Objective morality

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Re: Objective morality

Post by Metacrock » Wed May 16, 2012 10:51 am

no I didn't know about your Berkley influence. somehow I missed that. I have a strong influence form Berkley too.
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runamokmonk
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Re: Objective morality

Post by runamokmonk » Fri May 18, 2012 8:22 pm

I said~

"I don't believe it is a semantics difference as I told you the difference. "Rights" don't exist in nature, they exist in community. Community of a species that emerged from mutual aid."

You replied~
I could just as easily say that your “social mutuality” does not exist in nature. It exists in community, but then we would both be wrong because communities are an integral part of nature. Again, semantic arguments are not interesting so please stop.
I am not doing semantic arguments. You could not just as easily reply that social mutuality does not exist in nature as it objectively does (In many species. Nor was this my point). It would also not make any sense to argue that a community creates social mutuality. That would be backwards (the community does not cause mutual aid to exist. But the process of mutual aid would cause community to emerge.). As I said, private property rights do not exist in nature as a natural law. Particular rights exist in peoples heads in a community. The community or sociality of a species emerges from some level or form of mutual aid. Particular rights do not exist in nature as natural laws.

Before, I also said~
You do realize, property rights, meaning capitalist property rights, are dependent on the state to enforce and support such rights. These "rights" are not based in some sort of natural law. It is created by the community.

You said~
When you act, are you acting based on your beliefs or someone else’s? Your beliefs. And are your beliefs always true, or are they attempting to be true but at risk of being in error? At risk of being in error. And are your principles and beliefs of what is beneficial to you (your values) also at risk of being in error? Yes. So then, are your values whim based? No, they are defined by reality itself. So then, when you say, “I am arguing that principles are mine,” of course they are yours, but they are not up to you. Do you understand that? And when you say, “This value system seems quite subjective,” what are you talking about? While value systems are only coherent in the context of a subject, what value system could be more objective than this?

I do not see yours as objective. A value system where self benefit is the highest value rather than principles is highly subjective.

When a value system has principles as higher values it becomes more objective in that it is not simply a value system based on your self benefit but one based on principles being a deeper value which goes beyond oneself and which could negatively effect your "net benefit" to a small or large degree from following it (I have brought up MLK already to more clearly highlight a hierarchy of values and to show one can value more than their own existence.)

Living in community requires something more than biased self interest as it is based on a give and take.

Valuing the other would cause me to not be as unfairly biased toward myself. Valuing the other would cause me to have a tendency toward behaving fairly with others. Becoming more objective in this I would be following principles.
Last edited by runamokmonk on Sat May 19, 2012 5:11 am, edited 29 times in total.

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Re: Objective morality

Post by runamokmonk » Fri May 18, 2012 8:45 pm

You do understand that you are this kind of rational being, do you not? So then, given that self interest is a most fundamental quality to your nature as an organism, you should therefore act in ways that have a probability of obtaining greater self benefit and you ought to avoid acting in ways that have a probability of resulting in greater net loss to self. This is a governing principle that is the fundamental basis for an objective value system. Fairness is not fundamental. Self benefit is. Fairness in the sense that each of us is obligated to distribute our wealth with those that have less, is not an objective moral obligation at all.

The fact that you brought in redistrubution of wealth brings up property rights. This is a human political and economic construct that has not existed in all cultures (capitalism. This property is not the same as personal possessions and land for use. As in use rights. But specifically capitalism.)

Not only this, these rights are created by the community, and can be changed and altered whereas objective natural laws cannot be.

So this particular right, is something that the community says is a right. Not nature.

(In fact, those who don't own private property might find it in their interest to change such a structure. This would not necessarily require a redistribution of wealth but could be a change or alteration of rules or structure.)

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Re: Objective morality

Post by Robin Yergenson » Sun May 20, 2012 5:54 pm

Hi runamokmonk,

I had said,
When you act, are you acting based on your beliefs or someone else’s? Your beliefs. And are your beliefs always true, or are they attempting to be true but at risk of being in error? At risk of being in error. And are your principles and beliefs of what is beneficial to you (your values) also at risk of being in error? Yes. So then, are your values whim based? No, they are defined by reality itself. So then, when you say, “I am arguing that principles are mine,” of course they are yours, but they are not up to you. Do you understand that? And when you say, “This value system seems quite subjective,” what are you talking about? While value systems are only coherent in the context of a subject, what value system could be more objective than this?
To which you replied,
I do not see yours as objective. A value system where self benefit is the highest value rather than principles is highly subjective.

When a value system has principles as higher values it becomes more objective in that it is not simply a value system based on yourself benefit but one based on principles being a deeper value which goes beyond oneself and which could negatively affect your "net benefit" to a small or large degree from following it (I have brought up MLK already to more clearly highlight a hierarchy of values and to show one can value more than their own existence.)

Living in community requires something more than biased self interest as it is based on a give and take.

Valuing the other would cause me to not be as unfairly biased toward myself. Valuing the other would cause me to have a tendency toward behaving fairly with others. Becoming more objective in this I would be following principles.
I agree that principles are the right basis for guiding our choices and actions. Just so we’re not talking past each other, a principle is a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behaviour or for a chain of reasoning. The most foundational guiding principle that is objective even though it is with respect to the subject is:

Never pursue a lesser value at the expense of a greater value.

When we speak of value here, we need to realize that values are only coherent with respect to a valuer. Who is the valuer? The subject doing the pursuing. And as I said above, when we act to pursue something, we are acting based on our beliefs and values which are at risk of being in error. It is therefore not our whim, nor the whim of society, that determines whether they are or are not in error. Rather, their correctness is defined by reality itself. For example, my believing that rock climbing is good for me and therefore valuing it is objectively true since it is good to get exercise, experience thrill, enjoy the outdoors and the friendship of others, but pursuing it in extremely harsh and life threatening conditions runs serious risk of obtaining a lesser value at the expense of a greater value and so it is something I ought not do whether I realize it or not. This is objectively true with respect to subjects who have value systems. The pivotal point that you need to grasp though, is that value is with respect to a valuer. It is not whim based but objectively defined. Being moral is pursuing objectively defined value to you.

Rob

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Re: Objective morality

Post by mdsimpson92 » Mon May 21, 2012 12:03 pm

Robin Yergenson wrote:When we speak of value here, we need to realize that values are only coherent with respect to a valuer. Who is the valuer? The subject doing the pursuing. And as I said above, when we act to pursue something, we are acting based on our beliefs and values which are at risk of being in error. It is therefore not our whim, nor the whim of society, that determines whether they are or are not in error. Rather, their correctness is defined by reality itself. For example, my believing that rock climbing is good for me and therefore valuing it is objectively true since it is good to get exercise, experience thrill, enjoy the outdoors and the friendship of others, but pursuing it in extremely harsh and life threatening conditions runs serious risk of obtaining a lesser value at the expense of a greater value and so it is something I ought not do whether I realize it or not. This is objectively true with respect to subjects who have value systems. The pivotal point that you need to grasp though, is that value is with respect to a valuer. It is not whim based but objectively defined. Being moral is pursuing objectively defined value to you.
I would be careful with that. Lest you fall into the naturalistic fallacy. Just because things are the way they are does not mean they are the way things should be.

Also, the example you give again presupposes that rational self-interest is what morality is grounded in. Also, what do you mean by objectively defined?
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Re: Objective morality

Post by Robin Yergenson » Wed May 30, 2012 10:13 am

Hi Miles,

I said,
When we speak of value here, we need to realize that values are only coherent with respect to a valuer. Who is the valuer? The subject doing the pursuing. And as I said above, when we act to pursue something, we are acting based on our beliefs and values which are at risk of being in error. It is therefore not our whim, nor the whim of society, that determines whether they are or are not in error. Rather, their correctness is defined by reality itself. For example, my believing that rock climbing is good for me and therefore valuing it is objectively true since it is good to get exercise, experience thrill, enjoy the outdoors and the friendship of others, but pursuing it in extremely harsh and life threatening conditions runs serious risk of obtaining a lesser value at the expense of a greater value and so it is something I ought not do whether I realize it or not. This is objectively true with respect to subjects who have value systems. The pivotal point that you need to grasp though, is that value is with respect to a valuer. It is not whim based but objectively defined. Being moral is pursuing objectively defined value to you.
And you responded,
I would be careful with that lest you fall into the naturalistic fallacy. Just because things are the way they are does not mean they are the way things should be.
I think you’ve raised this objection before, and I think I’ve addressed it before. Let’s follow this through this time and see if we can expose the error, okay? You are right. Things are the way they are and that does not necessarily mean that that they should be that way. This is certainly true with regard to piles of rocks, which way the wind blows, pre-rational forms of life, etc. But you need to be careful not to apply this naturalistic fallacy to objective morality, as you would thereby be committing a “relativistic fallacy” (probably not an officially sanctioned fallacy since I just made it up, but a fallacy nonetheless). There plenty of academics who fall on both sides of this is/ought gap issue, so you should remain open to the evidence against it (okay yes, and for it). The relevant question is, can we determine how people morally ought to behave based on objective facts? And the answer is yes you can, and here’s how:

1. It is a fact that, at least generally speaking, the propensity to flourish is integral to our nature as an organism qua organism.
2. It is a fact that, at least generally speaking, as rational beings, we stand to benefit or to suffer loss by believing, choosing, and acting in particular ways.
3. It is a fact that, at least generally speaking, in accordance with our nature as organisms and in particular as rational volitional beings, in order for the one who’s doing the valuing, choosing, and acting to flourish, that individual ought to prefer to flourish, and that individual ought to act in ways that promote flourishing, and that individual ought not act in ways that adversely affect flourishing.


Now, focus on these last three statements, scrutinize them, and let me know if any of them are in error. If they are true then do you agree that these are what give rise to objective morality and that those who claim that objective facts provide the basis for objectively defining how people morally ought to behave are correct and that those who claim that objective facts do not provide the basis for objectively defining how people morally ought to behave are in error?

Rob

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Re: Objective morality

Post by mdsimpson92 » Wed May 30, 2012 11:34 am

Robin Yergenson wrote:I think you’ve raised this objection before, and I think I’ve addressed it before. Let’s follow this through this time and see if we can expose the error, okay? You are right. Things are the way they are and that does not necessarily mean that that they should be that way. This is certainly true with regard to piles of rocks, which way the wind blows, pre-rational forms of life, etc. But you need to be careful not to apply this naturalistic fallacy to objective morality, as you would thereby be committing a “relativistic fallacy” (probably not an officially sanctioned fallacy since I just made it up, but a fallacy nonetheless). There plenty of academics who fall on both sides of this is/ought gap issue, so you should remain open to the evidence against it (okay yes, and for it). The relevant question is, can we determine how people morally ought to behave based on objective facts? And the answer is yes you can, and here’s how:
Actually, I do believe that morality is objective. Relativism often become contradictary when faced with overlapping cultures or opposing opinions within cultures. So quite the contrary.

In fact, I too support flourishing as essential to our natures (definitions of "flourishing aside). What I fear is the atomization of the individual without reference to the community. I think that the Community and relationships are absolutely essential for human beings to "flourish." I am probably one of those who support a largely aristotlean view, like that of Michael Sandel and MacIntyre. So, in a sense I find your idea not so much as wrong so much as lacking. We are social animals, as Aristotle once said. And as such the individual cannot thrive alone.
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Re: Objective morality

Post by Metacrock » Thu May 31, 2012 10:11 am

I see people talking about "objective morality" in two different senses. I agree with one and not the other. I think when atheists speak of objective morality they mean provably true by scientific or mathematical standards. Of cousre in that sense there can't be any. In the other sense, that the same general principles always apply I agree with that. Except in so far as their application will different depending upon the circumstances and there should be an account of the applicability.

Surely it's not the same to lie to the Nazis "I'm not hiding in the Jews, don't look under the table." Vs. "what cookie jar?"
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Re: Objective morality

Post by Robin Yergenson » Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:07 pm

Hi Miles,

You say,
Actually, I do believe that morality is objective. Relativism often become contradictory when faced with overlapping cultures or opposing opinions within cultures. So quite the contrary.

In fact, I too support flourishing as essential to our natures (definitions of "flourishing aside). What I fear is the atomization of the individual without reference to the community. I think that the Community and relationships are absolutely essential for human beings to "flourish." I am probably one of those who support a largely Aristotelian view, like that of Michael Sandel and Macintyre. So, in a sense I find your idea not so much as wrong so much as lacking. We are social animals, as Aristotle once said. And as such the individual cannot thrive alone.
That’s good to hear. I agree with everything you say. In fact, I was reflecting earlier this week about how heavily dependent our happiness is on maintaining healthy relationships with others. While I haven’t explicitly emphasised it, I certainly haven’t suggested anything to exclude it, and I have explicitly pointed out in my opening post that:
11. Rational beings generally benefit more from harmonious rights reciprocity, living in accord, and exchanging value for value than by stealing and preying on one another.
12. Given our lack of omniscience, we typically have to base choices and actions on our greatest probability for obtaining benefit. Harmonious rights reciprocity is one.
13. It follows then that in a social context, we ought to act in harmonious ways and we ought not act in predatory ways.
So I think we’re aligned. Do you agree? If not why not?

Rob

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Re: Objective morality

Post by Robin Yergenson » Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:31 pm

Hi Metacrock,
I see people talking about "objective morality" in two different senses. I agree with one and not the other. I think when atheists speak of objective morality they mean provably true by scientific or mathematical standards. Of course in that sense there can't be any. In the other sense, that the same general principles always apply I agree with that. Except in so far as their application will different depending upon the circumstances and there should be an account of the applicability.

Surely it's not the same to lie to the Nazis "I'm not hiding in the Jews, don't look under the table." Vs. "what cookie jar?"
Sounds like we’re not too far apart in our view of morality either. By “objective” I mean actual, factual, whether we know those facts or not. Of course, of the infinite number of potential facts, the only specific facts that we can identify as facts are those that we have at least a high probability of demonstrable evidence to support. So then, in the domain of morality, that leaves plenty of objective moral oughts that we have yet to discover but that are nevertheless, depending upon the particular circumstances, actions that we ought to do. And that's where we can be an allie with one another in exposing the areas of ignorance that result in error, the common enemy of all rational beings.

Rob

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