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  1. #1
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    Objective morality vs. subjective morality

    So the question of this thread is:

    Which is superior - objective morality or subjective morality

    My answer is "Whichever one of them is correct". And since I can't support that either are correct and as far I know, no one else can either, the answer to that question is "I don't know" and likewise the position of this OP is that we don't know which is superior.

    So to defeat the OP, one has to show that either
    1. One of them is correct and the other is incorrect
    or
    2. One of them is superior even if it is incorrect and the other is correct (which isn't impossible as sometimes a lie is better than the truth such as telling your child an untruth to dissuade him from doing something dangerous).

    I'll quickly define terms (although one is free to offer better definitions although I don't want to get bogged down in debating this).

    OBJECTIVE MORALITY:
    There is an external moral source that forwards objectively correct morals that people are always correct if they follow. For example, God says Murder is wrong and therefore to disagree with this moral position is to be objectively wrong in the same vein as saying that the earth is flat.

    SUBJECTIVE MORALITY:
    Morality is a human invention and whatever is wrong is whatever a person happens to think is wrong and it is determined person to person (but then certainly moral issues, such as murder and rape, seem to be forwarded as consistently wrong by a vast majority of people).


    And again, I argue that whichever is correct is the one that is superior. If objective morality is correct, its superiority to subjective morality is obvious so I won't spell it out. In the case of subjective morality, if it is indeed true that morality is a human construct, I see no reason why failing to acknowledge this reality and acting on the truth would not be superior to falsely believing that there is an objective source of morality. Again, while a lie can sometimes be preferable to the truth, I don't see this situation as an exception.

    So again, since we don't know which is true and which is false, we also don't know which is superior to the other.

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

    Argument A
    1) There are Objective Moral Truths.
    2) That moral truth is iether that there are objective moral laws, or that there are no objective moral laws.
    3) If there are no Objective moral laws, Then it is an objective moral truth that there is no moral right and wrong, no moral duty and all actions humans can take are objectively morally neutral.


    Argument B
    The idea of "subjective morality" is not "morality" at all. Because it does not negate or over-ride the objective moral truth of all neutral. It is really an appeal to personal taste, likes and dislikes, and conflates ideas, mucking up the language.
    The supposing it were a fact fact that most people, or even all people personally disliking action X, that fact does not negate the objective truth that there is an objective neutral value on all actions.

    ----
    Example of both and the nature of the problem.

    Two men and a woman are the only possibly moral beings(IE all that exist) The two men agree that it is the most moral thing for them to enslave the woman and force sex onto her whenever they wish regardless of her feelings, as well as toil in the sun to feed them. The woman disagrees, and actually feels the opposite, that The most moral thing is for the men to serve her every whim as slaves to be abused as she sees fit. Unfortunately she she is both outvoted, and over powered, and lives her life as a slave in all senses.

    Our options are.
    1) There is an objective moral law, and one or both of the parties is either right or wrong according to that law. (be it known or not)
    2) There is only the objective truth that their actions whatever are morally neutral, and no moral wrong is possible, thus they are both inherently wrong in their views.
    3) We change the language of morality to personal taste and majority rule, and the women is thus wrong and the men the highest moral beings conceivable.
    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.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    Argument A
    1) There are Objective Moral Truths.
    2) That moral truth is iether that there are objective moral laws, or that there are no objective moral laws.
    3) If there are no Objective moral laws, Then it is an objective moral truth that there is no moral right and wrong, no moral duty and all actions humans can take are objectively morally neutral.
    I agree up until the very last thing you said. "Morally neutral" indicates that something falls in the middle of a scale as opposed to the scale not existing. So I disagree that without objective morality all human actions are objectively morally neutral. If there is no objective morality, then nothing is objective morally anything (good, bad, or neutral).




    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    Argument B
    The idea of "subjective morality" is not "morality" at all. Because it does not negate or over-ride the objective moral truth of all neutral.
    Again, I disagree that anything is objectively morally neutral so I reject this argument.

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    It is really an appeal to personal taste, likes and dislikes, and conflates ideas, mucking up the language.
    If you were to consult a dictionary, I'm sure you would find that the definition of "morality" applies to subjective morality so I would say that you are the one who is mucking up the language by forwarding your own alternative definition of "morality" that somehow makes subjective morality "not morality".



    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    Two men and a woman are the only possibly moral beings(IE all that exist) The two men agree that it is the most moral thing for them to enslave the woman and force sex onto her whenever they wish regardless of her feelings, as well as toil in the sun to feed them. The woman disagrees, and actually feels the opposite, that The most moral thing is for the men to serve her every whim as slaves to be abused as she sees fit. Unfortunately she she is both outvoted, and over powered, and lives her life as a slave in all senses.

    Our options are.
    1) There is an objective moral law, and one or both of the parties is either right or wrong according to that law. (be it known or not)
    2) There is only the objective truth that their actions whatever are morally neutral, and no moral wrong is possible, thus they are both inherently wrong in their views.
    3) We change the language of morality to personal taste and majority rule, and the women is thus wrong and the men the highest moral beings conceivable.
    First off, subjective morality requires no language change that I'm aware of and therefore reject any inference that there is a language change and ask that you support your assertion that there is a language change if you are going to continue saying that.

    And I have another options

    4) If morality is subjective, both you and I agree that the men are wrong and therefore subjectively hold that the men are morally wrong in this situation. And there is absolutely nothing in subjective morality that says that the majority is right so the fact that the two men are the majority on the island does not make them right. If morality is subjective, then I subjectively say that the men are wrong and there is nothing in subjective morality that requires me to say otherwise. So no, WE (as in you and I) don't have the say that the men are right.

  4. #4
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    Re: Objective morality vs. subjective morality

    I think it comes down to how you think about the terms. When it comes to morality, people tend to conclude that moral standards must come from some external, perfect source in order for them to be objective. I don’t know that this is necessarily the case.

    For example, even though it’s possible that logical laws - such as the law of non-contradiction - were promulgated from a transcendent law-giver, it doesn’t seem to me that any such law-giver is necessary for A ≠ B to be objectively true; it is simply a brute fact of logic that A ≠ B, if A is to be identifiably distinct from B in any meaningful sense at all. Certain moral rules and duties could be just as objective.

    Like “A” and “B” above, if words like “good” or “evil” are to have any objective meaning whatsoever, their respective definitions must have some relationship to the “help” or “harm” imposed on conscious creatures by other conscious creatures. Consider that if the only things in existence were a conscious person on a giant, inanimate rock, no such relationship could be established, and therefore the person could not possibly commit an act that could be rightly called “immoral”.

    Consider that if I knowingly inflict unnecessary suffering - such as simple torture - on another conscious being, I’ve done something objectively evil. Why is it evil? Because 1) I am capable of understanding what harm is, 2) I know that torture harms the person being tortured, 3) I would be irrational to ignore this brute fact regarding torture, and 4) therefore imposing such harm on a person is objectively wrong.

    “Help” can be regarded the same way as “harm” is above, simply in a reverse context.

    If a toddler destroys someone’s property (such as knocking over a priceless vase), the toddler hasn’t done something evil. Why? Because the toddler is incapable of contemplating moral values and duties. They cannot understand what it means to respect property, etc. Until they’re able to do so, they aren’t moral agents in any meaningful sense.

    Finally, if a cliff crumbles and crushes me, the cliff hasn’t done an act of evil; the cliff is not conscious and is thus not a moral agent. Furthermore, the cliff is inanimate, and is incapable of performing acts. Therefore, the event of the cliff falling on me, while unfortunate, is neither good nor evil from a moralistic perspective; it is amoral.

    Having said that, if there is some perfect law-giver with perfect reasoning and who has sufficient power and authority to determine objective moral rules and duties, then obviously that objective moral system is superior to any other. But when I think about the meaning of the word “objective”, I don’t think of it in those terms, and I think it’s likely a mistake to do so.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by DIO
    Like “A” and “B” above, if words like “good” or “evil” are to have any objective meaning whatsoever, their respective definitions must have some relationship to the “help” or “harm” imposed on conscious creatures by other conscious creatures.
    There is no reason to believe that the universe exists in this state. See my island example.
    There is no "harm" law of the universe, and it is as subjective and undefined as well as completely breakable and deniable(see below).
    In my island example there was no "harm principle" and you certainly have no right or power to show that there was. At best you would personally be an outvoted 4th who did not agree with any of them.
    Especially if when faced with your argument they responded "sure, it is harm.. but we do not value harm to her as it benefits us". (see below)

    Quote Originally Posted by DIO

    Consider that if I knowingly inflict unnecessary suffering - such as simple torture - on another conscious being, I’ve done something objectively evil. Why is it evil? Because 1) I am capable of understanding what harm is, 2) I know that torture harms the person being tortured, 3) I would be irrational to ignore this brute fact regarding torture, and 4) therefore imposing such harm on a person is objectively wrong.
    4 does not follow from the others.
    You are speaking of what "is" and trying to get an "ought".

    1) It is the case that you understand harm (your version of it anyway) ...Thought the "unnecessary" is a suspect word, as it is loaded with personal value assumptions.
    2) It is the case that torture harms (because you define torture to be harm.. and it's circular assumption.. but granted here)
    3) It is irrational to ignore the brute fact of torture.. actually, no it is not. It is irrational to deny that it exists, it is not irrational to ignore. I don't deny that Pluto exists.. but for the most part I ignore it.
    4) Therefore I ought not. No, one could just as rationally accept that harm exists, but place less value on it, or zero value on it, maybe on a selfish principle. (unless we just assume that is immoral as well).
    IE, I wish to kill you and take your stuff, because I want it and it may benefit me. Now all "harm" is justified and I have done no "wrong" in my own eyes. In fact, I may be morally obligated to do so.

    ----
    The problem or rather the challenge you have, is transition from bare facts, to moral value facts.
    A painting exists, it's colors exist.. that does not establish objective beauty. (as an example of abstract values vs bare facts).
    Per my first argument the objective moral value is neutral. A man hitting a rock, or a man hitting an infant, are both the same kind of facts, bare physical descriptive facts.
    Here you would have to show why the infant has some inherent objective value that is different from a rock so as to justify any moral obligation claim.

    Personally, I understand how a mind can impart values/laws/facts such as moral facts etc.
    I do not understand how a big bang from nothing would impart any kind of value other than neutral. .. please explain.
    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.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by MICAN
    I agree up until the very last thing you said. "Morally neutral" indicates that something falls in the middle of a scale as opposed to the scale not existing. So I disagree that without objective morality all human actions are objectively morally neutral. If there is no objective morality, then nothing is objective morally anything (good, bad, or neutral).
    Neutral just means that it has no value good or bad.
    Any object or actor that is not a moral actor is considered morally neutral.
    Such things by definition have no bearing on morality.

    That is still an objective moral truth. (per my original argument.. unaddressed)


    Quote Originally Posted by MICAN
    If you were to consult a dictionary, I'm sure you would find that the definition of "morality" applies to subjective morality so I would say that you are the one who is mucking up the language by forwarding your own alternative definition of "morality" that somehow makes subjective morality "not morality".
    Philosophically, it is an inherently flawed definition. That is my argument. Your reading a dictionary that says there is X which is defined as a married bachelor.

    Quote Originally Posted by MICAN
    First off, subjective morality requires no language change that I'm aware of and therefore reject any inference that there is a language change and ask that you support your assertion that there is a language change if you are going to continue saying that.
    I made my point, and you seem to have missed it.
    The argument is that you can not speak of both in the same argument with the same language.
    To say that objective morality exists or is possible, means that "subjective morality" is not "morality" at all, it is "personal taste" and has no distinguishing factor from any other personal taste.

    Further, I have argued, and shown through it how there is an inherent absolute moral truth, and all of it's possible options make "subjective morality" False at worst, and not morality at all at best, sprinkled with incoherent.

    Quote Originally Posted by MICAN
    4) If morality is subjective, both you and I agree that the men are wrong and therefore subjectively hold that the men are morally wrong in this situation.
    Well, you or I are not on the island. There are only 3 people. For you to say they are wrong, is to introduce an objective standard for them to face, which in the example doesn't exist.

    You have to play by the rules. If you think a 4th person would clear things up.. then maybe you can explain why the example is flawed with only 3?

    Quote Originally Posted by MICAN
    So no, WE (as in you and I) don't have the say that the men are right.
    Well, that is YOUR subjective morality. That is not applying the logic of GENERAL subjective morality.

    Your response seems to require an outside source of morality (you the observer not in the example) to establish that there is any "wrong" going on.

    Maybe this would help.
    What are the rules of subjective morality? If there aren't any, then you are free to make up anything you like and you have a position which is basically meaningless.
    Why doesn't the majority rule in subjective morality? What is wrong with the example that violates the idea of subjective morality?

    Can everyone alive really be wrong under the idea of subjective morality? At the same time everyone is right in their own eyes for everything?
    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.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    Neutral just means that it has no value good or bad.
    Any object or actor that is not a moral actor is considered morally neutral.
    Such things by definition have no bearing on morality.
    I agree. But to say that it is OBJECTIVELY morally neutral refers to an external source that has determined that an action is morally neutral. If there is no external objective source indicating that something is objectively morally neutral, then NOTHING is objectively morally neutral.

    Morally neutral, yes. Objectively morally neutral, no.

    Another way to put it - if there is no objective morality then it is an objective fact that nothing is objectively morally neutral.


    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    Philosophically, it is an inherently flawed definition. That is my argument. Your reading a dictionary that says there is X which is defined as a married bachelor.
    If you are going to argue that subjective morality is inconsistent with the definition of morality then I ask that you SUPPORT OR RETRACT that assertion and please use a dictionary link if you do choose to try to support it.



    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    I made my point, and you seem to have missed it.
    The argument is that you can not speak of both in the same argument with the same language.
    To say that objective morality exists or is possible, means that "subjective morality" is not "morality" at all, it is "personal taste" and has no distinguishing factor from any other personal taste.
    Right. I misunderstood. And I conceded in the OP that if morality is objective, it is inherently superior to subjective morality so there is absolutely no point in arguing that objective morality is superior if morality is indeed objective.

    Just be clear (maybe you didn't read the OP well enough) my point is that whichever one is correct is the superior one. If we don't know which is correct (and I hold that we do not), then we likewise don't know which is superior.


    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    Further, I have argued, and shown through it how there is an inherent absolute moral truth, and all of it's possible options make "subjective morality" False at worst, and not morality at all at best, sprinkled with incoherent.
    You've supported that objective morality exists? If so, I didn't recognize it. So assuming you are arguing that objective morality indeed exists, please state your argument and make it clear that you are arguing that.



    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    Well, you or I are not on the island. There are only 3 people. For you to say they are wrong, is to introduce an objective standard for them to face, which in the example doesn't exist.
    No, I am subjectively saying that they are wrong. I'm not a God telling these men that they are objectively wrong. I'm an observer giving my moral view on the issue and these men are as free to disagree with me as they are free to disagree with the woman.

    And since being in the majority does not make anyone right in regards to subjective morality, the number of people on the island is irrelevant. If there was one man enslaving two women or two men enslaving one woman, the men are just as wrong in each scenario by the subjective standard that I have.


    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    You have to play by the rules. If you think a 4th person would clear things up.. then maybe you can explain why the example is flawed with only 3?
    The flaw has nothing to do with the number of people on the island. The flaw in your argument is limiting the moral options to:

    "1) There is an objective moral law, and one or both of the parties is either right or wrong according to that law. (be it known or not)
    2) There is only the objective truth that their actions whatever are morally neutral, and no moral wrong is possible, thus they are both inherently wrong in their views.
    3) We change the language of morality to personal taste and majority rule, and the women is thus wrong and the men the highest moral beings conceivable."


    As I said, there's a fourth option (restated) - 4) I subjectively hold that the men are morally wrong in this situation.




    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    Maybe this would help.
    What are the rules of subjective morality? If there aren't any, then you are free to make up anything you like and you have a position which is basically meaningless.
    Why doesn't the majority rule in subjective morality? What is wrong with the example that violates the idea of subjective morality?

    Can everyone alive really be wrong under the idea of subjective morality? At the same time everyone is right in their own eyes for everything?
    As I've said in previous debates - questions are not arguments.

    If you want to form these issues into an argument against subjective morality, go ahead.

    And I've probably said this before, but one reason I sometimes don't answer questions is because it shifts the burden. If I were to answer some of the questions you can follow up with more questions - basically putting the burden on me to defend subjective morality. But I have no burden to defend subjective morality before you attack it. So I ask that if you are going to attack subjective morality, then you need to make an argument against it.

  8. #8
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    Re: Objective morality vs. subjective morality

    Quote Originally Posted by MICAN
    I agree. But to say that it is OBJECTIVELY morally neutral refers to an external source that has determined that an action is morally neutral. If there is no external objective source indicating that something is objectively morally neutral, then NOTHING is objectively morally neutral.

    Morally neutral, yes. Objectively morally neutral, no.

    Another way to put it - if there is no objective morality then it is an objective fact that nothing is objectively morally neutral.
    If it isn't objectively morally neutral, then by the definition of neutral it must have some inherent positive or negative value.

    If you think that morals are subjective, you believe that they are projected onto things. Now I realize you think they become real.
    So imagine it as a canvas. If moral laws exist, then that means the canvas already has colors on it. The picture is already set.
    So if there are no moral laws, then there stands a blank canvas. If morals are subjective then your saying your the artist, or society or .. whatever, have the brush.
    You seem to be tempted to deny the existance of the canvas. Does that make sense?, is that accurate of your position? (I know damn questions)

    Quote Originally Posted by MICAN
    If you are going to argue that subjective morality is inconsistent with the definition of morality then I ask that you SUPPORT OR RETRACT that assertion and please use a dictionary link if you do choose to try to support it.
    I offered argumentation regarding the very idea of morality.

    Quote Originally Posted by MICAN
    Right. I misunderstood. And I conceded in the OP that if morality is objective, it is inherently superior to subjective morality so there is absolutely no point in arguing that objective morality is superior if morality is indeed objective.

    Just be clear (maybe you didn't read the OP well enough) my point is that whichever one is correct is the superior one. If we don't know which is correct (and I hold that we do not), then we likewise don't know which is superior.
    I'm arguing that we do know which one is correct. There is an objective moral truth, and all possible versions of it negate and make nonsensical subjective morality.
    It is also not possible to have another version, IE the list is exhaustive.


    Quote Originally Posted by MICAN
    You've supported that objective morality exists? If so, I didn't recognize it. So assuming you are arguing that objective morality indeed exists, please state your argument and make it clear that you are arguing that.
    There are two possible choices.
    1 Objective moral laws exist
    2 Objective moral laws do not exist
    (exhaustive list)

    given 1 or 2, there still remains objective moral truths. (Namely the truth of 1 or 2).

    "Subjective moral values" claims the truth of #2. However this truth, means that their subjective claims (whatever they are) are actually false.
    Think murder is morally wrong? Sorry, the objective moral truth is that the act is objectivly neutral.

    Quote Originally Posted by MICAN
    No, I am subjectively saying that they are wrong. I'm not a God telling these men that they are objectively wrong. I'm an observer giving my moral view on the issue and these men are as free to disagree with me as they are free to disagree with the woman.

    And since being in the majority does not make anyone right in regards to subjective morality, the number of people on the island is irrelevant. If there was one man enslaving two women or two men enslaving one woman, the men are just as wrong in each scenario by the subjective standard that I have.
    ... Yea, on an island you don't exist on.. you kinda don't get an opinion.
    You need to limit your response to what is actually going on, on the given island.
    That you do or do not like the island... is irrelevant.
    If you wish to inject yourself onto the island, then you become effectivly a 4th person on the island. Which means youneed to explain why that is a suprior example, and what we learn from it.

    Quote Originally Posted by MICAN
    The flaw has nothing to do with the number of people on the island. The flaw in your argument is limiting the moral options to:

    "1) There is an objective moral law, and one or both of the parties is either right or wrong according to that law. (be it known or not)
    2) There is only the objective truth that their actions whatever are morally neutral, and no moral wrong is possible, thus they are both inherently wrong in their views.
    3) We change the language of morality to personal taste and majority rule, and the women is thus wrong and the men the highest moral beings conceivable."

    As I said, there's a fourth option (restated) - 4) I subjectively hold that the men are morally wrong in this situation.
    That is not a possible option. I think I addressed it above.

    My #1 2 and 3 are not my opinion about the goings on. They are a list of possible truths about the nature of the total universe (here shrunk for simplicity).
    Your #4 is not making an observation about the universe, it is making an observation about your personal state of mind. As you are not on the island, your state of mind is specifically excluded.
    Further, your state of mind or a kind like it is already part of the world.

    Quote Originally Posted by MICAN
    As I've said in previous debates - questions are not arguments.
    They are not arguments, they are questions to help me understand.

    Quote Originally Posted by MICAN
    And I've probably said this before, but one reason I sometimes don't answer questions is because it shifts the burden. If I were to answer some of the questions you can follow up with more questions - basically putting the burden on me to defend subjective morality. But I have no burden to defend subjective morality before you attack it. So I ask that if you are going to attack subjective morality, then you need to make an argument against it.
    Fine, I'll move forward assuming you accept my understanding of subjective morality as accurate.

    I think you are a bit over scared to answer questions that are intended to illuminate the issueif only to properly understand exactly what it is you mean.
    I have already made my actual argument.. so I will leave it at that. I hope you properly understand the argument.
    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.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    If it isn't objectively morally neutral, then by the definition of neutral it must have some inherent positive or negative value.
    NO! If there is no objective morality, then nothing has any internet positive or negative value as well as no inherent neutral value. You are clear that in this point we are discussing the ramifications of objective morality not existing, right?

    If not, let me re-state my position here - IF objective morality does not exist, then nothing is objectively morally neutral. Obviously any argument regarding the lack of objective morality has to start from the premise that objective morality does not exist (or else it fails to examine the ramifications of such a lack).


    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    If you think that morals are subjective, you believe that they are projected onto things. Now I realize you think they become real.
    So imagine it as a canvas. If moral laws exist, then that means the canvas already has colors on it. The picture is already set.
    So if there are no moral laws, then there stands a blank canvas. If morals are subjective then your saying your the artist, or society or .. whatever, have the brush.
    You seem to be tempted to deny the existance of the canvas.
    From the perspective of subjective morality, THE canvas does not exist (as in there's just one canvas) so I do deny it (from the subjective perspective). From the subjective perspective, everyone has their own canvas so THE canvas does not exist.

    So there is no singular canvas where morally neutral actions contribute no color as there is no singular canvas at all (from the subjective perspective).


    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    I offered argumentation regarding the very idea of morality.
    I asked that you SUPPORT OR RETRACT the notion that subjective morality is inconsistent with the definition of morality which means that you must present an argument that supports that assertion. Vaguely referring to some argument you apparently already made does not suffice.

    So I will ignore this point due to lack of support until you do provide a supported argument for it.



    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    I'm arguing that we do know which one is correct. There is an objective moral truth, and all possible versions of it negate and make nonsensical subjective morality.
    OK. Now SUPPORT OR RETRACT this argument that there is indeed objective moral truth.




    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    There are two possible choices.
    1 Objective moral laws exist
    2 Objective moral laws do not exist
    (exhaustive list)

    given 1 or 2, there still remains objective moral truths. (Namely the truth of 1 or 2).

    "Subjective moral values" claims the truth of #2. However this truth, means that their subjective claims (whatever they are) are actually false.
    Think murder is morally wrong? Sorry, the objective moral truth is that the act is objectivly neutral.
    You can't base an argument on a premise that I am currently challenging in another part of the post.

    Again, if there is no objective morality, then NOTHING is objectively morally neutral.

    So I reject this argument.




    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    ... Yea, on an island you don't exist on.. you kinda don't get an opinion.
    You need to limit your response to what is actually going on, on the given island.
    I am. I am responding to events on the island and saying that what the men are doing are immoral.


    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    That is not a possible option. I think I addressed it above.

    My #1 2 and 3 are not my opinion about the goings on. They are a list of possible truths about the nature of the total universe (here shrunk for simplicity).
    Your #4 is not making an observation about the universe, it is making an observation about your personal state of mind.
    No. Point 3 is not a list of the possible truth. Quite simply, points 1 and 2 are based on objective morality and point 3 is based on subjective morality and therefore introduces an observer who reacts to the situation (and of course subjective morality always has an observer). So if allow point 3 then we all point 4. If we omit points 3 & 4, then your island scenario only refers to objective morality and says nothing about subjective morality. Here's point 3 for reference.

    "3) We change the language of morality to personal taste and majority rule, and the women is thus wrong and the men the highest moral beings conceivable."




    Quote Originally Posted by MindTrap028 View Post
    Fine, I'll move forward assuming you accept my understanding of subjective morality as accurate.

    I think you are a bit over scared to answer questions that are intended to illuminate the issueif only to properly understand exactly what it is you mean.
    I have already made my actual argument.. so I will leave it at that. I hope you properly understand the argument.
    You can ask me questions about MY arguments for clarification.

    But did I bring up an argument where asking "Can everyone alive really be wrong under the idea of subjective morality?" would clarify what I meant? I don't think so. It appears to me that you are attempting to forward the issue of whether anyone can be wrong under the idea of subjective morality and that's fine if you want to forward that issue but if you introduce it then you have the burden to support whatever point you may want to make regarding that which means you need to introduce that concept in an argument, not a question.
    Last edited by mican333; April 3rd, 2017 at 08:39 AM.

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    Re: Objective morality vs. subjective morality

    I usually find the whole "objective vs subjective morality" debate quite tiresome and pointless.
    What we do every day is called "situational morality/ethics". Our laws are based on the value assessments of situational ethics. Heck, even the examples provided in debates on morality usually have some aspect of a very specific situation (two men and a woman on an island).

    All that is required is for us to agree to care about human well-being. Once we agree to care about well-being, the objective/subjective debate is moot.

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    Re: Objective morality vs. subjective morality

    Quote Originally Posted by futureboy View Post
    I usually find the whole "objective vs subjective morality" debate quite tiresome and pointless.
    What we do every day is called "situational morality/ethics". Our laws are based on the value assessments of situational ethics. Heck, even the examples provided in debates on morality usually have some aspect of a very specific situation (two men and a woman on an island).

    All that is required is for us to agree to care about human well-being. Once we agree to care about well-being, the objective/subjective debate is moot.
    In day-to-day application, yes. But I don't think debating the actual source of morality is inherently uninteresting even if no applicable results occur.
    Last edited by mican333; April 3rd, 2017 at 08:33 AM.

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    Re: Objective morality vs. subjective morality

    I wanted to get a few definitions of morality before I really answered this question. I found two with important distinctions.

    Cambridge Dictionary:

    a personal or social set of standards for good or bad behavior and character, or the quality of being right and honest
    Source: Websters:

    a doctrine or system of moral conduct
    the basic law which an adequate morality ought to state Marjorie Grene
    b moralities plural : particular moral principles or rules of conduct
    we were all brought up on one of these moralities Psychiatry
    Source: The key difference here is, at least in my opinion on where this morality comes from, as Cambridge states it's a set of social or personal standards.

    Next I wanted to make sure I was clear on what objective meant:

    Cambridge:

    not influenced by personal beliefs or feelings; fair or real
    Source: Websters (had a few but I chose this one):
    expressing or dealing with facts or conditions as perceived without distortion by personal feelings, prejudices, or interpretations objective art an objective history of the war an objective judgment
    If I accept the first definition of morality, and the two definitions of objective then I must come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as "objective" morality.

    Since I do not believe an objective morality can exist I come to the conclusion that morality is strictly subjective, or relative/contextual.

    Unless someone is able to prove the superiority of say a god being, or a particular person/organization, our understanding of morality, and even our practice of morals, is subjective and therefore based more on who has the ability to enforce their morals.

    I did have a question on Mican's point:
    I
    f not, let me re-state my position here - IF objective morality does not exist, then nothing is objectively morally neutral. Obviously any argument regarding the lack of objective morality has to start from the premise that objective morality does not exist (or else it fails to examine the ramifications of such a lack).
    I want to make sure I understand this point as I think I agree with it. If I believe objective morality does not exist then there is no moral neutrality. Which would then imply we are not "right" or "wrong" in our action since there is no higher authority.
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    Re: Objective morality vs. subjective morality

    Quote Originally Posted by DevilPup John View Post
    If I accept the first definition of morality, and the two definitions of objective then I must come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as "objective" morality.
    While I agree with your logic, a common notion of objective morality is that there is an external being, often considered God, who likewise has a "personal" morality and that this being's morality is greater than our own. For example, if God has determined that murder is immoral, then since God is the creator of the universe, it is as pointless to argue with God on this as it would be for a fictional character to argue with the author of the novel that he inhabits about the aspects of the world that the author created. So given that, if God says that murder is immoral it's basically a fact that it is immoral.

    So without getting into some specific semantic debate, I would say that if God exists and has deemed that murder is immoral then one can say that murder is objectively immoral.

    To be clear, I am arguing neither that God does exist and has rendered murder objectively immoral but only that such a thing is possible (I take the agnostic view on God's existence.


    Quote Originally Posted by DevilPup John View Post
    Unless someone is able to prove the superiority of say a god being, or a particular person/organization, our understanding of morality, and even our practice of morals, is subjective and therefore based more on who has the ability to enforce their morals.
    But if we don't know if God exists then we don't know if objective morality exists so it might exist.


    Quote Originally Posted by DevilPup John View Post
    I want to make sure I understand this point as I think I agree with it. If I believe objective morality does not exist then there is no moral neutrality. Which would then imply we are not "right" or "wrong" in our action since there is no higher authority.
    That's what I hold. Morally neutral is a value so if there are not objective moral values then there is no objective neutral morality.

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    Re: Objective morality vs. subjective morality

    Quote Originally Posted by mican333 View Post
    While I agree with your logic, a common notion of objective morality is that there is an external being, often considered God, who likewise has a "personal" morality and that this being's morality is greater than our own. For example, if God has determined that murder is immoral, then since God is the creator of the universe, it is as pointless to argue with God on this as it would be for a fictional character to argue with the author of the novel that he inhabits about the aspects of the world that the author created. So given that, if God says that murder is immoral it's basically a fact that it is immoral.

    So without getting into some specific semantic debate, I would say that if God exists and has deemed that murder is immoral then one can say that murder is objectively immoral.

    To be clear, I am arguing neither that God does exist and has rendered murder objectively immoral but only that such a thing is possible (I take the agnostic view on God's existence.




    But if we don't know if God exists then we don't know if objective morality exists so it might exist.




    That's what I hold. Morally neutral is a value so if there are not objective moral values then there is no objective neutral morality.
    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?

    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.

    Perhaps it's me coming from a more "I can only be confident in what I can prove" mindset. While I believe in God, I can't prove it. Therefore while I may accept a Christian morality I can't say with any confidence it's truly objective; as I can't prove the existence of an Omnipotent being.

    We can prove there are text that claim X Y Z from or by God; but if those turn out to be false can they be truly objective?
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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.

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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.

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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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    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.

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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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    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.

 

 
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