• Down The Rabbit Hole
    469


    Oh please. Literally every answer begs another question. All of them. How then is that a useful basis for your argument againstBenj96

    That's only if you are asking different questions to each answer.

    If you keep asking why something is morally bad, eventually the answer to the question is because you feel it is bad. It is all built upon your feelings.

    "Why is life good? Because we are still here."Benj96

    Discounting those that don't want to be here, or are indifferent to being here, the fact we are still here would at best mean we prefer to be here. Why would it be good for us to get what we prefer?
  • Benj96
    1.7k
    there must be an actual system in place that determines actual morality,Leftist

    There is such a system. Demonstration. Trial and error and the lasting impacts of that outcome on you (guilt, shame, pride, contentment) whatever the case.

    What morality is can be learned through experience. Thats why we have to tell children to share not steal, and wait their turn not push to the front.

    It's pretty basic. We can convolute it as much as we want with terminology, jargon and esoteric language but at the end of the day morality deals with the simple question "do you think you're more valuable/important/better than others?"

    In other words "do you think you're the center of the universe and everyone else ought revolve around your whims?"

    If so, you had better offer a damn fine reason why. Otherwise make space and tolerate other people's choices and beliefs. Don't harm them just because they don't match yours.
  • frank
    12.4k
    The only thing that should be done are things which are good. Good things should be done.Leftist

    In the OP you were going by moral nihilism (there are no true moral claims). Now you're defining good as what should be done. @Metaphysician Undercover, isn't that Aristotelian?

    Aristotle also spoke of necessary evils, like slavery. You could argue that torture is sometimes a necessary evil (although the CIA disagrees), but that just means it's both good and bad.
  • I like sushi
    4k
    Next you will be telling me ‘good’ is ‘bad’ and ‘suffering’ is a form of ‘pleasure’.

    There are certain parameters under which language functions and is understood. If you refer to ‘torture’ as not being something nasty it does not mean that ‘torture’ suddenly stops being ‘nasty’ only that you have decided to pass the ‘nastiness’ on to some other term.

    Think of instances where people do not starve to death anymore because the government bans ‘starvation’ as a reason for death on death certificates … can people no longer die of ‘starvation’ or has the government merely prevented the language term from being used to implicate death.
  • Down The Rabbit Hole
    469


    Our feelings of what is morally right and wrong clash with other people's feelings of what is morally right and wrong. Who is right, the consequentialist or the deontologist, and why?
  • Moliere
    2.9k
    If there are no moral truths, every moral claim is false.Leftist

    What if the moral claims are simply not truth-apt? Like the fictional universe of Star Trek, we posit moral worlds (and, actually, Star Trek kind of does fit the notion of a fictional world that is particularly motivated by moral thoughts).

    And if you were in the middle of watching Star Trek and told someone watching it "You know this isn't real, right?" -- well, it'd be a queer question. You'd seem to have missed the point of Star Trek.

    And so it seems to me that you've missed the point of morality. Who cares that it's not "true"? That doesn't bother me. Nor does breaking the "rule" of non-contradiction, from time to time.
  • Benj96
    1.7k
    Discounting those that don't want to be here, or are indifferent to being here, the fact we are still here would at best mean we prefer to be here. Why would it be good for us to get what we prefer?Down The Rabbit Hole

    Those that truly don't want to be here are in the active process of suicide. A state that doesn't last very long as it is either successful or failed and they are either incapacitated or incarcerated in a pysche ward.

    Those that are indifferent to being here don't participate in these discussions as they don't care, they're apathetic.

    For the rest, we are here because we hold onto hope that things can be good. We are not hopeless. And so continue living.

    As for why it would be good for us to get what we prefer, when we are talking about being alive verse being dead, we have already gotten what we prefer by virtue of still being alive.

    The dead have no say. They don't have a choice to get what they prefer as they don't exist as a living "I".

    So the question of why it's" good to get what we prefer" is redundant - already answered by the fact that we are alive.
    We prefer to live and so we do. The question is self resolving by the fact we continue to Exist.

    When we think being alive isn't good then we either become suicidal or an antinatalist - blaming everyone else for existence.

    But when we enjoy living. And think its good, our justifications come from maintaining our right to live. And thus harm (increasing the likelihood of death) is bad. And through empathy/comparison we can understand that others also wish to live and, as we are, ought to also be allowed to. So harm to others is also bad.

    It's the basic logic that emerges from one's own existence.
  • Down The Rabbit Hole
    469


    Well, I agree with @Moliere:

    And so it seems to me that you've missed the point of morality. Who cares that it's not "true"?Moliere

    I am strongly opposed to causing suffering irrespective of whether it is morally wrong.
  • T Clark
    11.4k
    These are my actual beliefs.Leftist

    I didn't doubt they're your actual beliefs.
  • I like sushi
    4k
    Why are you asking? My point was that ‘torture’ is not something people regard as ‘right’ or it would be called something else like ‘hugging’.

    The OP stated that if ‘torture’ is bad then there must be a ‘moral truth’. Why did they say this? No idea. They just asserted it.

    Torture is bad. It can also be argued that ‘bad’ things can be done for ‘good’ reasons. I am not neglecting here that torture is bas ONLY marking that there are exceptions under which a ‘bad’ act can be deemed as better than not doing said ‘bad’ act in the long run.

    Show me that someone (other than a masochist or someone otherwise deranged) actively seeks out torture and I will eat my words. Torture is bad is NOT the same as saying torture is ALWAYS wrong.
  • Benj96
    1.7k
    I am strongly opposed to causing suffering irrespective of whether it is morally wrong.Down The Rabbit Hole

    So am I. I don't wish to cause suffering. So what exactly are we arguing/discussing?
  • javra
    1.9k
    There are no correct moral claims. People only have incorrect opinions on what's good/bad, what should/shouldn't exist.

    To say that torture is bad is to say that moral claims can be true. If moral facts could not ever be true, the torture would not be bad, there would be no reason to prevent torture.
    Leftist

    Value judgements have connection to truth in that value judgements can be correct or incorrect. [...] They must all always be incorrect claims, if it is true that no claims made of value can be true. Otherwise, there must be an actual system in place that determines actual morality, much more than just "x people think y should be done, therefore y should actually be done".Leftist

    What your posts seem to be asking for is some substantial argument for the occurrence of a universal good that is always existentially correct. Something akin to what Plato addresses as “the Good”. I say, good luck with that.

    Until then, here is one example wherein value judgments can be correct and incorrect:

    You want to visit a relative who lives in some distant part of the world across some ocean, and this in a relatively short period of time. To accomplish this feat, you will need to fly there.

    Here are two conceivable options: a) going to the top of some tall building and jumping off of it while flapping one’s arms so as to fly to the given destination; b) investing some money in an airplane ticket so as to fly to the given destination.

    If one deems option (a) to be the good option to take, this being a value judgment, the value judgment would be incorrect - for (a) cannot fulfill one’s want. Deeming option (b) to be the good option to take, however, would be a correct value judgment - for (b) readily can fulfill one’s want.

    Here, the correctitude or incorrectitude of the matter in no way relies upon what a majority of people think.

    Therefore, value judgments can indeed be correct or incorrect, as I think this example makes clear. While this doesn’t account for everything, it to my mind does demonstrate that value nihilism - a position maintaining that no value judgment can be correct or else incorrect - is an erroneous position.

    Which in turn evidences the logical possibility that at least some moral claims can be correct or incorrect. To be clear, I'm not here going to uphold that they in fact are ... but am only suggesting that it's logically possible that they might be.
  • SophistiCat
    2.1k
    @Leftist seems to be reasoning from the error theory, except that Leftist doesn't quite get it. Leftist doesn't get that the error theory is a metaethical position: it is concerned with the nature of moral talk. It doesn't, for example, conclude that "torture is fine," nor does it conclude that "torture is wrong." It concludes that both statements are false - more or less for the reasons that Leftist gives: because they lack truthmakers. There is nothing in the world that could make something good, bad, or even morally neutral. That doesn't imply moral nihilism though.
  • Down The Rabbit Hole
    469


    Our feelings of what is morally right and wrong clash with other people's feelings of what is morally right and wrong.Down The Rabbit Hole

    Show me that someone (other than a masochist or someone otherwise deranged) actively seeks out torture and I will eat my words.I like sushi

    The problem is the foundation of your truth statement (your feelings) is the same foundation as the masochist and deranged people's foundation of their contrary truth statement.

    Who is right, the consequentialist or the deontologist, and why?Down The Rabbit Hole

    Why are you asking?I like sushi

    The most obvious example is the difference between consequentialists and deontologists. Which group is right, and why?
  • Moliere
    2.9k
    Yeh, I think you're right.

    When I want to make safe meta-ethical claims, error theory is home base.

    Just... you can only draw the conclusions @Leftist is drawing if you care about much more than the truth-aptness of statements within the formal category of "moral" :D

    Hence my attack on caring -- but, maybe it won't connect. That was the idea, though.
  • Down The Rabbit Hole
    469


    So am I. I don't wish to cause suffering. So what exactly are we arguing/discussing?Benj96

    It is more academic than of practical consequence.

    I don't know if you're a consequentialist or deontologist, but my position would be that whichever group you fall into, you are no more right than the other group is. You just have different preferences.
  • hypericin
    891
    You are implicitly reifying morality, then complaining that it does not meet your absurd requirement.

    Humans are cooperative animals. Morality is a conceptual framework which facilitates cooperation, by prescribing cooperative behavior (behavior that benefits others, especially at one's expense) and proscribing uncooperative behavior (behavior that harms others, especially at one's benefit). For a moral claim to be"true" just means that it is consistent with cooperative behavior.

    So, torture is unproblematically bad if done for mere sadism, as it is harming others for your benefit. If done for a purported "greater good", more sophisticated moral arguments must be deployed showing why this is or isn't cooperative.

    But to require that the claim is True in some deeper, perhaps platonic sense, is just absurd.
  • Tom Storm
    6.2k
    I agree with the rest, with the note that all their views and claims regarding good/bad are false.Leftist

    For me true and false don't need to come into this. Communities set intersubjective agreements about how they should conduct social interaction based on agreed values. It's interesting that most communities around the world seem to come to similar intuitions about values and conduct. It is probably common sense that murder, theft, rape and torture are mostly proscribed in communities around the globe, regardless of religious beliefs.

    Value judgements have connection to truth in that value judgements can be correct or incorrect. You can't just randomly decide something actually should be done, or shouldn't be done, and be correct.Leftist

    It's more complex and far from random. We accept social customs, codes, prohibitions and interdictions based on tradition and superstition and experience, and common sense - none of which need to be true. Which is why humans believe in a lot of strange things as well as a lot of sensible things.
  • I like sushi
    4k
    You mean ‘right’ or ‘correct’? Which is ‘right’? Both. Which is ‘correct’ neither.
  • I like sushi
    4k
    Torture can be ‘right’ but it is never ‘good’ or we would not call it ‘torture’. Why is that so hard to grasp? That was my point about the OP.
  • Benj96
    1.7k
    It is more academic than of practical consequence.

    I don't know if you're a consequentialist or deontologist, but my position would be that whichever group you fall into, you are no more right than the other group is. You just have different preferences.
    Down The Rabbit Hole

    Agreed. However I don't ascribe fully to either consequantialism or deontological ethics. I regard both as important and required in balanced consideration to make something effectively moral.

    Consequantialism retrospectively determines the morality of an action by its outcome. It lives in hindsight. And doesn't value initial intention only the effect.

    But as we know from miscommunication. The most wholesome acts can be twisted and corrupted by a game of "chinese whispers" . Leading to a bad outcome.

    Consequentialism would state that the initial good doer is responsible for the product of how everyone else chose to interpret them or use it as a device for their own intentions. It doesn't consider existence of culpability between the original act and the final outcome.

    On the other side, deontology rests on anticipation/ foresight.
    It assumes one must be able to predict all possible variables between the initial intention/action and the outcome. In essence judging or factoring in the culpability of any intermediaries (whether that be processes, or people acts etc). An exercise almost tantamount to prophecy.

    For me, consequences are important, initial intention is important, and the level of reasoning, knowledge and predictive ability - the underlying principle that determines the path from intention to consequence, yes again, is important.

    So to take a side, to be a consequentialist or a deontologist, for me is absurd. Both have input into what morality is. But they don't equal the answer. They aren't moral by themselves while negating the input of the other side.

    Consequentialists blame dismissing intention. Deontologist try to rationalise the best/most principled/predictive (Good) intention without taking responsibility for how it leads to a consequence.
  • Down The Rabbit Hole
    469


    The most obvious example is the difference between consequentialists and deontologists. Which group is right, and why?Down The Rabbit Hole

    You mean ‘right’ or ‘correct’? Which is ‘right’? Both. Which is ‘correct’ neither.I like sushi

    I use "morally right" and "morally correct" interchangeably.

    Are you using "right" to mean "good"? That's fair enough, but I still wouldn't say two conflicting positions are both good.
  • Benj96
    1.7k
    That's fair enough, but I still wouldn't say two conflicting positions are both good.Down The Rabbit Hole

    Easy. Mother cleans daughters room as she sees she's very busy/under stress (mother - good intention).

    Daughter (consequentialist - angry because she now doesn't know where her dissertation is and the deadline is in 2 hrs).

    Both had good reasons to do/say what they said.

    Resolution is outside the argument: daughter emails situation to professor, (s)he extends her deadline giving her time to find the dissertation.

    Now that the consequence is gone, daughter can agree with the mothers good intentions. Now that the mother fully appreciates all the possible consequences, she can agree that perhaps good intentions are not enough by themselves. They both learn about the axis of morality.

    Therefore deontology and consequentialism are not a paradox. Or at the very least the paradox can be removed by a third person outside of the direct conflict.
  • Down The Rabbit Hole
    469


    The proponents of both consequentialism and deontology having good intentions is different to consequentialism and deontology being good. I'm going to say it - Hitler believed what it was doing was good, it doesn't make what he was doing good. Same for less extreme examples.
  • Leftist
    12

    I don't understand that at all. If nothing can be good, or bad, how can anything ever be good, or bad?
  • Benj96
    1.7k
    The proponents of both consequentialism and deontology having good intentions is different to consequentialism and deontology being good. I'm going to say it - Hitler believed what it was doing was good, it doesn't make what he was doing good. Same for less extreme examples.Down The Rabbit Hole

    Well no, not the same for less extreme examples because if Hitlers acts were in fact very bad (which I think most people would agree they were), then less extreme examples are those that are less bad and more neutral. And then on the opposite end of the spectrum would be those that are neutral-slightly good, good, very good and extremely good.

    This is ofc course only the case in reference to people who think hitler was really bad (the majority, myself included). Neonazis would probably think differently as I'm sure Hitlers closest comrades at the time did. He must have been toxically persuasive to any un assuming layman (good at hiding his agenda and even better at manipulating people into doing his bidding for him).

    You cant have extremely bad (Hitler) without extremely good (?). But where are these opposing examples to narcissistic, power hungry, autocratic dictators? Where are the heroes in the plot?

    I suppose we don't know who those people are because I'd imagine they prefer to not take power from others and rise to the top of our hierarchies of fame, glory and recognition. They likely empower others to do that in the name of what's extremely good, and hope they continue to seek council from them, if they know what's good for them anymore that is.

    Basically, if we can collectively judge one person as the most evil, sinister and malevolent person alive, then by those same grounds we must be able to identify the opposite person.

    But because one lies about the other, and the other only tells the truth (contradictory nature), for everyone else in-between - it's moral relativism. They don't know who to listen to entirely and that's a dilemma.
    For the two extremes however, it's actual morality.

    Literally all of our best theater, movies, literature etc and even historical figures are about a protagonist which is misunderstood (no one knows they are truly the protagonist) and they are misunderstood because of the persuasive abilities of the villain. And in the end comes some big climax where the hero and villain come face to face and reckon with one another. We as the audience watch a story of the interplay between moral relativism (the I don't knows of the spectators, scratching the heads in the middle) and moral actuality (the good - the hero and the bad - the villain).

    Everyone wants a Hero (moral). Nobody wants to be the hero. (relativism).
  • Benj96
    1.7k
    I don't understand that at all. If nothing can be good, or bad, how can anything ever be good, or bad?Leftist

    It can be good or bad. You feel intuitively what's good when you experience the sensation. You know it because you felt it before. Why and when you experience the sensation of goodness however, is defined by the personal qualities you apply to it. That's relative. Ie. It's different for everyone

    If you apply the idea of money to "good" in your mind then you will feel good when you get paid, and feel bad when in debt.

    You can change not only what you apply to the idea of good (the quality) but also the amount of things that are good (the quantity).
    In both cases that doesn't mean good doesn't exist. It just means it's open to how we choose to accept it/reject it, how we choose to define it.
    Hope (an inkling that good is still there despite no evidence for it) is the last good thing felt by a depressed person before they lose it, and their life.
  • I like sushi
    4k
    Torture is not a positive term. If you cannot except that there is no room for discussion because you are not speaking the kind of English I am familiar with.

    We can certainly disagree about what constitutes ‘torture’ and it is likely within that problem you have misunderstood what I was saying.

    These are human terms used by humans to explain human phenomenon as if we are able to take a step back and look upon ourselves ‘passively’ and ‘objectively’ (two terms that are also part of our understanding of the human condition).

    Morality is immoral in practice and ethics is unethical in practice. They are just markers we use nothing more.
  • Vera Mont
    1.1k
    "The community creates moral truths."

    I attribute this argument to Michael and Vera Mont.
    It was not explicitly stated that the community creates moral truths, but that's the implication.
    Leftist

    That is an incorrect attribution. I neither said nor implied anything about "moral truths" I did explicitly say the opposite: that truth and falsehood are not a function of morality.
  • Vera Mont
    1.1k
    Value judgements have connection to truth in that value judgements can be correct or incorrect. You can't just randomly decide something actually should be done, or shouldn't be done, and be correct.Leftist

    There is nothing random about the basis on which people decided what is correct and incorrect behaviour. Their opinion is based on a consensus of principles and belief, which in turn are based on the "truths" of physics and biology. How things in the world work and affect one another determine what happens when we take certain actions. What we desire to happen, therefore, determines which of those actions we choose. If we chose the action that produced the desired result, we have chosen correctly. If the result is undesirable, we have chosen incorrectly.

    If you enjoyed the experience of torturing people with a hammer and toothpicks, you achieved a desired outcome, and so your choice was correct. However, if the townspeople come after you, chain you to stake and light a fire under your feet, it may amuse them, but is unlikely to please you. Was your decision still correct? It's not about T or F; it's about degree of correctness according to the outcome.
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