What could make morality subjective?

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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Skepdick
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What could make morality subjective?

Post by Skepdick » Thu Feb 27, 2020 1:55 pm

The discussion in this thread is framed by the moral skeptic using the loaded question "What could make morality objective?".

For reasons that are well understood by anybody who sees the bias, and yet - we will not ask the unbiased question: Is morality subjective or objective? That would be too boring.

Instead we will ask a biased question in the opposite direction: What could make morality subjective?

The moral claim being made is thus: Murder and genocide are objectively wrong. I will not justify this claim nor define my terms. To the best of my knowledge, given all of the available evidence and the limits of my epistemology this claim is true, but it is a weakly held truth.

Instead, I will give you my falsification criterion. I will tell you what evidence I need to be convinced that the above claim is just my opinion, and it is not an objective truth. I will tell you how to prove me wrong.

Give me an example where murder and genocide are right.

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Immanuel Can
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Re: What could make morality subjective?

Post by Immanuel Can » Thu Feb 27, 2020 2:36 pm

It's clear that subjective morality is merely phenomenological.

What that means, for anyone unfamiliar with the term, is that morality is no more than a "thing that happens," the legitimacy of which is entirely unresolved by that observation.

Societies proclaim certain actions and attitudes taboo. But this is arbitrary. This is not merely because different societies have incommensurable moral claims (which they do) but because even if all moralities in the world were completely identical in every regard, this fact would not conduce one iota to the conclusion that the ensuing uniform behaviour was anything more than a contingent thing. It could be that every person in the world is simply subject to the same sorts of delusions -- perhaps rising from their biological needs, or from general human fears, or something else like that. But there would be no way to say that any morality was actually correct or justified at all.

All human beings have noses and ears. This is a merely contingent, non-moral fact. Subjective morality is like noses and ears...just a thing we "happen to have," which might plausibly be entirely a delusion. At sea, all people perceive the horizon as a line. But that does not mean the horizon IS a line. The subjective impression, though universal, is unsponsored by any reality at all.

So subjective morality is not merely subjective: it's completely unsubstantiatable, and plausibly totally contingent and arbitrary on the human side.

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henry quirk
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Re: What could make morality subjective?

Post by henry quirk » Thu Feb 27, 2020 3:54 pm

Skepdick wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 1:55 pm
The discussion in this thread is framed by the moral skeptic using the loaded question "What could make morality objective?".

For reasons that are well understood by anybody who sees the bias, and yet - we will not ask the unbiased question: Is morality subjective or objective? That would be too boring.

Instead we will ask a biased question in the opposite direction: What could make morality subjective?

The moral claim being made is thus: Murder and genocide are objectively wrong. I will not justify this claim nor define my terms. To the best of my knowledge, given all of the available evidence and the limits of my epistemology this claim is true, but it is a weakly held truth.

Instead, I will give you my falsification criterion. I will tell you what evidence I need to be convinced that the above claim is just my opinion, and it is not an objective truth. I will tell you how to prove me wrong.

Give me an example where murder and genocide are right.
👍🏻

Nick_A
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Re: What could make morality subjective?

Post by Nick_A » Thu Feb 27, 2020 5:56 pm

There are two sides to this question. The first was taken by Plato where he encouraged awakening to objective values. He asserted that objective values including morals lie outside the individual and not determind by the perception of individuals or their beliefs.

This has become condemned by modern society which has come to favor the second option: “Humans are the measure of all things” championed by Protagoras. It supports the purpose of this thread to prove the supremacy of subjective values decided by Man.

Preserving the dignity of man determines moral value. Genocides are fine if the right people are being killed and the dignity of man is preserved. Right and wrong isn’t the issue only supporting the dignity of Man.

A person must choose. What is the source of values and proceed from there. If Plato is right, humanity must awaken to perennial objective values we are asleep to and begin to feel them as part of their conscience. If Protgoras is right all that matters is how a person judges what they do. Humans are the measure of all things so nothing can be more important than the dignity of Man. Plato is losing and Protgoras is winning so why doubt the educated winning side? Support you local politician

Impenitent
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Re: What could make morality subjective?

Post by Impenitent » Fri Feb 28, 2020 1:07 am

Skepdick wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 1:55 pm


Give me an example where murder and genocide are right.
manifest destiny

-Imp

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henry quirk
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Re: What could make morality subjective?

Post by henry quirk » Fri Feb 28, 2020 7:56 pm

Give me an example where murder and genocide are right.

Here's how the relativist, if he were honest, should answer...

Since morality is a fiction, murder (the unjustified killing of a person) is a fiction and genocide (murder on a grand scale) is a fiction.

Since morals are just what folks think they are, since morals have no grounding in anything other than opinion, any notion of justified or unjustified is just opinion too.

Pretty much you get to do whatever the hell you want to.

All you have to worry about are 'laws', which are just codified opinion. If a law bugs you (like those prohibiting rape or murder or slavery) just change the 'laws' (might have to grease a few palms). Once you do that, you can go to town with the raping, murdering, and enslaving (not to mention the thieving).

surreptitious57
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Re: What could make morality subjective?

Post by surreptitious57 » Fri Feb 28, 2020 8:23 pm

Psychopaths can justify murder because they do not possess a moral compass
And terrorists can justify murder because they are ideologically driven to kill

You will disagree as a human being who possesses empathy who cannot accept the taking of innocent life
But psychopaths and terrorists possess no empathy at all for their victims which is why they can kill them

Can you therefore make an objective sound moral argument that empathy is the default position but purely from a logical perspective
Any emotional argument would be invalid as it would commit two logical fallacies which is appeal to emotion and appeal to popularity

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henry quirk
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were you talkin' to me, surrep? no matter, I answered anyway...

Post by henry quirk » Fri Feb 28, 2020 8:38 pm

Psychopaths can justify murder because they do not possess a moral compass

But not every psychopath kills. Those that do would be justified if they did so in self-defense or defense of another.

Acts can be immoral, not psychopathology.


And terrorists can justify murder because they are ideologically driven to kill

One man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter. Bernie wins big in Nov, commies go crazy puttin' leashes on everyone. If I resist, and kill, am I a terrorist?


You will disagree as a human being who possesses empathy who cannot accept the taking of innocent life
But psychopaths and terrorists possess no empathy at all for their victims which is why they can kill them


Empathy ain't got nuthin' to do with it. I recognize myself as autonomous, I recognize other folks as autonomous (even the hateful motherfuckers who I'd like to off but won't cuz they haven't deprived me of my life, liberty, or property).


Can you therefore make an objective sound moral argument that empathy is the default position but purely from a logical perspective

Nope, cuz I've already made mine based on natural rights/law.

Skepdick
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Re: What could make morality subjective?

Post by Skepdick » Fri Feb 28, 2020 8:45 pm

surreptitious57 wrote:
Fri Feb 28, 2020 8:23 pm
Psychopaths can justify murder because they do not possess a moral compass
And terrorists can justify murder because they are ideologically driven to kill
Justification of rightness does not make murder/genocide right. It makes it justifiable to the person committing murder/genocide.

Murder/genocide is rational because it can be rationalized - that is why appeals to logic/rationality fail.
surreptitious57 wrote:
Fri Feb 28, 2020 8:23 pm
You will disagree as a human being who possesses empathy who cannot accept the taking of innocent life
But psychopaths and terrorists possess no empathy at all for their victims which is why they can kill them.
I poses very little empathy. None even. I know that murder and genocide are wrong.

For all the parallels that can be drawn between my behaviour and psychopathic/sociopathic behaviour - I serve and protect.
I embrace nonmaleficence.
surreptitious57 wrote:
Fri Feb 28, 2020 8:23 pm
Can you therefore make an objective sound moral argument that empathy is the default position but purely from a logical perspective
Any emotional argument would be invalid as it would commit two logical fallacies which is appeal to emotion and appeal to popularity
The argument is trivial, but it is not based on empathy, emotion or popularity.

You don't need logic, rationality, empathy, morality, science, philosophy or wisdom to be alive, but you do need to be alive in order to pursue all those nice things.
Last edited by Skepdick on Fri Feb 28, 2020 8:53 pm, edited 7 times in total.

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Immanuel Can
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Re: What could make morality subjective?

Post by Immanuel Can » Fri Feb 28, 2020 8:45 pm

surreptitious57 wrote:
Fri Feb 28, 2020 8:23 pm
Psychopaths can justify murder because they do not possess a moral compass
They don't "justify" it. They don't even try to. A psychopath doesn't even feel the need to explain why he does what he does -- to himself, or to anyone else. That's the definition of a psychopath.
And terrorists can justify murder because they are ideologically driven to kill
They choose their ideology. And they rationalize their killing by it. The fault is in both the ideology, and the choice to embrace it.
Can you therefore make an objective sound moral argument that empathy is the default position...
Empathy is not a good driver of ethics. It's often misguided, and in excessive amounts, leads to paralysis.
...but purely from a logical perspective
Not for empathy. But rational sympathy could be advocated in its place.

surreptitious57
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Re: What could make morality subjective?

Post by surreptitious57 » Fri Feb 28, 2020 9:23 pm

We as a species only think murder and genocide are wrong because that is how our morality has evolved
However it was not a given that the morality of today is the only one that could have evolved over time

Morality is constantly changing and like any aspect of reality is in a constant state of perpetual motion
So what we accept today for example as perfectly moral may in the future be seen as entirely immoral

Skepdick
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Re: What could make morality subjective?

Post by Skepdick » Fri Feb 28, 2020 9:49 pm

surreptitious57 wrote:
Fri Feb 28, 2020 9:23 pm
We as a species only think murder and genocide are wrong because that is how our morality has evolved
However it was not a given that the morality of today is the only one that could have evolved over time

Morality is constantly changing and like any aspect of reality is in a constant state of perpetual motion
So what we accept today for example as perfectly moral may in the future be seen as entirely immoral
OK, you are claiming that morality is subject to revision exactly like science - it suffers from the problem of induction. We can work with that.

Suppose that the statement "Murder and genocide are wrong" is falsifiable. What future evidence/observation could falsify it thereby making murder and genocide right?

surreptitious57
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Re: What could make morality subjective?

Post by surreptitious57 » Fri Feb 28, 2020 10:38 pm

I do not think that induction and falsifiability can be applied to morality because there are
two entirely different schools of thought with regard to it that cannot really be reconciled

For morality to be treated like science would require that it could only be subjective but not everyone however thinks that it is
Subjective morality has a more logical foundation to it such as with utilitarianism for example but it is not universally accepted

surreptitious57
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Re: What could make morality subjective?

Post by surreptitious57 » Fri Feb 28, 2020 10:43 pm

However for the sake of argument and purpose of debate I will answer your question as best I can though not to my satisfaction
So what would falsify the statement that murder and genicide are wrong is majority consensus that said the complete opposite

surreptitious57
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Re: What could make morality subjective?

Post by surreptitious57 » Fri Feb 28, 2020 10:46 pm


Were this method applied to science then it would be entirely dependent on public opinion

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