back to the beginning: morality

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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Thu Jul 04, 2019 7:25 pm

"Artificial Consciousness: Our Greatest Ethical Challenge"
Paul Conrad Samuelsson in Philosophy Now magazine

Assuming, then, that we can come to create consciousness digitally, it ought to be obvious that the suffering of AI is potentially indefinitely more horrendous than even the worst imaginable human suffering. We stand in a position to develop the means for creating amounts of pain which vastly outweigh any previously seen in the history of human or animal suffering. The obstacles to creating biological suffering are demanding – the number of possible biological beings is relatively low, their upkeep is high, and they are prone to becoming desensitized to painful stimuli. In the digital world, when simulated consciousnesses can be programmed in computers to be subject to whatever laws we wish, these limitations disappear.


Pain and suffering.

How does one wrap their head around mindless matter evolving over billions of years into self-conscious mind-matter able to experience pain and suffering?

We can imagine how excruciating our own pain and suffering would be in any number of contexts that revolve around, say, "natural disasters". But the mindless matter embedded in the tumultuous fury of the tornado or volcanic eruption or a raging fire itself presumably feel nothing at all.

And yet pain and suffering is often a critical factor when we approach that distinction between ethical and unethical behavior. The more of it we inflict on another the more likely it is to be seen as unethical.

But can we then create an artificial consciousness able to both feel pain and suffering and to approach the behaviors of other AI beings as either moral or immoral?

Again, assuming that in creating an AI "I", we have some measure of autonomy and are in turn able to "manufacture" autonomy in this articial intelligence "I".

Really, how close are we to dealing with these things in reality? A reality such as this for example:

The consequences are not fully comprehendible, but let me sketch an image of what could be possible. Someone could, for example, digitally recreate a concentration camp, fill it with sentient, suffering AI, and let it run on a loop forever. It may even be possible to turn up the speed of the suffering, so that a thousand reiterations of the camp are completed every second. From the perspective of the AI, this will feel no different from what was felt by those who suffered through the real thing. Then the programmers use the copy-and-paste function on their computer, and double it all again… So the reason that pain-disposed AI is the greatest ethical challenge of our time is that it could so easily be caused to suffer. Picture a bored teenager finding bootlegged AI software online and using it to double the amount of pain ever suffered in the history of the world – all in one afternoon, and from the comfort of a couch.


How, in an autonomous universe, would the question of morality be the same or different for biological individuals and those individuals created by biological individuals to feel pain and suffering and to react to it as either justified or not justified?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Sun Jul 07, 2019 7:05 pm

"Artificial Consciousness: Our Greatest Ethical Challenge"
Paul Conrad Samuelsson in Philosophy Now magazine

If there are such things as cultural and moral progress, they pale in comparison to the technological explosion that humanity has experienced in the last ten thousand years, faster still in the last century. The advancement of invention is palpable, high-speed and tremendously useful to everyone – few people feel they need further motivation to embrace ever newer and more audacious gadgets, software, and weapons. Yet, as the story progresses, our inventions become more powerful and thereby riskier. So far, the potential mishaps have been manageable. Our historical nuclear disasters have been survivable because of their relative small scale. Artificial intelligence is an invention which promises to be far more destructive if misused. We have the existential risks to humanity which have already been raised by the authors mentioned above. Now we have also seen that there are consequences even more problematic than nuclear holocaust, as weird as that may seem.


Morality exploding in ever more mindboggling directions as new technologies beget brand new contexts in which to argue distinctions between right and wrong behaviors. Only now a flesh and blood "I" has to contend with an AI "I" that may or may not be in sync with any particular moral narrative and political agenda.

And then the equivalent of me down the road arguing the extent to which dasein, conflicting goods and political economy are in turn applicable to this AI "I".

That ever expanding gap between the extraordinary acceleration of things that we know are true objectively for all of us in the either/or world, and the fact that going all the way back to the pre-Socratics, the is/ought world is still bursting at seams with subjective renditions of conflicting goods. Only now the technological bound has ushered in any number of brave new worlds to contend with.

Artificial intelligence has for decades been the greatest hope for transcendence and fulfilment in the secularised West. Chasing the unyielding dream of perfecting the world, convinced that we are entitled to anything for which we strive, as so often before, we put ourselves beyond morality. But now we’re claiming our reward at potential costs so terrifyingly great for others that they resemble Dante’s Inferno or Memling’s Final Judgement, perhaps as just the first monument of the forthcoming Homo deus.


In other words, one thing never changes: political economy. You can bet that those who own and operate the global economy [be they flesh and blood or homo deus] will make certain that whatever is deemed "theoretically" to be right and wrong in places like this, always comes down to the behaviors that they are empowered to enforce in order to sustain their own perceived best interests.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Mon Jul 15, 2019 7:19 pm

Question of the Month
"Is Morality Objective?"
From Philosophy Now magazine

Ronald W. Pies

I should like to reformulate the question as follows: Can we demonstrate that any moral claim is objectively true? My reply is ‘Yes and No’.

It seems clear that to answer this rephrased question, we must have a notional idea of what the term ‘objective’ means. Not surprisingly, its meaning is highly contested.


The part that I keep coming around to. You can believe that morality is objective. You can claim to know that it's objective. But how do you actually go about demonstrating that in fact it is given human interactions that come into conflict over behaviors said to be either right or wrong?

The "notional idea" of objective morality is one thing, but it's not the thing that most interest me.

The economist and philosopher Amartya Sen has described two central features of objectivity: observation dependence and impersonality. In effect, Sen meant here that objectivity requires both careful observation and inter-observer corroboration. Thus, on Sen’s view, if I say, “I truly and deeply believe that your house is on fire” without having observed your house, I am making a subjective claim. In contrast, if two people simultaneously witness smoke coming from your house and say, “We believe your house is on fire,” Sen would argue that they are making a type of objective statement.

But Sen’s use of ‘objective’ doesn’t seem to work well for moral claims.


Exactly.

Instead, let's focus in on human interactions in which any number of conflicting moral and political assessments crop up.

How about the role of government in our lives? Some value a considerably larger role than other. Depending on the issue.

Now, in regard to the "two central features of objectivity" above, everyone will agree that objectively the government does in fact exist.

But, using these two features, how is it determined objectively what the role of government ought to be in regard to, say, the legalization of marijuana use?

Smith and Jones might agree that someone just stole a loaf of bread from the grocer, but disagree as to the ‘wrongness’ of the act. For example, suppose the thief was penniless, starving and had no other recourse. It appears there is no objective means of adjudicating the matter.


In a word: context. Construed subjectively from a point of view rooted in dasein.

However, philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre’s ‘virtue ethics’ suggests that a degree of moral objectivity is possible – within the confines of certain communities and their shared values. For MacIntyre, there are objective standards of virtue found within a tradition, such as the ethical traditions of ancient Athens. For MacIntyre, in a given society, the moral code is based on what is agreed to be the shared end of the society and the best way to achieve it, which also gives each member their proper role in the society and their own proper tasks. Thus, in a society one of whose shared aims is the protection of private property, it would be objectively wrong to steal a loaf of bread, all other things being equal. So, morality itself may not be objective, but for people who share a worldview expressed by the community, morality has context and a shared meaning.


Sure, if you insist that a consensus reached in any particular aggregation of human beings subsisting in any particular historical and culture and community context, need be as far as one goes in order to claim that morality is objective, then, for you, that makes it so.

You merely assert it to be true.

But then there's the part that revolves around who gets to decide what this consensus shall be. The role that economic wealth and political power play.

And then the part where communities come into contact with other communities and the consensuses themselves come into conflict.

Thus the "notional idea" of objective morality falls apart at the seams when "for all practical purposes" there is no philosophical or scientific method for pinning them all down once and for all.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:52 pm

Question of the Month
"Is Morality Objective?"
From Philosophy Now magazine
Kristine Kerr

You are ugly and grossly overweight. Consider how you feel after reading that. Keep that feeling to hand for the moment. That sentence is an insult, and I shouldn’t have written it, due to the feeling it has most certainly caused in you, and would cause in me had such an insult been aimed at me, regardless of its truth or falsity. A wrong has been committed, a moral law has been broken. It’s not a law contained in a spelt-out legal system; but it doesn’t have to be spelt-out to be real. Instead, the hurt feelings in the insulted person make the offence fairly objective. By ‘objective’ here, I mean existing universally, or virtually universally: anyone and everyone would feel insulted, assuming they understood the words. By those words I have created something that’s out there: it’s objective. You can’t see it, but you feel its sting. It registers.


This in my view is clearly a frame of mind that only has to be believed to make it true. Someone thinks that it's true. In part because, subjunctively, they feel that it's true as we'll. But to then call the fact that you believe and feel something is true all the proof we need to establish it as in fact true objectively?

Should we then make it illegal to call anyone ugly and grossly overweight? Should we enact a punishment for doing so?

And it clearly intertwines human emotions into the mix. If someone hurts your feelings, that in turn ought to become an important factor in establishing the objectivety of behaviors deemed to be either right or wrong?

These hurt feelings -- a genetic component of human biology -- said to be universal or virtually universal?

But then:

You will of course have realised that I didn’t mean what I wrote; but for that initial moment the feeling was real. It is in those kinds of moments where morality is shown to be objective, where everyone ‘sees’ the offence: when the ghost in the machine (if I may borrow that phrase) becomes solid.


Okay, let's choose a hundred people at random, put them in a room and ask them to pin down that which ought to be construed as universally offensive. What hurts their feelings? And if, say, the liberals and the conservatives compile a very different list? Or, instead, is the whole point here that, in being able to note that feelings can be hurt in all of us, this becomes the basis in and of itself for claiming objective morality?

On the other hand...

This kind of ‘real’ is clearly not the same real as, say, the keyboard with which I wrote the sentence, but there are many types of real: real love, real bananas, real quantum particles. While the feeling isn’t empirical evidence as are results taken with a ruler or beeps on a Geiger Counter, it is real evidence of a different kind. I can’t proclaim an area safe from radiation with a ruler, it’s the wrong detector. I need the correct tool, a Geiger Counter, to do that. We, human beings, are the morality detectors. We all feel the sting when something wrong has been created, say an insult has been slung – and therein lies the objectivity.


This in my opinion is the classic example of the "general description" argument. You make a blanket statement about human interactions: We all feel offended by certain behaviors.

So, let's use this as the basis for establishing that morality is objective. That we cannot intertwine our general rule into a frame of mind that actually differentiates right from behavior when conflicting goods are confronted in any particular context, shouldn't stop us from pointing out that it's still there to suggest that a resolution must be within our reach because objective morality has been proven to exist.

And I'm not arguing that this is an irrational point of view. I'm only looking for someone who embraces it to bring their assumptions down to earth and explore them...existentially.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Mon Jul 22, 2019 8:42 pm

Question of the Month
"Is Morality Objective?"
From Philosophy Now magazine
Martin Butler

One reason for denying that morality is objective is the claim that science will provide an exhaustive description of objective reality which leaves no room for objective moral facts, and so morality must be either subjective or a matter of convention. However, it could be argued that mathematics faces the same problem here as morality. Mathematical objects such as numbers do not appear in the list of items in the natural world that science can detect. They cannot be observed as part of the physical universe – even though they are a prerequisite for the success of science. But we should notice that this does not prevent us from regarding mathematical truths as objective. In fact mathematics, as the Greeks recognised, is the paradigm of objective truth. Thus the claim that objective truths must be scientific truths seems simply a metaphysical prejudice.


In other words, in discussing morality, where does science and mathematics and philosophy and theology and all the other disciplines end...so that we can then discern and discuss where the others begin?

Instead, they seem to be all entangled in a "human condition" embedded in a universe where, by far, the overwhelming preponderance of interactions have absolutely nothing to do with morality at all.

And, in turn, the overwhelming preponderance of human interactions that can be "observed" also consist of relationships that are clearly able to be demonstrated as true for all of us.

And yet, as well, the overwhelming preponderance of turmoil, of upheaval, of pain and suffering, deeply embedded in the history of the human race, revolves precisely around those things that we do not seem able to pin down: value judgments.

Doing the right thing.

And, in my view, most folks seem far more intent on convincing themselves that whatever the right thing might possibly be, it does in fact exist.

And that is so because they have, In fact, already discovered what that is. Then it is merely a matter of dealing with those who, while sharing their conviction that morality is objective, disagree [more or less insistently] regarding what that entails out in the world of actual human interactions.

The part that revolves around rewards and punishments.

If we allow for the possibility of objective moral truths, how might such truths be identified? Science boasts replicable empirical research that has identified entities which seem uncontroversially objective, such as atoms. Mathematics uses logic to prove mathematical theorems. In contrast, there is no accepted procedure that enables us to settle moral debate, which often seems interminable. There is no experiment, for example, which can determine whether abortion is morally acceptable. Nevertheless, the controversial nature of morality is itself a reason to think that there are objective truths at stake. We do not seriously debate matters of taste (e.g. whether coffee or tea is the better drink), because we do not believe there is an objective answer.


This in my view becomes hopelessly entangled in human psychology. And, given a particular individual's psychological parameters, "I" is going to evolve over time given an enormously complex intertwining of a particular set of genes and a particular confluence of memes.

Then it comes down to those who are actually convinced that they and they alone are able to untangle all of these countless variables. In order to come up with a sum of all parts such that, thinking it all through, they discovered or invented a moral narrative and political agenda such that they can know when any particular abortion is or is not morally acceptable. Some even going so far as to convince themselves that morality can be understood here universally. Abortion itself as a bundle of behaviors can be pinned down objectively. Deontologically as it were. Or [of course] behaviors construed to be sins.

Moral debate does not deliver clear-cut answers in the way science appears to, but this does not mean that it cannot deliver objective conclusions at all. The process is just more difficult. Because of the success of science in identifying objective truths, beliefs that are established by non-scientific means are assumed to lack objectivity. But is this justified? Surely ‘It is wrong to torture babies’ is as objectively true as anything in science.


I can agree with this. Well, up to a point. I would never argue that objective morality is out of reach. And, surely, given a belief in an omniscient and omnipotent God, how could it not exist.

It may even be possible, in a No God world, to pin down "the right thing to do" in any conceivable context. All I can do is go in search of the argument and the demonstration that convinces me this is in fact true.

But even here it would only be deemed true by me. How would it all be put together by someone such that all rational men and women are obligated to believe this behavior is right and that behavior is wrong.

As for torturing a baby, yes, that is likely to be considerably closer to objective morality than, say, littering.

But in a No God world someone can always rationalize doing even that...and for whatever personal reason that propels them. Perhaps they loathe someone so much that they punish them by torturing the baby in front of them. Perhaps they are sociopaths who just want to experience what it might be like.

After all, look at all of the ghastly behaviors [up to and including genocide] that have rationalized by human beings down through the ages. Some to the point where the behaviors are actually seen to be righteous!

For me God is absolutely vital here.

Though even then assuming I have the autonomy necessary to believe that of my own free will.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Sun Jul 28, 2019 7:12 pm

Question of the Month
"Is Morality Objective?"
From Philosophy Now magazine
Glyn Hughes

The mind is caused by the brain. But the brain doesn’t have a ‘nodule of morality’ or even a ‘deciding zone’ any more than it has a ‘chocolate-liking tubercle’. Rather, decision-making, which includes moral decisions, is performed by the whole neural net. This process is entirely objective, not just as a phenomenon, but the mechanics of the brain’s decision-making activity are thoroughly physical, visible, solid, and testable.


Hmm...

The part [perhaps] where "do the right thing" meets a brain equipped only to do what it must?

In other words [perhaps] before you can test your moral narrative here you need first to test the extent to which it might possibly be the only one that you could ever have had.

On the other hand, there are surely parts of the brain that come closer to "human morality" than others. But how to distinguish them. How to pin down precisely the manner in which they are intertwined when any particular one of us is faced with the next context in which we must decide what is in fact the right thing to do. Objectively.

And the extent to which that pertains to fact at all.

Our neural net makes our decisions by a fairly simple process of one-on-one comparison-and-match. This means that the results of the process look like the simple comparisons they are, and moral decisions seem to be comparative.


This is the part that most of us here have little choice but to leave to the "experts". After all, what do we know about the actual science here? Only what we read, right? So that what we think we know depends a lot on who and what we read. Not unlike so many other discussions we have here.

But then again, there does seem to be a definitive, objective, fixed and unshakeable system of knowing-what’s-right behind it all. Not just feelings but experience tells us so. And indeed, there is such a definitive system – it is the fixed and objective process by which the moral comparison is done.

So, morality is comparative, and is determined by an objective system. Which is not only an explanation of how moral judgement works, but an explanation of why the apparent conflict between objective and comparative accounts of morality occurs.


"There does seem to be..."

Okay, then bring an assessment of this sort down to earth and examine in more detail what your feelings and experiences are telling you about particular conflicting behaviors based on conflicting value judgments in an actual context.

How might the "fixed and objective process by which the moral comparison" is made be applicable in regard to, say, the immigration debate?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Fri Aug 02, 2019 7:04 pm

Question of the Month
"Is Morality Objective?"
From Philosophy Now magazine
Paul Mealing

Two types of morality co-exist virtually everywhere and at all times, yet they are, for the most part, poles apart. They are morality in theory and morality in practice, and they align with objective morality and subjective morality respectively.


That's always been my point of course.

It's the difference between words defining and defending the meaning of other words in an argument and this meaning then confronting a set of assumptions that breeds a very different meaning. The two then forced to confront a context in which the variables embedded in actual human interactions can come at you from all directions. Factors applicable to genes, to memes, to historical and cultural norms, to gender, to ethnicity, to class.

And then, individual to individual, we confront sequences of personal experiences that can vary considerably. Communication breakdowns happen all the time. The same words are being exchanged but in the world of value judgments it can often seem as though there is little recognition of that at all.

For most people, morality stems from their surrounding cultural norms. That is, many people rely on their conscience to point their moral compass; but one’s conscience is a social construct largely determined by one’s upbringing. For example, in some societies, one can be made to feel guilty about the most natural sexual impulses. Guilt and sex have been associated over generations, but it is usually lop-sided: women are often forced to carry the greater burden of guilt, and homosexuals can be forced to feel criminal. Both these examples illustrate how cultural norms can determine the morality one accepts.


So, what then, Mr. Philosopher? Is there really the equivalent of, say, the Golden Mean here? Or, even more remarkably, a frame of mind that is argued to reflect the actual moral obligation of those said to grasp the wisdom that some insist is within the reach of the technical discipline? Moral narratives said to be most in sync with such philosophical tools as logic and epistemology.

In other words, when "morality in theory" comes face to face with political agendas rooted in conflicting value judgments pertaining to a particular context:

In some societies there are cultural clashes – usually generational – where the same moral issue can inflame opposing attitudes. In India in December 2012, a young woman, Jyoti Singh, was raped and murdered on a bus after she went to a movie with her boyfriend. A documentary by British filmmaker Leslee Udwin explored the cultural schism in India over this issue. Some (including the lawyers representing the gang who committed the crime) believed that the girl was responsible for her own fate, whereas others campaigned to have the rape laws strengthened. This demonstrates starkly how someone’s specific cultural influences can set moral values that become normative and then intransigent.


What else is there then but to go along with this or to insist that, no, philosophers are able to establish what all rational people [in India or anywhere else] are bound to do in this particular set of circumstance.

In many cultures it is taught that God or the gods determine moral values, yet these are often the most prescriptive, oppressive, and misogynistic examples of enforced cultural mores. People who hold to this perspective often claim that theirs is the only true objective morality, but unfortunately it seems that when one evokes God [or indeed, any other absolute, Ed] to rationalise one’s morality, anything, including the most savage actions, can thereby be ostensively justified.


The other side of the coin. Once someone has managed to convince themselves that, philosophically, moral obligations are within reach, how far will they go in insisting that others are obligated to share those beliefs. In either a God or a No God context.

How far is one permitted to go in rewarding those who are "one of us" and in punishing those who are "one of them"?

On the other hand, morality in theory is very simple: it is to treat everyone the same and give everyone the same rights, be they men, women, homosexuals, people of different faith, or with a different skin colour. However, one only has to look at the treatment of refugees to realise how even the most liberal societies struggle with this precept.


My point is merely to suggest that this struggle is embedded in the very components of my own moral nihilism. There is no getting around the struggle other than in attempts to mitigate it through democracy and the rule of law.

Unless, of course, I'm wrong.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby phyllo » Sat Aug 03, 2019 7:54 am

Two types of morality co-exist virtually everywhere and at all times, yet they are, for the most part, poles apart. They are morality in theory and morality in practice, and they align with objective morality and subjective morality respectively.
That's idiotic.

Both objective and subjective morality have both theory (I/we think this is good) and practice (I/we try to implement what we think is good). The difference is that objective morality relies on external measures to determine what is good and to evaluate it. Subjective morality is largely in the mind ... whatever you think is good, then is good and external measures can be entirely ignored.
For most people, morality stems from their surrounding cultural norms. That is, many people rely on their conscience to point their moral compass; but one’s conscience is a social construct largely determined by one’s upbringing. For example, in some societies, one can be made to feel guilty about the most natural sexual impulses. Guilt and sex have been associated over generations, but it is usually lop-sided: women are often forced to carry the greater burden of guilt, and homosexuals can be forced to feel criminal. Both these examples illustrate how cultural norms can determine the morality one accepts.
Pedophiles are made to feel guilty too. :cry:
And thieves, killers and rapists. :cry:
In some societies there are cultural clashes – usually generational – where the same moral issue can inflame opposing attitudes. In India in December 2012, a young woman, Jyoti Singh, was raped and murdered on a bus after she went to a movie with her boyfriend. A documentary by British filmmaker Leslee Udwin explored the cultural schism in India over this issue. Some (including the lawyers representing the gang who committed the crime) believed that the girl was responsible for her own fate, whereas others campaigned to have the rape laws strengthened. This demonstrates starkly how someone’s specific cultural influences can set moral values that become normative and then intransigent.
End result : If you let these gangs rape and kill whenever they want to, then India becomes a shithole for young women. Objectively.
On the other hand, morality in theory is very simple: it is to treat everyone the same and give everyone the same rights, be they men, women, homosexuals, people of different faith, or with a different skin colour. However, one only has to look at the treatment of refugees to realise how even the most liberal societies struggle with this precept.
That sounds like his subjective theory of correct morality, since he does not refer to any external reasons for why it is appropriate.
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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Sun Aug 04, 2019 8:59 pm

phyllo wrote:
Two types of morality co-exist virtually everywhere and at all times, yet they are, for the most part, poles apart. They are morality in theory and morality in practice, and they align with objective morality and subjective morality respectively.
That's idiotic.

Both objective and subjective morality have both theory (I/we think this is good) and practice (I/we try to implement what we think is good). The difference is that objective morality relies on external measures to determine what is good and to evaluate it. Subjective morality is largely in the mind ... whatever you think is good, then is good and external measures can be entirely ignored.


Okay, let's bring these "assessments" down to earth. There is what John believes is true subjectively about gun control "in his head"; and there is everything that we can determine is true objectively about gun ownership out in the world of human interactions.

But some philosophers here seem more intent on first establishing what we can know -- know -- about human ethics up in the "general description" clouds of abstraction. We must first rigorously define the meaning of the words we use in our discussions/debates. And indeed we can encounter arguments that go on and on for pages and barely touch down on or in any particular context where actual behaviors do come into conflict over value judgments.

Instead, only after having being in sync technically, intellectually can we then go on to assess the moral parameters of gun control such that we can then go on to establish legislation that will go a long way toward minimizing -- eliminating? -- the sort of carnage we just witnessed in El Paso and Dayton.

Same with human sexuality. Only when we are entirely clear and in sync technically, intellectually, philosophically about those behaviors argued to be objectively good or objectively bad can we jettison such "external measures" as God and establish moral obligations in regard any and all sexual behaviors.

Then even the sexual sociopaths who, in a No God world, insist that morality here revolves around satiating their own wants and needs can at least know that philosophically they are behaving immorally.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Tue Aug 06, 2019 7:33 pm

Question of the Month
"Is Morality Objective?"
From Philosophy Now magazine
Jonathan Tipton

This question initially seems simple, as there appear to be many things that most people would automatically believe to be intrinsically morally wrong, in all times and place, such as murder, lying, and theft.


And, yet, for many, after the "initial" reaction is long gone they are still fiercely convinced there is [there must be] an intrinsic value to be found in one set of behaviors over another.

Some, of course, will allow themselves to acknowledge the complexities we can encounter out in the real world:

But after reflection, many would agree there are also cases where these things may be acceptable. For example, stealing medicine to save the life of a critically ill child, or lying to someone over the whereabouts of your friend whom they express an intention to kill. However, people would not necessarily give the same reasons why these are exceptions to the rule. Some may argue there is greater moral responsibility to a friend than to a stranger, so, in this circumstance, lying in their defence is acceptable; but others may argue a hierarchy of moral actions: so although lying, or stealing, is ethically wrong, not acting to prevent a murder, or to save the life of a child, is a far greater wrong. Others still may stress the importance of social mores in ethical situations.


But this sort of thinking is almost never taken in the direction that I go on this thread. Instead, the assumption is made that when push comes to shove, complexities or not, there is still a fundamental obligation to be found in any given context. We might not be able to quite pin it down but it's still there.

For some through God and for others through Humanism.

But it is clearly not possible for many to believe there is no final obligation at all. The implications of that for human interactions is just too...dreadful?

Even the Karpel Tunnels among us who accept that objective morality is not likely to be around, concoct a rendition of "pragmatism" that still manages to afford them some measure of comfort and consolation given the behaviors that they choose.

I'm simply unable to grasp how this actually "works" for them "in their head" given the manner in which I have come to understand the role that dasein and conflicting goods plays in human interactions out in the is/ought world. The "fractured and fragmented" sense of "self" down in the "hole".
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby surreptitious75 » Tue Aug 06, 2019 9:47 pm

This is what my own subjectivist / objectivist mind thinks about this from an essentially objectivist perspective which is the correct one :

Morality by definition is subjective so the notion of objective morality is an oxymoron and therefore something that is logically impossible
The irony therefore is that those who declare morality to be objective are without realising it making a statement that is purely subjective

Even if it did exist the fact that it would at least in part be subject to interpretation would render it subjective / objective rather than truly objective

Human minds usually like things to be nice and simple which is why they want morality to be objective but only within their own imagination can it be so
Morality as a concept with real world application is anything but nice and simple for reality is itself not nice or simple so there must be consistency here
A MIND IS LIKE A PARACHUTE : IT DOES NOT WORK UNLESS IT IS OPEN
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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby Ecmandu » Tue Aug 06, 2019 10:46 pm

Morality is objective.

If it is true for all possible subjects, its objective.

It is true for all possible subjects that nobody wants their consent violated. That's an objective law of good / bad. Someone tried to claim that masochists are the obvious exception, this is false. Masochists feel pleasure where most people feel pain, this is not a statement of consent, there are probably an infinite number of ways that you can violate the consent of a masochist.

Since everyone in existence is having their consent violated in one form or another, we reach a second law of morality - existence is morally wrong as it currently is. It's bad. It's currently evil.

The question is: will it always be evil?
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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Wed Aug 07, 2019 6:41 pm

surreptitious75 wrote: This is what my own subjectivist / objectivist mind thinks about this from an essentially objectivist perspective which is the correct one :

Morality by definition is subjective so the notion of objective morality is an oxymoron and therefore something that is logically impossible
The irony therefore is that those who declare morality to be objective are without realising it making a statement that is purely subjective


This always gets tricky [for me] because in discussions of morality [in philosophy venues], we can slide in and out of the "technical" components embedded in logic and epistemology, and the "existential" components embedded in points of view regarding particular conflicting goods.

"I" is ever and always the subject inherently citing subjective points of view about morality as an objective truth.

Were there no subjects around there would be no discussions.

After all, up until the evolution of matter into self-conscious minds [assuming some measure of free will] this whole controversy would be entirely moot.

So, sure, "I" is the subject. But in regard to human interactions "I" seems clearly able to establish some things and some relationships as true objectively for all of us.

And isn't that really as far as we can go?

We are no less subjects when we point out that 22 human beings were killed by Patrick Wood Crusius in a recent mass shooting in El Paso. And there are many, many facts that all rational men and women would be able to concur regarding.

But when he explains why he felt justified in doing what he did, how are philosophers/ethicists able to establish that in fact this constituted [objectively] an immoral act?

Or that objectively it is immoral for private citizens to own assault weapons.

Or that objectively it is possible to establish the optimal or the only rational argument in regard to immigration policy.

surreptitious75 wrote: Human minds usually like things to be nice and simple which is why they want morality to be objective but only within their own imagination can it be so

Morality as a concept with real world application is anything but nice and simple for reality is itself not nice or simple so there must be consistency here


My own subjective frame of mind "here and now" is basically in sync with this. It seems a reasonable manner in which to think it through.

But in turn I deem it to be nothing more than another existential contraption. There does not appear to be a way in which to establish beyond all doubt that all rational men and women are obligated to share this frame of mind.

And that is because there does not appear to be a way in which to rule out entirely the existence of God. Or, sans God, the existence of an argument able to be demonstrated as in fact an obligatory frame of mind for reasonable and virtuous human beings.

I can only note instead how "here and now" I think this instead of that. Knowing that a new experience, a new relationship or access to new information and knowledge might result in me changing my mind.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby Ecmandu » Wed Aug 07, 2019 7:00 pm

Iambiguous,

I answered your question perfectly through non contradiction.

You are scared of the only true and possible answer.

Your consent is currently being violated by a fragmented self and conflicting goods.

Your entire being is a just a horrible, disingenuous subset of my sublime
Last edited by Ecmandu on Wed Aug 07, 2019 7:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Wed Aug 07, 2019 7:00 pm

Ecmandu wrote:Morality is objective.

If it is true for all possible subjects, its objective.

It is true for all possible subjects that nobody wants their consent violated. That's an objective law of good / bad.


Admittedly, I've never been exactly sure how seriously to take you. Sometimes you come off [to me] as just another godawful Kid here. Other times as [even worse] another godawful objectivist Kid.

But, sure, maybe I'm wrong.

All I can do is to bring your "general description" argument above down to earth.

Now, in regard to the El Paso shooting above, how does someone not wanting his or her consent violated factor into your overall view of objective morality.

The people he shot did not consent to being killed by him. On the other hand, he did not consent to people coming into the country that violate his own sense of what makes America great.

How [philosophically] is it determined which consent here takes precedence?

Same with the argument over assault rifles.

Some give their consent to owning them while others give their consent to living in the country where they are banned.

And neither want their respective consent to be violated.

So [philosophically] which consent takes precedence?

Objectively, as it were.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby Ecmandu » Wed Aug 07, 2019 7:02 pm

All consent violations are objectively bad iambiguous.

The reality itself needs a different construction to account for this; such as hyperdimensional mirror realities.
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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Wed Aug 07, 2019 7:04 pm

Ecmandu wrote:All consent violations are objectively bad iambiguous.

The reality itself needs a different construction to account for this; such as hyperdimensional mirror realities.


Okay, the godawful objectivist Kid it is then. :lol:
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby Ecmandu » Wed Aug 07, 2019 7:07 pm

iambiguous wrote:
Ecmandu wrote:All consent violations are objectively bad iambiguous.

The reality itself needs a different construction to account for this; such as hyperdimensional mirror realities.


Okay, the godawful objectivist Kid it is then. :lol:


You're a scared little kid, who's too afraid to admit that reality is currently, objectively, by definition, evil.
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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Wed Aug 07, 2019 7:30 pm

Ecmandu wrote:
You're a scared little kid, who's too afraid to admit that reality is currently, objectively, by definition, evil.


Let's take this to Rant, okay? You start the thread. :wink:
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby Ecmandu » Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:05 pm

iambiguous wrote:
Ecmandu wrote:
You're a scared little kid, who's too afraid to admit that reality is currently, objectively, by definition, evil.


Let's take this to Rant, okay? You start the thread. :wink:


It scares you to have it objectively solved ...

Yet you call me the kid. The rant part was started by you, again a manifestation of your fear.
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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby iambiguous » Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:15 pm

Ecmandu wrote:
It scares you to have it objectively solved ...

Yet you call me the kid. The rant part was started by you, again a manifestation of your fear.


We're done here. You know, this being the philosophy board. I'm more partial myself to dealing with retorts of this sort in rant. There it just makes more sense not to take them seriously. :wink:
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby promethean75 » Wed Aug 07, 2019 8:29 pm

"You're a scared little kid"

Don't you dare talk to biggy like that. Private Biggs was packing it on the mekong delta knee deep in the shit before you were even born, sonny.
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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby Ecmandu » Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:50 pm

promethean75 wrote:"You're a scared little kid"

Don't you dare talk to biggy like that. Private Biggs was packing it on the mekong delta knee deep in the shit before you were even born, sonny.


Yeah... well he's taken to trolling his own thread so that he can't be disproven in a public forum on ILP
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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby promethean75 » Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:53 pm

private biggs doesn't 'troll'... he 'patrols'.
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Re: back to the beginning: morality

Postby Ecmandu » Wed Aug 07, 2019 11:57 pm

promethean75 wrote:private biggs doesn't 'troll'... he 'patrols'.


I submitted proof through contradiction by self evident definition.

Iambiguous is trolling. He's also scared.
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