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  1. #21
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    Re: Is/Ought Problem

    Thanks for your reply, MT. I'm not quoting this time because I don't want this to become a cluttered mess of quote boxes, but please know that I did read your reply, and if I've short-changed you, please do point it out.

    To your first point, I don't see that Hume was distinguishing between different kinds of facts. I don't even know if there are different kinds of facts, if we're talking about whether or not a thing is actually true. But let's take your suggestion that we can derive moral facts by means of moral facts; I don't see how such a claim isn't tautological. It's like saying that we can know what's in the closed box because we know what's in the closed box.

    On the other hand, let's suppose that moral facts are simply brute facts i.e. they are true in and of themselves. It is their nature that makes them good or evil. In that case, it seems to undermine Divine Command Theory, for reasons already submitted.

    Last, for now and with respect, I won't describe my moral position on anything, because I'm currently focused on the argument at hand. My position on the moral value of "X" has no bearing on whether or not we can derive moral truths in the absence of objective facts.

  2. #22
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    Re: Is/Ought Problem

    Not a problem with lack of quotes.

    I agree that Hume was distinguishing between different kinds of facts. However, if we are going to grant that there are moral facts, then how do we apply that to Humes argument?
    My attempt at an application is to say that Moral facts are categorical. So that Humes argument "is/ought fallacy" can only apply to facts that are categorically irrelevant to the moral nature of something.. (or moral facts).

    So we have a description of an event that has "facts" attached to it.
    Bob dressed in his white coat, killed Tom who was dressed in his red coat, because Bob was enraged with Jealousy.
    Now, clearly that is not a complete description, and as we add "facts" to that truthful description we will have a more complete picture.
    Hume is saying that fromm the "Is" facts above, we can't derive an "Ought". So my point is that is ONLY true, if one of the facts above is not also a "moral fact". So I would say that if we had a complete and truthful description it would include a "moral fact" about the event.
    And we are granting that there are "moral facts" for the thread. ... (Does that make sense?)

    As to your point of DCT, I'm trying to limit my response to "just the facts". So that it is enough to answer the OP with the above. While DCT would explore Gods relationship to the facts, I agree with your earlier point that it is probably off topic.

    I do think my questions remain.
    1) If moral facts are not to be found in the complete and accurate description of an event, then is it the case that such events objectively lack a moral element?
    2) If someone argues that God doesn't exist, and that there are still moral facts in the complete and accurate description of an event, wouldn't that fact still be arbitrary (per the objection to DCT). (See post 14)
    3) (ADDED question) Wouldn't a lack of a moral fact in the complete and accurate description of an even, itself be a moral fact? So that moral facts exist is necessarily true?
    To serve man.

  3. #23
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    Re: Is/Ought Problem

    I don't see where you're saying anything new, here. From what I can tell, you're still essentially saying that we can derive moral facts from moral facts. Or, put another way, we can derive oughts from oughts. Again, I don't see how this isn't flatly tautological.

  4. #24
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    Re: Is/Ought Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Well, without God isn't how I described it. Do you agree that it is a problem as I've described it?
    Yes. It is a problem up to the point of objective moral truths being derived from objective Being, not quantitative facts.

    In short, "is" statements are descriptive (what IS the case), where "ought" statements are normative (what should or ought to be the case). Hume's argument is that you cannot derive what OUGHT to be the case by reference to what IS the case. Or, put another way, you cannot derive moral truths by reference to any facts.
    Agreed!

    So, assuming there are objective moral truths, how do we derive moral truths in the absence of objective facts about the universe?
    You don't, if I understand the problem. We derive moral truths from a Being who transcends the universe. That is how I CAN make sense of morality. If it is all relative and subjective I can't make sense of why your views are any better than mine. If you have the power to force your ideas on me then I can either suffer the consequences of rebelling (which could be death) or give in to alowing you the say for now.

    Are objective moral truths a kind of fact? If so, what other facts support them? Are they self-evident facts i.e. simply brute facts of the universe?
    Objective moral facts/truths can't be equivocated with objective quantitative facts/truths because they are not of the same kind of fact. The nature of the two types of facts is different.

    A quantitative fact is a tangible, literal, material, substantive fact and can be measured by physical means - by weight, by length, by shape, by color, etc.

    A qualitative fact is abstract, non-physical, intangible and cannot be measured by physical means. Goodness does not have the properties of weight or length or shape or color. You can't grab hold of it and say this shape equals good. You can't say the good is green or red, that it weighs this much, that it is this long, etc.

    Peter

  5. #25
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    Re: Is/Ought Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by PGA2 View Post
    You don't, if I understand the problem. We derive moral truths from a Being who transcends the universe.
    But, if we cannot derive moral truths from facts i.e. statements that map to actual reality, doesn't that mean that the statement "There is a being who transcends the universe" is not a factual statement

    I don't understand how you're concluding that there are different kinds of facts when we're talking about whether or not a thing is true. Either a thing is true, or it is not true i.e. a fact, or not a fact. Whether or not we have, or even can, obtain these facts has no bearing on whether or not the thing in question is a fact.

    Now, when you're talking about different kinds of facts such as quantitative vs qualitative e.g. mathematical facts vs. subjective opinion, that's fine and I can, to a small degree, appreciate what you're getting at. But I doubt that Hume's was referring to mere opinions as "facts" in his argument, nor do I think you're claiming that God is a mere matter of opinion. You HAVE said that, without God, "good" is a mere matter of opinion. But you haven't made clear how inserting him removes that subjective element, especially after suggesting that the means by which we derive goodness is by our own subjective experience with him. That simply adds another layer of subjectivity.

  6. #26
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    Re: Is/Ought Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    I don't see where you're saying anything new, here. From what I can tell, you're still essentially saying that we can derive moral facts from moral facts. Or, put another way, we can derive oughts from oughts. Again, I don't see how this isn't flatly tautological.
    Well my point is that such facts would be perceived by our senses just like every other fact. Are not facts about smells tautological? Or do we derive smells from some other facts? My point is how is it a problem?
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  8. #27
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    Re: Is/Ought Problem

    Oh, ok. Sorry MT. I was a little dense on your point. If we accept that there are objective reasons to do or not do a thing, then I don't see a problem. For example, if we know that:

    1. Rape harms the victim, and (aside, let's not get bogged down with how we define "harm"; surely we can agree that "harm" actually has a meaning that bears on moral acts)
    2. In order to be a moral agent, you have to be capable of understanding reasons to do or not do certain things (bees cannot perform moral acts, for example), then
    3. We can say that there are reasons to not rape that transcend individual opinions of rape.

    However, without arguing against your point (which I understand and am sympathetic to) let me say that things we can detect with our senses probably aren't the best examples with which to compare moral truths, because the reason we can detect things like taste and color and sound and smell is precisely because they fall unambiguously into the realm of facts. Things that we can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell are real irrespective of whether or not we could ever see, hear, touch, taste, and/or smell them.

    Having said that, I hear and understand your point about certain moral truths being objective irrespective of opinion; they are brute facts. I see that you and Peter regard some acts as immoral in this way (and I'll leave alone the problems this imposes on Divine Command Theory from here on out).

    As a point of interest, I've heard some secular moral philosophers couch their moral beliefs in theories where they try to imagine how they would construct a moral framework if they were perfect reasoners. They give deference to things like what in means to be a moral agent, the principles of harm and help, and what these things mean under the relevant circumstances; they impose a metaphysical veil of ignorance where a perfect reasoner would ignore their own position in society so as to avoid giving themselves a particular advantage, etc. When I consider theistic arguments for objective morality, and compare them to atheistic ones (and by "atheistic" I simply mean those arguments that don't make the use of any kind of deity in their structure), what's interesting to me about them is that both arguments have a perfect reasoner; it's just that one group believes the perfect reasoner is real, and the other believes it's hypothetical.

    Anyway, interesting discussion.

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  10. #28
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    Re: Is/Ought Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by PGA2
    You don't if I understand the problem. We derive moral truths from a Being who transcends the universe.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    But, if we cannot derive moral truths from facts i.e. statements that map to actual reality, doesn't that mean that the statement "There is a being who transcends the universe" is not a factual statement
    Are you associating all facts to empirical data? You are definitely doing that with God. Why is the universe here? Is there no reason (as you ponder the reason)? Why do you continually find reasons in a chance universe? Why would you EXPECT to find reasons in a mindless universe - Can you answer that? So, I see the creation of the universe screaming of its Maker.

    You discover what is factual though reason and logic. How are the laws of logic empirical? They are necessary for communication, but grab hold of one and weigh it for me.

    How do you derive morality as a fact when it is not empirically verifiable? I hope you have thought of these questions and that your worldview has a SUFFICIENT answer for them.

    Answer me this - Why is your subjective view of good better than my subjective view if the two oppose each other? How do you verify it is, by popular opinion? By what YOU consider well-being or beneficial? Hitler thought that exterminating Jews was beneficial.

    For my worldview, all facts are God's facts, for He is the Creator of all facts and understands everything about them. When we discover something as factual/true, we are thinking God's thoughts after Him. Granting God is real, He has what is necessary for knowing truth and morality. He is that Being necessary in determining goodness, for He is the unchanging, fixed measure that we can compare a qualitative value to. Without Him, it is all a struggle for power and usually for selfish gains.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    I don't understand how you're concluding that there are different kinds of facts when we're talking about whether or not a thing is true. Either a thing is true, or it is not true i.e. a fact, or not a fact. Whether or not we have, or even can, obtain these facts has no bearing on whether or not the thing in question is a fact.
    Because not everything factual can be verified through empirical means. I think that was a distinction that Hume was making in his assessment of the is/ought problem. You can verify something that is because it is measurable, but how do you do that with something that is not, like an ought? It is intangible, abstract.

    How do you discern which is the fact about two opposing IDEAS on what is the good? It is because you don't like it? Some people do! If I live in a culture that likes to eat people from other cultures, is that good? Your enemy doesn't remain so for long, and it pleases your tummy and social discourse over a relaxing potroast! It good what is beneficial to all? Try offering that concern while they are stuffing you into the boiling cauldron.

    How do you discern which is the faster person in a race? You have empirical means to do so.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Now, when you're talking about different kinds of facts such as quantitative vs qualitative e.g. mathematical facts vs. subjective opinion, that's fine and I can, to a small degree, appreciate what you're getting at. But I doubt that Hume's was referring to mere opinions as "facts" in his argument, nor do I think you're claiming that God is a mere matter of opinion. You HAVE said that, without God, "good" is a mere matter of opinion. But you haven't made clear how inserting him removes that subjective element, especially after suggesting that the means by which we derive goodness is by our own subjective experience with him. That simply adds another layer of subjectivity.
    Hume was an empiricist. I believe Hume was identifying the problem of getting to ought from is, from what SHOULD be from what is.

    Hume says here that no ought-judgment may be correctly inferred from a set of premises expressed only in terms of ‘is,’ and the vulgar systems of morality commit this logical fallacy...
    Some interpreters think Hume commits himself here to a non-propositional or noncognitivist view of moral judgment — the view that moral judgments do not state facts and are not truth-evaluable...
    If moral evaluations are merely expressions of feeling without propositional content, then, of course, they cannot be inferred from any propositional premises.)


    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/hume-moral/#io

    So, to my mind, it comes down to what is (the empirical and what is empirically justifiable) to what ought to be (abstract values and that which you can't see or measure - a concept that you call good). Can you say something is good (the concept of ought) without empirically verifying it or without it just being a subjective opinion? Only if it is objective and universally. That is what truth is. Where do you see this objectivity in the world? I think most people know some things are universal and absolute for the reason they are created in the image and likeness of God. Other than that (God), I don't know how you get there.

    I believe God has left us many proofs of His existence, the universe speaks to us of His glory and majesty. Whether you recognize that is a different matter.

    His word is another proof. It speaks to us of what is good and what is evil, what should be done and what ought not be done.

    The fact of His word that is empirically verifiable is prophecy. It is reasonable and logical to believe because the facts available support it (i.e., the Mosaic Covenant continually looks forward to the restoration of all things). That finds its fulfillment in the destruction of the OT enconomy which is replaced with the eternal New Covenant economy). AD 70, as foretold in the OT, is what the NT centers around (the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple worship system), other than the Messiah (of course).

    So, He has left us a written revelation of who He is and the problem with humanity.

    You either place your own subjective authority above that of the Bible, or you place it as the highest authority. I believe doing the latter is what makes sense of reality, of what is. It makes sense of morality, of how we know the ought. It makes sense of truth, because there is a necessary standard. I do not see your standard as necessary to determine truth.

    Peter

  11. #29
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    Re: Is/Ought Problem

    Peter,

    Iím not concerned in the least about empiricism or the scientific method, of any of that. At the end of the day, when I say ďfactĒ, Iím referring to things that correspond accurately with reality. Either a thing is true, or it is not true. Either a thing is a fact, or it is not a fact. A fact is a thing that IS. And if we canít employ things that ARE to authenticate moral truths, then it raises the question: If we canít derive moral truths from facts, what can we derive them from?

    You assert a litany of things we can employ to derive moral truths, but if those things actually correspond to reality i.e. they are FACTS, then we canít utilize them to authenticate moral truths.

    ---------- Post added at 03:37 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:44 PM ----------

    ADDENDUM: Peter, I get the sense that you approached this discussion armed with experience from other discussions, where someone was claiming that theistic morality is flawed for this reason or that, or secular moralism is better for this reason or that. I say this because it seems like every time you post, youíre compelled to explain the Christian doctrine of salvation to me. While I appreciate your words, you should know that I understand the doctrine quite well and, respectfully, Iím not interested in the least in that discussion. Note that Iíve not made an argument of any kind that lambasts theistic moralism, or promotes secular moralism (or vise versa). Iím simply positing a question.

  12. #30
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    Re: Is/Ought Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by DIO
    Oh, ok. Sorry MT. I was a little dense on your point. If we accept that there are objective reasons to do or not do a thing, then I don't see a problem. For example, if we know that:
    Sorry, I could have been more precise and clear.

    Quote Originally Posted by DIO
    However, without arguing against your point (which I understand and am sympathetic to) let me say that things we can detect with our senses probably aren't the best examples with which to compare moral truths, because the reason we can detect things like taste and color and sound and smell is precisely because they fall unambiguously into the realm of facts. Things that we can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell are real irrespective of whether or not we could ever see, hear, touch, taste, and/or smell them.
    Before I respond to defend the example as valid..
    Any suggestion for an alternative example?


    A note on this. The point about clarity of facts is an interesting one. I mean I do propose that we have a "moral sense". Biblical this sense is that we know when wrong is done to us as unambiguously as we would a sound or taste etc. (see Romans 2:1-4)
    This is not to say that we have a "perfect" moral sense, only that we do have one. Our reaction to various evils that are done to us is not "it is my opinion that that person ought not to have done that", no I think everyone senses that it was really wrong, and the language that comes from our mouths in accusation are in line with objective morality. I think you are overstating the unambiguous nature of the other kinds of facts, or understating the unambiguous nature of moral facts.

    I think the comparison to the other senses makes perfect sense when we recognize that the evidences of sight are not very helpful to those who are blind. Could you imagine trying to prove the pyramids to a blind person appealing only to visual proofs? If he denied the existence of visual proofs at all, couldn't they make similar arguments as those that are marshalled against objective moral facts?
    What about a person who can see, but thinks they are the source of that vision? (which would be more like the subjective/objective discussion that is had). You hold up a picture and they see it correctly (like rape for fun is wrong), and they respond. Well we just agree on what the picture looks like, that isn't proof of an objective picture. How could you approach such a person?

    Quote Originally Posted by DIO
    As a point of interest, I've heard some secular moral philosophers couch their moral beliefs in theories where they try to imagine how they would construct a moral framework if they were perfect reasoners. They give deference to things like what in means to be a moral agent, the principles of harm and help, and what these things mean under the relevant circumstances; they impose a metaphysical veil of ignorance where a perfect reasoner would ignore their own position in society so as to avoid giving themselves a particular advantage, etc. When I consider theistic arguments for objective morality, and compare them to atheistic ones (and by "atheistic" I simply mean those arguments that don't make the use of any kind of deity in their structure), what's interesting to me about them is that both arguments have a perfect reasoner; it's just that one group believes the perfect reasoner is real, and the other believes it's hypothetical.

    Anyway, interesting discussion.
    That is really interesting.. never thought of it that way. I was surprised to hear an atheist arguing that there are objective moral facts apart from God. Which I thought part of your challenge regarding DCT applied to as well. Namely the arbitrary nature of those objective facts if they are ultimately dependent on something outside themselves.
    To serve man.

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  14. #31
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    Re: Is/Ought Problem

    I can get behind an intuition about morality. The only reason I pushed back against the comparison to the senses is because of the noises being made in this thread about facts having no relationship with moral values (note that the is/ought argument is Hume's, not mine). Biologists have witnessed what is arguably the emergence of moral behavior in primates, so it's no surprise to me at all that people exhibit more sophisticated expressions of the same thing.

    What I find strange is the theistic moralist's notion that padding their position with subjective experience with God somehow authenticates their brand of morality; as if simply saying that there's some external, transcendent standard makes it so that any moral insight presented by the secularist is lessened somehow. All throughout this thread (and over the years) I've heard over and over how God is beyond empiricism; how he transcends the natural world and is thus outside the realm of scientific inquiry; how he reveals himself to individuals in a profound and personal way.

    If having an individual relationship with a non-physical being who is only accessible by some form of revelation isn't a subjective experience, then I don't know what is.

    So on the one hand, we hear sounds from the theist camp like 'all the atheist can possibly offer to the moral conversation is subjective opinion', and at the same time we'll hear that the theist's relationship with God - the claimed source of morality - is personal; that it lies outside the realm of scientific inquiry - that it is entirely and unequivocally subjective.

    What makes it even more interesting are the deferences to reason when it comes to deriving moral truths, duties, and values - "I'm sure that we, and all rational and reasonable people, could agree that some actions are definitely wrong", "Who, in their right mind, would say torturing a baby for fun is right? The person would have to be deranged." Yet when the secularist expresses and/or wholly agrees the same intuitions, their views are distilled down by the theist to mere flights of fancy; fluttering, whimsical opinion that blows around on the wind.

    Anyway, thanks for your thoughts.

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  16. #32
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    Re: Is/Ought Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Peter,

    I’m not concerned in the least about empiricism or the scientific method, of any of that. At the end of the day, when I say “fact”, I’m referring to things that correspond accurately with reality. Either a thing is true, or it is not true. Either a thing is a fact, or it is not a fact. A fact is a thing that IS. And if we can’t employ things that ARE to authenticate moral truths, then it raises the question: If we can’t derive moral truths from facts, what can we derive them from?
    From God (to your last sentence).

    I see a few problems with your statement. The problem Hume distinguished as the is/ought problem (the heart of the discussion). Another is what Pilate identified as What is truth? The third is a problem of epistemology. How do we know what we know?

    We have a physical reference for a quantitative truth. We can measure what is physical with physical means. How do you measure goodness? It is not a physical substance. Thus it defies the empirical method of measuring it unless you believe goal oriented behavior determine morality. Then it becomes whose goals and why?

    Please define what reality means to you.
    For me, I see God corresponding accurately with reality. For me, reality means God and what He has created, and revealed.

    When you say, "either a thing is true, or it is not true" as to qualifying as a fact, I see God's revelation as being true. If this is the case then, by your definition God would be a fact.

    Is a 'fact' only empirical data (is)? You seem to think so when you say that "a fact is a thing that is." Since you claim to be ignorant of God's existence, you don't know (agnostic) if God is a fact or not. God's existence would not fit the realm of the physical universe.

    The difference between you and me, Dionysus, is when you say fact, reality to you must fit in the box of the natural realm (if you deny God/gods, as agnostics so often do). For you, ignorant of God, facts find an explanation in the physical/natural universe and have not been determined to originate from anything except.

    Empiricism was the worldview of David Hume (knowledge derived by the senses). He looked at the is/ought problem through that mindset. Thus for Hume, it is through experience alone that we can infer one object from another. Since the concept of goodness is not an object, how do you get from an object that "is" to something that ought to be (from the descriptive to the normative or prescriptive; from a natural property to a moralistic property)?

    Is it fair to say you are looking for a solution, or do you have one?

    My guess is you are trying to craft morality after natural facts and a natural world alone.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    You assert a litany of things we can employ to derive moral truths, but if those things actually correspond to reality i.e. they are FACTS, then we can’t utilize them to authenticate moral truths.
    I have asked you questions about how you would do that, Dionysus. I'm interested in how you answer these problems. My worldview can make sense of it. Can yours?

    What is necessary for moral truth? That is what it all boils down to.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    ADDENDUM: Peter, I get the sense that you approached this discussion armed with experience from other discussions, where someone was claiming that theistic morality is flawed for this reason or that, or secular moralism is better for this reason or that. I say this because it seems like every time you post, you’re compelled to explain the Christian doctrine of salvation to me. While I appreciate your words, you should know that I understand the doctrine quite well and, respectfully, I’m not interested in the least in that discussion. Note that I’ve not made an argument of any kind that lambasts theistic moralism, or promotes secular moralism (or vise versa). I’m simply positing a question.
    When you invited the discussion, I came to the table from a Christian perspective. I think I included an explanation regarding soteriology once in our correspondence on this thread. Christianity is my worldview. I'm not ashamed of that. I do not pretend to be neutral. I bring to every conversation underlying fundamental beliefs, just like you do with your worldview. I believe my worldview has an answer for the is/ought problem. I believe it has what is necessary. I do not believe any other worldview can justify it which starts with the natural realm.

    In previous posts, I was explaining why I believe we know good and evil - the problem of humanity, how we get to ought from the is. God has revealed what is morally true. I hold Christianity as a reasonable and justifiable worldview which can explain morality and evil. Moral relativism started in Eden. Apart from the revelation of God how do you get to "good?" Who decides? Why should your goals be the same as mine, and if they are not then what makes either right?

    First, you have the problem of explaining how something that is amoral and mindless gets to that point of producing mindful and moral beings. Then, if established as fact, how do relative, subjective beings derive good from what is (by goal-based behavior or some other means)? Then, why should my goal-based behavior be what your goal-based behavior is? If you have no objective universal standard or measure that is best, it begs the question why your PREFERENCE is any BETTER than that of Hitler's or Kim Jong-un's. They just had the power to act on theirs.

    The Christian explanation - we were created in the image and likeness of God to know good, to reason, to be relational beings, etc. The Fall marred that image. Thus, we have an innate knowledge of what is good that we suppress by our self-centered wants and desires and ignore good by shunning God.

    My answer for the is/ought problem comes from a necessary mind.

    Peter

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    Re: Is/Ought Problem

    Peter,

    I'm not sure what part of "Iím not concerned in the least about empiricism or the scientific method, of any of that" you're grappling with, but your insistence that my views are myopically centered around empiricism are simply mistaken. You describe your intuitions as being founded on your relationship with God, but your relationship with God is, by your own admission, subjective; beyond the tools offered by science and empiricism. That's fine, and I accept that. Nonetheless, presumably you regard these things as facts. But if Hume is correct, then facts have no bearing on our ability to derive moral truths. That is, unless the facts by which we derive moral truths are a part of some special category of facts that elude Hume's observation, and yet are more powerful than either a subjective relationship with a deity, or one's personal intuition.

    ---------- Post added at 02:23 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:04 PM ----------

    ADDENDUM:

    I think Hume's actual words might shed some light on the conversation here:

    "In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remarkíd, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary way of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when of a sudden I am surprizíd to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is, however, of the last consequence. For as this ought, or ought not, expresses some new relation or affirmation,ítis necessary that it shouíd be observíd and explainíd; and at the same time that a reason should be given, for what seems altogether inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it Ö [I] am persuaded, that a small attention [to this point] wouíd subvert all the vulgar systems of morality, and let us see, that the distinction of vice and virtue is not founded merely on the relations of objects, nor is perceivíd by reason."

    Hume isn't speaking of just empirical facts. He's referring to ANY statement one makes to describe what IS (including that God is the moral standard, which is itself a descriptive statement), and people leaping to what ought to be the case based on these things.

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    Re: Is/Ought Problem

    [QUOTE=Dionysus;559054]I can get behind an intuition about morality. The only reason I pushed back against the comparison to the senses is because of the noises being made in this thread about facts having no relationship with moral values (note that the is/ought argument is Hume's, not mine). Biologists have witnessed what is arguably the emergence of moral behavior in primates, so it's no surprise to me at all that people exhibit more sophisticated expressions of the same thing.[QUOTE]

    The question is why one group of human beings needs to exhibit the same "moral" behaviors as another and if they don't then who is right? LOGICALLY, you can't have two opposing views as both being right. It defies the law of identity and it defies the law of non-contradiction.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    What I find strange is the theistic moralist's notion that padding their position with subjective experience with God somehow authenticates their brand of morality; as if simply saying that there's some external, transcendent standard makes it so that any moral insight presented by the secularist is lessened somehow. All throughout this thread (and over the years) I've heard over and over how God is beyond empiricism; how he transcends the natural world and is thus outside the realm of scientific inquiry; how he reveals himself to individuals in a profound and personal way.
    Although our Christian view can be subjective we believe there is an objective necessary source (if rightly interpreted) that can give absolute, objective meaning. The Ten Commandments are clear as to what is taboo. Jesus narrowed them down to two - love God and love your neighbor.

    As for saying there is an external, objective source, the Bible gives us reason to believe this in its unity, prophecy, and necessity in knowing certainty. The universe also is reason to believe in God. People throughout the ages have looked to it and ponderd God.

    Then there is the question of why your agnostic, personal views have any significance, if God did not exist. Why would your views be of any more VALUE than mine?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    If having an individual relationship with a non-physical being who is only accessible by some form of revelation isn't a subjective experience, then I don't know what is.
    You assume the Bible is a subjective revelation. I think you would have trouble in establishing it is. The first question I would ask is how well do you understand its teachings? Let us establish that with prophecy. I take prophecy because I see it as being verifiable with historical data.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    So on the one hand, we hear sounds from the theist camp like 'all the atheist can possibly offer to the moral conversation is subjective opinion', and at the same time we'll hear that the theist's relationship with God - the claimed source of morality - is personal; that it lies outside the realm of scientific inquiry - that it is entirely and unequivocally subjective.
    Is the Bible reasonable to believe? What is your alternative to origins?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    What makes it even more interesting are the deferences to reason when it comes to deriving moral truths, duties, and values - "I'm sure that we, and all rational and reasonable people, could agree that some actions are definitely wrong", "Who, in their right mind, would say torturing a baby for fun is right? The person would have to be deranged." Yet when the secularist expresses and/or wholly agrees the same intuitions, their views are distilled down by the theist to mere flights of fancy; fluttering, whimsical opinion that blows around on the wind.
    Since morality is a mindful process, the question becomes whose mind. It also become why are there mindful beings in a universe that supposedly originates from mindless matter, plus energy, plus chance. Then all the assumptions that go with that worldview. If this worldly existence is not all there is then you had better get it right. If it is, then what does any of this ultimately matter AND why are you making it matter? I see all kinds of inconsistencies in your worldview, and a whole lot you borrow from my Christian worldview.

    Peter

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    Re: Is/Ought Problem

    Peter,

    Please see the addendum in my last post.

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    Re: Is/Ought Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Peter,

    I'm not sure what part of "I’m not concerned in the least about empiricism or the scientific method, of any of that" you're grappling with, but your insistence that my views are myopically centered around empiricism are simply mistaken. You describe your intuitions as being founded on your relationship with God, but your relationship with God is, by your own admission, subjective; beyond the tools offered by science and empiricism. That's fine, and I accept that. Nonetheless, presumably you regard these things as facts. But if Hume is correct, then facts have no bearing on our ability to derive moral truths. That is, unless the facts by which we derive moral truths are a part of some special category of facts that elude Hume's observation, and yet are more powerful than either a subjective relationship with a deity, or one's personal intuition.

    ---------- Post added at 02:23 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:04 PM ----------

    ADDENDUM:

    I think Hume's actual words might shed some light on the conversation here:

    "In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remark’d, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary way of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when of a sudden I am surpriz’d to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is, however, of the last consequence. For as this ought, or ought not, expresses some new relation or affirmation,’tis necessary that it shou’d be observ’d and explain’d; and at the same time that a reason should be given, for what seems altogether inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it … [I] am persuaded, that a small attention [to this point] wou’d subvert all the vulgar systems of morality, and let us see, that the distinction of vice and virtue is not founded merely on the relations of objects, nor is perceiv’d by reason."

    Hume isn't speaking of just empirical facts. He's referring to ANY statement one makes to describe what IS (including that God is the moral standard, which is itself a descriptive statement), and people leaping to what ought to be the case based on these things.
    Then what makes his thoughts of any more value than any other thoughts?

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    Re: Is/Ought Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by PGA2 View Post
    Then what makes his thoughts of any more value than any other thoughts?
    Hey, you tell me. I'm not one to invoke the problem when talking about morality.

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    Re: Is/Ought Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    Hey, you tell me. I'm not one to invoke the problem when talking about morality.
    That is the problem of not having a necessary mind. Where do you derive meaning from?

    And you never come up with a solution. I keep asking you to expose your explanations and you never do. That is a one-sided discussion

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    Re: Is/Ought Problem

    Peter,

    With respect, my intent wasn't to create a two-sided discussion; I'm simply asking the question to see how the Hume argument stands. My views on morality have no bearing on whether or not Hume's argument holds. If you want to talk about solutions, I invite you to create a thread that 1) admits there is a problem and 2) solicits a discussion to work on resolving it.

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    Re: Is/Ought Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by PGA2
    Where do you derive meaning from?
    Do you mean meaning here as in semantic meaning, i.e. the meaning of a phrase or sentence?

    Or do you mean meaning in a grander sense, as in the purpose of life?
    If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe. - Soren Kierkegaard
    **** you, I won't do what you tell me

    HOLY CRAP MY BLOG IS AWESOME

 

 
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