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#473619 - 04/25/12 08:00 PM A Request
Labyrinthine Offline

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Registered: 02/05/12
Posts: 541
Loc: America
Could someone who is good at framing questions and arguments, and using logic in philosophy, please take me through step-by-step as to why they feel there is or isn't objective morality?

It is very difficult to prove a negative, but I would believe it would be possible for someone to prove that morality only comes from human thoughts and feelings. (More specifically; humans form contracts and ethics systems based on varying foundations.)

I find Ayn Rand's arguments for objective morality lacking, but I've heard alternative explanations (other than "God says so") for objective morality; that morality is what is good for human beings, as we have evolved.

I find this lacking as well; good for what human being?

It seems very difficult to PROVE that it is always, independently wrong to kill the innocent or rob or rape, even though I feel that they are wrong, and would definitely want criminals punished, and would not want any of those things done to me or my loved ones.

Anyway, could anyone with say, a philosophy major for example (though that's not required of course) please explain why objective morality arguments are flawed, or in contrast how any real objective morality could exist?

(I now lean towards there being no objective morality for everyone, but that I set my own morals for myself, which are to a large extent based on my own rational self-interest. It's up to those with power over a jurisdiction to determine enforceable laws for all, based on varying foundational ideas; human rights, the word of God, equality, whatever.)

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#473623 - 04/25/12 09:00 PM Re: A Request [Re: Labyrinthine]
reprobate Offline

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Is this really an issue you think can be solved by anonymous strangers on an internet board?
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#473624 - 04/25/12 09:01 PM Re: A Request [Re: Labyrinthine]
TheAbysmal Offline


Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 1024
I think I am yet far from equipped to walk you through proving or disproving an objective morality. I suppose I could offer my own view on morality, but that is not what you are looking for. smile Fortunately, I think I can point you to a comprehensive resource that you might like.

You might light to review Eliezer Yudkowsky's writings on the subject of morality, however:

http://wiki.lesswrong.com/wiki/Metaethics_sequence

The Sequences Listing on Less Wrong shows that "Yudkowsky considers this one of his less successful attempts at explanation." He and others try to tackle many different aspects of human rationality. I have spent months lost in the resources there and referenced elsewhere from there, and still have not even skimmed it all.

Here is the full text of Might is Right, too, apparently available freely online, which you might also find useful in looking into morality:

http://archive.org/details/MightIsRight_966
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#473627 - 04/25/12 09:13 PM Re: A Request [Re: TheAbysmal]
Labyrinthine Offline

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Registered: 02/05/12
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Loc: America
Thank you, I will look into those sources now.

I've never read Might is Right, though I am about to right now.

I know The Satanic Bible's Book of Satan draws heavily from it, so I'm curious to read it.

And reprobate; I wouldn't take whatever someone said as absolute fact.

I'd just like to see what they say; what evidence and logic they offer. It's a topic for discussion.

Perhaps it was wrong for me to phrase it as a request.

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#473629 - 04/25/12 09:33 PM Re: A Request [Re: Labyrinthine]
TheAbysmal Offline


Registered: 09/22/06
Posts: 1024
You are very welcome, Labyrinthine.
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#473635 - 04/25/12 10:19 PM Re: A Request [Re: Labyrinthine]
reprobate Offline

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Quote:
And reprobate; I wouldn't take whatever someone said as absolute fact.

I'd just like to see what they say; what evidence and logic they offer. It's a topic for discussion.

Perhaps it was wrong for me to phrase it as a request.

Fair enough.

I have thoughts on this subject, but I'm a little busy writing my dissertation in philosophy to answer them.

A discussion would have to come with a little more of an incentive before I could participate at this time. wink

Suffice it to say, I used to be a skeptic about objective moral imperatives, but I changed my mind. Kant's Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals is the book that changed my mind.
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#473637 - 04/25/12 10:30 PM Re: A Request [Re: Labyrinthine]
TrojZyr Offline
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Registered: 07/25/01
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I'd recommend you look into studies on neuroscience and psychology, and/or studies on animal behavior, with regards to moral development.

I don't think you can necessarily prove that the universe has an underlying moral order, but you can certainly demonstrate that mammals are moral beings.

The Moral Life of Babies

Babies May Develop Moral Sense as Early as Six Months

Animals Can Tell Right From Wrong

Primatologist Franz De Waal on Animal Morality

Beginnings of Morality in Primate Behavior
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#473639 - 04/25/12 10:48 PM Re: A Request [Re: Labyrinthine]
Bill_M Offline
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Registered: 07/28/01
Posts: 11565
Loc: New England, USA
Originally Posted By: Labyrinthine
Could someone who is good at framing questions and arguments, and using logic in philosophy, please take me through step-by-step as to why they feel there is or isn't objective morality?

To me, the notion of an objective morality is easily debunked by looking at examples of ideas that were moral in some particular culture and/or century, but immoral in another. The Amish for example would consider your use of an electronic computer to be immoral on some level. Similarly, 100 years ago in the U.S. is was considered unethical to discuss issues of sex with friends, but perfectly fine to go see a minstrel show.

I suppose though that some people will say that some of these somehow don't touch upon "morality", or insist that some groups simply got it wrong. Though this then begs the question of what the person means by "morality". Like most philosophical discussions on common topics, I find that the person making the argument (whether it's about morality, the existence of "God", human "soul", etc.) doesn't make a working definition of the key word in the first place, and often can't.

Quote:
It is very difficult to prove a negative, but I would believe it would be possible for someone to prove that morality only comes from human thoughts and feelings.

Or at the very least, find it pretty much impossible to give an example or method for distinguishing the two.

Quote:
I've heard alternative explanations (other than "God says so") for objective morality; that morality is what is good for human beings, as we have evolved.

I find this lacking as well; good for what human being?

There's also the inevitable problem of different people having sincere but conflicting ideas of what's in a person's best interest. To pick a blatant (albeit a bit cliche) example: let's never forget that the Muslims who flew the planes into the WTC felt that they were doing what they felt was in the world's best interest.

Quote:
It seems very difficult to PROVE that it is always, independently wrong to kill the innocent or rob or rape, even though I feel that they are wrong, and would definitely want criminals punished, and would not want any of those things done to me or my loved ones.

Rather than worrying about whether morality is subjective or objective, there is sort of a Satanic third side here: recognizing moral codes as simply being byproducts of our biology. As the Satanic Bible correctly points out, humans are animals, and with that comes the biological drives to get what we want and avoid things that are perceived to be self-defeating. Anybody with a bit of foresight knows that going around killing people will predictably lead to undesirable results. If not going to jail, then receiving a harsh counter-attack from the would-be victim, or retribution from the victim's friends and family. That's because these people are acting on their self-preservation. So it's not surprising that "Don't murder" has been an agreed-upon rule in every society.

Speaking of notions of objective morality, I think the idea of a deity being needed for it (a seemingly favorite subject among monotheists) was thoroughly debunked thousands of years ago by Plato with the Euthyphro Dilemma.
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#473643 - 04/25/12 11:32 PM Re: A Request [Re: Bill_M]
Labyrinthine Offline

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Registered: 02/05/12
Posts: 541
Loc: America
Both TrojZyr and Reverend Bill, thank you very much for the thoughtful replies.

(And best wishes on your dissertation repbrobate)

Reverend Bill; that is very interesting how much something can seem so completely NATURALLY moral or immoral, but 100 years later, or half a world away, everyone thinks you're an idiot (and probably evil) for believing in some particular moral position.

For example, the institution of slavery.

Or as you point out, the use of technology.

Or women walking around not covered head-to-toe.

Ah yes, the rhetorical point Plato makes there, if it's the one I'm thinking of, is that:

"Are things Good because God says so, or does God approve of things because they are Good?"

And the existence of God's Commandments, and Heaven and Hell wouldn't equal an objective morality either.

If the only reason you don't do "evil" things is because you'll go to hell if you do them, you're not really moral, are you?

God is just a divine form of law enforcement then.

If the sole reason that I don't kill and rape is because I'm scared of going to prison for it, I'm not really moral.

I find that we can start to build ethics by thinking of ourselves first; what would we hate to have done to us.

Then we build rules saying that we can't do those things to others, with such-and-such rare exceptions.

Then things get more complicated with law, though law isn't morality itself of course; law attempts to approximate morality.

So a sort of "natural" morality, though not universally objective, does arise.

And that is what I essentially operate on already I suppose...

I'm still wrestling with this; even when I strongly lean towards an answer, I want to be able to clearly articulate myself in a debate.

Again, thank you.



Edited by Labyrinthine (04/25/12 11:36 PM)
Edit Reason: Careless typos; corrected

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#473645 - 04/26/12 12:03 AM Re: A Request [Re: Bill_M]
reprobate Offline

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Registered: 06/05/02
Posts: 7140
Loc: Canada
Quote:
Like most philosophical discussions on common topics, I find that the person making the argument (whether it's about morality, the existence of "God", human "soul", etc.) doesn't make a working definition of the key word in the first place, and often can't.

This is why the internet is simply terrible for any kind of philosophical discussion. This is not how the pros do it, at least, not at the top of the game.


Edited by reprobate (04/26/12 12:03 AM)
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#473646 - 04/26/12 12:30 AM Re: A Request [Re: reprobate]
Janina Offline
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Registered: 12/06/11
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I would separate two things moral and ethic.

I think moral, more or less, is man made believe system which holds the ideas of prize and punishment depending our actions. This moral is part of dogmatic religion and can't really answer the questions like 'if killing is morally wrong, why does serial killers exist' or 'if giving what you got to the others is right, why half of the globe is dying to hunger and other half to it's own fat' this morally aspect actually does not exist as entity. It is allways more or less learned way to think right or wrong.

Still we, as intelligent animal, have some inner vision about what we think is right or wrong. This is more personal view of our values as human being. That I would dexcribe with the term personal ethic.

So I would say that universal moral does not exist, only persons own ethic and some moral codes we have learned from others.


Edited by Janina (04/26/12 12:38 AM)
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#473649 - 04/26/12 12:51 AM Re: A Request [Re: Janina]
reprobate Offline

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Sure, you can stipulate these sorts of distinctions, if you like. I've heard similar distinctions drawn before. I used to be more sympathetic, but when you get right down to it, the fact is, the way these terms are used by most philosophers, there's no significant difference of meaning between "morality" and "ethics". I mean, you can arbitrarily make a distinction, but I think you'd be better off just coining a technical term rather than trying to repurpose traditional terminology.

If we're looking for a definition of "objective morality", I would suggest Kant's: he investigates what he calls "categorical imperatives" that are "universal", ie. subject invariant.

An "imperative" is when there's something you should do. There are two types. Hypothetical imperatives have "if" conditions. For example, if you want to make a cake, you should get the ingredients and combine them in a certain way. The imperative only holds if the condition holds.

Kant says there are also categorical imperatives. These are "shoulds" that don't have an "if". They're just things you should do, irrespective of what you prefer, or how you feel.

Kant defines objectivity in terms of universal validity. The importance of this, for Kant, is that it doesn't presuppose that "objective" moral imperatives come from outside. In fact, it's very important for Kant's story that they don't come from the world, or from God, but from ourselves. The point is not where they come from, but whether or not they vary from person to person. If they don't vary, then they're "objective" in the relevant sense.

In Kant's story, there are universally binding categorical imperatives. They come from the nature of reason itself, rather than being imposed from the outside. They require, for example, that we be free, that we be responsible, and that we not be hypocrites.

I'm very sympathetic to that.

In fact, I think you're going to have a very hard time accounting for the concept of responsibility, or justice, if you say that we get to define our own personal ethic according to our own interests. Sometimes we have responsibilities we'd rather not have, but they're still our responsibilities. Sometimes justice is extraordinarily inconvenient, but it's still justice. And so on.
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#473652 - 04/26/12 02:32 AM Re: A Request [Re: reprobate]
Janina Offline
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Hi Warlock Reprobate, I think I have to explain little what I meant by separating the two words, I spoke about the moral as man made system, I meant with that a moral as the 'higher' universal law. I see moral very much as spiritual aspect, it is way to explain the good or the bad. I myself don't see that anything good or bad exists as separate entities. Good is good when compared to something which is un-good aka bad. And bad or evil is something which we only can compare to goodness aka un-badness. In that light I see morality much as the dualistic way to prize human activities to good or bad. Morally right is always something higher. I don't say 'nothing exists' cause I believe in responsibilty, law of the human society and things like that. I just don't see them as universal law. It would be same as saying that the economic does not exist cause it is man made system.

Then I mentioned ethic, I use this word to describe personal values like for example some one can be vegetarian for ethical reasons during the time his friend eats meatball sandwich. This kind of value I would describe as personal and for that reason it is ethic in my thinking.

I see that reality is more than just dualism between good-bad, up-down, man-woman etc. World is not black and white, it also includes the different shapes of gray.. wink

Human responsibilty I would not describe as much with the term moral, I would rather talk about causes and conditions. All our actions have natural conditions which teaches us to be responsible (killing somebody causes you 20 years prison etc.) so if you put your finger to bonfire, you burn your own skin!

Though I don't see the moral as universal law I still believe in law of human society because certain rules teach us to respect other persons and their freedom, their property and their right to be un-touched of others. These rules are simply the most rational way to organize human society and holding these values called law does not require any moral for being working and successful.

Instead of thinking which is morally right I like prefer think that actions can be productive or destructive as our personal thoughts as well. Learning to regognize what kind of thoughts, actions and choices are productive we learn to avoid destructive actions and that I would personally describe with the term responsibility.


Edited by Janina (04/26/12 03:46 AM)
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#473674 - 04/26/12 11:06 AM Re: A Request [Re: Janina]
reprobate Offline

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I understood the point you were making. I just disagree with it.
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#473676 - 04/26/12 11:19 AM Re: A Request [Re: reprobate]
Janina Offline
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Originally Posted By: reprobate
I understood the point you were making. I just disagree with it.



Fair enough!

After all, we are just playing with the words here.. wink
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#473743 - 04/27/12 11:07 AM Re: A Request [Re: Labyrinthine]
XUL Offline


Registered: 12/12/09
Posts: 238
Loc: Oslo, Norway
Originally Posted By: Labyrinthine
why they feel there is or isn't objective morality


I like to separate moral from moralism. Your moral is the standards you live by, such as they manifest themselves in what you actually do (or perhaps "the moral of your story", if you like), whereas moralism is a (slightly derigatory) word for various opinions on the matter, particularly opinions about what other people should and shouldn't do.

As for the question itself, I don't acknowledge that as an actual problem that's suited for cognitive processing. I'd rather call it a false dichotomy which is cleverly camouflaging a different issue entirely: The free will problem.
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#473756 - 04/27/12 04:21 PM Re: A Request [Re: XUL]
Janina Offline
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Perhaps you could put it this way?

Moralism is the idea of your moral as some supreme view which others should follow.

Most of religious wars for example seem to have this moralism at the base of the conflict. People think they know some supreme truth which others should follow cause it's the ultimate truth. This ends to moralism, idea of my moral as supreme to yours and your moral as questionable.

Just a thought!
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#473795 - 04/28/12 06:20 AM Re: A Request [Re: Labyrinthine]
Nufan Offline


Registered: 04/16/11
Posts: 51
Originally Posted By: Labyrinthine
Could someone who is good at framing questions and arguments, and using logic in philosophy, please take me through step-by-step as to why they feel there is or isn't objective morality?

It is very difficult to prove a negative, but I would believe it would be possible for someone to prove that morality only comes from human thoughts and feelings. (More specifically; humans form contracts and ethics systems based on varying foundations.)

I find Ayn Rand's arguments for objective morality lacking, but I've heard alternative explanations (other than "God says so") for objective morality; that morality is what is good for human beings, as we have evolved.

I find this lacking as well; good for what human being?

It seems very difficult to PROVE that it is always, independently wrong to kill the innocent or rob or rape, even though I feel that they are wrong, and would definitely want criminals punished, and would not want any of those things done to me or my loved ones.

Anyway, could anyone with say, a philosophy major for example (though that's not required of course) please explain why objective morality arguments are flawed, or in contrast how any real objective morality could exist?

(I now lean towards there being no objective morality for everyone, but that I set my own morals for myself, which are to a large extent based on my own rational self-interest. It's up to those with power over a jurisdiction to determine enforceable laws for all, based on varying foundational ideas; human rights, the word of God, equality, whatever.)



I don't want to be behind on this, but something unproven does not give any more worth. As in.. can you prove that to be good in life, a good life, one must give a hug every day? No you can't, but that does not give a proper weight to a theory that giving a person a hug every day will cause you to live a good life. Besides the questions of what is good, and what is a good life etc. The ability to prove something false does not constitute the truthfulness of the statement...

In other words... just because I can't prove it doesn't make it true. So the basis of you question to me is kinda flawed, in the way you ask it.

It is not entirely ones own happiness. One cannot entirely live for themselves and for what one can give to them. It sounds sound that one must live for themselves especially in western society. However, if everyone lived entirely for themselves, an argument against Rand would be (which had been put to her) the creation of public roads/highways. In her mind the person who needed these roads should purchase/acquire/make them. This maybe to some is logical but it is most definitely not practical.

As such Satanism is logical an practical. We do no devolve to pure logical thought, although it is entirely logical as well if you read through the ideas. They also involve a practicality of life.


Edited by Nufan (04/28/12 06:21 AM)

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#473797 - 04/28/12 06:44 AM Re: A Request [Re: Janina]
Nufan Offline


Registered: 04/16/11
Posts: 51
Janina you are right! Don't be so coy in your response smile

If one is entirely living by morals of a belief without any thought they are being naive, and unthinking, which can lead to prejudice and misunderstanding/violence. Although believe at least after the first 3 crusades were under the guise of religion, although were later turned out to blatantly about money. I could be wrong about this, as it has been told to me by professors, and history seems to find a way of changing itself from year to year...

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#473837 - 04/29/12 02:05 AM Re: A Request [Re: Janina]
XUL Offline


Registered: 12/12/09
Posts: 238
Loc: Oslo, Norway
Originally Posted By: Janina
Moralism is the idea of your moral as some supreme view which others should follow.


I disagree.

To me, moralism is all moral theory, whether it applies to (only) yourself or it is something you'd wish that the whole world would live by. As I stated, your true moral will quite inevitably show in what you actually do, regardless of what you say. It is, however, admireable (although not common) if these two are reasonably synchronised.

I suppose we could say that moral principles exist. Personally, I draw mine from an aesthetical view on myself and the world (or vanity, if you will), insofar that there are things I simply won't do -- because I judge them to be stupid, or ugly, or anything like that, which is displeasing to my aesthetical senses. What others do is of little interest to me as long as they aren't doing it specifically against me, or in violation of some agreement I have with them, or on my doorsteps, so to speak. As a general rule I don't expect much from the human monkey. Certainly not that "they" will show any consistency in their morals (but it never comes as any surprise that they have strong opinions on how things ought to be, usually paired with a quite baffling lack of will to actually perform any of those righteous and virtuous things that they hold up as such shining beacons of idealism).
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#473843 - 04/29/12 03:09 AM Re: A Request [Re: Janina]
Janina Offline
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Originally Posted By: Wikipedia

Morality is the differentiation of intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good (or right) and those that are bad (or wrong). A moral code is a system of morality (for example, according to a particular philosophy, religion, culture, etc.) and a moral is any one practice or teaching within a moral code. The adjective moral is synonymous with "good" or "right.


What I meant by my earlier post was the difference between Moral and Morality. I might use word "moralism" to describe something totally different and I appologize the possible confusion with the terms.

I donīt usually use the term moral because it has so strong religious topping, but sure we can talk about moral as an issue.

Moral in many cases have very strong religious or cultural colouring so calling it to universal entity would be little difficult to me.

I think moral as personal code of values or then view of values to larger population like certain religion, state etc. more than some universal law. For example. My home country does not have death penalty cause most of our PM:s and Juridical experts think it as immoral system, still we have lot of people who think death penalty is right. Now whose Moral here is right and whose wrong?

Taking not a stance for this question more here, I just try to express to differences between moral codes even inside one particular group. I could say moral is personal value, but when we start to tell others what is right or wrong then we are putting our personal morality to be supreme and start to limit the freedom of thought and speech to others. That kind of morality I called with the term moralism.

I do after all believe that human animal will have some kinda inner ethic system which teaches the values to us, but I canīt call it moral if I donīt define more specifically what moral do I mean. (Christian, Jewish, pacifistic, beastial etc.etc.)


Edited by Janina (04/29/12 03:23 AM)
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#473847 - 04/29/12 05:30 AM Re: A Request [Re: Labyrinthine]
Nufan Offline


Registered: 04/16/11
Posts: 51
I think the cultural approach to laws ends up becoming more of an argument for subjectivism, as it is broken down.

There is a definition for the minimum concept of morality from Rachaels, which is supposed to explain the basic idea of all moral decisions, which can determine if something is ethical: Effort to guide one's conduct by reasons, while giving equal weight to interests of each individual who will be affected by one's conduct.

I think that this is something most people could agree on for the most part, but it could be fuzzy in some ways.

This is not the golden rule, because that would be more like Guiding ones conduct in regards towards others on how I feel I would like to be treated.

Objectivism is basically that: The proper moral purpose of one's life is the pursuit of one's own happiness. (Wikipedia)

If you use the Minimum Concept of Morality in regards to Objectivism the theory goes against it, as objectivism is a personal pursuit of ones happiness and does not include any thought towards others.

Using other arguments against Objectivism would be, love/compassion/relationships, in which there it is right always to do what makes you happy morally. So if you are in a relationship with someone and you see someone better, you go entirely towards the other person. One can argue there is no such thing as love, and this would be a counterargument.

Another argument could be that if everyone was Objective we never would have anything get done publicly. Such as people who have jobs they hate, in order to be moral they would only pursue those things that make them happy. There would be very few manual labor people besides those that enjoyed it. There is also no public responsibility in objectivism, it is entirely personal.

Hope those are kind of ok arguments.

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#473865 - 04/29/12 02:17 PM Re: A Request [Re: Labyrinthine]
reprobate Offline

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http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/constructivism-metaethics/
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on "Constructivism in metaethics".

I thought this might provide an interesting counterpoint to some of the positions being taken in this thread. It shows that the objective/subjective morality discussion doesn't have to be about "from outside"/"from inside human values".

This is just one example among several approaches to ethics where moral values are objective, but do not come from outside of human interests and values.


Edited by reprobate (04/29/12 02:18 PM)
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#473866 - 04/29/12 02:25 PM Re: A Request [Re: reprobate]
Janina Offline
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Registered: 12/06/11
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Loc: Center of my own Universe
Originally Posted By: reprobate
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/constructivism-metaethics/
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on "Constructivism in metaethics".



Very interesting article. Thanks Warlock for postingt it!
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#473893 - 04/30/12 05:07 AM Re: A Request [Re: reprobate]
Nufan Offline


Registered: 04/16/11
Posts: 51
Originally Posted By: reprobate
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/constructivism-metaethics/
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy entry on "Constructivism in metaethics".

I thought this might provide an interesting counterpoint to some of the positions being taken in this thread. It shows that the objective/subjective morality discussion doesn't have to be about "from outside"/"from inside human values".

This is just one example among several approaches to ethics where moral values are objective, but do not come from outside of human interests and values.


This is going to take a while to absorb. I am not sure that I understand everything in the article. I thought Kant believed in somewhat "natural laws" such as the utmost in his mind that honesty was above all.

I could be reading this wrong, but this is saying there are moral truths, in such as there are basically truths about the world, i.e. Up is opposite of down, left of right. (I was going to use, the sky is blue, but that could be considered subjective smile )

It seems to rely heavily on reason, as it is denouncing other theories based on their lack of reason.

I am not sure if there could be a simpler way of saying all of this. Like an example would help me understand more than just the writings.

What I do like is that it has not been proven right, as no philosophical theory has been in about 2000 years. I do not mean there is no specific universal, just that there always seems to be an argument possibly against it, although at times weak. Every argument seems to have it's philosophical flaws, it is through reason, thought, and sense that we seem to choose that which seems to be most appropriate, or the "most right".

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#473917 - 04/30/12 10:30 AM Re: A Request [Re: Nufan]
reprobate Offline

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Registered: 06/05/02
Posts: 7140
Loc: Canada
Yes. The view is, there ARE moral truths, AND they come from ourselves. We discover them by engaging in reasoning with one another.

Kant's word for moral freedom is "autonomy". It comes from a Greek word, meaning self-law. You must be free to give yourself a moral law of your own. But it must still be a moral law, not "anything goes". You must always act as YOU think is right, because you think it's RIGHT for anyone in your position (not because you think it doesn't matter, or because you have a double standard).

He contrasts autonomy with "heteronomy", meaning "other-law". If you treat the law as something foreign that's imposed on you, you're not being moral, even if you abide by it. For example, if a priest tells you "This is right, this is wrong, if you don't do what I say you'll go to hell", and you abide by those rules, not because you understand, accept and endorse them as moral values, but only because you're awed by God or afraid of hell, then you are NOT moral.

Satanists might put it this way. We reject all moral codes that are foisted on us from the outside. Satanism is about radical, defiant freedom. But that doesn't mean we don't believe in duties. We call duties "responsibilities", because we believe they emerge from our relationships to other people. I don't think I'm above criticism; I am prepared to answer for my actions to those who are affected by them, and to those whose opinion of me I value and respect.

That's essentially a kind of constructivism.
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#473923 - 04/30/12 12:38 PM Re: A Request [Re: reprobate]
XUL Offline


Registered: 12/12/09
Posts: 238
Loc: Oslo, Norway
Originally Posted By: reprobate
a kind of constructivism


To clarify my position: I don't think it's possible to determine any subject X's relative moral character until after the fact, which leaves it a moot point whether his or her moral (such as it manifests itself in choices of action taken, given situational circumstances so and so) emanates from a "subjective" or an "objective" source -- consequently, it all boils down to that same old canard: The free will problem. Keeping in mind, of course, that we all know what value one should place on what people (whom we don't know personally) say about their own moral standing.
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#474064 - 05/02/12 12:21 PM Re: A Request [Re: Janina]
StabAvery Offline

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Registered: 11/16/05
Posts: 717
Loc: michigan
Hi Janina, I used to tell people that I operate on my own system of morals and ethics. I tried really hard to make as much sense of my point of view to other people as I could. What I was misunderstanding, while I was reveling in my own greatness,was the fact that if two parties are not using the same definition for the words they are arguing (moral & ethic) than any further debate into the application of those words will result in a corrupted argument since you are both talking about different things in the first place.

You, Reprobate and Myself may all have a very good understanding of how we feel about morals and ethics, but without using the same definition of the word it is going to be very hard to clearly convey our thoughts.

What I learned from this is sometimes it is better to take a step back and use the word as it has been defined by society. Reprobate mentioned writing his dissertation for philosophy in an earlier post and I am willing to bet the words moral and ethic bring a fine tuned text book understanding to his mind since he has so much study on that topic.

My point is, I was trying to re-invent the wheel and say it in my own language. I also caught myself arguing with PhD. students about rudimentary topics because I was not using the common definition of words I was using my own creation.

Quote:

Originally Posted By: reprobate
I understood the point you were making. I just disagree with it.



Fair enough!

After all, we are just playing with the words here..


Playing with words causes confusion and all the knowledge in the world is pretty useless if you cannot understand it. This is not a "correction" to you Janina, just something I have picked up along the way.
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#474065 - 05/02/12 12:44 PM Re: A Raequest [Re: StabAvery]
Janina Offline
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Registered: 12/06/11
Posts: 1501
Loc: Center of my own Universe
Actually, I have been borned in country which has two official languages so english is just my third language. In that light it is great to get correction to my terminology more than fancy philosophical essays from other thinkers wink

In this discussion the problem is not so much language, but the idea where I tried to use moral as religious meaning (I see it very much as religious term) and change it to term ethic to describe my natural sense of 'moral values'.

Still in most parts I agree with the post of yours!
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#474068 - 05/02/12 01:29 PM Re: A Raequest [Re: Janina]
StabAvery Offline

CoS Member

Registered: 11/16/05
Posts: 717
Loc: michigan
The language barrier is a tough one. That is why I brought up using society's structured definition of the words. If you think morals come from god and I think ethics are some kind of shoe, we are going to go through a lot of wine before coming to no conclusion. wink
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#474069 - 05/02/12 01:47 PM Re: A Raequest [Re: StabAvery]
Janina Offline
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Registered: 12/06/11
Posts: 1501
Loc: Center of my own Universe
Originally Posted By: StabAvery
The language barrier is a tough one. That is why I brought up using society's structured definition of the words. If you think morals come from god and I think ethics are some kind of shoe, we are going to go through a lot of wine before coming to no conclusion. wink



Sometimes I have to think by my native language what I would like to say in english, so yes. It sometimes is little limiting. But I am not whining, it is my decision to take part to these discussion and I enjoy them lot.. smile

My problem is that I don't believe in any God/-s and I have been raised in Christian country where idea of moral is very strictly tied to the idea of Christian moral. I knew already when I was a child that Bible is fairytale, so I left the church as soon as I was able to do it. I studied lot of religious stuff before Church of Satan, mostly Buddhism and Taoism. Also some Shamanism, Bible, Quoran and stuff.. I changed the term moral quite early to word ethic cause I didn't want to end up to protect my views only with religious terms. This habit I have kept my whole life. Like I said in earlier post 'I don't try to claim nothing exist, I just don't call it moral'.

Of course I admit that taking part to discussion about moral philosophy may have been mistake without using the correct term, cause most see these things through philosophical literature where the terminology has been performed very correctly..
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#474072 - 05/02/12 03:09 PM Re: A Request [Re: StabAvery]
reprobate Offline

CoS Warlock

Registered: 06/05/02
Posts: 7140
Loc: Canada
This is a very good point.

It can actually be a really fun exercise to explore the semantic space of a word, the various meanings it can have in common use (rarely, if ever, do words mean only one thing), the etymology and history of a word, the technical adaptations and specialized uses in various fields, etc. etc. Even in philosophy, there are multiple conceptions of "morality" or "ethics" on offer, more or less precise, more or less close to popular usage, emerging from over 400 years' worth of English language writings on the nature of morality.


Edited by reprobate (05/02/12 03:10 PM)
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#474097 - 05/03/12 02:42 AM Re: A Request [Re: reprobate]
Janina Offline
CoS Member

Registered: 12/06/11
Posts: 1501
Loc: Center of my own Universe
Originally Posted By: reprobate
This is a very good point.

It can actually be a really fun exercise to explore the semantic space of a word, the various meanings it can have in common use (rarely, if ever, do words mean only one thing), the etymology and history of a word, the technical adaptations and specialized uses in various fields, etc. etc. Even in philosophy, there are multiple conceptions of "morality" or "ethics" on offer, more or less precise, more or less close to popular usage, emerging from over 400 years' worth of English language writings on the nature of morality.


the moral as term means many things so to be able to discuss about moral as subject we should first give meaning to the term moral, or ethic. I mean if they mean different things to two persons how could they discuss about it objectively. For Christian for example moral is in their dogma, when I as Satanist think that obeying the dogma in the fear of punishment is not moral activity but morelike 'self defence' against punishment. Being moral would require also will to act with moral codes to be morally right.

In my native language we have term which could be translated like 'double moral'. This term means people who have strict moral codes for their social role, but another way to act behind the curtains, for example Priest who teaches love and acts as pedophile himself. I think if there would not be any inner sense of ethic (or moral) then we would all have to be like that person who obeys the rules just cause he fears the punishmet!


Edited by Janina (05/03/12 02:47 AM)
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