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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Veritas Aequitas
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Veritas Aequitas »

Immanuel Can wrote: Sun Apr 19, 2020 1:55 pm
Your subjectivism is incapable of grounding any objective claim...that's analytic from your own terms, and I don't have to add a thing for it to be obvious.

Subjectivism warrants no universal or objective claims. Do you dispute that fact? Let's see how. If you can, then you've answered your own OP.
Objective scientific theories are grounded on subjectivism, i.e. the scientists as subjects has the final say based on their intersubjective consensus and peer review.

Do you insist scientific theories are not objective?
You insist 'water' is H20 is not objective?

I have argued just as how we do for objective scientific theories, we can derive secular objective moral theories from empirical evidence and philosophical reasoning.
uwot
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Re: FuQuine.

Post by uwot »

Skepdick wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:58 am
uwot wrote: Sun Apr 19, 2020 1:13 pm It's bleedin' obvious. The way you find out whether the Earth goes round the Sun is by looking at the evidence.
No, you don't. You do it by interpreting the evidence against the axioms of your reference frame with respect to the meaning of the terms "orbit" and "around".
But you do not discover whether the Earth orbits the Sun by interpreting the words.
Skepdick wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:58 amIn the strict and precise sense of "orbit" and "around", Earth doesn't orbit the Sun. Any two (or more) body system orbits a Barycentre.

And so the answer to "Does Earth orbit the Sun?" depends on how strictly you choose to interpret the meaning of your terms.
The barycentre of Earth and the Sun is roughly 450km from the centre of the Sun. In an object almost 1.4 million km in diameter, that's pretty much bang in the middle. So yeah, Earth makes the Sun wobble a bit, but it's reasonable to say that the Earth orbits the Sun.
Skepdick wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:58 am
uwot wrote: Sun Apr 19, 2020 1:13 pm The way you discover if murder is morally wrong is by looking at the meaning of the word, which is some version of 'morally wrong killing'.
So the same process I just described above then. Great! We are agreeing.
Well, it's not by analysing the natural language that you determine the barycentre of a system. The maths will give you a prediction, but you can only discover whether the mathematical prediction is correct by looking at the evidence. There is no equivalent test for murder.
Skepdick wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:58 am
uwot wrote: Sun Apr 19, 2020 1:13 pm Granted you have to establish what constitutes morally wrong killing, but once that's in the bag, you've got yer template for murder.
You have to establish the meaning of your terms in every sentence or question. Once that's in the bag you have a template for anything.
We've been through this. It is my view that language is contextual. Sometimes you agree with that, sometimes you don't. Which is it today?
Skepdick
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Re: FuQuine.

Post by Skepdick »

uwot wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 8:58 am But you do not discover whether the Earth orbits the Sun by interpreting the words.
Of course you do.

Before you can determine whether X orbits Y, you kinda have to determine what it means for one thing to orbit another.
You have to produce a predicate which approximately corresponds to a test procedure. You know - science.

Orbits(X,Y) -> Boolean.
uwot wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 8:58 am The barycentre of Earth and the Sun is roughly 450km from the centre of the Sun. In an object almost 1.4 million km in diameter, that's pretty much bang in the middle.
So according to you 450km from the centre is not the centre, but it is the middle. So that's a Middle(Y) -> Boolean predicate where Y represents. "distance from centre".

At what point does your predicate return false? 4.5 * 10^2km? 10^4? 10^6?
uwot wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 8:58 am So yeah, Earth makes the Sun wobble a bit, but it's reasonable to say that the Earth orbits the Sun.
So now you have a Reasonable(X) -> Boolean predicate.

If the Barycentre is in the middle of the sun, then it's a reasonable thing to say.
If the barycentre is not in the middle of the sun, then it's not a reasonable thing to say.

So, what do you mean by "middle"?
uwot wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 8:58 am Well, it's not by analysing the natural language that you determine the barycentre of a system.
It really depends on whether you think formal languages are "natural" or "unnatural". Personally, I find the terms "natural" and "existing" to be synonymous.

In order to define what a "barycentre" is, you sure need geometrical language and you need a concept for "orbit". However "unnatural" that may seem to you.

Unless you insist that you can conceptualise the notions of "barycentre" and "orbiting" ostensively.
uwot wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 8:58 am The maths will give you a prediction, but you can only discover whether the mathematical prediction is correct by looking at the evidence. There is no equivalent test for murder.
Math is declarative, not imperative - it doesn't give you any vocabulary/expressions/grammatical constructs to talk about "tests" or "testing".
Declarative languages in general prevent you from talking about things like "procedures" - Maths gives you definitions, not tests.

To speak about "test results", "test failures" and "test successes" coherently you need imperatives.
You need memory/state/branching/backtracking - exactly the things Mathematics doesn't have.

Exactly the thing imperative programming languages do. Explicit control-flow.
uwot wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 8:58 am We've been through this. It is my view that language is contextual. Sometimes you agree with that, sometimes you don't. Which is it today?
Everything is contextual. Even my agreement. To agree on context/reference frame is the step 1 of theory-construction and communication.
Last edited by Skepdick on Mon Apr 20, 2020 1:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Immanuel Can »

Peter Holmes wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:30 am Please provide one example of a moral assertion that makes a factual claim about reality, whose truth is independent from anyone's judgement, and which would be false if reality were different.
Do you include God in that list of "anyone"? Or do you presume simply to disregard Him?
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Immanuel Can
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Immanuel Can »

Veritas Aequitas wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 8:46 am Objective scientific theories are grounded on subjectivism, i.e. the scientists as subjects has the final say based on their intersubjective consensus and peer review.
You're mistaking the idea that scientists are "subjects" for the idea that reality is "subjective." Those are not the same claim.

Human knowledge is inevitably only probabilistic in nature -- and that includes inductive and abductive knowing, upon which all science depends. But science does not refer to subjective realities. That is, it is not the case that there is nothing "out there," independent of the subject, that science is attempting to approximate.

And you can tell that's true, because that external reality does not behave slavishly in step with our subjective impressions, but rather "pushes back" and defeats many of those expectations. And that's precisely why we need the scientific method...because mere subjectivity simply isn't right much of the time.

If you think that's not right, then consider the person on LSD, who firmly believes she can fly by jumping from a rooftop. Subjectively, she's 100% in the game...but you and I both have a pretty good probabilistic idea of what's going to happen to her.
uwot
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Re: FuQuine.

Post by uwot »

Skepdick wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 12:08 pm
uwot wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 8:58 am But you do not discover whether the Earth orbits the Sun by interpreting the words.
Of course you do.

Before you can determine whether X orbits Y, you kinda have to determine what it means for one thing to orbit another.
Or as frequently happens, you observe a phenomenon and attach a name to it.
Skepdick wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 12:08 pmYou have to produce a predicate which approximately corresponds to a test procedure. You know - science.
Well exactly; it is the test procedure that shows whether some phenomenon obtains. There is no experiment that will show whether murder is morally wrong - you don't need a microscope or telescope, a dictionary will do the job perfectly well.
Skepdick
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Re: FuQuine.

Post by Skepdick »

uwot wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 1:47 pm Or as frequently happens, you observe a phenomenon and attach a name to it.
"Frequently" my ass. I'm willing to bet a lot of money that you've never ever left Earth, so the probability of you having stood at a vantage point from which you can observe both Earth and the Sun at exactly the same time is exactly 0 in my book. And the probability of me being wrong about this is almost 0.

The description of their relationship with respect to each other happens in your mind's eye, so whenever you tell me "Earth Orbits the Sun" there are three things I am certain about:
1. In your mind's eye your vantage point is not the barycentre.
2. The Sun is a fixed point in your mental model.
3. Your observational position (wherever that is) is also a fixed point.

Do some homework on fixed point theorems in Maths.

uwot wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 1:47 pm Well exactly; it is the test procedure that shows whether some phenomenon obtains. There is no experiment that will show whether murder is morally wrong - you don't need a microscope or telescope, a dictionary will do the job perfectly well.
You really missed the point.

There is no "test procedure" which determines that Earth orbits the Sun - it's an axiomatic assumption. It's true by definition - it's axiomatic.
Experimental results are always interpreted against the axioms of the theory within which the predictive model was created. There is no test procedure within the model which will demonstrate that Earth doesn't orbit the sun - because axiom.

You create a model of the solar system. Axiomatically you put the sun in the middle of your geometrical space.

This is reification 101 stuff. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reificati ... r_science)
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henry quirk
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by henry quirk »

RCSaunders wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 5:57 pm
henry quirk wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 5:32 pm
RCSaunders wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 4:36 pm
So, where's the, "why ownness is a moral fact," thread you promised?
I'll get to it when I get to it.

Can't believe you're that eager to disagree with me.
That's an entirely unwarranted presumption. But think what you want. It's no skin off my nose, you old curmudgeon, you.
Huzzah! After thinkin' on the subject a bit, I'm ready to open that thread. Look for it later today.

And: you forgot prickly.
uwot
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Re: FuQuine.

Post by uwot »

Skepdick wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 2:10 pm
uwot wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 1:47 pm Or as frequently happens, you observe a phenomenon and attach a name to it.
"Frequently" my ass.
Slow down. You are in such a hurry to prove how smart you are, you make a fool of yourself. Why do you limit 'phenomenon' to the motion of the Earth and the Sun? It happens a lot in science that some phenomenon is observed and named without being fully understood. Evolution, gravity, dark energy - all sorts of things. The point being that the definition is determined by the observation. We know a great deal about evolution that was unknown to Darwin, but gravity, dark energy, dark matter are simply the names given to the unknown explanation for something that demonstrably happens.
Skepdick wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 2:10 pmThere is no "test procedure" which determines that Earth orbits the Sun - it's an axiomatic assumption. It's true by definition - it's axiomatic.
The point is not whether it is true or not; the point is that the way to discover whether it is true is to look at the evidence. There is no equivalent procedure to show that murder is morally wrong.
Peter Holmes
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes »

Immanuel Can wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 1:24 pm
Peter Holmes wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:30 am Please provide one example of a moral assertion that makes a factual claim about reality, whose truth is independent from anyone's judgement, and which would be false if reality were different.
Do you include God in that list of "anyone"? Or do you presume simply to disregard Him?
The truth-value of a factual assertion is, precisely, independent from anyone's judgement. That's what 'factual' and 'objective' mean. So a factual assertion - one about a feature of reality - is true or false regardless of what anyone thinks. And yes, that must include a god. A god's thinking a factual assertion is true or false has no bearing on its truth or falsehood. Do you think the following assertions are true?

'This god thinks a factual is true, so it is true'. 'This factual assertion is true just because a god thinks or says it's true'. 'This god says this true factual assertion is false, so it is false'.

If so, I have nothing more to say to you. If not, to repeat:

Please provide one example of a moral assertion that makes a factual claim about reality, whose truth is independent from anyone's judgement, and which would be false if reality were different.
Skepdick
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Re: FuQuine.

Post by Skepdick »

uwot wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 3:28 pm Slow down. You are in such a hurry to prove how smart you are, you make a fool of yourself. Why do you limit 'phenomenon' to the motion of the Earth and the Sun?
I am not doing that You are erroneously attributing it to me. Which phenomenon is it that you think I am limiting?

The discussion started with the claim that "The Earth orbits the sun" is a fact.

So I am simply questioning what bestows factuality to this sentence given that there are reference frames from which it is true (axiomatically) and reference frames from which it is false.

The assertion "The Earth orbits the Sun" doesn't have any phenomenon as its referent. Certainly no phenomenon that a human has experienced directly.

But I do know how to imagine and even design a 3D model in which the sentence is true.
uwot wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 3:28 pm It happens a lot in science that some phenomenon is observed and named without being fully understood. Evolution, gravity, dark energy - all sorts of things. The point being that the definition is determined by the observation.
So which "observed phenomenon" exactly is "the Earth orbits the Sun"? Who observed it? When and from which vantage point?

uwot wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 3:28 pm The point is not whether it is true or not; the point is that the way to discover whether it is true is to look at the evidence.There is no equivalent procedure to show that murder is morally wrong.
*blah blah blah*. What is the procedure for "looking at the evidence"?
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Immanuel Can
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Immanuel Can »

Peter Holmes wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 3:29 pm The truth-value of a factual assertion is, precisely, independent from anyone's judgement.
It's not. The very constitution of the universe depends on the certitude of God's word (Genesis 1). There would BE no creation for there to be any "truth" about, apart from the reliability of God.

So do you reckon differently? Do you reckon as if the world were a self-explaining accident of some kind? It's hard to see how "truth" could be a property of an accident, since accidents are -- well -- accidental. And there is no truth...only subjective impressions, then. And being thus totally subjective, none is intrinsically or objectively better than any other.

In a world without God, why should people not prefer "delusions" to "truth"?
Belinda
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Belinda »

Peter Holmes wrote: Sun Apr 19, 2020 11:19 am
Belinda wrote: Sun Apr 19, 2020 10:52 am
Peter Holmes wrote: Sat Apr 18, 2020 2:18 pm
Two different things here:

1 The idea of non-existent things such as gods, unicorns and fairies has changed. True, but they still don't exist.

2 Some current ideas of non-existent things may be useful and so worth holding on to. But not if the ideas also cause harm.

I think the damage caused by even 'evolved' ideas of gods and other imaginary things far outweighs any good from holding on to them.
Microbes, buttercups, and chairs arguably do not exist as things in themselves. They do exist as ideas.
Some ideas such as fairies, unicorns, and gods , unlike microbes, buttercups, and chairs, lack the space-time attribute. So do communism and other powerful ideologies lack the space-time attribute.

You seem to think the space-time attribute defines existence and that is the same as denying minds exist.
So you think chairs arguably don't exist as things-in-themselves, but do exist as ideas. I think this is incoherent nonsense, for which there is absolutely no evidence. And I think the way you live your life demonstrates that you don't believe it. It's just metaphysical delusion writ large.

What and where are abstract things such as what we call ideas and minds? If you can't answer that question, you have to explain what the word 'exist' means in the assertion 'abstract things exist'. Because they don't exist in the way that chairs and you and I and words exist.
How can Peter Holmes get knowledge apart from his senses? The millions of people who are not Peter Holmes have different perspectives from Peter Holmes. Whose reality is true?
Belinda
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Belinda »

Peter Holmes wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 3:29 pm
Immanuel Can wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 1:24 pm
Peter Holmes wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:30 am Please provide one example of a moral assertion that makes a factual claim about reality, whose truth is independent from anyone's judgement, and which would be false if reality were different.
Do you include God in that list of "anyone"? Or do you presume simply to disregard Him?
The truth-value of a factual assertion is, precisely, independent from anyone's judgement. That's what 'factual' and 'objective' mean. So a factual assertion - one about a feature of reality - is true or false regardless of what anyone thinks. And yes, that must include a god. A god's thinking a factual assertion is true or false has no bearing on its truth or falsehood. Do you think the following assertions are true?

'This god thinks a factual is true, so it is true'. 'This factual assertion is true just because a god thinks or says it's true'. 'This god says this true factual assertion is false, so it is false'.

If so, I have nothing more to say to you. If not, to repeat:

Please provide one example of a moral assertion that makes a factual claim about reality, whose truth is independent from anyone's judgement, and which would be false if reality were different.
Peter, God is that which knows the truth of everything including chairs, microbes, buttercups, and Peter Holmes. However Peter Holmes does not and cannot know the truth of everything. Neither, of course, can I, or Einstein .
Peter Holmes
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes »

Immanuel Can wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 6:54 pm
Peter Holmes wrote: Mon Apr 20, 2020 3:29 pm The truth-value of a factual assertion is, precisely, independent from anyone's judgement.
It's not. The very constitution of the universe depends on the certitude of God's word (Genesis 1). There would BE no creation for there to be any "truth" about, apart from the reliability of God.
Nonsense. If there were no god and no creation, the factual assertion 'there is no god and no creation' would be true. And the claim 'a god created everything, so there are true factual assertions' is incoherent. You must know this is rubbish.

So do you reckon differently? Do you reckon as if the world were a self-explaining accident of some kind? It's hard to see how "truth" could be a property of an accident, since accidents are -- well -- accidental. And there is no truth...only subjective impressions, then. And being thus totally subjective, none is intrinsically or objectively better than any other.
What are you on about? Get a grip. Whether the world was an accident or a creation has nothing to do with the nature and function of factual assertions.

In a world without God, why should people not prefer "delusions" to "truth"?
If there is no god, then the factual assertion 'there is no god' is true - and we're better off knowing the truth, don't you think? You can't even show your god exists, let alone show its nature. And yet you claim there are moral facts because a creator-god with a certain nature exists. It's pathetic.

Your claim that, if there are no moral facts, then there can be no rational basis for moral judgement, is plainly and patently false. But even if it were true, it wouldn't mean there must be moral facts. You do know that's a fallacious argument from undesirable consequences, I assume.

Now, produce the goods, or have the intellectual honesty to admit, at least to yourself, that you need to change your mind.

To repeat: please provide an example of a moral assertion that makes a factual claim, with a truth-value independent from anyone's opinion, that would be false if reality were different.
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