• Bartricks
    2.8k
    Morality is made of norms and values. A moral norm is a prescription or proscription. If an action is right then its being so is its being prescribed; if an action is wrong then its being so is it's being proscribed. And if something is morally valuable, then it is morally good and if something is morally disvalued then it is morally bad. These are conceptual truths about morality and cannot seriously be disputed.

    However, it is manifest to reason that only subjects of experience - minds - can issue prescriptions or proscribe anything. And similarly only a mind can value anything. Prescribing, proscribing, valuing and disvaluing, are the sole preserve of minds, as much as thinking and intending are.

    From this simple rational truth we get to the subjectivist conclusion: morality is made of a subject's prescriptions, proscriptions, and values.

    But of course, it is equally self evident to reason that moral norms and values are not made of our own prescriptions and values. For if I prescribe something that does not make it morally right to comply and wrong not to; and if I value something that does not invariably make it morally valuable. And the same goes for you.

    Thus, though morality is subjective - which means 'made of a subject's subjective states' - it is also external to us. Moral norms and values are norms and values we are aware of, but not creating. Morality is subjective, but also external to our own subjectivity.

    Thus, moral norms and values are composed of the prescribing and proscribing and valuing activity of an external mind. And for reasons that I will leave for later discussion, that mind will be the mind of God.

    Needless to say, most contemporary metaethicists reject divine command theory. But they are very stupid and prefer talking among themselves about whether morality is made of biscuit crumbs or a kind of cheese.
  • javi2541997
    595


    Morality is made of norms and values. A moral norm is a prescription or proscription. If an action is right then its being so is its being prescribed; if an action is wrong then it's being so is it's being proscribed. And if something is morally valuable, then it is morally good - these are equivalent statuses - and if something is morally devalued then it is morally bad. These are conceptual truths about morality and cannot seriously be disputed.Bartricks

    What about the concept of law by H.L.A Hart?

    The Rule of Recognition, the rule by which any member of society may check to discover what the primary rules of the society are. In a simple society, Hart states, the recognition rule might only be what is written in a sacred book or what is said by a ruler. Hart claimed the concept of rule of recognition as an evolution from Hans Kelsen's "Grundnorm", or "basic norm".
    The Rule of Change, the rule by which existing primary rules might be created, altered or deleted.
    The Rule of Adjudication, the rule by which the society might determine when a rule has been violated and prescribe a remedy.
    Significance of Law.

    I guess when you are speaking about God as mind which creates these laws is not fair. I want to believe more in ourselves and develop the rule of law because we can do it. We don’t necessarily depend in a subterfuge like God.
  • Bartricks
    2.8k
    Can rules of law be immoral?
    Yes.
    Therefore rules of law are not moral laws.
  • javi2541997
    595
    Can rules of law be immoral?
    Yes.
    Therefore rules of law are not moral laws.
    Bartricks

    Interesting question. I think depends about history and circumstances. I am agree with you criteria that somehow law could be immoral. But I defend that the problem is not the law itself but the the totalitarian. These are the ones who sadly break the law. Nevertheless, rule of law is a necessity we have to improve
  • Bartricks
    2.8k
    But unless a law says no more than 'do what is right and do not do what is wrong' (in which case it refers to moral norms but does not itself constitute one) we can always conceive of the possibility that the law is immoral. Which seems to show that moral norms are not made by human lawmakers.
    We can also imagine a lawless land and it still seems clear that some acts will be right and others wrong in it. We set up laws because we think it right to do so, and people resent laws when they judge them unjust. So morality seems external to any system of laws we create, for any such system is both informed by and itself subject to assessment by moral norms and values.
  • javi2541997
    595
    But unless a law says no more than 'do what is right and do not do what is wrongBartricks

    Not necessarily. Law could be also useful of prevention. I understand your point that without laws immoral stuff as killing each other will still be immoral. Agree. But law goes further than this... the process of court, evidences, witnesses, etc... it is not easy as just believe in nature
  • Bartricks
    2.8k
    But if you accept that without human laws moral norms and values would still exist, then this suffices to establish that moral norms and values are not made of our laws.
    There are human laws, and there are moral norms, and they are not equivalent. We can and do make moral judgements about human laws - "this law is just" and so on - but when we do so we are not judging that human laws are human laws, but rather that some conform to and others flout moral norms.
  • javi2541997
    595
    Yes... but it could goes further than just a moral code. We can see it as a good tool to improve the security inside the State or between the citizens. Doesn’t matter at all if we say we have to respect each other because it is moral if we do not reinforce it. As Thomas Hobbes said Homo homini lupus... we have to be careful of each other and thus, reinforce the rule of law.
  • Isaac
    4.2k
    The central questions of philosophy do not change, you are simply intellectually unadventurous.Bartricks

    It's not an adventure if we've all been there before, it's just proselytising. You pronounce things that seem to you to be the case to be "self-evident to reason", draw some utterly trivial logical conclusions from them, then simply declare anyone who disagrees with your premises to be intellectually inferior on no other grounds than that they disagree with your premises. Narcissism is not philosophy, and I don't think a public forum should be acting as a mirror for anyone's mental self-grooming.
  • Bartricks
    2.8k
    But the point here is not to do with the justification of human laws, but the constitution of moral norms and values.

    Imagine that someone objects to my analysis of morality by asserting that morality is made of apricot preserve. I object that this cannot be so for all manner of reasons including that even ifthere was no apricot preserve in the world some acts would be right and others wrong. They reply that though this is so we should not overlook the many useful qualities of apricot preserve. Well, yes. But the fact remains morality is demonstrably not made of it. And that applies to human laws too, I think.
  • Bartricks
    2.8k
    Like I say, if you've nothing philosophical to contribute, shut up and go elsewhere.
  • javi2541997
    595
    But the fact remains morality is demonstrably not made of it. And that applies to human laws too, I think.Bartricks

    Sure this is the most difficult aspect about morality. How can we prove it? Well it depends in the social context of this specific period of life. We can apply it to human laws but not as criticise but developing greater laws. I want to defend here that we can do it better and not depending about nature or God
  • Aryamoy Mitra
    156


    I'm clarifying a (possible) misapprehension of one of your statements, and apprise me if you disagree.

    Can rules of law be immoral?
    Yes.
    Therefore rules of law are not moral laws.
    Bartricks

    What I believe you mean to say (again, correct me if I'm mistaken - I'm only inferring from your arguments), is:

    Rules of law can be 'moral' laws; but they are not laws of morality.

    If your statement is instead conveying that rules of law are not 'moral' laws, then I don't believe it bears a semantic consistency with its antecedent.

    When professing an immorality across a particular legality (or Jurisprudence), one simultaneously professes a morality across others (that are converses of that legality);
    one can't impart a moral generality across all rules of law - from the moral stature instituted by a sole proportion of them.
  • Bartricks
    2.8k
    Yes, human laws are not constitutive of moral norms. So 'moral law' is ambiguous between a law that is moral (that is, a law that there is a moral prescription to follow) and a law constitutive of a moral norm. Human laws are clearly not constitutive of moral norms. But that does not stop them being moral. The point is that their being moral or immoral would be a matter of them conforming with moral norms, and thus the moral norms exist independently of them.
  • T H E
    147
    However, it is manifest to reason that only subjects of experience - minds - can issue prescriptions or proscribe anything. And similarly only a mind can value anything. Prescribing, proscribing, valuing and disvaluing, are the sole preserve of minds, as much as thinking and intending are.

    From this simple rational truth we get to the subjectivist conclusion: morality is made of a subject's prescriptions, proscriptions, and values.
    Bartricks

    Minds aren't 'really' individual though. A trained/educated mind is running public 'software.' (Of course we are individual enough to occasionally introduce updates.) You seem to be appealing to a transpersonal rationality (a sort of morality of judgment-making) to deny the possibility of what you are doing as you are doing it.
  • Bartricks
    2.8k
    Minds aren't 'really' individual though.T H E

    They surely are: my mind is mine, yours is yours. I am not part you and you part me. I am entirely me and not in any way you, and vice versa.

    You seem to be appealing to a transpersonal rationality (a sort of morality of judgment-making) to deny the possibility of what you are doing as you are doing it.T H E

    I do not understand what you are saying here. I am simply noting that morality is composed of prescriptions and values and that prescriptions and values require a prescriber and valuer respectively.

    If you are claiming - and you seem to be suggesting this - that the externality of moral prescriptions and values is illusory and that they are in fact prescriptions and values that we ourselves are issuing, then you are denying the reality of morality, not its need of a god. That is, if the prescriptions are in fact our own, then we have not discovered that morality is made of our prescriptions, but rather that morality is an illusion. For an analogy: if I discover that what I have been taking to be the external sensible world is, in fact, internal - a creation of my imagination - then I have discovered that the external sensible world does not really exist, but is an illusion of my mind.
  • T H E
    147
    They surely are: my mind is mine, yours is yours. I am not part you and you part me. I am entirely me and not in any way you, and vice versa.Bartricks

    Sure, we use the words 'mine' and 'yours' like that. But human minds have evolved for human cooperation, in particular for learning and using at least one language.

    I do not understand what you are saying here. I am simply noting that morality is composed of prescriptions and values and that prescriptions and values require a prescriber and valuer respectively.Bartricks

    I'm surprised you don't see what I'm getting at, considering this quote:

    Thus, though morality is subjective - which means 'made of a subject's subjective states' - it is also external to us. Moral norms and values are norms and values we are aware of, but not creating. Morality is subjective, but also external to our own subjectivity.

    Thus, moral norms and values are composed of the prescribing and proscribing and valuing activity of an external mind. And for reasons that I will leave for later discussion, that mind will be the mind of God.
    Bartricks

    You yourself see that morality is 'external.' As far as I can tell, you only cling to subjectivity (paradoxically?) because you want a single personality to be responsible for prescriptions and proscriptions (a divine personality.) But do we really need a God to come to a consensus about avoiding incest and stopping at red lights? One doesn't sleep with one's mother. One stops at red lights. One uses forks for eating. One covers one's mouth when coughing. And so on.
  • T H E
    147
    If you are claiming - and you seem to be suggesting this - that the externality of moral prescriptions and values is illusory and that they are in fact prescriptions and values that we ourselves are issuing, then you are denying the reality of morality, not its need of a god.Bartricks

    Even an atheist, if not playing with words, sees the reality of social mores. This is practical reality, the place where we all actually start (in a shared world, with a shared language, already trained 'into' some community.) Some actions will land you in prison. Others will win friends, open doors.

    As I hinted earlier, even being reasonable involves following rules about how one ought to make judgments. One ought to transcend one's biases. One ought to acknowledge (reasonable) criticism and adapt one's judgments accordingly.

    Thus, moral norms and values are composed of the prescribing and proscribing and valuing activity of an external mind.Bartricks

    I agree with you about something like an 'external' mind, but that's the community, or something like what Hubert Dreyfus calls the 'who of everyday Dasein' (interpreting Heidegger.)
  • Bartricks
    2.8k
    One ought to transcend one's biases. One ought to acknowledge (reasonable) criticism and adapt one's judgments accordingly.T H E

    You don't seem to have an objection to the argument, but just an unfounded psychological thesis about my motives.

    I do not 'want' morality to require God. It just demonstrably does. It's not in my interests to believe such a thing. But even if it was - even if I was the most biased reasoner in history - that would not affect the validity of my case. That's why the ad hominem fallacy is called a fallacy. You can't judge an argument by its arguer.

    Moral norms and values appear external: there is no serious dispute about this, at least not among moral philosophers. So, if it turns out that such appearances are false - as they will be if we ourselves are the issuers of the prescriptions - then morality is illusory.

    So, what it would take for morality really to exist, is for there to exist external norms and values. And what it would take for those to exist, is for there to exist an external prescriber and valuer. Not us or some group of us - the former are not external and the latter is not itself a mind. And furthermore, it is clear that any groups 'norms' are themselves subject to moral evaluation and are therefore not constitutive of moral norms.
  • T H E
    147
    You don't seem to have an objection to the argument, but just an unfounded psychological thesis about my motives.Bartricks

    That was not aimed as a criticism toward you but just a point that rationality has a moral component.

    So, what it would take for morality really to exist, is for there to exist external norms and values. And what it would take for those to exist, is for there to exist an external prescriber and valuer. Not us or some group of us - the former are not external and the latter is not itself a mind. And furthermore, it is clear that any groups 'norms' are themselves subject to moral evaluation and are therefore not constitutive of moral norms.Bartricks

    I don't think you've made a strong case against us being the source of our own norms. The individual mind is secondary to the community mind inasmuch as we think with shared, inherited 'software' (language and other conventional practices.) Yes, you can live alone on a mountain for 10 years and write manifestos, but that's you taking your tribal training with you...and preparing something that's hopefully intelligible to and valuable for that tribe when you come back. It's as if you are saying that conventions imply God, simply because the noun 'prescription' suggests the verb 'prescribe.'
  • Bartricks
    2.8k
    That was not aimed as a criticism toward you but just a point that rationality has a moral component.T H E

    I do not know what you mean. You mentioned biases and motivations.

    I don't think you've made a strong case against us being the source of our own norms. The individual mind is secondary to the community mind inasmuch as we think with shared, inherited 'software' (language and other conventional practices.)T H E

    No, communities are made of collections of minds. So the individual mind is primary. You can have a mind without a community, you can't have a community without any minds.

    But anyway, you're just making wild and incoherent assertions, not showing how anything you say is implied by self-evident truths of reason.

    Once more: the norms of any community are themselves subject to moral assessment. Therefore, they are not constitutive of moral norms.
  • T H E
    147
    So the individual mind is primary. You can have a mind without a community,Bartricks

    I think it's false that you can have a reasoning mind without community.

    But anyway, you're just making wild and incoherent assertions, not showing how anything you say is implied by self-evident truths of reason.Bartricks

    IMO, my assertions are not wild and not even original. It's just 20th century philosophy. You can find similar ideas in linguistics and sociology.

    Their central concept is that people and groups interacting in a social system create, over time, concepts or mental representations of each other's actions, and that these concepts eventually become habituated into reciprocal roles played by the actors in relation to each other. When these roles are made available to other members of society to enter into and play out, the reciprocal interactions are said to be institutionalized. In the process, meaning is embedded in society.

    from the actual book:

    …a social world [is] a comprehensive and given reality confronting the individual in a manner analogous to the reality of the natural world… In early phases of socialization the child is quite incapable of distinguishing between the objectivity of natural phenomena and the objectivity of the social formations… The objective reality of institutions is not diminished if the individual does not understand their purpose or their mode of operation… He must ‘go out’ and learn about them, just as he must learn about nature…
    — link
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Social_Construction_of_Reality


    But I have also given examples of conventions, to point out what we sometimes take for granted, which is that we are utterly embedded in and dependent upon conventions (which no single mind is typically responsible for) that allow us to discuss the fact in the first place.

    Once more: the norms of any community are themselves subject to moral assessment. Therefore, they are not constitutive of moral norms.Bartricks

    I don't think it's that strange that human communities can reflect on current conventions and change them. Just follow the news, especially culture-war stuff, and you can watch as the words of a specialized subgroup becomes mainstream, while other words become taboo. Is it not strange that you are confident that you can deduce God from morality while not allowing human communities to reflect on their current moral standards? Millions of brains/minds form a larger and more complex system than any particular brain/mind. The individual mind gets its power in the first place primarily from networking (I mean cultural inheritance, talking with others, etc.) If individuals can reflect on and edit the norms that are in their control ('should I eat meat? recycle? buy fast fashion?'), then naturally they can get together to criticize norms-in-common. Isn't that largely what philosophyis? One way to understand philosophy is as a kind of meta-science. What is rationality? What is science? What are the norms of reasoning? Clearly current norms are always already in place, but they aren't frozen or untouchable.
  • Bartricks
    2.8k
    I think it's false that you can have a reasoning mind without community.T H E

    It's obviously true. Just imagine that everyone apart from you has just fallen down dead. Okay - are you still a mind and can you still reason? Yes and yes.

    But again, you don't even offer any support for your clearly false claim. What argument do you have in support of the apparently false claim that minds can't exist outside of communities?

    As for the rest, you don't seem to be engaging with anything I've argued.
  • T H E
    147
    It's obviously true. Just imagine that everyone apart from you has just fallen down dead. Okay - are you still a mind and can you still reason? Yes and yes.Bartricks

    I mentioned Crusoe already. I think you are missing the point. Even if everyone but me drops dead, the me that remains was formed by interaction with others. I think in English, a language which is many centuries old, encrusted with the trial-and-error of millions of long dead speakers. What I am, beyond the meat I have in common with less talkative animals, is largely cultural, conventional. Even if it's just 'marks on my brain,' those marks (patterns, habits, etc.) are the product of centuries of humans interacting. But forget literary culture. I didn't invent toilets or hot-water heaters. I couldn't make the t-shirt I am wearing. My point is something like: show me a human being that wasn't trained into community who nevertheless somehow cares about being reasonable or scientific (or that can use language at all.) To be a human in the full sense is to absorb mores and a language, however crudely.
  • T H E
    147
    But again, you don't even offer any support for your clearly false claim. What argument do you have in support of the apparently false claim that minds can't exist outside of communities?Bartricks

    If a mind knows a language, it embodies a community, carries the product of a community (its norms and conventions) within it, and uses these as the material and motive of its reasoning.
  • Bartricks
    2.8k
    I mentioned Crusoe already. I think you are missing the point.T H E

    No, you're just making points that are false, but anyway orthogonal to the argument I have made.

    You don't show something to 'be' part of a community by showing that it was 'created' by a community. But anyway, our minds are not created by, or dependent upon, a community. I mean, how could any community of minds ever arise if minds themselves have to be created by communities? You're putting the cart before the horse.

    But anyway, which premise in my argument do you deny? Are you denying that prescriptions require prescribers? Are you denying that the prescriber whose prescriptions constitute moral prescriptions is external to all of us? Which one?
  • T H E
    147
    There are human laws, and there are moral norms, and they are not equivalent. We can and do make moral judgements about human laws - "this law is just" and so on - but when we do so we are not judging that human laws are human laws, but rather that some conform to and others flout moral norms.Bartricks

    It's true that norms != laws, though clearly they are related. In a complex democracy, individuals will disagree. Some groups will thing some laws unjust, etc. We aren't the Borg, and we aren't a pile of anarchists.

    The most powerful and dominant norms hardly ever come up, because questioning them is considered monstrous. It's the norms we take for granted that allow us to discuss less settled norms.
  • T H E
    147
    You don't show something to 'be' part of a community by showing that it was 'created' by a community. But anyway, our minds are not created by, or dependent upon, a community. I mean, how could any community of minds ever arise if minds themselves have to be created by communities?Bartricks

    I'll trust the appropriate scientists to figure that out, but it's not as if we don't see have other social primates to look at. I recommend Monkey Thieves. Fun show! What we can do is look at recorded history and watch, for instance, the development of physics or philosophy. I think Hegel had a great metaphor. Individual thinkers come and go and contribute to a conversation that was here before them and will remain after they are gone. Metaphorically they are the brain cells of a larger thinker, a 'species-essence' thinker learning to know itself better and better.

    Are you denying that prescriptions require prescribers?Bartricks

    I am saying that there's a kind of anonymity in mores, a 'big other.' It doesn't have to be a particular single mind. These things are somewhat fuzzy. Everyone watches everyone else and gets a sense of what to do and what not to do. Who gets praised and for what? Who gets blamed and for what? These are very much things we pay attention to. Isn't gossip a big chunk of human conversation?

    Are you denying that the prescriber whose prescriptions constitute moral prescriptions is external to all of us? Which one?Bartricks

    We are the prescriber and proscriber, collectively. We all do our part. We react largely as we have been trained to react. But we can also put a little pressure on current norms to nudge them this way or that way (some much more than others.) This is like the internet being distributed over lots of computers. Any single computer is replaceable, but the protocols would be harder to replace. We might talk about the ontology of conventions here, in terms of shared habits of reaction. Most of these habits can't even be questioned, perhaps, because they aren't yet noticed.
  • Bartricks
    2.8k
    Like I say, you're just not addressing the argument. Your position, which is asserted and not argued for, is demonstrably confused. But only someone who respects Reason would care (and of course it is unlikely that such a person would ever acquire such a view in the first place).
  • T H E
    147
    I care about reason but not so much about Reason, so I'll leave you to it.
  • Bartricks
    2.8k
    You really don't, otherwise you'd address the actual argument.

    This is how silly our exchange has been. Imagine that I had argued not that morality is made of God's prescriptions and values, but that human bodies are made of flesh and bone. You could have made exactly the same reply. Namely, that humans are social animals and that humans do not exist outside of human societies. Now, how would such silly claims address my argument thatt human bodies are made of flesh and bone? They wouldn't.
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