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  1. #41
    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Charles I will ask you, what moral truth is universal and why? I'm not asking if men like Bentham or Kant think their theories are universal or should be universal but why are they actually universal. And not all ethical theories claim universality - like ethical subjectivism or ethical/moral relativism. So you are wrong on that point.
    I never made the claim that all ethical theories claim universality. I quoted Jin saying "Talk of "universal ethical rule" is a bit tautological, as when people are talking about ethics they usually do mean something universal." By saying that something is usually the case, your are not claiming that it is always the case. “Usually” does not mean “always”…
    So the statement is, quite simply, not proven wrong by well known theories that do not claim universality. Moral relativism, by the way, varies and some versions are more universal than others.

    I still think your understanding of the very basics in this context is lacking. You wrote: “I'm not asking if men like Bentham or Kant think their theories are universal or should be universal but why are they actually universal.”

    When reading this it appears you have failed to understand that they actually don’t just “think” that a specific theory is right. They are actually arguing and laying the foundation as to why they actually are right, or why they are actually universal. If you want to establish an “actually” that is not based on arguments and philosophical reasoning, then, as I wrote, your conclusion is written beforehand. Which it appears to be since you claim that both theories are subjective.

    After someone has provided a theory where they lay out the basic ideas, give an account of why it is fair, consistent, applies to everyone, is logically consistent, irrefutable and so on, the right question to ask is not why that is “actually” right. Rather one should either accept it or prove it wrong. But your need for it to be subjective seems to limit your understanding and your curiosity regarding what the theories are really about. You seem to be asking questions based on a lack of knowledge.

    As Jin pointed out it seems you repeatedly want to start all over again. And basically your question ignores very important lines of reasonings based on a wrong and limited understanding. And then you want me to start all over again. But as we have all guessed, since you can write both Kant and Bentham of claiming they are subjective (conveniently ignoring that the argue why their theories apply to everyone), since I am (surprise surprise) also a person, my destiny is bound to be the same because you don’t understand the subject matter to the degree needed.

    What you also don’t seem to understand is that your approach makes it very easy (since it is based on ignoring entire lines of reasoning) to claim a theory is subjective and then, I guess, your plan is to point to a religious foundation instead. However, even the best lines of reasoning in that regard will also be proven subjective by your very own line of thinking…

  2. #42
    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charles View Post
    I never made the claim that all ethical theories claim universality. I quoted Jin saying "Talk of "universal ethical rule" is a bit tautological, as when people are talking about ethics they usually do mean something universal." By saying that something is usually the case, your are not claiming that it is always the case. “Usually” does not mean “always”…
    So the statement is, quite simply, not proven wrong by well known theories that do not claim universality. Moral relativism, by the way, varies and some versions are more universal than others.
    And my point is that they are not necessarily speaking of universal moral truths, so it is not a tautological, not even a bit of a tautological since we would have to first know which theory we are speaking of.

    I still think your understanding of the very basics in this context is lacking. You wrote: “I'm not asking if men like Bentham or Kant think their theories are universal or should be universal but why are they actually universal.”

    When reading this it appears you have failed to understand that they actually don’t just “think” that a specific theory is right. They are actually arguing and laying the foundation as to why they actually are right, or why they are actually universal. If you want to establish an “actually” that is not based on arguments and philosophical reasoning, then, as I wrote, your conclusion is written beforehand. Which it appears to be since you claim that both theories are subjective.
    Of course they are subjective theories Charles, they completely disagree with each other. Which ethical theory is correct: Utilitarianism or Deontological ethics? They can't both be right. But I'm asking a rather basic question that no one has yet tackled or even attempted to answer. Do universal moral truths exist? How do they exist? Do universal moral goals exist? Is rape for instance a universal moral wrong?

    After someone has provided a theory where they lay out the basic ideas, give an account of why it is fair, consistent, applies to everyone, is logically consistent, irrefutable and so on, the right question to ask is not why that is “actually” right. Rather one should either accept it or prove it wrong. But your need for it to be subjective seems to limit your understanding and your curiosity regarding what the theories are really about. You seem to be asking questions based on a lack of knowledge.

    As Jin pointed out it seems you repeatedly want to start all over again. And basically your question ignores very important lines of reasonings based on a wrong and limited understanding. And then you want me to start all over again. But as we have all guessed, since you can write both Kant and Bentham of claiming they are subjective (conveniently ignoring that the argue why their theories apply to everyone), since I am (surprise surprise) also a person, my destiny is bound to be the same because you don’t understand the subject matter to the degree needed.

    What you also don’t seem to understand is that your approach makes it very easy (since it is based on ignoring entire lines of reasoning) to claim a theory is subjective and then, I guess, your plan is to point to a religious foundation instead. However, even the best lines of reasoning in that regard will also be proven subjective by your very own line of thinking…
    Charles there are a number of different moral theories, too many to wade through here, or even to compare. Yes Kant and Bentham claim that their theories apply to everyone but they are in contradiction, and claiming universality does not make it is so, even if the theories are logically consistent. And don't get me wrong, the subjective mind can grasp and understand universal truths. The sun exists, that is a universal truth (at least for the present, until it dies). I'm asking if anyone here can demonstrate that it is a universal truth that rape for instance is wrong, or any universal moral truth. Instead of answering these questions directly all you and Jin have done was to hand wave, use personal attacks and blow smoke.
    "We can understand hell in its aspect of privation. All your life an unattainable ecstasy has hovered just beyond the grasp of your consciousness. The day is coming when you will wake to find, beyond all hope, that you have attained it, or else, that it was within your reach and you have lost it forever.” C.S. Lewis

  3. #43
    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Of course they are subjective theories Charles, they completely disagree with each other. Which ethical theory is correct: Utilitarianism or Deontological ethics? They can't both be right. But I'm asking a rather basic question that no one has yet tackled or even attempted to answer. Do universal moral truths exist? How do they exist? Do universal moral goals exist? Is rape for instance a universal moral wrong?
    So, if two theories claim universality and they conflict then it follows that they are both subjective? That is how I read it. Could it be that the correct statement would be that since they contradict each other, they cannot both be right? Or they cannot both be completely right? You seem to not allow for one of them to be correct due to the fact that the other exists. Due to that logic, I can turn any theory into a subjective theory quite fast. If that is your position, then again, your conclusion is given beforehand. You need to dig in to the theories in order to understand the reasoning. If you think it is possible for at least one of them to be right and universal, then why would you claim they are both subjective? So quite simple question. Is a theory subjective solely based on the fact that conflicting theories exist? If not, then why do you claim they are both subjective due to the fact that the conflict?

    By asking whether moral truths exist you may be asking a basic question. That does not mean that the answer is easily given. So far you have been setting up conditions under which it is ruled out beforehand that an answer can be given, since you seem to imply that as long as others think different, it cannot be universal. That might be the reason no one has bothered trying to go through all the lines of reasoning. You are turning a difficult task into an impossible task in order to prove that those with whom you disagre cannot come up with anything. I am quite happy to find myself in that category along with Kant and other great philosophers. I mean, honestly, no one is going to waste their time when the conclusion is given beforehand.

    But I do believe moral truths exist and I think Kant's deontological ethics gets you quite far though I do not follow him in his each and every move. But since you know Kant's ethics you can start out by explaining why it is not universal and why you are confused as to whether rape is universally wrong, why you have claimed that killing of homosexuals could be just and so on. I mean, we both know what Kant thinks, no need to repeat that. And it appears you seem to think you have some great alternative to all these ethical theories. Let us hear....

    I basically do not think that there is much point to this thread only pointing to "secular ethichs" since it seems you do not want to justify your own view but call everything "subjective" if it is not based upon religion. Neither do I believe secular people face a challenge different to the one that religious people face, unless they are religious extremist. I am already writing some stuff on that which I will publish when ready.

  4. #44
    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charles View Post
    So, if two theories claim universality and they conflict then it follows that they are both subjective? That is how I read it. Could it be that the correct statement would be that since they contradict each other, they cannot both be right? Or they cannot both be completely right? You seem to not allow for one of them to be correct due to the fact that the other exists. Due to that logic, I can turn any theory into a subjective theory quite fast. If that is your position, then again, your conclusion is given beforehand. You need to dig in to the theories in order to understand the reasoning. If you think it is possible for at least one of them to be right and universal, then why would you claim they are both subjective? So quite simple question. Is a theory subjective solely based on the fact that conflicting theories exist? If not, then why do you claim they are both subjective due to the fact that the conflict?
    Charles, perhaps I'm not making myself clear. They are subjective until one can demonstrate otherwise. I have no reason to assume that either or any of these theories actually get to universal moral truths. On what basis could that actually be so? Give me an idea.

    By asking whether moral truths exist you may be asking a basic question. That does not mean that the answer is easily given. So far you have been setting up conditions under which it is ruled out beforehand that an answer can be given, since you seem to imply that as long as others think different, it cannot be universal. That might be the reason no one has bothered trying to go through all the lines of reasoning. You are turning a difficult task into an impossible task in order to prove that those with whom you disagre cannot come up with anything. I am quite happy to find myself in that category along with Kant and other great philosophers. I mean, honestly, no one is going to waste their time when the conclusion is given beforehand.
    I'm not ruling anything out Charles, I'm asking for an explanation. Here is an exercise: If an advanced Alien race came to earth and began harvesting us for food, would that be a moral wrong? A universal moral wrong? And why?

    But I do believe moral truths exist and I think Kant's deontological ethics gets you quite far though I do not follow him in his each and every move. But since you know Kant's ethics you can start out by explaining why it is not universal and why you are confused as to whether rape is universally wrong, why you have claimed that killing of homosexuals could be just and so on. I mean, we both know what Kant thinks, no need to repeat that. And it appears you seem to think you have some great alternative to all these ethical theories. Let us hear....
    No Charles, stop trying to turn it around. And again Charles I'm asking you and Jin for an explanation - not Kant. I mean if it really is so difficult to preset just one universal moral truth perhaps it is because you can't. And yes, deontological ethics married with Divine Command Theory can offer a source for universal moral truths since God is universal.
    "We can understand hell in its aspect of privation. All your life an unattainable ecstasy has hovered just beyond the grasp of your consciousness. The day is coming when you will wake to find, beyond all hope, that you have attained it, or else, that it was within your reach and you have lost it forever.” C.S. Lewis

  5. #45
    tWebber
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    I am leaving this thread since I see no reason for me to write my thoughts under conditions set by someone who does not want to contribute himself.

    I am planning to write more stuff on ethics and have already started a new thread today, so if anyone has any interest feel free to join.

  6. #46
    tWebber Carrikature's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jin-roh View Post
    Seer, under the definition you have proffered for 'subjective' and how I think you understand 'ethics', there are no ethical questions (secular, religious or whatever) that are not subjective.
    Nailed it. You can sum up seer's perspective on ethics in a very simple sentence: All morality is subjective, but God is big enough to make the punishment stick so you better obey.
    I'm not here anymore.

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  8. #47
    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carrikature View Post
    Nailed it. You can sum up seer's perspective on ethics in a very simple sentence: All morality is subjective, but God is big enough to make the punishment stick so you better obey.
    No Carrikature it is about whether we live in a just and moral universe or an amoral, unjust universe, and whether there are universal moral truths.
    Last edited by seer; 06-16-2017 at 11:00 AM.
    "We can understand hell in its aspect of privation. All your life an unattainable ecstasy has hovered just beyond the grasp of your consciousness. The day is coming when you will wake to find, beyond all hope, that you have attained it, or else, that it was within your reach and you have lost it forever.” C.S. Lewis

  9. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    No Carrikature it is about whether we live in a just and moral universe or an amoral, unjust universe, and whether there are universal moral truths.
    How is that remotely related to what I said? No one asked what it's about. It's not as if 'what it's about' is somehow different for other people. All you've done is state the basic point of moral philosophy.
    I'm not here anymore.

  10. #49
    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Are secular ethics based on anything other than opinion? Personal or collective? And is any opinion more valid or correct than its opposite? One request in this thread - please don't argue by web link or by cutting and pasting from other people's works. Use your own words.
    I believe so, yes, ethics are more than just opinion. Ethics encompasses both the individual and the collective, because without the individuals, a collective makes no sense, and without the collective, ethics makes no sense. With regard to your second question, if ethics are not just opinion, which in my opinion they are not, then one persons opinion can be more valid than anothers, but only if he is of the correct opinion.
    Last edited by JimL; 06-17-2017 at 04:31 AM.

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