The is/ought thing

Discuss arguments for existence of God and faith in general. Any aspect of any orientation toward religion/spirituality, as long as it is based upon a positive open to other people attitude.

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fleetmouse
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Re: The is/ought thing

Post by fleetmouse » Fri Sep 28, 2012 11:44 pm

met wrote:As for me, when I hear fleet and Lance make claims that there are moral propositions that are just necessarily true, my first impulse is to resort to identity politics. Along these lines: as Lance said, there may be a academic convention to agree with that claim, but to me that only demonstrates that there is probably much agreement on morality among a group - the academics -that in the larger world-picture must be seen as a fairly homogenous bunch - A group of well-educated, fairly materially-comfortable and secure people, who are probably mostly westerners, or at least beholding one way or another to the existing Euro-dominant situation. I think, outside of those ivory-tower confines, it would be questionable that we could come up with a set of "moral" propostions for which the vast majority of the planet would have agreement, unless the majority of the statements were so vague and/or so syrupy that they would have not much real punch at all in real life.

Eg, most everyone in the world might agree....
Every sentient life has value.
But then we all might argue endlessly about the definitions of "life," "sentient," and under what circumstances there are mitigating conditions in which we can ignore the supposed "value" of some human lives. In short, I think there's insufficient empirical evidence to take as a given that any "just true" statements about "right" and 'wrong" exist, except for perhaps some insipid ones that sound more like platitudes than propositions. That's, for me, the bottom line on why moral systems need grounding in some solider concept(s) You need to show WHY anything is "true" in the first place, if you gonna make a claim that some statements about what "ought" to are actually truths. Ie, No "is," no "ought".

Sorry about this, fleet! I'ma not just trying to be disagreeable.... really! :P
You've contradicted yourself here. If the diversity of opinion in moral matters functions as a refutation of the notion of necessary moral truth, then it functions equally well as a refutation of any proposed grounding.
Last edited by fleetmouse on Fri Sep 28, 2012 11:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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fleetmouse
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Re: The is/ought thing

Post by fleetmouse » Fri Sep 28, 2012 11:46 pm

(oh poop, that last post of mine started a new page. Now Metacrock will use that as an excuse to ignore my reply at the bottom of page one)

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mdsimpson92
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Re: The is/ought thing

Post by mdsimpson92 » Sat Sep 29, 2012 1:04 am

fleetmouse wrote:You've contradicted yourself here. If the diversity of opinion in moral matters functions as a refutation of the notion of necessary moral truth, then it functions equally well as a refutation of any proposed grounding.
Which is the general flaw with subjectivism. I actually agree with this. Cultural and differing perceptions can make things relative in how carrying out moral truths (ie filial piety/honor thy parents, agape/Mohist inclusive care ect.) But opinions should not alter the grounds for morality. Otherwise is risks becoming self-refuting.
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met
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Re: The is/ought thing

Post by met » Sat Sep 29, 2012 1:28 am

fleetmouse wrote:You've contradicted yourself here. If the diversity of opinion in moral matters functions as a refutation of the notion of necessary moral truth, then it functions equally well as a refutation of any proposed grounding.
okay. Isn't the theistic-realist position that we started out considering expressed basically like this.... " IF God (or a Platonic realm or whatever) exists, THEN that provides a grounding for objectivity in morality that otherwise can't be asserted. "(?)

So how do you mean your criticism?
1. Diversity of opinion in moral matters is an argument against moral-universalist types of claims, such as suggesting - as Meta does - that we all have an inbuilt & proper, God-given moral conscience. (Even if that arg may not work against fundamentalist or elitist claims that only some elected or chosen group has proper morals and/or proper moral instruction) ?
or....
2.Diversity of opinion in moral matters indicates that there IS no law-giving God (nor a Platonic realm, etc...) ?
(?)
The “One” is the space of the “world” of the tick, but also the “pinch” of the lobster, or that rendezvous in person to confirm online pictures (with a new lover or an old God). This is the machinery operative...as “onto-theology."
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fleetmouse
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Re: The is/ought thing

Post by fleetmouse » Sat Sep 29, 2012 8:32 am

met wrote:
fleetmouse wrote:You've contradicted yourself here. If the diversity of opinion in moral matters functions as a refutation of the notion of necessary moral truth, then it functions equally well as a refutation of any proposed grounding.
okay. Isn't the theistic-realist position that we started out considering expressed basically like this.... " IF God (or a Platonic realm or whatever) exists, THEN that provides a grounding for objectivity in morality that otherwise can't be asserted. "(?)

So how do you mean your criticism?
1. Diversity of opinion in moral matters is an argument against moral-universalist types of claims, such as suggesting - as Meta does - that we all have an inbuilt & proper, God-given moral conscience. (Even if that arg may not work against fundamentalist or elitist claims that only some elected or chosen group has proper morals and/or proper moral instruction) ?
or....
2.Diversity of opinion in moral matters indicates that there IS no law-giving God (nor a Platonic realm, etc...) ?
(?)
I'm afraid you're confused, met. Pointing out that you've contradicted yourself does not oblige me to side with one or the other of the contradictory claims.

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fleetmouse
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Re: The is/ought thing

Post by fleetmouse » Sat Sep 29, 2012 9:07 am

mdsimpson92 wrote:
fleetmouse wrote:You've contradicted yourself here. If the diversity of opinion in moral matters functions as a refutation of the notion of necessary moral truth, then it functions equally well as a refutation of any proposed grounding.
Which is the general flaw with subjectivism. I actually agree with this. Cultural and differing perceptions can make things relative in how carrying out moral truths (ie filial piety/honor thy parents, agape/Mohist inclusive care ect.) But opinions should not alter the grounds for morality. Otherwise is risks becoming self-refuting.
I don't think subjectivism is self contradictory in the same sense as met's post, though. It may be corrosive to realism but it doesn't then turn around and purport to ground morality in a universal / realist manner. AFAIK subjectivism is quite happy to accept that different moral agents will have different moral imperatives. (not that I'm offering support for subjectivism here! just a quibble)

Robin Yergenson
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Re: The is/ought thing

Post by Robin Yergenson » Sat Sep 29, 2012 9:26 am

I have demonstrated that oughts derive from is-es as follows:

1. Those things that benefit and harm an organism are factual is-es.
2. With few exceptions, the preference to live and thrive is in the very nature of a rational organism qua organism. This natural order is also a fatual is.
3. It follows then that in order for a rational volitional organism who wants to obtain living and thriving to obtain it, that organism ought to act in ways that obtain benefit and ought not act in ways that obtain harm.

There. Oughts from is-es in three easy steps. Of course the words used here have definitions but I don’t see that as being a road block to their being true. And these truths have context. They do not apply to rocks and are therefore not necessarily true nor contingently true for rocks. These oughts are contingent upon a certain context, that of rational volitional organisms whose very nature is to want to obtain living and thriving. It does not apply to rational volitional organisms that do not stand to benefit (that relatively small category of people who’s quality of life is gone with little possibility of returning).

Rob

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fleetmouse
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Re: The is/ought thing

Post by fleetmouse » Sat Sep 29, 2012 10:05 am

Robin Yergenson wrote:And these truths have context. They do not apply to rocks and are therefore not necessarily true nor contingently true for rocks. These oughts are contingent upon a certain context
I'd like to address this idea of contingency in the sense of dependence on context. The way philosopher Richard Swinburne expresses it is that moral properties are supervenient upon non-moral properties.

"It may be that all acts of telling lies are bad, or it may be that all acts of telling lies in such and such circumstances (the description of which is a long one) are bad. But it must be that if there is a world W in which a certain action A having various non-moral properties is bad, there could not be another world W* which was exactly the same as W in all non-moral respects, but in which A was not bad. If capital punishment for murder is not bad in one world, but is bad in another world, there must be some non-moral difference between the two worlds which makes the moral difference – for example that capital punishment deters people from committing murder in the first world but not in the second world. Moral properties, to use philosophical terminology are supervenient on non-moral properties. And the supervenience must be logical supervenience. Our concept of the moral is such that it makes no sense to suppose both that there is a world W in which A is wrong and a world W* exactly the same as W except that in W* A is good. It follows that there are logically necessary truths of the form ‘If an action has non-moral properties B, C and D, it is morally good’, ‘If an action has non-moral properties D, E and F, it is morally wrong’ and so on. If there are moral truths, there are necessary moral truths – general principles of morality. I re-emphasise that, for all I have said so far, these may often be very complicated principles. All moral truths are either necessary (of the above kind) or contingent. Contingent moral truths (e.g. that what you did yesterday was good) derive their truth from some contingent non-moral truth (e.g. that what you did yesterday was to feed the starving) and some necessary moral truth (e.g. that all acts of feeding the starving are good)."

[emphasis mine]

I realize that's a difficult passage to digest. The rest of the essay is here. It's well worth reading.

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runamokmonk
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Re: The is/ought thing

Post by runamokmonk » Sat Sep 29, 2012 10:28 am

1. Those things that benefit and harm an organism are factual is-es.
Who debates against this?

2. With few exceptions, the preference to live and thrive is in the very nature of a rational organism qua organism. This natural order is also a fatual is.
Most people take benign self benefit as a given, ie, taking care of oneself.

The organism acting in the capacity of an organism, would be behaving and acting like what it is, no matter what it did.

The rationality would be the tool for the value of living and thriving.

Rationality could also be used in the search for what is true, or what is right, even at the expense of one's living and thriving. This could be termed, a higher value.



3. It follows then that in order for a rational volitional organism who wants to obtain living and thriving to obtain it, that organism ought to act in ways that obtain benefit and ought not act in ways that obtain harm

There is no moral ought in regards to another person, earth or animals here. The argument will have to be made in a convoluted way of how it is not really in one's self interest to do the things which are usually called "immoral". And the reason for that is because the real basis would be the moral sentiment, inherent law, caring, or God etc etc.

Simpler just to stick with the inherent law within oneself and not harm others because it's wrong or breaks the golden rule, etc.

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met
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Re: The is/ought thing

Post by met » Sat Sep 29, 2012 1:51 pm

fleetmouse wrote: I'm afraid you're confused, met. Pointing out that you've contradicted yourself does not oblige me to side with one or the other of the contradictory claims.
)

Ooooooo-kay, fleet. Lemme think about that. And reread Swinburne. (Honestly, Ima having trouble really grasping at what you're saying in these threads. :shock:
The “One” is the space of the “world” of the tick, but also the “pinch” of the lobster, or that rendezvous in person to confirm online pictures (with a new lover or an old God). This is the machinery operative...as “onto-theology."
Dr Ward Blanton

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