contradiction is false.

Or, substituting 'opinion' for 'subject to choice':

1 If facts are opinions, then the claim that facts are opinions is itself an opinion.
2 If the claim that facts are opinions is an opinion, then facts may not be opinions.
3 So if facts are opinions, then facts may not be opinions.
4 A claim that entails a contradiction is false.

In other words, to say the factual claims of decision theory are not subject to decision theory is special pleading.
You are conflating the word "choice" and re-using it in multiple contexts.

I choose to eat an apple.
You can choose to not eat an apple.

They are both choices. They are different choices.

Your choice does not contradict my choice.

When you are narrating your experiences of reality you CHOOSE the words to use. This is intended meaning.
When I am narrating my interpretation of your words I CHOOSE which meaning to interpret. This is interpreted meaning.

If the intended and interpreted meanings are to coincide the interlocutors MUST use language conventionally and in exactly the same way!

Shared context is required.

But this is precisely your claim. That language is conventional. So you are committing the 'Begging the question' fallacy.

If we are using language conventionally then facts exist.
If we aren't using language conventionally then facts do not exist.

We could even say that in general we may be using language conventionally. And that in general facts exist.
But in any particular context we can't ask and answer: Are we using language conventionally?
Is this particular statement a fact?

Decision problem.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Fri Jan 25, 2019 10:40 am
In other words, to say the factual claims of decision theory are not subject to decision theory is special pleading.
1. Decision theory makes no "factual" claims. It's a conceptual/theoretical model and framework for decision-making. The Platonism you despise so much. And yet - it works in practice.
2. How did you decide that it's special pleading?

Decision theory also recognises that some yes/no questions are undecidable. No objective procedure exists to make the choice. And yet - humans do it all the time.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oracle_machine

Peter Holmes
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes » Fri Jan 25, 2019 2:21 pm

I've demonstrated that the claim that facts are opinions is false, because it entails a contradiction. It can't be the case both that facts are opinions and that facts may not be opinions. Pending a refutation of my demonstration, it seems rational to dismiss the relevance of decision theory in this context.

The claim that decision theories (explanations of choice-making) make no factual claims is false and ridiculous.

Logik
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik » Fri Jan 25, 2019 7:55 pm

Peter Holmes wrote:
Fri Jan 25, 2019 2:21 pm
I've demonstrated that the claim that facts are opinions is false, because it entails a contradiction. It can't be the case both that facts are opinions and that facts may not be opinions. Pending a refutation of my demonstration, it seems rational to dismiss the relevance of decision theory in this context.

The claim that decision theories (explanations of choice-making) make no factual claims is false and ridiculous.
10th time now I shall demand you list the laws of logic you subscribe to.

You seem to subscribe to LEM and you have boxed the matter between facts and opinions into a dichotomy.

You have demonstrated nothing.

Decision theory is a framework of rules.
Like science is a framework of rules.
Like logic is a framework of rules.

You said rules have no truth-value.

So why do we need all these rules Peter?
Last edited by Logik on Fri Jan 25, 2019 8:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Peter Holmes
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes » Fri Jan 25, 2019 8:19 pm

Logik wrote:
Fri Jan 25, 2019 7:55 pm
Peter Holmes wrote:
Fri Jan 25, 2019 2:21 pm
I've demonstrated that the claim that facts are opinions is false, because it entails a contradiction. It can't be the case both that facts are opinions and that facts may not be opinions. Pending a refutation of my demonstration, it seems rational to dismiss the relevance of decision theory in this context.

The claim that decision theories (explanations of choice-making) make no factual claims is false and ridiculous.
10th time now I shall demand you list the laws of logic you subscribe to.

You seem to subscribe to LEM and you have boxed the matter between facts and opinions into a dichotomy.

You have demonstrated nothing.

Decision theory is a framework of rules.
Like science is a framework of rules.

You said rules have no truth-value.
Bullshit. You claim that facts are subject to choice. That's a factual assertion with a truth-value, not a rule. If you're now u-turning and saying it's just a rule, then you can shove your rule where the sun don't shine, along with decision theory. My rule is that facts are not opinions, and dictionaries assert as facts that that's how people normally use those words.

Logik
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik » Fri Jan 25, 2019 8:27 pm

Peter Holmes wrote:
Fri Jan 25, 2019 8:19 pm
Logik wrote:
Fri Jan 25, 2019 7:55 pm
Peter Holmes wrote:
Fri Jan 25, 2019 2:21 pm
I've demonstrated that the claim that facts are opinions is false, because it entails a contradiction. It can't be the case both that facts are opinions and that facts may not be opinions. Pending a refutation of my demonstration, it seems rational to dismiss the relevance of decision theory in this context.

The claim that decision theories (explanations of choice-making) make no factual claims is false and ridiculous.
10th time now I shall demand you list the laws of logic you subscribe to.

You seem to subscribe to LEM and you have boxed the matter between facts and opinions into a dichotomy.

You have demonstrated nothing.

Decision theory is a framework of rules.
Like science is a framework of rules.

You said rules have no truth-value.
Bullshit. You claim that facts are subject to choice. That's a factual assertion with a truth-value, not a rule. If you're now u-turning and saying it's just a rule, then you can shove your rule where the sun don't shine, along with decision theory. My rule is that facts are not opinions, and dictionaries assert as facts that that's how people normally use those words.
No numb nuts.

That which you call facts is subject to choice!

Yes the statement has truth value.
No it is not a fact.

You either agree with the sentence or you don’t.

To try to frame my language in your conceptual framework is just a lame way of framing the debate.

You can’t frame me!

Observe that you and I are both sitting in front of computer screens. Where is this “reality” that I am making claims about?

Is it reality that I am making claims about or the way you and I think about reality?

As was stated many pages back: conceptual truth comes first!

Call it metaphysics if you want.

Peter Holmes
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes » Sat Jan 26, 2019 10:39 am

Logik wrote:
Fri Jan 25, 2019 8:27 pm
Peter Holmes wrote:
Fri Jan 25, 2019 8:19 pm
Logik wrote:
Fri Jan 25, 2019 7:55 pm

10th time now I shall demand you list the laws of logic you subscribe to.

You seem to subscribe to LEM and you have boxed the matter between facts and opinions into a dichotomy.

You have demonstrated nothing.

Decision theory is a framework of rules.
Like science is a framework of rules.

You said rules have no truth-value.
Bullshit. You claim that facts are subject to choice. That's a factual assertion with a truth-value, not a rule. If you're now u-turning and saying it's just a rule, then you can shove your rule where the sun don't shine, along with decision theory. My rule is that facts are not opinions, and dictionaries assert as facts that that's how people normally use those words.
No numb nuts.

That which you call facts is subject to choice!

Yes the statement has truth value.
No it is not a fact.

You either agree with the sentence or you don’t.

To try to frame my language in your conceptual framework is just a lame way of framing the debate.

You can’t frame me!

Observe that you and I are both sitting in front of computer screens. Where is this “reality” that I am making claims about?

Is it reality that I am making claims about or the way you and I think about reality?

As was stated many pages back: conceptual truth comes first!

Call it metaphysics if you want.
I pointed out a long time ago that the idea that the words 'truth', 'fact' and 'objectivity' are the names of abstract things, such as concepts, is the foundational delusion of metaphysics. What and where are concepts? What is conceptual truth? Can you provide an example of a conceptual truth?

This is nothing more than woo-woo - metaphysical furkling down the rabbit hole.

I've demonstrated that facts are not opinions, and you haven't refuted my demonstration.

Your definition of objectivity ('factuality') as whatever most people think most of the time is a fallacious argument from popularity.

And your argument that, because facts are opinions [false], opinions are facts - so that moral opinions are objective - as long as enough people agree with them most of the time - is the most egregiously stupid claim that I've come across in a long while.

For all the deflectionary crap you keep putting up - and I've no doubt this will continue - you haven't refuted the following argument.

1 A fact describes a feature of reality correctly, given the way we use the signs involved. So there has to be a feature of reality.
2 A supposed moral fact must describe a feature of reality correctly, given the way we use the signs involved.
3 There is no such feature of reality as, for example, the moral wrongness or rightness of slavery. There are only moral opinions about features of reality, just as there are aesthetic opinions about features of reality.
4 There are no moral facts, so morality isn't and can't be objective.

Belinda
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Belinda » Sat Jan 26, 2019 11:20 am

Peter Holmes wrote:
What and where are concepts? What is conceptual truth? Can you provide an example of a conceptual truth?

Please allow me to suggest that 'conceptual truths' are axioms i.e. self evident truths. An example of a moral conceptual truth is 'existence is better than non-existence'. Many people suffering from prolonged and painful dying would not agree that that truth is self evident. Apart from particular and subjective interests I guess that nearly everybody would agree that 'existence is better than non-existence' is a self evident truth.

I can't think of any other candidate for a self evident moral or evaluative truth. A factual axiom is ' change is essential to existence'.

Peter Holmes
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes » Sat Jan 26, 2019 11:48 am

Belinda wrote:
Sat Jan 26, 2019 11:20 am
Peter Holmes wrote:
What and where are concepts? What is conceptual truth? Can you provide an example of a conceptual truth?

Please allow me to suggest that 'conceptual truths' are axioms i.e. self evident truths. An example of a moral conceptual truth is 'existence is better than non-existence'. Many people suffering from prolonged and painful dying would not agree that that truth is self evident. Apart from particular and subjective interests I guess that nearly everybody would agree that 'existence is better than non-existence' is a self evident truth.

I can't think of any other candidate for a self evident moral or evaluative truth. A factual axiom is ' change is essential to existence'.
Thanks, Belinda. I have a few thoughts about what you say.

1 The word 'conceptual' adds nothing to this discussion of truth - except a spurious mystical aura. Like propositions, concepts are misleading metaphysical fictions that, though we refer to them all the time, vanish on inspection.

2 You offer as a 'truth' the claim that existence is better than non-existence. But this is nothing more than a linguistic expression with, you claim, a truth-value. My point is that what we call 'truths' are not abstract, metaphysical entities. We're merely referring to linguistic expressions.

3 You claim that 'existence is better than non-existence' is self-evidently true. And I assume that means you think it needs no justification. But I don't think that's true.

First, what does 'better than' mean in this context? What criterion is implied, and is that criterion self-evident?

And second, is the truth you claim for it factual truth? If so, what makes it true? And what makes the claim 'non-existence is better than existence' false? My answer is that nothing could verify or falsify either assertion, which shows that they have no truth-value. They're just opinions that we reinforce by saying 'It's true that...', which just means 'I strongly believe that...'

4 Just to add: an axiom is a rule that, therefore, has no truth-value. So it isn't a 'truth', let alone a self-evident truth, unless a tautology counts as a truth.

Belinda
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Belinda » Sat Jan 26, 2019 1:57 pm

Peter Holmes wrote:
Sat Jan 26, 2019 11:48 am
Belinda wrote:
Sat Jan 26, 2019 11:20 am
Peter Holmes wrote:
What and where are concepts? What is conceptual truth? Can you provide an example of a conceptual truth?

Please allow me to suggest that 'conceptual truths' are axioms i.e. self evident truths. An example of a moral conceptual truth is 'existence is better than non-existence'. Many people suffering from prolonged and painful dying would not agree that that truth is self evident. Apart from particular and subjective interests I guess that nearly everybody would agree that 'existence is better than non-existence' is a self evident truth.

I can't think of any other candidate for a self evident moral or evaluative truth. A factual axiom is ' change is essential to existence'.
Thanks, Belinda. I have a few thoughts about what you say.

1 The word 'conceptual' adds nothing to this discussion of truth - except a spurious mystical aura. Like propositions, concepts are misleading metaphysical fictions that, though we refer to them all the time, vanish on inspection.

2 You offer as a 'truth' the claim that existence is better than non-existence. But this is nothing more than a linguistic expression with, you claim, a truth-value. My point is that what we call 'truths' are not abstract, metaphysical entities. We're merely referring to linguistic expressions.

3 You claim that 'existence is better than non-existence' is self-evidently true. And I assume that means you think it needs no justification. But I don't think that's true.

First, what does 'better than' mean in this context? What criterion is implied, and is that criterion self-evident?

And second, is the truth you claim for it factual truth? If so, what makes it true? And what makes the claim 'non-existence is better than existence' false? My answer is that nothing could verify or falsify either assertion, which shows that they have no truth-value. They're just opinions that we reinforce by saying 'It's true that...', which just means 'I strongly believe that...'

4 Just to add: an axiom is a rule that, therefore, has no truth-value. So it isn't a 'truth', let alone a self-evident truth, unless a tautology counts as a truth.
Peter;

1 Metaphysical fictions are events the referents of which are people's behaviour; the metaphysical fictions cause behaviour events, that's to say metaphysical fictions are well within the overlapping circles of causality.Therefore metaphysical fictions don't vanish on inspection.

2 But I can imagine non-existence as an analogy of , say, white noise, or a blank canvas.

3 In this context "better" means 'feels better' for the great majority of people. My criterion is naturalistic in the sense that living organisms all struggle for existence and it follows that when the struggle is not very stressful the organism 'feels better', although I grant that it seems odd to say that a bacterium feels better, and romantic to say that an oak tree feels better. In the end you are right that there is no ultimate and objective criterion for either truth or goodness. But there are higher order criteria.

4 I agree that an axiom is a tautology as deductive logic is tautology.

Peter Holmes
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes » Sat Jan 26, 2019 2:57 pm

Belinda wrote:
Sat Jan 26, 2019 1:57 pm
Peter Holmes wrote:
Sat Jan 26, 2019 11:48 am
Belinda wrote:
Sat Jan 26, 2019 11:20 am
Peter Holmes wrote:




Please allow me to suggest that 'conceptual truths' are axioms i.e. self evident truths. An example of a moral conceptual truth is 'existence is better than non-existence'. Many people suffering from prolonged and painful dying would not agree that that truth is self evident. Apart from particular and subjective interests I guess that nearly everybody would agree that 'existence is better than non-existence' is a self evident truth.

I can't think of any other candidate for a self evident moral or evaluative truth. A factual axiom is ' change is essential to existence'.
Thanks, Belinda. I have a few thoughts about what you say.

1 The word 'conceptual' adds nothing to this discussion of truth - except a spurious mystical aura. Like propositions, concepts are misleading metaphysical fictions that, though we refer to them all the time, vanish on inspection.

2 You offer as a 'truth' the claim that existence is better than non-existence. But this is nothing more than a linguistic expression with, you claim, a truth-value. My point is that what we call 'truths' are not abstract, metaphysical entities. We're merely referring to linguistic expressions.

3 You claim that 'existence is better than non-existence' is self-evidently true. And I assume that means you think it needs no justification. But I don't think that's true.

First, what does 'better than' mean in this context? What criterion is implied, and is that criterion self-evident?

And second, is the truth you claim for it factual truth? If so, what makes it true? And what makes the claim 'non-existence is better than existence' false? My answer is that nothing could verify or falsify either assertion, which shows that they have no truth-value. They're just opinions that we reinforce by saying 'It's true that...', which just means 'I strongly believe that...'

4 Just to add: an axiom is a rule that, therefore, has no truth-value. So it isn't a 'truth', let alone a self-evident truth, unless a tautology counts as a truth.
Peter;

1 Metaphysical fictions are events the referents of which are people's behaviour; the metaphysical fictions cause behaviour events, that's to say metaphysical fictions are well within the overlapping circles of causality.Therefore metaphysical fictions don't vanish on inspection.

2 But I can imagine non-existence as an analogy of , say, white noise, or a blank canvas.

3 In this context "better" means 'feels better' for the great majority of people. My criterion is naturalistic in the sense that living organisms all struggle for existence and it follows that when the struggle is not very stressful the organism 'feels better', although I grant that it seems odd to say that a bacterium feels better, and romantic to say that an oak tree feels better. In the end you are right that there is no ultimate and objective criterion for either truth or goodness. But there are higher order criteria.

4 I agree that an axiom is a tautology as deductive logic is tautology.
Thanks again, Belinda. I guess we'll have to disagree - but I have some more thoughts and questions.

1 What can it mean to say that metaphysical fictions are events? And in what way does an event have a referent? I assume these claims are metaphorical or in some way poetic. If you mean more plainly that our values affect our behaviour - so that, for example, if we value truth and justice, we may try to manifest those values in what we do - I agree completely. But that doesn't mean that truth and justice are things of any kind.

2 Needless to say, white noise and a blank canvas could well be valued more highly than differentiated sound or a painting. That living organisms struggle for existence is a factual claim with a truth-value. And for many the struggle entails killing and consuming other organisms in order to 'feel better'. I see no moral significance to 'feeling better' in this struggle.

3 What higher order criteria, and are they self-evident or in some way axiomatic?

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