• Bob Ross
    1k
    Here is a new metaethical theory I am working on that is a form of moral realism, and, since I find it a worthy contender of my moral anti-realist position, I wanted to share it with the forum to see what people think.

    I do not have a name for it yet, so I will just explicate it.

    For the sake of brevity, and because I have already covered arguments in favor of them in my moral subjectivist paper, I am presupposing moral cognitivism and non-nihilism in this thread. If anyone would like me to elaborate on them, then I certainly can; and I suggest anyone who is interested in that to read the relevant portions of my discussion board OP pertaining to moral subjectivism on those two metaethical positions. I will focus on a positive case for moral objectivism, which I deny in my moral subjectivist (anti-realist) view.

    The core of this theory is that ‘the good’ and ‘the bad’ are not determined by mind-independent states-of-affairs or arrangements of entities in reality but, rather, are abstract categories, or forms, of conduct. The (mind-independent) states-of-affairs, or arrangements of entities, in reality inform us of what is right or wrong in virtue of being classified under either category.

    For example, there is no mind-independent state-of-affairs (or arrangement of entities) in reality that makes it true that “one ought not torture babies” but, rather, it is true because it corresponds appropriately to the mind-independent category (i.e., abstract form) of ‘the good’.

    So, in light of this and in an attempt to contrast with my other moral anti-realist theory, I would like to point out the flaw, from the perspective of this theory, of my moral subjectivist argument; so let me outline it briefly again:

    P1: The way reality is does not entail how it should be.
    P2: Moral facts are statements about states-of-affairs which inform us of how reality should be.
    C: TF, moral facts cannot exist.

    Analyzing this argument from this theory, as opposed to moral subjectivism, P2 is false; because moral facts are not only about states-of-affairs, in the sense that they are made true in virtue of corresponding to some state-of-affairs in reality, but, rather, are made true in virtue of how the state-of-affairs sizes up to the abstract category of ‘the good’ and ‘the bad’. So, the key misunderstanding of moral subjectivism, or so the argument goes (:, is that a fact is a statement that corresponds to reality and not solely states-of-affairs in reality—as abstract categories are still mind-independently true insofar as, although we can semantically disagree, the actions are subsumable under more general classifications and this is not stance-dependent—and thusly P2 is false. Likewise, P1, if taken as true, only refers by 'reality is' to states-of-affairs or arrangements of entities in reality and not abstract categories of events or actions in that reality (nor what potentially could occur in that reality).

    Although there is a lot I would like to say, I want to keep this brief—so I will say only one last thing: this is not a form of platonism. By abstract form or category I do not mean that there exists an abstract object, or a set of them, in reality that in virtue of which makes moral judgments (which express something objective) true—as this falls into the same trap that they are indeed states-of-affairs, or arrangements of entities, in reality and this violates P1. Instead, by form or category, I just mean an abstract category we derive by validly subsuming actions or events into more general classifications.

    Thoughts?
  • Leontiskos
    1.1k
    The core of this theory is that ‘the good’ and ‘the bad’ are not determined by mind-independent states-of-affairs or arrangements of entities in reality but, rather, are abstract categories, or forms, of conduct. The (mind-independent) states-of-affairs, or arrangements of entities, in reality inform us of what is right or wrong in virtue of being classified under either category.Bob Ross

    How does one know which actions are categorized under each category?
  • Bob Ross
    1k


    Ethics cannot be done from an armchair, and there is no exact formula one can use to determine what to do in any given situation: ethics is a science (of sorts).

    I would say that we do it like any other categories we make: we induce it from particulars.

    I see this right triangle, that obtuse triangle, that isosceles triangle, etc. and I formulate/induce the general category of a triangle. I see someone helping the needy, being nice to someone else, being respectful, upholding a beings sovereignty, etc. and I induce the general category of the good. I see someone torturing a baby for fun, a person being incredibly rude, a person demeaning another, a person being incredibly selfish, a person having complete disregard for life, etc. and I induce the category of the bad.

    Just like how I can separate triangles into one pile and squares into another, and more generally shapes into one pile and non-shapes into another, I, too, can put generous acts into one pile and respectful acts into another, and more generally good acts into one pile and bad acts into another.

    Am I going to sort each into each pile 100% accurately? Probably not. Does that take away from the plentiful evidence that the categories do exist? Certainly not.
  • goremand
    63
    The core of this theory is that ‘the good’ and ‘the bad’ are not determined by mind-independent states-of-affairs or arrangements of entities in reality but, rather, are abstract categories, or forms, of conduct. The (mind-independent) states-of-affairs, or arrangements of entities, in reality inform us of what is right or wrong in virtue of being classified under either category.Bob Ross

    Just like how I can separate triangles into one pile and squares into another, and more generally shapes into one pile and non-shapes into another, I, too, can put generous acts into one pile and respectful acts into another, and more generally good acts into one pile and bad acts into another.Bob Ross

    This seems circular to me, on one hand the categories "inform us" of the particulars of good and bad, on the other the categories are empty ("there is no formula") until we stuff them with particulars.
  • Bob Ross
    1k


    There being no formula of what is exactly wrong or right in any given situation does not make the categories empty.

    Take an example by analogy: Imagine I gave you a bucket of colored blocks and asked you separate them into piles by color. You pick up a red one, put it in the red pile; blue, in the blue pile; etc.

    Now, you pull out a block that is an odd mixture of red and yellow such that it is still really red: which pile does it belong in?

    Now, I don't answer the question, instead let's say we don't have a great answer: we don't have a formula that let's us know exactly which pile this one should be in. Now, let's take your contention here and see how it holds up. You are saying, analogously, that the categories of 'red block' vs. 'yellow block' vs. 'orange block' are empty because we don't have a formula which exactly determines which block belongs in which one; likewise, you are claiming that it is somehow circular logic that we are informed by the category of 'red/yellow/orange block' on which pile to put blocks. Hopefully, it is clear in this analogy that the categories not empty because we have no exact formula and they still inform us of which goes in which pile.
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    Does that take away from the plentiful evidence that the categories do exist? Certainly not.Bob Ross

    (yes, there's some incredulity in this question) Are you seriously comparing 'ethical views' to the reality of categories of triangle?

    There being no formula of what is exactly wrong or right in any given situation does not make the categories empty.Bob Ross

    (response to first quote, in light of the above quote:) because this lack of formula does essentially mean you cannot predict 'which' category an act falls into at all, rather than imprecisely. Your moral intuitions only can do so. They are your categories. This seems to suggest that vague ranges of moral culpability apply to acts - and that seems reasonable, but still not a realist position. My understanding is that realism entails that whether an act is good or bad can be established as a 'fact' in any given instance.
  • Leontiskos
    1.1k
    Am I going to sort each into each pile 100% accurately? Probably not. Does that take away from the plentiful evidence that the categories do exist? Certainly not.Bob Ross

    I agree that there are good and and bad acts, but metaethics does not stop at this point. If one has no reason for why a given act is good or bad then their metaethical view does not go very deep.
  • Bob Ross
    1k


    (yes, there's some incredulity in this question) Are you seriously comparing 'ethical views' to the reality of categories of triangle?

    I used a valid analogy for the sake of my conversation with another member.

    because this lack of formula does essentially mean you cannot predict 'which' category an act falls into at all, rather than imprecisely

    I don’t see why this would be the case. We can induce what ‘the good’ is from its instances, just like how we induce what a triangle is from its instances; and we can use our current knowledge of ‘the good’ to make informed decisions about what can be classified as such.

    Your moral intuitions only can do so. They are your categories.

    Non-moral intuitions are used to determine the category of ‘the good’, no different than how we non-morally intuit the concept or category of triangularity.

    Think of it this way, I can have complete disregard for being kind to others and still being able to derive that it is the subsuming of other actions into one category—e.g., generosity, being nice, respectful, etc. I can recognize this while saying “I don’t want nor am obligated to be kind”: this does not take away from the fact that there is such a thing as kindness, and that category, apart from semantics, is stance-independent. I can choose whether to be kind or not, but it is a fact that being generous, nice, respectful, etc. are kind acts because they are of that category of acts.

    Same with the good. Kindness, altruism, truthfulness, etc. are of the category of the good; but, of course, I can choose not to care about them.

    My understanding is that realism entails that whether an act is good or bad can be established as a 'fact' in any given instance

    Moral realism is a three-pronged thesis:

    1. Moral judgments are propositional.
    2. Moral judgments express something objective; and
    3. At least one moral judgment is true.

    Yes, this theory affirms 2 (and 1 and 3, but emphasis on 2 to your point) because the good is stance-independent: there really is a separable category between the good and the bad.

    Here’s some extra things to chew on about this unconventional theory:

    1. Not all moral judgments are normative judgments, because categorizing actions as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ is purely non-normative.
    2. The normative moral judgments stem from a subjective moral judgment; namely, that “one ought to be good”.
    3. It follows from #1 and #2, that none of the normative moral judgments in the theory express something objective, but, rather, only the non-normative moral judgments.

    This means, that this view affirms #2 only technically insofar as we are talking about non-normative moral judgments; which means that this view is a sort of hybrid between realism and anti-realism, whereof it does affirm that there are moral facts, but none of them are normative. I am not sure what to make of it yet: it definitely exposes my deep anti-realist sympathies.
  • Bob Ross
    1k


    I am not saying that we have no way to decipher what is good or bad, I was saying that there is no exact equation to do it--e.g., deontolgy and consequentialism fail miserably.

    We determine which is good or bad just like we separate different colored blocks: we induce the general category of the colors and, as best we can, intuit where each given block should go. There will be some blocks with odd shades of colors that really murky the waters, and that is fine because the world is a sticky place.

    We induce 'the good' vs. 'the bad' from obvious examples (e.g., torturing babies for fun, helping the sick, being generous, being kind, being selfish, torturing animals, etc.) and then use our current knowledge of them to infer what action to take in a particular nuanced situation.

    I would say we can induce 'the good' as, most generally, acts which care about life to the maximal extent possible; and 'the bad' as the negation of it. However, I freely admit that inductions are not necessarily true and that this method of inquiry is sort of scientific.
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    Really enjoying this.

    I don’t see why this would be the case. We can induce what ‘the good’ is from its instances, just like how we induce what a triangle is from its instances; and we can use our current knowledge of ‘the good’ to make informed decisions about what can be classified as such.Bob Ross

    Doesn't this pre-supposes knowledge of the Good? As best i can tell, unless you're going to employ Platonic Forms, you can't induce what the Good is from instances. There is no concept for it to match to; just other like-instances based on your presupposition - which makes that induction false.
    Triangles, on the other hand, can be understood a priori and an instance matches the concept.

    The analogy i would use here (while trying not to ruffle feathers - its just extremely apt) is the definition of 'woman'. It has become popular for this exchange to take place:

    A: What is a woman? (What is the Good?)
    B: Anyone who identifies as a woman (Whatever you identify as The Good)
    A: What are they identifying as? (What are you identifying 'it' as?)
    B: A woman. (The Good)

    Round, and round we go.

    Non-moral intuitions are used to determine the category of ‘the good’, no different than how we non-morally intuit the concept or category of triangularity.Bob Ross

    I see these as very much different. The concept of a triangle is prior to intuition, allowing us to perceive a triangle. Morality has no such basis.

    Think of it this way,Bob Ross

    Thank you; that made it very clear what you're saying. All of those attributes have moral valence to them. So, I'm finding it hard to understand how rejecting 'good' behaviour while acknowledging it is 'good' is not a moral choice. I realise you're trying to say 'Good' is not a moral category, but using your analogous example, it seems to be so.

    acts which care about life to the maximal extent possible; and 'the bad' as the negation of it. However, I freely admit that inductions are not necessarily true and that this method of inquiry is sort of scientific.Bob Ross

    There we gooooo. Wasn't so hard, was it? ( i kid). Though, in light of the objections i've laid out, I can't see any reason to suspect the induction to Good and Bad is even serviceable. As you say, its grey, and there's no one-size-fits-all. So, in this sense, where's the fact? "X is good" wont be true for everyone - or even most people - I realize you've acknowledge the lack of normativity, but I can't even see how this gets us to moral facts per se. A fact is stance-independent right, but noting something is 'good' IS a stance. I think you're shoehorning a definition in(that of 'good' without moral valence) where it can't fit.

    This means, that this view affirms #2 only technically insofar as we are talking about non-normative moral judgments; which means that this view is a sort of hybrid between realism and anti-realism, whereof it does affirm that there are moral facts, but none of them are normative. I am not sure what to make of it yet: it definitely exposes my deep anti-realist sympathies.Bob Ross

    As above, I am unsure that this is the case, as the theory is written. Also, as above, I note the non-normative nature of the theory - which certainly helps. You're not trying to establish oughts. Just good and bad, as moral facts.

    However, the idea that someone can reasonably say "I will actively avoid doing good* things" and on your account, that would be A-moral - seems a bit incongruous. If something is objectively Good, how could we avoid the normative command to behave in line with the Good? I guess i'm finding it really hard to take that 'Good' is devoid of a moral stance - particularly if it means maximizing care about life (as murky as that concept is, i grok what you mean). It does not seem as if you could possibly have an a-moral stance on something objectively good or bad.

    *I import your usage of 'Good' as someone objectively discernable.
  • goremand
    63
    Take an example by analogy: Imagine I gave you a bucket of colored blocks and asked you separate them into piles by color. You pick up a red one, put it in the red pile; blue, in the blue pile; etc.Bob Ross

    The difference is, these categories do not inform me about color. I already have that understanding from some other source, in other words I already have a formula.

    But imagine if you gave to this task to someone who has no understanding of what red or blue even meant, and you tell them "red means it belongs in the red pile, blue means means it belongs in the blue pile." The person would have no clue what to do, the categories do not help at all.
  • Bob Ross
    1k


    Really enjoying this.

    I am glad: same here. This is a new creation of mine that may end up being utterly invalid; but it is an intriguing solution to many problems I have with contemporary moral realist theories. We shall see if it holds any weight in time…

    Doesn't this pre-supposes knowledge of the Good?

    Inducing a concept does not require knowledge of the good: I do not need prior knowledge of the concept of ‘Color’ to create it via reverse engineering it from particular colors I experience. I see this person helping the sick, I see another being generous, another being kind, another having respect for life, etc. and I can abstract out that this is what is ‘good’; and I see a person being demeaning to another, abusing people, torturing animals, etc. and I can abstract out that this is ‘bad’. Now, we could semantically call it something else, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that there are astounding similarities between ‘good’ acts, and likewise for ‘bad’ acts.

    As best i can tell, unless you're going to employ Platonic Forms, you can't induce what the Good is from instances.

    I don’t see why this is the case: I don’t need to posit a platonic form of a triangle to induce a concept of a triangle.

    There is no concept for it to match to

    Sure it does, something like ‘any act which promotes harmony of alive beings with each other’.

    Triangles, on the other hand, can be understood a priori and an instance matches the concept.

    The concept of triangle need not be a priori for my point, as we can use our faculty of reason, as opposed to the understanding, to create concepts, and these can be created based off of reverse engineering similarities between particulars. For example, I don’t have an a priori concept of a car, but I can nevertheless abstract out what a ‘car’ is, conceptually, from the particular cars...and that’s the only way one can do it (in this case).

    A: What is a woman? (What is the Good?)
    B: Anyone who identifies as a woman (Whatever you identify as The Good)
    A: What are they identifying as? (What are you identifying 'it' as?)
    B: A woman. (The Good)

    I am not arguing this though. The good is a category of acts which is equivalent to something like ‘any act which promotes ...’.

    The concept of a triangle is prior to intuition, allowing us to perceive a triangle. Morality has no such basis.

    Two things:

    1. Just take a different concept that clearly is not a priori if you would like (e.g., a car, a cat, etc.) and my point will still stand; and
    2. I don’t think the concept of a triangle is a priori itself, as we are not readily equipped with the concept of every shape in our brains but, rather, are equipped with the proper groundings to formulate them in our representations (e.g., space, time, math, logic, etc.). Knowing, a priori, how to represent a triangle such that one can consciously experience it is not equivalent to the concept of that particular (being represented) being itself a priori.

    So, I'm finding it hard to understand how rejecting 'good' behaviour while acknowledging it is 'good' is not a moral choice. I realise you're trying to say 'Good' is not a moral category, but using your analogous example, it seems to be so.

    That’s the interesting thing with this theory: the good is non-normative. I can tell you what is good, but not what you should do about it. I can say “it is bad to torture babies for fun” is a moral fact but not “one ought not torture babies for fun” is a moral fact. This entails some moral judgments express something objective, namely non-normative ones, and some don’t, namely normative ones.

    Though, in light of the objections i've laid out, I can't see any reason to suspect the induction to Good and Bad is even serviceable. As you say, its grey, and there's no one-size-fits-all. So, in this sense, where's the fact?

    When we separate a bin full of red and blue blocks into their respective piles (sorted by color), we do not have to have an exact, sure procedure for deciphering whether each given block is blue or red to say that there is a fact of the matter whether or not it is blue or red (and that it belongs in one or the other pile respectively). Likewise, we may find a block that is a weird mixture of colors, which makes it hard to tell which pile it should be in, but this does not take away from the fact that (1) there are blue and red categories of piles and (2) the red belong in the red and the blue in the blue. What I meant is that this, like morality, is a science of sorts: we cannot armchair philosophize our way into what is right or wrong to do in every possible situation of the real world: we have to live, learn, experiment, fail, and keep trying.

    A fact is stance-independent right, but noting something is 'good' IS a stance

    Since the good is non-normative, it is not a (normative) stance; and since it is the categorization of similar acts into to more general concepts it is stance-independent (i.e., it does not depend on any subjective stance out there).

    However, the idea that someone can reasonably say "I will actively avoid doing good* things" and on your account, that would be A-moral - seems a bit incongruous

    This wouldn’t make them amoral, it would (sort of) make them immoral, insofar as they would be purposely doing bad things; whereas amorality is typically the view that it has no moral consideration or weight. For my normative ethical theory, if I were to make one building off of this metaethical theory, I would start off with the subjective moral judgment that “one ought to be good” and then the normative judgments will be synthesized with the moral facts (except for that one normative judgment).
  • Bob Ross
    1k


    The difference is, these categories do not inform me about color. I already have that understanding from some other source, in other words I already have a formula.

    You only gain a hazy, not exact, formula of which color to classify an object through induction; which is also true of the good and bad.

    But imagine if you gave to this task to someone who has no understanding of what red or blue even meant, and you tell them "red means it belongs in the red pile, blue means means it belongs in the blue pile." The person would have no clue what to do, the categories do not help at all.

    Like everything else, of course someone would have to learn the categories; which requires them to abstract out the similarities between particulars. This may be done the hard way, through brute force inductive reasoning of what is experienced, or can be sped up via the help of other people. Kids usually pick up quick the general categories of colors.
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    I can abstract out that this is what is ‘goodBob Ross

    I deny this entirely. Without something to ground your conception of hte good outside of empirical sense perception, I cannot see how anything but bias or assumption could lead to judging acts as good or bad. This is kind of my point - what criteria do these acts meet? It seems to be an internal criteria based on intuition(in the colloquial sense) or an arbitrary adherence to some conception of 'flourishing' as commonly posited. I'm not seeing where the induction is validated...

    I don’t see why this is the case: I don’t need to posit a platonic form of a triangle to induce a concept of a triangle.Bob Ross

    Because a triangle is analytical. It is a shape with three (tri) angles (angle). "the good" has no such grounding. X is good because of something further(its meeting a criteria/on for instance, held in the subject's mind), which makes it synthetic. In this case, I can't see how an a priori concept can be appealed to unless is some kind of Platonic Form-type thing assumed to be 'correct', as it were. We'd need an innate, defined concept of Good and Bad to accurately judge any act - and this would mean we can be wrong about it, empirically.

    Sure it does, something like ‘any act which promotes harmony of alive beings with each other’.Bob Ross

    Sure, this is a concept you, as a subject, can match it to, if you want to use that a criterion. But from whence comes a reason to use that criterion? Given the criterion, I think you're off to the races - but I can't understand why I should accept it without an a priori concept for me to heed.

    The good is a category of acts which is equivalent to something like ‘any act which promotes ...’.Bob Ross

    Promotes what, though? I agree, an act must, in some sense, promote something to have a moral valence, but what you choose to append to the quote within your quote is, not arbitrary, but only sensible and analytical. So, using your car example, yes that's true - But it makes the concept of the car directly relate to a subjective definition of the usage of 'car' to refer to what it is in perception (not, as-it-actually-is). It is derived from intuition - and if, as i read it, your theory has our moral 'rules' lets say deriving from intuition, my previous objections seem to comport with that. Somewhat arbitrary to note a conjunction, and just call it 'good' without noting that perhaps this is a result of you realising this particular rule ameliorates some discomfort you have with its opposite, as an eg.

    I don’t think the concept of a triangle is a priori itselfBob Ross

    I tend to think if we have these a priori concepts of extension, logic and space in general, we can get a triangle without intuition. But then, im young at that particular mode of thinking so I'll leave that one to be possibly entirely wrong.

    That’s the interesting thing with this theory: the good is non-normative. I can tell you what is good, but not what you should do about it.Bob Ross

    This seems to betray to concept of morality, and doesn't really answer my issue. If something (an act) must be objectively noted as good, rejecting it is immoral. Whats the catch? Im unsure how you're going about decoupling 'good' with a moral valence in any act. Though, i very much appreciate that you're avoiding the 'ought' and think this is commendable and honest.

    (1) there are blue and red categories of piles and (2) the red belong in the red and the blue in the blue.Bob Ross

    Then I see that these are made up and you're putting things in two bins based on a black/white fallacy instead of extending your system to accomodate things that patently don't fit in them. What if one of the blocks is purple??. It's just not tenable. If I only have two categories, I will put things in the best-suited category. But that might be entirely unable to service what the things I'm categorising actually are/represent. In this case, I think that's true for 'good' and 'bad'. Its a subjective categorisation which allows for no third or fourth or fifth category of moral valence (given that morality is 'the right/wrong' and 'good/bad' judgements humans make).

    we have to live, learn, experiment, fail, and keep trying.Bob Ross
    Agree. And this precludes me from ever knowing whether something is Good or Bad, other than according to my own, internal, empirical-derived sense of them. There couldn't be a rule, other than one i make up. If what you mean here, is that everyone, individually, can find these categories and work from there - yes, i guess so. But that's plain and simple subjectivity. All of our biases will play into what falls into which category. Thought, again, I recognize this falls well short of imputing an 'ought'.

    Since the good is non-normative, it is not a (normative) stanceBob Ross

    I suppose this goes to my incredulity (my own, not at you) about how you're decoupling the Good from the Moral. If we knew Good and Bad outright, every act could be judged upon those categories as objectively one or the other. If you KNOW the good, and reject it, how is that not Immoral? I'm just not seeing where that one goes...

    I would start off with the subjective moral judgment that “one ought to be good” and then the normative judgments will be synthesized with the moral facts (except for that one normative judgment).Bob Ross

    Ok, this is certainly sensible. But i reject any way to factually deduce the Good, so there's that :lol:
  • Bob Ross
    1k


    I deny this entirely. Without something to ground your conception of hte good outside of empirical sense perception, I cannot see how anything but bias or assumption could lead to judging acts as good or bad.

    Remember, this theory strips out normativity from the good and bad; and groups the good and bad based off of similarities between actions, just like how we determine other naturalistic conceptions—so this only needs empirical inquiry.

    This is kind of my point - what criteria do these acts meet?

    They are being grouped together by similarity. Take ‘kindness’ in its colloquial definition of (roughly) “the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate”: this is a word, and a conception, derived purely from subsuming similar acts (e.g., generosity, friendliness, etc.) under one conception, and does not reference itself whether or not one should be kind. Likewise, a pyschopath serial killer can grasp that what they are doing is unkind to their victim while maintaining that they should keep doing it.

    Same with the good and bad: the good includes being kind, as well as other altuistic acts and what not, and the bad includes depravity, disrespect, meanness, etc. The serial killer can likewise acknowledge that what they are doing is bad, while maintaining they should keep doing it.

    The only way to synthesize the moral facts, being non-normative, with normative judgments is to subjectively affirm a normative moral judgment that implicates them in doing good; such “one ought to be good”.

    I am essentially identifying the good and bad with those events related to ‘caring about living beings’ and ‘disregard for living beings’ (or ‘acts which promote harmony and oneness’ and ‘acts which promote disharmony and disunity’) respectively; because this is, to my understanding, what historically our intuitions seems to lead us to calling ‘good’ and ‘bad’, on a semantic point. However, if one wanted to use the terms differently, then the underlying content still stands.

    Because a triangle is analytical. It is a shape with three (tri) angles (angle). "the good" has no such grounding

    The good is harmony, unity, and sovereignty. That’s the most abstract I can seem to get with respect to actions.

    X is good because of something further(its meeting a criteria/on for instance, held in the subject's mind), which makes it synthetic

    Not if we are just abstracting categories of actions, and labelling them ‘good’ vs. ‘bad’ in a sense that ties well into how we typically use the terms.

    In this case, I can't see how an a priori concept can be appealed to unless is some kind of Platonic Form-type thing assumed to be 'correct', as it were. We'd need an innate, defined concept of Good and Bad to accurately judge any act - and this would mean we can be wrong about it, empirically.

    The good is not a platonic form nor a priori under my view.

    But from whence comes a reason to use that criterion? Given the criterion, I think you're off to the races - but I can't understand why I should accept it without an a priori concept for me to heed.

    The promotion or actuality of unity, harmony, and sovereignty seems, to me, to be what we are talking about usually when we say ‘something is good’. Even when we say “this is good for me”, we are essentially saying it brings harmony, unity, and sovereignty to oneself.

    This seems to betray to concept of morality, and doesn't really answer my issue.

    This metaethical theory has two main categories of moral judgments: non-normative and normative. The former are facts, the latter are not. Morality, under this view, is not solely about what is permissible, omissible, or obligatory; it is also about what is good and what is bad.

    If something (an act) must be objectively noted as good, rejecting it is immoral. Whats the catch?

    It would be immoral only in the sense that it is bad (and violates the moral facts) but not immoral in the sense that you should not do it. I don’t think you are completely appreciating the severed connection between the good/bad and normativity in this theory yet.

    Then I see that these are made up and you're putting things in two bins based on a black/white fallacy instead of extending your system to accomodate things that patently don't fit in them. What if one of the blocks is purple??

    It was an analogy, and the point had nothing to do with how many colors there actually are.

    If I only have two categories, I will put things in the best-suited category.

    I am open to there being multiple categories; e.g., a neutral category whereof an action does not promote harmony nor disharmony.

    . If you KNOW the good, and reject it, how is that not Immoral?

    If by immoral you are implying impermissibility (normativity), then it isn’t (under this view). But if you are meaning just that it is bad to do or that it violates a moral (non-normative) fact, then, yes, it is immoral.

    The term traditionally is both of these, I have severed them from each other.
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    Remember, this theory strips out normativity from the good and bad; and groups the good and bad based off of similarities between actions, just like how we determine other naturalistic conceptions—so this only needs empirical inquiry.Bob Ross

    I cannot see how this is sensible. Good and Bad can only be deduced from empirical data. But the concepts themselves have ipso facto moral valence. They necessarily lead to moral implications, although, i agree, there's no moral command as a result of acknowledging good and bad. but as soon as you start having 'the moral conversation' reliance on the Good and Bad is unavoidable. I think its a bit of a slick move to claim there's no normative implications for an (what appears to attempt at..) objective categorisation of acts into the same. It sounds more like a statistical analysis that would result in a really, really clear idea of where your morals lie. It's extremely hard to see how the move is open to you to act other than in accordance with the categories and not make an immoral move.

    Same with the good and bad: the good includes being kind, as well as other altuistic acts and what not, and the bad includes depravity, disrespect, meanness, etc. The serial killer can likewise acknowledge that what they are doing is bad, while maintaining they should keep doing it.Bob Ross

    I don't think this is correct, per se. The psychopath can acknowledge that the act would fit this category, for someone else thus defeating the applicability of the categories beyond those who assent to them. And, in fairness, this is a very sound way to arrive at a social good but i don't think it's right to say that it would be acknowledge as-is rather than with that qualifier.

    While i suffered DiD, I underwent several prolonged periods of sociopathy. I can tell you, in that state, I would have just told you you are wrong. There is no moral valence to my strangling a cat (i never did that, btw lol). It is not good or bad. It simply doesn't matter. I would only have been able to recognise your categories - not that I was violating a category

    The only way to synthesize the moral facts, being non-normative, with normative judgments is to subjectively affirm a normative moral judgment that implicates them in doing good; such “one ought to be good”Bob Ross

    I don't understand how 'moral facts' don't have pretty direct normative implications. If we have a moral fact "x is wrong" then to act against that, would be immoral. I have no idea how you find daylight between the two.

    Not if we are just abstracting categories of actions, and labelling them ‘good’ vs. ‘bad’ in a sense that ties well into how we typically use the terms.Bob Ross

    But this betrays those being facts?

    The good is not a platonic form nor a priori under my view.Bob Ross

    Similar to above. Happy to acknowledge i've misinterpreted you, but then I fall back into - then these aren't facts. They're just socially-common concepts.

    Morality, under this view, is not solely about what is permissible, omissible, or obligatory; it is also about what is good and what is bad.Bob Ross

    Are you able to explain what you're seeing stands between a moral fact, and it's normative implication? Im having a really hard time not thinking this is an attempt to do something that can't be done.

    I don’t think you are completely appreciating the severed connection between the good/bad and normativity in this theory yet.Bob Ross

    I don't see it - as will be obvious now :razz:

    It was an analogy, and the point had nothing to do with how many colors there actually are.Bob Ross

    My point is still live, though. If that's the case, the system is entirely inadequate to talk about human behaviour (which is so variably 'coloured' as to require about 2350824690438 categories.

    I am open to there being multiple categories; e.g., a neutral category whereof an action does not promote harmony nor disharmony.Bob Ross

    Ok, nice.

    The term traditionally is both of these, I have severed them from each other.Bob Ross

    If the only reply you make is to describe how this can be the case (i.e avoiding the implication from moral fact to normative 'fact') that would probbaly be the most important for me to understand the theory :)
  • Bob Ross
    1k


    Good and Bad can only be deduced from empirical data.

    The good and bad are only abducible from empirical data. There absolutely no means of deducing them.

    But the concepts themselves have ipso facto moral valence. They necessarily lead to moral implications, although, i agree, there's no moral command as a result of acknowledging good and bad.

    So, in this theory, they ‘ipso facto’ have non-normative moral implications. There is no means of determining what one ought to do based off of the categories of good and bad.

    I think its a bit of a slick move to claim there's no normative implications for an (what appears to attempt at..) objective categorisation of acts into the same. It sounds more like a statistical analysis that would result in a really, really clear idea of where your morals lie. It's extremely hard to see how the move is open to you to act other than in accordance with the categories and not make an immoral move.

    Immoral only insofar as it is a non-normative moral violation. I can say “you did something (morally) bad, but I cannot thereby affirm you did something you shouldn’t have”.

    I don't think this is correct, per se. The psychopath can acknowledge that the act would fit this category, for someone else thus defeating the applicability of the categories beyond those who assent to them.

    Sure, I was not trying to imply that a psychopath will always acknowledge nor recognize the categories.

    I don't understand how 'moral facts' don't have pretty direct normative implications. If we have a moral fact "x is wrong" then to act against that, would be immoral. I have no idea how you find daylight between the two.

    Yes, in colloquial speech it is just assumed, blindly, that if something is bad, then one ought not do it. Most people don’t even consider metaethics: they justify there ‘objective morality’ with things like ‘you should not do it because it will harm other people’, ‘you should not do it because God says so’, etc.

    Technically speaking, under this theory there is a gap between normative and non-normative moral judgments, which can only be bridged by affirming a subjective moral judgment that implicates one to the other (e.g., “one ought to be good”).

    But this betrays those being facts?

    I was talking about semantics there, not moral facticity. It is a moral fact that “torturing babies for fun is bad” because this action can be objectively categorized as under ‘being bad’.

    Similar to above. Happy to acknowledge i've misinterpreted you, but then I fall back into - then these aren't facts. They're just socially-common concepts

    They are facts because the categorization is objective, insofar as the said action is either promoting depravity, disunity, and disharmony or sovereignty, unity, and harmony (or perhaps neither) and this is not subject to our opinions.

    Are you able to explain what you're seeing stands between a moral fact, and it's normative implication?

    The good is just the form of any action which promotes harmony, unity, and sovereignty; which doesn’t itself reference anything normative. For a normative fact to exist, there must be something which exists mind-independently which itself informs us of what ought to be. I don’t think the way reality is entails how it ought to be; so I am going to deny the existence of normative facts.

    Think of the good as the Platonic Form of the good, stripped of its acausal, inert, and eternal existence as an abstract object. It’s more like an aristotilian ‘form’.
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    Immoral only insofar as it is a non-normative moral violation. I can say “you did something (morally) bad, but I cannot thereby affirm you did something you shouldn’t have”.Bob Ross

    Ah ok, this is bringing a bit of focus for me - I supppose i would still, prima facie, reject the distinction - but this is much clearer for where you're intending to go. Onward..

    Sure, I was not trying to imply that a psychopath will always acknowledge nor recognize the categories.Bob Ross

    I suppose what i'm pointing out here, is that each set of 'categorised acts' for want of a better term, would be peculiar to each person. There is no 'shared' Good or Bad ..Which lands me at 8billion individual 'moralities'. I'm unsure this is workable? But I could be missing a trick, as usual.

    Technically speaking, under this theory there is a gap between normative and non-normative moral judgments, which can only be bridged by affirming a subjective moral judgment that implicates one to the other (e.g., “one ought to be good”).Bob Ross

    Right right. Yep, as with my first response here getting clearer what you mean by delineating between the two - but I am still unsure this move is open. I understand the categories are non-normative, but I still cannot see any gap between what is good, and how one should act. If an act is objectively a Good act, I understand this doesn't mean "one should be Good" but I can't understand how it doesn't imply this, without much wiggle room. Again, metaethics - noted - But i can't see the disjunction between an objective Good and an objective normative theory relying on that. I suppose we could say "Fuck the Good!!" but this seems, on it's face, an immoral proclamation. I note the different - But i see the transfer of valence from fact to intent unavoidable and essentially only semantic distinction obtains here.

    I was talking about semantics there, not moral facticity. It is a moral fact that “torturing babies for fun is bad” because this action can be objectively categorized as under ‘being bad’.Bob Ross

    I just don't see how. Per the psychopath example above. Perhaps i get the concept, but reject that it's workable?

    They are facts because the categorization is objective, insofar as the said action is either promoting depravity, disunity, and disharmony or sovereignty, unity, and harmony (or perhaps neither) and this is not subject to our opinions.Bob Ross

    Fair enough. But that does seem to be picking an arbitrary set of conditions to relate metaethical categories to.

    I don’t think the way reality is entails how it ought to be; so I am going to deny the existence of normative facts.Bob Ross

    Ok. That's fair. I don't understand why you would want moral facts, if they don't inform normative expressions.
  • Leontiskos
    1.1k
    I would say we can induce 'the good' as, most generally, acts which care about life to the maximal extent possible; and 'the bad' as the negation of it.Bob Ross

    That's fine. At this point you have a definition or an essence.

    I think this is an important topic generally, especially on this forum. It relates to 's opinions about Moore's Open Question. It relates to Moore's understanding of so-called "naturalism." It relates to and Anscombe's despairing of the moral landscape.

    It's sort of interesting how modern philosophy has attempted to do without essences, but really you can't do without them. Linguistically, words need to have meaning. Intentionally, concepts need to be specified. And when studying realities that are given, or "objective," or "natural," one is studying something with a determinate form that must be explicated if any sort of meaningful investigation is to take place. The modern abandonment of essences is a train gone off the tracks, and many contemporary philosophers are waiting by the centuries-old wreckage, train ticket in hand. I basically agree with Lloyd Gerson that such an unmitigated abandonment of Plato's basic project isn't really worthy of the name 'philosophy.' It's no wonder that our moral thinking is so deeply confused when, as a matter of principle, it is claimed that notions like 'good' or 'moral' have no essence at all.
  • Bob Ross
    1k


    I suppose what i'm pointing out here, is that each set of 'categorised acts' for want of a better term, would be peculiar to each person. There is no 'shared' Good or Bad ..Which lands me at 8billion individual 'moralities'. I'm unsure this is workable? But I could be missing a trick, as usual.

    Not quite. Let’s tackle this by analogy: imagine I gave you a box full of circles and triangles and asked you to separate them by shape. Now, to your point here, let’s say you have not clue what a circle or a triangle is: this would, then, be a lot tougher task than if you already knew your shapes. Ok, so you try to reverse engineer which shape is which from the box without any help from anyone else. Let’s say you get it all wrong: does this take away from the fact that there is a right answer here? No. Does it produce a second set of categories which are valid (given the prompt I gave you—i.e., to separate them by shape)? No.

    All you are noting here is that people may get confused, since they have not been trained since a young age to separate the good from the bad (unlike shapes, which we learn quickly); but every mistake does not constitute a new valid distinction between the good and the bad. There’s only one distinction which is valid.

    I understand the categories are non-normative, but I still cannot see any gap between what is good, and how one should act. If an act is objectively a Good act, I understand this doesn't mean "one should be Good" but I can't understand how it doesn't imply this, without much wiggle room

    I think the big mistake with traditional moral realist theories is that they try to make the normative judgments themselves factual—which is clearly false. There is nothing out there which dictates “one ought ...”; instead, a much more reasonable moral realist approach would be to equate normative judgments with our ability to choose and let the moral facts be the categories of the good and bad.

    I just don't see how. Per the psychopath example above. Perhaps i get the concept, but reject that it's workable?

    What do you mean by “workable”?

    Fair enough. But that does seem to be picking an arbitrary set of conditions to relate metaethical categories to.

    Historically, it seems like humanities efforts at ‘the good’ converges at promoting harmony, sovereignty, and unity. Semantically, I think this is what “the good” is implying. Of course, there are other uses of the term that are not moral, like ‘good’ in the sense of being optimal at its function (utility).

    Ok. That's fair. I don't understand why you would want moral facts, if they don't inform normative expressions.

    Because I see the good, and I want to do good. I am not just, in this theory, projecting my own psychology onto others: I am striving towards the good.
  • Bob Ross
    1k


    I don't really have a problem with noting the essences of things, as I view it as a useful abstraction of entities in reality for the sole sake of analysis.

    I see the good as simply acts which promote sovereignty, unity, and harmony; and I acquire this by induction or perhaps abduction of acts themselves. So, sure, it is the essence of 'the good'.
  • Leontiskos
    1.1k
    I don't really have a problem with noting the essences of things, as I view it as a useful abstraction of entities in reality for the sole sake of analysis.Bob Ross

    Okay, and I think the meaning of 'essence' has become confused or brittle, so that may be part of the problem.

    I see the good as simply acts which promote sovereignty, unity, and harmony; and I acquire this by induction or perhaps abduction of acts themselves. So, sure, it is the essence of 'the good'.Bob Ross

    Yes, or at the very least it is what we would call a nominal definition, an attempt at locating the essence of the good.
  • Hanover
    11.9k
    It's sort of interesting how modern philosophy has attempted to do without essences, but really you can't do without them. Linguistically, words need to have meaning.Leontiskos
    Non-essentialism doesn't suggest words have no meaning.


    What is the essence of "depression:? Here's the definition:

    Major Depressive Disorder requires two or more major depressive episodes.

    Diagnostic criteria:

    "Depressed mood and/or loss of interest or pleasure in life activities for at least 2 weeks and at least five of the following symptoms that cause clinically significant impairment in social, work, or other important areas of functioning almost every day

    1.
    Depressed mood most of the day.

    2.
    Diminished interest or pleasure in all or most activities.

    3.
    Significant unintentional weight loss or gain.

    4.
    Insomnia or sleeping too much.

    5.
    Agitation or psychomotor retardation noticed by others.

    6.
    Fatigue or loss of energy.

    7.
    Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt.

    8.
    Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness.

    9.
    Recurrent thoughts of death (APA, 2000, p. 356)."

    I have fatigue and loss of energy? Am I depressed? Maybe yes, maybe no. #6 isn't essential, but no one attribute is.

    Could this prescriptive definition not be universal? Might the way it's used vary by context, where I say I'm depressed just because I'm mildly upset, yet I don't meet this definition?

    The point is, use varies by context and users don't even require a single consistent attribute of a term to anchor its meaning.

    The word conveys meaning, but every sentence is a mix of metaphor and poetry. Just speaking of words (and I don't speak, I type) as conveying meaning (as if they move something from A to B (and what the hell is an A and B, and why speak of the netherworld, and what's it underneath?)) and what did we mix? (I didn't stir anything).

    The point is, speaking is a comparative analysis to the world you know. We talk about what things are like, not what they are, which is what an essence is.
  • AmadeusD
    1.3k
    Let’s tackle this by analogyBob Ross

    This analogy doesn't map on to the categories of Good and Bad at all.

    There’s only one distinction which is valid.Bob Ross

    There isn't, though. You've just decided on a criterion randomly, basically. That appears to me an expression of your emotional reaction to that criterion. That you think it should be the moral benchmark. I remain unconvinced you have objective categories.

    a much more reasonable moral realist approach would be to equate normative judgments with our ability to choose and let the moral facts be the categories of the good and badBob Ross

    I agree in principle, but as above, those categories themselves don't represent facts other than teleologically (i.e an authority dictating what fits in each category). There also remains the equivocal nature of Good and Bad, even under your view. Another reason your analogy doesn't hold at all.

    By 'workable' I mean to say that if each person has differing categories (this seems empirically true) then there's no objective categories between people and is therefore not a useful or helpful framework. I would acknowledge there's probably a 'pregnant middle' of those categories that most do share, but that's immaterial if something like 4/10 instances don't come under that.

    Historically, it seems like humanities efforts at ‘the good’ converges at promoting harmony, sovereignty, and unity. Semantically, I think this is what “the good” is implying.Bob Ross

    As has been the case (though, I don't think i've said this necessarily) this is a reasonable assumption to go on. But it's not objective. That's the point.

    Because I see the good, and I want to do good. I am not just, in this theory, projecting my own psychology onto others: I am striving towards the good.Bob Ross

    Sure, but these pertain solely to your conception of the Good. And it's a good one by my lights too, generally, but even given that generally agree with the conception, I disagree the categories that result are objective. I also note, again, that your normative system is subjective - so no qualms with that.
  • Leontiskos
    1.1k
    Non-essentialism doesn't suggest words have no meaning.Hanover

    But I never said it did.

    I have fatigue and loss of energy? Am I depressed?Hanover

    Not according to the definition you gave, no.

    Could this prescriptive definition not be universal? Might the way it's used vary by context, where I say I'm depressed just because I'm mildly upset, yet I don't meet this definition?Hanover

    There are equivocal uses of words, yes.

    The point is, use varies by context and users don't even require a single consistent attribute of a term to anchor its meaning.Hanover

    I would say that essentialism is more about concepts than words. That is why I went on to say, for example, "Intentionally, concepts need to be specified." Everyone knows that words have equivocal uses and definitions. Yet the nub is really about realities, not concepts, which is why I expanded a third time in that first post.

    We talk about what things are like, not what they are, which is what an essence is.Hanover

    No, I think we talk about what things are. "That is a tree," does not mean, "That is like a tree." We can speak metaphorically, but the literal sense of language is simply not metaphorical. Metaphor would be redundant and meaningless if the literal sense of language were metaphorical.

    An essence for Aristotle is the what-it-is. See, for example, the honey bee example given here: .

    Okay, and I think the meaning of 'essence' has become confused or brittle, so that may be part of the problem.Leontiskos

    If something exists and is knowable, then it has a determinate form and, therefore, it has an essence. We can know essences to a greater or lesser degree. If clinical depression exists and is knowable, then it has an essence, and the definition from the DSM is attempting to set out that essence. The idea that some words have equivocal senses is an ignoratio elenchi, unrelated to the question of essentialism.

    With morality some think it doesn't exist (e.g. Michael) and some think it is unknowable, and for either of these positions it would not have an essence. But I'm not sure what it would mean to say that morality exists and is knowable but has no essence. Apparently when TPF users claim that there are no essences, what they mean to say is that it is hard to nail down essences. I grant that it is often hard to nail down essences, but I think everyone implicitly or explicitly acknowledges their existence; namely that there are existing realities with determinate and knowable forms.

    Admittedly, I meant to raise this topic as a sort of bookmark for future conversation, for it is mildly tangential to this thread. I am going to tag @Banno as well, since he was my original interlocutor on this question. I don't have time to start that new thread right now.
  • wonderer1
    1.5k
    If something exists and is knowable, then it has a determinate form and, therefore, it has an essence. We can know essences to a greater or lesser degree. If clinical depression exists and is knowable, then it has an essence, and the definition from the DSM is attempting to set out that essence. The idea that some words have equivocal senses is an ignoratio elenchi, unrelated to the question of essentialism.Leontiskos

    Suppose that rather than things having essences, our minds recognize certain 'signatures' in things. Is there a good reasons to think that 'there are essences' is a better way of understanding things than, "our minds recognize patterns'?
  • Leontiskos
    1.1k
    Suppose that rather than things having essences, our minds recognize certain 'signatures' in things. Is there a good reasons to think that 'there are essences' is a better way of understanding things than, "our minds recognize patterns'?wonderer1

    I think essentialism is a fundamental question. In this case it would simply be resituated as the question of whether the patterns are really in the things or merely in the mind. Yet the word "recognize" indicates the former.

    Alternatively, there is the question of whether a recognized pattern is accidental or essential, and whether any property is essential. This pertains to species rather than to individuals qua individual.

    But note that Hanover's example of clinical depression is an objective pattern that must have an essence. Again, one could deny that clinical depression exists or is knowable, but once these are admitted then it will be recognizable via a determinate form or "pattern."

    The relation of nominal definitions to real definitions (and accidental properties to essential properties) is rather complex. See for example, "Aquinas: We Can't Know Perfectly Even the Nature of a Single Fly (and Related Texts)."
  • Banno
    22.9k
    Tagged.

    Trouble is, it's remarkably unclear what an essence might be; which is odd, considering every thing supposedly has one, and moreover it is in virtue of having one that each thing is what it is...

    And I'm not sure how it fits in with the topic. I'm impressed to see doing such a re-think of his ideas, this present version is quite an improvement on previous renditions. It seems close to Moore's intuitionism. I don't see how induction could fit int he way Bob suggests; he seems to want a notion of evidential support, while rejecting naturalism, which I can't see working.
  • Leontiskos
    1.1k
    I'm impressed to see ↪Bob Ross doing such a re-think of his ideas, this present version is quite an improvement on previous renditions.Banno

    Agreed.

    And I'm not sure how it fits in with the topic.Banno

    This is why:

    It seems close to Moore's intuitionism. I don't see how induction could fit int he way Bob suggests; he seems to want a notion of evidential support, while rejecting naturalism, which I can't see working.Banno

    interprets Moore's "naturalism" as essentialism.

    Trouble is, it's remarkably unclear what an essence might be; which is odd, considering every thing supposedly has one, and moreover it is in virtue of having one that each thing is what it is...Banno

    I think the reason people balk at essentialism is because they have imbibed caricatures. Essentialism is the idea that realities have determinate and knowable forms. If morality has no determinate and knowable form, then moral claims will inevitably be vacuous, as believes. @Hanover/Moore's position that morality has no essence and yet moral claims are nevertheless meaningful seems to make no sense.

    Note that you yourself, when pressed, supply a starting point for the form (essence) of morality:

    You probably want to ask how we know it is true, and my own answer is that it's a consequence of the hinge proposition that one ought so far as one can avoid causing suffering.Banno

    Folks around here are apt to call this approach of yours "naturalism," and I think @Hanover rightly observes that what is meant by this is essentialism (and the starting point for this is any theory of moral realism which is not intuitionism). Your understanding of the essence of morality is bound up with causing or not-causing suffering, and this remains true whether or not that exhausts the reality of morality.

    @Bob Ross, when pressed, gave a similar answer:

    I see the good as simply acts which promote sovereignty, unity, and harmony; and I acquire this by induction or perhaps abduction of acts themselves. So, sure, it is the essence of 'the good'.Bob Ross

    So if we ask the question, "What is morality," we receive a number of answers:

    • Michael: Morality has no essence/definition, and therefore can have no effect on reality.
    • Moore: Morality has no definable essence, but is known by intuition.
    • Hanover: (Seems to more or less agree with Moore)
    • Bob Ross: Morality has no formula. ...Well, maybe it does. It is "caring about life." "... or maybe it is the promotion of sovereignty, unity, and harmony." (work in progress)
    • Banno: Morality at the very least has to do with the causing of suffering.

    It's a bit hard to get moderns to see what is meant by essences, and to see how they are used continuously, but this ongoing discussion of morality provides an occasion for perceiving it.
  • Banno
    22.9k
    It's a bit hard to get moderns to see what is meant by essencesLeontiskos

    One wonders why.

    Might it not be that the notion of essence is itself problematic?

    And if it is not problematic, then please, set it out for us.

    (It's a trap! Don't do it!)
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.