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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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    The law is objective because it is written down. Somewhere there is a book, scroll, or something real; outside of human thought that represents the law; that says “stealing is wrong”. No such scroll, book, or anything exists for morality; morality consists solely in the context of human thought.
    If you are going to claim atrocities like Hitler will only happen under subjective morality, it will be a contradiction to then turn around and claim morality is not subjective, because the atrocities of Hitler were real.
    If right and wrong is not based on human thought, how can you know the difference between right and wrong?
    What about the moral of getting rid of the indigenous people’s culture? What about the moral that states people of other colors should not be treated equally to white people? Those morals have changed! Those morals went from moral to immoral.
    No they are not; they are claiming there is a subjective moral standard that can determine what they claim.
    Because it does have a basis; a subjective basis.
    So people like Sam Harris claim that nature decides what is morally justified? What does that mean? Perhaps he meant that because each person is a part of nature, each person decides for himself what is morally justified. But then that would be subjective, not objective morality.
    Thats how things happen in the real world. Under objective morality, you would break out your bible, and show him why you are right and he is wrong, and he will break out his Koran and show you why he is right and you are wrong; and in the end nobody gets anywhere because your arguments are based on faith in two different books that the other doesn’t agree with instead of reason and logic, something everybody can agree on.
     
  2. Ed1wolf

    Ed1wolf Well-Known Member

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    By using logical reasoning. Most of the scientific evidence shows that the universe is an effect, therefore it needs a cause. And according to the laws of logic that cause must be transcendent to the universe, just like the Christian God.


    Actually among scientists astronomers and cosmologists have the most theists. But not all of them do because they will be labeled a fundie and many of the their fellow astronomers will try to destroy their careers.


    God does not "live" in outer space. God is a spiritual being and can not be observed empirically just like dark matter or neutrinos. See above about how cosmologists have shown that the universe is an effect and needs a Cause.


    See above how the cause of the universe must be transcendent to it, just like God. Also, personal beings exist in this universe and we know from all empirical evidence that only persons can produce the personal so the cause of the universe must be a person. Also, purposes exist in the universe and we know that only minds can produce purposes for things. Such as eyes for seeing and ears for hearing, hands for grasping and etc.
     
  3. stevevw

    stevevw inquisitive

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    What I am saying is despite subjective morality saying the moral for stealing comes from the human mind is there situation where breaking the moral for stealing is OK and not subject to penalties like the law.

    I am not saying that subjective morality does not exist. I am saying that objective morality also exists.

    The question is how can you know the difference under subjective morality (human thought) because right and wrong are just opinions and they do not have any valididity regarding the truth about what is right or wrong. What may be right for one person is wrong for another.

    That would be the way people treated African Americans mainly years ago and even still today. This was wrong and the people responsible were either prosecuted or condemned. Quite often the perpetrators were religious and often Christians including the Klan and they were acting in contradiction to their beliefs. So they were actually acting immorally.

    But here is no ultimate subjective moral standard. How can they use their subjective moral standard to judge that another personsmoral standard is wrong. The fact that they claim the other person is wrong only makes sense if there is some objective moral standard for them to judge what is right and wrong.

    That is a contradiction because a subjective basis is always shifting so therefore there is no basis. You can think something is right one week and then change your mine the next. In a room with 5 people there may be 5 different opinions of what is good and bad. How can there be any basis to judge what is really right or wrong when there is no basis to measure what is truly right and wrong. Claiming something is wrong can only be true for the person making the claim and not ultimately so saying someone else is wrong is only valid for the prson saying it and not whether the other person is truly wrong in the overall scheme of things.

    I think he is saying that there are logical and almost scientifically verifiable moral positions that can be found or deduced just like with laws of nature. We can find objective moral values if we assess what promotes human flourishing and there are ways to assess what is best for humans to flourish. Using what is best for human flourishing seems to take the subjectivity out of it. We can say certain things are condusive to human flourishing more than others and there is no subjectivity about it.

    The difference is that Harris says this position can be found in the natural world where certain things are shown to be fact like laws of nature and not from God. We usually apply this logical thinking to other areas of life but when it comes to morals we seem to come up with a different type of reasoning. I guess this can go back to the law we were talking about and how this can be reasoned as objective and how maybe morals can also be worked out as what is best for humans to have a good life just like laws are worked out for having a ordered life.

    This video is probably the best explanation I have found to explain his position as most of the written material is harder to grasp. His position makes a lot of sense because he can take you through the logical argument why objective morals exist.


    I do not think this is how to support objective morality by forcing your moral views on another. That is just someone claiming that they are right and not justifying their case. As I have been trying to say that objective morality can have a logical base that can be shown becuase humans act like there are objective morals in the real world despite what they say about their moral views. They may say they have a certain view about morals but they act in a different way. Or their moral position can be shown to be immoral and unjustified which is actually immoral.

    This can be related to what Harris is saying in that if we look at how we really live there may be certain morals that we all live by intuitively that are deemed the most logical position to take that best help us survive and thrive as humans. A chistian objective moral position is similar in that it is based off the example of Christ. Christ promoted the best possible way to live which would give people a good, healthy and full life. There were logical reasons behind what Christ said how we should live.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
  4. durangodawood

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    I thought we dealt with this issue.

    Have there been some new empirical observations to report?
     
  5. Ken-1122

    Ken-1122 Newbie

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    What scientific evidence do you have that shows the Universe is an effect? Science doesn’t make this claim, but you do so obviously you think you know something they don’t.




    The percentage of Astronomers and Cosmologists who are theists, are still much lower than the general population. And the few that are theists don’t claim their religion is backed up by science.

    As I said before, there has never been any evidence of your God anywhere.

    All you are doing is spittin’ out a bunch of empty claims apparently backed up only by your faith. There are no scientific theories, or claims to back up anything you are claiming. Don’t get me wrong, if you wanna believe this stuff via faith; that’s fine; I ain’t trying to take that away from you! But don’t try to imply this stuff is backed up by science.
     
  6. Ken-1122

    Ken-1122 Newbie

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    Oh; so some moral issues are subjective, and others objective? Can you provide examples of each and explain why?

    Why do you say opinions have no validity regarding the truth? Subjective morality requires you know, or at least believe you know the difference between right and wrong; objective morality means you depend on someone else to tell you. If you depend on someone telling you right from wrong, how do you know they are being truthful to you?

    African Americans weren’t the only ones mistreated. The Native Americans, Chinese, Mexicans, and countless others. And the people responsible were not prosecuted, or condemned. The people responsible thought they were doing the moral thing. My point is; what was seen as moral yesterday is immoral today; and what is seen as moral today will probably be seen as immoral tomorrow.

    What is the difference between “ultimate subjective moral standard vs “subjective moral standard”?

    Using the tools of reason and logic

    I disagree! I judge people wrong all the time using my personal subjective moral standard. I say my standard is subjective because I cannot demonstrate I am right, I can only explain why I believe the way I do

    What you just described are how things are done in the real world.

    *What is believed to be moral is constantly shifting and evolving.
    *People believe one thing is right one week and can change their minds the next week
    *You can get 5 people in a room and get 5 different opinions of what is good and bad.

    Thats how things work in the real world. There is no such a thing as something outside of mankind that determines objectively right and wrong.

    Okay, if there is such an objective moral base what is it?
     
  7. Eight Foot Manchild

    Eight Foot Manchild His Supreme Holy Correctfulness

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    Morality magically becomes objective when it comes from 'God'. Haven't you heard?
     
  8. Redac

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    That appears to be what you said here:
    Regardless, if you're taking the position that morality is entirely a matter of perspective, you cannot avoid it. If that's not the position you're taking, then please clarify.


    But that's just it: he hasn't ever been wrong. If what he thinks he should do is entirely a matter of his own perspective in that moment, then regardless of what that thing is, if he thinks he should do it, then he should do it (in other words, it is moral).

    Be specific: what morally relevant information are you going to give me to convince me that something is wrong? Let's take rape as an example. What information would you give me to convince me that I shouldn't rape someone if I want to? If I do something, then obviously I've already decided I should do that thing, for whatever reason. And if questions of "should" and "shouldn't" are entirely a matter of personal, subjective opinion, then you have no ability to inform me on what I should do, because to do so would require you to appeal to some moral authority external to my own opinion -- and if morality is purely subjective, my opinion is the only authority on my own morality.

    Note also that if part of this information is, say, some kind of implication of violence if I don't cooperate -- as in, "you should consider this wrong because someone will kill you" -- that's not a question of relevant moral information or changing ideas, that's just a threat.


    I'm really not making your point, though.


    So what? Your "wrong" only means "wrong for Ken-1122". It has no bearing on right or wrong for anyone but you, and it cannot have any authority over what right and wrong is for me or anyone else. Your reasons for thinking the statement "rape is wrong" is true are valid only for you, while my reasons for thinking "rape is wrong" is false are equally as valid for me.


    It's really not that difficult. Besides, I don't think you even fully understand the problem you're facing if you think morality is purely subjective on an individual level.

    Objective here means that when you're determining the true/false value of some moral statement, you're comparing it against some value or fact or something that is external to any one person's or group's opinion on what right and wrong is. Right and wrong is determined by correspondence to some objective, external fact, not by whether it matches up with a given personal or cultural understanding of right and wrong. It's possible that the better term is "real" or "moral realism" rather than "objective" or "objectivism"; the terminology gets a little tricky.

    By absolute, I mean the idea that there is some absolute, unbending standard regarding certain actions, and that some actions are inherently immoral by their nature. For example, the idea that stealing is always immoral; regardless of whether it's for personal gain or simply to prevent starvation, it is wrong, and context doesn't change that.

    Objectivism/realism would allow for some variation in context (like murder vs self-defense), while absolutism would be much more black and white about it (killing is wrong regardless of context).

    That's my understanding of it, anyway.

    All right, so you believe moral statements (as in statements proposing a moral value ("rape is wrong")) can be true or false. How do you determine whether a given moral statement is true or false?
     
  9. durangodawood

    durangodawood Dis Member

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    Lets say morality did "come from God".

    How would that make it objective?
     
  10. Eight Foot Manchild

    Eight Foot Manchild His Supreme Holy Correctfulness

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    Anyone who can answer that will be the first person to ever do so.
     
  11. Ken-1122

    Ken-1122 Newbie

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    He is not be wrong in his eyes at that particular moment. He could be wrong in my eyes, and he could be wrong in his eyes after being shown a view he never considered before.

    People admit to being wrong all the time! People want to do what they believe is right according to their perspective unless they are shown they were wrong; then they change their minds. This happens all the time.

    Outside of a threat, I cannot give you information to convince you not to rape if that is what you WANT to do, I can give you information to convince you not to rape if you are going to do it because you believe it is the morally right thing to do though. Under oubjective morality, what would you tell a determined rapist to to get him to quit raping?

    And that moral authority external to your own opinion is MY moral authority.

    Of course! Whose else would it be?

    Actually it would be wrong for me, and those who agree with me (which are a lot of people). But then the same goes for your objective morality; your God’s wrong only means wrong for your God and those (like you) who agree with him. How is that any different?

    Unless you or anyone else allows that authority over them; which is the same for your God under Objective morality. How is that any different?

    How would this be different if morality were objective?

    What problems am I facing?

    So absolute is an external standard with no room for compromise, where as objective is an external standard that allows room for compromise.
    Your definition of Objective sounds a lot like my definition of subjective except for the external part; I believe the standard for subjective morality is internal.

    By understanding the difference between right and wrong.
     
  12. Redac

    Redac Regular Member

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    Opinion after the fact isn't all that important here, though. He thought it was right at the time, and if he thought so at the time of a given action, it was right when it happened.

    Yes, but usually they're admitting wrongdoing based on some moral standard beyond their own opinion, even if that standard is just collective cultural norms.

    When people are convinced of having been morally wrong, they're usually adjusting their views against some standard that isn't simply their own opinion. Practically speaking, people do not operate as if they think right and wrong is entirely up to them and them alone. Society simply couldn't function if everyone believed that and acted as such.

    But if I believe it's right, and if I believe that "right" for me is entirely up to my own judgment, what would you appeal to in order to change my mind? After all, you cannot say what I'm doing is wrong, because to judge the morality of something I do by any standard beyond my own standard is not consistent with purely subjective morality. You would have to concede that my act is moral, because my standard is the only standard which applies to my own behavior, and my standard said it was okay. Your standard applies only to you and no one else.

    If rape being wrong is an objective standard (or even a culturally relative standard which is different but less of a problem), then he can be morally wrong, regardless of whether he thinks he is right or wrong. If it is also a moral imperative to prevent harm like that, then using force to stop him becomes a moral act. If, however, everything that everyone does at any given moment is "right" then me stopping him from raping is just as morally correct as him doing the raping. No act can really be wrong, and so morality becomes utterly meaningless on an interpersonal level, and it ultimately comes down to people using violence or threats of violence to control the behavior of others. Right and wrong no longer become relevant; it's no longer about whether you should do something, but whether you can do something.

    If my opinion is the only authority that is morally binding my behavior, then your opinion of my behavior means literally nothing, and to judge my behavior as right or wrong by anything besides my opinion would be inconsistent and invalid.

    Well, no. Your opinion is the standard by which your behavior is judged, and another person's opinion is the standard by which that person's behavior is judged. Whether these opinions line up with those of others is incidental at best.

    Do you mean divine command theory? Divine command holds that the moral standard by which all actions are judged is God's command, and that it applies to everyone, not just God himself. It's different from saying that there are as many moralities as there are people, and that all are just as valid.

    The idea of moral realism or objectivism does not actually require a god, just so you know.

    Because if "rape is wrong" were objectively false, or even if it were false according to a collective cultural standard, then my behavior would be wrong even if I thought it were right.

    I've laid out several. The most basic problem is threefold: one, right and wrong is inherently subjective and thus purely a matter of the subject's opinion of their own actions; two, given this, nothing a person does can be wrong, as if they have done something, they already decided they should do it, so it is moral; and three, you have no basis on which to inform someone on what they should do, because to appeal to anything besides that person's own opinion is to be philosophically inconsistent.

    Sort of. I think contextual variation is a better way to phrase it than compromise, but whatever.

    They should sound quite similar, since that external truth value is the key difference.

    You're ducking the question, and what you're saying is nonsensical (you know whats right by knowing what's right). What do you use to know what's right or wrong?
     
  13. stevevw

    stevevw inquisitive

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    Subjective morality is true for the person who has the view and objective morality is true beyond the human view. Just because there are personal views does not mean there can be objective morality. A subjective moral is true only for the person and at the same time objective morality is true beyond the person. But they cannot both be absolutely true at the same time.

    Believing you know your morals are true does not determine that your morals are absolutely true. They only show that they are true for you.
    Objective morality does not depend on another human telling you that you are right. You cannot depend on another human because you do not know that their opinion is ultimately true and best. Objective morality depends on a set of moral laws that are beyond the human mind and opinion. Human views of morality can be fallible and therefore can lead to the wrong decisions about what is best.

    Having a set of moral laws such as from God through the teachings of Jesus can be the best morals to live by as Jesus was without sin and is infallible. If you do not want to involve God then the example from people like Sam Harris at least determines that there are objective morals that can support human flourishing through scientific reasoning. The problem with this is you have to justify that objective morals can exists without a moral law giver.

    This example does not change the fact that there can be objective morality. The people from the past generation that believed that taking a indigenous child from their family was good does not change the fact that at that time or any time in history it may have been objectively bad. It’s like someone honestly believing that an apple is a pear even though objectively it is an apple and will be an apple no matter what context or time period.

    But for subjective morality to even compare these two-time periods and appeal to a standard of good or bad is irrelevant because there is no standard to use that can absolutely determine that the past was morally bad and today is morally good under subjective morality. Is it not all subjective and therefore just a matter of opinion? To even say that today’s standards are more morally good is to appeal to some external standard of good to measure against. But there is no external standard of good to measure things with subjective morality. Therefore, morality cannot become better under subjective morality it can only be different.

    I was replying to your comment that people can use subjective morality to support what they say is good when debating with another person. I was saying there is no ultimate subjective moral standard under subjective morality that can support anyone’s claims that what they say is truly good.

    It would be hard for them to use reason and logic with subjective morality because a person’s view of morals is personal and may be as different as the people giving their view. So, reason and logic go out the window because one person will contradict the other. They can reason and use logic according to their own position but that will only apply to the own position and not absolutely to others.

    Yes and I am not denying that you can do that. But as you have said you cannot prove to the other person that your position is absolutely correct. So, you can speak for yourself but not really for others. Therefore, you can condemn something as bad, but you have no ultimate basis for showing that it is ultimately bad. The other person has just as much right to take their position even if you think it is horrible.

    The reality is we act like there are objective morals because we are continually saying that what others do is wrong and that they should not do it. We act like our morals are correct and that other people’s morals are wrong and that they should conform to our moral standards.

    Once again I am not saying that people do not have different views about morality. I would posit that the reality is quite the opposite though and that despite people having different views and claiming there is only subjective morality that they act like there is objective morality. Subjective morality is an opinion and recognises that everyone has their own view of what is morally right or wrong.

    You earlier gave the example that some people may think that stealing is OK under subjective morality. Therefore, in reality under subjective morality no one can say that someone is ultimately wrong when they say that stealing is OK because this is their opinion which they believe is right and there is no objective measure of what is morally good or bad under subjective morality.

    Yet everyone reacts badly to having something stolen and so are acting like stealing is objectively wrong despite their view. If stealing is wrong one week according to their view and OK, the next how can they say anything about stealing being ultimately good or bad as they have no basis to do so apart from their personal view which has a shaky foundation as it is always shifting.

    If you refer to what I said aabove about God and Sam Harris you will have the answer.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
  14. Ed1wolf

    Ed1wolf Well-Known Member

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    It can easily be determined by using the laws of logic as I have demonstrated earlier just like any other scientific theory.


    Not a conscious one. In humanity's present state, we naturally reject the Christian God and tend to rationalize away any evidence for his existence.


    But science has confirmed that purposes exist in the universe as demonstrated above.


    Yes, remember the the present state of humanity I stated above and how scientists would be marginalized by the establishment if they go against the materialist paradigm. But many astronomers and cosmologists are theists.

    No, I am claiming that if something has never been empirically observed then that is pretty strong evidence against it. And if something has been empirically observed over the period of 2 million years of human existence then that is strong evidence for it.



    I didn't say impossible, just unlikely. But actually a better analogy would be only observing X producing Y and then claiming that only S can produce Y when S has never been observed.
     
  15. Ken-1122

    Ken-1122 Newbie

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    You speak as if right and wrong ancestrally exist. Right and wrong are only labels humans use to judge actions we see. these judgments are based on human thought; and human thoughts change. That’s why it is incorrect to say “it was right when it happened,” you should say “in his opinion it was right when it happened.”

    No; people admit they were wrong after altering their views in light of new information. To say you were wrong based on opinions you disagree with is something that happens when forced.

    True! But once they’ve done this this new standard becomes their own.

    I would appeal to MY view of “right” in hopes of convincing you to change your mind

    Are you kidding me? That’s how subjective morality works! I judge my standard of good to someone else's and sometimes I change my standard more in line with theirs, sometimes they change their standards more in line with mine; thats how we learn.

    What is going to force me to concede that your act is moral if I don’t believe it is?

    What good does that do? For you to proclaim him wrong regardless of if he agrees or not, is no different than him proclaiming himself right regardless of whether you agree or not.

    Thats why we have laws which are objective. Laws are enforced, moral beliefs are not. You are not allowed to prevent someone from raping because it goes against your moral beliefs, you can only stop him if rape is against the law.

    I will respond to the rest a little later

    Ken
     
  16. Ken-1122

    Ken-1122 Newbie

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    opps!
     
  17. Ken-1122

    Ken-1122 Newbie

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    That would only be the case if you were an unreasonable person who refuses to listen to anybody else. Most reasonable people are willing to listen and learn from others.

    No; I not only judge my own behavior according to my opinion, but I also judge everybody else's behavior according to my opinion; everybody does this.

    No; I don’t mean the Divine command theory, I meant exactly what I said; your Gods morality only applies to himself and those like you who agree with him. His morality does not apply to me, or others who may disagree with him.

    Wrong according to who?

    Let me put it this way:

    I believe morality is about the ability to understand the consequences of actions and how they effect my neighbor.
    And it starts from the position that what is helpful to my neighbor is good, and what is harmful to my neighbor is bad.

    This is what I mean when I said I know the difference between right and wrong/good or bad.

    Anybody who is unable to employ the above mentioned traits on his own, but must resort to a perceived outside authority to get instructions on how to behave this way is not being moral, he is only being obedient.
    IOW If you must go to God for this, you aren’t moral; God is! You are nothing more than an immoral person who is good at following instructions. I suspect you are better than that even if you don’t realize it right now.
     
  18. Ken-1122

    Ken-1122 Newbie

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    What intelligence do you know of that lies beyond human view?

    What do you mean by “absolutely true”?

    I didn’t say “another human” I said someone else. Whether that someone else be God, a space alien, or a figment of imaginations.

    How do you know the same does not apply to your God?

    How do you know Jesus and God is infallible? Is this just a matter of faith?

    Having a different POV will not prevent someone from listening to someone else. Reason and logic will work for anybody who is reasonable and logical

    The same goes for believing objective morality.

    You have misrepresented what I said about stealing. To steal is a legal crime; but sometimes the law is wrong. When the Nazis took over countries back in the 40’s they made laws where white people could take the possessions of brown and Jewish people. If a non-white person had a cow, a white person could take it from them and it was legal to do so. If that non-white person were to take his cow back, THAT would be stealing. Now under those circumstances; do you think stealing is wrong?

    I’m not going to comment on Sam Harris because he is not here to defend himself; but it seems objective morality is for those who believe in God. I don’t believe in God.
     
  19. Strathos

    Strathos No one important

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    This is what the Bible says. Only God is good.
     
  20. Ken-1122

    Ken-1122 Newbie

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    Scientist don’t even know

    Christians are some of the richest and most powerful people on Earth. Any scientist who could provide evidence of the Christian God backed up by science would be world famous and would have more money than they would know what to do with. Greed would not allow any scientist to pass up on such fame and fortune

    Really? What scientific theory confirms this?

    Try telling that to the many Christians who believe in a God that has not been empirically observed, but are skeptical of the Theory of Evolution that has been.
     
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