Ramblings on Evil: What If It Doesn't Exist?

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Judaka
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Re: Ramblings on Evil: What If It Doesn't Exist?

Post by Judaka » January 18th, 2018, 5:03 am

We have agreed on the relative nature of morality but I suspect some measure of objectivity within the chaos of subjective views
I don't disagree there might be a biological science to morality but I still maintain that discovering the origin of morality to be biological, systemic or whatever else, does not in anyway create objective validity for the actual belief. In the same way that when I see a woman I think is beautiful, the fact that there are biological and cultural reasons for that does not mean the woman is objectively beautiful. The idea something like a distinction about something like beauty or morality can even be true objectively is something I categorically reject.

anonymous66
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Re: Ramblings on Evil: What If It Doesn't Exist?

Post by anonymous66 » January 18th, 2018, 11:57 am

Judaka wrote:
January 17th, 2018, 8:10 pm
I asked the question in another thread what arguments are made for objective morality that don't involve God?
Check out Daniel Fincke. He is an atheist who argues for objective morality. Why not see if you can steelman his position?

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/camelswith ... ragmatics/

anonymous66
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Re: Ramblings on Evil: What If It Doesn't Exist?

Post by anonymous66 » January 18th, 2018, 11:58 am

Judaka wrote:
January 17th, 2018, 7:10 pm
Ever heard of the concept of steelmanning? If you want to understand arguments for objective morality, then do some research and then steelman the position (it's the opposite of strawmanning).
Oh I understand arguments for objective morality,
I'd love to see your steelmann of objective morality.

Judaka
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Re: Ramblings on Evil: What If It Doesn't Exist?

Post by Judaka » January 19th, 2018, 5:22 am

So you want me to what, create a better argument for him that he has for himself and then beat that argument? I don't really get this steelmanning concept but it sounds very time consuming.

Firstly let me say I think his argument is outrageously wrong and doesn't make any sense, so it's going to be difficult for me to pretend that his arguments are great just so you can be assured that I am not misunderstanding or misrepresenting them. He says there are five ways to reach the conclusion of objective morality and that if we believe in even one of these claims then we should be able to say "morality is objective". I will also say that my own argument against objective morality is comprehensive to say the least, I think objective morality can be proven to be unlikely, unproven and even impossible using history and logic. I don't reject objective morality because I don't like it.

I don't have space to talk about that, let's instead just go through his five claims. I don't really need to give long explanations to why they're bad but I will because I'm scared you're going to say I'm strawmanning you haha.

1. Similarities exist between our moral views which can be diminished with honesty, introspection and discussion.

There are many purely subjective views for which exactly the same can be said, for example if we were to argue about whether "The Dark Knight" is a good movie or not. In all likelihood, there are similarities between what for us, makes a movie good. The same logic applies here but what it means that most people appreciate the same "good" aspects to movies is not evidence that there is an "objectively best movie". It means that we as people who care about movies, we as people, we as people living in the world today and so on, are going to share similarities.

There is no history of moral views actually being diminished by honesty and introspection, however we do see all the time that politics, colonialism, capitalism, religion, culture and the spread and development of these things influences morality demonstrably. Ultimately though even if morality was experienced the same by all people, this would show that the cause for our moral views is similar across all people and not that all people have figured something out. Even in the best case scenario for this argument, it doesn't demonstrate objective moral law.

2. We can identify strong and weak moral arguments, if this process were perfected then we could see which argument is the best.

We can identify inconsistent and invalid moral arguments on the basis of their irrationality or invalidity, however proving irrationality and invalidity does not prove objective validity. There are many examples of people creating standards with which to judge people such as cooking, dancing, art and so on. Morality has an added aspect of consistency, so for example if I were to say "killing is good, everyone should kill until only the strong survive" you could break down my argument by asking me "what about the physically weaker people you care about?" or "what about the benefits of co-operation you currently enjoy?". That's how any atheist would break down such a claim and ultimately you would probably end up determining that my argument didn't make sense because it wasn't consistent with my other desires. Or invalid because it wouldn't play out the way I thought I would upon further inspection - or because I do not like all outcomes.

So I too believe that many moral arguments are inconsistent, invalid and based on bad information. However everything here is entirely relative to the person who holds the moral argument and the way it is made, to actually show the weakness of the argument "killing is bad" when you don't know what that is based on, you don't know who said that, you don't know anything except that argument. All you can do is show how it's invalid based on your own interpretation of of morality or a guess at what kind of person or ideas generated that moral claim. That's how logic and rationality work, if you don't have anything to use as evidence then you can't move forward. Even in the best case scenario, where all but a few goals are proven inferior and we determine the objectively best methods to attain those goals - it still doesn't create objective morality. It is another might is right argument, it at best only proves that there is a best solution for people based on their biological, societal, psychological needs - or whatever other origin. It makes those moral arguments the best possible or most convincing arguments for us, it doesn't make it objectively correct.

I'm not even going to respond to 3, my argument is the same as 1 and 2 and he's using stupid terms like "objectively compelling". How can something be objectively compelling when if it's compelling is determined by how compelled someone is by it or by how likely we think others are to be compelled by it?

4. Even though actions can be made moral or immoral by their outcomes, there are ways to determine what is objectively right or wrong.

This is one of the extremely strong arguments for subjective morality, that morality is dependant upon many things which makes it relative. Morality can't be objective if it is conditional or relative, he says there are ways of bypassing these problems but doesn't explain that way. You can't expect me to him at his word, I don't believe what he is saying to be possible, if he could do this then he would have already created objective moral law and he wouldn't even need this whole blog post. At least this time the best case scenario has the potential to demonstrate objective morality but sadly only because he explicitly says it does.

5. Values are not just personal choices true to ourselves, there are measurable causal relationships between values and their effectiveness and truthfulness.

This is actually an argument for morality being relative, he is saying that the validity and value of a value is determined by its validity in its effectiveness and truthfulness in a real world scenario. Which means that the worth of values are relative to the state of the world. Something cannot be objectively true and relative, so it's strange to hear this argument from someone who believes in objective morality.

Well I don't think I needed to type all this but I hope I did some good steelmanning, I did my best. This isn't really my argument against objective morality, which I think proves objective morality is impossible as a concept and if not that, shows the evidence for subjective morality to substantial for belief.

Judaka
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Re: Ramblings on Evil: What If It Doesn't Exist?

Post by Judaka » January 19th, 2018, 5:35 am

I also wanna say that the most interesting thing about this blogger is what he says about why objective morality is important, I don't agree with him but his view of objective morality is far more practically reasoned than I expected it to be. Perhaps he is more interested in the utility of the idea than the validity? :P.

Eduk
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Re: Ramblings on Evil: What If It Doesn't Exist?

Post by Eduk » January 19th, 2018, 6:01 am

None of the above really addresses objective morality?
You can say given a human you might expect morality to look like X. But if you take away the human you can make no claims on what morality might look like.
I think the problem is that when you say morality is subjective people dive off the deep end and go oh well in that case I can go on a rampage and there are no issues. But they are forgetting they are still human. If human then you can have a pretty good stab at morality. Of course you won't be absolutely perfect, but again what's wrong with not being absolutely perfect.
Reminds me of the Rick and Morty sketch with the perfectly flat floor. Just how often do you really need perfection?

anonymous66
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Re: Ramblings on Evil: What If It Doesn't Exist?

Post by anonymous66 » January 19th, 2018, 8:12 am

Judaka wrote:
January 19th, 2018, 5:22 am


Firstly let me say I think his argument is outrageously wrong and doesn't make any sense,
You have entirely missed the point of steelmanning.

anonymous66
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Re: Ramblings on Evil: What If It Doesn't Exist?

Post by anonymous66 » January 19th, 2018, 8:31 am

Let me see if I can sum up the objections to Objective Morality

1. I can't understand how it could be true. Therefor it can't be true. (or I know of no good arguments for objective morality, therefor it's false- or arguments for objective morality don't make any sense to me- therefor they are false)
2. Everyone who argues for objective morality is a theist (and that's bad for some unstated reason[it's also untrue. There are atheist who argue for objective morality.])

Those of you who are sure that morality is not objective. Is that a valid summation? Did I miss anything?

Maxcady10001
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Re: Ramblings on Evil: What If It Doesn't Exist?

Post by Maxcady10001 » January 19th, 2018, 4:37 pm

Anonymous66

Please refer back to my post on the first page, where I did in fact steelman objective morality. Or at least offer sone kind of response, which you never did. Then again, you may not be able to use reason.

Eduk
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Re: Ramblings on Evil: What If It Doesn't Exist?

Post by Eduk » January 19th, 2018, 6:00 pm

Anon if I don't know how objective morality could be true and every argument I have heard in support makes no sense, to me, then logically I do not believe in objective morality.
This is slightly different than saying objective morality does not exist. But in practical terms there is no difference.

anonymous66
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Re: Ramblings on Evil: What If It Doesn't Exist?

Post by anonymous66 » January 19th, 2018, 7:33 pm

I'm trying to imagine myself as someone who believes morality is relative, but would also like to steelman objective morality.

I think I'd just say
1.There are people who believe that some actions are morally wrong. An example is torturing children for fun. Some people believe that if someone tortures children for fun, then it's more likely that there is something wrong with said person, than it is that there is nothing wrong with torturing children. (if there is at least one action that is always wrong, then morality is objective).
2. Some people believe that morality is similar to mathematics or health care. There may be disagreements about morality or mathematics or health care, but disagreements do not mean they are not objective.
3. Some people believe that disagreements about morality are similar to disagreements about facts. In the same way there were many disagreements about things like health care, or the size of the earth, the nature of our universe etc, there are disagreements about morality. Disagreements don't negate objectivity.
The people who believe those things believe that morality is objective.

Judaka
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Re: Ramblings on Evil: What If It Doesn't Exist?

Post by Judaka » January 20th, 2018, 4:10 am

Let me see if I can sum up the objections to Objective Morality
Anon66 for someone who talks so much about steelmanning, so far all you've done is steelman your own arguments (which is just the same thing as arguing them) and strawman everyone else's arguments.

I think rather than explaining your way of thinking to demonstrate you have reasons for thinking that way and then dismissing everyone else's ideas and paraphrasing them as have zero or terrible reasons for thinking their way, I'll stick to just making valid arguments and counterarguments.

Thanks for the lesson on steelmanning all the same.

Eduk
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Re: Ramblings on Evil: What If It Doesn't Exist?

Post by Eduk » January 20th, 2018, 8:14 am

anon66. I don't understand why you can't seem to grasp this concept.

I'll quote from google searching objective morality
A proposition is objective if its truth value is independent of the person uttering it. A fact is objective in the same way. For morality to be objective, moral propositions such as "Killing is bad","Stealing is bad", etc... need to be true independently of the person who is stating them.
So for example a rock has a mass of 10kg whether or not anyone is about to measure it.
If a tree falls over in a forest, and no one is around to hear it, then molecules of air hit each other but as to whether it makes a sound depends on how you define sound. And it is this example which most illustrates objectivity v subjectivity.
I can't even think of a way of phrasing the stealing of something that isn't subjective. A rock can't steal for example. The Sun can't murder. And so on.

anonymous66
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Re: Ramblings on Evil: What If It Doesn't Exist?

Post by anonymous66 » January 24th, 2018, 10:58 am

@Eduk- yes I understand that you believe morality is subjective(or relative?), and that you have reasons and arguments for your position. I just don't find them to be compelling. I assume that you feel the same way about objective morality. By the way, have you looked into the responses to Mackie's Argument from Queerness?

A good friend of mine believes that morality is relative. This is my attempt to steelman relative morality, after some discussions with him.
Moral relativists say there is no absolute moral truth, but rather that morality is relative to the culture or people.

So, if someone says X is wrong, then it is the case that X is wrong relative to their specific cultural bias. There isn't a way to have an objective moral stance on any moral issue in a relativist position.

anonymous66
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Re: Ramblings on Evil: What If It Doesn't Exist?

Post by anonymous66 » January 24th, 2018, 11:03 am

Because of our discussions in this thread, I was compelled to order the book Moral Relativism and Moral Objectivity by Gilbert Harman; Judith Jarvis Thomson

Here is a review by Simon Blackburn.

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