Can Science Explain Morals?

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TigerNinja
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Can Science Explain Morals?

Post by TigerNinja » February 28th, 2018, 6:33 pm

Frequently, a viewpoint I find that Sam Harris has, is that science is able to explain morals to us. I personally disagree. I know this may seem cold but looking with purely what we have, in the nature of it, there is nothing wrong with me killing someone. The opinion that it is wrong solely derives from Judea- Christian influence. This is clearly indicative of moral relativity which shows that morals can't exist. Despite this, he makes the fair argument that the very thing which makes science, science (controversy), is what we are using to 'debunk' morals. Despite this, I think that due to the element of objectivity in science, it outweighs this argument. It is like saying that we should be able to find out which country God supports in a war, even though both countries are saying that God is on their side. There is no evidence for which we can say that this set of morals is correct. We can't simply ask God which country he supports in the same way we can't just check our moral list. We can do that in science through a much longer process of experimentation, which can't be done on something which isn't physically definable as of now. I say as of now as 30 years ago dreams were not physically definable, however we now can almost map someone's dreams. Despite this, we already knew there was an organ that our faculties derive from. We are like Homo Erectus (Praying I got this right so that I don't get lynched by my peers) discovering fire in our knowledge of the brain.

Despite this, I do strongly believe that although morals themselves do not exist, its origin, moral intuition does. Moral intuition derives form conditioning and other factors, but it shows that we are still able to have a moral compass without believing in the things themselves. I do in no way believe that morals exist, however I still have a natural moral intuition that will pop up at certain times. Can science discover this? I think certainly so. Can science discover morals? That is up for debate, and what is this website for? Tell me below!
"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." ~ Arthur Schopenhauer

Burning ghost
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Re: Can Science Explain Morals?

Post by Burning ghost » March 1st, 2018, 3:26 am

You'll first have to explain what morals are. If you can define them then they exist in some form. I am guessing your argument is about the empirical data that backs up either our understanding of biological mechanisms and/or evolutionary explanations?

Your post is a little scattered for a direct answer.
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Eduk
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Re: Can Science Explain Morals?

Post by Eduk » March 6th, 2018, 5:12 am

As I understand it murder was considered naughty before Judea Christian influence.

Burning ghost
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Re: Can Science Explain Morals?

Post by Burning ghost » March 6th, 2018, 5:45 am

Eduk wrote:
March 6th, 2018, 5:12 am
As I understand it murder was considered naughty before Judea Christian influence.
I can imagine ...

CAVE BOY: "Mummy, mummy that boy in the next cave just killed Daddy!"
CAVE WOMAN: "REALLY? He is such a naughty boy. I'll let his mother know! He's sure to get a good spanking before bedtime. Now go and tell your sister to stop gnawing on Grandpa's carcass and start a fire."

I think that is an accurate depiction, no? :D
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Atreyu
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Re: Can Science Explain Morals?

Post by Atreyu » March 13th, 2018, 6:14 pm

Well, morals exist whether you acknowledge it or not. Just because it's impossible to prove which moral view is superior, that does not negate the existence of morality itself.

What you call "moral intuition" (misnomer) can be the product of two things. One is what you mentioned --> "conditioning and other factors". The other is conscience. Morals are derived both from an inherent conscience which exists in man, although it is normally quite dormant, and also various social teachings and customs and taboos.

The difference between the two origins is that conscience is more real and natural, while social conditioning is more artificial, arbitrary, and subjective. Thus, morals that derive from conscience are always more right, than morals which might derive solely from social conditioning, some of which have even led men to kill and slaughter in the name of God.

The evidence of which morality is correct can only be had by conscience. If a man has no conscience, then indeed there is no evidence, and it's completely arbitrary to assert that one morality is superior to another. But if a man does have a conscience, even if only very temporarily, then at those times he has "evidence" of which morality is superior, i.e. which moral code more accurately reflects conscience.

In this sense, conscience is true 'moral intuition'. There is nothing 'intuitive', or even natural, about moralities not based on conscience. In fact, morality without conscience can easily devolve into insanity and mass murder, as we clearly see today with some religious 'fundamentalist' groups.

If all men had a permanent conscience, there would be no need for morality. We'd always know what was 'right' or 'wrong', because our consciences would tell us so. But since men do not have conscience, except perhaps at very rare moments, we need moral codes to tell us what is 'right' and 'wrong'. Morality is a temporary, and fairly poor, substitute for conscience.

That is the real 'science' behind morality. And what the real science should be is to figure out if it might not be possible to strengthen and augment the feeling of conscience in man, and how to make that happen, so that men no longer have to wade their way through the labyrinth of contradictory moral teachings which present themselves to him, but rather can use his inner voice to know what is right and wrong....

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Thinking critical
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Re: Can Science Explain Morals?

Post by Thinking critical » May 4th, 2018, 7:11 am

TigerNinja wrote:
February 28th, 2018, 6:33 pm
Frequently, a viewpoint I find that Sam Harris has, is that science is able to explain morals to us. I personally disagree.
You are mis-representing Sam Harris' position, he doesn't state that science explains morals, he demonstrates that scientific principles can be used to create a moral landscape.
His potoposition is completely valid, if we imagine the worse form of pain and suffering we can possibly conceive we have a foundation to start from. Any state which causes less pain or suffering is an improvement therefore moves up the moral landscape.
If someone were to say murder or torture ought not be classified as a form of pain or suffering, it is reasonable to claim that they do not have the clarity or rational capacity to have a sensible discussion about morality and should therefore not be included in such discussions.
Despite this, I do strongly believe that although morals themselves do not exist, its origin, moral intuition does. Moral intuition derives form conditioning and other factors, but it shows that we are still able to have a moral compass without believing in the things themselves. I do in no way believe that morals exist, however I still have a natural moral intuition that will pop up at certain times. Can science discover this? I think certainly so. Can science discover morals? That is up for debate, and what is this website for? Tell me below!
You may need to clarify what you mean by "morals themselves don't exist"?
I suspect you're referring to objective morality, which if this is the case then I'm sure most other people here would agree.
This cocky little cognitive contortionist will straighten you right out

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