Is morality objective or subjective?

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Belindi
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Belindi » July 17th, 2018, 3:59 am

LuckyR wrote:
July 16th, 2018, 3:24 pm
Belindi wrote:
July 16th, 2018, 2:43 pm

But hot, tall, heavy, fast, are relative to the observer and to other variables. Same as what we conventionally name moral terms such as fair, valuable, cruel , painful are relative to the observer and to other variables.
Ah, but while you can taller or shorter than me, your measurement is along a linear scale, say of cm. Say you are 163. My position can also be noted and a comparison made... or not, you are still 163 cm. However, fairness is commonly also attempted to be measured on a linear scale, but since the definition of what fairness is (unlike the universally understood meaning of height), varies dramatically, fairness is actually measured along a set of linear scales, not a single one (depending on the definition of what constitutes fairness).
But educationists and legislators select scales to fit with specific circumstances such as available space for homework, or loss of income relative to basic human needs.

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Felix
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Felix » July 17th, 2018, 4:31 am

Peter Holmes: You are still confusing values judgements with factual assertions, as does Aristotle.
Aristotle did not confuse the two, but Hume did and so have you. Hume said that moral judgements cannot be derived from descriptive premises alone (what you call factual assertions or claims), which is true. However, there is another kind of truth that is not based solely on descriptive statements, and it is called prescriptive truth.

Aristotle explained that prescriptive or practical judgements are true in so far as they conform to right desire, rather than to what exists in reality, as is the case with descriptive truth. He then goes on to explain what right desire is, which leads to the distinction between natural and acquired desires, and real and apparent goods, and how the inability or failure to distinguish between them can lead to the sort of misguided moral relativism you have espoused. I'd rather not repeat his entire argument but it successfully refutes the one you have made.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

Belindi
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Belindi » July 17th, 2018, 4:46 am

Hume said that values cannot be derived from empirical facts as a matter of deduction. However as a matter of human nature Hume said that sympathy, what we'd call empathy, is a necessary component, and as such it's an empirical fact and moral values are obtained from the empirical fact of sympathy(empathy).

Values pertain to human nature . The times are gone when a pig or a mountain could be accused of immorality.

Peter Holmes
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Peter Holmes » July 17th, 2018, 5:49 am

Felix

Thanks for explaining Aristotle's claim. I have come across it before, which is why i know it's a mistake.

1 The idea of prescriptive truth is incoherent. A prescription or precept is a rule, and rules have no truth value. Please can you give an example of a prescriptive truth or judgement that is a falsifiable assertion. Obviously, it can't be said to be true unless is could also be false.

2 You haven't provided, as I requested, an example of a judgement about a desire's 'rightness' or 'wrongness' that is a falsifiable assertion. I assume that means you can't.

3 You haven't provided an example of what you call a real good and an apparent good. It would help me to understand what you mean by 'good' in this context.

Rather than repeating Aristotle's claims, please justify them with evidence in the form of examples.

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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Peter Holmes » July 17th, 2018, 5:56 am

Felix - a quick follow-up.

'Aristotle explained that prescriptive or practical judgements are true in so far as they conform to right desire, rather than to what exists in reality, as is the case with descriptive truth.'

You speak of this as though there's something canonical and unarguable. He didn't 'explain' this, as though it was the case and just needed clarifying. He claimed it - and he was wrong. The claim 'prescriptive or practical judgements are true in so far as they conform to right desire' is a conceptual mess. Again, please give an example to show that you understand it - and help me to as well.

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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Spectrum » July 17th, 2018, 6:31 am

DNA wise, Morality is an inherent drive within ALL humans.
The Moral Life of Babies
Morality is not just something that people learn, argues Yale psychologist Paul Bloom: It is something we are all born with. At birth, babies are endowed with compassion, with empathy, with the beginnings of a sense of fairness.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/arti ... of-babies/
The function of Morality must be approach within a Framework and System of Morality and Ethics.

Morality refer to the Pure aspects i.e. absolute Moral Laws
Ethics refer the the Applied aspects, i.e. flexible maxims derived from absolute moral laws to be practiced by individual and society. Note this has nothing to do with legislative laws which is a political issue.

Morality and Ethics has to be a private and personal self-development in tandem with the collective consensus.

Within the Framework and System of Morality and Ethics [FSME], absolute moral laws can be established and grounded from empirical evidence.
It is empirically evident no living species had emerged with the purpose to be extinct immediately, i.e. to survive at all costs till the inevitable.

Therefore the Absolute Moral Law for an individual is
"To Survive at all cost & to preserve the species till the inevitable"

Note as an Absolute Moral Law, this is only a guide and not enforceable.

From the above, other secondary absolute moral laws are derived.
E.g. no humans can kill another, period, no ifs nor buts.

Where ifs and buts are applied, that is within ethics where certain killings can be justified subject to the overriding absolute moral laws at all times.

In another perspective this grounded absolute laws are borrowed for legislation where enforceable laws are enacted related to killing of human[s].

Other than killing, there are other sub-moral laws that can be derived from the primary absolute moral laws.
Not-a-theist. Religion is a critical necessity for humanity now, but not the FUTURE.

Belindi
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Belindi » July 17th, 2018, 7:11 am

The Moral Life of Babies
Morality is not just something that people learn, argues Yale psychologist Paul Bloom: It is something we are all born with. At birth, babies are endowed with compassion, with empathy, with the beginnings of a sense of fairness.
Yes there is the latent possibility. However possibilities don't become manifested without nurturing environment. This applies to plants, animals and men. It's necessary for men in order to learn any morality that they be exposed to that morality at the time of their lives when learning can take place.

Spectrum wrote:
Therefore the Absolute Moral Law for an individual is
"To Survive at all cost & to preserve the species till the inevitable"
I sort of agree although I'd reword it. My main answer to you Spectrum,regarding your "absolute moral law", is that you haven't defined who is to be preserved and to what degree. You say "the species". But the species can't survive unless the other species also survive, and unless the entire geography of Earth survives. It's also arguable the the species as we know it can't survive unless individual men aim beyond their ids .

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Felix
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Felix » July 17th, 2018, 3:07 pm

Peter Holmes: A prescription or precept is a rule, and rules have no truth value.
A prescriptive truth is a judgement, not a rule, based on facts about human nature, and it has practical truth if it expresses a desire for a good that we actually need.
You haven't provided, as I requested, an example of a judgement about a desire's 'rightness' or 'wrongness' that is a falsifiable assertion. I assume that means you can't.
No, it just means that you do not understand the difference between prescriptive and descriptive truths. The correspondence theory of truth only applies to descriptive statements, statements that involve assertions about what is or is not.
You haven't provided an example of what you call a real good and an apparent good. It would help me to understand what you mean by 'good' in this context.
As I said, real goods are based on natural needs whereas apparent goods are based on acquired wants. Pardon me if I cheat by quoting from this interview that Bill Moyers conducted with Mortimer Adler on Aristotle's philosophy:

http://billmoyers.com/content/secondbil ... aristotle/

"All our wants, Bill, your wants and my wants are different. The wants of every human being differ from those of others. It’s our natural desires, our needs that are the same. We all need — let me talk about the biological needs. We all need food, clothing, shelter, rest, play, and sensuous pleasure on the biological level. On the human level — spiritually, intellectually — we all need friendship and love. We all need a good society to live in. We all need knowledge and wisdom. There are the things our nature seeks, and our nature being the same in all of us, what we seek — not consciously, but naturally — the good man is one who desires what he ought to desire, or desires what conforms to his natural desires."
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

Peter Holmes
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Peter Holmes » July 17th, 2018, 4:44 pm

Peter Holmes: A prescription or precept is a rule, and rules have no truth value.
Felix: A prescriptive truth is a judgement, not a rule, based on facts about human nature, and it has practical truth if it expresses a desire for a good that we actually need.
This is evasion. Please show an example of such a supposed prescriptive truth - an assertion with a truth value - and so falsifiable.
Peter Holmes: You haven't provided, as I requested, an example of a judgement about a desire's 'rightness' or 'wrongness' that is a falsifiable assertion. I assume that means you can't.
Felix: No, it just means that you do not understand the difference between prescriptive and descriptive truths. The correspondence theory of truth only applies to descriptive statements, statements that involve assertions about what is or is not.
More evasion. I don't accept the correspondence theory anyway. Please give an example of a prescriptive truth under your preferred theory. You seem convinced there are such things.
Peter Holmes: You haven't provided an example of what you call a real good and an apparent good. It would help me to understand what you mean by 'good' in this context.
Felix: As I said, real goods are based on natural needs whereas apparent goods are based on acquired wants.
Please give an example of a real 'good' and an apparent 'good', and we'll see if you're equivocating on the meaning of 'good'. Don't be shy.

To conclude, I think you're parroting what you take to be Aristotelian 'truths', but have no evidence to back them up. But, of course, I may be completely wrong. I await your response. But please don't tell me what I don't understand. Make me understand with evidence.

Gertie
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Gertie » July 17th, 2018, 4:58 pm

Felix
Peter Holmes: The equivocation on 'goods' - first meaning 'things we need', then implicitly meaning 'moral good', as in 'things that are right and not wrong' is glaring.
No equivocation there, do I need to spell out in detail the obvious logic of those statements?
It might seem obvious that satisfying survival needs is a moral good - but why, what is that claim grounded in?

Is surviving inherently/objectively morally good, in all cases, if so why? Is killing always objectively wrong? Does it include all living things (bacteria, carrots, ants, cows, dogs, chimps) ?

In order to have a basis to answer such questions you need a justifiable underlying axiomatic foundation. The objective basis on which to claim meeting (some/all?) survival needs (of all/some living things?) is objectively morally good. And without that, the charge of equivocation is fair.

In other words, you need to think it through to the next step - what's the basis for your claim. And if you do, you might find it more difficult to claim morality is/can be 'objective'. Imo.

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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Gertie » July 17th, 2018, 5:09 pm

Felix
As I said, real goods are based on natural needs whereas apparent goods are based on acquired wants.
Wants/desires are also rooted in human evolution (as are our basic moral/social predispositions), hence 'natural'. Which are then honed by experience in different ways.

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Felix
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Felix » July 17th, 2018, 8:09 pm

Gertie: It might seem obvious that satisfying survival needs is a moral good - but why, what is that claim grounded in?
Common sense, it is self evident. For example, the body requires nourishment, it is good to satisfy that need. And we have other needs besides basic biological needs, e.g., the need for knowledge.
Is surviving inherently/objectively morally good, in all cases, if so why? Is killing always objectively wrong? Does it include all living things (bacteria, carrots, ants, cows, dogs, chimps) ?
Prescriptive judgments are based on our natural needs but not all needs are equivalent. Common sense and practical judgment will have to be applied to produce an entire set of prescriptive judgments that will address the societal complications that can arise. This is not the sort of simplistic good/bad, black/white, deontological system of morality that Kant proposed.
Is surviving inherently/objectively morally good, in all cases, if so why?
Give me an example of an instance in which it would be morally wrong to survive?
Peter Holmes: Please give an example of a prescriptive truth under your preferred theory. You seem convinced there are such things
.

I just gave one to Gertie....
Please give an example of a real 'good' and an apparent 'good', and we'll see if you're equivocating on the meaning of 'good'.
I did that in my previous post - I quoted a few examples from Mortimer Adler (and he describes Aristotle's concept of prescriptive truth succinctly in that interview).
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Peter Holmes » July 18th, 2018, 1:46 am

Felix

We may be talking past each other. I think a 'truth' is nothing more than a true factual assertion, true because it correctly asserts (describes) a feature of reality, given the way we use those words or other signs, and true even if no one believes or even knows it. Such assertions are objective - independent of judgement, belief or opinion. And we call true factual assertions 'facts'. Do you agree with this definition of a 'truth'?

If you do, I'm asking what a 'prescriptive' truth is. If it's just a judgement, such as 'it's morally good to meet everyone's survival needs', that isn't a factual assertion, and it has no truth value. So if that's what a so-called prescriptive truth is, the idea is incoherent, as I said earlier.

Please correct me if I'm still not grasping the idea. I've gone through your and Gertie's exchanges, and I can't see anything else that's supposedly a prescriptive truth.

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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Karpel Tunnel » July 18th, 2018, 2:52 am

Felix wrote:
July 17th, 2018, 8:09 pm
tions that can arise. This is not the sort of simplistic good/bad, black/white, deontological system of morality that Kant proposed.
Is surviving inherently/objectively morally good, in all cases, if so why?
Give me an example of an instance in which it would be morally wrong to survive?
If you are a Nazi - or it this is not a category that works for you pick one that meets an abstract criterion such as 'you hold beliefs that you will put into action which will cause harm, death and oppression to innocent people.'

If you are a member of a species that will go on to colonize space and destroy other more peaceful wiser civilizations. If you are a pedophile who cannot control acting out your urges.

You are in unbearable pain caused by a moral disease.



Survinval may be good for you, the individual. in the sense that you prefer it at the least.
However your conintued existence as an individual may lead to net bad/evil

Survival of your species may be good for your species. But what if your species is destructive and its continued existence leads to the elimination of better species?

Your own survival may not even be good for you in some circumstances.

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Felix
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Felix » July 18th, 2018, 3:29 am

To Peter Holmes: My exposition was no doubt unclear. Mortimer Adler gives a detailed explanation of the difference between descriptive and prescriptive truths on this web-page:

http://selfeducatedamerican.com/2015/01 ... scriptive/

It starts with the paragraph about half-way down the page that begins with:

"Skepticism with regard to truth reared its head in antiquity. Confronted with it, the ancients came up with its refutation. Not so with regard to goodness. Skepticism about value judgments — about the validity of our attribution of goodness to objects and about the truth of any statement that contains the words “ought” or “ought not” — begins in the modern world. Without having been confronted with that brand of skepticism, the ancients nevertheless provided us with clues enabling us to separate that aspect of the good that has the objectivity of truth from that aspect that is entirely subjective and relative to the individual."

Karpel: I could pick apart each of your examples but I will just say that they do not meet the necessary criteria of prescriptive truths, which are based on right desire and common needs, not on subjective self-interest.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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