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The problem of Objective Morality. and why even biblical speaking it is subjective

Discussion in 'Ethics & Morality' started by Zed Aliz Zed, Oct 3, 2017.

  1. Ken-1122

    Ken-1122 Newbie

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    So why is "we own our own bodies" a moral principle, but" the use of nuclear weapons during war", not?
     
  2. durangodawood

    durangodawood Dis Member

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    Having our own bodies is a fundamental fact. Animals have had a body since the first animals. Humans to the best of our knowledge have valued control of their own body for as long as we know.

    Nuclear weapons are just the latest in a long line of technologies that have their own particular characteristics, effects, etc. 600 years ago the issue was crossbows, which the church tried to outlaw because of their devastating effectiveness. It would be silly to consider "crossbows are bad" (or, conversely, "crossbows are ok") as a fundamental moral principle. The matter of crossbows was a policy, debated in terms of facts, interests, and actual moral principles like the value of life.
     
  3. Ed1wolf

    Ed1wolf Well-Known Member

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    No, you misunderstood. There are no outliers in morality, morality is objectively based and absolute. The outliers are the sinful human societies not obeying all of them.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2017
  4. Ed1wolf

    Ed1wolf Well-Known Member

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    It is demonstrable, it can be demonstrated that they match fairly closely the objective moral character of our Creator which is revealed in the Ten Commandments and other moral teachings of His word.



    But you did not create and design this universe with that morality in mind. It would be like you being a submarine engineer claiming that a certain car is also a submarine when it is actually a car created by an automobile engineer. Since you are not the automobile engineer, you cannot claim a purpose for something that you had no hand in designing.
     
  5. Belk

    Belk Senior Member

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    :doh:
     
  6. Ken-1122

    Ken-1122 Newbie

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    Laws are enforced, morality is not; big difference.

    Who decides what is justified, and what is not? Remember Hitler “justified” genocide against the Jews! And where are you getting this stuff? You read it from a book, or are you just making stuff up as you go along? ‘Cause if you just makin’ stuff up as you go along, thats subjective.

    No, morality needs a base, if the base comes from the individual, that is subjective; if it comes from something everybody agree upon, it is objective.

    Moral base comes from the Universe? Really!!! Admit it; all of this claim about morality being objective is just another way of saying your idea of God exists. In other words, you have no way of proving morality is objective unless you can first prove your God exist! Your God belief is based upon faith, not empirical evidence as your objective morality claims.

    What about blowing up abortion clinics in order to kill those who take innocent lives? What about suicide bombers who give their lives to kill the wicked? Are you sure there isn’t much difference between cultures? That everybody knows right vs wrong?

    You keep talking about having a discussion about who is in need or not. Discussions are subjective. Objective means based on fact. What facts prove the rich should help the poor?
     
  7. Ken-1122

    Ken-1122 Newbie

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    If the person is the highest authority on what he should do, he is right according to him and all that agree with him; and he is never wrong; in his view unless he could be convinced otherwise. That is not meaningless to him.

    Objective means based on fact. Facts don’t allow for contextual differences. You keep saying objective, morality, but you keep describing subjective morality.
     
  8. Ken-1122

    Ken-1122 Newbie

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    First of all, not everybody agrees we own our own bodies; especially when it comes to the abortion issue, and your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins; so there area restrictions on what you can do with your body. Second; Nuclear weapons are just another tool of war; and tools of war have been around nearly as long as mankind. Just because those tools of war haven't been around as long as humans doesn't mean one is a principle and the other is not.
     
  9. Ken-1122

    Ken-1122 Newbie

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    If morality were defined as obedience to the Christian God's will, I would agree that morality is objective; but its not.

    Do you have proof that your God created the Universe with morality in mind? Or is this just another belief based on faith?
     
  10. Ed1wolf

    Ed1wolf Well-Known Member

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    Atheistic evolution is an undirected process, theistic evolution is directed by God to produce humans.



    I said societies which ARE populations. Actually since every individual is slightly different and evolution supposedly uses those differences to produce differential survival then yes an individual can be more highly evolved than another individual and produce children that inherit those traits and continue the process.


    No, it is very different, see above.
     
  11. Belk

    Belk Senior Member

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    From our perspective both those scenarios look exactly the same.


    The entire human race is the population unless some of us are sectioned off so evolutionary pressure creates two separate paths.

    No, that is not how it works. There would have to be a separation of populations.

    No, they would look exactly the same from our perspective.
     
  12. Redac

    Redac Regular Member

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    It has nothing to do with "according to". He is right by default, period. The standard of "right" and "wrong" is purely a matter of him being "right" whenever he decides to do something. Others have no basis to even begin to judge whether he is right or wrong on anything he does, because he is the only authority on whether he is right or wrong.

    If he cannot be wrong, then he cannot be right either. If he can't be right, he can't be moral. Thus any sort of discussion of what people should do (i.e. morality) breaks down entirely; after all, he has already decided what he should do when he does something, and he cannot be wrong about this.

    On what grounds would you try to convince someone otherwise if everything he does is automatically right by definition? What exactly would you be appealing to? I mean, you can't argue that he "should" do something else, because he is the only authority on "should" for himself.


    Not quite.

    Take this statement: Redac likes strawberry ice cream. This is a fact, and I do like strawberry ice cream. Thus, the statement "Redac likes strawberry ice cream" is true. This does not mean that my taste in ice cream is objective. I am not referencing societal norms, or the opinions of others, or some external aspect of reality when I determine whether "I like strawberry ice cream" is a true statement. It is purely subjective, because I am the only authority on whether I like it. It's a fact, but it's also subjective.


    Morally relevant aspects of the context of a given act can absolutely be important without making everything just a matter of opinion.


    I'm not. What I mean when I say objective here is that: moral statements are propositions and thus either true or false; that some of these propositions are true; and that these propositions refer to facts that exist independent of human opinion.
     
  13. stevevw

    stevevw inquisitive

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    So is the moral for stealing. What is the difference. Do you think that when someone breaks the moral not to steal they wont be presecuted or suffer some sort of repercussion. It is still an a breach of law and/or rules in society. It still has consequences even if you steal non material things or from family. I cannot think of any situation where stealing would have no consequences can you.

    Yes Hitler justified his actions. According to a subjective moral view Hitlers view is one view among many and therefore he has just as much right to have that view even if it is wrong and disgusting to others. No one can say Hitler was ultimately wrong because there is no absolute right and wrong to measure morals against. The rest of the world knew it was wrong and I suggest that they knew this not because of some human made criteria but it is intuitivly within all humans to know right from wrong. For me that comes from God but for others they say it comes from nature just like the laws of nature.

    I ain't that smart. I have researched the topic. I do not think you have to do any scientific test to know that what Hitler did was wrong. A justification for breaching a moral would have to support something good to be morally good. I do not think there are too many situations where people can rationalise a justification for bad. If we honestly look at the situation we can tell what is good.

    How can subjective morality have a base to measure it,that is more like objective morality. Objective morality does not mean that everyone agrees, it means that there are morals that stand as absolutely true despite whether humans agree or not. Sometimes humans can agree on a moral position subjectively and it later turns out to be wrong. So agreeing on morals alone is not objective morality.

    I think it is the other way around. People claim that some want to prove that there is objective morality as this would lead to there being a moral law giver which many say is God. But people also say that you can have objective morality without God. Sam Harris who is a famous athesist who often attacks religion supports objective morality.

    Challenging the traditional philosophical notion that humans can never get an 'ought' from an 'is', Harris argues that moral questions are best pursued using not just philosophy, but the methods of science. Thus, "science can determine human values" translates to "science can tell us which values lead to human flourishing". It is in this sense that Harris advocates that scientists begin conversations about a normative science of "morality".[1]
    The Moral Landscape - Wikipedia

    It is commonly believed especially by those of religious faith that any form of secular morality is doomed to total cultural and moral relativism where morality is regarded as nothing more than a cultural byproduct and a matter of opinion. It always seemed obvious to me at least that morality was more than just a mere convention of culture and the purpose of this paper is to make the case that in the absence of god, a simple case for objective morality can be made.
    A Case For Secular Morality: Objective Morality Without God

    I think many of the terror attacks on abortion clinics are done by westerners on their own people so they are not from a different culture. Most suicide bombers also blow up they own people who support them. So they are not indiscriminant acts which should tell you that they have no regard for life and there is no justification for what they do despite them saying it is in the name of their god. They are contradicting their own moral standards.

    Just because people claim something does not mean they are morally justified. According to an objective moral position we can say their actions are morally wrong. The problem is there is no basis for those who support subjective morality to say these terrorists are ultimately wrong in their moral views. So their views have to be accommodated in the overall scheme of subjective morality. This is a dangerous position to take as it sends the wrong message to extremists.

    You just told me earlier how unfair it was for rich people to help some poor because they have no obligation and the poor may not deserve it. If morals are subjective how is what you say have any basis or relevance. Why even protest it is unfair if you cannot make any statemnets about the criteria of what is fair and unfair.

    I take the objective moral view that anyone who is in need is worthy of help even if they do not deserve it. Otherwise we are faced with a moral delimma of sorting out who deserves help or not and pushing someone away to perhaps die just becuase in our view they do not deserve it. I do not think many people could honestly do that and feel good about themselves.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
  14. Ken-1122

    Ken-1122 Newbie

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    Lets look at this logic from your perspective where your God is the highest authority;

    If your God is the highest authority of right and wrong, “right is whatever he tells you to do; others have no basis to even begin to judge because he is the only authority of right and wrong

    Humm… sounds kinda the same to me; but the difference is; if a real person is the highest authority, I can have a conversation with him and convince him when I think he is wrong; and he is going to be more willing to listen because he doesn’t start from the position that he is perfect and could never be wrong unlike your idea of God

    Lets try this with yours.

    If your God cannot be wrong, then he cannot be right either. If he can’t be right, he can’t be moral. Thus any sort of discussion of what he says we should do breaks down entirely; after all he has already decided what we should do and he cannot be wrong about this

    Again; kinda sounds the same to me, again the difference is a person can be reasoned with; your idea of God cannot. If your God tells you to murder your son as a sacrifice to him, that is right and you have no basis to refuse. If a person tells me to sacrifice my son to him, I would curse him and tell him why I will not.

    You are assuming if humans are the highest authority, that they would behave like God; they won’t. Humans believe they are right at any given time according to the data they’ve accumulated up until that day.
    Of course, the next day new data may be discovered which could invalidate their previous beliefs. This is because people evolve day by day; your idea of God does not.
    If I disagree with a person, I have the option of presenting new data that he has yet to discover, which could cause him to invalidate his previous beliefs. With your idea of God; I don’t have this option.

    Redac likes strawberry ice cream, is objective.
    Strawberry ice cream taste better than all other flavors; is subjective. See the difference?

    I disagree; the moment you begin considering extenuating circumstances, differences in context, etc. before making a judgment, it is no longer based on fact. If it is not based on fact, it is no longer objective.

    I don’t believe morality is based on true or false It’s based on right or wrong.
     
  15. durangodawood

    durangodawood Dis Member

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    Its like everything I said went in one ear and out the other.

    Owning your body is the moral principle.

    Abortion is the policy in which all sort of other issues come into play including another moral principle: 'murder is bad for us', which in this case competes with owning your body.

    And there's also disputed facts like the fetus is or isnt a "person". No wonder theres disagreement. Unlike the 2 main underlying moral principles at stake, abortion is a complex issue.
     
  16. Redac

    Redac Regular Member

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    You should probably be aware that I'm not a Christian.


    What you are articulating here is what's called the "divine command theory", which is actually a bit distinct from what I've been talking about. That's also technically a case of ethical subjectivism, wherein the rightness or wrongness of an act is not contingent upon whether it corresponds to some objective aspect of reality, but upon whether it conforms to what God has commanded.

    Again, you have already ceded that this other person, by definition, cannot be wrong. You cannot really think he is right or wrong in any moral sense, because you have already granted that he is the sole authority of what's right and wrong for him, and that your attitudes about his actions have literally zero bearing on that. Given that, on what basis do you even begin to justify your own belief that some other person is "wrong" in something they do, let alone convince him of such a thing? Trying to convince him that he's wrong would be like me trying to convince him that he actually does like strawberry ice cream.

    Yeah, and it has presented a bit of a quandry for Christian philosophers and theologists over the years. There are some answers to these sorts of issues that have been proposed, and a few others have simply accepted that, yes, cruelty would be moral if God commanded such a thing.

    But as I said, I'm not a Christian, so you're barking up the wrong tree here.

    I don't think I've ever once articulated or even implied such a thing during this conversation.

    The problem is that all that's happening (when taking into account everything previously mentioned) is someone changing their opinion on some thing, whatever that thing is. If I decide on Monday that I like band XYZ, then I'm over them by Friday, and then the following Wednesday I like them again, my opinion on each of those days is technically just as valid as any other day.

    When you're talking about questions of "should" and of binding conduct, however, this presents a major problem. I think right now that, say, rape is immoral. If I decided to go out and rape someone tomorrow, however, then it would follow that, for at least as long as it was happening, I thought rape was acceptable, and I would be absolutely correct in saying that rape was acceptable. Do you not see the kind of problem this presents?

    What data is going to invalidate my (obviously hypothetical) belief that rape is okay, or that handing over Jews to the Gestapo would be the moral thing to do?

    It's subjective in that the true/false value of "Redac likes strawberry ice cream" is not determined by anything external to my own opinion of the taste of strawberry ice cream.

    Suppose two moral statements: "cruelty is immoral" and "self-preservation is moral". Suppose for a moment that these statements are both true, and that they are true because they correspond with something beyond my own opinions.

    Supposing those two moral truths, let's look at a particular action: killing. If we accept the above statements as true, and as being true regardless of the opinion of the person doing the killing -- that is, if we accept it as being objective -- then context suddenly becomes very important. Killing someone purely for the enjoyment or thrill of killing would be wrong, while killing such a person in order to save your own life would be just fine.

    In such a case, you'd have some objective moral values derived from something beyond opinion or perception, and you'd have a moral system in which the exact context and circumstances of a specific action -- killing someone -- make a big difference in whether that killing was right or wrong. See how that can work?

    I think you're confusing "real" or "objective" with "absolute". Moral absolutism would posit what you're saying here: that there is some ironclad moral law (for example, "stealing is wrong"), and that circumstance or context (for example, to avoid starvation or to help someone in need) has no impact on whether it's wrong or not. Wrong is wrong, period.

    "Rape is wrong." Do you believe this statement can be true or false? And if so, is it true or false?
     
  17. Ken-1122

    Ken-1122 Newbie

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    No; when the police arrest you for stealing, they will arrest you for breaking the LAW not some moral code. it’s just in this case the moral code and the law are the same.

    Actually a lot of people agreed with Hitler. How do you think he was able to get so many people to support his evil deeds? He couldn’t have done any of that stuff without help ya know!

    People don’t have a consistent view of most issues when it comes to right and wrong. And why do you suppose what was viewed by most as right 150 years ago is viewed as wrong by most today? And what is viewed as right today, was viewed as wrong by most 150 years ago? If right and wrong is consistent, why is it in a constant state of change?

    If nobody agrees on them or know what they are, how do you know they exist?

    Don’t know (or care) who Sam Harris is, but anybody can make the mistake of assuming a moral base for mankind exist outside of mankind; even atheists.

    If morality is objective, who decides what is morally justified?

    Again; I disagree! If I am my moral base, and I believe the terrorist are wrong, there is nothing stopping me from telling them. If this goes against their moral base, we can have a discussion to see who can convince the other

    I was offering a scenario of what some people may believe
    Subjective morality doesn’t prevent you from making statements about such a criteria.

    And thats your subjective opinion! Just realize others have a different subjective opinion, and just because theirs is different than yours doesn’t automatically mean they are wrong.
     
  18. Ken-1122

    Ken-1122 Newbie

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    Perhaps I misunderstood you. How are you defining "moral principles"?
     
  19. Ken-1122

    Ken-1122 Newbie

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    I have not.

    But he also recognizes the possibility that he could be wrong, because he has been wrong many times before.

    Perhaps by giving him information he hasn’t had before, or providing a point of view he never considered before. Remember, his idea of right/wrong is in a constant state of evolving; the more he learn the more his beliefs will change.

    Perhaps I’ve misunderstood you; I made this assumption based on the type of responses you’ve made.

    Yes! And these problems do happen! You are making my point.


    My reasons for believing forcing a sex act on someone is wrong, and my reasons for believing dishonesty to the Gestapo is the right thing to do

    Thats an awful lot of work just to sustain the false notion that morality is objective; if you recognized it is subjective, you wouldn’t have to jump through so many hoops.
    How do you define the difference between objective vs absolute?

    Statements are true or false, morality is right or wrong, and statements about morality or any other subject are true or false
     
  20. stevevw

    stevevw inquisitive

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    yes I agree, so in this case because the law and moral are the same does not that show how the moral for stealing is objective, if you say the law is objective. Is there ever a case where stealing will not be prosecutable by law or some rule similar to law that will have some sort of penalty like the law. Is there any situation where stealing whether by law or by morality is OK and does not result in some sort of penalty.

    Yes I agree and that's the danger of subjective morality as it allows people like Hitler to do what they do. Because there is no clear objective right or wrong no one can honestly say that this action is definitely wrong in any absolute way. It shows that even when a subjective view is supported by a large group, an organization or even a country it is not necessarily good. This has happened many times in history to a greater or lessor extent even from organizations people think are good.

    Hitler was successful for several reasons and the Germans may have been fooled as well. People need to know the truth and all the facts to make an informed decision about what is right and wrong. We have often seen how certain views thought to be right can turn out to be wrong later.

    Just because it was OK years ago or even today does not mean it was morally right. You are assuming that just because it was acceptable it must have been ultimately right or good. I think there is also the context of that time which may add a different understanding and application of that moral. But that does not add a different moral meaning or view. Time and knowledge helps us have a better understanding.

    For example 50 years ago people thought taking indigenous children from their family and putting them with white families was good as it helped them have a better life. Today this is seen as wrong as it was denying indigenous children the right to their parents who knew them best.

    But they did not know this then and were doing what was regarded as good and in the best interest of the child. Today people will try and support the indigenous child to stay with their family in the best interest of the child. That does not change the moral of acting in the best interest of the child. The moral and peoples views have remained the same, the circumstance was the only thing that changed. People are not saying it is OK to treat indigenous children badly regardless of any time periods.

    We know they exist because a logical argument can be made for objective morality such as how people act and appeal to objective morality despite saying there is no objective morality which I have been explaining through these posts. For example as soon as someone begins to say that their morality is right and another is wrong they are acknowledging that there is an objective moral standard that can determine what they claim. Otherwise why even make the claim as it has not basis.

    Under subjective morality everyone's view is just as valid as the other. So there is no absolute right or wrong or good or bad. To say that someone else's moral view is wrong is to claim you have an objective morality to measure that persons morals against. Logical arguments can be used to determine what is true.

    Here are some other reasons why objective morality may be correct.
    Do Objective Moral Values Exist?
    1. Nearly universally across human cultures, there exist the same basic standards of morality. In addition, there exist in all cultures truly altruistic acts which lead to no genetic benefit.
    2. The majority of people who explicitly deny the existence of objective morality still act as if objective morality exists.
    3. There exists a nearly universal human intuition that certain things are objectively right or wrong.
    4. The majority of philosophers recognize the existence of objective moral facts.
    5. Many naturalists (like Sam Harris or Shelley Kagan) affirm the existence of objective moral facts, despite the problems inherent in grounding these facts in the natural world.
    Do Objective Moral Values Exist?

    The difference is Sam Harris is making a case that objective morality can be scientifically supported. There are a number of scientists who say the same and as with the survey I posted most academic philosophers support objective morality.

    As mentioned people like Sam Harris say it is something within nature and that humans just know and have known all along. It is like the laws of physics, they have always been there and are part of life. So people intuitively know what is right and wrong. For Christians they believe in a moral lawgiver and as the bible says the laws of God are written on peoples hearts so this is similar to morals being a part of nature and people know them even if they have never seen or heard any morals before.

    Yes you can express your subjective moral view and so can the terrorists. The more difficult part is going to be winning the debate about whose morals are right as you have no basis to measure whose morals are right or wrong. So in that sense you can only have a conversation to express your opinion. You maybe right or the terrorist may be right who knows.

    I agree but it means nothing as far as the ultimate truth of whether you are right or wrong. It is just a statement of a persons opinion like "I think crumbed lambs brains are good to eat". It does not contain any truth about whether lambs brains are good or bad to eat.

    Yes I realize this and that is part of the problem. It allows opinions that are dangerous and divisive that can lead to human suffering and death.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2017
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