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Thread: Atheism And Moral Progress

  1. #1151
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    No - you haven't. You've identified an impact on society/communication when lies (or truth) become common. That is not a "moral" value. Someone who does not value either society or communication will see no moral value to "telling the truth." Case in point: Donald Trump - who not only lies regularly, but defends lying as justified if it serves the end of "winning" whatever it is he wants to win.
    According to the argument. Iff the argument goes through. It was an extension of the argument. Your question-begging isn't based on any argument but a reflexive an unquestioning assumption that you're right. As in your tendency to see things merely in terms of societal impact. And you're ignoring, or failing to understand, the normative aspect of morality. Of course there will always be Donald Trumps and others who flout norms. This fact alone doesn't tell us anything about whether the norm that's been violated was moral or not. What I was arguing was that lying violates the internal logic of language. The liar is doing something that's self-contradictory and self-negating, like engaging in the Cretan paradox. He's undermining the very grounds that make what he's doing possible. That's why it's immoral, according to the argument. That proviso is why it's not begging the question. Make an argument and base your assumptions on that argument and you won't beg the question either.



    It's not right - so we're not in the world of objective moral facts
    Maybe not, but you have to argue for why we're not. Even if it's not right, it wouldn't be begging the question as you are wont to do.



    Subjective morality addresses all of this, as I did in my previous post.
    Sorry, but no you didn't.



    I did. Several points, actually, most of which you did not respond to and simply declared you had pointed out an "objective moral truth."
    According to the argument. I wasn't assuming I had succeeded. Try reading a little more carefully. And 'points' are not necessarily the same as 'arguments'.



    There are many reasons one might value community. It might be a matter of upbringing. It might be indoctrinated as a religious precept. It might simply the the utilitarian observation of "safety in numbers" or the mutual benefit of neighbor helping neighbor. There is no one reason why any of us values any particular thing.
    No ultimate reason for valuing anything?



    Says who? You are assuming your conclusion here.
    Uh, common sense? Maybe I shouldn't assume anything. Is every value of yours an instrumental value? You don't value anything for its own sake but only for the sake of something else it can get you, and so on ad infinitum?



    No - nothing is "good in itself." Something is "good" as measured by "Metric X" by "Person Y." What is "good" to one may be (and commonly is) "bad" to another. You cannot cite a single example of a thing that is good without citing "as measured by whom" and "according to what metric?" It is these things that make such a value judgement subjective.
    Neither of us know that for sure. From where do you derive your messianic certainty? There are so many conceptual/linguistic muddles here, I'm not sure where to start. I'll leave it for another post. But for starters, you're aware that these are all mere assertions, aren't you? You still haven't given any real reasons, evidence, arguments in favor of adopting your position. And you haven't answered my actual arguments against your position.



    What does negotiation have to do with anything? I have many principles I will not negotiate on. That does not make them any less subjectively mine.
    If a principle isn't negotiable, then it isn't necessarily just subjectively mine except trivially insofar as it is occurring in my mind, especially if objectivity is a part of the principle.

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  3. #1152
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    Your question introduces causality in a very odd way. We're talking about how one classifies actions (ought, ought not; moral, immoral). Your question is somewhat like asking "how do you know you have the causal direction right? How do you know horses are mammals because they bear living young and not that they bear living young because they are mammals?" We establish criteria for sorting animals into phyla, family, genus, etc. and then sort accordingly. Likewise, we establish criteria for sorting action into ought and ought not, and the sort accordingly.
    We're talking about morality, not natural phenomena. Different classificatiosn don't 'cause' other classifications of living thiings, escept maybe in the history of biology. You were the one talking about causality. You were saying, in effect, Trump lies , his lies cause destructive effects on society, those destructive effects cause people to label those lies as 'morally wrong.' The property of "moral wrongness" for you is caused by or made up of destructive effects. For me, I think it's plausible the reverse is the case, that deontology is true and that there is something inherent in lying that is morally bad, and that this property would at least in part explain the destructive effects.

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  5. #1153
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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    Jim - you have this pattern to your posts. I make an observation, and you say, "no it's not that way - and others would laugh." I frankly don't care who does or does not laugh. Language is a collection of symbols that represent some aspect of reality and exists so we can communicate in verbal and written form. One definition is "the method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way," which is consistent with what I have said. Most other definitions are along a similar vein. A dictionary is the recording of those symbols and their meaning associations. If you think language is other than that - by all means feel free to define what you think language is. But the response you just made is a good example of what I mean when I say "you haven't made an argument."
    It's also grammar, syntax, context, unspoken assumptions, non-verbal cues. Sometimes silence can speak volumes. It's often what's lost in translatiion. It's sentential, not just a string of symbols.



    At no point did I claim we were - so I don't see the point of this sentence.
    Sounded like you could have been describing a machine language.



    No - there isn't. There is a "norm" of truth in how we expect others interacting with us to USE language in communicating. We expect communication to be done with truth, and are surprised if/when it is not. But truth is not endemic to language per se. Language can be used equally to lie or to tell the truth, and it is still "language."
    No, that's not quite what I'm getting at. Language couldn't exist without an assumption of truth, a norm of truth that users are implicitly aiming at. Truth as a matter of fact is not endemic to language but it's a background assumption. Like I said, the concept of "lie" is meaningless outside the context of truth, but it is conceivable that there could be an alien species that never lies.



    Without what? Truth?

    "I have blond hair and weigh 165 pounds." Where is the "norm of truth" in this statement?
    Yes, my point. Even if that isn't true, you're imagining or conceiving of a situation in which it were true. It's truth-dependent, even as nonsense verse, like Lewis Carroll's is.


    I see no reason to think "trust" is valued because we are linguistic - if that is what you are claiming.
    How is trust established? Through promises, sentences, etc? Even things like nods, waves, blinks, winks are all para-linguistic. I guess some kind of 'trust' could be established between human and dog, but a very limited kind...





    No, I don't think it is coincidence. Both are attributes of a particular level of sentience. When I am self-aware, and can reflect on my actions, I sort them. I am also aware of the actions of others, and sort those too. Language is a tool we developed to communicate with those others and express ideas and needs.
    I have to be able to think in terms of a principle, as in "I shouldn't take what isn't mine" "I shouldn't hit her" etc. I have to be able to form sentences. Sentence formation probably comes before full self-awareness and being able to sort very many kinds of actions. That probably comes a bit later.

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  7. #1154
    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    I have to keep re-posting because of computer problems. This is getting really old!
    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.

  8. #1155
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    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).

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    According to the argument. Iff the argument goes through. It was an extension of the argument. Your question-begging isn't based on any argument but a reflexive an unquestioning assumption that you're right. As in your tendency to see things merely in terms of societal impact.
    I don't. And the fact that you think I do tells me a great deal about how little you have actually understood what I've said.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    And you're ignoring, or failing to understand, the normative aspect of morality. Of course there will always be Donald Trumps and others who flout norms. This fact alone doesn't tell us anything about whether the norm that's been violated was moral or not.
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    What I was arguing was that lying violates the internal logic of language. The liar is doing something that's self-contradictory and self-negating, like engaging in the Cretan paradox. He's undermining the very grounds that make what he's doing possible. That's why it's immoral, according to the argument. That proviso is why it's not begging the question. Make an argument and base your assumptions on that argument and you won't beg the question either.
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    Maybe not, but you have to argue for why we're not. Even if it's not right, it wouldn't be begging the question as you are wont to do.

    Sorry, but no you didn't.

    According to the argument. I wasn't assuming I had succeeded. Try reading a little more carefully. And 'points' are not necessarily the same as 'arguments'.

    No ultimate reason for valuing anything?
    Not that I have ever encountered. I know of no principle in morality that is "absolute."

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    Uh, common sense?
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    Maybe I shouldn't assume anything.
    Always good policy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    Is every value of yours an instrumental value? You don't value anything for its own sake but only for the sake of something else it can get you, and so on ad infinitum?
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    Neither of us know that for sure. From where do you derive your messianic certainty? There are so many conceptual/linguistic muddles here, I'm not sure where to start. I'll leave it for another post. But for starters, you're aware that these are all mere assertions, aren't you? You still haven't given any real reasons, evidence, arguments in favor of adopting your position. And you haven't answered my actual arguments against your position.
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    If a principle isn't negotiable, then it isn't necessarily just subjectively mine except trivially insofar as it is occurring in my mind, especially if objectivity is a part of the principle.
    At no point did I claim "negotiation" or "lack of negotiation" in any way made something subjective OR objective. Frankly, I still don't see how "negotiation" has anything to do with whether a thing is subjective or objective, or why you introduced this principle.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    We're talking about morality, not natural phenomena. Different classificatiosn don't 'cause' other classifications of living thiings, escept maybe in the history of biology. You were the one talking about causality. You were saying, in effect, Trump lies, his lies cause destructive effects on society, those destructive effects cause people to label those lies as 'morally wrong.'
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    The property of "moral wrongness" for you is caused by or made up of destructive effects.
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    For me, I think it's plausible the reverse is the case, that deontology is true and that there is something inherent in lying that is morally bad, and that this property would at least in part explain the destructive effects.
    Then you are arguing that a classification can have a real world effect. It's an odd argument and I see no basis for it. But feel free to make the case if you wish.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    It's also grammar, syntax, context, unspoken assumptions, non-verbal cues. Sometimes silence can speak volumes. It's often what's lost in translatiion. It's sentential, not just a string of symbols.
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    Sounded like you could have been describing a machine language.
    I'm describing ANY language. Even machine language is a collection of symbols to represent a specific reality. In the case of machine language, the symbols represent desired sequential states in the logic gates of a computer. As with human language, context is everything. A simple addition function can be used to total a bank balance, add two register addresses to arrive at a desired register address, determine an encryption key, or begin the process of arriving at an average pixel luminosity.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    No, that's not quite what I'm getting at. Language couldn't exist without an assumption of truth, a norm of truth that users are implicitly aiming at. Truth as a matter of fact is not endemic to language but it's a background assumption. Like I said, the concept of "lie" is meaningless outside the context of truth, but it is conceivable that there could be an alien species that never lies.
    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."

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    Yes, my point. Even if that isn't true, you're imagining or conceiving of a situation in which it were true. It's truth-dependent, even as nonsense verse, like Lewis Carroll's is.
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    How is trust established? Through promises, sentences, etc? Even things like nods, waves, blinks, winks are all para-linguistic. I guess some kind of 'trust' could be established between human and dog, but a very limited kind...
    In my experience, trust tends to be our default position most of the time, until we have cause to NOT trust. Every day is filled with actions that expose our underlying trust in our fellow people. This is why a betrayal of trust impacts us so much. And trust can be destroyed (and re-affirmed) in only one way I know of: by having our actions align with our communicated intent, and our communications consistently accurately represent reality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    I have to be able to think in terms of a principle, as in "I shouldn't take what isn't mine" "I shouldn't hit her" etc. I have to be able to form sentences. Sentence formation probably comes before full self-awareness and being able to sort very many kinds of actions. That probably comes a bit later.
    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.
    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

  9. #1156
    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    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.

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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.
    Yes I agree, it sounds like Kant.
    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
    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.
    Show us one logical truth without identifying a sentient being who is doing the evaluation and assessing said truth.
    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...

  13. #1159
    tWebber carpedm9587's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by seer View Post
    Show us one logical truth without identifying a sentient being who is doing the evaluation and assessing said truth.
    A thing cannot be and not be at the same time and in the same way. This reality is true without anyone assessing it to be true - and does not require a metric to establish its truth. It will continue to be true even if all sentience ceases to exist.

    Prediction: You will again note that we cannot prove fundamental logical principles are absolute, objective, and universal (which I have agreed with multiple times), and by doing so imply that you get a free pass to accept other propositions without that proof.
    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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    Quote Originally Posted by carpedm9587 View Post
    A thing cannot be and not be at the same time and in the same way. This reality is true without anyone assessing it to be true - and does not require a metric to establish its truth. It will continue to be true even if all sentience ceases to exist.

    Prediction: You will again note that we cannot prove fundamental logical principles are absolute, objective, and universal (which I have agreed with multiple times), and by doing so imply that you get a free pass to accept other propositions without that proof.
    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.
    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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