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Should there be a flat tax? poll

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  • View Poll Results: Should taxation be flat?
    Yes
    35.00%
    No
    65.00%

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    (Original post by Cable)
    No, I don't advocate absolute equality between all humans. However, I advocate equal treatment*. Just like humans should be treated equally regardless of gender, race or religion, likewise when taxing humans, they should be treated equally by taking an equal proportion from each person. I think 'Conquer' sums it up a bit for me with this post.

    My economic system means that people will think twice before popping out kids if they know they don't have enough money to send them to school, afford their healthcare and afford their essentials (e.g. food, water etc) altogether.
    *Except if they're from a poor background.

    So make the kids suffer because of the parent's mistake? Have you considered that depriving a child of an education might just make it impossible for that child to better themselves?

    Why is it that people who hate poor people almost always subscribe to a politial philosophy that is bound to make a crap ton more of them?
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    (Original post by Piprod01)
    *Except if they're from a poor background.
    Erm, no. They are treated equally in the sense that as long as they can afford the price of education/healthcare, they will not be treated any differently on the basis of race, gender etc. They won't be discriminated against.

    So make the kids suffer because of the parent's mistake? Have you considered that depriving a child of an education might just make it impossible for that child to better themselves?
    Firstly, the parent(s) would not have had the kid in the first place if they knew there would be no benefits to support the child. And if friends/neighbours/relatives/charities cannot help the child, then yes, the child will suffer because of the parent's mistakes. And it's no-one's fault but the parents'. It's not my responsibility to help the child. I didn't give birth to them, I don't know them, I'm not their friend or relative. So I'm not obliged to help them in any way. And if they can't better themselves, then they will eventually pass away from the system, meaning that only those who are economically active and beneficially will survive and the best life they could possibly have.

    Why is it that people who hate poor people almost always subscribe to a politial philosophy that is bound to make a crap ton more of them?
    I don't hate the poor. If they need help, they can get it from those who will voluntarily donate them money (friends/relatives/neighbours/charities). My political philosophy will not create more poor people because those who are poor will likely not have kids if they know they can't afford them and the poor will eventually pass away from the system, leaving only those who can compete in the economic system to survive and thrive in any way they can. So gradually, there are less poor people (or at least economically incapable people) in the system.

    However, with our current system, there's no inhibition for poor people to have kids they can't afford. They can pop out as many kids as they want because they know that the taxpayers will pick up the tab. Some don't even have to bother looking for jobs or want to work because they can use their kids to get money from the gov't.

    Prevention is better than cure. When people know that the gov't ain't gonna bail them out when they have kids they can't afford, they'll stop having those kids. And everyone in the system will try their damn hardest to develop employable skills so that they won't be completely poor. So this generates a very hardworking mentality for everyone in the system.
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    (Original post by Cable)
    Firstly, the parent(s) would not have had the kid in the first place if they knew there would be no benefits to support the child. And if friends/neighbours/relatives/charities cannot help the child, then yes, the child will suffer because of the parent's mistakes. And it's no-one's fault but the parents'. It's not my responsibility to help the child. I didn't give birth to them, I don't know them, I'm not their friend or relative. So I'm not obliged to help them in any way. And if they can't better themselves, then they will eventually pass away from the system, meaning that only those who are economically active and beneficially will survive and the best life they could possibly have.
    So a qualified, "yes".

    I don't hate the poor. If they need help, they can get it from those who will voluntarily donate them money (friends/relatives/neighbours/charities). My political philosophy will not create more poor people because those who are poor will likely not have kids if they know they can't afford them and the poor will eventually pass away from the system, leaving only those who can compete in the economic system to survive and thrive in any way they can. So gradually, there are less poor people (or at least economically incapable people) in the system.

    However, with our current system, there's no inhibition for poor people to have kids they can't afford. They can pop out as many kids as they want because they know that the taxpayers will pick up the tab. Some don't even have to bother looking for jobs or want to work because they can use their kids to get money from the gov't.

    Prevention is better than cure. When people know that the gov't ain't gonna bail them out when they have kids they can't afford, they'll stop having those kids. And everyone in the system will try their damn hardest to develop employable skills so that they won't be completely poor. So this generates a very hardworking mentality for everyone in the system.
    I see too contradictory ideas here, that the poor will get the help they need though charity, and that the possibility of staving to death will somehow keep them out poverty. That there are far more people seeking jobs than there are positions open, granting your premise that will mean everyone tries to become more employable, then hard-working people remain jobless and in much worse position than they would be under the current system.

    I've yet to see anyone use children as a source of income in place of a job - children are very expensive. I think this idea this is actually a widespread problem is a myth.

    I don't think relying on charity is a wise move either, people in jobs and who have money spend it on themselves not charity.
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    (Original post by Piprod01)
    I see too contradictory ideas here, that the poor will get the help they need though charity, and that the possibility of staving to death will somehow keep them out poverty.
    Not all the poor will get the help they need. But a lot of them should through friends/relatives/neighbours/charities. And part of my reasoning on this matter is based on this: there are many lefties or similar people who will roar at the top of their voices about how everyone must chip in money to help the poor blah blah blah. Now, if there are so many of these people around in this country, then surely there will be a lot of money donated to charities by these lefties (provided that they have a job and they stand by their word that it is a necessity to help the poor).

    I didn't say starving to death will keep them out of poverty. I said my system will reduce poverty due to two reasons.

    1) Since there is more economic freedom in a free market, there are little to no barriers from the gov't for someone to enter the market and start a business/company/service. Therefore, there should be more jobs (and wealth creating ones at that). Hence less unemployed people.

    2) Less poor people will have kids they can't afford. This will reduce the number of poor people as well. And of course, these poor people themselves will eventually die and disappear off the system, further reducing the number of poor people.

    That there are far more people seeking jobs than there are positions open, granting your premise that will mean everyone tries to become more employable, then hard-working people remain jobless and in much worse position than they would be under the current system.
    True. But I've explained above how my economic system will result in less poverty and more employment. Of course, there won't be jobs for everyone and some will be in poverty. But if these poor people are very employable, there is nothing stopping them from looking for and finding work abroad or starting a business abroad (of course, provided they find a way of generating capital). If they're unsuccessful, then it's unfortunate. But there'll generally be less poverty in my system.
    I've yet to see anyone use children as a source of income in place of a job - children are very expensive. I think this idea this is actually a widespread problem is a myth.
    I didn't say it was a widespread problem. But it does happen. Haven't you seen unemployed chavs/hoodrats in rough areas who have these nice/decent cars, big HD screens, go on lots of holiday etc? I have grown up in rough areas and seen these things myself. It's a joke how they're able to afford all these things without working. My economic system rectifies this problem.
    I don't think relying on charity is a wise move either, people in jobs and who have money spend it on themselves not charity.
    But there are already charities existing today who get money donated to them. And since my economic system will have less taxes overall, people will have more money in their pockets and may be more willing to donate more money to charities.

    But most importantly, if there are so many lefties or pro-benefits/welfare people in this country, I look forward to seeing them stick to their word and donate as much money as they possibly can to the poor people that they love so much. This should generate a fair amount of money.

    And btw, friends/relatives/neighbours can help if possible.
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    (Original post by Cable)
    Not all the poor will get the help they need. But a lot of them should through friends/relatives/neighbours/charities. And part of my reasoning on this matter is based on this: there are many lefties or similar people who will roar at the top of their voices about how everyone must chip in money to help the poor blah blah blah. Now, if there are so many of these people around in this country, then surely there will be a lot of money donated to charities by these lefties (provided that they have a job and they stand by their word that it is a necessity to help the poor).
    People think like that, they can see the benefits in things like exercise and quitting smoking and want to put in the effort to do these things, but often lack follow through - and we know where there isn't a safety net for people who are jobless that people die and people don't donate enough to prevent good people falling though the cracks.

    Most people want the government to provide a safety net because they can imagine themselves needing such a thing, either if they lose their source of income, or they were born into a poorer family. Funding it by taxes protects us from spending it on ourselves, and it prevents those who wish to take advantage of their favourable position to break the social contract.

    I didn't say starving to death will keep them out of poverty. I said my system will reduce poverty due to two reasons.

    1) Since there is more economic freedom in a free market, there are little to no barriers from the gov't for someone to enter the market and start a business/company/service. Therefore, there should be more jobs (and wealth creating ones at that). Hence less unemployed people.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ease_of...business_index
    The UK is 6th on that list, Germany which is doing very well, is sitting at 19 with far less unemployment. I don't see why making it easier to do business will help any. The problem is companies aren't selling enough.
    2) Less poor people will have kids they can't afford. This will reduce the number of poor people as well. And of course, these poor people themselves will eventually die and disappear off the system, further reducing the number of poor people.
    Do you have any statistics for that? Children are expensive, even if you're on benefits. And yet people still have them. Making the consequences for the child worse won't help any, unless it's your goal to see poor people stave for the mistakes of their parents.


    True. But I've explained above how my economic system will result in less poverty and more employment. Of course, there won't be jobs for everyone and some will be in poverty. But if these poor people are very employable, there is nothing stopping them from looking for and finding work abroad or starting a business abroad (of course, provided they find a way of generating capital). If they're unsuccessful, then it's unfortunate. But there'll generally be less poverty in my system.
    How do you start a business if you don't have any money and haven't been employed? A bank isn't going to give you a loan. How are you going to go abroad if you can't afford a ticket and no country is going to give you a visa because you don't have at least a job offer?

    I didn't say it was a widespread problem. But it does happen. Haven't you seen unemployed chavs/hoodrats in rough areas who have these nice/decent cars, big HD screens, go on lots of holiday etc? I have grown up in rough areas and seen these things myself. It's a joke how they're able to afford all these things without working. My economic system rectifies this problem.
    You could have avoided using the terms like Chave or Hoodrat, and just said unemployed. Those are groups who'd defining characteristics are a vague dress sense, and are used to demonise the poor. How you can tell by looking that they are unemployed is beyond me - maybe they work hard at a job when you're not looking at them?

    And btw, friends/relatives/neighbours can help if possible.
    I consider that to fall under Charity. And given that many poor have friends/relatives/neighbours who are also poor, there is very limited help this can bring them.
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    Sorry for the late reply and sorry for the long post. I have been quite busy lately and tbh, I have no real intention of carrying on this debate any further. I have my opinions and you have yours, so we'll agree to disagree. Feel free to reply to this post if you want but I'm probably not gonna prolong this debate afterwards.

    (Original post by Piprod01)
    People think like that, they can see the benefits in things like exercise and quitting smoking and want to put in the effort to do these things, but often lack follow through - and we know where there isn't a safety net for people who are jobless that people die and people don't donate enough to prevent good people falling though the cracks.

    Most people want the government to provide a safety net because they can imagine themselves needing such a thing, either if they lose their source of income, or they were born into a poorer family. Funding it by taxes protects us from spending it on ourselves
    I don't know whether you've seen my other posts ITT or not. But I've mentioned before that I'm not opposed to unemployment benefits in my ideal economic system. I'm not willing to supply any more welfare beyond that.

    Yes, people see benefits in exercise and quitting smoking but not carry them out. But at least, they don't force other people to help them with exercising or quitting smoking. And if anyone gives them help, it would be voluntary(whether paid or unpaid). On the other hand, pro-welfare/benefits lefties believe that people should be forced to help people they don't wanna help. Just because the lefties may not find the will to donate money to charity voluntarily doesn't mean that people who don't want to pay for someone else's healthcare and education should be forced to pay along with the lefties themselves.

    And at least, those who see the benefits in exercise and quitting smoking don't demonise others who disagree with them/ who are unfit/who are smokers and then not even exercise or quit smoking themselves. It is just pure hypocrisy to claim to have a strong belief in something and demonise people who oppose that belief but to not actually practise what you preach. Pro-benefit lefties and their friends are very happy to demonise the likes of myself just because we have no interest of paying for someone else's health and education. Yet if we have a free market system, I wouldn't be surprised if most of them didn't pay a single penny to help the poor in the form of charity.

    it prevents those who wish to take advantage of their favourable position to break the social contract.
    Can you please elaborate on what you mean here?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ease_of...business_index
    The UK is 6th on that list, Germany which is doing very well, is sitting at 19 with far less unemployment. I don't see why making it easier to do business will help any. The problem is companies aren't selling enough.
    Good point. But to be fair, Germany has better industries and exports than the UK (I believe the German gov't have put an emphasis on their industrial side over the years while the UK declined in the industrial aspect of our economy). So it's not surprising to see how it can cope well with banking/financial/economic crises and deal with unemployment problems. The UK, however, don't have as strong an industry base as Germany, especially because the UK puts great emphasis on their financial sector and there may be other economic factors involved as well (currency exchange rates may make German exports cheaper and more favourable than similar British products). My proposal for the free market system will improve this aspect imo. Getting rid of the majority of the public sector over time should lower our debt. At the same time, leaving those sections of the public sector to the free market instead should increase our GDP. Also, since it is easier to enter the market in a free market system, there's likely to be greater competition between all businesses. This drives prices lower and hence our products should be cheaper for foreign countries to buy, leading to better exports (I'm ignoring currency exchange rates and any tariffs here). Not only does this increase our GDP but it also increases our GDP:debt ratio. This makes our economy look stronger and can prompt foreign companies to invest in our country. Also due to reduced governmental interference, they may be less emphasis on our financial sector as the strongest base of our economy. This can encourage other industries to grow, expand and improve trades globally, leading to the UK economy relying less and less on the financial sector. All these things should lead to better exports and increased employment imo.
    Do you have any statistics for that? Children are expensive, even if you're on benefits. And yet people still have them. Making the consequences for the child worse won't help any, unless it's your goal to see poor people stave for the mistakes of their parents.
    I don't have statistics to prove that. But it's not so wrong to come to that assumption, is it? Children might be expensive but surely children are far more expensive if there are no child benefits than if there are child benefits? The fact that children will be stupidly more expensive, if every form of child benefits are removed, means that less people will have kids they cannot hope to afford. And if someone is stupid enough to have kids they cannot afford when there's no form of benefits to help, then it is completely the parents' fault if the children suffer. It's not my responsibility. I mean, how far do you wanna draw the line? Should the UK pay for public schools and healthcare in every poor country? Kids are also suffering for the parents' mistakes in those countries. I don't lose sleep over it and a lot of people in the UK don't either. Why? Because we don't know them, we're not related to them nor are we their friends. I don't see why it should be any different in the UK.

    How do you start a business if you don't have any money and haven't been employed? A bank isn't going to give you a loan. How are you going to go abroad if you can't afford a ticket and no country is going to give you a visa because you don't have at least a job offer?
    I'm assuming that before most people became unemployed in my system, there were kids in a family that could afford to send them to school. Like I said earlier, my system encourages an enterprenual spirit in most people and especially from a young age. So from a young age, I expect most to start finding ways of raising money (a la Lord Sugar) and save it or reinvest that money to get even more money. Also, since there are lower taxes in my system, the parents should be able to make more savings and pass some of them onto their children. So by the time the kid becomes an adult, even if he's unemployed, he should have a decent amount of cash to help him move abroad or even start a business (unlikely, I know). He/she should be able to find work abroad because of their qualifications they have gotten from the free market education system and from the extra-curricular activities they have done that shows business acumen or employable skills. If the economy is good and the business plan is very sound, banks are willing to lend money to start a business.

    How you can tell by looking that they are unemployed is beyond me - maybe they work hard at a job when you're not looking at them?
    No. I knew these people personally and they were unemployed. Yet they were able to use kids for money. And if you think I'm making this s**t up, please read this: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...paid-much.html

    I'm not saying this happens everywhere all the time. But it does happen nonetheless and it's a problem. Do you really think the mother would have had 16+ children if she knew she would get no child benefits, among other benefits?

    And given that many poor have friends/relatives/neighbours who are also poor, there is very limited help this can bring them.
    Not if the lefties stand by their word and donate as much money as they can to help the poor. Otherwise, they're hypocrites.

    Like I said earlier, not every poor person will be saved/helped. But at the least the economy should do better without the drain of an unsustainable public sector and an excessive benefits system. At least, the free market system advocates a good/reasonable amount of freedom, allowing a better quality of life for many people than they have in our current system (e.g. no more criminalisation of drugs).
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    Yes as long there a threshold, that people can actually survive, for example your first £12,000 isn't taxed (therefore taking the poorest out of income tax altogether) and then whatever you earn over that is let's say taxed at 20%, for example someone earning £20,000 would pay 20% tax on the £8,000 which is £1,600 and someone earning and someone earning £200,000 would pay 20% tax on the £188,000 which is £37,600, I can't see how people can say that is "unfair" when it is fair on both people


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    (Original post by Cable)
    Agreed. Morality and perception are subjective.
    Why? What is your ethics?

    I'm bored and curious ...
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    (Original post by Lord Hysteria)
    Why? What is your ethics?

    I'm bored and curious ...
    I'm a moral nihilist in the sense that I believe nothing is inherently right or wrong. That is to say that there is no "right" or "wrong" in any real or objective sense. However, I can't help the fact that I was brought up with morals. So while I have come to acknowledge that there are no objective morals, I still applaud and frown on some acts.

    For example, if someone killed an innocent person, I would frown against that. However, at the same time, I would acknowledge that the murder was not wrong in any real sense.

    It's weird but does it make sense to you?
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    A simple, fairer and more productive tax system. So yes.
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    A flat rate of say 35% with a £15,000 personal allowance. Scrap NI.
    The richer you are the greater the proportion of your income will be spent on highly taxed goods. VAT and property being the big ones.
    Between the above and high personal allowance you would still have a progressive tax system but much simplified.
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    (Original post by Cable)
    I'm a moral nihilist in the sense that I believe nothing is inherently right or wrong. That is to say that there is no "right" or "wrong" in any real or objective sense. However, I can't help the fact that I was brought up with morals. So while I have come to acknowledge that there are no objective morals, I still applaud and frown on some acts.

    For example, if someone killed an innocent person, I would frown against that. However, at the same time, I would acknowledge that the murder was not wrong in any real sense.

    It's weird but does it make sense to you?
    It does make sense to me, but that is because I think you in fact subscribe to objective morality (like me). If you like, partly because I'm bored, I can make the case to you
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    (Original post by Lord Hysteria)
    It does make sense to me, but that is because I think you in fact subscribe to objective morality (like me).
    Hmmm. I thought I said I don't view any morality as objective?

    If you like, partly because I'm bored, I can make the case to you
    Yes please. That would be nice.
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    (Original post by Cable)
    Hmmm. I thought I said I don't view any morality as objective?
    Yes please. That would be nice.
    Well you said "there is no "right" or "wrong" in any real or objective sense" which is certainly moral nihilism where life and existence is value-free. But a nihilist can't even have subjective values, which is absolutely ridiculous (as everyone has values).

    But bear in mind what objective morality means in ethics. Utilitarianism, for instance, is an objective moral theory where the right is what brings the greatest utility to the greatest number of people. Note this has nothing to do with people opinion's about what brings the greatest utility ... Morality is objective in the sense that it has certain defined criteria about what is moral. That is what makes it objective. Not the fact that people have accepted ideals about it, or given them value. Just as we say 2+2=4, it would be wrong to say 2+2=5 & right to say 2+2=4 ... so the same can apply to morality ....
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    (Original post by Lord Hysteria)
    Well you said "there is no "right" or "wrong" in any real or objective sense" which is certainly moral nihilism where life and existence is value-free. But a nihilist can't even have subjective values, which is absolutely ridiculous (as everyone has values).

    But bear in mind what objective morality means in ethics. Utilitarianism, for instance, is an objective moral theory where the right is what brings the greatest utility to the greatest number of people. Note this has nothing to do with people opinion's about what brings the greatest utility ... Morality is objective in the sense that it has certain defined criteria about what is moral. That is what makes it objective. Not the fact that people have accepted ideals about it, or given them value. Just as we say 2+2=4, it would be wrong to say 2+2=5 & right to say 2+2=4 ... so the same can apply to morality ....
    Hmmm. Interesting. I will read up on this in more detail later.

    But for the time being, how do we measure utility? Have we measured the utility of everyone to find out whether most people agree on everything that is considered morally "good" or "bad"?

    Atm, I don't agree with your proposal that morality is objective nor what appears to be your definition of objectivity if we follow utilitarianism. Objectivity is usually seen as something that is true even if nobody was there to see it or confirm it. Or as some would say, objectivity is "mind-independent" and so, it's always true. Now, of course, 2+2 would always equal 4 in our universe as far as our faculty of sensibility and understanding can determine. When you put two objects next to another two objects, it seems almost impossible to get anything other than four.

    However with regards to morality, it is very clear that different people have different beliefs on what is moral and what isn't. If killing innocent people was truly and objectively immoral, surely everyone would hold these values and an innocent person would never ever be murdered? But we don't get that, do we? Innocent people have been mudered in the past or likely would be in the future. Or we would need some objective entity, like a deity, that decides what morals are objective or not. But of course, not everyone believes in a deity nor has everyone sensed the deity/deities so we cannot confirm its existence and hence, we cannot confirm the objectivity of its morals. So that wouldn't work as a pillar for the objectivity of morals in our society.
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    (Original post by Cable)
    Hmmm. Interesting. I will read up on this in more detail later.

    But for the time being, how do we measure utility? Have we measured the utility of everyone to find out whether most people agree on everything that is considered morally "good" or "bad"?

    Atm, I don't agree with your proposal that morality is objective nor what appears to be your definition of objectivity if we follow utilitarianism. Objectivity is usually seen as something that is true even if nobody was there to see it or confirm it. Or as some would say, objectivity is "mind-independent" and so, it's always true. Now, of course, 2+2 would always equal 4 in our universe as far as our faculty of sensibility and understanding can determine. When you put two objects next to another two objects, it seems almost impossible to get anything other than four.

    However with regards to morality, it is very clear that different people have different beliefs on what is moral and what isn't. If killing innocent people was truly and objectively immoral, surely everyone would hold these values and an innocent person would never ever be murdered? But we don't get that, do we? Innocent people have been mudered in the past or likely would be in the future. Or we would need some objective entity, like a deity, that decides what morals are objective or not. But of course, not everyone believes in a deity nor has everyone sensed the deity/deities so we cannot confirm its existence and hence, we cannot confirm the objectivity of its' morals. So that wouldn't work as a pillar for the objectivity of morals in our society.
    But people can have different views about 2+2= .... There is no reason for someone not to think 2+2=7. That doesn't change the fact that one value is right and the other is wrong. The fact that people have different beliefs in morals doesn't change anything either. Let me put it differently. If someone says to you "the best ice-cream flavour is chocolate", what they mean to say is "the best ice-cream flavour is chocolate to me". They're expressing a personal preference, and that-is-that. You're not going to debate with them to change their minds, or go through reasons why mint is the best. But when someone says "abortion if wrong", they're saying "abortion is wrong" full-stop. That statement "abortion if wrong" is either true or false. That is why they'll go through reasons ... So morality is not a matter of preference, like ice-cream flavor, but an objective issue. We don't necessarily have to know we have the truth. Science operates under the assumption of scientific progress and the same applies to morality.

    In subjectivism everybody is infallible with regards to moral truths because they're equivalent to what each person believes them to be. Yet, it is clearly the intuition of most people that some people are have wrong beliefs about moral actions, just as someone can have a wrong belief about what two plus two equals. If someone believes it equals seven, they still have an incorrect belief. Perception is obviously subjective, but the fact that two plus two equals an objective figure, means it is not subject a person's belief. So, yes, there will be people committing murders and torture and so on ... but that doesn't change the fact it is an immoral act.

    A big difference is that objectivism does not depend on what you think is right. So, only an objectivist can attempt to improve his actions and make moral progress. A moral relativist has no reason to change since there is no such thing as a better view. In fact, once you start talking about morality - in terms of this is bad ... , you shouldn't have done this ... , you should do that ... etc ... then you have accepted that morality is objective to one degree or another.

    Lastly, I don't really understand why people think God is needed. When faced with moral questions, people rationally and intuitively decide between actions that either lead to needless or overwhelming suffering or those that produce of happiness. You could even apply it to animals. That is why I am a humanist. I believe that morality is grounded in human intuition and reason. Morality is about human well-being.
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    (Original post by Lord Hysteria)
    But people can have different views about 2+2= .... There is no reason for someone not to think 2+2=7. That doesn't change the fact that one value is right and the other is wrong. The fact that people have different beliefs in morals doesn't change anything either. Let me put it differently. If someone says to you "the best ice-cream flavour is chocolate", what they mean to say is "the best ice-cream flavour is chocolate to me". They're expressing a personal preference, and that-is-that. You're not going to debate with them to change their minds, or go through reasons why mint is the best. But when someone says "abortion if wrong", they're saying "abortion is wrong" full-stop. That statement "abortion if wrong" is either true or false. That is why they'll go through reasons ... So morality is not a matter of preference, like ice-cream flavor, but an objective issue. We don't necessarily have to know we have the truth. Science operates under the assumption of scientific progress and the same applies to morality.

    In subjectivism everybody is infallible with regards to moral truths because they're equivalent to what each person believes them to be. Yet, it is clearly the intuition of most people that some people are have wrong beliefs about moral actions, just as someone can have a wrong belief about what two plus two equals. If someone believes it equals seven, they still have an incorrect belief. Perception is obviously subjective, but the fact that two plus two equals an objective figure, means it is not subject a person's belief. So, yes, there will be people committing murders and torture and so on ... but that doesn't change the fact it is an immoral act.

    A big difference is that objectivism does not depend on what you think is right. So, only an objectivist can attempt to improve his actions and make moral progress. A moral relativist has no reason to change since there is no such thing as a better view. In fact, once you start talking about morality - in terms of this is bad ... , you shouldn't have done this ... , you should do that ... etc ... then you have accepted that morality is objective to one degree or another.

    Lastly, I don't really understand why people think God is needed. When faced with moral questions, people rationally and intuitively decide between actions that either lead to needless or overwhelming suffering or those that produce of happiness. You could even apply it to animals. That is why I am a humanist. I believe that morality is grounded in human intuition and reason. Morality is about human well-being.
    It's late so I'll reply tomorrow. But I gotta admit the topic of morality is interesting and thanks for rekindling my interest in this topic .

    Goodnight.
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    (Original post by Lord Hysteria)
    But people can have different views about 2+2= .... There is no reason for someone not to think 2+2=7. That doesn't change the fact that one value is right and the other is wrong. The fact that people have different beliefs in morals doesn't change anything either. Let me put it differently. If someone says to you "the best ice-cream flavour is chocolate", what they mean to say is "the best ice-cream flavour is chocolate to me". They're expressing a personal preference, and that-is-that. You're not going to debate with them to change their minds, or go through reasons why mint is the best. But when someone says "abortion if wrong", they're saying "abortion is wrong" full-stop. That statement "abortion if wrong" is either true or false. That is why they'll go through reasons ... So morality is not a matter of preference, like ice-cream flavor, but an objective issue. We don't necessarily have to know we have the truth. Science operates under the assumption of scientific progress and the same applies to morality.

    In subjectivism everybody is infallible with regards to moral truths because they're equivalent to what each person believes them to be. Yet, it is clearly the intuition of most people that some people are have wrong beliefs about moral actions, just as someone can have a wrong belief about what two plus two equals. If someone believes it equals seven, they still have an incorrect belief. Perception is obviously subjective, but the fact that two plus two equals an objective figure, means it is not subject a person's belief. So, yes, there will be people committing murders and torture and so on ... but that doesn't change the fact it is an immoral act.

    A big difference is that objectivism does not depend on what you think is right. So, only an objectivist can attempt to improve his actions and make moral progress. A moral relativist has no reason to change since there is no such thing as a better view. In fact, once you start talking about morality - in terms of this is bad ... , you shouldn't have done this ... , you should do that ... etc ... then you have accepted that morality is objective to one degree or another.

    Lastly, I don't really understand why people think God is needed. When faced with moral questions, people rationally and intuitively decide between actions that either lead to needless or overwhelming suffering or those that produce of happiness. You could even apply it to animals. That is why I am a humanist. I believe that morality is grounded in human intuition and reason. Morality is about human well-being.
    Sorry for this long post.

    Firstly, I'd like to remind you that I believe the only reason I have morals is because I was brought up with morals (I used to be religious). Just as the saying goes that "old habits die hard", it is very hard for me to completely discard all the morals I grew up with. But that doesn't stop me acknowledging that there is no proof of objective morality and hence morality can only be subjective as far as humans are concerned. I will go into further detail below.

    I made a mistake yesterday regarding the 2 + 2 = 4 being objective. You forgive the fact that I was tired around that time. I believe that "2+2=4" is actually a synthetic truth rather than an objective one. That is because 2+2 only equals four based on the axioms/rules/synthetic system from which two plus two can equal four. We don't need empirical evidence to confirm it. The truth that two plus two equal four can and only needs to be derived from the axioms. We don't know whether 2 + 2 would equal 4 in all universes, dimensions or with different sets of rules or axioms. Hence why "2+2=4" isn't an objective truth. It's only a truth within the axioms that allow it to be.

    Now I would like to propose my current framework on life at the moment, particularly concerning knowledge and ethics. I read a bit of Kant's "Critique of Pure Reason" and although I don't agree with everything he said, I agree with this thing that he established: we as human beings have two faculties. The faculty of sensibility and the faculty of understanding. The faculty of sensibility deals with intuitions and what our senses percieve. Then our faculty of understanding brings this information/perception/intuition under a concept. This working together of the faculty of sensibility and the faculty of understanding yields knowledge. I agree with Kant that knowledge is derived from our perceptions being brought under a concept. For example, say there was a chair in front of you. The light waves transmit information about the chair to your eyes (faculty of sensibility). And then your brain arranges/organises this information and your mind brings it under a concept, which you now know to be "chair". That is how you have knowledge of the chair.

    Now it's clear that everyone's faculty of sensibility is not universally the same. An example is our vision. Everyone has varying degrees of clearness in eyesight. Not everyone has perfect vision. Our faculty of understanding is also not the same. People have different reasonings on certain topics. People can see things differently due to the differences in how their minds percieve that which they see. So since everyone's faculties of sensibility and understanding are different, the knowledge (combination of both faculties) that each person has will clearly be different. And that is why knowledge is subjective to everyone. Using the example of the chair above, the way that you perceive the chair would be subjective to you. Not everyone would have the same image of that chair in their minds as you do. Your total knowledge of that chair is subjective to you. And hence that is why the knowledge of morality (intuitions combined concepts such as right and wrong) will be different between everyone, meaning that we won't all have the same morals. This means that morality will be subjective.

    Furthermore, it is agreed that objectivity is such when no mind is present to judge that which concerns us (since our minds are not universally the same and hence there will be some bias. Hence the absence of minds allows no bias and permits objectivity to reign). Or we could say that something is objective when that which concerns us is mind independent. Now, remember that we can only know something when our senses perceive something or we have an intuition and the faculty of understanding brings it under a concept. If we wanted to find out whether there was such thing as objective morals or whether there are objectively such things as "right" and "wrong", we would have to have a scenario where no mind is present and "right", "wrong", "is murder wrong" would suddenly appear in the universe. Now if "right" and "wrong" were objectively real, they would exist in this version of the universe (where no mind is present). And when the question "is murder wrong/bad" randomly appears, the answer would be good/bad/right/wrong.

    But here's the catch. Since there are no minds in this version of the universe, how can anyone perceive the objective answers or truths to morality? No one can. And since no one can perceive the objective truths, we cannot bring these perceptions under a concept to yield knowledge. And if this is the case, we cannot know any objective truths. We cannot know whether right and wrong objectively exists. We cannot know whether murder is objectively "bad" or "wrong".

    So when we accept this, we also accept that anything we know in the universe we perceive is subjective. And hence everyone's morals is subjective.

    So that's my view on this topic. Now back to utilitarianism or humanism. What is your definition of "right" and "wrong"? Or what is the common definitions of right and wrong between humanists? Are the definitions very consistent? How do we measure utility (for utilitarianism)? Have we measured the utility of everyone to find out whether most people agree on everything that is considered morally "good" or "bad"? What objectively dictates that morality must be based on happiness or human being? What objectively dictates that the overall happiness of the world/society is more important that the individual's happiness (utilitarianism)? Also bear in mind that your definitions of right and wrong would not be objective. So it's quite hard to see how utilitarianism can solve the problem of objective morality.

    But ignoring utilitarianism for the time being, what about your humanist belief that morality is based on human intuition and reasoning? You linked me to the rational ethical intuitionism. Even if someone intuits a moral "truth", that doesn't make it objective, does it? Different people have different moral "truths". While one intuits that suffering is bad, another can intuit that suffering is good. And from there, one can reason that we should reduce suffering while another can reason that we should increase suffering. Of course, you believe that only one of them can be objectively correct or right. But as I said above, it is impossible to know any objective truths. So how do we solve this problem?

    Please don't feel offended by my questions or feel that I'm being agressive. But it appears to me that some aspects of utilitarianism are arbitrary. If you don't want to defend utilitarianism since you're a humanist, then that's fine. But please expand further on your humanist ethical framework.

    Oh btw, should we take this discussion to PM or make a new thread in the philosophy section and continue our discussion there? And it was you who gave me rep, right? If it was, I'm happy to return the favour.

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