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Re: Defining Nihilism

Posted: January 20th, 2018, 8:41 pm
by Judaka
Am I right to assume that Judaka is saying there are no moral facts. If so, then I need a definition of what is meant by a moral fact. The obvious problem here is denial of something that cannot even be defined.
Well I do think there are no moral facts, I believe morality is an inherently subjective distinction but what I am saying with regards to nihilism is that it is a rejection of objective meaning and purpose, the result of which, makes all values relative. So to what Fooloso said
I distinguish between moral relativism and nihilism. If nihilism is the denial of value then it is the denial of relative value.
I believe that what is being denied by nihilism is that values have implicit or objective meaning, it doesn't mean that a person can't hold their own beliefs about things - it just means that those beliefs are subjective. Certainly, I have my own ways of differentiating between the relative value of beliefs, morals and values and I feel quite strongly about some of these distinctions. However ultimately I recognise that those distinctions are only my own and that they aren't a part of something greater.

So I am rejecting concepts which can be defined, I don't know what you mean by saying I am denying something I can't define.
If not then I think it may be of value to remark on the difference between moral absolutism and moral objectivism, because the OP appears to frame moral objectivism as moral absolutism in part
It's not that I see no difference but that I reject both ideas with the same argument - which is that morality is inherently subjective. I made another thread about why I think that.
http://onlinephilosophyclub.com/forums/ ... =3&t=15318
I can sympathise with the idea of nothing being "right" or "wrong", but yet still framing things as "good" or "bad.
I am saying nothing is objectively right or wrong, I still have my opinions about right and wrong. If I saw someone throwing rocks at wildlife, I would be pretty upset and I would intervene. I would consider what they were doing wrong and immoral. I have my own reasons for that and there would be some animals that where I wouldn't care if I saw people throwing rocks at them. All of it comes down to my own reasoning, logic and values - if I had the view that my moral distinctions were separate from me, and have validity outside of my reasoning then I would no longer be a nihilist.

I believe I can pretty much change my moral views whenever it suits me, if I could spent time challenging my thinking about wildlife or violence, it may result in me no longer caring about whether people did such things. So the value of nihilism/moral relativism in my view, is being able to make your own choices.

As for what Fooloso said, I think essentially what nihilism is saying is that there's no meaning in whether you hold this view or that view and in that sense, there's no difference relatively. However in terms of what relative morality means, which is that your views are dependent upon subjective distinctions and perspectives which are largely irrelevant to those who do not have those same views, nihilism makes no argument against that and makes arguements against all opposition to this theory.

So I am unclear as to why you feel the way you do but I'm interested to hear why.

Re: Defining Nihilism

Posted: January 20th, 2018, 11:01 pm
by Fooloso4
Judaka:
However in terms of what relative morality means, which is that your views are dependent upon subjective distinctions and perspectives which are largely irrelevant to those who do not have those same views, nihilism makes no argument against that and makes arguements against all opposition to this theory.
I agree with the first part of this but not the second. In a multicultural environment we cannot simply decide that the moral convictions of others are irrelevant. This is obvious in areas of applied ethics such as medical ethics. The beliefs, values, standards, and wishes of all involved must be reconciled.

Why would a convicted nihilist make any argument at all?

Re: Defining Nihilism

Posted: January 20th, 2018, 11:42 pm
by Judaka
In a multicultural environment we cannot simply decide that the moral convictions of others are irrelevant
Moral relativism/Nihilism is not about saying the moral convictions of others are irrelevant, what I'm saying is that the principles which lead you to a moral conviction are not held by everyone yet they are what make the moral argument compelling. That's not the essential argument, this is just a component of what it means to have your own personal values playing the role of forming your subjective moral distinctions rather than an outside influence like objective moral law making distinctions either right or wrong. That is to say that moral distinctions don't have inherent value but value is relative to your beliefs. That doesn't mean society won't be organized around a particular set of values or that we have to be disrespectful and intolerant of opposing views.
Why would a convicted nihilist make any argument at all?
This assumes the only reason for making an argument is the belief in its objective correctness or that it plays a larger role in an objective meaning or purpose. Do you not argue about anything except what falls under these conditions? Surely you are willing to make arguments for your preferences and opinions even though you know there is no greater meaning or objectivity behind them? A nihilist (someone who believes the universe is absent of objective meaning and purpose) simply views everything under the same conditions that you would view these inherently subjective and meaningless topics. The ones you bother to make arguments about and form opinions about and influence your life.

These arguments aren't always simply recreational either, I do not need to seek happiness (or anything) for any other reason than because I want it. If I believe certain positions and arguments can get me closer to what I want then it makes sense for me to pursue them. It's not as though a nihilist loses all the things that make you human.

Re: Defining Nihilism

Posted: January 21st, 2018, 1:53 am
by Burning ghost
Judaka -

I'll get back to you later on. I do think the sketchiness of the situation is indicative of the point you may be expressing. Meaning that our language serves to adumbrate the experience and never truly captures it. Meaning is found through common experience and empathic appreciation - we can understand another by modelling their physical being onto our own circumstances and experiences (the model is only a model, and it is always possible to refine it further.)

Anyway, will try to dig into this ... probably tomorrow. For now I think I see a grey area between moral objectivism and moral nihilism in what you're saying. Hopefully I can distinguish what you mean with more probing; or reduce the position to unsubstantial shadows of shadows.

Re: Defining Nihilism

Posted: January 21st, 2018, 2:20 am
by Spectrum
Judaka wrote:
January 20th, 2018, 11:42 pm
Moral relativism/Nihilism is not about saying the moral convictions of others are irrelevant, what I'm saying is that the principles which lead you to a moral conviction are not held by everyone yet they are what make the moral argument compelling. That's not the essential argument, this is just a component of what it means to have your own personal values playing the role of forming your subjective moral distinctions rather than an outside influence like objective moral law making distinctions either right or wrong. That is to say that moral distinctions don't have inherent value but value is relative to your beliefs. That doesn't mean society won't be organized around a particular set of values or that we have to be disrespectful and intolerant of opposing views.
As I has posted earlier, the term 'nihilism' was originally intended to be derogatory and pejorative against the views of a philosophical opponent.

As you will note when you mentioned 'Moral relativism/Nihilism' you automatically put yourself in a disadvantage position and has to explain. This unnecessary give perceived confidence to the opponent.
It is like seeing a cup with water and immediate state the cup is half empty - the pessimistic view, rather than the cup is half-full.

If one adopt a Moral Relativistic stance, there is no necessity to complement it with the word 'nihilism' at all. Just present, define and defend 'Moral Relativism' is the preferred way.

Personally I would avoid the term 'nihilism' where possible in any philosophical discussion. I have always been accused of being 'nihilistic' or 'solipsistic' and I believe this is nothing more than a subjective psychological driven view forced upon into the throat of the other.

As for morality, I am with both Moral Absolutism and Moral Relativism complementing each other within contexts.

Re: Defining Nihilism

Posted: January 21st, 2018, 2:47 am
by Judaka
Just present, define and defend 'Moral Relativism' is the preferred way.
So you don't feel there is any difference in the definitions? Is moral relativism in your view, a rejection of objective meaning and purpose as well? I do get your general point that nihilism is a derogatory term and doesn't simply represent the philosophical position.
As for morality, I am with both Moral Absolutism and Moral Relativism complementing each other within contexts.
I'm struggling but please explain.
Hopefully I can distinguish what you mean with more probing; or reduce the position to unsubstantial shadows of shadows.
Okay, go figure out what I'm talking about and then decide whether to show the idea mercy or crush it with your mighty philosophical mind.

Re: Defining Nihilism

Posted: January 21st, 2018, 5:58 am
by Spectrum
Judaka wrote:
January 21st, 2018, 2:47 am
Just present, define and defend 'Moral Relativism' is the preferred way.
So you don't feel there is any difference in the definitions? Is moral relativism in your view, a rejection of objective meaning and purpose as well? I do get your general point that nihilism is a derogatory term and doesn't simply represent the philosophical position.
There is a difference between Moral Relativism and Moral Nihilism.
Re SEP;
Moral Relativism = moral truth or justification is relative to a culture or society.
Moral Nihilism = moral skepticism, the view that there is no moral knowledge.
Moral Nihilism sound like 'boxing' someone as immoral, i.e. without morality, although philosophically it may not be precisely that.

I agree moral relativism is a rejection of objective meaning and purpose as well. However I do not agree Moral Relativism is only THE WAY to Morality.
As for morality, I am with both Moral Absolutism and Moral Relativism complementing each other within contexts.
I'm struggling but please explain.
My approach to Morality and Ethics is based on a Model within a Framework and System.

Image

In such a model, there is a need to have initial settings input in terms of absolute moral laws [meta-guide] and variable relative moral laws [relational guide].
The feedback loop will enable continuous improvements in morality and ethics.

Once we have a reasonable model within a Framework and System we are on reasonable grounds.
The next question is how to ground the absolute moral laws and the relative moral laws.

To ground the absolute moral laws is a bit complex. Whatever the absolute laws these cannot be enforced but act merely as guides.

Relative moral laws are obtainable from the related cultural and social practices but this cannot be accepted blindly but need to be grinded against the absolute moral laws. Relative laws can be enforced from the political perspectives but they need to be reviewed at all times in lines with changing social conditions and the inherent drive for improvement.

Re: Defining Nihilism

Posted: January 22nd, 2018, 4:52 am
by Judaka
Moral Nihilism = moral skepticism, the view that there is no moral knowledge.
Moral Nihilism sound like 'boxing' someone as immoral, i.e. without morality, although philosophically it may not be precisely that
Isn't this a contradiction? How can there be no moral knowledge but also immoral people?
However I do not agree Moral Relativism is only THE WAY to Morality.
How do we get your initial absolute moral laws? Aren't you essentially talking about a subjective axiom from which to create valid moral arguments? What implicit benefit comes from having absolute moral laws? Why would they be superior to a subjective moral axiom I create that incorporates my environment and personality? Could those benefits even be represented to be objectively superior without using more absolute moral axioms, which would create an unsubstantiated circle argument? So many questions...

My main problem is that quite clearly, it's evident that people have their own morality despite any claim that objective morality exists - and you can't prove them wrong because they can't be judged through causality or values. Rationality is slave to passion, someone else on this forum said, quite neatly sums up why we can't rationally argue for superior values, since rationality requires values to begin with.

Re: Defining Nihilism

Posted: January 22nd, 2018, 6:55 am
by Spectrum
Judaka wrote:
January 22nd, 2018, 4:52 am
Moral Nihilism = moral skepticism, the view that there is no moral knowledge.
Moral Nihilism sound like 'boxing' someone as immoral, i.e. without morality, although philosophically it may not be precisely that
Isn't this a contradiction? How can there be no moral knowledge but also immoral people?
Note I stated 'sound like', i.e. immoral in the colloquial sense. If this is confusing, we can say 'bad.'
How do we get your initial absolute moral laws? Aren't you essentially talking about a subjective axiom from which to create valid moral arguments? What implicit benefit comes from having absolute moral laws? Why would they be superior to a subjective moral axiom I create that incorporates my environment and personality? Could those benefits even be represented to be objectively superior without using more absolute moral axioms, which would create an unsubstantiated circle argument? So many questions...

My main problem is that quite clearly, it's evident that people have their own morality despite any claim that objective morality exists - and you can't prove them wrong because they can't be judged through causality or values. Rationality is slave to passion, someone else on this forum said, quite neatly sums up why we can't rationally argue for superior values, since rationality requires values to begin with.
Note Absolute Moral Laws in this case has nothing to do with theological morality at all, it is not from a God.

What is objectivity other than intersubjectivity consensus, e.g. as in Science and elsewhere.
We can apply this principle to arrive at objective moral laws.
But to arrive at absolutely objective moral laws we have to increase the depth of search.

We can borrow this approach from how the Ontological God, i.e. "a Being than which no greater can exists or thought" is idealized.
From the above we can idealized absolute moral laws is "a moral law than which no greater good can exists"
You may ask"'how to ground what is the greatest good"?
This will get more complicated, it is tedious but it is possible.
I won't go into the details, but note the breakthrough I have clued in above.

Take 'killing' for example.
"Thou Shalt Not Kill"
Which normal human alive wants to be killed.
Thus we have objectivity based on intersubjective consensus of all humans at least by reason.
Therefore "Thou Shalt Not Kill" can be taken as an absolute moral Law and by the way to be used as a guide only.
Provisions will be made within Ethics [not morality] where killing under various justified conditions are permitted.

Note the complement between Absolute Morality and Relative Morality [Ethics] at work in the above.

But note the above need to be continually processed dynamically through the model within the Framework and System of Morality and Ethics for continuous improvements.

The above points are very rough, the real deal is much more complex.

Re: Defining Nihilism

Posted: January 22nd, 2018, 7:31 am
by Judaka
So if everyone believes/wants something then it's objective fact and if only some people believe or want something then it's subjective. So objective morality which determines things like that across cultures is dependant upon our biology which evolved over millions of years. The differences between cultures are clearly explained by social, physical and economic environmental differences. So if objective morality is dependent upon our evolution and culture, isn't it relative?

Re: Defining Nihilism

Posted: January 22nd, 2018, 10:46 pm
by Spectrum
Judaka wrote:
January 22nd, 2018, 7:31 am
So if everyone believes/wants something then it's objective fact and if only some people believe or want something then it's subjective. So objective morality which determines things like that across cultures is dependant upon our biology which evolved over millions of years. The differences between cultures are clearly explained by social, physical and economic environmental differences. So if objective morality is dependent upon our evolution and culture, isn't it relative?
Ultimate and fundamental everything is subjective and relative but philosophically it is intersubjective on a certain meta-level and depending on the degree and depth of justifications.

Yes objective morality is relative but not relative at the layperson or common sense level but at the higher philosophical levels. As such 'relative' is relative to its degree of justifications.

Note objective scientific theories are at best 'polished conjectures' [Popper] and how objective it is, is relative to the varying degrees of 'polishing'.

Re: Defining Nihilism

Posted: January 22nd, 2018, 11:56 pm
by Burning ghost
Judaka -

To interject BRIEFLY, this is why I am very drawn to Husserl. The whole categorical distinctiveness of "objective" is, as Spectrum seems to concur above (and as many others would), a convenient and useful means of framing understanding and, perhaps more importantly, communication.

I am very interested in antonyms and dichotic thought - the lexical and syntactical laying out of the world as a "communicative landscape."

What seems to happen a lot with my interactions with people is they can get quickly annoyed, and I sometimes get too quickly annoyed, because I want them to define the terms they are using with greater and greater clarity; which leads down rabbit holes of "meaning" and without care causes the frustrations to break up any meaningful landscape within which we can operate and create a meaningful discussion.

note: And the seemingly pretentious 'tone' of the avoid repulses people too (and myself), but I know of no better way to explicate my intent by using such words simply because colloquial speech is too superficial for most depth of thought to be expressed on its own.

And to refer to the above, in colloquial terms, to paraphrase as best I can this moment, all dichotic poles are false unless they are framed in unchangeable rules. Like Wittgenstein and others have pointed out, if you play the game you have to play by the rules or you're not playing. With life we don't know of any explicit "rule book" for life, but we manage to guide our lives by discovering workable sets of rules through experience.

So, to reiterate Spectrum's word to some degree, we 'polish' the rules; and we do so by necessarily breakout out beyond them, but not completely disregarding them entirely.

Nietzsche would say something like, morality is immoral. That is my general position and I believe it is yours too? If so by trying to explicate any moral code we essentially dismiss it. Given our natural being in the world we "know" by way of structuring the world "as if" set upon rules in order to navigate. To be a slave to moral codes is to be immoral. Is that nihilistic though? I don't think so. If that is not exactly what you mean then please further explain how your attitude differs.

Thanks.

Re: Defining Nihilism

Posted: January 23rd, 2018, 3:18 am
by Judaka
Well this thread is about definitions, the thread title is "Defining Nihilism" and once we start talking about something else the thread has been derailed. I don't mind rerailing the thread as I'm pretty satisfied that I should replace nihilism with moral relativism and that moral relativism means all the things I want it to mean.

Definitions help to be concise and they're convenient, I don't think they make conversations deeper or more intelligent. Naturally we don't want to be using bad terms but if I say "I define Nihilism as this" and then start talking about Nihilism, it shouldn't diverge into a debate about what Nihilism really means, it's semantic. I came to all my conclusions without knowing what nihilism meant, before I knew who Nietzsche was and so on. I am a complete novice when it comes to terms but I still think pretty deeply about topics, I am very interested in breaking things down into components and evaluating those components as part of the overall equation.

So instead of talking about what objective/objectivity/OML means, let me talk about what I think about morality. Firstly I believe people need to make sense of what is going on around them by breaking it down into parts, morality describes one of those parts but I don't really care about morality. I care about how the connotations of behaviour and their practical ramifications . I don't believe morality is immoral, I don't care about what is moral and what's immoral, personally I don't care at all. Principally I am against all pursuits of spiritual outcomes, moral outcomes and outcomes of values, that's what I said when I first joined here in my introduction.

So if somebody is doing something because they think it's morally good, I think that's a bad practice. If someone is doing something so that they appear cool to others, I think it's a bad practice. Definitions also, I'm only interested in how practical they are - if you are concerned about definitions past the point you think they are practical, I would call that paying homage to a value. Essentially your priority is not practical benefit but due to the principle of trying to act for the sake of a principle.

Morality, spirituality, values - are not by any means useless. They are extremely important because of how people can benefit practically from them, however I don't care about whether they make the world a better place according to someone's values or not - in my view that's just trouble. Defining practical benefit is also necessary, we all know this word requires interpretation. What I promote is that people find practical things they really want/need for practical desires like happiness/self-esteem using practical methods that describe things causally and not through values. So what's this got to do with moral relativism?

Essentially if objective moral law existed, it would interfere with my interpretation of practical benefit. Firstly you can't get rid of values which aren't beneficial in practical terms and secondly it legitimizes benefits in terms of spiritual outcomes, moral outcomes and outcomes of values - which I think are redundant, inefficient and dangerous. Objective morality - regardless of how you define it - implies a concrete concept which cannot be changed willy nilly, the truth is that if you don't view distinctions of behaviour as objectively true then they can be changed, maybe not willy nilly but without too much difficult and with the full support of the person who recognises that the distinction is subjective.

Rather than people accepting what they believe and what they want and doing the best they can with it - people would be better off embracing the idea that they can change what they believe and what they want to something more achievable and probably more inline with their personality and concerns. The reality is people want all kinds of things for all kinds of terrible reasons because of their messed up values. Our whole society is filled with stupid values - every kind of problem is at least in part the result of bad values. They teach us what we should hate ourselves for not having, what we should hate about ourselves, what we should admire about others, what we should do with our lives.

I see how messed up it all is and then people want to argue that any part of this has "objective truth" to it or "objective validity" complete rubbish. I am not explaining these as problems because they offend my sensibilities and values, I am saying it causes people harm, it leads people away from what they want and it causes a great deal of problems that nobody (almost nobody) wants.

So Spectrum says "I got some objectively moral axioms that can be justified using objective moral axioms which they are relative to" or something along the lines of that. I'm thinking firstly, that's not true and secondly, he doesn't have the chance to say "actually, if I wasn't trying to view things in this way I would be a lot happier and less stressed". From an objective morality perspective, real progress is being made as you start to embody and promote your values - progress towards something which you may not actually want or be benefited by? It's irrational. You can't have a "system of improving the morality of my morals" if you believe in moral relativism. Instead you have a system of improving my life systematically by approaching things in a realistic way- not through OML but through causality.

Re: Defining Nihilism

Posted: January 23rd, 2018, 4:34 am
by Spectrum
Judaka wrote:
January 23rd, 2018, 3:18 am
So Spectrum says "I got some objectively moral axioms that can be justified using objective moral axioms which they are relative to" or something along the lines of that. I'm thinking firstly, that's not true and secondly, he doesn't have the chance to say "actually, if I wasn't trying to view things in this way I would be a lot happier and less stressed".

From an objective morality perspective, real progress is being made as you start to embody and promote your values - progress towards something which you may not actually want or be benefited by? It's irrational. You can't have a "system of improving the morality of my morals" if you believe in moral relativism. Instead you have a system of improving my life systematically by approaching things in a realistic way- not through OML but through causality.
I have not stated here, my view is there is a difference between Morality and Ethics.
As I had stated I believed in the necessity of 'Absolute Moral Laws' or objective moral laws and to work in complementarity with relative ethical maxims through a model within a Frameword and System of Morality and System with self-correction and self-improvements features.

If there are no overriding objective absolute Moral Laws, I believed humans would be less happy and more stressed, e.g. if all humans must be exposed to the following norms, i.e.
  • 1. "If justified, Killing [of another humans] is permissible for all humans at their discretion"
Point is the above is a 'free pass' and easy going for anyone who think they can kill anyone based on their discretion.
Why the above is dangerous and not recommendable is DNA wise all humans has a potential for evil with appx. 20% are born [unfortunately] with an active evil tendency. This 'free pass' to kill will trigger many from the pool of 1.4 billion [7n x 20%]. There will be a justice system in place but this will be fire fighting and too late for those killed. What we need is a preventive and effective deterrent system in place.


Note a comparison to the following norm with an overriding absolute Moral law, i.e.
  • 2. Objective absolute Moral Law: "Killing [of another humans] is NOT permissible, no ifs and buts" which is complemented with the following;
    Relative Ethical Maxim: The exception to the above Objective absolute Moral Law is only permissible with justified conditions [very tough].
In this case, there is an overriding restraint and anyone who had killed better be prepared with acceptable justifications, else punished appropriately within a judiciary system.

Obviously with 2 in place with objective absolute moral laws, people will live within a less fearful, more happier and less stressed environment.

Morality is inherent within humanity;
Morality is not just something that people learn, argues Yale psychologist Paul Bloom: It is something we are all born with.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/arti ... of-babies/
To ensure Morality and Ethics is implemented effectively in alignment with its evolutionary drives, we need an effective Framework and System to manage it.

Re: Defining Nihilism

Posted: January 23rd, 2018, 4:40 am
by Burning ghost
Judaka -

May I suggest you look into the various subsets of "objectivism" then. I am not massively interested in doing so myself right now because I am focused on other things. I have noticed that it does not mean "rigid" when we say objective.

To say pain is objectively bad is pretty much a stark "fact." Nobody willfully seeks pain and those that do, do so in the pursuit of pleasure ... that is where the concepts fall short and blend into each other. That said there are categories of "objectivism" that are more tilted toward absolutism.

I see your point though. I have heard Spectrum say that lying is bad, and is always bad. I both agree and disagree with him. By that I view it more as balance, because to lie brings about the meaning of truth. This is the issue with the limits of language. What I would say is an objective truth though is that if I had to live a life constructed mainly of lies then it would be worse than living a life of mainly truths.

To shed some light on that I'll quote someone I admire:
"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool." - Richard P. Feynman
No matter what we think is "correct" nature will do as nature does. The uncompromising "truth" of human existence is our need to explore and understand. It is what we do and can be framed, if you so wish to do as, as being our "truth."

Indisputable truths are those that work within set parameters, 1+1=2 is not a matter up for debate in arithmetic. To kill someone's family because they upset you or someone you know is objectively wrong. The reason it is wrong is that if such a view was not held we wouldn't be here. We are here, therefore there is some underlying (maybe primarily biological mechanism) that allow us to exist. I would also caution placing a dividing line between what we call "society" and "subject." Through neurological studies we know that we are born with "social abilities," we are social creatures, and our social nature integrates with the world to such a degree that ... well! Here we are!

Anyway, from the gist of yourself you've exposed I would HIGHLY recommend taking a look at Beyond Good and Evil. It's a vicious and unforgiving reprimand against philosophy in general; it is hard not to laugh at his utterly contemptuous disposition.

From Maxims and Interludes in BGE:
"You may lie with your mouth, but with the mouth you make as you do so you none the less tell the truth."
There are so many things you can read into this. If your idea of truth is to be a liar then be a truthful liar. The point is not a million miles away from Feynman's if you think about it.