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Does moral objectivity exist?

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    (Original post by ElationAndPathways)
    Sorry, by objective morality, I mean an innate, by definition, inherent meaning for 'good' and 'evil' within the universe...

    Yes yes of course, morals are needed, but I'm saying these morals are created, in order for civilisation to exist in an orderly state. Nothing in the universe holds or states by definition that helping out others is a good thing, or theft is an 'evil' thing
    Stealing is not necessarily evil, but it is always immoral. I think you need to be careful about that.

    Running with the example of theft, it can be demonstrated that it cannot be morally permissible as a matter of policy. If it were, that would negate the idea of ownership, which would in turn negate the idea of theft. It introduces a logical contradiction. In that sense there are moral universals, though whether they are moral absolutes I am unsure.
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    (Original post by TurboCretin)
    Stealing is not necessarily evil, but it is always immoral. I think you need to be careful about that.

    Running with the example of theft, it can be demonstrated that it cannot be morally permissible as a matter of policy. If it were, that would negate the idea of ownership, which would in turn negate the idea of theft. It introduces a logical contradiction. In that sense there are moral universals, though whether they are moral absolutes I am unsure.
    When the Bolsheviks appropriated all property from private hands into the arms of the state I don't think they saw what they did as immoral.

    Similarly when the Nazis took Jewish property.

    EDIT - I suppose stealing could always be considered immoral but that is just a tautology from a linguistic POV and a illusion as a 'universal'. It begs the question of what constitues stealing as I showed above.
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    I agree with this guy -


    "The position of the modern evolutionist . . . is that humans have an awareness of morality . . . because such an awareness is of biological worth. Morality is a biological adaptation no less than are hands and feet and teeth . . . . Considered as a rationally justifiable set of claims about an objective something, ethics is illusory. I appreciate that when somebody says 'Love they neighbor as thyself,' they think they are referring above and beyond themselves . . . . Nevertheless, . . . such reference is truly without foundation. Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction, . . . and any deeper meaning is illusory . . ." [Michael Ruse. Evolutionary Theory and Christian Ethics in The Darwinian Paradigm. Routledge. 1989, pages 262, 268 - 9.]
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    (Original post by Perseveranze)
    I agree with this guy -


    "The position of the modern evolutionist . . . is that humans have an awareness of morality . . . because such an awareness is of biological worth. Morality is a biological adaptation no less than are hands and feet and teeth . . . . Considered as a rationally justifiable set of claims about an objective something, ethics is illusory. I appreciate that when somebody says 'Love they neighbor as thyself,' they think they are referring above and beyond themselves . . . . Nevertheless, . . . such reference is truly without foundation. Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction, . . . and any deeper meaning is illusory . . ." [Michael Ruse. Evolutionary Theory and Christian Ethics in The Darwinian Paradigm. Routledge. 1989, pages 262, 268 - 9.]
    That explanation sound teleological.

    "The position of the modern evolutionist . . . is that humans have an awareness of morality . . . because such an awareness is of biological worth"

    Anyway tt doesn't explain why we have some many varieties of ethics/morality in different civilisations and throughout history.

    I suppose you could say that biology explains our capacity for morality but then given that we are a biological entities everything we do must must be tied back to a biological capacity or potential. Could Einstein have dreamed up the Theory of Relativity without a biological potential to do so? No.
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    (Original post by Perseveranze)
    I agree with this guy -


    "The position of the modern evolutionist . . . is that humans have an awareness of morality . . . because such an awareness is of biological worth. Morality is a biological adaptation no less than are hands and feet and teeth . . . . Considered as a rationally justifiable set of claims about an objective something, ethics is illusory. I appreciate that when somebody says 'Love they neighbor as thyself,' they think they are referring above and beyond themselves . . . . Nevertheless, . . . such reference is truly without foundation. Morality is just an aid to survival and reproduction, . . . and any deeper meaning is illusory . . ." [Michael Ruse. Evolutionary Theory and Christian Ethics in The Darwinian Paradigm. Routledge. 1989, pages 262, 268 - 9.]

    Yes! I agree with this exactly. There may be some innate morality which we are born with, but all of it is part of our instincts, which are a result of evolution. Even if it is apparent that theft is wrong, or murder is wrong, this is only a result of our evolution - not doing these is still self-interest. Ultimately, us not doing these 'wrong' things, helps ourselves at the end of the day.
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    (Original post by max-ee-milian)
    everybody values differently.

    nothing can be proven to be absolute. moral subjectivism is therefore fact.
    Consider, we are playing a game of chess and eventually one us captures the winning peace. But to state one has won the 'winning piece', there must have been certain criteria to begin with which one of us consequently fulfilled. This criteria derives from the institution of chess which we committed ourselves to a start of the game. In order to us to play chess we ought to abide to the rules of the game, if we do not, then it is not longer chess we are playing but some weird perversion of it. We can then apply this concept to ethics, with an institution such as promise-keeping. First of all let's consider what a promise is. A promise is an act of placing oneself under an obligation to the thing promised. That is an institutional fact. So now suppose a man named Jones promises, of his own volition and sincerity, to pay Smith $5. He utters the words, “I hereby promise to pay you, Smith, $5”. Jones therefore has promised to pay Smith five dollars; he has voluntarily entered the institution of promise-keeping. From this we can say Jones is under an obligation to pay Smith $5, and from this we can move to the normative conclusion that Jones ought to pay Smith $5. How you may ask, do I make this jump from the descriptive to the normative? Well as we saw in the beginning there is an institution of promise-keeping, and in the same way that we ought to abide by the rules when playing a game like chess (for if we didn't the game would cease to be chess), we ought to keep our promises because in order to make a promise one has consented to certain institutional facts and rules.

    Therefore there is moral objectivity in light of institutional facts, values did not enter the equation here. Of course, for the record, I don't actually believe in the argument I put down here but I just wanted to get the discussion moved beyond the almost farcical and whimsical argument that moral subjectivism is true merely because people disagree in ethics.
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    (Original post by OedipusTheKing)
    Consider, we are playing a game of chess and eventually one us captures the winning peace. But to state one has won the 'winning piece', there must have been certain criteria to begin with which one of us consequently fulfilled. This criteria derives from the institution of chess which we committed ourselves to a start of the game. In order to us to play chess we ought to abide to the rules of the game, if we do not, then it is not longer chess we are playing but some weird perversion of it. We can then apply this concept to ethics, with an institution such as promise-keeping. First of all let's consider what a promise is. A promise is an act of placing oneself under an obligation to the thing promised. That is an institutional fact. So now suppose a man named Jones promises, of his own volition and sincerity, to pay Smith $5. He utters the words, “I hereby promise to pay you, Smith, $5”. Jones therefore has promised to pay Smith five dollars; he has voluntarily entered the institution of promise-keeping. From this we can say Jones is under an obligation to pay Smith $5, and from this we can move to the normative conclusion that Jones ought to pay Smith $5. How you may ask, do I make this jump from the descriptive to the normative? Well as we saw in the beginning there is an institution of promise-keeping, and in the same way that we ought to abide by the rules when playing a game like chess (for if we didn't the game would cease to be chess), we ought to keep our promises because in order to make a promise one has consented to certain institutional facts and rules.

    Therefore there is moral objectivity in light of institutional facts, values did not enter the equation here. Of course, for the record, I don't actually believe in the argument I put down here but I just wanted to get the discussion moved beyond the almost farcical and whimsical argument that moral subjectivism is true merely because people disagree in ethics.
    Ok, so having made a promise, one ought to keep it. I agree it is easily possible to get to normative statements with certainty, having considered quasi-axiomatic conditions like that. But what in the universe definitively holds that breaking a promise is actually a bad thing. What in the universe even says that not doing what one ought to do is a bad thing? I'm saying there is no such thing as a universally good or bad action. We are all just (albeit at an extremely basic and reductive level) molecules interacting with each other. There are plenty of examples in the natural world where animals and plants 'break promises' (one could say) in order to gain for themselves. They deceive, they steal. Hell, some are cannibals. But when humans do it, it's an immoral thing? (I'm not condoning cannibalism, please don't get me wrong!)
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    (Original post by OedipusTheKing)
    Therefore there is moral objectivity in light of institutional facts, values did not enter the equation here. Of course, for the record, I don't actually believe in the argument I put down here but I just wanted to get the discussion moved beyond the almost farcical and whimsical argument that moral subjectivism is true merely because people disagree in ethics.
    No you just described a kind of social contract where people agree to abide by this or that rule in dealing with each other. It's completely different from having definitions of good and evil though which are assigned status as absolutes (morality).

    I can show that by your chess analogy. We might agree that having an extra pawn on my side of the board was a violation of the rules of chess, but that doesn't necessarily make having an extra pawn as an evil act in an absolute sense.

    I think you are conflating the existence of objective moral facts with the objectivity of the truth they claim to represent.

    It was an objective fact that the Heavens gate cult believed there was an spaceship hiding behind a comet which was going to take them to a new life, the truth that this objective fact claimed was objectively false though.
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    No.

    Next question, please.
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    (Original post by ElationAndPathways)
    Ok, so having made a promise, one ought to keep it. I agree it is easily possible to get to normative statements with certainty, having considered quasi-axiomatic conditions like that. But what in the universe definitively holds that breaking a promise is actually a bad thing. What in the universe even says that not doing what one ought to do is a bad thing? I'm saying there is no such thing as a universally good or bad action. We are all just (albeit at an extremely basic and reductive level) molecules interacting with each other. There are plenty of examples in the natural world where animals and plants 'break promises' (one could say) in order to gain for themselves. They deceive, they steal. Hell, some are cannibals. But when humans do it, it's an immoral thing? (I'm not condoning cannibalism, please don't get me wrong!)
    as moral subjectivity is a fact, then how is condoning cannibalism wrong?
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    (Original post by OedipusTheKing)
    Consider, we are playing a game of chess and eventually one us captures the winning peace. But to state one has won the 'winning piece', there must have been certain criteria to begin with which one of us consequently fulfilled. This criteria derives from the institution of chess which we committed ourselves to a start of the game. In order to us to play chess we ought to abide to the rules of the game, if we do not, then it is not longer chess we are playing but some weird perversion of it. We can then apply this concept to ethics, with an institution such as promise-keeping. First of all let's consider what a promise is. A promise is an act of placing oneself under an obligation to the thing promised. That is an institutional fact. So now suppose a man named Jones promises, of his own volition and sincerity, to pay Smith $5. He utters the words, “I hereby promise to pay you, Smith, $5”. Jones therefore has promised to pay Smith five dollars; he has voluntarily entered the institution of promise-keeping. From this we can say Jones is under an obligation to pay Smith $5, and from this we can move to the normative conclusion that Jones ought to pay Smith $5. How you may ask, do I make this jump from the descriptive to the normative? Well as we saw in the beginning there is an institution of promise-keeping, and in the same way that we ought to abide by the rules when playing a game like chess (for if we didn't the game would cease to be chess), we ought to keep our promises because in order to make a promise one has consented to certain institutional facts and rules.

    Therefore there is moral objectivity in light of institutional facts, values did not enter the equation here. Of course, for the record, I don't actually believe in the argument I put down here but I just wanted to get the discussion moved beyond the almost farcical and whimsical argument that moral subjectivism is true merely because people disagree in ethics.
    No moral premise is written into the fabric of the universe.

    No moral position therefore cannot be objectively true or even valid.

    The only argument I can see for moral absolutism is the existence of God, and if God exists as the Abrahamic religions say he does (omniscient, omnipotent, etc.) then it lends to reason an absolute morality could exist. I don't the argument that "oh, it would just be God's opinion". This presumes that human reasoning is an ultimate, or that a being with far greater reasoning skills would reason as we would.
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    (Original post by max-ee-milian)
    as moral subjectivity is a fact, then how is condoning cannibalism wrong?
    Cos I don't wanna get eaten :P It's in my self-interest
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    (Original post by ElationAndPathways)
    Cos I don't wanna get eaten :P It's in my self-interest
    what about the cannibal? why is his desire any lesser than yours?
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    (Original post by max-ee-milian)
    what about the cannibal? why is his desire any lesser than yours?
    You asked the question to me, not the cannibal. Therefore my desire is what I'm going to consider...
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    (Original post by max-ee-milian)
    No moral premise is written into the fabric of the universe.

    No moral position therefore cannot be objectively true or even valid.

    The only argument I can see for moral absolutism is the existence of God, and if God exists as the Abrahamic religions say he does (omniscient, omnipotent, etc.) then it lends to reason an absolute morality could exist. I don't the argument that "oh, it would just be God's opinion". This presumes that human reasoning is an ultimate, or that a being with far greater reasoning skills would reason as we would.
    Wooo exactly But I don't believe in God, which is why I don't think there is an absolute morality
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    (Original post by ElationAndPathways)
    You asked the question to me, not the cannibal. Therefore my desire is what I'm going to consider...
    So there is a conflict. why is your will greater than his?
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    (Original post by snozzle)
    I don't think that makes sense. Innate properties don't need teaching that is axiomatic. One doesn't need teaching to breath or to feel hungry.

    It cannot be both innate and learned.
    IMO morality comes from a base desire to survive. Self preservation dictates if you want to survive its better to have someone next to you. Should you kill everyone your chances of survival drop. Once you get a group of people who share this base structure a sociaty with this common value starts. People who don't share this value (in this case not killing one another) are shunned and probably die.

    Here you have an innate basis for survival dictating a widely held moral position. When it comes to social morality these things aren't innate and need to be taught. Like don't steal for instance.

    There is a distinction depending on who the moral position benefits.

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