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Moral Realism

 
 
bigstew
 
Reply Tue 9 Aug, 2011 03:37 pm
I've been doing work in meta-ethics regarding certain normative ethical issues I'm interested in, but am interested in the reasoning employed in ethical matters. Is ethics subjective or objective? I believe there is good reason to believe that ethics is objective in nature, that ethical issues have a matter of fact truth or falsity to them. From what I've been reading, it seems that there is at least good reason to believe that pain has intrinsic moral value: pain.

Premise: Pain has intrinsic moral value

From a foundational basis, ethical issues often center on what is the grounding for normative ethics? Is ethics objective, or is it only subjective i nature? It would seem strange that the rape of a woman, in and of itself, is subjectively morally wrong. Likewise, if someone were to light a cat on fire, it seems strange that such an action could be right to me, but wrong to you, but not right or wrong in and of itself. Perhaps ethical judgements are actually determined this way? But if there is intrinsic moral value and disvalue, we could reason about how our actions correspond to those values in an objective sense. In terms of the rape or fire case, it could be determined whether it is objectively true or false that these cases have intrinsic moral value or disvalue. It would follow that there is a right or wrong description of the cases.

I'm not going to offer a overall analysis of this meta ethical issue, but instead will merely state why I think ethics is objective in nature. (1) pain is bad: we have a common understanding that pain is bad in a morally relevant sense, that it something we and others want to avoid for the most part (2) pain is real: we all experience pain, so it is a part of the world (3) pain is an end in itself: pain does not have instrumental value. We don't avoid pain because it leads to other ends, we avoid pain because pain itself needs to be alleviated. (4) pain is irreducible: if pain's badness was further simplifed to something else, then we couldn't analyze pain itself. But this is wrong, I think, because we can describe pain itself. We don't understand pain in terms of non moral descriptions e.g brain functioning. Certainly scientific understandings of the brain can help us understand the physical relationship between the brain and the badness of pain, but, we need to feel pain inorder to understand why it itself is bad. fMRI images of the brain would make no sense unless we have an experential understanding of pain, and how bad it feels.

So what are your thoughts?
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Fido
 
  0  
Reply Tue 9 Aug, 2011 07:26 pm
@bigstew,
If Ethics have an objective being, and meaning, it is because they exist after we die, and will exist after we all die... In fact they will not... Ethics exist as moral forms having no being at all, and having only the meaning we give to them out of the storehouse of meaning that is our lives which is all meaning to us, and all being -for that matter...

The important thing to remember about moral forms is that all of them were brought out of the past, and the past was a place both low technology and labor intensive... And yet, having nothing, those people made an issue of Ethics, and honor, and love, and justice, and on and on... And this may seem strange that people having nothing, and dieing young from war or hard work or starvation should universally care about these moral forms and make of them the subjects of their disputes and conversations... The reality is that these moral forms which as all forms are forms of relationship are essential to the success and well being of society... It is that wellness and life of society that made ethical considerations formost, and at times made the life of the individual seem as nothing, a mere sacrifice... What then is pleasure to sacrifice compared with life... What if one must give up life for his commuity and another will not give up pleasure... You see, there are considerations that make ethic seem as if objective, but the true object, the true objective meaning if there can be said to be one is life, the life of the community... Morals are community... Without morals, and without ethicss what ever the difference is thought to be, there is no community... And we can see this etemologically in the word ethic which is so close to Ethnic... It comes from custom, or character, what we get from our communities...
bigstew
 
  1  
Reply Wed 10 Aug, 2011 09:51 am
@Fido,
Thanks for the response Fido,

I hear what you are saying, especially in terms of well being. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like you are saying ethics is essential to a civil order, so to speak?

I'm confused how this grounds moral judgements though? Hobbes thought this exact same thing, but to him, ethics was entirely subjective/relativistic. Would your account differ from his?
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Aug, 2011 08:46 am
@bigstew,
bigstew wrote:

Thanks for the response Fido,

I hear what you are saying, especially in terms of well being. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like you are saying ethics is essential to a civil order, so to speak?

I'm confused how this grounds moral judgements though? Hobbes thought this exact same thing, but to him, ethics was entirely subjective/relativistic. Would your account differ from his?
Ethic/morals are essential to all social living, and play a part in every relationship... People who exploit Ethics and morality for social order while they spread injustice are making fools of all those people who are naturally moral... All morals and ethics are natural behavior, and I mean natural in the true sense of the word, as what we take from our relationship with our mothers... But people have to learn to be immoral, and be continually conditioned to immorality, and when they are demoralized they are as much slaves and incapable of freedom as those who lord over them...
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Cyracuz
 
  0  
Reply Sat 20 Aug, 2011 10:19 am
@bigstew,
Pain is not a bad thing. It is a good thing, even though we generally don't want to experience it. If it was pleasurable to hold your hand in boiling water that would be counterproductive, since the pleasure would ruin your hand. So pain lets you know that you need to take your hand out of the hot water. A good thing.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  0  
Reply Sat 20 Aug, 2011 10:45 am
Some cultures not only have had no objection to rape in certain contexts, but have encouraged it when the woman is perceived to be an enemy, one of the "other." Although i know of no culture which lights cats afire, living monkeys have their skull caps removed while immobilized in a brece so that a gourmand can eat the living brain. I'm sure everyone is familiar with the spectacle of a bull-fight.

Of all the absurdities which you have posted here, alleging that ethics can be objective must be the biggest.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Aug, 2011 11:21 am
@Setanta,
I think we ought to distinguish moral values from moral itself...while it is true that we all objectively need moral guidance, it is equally true, that we have a subjective relation with it...the need and the aim of moral seems to be objective once it corresponds to an universal disposition to use it to improve the quality of life in any culture and it answers to an intrinsic human need for order...but the process and the specific paths on which moral values emerge naturally are not and cannot be equally shared by different cultures with different organizational backgrounds...and yet they all awkwardly correspond to an universal interpretation on their ultimate goals...what it is not objective then are the middle steps to achieve an higher degree of order and general satisfaction, once naturally, depending on where we stand, there are always more then one road to get to Rome, even if from each ("locational") point of view there is only one to be the more efficient...
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Aug, 2011 01:56 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
Why is it true that we all "objectively need" moral guidance? Do you assert that morals are objective? You'll not suck me into so silly a discussion.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Aug, 2011 02:06 pm
@Setanta,
I agree that morals--either the one's we construct for a situation or choose from the conventional array--reflect our interests and values. To illustrate:
A woman goes to her local pharmacist and asked for arsenic. The pharmacist asked why she wanted it. She answered to kill her husband. He said, Mrs. Smith I can't give it to you. If you kill him you and I will both go to prison. Why do you want to do such a thing? She answered: I have a photo of him having sex with your wife.
His response: Well, why didn't you tell me you had a prescripton?
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Aug, 2011 02:09 pm
Hehehehehehehehe . . .
0 Replies
 
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Aug, 2011 02:23 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

Why is it true that we all "objectively need" moral guidance? Do you assert that morals are objective? You'll not suck me into so silly a discussion.


...oh yes I will...unless...of course you don´t understand my subsequent argument...your state of affairs cannot contain more bounded complexity then the state of affairs of a group to which you belong...thus your inner need for an higher degree order has to be obtain elsewhere... Wink
Setanta
 
  0  
Reply Sat 20 Aug, 2011 02:32 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
That in no way establishes that either ethics or morals are objective. You should go play in Big Stew's sand box, he'll share his toys with you.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Aug, 2011 02:43 pm
@Setanta,
...in case you did n´t understand me, after all my English is so bad, I was not debating which operating system is better (Mac or Win) but only the objective need to use one...as for playing around, now I am playing in your company and very amused, if you don´t want to play more you are just being a bad sport, but quite OK, have it your own way... Rolling Eyes
Setanta
 
  0  
Reply Sat 20 Aug, 2011 03:43 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
What's wrong with Linux? Are you some kind of systemist bigot?
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Sat 20 Aug, 2011 03:56 pm
@Setanta,
I objectively don´t know what's wrong with Linux for me it works just as well otherwise it would n´t be an operating system would it ?...they all work for the same purpose and in the same manner, they organize information don´t they ?
...just out of curiosity are you one of those Mac fans ? hope not...
0 Replies
 
bigstew
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Aug, 2011 03:39 pm
@Setanta,
First, just because cultures practice certain forms of conduct, that doesn't speak to my argument that pain has intrinsic moral dis value. If anything, my argument would show that condoning rape in such cultures is in fact wrong.
Your talking about normative ethics. Don't be confused, as I am talking about what grounds such judgements.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Mon 22 Aug, 2011 03:45 pm
@bigstew,
...it is not in any way liquid that pain has intrinsic moral value or that it is wrong...what would you reply into a masochistic person to make such claim...

...in turn it seems liquid enough to me that moral systems are needed wherever you go in the world and that they all concur into some form of order...
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Aug, 2011 05:51 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

Why is it true that we all "objectively need" moral guidance? Do you assert that morals are objective? You'll not suck me into so silly a discussion.
What if Fil could suck a golf ball through a garden hose???

Moral behavior comes out of moral people... Morality is not what people do, but who they are, and you can see this plainly enough in the similarity between the words ethnic, and ethic... No one can set down a directions or instructions for reaching every moral goal...

Every law made makes a loophole, but for the moral person, with morality as a form of relationship between the individual and all of humanity there are no loopholes... You cannot suddenly suspend who you are in relation to who others are over some technicality like bad breath, body oder, or a hairy back... If you are moral, your character is always expressed in your behavior, and you do not have to be told that in situation A you will behave, for example, as if you were in situation Z... In most situations in our lives bringing to mind our morality we do not have time to think, and thought as justification is the enemy of morality... People act as they are out of an emotional sense of self in relation to the world, to humanity and to their perception of humanity... Morals are not an issue for critical judgment, but for emotional balance...
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Aug, 2011 06:38 am
@bigstew,
I assure you that you haven't the capacity to confuse me. In many cultures, pain is sought as evidence of one's worth. You have failed to establish that there is any objective basis for either ethics or morality.
bigstew
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Aug, 2011 12:47 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
When we talk about pain, pain that counts as dis value, we can synonomously think of it as suffering. The masochist, as you point out, derives pleasure from painful stimuli. Assuming the masochist doesn't enjoy the pain of being lit on fire, all things being equal, that instance of pain is categorically different from the type of pain the masochist enjoys. So two things can be pointed out: (1) pain in the morally relevant sense is suffering amd (2) not all pain counts as suffering.

Both points are logically consistent with my argument.
0 Replies
 
 

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