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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uwot
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by uwot »

Skepdick wrote: Sun May 17, 2020 12:04 amSo you are still hung up on definitions and stupid linguistic/semantic distinctions, huh? The emotional response is your programming. It existed long before we invented the word "murder". The emotional response to unjustifiable killing is the objective causal factor for why we have legal systems; and why we bothered to define "murder".
And there you have it. Even if we allow that everyone's emotional response to "unjustifiable killing" is identical and in that sense is 'truly objective', it is demonstrably the case that people disagree over what killings are justifiable.
Skepdick wrote: Sun May 17, 2020 12:04 am...whatever types of killing are included in the data being reported as "murder and violence" - that is what I am including.
I didn't do the classification - I am only doing the data analysis.
I am happy to accept that murder by any definition is decreasing; you still have all your work to do if you think you can attribute that to the objectivity of morality.
Skepdick wrote: Sun May 17, 2020 12:04 am1 in 3 on a week-long observation is not the same as 1 in 3 over 500 years of observation.
Oh please. There are 3 options: murder rates go up, they stay the same or they go down. You can stare at that until the cows come home but there will only ever be those 3 options, and you in your 'I'm a cor-blimey computer scientist' brilliance has concluded that the probability of any one obtaining is 1 in 3.
Skepdick wrote: Sun May 17, 2020 12:04 amSo it's only apt that TimeSeeker should remind you about the significance of time when weighing evidence.
Perhaps it would be if time made any bleedin' difference in this case.
Skepdick wrote: Sun May 17, 2020 12:04 am
uwot wrote: Sat May 16, 2020 10:18 pm Slightly against the odds, murder rates are going down.
I don't think anybody who quantitatively comprehends the statistical significance of a 500+ year trend would use the word "slightly" in this context.
You really do not understand the context then; it is you who absurdly claims the odds of murder rates decreasing are 1 in 3. The amount of time is irrelevant.
Skepdick wrote: Sun May 17, 2020 12:04 amComparatively - physicists make up their minds on much, much weaker evidence.
You clearly have never met a physicist.
Skepdick wrote: Sun May 17, 2020 12:04 amI am defending the objectivity of morality about as much as Earth needs its roundness defended.
You really should try harder.
Skepdick wrote: Sun May 17, 2020 12:04 amI am only here to demonstrate that Philosophers are as dumb as flat Earthers when it comes to recognising evidence.
Again, you'll have to try harder.
Veritas Aequitas
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Veritas Aequitas »

Sculptor wrote: Sat May 16, 2020 11:40 am
Veritas Aequitas wrote: Sat May 16, 2020 6:00 am
Sculptor wrote: Fri May 15, 2020 11:06 am That opinion is not more valid than the converse.
Let me show you where you are going wrong.
It is obviously not an opinion as defined and as accepted generally.
You have stated that breathing is necessary for life in humans. Actually you can live without breathing, with a machine, but I'll let that go for purposes of simplicity. No one disagrees the truth of this; that at least oxygen is necessary for the persistence of a living human life.

So far so good.
That is shifting the goal post.
If you are insistent I would say "the need for oxygen" is critical or else it is death.
There are loads of moral facts and oughts other than the need to breathe.
You seem to continue to say that breathing is an objective right, or words to that effect.
Is this okay so far?
I derived the moral fact from the Moral Framework based on empirical facts, i.e.
"No human ought to prevent other humans from breathing till they die"
Let's see if you are kidding yourself and ignoring some issues here. Let's start simply by answering the questions without comment.

Can you answer these questions, yes or no, please!

1) Is it possible that the continuation of a life is a good idea, from the perspective of an individual?
I had argued,
'ALL humans are "programmed" to survive at all costs till the inevitable.'
The "purpose" is to ensure the preservation of the human species.
This is supported by empirical facts.
Therefore the "individual" human will survive at all cost till the inevitable naturally as "programmed".
As such is not not a matter of 'a good idea' but that the "individual" of the human species is naturally programmed to survive at all costs till the inevitable.

However nature is never perfect and in general the Normal Distribution principles [Bell Curve] patterns are a reality with all human variables.
Thus those individuals in the appx 2 sigma percentile [5%] may be the exceptions [suicidal, risk takers etc.] and may not strive to survive at all costs.

Thus the fact remains,
'ALL humans are "programmed" to survive at all costs till the inevitable.'
Therefore the "individual" human will strive to survive at all cost till the inevitable, naturally as "programmed"
2) Is it possible that the continuation of a particular life is a good is a good idea, from the perspective of society?
Same argument as above.

'ALL humans are "programmed" to survive at all costs till the inevitable.'
Therefore the "individual" human will strive to survive at all cost till the inevitable, naturally as "programmed" as a society to enhance a greater chance of survival.
There will be exceptions.
3) Is it possible that the preservation of life of an infinite number of humans on a planet with finite resources a good idea?
The "purpose" is to ensure the preservation of the human species.
To ensure the above,
This is effected,
'ALL humans are "programmed" to survive at all costs till the inevitable.'
Therefore the "individual" human will strive to survive at all cost till the inevitable, naturally as "programmed" as a society to enhance a greater chance of survival.
There will be exceptions.

In addition to the above, and to ensure the preservation of the species,
Human beings are also programmed with the inherent faculty of philosophy, morality, intelligence, rationality, wisdom, continual improvement program and the propensity to optimize within constraints.

The objective of humanity in the longer run will be to optimize the objective laws of morality with whatever known constraints.
In the longer run, the average or the majority of individuals will have developed higher competency in their impulse controls with understanding of species-teamwork, optimality & fool proof approaches and will not fuck & produce like rabbits as with the current population explosion.
4) If you think that breathing is an objective moral right, who has to responsibility to guarantee that right and provide the resources where necessary to given each and every human the means to breath?
Within the Moral Framework, there will be a need to increase the average Moral Quotient of say 100 to 1,000 within the next 50 to 100 years.
Then individual will self-legislate as team-humanity and co-operate for the greater good.
You know this is crazy, don't you?
Your question is crazy and based on lack of critical thinking.

Note there are already empirical evidences of a trend of the increase in the Moral Quotient of the average human.
Example, albeit not pure morality, every sovereign nations at present has legal laws that made murder a serious crimes and punishments for various crimes.
The UN had introduced the Convention on Slavery and more than 90% of sovereign nations has recognized and ratified the Slavery Convention.
Now if the Moral Quotient of the average human was 100 during 50,000 years ago, the MQ at present, relative to 50,000 years ago, would be 1000 or more.
Thus if there is a natural increase in MQ over the 50,000 years ago, humanity with the current exponential expansion of knowledge and technology, would be able to expedite the rate through effective and foolproof methods.

So it is not a crazy idea as evident by past empirical evidences.

5) It is necessary for a potato eelworm to have potatoes to live. Does a potato eelworm have the right to potatoes?
Straw man!
Note Hume's example of Patricide,
i.e. it is immoral for a new plant from seed of tree-X to grow so tall and big nearby that it monopolized all the sunlight and in the end kill its father tree-X?
Hume is way off with morality in this example.

Point is, DNA/RNA wise all humans are programmed with a faculty of morality and ethics and neuroscientists and neuropsychologists and others are slowly discovering this faculty within the brain of human and to some minute degree in primates.

Lets' have more of the sort of the above discussions instead of intellectual violence.
A question cannot be a strawman since it does not imply an argument.
You have not begun to answer this question. You do not even seem to understand it. If a human objectively deserves air, then why not an eelworm deserves potato?

Had you simply answered the question we might have had some progress.
Sadly you failed to answer the question.
I have answered the questions your raised, in the perspective that is effective for morality.
I don't see you have a good grasp of what morality meant in general and you are stuck into one perspective of the rigid is-ought dilemma.
So now lets try to ask some counter questions.
1)Is it possible that the continuation of a life is a NOT good idea, from the perspective of an individual?
As an individual of the human species, and from the moral perspective of the species as a whole, it is not a good idea to die prematurely [not naturally].
As an individual on the personal basis, for some individuals, it may not be a good idea for them [from their personal opinion] to continue life based on their personal reasoning, e.g. the suicidal, those with terminal illness, etc.
2) Is it possible that the continuation of life is NOT a good idea, from to the perspective of society.
Same is 1 - not possible from the moral perspective of the human species.
As specific group, yes, some may be misled by the leader or tradition to die prematurely, e.g. members of the Heaven's Gate, Rev Jim Jones and his group, group of suicide bombers, groups that kill their deformed/mentally-ill babies, and other groups or society.
3) Is it possible that the preservation of life of an infinite number of humans on a planet with finite resources is bad idea?
It is obvious and very logical, an infinite number of human in a planet of infinite resources is a bad idea.

However the above bad situation will not happen since what I proposed is based on the establishment of an effective Moral Framework and System in the future. In this case team-humanity will emerge to find OPTIMAL solutions to balance future populations numbers sufficient to preserve the human species within infinite resources.
In addition, team humanity will co-operate to find ways to increase resources but maintaining optimality at all times.

Note crudely, nations are already co-operating [a moral feature] to find new resources and habitable location in other planets and outer-space. There will be greater efficiency if there is an effective Moral Framework and System in the future.
4) If you think that breathing is an objective moral right, who has to responsibility to guarantee that right and provide the resources where necessary to given each and every human the means to breath?
I'm asking this one again.
The above is applicable when the effective Moral Framework and System is already established and working.
At that point, the average human will have high MQ and will co-operate as team-humanity. In the event there is a constraint in "breathing" the whole team-humanity will work to find the OPTIMAL solutions.
There would be no ONE or elite group to decide.

Critical Note:
My proposal rely on a Moral & Ethics Framework and System with empirically and philosophical justified objective absolute moral objectives which are ideal to act as GUIDEs only. This is the PURE aspect of Morality.
My proposal obviously has to cover the APPLIED i.e. the practical where variations [inevitable due to existing human nature] from the ideal has to be accounted for. In the APPLIED aspects, individuals and groups will rely on utilitarianism, consequentialism and other effective ethics strategies to achieve as near as possible to the impossible ideals.
5) If you think it is okay to deny an eelworm potato then why do you think a human deserves oxygen.
Morality is conditioned upon the individual species.

As I had stated earlier,
DNA/RNA wise, ALL humans are "programmed" with the potential and drive to survive at all costs for the sake of the preservation of the human species.

It is evident in nature, the main purpose of each species is to preserve the species and each species either compete or co-operate with other species for the specific species' survival.

As such, for humans, they are "programmed" to give priority to the human species and not other species like the eelworm species.
If humans has to kill other species to survive, they will do so as "programmed" to give priority to the survival of its own species, i.e. the human species.

ps. I bet you [with kindergarten variety of morality] will never be able to 'checkmate' me at all because I still have loads of moves in my reserve. The onus is on you to expand and enlarge your knowledge database.
Veritas Aequitas
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Veritas Aequitas »

Immanuel Can wrote: Sat May 16, 2020 1:40 pm
Veritas Aequitas wrote: Sat May 16, 2020 5:04 am There are no objective moral facts/laws that are ontologically that is absolutely independent of human subjectivity.
What you can safely say is only that you personally recognize nothing more than human subjectivity as existing.

But if you're thinking consistently, then what you would also have to recognize is that if there were, say, a race of aliens on Mars, and supposing they also knew about moral issues, then they too would have a subjectivity, and even if all the humans on planet Earth were gone, they would plausibly still have a moral perspective. So if there were aliens, morality would no longer depend exclusively on human perception.

Let's assume there are not aliens on Mars, or anywhere else. But if the case is that there is moral consciousness in the universe that is not human, then morality is no longer a human-dependent thing. Clear enough?
It is not clear enough because you are shifting the goal post.

When we speak of morality at present it is always in relation to human beings.
The point is not because of 'human beings' but the fact that such morality are conditioned upon living entities, i.e. the moral oughts do not exist ontologically by themselves.

Some people are proposing the higher animals have some very low degrees of inherent morality, e.g. primate, elephants, etc. In this case, the "morality" is conditioned upon the respective animals, thus not ontologically absolute.

If you insists on morality in Mars, then, the aliens has to be human-like, surely not Martian worms or cats. But even it it is verified the Martian worms are capable of morality, then it is still relative and conditional.

Therefore my point is whatever the morality there is, it cannot be ontologically absolutely-absolute, but it is always conditioned by some living things, thus subjective or relatively-absolute as justified from empirical evidence and philosophical reasoning.
Likewise, then, if God exists, then morality does not depend on human subjectivity. So what you've done there is assumed the conclusion you needed -- not proven it is true. If other awareness of morality exists in the universe, then moral values neither come into being with human cognition nor vanish when human cognition shifts or ends.

So you would need to show that the claim "God exists" is impossible to believe: or as you yourself put it, you would need to show that God was "impossible to be real." And frankly, I don't think that's a job you can do.

So you are left with only this claim: "So far as VA knows, morality depends on human cognition." But that's only so far as VA knows. And in honesty, that's where your claim must begin and end.
The human cognition factor is not the critical factor in the assertion of relatively-absolute objective moral laws/oughts as explained above.

If God exists, God is supposedly totally independent from human beings. Thus it is claimed by theists that God's moral laws are independent of human beings and their conceptions.

If a God exists, God's morality is still relative, i.e. it depend on a living God, the moral oughts do not exists by themselves independent and totally unconditioned upon anything.

But note the point;
Morality precedes theism, and thus independent of theism. Whatever moral associated with God is pseudo-morality wherein evil [in addition to good] is condoned.
It is impossible for God to exists as real, thus the question of God is a non-starter.
Veritas Aequitas
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Veritas Aequitas »

Immanuel Can wrote: Sat May 16, 2020 1:50 pm
Veritas Aequitas wrote: Sat May 16, 2020 6:47 am
Immanuel Can wrote: Fri May 15, 2020 10:23 pm Here's my argument:

It's objective morality, or no morality: those are the choices.
There is no such thing as justifiable subjective morality.
There is only Nihilism.
Subjective morality is an illusion, because nothing legitimizes subjective moralizing.
Note Moral Relativism is Moral Subjectivism.
That's not a way of strengthening the case.

Moral Relativism, if one means, "What each individual thinks is moral, is," is obviously incoherent. If everybody happens to think different things, then there is no such thing as "morality" at all...just individual quirks and preferences, none of which has any special dignity or status at all, nothing that would warrant us making a distinction between right and wrong, or calling anything "moral" at all. Why bother, when the word "moral" refers to precisely nothing that is not already abundantly covered in the word "personal"?

But if one opts for socio-cultural relativism, one has not solved anything. What is true of individuals is also true of groups. Their quirks do not merit the term "moral" anymore than the individual's quirks do." And appealing to majorities or consensus solves nothing about that, either. For example, the majority of persons worldwide, as well as the majority of human beings who have ever lived, have believed things that we do not believe in the West...such as that outsiders are less human or valuable than members of tribe or country, or that women are subservient to men. Consensus is against us, as is majority; but even if it were not, consensus is not a moral dignified, because majorities can be, and often have been, morally wrong.

Relativism just doesn't add up on any terms. So if Moral Subjectivism is Moral Relativism, it's a dead dog. It amounts to Nihilism as well.
You are insisting on your own definition of "Moral Nihilism" based on your falsely presumed morality, i.e. ontological absolutely-absolute morality from God.
Thus from your perspective [false] then whatever else that do not conform to your above definition is Moral Nihilism, nil moralty or not-morality relative only to your specific definition of what-is-morality.

BUT note the general definition of 'morality';
  • Morality:
    -principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour.
    -a particular system of values and principles of conduct.
    -the extent to which an action is right or wrong.
    Google Dictionary
How can you deny the above which is so evident and can be verified by empirical evidences of what is really going on with individuals, societies, nations and humanity?

The above 'morality' is applicable not only to individuals but to groups, society and nations.
How can you be so ignorant?

What is right or wrong has to be conditional/relative due to unavoidable circumstances within the individuals, societies, nations with different cultures and traditions.
Polygamy is right/good, productive and effective in some societies where there are more females than males. Many societies still adopt the "an eye for an eye' reciprocity on moral issues.
In a tribe where the population is reduced by a sudden new disease, even incest may be relatively right/good and effective despite the risks.
There are many example where one moral good is moral evil for another due to their specific circumstances.

The above morality [moral relativism] albeit relative and subjective has prevented evil acts albeit not perfect and effectively progressive [lack of features of continual improvements towards the ideal].

Whilst I have to accept moral relativism due to the current constraints, I do not agree moral relativism should persist in the future, rather humanity must work toward a secular empirical moral realism based Moral Framework and System.

The Moral Nihilist as generally understood is a form of Moral Skepticism where it is claimed there is no such thing as morality at all because morality [as generally defined] cannot be justified at all.
Peter Holmes
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes »

Perhaps we can see the general shape of the argument made by moral objectivists. And perhaps it's as follows.

This fact entails this moral judgement. And because it entails the moral judgement, the moral judgement itself is a fact.

(Candidates for this fact here have been: people own themselves; people are programmed to survive; the murder-rate is falling; people agree with this moral judgement; there is a creator-god; and so on - apologies to those who propose any other facts I've missed out.)

Do the moral objectivists here agree with this formulation? If not, how would you improve it?
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Sculptor
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Sculptor »

Veritas Aequitas wrote: Sun May 17, 2020 4:44 am
Sculptor wrote: Sat May 16, 2020 11:40 am
Veritas Aequitas wrote: Sat May 16, 2020 6:00 am
It is obviously not an opinion as defined and as accepted generally.


That is shifting the goal post.
If you are insistent I would say "the need for oxygen" is critical or else it is death.
There are loads of moral facts and oughts other than the need to breathe.


I derived the moral fact from the Moral Framework based on empirical facts, i.e.
"No human ought to prevent other humans from breathing till they die"
This is an opinion.
You contradict this as a moral fact below.
You do not have any moral objectivity, just opinion.
If it is better for a human to die, at their own request, or when their case is useless, then another human ought to withhold oxygen until they die. And this happens everyday in hospitals.


I had argued,
'ALL humans are "programmed" to survive at all costs till the inevitable.'
The "purpose" is to ensure the preservation of the human species.
This is supported by empirical facts.
Therefore the "individual" human will survive at all cost till the inevitable naturally as "programmed".
As such is not not a matter of 'a good idea' but that the "individual" of the human species is naturally programmed to survive at all costs till the inevitable.

However nature is never perfect and in general the Normal Distribution principles [Bell Curve] patterns are a reality with all human variables.
Thus those individuals in the appx 2 sigma percentile [5%] may be the exceptions [suicidal, risk takers etc.] and may not strive to survive at all costs.

Thus the fact remains,
'ALL humans are "programmed" to survive at all costs till the inevitable.'
Therefore the "individual" human will strive to survive at all cost till the inevitable, naturally as "programmed"


Same argument as above.

'ALL humans are "programmed" to survive at all costs till the inevitable.'
Therefore the "individual" human will strive to survive at all cost till the inevitable, naturally as "programmed" as a society to enhance a greater chance of survival.
There will be exceptions.


The "purpose" is to ensure the preservation of the human species.
To ensure the above,
This is effected,
'ALL humans are "programmed" to survive at all costs till the inevitable.'
Therefore the "individual" human will strive to survive at all cost till the inevitable, naturally as "programmed" as a society to enhance a greater chance of survival.
There will be exceptions.

In addition to the above, and to ensure the preservation of the species,
Human beings are also programmed with the inherent faculty of philosophy, morality, intelligence, rationality, wisdom, continual improvement program and the propensity to optimize within constraints.

The objective of humanity in the longer run will be to optimize the objective laws of morality with whatever known constraints.
In the longer run, the average or the majority of individuals will have developed higher competency in their impulse controls with understanding of species-teamwork, optimality & fool proof approaches and will not fuck & produce like rabbits as with the current population explosion.


Within the Moral Framework, there will be a need to increase the average Moral Quotient of say 100 to 1,000 within the next 50 to 100 years.
Then individual will self-legislate as team-humanity and co-operate for the greater good.
You know this is crazy, don't you?
Your question is crazy and based on lack of critical thinking.

Note there are already empirical evidences of a trend of the increase in the Moral Quotient of the average human.
Example, albeit not pure morality, every sovereign nations at present has legal laws that made murder a serious crimes and punishments for various crimes.
The UN had introduced the Convention on Slavery and more than 90% of sovereign nations has recognized and ratified the Slavery Convention.
Now if the Moral Quotient of the average human was 100 during 50,000 years ago, the MQ at present, relative to 50,000 years ago, would be 1000 or more.
Thus if there is a natural increase in MQ over the 50,000 years ago, humanity with the current exponential expansion of knowledge and technology, would be able to expedite the rate through effective and foolproof methods.

So it is not a crazy idea as evident by past empirical evidences.


Straw man!
Note Hume's example of Patricide,
i.e. it is immoral for a new plant from seed of tree-X to grow so tall and big nearby that it monopolized all the sunlight and in the end kill its father tree-X?
Hume is way off with morality in this example.

Point is, DNA/RNA wise all humans are programmed with a faculty of morality and ethics and neuroscientists and neuropsychologists and others are slowly discovering this faculty within the brain of human and to some minute degree in primates.

Lets' have more of the sort of the above discussions instead of intellectual violence.
A question cannot be a strawman since it does not imply an argument.
You have not begun to answer this question. You do not even seem to understand it. If a human objectively deserves air, then why not an eelworm deserves potato?

Had you simply answered the question we might have had some progress.
Sadly you failed to answer the question.
I have answered the questions your raised, in the perspective that is effective for morality.
I don't see you have a good grasp of what morality meant in general and you are stuck into one perspective of the rigid is-ought dilemma.
So now lets try to ask some counter questions.
1)Is it possible that the continuation of a life is a NOT good idea, from the perspective of an individual?
As an individual of the human species, and from the moral perspective of the species as a whole, it is not a good idea to die prematurely [not naturally].
As an individual on the personal basis, for some individuals, it may not be a good idea for them [from their personal opinion] to continue life based on their personal reasoning, e.g. the suicidal, those with terminal illness, etc.
2) Is it possible that the continuation of life is NOT a good idea, from to the perspective of society.
Same is 1 - not possible from the moral perspective of the human species.
As specific group, yes, some may be misled by the leader or tradition to die prematurely, e.g. members of the Heaven's Gate, Rev Jim Jones and his group, group of suicide bombers, groups that kill their deformed/mentally-ill babies, and other groups or society.
3) Is it possible that the preservation of life of an infinite number of humans on a planet with finite resources is bad idea?
It is obvious and very logical, an infinite number of human in a planet of infinite resources is a bad idea.

However the above bad situation will not happen since what I proposed is based on the establishment of an effective Moral Framework and System in the future. In this case team-humanity will emerge to find OPTIMAL solutions to balance future populations numbers sufficient to preserve the human species within infinite resources.
In addition, team humanity will co-operate to find ways to increase resources but maintaining optimality at all times.

Note crudely, nations are already co-operating [a moral feature] to find new resources and habitable location in other planets and outer-space. There will be greater efficiency if there is an effective Moral Framework and System in the future.
4) If you think that breathing is an objective moral right, who has to responsibility to guarantee that right and provide the resources where necessary to given each and every human the means to breath?
I'm asking this one again.
The above is applicable when the effective Moral Framework and System is already established and working.
At that point, the average human will have high MQ and will co-operate as team-humanity. In the event there is a constraint in "breathing" the whole team-humanity will work to find the OPTIMAL solutions.
There would be no ONE or elite group to decide.

Critical Note:
My proposal rely on a Moral & Ethics Framework and System with empirically and philosophical justified objective absolute moral objectives which are ideal to act as GUIDEs only. This is the PURE aspect of Morality.
My proposal obviously has to cover the APPLIED i.e. the practical where variations [inevitable due to existing human nature] from the ideal has to be accounted for. In the APPLIED aspects, individuals and groups will rely on utilitarianism, consequentialism and other effective ethics strategies to achieve as near as possible to the impossible ideals.
5) If you think it is okay to deny an eelworm potato then why do you think a human deserves oxygen.
Morality is conditioned upon the individual species.

As I had stated earlier,
DNA/RNA wise, ALL humans are "programmed" with the potential and drive to survive at all costs for the sake of the preservation of the human species.

It is evident in nature, the main purpose of each species is to preserve the species and each species either compete or co-operate with other species for the specific species' survival.

As such, for humans, they are "programmed" to give priority to the human species and not other species like the eelworm species.
If humans has to kill other species to survive, they will do so as "programmed" to give priority to the survival of its own species, i.e. the human species.

ps. I bet you [with kindergarten variety of morality] will never be able to 'checkmate' me at all because I still have loads of moves in my reserve. The onus is on you to expand and enlarge your knowledge database.
You clutch to the same straws again and again.
What you offer humans as a right you deny to the humble eelworm.
All you have here is a series of half baked opinions.
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Harbal
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Harbal »

Immanuel Can wrote: Sat May 16, 2020 2:03 pm

I think that's partly true. But I also think there are some ways of resolving that.

If morality is "merely a category of individual preferences," then we need to say more about what kind of preferences we're speaking of. Can a preference be "immoral," for example? Or does the mere fact that a preference is "personal" guarantee that it is also deserving of the honorific additional title of "moral"?

So, for example, if my personal preference were for eating cats, would we call that a "moral" preference, or just a plain "preference"? Or what if my preference were for something others consider evil, such as molesting children? Would the fact that it were "my preference" be sufficient to warrant my claim that I was "morally right" to do it?

I don't doubt that calling my predilections "moral" might indeed make them more "compelling" to me. I might, for example, excuse my cruelty to cats or pedophiliac practices by way of calling them "alternate lifestyles," or even "right for me." I have no doubt that would help a cat-eater or pedophile feel much better about himself or herself...but would we, because they are personal preference, be content to concede that those were also "moral" preferences?

I'm suggesting we tend to ask more of the word "moral" than a synonym for "personal." And I'm wondering what quality we might think that is, the quality that "moral" adds, that "personal" does not have.
IC, I think we’ve strayed away from the original question of the thread., which I interpret to mean: under what circumstances would morality have to exist in order to be legitimately called objective?

To my way of thinking, it would have to exist in the same way as a law of physics -or nature- exists. It would act on us whether we were willing subjects or not. We don’t have a choice when it comes to gravity, and it would have to be the same with morality. That, it seems to me, would mean that it is not an exclusively human thing, as laws of nature don’t tend to discriminate. But, even keeping it to a human context, there is a problem. Some people seem to be born with no sense of morality; no concept of right and wrong. The fact that they are categorised as having a psychological disorder doesn’t explain how they avoid the effects of this outside force; morality.

There are other ways of thinking of morality as an objective/outside/independent thing, other than the one I have described, but even that one is too unrealistic for my taste; I wouldn’t really want to go any further.

So, if morality isn’t a purely human concept that we have constructed to correspond with an impulse, or instinct we are born with, what would you say it is?


I will respond to your questions in the quoted text if you want me to, but it just seemed that we weren't sticking the the original question of the thread.
Veritas Aequitas
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Veritas Aequitas »

Sculptor wrote: Sun May 17, 2020 9:26 am What you offer humans as a right you deny to the humble eelworm.
That is so stupid beyond common sense.
All you have here is a series of half baked opinions.
There you go again, abusing the term 'opinion' [as defined] whereas I have provided empirical evidences supported with rational philosophical reasoning.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Immanuel Can »

Veritas Aequitas wrote: Sun May 17, 2020 5:19 am When we speak of morality at present it is always in relation to human beings.
That's dead easy to show untrue.

Not only have most people in history been Theistic or Polytheistic, but 96% of the people on the planet at this present moment hold it at least possible (4%) or plausible (92%) that there is a god or Gods.
If God exists, God is supposedly totally independent from human beings. Thus it is claimed by theists that God's moral laws are independent of human beings and their conceptions.
Yes. And?
If a God exists, God's morality is still relative
No. It would then be absolute and objective.

I think you don't understand how the word "relative" is applied to morality. But I'll try to give you a charitable reading on that, and say that maybe what you mean is that morality does not exist "out there" in some realm of ideal forms, or some conceptual space that no one, even God occupies.

And of course, that's true, but very trivial; because nobody (except perhaps Plato) ever thinks that's what morality is, or how it works.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Immanuel Can »

Veritas Aequitas wrote: Sun May 17, 2020 5:54 am You are insisting on your own definition of "Moral Nihilism"
Not at all. I'm just saying what Moral Nihilism rationally entails.

In other words, I'm saying that if you want to take Moral Nihilism seriously, you don't get to hold back any values, and say, "Well, there are no objective moral truths...but it's still wrong to murder." Those two statements are absolutely morally contradictory, and in a very obvious way. If there are any objective moral values at all, one is not a "Nihilist," because "nihil" is the Latin word meaning "nothing."

If there's "something" in a "nothing," then there's not a "nothing" anymore. And if there's "nothing," then by definition, there is not even one bit of "something." Thus, Moral Nihilism entails the absolute, total and unequivocal denial that there are any true, objective or real values at all.

Pull up short of that, and you're no longer a Moral Nihilist.
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Immanuel Can
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Immanuel Can »

Harbal wrote: Sun May 17, 2020 9:40 am IC, I think we’ve strayed away from the original question of the thread., which I interpret to mean: under what circumstances would morality have to exist in order to be legitimately called objective?
Well, I think there's an earlier question Peter missed. Thus, I would suggest, H., that we haven't so much "strayed" as "stepped up" the question to a more perceptive way of asking it. For to ask a question about "morality" at all, one is taking for granted that "morality" exists. Peter cannot ask a question about a "nothing." He has to believe there is such a thing as morality, then.

What I'm asking him to consider is whether his assumption that morality exists at all can be warranted by his own worldview. And I don't see any way it can. In other words, from his perspective, if he's honest with himself, he's asking a question that is nonsense. He's assuming morality exist as subjective -- but subjective morality is a contradiction in terms, like "square circle." It vaporizes as a concept the minute we realize that "subjective" means no more than "preferred by Peter, at the present second."

If some action or value is only "preferred by Peter," and not, of necessity, by anyone else -- and moreover, is preferred only by Peter in this present second, since he is free to change his mind completely in the next -- then what content is left in the word "morality"? It simply becomes identical with the expression "temporary personal preference." It's utterly vacuous.

Why call Peter "moral" then? What makes Peter's "morality" different from IC's "momentary choice"? What honour, what content, what purpose is bundled into that word "morality," now? :shock:
To my way of thinking, it would have to exist in the same way as a law of physics -or nature- exists. It would act on us whether we were willing subjects or not.

I totally agree.

Peter doesn't, though.

I would put it this way: a law of nature is a human codification of an objective physical reality. If I jump off a building, my momentary preference not to die counts for nothing. Gravity wins. I think moral laws are objective in that way, too. It's not that one is going to see immediately the consequences of every moral or immoral choice, but those consequences are coming, and coming inevitably, even more certainly than gravity exerts its hold on us.
We don’t have a choice when it comes to gravity, and it would have to be the same with morality. That, it seems to me, would mean that it is not an exclusively human thing, as laws of nature don’t tend to discriminate.
Totally. I'm with you on that.
But, even keeping it to a human context, there is a problem. Some people seem to be born with no sense of morality; no concept of right and wrong. The fact that they are categorised as having a psychological disorder doesn’t explain how they avoid the effects of this outside force; morality.
Well, right. For sure. If a heroin addict has lost her sense of right and wrong, that does not suggest that the effects of her wrong-doing will not be visited upon her.
There are other ways of thinking of morality as an objective/outside/independent thing, other than the one I have described, but even that one is too unrealistic for my taste; I wouldn’t really want to go any further.
I can see the problem. Secularly speaking, we're inclined to two options: one is that when people talk about "morality" they must be imagining some strange metaphysical quality that hovers "out there," like in Plato's imagined "realm of ideal forms" -- and we can't imagine how that makes any sense at all...how does a thing called "morality" exist independent of humanity, and, in fact, since humanity are presumed to be the only morally-aware consciousnesses in the universe, how can "morality" survive independent of particular humans?

The other alternative, secularly speaking, is that "morality" is some sort of social or cultural construct, some thing human beings have dreamed up to serve their own purposes, but which has no objective reality -- and we call this "subjective morality." That seems to solve the question of where morality "exists," but creates other ones. For example, maybe we try to explain morality as somehow evolutionarily advantageous -- though all such explanations so far have proved very dubious, of course. But when we try to explain in evolutionary terms, we end up appealing to a tacit "higher" principle, like, "It is good for more people to live/be happy than for fewer to do so," or "The majority makes things right ow wrong," or "Your culture is evil, but mine is good." And this is also highly problematic, because the great god "Evolution" does not know or care how many people do or do not survive, or whether any of a particular species survive at all, and has no interest in how happy or fulfilled they are if they do. Evolution is entirely impersonal, indifferent, and amoral with respect to the question of what human beings deserve or get. And eventually, the same process kills 100% of of the entities it is thought to have created, and then extinguishes the universe itself in inevitable cosmic Heat Death. Where's the moral grounds in that? :shock:

Moreover, how do we know which culture is "moral," and which is not? Or how do we know that one person is less or more valuable than two, or ten others? And who says we owe it, even to our own culture, to follow their rules if those rules constrict my freedom? Where's all that written? :shock:
So, if morality isn’t a purely human concept that we have constructed to correspond with an impulse, or instinct we are born with, what would you say it is?
I hope it's maybe suggested above, but I'll say explicitly what I said earlier to Peter. Morality is consonance with the character and purposes of God.
I will respond to your questions in the quoted text if you want me to, but it just seemed that we weren't sticking the the original question of the thread.
It's a conversation we're having, H., so I'm happy for it to go in the direction you would like, or the direction you see as justified to go. What makes sense to talk about next, so far you you are concerned?
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Skepdick »

uwot wrote: Sun May 17, 2020 2:59 am It is demonstrably the case that people disagree over what killings are justifiable.
It is also demonstrably the case that people agree over what killings aren't justifiable.

To assign equal weight to both view-points because some dissent exists, is to assign equal weight to round and flat-earth theories because some dissent exists.

Which is why I mentioned prevalence, and also why I put forth the distinction over this color is red, and this color is red.

I figured the right attitude for an epistemologist is to accept both hypotheses on equal footing, and then come up with some mechanism to choose one or the other hypothesis is more likely.

What mechanism do you propose?
uwot wrote: Sun May 17, 2020 2:59 am I am happy to accept that murder by any definition is decreasing;
No definition of murder I have ever seen mentions "decrease" anywhere.
uwot wrote: Sun May 17, 2020 2:59 am you still have all your work to do if you think you can attribute that to the objectivity of morality.
I have no idea what you mean by the 'objective morality.

I was using verificationism, and in that framework - I told you what I mean. The phenomenon which has caused society to improve over the last 3000 years is what I label as "morality". Because the experiment/analysis is reproducible/testable I dub it "objective morality", but of course - the label doesn't matter.

What phenomenon are you talking about when you use the label "morality" (objective or subjective) ?
uwot wrote: Sun May 17, 2020 2:59 am Oh please. There are 3 options: murder rates go up, they stay the same or they go down. You can stare at that until the cows come home but there will only ever be those 3 options, and you in your 'I'm a cor-blimey computer scientist' brilliance has concluded that the probability of any one obtaining is 1 in 3.
I have a conundrum on my hands.

Either you really are as ignorant as the argument you are making, or you are just being contrarian.

I'll exercise charity here, and assume you are being contrarian for one; and for another - I have absolutely no intention teaching you prior and posterior probabilities.
uwot wrote: Sun May 17, 2020 2:59 am Perhaps it would be if time made any bleedin' difference in this case.
There is a difference. Perhaps I am failing to communicate it.

Or perhaps, I am just more sensitive to evidence than you are.
uwot wrote: Sun May 17, 2020 2:59 am You really do not understand the context then; it is you who absurdly claims the odds of murder rates decreasing are 1 in 3. The amount of time is irrelevant.
And that's what I mean about your inability to accurately weigh evidence. You are insensitive - in the statistical sense.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lindy_effect

It's not just murder - it's hundreds of other variables - I am simply using murder as a pedagogical case.
uwot wrote: Sun May 17, 2020 2:59 am You clearly have never met a physicist.
Oh, I work with a bunch of them.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayes_fac ... rpretation
uwot wrote: Sun May 17, 2020 2:59 am Again, you'll have to try harder.
It's all I got - the ball's in your court.
Last edited by Skepdick on Sun May 17, 2020 4:06 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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henry quirk
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by henry quirk »

Peter Holmes wrote: Sun May 17, 2020 7:54 am Perhaps we can see the general shape of the argument made by moral objectivists. And perhaps it's as follows.

This fact entails this moral judgement. And because it entails the moral judgement, the moral judgement itself is a fact.

(Candidates for this fact here have been: people own themselves; people are programmed to survive; the murder-rate is falling; people agree with this moral judgement; there is a creator-god; and so on - apologies to those who propose any other facts I've missed out.)

Do the moral objectivists here agree with this formulation? If not, how would you improve it?
No, but -- as I say -- I'm not lookin' to re-litigate (my red meat post above was supportive of Skep's comment, not a call to arms).

My assertion -- a man is his own (or, a person belongs to him- or her-self) -- I understand is dicey. So much of it depends on how one chooses to define person (sumthin' I also have no will to re-litigate).

On the notion that no moral reality leaves only nihilism: this seems obvious and unavoidable. If moral fact is absent, then there is no morality, only opinion (and attaching moral to opinion doesn't elevate opinion, any more than callin' mob rule democracy elevates mob rule).

Finally: Hidey-ho, Harbal! How goes it?
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes »

Immanuel Can wrote: Sun May 17, 2020 1:58 pm Moral Nihilism entails the absolute, total and unequivocal denial that there are any true, objective or real values at all.
Under analysis, this falls apart.

1 A value isn't true or false. Only factual assertions are true or false. So of course there are no true values.
2 A value can only be subjective, because it is something valued by a valuer or valuers. So of course there are no objective values.
3 Unless there can be such a thing as an unreal value, the expression 'real value' is meaningless.

Moral nihilists deny that there are moral facts, because moral assertions don't make factual claims in the first place - claims that have a truth-value independent from opinion. And moral realists and objectivists fail to show that there are any moral facts whatsoever. Consistently. With a consistency that should be embarrassing for anyone with intellectual integrity. But hey - why let the facts get in the way of a cherished belief?

Can a moral nihilist deny there are moral facts, but also value certain kinds of behaviour? Of course. Just as one can deny there are any gustatory facts, but also value one flavour of ice cream over the others. And just as one can deny there are any aesthetic facts - that assertions of ugliness or beauty can be factual - but also think some things are beautiful and others ugly.

IC's argument is specious, and ideologically motivated - which is why she has to repeat it ad nauseam, like a doctrinal belief. No deviation from the orthodox mantra allowed.
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Re: What could make morality objective?

Post by Peter Holmes »

henry quirk wrote: Sun May 17, 2020 2:48 pm
Peter Holmes wrote: Sun May 17, 2020 7:54 am Perhaps we can see the general shape of the argument made by moral objectivists. And perhaps it's as follows.

This fact entails this moral judgement. And because it entails the moral judgement, the moral judgement itself is a fact.

(Candidates for this fact here have been: people own themselves; people are programmed to survive; the murder-rate is falling; people agree with this moral judgement; there is a creator-god; and so on - apologies to those who propose any other facts I've missed out.)

Do the moral objectivists here agree with this formulation? If not, how would you improve it?
No, but -- as I say -- I'm not lookin' to re-litigate (my red meat post above was supportive of Skep's comment, not a call to arms).

My assertion -- a man is his own (or, a person belongs to him- or her-self) -- I understand is dicey. So much of it depends on how one chooses to define person (sumthin' I also have no will to re-litigate).

On the notion that no moral reality leaves only nihilism: this seems obvious and unavoidable. If moral fact is absent, then there is no morality, only opinion (and attaching moral to opinion doesn't elevate opinion, any more than callin' mob rule democracy elevates mob rule).

Finally: Hidey-ho, Harbal! How goes it?
I understand you've said your say, Henry. But I thought this formulation of moral objectivism would suit you:

People own themselves (this fact), therefore it's morally wrong to enslave people (this moral judgement).

Isn't this the gist of your claim or argument? I'm puzzled.
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