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  1. #1
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    Was it truly immoral to commit mass murder at a school? Moral relativists challenged.

    I'm referring of course, to the recent shooting in Newton, Connecticut where a 20 yr old man entered the school, murdering 26 people (20 children, 6 educators) then committed suicide. He murdered his own mother in her home first, then took her guns and went to the school where she worked part-time as a teacher's aid and began murdering children (ages 5-10) and teachers. http://www.tucsonsentinel.com/nation...nning-down-27/

    Now, it may seem like an odd question, but it is one worth asking IMO as it explores the nature of morality itself.

    Is it truly immoral to commit such an act? Or is it merely relatively immoral? For many of us, we believe it is objectively or universally (truly) immoral. That is, it is immoral independent of what the gunman thought. Simply because the gunman may not have believed it was immoral doesn't actually make it immoral. It's a heinous, immoral act regardless of what he (or anyone else) thinks.

    But for others, this is only relatively immoral. That is, it is only immoral for certain people...but not for others, it just depends on whether or they think they should butcher children or not. If they do, then it's moral for them to do so, if not, then it is simply immoral for them to do so, it's whatever that person "feels" or thinks at the time. There have been a few of those people posting in recent threads how heinous and wrong this tragedy is. I submit that this is an example of objective morality...that is, whether they want to or not, they are acknowledging this is an objectively immoral act. To them, it is never moral for someone to murder his mother in cold blood then drive to the school where she worked and take out that frustration on the children and teachers she cared for...all because of some grievance with his mother.

    I submit that such an event is indeed immoral and is always immoral regardless of who commits the act and what they may believe about the moral value of this act. But I also acknowledge that there are a few people who believe this is not the case at all and instead, under these same exact circumstances, it is not necessarily immoral and in fact, moral. I'd like to hear from these moral relativists and have them defend how this event is in their worldview, a moral act.

    Consider this a challenge to moral relativists.




    *************** EDIT *********************

    I've further defined and clarified some elementary yet necessary ethical concepts for this discussion. Their posts can be found by clicking the below links. I would encourage reading those before participating in this discussion (if you are not well versed in ethics already).


    Moral Subjectivism / Role of Reason

    Proof in Ethics? / Minimum Conception of Morality (defined)
    Last edited by Apokalupsis; December 16th, 2012 at 08:24 AM.
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    Re: Was it truly immoral to commit mass murder at a school? Moral relativists challen

    Truly immoral? I think it is truly immoral. You do. Nearly all humans would. A few nutters may disagree.

    Do rocks find it immoral? No. Does the natural universe judge it immoral? No. Would a Cat think it immoral? No.

    Morality is human, judged by humans. It so happens nearly all humans judge the murder of children as deeply immoral, and I'm glad for it because that is also how I feel about it.

    I don't need some universal omnipotent power to justify my view of morality for me.

    Honestly, no matter how often I explain it moral objectivity don't seem to understand the argument for subjective morality. They think anyone with that view has to nod their head and agree that because some whack job think's murder is art, i have to just accept it. Its not like that. I decide that Mr Art = Murder needs to die and plenty of my fellow human beings agree so we string the bastard up. That is how morality operates in human society. Not everyone agrees, but if enough of us do we enforce our views on others regardless of their moral viewpoint and have no misgivings about doing so.
    Feed me some debate pellets!

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    Re: Was it truly immoral to commit mass murder at a school? Moral relativists challen

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    But for others, this is only relatively immoral. That is, it is only immoral for certain people...but not for others, it just depends on whether or they think they should butcher children or not. If they do, then it's moral for them to do so, if not, then it is simply immoral for them to do so, it's whatever that person "feels" or thinks at the time.
    There is nothing about moral relativism that forces one to hold that killing children is not immoral just because someone else thinks it's moral to kill children.

    Here is a definition of moral relativism via wikipedia

    "Moral relativism may be any of several philosophical positions concerned with the differences in moral judgments across different people and cultures. Descriptive moral relativism holds only that some people do in fact disagree about what is moral; meta-ethical moral relativism holds that in such disagreements, nobody is objectively right or wrong; and normative moral relativism holds that because nobody is right or wrong, we ought to tolerate the behavior of others even when we disagree about the morality of it."

    I personally think that Normative is pretty weird (We ought to tolerate what we consider immoral behavior?) but none of them rob the moral relativist from opining that killing children is indeed wrong. Even Normative means that one must tolerate the behavior of killing children even though they think the action is immoral so they are not to refrain from at least forwarding that the killing of children is immoral.

    And generally when I think of Moral Relativism, I think of the Meta-Ethical variety which means that one can hold that killing children is always wrong and should not be tolerated but they must acknowledge that their opinion is not inherently superior to the opposite opinion. But still, they are free to hold that killing children is ALWAYS wrong but their moral authority does not extend farther than themselves nor does it inherently trump anyone else' moral authority.

    And really, whether objective morality is better than subjective morality or vice-versa is, IMO, entirely dependent on which is correct. If there is indeed a God or some other external moral authority who has determined that it's a moral fact that killing children is always wrong then Objective Morality is better than Moral Relativism because it's correct and the other isn't. If there is no God then Moral Relativism is superior under the same reasoning.

    And since I argue here as an agnostic and I have yet to see anyone prove that God does or does not exist, I likewise have to be agnostic on whether Objective Morality or Subjective Morality is superior to the other. Maybe killing children is objectively immoral or maybe objective immorality doesn't even exist. If it will help keeps things simple, I will argue as if I am a meta-ethical moral relativist from this point (so I can just say "I" and "me")
    Last edited by mican333; December 15th, 2012 at 08:11 AM.

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    Re: Was it truly immoral to commit mass murder at a school? Moral relativists challen

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    Truly immoral? I think it is truly immoral. You do. Nearly all humans would. A few nutters may disagree.
    I clearly defined "truly" by being objective. So no, you do not find it objectively immoral and thus, you cannot claim that it is truly immoral, only arbitrarily immoral.

    Honestly, no matter how often I explain it moral objectivity don't seem to understand the argument for subjective morality.
    That's because you are always wrong and completely misunderstand the nature of morality itself as has been explained in numerous threads.

    They think anyone with that view has to nod their head and agree that because some whack job think's murder is art, i have to just accept it. Its not like that. I decide that Mr Art = Murder needs to die and plenty of my fellow human beings agree so we string the bastard up. That is how morality operates in human society. Not everyone agrees, but if enough of us do we enforce our views on others regardless of their moral viewpoint and have no misgivings about doing so.
    Let's make it simple to illustrate...

    Sig...

    Is this particular act moral for anyone to commit?

    Undoubtedly, you'll answer with "no." That is, it is immoral for anyone to commit. It is immoral regardless of what the person thinks about the act. If it was moral dependent upon the person, then it would be moral for at least some people. Morality prescribes what ought to be, not what is. So if you say that morality is subjective, then you are saying that for some people, they should do it. if you say that this act is immoral for all people, then you are saying that despite what someone may think about the act, it is always immoral.

    ---------- Post added at 08:55 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:44 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    There is nothing about moral relativism that forces one to hold that killing children is not immoral just because someone else thinks it's moral to kill children.

    Here is a definition of moral relativism via wikipedia

    "Moral relativism may be any of several philosophical positions concerned with the differences in moral judgments across different people and cultures. Descriptive moral relativism holds only that some people do in fact disagree about what is moral; meta-ethical moral relativism holds that in such disagreements, nobody is objectively right or wrong; and normative moral relativism holds that because nobody is right or wrong, we ought to tolerate the behavior of others even when we disagree about the morality of it."
    Right. So relative morality says that this act may be moral. Please defend it being moral mican.

    I personally think that Normative is pretty weird (We ought to tolerate what we consider immoral behavior?) but none of them rob the moral relativist from opining that killing children is indeed wrong.
    Right. You may think that it is wrong, but that doesn't mean that it is wrong for another person. If it is wrong for all people, then it is universally wrong. But universal morality is diametrically opposed to subjective morality. You cannot say on one hand that "It is wrong for all people to do" while at on the other say that "What is right and wrong depends on each person's perspective." It's a contradiction.

    So if you maintain that morality is relative, and not universal, you cannot say that this act is wrong for all people. All you can say is that it is wrong for some, but not for others. That is what relative morality is.

    And generally when I think of Moral Relativism, I think of the Meta-Ethical variety which means that one can hold that killing children is always wrong and should not be tolerated but they must acknowledge that their opinion is not inherently superior to the opposite opinion. But still, they are free to hold that killing children is ALWAYS wrong but their moral authority does not extend farther than themselves nor does it inherently trump anyone else' moral authority.
    Then you misunderstand moral relativity. "Authority" has no relevance here. Objective (universal) morality and relative morality are differentiated not between authority or exercise there of, or imposition of values, but the nature of values itself.

    Universality (objectivists) maintain that an immoral act independent of the person's thoughts on the matter. That is, murdering 20 children is immoral, always, and just because the murderer thought otherwise doesn't make it so. Relativists on the other hand cannot claim that. Their position (and this is why I maintain that both you and Sig need a refresher in your ethics class) is that this act may be immoral to some, but not to others...the value (moral or immoral) simply depend upon the person. The relativist claims "Murder is wrong for me, but it may not be wrong for someone else."

    Both of you maintain that murder (such as our example with the children) is always wrong. And that makes you universalist. The overwhelming vast majority of people in the world are universalists. Very few are actual relativists.

    And really, whether objective morality is better than subjective morality or vice-versa is, IMO, entirely dependent on which is correct.
    No one said anything about one being "better" than other. It isn't a team that is selected and chosen to guide the player through life. It is the very nature of morality itself.

    Either a particular act is immoral for all people, or it is immoral for some and moral for others.

    If there is indeed a God or some other external moral authority who has determined that it's a moral fact that killing children is always wrong then Objective Morality is better than Moral Relativism because it's correct and the other isn't. If there is no God then Moral Relativism is superior under the same reasoning.
    This has nothing to do with God. Sam Harris, one of the New Atheists argues for objective morality and offers a defense without appealing to God. I think he is incorrect of course, but objective moralists does not equate to believing that God is the source.
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    Re: Was it truly immoral to commit mass murder at a school? Moral relativists challen

    This idea that moral relativism means that people can do whatever they want as long as the individual believes it is moral is a myth. Moral relativists rarely make this claim. Moral relativism almost always involves standards other than the beliefs of the individual.

    Apok, let me ask you some questions about how you obtain your definition of objective morality.

    1.) Do you believe, as many objective moralists do, that the basis of your objective morality comes from God?
    2.) If your morality is derived from God, does God have to have reasons for why he judges certain actions to be moral, or can he simply define an action or behavior as moral or immoral and it is so?
    ~Zealous

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    Re: Was it truly immoral to commit mass murder at a school? Moral relativists challen

    Quote Originally Posted by ZealousDemon View Post
    This idea that moral relativism means that people can do whatever they want as long as the individual believes it is moral is a myth. Moral relativists rarely make this claim. Moral relativism almost always involves standards other than the beliefs of the individual.

    Apok, let me ask you some questions about how you obtain your definition of objective morality.

    1.) Do you believe, as many objective moralists do, that the basis of your objective morality comes from God?
    2.) If your morality is derived from God, does God have to have reasons for why he judges certain actions to be moral, or can he simply define an action or behavior as moral or immoral and it is so?
    None of this is relevant to the nature of morality. You are confusing moral ontology with moral epistemology. And one does not need to be a theist to believe that morality is objective, just ask Sam Harris. Please stick to the topic of this thread (it isn't about God, it is about the nature of morality). If you wish to discuss a topic such as God, then please start a new thread.
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    Re: Was it truly immoral to commit mass murder at a school? Moral relativists challen

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    None of this is relevant to the nature of morality.
    Oh, it doesn't? So I guess you don't base your morality on God?

    Then what do you base your objective morality on? What is the basis for objective morality, if not God?
    ~Zealous

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    Re: Was it truly immoral to commit mass murder at a school? Moral relativists challen

    So what do you call someone who holds that morality is nothing other than human opinion and that no individual's moral viewpoint is inherently superior to another's moral viewpoint, even when it comes to murder?

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    Re: Was it truly immoral to commit mass murder at a school? Moral relativists challen

    This is the question that causes moral relativists to continually miss the OBJECT of the question.
    When asked if something is wrong, they will say. "I hold that it is wrong".
    When asked if it wrong for someone else they say "I hold that it is wrong for anyone, but not everyone believes that".
    When asked if it is "truly wrong for everyone", they will say "I truly do hold that it is wrong for everyone, but some do not".

    Here the questions seek to address the belief. While the answers seek to address the person. This is always keyed off by the assumed or stated "I think" or "I hold".
    Which in the case of the moral relativists is intended to define the subjects as himself and not the idea.



    So here, Apok is trying to convey that it is the IDEA that "no one should do X". Is it true or not.
    Perception dependent statements will never be a valid answer for this question.

    So man up, answer the challenge and don't try to change it because you know your answer is absolutely horrible.



    ----- I'll say it for you ----

    There is nothing about killing children itself that is good or bad, or moral or immoral.
    Apok, you and many others are angered by the event because evolution has breed in us to protect children. If there were evolutionary pressures to kill children, then we would not have been angered at this, and may even have seen the man as a Hero. Morality is purely a "perception" event. We perceive that what he did was not what we want, and we call those things "wrong".

    So the direct answer is No, it is not 'truly" immoral. I just don't like that kind of behavior and want to stop it.
    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: Was it truly immoral to commit mass murder at a school? Moral relativists challen

    Let's define some terms here (since it would seem that not everyone is completely familiar with them). Below are the various positions and their respective basic explanation, which are taken directly from a university level ethics course and textbook (Elements of Moral Philosophy, James Rachels). I'll address Moral Subjectivism first.



    Moral Subjectivism - People have different opinions, but where morality is concerned, there are no "facts," and no one is "right." People just feel differently, and that's all there is to it. For example, it is a fact that Nazis exterminated millions of innocent people, but according to Ethical Subjectivism, it is not a fact that what they did was evil. When we say that their actions were evil, we are only saying that we have negative feelings toward them. The same applies to any moral judgment whatever. This is a descriptive form of the theory.

    When a person says that something is morally good or bad, this means that he or she approves of that thing, or disapproves of it, and nothing more. In other words:

    X is morally acceptable.
    X is right.
    all mean: "I (the speaker)
    X is good.
    approve of X."
    X ought to be done.


    And similarly:
    X is morally unacceptable
    X is wrong.
    all mean: "I (the speaker)
    X is bad.
    disapprove of X."
    X ought not to be done.

    Subjectivism implies that we are always right. Yet we are sometimes wrong in our moral evaluations. And if Subjectivism were correct, this would be impossible. Take those who argue that homosexuality is immoral. According to Subjectivism they are merely saying that they disapprove of homosexuality. Of course, they may be insincere when making that argument about homosexuality, but as long as they were sincere, then what he said was true. So long as someone is honestly representing their own feelings, their moral judgments will always be correct. But this contradicts the plain fact that we sometimes make mistakes. Therefore, Subjectivism cannot be correct. It is a flawed theory, it cannot be maintained.

    Of course, there is a 'cousin' to this sort of Subjectivism, it is called Emotivism. This is the prescriptive form of Subjectivism. It is used as a means of influencing people's behavior. If someone says "You shouldn't do that!" they are trying to persuade you to not do it. Thus, the utterance is more like a command than statement of fact; "You shouldn't do that!" is like saying "Don't do that!" So when people say "Homosexuality is immoral," emotivists interpret this utterance as equivalent to something like "Homosexuality--gross!" or "Don't be gay."

    The difference between actual Subjectivism and Emotivism may seem trivial, but there is a distinct difference. Where it falls short is again, the implication that our moral judgements are in a sense, beyond reproach For Subjectivism, our judgments cannot be criticized because they will always be true. For Emotivism, our moral judgments cannot be criticized because they are not judgements at all; they are mere expressions of attitude, which cannot be false. In addition, Emotivism cannot explain the role reason plays in ethics.

    The Role of Reason

    This brings us to another crucial point...the role of reason in ethics. If someone says "I like peaches," they do not need to have a reason, they may be making a statement about their personal taste and nothing more. But moral judgments are different If someone tells you that particular act would be wrong, you may ask why, and if there is no satisfactory answer, then you may reject that advice as unfounded. A moral judgment -- or for that matter, any kind of value judgement -- must be supported by good reasons. Any adequate theory of ethics should be able to explain how reasons can support moral judgments.

    Neither Subjectivism nor Emotivism can do such a thing. A fundamental mistake that many people unfamiliar with ethics (or who lack a formal study in it) is to assume just 2 possibilities:

    1) There are moral facts, in the same way that there are planets and trees and spoons.
    2) Our values are nothing more than the expression of our subjective feelings.

    The mistake is overlooking a 3rd possibility. People have not only feelings but reason, and that makes a big difference. It may be that:

    3) Moral truths are truths of reason; that is, a moral judgment is true if it is backed by better reasons than the alternatives.

    In this sense, moral truths are objective in the sene that they are true independent of what we might want or think. We cannot make something good or bad just by wishing it so, because we cannot will that the weight of reason be on its side or against it. And this also explains our fallibility. We fan be wrong about what is good or bad because we can be wrong about what reason recommends. Reason says what it says, regardless of our opinions or desires.

    See this post for further clarification on necessary concepts and terms:

    Proof in Ethics? / Minimum Conception of Morality (defined)

    ---------- Post added at 10:19 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:19 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by ZealousDemon View Post
    Oh, it doesn't? So I guess you don't base your morality on God?

    Then what do you base your objective morality on? What is the basis for objective morality, if not God?
    You are confusing moral ontology with moral epistemology. And one does not need to be a theist to believe that morality is objective, just ask Sam Harris. Please stick to the topic of this thread (it isn't about God, it is about the nature of morality). If you wish to discuss a topic such as God, then please start a new thread.
    Last edited by Apokalupsis; December 15th, 2012 at 07:20 PM.
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    Re: Was it truly immoral to commit mass murder at a school? Moral relativists challen

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    You are confusing moral ontology with moral epistemology. And one does not need to be a theist to believe that morality is objective, just ask Sam Harris. Please stick to the topic of this thread (it isn't about God, it is about the nature of morality). If you wish to discuss a topic such as God, then please start a new thread.
    How is establishing a basis for where an objective moral standard comes from NOT a question about the nature of morality?

    I recognize that one need not be a theist to claim that one believes in moral objectivity. But moral objectivity requires an objective standard.

    I am trying to distinguish between objective morality and your definition of moral relativism. If the individual can define his or her own objective standard upon which morality is based, than this is no different from moral relativism. To be distinguished from moral relativism, this objective standard would have to originate from a source independent of the thoughts and feelings of the individual.

    So I ask you. Where does this objective standard come from?
    ~Zealous

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    Re: Was it truly immoral to commit mass murder at a school? Moral relativists challen

    Quote Originally Posted by ZealousDemon View Post
    How is establishing a basis for where an objective moral standard comes from NOT a question about the nature of morality?
    WHERE it comes from is an issue of origins. It is an issue not OF its nature, or WHAT IS (ontology), but rather HOW we know (epistemology). We can make evaluations on the nature of something without knowing particular values or attributes.

    I recognize that one need not be a theist to claim that one believes in moral objectivity. But moral objectivity requires an objective standard.
    Standards address epistemic considerations of values.

    I am trying to distinguish between objective morality and your definition of moral relativism. If the individual can define his or her own objective standard upon which morality is based, than this is no different from moral relativism.
    This is irrelevant. It matters not where an objective standard comes from. If morality is objective it merely means that the value of the act is independently good or bad of what the person thinks of it. See my previous post (re: Subjectivism defined).

    To be distinguished from moral relativism, this objective standard would have to originate from a source independent of the thoughts and feelings of the individual.
    No, to be distinguished from moral relativism, moral objectivism says "Instead of the subjective opinion offered, reason is employed and it cannot be wished away by the mind (like Subjectivism)."
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    Re: Was it truly immoral to commit mass murder at a school? Moral relativists challen

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Moral Subjectivism - People have different opinions, but where morality is concerned, there are no "facts," and no one is "right." People just feel differently, and that's all there is to it. For example, it is a fact that Nazis exterminated millions of innocent people, but according to Ethical Subjectivism, it is not a fact that what they did was evil.
    Correct. It can be one's opinion that they were evil but it's not a fact that they were evil.

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    Subjectivism implies that we are always right.
    I believe that is a contradiction. I am not factually right in believing that the Nazis were doing something evil and therefore I not always right. In fact, I am never factually right nor wrong. I just feel what I feel on a subject.




    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    1) There are moral facts, in the same way that there are planets and trees and spoons.
    2) Our values are nothing more than the expression of our subjective feelings.

    The mistake is overlooking a 3rd possibility. People have not only feelings but reason, and that makes a big difference. It may be that:

    3) Moral truths are truths of reason; that is, a moral judgment is true if it is backed by better reasons than the alternatives.

    In this sense, moral truths are objective in the sene that they are true independent of what we might want or think. We cannot make something good or bad just by wishing it so, because we cannot will that the weight of reason be on its side or against it. And this also explains our fallibility. We fan be wrong about what is good or bad because we can be wrong about what reason recommends. Reason says what it says, regardless of our opinions or desires.
    I don't understand.

    Let's take the moral position "killing is wrong" as an example. Show me how to get there via #3.
    Last edited by mican333; December 15th, 2012 at 11:28 AM.

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    Re: Was it truly immoral to commit mass murder at a school? Moral relativists challen

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    I clearly defined "truly" by being objective. So no, you do not find it objectively immoral and thus, you cannot claim that it is truly immoral, only arbitrarily immoral.
    No, not arbitrary. That would mean I don't have any reason for having that view. I have all manner of reasons from the purely rational to the purely emotional. I just can't say that either my thoughts or feelings are universally objective. You could call it humility that I don't see my own views as ruling the entire universe.

    That's because you are always wrong and completely misunderstand the nature of morality itself as has been explained in numerous threads.
    Hardly. The morality I describe is the morality we live with. Your's is a fantasy where in human attitudes are universal constants like the speed of light. Human morality is a human invention and therefore by definition it is subjective. There is no one true view. There is only the view held by each and every human being. But that does not mean such views are arbitrary.

    Let's make it simple to illustrate...
    Is this particular act moral for anyone to commit?
    By my judgement it is not.

    Undoubtedly, you'll answer with "no." That is, it is immoral for anyone to commit. It is immoral regardless of what the person thinks about the act. If it was moral dependent upon the person, then it would be moral for at least some people. Morality prescribes what ought to be, not what is. So if you say that morality is subjective, then you are saying that for some people, they should do it. if you say that this act is immoral for all people, then you are saying that despite what someone may think about the act, it is always immoral.
    I prescribe what ought to be, but that does not make something objective. Just because I have standards does not mean those standards are objective. If they were objective they could be decided without any human involvement, like judging a rock has weight. That is an objective statement. We have every reason to think that no matter what we feel or decide about rocks, they have weight. Being morally wrong however is about a human judgement and without other humans moral or immoral actions are meaningless. We make morality and each of us makes it in his own image. The fact that many of us feel and think similarly does not make it objective, only common.

    Can you tell me why anything other than a man's opinion and thought says murder is wrong?
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  18. #15
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    Re: Was it truly immoral to commit mass murder at a school? Moral relativists challen

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    This is irrelevant. It matters not where an objective standard comes from. If morality is objective it merely means that the value of the act is independently good or bad of what the person thinks of it.
    But if the objective standard comes from what the person thinks, isn't this moral relativism as you defined it?

    Imagine if I claimed to be a moral objectivist, I might define some sort of objective standard upon which the acts of another person may be judged. Let's say I created an objective moral standard that stated that the color blue was evil. And then I criticized you because you happened to wear a blue shirt today. That means you are violating an objective moral standard based upon what I think of the act.

    The only thing being distinguished is who is doing the thinking and judging. This still seems to be relative. You said that the gunman (I refuse to state his name) committed a heinous and immoral action regardless of what he OR ANYBODY ELSE thinks. If people are free to define their own objective standards, wouldn't this be a contradiction? You claimed that objective morality cannot be based upon the thoughts or feelings of anyone. Therefore, it DOES matter where the objective standard comes from.
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    Re: Was it truly immoral to commit mass murder at a school? Moral relativists challen

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    This is the question that causes moral relativists to continually miss the OBJECT of the question.
    When asked if something is wrong, they will say. "I hold that it is wrong".
    When asked if it wrong for someone else they say "I hold that it is wrong for anyone, but not everyone believes that".
    When asked if it is "truly wrong for everyone", they will say "I truly do hold that it is wrong for everyone, but some do not".
    And all that is accurate.

    Here the questions seek to address the belief. While the answers seek to address the person. This is always keyed off by the assumed or stated "I think" or "I hold".
    Which in the case of the moral relativists is intended to define the subjects as himself and not the idea.
    And you think that ideas exist independently of people? Where are the ideas when they are not in our heads then? I don't see any evidence that ideas exist independent of our brains. Morality exists in our minds so our thoughts are the proper subject of the examination. Morality is human, it depends and is defined by human thought. You won't find it in rocks or bugs or stars or rivers, only in humans and only by virtue of our minds.

    So here, Apok is trying to convey that it is the IDEA that "no one should do X". Is it true or not.
    Perception dependent statements will never be a valid answer for this question.
    Perception dependent statements are the only way to address the question. If you somewhere have the universal moral laws of the universe let me know. Until then morality is a discussion of human thought and belief which by definition is subjective, aka dependent upon the perception of human beings.

    So man up, answer the challenge and don't try to change it because you know your answer is absolutely horrible.
    Man up and show me proof of an objective moral idea that has not dependence on human thought instead of trying to castigate the views of others as unreasonable just because they aren't pretending that human emotion rules the universe.
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    Re: Was it truly immoral to commit mass murder at a school? Moral relativists challen

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigfried View Post
    Morality exists in our minds so our thoughts are the proper subject of the examination.
    I would argue that morality exist in our consciousness. And so far, science can’t define that.

    Morality is human, it depends and is defined by human thought.
    How can you support that? How do we know with certainty that morality, our sense of right/wrong, doesn’t exist outside of the human physical framework?
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    Re: Was it truly immoral to commit mass murder at a school? Moral relativists challen

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    And all that is accurate
    Accurate in that, that is the exchange.

    However, they are not answers to what the questions are asking.

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    and you think that ideas exist independently of people? Where are the ideas when they are not in our heads then? I don't see any evidence that ideas exist independent of our brains. Morality exists in our minds so our thoughts are the proper subject of the examination. Morality is human, it depends and is defined by human thought. You won't find it in rocks or bugs or stars or rivers, only in humans and only by virtue of our minds.
    Ideas can be reflections of what exists as true apart from us.
    2+2=4 is always going to be true. We DISCOVER it's truth, not invent it. Yet it is an idea.

    As Apok has pointed out "where it exists" is irrelevant to this thread. That it exists, is what is being discussed.

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    Perception dependent statements are the only way to address the question. If you somewhere have the universal moral laws of the universe let me know. Until then morality is a discussion of human thought and belief which by definition is subjective, aka dependent upon the perception of human beings.
    If I ask "is the ball blue" and you say "I think it is blue"
    You are not answering the question. I didn't ask what you "think" or what you "perceive" I want to know if the ball is blue. Now, your answer of what color it absolutely is, is probably going to be born of your perception. That is not a valid reason to confuse the two statements.

    If you take your perception to be "defining" then the answer is "it isn't any particular color".
    So to translate that, the answer to the question is "It isn't evil in itself to murder children".

    That is your position, your "perception" is another thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by SIG
    Man up and show me proof of an objective moral idea that has not dependence on human thought instead of trying to castigate the views of others as unreasonable just because they aren't pretending that human emotion rules the universe.
    I think you have misunderstood the challenge. The challenge is to answer the question and not dance around it in an effort to avoid castigation.

    I take your demand to mean that you do not hold that it is inherently evil for people to murder children, but you do not like it and wish for it not to happen.
    If you wish for me to prove that it is not simply my opinion that children should not be murdered en-mass, then you are shifting the burden and point of this thread.
    IE dancing around the issue. If the above is your position, stand by it and answer the challenge.
    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: Was it truly immoral to commit mass murder at a school? Moral relativists challen

    Quote Originally Posted by eye4magic View Post
    I would argue that morality exist in our consciousness. And so far, science can’t define that.
    Science can define it, but it can't prove exactly how it works. Science takes time.

    But we agree that morality is of the mind, the human mind. Where we part I think is you would say mind is universal somehow, the underlying truth if you will. I would argue that mind is a product of the natural world and the truth of morality doesn't extend beyond the context of our minds.

    How can you support that? How do we know with certainty that morality, our sense of right/wrong, doesn’t exist outside of the human physical framework?
    We have no evidence it does nor any pattern to follow which would suggest it does. I know for a fact that human beings practice morality. I know for a fact that human beings invent moral systems. I even allow that other high brain function social animals exhibit their own moral codes although they are much simpler than ours. But, what I have never seen evidence of is any moral code that exists outside the bounds of a social living creature.

    While I acknowledge moral objectivity is possible, I don't see any evidence of it.
    You do not argue moral subjectivity impossible (I assume), and I have lots of evidence demonstrating it in action.

    Which position is stronger when both are possible? I would say the one with lots of evidence is stronger than the one with no evidence.
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    Re: Was it truly immoral to commit mass murder at a school? Moral relativists challen

    Quote Originally Posted by Apokalupsis View Post
    I'm referring of course, to the recent shooting in Newton, Connecticut where a 20 yr old man entered the school, murdering 26 people (20 children, 6 educators) then committed suicide. He murdered his own mother in her home first, then took her guns and went to the school where she worked part-time as a teacher's aid and began murdering children (ages 5-10) and teachers. http://www.tucsonsentinel.com/nation...nning-down-27/

    Now, it may seem like an odd question, but it is one worth asking IMO as it explores the nature of morality itself.

    Is it truly immoral to commit such an act? Or is it merely relatively immoral? For many of us, we believe it is objectively or universally (truly) immoral. That is, it is immoral independent of what the gunman thought. Simply because the gunman may not have believed it was immoral doesn't actually make it immoral. It's a heinous, immoral act regardless of what he (or anyone else) thinks.

    But for others, this is only relatively immoral. That is, it is only immoral for certain people...but not for others, it just depends on whether or they think they should butcher children or not. If they do, then it's moral for them to do so, if not, then it is simply immoral for them to do so, it's whatever that person "feels" or thinks at the time. There have been a few of those people posting in recent threads how heinous and wrong this tragedy is. I submit that this is an example of objective morality...that is, whether they want to or not, they are acknowledging this is an objectively immoral act. To them, it is never moral for someone to murder his mother in cold blood then drive to the school where she worked and take out that frustration on the children and teachers she cared for...all because of some grievance with his mother.

    I submit that such an event is indeed immoral and is always immoral regardless of who commits the act and what they may believe about the moral value of this act. But I also acknowledge that there are a few people who believe this is not the case at all and instead, under these same exact circumstances, it is not necessarily immoral and in fact, moral. I'd like to hear from these moral relativists and have them defend how this event is in their worldview, a moral act.

    Consider this a challenge to moral relativists.
    While I believe that all of existance is relative and therefore subjective, I do beleive that the only immoral thing the shooter did was not ask permission.

    Morality is irrelevant. People deserve a say in their destiny.
    Last edited by Apokalupsis; December 16th, 2012 at 08:24 AM.

 

 
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