• Moliere
    1.4k
    If they are correct, then yes, I am the one in error in this case. But the very fact that there can be an error proves the objectivity of the topic. There cannot be any error on subjective topics, for it is by definition only a matter of opinion.Samuel Lacrampe

    Sure. But it's sensible to ask, then, how it is you know what you claim? Why is it that some people believe in the death penalty, and some do not, and both call it justice -- how do you adjudicate between these two possibilities, and justify your belief?

    I have granted the possibility of error. But given the diversity of opinion on the topic it seems reasonable to also say that not only is error possible, but we are all actually in error -- because there is no fact to the matter.
  • Marcus de Brun
    450


    To all that understand the concept. Do you believe "2+2=4" is right, and "2+2=3" is wrong? If so, then you too believe math to be objective, because only things which are objective can be either right or wrong. On the other hand, subjective things are neither right nor wrong, but only a matter of opinion.

    Wow, there is a serious amount of presumption in this assertion. First you are stating that both math and I can partake in a true and objective reality pertaining to "1" or "2" or "4" and when these concepts are put to together there is some objective truth that is distinct from the subjective validation and or acceptance of these numerical ideas.

    Objectivity is purely theoretical conjecture it is agreed upon as much as it is disagreed upon .... and all this is done subjectively.

    To assert that mathematics offers some objective truth is to put a lot of faith in your math. Math has as much trouble with being objective, as any subject might have with its impossibility.

    For arguments sake lets forget about Math's obvious difficulties with; Zero, or the impossibility of 'infinity', or the square root of minus 2, or the impossibility of "irrational numbers", or the absolute impossibility of precise "objective" measurement of anything vis: weight, length, density etc, ..... Or the impossible math behind Xeno's simple arrow.. etc etc,

    But for the sake of a bit of crack.... Lets forget these 'problems' with math and begin with the very basic concept of "1".

    In accordance with Leibniz's law of indiscernibles it its accepted amongst scientists and philosophers alike that no 'one' thing in the universe can be exactly the same as another 'one' thing: if they are exactly the same, then they must be the same thing. Therefore if I begin my math with the assumption that 1=1, I am beginning with a subjectively accepted falsity. No things are alike, and no one thing in the entire universe is exactly equal to another 'one' thing IE: One is not equal to One . It is equal only to itself. Beyond subjective thinking we can have no two things that are actually equal.

    Therefore our starting point, the very foundation of math which asserts with confidence that 1=1 is untrue, and as such is a falsity that must be subjectively overcome or collectively 'believed' if we are to have any math at all.

    M
  • Sum Dude
    34
    Morality may be subjective so long as your description of "subjective" doesn't mean "whatever those other people think is moral" is somehow defendable.

    Subjective doesn't mean "whatever you think is right" it means shades or tones of right and wrong.

    If country A outlaws beating sheep on Wednesdays and country B outlaws beating sheep on Tuesdays, the moral is permissive under the notion subjectivity.

    If country A outlaws beating sheep on Wednesdays and country B allows you to beat sheep on Wednesday Tuesday or any amount of days the transgression is no longer a question of subjectivity. It's wrong to beat sheep, it doesn't matter what day it is.

    Given my original statements implying beating sheep on any other days besides Wednesday and Tuesday is incongruent, but that wasn't the point.

    The point is, the word subjectivity pretends that things can't be arbitrary or capricious.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739

    I am now confused as to where you stand. If you believe that "something can be ethically or morally wrong but legal or vice versa", then you believe in true ethics and morality, do you not? Those who don't believe in objective morality will use the man-made laws as the only criteria for what is considered wrong.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739

    I understand your point, that strong disagreements on a topic suggests subjectivity. But two counter-points.

    (1) Subjectivity is not necessarily entailed; inasmuch as people disagree on religions even though it is clearly an objective topic (E.g., if the Christian God exists, then He exists for everyone; and if not, then not).

    (2) I dispute the claim that the disagreements are strong; even for the case of the death penalty. People do not argue on the death penalty when it comes to simple cases like children jaywalking; they do only when it comes to complex cases like dealing with terrorists. E.g., if only put in jail, will they escape? Will they do it again once released? Will their buddies continue to terrorize because jail time is not a strong enough incentive to stop? etc. If we know the answer to these questions with certainty, then there would be very few disagreements; and these are matters of facts, not values.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    In accordance with Leibniz's law of indiscernibles it its accepted amongst scientists and philosophers alike that no 'one' thing in the universe can be exactly the same as another 'one' thing: if they are exactly the same, then they must be the same thing. Therefore if I begin my math with the assumption that 1=1, I am beginning with a subjectively accepted falsity. No things are alike, and no one thing in the entire universe is exactly equal to another 'one' thing IE: One is not equal to One . It is equal only to itself. Beyond subjective thinking we can have no two things that are actually equal.Marcus de Brun
    Your conclusion that "One is not equal to One" is wrong because it fails the Law of Identity: For all A: A = A. Now let A = 1. Therefore, 1 = 1. I fail to understand your demonstration using Leibniz's law of indiscernibles, because the first "1" is the same as the second "1" in the equation; so it does not fail the law of indiscernibles.
  • Marcus de Brun
    450


    Samuel

    I think you have missed my point entirely.

    The issue at hand is whether morality is subjective. My point is that the notion 'objectivity' is an impossibility and as such to have an opinion as to whether morality is objective is impossible to answer from any viewpoint other than a subjective one.

    The reference to Leibiniz is in response to a counter argument that you made that mathmatics is objective "to all who know that 2+2 = 4"

    Think about this for a moment. We have a subjective personal understanding that 1 thing plus another makes two things. This is a belief that we hold, it is nothing more than that and it does not describe the reality of real objects. We can apply the belief to dollars and we can say that 1 dollar plus 1 dollar equals 2 dollars. This is still a subjective belief that we have. Now lets examine the objects that are dollars: each of them (the paper bills) are completely unique no matter how precise the technology applied in their manufacfture, they are not equal and can never be so. We have the subjective belief that 1Kg of salt plus 1kg of salt gives us 2 kgs of salt. Yet this is only a belief an agreement between two people, neither kg of salt is in fact1kg. Now if we agree upon the type of weigh scales we are to use in the measurement we are simply refining our beliefs we are in essence agreeing to dismiss the real objective difference.

    Because no two things can be the same 1+1 will only be two when we agree that A=1. In doing so we merely agree on a simillarity between A and 1. We can certainly construct a math out of our agreement, but once we assign an object be it an atom or a dollar to the 'A' and then assign a second atom or dollar we cannot have two real objects that are the same, and as such 1+1 remains vaild only as a subjective concept. In reality there is no possibile equality between two material objects. Because two observers agree upon their subjective assesment of an objects simillarity to another object this can never overcome the impossibility of their being objectively different. As such math is only subjectively true, the moment it is applied to the reality of objects it fails to give a precise description of objects. (Objective reality)
  • Wayfarer
    6.9k
    In accordance with Leibniz's law of indiscernibles it its accepted amongst scientists and philosophers alike that no 'one' thing in the universe can be exactly the same as another 'one' thing: if they are exactly the same, then they must be the same thing. Therefore if I begin my math with the assumption that 1=1, I am beginning with a subjectively accepted falsity. No things are alike, and no one thing in the entire universe is exactly equal to another 'one' thing IE: One is not equal to One . It is equal only to itself. Beyond subjective thinking we can have no two things that are actually equal.Marcus de Brun

    One thing to consider, is that numbers and other symbols are not actually things or phenomenal objects. They're meanings which are assigned to a particular shape or form. So A = A is a matter of definition, it is true a priori. Without that being the case, then it would be impossible to converse, as there would be no agreed definitions or conventions whatever. This holds for all the basics of logic and arithmetic, which are likewise true by definition.

    Another point that is relevant here, is that in Aristotelian and Thomistic dualism the 'form' of a thing, or the 'value' of a numerical symbol, is entirely intellectual or intelligible in nature. It is immaterial - and that is precisely why, in such traditional philosophies, the knowledge of an arithmetic proposition is of a higher order to the knowledge of material objects. 2 - 2 = 0 is by its very nature an abstract and general truth. We see it, in our mind's eye, with a certainty that doesn't pertain to the seeing of material particulars (even though it can be applied to them).

    in thinking, the intelligible object or form is present in the intellect, and thinking itself is the identification of the intellect with this intelligible. ... Thinking is not something that is, in principle, like sensing or perceiving; this is because thinking is a universalising activity. This is what this means: when you think, you see - mentally see - a form which could not, in principle, be identical with a particular - including a particular neurological element, a circuit, or a state of a circuit, or a synapse, and so on [in other words, any thing]. This is so because the object of thinking is universal, or the mind is operating universally. The fact that in thinking, your mind is identical with the form that it thinks, means (for Aristotle and for all Platonists) that since the form 'thought' is detached from matter, 'mind' is immaterial too.

    Lloyd Gerson, Platonism Vs Naturalism.

    We have a subjective personal understanding that 1 thing plus another makes two things.Marcus de Brun

    It is not subjective, it is the same for all who can count. But it's also not objective, as number (etc) is not strictly speaking 'an object' except for in an allegorical sense. (This is a point I tried to make at the beginning of this thread, in respect of the distinction of a priori and objective truths. My claim is that you have to have the former in order to establish the latter.)
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    Hello Mr Dude.
    I admit I don't understand your post. Subjectivity means 'only a matter of opinion' and 'no right or wrong'. Objectivity means 'part of reality independent of a subject' and 'with a right or wrong'.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    the notion 'objectivity' is an impossibilityMarcus de Brun
    This statement is a self-contradiction, because if objectivity is not real, then nothing can be objectively true, including the above statement.

    no two things can be the sameMarcus de Brun
    I think you misinterpret Leibniz's law of indiscernibles. The law states that no two things can be the same in every way, that is, have all the same properties. But two things can have some properties that are the same. Two things can have the same genus or species, or accidental properties.

    Are you a human being? So am I. Yet I am not you. Although we are separate beings, we participate in the same species: human. 1 human + 1 human = 2 humans. No more, no less.
  • Moliere
    1.4k
    (1) Subjectivity is not necessarily entailed; inasmuch as people disagree on religions even though it is clearly an objective topic (E.g., if the Christian God exists, then He exists for everyone; and if not, then not).Samuel Lacrampe

    That's a good analogy actually. By your terms I agree that morality is objective. The notion that I'm proposing is that every moral statement is false.

    Similarly with religion -- every religion has truth-apt statements. And that makes them objective. And they are false statements, i.e., there is not one true religion.

    (2) I dispute the claim that the disagreements are strong; even for the case of the death penalty. People do not argue on the death penalty when it comes to simple cases like children jaywalking; they do only when it comes to complex cases like dealing with terrorists. E.g., if only put in jail, will they escape? Will they do it again once released? Will their buddies continue to terrorize because jail time is not a strong enough incentive to stop? etc. If we know the answer to these questions with certainty, then there would be very few disagreements; and these are matters of facts, not values.Samuel Lacrampe

    I think there's one important question that you're missing there. Do they deserve it? And that is not a question of fact, but of values.

    I agree that there is agreement for absurdly simple cases, but I don't know if there is agreement even for most cases. First, how would we determine such a thing? It would seem we'd have to know the opinion not only of everyone who exists now, but even people who have existed -- since moral difference is most clear when viewed historically, and not just by asking your neighbor. And that just isn't possible to know down to every detail. We have to make assumptions of some kind to determine what everyone ever has believed.

    Given the changes in laws over time and the differences between even current countries, and persons within countries, I'd say that it is at least reasonable to believe that there is more disagreement than agreement with respect to all persons. I mean, we used to have a feudal society ruled by a single church. And now we have a democratic capitalist society with a plurality of religions. In what ways would all the people of the past agree with our current world? And wouldn't they actually disagree with it on what they consider to be moral grounds?
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    By your terms I agree that morality is objective. The notion that I'm proposing is that every moral statement is false.Moliere
    Great. To determine if morality is objective or not was the main goal of this discussion. Everything else is secondary. Now why do you claim that every moral statement is false?

    I think there's one important question that you're missing there. Do they deserve it? And that is not a question of fact, but of values.Moliere
    Asking "Do they deserve it?" is another way of asking "Is the punishment just?". If we unpack the question, we get "Does the punishment prevent further injustice?" and "Is justice restored?". The objectively correct punishment is the one that answers "yes" to both questions (if possible). But I only see a matter of facts here. Why do you say this is a matter of values?

    how would we determine [strong disagreement or not]?Moliere
    Given that we agree that morality is objective, this question becomes virtually irrelevant; because objective truth is found by reason and not opinions. But I'll try to answer your objection anyways.

    You point to the differences in political and economical systems, but believing that morality was always an end goal is a questionable assumption. The end goal of some of these could have been power only. It is hard to believe that the Nazi regime had morality in mind, instead of power. Moral systems on the other hand are very similar in different places and times. The Golden Rule is called such because it is universal. It occurs in some form in nearly every religion and ethical tradition (Source).
  • Moliere
    1.4k
    Asking "Do they deserve it?" is another way of asking "Is the punishment just?". If we unpack the question, we get "Does the punishment prevent further injustice?" and "Is justice restored?". The objectively correct punishment is the one that answers "yes" to both questions (if possible). But I only see a matter of facts here. Why do you say this is a matter of values?Samuel Lacrampe

    Because the question I offered is not asking, "Does the punishment prevent further injustice?" and "Is justice restored?", but rather "Does the person who is deserving of punishment deserve this punishment?" -- It's a question of how we interpret justice, and what we mean by justice. In the case of the death penalty it is thought of as just when the person in question has done something so wrong that the worst punishment we have is the only possible way to rectify what they have done. Justice, in this sense, is seen as a kind of balance. One person kills, and so is killed in return.

    Another sort of justice would just be restorative justice. Killing a murderer only creates more death, rather than rectify the wrong. Seeing as we can do nothing to bring back the dead the debt owed by the murderer is unpayable, and so they are given some sort of life sentence.

    Another sort of justice would be rehabilitative justice. Killing a murderer not only fails to rectify a wrong, it also misses out on what the truly just act would be: turning the murderer into a productive member of society. Justice, in this sense, is more about the health of a community than rectifying wrongs.

    Given that we agree that morality is objective, this question becomes virtually irrelevant; because objective truth is found by reason and not opinionsSamuel Lacrampe

    I'd say this confuses truth with justification. So while we agree that moral statements are truth-apt, in that they seem to be describing things which are or are not the case invariant of one's point of view, what I am asking is how you determine whether such a statement is true or false. Agreement seems to be the metric on hand, so we'd have to ask how it is we determine that people agree.

    I'd say that this is not enough:

    Moral systems on the other hand are very similar in different places and times. The Golden Rule is called such because it is universal. It occurs in some form in nearly every religion and ethical traditionSamuel Lacrampe

    For the reasons against the golden rule I already mentioned, one, and also because "moral systems" could just be read as synonymous with "systems with the golden rule". So any system with the golden rule is a system with the golden rule, meaning that definition-ally they'd all be similar. But this just begs the question.

    I'd say that, for instance, the Nazi system you propose contra moral systems is another example of people acting on moral impulses. These were moral impulses of disgust and a fascination with human unity in the state. There is a certain desire for purity in Nazi emotions, as well as a desire to be rid of a previous embarassment and rectify wrongs done to the people. But I would call it an immoral system, in the evaluative sense -- but in the descriptive sense, just like capitalism, communism, or feudalism, I'd say that it counts as a system of prescripts for society, and so is in that sense at least a normative system. It would count when looking at whether or not people agree on goodness.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    739
    Does the person who is deserving of punishment deserve this punishment? [...]Moliere
    I am not sure I understand your point. Your three options, death, life sentence, and rehabilitation, appear to aim at answering the two questions about stoping injustice and restoring justice; and they can be judged against these two questions to determine which one is most just, or mostly deserved. If not justice, how else would you judge which option is mostly deserved?

    Note that if it works, rehabilitative justice is the best one, because being rehabilitated not only prevents further injustice, but can also restore justice a bit, by helping out the relatives of the victim.

    how you determine whether such a statement is true or false. Agreement seems to be the metric on hand, so we'd have to ask how it is we determine that people agree.Moliere
    A moral system is a system that applies to everyone about what ought-to-be, or good behaviour. It is evident that everyone views justice onto them as good, and injustice onto them as bad. Therefore everyone ought to be just and not unjust. Justice is therefore a criteria to determine the morality of an act.

    the Nazi system you propose contra moral systems is another example of people acting on moral impulses.Moliere
    Again, a moral system is about good behaviour for anyone. Part of the Nazi system was to subdue other ethnic groups like the Jews. Surely no one, not even the Nazis, would view this behaviour done onto them as good. It is therefore not a system of good behaviour, and therefore not a moral system.
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