• Down The Rabbit Hole
    457


    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).Benj96

    Luckily people have learnt from history and wouldn't be taken in by a charismatic conman :grimace:
  • Down The Rabbit Hole
    457


    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.I like sushi

    But, good, bad, negative, positive, are all value judgments. A preference is not.

    When you say it is bad/negative to unduly torture, is it bad/negative because most people are opposed to it or because you feel it is bad/negative? Neither is reason to be saying it is bad/negative in my view, and the problem is more obvious when large amounts of people disagree with each other, such as with consequentialists and deontologists.

    In everyday life I am happy to use good and bad in the loose sense of what my preference is. But all it is really is a preference.
  • I like sushi
    4k
    You must be stupid or simply trolling. I never said “unduly”.

    Like I said, nothing more to discuss.

    Bye bye
  • Vera Mont
    313
    In everyday life I am happy to use good and bad in the loose sense of what my preference isDown The Rabbit Hole

    When a group that constitutes a community, organization or government shares a belief of some kind - true or false matters not in the slightest!
    to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them
    - and a decisive majority, or a sufficiently powerful minority of them express a preference, they write that into a constitution upon which the code of law is subsequently based. When a majority of people - or a minority with majority political clout - share a preference that falls within the parameters of the constitution, it's written into law. At any given moment in time, some of the citizens disobey the law and are deemed by fellow citizens to be doing "wrong", and therefore punished. When a majority or substantial minority no longer share that preference, the law is disregarded and eventually challenged; struck off the books or amended.
  • Down The Rabbit Hole
    457


    If I was to use "bad" in the loose sense, it would be for things such as this:

    I will continue to eat meat without an ounce of guiltI like sushi
  • Vera Mont
    313
    If I was to use "bad" in the loose sense, it would be for things such as this:Down The Rabbit Hole
    I will continue to eat meat without an ounce of guiltI like sushi

    Yeah, but that was said to a moron ^^, not mere troll/stupid person. Sushi sets a high intellectual bar, but at least there's raw fish on it.
  • Down The Rabbit Hole
    457


    Yeah, but that was said to a moron ^^, not mere troll/stupid person.Vera Mont

    :lol:
  • SophistiCat
    2k
    What if the moral claims are simply not truth-apt?Moliere

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

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

    If you are referring to the above (moral claims are not truth-apt), that is non-cognitivism, rather than error theory. Error theorists (and Leftist, if I am not mistaken) maintain that moral claims have the grammatical structure and the apparent intention of saying something true about the world (the real world, not a fictional universe of Star Trek, for example). But that (they argue) is a mistake, because for a moral claim to be true, there ultimately needs to be something out in the (real) world that has the property of being good or bad or otherwise morally flavored, and there are no such things.

    However, when error theorists say that it is not true that "torture is bad," they do not therefore mean to say that "torture is fine": that would be repeating the same mistake. Indeed, all this theorizing does not necessarily imply anything about common morality. All it means (if you accept their arguments) is that moral talk is confused. But you don't have to change your moral attitudes on that account. The appropriate therapy would be to fix the philosophical language, rather than behavior.
  • Moliere
    2.4k
    You know what's fine? Torturing human beings.

    But what really gets my goat is when people believe ""Killing is wrong" is true" -- unforgivable.
  • Vera Mont
    313
    But that (they argue) is a mistake, because for a moral claim to be true, there ultimately needs to be something out in the (real) world that has the property of being good or bad or otherwise morally flavored, and there are no such things.SophistiCat

    There are no such things as regards physics. There are such things as regards biology. For biology to operate, life is a necessity and the sustenance of life is therefore inherently good. A moral claim based on that premise may not universally true, since much of the universe is non-living, but it is true for a class of material entities known as organisms.
  • SophistiCat
    2k
    If nothing can be good, or bad, how can anything ever be good, or bad?Leftist

    Your question is (perhaps deliberately) unclear. If you are bothered by the apparent tension between moral talk (locutions such as "torture is bad") and the ontology that denies moral properties, then there are several ways out of this conundrum: fix the language, reconsider the argument about the language (perhaps embrace non-cognitivism instead), reconsider ontology (perhaps abandon moral realism).

    What should not be in question is what we actually mean when we say things like "torture is bad." What we care about when we say these things (@Moliere) is neither language nor ontology - only metaethicists care about that.
  • SophistiCat
    2k
    There are no such things as regards physics. There are such things as regards biology. For biology to operate, life is a necessity and the sustenance of life is therefore inherently good. A moral claim based on that premise may not universally true, since much of the universe is non-living, but it is true for a class of material entities known as organisms.Vera Mont

    I don't mean to stick up for error theorists, but I am with them (and with Humeans) on this one. One shouldn't confuse explanations for morality being the way it is, and reasons for acting morally - that would be a naturalistic fallacy. Explanations can be biological, anthropological, social, or perhaps even physical. Motivations ultimately require value judgements. The gap cannot be bridged.
  • Vera Mont
    313
    One shouldn't confuse explanations for morality being the way it is, and reasons for acting morally - that would be a naturalistic fallacy.SophistiCat

    So the OP question is not about truth anymore again? Biology is not "motivated": it is merely predicated. Nothing in the universe operates without underlying principles. The sciences - indeed, all human inventions, including philosophy - are based on observation of the processes in order to discover the underlying principles.
    For example, gravity is one of the principles of physics. Without it, things fall apart. Gravity is thus a necessary requirement ("truth" ) of physics, even though the participants in most physical interactions don't have a brain with which to assess or describe or value it. A truth is neither good nor bad until somebody with the ability to value it recognizes it as necessary, after which that thinking entity will draw inferences from that fact.
    The fact itself just is; the system of thought - science, philosophy, religion, morality - use it as a template to evolve and mutate.
    Continuity of life is the underlying principle discovered by a branch of science, with its own necessary truths. Whether those truths, or operating principles, become values in the human sense is a matter of human choice, since humans participate in its interactions. The validity of the principle is constant, with or without the observation and articulation of a human agent.
  • Banno
    19.2k
    This almost got missed:
    "Morality is not about what is the case, but how we want things to be."
    I attribute this to @Banno.
    If nothing is truthfully good or bad, there is no logical reason to want anything, therefore there is no logical reason to act on anything you want. There is no logical reason to make the world more like how you irrationally want it to be, the things you want are therefore not actually good. If you believe there are no moral truths, you must also believe there is no valid reason to want anything.
    Leftist

    Sure, logic does not tell you what to do. Nor does logic tell you what is the case. But that does not mean we have no reason for acting.

    Consider "There is no logical reason to make the world more like how you irrationally want it to be," Drop the pejorative and the invocation of logic, and you have "There is no reason to make the world more like how want it to be".

    See the irony? Why wouldn't it be reasonable to make the work more like you want it to be? Indeed, isn't it unreasonable not to make the world more like you want it to be?

    Something's being how you want it to be just is sufficient reason to make it so.

    I'll stop there and await your response.
  • Vera Mont
    313
    If you believe there are no moral truths, you must also believe there is no valid reason to want anything.Leftist

    I missed that tit-bit also. How are "moral truth" "valid reason" and desire interdependent? A truth is not moral or immoral; morality is neither true nor false. A reason is valid or invalid according to criteria not stated here and rarely known by anyone other than the reasoner. Desire doesn't wait upon either. Humans want all kinds of illogical, unreasonable and immoral things all the time. Whether they attempt to fulfill those illicit or foolish or contrary desires depends on their own beliefs and criteria.
  • Banno
    19.2k
    Given that it is good to help those in need, I don't see a problem in saying that it is true that it is good to help those in need.
  • Vera Mont
    313
    Given that it is good to help those in need, I don't see a problem in saying that it is true that it is good to help those in need.Banno

    Nor do I. And we know our own criteria for why that is a reasonable desire. For anyone with a different moral foundation (e.g. "Might makes right" or "Survival of the fittest - as long as fitness is defined by my traits" or " X-god commands") it might seem completely unreasonable. It depends on which of the fundamental truth forms the basis of your world-view.
  • javra
    1.9k
    :up:

    Piggybacking on your example for a bit in terms of truth of value judgments:

    From the very simple: If I deem strawberry ice cream to be a bad ice cream flavor, then it will be true that strawberry is a bad flavor of ice cream for me.

    To the slightly more complex: If all humans find dirt-flavored food to be bad, then it will be true that dirt-flavored food will be universally bad for all humans.

    And to the somewhat extreme: If a) all life strives to successfully live and b) no life can survive consuming what is relative to itself a lethal poison, then it will be true that consumption of lethal poisons will be universally bad for all life in general.

    Maybe needless to add, such that “bad” is of itself a value judgment - irrespective of how tacitly it might be made.

    --------

    … And now likely distancing myself from your views by a few lightyears’ distance:

    As regards ethics in general: One could in theory progress in the same manner from concrete personal truths to concrete universal truths regarding what is good by finding out what is the/an underlying universal want shared by all life, oneself included. If this premised universal want shared by all life were to be existentially true (i.e., conformant to the reality of the matter), then the complete satisfaction of this want among all life would in turn be an existentially true, universal good. Then, anything which serves to satisfy this true (again, conformant to the reality of the matter) idealization of a universal good would itself be a good in due measure; whereas what deviates from satisfying this universal good would be in due measure a bad. Hence, here, for any action X, one could in turn ask: “Is it true that X serves to satisfy that which is universally good?” If yes, then X ought to be done; if no, then it ought not be done.

    But this in large part pivots on there being such a thing as an underlying universal want shared by all life. Maybe obviously, it would need to be something extremely generalized: maybe - as psychologists might say - such as notions of optimally reducing negative valence and maximizing positive valence in oneself given interactions with one’s surroundings or - as us more common folk might translate - finding a means wherein one no longer unduly suffers while yet being with others.

    Then again, this gets into metaphysical contemplations regarding what drives life in general and, as is by now no surprise, for many (especially those of a physicalist bent) even contemplating such notions is tantamount to philosophical absurdity.

    For my part, though, I’m gonna leave this in as an earnest illustration of how it in fact is logically / metaphysically possible that ethical value judgments could be correct or incorrect - and, by extension, either true or false. Make of it what you will.
  • Banno
    19.2k


    You argue for a difference in degree between a dislike of strawberry ice cream and a moral judgement. I think there's a difference of kind. A mere personal preference does not have moral implications because it applies only to oneself. In order to have moral implications, the preference must apply to others. Your claim that you ought not eat strawberry ice cream has no moral implication, unless you also think that I ought also not eat strawberry ice cream.

    That is, the moral implication enters not when one thinks that one's self ought behave in a certain way, bit when one thinks that others ought act in a certain way.

    Morality is thus about other people. Wha makes preferences moral is the expectation that they apply to others as well as oneself.

    There's a start.
  • SophistiCat
    2k
    So the OP question is not about truth anymore again?Vera Mont

    It is hard to tell, to be frank. The OP insists that it is, but then when philosophers discourse about truth (or anything else for that matter) things get complicated. Are locutions such as "torture is bad" truth-apt? Controversy! I am with @Banno on this: I am happy to count as "true" any statement that I would endorse.

    Does the OP endorse the statement "torture is bad"? I should hope so.
  • Vera Mont
    313
    Does the OP endorse the statement "torture is bad"? I should hope so.SophistiCat

    Given the title, that's hard to fathom.
    Are locutions such as "torture is bad" truth-apt?SophistiCat

    Of course not. Truth and fact are not identical in common discourse.
    Facts: Torture hurts. Torture is a deliberate act. The purpose of torture is to cause pain.
    None of those are value assessments.
    The controversy over truth-aptness is never over the facts; never about the nature or purpose of torture, but rather about its valuation in terms of human interaction: 1 whether a particular practice fits the category of torture (as distinct from 'enhanced interrogation' or a 'friendly chat') and 2 whether the application of torture is justified in a specific instance, 2a on whom, 2b by whom and 2c which methods and at what intensity.

    "Bad" is a large, elastic category of valuation that can contain all kinds of disparate items, according to belief system, personal taste, legal code, life requirement, fraternal obligation, sentiment, philosophy and situation. It's not dependent on fact, but generates its own variable truths.
  • javra
    1.9k


    In fairness to me, these are only forum postings, so they’re not as robust in their content as one might want of a comprehensive philosophy. My main intent was to show how it is logically possible that value judgements - in relation to both preferences and ethics - can be eighter correct or incorrect. In short, if there is a universal want, and a means of satisfying that want that all individuals can in principle approach, then all ethical judgments of good and bad - wherein two or more individuals interact - can in principle be appraised by the metric of how well the given action or interaction satisfies the complete fulfilment of the given universal want: this complete fulfilment then being that which is the correct, universal good. All this having been somewhat better expressed in my previous post.

    As to there being a sharp distinction in type between value judgments applied to personal preferences and value judgments applied to ethics, I by in large agree: ethical values for the most part tend to always concern two or more interacting agents each with their own personal preferences (despite all holding an underlying universal want, if such in fact does occur). This interaction between agents being to my mind fully subsumed by the logical possibility of correctness previously addressed.

    But here’s one possible exception to the rule of thumb: a sole castaway on an island with no hope of rescue cuts themselves to relieve stress. Since there’s no interaction between persons, is this action then good strictly on account of it being the personal preference of the individual? I know that various intellectualized answers could be provided, but also believe that in our gut we all sense there’s something wrong with so doing … despite the activity not infringing upon anyone other and it being what the person wants. To me this is a murky area of ethics: it addresses harm and health of life in manners that ice-cream flavor preferences do not.

    BTW, I use "ethics" instead of "morality" because the latter to me strongly connotes established mores (customs and norms) whereas the former does not - instead strictly addressing right and wrong conduct. One can for example thereby stipulate: the morality of female circumcision held by some people is unethical (such that the given morality is of itself unethical).
  • Vera Mont
    313
    But here’s one possible exception to the rule of thumb: a sole castaway on an island with no hope of rescue cuts themselves to relieve stress. Since there’s no interaction between persons, is this action then good strictly on account of it being the personal preference of the individual? I know that various intellectualized answers could be provided, but also believe that in our gut we all sense there’s something wrong with so doingjavra

    I would call it a mental aberration rather than a wrong action. This is not an intellectualized answer but my gut reaction: "Poor guy's going bananas over there!" I would wish he didn't, but not blame him for it.
    I would, however, blame him if he took his frustration out on small helpless animals by torturing them. In that case I would be making a moral judgment according my own foundational principles/ preference. I wouldn't assume ethics comes into a situation where there are no other humans.
  • javra
    1.9k
    I would call it a mental aberration rather than a wrong action. This is not an intellectualized answer but my gut reaction: "Poor guy's going bananas over there!" I would wish he didn't, but not blame him for it.Vera Mont

    Fair enough. We nevertheless do hold value judgements in regard to mental aberrations. For instance, is it right, or else good, that mental aberrations occur? As to the ethical component, to me it yet remains a murky issue, this with the understanding that ethics addressed right and wrong conduct - and, in this sense, conduct which is either good or bad. Is the person's self-cutting neither good nor bad?

    BTW, I wouldn't blame the individual either in the sense of finding the individual deserving of punishment or scorn for their actions. But in a different sense of the word, who else is technically responsible for the act of self-harm but the individual themselves?

    Thanks, though, for the honest reply. Something to think about.
  • SophistiCat
    2k
    Are locutions such as "torture is bad" truth-apt?SophistiCat

    Of course not.Vera Mont

    Well, that's one long-standing philosophical debate closed!
  • Vera Mont
    313
    For instance, is it right, or else good, that mental aberrations occur?javra

    This is not a question of ethics or morality (unless you're questioning the judgment of a god). Illness is a fact. The ethical question is how we ought to treat the sufferer, whether we should most appropriately kill, punish, pity, exorcise, banish or medicate him. The rational, or scientific questions follow from which 'ought' we decided.
    It's a social issue. individual behaviour in relation to other people; group behaviour in relation to individuals and other groups.
    Ethics is based on well-founded standards of right and wrong that prescribe what humans ought to do, usually in terms of rights, obligations, benefits to society, fairness, or specific virtues.

    Is the person's self-cutting neither good nor bad?javra
    Yes.
    To me, morality is an issue of individual-in-the-world; a karmic issue, if you like.
    Outside of a social context, right and wrong are entirely personal values. If a human suffers an illness, some moral systems give him the right to alleviate his symptoms at the expense of other who are deemed of 'lesser value' - people who can't afford the surgery, poor people who need $1000 more than they need a second kidney, other species, etc.

    But in a different sense of the word, who else is technically responsible for the act of self-harm but the individual themselves?javra
    In this case, I'm not sure either that responsibility can attributed, or that harm has been done.
    Is scarification morally wrong? It's certainly deemed ethical in their cultures. Is it okay for western people to have tattoos and studs?
  • Vera Mont
    313
    Well, that's one long-standing philosophical debate closed!SophistiCat

    I didn't close it by disagreeing on page 1, so it seems rather more robust that you give it credit for.
  • javra
    1.9k
    For instance, is it right, or else good, that mental aberrations occur? — javra


    This is not a question of ethics or morality
    Vera Mont

    Never claimed it is. I claimed that we ascribe value judgments to it: as in, it is of value or not of value ... right / good or wrong / bad in this sense ... and not one of ethics, which would be a category error unless the mental aberrations were to be intentionally caused.

    Is the person's self-cutting neither good nor bad? — javra

    Yes.
    To me, morality is an issue of individual-in-the-world; a karmic issue, if you like.
    Vera Mont

    It to me seems obvious that if the self-cutting serves to satisfy the immediate want of the individual then the act is good relative to the short-term goals of the individual. If it does not, or else is contrary to the more long-term goals of the individual, than it is not good to the very same individual. Individuals can and often enough do hold contrary wants at the same time but in different respects.

    In this case, I'm not sure either that responsibility can attributed, or that harm has been done.
    Is scarification morally wrong? It's certainly deemed ethical in their cultures. Is it okay for western people to have tattoos and studs?
    Vera Mont

    Psychologically speaking, self-cutting is intentionally done for the purposes of inflicting bodily self-harm intended to result in various degrees of emotive euphoria. It's like a drug to those who do it: a kind of runner's high incurred from willfully inflicted pain. It is not done so as to decorate oneself, apropos to tattoos and studs.

    ----

    Aside from which, all this is sidelining the main issue I've brought up. Here, for the sake of argument, I'll momentarily consent that ethics by necessity entails the interaction between agents. Is it not logically possible that ethical judgments can be correct or incorrect? Such that if one judges that torture is bad, this ethical judgment can be truth-apt relative to the reality of a universally shared, underlying want that seeks to be fulfilled? (Here presuming you've read my previous posts on this matter.)
  • Vera Mont
    313
    I claimed that we ascribe value judgments to it: as in, it is of value or not of value ... right / good or wrong / bad in this sense ...javra
    I claim that I do not include myself in that "we". Of course I think illness is bad in the sense of unfortunate, don't wish it to happen, but without a conscious agency, I don't see how it can be wrong. "Illness happens" is just a morally neutral fact, like "Rocks are hard".
    The little words can make the biggest, most confusing Santa sacks of ideas. Right and wrong are equivalent to good and bad only in some specified context.

    Psychologically speaking, self-cutting is intentionally done for the purposes of inflicting bodily self-harm intended to result in various degrees of emotive euphoria.javra
    It is not done so as to decorate oneself, apropos to tattoos and studs.javra
    So, you hold that wilful self-harm is/ should be evaluated not according to its effect, but the subject's motivation? Does that mean that's it's okay to damage one's body for decoration or tribal identification, but not okay to do it for stress relief?
    I could not make that distinction: to me, it's their body, to do with as they wish, so long as no other is being harmed. I mnean sim[ply that I'm not in a position to judge any individual's degree of volition or validity of motive: hence not sure.

    Is it not logically possible that ethical judgments can be correct or incorrect?javra
    Yes, I think it's not just possible, but usual. Ethics are set out in systems, with philosophical basis. Any transaction - and even many isolated actions - can be judged according to the tenets of the ethical system to which the actor subscribes.
    Such that if one judges that torture is bad, this ethical judgment can be truth-apt relative to the reality of a universally shared, underlying want that seeks to be fulfilled?javra
    No, on two counts. I already stated that it's not a question of truth. And it's not universally shared. I don't believe in a disembodied 'underlying want' that can seek fulfillment. Sentient entities need things and want things, sometimes conflicting things, and seek to resolve those conflicts through the application of ethical rules. As I already mentioned with torture, it's probable that the majority of the human race considers torture a generally bad, undesirable thing, but condones it in certain circumstances. (Or we wouldn't allow it at all, anywhere.)
    There may be 0/1 distinctions between correct and incorrect courses of action according to the rules of one ethical system, but come up with a different configuration under the rules of another system. They do not correspond to True/False, Right/Wrong or Black/White with mathematical precision.
  • javra
    1.9k
    In trying to address the basics:

    I already stated that it's not a question of truth.Vera Mont

    Because psychological wants have no reality? If wants are real, then there will necessarily be truth-apt propositions in reference to them. Hence, a question of truth.

    I don't believe in a disembodied 'underlying want' that can seek fulfillment.Vera Mont

    Um, yea. Neither do I. As I hope is not a news flash, humans, for instance, are embodied together with their psychological wants.

    If you don't believe in wants that seek fulfillment, then what would a "want" entail other than that it be fulfilled? Wants can be subconscious emotions that attempt to influence us as conscious agents or else be our own, as in "I want X"; either way, they seek fulfillment as far as I know.

    As to not believing in such a thing as an "underlying want", when a person wants to turn on the radio it's usually because of an underlying want to hear what the radio is playing. Examples of underlying wants can be quite numerous. On what grounds to you conclude that sentience does not have a base underlying want that motivates all others?

    (I'm running short on time; will check in later on.)
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