Moral realism

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Moral realism

What are peoples views of moral realism, which states that true moral facts exist.

 

I regard moral claims as factual empirical claims that should be tested against the actual facts about the nature of humans and of the world, thus, moral claims (what we ought to do) necessarily depend on facts about the world (what is the case), therefore, I should only do X to achieve Y, iff, (1) X will actually result in Y, and (2) I actually desire Y.

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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Topher wrote:What are

Topher wrote:

What are peoples views of moral realism, which states that true moral facts exist.

 

I regard moral claims as factual empirical claims that should be tested against the actual facts about the nature of humans and of the world, thus, moral claims (what we ought to do) necessarily depend on facts about the world (what is the case), therefore, I should only do X to achieve Y, iff, (1) X will actually result in Y, and (2) I actually desire Y.

    I don’t tend to view morel claims as factual claim.  Moral claims can’t be factual claims because the reasons for moral claims are always subjective.  For instance the belief that all morality should be based on maximizing human happiness is subjective.  It may seem obvious to me, but another person might feel differently.   A lot of theists seem to feel that morality should be based of god’s wishes.  Someone else might feel that morality should be based on preserving the environment and all living thing on earth.  If you had some way of establishing what morality should be based on in absolute terms then morel claims would be factual claims. 
    Your statement that X should only be done if it accomplishes Y ignores results of X other the y.  Let’s call these results Z.  If Z is a negative result (something you don’t desire) then you should only do X if Y has a positive result that is greater then the negative result from Z.  
 


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RatDog wrote:Topher

RatDog wrote:

Topher wrote:

What are peoples views of moral realism, which states that true moral facts exist.

 

I regard moral claims as factual empirical claims that should be tested against the actual facts about the nature of humans and of the world, thus, moral claims (what we ought to do) necessarily depend on facts about the world (what is the case), therefore, I should only do X to achieve Y, iff, (1) X will actually result in Y, and (2) I actually desire Y.

    I don’t tend to view morel claims as factual claim.  Moral claims can’t be factual claims because the reasons for moral claims are always subjective.  For instance the belief that all morality should be based on maximizing human happiness is subjective.

That humans desire happiness above everything else is an factual empirical claim. We can empirically determine whether it is in fact that case that humans desire happiness above everything else (or whether they desire something else, more than anything else.) It isn't subjective.

RatDog wrote:
Your statement that X should only be done if it accomplishes Y ignores results of X other the y.  Let’s call these results Z.  If Z is a negative result (something you don’t desire) then you should only do X if Y has a positive result that is greater then the negative result from Z.  

Sure, but then that is still a matter of empirical scientific inquiry, and it still necessitates a factual answer.

In any case, the behaviour X would necessarily result in desire Y above negative Z (assuming there even is a negative of course), otherwise X would not be statistically more likely to result in Y, and therefore would not be the moral thing to do. The point is that once we empirically determine what it is that people want Y, we can then empirically determine what behaviours will statistically be more likely to result in Y. This behaviour is X. Thus we will necessarily end with a behaviour or behaviours which are statistically more likely to result in Y (and do not result in any possible negative consequences greater than Y)

 

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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Topher wrote:That humans

Topher wrote:

That humans desire happiness above everything else is an factual empirical claim. We can empirically determine whether it is in fact that case that humans desire happiness above everything else (or whether they desire something else, more than anything else.) It isn't subjective.

I agree that it is an empirical fact that humans desire happiness above all else, but I’m not sure if it is an empirical fact that morality should be based of what we desire.  Some people might say that there are things more important then what we desire that must be taken into account.  Personally I disagree, but I have herd people make arguments to that effect.

As for the second part with the equation, I wasn’t trying to argue against you claim with that part.  I only felt that the equation needed to take more then two factors into account. 
 


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RatDog wrote:Topher

RatDog wrote:

Topher wrote:

That humans desire happiness above everything else is an factual empirical claim. We can empirically determine whether it is in fact that case that humans desire happiness above everything else (or whether they desire something else, more than anything else.) It isn't subjective.

I agree that it is an empirical fact that humans desire happiness above all else, but I’m not sure if it is an empirical fact that morality should be based of what we desire.  Some people might say that there are things more important then what we desire that must be taken into account.  Personally I disagree, but I have herd people make arguments to that effect.

If we do not desire them then how are they more important? Why are they important, to whom, and for what reason? Surely it is the case that the most important thing to us is that which we desire above all else. 

Here's a talk by Richard Carrier on scientific morality: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GkE1TxMRzU (That is part four, where is talk about scientific morality.) 

Here's a quote on defining morals:

"A moral ought is what you ought to do more than anything else, since moral are supposed to supersede all other demands - thats what makes them moral. But if the moral thing to do is what we ought to do more than anything else, then the moral thing to do must be what gives us what we want more than anything else, because only a greater desire would ever motivate us to obey."

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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You are correct!

Topher wrote:

If we do not desire them then how are they more important? Why are they important, to whom, and for what reason? Surely it is the case that the most important thing to us is that which we desire above all else.

Good questions!  In my first reply I listed two different things that people say are more important then what we desire.  I’m going to answer these questions based on those two things.

I said:

RatDog wrote:

A lot of theists seem to feel that morality should be based of god’s wishes.

You asked:

Topher wrote:

If we do not desire them then how are they more important?



Possible reason one.

If god/gods existed, and we don’t do what he/she/they say we might be put in some kind of hell.  We don’t desire hell.  Therefore doing what god/gods say because of the threat of hell is doing what they say because of what we desire.  This fails to give a reason other then desire.

Possible reason two.

If god/gods existed then we might love them/him/her.  If we love them/him/her then we might desire to make them/him/her happy.  Doing what they say might make them/him/her happy.  Following god/gods wishes because we love them/him/her fails to give a reason other then what we desire.

I can not think of a reason other then desire to do what any god/gods wants us to do.

You asked:

Topher wrote:

Why are they important, to whom, and for what reason?



God/gods wishes are important to us if we have reason to desire their fulfillment.  Weather or not they important to any god/gods is irrelevant if they don’t coincide with our own desires.

I can not answer your questions with reasons other then desire.

I said:

RatDog wrote:

Someone else might feel that morality should be based on preserving the environment and all living thing on earth.

(I meant things not thing, my writing skills kind of suck.) 

You asked:

Topher wrote:

If we do not desire them then how are they more important?

If we don’t take care of the environment everything on earth might die.  We don’t desire everything on earth to die.  Therefore we should take care of the environment.  I can’t thing of a reason to take care of the environment other then our desire(which is a little depressing because I desire this personally). 

You asked:

Topher wrote:

Why are they important, to whom, and for what reason?



The environment is important to us because most of us desire to live, and want other things to live as well.  I don’t think the environment desires anything itself, but even if it did its desires wouldn’t matter if they didn’t coincide with our own. 

You are correct.  There is nothing to base morality on except desire.

My next questions are as follows:

How do you deal with morality in a society whose members have conflicting desires, and beliefs?

Are all people’s desires equally important?  If so can you prove this empirically? 

Please note: I’m asking these questions because I’m trying to understand.  I’m not trying to prove anything.  


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RatDog wrote:Possible reason

RatDog wrote:
Possible reason one.

 

If god/gods existed, and we don’t do what he/she/they say we might be put in some kind of hell.  We don’t desire hell.  Therefore doing what god/gods say because of the threat of hell is doing what they say because of what we desire.  This fails to give a reason other then desire.

Surely this could constitute a desire to please god, and/or a desire not to go to hell, and/or a desire to go to heaven. But you said something other than what we desire. I think our behaviour is always based on a desire, which ultimately draws to some ultimate underlining desire, such as happiness.

 

RatDog wrote:
Possible reason two.

 

If god/gods existed then we might love them/him/her.  If we love them/him/her then we might desire to make them/him/her happy.  Doing what they say might make them/him/her happy.  Following god/gods wishes because we love them/him/her fails to give a reason other then what we desire.

Again, would this not constitute a desire to make god happy, indeed, you even say this yourself (the bit in bold).

 

This doesn't really answer your suggestion that we may find something that we do not desire important enough to act on it over what we do desire, but so far your suggestions are things we do desire, namely, the desire to please god, the desire to make god happy, the desire to not to go to hell, or the desire to go to heaven.

 

RatDog wrote:
If we don’t take care of the environment everything on earth might die.  We don’t desire everything on earth to die. 

This is simply saying we desire everything on earth to live, so its still a desire.

 

Again, you suggested we may find something important other than what we desire. But this doesn't make any sense since surely in order to find something important it must satisfy a desire in us, thus there can be nothing more important than our desire(s).

 

RatDog wrote:
My next questions are as follows:

 

How do you deal with morality in a society whose members have conflicting desires, and beliefs?

I would say that they all draw to some ultimate desire which we all share, thus even if my desire is X, and your desire is Y, both satisfy the same ultimate desire (e.g. happiness)

 

RatDog wrote:
Are all people’s desires equally important?  If so can you prove this empirically? 

Good question.

 

If we ultimately share the same desire, then our desire would be equal, although as I say above, we may take different routes in satisfying this desire, for instance, X may make me happy, whereas Y may make you happy, but both may encompass behaviours/lifestyles that satisfy this ultimate desire. So what matters is not so much specific behaviours (X versus Y), but rather the overall lifestyle we live, e.g. consistently lying will probably not lead to happiness for various reason, whereas being honest and compassionate will probably lead to happiness.

 

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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Topher wrote:RatDog

Topher wrote:

RatDog wrote:
Possible reason one.

 

If god/gods existed, and we don’t do what he/she/they say we might be put in some kind of hell.  We don’t desire hell.  Therefore doing what god/gods say because of the threat of hell is doing what they say because of what we desire.  This fails to give a reason other then desire.

Surely this could constitute a desire to please god, and/or a desire not to go to hell, and/or a desire to go to heaven. But you said something other than what we desire. I think our behaviour is always based on a desire, which ultimately draws to some ultimate underlining desire, such as happiness.

I’m sorry, I wasn’t very clear.  The first part of the post was me agreeing with you.  You’ve convinced me that you’re right, that all morality is based on what people desire.  I used your questions on what I have said before to show why I have changed my mind.  I should have stated that clearly.

Topher wrote:

 

RatDog wrote:
My next questions are as follows:

 

How do you deal with morality in a society whose members have conflicting desires, and beliefs?

I would say that they all draw to some ultimate desire which we all share, thus even if my desire is X, and your desire is Y, both satisfy the same ultimate desire (e.g. happiness)

What if your desire X and my desire Y conflict with each other?  What if what makes me happy makes someone else unhappy?  Should we only pursue desires that can be enjoyed by everyone?

Topher wrote:

RatDog wrote:
Are all people’s desires equally important?  If so can you prove this empirically? 

Good question.

 

If we ultimately share the same desire, then our desire would be equal, although as I say above, we may take different routes in satisfying this desire, for instance, X may make me happy, whereas Y may make you happy, but both may encompass behaviours/lifestyles that satisfy this ultimate desire. So what matters is not so much specific behaviours (X versus Y), but rather the overall lifestyle we live, e.g. consistently lying will probably not lead to happiness for various reason, whereas being honest and compassionate will probably lead to happiness.

What if other people feel that my chosen life style somehow interferes with theirs?  In California recently people passed Proposition 8 which outlawed same sex marriage.  They feel that same sex marriage threatens their happiness in some way.  Many people feel that certain life styles degrade their own.  Does one group have the right to enforce their views on another in pursuit of happiness? 


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 I want to jump in on this,

 I want to jump in on this, and I simply don't have the time right now.  You can probably guess a lot of what I'll say, though, as I've expounded on morality quite often.

Maybe the thread will be alive later this week.

 

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Hambydammit wrote: I want

Hambydammit wrote:

 I want to jump in on this, and I simply don't have the time right now.  You can probably guess a lot of what I'll say, though, as I've expounded on morality quite often.

Maybe the thread will be alive later this week.

 

Cool. I'll look forward to your post.

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RatDog wrote:What if your

RatDog wrote:
What if your desire X and my desire Y conflict with each other?

They may conflict, but if the hypothesis is right then they would both satisfy the ultimate shared desire: Z (what ever Z is, such as happiness.)

 

RatDog wrote:
What if what makes me happy makes someone else unhappy?

Well aside from sociopaths/psychopaths, most people are compassionate, and share the feelings of others, so in making others happy will increase your own happiness, but making others unhappy, then you share their unhappiness, so any action which negated someone elses happiness would negate your own.

(Also, it would contain the tacit assumption that your desires/happiness were superior to someone else's desires.)

 

RatDog wrote:
Should we only pursue desires that can be enjoyed by everyone?

I would say we should pursue desires/behaviours that do not negate the desire of others, so even if someone does not enjoy that desire or behaviour (i.e. if it does not make them happy), if it does not make them unhappy, then there would be not problem.

 

RatDog wrote:
What if other people feel that my chosen life style somehow interferes with theirs?  In California recently people passed Proposition 8 which outlawed same sex marriage.  They feel that same sex marriage threatens their happiness in some way.  Many people feel that certain life styles degrade their own.  Does one group have the right to enforce their views on another in pursuit of happiness?

How would it interfere with their happiness. How would the person lifestyle of someone actually infringe on their own desire to be happiness. They may dislike it but then that it not a reason to suppress it, nor would it stop their own desires to be happy. We could show that suppressing homosexual behaviour does real damage to the homosexual (in terms of happiness) yet allowing it damages no one, unless of course they could demonstrate that it negates their desire to be happy.

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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Topher wrote:RatDog

Topher wrote:

RatDog wrote:
What if your desire X and my desire Y conflict with each other?

They may conflict, but if the hypothesis is right then they would both satisfy the ultimate shared desire: Z (what ever Z is, such as happiness.)

It would be nice if everyone worked together toward a single shared desire.  Especially if that desire was happiness.  Yet the world seems to be in constant conflict.  Is it really possible to get everyone to work together instead of against each other?

Edit [changed especial into Especially]

Topher wrote:

RatDog wrote:
What if what makes me happy makes someone else unhappy?

Well aside from sociopaths/psychopaths, most people are compassionate, and share the feelings of others, so in making others happy will increase your own happiness, but making others unhappy, then you share their unhappiness, so any action which negated someone elses happiness would negate your own.

(Also, it would contain the tacit assumption that your desires/happiness were superior to someone else's desires.)

I’m afraid I don’t have a very good impression of human nature anymore.  It seems that a lot of people do assume that their desires are somehow different or more worthy then other people’s.  I could be wrong, like I said my opinion is bias.  I would like it if you could proved me wrong about my pessimistic view on humanity. 

Topher wrote:

RatDog wrote:
Should we only pursue desires that can be enjoyed by everyone?

I would say we should pursue desires/behaviours that do not negate the desire of others, so even if someone does not enjoy that desire or behaviour (i.e. if it does not make them happy), if it does not make them unhappy, then there would be not problem.

That seems fair.

Topher wrote:

RatDog wrote:
What if other people feel that my chosen life style somehow interferes with theirs?  In California recently people passed Proposition 8 which outlawed same sex marriage.  They feel that same sex marriage threatens their happiness in some way.  Many people feel that certain life styles degrade their own.  Does one group have the right to enforce their views on another in pursuit of happiness?

How would it interfere with their happiness. How would the person lifestyle of someone actually infringe on their own desire to be happiness. They may dislike it but then that it not a reason to suppress it, nor would it stop their own desires to be happy. We could show that suppressing homosexual behaviour does real damage to the homosexual (in terms of happiness) yet allowing it damages no one, unless of course they could demonstrate that it negates their desire to be happy.

Other people’s life style wouldn't really infringe on their happiness.  The problem here is fear.  We(people) tend to be afraid of that which is different from us.  Would this system of scientific morality be able to deal with the darker side of human nature?


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 Ok.   A couple of

 Ok.   A couple of observations:

When we start talking about human desires, we're opening up a pandora's box when it comes to finding anything on which we can hang our empirical hats.  I wrote something that I'm having trouble locating in which I talk about a common mistake theists make when arguing about morality and happiness.   They say that morality must transcend happiness because people who just live by the motto "happiness first" always end up ruining their lives.  

Let's suppose a hypothetical married man, "Bob" decides he's going to live entirely for his own happiness.  The first morning after this decision, he wakes up and realizes that gourmet food makes him very happy.  Rather than have a sensible breakfast at home, he goes to the most expensive place in town and orders a $200 breakfast.  Realizing that he doesn't really like his job, he decides he would be happier playing video games than working, so he goes home and plays video games all day.  Picking the kids up from school is a chore and a bother, so he doesn't do it.  That night, he goes out to a bar and gets drunk because getting drunk makes him happy.  Sex makes him happy, too, so he picks up a girl at the bar.  Condoms are a hinderance to full enjoyment of sex, so he doesn't use one.  Etc... etc.. 

Anyone with half a brain can see why this scenario is absurd.  Bob is choosing instant happiness over long term happiness in all cases.  In real life, nobody does that.  Every human has the ability to see beyond their immediate actions and curb various desires based on projected results.  We all balance short and long term happiness in determining what we should do.

It might seem like a simple matter to form some kind of equation by which we can weight long and short term happiness and find some kind of balance, but it's much more difficult than that.  Happiness itself is very hard to define, and I, for one, don't think short and long term happiness are the same thing.  "Instant happiness" is a rather intense emotion that comes with physiological changes, endorphin rushes, and feelings of well being, fun, exhiliration, and whatever else we can lump in there.   Long term happiness is quite different.  That's a continual state of existence where we can say that on balance, we aren't overly stressed or unhappy, and are more or less content with our place in the universe.

Beyond this, we really do have the problem of happiness meaning different things to different people.  So, while I agree with you in principle that there is empirical reality behind every moral motivation, I think there are so many layers of subjective interpretation between the empirical and the motivation, you'd be hard pressed to make the observation useful except for philosophical discussions.

To complicate matters further, our moral instincts are not always particularly logical, yet they are the primary impetus behind many of our actions.  For instance, the most logical way for humans to reproduce would be to decide on the number of people necessary for the next generation and then assign the most genetically, financially, and educationally fit people the task of bearing the correct number of children.  Childrearing would be the responsibility of the entire community, and the concept of "my child" would be meaningless, since two people can't possibly give a child as much quality childrearing as hundreds.

Maybe I'm a little off on my scenario, but the point is that our way of having and raising children makes very little sense, yet we all feel a strong moral imperative associated with parents and their children. 

I'm saying all of this to say that I think it's highly improbable that we could ever come up with a math equation to determine the "correct" moral action in a given situation.  Obviously as a materialist, I believe that our moral drives are an emergent property of the physical universe, and as such, can be quantified.  However, in this case, I think for all practical purposes, the idea of morals by math is unworkable.  The observation that people will always tend towards moral decisions that seem like the best thing to do for the desired result is almost a tautology, and so broad as to be virtually useless as a predictive or prescriptive tool.

 

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I pretty much agree with

I pretty much agree with your sentiment. I think when we determine what we desire, such as happiness, we are talking about long term effects, so even if we engage in behaviours (intentionally or otherwise) which do not satisfy that desire, if the net effect of our actions fulfills that desires--we become overall more happy than unhappy--then we have been engaging morally, insofar that we have fulfilled our desire.

We must also consider how our actions affect others, and in turn, if and how that effects on other affects our own desires. For instance, a compassionate person will share the happiness or unhappiness of others, so the effect a behaviour has on our desires does not merely result in how we directly fulfill or not fulfill it, but also how we indirectly fulfill or not fulfill, it via how our actions affect others. To use your example, if Bob is a compassionate man, and behaves in a way that makes his children unhappy, he will in turn share their unhappiness, so the behaviour which he appears to engage in to satisfy his desire for happiness with actually negate his happiness. You allude to this when you say we can project the results of our actions and act accordingly. In this case, even if we think a particular behaviour will make us happy--and in the short term it may do--we can project that its consequences will likely negate the net effect of our happiness, hence we consider the behaviour wrong.

The hardest part which I admittedly cannot sufficiently argue for yet, is that if it is the case that we all desire X, then what is stopping us from engaging in anything which which fulfills that desire. Is the only moral thing that which is statistically most likely to achieve the given desire? What if harming people makes Bob happy? That behaviour does technically satisfy this desire to be happy (only of course if Bob is not a compassionate person.) Does this moral system apply to the psychopath? Etc. And what happens if two people have actions to achieve their shared desire, but each action affects the other person in some negative way? Would our compassion be sufficient to stop us from acting on it? As you say, are actions are not always logically thought out so it would surely be unreliable to expect people to apply thought to all their actions. I mention the net effect of our behaviour above, maybe this explains it, maybe we don't always need to act on a logically thought out action plan but instead just have to ensure the net effects of our actions tips towards increasing happiness. 

I can see your point that even if we could quantify our desire/happiness and therefore our behaviours, it may simply be unworkable for this moral system to put into practice, nevertheless it would still be the case that if we desire X, and action Y is statistically more likely to fulfill that desire, then we would have demonstrated that moral facts exist, where the moral thing to do would be to satisfy our desire.

I have Carrier's book on order, and I'm sure he goes all through the technical argumentation there and has an answer for these issues. In the meantime I find what I have read/heard of it to be a convincing hypothesis, although it's not without issues.


 

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 I haven't read Carrier's

 I haven't read Carrier's book.  I'll add it to my already lengthy list... 

I think another thing you're not taking into consideration (or at least not mentioning) is that our desires are part of what we could call a "moral matrix."  Our desires are often contradictory, and we have to choose which of our principles takes precedence.  Unfortunately, this isn't a static formula.  Given two identical situations, we might choose two different actions based on any number of things.  When you stop to think that any moral decision might overlap ten or twelve of our moral "principles," you can see that it's a lot more like multidimensional math than linear logic.

Also consider that guilt is a major factor in moral decisions.  The thing is, guilt doesn't necessarily equate to the correct moral decision.  I sometimes feel guilty for firing employees, even when I know it's the best thing for my business, and by extension, all of my other employees.  Sometimes, though, I do the wrong thing because feelings of guilt blind my sense of logic.

What about things that are not particularly important but are still within the realm of "moral" decisions?  An example that pops to mind is a girl I was talking to very recently who won't do certain sexual things with her boyfriend because of feelings of guilt from her Catholic upbringing.  She feels horrible when she does them, in fact.  The problem is, she feels horrible because she knows her guilt is irrational.  What is the correct moral thing to do?  If she does these things to please her boyfriend, her boyfriend's enjoyment will possibly go down because he will know that she is making herself unhappy to please him.  If she doesn't do these things, she's depriving her boyfriend of things he really wants for no good reason.  It's not a major world crisis we're talking about here.  There's no single principle I can think of by which we should judge the "correct" moral decision.  In fact, either decision might have a positive or negative effect, so it's just guesswork.  There are too many variables to consider, and human nature is too fickle to be able to predict the outcome.

 

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hambydammit wrote:I think

hambydammit wrote:
I think another thing you're not taking into consideration (or at least not mentioning) is that our desires are part of what we could call a "moral matrix."  Our desires are often contradictory, and we have to choose which of our principles takes precedence.  Unfortunately, this isn't a static formula.  Given two identical situations, we might choose two different actions based on any number of things.  When you stop to think that any moral decision might overlap ten or twelve of our moral "principles," you can see that it's a lot more like multidimensional math than linear logic.

I agree. This was a point in a recently discussion I had with Strafio, where he argued that we could determine belief/desire based on behaviour, whereas as I argued that the fact we may not act on something does not mean we do not hold the belief/desire, rather it could be that a competing desire supersedes it. My example was a extremist thinking non-believers should die, but then not actually killing people himself due to the competing desire not to kill someone or end up in prison. It doesn't negate his belief that non-believers should die, it is just that a completing desire is willing.

 

hambydammit wrote:
Also consider that guilt is a major factor in moral decisions.  The thing is, guilt doesn't necessarily equate to the correct moral decision.  I sometimes feel guilty for firing employees, even when I know it's the best thing for my business, and by extension, all of my other employees.  Sometimes, though, I do the wrong thing because feelings of guilt blind my sense of logic.

Good point.

 

hambydammit wrote:
What about things that are not particularly important but are still within the realm of "moral" decisions?  An example that pops to mind is a girl I was talking to very recently who won't do certain sexual things with her boyfriend because of feelings of guilt from her Catholic upbringing.  She feels horrible when she does them, in fact.  The problem is, she feels horrible because she knows her guilt is irrational.  What is the correct moral thing to do?  If she does these things to please her boyfriend, her boyfriend's enjoyment will possibly go down because he will know that she is making herself unhappy to please him. If she doesn't do these things, she's depriving her boyfriend of things he really wants for no good reason.  It's not a major world crisis we're talking about here.  There's no single principle I can think of by which we should judge the "correct" moral decision.  In fact, either decision might have a positive or negative effect, so it's just guesswork.  There are too many variables to consider, and human nature is too fickle to be able to predict the outcome.

Well by knowing it is irrational suggests what she doesn't really hold them as immoral in of themselves, but merely has some lingering concerns from her upbringing (maybe some doubt as to whether it is immoral.) Maybe making her boyfriend happy also aid her happiness, or conversely maybe making his girlfriend happy will aid his happiness.

 

In any case, it's a good example of something the hypothesis must explain: how would the hypothesis deal with apparent mutually exclusive happiness, where doing X makes her unhappy and her boyfriend happy, whereas not doing X makes her a happy and her boyfriend unhappy. Then there is the fact that knowing the other is happy or unhappy may affect their own happiness, etc.

 

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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 Quote:In any case, it's a

 

Quote:
In any case, it's a good example of something the hypothesis must explain: how would the hypothesis deal with apparent mutually exclusive happiness, where doing X makes her unhappy and her boyfriend happy, whereas not doing X makes her a happy and her boyfriend unhappy. Then there is the fact that knowing the other is happy or unhappy may affect their own happiness, etc.

That's exactly what I'm trying to say.  Add to this little conundrum that each person's "correct" solution to this problem is going to be slightly different, and not because the empirical reality of the actions is any different, but because each person's sense of morality, guilt, right and wrong, empathy, and responsibility has been shaped by their environment, which may or may not have been conducive to accurate moral reasoning (whatever that is... since we're trying to define it).

To be honest, I think of morality not in terms of right and wrong but better and worse.  In most cases, I don't think there is a correct decision versus lots of incorrect ones.  If you think about it, you perform hundreds, maybe thousands of very small acts of moral behavior in any day, depending on how far you want to go with calling something moral.  I consider it very moral for people not to ram my car with theirs when I unintentionally (or even intentionally) cut in front of them in busy traffic.  If we can say that every time we don't do something bad to someone when we get a burst of rage, we are being moral, well, that's a lot of being moral.

Then again, if I cut someone off and they flip me off, I don't consider that to be the "wrong" choice.  It's certainly better than hurting me.  If they yell at me and tailgate, that's not as good a choice, but it's still better than hurting me.  If they follow me to my destination, get out of the car and scream at me, that's still better than hurting me.  You see what I'm getting at?

Likewise, in the case of the girl with hangups, either decision they make will probably be better in some respects and worse in others.  This brings me around to yet another problem with making math out of morality.  Regardless of how they decide to handle that situation, if both of them feel they are doing something helpful for the other (and themselves) then most people will agree that they are doing a moral thing, even if the outcome is bad.  In a lot of cases, motive counts for more than actions.  In morality, it is often true that "it's the thought that counts."

 

 

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Topher wrote: That humans

Topher wrote:

 

That humans desire happiness above everything else is an factual empirical claim. We can empirically determine whether it is in fact that case that humans desire happiness above everything else (or whether they desire something else, more than anything else.) It isn't subjective.

Uhm, happiness is subjective, in that the ends of an individuals happiness might can vary widely. One persons notion of happiness might be to have a family, and children, while another might be to forgo such endeavors to be successful at her career. A criminals notion of what makes him happy, or Paris Hilton's notion of what makes her happy, would perhaps widely differ from what a monk might perceive as the source of his happiness. 

Secondly claiming what is moral is that which makes us happy is naive at best. In that what makes a person, a group, or even nation of people happy, might in fact be seen as immoral to other groups. 

Morality is a subjective value, and it takes a religious view of life to think otherwise, because it imposes a view of life that far from scientific.  Saying something is the morally right thing is as a subjective, as Christopher Hitchens is beautiful is subjective. There are many staunch pacifist, that believe that the use of violence  for whatever reason is immoral, and there many who believe that violence for certain reasons is the morally right thing to do. 

Many liberal rationalist fall under this sort of delusion of morality, that if we who are well off write down a list of what we perceive as moral that we'd find a great deal of homogeny. These are the sort of rationalist who trick themselves into thinking we can conceive of a empirically based moral system.

Like if we gather a random group of rich young liberal minded Americans, we'd probably have a consensus view of stealing is wrong. And that if we could somehow teach what these prosperous Americans have learned as being moral, that we can educate the poor into behaving as the rich do, without understanding that one group has a list of what they perceive as moral, while the other group faces conditions that puts that list to the test. It's easy to see stealing another man's bread as wrong when you're not hungry, but it's not as easy to see it when you are.

The moral of the story: Decisions that make us happy, are not necessarily morally good decisions, in fact decisions that we may perceive as the most rational, are not necessarily good moral decisions either. 

 

 

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Topher wrote:What are

Topher wrote:
What are peoples views of moral realism, which states that true moral facts exist.

 

I regard moral claims as factual empirical claims that should be tested against the actual facts about the nature of humans and of the world, thus, moral claims (what we ought to do) necessarily depend on facts about the world (what is the case), therefore, I should only do X to achieve Y, iff, (1) X will actually result in Y, and (2) I actually desire Y.

To argue for moral realism is to argue for the existence of God.

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Paisley wrote:Topher

Paisley wrote:

Topher wrote:
What are peoples views of moral realism, which states that true moral facts exist.

 

I regard moral claims as factual empirical claims that should be tested against the actual facts about the nature of humans and of the world, thus, moral claims (what we ought to do) necessarily depend on facts about the world (what is the case), therefore, I should only do X to achieve Y, iff, (1) X will actually result in Y, and (2) I actually desire Y.

To argue for moral realism is to argue for the existence of God.

 

Really.

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 Paisley wrote:To argue for

 

Paisley wrote:
To argue for moral realism is to argue for the existence of God.

I will counter with the following:

To argue for salary caps is to argue for the cult of personality.

Now, we're on exactly the same terms.  Neither one of us has any idea what the other is talking about.

 

 

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Hambydammit wrote: Paisley

Hambydammit wrote:

 

Paisley wrote:
To argue for moral realism is to argue for the existence of God.

I will counter with the following:

To argue for salary caps is to argue for the cult of personality.

Now, we're on exactly the same terms.  Neither one of us has any idea what the other is talking about.

In the worldview of atheistic materialism, electrochemical reactions are mechanical, nonteleogical and amoral. But if you wish to argue otherwise, suit yourself.

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Topher wrote:Paisley

Topher wrote:
Paisley wrote:
Topher wrote:
What are peoples views of moral realism, which states that true moral facts exist.

 

I regard moral claims as factual empirical claims that should be tested against the actual facts about the nature of humans and of the world, thus, moral claims (what we ought to do) necessarily depend on facts about the world (what is the case), therefore, I should only do X to achieve Y, iff, (1) X will actually result in Y, and (2) I actually desire Y.

To argue for moral realism is to argue for the existence of God.

Really.

So, let me see if I understand you correctly. You believe in a moral universe?

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Paisley wrote:Topher

Paisley wrote:

Topher wrote:
Paisley wrote:
Topher wrote:
What are peoples views of moral realism, which states that true moral facts exist.

 

I regard moral claims as factual empirical claims that should be tested against the actual facts about the nature of humans and of the world, thus, moral claims (what we ought to do) necessarily depend on facts about the world (what is the case), therefore, I should only do X to achieve Y, iff, (1) X will actually result in Y, and (2) I actually desire Y.

To argue for moral realism is to argue for the existence of God.

Really.

So, let me see if I understand you correctly. You believe in a moral universe?

What on earth is a "moral universe"? Morality being innate to the universe? No, I do not.

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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Topher wrote:Paisley

Topher wrote:
Paisley wrote:
So, let me see if I understand you correctly. You believe in a moral universe?

What on earth is a "moral universe"? Morality being innate to the universe? No, I do not.

Okay. Please define "Y." Or, at least, provide an example of "Y."

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Paisley wrote:Topher

Paisley wrote:

Topher wrote:
Paisley wrote:
So, let me see if I understand you correctly. You believe in a moral universe?

What on earth is a "moral universe"? Morality being innate to the universe? No, I do not.

Okay. Please define "Y." Or, at least, provide an example of "Y."

Happiness. It could be argued that what we desire more than anything else is happiness.

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan


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Topher wrote:Paisley

Topher wrote:

Paisley wrote:

Topher wrote:
Paisley wrote:
So, let me see if I understand you correctly. You believe in a moral universe?

What on earth is a "moral universe"? Morality being innate to the universe? No, I do not.

Okay. Please define "Y." Or, at least, provide an example of "Y."

Happiness. It could be argued that what we desire more than anything else is happiness.

Certainly covers me adequately enough. Everything else is window dressing for "Y".

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Topher wrote:Paisley

Topher wrote:
Paisley wrote:
Okay. Please define "Y." Or, at least, provide an example of "Y."

Happiness. It could be argued that what we desire more than anything else is happiness.

Excellent! That's exactly what I had in mind. Certainly, everyone desires to be happy. That being said, how do you propose to scientifically determine what ultimately makes one happy?

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley wrote:Topher

Paisley wrote:

Topher wrote:
Paisley wrote:
Okay. Please define "Y." Or, at least, provide an example of "Y."

Happiness. It could be argued that what we desire more than anything else is happiness.

Excellent! That's exactly what I had in mind. Certainly, everyone desires to be happy. That being said, how do you propose to scientifically determine what ultimately makes one happy?

Biological cues, such as hormones, can show what makes people happy. Studies can narrow down happiness "cues" if you will.

I only responded because noone else did yet. I'm not a biologist, so I can't narrow it down the way someone like Deluded_God can. But this will suffice for the moment I think.

**Editted for clarity**

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Paisley wrote:Topher

Paisley wrote:

Topher wrote:
Paisley wrote:
Okay. Please define "Y." Or, at least, provide an example of "Y."

Happiness. It could be argued that what we desire more than anything else is happiness.

Excellent! That's exactly what I had in mind. Certainly, everyone desires to be happy. That being said, how do you propose to scientifically determine what ultimately makes one happy?

We could determine which behaviours or lifestyles are more likely to result in happiness. We could do this through psychology, sociology and anthropology.

 

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Paisly wrote:This is an

Topher wrote:
Paisley wrote:
Excellent! That's exactly what I had in mind. Certainly, everyone desires to be happy. That being said, how do you propose to scientifically determine what ultimately makes one happy?

We could determine which behaviours or lifestyles are more likely to result in happiness. We could do this through psychology, sociology and anthropology.

Okay, but the moral aspect implies that we take a broader outlook than simply looking at the individual's state of mind or welfare. Each of us should or ought to be concerned for other human beings. Or, at least, one can make the moral argument that this should be the case. And moreover, one could make the moral argument that we should be concerned for more than human beings. Some may argue that we should be concerned for all living things and the environment. Ultimately, this becomes a matter of values. So, how do we determine scientifically what should be our morals or values? 

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Vastet wrote:Paisley

Vastet wrote:
Paisley wrote:
Excellent! That's exactly what I had in mind. Certainly, everyone desires to be happy. That being said, how do you propose to scientifically determine what ultimately makes one happy?

Biological cues, such as hormones, can show what makes people happy. Studies can narrow down happiness "cues" if you will.

I only responded because noone else did yet. I'm not a biologist, so I can't narrow it down the way someone like Deluded_God can. But this will suffice for the moment I think.

**Editted for clarity**

Okay, but this cannot only be a study to determine what makes an individual happy. It must also factor into account how the individual's desire for happiness contributes to or detracts from the collective desire for happiness (this is the moral aspect).

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley wrote:Vastet

Paisley wrote:

Vastet wrote:
Paisley wrote:
Excellent! That's exactly what I had in mind. Certainly, everyone desires to be happy. That being said, how do you propose to scientifically determine what ultimately makes one happy?

Biological cues, such as hormones, can show what makes people happy. Studies can narrow down happiness "cues" if you will.

I only responded because noone else did yet. I'm not a biologist, so I can't narrow it down the way someone like Deluded_God can. But this will suffice for the moment I think.

**Editted for clarity**

Okay, but this cannot only be a study to determine what makes an individual happy. It must also factor into account how the individual's desire for happiness contributes to or detracts from the collective desire for happiness (this is the moral aspect).

There are some factors which are universal. Everyone feels good when they have a good meal in their stomach and a roof over their heads. I agree that some "happiness factors" are significantly different for some individuals over others, but there is a baseline to work with that all life stems from.

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Vastet wrote:Paisley

Vastet wrote:
Paisley wrote:
Okay, but this cannot only be a study to determine what makes an individual happy. It must also factor into account how the individual's desire for happiness contributes to or detracts from the collective desire for happiness (this is the moral aspect).

There are some factors which are universal. Everyone feels good when they have a good meal in their stomach and a roof over their heads. I agree that some "happiness factors" are significantly different for some individuals over others, but there is a baseline to work with that all life stems from.

But the point I am trying to make is that morality is concerned with the greater or collective good, which may be at odds with the individual good.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley wrote:Vastet

Paisley wrote:

Vastet wrote:
Paisley wrote:
Okay, but this cannot only be a study to determine what makes an individual happy. It must also factor into account how the individual's desire for happiness contributes to or detracts from the collective desire for happiness (this is the moral aspect).

There are some factors which are universal. Everyone feels good when they have a good meal in their stomach and a roof over their heads. I agree that some "happiness factors" are significantly different for some individuals over others, but there is a baseline to work with that all life stems from.

But the point I am trying to make is that morality is concerned with the greater or collective good, which may be at odds with the individual good.

This is getting too insubstantial for me. But I do recall a phrase....."the good of the many outweigh the good of the few, or the one." to close with.

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I'm a utilitarian (in the

I'm a utilitarian (in the J.S. Mill vein rather than the Bentham or James Mill veins). I think the purpose of morality is to maximise happiness. As Topher said, it is an empirical fact that all humans want to be happy. Yet, I don't see morality as being facts, there is no natural moral law. Morality is a human construct that serves a very useful purpose, without which we could not survive, yet nontheless it is just a human construct. My Utilitarianism is somewhat pragmatic in that it is the most logically efficient form of morality, and should yeild the best results if applied by a large proportion of a population.

Moreover, I believe that human beings have the natural capacity for altruism just as much as we have a capacity for destructive behaviour and that our childhood environment will shape these attributes perhaps moreso than our genes. Simple fact is that most of us will care for others well-being and do good deeds without any ulterior motives. We are not the purely selfish beings that adherents to free market capitalism would have us believe. 


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 Jacob Cordingley wrote:As

 

Jacob Cordingley wrote:
As Topher said, it is an empirical fact that all humans want to be happy. Yet, I don't see morality as being facts, there is no natural moral law. Morality is a human construct that serves a very useful purpose, without which we could not survive, yet nontheless it is just a human construct.

Well if humans desire X (happiness), then behaviour and lifestyles will either increase or decrease that goal. This means that moral statements are factual empirical propositions to be judged according to our lifestyles.

I agree with Carrier's suggestion that the moral thing to do (i.e. what we ought to do more than anything else) must be what we we want more than anything else. So if humanity collectively desires happiness, then maximising happiness will be the moral thing to do, and that therefore becomes the criterion for determining what is moral. This means that moral statements will be propositions that have factual, empirical answers.

I know this is all theoretical and in practice when must take into account all sorts of variables it may not change. I certainly still need to read up on this more.

Finally, you said "there is no natural moral law" and yet you say that "human beings have the natural capacity for altruism." This seems to be a contradiction or at least an inconsistency? If humans have an innate moral capacity in the form of altruism then this does mean that we have some natural moral system. I wold agree that there is a human construct too morality--a formalisation to morality--however I do think that this formalisation of morality is ultimately derived from facts about human nature. This means that morality hasn't merely changed over decades and centuries, rather it has become more refined, as a result of increased knowledge about human nature, suffering, what humans desire, the impact of our actions, etc. For example, we now know that black people and white people (or heterosexuals and homosexuals) are not intrinsically different and should not be segregated or regarded as interior or superior, because this does not increase human happiness but in fact decreases it and negatively effects the well-being of society in general. So the statements "black people are inferior to white people" or "homosexuality is wrong" are in fact factual empirical statements that must be judged according to whatever it is that humans desire. If an action or lifestyle increases or does not infringe on our desires that there is no reason to disallow it. Whereas if an action decreases our desire then there is reason to disallow it or control it in some way.

 

 

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I think you misunderstood

I think you misunderstood me. By natural moral law, I mean a set of rules independent of human beings, which must be followed. All moral rules are human constructs, which evolved (in the memetic or cultural sense) to serve a variety of functions whether they be population control, or the greatest happiness. They are only based upon and justified by empirical facts (at least some of the time). Utilitarian "rules" are designed to work with the empirical fact that humans desire happiness (and as such any Utilitarian rules are only ever rules of thumb), Kantian rules are designed to be followed regardless of consequence, and regardless of any empirical facts. I think it is possible to create the most efficient moral code based upon what suits the empirical facts.

Let's look at the case of abortion. Arguments on both sides of the debate often focus upon the state of the foetus. Whatever the true empirical facts about foeti, do not bare any moral obligations, there is no sign on a foetus' head saying "you may/you may not kill me" but from these facts we can create rules ourselves that seem to fit. The rules may be linked to the facts, but the rules are not the facts.

It might be easier to see it this way. Moral rules are human constructs which only exist because humans have altruistic capabilities and sensibilities, moral rules would not exist without human beings. The empirical facts remain the same without humans, (apart from the empirical facts about humans) they are Universal, and pose no moral obligations. The moral rules humans choose to live by are pragmatic, designed (whether with flaws or not) to achieve the most desirable outcome for the maker of the rule.


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Vastet wrote:This is getting

Vastet wrote:
This is getting too insubstantial for me. But I do recall a phrase....."the good of the many outweigh the good of the few, or the one." to close with.

Yes, this line of reasoning has been used from time immemorial to justify the torture of the one or few for the sake of the many.

"And one of them, named Cai'aphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not." John 11:49, 50
 

 

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Paisley wrote:Vastet

Paisley wrote:

Vastet wrote:
This is getting too insubstantial for me. But I do recall a phrase....."the good of the many outweigh the good of the few, or the one." to close with.

Yes, this line of reasoning has been used from time immemorial to justify the torture of the one or few for the sake of the many.

Torture is never justified.

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Vastet wrote:Paisley

Vastet wrote:
Paisley wrote:
Yes, this line of reasoning has been used from time immemorial to justify the torture of the one or few for the sake of the many.

Torture is never justified.

On what authority do you make this moral absolute?

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Paisley wrote:Vastet

Paisley wrote:

Vastet wrote:
Paisley wrote:
Yes, this line of reasoning has been used from time immemorial to justify the torture of the one or few for the sake of the many.

Torture is never justified.

On what authority do you make this moral absolute?

Mine. However, it is not a moral absolute. It is simply a logical moral. Torture has been proven to obtain false information as often as not. There's no value in subjecting an individual to torture when the results are that most will confess even when innocent. It is meaningless infliction of pain and stress.

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Paisley wrote:To see next

Paisley wrote:
To see next post.


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Vastet wrote:Paisley

Vastet wrote:
Paisley wrote:
Vastet wrote:
Torture is never justified.

On what authority do you make this moral absolute?

Mine. However, it is not a moral absolute. It is simply a logical moral.

Then it is not an objective moral fact.

Vastet wrote:
Torture has been proven to obtain false information as often as not. There's no value in subjecting an individual to torture when the results are that most will confess even when innocent. It is meaningless infliction of pain and stress.

It's time for a reality check. There is no doubt that torture has proven useful in providing critical military intelligence. This is why they do it! Now, whether it is morally justified or not is another question. That being said, I suspect that those who endorse the practice would argue that "the ends justifies the means."

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley wrote:Vastet

Paisley wrote:

Vastet wrote:
Paisley wrote:
Vastet wrote:
Torture is never justified.

On what authority do you make this moral absolute?

Mine. However, it is not a moral absolute. It is simply a logical moral.

Then it is not an objective moral fact.

Of course not. Nothing about morals is objective. Their existence is predicated on subjective ideas.

Paisley wrote:
It's time for a reality check. There is no doubt that torture has proven useful in providing critical military intelligence.

There is also no doubt that it has obtained faulty information and led to the deaths of soldiers in wartime. Over and over and over again.

Paisley wrote:
 This is why they do it! Now, whether it is morally justified or not is another question. That being said, I suspect that those who endorse the practice would argue that "the ends justifies the means."

I have proven that they don't.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


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Vastet wrote:Paisley

Vastet wrote:
Paisley wrote:
Vastet wrote:
Mine. However, it is not a moral absolute. It is simply a logical moral.

Then it is not an objective moral fact.

Of course not. Nothing about morals is objective. Their existence is predicated on subjective ideas.

Then you have no objective basis to make the statement "Torture is never justified." It's merely your personal opinion.

Vastet wrote:
I have proven that they don't.

You haven't proven anything. You simply made an unsupported assertion.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley wrote:Vastet

Paisley wrote:

Vastet wrote:
Paisley wrote:
Vastet wrote:
Mine. However, it is not a moral absolute. It is simply a logical moral.

Then it is not an objective moral fact.

Of course not. Nothing about morals is objective. Their existence is predicated on subjective ideas.

Then you have no objective basis to make the statement "Torture is never justified." It's merely your personal opinion.

I think I already established that morals aren't objective. Are you ready to move on yet?

As for it being my personal opinion, it is my moral position. It's not an opinion. I literally feel when I hear or see an incident of torture that is impossible to distance myself from emotionally. It stems from my morality, something that has developed since my birth. Much like yours has.

Paisley wrote:
Vastet wrote:
I have proven that they don't.

You haven't proven anything. You simply made an unsupported assertion.

Ridiculous. I'm not going to repeat myself, so I'll direct you to both of my previous posts. Read the pertaining paragraphs again, more carefully this time. And take into account that this is based on my MORALITY. Not opinion. Your morality can be different. And is. You are entitled to a different moral standing on every subject than I have. But this is mine on this subject. You wanted to delve into it, you got what you asked for.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.


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Vastet wrote:Paisley

Vastet wrote:
Paisley wrote:
Then you have no objective basis to make the statement "Torture is never justified." It's merely your personal opinion.

I think I already established that morals aren't objective. Are you ready to move on yet?

I'll be ready to move on when you cease making statements that qualify as moral absolutes.

Vastet wrote:
As for it being my personal opinion, it is my moral position. It's not an opinion. I literally feel when I hear or see an incident of torture that is impossible to distance myself from emotionally. It stems from my morality, something that has developed since my birth. Much like yours has.

I have no doubt that you literally feel it is wrong. However, this is subjective, not objective. Therefore, you should not be making objective moral statements - not unless, of course, you "feel" you have access to some kind of influence with a "God's-eye view" of the world.

Vaste wrote:
Paisley wrote:
You haven't proven anything. You simply made an unsupported assertion.

Ridiculous. I'm not going to repeat myself, so I'll direct you to both of my previous posts. Read the pertaining paragraphs again, more carefully this time. And take into account that this is based on my MORALITY. Not opinion. Your morality can be different. And is. You are entitled to a different moral standing on every subject than I have. But this is mine on this subject. You wanted to delve into it, you got what you asked for.

But the whole is point is that you said that "torture is never justified." This implies that no one (not just you) is ever justified employing torture as a means to an ends.

"Scientists animated by the purpose of proving they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study." - Alfred North Whitehead


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Paisley wrote:Vastet

Paisley wrote:

Vastet wrote:
Paisley wrote:
Then you have no objective basis to make the statement "Torture is never justified." It's merely your personal opinion.

I think I already established that morals aren't objective. Are you ready to move on yet?

I'll be ready to move on when you cease making statements that qualify as moral absolutes.

Since I've not made such a statement, what's holding you back?

Paisley wrote:

I have no doubt that you literally feel it is wrong. However, this is subjective, not objective.

Of course. Objective morals are impossible. How many times do I have to repeat myself?

Paisley wrote:
Therefore, you should not be making objective moral statements - not unless, of course, you "feel" you have access to some kind of influence with a "God's-eye view" of the world.

I do. For me, I am god. Nothing else qualifies, or even comes close. However, I still haven't made any objective moral statements. Any morality I have ever brought up in any topic anywhere is subjective, and I have stated as much. Including in this topic.

Paisley wrote:

Vaste wrote:
Paisley wrote:
You haven't proven anything. You simply made an unsupported assertion.

Ridiculous. I'm not going to repeat myself, so I'll direct you to both of my previous posts. Read the pertaining paragraphs again, more carefully this time. And take into account that this is based on my MORALITY. Not opinion. Your morality can be different. And is. You are entitled to a different moral standing on every subject than I have. But this is mine on this subject. You wanted to delve into it, you got what you asked for.

But the whole is point is that you said that "torture is never justified." This implies that no one (not just you) is ever justified employing torture as a means to an ends.

You are simply taking my comment out of the context that morals are subjective. If you'd quit doing that, then you'd realize that it is impossible for anyone to justify torture to me. This is not to say that others will have the same response.

Proud Canadian, Enlightened Atheist, Gaming God.