8
   

A better understanding about subjective concepts.

 
 
Reply Fri 14 Sep, 2012 04:58 pm

If you were to construct a new concept or help other people to have a more detailed understanding of an existing concept, what would be some of the things you think should be discussed?

Maybe I have this all wrong but if we were to talk about colors I would think that there should be some people that would not be qualified to reasonably describe colors, because they are colorblind or maybe have poor to no vision at all.
The reason I brought up this point about some people not being able to get the colors is because I think we can have this type of problem with all other concepts as well no matter how empirical you may think the concept is.

So we call this a subjective viewpoint but these subjective views have not stopped us from constructing other concepts and calling them credible.

We have many ways of testing concepts to look for accuracy and to see their consistency as well.

Why should a concept of morality be any different? If we do not allow colorblind people to have an influence on the concept of color nor do we allow people who have not studied a particular concept to be a creditable speaker of it, "why should we allow people who seem to have little to no empathy nor a conscious tell us that morality is so subjective, that a concept as good as math could not be made of morality too?

  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 8 • Views: 8,109 • Replies: 106
No top replies

 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 Sep, 2012 04:51 am
@reasoning logic,
Kant argued for "categorical imperatives" as a rational basis for what we call "morality". The problem with that is that moral dilemmas are always context dependent. Kant's imperative "never to tell a lie" is questionable if for example you had been protecting a fugitive from the Nazis, and even protecting the fugitive might be called morally irresponsible with respect to the safety of your family.
It seems to follow that whereas color has some physical basis (wavelength say) on which to anchor our concepts, morality tends to elude such anchoring. On the other hand it can be argued that even physicality is " a concept" albeit one involving our common physiology (another concept ?), so the problem you pose in the question boils down to whether "subjectivity" is a an ordinal dimension along which morality and color can be relatively placed, or whether undifferentiated subjectivity is the "ultimate fate" of all concepts including explanations. If so, then the word "subjectivity" may be dysfunctional.
reasoning logic
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 Sep, 2012 06:41 am
@fresco,
Quote:
It seems to follow that whereas color has some physical basis (wavelength say) on which to anchor our concepts, morality tends to elude such anchoring.


Moral and immoral acts involve physical actions of a person even if this action is to stand and watch when a moral dilemma is taking place.

I think that all concepts could be argued about their accuracy even though I think some of the arguments are irrelevant to the concept being observed.

The way I see it is that even math can be distorted by a person who does not understand the concept or does not agree with the value of one of the things being discussed.

I see morality as being a value equation. I do not understand all the complex questions that can arise with morality nor do I understand all the complex math and physics problems out there but I can function without causing to much harm with the knowledge I do have.



Here is something to think about, that my friend Marvin Katz shared with me recently.



A student wrote: “I have read that most philosophers today accept Objective Morality. Why is that?”

The following statements make sense and are reasonable to believe. They are also empirically verifiable.

"Gravity is operative; it is in effect and will attract you - and anything you drop - toward the center of the Earth " is an objective proposition. So also is this one: "Humans are value-generating organisms: they have a capacity to generate value, and they do so frequently." (It also was a moral proposition.) Here is some evidence for the claim.

Every time you give someone service with a smile you are creating value. Every time you do an act of kindness that the recipient finds acceptable and appreciates you are creating value. Every time you express love you are generating value. Every time you respect someone; every time you innovate; every time you solve a problem, or create something, you are generating value. Every time you make someone smile (with you), you are creating value. Etc., etc.

When someone falls off the edge of a roof, without a parachute, they find that gravity is operative.

There is a "cold, hard fact about human nature." ((And humans, after all, are part of nature.) Allow me to explain: Human beings have a capacity to value, and they often do make evaluations ...they value; they make value judgments. That is a fact.

Gravity and electricity are forces of nature; they are always operative. Is there a law of human nature?

Yes, there is. Value creation: we do it all the time. One does it even if he has a low Value Quotient score on the HVP test (which measures value thinking). Say, someone over-values Systemic Value (a moral mistake) and thus earns a low V.Q.(Value Quotient). He may still create something because he is thinking of systems all the time. Or he may be passionate for his cause - because he tends to think in terms of Black-or-White, of either-or. Creativity and passion add value. Adding value is what Ethics is all about. [See the argument for that claim in the Unified Theory of Ethics, pp 28-29.] http://tinyurl.com/27pzhbf

[As you may be aware, if you read over the essays of M. C. Katz - to which you will find links below - the Existential logical Hierarchy of Value, expressed in the formula
S < E < I,
was first devised by a brilliant philosopher named Robert S. Hartman, whose bio you can find on Wiki.]

Value is a force of nature. It is created when we don't resist going in the Intrinsic direction, as indicated in the Existential logical Hierarchy of Value {the HOV}, nor violate it by committing disvalue. For example, using nuclear energy to drop an A-bomb on innocent people: that is committing disvalue. ...To combat violence with violence is like trying to put out a fire by pouring gasoline on it Exclamation (In Pakistan today we are, with our drone attacks, generating new Osama bin Ladins.)

Complying with the Hierarchy of Value, the HOV, always works. In that sense it is analogous with gravity. [If we attempt to violate either one, we only demonstrate it.] Complying with it means going in the direction of Intrinsic valuation (- in Robert Hartman's sense of the term, not John Dewey's -) giving it preference over Extrinsic values, and over Systemic values. For, when any dilemma arises there are three basic considerations, or perspectives:

S: What are the codes, standards, traditions,? What would the authorities say?

E: What are the pragmatic considerations? What would solve problems? What is the cost/benefit analysis?

I: How do we build a stronger community? What is the loving thing to do? How do we incentivize better, sweeter cooperation? How cultivate a sense of unity-within-the-diversity? How can everyone better express their individuality, and feel more free, yet more responsible to our common purpose?

Violating the HOV results in a net loss ( which might look like,though, a short-term gain.) For example, if after a boss in a mean and contemptuous tone nastily commands an employee to fix a piece of machinery - the employee fixes it - and the machine once again now runs: that appears to be a gain in value. However, the resentment that has developed in the staff member, and the subsequent loss of motivation on his part will mean that he won't throw himself in a dedicated way into fulfilling the purpose of that company. This is a net loss of value. A short-term gain; a long-term loss.

For clear, specific details explaining the HOV and its practical applications, see these references. All of them are PDF files. They are sequels, in dialog form, to the Unified Theory of Ethics:

For the paper ETHICAL ADVENTURES
http://tinyurl.com/38zfrh7

For the essay, ETHICAL EXPLORATIONS
http://tinyurl.com/22ohd2x

For the paper ASPECTS OF ETHICS
http://tinyurl.com/36u6gpo

And in expository, declarative form, for your reading pleasure, see the booklet, LIVING THE GOOD LIFE
http://tinyurl.com/28mtn56



fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 Sep, 2012 03:27 pm
@reasoning logic,
As I understand it, Katz follows Hartman who follows Kierkegaard on ideas of "value". But since Kirkegaard's system relied on a bleak belief in God, and his behaviour regarding the ditching of his fuance was somewhat cavalier, I am skeptical of the "credentials" of this reference.

Many philosophers and psychologists use discursive mathematical models to embellish their ideas, but such models do not have the rigor of those used in physics. It is mimicking "science" rather than actually producing it. For example, in the contrived "equation"
SELF ESTEEM=SUCCESSES/PRETENSIONS
there is no empirical measurement implied for the variables, yet the model is discursively "meaningful". That I think is at best the level of the work of Katz et al admittedly on only skimming it.
reasoning logic
 
  1  
Reply Sat 15 Sep, 2012 04:01 pm
@fresco,
Quote:
there is no empirical measurement implied for the variables, yet the model is discursively "meaningful". That I think is at best the level of the work of Katz et al admittedly on only skimming it.


I will be honest that I am no pro on this issue but if you truly have a desire to discuss this with someone who has study this for a life time I am hopeful that we can find someone to challenge your ideas.

Quote:
admittedly on only skimming it.


At least you are being honest and I find this very admirable.

Quote:
there is no empirical measurement implied for the variables


Would you consider statistics to have valued measurements? Maybe they do not repeat themselves 100% of the time all of the time but if we see measurements that reflect 60% plus shouldn't we see some credibility in them?
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Sep, 2012 12:35 am
@reasoning logic,
I would accept statistics at the sociological level (as indicative of the average value scores in a group in a specific historical era etc) but not at the psychological level for specific contextual reasons which I illustrated in my first post. This separation, of sociology from psychology is a fundamental issue in the social sciences. The "logic" of their "mechanisms" may differ as significantly as biological and chemical levels do in the natural sciences.

From the philosophical point of view we are talking about the nature of "explanation" which in the sciences is tied to "prediction and control". If discursive methods "worked" in that way in the social sciences, some economists would get very rich by predicting the stock market !
0 Replies
 
Razzleg
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Sep, 2012 03:13 am
@reasoning logic,
reasoning logic wrote:

If you were to construct a new concept or help other people to have a more detailed understanding of an existing concept, what would be some of the things you think should be discussed?

Maybe I have this all wrong but if we were to talk about colors I would think that there should be some people that would not be qualified to reasonably describe colors, because they are colorblind or maybe have poor to no vision at all.
The reason I brought up this point about some people not being able to get the colors is because I think we can have this type of problem with all other concepts as well no matter how empirical you may think the concept is.

So we call this a subjective viewpoint but these subjective views have not stopped us from constructing other concepts and calling them credible.

We have many ways of testing concepts to look for accuracy and to see their consistency as well.

Why should a concept of morality be any different? If we do not allow colorblind people to have an influence on the concept of color nor do we allow people who have not studied a particular concept to be a creditable speaker of it, "why should we allow people who seem to have little to no empathy nor a conscious tell us that morality is so subjective, that a concept as good as math could not be made of morality too?



Interesting discussion, so far; look forward to reading more. When i read the first post and saw that Fresco was the main interlocutor, i expected a discussion circulated around Wittgenstein's remarks on color, or Guy Deutscher's book, Through the Language Glass. Glad to see that i was wrong (although both of the works mentioned are worth reading).

While concepts may be generated from a particular POV, their value is determined pragmatically and socially. Empirical theories require experiments to test their credibility, but for those experiments to be regarded as credible they need to be repeated -- to verify both procedure and results.

Just so, moral concepts, although subjectively conceived, acquire value only in so far as they are communicated and tried with others.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Sep, 2012 05:01 am
@Razzleg,
There is indeed an interesting and complex path to take on the discussion of "concepts" involving the embodiment theory of Varela (which references Rosch's prototype theory, which references Wittgenstein' language games and opaque writings on color, which references Goethe's color theory Wink ). If taken, that path would render the dichotomy of "subjective-objective" vacuous. However such a path may seem diversionary to RL whose terms of reference are Katz et al.
0 Replies
 
reasoning logic
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Sep, 2012 05:57 am
I am glad to see that a couple of educated people have joined into this conversation. I will ask if Dr Katz will join in and shed more light about his understanding on this subject.

I view morality from a more simplistic approach than most people I know.
I may have it wrong but I think that it should have a pattern of logical consistency and I find a good place to start questioning morality is from the smallest group of people and working my way outward from there.

Example if I were question whether it is right or wrong for a society to have a huge income inequality gap in it, I would start with the smallest group of people I can think of and continue to build this group of people and see if income inequality would become "a logically right or wrong proposition.

If you could imagine that there were only two people in this world "you and your mother or who ever you have the most empathy for "now try to imagine this other person having to work longer than you.

Lets say that you happen to be a little more intellectually advanced than your mother and you were able to think of away for you and your mother to dig a canal that will bring water 3/4 of the way to your home.
Do you think that being you came up with this idea that you should not have to go for water anymore but instead let your mother do the toting? We do have to agree even if she totes all the water it is now less than what she use to.
Maybe you should be able to patten this new idea?

What if it was not your mother but instead your neighbor or a friend, Do you think that someone else should now be a servant of yours?

Lets talk about health care. When does it become logical to have insurance companies in a group of people?

If we were to start with you and your mother it would seem to be a ridiculous idea.

OK so we will build our group of people to say 1,000. Well even this seems ridiculous to me. I could not imagine there being more than 1 or 2 doctors in a group that small.

What if we multiply that by 100 Now we have 100,000 people and 10 doctors. Would it be in the best interest of the community to have some of its members selling insurance and other members working in the hospital?
Why would it not be best for all of the community's health care spending to go directly to the hospital? the people who would have been selling insurance could work as nurses and doctors if you are going to be paying them to work. wouldn't it be of more value to the community if they were to actually do a service that the community is seeking?

I will not go into competition but it is something to think about.

0 Replies
 
reasoning logic
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Sep, 2012 09:10 am
@fresco,
Quote:
Kant argued for "categorical imperatives" as a rational basis for what we call "morality". The problem with that is that moral dilemmas are always context dependent. Kant's imperative "never to tell a lie" is questionable if for example you had been protecting a fugitive from the Nazis, and even protecting the fugitive might be called morally irresponsible with respect to the safety of your family.


The problem that I see with dilemmas is that the rest of society who will be evaluating the outcome will view it as immoral in many cases, that is why a universal concept of morality needs to be established. If everyone could understand that wiping the Jews from the earth was immoral there would be no moral need to lie to protect innocent life from the Nazis.

If someone is in a moral dilemma and they thought that they had to make a choice I do not think that their action should be held against them as long as they did everything in their power to find a different solution. the most moral solution.

I know that we can put together some far out hypothetical moral dilemmas but this is reality, " such moral dilemmas coming to light in a world that has established a universal code of ethics and had taught it to everyone, would be in a much better position to deal with the outcome.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Sep, 2012 09:44 am
@reasoning logic,
I've not got round to your water toting yet, but the general atgument against universals like Kant's was outlined by Derrida when he said whenever we choose to act in the interests of "another" there is "another other" whose interests we are ignoring. (Thus when I chose to intervene in an attempted car theft and had my tires slashed in revenge, my family was horrified that I had put myself in potential danger without thinking of the consequences for them).

BTW no doubt some Nazis considered it "moral" to eliminate the Jews. This religious/tribal theme touches on my distrust of Kierkegaard's value system since appeal to "divine authority" is the usual partner of the search for "moral universals".
reasoning logic
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Sep, 2012 09:57 am
@fresco,
Quote:
the general atgument against universals like Kant's was outlined by Derrida when he said whenever we choose to act in the interests of "another" there is "another other" whose interests we are ignoring.


A universal concept of morality should be in the interest of us all.

Quote:
Thus when I chose to intervene in an attempted car theft and had my tires slashed in revenge, my family was horrified that I had put myself in potential danger without thinking of the consequences for them).


You were acting against an immoral act and unintentionally brought harm your way but you were not the one who committed the immoral act against you or your family. I have said that there will be dilemmas but what I am more interested in are the huge social injustices taking place all around us but we seem to not be able to get our teeth into them to stop them from happening. Many of these immoral acts have been taught to be praised by the churches instead of condemning them and confronting them head on.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Sep, 2012 10:38 am
@reasoning logic,
Idealism is wonderful from a Western privileged perspective. Are you telling me you are prepared to reconsider your 25 fold usage of the Earth's resources relative to the poorest humans ? Or perhaps we should impose global birth control in order to correct the "unfair" distribution of wealth ?

The fact is, when the chips are down we could all become murderers in the service of our loyalty groups. IMO "morality" is relative, zeitgeist sensitive, and never universal. Unless we claim man's"divine dominion over God's creatures", we are merely clever animals with a thin and fragile veneer of what we call "culture".
reasoning logic
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Sep, 2012 11:46 am
@fresco,
Quote:
Idealism is wonderful from a Western privileged perspective. Are you telling me you are prepared to reconsider your 25 fold usage of the Earth's resources relative to the poorest humans ?


Sure why not? With today's technology and all the available labor we should be able to build a more just system but it would not happen over night and we would not be able to get everyone on board all at once but a good place to start is in our own country then we could expand from there.

Quote:
Or perhaps we should impose global birth control in order to correct the "unfair" distribution of wealth ?


If that would be the moral thing to do then maybe but you might have a hard time convincing everyone of that but if those who have empathy for all could see that it was a moral truth you may be able to convince them of it through education.

Quote:

The fact is, when the chips are down we could all become murderers in the service of our loyalty groups


Well that is the problem, "we are not able to get past the group mentality to include everyone on the planet as part of our group.

What group is it that you are so loyal to, that you find having more value than other human beings?
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Sep, 2012 12:00 pm
@reasoning logic,
Any discussion about what a colour is like has to take on board Synesthesia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synesthesia
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Sep, 2012 12:06 pm
@izzythepush,
why? colr and spectra are already linked in optics. The fact that many of us can hear purples and a number of other colors is merely a sensual thing to be enjoyed. I look on it mkore like some autistic "savant" state, rather than physics.
reasoning logic
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Sep, 2012 12:18 pm
@farmerman,
Quote:
The fact that many of us can hear purples and a number of other colors is merely a sensual thing to be enjoyed.


I bet many theist who hear God speaking to them find it as a sensual thing to enjoy as well
0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Sep, 2012 12:48 pm
@izzythepush,
Synesthesia is one piece of evidence in favour of Varela's embodiment theory mentioned above.
RL's argument here started with an analogy between concepts of colour and those of morality. Since universality is elusive for colour, it would seem to be at least as elusive for moralitywhich has no obvious common physiological substrate.
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Sep, 2012 12:52 pm
@reasoning logic,
Quote:
we are not able to get past the group mentality to include everyone on the planet as part of our group


Bingo ! We could be dealing with the evolutionary tribalism we share with other primates. This underscores the point above about "human animals".
reasoning logic
 
  1  
Reply Sun 16 Sep, 2012 01:18 pm
@fresco,
Quote:
Bingo ! We could be dealing with the evolutionary tribalism we share with other primates. This underscores the point above about "human animals".


Well of course we are animals and we have problems mentally and physically, some us seem to have these more than others but that has not kept us from advancing in many areas and the more research and education we acquire on any given subject the better we understand it. "unlike any other animal that I have met, so I would not be so sure that our animal nature will hold us back as a group forever, when it comes to moral understandings.


Quote:
moralitywhich has no obvious common physiological substrate.


It may not be all so common but do you think that it may be possible that there is a neural substrate for moral decisions where the emotional value of sensory stimuli is projected to base of the forebrain and regions of the brainstem which generate the physiological responses to emotions mediated by the autonomic nervous system.?

http://neurophilosophy.wordpress.com/2007/03/22/a-neural-substrate-for-moral-decisions/
 

Related Topics

 
  1. Forums
  2. » A better understanding about subjective concepts.
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.04 seconds on 07/28/2021 at 11:29:01