A Moral Universe

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Angel Trismegistus
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Re: A Moral Universe

Post by Angel Trismegistus » September 14th, 2020, 5:33 pm

Belindi wrote:
September 14th, 2020, 11:53 am
Angel Trismegistus, life may be the primary value for you but not for some workaholics and creative geniuses for whom power, wealth, and the urge to satisfy curiosity are far more important than life or health.
More's the pity, Belindi. More's the pity.
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Re: A Moral Universe

Post by Count Lucanor » September 14th, 2020, 9:44 pm

Belindi wrote:
September 11th, 2020, 3:30 am
But If "good" were finite it would be linear not circular reasoning.
In what sense an abstract quality could be measured in the abstract?
Belindi wrote:
September 11th, 2020, 3:30 am
Finite good is therefore one of several definitions of 'God' i.e. God is not only what we tend towards but is also reality.
A god that is finite is by definition not a god. I mean, it could be any mediocre imperfect deity, but what would be the point?

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Re: A Moral Universe

Post by Belindi » September 15th, 2020, 4:03 am

Angel Trismegistus wrote:
September 14th, 2020, 5:33 pm
Belindi wrote:
September 14th, 2020, 11:53 am
Angel Trismegistus, life may be the primary value for you but not for some workaholics and creative geniuses for whom power, wealth, and the urge to satisfy curiosity are far more important than life or health.
More's the pity, Belindi. More's the pity.
But if there were no individuals who risked or sacrificed their lives and comfort for some cause greater than their own lives what sort of species would 'we' be? 'We' would not be a wise species, because 'we' would have stopped evolving long before we even became mammals.

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Re: A Moral Universe

Post by Belindi » September 15th, 2020, 4:12 am

Count Lucanor wrote:
September 14th, 2020, 9:44 pm
Belindi wrote:
September 11th, 2020, 3:30 am
But If "good" were finite it would be linear not circular reasoning.
In what sense an abstract quality could be measured in the abstract?
Belindi wrote:
September 11th, 2020, 3:30 am
Finite good is therefore one of several definitions of 'God' i.e. God is not only what we tend towards but is also reality.
A god that is finite is by definition not a god. I mean, it could be any mediocre imperfect deity, but what would be the point?
You can't measure any abstract quality until you transpose it on to extended matter. This is the rationale for the incarnation of gods. The rationale for the Incarnation of God in Jesus .

The point of making a god into a finite creature of time is, as I wrote above,so that we can know it. This process of making a tangible symbol from an abstract idea is as old as humanity itself. It's a process that extends beyond incarnation of gods to incarnations of pride, vanity, beauty, sex, capitalism, war, liberty, wisdom, and so forth

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Angel Trismegistus
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Re: A Moral Universe

Post by Angel Trismegistus » September 15th, 2020, 6:36 am

Belindi wrote:
September 15th, 2020, 4:03 am
Angel Trismegistus wrote:
September 14th, 2020, 5:33 pm

More's the pity, Belindi. More's the pity.
But if there were no individuals who risked or sacrificed their lives and comfort for some cause greater than their own lives what sort of species would 'we' be? 'We' would not be a wise species, because 'we' would have stopped evolving long before we even became mammals.
It may well be that we stopped evolving before we began, Belindi. Who knows? As for causes worth dying for, these have become rare over the last half-century, in the course of the last four or five generations, during which moral values have all but disappeared. In any case, I don't merit your "But" -- I essential agree with you.
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Re: A Moral Universe

Post by Steve3007 » September 15th, 2020, 6:58 am

Angel Trismegistus wrote:As for causes worth dying for, these have become rare over the last half-century, ...
On the face of it, if true, that would be a good thing wouldn't it?
...in the course of the last four or five generations, during which moral values have all but disappeared.
According to your idiosyncratic definition of morality, that would mean that the laws of physics have stopped being applicable, yes?

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Re: A Moral Universe

Post by Terrapin Station » September 15th, 2020, 8:51 am

Angel Trismegistus wrote:
September 15th, 2020, 6:36 am
.
Are you going to respond to my last post to you?

"Right. So for example, take this bit: 'Life is the primary value and that value is derived by Man in and through his drive to preserve his own life. Man is a rational animal and over time this value was transfered to others, to mates, family members, tribes.'

For one, how is it transferred to others?"

You don't address how it's transferred to others in that thread, and that has to do with what I'm getting at.

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Re: A Moral Universe

Post by Angel Trismegistus » September 15th, 2020, 11:43 am

Terrapin Station wrote:
September 15th, 2020, 8:51 am
Angel Trismegistus wrote:
September 15th, 2020, 6:36 am
.
Are you going to respond to my last post to you?

"Right. So for example, take this bit: 'Life is the primary value and that value is derived by Man in and through his drive to preserve his own life. Man is a rational animal and over time this value was transfered to others, to mates, family members, tribes.'

For one, how is it transferred to others?"

You don't address how it's transferred to others in that thread, and that has to do with what I'm getting at.
Possess your soul in patience, TP. Of course I'm going to respond. We're engaged in a good-faith discussion, aren't we? Not in an interrogation. I'll post a reply forthwith.
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Re: A Moral Universe

Post by Angel Trismegistus » September 15th, 2020, 12:15 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
September 14th, 2020, 2:07 pm
Angel Trismegistus wrote:
September 14th, 2020, 1:09 pm

I know what "normatives" means in the way you use it. I use it in just that way in my reply to your question. I believe I've answered your question. What makes you say I haven't even "addressed" what you're asking? I wouldn't be surprised if you said you disagree with my account, and I'm pretty certain you don't like my account, but how can you say I haven't addressed your question?
Right. So for example, take this bit: " Life is the primary value and that value is derived by Man in and through his drive to preserve his own life. Man is a rational animal and over time this value was transfered to others, to mates, family members, tribes."

For one, how is it transferred to others?
While I suspect no answer I provide will satisfy you, here is how the transfer likely went down -- by way of sympathy, empathy and other vicarious psychological mechanisms inherent to human beings, as well as social affiliation which developed from family to tribe to village to town and city in the course of ages. Cave man, aware of the value of his own life to himself, naturally, over time, recognized the same value in others by way of the ties that bind in the various stages of his social development. Cave man's fear for his own life encountered the killing of others with disgust, and the natural biological obligation to preserve his own life carried over to the obligation not to take the life of another.
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Re: A Moral Universe

Post by Angel Trismegistus » September 15th, 2020, 12:23 pm

Steve3007 wrote:
September 15th, 2020, 6:58 am
Angel Trismegistus wrote:As for causes worth dying for, these have become rare over the last half-century, ...
On the face of it, if true, that would be a good thing wouldn't it?
Would it?
...in the course of the last four or five generations, during which moral values have all but disappeared.
According to your idiosyncratic definition of morality, that would mean that the laws of physics have stopped being applicable, yes?
[/quote]
No, according to my idiosyncratic definition of morality, man is a special case to begin with, the only morally ambiguous being in the universe, whose nature (i.e., human nature, i.e., rational self-consciousness) places him outside the moral order of the universe where he operates as a free moral agent.
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Re: A Moral Universe

Post by Angel Trismegistus » September 15th, 2020, 1:05 pm

Gertie wrote:
September 14th, 2020, 4:11 pm
So we are discussing "the action-based aspect of morality" with a view to better understand Hume's Is/Ought distinction.

What would you say is the difference between these two different actions: A1 and A2?
Which action demands moral consideration? A1? A2? Both? Neither?
Of course you can't answer this without knowing more, yes?
What would you need to know about A1 and A2 in order to decide whether an Ought applies?
Hume says '' For as this ought, or ought not, expresses some new relation or affirmation,’tis necessary that it shou’d be observ’d and explain’d; ''


We agree, I think, this ''new relation'' relies on the belief that some actions carry an extra burden of obligation or justification which relates to the notion of some actions being morally right and some being morally wrong. (The term ''ought'' is used as a language signifier to identify such actions).


To directly judge whether or not a specific action itself is suitably viewed in terms of right and wrong, brings the Objective v Subjective nature of morality into play. A moral realist would say there are identifiable moral facts about the world which she could presumably refer to and list as The Answer. I'm not a moral realist, and Hume wasn't. I believe my answer, like everybody else, relies on my own specific beliefs about right and wrong. What I would need to know about any action might differ from what you would need to know. Hence I can give My Answer, but that doesn't mean it's The Answer, or there's such a thing as The Answer. My answer -

I would need to know if it positively or negatively affects the wellbeing of conscious beings, because that is the basis for my personal notion of right and wrong.
But this appeal to subjectivism pulls the rug out from under Hume's Is/Ought distinction, doesn't it? Or is Hume merely making a point for moral subjectivists in the gallery? Does Hume's thesis apply to morality per se, or only to a subjectivist morality? There is an important difference between these two statements after all:

1. Because one cannot derive an Ought from an Is, morality is subjective.
2. Because morality is subjective, one cannot derive an Ought from an Is.

#2 is a petitio principii.
#1 is a sound conclusion, but only if it has been shown that one cannot derive an Ought from an Is.

One cannot appeal to subjectivism to justify #1 without begging the question, no?

Gertie wrote:
September 14th, 2020, 4:11 pm
And about this:

Was this a Yes or No to the question?
It's a question I have to break down to answer.

We might also ask ourselves whether this pre-linguistic moral thinking is natural to man
- yes
that is to say, is this deeper-than-language moral thought sourced in human nature?
- 'moral intuitions' are, yes. But you'd have to clarify what you mean by ''thinking'' if you're asking about something else.
Or is it conditioned by the very discourse we have supposed it is deeper than?
- yes and no. These natural intuitions are conditioned as specifically ''moral'' intuitions by discourse, in the sense of given particular types of 'right and wrong framing' properties - yes.

But no they aren't the source, they are a particular framing of the intuitive source - Hume's Yuck v Yummy point.
If I read you aright, your answer is a qualified Yes, that moral thought is natural to man, sourced in human nature. The qualification has to do with a distinction you draw between moral intuition on the one hand and moral thought (intuition framed by discourse) on the other. Have I read you correctly? If so, what are these moral intuitions before they are "conditioned" by discursive framing? And whence this discursive moral framing? How do we come by this template?
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Re: A Moral Universe

Post by Terrapin Station » September 15th, 2020, 2:55 pm

Angel Trismegistus wrote:
September 15th, 2020, 12:15 pm
While I suspect no answer I provide will satisfy you, here is how the transfer likely went down -- by way of sympathy, empathy and other vicarious psychological mechanisms inherent to human beings, as well as social affiliation which developed from family to tribe to village to town and city in the course of ages. Cave man, aware of the value of his own life to himself, naturally, over time, recognized the same value in others by way of the ties that bind in the various stages of his social development. Cave man's fear for his own life encountered the killing of others with disgust, and the natural biological obligation to preserve his own life carried over to the obligation not to take the life of another.
Okay, but you know that as a trivial factual matter, not everyone has the same ethical stances, right?

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Re: A Moral Universe

Post by Angel Trismegistus » September 16th, 2020, 3:02 am

Terrapin Station wrote:
September 15th, 2020, 2:55 pm
Angel Trismegistus wrote:
September 15th, 2020, 12:15 pm
While I suspect no answer I provide will satisfy you, here is how the transfer likely went down -- by way of sympathy, empathy and other vicarious psychological mechanisms inherent to human beings, as well as social affiliation which developed from family to tribe to village to town and city in the course of ages. Cave man, aware of the value of his own life to himself, naturally, over time, recognized the same value in others by way of the ties that bind in the various stages of his social development. Cave man's fear for his own life encountered the killing of others with disgust, and the natural biological obligation to preserve his own life carried over to the obligation not to take the life of another.
Okay, but you know that as a trivial factual matter, not everyone has the same ethical stances, right?
As formulated succinctly for you in an earlier post:

Biological normativity over time became moral normativity by way of reasoning on the matter in increasingly social and culturally diverse contexts.

"A trivial factual matter" you say? Well, it is a factual hypothesis, yes; a hypothesis as to facts, yes. But trivial? Only if the moral order of the human world is a triviality to you.

And once again you introduce into the dialogue your second-favorite word (after "normatives"): stances. As pointed out to you once before,. outside the sense of physical posture, the word "stance" is figurative of a mental attitude. So when you speak of "ethical stances" you are referring to moral judgments (rather than moral principle) and yes, to be sure, as you say, "not everyone has the same ethical stances." But the diversity of moral judgments across the human moral world does not belie the principle of morality that grounds all moral judgments however diverse. That argument is made out in the thread "On Morality: a dialogue."
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Re: A Moral Universe

Post by Belindi » September 16th, 2020, 3:15 am

Angel Trismegistus wrote:
September 16th, 2020, 3:02 am
Terrapin Station wrote:
September 15th, 2020, 2:55 pm


Okay, but you know that as a trivial factual matter, not everyone has the same ethical stances, right?
As formulated succinctly for you in an earlier post:

Biological normativity over time became moral normativity by way of reasoning on the matter in increasingly social and culturally diverse contexts.

"A trivial factual matter" you say? Well, it is a factual hypothesis, yes; a hypothesis as to facts, yes. But trivial? Only if the moral order of the human world is a triviality to you.

And once again you introduce into the dialogue your second-favorite word (after "normatives"): stances. As pointed out to you once before,. outside the sense of physical posture, the word "stance" is figurative of a mental attitude. So when you speak of "ethical stances" you are referring to moral judgments (rather than moral principle) and yes, to be sure, as you say, "not everyone has the same ethical stances." But the diversity of moral judgments across the human moral world does not belie the principle of morality that grounds all moral judgments however diverse. That argument is made out in the thread "On Morality: a dialogue."
We all know that soldiers and policemen might be brutalised, and soldiers who used bayonets were deliberately brutalised so they were able to use the bayonets to kill.Is every person unable to deliberately kill another person unless they have been brutalised? If so this would fit Angel's idea of what human nature is.

What then of children who murder other smaller children? Were they born brutal, or did their social milieux make them brutal? I think there are factual answers to these questions.

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Re: A Moral Universe

Post by Gertie » September 16th, 2020, 6:21 am

Angel


We agree, I think, Hume's ''new relation'' relies on the belief that some actions carry an extra burden of obligation or justification which relates to the notion of some actions being morally right and some being morally wrong. (The term ''ought'' is used as a language signifier to identify such actions).


To directly judge whether or not a specific action itself is suitably viewed in terms of right and wrong, brings the Objective v Subjective nature of morality into play. A moral realist would say there are identifiable moral facts about the world which she could presumably refer to and list as The Answer. I'm not a moral realist, and Hume wasn't. I believe my answer, like everybody else, relies on my own specific beliefs about right and wrong. What I would need to know about any action might differ from what you would need to know. Hence I can give My Answer, but that doesn't mean it's The Answer, or there's such a thing as The Answer. My answer -

I would need to know if it positively or negatively affects the wellbeing of conscious beings, because that is the basis for my personal notion of right and wrong.
But this appeal to subjectivism pulls the rug out from under Hume's Is/Ought distinction, doesn't it? Or is Hume merely making a point for moral subjectivists in the gallery? Does Hume's thesis apply to morality per se, or only to a subjectivist morality?
Not sure I understand your objection? I introduced the term subjective, in the sense that morality isn't an objective fact about the world (we can discover through reason). Hume says moral judgements are rooted in emotional responses. Our contemporary take fills that out in terms of evolved predispositions, honed by contingent environmental factors - Nature + Nurture. So different individuals (eg from different times or cultures) might give different answers to your question. And there is not an objectively correct answer to be discovered by reasoning from facts about the world.

Here's the SEP summary of Hume's positions on morality https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/hume-moral/#io

Hume’s position in ethics, which is based on his empiricist theory of the mind, is best known for asserting four theses: (1) Reason alone cannot be a motive to the will, but rather is the “slave of the passions” (see Section 3) (2) Moral distinctions are not derived from reason (see Section 4). (3) Moral distinctions are derived from the moral sentiments: feelings of approval (esteem, praise) and disapproval (blame) felt by spectators who contemplate a character trait or action (see Section 7). (4) While some virtues and vices are natural (see Section 13), others, including justice, are artificial (see Section 9). There is heated debate about what Hume intends by each of these theses and how he argues for them. He articulates and defends them within the broader context of his metaethics and his ethic of virtue and vice.

There is an important difference between these two statements after all:
1. Because one cannot derive an Ought from an Is, morality is subjective.
2. Because morality is subjective, one cannot derive an Ought from an Is.


#2 is a petitio principii.
#1 is a sound conclusion, but only if it has been shown that one cannot derive an Ought from an Is.

One cannot appeal to subjectivism to justify #1 without begging the question, no?
1. Hume's position would be you can't get Oughts by reasoning from facts about the world (the Ises). I agree, I can't reason my way to Oughts from Ises. (That's why I say philosophy shouldn't worry about that if it wants to rescue morality from our current po-mo, subjective, relativist, pick n mix morass). It's not question begging, it's a claim that it can't be done. The counter is to do it...

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