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 »

Univalence wrote:
All the procedures by which one mind affects another.
That's so, but it does not do any work. We have to grade procedures in a value hierarchy to get anything done.
Univalence
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Univalence »

Belinda wrote: Sat Jun 01, 2019 10:48 am That's so, but it does not do any work. We have to grade procedures in a value hierarchy to get anything done.
From Shannon's information theory

There are three types of communication problems.

How accurately can symbols be transmitted ( technical problem )
How precisely do the transmitted symbols convey the desired meaning ( semantic problem )
How effectively does the received meaning affect the recipient's conduct in the desired way ( effectiveness problem )

Most philosophers/philosophy is dancing around the semantic problem, when effectiveness matters way more in practice.

"Did my words have the desired effect?" Is a problem of verification. feedback loops.
It's why communication is such a beautiful dance of give-and-take.
Last edited by Univalence on Sat Jun 01, 2019 11:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
Belinda
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Belinda »

Univalence wrote;
How precisely do the transmitted symbols convey the desired meaning ( semantic problem )
You have the advantage of me as I have not read the big books you have. However I'm interested in the analysis you provided ,
There are three types of communication problems.

How accurately can symbols be transmitted ( technical problem )
How precisely do the transmitted symbols convey the desired meaning ( semantic problem )
How effectively does the received meaning affect the recipient's conduct in the desired way ( effectiveness problem )
Most philosophers/philosophy is dancing around the semantic problem, when effectiveness matters way more in practice.
The semantic problem does indeed seem to me too to be what is at stake in this conversation. In this regard I strongly recommend Kuhn's social theory of science.

I had written:
We have to grade procedures in a value hierarchy to get anything done.
and you wrote this is an effectiveness problem, if I understand you. I think that cultural paradigms overarch theories and world views too. However within cultural paradigms we need to get stuff done as well as we can that is until some new genius is born.
Last edited by Belinda on Sat Jun 01, 2019 11:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
Univalence
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Univalence »

Belinda wrote: Sat Jun 01, 2019 11:13 am You have the advantage of me as I have not read the big books you have. However I'm interested in the analysis you provided , above.
Don't short-change yourself like that. It's a tiny TINY book (A5, about 100 pages) . And so accessible too!
You already have the intuitions for "communicating" - you are doing it right now.

Shannon just turns it into a formal model (something more tangible and structured) and gave us jargon to talk about it in English.
Belinda wrote: Sat Jun 01, 2019 11:13 am The semantic problem does indeed seem to me too to be what is at stake in this conversation. In this regard I strongly recommend Kuhn's social theory of science.
I agree with Kuhn. And with Sociologists. The latter is an unpopular opinion.

Mostly because of the myth of the Lone Ranger - the scientists who "discovers" that which everybody else missed. It's not how it works.
Belinda
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Belinda »

Well, they stood on the shoulders of other giants( Newton ,sort of)

Somebody else bred Silver
Univalence
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Univalence »

Belinda wrote: Sat Jun 01, 2019 11:23 am Well, they stood on the shoulders of other giants( Newton ,sort of)

Somebody else bred Silver
Precisely. I grew up with a computer in my hands from age of 5. I developed intuitions way before I read any theoretical books.
I didn't know who Turing or Shannon were for another 15 years.

Science gives us new instruments and you are likely to benefit from them whether you know it or not.
Peter Holmes
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes »

Harbal wrote: Sat Jun 01, 2019 10:25 am
Peter Holmes wrote: Sat Jun 01, 2019 8:40 am But do you think moral rightness and wrongness are similarly features of reality, like lightwaves and brains?
There is a similarity, but not a complete parallel. Lightwaves exist, but our perception of them is constructed in the brain/mind. A particular situation could be said to exist, but the nature of its morality is also created in the mind. Granted, we tend to more readily agree on the colour of something than we do on the morality of something. A moral judgement is no more or less "real" than the perception of a colour, although the "situation" that provoked the judgement could be thought of as an artificial construction, whereas light is a physical phenomenon.
I disagree. Lightwaves and brain-processing (electrical and chemical) to produce perception are real things we can measure. The expression 'the nature of [a particular situation's] morality' begs the question: in what way does a particular situation 'have' a moral value? (And why introduce the metaphysical category 'mind' in this anyway? Let's just stick with brains.)

And if we say 'the nature of a situation's morality is created in the brain' - while the word 'created' is confusing - there's truth inside the metaphor, in my opinion. It just means that moral value isn't a feature of reality 'outside brains', which is my argument. Lightwaves and other features of reality are 'outside brains' - things of which there can be knowledge, through brain-processed perception.

In other words, the analogy 'colour is 'created' in the brain in the same way that morality is 'created' in the brain - so they're equally real' doesn't stand up.
Univalence
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Univalence »

Peter Holmes wrote: Sat Jun 01, 2019 11:30 am And why introduce the metaphysical category 'mind' in this anyway? Let's just stick with brains.
Minds are what brains DO. It's an emergent property.

It is systems theory. Not metaphysics.

It is going to be very difficult to show you your mistake if you are going to keep straw-manning all of science.
Peter Holmes
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes »

Univalence wrote: Sat Jun 01, 2019 11:38 am
Peter Holmes wrote: Sat Jun 01, 2019 11:30 am And why introduce the metaphysical category 'mind' in this anyway? Let's just stick with brains.
Minds are what brains DO. It's an emergent property.

It is systems theory. Not metaphysics.
And there's the confusion: minds are emergent properties of brains. What kind of property is a mind? Is it a real thing, like other measurable and describable properties? Brains have real properties: weight, size, colour, chemical composition, and so on. Are minds in that category? The modifier 'emergent' doesn't explain anything.
Univalence
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Univalence »

Peter Holmes wrote: Sat Jun 01, 2019 11:48 am And there's the confusion: minds are emergent properties of brains. What kind of property is a mind? Is it a real thing, like other measurable and describable properties?
Yes. It has measurable consequences (I am talking to you right now) - therefore it is real phenomenon.
That science cannot explain it is moot and doesn't detract from its realness.
Peter Holmes wrote: Sat Jun 01, 2019 11:48 am Brains have real properties: weight, size, colour, chemical composition, and so on. Are minds in that category? The modifier 'emergent' doesn't explain anything.
The modifier "energy" doesn't explain anything in physics either. But it has consequences. So we USE it.
Spacetime doesn't explain anything either. But it has consequences. So we USE it.
photons and gluons have no mass or "size, color or "chemical composition" either. But it has consequences. So we USE it.

You don't understand how science works.
Last edited by Univalence on Sat Jun 01, 2019 11:59 am, edited 4 times in total.
Belinda
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Belinda »

Peter Holmes wrote:
I disagree. Lightwaves and brain-processing (electrical and chemical) to produce perception are real things we can measure. The expression 'the nature of [a particular situation's] morality' begs the question: in what way does a particular situation 'have' a moral value? (And why introduce the metaphysical category 'mind' in this anyway? Let's just stick with brains.)
Peter, this is inconsistent with your idea about how murder is always wrong at all times and all places. Laws against murder, as taken to refer to all instances of illegal taking of human life, constantly appear in historical and anthropological records. Murder is one of several actions which tend to destry the mutual trust upon which all societies are founded. We prefer naturalistic explanations.
Peter Holmes
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes »

Belinda wrote: Sat Jun 01, 2019 11:52 am Peter Holmes wrote:
I disagree. Lightwaves and brain-processing (electrical and chemical) to produce perception are real things we can measure. The expression 'the nature of [a particular situation's] morality' begs the question: in what way does a particular situation 'have' a moral value? (And why introduce the metaphysical category 'mind' in this anyway? Let's just stick with brains.)
Peter, this is inconsistent with your idea about how murder is always wrong at all times and all places. Laws against murder, as taken to refer to all instances of illegal taking of human life, constantly appear in historical and anthropological records. Murder is one of several actions which tend to destry the mutual trust upon which all societies are founded. We prefer naturalistic explanations.
No, the expression 'murder is wrong' - with which I agree - expresses a moral judgement. And the nature of those judgements is that we tend to make them universally - not restricted to a time or place. (It would be inconsistent to do otherwise.) My argument is simply that the claim 'murder is wrong' is not and can't be a fact - true independent of opinion. And in that case, it makes no sense to say there are moral facts - that morality is objective.
Last edited by Peter Holmes on Sat Jun 01, 2019 12:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Harbal
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Harbal »

Peter Holmes wrote: Sat Jun 01, 2019 11:30 am
I disagree. Lightwaves and brain-processing (electrical and chemical) to produce perception are real things we can measure.
We may well be able to measure various kinds of brain activity, but I don't think we are yet able to measure the nature or degree of a perception. Can we even infer the presence of a perception by monitoring brain activity?
The expression 'the nature of [a particular situation's] morality' begs the question: in what way does a particular situation 'have' a moral value? (And why introduce the metaphysical category 'mind' in this anyway? Let's just stick with brains.)
And what is wrong with questioning the way in which a situation has a moral value? I introduce 'mind' because I'm not sure that the biological computer of the brain is capable of moral judgement.
And if we say 'the nature of a situation's morality is created in the brain' - while the word 'created' is confusing - there's truth inside the metaphor, in my opinion. It just means that moral value isn't a feature of reality 'outside brains', which is my argument.
I don't really understand what you are saying here, except that we agree on morality not existing outside of our brain/MIND.
Lightwaves and other features of reality are 'outside brains' - things of which there can be knowledge, through brain-processed perception.

In other words, the analogy 'colour is 'created' in the brain in the same way that morality is 'created' in the brain - so they're equally real' doesn't stand up.
I am unable to follow your reasoning here, and not wanting us both to get lost, I am reluctant to even try.

Light/light waves do exist outside of the brain, but colour does not. Colour is a perception only, it is not a property of light. Our perception of colour is an effect caused by light.
Univalence
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Univalence »

Peter Holmes wrote: Sat Jun 01, 2019 11:58 am My argument is simply that the claim 'murder is wrong' is not and can't be a fact - true independent of opinion.
Then how do you explain the 700+ years of reduction in murders?

To what cause do you attribute that effect?
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by -1- »

What could make morality objective?
I think the answer is: nothing.

By MAKING it, we divorce the product of any objectivity. Objectiveness and subjectiveness apply to opinions; by making something you don't create an opinion, you create a unit, which is not at all independent of your mind, therefore not only is it meaningless to talk about "making something objective", it is also wrong.
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