• SonJnana
    243
    The example changed. The original example was about people who got addicted through not fault of theirs.Samuel Lacrampe

    The original example was simply if someone has a drug addiction. You responded with
    Going to jail for a drug addiction, especially one that came through not fault of ours, clearly exceeds the "crime".Samuel Lacrampe
    With this statement you are still saying that going to jail for a drug addiction clearly exceeds the crime. And especially (which implies not necessarily) if it is no fault of ours - This part is irrelevant to me anyways, because that changes it to a completely different situation which is not the issue that I had intended for you to address - to clear up this misunderstanding

    In this new example, the people intentionally broke the law before becoming addicted. This deserves a punishment of some sort. Note, I am not saying it is easy to separate the sincere from the insincere addicts, but the acts should aim to achieve justice as best as we can.Samuel Lacrampe

    Now here you are saying that going to jail does not exceed the crime, which is inconsistent with what you stated above.

    Do you think a person intentionally going out of their way to do drugs and become an addict - do you think jail exceeds that crime or not? In the US many will say it doesn't. In Europe many will say it does. How do you reconcile this?

    Yep, you got me there. Sex seems to be a morally grey area. Some call premarital or extramarital sex immoral, others don't; and the act is not necessarily unjust.Samuel Lacrampe

    Exactly. Whether or not it is unjust depends on an individual's views.

    Notice however that if the act is unjust, e.g. nonconsensual, then virtually everybody would judge it to be immoral. My point is that, while justice may not be the only criteria for morality, it is nevertheless a necessary criteria. Morality may therefore be more than justice, but not less.Samuel Lacrampe

    My point this whole time has been to say that justice is dependent on presupposed values. In extreme examples like this one, natural inclinations may fully account for what people consider to be just or unjust because other variables might not influence values that are consistent with not wanting to get raped. However, so many other variables like culture, parents, etc. can influence what people consider just in other situations, such as whether premarital sex is immoral or not. People may have the same presupposed values for extreme cases via Golden rule, but that doesn't mean it applies to every case.

    Your example points to disagreement on facts: whether a 15 y/o can make such important decisions or not; not a difference of values. It seems if people were to agree on the fact, then they would agree on the moral judgement, as per your reasoning.Samuel Lacrampe

    What is the criteria of whether or not a 15 y/o is old enough to make those decisions? You could look at the facts about brain development in 15 year olds. Some would argue that development is sufficient at 15 while others would say it is not - both views via Golden rule after looking at the same facts.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    684

    Conventionally, objectivity means that the property described is part of the object of thought, independent of the subject of thought. Objective properties may be either necessary or contingent. To say "the Earth is flat" is an objective statement, because the Earth is either flat or not, independent of the subject saying it. It is also a contingent property because it could logically be not flat (like round if you can imagine). Speaking about morality, I use the term "objective" in the conventional sense (notwithstanding the possibility that it can be necessary too, but this is besides the point).

    It is true that without free will, then there can be no moral acts. But why think there is no free will? Most people believe in free will, and it sure feels like we have free will upon self reflection. As such, the onus of proof is on the other side.
  • Londoner
    54
    Conventionally, objectivity means that the property described is part of the object of thought, independent of the subject of thought. Objective properties may be either necessary or contingent. To say "the Earth is flat" is an objective statement, because the Earth is either flat or not, independent of the subject saying it. It is also a contingent property because it could logically be not flat (like round if you can imagine). Speaking about morality, I use the term "objective" in the conventional sense (notwithstanding the possibility that it can be necessary too, but this is besides the point).Samuel Lacrampe

    Our claim about the property of the object depends on a prior claim that the object exists, so it can have a property. 'The Earth is flat' could be objective only if we also claim that there exists such an object i.e. the Earth.

    But 'exists' in what sense? If we say its properties are either necessary or contingent and that this can be determined 'logically', then that is to say they can be determined purely from the way we have defined the subject. The existence of Earth would only be the existence of that definition. To say a claim about the shape of the Earth was objective we would only mean it related to the way somebody uses the word 'Earth',

    Normally, I do not think that claims about the Earth are understood that way. Rather they are empirical. That 'the Earth exists' is 'exists as a material object' So to say 'the Earth is flat' is to make a claim about phenomena.

    But claims about the existence of Morality are not usually understood to be about a material object. So to say that a claim about Morality was 'objective' is not be like an 'objective' claim about the shape of the Earth. It would only be a claim about 'how people use that word Morality' or 'what I mean by Morality'.

    So to describe the Earth and Morality as both being 'objects of thought' is to blur a difference that makes all the difference.
  • Pollywalls
    67
    duty is a human invention. freedom is impossible, because everything depends on existence and various other things. the whole is dependent on the parts. we are at least partly determined by the past. if we were truly free to choose our values, we wouldn't, because we wouldn't value making a choice? you are not free of being free? there is nothing that wouldn't depend on its essential parts, because anything that doesn't depend on existence doesn't exist. we depend on time, space, quarks, electrons, the whole universe. we depend on our past. we depend on reality. we are information that exists. what you are depends on logic and what you were. you are not in the past, because the past doesn't exist. the information exists. there is a code for your every action. information is timeless. time is just another dimension. you, your past and future exist timelessly as information.
  • Moliere
    1.2k
    Got it. This is what I have been calling "primary values": What all consider to be good or bad. But I don't think this it leads to competitions. Primary values such as honesty, respect, safety and health can be received as well as given without competition.Samuel Lacrampe

    Cool.

    We should come up with another example,Samuel Lacrampe

    Cool.

    Say you have a friend who is an alcoholic. They have lost their house, life, and work to said disease. They turn to you for help to keep them off the street while they try to get their life together, and you agree to do so. While you are at work said friend takes some money laying around your house, buys booze, and gets drunk without telling you.

    Let's suppose after sobering up he's penitent.

    The path of justice would have him pay you back. The path of mercy wouldn't. (or, at least, a path)

    This is why I prefer the term "primary value" over "need". Need sounds more like what is necessary for survival. As such, values like honesty, respect, and equality do not fit the category of need; and yet are considered good, and their opposites bad, by all. I have not met you, but I would still bet you do not want to be lied to, disrespected, or discriminated against.

    As for homosexuality, it is true that this does not fall under the criteria of justice or the golden rule, and I am not sure where I stand on this. I briefly talk here about sexual acts and show that it does not harm the claim that morality is objective, but this may not be what you are looking for.
    Samuel Lacrampe

    Yep, you got me there. Sex seems to be a morally grey area. Some call premarital or extramarital sex immoral, others don't; and the act is not necessarily unjust. Notice however that if the act is unjust, e.g. nonconsensual, then virtually everybody would judge it to be immoral. My point is that, while justice may not be the only criteria for morality, it is nevertheless a necessary criteria. Morality may therefore be more than justice, but not less.Samuel Lacrampe

    Just linking your response earlier about sexual mores for reference.

    I'd say that, from my perspective at least, the difference in sexual mores still gets at what I was trying to say. Even "need" as you define it here -- to include more than brute survival -- people still want more than they need. And some of those wants are moral wants. They appear, on the surface, to be preferences but with more emotional "umph" behind them than mere preference.

    They are considered moral. But, by your notion of need (which is not bare necessity survival type need, but needs of a broader set which are still considered generally universal), they are not needs -- so, while a bit cumbersome, for the purposes of our discussion I'd call them moral wants.

    So it seems you would have to contend that moral goodness is the satisfaction of everyone's needs in this broader sense. But that brings me to my question from before --

    We can posit this. But it would just be one contender among many for what counts as moral goodness -- one rule among many to follow. In what way could we select this kind of rule such that it is not merely a matter of taste, with a little more emotional "umph", just like sanctions against certain sexual acts appear to be?
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    684
    The original example was simply if someone has a drug addiction. [...]SonJnana
    I guess I was not very clear. My bad.

    Do you think a person intentionally going out of their way to do drugs and become an addict - do you think jail exceeds that crime or not?SonJnana
    The correct answer is: it depends on the facts. First, is the defend truly at fault, that is, was the crime intentional and foreseeable? If not, then no punishment is deserved. If yes, then was someone else harmed, either physically, financially, etc? If yes, then the defendant must pay for the harm done. If not, then what punishment can be done with the end to prevent the defendant from doing the crime again? If it can be done with a mere warning, then so be it. If not, then the punishment would be raised so as to meet that end. At the extreme, if a criminal keeps escaping from prison and killing everyone, then the capital punishment may be adequate at that point.

    I am not saying any of the above facts are easy to uncover; but they remain objective facts nonetheless.

    Whether or not it is unjust depends on an individual's views. [...] My point this whole time has been to say that justice is dependent on presupposed values.SonJnana
    Not 'unjust'; 'immoral'. As defined in the OP, 'justice' is objective; and even when it comes to sex, justice is easy to determine by applying the golden rule. E.g., if I have premarital sex but am intolerant of my spouse having done it, then I am unjust.

    [...] However, so many other variables like culture, parents, etc. can influence what people consider just in other situations, such as whether premarital sex is immoral or not. People may have the same presupposed values for extreme cases via Golden rule, but that doesn't mean it applies to every case.SonJnana
    Even in the case of sex, justice is a necessary criteria for morality, even though it is not a sufficient criteria. Note, this does not exclude the possibility that other criteria to determine morality are also objective. But I concede that justice alone is not sufficient in all cases. Can we agree to this: If just, then it is not necessarily moral, but if unjust, then it is necessarily immoral.

    What is the criteria of whether or not a 15 y/o is old enough to make those decisions? You could look at the facts about brain development in 15 year olds. Some would argue that development is sufficient at 15 while others would say it is not - both views via Golden rule after looking at the same facts.SonJnana
    Whether or not the criteria is easily found, it does not make it less objective. Would anyone disagree that a 15 y/o is better suited to make this decision, than a 5 y/o? If no one, then the property of "being suited to make this decision" is objective.
  • SonJnana
    243
    If not, then what punishment can be done with the end to prevent the defendant from doing the crime again? If it can be done with a mere warning, then so be it. If not, then the punishment would be raised so as to meet that end. At the extreme, if a criminal keeps escaping from prison and killing everyone, then the capital punishment may be adequate at that point.Samuel Lacrampe

    There are people who believe that if someone intentionally goes out of their way to do drugs while not harming anyone, the person deserves to go to prison. And there are also people who think prison exceeds the crime. How do you reconcile these two opposing views?

    How can you say one is more objectively right than the other when people of both opposing views see their own view as just via Golden rule?

    Not 'unjust'; 'immoral'. As defined in the OP, 'justice' is objective; and even when it comes to sex, justice is easy to determine by applying the golden rule. E.g., if I have premarital sex but am intolerant of my spouse having done it, then I am unjust.Samuel Lacrampe

    Your viewpoint is that if it is unjust, then it must also be immoral. How can you say that it is not unjust but it is immoral?

    You would be unjust in that case, but there are also people of an opposing viewpoint who have premarital sex are not intolerant of their spouse having done it, and therefore are not unjust. So how can premarital sex itself be just or unjust? It depends on the viewpoint of the person.

    Even in the case of sex, justice is a necessary criteria for morality, even though it is not a sufficient criteria. Note, this does not exclude the possibility that other criteria to determine morality are also objective. But I concede that justice alone is not sufficient in all cases.Samuel Lacrampe

    I agree justice is necessary and that it is not sufficient. That is because justice requires presupposed values. One's Golden rule is based off of their values. The presupposed values are the criteria by which to judge an act as just or unjust. As you've now acknowledged, people can have different values and therefore different different judgements about what is just via Golden rule.

    Can we agree to this: If just, then it is not necessarily moral, but if unjust, then it is necessarily immoral.Samuel Lacrampe

    If it is just by one's view and unjust by another's view, how you even then determine if the act is moral or immoral. I don't really understand this.

    I think it makes more sense to just say that an action is moral if it is just according to the criteria. The Golden rule is dependent on one's values therefore the presupposed values are the criteria. People have different values therefore the presupposed values will be dependent on an individual. And that is what I believe people mean when they say morality is subjective

    Whether or not the criteria is easily found, it does not make it less objective. Would anyone disagree that a 15 y/o is better suited to make this decision, than a 5 y/o? If no one, then the property of "being suited to make this decision" is objective.Samuel Lacrampe

    When judging something, that is dependent on the criteria you are using. The criteria itself is constructed. And my point is that since people differ on the criteria they are using when they use the word morality - they have different values - that is why you can't just say something is objectively morally right. If everyone were to use the Golden rule in a situation, everyone wouldn't always come to the same judgements about what is just or unjust.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    684

    I agree that what is objective is found either because the property is necessary, or because we observe it empirically. I also agree that we can find what is necessary from definitions, or essence of things; although we do not create essences, we discover them.

    I disagree that all that is empirical is material. To observe an inner sense of moral duty is empirical, though the sense is not necessarily material. And if we all have the same inner moral sense of duty to seek justice and avoid injustice, then this justice-based morality is objective because justice is objective.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    684

    Free will does not mean we have freedom in every way. We seem to not be free to choose to abide to the laws of physics, and we are certainly not free from the laws of logic. Rather, free will means freedom of intentions, and acts that follow the intentions, insofar that the acts abide to the laws of logic and physics. As far as I can tell, we cannot prove that we do not have freedom of intentions.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    684
    The path of justice would have him pay you back. The path of mercy wouldn't.Moliere
    Something doesn't add. Being merciful sounds morally good only if he is penitent. And if he is sincerely penitent, then he would intend to pay you back when he can. If he can but refuses to pay, then there is no real penitence, and so mercy does not sound morally good here. Or else, declining to receive the money back sounds like irrational mercy, and thus also not morally good.

    It seems the morally good mercy would be, after showing sincere penitence and intending to pay back when possible, you choose to keep sheltering him and retain the trust without further retribution. And this would not be unjust.


    [...] But it would just be one contender among many for what counts as moral goodness -- one rule among many to follow. In what way could we select this kind of rule such that it is not merely a matter of taste, with a little more emotional "umph", just like sanctions against certain sexual acts appear to be?Moliere
    Since the moral judgements of sexual acts appear to go beyond the criteria of justice, I can only deduce it comes from religions, like Christianity, where the bible says that marriage is the union between a single man and woman (thus disapproving of homosexuality and polygamy), and commands against adultery (thus disapproving of premarital and extramarital sex).

    If Christianity is true, then the moral commands posited in the bible would be true. But since not everyone has heard of or believes in Christianity or other religions positing these commands, not everyone will agree to follow these, even if they were true. So I think that, in practice, there may always be moral disagreements about sexual acts.
  • Moliere
    1.2k
    Something doesn't add. Being merciful sounds morally good only if he is penitent. And if he is sincerely penitent, then he would intend to pay you back when he can. If he can but refuses to pay, then there is no real penitence, and so mercy does not sound morally good here. Or else, declining to receive the money back sounds like irrational mercy, and thus also not morally good.

    It seems the morally good mercy would be, after showing sincere penitence and intending to pay back when possible, you choose to keep sheltering him and retain the trust without further retribution. And this would not be unjust.
    Samuel Lacrampe

    It would not be unjust, but surely you understand that demanding reparation would itself be just. It is the fair thing to do, since you have been wronged. While there is a path that reconciles the two values -- the one you outline -- there is also a path which demonstrates their differences too. That's what I'm trying to get at here.

    The path of mercy would not demand, it would understand that you have a friend in need who is sorry and intends to pay you back whenever he can. Mercy is much more in line with the Christian response, since mercy flows from love (which I would say is the central organizing value of Christian values, if we had to choose one).

    However, if justice be the central organizing value -- which flows from a sense of equality, fairness, and respect -- it would not violate justice to demand your friend leave and pay you back (obviously only when he can, but the debt would be enforced). If he were a friend he'd understand, after all, that he has to make amends.

    Since the moral judgements of sexual acts appear to go beyond the criteria of justice, I can only deduce it comes from religions, like Christianity, where the bible says that marriage is the union between a single man and woman (thus disapproving of homosexuality and polygamy), and commands against adultery (thus disapproving of premarital and extramarital sex).

    If Christianity is true, then the moral commands posited in the bible would be true. But since not everyone has heard of or believes in Christianity or other religions positing these commands, not everyone will agree to follow these, even if they were true. So I think that, in practice, there may always be moral disagreements about sexual acts.
    Samuel Lacrampe

    I agree.

    But let's resolve the above first before proceeding further. I think these are similar, but the above is probably closer to the matter because it's a case of core values as opposed to acts.
  • Pollywalls
    67
    our morals and our intentions are changed by our surroundings. we are free to be slaves. if what you call you is everything that exists, then you are complete free. the amount of freedom is dependent on the subject. different people depend on different things. how do you define the "our" in our morals? this question is essential.
  • bloodninja
    229
    If a social construct can reasonably be considered to be "objective" then morality is "objective". Morality has the same objective status that language does.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    684
    [...] How can you say one is more objectively right than the other when people of both opposing views see their own view as just via Golden rule?SonJnana
    If the golden rule criteria is met, then the disagreement must be about facts about the event, or else about the purpose of a punishment. As previously stated, the goal of the punishment is to pay for the harm done, if any, and then to prevent the defendant from doing the crime again. The first goal restores justice, and the second goal prevents further injustice or harm to oneself. If the judges agree on the goals and the facts that meet those goals, then I see no other reasons for a disagreement.

    Your viewpoint is that if it is unjust, then it must also be immoral. How can you say that it is not unjust but it is immoral?SonJnana
    For criteria other than justice in the case of sex. I can only think of religious reasons at the moment, like Christianity that commands against adultery.

    [...] So how can premarital sex itself be just or unjust? It depends on the viewpoint of the person. [...] I agree justice is necessary and that it is not sufficient. That is because justice requires presupposed values. One's Golden rule is based off of their values. [...] As you've now acknowledged, people can have different values and therefore different different judgements about what is just via Golden rule. [...] And that is what I believe people mean when they say morality is subjectiveSonJnana
    Human justice and the golden rule are indeed relative to human values. But aside from subjective tastes, all men have the same values. E.g., we all want respect, honesty and health. The exception to this rule seems to be sex; which moral judgement seems to come from religion. But that is an exception rather than the rule. I honestly don't think we can find another exception.

    I think it makes more sense to just say that an action is moral if it is just according to the criteria.SonJnana
    No, because this does not fit the case about sexual acts which may be deemed immoral even if the person committing it passes the golden rule.

    When judging something, that is dependent on the criteria you are using. The criteria itself is constructed. And my point is that since people differ on the criteria they are using when they use the word morality - they have different values - that is why you can't just say something is objectively morally right. If everyone were to use the Golden rule in a situation, everyone wouldn't always come to the same judgements about what is just or unjust.SonJnana
    I still claim that the only objective value that creates a disagreement is about sex. All other objective values (i.e., not subjective tastes) are virtually universally agreed upon. So if the case is not about sex, then the disagreement in judgement must come from a disagreement of facts, not values.
  • SonJnana
    243
    If the golden rule criteria is met, then the disagreement must be about facts about the event, or else about the purpose of a punishment. As previously stated, the goal of the punishment is to pay for the harm done, if any, and then to prevent the defendant from doing the crime again. The first goal restores justice, and the second goal prevents further injustice or harm to oneself. If the judges agree on the goals and the facts that meet those goals, then I see no other reasons for a disagreement.Samuel Lacrampe

    I feel as though you did not address the example I gave. Person A thinks the drug addict does not deserve to go to prison via Golden rule. Person B thinks the drug addict does deserve to go to prison via Golden rule. This is not a disagreement about facts about the event, or about the purpose of a punishment. It is a disagreement about what is just via Golden rule.

    For criteria other than justice in the case of sex. I can only think of religious reasons at the moment, like Christianity that commands against adultery.Samuel Lacrampe

    Why is something that is not unjust considered immoral just because a religion commands against it? Are you saying the criteria of whether Christianity deems something as moral or not is sufficient?

    Also, you never answered my question which was: if one person considers premarital sex as just via golden rule, and the other considers it unjust via Golden rule - how do you determine whether it is moral or immoral?

    Human justice and the golden rule are indeed relative to human values. But aside from subjective tastes, all men have the same values. E.g., we all want respect, honesty and health. The exception to this rule seems to be sex; which moral judgement seems to come from religion. But that is an exception rather than the rule. I honestly don't think we can find another exception.Samuel Lacrampe

    We shall see. I'd like to see if you can address the example above first before moving on to others.

    No, because this does not fit the case about sexual acts which may be deemed immoral even if the person committing it passes the golden rule.Samuel Lacrampe

    I still don't understand how you can determine something to be not unjust yet immoral. If you are saying it is not unjust, what criteria are you using to determine that it is immoral?
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    684
    it would not violate justice to demand your friend leave and pay you backMoliere
    A just punishment is one that serves two goals. (1) restore justice, and (2) prevent injustice from occurring again. If the friend truly intends to pay you back when he can, then goal (1) is met. If in addition he is sincerely penitent, then goal (2) is met without further punishment; and in which case any additional punishment like kicking him out would be overboard and result in injustice the other way.

    The problem in real life is that intentions of others are never fully known, and so the disagreement in punishment can come from disagreement in the perception of the defendant's intentions.

    Mercy is much more in line with the Christian response, since mercy flows from love (which I would say is the central organizing value of Christian values, if we had to choose one).Moliere
    We would need to define the term 'mercy' to obtain a full understanding of it. If it means "Never over-respond so as to prevent injustice the other way, but enough to restore justice", then mercy is always in line with justice by definition. But if it means "Never over-respond so as to prevent injustice the other way, but also sometimes not fully restore justice", then mercy is not always just; and at which point, I would say that this kind of mercy is immoral.
  • Moliere
    1.2k
    A just punishment is one that serves two goals. (1) restore justice, and (2) prevent injustice from occurring again. If the friend truly intends to pay you back when he can, then goal (1) is met. If in addition he is sincerely penitent, then goal (2) is met without further punishment; and in which case any additional punishment like kicking him out would be overboard and result in injustice the other way.

    The problem in real life is that intentions of others are never fully known, and so the disagreement in punishment can come from disagreement in the perception of the defendant's intentions.
    Samuel Lacrampe

    I think that addiction doesn't work so cleanly as all that, or akrasia in general for that matter. Suppose both conditions are met the first time. What if he does it again? And so on? Or perhaps this is the first time he has done it to you, but he's done this elsewhere before.

    We are prone to repeat mistakes. We can be sincerely penitent and yet fail.

    We would need to define the term 'mercy' to obtain a full understanding of it. If it means "Never over-respond so as to prevent injustice the other way, but enough to restore justice", then mercy is always in line with justice by definition. But if it means "Never over-respond so as to prevent injustice the other way, but also sometimes not fully restore justice", then mercy is not always just; and at which point, I would say that this kind of mercy is immoral.Samuel Lacrampe

    Mercy is to forgo punishment. You have a right to punish (a concept associated with justice), but you do not exercise said right. It may be morally correct to enact justice in some scenarios, and morally correct to enact mercy in others. Mercy is a value which flows from love -- the kind of general love for humankind. While you may have the right to punish, to enact just consequences, you forgo them out of compassion.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    684

    I don't fully understand what you are saying, and so my response may not be adequate. Here it is anyways. We are physical beings (though maybe not only physical). As such, our bodies obey the laws of physics, and so we are not free from these. Our intentions can be influenced but not compelled by our surroundings. Even locked in jail, a saint can have saintly intentions.

    how do you define the "our" in our morals?Pollywalls
    Not sure. How do you define it? Your answer might help me understand your question.
  • Samuel Lacrampe
    684
    Hello.
    My position is that morality is more than a mere social construct. It is discoverable through our moral sense called conscience, universal because all humans have the same human nature, and unchangeable because our nature does not change. Even though slavery was more socially accepted 2000 years ago, it was just as morally wrong then as it is today, because it always fails the golden rule of ethics.
  • bloodninja
    229
    Firstly, how is conscience not a social construct? Humans are basically sheep, and we like the comfort of conformity (conscience). secondly, I agree somewhat that we all share something like what you're calling a "human nature" but I dispute that it is anything natural. And lastly, because it is nothing natural it can and does indeed change.

    If you think ethics is grounded in our "nature" then you need to show how slavery was or was not grounded by or in our nature. I think you have the burden of proof here.
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