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Moral Realism

 
 
bigstew
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Aug, 2011 12:55 pm
@Setanta,
Quote:
In many cultures, pain is sought as evidence of one's worth.


This objection doesn't quite speak to my argument. Your claiming pain has instrumental value, that is, value which is "usefull" towards goals or preferences and in this case, proving to a community one has "worth".

While I certainly agree certain instances of pain have instrumental value, boxing is one example of using pain to achieve a particular end i.e winning a bout, some instances of pain have intrinsic value that are not related to other goals. If you are lit on fire, it doesn't make any sense to say we should put the fire out because it relates to other ends, like you wanting to take an ethics class in school. Relieving such pain is important because the pain itself matters, that is, you suffer from it. We know this from everyday experience. And if that follows, it is one reason for why intrinsic value exists.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Aug, 2011 01:10 pm
@bigstew,
That's completely specious. That doesn't establish an objective basis for morality. In many societies, notably the ancient Chinese peasant society, no one would intervene if i caught fire, on the principle that it was fate, and if they intervened, they would have assumed the responsibility for my life. You are continuing to apply your personal values to these asinine scenarios you imagine, and then declaring that this constitutes an objective basis for morality. Many, many cultures have been completely indifferent to the pain of others, and have felt no moral obligation to relieve or prevent the pain of others.

That's because morality is subjective in nature.
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Aug, 2011 01:44 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

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.
Not one single thing of our lives and even our lives can be shown to be, objectively.... Ethic and morality tend toward an objective good, that is, the health and life of the community... Now, I have read a lot of Anthropology and have never heard of a single community or culture that valued the endurance of pain as a good in itself... The iroquios could make an art of torture, often sustaining their prisoners in a living state for days while they burned them and ate them before their eyes... Those so tortured endured all this suffering, and even offered up unburned flesh without complaint... It was not because they valued pain or the death that followed...

Sacrifice for community was the highest of virtues, but not because they liked to sacrifice... To show themselves weak and unable to endure great pain stoically was an invitation to an attack on their own people... Better to send the message that was read loud and clear, that war is horrible, and you will get from us as good as you give when you are captured... The revenge was sweet, but not without a second thought... And, there is another lesson in the behavior of the barbarians as well... It is because they so valued the willingness to sacrifice for their communities that they understood and accepted the sacrifice of Jesus and so easily fell prey to the preaching and predation of Christians...
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Aug, 2011 01:55 pm
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

That's completely specious. That doesn't establish an objective basis for morality. In many societies, notably the ancient Chinese peasant society, no one would intervene if i caught fire, on the principle that it was fate, and if they intervened, they would have assumed the responsibility for my life. You are continuing to apply your personal values to these asinine scenarios you imagine, and then declaring that this constitutes an objective basis for morality. Many, many cultures have been completely indifferent to the pain of others, and have felt no moral obligation to relieve or prevent the pain of others.

That's because morality is subjective in nature.
Morality is not subjective even if thoughts of fate or fortune entered into ones thinking... Ethics guides ones relations with others... And in a sense, also with the gods... You would not snatch the prey of some water god lest she set her eyes on you... Enemies captured would complain of their misfortune before they would blame their enemies... But ultimately such thoughts do not enter into moral questions...

When a person leaves his community he is joining the world of animals, but there he cannot bring dishonor upon his people because to do so would invite attack... Certain behaviors like incest whose effect was immediate and catastophic were naturally seen as offensive to the gods, but so was murder which might continue on and on causing the destruction of whole communities... Objectively, as morality tends to be, it supports good, and represents a certain cultural knowledge... In time, morality can be maniplated to make one rich or another powrful, but if this does not result in good it is not moral and will destroy the community..
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Aug, 2011 03:36 pm
@bigstew,
...there´s no such thing as intrinsic value...value is always born out of a function, a relation.
Pain is a form of negative value and can only be born out of a relation...
...similarly there´s no space and time without objects nor do objects can exist without space and time...
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Aug, 2011 03:39 pm
@Fido,
...mind that allot of mythology is precisely about incestuous relations in between Gods...
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Aug, 2011 03:41 pm
@bigstew,

0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Aug, 2011 05:44 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
Fil Albuquerque wrote:

...mind that allot of mythology is precisely about incestuous relations in between Gods...
You would have to prove that to me, but isn't the greatest sin, as genesis shows, for humans to do as gods do..
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Aug, 2011 06:10 pm
@Fido,
Setanta's ultimately right in identifying morality as subjective. But I must insist that morality has a dual ontology: it is personal and social in nature and should therefore be identified as both subjective and INTER-subjective.
bigstew
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Aug, 2011 07:52 pm
@Setanta,
If intrinsic values exist, then there must be reasons which justify the existence of objective value. I have already noted these justifications, justification which provides strong evidence that at least some intrinsic value exists, that being pain/suffering.

If you think this is mistaken, you have to point out wht these reasons themselves do not necessarily point to the existence of objective value. So far your objections have generally focused on pain as instrumental value and your second example points to metaphysical assumption (fatalism) which it intself is not entirely justified. You could pick out cultural examples all day of pain as having instrumental value, but from a rational stand point (and this universally applies) these examples don't speak to pain having intrinsic dis value. So you havn't quite shown why my premises are in some way fundamentally flawed. Further, some Chinese peasents might believe in a fatalistic morality, but that doesn't mean such beliefs are themselves justified. nI bet if you asked what the justification was for such thinking, they would try and provide reasons. Then we just get into ethical disagreement, and I assure you people's intuition when it comes to being lit on fire, there is either a right or a wrong conduct to the matter.

You think many cultures are indifferent to pain, but the oppositte is also true: considerable anthropologic evidence shows that many cultures attach considerable dis value to pain as well. Why is that the case? Because as my argument shows, pain has intrinsic value, and hence, morality is objective in nature.
bigstew
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Aug, 2011 07:58 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
If you're are curious about the ontological status of value, then I agree that the ontological status of intrinsic values needs to be accounted for.

You assert that pain is only functional in nature, or relational, but then explain to me why if someone is lit on fire, why does relieving that pain carry so much importance? What is the relational aspect of that pain? In other words, why relieve that pain? And how does this relate to the ontological status of value?

I am curious what you have to say, because I think you might be making a common mistake regarding the fact / value distinction.
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Aug, 2011 08:34 pm
@bigstew,
All human knowledge is subjective, and that's an objective fact.
Searle
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Aug, 2011 09:46 pm
@bigstew,
bigstew wrote:

If you're are curious about the ontological status of value, then I agree that the ontological status of intrinsic values needs to be accounted for.

You assert that pain is only functional in nature, or relational, but then explain to me why if someone is lit on fire, why does relieving that pain carry so much importance? What is the relational aspect of that pain? In other words, why relieve that pain? And how does this relate to the ontological status of value?

I am curious what you have to say, because I think you might be making a common mistake regarding the fact / value distinction.


...it can be reduced to one sentence alone:
...pain is a relative comparative measurement...(think upon it)
bigstew
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Aug, 2011 11:57 pm
@JLNobody,
Nonsense. You can't prove things objectively with subjective justification. That is contradictory in the most obvious sense. We have good reason to believe that an external world exists, objectively, and this is a justified true belief. In other words, it is "not all in the head". Your confusing existentialism with epistemology.
bigstew
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Aug, 2011 12:02 am
@Fil Albuquerque,
Quote:

...it can be reduced to one sentence alone:
...pain is a relative comparative measurement...(think upon it)


Vague. Comparative to what? I'd rather you be explicit about your claims rather than hide behind implicit ambiguity.

Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Aug, 2011 03:18 am
@bigstew,
I don't have to point out anything more than i have already pointed out. "If intrinsic values exist . . . " --if. Gold and silver were used for specie because it was assumed that they possessed intrinsic value. However, when the Spanish began importing silver into Europe by the ton, annually, it lead to a deflation of the most common form of specie--silver coins--which significantly altered the economic, and therefore the political, realities of Europe forever.

As with morality, intinsic value is a subjective judgment. I have been pointing out why your premises are flawed--you just don't want to acknowledge it. Those who don't suffer the pain of others, and have no compassion or empathy will assign no intrinsic value to pain. And, of course, they will be exercising subjective judgment.
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Aug, 2011 05:19 am
@JLNobody,
JLNobody wrote:

Setanta's ultimately right in identifying morality as subjective. But I must insist that morality has a dual ontology: it is personal and social in nature and should therefore be identified as both subjective and INTER-subjective.
Wrong... What is politically accepted, or religiously accepted or fashionable is not always or even often moral, but morals always have an objective good in mind: The life and health of society... No one can show any moral good that is not good for society... Even when moral behavior contributes to the physical and emotional well being of the individual, its object is the good of society which can only be achieved through good for the individual... If it was necessary for a few individuals to be sacrificed to save the community, then that too would be moral....

As Nazi Germany showed, the sacrifice of the individual for the greater good can be used to motivate the masses, but in the end, the masses were slaughtered for a hand full of criminal individuals, as when old men and children were thrown into the meat grinder of war to keep escape routes open for the SS, and Nazi hierarchy... Their words expressed a morality the people could grasp, but their ultimate actions were anything but moral...

So, one can say that it is objectively moral for the individual to sacrifice himself, or be sacrificed for the good of the community, and this was even used as an excuse for the execution of Jesus, and it would have been true enough if that were the only reason he was killed... Ultimately, society cannot lose sight of the fact that it is through individuals that it survives, and that the loss of individuals or even individuality leads ultimately to the destruction of the community...

Every day in our society the people are asked to make more and more sacrifices... It is not to save society, but to save society as it has become... We sacrifice so the rich will not have to... Society could well live on without the rich... But, society is injured when the individual is injured to no good purpose... Those moral people who accept the sacrifices they are asked to make to keep the peace are, in fact, being used and demoralized... They will some day ask: What was it all for, and if they are not slaves they will revolt...
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Aug, 2011 05:32 am
@JLNobody,
JLNobody wrote:

All human knowledge is subjective, and that's an objective fact.
Searle
What you say is true, but the life we have because of all our deficient and subjective knowledge is the one sinequanon absolute, and by that, I am not saying that your life or my own is some kind of absolute to anyone other than ourselves... We share a common life with our communities and humanity...If we should find ourselves the Last of the Mohecans at some point, then what would we be, because people are not even sexually fertile without the help of others, and we get our whole identities in relation to other... Without the relationship, no form has meaning... And morality is a form of relationship between a person and his community...

Morality is community... Demoralized people are incapable of living socially, and we have plenty of examples of people who live with us and beside us who are aloof and antagonistic... In short, they hate us and wish us to drop dead... They will exploit us to death or starve us to death with equanimity, and say it is our bad luck... But mostly they would bleed our society of health, and take some of the life of every individual for their own life... We have lots of such people on the top and the bottom, and at every level of society who live here, and live on us, but who look at us as though our lives and well being come out of their purses... They are not us... They are enemies of the people...
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Aug, 2011 05:49 am
@bigstew,
bigstew wrote:

Nonsense. You can't prove things objectively with subjective justification. That is contradictory in the most obvious sense. We have good reason to believe that an external world exists, objectively, and this is a justified true belief. In other words, it is "not all in the head". Your confusing existentialism with epistemology.
The subjectivity of our reality does not stop at the outside of our heads... We use words like mind, or ego and a vast number of psychological terms dividing mind from body and defining the various parts of mind...I don't know if it helps... I do know that the loneliness we suffer in this modern age which can all be tied to our demoralization can be ameliorated to an extent by having access to a therapist... A friend for an hour a week is better than no friend at all, and a ride through the sewer of a mind in a glass bottom boat can be a great substitute for the adventures we can so seldom afford and even less dare... If you gat my drift, it is that the mind is one of the greatest of subjective reality but it is one based upon the one objective, or, most objective realities to people: their own lives...No life equals no mind, and to most, no mind equals no life... Primitives were able to grasp this fact in a practical fashion as we with our philosophical and theological metaphysics cannot... A multiplicity or parts and personalities is a fact for most modern people... We say: our selves, but we are already sliced and diced and in a constant process of finding if the sum of the parts is equal to the whole...
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Aug, 2011 05:54 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

I don't have to point out anything more than i have already pointed out. "If intrinsic values exist . . . " --if. Gold and silver were used for specie because it was assumed that they possessed intrinsic value. However, when the Spanish began importing silver into Europe by the ton, annually, it lead to a deflation of the most common form of specie--silver coins--which significantly altered the economic, and therefore the political, realities of Europe forever.

As with morality, intinsic value is a subjective judgment. I have been pointing out why your premises are flawed--you just don't want to acknowledge it. Those who don't suffer the pain of others, and have no compassion or empathy will assign no intrinsic value to pain. And, of course, they will be exercising subjective judgment.
And yet, when it comes down to the end, people who have sought gold with their entire being and through their whole lives will trade all their gold for only a little more life... We all know the source of all meaning.... We all tend to project the meaning of our lives on the things we have come to value, but ultimately we find that life is all meaning, and that means most which supports our lives...
0 Replies
 
 

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