The Denver Philosophy Meetup Group Message Board › Here again is another attempt at 'Objective' Morals

Here again is another attempt at 'Objective' Morals

Dan
danlg
Group Organizer
Broomfield, CO
Post #: 1,359
IDave, under further review and examination, I agree with you.

However, in order to please the jury in this between 'bikinis and burkas' issue we must get rid of 'objectivity' (i.e. Objective Morality).
A former member
Post #: 971
Dan, I agree it is not as crisp as finding keys but surely there is *some* partial truth in Sam's nose inhalations. If not, then I want to find out why his talks seem compelling to me.

I will watch the video more carefully later today and rescue poor Sam from this barrage of pessimism.
A former member
Post #: 973
Sam[01:30] Values are a certain kind of fact. They are facts about the well-being of conscious creatures.

We care more about chimps than about insects or rocks because we think they are exposed to a greater range of potential happiness and suffering. This is a factual claim.

There is no ... version of human morality and human values ... that is not at some point reducible to a concern about conscious experience and its possible changes.

So values are facts after all.
A former member
Post #: 1,829


So what? 90% of the world is still emotive, supplying appropriate religious, magical, and communal justification as required.

This highlights your view as more of an interesting story than a "truth."

There is no need to "go back," the world is already full of folklore and fairy tales.

I can't believe you asserted that. That sounds more like Abel. It doesn't follow that just because there may be different viewpoints or arguments that the fact that there are differences means that they are all just equal story telling, none more closer to the truth than the others. The most you can say is that you can observe different content, but the truth value of those narratives can certainly be very different.

You've given up philosophy if you really believe what you wrote above. I can further say that your claim that the various narratives are simply interesting "stories" is just another interesting story!
A former member
Post #: 974
John: I can't believe you asserted that. That sounds more like Abel.

Well thank you, I am flattered.

It doesn't follow that just because there may be different viewpoints or arguments that the fact that there are differences means that they are all just equal story telling, none more closer to the truth than the others.

They are equal in the sense that all of you have found "the truth" (though it differs from one perspective to the next).

The most you can say is that you can observe different content, but the truth value of those narratives can certainly be very different.

"The truth value" is what is missing, John; you deny the context you swim in.

You've given up philosophy if you really believe what you wrote above.

As I've stated before, I'm a Democrat.

I can further say that your claim that the various narratives are simply interesting "stories" is just another interesting story!

Well you've tried this before but it ignores an important distinction: I'm telling a story -- a fact really, an observation -- about stories.

Just the facts, Ma'am.
A former member
Post #: 975
Book of Sam, verse 08:45 There may be many peaks in the moral landscape; there may be equivalent ways to thrive; there may be many ways to organize human society to maximize human flourishing. Now why wouldn't this undermine an objective morality? [While there is no single right food to eat], there is clearly a range of materials that constitute healthy food, but there is nevertheless a clear distinction between food and poison. The fact that there are many right answers to 'What is food?' does not tempt us to say that there are no truths to be known about human nutrition.

So an objective morality is clearly possible.
A former member
Post #: 1,830


It doesn't follow that just because there may be different viewpoints or arguments that the fact that there are differences means that they are all just equal story telling, none more closer to the truth than the others.

They are equal in the sense that all of you have found "the truth" (though it differs from one perspective to the next).


Philosophically, why should we listen to you? Everything is the same but with a slightly different flavor. Who cares?
A former member
Post #: 976


It doesn't follow that just because there may be different viewpoints or arguments that the fact that there are differences means that they are all just equal story telling, none more closer to the truth than the others.

They are equal in the sense that all of you have found "the truth" (though it differs from one perspective to the next).


Philosophically, why should we listen to you? Everything is the same but with a slightly different flavor. Who cares?

Anyone interested in the truth about truth?

Anyone interested in the well-being of humans or animals?

Ted Bundy doesn't care.
A former member
Post #: 977
Well, Dan and all, I've listened to Sam again and will need to wrap this up for now so I can finish some work work.

Sam writes and speaks well (compellingly). His presentation reminds me of his original "End Of Faith" approach and, while his examples are humorous and consistent, his assumption is that "well-being is good, human flourishing is good," similar to his book where, if I recall, he began by stating "life is good." He argues that morality always reduces to facts about well-being and, since science can answer questions about well-being, science can say a lot about morality. He also urges his audience to reject ancient moralities (like burkas or honor killing) rather than quietly letting them slide in the name of multicultural correctness. He argues that, as national boundaries dissolve but dangerous technologies remain, we must converge in our answers to ethical questions to avoid more war and suffering.

So ... the "life is good" or "well-being is good" remains emotive, really a quasi proposition. Even after we agreed on a definition for "well-being," we would still need to choose "for whom" well-being is good. For a selfish banker, well-being is good for me, not for you. For a tribe, well-being is good for us, not for your tribe. For enlightenment fans, well-being is good for all whites and 3/5 of non-whites, and so on. These all seem to be emotive (maybe unconscious, genetic, whatever) choices that get the ball rolling. The rest is compelling delivery.

In any case, I agree that science can say A Lot about well-being and this could help us understand morality and maybe help us move toward the convergence Sam desires.

$0.02.
A former member
Post #: 17
Hi, Jeanette:

These issues concerning the objectivity of ethics have been around for a very, very long time (at least since the Greeks). They were given their contemporary relativistic cast by anthropologists (scientists, of some sort, or at least folks who aspired to be). The problem with that has been touched upon over the course of this thread. (Philosophical issues are, at bottom, different from empirical issues.)

Subsequent discussion of the objectivity of ethics has mostly not been enlightening, in part because of the emotionally charged nature of the issues, and in part because of disarray within philosophy itself (as I've mentioned elsewhere, I agree with Mortimer Adler that effective philosophy requires an agnostic complementary discipline -- Adler called it "dialectics" -- that has as its aims (1) the isolation and statement of the specific questions philosophers are trying to raise; (2) the identification and clear statement of the assorted existing answers to those questions; and, (3), identification of the precise points at which philosophers are disagreeing (are they, for example, actually trying to answer different sorts of questions? or are there antecedent questions that have to be cleared up first? and so on).

Discussion of these issues in a forum like this tends not to be productive because it requires a lot of time and patience (and it helps to be aware of the best-developed positions concerning this, and most any other, issue). And then, again, it's even harder to back away from all the emotive energies.

In any case, I again comend Blanshard's work for a very, very thorough, fair, and clear discussion of this thorny territory. Very little else compares favorably.

Best,
Ken
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