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OfflinePhred
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Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective morality? [Re: RandalFlagg]
    #3081836 - 09/02/04 10:29 AM (16 years, 9 months ago)

RandalFlagg writes:

I think it is possible that reality can exist without
an objective morality.


Of course it can. If all humans were to die tomorrow, reality would continue to exist. Morality, however, would be a null concept. The concept of morality would vanish when the last human died.

For example, if human beings came into
being purely by accident(molecules colliding or something), and
there was no intelligence involved in our creation or development,
and no order is intrinsic in the universe, then it is possible that
absolute morality doesn't exist.


Incorrect. The process by which humans came into existence has no bearing whatsoever on the process by which existing humans continue to exist. They continue to exist by exerting purposeful, continuous, and productive effort. This is why it is necessary to ask and answer the question, "Does a human have the right to attempt to continue to live?" If we were immortal and required no effort in order to continue to exist as living entities, morality would be a null concept.

...then it is possible that
absolute morality doesn't exist.


Define your terms. I am using "moral" as a synonym for "right" and "immoral" as a synonym for "wrong". When asked if it is right that I take the necessary actions to continue my existence, I answer, "Yes". Do you answer differently?

pinky


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Offlinedeafpanda
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Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective morality? [Re: Phred]
    #3081857 - 09/02/04 10:37 AM (16 years, 9 months ago)

Many, many philosophers have written many books on ethics. Their definitions of morality are very different. Yours is not objective at all.


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InvisibleRandalFlagg
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Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective morality? [Re: Phred]
    #3081892 - 09/02/04 10:55 AM (16 years, 9 months ago)


What about the situations where people's actions
are not about life and death? What if someone attempts to better
their situation and it ends up affecting somebody else negatively?


Could you give us a concrete and specific example of such a situation?

I'm surprised you would ask for such an example, as a situation
like that is easy to imagine. Here is a lame one:

Let's say I run a farm to make money. I keep myself alive
by running this farm, but it is possible for me to do something
else to sustain my body. My farm produces a smell which bothers
my neighbor so much that he cannot sleep very well. His life
is not threatened, but he is annoyed. Notice that the premise
you put forth made no mention of initiation of force. It focused
purely on life and death. This situation does not involve life
and death, but annoyance.

Your main contention in determining if there is an absolute
morality or not is based upon living entities right to continue
existing, and the validity of everything else is based upon that.
How do you explain the normal processes of nature then, where
animals continually eat each other? To ensure the existence of
themselves, they end the existences of others.


The various things that can happen in life are so varied, nuanced,
complicated, and confusing, that one rule cannot possibly be applied
to every action or idea that is undertaken by Man.


If you are talking of "rules", then perhaps you could make a cogent
argument supporting your contention. But we are not talking about a
long list of specific rules here (i.e. a legal code), we are talking
about a moral principle -- the foundation upon which a code of law is
constructed.

True. But I don't think that the foundation upon which you seem to
think that the answer to absolute morality is based on, applies to
everything Man does. It does not cover all of Man's actions.


In a civilized society, actions which are not immoral (as tested
against the fundamental principle we have been discussing in this
thread) are permitted. How could they not be? A legal code doesn't
tell you what is legal, it tells you what is illegal.


Ah...this is where we are really disagreeing...

You seem to think that absolute morality is a thing which will
inspire legal codes that merely deny what a person is allowed to do.
I think that absolute morality has a bigger role. I think it is
meant to guide what we strive for intellectually, spiritually, and
socially.

Without a guiding principle or principles to know what Man is meant
to be, to pursue, and to accomplish, there is no purpose
for existence. Reality would be empty without purpose. Just
existing and being allowed to exist in peace is not enough in my
opinion.


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OfflineGazzBut
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Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective morality? [Re: fastfred]
    #3081900 - 09/02/04 10:58 AM (16 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

I think you guys are confused. You are thinking that the question is: Is there a physical morality? As if morality were a law of physics or something.





No Fred. I can assure you im not looking for a physical morality which would be even more absurd than an objective morality!!


--------------------
Always Smi2le


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Invisiblevampirism
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Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective moral [Re: Phred]
    #3081903 - 09/02/04 11:00 AM (16 years, 9 months ago)

the problem steps in here:
"living entities must initiate purposeful action in order to continue to remain alive "

Many actions are automatic and require no thought. It is no different with humans. Let's say I'm rushing and accidently push someone out of the way.. someone who then falls down some stairs and dies. Well, that wasn't purposeful action though it was action.

The fact that you apply matters to humans differently requires some explanation. How would you organize bees? Well, they're already organized. Well ok, how are apes organized? Into little communes... Humans? oh shit, they're not uniformly organized at all! A poltical system should account for such human flaws.


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Invisiblevampirism
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Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective moral [Re: vampirism]
    #3081904 - 09/02/04 11:01 AM (16 years, 9 months ago)

*one of the problems

and how is the purpose at all moral


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Anonymous

Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective moral [Re: GazzBut]
    #3081920 - 09/02/04 11:07 AM (16 years, 9 months ago)

So you would prefer a situation where a minority or even one person gets his way to the detriment of many???

if getting his way meant being free from violence, then yes. there are times when it would be to the benefit of many to initiate force against a person or group. there are even times when doing so increases the net "utility" of all people... even then, such an act is unethical.


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Offlinedeafpanda
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Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective moral [Re: ]
    #3081924 - 09/02/04 11:09 AM (16 years, 9 months ago)

Always? Killing someone with a terminal, highly contagious disease that could wipe out the northern hemisphere would be wrong?


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Anonymous

Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective moral [Re: GazzBut]
    #3081925 - 09/02/04 11:09 AM (16 years, 9 months ago)

Not if it forces a rise in the amount of tax others pay.

depending on how much money you're making, quitting your job (or killing yourself) would do the same thing, would it not?


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OfflinePhred
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Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective morality? [Re: deafpanda]
    #3081926 - 09/02/04 11:10 AM (16 years, 9 months ago)

deafpanda writes:

Many, many philosophers have written many books on ethics.

True. So what?

Their definitions of morality are very different.

Not only do most differ from mine, they also differ from each other. Clearly, then, at least most of them are not objectively verifiable -- the very fact that they contradict each other proves that most are subjective; that they are opinions rather than actual verifiable fact. You will note that the majority (over all of recorded time) invoke not reality to validate their theories, but instead point to divine revelation, public opinion, or arbitrary and unprovable postulates (see in particular Kant and Hegel for this last).

Yours is not objective at all.

Incorrect. The fundamental principle I describe is in fact objectively verifiable. Saying "One should not steal because God says it is wrong" is not objectively verifiable. Saying "One should not steal because it upsets the flow of Chi through the Noumenal world" is not objectively verifiable. Saying "One should not steal because it makes it impossible for another human to continue his existence" is objectively verifiable.

pinky


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Invisiblefastfred
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Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective moral [Re: vampirism]
    #3081944 - 09/02/04 11:17 AM (16 years, 9 months ago)

You can go on and on about tiny problems and ethical dilemas, but that doesn't mean that there isn't a deeper more fundamental morality.

Generating a smell by farming may be slightly annoying, but it's hardly immoral! That's just plain foolishness. You chose a very poor example RandalFlagg. It makes my point though.

Objective reality exists, it's shown by the fact everyone who is normal experiences the same reality.

Objective morality is the same way. If you show 1000 people a card showing one person killing another, 1000 people are going to choose immoral rather than moral. It trancends all races and religons and is universaly accepted amongst all sentient beings that we know of. If mankind died today objective reality would still persist amongst other forms of sentient life. Anything that is rational sees the inherent and rational nature of objective morality.

That is a pretty objective morality, everyone knows what it is except the mentally ill, or those without a good sense of objective reality.


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Offlinedeafpanda
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Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective morality? [Re: Phred]
    #3081948 - 09/02/04 11:19 AM (16 years, 9 months ago)

But it's really not objectively verifiable. No "should" statements are. They are abstract by their nature, you can't see them, hear them, validate them in any way other than using reason, and you haven't used reason.

"A human has the right to attempt to continue living"

How can you verify this? You haven't yet, you've just claimed that it is a self-supporting truth, and I, along with many others, beg to differ.


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Invisiblevampirism
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Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective moral [Re: ]
    #3081952 - 09/02/04 11:20 AM (16 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

mushmaster said:
even then, such an act is unethical.




Correct, if you are using an ethics system outside of Utilitarianism. It's perfectly fine otherwise. In this system, killing innocents is detrimental, as it really, really pisses off everyone.


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Offlinedeafpanda
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Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective moral [Re: fastfred]
    #3081953 - 09/02/04 11:20 AM (16 years, 9 months ago)

Is war always wrong?


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Invisiblevampirism
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Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective moral [Re: Phred]
    #3081960 - 09/02/04 11:23 AM (16 years, 9 months ago)

It is not objectively verifiable. Try stealing from someone so much that they die, I double dare ya. Besides which, what about stealing from those that it would not hurt at all to steal from?

Let's say you have a corporation which uses individuals to do its dirtywork. The individuals are punished, not the corporation.


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OfflinePhred
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Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective morality? [Re: RandalFlagg]
    #3081965 - 09/02/04 11:24 AM (16 years, 9 months ago)

RandalFlagg writes:

Let's say I run a farm to make money. I keep myself alive
by running this farm, but it is possible for me to do something
else to sustain my body. My farm produces a smell which bothers
my neighbor so much that he cannot sleep very well. His life
is not threatened, but he is annoyed. Notice that the premise
you put forth made no mention of initiation of force. It focused
purely on life and death. This situation does not involve life
and death, but annoyance.


Who was there first? The farmer or his neighbor? I agree it can be unpleasant to live downwind of a pig farm. There are more than a few pig farms here in the Dominican Republic. It is therefore not a wise action to choose to live downwind of one.

This is why it is not enough to rely solely on fundamental principles -- one must construct a body of law upon those principles. In your example, the situation you describe is the reason that there is such a thing as "zoning" in areas where there are many humans.

However, the fact that fundamental principles generate corollaries does not invalidate the fundamental principle.

How do you explain the normal processes of nature then, where
animals continually eat each other? To ensure the existence of
themselves, they end the existences of others.


As do we. In order to continue our existence, we end the existence of other living entities. What's your point? I am not talking about objective morality for honeybees or sea anemones, I am talking about objective morality for Homo sapiens sapiens. How about we settle that before we move on to other species?

But I don't think that the foundation upon which you seem to
think that the answer to absolute morality is based on, applies to
everything Man does. It does not cover all of Man's actions.


It doesn't have to. I was asked to demonstrate an objective morality, I did so. Not all of man's actions are moral or immoral. Some are neutral.

To get back to your pig farm example, it can be argued both ways (i.e. it is subjective) whether the farmer's right to raise and eat pigs trumps his neighbor's annoyance over smelling pig shit. It cannot be argued both ways that I have the right to steal your freezer full of pork chops.

I think that absolute morality has a bigger role. I think it is
meant to guide what we strive for intellectually, spiritually, and
socially.


Then we are not talking about the same thing and there is no point continuing the discussion.

Just existing and being allowed to exist in peace is not enough in my
opinion.


It's good enough for me.

pinky


--------------------


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Invisiblevampirism
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Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective moral [Re: fastfred]
    #3081966 - 09/02/04 11:25 AM (16 years, 9 months ago)

incorrect. Killing INNOCENTS is a different matter. A photograph plays on emotion.

And let me ask you something - what if subjective reality influences objective reality? Let's say you convince the 1000 people to say it wasn't immoral. Does that really change anything? According to your methods, it does.


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InvisibleRandalFlagg
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Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective moral [Re: fastfred]
    #3081974 - 09/02/04 11:26 AM (16 years, 9 months ago)


Generating a smell by farming may be slightly annoying, but it's
hardly immoral! That's just plain foolishness. You chose a very poor
example RandalFlagg. It makes my point though.

Yeah, that was a really bad example. For some reason my brain just
could not come up with a good one. I think that my premise was
coherent though...I stated that not all situations in existence
involve life and death situations, which calls into question basing
absolute morality purely upon the right to exist.


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Offlinedeafpanda
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Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective morality? [Re: Phred]
    #3081982 - 09/02/04 11:28 AM (16 years, 9 months ago)

Check out this link on naturalistic fallacies:

You can't turn an "is" into an "ought". Hence it is impossible to prove an objective morality. You have made some comments about what is, and then tried to turn them into a statement about what we should do.

Naturalistic fallacy


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InvisibleRandalFlagg
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Re: can you prove the existence of absolute, objective moral [Re: fastfred]
    #3081992 - 09/02/04 11:31 AM (16 years, 9 months ago)


Objective morality is the same way. If you show 1000 people a card
showing one person killing another, 1000 people are going to choose
immoral rather than moral. It trancends all races and religons and is
universaly accepted amongst all sentient beings that we know of. If
mankind died today objective reality would still persist amongst
other forms of sentient life. Anything that is rational sees the
inherent and rational nature of objective morality.

How do you explain religious extremists who think they are absolutely
right when they murder innocent civilians? How do you explain
the regular citizens who support such behavior? If you were born
in a different environment, you would think different things, which
makes objective morality a hard thing to nail down. For example,
in some "head hunter" cultures it is permissible and even encouraged
to murder members of other tribes.


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