Skip wrote: ↑
Mon Jul 16, 2018 11:37 pm
No. The observer's report places no truth-value on any moral
claim. There may be any number of objective truths, on any number of topics, but none of them make one moral precept more viable than another.
That depends on what we mean by "objective truths."
We have done nothing so far to show whether or not there are transcendent truths or moral truths. I agree with you completely that Materialist or Physicalist cosmology would rule them out; but since Materialism and Physicalism are gratuitous postulates taken a priori
, there isn't a way to certify them as more true than alternatives, and at least good indicative evidence to suggest they are insufficient ways of looking at the universe.
So the question remains to be answered there. A gratuitous ruling in their favour isn't going to be an argument for anything.
It's epistemological relativism
Again, no. The observer simply states: "many claims are made to an objective morality; non of the claims are proven". That observation doesn't require a theory of knowledge.
If he's not extending his relativism from morality to epistemology, then you are correct. But he misspoke, in that case. I took him at his word.
[ X is correct...For that advocate and his faction]
This mistakes the question, "IS THERE a single, universal X?"
That question was never asked.
Actually, it's the main question: "Is morality objective or not?" Call objective morality "X".
for the question, "Does everyone know or believe the single, universal X?"
No, that wasn't asked, either. You did attempt to substitute that question, as did the advocates of all the claimants to absoluteness. Yes, the claimants do exist; yes, they do believe (well, some of them believe; some just make the claim without actually investing themselves in the moral precepts), but since everyone doesn't share their belief,
their system does not supplant the rival claimants.
It actually doesn't matter how many people share a belief. The truth value of that belief depends on other things. That's my simple point.
There were once many theories about the configuration of our solar system. One was right.
No, I mean one absolutely
. The same would be quite true even if we don't presently possess the right theory. Some one thing will turn out to be true about the configuration of our solar system, in any particular respect. For example, it will either be true or not that it's geocentric. I think we all know it's not geocentric.
Again, the question, "Do we know
the real configuration of the universe?" is not the same as "Does the universe have
an actual configuration?" Just so, the question, "Do you know the objective moral truth?" or "Do most people know the objective moral truth?" is not the same as the question, "Is there an objective moral truth?" The last one cannot be answered merely by referring to the former two. So it's well that we separate the sociological-epistemological from the genuinely ontological question there.
If I understand the main question here, it's ontological. The OP is not asking "Who believes that morality is objective?" But "What shows or makes
it objective, if anything?"
If you think I'm wrong, then please feel free to paraphrase the OP better for me.
[60,000 years, and they were not "searching": they were making suggestions, constructing arguments and putting forth contenders.]
Not that long. All morality of all cultures started out in some version of the "Divine Command" mode.
That's a claim. Is there substantiation anywhere?
Yep. Every archaeological dig on any ancient civilization has turned up evidence of religious and ritual practices, and they're ordinarily polytheistic or animistic in configuration, though in at least one case, the Hebrews, monotheism's not unknown. So far, we've found no ancient declarations of atheistic faith.
Almost all ancient cultures were polytheistic and a few were monotheistic: but none that we have ever found was atheistic or agnostic.
Does this validate a) none b) any c) some d) many e) most f) all of their beliefs?
No, but that's not my point. My point is that morality was understood by mankind from the beginning in a religious context. (Eliade made this point well.) So when we throw out that context, we can't be too surprised if morality itself seems to disappear as well.
It was never thought that morality had to be, or even could be "neutral" until the appearance of the idea of scientific objectivity.
And it still isn't, by the majority of people in the majority of societies.
The search for secular morality on a rational basis only appeared in the West, and relatively recently.
You keep saying "search", as if somebody had lost something. Moral codes are never absent from human societies as we know them throughout recorded history and as we surmise of prehistory.
Right. And hence the "search." There was no known prerequisite for an entirely secular conception of morality. Such a thing would have to searched out, and a rationale for it would have to be found, because in human history we had not seen such a thing before.
Rational, yes - all of the contenders are rational in their own context - even the God hypothesis.
Ah, yes. Now you're onto the point. Quite so.
'Rationality" is a thing that kicks in to work with premises that have to be taken as given.
Rationality operates at all times, and tries to make sense of data input, direct (as sensory impression) or deduced (as pattern-recognition), stored (as memory of previous experience) or received (as communication).
You need some sensory inputs, data, or patterns. My point is that "rationality" isn't a mill that works without any grist.
Think of it like mathematics. Mathematics is wonderful stuff. But equations don't achieve anything except formal elegance, without specific values being plugged in for "X" or "Y". Likewise, logic doesn't yield rationally valid results without at least two known and secure premises that precede its formal operations.
There is no such thing as neutral rationality.
There is no such thing as partisan rationality, either.
In a sense, true. But in a sense, not. Like maths, "rationality" itself has no partisanship. But without given premises, ("partisanship," if you like: at least, advocacy of a couple of truths already believed) it does no work either. It has nothing at all upon which to work its mechanics, then.
So you could say this: rationality is a process that operates without respect to partisan considerations. Syllogistic forms have no content. But without a given content
, set of taken-as-certain premises (or "partisanship" if you will) rationality itself is no more than an empty set of algebraic forms.
Rationality doesn't require adjectives, since it only comes in the one type: it's what the normally functioning brain does for a living.
Only if by "rationality" we mean to make it a mere synonym of "thinking." Everybody thinks. That's what the brain does for a living. But not all thoughts are rational.
Being genuinely rational takes more. It entails that the brain operations are logical and formally correct. If they're not, then it's just one of the other brain operations, like imagining, guessing, hoping, dreaming, inventing, aspiring and so on. It's not rationality unless it's also rational.
Most people still seem to believe that one day "rationality will tell us" all what morality requires.
Where are these people?
Kant, for one (or at least I should say "Kant as the Neo-Kantians tell his story"; I think they're wrong). Also Habermas, Rawls, and so on. But such aspirants also include any moral philosopher who holds out hope that a legitimated morality that is devoid of ontological premises could be found. When this hope is fully gone, there will be no field of secular moral philosophy left, because the hope of its project's success will be gone.
Rationality, rightly understood,
!!? Where is the authority for the right
contains no substantive premises of it's own.
nothing at all. It's a data-processing function.
We're agreed on that.
But note again: if there's no "data," there is no "data-processing" going on, and no "data-processing function" being practiced. i.e. no rationality. From whence comes that data? Not from rationality itself, but from at least two premises taken to be true already.
Rationality is terrific stuff -- far better than alternatives;
There are no alternatives
. There are other faculties, with different functions.
Oh, sure there are alternatives. People have used things like imagination, tradition, aspiration, and so on -- undisciplined processes, to be sure; but they also sometimes end up right. They're just nowhere near so reliable and predictable as rationality.
Final and objective moral truth doesn't exist.
That, we do not have reason to say.
Perhaps you have no reason to say it. My reason for saying it is that no such thing has manifested so far. Thousands of claims for its discovery or receipt or invention have failed the test of application. They all work, to some degree of efficacy, for some period of time, in some limited setting, then break down or are supplanted by a different ethos.
Were that true, you would still not warrant the claim that because of it you know
that objective truth doesn't exist. You'd only be able to say that a lot of people you know have failed to find it, and perhaps that on that indicative basis, you don't expect you will either. And that might be fair enough, but it doesn't warrant dismissal of the existence of objective moral truth.
Somebody you DON"T know might have it, or it might still exist outside of the present stock of human knowledge, just as the non-geocentric universe existed when nobody believed in it at all. It might simply be awaiting discovery.