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There are no objective moral truths.

 
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 05:16 am
Re: There are no objective moral truths.
agrote wrote:
I propose that there is no moral reality. Moral claims such as "it is wrong to kill" are not objectively true. They just reflect the views of particular societies, or the emotions of the speaker, or they are based on incorrect moral theories.

How is that different from factual claims such as "water is wet"? They, too, just reflect the views of particular societies. Never mind that "water is wet" is a statement that all societies agree on. The same is true of some moral propositions such as "raping babies for fun is wrong".
0 Replies
 
echi
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 06:17 am
agrote wrote:
echi wrote:
It is wrong to kill your neighbor, especially if your neighbor is against the idea. No healthy person wants to be killed, and in that sense, it is correct to state that killing is objectively and morally wrong.


Why is it wrong to go against other people's wishes?

I would agree, for example, that rape is a nasty thing in that it causes extreme suffering to the victim. I agree with that. But why is it wrong to cause other people to suffer?

It seems to me that the answer is in your question.
0 Replies
 
agrote
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 06:34 am
Re: There are no objective moral truths.
Thomas wrote:
How is that different from factual claims such as "water is wet"? They, too, just reflect the views of particular societies. Never mind that "water is wet" is a statement that all societies agree on. The same is true of some moral propositions such as "raping babies for fun is wrong".


That may be true. But I don't think that what you have just said is sufficient to conclude that "it is objectively true that it is wrong to rape babies for fun".

It could be a coincidence that all societies agree that baby-rape is wrong. You'd be better off finding some sort of explanation of what makes it wrong. It can't be wrong because everybody believes it is wrong, surely? By objectively wrong, I mean "wrong regardless of what we believe."

If it is objectively wrong to rape babies for fun, then it would still be wrong to rape babies even if all societies thought it was morally acceptable. Would you agree?
0 Replies
 
agrote
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 06:35 am
echi wrote:
Why is it wrong to go against other people's wishes?

I would agree, for example, that rape is a nasty thing in that it causes extreme suffering to the victim. I agree with that. But why is it wrong to cause other people to suffer?

It seems to me that the answer is in your question.[/quote]

You're making the assumption that it is wrong to cause other people to suffer. On what basis are you making this assumption?
0 Replies
 
echi
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 06:39 am
Quote:
It could be a coincidence that all societies agree that baby-rape is wrong.


Could it be a coincidence that all raped babies agree that it is wrong?
0 Replies
 
echi
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 06:45 am
agrote wrote:
echi wrote:
Why is it wrong to go against other people's wishes?

I would agree, for example, that rape is a nasty thing in that it causes extreme suffering to the victim. I agree with that. But why is it wrong to cause other people to suffer?

Quote:
It seems to me that the answer is in your question.


You're making the assumption that it is wrong to cause other people to suffer. On what basis are you making this assumption?
It's not an assumption. It's a fact that people don't like to suffer.



[I added the opening quote to your post. I assume that's okay.]
0 Replies
 
echi
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 06:46 am
(oh, well. It still didn't fix it.) Confused
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 07:13 am
Re: There are no objective moral truths.
agrote wrote:
Thomas wrote:
How is that different from factual claims such as "water is wet"? They, too, just reflect the views of particular societies. Never mind that "water is wet" is a statement that all societies agree on. The same is true of some moral propositions such as "raping babies for fun is wrong".


That may be true. But I don't think that what you have just said is sufficient to conclude that "it is objectively true that it is wrong to rape babies for fun".

It also isn't sufficient to conclude that water is wet. My point is that fundamentally, nothing is objectively knowable, by any sufficiently rigid definition of "objective". So why are you singling out moral statements over factual ones?

agrote wrote:
If it is objectively wrong to rape babies for fun, then it would still be wrong to rape babies even if all societies thought it was morally acceptable. Would you agree?

Yes. In the same sense as, if all societies agreed water is dry, it would still be objectively wet.
0 Replies
 
stuh505
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 07:56 am
Quote:
Not quite. My conclusion is that no HEALTHY person wants to be killed.


Sure, but that's not what you said before.

Quote:
1) Only things that are "healthy people" can be killed. This is obviously false because a sick antelope can be killed.

What are you talking about?


You concluded that killing was wrong on the basis that people did not want to be killed. But people are not the only things that could be killed. So your statement did not cover killing in general, only the killing of healthy people. Yet your conclusion did not say, "killing healthy people is wrong," it said "killing is wrong."

Quote:

2) Moral actions are approved by everyone. This is also false, obviously.

One more time... What are you talking about?


You used the fact that a person does not want to be killed as the sole reason for killing being wrong. Yet you did not state the fact that going against someone's wishes was made an action wrong. In order for deduction to work on your argument, this must be stated....
0 Replies
 
stuh505
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 08:00 am
Stated in logic form, your argument is:

ForAll X : WrongToKill(X)
ForAll Y : Healthy(Y) -> NotWantToDie(Y)
----------------
ForAll X : WrongToKill(X)
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 08:32 am
Re: There are no objective moral truths.
agrote wrote:
I propose that there is no moral reality. Moral claims such as "it is wrong to kill" are not objectively true. They just reflect the views of particular societies, or the emotions of the speaker, or they are based on incorrect moral theories.

Depends on what you mean by "objectively true." If you mean that it is not empirically verifiable, like factual statements such as "the table is solid" or "the cat has three legs," then I'd agree. I would also add that, under that definition, the statement "two plus two equals four" would also not be objectively true, which might give us some reason to question that definition.

On the other hand, it is empirically verifiable that many people believe that there are such things as moral rules, just as they believe that there are traditions, customs, manners, social conventions, religious precepts, and habits. To the extent that such beliefs are objectively real, they are objectively true. But then the reality of such beliefs would not be an issue for philosophers, it would be one for sociologists or psychologists.

If, however, you contend that morality is not "objectively true" in that it is not logically deducible, then I'd have to ask you to explain your position in greater detail.

agrote wrote:
But I object to the view that there is something objectively wrong about killing, or about any other action. If murder were socially acceptable in my society, and if for some reason I had no conscience, and felt no remorse for killing someone, then many people would say that it would still be wrong for me to kill my neighbour. I object to that view. I think that in such a scenario it would be okay for me to kill.

"Okay for you to kill" in what sense?

agrote wrote:
There are no moral facts.

This isn't what I want to believe, and it isn't what I used to believe... but I do believe it now. I intend to write my dissertation about it. I'd be very interested to hear what people think about my claim.

You may want to discuss this further with your dissertation advisor.
0 Replies
 
echi
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 11:56 am
stuh505 wrote:
Quote:
Not quite. My conclusion is that no HEALTHY person wants to be killed.


Sure, but that's not what you said before.


Sure it is. What I said before:

"No healthy person wants to be killed, and in that sense, it is correct to state that killing is objectively and morally wrong."
I suppose, instead of "sense" I should have used "context". In any case, you somehow missed my next post, which immediately followed:

echi wrote:
[CORRECTION]

My conclusion is that it is morally wrong to kill someone who does not want to be killed. Reasonable people agree (and there's your objectivity).

I guess it should be noted that someone who WANTS to be killed (for no other reason), would not qualify as "healthy".

stuh505 wrote:
echi wrote:
stuh505 wrote:
1) Only things that are "healthy people" can be killed. This is obviously false because a sick antelope can be killed.


What are you talking about?


You concluded that killing was wrong on the basis that people did not want to be killed. But people are not the only things that could be killed. So your statement did not cover killing in general, only the killing of healthy people. Yet your conclusion did not say, "killing healthy people is wrong," it said "killing is wrong."


In addition to my above statement, I will add that my 'conclusion' was an answer to agrote and should have been read in the context of his/her question. (Although I do think it's wrong to kill for the sake of killing, I much prefer to stay with the subject of this thread, which, if I understand correctly, concerns only humans. If you want to start a new thread, I will gladly participate.)
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 01:46 pm
Adrian says that it is "objectively" moral (obligatory?) to pass on one's DNA. The sociobiologist argues that we have a innate drive to pass on our genes which suggests that we need not make it a moral norm, just as we don't have to prescribe drinking water.
Adrian, is it moral to pass on our DNA if the planet becomes overpopulated to the point that people die from starvation?
0 Replies
 
flushd
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 09:46 pm
agrote wrote:
I propose that there is no moral reality. Moral claims such as "it is wrong to kill" are not objectively true. .....

There are no moral facts.


Umm. Your proposition is "there is no moral reality".

The rest of your arguement draws from a particular moral structure. Doesn't make sense.

You need to prove that there is "no moral reality" yet. Using the specific 'moral reality' that most people live by holds no weight.

I'd be interested to hear how you would prove "there is no moral reality" in a new way.

I apologize for the lack of grace in expressing this thought. I hope it's understood, at least.
0 Replies
 
stuh505
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 09:58 pm
Quote:
"No healthy person wants to be killed, and in that sense, it is correct to state that killing is objectively and morally wrong."


How does a person wanting/not wanting something have anything to do with what is right or wrong? You simply jump straight to the conclusion with no process. I didn't miss anything you said.

Quote:
My conclusion is that it is morally wrong to kill someone who does not want to be killed. Reasonable people agree (and there's your objectivity).


Based on what? Based on the fact that the person doesn't want you to kill them? What if 2 people want you to kill them? You haven't given any reasons for your conclusion. What about a person who wants to be killed, is it morally wrong to abide by their wishes?

Quote:

In addition to my above statement, I will add that my 'conclusion' was an answer to agrote and should have been read in the context of his/her question.


I have answered in the context of the original question: is killing wrong. You have slurred it into an entirely different topic that only deals with a certain arbitrary restricted class of people, and no longer allows you to deduce anyting about killing in general.
0 Replies
 
Adrian
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 11:28 pm
Eorl wrote:
I can see what you are saying, but what makes it objectively right? If you're saying that's the only thing you see as being absolutely right, then that's still subjective.


It is not subjective. Passing on DNA is the only reason you, I, or any other organism exists. Therefore doing so is objectively moral.
0 Replies
 
Adrian
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 11:31 pm
agrote wrote:
Adrian wrote:
It is objectively moral to pass on your DNA.


You still haven't explained why. What's wrong with not breeding?


There's nothing intrinsically wrong with not breeding and I never said there was. I was talking about breeding not not breeding.
0 Replies
 
Adrian
 
  1  
Reply Wed 27 Sep, 2006 11:38 pm
JLNobody wrote:
Adrian says that it is "objectively" moral (obligatory?) to pass on one's DNA. The sociobiologist argues that we have a innate drive to pass on our genes which suggests that we need not make it a moral norm, just as we don't have to prescribe drinking water.
Adrian, is it moral to pass on our DNA if the planet becomes overpopulated to the point that people die from starvation?


I am not saying it is obligatory. I am not saying anything about the moral status of not breeding.

I'm not a sociobiologist but I doubt that the statement, "we have a innate drive to pass on our genes", is an objective truth.

It is always right to pass on your DNA. Should we all stop breeding just because people are dying from starvation?
0 Replies
 
Eorl
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Sep, 2006 12:28 am
Adrian wrote:
Eorl wrote:
I can see what you are saying, but what makes it objectively right? If you're saying that's the only thing you see as being absolutely right, then that's still subjective.


It is not subjective. Passing on DNA is the only reason you, I, or any other organism exists. Therefore doing so is objectively moral.


Sorry if we seem to be ganging up on you Adrian, but I think there really is a flaw in your reasoning at the heart of everyone's response. (Of course, I hope you can prove me wrong)

I don't agree on several levels.

First, the reason we exist now is because DNA was passed on to us. It does not follow that our purpose is to pass it on again. (There may or may not be other purposes to life, there may be none, but that is another issue anyway)

Secondly, even if that IS our only purpose, it does not automatically follow that to do so is moral, not even subjectively let alone objectively.


Thirdly it can be argued that to reproduce is immoral for lots of reasons, such as world overpopulation (which has been mentioned). Then there are those with genetic disorders whose reproduction would be detrimental to the species as a whole...are they also morally required to pass those genes on?

Fourthly, if it is moral to pass our genes on, is it immoral not to attempt to impregnate as many women as I can? (Now I really hope you do prove me wrong !!) Twisted Evil
0 Replies
 
agrote
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 Sep, 2006 03:23 am
echi wrote:
Quote:
It could be a coincidence that all societies agree that baby-rape is wrong.


Could it be a coincidence that all raped babies agree that it is wrong?


Yes. Well, I'm not even sure babies are capable of having moral beliefs like that. But babies would suffer if they were raped, and that could be but probably isn't a coincidence.

But I still can't see how "X causes someone to suffer" leads to "X is wrong". It is based on a common sense assumption that it is wrong to deliberately cause someone to suffer. But that assumption needs explaining, I think. To me, it is not obviously true.
0 Replies
 
 

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