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Truth and our ideal subjective morality

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EldritchSaffron
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Truth and our ideal subjective morality

Post by EldritchSaffron » January 13th, 2019, 7:58 am

Hi all,

I have a concept I’ve been toying with that I'm interested in learning more about.

Questions:

- Is there are any existing philosophy that matches (or is close to) what I’m describing?
- Is there any validity to this concept? Is it logically sound?

The Concept (with some necessary preamble):

Objective morality is currently unobtainable. Since we cannot know what is objectively moral, we are left with only subjective morality to base our decisions on. Because of this, we have no valid case for imposing our morality on others, or so it would seem…

We hold subjective ethical positions based on our understanding of reality. However, the knowledge or logic on which we base our subjective ethics can be shown to be objectively wrong. In the light of greater understanding, we may change/improve our subjective ethics to something that we would consider more ethical. Therefore, we may improve our own ethics by our own assessment if we have improved knowledge and understanding.

This leads me to believe that understanding the true nature of reality is a prerequisite for obtaining our own ideal subjective ethical values.

Therefore, truth must be a prerequisite to our own ideal subjective ethics. This is an objective position as it applies to all of us.

Therefore we can say that it is objectively wrong to commit acts that deliberately propagate falsehoods, or to be deliberately intellectually dishonest. We can also say that understanding the truth is synonymous with good.

Please feel free to ask me questions to clarify if you’re not sure what I’m describing above. As I mentioned, I’m a layman with no formal training, so I may not be using the right terminology.

Thank you

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bucky
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Re: Truth and our ideal subjective morality

Post by bucky » January 13th, 2019, 9:44 am

the knowledge or logic on which we base our subjective ethics can be shown to be objectively wrong
The above seems to be the main premise in your train of though, eg. the position falls down if the above falls down.

I think what a subjectivist would respond here is that you can't show the logic/knowledge which you base your subjective ethics on to be objectively wrong. For example consider the classic:

Socrates is a man
All men are mortal
Therefore Socrates is mortal.

This is a valid argument and we can determine via logic that the structure is correct. But whether Socrates is actually a man, you need to look into the real world.

Similarly a subjectivist would respond to your argument that when you might be able to use logic to see if certain beliefs that are based on other beliefs hold up, eg. Murder is wrong, Abortion is murder, therefore Abortion is wrong ... you could use logic in that way to see if the person is moving from one to another in a logically valid form. But yoú're still going to have to look into the real world to see if Socrates is really a man, or in this instance, if Murder is wrong. You need to look into the real world somewhere to find the "rightness'" or "wrongness" and then only if you can find that entity, can you know the truth of the proposition and not just the validity of the argument.

What the subjectivist would say is that "murder is wrong" doesn't refer to any real entity in the world, because there is no rightness or wrongness. Rightness or wrongness is only a perception of people.

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bucky
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Re: Truth and our ideal subjective morality

Post by bucky » January 13th, 2019, 9:52 am

- Is there are any existing philosophy that matches (or is close to) what I’m describing?
Moral Realism, very likely ethical naturalism which is a branch of Realism, is a good match for your position. Ethical naturalists hold that greater understanding of the natural world can increase moral knowledge.

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EldritchSaffron
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Re: Truth and our ideal subjective morality

Post by EldritchSaffron » January 13th, 2019, 3:51 pm

you can't show the logic/knowledge which you base your subjective ethics on to be objectively wrong
Just to clarify, I assume you agree that objective knowledge and logic can in fact be proved objectively wrong.

If I understand what you’re saying, A subjectivist may base their ethics off of something that cannot be shown to be objectively incorrect or invalid.

While I agree with you on that, I don't think it disproves the point I'm making: A maximally informed ethical view would be ideal. An ethical stance without any reason or objective backing doesn’t sound very informed – why should be considered valid or justified? Surely an ethical stance backed up maximally through objective reasoning would be better than the inverse?

Your example highlights this fully. Is murder always wrong? Why? Is abortion always murder? Why? Is it always the wrong in every single scenario? The argument, although logical, has been stripped away of everything that grounds it in reality. The stance has been asserted, and yet nothing has been demonstrated.

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Re: Truth and our ideal subjective morality

Post by h_k_s » January 13th, 2019, 4:12 pm

EldritchSaffron wrote:
January 13th, 2019, 7:58 am
Hi all,

I have a concept I’ve been toying with that I'm interested in learning more about.

Questions:

- Is there are any existing philosophy that matches (or is close to) what I’m describing?
- Is there any validity to this concept? Is it logically sound?

The Concept (with some necessary preamble):

Objective morality is currently unobtainable. Since we cannot know what is objectively moral, we are left with only subjective morality to base our decisions on. Because of this, we have no valid case for imposing our morality on others, or so it would seem…

We hold subjective ethical positions based on our understanding of reality. However, the knowledge or logic on which we base our subjective ethics can be shown to be objectively wrong. In the light of greater understanding, we may change/improve our subjective ethics to something that we would consider more ethical. Therefore, we may improve our own ethics by our own assessment if we have improved knowledge and understanding.

This leads me to believe that understanding the true nature of reality is a prerequisite for obtaining our own ideal subjective ethical values.

Therefore, truth must be a prerequisite to our own ideal subjective ethics. This is an objective position as it applies to all of us.

Therefore we can say that it is objectively wrong to commit acts that deliberately propagate falsehoods, or to be deliberately intellectually dishonest. We can also say that understanding the truth is synonymous with good.

Please feel free to ask me questions to clarify if you’re not sure what I’m describing above. As I mentioned, I’m a layman with no formal training, so I may not be using the right terminology.

Thank you
Proportional punishment is an objective morality. So there are some objective moralities which are "obtainable".

Proportional punishment has been around since (and in) Hammurabi's Law Code. He achieved it 44 centuries ago.

That's just one example.

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Re: Truth and our ideal subjective morality

Post by h_k_s » January 13th, 2019, 4:13 pm

EldritchSaffron wrote:
January 13th, 2019, 7:58 am
Hi all,

I have a concept I’ve been toying with that I'm interested in learning more about.

Questions:

- Is there are any existing philosophy that matches (or is close to) what I’m describing?
- Is there any validity to this concept? Is it logically sound?

The Concept (with some necessary preamble):

Objective morality is currently unobtainable. Since we cannot know what is objectively moral, we are left with only subjective morality to base our decisions on. Because of this, we have no valid case for imposing our morality on others, or so it would seem…

We hold subjective ethical positions based on our understanding of reality. However, the knowledge or logic on which we base our subjective ethics can be shown to be objectively wrong. In the light of greater understanding, we may change/improve our subjective ethics to something that we would consider more ethical. Therefore, we may improve our own ethics by our own assessment if we have improved knowledge and understanding.

This leads me to believe that understanding the true nature of reality is a prerequisite for obtaining our own ideal subjective ethical values.

Therefore, truth must be a prerequisite to our own ideal subjective ethics. This is an objective position as it applies to all of us.

Therefore we can say that it is objectively wrong to commit acts that deliberately propagate falsehoods, or to be deliberately intellectually dishonest. We can also say that understanding the truth is synonymous with good.

Please feel free to ask me questions to clarify if you’re not sure what I’m describing above. As I mentioned, I’m a layman with no formal training, so I may not be using the right terminology.

Thank you
Ethics is not subjective.

In ethics you avoid the very appearance of evil.

Therefore it is very objective.

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Re: Truth and our ideal subjective morality

Post by h_k_s » January 13th, 2019, 4:14 pm

h_k_s wrote:
January 13th, 2019, 4:13 pm
EldritchSaffron wrote:
January 13th, 2019, 7:58 am
Hi all,

I have a concept I’ve been toying with that I'm interested in learning more about.

Questions:

- Is there are any existing philosophy that matches (or is close to) what I’m describing?
- Is there any validity to this concept? Is it logically sound?

The Concept (with some necessary preamble):

Objective morality is currently unobtainable. Since we cannot know what is objectively moral, we are left with only subjective morality to base our decisions on. Because of this, we have no valid case for imposing our morality on others, or so it would seem…

We hold subjective ethical positions based on our understanding of reality. However, the knowledge or logic on which we base our subjective ethics can be shown to be objectively wrong. In the light of greater understanding, we may change/improve our subjective ethics to something that we would consider more ethical. Therefore, we may improve our own ethics by our own assessment if we have improved knowledge and understanding.

This leads me to believe that understanding the true nature of reality is a prerequisite for obtaining our own ideal subjective ethical values.

Therefore, truth must be a prerequisite to our own ideal subjective ethics. This is an objective position as it applies to all of us.

Therefore we can say that it is objectively wrong to commit acts that deliberately propagate falsehoods, or to be deliberately intellectually dishonest. We can also say that understanding the truth is synonymous with good.

Please feel free to ask me questions to clarify if you’re not sure what I’m describing above. As I mentioned, I’m a layman with no formal training, so I may not be using the right terminology.

Thank you
Ethics is not subjective.

In ethics you avoid the very appearance of evil.

Therefore it is very objective.
Under modern British Empiricism you can trust your senses to give you a good understanding of reality.

You have too easily dismissed perception and too prematurely embraced outmoded ancient Skepticism.

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h_k_s
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Re: Truth and our ideal subjective morality

Post by h_k_s » January 13th, 2019, 4:16 pm

h_k_s wrote:
January 13th, 2019, 4:14 pm
h_k_s wrote:
January 13th, 2019, 4:13 pm

Ethics is not subjective.

In ethics you avoid the very appearance of evil.

Therefore it is very objective.
Under modern British Empiricism you can trust your senses to give you a good understanding of reality.

You have too easily dismissed perception and too prematurely embraced outmoded ancient Skepticism.
"Truth" according to Aristotle is a communications issue.

Truth involves speaking what is true, to say that it is true, and to say what is not true as not being true.

Any other definition of truth that you might be aware of would need to be defined and cited (give the source).

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Re: Truth and our ideal subjective morality

Post by h_k_s » January 13th, 2019, 4:21 pm

bucky wrote:
January 13th, 2019, 9:44 am
the knowledge or logic on which we base our subjective ethics can be shown to be objectively wrong
The above seems to be the main premise in your train of though, eg. the position falls down if the above falls down.

I think what a subjectivist would respond here is that you can't show the logic/knowledge which you base your subjective ethics on to be objectively wrong. For example consider the classic:

Socrates is a man
All men are mortal
Therefore Socrates is mortal.

This is a valid argument and we can determine via logic that the structure is correct. But whether Socrates is actually a man, you need to look into the real world.

Similarly a subjectivist would respond to your argument that when you might be able to use logic to see if certain beliefs that are based on other beliefs hold up, eg. Murder is wrong, Abortion is murder, therefore Abortion is wrong ... you could use logic in that way to see if the person is moving from one to another in a logically valid form. But yoú're still going to have to look into the real world to see if Socrates is really a man, or in this instance, if Murder is wrong. You need to look into the real world somewhere to find the "rightness'" or "wrongness" and then only if you can find that entity, can you know the truth of the proposition and not just the validity of the argument.

What the subjectivist would say is that "murder is wrong" doesn't refer to any real entity in the world, because there is no rightness or wrongness. Rightness or wrongness is only a perception of people.
Excellent analysis !!

Thank you for that.

I might add that "rightness or wrongness is …" an emotional, visceral response.

This is also true of most philosophy. Something either "feels right" or it "feels wrong".

Ethics either feel right or wrong.

Deductive logic is more of a matter of set theory.

Whereas inductive logic feels right or feels wrong.

By the way, Socrates is long dead. So he is no longer a man. He was a man, as best as we can tell, from reading Plato.

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Re: Truth and our ideal subjective morality

Post by h_k_s » January 13th, 2019, 4:22 pm

You can say:

"Putin is a man … ."

"Trump is a man … ."

"Xi is a man … ."

These 3 are the most well known men.

"Queen Elizabeth 2nd is a woman … ."

She is the most well known woman.

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Re: Truth and our ideal subjective morality

Post by cavacava » January 13th, 2019, 8:23 pm

EldritchSaffron wrote:
January 13th, 2019, 7:58 am
Hi all,

I have a concept I’ve been toying with that I'm interested in learning more about.

Questions:

- Is there are any existing philosophy that matches (or is close to) what I’m describing?
- Is there any validity to this concept? Is it logically sound?

The Concept (with some necessary preamble):

Objective morality is currently unobtainable. Since we cannot know what is objectively moral, we are left with only subjective morality to base our decisions on. Because of this, we have no valid case for imposing our morality on others, or so it would seem…

We hold subjective ethical positions based on our understanding of reality. However, the knowledge or logic on which we base our subjective ethics can be shown to be objectively wrong. In the light of greater understanding, we may change/improve our subjective ethics to something that we would consider more ethical. Therefore, we may improve our own ethics by our own assessment if we have improved knowledge and understanding.

This leads me to believe that understanding the true nature of reality is a prerequisite for obtaining our own ideal subjective ethical values.

Therefore, truth must be a prerequisite to our own ideal subjective ethics. This is an objective position as it applies to all of us.

Therefore we can say that it is objectively wrong to commit acts that deliberately propagate falsehoods, or to be deliberately intellectually dishonest. We can also say that understanding the truth is synonymous with good.

Please feel free to ask me questions to clarify if you’re not sure what I’m describing above. As I mentioned, I’m a layman with no formal training, so I may not be using the right terminology.

Thank you
I agree with you, but perhaps a little different. If you are looking at Ethics as a discipline, then you must adopt a code of conduct. This is also the case in sciences, which establish definitions, develops postulates then derives laws/theorems from them. Of course the human sciences are not as exact as the hard sciences, but I don't think that necessarily leads to ethical relativism.

There is a conception of a common human nature, [Natural Law Theory] and I think that perhaps there are certain shared ethical truths may be common to all men.

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Re: Truth and our ideal subjective morality

Post by bucky » January 14th, 2019, 1:55 am

EldritchSaffron wrote:
January 13th, 2019, 3:51 pm
you can't show the logic/knowledge which you base your subjective ethics on to be objectively wrong
Just to clarify, I assume you agree that objective knowledge and logic can in fact be proved objectively wrong.

If I understand what you’re saying, A subjectivist may base their ethics off of something that cannot be shown to be objectively incorrect or invalid.
A subjectivity would say it's what we're all doing, not what only they're doing. They would say there's no ethic that can be objectively proven and you'd be incorrect to assert that.

The suvjectivist perspective is that you can use logic as much as you want, logic can't tell you whether a certain proposition or sentence is a truth bearer. For that you need some kind of empirical knowledge.

Any claim that something is "right" or "wrong", where is the rightness in the world itself?

The idea is that if you believe that rightness or wrongness are facts about the world that you can uncover, the suvjectivist position flat our denies that rightness or wrongness are facts about the world. The just is nothing there to uncover.

Think of it something like how an atheist views god.. If you argued with an atheist that if we understood the world better we'd be able to better know the mind of god, an atheist would reply that there's no god to better know the mind of. The entity simply isn't out there in the world.

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Re: Truth and our ideal subjective morality

Post by EldritchSaffron » January 14th, 2019, 2:50 am

A subjectivity would say it's what we're all doing, not what only they're doing. They would say there's no ethic that can be objectively proven and you'd be incorrect to assert that.
I'm not asserting that ethics themselves can be objectively proven. In don't believe in objective ethics. I'm asserting that subjective ethics are optimum when based on sound logic and reasoning and truth. Ethics based on faulty reasoning, or no reasoning at all are objectively worse. This is because they would fail your an individuals own subjective analysis were they better informed.
Any claim that something is "right" or "wrong", where is the rightness in the world itself?
I'm not saying it's right objectively. I'm saying it's right by their own standard - or at least would be if they were better informed. Just because someone thinks the world is flat doesn't make it so. It can be demonstrated. Likewise, truth can be demonstrated to be objectively better for making ethical assessments.

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Re: Truth and our ideal subjective morality

Post by EldritchSaffron » January 14th, 2019, 3:12 am

Proportional punishment is an objective morality.
We must be working off different definitions. Proportional punishment is the imposition of subjective morality. If it was objective then we wouldn't have disagreements on what would be suitable sentencing.
Ethics is not subjective. In ethics you avoid the very appearance of evil. Therefore it is very objective.
What is evil? You're back to subjectivity again, because my evil and yours are different.
Under modern British Empiricism you can trust your senses to give you a good understanding of reality.
Any sane, rational person with good sense can trust their senses to give them a good understanding of reality. It does not require British Empiricism. It does require a sound mind.
You have too easily dismissed perception and too prematurely embraced outmoded ancient Skepticism.
I think that was rather rude to say and also highly inaccurate. In fact all I'm relying on is perception of reality in order to form an ethical view. My philosophy described is merely a straightforward assessment of how we pragmatically improve our own ethical judgement. What ancient skepticism are you referring to?
"Truth" according to Aristotle is a communications issue. Truth involves speaking what is true, to say that it is true, and to say what is not true as not being true. Any other definition of truth that you might be aware of would need to be defined and cited (give the source).
Truth is that which aligns with reality or that which is true. What made you think I was using any other definition?

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Re: Truth and our ideal subjective morality

Post by EldritchSaffron » January 14th, 2019, 3:20 am

I agree with you, but perhaps a little different. If you are looking at Ethics as a discipline, then you must adopt a code of conduct. This is also the case in sciences, which establish definitions, develops postulates then derives laws/theorems from them. Of course the human sciences are not as exact as the hard sciences, but I don't think that necessarily leads to ethical relativism.
I agree with needed to adopt the 'code of conduct', however, this is precisely what I'm asking - what am I missing from my theory in order to make it line up with the expected rigors of the sciences? I'm asking if it is valid?

If you do see something that would invalidate it I would like to hear it so that I can correct it or discard the idea.
There is a conception of a common human nature, [Natural Law Theory] and I think that perhaps there are certain shared ethical truths may be common to all men.
From reading this seems to posit an objective ethic among all men. I don't agree with this. I think ethics are subjective. I just think that truth is a pathway to ideal subjective ethics for each individual. Thus the pursuit of truth becomes an quasi-objective moral good because it literally benefits everyone.

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