Tue 7 Jun, 2011 01:33 am
A book I just read, on ‘pro-objectivity normative theory’, has arguments for its new moral, social and political theory which may interest you. The book argues that an objective normative theory must be coherent, and asks what evidence there could be for such a theory, arguing that coherence with scientific objectivity must be included in any such evidence and relatedly in the theory’s basis. The book argues that, “regardless of underlying theoretical epistemic controversies, practical science moves on highly-successfully — showing in-practice that objectivity or knowledge is a sufficiently firm notion to be involved in a practical, normative theory’s basis.” Hence an objective normative theory must be pro-objectivity.
Some other or related arguments here:-
“From the viewpoint of any standard, the standard and viewpoint are correct. E.g., from a selfish viewpoint, selfishness is normatively correct. As ‘correct’ means ‘truly, i.e., objectively, correct’, here selfishness is viewed as the only correct/objective moral end. This relatedly applies to pro-selfishness or the end, ‘Be pro-selfishness’, as that selfish viewpoint is inherently pro-selfishness. The general point here has important implications:-
Thence, from objectivity’s viewpoint, or judging via the standard, ‘objectivity’, a pro-objectivity standard and viewpoint are the only correct or objective standard and viewpoint. So this applies regarding normativity. With this, as a viewpoint involves a theory, from objectivity’s or an objective viewpoint pro-objectivity theory is the only correct or objective normative theory, and ‘Be pro-objectivity’ is the only objective normative standard and hence end. It is of course only from objectivity’s viewpoint that it can be known whether something is an objective normative end. (From other viewpoints, e.g., a selfish viewpoint, there can only be mere belief, without objectivity or truth.) Knowledge means truth. Therefore, ‘Be pro-objectivity’ truly is the only objective or correct normative end. This is the only coherent conclusion here, and not just because being pro-objectivity is coherent with objectivity. It is also coherent in that it is the only comprehensible and relatedly rational conclusion here.”
A related argument, also involving coherence, “involves another rationally unquestionable proposition, namely: an objective normative theory, one able to be knowledge, must have a basis and hence end/standard which favour and somehow involve (at least their own) objectivity or status as knowledge.
An objective, normative theory and hence its basis must involve objectivity in that normative theories inherently prescribe or are pro- some end(s), and being pro- an objective end means the theory here and hence its basis are pro- the theory’s end’s objectivity, i.e., its correctness. Otherwise the theory would not be in favour of the theory’s end’s correctness, of itself being objective, and of its own existence. This situation and the theory would be incoherent, self-contradictory. The theory would either be indifferent regarding its prescribed end, and hence not necessarily bother to prescribe or be pro- it, in-effect regarding its correct, inherent end as not correct, not inherent; or the theory would reject its own prescribed, correct end, and hence not prescribe the end it inherently prescribes. It would be anti- what it inherently is pro-. Either way, it would unobjectively regard the objectively correct as not correct. So the theory would not be that objective theory. It would not really exist (as itself).
In sum:- It is impossible and incoherent for an objective normative theory inherently pro- its objective end to not be pro- the theory’s and the end’s objectivity — and hence inherently pro-objectivity here. Objectivity, or knowledge, is inherently never incoherent. So an objective theory, one able to be normative knowledge, must have a basis and end positively involving or pro- at least their own objectivity and hence status as knowledge. There must be coherence here — a positive, pro- relationship.
Those arguments centrally involve pro-objectivity having a pro- relation to objectivity, and vice versa, and hence a unique coherence between pro-objectivity and objectivity. That is, relatedly, again, an objective normative end must be coherent with, pro- or positively-related to objectivity. ‘Be pro-objectivity’ obviously achieves that, in a unique way no other end can match. (Other ends are primarily pro- something other than objectivity, e.g., selfishness.) Similarly, the only end-prescription as close as possible to objectivity, or as closely normatively related as possible to objectivity, is ‘Be pro-objectivity’. And, if a normative principle can be rationally claimed to be knowledge, the principle must be coherent with, pro- or positively-related to knowledge in a general way (where choices here are coherent with that principle). ‘Be pro-objectivity’ obviously achieves that, because objectivity is the faculty-system which acquires and contains knowledge. (And ‘Be pro-objectivity’ is inherently not incoherent with any knowledge, only with certain (inherently normative) choices concerning knowledge.)
Summarising those and related arguments:-
“Where objectivity is rationally-undeniably possible, e.g., in practical science, evidence crucially involves coherence.... Evidence is that which confirms whether a theory is objective/knowledge.
Because evidence’s essential nature involves coherence, if there is unique mutual coherence between a normative theory and objectivity, or where there is unique mutual coherence between a normative theory and objectivity’s internal end, this provides at least some evidence for the theory’s objectivity. Coherence here suggests the theory is at least somewhat evidence-based or supported by the general nature of evidence.” A normative theory maximally coherent with objectivity is hence an objective theory, with ‘Be pro-objectivity’ as its only obligatory end.
The book presents further arguments or evidence for the book’s theory, but hopefully I’ve said enough to get you interested. The book also discusses practical applications at length (while “stressing that fallibilism and skepticism may be appropriate regarding some suggested specifics – but that future research can increasingly avoid problems here”). The theory argues it has one objective, obligatory primary end, namely ‘Be pro-objectivity’, but also permits “plural a-objective, secondary ends irrelevant [orthogonal] to that end. The theory’s basis permits great liberty and cultural, sexual, artistic, lifestyle and much other diversity regarding secondary ends. The primary end is a general principle implying non-sexism, non-racism, types of happiness, freedom, education, sympathy, peace, democracy, altruism, flourishing, fairness and much more. Emotions and various other subjective experiences are considered important.”