Objective Morality?

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Byblos
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Re: Objective Morality?

#16

Post by Byblos » Thu May 05, 2011 8:07 am

waynepii wrote:
Byblos wrote:
waynepii wrote:I understand where the concept of "objective morality" comes from. My problem with OM is that way too many people claim they know what OM says is "right" & "wrong" but cannot give a clear and definitive answer as to just how they gained their knowledge of what is right & wrong according to OM.
You are conflating two different things. Whether or not objective morality exists (an ontological statement) has nothing to do with how we come to know right from wrong (an epistemological statement).
OK, prove that OM exists (an ontological statement). Those who claim OM exists then use its presumed existence as the basis of their view of right and wrong.
Are you saying you deny OM exists (irrespective of whether or not it is knowable)? It is a very strange position to hold if that's what you're saying, considering its inescapably nihilistic outcome.
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Re: Objective Morality?

#17

Post by PaulSacramento » Thu May 05, 2011 8:47 am

Everything is subject and objective, it's how humans work.
That said, without a "superiour moral source", all morals are "human based" and as such, limited to how humans view them at any given time.
What is "right" and what is "fair" and what we 'ought" to do becomes a matter of majority or of might, rather than of "pure morals".

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Re: Objective Morality?

#18

Post by Byblos » Thu May 05, 2011 9:15 am

PaulSacramento wrote:Everything is subject and objective, it's how humans work.
That is a contradiction. If something is objective then by definition it cannot be subjective and vice versa. They are mutually exclusive.
PaulSacramento wrote:That said, without a "superiour moral source", all morals are "human based" and as such, limited to how humans view them at any given time.
What is "right" and what is "fair" and what we 'ought" to do becomes a matter of majority or of might, rather than of "pure morals".
I agree. Without a morality giver there cannot be anything immoral, all is amoral.
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

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Re: Objective Morality?

#19

Post by jlay » Thu May 05, 2011 9:50 am

Not a problem at all, the codes of conduct of most human societies have evolved over time. Examples:
Human sacrifice used to be practiced routinely and was a major "sacrament" of some religions, it now is considered "wrong" by most contemporary societies.
We could start a debate about how routine this actually was. But I'll digress.
The real issue here is this implies that something is right or wrong based on how common it was. I think you will find that this is not a position you can follow through to its logical ends. Since everyone lies, should we legalize perjury? Of course not. Does the fact that everyone lies mean that it is considered morally acceptable? No. Also it sounds as if you are saying that human sacrifice wasn't wrong because it was common. (define common) And this would only lead us to conclude that it isn't objectively wrong today. It simply became non-preferred because morals evolved?
This fails in a number of areas. For one. You can't evolve an abstract concept such as morality. No more than you can evolve logic. You might evolve your understanding, but this is hardly how you are using the word evolve in this context. For logic to work there has to be a standard to evaluate when someone is being illogical. Likewise with morality. There is nothing biological to define your claims, or defend the evolving of morals. It presupposes that what you consider right or wrong today, to be more evoloved than what a primative culture considered right or wrong then. It is entrely subjective, yet relies on you evaluating the past against a backdrop of objective truth. Not to mention it has overtones of chronological snobbery. We know that while some cultures were practicing this, there were others that did not. And were abhorred by it.

Obviously I would contend this is not logical thinking. Human sacrifice is objectively wrong, and the reality is that these cultures were violating the objective nature of this moral truth. Otherwise you are left with accepting that human sacrifice is simply a prefence. As Jac would say, you like chocolate, I like vanilla. That there is no inherent wrong in sacrificing other people. In fact your position nearly justifies it.
I understand where the concept of "objective morality" comes from. My problem with OM is that way too many people claim they know what OM says is "right" & "wrong" but cannot give a clear and definitive answer as to just how they gained their knowledge of what is right & wrong according to OM.
You are making a fallacy that because one learns moral truth, that it is therefore not objective. That would be like saying there aren't objective facts in math if someone has to be taught what they are. Most people can't tell you why there are objective standards to such things. Also, OM is not to the exclusion of subjective morality. Obviously, breaking the speed limit is not an objective truth. Since the speed limit is subjective to the culture.
Do you think they still wouldn't leave their dead or seriously wounded behind if bringing them along seriously impaired the ability to complete the mission?
Yes. In fact they do. You are trying to make it sound as if the only reason they have this code is because it is convenient. I dare you to say that face to face to a Marine who risked his own life saving another. My friends son just got back from Afghanastan and was awarded the Silver star for such behavior. I can make the arrangment? y/:)
Slavery used to be practiced routinely, it now is considered "wrong" by most contemporary societies.
Again your argument fails. First you are giving a sweeping generalization to slavery. That is you are defining all slavery throughout history likely within the view of the abuses within the slavery system that led to the US civil war. Slavery is considered 'wrong' because of the atrocities we associate with it. The bible even speaks against abuses within slavery, and condemns them. So, first it is wrong to make this generalization. The fact is, abuses within slavery, whether accepted, practiced or not, were wrong then. It was objectively wrong. Because it was objectively wrong, people were able to act upon this objective truth, and stand against the subjective preferences. Otherwise you are forced to admit that slavery was not wrong. It was again, a matter of preference.

Another example is child sex slavery. It is prevelant today, and in fact has likely grown worse than it ever has in history. As has sexual deviancy of all sorts. If morality is evolving as you claim, then the evidence based on criminal activity is a hand grenade to your claim. While some practices such as human sacrifice maybe frowned on, other corruption is spreading and growing like wild fire.
Nomadic human societies abandoned sick or injured members, at least until their technology advanced such that bringing them along no longer imperiled the group.
I am curious as to how you researched this?
In the case of social animals, success of the group is a significant factor in the survival of the individuals making up the group.
This in itself presupposes that survival has inherent value. My friend, you are standing on the ground of objective truth to attempt to undermine it.
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"I'm not saying scientists don't overstate their results. They do. And it's understandable, too...If you spend years working toward a certain goal and make no progress, of course you are going to spin your results in a positive light." Ivellious

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Re: Objective Morality?

#20

Post by PaulSacramento » Thu May 05, 2011 11:42 am

That is a contradiction. If something is objective then by definition it cannot be subjective and vice versa. They are mutually exclusive.
When something is objective, it exists independently of perception or conception, but how can anything in OUR reality exist outside our perception?
We can say it does but then we are being subjective to our notion of reality.
Everything we know is based on our perception of things and that perception is subjective.

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Re: Objective Morality?

#21

Post by Byblos » Thu May 05, 2011 11:52 am

PaulSacramento wrote:
That is a contradiction. If something is objective then by definition it cannot be subjective and vice versa. They are mutually exclusive.
When something is objective, it exists independently of perception or conception, but how can anything in OUR reality exist outside our perception?
We can say it does but then we are being subjective to our notion of reality.
Everything we know is based on our perception of things and that perception is subjective.
Objectivity exists independent of our knowing (or not) that it exists.
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

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Re: Objective Morality?

#22

Post by PaulSacramento » Thu May 05, 2011 12:11 pm

Objectivity exists independent of our knowing (or not) that it exists.
You base that on what?

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Re: Objective Morality?

#23

Post by Byblos » Thu May 05, 2011 12:33 pm

PaulSacramento wrote:
Objectivity exists independent of our knowing (or not) that it exists.
You base that on what?
If there were no life forms (intelligent or otherwise) to verify it, what would 1 + 1 be?
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

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Re: Objective Morality?

#24

Post by Proinsias » Thu May 05, 2011 12:40 pm

Byblos wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:
Objectivity exists independent of our knowing (or not) that it exists.
You base that on what?
If there were no life forms (intelligent or otherwise) to verify it, what would 1 + 1 be?
irrelevant?

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Re: Objective Morality?

#25

Post by PaulSacramento » Thu May 05, 2011 12:48 pm

If there were no life forms (intelligent or otherwise) to verify it, what would 1 + 1 be?
While the irrelevant comment made me laugh, there is some point to it.
1 + 1 is whatever are reality has made it out to be, but in another universe or another dimension it would be what it is THERE and not HERE.

For something to be truly objective it must be interpreted without bias and we are NOT able to do that.

So while something can be as close to objective as possible,it is still subjective to our perception of our reality.

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Re: Objective Morality?

#26

Post by neo-x » Thu May 05, 2011 10:35 pm

For something to be truly objective it must be interpreted without bias and we are NOT able to do that.

So while something can be as close to objective as possible,it is still subjective to our perception of our reality.
I see your point, Paul - but wouldn't that end up making everything subjective and arbitrary in nature, since 1 can be assigned any value in a different system. I think you are referring to the "goldfish view" idea of perception but still I would say that we can know certain things to be objective from the Bible.
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Re: Objective Morality?

#27

Post by Byblos » Fri May 06, 2011 6:01 am

Proinsias wrote:
Byblos wrote:
PaulSacramento wrote:
Objectivity exists independent of our knowing (or not) that it exists.
You base that on what?
If there were no life forms (intelligent or otherwise) to verify it, what would 1 + 1 be?
irrelevant?
Seriously? Oh okay so let me ask a slightly different question then. Did the laws of mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology exist before they became discoverable by humans? Care to amend your answer now or is it still irrelevant?
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Re: Objective Morality?

#28

Post by PaulSacramento » Fri May 06, 2011 7:34 am

I see your point, Paul - but wouldn't that end up making everything subjective and arbitrary in nature, since 1 can be assigned any value in a different system. I think you are referring to the "goldfish view" idea of perception but still I would say that we can know certain things to be objective from the Bible.
That's just it, we have to be honest with ourselves and admit that all that we know, we perceive and that makes even the objective, subjective ( to our perception).
Now, if we narrow the objective view to a specific thing like math or physics or the bible, then we are narrowing the scope but still being subjective based on our interpretation of data and based on the preset values that we use to perceive whatever the objective "thing" is.
This is why philosophy and science get in each others faces at times, LOL !
Even the most objective of things are subject to reality and nature as WE KNOW it and perceive it, it can be no other way.
It kind of plays into the "supernatural" and some people's inability to accept that which is, from our perception, outside of nature.
Of course our perception changes.
2000 years ago a virgin birth was supernatural, today it can be an "everyday" event since a woman no longer needs to have sexual intercourse to get impregnated.
Our perception that virginity and child birth are incompatiable has been altered and is no longer the case.

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Re: Objective Morality?

#29

Post by Byblos » Fri May 06, 2011 8:36 am

PaulSacramento wrote:
I see your point, Paul - but wouldn't that end up making everything subjective and arbitrary in nature, since 1 can be assigned any value in a different system. I think you are referring to the "goldfish view" idea of perception but still I would say that we can know certain things to be objective from the Bible.
That's just it, we have to be honest with ourselves and admit that all that we know, we perceive and that makes even the objective, subjective ( to our perception).
Now, if we narrow the objective view to a specific thing like math or physics or the bible, then we are narrowing the scope but still being subjective based on our interpretation of data and based on the preset values that we use to perceive whatever the objective "thing" is.
This is why philosophy and science get in each others faces at times, LOL !
Even the most objective of things are subject to reality and nature as WE KNOW it and perceive it, it can be no other way.
It kind of plays into the "supernatural" and some people's inability to accept that which is, from our perception, outside of nature.
Of course our perception changes.
2000 years ago a virgin birth was supernatural, today it can be an "everyday" event since a woman no longer needs to have sexual intercourse to get impregnated.
Our perception that virginity and child birth are incompatiable has been altered and is no longer the case.
I'm sorry but that is just flat out wrong. You can't say oh well for math and physics yes objective truths do exist but for others well it doesn't. It's either objective truths do exist or they don't. When you look at the laws of nature such as math and physics it becomes strikingly clear that object truths do exist independent of our knowing them and that is the point I was trying to have you see when you asked me to prove that objectivity exists independent of our knowing it. Again, those are totally different subjects (the existence of something and our knowing about it). The same can be said of objective morality, it exists independent of its discoverability.
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Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

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Re: Objective Morality?

#30

Post by Seraph » Fri May 06, 2011 8:53 am

PaulSacramento wrote:
Objectivity exists independent of our knowing (or not) that it exists.
You base that on what?
Objectivity by its definition is something that is independent of human knowledge and experience. It is the way something is "in itself" and "as it really is". So no examples need to be provided of why it exists independent of our knowing whether or not it exists.

Objective morality hinges completely on whether or not the morality came from God. If it didn't, then there is no objective morality plain and simple. Morality would simply be an invention of mankind, and all morality is subjective since someone could disagree with what is typically considered moral and no one would be able to accurately tell them other wise. If we never had any higher absolute power give morality to us, who would have the authority to declare what is moral and immoral? Cultures have differed largely in many areas on what they considered moral and immoral, with no scale to measure which cultures had it right and which had it wrong. Morality would simply be the usual "you scratch my back, i scratch yours". So it would actually just be ethics in disguise.

When it comes from God like it did through Bible though, its different. God was the first cause, the prime mover. He always existed, never changed, and created the universe. On top of that, He is all knowing and would have a code of morals that was completely free of any ignorance or error. Thus I think He pretty much establishes what is objective in existence. If God has a certain set of moral laws, a human would be just silly and delusional to disagree with it.

So yeah,
Given down from an omniscient and transcendent power = objective morality
Not given down from an omniscient and transcendent power = no objective morality
I am committed to belief in God, as the most morally demanding, psychologically enriching, intellectually satisfying and imaginatively fruitful hypothesis about the ultimate nature of reality known to me - Keith Ward

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