What could make morality objective?

Should you think about your duty, or about the consequences of your actions? Or should you concentrate on becoming a good person?

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Peter Holmes
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes »

Logik wrote: Fri Dec 21, 2018 2:31 pm
Peter Holmes wrote: Fri Dec 21, 2018 1:55 pm
Logik wrote: Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:11 am
I don't agree. Are you aware of the use-mention distinction?

Talking about a reference frame means that we both recognize the concept of a "reference frame" it does not mean we have agreed on one.
Until we both agree on said frame of reference from which we are to evaluate our "factual claims" we are stuck.


The way of this hamster wheel is convention which is the product of consensus. I think we have agreed on that?


So that is two ifs? That is (at least) two things we need to agree on before we can start talking about, reality, objectivity and facts?
Given that we have disagreed about this for 10+ pages of dialogue I am open to suggestions on how to come up to an agreement on these things.

But you seem hopeful. Go ahead and propose a reference frame together with all of the axioms which one must accept within said reference frame.


Because I have an easier way for us to reach consensus.I can kick you in the shins and ask you: "Do you want me to do that again?". I am confident you will agree the answer is "No".

By your definition of "facts" (claims about features of reality) I can reasonably claim that me kicking you was true, real and objective.
The pain you felt was true, real and objective.

And now you reasonably understand what I mean by harm.

By Occam's razor this is far easier than having to agree on frame of reference, objectivity, facts any other nonsense.
What I find puzzling is that you claim we have loads of work to do to find agreement about the meanings of the words we're using.

But then in your shin-kicking scenario, you say you can 'reasonably claim that your kicking me was true, real and objective.
The pain I felt was true, real and objective.'

I agree this is a reasonable claim, because you're using those words in a standard way - though you're making a common mistake in saying that an action can be true and objective, because only factual assertions can be true or false, and 'objective' means 'relying on facts - true factual assertions'. I take your actual meaning . I 'reasonably understand what I mean by harm', because you're using the word 'harm' in a standard way.

But now we're back to the sleight-of-hand deduction of a moral assertion from a factual one: your kicking me harms me, and you shouldn't kick me.

The following two assertions have completely different functions:

1 Kicking people harms them, because it hurts. (Let's ignore the obvious problems with this, such as that I may be a masochist.)

2 It's morally wrong to harm people.

The first is (arguably) a factual assertion. The second is a moral value-judgement. And the one doesn't entail the other in any way whatsoever.
It is no better than your approach. And the masochism example is not a problem because you seem happy to sweep cotigencies in your approach just the same.

Even if we could objectively assert that It is morally wrong to harm people, we could be mistaken. Or it could be wrong from one reference frame and right from another. Of what use is such “objective” morality?

And so one has to ask the question: If this is just about linguistic classification then why do we even care about objective morality then? Subjective morality works just fine too.

The foundational problem is one of agreement, not facts.

And using your definition this is a factual claim about reality: majority of humans agree that it is wrong to harm people.

Does this mean harm is objectively wrong?
I'm sorry, but once again you seemed to grasp it, but then lose it, so that we go back around in circles.

I don't understand how you can ask that last question - as though that I might think morality is objective, given all I've been saying, is even a remote possibility - or say the following, as though it's a gotcha:

'And using your definition this is a factual claim about reality: majority of humans agree that it is wrong to harm people.'

That is a factual assertion, of course - so it's true or false. And the moral assertion 'it's wrong to harm people' is completely different, and has no factual truth-value. (All of this, given standard uses of 'truth', and 'fact' and their cognates. Please don't bother saying we don't have to use those words in a standard way - we could use a different framework - because it's becoming paralysingly boring.)
Logik
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik »

Peter Holmes wrote: Fri Dec 21, 2018 4:20 pm I'm sorry, but once again you seemed to grasp it, but then lose it, so that we go back around in circles.
What is "it" that I am supposed to grasp exactly? Your subjective perspective, which IF I accept and IF I accept all the axioms you consider to be true and IF we both agree to the conventional use of the term 'facts', then assertions become 'objective'?
Yeah. I totally got that conventional, subjective use of 'objectivity'.

It's a bandwagon fallacy, but that doesn't seem to bother you?
Peter Holmes wrote: Fri Dec 21, 2018 4:20 pm I don't understand how you can ask that last question - as though that I might think morality is objective, given all I've been saying, is even a remote possibility - or say the following, as though it's a gotcha:

'And using your definition this is a factual claim about reality: majority of humans agree that it is wrong to harm people.'
You don't have to use non-standard uses of those words. You can keep your current use, you just have to adopt a particular perspective and a particular set of true axioms and conventions?

Whose perspective/axioms/conventions? Mine, and that of all humans.
Peter Holmes wrote: Fri Dec 21, 2018 4:20 pm That is a factual assertion, of course - so it's true or false. And the moral assertion 'it's wrong to harm people' is completely different, and has no factual truth-value.
OK, but it has truth value by convention.

If convention is sufficient to turn subjectivity into "objectivity", why is convention insufficient in the case of morality?

Morality is a social norm. From any individual’s perspective social norms are factual, and by your definition - objective.
Last edited by Logik on Mon Dec 24, 2018 9:15 am, edited 2 times in total.
gaffo
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by gaffo »

Morality is genetic,

via genes, social animal - per all animals that are social, man is just one of many - that has similar/same genes.

there is nothing "objective" about morality, outside of Evolution, that seems to grant as least some animals (man included) a higher survival having "morality" gene.............

to date at least.

per the future, no bets and no one knows.
Logik
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik »

gaffo wrote: Sat Dec 22, 2018 4:20 am Morality is genetic,

via genes, social animal - per all animals that are social, man is just one of many - that has similar/same genes.

there is nothing "objective" about morality, outside of Evolution, that seems to grant as least some animals (man included) a higher survival having "morality" gene.............

to date at least.

per the future, no bets and no one knows.
Looking at the evolutionary survival game from the lens of game theory, morality can emerge through cooperation. If we are to cooperate, we tacitly agree that we will not wrong each other.

Cooperation increases survival rates. Prisoners' dilemma.
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by -1- »

What could make morality objective?
Well, morality for humans apply to human behaviour. If there were no humans, there would be no morality.

Objective morality I believe means some moral standard that is absolute, and therefore timeless and unassailable.

If morality exists only during the existence of humans, then timelessness and unassailability are out, so it is not absolute, and therefore there could possibly not ever be a morality that is standard by any objective.

---------------

Let's imagine there is a moral standard outside of humans. It is a moral standard that can shape the behaviour of sentient beings.

What if there are times in the timeline of the universe, when no sentient beings occupy any space in the world? Then we are back to the same problem of objectivity being absolute and unassailable.

-----------------
What could make morality objective? The Holy Christian Church (any one of them), or the Muslim Religion. They both claim man has been existing since creation, and will survive beyond the end days of the world.

THAT is something that guarantees that there is a chance that humanity's moral code could be everlasting, unassailable, and perfect.
Peter Holmes
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes »

-1- wrote: Tue Dec 25, 2018 7:35 pm
What could make morality objective? The Holy Christian Church (any one of them), or the Muslim Religion. They both claim man has been existing since creation, and will survive beyond the end days of the world.

THAT is something that guarantees that there is a chance that humanity's moral code could be everlasting, unassailable, and perfect.
I disagree. That anyone says 'this is morally good / bad' doesn't and can't make it objectively (factually) morally good / bad. The commands or nature of a god, or the teachings of a religion, can't make a moral assertion 'true', any more than they could make a factual assertion true. And the supposed longevity of humanity is also irrelevant.
Logik
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik »

Peter Holmes wrote: Tue Dec 25, 2018 8:04 pm I disagree. That anyone says 'this is morally good / bad' doesn't and can't make it objectively (factually) morally good / bad. The commands or nature of a god, or the teachings of a religion, can't make a moral assertion 'true', any more than they could make a factual assertion true. And the supposed longevity of humanity is also irrelevant.
Throughout this discussion you have claimed that the English sentence "The Earth orbits the Sun" corresponds to reality.

Is this a factual claim?

The wrongness of "murder" is no more or less objective than the correspondence (factuality) of "Earth orbits the Sun".
Just because we use words that way does not mean they correspond to reality.

They are both subjective assertions, but you are too dogmatic about the correspondence theory of truth to recognise that the alternative theories of truth have valid arguments too.
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Re: What could make morality objective?

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Peter Holmes wrote: Tue Dec 25, 2018 8:04 pm
-1- wrote: Tue Dec 25, 2018 7:35 pm
What could make morality objective? The Holy Christian Church (any one of them), or the Muslim Religion. They both claim man has been existing since creation, and will survive beyond the end days of the world.

THAT is something that guarantees that there is a chance that humanity's moral code could be everlasting, unassailable, and perfect.
I disagree. That anyone says 'this is morally good / bad' doesn't and can't make it objectively (factually) morally good / bad. The commands or nature of a god, or the teachings of a religion, can't make a moral assertion 'true', any more than they could make a factual assertion true. And the supposed longevity of humanity is also irrelevant.
I hear what you say. But a subjective truth can be turned into an objective truth, or objective morality, in this instance.

Objective: independent of personal bias.

Subjective: dependent on personal bias.

If and only if a personal bias is at the same time independent of personal bias, can we say that a personal bias is objective. For instance, "I think I forgot my lunch at home" is a personal bias when you haven't checked your bag, but it becomes an objective truth when you check your bag.

Objective truths have other characteristics as well, outside of not being purely subjective. For instance, if a truth is everlasting, is pervasive, and is unassailable, and can be tested for those characteristics, then it is objective.

If a moral system exists, and exists forever, then its moral teachings are everlasting, pervasive, and unassailable. Such as the moral teachings of a religion.

I am not religious. I am the hardest-hitting atheist on these boards. But I can imagine (not know, not believe, but imagine) that there could be a world view, fully believed, that says that god and its religion is everlasting, and so is man that that particular god has created.

Keeping this assumption in mind, you could say that the characteristics required for objectivity of truth or morals, are then all there, part of the moral system.

The original question asked: What could make morality objective?

The thing that could make morality objective is to include it in a system, in which it is necessarily objective. And such a system is the faith of the religions of Christianity and of the Islam.
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by -1- »

In a way, the question "What could make morality objective?" resembles the dilemma of how to eradicate poverty.

Most people start out to collect clothes, donations, warm food, etc. for the poor. Government initiatives to house them cheaply. Food bank. Etc.

Whereas poverty can be eliminated overnight all over the world, by saying that a person is poor when his annual income is less than minus infinity dollars.

All you need to do to eradicate poverty is to redefine what poverty is. If it hinges on a limit of asset value and income per period, then decrease the asset value and income figures until no person on Earth falls into that category.

Same with objective truths. Religions claim that their moral truths are objective, but they make that claim with the assumptions of the creation story being literal in the Bible, and that god exists, and that the world is whatever, just read the friggin' book.

So... a few little adjustments to the set of basic premises, tweaking the dials on the background assumptions, can make anything true or false, or undetermined.
Veritas Aequitas
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Veritas Aequitas »

-1- wrote: Wed Dec 26, 2018 12:19 am In a way, the question "What could make morality objective?" resembles the dilemma of how to eradicate poverty.

Most people start out to collect clothes, donations, warm food, etc. for the poor. Government initiatives to house them cheaply. Food bank. Etc.

Whereas poverty can be eliminated overnight all over the world, by saying that a person is poor when his annual income is less than minus infinity dollars.

All you need to do to eradicate poverty is to redefine what poverty is. If it hinges on a limit of asset value and income per period, then decrease the asset value and income figures until no person on Earth falls into that category.
Redefine is not too difficult, the difficulty is what is the definition that is universal and accepted by all humans.
There is a continuum and range to 'objectivity' e.g. what is objective to scientists may not be objective to creationists re the subject of evolution.
Thus what is poverty to a city-dweller may be different from those tribes in the the middle of the Amazon or some jungles who have all their basic needs met and has survived for thousands of years.
Same with objective truths. Religions claim that their moral truths are objective, but they make that claim with the assumptions of the creation story being literal in the Bible, and that god exists, and that the world is whatever, just read the friggin' book.

So... a few little adjustments to the set of basic premises, tweaking the dials on the background assumptions, can make anything true or false, or undetermined.
I can agree the religious [presume theistic] morals are objective but in a way it is relatively-objective i.e. subject to their specific and agreed Framework and System but not to non-theists and the secular.
The problem with theistic morality is it is imperatively grounded on 'God exists' which is not agreeable by the secular. Thus there is no room for universal objective morality until one side give up their imperative ground, i.e. either God exists or does not exist.

To make morality objective, it has to be based on universal morality that can be agreed upon by all humans without exceptions.
Since God is an impossibility and psychological [as proven], humanity need to use psychological approaches to wean off theism, thus enabling common human [secular] grounds to formulate universal moral laws to be used as GUIDES for continual improvements within morality.

The above expectations cannot be achieve immediately in the present but it is possible in the future for humanity to reach common grounds on universal moral laws.
How? note the Kantian approach to morality.
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Re: What could make morality objective?

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Veritas Aequitas wrote: Wed Dec 26, 2018 5:07 am...it is possible in the future for humanity to reach common grounds on universal moral laws.
How? note the Kantian approach to morality.
I don't trust the Kantian approach to morality. I believe it's fragile and essentially it is unenforceable.

The Kantian approach basically is no more than the prisoner's dilemma, except Kant's is a bit more upbeat and optimistic. Those are two things that make me reject it... it's a sales hype that nobody ought to take seriously.
Veritas Aequitas
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Veritas Aequitas »

-1- wrote: Wed Dec 26, 2018 5:25 am
Veritas Aequitas wrote: Wed Dec 26, 2018 5:07 am...it is possible in the future for humanity to reach common grounds on universal moral laws.
How? note the Kantian approach to morality.
I don't trust the Kantian approach to morality. I believe it's fragile and essentially it is unenforceable.

The Kantian approach basically is no more than the prisoner's dilemma, except Kant's is a bit more upbeat and optimistic. Those are two things that make me reject it... it's a sales hype that nobody ought to take seriously.
I believe you have misunderstood Kantian Morality as deontological or the likes.

I wrote the following above;
Since God is an impossibility and psychological [as proven], humanity need to use psychological approaches to wean off theism, thus enabling common human [secular] grounds to formulate universal moral laws to be used as GUIDES for continual improvements within morality.
The Kantian Categorical Imperatives and moral absolutes derived therefrom are not meant to be enforceable but rather to be used as GUIDES. They [as ideals] are like fixed lighthouses that are used to guide ships among rocks in stormy seas.

In addition, morality is independent of the judiciary and the political system that enforce Laws derived from moral laws [Guides].
The Moral Life of Babies
Yale Psychology Professor Paul Bloom finds the origins of morality in infants

Morality is not just something that people learn, argues Yale psychologist Paul Bloom: It is something we are all born with. At birth, babies are endowed with compassion, with empathy, with the beginnings of a sense of fairness.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/arti ... of-babies/
Thus the purpose of the Philosophy of Morality is to develop and expedite the inherent moral faculty within humans thus to increase the moral quotient [MQ] of all humans. When the average MQ of humanity increases, there will be less need for enforcement as each individual will be guided his own higher level of conscience rather than enforcement.
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Re: What could make morality objective?

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Veritas Aequitas wrote: Wed Dec 26, 2018 7:11 am I believe you have misunderstood Kantian Morality as deontological or the likes.
You are saying there is now a belief, a religion, based on the tenet that I have misunderstood Kantian Morality.

What chance does that leave me with?
Logik
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Logik »

-1- wrote: Wed Dec 26, 2018 9:12 am You are saying there is now a belief, a religion, based on the tenet that I have misunderstood Kantian Morality.

What chance does that leave me with?
If you can't work it out for yourself - not much, really.

Society will still spank you when you cross the line. If morality isn't common sense for you then maybe negative reinforcement will work...
Veritas Aequitas
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Veritas Aequitas »

-1- wrote: Wed Dec 26, 2018 9:12 am
Veritas Aequitas wrote: Wed Dec 26, 2018 7:11 am I believe you have misunderstood Kantian Morality as deontological or the likes.
You are saying there is now a belief, a religion, based on the tenet that I have misunderstood Kantian Morality.

What chance does that leave me with?
Yes, it is my personal belief based on evidences, i.e. on what you have posted on the subject.

You can prove my belief is wrong by quoting from Kant's books to support your view. If your evidences/argument are true, then I will change my beliefs on this issue.
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