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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Belinda
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Belinda » Sat Jan 26, 2019 3:55 pm

Peter Holmes wrote:
What can it mean to say that metaphysical fictions are events? And in what way does an event have a referent? I
I prefer to call phenomena 'events' , not 'entities'. Events refer to time and space whereas entities refer only to space. The event of any specified behaviour refers to time and space.

As you say, we shall agree to differ.

Logik
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik » Sat Jan 26, 2019 7:46 pm

Peter Holmes wrote:
Sat Jan 26, 2019 11:48 am
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.
The concept of a "decision" (e.g CHOICE) does not vanish on closer inspection. As I keep demonstrating over and over again!
Peter Holmes wrote:
Sat Jan 26, 2019 11:48 am
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.
Peter, that you insist on constraining everything to linguistic expressions is utter nonsense.

Information/communication between humans takes many forms, shapes and mediums. Charts. Diagrams. Data. Body language. Sounds and grunting.

"communication" is another concept that does not vanish on closer inspection.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Sat Jan 26, 2019 11:48 am
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?
Peter Holmes wrote:
Sat Jan 26, 2019 11:48 am
And second, is the truth you claim for it factual truth? If so, what makes it true?
The same thing that makes scientific claims true. Consensus on its truth-value as a result of shared meaning.

Which means that a statement can be true even if it isn’t “factual”.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Sat Jan 26, 2019 11:48 am
And what makes the claim 'non-existence is better than existence' false?
The same thing. Consensus on its false-value.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Sat Jan 26, 2019 11:48 am
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...'
The same as the axiom 1=1 is true. What makes it true?
We can equally assume that 1=1 is false.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Sat Jan 26, 2019 11:48 am
4 Just to add: an axiom is a rule that, therefore, has no truth-value.
Nonsense. Axioms are assumed truths. If you reject THAT then you destroy your own notion of deduction.

You know, where I asked you to commit to an answer and you dodged it entirely?

"IF the premises are true".
Peter Holmes wrote:
Sat Jan 26, 2019 11:48 am
So it isn't a 'truth', let alone a self-evident truth, unless a tautology counts as a truth.
All consistent logic is tautological, Peter!

What do you think the consistency criterion means?

"Consistent" means consistent with the AXIOMS.

If the axioms have no truth-value, neither does the logical system.

Logik
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik » Sat Jan 26, 2019 8:34 pm

Peter Holmes wrote:
Sat Jan 26, 2019 10:39 am
I've demonstrated that facts are not opinions, and you haven't refuted my demonstration.
You have decided that you have demonstrated it.
I have decided that you haven't.

Whose decision is right, Peter?
Peter Holmes wrote:
Sat Jan 26, 2019 10:39 am
Your definition of objectivity ('factuality') as whatever most people think most of the time is a fallacious argument from popularity.
No different to your argument for the conventional use of language? Your definition of factuality is whatever most people say about things.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Sat Jan 26, 2019 10:39 am
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.
No. That's not my argument. I never used the word "facts" in my argument.
You continue to shove your vocabulary down my throat.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Sat Jan 26, 2019 10:39 am
For all the deflectionary crap you keep putting up - and I've no doubt this will continue - you haven't refuted the following argument.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Sat Jan 26, 2019 10:39 am
1 A fact describes a feature of reality correctly, given the way we use the signs involved.
I believe I have refuted it. How many times do I need to point out the TWO decision-problems (CHOICES!) in your definition.

1. Who DECIDES whether the description is "correct"?
2. Who DECIDES whether that is "the way we use the signs involved"?

And I'll keep going on:

3. If the description is correct (however and whoever has asserted that) what if that is NOT how we use the signs involved?
Peter Holmes wrote:
Sat Jan 26, 2019 10:39 am
2 A supposed moral fact must describe a feature of reality correctly, given the way we use the signs involved.
MUST? Prescriptivism ;)
Peter Holmes wrote:
Sat Jan 26, 2019 10:39 am
3 There is no such feature of reality as, for example, the moral wrongness or rightness of slavery.
There is no feature of reality called "correctness" either.

So the "correctness of a linguistic expression" is as problematic as the "wrongness of slavery".
Peter Holmes wrote:
Sat Jan 26, 2019 10:39 am
There are only moral opinions about features of reality, just as there are aesthetic opinions about features of reality.
Would you say that the "accuracy" of any particular description is an aesthetic opinion?
Peter Holmes wrote:
Sat Jan 26, 2019 10:39 am
4 There are no moral facts, so morality isn't and can't be objective.
Only when you conceptualise objectivity as a function of factuality.

When you conceptualise objectivity as a function of truth-value consensus then morality is objective.

Logik
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik » Sat Jan 26, 2019 10:06 pm

Peter Holmes wrote:
Sat Jan 26, 2019 10:39 am
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.
Would you say the "stupidity" of my claim is a "fact" or just your opinion, Peter?
Maybe you can point me to that feature of reality which you call "stupidity".

Maybe I am being stupid. So I trust you will explain to me what makes this balloon green. Or is it red. Or blue.
green.png
green.png (77.31 KiB) Viewed 427 times
Lets see how long it takes you to figure out that all adjectives in English are human value-judgments.
Including the adjectives you've used to define "facts".
A fact describes a feature of reality correctly
https://www.dictionary.com/browse/correct
adjective
conforming to fact or truth; free from error; accurate:
I am going to ignore the circularity for a second and cut you some slack.

All I am going to ask you (AGAIN!) is to state the rules by which you assert what an "error" is!
Last edited by Logik on Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

surreptitious57
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by surreptitious57 » Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:25 am

Logic wrote:
When you conceptualise objectivity as a function of truth value consensus then morality is objective
Truth value consensus is subjective by definition so cannot be the foundation for an objective morality
Being popular and being objectively true are not the same and argumentum ad populum and non sequitur are both logical fallacies
For morality to be objective it must be independent of subjective interpretation the same as any fact or truth statement would be

Logik
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik » Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:26 am

surreptitious57 wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:25 am
Truth value consensus is subjective by definition so cannot be the foundation for an objective morality
1. Conceptual truth comes before any linguistic notions such as "definitions". Because thinking came before language, and perception perceived things before we had words for them.
2. Scientific consensus is objectivity by definition. It is the foundation for that which we call "scientific facts".

surreptitious57 wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:25 am
Being popular and being objectively true are not the same and argumentum ad populum and non sequitur are both logical fallacies
For morality to be objective it must be independent of subjective interpretation the same as any fact or truth statement would be
Then I guess you have to reject science now.

Lets see how much you really care about consistency ;)

surreptitious57
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by surreptitious57 » Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:46 am

Logic wrote:
Scientific consensus is objectivity by definition
Scientific consensus is inter subjective and subject to change over time with the acquisition of new knowledge
Anything that is objective will be true regardless of consensus or popularity or understanding or interpretation

The paradigm shifts of science and the inductive nature of the scientific method means it cannot be truly objective

surreptitious57
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by surreptitious57 » Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:51 am

Logic wrote:
Then I guess you have to reject science now
Not unless you can come up with a better methodology for investigating observable phenomena
There is no real disagreement between us here as we are only arguing definitions and semantics

Logik
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik » Sun Jan 27, 2019 8:33 am

surreptitious57 wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:46 am
Scientific consensus is inter subjective.
Yes. That's what 'consensus' means. Inter-subjective agreement.
surreptitious57 wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:46 am
and subject to change over time with the acquisition of new knowledge
Indeed. Some things change. Some things remain the same.
surreptitious57 wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:46 am
Anything that is objective will be true regardless of consensus or popularity or understanding or interpretation
You have fallen for the religion of absolute truth. As I predicted quite a few pages back - this starts with one's own conception of "objective morality". That is your expectation of "objective morality": you expect the conclusion be certain and never-changing.

You expect morality to be an unfalsifiable, eternal truth.

Because if "murder is wrong", but is subject to change with new evidence and if THAT is what "objective morality" promises, it is definitely not the morality you and I expected.
surreptitious57 wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:46 am
The paradigm shifts of science and the inductive nature of the scientific method means it cannot be truly objective
Yes. "objectivity" is a man-made. Think of the institution of "science" as a role-model mini-society to which we all look up to. The scientists have developed strategies and tools for building consensus despite all the uncertainty of reality. Everything rests on consensus! The SI units.

Until we discover this thing you call "true objectivity" - we need to invent it.

And computer science has plenty of algorithms/strategies for dealing with consensus-problems. And they apply to people.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consensus ... r_science)

The problem computer scientists cannot solve is when two people do not want to agree.

Peter Holmes
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes » Sun Jan 27, 2019 10:28 am

Just to clarify the two mistakes in Logik's case for moral objectivism, as I understand them.

1 Logik defines truth and objectivity as follows:

'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.'

And more recently, Logik has written the following:

'Scientific consensus is objectivity by definition. It is the foundation for what we call "scientific facts".

So logic believes that a 'linguistic expression' is true if it 'accepted or asserted as true from most perspectives and in all (or most) contexts.'
But this mistakes what is believed to be true for what actually is true. It's a fallacious argument from popularity, or the bandwagon fallacy.

Logik believes that if the claim 'the earth is flat' is 'accepted or asserted as true from most perspectives and in all (or most) contexts', then the claim is true, which means the earth really is flat. All that's needed is 'consensus' - truth by popular vote. (Consensus is inter-subjective by definition, so the phrase 'inter-subjective consensus' is a tautology.) The criterion for truth is a 'high degree of certainty'.

Logik misrepresents the nature of scientific claims, which are only ever provisional - best explanation so far - always pending new information - fully aware of their inductive basis. Scientists don't, on the whole, claim to know 'the truth'. They just propose and test explanations for the evidence.

2 Logik compounds this mistake concerning the nature of facts and objectivity, by reasoning that, since a fact is merely what is 'accepted or asserted as true from most perspectives and in all (or most) contexts', then, by reversing the arrow, that which is 'accepted or asserted as true from most perspectives and in all (or most) contexts' is a fact.

So if most people in most contexts accept or assert as true that persecuting homosexuals is morally good, then it's true that it's morally good. And if most people in most contexts accept or assert that vanilla is the best ice cream flavour, then it's a fact that it's the best flavour. All that's required is consensus.

Logik bangs on about decision theory - that we can choose to accept or reject a linguistic assertion as being a fact - so that what counts as a fact is a matter of opinion. But again, this mistakes what we choose to think is a fact for what actually is a fact - as though we have no rational way of telling the difference, such as, for example, checking to see if the assertion describes the feature of reality correctly, given the way we use the signs involved.

I for one find Logik's argument about facts and objectivity absurd and patently self-contradictory - and obviously no basis for the claim that morality is objective. But I have other fish to fry now. I hope those following this discussion have profited from it, even if Logik and I haven't.

Logik
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik » Sun Jan 27, 2019 11:16 am

Peter Holmes wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 10:28 am
Just to clarify the two mistakes in Logik's case for moral objectivism, as I understand them.

1 Logik defines truth and objectivity as follows:

'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.'

And more recently, Logik has written the following:

'Scientific consensus is objectivity by definition. It is the foundation for what we call "scientific facts".

So logic believes that a 'linguistic expression' is true if it 'accepted or asserted as true from most perspectives and in all (or most) contexts.'
But this mistakes what is believed to be true for what actually is true. It's a fallacious argument from popularity, or the bandwagon fallacy.

Logik believes that if the claim 'the earth is flat' is 'accepted or asserted as true from most perspectives and in all (or most) contexts', then the claim is true, which means the earth really is flat. All that's needed is 'consensus' - truth by popular vote. (Consensus is inter-subjective by definition, so the phrase 'inter-subjective consensus' is a tautology.) The criterion for truth is a 'high degree of certainty'.

Logik misrepresents the nature of scientific claims, which are only ever provisional - best explanation so far - always pending new information - fully aware of their inductive basis. Scientists don't, on the whole, claim to know 'the truth'. They just propose and test explanations for the evidence.

2 Logik compounds this mistake concerning the nature of facts and objectivity, by reasoning that, since a fact is merely what is 'accepted or asserted as true from most perspectives and in all (or most) contexts', then, by reversing the arrow, that which is 'accepted or asserted as true from most perspectives and in all (or most) contexts' is a fact.

So if most people in most contexts accept or assert as true that persecuting homosexuals is morally good, then it's true that it's morally good. And if most people in most contexts accept or assert that vanilla is the best ice cream flavour, then it's a fact that it's the best flavour. All that's required is consensus.

Logik bangs on about decision theory - that we can choose to accept or reject a linguistic assertion as being a fact - so that what counts as a fact is a matter of opinion. But again, this mistakes what we choose to think is a fact for what actually is a fact - as though we have no rational way of telling the difference, such as, for example, checking to see if the assertion describes the feature of reality correctly, given the way we use the signs involved.

I for one find Logik's argument about facts and objectivity absurd and patently self-contradictory - and obviously no basis for the claim that morality is objective. But I have other fish to fry now. I hope those following this discussion have profited from it, even if Logik and I haven't.
Another lame attempt at a strawman.

If all people agreed and described the earth as “flat” you still have to describe/define/explain the concept of “flatness” as it s understood by 8 billion people. If their scientific models predicted just as accurately even though they SAID the Earth is “flat” then you are literally arguing over language.

Peter makes the very mistake he accuses me of. He mistakes the way things are for what we say about them. Thus confusing meaning with language.

You can no more explain “flatness” (an adjective) than you can explain “blueness” (adjective).

Or wrongness. An adjective.
Or correctness. An adjective.
Or erroneousness. An adjective.
Or goodness. An adjective.

To claim that facts are “free of subjective judgment and personal biases” is to insist on descriptive use of language. If you insist on such things as "facts" free from personal opinion and biases as existing, then you have no need or use for adjectives! Please stop using them.

You can’t even define the word “fact” without using adjectives!
So logic believes that a 'linguistic expression' is true if it 'accepted or asserted as true from most perspectives and in all (or most) contexts.'
But this mistakes what is believed to be true for what actually is true. It's a fallacious argument from popularity, or the bandwagon fallacy.
I stated from the very beginning that "truth" is strictly a logical construct. A statement is either true or false.

Only a human can determine the truth-falsity value of a logical statement, because decision theory.
Linguistic statements do not exist in a vacuum.
For every statement which Peter calls a "fact" I can simply ask the question: Who determines if this is a fact and how?
For every statement we call true, I can simply ask the question: Who determines that it is true and how?

Only humans can make determinations, so the question still stands: Who determines factuality or truth?

To claim that this is a bandwagon fallacy, is the same as to claim that a sentence can be true independent from any mind having to evaluate it
In which case this is true: "Urgen shmurgen burgen wurgen". Why is it true? Because it is! Intrinsically.

Too bad that no human can extract any meaning from it.

My argument is far simpler than what Peter makes it out to be. Because every statement is either true or false we can ALWAYS ask this question: Is the sentence "X Y Z" true?

Since only humans can determine truth-falsity then only a human can determine that "X Y Z" is true or false.

"Murder is wrong." is either true or false. Only a human can determine the truth-value.
Majority of humans have determined that it's true thus making it objective truth.

The concept of 'objectivity' is a social construct! If you want morality to be objective - construct it!
Last edited by Logik on Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:54 am, edited 8 times in total.

surreptitious57
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by surreptitious57 » Mon Jan 28, 2019 2:53 am

Logic wrote:
Until we discover this thing you call true objectivity
Objective is anything which is mind independent and incapable of subjective interpretation
Anything that exists for which human beings have no knowledge of is objective by definition

Any mathematical proof or sound argument is also objective

I do not regard scientific consensus as objective like you do
As I do not think inter subjectivity is the same as objective
For what you describe as objective I describe as subjective

I use the standard definition of the word but disagreement is still inevitable because dictionairies are descriptive not prescriptive
As I said this is about definitions and semantics but so long as we both understand what we mean that is all that actually matters

Logik
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik » Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:23 am

surreptitious57 wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 2:53 am
Objective is anything which is mind independent and incapable of subjective interpretation
Yes. That's what Peter has been saying. Show me such a thing.
surreptitious57 wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 2:53 am
Anything that exists for which human beings have no knowledge of is objective by definition
And since we have no knowledge of it, then it's entirely useless to us.
surreptitious57 wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 2:53 am
Any mathematical proof or sound argument is also objective
If I so choose, I can mis-interpret any mathematical proof.
Ambiguity is everywhere in language. In grammar. In semantics. In the use of symbols.
I just need to mis-interpret ONE tiny detail and I can make the proof say whatever I want it to say.

To say it another way: I don't need to control the symbols. Control over the interpretation of the symbols is sufficient.

Symbols have no objective meaning. This is the symbol-grounding problem ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symbol_grounding_problem ).
surreptitious57 wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 2:53 am
I do not regard scientific consensus as objective like you do
As I do not think inter subjectivity is the same as objective
I am willing to put your conception to the test.

Given the absence of absolute truths in English, any single linguistic statement's truth-value is nothing but an inter-subjective consensus on meaning.
Scientific consensus is objective by virtue of large statistical sample sizes. For every experiment/datapoint equals one experience.
surreptitious57 wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 2:53 am
For what you describe as objective I describe as subjective
If that's the case, then you have absolutely no examples of anything that is "objective".
surreptitious57 wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 2:53 am
I use the standard definition of the word but disagreement is still inevitable because dictionairies are descriptive not prescriptive
See! You are already appealing to inter-subjectivity. The inter-subjectively agreed-upon meaning of words.
surreptitious57 wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 2:53 am
As I said this is about definitions and semantics but so long as we both understand what we mean that is all that actually matters
You are making the exact same error as Petrer. You are starting with the definition, not the concept. You take language for granted.

Pretend for a second that we exist in a society in which neither the concept nor the words for "subjectivity" and "objectivity" exist.
Why would we ever invent them?

Language is a communication tool. All communication can be derived from Shannon's information theory.

And the problem remains: a priori we can't actually determine whether we understand what we mean. Not in absolute terms. For you may have a different conception of "understanding" than me.

If we have seemingly "agreed" an then we go off and do different things despite our agreement a posteriori we would conclude that despite agreement miscommunication has occurred.

surreptitious57
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by surreptitious57 » Mon Jan 28, 2019 8:12 am

The Universe existed as an objective phenomenon before the evolution of intelligence or invention of language
The reason I am saying this is because the things words describe have to actually predate the words themselves

And so the word OBJECTIVE applies to the Universe before we evolved because everything was objective back then [ ABSOLUTELY everything ]
Since our evolution and the discovery of language we have had to introduce SUBJECTIVE for everything we think / know to be NOT OBJECTIVE

Logik
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik » Mon Jan 28, 2019 8:15 am

surreptitious57 wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 8:12 am
The Universe existed as an objective phenomenon before the evolution of intelligence or invention of language
Something existed before words. Are you sure it's the universe?

The point is the sentence above merely serves as setting-context. I can neither agree nor disagree.
I am indifferent to its contents. Unless what follows has material implications.
surreptitious57 wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 8:12 am
The reason I am saying this is because the things words describe have to actually predate the words themselves
Correct. And it is also evidence that what you are describing is your conception of reality and time. Not reality itself.
Because the time you speak of is, well - NOT here. NOT now.

You are narrating your thoughts.
surreptitious57 wrote:
Mon Jan 28, 2019 8:12 am
And so the word OBJECTIVE applies to the Universe before we evolved because everything was objective back then [ ABSOLUTELY everything ]
Since our evolution and the discovery of language we have had to introduce SUBJECTIVE for everything we think / know to be NOT OBJECTIVE
But you are still talking about your conception, not the thing itself.

You are merely drawing distinctions in your mental model.

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