Is morality objective or subjective?

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anonymous66
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by anonymous66 » August 9th, 2018, 4:25 pm

Peter Holmes wrote:
August 9th, 2018, 11:23 am
anonymous66

Thanks, but the property of being valid is also not at issue here. (And I assume you don't mean logically valid, because that doesn't apply to factual assertions, which are (classically) only true or false.

What we've been discussing is the claim that a moral assertion, such as 'slavery is wrong', makes a factual claim - one that is true or false. And I argue that it doesn't, because it expresses a value-judgement. If your point is that moral assertions are, in everyday parlance, 'valid' - I couldn't agree more.
I could be wrong.. but it looked to me like there were 2 assertions in your post. A and B. I understood you to be saying that you reject A because it is not falsifiable. But, you are perfectly willing accept assertion B, despite the fact it is also not falsifiable. What are your reasons for accepting B, but rejecting A?

A is the assertion that a desire is morally right or wrong
B is the assertion that being falsifiable is a desirable quality for an assertion to have

At this point, I'm treating the idea that there are moral facts as a separate issue.

Peter Holmes
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Peter Holmes » August 10th, 2018, 2:56 am

anonymous66

It may be that we're talking past each other for some reason.

I reject the claim that a moral assertion makes a factual claim - one with a truth-value. So the possibility of moral facts is all I'm addressing.

I don't understand why you bring in irrelevant issues such as desirability or validity. We're talking about the function of a factual assertion, which is to claim something that may not be the case, and is for that reason falsifiable.

My argument is that the assertion 'this desire is morally right/wrong' is unfalsifiable, because it expresses a value-judgement, which is neither true nor false.

anonymous66
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by anonymous66 » August 10th, 2018, 7:39 am

Peter Holmes wrote:
August 10th, 2018, 2:56 am
anonymous66

It may be that we're talking past each other for some reason.

I reject the claim that a moral assertion makes a factual claim - one with a truth-value. So the possibility of moral facts is all I'm addressing.

I don't understand why you bring in irrelevant issues such as desirability or validity. We're talking about the function of a factual assertion, which is to claim something that may not be the case, and is for that reason falsifiable.

My argument is that the assertion 'this desire is morally right/wrong' is unfalsifiable, because it expresses a value-judgement, which is neither true nor false.
I'm dealing with the issue of value-judgments. If I'm not mistaken you are rejecting the idea that morality could be objective because morality "only involves value-judgments".

It seems to me that all in philosophy is a matter of value-judgment. Philosophy is not science- hence it is not falsifiable. Philosophy is harder than science.

Didn't you make a value judgment yourself when you suggested that falsifiability has some value?

Again, consider 2 statements.
A: A desire is morally right or wrong
B: X is better than Y because X is falsifiable.

Both are value judgments. What reason do you have for accepting B and rejecting A?
And following your line of reasoning, isn't it the case that B is neither true nor false?

Peter Holmes
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Peter Holmes » August 10th, 2018, 11:08 am

anonymous66

Perhaps I'm still being unclear. Here goes again.

Yes, I reject the idea that morality could be objective (a factual matter), because moral assertions express value-judgements rather than factual claims.

The very idea of objectivity involves sidelining value-judgements, beliefs and opinions when considering facts. So facts - true factual assertions - are a given. In other words, we can produce factual assertions that are true or false regardless of what anyone thinks. Do you reject that claim? Do you reject the very idea of objectivity? (The point is: that we value facts doesn't mean that facts are values.)

Both of your statements, A and B, are value-judgements - I agree. So neither is a factual assertion with a truth-value. Why do you think I 'accept' statement B? I've never said a falsifiable factual assertion is 'better than' an unfalsifiable moral assertion - whatever that means.

anonymous66
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by anonymous66 » August 10th, 2018, 2:54 pm

Peter Holmes wrote:
August 10th, 2018, 11:08 am
Both of your statements, A and B, are value-judgements - I agree. So neither is a factual assertion with a truth-value. Why do you think I 'accept' statement B? I've never said a falsifiable factual assertion is 'better than' an unfalsifiable moral assertion - whatever that means.
You misquoted me. I could be wrong, but your original post suggested to me that you believe that you believe that all falsifiable assertions (not just assertions regarding morality) are better than unfalsifiable assertions.

I'm making a point about value-judgements. You can't do philosophy without them.

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Felix
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Felix » August 10th, 2018, 3:36 pm

Mr. Holmes has restricted his definition of truth value to facts, thus his myopic point of view.
"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 » August 11th, 2018, 3:15 am

anonymous66

I apologise for misinterpreting your point. And I apologise if my OP gave the impression that I 'believe that all falsifiable assertions (not just assertions regarding morality) are better than unfalsifiable assertions'. I certainly don't believe that, and I've no idea what 'better than' could mean in this context.

Felix

To clarify: the only things that can be true or false are factual assertions. And we call true factual assertions facts. All other uses of the words 'true', 'false' and their cognates are non-factual and usually express approval or disapproval, acceptance or rejection, and so on: 'the one true god'; 'false witness'; 'she was true to her word'.

If you can suggest examples of 'true' or 'false' being used other than in the above two ways, please do so and we can discuss them.

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by ThomasHobbes » August 11th, 2018, 3:57 am

Peter Holmes wrote:
August 11th, 2018, 3:15 am

To clarify: the only things that can be true or false are factual assertions. And we call true factual assertions facts. All other uses of the words 'true', 'false' and their cognates are non-factual and usually express approval or disapproval, acceptance or rejection, and so on: 'the one true god'; 'false witness'; 'she was true to her word'.

If you can suggest examples of 'true' or 'false' being used other than in the above two ways, please do so and we can discuss them.
You need to deal with more than facticity. Many people will claim that is it a fact that killing is bad, even at the same moment they sink their teeth into a burger.

So the trouble here is that anything with 'good' or 'bad' is unavoidably a value judgement.

However there is likely to be acceptable outcomes when our morals are based on matters of fact. But you can apply as many non value judgement facts, and natural facts you think are not value laden as you like, but no moral may be constructed without consideration of value, and therefore, ultimately, subject to individual, cultural and social valuation.

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by ThomasHobbes » August 11th, 2018, 4:01 am

For example:
It is a fact that many girls from poor homes are missing school because tampons are too expensive for them to buy.
It is a fact that poverty for teenage girls in poor homes are at a gender disadvantage.
It is a fact that this has become a feminist issue.
It is a fact that were the state to provide tampons girls would loose fewer days at school.

The conclusion for many would be obvious, but try to make that conclusion without subjectivity is not possible.

Peter Holmes
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Peter Holmes » August 11th, 2018, 4:13 am

ThomasHobbes

I think I agree with everything you say. Or am I missing something?

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ThomasHobbes
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by ThomasHobbes » August 11th, 2018, 4:44 am

Peter Holmes wrote:
August 11th, 2018, 4:13 am
ThomasHobbes

I think I agree with everything you say. Or am I missing something?
No, amazingly sometimes that happens!!! :)

anonymous66
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by anonymous66 » August 11th, 2018, 6:56 am

Peter Holmes wrote:
August 11th, 2018, 3:15 am
anonymous66

I apologise for misinterpreting your point. And I apologise if my OP gave the impression that I 'believe that all falsifiable assertions (not just assertions regarding morality) are better than unfalsifiable assertions'. I certainly don't believe that, and I've no idea what 'better than' could mean in this context.

Felix

To clarify: the only things that can be true or false are factual assertions. And we call true factual assertions facts. All other uses of the words 'true', 'false' and their cognates are non-factual and usually express approval or disapproval, acceptance or rejection, and so on: 'the one true god'; 'false witness'; 'she was true to her word'.

If you can suggest examples of 'true' or 'false' being used other than in the above two ways, please do so and we can discuss them.
Just to be clear, I wan't referring to your OP, but rather this post:
Peter Holmes wrote:
July 17th, 2018, 3:03 am
Felix

1 The assertion that a desire is morally right or wrong is a judgement, not a falsifiable factual claim. If you disagree, please give an example.

2 You don't seem to understand the equivocation on the word 'good'. Please give an example of what you call a real good, and an example of what you call an apparent good. We can go on from there.

3 Our natural needs are objective, but 'natural rights' are not. Rights are things granted to people by decisions based on moral judgements.

4 In the assertion 'we should not desire what is really good for us, or desire what is really bad for us', the word 'should' is critical, because it indicates a judgement. You are still confusing values judgements with factual assertions, as does Aristotle.
If you don't make judgments about assertions based on their ability to be falsified... Then I guess I don't understand your point 1 above. Could you clarify?
and if you don't believe that falsifiability is an issue, then why wouldn't you accept (at least in theory) that a desire could be right or wrong?

Peter Holmes
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Peter Holmes » August 12th, 2018, 2:48 am

anonymous66 wrote:
August 11th, 2018, 6:56 am
Peter Holmes wrote:
August 11th, 2018, 3:15 am
anonymous66

I apologise for misinterpreting your point. And I apologise if my OP gave the impression that I 'believe that all falsifiable assertions (not just assertions regarding morality) are better than unfalsifiable assertions'. I certainly don't believe that, and I've no idea what 'better than' could mean in this context.

Felix

To clarify: the only things that can be true or false are factual assertions. And we call true factual assertions facts. All other uses of the words 'true', 'false' and their cognates are non-factual and usually express approval or disapproval, acceptance or rejection, and so on: 'the one true god'; 'false witness'; 'she was true to her word'.

If you can suggest examples of 'true' or 'false' being used other than in the above two ways, please do so and we can discuss them.
Just to be clear, I wan't referring to your OP, but rather this post:
Peter Holmes wrote:
July 17th, 2018, 3:03 am
Felix

1 The assertion that a desire is morally right or wrong is a judgement, not a falsifiable factual claim. If you disagree, please give an example.

2 You don't seem to understand the equivocation on the word 'good'. Please give an example of what you call a real good, and an example of what you call an apparent good. We can go on from there.

3 Our natural needs are objective, but 'natural rights' are not. Rights are things granted to people by decisions based on moral judgements.

4 In the assertion 'we should not desire what is really good for us, or desire what is really bad for us', the word 'should' is critical, because it indicates a judgement. You are still confusing values judgements with factual assertions, as does Aristotle.
If you don't make judgments about assertions based on their ability to be falsified... Then I guess I don't understand your point 1 above. Could you clarify?
and if you don't believe that falsifiability is an issue, then why wouldn't you accept (at least in theory) that a desire could be right or wrong?
Whether I 'make judgements about assertions based on their ability to be falsified' is completely irrelevant in this context. The point is: there are two kinds of assertion - factual and non-factual - and moral assertions are non-factual. (Of course, these are factual claims, and you are welcome to contest and try to refute them.)

If, as I believe, there are factual and non-factual assertions, then, of course, falsifiability constitutes a major distinction between them. And my point 1 above is consistent with my argument from the start. I don't think the moral assertion 'this desire is morally right/wrong' makes a factual claim, because it expresses a value-judgement about a desire.

I'm sorry, but I just don't understand why you think there's some kind of contradiction in my argument. My obtuseness, no doubt. But thanks.

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Felix
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Felix » August 12th, 2018, 5:47 am

Peter Holmes: I don't think the moral assertion 'this desire is morally right/wrong' makes a factual claim, because it expresses a value-judgement about a desire.
The point is that value judgements can be based on objective facts and therefore be more or less true. The value judgement is not being made about the desire itself but about the object of the desire. For example, if you desire to stay alive, you will need to eat, and therefore you make the value judgement that food is good to have and to desire.
"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 Eduk » August 12th, 2018, 6:12 am

For example, if you desire to stay alive, you will need to eat, and therefore you make the value judgement that food is good to have and to desire.
Yes but 'desiring to stay alive' can't be proven to be 'good'?
Unknown means unknown.

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