Author Topic: Views on the nature of Morality  (Read 10471 times)

Offline Thumpalumpacus

Re: Re:
« Reply #15 on: March 12, 2013, 01:37:40 AM »
Quote from: "GurrenLagann"
Er, no. If there is a rough idea of what one is talking about when you say "well-being", it necessarily cannot be subjective by definition, anymore than claiming that physical health is just a subjective term that can't be grasped.

Nonsense.  Anyone who has survived chemotherapy understands that health, too, is a relative thing.

Quote
And the blackness of white is exactly zero. ;-)

Pretty sure that was his point which you just made.
<insert witty aphorism here>

Re: Re:
« Reply #16 on: March 12, 2013, 01:57:09 AM »
Quote from: "Thumpalumpacus"
Quote from: "GurrenLagann"
Er, no. If there is a rough idea of what one is talking about when you say "well-being", it necessarily cannot be subjective by definition, anymore than claiming that physical health is just a subjective term that can't be grasped.

Nonsense.  Anyone who has survived chemotherapy understands that health, too, is a relative thing.


You're conflating the fact that the meaning of the word isn't some perfectly defined thing with the (false) assertion that we don't know what doesn't constitute it. That doesn't make the concept of health just relative (we have much understanding of what doesn't constitute good health, or promoting it). Well-being is a term that would very much fall in line with that in Harris' argument.


Quote from: "Thumpalumpacus"
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And the blackness of white is exactly zero. ;-)

Pretty sure that was his point which you just made.

No, he said that since "morality is an opinion [...] any attempt to "prove" an objective morality is is an attempt to prove the blackness of white". That would work for MY points, not his since we can- by definition- define that black is the absense of whiteness, just as we can define health and well-being in a similar, blacklisting manner, though given their fuzzy definitions (by necessity) no list could be exhaustive.
Which means that to me the offer of certainty, the offer of complete security, the offer of an impermeable faith that can\'t give way, is the offer of something not worth having.
[...]
Take the risk of thinking for yourself. Much more happiness, truth, beauty & wisdom, will come to you that way.
-Christopher Hitchens

Offline Mathias

Re: Re:
« Reply #17 on: March 13, 2013, 11:21:56 AM »
Quote from: "GurrenLagann"
Er, no. If there is a rough idea of what one is talking about when you say "well-being", it necessarily cannot be subjective by definition, anymore than claiming that physical health is just a subjective term that can't be grasped.

Bullshit, by definition then the universe has wellness or health?


Quote from: "GurrenLagann"
You could only really show conclusively (or convincingly imo) that morality is just an opinion if you overcome the fact that there is a difference between moral epistemology and moral ontology.
"There is no logic in the existence of any god".
 Myself.

Offline Thumpalumpacus

Re: Re:
« Reply #18 on: March 13, 2013, 12:48:45 PM »
Quote from: "GurrenLagann"
No, he said that since "morality is an opinion [...] any attempt to "prove" an objective morality is is an attempt to prove the blackness of white". That would work for MY points, not his since we can- by definition- define that black is the absense of whiteness, just as we can define health and well-being in a similar, blacklisting manner, though given their fuzzy definitions (by necessity) no list could be exhaustive.

That, too, is a subjective defnition.  Blackness is the property of absorbing all spectra in an object.

When perception and sensation are involved, subjectivism becomes an issue.  There is obviously an objective universe, but the simple fact is that everyone sees that objective from a slightly different vantage point.  Some folks are color-blind.  Their conception of red is entirely different from mine.  

When you move the conversation over to the abstract universe -- where morality resides -- you are necessarily moving into the subjective realm.
<insert witty aphorism here>

Re: Views on the nature of Morality
« Reply #19 on: March 13, 2013, 12:50:32 PM »


for threads about morality
I am currently experiencing life at several WTFs per hour.

Offline Thumpalumpacus

(No subject)
« Reply #20 on: March 13, 2013, 01:03:06 PM »
hahahah, it is a tooth-puller, eh?
<insert witty aphorism here>

Re: Re:
« Reply #21 on: March 13, 2013, 02:11:37 PM »
Quote from: "Mathias"
Quote from: "GurrenLagann"
Er, no. If there is a rough idea of what one is talking about when you say "well-being", it necessarily cannot be subjective by definition, anymore than claiming that physical health is just a subjective term that can't be grasped.

Bullshit, by definition then the universe has wellness or health?

You're not making any sense dude. The universe isn't a concious, living being, therefore trying to apply 'well-being' to it is about the stupidest response you could've made.


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Quote from: "GurrenLagann"
You could only really show conclusively (or convincingly imo) that morality is just an opinion if you overcome the fact that there is a difference between moral epistemology and moral ontology.

1) I'm afraid I don't follow. There's nothing in Harris' argument that even corresponds to your example of faith and God's existence.

2) Cool story.



Quote from: "Thumpalumpacus"
Quote from: "GurrenLagann"
No, he said that since "morality is an opinion [...] any attempt to "prove" an objective morality is is an attempt to prove the blackness of white". That would work for MY points, not his since we can- by definition- define that black is the absense of whiteness, just as we can define health and well-being in a similar, blacklisting manner, though given their fuzzy definitions (by necessity) no list could be exhaustive.

That, too, is a subjective defnition.  Blackness is the property of absorbing all spectra in an object.

When perception and sensation are involved, subjectivism becomes an issue.  There is obviously an objective universe, but the simple fact is that everyone sees that objective from a slightly different vantage point.  Some folks are color-blind.  Their conception of red is entirely different from mine.

When you move the conversation over to the abstract universe -- where morality resides -- you are necessarily moving into the subjective realm.

I take your point (and his, if that's what he was going for) about sense perception.

However, you didn't really address what else I (or rather Harris) says. Particularly about how well-being would seem to fall into the same category of physical health. We know objective facts about what is and isn't condusive to being healthy. Objectively, it is true by what we mean when we say 'physical health' that there are in fact wrong answers, even if you don't know every single right answer ("How fast should a healthy person be able to run?"). The equivalent of what some are saying would be to question the philosophical underpinnings of medicine and say something along the lines of "Well how can you say that not throwing up constantly makes me objectively less healthy than you?"

Harris asserts that whenever you talk about morality and what is moral, you always refer to the well-being of some concious creature (rape, muder, etc), so you can equate morality with what is condusive to well-being, and his basis for his argument lay there.
Which means that to me the offer of certainty, the offer of complete security, the offer of an impermeable faith that can\'t give way, is the offer of something not worth having.
[...]
Take the risk of thinking for yourself. Much more happiness, truth, beauty & wisdom, will come to you that way.
-Christopher Hitchens

Offline Thumpalumpacus

(No subject)
« Reply #22 on: March 13, 2013, 02:38:09 PM »
I think that that is an overreach on his part.  I understand what's being said, that we can define a moral act in direct proportion to what it adds to well-being.  But what of an action that is ambiguous?  What of an action that calls for sacrificing someone else?  But making a prescription for what benefits a body, and making a prescription for what benefits a mind, those are two different things.
<insert witty aphorism here>

Re:
« Reply #23 on: March 13, 2013, 02:50:21 PM »
Quote from: "Thumpalumpacus"
I think that that is an overreach on his part.  I understand what's being said, that we can define a moral act in direct proportion to what it adds to well-being.  But what of an action that is ambiguous?  What of an action that calls for sacrificing someone else?  But making a prescription for what benefits a body, and making a prescription for what benefits a mind, those are two different things.

Sacrificing someone else in what context?

On what are you founding that claim though? The two address a somewhat fuzzy area that nontheless can be said to have objective truths. And things that affect the body can and often do have effects on the mind (lucidity first comes to mind). Well-being would entail both in any case. And the cogntive sciences has been having interesting developments in this regard.
Which means that to me the offer of certainty, the offer of complete security, the offer of an impermeable faith that can\'t give way, is the offer of something not worth having.
[...]
Take the risk of thinking for yourself. Much more happiness, truth, beauty & wisdom, will come to you that way.
-Christopher Hitchens

Offline Colanth

Re: Re:
« Reply #24 on: March 13, 2013, 05:01:42 PM »
Quote from: "GurrenLagann"
Harris asserts that whenever you talk about morality and what is moral, you always refer to the well-being of some concious creature
And he's wrong.
Afflicting the comfortable for 70 years.
Science builds skyscrapers, faith flies planes into them.

Offline Colanth

Re: Re:
« Reply #25 on: March 13, 2013, 05:03:26 PM »
Quote from: "GurrenLagann"
Quote from: "Thumpalumpacus"
I think that that is an overreach on his part.  I understand what's being said, that we can define a moral act in direct proportion to what it adds to well-being.  But what of an action that is ambiguous?  What of an action that calls for sacrificing someone else?  But making a prescription for what benefits a body, and making a prescription for what benefits a mind, those are two different things.

Sacrificing someone else in what context?
Is the guy who jumps on the grenade to save the rest of the company performing a moral or immoral act?  (From the viewpoint of his own well-being?)
Afflicting the comfortable for 70 years.
Science builds skyscrapers, faith flies planes into them.

Re: Re:
« Reply #26 on: March 13, 2013, 05:53:37 PM »
Quote from: "Colanth"
Quote from: "GurrenLagann"
Harris asserts that whenever you talk about morality and what is moral, you always refer to the well-being of some concious creature
And he's wrong.

Like I said to you earlier, rather than simply assert it, explain why that is the case. More specifically, where does morality NOT have to do with the well-being of concious creatures.

Otherwise it's just the "Nuh-uh" defense. :-/


Quote from: "Colanth"
Quote from: "GurrenLagann"
Quote from: "Thumpalumpacus"
I think that that is an overreach on his part.  I understand what's being said, that we can define a moral act in direct proportion to what it adds to well-being.  But what of an action that is ambiguous?  What of an action that calls for sacrificing someone else?  But making a prescription for what benefits a body, and making a prescription for what benefits a mind, those are two different things.

Sacrificing someone else in what context?
Is the guy who jumps on the grenade to save the rest of the company performing a moral or immoral act?  (From the viewpoint of his own well-being?)

Again, a fundamental misunderstanding. Harris' argument doesn't simply refer to your own well-being, but overall. If by taking the brunt of the grenade that dude saves everyone else, he by definition prevented a greater decrease to well-being.
Which means that to me the offer of certainty, the offer of complete security, the offer of an impermeable faith that can\'t give way, is the offer of something not worth having.
[...]
Take the risk of thinking for yourself. Much more happiness, truth, beauty & wisdom, will come to you that way.
-Christopher Hitchens

Re: Views on the nature of Morality
« Reply #27 on: March 13, 2013, 06:54:21 PM »
GurrenLagann, for me, Harris' argument falls flat due to one basic, unsupported assertion: that conscious beings have an inherent right (or whatver you may call it) to well-being.  It may seem self-evident to most of us, but that's only because our innate survival instinct engenders us with the urge to live and preserve life.  Ultimately, this is an opinion, even though it's aone of the most universally accepted opinions ever held.  And opinions have no place in standards of objectivity.  

The blind assumptions here actually go a few levels deeper - we assume not only that conscious beings should exist, but that life should exist, even though we have no cold, hard facts to prove it.  Even further, we contend that the perpetuation of the earth and the universe is a "good" thing.  And, as hard a pill as that may be to swallow, all of that is arbitrary.  It all comes from our flawed human minds, and we have no way of knowing if, on the cosmic scale, our minds are correct.  It's merely what we've decided works best for our species. (And, really, we are the only species that has been given a proper choice in the matter!  That can't be fair.)

Consider that the existence of even one suicidal person, or insane serial killer, who does not recognize the value of the conscious lives of himself or others, debunks Harris' proposition.  For a broken mind is still a mind, and since only other minds have judged insanity to be an invalidating factor, those other minds merely hold competing subjective opinions to those of the suicidal/ insane. There is no acceptable standard, if we really put things in perspective, and refuse to cheat the matter.
"God is love."
"No, LOVE is love.  God is YOU, pretending to be everything else."

Re: Views on the nature of Morality
« Reply #28 on: March 13, 2013, 07:13:04 PM »
I'm confused, because I don't recall Harris making the claim that we have an inherent right to well-being. Rights are things we grant (self-evidently) ourselves, not. existent things themselves. Harris' assertion is that we know what is condusive to well-being (which he says morality can be equated to since they are never found apart in discussions on morality) and therefore it can be objectively said what is moral.

So it has nothing to do (if I remember correctly) with saying that life and well-being are intrisically valuable, but that we know what does and does not work to furthering those.

Now, you're follow up question will be probably be along the lines of "Why you should be moral?", which is not the same thing as "What is moral? / How do you decide if something is moral?" which I think is what Harris' intent was.

I don't recall if Harris goes over this, but it's my view is that this is a mistaken view that came to prominence with Kant. I mean, you could go with straight up utilitarianism and consequentialism, which is all fine and good to me. You reflect on the consequences of your actions and consider what would appear to be condusive to well-being (and not just your own, as that can end up reducing your own).
Which means that to me the offer of certainty, the offer of complete security, the offer of an impermeable faith that can\'t give way, is the offer of something not worth having.
[...]
Take the risk of thinking for yourself. Much more happiness, truth, beauty & wisdom, will come to you that way.
-Christopher Hitchens

Offline Mathias

(No subject)
« Reply #29 on: March 14, 2013, 11:42:51 AM »
Quote from: "GurrenLagann"
You're not making any sense dude. The universe isn't a concious, living being, therefore trying to apply 'well-being' to it is about the stupidest response you could've made.

I said just the opposite, cause you who asked for evidence that morality is subjective, that it's stupid.

Quote from: "GurrenLagann"
1) I'm afraid I don't follow. There's nothing in Harris' argument that even corresponds to your example of faith and God's existence.

The attempt to assert that morality has something objective, leads to metaphysics as an abstraction grants a character solipsistic. "I think, it's real."
"There is no logic in the existence of any god".
 Myself.