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Is morality objective or subjective?

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Belindi
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Belindi » January 26th, 2019, 11:01 am

Athena, The Bible remains the ultimate source for Christian doctrine.

Universalism

But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?

30And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. 33But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, 34And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. 35And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. 36Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? 37And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.


It's true, I guess, that there is a lot of Greek influence in the words attributed to Jesus. I wish that I could recommend a source for my guess but I cannot. That Greece influenced the authors and editors of The Bible is not a reason to disrespect the ethics in The Bible.

PS here is quite an amusing little reference to Greek influence although it's not about the universalist ethic:

The preface to historian Edward Gibbons’ History of Christianity sums up the Greek influence on the adoption of the Trinity doctrine by stating: “If Paganism was conquered by Christianity, it is equally true that Christianity was corrupted by Paganism. The pure Deism [basic religion, in this context] of the first Christians … was changed, by the Church of Rome, into the incomprehensible dogma of the trinity. Many of the pagan tenets, invented by the Egyptians and idealized by Plato, were retained as being worthy of belief” (1883, p. xvi). (See “How Ancient Trinitarian Gods Influenced Adoption of the Trinity “.)

The link between Plato’s teachings and the Trinity as adopted by the Catholic Church centuries later is so strong that Edward Gibbon, in his masterwork The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, referred to Plato as “the Athenian sage, who had thus marvelously anticipated one of the most surprising discoveries of the Christian revelation” —the Trinity (1890, Vol. 1, p. 574).


The above extract is about the idea of the Trinity. However it's likely that the ethic of universalism as in Isaiah's and Jesus' teachings was invented independently in Greece and Palestine. The Golden Rule, which is what I've been calling 'universalism' emerged in Persia, China, and Palestine within a few hundred years. Jesus followed the ethics of Isaiah.

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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by athena » January 27th, 2019, 10:48 am

Interesting, however, I will stand on the argument that Biblical morality is tribal morality.

Holding that we should give charity to the unfortunate is not equal to everyone being one of God's favorite people. I believe the Bible makes several statements about the Hebrews being God's chosen people, and it is mind-blowing to me that Christians do not put the same importance on circumcision as the Hebrews did. That is the mark of a covenant with God, isn't it? I don't remember where to find all the passages in the Bible I would like to use in this argument, but God tells the Hebrew they can keep food for so many days and then they must get rid of it. Today we know the reasoning for this would be food poisoning, and troubling to me is, God, suggest they give the food to those others, their neighbors who are not one of them. Then there is the rule that they can own slaves but are not to be slaves because of their special relationship with God, but in the new testament, it honors God if we are good slaves. Ideas did change when Christianity was established as a distinctly different religion, but time and time again, Christians use the old testament as God's word and that God was not universal. In the old testament, the God of Abraham is one of many gods. People had patron gods and goddess and the God of Abraham was one of them, not the God of all. Marriage laws and the need for a woman to remain virgin until marriage is about keeping this race pure, and this religion is not compatible with democracy for many reasons. The moral object of old testament is keeping the race pure, but when Christians take over the religion, the morality is making everyone one of us, and if they would not convert, they were eliminated.

I don't know when we started calling Hebrews Jews, but Jews were adamant about jobs being assigned according to inheritance. The Maccabees revolt was about how it was determined who got which jobs. The Greeks gave jobs to people based on merit and the Maccabees revolted to protect their system of determining who got what based on inheritance and as I said, this was carried over in Christianity. There was a period of time when sons could only follow in the footsteps of their fathers, it was believed God determined who would be a master of a slave. This is tribal morality and it goes with family values. It is not all bad, but it is what is, tribal and not universal. Is that subjective or objective?
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Belindi
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Belindi » January 27th, 2019, 2:58 pm

Athena, it's true that there are no universal values. It's also true that the tradition ofthe Golden Rule is not tribal but as close to universal as is possible in th relative world.

The Bible has a lot of outworn rules and regulations that pertain to religious sects, but the Golden Rule applies to each of the large world religions.

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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by athena » January 27th, 2019, 10:32 pm

I think we have agreement that the golden rule is universal. But why are we moral? Like exactly what is subjective morality or objective morality? Is the golden rule subjective or objective and both?

How about tit for tat? Should we turn the other cheek or respond tit for tat? Aren't both moral?

Killing is one way to enforce morality. That would be objective morality right?
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Peter Holmes » January 28th, 2019, 3:58 am

athena wrote:
January 27th, 2019, 10:32 pm
I think we have agreement that the golden rule is universal. But why are we moral? Like exactly what is subjective morality or objective morality? Is the golden rule subjective or objective and both?

How about tit for tat? Should we turn the other cheek or respond tit for tat? Aren't both moral?

Killing is one way to enforce morality. That would be objective morality right?
I've been following your discussion, and I hope it's okay to intervene here. If not, please ignore this.

The point of my OP was to draw a sharp distinction between facts (which are objective) and opinions, judgements, or beliefs (which are subjective).

The moral value or judgement behind the golden rule - it's right to treat others as you'd have them treat you - is an opinion, how ever many people hold it. So even if the golden rule were universal, it would still manifest an opinion. The claim that every society has the golden rule in its moral code would be a fact - a true factual assertion - but the rule itself (obviously) isn't and can't be a fact.

In other words, our moral questions have no factual answers, because morality isn't and can't be objective. Nothing in reality can show if it's morally right or wrong to treat others as we'd have them treat us. We just have to decide, individually and collectively.

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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Gandalf » January 28th, 2019, 4:59 am

Currently there is no way to undeniably prove that numbers exist - Assumptions/beliefs are required. Some basic assumptions need to be made before we can see morality as objective. Btw Sam Harris wrote a whole book on this called the moral landscape. The fact that assumptions need to exist for Science to exist has convinced me that technically, Religion is required for anything to be objective.

Once certain basic assumptions are made
Peter Holmes wrote:
October 20th, 2018, 1:25 am
Slavery is wrong
becomes a factual claim

TL;DR
I am currently building a Science based 3rd Generation of Religion that aims to make morality objective given some assumptions. Would be interested on your thoughts or help to build. [link deleted].

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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Belindi » January 28th, 2019, 9:24 am

athena wrote:
January 27th, 2019, 10:32 pm
I think we have agreement that the golden rule is universal. But why are we moral? Like exactly what is subjective morality or objective morality? Is the golden rule subjective or objective and both?

How about tit for tat? Should we turn the other cheek or respond tit for tat? Aren't both moral?

Killing is one way to enforce morality. That would be objective morality right?
We are moral because we live in societies. Societies function only as long as there is a significantly shared set of values.

Tit for tat that's to say vendetta law works after a fashion but there are better ways to keep law and order in the modern world.

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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Eduk » January 28th, 2019, 9:32 am

We are moral because we live in societies. Societies function only as long as there is a significantly shared set of values.
You could also argue we live in societies because we are moral.
I'd also say morals are more than shared sets of values. After all how many people need to believe something in order for it to be moral?
I'd also argue morality is real.
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by athena » January 28th, 2019, 10:28 am

"An argument that objective morality is evidence for the existence of anything – let alone a god – is unsound, because morality is not objective. " Peter Holmes

This seems to oppose to everything I hold as important. I believe our liberty and democracy depends on understanding morality is a matter of cause and effect. That would be factual. Not having sex until marriage is not just about something read in the Bible, but about social organization and the care of a woman and child, and the risk of having a child without having a supportive husband, and the risk of social diseases.

The Little Red Hen, The Little Engine that Could, The Fox and the Grapes, are all moral stories. We would read our children moral stories and asks, "What is the moral of the story". The answer is always cause and effect. Although these stories are fictional, the morals are based on facts. The Little Red Hen did not share her bread because no one helped her make it. The Little Engine made it over the hill because he didn't give up. The Fox didn't get the grapes because he gave up. The mother on welfare with 4 children, each one having a different father has children at risk and the chances of any of them being happy are slim.

When Thomas Jefferson wrote of the pursuit of Happiness, he meant the pursuit of knowledge, and he spent his life arguing in favor of providing all children education because he believed this would make our republic strong and united and that education for good moral judgment is essential to our liberty and democracy. Without it, both are insane! How we understand morality and our liberty and democracy all go together.

Eduk, I agree with you.
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by athena » January 28th, 2019, 10:35 am

"I am currently building a Science based 3rd Generation of Religion that aims to make morality objective given some assumptions. Would be interested on your thoughts or help to build. [link deleted]. Gandalf

I hope you find what I have said of morals, liberty and democracy is helpful and that we can develop this.
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by athena » January 28th, 2019, 10:49 am

Belindi wrote:
January 28th, 2019, 9:24 am
athena wrote:
January 27th, 2019, 10:32 pm
I think we have agreement that the golden rule is universal. But why are we moral? Like exactly what is subjective morality or objective morality? Is the golden rule subjective or objective and both?

How about tit for tat? Should we turn the other cheek or respond tit for tat? Aren't both moral?

Killing is one way to enforce morality. That would be objective morality right?
We are moral because we live in societies. Societies function only as long as there is a significantly shared set of values.

Tit for tat that's to say vendetta law works after a fashion but there are better ways to keep law and order in the modern world.
I love your reply! Especially the thought that there are better ways to resolve conflicts than vendettas. I am listening to college lectures about the evolution of European culture and when Rome fell that left no central power essential to rule by reason and left people on their own to manage individually or in vendetta groups and brute force. The group mind becomes the rule by reason, right? The larger the group and the more contact it has with others, the better the reasoning is likely to be, right?

However, when society is divided, and and the laborers are excluded from the reasoning, problems develop. Suppressing the people with brute force, instead of resolving problems leads to rebellions, right? The moral of this story is freedom of speech is essential to having good reasoning and working relationships. :D
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Eduk » January 28th, 2019, 10:49 am

Sorry @athena when I said morality is real I meant that in quite a specific sense. I only meant is is a real in the sense that it is not faked. For example a psychopath may be able to fake emotion which they don't have.
Of course in a sense it is also real that I do experience and can perform acts which I (and many others) would call 'good' or 'bad'.
But where we enter subjectivity is proving that such acts are 'good' or 'bad'. I cannot prove anything is 'good' or 'bad' independently of a rational agent. No one can.
Personally I have no problems with this, but many people just can't live with this.
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by athena » January 28th, 2019, 11:22 am

Peter Holmes wrote:
January 28th, 2019, 3:58 am
athena wrote:
January 27th, 2019, 10:32 pm
I think we have agreement that the golden rule is universal. But why are we moral? Like exactly what is subjective morality or objective morality? Is the golden rule subjective or objective and both?

How about tit for tat? Should we turn the other cheek or respond tit for tat? Aren't both moral?

Killing is one way to enforce morality. That would be objective morality right?
I've been following your discussion, and I hope it's okay to intervene here. If not, please ignore this.

The point of my OP was to draw a sharp distinction between facts (which are objective) and opinions, judgements, or beliefs (which are subjective).

The moral value or judgement behind the golden rule - it's right to treat others as you'd have them treat you - is an opinion, how ever many people hold it. So even if the golden rule were universal, it would still manifest an opinion. The claim that every society has the golden rule in its moral code would be a fact - a true factual assertion - but the rule itself (obviously) isn't and can't be a fact.

In other words, our moral questions have no factual answers, because morality isn't and can't be objective. Nothing in reality can show if it's morally right or wrong to treat others as we'd have them treat us. We just have to decide, individually and collectively.
I don't think we should get too hung up on right or wrong answers. I do not agree with your overall conclusion that morals are not based on facts, because I think our liberty and democracy depend on understanding morals as cause and effect. We can not have rule by reason, unless morals are a matter of cause and effect. If morals are not about cause and effect, we have anarchy and power struggles, not rule by reason.

However, the rule, do unto others as you would have them do to you, is good only when we understand others may not want the same thing. :?: I am struggling for the right words here..... If I don't know you, the only information I have to determine what you want is knowing what I want. I know I do not want a slap in the face, so it is a pretty bet you do not want to be slapped in the face. However, you may want sex and I don't want you to assume I do too. We are more apt to make the right judgment when we consider how we want to be treated. However, we might hold some doubt and perhaps ask someone if s/he wants a hug, before hugging. That is, we should not assume everyone wants the same thing. Does the importance of doubt make sense? The rule is a good one, but we should not assume what others want in all cases.

Doctors assuming we want drugs when we have pain is a pretty bad assumption. Assuming we want surgery is another bad assumption. :lol: Laugh, as an old person I am having a huge problem with the medical community. I am not happy with the doctors and they are not happy with me. Perhaps the rule would work better if it began with respect of individuals and the possibility that not everyone wants what we want? The moral is, don't be too sure of what you think you know. :D Why? Fact, assuming what someone else wants can lead to a problem. However, never considering how we want to be treated, can lead to a worse problem.
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Belindi » January 28th, 2019, 12:02 pm

Athena wrote:
However, when society is divided, and and the laborers are excluded from the reasoning, problems develop. Suppressing the people with brute force, instead of resolving problems leads to rebellions, right? The moral of this story is freedom of speech is essential to having good reasoning and working relationship
Not always. The Nazis managed to kill most of the Jews without the Jews rebelling. Also many societies have functioned only because of slave labour. The slaves could not rebel.

In a modern socialist society in which the workers have power, notably the power of trade unions, ACAS works not only through freedom of speech but also through the powers of the workers.

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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Ultrackius » January 28th, 2019, 4:24 pm

I think that while everyone has subjective moral opinions an objective morality can be discovered, the first thing to do would be to decide what makes an action morally right, it can either be the action, consequence, or intended consequence. The easiest to disprove is Action, under Action if you killed one person to save one thousand it would be bad, this is clearly false. Next is consequence, the way to disprove this is as follows: Kill one person to save one thousand but the thing that you thought would stop when you killed the one person doesn’t stop and they die anyway. Killing the one person would be wrong under consequence even though it is clearly not. Finally we have intended consequence. Which is the hardest to disprove but can still be disproved. Say one insane person torturers one million people to death in the belief that it will couse a utopia because a subset of people are gone forever. This would still be wrong. In my opinion the most rational solution is a ratio between consequence and intended consequence favoring intended.

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