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  1. #1
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    Subjective Morality

    I keep coming across a certain argument that is along the lines that if one believes that morality is subjective that:
    1. One must admit that nothing really is wrong
    2. One is not being consistent if they want certain moral positions legally enforced.

    None of this is true at all.

    Of course a subjective moralist does not believe that any morals are objectively true. But that does not mean at all that a subjective moralist cannot claim that anything is wrong or right - just because it's their opinion, as opposed to a claim of objective truth, has no bearing on their ability or right to say "that is wrong".

    And there is nothing inherent in subjective morality that makes it unacceptable to make a moral viewpoint something that has the force of law, such as laws against murder.

    The debate over subjective morality is not necessarily limited to these two points if someone wants to introduce something else related to the topic.

    One thing that will not be debated on this thread is whether objective morality actually exists. This thread will operate on the premise that it is not known if objective morality exists so objective moralists will be defined as those who believe that morals are objective.

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    Re: Subjective Morality

    Of course a subjective moralist does not believe that any morals are objectively true. But that does not mean at all that a subjective moralist cannot claim that anything is wrong or right - just because it's their opinion, as opposed to a claim of objective truth, has no bearing on their ability or right to say "that is wrong".
    Once you make this step, you are equating "murder is wrong" with "Charlie Sheen is a bad actor." Both are merely your opinions, based on nothing outside of yourself, and there is no reason one should be enforceable on others but the other should not.

    And there is nothing inherent in subjective morality that makes it unacceptable to make a moral viewpoint something that has the force of law, such as laws against murder.
    By definition, given the above, you have taken the position "there is nothing inherently wrong about imposing one's opinions on others".

    Once you take that position, you have no basis to persuasively argue that any particular opinion ought not be imposed on others. (You have a basis to argue - "it is my opinion that opinion A should be imposed but opinion B should not" - but no basis to persuasively argue; because, in the end, all of your positions are ultimately supported with nothing more substantial than "because I say so", you are incapable of supporting them with evidence sufficient to persuade any other who does not already agree with you).
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    Re: Subjective Morality

    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    Once you make this step, you are equating "murder is wrong" with "Charlie Sheen is a bad actor." Both are merely your opinions, based on nothing outside of yourself, and there is no reason one should be enforceable on others but the other should not.
    Yes, there is. If enough people think that there should be a law against murder and likewise have the means to set up such a law, then there is no reason that they can't, or should not, have a law.

    Likewise people, if they want, can enforce that Charlie Sheen should not be allowed to act. But it so happens that we don't desire that such a law be made so there is no such law.



    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    By definition, given the above, you have taken the position "there is nothing inherently wrong about imposing one's opinions on others".
    What do you mean by "inherently"? Is that just another word for "objectively?" If so, just use "objectively" in the future. If not, then tell me what you mean by "inherently".


    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    Once you take that position, you have no basis to persuasively argue that any particular opinion ought not be imposed on others.
    Yes I do. I think it's wrong and people should not be allowed to do it and I am for using the force of law to prevent people from doing it. The basis is that it's what I think is the best thing to do.



    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    (You have a basis to argue - "it is my opinion that opinion A should be imposed but opinion B should not" - but no basis to persuasively argue; because, in the end, all of your positions are ultimately supported with nothing more substantial than "because I say so", you are incapable of supporting them with evidence sufficient to persuade any other who does not already agree with you).
    But almost everyone does agree with me regarding laws against murder so the opinion I forward is commonly accepted and made into law. The law is not based on just me thinking that's the way it should be, but based on a vast majority of people thinking that that's the way it should be and there's nothing about their moral opinions being subjective that prevents this.

    Now if I said "It's my opinion that whistling should be outlawed", then I would have an opinion that is not shared by others and could give no reason to outlaw it. But then it's the same thing if I stated my position on whistling from an objective standpoint. If I said "It's an objective moral fact that whistling is so immoral that the only appropriate thing to do is to outlaw it", does that make my case any stronger to those who don't agree with me? Of course not.

    So your argument, as far as convincing others to your side, favors objectively morality no more than subjective morality.

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    Re: Subjective Morality

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Yes, there is. If enough people think that there should be a law against murder and likewise have the means to set up such a law, then there is no reason that they can't, or should not, have a law.

    Likewise people, if they want, can enforce that Charlie Sheen should not be allowed to act. But it so happens that we don't desire that such a law be made so there is no such law.
    And, on this theory, if enough people think that there should be a law against atheism and have the means to set up a law against it, then there is no reason that they can't, or should not, have a law.

    Hell, on this theory, if enough people want to condemn jews, gypsys, and other undesirables to death camps and run them through gas chambers, there is no reason why they can't, or should not, be able to do so.

    Right?


    What do you mean by "inherently"? Is that just another word for "objectively?" If so, just use "objectively" in the future. If not, then tell me what you mean by "inherently".
    Inherently - in and of itself, by its very nature.

    Yes I do. I think it's wrong and people should not be allowed to do it and I am for using the force of law to prevent people from doing it. The basis is that it's what I think is the best thing to do.
    And I think preventing murder is wrong and people should not be allowed to do it and I am for using the force of law to prevent people from doing it. Both opinions are equally valid; you just happen to have randomly chosen one over the other. There is literally nothing you can do or say to persuade me that your opinion is correct - because you acknowledge that your opinion is not "correct" in any sense other than "it's what Mican wants" (so if "but it's what Mican wants" is not a convincing argument to me - and it isn't - then I will be unpersuadable).


    But almost everyone does agree with me regarding laws against murder so the opinion I forward is commonly accepted and made into law. The law is not based on just me thinking that's the way it should be, but based on a vast majority of people thinking that that's the way it should be and there's nothing about their moral opinions being subjective that prevents this.
    And in certain parts of the world, the vast majority of people would not agree with you that "honor killing" is a murder and therefore the opinion that "honor killing" ought not be allowed should not be made into law. And in many countries the majority think athiests ought to be killed, and therefore that should be made into law.

    Appeal to majorities isn't particularly persuasive.

    Now if I said "It's my opinion that whistling should be outlawed", then I would have an opinion that is not shared by others and could give no reason to outlaw it. But then it's the same thing if I stated my position on whistling from an objective standpoint. If I said "It's an objective moral fact that whistling is so immoral that the only appropriate thing to do is to outlaw it", does that make my case any stronger to those who don't agree with me? Of course not.
    Does the statement itself make the case stronger? No. But appeal to external sources of morality allows for discussion and persuasion and evaluation; "I don't like whistling" does not.

    So your argument, as far as convincing others to your side, favors objectively morality no more than subjective morality.
    Only if you take an extremely narrow view of what "persuading" means (i.e., you appear to be viewing it only from the perspective of a hypothetical dictat statement that "X is wrong", rather than from the evaluable statement "X is wrong because . . .")
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    Re: Subjective Morality

    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    And, on this theory, if enough people think that there should be a law against atheism and have the means to set up a law against it, then there is no reason that they can't, or should not, have a law.
    From a subjective standpoint, there certainly is. I, subjectively, believe in the principle of freedom of religion and I think it is more important than the wants of the majority and therefore I think there's a very good reason that we should not prosecute atheists.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    Hell, on this theory, if enough people want to condemn jews, gypsys, and other undesirables to death camps and run them through gas chambers, there is no reason why they can't, or should not, be able to do so.
    From a subjective standpoint, there are no objective reasons not to do this. But from a subjective standpoint, there are many subjective reasons not to do this.

    So there are reasons not to do it from a subjective standpoint.




    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    Inherently - in and of itself, by its very nature.
    In other words, objectively. So again, just say objectively.




    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    And I think preventing murder is wrong and people should not be allowed to do it and I am for using the force of law to prevent people from doing it. Both opinions are equally valid; you just happen to have randomly chosen one over the other. There is literally nothing you can do or say to persuade me that your opinion is correct - because you acknowledge that your opinion is not "correct" in any sense other than "it's what Mican wants"
    And there is literally nothing you can do to persuade me that your opinion is correct - your claim that your opinion is something more than an opinion means nothing unless you can prove it - and you can't prove it. So this issue in no way shows how objective morality is superior to subjective morality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    (so if "but it's what Mican wants" is not a convincing argument to me - and it isn't - then I will be unpersuadable).
    And "trust me, it's what God wants" is likewise not going to convince anyone who didn't already agree with your point of view. So your moral presentation is no more persuasive than mine.




    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    And in certain parts of the world, the vast majority of people would not agree with you that "honor killing" is a murder and therefore the opinion that "honor killing" ought not be allowed should not be made into law. And in many countries the majority think athiests ought to be killed, and therefore that should be made into law.

    Appeal to majorities isn't particularly persuasive.
    I didn't say a law is right just because the majority wants it. I'm just pointing out that what one person wants (unless that person holds a huge amount of power, like a dictator) does not mean that that is something that can or should be made into law.

    Murder is not outlawed in this society just because it's what I want. It's outlawed because that's what almost everyone wants.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    Does the statement itself make the case stronger? No. But appeal to external sources of morality allows for discussion and persuasion and evaluation; "I don't like whistling" does not.
    That is entirely dependent on the audience, isn't it? A subjective moralist who personally holds me in high esteem would likely be more influenced by my personal opinion than someone trying to make a case that an objective moral source says whistling is wrong.

    Keep in mind that before anyone can rationally abide by a claim of objective morality, it has to be shown to them that the moral position really is objectively correct. If you can't do that, then how is your claim anymore persuasive than an admittedly objective claims?


    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    Only if you take an extremely narrow view of what "persuading" means (i.e., you appear to be viewing it only from the perspective of a hypothetical dictat statement that "X is wrong", rather than from the evaluable statement "X is wrong because . . .")
    But subjective arguments do say "X is wrong because...".

    For instance, I think prosecuting atheism is wrong because I think that freedom of religion is more important than any reason there could be for prosecuting atheists.

    Now, of course you can ask "why do you think freedom of religion is so important" and if I give an answer to that, you can ask "well, why do you believe that?" and so on and so on until I finally have to respond "I just think that's what is right" and can make no further justification. I ultimately cannot provide proof that my moral position is correct.

    But that is no more of a problem than an objective moralist would face. When faced with the same series of questions ("Why do you believe that?") ultimately you will have to stop with something like "That's just what God wants" and can make no further justifications. And ultimately you cannot provide anymore proof that your moral position is correct than I can.

    So I see no problems with subjective morality being persuasive that doesn't apply to objective morality.

  6. #6
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    Re: Subjective Morality

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    From a subjective standpoint, there certainly is. I, subjectively, believe in the principle of freedom of religion and I think it is more important than the wants of the majority and therefore I think there's a very good reason that we should not prosecute atheists.
    All this says is that your guiding moral principal is that you have no guiding moral principals. You simply do/advocate whatever it is you like, because you like it; there is literally no need for any further analysis.

    From a subjective standpoint, there are no objective reasons not to do this. But from a subjective standpoint, there are many subjective reasons not to do this.

    So there are reasons not to do it from a subjective standpoint.
    Again, the only reason not to murder people is because you don't like it. If you did like it, you would be advocating murder.

    And there is literally nothing you can do to persuade me that your opinion is correct - your claim that your opinion is something more than an opinion means nothing unless you can prove it - and you can't prove it. So this issue in no way shows how objective morality is superior to subjective morality.
    Yes - as long as you are willing to put your fingers in your ears and respond to all arguments with "but I like it my way", there's nothing that I can do to persuade you. However, if two people are willing to acknowledge that there are external moral principles, then those two people can have a rational discussion of whether or not one of them is more right than the other about a particular view of morality. For two subjectivists, that's as impossible as it is for an objectivist talking to a subjectivist; "because I like it" is inherently a personal standard, and ends all discourse.

    And "trust me, it's what God wants" is likewise not going to convince anyone who didn't already agree with your point of view. So your moral presentation is no more persuasive than mine.
    And if "trust me, it's what God wants" were ever my argument, you'd have a point. As it is, you just sound petulant.

    But hey, if you like being petulant, then that's a good thing, and in fact you should be petulant.


    I didn't say a law is right just because the majority wants it. I'm just pointing out that what one person wants (unless that person holds a huge amount of power, like a dictator) does not mean that that is something that can or should be made into law.
    Really?

    Because this:

    But almost everyone does agree with me regarding laws against murder so the opinion I forward is commonly accepted and made into law. The law is not based on just me thinking that's the way it should be, but based on a vast majority of people thinking that that's the way it should be and there's nothing about their moral opinions being subjective that prevents this.
    certainly read as a statement that the existence of laws is justified when a majority agrees with them.


    Murder is not outlawed in this society just because it's what I want. It's outlawed because that's what almost everyone wants.
    And the murder of african americans in the antebellum south wasn't outlawed because that was what almost everyone in that society wanted. And the murder of Jews, Gypsys, and other undesirables in the Holocaust wasn't outlawed because that was what society wanted. Your appeal to majorities is not persuasive.

    That is entirely dependent on the audience, isn't it? A subjective moralist who personally holds me in high esteem would likely be more influenced by my personal opinion than someone trying to make a case that an objective moral source says whistling is wrong.
    Not really - a subjective moralist who holds you in high esteem but likes something different than you will simply have a "different, no less right" moral code and, despite holding you in high esteem, will not care much about your arguments on that point.

    An objective moralist, by definition, attempts to justify their moral positions by appeal to something outside of their own likes and dislikes, and, therefore, would need to (if they are honest in their inquiry) evaluate your arguments on their own merit, rather than simply determining that they contradict the position they've already taken based on their own likes and, therefore, rejecting them.

    Keep in mind that before anyone can rationally abide by a claim of objective morality, it has to be shown to them that the moral position really is objectively correct. If you can't do that, then how is your claim anymore persuasive than an admittedly objective claims?
    Uh . . . no. Whether or not the proposed morality is objectively correct is irrelevant to the nature of the inquiry. A christian who believes in objective morality and a Hindu who believes in objective morality can have a mutual discussion of whether or not X is moral given the principles they espouse. A subjective moralist can never have that discussion; in the end, the only "principle" they rely on is "I like X" - as such, the morality of X is a tautology. No other principle can overcome "I like X"



    But subjective arguments do say "X is wrong because...".

    For instance, I think prosecuting atheism is wrong because I think that freedom of religion is more important than any reason there could be for prosecuting atheists.
    But the "because" is, in each instance and no matter what the particular subject matter, the same: "because I think so." There is no reference to external standards; "I think so" is both the necessary and sufficient cause of the position you espouse.

    Now, of course you can ask "why do you think freedom of religion is so important" and if I give an answer to that, you can ask "well, why do you believe that?" and so on and so on until I finally have to respond "I just think that's what is right" and can make no further justification. I ultimately cannot provide proof that my moral position is correct.
    You already gave the answer. "Because I do". That's it.

    But that is no more of a problem than an objective moralist would face. When faced with the same series of questions ("Why do you believe that?") ultimately you will have to stop with something like "That's just what God wants" and can make no further justifications. And ultimately you cannot provide anymore proof that your moral position is correct than I can.
    Incorrect.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Subjective Morality

    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    All this says is that your guiding moral principal is that you have no guiding moral principals. You simply do/advocate whatever it is you like, because you like it; there is literally no need for any further analysis.
    No, it's not what I like. It's what I feel is morally right. I might want to do something that I would consider immoral but I don't because I feel obliged to be true to the morals that I hold, even if I might not like the consequences to some extent.

    And one can certainly examine their morals and ponder why they have them. Is morality an evolutionary trait - like an innate empathy for other humans that allow us to survive better as a species by promoting cooperation? Is it something that is passed on by previous generations and therefore a form of brainwashing? There is nothing about subjective morality that prevents analysis of one's moral positions.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    Again, the only reason not to murder people is because you don't like it. If you did like it, you would be advocating murder.
    It's not that simple at all. Perhaps I very much want to murder someone but I was raised by my parents to believe that murder is wrong so that inhibits me from engaging in actions that I want to engage in. Or perhaps I believe too strongly in the golden rule to do unto others what I don't want done to myself.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    Yes - as long as you are willing to put your fingers in your ears and respond to all arguments with "but I like it my way", there's nothing that I can do to persuade you. However, if two people are willing to acknowledge that there are external moral principles, then those two people can have a rational discussion of whether or not one of them is more right than the other about a particular view of morality.
    How so? If one believes that "God says that murder is wrong?" then what rational discussion can there be about that? Either the other person agrees and therefore there is nothing to discuss or the objective moralist has to consider that his position might be wrong and if he does that, then he is no longer an objective moralist and if he refuses to budge, then no rational discussion can be had.



    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    And if "trust me, it's what God wants" were ever my argument, you'd have a point. As it is, you just sound petulant.
    I didn't say that was your argument. I'm presenting an argument that an objective moralist could make to back up their position.



    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    Really?
    Yes, really.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    Because this certainly read as a statement that the existence of laws is justified when a majority agrees with them.
    Then you should read it more carefully. Nowhere in that statement did I say the law was right because the majority agrees with the law. I just said that majority agreement is why the law exists.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    And the murder of african americans in the antebellum south wasn't outlawed because that was what almost everyone in that society wanted. And the murder of Jews, Gypsys, and other undesirables in the Holocaust wasn't outlawed because that was what society wanted. Your appeal to majorities is not persuasive.
    I have made no such appeal.

    There is a difference between observing what is and saying that what is is morally right.



    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    Not really - a subjective moralist who holds you in high esteem but likes something different than you will simply have a "different, no less right" moral code and, despite holding you in high esteem, will not care much about your arguments on that point.
    That's by no means true. People are more likely to be persuaded from their current opinions by those who they hold in high esteem. I know I've had my opinions on things changed by others and not coincidentally, they are people I've had a lot of respect for.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    An objective moralist, by definition, attempts to justify their moral positions by appeal to something outside of their own likes and dislikes, and, therefore, would need to (if they are honest in their inquiry) evaluate your arguments on their own merit, rather than simply determining that they contradict the position they've already taken based on their own likes and, therefore, rejecting them.
    Are you kidding? If you hold that a moral position is absolutely true then any argument that contradicts your position is automatically false. There is absolutely no reason for an objective moralist to weigh the merits of any argument that contradicts their morals for that argument is inherently wrong by his standards.

    For instance, if I were debating a Christian who did believe that it's a moral absolute that atheists should be legally punished, no reasoned argument about individual freedom, or freedom of religion, or really anything, no matter how well-argued and rationally forwarded would make any difference to him. Does my argument, regardless of its merits, jibe with his absolutist views on morality? It doesn't? Argument dismissed!




    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    Whether or not the proposed morality is objectively correct is irrelevant to the nature of the inquiry. A christian who believes in objective morality and a Hindu who believes in objective morality can have a mutual discussion of whether or not X is moral given the principles they espouse.
    It would be a pretty fruitless discussion. Either they find that they agree and therefore there's nothing to discuss or they find that they don't agree and there's no way to convince each other they are right.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    A subjective moralist can never have that discussion; in the end, the only "principle" they rely on is "I like X" - as such, the morality of X is a tautology. No other principle can overcome "I like X"
    Yes, it can. Since "I like X" is not absolute, one can potentially change their mind about "X". So one subjective moralist can attempt to, and conceivably succeed, in convincing another one about "X". While I haven't changed my moral views about the big things, like murder, I have certainly altered my moral positions on smaller moral questions throughout my life, on issues such as homosexuality and drug use.

    Again, if one holds that "homosexuality is wrong" as a moral absolute, then what's there to discuss? If you agree, good. If you disagree, you are wrong and that's all there is to say on the matter.



    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    But the "because" is, in each instance and no matter what the particular subject matter, the same: "because I think so." There is no reference to external standards; "I think so" is both the necessary and sufficient cause of the position you espouse.
    Right, even though a subjective moralist can give a reason for thinking something is wrong, when you ask "why?" enough, it boils down to "because I think so".

    So we agree here.

    But as I said:

    But that is no more of a problem than an objective moralist would face. When faced with the same series of questions ("Why do you believe that?") ultimately you will have to stop with something like "That's just what God wants" and can make no further justifications. And ultimately you cannot provide anymore proof that your moral position is correct than I can.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    Incorrect.
    Just saying "incorrect" is not a valid rebuttal. You need to support that statement by telling me why I'm incorrect.

    Again, at the core of absolutist morality is nothing that is more provably correct than the subjective moralist's "I think so". And if I'm wrong, then tell what that thing is at the core of absolutist morality is more provably correct than "I think so". For instance, I'm sure at least some objective moralists will claim that their core reasoning is "Because that's what God wants". Is that provable? No, it's not. Now, I won't put words in your mouth and say that's what is at your core but regardless, I Challenge to support a claim. you to give me an absolutist core statement that you can prove is correct.

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    Re: Subjective Morality

    I think the whole subjective/objective morality issue/dichotomy stems from where a person falls in the stage of moral development:

    Kohlberg's six stages can be more generally grouped into three levels of two stages each: pre-conventional, conventional and post-conventional. Following Piaget's constructivist requirements for a stage model, as described in his theory of cognitive development, it is extremely rare to regress backward in stages—to lose the use of higher stage abilities. Stages cannot be skipped; each provides a new and necessary perspective, more comprehensive and differentiated than its predecessors but integrated with them.

    Level 1 (Pre-Conventional)

    1. Obedience and punishment orientation
    (How can I avoid punishment?)

    2. Self-interest orientation
    (What's in it for me?)
    (Paying for a benefit)

    Level 2 (Conventional)

    3. Interpersonal accord and conformity
    (Social norms)
    (The good boy/good girl attitude)

    4. Authority and social-order maintaining orientation
    (Law and order morality)

    Level 3 (Post-Conventional)

    5. Social contract orientation

    6. Universal ethical principles
    (Principled conscience)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kohlber...al_development

    But hey, that's just my own subjective viewpoint on the matter

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    Re: Subjective Morality

    Quote Originally Posted by Shakti View Post
    I think the whole subjective/objective morality issue/dichotomy stems from where a person falls in the stage of moral development:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kohlber...al_development

    But hey, that's just my own subjective viewpoint on the matter
    Oddly enough, I agree. Not sure we'd agree on where on the scale to place subjective v. objective moralists, though
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    Re: Subjective Morality

    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    Oddly enough, I agree. Not sure we'd agree on where on the scale to place subjective v. objective moralists, though
    How come odd?

    I'm curious now, where would you place the two?

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    Re: Subjective Morality

    Quote Originally Posted by Shakti View Post
    I think the whole subjective/objective morality issue/dichotomy stems from where a person falls in the stage of moral development
    I don't know. I could see either a subjective moralist or objective moralist be on any stage of moral development.

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    Re: Subjective Morality

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    I don't know. I could see either a subjective moralist or objective moralist be on any stage of moral development.
    Really? Objective moralists seem, by definition, to be on stage 6 (universal ethical principles).

    (BTW, I'll respond to your longer post, but it may be a few weeks - I'm slammed at work)
    Ah, well - apparently my kids were too distracting to stay as a sig. I take that as a compliment

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    Re: Subjective Morality

    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    Really? Objective moralists seem, by definition, to be on stage 6 (universal ethical principles).
    What about those who obey what they perceive to be moral absolutes out of fear of being punished in the afterlife for disobeying them?

    That's stage 1.

    1. Obedience and punishment orientation
    (How can I avoid punishment?)

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    Re: Subjective Morality

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    How so? If one believes that "God says that murder is wrong?" then what rational discussion can there be about that? Either the other person agrees and therefore there is nothing to discuss or the objective moralist has to consider that his position might be wrong and if he does that, then he is no longer an objective moralist and if he refuses to budge, then no rational discussion can be had.

    Are you kidding? If you hold that a moral position is absolutely true then any argument that contradicts your position is automatically false. There is absolutely no reason for an objective moralist to weigh the merits of any argument that contradicts their morals for that argument is inherently wrong by his standards.

    For instance, if I were debating a Christian who did believe that it's a moral absolute that atheists should be legally punished, no reasoned argument about individual freedom, or freedom of religion, or really anything, no matter how well-argued and rationally forwarded would make any difference to him. Does my argument, regardless of its merits, jibe with his absolutist views on morality? It doesn't? Argument dismissed!
    I don't think that this is an argument between subjective and objective morality any more than it is one between moral absolutists and moral pluralists/relativists. No matter if a person believes in an objective source of morality or in what he believes is right, if that person is unwilling to compromise or accept alternative opinions, then holding a debate on morality will have no effect on that person's opinions.

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Yes, it can. Since "I like X" is not absolute, one can potentially change their mind about "X". So one subjective moralist can attempt to, and conceivably succeed, in convincing another one about "X". While I haven't changed my moral views about the big things, like murder, I have certainly altered my moral positions on smaller moral questions throughout my life, on issues such as homosexuality and drug use.

    Again, if one holds that "homosexuality is wrong" as a moral absolute, then what's there to discuss? If you agree, good. If you disagree, you are wrong and that's all there is to say on the matter.
    This just reinforces my point, I think. Both sides seem to be correct, and they are, in that both take the other's stance, either "subjective moralist" or "objective moralist" as a homogeneous category, and take their own stance to be of the more open-minded division of their category. (sic)
    "More guns equal fewer deaths...by this logic, the Middle East would be better off if every nation in the region had nuclear weapons."
    — Timothy Egan, NY Times

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    Re: Subjective Morality

    Quote Originally Posted by Arraetrikos View Post
    I don't think that this is an argument between subjective and objective morality any more than it is one between moral absolutists and moral pluralists/relativists. No matter if a person believes in an objective source of morality or in what he believes is right, if that person is unwilling to compromise or accept alternative opinions, then holding a debate on morality will have no effect on that person's opinions.
    Good point. But my point is more of a rebuttal of Kivam's point that subjective morality leaves no room for debate - as in "Well, that's my opinion. End of discussion". That same thing, I believe applies, even more to an objective moralist viewpoint - "No, it's absolutely true that murder is wrong. End of discussion."

    But of course either a subjective or objective moralist can refrain from sticking their fingers in their ears and discuss their moral notions and consider compromise and so on.

    And really, this issue isn't even pertinent to my OP. So even if I were concede Kivam's point on this, it wouldn't invalidate what I wrote in the OP.

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    Re: Subjective Morality

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    I don't know. I could see either a subjective moralist or objective moralist be on any stage of moral development.
    I see what you are saying. Which kinda highlights the whole issue even further really.. are we going to look at the list subjectively or as an objective standard? lol..

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    Re: Subjective Morality

    Quote Originally Posted by Shakti View Post
    I see what you are saying. Which kinda highlights the whole issue even further really.. are we going to look at the list subjectively or as an objective standard?
    I'll accept the list as an objective standard, as in I will accept it as true for the sake of debate.

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    Re: Subjective Morality

    Guys, I find this debate fascinating, given that our perception of what is objective and what is subjective is subject to individual prejudices and bias [subtle and less so], that are based on our particular genetic and experience make-up.

    To what degree are objective standards compromised by subjective perceptions?

    When I took the 'Sheep and Goats' test at university, I was the only one to score a 50:50 out of perhaps 200+ students. Even then I still question the true 'balance' of how I come to any conclusion that falls short of me also possessing absolute knowledge.
    "We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are." - Anais Nin.
    Emitte lucem et veritatem - Send out light and truth.
    'Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt' - Julius Caesar (rough translation, 'Men will think what they want to think')
    Kill my boss? Do I dare live out the American dream? - Homer Simpson.

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    Re: Subjective Morality

    Quote Originally Posted by FruitandNut View Post
    Guys, I find this debate fascinating, given that our perception of what is objective and what is subjective is subject to individual prejudices and bias [subtle and less so], that are based on our particular genetic and experience make-up.

    To what degree are objective standards compromised by subjective perceptions?
    I don't think that the objective/subjective dichotomy can ever be truly dissolved, since both aspects play a role in the development of morality. That said, I think that within the mind of certain individuals, they are able to embrace both equally/simultaneously. In that sense.. they are able to encompass a wider view of morality which seems indicative of being higher in the stages of moral development.

    Whereas others seem to only see the apparent split between the two, favoring one over the other and are thus 'trapped' on an earlier stage of development which seems more fear based and black and white. If that makes sense?

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    Re: Subjective Morality

    Quote Originally Posted by Shakti View Post
    I don't think that the objective/subjective dichotomy can ever be truly dissolved, since both aspects play a role in the development of morality. That said, I think that within the mind of certain individuals, they are able to embrace both equally/simultaneously. In that sense.. they are able to encompass a wider view of morality which seems indicative of being higher in the stages of moral development.

    Whereas others seem to only see the apparent split between the two, favoring one over the other and are thus 'trapped' on an earlier stage of development which seems more fear based and black and white. If that makes sense?
    "Indicative of being higher in the stages of moral development"? Meh. So people are immature for finding objectivity and subjectivity to be mutually exclusive? Come on now.
    There is no wealth like knowledge, no poverty like ignorance.
    Nahj ul-Balāgha by Ali bin Abu-Talib

 

 
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