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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Terrapin Station
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Terrapin Station »

DPMartin wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 4:14 pm
Peter Holmes wrote: Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:29 am It seems to me this question - which has emerged from discussion of my post 'Is morality objective or subjective?' - is the crux in the disagreement between objectivists and subjectivists.

An objection to moral subjectivism is that, if moral values and judgements are matters of opinion, we can't know if they're correct. For example, we can't know if slavery is right or wrong, and can't therefore morally condemn those who think slavery is justifiable. That's just their opinion, and we can't say which opinion is correct or true.

But this assumes that there is indeed something to be known: an object of some kind that verifies the assertion slavery is wrong and falsifies the assertion slavery is right - or, perhaps, vice versa. But what is the object that makes moral judgements objective - matters of fact - and therefore true or false?

It can't be slavery itself, because that would also be the object of the assertion slavery is right - so we're back to square one. And it can't be the wrongness of slavery. To say the assertion slavery is wrong is justified (shown to be true) by the objective wrongness of slavery is circular, and so no justification at all.

So what is it that moral objectivists claim about moral judgements that makes them objective - matters of fact, falsifiable and independent of judgement, belief or opinion?

Does any moral objectivist here have an answer that doesn't beg the question?

(The claim that objective moral values and judgements come from a god's commands or a god's nature begs the question: what makes a god's commands or a god's nature objectively morally good?)
for some reason objective or subjective morals is the box no one can get out of.

its simple morals are relative to those in the agreement that is the set of rules called morals. you are not bound or obligated to follow a set of rules or morals agreed to in a nation you are not from or in. but the nation you are in or from you are bound or obligated to honor that set of rules or morals.


morals are relative to those in the agreement or law or covenant or contract or constitution so on and so forth.
The subjective/objective question is a question of morality's ontological status--just where morality occurs, just how it obtains, just what it's a property of, etc.

Whether you're obligated to do something legally or otherwise you'll face legal punishments, whether you're obligated to do something in terms of customs/customary behavior or you'll face things like censure and ostracization, is rather a social issue. That doesn't tell us anything about the ontological status of morality, it doesn't tell us whether moral claims can be true or false, it doesn't tell us whether the laws, customs, etc. are right or wrong even.
Skepdick
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Skepdick »

Terrapin Station wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 5:21 pm The subjective/objective question is a question of morality's ontological status--just where morality occurs, just how it obtains, just what it's a property of, etc.
But the objective/subjective distinction is epistemic, not ontological!

Objectively, ontology obtains before epistemology obtains.

If morality obtains ontologically, then the skeptics simply don't (yet?) know that morality is objective.

And yet, you are making an ontological argument! So you MUST know that morality is objective. So why aren't you saying it?
DPMartin
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Re: What could make morality objective?

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Terrapin Station wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 5:21 pm
DPMartin wrote: Tue Jan 26, 2021 4:14 pm
Peter Holmes wrote: Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:29 am It seems to me this question - which has emerged from discussion of my post 'Is morality objective or subjective?' - is the crux in the disagreement between objectivists and subjectivists.

An objection to moral subjectivism is that, if moral values and judgements are matters of opinion, we can't know if they're correct. For example, we can't know if slavery is right or wrong, and can't therefore morally condemn those who think slavery is justifiable. That's just their opinion, and we can't say which opinion is correct or true.

But this assumes that there is indeed something to be known: an object of some kind that verifies the assertion slavery is wrong and falsifies the assertion slavery is right - or, perhaps, vice versa. But what is the object that makes moral judgements objective - matters of fact - and therefore true or false?

It can't be slavery itself, because that would also be the object of the assertion slavery is right - so we're back to square one. And it can't be the wrongness of slavery. To say the assertion slavery is wrong is justified (shown to be true) by the objective wrongness of slavery is circular, and so no justification at all.

So what is it that moral objectivists claim about moral judgements that makes them objective - matters of fact, falsifiable and independent of judgement, belief or opinion?

Does any moral objectivist here have an answer that doesn't beg the question?

(The claim that objective moral values and judgements come from a god's commands or a god's nature begs the question: what makes a god's commands or a god's nature objectively morally good?)
for some reason objective or subjective morals is the box no one can get out of.

its simple morals are relative to those in the agreement that is the set of rules called morals. you are not bound or obligated to follow a set of rules or morals agreed to in a nation you are not from or in. but the nation you are in or from you are bound or obligated to honor that set of rules or morals.


morals are relative to those in the agreement or law or covenant or contract or constitution so on and so forth.
The subjective/objective question is a question of morality's ontological status--just where morality occurs, just how it obtains, just what it's a property of, etc.

Whether you're obligated to do something legally or otherwise you'll face legal punishments, whether you're obligated to do something in terms of customs/customary behavior or you'll face things like censure and ostracization, is rather a social issue. That doesn't tell us anything about the ontological status of morality, it doesn't tell us whether moral claims can be true or false, it doesn't tell us whether the laws, customs, etc. are right or wrong even.
i really don't think it tells you about the source if you will, again morals are relative to those in agreement could be about anything. nations agree not to attack each other, why? if there's no agreement now called treaty then its not immoral to attack for what ever reason they see necessary such as empire building or need of resources.


there is agreements in almost any situation where man has to interact. watch some one cross the street when they believe they have right of way and make gestures to the driver of a car who's breaching the agreement that pedestrians have right of way. when you go into a store it is agreed you will pay for items for sale before you leave with them. you didn't have to sigh anything before you entered the store did you? but its agreed between you and the store you will pay. and if you don't and its recognized you didn't you can be arrested. again you didn't sign anything you didn't swear an oath, but you were arrested and you knew that could happen. because those who are in power make the agreements or rules, and if you don't act as though you agree you will suffer the consequence.


the humans need to have agreement in every aspect of human interaction, to coexist peacefully. otherwise its the wild wild west or worse whereas those who have the physical power rule and take as they please unless some one with the power to stop them can stop them.

so mutual coexistence, and fulfillment of needs are your source of morals. not some notion of morality without the necessity of morality. man is not a intrinsically righteous being, if he were, there would be not need for an agreement of what is agreed as acceptable interaction, and agreed as unacceptable interaction.


animals don't have a set of morals to judge one another's offences on. everything is by physical power to dominate, just like man does without an agreement.
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Re: What could make morality objective?

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DPMartin wrote: Wed Jan 27, 2021 4:26 pm animals don't have a set of morals to judge one another's offences on. everything is by physical power to dominate, just like man does without an agreement.
Physical power is necessary, but insufficient for morality.

Might makes right. Otherwise, there is no reason not to violate social norms.
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Terrapin Station
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Terrapin Station »

DPMartin wrote: Wed Jan 27, 2021 4:26 pm so mutual coexistence, and fulfillment of needs are your source of morals
Without getting into other issues for a moment, wouldn't that be a psychological source then?
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes »

That we've collectively developed - and are developing - moral values, expressed by means of moral assertions, is a fact.

Why, as social animals, we need moral values and rules, why agreement is necessary, and why there can be rational disagreement about those values and rules, often arising from conflicts of interest - all of this is easy to explain.

Also easy to explain is why we can think there are moral facts: our moral values matter deeply to us; and we think of them as applying universally - not limited to time and place - because to think otherwise would be morally inconsistent.

The amazing persistence of moral realists and moral objectivists - evident in this and other marathon discussions - testifies to the deeply felt need for morality to be objective - for there to be moral facts - for moral assertions to have factual truth-value, independent from opinion.

The truth - that there are no moral facts, but only moral opinions held by people, some of whom think their own moral opinions are facts - seems to appal moral realists and objectivists. It's unbearable, outrageous .. until the penny drops - when the delusion that there are moral facts is as easily abandoned as any other. It's like losing belief in the supernatural.
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Re: What could make morality objective?

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Peter Holmes wrote: Thu Jan 28, 2021 1:21 pm That we've collectively developed - and are developing - moral values, expressed by means of moral assertions, is a fact.
Within the context of your theory "We have collectively developed - and are developing moral values." is a fact.

Within the context of your theory is it also a fact that "We have collectively developed - and are developing immoral values"?

Because if both of those things are facts, and there's a distinction between moral and immoral values then your theory is begging the question.
And if there is no distinction between "moral values" and "immoral values", then you are a moral nihilist. Which you denied.

Dumb. Fucking. Philosopher.
DPMartin
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by DPMartin »

Terrapin Station wrote: Wed Jan 27, 2021 6:07 pm
DPMartin wrote: Wed Jan 27, 2021 4:26 pm so mutual coexistence, and fulfillment of needs are your source of morals
Without getting into other issues for a moment, wouldn't that be a psychological source then?
call it what you want, its still a necessity, man maintains a household of sorts in most cases and rules apply for coexistence.
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Terrapin Station »

DPMartin wrote: Thu Jan 28, 2021 4:20 pm
Terrapin Station wrote: Wed Jan 27, 2021 6:07 pm
DPMartin wrote: Wed Jan 27, 2021 4:26 pm so mutual coexistence, and fulfillment of needs are your source of morals
Without getting into other issues for a moment, wouldn't that be a psychological source then?
call it what you want, its still a necessity, man maintains a household of sorts in most cases and rules apply for coexistence.
Sure, assuming people desire continued existence, certain states of coexistence, etc.

That it's psychological, that this emanates from personal dispositions, desires, etc. is all that pegging it as "subjective" is saying.
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes »

Terrapin Station wrote: Thu Jan 28, 2021 7:13 pm
DPMartin wrote: Thu Jan 28, 2021 4:20 pm
Terrapin Station wrote: Wed Jan 27, 2021 6:07 pm

Without getting into other issues for a moment, wouldn't that be a psychological source then?
call it what you want, its still a necessity, man maintains a household of sorts in most cases and rules apply for coexistence.
Sure, assuming people desire continued existence, certain states of coexistence, etc.

That it's psychological, that this emanates from personal dispositions, desires, etc. is all that pegging it as "subjective" is saying.
Agreed.

I think the generalised argument is: X is the case [factual assertion]; therefore Y is morally right / wrong [moral assertion].

Whatever X is (the premise), it can never entail the moral conclusion - unless the argument is question-begging.
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Belinda »

Peter Holmes wrote:
I think the generalised argument is: X is the case [factual assertion]; therefore Y is morally right / wrong [moral assertion].

Whatever X is (the premise), it can never entail the moral conclusion - unless the argument is question-begging.
If the premise is nature is the ground of being then everything that happens necessarily happens. However now that we understand nature quite a lot we do understand sapiens has insight into his own place in nature, which includes sapiens as a powerful agent of change. When I propose a synthesis of ideas

e.g. 'daisies are white'

e.g. 'I ought to help people not kill them'

e.g. 'Belinda likes an argument'

I am prognosticating as does everyone except the most depressed or quiescent.Whatever p or q you call moral is so-called because people who can do so have authorised p or q to be moral. Power relations underlie all human behaviours especially questions of morality.

Academia and science try to free their activities from power relations and it is a moot point whether or not they succeed.
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Terrapin Station »

Belinda wrote: Tue Feb 02, 2021 9:49 am Peter Holmes wrote:

If the premise is nature is the ground of being then everything that happens necessarily happens.
That only follows if one buys strong determinism. But one need not buy strong determinism. In many opinions, that's a belief rooted in very outdated scientific notions, just like a belief in phlogiston or the aether.
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes »

Terrapin Station wrote: Tue Feb 02, 2021 10:32 am
Belinda wrote: Tue Feb 02, 2021 9:49 am Peter Holmes wrote:

If the premise is nature is the ground of being then everything that happens necessarily happens.
That only follows if one buys strong determinism. But one need not buy strong determinism. In many opinions, that's a belief rooted in very outdated scientific notions, just like a belief in phlogiston or the aether.
Just to clarify - I didn't write that. Belinda did.
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Terrapin Station »

Peter Holmes wrote: Tue Feb 02, 2021 11:16 am
Terrapin Station wrote: Tue Feb 02, 2021 10:32 am
Belinda wrote: Tue Feb 02, 2021 9:49 am Peter Holmes wrote:

If the premise is nature is the ground of being then everything that happens necessarily happens.
That only follows if one buys strong determinism. But one need not buy strong determinism. In many opinions, that's a belief rooted in very outdated scientific notions, just like a belief in phlogiston or the aether.
Just to clarify - I didn't write that. Belinda did.
Sorry, bad editing on my part.
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes »

Belinda wrote: Tue Feb 02, 2021 9:49 am Peter Holmes wrote:
I think the generalised argument is: X is the case [factual assertion]; therefore Y is morally right / wrong [moral assertion].

Whatever X is (the premise), it can never entail the moral conclusion - unless the argument is question-begging.
If the premise is nature is the ground of being then everything that happens necessarily happens. However now that we understand nature quite a lot we do understand sapiens has insight into his own place in nature, which includes sapiens as a powerful agent of change. When I propose a synthesis of ideas

e.g. 'daisies are white'

e.g. 'I ought to help people not kill them'

e.g. 'Belinda likes an argument'

I am prognosticating as does everyone except the most depressed or quiescent.Whatever p or q you call moral is so-called because people who can do so have authorised p or q to be moral. Power relations underlie all human behaviours especially questions of morality.

Academia and science try to free their activities from power relations and it is a moot point whether or not they succeed.
The point is, the premise 'if nature is the ground of being, then everything that happens necessarily happens' has no moral implication. The consequent may follow, but it isn't a moral claim.

I agree about the imposition of moral values and rules by the powerful - and the insidious delusion of moral objectivity is part of that. But that obviously does nothing to support the objectivity of morality.
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