• Thorongil
    3.2k
    it isn't even clear how one would go about verifying or falsifying a moral claimMichael

    That's true of all non-scientific claims, so this doesn't bother me. I can always retort by asking how one goes about verifying or falsifying the claim that it isn't clear how to go about verifying or falsifying a moral claim.

    what can we do to resolve the disagreement?Michael

    Well, hold on. Let's not confuse resolving disagreement between ourselves with the truth of the matter in question. We could do the former without thereby having determined the latter. I'm not interested in resolving disagreements. If X is true and you disagree, then so be it and so much the worse for you. If you respond by asking how we know that X is true, then presumably you are requesting the reasons why X is true. If you disagreed with those reasons, your mere disagreement alone still wouldn't make X not true.
  • Michael
    6.5k
    Well, hold on. Let's not confuse resolving disagreement between ourselves with the truth of the matter in question. We could do the former without thereby having determined the latter. I'm not interested in resolving disagreements. If X is true and you disagree, then so be it and so much the worse for you. If you respond by asking how we know that X is true, then presumably you are requesting the reasons why X is true. If you disagreed with those reasons, your mere disagreement alone still wouldn't make X not true.Thorongil

    Assuming there is a fact of the matter, and assuming that we disagree on what the fact of the matter is, what can we do to determine the fact of the matter? Is there some empirical or rational method available to us to show that something either is or isn't immoral?

    We have such methods to determine if it's raining, or if such-and-such a number is prime, but what about determining if it's wrong to hurt people?

    I can always retort by asking how one goes about verifying or falsifying the claim that it isn't clear how to go about verifying or falsifying a moral claim.Thorongil

    Self-reflection. Whether or not I have knowledge of how to verify or falsify a moral claim is determined by some fact about my mental state that's immediately apparent to me.

    But given that, as you've said, we are not the measure of good and bad, we can't use self-reflection to determine if something is good or bad. We can reflect on how we feel about the matter, and what our opinions are, but that's not the same thing (if moral realism is true).

    That's true of all non-scientific claims, so this doesn't bother me.

    So it doesn't bother you that you can't support your claim that X is wrong, or that moral realism is correct?
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    what can we do to determine the fact of the matter?Michael

    We can try to do so by using reason.

    Is there some empirical or rational method available to us to show that something either is or isn't immoral?Michael

    Making valid and sound arguments?

    So it doesn't bother you that you can't support your claim that X is wrong, or that moral realism is correct?Michael

    I never said I couldn't support the claims I hold to. We're getting rather far afield from the OP in this discussion. Perhaps I will make another thread.
  • gurugeorge
    330
    I'm not sure how you get the idea that I'm a moral relativist when I explained in my response, as part of its context, that and how morality is objective.

    Morality is indeed objective - but it's not intrinsic. Another way of saying that might be that it pertains to action not being. IOW the act of making babies is neither good nor bad intrinsically, it's objectively good or bad (from whatever point of view - e.g. human beings or dromedary jumping-slugs) depending on circumstances. And in relation to any given desideratum, procreation has objective costs and objective benefits that can be weighed up.

    This also means that (compressing a large argument down to a caricature) the "Nature" one might wish to protect by not having us filthy humans polluting the planet is also intrinsically neither good or bad, so "it's evil to make babies because muh Nature" isn't an argument.

    Most environmentalist philosophy is just one bunch of humans trying to force another bunch of humans to behave the way they want to, using bogus arguments, social shaming tactics and the occasional capture of a corrupt legal system. The only bit that makes credible sense as philosophy is, "Don't foul your own nest."
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    Another way of saying that might be that it pertains to action not being. IOW the act of making babies is neither good nor bad intrinsically, it's objectively good or bad (from whatever point of view - e.g. human beings or dromedary jumping-slugs) depending on circumstances.gurugeorge

    Okay. Seems you're a utilitarian, then.

    the "Nature" one might wish to protect by not having us filthy humans polluting the planet is also intrinsically neither good or bad, so "it's evil to make babies because muh Nature" isn't an argument.gurugeorge

    That wasn't my argument. I'm not an antinatalist, remember. But this logic cuts both ways, so the procreator isn't on any firmer footing.

    And in relation to any given desideratum, procreation has objective costs and objective benefits that can be weighed up.gurugeorge

    Okay, and now please consider the question of my thread. Are there any non-selfish benefits to procreation? I do not dispute that there are benefits. Clearly there are. What I'm disputing is that there are any non-selfish reasons for the act. I do not see that there could be any such benefits, given the nature of what a benefit is.
  • gurugeorge
    330
    Okay. Seems you're a utilitarian, then.Thorongil

    No, not really, not even strictly a consequentialist. I don't think there's any hard and fast dichotomy between consequentialism and deontology. Deontology is just the "strategic" version of consequentialism, which is at the "tactical" level. (IOW, general rules of behaviour are instituted because - so it is hoped or believed, or trusted - they create general conditions that lead to good consequences; but that sometimes means having a general rule override strictly consequentialist decision-making, because the benefit of following the general rule and having it be a general rule that everyone follows becomes itself a higher-order value.)

    That wasn't my argument. I'm not an antinatalist, remember. But this logic cuts both ways, so the procreator isn't on any firmer footing.Thorongil

    I think the burden of justification is on the wrong side here. It's like the idea of "innocent until proven guilty" - people don't need to justify just being who they are and doing what they're doing, it's interference with people being who they are and doing what they're doing that requires justification (which is usually on the basis of the harm principle - i.e. if someone being who they are and doing what they're doing is harming someone else without justification, then interference may be justified).

    I do not see that there could be any such benefits, given the nature of what a benefit is.Thorongil

    Think about what you're saying here: you're asking me if there are any non-selfish benefits to devoting time and energy to the raising and nurturing of another life. ;)
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    Think about what you're saying here: you're asking me if there are any non-selfish benefits to devoting time and energy to the raising and nurturing of another life.gurugeorge

    No, the point isn't about raising and nurturing, but creating a life.
  • gurugeorge
    330
    I don't think that makes a difference, because you can't just "create a life" and leave it in the dumpster. "Creating a life" in the sense of procreation as that is normally understood, logically involves and requires sustained sacrifice and un-selfish action for many years.
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