• Bob Ross
    1.3k


    Hello Mark S,

    Thank you for the elaboration: let me try to adequately respond.

    The problem I have with your syllogism is that the conclusion does not follow from the premises.

    If P1 is true, then we are acknowledging that subjects tends towards solving cooperation problems: it is a fact about subjects in the sense of what they tend to will (which is not will-independent), not a moral judgment that is objective.

    If P2 is true, then we are simply acknowledge a non-moral objective fact.

    Therefore, the conclusion does not follow that “By doing so, you will advocate for an objective morality with no imperative moral oughts”.

    Your conclusion is actually a hypothetical imperative (an objective fact that follows validly only if one accepts the antecedent); but I think (and correct me if I am wrong) you would agree with that because you say “with no imperative moral oughts”; however, you are claiming something about that syllogism just produce a valid entailment of objective moral judgments (even in the sense that they are not absolutely obligatory): is it in P1? Because, to me, P1 is the only place I would imagine you may push back with “the objective fact that a subject tends towards solving cooperation problems would be an objective moral judgement”: is that correct?

    Would all rational, well-informed people wish to maintain or increase the cooperation benefits of living in their society? Perhaps.

    Correct. But nothing about acknowledging that leads directly to any objective moral judgments.

    If they did, then the proposed objective morality without imperative moral obligations would be normative by Gert's SEP definition.

    Perhaps, but I think that definition is more for the purposes of noting different general camps of dispositions within metaethics, and not an accurate representation of what a moral judgment is. For example, one can be a moral realist by simply acknowledging there are objective moral judgments, but that doesn’t mean that I think they validly hold any necessarily: it’s just a depiction of their disposition on the subject-matter.

    Is Morality as Cooperation Strategies (MACS) a kind of moral realism? Does it determine mind-independent moral truth values?

    It could be a form of moral realism in the sense that I could see its proponents advocating that it is a source of objective morality, but no I don’t think it determines mind-independent moral truth values.

    Yes, a necessary moral component (a definition of right and wrong) exists for all highly cooperative societies of independent agents.

    The fact that we need to solve cooperative problems to suffice our subjective wants does not include any mind-independent obligations. If I want to survive (subjectively), then I have to participate in society: it’s not an objective obligation to participate in society nor to solve cooperation problems but, rather, pragmatically necessary once one was committed themselves (for the most part) to surviving.

    Does MACS tell us what we imperatively ought to do regardless of our needs and preferences?

    An objective moral judgment itself, I would argue, is involuntary and is an imperative in the sense that we do it regardless of whether we want to or not. I don’t see how describing the most fundamental and subjectively universal hypothetical imperatives entails any objective moral judgments.

    Bob
  • unenlightened
    8.8k
    I still don’t see, if I am being honest, how your view has any objective moral judgments in it.Bob Ross

    That's fine with me, I'm not much enamoured of the objective/subjective distinction in the first place. I tried to explain myself in your conceptual language and failed. Or maybe I'm just confused.

    According to the video China contained AI, and somehow they are bad guys in the presentation while attaining what the researchers want.Moliere

    Well I think that is good rhetorical tactics; rather than get into an argument that China might be a more peaceful, internationalist, and socially responsible society, just suggest learning from the enemy because they are certainly learning from you. When one has an important truth to tell, one should not cloud it with other controversies unnecessarily. Anyway, the containment is only a keeping hold of the power in a small circle - that might be worse. But now Bob's going to say that I'm promoting deception for the greater good. And i might be, but only as the exception, not as the rule.

    Which is pretty much straightforward Kant. Lies need to be justified, and the truth does not.

    If your child walks into the road in front of a bus, it's ok to jerk them back to the pavement so violently it dislocates their shoulder. But if you do something like that because they are using the fish knife when they should be using the butter knife, that's child abuse.
  • Moliere
    4.1k
    Well I think that is good rhetorical tactics; rather than get into an argument that China might be a more peaceful, internationalist, and socially responsible society, just suggest learning from the enemy because they are certainly learning from you.unenlightened

    Fair point.

    Which is pretty much straightforward Kant. Lies need to be justified, and the truth does not.unenlightened

    There's a tension in Kant that's related to this -- the tension between the absoluteness of one's maxim, and the allowance of exceptions as a further maxim. This is where it gets kind of funny. You can technically write a maxim as specific as you want and it will remain universalizable -- any rational being like myself with these abilities and those resources and those ends in this situation would act in accordance with this maxim... :D

    The reason why it works as a reductio, though, is because of the tension between reason and passion in early modern philosophy, especially. Since passion can't be appealed to and any free agent can will a maxim and act in accordance with it out of respect for it (I certainly respect myself) there's not a clear cut way to rule out super specific maxims.

    But the tension is that Kant was such an absolutist about lying, as indicated by his correction of a contemporary enthusiast of his system that it was OK to lie to the axe murderer, so the spirit of the philosopher's own interpretation of morality seems to indicate that we shouldn't be able to get away with that.

    So it seems, if universal objective categorical imperatives are real, we shouldn't be able to make exceptions. I think that might be some of confusion between yourself and @Bob Ross? Maybe? I'm just making a guess in the dark.

    But I want to hasten to add that any attempt to argue for moral realism that I've seen and thought was right basically questions the objective/subjective, or the naturalistic fallacy, or synthetic-analytic -- there's a conceptual change purposefully being made to try and make the case. (As it would have to be done -- since if you simply accept that there's a difference between truth and goodness then it's pretty hard to put them back together again)
  • Bob Ross
    1.3k


    Hello Unenlightened,

    That's fine with me, I'm not much enamoured of the objective/subjective distinction in the first place. I tried to explain myself in your conceptual language and failed. Or maybe I'm just confused.

    I respect and appreciate you attempting to explain your moral realist view from my conceptual schema! If you would like, then please feel free to invoke your own schema and I will do my absolute best to understand it. It seems as though, based off of your comment, that you wouldn’t make even an “objective vs. subjective” distinction: what distinction would you make?

    But now Bob's going to say that I'm promoting deception for the greater good. And i might be, but only as the exception, not as the rule.

    To me, your acceptance, within our conversation, about the morality counter-example I gave is, indeed, an acknowledgment of an exception—but, likewise, to me, it is a rather large exception. How many counter-example would I need to give for it to become the rule?

    If everyone is capable of lying about morals and society doesn’t crumble (but could actually flourish), then I think that a pretty large exception to the so called rule.

    Which is pretty much straightforward Kant. Lies need to be justified, and the truth does not.

    If I remember Kantian ethics correctly, then he actually thought that they are absolute: so, no, he would never permit a lie. He is famous for demanding we tell the truth to the axe man.

    If your child walks into the road in front of a bus, it's ok to jerk them back to the pavement so violently it dislocates their shoulder. But if you do something like that because they are using the fish knife when they should be using the butter knife, that's child abuse.

    For me, this is all in accordance with the rule that we ought to strive to uphold the sovereignty of wills (i.e., subjects), and, as a part of that plan, to quickly summarize, it makes sense (pragmatically) to do exactly as you outlined above (in the quote). It almost sounds like, to me, you are advocating for absolute rules (e.g., don’t lie) but yet they also can have exceptions.

    Bob
  • Bob Ross
    1.3k


    Hello Moliere,

    So it seems, if universal objective categorical imperatives are real, we shouldn't be able to make exceptions. I think that might be some of confusion between yourself and @Bob Ross?

    I wouldn’t say it is the root of our dispute (as I don’t even think their view has any objective morality in it but I would concede it would be generally categorized as ‘moral realism’ in the literature), but I would agree with you that, yes, there can’t be exceptions if it is an objective moral judgment. There can be seemingly exceptions within our pragmatic approach to upholding the ideal, but not in the ideal itself.

    Maybe you, given you seem to understand what unenlightened is saying in terms of being moral realist, can explain what I am missing? Where are the objective moral judgments in their view?

    Bob
  • unenlightened
    8.8k
    If everyone is capable of lying about morals and society doesn’t crumble (but could actually flourish), then I think that a pretty large exception to the so called rule.Bob Ross

    I agree with you. but I do not believe in the flourishing society of liars. You would have to show me a real example, that is not a sub-culture exploiting the majority.
  • Bob Ross
    1.3k


    Hello unenlightened,

    I agree with you. but I do not believe in the flourishing society of liars. You would have to show me a real example

    I think you have missed the point if you are asking for an actual example (as opposed to theoretical). You claimed that society cannot flourish in lies, and I gave a counter-example wherein society would flourish in lies. It is irrelevant if there has ever been an existent society which was setup with lies or not (in the sense of morality): it does not negate my contention whatsoever.

    If your claim holds good (i.e., that “society cannot flourish in lies”), then you will have to demonstrate why it is impossible for a society to function in the manner that I described (whether that be actual, logical, or metaphysical impossibility I leave up to you).

    Likewise, the counter-example was not “a sub-culture exploiting the majority”: it was the majority exploiting the majority.

    Bob
  • unenlightened
    8.8k
    You are holding now to the standard of necessary truth, not objective truth.
    If I take my keys out of my pocket in front of you, then I have demonstrated that my keys were in my pocket; I do not have to prove that they couldn't have been anywhere else. I'll leave it there though, as I don't think there is much to be gained at this point.
  • Mark S
    264
    An objective moral judgment itself, I would argue, is involuntary and is an imperative in the sense that we do it regardless of whether we want to or not.Bob Ross
    Bob,

    Why would you argue that? I can't think of any rational or instrumental (goal-related) reasons for doing so.

    That may be your intuition, but what is your intuition’s philosophical merit if it is an illusion foisted on you by your genes?

    Building moral philosophy on an illusionary understanding of “an objective moral judgment” is a recipe for endless speculations.

    Why not ground moral philosophy in the origins and objective function (the principal reason it exists) of cultural moral norms and our moral sense? With that, you can build a solid, culturally useful structure and, for the most part, leave the endless speculations behind.
  • Moliere
    4.1k
    Where are the objective moral judgments in their view?Bob Ross

    I wouldn't speak for @unenlightened, as I believe they've been making the case well. :D But I'll share my thoughts.

    Any sort of moral realism which depends upon our nature, similar to your:

    I do commit myself to the principle that I ought to fixate upon what is of my nature I fixate upon the objective, implicit moral judgments—so I act, in every day-to-day life, like a moral realist.Bob Ross

    will have to reconcile with some apparent difficulties like the naturalistic fallacy or the fact/value distinction. In so doing I think the classic picture of moral realism / moral nihilism is blurred, as you note. In a way what's being questioned are these old distinctions about objective morals or subjective choices and so forth.

    I think the way I'm reading @unenlightened is the actuality of human realitionships require moral commitments to be shared overall in order for said set of human relationships to not deteriorate. And by and large I think there's some truth to that. And it makes for an interesting case where we are sort of combining values and facts together at once -- from the existential perspective we can always choose against some rule or value, and there are some who are smarter than others and can exploit the rules, but in actuality people are generally wise to who they can trust. If trust fades then relationships die, and trust is very important when it comes to keeping people together -- the very stuff of morality.

    But it's in this blurry space where the objective/subjective divide doesn't fit so nicely.
  • Moliere
    4.1k
    One of my earlier thoughts on moral realism is a two-predicate analysis. "...is good" is simply a different predicate from "...is true". But if "P is good" is true, then that fits the form of the proposition. The way to make "P is good" is true is through action. So actions are the value-makers in moral propositions -- if you act to make it so, and it is also good, then moral realism is true -- because the good is now true.
  • Bob Ross
    1.3k


    Hello unenlightened,

    I apologize for the belated response.

    You are holding now to the standard of necessary truth, not objective truth.

    I am failing to understand the relevance of this claim, nor what “necessary” vs “objective” truth means. Could you please elaborate?

    To me, I think that truth is the relation between thinking and being: it is when the asserted being (by a mind) corresponds to the actual being (which exists independent of that mind’s will).

    If I take my keys out of my pocket in front of you, then I have demonstrated that my keys were in my pocket; I do not have to prove that they couldn't have been anywhere else.

    What is the relevance of this? I see that it pertains to your formulation of “necessary” vs. “objective” truth.

    The point was that you have not adequately addressed my counter-example. I don’t think you can claim that society cannot flourish with lies and also hold that morality (at large) could (hypothetically) be all lies and still function properly (because that directly counters your own point): this does not cohere with your view well (at a minimum).

    Bob
  • Bob Ross
    1.3k


    Hello Mark S,

    I apologize for the belated response.

    Why would you argue that? I can't think of any rational or instrumental (goal-related) reasons for doing so.

    Because that is what (I think) “objectivity” means: a proposition whereof its truthity is will-independent. I am not defining it that way for the purpose of a goal but, rather, because I think that is the only coherent definition for “objectivity” itself.

    Thusly, I extend this definition to what a “objective” + “moral judgement” would be, and conclude it would be a proposition which expresses a normative statement whereof its truthity is will-independent.

    Finally, I conclude that the only example of such that I can think of for an “objective moral judgment” would be an objective feature of being a will itself, which causes one to be obligated towards a norm irregardless of what one chooses to be obligated to.

    That may be your intuition, but what is your intuition’s philosophical merit if it is an illusion foisted on you by your genes?

    I don’t think that definition (nor my derivation) is “foisted on [me] by [my] genes” in a way that would invalidate or undermine it: why would that be the case?

    Building moral philosophy on an illusionary understanding of “an objective moral judgment” is a recipe for endless speculations.

    Why is it an illusory understanding?

    Why not ground moral philosophy in the origins and objective function (the principal reason it exists) of cultural moral norms and our moral sense?

    One could choose to do that, but it wouldn’t be objective morality but, rather, a kind of moral subjectivism. Do you think it would still be an objective form of morality if one chooses to do that?

    With that, you can build a solid, culturally useful structure and, for the most part, leave the endless speculations behind.

    It being culturally useful does not entail that it is a form of moral realism.

    Bob
  • Bob Ross
    1.3k


    Hello Moliere,

    I apologize for the belated response!

    Any sort of moral realism which depends upon our nature, similar to your:

    I want to clarify that my commitment to fixating upon what is of my nature is not itself an objective moral judgment. I don’t think that a metaethical theory that simply contains the obligation to what is one’s nature is thereby a form of moral realism.

    will have to reconcile with some apparent difficulties like the naturalistic fallacy or the fact/value distinction.

    I think the way I'm reading unenlightened is the actuality of human realitionships require moral commitments to be shared overall in order for said set of human relationships to not deteriorate. And by and large I think there's some truth to that. And it makes for an interesting case where we are sort of combining values and facts together at once -- from the existential perspective we can always choose against some rule or value, and there are some who are smarter than others and can exploit the rules, but in actuality people are generally wise to who they can trust. If trust fades then relationships die, and trust is very important when it comes to keeping people together -- the very stuff of morality.

    I appreciate you elaborating on this! I also understood them in that way; however, where I am confused, is how any of that is objective morality. This sounds like a form of moral subjectivism that accounts for its fundamental obligations by reviewing what is required to have a functioning society. What, in terms of how you explained it, do you think is the objectivity in the moral judgments (of unenlightened’s view)? That is what I am failing to see.

    So actions are the value-makers in moral propositions -- if you act to make it so, and it is also good, then moral realism is true -- because the good is now true.

    I am not sure if I entirely understood your second post, but let me try to adequately respond. If someone acts as though “P is good”, that does not thereby make P objectively good (although, arguably, it may be subjectively good). A normative judgment is objective iff the proposition (that expresses it) has a truthity that is will-independent. If the truthity, on the other hand, is indexical, then it is subjective.

    Bob
  • Moliere
    4.1k
    I want to clarify that my commitment to fixating upon what is of my nature is not itself an objective moral judgment. I don’t think that a metaethical theory that simply contains the obligation to what is one’s nature is thereby a form of moral realism.Bob Ross

    I'd counter here and say that a metaethical theory in conjunction with a metaphysical theory of naturalism is what makes that fixation a form of moral realism.

    The metaphysical claim of naturalism is what girds it. If you're a naturalist, what could be more objective than your nature?

    I am not sure if I entirely understood your second post, but let me try to adequately respond. If someone acts as though “P is good”, that does not thereby make P objectively good (although, arguably, it may be subjectively good). A normative judgment is objective iff the proposition (that expresses it) has a truthity that is will-independent. If the truthity, on the other hand, is indexical, then it is subjective.Bob Ross

    Right! So the truthity of a fixation is your nature, and since nature is all that is real, it's a form of moral realism. It's not like you got to will your nature -- you were born human.
  • Bob Ross
    1.3k


    I'd counter here and say that a metaethical theory in conjunction with a metaphysical theory of naturalism is what makes that fixation a form of moral realism.

    I think this is a fair assessment of what is considered in the literature moral naturalism, but when I look at the actual metaethical theories thereof I genuinely don't see any objective moral judgments. I would grant that they claim that there are moral facts, but I don't see anything in the (prominent) theories themselves that back that claim adequately.

    What I was trying to convey is that the obligation to naturalistic accounts of morals is not itself a moral fact but, rather, there could be genuinely will-independent morals which are natural (regardless).

    The metaphysical claim of naturalism is what girds it. If you're a naturalist, what could be more objective than your nature?

    ...

    Right! So the truthity of a fixation is your nature, and since nature is all that is real, it's a form of moral realism. It's not like you got to will your nature -- you were born human.

    So here's where I think I have to be very careful. You are right that our nature is not in our control, as we cannot will what we will because we are that will; however, what we will is will-dependent and thusly the normative judgments we proclaim as true simply because we want it to be true are relative to our desires--they are not objective in virtue of our will in general being outside of our control nor being objectively true that they occurred (i.e., I desired X, and that is objectively true if I did desire X--but the desire for X is still subjective).

    The idea, to me, of the distinction between will-dependence and will-independence is whether it was contingent on a will and not if that will has absolute control over itself.

    I am a naturalist in the sense that I do think we are all a part of one, natural reality though; I just don't think that that justifies claiming that the propositions who's truthity is relative to (a) will(s) is somehow objective in virtue of our will's being a part of nature.

    Bob
  • Moliere
    4.1k
    I am a naturalist in the sense that I do think we are all a part of one, natural reality though; I just don't think that that justifies claiming that the propositions who's truthity is relative to (a) will(s) is somehow objective in virtue of our will's being a part of nature.Bob Ross

    I'm not sure that a fixated upon virtue is something I'd say relies upon a will. Making the virtue true -- that part takes a will. But if goodness is somehow a natural pattern, in a similar way to procreation being a natural pattern (the desire to procreate isn't exactly something one wills) -- then the objectivity comes from it being apart from our will.

    Such and such a moral proposition -- whatever form we decide is best(virtues, rules, or consequences) -- could be objectively good, if not objectively true. (Or we could also drop objective/subjective as a distinction and instead focus on the belief that there are real morals, as opposed to objective morals)

    Do you see how this is different from the usual notion of will, which generally revolves around making choices?
  • Bob Ross
    1.3k


    Making the virtue true -- that part takes a will.

    Very interesting: so, to you, a moral judgment can exist without being true or false and whether it is true or false can be later provided by a will? Is that the idea?

    Do you see how this is different from the usual notion of will, which generally revolves around making choices?


    I see. Let me clarify that I am not using "subjectivity" in the sense of "something we 'choose'" in the sense of the colloquial usages of the word 'choose' (which I find to be a vague distinction that is practical but does not hold up to scrutiny). Instead, anything which is "will-dependent" is "subjective" to me. Our ego is really a "part" of a bigger will, which is ourselves ultimately in our entirety of existing as an organism (or conscious being), and so I consider event that which is "ego-independent" but yet "will-dependent" as "subjective". In other words, I don't use "subjectivity" to refer to just "opinions" or "whimsical desires" or what have you.

    But if goodness is somehow a natural pattern, in a similar way to procreation being a natural pattern (the desire to procreate isn't exactly something one wills) -- then the objectivity comes from it being apart from our will.

    With respect to how I define "will" (which is not synonymous with our egos), procreation would be subjective because it is will-dependent (regardless of whether it bubbles up to the ego in a way that one could intuit as the ego's decision). This doesn't mean that I think I can whimsically change my sexual orientation or general urge to procreate. So, if goodness were somehow a natural pattern analogous to procreation, then I am inclined to claim it is still subjective.

    Such and such a moral proposition -- whatever form we decide is best(virtues, rules, or consequences) -- could be objectively good, if not objectively true.

    Interesting: could you elaborate more an this distinction between a proposition being "objectively true" vs. "objectively good"? I do not fully understand what that entails.

    Bob
  • Moliere
    4.1k
    Very interesting: so, to you, a moral judgment can exist without being true or false and whether it is true or false can be later provided by a will? Is that the idea?Bob Ross

    Yup.

    No comment on anything else, but I wanted to say you got it.
  • Moliere
    4.1k
    Interesting: could you elaborate more an this distinction between a proposition being "objectively true" vs. "objectively good"? I do not fully understand what that entails.Bob Ross

    This is where I lose the plot, and hence why I favor moral anti-realism out of laziness. I could make something out of this distinction, but I can't tell if it's better or worse or what... but it's the sort of thing that I think would be interesting at least because the division between truth/good at least sets it aside as a moral realism that doesn't just reduce to a form of Platonism.
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