Sam Harris on objective morality

Since objective morality is The Topic That Won’t Die here at TSZ, I think we need Yet Another Thread to Discuss It.

A Sam Harris quote to get things rolling (h/t walto):

There are two mistakes I see moral subjectivists making. The first mistake is believing in the fact-value dichotomy. The second mistake is conflating moral philosophy and psychology, suggesting that our psychology ought to be the sole determinant of our beliefs.

I’ll only address the fact-value dichotomy mistake here. Subjectivists typically exaggerate the gap between facts and values. While there is a useful distinction to be made between facts and values, it’s usually taken too far.

Let me explain. Facts in science are held in high epistemic regard by non-religious people, including me. But scientific facts are theory-laden. And theory choice in science is value-laden. What values inform choices of scientific theory? Verifiability, falsifiability, explanatory value, predictive value, consistency (logical, observational, mathematical), parsimony, and elegance. Do these values, each taken alone, necessarily make or prove a scientific theory choice correct? No. But collectively, they increase the probability that a theory is the most correct or useful. So, as the philosopher Hilary Putnam has put it, facts and values are “entangled.” Scientific facts obtain their veracity through the epistemic values listed above. If I reject those epistemic values (as many religious people do), and claim instead that a holy book holds more epistemic value for me, does that mean science is subjective?

I maintain the same is true of morality. Moral facts, such as “X is right or good,” are at least value-laden, and sometimes also theory-laden, just like scientific facts. What values inform choices of moral belief and action? Justice, fairness, empathy, flourishing of conscious creatures, and integrity (i.e. consistency of attitudes, beliefs, and behavior between each other and over time). Do these values, each taken alone, necessarily make or prove a moral choice correct? No. But collectively, they increase the probability that a moral choice is the most correct or useful. So again, as the philosopher Hilary Putnam has put it, facts and values are “entangled.” Moral facts obtain their veracity through the values listed above (and maybe through other values as well; the list above is not necessarily complete).

Now, the subjectivist can claim that the moral values are subjective themselves, but that is no different than the religious person claiming scientific values are subjective. The truth is that we have no foundation for any knowledge whatsoever, scientific or moral. All we have to support scientific or moral knowledge is a web of entangled facts and values, with values in science and morality being at the core of our web. Our values are also the least changeable, for if we modify them, we cause the most disruption to our entire web. It’s much easier to modify the factual periphery of our web.

If we reject objectivity in morality, we must give up objectivity in science as well, and claim that all knowledge is subjective, since all knowledge is ultimately based in values. I reject this view, and claim that the scientific and moral values listed above provide veracity to the scientific and moral claims I make. Religious people disagree with me on the scientific values providing veracity, and moral subjectivists disagree with me on the moral values providing veracity. But disagreement doesn’t mean there is no truth to the matter.

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543 thoughts on “Sam Harris on objective morality

  1. keiths: Here’s hoping the game takes the edge off your grumpiness.

    Thank you! Sadly, the tournament generally makes me MORE grumpy, though.

    BTW, speaking of approbation, why the hell is approbation hearty approval while opprobrium is harsh criticism? What kind of asshole would make rules like these?! X>{

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  2. walto: BTW, speaking of approbation, why the hell is approbation hearty approval while opprobrium is harsh criticism? What kind of asshole would make rules like these?! X>{

    Probably due to the probative value of getting approval in a probe for truth, vs. the opposing oppression of yet being in a probationary period that is yet probing for problems.

    Or more straightforwardly, “ad-” is forward looking and often optimistic (adprobrium (changed to approbrium) suggesting that it will be proved, “adproved”), while “ob” often denotes the object being under something, like investigation (probe) or pressure. Useful distinction, but subject to confusion in sound (as in “ap-” vs. “op-” as “ad-” and “ob-” shift to as prefixes to “prob-” (or whatever the latin word is)). Otherwise, mostly consistently applied.

    Glen Davidson

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  3. Kantian Naturalist: See here: by “objective” I mean “what someone could be mistaken about”.In putting the point this way I’m following an old line of thought (from Royce to Davidson, in fact) that a claim is objective just in case the truth-value of the claim is independent of the desires and beliefs of the person making it, such that it is possible for the person making that claim to be mistaken.

    That seems like a reasonable definition, but I don’t see how it applies to morality. We had a disagreement earlier where you supported restricting freedom of speech and I did not. How do we determine who is objectively correct and who is mistaken?

    Conversely, to say that morality is subjective is just to say that expressions of moral value (“it is wrong to humiliate other people”) are, just like expressions of gustatory preference (“I like coffee ice cream”) either always true (because of the indefeasible character of first-person authority) or neither true nor false (if one adopts a theory of truth according to which only objective claims can be true or false).

    Moral claims may be more important but I don’t see that you’ve made the case that they are objective in the way you define it above.

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  4. Patrick: Kantian Naturalist: See here: by “objective” I mean “what someone could be mistaken about”.In putting the point this way I’m following an old line of thought (from Royce to Davidson, in fact) that a claim is objective just in case the truth-value of the claim is independent of the desires and beliefs of the person making it, such that it is possible for the person making that claim to be mistaken.

    That seems like a reasonable definition, but I don’t see how it applies to morality. We had a disagreement earlier where you supported restricting freedom of speech and I did not. How do we determine who is objectively correct and who is mistaken?

    Moral claims may be more important but I don’t see that you’ve made the case that they are objective in the way you define it above.

    Saying a claim is objective rather than subjective isn’t the same as making the case that it’s true, Patrick. Capiche?

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  5. GlenDavidson: Probably due to the probative value of getting approval in a probe for truth, vs. the opposing oppression of yet being in a probationary period that is yet probing for problems.

    Or more straightforwardly, “ad-” is forward looking and often optimistic (adprobrium (changed to approbrium) suggesting that it will be proved, “adproved”), while “ob” often denotes the object being under something, like investigation (probe) or pressure.Useful distinction, but subject to confusion in sound (as in “ap-” vs. “op-” as “ad-” and “ob-” shift to as prefixes to “prob-” (or whatever the latin word is)).Otherwise, mostly consistently applied.

    Glen Davidson

    Yikes! You’re making bracket choices almost seem simple! I thought Erik was the linguist here. You know what I’m an expert on?-

    No. I mean, really. If you do, could you please let me know? Thx.

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  6. keiths: It’s possible for subjectively chosen moral values to clash, indicating a mistake.

    very interesting. We might at last be getting to the nub of the subjective/objective divide

    If two of your own values “clash” how do you determine which one wins?

    peace

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  7. fifth:

    If two of your own values “clash” how do you determine which one wins?

    Moral intuition. But it usually isn’t as simple as declaring one the “winner” and abandoning the “loser”. More often, I keep both but find a way, often context-dependent, of adjudicating the cases in which they clash.

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  8. Now let’s take a look at how you deal with clashing values:

    keiths July 31, 2016 at 1:07 am

    fifth,

    Quit stalling.

    You’re the one who claims special powers of “spiritual discernment”. Use them.

    Tell us what God meant when he wrote “you shall cut off her hand.”

    Tell us what he meant when he said “Show her no pity.”

    Then take another look at that photo.

    keiths July 31, 2016 at 2:34 am

    I’m beginning to wonder if “spiritual discernment” means something like “frantic Googling.”

    fifthmonarchyman July 31, 2016 at 6:03 am

    keiths: Quit stalling.

    I’m not staling I’m attempting to discern what you know about the text.

    keiths: Tell us what God meant when he wrote “you shall cut off her hand.”
    Tell us what he meant when he said “Show her no pity.”

    He meant that it was impossible to apply the standard of reciprocal eye for an eye punishment for a women who crushes a man’s genitals because she had no external genitals to crush.

    quote:

    Your eye shall not pity. It shall be life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.
    (Deu 19:21)

    end quote:

    Of course that punishment was only relevant to those few folks who lived in the ancient pre-exile nation of Israel (Mathew 5:38-39)

    peace

    keiths July 31, 2016 at 6:47 am

    That’s your defense?

    God commands a horrific, barbaric and unjust punishment, and your “defense” is to say that it only applied to “those few folks” who had the misfortune of living among God’s “chosen” people back then?

    That’s as despicable as your rationalization of slavery as only “temporary and local”. When religion starts leaching the decency out of your soul (I mean, I hope you aren’t naturally like this), it’s high time to ditch it and find something better.

    How did it get to the point where you are defending evil by arguing “Well, it only affected a few folks”? What is wrong with you, fifth?

    keiths July 31, 2016 at 6:54 am

    And have you noticed that you’ve completely undermined your “love thy neighbor” defense?

    You told us that God couldn’t possibly have condoned slavery because that would have been incompatible with his “love thy neighbor” commandment.

    So enslaving someone isn’t “loving thy neighbor”, but cutting off her hand — for the “crime” of defending her husband — is?

    You are the Worst Apologist Ever, fifth. Bottom of the barrel.

    keiths July 31, 2016 at 7:30 am

    fifth,

    You finally admitted that the passage means what it says — what choice did you have? — but even then you managed to be dishonest about it.

    You wrote:

    He meant that it was impossible to apply the standard of reciprocal eye for an eye punishment for a women who crushes a man’s genitals because she had no external genitals to crush.

    Where did the word “crush” come from? You made it up, of course. Not one of the 51 English translations on the Bible Gateway website says anything about “crushing”. They all refer to “seizing”, “grabbing”, “taking by”, but absolutely nothing about “crushing” or anything remotely similar.

    For example, here’s how the International Children’s Bible (!) describes it for the little tykes:

    11 Two men might be fighting. And one man’s wife comes to save her husband from his attacker. And she grabs the attacker by his sex organs. 12 You must cut off her hand. Give her no mercy.

    Nice. Remember, God loves everyone, kiddies! You can rest assured that the woman’s hand was cut off in the most loving way possible, and that she was beaming in gratitude throughout the procedure.

    So you, fifthmonarchyman, are so ashamed of the “inerrant word of God” (and you should be!) that you felt compelled to edit it to make it ever so slightly more palatable. The bitch deserved to have her hand cut off — she crushed his genitals, after all!

    Except, no, she didn’t. You just made that up because you are ashamed of the passage and wanted to make excuses for God.

    There you have it, folks. You, too, can be a Christian inerrantist. Just swallow the dogma blindly, turn off your brain, throw decency out the window, and ask no questions. Then lie about what the Bible says because you are so ashamed of it.

    What’s not to like?

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  9. walto,

    Saying a claim is objective rather than subjective isn’t the same as making the case that it’s true, Patrick. Capiche?

    Read what he wrote:

    We had a disagreement earlier where you supported restricting freedom of speech and I did not. How do we determine who is objectively correct and who is mistaken?

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  10. walto,

    I’ve raised some issues regarding your model of objective morality. Your response?

    Since walto is claiming that he hasn’t reversed himself, we can go by what he wrote in the earlier thread.

    There, he said that it is the aggregated desires of sentient beings — a state of affairs, in other words — that determines what is and isn’t objectively moral. He also said that if there is a “sea change” in those desires, then objective morality changes accordingly.

    Since he accepts the causal closure of the physical, that means that objective morality depends on a purely physical state of affairs — the physical states of all the beings whose desires are being taken into account.

    He further claims that objective morality is detectable by the conscience. This creates some serious problems for him, as I pointed out in that thread:

    Regarding the aggregating function, where does it happen, and how is it accomplished physically? Is it inside each of us, or outside somewhere? Are the desires of all sentient beings beamed to the aggregating point or points? Is it just the sentient beings within our light cone whose desires are aggregated? How do our consciences query the aggregating function to determine whether something is objectively moral?

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  11. keiths: . But it usually isn’t as simple as declaring one the “winner” and abandoning the “loser”. More often, I keep both but find a way, often context-dependent, of adjudicating the cases in which they clash.

    cool, It’s exactly as I thought

    It’s my tentative hypothesis that since morality is objective your system of values will always contain contradictions (clashes) that must be “adjudicated” (read papered over).

    quote;

    They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their
    conflicting thoughts
    accuse or even excuse them
    (Rom 2:15)

    peace

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  12. walto: Saying a claim is objective rather than subjective isn’t the same as making the case that it’s true, Patrick. Capiche?

    Patrick does not make claims. His entire schtick is to shift the burden of proof on others and then dismiss their claims because they don’t meet his standard of “objective empirical evidence.” Whatever that means.

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  13. fifth,

    It’s my tentative hypothesis that since morality is objective your system of values will always contain contradictions (clashes) that must be “adjudicated” (read papered over).

    Your own morality is hopelessly subjective by that standard, since you are trying to “paper over” God’s approval of slavery, stoning, and the mutilation of women for the “sin” of defending their husbands.

    Dissonance. thy name is “fifth”.

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  14. keiths: Your own morality is hopelessly subjective by that standard, since you are trying to “paper over” God’s approval of slavery, stoning, and the mutilation of women for the “sin” of defending their husbands.

    You completely missed the point
    If any of us must “paper over things” when it comes to our conscience it is ultimately because morality is objective.

    If morality was subjective there would be no inherent reason to “paper over things” in order live with our “conflicting thoughts”.

    Since I am a unitary consciousness If my my values originated only with me I could with some effort completely remove any contradiction that might arise in my conscience.

    That is the tentative hypothesis any way

    Get it now?

    peace

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  15. If morality was subjective there would be no inherent reason to “paper over things” in order live with our “conflicting thoughts”.

    That’s goofy, fifth. People want their views to be internally consistent even when they are subjective.

    Good of you to admit that you are papering over things and that your morality is subjective, though.

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  16. keiths: People want their views to be internally consistent even when they are subjective.

    Yep that is what we want

    But my hypothesis is that even though we want our moral views to be consistent we can never quite achieve that goal on our own.

    The unavoidable inconsistencies are because we are dealing with more than one set of values one that originates with us and one from outside of us.

    You have just granted that you deal with moral inconsistencies and I expect the feeling is universal.

    keiths: Good of you to admit that you are papering over things and that your morality is subjective, though.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “my” morality is subjective. If you only mean that my moral choices reflect my personal perspective then of course that is the case.

    My position is that there is an objective morality even though I have no way to access it unless God chooses to reveal himself to me.

    peace

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  17. fifth,

    The fact that your own subjective morality is confused hardly means that there must be an unconfused objective morality out there somewhere.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “my” morality is subjective.

    That’s the problem. This entire topic seems to be beyond your intellectual reach.

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  18. keiths: The fact that your own subjective morality is confused hardly means that there must be an unconfused objective morality out there somewhere.

    right, I’m sure we can’t prove that an unconflicted conscience is impossible. It’s very difficult to prove a negative

    If we could “demonstrate” that objective morality exists in this way it would make objective morality a contingent conclusion rather than a presupposition

    However yours and my conflicted consciences do bear witness (συμμαρτυρέω) to the fact that objective morality exists.

    Try as we might we can’t escape the inconsistency in our values and the reality it points to.

    keiths: This entire topic seems to be beyond your intellectual reach.

    I think that it’s you who is having a hard time keeping up.
    But everyone is entitled to his own subjective opinion

    😉

    peace

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  19. However yours and my conflicted consciences do bear witness (συμμαρτυρέω) to the fact that objective morality exists.

    How so? (And please don’t cite that dumb verse from Romans.)

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  20. keiths: How so?

    I think I will give you the opportunity to catch up on your own.

    Go back and reread the last few comments think about it for a while and if you still are in the dark I’ll explain it again tomorrow

    peace

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  21. Since apparently you need to be spoon fed on this one
    I’ll make it as simple and straightforward as I can

    suppose you hold both of the following contradictory moral positions at the same time

    1) X is the only morally correct course of action
    2) X is not the only morally correct course of action

    here is the syllogism

    Premise 1) It’s logically the case that either belief 1 or 2 must be mistaken. (since they are mutually exclusive)
    Premise 2) a moral position is objective just in case you can be mistaken about it

    Conclusion) either moral position 1 or 2 is objective

    peace

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  22. I guess we can add “World’s Worst Logician” to your “World’s Worst Apologist” title.

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  23. keiths:
    I guess we can add “World’s Worst Logician” to your “World’s Worst Apologist” title.

    His logic in this case seems perfectly sound to me.
    P2 reflects what KN said here about what subjective/objective means.

    Kantian Naturalist: See here: by “objective” I mean “what someone could be mistaken about”

    If you disagree you should show that his conclusion doesn’t follow from his premises or else, dispute some of his premises, presumably P2

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  24. dazz: P2 reflects what KN said here about what subjective/objective means.

    Kantian Naturalist: See here: by “objective” I mean “what someone could be mistaken about”

    Incidentally, keiths agrees with this concept, except that he terms it “subjective”. Go figure.

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  25. dazz,

    He assumes that objective morality exists in order to demonstrate that objective morality exists.

    In effect, he’s arguing as follows:

    1. Objective morality exists.

    2. Since objective morality exists, one of the following statements must be true and the other must be false:

    a) X is the only morally correct course of action

    b) X is not the only morally correct course of action

    3. To hold a false belief is to be mistaken.

    4. By KN’s premise, a moral position is objective just in case you can be mistaken about it.

    5. We must be mistaken about either (a) or (b), and it might be either one.

    6. The two statements are therefore statements about objective morality.

    Conclusion: Objective morality exists.

    Assume that objective morality exists, and conclude that objective morality exists. Perfectly circular reasoning.

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  26. KN:

    See here: by “objective” I mean “what someone could be mistaken about”. In putting the point this way I’m following an old line of thought (from Royce to Davidson, in fact) that a claim is objective just in case the truth-value of the claim is independent of the desires and beliefs of the person making it, such that it is possible for the person making that claim to be mistaken.

    Erik:

    Incidentally, keiths agrees with this concept, except that he terms it “subjective”. Go figure.

    No, Erik. Please focus.

    Did you miss this?

    If Buford is a subjectivist, then when he claims that the geese are evil, he is making a claim about geese within his subjective moral system, while not claiming that his system itself is based on objective moral truths.

    Is it objectively true that the geese are evil, full stop? No.

    Is it objectively true that the geese are evil according to Buford’s subjectively chosen moral system? Yes.

    This also applies to your [KN’s] own moral system, which is based on the criterion of human flourishing. Let’s say that X promotes human flourishing.

    Is X objectively moral, full stop? No.

    Is it objectively true that X is moral within KN’s subjectively chosen system, in which human flourishing is the ultimate good? Yes.

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  27. keiths,

    I didn’t miss that. I also didn’t miss this, “It’s possible for subjectively chosen moral values to clash, indicating a mistake.” Here you are saying subjective moral values can be mistaken, leaving one to wonder why you should call it subjective. If there’s a mistake, it can be demonstrated. If it can be demonstrated, then it’s not subjective.

    Or there’s no mistake other than that you talk too much, you fail to follow what you are saying and you end up making no sense.

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  28. keiths: 2. Since objective morality exists, one of the following statements must be true and the other must be false:

    a) X is the only morally correct course of action

    b) X is not the only morally correct course of action

    So if those are subjective morals, then there’s no such restriction, and you can have both [X] and [not X] being “true”

    Can one call that truth at all? You are conceding right there that unless morality is objective, it makes no sense to talk about moral truths, except perhaps your truth, my truth, Erik’s truth, etc…

    What’s the point in debating morals if their truth domain, so to speak, never intersect between subjects?

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  29. keiths: 2. Since objective morality exists, one of the following statements must be true and the other must be false:

    No, one must be true and the other false because of the law of non-contradiction.

    logically (X) and (not X) can’t both be true at the same time and in the same respect.

    I will grant that according to my worldview there is not a lot of difference between moral law and the laws of logic. But I was assuming your worldview for the sake of this particular argument.

    Unless I’m mistaken you do believe that logic is not subjective. Am I wrong?

    peace

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  30. Erik:

    I didn’t miss that. I also didn’t miss this, “It’s possible for subjectively chosen moral values to clash, indicating a mistake.” Here you are saying subjective moral values can be mistaken…

    No, a clash doesn’t tell you that either of the subjective values is objectively mistaken. It just tells you that your subjective moral system is inconsistent.

    …leaving one to wonder why you should call it subjective. If there’s a mistake, it can be demonstrated. If it can be demonstrated, then it’s not subjective.

    If two of my subjective values clash, then it is objectively true that there is an inconsistency in my subjective moral system. It remains true that my subjective values are subjective, not objective.

    Think it through, Erik.

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  31. Erik: I also didn’t miss this, “It’s possible for subjectively chosen moral values to clash, indicating a mistake.”

    I caught that as well. That is why I asked him what he did when his morals contradict each other. He indicated that he usually held on to them both in that case.

    It’s those unresolved contradictions that make my syllogism possible.
    If he did not have “conflicting thoughts” he would not bear witness to objective morality. It’s funny how Paul picked up on this telling mental quirk so long ago.

    peace

    PS It’s very pleasant being on the same side of an argument as you for a change

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  32. dazz,

    So if those are subjective morals, then there’s no such restriction, and you can have both [X] and [not X] being “true”

    If “X is moral” and “X is immoral” are both true within your subjective moral system, then your subjective moral system is inconsistent. But as I just explained to Erik, that doesn’t transform “X is moral” or “X is immoral” into statements about objective morality.

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  33. keiths: If two of my subjective values clash, then it is objectively true that there is an inconsistency in my subjective moral system.

    The problem with this is that if two of your values directly clash then at least one must be mistaken according to the Law of non-contradiction.

    You can’t have subjective morality and clashing values unless you want to abandon rationality.

    Is that really the road you want to go down?

    peace

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  34. dazz,

    You are conceding right there that unless morality is objective, it makes no sense to talk about moral truths, except perhaps your truth, my truth, Erik’s truth, etc…

    It’s not a concession. It’s the whole point!

    That’s why I say that morality is subjective.

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  35. dazz: What’s the point in debating morals if their truth domain, so to speak, never intersect between subjects?

    Exactly.

    In his effort to deny objective morals he has abandoned rational discourse.

    peace

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  36. keiths:
    dazz,

    If “X is moral” and “X is immoral” are both true within your subjective moral system, then your subjective moral system is inconsistent.But as I just explained to Erik, that doesn’t transform “X is moral” or “X is immoral” into statements about objective morality.

    What if “X is moral” in Paul’s subjective moral system while “X is immoral” in John’s? Don’t you agree it would make no sense to speak of truth of the moral statement “X is moral” in isolation?

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  37. dazz,

    What if “X is moral” in Paul’s subjective moral system while “X is immoral” in John’s? Don’t you agree it would make no sense to speak of truth of the moral statement “X is moral” in isolation?

    Yes. You’ve got it!

    There is no objective fact of the matter. X can only be subjectively moral or immoral.

    For instance, within Erik’s subjective moral system, stoning and adultery have roughly equal moral weight. Within my subjective moral system, they don’t.

    There is no objective truth of the matter.

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  38. fifth,

    The problem with this is that if two of your values directly clash then at least one must be mistaken according to the Law of non-contradiction.

    If two of my subjective values clash, it does not mean that either of them is objectively mistaken. To say that either is objectively mistaken is to assume the existence of objective morality.

    You are assuming your conclusion.

    You can’t have subjective morality and clashing values unless you want to abandon rationality.

    Is that really the road you want to go down?

    I reject objective morality precisely because I want to be rational. Your arguments for objective morality are irrational, so I reject them.

    As for clashing values, I already told you that I don’t want my values to clash, and that if I spot such a clash I address it.

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  39. keiths: For instance, within Erik’s subjective moral system, stoning and adultery have roughly equal moral weight. Within my subjective moral system, they don’t.

    In that case, you have no business telling him he’s wrong. And no one else for that matter. That includes your partner, your kids, or a psycho who has decided to BTK you for his own pleasure

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  40. dazz,

    In that case, you have no business telling him he’s wrong.

    Sure I do. The fact that my morality is subjective doesn’t require me to limit it to myself.

    Suppose I know that someone is about to murder you. Are you seriously suggesting that I “have no business” intervening unless I believe that murder is objectively wrong?

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  41. keiths: Suppose I know that someone is about to murder you. Are you seriously suggesting that I “have no business” intervening unless I believe that murder is objectively wrong?

    Of course

    keiths: The fact that my morality is subjective doesn’t require me to limit it to myself.

    dafuk

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  42. Keiths, seems to me the only way one can justify enforcing one’s subjective moral values onto others who may hold different views is to deem one’s own judgement superior to everyone else’s. Which pretty much turns you into a… I don’t know. Supremacist has terrible connotations that wouldn’t be appropriate in this case.
    Maybe psychopath is more like it

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  43. dazz,

    I’m a “psychopath” because I subjectively abhor murder and would intervene to save you from being killed?

    That”s probably the stupidest thing I’ve seen you say at TSZ. It might be a good time for you to pause and think this through. You seem a bit… confused.

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  44. Well, keiths, laws against murder and mayhem have been on the books or clay tablets for thousands of years. Your personal take on this is hardly subjective. More nearly, consensus.

    Now, if you stepped in to rescue a head of lettuce from the shredder, that might be viewed as idiosyncratic.

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  45. petrushka,

    Your personal take on this is hardly subjective. More nearly, consensus.

    You think that mere consensus establishes something as objectively true?

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  46. keiths:

    I’m a “psychopath” because I subjectively abhor murder and would intervene to save you from being killed?

    dazz:

    Please, don’t twist my words around

    It’s the direct implication of what you wrote:

    Keiths, seems to me the only way one can justify enforcing one’s subjective moral values onto others who may hold different views is to deem one’s own judgement superior to everyone else’s. Which pretty much turns you into a… I don’t know. Supremacist has terrible connotations that wouldn’t be appropriate in this case.
    Maybe psychopath is more like it

    Suppose your assailant thinks he’s morally justified in killing you. According to you, when I intervene to save your life, I’m a “psychopath” who is imposing my subjective moral values on the murderer.

    You might want to rethink your position.

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