opus649 wrote:You can't use words that depend on the idea you're trying to defend to defend your idea. If there is no objective morality, there is no such thing as murder. Just because the word "murder" exists doesn't necessarily prove there is objective morality. Only that we, for whatever reason, have a concept of right and wrong. It is equally plausible that concept is an illusion as it is from God.
Well, it could also be that our idea of right and wrong is subjective. I'm not trying to use the definition of stealing to prove that right and wrong exists, only that if they exist, stealing is wrong by definition.
Why are you so intent on objective morality though?
Because I believe if you can "prove" objective morality, you have a pretty solid case for God. Thus, I would be happy if someone offered a convincing argument for the former.
There are a few different ways to justify objective morality (Platoism is one such attempt), God is one such way. But you don't go from objective morality -> God, you go from God -> objective morality. God explains objective morality, so if you accept objective morality you accept God (and vice versa). Proving objective morality would require proving God since God is the explanation for objective morality.
What are your qualms with my answer wherein I try to reduce subjectivity to objective elements?
I apologize, but I'm not sure which answer you mean. I may have missed a point you made... I'm new here and sometimes have trouble keeping up with all of the posts.
When I explained why we call things hot and cold a little earlier in this thread (in response to neo-x). Hot and cold are subjective evaluations of temperature, but humans would seem to identify things as hot and cold with pretty high consistency, corroborating our idea of hot and cold. While the values are subjective, it doesn't mean they don't have an objective grounding. In this case, we're predisposed to find certain temperatures hot and cold based on how we learn to define them. There's some other ideas that will go into the science and philosophy of this language, but it should seem clear that there are objective (physical and biological, neurological too maybe) reasons why we tend to find some things hot and some things cold. The same is likely true for right and wrongness, although the concept of right and wrong is a little more complex - I think they break down into a lot of different ideas that encompass a wide range of variables and dependencies. In other words, subjective preference tends to have objective, non-arbitrary grounding. Subjectivity tends to reduce to objectivity - this might be a form of naturalism, determinism, or physcialism, however, but I think it holds true for a wide range of ideas we have. One of the challenges might be in explaining 'beauty' (and, of course, morality to a lesser extent) which has been an idea of philosophical contention for a loooong time.
It seems you can't see where it is, so I'll quote it.
Anyway, implicit, it would seem, in any statement by a person is a silent little phrase.. "...according to me" at the end (or an "I say" at the beginning). In a way. If you say, "this water is cold (according to me)", then that statement could be true (unless you were lying). According to your concept of cold and your perceptions of the water, yes, the water could be cold to you. Now, someone says, "this water is warm (according to me)". According to their concept of hot/cold and their perception of water, then the water could be warm to them. Now, this doesn't mean temperature will always have to be relative. We can verify our perceptions as being somewhat accurate through more objective measurement (compare our perception of the temperature of the water with the actual measured temperature). If we find our perceptions to be intact, we can then attempt to define which temperatures have which value assigned to them (hot, cold, luke-warm, etc.). I suspect we'll come into a lot of trouble here, since we don't really assign value of temperature to a scale like this. But say we do. Then we have established some objectivity since the truth is now outside of ourselves (even if for subjective reasons). But that still makes it relative. Not to mention temperatures feel different based on a number of things like pressure, humidity, previous exposure to other temperatures, sensitivity, etc. Afterall, when someone is very sick, they can feel very warm even when we know they should be feeling cold - how can we know anything about their subjective experience of temperature?
So, let's try to make it more objective and leave out our perception of temperature altogether. Let's consider human biology now. We know that temperature as a measurement is a combination of a few different variables, but generally those variables remain constant in most situations so let's put those aside. Human internal temperature is about 98F or 37C. We might do a well-conducted reduced-bias study on a number of humans and ask them to report if they feel hot or cold when their temperature is at certain degrees. We might study how the human body perceives temperature through the sense of thermoception and see what would usually cause a feeling of coldness or hotness (note: the way humans detect temperature is still being studied - more on this in the future!). We might study language and see what people traditionally conceptualize as cold and hot (and all the other values of temperature we use). At some point, hot and cold might then start to lose their subjectivity, so long as we understand the perspective of the value is being measured against the perceptions of a human being. We can make an approach towards objective facts even with subjective experience in this way (which is why I doubt the legitimacy of subjective versus objective as distinct binary categories and not a gradient). We just have to acknowledge the complexity, the variables, and all the room for error as well as the appropriate perspectives.
If we see an orange star moving away from us, it will appear to be red. Is the star red? Even with an objective definition for color (red is between x and y nm wavelength) we can still have ambiguity due to special relativity, general relativity, other variables, and in this case, the doppler effect. A lot of things depend on a lot of other things, even things we would consider wholly objective.