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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Univalence
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Univalence » Sun May 26, 2019 7:45 pm

Peter Holmes wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 6:01 pm
Your kidneys example illustrates my point.
They don't illustrate your point.
They illustrate my point.

Peter Holmes wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 6:01 pm
The fact that people do have kidneys (or at least one) means that what they believe or claim to know about their possession of at least one kidney has no bearing on the truth of the assertion 'people have at least one kidney'. There is a fact of the matter, because there is a feature of reality.
PRECISELY!!!

The fact that people do have morality means that what they believe or claim to know about their possession of morality has no bearing on the truth of the assertion 'people have morality'. There is a fact of the matter, because there is a feature of reality.

Hence. Morality is objective. Like kidneys.

Belinda
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Belinda » Sun May 26, 2019 11:06 pm

Peter Holmes wrote:
Can you suggest an instruction for killing an auroch that has a truth-value? Cut off its head, for example?
Killing an auroch is a dangerous task calling for learned physical skills and social skills . The procedure that ends with killing the auroch is complex.
The purpose of the physical skills and the social skills is efficiency and safety. When these conditions are met the procedure of killing the auroch has truth value.

If the leader of the auroch hunt said " These traditions of the hunt tell us the true way to kill an auroch " his claim would have truth value. Because the leader of the hunt speaks with justified authority " These traditions tell us the true way to kill an auroch" is also a moral command.

Peter Holmes
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes » Mon May 27, 2019 6:18 am

Belinda wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 11:06 pm
Peter Holmes wrote:
Can you suggest an instruction for killing an auroch that has a truth-value? Cut off its head, for example?
Killing an auroch is a dangerous task calling for learned physical skills and social skills . The procedure that ends with killing the auroch is complex.
The purpose of the physical skills and the social skills is efficiency and safety. When these conditions are met the procedure of killing the auroch has truth value.

If the leader of the auroch hunt said " These traditions of the hunt tell us the true way to kill an auroch " his claim would have truth value. Because the leader of the hunt speaks with justified authority " These traditions tell us the true way to kill an auroch" is also a moral command.
We disagree about what 'truth-value' means, and so what can be true or false. It may be true that there's a 'correct' (maximally efficient) procedure for killing an auroch, but the procedure itself can't be true or false - it can't have a truth-value, in my opinion. The only things that can have truth-value are factual assertions.

And anyway, I think you conflate truth-value with moral value, and they are completely different things. There's a distinction between 'this is the correct way to kill an auroch' and 'it's morally right to kill an auroch in the correct way'. The two assertions have a completely different functions.

Belinda, I can't explain this any other way, so if you don't agree, that's fine. Thanks very much for your thoughtful engagement.

Belinda
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Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:13 am

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Belinda » Mon May 27, 2019 9:46 am

Peter Holmes wrote:
There's a distinction between 'this is the correct way to kill an auroch' and 'it's morally right to kill an auroch in the correct way'. The two assertions have a completely different functions.
The "completely different function " is found in differential statuses of , on the one hand, the rulers who institute and maintain the directive and , on the other hand, the people who accept the directive .

In a modern society the common people have many choices for instance what they eat for dinner or whether they buy their beef steaks from Walmart or the farmers' market. In an undeveloped society where hunting and killing the aurochs is the main occupation it's not possible for the leader to offer choices . In such a society the efficient method becomes a religious tenet and for good practical reason.

In The Bible Old Testament among the nomadic herders you can see how the practical rules are also moral rules. You can see how kinship rules meld what we'd today call the practical and the moral (Story of Ruth particularly). Please note I don't cite The Bible as a moral authority but as an anthropological source.

Peter Holmes
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes » Mon May 27, 2019 2:41 pm

Univalence wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 7:45 pm
Peter Holmes wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 6:01 pm
Your kidneys example illustrates my point.
They don't illustrate your point.
They illustrate my point.

Peter Holmes wrote:
Sun May 26, 2019 6:01 pm
The fact that people do have kidneys (or at least one) means that what they believe or claim to know about their possession of at least one kidney has no bearing on the truth of the assertion 'people have at least one kidney'. There is a fact of the matter, because there is a feature of reality.
PRECISELY!!!

The fact that people do have morality means that what they believe or claim to know about their possession of morality has no bearing on the truth of the assertion 'people have morality'. There is a fact of the matter, because there is a feature of reality.

Hence. Morality is objective. Like kidneys.
Please have a good think about these factual assertions. Does any of them strike you as odd?

1 (Most) people have at least one kidney.
2 (Most) people have morality.
3 Kidneys are objective.
4 Morality is objective.

Now please have a good think about these questions.

5 Is having a kidney the same as having morality? (Or a cold, or a mortgage, or doubts?) (I assume you know what a category error is.)
6 Can a real thing, such as a kidney, be objective? What does that mean? Does it just mean that a kidney is a real thing?
7 Does 'having morality' mean having certain moral opinions and not other moral opinions? Or does it just mean 'having moral opinions'?

Now, as I've asked before, stop substituting 'people have morality' for 'murder is wrong', which is the moot question here. Though it needs clarification, I''ll accept '(most) people have morality' as a true factual assertion - which is a fact. The claim that I reject this is a straw man.

Now please have a good think about these assertions. (In them, 'right' and 'wrong' mean 'morally right or wrong'.)

8 If people believe murder is wrong, then murder is wrong: the assertion 'murder is wrong' is a fact.
9 If people believe capital punishment is right, then capital punishment is right: the assertion 'capital punishment is right' is a fact.
10 If people believe homosexuality is wrong, then homosexuality is wrong: the assertion 'homosexuality is wrong' is a fact.
11 If people believe eating animals is right, then eating animal is right: the assertion 'eating animal is right' is a fact.

Do you agree with all of these assertions? If so, do you think that what people believe is morally right or wrong is factually morally right or wrong?

Univalence
Posts: 492
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 6:28 pm

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Univalence » Wed May 29, 2019 6:47 pm

Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 2:41 pm
Please have a good think about these factual assertions. Does any of them strike you as odd?

1 (Most) people have at least one kidney.
2 (Most) people have morality.
3 Kidneys are objective.
4 Morality is objective.
I have thought about them plenty. Perhaps you need to stop trying to convince me that you are right and start trying to convince yourself that you are wrong?

Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 2:41 pm
Now please have a good think about these questions.

5 Is having a kidney the same as having morality? (Or a cold, or a mortgage, or doubts?) (I assume you know what a category error is.)
Yes. It's exactly the same thing. It's because you fail to acknowledge that morality is an epistemic problem you have no foundation from which to assert what an 'error' is, or why it's an error.

You have no objective criterion for valid/invalid categorisation.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 2:41 pm
6 Can a real thing, such as a kidney, be objective? What does that mean? Does it just mean that a kidney is a real thing?
There is an arrangement of physical particles in a particular, significant pattern in your body. A pattern which has a consequential/measurable effect on reality. The reduction of waste in the blood stream.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 2:41 pm
7 Does 'having morality' mean having certain moral opinions and not other moral opinions? Or does it just mean 'having moral opinions'?
There is a an arrangement of physical particles in a particular, significant pattern in your head. A pattern which has a consequential/measurable effect on reality. The reduction of murder.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 2:41 pm
Now, as I've asked before, stop substituting 'people have morality' for 'murder is wrong', which is the moot question here. Though it needs clarification, I''ll accept '(most) people have morality' as a true factual assertion - which is a fact. The claim that I reject this is a straw man.
OK. So if you accept that people have morality, then morality is objective.
The strawman is to go on talking about the 'wrongness of murder'.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 2:41 pm
Now please have a good think about these assertions. (In them, 'right' and 'wrong' mean 'morally right or wrong'.)
What other kind of meaning is there for 'right' and 'wrong'?
Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 2:41 pm
8 If people believe murder is wrong, then murder is wrong: the assertion 'murder is wrong' is a fact.
I thought we already agreed that it doesn't mater what people believe or say IF we know that murder is wrong.

And I made my epistemic argument already.

Belinda
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Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:13 am

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Belinda » Wed May 29, 2019 7:01 pm

I guess that " What could make morality objective?" would be more clearly worded as "Are there objective values?"

Morality is something people do as members of society so of course it's an objective fact inasmuch as any human behaviour is a fact.

Peter Holmes
Posts: 514
Joined: Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:53 pm

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes » Wed May 29, 2019 7:22 pm

Univalence wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 6:47 pm
Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 2:41 pm
Please have a good think about these factual assertions. Does any of them strike you as odd?

1 (Most) people have at least one kidney.
2 (Most) people have morality.
3 Kidneys are objective.
4 Morality is objective.
I have thought about them plenty. Perhaps you need to stop trying to convince me that you are right and start trying to convince yourself that you are wrong?

Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 2:41 pm
Now please have a good think about these questions.

5 Is having a kidney the same as having morality? (Or a cold, or a mortgage, or doubts?) (I assume you know what a category error is.)
Yes. It's exactly the same thing. It's because you fail to acknowledge that morality is an epistemic problem you have no foundation from which to assert what an 'error' is, or why it's an error.

You have no objective criterion for valid/invalid categorisation.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 2:41 pm
6 Can a real thing, such as a kidney, be objective? What does that mean? Does it just mean that a kidney is a real thing?
There is an arrangement of physical particles in a particular, significant pattern in your body. A pattern which has a consequential/measurable effect on reality. The reduction of waste in the blood stream.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 2:41 pm
7 Does 'having morality' mean having certain moral opinions and not other moral opinions? Or does it just mean 'having moral opinions'?
There is a an arrangement of physical particles in a particular, significant pattern in your head. A pattern which has a consequential/measurable effect on reality. The reduction of murder.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 2:41 pm
Now, as I've asked before, stop substituting 'people have morality' for 'murder is wrong', which is the moot question here. Though it needs clarification, I''ll accept '(most) people have morality' as a true factual assertion - which is a fact. The claim that I reject this is a straw man.
OK. So if you accept that people have morality, then morality is objective.
The strawman is to go on talking about the 'wrongness of murder'.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 2:41 pm
Now please have a good think about these assertions. (In them, 'right' and 'wrong' mean 'morally right or wrong'.)
What other kind of meaning is there for 'right' and 'wrong'?
Peter Holmes wrote:
Mon May 27, 2019 2:41 pm
8 If people believe murder is wrong, then murder is wrong: the assertion 'murder is wrong' is a fact.
I thought we already agreed that it doesn't mater what people believe or say IF we know that murder is wrong.

And I made my epistemic argument already.
Okay. I don't think we can get any further with this. Thanks for the conversation.

Peter Holmes
Posts: 514
Joined: Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:53 pm

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes » Thu May 30, 2019 3:32 pm

Belinda wrote:
Wed May 29, 2019 7:01 pm
I guess that " What could make morality objective?" would be more clearly worded as "Are there objective values?"
Maybe you're right. But I was trying to expose what we mean when we say 'morality is objective' - what we think has to be the case for anything to be 'objective' - and my argument is that that thing is a feature of reality - of the way things are, independent of how they are perceived, and therefore independent of judgement, belief or opinion.

Morality is something people do as members of society so of course it's an objective fact inasmuch as any human behaviour is a fact.
I think this confusion is very easy to explain and correct. Yes, of course, people 'have' morality - moral values and codes. That's just a fact - which means that the factual assertion 'people have morality' is true, because it describes a feature of reality correctly.

But the expression 'objective morality' doesn't mean that at all. It means something completely different. It means that moral assertions, such as 'murder is wrong', are factually true, independent of judgement, belief or opinion. For example, William Lane Craig (a Christian apologist) claims that there are objective moral values, because something is morally right or wrong regardless of what anyone believes. And I think that is false - not because I don't think things are morally right or wrong (I think murder is morally wrong), but because their moral rightness or wrongness are not features of reality, and therefore not factual matters, independent of judgement, belief or opinion.

Take an example. The moral claim 'capital punishment is right' is not a fact, for exactly the same reason that the claim 'capital punishment is wrong' is not a fact. There is nothing in reality - in the nature of capital punishment - that can settle the moral disagreement. There is no true or false, in the way that there is with factual claims, such as 'the earth is flat'.

Univalence
Posts: 492
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 6:28 pm

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Univalence » Thu May 30, 2019 4:12 pm

Peter Holmes wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 3:32 pm
But the expression 'objective morality' doesn't mean that at all. It means something completely different. It means that moral assertions, such as 'murder is wrong', are factually true.
Then you aren't arguing about the meaning of morality, you are arguing about the meaning of "truth".

Univalence
Posts: 492
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 6:28 pm

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Univalence » Thu May 30, 2019 4:17 pm

Peter Holmes wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 3:32 pm
Take an example. The moral claim 'capital punishment is right' is not a fact, for exactly the same reason that the claim 'capital punishment is wrong' is not a fact. There is nothing in reality - in the nature of capital punishment - that can settle the moral disagreement. There is no true or false, in the way that there is with factual claims, such as 'the earth is flat'.
Incorrect.

P1. Murder is wrong
P2. Reducing murder is right

IF the capital punishment of murderers results in measurable reduction of murder then capital punishment is right.
Capital punishment does NOT result in measurable reduction of murder therefore it lacks moral justification.

Peter Holmes
Posts: 514
Joined: Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:53 pm

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes » Thu May 30, 2019 4:22 pm

Univalence wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 4:17 pm
Peter Holmes wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 3:32 pm
Take an example. The moral claim 'capital punishment is right' is not a fact, for exactly the same reason that the claim 'capital punishment is wrong' is not a fact. There is nothing in reality - in the nature of capital punishment - that can settle the moral disagreement. There is no true or false, in the way that there is with factual claims, such as 'the earth is flat'.
Incorrect.

P1. Murder is wrong
P2. Reducing murder is right

IF the capital punishment of murderers results in measurable reduction of murder then capital punishment is right.
Capital punishment does NOT result in measurable reduction of murder therefore it lacks moral justification.
And there, in a nutshell, is the redundancy of your moral position. But I've given up arguing with you. You just don't understand this argument.

Univalence
Posts: 492
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 6:28 pm

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Univalence » Thu May 30, 2019 5:04 pm

Peter Holmes wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 4:22 pm
But I've given up arguing with you. You just don't understand this argument.
And therein your error. You are arguing instead of trying to understand why your own 'understanding' lacks an epistemic foundation.

Peter Holmes
Posts: 514
Joined: Tue Jul 18, 2017 3:53 pm

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes » Thu May 30, 2019 6:22 pm

Univalence wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 5:04 pm
Peter Holmes wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 4:22 pm
But I've given up arguing with you. You just don't understand this argument.
And therein your error. You are arguing instead of trying to understand why your own 'understanding' lacks an epistemic foundation.
So you think 'murder is wrong' is a fact, but that 'capital punishment is right if if it reduces the murder rate' is also a fact. So ' murder is wrong but murder can be right' is a fact - a true factual claim about a feature of reality, independent of opinion.

Who decides what is a morally right outcome? And is that decision a fact, or a judgement?

Talk to homosexuals about people who think there are moral facts, then applaud when they're thrown from tall buildings. Moral objectivism is an intellectual and moral abomination, and, as a morally self-promoting person, you should be ashamed of your ignorance.

Univalence
Posts: 492
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 6:28 pm

Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Univalence » Thu May 30, 2019 6:34 pm

Peter Holmes wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 6:22 pm
So you think 'murder is wrong' is a fact, but that 'capital punishment is right if if it reduces the murder rate' is also a fact. So ' murder is wrong but murder can be right' is a fact - a true factual claim about a feature of reality, independent of opinion.
Capital punishment is not murder.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 6:22 pm
Who decides what is a morally right outcome? And is that decision a fact, or a judgement?
We do. using the instrument we call Law
Peter Holmes wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 6:22 pm
Talk to homosexuals about people who think there are moral facts, then applaud when they're thrown from tall buildings.
Cherry picking.
Peter Holmes wrote:
Thu May 30, 2019 6:22 pm
Moral objectivism is an intellectual and moral abomination, and, as a morally self-promoting person, you should be ashamed of your ignorance.
You can't accuse anyone of 'ignorance' when you don't understand epistemology.

Least of all. You can't accuse me of 'moral abomination' without suggesting that we should engineer airplane software such that airplanes crash MORE, rather than LESS often. You can't accuse me of 'moral abomination' without suggesting that we should engineer hospitals such that people die MORE, rather than LESS often when they are treated for an illness.

Primum non nocere.

You are as ignorant as every philosopher I've met or spoken to. So ignorant in fact that I think your ideology is more harmful to society than theism.
Last edited by Univalence on Thu May 30, 2019 6:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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