I don't, actually. "Contingent" is the opposite of "necessary." It means that the thing in question didn't have to be the way it is at all.
"There's nothing behind them that justifies them." This statement of yours makes no sense. I am very justified in expecting the sun to rise in the morning. But you need a better working understanding of the term. Here, it has to do with contextualization and meaning. It is a thorny issue under close inspection, but for now, look at the thesis that is being presented regarding ethics NOT being at the metaethical level, contingent. It means that context does does not the provide the determinacy for right and wrong. And always keep in mind that it is not about the complexities of our affairs and how to resolve them, It DOES provide the foundational intuition that backs all such deliberations, however.
Let's check that: "Contingent Proposition. A contingent proposition is a proposition that is not necessarily true or necessarily false (i.e., is not the negation of a necessary truth). A contingent truth is a true proposition that could have been false; a contingent falsehood is a false proposition that could have been true. This is sometimes expressed by saying that a contingent proposition is one that is true in some possible worlds and not in others." (University of Washington)
It doesn't have to do with "standing alone," but with the possibility that the even or claim in question need not necessarily be true (or false).
I'm thinking that perhaps you've mixed in, accidentally, the non-philosophical definition of "contingent," the imprecise one that people use every day, in a sentence like, "You could not have foreseen that contingency," meaning "that accident" or "that happening."
No. Look at it this way: Say a friend has loaned you his shotgun, and told you he would have to have it back if he needed it. He comes to you later in a rage, set on murderous revenge, insisting you give him hos shotgun. This is a rather cliched case of an ethical dilemma, and what makes it contingent, as your Wiki def. says, is that the determination as to what to do is bound to uncertainty, it is contextualized in competing obligations, like, a person needs to respect another's property, and, should not abet murder, and all of the other things that may apply. It is often quite messy, what the right, or "good" course of action is not clear. If ouy think that returned the gun as requested is the right choice, you could be wrong. It's not as if God told you the truth path to take, but there you are, with no absolute to compel you. It's the same with the claim that the sun will rise in the morning: it is a very good bit of reasoning that informs this, but the matter remains contingent: it may NOT rise. It is not necessarily so.
I hope this clears this up. It helps to read about this.
That's a natural mistake, perhaps...but a mistake nonetheless. "Contingent" things only are not "stand alone" in the sense that theoretically, they could be other than they are; and if things were different, they would be. They are things-that-depend-on-other-things; but those other things are in place already. That being so, they "stand" as they are.
The idea of 'stand alone' is simply what holds for an absolute: it is true, right, good, bad, and needs no discursive, justificatory basis beyond what it is.
Then my response is simply that the moral terms good and bad do not apply here at all. Knives are not morally bad. They're not morally good either. They have no moral standing. They're just objects.
I wonder why.....look, you have to at least try. I've talked about this several times now. Knives morally bad?
Here again, you misuse the word "contingency." The actual literal sharpness of an knife, the physical angle at which the blade is ground and refined, is an objective matter. Either the knife has been sharpened, or it has not. There is no moral involvement in the question at all.
First of all, the contingent "goodness" is about the facts of the physical knife; it is about the terms of it employment, which are variable, and thus, so is the goodness of the knife. Of course there isn't any moral involvement in the facts of the knife. It is simply to illustrate what contingency means in order to make clear how value as such isn't contingent.
Ah, no... is a mistaken transfer of fact terms into value terms, and thus is a false analogy. Moral judgments are not like empirical ones. For empirical ones, we can look at the knife and see if it's properly ground. But there is no way to morally evaluate a knife qua knife, and there is no way to evaluate in strictly empirical terms the moral condition of anything.
You are now getting very close. Where Hume and Wittgenstein denied that value was factual ( you really must read Witt's Lecture on Ethics. I am sure it is online, and it is short, simply and accessible), the thesis put forth here does not agree, or, that it is a mere verbal argument on the meaning of what a fact is. This is open for discussion. The point, however, is that the presence of value, which is the essence of ethics, presents an intuitive, apodictic necessity: an absolute (not to quibble over this term. There is an unnnamed argument I am not making part of this discussion). See previously stated accounts of this earlier on.
Okay, true; but when you do, you have to show the justification of that foundational value, or nobody has reason to accept your evaluation of the case. That's the point. We don't get away with floating our ethics on nothing, and skipping the metaethical grounding just because it's inconvenient. If someone presses us, we need to be able to say, "My action makes sense, given my normative ethic; and my normative ethic makes sense, given my metaethics.
And then, if we're really smart, we can also find a way to show "My metaethical position makes sense, based on my ontology of the world, and my ontology is realistic and logically warranted."
Beyond that, no one can go.
Very good: the justification of that foundational value IS NOT going to be some discursive justification; it is not going to be the kind of thing that defers to other grounds for validation. THAT is the way of contingent statements. Here we are in the world of metaethics. and there is the question, what is ethical goodness? See G E Moore's Principia. It's a bit like asking, what is the color yellow as it appears? (hence, the phenomenological epoche is applied to this reductive analysis) Moore believe that such questions were unanswerable for yellow is simply "given". (It is not about the electromagnetic spectrum. This kind of analysis is quite beside the point). So again, the spear in your side, the flame on your finger, the joy of being in love, etc., these when entangled in our affairs are very difficult to settle. But again, once a reduction is made, the essence becomes clear: it is the inherent goodness of, say, joy. And it needs no further justification, so don't ask for one, because the whole point is that this justification is inherent in the joy. And don't ask why it is an absolute because I argued the case earlier. Now, you can take this argument up and resist it, but you have to first understand it.
I do. Empirical "sharpness" is a statistical matter. It may be contingent on whether or not the knife has been properly ground, but that, too, is very testable; and once a knife has been ground, its sharpness is empirically verifiable. You do it all the time.
A knife is sharpened when the edge is refined at the requisite degrees (depending on the thickness of the metal, and so on). When it's sharp, it performs the knife-function of cutting the material for which it was designed with application of the specified force. All of that is empirical, statistical, observable and verifiable; and has zero to do with morally evaluating the knife.
No. no. I mean here, in this issue at hand. It is not the sharpness, but the presence of it such that one might call it a good knife. or a bad one.
All this does is move the question back one step: why should I care about "intersubjective confidence" or "society's integrity"? Show that those things are morally required of me.
In point of fact, if I steal, I only undermine "intersubjective confidence" between me and others if I get caught. But I think I won't. And as for "society's integrity?" I might simply respond that "social integrity" doesn't even mean anything...society has no "integrity," being diverse and multicultural, and unified only by the most extended bonds of law. It will not be "less integrated," and not even with me personally, if I'm not caught stealing.
So now, for moral information, I need a showing that I should care. It's not obvious I should, since stealing with work for me and I want to do it.
Heh, heh; you are a true defender of the spirit of opposition. It has nothing to do with these things you mention. It is another illustration of contingent affairs ultimately bottom out into non contingent affairs. We say the couch is a good one, and the goodness DEPENDS (see the contingency?) on desirable features the couch has, its comfort, appearance, an so on. But the dependency can be analyzed down, eventually, to something that is not contingent, like comfort qua comfort. Of course, comfort is only an absolute good consider as itself; it is easy to imagine a context in which we would desire an uncomfortable couch (for whatever reasons, but such a thing IS possible).
I repeatedly give you illustrations because you continue to play tit for tat on this. When you do this, you miss the obvious.
Not at all.
Rather, Hume posed the question that secular moralists simply cannot answer: "how do you deduce the legitimacy of a moral value from a mere statement of empirical fact?"
Thereby, he put the burden of proof squarely on the shoulders of the secular moralist. It's really the secular moral objectivist who is in the hot seat and owes an answer for how his moral claims are not merely arbitrary and illusory.
And if he can't answer, then Hume wins. Because the empirical status of an object, its "factness" can be scientifically ascertained; but the moral status of that fact, its "valueness" cannot be deduced in that way.
You have to put science aside; after all, science cannot speak about moral affairs because science cannot observe them. The essence of ethics is not IN the observation, but it is present all the same, and the evidence for this is IN the value that is at risk, if you will. And as I said above, you can quibble over what a fact is, but it would be pointless, for the nature of the presence value is undeniable. Keep in mind, the logical form of a hypothetical proposition is not /"observed" either, and it remains ontologically ambiguous. But there is no denying that hypotheticals have meaning, or, logical "presence".
That's question-begging. Without already having an ethical framework in hand, it is not even possible to know for certain what issues are "ethical" an which are not. So this approach merely assumes its conclusion; it does nothing to justify it.
The idea is not merely assumed, it is explained: please understand what has been said: the REAL issue, to let this cat out, is whether the intuitive grasp of pain as such, and for this premise simply stick yourself with a needle, presents the presence of an absolute. I say it does, and for this, you have to review the argument about the difference between contingency and absolutes vis a vis metaethics, which I laid out. Look at it closely and think. Don't rush to the next post. You're moving too fast, to slickly, and you are not thinking.
No, actually, I'm spot on. Phenomenology is methodologically amoral. It suspends all ethical judgments in order to buy descriptive acuity. But when ethics themselves are the issue in question, phenomenology is entirely uninformative for that reason...it eschews ethics. To allow ethics to determine which "phenomena" one will and will not observe in one's phenomenological analysis is simply to curtail and corrupt the phenomenological data.
That's the strength of the method -- that it's dispassionate, observational, and independent of things like expectation, tradition, prejudice, and so on (at least allegedly, though this can certainly be contested). But that's also its weakness...that it arbitrarily excludes things congenial to any value judgments of that phenomenological data. And the minute one attempts any moral assessment of the phenomena in hand, one has failed to be a phenomenologist anymore.
The strength of phenomenology rests with the reduction, and IN the reduction there is the eidetic prediction of affairs in actuality ( regarding objects in the world) Besides, who told you this?? Methodologically amoral? How so? Descriptive acuity? Tell me, and think for yourself, how is it that description omits ethics? How it is that value does not belong to a descriptive profile? Is modus ponens a "descriptive feature" of language; if so, what happened to the standard of what a descriptive fact is? Why is phenomenology dispassionate? How can Heidegger talk about caring as a fundamental feature of dasein if phenomenology is exclusive of passion? How does Levinas put desire in between totality and infinity if phenomenology has none of this? Are you aware of the phenomenological reduction? Tell me: how is it that in the reduction, metaethical ontology may not be permitted?
No, ethics has three linked divisions: metaethics, normative ethics and applied ethics. Moral judgments require consistency at all three levels, or the judgments themselves become both irrational and unjustifiable, and only ever accidentally right in any cases they happen to end up right. So there is simply no way to sever off metaethics and treat it as irrelevant to the other two levels.
try to understand: When you ask the question, what is the nature of the ethical good, you are not asking anything about what one should do. It is an ontological query, not a practical one. Of course, the matter at hand is to see what it is that is IN ethics that makes it binding, and this is essential for subsequent problem solving, and it is this very dimension, the metaethical is always already in play, but to determine the nature of such a thing, one does not think about ethical dilemmas and the like.
I see now. You haven't understood the problem Hume pointed out.
"Analysis" is about facts. "Ethics" is about values. There is simply no way to jump from an analysis of phenomenological facts to a claim of justification for values.
Look at it like this: suppose I tell you a simple fact, like "The people get standard wages." What moral value and obligations does such a statement imply?
Does it mean, "The people are greedy, and want more?" Why should I care? Or "The cost of living has risen?" What can I do about that, and why should I do anything? Or "The owners are cheapskates?" So? Or "The bosses are tyrants?" Again, so? Or "The people want cash instead of cheques?" What's that got to do with me, if anything? What does it tell me, as the hearer, that I ought to do? Should I teach workers budgeting? Should I start a strike? Should I be glad I'm not a worker? Should I rail against corporations? Should I mind my own business? Should I shrug and walk away?
Nothing in the statement "The people are not happy with their wages" tells me anything about the moral status of that fact. It's just a fact. And from that mere fact alone, I have not the slightest sense of my own moral position relative to that fact.
All of this is as if you haven't read a word. Sorry, but I think you think too much about what you think, and not enough about what is being said. These are contingent matters above. They are entanglements in the world, but they each do possess the essence of ethics, which is value. The metaethical questions is, what is value? The particular ethical issues that might arise, like whether the cost of living has risen high enough to demand a raise, do not in any way what so ever advance one to a conclusion about the nature of ethics! Period. For this question, one has to ask different questions altogether, and since it is a "meta" question, we have to abstract from such problems as above, to analytically determine what is present in them to warrant discussion. ring a bell? This is what Kant did with reason.
All of this has been said, twice, at least. If you want to argue the case, then go to the argument. Is this reduction, as I am calling it, down to the essence of ethics present an absolute??