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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uwot
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by uwot » Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:36 am

Peter Holmes wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:16 am
uwot

Sorry - I didn't mean that. I was joking too.
Ah yes, I suppose the smiley is a bit of a giveaway.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 10:16 am
And I like your sense of humour - bit of light relief in the fog.
Thank you.
Anyway, Mr Can is now back under his bridge; he might woof at the moon in defiance, but only if he reads this. The mad thing is that Mr Can wants to establish that morality is objective so that he can trot out William Lane Craig's laughably circular 'moral argument'. Various philosophers, ironically Immanuel Kant for one, have agreed that what could make morality objective is some almighty god. Being at best half-wits, WLC and the even more challenged Mr Can believe that if they can establish that morality is objective, they have therefore proved the existence of their god.

Dunno how much you know about WLC, but this will tell you the important bits: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfr ... lane-craig

Peter Holmes
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes » Fri Jul 20, 2018 11:31 am

Hi, uwot.

Ah, the creepy old huckster, WLC. Apparently, he says that even if his ropey, and repeatedly-refuted arguments turn out (?!) to be wrong, he'll carry on believing anyway, because he's in touch with the holy proof spirit. We're talking about a massive vested interest here. Too much to lose.

I'm still waiting for Mr Can's reformulation of his syllogism demonstrating that if there's a god, morality is objective. Perhaps furkling in his den under the bridge, he'll come up with it and enlighten us all. Or will he have the grace and humility to admit he was wrong and agree he's changed his mind? Or will it be the the usual groundhogwash? The momentous question of our times.

Thanks for the link. I contribute to the 'Reasonable Faith Debunked' group - so demolishing WLC and his go-to 'philosopher', Plantinga, has been my leisure activity for a long time.

uwot
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by uwot » Fri Jul 20, 2018 1:20 pm

Peter Holmes wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 11:31 am
I'm still waiting for Mr Can's reformulation of his syllogism demonstrating that if there's a god, morality is objective. Perhaps furkling in his den under the bridge, he'll come up with it and enlighten us all. Or will he have the grace and humility to admit he was wrong and agree he's changed his mind?
Now I know you're joking.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 11:31 am
Thanks for the link. I contribute to the 'Reasonable Faith Debunked' group - so demolishing WLC and his go-to 'philosopher', Plantinga, has been my leisure activity for a long time.
Had a quick look at the Facebook page. There's a clip of WLC farting away about 'parallelism' and how mediterranean myths, Horus and Osiris in particular, had no influence on christianity. At the moment I'm finishing off dissertation on medieval cosmology. In Europe, a lot of effort was put into reconciling christianity with Plato; as a result, christianity is essentially a rewrite of The Myth of Er (it's at the end of The Republic if you haven't read it). Not only that, but according to legend, Plato was the son of Apollo, his mother Perictione having been visited by the god when she was still a virgin.
This is cut and pasted from something I wrote a while back:
Plato was born in about 428BC, and was believed by his more enthusiastic admirers to be a son of the god Apollo. The legend says that his mother, Perictione, beautiful and aristocratic, was a virgin when her husband, Ariston, also very well connected, tried to force himself upon her. He failed and Apollo appeared before Ariston in a vision, which persuaded him to leave his wife alone until she gave birth to the god’s son. According to some authorities he was called Aristocles; the name we know him by is derived from the Greek for width, and it is either for the breadth of his forehead, his physique or his understanding that he was given the name.

As a noble, he would have been expected to take some part in the political life of Athens. Instead, in his late twenties, Plato left the city appalled at the trial and execution of his mentor Socrates. He travelled for the next twelve years or so and when he returned he started teaching in the Academy, a sacred plot of land that was named after the hero Academus who had gained his status by revealing the hiding place of Helen of Troy when her brothers, Castor and Pollux, came to liberate her.

It is thought that the first book Plato wrote was the Apology, his version of what Socrates said at his trial. He then wrote a series of dialogues dealing with the things that Socrates had been most concerned with, principally how to lead a soul enhancing life. His most famous work, the Republic, is a description of the sort of state that Plato believed would facilitate the living of the good life. It is a disgusting place. The ruling elite, made up of philosopher kings, pass whatever law their great wisdom informs them will keep the populace in its place. For instance, lots would be drawn to determine who breeds with whom. The hoi polloi will therefore happily copulate with whatever misfit is granted them, because they are too stupid to realise that the whole thing is rigged to ensure that good blood isn’t tainted with bad.

The Republic closes with Socrates telling the Myth of Er; it is exactly the sort of codswallop designed to mollify idiot citizens. Er had been slain in battle and when the bodies were collected 10 days later, his was miraculously unaffected by decay. Taken home for cremation he came back to life on the funeral pyre and told the story of what he had seen in the afterlife. The first things he was brought to were the entrances and exits to heaven and hell. Between them sat the judges who decided the fate of the souls before them; they told Er he had been chosen to tell the mortal world about the afterlife. He described the happy souls he saw descending from heaven and others, dirty and exhausted, climbing up from the underworld. Two such miseries told how they were about to leave when some especially wicked characters appeared at the mouth of hell. The incurable sinners believed they were about to be freed, but a mighty roar came from below and wild fiery figures hauled them back, dragging them across thorns and whipping them with gouges.

Er spent the next week with the souls in a meadow; on the eighth day they started on a journey and after 4 days they saw a column of light passing through all of heaven and Earth, a day later they were amongst it and could see the chains of heaven reaching down. From these hung the ‘spindle of necessity’, in shape just like the ones Greek used to spin wool, with a hook on the top of a shaft and a weight or whorl near the bottom. The whorl on the spindle of necessity was a series of 8 closely fitting nested bowls providing the orbits for the stars and planets. On the rim of each bowl sat a siren singing a single note and together they formed a harmony. The melody was provided by the three Fates, goddesses of past, present and future who sat on their thrones, evenly spaced around the edge of the universe, making sure the whole thing keeps spinning with a gentle push from time to time. Clearly it takes a spectacular brand of credulity to take any of this at face value, and while the dreamers might have been charmed, Plato knew he would have to come up with something more substantial.

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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes » Fri Jul 20, 2018 2:03 pm

Thanks uwot. The link between Christianity and Platonism seems undeniable to me, like the much-neglected fact that Christianity was a Greek religion uneasily rooted in a Jewish millennarian cult. Syncretism is necessarily anathema for dupes of religions claiming exclusivity. That's why, given the power, they've usually oppressed or exterminated rivals and sectarian opponents. Good luck with the dissertation.

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Immanuel Can
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Immanuel Can » Fri Jul 20, 2018 4:03 pm

Peter Holmes wrote:
Wed Jul 18, 2018 7:00 am
Premise 1: God desires men to be free (we can add, if we follow Locke, it's for the reasons given earlier: but I'm keeping this very simple).
Premise 2: Freedom is destroyed by slavery.
Conclusion: Slavery is contrary to the desires of God.

Simple, simple simple. And if the two premises are true, both valid and sound.
But you haven't mentioned morality at all.
A negligible niggle. We can easily dispense with it.

That's because "morality" and "the desires of God" are identical in Monotheistic thought. And you asked for a syllogism on Monotheistic premises, not one that gratuitously grants some other set of assumptions in the first premise.

So we can have it equally as:

Morality (i.e. "what God desires") is human freedom...
Human freedom is contrary to slavery.
Slavery is contrary to morality.


Premise 1 is analytically true for Monotheism, so not disputable.
Premise 2 is definitionally true for the meaning of "slavery," so not contestable either.
The conclusion necessarily follows.

Done.

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Immanuel Can
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Immanuel Can » Fri Jul 20, 2018 4:05 pm

Still waiting for that syllogism making sense of subjectivist morality.

Not seeing anything at all.

Skip
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Skip » Fri Jul 20, 2018 4:17 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 4:03 pm
[But you haven't mentioned morality at all.]
.... "morality" and "the desires of God" are identical in Monotheistic thought.
So we can have it equally as:

Morality (i.e. "what God desires") is human freedom...
Human freedom is contrary to slavery.
Slavery is contrary to morality.


Premise 1 is analytically true for Monotheism, so not disputable.
Premise 2 is definitionally true for the meaning of "slavery," so not contestable either.
The conclusion necessarily follows.

Done.
Then the morality that necessarily followed all the Monotheists - Jew, Christian, Muslim -
would be: Thou shalt not enslave thy fellow man.
Is this what necessarily followed?
If we take God's absolute moral dictum out of the world, and try to rely on a secular morality, all law and breaks down.
Doesn't it?

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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes » Fri Jul 20, 2018 4:18 pm

Immanuel Can

Why does morality being what a god desires - even if that's true - make morality objective - independent of judgement, belief or opinion?

Tip. The conclusion you need is: therefore, morality is objective. (Without begging the question.)

Back to the drawing board. Or - a suggestion to save everyone's time. You could try a hypothetical, as follows.

P1: If morality is what a god desires, then morality is objective.
P2: Morality is what a god desires.
Conclusion: Therefore, morality is objective.

Now, that's valid. And as you define morality as 'what a god desires', all you have to show is why that makes morality objective.

(Of course, your definition, and so the argument's soundness, is a separate question.)

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Immanuel Can
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Immanuel Can » Fri Jul 20, 2018 8:26 pm

Skip wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 4:17 pm

Then the morality that necessarily followed all the Monotheists - Jew, Christian, Muslim -
would be: Thou shalt not enslave thy fellow man.
That would be true of the first two, but unfortunately, not of the last one. Allah's quite different, I think you'll find. If there's an Islamic teaching about the right of infidels to be free, I don't know what it would be.
Is this what necessarily followed?
That's a sociological and statistical question, rather than a philosophical or moral one. It asks, "What do [some] people do," not "What ought [the same] people to do?"

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Immanuel Can
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Immanuel Can » Fri Jul 20, 2018 8:32 pm

Peter Holmes wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 4:18 pm

P1: If morality is what a god desires, then morality is objective.
P2: Morality is what a god desires.
Conclusion: Therefore, morality is objective.
The term "if" there is gratuitous. It adds nothing.

The point was simply to show what was valid IF true, not to suppose that you personally are obligated to believe the first premise. You may believe as you wish, of course: but that's a different question from the question of whether morality can be rationalized on a Monotheist account. It clearly can.

As an aside, the term "a god" (i.e. one of many alleged super-beings) is analytically not the same as "God," (i.e. the Supreme Being). It's relevant to any discussion of those terms to keep them straight, as they have different implications.

Now that you have a valid syllogism for Monotheism, I'll wait for you to catch up. What's the valid syllogism for subjective morality?

Fire away.

Skip
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Skip » Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:23 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 8:26 pm
[moral dictum of all Monotheists - Jew, Christian, Muslim: Thou shalt not enslave thy fellow man. ]
That would be true of the first two,
You mean as instructed by the Old and New testaments?
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?s ... ersion=ESV
http://bible.oremus.org/?passage=Ephesi ... rsion=nrsv
or as practiced by the Christian empires of Byzantium, England, France, Italy, Belgium, Russia, Spain and Portugal?
but unfortunately, not of the last one. Allah's quite different, I think you'll find.
You mean he's not a mono-god like the Holy Trinity?
Maybe it's those eight wives and no sacrificial son confusing the issue.
[Is this what necessarily followed?]
That's a sociological and statistical question,
pursuant to
Immanuel Can --- What's a more interesting question is how long a society can go on believing there's no deep substance to morality, and survive its dissolution into self-interested groups trying to dominate, manage, bully or kill each other. We do see some of that these days; along with the usual agencies of power trying to forcibly reassert the order they want. The problem is that as society dissolves in moral anarchy, the temptation to accept totalitarian domination -- so long as order will be restored -- increases. And people look more and more for political fiat to do what their belief in subjective "morality" simply could not preserve for them, such as securing social order, guaranteeing property, protecting personal rights, and so on.
rather than a philosophical or moral one. It asks, "What do [some] people do," not "What ought [the same] people to do?"
No, I asks: Is it the case that god-given moral code has been, or is, or will be more effective in preserving human society than a moral code made for humans by humans?

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Immanuel Can
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Immanuel Can » Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:37 pm

Skip wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:23 pm
No, I asks: Is it the case that god-given moral code has been, or is, or will be more effective in preserving human society than a moral code made for humans by humans?
The answer to that, historically, is that there have been none of the latter. "A human told me" has never been an adequate reason for a moral precept. Nor, of course, has "a bunch of humans told me" been any better. So that's never worked, even conceptually.

Skip
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Skip » Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:46 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:37 pm
"A human told me" has never been an adequate reason for a moral precept.
Worked for kings.
"a bunch of humans told me" been any better.
works for elected legislatures.
You keep the conceptual; we'll take the pragmatic.

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Immanuel Can
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Immanuel Can » Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:56 pm

Skip wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:46 pm
You keep the conceptual; we'll take the pragmatic.
The problem with that is that the pragmatic only "works" if a) you enforce it with power, not reason, and b) if nobody questions it...or is allowed to. So it's a bad recipe. In fact, taking the secular regimes of the 20th Century, the "pragmatic" of which you speak killed at least 148 million people.

I don't know if that means it "works..." :shock:

Skip
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Skip » Fri Jul 20, 2018 11:26 pm

Immanuel Can wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:56 pm
[You keep the conceptual; we'll take the pragmatic.]
The problem with that is that the pragmatic only "works" if a) you enforce it with power, not reason.
Since no other kind of morality has been enforced by reason alone, no loss or gain there: police will continue to be needed.
and b) if nobody questions it...or is allowed to.
How deaf does one need to be not to hear anyone questioning the secular laws of democratic countries? Never noticed the protest marches, parades, demonstrations, strikes, pickets, leaflets, editorials, petitions, court challenges?
So it's a bad recipe.
Of course it is. In fact, I've heard it's the worst system there is, except for all the others.
In fact, taking the secular regimes of the 20th Century, the "pragmatic" of which you speak killed at least 148 million people.

Coulda sworn that was political conflicts among factions and nations, not legal or ethical disagreements.
Okay, so the religious wars are more moral than the political ones, because a) they're less efficient at killing? or b) there were more people in the 20th century than in the 13th?

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