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    (Original post by Kiytt)
    I believe morality is entirely subjective; our perception of moral right and moral wrong is moulded by our life experiences, social influences and interactions.

    It is not a conscious creation by any means; our moral compass is merely an inherent byproduct of our species' superior intellect and cognitive capacity. The human ego seeks to simplify what it is capable of comprehending, and does this by categorising certain actions and beliefs across a spectrum of right and wrong—and we use this as guidance to justify our decisions in day-to-day life. We refer to this as our "conscience", and this could be considered a subconscious creation of the psyche.

    Our ability to comprehend our surroundings and experiences is interdependent upon our capacity for empathy, ultimately affecting our conscience; brain damage often leads to limited comprehension, which reduces our capacity for empathy and therefore hinders the effectiveness of our conscience (or nullifies it entirely).
    12/12

    Superbly written Kiytt.
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    (Original post by picklescamp)
    it's a morally grey area. There is no empirical evidence to suggest that morally it is wrong, but I don't like murder because it makes me sad and this is why I react against it. Consequences of acts have nothing to do with morals, they merely exist to help society function in a way which suits the majority.
    If murder violates your preferences and causes you to suffer, then objectively it is wrong. Suffering is bad, and this isn't a made-up value statement, but a fact about consciousness. It follows that murdering anyone in general whose preferences would be violated as a result of doing so is wrong; there's no justification for putting your own preferences above those of others, or, as Sidgwick put it: 'the good of any one individual is of no more importance than the good of any other'.

    So, if you'd attempt to ensure that you were not murdered, it follows that you must ensure that others are not murdered, for example by not murdering them.
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    (Original post by hellodave5)
    Interesting! I now see what you and NYU2012 mean to some extent I think, now, maybe.
    Though would that not assume that humans actively make decisions though? It seems more like a computational systemic morality calculation without error which would work in an organism which calculates everything they do; but humans rely extremely heavily on biases to function. Higher functioning people will I guess recognise these biases and countermeasure them in instances they aren't useful, maybe like 'Jeremy B'.
    So I guess although maybe you could define objectively morality (really interesting notion!) - I'm not sure where this would stand with highly flawed biological systems.
    You bring up some good points. Unfortunately, humans are not perfect utilitarians; evolution certainly didn't give us the capacity to be perfect utilitarians. Maximising expected preference-satisfaction (utility) impartially would require us to be perfectly rational, calculating machines, and may require us to have information that it would be hard to possess. (Having said this, there are some hardcore utilitarians who follow polyphasic sleeping patterns in order to only get three hours of sleep a day; the rest of their time is devoted to maximising happiness in some way; and many utilitarians donate a substantial proportion of their incomes to the most cost-effective charities, are vegans, and so on.)

    As you note in your final sentence, this doesn't mean that morality doesn't objectively exist (indeed, we seem to be, at least to an extent, in agreement that reason can lead us to an objective moral system - utilitarianism), but it does mean that we won't be able to follow it at all times.

    That's why concepts such as laws and rights are important: they're useful heuristics to follow which will, overall, increase utility compared to what would happen if humans, with all of their cognitive biases, were to try to calculate the expected utility of every action that they take.

    So, one example of a heuristic is 'do not torture'. In the vast majority of cases, it's good not to torture sentient beings. But, if a bomb was about to go off and kill thousands of people, and the only way to acquire its location was to torture a terrorist, then utilitarianism would state that it would be right to do so. That doesn't mean that it should be made legal to torture, though, because in most cases, humans would probably misjudge how likely the torture would be to achieve this goal and how likely it is that the person being tortured is the culprit, and some may also abuse the system to torture at random. All of this we've seen in the real world. So, overall and in the long-term, keeping torture illegal is the right thing to do. Someone who did choose to torture in the hypothetical ticking time-bomb scenario may have done the right thing, but should still face the legal consequences of his actions.
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    in business morality is this
    if i sell something for a customer and we agree 10% on £32,000 then if i have good morels i have £3,200 and the customer gets £28,800 but if i account all my costs and it cost a grand then i fake a receipt and take £5,000 the take a further £2,700 so the customer gets £24,300
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    (Original post by hellodave5)
    Isn't 'morality' just a word which is essentially to act in a way in which we view things as ever 'good' or 'bad'. Not the definition, just a working term.
    That depends on meta-ethics.

    What do you mean by across moralities?
    I mean across different cultures/peoples. We should see something common between these various different ideas about what is or is not moral.

    The evidence which I was thinking of wasn't based on opinions but rather psychology and neuroscience literature I have peeped at in passing in the past. I recall that very young children maybe about 9 months of age (or something similar, maybe slightly older) can make basic statements of if something was 'fair' or not - which essentially equates to a moral evaluation of if the action was good or bad. This would suggest that the behavior is sort of inbuilt
    As I highlighted above, psychologist have overvalued their work in this area. Their methodology is inherently flawed. They aren't telling us anything about morality, they're telling us about what babies may think is fair or not; the fairness of the thing in question could have governed by a rule which totally unbeknownst to the baby or any living human person; or morality could just be entirely false.

    Meta-ethics deals with the nature of morality; psychologists cannot tell us about the nature of morality.

    But I'm assuming you're referring to a sort of morality which is separate to its functional/operational basis in humans? I struggle to understand what you're getting at cause I'm thinking of how it is used generally, but I think you're meaning morality on a sort of theoretical basis?
    You're making the same error in reasoning that many psychologists make. Methodologically, psychologists and neuroscientists believe that morality just is our opinions of what is right or wrong - they've very fallaciously assumed that morality is identical to our opinions of what is or is not moral. This is wholly false.

    Morality, loosely speaking, is that set of rules which determines whether or not something is good or bad. Meta-ethics is the branch of philosophy that analyses the question "What is morality?"

    So, for example, some meta-ethicists maintain that moral propositions such as "murder is wrong" are true propositions. Their truth is determined by perhaps an objective feature of the world (objective morality) or by the individual beliefs of the person making the statement (individual subjective morality) or by the beliefs of the culture/society in which the statement was made (culturally subjective morality). People who are religious maintain, for example, that what is morally good or bad is determined by God (subjective morality - subjective because the properties of morality are determined by some consciousness).

    Other meta-ethicists maintain that, for example, all moral proposition are statements of constructs which have no universal or relative truth value (moral nihilism). Others might state that moral statement are simply statements of emotion (emotivism).

    There are many other theories of morality as well, with variations and complex nuances.

    Psychologists and neuroscientsts, when they try to tell us about the nature of morality, have massively misunderstood the limits of their own subject. They cannot, for example, tell me whether or not "murder is wrong" has an objective universal truth value, subjective truth value, is a statement of a construct, is a statement of emotion, is an inherently false statement, etc.
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    (Original post by NYU2012)
    That depends on meta-ethics.


    I mean across different cultures/peoples. We should see something common between these various different ideas about what is or is not moral.



    As I highlighted above, psychologist have overvalued their work in this area. Their methodology is inherently flawed. They aren't telling us anything about morality, they're telling us about what babies may think is fair or not; the fairness of the thing in question could have governed by a rule which totally unbeknownst to the baby or any living human person; or morality could just be entirely false.

    Meta-ethics deals with the nature of morality; psychologists cannot tell us about the nature of morality.



    You're making the same error in reasoning that many psychologists make. Methodologically, psychologists and neuroscientists believe that morality just is our opinions of what is right or wrong - they've very fallaciously assumed that morality is identical to our opinions of what is or is not moral. This is wholly false.

    Morality, loosely speaking, is that set of rules which determines whether or not something is good or bad. Meta-ethics is the branch of philosophy that analyses the question "What is morality?"

    So, for example, some meta-ethicists maintain that moral propositions such as "murder is wrong" are true propositions. Their truth is determined by perhaps an objective feature of the world (objective morality) or by the individual beliefs of the person making the statement (individual subjective morality) or by the beliefs of the culture/society in which the statement was made (culturally subjective morality). People who are religious maintain, for example, that what is morally good or bad is determined by God (subjective morality - subjective because the properties of morality are determined by some consciousness).

    Other meta-ethicists maintain that, for example, all moral proposition are statements of constructs which have no universal or relative truth value (moral nihilism). Others might state that moral statement are simply statements of emotion (emotivism).

    There are many other theories of morality as well, with variations and complex nuances.

    Psychologists and neuroscientsts, when they try to tell us about the nature of morality, have massively misunderstood the limits of their own subject. They cannot, for example, tell me whether or not "murder is wrong" has an objective universal truth value, subjective truth value, is a statement of a construct, is a statement of emotion, is an inherently false statement, etc.
    Thanks for the explanation and clarification.

    I think the difference is that psychologists and neuroscientists are about the human construct of morality (which exists innately as something we are likely born with to some degree, has its own neuroarchitecture, and strong evolutionary basis - with its importance highly evident). The interesting thing about the baby thing is that babies don't really have much ability to think, its just cognition in its simplest form and they don't know why they are making the judgement they are - but rather, just are.

    I think it seems like your explaining and discussing morality as a construct - one where it is difficult to define what is objectively right or wrong. I'm not sure but I feel we are somehow talking about different perspectives. You philosophical, whilst I only know of its biology so referring to that.

    Though I find the dichotomy of what humans have as morality and the sort of true essence of morality (I think?) sort of difficult to untangle?
    I mean, isn't the whole purpose of morality to be a guideline for biological life for implicit human decision making?

    This is highly confusing from my perspective. But admittedly, interesting stuff.
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    (Original post by Tom Jickleson)
    there is no objective reason why murder, torture, sadism etc. are wrong. so live your own life and **** whatever box other people try to put you in to.
    I agree. There's no evidence for an objective morality, but people by and large still have to live within our invented moral constructs, unless they want to spend most of their life in prison!
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    (Original post by TorpidPhil)
    What do you mean by a subjective view? Do you mean an opinion? Do you mean a view that cannot be factually true or false? Either way, yes, atheists hold both, as do theists. But our opinions on this debate are not like that as this debate has clear cut answers that are either true or false. Also, whether one is a theist or an atheist doesn't force you to be a moral objectivist or subjectivist or non-cognitivist. I for example am a moral objectivist despite being an atheist, whereas the majority of atheists seem to prefer moral non-cognitivism. Quite a few theists are moral subjectivists since they believe in divine command theory. It is possible to believe in a God like deity and be a moral non-cognitivist too. Religion is only tangentially important to this debate.

    If you're arguing that the term subject is used incorrectly here... Well, that's just how the term is used within academic meta-ethics. Hey, terminology can always be improved, but that doesn't undermine an argument made on this topic...
    Actually, agree with your viewpoints here, and think I just needed some clarity. So, thank you.
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    (Original post by hellodave5)
    I think it seems like your explaining and discussing morality as a construct - one where it is difficult to define what is objectively right or wrong. I'm not sure but I feel we are somehow talking about different perspectives. You philosophical, whilst I only know of its biology so referring to that.
    Any claim that morality qua morality is a human construct is already making unsupportable claims about meta-ethics. Morality, for all you or I know, could be an objective feature of the world. What psychologists and neuroscientists are talking could be talking about morality, but if they were it would purely be by accident.

    Psychologists and neuroscientists may be able to measure what we feel may be moral; they can take brain scans when we think about what we think is moral; etc. But all they're measuring, and all they're capable of measuring, is our thoughts and feelings about morality and perhaps where those thoughts and feelings come from. But they aren't actually measuring morality in any way - merely human perception/cognition.

    How humans feel about morality or think about morality could be entirely wrong - there could be some objective feature of the world that determines what is good and what is bad. To explain how this relates to the fact that science isn't actually measuring morality, even though they think that they are or like to claim that they are, let's imagine that objective morality is true - there is some objective rule of the world, independent from human consciousness or intentionality which governs the goodness/badness or rightness/wrongness of everything.

    Psychologists and neuroscientists could do all the measuring in the world, but they would never be able to tell us what the rules of that objective morality were; nor would they even be able to tell us that the objective rule of morality we're imaging existed. They can tell us where our feelings about goodness/badness biologically come from, they can tell us how we respond in certain situations, etc. but none of that is actually telling us about morality. We could all be suffering from false beliefs as to what is right/wrong or under false consciousness.

    So, they couldn't tell us if the statement "it is wrong to murder" were true or not. They could tell us how many people feel that way; where those feelings biologically come from; etc. but they have absolutely no way of measuring the truth value of moral propositions. They have no way of knowing about the nature of morality.

    We aren't talking about different constructs or different concepts. We're talking about morality. What is right and what is wrong. Psychologists and neuroscientists can't tell us what is right and what is wrong, they can only tell us what we think is right or wrong; what we feel is right or wrong; where those thoughts/feeling originate from, etc.

    Sadly, most psychologists and neuroscientists seem to believe that because they can tell us where our moral thoughts and feelings come from, that they know about the nature of morality. This assumption is a massive methodological error. You cannot divine what is right and wrong (the actual truth value of moral propositions) by knowing what people think or feel is right or wrong.
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    There can be morality without God. It depends on how one justifies their moral claim. If it's through foundationalism, it's shaky, but through constructivism, I believe some form of objective morality can be agreed upon.
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    (Original post by NYU2012)
    Any claim that morality qua morality is a human construct is already making unsupportable claims about meta-ethics. Morality, for all you or I know, could be an objective feature of the world. What psychologists and neuroscientists are talking could be talking about morality, but if they were it would purely be by accident.

    Psychologists and neuroscientists may be able to measure what we feel may be moral; they can take brain scans when we think about what we think is moral; etc. But all they're measuring, and all they're capable of measuring, is our thoughts and feelings about morality and perhaps where those thoughts and feelings come from. But they aren't actually measuring morality in any way - merely human perception/cognition.

    How humans feel about morality or think about morality could be entirely wrong - there could be some objective feature of the world that determines what is good and what is bad. To explain how this relates to the fact that science isn't actually measuring morality, even though they think that they are or like to claim that they are, let's imagine that objective morality is true - there is some objective rule of the world, independent from human consciousness or intentionality which governs the goodness/badness or rightness/wrongness of everything.

    Psychologists and neuroscientists could do all the measuring in the world, but they would never be able to tell us what the rules of that objective morality were; nor would they even be able to tell us that the objective rule of morality we're imaging existed. They can tell us where our feelings about goodness/badness biologically come from, they can tell us how we respond in certain situations, etc. but none of that is actually telling us about morality. We could all be suffering from false beliefs as to what is right/wrong or under false consciousness.

    So, they couldn't tell us if the statement "it is wrong to murder" were true or not. They could tell us how many people feel that way; where those feelings biologically come from; etc. but they have absolutely no way of measuring the truth value of moral propositions. They have no way of knowing about the nature of morality.

    We aren't talking about different constructs or different concepts. We're talking about morality. What is right and what is wrong. Psychologists and neuroscientists can't tell us what is right and what is wrong, they can only tell us what we think is right or wrong; what we feel is right or wrong; where those thoughts/feeling originate from, etc.

    Sadly, most psychologists and neuroscientists seem to believe that because they can tell us where our moral thoughts and feelings come from, that they know about the nature of morality. This assumption is a massive methodological error. You cannot divine what is right and wrong (the actual truth value of moral propositions) by knowing what people think or feel is right or wrong.
    Again thanks for further clarification.

    So from that I take it you suggest that there may be a sort of objective morality that exists, in which every thing (behavior/choice) can be given an objective rating (somehow) of its morality on a scale from good-bad; but yet, is or may be a component of the world extraneous to biological cognition.

    Not sure if a good analogy, but it makes me think of chess: though it is extremely difficult to discern by a human, a computer can put a weight on the strength of board position. So would this form of morality not be sort of like a more computational theory of morality, rather than using subjective judgement (as in the case of biological beings, which do not operate using a strictly mathematical approach to judgement).

    Our morality (subjective) is still morality (in that it is the same thing), but rather a subjective version of (possibly an objective) morality? But you suggest that morality is or may be completely extraneous to the biological life that utilises morality, and somehow part of the extraneous world or universe. But in what way would this be, and what basis is there for such reasoning?

    In order to operationalise this view in my mind - I imagine the film 'The Matrix' where the constraints of a world are placed (like the constraints of our universe, whereby there are things such as gravity), and morality is one such 'force'.

    Ultimately I see no a priori reasoning to believe that morality is part of something independent of a development of biological organisms, whereby it has evolved in order to foster co-operation etc. It seems like simply an academic exercise of 'what if' which philosophers tend to do (not a dig, but seems from my limited knowledge of philosophy - but not saying such intuitive reasoning isn't valuable, it is).

    I sort of understand a computational approach to morality in which everything can be weighted (although not by the biological life that currently makes use of morality), but perhaps by robotics which make decisions based on mathematical alorithms. But then, what algorithms could ever operationalise morality (something, presumably, with so many different variables)?
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    (Original post by hellodave5)
    So from that I take it you suggest that there may be a sort of objective morality that exists, in which every thing (behavior/choice) can be given an objective rating (somehow) of its morality on a scale from good-bad; but yet, is or may be a component of the world extraneous to biological cognition.
    I merely use objective morality because it's probably the easiest to work with. There are a plethora of different forms morality could take beyond objective.

    Our morality (subjective) is still morality (in that it is the same thing), but rather a subjective version of (possibly an objective) morality?
    No. If morality is objective, then what is right or wrong is determined by that objective rule. If we believe in something that isn't that rule, then what we believe in is not-morality, it's something else.

    But you suggest that morality is or may be completely extraneous to the biological life that utilises morality, and somehow part of the extraneous world or universe. But in what way would this be, and what basis is there for such reasoning?
    Morality could be any number of things, I merely posited objective morality to demonstrate a point.

    Ultimately I see no a priori reasoning to believe that morality is part of something independent of a development of biological organisms, whereby it has evolved in order to foster co-operation etc. It seems like simply an academic exercise of 'what if' which philosophers tend to do (not a dig, but seems from my limited knowledge of philosophy - but not saying such intuitive reasoning isn't valuable, it is).
    There is no a priori reasoning to believe that morality is dependent on the development of biological organisms either. That's one of the whole points of meta-ethics.

    I sort of understand a computational approach to morality in which everything can be weighted (although not by the biological life that currently makes use of morality)
    Now you've gotten into the realm of things like utilitarianism where morality has weight, which is an entirely different thing. You've moved entirely out of the realm of meta-ethics into normative ethics.
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    (Original post by Tom Jickleson)
    there is no objective reason why murder, torture, sadism etc. are wrong. so live your own life and **** whatever box other people try to put you in to.
    I see a logical issue on this. if everyone were to do what ever, then there would hardly be a society. Everyone would come to some center in which society could exist - which means an agreement on laws and societal norms.

    If I may torture and murder another and there be no moral obligation but a general dislike by others...there is real conflict here as that very action changes a person's mentality.
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    If morality exists, and objective. there would be possibility that despite it being objective, people may still decide against it or opposite of it.
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    Subjective set of what you believe is right and wrong, or whatever concerns what is right or wrong.

    Subjective either way. VERY subjective. That's all.
 
 
 
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