• Moliere
    4.1k
    So you agree with me that your theory of emotion-subjectivism is not a (cognitive) science?Leontiskos

    Yes. I'd say that one can be a cognitivist without thinking that ethics is a cognitive science. I don't think ethics is a science.

    To lay my cards on the table, I don't really want to argue over a thesis that you don't hold, especially when that thesis has no authorities to legitimate it. It doesn't seem to me that it will be fruitful. I would rather talk about a thesis that you actually hold, such as error theory or a theory of emotion or a theory of moral 'oughts', etc. It would be different if the thesis had philosophical authorities behind it, but I don't see that moral subjectivism does.Leontiskos

    Heh, fair. I'll stick to that then. Though it started to feel like I'd be veering off too far from the OP, so now I have ideas for threads. (being a lazy sort, we'll see how long it takes before one gets posted ;) )
  • Moliere
    4.1k
    (Sticking here to the bits where I have sincere commitments)

    Have you given examples? I searched for "wants to be" on the first five pages on the thread and didn't find any occurrences.Leontiskos

    Not with those words, no -- to be fair to you I'm trying to make a position mostly to understand the idea, so I'm changing my position as I go along; I'm engaged in a creative endeavor. I don't have some firmly worked out idea here, though through the game we have managed to touch upon some possible interesting avenues of conversation.

    The examples I have in mind are the angry man with his friend who he pushes aside, the guilty man apologizing, and the penitent man.

    a person who is surrounded by people who shame them can feel guilt for that particular thing and want to change, or they can feel anger and define themselves against that group, and perhaps they can feel both at the same time in roughly similar proportion (and this is where the sense of free will comes from). Each leads to a kind of articulatable ethic that justifies the choice

    at least in the sense of using "wants to be". In the scenario where he acts on anger "X wants to be alpha", or perhaps something more personal like the person insulted his wife: "X wants to be defender"

    Where he backs down "X wants to be friend" -- he's promised, and friends keep promises.

    Where he's guilty "X wants to be accepted"

    Either the choice leads to the ethic or attachment to the ethic leads to the choice. It can't be both, because two things cannot simultaneously cause each other.Leontiskos

    Why not?

    Gravitation works that way. The earth pulls on the apple, and the apple pulls on the earth -- it's just the earth is bigger so it's a more noticeable pull, but they simultaneously cause each other to meet.

    But you aren't appealing to his anger, you are appealing to the justification of his anger, like I said <here>. This is not appeal to emotion; it is appeal to something which justifies an emotion.Leontiskos

    I'm appealing to his anger. It's the right kind of anger. The words we make up after the fact notice the distinction between the right kind and the wrong kind, but the words aren't the appeal.

    But this might be back to philosophy of emotions.
  • Leontiskos
    1.5k
    Yes. I'd say that one can be a cognitivist without thinking that ethics is a cognitive science. I don't think ethics is a science.Moliere

    Okay, interesting.

    Not with those words, no -- to be fair to you I'm trying to make a position mostly to understand the idea, so I'm changing my position as I go along; I'm engaged in a creative endeavor. I don't have some firmly worked out idea here, though through the game we have managed to touch upon some possible interesting avenues of conversation.Moliere

    Okay.

    at least in the sense of using "wants to be". In the scenario where he acts on anger "X wants to be alpha", or perhaps something more personal like the person insulted his wife: "X wants to be defender"

    Where he backs down "X wants to be friend" -- he's promised, and friends keep promises.

    Where he's guilty "X wants to be accepted"
    Moliere

    Okay, in my last I set out different senses of such desires. Are you saying they are a sort of retrospective motive for an action that has already occurred?

    Why not?Moliere

    It's just how reality works. If your mother gives birth to you, then you don't give birth to your mother.

    Gravitation works that way. The earth pulls on the apple, and the apple pulls on the earth -- it's just the earth is bigger so it's a more noticeable pull, but they simultaneously cause each other to meet.Moliere

    Yes, but the motion is caused by the body, not by the motion of the body. There is no circular causality here, no more than if, sitting across from each other foot to foot, we grasp hands and pull each other up.

    I'm appealing to his anger. It's the right kind of anger. The words we make up after the fact notice the distinction between the right kind and the wrong kind, but the words aren't the appeal.Moliere

    An appeal to the right kind of anger is not an appeal to anger itself. Else, if you think there is an emotion called good-anger and a different emotion called bad-anger, and these are two different things with no essential relation to one another, then you would still need to say what you mean by good-anger, and I say this description will always appeal to a rational justification for the appropriateness of good-anger.

    But this might be back to philosophy of emotions.Moliere

    If you are interested, one of Aquinas' central writings on the passions occurs in questions 22-48 of the Prima Secundae.

    Edit: Some old threads on emotion:


    's thread is perhaps par for the course in that it conceives of emotions as separate from the self. I'm starting to wonder if this is just how modern people think.
  • Leontiskos
    1.5k
    They are binding socially (normatively) only insofar as most normal people hold to them. So, I am not advocating moral subjectivism or skepticism, but rather a kind of moral inter-subjectivism. What is morally wrong is what most people would find to be so. Of course, I don't deny that this position has its weaknesses, and I think these show up in the case of social mores, like sex before marriage, but when it comes to significant moral issues like murder, rape, child abuse, theft, and so on I think it works well enough.Janus

    The first sentence seems to rely on peer pressure for bindingness; the third sentence seems to rely on the idea that the consensus of a large enough sample of human opinion will tend to be correct (I forget the name which is often given to this idea). The problem with consensus-based views is that consensus is not in itself a truthmaker. The claim that consensus is a truthmaker for moral propositions therefore requires additional explanation.

    If you want to say that moral proposition P is probably true if most people believe it, then you still need to explain why this makes it probably true.

    Many years ago I argued with an atheist skeptic that a general consensus is rationally inclining: that it counts as evidence in favor of the thesis (and therefore global skepticism fails). I did not commit myself to the consensus constituting anything more than a piece of evidence, for he would not even accept this. I am inclined to agree with my former self, but I wouldn't go so far as to say that the rational inclination is strong enough to bind or obligate one to accept the opinion of the consensus. So what I said seems to apply to your theory as well:

    I think the reason moral subjectivism is basically non-existent in professional philosophy is because it is recognized that even if nothing supports moral propositions better than attitudes, it remains the case that attitudes are insufficient to support moral propositions.Leontiskos

    Ergo: The attitude of belief that a consensus of people have towards a moral proposition is not sufficient to support that moral proposition. Unlike the subjectivist, I think your methodology contains a certain degree of validity, and mere consensus may even be sufficient for a child or an unreflective person, but beyond that I do not think it manages to properly ground moral propositions. Still, a lot of the ethical silliness on these boards would be improved by adopting your position (e.g. ).
  • Bob Ross
    1.3k


    It seems that if the subjectivist is a correspondence theorist, and they accept P2, then they have an inconsistency. But is that inconsistency fatal to the overall idea?

    Yes, this OP presupposes correspondence theory of truth; which is widely accepted. A moral subjectivism could, prima facie, sidestep this (potentially) with another theory of truth; but I think, in the end, it will fall prey to this same issue.

    Taking coherentism, for example, there isn't a really coherent way to account for the difference between a belief and a proposition; so sidestepping the issue by subscribing to that theory just creates a deeper issue.
  • Janus
    15.7k
    The first sentence seems to rely on peer pressure for bindingness; the third sentence seems to rely on the idea that the consensus of a large enough sample of human opinion will tend to be correct (I forget the name which is often given to this idea). The problem with consensus-based views is that consensus is not in itself a truthmaker. The claim that consensus is a truthmaker for moral propositions therefore requires additional explanation.Leontiskos

    I don't believe there are any truthmakers for moral thoughts or dispositions, in the kind of sense that there are truthmakers for empirical, mathematical and logical propositions. That most humans have moral feelings or intuitions, when it comes to significant issues like murder, rape, theft, assault, child abuse, cruelty to animals and so on creates a kind of normative force in itself.

    But obviously, if people have those moral feelings, then they alone would (or at least should in the absence of perversity) also be motivating. One might question something they understood to be a moral feeling in themselves if it ran counter to the normal view. The normal view is the foundation of normativity and indeed sociality itself, it is more than mere consensus in the sense of being more than mere opinion; it is deeply felt in the normal, non-criminally minded individual and deeply entrenched in our social practices. But it still does not constitute an absolute imperative, because an individual is free to act counter to the general feeling and even counter to their own moral intuitions in perverse cases.

    Subjective, or intersubjective (which it always really is since we are socialized beings) morality is generally workable, but it is also a somewhat messy business, and I think the attempt to make it cut and dried, codified in a hard and fast set of rules, in other words to objectify it, is a lost cause. That's my take anyway.
  • Leontiskos
    1.5k


    You're not really addressing the issue in any clear or straightforward way.

    1. Is a moral consensus in any way binding, yes or no?
    2. If yes, then in virtue of what is it binding?

    Do you have clear answers to either question?
  • Janus
    15.7k
    I've already said that individual moral feeling is motivating, and that communally shared moral feeling is doubly so. The latter is, in that sense, normative, but not "binding". We are bound by law, if by anything, and even there we are not really bound.

    As I say, I have already written earlier in this thread things which should indicate that I don't believe there are binding moral injunctions. I have certainly implied, if not explicitly stated, that.

    For example,
    Normative does not equate to imperative.Janus
  • Leontiskos
    1.5k
    I've already said that individual moral feeling is motivating, and that communally shared moral feeling is doubly so.Janus

    So you want to say, "If you are positively disposed towards doing or not doing something, then you are in some sense motivated to do or not do it. And if you and a large group of other people are all positively disposed towards doing or not doing something, then you are even more motivated to do or not do it."

    These are just tautologies, are they not? I don't see anything substantial being said.
145678Next
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.