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Thread: Atheism And Moral Progress

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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    "Good" is a value judgment. It requires a valuer. "Right" is likewise a value judgment. It requires a valuer. If you want to understand how morality is subjective, start there. How do you go about determining if something is "good?" You will find that you end up at your own valuing. Good is not a concept "out there" somewhere. It is an assessment you make based on criteria you have. A thing is not "good" - it is "good for X."
    "Blue" is a color. It requires a viewer. It is too simplistic to say that blue is 'in here', ie in the visual apparatus of an organism. It is both 'in here' and 'out there'. No simple story can account for it.



    I have to admit I am always slightly amused to have a form of morality that no one can demonstrate actually exists called "moral realism."
    How much do you know about it? Not much, from what I can tell from our exchanges. Maybe if you learned a little more about it, you'd be better qualified to say.



    By the criteria of the evaluator, whatever that might be.
    It's the evaluator's only because it happens to be occurring in his or her mind. If it's a logical argument, it's not a subjective criterion except trivially in the way that 1+1=2 would be subjective if I happen to think it.



    Yes.
    Doesn't tell us anything, once again. "E-MC2" was something Einstein valued but it wasn't strictly subjective.



    Then my moral framework will likely shift. This happens all the time.
    Yes, and it can always shift in the future. When is it ever your true moral framework, because it can always shift again?



    No. I am in the realm of valuing differently. It's analogous to my wife's experience with sushi. She tried it and hated it. It was "awful." It was "bad." I took her back and started her slowly on California Rolls and other cooked sushi, then slowly introduced her to new tastes and flavors. Now she is a sushi lover and it is "great" and "good." That doesn't make her assessment "objective." It means her taste changed
    Yeah, that's taste, which is kind of a bad example. Taste isn't normative. We were talking about reasons, I thought. Taste is what I am saying you're trying to reduce morality to. Tastes can change, but how can reasons-based action change, assuming that you think that morality falls under that category?



    This is like asking "why prefer the good thing?" The question is backwards. What we are drawn to and find happiness we call good because we are drawn to it or see value/benefit in it. What we see as actions that protect/enhance/support what we most deeply value we call "moral" and naturally choose those actions.
    No, it's like asking "What is the good thing?" Is it self-interest? Is it virtue? What is virtue? Can we know? It's not nearly as simple as you make it. Morality isn't just looking at what we're drawn to and saying "Yep, that's all there is to it." It's normative as well. It's about valuing rightly. That's what made me think maybe you're a Randian, no offense.



    That is a different question. We generally follow the law because of our social contract. Some follow the law out of fear of punishment. For the religious with an authoritative model of morality (i.e., god says so), that it often also the motivation for "being moral."
    Again, I don't think it's that simple. The general idea is that the law is r ideally should be based on what is morally right, whether that's religiously derived or not. Without that presumption, the notion of civil disobedience and moral reform movements lose their meaning. The legitimation of law devolves ultimately to power and convention.



    And yet, we've survived with subjective morality since the dawn of man. Jim, I doubt any two people have EVER 100% agreed on moral principles. Religions keep fragmenting (in part) over differing moral principles. Some religiously inclined so-called moral realists will attribute this man's sinful nature. Some to our inability to completely grasp the objective moral truth. Has it ever crossed your mind that this same variation can be easily explained by observing that no one has ever demonstrated the existence of an objective moral truth - and the reason for the fragmentation is because morality is actually subjective, not objective? As I noted before - it's analogous to law - not to logical or mathematical principles.
    Will you ever stop begging the question? You're espousing the "diversity principle," that because there has been a diversity of opinion about morality, that is proof against moral objectivity. But just because there is diversity of opinion on a subject doesn't mean there isn't a fact of the matter. The diversity principle has never been accepted as a compelling argument by ethicists. It's a bad argument. And it ignores the fact that there is great unanimity among nearly all cultures as to basic moral principles, such as non-harm,truth-telling, gratitude, promise-keeping and fidelity, etc. What differences there are are usually attributed to differences in factual (non-moral) beliefs. Core moral principles can be likened to a core set of vitamins that all hmans need; there are differences in the regimens depending on context but the core set is generally the same.

    I never said morality is like math or logic. It's more like space and time. There are no absolute spatial or temporal locations but there is an objective spatio-temporal framework. It's not like law; that's clearly not true. The legislature can change the speed limit tomorrow but can't make torturing kids permissible.



    And yet, we've been doing these three things since the dawn of man. One has to ask "enough for what?" Are you expecting perfection?
    Enough for an increasingly interdependent world of shrinking resources.



    Oh it has long since been "established" for me, Jim. It fits with my experience, aligns with what I observe around me, makes exquisite sense, and no one has ever been able to logically defend the claim that morality is objective or establish the existence of an absolute moral framework. Perhaps you are not convinced, and I leave that to you.
    Yes, I've picked up on that. You don't want for certainty. That's why you fit right in here. What I meant was for the purposes of debate and philosophical exchange. When you're debating something, it's just considered part of the basic 'rules' that you try to check your certainty at the door and at least try not to beg the question. But if you're not particular about fairness, that is if it doesn't protect your values, then what the heck. Beg away!


    I would consider that statement to be nonsensical. What "I value" is exactly that: what I value. I am the valuer. I am the one assessing. It will have value to me.
    Of course it will have value to you, but you are not necessarily the beneficiary or the object of the value. If I throw myself on a hand grenade to save my buddies, I am not the object, unless i'm thinking posthumously....


    Actually, I have an enormous body of life experience as evidence, Jim. However, it is not evidence that is easily conveyed to someone else, so what I really lack is a means to prove any of this to you. Can you prove to someone that you like pizza? Subjective things are difficult to prove. On the other hand, you are claiming (I think) the existence of an objective moral framework. It should be fairly easy for you to prove the existence of such a thing, and establish it as objective to all. Yet I have never seen such a proof. Odd, that.
    I have offered arguments, which you haven't answered. Odd that. And you haven't offered any evidence at all yourself other than bald assertions and one bad argument the "Diversity thesis" which doesn't even rate as an argument at all. I believe the burden lies with you. Moral sentiment lies overwhelmingly on the side of moral realism, as do moral reform movements, civil disobedience and the entire nature of morality which is predicated on rational critique of oneself and others, none of which is coherent under subjectivism.

    If child rape and torture became morally permissible, you'd have to say that this change was a moral regression only from the perspective of those who disapprove of such things. From the standpoint of any reasonable person, the burden of proof would be on you to establish such an extreme position.



    Yeah...not so much. Look, Jim, I was not always a moral subjectivist. I was a moral realist for most of my life. My stance slowly shifted as part of my shift from Christianity to atheism. Like so many others, I saw morality as objective and rooted in god. When you realize god doesn't exist, you find yourself having to figure out the whole morality thing. Many atheists, as you note, stay "moral realists" and find something else to root morality in. JimL roots it in "what is good for society," failing to see that there is no objective basis for "what is good for society." To make that assessment requires a metric by which "good" is measured, and that will always be subjectively selected. Tass wants to root it in evolution. I'm less clear on exactly how he sees that working, but he still seems to be clinging to morality as an objective thing, like there is "the correct moral framework out there" waiting to be discovered and aligned to - like laws of logic and mathematics.
    Yeah, that might be the root of the problem. Why do the two things have to go in lock-step? Moral realism doesn't require a 'metric' like God. You might familiarize yourself more with the literature. You might be throwing 'the baby out with the bathwater.' And when you do that, as Michael McKean said, you end up with a wet floor and a critically injured baby.








    So let's use "color" as an example here. Despite your statement above, the experience of color is subjective. That is why all color would disappear if all visual equipment disappeared. Your experience of color will never be exactly the same as mine. For one thing, even when looking at the same object, we cannot be in the same place at the same time making that observation. Second, "color" is a function of our brain and depends on our receivers (eyes), transmitters, (optic nerve) and processor (brain). No two of us have these things exactly the same, coloring (pun intended) our experience. What is objectively real is not "color," it is the wavelength(s) of the light that is impacting our eyes.
    I agree that color experience will never be the same under most circumstances. the point of the analogy was that it's not subjective because it's not a matter of choice. I cannot choose to make the colors I'm seeing right now in this screen different than they are. And we can see basically the same color if we sit in the same spot and look at the same object, assuming there's no inverted spectra or other metaphysical weirdness. No, I can't see inside your head, but i can't see inside your head about anything; that's the empiricist's dilemma. We have to set that aside. assume that what i see as "red' you see as "red." That phenomenon is fixed by physics and by physiology.

    Morality is analogous. No two of us experience it the same way or assess action by the same framework. Our framework is influenced by our culture, religion, family, social circle, and personal experiences. The objective reality is the behavior/action we are assessing. HOW we assess it is entirely subjective. The analogy breaks down, however, when we imagine all sentient minds disappearing. With color, if all visual equipment disappears so too does color, but the wavelengths remain. With morality, if all sentient minds disappear, the concept of morality ends and so too do the actions being assessed.
    Color is close enough for my point. Our physiologies are similar enough and physics is the same to where the blue you see on this card under this light is basically the same blue that I see, The point is that it is NOT my choice and NOT your choice what color we are seeing; the analogy is not meant to extend beyond that! But beyond that, we DO experience the "same' or close enough colors for the analogy to be extended. What I see as 'wrong' you see as 'wrong'. Fine-gained differentiation is not required beyond that assessment. If all visual systems disappear, all color disappears. If all valuers disappear, all morality disappears. But this dependence doesn't alter the fact that neither are subjective. That's the point I hope you understand.



    I have to admit to some curiosity. A few posts back I had the distinct sense you were getting irritated. Now I don't have that sense anymore. All in my mind? If not, what explains the change? I ask because I find irritation to be a common response to my posts on this site. It only happens here. I'm trying to figure out why.
    Just your subjective reaction.:)
    Last edited by Jim B.; 08-13-2019 at 02:12 PM.

  2. Amen Adrift, Chrawnus amen'd this post.
  3. #1122
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    You're wrong. And what's horrifying about how wrong you are is that you actually attended a couple years of seminary and still came away with this wrongheaded belief (I'm constantly amazed at how unChristian your Christian background was).
    I'm sure you are not surprised to hear that this is a fairly regular refrain. But then again, it's a refrain within Christianity as well. Anyone who's theology doesn't align is "not Christian" or "Unchristian." But it is curious that you would say "you're wrong" about my reported experiences. Apparently I have'nt experienced what I've experienced. Odd that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    While I don't doubt that a number of Christians do voice their morality in so many words "because the bible says so," you're simply not going to find that fundamentalist type of moralizing among Christian philosophers, theologians, students, and introspective laymen like the ones you'll find on Theology web forums.
    And yet that is a common response. Seer has used it. Sparko has used it. Well.. I gave you a list before. If there are people here who think/discuss differently, I have not met them or had that type of discussion with them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    That's typically NOT how it works. Rather these sorts of people tend to have great sensitivity to the intrinsic value of life, and a deeply held moral intuition well before they ever picked up a Bible. Heck, for some thinkers, their moral worldviews were shaped in some ways by adherence to a previous faith, or no faith at all. What the Bible often does for many Christians is help contextualize some of the how, where, and why. But it doesn't stop there of course, the Bible is part of a rich and complex tapestry of an overall moral and ethical worldview. If you truly think the moral and ethical worldviews of Augustine of Hippo, Soren Kierkegaard, Karl Barth, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Stanley Hauerwas, and the like boil down to "because the bible says so," then I highly suggest seeing if you can get your money back from that seminary you attended.
    I believe my comments were about people here, on this forum that I have had exchanges with, Adrift. I'm not sure how it got projected to the entire population of Christians. Indeed, I was fairly clear that I am aware some Christians exist who DO question the bible statements and do NOT base their moral framework on it. Somehow, you seem to have missed that observation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    The second paragraph of your post is you just soapboxing, and doesn't really have much to do with the current discussion.
    Well, I guess that explains how you missed the observation...

    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    JimB is far from the only Christian on this forum who has voiced this particular moral position since you've been on a member of this site. Sam, and kiwimac come immediately to mind, though I know there are a few other posters here who hold similar views. And before the crash when we had more than a dozen regular members, it was a fairly commonly espoused view.
    I can only speak to what I have observed. If I have not met them, or discussed with them, then I cannot know about them.
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King

    I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

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    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    You're setting up a "straw man argument" in which it's either absolute unchanging moral principles or moral subjectivism. As I've said repeatedly, those aren't the only alternatives.
    How did "absolute" get mixed up as the opposite of "subjective?" My point, Jim, is that there is no objective moral framework that is "the right one" we are all supposed to be subscribing to. About as close to "objective" that morality gets is that your moral framework is objectively real to me and vice versa, and the objective reality that sentient minds of sufficient complexity moralize.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    You're moving the goalposts now.
    No, but you seem to continually come back to these little gems. I'm not sure why you feel a need to do that, but...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    You said that whatever one's subjective position happened to be was one's moral position. Now you're saying that one can be 'wrong' about one's subjective position, that your reasoning can be flawed or what you value can change.
    Jim...if I value life, and I conclude that randomly killing people is moral, it stands to reason that something is badly flawed in my reasoning; the moral position does not align with the underlying valuing. Someone can help me trace the path of reasoning and identify the flaw. As soon as I see it, my moral stance will change. The same thing will happen if the valuing changes. I too once valued god, and that valuing drove many of my moral positions. When I realized that there is no such being, my valuing shifted. Some of my moral positions shifted as well. I have never held any other position...or expressed any other position. Nothing has been moved.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    If your reasoning can be flawed, then this is a deviation from subjectivism because you're admitting that there are rational criteria beyond your subjective reaction that your subjective reaction 'ought' to be judged by.
    Yes - the objective reality of the laws of reason. Most of us reason to our moral positions. The alternative is to hold moral positions without reasoning to them. But since the moral positions are rooted in what we value, and what we value is subjective, the resulting moral framework is subjective. Unless you'd like to argue that we can arrive at an objective moral framework on the foundation of subjective valuing?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    Your sliding now into an "Ideal Observer" theory of morality. In other words, you're suggesting to take your immediate desires and judge them in the light of reasons and rationality, so that you end up not with what you want but with what you ought to want in the light of reason and calm reflection. If it's all subjective, why is your immediate reaction less valid than your reasoned reflection? Why not 'go with your gut'?
    I'm sure some people do indeed base their morality on unreasoned feelings. If someone does not reason to a moral position, then there is no way to reason with them about their moral position, leaving us with ignore, isolate/separate, and/or contend. And the attempt to assign differing levels of "validity" in a subjective moral world is meaningless. It suggests an objective framework from which to make that assessment, and none has been shown to exist.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    In the second case, if your values shift, does that mean that before they shifted, those values didn't represent your 'true' subjective position?
    No - it means my valuing has changed, and with it my subjective moral position. From the perspective of my new framework, I will assess my own framework as "wrong" just as I would assess ANY moral framework that does not align with my current one as "wrong."

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    And can't your values always shift in the future?
    Yes- they can, though shifts in what we value at our core are not easily shifted. They are fairly well established by the time we enter adulthood, and it usually takes a significant event or paradigm shift to alter them thereafter - but they can and do change.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    So how can you tell when they've shifted into their permanent position and when you're in your 'true' subjective state? If your values are always subject to shifting, you will never be in that state.
    You have slipped back into objective thinking. What "permanent position?" Our morality is what it is at the moment it is - and may shift at some future time. There is no objectively true ultimate destination or we would be back into the world of objective moralizing, which has not been shown to exist.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    No, because according to subjectivism, we are not arguing about same-sex intimacy at all, but our subjective reactions to it. How can there be a genuine disgreement about the moral issue itself when the assumption going in is that there is no 'right' or 'wrong' on any moral issue beyond individual subjective responses?
    Ahh... there it is...the "it can't be subjective because then it wouldn't be objective" argument. Jim, there is no "objective right" or "objective wrong." But we know that because morality is subjective. There is a "subjective right" and "subjective wrong."

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    It would be like arguing over whether it feels hot in here or not, or whether licorice is a pleasant flavor.
    As I said - it is all preference, but we don't encounter too many people that would elevate temperature or licorice flavors to the level of valuing that would have them making moral claims about related actions. But then again...there is that bovine thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    No, my point followed from the argument I just made. If what i just said is right, if subjectivism precludes moral disagreement, then subjectivism isn't really a moral theory at all but rather a psychological tendency masking itself as a moral theory.
    If you believe pre-marital sex is immoral, and I do not, then we have moral disagreement. That our moral positions are subjective does not change this reality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    Okay, murder is a bad choice, but then anything would be a bad choice since I don't believe in absolute, exceptionless moral principles other than maybe one. What about "Killing an innocent person." (?)
    I would consider "killing an innocent person" to be a morally wrong act in most circumstances. That takes us to the relative part...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    You're interpreting it in a way that's very prejudicial to your case. Again, you're begging the question. Why can't we phrase it in a more neutral way that avoids question begging? For instance, "Seer believes..." "Carpe believes..." Arriving at a particular moral framework is a subjective act just as arriving at a belief set about the physical world is a subjective act (Please note: no further analogy between morality and the physical world is intended beyond this analogy!!!)
    But that doesn't mean that they are not normative and are not necessarily aiming at some frame of reference beyond satisfying their own subjective conditions.
    I frankly don't see how your rewording changes anything. "X is immoral to Seer" and "Seer believes X is immoral" are equivalent statements, AFAICT. Both are perfectly consistent with subjective morality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    Whether it does or doesn't exist is what we're debating. BTW, who has the burden of proof?
    The burden of proof rests with the person who wants their view to be accepted. If you are expressing a view, and have no desire for me to accept your view as accurate, then you have no burden of proof. If you express a view and want me to accept it as true, then you have a burden of proof to achieve that. The same is true for me in reverse.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    What evidence and/or argument has ever been offered in favor of subjectivism other than "It's there all around us!" And who gives a fig whether it NEEDS to or not? I care about whether it DOES or not.
    Jim - morality is about differentiating between "good" action and "bad" action. Or "right" action and "wrong" action. But an assessment of "good" or "bad" requires a metric by which that assessment is made. It is the selection of that metric that is subjective. This is the point being made earlier to JimL. He thinks morality is about "what is good for society." He wants to argue that there is some "objective good" that is at the basis for morality. But you cannot say "X is good" without including HOW that is measured and from who's perspective it is measured. Ergo - moralizing is a subjective act. It is a function of the sentient mind reflecting upon its own choice of actions.

    If you want to attempt to refute that, you are going to have to do better than "it cannot be subjective because then it's not objective." There is no demonstrable, external, objective, moral framework. No one has shown one to exist. No one has ever made a case against subjective moralism (to me) that doesn't reduce to "it cannot be subjective because then it's not objective." As I noted before, there is no "proof" possible for subjective moralizing. I know of no way to prove what I value or why I value it. I also know that no one has ever been able to express a single objectively true moral proposition that does not trace back to their own valuing.

    For me - that is more than adequate evidence that morality is subjective.
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King

    I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

  5. #1124
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    So again: God is perfectly and immutably rational - is that a tautology? If not that is all we are saying.
    Again - you should reread what I actually said. I really have become tired of this type of discussion game with you, Seer. I have no desire to go on another round. If/when you respond to what I actually said, I'll go from there.
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King

    I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

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    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Jim B - I see you have a second post. It's late and I'm tired. I'll try to jump on it tomorrow.
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King

    I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

  7. #1126
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    How did "absolute" get mixed up as the opposite of "subjective?" My point, Jim, is that there is no objective moral framework that is "the right one" we are all supposed to be subscribing to. About as close to "objective" that morality gets is that your moral framework is objectively real to me and vice versa, and the objective reality that sentient minds of sufficient complexity moralize.
    You're the one who keeps trying to set up "absolute" as the straw man alternative to "subjective," not me. I'm the one who keeps trying to suggest a third way, one that's called "objective." It's not an absolute set of unchanging principles, but a framework based upon human nature, rationality and being social. It's more complex than a set of absolute rules. It's more akin to the framework of space-time in which relations are objective but there are no absolute fixed locations (principles).



    No, but you seem to continually come back to these little gems. I'm not sure why you feel a need to do that, but...
    You're the one suddenly changing the criteria for subjectivism, not me. You can deflect blame all you want but it doesn't alter that fact.



    Jim...if I value life, and I conclude that randomly killing people is moral, it stands to reason that something is badly flawed in my reasoning; the moral position does not align with the underlying valuing. Someone can help me trace the path of reasoning and identify the flaw. As soon as I see it, my moral stance will change. The same thing will happen if the valuing changes. I too once valued god, and that valuing drove many of my moral positions. When I realized that there is no such being, my valuing shifted. Some of my moral positions shifted as well. I have never held any other position...or expressed any other position. Nothing has been moved.
    No, because you can have another competing value, the thrill of watching random people die, that you value more highly than you do life.
    The fact is you don't know for sure when or if your positions will shift again, especially if the shift is due to a change in your factual beliefs. You stopped believing in God, which some would say was a change in a factual belief about the nature of reality. Factual beliefs are always subject to change and can always alter our moral beliefs.



    Yes - the objective reality of the laws of reason. Most of us reason to our moral positions. The alternative is to hold moral positions without reasoning to them. But since the moral positions are rooted in what we value, and what we value is subjective, the resulting moral framework is subjective. Unless you'd like to argue that we can arrive at an objective moral framework on the foundation of subjective valuing?
    I'm not arguing that we can 'arrive' at an objective moral framework. That's why it's normative. In a somewhat similar way, we can never arrive at a perfectly adequate picture of the physical universe. We are probably never going to get there, even in principle. My point was that you were saying that when we come to our moral positions, we reason about them, ie subject them to rational criteria. That contradicts simple subjectivism, because I'm appealing to criteria beyond my subjective response. I'm no longer dealing with the language of 'private disclosure' but opening my response up to the 'language of public discourse.' That is, it's open now to public scrutiny, to rational critique, to the canon of rational discourse, which isn't 'mine' or 'yours'. It's not subjective but objective; it's public. I really hope we don't have to keep going over this.



    I'm sure some people do indeed base their morality on unreasoned feelings. If someone does not reason to a moral position, then there is no way to reason with them about their moral position, leaving us with ignore, isolate/separate, and/or contend. And the attempt to assign differing levels of "validity" in a subjective moral world is meaningless. It suggests an objective framework from which to make that assessment, and none has been shown to exist.
    I have no idea what this means. I have the sneaking suspicion that you think that moral objectivism is some kind of empirical thesis. It's not. It's a conceptual thesis. There seems to be an undercurrent of scientism running through your posts, but I could be wrong. Like I've said over and over, objectivism isn't a list of "Thou Shalts" or a list of moral principles that are exceptionless. It's a more sophisticated, conceptual thesis than that.



    No - it means my valuing has changed, and with it my subjective moral position. From the perspective of my new framework, I will assess my own framework as "wrong" just as I would assess ANY moral framework that does not align with my current one as "wrong."
    Right, but my point is How can a subjective reaction be 'wrong'? It's like saying my reaction to that ice cream was wrong. Maybe it changed with time, but it wasn't wrong at the time, especially if subjectivism is right in saying that morality is nothing but subjective reactions. If I was wrong then in the past, why can't I be wrong now as well? And if I can be wrong now, that would cast doubt on the entire thesis of subjectivism, because it's built on nothing more substantial than the shifting sands of my subjective responses.



    Yes- they can, though shifts in what we value at our core are not easily shifted. They are fairly well established by the time we enter adulthood, and it usually takes a significant event or paradigm shift to alter them thereafter - but they can and do change.
    Yes, especially if triggered by changes in factual belief. See above.



    You have slipped back into objective thinking. What "permanent position?" Our morality is what it is at the moment it is - and may shift at some future time. There is no objectively true ultimate destination or we would be back into the world of objective moralizing, which has not been shown to exist.
    Yes, and I don't think you're getting my point. The fallibility of subjectivism is I believe a fatal flaw. It reveals an internal contradiction in the theory. If it is true, it cannot be fallible, but it is obviously fallible, so it cannot be true.



    Ahh... there it is...the "it can't be subjective because then it wouldn't be objective" argument. Jim, there is no "objective right" or "objective wrong." But we know that because morality is subjective. There is a "subjective right" and "subjective wrong."
    I don't think you're following. I am agreeing with you and taking your point to its logical conclusion. Try to follow. I agree for the sake of argument that there is no "objective right" or "objective wrong." There are only subjective responses to moral questions. There are no moral facts about moral questions. I am taking those as my starting points...If what you say is right, then we are not disagreeing about moral issues at all because there is no moral issue that is available to be discussed.




    If you believe pre-marital sex is immoral, and I do not, then we have moral disagreement. That our moral positions are subjective does not change this reality.
    We cannot discuss pre-marital sex because there is no truth to the matter. The only possible topic is our responses to it. Pre-marital sex itself is like Kant's noumenon.



    I frankly don't see how your rewording changes anything. "X is immoral to Seer" and "Seer believes X is immoral" are equivalent statements, AFAICT. Both are perfectly consistent with subjective morality.
    It was "Seer believes" and "Carpe believes". This phrasing leaves it open as to whether what they believe happens to be true or not, like saying Jim B believes the Sun is 93 milllion miles from the Earth.



    The burden of proof rests with the person who wants their view to be accepted. If you are expressing a view, and have no desire for me to accept your view as accurate, then you have no burden of proof. If you express a view and want me to accept it as true, then you have a burden of proof to achieve that. The same is true for me in reverse.
    A good starting point for you would be to stop the question-begging.;)



    Jim - morality is about differentiating between "good" action and "bad" action. Or "right" action and "wrong" action. But an assessment of "good" or "bad" requires a metric by which that assessment is made. It is the selection of that metric that is subjective. This is the point being made earlier to JimL. He thinks morality is about "what is good for society." He wants to argue that there is some "objective good" that is at the basis for morality. But you cannot say "X is good" without including HOW that is measured and from who's perspective it is measured. Ergo - moralizing is a subjective act. It is a function of the sentient mind reflecting upon its own choice of actions.
    Again, you phrased it in a question-begging way, as "reflecting upon its own CHOICE of actions". Subjective being defined as being a matter of choice or preference. You haven't given any reason, evidence or argument to believe that it is a matter of choice aside from assertion. When will you come up with any? Do you feel like you don't have to because it's just so, like, obvious, man?

    If you want to attempt to refute that, you are going to have to do better than "it cannot be subjective because then it's not objective." There is no demonstrable, external, objective, moral framework. No one has shown one to exist. No one has ever made a case against subjective moralism (to me) that doesn't reduce to "it cannot be subjective because then it's not objective." As I noted before, there is no "proof" possible for subjective moralizing. I know of no way to prove what I value or why I value it. I also know that no one has ever been able to express a single objectively true moral proposition that does not trace back to their own valuing.
    I agree with you for once there is "no proof possible for subjective moralizing". (Drop the mic!) You're going to have to do better than your lame old "it can't be subjective because then it can't be objective" schtick! Come up with some new material. I've been giving arguments as to why subjectivism is incoherent and internally contradictory, none of which you've ever answered. Please answer them. It could be you don't understand what objectivism is or what would constitute "proof" in favor of it.

    For me - that is more than adequate evidence that morality is subjective.
    'Nuff said.
    Last edited by Jim B.; 08-13-2019 at 08:12 PM.

  8. Amen Chrawnus, Adrift amen'd this post.
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    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Jim -

    I have been through both of your posts and it strikes me that further back and forth is not going to get us anywhere, Furthermore, they are consuming a great deal of time. So I'm going to leave them and attempt a different approach. You seem to want to argue that morality is fundamentally an objective exercise. That is to say, there are moral principles that are objectively true and not subject to individual thoughts, ideas, or opinions. You should therefore be able to cite one objectively true moral principle and identify what makes that particular principle "moral" without any reference to subjectively selected valuing. That is the basis for my position concerning morality: that we cannot arrive at a moral claim without it being rooted in something we value that is subjectively selected, making the entire edifice of morality a subjective exercise. If you can demonstrate a moral claim that is NOT so rooted, then I would have to rethink my position.
    The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Martin Luther King

    I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong. Frederick Douglas

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    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    Again - you should reread what I actually said. I really have become tired of this type of discussion game with you, Seer. I have no desire to go on another round. If/when you respond to what I actually said, I'll go from there.
    Carp, one can turn a lot of claims into a tautology just by the wording. What we are saying at bottom is that God is perfectly and immutably rational and that the universe reflects that rationality. That perfect rationality is an attribute of God, that is not a tautology - period.
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    And you are wrong, Seer. Our government has the authority (i.e., right AND power) because we consent. If we did not consent, it would not have the right, even if it did have the power.
    Nonsense Carp, there are individuals who are citizens who do not recognize government authority or its laws, we call them criminals. And we put them in jail - the government has that right, whether the criminal agrees with that authority or not.


    My position about "inalienable" has never changed. Inalienable means "unable to be taken away from or given away by the possessor." There is no such right. But that does not mean there are no basic rights that every human being claims for themselves and, in order to be consistent, must grant to others as well. Life - liberty - pursuit of happiness are among these. I don't need a "god" to give me these rights - I claim them for myself. You don't have to respect them or even agree that I have them. They do not have to have "objective meaning" to have "meaning." This has already been established. And you an call them gobblygook all day long if you wish, but I will defend them when I need to.
    Isn't the special...


    If I break a country's laws, and I am willingly in that country - then I have consented and the government has the right and power (hence the authority) to punish me.
    That is just untrue, you don't know many in Militia groups do you. Again, your consent is meaningless, it has no effect on the authority of the government. It is merely a subjective, personal proclivity of yours.
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

  12. Amen Adrift amen'd this post.
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    No one is claiming that "logic is merely a description of how Carpe's brain functions." (I can just hear the comments now... )

    That is how you are describing god. Therefore, if logic is simply "how god's mind works" and "God cannot act other than how his mind works," then the claim "god cannot act irrationality" reduces to "god cannot act other than how god can act."

    The logic is fairly straightforward - and the statement is shown to be a tautology. It ultimately says nothing. It's like saying "green is green" or "the walking man is walking."

    What do you mean merely? If I say that Carp can not think logically then Carp can not act other than other than how his mind works. Carp can not act rationally reduces to Carp cannot act other than how Carp can act. That is just silly, you can say a dog can't act other than a how a dog can act, a fish or a bird, etc...
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

  14. Amen Adrift amen'd this post.

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