A discussion with a Christian Philosopheer about Morality
Divine command theory is the meta-ethical view about the semantics or meaning of ethical sentences, which claims that ethical sentences express propositions, some of which are true, about the attitudes of God. That is, it claims that sentences such as "charity is good" mean the same thing as sentences such as "God commands charity".
Tommy Baker I'd adopt a working model of Sam Harris and adapt it as I go .
James Sennett Tommy -- let me guess; you gathered all your valuables together and threw them in the fire, and a statue of Sam Harris emerged!
Well I did not get a statue of Sam Harris though that would have been nice. I think that expressing the good as well-being and comparing it to physical health gives you many good reasons for "good'. Any movement away from a world of the worst possible suffering with the longest duration of that suffering gives us good reasons why the movement would be considered good. And that puts your reasons on an empirical and scientifically testable basis without recourse to some transcendent.
Except for the assumption that suffering is bad. What empirical basis is there for that? Especially given that suffering leads to all kinds of natural progress -- evolution and all that. Do we simply define suffering as bad because we don't like it when it happens to us? Siddhartha, Jesus, and yes, even Muhammad gave us good reasons to think of suffering as evil. Of course, they weren't burdened down with a dogmatic naturalism ....
Suffering sucks because I don't like and no one else does and that is enough...hardly an assumption... just nature. Suffering also is a signal to move away from that which causes the pain which seems empirical to me. 1st person reports are empirical and worthy of evidence though they are not as compelling as third person data. With Buddha suffering is from attachment to nature or experience or the world as we naturally view it. Peace or contentment comes from a psychological state of acceptance of all things as illusion ( not what they seem). Some of us take things for the most part as they seem. We are wired that way. Nor need we be burden with a straw-man of dogmatic naturalism but one would want evidence of a supernaturalism that meets the status of natural evidence and secondarily logical worth. Also from a Christian perspective suffering is not natural. It is the result of the mythological Fall which if we are good boys and girls and suffer through this life will be taken to a land of no sorrows, paradise, heaven or what have you.
April 29 at 7:41pm · Like
"A supernaturalism that meets the status of natural evidence." That's begging the question against the very possibility of supernaturalism. Mathematics doesn't meet the status of natural evidence. Why should we accept it? Virtually every domain of human inquiry has accepted the fact that there are different ways of knowing except naturalistic atheism. Even the best of scientific inquiry recognizes limitations on scientific inquiry and does not assume that all truth is scientific truth.It's an old hat notion that didn't survive the fall of Logical Positivism sixty years ago.
And the fact that living things avoid suffering shows only that it is unpleasant to living things. It says nothing about its metaphysical status as evil. Plus you are burdened with the counter-intuitive result that that which has led to the greatest progress in nature through evolutionary processes is somehow evil and therefore counter to nature's purposes. Why does your personal well being count more than that of the entire future of the race?
I guess that one you assume a metaphysical status which I would love to see or understand much less a metaphysical status of evil. Though i assume evil is an intentional and therefore conscious act. I would say that contrary to many claims mathematics does meet the status and is derived from natural evidence by a natural brain. Secondly I never stated that i was a naturalistic atheist which is presumptive on your part. As to science it is not the only field of truth again a presumptive on your part as I am not a straw-man. Science does give the best methodology for validating fact and whatever you may mean by truth (which i take as an ethical category as opposed to a metaphysical one ). Again you assume too much in saying that because I say that suffering is a ground for building a morality that I do not see it as a major thrust in evolution. killing, eating and being eaten is also a great evolutionary process but I am against being eaten. And it is precisely that posture that is the formative aspect of a morality, don't eat me don't kill me and i don't like pain. Again it is the fact that we go against nature's purposes that makes us human and natural at the same time. nature is at last recursive with itself. Again no one talked about personal well being. It is well being itself just as physical health itself is a standard knowable but individualized upon application. I see evolution and our move from hardship to comfort. I do not see a metaphysical paradise, fall or heaven where there is no suffering, sadness or pain. I see our desire to have it as a goal that drives our progress and evolution if you will.
Tommy Baker Oh I thought you agreed that there is no working metaphysic. How do we pick and choose the metaphysical pieces to use? Aesthetically? Whatever fits to occasion? To quote Jesus Christ Superstar, " I'd really like to know."
DCT might work if a god reflects and intends to reason ( reason not being the intentional aspect of the process rather the process itself)about a particular as he creates or responds to his creation. You would then not have god commanding x willy-nilly but from a situation where his properties and that of another ( the event) find a nexus in the process of reasoning. There is a reason resulting but that reason is intended and therefore commanded because of the infallible knowledge of x morally entailing the inquiring event. The emergent formality of something deontological is resolution from the specific situation of god and the morally unresolved event. Philo would call that reason or nexus Logos. A god in process may pronounce through reason the good as command. Reason (Logos) is then no more than the objectification or manifestation of God to the temporal situation or humankind. Reason is no more separate field of logic than that process called reason in your own brain.