• Vera Mont
    313
    Because psychological wants have no reality?javra

    Because the nature of their reality is not subject to verification. They are processes inside the subjective consciousness of an organism: real to the subject, unreal to everyone else.

    If wants are real, then there will necessarily be truth-apt propositions in reference to them.javra

    Why? Is colour true or false? Is size true or false? What about liberty? Music? We know they exist in some way; they have description and measurement and comparison, they may even have value in certain context, but T/F simply doesn't apply, and if applied, doesn't mean anything. Nor does it apply to feelings. Guy sez he feels nauseous. I don't see it. Better show him the bathroom anyway, just in case it's true. And then? What happens is manifest, verifiable; the feeling itself is not. If something happens, we'll have evidence that what he said was true, if it doesn't, we will will never know. Does either result provide us with any useful new information regarding the guy's feeling?

    then what would a "want" entail other than that it be fulfilledjavra

    Want just is; a function of living. Crocodile wants. Human wants. Wolf wants. Lots of things. Some wants are the expression of needs; if they go unfulfilled, the organism dies. Some are expressions of instinctual or emotional urges - whether healthy or pathological makes no difference - if they go unfulfilled, the organism suffers distress, but usually survives to want it again next mating season, or keeps wanting it until he dies in captivity. Some are ephemeral desires, which, if fulfilled cause momentary joy, if unfulfilled, recur or are forgotten and replaced by new whims. Some wants are considered "wrong" by the animal's community and punished for their very expression; some are accepted as legitimate but limits set on what action the animal is allowed to take to fulfill them. The hungry wolf-cub wants meat; that is considered legitimate. He can wait until all the adults have fed, (right) or nip in between their legs and help himself (wrong - and he's punished). The single male wolf wants to mate (his feeling is acknowledged) but he's a Beta, so his choices are to hang out with an Alpha family until a mate becomes available (the sensible course) leave the pack and try his luck elsewhere (solitary existence is hard), or challenge the Alpha (perilous). There are no moral values attached to these events; it's just the way things are. This bachelor wolf, however, would be breaking the rules (doing wrong) if he tried to seduce a mated she-wolf; he could be killed for that.

    either way, they seek fulfillment as far as I know.javra

    They do not seek. They simply occur. We do the seeking.

    "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.javra

    People have reasons for wanting, and some of them have other reasons behind them, and the earliest one we may or may not be aware of can be described as underlying the others, but what I said was I don't believe in a want that seeks anything. It just lies there, until the subject either acts on the superficial want or forgets about it and wants something else.

    On what grounds to you conclude that sentience does not have a base underlying want that motivates all others?javra

    I haven't concluded anything of the kind. The drive to survival is an attribute of sentient and non-sentient life forms, in which all motivations are rooted - motivations that sentient creatures experience as wanting. It's generated by the life process and takes place in the organism. It is not an entity in itself; has no desires or will of its own; is not an active agent.

    My damn cat just knocked over a bucket of water. I didn't want to mop it up, but I did. I did want to strangle him, but didn't. He was trying to take a drink. He wanted it from that bucket because it is a novelty, or else he was too lazy to cross the room and walk down a short hall to his own water dish (I'll go with novelty: he's a cat) That want was motivated by thirst, which was motivated by a sense of dehydration, which was motivated by the survival drive. What he did in response to this want was not deliberately wrong; it was merely stupid. Therefore not punishable in my books. But I'm still miffed at him.
  • javra
    1.9k
    Because the nature of their reality is not subject to verification. They are processes inside the subjective consciousness of an organism: real to the subject, unreal to everyone else.Vera Mont

    You say, “unreal to everyone else,” am I’m about as flabbergasted as one can get. Like, the wants, the desires, of your loved ones are unreal to you unless they act out - and then it’s a “maybe” and “just in case” kind of mindset on your part as to them actually having any desires.

    Since I’m in no mood to argue this very pivotal disagreement we have, I’m gonna part company right here.
  • Banno
    19.2k
    In fairness to me, these are only forum postings,javra

    True. One does not want a dissertation.

    Your castaway might well be able to find a better way to deal with their stress. Cutting oneself is not healthy, but I don't think it immoral, except as a back-construct against, say, the (reduced) possibility of rescue and hence of consequences for others.
  • javra
    1.9k
    Your castaway might well be able to find a better way to deal with their stress.Banno

    I’m curious: How do you differentiate the philosophical issue of “how one should live” from that of “morality”? (I view the former as a subset of ethics - very much including virtue ethics - but you might disagree in so far as interpreting ethics to be equivalent to morality.)
  • ssu
    6.5k
    There are no correct moral claims. People only have incorrect opinions on what's good/bad, what should/shouldn't exist.Leftist
    How far postmodernism has taken us.

    The fact that morality isn't totally similar as logic where things are either true or false and usually provable as so, yet this shouldn't really be any kind of problem for us. There is a link and it is studied in a branch of philosophy called ethics. So is the question...what?
  • Banno
    19.2k
    I've recently been using the two words somewhat casually as interchangeable, only because it fits with the way others have been using them. But if pushed I'd use "ethics" for talk of right and wrong, good and bad, and "morality" for specific rules for interacting with others. Ethics as the dialogue that potentially produces sets of moral rules for social interaction.

    At present I have a preference for virtue ethics, placing an emphasis on developing personal virtues rather than following rules.

    So virtue ethics might well be seen to involve personal development that does not have a social implication. Virtue has a broader scope than morality.

    So in moving past cutting himself, your castaway becomes more virtuous but not more moral.

    An interesting approach.
  • Vera Mont
    313
    So virtue ethics might well be seen to involve personal development that does not have a social implication. Virtue has a broader scope than morality.Banno

    What else does it include? Do you mean one's relationship with the environment? Or are we in soul/karma land now? I'm not against that; I do see a non-religious aspect to the notion: whatever you do leaves a mark on your... personality or whatever; changes you in some way that cannot be changed back. In that context, virtue may include keeping your karmic slate as clean as possible for an unknown future. In some obtuse angular way I haven't worked out, that converges with the tenet of manners: "Behave in a palace as if you were at home, and at home if you were visiting a palace." (which is to say, naturally, not ignoring people)
  • Banno
    19.2k
    Your posts are somewhat enigmatic. Do you have a specific point or question?
  • unenlightened
    7.1k
    The argument is that moral claims are never true. But notice that truth is a value.

    In the world of thought and words, truth is the value. A lie may have value to someone just to the extent that it is believed to be true. Thus in the world of words,if it is true that moral claims are never true, then it follows that moral claims have no value. Or at least, they only have value as lies that manipulate.

    But notice the inequality between the lie and the truth. the lie can have value only by virtue of the dominance of truth. Without the dominance of truth, language itself has no value and hence no meaning; so the lie is always parasitic on the truth. the lie has meaning and value by virtue of the truth.

    Thus even in the world of words, the truth must prevail, {by and large}, or else the world of words itself loses all value.

    The world of words is a microcosm of the social world. Money has value to me because the nice people at Walmart collect it. Philosophers agonise, and then they go shopping...

    The inequality applies to money too. If "we" do not trust the money, it has no value. Economists call it "confidence". I like money because you like it too. We all just stopped liking bitcoin so much...

    In the case of money, the truth is a fabrication. What does this mean?

    But there is another world, not the world of words or the social world, but the natural world. Here, reality bites. The torturer is the lord of this material world - allegedly. Being tortured, then, is what? It happens rather more often than I would like to admit. It has no meaning. It has no value. Eat shit motherfucker.

    Or is there, perhaps, another way? You do not have to partake, you do not have to realise, you do not have to engage; thus freedom; thus virtue. The value of your virtue is not to you.
  • javra
    1.9k
    So virtue ethics might well be seen to involve personal development that does not have a social implication. Virtue has a broader scope than morality.

    So in moving past cutting himself, your castaway becomes more virtuous but not more moral.
    Banno

    That's a very nice way of expressing my current view on the matter.

    An interesting approach.Banno

    Well ... thanks.



    :up: Especially in relation to your insightful analysis of truth and lies.
  • Vera Mont
    313
    Do you have a specific point or question?Banno

    Yes. I asked it: What do you mean by this:

    Virtue has a broader scope than morality.Banno

    In order to be broader than morality, it would have to encompass something more than morality does. Since morality covers the individual's interactions with other individuals, society, other species and the environment, I'm asking what is left for virtue to cover that morality doesn't?
  • Vera Mont
    313
    virtue is found in both social and individual behaviour,Banno

    Found? By whom? How? If the actor "finds" his behaviour acceptable (or necessary) and there is nobody else there to judge him, who is in a position to deem his act unvirtuous? Who has the authority to do so? By what criteria?
    Sorry this is the wrong way around; I was erasing a previous remark.
  • Banno
    19.2k
    On the account being considered, virtue is found in both social and individual behaviour, morality only in social behaviour.
  • I like sushi
    4k
    Ethics is unethical and morals are immoral.
  • ToothyMaw
    1k


    First off, I appreciate the clear, surgical OP. Why you had to relate your argument to torture I'm not sure; you could have easily demonstrated your beliefs without invoking such a thing.

    Would you say that (1) it is impossible for any moral axioms to be true? Or do you think that (2) we cannot prove if any moral axioms are true? Or (3) do you think that all proposed moral axioms are not true?

    (1) and (2) sound very much like axioms to me, and (3) appears to be largely unverifiable, or definitely unverifiable if you believe (2) to be true. We, humans, seem to throw paint on the canvas with little thought in the hopes of making sense, not considering what you outline in your post, but I think we have good reason to have the intuitions we have, which is that moral claims can be true and false, unless you can demonstrate (1), (2), (3), or some combination thereof, is true. If (2) is true, (3) becomes as unverifiable as the moral axioms you claim must support extrinsic moral claims.

    If it comes between arguing that moral claims cannot be subjected to verification by their very nature, and the claim that they can indeed be verified, I would choose the latter, if only because both claims seem to be equally grounded in arbitrariness, and the latter is more pleasant.
  • ToothyMaw
    1k
    The argument is that moral claims are never true. But notice that truth is a value.unenlightened

    It seems to me the argument in the OP is ambiguous about this: he says that no moral axioms are true, not that no moral claims at all are true. You can assign a truth value to a claim if it is true or false according to a set of axioms, but it ends up being baseless because you cannot verify said moral axioms, or they are just untrue - according to the OP.

    So yes, these utterances might have relative value, but ultimately, they have no objective value. Also, I don't see how the kind of value a lie has can be compared to a moral claim. The truth value of the utterance is based on an axiom that cannot be verified or is untrue, and the value of a lie is totally practical.

    edit: he does say no moral claims are true, but it is a contradiction, as he recognizes later that some moral claims are true in relation to others that may not be untrue but rather (presumably) unverifiable
  • Jack Cummins
    4.4k

    Even though it is possible to form arguments in the way that you have done it may out on the purpose of morality. It is a form of logic which could be used by Nazis and is dangerous in that respect. While rational formulation is a way of thinking it misses out on the nature of intuition and emotions which are central to moral values. It can be argued that emotions and conscience in themselves are restricted but what you are suggesting goes to the opposite extreme.
  • Cobra
    151
    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

    Torturing is definitely bad but it's not because it is "claimed to be bad" or spoken into existence as being a bad thing nor is it because of the action, but instead because of the intention and the intention is often unreasonable making the actions that are inflicted superfluous. The intent behind torture is always irrational and there is no justification for inflicting repetitive harmful actions on people, animals or agents that can register harm.

    It's not I claim torture is bad, it's torture is in fact bad and this is how. The latter is a claim about something and not a claim of something.
  • Vera Mont
    313
    The intent behind torture is always irrationalCobra

    How do you figure it's irrational to want information about the plans and capabilities of one's mortal enemy?
  • Agent Smith
    8.2k
    Kant, I wonder what he would've said regarding the morality of torture. FYI, he was pro capital punishment.
  • javi2541997
    2.4k
    Kant, I wonder what he would've said regarding the morality of torture. FYI, he was pro capital punishment.Agent Smith

    That's true! It would be interesting to see torture from a Kantian point of view. But hey, I see it coming: ethical metaphysics :eyes: :sparkle:
  • neomac
    630
    To say that moral claims can be true is to say that there are inherently true moral claims, claims that by definition are not supported by external evidence. Such claims are needed because extrinsic truths depend on intrinsic truths to be truths. It cannot be that the only moral claims that are truthful are those that depend on other moral claims to be true. Any moral justification that lies outside the thing itself - extrinsic morality - "x is good because it does abc and abc is good" - requires claims outside itself to be truth in order for it to be truth. This creates a never-ending chain of justifications, each new justification passing the problem onto something else. This is moral relativism and subjectivism. They are absurd, literally.

    The problem of needing axioms is not the problem, the problem is that there are no such moral axioms that are true. Valor is only good because of its effects. So is truth, justice, love, peace, etc. The closest any system (that I know of) gets to claiming moral axioms is hedonism. In it, good feelings are good, bad feelings are bad. But they're wrong: they're merely things that evolution created to help us survive. They are not actually inherently good or bad, despite Hedonism's claims. There is no true reason why they should or should not exist.
    Leftist

    Your position looks contradictory, here is why: on one side, you claim that extrinsic truths depend on intrinsic truths (that I assume you would call “true axioms”) and that intrinsic truths (=true axioms) by definition are not supported by external evidence, so extrinsic truths depend on truths not supported by external evidence (=true axioms). At the same time, you claim that moral claims can not be intrinsic truths (=true axioms) because “good feeling” and “bad feeling” are not inherently good nor bad because of evolution. The problem is that either “evolution” is an external condition for the truth of our moral claims, but you stated that intrinsic moral truths are such that are not supported by external evidence, so truths about evolution are irrelevant for intrinsic moral truths to be true axioms. In other words, taking evolution as an external condition of truth for moral claims contradicts your definition of true axiom. Or “evolution” is taken as an internal condition for the truth of our moral claims, but then this supports the claim that “hedonistic” axioms are inherently true moral claims. In other words, taking evolution as an internal condition of truth for moral claims contradicts your claim that there are no moral axioms that are true.
  • Banno
    19.2k
    There is something inept of folk, such as @Leftist, in that they need to have it explained to them that ethics is to do with being nice to each other. Like a hole in their comprehension of the world.
  • Herg
    208
    The closest any system (that I know of) gets to claiming moral axioms is hedonism. In it, good feelings are good, bad feelings are bad. But they're wrong: they're merely things that evolution created to help us survive. They are not actually inherently good or bad, despite Hedonism's claimsLeftist
    When you say good feelings are not inherently good, I assume you mean something different by the first 'good' and the second 'good'; otherwise your statement appears self-contradictory. Since you mention hedonism, I assume that by 'good feelings', you mean pleasant feelings. (Tell me if I'm wrong.) So I assume you mean this:
    'Pleasant feelings are not inherently good, they're merely things evolution has created to help us to survive.'

    Why can't they be both?

    You say confidently that pleasant feelings (or some kind of feelings) 'are not inherently good'. Can you define what you mean by this second 'good'? (If you can't, how do you know what you're saying?)

    I would suggest that this second 'good' means something like 'warrants a favourable response'. So if I say 'that's a good painting', I mean something like 'that painting warrants a favourable response'. It's like I'm praising the painting, but not just that, I'm also saying that the painting deserves or warrants that praise. (When people say some X is good, they do think they are saying something about X, not just about their own feelings.)

    And then I would suggest that pleasant experiences do warrant a favourable response. (Favourable responses could include approval, praise, actual seeking out, etc.) The evidence for this does indeed come from evolution. Why are the kinds of behaviour that make it more likely that an animal will pass on its genes — behaviour like eating healthy food and having sex — pleasant? Obviously, because the pleasure motivates the animals to behave in that way. (Animals that found eating healthy food or having sex unpleasant didn't do it, and so didn't pass on the genes that made them feel like that.) But why does this work? Why does making something pleasant motivate animals to do it? Obviously, because pleasure is worth seeking out; it warrants a favourable response. (We know that anyway, from our own experience of pleasure.) But I just suggested that 'warrants a favourable response' is just what 'good' means. So if I'm right, it follows both that pleasant feelings have been created by evolution to help us survive, and also that they are good.
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