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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surreptitious57
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Re: What could make morality subjective?

Post by surreptitious57 » Sun Mar 01, 2020 9:43 pm

Veritas Aequitas wrote:
There is no evidence in the historical human database there is evidence any sane human has volunteered freely to be killed
Perfectly sane human beings have been making the ultimate sacrifice for the whole of human existence
To protect something that they believed in so much that it was necessary for them to give up their life

All the many millions who have fought for liberty in all the wars throughout history
Public servants such as police officers and firefighters who have died saving others
Ordinary people who through individual acts of courage have also saved others too

So there is plenty of evidence in the historical and also the contemporary database as well because this happens all the time
It is a very natural human instinct to try to save those whose lives are in mortal danger even at the expense of ones own life

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henry quirk
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Re: What could make morality subjective?

Post by henry quirk » Mon Mar 02, 2020 1:49 am

surreptitious57 wrote:
Sun Mar 01, 2020 9:43 pm
Veritas Aequitas wrote:
There is no evidence in the historical human database there is evidence any sane human has volunteered freely to be killed
Perfectly sane human beings have been making the ultimate sacrifice for the whole of human existence
To protect something that they believed in so much that it was necessary for them to give up their life

All the many millions who have fought for liberty in all the wars throughout history
Public servants such as police officers and firefighters who have died saving others
Ordinary people who through individual acts of courage have also saved others too

So there is plenty of evidence in the historical and also the contemporary database as well because this happens all the time
It is a very natural human instinct to try to save those whose lives are in mortal danger even at the expense of ones own life
A person might sacrifice himself (his life, his freedom) to spare or save another, or in service to his country, or in fighting to preserve a principle, but no sane person craves death or slavery. To court death or slavery simply cuz one wants to die or be another's property contradicts what it is to be a person.

A person who'd seek to die is a person in extreme distress; a person who'd seek out and wear a leash is a person in extreme distress: the judgment of both persons is compromised, faulty.

Simply: it is natural and normal to (seek to) be free, to live; it is unnatural and abnormal to (seek to) be unfree, to die.

Veritas Aequitas
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Re: What could make morality subjective?

Post by Veritas Aequitas » Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:52 am

Nick_A wrote:
Sun Mar 01, 2020 4:45 pm
Veritas Aequitas wrote:
Sun Mar 01, 2020 8:17 am
Nick_A wrote:
Sat Feb 29, 2020 5:13 pm
Veritas wrote



Plato wrote that objective values including objective morality are objective influences essential for the functioning of our conscious universe. We can experience them existing regardless of our animal attractions under the sun, through our conscience. The human condition has further dulled this natural ability creating the dominance of the Great Beast or the grand collective to adopt this responsibility.

The reactions of Great Beast or society itself vs the GOOD of ideas or forms within our ineffable source. An ancient struggle and the great Beast is winning as the effort to experience objective conscience is lessening.
I disagree with Plato's objective things.

Re Plato's objective morality, it is merely extrapolated and generalized from his theory of forms and universals, thus do not provide sound justifications for it.

Note on the other hand, I have justified my secular objective absolute moral laws from empirical evidences and philosophical reasoning. They are to be used as GUIDES only like ultimate thermostats within a heating or cooling system. As such these objective moral laws are not to be enforced at all on anyone.
All you've done is once again reveal the inability for secular humanity to resolve a basic question in philosophy: How can person decide between higher values and morality and pragmatic concerns? Water seeks its own level and the balance will be determined by the relative quality of human being and not the the wonderful thoughts argued over and over in philosophy

We can agree that society functions better when drivers stop for red lights. Yet suppose it is 3:00 AM with no one on the road and a driver is doing something believed important. He approaches a red light? Does he stop and wait fir it to turn green? Does he stop if there re several cars on the rod or if he sees there is police r in the vicinity. We decide on these options and they are decided by the quality of human being. Water seeks its own level

All empirical evidence and moral laws leading to the debate between values and pragmatism are the result of the quality of human being. Plato offers us an awakening process of thought to deal with what we are while you are just assuming that water will somehow change its level through the intellectual arguments. It cannot happen. Pragmatic concernes will win and Plato is rejected. Since we are as we are, everything remains as it is continuing in its lawful cycles including war and peace
IF the moral rule is "all humans can kill another human" is universalized [Plato agreed to this] to every individual,
then logically, there is the potential for the human species to be exterminated.

Therefore the highest moral value is 'no human shall kill another human' in which case it will not be possible for the human species to be exterminated via killing by humans.
All humans should thus be guided by this moral law, not to be enforced upon.

Veritas Aequitas
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Re: What could make morality subjective?

Post by Veritas Aequitas » Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:56 am

surreptitious57 wrote:
Sun Mar 01, 2020 9:43 pm
Veritas Aequitas wrote:
There is no evidence in the historical human database there is evidence any sane human has volunteered freely to be killed
Perfectly sane human beings have been making the ultimate sacrifice for the whole of human existence
To protect something that they believed in so much that it was necessary for them to give up their life

All the many millions who have fought for liberty in all the wars throughout history
Public servants such as police officers and firefighters who have died saving others
Ordinary people who through individual acts of courage have also saved others too

So there is plenty of evidence in the historical and also the contemporary database as well because this happens all the time
It is a very natural human instinct to try to save those whose lives are in mortal danger even at the expense of ones own life
I stated 'volunteer freely' to die without any other conditions existing like war, policing, fighting fire.
These people [on duty] did not volunteer with the intention they want to die.

There is no way a normal human being will want to volunteer to die because DNA wise all humans are "programmed" to strive to survive till the inevitable.
I have asked, show me an infant who had just become self-aware, but not brainwashed by other humans, had immediately declared he want to die voluntarily.

Veritas Aequitas
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Re: What could make morality subjective?

Post by Veritas Aequitas » Mon Mar 02, 2020 7:02 am

henry quirk wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 1:49 am
Simply: it is natural and normal to (seek to) be free, to live; it is unnatural and abnormal to (seek to) be unfree, to die.
To add note my point mentioned above;

There is no way a normal human being will want to volunteer to die because DNA wise all humans are "programmed" to strive to survive till the inevitable.
I have asked, show me an infant who had just become self-aware, but not brainwashed by other humans, had immediately declared he want to die voluntarily.

FlashDangerpants
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Re: What could make morality subjective?

Post by FlashDangerpants » Mon Mar 02, 2020 2:30 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.
The terms murder and genocide are by definition crimes. When we say a murder was justified we call it something else, and when we want to portray genocide as less of a crime we relabel that too. Medical science is all about murdering little pathogens, and eradicating entire species of organisms, this is rarely described as bad by humans, but from the perspective of a brain eating parasite for whom we have the moral value of food/livestock, it might seem rather bad.

You aren't being very sohpisticated on the matter of subjectivity by the way. Shared subjective values with shared subjective rules pertaining to use, are not objective. This is the same mistake that Mannie makes in discussion of categorisation. He thinks that if the rules of categorising cars and chairs aren't sent to us by God, then they must be just completely arbitrary; nothing belongs to any category, and nobody can ever be mistaken if they call a chicken a hat. But there are far more options than that, you just have to unblock your mind a little to be able to see them.

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Re: What could make morality subjective?

Post by Skepdick » Mon Mar 02, 2020 2:36 pm

FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 2:30 pm
You aren't being very sohpisticated on the matter of subjectivity by the way. Shared subjective values with shared subjective rules pertaining to use, are not objective.
Hey, in so far as "objectivity" goes - I am not a proponent. I am merely a consumer of the concept.

If you think that shared subjective values pertaining to shared subjective use, and shared subjective testing/reproducibility of empirical results in a shared (pre-agreed framework) doesn't give us objectivity, then explain to me what does. Because in 2020 that's the most sophisticated metaphysic/epistemology we got. If that's not good enough, then you have a foundational epistemic problem.

If you have a better episteme (one that solves the problem of criterion) - then by all means, share it with us!

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Re: What could make morality subjective?

Post by FlashDangerpants » Mon Mar 02, 2020 2:41 pm

Skepdick wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 2:36 pm
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 2:30 pm
You aren't being very sohpisticated on the matter of subjectivity by the way. Shared subjective values with shared subjective rules pertaining to use, are not objective.
Hey, in so far as "objectivity" goes - I am not a proponent. I am merely a consumer of the concept.

If you think that shared subjective values pertaining to shared subjective use, and shared subjective testing/reproducibility of empirical results in a shared (pre-agreed framework) doesn't give us objectivity, then you have an foundational epistemic problem.

If you have a more sophisticated epistemology (one that solves the problem of criterion) - then by all means, share it with us!
Maybe I do have an epistemic problem. Then again I should point out that shared subjective objects are malleable and indeed can be expected to alter according to the needs of the sharing subjects. So as long as objective laws can be considered to alter according to the needs of the population that uses them, then we are talking about distinction without difference.

Otherwise, the problem may not be mine.

Skepdick
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Re: What could make morality subjective?

Post by Skepdick » Mon Mar 02, 2020 2:45 pm

FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 2:41 pm
Maybe I do have an epistemic problem. Then again I should point out that shared subjective objectds are malleable and indeed can be expected to alter according to the needs of the shared subjects. So as long as objective laws can be considered to alter according to the needs of the shared subjective population that uses them, then we are talking about distinction without difference.
Unfortunately this applies to all of science also. The falsifications of the future amend the "laws" of the past.
That which science gives us is "merely" for human consumption.

Science address one particular human need. The need for certainty.
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 2:41 pm
Otherwise, the problem may not be mine.
Then maybe it's time to throw the word/concept of "objectivity" in the trash can? Ready when you are.

In as far as there is such a thing as objective truth, then this is an objectively true statement: You don't need to do moral philosophy to be alive, but you need to be alive to do moral philosophy.

So, if you are talking about the kind of 'moral objectivity' that dead philosophers might end up pursuing - It's not really my interest.

FlashDangerpants
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Re: What could make morality subjective?

Post by FlashDangerpants » Mon Mar 02, 2020 3:20 pm

Skepdick wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 2:45 pm
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 2:41 pm
Maybe I do have an epistemic problem. Then again I should point out that shared subjective objectds are malleable and indeed can be expected to alter according to the needs of the shared subjects. So as long as objective laws can be considered to alter according to the needs of the shared subjective population that uses them, then we are talking about distinction without difference.
Unfortunately this applies to all of science also. The falsifications of the future amend the "laws" of the past.
That which science gives us is "merely" for human consumption.

Science address one particular human need. The need for certainty.
Scientific method is used because it is useful, should it prove to have some currently unforseeable flaw, then it will change.

Objectivity is a description and descriptions can change too. On the whole, if some observation is made that some sequence of events out in the world reliably happens under given circumstances without subjective influence, that meets our current definition of objectivity. It may not meet some future society's definition for some reason.

Either way, science is based on stuff that is less easy to just change than the things that meet our typical description of subjectivity. Something out there makes it wrong to describe the Earth as flat in a way that makes it eyewateringly difficult to change. From time to time, the failure of some scientific claim to properly describe the state of affairs that we consider objective and univeral necessitates a search for new answers though. These are the rules as they currently stand, and until they stop helping us do stuff they are likely to remain beacuse lack of ultra-complete-necessary-objectivity is not the same as arbitrary.

Shared subjective information can be very hard to change ("Money serves as a medium of exchange, as a store of value, and as a unit of account" for instance is something that most people would get behind, but people who go on about gold see things differently, to very little effect). But it can also be a passing fad, some old wives tale about sitting on cold benches giving you arse piles for instance. The former can look highly objective, it can perhaps even be described as objective information on a contingent basis. The latter probably should not under any circumstance, yet is not autmomatically easy to spot.
Skepdick wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 2:45 pm
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 2:41 pm
Otherwise, the problem may not be mine.
Then maybe it's time to throw the word/concept of "objectivity" in the trash can? Ready when you are.

In as far as there is such a thing as objective truth, then this is an objectively true statement: You don't need to do moral philosophy to be alive, but you need to be alive to do moral philosophy.

So, if you are talking about the kind of 'moral objectivity' that dead philosophers might end up pursuing - It's not really my interest.
Then you aren't really interested in objectivity in this setting and I don't understand why you have such a hard-on for it. Either way, I'm a moral skeptic (which is not a nihilist) so threatening me with the idea that I must give up on moral objectivity seems unlikely to have much effect.

If there is such a thing as a ghost, I would totally read whatever they write on this subject. This could be the plot of a splendidly arty horror movie. Actually, there was a sit-com about people doing moral philosophy in the afterlife recently, so I'm not sure that that statement is actually objectively true by iteslf, it seems to need an addendum about ghosts not existing. Or a proof that If there are ghosts, then all ghosts are not moral philosophers.

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Re: What could make morality subjective?

Post by Skepdick » Mon Mar 02, 2020 3:45 pm

FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 3:20 pm
Scientific method is used because it is useful, should it prove to have some currently unforseeable flaw, then it will change.
It has exactly the same "flaw" as every axiomatic system. The findings of science depend on you accepting its axioms/units of measurement. The SI units.

But... observe that in making the above statement you've brought to the table some pre-supposed notion of "flaw". What's a "flaw" anyway? Another epistemic problem - that is what it is...
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 3:20 pm
Objectivity is a description and descriptions can change too.
All descriptions are a posteriori phenomenology. If the entire attempt of Moral Philosophy is to describe things after the fact, then how is it any different to History?
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 3:20 pm
On the whole, if some observation is made that some sequence of events out in the world reliably happens under given circumstances without subjective influence, that meets our current definition of objectivity. It may not meet some future society's definition for some reason.
OK, so make up your mind then? Does "objectivity" concern itself with a posterior assertions about past events; or a priori predictions about future events?

Personally, I am indifferent as to passing moral judgment on Hitler/Holocaust (a posteriori). It's sufficient for me to say that this shit shouldn't happen again ( a priori). I feel no need/desire to label the Holocaust as "right" or "wrong".
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 3:20 pm
Either way, science is based on stuff that is less easy to just change than the things that meet our typical description of subjectivity. Something out there makes it wrong to describe the Earth as flat in a way that makes it eyewateringly difficult to change.
It's trivial to change if you are using the Ptolemaic scientific models. They still work....
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 3:20 pm
These are the rules as they currently stand, and until they stop helping us do stuff they are likely to remain beacuse lack of ultra-complete-necessary-objectivity is not the same as arbitrary.
Note, you are still framing "objectivity" as being sub-ordinate to utility! Indeed - that's how science works.

When stuff stops being useful (read: it stops predicting) then we trash it.
But that conception of "objectivity" is still intricately linked to a human need!
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 3:20 pm
Shared subjective information can be very hard to change ("Money serves as a medium of exchange, as a store of value, and as a unit of account" for instance is something that most people would get behind, but people who go on about gold see things differently, to very little effect). But it can also be a passing fad, some old wives tale about sitting on cold benches giving you arse piles for instance. The former can look highly objective, it can perhaps even be described as objective information on a contingent basis. The latter probably should not under any circumstance, yet is not autmomatically easy to spot.
Observe, how your entire notion of "objectivity" is grounded in the notions of stability, unchangeability, immutability etc.

Deep beneath it all you are pursuing Certainty. Stability. Predictability. Equilibrium.
You expect your value-store to be worth the same tomorrow as it was today. You expect the sun to come up tomorrow as it did today.

Most of the time your expectations will be met. Most, not all of the time.
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 3:20 pm
Then you aren't really interested in objectivity in this setting and I don't understand why you have such a hard-on for it.
I don't have a hard-on for "objectivity"? Is just a word I use - I said that. I am a consumer, not a proponent.

Objectively speaking, you aren't interested in objectivity (the philosophical ideal either - because you can't get there!).
What you are calling "objectivity" is "good enough subjectivity". Naturally, it begs the question "Good enough for what?
Either way, why is social consensus good enough for some things like physics , but not good enough for things like morality?

There is an obvious double standard there.
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 3:20 pm
Either way, I'm a moral skeptic (which is not a nihilist) so threatening me with the idea that I must give up on moral objectivity seems unlikely to have much effect.
So you are a moral skeptic who wants morality to be objective? How does that work? ;)

If you tell me that you ARGUE for moral skepticism, but you act as if morality is objective - then I am going to go with your actions before I believe your words.

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Re: What could make morality subjective?

Post by FlashDangerpants » Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:04 pm

Skepdick wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 3:45 pm
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 3:20 pm
Scientific method is used because it is useful, should it prove to have some currently unforseeable flaw, then it will change.
It has exactly the same "flaw" as every axiomatic system. The findings of science depend on you accepting its axioms/units of measurement. The SI units.

But... observe that in making the above statement you've brought to the table some pre-supposed notion of "flaw". What's a "flaw" anyway? Another epistemic problem - that is what it is...
It is flawed if it stops being useful for some reason. It is fixed if it becomes useful again under some modified paradigm.
Skepdick wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 3:45 pm
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 3:20 pm
Objectivity is a description and descriptions can change too.
All descriptions are a posteriori phenomenology. If the entire attempt of Moral Philosophy is to describe things after the fact, then how is it any different to History?
If that even means anything, it's not a useful objection. Moral philosophy is about looking at those rules of use that define the boundaries of our moral concepts. More or less anyway.

Objectivity is a concept within the linguistic space of the creatures that use it. That concept is, as is usually the case, much less rigid than the demading little men who can't live with any uncertainty in their lives are capable of undestanding.
Skepdick wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 3:45 pm
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 3:20 pm
On the whole, if some observation is made that some sequence of events out in the world reliably happens under given circumstances without subjective influence, that meets our current definition of objectivity. It may not meet some future society's definition for some reason.
OK, so make up your mind then? Does "objectivity" concern itself with a posterior assertions about past events; or a priori predictions about future events?
No. It does roughly what I said. You aren't going to railroad me, you should stop trying.

If, for instance, there are incompatible competing subjective views on some matter, and there is some other information which can rule out the incorrect view and substantiate a correct one, that is objective under the rules of common usage.

When I say some term is used as description within our shared common language, there will always be shared common rules for application of the term. That is how language and concepts work.
Skepdick wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 3:45 pm
Personally, I am indifferent as to passing moral judgment on Hitler/Holocaust (a posteriori). It's sufficient for me to say that this shit shouldn't happen again ( a priori). I feel no need/desire to label the Holocaust as "right" or "wrong".
You have absolutely missed the point of a priori and a posteriori.
Skepdick wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 3:45 pm
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 3:20 pm
Either way, science is based on stuff that is less easy to just change than the things that meet our typical description of subjectivity. Something out there makes it wrong to describe the Earth as flat in a way that makes it eyewateringly difficult to change.
It's trivial to change if you are using the Ptolemaic scientific models. They still work....
Sure. If you decide to believe that the universe exists on a 20 dimensional flat plane then you an also describe the world as flat to anyone who is taking you seriously. But that shit is Hedgehog7 level nonsense so I don't care. Persuading anyone to accept whatever Ptolomaic model you are discussing sounds eyewateringly difficult to me and I see no problem with what I wrote there resulting from any of this.
Skepdick wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 3:45 pm
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 3:20 pm
These are the rules as they currently stand, and until they stop helping us do stuff they are likely to remain beacuse lack of ultra-complete-necessary-objectivity is not the same as arbitrary.
Note, you are still framing "objectivity" as being sub-ordinate to utility! Indeed - that's how science works.

When stuff stops being useful (read: it stops predicting) then we trash it.
But that conception of "objectivity" is still intricately linked to a human need!
Sure. That's entirely compatible with everything I have written. We have that concept of objectivity because it is useful. It helps us to sort information according to reliability, which is something we often want to do. That's why we want a usable term of that sort and not some 'perfect' but entirely unattainable version of that will never do a damn thing for anyone.

It's not so much that the concept is sub-ordinate to utility, there is no need for such a formalist approach. Every concept has to have utility, otherwise it doesn't get used. I'm never going to debate a useless concept, because, well, that seems like a waste of time.
Skepdick wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 3:45 pm
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 3:20 pm
Shared subjective information can be very hard to change ("Money serves as a medium of exchange, as a store of value, and as a unit of account" for instance is something that most people would get behind, but people who go on about gold see things differently, to very little effect). But it can also be a passing fad, some old wives tale about sitting on cold benches giving you arse piles for instance. The former can look highly objective, it can perhaps even be described as objective information on a contingent basis. The latter probably should not under any circumstance, yet is not autmomatically easy to spot.
Observe, how your entire notion of "objectivity" is grounded in the notions of stability, unchangeability, immutability etc.

Deep beneath it all you are pursuing Certainty. Stability. Predictability. Equilibrium.
You expect your value-store to be worth the same tomorrow as it was today. You expect the sun to come up tomorrow as it did today.

Most of the time your expectations will be met. Most, not all of the time.
Not "my" notion. Either the term is grounded in suppositions of information that can be verified independently of any person's particular opinion, or it is not. Whether that is a possibility or a fantasy is neither here nor there to the meaning of the term.

I don't understand why I am still explaining that I am not pursuing certainty or equilibrium. That stuff would be for the moral objectivists - which appears not to be me! I am very clearly describing a state of moral affairs that is never going to be in perfect equilibrium, and I am trying to explain why that is OK, and not the same as arbitrary.
Skepdick wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 3:45 pm
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 3:20 pm
Then you aren't really interested in objectivity in this setting and I don't understand why you have such a hard-on for it.
I don't have a hard-on for "objectivity"? Is just a word I use - I said that. I am a consumer, not a proponent.

Objectively speaking, you aren't interested in objectivity (the philosophical ideal either - because you can't get there!).
What you are calling "objectivity" is "good enough subjectivity". Naturally, it begs the question "Good enough for what?
Either way, why is social consensus good enough for some things like physics , but not good enough for things like morality?

There is an obvious double standard there.
That is "objectively speaking" in a colloqual sense. The reasonable man on the Clapham omnibus could be persuaded that I am not interested in objectivity. Prof likes to use that version of the word when he needs to equivocate between scientific objectivity and something some guy said once that sounded reasonable.

There's an upper limit to the actual objectivity of information we describe as objective. If we set a standard for objectivity that requires us to view the universe from the outside in order to validate a claim, then we can't use the word to describe any information we will ever have. So we don't do that. We use the term to describe information that we have a certain level of faith in, that is deemed testable in some way. It's imperfect in some sense and invites more radical skeptics than I to dismiss the existence of the universe. I don't care about that shit though, it's not very useful. Our concepts of objective/subjective are bounded by these possiblities, as they must be.
Skepdick wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 3:45 pm
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 3:20 pm
Either way, I'm a moral skeptic (which is not a nihilist) so threatening me with the idea that I must give up on moral objectivity seems unlikely to have much effect.
So you are a moral skeptic who wants morality to be objective? How does that work? ;)
Please stop telling me to want stuff I don't want.
Skepdick wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 3:45 pm
If you tell me that you ARGUE for moral skepticism, but you act as if morality is objective - then I am going to go with your actions before I believe your words.
What I argue is that moral 'knowledge' is unattainable unless we accept that knowledge in this context is so very severely bounded by shared subjectivity that the word 'know' is being treated very badly. But in matters of real controversy, there is no set of external moral facts for us to look every question up against, and so we are limited to persuasion.

Anybody who is able to join in the shared human activity of behaving morally will behave as-if their own understanding is correct and universal most of the time. And unless they are a complete **** they should be right enough for our purposes in most situations. Moral skepticism doesn't mean just runing around tea-bagging everyone you dislike until the cops taze you.

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Re: What could make morality subjective?

Post by Skepdick » Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:54 pm

FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:04 pm
It is flawed if it stops being useful for some reason. It is fixed if it becomes useful again under some modified paradigm.
OK, so what is "objectivity" useful for?
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:04 pm
If that even means anything, it's not a useful objection. Moral philosophy is about looking at those rules of use that define the boundaries of our moral concepts. More or less anyway.
OK. Let it be so. What are moral concepts useful for?
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:04 pm
No. It does roughly what I said. You aren't going to railroad me, you should stop trying.
I don't want to rail-road you. I want you to commit. You are trying to have it both ways.
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:04 pm
If, for instance, there are incompatible competing subjective views on some matter, and there is some other information which can rule out the incorrect view and substantiate a correct one, that is objective under the rules of common usage.
That's incoherent. What is your epistemic criterion for "correctness" and "incorrectness"?

Languages and views develop as functions of goals/objectives.
Different goals/objectives produce different views/languages.

To dismiss a particular view/language as "incorrect" is to dismiss an objective/goal as "incorrect".
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:04 pm
When I say some term is used as description within our shared common language, there will always be shared common rules for application of the term. That is how language and concepts work.
You are pre-supposing a shared/common language despite all contrary evidence. There are 7000 languages spoken on Earth - give or take a few hundred.
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:04 pm
You have absolutely missed the point of a priori and a posteriori.
I don't think I have. History is immutable. The future is not.
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:04 pm
Sure. If you decide to believe that the universe exists on a 20 dimensional flat plane then you an also describe the world as flat to anyone who is taking you seriously. But that shit is Hedgehog7 level nonsense so I don't care.
By what epistemic criteria for "nonsense" ?
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:04 pm
Persuading anyone to accept whatever Ptolomaic model you are discussing sounds eyewateringly difficult to me and I see no problem with what I wrote there resulting from any of this.
Why are you pre-supposing anybody wants to persuade anybody of anything? If you think the Earth is round - that's your business. If I think that it's flat, and it doesn't get in my way of every day life (or yours) why are you trying change my views?
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:04 pm
Sure. That's entirely compatible with everything I have written. We have that concept of objectivity because it is useful.
So then the entire argument reduces to utility. Useful for what?
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:04 pm
It helps us to sort information according to reliability, which is something we often want to do.
And why do we want to do that? If we have different reasons for "wanting to do something" does it mean that we can rank models differently?

I do that all the time! Earth is flat (while I am driving a car).
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:04 pm
It's not so much that the concept is sub-ordinate to utility, there is no need for such a formalist approach. Every concept has to have utility, otherwise it doesn't get used. I'm never going to debate a useless concept, because, well, that seems like a waste of time.
So, I ask (again): what is the utility of "objectivity"? And far more importantly: who is objectivity useful to and for what purpose?
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:04 pm
Not "my" notion. Either the term is grounded in suppositions of information that can be verified independently of any person's particular opinion, or it is not.
Yeah, but that's not the whole story. I am sure the information can be verified within its domain of applicability.
If the theory's domain of applicability doesn't intersect with your utility-function - who cares?
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:04 pm
I don't understand why I am still explaining that I am not pursuing certainty or equilibrium.
Well, what are you pursuing? If you are after utility, then state your [urlhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utility_function]utility function[/url].
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:04 pm
That stuff would be for the moral objectivists - which appears not to be me! I am very clearly describing a state of moral affairs that is never going to be in perfect equilibrium, and I am trying to explain why that is OK, and not the same as arbitrary.
That entire line of reasoning reduces to standards of quality. I don't want perfect equilibrium - I am happy with good-enough things.

A strategy that reduces murder by 1% is better than a strategy that does fuckall.
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:04 pm
That is "objectively speaking" in a colloqual sense.
Well, what other sense is there? The Philosophical, idealistic, eternally unachievable, Sysypian objectivity?
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:04 pm
The reasonable man on the Clapham omnibus could be persuaded that I am not interested in objectivity. Prof likes to use that version of the word when he needs to equivocate between scientific objectivity and something some guy said once that sounded reasonable.
OK, but scientific objectivity is amounts to a Dutch Book argument. Being 70% wrong is better than being 95% wrong - it's the least worst gamble.

And that still brings the implicit assumption that "nobody wants to be wrong about X" - certainty.
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:04 pm
There's an upper limit to the actual objectivity of information we describe as objective.
Yeah, but we don't know where that upper limit is. If we say the limit is X, but then we find a scientific model that gives us way more than X - surely you'll go with the better model?

You are still on the market for certainty...
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:04 pm
If we set a standard for objectivity that requires us to view the universe from the outside in order to validate a claim, then we can't use the word to describe any information we will ever have.
And yet that's what the Pyrrhonists do! That's what philosophy does too with its insistence on deductive, rather than inductive methods.
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:04 pm
So we don't do that. We use the term to describe information that we have a certain level of faith in, that is deemed testable in some way. It's imperfect in some sense and invites more radical skeptics than I to dismiss the existence of the universe. I don't care about that shit though, it's not very useful. Our concepts of objective/subjective are bounded by these possiblities, as they must be.
Sure, so can we focus on what "useful" means, and whether there's any chance of arriving at some "shared utility" and "shared goals" amongst humans?

Because if the answer is "no" - then objective morality (in the pragmatic, colloquial sense) is doomed
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:04 pm
What I argue is that moral 'knowledge' is unattainable unless we accept that knowledge in this context is so very severely bounded by shared subjectivity that the word 'know' is being treated very badly. But in matters of real controversy, there is no set of external moral facts for us to look every question up against, and so we are limited to persuasion.
OK, but the Pyrrhonist would argue that your argument is a truism. Knowledge is unattainable. Full stop. To the Pyrrhonist knowledge mandates absolute certainty.

They are still on the market for certainty (just like you and I), but the Pyrrhonist is also a perfectionist. 99.9999999999999% certainty is not good enough.
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:04 pm
Anybody who is able to join in the shared human activity of behaving morally will behave as-if their own understanding is correct and universal most of the time. And unless they are a complete **** they should be right enough for our purposes in most situations.
Well, yeah! That's what objective morality is (as far as I understand it). Enforced social norms.
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:04 pm
Moral skepticism doesn't mean just runing around tea-bagging everyone you dislike until the cops taze you.
And the True Skeptic would ask: Why not? If you don't believe there are any moral principles then why concern yourself with social norms?

And if there are moral principles, then why does the "objective/subjective" distinction even matter?

FlashDangerpants
Posts: 2230
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2016 11:54 pm

Re: What could make morality subjective?

Post by FlashDangerpants » Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:58 pm

Skepdick wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:54 pm
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:04 pm
It is flawed if it stops being useful for some reason. It is fixed if it becomes useful again under some modified paradigm.
OK, so what is "objectivity" useful for?
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:04 pm
If that even means anything, it's not a useful objection. Moral philosophy is about looking at those rules of use that define the boundaries of our moral concepts. More or less anyway.
OK. Let it be so. What are moral concepts useful for?
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:04 pm
No. It does roughly what I said. You aren't going to railroad me, you should stop trying.
I don't want to rail-road you. I want you to commit. You are trying to have it both ways.
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:04 pm
If, for instance, there are incompatible competing subjective views on some matter, and there is some other information which can rule out the incorrect view and substantiate a correct one, that is objective under the rules of common usage.
That's incoherent. What is your epistemic criterion for "correctness" and "incorrectness"?
Moral concepts are useful for us to have moral discourse, which in turn is useful for us to decide what to do and stuff like that. Is this somehow controversial?

I am not going to choose to misunderstand the logical relations a priori and posteriori for your benefit. Our moral language and concepts are the subject matter of moral philosophy. This is true. I don't need some pissant telling me I am not allowed to hold that view, and I won't be bullied on the matter.

Given the other views I have expressed, surely you can predict that I think "correctness" would have a scalable epistemic criteria depending upon the situation. A correct statement regarding the appropriateness of wearing a Metallica Teeshirt to a funeral has a lower hurdle to clamber over than a correct calculation for the weight capacity of jumbo jet. But the corollary is that the former statement has less reason to be considered correct - it is more of a fashion tip than a fact about how the universe works. Between those extremes, you will find the "correctness" of a moral statement such as "stealing is wrong".
Skepdick wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:54 pm
Languages and views develop as functions of goals/objectives.
Different goals/objectives produce different views/languages.

To dismiss a particular view/language as "incorrect" is to dismiss an objective/goal as "incorrect".
That's the kind of thing Hedgehog7 writes when he is at peak bullshit. If the language is being used to describe (as correct) a state of affairs in the world that is not moot, then it is quite possible for that statement to be incorrect.
Skepdick wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:54 pm
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:04 pm
When I say some term is used as description within our shared common language, there will always be shared common rules for application of the term. That is how language and concepts work.
You are pre-supposing a shared/common language despite all contrary evidence. There are 7000 languages spoken on Earth - give or take a few hundred.
I correctly pre-supposed that you and I share a common language when I used words to express thoughts and you understood them. That's the stuff that languages are for. Of course I didn't say there is only one language - how could you possibly imagine that I was saying that?
Skepdick wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:54 pm
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:04 pm
You have absolutely missed the point of a priori and a posteriori.
I don't think I have. History is immutable. The future is not.
You have absolutely missed the point of a priori and a posteriori. This is a statement of fact, because facts are still something we can state, even without a position outside the universe of time and space from which to evaluate them.
Skepdick wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:54 pm
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:04 pm
Sure. If you decide to believe that the universe exists on a 20 dimensional flat plane then you an also describe the world as flat to anyone who is taking you seriously. But that shit is Hedgehog7 level nonsense so I don't care.
By what epistemic criteria for "nonsense" ?
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:04 pm
Persuading anyone to accept whatever Ptolomaic model you are discussing sounds eyewateringly difficult to me and I see no problem with what I wrote there resulting from any of this.
Why are you pre-supposing anybody wants to persuade anybody of anything? If you think the Earth is round - that's your business. If I think that it's flat, and it doesn't get in my way of every day life (or yours) why are you trying change my views?
Try to remember that I was replying there to your response to something else I wrote. You are not repsonding with relevance. I suggest chopping shit up less and trying to remember what is the thing I am arguing for here rather than where you wish to direct me.
Skepdick wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 5:54 pm
... other stuff ...
Sorry, I am just bored of spending this much time trying to maintain the edits on this stuff. Let me know if you think any of the stuff I left out really needs attention.

Skepdick
Posts: 4345
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2019 11:16 am

Re: What could make morality subjective?

Post by Skepdick » Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:05 pm

FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:58 pm
Moral concepts are useful for us to have moral discourse, which in turn is useful for us to decide what to do and stuff like that. Is this somehow controversial?
It's only as controversial in as much as you are suggesting that we ought to "decide what to do and stuff like that".

Why do we have to have moral discourse?
Why do we have to decide what to do and stuff?

I am asking these questions only because I am sceptical of your claimed moral scepticism. You bring a lot of "ought" to the table....
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:58 pm
I am not going to choose to misunderstand the logical relations a priori and posteriori for your benefit. Our moral language and concepts are the subject matter of moral philosophy. This is true. I don't need some pissant telling me I am not allowed to hold that view, and I won't be bullied on the matter.
Uhuh! So you OUGHT TO to hold whatever view you want? Interesting....

At do we agree that your "belief" in moral scepticism is only lip service, that is incongruent with your actions?
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:58 pm
has a lower hurdle to clamber over than a correct calculation for the weight capacity of jumbo jet.
For the sake of argument, a true sceptic would point out: Some calculations would make the plane crash. Other calculations wouldn't. That's an objective fact. So what?

Are you saying that the airplane ought not crash? By what moral principle is the "moral sceptic" asserting this?

If you are so adamant that the is-ought gap can't be traversed, then you are being really careless.
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:58 pm
But the corollary is that the former statement has less reason to be considered correct - it is more of a fashion tip than a fact about how the universe works. Between those extremes, you will find the "correctness" of a moral statement such as "stealing is wrong".
OK, but that doesn't address anything. Knowing how the universe works has no bearing on your goals.

Some times "the way the universe works" aligns with your goals. Physics leverages the universe's behaviour.
Some times "the way the universe works" is counter to your goals. Medicine attempts to change the universe's behaviour.

And so in the end it still boils down to control/certainty. Some things need changing. Some things don't.

If you are going to pretend to be a moral sceptic, then you don't need to be a nihilist. You only need be an ardent relativist to demonstrate that it's impossible to make any choices/decisions.
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:58 pm
That's the kind of thing Hedgehog7 writes when he is at peak bullshit. If the language is being used to describe (as correct) a state of affairs in the world that is not moot, then it is quite possible for that statement to be incorrect.
You are chasing your own tail. Let Ultimate Truth present itself at your doorstep tomorrow. The correct and precise Scientific Theory of Everything.

Which "correct state of affairs" is it describing exactly?. The past, present or future state of affairs?
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:58 pm
I correctly pre-supposed that you and I share a common language when I used words to express thoughts and you understood them. That's the stuff that languages are for. Of course I didn't say there is only one language - how could you possibly imagine that I was saying that?
And would you say that we share approximately the same language or precisely the same language? Because sure as shit we shouldn't ever have to argue or disagree on anything if you used language exactly in the way I use language.

I am of the opinion that we don't use the same language. For the simple reason that you discount time. You see an "is-ought" gap.
I see a "was-is-ought" continuum.
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:58 pm
You have absolutely missed the point of a priori and a posteriori. This is a statement of fact, because facts are still something we can state, even without a position outside the universe of time and space from which to evaluate them.
Q.E.D we speak a different language.

The future exists. Hence, I am of the opinion that there are such things as future facts, contingent on one's present choices.
You will probably disagree with me.
FlashDangerpants wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:58 pm
Try to remember that I was replying there to your response to something else I wrote. You are not repsonding with relevance. I suggest chopping shit up less and trying to remember what is the thing I am arguing for here rather than where you wish to direct me.
You are really really missing the point. I don't want to direct you anywhere. I want to point out that you are engaging in an activity which you call "arguing", and I am engaged in an activity which I call "pointing out incongruence between words and actions". The English language is a minefield of "ought" - you call them adjectives.

So I can't take anybody seriously who claims that there exists such thing as an is-ought gap, while constantly using a value-biased language.
Be a good relativist, point out the two extremes and then walk the middle way.

And so I can trivially point out that on a sliding scale arguing can be beneficial, pointless or counter-productive.

The relativist would say "without some implicit values you can't even distinguish benefit from counter-productivity", so all that you can say about arguing is that it's an activity for its own sake. It's neither valuable nor otherwise. Arguing is arguing - it serves no beneficial purpose.

If arguing is not valuable, please go ahead and convince me why I ought to participate in arguing.

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