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  1. #1
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    Objective morality is effectively useless

    Let me start with some premises.

    1. God, or some kind of higher moral authority, is necessary for objective morality to exist.

    2. It has not been proven that God exists. For those who currently do not believe in God, there is no particular reason why they should change their mind on the issue.

    3. Therefore it's likewise not been proven that objective morality exists and for those who don't already believe in it, there is no particular reason why they should.

    Therefore if a person claims that a certain moral position is objectively true, there is no way for that person to prove that it is so it effectively is no more valid than any other moral claim, whether it is claimed to objectively true or admittedly subjective, so the claim of moral objectivity, even if it happens to be correct, effectively adds nothing to the claim and therefore is effectively useless.

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    Re: Objective morality is effectively useless

    No. The claim to moral objectivity allows for the claimant to non-hypocritically assert that his concept of morality ought to be applied to the actions of others. As you've already conceded (in other threads) that the position that morality is subjective does not allow for that, the claim to moral objectivity does add something to the claim, and is therefore not useless.
    Ah, well - apparently my kids were too distracting to stay as a sig. I take that as a compliment

  3. #3
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    Re: Objective morality is effectively useless

    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    No. The claim to moral objectivity allows for the claimant to non-hypocritically assert that his concept of morality ought to be applied to the actions of others. As you've already conceded (in other threads) that the position that morality is subjective does not allow for that, the claim to moral objectivity does add something to the claim, and is therefore not useless.
    I have not conceded that. In fact, I've consistently argued otherwise.

    There is nothing about my moral position on murder being subjective that disallows me from supporting laws against murder and punishing the act of murder or even actively interfering with someone attempting to commit murder.
    Last edited by mican333; August 24th, 2011 at 04:58 PM.

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    Re: Objective morality is effectively useless

    Quote Originally Posted by OP
    3. Therefore it's likewise not been proven that objective morality exists and for those who don't already believe in it, there is no particular reason why they should.
    One need not point to God or have knowledge of God to recognize and prove that objective moral values exist.

    Quote Originally Posted by OP
    Therefore if a person claims that a certain moral position is objectively true, there is no way for that person to prove that it is so it
    The moral position I take is that objective moral truths exist.

    1)Reality is objective.
    2)Inherent moral duties either exist in reality or they do not.
    3)Both options are objective moral truths.
    4)Objective moral truths exist in reality.
    I apologize to anyone waiting on a response from me. I am experiencing a time warp, suddenly their are not enough hours in a day. As soon as I find a replacement part to my flux capacitor regulator, time should resume it's normal flow.

  5. #5
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    Re: Objective morality is effectively useless

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    One need not point to God or have knowledge of God to recognize and prove that objective moral values exist.
    You have to recognize a moral source outside of humanity to believe in objective morality. If it's just you that thinks something is immoral, then it's just your opinion and therefore subjective.

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    The moral position I take is that objective moral truths exist.
    That's fine but my point stands that you cannot prove that this is so.


    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    1)Reality is objective.
    2)Inherent moral duties either exist in reality or they do not.
    Okay. I'll choose that inherent moral duties do not exist.


    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    3)Both options are objective moral truths.
    And therefore it's an objective truth that inherent moral duties do not exist.

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    4)Objective moral truths exist in reality.
    Yeah, it's an objective moral fact that we have no inherent moral duties and therefore there is no objective morality.

    Basically your whole exercise says that either there are objective morals or there are no objective morals. Either of those two options count as an objective truth about morals.

  6. #6
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    Re: Objective morality is effectively useless

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    I have not conceded that. In fact, I've consistently argued otherwise.

    There is nothing about my moral position on murder being subjective that disallows me from supporting laws against murder and punishing the act of murder or even actively interfering with someone attempting to commit murder.
    http://www.onlinedebate.net/forums/s...l=1#post458166

    And, again, of course there is. If you believe morality is subjective, then you believe that every individual has equal authority to define their own moral code, and that you have no more right to impose on them your subjective belief that murder is bad than they have to impose on you their subjective belief that murder is good. Thus, a subjective moralist must either:

    1) refuse to impose his own moral beliefs on others;
    2) acknowledge that others have the right to impose their moral beliefs on him, even if he finds them repugnant; or
    3) be a hypocrite.

    Whichever of those 3 options you want to choose, an objective moralist has an advantage. He can, without being a hypocrite, assert that his morality ought to be imposed on others (because he understands it to be objectively correct) but that others' morality ought not be imposed on him (because he understands it to be objectively incorrect).

    Again, regardless of which option you want to choose for yourself as a subjective moralist, the claim to objective morality entirely changes the calculus.

    ---------- Post added at 10:37 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:35 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Basically your whole exercise says that either there are objective morals or there are no objective morals. Either of those two options count as an objective truth about morals.
    Correct. And, therefore, it must be true that there are objective truths about morals.
    Ah, well - apparently my kids were too distracting to stay as a sig. I take that as a compliment

  7. #7
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    Re: Objective morality is effectively useless

    If you mean my concession is in that link, I've not found it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    If you believe morality is subjective, then you believe that every individual has equal authority to define their own moral code
    True. But that's not the same as agreeing that everyone has the same right to act on their moral code.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    and that you have no more right to impose on them your subjective belief that murder is bad than they have to impose on you their subjective belief that murder is good.
    That's not true at all. I, subjectively, believe that murder is so wrong that people should not be allowed to do it. People are free to opine that murder is good (for it's impossible to prevent someone from holding an opinion) but I am under no obligation to agree with their opinion nor allow them to act on their beliefs by killing people.



    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    Thus, a subjective moralist must either:

    1) refuse to impose his own moral beliefs on others;
    2) acknowledge that others have the right to impose their moral beliefs on him, even if he finds them repugnant; or
    3) be a hypocrite.
    That's assuming that one accept the premise that all moral opinions are equal. But subjectivity makes no demands that I accept that moral premise so I am free to reject it. And I do reject it. I subjectively think that "don't murder" is far, far superior to "go ahead and murder" and I am under no obligation to hold them as equals for the very reason that I don't feel that they are.



    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    Correct. And, therefore, it must be true that there are objective truths about morals.
    And one of those truths could be that morality is subjective. So that argument in no way demonstrates that objective morality exists, let alone is more likely to be true than morality being entirely subjective.

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    Re: Objective morality is effectively useless

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Let me start with some premises.

    1. God, or some kind of higher moral authority, is necessary for objective morality to exist.

    2. It has not been proven that God exists. For those who currently do not believe in God, there is no particular reason why they should change their mind on the issue.

    3. Therefore it's likewise not been proven that objective morality exists and for those who don't already believe in it, there is no particular reason why they should.

    Therefore if a person claims that a certain moral position is objectively true, there is no way for that person to prove that it is so it effectively is no more valid than any other moral claim, whether it is claimed to objectively true or admittedly subjective, so the claim of moral objectivity, even if it happens to be correct, effectively adds nothing to the claim and therefore is effectively useless.
    By useless...do you mean "Without any value whatsoever"? If not, what?
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  9. #9
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    Re: Objective morality is effectively useless

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    By useless...do you mean "Without any value whatsoever"? If not, what?
    No, you got it right.

    If one claiming that their moral position is objective doesn't add value to their position, then calling their viewpoint "objective" is useless.

    Let's say you regularly wear green socks and I came up to you and claimed that it's an objective moral truth that you should not wear green socks on Tuesday.

    Would that claim make you less likely to wear your green socks on a Tuesday anymore than if I said that it's my opinion that it's immoral for you to wear green socks on Tuesday?

    If the objective and subjective claim is effectively equal as far as influencing your actions, then the objective moral statement is no better than the subjective moral statement.
    Last edited by mican333; August 25th, 2011 at 07:00 AM.

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    Re: Objective morality is effectively useless

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    True. But that's not the same as agreeing that everyone has the same right to act on their moral code.
    Sure it is. If everyone has equal authority to define their own moral code, you cannot argue that there is an objective reason to claim that people have different rights to act on their moral codes. Absent an objective reason, the claim "people who believe murder is wrong are entitled to act on their moral code" (or any other critical factor you care to rely on) is of as limited utility in justifying differentiating between the two as simply saying "murder is wrong" (or "murder is right); it is simply your personal opinion, no more justifiable or enforceable than your taste in art.

    That's not true at all. I, subjectively, believe that murder is so wrong that people should not be allowed to do it. People are free to opine that murder is good (for it's impossible to prevent someone from holding an opinion) but I am under no obligation to agree with their opinion nor allow them to act on their beliefs by killing people.
    The second you act to prevent them you are asserting that you have some authority to do so based merely on the fact that you disagree with their valid personal morality. That assertion directly contradicts the necessary subjectivist premise that all individuals have equal moral authority - unless you are to concede that, despite believing murder is wrong, someone who believes murder is right is equally within their rights to attempt to prevent you from preventing the murder. You are not "right" that murder is wrong - it is merely your opinion, no different from your personal, subjective taste in art




    That's assuming that one accept the premise that all moral opinions are equal. But subjectivity makes no demands that I accept that moral premise so I am free to reject it.
    Of course it does. Subjectivity demands that you acknowledge that all individuals are equally free to define their own morality; after all, your moral opinion is not "right" in any sense of the word other than "it is my opinion".

    And I do reject it. I subjectively think that "don't murder" is far, far superior to "go ahead and murder" and I am under no obligation to hold them as equals for the very reason that I don't feel that they are.
    And, for all the reasons I've pointed out, that is simply hypocrisy. You have no basis to conclude that their moral opinion is less than yours, since you concede that yours is not "right" and theirs not "wrong". Yours is simply an opinion you like, and theirs is not.

    ---------- Post added at 11:04 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:02 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    No, you got it right.

    If one claiming that their moral position is objective doesn't add value to their position, then calling their viewpoint "objective" is useless.

    If I claimed that it's an objective moral truth that you should not wear green socks on Tuesday, would you give my claim more weight due to the claim of objective morality, even if it so happens that there is a God who deems that green socks should not be worn on Tuesday, but you weren't aware of that?
    Are you assuming that "getting another to give more weight to the claim" is the sole definition of value?
    Ah, well - apparently my kids were too distracting to stay as a sig. I take that as a compliment

  11. #11
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    Re: Objective morality is effectively useless

    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    Sure it is. If everyone has equal authority to define their own moral code, you cannot argue that there is an objective reason to claim that people have different rights to act on their moral codes.
    I don't claim that there's an objective reason. My reason for not allowing murderers to act on their moral codes is entirely subjective. I subjectively don't think people should be allowed to murder.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    The second you act to prevent them you are asserting that you have some authority to do so based merely on the fact that you disagree with their valid personal morality.
    Right. Agreeing that people define their own morality does not give me an obligation to agree with their morality, consider it "valid", nor refrain from acting against moral positions I disagree with.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    That assertion directly contradicts the necessary subjectivist premise that all individuals have equal moral authority
    No, it doesn't. Acting against another's morals does not contradict the premise that he has the same authority to act against my morals if he chooses.

    If I attempt to prevent a killer from killing and he tries to kill me so I can't stop him we are both acting on our own individual authority to uphold our separate morals and I recognize the reality that he has the same authority to uphold his morals as I have to uphold mine and who will prevail in our struggle will be a matter of greater strength, weaponry, fighting skills, etc but not of greater authority for our authority is equal.

    And to head you off in case you are about to go there, this is not a case of "might makes right" either. From my perspective the killer is wrong regardless of the outcome of our fight. If he defeats me, he has been shown to "mightier" than me but he is still morally wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    unless you are to concede that, despite believing murder is wrong, someone who believes murder is right is equally within their rights to attempt to prevent you from preventing the murder. You are not "right" that murder is wrong - it is merely your opinion, no different from your personal, subjective taste in art
    It is merely my opinion. That is what subjective morality is. All moral positions are opinion. And since my "taste" is that murder should be prevented, I may act on that "taste". There is nothing inherent in subjective morality that prevents this.




    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    Of course it does. Subjectivity demands that you acknowledge that all individuals are equally free to define their own morality.; after all, your moral opinion is not "right" in any sense of the word other than "it is my opinion".
    And when it is my opinion that someone holds an immoral viewpoint, I am under no obligation to consider it equal to mine. My opinion that it is "bad" means that it is my opinion that it's not a good a viewpoint as mine.


    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    And, for all the reasons I've pointed out, that is simply hypocrisy. You have no basis to conclude that their moral opinion is less than yours, since you concede that yours is not "right" and theirs not "wrong".
    I never conceded that. I feel that my position against murder is morally right and those who believe that murder is alright are morally wrong.



    Quote Originally Posted by Kivam View Post
    Are you assuming that "getting another to give more weight to the claim" is the sole definition of value?
    Or has some kind of effect that will make a difference. I did say "effectively" in the title of this thread.
    Last edited by mican333; August 25th, 2011 at 06:51 AM.

  12. #12
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    Re: Objective morality is effectively useless

    Quote Originally Posted by MICAN
    You have to recognize a moral source outside of humanity to believe in objective morality. If it's just you that thinks something is immoral, then it's just your opinion and therefore subjective.
    Here I was trying to use your idea of "value" and ascribing "moral neutral" as a "value".
    If I can show logically that a thing exists with the moral value of "neutral", then I have shown an objective morality without God.


    Quote Originally Posted by MICAN
    That's fine but my point stands that you cannot prove that this is so.
    I wish you would have put this at the end. Because you seem to contradict yourself in what follows. It appears as though you agree with my conclusion. (which you say here I cannot prove).


    Quote Originally Posted by MICAN
    And therefore it's an objective truth that inherent moral duties do not exist.
    Again, I'm not sure if your making an objection to my #4 and rewording it on purpose.
    Or if your agreeing.
    You are going to have to clarify this (and why) for me to respond further.


    Quote Originally Posted by MICAN
    Basically your whole exercise says that either there are objective morals or there are no objective morals. Either of those two options count as an objective truth about morals.
    Specifically I said they are "objective moral truths".

    I'm not sure if you agree at the end, or you changed the words on purpose.
    If you agree, then I have done what you said could not, and shown that objective moral truths exist.

    It appears that you agree. But I'll wait for clarification before I continue.
    If you do disagree, please don't just insert your wording, support why mine is incorrect.
    I apologize to anyone waiting on a response from me. I am experiencing a time warp, suddenly their are not enough hours in a day. As soon as I find a replacement part to my flux capacitor regulator, time should resume it's normal flow.

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    Re: Objective morality is effectively useless

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Right. Agreeing that people define their own morality does not give me an obligation to agree with their morality, consider it "valid", nor refrain from acting against moral positions I disagree with.
    No - so long as you also agree that they have no obligation to agree with your morality, consider it valid, or refrain from acting against your moral positions.

    No, it doesn't. Acting against another's morals does not contradict the premise that he has the same authority to act against my morals if he chooses.
    Sure. And, again, here is where an objective moralist has an advantage. To someone who says "murder is objectively immoral", it is also wrong for someone who disagrees to attempt to act on that disagreement.

    If I attempt to prevent a killer from killing and he tries to kill me so I can't stop him we are both acting on our own individual authority to uphold our separate morals and I recognize the reality that he has the same authority to uphold his morals as I have to uphold mine and who will prevail in our struggle will be a matter of greater strength, weaponry, fighting skills, etc but not of greater authority for our authority is equal.
    And that is exactly where an objective moralist departs from a subjective moralist. Your authority and the murderers are not equal. Whichever of you are right has the authority; whichever of you is not does not.
    And to head you off in case you are about to go there, this is not a case of "might makes right" either. From my perspective the killer is wrong regardless of the outcome of our fight. If he defeats me, he has been shown to "mightier" than me but he is still morally wrong.
    No, he is not "wrong"; he can no more be "wrong" about morality than he can be about what food he likes. He simply has different moral preferences than you.


    It is merely my opinion. That is what subjective morality is. All moral positions are opinion. And since my "taste" is that murder should be prevented, I may act on that "taste". There is nothing inherent in subjective morality that prevents this.
    As long as you concede that anyone can act on any taste - that "child rape is good" is as valid a "moral taste" as "child rape is bad" - that's absolutely right.

    And, again, this is where a claim to objective morality has an advantage; an objective moralist need not concede that "child rape is good" is a valid moral taste. Or, to put it another way: an objective moralist need not hold morally repugnant views.


    And when it is my opinion that someone holds an immoral viewpoint, I am under no obligation to consider it equal to mine. My opinion that it is "bad" means that it is my opinion that it's not a good a viewpoint as mine.
    It is equal in authority and equal in persuasive force. Your opinion that it is "bad" does not mean that it's "not as good a viewpoint", since you have no standard by which to judge good and bad. All you can say is that it does not appeal to you. Of course, if you redefine "good" and "right" to simply mean "appealing to me", and "bad" and "wrong" to mean "not appealing to me", then you can say "it's good" or "it is wrong". But in that case, moral discourse is a meaningless enterprise; what is or is not appealing to you has no persuasive force. You can no more debate morality than you can debate what food one ought to like. Halibut tastes good to you? Wonderful - but I don't like it, and the fact that it tastes good to you isn't a persuasive argument for why I should.

    (nb: I don't actually have strong feelings about halibut one way or the other )

    Again, an advantage of an objective moralist.

    I never conceded that. I feel that my position against murder is morally right and those who believe that murder is alright are morally wrong.
    Sure, if you redefine "morally right" as "appealing to Mican" and "morally wrong" as "unappealing to Mican". But that's not an argument so much as a tautology: "I like what I like, and I don't like what I don't like." It also strips the comment "that's immoral" of any condemnatory meaning beyond "I don't like that"
    Ah, well - apparently my kids were too distracting to stay as a sig. I take that as a compliment

  14. #14
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    Re: Objective morality is effectively useless

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Let me start with some premises.

    1. God, or some kind of higher moral authority, is necessary for objective morality to exist.

    2. It has not been proven that God exists. For those who currently do not believe in God, there is no particular reason why they should change their mind on the issue.

    3. Therefore it's likewise not been proven that objective morality exists and for those who don't already believe in it, there is no particular reason why they should.

    Therefore if a person claims that a certain moral position is objectively true, there is no way for that person to prove that it is so it effectively is no more valid than any other moral claim, whether it is claimed to objectively true or admittedly subjective, so the claim of moral objectivity, even if it happens to be correct, effectively adds nothing to the claim and therefore is effectively useless.
    1. Check
    2. Check

    3. There is an objective morality for those who agree on the basis for that morality. For those who do not recognize the authority, then of course they don't recognize it as objective. This is self-evident, is it not?

    Atheists have long refused to follow the morality of religions x, y or z. And those of religions x and y refuse to follow the morality of religion z, etc.

    So, what is there to debate? If you are saying that all morality is subjective, yes, I agree. But again, it may be objective within a group agreeing on the authority for the morality.

    But none of that makes "objective reality" useless, unless you're an atheist, of course. It is very usefull within groups that recognize a common authority. The real problem is diversity.
    Last edited by evensaul; August 25th, 2011 at 06:48 PM.
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    Re: Objective morality is effectively useless

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Let me start with some premises.

    1. God, or some kind of higher moral authority, is necessary for objective morality to exist.

    2. It has not been proven that God exists. For those who currently do not believe in God, there is no particular reason why they should change their mind on the issue.

    3. Therefore it's likewise not been proven that objective morality exists and for those who don't already believe in it, there is no particular reason why they should.

    Therefore if a person claims that a certain moral position is objectively true, there is no way for that person to prove that it is so it effectively is no more valid than any other moral claim, whether it is claimed to objectively true or admittedly subjective, so the claim of moral objectivity, even if it happens to be correct, effectively adds nothing to the claim and therefore is effectively useless.
    The logic's wrong on this.

    [1] means "Objective morality exists ==> God exists". "P is necessary for Q" means "never Q without P", i.e. "Q ==> P".
    [2] means "We don't know God exists." I.e., we don't know P.
    [3] means "We don't know objective morality exists." I.e., we don't know Q.

    But suppose we did know that God exists. We cannot conclude from Q ==> P, together with P, that Q must follow. This is the fallacy of affirming the consequent.
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
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    Re: Objective morality is effectively useless

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    The logic's wrong on this.

    [1] means "Objective morality exists ==> God exists". "P is necessary for Q" means "never Q without P", i.e. "Q ==> P".
    [2] means "We don't know God exists." I.e., we don't know P.
    [3] means "We don't know objective morality exists." I.e., we don't know Q.

    But suppose we did know that God exists. We cannot conclude from Q ==> P, together with P, that Q must follow. This is the fallacy of affirming the consequent.
    I think he meant (1) to say "If God exists, then objective morality exists", rather than "If objective morality exists, then God exists". I say this because if he meant the latter, than (1) is simply false, at least in my view. It is, after all, logically possible that the physical laws of the universe could ground an objective morality, and indeed historically we've seen an attempt (in Nazi Germany) to construct a morality based, at least in horrific part, on the perceived laws of Nature. All that is absolutely required for an objective morality is a source for it that is beyond the reach of man to modify, not only in fact, but in principle. Clearly man has always had the capacity to manipulate the laws of Nature, but he can't change them or add or subtract from them.

    ---------- Post added at 02:05 AM ---------- Previous post was at 01:00 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    No, you got it right.

    If one claiming that their moral position is objective doesn't add value to their position, then calling their viewpoint "objective" is useless.

    Let's say you regularly wear green socks and I came up to you and claimed that it's an objective moral truth that you should not wear green socks on Tuesday.

    Would that claim make you less likely to wear your green socks on a Tuesday anymore than if I said that it's my opinion that it's immoral for you to wear green socks on Tuesday?

    If the objective and subjective claim is effectively equal as far as influencing your actions, then the objective moral statement is no better than the subjective moral statement.
    You're missing the point entirely. What you're saying is that objective and subjective moralities are both pointless, right? But that's wrong. Only subjective morality is pointless, because only subjective morality has no concept for producing an obligation in me to respect what you think is right or wrong. Therefore only subjective morality lacks any potential to restrict corrupt human behavior in any sort of general way. Only when the source of our morality transcends ourselves, or at the very least, when we pretend it does, or act as if we believed it does, can morality be said to be objective, and thus have within it the ability to restrict both yours and my corrupt behavior, and encourgage both yours and my virtuous behavior.

    How about we take an example other than wearing green socks, which I think even you can recognize is an action without any moral significance. Let's take the example where I invade your home and take your TV. According to your moral "code", let's say, you hold my action to be evil, to be wrong, and you charge me with doing something wrong. Well, if morality is subjective, I have no moral obligation to believe you, let's say, because today, the day I invaded your home and took your TV, was the day I changed my subjective moral "code" so that breaking into your house and stealing your TV was a moral act for me. Then what? All we have are competing moral claims with no authority to take the matter to for resolution. All we have is power. If I am the more powerful, then I am the source of morality for you. And if you are the more powerful, then you are my source of morality. But then all this does is sprinkle a sugar-coating over the old law of the jungle, red in tooth and claw, where power over others is the only moral law.

    Now, mican, you can't avoid this on your view of morality. It devolves humanity right back into the trees, cheapens human life in the extreme, makes the acquisition of power over others the single driving force in life, which means that lying, stealing, murder, betrayal, rape are all moral acts so long as they aid in my acquisition of power over you...and everyone else. The sort of morality you want to say is the only morality there is, can only turn a person into the opposite of what normal human beings think of as "good". By definition the morality you're espousing here requires self-obsession; the mental crowning of yourself as god over your universe. The world must revolve around you as you declare from your particular version of Mt Sinai your version of the Ten Commandments, while the word below trembles to receive them. Narcissism, on this morality, becomes the Gospel, the pathological narcissist the Apostle Paul, walking the walk without cowardly wavering; with consistency and conviction. Yet normal human beings understand that the narcissist is sick, mican, that there is something very, very wrong with him; that he's not enlightened morally, but needs help! That's because the normal human being understands that her moral code isn't invented by her, and that thus isn't centered on her, so her moral code, by its structure even if not its content, requires a modicum of concern for others before self in all actions deemed moral; just from the fact she isn't its author! The normal human being understands that selfish behavior is nearly always wrong to one degree or another, and that to live as human beings instead of animals we must restrict the number of demi-gods running around the planet imagining they are the authors of human morality.

    The point is, mican, that for man to rise above the level of animalistic behavior, God must exist; if not in reality, then in the imagination. Human society cannot exist so long as men think they are the sole authors of morality. They must think, even if they are wrong, that there is a transcendent source for the morality by which they live and govern their behavior, and here is the critical point: they must believe in this trandcendent source of morality before there is any possibility of them forming a stable human society. It's not the case that the society comes first, and then the moral code. We can see this principle carefully perserved in just about every holy book ever written. God, however God is seen in a particular "Scripture", never gives his laws directly to a society of humans, but instead uses an single human being to convey it, this doubling the stress on the fact that morality isn't a matter of societal consensus. Societies accept their moralities from some other source; they don't create them.

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    Re: Objective morality is effectively useless

    Quote Originally Posted by cstamford
    I think he meant (1) to say "If God exists, then objective morality exists", rather than "If objective morality exists, then God exists". I say this because if he meant the latter, than (1) is simply false, at least in my view. It is, after all, logically possible that the physical laws of the universe could ground an objective morality, and indeed historically we've seen an attempt (in Nazi Germany) to construct a morality based, at least in horrific part, on the perceived laws of Nature. All that is absolutely required for an objective morality is a source for it that is beyond the reach of man to modify, not only in fact, but in principle. Clearly man has always had the capacity to manipulate the laws of Nature, but he can't change them or add or subtract from them.
    I don't agree with your definition of objective morality--there might be things "beyond the reach of man to modify, not only in fact, but in principle" (what does it mean to modify something "in principle"??), but which still fail to be observer-independent. We can't modify, say, color (we can change what frequency of light is being emitted from certain sources, but we can't change which color we see particular frequencies as), but that doesn't mean that we all see the same color. But I suspect you're right about mican intending to say P ==> Q rather than Q ==> P.
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    Re: Objective morality is effectively useless

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    Here I was trying to use your idea of "value" and ascribing "moral neutral" as a "value".
    If I can show logically that a thing exists with the moral value of "neutral", then I have shown an objective morality without God.
    And that's one huge "IF". As far as I can tell you can't do it.

    You can't show that something is objectively morally neutral without first supporting that objective morality exists.

    And while subjectively, someone can say that something is morally neutral, it is a subjective point of view which, by definition, is not objectively true (or objectively false). It's just opinion.


    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    Again, I'm not sure if your making an objection to my #4 and rewording it on purpose.
    Or if your agreeing.
    You are going to have to clarify this (and why) for me to respond further.
    I said "And therefore it's an objective truth that inherent moral duties do not exist" as a hypothetical position. You said that it's either those duties do exist or they do not exist and I, as a hypothetical to prove a point, chose "they do not exist" for if that is true then it's a fact that objective morality does not exist.

    So ultimately my point is that your exercise failed to prove that objective morality exists for ultimately it says that either objective morals do exist or objective morals do not exist which is hardly support for objective morality actually existing.

    Of if you mean that it shows that objective truth exists, I never said that it didn't. But objective truth existing does not mean that objective morality exists for objective truth existing, again, can mean that it's an objective truth that all morality is opinion.



    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    Specifically I said they are "objective moral truths".
    As in objective truth about the state of morality. Well if it's objectively true that all morality is subjective, then it's an objective moral truth that there is no objective morality.

    So again, establishing that there are objectively true statement about the state of morality is not the same as establishing that any moral judgement is objectively true.

    To put it another way, the statement that it's an objective moral truth that all morals are subjective is not a contradictory statement.

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    Re: Objective morality is effectively useless

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Let's say you regularly wear green socks and I came up to you and claimed that it's an objective moral truth that you should not wear green socks on Tuesday.
    How is this a moral duty vs a personal preference?

    Or are you saying they are one and the same? That morality is really a matter of "taste", like what should go on a pizza, what color car looks the coolest, what genre of film is the most entertaining?
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    Re: Objective morality is effectively useless

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    I don't agree with your definition of objective morality--there might be things "beyond the reach of man to modify, not only in fact, but in principle" (what does it mean to modify something "in principle"??), but which still fail to be observer-independent. We can't modify, say, color (we can change what frequency of light is being emitted from certain sources, but we can't change which color we see particular frequencies as), but that doesn't mean that we all see the same color. But I suspect you're right about mican intending to say P ==> Q rather than Q ==> P.
    I don't see how the fact we don't all apply transcendent moral principles the same in similar situations, or even that we don't all understand them the same in diverse cultures hurts my definition of objective morality. The idea here is that I'm being changed by the light rather than imagining I see a light. And the fact I may be changed a little differently than you are, for example, when we're both exposed to the same light, doesn't so much as suggest the light itself is less than an objective fact in my view. The critical idea here, whether I've expressed it adequately or not is that a moral code is subjective when it is the mental creature of the moral agent, and objective when the moral agent is its creature. It's the difference between being author and reader, inventor and user.

 

 
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