Is morality objective or subjective?

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LuckyR
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by LuckyR » August 17th, 2019, 1:51 am

Kaz_1983 wrote:
August 16th, 2019, 6:59 pm
Is colour subjective?
It depends on what you mean by "color". If you mean the wavelength of light that it reflects, objective. If you mean the perception your optical cortex gives you when those wavelengths stimulate it, subjective.
"As usual... it depends."

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Greta
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Greta » August 17th, 2019, 5:44 pm

LuckyR wrote:
August 17th, 2019, 1:51 am
Kaz_1983 wrote:
August 16th, 2019, 6:59 pm
Is colour subjective?
It depends on what you mean by "color". If you mean the wavelength of light that it reflects, objective. If you mean the perception your optical cortex gives you when those wavelengths stimulate it, subjective.
That's what I was wanting to say.

It calls to mind the tree falling in forest without witnesses that creates vibrations in lieu of sound as would be interpreted had someone been there to hear.

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Consul
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Consul » August 17th, 2019, 5:59 pm

Greta wrote:
August 17th, 2019, 5:44 pm
LuckyR wrote:
August 17th, 2019, 1:51 am
It depends on what you mean by "color". If you mean the wavelength of light that it reflects, objective. If you mean the perception your optical cortex gives you when those wavelengths stimulate it, subjective.
That's what I was wanting to say.It calls to mind the tree falling in forest without witnesses that creates vibrations in lieu of sound as would be interpreted had someone been there to hear.
There's a distinction between (objective) physical colors and (subjective) phenomenal colors (colors-as-experienced).
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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LuckyR
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by LuckyR » August 17th, 2019, 10:35 pm

Consul wrote:
August 17th, 2019, 5:59 pm
Greta wrote:
August 17th, 2019, 5:44 pm
That's what I was wanting to say.It calls to mind the tree falling in forest without witnesses that creates vibrations in lieu of sound as would be interpreted had someone been there to hear.
There's a distinction between (objective) physical colors and (subjective) phenomenal colors (colors-as-experienced).
Sounds like we're all in agreement.
"As usual... it depends."

Peter Holmes
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Peter Holmes » January 26th, 2020, 4:23 pm

LuckyR wrote:
August 17th, 2019, 10:35 pm
Consul wrote:
August 17th, 2019, 5:59 pm


There's a distinction between (objective) physical colors and (subjective) phenomenal colors (colors-as-experienced).
Sounds like we're all in agreement.
Just coming back to this digression into the 'objectivity' or 'subjectivity' of colour. The distinction here is between the physical facts - wavelengths of light, and so on - and what each of us experiences as colour.

But this is completely different from the application of the objective / subjective distinction with regard to morality. There are no moral facts out there - analogous to wavelengths of light - that we 'subjectively' experience.

If I think slavery is morally wrong, that's my opinion. If ten people agree with me, then a hundred, then a thousand, then a million - then everyone in the world - at no stage does it become a fact that slavery is wrong. It remains an opinion, and therefore subjective.

Are we all in agreement about that?

Atla
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Atla » January 26th, 2020, 4:51 pm

The universe is amoral (lacks morality) and so do some humans. If one knows a psychopath or two, one can see that morality is more like a brain/mind function (or several), and it can be partially or completely missing sometimes, there's just an unimaginable void in its place. Such humans usually mimic morality artificially when it's advantageous to them, but that's not the same.

The rest of humans have subjective morality, I see no reason to doubt that. Objective morality is usually claimed to come from Gods and such.

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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Peter Holmes » January 26th, 2020, 5:02 pm

Atla wrote:
January 26th, 2020, 4:51 pm
Objective morality is usually claimed to come from Gods and such.
Agreed - the irony being that independence from the opinion or any agent is what makes a fact a fact. So if there were moral facts, the existence and opinions of a god or gods would be irrelevant. The theistic argument from moral objectivity is a shot in the foot.

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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Atla » January 27th, 2020, 2:55 am

Peter Holmes wrote:
January 26th, 2020, 5:02 pm
Atla wrote:
January 26th, 2020, 4:51 pm
Objective morality is usually claimed to come from Gods and such.
Agreed - the irony being that independence from the opinion or any agent is what makes a fact a fact. So if there were moral facts, the existence and opinions of a god or gods would be irrelevant. The theistic argument from moral objectivity is a shot in the foot.
Well you can kinda weasel out of that one by claiming that God is infinite and absolute and so on. Making God not just an agent but everything.

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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by LuckyR » January 27th, 2020, 3:14 am

Peter Holmes wrote:
January 26th, 2020, 4:23 pm
LuckyR wrote:
August 17th, 2019, 10:35 pm


Sounds like we're all in agreement.
Just coming back to this digression into the 'objectivity' or 'subjectivity' of colour. The distinction here is between the physical facts - wavelengths of light, and so on - and what each of us experiences as colour.

But this is completely different from the application of the objective / subjective distinction with regard to morality. There are no moral facts out there - analogous to wavelengths of light - that we 'subjectively' experience.

If I think slavery is morally wrong, that's my opinion. If ten people agree with me, then a hundred, then a thousand, then a million - then everyone in the world - at no stage does it become a fact that slavery is wrong. It remains an opinion, and therefore subjective.

Are we all in agreement about that?
Yes, slavery in your example is morally wrong, subjectively so. However, slavery is also ethically wrong, though in an objective manner.
"As usual... it depends."

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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Peter Holmes » January 27th, 2020, 5:35 am

Atla wrote:
January 27th, 2020, 2:55 am
Peter Holmes wrote:
January 26th, 2020, 5:02 pm

Agreed - the irony being that independence from the opinion or any agent is what makes a fact a fact. So if there were moral facts, the existence and opinions of a god or gods would be irrelevant. The theistic argument from moral objectivity is a shot in the foot.
Well you can kinda weasel out of that one by claiming that God is infinite and absolute and so on. Making God not just an agent but everything.
I've certainly seen that dodge more than once. But I've never seen it justified. It amounts to nonsense: 'God is everything, so there are moral facts.'

Have you seen the entailment spelled out?

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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Peter Holmes » January 27th, 2020, 5:48 am

LuckyR wrote:
January 27th, 2020, 3:14 am
Peter Holmes wrote:
January 26th, 2020, 4:23 pm

Just coming back to this digression into the 'objectivity' or 'subjectivity' of colour. The distinction here is between the physical facts - wavelengths of light, and so on - and what each of us experiences as colour.

But this is completely different from the application of the objective / subjective distinction with regard to morality. There are no moral facts out there - analogous to wavelengths of light - that we 'subjectively' experience.

If I think slavery is morally wrong, that's my opinion. If ten people agree with me, then a hundred, then a thousand, then a million - then everyone in the world - at no stage does it become a fact that slavery is wrong. It remains an opinion, and therefore subjective.

Are we all in agreement about that?
Yes, slavery in your example is morally wrong, subjectively so. However, slavery is also ethically wrong, though in an objective manner.
I don't understand your way of putting it. To believe that slavery is wrong is to make a judgement, which is subjective. But that doesn't that 'slavery is subjectively wrong'. Those words make no sense, because the distinction is empty.

And can you explain why 'slavery is also ethically wrong, though in an objective manner'? To me, you seem to be using these words in a strange way.

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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by LuckyR » January 29th, 2020, 1:16 pm

Peter Holmes wrote:
January 27th, 2020, 5:48 am
LuckyR wrote:
January 27th, 2020, 3:14 am


Yes, slavery in your example is morally wrong, subjectively so. However, slavery is also ethically wrong, though in an objective manner.
I don't understand your way of putting it. To believe that slavery is wrong is to make a judgement, which is subjective. But that doesn't that 'slavery is subjectively wrong'. Those words make no sense, because the distinction is empty.

And can you explain why 'slavery is also ethically wrong, though in an objective manner'? To me, you seem to be using these words in a strange way.
Strange way? I am using them by their actual definitions, that is, morality has to do with your personal code of conduct, which is as you state, subjective, whereas ethics has to do with the prevailing standard of a particular group or community, which can be statistically calculated and is therefore objective.
"As usual... it depends."

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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Peter Holmes » January 29th, 2020, 1:38 pm

LuckyR wrote:
January 29th, 2020, 1:16 pm
Peter Holmes wrote:
January 27th, 2020, 5:48 am

I don't understand your way of putting it. To believe that slavery is wrong is to make a judgement, which is subjective. But that doesn't that 'slavery is subjectively wrong'. Those words make no sense, because the distinction is empty.

And can you explain why 'slavery is also ethically wrong, though in an objective manner'? To me, you seem to be using these words in a strange way.
Strange way? I am using them by their actual definitions, that is, morality has to do with your personal code of conduct, which is as you state, subjective, whereas ethics has to do with the prevailing standard of a particular group or community, which can be statistically calculated and is therefore objective.
I'm sorry, but these definitions are wrong or at least misleading. Morality is about what is - or what we think is - morally right or wrong. There's no restriction to personal belief. And ethics is the study of such issues. The claim 'slavery is also ethically wrong, but in an objective manner' is incoherent, even using your use of 'ethic' to mean moral code of a community.

Thanks, but I don't think we'll get anywhere with this conversation.

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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by LuckyR » January 29th, 2020, 7:07 pm

Peter Holmes wrote:
January 29th, 2020, 1:38 pm
LuckyR wrote:
January 29th, 2020, 1:16 pm


Strange way? I am using them by their actual definitions, that is, morality has to do with your personal code of conduct, which is as you state, subjective, whereas ethics has to do with the prevailing standard of a particular group or community, which can be statistically calculated and is therefore objective.
I'm sorry, but these definitions are wrong or at least misleading. Morality is about what is - or what we think is - morally right or wrong. There's no restriction to personal belief. And ethics is the study of such issues. The claim 'slavery is also ethically wrong, but in an objective manner' is incoherent, even using your use of 'ethic' to mean moral code of a community.

Thanks, but I don't think we'll get anywhere with this conversation.
Don't sell us so short. I'll give it one more try:

Slavery (or any other potential issue) can be measured on the morality scale, as you say: "what we think is - morally right or wrong". You and I (and hopefully everyone else) agree this is a subjective measure. IOW "Right" and "Wrong" are subjective.

Slavery can also be measured on the ethical scale, that is: does it conform to the ethical standard of the community. While that standard is a composite of subjective opinions, the fact that these opinions can be tabulated, makes the standard objective. Just as other opinions (in the minority) are objectively less popular. Thus measuring slavery on the ethical scale is objective. ""Conforms" and "Violates" are objective terms.
"As usual... it depends."

Peter Holmes
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Re: Is morality objective or subjective?

Post by Peter Holmes » January 30th, 2020, 3:53 am

LuckyR wrote:
January 29th, 2020, 7:07 pm
Peter Holmes wrote:
January 29th, 2020, 1:38 pm

I'm sorry, but these definitions are wrong or at least misleading. Morality is about what is - or what we think is - morally right or wrong. There's no restriction to personal belief. And ethics is the study of such issues. The claim 'slavery is also ethically wrong, but in an objective manner' is incoherent, even using your use of 'ethic' to mean moral code of a community.

Thanks, but I don't think we'll get anywhere with this conversation.
Don't sell us so short. I'll give it one more try:

Slavery (or any other potential issue) can be measured on the morality scale, as you say: "what we think is - morally right or wrong". You and I (and hopefully everyone else) agree this is a subjective measure. IOW "Right" and "Wrong" are subjective.

Slavery can also be measured on the ethical scale, that is: does it conform to the ethical standard of the community. While that standard is a composite of subjective opinions, the fact that these opinions can be tabulated, makes the standard objective. Just as other opinions (in the minority) are objectively less popular. Thus measuring slavery on the ethical scale is objective. ""Conforms" and "Violates" are objective terms.
I seem to have misunderstood what you're saying, for which I apologise.

My concern is the nature of moral judgements - what is morally right or wrong - and why they are subjective, by definition, and can't be objective.

If by 'ethics' you mean the study of what people think is morally right or wrong, and if and how they rank behaviour on a moral scale, then ethical claims are, of course, objective - matters of fact, independent from opinion, with truth-value.

I'd guess we agree about this.

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