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  1. #41
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    Jan 2016
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    Re: Is/Ought Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by Dionysus View Post
    "I'm sure that we, and all rational and reasonable people, could agree that some actions are definitely wrong", "[I]Who, in their right mind, would say torturing a baby for fun is right? The person would have to be deranged.
    Though there have been instances that humans killed (sacrificed) throughout history. So WE all agree it's wrong, but obviously a great many have disagreed historically.

  2. #42
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    Jun 2017
    Ontario, Canada
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    Re: Is/Ought Problem

    Quote Originally Posted by CliveStaples View Post
    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?
    I was applying meaning to goodness or VALUES in the is/ought problem on the one hand and also how the distinction is made between subjective beings. So I was applying the term to how you get a goodness or value (what SHOULD BE) from what is (the descriptive). How do you derive a measure from what is (the descriptive)? Then, is it just subjective preference that establishes it? What makes that good? I was asking Dionysus to give his view on the matter. Is it established by goal-driven behavior, in his opinion, or by other opinion, which I see as the same - preference?

    So, I see a two-fold problem, 1) the is/ought problem and 2) the problem of subjective being and values in determining meaning.


  3. #43
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    Apr 2018
    South Windsor, CT
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    Re: Is/Ought Problem

    I hold that what "ought" to be, in what I perceive to be the common sense of the phrase, can be derived from fact.

    Nothing inherently ought to be a certain way, because nothing matters. It doesn't matter whether x universes exist, nor whether the inhabitants of those realms experience happiness. Thus is the nature of facts. The question of what ought to be is a purely a question of organisms, since this question only has meaning from the perspective of a consciousness with desires. In a common sense, I believe, moral action can be considered that which produces happiness for others, or satisfies their desires, known and unknown. One can (although it is often extremely difficult to) know which action produces maximal happiness.

    If one can know what produces the most happiness, then one can objectively define morality. From Dionysus' original post:
    [...] how do we derive moral truths in the absence of objective facts about the universe?
    If there are no facts, no truth may exist (I assume). To pervert this situation slightly, we may assume that the chaos of a fact-less universe is a known fact. Knowing this, conscious organisms in this universe will need to decide whether they will be happier apathetically ignoring their condition or striving fruitlessly to fix it. Of course, knowledge of whether they will be happier in apathy or strife requires knowledge, thus fact, further perverting the model. Short answer: we cannot.
    Are objective moral truths a kind of fact?
    Yes, if it can be objectively determined what produces maximal happiness.
    If so, what other facts support them?
    The factual knowledge of what makes people maximally happy.
    Are they self-evident facts i.e. simply brute facts of the universe?
    The facts of what make organisms happy can be facts, but the derived moral facts are only factual relative to that organism. For example: Organism N has one source of happiness, and this is the presence of object G. It is then a brute fact that the presence of G with N produces happiness for N. G is not inherently good or moral, but is factually moral (i.e. produces maximal happiness) from the perspective of N. Let's say N has a comrade M who receives enjoyment from H. N possesses H and M possesses G. The objectively moral thing would be for the exchange of G and H between N and M. From the perspective of the universe, however (if we are to poetically assume its consciousness), it does not matter whether N or M reach maximal happiness.

    So, a mathematical perspective on morality. Consider a happiness function H(n), which takes in all data n about a universe and returns the happiness. If maximal morality is considered to be maximal happiness, then the maximal morality is the absolute maximum of H(n), or a matrix of data u where H(u) > H(v) where v is each member of the set of all universe matrices excluding u.
    Last edited by YaprakDolma; April 28th, 2018 at 01:27 PM.


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