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  1. #21
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    Re: Objective morality vs. subjective morality

    Quote Originally Posted by DevilPup John View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong, and I could be, but wouldn't the burden of proof fall on those who claim God, and his objective morality exist?
    The burden falls on whoever makes the claim. So if one claims that God exists, they have the burden to prove it. If one claims that God does not exist, they have the burden to prove it. If no one makes a claim either way, then no one has any burden to prove anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by DevilPup John View Post
    Since it can't be proven I suppose I can accept that it's possible; and while I tend to agree with your stance on the existence of God, I can't support it. Therefore I can't argue for any objective morality; since the only morality I can prove a true "base" for his subjective and mortal.
    Okay. But IF God exists, then morality is objective and if morality is objective, then all of those who hold that morality is subjective is wrong. If we put the odds of God existing at 50% (in other words hold both claims as equally likely until one provides evidence to show that one is more likely), then the odds of subjective morality being superior to objective morality (and vice versa) is 50/50.

    So the OP's position is that we don't know which is superior.

  2. #22
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    Re: Objective morality vs. subjective morality

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    So the OP's position is that we don't know which is superior.
    I think the agnostic position is a fair one to take, but I also believe we can say at least something about the quality of one system over another, albeit not in the purely objective sense. I think the argument in my last post can suggest that, perhaps, at least one form of objective morality is inferior to the sort of subjective moral system I touched on in this post.

    If we have a subjective system that attempts to establish a rational ontology which provides good reasons to assess actions as moral, immoral, or amoral, then this is superior to the sort of "objective" system where God's moral value assignments are arbitrary. I don't know that it's superior to an objective system where God has good reasons for his moral value assignments, but I think it's superior to one that allows for rape to be immoral one moment, but moral in the next.

    Of course, this does beg the question of what we mean by "superior", but if by that we mean a system of morality that provides reliable, sensible results, then I think we do have some insight as to what sort of system might be better than another.

  3. #23
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    Re: Objective morality vs. subjective morality

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    I don't know that it's superior to an objective system where God has good reasons for his moral value assignments
    I think it's safe to say that any moral system based on the objective morality of a deity will always be inferior to a moral system based on the objective moral evaluations of the society employing the system, if only for the simple reason (there are many) that we have no infallible source of any deity's morality. This is exactly what we see in the world with all moral "systems" based on theism (they're not actually systems). Whatever is claimed as objective morality is subject to fallible interpretation of what is claimed to be a deity's moral guidance, which makes it ultimately subjective. And that doesn't even begin to touch on the issue they have with actually demonstrating that the source of their objective morality exists.

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  5. #24
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    Re: Objective morality vs. subjective morality

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    I think it's safe to say that any moral system based on the objective morality of a deity will always be inferior to a moral system based on the objective moral evaluations of the society employing the system...
    Yeah, I completely agree. This comment is the result of maintaining a reserved tone throughout the post. Of course an unbiased set of correct rules will always be superior to a biased set of sometimes incorrect rules.

  6. #25
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    Re: Objective morality vs. subjective morality

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    So I guess we're sticking to the definitions outlined in the opening post.

    I really don't see what there is to debate, here. Basically we're being challenged to determine if a hypothetical perfect, transcendent set of information (objective moral standards) is superior or inferior to an imperfect, biased set of information (subjective moral standards).

    If words like "perfect" and "superior" have any meaning whatsoever, then obviously the hypothetical perfect, transcendent set of information is superior to the imperfect, biased set of information.

    Doesn't that pretty much settle the issue?
    If objective morality as defined in the OP is correct, I don't see how one can argue that it's not superior to subjective morality.

    But that doesn't necessarily mean that if the opposite is true, subjective morality is inherently superior to objective morality. In fact, MT is pretty much arguing that subjective morality is inherently flawed even if there is no objective source of morality. I don't agree with his argument, but it is coherent.

  7. #26
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    Re: Objective morality vs. subjective morality

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Yeah, I completely agree. This comment is the result of maintaining a reserved tone throughout the post. Of course an unbiased set of correct rules will always be superior to a biased set of sometimes incorrect rules.
    If we are to determine which is superior, we need to consider the moral systems themselves, and not just the set of rules they espouse.
    For example, as I mentioned earlier, moral systems based on theism are not actually systems at all, since they have no method of change or improvement/correction. Essentially, they are nothing more than a collection of moral pronouncements which are claimed to be divinely-inspired.
    So even if sufficient justification could be provided for why we should even accept the claims - no easy task, we still have to deal with the fact that the moral pronouncements themselves suck, and can't be changed (eg: religious texts which mandate slavery).
    Secular moral systems, on the other hand, have the ability to be improved upon as we learn more and get better at getting better. This alone makes them superior.

    As you mentioned in Post #22, we should also consider how we define and measure "superior" when it comes to moral systems.So far it looks like we have:
    1. provides reliable, sensible results (from your post)
    2. has the ability to improve (as above)

    I'd like to expand on #1 thus:
    - is aligned with achieving the moral/ethical goals of the society employing it, and does so reliably
    It's basically what you already offered, but I think it's important to address the goals we have as a society and how meeting those goals is a requirement for any moral system which we employ.

    Of course, this is moving away from the original objective/subjective OP, but as I mentioned early on, I don't think it's very useful.
    As long as we clearly define and agree on what our goals and values are, then the moral evaluations we make of any situation or action are objective with respect to those goals and values.

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  9. #27
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    Re: Objective morality vs. subjective morality

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    I think it's safe to say that any moral system based on the objective morality of a deity will always be inferior to a moral system based on the objective moral evaluations of the society employing the system, if only for the simple reason (there are many) that we have no infallible source of any deity's morality. This is exactly what we see in the world with all moral "systems" based on theism (they're not actually systems). Whatever is claimed as objective morality is subject to fallible interpretation of what is claimed to be a deity's moral guidance, which makes it ultimately subjective. And that doesn't even begin to touch on the issue they have with actually demonstrating that the source of their objective morality exists.
    But nonetheless, if there is an objective source of morality, to the extent that theists say that there is such a source who has determined that certain things are objectively morally correct, they are correct and those who say that morality is just a product of the human mind are incorrect.

    Of course you can point to all kinds of flaws in these person's beliefs (like they can't prove that they are right) but that doesn't change the fact that they are more correct than those who hold the opposing viewpoint and therefore their viewpoint is superior.

    ---------- Post added at 11:51 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:37 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    If we are to determine which is superior, we need to consider the moral systems themselves, and not just the set of rules they espouse.
    For example, as I mentioned earlier, moral systems based on theism are not actually systems at all, since they have no method of change or improvement/correction. Essentially, they are nothing more than a collection of moral pronouncements which are claimed to be divinely-inspired.
    So even if sufficient justification could be provided for why we should even accept the claims - no easy task, we still have to deal with the fact that the moral pronouncements themselves suck, and can't be changed (eg: religious texts which mandate slavery).
    Secular moral systems, on the other hand, have the ability to be improved upon as we learn more and get better at getting better. This alone makes them superior.
    But if there is an objective morality, the only way that subjective moral systems can improve is to better align itself with this morality.

    In other words, if there is a God who has laid out, say, ten moral rules, the only way to improve the current moral system is to do a better job at abiding by those ten rules. If it so happens that religions are better following these rules than secular moral systems, then the religious systems are superior. The fact that the religious systems have not perfectly forwarded the rules (due to human error) and can't find a way to convince those who don't agree that they are correct doesn't really matter as long as they do a better job of following the correct moral edicts than secular moral systems.



    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    As you mentioned in Post #22, we should also consider how we define and measure "superior" when it comes to moral systems.So far it looks like we have:
    1. provides reliable, sensible results (from your post)
    2. has the ability to improve (as above)

    I'd like to expand on #1 thus:
    - is aligned with achieving the moral/ethical goals of the society employing it, and does so reliably
    It's basically what you already offered, but I think it's important to address the goals we have as a society and how meeting those goals is a requirement for any moral system which we employ.

    Of course, this is moving away from the original objective/subjective OP, but as I mentioned early on, I don't think it's very useful.
    As long as we clearly define and agree on what our goals and values are, then the moral evaluations we make of any situation or action are objective with respect to those goals and values.
    But you seem to be arguing from the assumption that objective morality does not exist and therefore are not really comparing the two on their relative superiority if one is correct and the other is wrong.

    And I'm certainly open to one arguing that one of them is better based on it being accurate (subjective morality is superior because it's a fact that objective morality does not exist) but then one must support such an assertion before it's acceptable to use it as a premise to argue its superiority.

  10. #28
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    Re: Objective morality vs. subjective morality

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    If objective morality as defined in the OP is correct, I don't see how one can argue that it's not superior to subjective morality.

    But that doesn't necessarily mean that if the opposite is true, subjective morality is inherently superior to objective morality. In fact, MT is pretty much arguing that subjective morality is inherently flawed even if there is no objective source of morality. I don't agree with his argument, but it is coherent.
    Well, again, I think this goes back to how you view the terms. I think there can be some objectivity in a subjective moral framework. In fact, I'd suggest that pretty much ANY system of understanding the world that's developed by flawed people - even something as objective as math or science - has varying degrees of subjectivity, depending on the availability of facts coupled with the ability of the developers to understand and process those facts in correct and useful ways.

    This might go back to what futureboy said about these sorts of discussions becoming tedious (I don't find this particular discussion to be tedious, just FYI). Ultimately - believer or no - it always comes down to what people tend to value, the reasons they provide for those values, and whether or not those reasons can be broadly applied in rational and useful ways.

    Supposing that objective morality actually exists, its existence doesn't appear to provide people who believe in it with any special insight into what those rules are, which is unavailable to those who don't. Non-believers appear to be as able to make good decisions, and vulnerable to making bad decisions, as believers (and vice versa). So even if it does exist, believing in this way doesn't appear to have any more effect on the world than denying it.

    This is why I often go back to reasons for behaving in certain ways. Yes, when talking about "objective" morality, moral ontology/epistemology has limitations insofar as rigid definitions of "objective" are concerned, but in application it's more useful to talk about reasons why something should be regarded as good/bad as opposed to arguing what the God someone happens to believe in says to them, personally, about a subject on any given day.

    ---------- Post added at 08:15 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:09 AM ----------

    EDIT: Suppose for a second that objective morality exists as described in the OP. This would mean that people who believe in that form of objective morality are correct that such morality exists. However, this is NOT the same as those people being correct about any particular moral value or duty. In fact, a person can be completely correct that objective morality exists, yet still be completely mistaken about every moral value/duty contained within. I think it's important not to confuse this issue.

    Another way of looking at is by your ten-rule example.

    There is a difference between knowing that ten rules exist, and knowing what those ten rules are. Knowing that the rules exist doesn’t entail any special knowledge as to the content of those rules. Furthermore, irrespective of whether the believer is right about the content, the objective system is only superior to a subjective one insofar as its rules are correct as compared to the ones in the subjective one (and that’s granting that the builders of the subjective system aren’t correct on any of the rules). It might be the case that the superiority of the objective system also depends on its accessibility (I'm not saying that it isn't accessible; I'm only saying that reliable accessibility to the system might be a necessary component for determining superiority).

    So the objective set is superior in terms of content, but what if the subjective one is mostly correct, and also far more accessible than the objective one? If the “superiority” of a system is defined as “correctness of content”, then the objective system is superior. But if expectations for superiority include the usefulness of the thing in question, then a mostly-correct, very accessible system could be superior to an objective system where anyone’s guess is as good as any other.

  11. #29
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    Re: Objective morality vs. subjective morality

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    But nonetheless, if there is an objective source of morality, to the extent that theists say that there is such a source who has determined that certain things are objectively morally correct, they are correct and those who say that morality is just a product of the human mind are incorrect.
    Of course you can point to all kinds of flaws in these person's beliefs (like they can't prove that they are right) but that doesn't change the fact that they are more correct than those who hold the opposing viewpoint and therefore their viewpoint is superior.
    Of course, if what they claim exists actually exists, then they are correct in claiming that it exists. Tautologies aside, there is only value in their claims if the claims are demonstrably true. +1 for pointlessness.

    But if there is an objective morality and it was demonstrably established to exist, the only way that subjective moral systems can improve is to better align itself with this morality.
    FTFY.
    You simply can't ignore the fact that the existence of objective morality must be demonstrable for any moral systems to rationally employ it. At that point, there would not be any subjective moral systems, since our moral systems would be based on the demonstrably objective morality which we would then have access to. Before then, it is useless to even consider objective morality in the form that it has been presented by theists.

    Quote Originally Posted by mican
    In other words, if there is a God who has laid out, say, ten moral rules, the only way to improve the current moral system is to do a better job at abiding by those ten rules. If it so happens that religions are better following these rules than secular moral systems, then the religious systems are superior.
    Fact #1: A deity has laid out moral rules.
    Fact #2: Theists are correct because they follow these rules.
    The only possibility for Fact #2 to have any value is if Fact #1 has been demonstrated to be true.

    Don't forget, also, that the above is applicable only for a specific deity, while all you are forwarding is "if the is an objective source of morality". For any theists to be more correct, it's not enough for there to simply be an objective source, but it must be the objective source in which those theists believe.

    Quote Originally Posted by mican
    But you seem to be arguing from the assumption that objective morality does not exist and therefore are not really comparing the two on their relative superiority if one is correct and the other is wrong.
    Please quote where I seem to be arguing that objective morality does not exist. All I am providing is observations of the morality which we actually have, and that is not based on some objective or divine source. I have also explained how the moral evaluations which we make are objective.

    Quote Originally Posted by mican
    And I'm certainly open to one arguing that one of them is better based on it being accurate (subjective morality is superior because it's a fact that objective morality does not exist) but then one must support such an assertion before it's acceptable to use it as a premise to argue its superiority.
    Again, our own moral systems are all we have currently. Some of them claim to be based on external objective sources, but this objectivity has not been demonstrated. So going back to your OP, we just don't know whether the objective is superior to the subjective. But that isn't because we don't know which one is true, it's because the objective has only been claimed.

    Also, I'd argue that, even if we were able to demonstrate an external moral source in the form of a deity, we could still potentially have issues with its morality based on the core goals and values we uphold as a society being in conflict with those of the source, since we've been operating with moral systems based on those goals for millenia. We would then be, as moral agents, subject to an external force imposing its morality on us.

  12. #30
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    Re: Objective morality vs. subjective morality

    other responses to be answered ASAP
    Quote Originally Posted by FUTURE
    There seems to be even more confusion regarding the terms than you think, Dio, specifically with MT's argument containing "Objective Moral Truths".
    More than once now the concepts "objective moral laws/values" and "objective moral truths" have been mixed up when challenges for support have been issued and responded to.

    So MT, please explain what you mean with #1 of your original argument:
    Thanks, I think this question is very helpful.

    So reality is objective. The existence(or non) of moral laws and duties is a kind of objective fact about our world.
    This would be an Objective moral fact.

    So, that there are no objective moral duties, (if true) is an objective moral fact.

    --From that objective fact--
    It follows that if there are no objective moral duties, then all actions are objectively devoid of any moral duty.
    This I have called "morally neutral". But Dio has pointed out that it may be more properly called "amoral". (not sure I totally agree.. but I have to get to that).

    ---
    From here the only logical option is that the subjective moralist can hold is that we can project/create moral duties. (Which is false)

    Anyway, thanks for the question I hope this answer helps.
    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.

  13. #31
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    Re: Objective morality vs. subjective morality

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    So reality is objective. The existence(or non) of moral laws and duties is a kind of objective fact about our world.
    This would be an Objective moral fact.

    So, that there are no objective moral duties, (if true) is an objective moral fact.
    Is there any chance you can re-state this? I'm confused by it as it is now.

    I think it's confusing because you seem to use "moral" in two distinct contexts. In the first half of your last sentence, you're using "moral" to describe certain kinds of duties. In the second half, you use "moral" to describe a certain category of facts.

    If I say "Giraffes do not lay eggs", I wouldn't go on to say that "This is an egg fact about giraffes"; it's not a fact about eggs - it's a fact about giraffes. The giraffe is the subject, and the fact about eggs describes the giraffe, not eggs.

    Here's an example that might show where the confusion is coming from:

    'So, that there is no objective blue sky, (if true) is an objective blue fact.'

    I think you might mean something like 'So, that there are no objective moral duties in our reality, (if true) is an objective fact about our reality.'

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  15. #32
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    Re: Objective morality vs. subjective morality

    EDIT: Dionysus beat me to it, so feel free to skip to quote #2 and disregard my questions for quote #1.

    1.
    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    So reality is objective. The existence (or non) of moral laws and duties is a kind of objective fact about our world.
    This would be an Objective moral fact. So, that there are no objective moral duties, (if true) is an objective moral fact.
    I guess I'm just confused about your use of the term "objective moral fact/truth", and why you think this kind of language is necessary. You've also expressed this in the form of "Objective Moral Truth" - why the capitalization? Are you referring to some established concepts we should be aware of?
    Why not simply say: "It is a fact that objective moral duties either exist or do not exist"? Why do you need to say that it is a "moral fact"? It's just a fact which happens to be about morals and morality.
    Forgive the barrage of questions, but I'm somewhat leery of language which seems unnecessarily complicated, or has unnecessary embellishments.

    2.
    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    --From that objective fact-- It follows that if there are no objective moral duties, then all actions are objectively devoid of any moral duty.
    More questions: Why do you start with establishing the above fact about morals? It seems fairly unnecessary when all you need to do is start with the 2nd part ("if there are no objective moral duties"), which is your core claim.
    Could you define/elaborate on what you mean by "objective moral duties", and perhaps provide an example of such a duty? Are you using objective in the absolute sense that the duties are unconditionally binding?

    3.
    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    From here the only logical option is that the subjective moralist can hold is that we can project/create moral duties. (Which is false)
    Are you saying that subjective moralists cannot project or create moral duties?

  16. #33
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    Re: Objective morality vs. subjective morality

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Well, again, I think this goes back to how you view the terms. I think there can be some objectivity in a subjective moral framework. In fact, I'd suggest that pretty much ANY system of understanding the world that's developed by flawed people - even something as objective as math or science - has varying degrees of subjectivity, depending on the availability of facts coupled with the ability of the developers to understand and process those facts in correct and useful ways.
    Sure. But there are objective truths regardless of what we may think or how flawed our thinking is. And of course those who are more like to be correct in, say, physical science are those who have a better understanding of the truth of physical reality than those whose views are less aligned with the truth.

    And objective morality puts morality more into the realm of established fact. Just like those who think the world is round is correct and those who think it is flat are wrong, those who think murder is immoral are correct and those who think it isn't are wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    This might go back to what futureboy said about these sorts of discussions becoming tedious (I don't find this particular discussion to be tedious, just FYI). Ultimately - believer or no - it always comes down to what people tend to value, the reasons they provide for those values, and whether or not those reasons can be broadly applied in rational and useful ways.
    But keeping to the analogy of the shape of the Earth (which once upon a time was a controversial issue), regardless of the flawed thinking that might occur or how we learn the truth or fail to learn it, there is a clearly correct direction of where correct analysis will take us.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Supposing that objective morality actually exists, its existence doesn't to provide people who believe in it with any special insight into what those rules are, which is unavailable to those who don't.
    You don't know that. For one, if the religious people are right that objective morality exists, they may be right about other aspects of their faith, such as what God ACTUALLY says is morally correct. And they don't even have to be perfectly correct in their assessment (maybe they are right on some things about what God thinks and mistaken on other issues) but it's not impossible that there is some real truth there and one not understanding it may be similar to a someone who is ignorant on science not really understand a valid scientific concept.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Believers seem to be as vulnerable to making good and bad decisions as non-believers, and vice versa. So even if it does exist, believing in this way doesn't appear to have any more effect on the world than denying it.
    Which doesn't change the fact that if they are right, then they are right.

    Besides that, it could be that the reason why people generally believe that murder is wrong is because God has created us to be that way so our morals are based on objective morality even if we don't recognize the source.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    This is why I often go back to reasons for behaving in certain ways. Yes, when talking about "objective" morality, moral ontology/epistemology has limitations insofar as rigid definitions of "objective" are concerned, but in application it's more useful to talk about reasons why something should be regarded as good/bad as opposed to arguing what the God someone happens to believe in says to them, personally, about a subject on any given day.
    I don't disagree but that's not really what this thread is about.

    In a nutshell, we don't know if morality is objective or subjective and the correct view is the better view.

    ---------- Post added at 04:17 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:13 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    It follows that if there are no objective moral duties, then all actions are objectively devoid of any moral duty.
    Correction - they are objectively devoid of any OBJECTIVE moral duties.

    If there are not objective moral duties, there can still be subjective moral duties.

    In that case, every moral duty that we perform (such opposing murder by word, deed and law, for example) arises from subjective morality.

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    Re: Objective morality vs. subjective morality

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    And objective morality puts morality more into the realm of established fact.
    Well, only in theory. If morality is in fact purely a human construct, then calling morality "objective" in the sense of the OP puts it no closer the realm of established fact than hypothesizing about a creator puts the idea of God closer to the realm of established fact.

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    But keeping to the analogy of the shape of the Earth (which once upon a time was a controversial issue), regardless of the flawed thinking that might occur or how we learn the truth or fail to learn it, there is a clearly correct direction of where correct analysis will take us.
    Is there?

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    You don't know that.
    I didn't say I did, but it's certainly not your fault that you got that impression. I meant to insert the word "appears" in the phrase "doesn't to provide". And I DO know that. Believers in the type of objective morality espoused in the OP typically assume a deity, and I've seen no evidence whatsoever that they are more adept at identifying moral values and duties than non-believers.

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    Which doesn't change the fact that if they are right, then they are right.
    Sure, but suppose for a second that objective morality exists as described in the OP. This would mean that people who believe in that form of objective morality are correct that such morality exists. However, this is NOT the same as those people being correct about any particular moral value or duty. In fact, a person can be completely correct that objective morality exists, yet still be completely mistaken about every moral value/duty contained within. I think it's important not to confuse this issue.

    Another way of looking at is by your ten-rule example.

    There is a difference between knowing that ten rules exist, and knowing what those ten rules are. Knowing that the rules exist doesn’t entail any special knowledge as to the content of those rules. Furthermore, irrespective of whether the believer is right about the content, the objective system is only superior to a subjective one insofar as its rules are correct as compared to the ones in the subjective one (and that’s granting that the builders of the subjective system aren’t correct on any of the rules). It might be the case that the superiority of the objective system also depends on its accessibility (I'm not saying that it isn't accessible; I'm only saying that reliable accessibility to the system might be a necessary component for determining superiority).

    So the objective set is superior in terms of content, but what if the subjective one is mostly correct, and also far more accessible than the objective one? If the “superiority” of a system is defined as “correctness of content”, then the objective system is superior. But if expectations for superiority include the usefulness of the thing in question, then a mostly-correct, very accessible system could be superior to an objective system where anyone’s guess is as good as any other.

    ---------- Post added at 01:51 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:14 PM ----------

    EDIT:

    Consider also we are (pr at least I am) in the woods on what we mean by "superior". Assuming that objective morality as described in the OP (OM from this point) is true, believers are only incidentally correct about OM IF OM is accessible to them. Of course we can grant any range of rightness or wrongness to believers or non-believers and talk about the implications of that, and we can apply any range of accessibility to objective moral values and duties and talk about the implications of that, but if OM as described in the OP exists only in theory (which is where we are so far), wouldn't it be the case that - so far as we know - subjective moral theory is superior to theoretical, objective moral theory in the following way?

    Consider this table:

    Exists Is Correct Is Accessible
    Objective Morality Unknown Unknown Unknown
    Subjective Morality Yes (Even if secular moral theory is completely incorrect, there can be no doubt that it exists) Unknown Yes

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    Re: Objective morality vs. subjective morality

    Quote Originally Posted by DIO
    I think you might mean something like 'So, that there are no objective moral duties in our reality, (if true) is an objective fact about our reality.'
    The object is (intended to be) the moral value of any given thing or action. Facts about morals.
    Sorry for any confusion.

    ..
    Example.(re worded )
    These are "facts" about morality.
    (if objective moral laws exist)
    A fact about raping and murdering for fun, is that it is against a moral law that exist in reality separate from what anyone thinks. (Ie objective moral law).
    therefore everyone has a duty to obey this law, which in application is a duty to not do that action.

    (If objective moral laws don't exist)
    It is a fact that raping and murdering for fun, is not against any objective law.
    Therefore no one has an objective (IE real) duty to iether do or not do that action.

    ----
    So compare, a subjective moralist may say.
    I have reasons X,Y,Z to not do action "A". (The is)
    Therefore you ought not do action "A". (The ought)

    or worse
    I imagine(IE think/reference to brain state) action "A" is bad. (The is)
    Therefore you ought not do action "A"(The ought).

    or finally
    I imagine an Ought for you therefor it is real(in some objective way for any who disagree) and binding in some way.
    Which I argue is objectively false if objective moral laws don't exist.

    My point is about the state of reality, I don't see how imaginations create obligations, or that they possibly can.

    *Note* I'm not taking on your argument about the other problems of objective morality. Like knowing what those laws are accurately. Some of them are very interesting points and worthy of discussion. Others seem a bit like arguing against if gravity is "best" or "superior" to some imagined version of gravity.

    Quote Originally Posted by MICAN
    Correction - they are objectively devoid of any OBJECTIVE moral duties.
    Not sure what you are correcting.
    Quote Originally Posted by MT
    So, that there are no objective moral duties, (if true) is an objective moral fact.
    Quote Originally Posted by MICAN
    If there are not objective moral duties, there can still be subjective moral duties.
    What do you mean?
    Like objectively there is no such thing as dark energy, but your brain state is that dark energy is good so I am thus obligated to do something (or not)?


    Quote Originally Posted by FUTUREBOY
    I guess I'm just confused about your use of the term "objective moral fact/truth", and why you think this kind of language is necessary. You've also expressed this in the form of "Objective Moral Truth" - why the capitalization? Are you referring to some established concepts we should be aware of?
    Why not simply say: "It is a fact that objective moral duties either exist or do not exist"? Why do you need to say that it is a "moral fact"? It's just a fact which happens to be about morals and morality.
    Forgive the barrage of questions, but I'm somewhat leery of language which seems unnecessarily complicated, or has unnecessary embellishments.
    Sorry for any confusion.
    Yes, it is a fact about morals, and specifically the objective state of things.
    So what a person "thinks" if it is not in line with objective reality, is by definition false.

    If this is the case with everything else, why not morality?
    Like, what do our thoughts have to do with gravity, do they create it or form it? of course not, that is imagination, not reality. The subjectivity is limited to speaking about his imagination about reality. Which I argue is in conflict with reality.

    Quote Originally Posted by FUTUREBOY
    More questions: Why do you start with establishing the above fact about morals? It seems fairly unnecessary when all you need to do is start with the 2nd part ("if there are no objective moral duties"), which is your core claim.
    Could you define/elaborate on what you mean by "objective moral duties", and perhaps provide an example of such a duty? Are you using objective in the absolute sense that the duties are unconditionally binding?
    I started there because mican erroneously held that if there are no objective morals then there are no objective facts about morals, though he may not realize that is what he is saying.


    Sure, an objective moral duty would be.
    It is always wrong to rape and torture children for fun. So everyone has a moral duty not to do such things.

    This is an objective moral fact. Meaning, it is not referring to the state of my brain, it is referring to external reality that applies to everyone like it or not.

    vs subjective morality, which is limited to referencing brain states.
    the "I think" is as far as it's truth value can go.


    Quote Originally Posted by FUTURBOY
    Are you saying that subjective moralists cannot project or create moral duties?
    I hold that people are not magic, and have no ability to "create" from their imagination and through manifestation an obligation for others.
    IE no matter how hard or how much you imagine that I am obligated to give you my wallet, it does not make it a reality that I have some duty to give you my wallet.

    Can we both agree that we both "think" I should give you my wallet? Sure. That is an "is" statement about our states of mind.
    That is not an "ought". Again the "I think" part is a specific statement with our state of mind as the subject.

    If an objective moralist were to make this statement the subject is the external reality. That is why the "i think" part is left off.

    example.
    Objective. Rape and murder for fun is wrong.
    subjective. I think rape and murder for fun is wrong.

    The former inherently implies moral duties to all. The latter is only a statement about a given brain state and can equally be true as the opposite in the same sense. So the statement, "I think rape is wrong." is equal to "I think rape is good."
    They are both true. no ought was created.
    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 vs. subjective morality

    Quote Originally Posted by MT View Post
    It is always wrong to rape and torture children for fun. So everyone has a moral duty not to do such things. This is an objective moral fact. Meaning, it is not referring to the state of my brain, it is referring to external reality that applies to everyone like it or not.
    How did you determine that not raping and torturing children for fun is an objective moral fact?

    Quote Originally Posted by MT View Post
    IE no matter how hard or how much you imagine that I am obligated to give you my wallet, it does not make it a reality that I have some duty to give you my wallet.
    If a mugger is standing in front of you and threatening to kill your children if you don't give him your wallet, do you have a duty to give your wallet to him?

    Quote Originally Posted by MT View Post
    If an objective moralist were to make this statement the subject is the external reality. That is why the "i think" part is left off.
    Again, how does the objective moralist determine whether they are correct in making the statement about external reality?

    Quote Originally Posted by MT View Post
    Objective. Rape and murder for fun is wrong.
    subjective. I think rape and murder for fun is wrong.
    Let focus on murder for now: how did you determine that murder is objectively wrong? Is it objectively wrong to kill another human being, or just to murder them? You make what you claim is an objective statement that "murder for fun is wrong", but we often make statements about what we think without saying "I think -" before.

    Quote Originally Posted by MT View Post
    The former inherently implies moral duties to all. The latter is only a statement about a given brain state and can equally be true as the opposite in the same sense. So the statement, "I think rape is wrong." is equal to "I think rape is good." They are both true. no ought was created.
    In our secular moral system, we derive duties from an understanding of the consequences of our actions in reality, which are objective facts about reality. So, for example, since our moral system is based (broadly speaking) on the goals of maximizing human flourishing and minimizing unnecessary harm, any action which does not align with those goals is considered to be wrong according to that moral system. The objective fact that an action does not align with those goals is an objective fact about reality, and holding to the goals is what gives us the duty to fulfil them (the "ought").

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    Re: Objective morality vs. subjective morality

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    Not sure what you are correcting.
    Your statement originally said that if there was no objective morality, there are no moral duties and that's not the case. There would still be moral duties - subjective ones.



    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    What do you mean?
    Like objectively there is no such thing as dark energy, but your brain state is that dark energy is good so I am thus obligated to do something (or not)?
    But objectively there would still be moral duties.

    It's an objective fact that moral duties exist. Right now, we are all obeying various moral duties - such as abstaining from may immoral acts, like murder. And since no one has proven the objective morality exists, it's possible that these duties exist in a universe where there is no objective morality.

    And if you are going to argue that a "duty" cannot exist without an objective foundation, I will ask you in advance to support or retract that and please use a dictionary definition of the word "duty" (present a linked definition in your argument) if you attempt to support that.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Well, only in theory. If morality is in fact purely a human construct, then calling morality "objective" in the sense of the OP puts it no closer the realm of established fact than hypothesizing about a creator puts the idea of God closer to the realm of established fact.
    Well, my argument was describing objective morality so it assumes, for the sake of argument, that objective morality is real. I am not attempting to argue that it does indeed exist.



    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    I meant to insert the word "appears" in the phrase "doesn't to provide". And I DO know that. Believers in the type of objective morality espoused in the OP typically assume a deity, and I've seen no evidence whatsoever that they are more adept at identifying moral values and duties than non-believers.
    I wouldn't argue otherwise. But if they are correct, they are better at identifying the SOURCE of the morality than non-believers. And "correct" isn't an all-or-nothing thing. If, say, Christians are correct that God is an external being who has created morality and be wrong about every specific about that being (such as being male, Christ existing, etc.), they are still more correct than those who say that no such external being exists. It's the difference between getting at least one answer right on a test compared to getting no answers right.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Sure, but suppose for a second that objective morality exists as described in the OP. This would mean that people who believe in that form of objective morality are correct that such morality exists. However, this is NOT the same as those people being correct about any particular moral value or duty. In fact, a person can be completely correct that objective morality exists, yet still be completely mistaken about every moral value/duty contained within.
    Sure. But one who gets one question right on a quiz still did better than one who got no answers right.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Another way of looking at is by your ten-rule example.

    There is a difference between knowing that ten rules exist, and knowing what those ten rules are. Knowing that the rules exist doesn’t entail any special knowledge as to the content of those rules. Furthermore, irrespective of whether the believer is right about the content, the objective system is only superior to a subjective one insofar as its rules are correct as compared to the ones in the subjective one (and that’s granting that the builders of the subjective system aren’t correct on any of the rules). It might be the case that the superiority of the objective system also depends on its accessibility (I'm not saying that it isn't accessible; I'm only saying that reliable accessibility to the system might be a necessary component for determining superiority).

    So the objective set is superior in terms of content, but what if the subjective one is mostly correct, and also far more accessible than the objective one? If the “superiority” of a system is defined as “correctness of content”, then the objective system is superior. But if expectations for superiority include the usefulness of the thing in question, then a mostly-correct, very accessible system could be superior to an objective system where anyone’s guess is as good as any other.
    I'm wiling to entertain a hypothetical scenario where objective morality is correct and yet subjective morality is superior nonetheless. But for one to make an argument that one is likely to be better even if the other is correct, one needs to show that this is the case, not possibly could be the case.



    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Yes (Even if secular moral theory is completely incorrect, there can be no doubt that it exists)
    Well, back when everyone thought the Earth was flat, the round-earth theory was not accessible (humans had no evidence for it that was considered credible). But nonetheless, if someone said "hey, the earth is round", his statement was still superior even though no one could access it.

    Having access to an untruth does not make the untruth superior to the inaccessible truth.

    Nor is it a given that we don't have access to objective morality. I have an innate revulsion to the most immoral acts that man can do (like murder and rape) and if objective morality exists, it could be "God whispering" (don't take the term literally) to me that these things are wrong or has created me with the innate desire to abide by "his rules". I might not recognize "God's whispers" for what they are, but that doesn't change that I am accessing objective morality even if I don't recognize the source for what it is. And in that scenario, if an objective moralist told me that my beliefs are a reflection of the morality of "the source", he would be correct. And while I do not forward this scenario as "true", I think it's entirely possible (again, let's not get too literal) and therefore do not accept that this isn't the case.

    So we may all be accessing objective morality but just not through the words of other humans (such as religious folk).
    Last edited by mican333; April 6th, 2017 at 10:54 AM.

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    Re: Objective morality vs. subjective morality

    Mican,

    I think we’re pretty well in agreement. Just a couple things stand out:

    1. Believers being correct more frequently than non-believers in no way suggests to us that they are better at identifying the source of morality; it could easily be the case that they happen to be guessing a little better than non-believers. This not the same as scoring better on a test where someone actually has the answers. Supposing that WE need to know who's better positioned (since God presumably already knows), in order for them to actually be better positioned as far as WE can tell, they’d have to show US objectively that 1) the source exists 2) the information they have was gotten directly from the source 3) the information they have is unaltered. So I just can’t see that being right indicates TO US that they’re better at identifying the source.

    2. I think it’s pretty much a given that there’s no resolution to be had in this thread; it’s about as fruitful as 14 years of debates on this site about the existence of a creator deity - none of us are smart enough to thwart the philosophical dead-end that awaits us. This is why I’m couching my claims in the realm of possibility rather than making positive claims. I appreciate that you’re willing to entertain it (I don’t mean that sarcastically at all; sorry if it sounds that way), but, in my humble opinion, I think you know as well as I do that no definitive answer awaits us, here. I’m just trying to add interesting content to the conversation; nothing more.

    3. If course it’s not a given that we don’t have access to objective morality; note that I didn’t say we did. I said that it is unknown whether we have access to objective morality; we have access to it in theory. So, insofar as I can tell, the table is correct. We don’t know if objective morality exists and we don’t know if we have access to it. We might, but the only thing we can say definitively about objective morality is that we don’t know if we know anything about it. This is not true for secular moral theory. We DO know it exists; we DO have access to it. What we DON’T know is to what degree we are correct, if at all.

    4. Having access to a thing could be paramount to its superiority. 10,000 feet under water, the earth's general surface is a far superior breathing environment that the pressurized submarine, with recycled O2 and vulnerabilities to failure. But 10,000 feet under water, it's the more superior thing available.

    5. Yes, it could be the case that we tend to agree on certain moral values and duties (such as rape or murder) because the theoretical creator instilled this in us. But it’s just as likely that morality is a product of evolution. Indeed, there is some evidence that non-human animals consciously exhibit behaviors that could be called moral; it’s entirely possible that humans, having more sophisticated brains, exhibit more sophisticated expressions of these behaviors.

    In summary, I agree with you that it’s quite possible that objective morality does exist. It’s quite possible that it doesn’t; it’s a real back and forth. All I’m offering is some factors that might swing the pendulum in one way or the other (note that I’ve made cases for objective morality being superior and for subjective morality being superior). Of course, it’s still not clear to me what we mean by “superior”, but in any case, I’m not trying to 'win' or “defeat” anything here; that's, like, soooo 2003, bro. I'm just making conversation.

    EDIT: For some reason the url I posted above is redirecting to an online shopping site. If you do a Google search for "Scientists find moral behavior in primates", you'll see an article from the New York Times with this address: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/20/science/20moral.html

    The search result in Google with the above address will take you to the article I intended to link.

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    Re: Objective morality vs. subjective morality

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    The object is (intended to be) the moral value of any given thing or action. Facts about morals.
    Sorry for any confusion.
    No problem. I just wanted to ask and to hopefully point to some useful reasons why the confusion might have arisen.

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    Example.(re worded )
    These are "facts" about morality.
    (if objective moral laws exist)
    A fact about raping and murdering for fun, is that it is against a moral law that exist in reality separate from what anyone thinks. (Ie objective moral law).
    therefore everyone has a duty to obey this law, which in application is a duty to not do that action.
    Gotcha. Just to give an example of a way it might be worded more concisely (and to thereby minimize the likelihood of confusion, I think you mean something like:

    If objective morality exists, then the act of rape is wrong, irrespective of anyone’s opinion on the matter.

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    (If objective moral laws don't exist)
    It is a fact that raping and murdering for fun, is not against any objective law.
    Therefore no one has an objective (IE real) duty to iether do or not do that action.
    Alright, again, I think you mean something like:

    If objective morality does not exist, then there are no good reasons for anyone to do anything.

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    So compare, a subjective moralist may say.
    I have reasons X,Y,Z to not do action "A". (The is)
    Therefore you ought not do action "A". (The ought)
    Alright, let me apply this to objective morality:

    There is such a thing as objective morality that describes what one should and should not do. (The “is” statement)

    Therefore we ought to apply objective morality. (The “ought” statement)

    If this is essentially the logic (and I think it is), I don’t see how the is/ought fallacy is avoidable, even with objective morality. I mean, you can apply really any statement that describes the state of affairs as it relates to objective morality, and you’re still deriving an “ought” from that “is” statement, no matter how you frame it.

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    My point is about the state of reality, I don't see how imaginations create obligations, or that they possibly can.
    What I don’t understand is this:

    We can’t objectively say that ideas exist; they’re abstract objects. We can use all sorts of tools to express those ideas, but we can’t point to the idea itself and say “there it is”. Nonetheless, we don’t often hear people say “Ideas don’t objectively exist, therefore they don’t exist in any sense at all”. Yet with morality, we hear something like that from objective moralists all the time.

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    *Note* I'm not taking on your argument about the other problems of objective morality. Like knowing what those laws are accurately. Some of them are very interesting points and worthy of discussion. Others seem a bit like arguing against if gravity is "best" or "superior" to some imagined version of gravity.
    I understand, and I agree about the “superior” question. I don’t think it’s been defined as well as it could be, and so the question remains a little fuzzy.

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    Re: Objective morality vs. subjective morality

    Quote Originally Posted by FUTURE
    How did you determine that not raping and torturing children for fun is an objective moral fact?
    That really isn't the point. That is the second problem. I'm not here attempting to argue for any specific moral laws.
    I am simply answered your question and giving an example of what those facts look like.
    I am content (here) to deny the existence of any objective moral laws, and to argue the consequence of that. Which is hat all things would then be objectively morally neutral.

    But to answer your question directly(and thus chase a rabbit a bit) the person who claims a objective moral, is acting consistently with his view, but he is at least POSSIBLY acting consistent with reality. On the other hand, the subjective moralist is inherently acting inconsistent with reality, imagining things that do not exist and acting as though they do apparently to the point of force.. with a gun even

    Quote Originally Posted by FUTURE
    If a mugger is standing in front of you and threatening to kill your children if you don't give him your wallet, do you have a duty to give your wallet to him?
    Is threat of force what establishes moral obligations?

    Quote Originally Posted by FUTURE
    Again, how does the objective moralist determine whether they are correct in making the statement about external reality?
    That is a very different question than the point and argument I am making.
    I do think that you are falling in line with Dio's train of thought, and it is a valid issue.. just not yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by FUTURE
    Let focus on murder for now: how did you determine that murder is objectively wrong? Is it objectively wrong to kill another human being, or just to murder them? You make what you claim is an objective statement that "murder for fun is wrong", but we often make statements about what we think without saying "I think -" before.
    I would say I observe it to be true. I could be wrong, and that is absolutly possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by FUTURE
    In our secular moral system, we derive duties from an understanding of the consequences of our actions in reality, which are objective facts about reality. So, for example, since our moral system is based (broadly speaking) on the goals of maximizing human flourishing and minimizing unnecessary harm, any action which does not align with those goals is considered to be wrong according to that moral system. The objective fact that an action does not align with those goals is an objective fact about reality, and holding to the goals is what gives us the duty to fulfil them (the "ought").
    Ah, your talking about ediquit. Like it's rude to fart at the dinner table, and so one has an "obligation" and "duty" to not do it.

    Also, you can not "derive" duties from facts. That is the "is ought fallacy".
    http://www.dictionary.com/browse/derive
    Quote Originally Posted by LINK
    1.
    to receive or obtain from a source or origin (usually followed by from).
    2.
    to trace from a source or origin:
    English words derived from German.
    3.
    to reach or obtain by reasoning; deduce; infer.
    Simply put, you can correctly observe that X,Y,Z does not serve ABC purpose. That in no way establishes an "ought" for anyone.
    For example, going to law school serves the purpose of becoming a lawyer. I do not thus have an "obligation" especially a "moral" one to become a lawyer.

    You have said exactly the same.

    And please explain what "obligation"(Ie duty) you are talking about, how am I obligated to serve that goal? Is it because you have a gun and I thus am obligated to give you my wallet? (Ie force)


    Quote Originally Posted by MICAN
    Your statement originally said that if there was no objective morality, there are no moral duties and that's not the case. There would still be moral duties - subjective ones.
    That simply assumes that such a thing can exist. I haven't seen any support or even an explination of what that is.

    Quote Originally Posted by MICAN
    But objectively there would still be moral duties.

    It's an objective fact that moral duties exist. Right now, we are all obeying various moral duties - such as abstaining from may immoral acts, like murder. And since no one has proven the objective morality exists, it's possible that these duties exist in a universe where there is no objective morality.

    And if you are going to argue that a "duty" cannot exist without an objective foundation, I will ask you in advance to support or retract that and please use a dictionary definition of the word "duty" (present a linked definition in your argument) if you attempt to support that.
    Burden shifting. You ASSUME something, and then expect me to support a refutation.
    Do better.

    ------------
    Quote Originally Posted by DIO
    Alright, again, I think you mean something like:

    If objective morality does not exist, then there are no good reasons for anyone to do anything.
    I appreciate the input you are having in this thread, I am agreeing alot with your corrections, but I think this is a bit off.
    I don't think that lacking ojective moral duties it means that there can't be any good reasons for doing anything.

    Like going to law school because I want to be a lawyer, is a great reason to go to lawschool. Those reasons just can't ever produce an obligation for anyone. Not a real one.

    Quote Originally Posted by DIO
    Alright, let me apply this to objective morality:

    There is such a thing as objective morality that describes what one should and should not do. (The “is” statement)

    Therefore we ought to apply objective morality. (The “ought” statement)

    If this is essentially the logic (and I think it is), I don’t see how the is/ought fallacy is avoidable, even with objective morality. I mean, you can apply really any statement that describes the state of affairs as it relates to objective morality, and you’re still deriving an “ought” from that “is” statement, no matter how you frame it.
    The way you have worded it, the second statement is already in the first, I think. Ther is X that we should or should not do.
    The second is just repeating the first "we therefor ought to do it".

    If the first is true, then it logically and necissily follows that he second is true.

    There is more, if the first is true it is the equivilant of saying "gravity exists".
    And the second says "therefore we should obey gravity".

    Is it the is/ough fallacy? OR a poor wording? I don't think it overthrows the is/ough fallacy as a sound objection, or shows it to be not applicable.

    Quote Originally Posted by DIO
    What I don’t understand is this:

    We can’t objectively say that ideas exist; they’re abstract objects. We can use all sorts of tools to express those ideas, but we can’t point to the idea itself and say “there it is”. Nonetheless, we don’t often hear people say “Ideas don’t objectively exist, therefore they don’t exist in any sense at all”. Yet with morality, we hear something like that from objective moralists all the time.
    Well, that is based more on our limited access to those ideas, then it is that the ideas exist or not.
    For example, the idea I have in my head right now, objectivly does or does not exist in my head. You may not be able to access it or prove it, or know it but it is subject to objective reality (yes).

    in the case of subjective morals, there is a second problem added on top of ideas, and that is that those ideas exist AND have an objecitve effect (so called), one that we can know and measure and apply namely an obligtion/duty for someone else (and it is applied as though we can).
    It can be measured by me giving you my wallet when I am

    Quote Originally Posted by DIO
    I understand, and I agree about the “superior” question. I don’t think it’s been defined as well as it could be, and so the question remains a little fuzzy.
    I think they are great questions.
    As to "fuzzy" I understand them like this.
    1) Supposing we agree that objective moral duties exist. What are they and how can we know?
    2) Assuming we "know" one such duty, what makes it the best possible law or duty? I mean suppose one such duty was to rape, is that really the best?


    My general problem is that it seems to be a bit of pissing in the wind. So what if gravity isn't the "best" one will still splat on the concrete when they jump from high places.
    I have in the past addressed this idea with the "so what if God is evil" thread. (or some such title)
    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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