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Author Topic: Are there moral facts?  (Read 3737 times)

Darkhawk

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Re: Are there moral facts?
« Reply #30 on: October 08, 2017, 07:59:46 pm »
I agree that morals are subjective to a point, but you can measure good and bad outcomes.

Outcomes are not themselves morals, except in Aesop's fables.
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Darkhawk

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Re: Are there moral facts?
« Reply #31 on: October 08, 2017, 08:02:37 pm »
The definition of morality is "a moral lesson."

Holy recursion error, Batman.

Morality is a system of judgement for distinguishing between right and wrong and/or good and evil.
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Re: Are there moral facts?
« Reply #32 on: October 08, 2017, 08:04:54 pm »
Outcomes are not themselves morals, except in Aesop's fables.

A moral lesson isn't an outcome? That's what morality is, is it not? What is the point of morals if not to direct human action (e.i. outcomes)?

You can't separate morals from the outcomes of morality. That's the whole point.


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Re: Are there moral facts?
« Reply #33 on: October 08, 2017, 08:09:22 pm »
Holy recursion error, Batman.

Morality is a system of judgement for distinguishing between right and wrong and/or good and evil.

Definition of morality

plural moralities
1 a :a moral discourse, statement, or lesson ended his lecture with a trite morality
b :a literary or other imaginative work teaching a moral lesson "Aesop's Fables" is famous as a morality.
2 a :a doctrine or system of moral conduct
the basic law which an adequate morality ought to state —Marjorie Grene
b moralities plural :particular moral principles or rules of conduct
we were all brought up on one of these moralities—Psychiatry
3 :conformity to ideals of right human conduct admitted the expediency of the law but questioned its morality
4 :moral conduct :virtue

I will also argue that any sort of system is going to have real outcomes, even if it's based on an opinion.

Which is why morals are both real and relative.


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Hariti

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Re: Are there moral facts?
« Reply #34 on: October 08, 2017, 08:18:24 pm »
The definition of morality is "a moral lesson."

I think you are confusing benefits and detriments with right and wrong. There are real consequences to murder, even though murder being right or wrong may be subjective. It starts as an opinion; however, the end result is measurable.

Also, I don't think morals are only relevant for afterlife. That implies that morals are only for those that believe in an afterlife.


"The definition of morality is "a moral lesson.""

According to who? I don't see that definition in any of the major dictionaries. Which makes sense, when you consider that it's circular.

"I think you are confusing benefits and detriments with right and wrong. There are real consequences to murder, even though murder being right or wrong may be subjective. It starts as an opinion; however, the end result is measurable."

Morality is not about the "benefits and detriments," it is about "right and wrong," at least according to the standard definitions I found. I think you are the one who is getting things confused. Morality is a system of determining what is right and what is wrong.

"Also, I don't think morals are only relevant for afterlife. That implies that morals are only for those that believe in an afterlife."

This is the second time you have deliberately twisted my words. I *never* said morality is only relevant in the afterlife, I said that moral or immoral behavior only have *benefits* and *consequences* in the afterlife. Being a good person does NOT guarantee that good things will happen to you while you are alive. If this was the case, then testing and impractically measuring morality would be easy. People like Mengele and Stalin would not live long happy lives, and people like Ghandi would not get assassinated. That is not how real life works. In real life, crime often does pay, while honesty and morality often get you killed.
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

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Re: Are there moral facts?
« Reply #35 on: October 08, 2017, 08:28:47 pm »
Definition of morality

plural moralities
1 a :a moral discourse, statement, or lesson ended his lecture with a trite morality
b :a literary or other imaginative work teaching a moral lesson "Aesop's Fables" is famous as a morality.
2 a :a doctrine or system of moral conduct
the basic law which an adequate morality ought to state —Marjorie Grene
b moralities plural :particular moral principles or rules of conduct
we were all brought up on one of these moralities—Psychiatry
3 :conformity to ideals of right human conduct admitted the expediency of the law but questioned its morality
4 :moral conduct :virtue

I will also argue that any sort of system is going to have real outcomes, even if it's based on an opinion.

Which is why morals are both real and relative.


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That definition is bogus. I don't care if it comes from Websters; any definition which includes the word it's defining is logically flawed and *literally* meaningless. Cambridge has a much better definition, as do all of these others:

https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/morality
https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/morality
https://www.thefreedictionary.com/morality
https://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/morality
http://www.definitions.net/definition/morality
http://www.dictionary.com/browse/morality?s=t
https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/morality

Webster's is clearly the outlier; every other dictionary I could find lists morality as being "right and wrong" or "good and evil." When you also consider Webster's long history of errors (see the infamous DORD), and that the one you quotes is LITERALLY meaningless and fallacious (you cannot use Morality in the definition of Morality.)

Imagine if you asked someone "What is toast?" and they replied "A piece of toast." That wouldn't actually define anything, would it? That's what Webster's is doing here.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recursion

This explains what a recursion error is, and why the definition you gave was a bad one.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2017, 08:30:39 pm by EnderDragonFire »
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

MamaThistle

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Re: Are there moral facts?
« Reply #36 on: October 08, 2017, 08:35:44 pm »
"The definition of morality is "a moral lesson.""

According to who? I don't see that definition in any of the major dictionaries. Which makes sense, when you consider that it's circular.

"I think you are confusing benefits and detriments with right and wrong. There are real consequences to murder, even though murder being right or wrong may be subjective. It starts as an opinion; however, the end result is measurable."

Morality is not about the "benefits and detriments," it is about "right and wrong," at least according to the standard definitions I found. I think you are the one who is getting things confused. Morality is a system of determining what is right and what is wrong.

"Also, I don't think morals are only relevant for afterlife. That implies that morals are only for those that believe in an afterlife."

This is the second time you have deliberately twisted my words. I *never* said morality is only relevant in the afterlife, I said that moral or immoral behavior only have *benefits* and *consequences* in the afterlife. Being a good person does NOT guarantee that good things will happen to you while you are alive. If this was the case, then testing and impractically measuring morality would be easy. People like Mengele and Stalin would not live long happy lives, and people like Ghandi would not get assassinated. That is not how real life works. In real life, crime often does pay, while honesty and morality often get you killed.

I didn't deliberately twist your words, was just commenting on your examples. It's a discussion. It wasn't personal, I'm sorry if it came across that way.

I think this is getting a little too heated for the subject, so I'm going to respectively decline to respond. I simply think that morals are both real and relative.


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MamaThistle

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Re: Are there moral facts?
« Reply #37 on: October 08, 2017, 08:39:21 pm »

Webster's is clearly the outlier; every other dictionary I could find lists morality as being "right and wrong" or "good and evil." When you also consider Webster's long history of errors (see the infamous DORD), and that the one you quotes is LITERALLY meaningless and fallacious (you cannot use Morality in the definition of Morality.)

Those were the usage examples, it just came out funny when I copied and pasted.



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Darkhawk

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Re: Are there moral facts?
« Reply #38 on: October 08, 2017, 08:45:24 pm »
A moral lesson isn't an outcome? That's what morality is, is it not?

It is not.

Quote
What is the point of morals if not to direct human action (e.i. outcomes)?

Let's back off this a little and try a different example.

Consider gravity, which is a structural thing that leads to certain outcomes.

A toy falling off the table is not gravity.  It can be described by gravity, it can be predicted by gravity, it is an outcome of gravity.  But if you started calling a toy falling off a table "gravity" people would say, "No, that is not what gravity is."

Because that is not what gravity is.

You are basically arguing that the toy hitting the floor is definitionally gravity, which is obviously nonsensical.


An outcome is not morality.  It cannot be morality.

A consequentialist system of morality is one in which the evaluation of what is right and wrong is made by the outcomes of choices made.  It is not only not the same thing as morality, it is not the only structural system that people use to formulate moralities.
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MamaThistle

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Re: Are there moral facts?
« Reply #39 on: October 08, 2017, 09:16:30 pm »
It is not.

Let's back off this a little and try a different example.

Consider gravity, which is a structural thing that leads to certain outcomes.

A toy falling off the table is not gravity.  It can be described by gravity, it can be predicted by gravity, it is an outcome of gravity.  But if you started calling a toy falling off a table "gravity" people would say, "No, that is not what gravity is."

Because that is not what gravity is.

You are basically arguing that the toy hitting the floor is definitionally gravity, which is obviously nonsensical.


An outcome is not morality.  It cannot be morality.

A consequentialist system of morality is one in which the evaluation of what is right and wrong is made by the outcomes of choices made.  It is not only not the same thing as morality, it is not the only structural system that people use to formulate moralities.

That's not what I'm arguing. What I'm arguing is that you (not you personally) can talk about the concept of murder all day long, but if at some point you don't discuss the actual consequences of murder it's not a complete argument IMO.

I don't think morals are literally outcomes. I just don't think morals can be separated from moral outcomes in actuality, if that makes sense. I'm not saying that all morals are logically formulated from people examining outcomes either.

I'm simply saying is that I don't think the argument should be in the realm of "real vs relative" because I think morals contain elements of both.


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Eastling

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Re: Are there moral facts?
« Reply #40 on: October 09, 2017, 12:35:56 am »
I have been in dialogue with a person who claims that there are moral facts in the world even if in certain cases we cannot always discover them or live up to the best ideal.  I have yet to be convinced by his arguments.  I am not saying that he is necessarily wrong -- I just have not been convinced by him.

Do you believe that moral beliefs are correct or incorrect, that there are moral facts to be discovered?  Or that morality is a subjective social construct?  That morality contains an element of the arbitrary?  Or something else?

I've been thinking about this thread on and off for a bit, and finally decided on how I want to reply.

Asking "are there moral facts?" skips a step. "Morality" is, to start with, an empty signifier--as other people have said in this thread, morals are formed when a community or society contracts with its members to decide what best keeps the group thriving and intact as a societal organism.

Once you decide on a basis for your system of morality, you can say that there are "facts" deriving from that. For instance, if you decide that the compass points beneath your code of ethics are "truth and compassion," it becomes a fact that distortions of truth, or lies, are potentially dangerous, and as a course of action it follows that they should be examined carefully to determine whether they ultimately serve mercy, humanity, and the overall future ability of the current liar to continue expressing herself honestly.

If you have oriented your code of ethics on something else, though--for example, "beauty and joy"--the assumed fact of lies being dangerous is no longer so solid, and instead the question becomes whether the story you have invented advances a coherent narrative that will bring happiness to the people around you.

In other words, "moral facts" are purely secondary; they only appear when we apply our own interpretations to society and attempt to define rules for it to thrive by.
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Owl

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Re: Are there moral facts?
« Reply #41 on: October 09, 2017, 01:42:58 am »
I totally agree with you, it does not work for the Norse Gods. That's why I said that "creator Gods do not necessarily possess omnibenevolence in all belief systems." However, I think you are wrong about omnibenevolence and/or omniscience only working in religions with a single Godhead. There are some systems with plural, non-omnipotent Gods, where one or more of those Gods possesses one or both of those traits.

As an example, in Zoroastrianism, there are at least two separate Gods; one God who is omnibenevolent, and one God who is omnimalevolent. The good God, Ahura Mazda, is believed to possess omniscience as well as being omnibenevolent. Some people also ascribe omniscience to Ahriman, the evil God, along with omnimalevolence.

So, it is possible to have a belief system, like Zoroastrianism, where there are multiple Gods, who are not single or all-powerful, and yet still have Omnibenevolent or Omniscient entities. I believe that this is also true for some other religions like the Yoruba religion as well, not just Zoroastrianism.
Good point!!  I didn’t know enough about zoroastrianism to know that!!


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Hariti

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Re: Are there moral facts?
« Reply #42 on: October 09, 2017, 02:42:39 am »
I didn't deliberately twist your words, was just commenting on your examples. It's a discussion. It wasn't personal, I'm sorry if it came across that way.

My bad! I am sorry for getting heated with you, it was rude to do so.
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

MamaThistle

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Re: Are there moral facts?
« Reply #43 on: October 09, 2017, 09:51:45 am »
My bad! I am sorry for getting heated with you, it was rude to do so.

All good! :)


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