Moral Judgment and Moral Standards

Consider the following argument:

1. One would be rationally entitled to make moral judgments about the institutions and practices of cultures distant from us in space or time only if one had reliable epistemic access to some transcendent (culture-independent) moral standard against which such institutions and practices could be evaluated.
2. But no one has reliable epistemic access to a transcendent, culture-independent moral standard.
3. Therefore, no one is rationally entitled to make moral judgments about the institutions and practices of cultures distant from us in space or time.



The Christians here will dispute (2), which they are of course free to do. But I’m really interested in (1). Is (1) true? 

Could one be rationally entitled to make moral judgments about the institutions and practices of cultures remote from us in space or in time without having any reliable epistemic access to some culture-independent moral standard?  (This could be either because there is no such standard or because no one has reliable epistemic access to it.)

Please note: my interest here is not whether we do in fact make such judgments, but the conditions under which we would be rationally entitled to those judgments.

 

 

70 thoughts on “Moral Judgment and Moral Standards

  1. To be human is to be entitled to make moral judgments.

    I’ll note that I omitted “rational”, because I don’t think it relevant.

    Whether we are entitled to act on or enforce our judgments is a different question, though perhaps that is what you were concerned about.

  2. KN,

    But I’m really interested in (1). Is (1) true?

    1. One would be rationally entitled to make moral judgments about the institutions and practices of cultures distant from us in space or time only if one had reliable epistemic access to some transcendent (culture-independent) moral standard against which such institutions and practices could be evaluated.

    I would say no, that (1) is not true.

    It’s perfectly rational to judge the institutions and practices of dissimilar cultures by our own moral standards, just as it’s perfectly rational to judge the art of dissimilar cultures by our own aesthetic standards. We just need to keep in mind that their standards may differ from ours, and that in both cases — morality and aesthetics — we are dealing with subjective standards.

    I think the Venus of Willendorf is hideous, but I recognize that the people who created her probably regarded her as beautiful.

  3. keiths: KN,

    But I’m really interested in (1). Is (1) true?

    1. One would be rationally entitled to make moral judgments about the institutions and practices of cultures distant from us in space or time only if one had reliable epistemic access to some transcendent (culture-independent) moral standard against which such institutions and practices could be evaluated.

    I would say no, that (1) is not true.

    It’s perfectly rational to judge the institutions and practices of dissimilar cultures by our own moral standards, just as it’s perfectly rational to judge the art of dissimilar cultures by our own aesthetic standards. We just need to keep in mind that their standards may differ from ours, and that in both cases — morality and aesthetics — we are dealing with subjective standards.

    I think the Venus of Willendorf is hideous, but I recognize that the people who created her probably regarded her as beautiful.

    Interesting.

  4. Neil Rickert: To be human is to be entitled to make moral judgments.

    I’ll note that I omitted “rational”, because I don’t think it relevant.

    That response seems to me similar to keiths’.

  5. keiths: I recognize that the people who created her probably regarded her as beautiful.

    What level of probability? 10%, 50%, 90%? Based on what?

  6. keiths: It’s perfectly rational to judge the institutions and practices of dissimilar cultures by our own moral standards, just as it’s perfectly rational to judge the art of dissimilar cultures by our own aesthetic standards. We just need to keep in mind that their standards may differ from ours, and that in both cases — morality and aesthetics — we are dealing with subjective standards.

    But aren’t aesthetic differences merely differences in taste. De gustibus non est disputandum, after all.

    In other words, there’s no possibility of argument about moral judgments. No one is right and no one is wrong. You just don’t like the Venus of Willendorf. It doesn’t appeal to you.

    Would you be willing to say that differences in institutions and practices between various cultures are no more than differences in (collective) taste? If so, how is judging them by our standards rational?

  7. walto: That response seems to me similar to keiths’.

    It seems so.

    Making judgments is what cognitive systems do.

    Making moral judgments is what members of a social group must do. “Can I trust that salesman’s pitch” is already a moral judgment. We are compelled to make moral judgments of other cultural groups, in order to decide how our cultural group can relate to them.

    This is probably not what KN thought he was asking about.

  8. Neil Rickert: It seems so.

    Making judgments is what cognitive systems do.

    Making moral judgments is what members of a social group must do.“Can I trust that salesman’s pitch” is already a moral judgment.We are compelled to make moral judgments of other cultural groups, in order to decide how our cultural group can relate to them.

    This is probably not what KN thought he was asking about.

    True, it’s not. Your point seems to be that judging is practically ineliminable from the human form of life — we cope with the world by, in part, making judgments about it. (The idea that judging is one kind of coping may be one the best ideas to come out of pragmatism.) And while I quite agree with that, my question here is not about the ineliminable role of judgments in practical life, but about rational entitlement or justification of those judgments.

    The itch I’m trying to scratch here is really more about how to work through an anti-foundationalist epistemology with respect to moral judgments. It seems to me that that’s where we need to go in order to avoid the dichotomy of absolutism and relativism.

  9. Mung:
    But relativism is absolutism.

    Oh no it isn’t.

    Where’ve you been? Welcome back, anyway.

  10. Mung:

    But relativism is absolutism.

    KN:

    More pot-stirring?

    Pot-shitting. This is Mung, remember.

  11. KN,

    But aren’t aesthetic differences merely differences in taste.

    Yes, and taste is subjective, as is morality.

    Would you be willing to say that differences in institutions and practices between various cultures are no more than differences in (collective) taste?

    No, because morality is more than just taste, although both are subjective.

    If so, how is judging them by our standards rational?

    Standards needn’t be universal in order for judgments to be rational.

    I say Pizza King is vastly superior to Domino’s. (Any fellow Hoosiers out there who know Pizza King?) There is nothing irrational about my judgment, even though there are probably some benighted souls who would disagree and favor Domino’s.

    If I were to insist that my judgment was objectively correct, then I’d be making an irrational claim.

    Ditto for morality.

  12. keiths: No, because morality is more than just taste, although both are subjective.

    In what way more? And isn’t that a subjective claim?

  13. Mung: Hi Alan.

    World of Warcraft. It’s insidious. Hadn’t played since Cataclysm so had some catching up to do.

    People with addictive personalities should stay away from addictive things…
    I’ve heard of people addicted to shopping… even men to shopping at costco…

  14. keiths:

    No, because morality is more than just taste, although both are subjective.

    walto:

    In what way more?

    We’ve discussed this more than once. Here’s one exchange:

    keiths:

    walto,

    BTW, I’m still waiting to hear what keiths’ own view is of why we should care about his (presumable) disapprobation of murder and (demonstrable) dismay regarding alleged internet lying, but we are not expected to care about his dislike of rum raisin ice cream? If they’re all just subjective, well then, la di da or la di di. Let’s let Donald Trump pick!

    “Subjective” does not mean “trivial”, and not all subjective preferences are equal. Isn’t that obvious?

    What makes some of my subjective preferences moral preferences? Their strength plus my feelings about whether they should apply to others.

    I may not like rum raisin ice cream, but my dislike isn’t that strong, and I certainly don’t think that others should be prevented from eating it. It harms no one, as far as I can see.

    On the other hand, my disapproval of murder is extremely strong. It harms the victim, the victim’s family and friends, and society in general. I prefer to live in a society where murder is absent. I want others to refrain from murder, and I am willing to see my preference (which is shared with the majority of my fellow citizens) imposed on those who disagree, via the government’s power to prosecute and imprison murderers. None of this depends on murder being objectively wrong.

    Buford thinks that the existence of Canadian geese is a moral evil. It’s not a slight preference; the destruction of geese is his true calling in life. As far as he’s concerned, good people are the ones who help him toward his goal of eradicating geese; evil people hinder him.

    Most of us would agree that the existence of Canadian geese is not intrinsically evil, and that Buford’s moral conviction is not objectively true. Yet to him geese are clearly a moral issue; he feels strongly about it and thinks others should follow his lead and join in the persecution.

    walto:

    And isn’t that a subjective claim?

    No. It’s objectively true that taste and morality are distinct phenomena.

  15. keiths:
    KN,

    I would say no, that (1) is not true.

    It’s perfectly rational to judge the institutions and practices of dissimilar cultures by our own moral standards, just as it’s perfectly rational to judge the art of dissimilar cultures by our own aesthetic standards.We just need to keep in mind that their standards may differ from ours, and that in both cases — morality and aesthetics — we are dealing with subjective standards.

    I think the Venus of Willendorf is hideous, but I recognize that the people who created her probably regarded her as beautiful.

    Very interesting. So when you condemn slavery in the OT and accuse the writers of stupidity, lying, dishonesty, immorality, etc. it’s just your subjective opinion, while you recognize that the people at the time might have found nothing objectionable about slavery, nothing stupid or dishonest etc.

  16. keiths: Their strength….

    Obviously, none of that works now any better than the last time you posted it.

    Some people have “stronger” aesthetic than moral responses. Same for the claim that moral responses apply to others. That doesn’t work either. Relativists don’t think that moral judgments apply to others, while some think that aesthetic judgments do apply to others.

  17. Erik,

    What makes the slavery argument effective against modern-day Christians is not that slavery is objectively immoral. It isn’t, because morality is subjective.

    What makes the argument work is the fact that modern-day Christians think that slavery is immoral, and they have to twist themselves into pretzels trying to justify God’s attitude toward it in the Old Testament.

  18. walto,

    Obviously, none of that works now any better than the last time you posted it.

    It works just fine. If taste can be distinguished from morality — and it can — then they aren’t the same thing.

  19. “3. Therefore, no one is rationally entitled to make moral judgments about the institutions and practices of cultures distant from us in space or time. ”

    Why limit it to distant in space and time? If cultures are going to be morally equivalent, why should that not apply to ALL cultures? Most cultures begin as subcultures within an existing system, and evolve into new forms. So why should not moral equivalency apply to subcultures as well?

    Why should not the Nazi culture be morally equivalent to the culture of Canada?

  20. Erik: Very interesting. So when you condemn slavery in the OT and accuse the writers of stupidity, lying, dishonesty, immorality, etc. it’s just your subjective opinion, while you recognize that the people at the time might have found nothing objectionable about slavery, nothing stupid or dishonest etc.

    Problem is the Bible is not only a secular history, it is claimed to be the Word of God.

  21. newton: Problem is the Bible is not only a secular history, it is claimed to be the Word of God.

    The idea that the Bible itself is the Word of God is a distinctly modern idea that wouldn’t have made sense to anyone before the 17th century. (I’m getting this claim from Placher’s The Domestication of Transcendence.)

    For orthodox Jews, Torah is divinely authored, but the rest of the Old Testament is not. And even then there’s a tradition of divine interpretation, based on the idea that there is an “oral Torah” to complement the “written Torah”.

    And for Christians, what is crucial is that the Word became flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. The Gospels are revelations of the revelation, or meta-revelations — there’s the revelation in the person of Jesus, and then the witness of that revelation by the Apostles.

    Which is to say that there’s nothing essential to Judaism or to Christianity which requires that one take the whole of the Bible as the word of God.

    But this is also a big red herring, with regards to what I’m interested in. I couldn’t care less what the Bible says about anything. I’m interested in whether relativism or subjectivism necessarily follows once we reject any culture-transcendent standard of moral evaluation. It’s not interesting to me whether the putative culture-standard standard is the Bible or the Quran or Pure Practical Reason.

  22. keiths: If taste can be distinguished from morality — and it can — then they aren’t the same thing.

    If it can, then do it. It’s certainly not “strength” or any of the other stuff you’ve suggested so far.

  23. Alan Fox: Rorty already wrote the book debunking absolutism. Here it is as a PDF.

    One of the many things I admire about Rorty is that he’s very meticulous and very careful as a thinker and doesn’t shy away from unpopular conclusions. He’s very clear that any kind of absolutism is utterly incoherent once we understand the implications of Sellars’s criticisms of the Myth of the Given. Rorty was the first philosopher to understand the importance of synthesizing Nietzsche on the death of God and Sellars on the Myth of the Given, and I don’t think he’s received enough recognition for that.

    Rorty is also very good at pointing out that relativism and absolutism are contrastive terms: we can only attribute the term “relative” to X if X is relative to Y, where Y is non-relative or absolute. So if absolutism doesn’t make any sense, then neither does relativism. This is why Rorty denies that he’s a relativist. Instead he calls his view “ethnocentrism”, where the “ethnos” is that of bourgeois liberal democracies.

    And whenever political philosophers like Rawls or Habermas would want to make an argument as to what vindicates or justifies liberal democracies against other political systems, Rorty would just say, “sure, but that’s exactly how things look from within the perspective of liberal democracies!” I think that Rorty would have to say that there’s nothing Rawls or Habermas could say that would convince a committed anti-liberal like Carl Schmitt. I worry that that’s right.

    At the same time, Rorty wants to say that there is something like moral progress, that consists of expanding the scope of the moral community and bringing more and different kinds of people into it. I think that something like that has got to be right. But the question for me is how to understand the wrongness of cruelty and oppression, whereas Rorty didn’t think the wrongness of cruelty could be grounded in anything else. It was just a contingent fact about the historical development of Western societies that they had developed the idea that cruelty is wrong.

  24. Kantian Naturalist,
    I love Dennett’s anecdote:

    At one three-hour lunch in a fine restaurant in Buenos Aires, we traded notes on what we thought philosophy ought to be, could be, shouldn’t be, and he [Rorty] revealed something that I might have guessed but had never thought of. I had said that it mattered greatly to me to have the respect of scientists—that it was important to me to explain philosophical issues to scientists in terms they could understand and appreciate. He replied that he didn’t give a damn what scientists thought of his work; he coveted the attention and respect of poets!

    link

  25. Kantian Naturalist: He’s very clear that any kind of absolutism is utterly incoherent once we understand the implications of Sellars’s criticisms of the Myth of the Given. Rorty was the first philosopher to understand the importance of synthesizing Nietzsche on the death of God and Sellars on the Myth of the Given, and I don’t think he’s received enough recognition for that.

    Yes, that comes out very clearly in Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature. He first mentions Sellars thusly:

    I began to read the work of Wilfrid Sellars. Sellars’s attack on the Myth of the Given seemed to me to render doubtful the assumptions behind most of modern philosophy.

    .

    Later, he remarks:

    Sellars asks how the authority of first-person reports of, for example, how things appear to us, the pains from which we suffer, and the thoughts that drift before our minds differs from the authority of expert reports on, for example, metal stress, the mating behavior of birds, or the colors of physical objects.

    There must be some influence extending down to Dennett, judging by this.

  26. Alan Fox,

    While Rorty had some role in promoting Sellars’s work, Dennett cones to Sellars quite independently. For that matter Sellars was also a huge influence on Paul Churchland and many others. He’s the most systematic and original American philosopher since Peirce. Sellars is, to quote Dennett, “non pareil”.

  27. Fwiw, I disagree with that assessment. I think Sellars, although a good philosopher–and one who wrote one masterwork–is generally overrated, and (ignoring my hero Hall) is certainly neither Quine nor Putnam.

    Rorty, I don’t like at all. And I think the critique by Haack was right on.

  28. walto:
    Fwiw, I disagree with that assessment. I think Sellars, although a good philosopher–and one who wrote one masterwork–is generally overrated, and (ignoring my hero Hall) is certainly neither Quine nor Putnam.

    I really should read Hall, I know. One of these days!

    Putnam I find very insightful and rich in his articles but I have trouble seeing what the overarching picture amounts to. Quine I think is highly overrated. What most people think is importantly right about Quine is already there in Lewis and Carnap, who aren’t read as much as they should be. Mind and the World Order is an absolute gem.

    Rorty, I don’t like at all. And I think the critique by Haack was right on.

    I largely disagree, but I’m happy to leave it at that. There are many other things to discuss and I’m not willing to die on that bridge.

  29. Kantian Naturalist: Putnam I find very insightful and rich in his articles but I have trouble seeing what the overarching picture amounts to.

    I don’t think there is an overarching picture with Putnam. I do agree that he is insightful.

    Quine I think is highly overrated.

    I agree with that, too.

  30. Humans need morality and culture as much as fish need water. So we should judge other cultures even if some part of us recognizes that there is no moral absolute and while we should evaluate our moral beliefs I think it might be a bit unhealthy to try to shut down our inner moral voice in favor of ‘rational’ morals.

    Having said that there are transcendent moral codes in the sense that there are moral instincts- both angels and demons- wired into all of us. All cultures codes are to some degree anchored in these instincts. I think there is also a fundamental logic to some morals. Any intelligent alien would recognize the logic of the ‘Golden Rule’ or a moral code grounded in some way to complex game theory.

  31. Ok, sorry. I base it on the self-description of it as a moral position:

    He thinks they’re abominable, the devil’s birds, and that their very existence is a moral affront. In Buford’s eyes, actions are moral to the extent that they impede or reverse the proliferation of Canadian geese (all else being equal) and immoral to the extent that they promote such proliferation. To Buford, the destruction of these birds is a moral imperative.

    I don’t see how anybody could think that isn’t taking a moral position.

  32. walto:

    Ok, sorry. I base it on the self-description of it as a moral position:

    But then you’ve undermined your own argument that subjective morality is nothing more than a matter of taste.

    For example, you wrote to Acartia:

    Acartia,

    I don’t understand you. If attributions of good are subjective (which I think is Murray’s view, fwiw), then everybody’s take is as good as everybody else’s. That’s probably the most common use of ‘subjective.’ You think the Holocaust was bad, but that doesn’t make anybody who thinks it was good wrong. Subjectivism puts morality on a par with liking broccoli.

    [emphasis added]

    Not true, because as you just acknowledged, you can tell the difference between Buford’s subjective morality and someone else’s mere dislike of Canadian geese.

  33. KN,

    But I’m really interested in (1). Is (1) true?

    1. One would be rationally entitled to make moral judgments about the institutions and practices of cultures distant from us in space or time only if one had reliable epistemic access to some transcendent (culture-independent) moral standard against which such institutions and practices could be evaluated.

    I don’t think (1) is true, for reasons given in an earlier comment.

    However, there’s a separate but related question that may get closer to your actual concerns. Namely, is it rational to judge the people of other cultures based on our moral standards?

    That’s a more complicated question.

  34. keiths: But then you’ve undermined your own argument that subjective morality is nothing more than a matter of taste.

    I think I see what you’re saying, but it’s not the MORALITY that makes it matter of taste only, its the SUBJECTIVITY. So, e.g., some people think aesthetic judgments are objective too: that doesn’t turn them into moral judgments. The two are horses of a different color.

  35. walto,

    I think I see what you’re saying, but it’s not the MORALITY that makes it matter of taste only, its the SUBJECTIVITY.

    Yet you just acknowledged that in the case of Buford and the geese it’s morality, not merely taste.

    As I’ve been emphasizing, taste and morality are both subjective, but they are not the same thing.

    They can be distinguished, and you did so in the case of Buford.

  36. Yes, of course they can be distinguished. Just not by their “strength,” or any of the other criteria you have suggested.

    Morality is generally distinguished by its reference to duty or obligation. Not liking anchovies doesn’t have that. As you continue to be confused by this issue, I’ll repeat that the relevant question is whether one’s “taste” in the matter of obligations is no different from one’s “taste” in the matter of food choices. Mainly because arguing about one and not the other seems to make sense and does not seem to be simply involve a report our feelings, many philosophers have held that moral claims are objective.

    You deny that moral claims are objective, but cannot give any indication what you mean by that term, although I have asked you for an explanation of what you mean by it several dozen times.

    I’ll go fetch that post.

  37. February 15, 2018 at 3:52 pm
    Ignored
    walto: walto
    February 15, 2018 at 1:58 pm
    Ignored
    keiths: walto:

    Several dozen of your posts on this thread according to which nothing can be objectively moral unless it is both true and known

    keiths: Where have I made that claim?

    walto: OK, I’ll give you a couple from the scores of them, but as anyone who has followed this thread knows, it’s been your position most of the time (although you’ve certainly resisted my numerous requests for an unambiguous definition). I’ve attributed those properties to your fuzzy theory many times, and you’ve never contradicted it once until now.

    I’ll also add that that I’ve been down these types of keiths ratholes before and I’m only playing this absurd game now because I have a lot of free time today, and I find your pecadillos kind of interesting. So I’m quite ready for anything I post that corroborates my claim to be simply ignored–just like the hundreds of questions I’ve asked you. Or, alternatively, if you do bother to take notice, you may say they mean the opposite of what they clearly say. But what the hell.

    keiths: I don’t know how you managed to decouple truth from objectivity, particularly in a thread about objective morality.

    keiths: Suppose someone examines some photographs and decides “Barack Obama has eight legs”. That person is making a judgment about an objectively existing entity — Barack Obama — but the judgment is anything but objective.

    keiths: Hence, the term “subjective” typically indicates the possibility of error.

    walto: And, of course, your favorite definition of objectivity (from IEP), which you posted and endorsed no fewer than three times, was this:

    “The terms “objectivity” and “subjectivity,” in their modern usage, generally relate to a perceiving subject (normally a person) and a perceived or unperceived object. The object is something that presumably exists independent of the subject’s perception of it. In other words, the object would be there, as it is, even if no subject perceived it. Hence, objectivity is typically associated with ideas such as reality, truth and reliability.

    “The perceiving subject can either perceive accurately or seem to perceive features of the object that are not in the object. For example, a perceiving subject suffering from jaundice could seem to perceive an object as yellow when the object is not actually yellow. Hence, the term “subjective” typically indicates the possibility of error.”

    walto: According to these posts, where there is a “possibility of error,” a judgment can only be subjective. In order for it to be objective, there evidently must be no such possibility.

    So, there you have it. Truth and knowledge are required for objectivity on your (or one of your) views.

    It is from posts such as those, in addition to your failure to deny that to make an objective claim requires both the truth of what is asserted and the knowledge of the asserter when I’ve attributed that view to you (as I have, numerous times), that has lead me to understand that to be your view.

    That you also contradicted that position in a conversation with Sean Amis (which I did not follow) is neither here nor there. (I was wondering what happened to him: did you drive him off??) If you no longer think the IEP definition is any good (which, FWIW, it isn’t), I remain quite interested in hearing how you now understand the term “objective.”

  38. walto: Morality is generally distinguished by its reference to duty or obligation. Not liking anchovies doesn’t have that. As you continue to be confused by this issue, I’ll repeat that the relevant question is whether one’s “taste” in the matter of obligations is no different from one’s “taste” in the matter of food choices. Mainly because arguing about one and not the other seems to make sense and does not seem to be simply involve a report our feelings, many philosophers have held that moral claims are objective.

    You deny that moral claims are objective, but cannot give any indication what you mean by that term, although I have asked you for an explanation of what you mean by it several dozen times.

    The problem with words like “objective” and “subjective” is that they are terribly elastic — they’re what Sellars called “accordion words,” whose meaning is stretched and compressed to make philosophical music.

    If we use “objective” and “subjective” to mark a difference between (1) what it makes sense to us to have arguments about and (2) what does not make sense to us to have arguments about, then there’s a sense in which morality is “objective” in a way that mere expressions of disgust or liking don’t.

    For while we certainly can have arguments about the aesthetic superiority of coffee ice cream over pistachio ice cream, there is also something quite silly about doing so. In matters of taste, de gustibus non est disputandum. Yet it does not seem foolish or silly to have arguments about moral judgments.

    On the other hand, if we use “objective” and “subjective” to mark a difference between (1) what would be the case even if there were no sentient beings to appreciate it and (2) what would not be the case if there were no sentient beings to appreciate it, then there’s clearly a sense in which physics is “objective” in a way that morality is not.

    For that matter, one could even pick up some lessons from the idealists & pragmatists here and stipulate that if “objective” means “completely unaffected by all cognitive activity involved in coming to understand it” (not sure I got that right), then nothing is objective, since every attempt we make to understand, explain, theorize, predict, model, etc involves our interacting with the phenomena of interest, and that means both conceptualizing those phenomena as the phenomena of interest and interacting with the world in ways guided by those conceptualizations, which in means interfering with the world in a wide variety of ways. And since our interfering interactions with the world are themselves causal interactions in the world, they change what we’re interacting with. (This is what James was getting at when he said, “the trail of the human serpent runs over everything”.)

    So depending on how we set up our terms, we can make it come out that morality is objective in a way that taste is not, or that morality is not objective in a way that physics is, or that nothing is objective in any sense at all.

  39. Kantian Naturalist,

    Yes, it’s absolutely essential to define ‘objective” if one is to have a meaningful discussion about whether moral claims may be objective. That’s precisely why I’ve been trying for months to get keiths to say what he means when he says that morality is subjective. But…..no soap.

  40. walto: Yes, it’s absolutely essential to define ‘objective” if one is to have a meaningful discussion about whether moral claims may be objective. That’s precisely why I’ve been trying for months to get keiths to say what he means when he says that morality is subjective. But…..no soap.

    It’s a tricky issue, though, and we use these Big Words (“objective”, “subjective,” “experience,” “reality”, “consciousness”, “intentionality”) in all sorts of complex and inconsistent ways. One person’s way of tidying up the mess is another person’s making a complete dog’s breakfast out of it.

  41. walto,

    You deny that moral claims are objective, but cannot give any indication what you mean by that term, although I have asked you for an explanation of what you mean by it several dozen times.

    I told you exactly what I mean by “objective morality”. As I commented in that thread:

    No intelligent person could read this thread and fail to understand what I mean by “objective” and “objective morality”.

    This debate isn’t going the way you’d like, and so you are tempted to make shit up. Don’t give in to that temptation, walto.

  42. walto,

    That’s precisely why I’ve been trying for months to get keiths to say what he means when he says that morality is subjective. But…..no soap.

    You’re doing it again.

    And what is so difficult about this? Morality is subjective because it fits the definition, and it isn’t objective.

    There is no fact of the matter regarding whether Canadian geese are objectively evil. Buford thinks they’re evil; I don’t. It’s subjective, and there is no objective way of settling the question, and no reason to think that there is an objective answer to the question.

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