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Thread: Atheism And Moral Progress

  1. #1161
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    That is the point Carp you are requiring a standard for Jim, that you can not provide for logical absolutes. Logical laws are conceptual, they do not exist apart from minds, they are the products of sentient beings who must do the evaluating.
    Yeah - I know you want to use the fact that we cannot prove logical absolutes as a pass for all other claims. By your argument, no claim should be held to proof because we can't prove logical absolutes, so let's just eliminate all of philosophy and science as pointless.

    Your argument is so ridiculous it doesn't merit further discussion. I'll leave the last word to you.
    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

  2. #1162
    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    Yeah - I know you want to use the fact that we cannot prove logical absolutes as a pass for all other claims. By your argument, no claim should be held to proof because we can't prove logical absolutes, so let's just eliminate all of philosophy and science as pointless.

    Your argument is so ridiculous it doesn't merit further discussion. I'll leave the last word to you.
    That wasn't what I was saying Carp, you applied a criterion to Jim that you could not meet with logical truths. It is a double standard on your part, and you know it. And I said nothing about eliminating all of philosophy and science since I do believe in logical absolutes - as you know, so why you said that points to a bit of disingenuousness on your part.
    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...

  3. #1163
    tWebber Tassman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    That is the point Carp you are requiring a standard for Jim, that you can not provide for logical absolutes. Logical laws are conceptual, they do not exist apart from minds, they are the products of sentient beings who must do the evaluating.
    Logic is merely a tool for finding truth based upon existing premises. It cannot establish new premises. Only science can do that. The originator of formal logic, Aristotle, was wrong regarding nearly every argument and conclusion he made about physical science. Logic cannot generate new truths about nature. It can only examine and reformulate the truths contained in existing models, theories and laws.
    “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

  4. #1164
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tassman View Post
    Logic is merely a tool for finding truth based upon existing premises. It cannot establish new premises. Only science can do that. The originator of formal logic, Aristotle, was wrong regarding nearly every argument and conclusion he made about physical science. Logic cannot generate new truths about nature. It can only examine and reformulate the truths contained in existing models, theories and laws.
    I wouldn't waste your time. Seer is hoist on his own petard and doesn't even know he is. The entire discussion is pointless.
    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. #1165
    tWebber seer's Avatar
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    And you Carp refuse to acknowledge your double standard even though I'm convinced that you see it.
    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...

  6. #1166
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    If you're using a Chrome-based browser, use a form recovery extension like Typio Form Recovery. One click and you can restore all of your lost text. There's a similar extension for Firefox as well.
    Thanks, Adrift. I think I need a new network adapter or new laptop.

  7. Amen Adrift amen'd this post.
  8. #1167
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    Jim - I combined your three posts into this one response. We are also back into a long back/forth, and the original challenge has gone largely ignored. I do not see that you have made any argument that demonstrates an objective basis for specific moral frameworks (i.e., an objectively "morally true" framework we should all be aiming for).
    The liar is basically undermining the rational basis for his lying. It's a restatement, or my own take on, Kant's "Categorical Imperative." This deep internal incoherence of lying we express in interpersonal social language as "immoral," because it tears at the grounds of possibility of any rational social life at all. Its converse, truth-telling, therefore, is part of the 'necessary price of admission' we as rational social beings have to pay in order to enter into rational discourse with each other.



    There is nothing about subjective morality that precludes it operating normatively. As previously noted, any individually held moral position that is widely held by the members of a particular group/society becomes normative for that group.
    How can it be normative as that word is normally understood if the 'right-making' property of an action is what the actor says that it is?



    I know you are arguing for some form of link between morality and language, but you have not made the case. You started by redefining what "language" is, asserted that people would laugh at my response (a response that was based on a quick pass through various definitions of the term "language"), ad then continued your assertion that the immorality of lying is based in this linquistic violation. THere is no argument here that I can respond to except to note that redefining your way to a position isn't usually considered all that constructive.
    Okay, let's accept your definition of language. What I'm arguing is that a rational agent has to implicitly accept certain principles in order for the very acceptance of those principle to be made coherent and even possible. There are certain grounds the agent has to implicitly accept for the acceptance to even be possible. Such as a norm of truth.



    Not that I have ever encountered. I know of no principle in morality that is "absolute."
    We're getting two different things mixed up. Maybe my fault. I agree that there's no 'absolute' moral principle. What I was asking was whether or not there was some moral good that was good in itself, intrinsically good and not just good instrumentally for what other good things it could give you? For me, there are some good things that can be good in themselves, like health, love, consciousness, pleasure, knowledge.... Note, these things can also be instrumental goods, ie, health can be used to make money, knowledge can be used to build a bridge, etc.



    So now your argument should be accepted because it is "common sense?" It was once "common sense" that the sun revolved around the earth too. As I have previously noted, morality has been described in objective/absolute terms for centuries - perhaps since the dawn of man. That it is rooted in objective/absolute realities is as indoctrinated into people (i.e., cultures, language, norms) as the notion of a god. If an argument could be won by appealing to "common sense," widely held but false views would never be uncovered.
    No, I was saying it was 'common sense' that there are intrinsically good things. See above.

    Jim, when someone says "X has value," they are essentially saying, "I find value in X." It is always a statement made from the perspective of a valuer. The concept of a thing having value WITHOUT a valuer is indoctrinated nonsense.
    BUt how do you know you aren't just expressing your own subjectivist indoctrination here? To say "I find value in X" tells us nothing about the ontological status of X. I can also say "I find that 2+2=4." This tells us nothing about the nature of that statement. We have to make and examine arguments and evidence for and against various positions regarding the status of the objects involved and not just rely on what seems obvious to us.



    What I am aware of, Jim, is that I make these statements, and invite you to give me so much as a single example that will disprove my position, and you have yet to do so. So, again, find one thing that can be described as "good" without identifying a sentient being who is doing the evaluation and the metric being used to assess the thing as good. JUst one - and you will destroy my position. I know of none - hence my position.
    But you're misstating the problem. Don't you remember the color analogy? I've already gone to great lengths to say that value requires a valuer just as color requires a viewer, but this fact alone doesn't mean that value or color are merely in the eye of the beholder. A valuer, and a viewer, are necessary, but not sufficient, conditions, for value in the first case and color in the second.

    As for reasons and arguments, I've given several now:
    1) Subjectivism is in contradiction to the nature of morality, which essentially involves the rational critique of one's own and others' actions.
    2) Subjectivism cannot account for moral fallibility
    3) Subjectivism cannot account for moral disagreement
    4) The "Lying Argument"
    5) Others yet to come







    First, I am a human being within a natural order and my ability to reason is part of the natural order, so you would have a hard case trying to show that my ability to reason is not a "natural phenomena." Second, at no point did I say Trump's lying causes destructive effects on society and that is the basis for its immorality. The basis for it's immorality can be different for different people based on their valuing and resulting moral framework. For some it is not immoral at all. It is, as you say, "justified." BUt you are correct that an individual will tend to categorize actions that destroy/threaten/diminish something that is highly valued as "immoral" and actions that promote/protect/enhance something that is highly valued as "moral." Your argument that one cannot determine if the categorization causes the harm rather than the act is a very odd one. A categorization is not causal, AFAIK.
    I was using "nature" in contra-distinction to "culture", ie a product of human intention and purpose, human effort and meaning. In that sense, morality is a cultural phenomenon while non-human animal behavior is not. As far as the rest, we're getting lost in the weeds, I think.



    It's not "made up" of destructive effects, Jim. It is (in part) the destructive effects of an act on soemthing we value that cause us to classify that act as "immoral." "Immoral" and "moral" are simple classes, like "mammal" and "reptile." The latter uses characteristics of living beings to assign them to categories. The latter uses the effects of actions to classify them into categories.
    NO, it's not the destructive effects that cause us to classify something as immoral. It's the intention of the actor. The effects are the consequence. The state of the actor's mind, whether he succeeds or not, is what matters.



    Jim, I think you are conflating "communication" with "language." Yes, language is not only the symbols we use to express concepts, but also the rules concerning how those symols are assembled, so grammar and syntax are part of language. The rest of your list is not about "language." It's about communication. Language tells us the sentence "Give me a belt" is a correctly constructed English sentence. Context and non-verbal cues can tell me that I want a drink instead of something to hold up my pants instead of needing a good smack in the head. Communication involves language, non-verbal cues, unspoken assumptions, etc.
    It depends on the context. A nod is usually another way of saying "Yes." A wave can mean "goodbye" or "Go away," etc. They can be more than cues; they can be actual sentences . On the other hand my flushed face can communicate to you that I have a fever. Clouds overhead can communicate that a storm system is rolling in.





    I know you've said it over and over again - and other than saying it - you've not made an argument or a case for it. I prepeat, there is no link between "truth" and "language." Language exists with or without truth. Language can be used to utter truths OR falsehoods. Language is one tool used by sentient beings to communicate. It is the symbolic tool that can be spoken or written. You have shown no link between "truth" and "language" other than to continually assert it exists, and conflate "language" with "communication."
    How can there be language without a presumption of the idea of a representation of a state of affairs that [exists], ie exists in actuality or ideally or subjunctively or illustratively or imaginatively or contrastively or as background or a jumping off point for nonsense .... There are these things called nouns which purportedly names objects in some world. There are these things called verbs which name actions or processes that nouns undergo, and there are modifiers that add nuance and 'color' to the nouns and verbs, and so on. No matter what kind of world is expressed or posited, no matter how many steps removed or abstracted from this one, or totally removed from this one, some sense of 'being' or existence' is either assumed or played off of as at least a background assumption, a world of things that 'are' and their being truly is. Even if it's a world of deception, as I've said, deception and lies make sense only against a background of truth. God, please may we not have to go through this any more!



    I'm sorry, Jim - but to borow a line from Seer, "you're not making any sense." My preference would be to say, "I cannot make one whit of sense out of what you are saying." It kay be I am simply not understanding you, but I cannot even begin to fathom what you are trying to argue here.
    If you don't get it this time, what say we just drop it for now?





    You are proposing that a being can assemble a symbolic language before it is self-aware? I'm not sure of the relevance of this observation, but it seems to undermine your position that language presumes truth. We see languages in a wide variety of species that take many forms: the dance of the bee, the sounds of the humpback, and so forth. While the humpback may prove to be sentient, I don't think any of us believe the bee is sentient, or capable of moralizing.
    I'm not sure if they would qualify as real languages or not. I'm not a linguist, so I'm not sure....

  9. Amen seer, Adrift amen'd this post.
  10. #1168
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Yes I agree, it sounds like Kant.
    It is, or my own misunderstanding of him.

  11. #1169
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    Jim B., I have to say, I'm really loving your points about the implicit nature of language and truth-telling. I feel I've seen this argument before, but it's nice to get a refresher. I don't think that carpedm quite gets it, but it's been very beneficial for me.
    Thanks, Adrift. Feel free to jump in.

  12. Amen Adrift amen'd this post.
  13. #1170
    tWebber Tassman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    And you Carp refuse to acknowledge your double standard even though I'm convinced that you see it.
    You, seer, do not recognize that your moral position is grounded in a premise that cannot be shown to be true.
    “He felt that his whole life was a kind of dream and he sometimes wondered whose it was and whether they were enjoying it.” - Douglas Adams.

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