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Moral Skepticism: The Honest Conclusion of Moral Relativism and Moral Language

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posted on Jan, 17 2017 @ 01:24 PM
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originally posted by: JoshuaCox

originally posted by: ServantOfTheLamb
a reply to: JoshuaCox




I think it is all based on relative POV.. Take for example ; "Slavery and slave holders are evil." But everyone's ancestors were slave holders..everyone. So were everyone's ancestors evil?! Through the lenses of the better understanding of modern society, yes all our ancestors were evil. But from their own POV ..not so much.


I am not sure how you think this response shows morality to be relative nor am I sure you completely understand the concept of a moral fact. A moral fact is talking about a indicative moral proposition, or in other words a statement that is true or false independent of your perspective. If our ancestors thought is was morally good to own slaves, then they were mistaken. The very fact that the vast majority of people would call the abolishment of slavery moral progress, but how can something progress if there isn't some outside reference point to which it is progressing towards? I gave you an entire post about why morals are objective and I get maybe five simple assertions with no explanation ? Why quote the whole OP?


I'm on my phone it makes editing quotes unwieldy.

I think things like slavery, genocide , rape, cold blooded murder exc, would all be independent evils.

No matter how you dress it up in revisionist or "for the greater good" history.

What's the saying? "Even if you put a pig in a party dress, it's still a pig."


I don't think the sins of the past and our ancestors were ok just because they didn't know better.


I know you weren't directing this at me, but I wanted to give my take.

I don't disagree with you.

One thing to keep in mind is that our view of morality has been informed by conditions both unique to our era and fundamental to the human condition. Meaning that when we make statements like the above, we make them using our own relative morality. This cannot be helped.

The good news is that human beings throughout history have indeed shared much in common when it comes to morality, and where humans have committed atrocities, they have often known it, and there were often enough people present during that era who disagreed with what was happening to document it for posterity and perhaps, eventually, put an end to it.




posted on Jan, 17 2017 @ 01:25 PM
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a reply to: Greggers




I gave a fairly thorough answer that explained what moral relativism was. It's not about what a person likes or dislikes. It is about a system of rules determined (largely on a subconscious level) by what is, or isn't, threatening to the survival of the individual or the group. Because circumstances change over time, morality changes over time. Some things, however, will be viewed by humans as being immoral regardless of the era because they are core to the standard of how humans evaluate these things.


Who decides whether the individual or the group takes precedence. You see you have a hidden premise here that you are ignoring. The premise is that what threatens the survival of the individual or group is "evil". So what if one makes the case that certain humans have undesirable genes and as such should be eradicated for the betterment of the group. Therefore eradicating the mentally disabled, handicap, and diseased should be considered the morally good, not doing so should be consider an offense against the human race as your endangering the group in the long run. Now I have used your system of ethics to build out an absolute moral atrocity. Or what if I come along and say greggars you've got it all wrong, that which threatens survival and the group is "good" and that which doesn't do so that is "evil". Why should your system be considered more true or even better than my own? You want to call morality relative but when it comes down to it, you won't follow thru with the idea. You want to say that objectively what helps the individual or group is good, and you are not willing to allow room for the person who says it is bad or the person that thinks killing off vast portions of the population is in the long run the best thing for man. You want to call his ethical system wrong, but not admit that it is only wrong from your perspective.




Human beings have far more complex forebrains than the great apes. Our concepts of morality manifest themselves in far more varied and complex ways. However, research has shown than the precursors of human morality are indeed evidence in the societies of lesser primates. The root of moral behavior seems to be compassion, for others and for the group, which from an evolutionary perspective was critical to the survival of social primates.


I am not sure how this answers my point. My point was that we are prompted by instinct but that there is something else found during introspection that could not be instinct that tells us which impulse we ought to follow.




I didn't say it was the only one. Yes, there are many. Murder, however, is the most fundamental as it directly impacts the survival of the individual and the group.


The shocking thing about morality are not small disagreements about specific values, but the shared values across history and cultures. You still have not realized that what you call "different moral systems" amount to nothing more than disagreements about a particular value. For example, take an Islamic country and the US, in an Islamic country it is considered immodest for a woman to be uncovered in public, in the US it is not. However, neither country values immodesty they simply have different idea about what is modest or immodest. Give me a country or even a village that has a truly different value that they adhere too. Not just a disagreement about what action fits a particular value.




No. What an individual decides is moral for the individual does not dictate what human society determines to be moral, either during a specific era or over the entire, varied course of human history.


This is what I am talking about, you want to claim moral relativism but you don't want to recognize that in order for morals to be relative it must go to the individual level. If an individual disagrees with what society says is moral, then in a relativistic point of view whatever the individual finds immoral is immoral and should be classified as evil from his perspective, and this is preference. When two societies disagree in the context of each society different values would be moral. Now notice I specified different values, and not disagreements about the same value.




Sometimes people condone immoral behavior because they feel no moral option exists. Sometimes because they feel threatened, in which case the "in group" may be redefined. Either way it's the same underlying mechanism.


Who decides the behavior was immoral? Because what you mean by immoral is not accepted in your society, but that doesn't make it truly wrong, it just means your society doesn't like it. This again is nothing more than illusion and reduces down to moral skepticism




What I'm saying is that all morality is relative. But some moral rules are more absolute than others, based upon how core they are to the survivability of the individual and society.


That may be your assertion but you don't speak like a relativist.



posted on Jan, 17 2017 @ 01:33 PM
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originally posted by: ServantOfTheLamb
a reply to: Greggers
Now I have used your system of ethics to build out an absolute moral atrocity.

Seemed like a good idea to the Nazis. It may in fact rear its head at some point in the future. However, there were enough people present during that time who disagreed with the notion to war against it, and human history has been thorough in admonishing such a philosophy.

Remember, the root of human morality is thought to be COMPASSION, for the individual and the group. The decision to engage in "death by eugenics" is decidedly non-compassionate, and therefore likely to be rejected by most people. History shows this to be the case.




I am not sure how this answers my point. My point was that we are prompted by instinct but that there is something else found during introspection that could not be instinct that tells us which impulse we ought to follow.

Yeah. It's called human psychology, as informed by biology and environment. Those big forebrains of ours do that work.






The shocking thing about morality are not small disagreements about specific values, but the shared values across history and cultures. You still have not realized that what you call "different moral systems" amount to nothing more than disagreements about a particular value. For example, take an Islamic country and the US, in an Islamic country it is considered immodest for a woman to be uncovered in public, in the US it is not. However, neither country values immodesty they simply have different idea about what is modest or immodest. Give me a country or even a village that has a truly different value that they adhere too. Not just a disagreement about what action fits a particular value.

In our culture, allowing women to remain uncovered in public is not viewed as being dangerous to society. Clearly, in middle-eastern society, it is.






This is what I am talking about, you want to claim moral relativism but you don't want to recognize that in order for morals to be relative it must go to the individual level.

Morality at the individual level is largely meaningless. Morality is sociological. It exists because we are social primates. If we were isolationists, morality would be largely irrelevant to our survival.






Who decides the behavior was immoral?

Everyone. All the time. Throughout history.







That may be your assertion but you don't speak like a relativist.

I speak the truth as I know it.
edit on 17-1-2017 by Greggers because: (no reason given)

edit on 17-1-2017 by Greggers because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 17 2017 @ 01:36 PM
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a reply to: JoshuaCox




I don't think the sins of the past and our ancestors were ok just because they didn't know better.


Then how does that make morality relative to POV? What you really meant was that imagining oneself in a different time and different place one might come to see how they could have owned slaves and not thought anything of it. However, would it not still be the case that slavery is bad even though you can imagine a scenario in which a person may not feel guilty or bad for owning a slave. That is what it means to be objective. If the sins of your past ancestors aren't okay even though they didnt know any better, then aren't you affirming that POV isn't a factor?



posted on Jan, 17 2017 @ 01:49 PM
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a reply to: Greggers




Seemed like a good idea to the Nazis. It may in fact rear its head at some point in the future. However, there were enough people present during that time who disagreed with the notion to war against it, and human history has been thorough in admonishing such a philosophy. Remember, the root of human morality is thought to be COMPASSION, for the individual and the group. The decision to engage in "death by eugenics" is decidedly non-compassionate, and therefore likely to be rejected by most people. History shows this to be the case.


Evolution does not yield truth friend. Even if it is the case that compassion thru social instinct is an explanation for why the majority of humans feel we should be compassionate it does not follow that being compassionate is truly good. Again you want to assert something that has a base and is grounded in truth, but with relativism that doesn't fly because relativism isn't about truth its about perspective and preference. Its inescapable.




Yeah. It's called human psychology, as informed by biology and environment. Those big forebrains of ours do that work.


Yea saying its the brain, without explanation. I am going to need elaboration.




In our culture, allowing women to remain uncovered in public is not viewed as being dangerous to society. Clearly, in middle-eastern society, it is.


In Islam the covering is about modesty and lust. Its a disagreement about what is modest and causes lust. Neither culture condones lust and immodesty however. That seems to be such a simple point.




No it doesn't. Morality is a social construct. It exists because we are social primates. If we were isolationists, morality would be largely irrelevant to our survival.


Yet we have people in History like Jesus or Gandhi that went against the social construct of the day. Jesus was hated in his time. You want to define morality as a social construct but I highly doubt you would call these me moral monsters, but by your moral epistemology that is the conclusion someone truly following the logic would have to draw.




Everyone. All the time. Throughout history.



...now you've moved to the individual level when you just denied it...its obvious everyone doesn't agree so if its relative to everyone depending on time and place, then it really isn't at all...which was the first point of the OP



posted on Jan, 17 2017 @ 01:55 PM
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originally posted by: ServantOfTheLamb

Then how does that make morality relative to POV? What you really meant was that imagining oneself in a different time and different place one might come to see how they could have owned slaves and not thought anything of it. However, would it not still be the case that slavery is bad even though you can imagine a scenario in which a person may not feel guilty or bad for owning a slave. That is what it means to be objective. If the sins of your past ancestors aren't okay even though they didnt know any better, then aren't you affirming that POV isn't a factor?


It seems you don't understand the concept at all.

Here is a context in which I might consider slavery not wrong:

A person who does not want any responsibility (for reasons of their own) and prefers to be a slave to another... they prefer to be taken care of, to not carry the burden of decision making, to feel themself in service to another (and perhaps one they admire), to see the obedience they do as an exercise in self discipline and will .... for any number of complicated and personal reasons, they prefer to be a slave.

Then having them as a slave might not be objectively labeled "wrong". Especially if the "owner" and slave have a relationship of mutual satisfaction and kindness.

(some might call that the trophy wife dynamic...LOL!)



posted on Jan, 17 2017 @ 01:58 PM
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Evolution does not yield truth friend. Even if it is the case that compassion thru social instinct is an explanation for why the majority of humans feel we should be compassionate it does not follow that being compassionate is truly good.

Morality is a human construct. Human beings decide what is good. Human beings make this decision because they are motivated by evolutionary processes geared toward social interaction, so humans could be successful living in groups.

There is no good or evil outside the human mind.



Again you want to assert something that has a base and is grounded in truth, but with relativism that doesn't fly because relativism isn't about truth its about perspective and preference. Its inescapable.

It has nothing to do with truth. It has to do with aggregate human behavior and logic, as motivated by biology and environment.





Yea saying its the brain, without explanation. I am going to need elaboration.

You saying it's something other than the brain, without proof. I am going to need proof. So far, the only proof we have of morality are human thoughts and actions.






In Islam the covering is about modesty and lust. Its a disagreement about what is modest and causes lust. Neither culture condones lust and immodesty however. That seems to be such a simple point.

And yet the reasons it's enforced are because lust is viewed as problematic to their society.





Yet we have people in History like Jesus or Gandhi that went against the social construct of the day.

Yep.



Jesus was hated in his time. You want to define morality as a social construct but I highly doubt you would call these me moral monsters,

I evaluate human morality based upon my own relative standards, as informed by both the universal human condition and other conditions unique to my era and circumstances. Just like everyone else has always done, throughout history.



but by your moral epistemology that is the conclusion someone truly following the logic would have to draw.

Nope.





...now you've moved to the individual level when you just denied it...

We all make individual moral judgments. My point is that they are only impactful in aggregate. Morality is a social construct, and we have individual moral feelings because we are social primates.



its obvious everyone doesn't agree so if its relative to everyone depending on time and place, then it really isn't at all...which was the first point of the OP

Nope. The rules of society are governed by the society, which is rolled up in aggregate from the individual.
The rules change over time, but are often slow to change, and some things don't change very much at all.

AS I've said multiple times already, the less core morals are far more subject to change.

edit on 17-1-2017 by Greggers because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 17 2017 @ 02:01 PM
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a reply to: BigBrotherDarkness

I think you should look up the definition of ethics. Using the word might make you feel better, but you can't define ethics without morality because ethics are at their base moral principles.



posted on Jan, 17 2017 @ 03:06 PM
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a reply to: Bluesma

Okay but you have totally changed actions, context, and intent in this scenario. That would not be a slave in the same sense of forced labor



posted on Jan, 17 2017 @ 03:17 PM
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a reply to: Greggers




Morality is a human construct. Human beings decide what is good. Human beings make this decision because they are motivated by evolutionary processes geared toward social interaction, so humans could be successful living in groups. There is no good or evil outside the human mind.


Which bring me back to my original point you were trying to avoid, when you say Hitler is evil, or some action is evil you are talking about the preferences of some individual or collection of human minds. You are not saying the statement Hitler was evil is true. You aren't making a truth claim and as such you are basically affirming that morals don't actually exist unless you pretend they do.




It has nothing to do with truth. It has to do with aggregate human behavior and logic, as motivated by biology and environment.


Morality isn't just about how humans behave. In every other area of life there need not be anything but facts, that is what things are and how things behave. In the realm of morality, however, aside from how people behave you have how people ought to behave. Ultimately your view reduces to moral skepticism as I have said above.




I evaluate human morality based upon my own relative standards, as informed by both the universal human condition and other conditions unique to my era and circumstances. Just like everyone else has always done, throughout history.


Yet you seem incapable of understanding that if that is truly your moral framework then morality is an illusion. You play this game of pretend that some actions are better than others simply because you prefer them.




Nope.


You are not being very consistent...




We all make individual moral judgments. My point is that they are only impactful in aggregate. Morality is a social construct, and we have individual moral feelings because we are social primates.


Do you ever actually develop your ideas? Just saying that Morality is a social construct doesn't make it so.




Nope. The rules of society are governed by the society, which is rolled up in aggregate from the individual. The rules change over time, but are often slow to change, and some things don't change very much at all. AS I've said multiple times already, the less core morals are far more subject to change.


You said that but have yet to provide any examples, or reasons for why one ought to agree.



posted on Jan, 17 2017 @ 04:15 PM
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a reply to: ServantOfTheLamb


originally posted by: ThingsThatDontMakeSense

Let's take something easy to understand like a contradiction. A contradiction is false. Therefore working off this precept that a true contradiction isn't possible it should not be conceivable, like amorality having no difference from morality if moral skepticism is true, right? Well I can say a seat is not a seat like Sartre did in Nausea and actually derive a meaning from this:


“I murmur: "It's a seat," a little like an exorcism. But the word stays on my lips: it refuses to go and put itself on the thing. It stays what it is, with its red plush, thousands of little red paws in the air, all still, little dead paws. This enormous belly turned upward, bleeding, inflated—bloated with all its dead paws, this belly floating in this car, in this grey sky, is not a seat. It could just as well be a dead donkey tossed about in the water, floating with the current, belly in the air in a great grey river, a river of floods; and I could be sitting on the donkey's belly, my feet dangling in the clear water.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea



originally posted by: ServantOfTheLamb
a reply to: ThingsThatDontMakeSense
In no way is this a true logical contradiction. All Satre has done is taken some thing A and described it with different words. The words one chooses to describe an object does not actually change the ontological properties of that object. For if what Satre means by seat is something used for sitting there is not contradiction in saying it is a seat and a dead donkey, for being a dead donkey is not incompatible with being a seat. In other words, the two concepts are not mutually exclusive. I think the law of identity and law of non-contradiction are inescapable if we are talking about what can be actualized.


In Nausea, Antoine Roquentin, the existentialist anti-hero and voicepiece for Sartre’s own philosophy, makes a series of profound and traumatic philosophical discoveries. Each discovery is a thesis canvassed intermittently in Western philosophy.

Roquentin notices a change. He is not sure whether the change is in the things around him or in his consciousness of them but it amounts to this: he discovers that the things he perceives exist. More specifically, he realises that the bare existence of things can not be captured by our ways of describing them. When for example he acts on an urge to join some children throwing "pebbles" into the sea he suddenly has to drop his pebble in disgust: it exists. Staring closely at his beer glass in a bar he notes its shape, the name of the brewery written on it and further properties. Even so, something about the glass eludes all these perceptible qualities: the existence of the glass.

Roquentin has discovered that existence cannot be reduced to essence. From no description of a putative object, no matter how complete, can we logically derive the claim that that object exists. As Roquentin puts it: ‘To exist is simply to be there; what exists appears, lets itself be encountered, but you can never deduce it.’ (Nausea, trans. Robert Baldick, Penguin, Harmondsworth, 1966, p. 188)

To say Sartre is simply describing something in different terms is to miss the point entirely. Existence is not the same as essence. The seat is not a seat, and the seat is not the actual seat itself. The analysis goes deeper though. This is where we can say words not only don't capture the existence of a thing, they actually have elements where they are reflexively dichotomous which is mathematically similar to how every epsilon has a delta. "Meaning contradictory statements are not, or can be made to be not contradictory, because there is always a quality that can be used to distinguish one like or near identical object from another." Put another way, all a contradiction is is when all things change. The contradiction is therefore what confers the transitive property.

Still follow me? Don't worry this is all going somewhere.



>> I like where you're trying to go with your informal proof, but this falls apart because you are asserting
>> two things (P & Q) are empirically the same making it impossible to distinguish a difference.

Maybe you can elaborate on this, because I don't quite know what you mean.


I was only specifically addressing the part I quoted not the entire scope of your argument. As I said, I think the idea of there being no tautological truth with regards to morality is effectively refuting the ability to define it in any meaningful way.


Without the understanding provided by the existence of a competing category, a person would not be able to understand what it is that is meant when an action is assigned to the category, even in principle. In other words, the claim that an action is not a moral issue is meaningful if and only if moral issues do actually exist.

I was not trying to make the point that if moral skepticism is true, then amorality would have no difference from morality, but rather that the category of moral would be inconceivable. I don't see how you get to the idea that because contradictions cannot be actualized that means we cannot conceive of the category of propositions that are in the form A and Not A as we can easily compare contradictions to non-contradictions, or rather we can compare propositions that are in the form A and Not A with propositions that are not in the form of A and Not A. Neither category is empty here.


I think I see the confusion. The point wasn't that we can't conceive of a contradiction, but that we don't accept and have a near impossible time conceiving a contradiction being true.

Using category theory is very smart here and I have a feeling will yield something fruitful. Since there would be no competing category bashing the skull of a suckling baby for fun wouldn't register as a moral or as even an amoral activity because morality wouldn't be conceivable.

Philosophical scholars trying to talk about it might say, "Bashing the skulls of babies is a popular fun activity, but should we be doing this?"

A colleague would reply, "Well why wouldn't we? It's a popular pastime that we all celebrate!"

Another wiser philosopher might interject, "Does the baby have fun though?"

The second scholar pipes up to interject, "We can't know in truth since the baby never comes of age, but why should this matter? Our fun isn't affected by the baby not having fun, does it?"

This is what a debate would look like amongst people who truly have no conception of morality. It would be like flatlanders trying to imagine us as 3 dimensional humans.

The creatures have no idea they're talking about morality, but they are attempting to approximate on what such a thing might look like. In essence then if moral skepticism is true, amorality is indistinguishable from morality. Put another way I could make up a word we'll call Fakity about a subject that doesn't exist in our reality. So if I say there's Afakity it doesn't matter that I said there's a difference between the two things because they're both nonsense words.

edit on 17-1-2017 by ThingsThatDontMakeSense because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 17 2017 @ 04:16 PM
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Now that all said, correct me if I'm wrong, but the thrust of your argument then is:

0.) If the category of morality doesn't exist there's no way to properly conceive it.

1.) IF morality (P) is no different from amorality (Q) THEN morality and amorality are indistinguishable and can be seen to be the same thing
F = False; T = True; P = set [F,F,F,F]; Q = set [F,F,F,F]; P = Q

2.) Therefore if morality (P) and amorality (Q) are the same we should not be able to conceive of morality in terms separate from amorality. Otherwise this would imply the false statement P ≠ Q.

QED.
Morality exists independent of amorality because we do have a conception of morality as a separate category.

The approach that if some category (P) doesn't exist it would be indistinguishable from the thing it's supposed to juxtapose (Q) and therefore be inconceivable is directly comparable to the idea of a contradiction having some validity or truth because a contradiction is practically the definition of false. The idea of a contradiction having truth is one of the most ludicrous statements we can conceive of, yet uncomfortably there is a logic to it.

For example, I don't know what axioms you accept as implicitly true, but if "ServantOfTheLamb" means you're Christian or some spiritual variation therein, you very likely accept that there's some moral absolute. This is obviously for the moment unprovable, but there's nothing wrong with having a belief in something as beautiful as the idea of perfection, even if only as an ideal. Anyhow, the point here is a God would be able to create true contradictions. Materially this would manifest as 2 fish becoming 4000 (a logical impossibility, 2 ≠ 4000). Or statements similar to the grand hotel paradox in John 14:2.

Thus if you can conceive of a contradiction being true (meaning 1 fish not being 1 fish p∧¬p, because it's now 2 fishes), then you can conceive of something that doesn't exist in any observable sense as being real.

If this becomes something you can imagine you've just disproven the starting premise that impossible things are not conceivable.

edit on 17-1-2017 by ThingsThatDontMakeSense because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 17 2017 @ 10:32 PM
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a reply to: ThingsThatDontMakeSense

First very interesting thoughts, but I'd like to respectfully disagree.




More specifically, he realises that the bare existence of things can not be captured by our ways of describing them. When for example he acts on an urge to join some children throwing "pebbles" into the sea he suddenly has to drop his pebble in disgust: it exists. Staring closely at his beer glass in a bar he notes its shape, the name of the brewery written on it and further properties. Even so, something about the glass eludes all these perceptible qualities: the existence of the glass.


I would argue that if a particular glass was in question at a real bar in reality, that existence would itself be a property of that glass. Existence is a property that refers to a thing being actualized in reality. I could dream of a world in which a glass was perceived with all the same properties of the glass we actually examine in a bar, yet it would lack that one property of existence. I would argue that saying something exist is a way of describing a thing and is an ontological property things have or do not have.




Roquentin has discovered that existence cannot be reduced to essence. From no description of a putative object, no matter how complete, can we logically derive the claim that that object exists.


I would argue that only an entity that exist necessarily could be shown to exist due to definition. Many mathematician argue for numbers in this way, though I personally believe numbers to be useful fictions. In other words, numbers don't actually exist in my view, at least not in the sense of the number 2 being out there in the universe or even in some Platonic form. I would also say that there is at least one necessary thing that exist, and at least one thing I could define that thru definition the property of existence can be derived. That thing would be what I call God and I would take the Anselmian definition of the greatest possible being.




As I said, I think the idea of there being no tautological truth with regards to morality is effectively refuting the ability to define it in any meaningful way.


I am still not sure what you mean when you say there is 'no tautological truth with regards to morality.' Are you implying that some tautological truth is a necessary precondition for defining morality?




I think I see the confusion. The point wasn't that we can't conceive of a contradiction, but that we don't accept and have a near impossible time conceiving a contradiction being true.


I think that would be because not contradicting is a necessary but not sufficient condition for truth. So I can agree that we don't accept nor can we even conceive of what contradictions would be.




Since there would be no competing category bashing the skull of a suckling baby for fun wouldn't register as a moral or as even an amoral activity because morality wouldn't be conceivable.


Precisely.




The creatures have no idea they're talking about morality, but they are attempting to approximate on what such a thing might look like. In essence then if moral skepticism is true, amorality is indistinguishable from morality.


For some reason I don't like the word indistinguishable but I suppose that is the same point I made with the panda bear syllogism. I think we could do this with all categories. We could think of a person who is skeptical that there is such a thing as light, and we could also say to this person just as we can the moral skeptic, if there was no such thing as light then to say something was dark would lose all meaning as in that reality dark would simply mean the way things always are. In the case of Fakity and Afakity I suppose for those words to have any meaning we would need to give them a reference point in some hypothetical reality or actual reality.
edit on 17-1-2017 by ServantOfTheLamb because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 17 2017 @ 10:36 PM
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originally posted by: ServantOfTheLamb
a reply to: Bluesma

Okay but you have totally changed actions, context, and intent in this scenario. That would not be a slave in the same sense of forced labor


Slavery is being possessed as an object to be bought and sold, to do work without being paid.
Relative morality means that an action can be good or bad depending upon the context and the individuals involved.



posted on Jan, 17 2017 @ 11:09 PM
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a reply to: ThingsThatDontMakeSense




Now that all said, correct me if I'm wrong, but the thrust of your argument then is: 0.) If the category of morality doesn't exist there's no way to properly conceive it. 1.) IF morality (P) is no different from amorality (Q) THEN morality and amorality are indistinguishable and can be seen to be the same thing F = False; T = True; P = set [F,F,F,F]; Q = set [F,F,F,F]; P = Q 2.) Therefore if morality (P) and amorality (Q) are the same we should not be able to conceive of morality in terms separate from amorality. Otherwise this would imply the false statement P ≠ Q.



Informally I would lay it out like this:

1) The meaningfulness of category assignments are derived from the distinction to their opposites.

2) If the meaningfulness of category assignments are derived from the distinction to its opposite, then a single category assignment is meaningless.

3) Moral Skepticism reduces to a position in which there is a singular category assignment of amoral

4) If Moral Skepticism is true, then conceiving of the category assigment moral would be impossible

5) Conceiving of a non empty moral class of actions is not impossible

6) Therefore there really is a set of values and duties that belong to the moral category

Conclusion: Morality exists independent of amorality because we do have a conception of morality as a separate category, and therefore moral skepticism is false.




The approach that if some category (P) doesn't exist it would be indistinguishable from the thing it's supposed to juxtapose (Q) and therefore be inconceivable is directly comparable to the idea of a contradiction having some validity or truth because a contradiction is practically the definition of false.


Maybe this is where part of the confusion lies. I would not define false as that which contradicts, but rather false is that which is not actually the case. So for example, I could state the proposition, "all swans are white." There is no inherent contradiction in saying all swans are white, but it is still a false statement. So while you are right in the sense that not contradicting is necessary precondition for truth, it is not a necessary precondition for falsehood.




For example, I don't know what axioms you accept as implicitly true, but if "ServantOfTheLamb" means you're Christian or some spiritual variation therein, you very likely accept that there's some moral absolute. This is obviously for the moment unprovable, but there's nothing wrong with having a belief in something as beautiful as the idea of perfection, even if only as an ideal.


I do follow Christ, but if by moral absolute you mean some rule that all people adhere to at all times then no. If you are using it as synonymous with objective moral value or a value that is good or bad independent of human opinion I'd say that I do believe in that. To say that is not provable seems silly to mean as that was kind of the purpose of this thread, was to show moral skepticism is false and that moral language presupposes morality to be objective.




Anyhow, the point here is a God would be able to create true contradictions.


My God would not be capable of doing such a thing. I define omnipotence as the ability to do that which is logically possible, so creating a contradiction would be such as a married bachelor would be out of the scope of God's abilities as married bachelors cannot be actualized.




Materially this would manifest as 2 fish becoming 4000 (a logical impossibility, 2 ≠ 4000).


There is nothing logically contradictory about multiplying or copying fish. If the Bible said, two fish equal four thousand fish that would be a different statement from 2 fish were multiplied or copied into four thousand fish.




Or statements similar to the grand hotel paradox in John 14:2.


I am familiar with Hilbert's hotel, and apply that to John 14:2 is a bit of a stretch.




Thus if you can conceive of a contradiction being true (meaning 1 fish not being 1 fish p∧¬p, because it's now 2 fishes), then you can conceive of something that doesn't exist in any observable sense as being real. If this becomes something you can imagine you've just disproven the starting premise that impossible things are not conceivable.


As you can probably tell I cannot conceive of such a thing. One fish is one fish. You are confusing saying one quantity is another with one quantity becoming another. One implies addition of more fish to a single quantity while the other implies the equality of two quantities of fish.
edit on 17-1-2017 by ServantOfTheLamb because: (no reason given)

edit on 17-1-2017 by ServantOfTheLamb because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 17 2017 @ 11:14 PM
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a reply to: Bluesma




Slavery is being possessed as an object to be bought and sold, to do work without being paid. Relative morality means that an action can be good or bad depending upon the context and the individuals involved.


Yea but you didn't describe that kind of slavery. You described a slavery in which someone was not bought but willingly chose to enter into, and they were not treated like property but were treated with kindness. That is not what relative morality means. Even people who believe in objective moral values believe that what action is considered good or bad is dependent upon the context in which it is preformed. For example, I may say "murder is wrong". I use the word murder because that implies a specific form of the action of killing, and not the action of killing in general as there are times in which killing is morally acceptable but there is no time in which murder is acceptable. Relative morality in the ontological sense means that what is good or bad is defined by the individual or some people say it is relative to society.



posted on Jan, 17 2017 @ 11:23 PM
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originally posted by: ServantOfTheLamb

Which bring me back to my original point you were trying to avoid, when you say Hitler is evil, or some action is evil you are talking about the preferences of some individual or collection of human minds. You are not saying the statement Hitler was evil is true. You aren't making a truth claim and as such you are basically affirming that morals don't actually exist unless you pretend they do.


Pretend? Sorry, that's not my argument at all. I've been very clear about the fact that morality is real. The fact that it is a product of the human mind makes it no less real than your leg. Human behaviors are real. The impetus for engaging in those behaviors is real. The tendency for human morality to remain consistent at a high level over many human epochs is real and measurable (or at least qualifiable), as well as the tendency for certain moral questions to slide into lesser degrees of relevance over time. None of this is "pretend."




Morality isn't just about how humans behave. In every other area of life there need not be anything but facts, that is what things are and how things behave. In the realm of morality, however, aside from how people behave you have how people ought to behave.

Determining how people ought to behave is merely another behavior.



Ultimately your view reduces to moral skepticism as I have said above.

You've stated this a number of times. You can trust that I've heard you, that I disagree, and that typing it for the 11th time won't make it any more convincing.





Yet you seem incapable of understanding that if that is truly your moral framework then morality is an illusion.

Because that's not true.

Likewise, you seem incapable of understanding that morality is a system of valuing right and wrong that is motivated both by evolutionary biological processes and how those processes relate to the reality of our present day situation and the age in which we find ourselves.



You play this game of pretend that some actions are better than others simply because you prefer them.

Seems like you're the one playing pretend, as you're imagining that there is something other than that which can be emprically proven to exist that serves as a the true source of morality (at least, that's what it seems like you're arguing, not that I've seen a cogent argument in that regard).

Morality comes from the human mind. The human mind is the only deciding element of morality which can be emprically proven to exist.





You are not being very consistent...

Yes I am. You're just having a hard time following because your head is... lost in your own fantasy world.



Do you ever actually develop your ideas? Just saying that Morality is a social construct doesn't make it so.

Yep. My ideas in this thread have been far more developed than anything you've offered. In fact, I make a pretty good living developing ideas using the written word. I'd say the shortcoming here is your own.






You said that but have yet to provide any examples, or reasons for why one ought to agree.


I'm not particularly concerned with whether you agree. Although, I have in fact provided plenty of reasons why a reasonably minded person might agree.

The truth is, everything you're saying in this thread is merely your own expression of your own individual, relative morality. If you had been born in a different time, and exposed to different influences, you'd be making a different argument altogether. You probably wouldn't be right then either.
edit on 17-1-2017 by Greggers because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 18 2017 @ 03:36 AM
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a reply to: ServantOfTheLamb


I would argue that if a particular glass was in question at a real bar in reality, that existence would itself be a property of that glass. Existence is a property that refers to a thing existing in the actual world. I could dream of a world in which a glass was perceived with all the same properties of the glass we actually examine in a bar, yet it would lack that one property of existence. I would argue that saying something exist is a way of describing a thing and is an ontological property things have or do not have.


I understand what you're saying and I like that you're attempting to show a quasi-reality like a dream as something ephemeral like how physical reality is ephemeral (the big bang is evidence of the universe's early nonexistence), but somehow I feel you're missing a layer of abstraction here.

Even in the dream the thing exists independent of any words you apply to it. The word that describes the thing is not the thing itself.

The idea of "existence" being a necessity versus a property isn't really important because this is simply a statement of whether something is a subset or a superset.

The key idea here is that words exist on multiple levels. There is word as category (chair meaning a device we sit on). The word as the identifier (my favorite chair I'm pointing to). The word as the actual thing itself independent an identifier (my favorite chair absent its essence because a chair is only describing a function - ex/ the chair could be in the fireplace as kindling). The bare thing (wood, metal, molecules, space). There are many more layers to this.

An alien might look at a chair and think it's an abstract form of art or a type of table.

Does that make sense? The word (chair) self-negates its current identity based simply on how we think about it.

This is what the original author that I linked to meant when he said "reflexively dichotomous."

The word is a partition of some whole (a set) in numerous parts (subsets).


I am still not sure what you mean when you say there is 'no tautological truth with regards to morality.' Are you implying that some tautological truth is a necessary precondition for defining morality?


Correct, if there's no tautology, there's no way to show equivalency.

You seem to be comfortable with symbolic logic and boolean algebra, so maybe this will explain it.

Here's a simple truth table that shows several logical primitives. Each column will be referred to by the letter in green above it:


∀X: (E∨X) = E

The ∀ means "for all". The ∨ means "logical disjunction" which can be thought of as an "or". Thus if we take a tautology (E) and "or" it with any mathematical or symbolic object we get the tautology back.

This should hopefully make sense because we're effectively saying: for all "X", the "X" OR what provides us its identity is the identity. This is saying the same thing twice which of course is the definition of a tautology.

∀X: (E∧X) = X

The "∧" is a "logical conjunction" or an "and."

Here all we are saying is for any mathematical or symbolic object if we take the object and apply it to the identity we get the object back.

This means (E) or a tautology is like an "equality" operator. Thus when we apply (E) against "X" it gives us "X" back. The reason hopefully is straightforward enough, since all things are themselves.

This can of course be expressed as a simple function:

f(X)=(E∧X)

Thus f(X)→X.

So now to answer your question. When I said, "I think the idea of there being no tautological truth with regards to morality is effectively refuting the ability to define it in any meaningful way," what I meant was this:

Most objects on the surface level are easy to identify. A rock is an item composed of various minerals classified as igneous, sedimentary, or metamorphic.

So f(Rock)→Rock is fairly unambiguous as a classification tool though I am sure there are edge cases petrologists debate.

The problem is when we try f(Moral)→?

Many times we get an answer back that is inconsistent and instead is labeled "amoral".

For example, one group will say:

"Abortion is moral."

Other people will assert:

"Abortion is amoral."

This is contradictory (Abortion = Moral AND Abortion = Amoral), which of course has been the entire point of this enjoyable thread. Thus the identity operation has failed.

That's what I meant when I said, "I believe moral relativism is more a statement that there is no tautological truth amongst the universal set, which comes across as ludicrous on the face of it when you consider a tautology is what gives us equality in the first place."

Anyone who believes in moral relativism is saying that there is truth through conditionality, but no self evident truth about morality (in other words no universal or tautological truth about morality).


I am familiar with Hilbert's hotel, and apply that to John 14:2 is a bit of a stretch.


I find that interesting. Do you think the Christian God will stop human reproduction at some point? If not, assuming people continue to procreate, that's the equivalent of an infinite series. Human population growth is n log(n) or exponential, meaning if there is not an infinite sized hotel, I don't know how all people would fit in the mansions described in John 14:2. Then again I realize some people read these things metaphorically which is perfectly fine too.


There is nothing logically contradictory about multiplying or copying fish. If the Bible said, two fish equal four thousand fish that would be a different statement from 2 fish were multiplied or copied into four thousand fish.


The actual process in those verses is left unexplained. However, you can not multiply a value by nothing and get more. If I have two fishes, someone has to find other existent fishes to add up to 4000. If your conception of God is that he's not a trickster then somehow more fishes had to have been added that weren't there. 2 + 0 = 2; 2 + 3998 = 4000. 3998 macroscopic objects coming from nothing is logically impossible in our reality.


As you can probably tell I cannot conceive of such a thing. One fish is one fish. You are confusing saying one quantity is another with one quantity becoming another. One implies addition of more fish to a single quantity while the other implies the equality of two quantities of fish.


I think I was too quick in breaking the full idea down when I said a true contradiction is when all things change and therefore that a contradiction is what confers the transitive property.

Imagine this scenario:

A young boy named David and his family have been lifelong supporters of the Manchester United's football club. As David grows up all his friends know he is a huge fan of the Red Devils.

Years later, having stayed close with his childhood friends, they get together for a pint and his buddy Tom's girlfriend ask him about the team.

David says, "I HATE MAN U!"

His friend, Tom, thinks it's all a joke of some sort, "Bro, stop lying, you're a huge fan."

David slams his glass down and angrily looks at him, "No. I hate the club, never'll support them again."

edit on 18-1-2017 by ThingsThatDontMakeSense because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 18 2017 @ 03:37 AM
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Tom puzzled says, "You're contradicting yourself, just last week when we got together you said you couldn't wait to go to the game!"

At this point David explains the horrible situation that played out, and why he is still so angry and bitter.

This is a confusing to Tom.

Tom knows David loves Manchester United. Presented with the opposite statement he correctly saw this was a contradiction. This is allowed though. David wasn't lying. It was a true contradiction, not a false contradiction like Tom suspected. The truth status was honestly assigned to a new category.

To lay this out: a contradiction is when all things are false (F in the above diagram). There was a moment where David was transitioning from "Love" (say column A) to "Hate." (column B) The change was a contradiction. The contradiction is what acted as a transitive tool to convert an object to something else.


You are confusing saying one quantity is another with one quantity becoming another.


To be very clear here, two doesn't and never becomes four thousand in a mathematical operation. Two is two. Two gets added to another number, 3998, to give a new value that equals 4000.

The only way for 2 to literally become 4000 is if there's such a thing as a true contradiction.

It is for this exact reason why fish multiplying with nothing else present is nonsensical. It's a contradiction of what 2 is. Two fish are two fish.

Since a quantity doesn't change without addition of some other thing. We would need something different from addition and subtraction to arrive at this, like the idea of there being some true contradictions that function like the transitive property. This is at least in part why dialetheism is called transconsistency.

Meaning if a contradiction being sometimes true doesn't make sense to you, then fishes multiplying without fish eggs or an advanced bio-genetic engineering plant on hand shouldn't make much sense either.

edit on 18-1-2017 by ThingsThatDontMakeSense because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 18 2017 @ 09:39 AM
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a reply to: Greggers




Pretend? Sorry, that's not my argument at all. I've been very clear about the fact that morality is real. The fact that it is a product of the human mind makes it no less real than your leg.


To compare morality to a leg is to call morality objective....A human leg has a very real existence outside of our opinions of it....but you are arguing for moral relativism or that morality depends on the individual or society that is defining it...that is no more real than people defining "the best flavor of ice cream." To think that there is truly a best flavor of ice cream is no rational, because what people mean by best is the one I like the most. To think one action can truly be better than another is to completely ignore the meaning of relative or subjective.




Human behaviors are real. The impetus for engaging in those behaviors is real


Okay but the question is not whether or not human behaviors are real and engaged in, but the question is whether or not the set of all human behaviors has a subset of behaviors that fall into a category of moral independent of your own opinion. When you say rape is bad are you making a truth claim or stating your opinion?




The tendency for human morality to remain consistent at a high level over many human epochs is real and measurable (or at least qualifiable), as well as the tendency for certain moral questions to slide into lesser degrees of relevance over time. None of this is "pretend."


So if my argument is that if morality is relative, then it is just an illusion all three of these statements truth or falsehood is irrelevant. If morality is just an illusion with no truth value, then we should expect to still find human behavior, we should still expect to see human engaging in behaviors and we should still expect this illusion to expand over many eras of our history. This doesn't show that it isn't pretend.




Determining how people ought to behave is merely another behavior.


Sure I can agree with the idea that the act of determining how people ought to behave is behavior in the sense that it requires thought, but determining how people behave would in and of it self also be a behavior on that bases. It is the act of determining that we are applying action to, not to the category of facts themselves. My point was simply that in addition to how humans behave we find there is also an idea of how humans ought to behave, and that "ought" presupposes that some actions are more or less correct than others.




Because that's not true. Likewise, you seem incapable of understanding that morality is a system of valuing right and wrong that is motivated both by evolutionary biological processes and how those processes relate to the reality of our present day situation and the age in which we find ourselves.


It seems to me inescapably true. Morality is understanding the distinction between right and wrong and living according to that understanding. The question I am asking here is about the nature of that which is right and that which is wrong. You are telling me that the nature of that which is right is relative to who or what defines it. So how can you be said to be making a truth claim about anything other than your own opinion? If it is merely a subjective opinion, then it follows that moral claims are not truth claims but rather claims about individual or nations preferences.




Seems like you're the one playing pretend, as you're imagining that there is something other than that which can be emprically proven to exist that serves as a the true source of morality (at least, that's what it seems like you're arguing, not that I've seen a cogent argument in that regard).



Empirically proven? We are discussing morals and I've made a logical argument for my position based on moral language. I am suggesting that there is some outside standard or morality. Take the standard meter stick for example. Determining which of two sticks is closer to a meter long is done by comparing it to some outside reference point. I am saying that moral language presupposes the existence of some outside reference point like in the meter stick scenario, meaning the nature of morality is objective. Without this presupposition moral language reduces to absurdity, which is obviously not on par with reality.




Morality comes from the human mind. The human mind is the only deciding element of morality which can be emprically proven to exist.


It comes only from a human's mind, but its not about preferences? That doesn't make any sense to me. So my human mind is the deciding factor for what is truly right and truly wrong. Meaning if I decide raping women to be a moral action as it helps propagate DNA, and furthers my gene survival, then due to the relative nature of morality we would say raping women is truly good for me. But how is this not synonymous with me saying "I like rape" because your normal response has been but that doesn't make it good for all humans. Well if we are being consistent yes it does, because we stated that the human mind is the deciding factor. We can't say that the majority determines what is actually good because that would be an argument from the majority fallacy within our moral epistemology. Your position just seems very inconsistent to me.




Yep. My ideas in this thread have been far more developed than anything you've offered. In fact, I make a pretty good living developing ideas using the written word. I'd say the shortcoming here is your own.


So rather than develop the idea I was responding to you figured you'd just say you have done so and move on cool.




The truth is, everything you're saying in this thread is merely your own expression of your own individual, relative morality. If you had been born in a different time, and exposed to different influences, you'd be making a different argument altogether. You probably wouldn't be right then either.


Again simply stating your truism but not taking the time to provide actual reasons for agreement.



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