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Anonymous

can you prove the existence of absolute, objective morality?
    #3079426 - 09/01/04 09:19 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

to tell you all the truth, at this time, i am not convinced that you can. the existance of a core, absolute moral code which humans may not legitimately breach (the non-initiation of force, in this case) is the foundation of the libertarianism that many of the frequent posters here espouse.

while i feel that the non-initiation of force principle is the most fair, egalitarian, and humanitarian foundation for a political system, i haven't seen anything yet to prove that this foundation itself is actually a fact.

there is plenty of debate on this board between the libertarians, the socialists, and everyone in between, but rarely does it ever address this foundation, which is surprising, because when it does is usually the only time the socialists really have the libertarians running... in all my time here, i can't honestly say that i've witnessed anyone, including myself, adequately defend the foundation upon which libertarianism is built.

now... there are those of us who share in the assumption that the non-initiation of force principle should be the ethical guiding force in human interaction. some are libertarians, and others are not. debate here is worthwhile because of the shared foundation... if one believes in the objective, universal, absolute human right to be free of violence, the logical conclusion of this principle is libertarianism.

however, when this is not the foundation, what then?

so let's have it out here... once and for all, and considering the ramifications... can anyone actually prove the objective worth of the non-initiation of force principle?


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OfflineZahid
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Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective morality? [Re: ]
    #3079459 - 09/01/04 09:25 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Morality is defined in the Holy Qur'an.


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Offlinedeafpanda
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Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective morality? [Re: ]
    #3079460 - 09/01/04 09:25 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

No-one can prove the existence of an objective morality.

As for the non-initiation of force principle, it's good, but I prefer utilitarianism - what is best for the greatest number of people is whats best.

Of course, neither are easily translated into real-world situations.


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InvisibleGijith
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Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective morality? [Re: deafpanda]
    #3079475 - 09/01/04 09:30 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Yeah, but utilitarianism only works if you're 100% sure of a given outcome. Like, say you want to start an war (bad) to prevent someone from unleashing weapons of mass destruction (worse).... But then it turns out that there were no weapons of mass destruction.


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Anonymous

Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective moral [Re: deafpanda]
    #3079478 - 09/01/04 09:31 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

utilitarianism - what is best for the greatest number of people is whats best.

it also includes as a consideration the magnitude of how much good and bad are being done, but even then, it is not a good ethical principle, in my humble opinion, to apply to human beings. the attitude there is that each human being is a sheep, a sacrificial animal, there to be used by whatever power for the supposed happiness of other people.... utilitarianism holds that it is just to violate innocent people as long as the net utility of all people is increased by the act.  :thumbdown:


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Offlinedeafpanda
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Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective morality? [Re: Gijith]
    #3079483 - 09/01/04 09:32 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Yeah, that's what I meant.

But I think it is the best principle for moral judgement. All such principles are extremely hard to use in real life.


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Offlinedeafpanda
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Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective moral [Re: ]
    #3079500 - 09/01/04 09:36 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Ah-ha, but it might not :smile:

It is hard to interpret utilitarianism, but it can easily be argued that it is for the greatest good for people not to be violated, ever.  You can't measure utility and I suppose you can really justify most things with utilitarianism, but on paper, it still looks sexy.


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Anonymous

Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective moral [Re: deafpanda]
    #3079540 - 09/01/04 09:46 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

utilitarianism views humans as means to the ends of other humans. there is no worth to a human life in utilitarianism aside from the utility that sacrificing it might provide to everyone else. i find utilitarianism repulsive.

i believe that each human being, given its nature, has a right to be free from violence. this is certainly a principle that i, as well as most people, observe in their personal lives. when we talk about the absurdness of "victimless crimes", we are really confirming the non-initiation of force principle and libertarian values (is not tax evasion a victimless crime?).

can it be proven though?


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InvisibleGijith
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Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective moral [Re: ]
    #3079568 - 09/01/04 09:52 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Absolutely not.
And I will tear apart and theory that tries to.
Cause I want to be able to sleep at night.


Edited by Gijith (09/01/04 10:36 PM)


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Offlinedeafpanda
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Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective moral [Re: ]
    #3079585 - 09/01/04 09:57 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

As I said before, that is a very simplistic reading of utilitarianism.

For example, say if you could kill a man to save ten, there is nothing to say that utilitarianism would support this. The knowledge that you live in a society in which innocent people are killed to save others would scare people and detract from their happiness. Therefore it would be better not to.


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OfflinePhred
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Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective morality? [Re: ]
    #3079598 - 09/01/04 09:59 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

I've done it in this forum more than once. Too lazy to look up the threads, though, and not inclined to retype it from scratch.

There is an objective morality applicable to Homo sapiens sapiens, and it is as you describe -- the initiation (or credible threat to initiate) physical force (and by extension fraud) against other humans is demonstrably objectively immoral.

A very brief outline of the steps required to reach that conclusion would run:

- reality exists (the universe)
- entities exist within the universe
- some of those entities are alive
- living entities must initiate purposeful action in order to continue to remain alive
- some of those living entities choose their actions consciously -- humans, for example
- if the actions chosen by a human to continue his/her life are thwarted, that human can no longer survive and will cease to exist as a living entity

So far, every one of these steps is objectively verifiable through simple observation. To reach the final conclusion -- that it is immoral to initiate force against another-- a premise must be injected into the chain of reasoning. That premise is that a human, once born, has the right to attempt to continue living. If one rejects that premise, then of course anything goes and there is no point taking the discussion any further. However, despite the extreme positions taken by so many of the regular Left-leaning posters here, I doubt if any of them truly reject the premise.

pinky


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OfflineZahid
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Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective morality? [Re: Phred]
    #3079616 - 09/01/04 10:04 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

This thread should be moved to S&P.


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Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective morality? [Re: Phred]
    #3079630 - 09/01/04 10:07 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Any human, once born, has the right to attempt to continue living?

I don't see how that could work. You're obviously not arguing for an absolute lack of initiation of force, or wars could never happen, and those who initiate force couldn't be dealt with.

I think you should qualify it with something.


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Offlinedeafpanda
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Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective morality? [Re: Phred]
    #3079643 - 09/01/04 10:09 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Also, you have not demonstrated any objective morality. You have made an unsubstantiated claim which didn't lead on from your bullet points in any perceptible (to me) way.


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InvisibleGijith
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Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective morality? [Re: Phred]
    #3079832 - 09/01/04 10:44 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Yeah, I don't think the bullet points really lead into any premise. Or are they not supposed to? I mean maybe you could kinda go out on a limb and say that any being born has a purpose in staying alive and therefore has a right to life... Like maybe something could be built off that... But are you trying to build in some sort of prerequisite of being a conscious?


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InvisibleRandalFlagg
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Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective morality? [Re: ]
    #3080128 - 09/01/04 11:29 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)


can you prove the existence of absolute, objective morality?

No.

Anything that Man has thought up has no validity when it comes to
trying to determine what absolute morality is. The reason this is
is because Men are imperfect. They are incapable of reasoning the
same at all times and have vastly different ideas on what behavior is
acceptable. This lack of coherency, consistency, and a standard
immediately calls any attempt by Man to claim invention of absolute
morality into question. Man could not have invented absolute
morality.

If absolute morality does exist, it has to have been instituted
by something other than Man. The only way that I can comprehend that
an absolute and unquestioned morality has been instituted is if a
superior intelligence has made it so(for example ...God).

Unfortunately, if this absolute morality has been instituted, Man
has no way of verifying what it is. This superior being has not
made it apparent.

And, even if absolute morality was proven and known to us, Man does
not have the ability to follow it consistently. He is too weak and
prone to satisfying his base impulses. Even when faced with
incontrovertible evidence of absolute morality, he would pervert it.

If there is no absolute indisputable morality, that means that
anything is permissible. There are no punishments or rewards for
behavior. Any action is permitted and nothing is Right or Wrong.
The thought of a meaningless and futile existence fills me with
horror. It is something that I recognize as a possibility, but I pray
it is not true.

What a hopeless quandry God has put us in...He has not given us
proof of what absolute morality is, he has not given us the
intelligence to understand it, and he has not given us the will
to follow it. How could a loving God have made the truths of
existence so uncertain?


I wrote this about God a while back:

His will cannot be accurately understood, expressed, or enacted by
people because we are imperfect beings. Because of this, I do not
trust any religion. In summary, nothing that originated
from Man is worth believing in and God is impossible to comprehend,
therefore it is pointless to waste my time trying to pursue what I
think He wants me to do. Absolute Truth has never been and never
will be known to Man.


Because of the uncertainty of what path is the proper one to pursue,
I am mired in nihilism(the disbelief of the validity of everything).
This is the most important question that can be considered...what
is the foundation of human existence? I wish I knew.


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OfflinePhred
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Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective morality? [Re: deafpanda]
    #3080268 - 09/01/04 11:54 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

deafpanda writes:

You're obviously not arguing for an absolute lack of initiation of force, or wars could never happen, and those who initiate force couldn't be dealt with.

Do you not grasp the difference between initiating physical force and responding to the initiation of physical force?

You leap on my back in a dark alley and attempt to strangle me. That's the initiation of physical force. I manage to cry out for help before all my air is cut off, and a cop on the beat hears me and charges around the corner into the alley and whacks the shit out of you with his nightstick. That's responding to the initiation of physical force.

Your action was an immoral one. The cop's action was not.

pinky


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Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective morality? [Re: deafpanda]
    #3080297 - 09/02/04 12:02 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

deafpanda writes:

You have made an unsubstantiated claim which didn't lead on from your bullet points in any perceptible (to me) way.

Which of the bullet points do you believe are untrue? Is it not correct that if you are forcibly prevented by other humans from acting as you have chosen to, you will die? If every time you decided it was necessary for you to perform the action of drinking a glass of water you were forcibly prevented from doing so, how long would you survive?

You will note that I stated that apart from the verifiably observable facts listed in the bullet points, it is also necessary to accept a premise. If you don't accept the premise, then of course the facts listed in the bullet points are irrelevant.

Do you accept the premise or don't you?

pinky


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Offlinedeafpanda
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Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective morality? [Re: Phred]
    #3081453 - 09/02/04 07:25 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

Quote:

Do you not grasp the difference between initiating physical force and responding to the initiation of physical force?




But that's exactly my point, your definition didn't allow for that. It said that you can't initiate force period, which would include responding with force.


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Offlinedeafpanda
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Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective morality? [Re: Phred]
    #3081455 - 09/02/04 07:27 AM (12 years, 3 months ago)

The bullet points are all true, but they have nothing to do with the premise, that was what I meant. They add nothing to the argument.

And as I said before, I think your premise needs to be refined to accept responses to initiation of force.


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