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Moral Realism

 
 
igm
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Aug, 2011 04:03 am
@bigstew,
You have given four reasons why you believe ethics is objective in nature and that one could judge this if for example pain has intrinsic moral value i.e. that it is bad morally. I’ll begin with:
bigstew wrote:

(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.

So you’ve said pain is bad morally. Why? Because we want to avoid it… then you say ‘for the most part’ this implies that you do not believe that pain is intrinsically bad morally in all cases. If it is not then pain is not an intrinsic part of something being bad morally. I can think of examples where pain is not bad morally. Can you defend the Premise: Pain has intrinsic moral value even though you’ve implied by saying ‘for the most part’ that it is not intrinsic?
igm
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Aug, 2011 06:53 am
@bigstew,
bigstew wrote:

Assuming this:
Quote:
The weight of apparent facts doesn’t turn a belief into an objective truth it only strengthens non-objective belief.

It is contradictory to state:
Quote:
I’m not saying that equals everything being subjective.

You're making a logical error. Your first premise entails all beliefs, and if you're going to be consistent, it must be the case that epistemologicaly speaking, everything we know (beliefs we have) is "all in the head". Care to argue that to the whole of physics, biology, etc that wqe assume provides objective knowledge?

Your OP suffers from black & white thinking and so does your rebuttal above. There are not just two possibilities: objective and subjective facts but facts may be derived from both subjective and objective sources or it may be that it is impossible to be sure if facts are either subjective or objective. That is why what I’ve said is not contradictory or a logical error. The same is true of your OP you seem to think that ethics are either objective in nature or subjective when of course the other options I’ve outlined are possible.
bigstew
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2011 09:05 am
@igm,
Quote:

you say ‘for the most part’ this implies that you do not believe that pain is intrinsically bad morally in all cases. If it is not then pain is not an intrinsic part of something being bad morally. I can think of examples where pain is not bad morally. Can you defend the Premise: Pain has intrinsic moral value even though you’ve implied by saying ‘for the most part’ that it is not intrinsic?


Definitely, though all types of pain might not have intrinsic value, some types of pain do. Even if only certain types of pain have intrinsic value, those types of pain are of value, and hence moral judgements predicated on such values follow.
bigstew
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2011 09:11 am
@igm,
Quote:
There are not just two possibilities: objective and subjective facts but facts may be derived from both subjective and objective sources or it may be that it is impossible to be sure if facts are either subjective or objective. That is why what I’ve said is not contradictory or a logical error.


You don't get it. How can you derive any fact from an objective source unless there is a reliable, non subjective means to aquiring knowledge? You are basicly presuposing objectivity with this line of reasoning....I already know the difference between subjective and objective facts, and how they are aquired epistenmologically speaking. I suggest you do some reading on the topic.

Quote:

The same is true of your OP you seem to think that ethics are either objective in nature or subjective when of course the
other options I’ve outlined are possible


Well if ethics iswn't objective or subjective, you'll have to elaborate. However, since beliefs are either objectively or subjectively justified, I don't see strong grounds for you going elsewhere.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2011 09:39 am
@bigstew,
...and I thinking that A equals A was true...
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2011 09:52 am
"Either/or" gets us nowhere. The subjectivist argues that his view is objectively true and the objectivist presses hard for his subjective stance about "objective" reality. It's ultimately a matter of "point of view" and "interpretation." The arguments in this thread have been almost consistently intellligent but only half-true. For the sake of consistency each side ignores the other side's value and exaggerates that of its own. I can neither maintain an absolutely (consistently) idealist or objectivist description of my life. I need both of them. Yet I suspect that ultimately both are delusions, albeit necessary delusions.

And, of course, I have probably exaggerated the thread's "either/ or" pattern in support of my "both/and" perspective.
0 Replies
 
igm
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2011 09:58 am
@bigstew,
bigstew wrote:

You don't get it.

I'd say it's you that don't get it. Something can be A or B or both or neither or it could be that it is not possible to say whether something is A or B or both or neither. You are saying I'm wrong because I must say if it is A or B... that's too black and white and I believe the subject is not!
0 Replies
 
igm
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2011 10:18 am
@bigstew,
bigstew wrote:

Definitely, though all types of pain might not have intrinsic value, some types of pain do. Even if only certain types of pain have intrinsic value, those types of pain are of value, and hence moral judgements predicated on such values follow.

So, you're saying some types of pain have intrinsic moral value but not all. Can you give examples of what types of pain have IMV and what types don't.

Also in your OP you didn't mention SOME but just referred to pain per se. So can you explain your change of stance and how we are to debate if the OP is unclear (I apologise if I'm mistaken but I'd say your OP clearly states pain (all) is an intrinsic marker for moral judgements)?
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2011 02:00 pm
@igm,
...he must not refer to pain since there are in his terms "two types of pain"...pain must therefore be meant as a property of something else which is distinct into two different things that themselves imply some form of pain..although of course it results clear as water that pain is pain just as A is A !
0 Replies
 
Lichtung
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2011 03:52 pm
@bigstew,
I don't think this analysis goes far enough. Pleasure and pain are accompanied by different intentions, cognitions, emotions, behaviours, and circumstances. As another poster mentioned already, the pleasure experienced by the sadist is immoral. The reason it's immoral is because their pleasure stems from a malicious intent, and vicious set of beliefs, among other things. So pleasure in and of itself must not be the relevant moral property, but one of its subsidiary aspects.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2011 04:01 pm
@Lichtung,
...so you depart from a subjective justification yet to another subjective justification...why is it not malicious intent morally acceptable objectively speaking ?
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2011 04:02 pm
@Lichtung,
The masochist drops to the floor and says to the sadist: "Hurt me". After some hesitation the sadist says: "No!" After grimacing a bit, the masochist says: "Thank you; you're good."
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2011 04:02 pm
@Lichtung,
The masochist drops to the floor and says to the sadist: "Hurt me". After some hesitation the sadist says: "No!" After grimacing a bit, the masochist says: "Thank you; you're good."
Lichtung
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2011 04:10 pm
@JLNobody,
Heard that one ;-) But what happens when you put two sadists in the same room?
0 Replies
 
igm
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2011 04:12 pm
@JLNobody,
JLNobody wrote:

The masochist drops to the floor and says to the sadist: "Hurt me". After some hesitation the sadist says: "No!" After grimacing a bit, the masochist says: "Thank you; you're good."

Laughing
0 Replies
 
Lichtung
 
  1  
Reply Wed 31 Aug, 2011 04:24 pm
@Fil Albuquerque,
I never said that malicious intent wasn't objective. I lean more toward moral naturalism and virtue ethics, so I'd be more inclined to say that moral properties are dependent or supervenient on natural phenomena; in this case, phenomenal experience and the consequences of our actions.
0 Replies
 
bigstew
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Sep, 2011 08:54 am
@Lichtung,
Quote:
pleasure experienced by the sadist is immoral. The reason it's immoral is because their pleasure stems from a malicious intent, and vicious set of beliefs, among other things. So pleasure in and of itself must not be the relevant moral property, but one of its subsidiary aspects.


The sadist objection only shows that we can desire intrinsiclly bad/good things, but it does not show that things can not be intrinsclly bad/good in themselves. In boxing, for example, an individual can desire the pain of being hit in order to win (derive pleasure), but that doesn't mean pain itself is good. The sadist desires pain for pleasure, but the experience of pain itself can feel bad. What we desire and the experience of pain/pleasure are conceptually seperate.

To me, pain and pleasure are sources of value, how normative ethics determines the rightness or wrongness of an action in some depends on some types of pain/pleasure.
bigstew
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Sep, 2011 09:12 am
@igm,
Quote:

Your OP suffers from black & white thinking and so does your rebuttal above. There are not just two possibilities: objective and subjective facts but facts may be derived from both subjective and objective sources or it may be that it is impossible to be sure if facts are either subjective or objective. That is why what I’ve said is not contradictory or a logical error. The same is true of your OP you seem to think that ethics are either objective in nature or subjective when of course the other options I’ve outlined are possible.


If by "black and white" you mean what is reasonable to believe, then yes that is my thinking. To exclaim "possibilities" without providing coherent justification is errnoeous. So far, you've said nothing to the claim that beliefs are either "all in the head" (subjective) or "out there in the world" (objective). My belief in unicorns may be subjectively true, but obviously objectively false. My belief in dinosaurs is objectively true because there were dinosaurs that existed, and we have evidence (bones etc.) to justify this. My belief about neon pink dinosaurs is obviously a subjective belief because no objective fact of neon pink dinosaurs exists. If objective facts pertain to states of affairs, a belief in such states of affairs is either objective or subjective. Objective facts cannot be subjectively justified if they are considered truly objective, at all. So to say objective facts are partly subjectively justified makes no sense, because the justification itself does not depend on a degree of subjectivity.

When we talk about the nature of ethics, it is incoherent to say the nature of ethics is part objective and part subjective. Which one is it? We don't say violently raping a woman is part objectively true and part subjectively true, the conduct itself is ethier right or wrong, and the judgement (belief) concerning that conduct is either objectively or subjectively true. The judgement makes no sense no other way.
0 Replies
 
bigstew
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Sep, 2011 09:34 am
@igm,
Quote:
So, you're saying some types of pain have intrinsic moral value but not all. Can you give examples of what types of pain have IMV and what types don't.


The pain of being violently raped has intrinsic moral value. In general, the experience of being violently raped feels bad. Hence pain in this case has IMV.

As I have mentioned as well, some people may have different attitudes about rape, but those attitudes don't determine value. Rape and the pain caused by it feels bad. Attitudes about rape can differ, but to say even sexual fantasy rape isn't wrong seems to step around the pain aspect all together. Our normative thinking has accpeted that pain caused by rape is wrong because pain in this case is bad, because it is experienced as bad.

Quote:
Also in your OP you didn't mention SOME but just referred to pain per se. So can you explain your change of stance and how we are to debate if the OP is unclear (I apologise if I'm mistaken but I'd say your OP clearly states pain (all) is an intrinsic marker for moral judgements)?


Sorry for the confusion, when I say pain I mean in the robust sense pain which has IMV. This shouldn't imply all pain has IMV.
igm
 
  1  
Reply Thu 1 Sep, 2011 11:15 am
@bigstew,
bigstew wrote:

Our normative thinking has accpeted that pain caused by rape is wrong because pain in this case is bad, because it is experienced as bad.

Isn't pain subjective (you won’t find it in the outside world it has to be inferred) and isn't the additional label 'bad' applied due to the person's memory of what actions are bad etc... subjective also. Surely they only become objective (in some sense) when society talks about these subjective effects of for example rape and agree that the 'bad pain' reported by those who have been raped is something that society should label immoral or ethically bad. I can’t see how even certain types of pain or pain in itself is objective. Isn’t pain a subjective experience?
 

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