• Beverley
    135
    So, no, it isn't that nothing morally good exists; but, rather, that nothing 100% morally good exists. Perhaps we can find common ground there (;Bob Ross

    Yes, I do think that makes a lot more sense, to me anyway.

    However... and I don't like this 'however' because I feel as if I want to agree. You have stood your ground and responded to so many different comments on here, and some have been pretty tough. I wonder if I could have done that?

    But my nature is to look at things from ALL viewpoints, so that I may get a clearer idea of what I think is true. I question everything, myself included. I always have. Therefore, when I first 'found' philosophy, it fitted so much into how I seem to see things, and I tend to think that this is what philosophy is all about, reflected in the way that Socrates encouraged people to question their knowledge.

    Bearing this in mind, the first thing that I thought of when I read your response was that, if we can accept that nothing is 100 percent perfect, then I wonder if any definition can be 100 percent perfect either. Now, I get the feeling you are going to say something about an 'ideal' of something, or some definition, being 100 percent perfect. But that just seems to return us to the problem of an 'ideal' being something that may not be real.

    Okay, but here is another thought I've had: I've been trying to figure out how harmony can equal goodness, and it occurred to me that people whose lives have, through no fault of their own, unfortunately led to disharmony often seek to redress the imbalance in their lives by trying to bring harmony into other people's lives. In other words, people who have experienced 'bad' things often seek to help others who have experienced similar 'bad' things. This brings to my mind many different thoughts, but firstly, can I just ask, would you tend to respond that those people are not in harmony, and hence cannot be classed as 'good', because there is an imbalance in this situation? The imbalance is due to the fact that, by them helping others when they are at a disadvantage themselves, and not in harmony, then they are giving more than they are receiving, and hence are causing more imbalance? This seems strange to me, but it is the only way I can see to fit with your idea of harmony equaling goodness in this situation. I admit, I may be missing something, as I have not studied ethics, and I am just going by my own thoughts.
  • Pantagruel
    3.3k
    Here's something that might interest you @Bob Ross. A mathematically perfect solar system.

    "According to new research, all six planets orbit the same star in resonance with each other, following an unwavering rhythm that has lasted billions of years."
  • Pantagruel
    3.3k
    "For how can one assign to perfection bounds that it cannot exceed?"
    ~Emile Durkheim
  • Leontiskos
    1.3k
    I thought Sam Harris did a good job arguing for morality as a form of well-being, along the same lines as this thread:

  • AmadeusD
    1.8k
    I think Sam does a typically bad job of grouping his emotional position - that human well-being, on his account, is an objective basis for Morality.

    Even in the video above, Alex doesn't push back on the idea that a world whcih has less suffering that the sum optimal suffering of all beings would be better....

    But that's literally Sam's position on 'better'. It begs the question. If you give hiim the one free miracle all moralists need, he's away to the races and much faster and more accurate than the vast majority of thinking on the subject. But, it's still just his pet. There's nothing objective about 'assessing' something for a 'yes/no' action matrix. S is the source and the destination.
  • Leontiskos
    1.3k
    - I don't think either of the two are very good philosophers in general, but I think Harris trounced O'Connor in this discussion. If you watch from about 1:20:00-1:30:00 they get into the thing you are talking about, and O'Connor falls into sophistries typical of skeptics.
  • AmadeusD
    1.8k
    Maybe we'll need to agree to disagree, but Harris has never said anything particularly note-worthy on this front to my mind. O'Connor bites many bullets Harris is clearly afraid of biting due to his political commitments. O'Connor has no such reputation to maintain.

    I have seen the entire interview - I follow O'Connor quite closely these days. I think he was the quiet winner here. Harris continues to not address the holes in his theories (i.e what I put forward above) and just runs with them as if he hadn't made those initial leaps. And nothing in this supports his position beyond that, imo.
  • Leontiskos
    1.3k


    One of the key disagreements here relates to the idea that there is a universal human end (happiness). If all humans ultimately desire happiness, and if Harris' doomsday scenario is the epitome of unhappiness, then it logically follows that we should try to avoid this doomsday scenario. I don't think there is anything controversial about this; I think Harris merely underestimated the sophistry of Anglo-American moral philosophy that is now roosting at Oxford. Still, Harris did well, and he basically got O'Connor to admit that one could deny that 2+2=4 on the same Emotivist basis on which he denies Harris' claim. Requiring infinite justification for any claim is always an epistemological error, whether in mathematics or ethics.

    I would not be surprised to see O'Connor abandon his Emotivism in the next 6-7 years.
  • AmadeusD
    1.8k
    One of the key disagreements here relates to the idea that there is a universal human end (happiness). If all humans desire happiness, and if Harris' doomsday scenario is the epitome of unhappiness, then it logically follows that we should try to avoid this doomsday scenario.Leontiskos

    To some degree, I agree, but this does nothing for the disagreement, imo. For Harris' "we should avoid" - this is a best-fit claim, not a moral one. IFF, then. Morally, why? No answer from Harris. Its, IFF. He's not making a moral argument at all, at the end of the day. He's saying "this is how we can get aesthetically moral-looking decisions out of states-of-affairs. And it's a good system to use - it's just not an objective moral system - and I actually think:

    sophistry of Anglo-American moral philosophy that is now roosting at Oxford.Leontiskos

    It is exactly the above. The type of horse-crap people like MacAskill and Earp put forward as if it's profound thinking. It's not even in the field they claim it to be in. Parfit, unfortunately, started this wave of inanity. Sam hasn't escaped it, it seems.

    he basically got O'Connor to admit that one could deny that 2+2=4 on the same Emotivist basis on which he denies Harris' claimLeontiskos

    He did not. But as I say, agree to disagree? LOL.

    Personally, Emotivism is the only reasonable position and O'Connor has rightly landed on it.
  • Leontiskos
    1.3k
    He's not making a moral argument at all, at the end of the day.AmadeusD

    We've seen this claim over and over, and O'Connor makes it as well. The claim is, "That's not a moral claim, and I am unable to define what I mean by a moral claim." This is not a serious objection.

    What Harris has demonstrated is a "should" that is necessary and universal. If that's not a moral claim then I don't know what is.

    He did not.AmadeusD

    You probably missed it. Watch the section I pointed out above.
  • AmadeusD
    1.8k
    The claim is, "That's not a moral claim, and I am unable to define what I mean by a moral claim." This is not a serious objection.Leontiskos

    This is your misrepresentation of the claim, sure. It doesn't involve the second part, in reality. Not sure what you were trying to do here, though. It's not serious if you don't take is seriously. But that's defining it out of seriousness for convenience.

    What Harris has demonstrated is a "should" that is necessary and universal. If that's not a moral claim then I don't know what is.Leontiskos

    He absolutely has not. You take it to be one, because you agree with his premise. It is unsupported. It is a 'free miracle'. IFF his premise is correct, off to the races. I have already addressed this. You haven't presented anything new.

    You probably missed it. Watch the section I pointed out above.Leontiskos

    I've watched the entire interview. He did not.
  • Leontiskos
    1.3k
    - 70% of your posts contain no arguments at all.
  • AmadeusD
    1.8k
    That is novel kind of retreat. Interesting.
  • Leontiskos
    1.3k
    - No, just an explanation of why I have had you on ignore for almost a month now. I made an exception given that you responded to a video I posted. Adios, again.
  • AmadeusD
    1.8k
    oh, so this has been ongoing.

    Okay. Less interesting.
  • Joshs
    5.2k

    Personally, Emotivism is the only reasonable position and O'Connor has rightly landed on it.AmadeusD

    Why not Perspectivism? That would involvement linking emotional processes with the successes and failures of situational sense-making. By that thinking, the feelings of happiness and sadness give us information concerning the relative capability of our perspectival knowledge system with respect to anticipating events in a coherent manner. It agrees with O’Connor that happiness doesn’t tell us anything universal about the content , moral or otherwise, of the events that produce it. But it takes happy-sad out of the category of the merely arbitrary, subjective and irrational, and instead ties emotions to not only personal sense-making , but interpersonal processes of anticipatory cognition. If our emotions are expressions of individual development in terms of knowledge construction, and the latter is inextricably tied to reciprocal interaction within a larger social community, then there can be a kind of universal evolution of moral understanding.
  • AmadeusD
    1.8k
    Why not Perspectivism?Joshs

    I take Emotivism to entail Perspectivism - but the latter is restricted to moral statements, where the latter can essentially relate to any valence one has.

    If our emotions are expressions of individual development in terms of knowledge construction, and the latter is inextricably tied to reciprocal interaction within a larger social community, then there can be a kind of universal evolution of moral understanding.Joshs

    I see where you're going. I don't quite think this is the right analysis, But i do think I land at a similar place. But it's called Emotivism, morally, as best I can make out. Overall, I don't think we're far apart (in this post - No idea if this is your view or not).
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