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I don't believe in right and wrong.

Discussion in 'Archived - Ethics & Morality' started by Zoot, Oct 24, 2004.

  1. Prometheus_ash

    Prometheus_ash Metaphysical Bet Taker

    695
    +28
    Agnostic
    I suppose that I should have evaluated a little bit more. When I spoke about efficiency and evaluation, I am speaking within that culture. If it helps them to surive, I suppose, would be the measuring standard. Different cultures are going to have a different responce to this, and though it a different morality.

    -Ash
     
  2. funyun

    funyun aude sapere...sed praeterea, aude esse

    +140
    Atheist
    I agree with the OP 100%.
     
  3. Zoot

    Zoot Omnis Obstat

    +524
    Buddhist
    The OP was a question. It really disturbs me when people say they agree with questions. : )
     
  4. ToddNotTodd

    ToddNotTodd Iconoclast

    +2,333
    Seeker
    Married
    Well then.. I...

    disagree?
     
  5. The Bellman

    The Bellman Guest

    +0
    There's nothing scary about the idea that objectively wrong actions do not exist. It's certainly no more scary than the fact that even if objectively wrong actions DO exist, we have know way of knowing what they are. The belief that objectively wrong actions do not exist in no way prevents someone from acting morally.

    Nonsense. Feelings and beliefs are the same thing; thoughts. I can believe that there is no objective morality and at the same time believe that 'to me', murder is wrong. I would therefore not murder.

    Yup, it does.

    What doesn't exist? Right and wrong? That's false; the fact that they are subjective doesn't mean they don't exist. Beauty is subjective; does it, too, not exist?

    No, they can't, in and of themselves. However, they can easily be said to be superior in relation to a given purpose. For example, we can say that a group of moral convictions that includes the idea that murder is wrong is superior to one that doesn't for the purpose of living in a society.

    Again, this is nonsense. Just because beliefs about morality are subjective doesn't mean that they are therefore useless. Are beliefs about beauty useless because they are subjective?

    No, that's your strawman. He never said that he believed it to be either meaningless or not based in reality. He merely said they were not objective.

    Feelings ARE thoughts, so this is meaningless.

    Ah, an insult to round it off. How nice.
     
  6. God of Love

    God of Love Regular Member

    328
    +14
    Oneness
    I would disagree with your statement. It's close, but not exact. A person's morality (itself) is based on their beliefs and perceptions, and therefore they cannot ignore their beliefs whenever they are making a determination of what action is "right", and which action is "wrong". While they may not be consciously aware that they are consulting their beliefs (when distinguishing between "right" and "wrong"), a lack of acknowledgement differs from ignoring.

    Again, almost, but not quite. While I agree with what you're saying here, I would disagree that the nature of anyone's thoughts are "evil". Perhaps their thoughts are selfish, and perhaps "selfish thoughts" could be perceived as "wrong", but "wrong" does not equate to "evil". In effect, the precept of "evil" is completely subjective.

    God of Love
     
  7. Lifesaver

    Lifesaver Fides et Ratio

    +278
    Catholic
    Single
    And you also believe that all moral "beliefs" are equivalent: not one of them is superior or inferior. No right or wrong.
    Therefore, you could just as well have different moral convictions, that it wouldn't be worse at all.
    Likewise, there is no action which is better or worse than any other, objectively speaking.
    One has to wonder why someone with such a belief would have subjective moral values, anyway. Afterall, what are they based on, when you recognize there is no objective morality, and that each set of moral conviction is no better or worse than any other?

    Let me explain the situation with an analogy:
    Two people disagree on whether a circle is happy or unhappy. Objectively speaking, the circle is neither.
    The persons may have any opinion on the matter, it doesn't change the fact that it is meaningless, realistically speaking.

    You think that way about morality. People have their opinions on what is good and what is bad, but you recognize that it doesn't exist in reality.
    And yet you live by a set of moral convictions.
    You know that the circle is neither happy or unhappy, and yet you base your actions on your "belief" that it is, let's say, happy.

    Such can only be the result of a feeling overriding what you believe in with your intellect.

    Actually, I'm using feeling in a somewhat improper way. Maybe it would be best to say a "hard-wired" knowledge of yours, which the abstruse reasoning behind the conclusion "morals are not objective" cannot overcome.

    Ah, but whether they are unavoidable or not has no bearing on the importance of having them.
    Since you recognize they are not based on anything that is real, were you to live according to that knowledge, you would go over your feelings and have no moral convictions.
    Thankfully, your natural knowledge of morality overrides your wrong conclusion (that morality is purely subjective).
     
  8. Zoot

    Zoot Omnis Obstat

    +524
    Buddhist
    And you also believe that all moral "beliefs" are equivalent: not one of them is superior or inferior. No right or wrong.

    Equivalent in the same way that colours are all the same width.


    Therefore, you could just as well have different moral convictions, that it wouldn't be worse at all. Likewise, there is no action which is better or worse than any other, objectively speaking.

    Correct. It's not an intelligible judgement.


    One has to wonder why someone with such a belief would have subjective moral values, anyway. Afterall, what are they based on, when you recognize there is no objective morality, and that each set of moral conviction is no better or worse than any other?

    One does have to wonder that. It's more or less the question I posed in the OP. Some people have given some answers. Some others have simply accused me of not thinking things through.


    Let me explain the situation with an analogy:
    Two people disagree on whether a circle is happy or unhappy. Objectively speaking, the circle is neither.
    The persons may have any opinion on the matter, it doesn't change the fact that it is meaningless, realistically speaking.

    You think that way about morality. People have their opinions on what is good and what is bad, but you recognize that it doesn't exist in reality.
    And yet you live by a set of moral convictions.
    You know that the circle is neither happy or unhappy, and yet you base your actions on your "belief" that it is, let's say, happy.


    Here's the thing. I don't base my actions on the belief that is happy. I base my actions on the evaluation that it is happy-to-me. The problem with your analogy is that while the objective happiness of a circle is indeed unintelligible, the subjective happiness of a circle is also unintelligible. Subjective morality, however, is not unintelligible.

    A better analogy would be two people talking about whether or not a particular painting is beautiful. They recognise that it's only a matter of opinion and there's no such thing as being "more right" about its beauty. But that doesn't change the fact that, according to their tastes, one finds it beautiful-to-him and the other finds it ugly-to-him.


    Ah, but whether they are unavoidable or not has no bearing on the importance of having them.
    Since you recognize they are not based on anything that is real, were you to live according to that knowledge, you would go over your feelings and have no moral convictions.


    You're still thinking of subjective morality as if it were subjective objective morality. I don't "recognise they're not based on anything that is real". I recognise that "based on something that is real" is an absurd notion. Values are inherently subjective. They're always values-to-someone, never just values.


    Thankfully, your natural knowledge of morality overrides your wrong conclusion (that morality is purely subjective).

    I was expecting this answer a lot earlier in the thread, I must say.
     
  9. Zoot

    Zoot Omnis Obstat

    +524
    Buddhist
    The real essence of the matter is the notion of belief. Someone who recognises that morality is subjective does not "believe something is good". They experience it as good. The best analogy is beauty, where someone does not "believe something is beautiful", they experience it as beautiful. There's no, "Well, I could be wrong about that..." because the claim is not about the object; the claim is about the perception.

    If I'm hallucinating, I'm seeing something that's not there. If I say, "I see a cat," the statement can be evaluated in two ways. If there's not actually a cat there, the statement is false in one sense - what I'm seeing is not a cat. On the other hand, it's true that I am experiencing the vision of a cat. While I could be mistaken in the first sense, I can't be mistaken in the second sense, because I am reporting the perception, not the object.

    That's the distinction within statements of beauty and morality that need to be made. When one says "I think that's beautiful" or "I think that's good", they're making a statement regarding their perception, rather than the object itself.
     
  10. Philosoft

    Philosoft Orthogonal, Tangential, Tenuously Related

    +170
    Atheist
    As much as the attitude that there exists an entity whose decree manifests objective morality and that we can simply trust that said entity has our best interests in mind?
     
  11. UnI

    UnI Imaginary Player

    466
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    I agree with Zoot. There is no such thing as right or wrong. These two subjective concepts are truly an erroneous perception or belief about reality, and good, simply amounts to preferable.

    Now to -sort of- answer your question, I believe that only you can truly know why you act the way you do. Others can guess and theorize about why you do what you do, but you are the key to your own mystery.
     
  12. Zoot

    Zoot Omnis Obstat

    +524
    Buddhist
    Philosoft,

    Yeah, it's pretty frightening to realise that it's just lucky that someone doesn't think it's objectively good to shoot you in the head.


    Now to -sort of- answer your question, I believe that only you can truly know why you act the way you do. Others can guess and theorize about why you do what you do, but you are the key to your own mystery.

    Well, yes. What I'm looking at is the gap between what Christians say will happen when someone realises, as I do, that there is no such thing as objective morality, and put it into action.

    One person has suggested that I have some kind of innate sense of objective morality that prevents me from being led astray by my realisation.
     
  13. UnI

    UnI Imaginary Player

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    The real essence of the matter is the notion of belief. Someone who recognises that morality is subjective does not "believe something is good". They experience it as good. The best analogy is beauty, where someone does not "believe something is beautiful", they experience it as beautiful. There's no, "Well, I could be wrong about that..." because the claim is not about the object; the claim is about the perception.

    If I'm hallucinating, I'm seeing something that's not there. If I say, "I see a cat," the statement can be evaluated in two ways. If there's not actually a cat there, the statement is false in one sense - what I'm seeing is not a cat. On the other hand, it's true that I am experiencing the vision of a cat. While Icould be mistaken in the first sense, I can't be mistaken in the second sense, because I am reporting the perception, not the object.


    That's the distinction within statements of beauty and morality that need to be made. When one says "I think that's beautiful" or "I think that's good", they're making a statement regarding their perception, rather than the object itself.

    Intelligent post. Well said... :thumbsup:
     
  14. Philosoft

    Philosoft Orthogonal, Tangential, Tenuously Related

    +170
    Atheist
    I feel much more secure with the position that there exists a non-conscious process - evolution - which strongly tends to produce individuals suited for survival. That way, we can almost get away with argumentum ad numerum - the very existence of billions of socially moral beings suggests that social morality is a strongly advantageous trait.
    It seems to me that the desire to obey God is a conscious choice whereas the internal prohibitions against rape, murder and theft are not. Thus, Christians don't rape, murder and steal for the same evolutionary reasons as the rest of us, only they juxtapose their explicit Scriptural condemnations whenever they're asked to explain why they don't do the aforementioned things.
    It's possible, sure. But it just seems as absurd to me as an innate sense of objective beauty.
     
  15. Zoot

    Zoot Omnis Obstat

    +524
    Buddhist
    It's possible, sure. But it just seems as absurd to me as an innate sense of objective beauty.

    Absurd to you or me, yes, but that's not the best example when dealing with Plato's grandchildren. God is seen by many as the ground of objective beauty as much as objective good.
     
  16. Philosoft

    Philosoft Orthogonal, Tangential, Tenuously Related

    +170
    Atheist

    Yeah, but it just occurs to me that any sense of moral helplessness that accompanies the realization that morality isn't objective will be soon assuaged by the understanding that morality wasn't objective all along.

    I dunno. That seems a bit optimistic perhaps.
     
  17. Evee

    Evee Well-Known Member

    +295
    Non-Denom
    Private
    US-Others
    For me there is a right and a wrong.
    I don't see any other way for anyone actually.
     
  18. Zoot

    Zoot Omnis Obstat

    +524
    Buddhist
    Yeah, but it just occurs to me that any sense of moral helplessness that accompanies the realization that morality isn't objective will be soon assuaged by the understanding that morality wasn't objective all along.

    I dunno. That seems a bit optimistic perhaps.


    It is a bit optimistic. I think it often takes that part a while to catch up to the rest, so there's a crossover period where someone realises that morality is subjective, but thinks that they have somehow lost objective morality, rather than realising that there never was such a thing in the first place. That certainly seems to be the attitude of OMists towards SMists - that if morality isn't objective, it's not morality at all.
     
  19. radorth

    radorth Contributor

    +162
    Non-Denom
    When do these evolutionary forces really kick in? I don't see how the destruction of 100 million people in the last century is an advantage to anybody. The problem is that another 500 million people went along with the destruction without trying to stop it. If there is an "evolutionary advantage" it certainly is an evil, destructive one.

    I have another take. Get rid of the "axes of evil" and see how the world changes.

    Rad
     
  20. The Bellman

    The Bellman Guest

    +0
    The "axes of evil" being everyone who won't kiss America's behind.
     
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