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 Morality — objective, subjective, or what?
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Philo
Skeptic Friend

66 Posts

Posted - 02/23/2011 :  15:12:44  Show Profile Send Philo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
When it comes to the issue of morality, skeptics seem to differ quite a lot. Some are moral realists, others are moral relativists, and yet others are harder to classify. What is your point of view on morality? What does the evidence say?

Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 02/23/2011 :  18:21:07   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The subjective nature or morality is self evident. I submit human history as my evidence.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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H. Humbert
SFN Die Hard

USA
4574 Posts

Posted - 02/23/2011 :  19:40:47   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send H. Humbert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Meh. Does it matter?


"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true." --Demosthenes

"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself - and you are the easiest person to fool." --Richard P. Feynman

"Face facts with dignity." --found inside a fortune cookie
Edited by - H. Humbert on 02/23/2011 19:49:14
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BigPapaSmurf
SFN Die Hard

3192 Posts

Posted - 02/24/2011 :  05:45:38   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send BigPapaSmurf a Private Message  Reply with Quote
What Dude said

"...things I have neither seen nor experienced nor heard tell of from anybody else; things, what is more, that do not in fact exist and could not ever exist at all. So my readers must not believe a word I say." -Lucian on his book True History

"...They accept such things on faith alone, without any evidence. So if a fraudulent and cunning person who knows how to take advantage of a situation comes among them, he can make himself rich in a short time." -Lucian critical of early Christians c.166 AD From his book, De Morte Peregrini
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Hawks
SFN Regular

Canada
1383 Posts

Posted - 02/24/2011 :  08:37:34   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Hawks's Homepage Send Hawks a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Morality is subjective. Merely claiming that morality is objective (or absolute) does not make it so.

METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL
It's a small, off-duty czechoslovakian traffic warden!
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the_ignored
SFN Addict

2557 Posts

Posted - 02/24/2011 :  20:35:34   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send the_ignored a Private Message  Reply with Quote
They're right: Look at the so-called religious "pro-lifers". Yet they have no problem worshipping and holding up as the "perfect" moral being the god who allegedly ordered the killing of babies and pregnant women in the OT.


>From: enuffenuff@fastmail.fm
(excerpt follows):
> I'm looking to teach these two bastards a lesson they'll never forget.
> Personal visit by mates of mine. No violence, just a wee little chat.
>
> **** has also committed more crimes than you can count with his
> incitement of hatred against a religion. That law came in about 2007
> much to ****'s ignorance. That is fact and his writing will become well
> know as well as him becoming a publicly known icon of hatred.
>
> Good luck with that fuckwit. And Reynold, fucking run, and don't stop.
> Disappear would be best as it was you who dared to attack me on my
> illness knowing nothing of the cause. You disgust me and you are top of
> the list boy. Again, no violence. Just regular reminders of who's there
> and visits to see you are behaving. Nothing scary in reality. But I'd
> still disappear if I was you.

What brought that on? this. Original posting here.

Another example of this guy's lunacy here.
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 02/24/2011 :  22:41:05   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Hawks

Morality is subjective. Merely claiming that morality is objective (or absolute) does not make it so.

The same can be said for "claiming" it is subjective. Its a good thing humans have a habit of writing things down, so we know just how morality and ethics change with time and culture.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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Hawks
SFN Regular

Canada
1383 Posts

Posted - 02/24/2011 :  23:22:31   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Hawks's Homepage Send Hawks a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dude
Its a good thing humans have a habit of writing things down, so we know just how morality and ethics change with time and culture.
Especially when such change comes from humans and institutions that claim to follow objective and absolute morality.

METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL
It's a small, off-duty czechoslovakian traffic warden!
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 02/25/2011 :  05:56:48   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Welcome to Skeptic Friends Network, Philo!

I suspect there are both biological (genetic) and cultural ("memetic") roots to morality. I also suspect (and cannot even attempt to prove) that the most basic morality is based upon "theory of mind."

Societies, I think, work better when people generally agree not to do things like murdering or stealing, and practice reciprocity in general (at least within their society).

I think such basic standards of behavior began before the Neolithic. They are the basics of what we call morality, and are neither "objective" nor "subjective," in a strict sense, but are behaviors that are cultural and are built upon genetic foundations that allow people to consider others as being like themselves.

I suspect that religion postdates morality by tens or hundreds of thousands of years.

Morality is a fascinating area of evolutionary biology, and very few answers to our questions are known so far, but there's plenty of speculation and controversy.

Philosopher of science Daniel Dennett's book, Darwin's Dangerous Idea touches upon this subject to some extent.

Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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Badger
Skeptic Friend

Canada
257 Posts

Posted - 02/25/2011 :  07:34:14   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Badger a Private Message  Reply with Quote
It is my thought that morality springs out of being social.

In order for any pack, herd, clan, etc. to function, there has to be certain rules that are in place, so that the species as a whole successfully propagates.

These "rules of getting along within the group" develop into what we view as morality. And as such, change with the culture of the group in question.

My opinion, only.

If you think it's work, you're doing it wrong.
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the_ignored
SFN Addict

2557 Posts

Posted - 02/25/2011 :  11:42:24   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send the_ignored a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by the_ignored

They're right: Look at the so-called religious "pro-lifers". Yet they have no problem worshipping and holding up as the "perfect" moral being the god who allegedly ordered the killing of babies and pregnant women in the OT.




If you want an example of a so-called "pro-lifer" defending genocide, well here it is with all the self-righteousness that one expects of a fucked in the head fundy. What it boils down to is this for me: Sure the amalekites were evil (if one assumes the bible's account to be accurate) but why kill the babies and small children? Infanticide was one of the reasons that they were so "wicked" after all.

So, naturally, I replied. Let's see if it shows up.
It's a good thing that god told them to make sure to spare all the infants and little ones, even the pregnant women of their enemy, otherwise they'd be no better than the amalekites.

This is god, after all, and he'd be able to help provide food for those little ones taken in, and given a proper raising. He did so for his "chosen people" (manna from heaven did he not?)

Just think how stupid it would look to kill off the wee ones of those people given that one of the reasons the adults had to be killed was that they were killing off their own kids.

Otherwise, you'd look like a complete idiot for posting this article while complaining about abortion in your other posts.


If you want another example of this sociopathic attitude...yet when it comes to abortion, Vox goes and says:
This is the naked face of atheism, ladies and gentlemen. Look on it well and remember it, because it usually doesn't dare to show its disgusting and anti-human nature so openly.


Right...compare what Vox says above to what he said from that fstdt link.

Double-minded much?

>From: enuffenuff@fastmail.fm
(excerpt follows):
> I'm looking to teach these two bastards a lesson they'll never forget.
> Personal visit by mates of mine. No violence, just a wee little chat.
>
> **** has also committed more crimes than you can count with his
> incitement of hatred against a religion. That law came in about 2007
> much to ****'s ignorance. That is fact and his writing will become well
> know as well as him becoming a publicly known icon of hatred.
>
> Good luck with that fuckwit. And Reynold, fucking run, and don't stop.
> Disappear would be best as it was you who dared to attack me on my
> illness knowing nothing of the cause. You disgust me and you are top of
> the list boy. Again, no violence. Just regular reminders of who's there
> and visits to see you are behaving. Nothing scary in reality. But I'd
> still disappear if I was you.

What brought that on? this. Original posting here.

Another example of this guy's lunacy here.
Edited by - the_ignored on 02/25/2011 13:42:45
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bngbuck
SFN Addict

USA
2437 Posts

Posted - 02/25/2011 :  17:32:56   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send bngbuck a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Philo......

I think that Mooner is mostly on the right track here. Morality can be looked at in the sense of a cultural meme, and that based on survival. Inevitably, in the course of a coalesing civilization it becomes evident that the ethic of reciprocity is a strong component of the mechanics of survival, when humans begin to live in groups.

To a limited degree, morality can even be observed in animal societies, particularly in pack animals and the primates. This may lend credence to the theory that there may also be a genetic "root" to morality in various animal species.

Not having read extensively in evolutionary texts (I'm still in the preschool academics of Biology) I would hazard a guess that many of the popularizers (and detractors) of Darwin have touched on the possible survival benefits of moral and ethical behaviour. If anyone better versed than I has comment on this, I would appreciate hearing it.
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the_ignored
SFN Addict

2557 Posts

Posted - 02/25/2011 :  19:57:08   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send the_ignored a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Sounds good to me, bngbuck. Though evolutionary psychology is a field that's not held in high regard by biologists...for example.

There are days when I simply cannot bear the entire field of evolutionary psychology: it's so deeply tainted with bad research and a lack of rigor. And that makes me uncomfortable, because the fundamental premise, that our behaviors are a product of our history, is self-evidently true. It's just that researchers in this field couple an acceptance of that premise to a deep assumption of adaptive teleology, the very thing that they should be evaluating, and produce some of the most awesomely trivial drivel.


Here's a youtube video of Dawkins dealing a bit with "absolute morality".

>From: enuffenuff@fastmail.fm
(excerpt follows):
> I'm looking to teach these two bastards a lesson they'll never forget.
> Personal visit by mates of mine. No violence, just a wee little chat.
>
> **** has also committed more crimes than you can count with his
> incitement of hatred against a religion. That law came in about 2007
> much to ****'s ignorance. That is fact and his writing will become well
> know as well as him becoming a publicly known icon of hatred.
>
> Good luck with that fuckwit. And Reynold, fucking run, and don't stop.
> Disappear would be best as it was you who dared to attack me on my
> illness knowing nothing of the cause. You disgust me and you are top of
> the list boy. Again, no violence. Just regular reminders of who's there
> and visits to see you are behaving. Nothing scary in reality. But I'd
> still disappear if I was you.

What brought that on? this. Original posting here.

Another example of this guy's lunacy here.
Edited by - the_ignored on 02/25/2011 19:57:53
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SocraticGadfly
New Member

5 Posts

Posted - 03/06/2011 :  00:46:18   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send SocraticGadfly a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I am a moral subjectivist, but NOT a moral relativist. There's a difference.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/moral-anti-realism/

There is no god and I am his prophet. - SocraticGadfly
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Machi4velli
SFN Regular

USA
854 Posts

Posted - 03/20/2011 :  19:02:02   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Machi4velli a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by Dude

The subjective nature or morality is self evident. I submit human history as my evidence.




Not evidence. They were all wrong and my absolute set is right. My imaginary friend told me so.

"Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people."
-Giordano Bruno

"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, but the illusion of knowledge."
-Stephen Hawking

"Seeking what is true is not seeking what is desirable"
-Albert Camus
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AyameTan
New Member

Japan
36 Posts

Posted - 03/24/2011 :  01:02:53   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send AyameTan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I look at it this way: suffering and happiness are objectively good and bad by definition.

Therefore, any sensible form of morality needs to take this into account.

More specifically, I believe in a modified utilitarian philosophy that allows us to respect autonomy while pursuing human and animal happiness.

"Tatti hitori no inochi wo sukuu mono wa zensekai wo sukuu."
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