Is there evidence for objective morality?

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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prof
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Is there evidence for objective morality?

Post by prof » Mon Aug 20, 2012 10:10 pm

A student wrote: “I have read that most philosophers today accept Objective Morality. Why is that?”

The following statements make sense and are reasonable to believe. They are also empirically verifiable.

"Gravity is operative; it is in effect and will attract you - and anything you drop - toward the center of the Earth " is an objective proposition. So also is this one: "Humans are value-generating organisms: they have a capacity to generate value, and they do so frequently." (It also was a moral proposition.) Here is some evidence for the claim.

Every time you give someone service with a smile you are creating value. Every time you do an act of kindness that the recipient finds acceptable and appreciates you are creating value. Every time you express love you are generating value. Every time you respect someone; every time you innovate; every time you solve a problem, or create something, you are generating value. Every time you make someone smile (with you), you are creating value. Etc., etc.

When someone falls off the edge of a roof, without a parachute, they find that gravity is operative.

There is a "cold, hard fact about human nature." ((And humans, after all, are part of nature.) Allow me to explain: Human beings have a capacity to value, and they often do make evaluations ...they value; they make value judgments. That is a fact.

Gravity and electricity are forces of nature; they are always operative. Is there a law of human nature?

Yes, there is. Value creation: we do it all the time. One does it even if he has a low Value Quotient score on the HVP test (which measures value thinking). Say, someone over-values Systemic Value (a moral mistake) and thus earns a low V.Q.(Value Quotient). He may still create something because he is thinking of systems all the time. Or he may be passionate for his cause - because he tends to think in terms of Black-or-White, of either-or. Creativity and passion add value. Adding value is what Ethics is all about. [See the argument for that claim in the Unified Theory of Ethics, pp 28-29.] http://tinyurl.com/27pzhbf

[As you may be aware, if you read over the essays of M. C. Katz - to which you will find links below - the Existential logical Hierarchy of Value, expressed in the formula
S < E < I,
was first devised by a brilliant philosopher named Robert S. Hartman, whose bio you can find on Wiki.]

Value is a force of nature. It is created when we don't resist going in the Intrinsic direction, as indicated in the Existential logical Hierarchy of Value {the HOV}, nor violate it by committing disvalue. For example, using nuclear energy to drop an A-bomb on innocent people: that is committing disvalue. ...To combat violence with violence is like trying to put out a fire by pouring gasoline on it :!: (In Pakistan today we are, with our drone attacks, generating new Osama bin Ladins.)

Complying with the Hierarchy of Value, the HOV, always works. In that sense it is analogous with gravity. [If we attempt to violate either one, we only demonstrate it.] Complying with it means going in the direction of Intrinsic valuation (- in Robert Hartman's sense of the term, not John Dewey's -) giving it preference over Extrinsic values, and over Systemic values. For, when any dilemma arises there are three basic considerations, or perspectives:

S: What are the codes, standards, traditions,? What would the authorities say?

E: What are the pragmatic considerations? What would solve problems? What is the cost/benefit analysis?

I: How do we build a stronger community? What is the loving thing to do? How do we incentivize better, sweeter cooperation? How cultivate a sense of unity-within-the-diversity? How can everyone better express their individuality, and feel more free, yet more responsible to our common purpose?

Violating the HOV results in a net loss ( which might look like,though, a short-term gain.) For example, if after a boss in a mean and contemptuous tone nastily commands an employee to fix a piece of machinery - the employee fixes it - and the machine once again now runs: that appears to be a gain in value. However, the resentment that has developed in the staff member, and the subsequent loss of motivation on his part will mean that he won't throw himself in a dedicated way into fulfilling the purpose of that company. This is a net loss of value. A short-term gain; a long-term loss.

For clear, specific details explaining the HOV and its practical applications, see these references. All of them are PDF files. They are sequels, in dialog form, to the Unified Theory of Ethics:

For the paper ETHICAL ADVENTURES
http://tinyurl.com/38zfrh7

For the essay, ETHICAL EXPLORATIONS
http://tinyurl.com/22ohd2x

For the paper ASPECTS OF ETHICS
http://tinyurl.com/36u6gpo

And in expository, declarative form, for your reading pleasure, see the booklet, LIVING THE GOOD LIFE
http://tinyurl.com/28mtn56

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Re: Is there evidence for objective morality?

Post by The Voice of Time » Tue Aug 21, 2012 12:42 am

Once again I must object to your use of these terms. But you probably will continue with your blasphemy towards the Principia Ethica regardless of what, so I'm just gonna pretend like I don't care about the blasphemy...

About the content of your post, then, I must say, and this is VERY important that you understand because it pretty much destroys the entire capacity you portray in your post: how on Earth can you know that the long-term negativity can in any way be considered a net-value loss when you DO NOT know how much value the short-term adds? How do you measure the value just by using empty words such as "short-term" or "long-term"? If your position is that the short-term does add less value then you've already stated the result of the reasoning, that is, you've created a system of thought where you will always win without competition... one hell of game, don't you think? :roll:

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Re: Is there evidence for objective morality?

Post by Jonathan.s » Tue Aug 21, 2012 9:43 am

Don't let him make you feel bad, Prof! I can see where you're coming from. (Although I haven't quite taken in all the fine print yet......)

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Re: Is there evidence for objective morality?

Post by prof » Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:49 pm

The Voice of Time wrote:.... your blasphemy towards the Principia Ethica regardless of what, so I'm just gonna pretend like I don't care about the blasphemy...

...how on Earth can you know that the long-term negativity can in any way be considered a net-value loss when you DO NOT know how much value the short-term adds? How do you measure the value...
Greetings, Voice

When you speak of blasphemy towards Principia Ethica do you mean to say that Hartman is committing the Naturalistic Fallacy pointed out by George Edward Moore?

If that's what you meant, I can assure you he does not. He avoids that Fallacy by the way he defines "value" and "good." I shall quote from my book, TRENDS TOWARD SYNTHESIS IN THE PHILOSOPHY OF ROBERT S. HARTMAN, pp. 91-92. (Chicago, Axiopress, 2004) The chapter is taken from the section entitled Historical Elements in Hartman's Synthesis. The Chapter Title is "Recent Philosophy - The Moore-Hartman Breakthrough."

Moore conceived of "the naturalistic fallacy" a stroke of thought which has caused no end of controversy in discussions of ethics. One of his incisive arguments is presented in this manner: if the judgment "pleasure is good," which appears to be a meaningful commendation of pleasure, is not to be a mere tautology, "pleasure" must not be a synonym for (have the same connotation as) good. That is, it must not be substitutable in all contexts where the term good occurs. Those who would define, therefore, the good as pleasure find themselves in a dilemma. They are either declaring that the above expression says merely, "pleasure is pleasure" (x is x) and thus lacks any informative meaning, or, they would have to admit that good is not synonymous with pleasure. Similar reasoning holds for any other naturalistic definition, i.e., for any other attempt to define goodness in terms of a factor natural to any physical or social science. They are all dashed on the rocks of the Moorean "Open Question Test.."

This test runs: "You say the good is ______, but is it good that _______ is good?" Or, alternatively, "What sense does it make to state 'It is good that _______ is good?"
{ ______ may be self-realization, satisfying of desire, evolution, purpose, preference, sustainability, etc., etc. These are some of the proposals to define what "good" means.}

To confuse, as all naturalistic definitions do, properties which may universally accompany goodness with goodness itself is a generic error. Even if it is true, for example, that whatever is "more evolved" is always "better," it does not follow that the former term means the same as the latter. By weakening the case of the naturalists Moore opened the way for the non-naturalists, including the logicists.

Moor Changes His Mind

To Moore in 1903, any attempt to define good at all was "naturalism," and thus suspect. Yet, some 30 years after he wrote his Principia Ethica, Moore himself described his argument that good is indefinable as "certainly fallacious," and asserted that good might after all be definable. See: G. E. Moore, "Is Goodness a Quality?" in Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society/i], S.V. XI (1932), p. 127.

Hartman defined "value" as "degree of fulfillment of intension (or meaning)." Based on this axiom, he then defined goodness as full (extrinsic) value.

(That is to say, goodness is complete fulfillment of exposition as well as definition by a specific referent. ["fulfillment" here means"a one-to-one correspondence between a set of properties and a set of property names"] Something is good if it has all of its denumerable features. A "definition" may be understood as "a finite subset of an intension"; and "exposition" is "a denumerable subset." Further details can be found in R. S. Harman, THE STRUCTURE OF VALUE (Southern Illinois Univ. Press, 1967), which is a classic, now rare, but can be found in many university libraries.)

More technically, let us define good systematically:

x is a good C =df.

(I) x is a member of the class-concept C

(II) C's contain in their conceptual intension the countable number of attributes alpha, beta, gamma, delta, . . .

(III) this x has as one of its factual properties, as part of its natural descrition alpha; it also has beta, gamma, delta, . . . .

Hence, this x is good as a C if and only if all of the above three conditions hold true of this x. For example, this is a good post in a thread if it has all the characteristics which the reader thinks of when he conceives of the class-concept "post in a thread." Otherwise this piece of writing is less than good and to speak of its goodness would be inappropriate. [Further details can be found in the relevant chapter in A UNIFIED THEORY OF ETHICS. And also in the first chapter of Marvin C. Katz - ETHICS: A College Course http://tinyurl.com/24cs9y7

Hartman's contextual definition of "x is a good C" rather than of "x is good", and his noting that the adjective "good' is a second-order property rather than a first-order property like "large" or "shapely",; good is analogous to "all" in Logic, while "value" is analogous to "some" in Logic. Both value and good are quantifiers of qualities; just as some and all are quantifiers of items.

Substituting the Hartman definition into the Moore test yield a matrix reading as follows: "Iit is good that x is a good C" According to Hartman in the proposition "It is good that x R y", the relation R is part of the intension of one or more of its terms. Consider now the special case: "x R y" designates "x is a C." In this case, class-membership is the significant relation. Since, by the axiom of value when a relationship of class-membership becomes one of class correspondence between intension and extension of a C, a thing becomes first a valuable and then a good C, depending upon the degree of correspondence: goodness is full correspondence.

The foundational concepts of Formal Axiology when submitted to the Open Question Test pass this test with flying colors !

...The book itself, Trends Toward Synthesis, offers more technicalities in the proof - which I have omitted here for the sake of brevity - but you can have mailed to you an electronically-reproduced copy of it from Axiopress if you are interested.


Now, as to your second point: you ask, "How do you measure the value....?"

The meaning of the concept serves as the measure. Logically speaking, meaning is interpreted as a set of property-names (attributes). The description of something consists of its definition and its exposition. {It also has a connotation, the structure of which can be understood as an open set, a set discussed in Algebraic Topology.}

The name (of a specific concept) sets the norm. If you say to me "hammer" I have a certain picture pop into my mend. That is the "ideal" in a sense. It has certain features. They serve as the measure when I go into a hardware store to buy a hammer. When I see a thing with those features, and if it possesses all of them, I'll say to myself, "This is a good hammer" and - if I was in the market for one - I may likely purchase it. Thus the intension of the relevant concept is the measure. When the actual matches the ideal, we tend to call the actual item "good."

I trust this is helpful, and it addresses your concerns.

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Re: Is there evidence for objective morality?

Post by prof » Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:22 pm

Jonathan.s wrote:Don't let him make you feel bad, Prof! I can see where you're coming from. (Although I haven't quite taken in all the fine print yet......)
Greetings, Jonathan

Thank you for your support. I admire your humility, and willingness to learn. You may actually be studying the necessary background reading required to adapt to the new (yet very ancient) paradigm for Ethics, and if so, that is commendable :!:

Ethics is viewed in this paradigm as a body of knowledge that adds to the world's useful information. As a literary device it is written in dialog form although it is fiction. One need not keep track of the characters as most all of them are spokesmen for a theory with its logical structure not as apparent as it could be if it were explained better. My future posts here will make it clearer, I hope. The Epilog in one of the sequels displays that logical structure of the entire theory. And the footnotes help a lot too.

I am looking for a sympatico mathematician or logician to put it all on a sounder basis by proposing one or more kinds of math models that when interpreted consistenly will explicate ethical concepts. If you know somebody who knows both some logic and some ethics, please get me in contact with him or her. I am constantly striving to sharpen up the ethical notions so that they are ready for math to handle them.


Voice of Time is all "hung up" on an example. One can't draw conclusions like he is doing from a mere illustration. ...not as one can do from a logical argument.
It was long enough already, though I meant to inform him in my post addressed to him that there is a formal test, the Hartman Value Profile, which in fact does measure how people value; it assigns probability scores to the testee's responses. There is - or was - an outfit in Norway that actually publishes a Norwegian version of it. Further details can be obtained from the Hartman Value Institute. http://www.hartmaninstitute.org/ Also, there one can learn about the test, and get validity reports on its soundness.

And if you are reading this, Voice of Time, you may want to go to the source and read Hartman in the original. Do see: Axiology As A Science Here is a link for it - http://hartmaninstitute.org/Portals/0/h ... ience.html

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Re: Is there evidence for objective morality?

Post by The Voice of Time » Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:45 pm

Prof I was quite aware of the man and the work before you started mentioning him and it.

When I spoke of Moore's book I didn't just mean the naturalistic fallacy, instead more like the book on a whole. The naturalistic fallacy however is of course also a concern here, and you don't seem to justify the point you're trying to make even with all your efforts. Good is still equating good. Hartman has still just designated a new definition. And why would any hammer be a good hammer just because it has all the features of a hammer? Of course, if I need a hammer with all those qualities, then it can be good to have one, but that doesn't mean that's always the case. For instance, what is the deal with transcendental value then? You don't know what is the end to achieve, so how can you know the value of something for which you have no expectations for? Think about the "modern virtue ethics" you talked about here, and which I called "habit ethics". Many of those "habits" if I can justify that term is solely made of non-rationalisations, and instead just conformity with something "deemed" but not ascertained valuable. Yet, it works out "good", without the person's enumerations, as it could equally well had worked out bad!

The word good has many specific meanings. Hartman only found one which is "often" used, not always used. Try look around you in real life and see if people really think that things are always good just because they correspond with expected enumerations of qualities (properties, attributes... whatever "logical" names you prefer for these things... logic isn't always logical)...... what I see, it's not, instead people are rather disorganized and spontaneous and makes up what is good as they go along. Hartman is in other words posing in the wrong clothes, and he better get out of his clothes and find some proper ones. Value may have often a relationship here, but not a fundamental relationship, only a relative tendencational one.

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Re: Is there evidence for objective morality?

Post by prof » Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:34 am

The Voice of Time wrote:Prof... you don't seem to justify the point ...Good is still equating good. ...what is the deal with transcendental value then? You don't know what is the end to achieve, so how can you know the value of something for which you have no expectations for? Think about the "modern virtue ethics" ...which I called "habit ethics". Many of those "habits" if I can justify that term is solely made of non-rationalisations, and instead just conformity with something "deemed" but not ascertained valuable. Yet, it works out "good", without the person's enumerations, as it could equally well had worked out bad!

The word good has many specific meanings. Hartman only found one which is "often" used, not always used. Try look around you in real life and see if people really think ... good just because they correspond with expected enumerations of qualities ...[people are not] always logical...... what I see, it's not, instead people are rather disorganized and spontaneous and makes up what is good as they go along. ....
You raise several points. I appreciate that you are a sincere seeker of truth with a healthy curiosity. Thank you for the inquiries.

Please tell me how "good is still equating good"? It is not clear to me what you mean.

Also, can you tell us more about "transcendental value"? Please explain, so that we can be more familiar with it. Not that it proves anything, but has a philosopher written about it? Where?


You ask: "how can you know the value of something for which you have no expectations?"

One can't. If I can't imagine it, I can't value it.


You write that many habits are "solely made of non-rationalisations, and instead just conformity with something "deemed" valuable."

This is unclear to me; I don't understand. And what is its relevance to the topic of this thread?? No doubt, my failure to grasp the meaning is partly due to the fact that English is not your native tongue, so I allow for that. Please explain it a bit more, if you will be so kind.


When you say "it works out "good", without the person's enumerations" I respond: Of course it does. Hartman's definition of "x is good as a C, according to judge J at time t" is not meant to account for every usage by folks who, as you so keenly observe, may be disorganized - to put it kindly.

His definition is the start of a theory :!: ...namely a Formal Theory of Value. Did you ever read his paper in which he argues his case for the rationality of it all: http://hartmaninstitute.org/Portals/0/h ... cience.html
I get the impression you did not yet get around to it; for it answers many of the questions you have, and even a few that you haven't asked.


Yes, it is very true, as you note, that "people are rather disorganized and spontaneous and makes up what is good as they go along." People do, in daily life, make up their mind as they go along.
People also do not know much about electricity, but they know how to use a light switch to tap into some electrical circuit.
Much of physical science is counter-intuitive even to the intellectual mind. Yet we tolerate that without too much complaint. Biology tells us we are mostly water. Quantum Theory tells us a particle can be in two places at once. Physics says our bodies are merely clouds of electrons, with nucleii so small that no one can see them: they are only a hypothesis that fits in well with the rest of the model.

The Standard Model for Physical Chemistry speaks about a Planck distance. Can you, in your daily life, with all means at your disposal see one - or even with effort conceive of such a distance? Has any layman (person in the street) EVER measured it? The same goes for a Charmed Quark, the Higgs Boson, etc. Have you perceived one?
Why do you bring up what lay people - who may be very foggy about ethical theory, and unclear in their values, do or think? Is that a good argument?

I was, in my recent post, discussing theory. It has derived implications, as you would have noticed had you read the references cited. Those are what are to be tested and confirmed, not the axioms and postulates.

There are people who still believe the Earth is flat, or that a woman can prevent pregnancy if she is raped. Does my theory of Ethics have to conform to those beliefs? Do not conflate "mores" with "morality." They are two distinct concepts.
Last edited by prof on Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is there evidence for objective morality?

Post by MGL » Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:52 pm

prof wrote: The name (of a specific concept) sets the norm. If you say to me "hammer" I have a certain picture pop into my mend. That is the "ideal" in a sense. It has certain features. They serve as the measure when I go into a hardware store to buy a hammer. When I see a thing with those features, and if it possesses all of them, I'll say to myself, "This is a good hammer" and - if I was in the market for one - I may likely purchase it. Thus the intension of the relevant concept is the measure. When the actual matches the ideal, we tend to call the actual item "good."
I hope I am misunderstanding something, but if a good murderer is someone who sucessfully murders others then does this person have some kind of virtue?

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Re: Is there evidence for objective morality?

Post by The Voice of Time » Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:01 pm

prof wrote:Please tell me how "good is still equating good"? It is not clear to me what you mean.
Let me start solving this one:
prof wrote:Hartman defined "value" as "degree of fulfillment of intension (or meaning)." Based on this axiom, he then defined goodness as full (extrinsic) value.
You write a long sentence, therefore complicating the point, but the point cannot be over-shadowed however complicated Hartman makes it. "Goodness is full extrinsic value", "full extrinsic value, is therefore, always good". No there's a great deal of mistakes in that sentence, but I'm not gonna mention for instance that value is itself not a definable word (for instance: the number -59 is a value, so is a*b, so is the square root of two), or that you've failed to tell me which type of meaning of the word "extrinsic" you mean. No, I'm gonna ask you how this is not just shifting the meaning of the word good onto something which you've already later here states is not the case (the fact that this is a tendencational and not absolute relationship): full extrinsic value isn't always good, it's not always good that all the values of your intention equates the enumerated result if you intended something for which has further consequences beyond your expectations. Hartman's work is contradictory when compared to the dialectics of ordinary life. For instance, if you I in one instance find that a certain enumeration of qualities in a car is good, but in the next find out it isn't, I've suddenly two Hartman situations which are both good, AT THE SAME TIME, while one of them tells the other isn't good as it isn't the same as itself. They both belong to the category "perfect car", but this category only allows one set of enumerated qualities... how you make of that?
prof wrote:Also, can you tell us more about "transcendental value"? Please explain, so that we can be more familiar with it. Not that it proves anything, but has a philosopher written about it? Where?
Transcendental values is something I made up just here just now, but it's built around "transcendence" and "value". Transcendence meaning "to go beyond", so obviously what I mean is an object of value, whose value is transcending. The dialectic described above is an example of this, as well as the habit ethics because of the lack of knowledge of their full result. There is other meanings of transcendental value which I'm not referring to, such as this one: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_is_transcendent_value. (by the way, the philosopher who has written about it is me, and I wrote it right here right now)
prof wrote:If I can't imagine it, I can't value it.
God jesus... what a silly sentence. So I can't value pain because I can't imagine it? I've felt pain before, yes, but I can't imagine it now least I put myself in pain. I'm still pretty certain that tearing at my arm is gonna cause some degree of pain however, not because I can imagine the pain, but because I can associate with the negativity surrounding the pain. In other words, I can remember saying to myself "Ouch!", I can remember crying after touching the heat burning. I can't remember either of how it "felt", but I can value that I do not want to experience it again, however it felt like. Same thing about the rest of the world, you don't have to know, imagine it or remember it to tell a rotten apple from a good one.
prof wrote:You write that "many habits are "solely made of non-rationalisations, and instead just conformity with something 'deemed' valuable." This is unclear to me; I don't understand. And what is its relevance to the topic of this thread?? No doubt, my failure to grasp the meaning is partly due to the fact that English is not your native tongue, so I allow for that. Please explain it a bit more, if you will be so kind.
We are in a series of minor issues here and this is one of them tackled, it's not directed directly towards the topic of this thread, but that is neither of my posts, I direct them towards what you say, which should be the case anyways. You lead the discussion, I just follow.

When something is 'deemed' valuable by yourself, your spouse, a group of people, or society in general, this is 'popular opinion' and not proper rationalization. In other words, you can quit smoking because your spouse says "it will kill you in fifty years!". However, after quit smoking you start eating a lot, you become obese, your wife leaves you becomes of your obesity, you can't get out of your house, you start having series of health-problems related to obesity, including depression, and die within thirty years from obesity. Not at a single moment did you think that perhaps "smoking isn't the worst fate I can have", and instead thought that quit smoking is like changing clothes, which it is not. No proper rationalization, just popular opinion. Lots of doctors and scientists can tell you and advertise politically and on TV and in the news that it is shit to smoke. This is virtue ethics, it's virtuous not to smoke.
prof wrote:When you say "it works out "good", without the person's enumerations" I respond: Of course it does. Hartman's definition of "x is good as a C, according to judge J at time t" is not meant to account for every usage by folks who, as you so keenly observe, may be disorganized - to put it kindly.

His definition is the start of a theory :!: ...namely a Formal Theory of Value. Did you ever read his paper in which he argues his case for the rationality of it all: http://hartmaninstitute.org/Portals/0/h ... cience.html
I get the impression you did not yet get around to it; for it answers many of the questions you have, and even a few that you haven't asked.
I don't read books covered with poop on their front-page. If a book can't convince you to start reading it because it can't justify itself, this book is not worth a dime. There are lots of pseudo-philosophical and pseudo-scientific books throughout history, must be hundreds of thousands of them, more now coming into print than ever. Most of these are never taken seriously, some are, Hartman being one of them. The only proof Hartman makes is that a shopping list is ethically good to complete if you're on a shopping trip. This is not very interesting, this is not very inspiring, this is not very new...

prof wrote:Yes, it is very true, as you note, that "people are rather disorganized and spontaneous and makes up what is good as they go along." People do, in daily life, make up their mind as they go along. People also do not know much about electricity, but they know how to use a light switch to tap into some electrical circuit.
Much of physical science is counter-intuitive even to the intellectual mind. Yet we tolerate that without too much complaint. Biology tells us we are mostly water. Quantum Theory tells us a particle can be in two places at once. Physics says our bodies are merely clouds of electrons, with nucleii so small that no one can see them: they are only a hypothesis that fits in well with the rest of the model. The Standard Model for Physical Chemistry speaks about a Planck distance. Can you, in your daily life, with all means at your disposal see one - or even with effort conceive of such a distance? Has any layman (person in the street) EVER measured it? The same goes for a Charmed Quark, the Higgs Boson, etc. Have you perceived one? Why do you bring up what lay people - who may be very foggy about ethical theory, and unclear in their values, do or think? Is that a good argument? I was, in my recent post, discussing theory. It has derived implications, as you would have noticed had you read the references cited. Those are what are to be tested and confirmed, not the axioms and postulates.
What lay-men thinks is inherent to the concept of ethics and axiology, as it is in their minds that ethics and axiology exists. There was never a person without ethics in his mind, and there was never an ethic without a mind to inhabit. The electrical switch is a different concept than electrical circuitry. One of them is an object in real life, the other is a theory for application. Hartman can't give us anything but a theory without any real-world implications beyond a shopping list, and that is not worth taking seriously. If you have read his works then I dare you to disprove me, if you can't then obviously Hartman hasn't told you anything I can find worth reading. If you can, I swear I'm gonna read it, but just now, you're not making a good case in my opinion.
prof wrote:There are people who still believe the Earth is flat, or that a woman can prevent pregnancy if she is raped or is seduced by her mother's boyfriend and then raped. Does my theory of Ethics have to conform to those beliefs? Do not conflate "mores" with "morality." They are two distinct concepts.
You're saying that things which are provable by natural observation are in any way comparable to Hartman's...... pseudo-philosophy?

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Re: Is there evidence for objective morality?

Post by prof » Wed Aug 22, 2012 8:40 pm

MGL wrote:I hope I am misunderstanding something, but if a good murderer is someone who sucessfully murders others then does this person have some kind of virtue?
Thanks for a good question, MGL.

Yes, there is a misunderstanding, and it is one that is common. Hartman gave it a name: The Moral Fallacy.

It occurs when axiological value is confused with moral value. Permit me to use the same illustration to explain.

A good murderer, one who murders efficiently, is a bad person (ethically-speaking.) One may be good under one name, in this case the word "murderer" and bad, lousy or terrible under another name: "human being." I am willing to make the assumption that most every baby is born good, and it is its cultural influences that 'ruin' it. That includes the parenting it gets. Some are born with brain defects, but they are a tiny minority. ...probably less than 3 percent of the world's population. They include the psychopaths and sociopaths. Not all of them turn out to be violent.

In general,, "the name sets the norm." With each word is associated a meaning - that we acquire when we learn the tongue, or the jargon. The meaning has attributes (property names): they describe the object, the class, or the individual. If the (mental) qualities match the actual (perceived) qualities then the thing or individual acquires value, to the degree the judge acknowledges a match. If something is as it is supposed to be - under the concept given it - then it is valuable or good. In daily life people often use the word "good" to mean valuable. They are not making the scientific distinction (yet) :wink:.

Another illustration: "A bad conscience is a good conscience." No contradiction there....
If one's conscience bothers one, it is active and awake--thereby making it "good" as a conscience, namely, functioning well.
The first usage in the sentence of a value term "bad" was a moral one; the second usage of the word "good" was an axiological usage.

Get it?

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Re: Is there evidence for objective morality?

Post by The Voice of Time » Wed Aug 22, 2012 10:15 pm

prof wrote:In daily life people often use the word "good" to mean valuable. They are not making the scientific distinction (yet) :wink:
This is a joke, there is no science except in your imagination. Formal Axiology is no science, least at all a proper philosophy. There are formal axiology-like sciences, like Game Theory, but there is no such thing as a science called Formal Axiology (first rule here is that Axiology is "the philosophical" and not the "scientific" study of value, second is all the denouncement I gave above and which utterly cripples any scientific capacities of Hartman's system).

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Re: Is there evidence for objective morality?

Post by prof » Thu Aug 23, 2012 12:31 am

Hi there, Voice
The Voice of Time wrote:You write ... "Goodness is full extrinsic value"...

...value is itself not a definable word (for instance: the number -59 is a value, ...

...you've failed to tell me which type of meaning of the word "extrinsic" you mean.

... full extrinsic value isn't always good, it's not always good ...if you intended something for which has further consequences beyond your expectations.

...if you I in one instance find that a certain enumeration of qualities in a car is good, but in the next find out it isn't, I've suddenly two Hartman situations which are both good, AT THE SAME TIME..., [what do]you make of that?
Here you bring up lots of issues which could be easily cleared up if only you would read all my posts, and some of my rather brief citations.

You are correct when you say: "the number -59 is a value" This is a mathematical employment of the word "value"; they also use the word "constant" and "group" in a different manner from everyday speech in English. It was not the math language that I intended when I speak of "value." I use it in the Formal Axiological sense, which admittedly is not too well known, and for not orienting the readers well enough, I apologize.

As to your last point, "if you I in one instance find that a certain enumeration of qualities in a car is good, but in the next find out it isn't, I've suddenly two Hartman situations which are both good, AT THE SAME TIME."
If one instance is now the next instance they were not at the same time, n'est pas? In science we are in the habit of dating and indexing our propositions, so this sort of confusion does not even arise. The name of the concept given it by the judge of value sets the norm: the concept has been shifted from Car-at-time-one to Car-at-time-two. We all must be be careful about not sliding from one concept into another in our discussions - 'must' here means: it would be preferable. Orange is to be distinguished from Stale Orange when it is relevant to do so, even though they both share many qualities in common. And "ball" is more general and abstract than "beach ball."

You still employ "extrinsic value" in the old-fashioned (1939)sense found in John Dewey's Value Theory, and I don't blame anyone for that, since it is very well known and often used that way in traditional philosophy.
J. Dewey - Theory of Valuation (1939). ISBN 0-226-57594-2. Dewey was a fine philosopher to whom I was introduced by James Farmer, of C.O.R.E., [I was very active in The Civil Rights Movement.] I shook hands with Dr. Dewey, had a nice little conversation, and this is one of my fond memories.

Hartman, in THE STRUCTURE OF VALUE, posited a new meaning for "Extrinsic Value": It is - in contrast with S-Value and I-Value - that value defined by a denumerable (a countable) number of properties. When applied appropriately we get the everyday socio-economic world of daily life, the material things of this world, the cost vs. benefit way of looking at things.
Here http://www.hartmaninstitute.org/ , at the Institute set up in his honor, under Research Topics subsection one finds this paper I wrote (for those who are really serious enough to read, and who want to see several dozens of applications spelled out):
http://www.hartmaninstitute.org/Portals ... HICS...pdf
I shall quote a passage from it:

"According to Value Science there are three types of basic values. They are Systemic Value, Extrinsic Value, and Intrinsic Value. Abbreviated these are S, E,
and I. And Dr. Leon Pomeroy tells us that it is as important to know our SEIs as it is to know our ABCs.
Here are some examples:

Thoughts areS-values; things are E-values; persons and involvements are I-values. They result when the basic value dimensions are applied.
People usually S-Value theories, systems, ideologies, blueprints, plans, zip codes, circuit diagrams, technical language, black-and-white thinking, scientific
models, and all the "isms." They are appropriately valued Systemically.

E-Value is the valuation people usually place upon things of this world, practicalities, empirical matters, know-how, savoir-faire, social, everyday concerns, functionality, diplomacy, worldly considerations, categories, etc.

You are likely to I-Value your mother, your spouse, your dearest ones, unique persons you love, beloved treasures, masterpieces of art, priceless items, etc. We
value those Intrinsically whenever we identify with and bond with them.

Value scientists, such as Dr Rem Edwards, and Dr. David Mefford, speak of those three values as "dimensions of value." We need them all. The three value dimensions form a hierarchy with S-value worth the least; E-value worth infinitely more; and I-value the most precious of all - worth far, far more than any E-value. The correct hierarchy of values, in symbols, is S < E < I. And thus to place S above I; or to give more weight to E than to I would be a fallacy.
The highest of the three basic values is Intrinsic Value, or I-value. The discipline these scientists refer to as "Ethics" arises when persons are Intrinsically valued.
By valuing persons this way an individual can gain the most value out of life. And that is a fact. In effect the science explains how to "shop for value" in life." "Science" here is used in an etymological sense, from the Latin, 'scientia', meaning "a body of coherent thought"

Yes, goodness applies more to Extrinsic Value than to the other dimensions, for several good reasons. It would help immensely if you would check out End Note 4 at the end of the Unified Theory of Ethics. There you will find these three varieties of the concept 'complete value' defined in terms of the basic Dimension of Value.
Systemic: Perfection.
Extrinsic: Goodness.
Intrinsic: Uniqueness.

Will you please, Voice, read my other posts here at this Forum, such as "What Is Ethics?"; they are all applications of Formal Axiology when it is applied to Ethics. {You seem to be saying you haven't seen any applications.}
Another application of E-Value are social sciences such as Sociology and Psychology (which can be further analyzed, using the same tools, to see their fine structure, as was done here for the field of Industrial Design: - http://hartmaninstitute.org/Portals/0/h ... Design.htm

The Voice of Time wrote:Transcendental values is something I made up just here just now..., the philosopher who has written about it is me, and I wrote it right here right now)
I respect that. You have every right to do so. I quote you with equal validity as I quote any other philosopher who is known as "notable" or "reputable." I am not impressed by their degrees nor the fact that they wrote copiously. I am impressed by quality, such as I find in the output of Dr. Robert Hartman. When I first heard him lecture, while he was a Professor at M.I.T., I audited his classes thereafter, got to know him personally, and noticed that his theories integrated and justified intellectually values that I already had arrived at in my life. I appreciated that. I found - in my experience - his explanations to have clarity, yet be rather profound. I am quite aware that another individual may not see it this way.
The Voice of Time wrote:
prof wrote:If I can't imagine it, I can't value it.
God jesus... what a silly sentence. So I can't value pain because I can't imagine it? I've felt pain before, yes, but I can't imagine it now least I put myself in pain. ... In other words, I can remember saying to myself "Ouch!", I can remember crying after touching the heat burning. ...you don't have to know, imagine it or remember it to tell a rotten apple from a good one.
The best definition of "memory" I have ever seen - and I used to teach a course in Memory Development for a Psychology Department so I was quite motivated to find an adequate and good definition - is this one:

"Memory" =df. "The imaginative reconstruction of experience."

It doesn't apply to immediate recall of a perception; but for (the not-so-recent past) it fits fine.
The Voice of Time wrote:... this is 'popular opinion' ... In other words, you can quit smoking because your spouse says "it will kill you in fifty years!". However, after quit smoking you start eating a lot, you become obese, ... and die within thirty years from obesity. ...Lots of doctors and scientists can tell you ... that it is shit to smoke. This is virtue ethics, it's virtuous not to smoke.
Here you note that unintended consequences do happen. Of course they do.

It is wise, in order to optimize health, not to smoke and to avoid obesity. Both are habits that can be developed; and a person of good character would be able to manage both. There are many aids - patches, etc. - that will make the taste of smoke repulsive to the smoker ...and one is ignorant [or poverty-stricken] if one does not avail oneself of them. To avoid obesity one is advised to change eating habits: eat mostly raw salads of fresh fruit and vegetables, in season, and preferably, if possible to get them, organically grown. Locally grown is also preferable, a desideratum. All of this may be difficult at first, but worth the effort. The fruit should be eaten for one's first meal. The vegetables later in the day. Raw nuts may supply the protein, as well as sprouts. A methyl cobalamin supplement pill ought to be taken, at least on weekends since B12 is retained in the body for a long while. Health is a high value. The Health Science diet really works to avoid most aches, pains, and sicknesses throughout life - except for those genetically caused. See: http://healthscience.org/
QUE: You may wonder, what is the relevance of this to Ethical Theory, which is the topic of this Forum? ANS: If we keep ourselves healthy in mind and body we are in a stronger position to help others achieve their happiness and well-being ...and that would be the Ethical thing to do.

Also read Seneca, Coleridge, and Emerson, for they made similar points years ago about the merit of caring for one's self.
The Voice of Time wrote:
prof wrote:When you say "it works out "good", without the person's enumerations" I respond: Of course it does. Hartman's definition of "x is good as a C, according to judge J at time t" is not meant to account for every usage by folks who, as you so keenly observe, may be disorganized - to put it kindly.

His definition is the start of a theory :!: ...namely a Formal Theory of Value. Did you ever read his paper in which he argues his case for the rationality of it all: http://hartmaninstitute.org/Portals/0/h ... cience.html
I get the impression you did not yet get around to it; for it answers many of the questions you have, and even a few that you haven't asked.
The Voice of Time wrote:I don't read books covered with poop on their front-page. If a book can't convince you to start reading it because it can't justify itself, this book is not worth a dime. ...

...The only proof Hartman makes is that a shopping list is ethically good to complete if you're on a shopping trip. This is not very interesting, this is not very inspiring, this is not very new...
You write: "The only proof Hartman makes is that a shopping list is ethically good to complete if you're on a shopping trip." This is patently false.
I am tempted to say "it displays a possible laziness to dig into a philosopher's work to research what is worth knowing; it does not meet academic standards; and it is safe to predict that a student would not be able to earn a Ph.D. with this attitude." However, I do not want to spend any time being destructively critical so I won't say it.
It is laughable though. :lol: if it were not so sad.:(
prof wrote:Yes, it is very true, as you note, that "people are rather disorganized and spontaneous and makes up what is good as they go along." People do, in daily life, make up their mind as they go along. People also do not know much about electricity, but they know how to use a light switch to tap into some electrical circuit. ... The value system has derived implications, as you would have noticed had you read the references cited. Those are what are to be tested and confirmed, not the axioms and postulates.
The Voice of Time wrote:Hartman can't give us anything but a theory without any real-world implications beyond a shopping list... If you have read his works then I dare you to disprove me, if you can't then obviously Hartman hasn't told you anything I can find worth reading. If you can, I swear I'm gonna read it, but just now, you're not making a good case in my opinion.
Usually I ignore comments like this but I respect you; and you do have a good healthy curiosity to learn more, and good values for the most part. If I haven't "told you anything worth reading it is because the links I freely offered have not been coming through on your computer screen. Maybe videos would be easier. View these two: they make some points for Ethics. We need more like these in order to educate the public, so those of you who have the talent to produce them, please, please get busy on the project !!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l7AWnfFRc7g
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ek0Pc7wrJcE

I wholeheartedly recommend that all Forum members view these two examples of how the word may be spread about true Ethics :!: :!:

The Voice of Time wrote:
prof wrote:There are people who still believe the Earth is flat, or that a woman can prevent pregnancy if she is raped or is seduced by her mother's boyfriend and then raped. Does my theory of Ethics have to conform to those beliefs? Do not conflate "mores" with "morality." They are two distinct concepts.
You're saying that things which are provable by natural observation are in any way comparable to Hartman's...... pseudo-philosophy?
Yes, I am "saying that things which are provable by natural observation are in any way comparable to Hartman's" moral philosophy and the test he innovated as a measuring device, the HVP. Many therapists and counsellors use that test in their practice, and it has proven results.

Present company may be excepted from what follows:
I don't want to contend with any further flames and put-downs, so don't be surprised if I do not respond when I sense it would be too much of a drain on my time and energy.


If anyone at any time felt I was getting personal or offensive, I want to sincerely say this:
If the suit doesn't fit, please do not wear it
Last edited by prof on Thu Aug 23, 2012 7:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Is there evidence for objective morality?

Post by The Voice of Time » Thu Aug 23, 2012 2:46 am

I'm zealous, and accompanied pissed off as you might have seen above, because I believe you are not offering good philosophy, and should make a greater effort to justify yourself instead of skipping past important information (in the above by walking around the porridge, as we say in norwegian, not taking the bite) which, in my opinion as you of course would disagree, is enough to halt you, and when halted, you should inspire a way of tackling the problems halting you instead of trying to keep on as if nothing had happened, which you seem to do, and which to me is the acts of a deceiver.

{By the way, when I try to find the "Axiology as Science"-article I get an error-message:

404 - File or directory not found.
The resource you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable.

If it's just a typical size scientific article I'll read it, but you'll have to give me a working link}

The definition of extrinsicness and intrinsicness I'm using I derive from the Principia Ethica, which when using those words back in 1903, was neither new to the world. http://fair-use.org/g-e-moore/principia-ethica/ (if you're using Google Chrome like I do, just click the tool-icon in your upper-right and search the page for the word "intrinsic", a 5-seconds proof... not asking you to read an entire book...)

There are many examples of how to compute value in the world. A large part of them are unimpressive because their results are impractical, look here, I read the article on Industrial Design. It still sucks, exactly as I was expecting. Why? Because this science, to avoid people seeing that it's all a hoax, at least that's my opinion, to avoid this: they take a result from a different science and then add the symbols of their own science and then they add in a lot of guessing based on their own experiences! Wow! There is here an enforced focus around the original pattern of thinking, because that's the only one which works and that pattern is to categorize things and apply the names always correctly to results where the naming won't be faultable (as shown above it does not pass above the capacities any science of value should be able to do, like understanding the movements of value when there's a persisting object... it is fundamentally incapable of valuing the things of the real world, which includes this such-called "systemic" value category which you might try to argue is immobile but I'll have 10 commandments of counter-examples before you've had a proper thought on that, same with such-called intrinsic value)

But believe me when I say so, I'm no enemy of Hartman, indeed, Hartman has inspired me a lot in building my own "science of needs", not because of formal logic, but because of his generally logical approach which inspired in me mathematical approaches to studying relationships and to describe the world of needs in terms of mathematical and metaphysical rather than physical sense (due to it being a metaphysical concept), using geometry, formula etc (if any interest should ever pop: http://philosophy-and-science-of-needs.blogspot.no/). Anyways, you have too much pride or sensitivity or any other psychologically fitting description which ruins your ability to tackle this whole discussion because of my own aggressiveness. Don't run away from it, stay and wrestle! Because if anything that's what philosophy is about! (including a wide range of others things which it's also about, sometimes contradictory things even :P...) I'm barking, but I'm fair.

A lot of my denouncement of this work got to do with traditional philosophy of science, which states such things as "explanatory power" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Explanatory_power) or "falsifiability": the former not very significant here, the later not represented because of this deceit I'm talking about (the use of results from another science to claim a finding which is exactly the same in your own, which means there's no new finding by taking in the other finding. This means that while findings in sexology has implications for psychology, the results are different. If I find out that women grow more male hormones during puberty, it can lead to a finding that women are more inclined to be bisexual during their puberty. Two different results. Your science has the same result, as the calculations in Formal Axiology, at least in your given article, does not calculate anything but ask people to answer in a Boolean logic fashion. Not science of axiology by a scratch, that's a survey of opinion, big difference, the result works because people are not stupid guessers, it doesn't work because "science", this Axiology, offered a way of making it work.).

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Re: Is there evidence for objective morality?

Post by MGL » Thu Aug 23, 2012 7:16 am

prof wrote:
MGL: I hope I am misunderstanding something, but if a good murderer is someone who sucessfully murders others then does this person have some kind of virtue?

prof: A good murderer, one who murders efficiently, is a bad person (ethically-speaking.) One may be good under one name, in this case the word "murderer" and bad, lousy or terrible under another name: "human being." I am willing to make the assumption that most every baby is born good, and it is its cultural influences that 'ruin' it. That includes the parenting it gets. Some are born with brain defects, but they are a tiny minority. ...probably less than 3 percent of the world's population. They include the psychopaths and sociopaths. Not all of them turn out to be violent.
Thanks for clarifying the distinction between axiological and moral values, but what may still confusing me is what the connection is between them. I got the impression that you were trying to use axiological values to explain the objectivity of moral ones. Your last comment now gives me the impression that moral values are determined by the axiological meaning of "human being". I am quite happy to assume with you, for the sake of argument, that human beings are born good and that this goodness is essential to the meaning of "human being", but this does not help us understand how to determine how good a person is, because no defintion of goodness is supplied. With the label "murderer" it is clear a murderer performs some purpose for which the criterion of success is very clear. What is the criterion of success of a good person? Examples of good behaviour are useless unless it is clear what property or rule makes them good.

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Re: Is there evidence for objective morality?

Post by prof » Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:19 pm

The Voice of Time wrote:when I try to find the "Axiology as Science"-article I get an error-message:
...I'll read it, but you'll have to give me a working link.

...Hartman has inspired me a lot ...because of his generally logical approach .
This link should work in getting you to the article:
http://hartmaninstitute.org/Portals/0/h ... ience.html

All suggestions for improvement are very welcome!

Hartman uses "science" in the same sense that Musicology is a science. Is Taxonomy a science? If not, why not?

I have written extensively on the nature and definitions of "science." If in your profile I can send you a private message, I will send you a paper I am scheduled to deliver at a Values Conference in the Fall. It has several pages of criteria that a science must meet, and a list of scientific methods. I conclude that Ethics can be a science if it uses scientific methods.

Underlying the Hartman Values Profile are dozens of calculations which went into selecting the items, and which go into the scoring of the test results. They are explained in Manuals for the Test which can be purchased by those who have a good reason for seeing them. If the inner workings of any projective/objective test are too available to the public, the testee would be tempted to give answers that gain he the highest scores, as having excellent values, rather than it being a true snapshot of the test-taker's profile. The clinical version, used by psychiatrists goes in much greater depth into the testee's lability (proneness for accidents), suicide potential and other factors. The test yields about 60 scores; it measures creativity, responsibility, capacity for teamwork, etc., etc.

Since you are so interested in needs, I have a reference for you that will prove helpful. The author of this article Ms. Miki Kashtan knows more about human needs than anyone I have ever encountered, including my teacher and mentor, Abraham Maslow.
Here is one article she wrote that touches on needs, but if I were you I would contact her and get all her papers and articles: http://www.baynvc.org/articles/heart_of_our_yes.php

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