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Thread: Atheism And Moral Progress

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    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattbballman31 View Post
    Well . . . after your lecture on the humility of a teacher, I suspected that if I took my time to break things down for you, I wouldnít get the opposite reaction of being too wordy. You really are impossible to please. But I guess Iím just doomed to be a blade runner between these two complains: (1) say too little and be accused of cryptospeak, and (2) say too much and be accused of being wordy. Maybe Iíll find the Goldilocks middle-ground as the discussion proceeds.
    Matt - I invite you to go back and find any place where I have ever accused you of "saying too little." Your posts lean towards wordy (as mine do - so I plead guilty) AND cryptospeak (which I tend to try not to do). I'm not actually not that hard to please, my friend. Speak plainly. That's all it takes. I am myself guilty of wordiness - so I really cannot complain about yours without acknowledging my own.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattbballman31 View Post
    Yep.

    This will relate to one strategy of motivating the objectivity of moral values and duties.

    Yep.

    Calling it baggage is pejorative. Philosophy is really cool in that we can discuss the pros and cons of the worldview, including any methodological assumptions that are driving it. If the discussion turns in that direction, it turns in that direction. I donít see this as a reason for skepticism: not saying youíre saying it, but Iím feeling it as a kind of Ďpullí in the way youíve set this up.
    Well - maybe "baggage" is a pejorative to some - but I am a serious traveler for work and pleasure. "Baggage" is simply a necessary part of the scene. I need it - and I likewise dislike carrying it. Pejorative? Only if you don't travel much. The fact is each of us carries the baggage of our existing worldview. We cannot unload it - it is part of how we function - but we CAN (with a bit of effort) trim it and adjust it when it becomes bloated or unnecessary. Perhaps we will do so here.

    Quote Originally Posted by mattbballman31 View Post
    First, itís not a problem. Itís a reflection of talking about deep issues in the real world. Reason cuts through by presenting arguments for or against various theses. Second, itís an indispensable part of getting at the truth. Since weíre not a confluence of robotic inputs/outputs, we bring our subjective perspective to bear when assessing the veridicality of whatever thesis is under discussion.

    Another important point is that philosophical discussion has a Ďthicknessí to it. By that, I mean that the appropriation of such arguments (and the premises that constitute them) may take time to sink in, and that an immediate impulse to discard a premise for various reasons is typically the first step on the journey of a thousand miles. This applies to me based on what you present as well!

    Are we good, then? Do we agreed on method? If so, we'll get started!
    I have no clue what "method" it is you think we've agreed on - but I'm perfectly willing to hear you out and consider the points presented. Back to you, Phil...
    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

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    tWebber mattbballman31's Avatar
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    Matt - I invite you to go back and find any place where I have ever accused you of "saying too little."
    Iím not saying you said that explicitly. But the implication is that when I said what I said with the nomenclature it was Ďtoo littleí. I was speaking tongue-in-cheek, anyway. As far as wordiness, I really donít care. If I look at your post back to me, and thereís this huge block of text, it doesnít bother me at all.

    The fact is each of us carries the baggage of our existing worldview.
    Yep. Agreed. I just donít think itís a bad thing; thatís all I was saying. If you donít think itís bad, cool.

    I have no clue what "method" it is you think we've agreed on
    I didnít say we agreed. Iím asking if we agree. The method involved in what is or isnít a successful philosophical argument in the Ďwordyí post is the method Iím talking about. What other method would there be in this conversation?
    Many and painful are the researches sometimes necessary to be made, for settling points of [this] kind. Pertness and ignorance may ask a question in three lines, which it will cost learning and ingenuity thirty pages to answer. When this is done, the same question shall be triumphantly asked again the next year, as if nothing had ever been written upon the subject.
    George Horne

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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post


    I have no clue what "method" it is you think we've agreed on - but I'm perfectly willing to hear you out and consider the points presented. Back to you, Phil...
    This is exactly what I mean, nit pick. Just get on with it! You too Matt, I really want to see your argument, and I'm sure other lurkers do to. Remember Carp is not your only audience!
    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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    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattbballman31 View Post
    Iím not saying you said that explicitly. But the implication is that when I said what I said with the nomenclature it was Ďtoo littleí. I was speaking tongue-in-cheek, anyway. As far as wordiness, I really donít care. If I look at your post back to me, and thereís this huge block of text, it doesnít bother me at all.

    Yep. Agreed. I just donít think itís a bad thing; thatís all I was saying. If you donít think itís bad, cool.

    I didnít say we agreed. Iím asking if we agree. The method involved in what is or isnít a successful philosophical argument in the Ďwordyí post is the method Iím talking about. What other method would there be in this conversation?
    Assuming my briefer summary accurately reflects your "method," we're good.
    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

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    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    This is exactly what I mean, nit pick. Just get on with it! You too Matt, I really want to see your argument, and I'm sure other lurkers do to. Remember Carp is not your only audience!
    Nit pick? What part of that post is "nit picking?" When I don't understand something, I say "I have no idea what your trying to say." If that's nit picking, I suggest you pull up your big boy pants because I am likely to say that more than once, especially with Matt's posting style.
    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

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    tWebber mattbballman31's Avatar
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    My Case for Moral Objectivity

    The following are just the barebones of the arguments. This is where philosophy begins. So, donít confuse the presentation of such arguments as the final word on the issue: the next step is a discussion of the plausibility of premises, as we discussed when we agreed on method. I suggest we pick one of these arguments, and Iíll leave it to you to pick. The point in presenting the arguments is that after we pick one, and we think the premises more plausible than their denials, their conclusions necessarily follow.

    Arguments for Objective Moral values.


    A Disjunctive Argument for Objective Moral Values

    1. Either moral values are objective or moral are subjective.
    2. Moral values are not subjective.
    3. Therefore, moral values are objective.

    This means that the objectivist doesnít necessarily have to argue FOR objectivism because premise 1 is an exhaustive disjunction. All the objectivist needs to do is demonstrate that moral subjectivism is false (premise 2), and the conclusion necessarily follows.

    An example of an argument for 2 would something like the following:

    The Evolutionary Argument Against Subjectivism

    A. If evolutionary naturalism is true, then subjectivism cannot be rationally affirmed.
    B. Evolutionary naturalism is true (assumption).
    C. Therefore, subjectivism cannot be rationally affirmed.
    D. But subjectivism can be rationally affirmed.
    E. Therefore, evolutionary naturalism is false (from A and D).

    This leads to a contradiction between B and E. Either evolutionary naturalism needs to be affirmed or denied. But if it is affirmed, you canít rationally affirm subjectivism. If it is denied, you canít use evolutionary naturalism to undermine moral intuitions regarding objective moral values.

    The Worldview Argument for Objective Moral Values

    4. If Christian Theism is true, Objective Moral Values exist.
    5. Christian Theism is true.
    6. Therefore, objective moral values exist.

    This is a strategy that argues for a worldview because itís a necessarily implication of the worldview that certain metaphysical theses follow.

    The Epistemic Argument for Objective Moral Values

    7. If knowledge implies true belief, then moral knowledge of objective moral values implies the truth that objective moral values exist.
    8. Knowledge implies true belief.
    9. Therefore, moral knowledge of objective moral values implies the truth that objective moral values exist.

    Premise 7 has to do with what factors go to motivate how we know about objective moral values, and what follows metaphysically from oneís moral knowledge.

    The argument expands to the following:

    9.1. If we have defeasible (but undefeated) intuitions about objective moral values, then we have moral knowledge regarding objective moral values.
    9.2. We have defeasible (but undefeatable) intuitions about objective moral values.
    9.3. Therefore, we have moral knowledge regarding objective moral values.

    From 9 and 9.3., it follows that

    9.4. Moral knowledge regarding objective moral values implies that objective moral values exist.

    Two possible argument used to motivate 9.2 are:

    The Argument from Moral Reformers

    10. If there are objective moral reformations, then objective moral values exist.
    11. There are objective moral reformations (intuition)
    12. Objective moral values exist.

    The Argument from Evil

    13. If there are objectively evil states of affairs, then objective moral values exist.
    14. There are objectively evil states of affairs (intuition).
    15. Therefore, objective moral values exist.

    The Argument from Moral Disagreement

    16. If there is genuine moral disagreement, then moral argument is a rational enterprise.
    17. There is genuine moral disagreement.
    18. Therefore, moral argument is a rational enterprise.
    19. If moral argument is a rational enterprise, then there are objectively true or false solutions to moral disagreement.
    20. Moral argument is a rational enterprise.
    21. Therefore, there are objectively true or false solutions to moral disagreement.
    22. If there are objectively true or false solutions to moral disagreement, then objective moral values exist.
    23. Therefore, objective moral values exist (from 20 and 21).

    The Argument from Moral Praise and Blame

    24. If moral praise and blame objectively attach to the values and actions of moral agents in morally relevant states of affairs, then objective moral values exist.
    25. Moral praise and blame objectively attach to the values and actions of moral agents in morally relevant states of affairs (intuition).
    26. Therefore, objective moral values exist.
    Last edited by mattbballman31; 11-14-2018 at 08:39 PM.
    Many and painful are the researches sometimes necessary to be made, for settling points of [this] kind. Pertness and ignorance may ask a question in three lines, which it will cost learning and ingenuity thirty pages to answer. When this is done, the same question shall be triumphantly asked again the next year, as if nothing had ever been written upon the subject.
    George Horne

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    tWebber mattbballman31's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    Nit pick? What part of that post is "nit picking?" When I don't understand something, I say "I have no idea what your trying to say." If that's nit picking, I suggest you pull up your big boy pants because I am likely to say that more than once, especially with Matt's posting style.
    Trust me. I don't care how much you nit pick; if it looks constructive, cool. If you repeat nonsense like Shunya or Tassman, then (worst case scenario) I just end the conversation. No big deal.
    Many and painful are the researches sometimes necessary to be made, for settling points of [this] kind. Pertness and ignorance may ask a question in three lines, which it will cost learning and ingenuity thirty pages to answer. When this is done, the same question shall be triumphantly asked again the next year, as if nothing had ever been written upon the subject.
    George Horne

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    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mattbballman31 View Post
    The following are just the barebones of the arguments. This is where philosophy begins. So, donít confuse the presentation of such arguments as the final word on the issue: the next step is a discussion of the plausibility of premises, as we discussed when we agreed on method. I suggest we pick one of these arguments, and Iíll leave it to you to pick. The point in presenting the arguments is that after we pick one, and we think the premises more plausible than their denials, their conclusions necessarily follow.

    Arguments for Objective Moral values.


    A Disjunctive Argument for Objective Moral Values

    1. Either moral values are objective or moral are subjective.
    2. Moral values are not subjective.
    3. Therefore, moral values are objective.


    This means that the objectivist doesnít necessarily have to argue FOR objectivism because premise 1 is an exhaustive disjunction. All the objectivist needs to do is demonstrate that moral subjectivism is false (premise 2), and the conclusion necessarily follows.

    An example of an argument for 2 would something like the following:

    The Evolutionary Argument Against Subjectivism

    A. If evolutionary naturalism is true, then subjectivism cannot be rationally affirmed.
    B. Evolutionary naturalism is true (assumption).
    C. Therefore, subjectivism cannot be rationally affirmed.
    D. But subjectivism can be rationally affirmed.
    E. Therefore, evolutionary naturalism is false (from A and D).

    This leads to a contradiction between B and E. Either evolutionary naturalism needs to be affirmed or denied. But if it is affirmed, you canít rationally affirm subjectivism. If it is denied, you canít use evolutionary naturalism to undermine moral intuitions regarding objective moral values.

    The Worldview Argument for Objective Moral Values

    4. If Christian Theism is true, Objective Moral Values exist.
    5. Christian Theism is true.
    6. Therefore, objective moral values exist.

    This is a strategy that argues for a worldview because itís a necessarily implication of the worldview that certain metaphysical theses follow.

    The Epistemic Argument for Objective Moral Values

    7. If knowledge implies true belief, then moral knowledge of objective moral values implies the truth that objective moral values exist.
    8. Knowledge implies true belief.
    9. Therefore, moral knowledge of objective moral values implies the truth that objective moral values exist.

    Premise 7 has to do with what factors go to motivate how we know about objective moral values, and what follows metaphysically from oneís moral knowledge.

    The argument expands to the following:

    9.1. If we have defeasible (but undefeated) intuitions about objective moral values, then we have moral knowledge regarding objective moral values.
    9.2. We have defeasible (but undefeatable) intuitions about objective moral values.
    9.3. Therefore, we have moral knowledge regarding objective moral values.

    From 9 and 9.3., it follows that

    9.4. Moral knowledge regarding objective moral values implies that objective moral values exist.

    Two possible argument used to motivate 9.2 are:

    The Argument from Moral Reformers

    10. If there are objective moral reformations, then objective moral values exist.
    11. There are objective moral reformations (intuition)
    12. Objective moral values exist.

    The Argument from Evil

    13. If there are objectively evil states of affairs, then objective moral values exist.
    14. There are objectively evil states of affairs (intuition).
    15. Therefore, objective moral values exist.

    The Argument from Moral Disagreement

    16. If there is genuine moral disagreement, then moral argument is a rational enterprise.
    17. There is genuine moral disagreement.
    18. Therefore, moral argument is a rational enterprise.
    19. If moral argument is a rational enterprise, then there are objectively true or false solutions to moral disagreement.
    20. Moral argument is a rational enterprise.
    21. Therefore, there are objectively true or false solutions to moral disagreement.
    22. If there are objectively true or false solutions to moral disagreement, then objective moral values exist.
    23. Therefore, objective moral values exist (from 20 and 21).

    The Argument from Moral Praise and Blame

    24. If moral praise and blame objectively attach to the values and actions of moral agents in morally relevant states of affairs, then objective moral values exist.
    25. Moral praise and blame objectively attach to the values and actions of moral agents in morally relevant states of affairs (intuition).
    26. Therefore, objective moral values exist.
    I certainly don't have the time to respond to all of this in one go. You said "pick one," so I guess we might as well start at the top.


    A Disjunctive Argument for Objective Moral Values

    1. Either moral values are objective or moral are subjective.
    2. Moral values are not subjective.
    3. Therefore, moral values are objective.



    You correctly note that, "the objectivist doesnít necessarily have to argue FOR objectivism because premise 1 is an exhaustive disjunction. All the objectivist needs to do is demonstrate that moral subjectivism is false (premise 2), and the conclusion necessarily follows."

    So go for it. Prove #2 is false.

    Michel
    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

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