Are there eternal moral truths?

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EricPH
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Re: Are there eternal moral truths?

Post by EricPH »

snt wrote: June 25th, 2022, 6:40 am It is interesting to notice that people who manage other people often seem to hold a special interest in morality. When one is to make choices on behalf of other people as part of an organization, morality is essentially what will determine quality in the choices that are made. So the current cultural evolution in business to 'good' companies and a moral culture is something with a long history.
Whilst there may be some morally sound companies, I feel greed is the driving force. If you have the choice to pay a US worker $20 per hour, or a Chinese worker a $1 an hour to do the same task, where is the business man going? If a product is worth $20 but you can sell it for a $100, what will it be sold for? Billionaires don't make their billions by being morally sound. They underpay their staff and overcharge their customers.
When a moral culture is set in motion, like a domino effect, it will prevent evil fundamentally.
Sadly, greed seems to be driving the domino effect in business; rather than morality.
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Re: Are there eternal moral truths?

Post by Leontiskos »

Astro Cat wrote: June 24th, 2022, 9:43 pm
Leontiskos wrote: June 24th, 2022, 4:16 pm
Astro Cat wrote: June 24th, 2022, 1:15 amI think regardless of the breadth (whether I believe "I ought not to eat meat" or "Nobody ought to eat meat"), the same sort of thing is going on, so I didn't think it was important to focus on that difference.

What I think is going on is that people have values from which they build oughts out of hypothetical imperatives: if I value x, then I ought to do y. In the case of breadth, the "y" that we do just includes "I ought to tell that guy over there to stop doing that." I think that we're only in charge of our own oughts, but the oughts we can come up with can include feeling like we ought to get others to go with our point of view (I can object to murder not because there's something about the universe that says murder is wrong, but because I value life, and since I value life, I ought to try to preserve it, and that includes telling someone else to knock off that murdering stuff they're trying to do; or putting them in prison so they can't do it any more!)
So we might say that, "If I value X, and someone is harming X, then I should impede them." There are two different ways someone can be impeded: coercion or persuasion. You seem to have drawn the conclusion that the moralist is irrational and unpersuasive, and therefore must resort to some form of coercion. That is, since there are no sound arguments for "ought claims," persuasion is not possible. The only exception would be cases where the moralist fortuitously encounters someone who holds the same axiomatic values that he does; but the values themselves are not susceptible to scrutiny or argument (or truth and falsity).
Yes, I think that's the case; but with caveats. I think it is the case that a person needs to hold the same axiomatic values in order to affirm that they ought to comply. I don't think it's hopeless or impossible to persuade, though.

Despite thinking doxastic voluntarism is false, I think that we do go through belief revision in the face of new facts and perspectives (I just don't think we control whether we are persuaded or not consciously). So I think a person can be persuaded over to agree about some moral statement that they might not have before: perhaps because they never thought about it from the perspective you just gave them with your argument before, perhaps because you provided a new fact that entered their value hierarchical calculus upon receiving it that changed the outcome of their moral hypothetical imperatives*, etc.

(* -- I feel like this sentence wasn't clear but I don't want to delete it. I mean that I think we have values, those values are hierarchical as in the example I gave where I value life and property, but value life more, so I might look the other way if a starving person steals bread. What I mean to say is someone might be persuaded by learning a new fact that changes how their value calculus leads to a moral belief. For instance, a person might believe that an electric vehicle is such an overwhelming environmental good that they ought to have one, but suppose they learn a new fact that the production and maintenance of such vehicles damages the environment more: they undergo belief revision. In this case they may still have the same axiomatic values, but they do their moral calculations differently thanks to the new fact they learned. BTW, I don't know whether or not that example fact is true, just giving an example).

Likewise since I think our moral beliefs are effectively arguments (we build them from our value axioms), it's possible for us to do that "wrong," inconsistently, inefficiently, etc, and we can learn new perspectives and facts that will persuade us.

I'm sorry if that was long winded. I think people can be persuaded even if moral realism is non-cognitive, but at any point in time they're affirming some moral statement, it's because at that point in time they hold the requisite axiomatic value (whether they were recently converted to having that value, or placing it with a different importance in their hierarchy, or whether they already luckily [as you say] had the value) and not because of some "external" ought.
Okay, thank you. That makes a great deal of sense. The only wrinkle I see here is that you seem to be undecided on whether values are truly axiomatic, because if one can be converted to having a value then the values themselves must be rational conclusions, and if one's value hierarchy can be altered then the structure and values are similarly not set in stone.

I suppose the simple question is this: if values are not subject to truth and falsity, then how is it that they are subject to rational argument and rational revision? The only basis for argument or revision would seem to be its truth or falsity. More fundamentally, either the most basic values are subject to revision or they are not, and one must pick a side.
Astro Cat wrote: June 24th, 2022, 9:43 pm
Leontiskos wrote: June 24th, 2022, 4:16 pm
Astro Cat wrote: June 24th, 2022, 1:15 amI think with breadth (when the ought "feels" like it applies to others and not just us), that is where the illusion of moral realism comes from. People feel like the ought is "out there" in the universe, and that the other people are subject to this ought "out there." But really, when we feel moral outrage, we are feeling our own hypothetical imperative to stop them from harming or interfering with what we value. If I value altruism and someone disgustingly rich doesn't even lift a finger to help the less fortunate, I feel outrage because they're harming my value...
To be clear, I am a moral realist and I think much of your analysis of moral realists is mistaken, and I think it is mistaken in ways that are transparent to reason. That is, I think you are likely to eventually agree that some of your own analysis is mistaken. There are some rough areas in your theory. The first is the matter of intent, a second is the "axiomaticity" of value, and a third is this matter of moral outrage.
I'm willing to be wrong if I must (as in, to admit it and change; not to cling onto it). Sometimes it's fun. I don't think I'm there quite yet though. We will see. And I'll readily admit that my lack of formal philosophy training leads to some rough edges, though I have confidence in my ability to do some things right.
Oh, you are an able and earnest interlocutor; there's no question about that. And I agree that we're not there yet. ;)
Astro Cat wrote: June 24th, 2022, 9:43 pm
Leontiskos wrote: June 24th, 2022, 4:16 pm With regard to the third area and the text from your quote which I bolded, it seems to me that moral outrage is altogether different than the defense of a value. If I value my house and termites invade then I will call Orkin, and if I value my wife and she is diagnosed with cancer, then I will consult an oncologist, but I do not express moral outrage at the termites or the cancerous cells. Moral outrage is rather a response to the culpably bad behavior of an agent who has free will (and is therefore responsible for their behavior).
In this case, I think all I have to do is acknowledge that moral outrage is a response to the culpable behavior of a free agent that could have done otherwise; but point out that this still only exists if we hold a value about that. The vegetarian example works nicely. Vegetarian A may believe in not eating meat for themselves, but they don't mind when their friend orders a steak. Vegetarian B gets morally outraged if their friend orders the steak. I think this is explainable under the non-cognitivist picture as easily as it's explained under the realist picture: in the non-cog picture, Vegetarian B has a value to enforce another value, whereas Vegetarian A does not.
Perhaps, but is it that they have a value to enforce a value, or rather that they believe someone has done something wrong (acted badly)? Explaining everything in terms of value feels clumsy to me, and it is the same with preference. It's as if a "value atomist" manages to explain all behavior in terms of value, and although the theory is workable it is strained because the premise that everything is reducible to valuing is not overly strong. It feels to me as if "value" is being made to do too much work. I will say more below.
Astro Cat wrote: June 24th, 2022, 9:43 pm
Leontiskos wrote: June 24th, 2022, 4:16 pm Let's take hypocrisy rather than altruism, because it is an easier case. Now if hypocrisy is a vice, then the corresponding virtue must be something like integrity. When someone rebukes a hypocrite we might provide an analysis which says that the one rebuking holds a value (integrity); the one being rebuked has harmed or interfered with her value (hypocrisy); and therefore in order to defend her value she must rebuke the hypocrite. That is an interesting analysis, but it feels a bit clumsy to me. It feels clumsy because it gives the impression that some object is valued which must then be defended from those who would harm or dishonor it. But is that really what is happening when we form moral judgments? It seems to me that what is valued is rather some norm of behavior and little else. The hypocrite has not transgressed a valued object; he has acted badly, in a way unbecoming of human beings. We might say that he is "Behaving like a brute," or that, "He should know better."
I do disagree that it's clumsy, because it seems to me that we do check our values in relation to others' behavior. For some on this planet, it's unimaginable to dance or to sing in public, while many people don't have a value regarding that so they don't bat an eye. I think it does get clouded by the fact that valuing the cultural (or subcultural!) norm is a value that a person either has or doesn't in itself.
It is true that we check our mores in relation to other's behavior, but I think that is beside the question of whether moral judgment and moral indignation is rooted primarily in objectifiable values or in norms of behavior (i.e. virtue and vice). The way you talk about value spawns the illusion that all our judgments about behavior are rooted in separate value-objects which are separable from behavior, and I think that's fundamentally mistaken.

Some judgments about behavior really are rooted in separate value-objects. For example, if someone sees a beautiful woman across the street they may become angry and impatient with anything that blocks their view, whether it is a man, a dog, a car, or a shadow. In this case nothing more than the objectifiable value is needed to explain their response, namely the value of gazing on beauty or gazing on beautiful women. If the person were omnipotent they would coercively move all of the objects out of their way in order to see the woman. :mrgreen:

But if the same person is watching a movie at the theater and someone is blocking their view, true indignation (as opposed to mere frustration or exasperation) will be positively correlated to the degree to which the person blocking their view is morally culpable for doing so, and this indignation will introduce a second "value" beyond viewing the screen: the "value" relating to human behavior qua human behavior. If someone decides to eat their popcorn standing up instead of sitting down, for no apparent reason, then the vice of inconsiderateness will quickly displace the negative value of not-seeing-the-screen.

The question then is whether a fixation on inconsiderate behavior is rooted in values in the same way that a desire to see the woman across the street is rooted in values, and further, whether such a fixation is rooted in values at all. Is wanting to see the screen at the theaters a value? Or is it a rational and exceptionless entailment of going to the movies? Similarly, when we become indignant at vice qua vice, it is usually not a matter of (idiosyncratic) values, and the more a thing moves towards pure irrationality as opposed to the incidental trespass of an idiosyncratic value, the more indignation will arise. @Good_Egg's post about the various kinds of preferences is analogously relevant here, but it seems to me that in this case 'value' is no longer the proper word.
Astro Cat wrote: June 24th, 2022, 9:43 pm
Leontiskos wrote: June 24th, 2022, 4:16 pmWhether or not you agree that the value-object approach is clumsy, all of this runs right into the second question of the axiomaticity of value. Presumably if you ask someone why they value X, they will tell you that they value X because it is (objectively) valuable. This moves us back to intent, for it leads us to the idea that the interpretation of the moral realist's locution is at variance with the intent of their locution. To say that the moral realist is merely talking about preferences or axiomatic values when they themselves clearly deny this interpretation is to "put words in their mouth" (or more precisely, "intentions in their minds"). ...And it may be that we are in agreement here, and the only question is where the supposed error of the moral realist lies.
I see! I didn't consider this objection. I suppose it is putting words in their mouth. So let me try to clarify.

I think if someone responds, "because value X is objectively valuable," they are uttering something non-cognitive. I think they might as well be saying "t'was brillig, and the slithey toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe." So I shouldn't say that I'm denying they think something -- I won't put words in their mouth. This may be a different topic, but I think it's possible for people to think something non-cognitive has meaning, behave as if it does, when it in fact does not. This is where I think the realist makes a mistake. I don't think they form a real cognizable picture of what they mean when they say "X is objectively valuable."
Yes, but if the question at hand is whether moral judgments are cognizable, then this begs that question.
Astro Cat wrote: June 24th, 2022, 9:43 pmFor instance, for a long time Frege and Whitehead were perfectly fine under the illusion that it's meaningful to talk about "sets of all sets which do not contain themselves." One could ostensibly have conversations with this phrase and feel like something cognizable is being expressed. There's an illusion of cognizability (that's a word now, I've decided), shattered by Russel. I think something like this is happening with moral realists. I won't put words in their mouth, but I think the words coming out of their mouth are non-cognitive, and I think that applies to them as well, just unbeknownst to them.
Sure, but if you wish to enter into dialogue with a moral realist rather than talk past or over them, an argument must be provided for why all moral judgments must be non-cognizable. Of course in general I agree with you and I would not describe moral judgments as being based in value, but that is precisely because the sense of value currently in vogue is not propositional, and I think moral judgments can be propositional. :D ...But yeah, I think it is exceedingly common for non-cognitivists to beg this question.
Astro Cat wrote: June 24th, 2022, 9:43 pm
Leontiskos wrote: June 24th, 2022, 4:16 pm You may have intuited by now that I am a moral realist who believes practical knowledge is propositional. I think S1a, the claim about the piece of art, and even S1 are propositional (although whether the speaker intended it to be propositional must be assessed on a case by case basis).
Admission of practical knowledge may come back to haunt you in the PoE thread ;P (but I tease, I have nothing specific in mind, just feels like it could be a thing over there).
Haha, premonition noted. :)
Astro Cat wrote: June 24th, 2022, 9:43 pm
Leontiskos wrote: June 24th, 2022, 4:16 pmThe key for S1 is understanding what is meant by "tasty" and the key for S1a is understanding what is meant by "good". The colloquial object of correspondence for S1 is whether string cheese satisfies, in general, human desires for taste. If I have never encountered string cheese, then when my friend offers me some and tells me it is tasty, I will know exactly what he is claiming. In curiosity I may well go on to ask myself whether his claim is true or false, and I will verify the claim by tasting the cheese. (I will leave it there for now because I feel like I've already written enough or too much. :D )
What if I made things less ambiguous, if I'm trying to form a subjective example, if I were to make a new S1:
S1: Gouda tastes better than string cheese.

What if I insist that by S1, I don't mean S2: Cat thinks gouda tastes better than string cheese.

Would S1 be non-propositional if we insist it's not a truncated S2?
No, my answer remains the same.

As a scientist I assume you are interested in falsifiability and verifiability, and if that is your 'value' then it is the ambiguity or vagueness of both S1's that irk you. That is why I said that the key is understanding what is meant by "tasty" or "good" (or "tastes better"). If those terms are hopelessly vague or subjective, then predications which make use of them will not be propositional (or even meaningful). The interesting thing is that whether they are hopelessly vague depends on what the speaker means by them, and this must be determined on a case by case basis.
Astro Cat wrote: June 24th, 2022, 9:43 pm
Leontiskos wrote: June 24th, 2022, 4:16 pmHere is an excerpt from earlier in the thread that touches on a similar topic:

...

Again, I don't think these Humean inheritances are helpful or accurate, but courage is good qua military and structurally sound bridges are good qua the definition of bridge. These are not extrinsic considerations, they are built into the nature of a military or the nature of a bridge. And again I would say that good is an abstract concept insofar as one must designate the object of goodness before knowing the precise meaning of goodness in some particular utterance, but there is also a common meaning across objects.
(Emphasis added)

I think I agree. But I'm struck by something here: there seems to be resistance from people to allow S1 to be completely subjective. Some suggest that it must be a truncated S2, some suggest that it becomes propositional when we know who is doing the defining because it satisfies some property of that person, and so on. I am told basically that it makes no or little sense for S1 to be non-propositional. But isn't that my point? That it does make little sense, but that people do this anyway? This is more of what I was talking about above where I said I think people talk about non-cognizable things all the time without realizing it.
It seems to me that a "completely subjective" predication would be meaningless gibberish, because communication requires objective meaning. Our culture has become so polite that when people start talking gibberish we call it "subjective." :lol:

But whereas you think most people are hopelessly confused gibberish-talkers, I think there is a deeper and more nuanced explanation. I say, "People can't be that dumb, so S1 can't be gibberish." You say, "S1 is gibberish, so people are that dumb." ...haha
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Re: Are there eternal moral truths?

Post by Astro Cat »

I feel like I will respond again with a more level head when I’m at a keyboard.

My girlfriend and I are at a protest right now, just killing time while she’s grabbing food. It’s very peaceful and organized. These are some dark and interesting times.
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Re: Are there eternal moral truths?

Post by Belindi »

The form of the message influences the way it's received.

When I read Astro Cat was participating in a peaceful protest I paid more, and more sympathetic, attention to his message.

The word 'tasty' is distasteful mostly for reasons of its connotations with audible salivation.I don't think Astro Cat uses this displeasing word.I hope not!

The TaoTeChing is great poetry , great philosophy, and it's pleasant to be able to appreciate Chinese imagery. In defence of priests and ministers who interpret on behalf of their congregations; many can't make head nor tail of serious literature, let alone The Bible,and such people need tutoring and advice if they seek to understand.

Good connotation: a serious man joining in a peaceful protest.

Bad connotation: a foodie audibly eating.
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Re: Are there eternal moral truths?

Post by snt »

EricPH wrote: June 25th, 2022, 5:14 pm
snt wrote: June 25th, 2022, 6:40 am It is interesting to notice that people who manage other people often seem to hold a special interest in morality. When one is to make choices on behalf of other people as part of an organization, morality is essentially what will determine quality in the choices that are made. So the current cultural evolution in business to 'good' companies and a moral culture is something with a long history.
Whilst there may be some morally sound companies, I feel greed is the driving force. If you have the choice to pay a US worker $20 per hour, or a Chinese worker a $1 an hour to do the same task, where is the business man going? If a product is worth $20 but you can sell it for a $100, what will it be sold for? Billionaires don't make their billions by being morally sound. They underpay their staff and overcharge their customers.
When a moral culture is set in motion, like a domino effect, it will prevent evil fundamentally.
Sadly, greed seems to be driving the domino effect in business; rather than morality.
Well, for what it's worth, business science and schools are not to blame (as it appears to me). The 'trend' in business (i.e. a cultural demand to perform) is to operate a "good" business and that has been going on for some time, starting with the concept 'authenticity' towards 'empowerment' (providing meaning and removing hierarchy), then purpose and meaning (social responsibility) and now finally (as of 2022) 'crafting a moral culture' (moral purpose and operating a 'good' company in a durable and efficient way).

The goal (as it appears): unlocking peoples potential for 'good'. But in the same time: a fulfilment of a natural demand from within. Employees want meaning, health and happiness. Employees want to do 'good'.

It is understandable that people in business science, professors and people who look at it from the outside, are inclined to address morality, while business operators and owners may more easily neglect it for the sake of greed.

But in an internet connected world, things do change more rapidly than some may expect.

One of the first things that was communicated in a standard business management book that I read was "We hope that you use the knowledge in this book for good." It shows potential in my opinion. The focus on 'good' has been present since a long time and the current stage of evolution is 'moral culture' for long term resilience and efficiency (and for doing good for society).

"Deep purpose organizations are deeply committed to both positive commercial and positive social outcomes. Their leaders adopt a mindset of practical idealism. Deep purpose companies thoroughly embed their purpose in their strategy, processes, communications, human resources practices, operational decision-making, and culture."
https://hbr.org/2022/03/the-messy-but-e ... of-purpose

"Good strategy has traditionally been seen as the key to business success. More recently, purpose has become an essential element of doing business. But something else is missing: culture, or the essential elements of how an organization and its employees behave, as well as its governing beliefs and principles.

What teams need is a guiding frame to be effective and energized when the unexpected invariably happens. In a recent conversation I had with business leaders struggling with the challenging state of the environment, we concluded that being guided by our purpose and some key principles — a way to describe culture — and then doing our best was going to work better than hoping we had a clairvoyant strategy we could predictably execute.
"
https://hbr.org/2022/06/does-your-compa ... nd-purpose

"The current fixation on moral purpose puts pressure on executives to be seen as running a “good” business. Defining your purpose (morality) as embedded in culture—as operating in a thoughtful, disciplined, ethical manner—can be both pragmatic and genuine. The full potential of purpose is achieved only when it’s aligned with a company’s value proposition and creates shared aspirations both internally and externally."
https://hbr.org/2022/03/what-is-the-pur ... ur-purpose

The examples are all from 2022.
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Re: Are there eternal moral truths?

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Leontiskos wrote: June 24th, 2022, 12:33 am CIN seems to think that if we ignore someone who needs help then we are failing to treat them as an end in themselves. Rather, the truth is that when we ignore someone we are not "treating" them at all. We are not treating them as a means or an end.
You are failing to treat them as an object deserving of moral consideration. Since they do deserve moral consideration, your failing to so treat them is immoral.
"Treat others as an end in themselves" does not impose some sort of duty to help everyone in need (which would be absurd).
LOL. I don't think 'absurd' is a recognised category in philosophy. I think you mean that you personally would find it inconvenient, and therefore you prefer to think that you needn't do it.
Such duties, such as "Good Samaritan Laws," are an entirely different question.
The question OP asked is whether there are eternal moral truths. That is the question we are dealing with here, and Good Samaritan laws are part of that. It would no doubt suit you to redefine the question, but that would not be an honest way to contribute to this thread.

BTW, I really hope that at some stage you will explain to us why you think your subjective beliefs deserve to be considered objective moral truths. I have a theory that, if true, explains how a moral assertion can be objectively true. You appear to have no such theory at all.
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Re: Are there eternal moral truths?

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CIN wrote: June 26th, 2022, 7:11 pm
Leontiskos wrote: June 24th, 2022, 12:33 am CIN seems to think that if we ignore someone who needs help then we are failing to treat them as an end in themselves. Rather, the truth is that when we ignore someone we are not "treating" them at all. We are not treating them as a means or an end.
You are failing to treat them as an object deserving of moral consideration. Since they do deserve moral consideration, your failing to so treat them is immoral.
Whether or not it is immoral, it is not failing to treat them as an end in themselves, and that is what we are discussing. As @Good_Egg rightly pointed out, failure to treat someone as an end in themselves occurs when we treat them as a means (and we usually think of this happening in an overtly selfish way).
CIN wrote: June 26th, 2022, 7:11 pm
Leontiskos wrote: June 24th, 2022, 12:33 am"Treat others as an end in themselves" does not impose some sort of duty to help everyone in need (which would be absurd).
LOL. I don't think 'absurd' is a recognised category in philosophy. I think you mean that you personally would find it inconvenient, and therefore you prefer to think that you needn't do it.
Perhaps you have never heard of the reductio ad absurdum? It is Latin for "reduction to absurdity," and it is one of the most common arguments in philosophy.

The idea here is that because an individual's limited resources are in no way capable of providing for the pool of need established by such a duty, the requirement would lead to the scenario in which the individual is responsible for doing the impossible. This is, of course, absurd.


Anyway, when are you going to provide the argument I asked for in <this post>? I gave mine. I've been waiting a long time for you to provide an actual argument. I realize this isn't much of a philosophy forum, but I still hold out a hope for attempts at argument.
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Re: Are there eternal moral truths?

Post by Good_Egg »

Astro Cat wrote: June 24th, 2022, 1:15 am What I think is going on is that people have values from which they build oughts out of hypothetical imperatives: if I value x, then I ought to do y. In the case of breadth, the "y" that we do just includes "I ought to tell that guy over there to stop doing that." I think that we're only in charge of our own oughts, but the oughts we can come up with can include feeling like we ought to get others to go with our point of view (I can object to murder not because there's something about the universe that says murder is wrong, but because I value life, and since I value life, I ought to try to preserve it, and that includes telling someone else to knock off that murdering stuff they're trying to do; or putting them in prison so they can't do it any more!)
Seems to me that there are two aspects for philosophy to consider regarding what is going on when people make choices. One is to do with an adequate description of the process of making a choice - the existence of taste preferences, and of degrees of empathy with different people involved, and of a moral code, and of whatever other concepts are relevant - and the way that these interact to result in a decision.

And then the other is about the content of these boxes. Is there a reason why I desire (or not) to eat the last string cheese on the plate ? Why I desire (or not) to leave it for Astro Cat instead ? Whether I'd have the same willingness to leave it for the next person if I thought CIN was the next person ? Is there anything in my moral code to make me feel I ought to ?

One possible description of the choice process involves weighing up the pros and cons of each course of action (to eat it or to leave it ?) Where each reason pro or con is an anticipated positive or negative feeling. Which we might think relates somehow to some sort of electro-chemical potential in the brain, but the mind-brain relationship is complicated so it's hard to see just how.

On that model, the stronger my belief is that eating the string cheese will provide a positive taste experience, the more likely I am to choose to eat it. And the stronger my belief is that I will gain a warm glow inside from seeing Astro Cat tucking into her preferred snack, the more likely I am to pass the plate on. And the stronger my belief is that I will feel guilty or ashamed at having been so impolite as to eat the last portion, the less likely I am to do so.

So whilst a moral belief is not a taste preference, there are similarities to the role that each plays in the decision.

The objection to this model is that it is utterly cynical. Within such a model, there is no possibility of real altruism, because it is axiomatic that action is driven by the anticipated payback to the actor. "What's in it for me?" is the be-all and end-all. The distinction between doing something because it is right and doing something because of the benefits to oneself in doing so is impossible to maintain within such a model, because the former is inconceivable; the latter is axiomatic.

I'm thinking that only once that is resolved, once we have an adequate notion of what a moral code is and should be, and how it does and should affect decision-making, does it make sense to turn to the second question of how far that moral code comprises idiosyncratic personal beliefs, or cultural customs, or truths of human nature.
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Re: Are there eternal moral truths?

Post by Astro Cat »

Leontiskos wrote: June 25th, 2022, 9:30 pm Okay, thank you. That makes a great deal of sense. The only wrinkle I see here is that you seem to be undecided on whether values are truly axiomatic, because if one can be converted to having a value then the values themselves must be rational conclusions, and if one's value hierarchy can be altered then the structure and values are similarly not set in stone.

I suppose the simple question is this: if values are not subject to truth and falsity, then how is it that they are subject to rational argument and rational revision? The only basis for argument or revision would seem to be its truth or falsity. More fundamentally, either the most basic values are subject to revision or they are not, and one must pick a side.
Well, what do we call it if I think we start our intellectual lives with values that we didn't consciously choose (and those initial ones aren't conclusions), but that those values can/do change over time after exposure to facts and perspectives? I don't find this scheme objectionable, if hard to pigeonhole with a word like "axiom" or "conclusion." Must a value be one of those things? Can we just call it a value?
Leontiskos wrote:Perhaps, but is it that they have a value to enforce a value, or rather that they believe someone has done something wrong (acted badly)? Explaining everything in terms of value feels clumsy to me, and it is the same with preference. It's as if a "value atomist" manages to explain all behavior in terms of value, and although the theory is workable it is strained because the premise that everything is reducible to valuing is not overly strong. It feels to me as if "value" is being made to do too much work. I will say more below.
Though an opponent can simply feel otherwise (as I do), so I will see what you say below.
Leontiskos wrote:It is true that we check our mores in relation to other's behavior, but I think that is beside the question of whether moral judgment and moral indignation is rooted primarily in objectifiable values or in norms of behavior (i.e. virtue and vice). The way you talk about value spawns the illusion that all our judgments about behavior are rooted in separate value-objects which are separable from behavior, and I think that's fundamentally mistaken.

Some judgments about behavior really are rooted in separate value-objects. For example, if someone sees a beautiful woman across the street they may become angry and impatient with anything that blocks their view, whether it is a man, a dog, a car, or a shadow. In this case nothing more than the objectifiable value is needed to explain their response, namely the value of gazing on beauty or gazing on beautiful women. If the person were omnipotent they would coercively move all of the objects out of their way in order to see the woman. :mrgreen:
Dang, yet another reason I'm mad not to have omnipotence! Have you seen women? Get out of my way people :P (This is probably a small thing in life we can agree on, haha ^_^)
Leontiskos wrote:But if the same person is watching a movie at the theater and someone is blocking their view, true indignation (as opposed to mere frustration or exasperation) will be positively correlated to the degree to which the person blocking their view is morally culpable for doing so, and this indignation will introduce a second "value" beyond viewing the screen: the "value" relating to human behavior qua human behavior. If someone decides to eat their popcorn standing up instead of sitting down, for no apparent reason, then the vice of inconsiderateness will quickly displace the negative value of not-seeing-the-screen.

The question then is whether a fixation on inconsiderate behavior is rooted in values in the same way that a desire to see the woman across the street is rooted in values, and further, whether such a fixation is rooted in values at all. Is wanting to see the screen at the theaters a value? Or is it a rational and exceptionless entailment of going to the movies? Similarly, when we become indignant at vice qua vice, it is usually not a matter of (idiosyncratic) values, and the more a thing moves towards pure irrationality as opposed to the incidental trespass of an idiosyncratic value, the more indignation will arise. @Good_Egg's post about the various kinds of preferences is analogously relevant here, but it seems to me that in this case 'value' is no longer the proper word
Hmm. I still see this in terms of values and value hierarchies. I value seeing the pretty woman, I prefer it to a blank wall, so I experience annoyance when I can't see her in the same way I experience annoyance when I check the fridge and remember I'm out of carrots to snack on. I prefer to see the movie screen, but I also prefer for people to be considerate of others. It's all still just values when I look at it.
Leontiskos wrote:Yes, but if the question at hand is whether moral judgments are cognizable, then this begs that question.
(For context, the "this" in question is my suspicion that moral realists' moral statements are noncognitive, even to themselves, but that they have the illusion of cognizability).

But it is just a suspicion. I have said that I'm not a "hard" non-cognitivist: I don't make the claim that it's definitely non-cognitive. I take a neutrally privative position where I ask them to show me in some way that it is cognitive. I'm not convinced, in other words. It's similar to "weak" atheism. Some concepts of God I'll say are definitely false or non-cognitive. Others I say "I'm not convinced, convince me."
Leontiskos wrote:Sure, but if you wish to enter into dialogue with a moral realist rather than talk past or over them, an argument must be provided for why all moral judgments must be non-cognizable. Of course in general I agree with you and I would not describe moral judgments as being based in value, but that is precisely because the sense of value currently in vogue is not propositional, and I think moral judgments can be propositional. :D ...But yeah, I think it is exceedingly common for non-cognitivists to beg this question.
I think in order to make their case the moral realist needs to give me some cogent theory of truth being used for them and elucidate how moral statements fulfill that.
Leontiskos wrote:
Astro Cat wrote: What if I made things less ambiguous, if I'm trying to form a subjective example, if I were to make a new S1:
S1: Gouda tastes better than string cheese.

What if I insist that by S1, I don't mean S2: Cat thinks gouda tastes better than string cheese.

Would S1 be non-propositional if we insist it's not a truncated S2?
No, my answer remains the same.

As a scientist I assume you are interested in falsifiability and verifiability, and if that is your 'value' then it is the ambiguity or vagueness of both S1's that irk you. That is why I said that the key is understanding what is meant by "tasty" or "good" (or "tastes better"). If those terms are hopelessly vague or subjective, then predications which make use of them will not be propositional (or even meaningful). The interesting thing is that whether they are hopelessly vague depends on what the speaker means by them, and this must be determined on a case by case basis.
Are there not philosophers in aesthetics that do argue things like the Mona Lisa is somehow objectively more beautiful than whatever else? I could swear that such individuals and philosophical positions exist. You're right that it's the subjectivity that irks me, but there are people that argue it's not subjective. Somewhere out there. S1 addresses a real position, not one I've just conjured.
Leontiskos wrote: It seems to me that a "completely subjective" predication would be meaningless gibberish, because communication requires objective meaning. Our culture has become so polite that when people start talking gibberish we call it "subjective." :lol:

But whereas you think most people are hopelessly confused gibberish-talkers, I think there is a deeper and more nuanced explanation. I say, "People can't be that dumb, so S1 can't be gibberish." You say, "S1 is gibberish, so people are that dumb." ...haha
Yeah, this last sentence probably does describe the situation. I wouldn't call an ideological opponent "dumb" unless they truly deserved it, but I do think people (including myself) do silly things all the time.
"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself and you are the easiest person to fool."
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Re: Are there eternal moral truths?

Post by Astro Cat »

Belindi wrote: June 26th, 2022, 4:48 am The form of the message influences the way it's received.

When I read Astro Cat was participating in a peaceful protest I paid more, and more sympathetic, attention to his message.

The word 'tasty' is distasteful mostly for reasons of its connotations with audible salivation.I don't think Astro Cat uses this displeasing word.I hope not!

The TaoTeChing is great poetry , great philosophy, and it's pleasant to be able to appreciate Chinese imagery. In defence of priests and ministers who interpret on behalf of their congregations; many can't make head nor tail of serious literature, let alone The Bible,and such people need tutoring and advice if they seek to understand.

Good connotation: a serious man joining in a peaceful protest.

Bad connotation: a foodie audibly eating.
Hi Belindi, it's not a big deal and I'm not offended or anything, just letting you know in the words of Éowyn: I am no man.

LOL, anyway. I think I'm with you on the eating loudly thing. Drives me nuts.
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Re: Are there eternal moral truths?

Post by Leontiskos »

Astro Cat wrote: June 29th, 2022, 1:18 am
Leontiskos wrote: June 25th, 2022, 9:30 pm Okay, thank you. That makes a great deal of sense. The only wrinkle I see here is that you seem to be undecided on whether values are truly axiomatic, because if one can be converted to having a value then the values themselves must be rational conclusions, and if one's value hierarchy can be altered then the structure and values are similarly not set in stone.

I suppose the simple question is this: if values are not subject to truth and falsity, then how is it that they are subject to rational argument and rational revision? The only basis for argument or revision would seem to be its truth or falsity. More fundamentally, either the most basic values are subject to revision or they are not, and one must pick a side.
Well, what do we call it if I think we start our intellectual lives with values that we didn't consciously choose (and those initial ones aren't conclusions), but that those values can/do change over time after exposure to facts and perspectives? I don't find this scheme objectionable, if hard to pigeonhole with a word like "axiom" or "conclusion." Must a value be one of those things? Can we just call it a value?
Yes, I think that basic scheme is tenable, but it seems to me that it is incompatible with the statements you made in your first post, when you compared moral beliefs to preferences:
Astro Cat wrote: June 17th, 2022, 10:06 pmI think that moral beliefs behave philosophically a lot like preferences. So let me talk about preferences for a moment. When we make a preference statement, it's usually non-controversial to say that the preference statement isn't propositional (it doesn't have a truth value). If I snack on a string cheese and say "String cheese is tasty*," I haven't said something that corresponds to mind-independent reality; it's neither true nor false. It's a preference statement.

[...]

I think that our moral beliefs are preferences. I think we make hypothetical imperatives based on our values (I value life and happiness, so I ought to feed needy people). But I don't think we can ground those hypothetical imperatives because there will always be a microcosm ("well, why ought I value life and happiness?") There will eventually be microcosms for which the answer seems to simply be "because I happen to value x" for any x. But we will never answer why we ought to value x. We just do.
If there is "never any answer why we ought to value x," then our moral beliefs could never be revised. This is because you later claimed that we can not only shuffle around our moral preferences for the sake of hierarchical consistency, but we can also be "converted to having [a] value." Thus we are not even limited to the set of values that we begin with.

If this is right, then moral beliefs really aren't like preferences, for preferences--such as taste preferences--are not subject to revision on the basis of rational consideration; but moral beliefs are. There is something rational about moral beliefs, and I myself am comfortable calling them propositional.
Astro Cat wrote: June 29th, 2022, 1:18 am
Leontiskos wrote: June 25th, 2022, 9:30 pmIt is true that we check our mores in relation to other's behavior, but I think that is beside the question of whether moral judgment and moral indignation is rooted primarily in objectifiable values or in norms of behavior (i.e. virtue and vice). The way you talk about value spawns the illusion that all our judgments about behavior are rooted in separate value-objects which are separable from behavior, and I think that's fundamentally mistaken.

Some judgments about behavior really are rooted in separate value-objects. For example, if someone sees a beautiful woman across the street they may become angry and impatient with anything that blocks their view, whether it is a man, a dog, a car, or a shadow. In this case nothing more than the objectifiable value is needed to explain their response, namely the value of gazing on beauty or gazing on beautiful women. If the person were omnipotent they would coercively move all of the objects out of their way in order to see the woman. :mrgreen:
Dang, yet another reason I'm mad not to have omnipotence! Have you seen women? Get out of my way people :P (This is probably a small thing in life we can agree on, haha ^_^)
Haha!
Astro Cat wrote: June 29th, 2022, 1:18 am
Leontiskos wrote: June 25th, 2022, 9:30 pmBut if the same person is watching a movie at the theater and someone is blocking their view, true indignation (as opposed to mere frustration or exasperation) will be positively correlated to the degree to which the person blocking their view is morally culpable for doing so, and this indignation will introduce a second "value" beyond viewing the screen: the "value" relating to human behavior qua human behavior. If someone decides to eat their popcorn standing up instead of sitting down, for no apparent reason, then the vice of inconsiderateness will quickly displace the negative value of not-seeing-the-screen.

The question then is whether a fixation on inconsiderate behavior is rooted in values in the same way that a desire to see the woman across the street is rooted in values, and further, whether such a fixation is rooted in values at all. Is wanting to see the screen at the theaters a value? Or is it a rational and exceptionless entailment of going to the movies? Similarly, when we become indignant at vice qua vice, it is usually not a matter of (idiosyncratic) values, and the more a thing moves towards pure irrationality as opposed to the incidental trespass of an idiosyncratic value, the more indignation will arise. @Good_Egg's post about the various kinds of preferences is analogously relevant here, but it seems to me that in this case 'value' is no longer the proper word
Hmm. I still see this in terms of values and value hierarchies. I value seeing the pretty woman, I prefer it to a blank wall, so I experience annoyance when I can't see her in the same way I experience annoyance when I check the fridge and remember I'm out of carrots to snack on. I prefer to see the movie screen, but I also prefer for people to be considerate of others. It's all still just values when I look at it.
Oh, you are right that it is the same as the fridge, for in both cases the thing that impedes your value is non-moral and non-culpable, and in those cases your frustration is not true moral frustration. It involves no moral judgment. The case of the movie theater is different, for in that case culpability, rationality, propositionality, and moral judgment arise.
Astro Cat wrote: June 29th, 2022, 1:18 am
Leontiskos wrote: June 25th, 2022, 9:30 pmYes, but if the question at hand is whether moral judgments are cognizable, then this begs that question.
(For context, the "this" in question is my suspicion that moral realists' moral statements are noncognitive, even to themselves, but that they have the illusion of cognizability).

But it is just a suspicion. I have said that I'm not a "hard" non-cognitivist: I don't make the claim that it's definitely non-cognitive. I take a neutrally privative position where I ask them to show me in some way that it is cognitive. I'm not convinced, in other words. It's similar to "weak" atheism. Some concepts of God I'll say are definitely false or non-cognitive. Others I say "I'm not convinced, convince me."
Okay, fair enough.
Astro Cat wrote: June 29th, 2022, 1:18 am
Leontiskos wrote: June 25th, 2022, 9:30 pmSure, but if you wish to enter into dialogue with a moral realist rather than talk past or over them, an argument must be provided for why all moral judgments must be non-cognizable. Of course in general I agree with you and I would not describe moral judgments as being based in value, but that is precisely because the sense of value currently in vogue is not propositional, and I think moral judgments can be propositional. :D ...But yeah, I think it is exceedingly common for non-cognitivists to beg this question.
I think in order to make their case the moral realist needs to give me some cogent theory of truth being used for them and elucidate how moral statements fulfill that.
As is so often the case, much of this will come down to who has the burden of proof. Yet I do appreciate the fact that my moral realism is able to account for non-cognitivist psychology. Non-cognitivism is not opaque to the moral realist.
Astro Cat wrote: June 29th, 2022, 1:18 am
Leontiskos wrote: June 25th, 2022, 9:30 pm
Astro Cat wrote: What if I made things less ambiguous, if I'm trying to form a subjective example, if I were to make a new S1:
S1: Gouda tastes better than string cheese.

What if I insist that by S1, I don't mean S2: Cat thinks gouda tastes better than string cheese.

Would S1 be non-propositional if we insist it's not a truncated S2?
No, my answer remains the same.

As a scientist I assume you are interested in falsifiability and verifiability, and if that is your 'value' then it is the ambiguity or vagueness of both S1's that irk you. That is why I said that the key is understanding what is meant by "tasty" or "good" (or "tastes better"). If those terms are hopelessly vague or subjective, then predications which make use of them will not be propositional (or even meaningful). The interesting thing is that whether they are hopelessly vague depends on what the speaker means by them, and this must be determined on a case by case basis.
Are there not philosophers in aesthetics that do argue things like the Mona Lisa is somehow objectively more beautiful than whatever else? I could swear that such individuals and philosophical positions exist. You're right that it's the subjectivity that irks me, but there are people that argue it's not subjective. Somewhere out there. S1 addresses a real position, not one I've just conjured.
Sure, I am one of them. I hold the position that S1 is propositional. :P ("I think S1a, the claim about the piece of art, and even S1 are propositional...")

The key is that I don't think such terms are necessarily hopelessly vague.
Astro Cat wrote: June 29th, 2022, 1:18 am
Leontiskos wrote: June 25th, 2022, 9:30 pm It seems to me that a "completely subjective" predication would be meaningless gibberish, because communication requires objective meaning. Our culture has become so polite that when people start talking gibberish we call it "subjective." :lol:

But whereas you think most people are hopelessly confused gibberish-talkers, I think there is a deeper and more nuanced explanation. I say, "People can't be that dumb, so S1 can't be gibberish." You say, "S1 is gibberish, so people are that dumb." ...haha
Yeah, this last sentence probably does describe the situation. I wouldn't call an ideological opponent "dumb" unless they truly deserved it, but I do think people (including myself) do silly things all the time.
Yes, I can agree to that. :)
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Re: Are there eternal moral truths?

Post by Good_Egg »

Astro Cat wrote: June 24th, 2022, 9:43 pm I think if someone responds, "because value X is objectively valuable," they are uttering something non-cognitive. I think they might as well be saying "t'was brillig, and the slithey toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe." So I shouldn't say that I'm denying they think something -- I won't put words in their mouth. This may be a different topic, but I think it's possible for people to think something non-cognitive has meaning, behave as if it does, when it in fact does not. This is where I think the realist makes a mistake. I don't think they form a real cognizable picture of what they mean when they say "X is objectively valuable."
Are you saying that "objectively valuable" is meaningless ? That it cannot conceivably be either true or false because it is incoherent ?

It seems like you want to categorise all values as idiosyncratic - inherently personal, inexplicable, irrational.

So what do you think of attempts to explain values ? If I suggest that the reason string cheese is tastier than gouda is because it has more salt in it. Or that people find symmetric faces that are somewhere in the middle of the observed range of roundness more attractive than non-symmetric faces or those that are more extreme in shape. Or that stuffing people into gas chambers is repugnant because humans in general have enough empathy to feel it a horrible way to die ?

Seems to me that such statements are coherent. They could conceivably be true, in which case they contain genuine knowledge about the world we live in. Or they could be false - there could be evidence against.

If taste preferences and aesthetic judgments are at least potentially partly explicable, then it seems hard to maintain that what is thereby explained doesn't have objective existence.

So that if moral judgments are like them, then they have some objective existence also.
What if I made things less ambiguous, if I'm trying to form a subjective example, if I were to make a new S1:
S1: Gouda tastes better than string cheese.

What if I insist that by S1, I don't mean S2: Cat thinks gouda tastes better than string cheese.

Would S1 be non-propositional if we insist it's not a truncated S2?
Someone making such a statement could be putting forward their subjective preference as if it were an objective truth. Which is I think what you're objecting to. Not unreasonably - there is a category error involved.

But not every statement of this form involves such an error. The same words can be read as a truncated form of S2, or as a statement about non-idiosyncratic values that are shared between humans. If the evidence and the conclusion refer to the same domain then no error is necessarily present.
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Re: Are there eternal moral truths?

Post by Pattern-chaser »

Good_Egg wrote: June 30th, 2022, 9:51 am Seems to me that such statements are coherent. They could conceivably be true, in which case they contain genuine knowledge about the world we live in. Or they could be false - there could be evidence against.
I think anything that could conceivably be true has potential value. But there is a trap here. There are some things about which we can (correctly) say that they are either true or false. So far, so good.

But what if the truth or falsity cannot be confirmed, by any means available to a human, as some issues are? In such a case, stating 'it's either true or false' is more than pointless. It refers to the fact that there is an answer - we already knew that! - but what is the point when it cannot be confirmed?

This is the trap. Where we get hung up on things that (to us) or unanswerable, even though we know there is an answer. Words like "objective" are bandied about, but they are just speculative bluster. Such lines of reasoning offer no benefit that I can see.
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Re: Are there eternal moral truths?

Post by CIN »

Leontiskos wrote: June 26th, 2022, 9:49 pm
CIN wrote: June 26th, 2022, 7:11 pm
Leontiskos wrote: June 24th, 2022, 12:33 am CIN seems to think that if we ignore someone who needs help then we are failing to treat them as an end in themselves. Rather, the truth is that when we ignore someone we are not "treating" them at all. We are not treating them as a means or an end.
You are failing to treat them as an object deserving of moral consideration. Since they do deserve moral consideration, your failing to so treat them is immoral.
Whether or not it is immoral, it is not failing to treat them as an end in themselves, and that is what we are discussing. As @Good_Egg rightly pointed out, failure to treat someone as an end in themselves occurs when we treat them as a means (and we usually think of this happening in an overtly selfish way).
I think we may have to abandon this discussion, because you and I cannot agree on what it means to treat someone as an end in themselves. I hold that treating someone as an end in themselves means taking into consideration the effect on them of our actions when choosing how to act. By my definition, you are failing to treat the five unhealthy patients as ends in themselves, because you ignore the effect on them of not taking the healthy patient's organs.

I would consider an alternative view, according to which treating someone as end on themselves means acting in their interests. In that case your position would still be wrong, because clearly if the choice is between acting in five people's interests or one person's interests, you should act in the five people's interests. What it would boil down to, on this definition, is that the surgeon cannot in fact treat everyone as an end in themselves, so he should treat as many people as ends in themselves as he can.

Frankly, I do not understand what you mean by treating someone as an end in themselves: it seems to entail that you advocate leaving people to die when you could save their lives. Suppose you were standing by the road next to a blind man, and he stepped off the kerb into the path of a speeding car. My view is that you should pull him back to safety. You apparently would disagree, since you do not seem to believe we have a duty to save people's lives when we can do so.
CIN wrote: June 26th, 2022, 7:11 pm
Leontiskos wrote: June 24th, 2022, 12:33 am"Treat others as an end in themselves" does not impose some sort of duty to help everyone in need (which would be absurd).
LOL. I don't think 'absurd' is a recognised category in philosophy. I think you mean that you personally would find it inconvenient, and therefore you prefer to think that you needn't do it.
Perhaps you have never heard of the reductio ad absurdum? It is Latin for "reduction to absurdity," and it is one of the most common arguments in philosophy.
Thank you. I learned about RAA in 1970 during my first term at university, but it's always nice to go down memory lane. You might in future put yourself to the trouble of explaining where you believe the absurdity lies before I have to point out that you haven't actually done so. I'm happy to talk philosophy; practising telepathy is a little outside my scope.
The idea here is that because an individual's limited resources are in no way capable of providing for the pool of need established by such a duty, the requirement would lead to the scenario in which the individual is responsible for doing the impossible. This is, of course, absurd.
Let me quote back at you how you reported me: 'CIN seems to think that if we ignore someone who needs help then we are failing to treat them as an end in themselves.' Actually my position is that if we ignore someone who needs help when we are able to provide that help then we are failing to treat them as an end in themselves. Happy now?

You then go on to say 'Rather, the truth is that when we ignore someone we are not "treating" them at all. We are not treating them as a means or an end.' This is incorrect. You are confusing two senses of 'treat': the sense in which a doctor treats a patient (i.e. positively does something for him), and the sense in which we can still be said to be treating someone in some way when we ignore them (cf. 'he treats me as if I'm part of the furniture'). The latter is the relevant sense in this discussion.

Anyway, when are you going to provide the argument I asked for in <this post>? I gave mine. I've been waiting a long time for you to provide an actual argument.

Sorry, but I do have a life outside this forum - a very busy one, as it happens. I do not promise to reply to your or anyone else's posts within any finite time period. You will just have to learn to be more patient.
I realize this isn't much of a philosophy forum, but I still hold out a hope for attempts at argument.
Now that I have explained what I understand by 'treating someone as an end in themselves', perhaps I have effectively answered you on this point.

When are you going to explain what it is about your subjective moral views that makes you believe that they are actually objective moral truths?
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Re: Are there eternal moral truths?

Post by Good_Egg »

CIN wrote: July 4th, 2022, 7:14 pm I hold that treating someone as an end in themselves means taking into consideration the effect on them of our actions when choosing how to act. By my definition, you are failing to treat the five unhealthy patients as ends in themselves, because you ignore the effect on them of not taking the healthy patient's organs.

I would consider an alternative view, according to which treating someone as end on themselves means acting in their interests.
I think we can agree that within a utilitarian paradigm, if you distort the felicific calculus so as to omit good to some particular person or group of people, then you are treating them as non-persons, and wronging them thereby.

But if instead you do that full weighing-up of consequences and your calculation happens to come out in favour of Alfie's interests and against Bruno's interests, then you have done your moral duty to Bruno of giving his interests due consideration.

You don't wrong someone just by deciding against them. If that were true, then in any instance where interests conflict, it would be impossible to act rightly. Reductio ad absurdum...
you do not seem to believe we have a duty to save people's lives when we can do so.
You do not seem to believe we have a duty not to take people's lives.

Negative duties (duties not to commit some particular act) are much easier to believe in than positive duties. If I think it wrong to murder or torture people, that duty can be conceived as applying to everyone in a straightforward way. Whereas if you think you have a positive duty (such as feeding the hungry), you need to explain why that duty falls to you rather than to somebody else in any particular instance.
I do have a life outside this forum - a very busy one, as it happens. I do not promise to reply to your or anyone else's posts within any finite time period. You will just have to learn to be more patient.
To me, that's fine. There are conflicting demands on your time, which you probably try to resolve honestly and conscientiously. Who could ask more ?

But by your argument, because you could drop everything to reply to @Leontiskos, the fact that you didn't means that you're not treating him as an end...
"For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God" - James 1:20
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by James E Doucette
September 2022

Mary Jane Whiteley Coggeshall, Hicksite Quaker, Iowa/National Suffragette And Her Speeches

Mary Jane Whiteley Coggeshall, Hicksite Quaker, Iowa/National Suffragette And Her Speeches
by John N. (Jake) Ferris
October 2022

2021 Philosophy Books of the Month

The Biblical Clock: The Untold Secrets Linking the Universe and Humanity with God's Plan

The Biblical Clock
by Daniel Friedmann
March 2021

Wilderness Cry: A Scientific and Philosophical Approach to Understanding God and the Universe

Wilderness Cry
by Dr. Hilary L Hunt M.D.
April 2021

Fear Not, Dream Big, & Execute: Tools To Spark Your Dream And Ignite Your Follow-Through

Fear Not, Dream Big, & Execute
by Jeff Meyer
May 2021

Surviving the Business of Healthcare: Knowledge is Power

Surviving the Business of Healthcare
by Barbara Galutia Regis M.S. PA-C
June 2021

Winning the War on Cancer: The Epic Journey Towards a Natural Cure

Winning the War on Cancer
by Sylvie Beljanski
July 2021

Defining Moments of a Free Man from a Black Stream

Defining Moments of a Free Man from a Black Stream
by Dr Frank L Douglas
August 2021

If Life Stinks, Get Your Head Outta Your Buts

If Life Stinks, Get Your Head Outta Your Buts
by Mark L. Wdowiak
September 2021

The Preppers Medical Handbook

The Preppers Medical Handbook
by Dr. William W Forgey M.D.
October 2021

Natural Relief for Anxiety and Stress: A Practical Guide

Natural Relief for Anxiety and Stress
by Dr. Gustavo Kinrys, MD
November 2021

Dream For Peace: An Ambassador Memoir

Dream For Peace
by Dr. Ghoulem Berrah
December 2021