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Objective vs Subjective Morality

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Judaka
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Objective vs Subjective Morality

Post by Judaka » January 20th, 2018, 4:29 am

Hi all
I am having arguments about objective morality in various threads here; I thought I’d just make a thread about it and see what people have to say. I believe morality is inherently subjective, I don’t agree there is even a possibility for objective morality. I’ll outline my views and we can discuss.

My definition of objective morality:
Objective morality claims that there is inherent value, worth and correctness in particular moral positions. There may be causal benefits but they are not responsible for the value or worth of those moral positions. Naturally there are different arguments for how objective morality came to be, what positions have inherent value and so on. The word objective in objective morality means it is not subject to opinion, the actual moral claim is objectively valid and true.

Personally I don’t agree with criticising the moral soundness of the positions of a view which asserts objective morality, since this argument almost (but doesn’t necessarily) implies that there is in fact objective truth in morality by criticising the lack of validity in an argument rather than attacking the principle itself. My main argument against objective morality focuses on my understanding of causality and the subjectivity in goals and differing perspectives.

1. There’s no such thing as objective, inherent value.

My honest belief is that the validity in objective morality comes from the lack of explanations offered for moral claims with “inherent value”. We measure the value of something, using axioms or other values – to determine whether something is important to us or not. Famous claims of “inherently valuable” concepts such as human life cannot provide any proof for their claims. That is because all arguments for value rely on intangible axioms and values which are validated subjectively. The definitions of value, as being something which is determined by how people feel about it, preclude the possibility for an objectively good value.

2. No structures which enforce objective morality

Morality itself is a distinction between what is right and wrong, something which is held by most if not all people. Generally it doesn’t require validation because it is an opinion; the existence of objective morality begs the question, what separates it from what undeniably now exist, incorrect morals? Morality itself, being something which doesn’t need to prove effectiveness or pass any standards other than those self-imposed, does not produce anything which can be measured against other systems of morality to demonstrate superiority.

If there is an objective morality, it is not doing anything to stop billions of people across history from having their own ideas on the topic. So what really separates the objectively valid moral truths from the self-determined views? There’s nothing to actually stop me from holding an incorrect moral view, if I determine it’s in my best interests to follow an incorrect moral view, then there’s nothing to stop me from doing so. There’s nothing to force me to hold values which are satisfied by the objective moral option either. So what’s the meaning in it being objectively true?

Justifying the value of a moral distinction by causality rather than inherent worth makes the validity of the moral distinction dependent upon the continuation of that causal relationship (that includes argued supernatural causality). Which makes it relative; meaning it’s no longer objectively valid.

One thing which has already confused me is what people believe will occur if I am revealed to be objectively incorrect. What does that actually mean? If I still benefit from my views and I’m happy with them, nothing actually changes. I’m not saying this aspect would further disprove objective morality but it certainly devalues it and means that even if objectivity exists, subjective morality will always be relevant.

3. Objective validity already exists for morality

Morality can already make objectively logical and consistent arguments, which could probably be represented mathematically and be proven conclusively valid. What maintains the subjectivity of the moral distinction is the subjectivity of the premises. So when I am talking about whether something is right or wrong, I am perfectly capable of making a valid argument for why that is the case. I could also be using objectively verifiable bits of evidence, such as statistics and real world examples. So I have true evidence and what I claim to be logical conclusions, creating an objectively valid – but not objectively true argument.

Objective morality’s role in this may very well be to tell me what bits of information are relevant to an argument and what aren’t but because we aren’t debating the causality or physical composition of something, I think it’s controversial to even argue that this is possible. This is why I believe any objective morality claim that attempts to justify its conclusions will be revealed to be simply wrong. Religious arguments can be a bit harder to disprove since their argument just relies on God breaking all the rules and finding a way to do the impossible and while there’s no evidence for that, you can’t exactly disprove it.

Ultimately you can’t make an objectively correct argument by prioritising and interpreting information you deem relevant for an argument.
I feel like these points pretty much mean objective morality is illogical and impossible. There are objective morality arguments which don’t state their reasons, merely assert but I think that’s absurd. Anyone can assert anything if it’s without evidence.

I believe morality has real causal impact in the world, what people believe does influence their happiness, wisdom, kindness and so on. For these reasons, morality has good value even without objectivity. Morality without objectivity is basically “I think the world would be better if people did this and I’m going to be the change I want to see in the world”. There’s nothing illogical or inconsistent about subjective morality.

Also let’s be real, believing morality is objective doesn’t make you a better person. You follow your own moral convictions, ones that undoubtedly I don’t entirely agree with. You can betray your own principles whenever you feel like it, regardless of your view about morality. Having a debate about whether the belief morality is objective has more practical advantages, is a separate debate to whether it exists or not. It’s dishonest to decide what is objective true based on your convenience.

Thanks for reading and let me know about your opinions/arguments on the topic.

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Morality

Post by Steve3007 » January 20th, 2018, 9:41 am

I'll add some of my own views about the OP later, but in the meantime, just for reference, a past poster on this forum proposed this defense of moral absolutism:

http://onlinephilosophyclub.com/forums/ ... 990#p39990

This poster was a strong advocate of moral absolutes and I debated with him on this subject myself.

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Frost
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Re: Objective vs Subjective Morality

Post by Frost » January 20th, 2018, 3:09 pm

Hi Judaka,

I am new to the forum so I hope you don't mind my jumping right in. I will attempt to keep my stance brief with the understanding that it will require subsequent elaboration.

I would first say that it is my opinion that the dichotomy between subjective and objective morality is, like almost all philosophical dichotomies, a false one. The reason I say this is several: 1. Following John Searle, there is a systemic ambiguity between the the terms "subjective" and "objective," where there is an ontological and epistemic sense; 2. Adding to this claim, there is a further ambiguity in the degree of epistemic objectivity, in that there is weak, strong, and absolute epistemic objectivity; 3. Further following Searle, contra classical rationality theory, there can be desire-independent reasons for action; 4. epistemic objectivity requires teleology, which is intrinsic to human action in that, following praxeology, rooted in Locke, man necessarily acts to reduce felt uneasiness, which implies a certain teleology and creates a basis from which to judge the epistemic objectivity of claims.

My argument would be that there are varying degrees of epistemic objectivity in morality, and with decreasing degrees of epistemic objectivity, the leeway for epistemic subjectivity, i.e., personal valuation, increases. The basis for the claim relates to how the statements can be judged with respect to the teleology of man acting for his well-being. Empirical evidence can provide valid reasons for action, which can be understood, recognized, internally valenced (neurobiologically) to provide motivation for action, but that action requires the free-will of the individual, opening the door to akrasia. Even the acknowledgement of valid reasons for action is subject to free-will in that rational deliberation requires mental action in the form of decisions. I take this to all function neurobiologically, in that there is valid reason to judge something as irrational, yet room for individual valuation depending on the degree of epistemic objectivity and the potential harm of the act. It provides a basis for valid disagreement in areas with weak epistemic objectivity of moral claims. Furthermore, it requires that individuals can rationally recognize valid moral reasons and then requires that they must act upon them, requiring attention and effort, which permits the common problem of akrasia.

Hopefully this can contribute to the discussion and thank you for reading. I am not entirely satisfied with my arguments, so I look forward to counter arguments and refutations.

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Morality

Post by Maxcady10001 » January 20th, 2018, 9:44 pm

Frost wrote: I would first say that it is my opinion that the dichotomy between subjective and objective morality is, like almost all philosophical dichotomies, a false one.


Yes, everything is subjective, as what is considered objective is only the result of a consensus of personal beliefs about the nature of things. This certainly appears to be true, as everything especially what we consider facts are verified personally before being agreed upon. Nothing can be absolutely objective, or we would not be able to experience it subjectively, because by experiencing it, it is no longer objective. If the dichotomy is false, how are there degrees of objectivity, either everything is subjective or everything is objective. As for anything being partially objective, this idea is in conflict with the definition of objective, that is, as something nonpartisan. Anything even thought of as objective begins with subjective experience, since this is the case, nothing can be considered objective because of its completely biased and sensory influenced origin, which is the opposite of the objective definition.
there can be desire-independent reasons for action
Please give an example of a desire independent reason for action.
but that action requires the free-will of the individual, opening the door to akrasia
If we had free will, we wouldn't fall victim to impulsive behavior.

Judaka
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Re: Objective vs Subjective Morality

Post by Judaka » January 20th, 2018, 10:01 pm

I would first say that it is my opinion that the dichotomy between subjective and objective morality is, like almost all philosophical dichotomies, a false one
Hi Frost, I am a bit of a novice when ontology and epistemology are brought into a debate but I do somewhat understand the concepts but I had to do a bit of research before I even replied to your comment, so correct me where I'm wrong. Although I think morality is clearly from a intersubjective stand point subjective, I am presenting objective morality as being a concept which exists outside of empirical observation, the basis for the claim of objectivity is not intersubjective agreement. I do not view the question of moral objectivity as being at all to do with the way people experience things as is being talked about with regards to ontological and epistemological subjective or objective experiences. If we were to verify the existence of objective morality the same we would do something which becomes intersubjectively true using epistemic intersubjective agreement then we would find it false because both ontological and epistemological experiences of morality are not experienced similarly across peoples.
3. Further following Searle, contra classical rationality theory, there can be desire-independent reasons for action
What are you saying here? I don't want to assume the relevance of this based on my own interpretation and I can't figure out yours.
4. epistemic objectivity requires teleology, which is intrinsic to human action in that, following praxeology, rooted in Locke, man necessarily acts to reduce felt uneasiness, which implies a certain teleology and creates a basis from which to judge the epistemic objectivity of claims.
I had to look up what teleology and praxeology meant and I'm not sure yet what my views about them are, what I do struggle with is that I don't see the significance of this statement. My understanding of epistemic objectivity is that we judge its validity through demonstrability and intersubjectivity, teleology and praxeology are not even applicable to a great deal of epistemic objectivity claims. Objective morality, which is a principally non-causal argument that essentially must exist outside of human anatomy or behaviour particularly, seems rather outside what relevance teleology and praxeology might have on epistemic objectivity claims.
My argument would be that there are varying degrees of epistemic objectivity in morality, and with decreasing degrees of epistemic objectivity, the leeway for epistemic subjectivity, i.e., personal valuation, increases
Can you give an example? I don't really believe that these two things operate in the same space - that one can give leeway for another. It may be because I do not understand absolute, strong and weak epistemic objectivity claims and I couldn't find anything about that by googling or I may just disagree entirely.
The basis for the claim relates to how the statements can be judged with respect to the teleology of man acting for his well-being. Empirical evidence can provide valid reasons for action, which can be understood, recognized, internally valenced (neurobiologically) to provide motivation for action, but that action requires the free-will of the individual, opening the door to akrasia. Even the acknowledgement of valid reasons for action is subject to free-will in that rational deliberation requires mental action in the form of decisions. I take this to all function neurobiologically, in that there is valid reason to judge something as irrational, yet room for individual valuation depending on the degree of epistemic objectivity and the potential harm of the act
This is pretty much what I meant to argue against in my third point, objective validity already exists for subjective morality. You take a premise such as that actions can be evaluated by their practical end result (furthering well-being) and emphasis how actions and thoughts which fit into this mind-set become valid. For a moral distinction be objectively correct, it requires more than proving the origins of a moral distinction to be objectively true. I think even if I agreed with everything you've said, I wouldn't feel as though your argument demonstrated any objective correctness to any moral distinction. Once the end goal of an action is defined, how do we come to determine that end goal as being the best or most independently valid or most true? Any product of any method is then evaluated subjectively, you would need to prove objectively, inherent value which I believe is an oxymoron.

You have brought an unexpected argument to the conversation, interested to see whether you can tie it back to what I would define as objective morality.

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Morality

Post by Frost » January 20th, 2018, 10:22 pm

Maxcady10001 wrote:
January 20th, 2018, 9:44 pm
Yes, everything is subjective, as what is considered objective is only the result of a consensus of personal beliefs about the nature of things. This certainly appears to be true, as everything especially what we consider facts are verified personally before being agreed upon. Nothing can be absolutely objective, or we would not be able to experience it subjectively, because by experiencing it, it is no longer objective. If the dichotomy is false, how are there degrees of objectivity, either everything is subjective or everything is objective. As for anything being partially objective, this idea is in conflict with the definition of objective, that is, as something nonpartisan. Anything even thought of as objective begins with subjective experience, since this is the case, nothing can be considered objective because of its completely biased and sensory influenced origin, which is the opposite of the objective definition.
While I agree with you that everything must be verified and, critically, understood in subjective experience, I do not agree that this changes the status of the categorization of epistemic objectivity. This is, in other words, to claim that all assertions must be intersubjectively verified, and each person must, in the process of rational deliberation, consider the evidence and draw a conclusion.

To directly answer your question, I think it is best to provide examples of the degrees of epistemic objectivity that I am proposing:

1. Absolute epistemic objectivity: 1 + 1 = 2; All men are mortal, Socrates is a man, therefore Socrates is mortal. The realm of logic and mathematics. Generally tautological.

2. Strong epistemic objectivity: f=ma; s=1/2gt^2; The realm of the physical sciences and falsifiable in nature.

3. Weak epistemic objectivity: To use an example relevant to morality, such as "Women with 10 or more partners were the most likely to divorce, but this only became true in recent years;" (Counterintuitive Trends in the Link Between Premarital Sex and Marital Stability, Wolfinger, 2016). This classification of epistemic objectivity includes subjects involving human action and therefore Intentional causation.

Regarding objective morality, I purposefully used a piece of research that has moral significance. If a mother condemns her daughter's sexual promiscuity, she has epistemically objective grounds for doing so. However, since human action and Intentional causation is involved, this evidence can only be of a statistical sort and uncertain. The researchers would like to think they are measuring class probability, but this impossible in the realm of human action. This permits the daughter to disagree, saying that she will be fine and she may end up not harmed by the behavior. Both have legitimate claims, although it is a judgment call—which requires plausible reasoning—as to who may be more likely to be correct, and such things as the age, maturity, psychological bias, etc. of the daughter would be weighed against the experience of the mother and the scientific evidence and its legitimacy.

Maxcady10001 wrote:
January 20th, 2018, 9:44 pm
Please give an example of a desire independent reason for action.
You made a promise to pay back $20 that you borrowed from a friend, promising, by definition, involves the imposition of obligation, therefore, ceteris paribus, you ought to pay back your friend the $20 as promised regardless of your immediate desires or inclinations. You may not desire to do so at all, but because you voluntarily imposed the obligation upon yourself, you have a desire-independent reason for action.
Maxcady10001 wrote:
January 20th, 2018, 9:44 pm
If we had free will, we wouldn't fall victim to impulsive behavior.
Why do you say that? Free-will, in no way, implies absolute control over behavior. Free-will requires effort and attention in order to exercise, and one may fail to put forth such effort and attention and succumb to impulsive behavior.

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Frost
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Re: Objective vs Subjective Morality

Post by Frost » January 20th, 2018, 10:51 pm

Judaka wrote:
January 20th, 2018, 10:01 pm
Hi Frost, I am a bit of a novice when ontology and epistemology are brought into a debate but I do somewhat understand the concepts but I had to do a bit of research before I even replied to your comment, so correct me where I'm wrong. Although I think morality is clearly from a intersubjective stand point subjective, I am presenting objective morality as being a concept which exists outside of empirical observation, the basis for the claim of objectivity is not intersubjective agreement. I do not view the question of moral objectivity as being at all to do with the way people experience things as is being talked about with regards to ontological and epistemological subjective or objective experiences. If we were to verify the existence of objective morality the same we would do something which becomes intersubjectively true using epistemic intersubjective agreement then we would find it false because both ontological and epistemological experiences of morality are not experienced similarly across peoples.
Judaka,

I will attempt to keep this concise to avoid the length of our responses from exploding, and I hope that properly address your questions in doing so.

I just posted a response, but to avoid referring to it, I will just repost the relevant section here to provide examples of what I mean:

1. Absolute epistemic objectivity: 1 + 1 = 2; All men are mortal, Socrates is a man, therefore Socrates is mortal. The realm of logic and mathematics. Generally tautological.

2. Strong epistemic objectivity: f=ma; s=1/2gt^2; The realm of the physical sciences and falsifiable in nature.

3. Weak epistemic objectivity: To use an example relevant to morality, such as "Women with 10 or more partners were the most likely to divorce, but this only became true in recent years;" (Counterintuitive Trends in the Link Between Premarital Sex and Marital Stability, Wolfinger, 2016). This classification of epistemic objectivity includes subjects involving human action and therefore Intentional causation.

Regarding objective morality, I purposefully used a piece of research that has moral significance. If a mother condemns her daughter's sexual promiscuity, she has epistemically objective grounds for doing so. However, since human action and Intentional causation is involved, this evidence can only be of a statistical sort and uncertain. The researchers would like to think they are measuring class probability, but this impossible in the realm of human action. This permits the daughter to disagree, saying that she will be fine and she may end up not harmed by the behavior. Both have legitimate claims, although it is a judgment call—which requires plausible reasoning—as to who may be more likely to be correct, and such things as the age, maturity, psychological bias, etc. of the daughter would be weighed against the experience of the mother and the scientific evidence and its legitimacy.

Judaka wrote:
January 20th, 2018, 10:01 pm
What are you saying here? I don't want to assume the relevance of this based on my own interpretation and I can't figure out yours.
Classical rationality theory, which is most prominent in Hume, is that "reason is, and ought to be the slave of the passions." In other words, reasons cannot be the ground for action, because they cannot be the ground for a desire. I argue that, neurobiologically, all cognition is valanced, which means that reasons are valanced and can provide motivation for action. In other words, a reason need not already be part of one's "internal motivational set." This element of classical rationality theory is absolutely pervasive and inhibits the understanding of epistemically objective moral claims.
Judaka wrote:
January 20th, 2018, 10:01 pm
I had to look up what teleology and praxeology meant and I'm not sure yet what my views about them are, what I do struggle with is that I don't see the significance of this statement. My understanding of epistemic objectivity is that we judge its validity through demonstrability and intersubjectivity, teleology and praxeology are not even applicable to a great deal of epistemic objectivity claims. Objective morality, which is a principally non-causal argument that essentially must exist outside of human anatomy or behaviour particularly, seems rather outside what relevance teleology and praxeology might have on epistemic objectivity claims.
Teleology is essential to ground the epistemic objectivity of claims. It, essentially, establishes morality and "the good" as functional concepts. If one acts for one's well-being, which is implied in human action, then there can be valid reasons for actions provided with varying degrees of epistemic objectivity. Human action is purposeful, i.e., goal-directed, which is inherently teleological. This is part of what bridges the gap between "is" and "ought" statements. Human action is not a purely ontologically objective phenomenon, and the subject of morality is human action mostly in the social context. Since man necessarily acts for his well-being (not necessarily to preserve life), this permits the claim that a person has valid reasons for action as dictated by rationality. Furthermore, rationality requires a teleology and an axiology, for rationality is a normative concept and requires some from by which one judges action. So in the example above about the mother making a moral judgment about her daughter's promiscuity, the mother is claiming that the daughter has a valid reason for action—to stop her promiscuous behavior—since the daughter necessarily acts for her well-being, and it is rational for her to do so provided the evidence. Without the teleology of acting for one's well-being, there is no frame of reference to judge action; the conception of morality as a functional concept through the introduction of teleology is essential. This is a fundamental claim of Alasdair MacIntyre in After Virtue, although he does not get into this kind of detail.
Judaka wrote:
January 20th, 2018, 10:01 pm
This is pretty much what I meant to argue against in my third point, objective validity already exists for subjective morality. You take a premise such as that actions can be evaluated by their practical end result (furthering well-being) and emphasis how actions and thoughts which fit into this mind-set become valid. For a moral distinction be objectively correct, it requires more than proving the origins of a moral distinction to be objectively true. I think even if I agreed with everything you've said, I wouldn't feel as though your argument demonstrated any objective correctness to any moral distinction. Once the end goal of an action is defined, how do we come to determine that end goal as being the best or most independently valid or most true? Any product of any method is then evaluated subjectively, you would need to prove objectively, inherent value which I believe is an oxymoron.
Hopefully my examples provided in this comment will elucidate the meaning of my original claim. If not, or if I misunderstood your question, please let me know. However, I would like to say that I am not claiming there to be inherent value in any object. There is intrinsic value in well-being, which has distinct categories and temporal aspects, but there is no inherent value in any particular goal, object, or action. In this way, I claim, all goals, objects, or actions can only be intermediate ends toward the ultimate end, or intrinsic value of well-being. As such, subjective valuation is a critical element in determining those intermediate ends, but this valuation should be, if one is to be rational, guided by evidence of varying degrees of epistemic objectivity.

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Morality

Post by Londoner » January 21st, 2018, 1:02 pm

Judaka wrote:
January 20th, 2018, 4:29 am
My definition of objective morality:
Objective morality claims that there is inherent value, worth and correctness in particular moral positions. There may be causal benefits but they are not responsible for the value or worth of those moral positions. Naturally there are different arguments for how objective morality came to be, what positions have inherent value and so on. The word objective in objective morality means it is not subject to opinion, the actual moral claim is objectively valid and true....


This seems to explain the 'objective' bit, but not the 'morality' bit. Here and later there are synonyms for morality, like 'values', 'right and wrong' and 'principles', but I do not think anyone who had never heard of 'morality' could work out what we were talking about.

To take the most basic question, does morality subsist in the motivation of the actor, or in the character of their actions?

Unless we can clarify what we mean by 'morality' then it seems rather premature to start discussing whether or not it is objective. Maybe, if we did clarify what we meant, then we would also have the answer to that question.

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Morality

Post by Frost » January 21st, 2018, 1:08 pm

Londoner wrote:
January 21st, 2018, 1:02 pm
This seems to explain the 'objective' bit, but not the 'morality' bit. Here and later there are synonyms for morality, like 'values', 'right and wrong' and 'principles', but I do not think anyone who had never heard of 'morality' could work out what we were talking about.

To take the most basic question, does morality subsist in the motivation of the actor, or in the character of their actions?

Unless we can clarify what we mean by 'morality' then it seems rather premature to start discussing whether or not it is objective. Maybe, if we did clarify what we meant, then we would also have the answer to that question.
I would claim that morality is a functional concept relative to the well-being of conscious organisms. This would also help to explain how it evolved. As a functional concept, it is Intentionality-dependent, but this does not preclude epistemic objectivity as I elaborated in my previous posts here.

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Morality

Post by Maxcady10001 » January 21st, 2018, 3:20 pm

Frost
Frost wrote:While I agree with you that everything must be verified and, critically, understood in subjective experience, I do not agree that this changes the status of the categorization of epistemic objectivity.
If everything must be understood in subjective experience, can there still be categories of epistemic objectivity? If I understand something subjectively, can you and others understand the same thing subjectively and create these categories of epistemic objectivity? If it is understood subjectively, we are not able to experience the same thing, a category can be intersubjective, because we experience it similarly, however, for there to be epistemic objectivity these experiences would have to be uninfluenced and exactly the same. What is 1+1=2 for me, is not the same for you. We experience the equation in a different ways, similarly the concept of man as mortal is different for me than it is for you. Imagine someone who could not solve equations without relating them to something else, such as money or apples, you're idea of the equation is very different from his, yet they both describe some aspect of reality for you both, so it is agreed upon. This intersubjectivity cannot be called epistemic objectivity, because the same concept is not known uninfluenced. Even if we were to both describe the same number of apples, my idea of an apple is different from yours, maybe you picture Granny Smith's and I only see rotten cores, or we are seeing different shades of red apples, either way what we know cannot be called objective because we are experiencing it subjectively.

1. Absolute epistemic objectivity: 1 + 1 = 2; All men are mortal, Socrates is a man, therefore Socrates is mortal. The realm of logic and mathematics. Generally tautological.

2. Strong epistemic objectivity: f=ma; s=1/2gt^2; The realm of the physical sciences and falsifiable in nature.

3. Weak epistemic objectivity: To use an example relevant to morality, such as "Women with 10 or more partners were the most likely to divorce, but this only became true in recent years;" (Counterintuitive Trends in the Link Between Premarital Sex and Marital Stability, Wolfinger, 2016). This classification of epistemic objectivity includes subjects involving human action and therefore Intentional causation.
All of these rely on the same logic of experiential truth, we know one apple and one apple equals two, we've seen men die, we've seen how objects accelerate, and we've seen what happens to women with ten or more partners.

Also, considering the existence of these categories as epistemic objectivity, there would be grounds in every action for absolute epistemic objectivity. The woman could condemn her daughter's behavior because of the possibility of death by contracting an STD. Eating pastries and driving and flying all fall into the category of absolute epistemic objectivity, because they all increase the likelihood of death. They are all now basis for moral decisions, because they all fall into this category of absolute epistemic objectivity.

How are you separating human action and intentional causation from the first two categories? Is there not intention in 1+1=2, or in any factual statement for that matter? Consider how facts are derived and their continued use, and in stating a fact, I am making a claim of experiential truth (this is contradictory to the term fact, which is why I don't understand how anything is a fact), in making these claims there is human action and intentional causation, that is, to express this experiential truth.
You made a promise to pay back $20 that you borrowed from a friend, promising, by definition, involves the imposition of obligation, therefore, ceteris paribus, you ought to pay back your friend the $20 as promised regardless of your immediate desires or inclinations. You may not desire to do so at all, but because you voluntarily imposed the obligation upon yourself, you have a desire-independent reason for action.
Can you really say this is an example of a desire independent action? As, I desired to twenty dollars, and to obtain the twenty dollars, I had to make this obligation, so I did desire the obligation because I desired the twenty dollars. I desired to make the deal that would get me that twenty dollars. Also, consider the repercussions of my actions if I did not pay back the money. Perhaps, I desired to be free and not spend time in jail, or if a loan shark, I desired not to have my legs broken.
Why do you say that? Free-will, in no way, implies absolute control over behavior. Free-will requires effort and attention in order to exercise, and one may fail to put forth such effort and attention and succumb to impulsive behavior.
How are you defining free will, as I've heard so many definitions? And when you say it requires effort and attention, it implies one can have absolute control over their behavior as long as they apply enough effort and attention. Your statement implies free will can be enacted at any point in time. At when do hormone levels and brain chemistry come into the mix? How do you differentiate between what is impulsive and what is not?

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Re: Objective vs Subjective Morality

Post by Londoner » January 21st, 2018, 3:40 pm

Frost wrote:
January 21st, 2018, 1:08 pm
I would claim that morality is a functional concept relative to the well-being of conscious organisms. This would also help to explain how it evolved. As a functional concept, it is Intentionality-dependent, but this does not preclude epistemic objectivity as I elaborated in my previous posts here.
But what is that concept? If you look up what 'concept' means you are told 'an idea or a mental image', but in the case of morality I do not have such an idea or image.

You say it is relative to the well-being of conscious organisms, but how relative? If the concepts were synonymous, we would have to say that natural events, like death, were immoral. But if they are not synonymous, where is the difference?

I think the trouble is that we can all think of a range of situations which we think of as having some moral aspect - and some where we feel strongly about the morality. This makes us assume that we must have some concept that we are applying. I'm not so sure. At least, whenever we try to put that concept into words it is always unsatisfactory, including or leaving out things we don't intend.

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Frost
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Re: Objective vs Subjective Morality

Post by Frost » January 21st, 2018, 5:43 pm

Maxcady10001 wrote:
January 21st, 2018, 3:20 pm
Frost
If everything must be understood in subjective experience, can there still be categories of epistemic objectivity? If I understand something subjectively, can you and others understand the same thing subjectively and create these categories of epistemic objectivity? If it is understood subjectively, we are not able to experience the same thing, a category can be intersubjective, because we experience it similarly, however, for there to be epistemic objectivity these experiences would have to be uninfluenced and exactly the same. What is 1+1=2 for me, is not the same for you. We experience the equation in a different ways, similarly the concept of man as mortal is different for me than it is for you. Imagine someone who could not solve equations without relating them to something else, such as money or apples, you're idea of the equation is very different from his, yet they both describe some aspect of reality for you both, so it is agreed upon. This intersubjectivity cannot be called epistemic objectivity, because the same concept is not known uninfluenced. Even if we were to both describe the same number of apples, my idea of an apple is different from yours, maybe you picture Granny Smith's and I only see rotten cores, or we are seeing different shades of red apples, either way what we know cannot be called objective because we are experiencing it subjectively.
The qualitative feel of the fact that 1 + 1 = 2 does not change the fact that 1 + 1 = 2. I may say it in English which has a particular qualitative feel or I may say it in German which has a different qualitative feel. One may have different associations with the numbers themselves, but none of this changes the fact that 1 + 1 = 2. Personal opinions, inclinations, qualitative feels do not alter this, nor is it falsifiable as in scientific evidence, nor is it contingent on the Intentional causation of human action.
Maxcady10001 wrote:
January 21st, 2018, 3:20 pm
All of these rely on the same logic of experiential truth, we know one apple and one apple equals two, we've seen men die, we've seen how objects accelerate, and we've seen what happens to women with ten or more partners.

Also, considering the existence of these categories as epistemic objectivity, there would be grounds in every action for absolute epistemic objectivity. The woman could condemn her daughter's behavior because of the possibility of death by contracting an STD. Eating pastries and driving and flying all fall into the category of absolute epistemic objectivity, because they all increase the likelihood of death. They are all now basis for moral decisions, because they all fall into this category of absolute epistemic objectivity.

How are you separating human action and intentional causation from the first two categories? Is there not intention in 1+1=2, or in any factual statement for that matter? Consider how facts are derived and their continued use, and in stating a fact, I am making a claim of experiential truth (this is contradictory to the term fact, which is why I don't understand how anything is a fact), in making these claims there is human action and intentional causation, that is, to express this experiential truth.
This is conflating the categories. The logical truth of 'all men are mortal, Socrates is a man, therefore Socrates is moral' has nothing to do with experience. I am not separating Intentional causation and human action in any way, since Intentional causation is a necessary condition for human action. The fact that 1 + 1 = 2 is in no way Intentionality-dependent. You may attempt to claim that all representation is Intentionality-dependent, which is true, but the truth does not come from the representation but rather the semantic content, which is Intentionality-independent. The separation of Intentionality is a result of this, and in strong epistemic objectivity, the fact that water is composed of H20 polymers in no way depends on Intentionality, let alone Intentional causation. Evidence from psychology or sociology is distinctly different in that it necessarily involves Intentionality in human action, and as such the statistical analysis is different in kind. The statistical predictions in quantum mechanics qualify as class probability, while the evidence from psychology cannot really be considered class probability due to the Intentional causation of human action.
Maxcady10001 wrote:
January 21st, 2018, 3:20 pm
Can you really say this is an example of a desire independent action? As, I desired to twenty dollars, and to obtain the twenty dollars, I had to make this obligation, so I did desire the obligation because I desired the twenty dollars. I desired to make the deal that would get me that twenty dollars. Also, consider the repercussions of my actions if I did not pay back the money. Perhaps, I desired to be free and not spend time in jail, or if a loan shark, I desired not to have my legs broken.
Keep this simple. I simply stipulate for this example that the person has absolutely no desire to pay back the money, regardless of consequences. All the same, he has a valid reason for action in paying back the money because he imposed the obligation upon himself and by definition that creates a reason for action. This is a logical derivation from an "is" to an "ought" statement that has nothing to do with consequences, feelings, desires, etc. It is a logical truth.
Maxcady10001 wrote:
January 21st, 2018, 3:20 pm
How are you defining free will, as I've heard so many definitions? And when you say it requires effort and attention, it implies one can have absolute control over their behavior as long as they apply enough effort and attention. Your statement implies free will can be enacted at any point in time. At when do hormone levels and brain chemistry come into the mix? How do you differentiate between what is impulsive and what is not?
Free-will in no way implies any of those things. How much effort and attention would be necessary to have absolute control? Effort and attention are biological phenomena and are limited, as Roy Baumeister has empirically demostrated (see: https://www.psychologytoday.com/files/a ... al1998.pdf). There is no place for logical implication here as you claimed.

The definition of free will, in words, is the ability to have chosen otherwise. More precisely, this is that there are not antecedent causally sufficient conditions for action and that Intentional causation is necessary for action. It, in no way, implies that there are not biological limitations. Free-will is entirely based in neurobiology and physics.

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Frost
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Re: Objective vs Subjective Morality

Post by Frost » January 21st, 2018, 5:58 pm

Londoner wrote:
January 21st, 2018, 3:40 pm
But what is that concept? If you look up what 'concept' means you are told 'an idea or a mental image', but in the case of morality I do not have such an idea or image.

You say it is relative to the well-being of conscious organisms, but how relative? If the concepts were synonymous, we would have to say that natural events, like death, were immoral. But if they are not synonymous, where is the difference?

I think the trouble is that we can all think of a range of situations which we think of as having some moral aspect - and some where we feel strongly about the morality. This makes us assume that we must have some concept that we are applying. I'm not so sure. At least, whenever we try to put that concept into words it is always unsatisfactory, including or leaving out things we don't intend.
Let's bring this down to concrete examples, preferably something that is much more physiological. If I say that the function of the heart is to pump blood, that function is Intentionality-dependent. There is no ontologically objective fact of "function," and the existence of functions only exist in the ontologically subjective mode of existence, or in other words are Intentionality-dependent. If man did not value life and well-being, then he may refer to the heart as dysfunctional. The functional concept is relative to an axiology and a teleology in this way. As a result of this teleology, it is epistemically objective, because if you stop the heart then the organism dies. Whether or not you have the concept or idea in your head is irrelevant to this fact of the matter.

So in the same way, the function of morality is to support the well-being of conscious organisms. Whether or not you have the concept or idea in no way changes the epistemically objective facts of the matter that certain behaviors are harmful to the well-being of the organisms. Murder is harmful to the well-being of organisms and that is a normative statement which has strong epistemic objectivity. Your opinion of the matter, concepts and ideas or lack thereof, are irrelevant to the strong epistemically objective fact of the matter.

This does not lead to the claim that natural events—in the sense of Intentionality-independent or ontologically objective events—are immoral. There is no Intentional causation involved and therefore no morality. Morality is about human action and its impact with respect to well-being and is necessarily Intentionality-dependent.

Maxcady10001
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Re: Objective vs Subjective Morality

Post by Maxcady10001 » January 21st, 2018, 8:34 pm

Frost

Why do you not consider the intention as part of the event? there is a false separation here between the event and the subject,that creates the need for intention. There is no difference between a hurricane and a murder, as both are events. The latter is thought of as intentionality dependent because we falsely separate intention from the event. This is an interpretation based on ourselves, and it is only out of habit that we have developed the concept of causation, by considering ourselves as causes, we have falsely given everything intention and purpose, however we cannot separate ourselves and what we call intention from the event. Notice we do not experience causes, only its effects, it is only after these effects do we falsely attribute causation and intentionality to an event.Out of experience we have decided because y happened before x it must be the cause of x. This is a false attribution of one effect to another effect. We cannot sufficiently say this is the cause of that, because out of an infinite number of effects we are erroneously choosing. Both the murder and hurricane are intentionality independent, as they both are events without a subject. I do not commit a crime, because I am not a cause but instead the event. if there is no subject, there can be no intention. What we consider to be a subject or the cause, is only a false sum of effects. I say I am the false sum of effects because my existence is based on the results which I consider to be final, namely I see, or I hear, or I touch, these are all effects produced by more effects, any attribution of cause is falsely applied.

Once there is no longer the concept of the subject, there is no longer free will, as there is no more causation and free will requires one able to be a cause. Consequently, if one is no longer a cause, there is no longer a distinction between right and wrong action, as they require agency, which is false.

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Frost
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Re: Objective vs Subjective Morality

Post by Frost » January 21st, 2018, 9:21 pm

Maxcady10001 wrote:
January 21st, 2018, 8:34 pm
Frost

Why do you not consider the intention as part of the event? there is a false separation here between the event and the subject,that creates the need for intention. There is no difference between a hurricane and a murder, as both are events. The latter is thought of as intentionality dependent because we falsely separate intention from the event. This is an interpretation based on ourselves, and it is only out of habit that we have developed the concept of causation, by considering ourselves as causes, we have falsely given everything intention and purpose, however we cannot separate ourselves and what we call intention from the event. Notice we do not experience causes, only its effects, it is only after these effects do we falsely attribute causation and intentionality to an event.Out of experience we have decided because y happened before x it must be the cause of x. This is a false attribution of one effect to another effect. We cannot sufficiently say this is the cause of that, because out of an infinite number of effects we are erroneously choosing. Both the murder and hurricane are intentionality independent, as they both are events without a subject. I do not commit a crime, because I am not a cause but instead the event. if there is no subject, there can be no intention. What we consider to be a subject or the cause, is only a false sum of effects. I say I am the false sum of effects because my existence is based on the results which I consider to be final, namely I see, or I hear, or I touch, these are all effects produced by more effects, any attribution of cause is falsely applied.

Once there is no longer the concept of the subject, there is no longer free will, as there is no more causation and free will requires one able to be a cause. Consequently, if one is no longer a cause, there is no longer a distinction between right and wrong action, as they require agency, which is false.
Originally I had planned to parse out certain assertions made, but I changed my mind to hopefully keep the response coherent and avoid the complexity of responses from exploding. Moreover, rather than addressing point by point, I see some more broad and fundamental disagreements that must be addressed. We evidently have entirely opposite views on Intentionality, causation, subjectivity, and I am sure as a result of ontology and physics.

To be as concise as possible, a murder and a hurricane are very different exactly because there is Intentional causation in a murder while a hurricane is only a matter of physical events. Causation is very real and we experience in our action, and furthermore it is the very subject matter of science. Hume posed the problem in a way that blocked any possible answer, but he was simply mistaken. It would be difficult to address this without getting into an entire theory of causation, but an answer requires an entire ontology and interpretation of contemporary physics. While I would love to engage in such a discussion, I am not sure this is the time to do that. Many scientists seem to be under the spell of Hume and Russell and think there are no causes in science, but this due to an erroneous interpretation of the time symmetry of fundamental equations and a lack of understanding of the symmetry breaking, which occurs in non-physical experiential states. I think subjects are very real, in fact more real than the physical world in the sense that they have intrinsic existence, and they can interact with the physical world, whose dynamics can be described mathematically in the orthodox von Neumann formalization. Subjects are necessarily unified and holistic, existing necessarily as irreducible intrinsic informational structures, and they are not causes of events, but rather they can act, resulting in outcomes in the world. This is Intentional causation, and the difference between the evidence in psychology and sociology vs. physics, chemistry, and geology. This creates the distinction between strong and weak epistemic objectivity. This is why, speaking precisely, the evidence in psychology and sociology is only case probability, rather than class probability, while many scientists mistakenly believe the opposite. This is absolutely critical in understanding weak epistemic objectivity and its relation to normativity.

I am happy to elaborate on any points, since I attempted to keep this concise.

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