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Is the objectivity of morality relevant if human actions are determined?

 
Harold
 
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Harold
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03 August 2017 15:31
 

Sam holds the view that human actions are determined and thus free will does not exist. He dismisses the compatibilist approaches to free will proposed by Dennett. Moreover, in the free will book he urges the society to reject retributive justice since humans do not have free will and rather implement punishments on utilitarian principles. In the moral landscape, he writes in favor of the existence of objective moral values advancing moral naturalism. Many supporters of objective morality do not like the notion that people cannot be condemned for their actions on the basis that they did not have free will. The question arises, is it possible to have a framework of objective morality without taking moral responsibility seriously? Moreover, even if one demonstrates the existence of objective morality what significance does that have if human actions are determined?

[ Edited: 03 August 2017 15:44 by Harold]
 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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Antisocialdarwinist
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04 August 2017 16:42
 
Yaqub - 03 August 2017 03:31 PM

Sam holds the view that human actions are determined and thus free will does not exist. He dismisses the compatibilist approaches to free will proposed by Dennett. Moreover, in the free will book he urges the society to reject retributive justice since humans do not have free will and rather implement punishments on utilitarian principles. In the moral landscape, he writes in favor of the existence of objective moral values advancing moral naturalism. Many supporters of objective morality do not like the notion that people cannot be condemned for their actions on the basis that they did not have free will. The question arises, is it possible to have a framework of objective morality without taking moral responsibility seriously? Moreover, even if one demonstrates the existence of objective morality what significance does that have if human actions are determined?

None that I can see.

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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04 August 2017 19:52
 

I would not submits Sam’s case as particularly strong on this issue but I think there are arguments worth considering.

Emmanuel Levinas thought that moral value could be experienced in a way analogous to colors or flavors. Most of us, I think can relate to ‘feeling good’. This roots moral goods in experience. Now this doesn’t give us any kind of legalistic morality but it does potentially define some operative spectrums that do not depend on free agency. We can notice the way in which our experience informs concepts like guilt or compassion or duty. We can reflect on how well our aesthetic experience of these things corresponds to a purely conceptual understand of human transactions.

Also, we can understand the practical function of evolved moral systems within the context of history. We can affirm our own desire to survive and prosper (probably) and notice that there are reliable ways to fail. We can notice that human beings are social. Most importantly, I think we can examine our own fundamental conviction regarding personal obligations to others. Most of us, I think chose to act out of kindness and solidarity to get through our day. We can choose to describe this as purely pragmatic but I think we notice the difference when a psychopath acts in a pragmatic way that harms other people.

I think any approach you take becomes extremely complicated but I find it repays the study. I believe ethics is first philosophy and underlies most any other course of study we might engage in.

 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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05 August 2017 15:01
 
Brick Bungalow - 04 August 2017 07:52 PM

I would not submits Sam’s case as particularly strong on this issue but I think there are arguments worth considering.

Emmanuel Levinas thought that moral value could be experienced in a way analogous to colors or flavors. Most of us, I think can relate to ‘feeling good’. This roots moral goods in experience.

Sure, certain behavior makes us “feel good” and certain behavior makes us “feel bad.” That much is fact. But the specific behavior that makes us “feel good” or “feel bad” is determined by culture. People who’ve been raised to believe that stoning adulteresses is “right” feel good stoning an adulteress. People who’ve been raised to believe that stoning adulteresses is “wrong” would presumably feel bad, stoning an adulteress. So the idea that certain behavior is objectively right or wrong based on what makes us “feel good” or “feel bad” ends up with mutually exclusive claims both being true: stoning adulteresses is both right and wrong.

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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05 August 2017 23:16
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 05 August 2017 03:01 PM
Brick Bungalow - 04 August 2017 07:52 PM

I would not submits Sam’s case as particularly strong on this issue but I think there are arguments worth considering.

Emmanuel Levinas thought that moral value could be experienced in a way analogous to colors or flavors. Most of us, I think can relate to ‘feeling good’. This roots moral goods in experience.

Sure, certain behavior makes us “feel good” and certain behavior makes us “feel bad.” That much is fact. But the specific behavior that makes us “feel good” or “feel bad” is determined by culture. People who’ve been raised to believe that stoning adulteresses is “right” feel good stoning an adulteress. People who’ve been raised to believe that stoning adulteresses is “wrong” would presumably feel bad, stoning an adulteress. So the idea that certain behavior is objectively right or wrong based on what makes us “feel good” or “feel bad” ends up with mutually exclusive claims both being true: stoning adulteresses is both right and wrong.

Nah.

You are reaching past the necessary conclusions toward prescriptive relativism and subsequently gross relativism. In other words, you are trying too hard to defeat the premise that moral value is a real thing. I don’t make the case for strong moral realism in the sense of theism but morality isn’t absolutely relative either. Presumably you would affirm that your own statement is accurate or you would not have made it. This could not be the case without an ethic of truth. If truth were arbitrary no argument of any kind would have meaning. There is a large and increasing set of cultural universals. Stoning adulteresses is a rapidly diminishing practice. I would agree that most moral questions are murky and paradoxical and difficult but this isn’t the same as being arbitrary. Reducing it to ‘culture’ is essentially an argument from ignorance. It just pushes the question back.

Human endeavors are value laden and rely upon an ethical structure. We can’t make scientific or social or artistic progress without a consensus of principle.

 

[ Edited: 05 August 2017 23:19 by Brick Bungalow]
 
SkepticX
 
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06 August 2017 07:01
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 05 August 2017 03:01 PM

Sure, certain behavior makes us “feel good” and certain behavior makes us “feel bad.” That much is fact. But the specific behavior that makes us “feel good” or “feel bad” is determined by culture. People who’ve been raised to believe that stoning adulteresses is “right” feel good stoning an adulteress. People who’ve been raised to believe that stoning adulteresses is “wrong” would presumably feel bad, stoning an adulteress. So the idea that certain behavior is objectively right or wrong based on what makes us “feel good” or “feel bad” ends up with mutually exclusive claims both being true: stoning adulteresses is both right and wrong.


Do you really think it’s that simple? That there’s no physiological aspect to these things in social species at all?

[ Edited: 06 August 2017 10:40 by SkepticX]
 
 
unsmoked
 
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unsmoked
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06 August 2017 10:18
 
SkepticX - 06 August 2017 07:01 AM
Antisocialdarwinist - 05 August 2017 03:01 PM
Brick Bungalow - 04 August 2017 07:52 PM

Sure, certain behavior makes us “feel good” and certain behavior makes us “feel bad.” That much is fact. But the specific behavior that makes us “feel good” or “feel bad” is determined by culture. People who’ve been raised to believe that stoning adulteresses is “right” feel good stoning an adulteress. People who’ve been raised to believe that stoning adulteresses is “wrong” would presumably feel bad, stoning an adulteress. So the idea that certain behavior is objectively right or wrong based on what makes us “feel good” or “feel bad” ends up with mutually exclusive claims both being true: stoning adulteresses is both right and wrong.


Do you really think it’s that simple? That there’s no physiological aspect to these things in social species at all?

Judging by the reviews, I think those of us interested in this topic would enjoy this book:

https://www.amazon.com/Behave-Biology-Humans-Best-Worst/dp/1594205078

Review
“It’s no exaggeration to say that Behave is one of the best nonfiction books I’ve ever read.” —David P. Barash, The Wall Street Journal

“A quirky, opinionated and magisterial synthesis of psychology and neurobiology that integrates this complex subject more accessibly and completely than ever…. a wild and mind-opening ride into a better understanding of just where our behavior comes from. Darwin would have been thrilled.” —Richard Wrangham, The New York Times Book Review

“[Sapolskly’s] new book is his magnum opus, but is also strikingly different from his earlier work, veering sharply toward hard science as it looms myriad strands of his ruminations on human behavior. The familiar, enchanting Sapolsky tropes are here—his warm, witty voice, a sleight of hand that unfolds the mysteries of cognition—but Behave keeps the bar high. . . . A stunning achievement and an invaluable addition to the canon of scientific literature, certain to kindle debate for years to come.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune

“A monumental contribution to the scientific understanding of human behavior that belongs on every bookshelf and many a course syllabus . . . It is a magnificent culmination of integrative thinking, on par with similar authoritative works, such as Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel and Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of Our Nature.” —Michael Shermer, American Scholar

“Behave is the best detective story ever written, and the most important. If you’ve ever wondered why someone did something—good or bad, vicious or generous—you need to read this book. If you think you already know why people behave as they do, you need to read this book. In other words, everybody needs to read it. It should be available on prescription (side effects: chronic laughter; highly addictive). They should put Behave in hotel rooms instead of the Bible: the world would be a much better, wiser place” —Kate Fox, author of Watching the English

“Magisterial . . . This extraordinary survey of the science of human behaviour takes the reader on an epic journey . . . Sapolsky makes the book consistently entertaining, with an infectious excitement at the puzzles he explains . . . a miraculous synthesis of scholarly domains.” —Steven Poole, The Guardian

Rarely does an almost 800-page book keep my attention from start to finish, but
“If anyone can save evolutionary biology from TED talkers and pop-science fabulists, it might be Sapolsky…. Behave ranges at great length from moral philosophy to social science, genetics to Sapolsky’s home turf of neurons and hormones—but all of it is aimed squarely at the question of why humans are so awful to each other, and whether the condition is terminal.” —Vulture

“Robert Sapolsky’s students must love him. In Behave, the primatologist, neurologist and science communicator writes like a teacher: witty, erudite and passionate about clear communication. You feel like a lucky auditor in a fast-paced undergraduate course, where the implications of fascinating scientific findings are illuminated through topical stories and pop-culture allusions.” —Nature

“Sapolsky’s book shows in exquisite detail how culture, context and learning shape everything our genes, brains, hormones and neurons do.” —Times Literary Supplement

“Behave is like a great historical novel, with excellent prose and encyclopedic detail. It traces the most important story that can ever be told.” —Edward O. Wilson

“Truly all-encompassing . . . detailed, accessible, fascinating.” —The Telegraph

“A wide-ranging, learned survey of all the making-us-tick things that, for better or worse, define us as human…. An exemplary work of popular science, challenging but accessible.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred

“[Sapolsky] weaves science storytelling with humor….[His] big ideas deserve a wide audience and will likely shape thinking for some time.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“[Sapolsky] does an excellent job of bringing together the expansive literature of thousands of fascinating studies with clarity and humor….A tour-de-force.” —Library Journal (starred review)

“Sapolsky finds not the high moral drama of the soul choosing good or evil but rather down-to-earth biology….a remarkably encyclopedic survey of the sciences illuminating human conduct.”
—Booklist(starred review)

“Read Robert Sapolsky’s marvelous book Behave and you’ll never again be surprised by the range and depth of our own bad behavior. We all carry the potential for unconscious biases, to be damaged by our childhoods and map that damage onto our own loved ones, and to form the tribal ‘Us’ groups that treat outsiders as lesser ‘Thems.’ But to read this book is also, marvelously, to be given the hope that we have much more control of those behaviors than we think. And Behave gives us more than hope—it gives us the knowledge of how to act on that aspiration, to manifest more of our best selves and less of our worst, individually and as a society. That’s very good news indeed.”  —Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit and Smarter Faster Better

“As wide as it is deep, this book is colorful, electrifying, and moving. Sapolsky leverages his deep expertise to ask the most fundamental questions about being human—from acts of hate to acts of love, from our compulsion to dehumanize to our capacity to rehumanize.” —David Eagleman, PhD, neuroscientist at Stanford, author, presenter of PBS’s The Brain

“Behave is a beautifully crafted work about the biology of morality. Sapolsky makes multiple passes at the target, using different time scales and systems. He shows you how all the perspectives and systems connect, and he makes you laugh and marvel along the way. Sapolsky is not just a leading primatologist; he’s a great writer and a superb guide to human nature.” —Jonathan Haidt, New York University, author of The Righteous Mind

“This is a miraculous book, by far the best treatment of violence, aggression, and competition ever.  It ranges from how neurons and hormones interact, how emotions are an essential part of decision making, why adolescents are more likely to be violent than adults, why genes influence cultures and vice-versa, and the ins and outs of “we versus them,” all the way to “live and let live” truces in World War I and the My Lai massacre.  Its depth and breadth of scholarship are amazing, building on Sapolsky’s own research and his vast knowledge of the neurobiology, genetic, and behavioral literature.  For instance, Behave includes fair evaluations of complex debates (like over sociobiology) that I was involved in, and tackles controversial questions such as whether our hunter-gatherer ancestors warred on each other.  He even takes on “free will” with a clarity usually absent from the writings of philosophers on the subject. All this is done brilliantly with a light and funny touch that shows why Sapolsky is recognized as one of the greatest teachers in science today.” —Paul R. Ehrlich, author of Human Natures

Read more
About the Author
Robert M. Sapolsky is the author of several works of nonfiction, including A Primate’s Memoir, The Trouble with Testosterone, and Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers. He is a professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University and the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation genius grant. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, two children and dogs.

[ Edited: 06 August 2017 10:20 by unsmoked]
 
 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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Antisocialdarwinist
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06 August 2017 12:31
 
SkepticX - 06 August 2017 07:01 AM
Antisocialdarwinist - 05 August 2017 03:01 PM

Sure, certain behavior makes us “feel good” and certain behavior makes us “feel bad.” That much is fact. But the specific behavior that makes us “feel good” or “feel bad” is determined by culture. People who’ve been raised to believe that stoning adulteresses is “right” feel good stoning an adulteress. People who’ve been raised to believe that stoning adulteresses is “wrong” would presumably feel bad, stoning an adulteress. So the idea that certain behavior is objectively right or wrong based on what makes us “feel good” or “feel bad” ends up with mutually exclusive claims both being true: stoning adulteresses is both right and wrong.


Do you really think it’s that simple? That there’s no physiological aspect to these things in social species at all?

Absent any environmental influence, we’d end up holding the values with which we’re pre-programmed. But “pre-programmed” doesn’t amount to “hard-wired,” at least not in the human social species.

 
 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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Antisocialdarwinist
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06 August 2017 12:46
 
Brick Bungalow - 05 August 2017 11:16 PM
Antisocialdarwinist - 05 August 2017 03:01 PM
Brick Bungalow - 04 August 2017 07:52 PM

I would not submits Sam’s case as particularly strong on this issue but I think there are arguments worth considering.

Emmanuel Levinas thought that moral value could be experienced in a way analogous to colors or flavors. Most of us, I think can relate to ‘feeling good’. This roots moral goods in experience.

Sure, certain behavior makes us “feel good” and certain behavior makes us “feel bad.” That much is fact. But the specific behavior that makes us “feel good” or “feel bad” is determined by culture. People who’ve been raised to believe that stoning adulteresses is “right” feel good stoning an adulteress. People who’ve been raised to believe that stoning adulteresses is “wrong” would presumably feel bad, stoning an adulteress. So the idea that certain behavior is objectively right or wrong based on what makes us “feel good” or “feel bad” ends up with mutually exclusive claims both being true: stoning adulteresses is both right and wrong.

Nah.

You are reaching past the necessary conclusions toward prescriptive relativism and subsequently gross relativism. In other words, you are trying too hard to defeat the premise that moral value is a real thing. I don’t make the case for strong moral realism in the sense of theism but morality isn’t absolutely relative either. Presumably you would affirm that your own statement is accurate or you would not have made it. This could not be the case without an ethic of truth. If truth were arbitrary no argument of any kind would have meaning. There is a large and increasing set of cultural universals. Stoning adulteresses is a rapidly diminishing practice. I would agree that most moral questions are murky and paradoxical and difficult but this isn’t the same as being arbitrary. Reducing it to ‘culture’ is essentially an argument from ignorance. It just pushes the question back.

Human endeavors are value laden and rely upon an ethical structure. We can’t make scientific or social or artistic progress without a consensus of principle.

Depends on what you mean by “moral value.” Of course moral values are real things, just like the belief in Santa Claus is a real thing. It’s rightness and wrongness—and Santa himself—that aren’t.

The practice of stoning adulteresses is diminishing because our environment is changing, not because we’re somehow converging on objective values. “Enlightened” values are made possible by a high standard of living. When Global Warming sends us all back to the stone age, we’ll all be stoning adulteresses again.

The ethic of truth is not the same as truth itself. Truth would be truth with or without an ethic of truth. Without an ethic of truth, our perception of truth would be arbitrary—not truth itself.

 
 
SkepticX
 
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06 August 2017 13:12
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 06 August 2017 12:31 PM
SkepticX - 06 August 2017 07:01 AM
Antisocialdarwinist - 05 August 2017 03:01 PM

Sure, certain behavior makes us “feel good” and certain behavior makes us “feel bad.” That much is fact. But the specific behavior that makes us “feel good” or “feel bad” is determined by culture. People who’ve been raised to believe that stoning adulteresses is “right” feel good stoning an adulteress. People who’ve been raised to believe that stoning adulteresses is “wrong” would presumably feel bad, stoning an adulteress. So the idea that certain behavior is objectively right or wrong based on what makes us “feel good” or “feel bad” ends up with mutually exclusive claims both being true: stoning adulteresses is both right and wrong.


Do you really think it’s that simple? That there’s no physiological aspect to these things in social species at all?

Absent any environmental influence, we’d end up holding the values with which we’re pre-programmed. But “pre-programmed” doesn’t amount to “hard-wired,” at least not in the human social species.


Part of our wiring is communal—we create communities of environmental influence. We’re also very smart (relatively speaking) and to at least some extent, apparently rather variable, we can choose our investments. What does your view say about those influences?

[ Edited: 06 August 2017 13:19 by SkepticX]
 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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Brick Bungalow
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06 August 2017 17:31
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 06 August 2017 12:46 PM
Brick Bungalow - 05 August 2017 11:16 PM
Antisocialdarwinist - 05 August 2017 03:01 PM
Brick Bungalow - 04 August 2017 07:52 PM

I would not submits Sam’s case as particularly strong on this issue but I think there are arguments worth considering.

Emmanuel Levinas thought that moral value could be experienced in a way analogous to colors or flavors. Most of us, I think can relate to ‘feeling good’. This roots moral goods in experience.

Sure, certain behavior makes us “feel good” and certain behavior makes us “feel bad.” That much is fact. But the specific behavior that makes us “feel good” or “feel bad” is determined by culture. People who’ve been raised to believe that stoning adulteresses is “right” feel good stoning an adulteress. People who’ve been raised to believe that stoning adulteresses is “wrong” would presumably feel bad, stoning an adulteress. So the idea that certain behavior is objectively right or wrong based on what makes us “feel good” or “feel bad” ends up with mutually exclusive claims both being true: stoning adulteresses is both right and wrong.

Nah.

You are reaching past the necessary conclusions toward prescriptive relativism and subsequently gross relativism. In other words, you are trying too hard to defeat the premise that moral value is a real thing. I don’t make the case for strong moral realism in the sense of theism but morality isn’t absolutely relative either. Presumably you would affirm that your own statement is accurate or you would not have made it. This could not be the case without an ethic of truth. If truth were arbitrary no argument of any kind would have meaning. There is a large and increasing set of cultural universals. Stoning adulteresses is a rapidly diminishing practice. I would agree that most moral questions are murky and paradoxical and difficult but this isn’t the same as being arbitrary. Reducing it to ‘culture’ is essentially an argument from ignorance. It just pushes the question back.

Human endeavors are value laden and rely upon an ethical structure. We can’t make scientific or social or artistic progress without a consensus of principle.

Depends on what you mean by “moral value.” Of course moral values are real things, just like the belief in Santa Claus is a real thing. It’s rightness and wrongness—and Santa himself—that aren’t.

The practice of stoning adulteresses is diminishing because our environment is changing, not because we’re somehow converging on objective values. “Enlightened” values are made possible by a high standard of living. When Global Warming sends us all back to the stone age, we’ll all be stoning adulteresses again.

The ethic of truth is not the same as truth itself. Truth would be truth with or without an ethic of truth. Without an ethic of truth, our perception of truth would be arbitrary—not truth itself.

I suppose I can agree that there not absolute prescriptions and prohibitions available to us at this phase in history. I disagree if you are claiming that all prescriptions are arbitrary. If you are saying that ‘stoning is good’ holds the same value as ‘stoning is bad’ I need to disagree. Even if we decline to take sides they can’t be equal on any specific continuum because they contradict each other.

More significantly, there is simply no escaping the prescriptive inference of most any sentence we can utter. There is a pregnant moral value in all of our transactions. However relative morality may be we are engaged at all times.

 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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Antisocialdarwinist
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06 August 2017 21:05
 
SkepticX - 06 August 2017 01:12 PM
Antisocialdarwinist - 06 August 2017 12:31 PM
SkepticX - 06 August 2017 07:01 AM
Antisocialdarwinist - 05 August 2017 03:01 PM

Sure, certain behavior makes us “feel good” and certain behavior makes us “feel bad.” That much is fact. But the specific behavior that makes us “feel good” or “feel bad” is determined by culture. People who’ve been raised to believe that stoning adulteresses is “right” feel good stoning an adulteress. People who’ve been raised to believe that stoning adulteresses is “wrong” would presumably feel bad, stoning an adulteress. So the idea that certain behavior is objectively right or wrong based on what makes us “feel good” or “feel bad” ends up with mutually exclusive claims both being true: stoning adulteresses is both right and wrong.


Do you really think it’s that simple? That there’s no physiological aspect to these things in social species at all?

Absent any environmental influence, we’d end up holding the values with which we’re pre-programmed. But “pre-programmed” doesn’t amount to “hard-wired,” at least not in the human social species.


Part of our wiring is communal—we create communities of environmental influence. We’re also very smart (relatively speaking) and to at least some extent, apparently rather variable, we can choose our investments. What does your view say about those influences?

I think those influences override whatever we come “pre-programmed” with.

 
 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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Antisocialdarwinist
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06 August 2017 21:13
 
Brick Bungalow - 06 August 2017 05:31 PM
Antisocialdarwinist - 06 August 2017 12:46 PM
Brick Bungalow - 05 August 2017 11:16 PM
Antisocialdarwinist - 05 August 2017 03:01 PM
Brick Bungalow - 04 August 2017 07:52 PM

I would not submits Sam’s case as particularly strong on this issue but I think there are arguments worth considering.

Emmanuel Levinas thought that moral value could be experienced in a way analogous to colors or flavors. Most of us, I think can relate to ‘feeling good’. This roots moral goods in experience.

Sure, certain behavior makes us “feel good” and certain behavior makes us “feel bad.” That much is fact. But the specific behavior that makes us “feel good” or “feel bad” is determined by culture. People who’ve been raised to believe that stoning adulteresses is “right” feel good stoning an adulteress. People who’ve been raised to believe that stoning adulteresses is “wrong” would presumably feel bad, stoning an adulteress. So the idea that certain behavior is objectively right or wrong based on what makes us “feel good” or “feel bad” ends up with mutually exclusive claims both being true: stoning adulteresses is both right and wrong.

Nah.

You are reaching past the necessary conclusions toward prescriptive relativism and subsequently gross relativism. In other words, you are trying too hard to defeat the premise that moral value is a real thing. I don’t make the case for strong moral realism in the sense of theism but morality isn’t absolutely relative either. Presumably you would affirm that your own statement is accurate or you would not have made it. This could not be the case without an ethic of truth. If truth were arbitrary no argument of any kind would have meaning. There is a large and increasing set of cultural universals. Stoning adulteresses is a rapidly diminishing practice. I would agree that most moral questions are murky and paradoxical and difficult but this isn’t the same as being arbitrary. Reducing it to ‘culture’ is essentially an argument from ignorance. It just pushes the question back.

Human endeavors are value laden and rely upon an ethical structure. We can’t make scientific or social or artistic progress without a consensus of principle.

Depends on what you mean by “moral value.” Of course moral values are real things, just like the belief in Santa Claus is a real thing. It’s rightness and wrongness—and Santa himself—that aren’t.

The practice of stoning adulteresses is diminishing because our environment is changing, not because we’re somehow converging on objective values. “Enlightened” values are made possible by a high standard of living. When Global Warming sends us all back to the stone age, we’ll all be stoning adulteresses again.

The ethic of truth is not the same as truth itself. Truth would be truth with or without an ethic of truth. Without an ethic of truth, our perception of truth would be arbitrary—not truth itself.

I suppose I can agree that there not absolute prescriptions and prohibitions available to us at this phase in history. I disagree if you are claiming that all prescriptions are arbitrary. If you are saying that ‘stoning is good’ holds the same value as ‘stoning is bad’ I need to disagree. Even if we decline to take sides they can’t be equal on any specific continuum because they contradict each other.

More significantly, there is simply no escaping the prescriptive inference of most any sentence we can utter. There is a pregnant moral value in all of our transactions. However relative morality may be we are engaged at all times.

Is “arbitrary” synonymous with “subjective” or “relative?” Is “absolute” synonymous with “objective?” And what does it mean to say that one value “holds the same value” as another?

“Stoning is good” and “stoning is bad” exist along their own separate, equally subjective, non-arbitrary continuums. Depending on what “continuum” you mean.

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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08 August 2017 08:53
 

Yes, but if every continuum… if every structure of standards is ultimately equivalent then scientific conclusions are just as relative as moral conclusions are they not? You might like empirical evidence, repeat-ability and predictive power but I might like group affirmation, ancient texts and personal revelation. Whose to say which standard is correct?

Morality is relative but so is everything else.

 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
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08 August 2017 10:13
 
Brick Bungalow - 08 August 2017 08:53 AM

Yes, but if every continuum… if every structure of standards is ultimately equivalent then scientific conclusions are just as relative as moral conclusions are they not? You might like empirical evidence, repeat-ability and predictive power but I might like group affirmation, ancient texts and personal revelation. Whose to say which standard is correct?

Morality is relative but so is everything else.

I think you’re conflating the perception of a thing with the thing itself. Our perception, or understanding, of everything is relative, but it doesn’t follow that everything is relative. As Philip Dick said, “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” The earth orbited the sun even when everyone believed it was the other way round. Stoning adulteresses, on the other hand, is only wrong because people believe it’s wrong.

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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08 August 2017 12:57
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 08 August 2017 10:13 AM
Brick Bungalow - 08 August 2017 08:53 AM

Yes, but if every continuum… if every structure of standards is ultimately equivalent then scientific conclusions are just as relative as moral conclusions are they not? You might like empirical evidence, repeat-ability and predictive power but I might like group affirmation, ancient texts and personal revelation. Whose to say which standard is correct?

Morality is relative but so is everything else.

I think you’re conflating the perception of a thing with the thing itself. Our perception, or understanding, of everything is relative, but it doesn’t follow that everything is relative. As Philip Dick said, “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.” The earth orbited the sun even when everyone believed it was the other way round. Stoning adulteresses, on the other hand, is only wrong because people believe it’s wrong.

Oh sorry, I’m not making the affirmative claim. I should have quoted. I’m following the line of reasoning about equivalent continuums of justification. I don’t actually believe that all understanding reduces this way but thats a whole thread in itself.

This was specifically concerning free will and morality.

 
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