• Cartesian trigger-puppets
    66


    When you say that subjectivism is a theory about what something is 'made of', are you saying that morality (according to subjectivism) is made of our attitudes, feelings, or other psychological states? If so, is individual moral subjectivism not a form of individual moral relativism wherein moral values are relativized to the individual subject? I understand that realism is a family of theories about what exists and im not debating that, but rather I am trying to understand how something must necessarily exist in order to be considered true.

    Additionally, subjectivism is a form of anti-realism (the denial of moral realism), which traditionally holds—in the case of morality—that morality exists mind-independently, and can thus be considered a thesis that rejects the view that morality exists mind-independently. This is what I understand to be the case as described in the following:

    Traditionally, to hold a realist position with respect to X is to hold that X exists in a mind-independent manner. On this view, moral anti-realism is the denial of the thesis that moral properties—or facts, objects, relations, events, etc. (whatever categories one is willing to countenance)—exist mind-independently. This could involve either (1) the denial that moral properties exist at all, or (2) the acceptance that they do exist but that existence is (in the relevant sense) mind-dependent. — Joyce, Richard,

    I understand that subjectivism/objectivism and realism/ relativism are orthogonal to each other, but a subjectivist can take a relativist form as well as an absolutist form. For example, individual subjectivism would be relativized to each individual so that the moral values held by each individual are equally good and, as Richard Joyce describes below, in the context of subjectivism, moral subjectivism "...denotes the view that moral facts exist and are mind-dependent...".

    5. Subjectivism
    To deny both noncognitivism and the moral error theory suffices to make one a minimal moral realist. Traditionally, however, moral realism has required the denial of a further thesis: the mind-dependence of morality. There is no generally accepted label for theories that deny both noncognitivism and the moral error theory but maintain that moral facts are mind-dependent. Here I shall use a term as good as any other (though one used not infrequently in other ways): “subjectivism.” Thus, “moral subjectivism” denotes the view that moral facts exist and are mind-dependent, while “moral objectivism” holds that they exist and are mind-independent.
    — Joyce, Richard,

    Conversely, subjectivism can take an absolutist form such as with divine command theory wherein the truth or falsity of moral value judgements rests ultimately on the subjective states of a single omnipotent being—thus mind-dependent and absolute, or non-relative.

    It seems to me that there are multiple accounts for what theories under 'subjectivism' may entail. I may of course be wrong and your explanation did help open my eyes to a specific account, but now I just need to understand how your account makes ones like these obsolete, or how I am misinterpreting what is being said here.

    I literally do not see how you cannot see the difference. Theories about what exist: morality exists (realism); morality does not exist (nihilism); morality is not a thing that exists or does not exist (expressivism).

    Theories about what morality is made of: subjectivism (morality is made of subjective states); naturalism (morality is made of natural objects, properties and relations); non-naturalism (morality is made of non-natural objects, properties and relations).
    Bartricks

    I understand and this helps, but what am I getting wrong about subjectivism as a form of relativism, or as a type of anti-realism?

    Are beliefs considered to be a part of an individual's subjective states? If so, can such beliefs be cognitive?
    — Cartesian trigger-puppets

    Yes, beliefs are subjective states. Only subjects - minds - can believe things. A belief is a state of mind - a state of a subject. Beliefs are subjective states.

    I do not know what you mean by 'cognitive'. Can you ask the question again without using the word cognitive?
    Bartricks

    Cognitive in the sense that they convey information rather than being entirely emotive in which they only convey an emotion. For example, if I say, "Apples are delicious," I am making a statement which is phrased objectively insofar as it is declarative and truth-apt. It is cognitive because it is conveying information, but it is also emotive since when I say it, what I actually mean to say is something like, "I believe that apples are delicious," which is phrased subjectively and with emotive meaning since the truth-aptness rests upon whether or not I hold such a belief and that it is conveying how I feel.

    That was an objection to individual subjectivism. (Subjectivism is the name of a family of views, that includes my own - divine command theory). So, I am a subjectivist. My objection was to 'individual' subjectivism.Bartricks

    Forgive my imprecision of language, I did mean to say individual subjective morality and not simply subjective morality.

    So, let's just say - for the sake of argument - that 'wrongness' describes a certain attitude of disapproval (perhaps universal disapproval) and rightness approval (a certain universal approval, say).

    Okay, well then by definition if Tim universally approves of rape, it will be right for Tim to rape.
    That's clearly not true. Therefore that kind of subjectivism is false
    Bartricks

    This is where I would say Tim's approval (not sure why his approval must be universal rather than particular here) of rape is an expression of individual relativism (meaning it is right insofar as it is approved by Tim) but seeing that society does not operate on such a premise —be it true or false—but rather on a culturally relativistic premise with deontological installations such as social contracts, human rights, and other such normalized standards for conduct that stigmatize and denormalize such individualized moral standards.

    When you say, "It is clearly not true that it is right for Tim to rape," what makes it 'clearly' not true? How do we know that rape is immoral?

    Which premise is false in this argument:

    1. If what makes a moral statement "Xing is right" true is my having attitude Y towards X, then if I have attitude Y towards the act of raping Jane, then the statement "Raping Jane is right" will necessarily be true if I say it.
    2. If I have attitude Y towards the act of raping Jane, then the statement "raping Jane is right" will not necessarily be true if I say it
    3. Therefore, what makes a moral statement "Xing is right" true is not my having attitude Y towards X.
    Bartricks

    It depends on which metaethical semantics we interpret these statements under. That is the point of metaethics is it not? Under the metaethical semantics of individual subjective morality, premise 2 is false because if you have attitude Y towards the act of raping Jane, then the statement "raping Jane is right" must necessarily be true if you say it because it is an analytic truth. It is a true statement derivable from a tautology by putting synonyms for synonyms.

    If by having the attitude Y towards the moral statement X is what makes the moral statement X true (on individual subjective morality), then the moral statement X is true by having the attitude Y towards it. It is true by definition because having the attitude Y is analytically equivalent to the moral statement X being true. It is reduced to a tautology. If the terms 'P' (Having a positive attitude towards) and 'Q' (That which is morally right) are defined as synonymous with one another, then 'P' is logically equivalent to 'Q'. It would be the same for divine command theory:

    If 'P' (is commanded by God), then 'Q' (has the status of being morally good). Because everything commanded by God, by definition, has the status of being morally good, then 'P' is analytically equivalent to 'Q'. Of course this is only the case under the metaethical semantics of divine command theory.
  • Bartricks
    3k
    When you say that subjectivism is a theory about what something is 'made of', are you saying that morality (according to subjectivism) is made of our attitudes, feelings, or other psychological states?Cartesian trigger-puppets

    Not 'ours' necessarily (that's individual subjectivism specifically), but if you drop the 'ours', then yes.

    If so, is individual moral subjectivism not a form of individual moral relativism wherein moral values are relativized to the individual subject?Cartesian trigger-puppets

    Yes. But one could be an objectivist relativist too. So although subjectivism entails moral relativism, moral relativism does not entail moral subjectivism.

    Confusion here is easy as most moral objectivists reject relativism. But nevertheless, moral objectivism is compatible with relativism.

    I understand that realism is a family of theories about what exists and im not debating that, but rather I am trying to understand how something must necessarily exist in order to be considered true.Cartesian trigger-puppets

    I don't think you do properly understand this, as you keep conflating subjectivism with realism, even though they're different claims. One is a claim about what makes moral statements true, the other is the claim that some of them 'are' true.

    I understand that subjectivism/objectivism and realism/ relativism are orthogonal to each other,Cartesian trigger-puppets

    This is confused. The opposite of subjectivism is indeed objectivism. But the opposite of relativism is not realism, but absolutism.

    Incidentally, Joyce is just once philosopher who works in this area and his coining of the term 'minimal' realist to denote a subjectivist realist is grossly misleading. There's nothing minimal about the realism.

    Again, take my example of pain. If I am in pain, does my pain exist? Is it real? Yes. It's as robustly real as anything. Yet it exists subjectively. And anything that exists subjectively is mind dependent.

    So note a silly implication of what Joyce has said - it means that pain is only real 'minimally'. Now, that's just silly. Offensive, even. Tell someone who is in pain that their statement "I am in pain" is only 'minimally true' and see what they say!!

    Here's another silly implication. It would mean that a divine command moral realist such as myself, only thinks that morality is 'minimally' real. No I don't - I think it is as real as anything!!

    In terms of how 'real' I take morality to be, there is no difference between me and a realist objectivist.

    So Joyce, much as I respect some of his work, is being unhelpful here in advising us to use the wholly unnecessary and misleading term 'minimal realist' (a term, incidentally, that no-one else uses in this area) to talk about that which exists subjectively.

    Pain is real. It is not 'minimally real'. It is as real as the room I am sat in. But the room I am sat in does not exist as my subjective states, whereas pain does. See? No difference in degree of reality, just location of constituents. So, again, attaching 'minimal' to 'subjective' when the subjectivist is a realist is grossly misleading.

    Note too that Joyce is not contradicting anything I have said, all he is doing is misleadingly and unnecessarily appending the word 'miminal' to realism when the realist is a subjectivist.

    I understand and this helps, but what am I getting wrong about subjectivism as a form of relativism, or as a type of anti-realism?Cartesian trigger-puppets

    Moral subjectivism entails moral relativism. Moral relativism is not a form of anti-realism. It is not a form of realism at all, any more than subjectivism is.

    Subjectivism is a theory about what morality is made of.

    Relativism is a theory about how morality 'behaves' for want of a better word.

    Realism is an existential theory about whether or not something exists.

    Subjectivism entails relativism, but relativism does not entail subjectivism.

    This is where I would say Tim's approval (not sure why his approval must be universal rather than particular here)Cartesian trigger-puppets

    I was just being kind to the individual subjectivism in attributing to them a slightly more plausible view - a characteristic of moral norms seems to be that they are universal, and so it would be slightly more plausible for an individual subjectivist to identify attitudes that are universal in their scope with the truth makers of moral statements rather than other attitudes. So, there is a difference between disapproving of Tim doing X, and disapproving of 'everyone' doing X, and we might find it useful to come up with a way of quickly conveying to others that we have the latter attitude and not the former - and thus we have this word 'wrong' to do so (whereas when our attitude of disapproval is more particular, we can just say "I disapprove').

    When attacking a view it is best to address yourself to the strongest version of the theory - that is, the most plausible - and that's what I was doing.

    This is where I would say Tim's approval (not sure why his approval must be universal rather than particular here) of rape is an expression of individual relativism (meaning it is right insofar as it is approved by Tim) but seeing that society does not operate on such a premise —be it true or false—but rather on a culturally relativistic premise with deontological installations such as social contracts, human rights, and other such normalized standards for conduct that stigmatize and denormalize such individualized moral standards.Cartesian trigger-puppets

    I do not understand what you mean.
    Which premise is false in this argument:

    1. If what makes a moral statement "Xing is right" true is my having attitude Y towards X, then if I have attitude Y towards the act of raping Jane, then the statement "Raping Jane is right" will necessarily be true if I say it.
    2. If I have attitude Y towards the act of raping Jane, then the statement "raping Jane is right" will not necessarily be true if I say it
    3. Therefore, what makes a moral statement "Xing is right" true is not my having attitude Y towards X.
    — Bartricks

    It depends on which metaethical semantics we interpret these statements under. That is the point of metaethics is it not?
    Cartesian trigger-puppets

    Waffle. That first sentence - "It depends on which metaethical semantics we interpret these statements under" - is nonsense. I said stop trying to be clever.

    It is a deductively valid argument, yes? So you need to deny a premise. Like I say, don't try and be fancy. Stop using words like 'semantics' and 'metaethics'. Plain English.

    Now, premise 1 is true by definition - it just describes a kind of individual subjectivism. So you can't deny 1 .

    It has to be 2 then.

    Yet 2 is self-evidently true.

    There are reasons why philosophers don't defend individual subjectivism. That argument being one of them.
  • Cartesian trigger-puppets
    66


    This is where I would say Tim's approval (not sure why his approval must be universal rather than particular here) of rape is an expression of individual relativism (meaning it is right insofar as it is approved by Tim) but seeing that society does not operate on such a premise —be it true or false—but rather on a culturally relativistic premise with deontological installations such as social contracts, human rights, and other such normalized standards for conduct that stigmatize and denormalize such individualized moral standards.
    — Cartesian trigger-puppets

    I do not understand what you mean.
    Bartricks

    Which premise is false in this argument:

    1. If what makes a moral statement "Xing is right" true is my having attitude Y towards X, then if I have attitude Y towards the act of raping Jane, then the statement "Raping Jane is right" will necessarily be true if I say it.
    2. If I have attitude Y towards the act of raping Jane, then the statement "raping Jane is right" will not necessarily be true if I say it
    3. Therefore, what makes a moral statement "Xing is right" true is not my having attitude Y towards X.
    — Bartricks

    It depends on which metaethical semantics we interpret these statements under. That is the point of metaethics is it not?
    — Cartesian trigger-puppets

    Waffle. That first sentence - "It depends on which metaethical semantics we interpret these statements under" - is nonsense. I said stop trying to be clever.

    It is a deductively valid argument, yes? So you need to deny a premise. Like I say, don't try and be fancy. Stop using words like 'semantics' and 'metaethics'. Plain English.

    Now, premise 1 is true by definition - it just describes a kind of individual subjectivism. So you can't deny 1 .

    It has to be 2 then.

    Yet 2 is self-evidently true.

    There's a reason why philosophers don't defend individual subjectivism. That argument being one of them.
    Bartricks

    Im not trying to be clever. Semantics has to do with how words convey information to us as we draw meaning from them and how meanings can change based on their contextual relations to other words, or within different syntactic structures. Metaethics makes an effort to understand the meanings of moral terms used in ethical discourse: whether they convey information, whether they capable of being true or false, and if so what would make them true. Ethics uses a special kind of discourse wherein declarative statements seem objective and cognitive intuitively but upon further investigation it becomes less and less apparent that this is the case. Ethical language can be descriptive, emotive, evaluative, directive, critical, etc, and the meaning we draw from ethical statements can be interpreted differently based upon a number of theories about what it is that ethical statements are actually expressing.

    Could we not interpret the meaning of these statements differently based upon which metaethical theories we adopt as a frame of reference? Subjective or objective, relative or absolute, cognitive or non-cognitive, etc.

    Yes, the argument is deductive and logically valid, but it is not necessarily sound. Premise 2 is not axiomatic or self evident as it is a contention within metaethical discourse which we are taking part in. It is also not a strong representation of individual moral subjectivism.

    1. If what makes a moral statement "Xing is right" true is my having attitude Y towards X, then if I have attitude Y towards the act of raping Jane, the statement "Raping Jane is right" will necessarily be true if I say it.

    2. If I have attitude Y towards the act of raping Jane, then the statement "raping Jane is right" will not necessarily be true if I say it

    3. Therefore, what makes a moral statement "Xing is right" true is not my having attitude Y towards X.

    This would be a much stronger representation:

    1. If having a positive attitude towards an act makes it morally right (in the context of individual subjective morality) for the person having the attitude, then it is morally right if and only if it is indeed the case that they hold such a positive attitude and that the attitude accurately conveys how they feel.

    2. It is indeed the case that they hold such a positive attitude and that the attitude accurately conveys how they feel.

    3. Therefore, by having a positive attitude towards an act makes it morally right (in the context of individual subjective morality) for the person having the attitude.

    Notice that so long as the definition of that which is morally good is that which a person has a positive attitude towards, then premise 2 is, by definition, self-evidently true. Furthermore, so long as the definition of that which is morally good is that which a person has a positive attitude towards is maintained through the interpretation of your argument, then premise 2 forms a contradiction. Namely, that it both is and is not the case that that which is morally good is that which a person has a positive attitude towards.

    So, unless you can provide an argument for why the statement "raping Jane is right" will not necessarily be true if I say it (in the context of individual subjective morality), then what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.

    You must answer the epistemic question: "How do we know that rape is immoral?" Which will either be met with claims that it is self-evidently true whenever there is moral disagreement between individuals, cultures, societies and over history, or met with an argument which is circular, or met with an argument that requires an infinite regress of subsequent supporting arguments. None of these are acceptable justifications and are thus unfounded and can be just as easily dismissed.
  • Constance
    280
    I appreciate critical feedback so long as arguments are provided.Cartesian trigger-puppets

    As I see it, your "index" of references constitutes an endless search of grounding, any proposition that can be conceived being duly contextually contingent upon other conditions, and those still deferring to others. Such is the plight of coherence theory: an endless stream of inquiry and deference (and difference?). And correspondence's indefensible claim about some foundation is no more than a metaphysical vacuity.

    But all this is undone by the absolute that lies embedded in the world, and this is metavalue. Our entanglements in our affairs are complex, but value as such is unassailable, not defeasible in any conceivable way. It may be morally defensible to torture based on some utilitarian justification, but this would be a contingent justification, and does not touch the "giveness" of the experience of being tortured. No context can touch this.

    I do not know what the pain of a lighted match on my finger IS, and language cannot give this to me. this is why Wittgenstein turned his chair to the wall when ethical discussions turned to foundational talk. A don't really agree with this "passing over in silence" about such things, though. Levinas puts ethics as first philosophy, freely acknowledging the metaphysics ethics presents.

    All moral subjectivists refuse to reckon with that lighted match.
  • Bartricks
    3k
    Yes, the argument is deductive and logically valid, but it is not necessarily sound. Premise 2 is not axiomatic or self evident as it is a contention within metaethical discourse which we are taking part in.Cartesian trigger-puppets

    No, don't be silly. It is self-evident. If Tim approves of raping Sarah, that does not entail that it is morally right for Tim to rape Sarah, does it?

    Moral norms and values obviously transcend our own, both individually and collectively. That's why moral philosophy exists. If morality appeared to be individually subjective, then a course on moral philosophy would be as stupid as a course on 'are you in pain?' And if morality appeared to be collectively subjective, then sociology would solve moral problems and we would recognise this and would not need to bother with normative theorising.

    Anyway, individual ethical subjectivism and collective ethical subjectivism are demonstrably false. Nobody defends them. They're only mentioned for the purposes of rejection. If you want to get good at metaethics the first thing you need to do is understand why those views are false, not continue foolishly trying to defend them.
  • Cartesian trigger-puppets
    66


    No, don't be silly. It is self-evident. If Tim approves of raping Sarah, that does not entail that it is morally right for Tim to rape Sarah, does it?Bartricks

    According to individual ethical subjectivism, to say that a subject approves of an act IS to say that it is moral, but it is only moral relative to the subject if and only if it the subject indeed approves of the act.

    It is not self-evident. A self-evident proposition would be something like, "Conscious experiences are happening," or, "A whole is greater than, or equal to, any of its parts," since to say otherwise produces a contradiction by virtue of how we define the terms of such propositions. A well-known analytical proposition would be, "A bachelor is an unmarried man," since a bachelor is by definition an unmarried man, or, a well-known metaphysical proposition such as, "There is something rather than nothing," since the proposition is a fundamental assumption that we necessarily must presuppose in order to even engage in metaphysical discourse or thought.

    The proposition, "Rape is immoral," cannot be demonstrated to produce a contradiction nor is it a fundamental presupposition necessary for discussion or thinking about morality. You can only either beg the question by using a circular argument (e.g., rape is immoral because rape is bad), or appeal to a series of unjustified premises to support it ad infinitum by accepting an infinite regress argument (the truth of proposition P is holds only by P², which holds only by P³, which holds only by P⁴, and so on, ad infinitum), or just not be willing to discuss the rationality of the proposition at all by maintaining dogmatism—or relying on faith.

    I'm happy to concede this point, if and only if you can demonstrate the truth of your claim by evidence or sound argument.

    Moral norms and values obviously transcend our own, both individually and collectivelyBartricks

    What is the argument for that?

    if morality appeared to be collectively subjective, then sociology would solve moral problemsBartricks

    I'm not sure what you mean by 'collectively subjective' and since I'm not holding the position that morality is intersubjective, or to come from anything other than the interior of individual consciousness, then this is either a misrepresentation or a term you must necessarily define to make this statement clear. Disambiguation notwithstanding, it is not clear that sociology would solve moral problems if they were subjective.

    individual ethical subjectivism and collective ethical subjectivism are demonstrably false. Nobody defends them. They're only mentioned for the purposes of rejection. If you want to get good at metaethics the first thing you need to do is understand why those views are false, not continue foolishly trying to defend them.Bartricks

    If individual ethical subjectivism is demonstrably false, then it's falsity must be capable of being demonstrated, shown or proven. You have done none of the above and it is certainly not clear that it is false. Premises such as, "Nobody defends it," are merely appeals to the people (i.e., argumentum ad populum), which is fallacious reasoning that I will not accept because it does not logically imply the conclusion. If such views are false, I very much wish to understand why and you have not yet demonstrated that this is indeed the case. I am not so much defending them as I am demanding an accurate representation of them be refuted by virtue of countervailing proof—be that evidence or sound argument. Could you please present which two statements (under a proper interpretation of individual ethical subjectivism) form a contradiction? Or, which terms form an equivocation? You claim that individual ethical subjectivism is demonstrably false, thus conceivably proven false, so then you hold the burden of proof which can only be satisfied by substantiating the truth of a negation to any of the propositions it holds.
  • Bartricks
    3k
    Just to be clear then, your view is that premise 2 in this argument

    1. If what makes a moral statement "Xing is right" true is my having attitude Y towards X, then if I have attitude Y towards the act of raping Jane, then the statement "Raping Jane is right" will necessarily be true if I say it.
    2. If I have attitude Y towards the act of raping Jane, then the statement "raping Jane is right" will not necessarily be true if I say it
    3. Therefore, what makes a moral statement "Xing is right" true is not my having attitude Y towards X.
    Bartricks

    Is false.

    You think that if you approve of raping Jane, then necessarily it is morally right for you to do so.

    That's absurd. You stand refuted.

    It is self-evident to reason that if A is bigger than B, and B is bigger than C, then A is bigger than C.

    It is self-evident to reason that arguments of this kind:

    1. If P, then Q
    2. P
    3. Therefore Q

    are valid - that is, their conclusions are true if their premises are.

    And it is self-evident to reason that if you approve of raping Jane, it does not follow of necessity that it is actually morally right for you to do so.

    Now, you can double-down if you want and insist that it is in fact right, but that's no different in terms of rational credibility than just insisting that the above argument form is invalid because you have a theory that says it is.
  • Cartesian trigger-puppets
    66


    As I see it, your "index" of references constitutes an endless search of grounding, any proposition that can be conceived being duly contextually contingent upon other conditions, and those still deferring to others.Constance

    I'm not sure if I understand what you mean. When I consider indexicals, I am considering the meaning of ethical language as described by a specific metaethical view (metaethical subjectivism in this case; a contingency for the truth-aptness of moral statements upon the attitude of the individual subject indexed to the statement), since such views seem to describe their meanings in a way that is both novel, thus necessarily requiring an alternative semantics, and in a way that maintains a reflection to its context. Since the view is a metaethical thesis that goes beyond the foundational metaphysical, epistemological, semantic, and psychological understandings of morality with regards to how we think, speak, and practice morality, it is important that while we suppose new theories about what morality is, or what of it can be known, or the role it plays in human behavior, etc, that we also consider how this could potentially change the foundational meanings that moral terms express.

    In doing this, I have simply considered how the metaethical semantics of individual ethical subjectivism may effect the reference of certain linguistic expressions in such a way that must shift from a context that is definite, regular, or consistent over time and doesn't consider the continuing development of a subjects subjective identify, over to a context of contextual dynamics considering all interrelated conditions such as: historical subjectivity, social influences on behavior—conditioning as well as processes of compliance, identification, and internalization that factor in changing attitudes, the specific configuration of physical environmental influences and the corresponding internal neuropsychological responses, etc. All of which must be relativized to a specific attitude of a specific subject within a specific spatiotemporal configuration who has a specific history of conscious and subconscious experiences, and so on. We are never the same person because we are constantly changing both physically and psychologically, therefore our attitudes and likewise our morality if we consider an individual subjective view is never fixed and undergoing constant fluctuations at all times that may from moment to moment influence measurable changes in our moral outlook. I have simply come to the conclusion that our attitudes are reflections of our moral outlook but only relative to a moment in time or within a specific frame of reference unique to a sequence of experiences throughout the totality of our experiences since the emergence of our consciousness.

    I suspect that in order to understand the framework in which individual ethical subjectivism makes sense, it is necessary to realize that linguistic expressions are but signals that semantically refer to a unique frame of reference to an experienced event in the absolute context in which it was experienced as it occurred.
  • Cartesian trigger-puppets
    66


    Just to be clear then, your view is that premise 2 in this argument

    1. If what makes a moral statement "Xing is right" true is my having attitude Y towards X, then if I have attitude Y towards the act of raping Jane, then the statement "Raping Jane is right" will necessarily be true if I say it.
    2. If I have attitude Y towards the act of raping Jane, then the statement "raping Jane is right" will not necessarily be true if I say it
    3. Therefore, what makes a moral statement "Xing is right" true is not my having attitude Y towards X.
    — Bartricks

    Is false.

    You think that if you approve of raping Jane, then necessarily it is morally right for you to do so.

    That's absurd. You stand refuted.
    Bartricks

    Just to be clear, you are the referent subject within the argument, not I. And, I think that if we consider the meanings which moral terms express under the interpretation of individual ethical subjectivism, then a subject's approval of an act is by definition what makes the act morally right. This would be analytically true and self-evident in the same way that being an unmarried man is by definition what makes the man a bachelor. I accept the reductio entailed by the view so long as the view remains otherwise consistent and with no competing views to consider. But, to be precise, the reductio entailed by the view would be that, "If we consider the meanings which moral terms express under the interpretation of individual ethical subjectivism, then a subject's approval of an act is by definition what makes the act morally right," which is a considerably less difficult bullet to bite because it is not a statement about what is moral to any other subject other than the one in which the statement is indexed to.

    It is self-evident to reason that if A is bigger than B, and B is bigger than C, then A is bigger than C.

    It is self-evident to reason that arguments of this kind:

    1. If P, then Q
    2. P
    3. Therefore Q

    are valid - that is, their conclusions are true if their premises are.

    And it is self-evident to reason that if you approve of raping Jane, it does not follow of necessity that it is actually morally right for you to do so.

    Now, you can double-down if you want and insist that it is in fact right, but that's no different in terms of rational credibility than just insisting that the above argument form is invalid because you have a theory that says it is.
    Bartricks

    I never challenged the validity of your argument, but rather it's soundness. Modus ponens is indeed a valid deductive argument form. It is also tautological in nature which can be said to soften it's persuasive force, but nonetheless reinforced my initial belief that was lost once I realized that the metaethical semantics proposed by individual ethical subjectivism which produced the analytic truth of the arguments I've presented for you were also tautologous as well. That I think would be a better objection to the argument.

    It is only self-evident to reason using arguments in the form of modus ponens ("if P then Q")—first, only if it already sound (if the conditional statement is accepted), and then if and only if the antecedent (P) holds by virtue of being true by definition when inferring to the consequent (Q), such as, "If P, then Q" whereby the terms of antecedent have been defined in such a way that they are analytically equivalent to the terms of the consequent (e.g., if the term 'morally right' has been semantically equalized to the term 'approved of by the subject'); or if the antecedents negation can not be demonstrated to produce a contradiction when inferring to the consequent (e.g., "If there is sunlight outside, then it is daytime; there is sunlight out; therefore, it is daytime," and the negation, "If there is no sunlight out, then it is daytime, there is no sunlight out; therefore, it is daytime".) Perhaps I can formalize a better example.

    Modus ponens structure:

    If P, then Q
    2. P
    3. Therefore Q

    If the antecedent holds, then the consequent may be inferred:

    1. If there exists something, then the statement 'nothing exists' is false. (P = "There exists something" and Q = "The statement 'nothing exists' is false").

    2. There exists something.

    3. Therefore, the statement 'nothing exists' is false.

    Demonstrating the antecedent's negation forms a contradiction:

    1. If there does not exist something, then the statement 'nothing exists' is false. (P = "There does not exist something" and Q = "The statement 'nothing exists' is false").

    2. There does not exist something.

    3. Therefore, the statement 'nothing exists' is false.

    The second argument forms a contradiction because if there does not exist something then the statement 'nothing exists' would be true, not false. To say otherwise is to say that it both is and is not the case that something must exist for the statement 'nothing exists' to be false.

    And it is self-evident to reason that if you approve of raping Jane, it does not follow of necessity that it is actually morally right for you to do so.Bartricks

    No, it isn't under a proper interpretation of the metaethical semantics of individual ethical subjectivism. You are committing an equivocation fallacy otherwise. A self-evident truth can never be derived from an equivocation fallacy. And, modus ponens does not necessarily mean that the inference is a self-evident truth. That is absurd. Consider the following:

    1. If Earth orbits the sun, then Jupiter orbits the earth.

    2. Earth orbits the sun.

    3. Therefore, Jupiter orbits the earth.

    This is a modus ponens syllogism and thus a valid argument structure. However, the consequent is false, therefore the argument is unsound. Definitely not a self-evident truth.
  • Cartesian trigger-puppets
    66


    All moral subjectivists refuse to reckon with that lighted match.Constance

    I don't understand this objection. What exactly do you mean by "refuse to reckon with"? I consider stimulus events such as objects or events that elicit a sensory response when a detectable change to the energy in the surrounding environment is registered by the senses. A stimulus triggers our nervous system whenever sufficient changes in the environmental energy is detected. These changes in the environmental energy act as information inputs insofar as they affect the level of voltage across the cell membrane of the neuron. This is called a change in the membrane potential of a neuron.

    The membrane potential of a neuron is the difference in electrical charge between the inside and the outside of a neuron. This difference in electrical charge is due to the unequal distribution of ions between the inside and outside of the membrane. Ions are atoms that have lost or gained electrons and as a result either have a negative or positive charge.

    A few of the ions that play an important role in the membrane potential of a neuron are positively charged sodium ions and negatively charged chloride ions which are more prevalent on the outside of the cellular membrane when the neuron is at rest. Also while at rest, there are positively charged potassium ions and many other negatively charged ions prevalent on the inside of the cellular membrane. At rest, the inside of the cellular membrane is mostly negative with the outside of the membrane mostly positive.

    The inside membrane potential is regulated by a protein mechanism, which disproportionately influences which ions travel through ion channels. It uses energy to pump positively charged sodium ions out of the cell and pump negatively charged potassium ions into the cell. For every two sodium ions pumped out of the cell, three potassium ions are pumped into the cell which is how the inside of the cellular membrane maintains its overall negative charge.

    An action potential is a momentary reversal of membrane potential which is the basis for electrical signaling in neurons. A stimulus event causes an influx of positive ions to enter the inside of the cell and once a threshold is passed, a sudden, fast, transitory and propagating change of the resting membrane occurs in the form of a nervous impulse. These impulses carry information in the form of a sensation to which we attach meanings to. These meanings are in constant fluctuation as well and can even develop enough differences over time to change the overall patterns of our perceptions.

    The thing is, the energy of a stimulus event can be measured and reproduced so to enable us to test how a subject will respond to the same stimulus energy. And, what all the data points to is that while a physical stimulus event can be measured in such trials with a constant variable of energy, the subjects neuropsychological response and subsequent sensory perceptions and associated attitudes, on the other hand, will vary. It then seems likely that no source will produce the same response from us and that our experiences at the most fundamental level are arbitrary. If a stimulus event is held objectively constant, whatever information stored in such energy becomes distorted as it processes within the receiving subject. It seems as if the lighted match transmits a regularity of data which is uniquely processed into meaningful information through it's integration in the contexts of a complex system of dynamic neuropsychological structures tethering the mereology of individual conscious experiences that we identify as ourselves.
  • Constance
    280
    it is necessary to realize that linguistic expressions are but signals that semantically refer to a unique frame of reference to an experienced event in the absolute context in which it was experienced as it occurred.Cartesian trigger-puppets
    I can respond to your thoughts if you give me an account of what "absolute context" means.
  • Cartesian trigger-puppets
    66


    The totality of physical and phenomenological variables as they were arranged and sequenced in a specific order, having a specific causal relationship between the physical universe and the subject of experience, both with regards to the subjects entire series of past experiences and the trajectory of their experience into the future. Everything that happened before an event and the deterministic flow of the universe into everything that will ever happen subsequent to an event.

    Something along those lines. The idea is that everything is at all times in a state of fluctuation and thus nothing, no one, and no idea or feeling can ever be the same as it was a fraction of a second ago. It is a way of answering questions pertaining to individual subjective morality with regard to a subjects proclivity to change evaluative positions or moral views—and at times erratically, irrationally, and/or sporadically.

    It's no specialized term. It's more a function of my linguistic incompetence in describing such abstract concepts.
  • Joshs
    1.4k
    The totality of physical and phenomenological variablesCartesian trigger-puppets

    the deterministic flow of the universe iCartesian trigger-puppets

    What is the relationship between subjectivity and empirical notions like the physical , neurophysiological facts and adeterministic universe? Are empirical facts the product of intersubjectivity? Are they social constructs, and if so, is s scientific truth adjudicated the same way as subjective moral truth?Does science progress through falsification or change the way the arts and politics do?
  • Cartesian trigger-puppets
    66


    What is the relationship between subjectivity and empirical notions like the physical , neurophysiological facts and adeterministic universe?Joshs

    Subjectivity is probably best understood as a psychological context about the way things are and also as the opposite of objectivity, which is the way things are independent from individual subjectivity. We can identify subjectivity if we consider the way things in the world are that have to do with our perceptions, feelings, or attitudes towards them. We can additionally identify subjectivity if we consider such things that are dependent upon our mental states to exist, such as a belief, a taste, or a perspective.

    A few examples of things that exist objectively would be: an actual Christmas tree, an actual grizzly bear, and the actual moon. On the converse, a few contrasting examples of things that exist subjectively would be: the symbolic meaning of Christianity associated with a Christmas tree; the emotional state of fear associated with a close encounter with a grizzly bear; and our belief that there are little green men living on the moon.

    Empirical notions is an interesting term. I suppose it could mean a vague idea or concept about the information we derive from sensory experience. Alternatively, it could mean to think about empirical evidence, or empirical-based theories.

    In regards to your first example: 'the physical' is quite a broad term that can be modeled into empirical theories, but not necessarily. Whenever physics, for example, engages in non-empirical theorizing such as mathematical, or a priory, it can be modeled in a completely abstract way.

    Consider the differences between classical 'Newtonian' physics and modern 'quantum' physics. While it is clear that classical physics corresponds exactly to the empirical state of the world since it mainly deals with phenomena at the macroscopic scale and phenomena at the macroscopic scale can largely be studied with only the basic human senses; whereas when it comes to quantum physics, on the other hand, phenomena behaves in ways of which seem to be fundamentally incompatible with the laws of classical physics.

    This is due to the fact that modern physics largely deals with phenomena at the sub-microscopic level. At this level, the laws and observable regularities of classical physics become blurred or even broken. The laws and rules that govern classical physics seem to either be completely inapplicable or only approximately applicable with the laws and rules that govern modern physics.

    Your second example regarding neurophysiological facts are indeed empirical facts since it is a study branching from both physiology and neuroscience to focus on the functioning of the nervous system. Thus, neurophysiological facts have to do with the structure and function of the nervous system such as how neurons receive and transmit information from a stimulus. However, the phenomenological content which emerges from the nervous system as a result of many cognitive processes occurring among the many regions of the brain, remain mired in subjectivity. There, the brain begins a process of refining the raw stimulus sense-data into useful information. Subjectivity may only be epistemically accessible to the individual subjective agent, thus it remains locked away and it most unfortunately is largely ignored within these sciences. There are the neural correlates, I suppose.

    Your final example, a deterministic universe is a philosophical view that every event in the universe was determined by a preexisting chain of causal events. In other words, that there has been a cause and effect relationship between all the events that have ever occurred, are occurring, or will occur yet in the universe.

    Determinism is more directly supported by virtue of a probabilistic confirmation rather than in the sense of empirical proof such as from experience and experimentation. Determinism is an interesting prospect for a relationship between what is subjective (human free will) and what is empirical (physical sciences). However, all in all, the determinism entailed by a deterministic universe seems to be more a notion of cause/effect rather than an empirical notion.

    Are empirical facts the product of intersubjectivity?Joshs

    I'm not sure if I understand the question. Intersubjectivity can be having a shared empirical definition of an object. When asked to imagine a tree, the empirical definition of the tree would correspond with an actual tree. The word 'tree' provides a shared meaning by virtue of linguistic construct that people can use as they interact with each other as a common resource for interpreting the meanings of social and cultural elements. This kind of forms a segue into your next question, however.

    they social constructs, and if so, is s scientific truth adjudicated the same way as subjective moral truth?Joshs

    I think that social constructs naturally develop within any social group. They may take the form of physical, empirical and otherwise objective material objects but the elements of a social construct are not represented as an objective feature of reality, but rather they are represented instead by their attached meanings. These meanings are not inherent to the physical material symbolizing such meaning, as such things are only meaningful because the individuals within the social group have adopted such meanings. For example, the notion of an event such as Christmas, or the connotations placed on such terms as democracy.

    I don't understand the last question pertaining to scientific truth and subjective moral truth. Science is empirical, objective, a posteriori and subscribes to the correspondence theory of truth, whereas individual moral subjectivism is more theoretical or rational, and, of course, subjective, a priori, and seems to subscribe to the coherence theory of truth (alternatively, a pragmatic theory of truth may be subscribed to).

    Does science progress through falsification or change the way the arts and politics do?Joshs

    I think such accounts described by Thomas Kuhn within his, "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions" are some of the best, certainly most influential, descriptions of the history and especially the development of science. Such accounts held by Kuhn was that science maintains periods of stable growth wherein the prevailing theories and models produce accurate predictions and moves the knowledge of science forward. These stable periods sometimes enter into a state of crisis as the prevailing theories and models become less accurate or are threatened by competing models which may become further punctuated by a revisionary into scientific revolutions.

    Also, Kuhn's "Incommensurability thesis," seems to lean in the direction of scientific progression analogous to that of art or politics, perhaps. At least insofar as theories and models from differing periods throughout history (e.g., Aristotelian, Galilean and Newtonian) each seem to equally lack the quality of being similar and comparable to other theories and models.
  • Constance
    280
    All of which must be relativized to a specific attitude of a specific subject within a specific spatiotemporal configuration who has a specific history of conscious and subconscious experiences, and so on.Cartesian trigger-puppets

    So you relativize ethical good and bad, right and wrong, not to individual tastes, attitudes, moods, and general dispositions, but to a multitude of "selves" within the composite historical ethical agency. I suppose this is the logical consequence of taking Mackie's view. I mean, if objective ethics in the fabric-of-the-world sense he speaks of is out the window, then there are no standards at all can hold any ethical judgment accountable apart from those actualities that produce judgment that are causally immediate, that is, unmediated. Is it ethically defensible for Raskolnikov to murder the old lady? Of course, but then, which Raskolnikov are we referring to, for prior to his poverty he was just a starry eyed student who has not yet been so darkly driven. How many of him are there? And it is not diachronically determined, but synchronically as well, for the at any given time, Raskolniknov is a composite of dispositions the compete for relevance and application.

    How does one ever make a determination as to what an ethical agency is when the concept is so fleeting and disjointed? It seems you pin the metaethical question, what is the nature of ethical goodness and badness? on unpinnable actualities.


    I don't understand this objection. What exactly do you mean by "refuse to reckon with"? I consider stimulus events such as objects or events that elicit a sensory response when a detectable change to the energy in the surrounding environment is registered by the senses. A stimulus triggers our nervous system whenever sufficient changes in the environmental energy is detected. These changes in the environmental energy act as information inputs insofar as they affect the level of voltage across the cell membrane of the neuron. This is called a change in the membrane potential of a neuron.

    The membrane potential of a neuron is the difference in electrical charge between the inside and the outside of a neuron. This difference in electrical charge is due to the unequal distribution of ions between the inside and outside of the membrane. Ions are atoms that have lost or gained electrons and as a result either have a negative or positive charge.

    A few of the ions that play an important role in the membrane potential of a neuron are positively charged sodium ions and negatively charged chloride ions which are more prevalent on the outside of the cellular membrane when the neuron is at rest. Also while at rest, there are positively charged potassium ions and many other negatively charged ions prevalent on the inside of the cellular membrane. At rest, the inside of the cellular membrane is mostly negative with the outside of the membrane mostly positive.

    The inside membrane potential is regulated by a protein mechanism, which disproportionately influences which ions travel through ion channels. It uses energy to pump positively charged sodium ions out of the cell and pump negatively charged potassium ions into the cell. For every two sodium ions pumped out of the cell, three potassium ions are pumped into the cell which is how the inside of the cellular membrane maintains its overall negative charge.

    An action potential is a momentary reversal of membrane potential which is the basis for electrical signaling in neurons. A stimulus event causes an influx of positive ions to enter the inside of the cell and once a threshold is passed, a sudden, fast, transitory and propagating change of the resting membrane occurs in the form of a nervous impulse. These impulses carry information in the form of a sensation to which we attach meanings to. These meanings are in constant fluctuation as well and can even develop enough differences over time to change the overall patterns of our perceptions.

    The thing is, the energy of a stimulus event can be measured and reproduced so to enable us to test how a subject will respond to the same stimulus energy. And, what all the data points to is that while a physical stimulus event can be measured in such trials with a constant variable of energy, the subjects neuropsychological response and subsequent sensory perceptions and associated attitudes, on the other hand, will vary. It then seems likely that no source will produce the same response from us and that our experiences at the most fundamental level are arbitrary. If a stimulus event is held objectively constant, whatever information stored in such energy becomes distorted as it processes within the receiving subject. It seems as if the lighted match transmits a regularity of data which is uniquely processed into meaningful information through it's integration in the contexts of a complex system of dynamic neuropsychological structures tethering the mereology of individual conscious experiences that we identify as ourselves.
    Cartesian trigger-puppets

    No. I mean to take the lighted match event phenomenologically. In fact, all of your above begs phenomenological questions. Certainly not that it is wrong, but it does not go to basic questions. At any rate: observe the scorching flesh as an empirical scientist would observe a slab of rock, studying it for its parts and their classifications. All you bring out is there, but then once this is exhausted, there is the pain, that is, pain simplicter. This is the metaethical "real" that is the material foundation for ethical attitudes and judgment. This is irreducible. (Not that the language used to talk about it is irreducible, but the injunction not to apply a flame to a living finger is. Wittgenstein would have agreed. He would just refuse to talk about it.)
  • Joshs
    1.4k
    I think I misread your position as a postmodern form of subjectivity.
    Subjectivity is probably best understood as a psychological context about the way things are and also as the opposite of objectivity, which is the way things are independent from individual subjectivityCartesian trigger-puppets

    For postmodern and phenomenological positions , it is incoherent to talk about the way things are independent from individual subjectivity, because subjectivity is merely a pole alongside the objective pole in the experience of the world. That is, objectivity is a derived product of subjective experience rather than the ‘opposite’ of it.
  • Pop
    703
    It's no specialized term. It's more a function of my linguistic incompetence in describing such abstract concepts.Cartesian trigger-puppets

    I think you did very well. I would have said the non linear, emergent, self organization of the subject in relation to the totality of information effecting them, but it has taken a long time to condense it down to this. Anyway good discussion and welcome aboard. :smile:

    What is the relationship between subjectivity and empirical notions like the physical , neurophysiological facts and adeterministic universe?Joshs

    The relationship is that new data must be organized into the main thrust of historical self organization. It must fit into established consciousness, This is the underlying dynamic regardless of what is encountered, be it ethics, morality, subjectivity , objectivity, etc, so its all relativistic. There is no empirical answer to your question, it is all individual responses. We are self organizing after all! , where consciousness = self organization. The responses are self interested, as they must achieve self organization – which entails preserving and advancing the self.
    And If we do not achieve this it is disintegrative to our self organization - so it hurts! And If we succeed, it affirms our self organization, so feels good! :smile:
  • Joshs
    1.4k
    I agree with everything you said , but it doesn’t sound like Cartesian trigger-puppets would accept that empirical facts are dependent on and a product of subjective organization.
  • Pop
    703
    I agree with everything you said , but it doesn’t sound like Cartesian trigger-puppets would accept that empirical facts are dependent on and a product of subjective organization.Joshs

    All we can do is plant a seed or two and wait to see if they sprout - unfortunately it cant happen overnight. :cry:
    Its nice to find some agreement for a change anyway. :up:
  • Cartesian trigger-puppets
    66


    So you relativize ethical good and bad, right and wrong, not to individual tastes, attitudes, moods, and general dispositions, but to a multitude of "selves" within the composite historical ethical agency.Constance

    That's pretty close. You see, I'm considering multiple things here. First, it seems as if morality is subjective insofar as it has subjective variability between individual subjects, just like there is aesthetic variability between individual subjects. What I mean by subjective variability is the range of possible values for any measurable or immeasurable characteristic, physical or psychological, both interchanges between multiple subjects and exchanges between an individual subject and the continuous fluctuations between their environment.

    Second, it seems that in order for moral statements to be truth-apt they must be describing the psychological states of the individual subject who is expressing a belief or performing an act that is being described in the moral statement. For example, if a man named Andrew makes the statement, "Stealing is wrong," what that translates into is, "Andrew has a preference against stealing" or "Andrew has a negative attitude when it comes to stealing". Now, some psychological states are more cognitive and some are more emotive (e.g., a rational belief vs a irrational feeling) and this I have to hash out further.

    As of right now, I'm running under the assumption that both moral and other evaluative statements can be considered propositions if and only if they are describing the psychological states of the individual subject they are indexed to. So, the statement from the previous example would be a description of Andrews psychological states and attitudes toward the act of stealing. Thus, it is a true statement that corresponds with the psychological fact that Andrew disapproves of stealing. As you can see, this is a translation of a descriptive declarative sentence structure that is describing the way reality is in an objective way, into a descriptive declarative sentence structure that is describing the way reality is perceived and evaluated in a subjective way. It is nonetheless a factual statement about the psychological states of the individual subject the statement is indexed to.

    Alas, it seems that we must relativize morality down to the individual and translate moral statements under a proper interpretation of subjective metaethical semantics. However, a problem arises within the logic thus far, namely the imprecision of the term used to describe the individual subject. Here, we use the term 'subject' in two different contexts. So from now on the term 'philosophical subject' will be used when describing the individual subject who is a thinking and feeling entity with a conscious mind; and the term 'grammatical subject' will be used when describing the noun phrase of a proposition, being the element about which the statement is predicated.

    Third, the imprecision lies in our failure to consider what I would call the mereological identity of the philosophical subject who is represented as the truth-bearing grammatical subject of the proposition. In other words, within the grammatical structure of the clause in the statement, "Andrew disapproves of stealing," the term 'Andrew' is the noun functioning as the grammatical subject to which the clause is predicated upon (the noun which the sentence is about) and the verb phrase 'Disapproves of stealing,' is the grammatical predicate of the clause in the statement that tells us what the subject is doing in the sentence. The problem is whether or not the grammatical subject of the statement accurately represents the philosophical subject that is indexed to grammatical predicate.

    Since both the subject and the predicate of the statement contain contextual variables, the statement may be true or false depending on whether or not the values of these variables represent the full context and the actual state of affairs of the surrounding environment at the instant the statement was made. The grammatical subject may or may not be representative of the psychological subject to which the moral statement purports to describe the psychological states of. This would be a form of ambiguity and a potential for equivocation regarding the definition of the indexical term which functions as the grammatical subject and represents the philosophical subject. This is because the philosophical subject does not maintain fixed physiological or psychological states between phenomenological frames of reference which means that the identity of the philosophical subject must necessarily change between phenomenological frames of reference over the philosophical subjects composite history.

    This has to do with what I called the philosophical subjects mereological identity. Mereological identity is the view that the identity of an object depends on the identity of the objects compositional parts. And, furthermore, that the sameness of an objects compositional parts is a necessary condition of the identity of the object as a whole. So, when it comes to an individual philosophical subject, not only does the grammatical subject rely on precise indexical content that may vary from context to context, but it must also capture the philosophical subjects indexical characteristics, which is its mereological identity with regards to the whole of its physiological and psychological parts. And, the philosophical subjects physiological and psychological mereology undergoes constant compositional fluctuations as an open physical and psychological system which renders novel phenomenological states.

    That is, fluctuations occur both as a material system in which energy and mass is exchanged between the physical environment, and as an immaterial system in which perceptions, thoughts, memories, emotions, desires, etc, are exchanged between a philosophical subject and their subjective experiential environment, as well as, the social interchange between their intersubjective experiential environment.

    This ultimately comes down to navigating around violations of the law of identity and the law of excluded middle. Allow me to explain in a bit.

    When it comes to human behavior, there are a lot of factors which play a role in influencing how we behave. Some of these factors are abstract structures which may be psychological, sociological, cultural or even societal. Examples of such structures would include: assertiveness, your gender, your race, your sexual orientation, your language and your ethnicity, government entities, laws and institutions, etc. All of these things are constantly changing and thus constantly changing the way they influence your behavior. All of these things are also related, if not contingent upon the physical material of the environment which is all interconnected through causality and emerges from the same mereological simples of the quantum realm.

    Consider the metaphysical thought experiment concerning the compositional identity of the ship of Theseus. Just as changing out the rotted planks of wood gives the ship a fundamentally new mereological identity, so too does the mereological identity of our body change with its physical composition constantly being exchanged with the physical composition of its environment. This would also be the case with our constantly changing psychological states.

    I think that in order for moral statements to be truth apt, the truth aptness must be dependent upon the psychological states (which is represented by the grammatical predicate) of individual philosophical subject (which is represented by the grammatical subject) that the statement is indexed to. Furthermore, it is necessary for moral statements to be indexed as the grammatical predicates next to the grammatical subject which represents the specific mereological identity of the individual philosophical subject relative to the sum of its mereological parts and in context with the overall state of affairs surrounding it within its environment at a particular point in history.

    We can think of the environment as a mereological whole or otherwise as a complex system within a larger more complex system, within a (perhaps infinite) number of subsequent systems that are not isolated and thus are undergoing physical exchange which emerges into chemical exchange and emerges into biological, psychological, and sociological interchange between various ecological systems and living intelligent systems of individual philosophical subjects who  identify themselves with the present phenomenological frame of reference within a stream of conscious experiences.

    Seeing that each individual philosophical subject seems to be undergoing these constant changes that fundamentally alters their identity, it would be violating the law of identity to not consider the totality of composite material and mental parts that define the identity of an agent. Therefore, it is necessary to specify all the contextual specificities which means relativizing to such degrees of precision in order to make the moral statement in question retain meaning and be capable of being true or false. Also, it would be a violation to the law of excluded middle if a moral statement could be both true and false when indexed next to the same generic grammatical subject without specifying any differential properties or compositions to the philisophical subjects mereological identify.

    I'm considering both the law of identity and the law of excluded middle here. You have heard my arguments pertaining to the physical and phenomenological composition of an individual philosophical subjects mereological identity and from there you can hopefully appreciate why I have considered all the contextual factors that go into indexicals of a moral statement. Now, consider the law of excluded middle: this law of thought states that for every proposition, either this proposition or its negation is true. Just as with the problem of navigation around the law of identity by conceding the fact that the individual philosophical subject who in a moral statement is represented by the grammatical subject (what or who the sentence is about) relates to the action or attitude towards an act, which is represented by the grammatical predicate (what the subject is or is doing) of the moral statement, it is necessary to include the specific values of all the relative contextual variables that make up the mereological sum when considering the truth value of propositions within an argument.

    To get a better idea, consider the following hypothetical: an 8-year-old girl named Misty believes in Santa Claus, thus the proposition, "Misty believes in Santa Claus," is true. In one years time, the now 9-year-old girl named Misty no longer believes in Santa Claus. Does this mean that the proposition, "Misty believes in Santa Claus," is now false, thus its negation is true? Or, does this mean that both the proposition and its negation are true?

    I think neither option is the case because I think that these are two different propositions about the attitudes of two different individuals. The 9-year-old Misty who doesn't believe in Santa Claus is not the same individual as she was when she was an 8-year-old girl who did believe in Santa Claus.

    This is the case with regards to our physical compositions as well. If we define a person as the individual with all of the properties and mereology of composite parts who stands before us, then that person would no longer meet the compositional criteria that once defined them. I assume you realize that we are quantum systems and are thus undergoing a constant state of energy and material exchange with the quantum systems which make up our environment. Just because we are unable to distinguish between such micro-level changes does not mean that they don't occur and subsequently alter the material composition which defined us a fraction of a second before.

    How does one ever make a determination as to what an ethical agency is when the concept is so fleeting and disjointed? It seems you pin the metaethical question, what is the nature of ethical goodness and badness? on unpinnable actualities.Constance

    I'm not sure that it is possible to do so on this logic. I am afraid that such is not a requisite capability and that the truth may be that we cannot.

    All you bring out is there, but then once this is exhausted, there is the pain, that is, pain simplicter. This is the metaethical "real" that is the material foundation for ethical attitudes and judgment. This is irreducible. (Not that the language used to talk about it is irreducible, but the injunction not to apply a flame to a living finger is. Wittgenstein would have agreed. He would just refuse to talk about it.)Constance

    Pain? So morality is reducible to a hedonistic unit representing negative utility? But, pain is also subjective. Some people associate the same stimuli that others report as pain, but as pleasure. Think of the masochist. Pain seems to be just as arbitrary and mind-dependent as any other psychological state.
  • Cartesian trigger-puppets
    66
    t

    Pop I agree with everything you said , but it doesn’t sound like Cartesian trigger-puppets would accept that empirical facts are dependent on and a product of subjective organizationJoshs

    I intuitively agree with that statement. Let's see, a fact is that which has been proven to be the case with evidence. That which is empirical is a type of information which is gained on the basis of experience or observation. So, empirical facts are that which has been proven to be the case with evidence derived from experience or observation. The question is, then, whether or not facts, which have been proven with evidence that we can experience or observe, are indeed dependent on and a product of subjective organization?

    Subjective organization would be the organization of our subjective states. To organize something is a process of arranging things systematically, such as thoughts or statements in a logical order. What is subjective pertains to the observing subject rather than the the object being observed. Subjective states include thoughts, ideas, feelings and beliefs which have the property of being perceived rather than having the property of being an objective feature of the world. So, subjective organization would be something like a cognitive process of arranging thoughts and ideas systematically and logically in order to gain a more holistic understanding of how sensory data that you already possess can be refined into novel information that is meaningful and useful.

    I would agree that we can organize specific data a priory and then draw general conclusions from it such as with an inductive inference, that goes takes specific piece of data and generalizes it into a novel idea or inference. I also understand that such information is reliant on a posteriori data that is gathered through sensory experience which can be used in a top-down process in order to see whether or not a general idea or an uncertain assumption can be logically deduced to a more specific idea or a certain conclusion—or in other words, a fact.

    If this is what was the point in question was, then yes, I accept that the statement is accurate. Is there a contradiction entailed somewhere by my affirming of those propositions?
  • Joshs
    1.4k
    Is there a contradiction entailed somewhere by my affirming of those propositions?Cartesian trigger-puppets

    Yes, I think there is. Your model maintains a fact-value distinction that can’t justify itself, according to analytically trained philosophers like Quine, Putnam and Rorty. All facts get their sense via larger valuative schemes within which they are ensconced. It is incoherent to talk about facts or sense data that is what it is independent of the perceiver.

    “Contrary to popular opinion and many philosophical epistemologies, knowledge does not involve the union or synthesis of an already existing subject and an independent object.” Mark Taylor

    Subjectivity doesn’t just organize and categorize data from an presumed independent world. The subject co-creates the object.
  • Cartesian trigger-puppets
    66


    Is there a contradiction entailed somewhere by my affirming of those propositions?
    — Cartesian trigger-puppets

    Yes, I think there is.
    Joshs

    Just to be clear, by affirming the propositions "Empirical facts are dependent on subjective organization," and "Empirical facts are a product of subjective organization," I have somehow contradicted myself? If so, I really would like to identify it. Could you please tell me which propositions form the contradiction?

    Your model maintains a fact-value distinction that can’t justify itselfJoshs

    Could you elaborate on this?

    All facts get their sense via larger valuative schemes within which they are ensconced.Joshs

    And, could you clarify what you mean by this?

    It is incoherent to talk about facts or sense data that is what it is independent of the perceiver.Joshs

    I don't talk about sense-data that is independent of the perceiver. That is indeed incoherent.

    Subjectivity doesn’t just organize and categorize data from an presumed independent world. The subject co-creates the object.Joshs

    I agree with you fundamentally here. Most, if not all the properties associated with an object (as we experience it) are perceptually constructed and cannot belong to an object in itself independent of perception.
  • Cartesian trigger-puppets
    66


    ...It doesn’t sound like Cartesian trigger-puppets would accept that empirical facts are dependent on and a product of subjective organization.
    — Joshs

    All we can do is plant a seed or two and wait to see if they sprout - unfortunately it cant happen overnight.
    Pop

    I am curious as to why you doubt that I would accept such a statement. It seems to be the case to me. What have I said to make you think otherwise?
  • Joshs
    1.4k
    by affirming the propositions "Empirical facts are dependent on subjective organization," and "Empirical facts are a product of subjective organization," I have somehow contradicted myself?Cartesian trigger-puppets

    I didn’t mean that you contradicted yourself. I meant that your position may contradict an enactivist or postmodern account of subjectivity.

    Most, if not all the properties associated with an object (as we experience it) are perceptually constructed and cannot belong to an object in itself independent of perception.Cartesian trigger-puppets

    I’m not sure whether you mean this in a Kantian sense or a postmodern sense. Kant recognizes that there is no direct apprehension of a world, and that is what our interpretive faculties are for. But he believes that our empirical interpretations and theories strive to approximate a presumed objective world.

    The enactivista believe , by contrast, that our empirical models are not an attempt to adequately represent a pre-existing external world , but the production of a world. We invent worlds to pragmatically interact with. Some of these worlds are more useful to us than others in relation to our needs and goals.
  • Pop
    703
    I am curious as to why you doubt that I would accept such a statement. It seems to be the case to me. What have I said to make you think otherwise?Cartesian trigger-puppets

    Actually I thought we were fairly close, hence my paraphrasing. I think you put it quite well in your reply to Constance. In short, morality is a function of self organization, where the preservation and continuation of self is the main issue at play, where consciousness is an evolving process of self organization, where the self evolves in line with the self organization that is achieved. Morality being a self interested expression / reflection of the state of self organization achieved at any given time.

    the philosophical subjects physiological and psychological mereology undergoes constant compositional fluctuations as an open physical and psychological system which renders novel phenomenological states.Cartesian trigger-puppets
    :up:
  • Pop
    703
    Subjectivity doesn’t just organize and categorize data from an presumed independent world. The subject co-creates the object.
    — Joshs

    I agree with you fundamentally here. Most, if not all the properties associated with an object (as we experience it) are perceptually constructed and cannot belong to an object in itself independent of perception.
    Cartesian trigger-puppets

    If we take this to its logical conclusion, it means there is no consciousness independent world. It would suggest consciousness ( as self organization ) is fundamental. ultimate , and everything in between. This relates to the fine tuning of the universe argument, in that the universe is fine tuned to self organize. Change the laws of physics just a little and things cold not self organize, they could not integrate. In such a universe information could not be integrated, consciousness could not exist, and for all intents and purposes neither could the universe. Any thoughts?
  • Cartesian trigger-puppets
    66


    Most, if not all the properties associated with an object (as we experience it) are perceptually constructed and cannot belong to an object in itself independent of perception.
    — Cartesian trigger-puppets

    If we take this to its logical conclusion, it means there is no consciousness independent world.
    Pop

    It means that we cannot experience it as it is, if it is the case that it exists as this presupposed mind-independent world. This is necessarily the case because every bit of information we seem to receive from this assumed external reality comes to us by virtue of nervous impulses in the form of electrical and chemical signals. Every bit of information comes to us through nervous signals that travel from sensory neurons exited from receiving a stimulus to carry this information through each neuron via an electrical impulse and between neurons via chemical impulse as neurotransmitters travel across the synapse and signal to downstream neurons. This process of synaptic transmission continues over networks of interconnected neurons which carry the integrating information until it reaches the brain which processes the information and communicates with the rest of the body.

    That is the extent to which we know this presupposed; external, mind-independent world. Internal neural transmission of information that begins at the point of a stimulus. It is all internal but corresponds with our perceptual experience of an external environment — which is also internally constructed.

    The logic leads to agnosticism regarding the existence or non-existence of an external mind-independent world. Which unfortunately renders the rest of your theory into fundamental uncertainty which contaminates our metaphysical beliefs.
  • Pop
    703
    Yes, It comes to us as energetic frequency and vibration, that is integrated as information in consciousness, via neurobiology.
    Either we cannot experience it, or what we experience is all there is, all that can be, and so what there is is not a singular thing, but just many different interpretations of it.

    I can not say I like it, but that's where the logic seems to lead.

    Edit; Yogic logic also ends in consciousness / panpsychism.
  • Cartesian trigger-puppets
    66


    I have read practically nothing related to postmodernism. Not that I am biased against the movement. I like Chomsky quite a bit. I very much so doubt that it deserves all of the stigma that public intellectuals such as Jordan Peterson would mark it as. I read this abstract and it reminded me of Peterson's fixation with stories, archetypes, narrative inquiries and other approaches similar to phenomenology.

    https://doi.org/10.1007/s11097-011-9216-0

    I wonder if this is why Peterson paints such an detestable picture of postmodernism, and perhaps these postmodern enactivista you have introduced me to.
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