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Thread: Moral vs. Factual Belief

  1. #31
    tWebber Anomaly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by siam View Post
    @ Anomaly
    Some ideas expressed are interesting...but I have dissatisfaction with some aspects....
    Hello Siam, thanks for responding.

    1) Striking with hammer---boulder vs child
    Thought experiments that do not account for diverse circumstances may be inadequate/inaccurate? For example, Mt Rushmore in the U.S. is carved with faces---but this was sacred ground to the Native Americans who thought of it as defacement. Likewise, Mt Fuji in Japan is considered sacred and tourists defacing it with graffiti carvings or trash is upsetting to many. So too, a doctor rebreaking a child's bone to reset it correctly may be a necessary and good action...or when an accident has occurred and the only way to save the life of a child/adult might be to sever a trapped limb....?....
    Rigidity in ethico-moral discourse can lead to injustice....and perhaps even oppression.....
    I think you overburden the purpose of thought experiments, they are only analogies used to present a certain point. And the mechanism of value does take into account the defacements you mention. Unlike factual properties which are drawn from individual facts, moral properties are drawn from human activities within states of affairs, sets of circumstances. The normative enters into play in inert matter just to the degree [human] agents’ activities interface with it and their interests are benefited or maligned by actions directed toward it. Example: the striking of granite by sculptors in the creation of Mount Rushmore was activity in and of itself divorced from prescriptive meaning. You need to ‘focus in’ to separate the ‘micro event’ taking place within the bigger picture of human interest in the set of circumstances that includes the sculpting. Of itself, chipping away at marble is just a descriptive action. The bigger picture that you argue for is the “state of affairs” situation in which prescript now comes to bear as evidenced by offence to the Indians and the wrongness associated with vandalism. The doctor’s re-breaking bone in order to repair is, I don’t think, the same thing; the substance he was breaking was part of a person, a biological entity, a container for the union of matter and vitality [from a dualist perspective] and therefore not prescriptively inert as inorganic matter is. Stop and think about it, the great majority of substance on the earth’s surface has some connection or interface with biological—especially intellectual—organisms, giving rise to countless means for moral properties to occur. People own land, create material goods which are then sold and owned, infrastructure connects geographical areas, towns and cities spring up, and construction projects are sometimes stopped due to the presence of endangered species. All activities and interests attached to the matter involved are normative or prescriptive affairs by addition in some way of human interest and activity attached to them. Striking the boulder assumed no ownership or other interest that would detract from the pure observation that aside from organic attachment, inorganic matter is normatively inert. Hume noted essentially the same thing in his “no ought from is” axiom.

    2) Binaries/dualities---Yin/Yang are often thought of as complimentary binaries rather than opposing binaries. Regardless of "reality" (metaphysic) as unity, duality, or multiplicity...if we understand these "elements"/concepts as necessary and complimentary, rather than as opposing and one element more significant than the other...perhaps our metaphysic may be more flowing/elastic and a better fit for "reality"...?....If we were to assume harmony/balance/peace as the purpose of creation (equilibrium) then it would be easier to accommodate difference?---Divine rules/laws ("values") as of a different grade than human ethics which would be different from animal/plants (laws of ecosystems)...etc....
    I agree that there are instances in which opposites serve complimentary purposes. The falsity [and its effect, evil] imposed on the circumstances in which the woman who smothers her baby in order to save others hiding from enemy soldiers has its utilitarian good in the saving of the others. But I don’t see that hiding the truth of evil for evil’s sake in a scenario of harmony and balance serves any purpose. It seems to me the further addition of falsity into a society in which the darkness falsity naturally imposes on the cognitive functions (which I suspect can be traced to sociological disorders becoming so prevalent today), though it initially sounds good, ends up in adding detriment to an already broken system. As I pointed out to Jim, the idea of there being divine rules and laws is from the perspective of value mechanics, almost incoherent. There is no need for multiple divine rules or laws. There’s only one: revere, respect and serve truth, the only absolute. The ideal we’re looking for is found in this simple formula. Harmony, balance, peace, life, congruity, love, etc. are all derivatives of this one simple quality and its end is perfection. Laws and rules start jumping out only because truth is violated, neither God nor anyone else needs to think them up. The harsh tones of the moral are a screeching cacophony produced in the essence of everyman by our rejection and break with the absolute. This is why we come to hate and have contempt for truth; our own [largely] self-produced falsity produces the sting of the law from the inside. The stating of moral rules and regulations found in activities within states of affairs are just metaphoric pointers to this one cure for all the causes of evil.

    3)Justice---If we focus on harmony/balance as a core "force"/direction of creation then it might be helpful to consider Justice not just as a "value" but as a framework within which we/humans form systems of ethico-moral intentions/actions for our societies. Just as creation works within a framework of (physics) "laws " ---humanity could consider "Justice" as a tool for the achievement of balance and harmony (= Peace) within societies..?....
    In the Quranic story of Abel and Cain---the dispute between the 2 brothers led to bloodshed and so "laws/Justice" was advised by God for humanity....the restoration of balance and harmony within human relations leading to peace.
    Therefore...what is permissible (right) and what is not permissible (wrong) are two complimentary concepts that can be part of a system of "measure" with which we consider the weight of ethico-moral "values" under varying circumstances in order to arrive at the most "just" thing to do that can contribute to balance and harmony leading to peace.
    ......U defined "value" as measure of the mixture between truth and falsity---correct?
    Moral value has little to do with evolutionary or social causes. Evolution can join hands with her social constructivist sister and triumphantly claim “progress” in dismantling notions of absolutes and granting each person his or her own truth free from needlessly restrictive. Worship at the postmodernist/evolutionary altar where truth is sacrificed daily dictates that all respect the right of other life forms to thrive. This blind march into increasing darkness renders purported intellectual and cultural progress a delusion.

    I read a blog recently where a fellow argued for the truth of social construction, offering evidence that society can agree to call “red” “blue” and vise versa, where our experience of red is called blue and the reverse. This, he claimed, proves that societies and cultures are in control of truth. Claims like this seem to miss the distinction between instrumental truths—with which humans have a measure of control—and truth simpliciter or intrinsic truth. As agents we have the freedom to assign truths to our own constructs. We print paper/cloth money and assign values to various bills of our choosing. We can call it true that a fire truck is a fire hydrant and a hydrant a truck, but if we do so alone and without consensus we’re going to have some trouble if we speak much about fire trucks and hydrants to others.

    Instrumental truths are ours to create and change. A building is true to the extent it meets its designed goals—to provide safety and comfort as well as utilitarian practicality and aesthetically pleasing features to the liking of its inhabitants. It becomes falsified to the extent these features deteriorate or are neglected. But intrinsic truth is found. Was it true that a given solar system in a given galaxy formed from the gasses of the big bang at the time in the universe’s creation that it formed, or was this not true until there was a human mind to acknowledge it? Some truth, moral truths included, are intrinsic. This is the truth that can’t be changed. It can be hidden to suit the purposes of those who profit from its misuse, but truth remains absolute and unscathed. The powers that form cultures can create temporary pseudo moral truths, but these are instrumental distortions of the absolute, which are pirated for a time, because the effects of falsity in the information of minds creates ambiguity and unknowing with respect to the absolute nature of intrinsic prescriptive truth. We can never see absolute truth clearly, only sense its presence intuitively.


    4) Evolution/linear progress---If evolution is used as an argument for linear "progress" of ethico-moral thoughts/systems from "primitive" to "cultured"/progressive---then I would have to disagree. Such arguments for "superiority" of one system over another are problematic IMO. Instead if we consider human history as cycles of action, reaction, counteraction...flowing towards equilibrium then both sides of the equilibrium---enlightened/civilized vs ignorant/barbaric are a necessary complimentary ingredient of a vibrant "system"....?
    How do terrorist acts like flying large planes into crowded buildings work with moral good to create equilibrium or moral progress? How would this be a “complimentary ingredient of a vibrant system”? You lost me here.

    5) U wrote "Cultural norms as integrated systems of beliefs and practices are morally "right or wrong" according to their statistical relation to "absolute truth".
    Lets say, "absolute truth" = Unity,...the expression of this concept in various cultures and languages will be diverse...therefore the judge of "right/wrong" with regards to their expressed "truth" resides with the community of the believers/followers of that "truth" and not with another....so, even if truth is one---it generates a multiplicity of expressions/practices.
    Agree that the nature of absolute truth does, among other things, create unity. And I accept that some level of religious pluralism must be true….this is an inherent and inescapable feature of value mechanics. Yes, there are different interpretations of absolute truth. But in a world where we agents are capable and often pretty enthusiastic in fragmentally falsifying our own essence or information, this produces in individuals and the corporate structures they form (societies, cultures, governments, religious denominations, etc.) by interaction and consensus of similarly falsified minds distortions of bearing toward absolute truth. Note the delusional aspect of falsification I mentioned above. Truth and falsity in this hypothesis are causal powers within individual intellects. Evil is the effect of fragmental falsity emerging in consciousness [more likely the subconscious, theoretically; I’m no psychologist, but almost no one who performs evil on any level does so with full understanding and acceptance of it] to produce evil acts. The multiplicity of expressions and practices you note is certainly true, but from where I’m standing this means different cultures and societies express their own particular styles and methods of good and evil. To the extent those practices are in union with absolute truth, they are “good and proper”. Vise versa for those in tension and resistance. All those goods you mention in your post flow from the former, and corruption and detriment from the latter. Sorry getting late, past my bedtime...I'm rambling.

  2. #32
    tWebber
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    Apologies in advance---but if I could reword some concepts to check for comprehension....?....

    1) micro event vs symbolism to a macro circumstance.
    One presumption can be that a rock--inert, inorganic---is of less value (no value) than a bone which is assumed animate, organic.
    Another presumption can be that there is no value distinction between inorganic and organic as both contain the "Divine". (Kami, spirit, prana, divine breath....etc)
    therefore any distinction or lack of distinction may be a result of cultural/metaphysic bias?
    what may not be sacred to you may be sacred to someone else......

    2)Unity within diversity vs Unity with uniformity (homogeneous unity)
    If we consider "change" as a catalyst for vitality and stagnation the result of inertia then it is essential to consider equilibrium (balance/harmony) in the context of change---or Unity within diversity. The other option---Unity with uniformity is the path to extinction.
    at the genetic level---it is gene diversity and mutations that keep many species going---uniformity often leads to extinction of the species....
    complementary binaries provide the "pendulum" towards equilibrium but equilibrium without reaction/change leads to stagnation and stagnation creates the means to extinction. In order to have "vital systems" reactions need to be ongoing---which means diversity is essential as it is the creative material that produces change....and change causes reactions and reactions causes the pendulum to keep going....which means the "system" retains its vitality

    3) Intrinsic truth vs expressed truth
    You mentioned instrumental truths as those that human beings decide for themselves---correct? I will change the wording to "expressed truth" for my convenience....Let us assume that God (or whatever) made creation "in truth"---that is, truth is in the very being/nature of all creation both inorganic and organic. We can call this "intrinsic truth". So a rock gets eroded with the flow of water and both water and rock are in accord with their "intrinsic truth" or nature.---correct? Then there are animate organisms that live instinctively in accord with their nature/"intrinsic truth" and those that have the ability to decide otherwise (limited free-will). When one decides otherwise to intrinsic truth---justification that overcomes resistance---is required. It seems this is the difference between intrinsic truth and expressed truth---for example, Mt Fuji, which is considered sacred, has hiking paths, shops/rest stops and such---in order for this not to be vandalism---it has to be justified with some excuse/reason.
    Justification can act as a convenient "cover" to hide "intrinsic truth"...and this is what you call Falsity?---correct?

    4) Equilibrium---truth/falsity as complimentary ingredients of a vibrant system.
    If "expressed truth" contains both truth and illusion(perception)...then one persons judgement of this "expressed truth" may be the opposite of another person. One perception of falsity is another's truth. The Afghan fighters were labelled "freedom fighters" at one point and "terrorists" the next. Their labels changed but their mission/justification to "free" the land of "foreign" occupation remained the same.....The U.S. declaration of independence also states that it is a right and a duty of the people to overthrow an abusive government....so are they terrorists or freedom fighters?
    Ibn Khaldun had a theory of history---in this he proposed that a civilization (a society based on civility ---such as ethics, laws, justice....) rose from hardship and formed a union and an identity which helped its progress...this progress brought happiness and stability...but prolonged stability leads to stagnation (corruption) of the civilization contributing to its crumbling and demise at the hands of those less "civilized" who then rise and build from hardship....and the cycle continues.....therefore---this rise and fall of civilization is an "intrinsic truth" of history/law of nature----the cycles of action, reaction, counteraction that create flows of equilibrium and change in a "system".

    5) Diversity is not only a matter of different expression of "truth" but also different weights on "values" (liberty, equality, property....etc) the combination of these different weights creates different ethico-moral conclusions...?....

  3. #33
    tWebber Anomaly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by siam View Post
    Apologies in advance---but if I could reword some concepts to check for comprehension....?....

    1) micro event vs symbolism to a macro circumstance.
    One presumption can be that a rock--inert, inorganic---is of less value (no value) than a bone which is assumed animate, organic.
    Another presumption can be that there is no value distinction between inorganic and organic as both contain the "Divine". (Kami, spirit, prana, divine breath....etc)
    therefore any distinction or lack of distinction may be a result of cultural/metaphysic bias?
    what may not be sacred to you may be sacred to someone else...…
    Hey Siam, thank you for your input. I operate mostly in an introvertive vacuum, popping onto theology or philosophy boards from time to time to test ideas. It’s a much needed treasure when I run into those who, as you are doing here, call me to question and force me to think harder.

    Agree, a rock’s “value” in the sense I think you intend is a matter of perspective. The bone: if from a skeleton, same as rock. Prescript is attached to life. Though bone retains the coding for life in dna, vitality itself is gone.

    If I understand you correctly, you’re suggesting because the single [absolute] value source is present in all things, all things are thus actually “good”; metaphysical/cultural bias doesn’t make sense to me because it conflates prescriptive with descriptive. I find myself doing this in my own thinking and have to correct it from time to time to keep aware of the difference.

    In my thinking normative propositions, actions, ideas, motivations or other moral/ethical expressions should be judged for their standing with or against a fixed prescriptive truth standard. Aquinas’ evil as a privation works fine with static material truth but is insufficient to define moral evil. Privation in the sense Aquinas uses it is just a subtraction, which works well enough with descriptive truth. Subtraction by privation creates inert deficiency but could never produce moral evil. Dividing by two just keeps reducing the goodness of a complex entity until the end of the line base constituents are reached, material fundamental parts are immutably true. Aquinas used the example of blindness as the non-moral evil of privation of sight from the eye. From a purely natural point of view, the matter involved in the cause of blindness has just changed. Each bit of matter in the arrangement which resulted in sight remains unchangeably true, it’s just that some of the matter is either no longer there are has mutated to different locations within the configuration, resulting in blindness. I often use the house or building analogy with the observation that a building is falsified to the extent it no longer serves the purpose of its designer to put forward a teleological perspective.

    But moral truth is different as pointed out in the thought experiment. . It’s nature is pure prescript which can be falsified. Metaphysics weakly and theology strongly investigate this via metaethics and value studies. Philosophy treats the prescriptive and descriptive as equal, metaphysics seems to stand between philosophy and theology, which sharply defines the moral-factual as natural-supernatural causes. I try to maintain a metaphysical middle ground, but I’m sure my Christian bias comes through.

    So metaphysical/cultural value has to be interpreted in different terms than the material because they deal with normative expressions of actual rather than instrumental falsification. Prescriptive falsity produces the more robust moral evil while descriptive falsity is just expressing a perspective.


    2)Unity within diversity vs Unity with uniformity (homogeneous unity)
    If we consider "change" as a catalyst for vitality and stagnation the result of inertia then it is essential to consider equilibrium (balance/harmony) in the context of change---or Unity within diversity. The other option---Unity with uniformity is the path to extinction.
    at the genetic level---it is gene diversity and mutations that keep many species going---uniformity often leads to extinction of the species....
    complementary binaries provide the "pendulum" towards equilibrium but equilibrium without reaction/change leads to stagnation and stagnation creates the means to extinction. In order to have "vital systems" reactions need to be ongoing---which means diversity is essential as it is the creative material that produces change....and change causes reactions and reactions causes the pendulum to keep going....which means the "system" retains its vitality
    You posed some good food for thought here. I’m not smart enough to know the answers but will offer a couple observations. First, I see the vitality catalyst at work in both moral and factual existence. Matter at base is vibrating energy, and life is theoretically vibrating force. [illustrations] So….whence comes stagnation leading to extinction? This is a normative, not material, issue. Imagine countless hypothetical solar systems with lifeless planets…extinction doesn’t apply, only changes of states. Extinction is appropriate to life. An organic is in one dualist view life force fused with material energy. If the information of both is wholly true, life will proceed perfectly within the parameters of change programmed into it by its designer. So it seems to me in the “unity with uniformity” formula that uniformity is itself not the path to extinction. Perfect uniformity achieves only good. Instead, the formula leading to extinction should be corrected to “disunity [falsification] with uniformity”.

    3) Intrinsic truth vs expressed truth
    You mentioned instrumental truths as those that human beings decide for themselves---correct? I will change the wording to "expressed truth" for my convenience....Let us assume that God (or whatever) made creation "in truth"---that is, truth is in the very being/nature of all creation both inorganic and organic. We can call this "intrinsic truth". So a rock gets eroded with the flow of water and both water and rock are in accord with their "intrinsic truth" or nature.---correct? Then there are animate organisms that live instinctively in accord with their nature/"intrinsic truth" and those that have the ability to decide otherwise (limited free-will). When one decides otherwise to intrinsic truth---justification that overcomes resistance---is required. It seems this is the difference between intrinsic truth and expressed truth---for example, Mt Fuji, which is considered sacred, has hiking paths, shops/rest stops and such---in order for this not to be vandalism---it has to be justified with some excuse/reason.
    Justification can act as a convenient "cover" to hide "intrinsic truth"...and this is what you call Falsity?---correct?
    I think it depends on what you mean by “justification that overcomes resistance is required” for the one who chooses a path in enmity with intrinsic truth. I suspect you mean the one who chooses wrongly thereby falsifying the soul/mind then seeks justification for retaining the false belief(s) this choice (or more likely multiple instances of this choice, creating a falsified state adequate to unite with a false belief as true) creates….?? If so then yes, I think you’ve summed it up adequately.

    4) Equilibrium---truth/falsity as complimentary ingredients of a vibrant system.
    If "expressed truth" contains both truth and illusion(perception)...then one persons judgement of this "expressed truth" may be the opposite of another person. One perception of falsity is another's truth. The Afghan fighters were labelled "freedom fighters" at one point and "terrorists" the next. Their labels changed but their mission/justification to "free" the land of "foreign" occupation remained the same.....The U.S. declaration of independence also states that it is a right and a duty of the people to overthrow an abusive government....so are they terrorists or freedom fighters?
    Ibn Khaldun had a theory of history---in this he proposed that a civilization (a society based on civility ---such as ethics, laws, justice....) rose from hardship and formed a union and an identity which helped its progress...this progress brought happiness and stability...but prolonged stability leads to stagnation (corruption) of the civilization contributing to its crumbling and demise at the hands of those less "civilized" who then rise and build from hardship....and the cycle continues.....therefore---this rise and fall of civilization is an "intrinsic truth" of history/law of nature----the cycles of action, reaction, counteraction that create flows of equilibrium and change in a "system".


    5) Diversity is not only a matter of different expression of "truth" but also different weights on "values" (liberty, equality, property....etc) the combination of these different weights creates different ethico-moral conclusions...?....
    Expressed beliefs one acts on (or has potential to act on) are always a single thing made up of multiple subordinate propositions. Moral ethical Beliefs do contain true and false elements, to the extent a belief is expressed in word and act it serves the individual and his organization of like believers as an expressed or instrumental purpose.
    A) Afghan fighters were freedom fighters.
    B) Afghan fighters were terrorists.

    Two different beliefs, each arrived at by a consensus of subordinates. Falsification has the effect of disrupting the perfection of true [accurate] thought, which makes moral and ethical apprehension so difficult for us. At the end of the day, both A and B stand in some fragmented relation to both unconditional truth and to falsehood. All information--beliefs, propositions, thoughts, interpretations, motivations, emotions, ideas, etc.--is fragmentally falsified.

    Agree, each contain different “weights” on values creating different moral conclusions, but one will I believe have a mathematically sufficient quantity of truth to justify its standing as a true belief. The other will not. It’s possible that they could balance one another out by each containing exactly the same numeric amount of truth, but I suspect this is rare and probably not possible due to the magnitude of subordinate propositions feeding beliefs like these. Simple beliefs that have only a few supporting propositions are much more likely to balance. By the time a world class belief is reached, it has been well ‘seasoned’; one by a greater number of false propositions [because false begets false] in the pursuit of justification, the other will have more true [truth begets truth] than false subordinates rendering it justifiably true. The encumbrance the false brings into the cognitive arena is for me what produces the “expressed” function…belief as catalyst for act degrades into producing instrumental states or circumstances….and for me this gives the instrumental feel to beliefs themselves.

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