• Terrapin Station
    11.3k
    Would you say that there a way to judge "good" reasoning and "bad" reasoning that is distinct from just determining wether the statement is logically valid?Echarmion

    Definitely people do that all the time, because people judge good and bad reasoning very frequently where they're not even familiar with a concept of logical validity.
  • Echarmion
    464
    Definitely people do that all the time, because people judge good and bad reasoning very frequently where they're not even familiar with a concept of logical validity.Terrapin Station

    So, what is it they, or we, compare statements, or an argument against when we make that judgement? It seems to be more than just the question whether the argument has changed our feelings on the matter.
  • Moliere
    1.7k
    Let's try a positive formulation.

    I'd say it is possible to desire X, and to desire the abolition of X. One can be simultaneously attracted to and repulsed by the same object of desire -- this is because allure and repulsion are separate emotions and gets around the logical possibility of "X ^ ~X"
  • albie
    10
    This issue is complicated and not contradictory as some seem to be arguing. Each event needs to be justified or not on its own terms.
  • Moliere
    1.7k
    For example, you might have temptation to eat a piece of cake. You like the taste, you'd love eating it, but you don't like the calories (maybe you're trying to lose weight), the health issues (maybe you're worried about or you have diabetes), etc.Terrapin Station

    That is a pretty light form of temptation, I'd say. Plus it's quite rational.

    Substance abuse comes closer to what I have in mind, or strong beliefs about sexual mores. These aren't exactly rational attachments, and so desires can compete and be at odds with one another with respect to the very same object.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k
    So, what is it they, or we, compare statements, or an argument against when we make that judgement?Echarmion

    People compare it to how they reason, what makes sense to them.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k
    That is a pretty light form of temptation, I'd say. Plus it's quite rational.Moliere

    I wasn't saying anything about it not being rational. I said that it doesn't make sense to not dislike x but to feel that x is immoral where we're not equivocating. The person likes and dislikes/is worried about different things in the example I gave (the cake example).

    With drugs, say, it's the same thing. There are aspects the person likes, but other aspects they dislike. They're not liking and disliking the same exact thing, in the same respect, etc.
  • ChrisH
    138
    I'd say it is possible to desire X, and to desire the abolition of X.Moliere

    Can you give an example?
  • Christoffer
    543
    If there are people in the world who you don't care about, then your moral views are not going to be about them.Terrapin Station

    Do you mean that ideas about moral should not include methods that are general to everyone? Then you are essentially saying that we don't need moral guidelines, we don't need morals. I say that we can have a moral system that includes everyone, even those that lack empathy.

    that would only be a credo that you feel. It's nothing like an objective fact.Terrapin Station

    You are ignoring the method I presented. The one that has nothing to do with feelings, but assessing the well-being for all, including the self. That is objective for humans. Are you saying that this method doesn't work, please make an argument against the method so that we can evolve it, otherwise you are just saying an opinion, not doing an ethics-dialectic.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k
    Do you mean that ideas about moral should not include methods that are general to everyone?Christoffer

    No. What I mean is that if your ideas about morality include methods that are general to everyone, then it's not true that there are people in the world who you don't care about (in that respect).

    but assessing the well-being for all, including the self.Christoffer

    You're ignoring that "this fact rather than that is 'well-being'" IS a way that you feel. It's a preference you have. Objectively, there are no preferences for any facts (or counterfactuals) versus any other facts (or counterfactuals)
  • Christoffer
    543
    No. What I mean is that if your ideas about morality include methods that are general to everyone, then it's not true that there are people in the world who you don't care about (in that respect).Terrapin Station

    I'm not sure what you are trying to say here. It doesn't matter if I care or don't care, the moral system is still an objective assessment of what is good for people. If I lacked all empathy I could still deduce that food is good for a person in order for him to survive. Therefore, giving food to this person if he is hungry is a good moral choice, even if I don't feel anything in doing so. I follow the guideline of creating well-being without any feelings whatsoever. Therefore, this moral method is working for everyone, detached from feelings and emotions involved.

    You're ignoring that "this fact rather than that is 'well-being'" IS a way that you feel. It's a preference you have. Objectively, there are no preferences for any facts (or counterfactuals) versus any other facts (or counterfactuals)Terrapin Station

    Are you saying that giving food to someone who is hungry so that he survives isn't a choice for the well-being of that person? In what way does emotion have anything to do with this? Well-being isn't emotional, it's what is good for a person, it has no emotional value.

    I could boil it down even further and talk about dopamine in our brain. If dopamine makes people feel good and well-being as a concept has an essential ingredient with "feeling good". Then a hug, which has been scientifically confirmed to raise dopamine levels in the brain, is a choice I can make for increasing the well-being of that person without even have any emotional value linked to that choice. I deduced the well-being aspect of that person through their dopamine-levels without it having anything to do with my feelings of that choice.

    I think you are grasping at nihilistic straws here and I don't think you are actually looking at the method I presented. Can you please do so?
  • Christoffer
    543
    Let's say aliens came down and assessed the well-being of our species. With the method I presented, they would be able to act with good morals, even if they didn't even have any feelings whatsoever. They could use these guidelines to act like good people, even though they don't have any feelings or emotional reasons to do so.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k
    If I lacked all empathy I could still deduce that food is good for a person in order for him to survive.Christoffer

    You can deduce that food is necessary to survive. You can't deduce that survival is good or better than not surviving, because that's not a fact. That's a preference that people can have.

    Since that's a preference that people have, if you don't care about anyone, then it's not a preference that you'd have. But conversely, if it's a preference you have, then it's not true that you don't care about anyone. You prefer that they survive. (Or you prefer that they attain what they want (where they want survival), or whatever it is that you prefer.)

    "Survival is well-being" isn't a fact. It's a preference. It's a way that people feel, where they would rather than one set of facts obtains (survival) than another set (a lack of survival).

    Are you saying that giving food to someone who is hungry so that he survives isn't a choice for the well-being of that person?Christoffer

    It's not a fact that that is well-being versus letting them starve and die. Both can happen. The extramental world couldn't care less which happens. It's us, as individual persons with brains functioning mentally, who care, who have preferences.

    Then a hug, which has been scientifically confirmed to raise dopamine levels in the brain, is a choice I can make for increasing the well-being of that person without even have any emotional value linked to that choice.Christoffer

    The emotional value is that you prefer raising their dopamine levels to the alternative.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k
    They could use these guidelines to act like good people, even though they don't have any feelings or emotional reasons to do so.Christoffer

    Why would they do that over the alternative(s)?
  • Christoffer
    543
    You can deduce that food is necessary to survive. You can't deduce that survival is good or better than not surviving, because that's not a fact. That's a preference that people can have.Terrapin Station

    You miss that the deduction was about well-being. Are you saying "not surviving" is well-being? Because of this you need to first explain what well-being is and define it as something other than what its actual definition is. If you don't agree with that definition, then we can just give up and just throw language out of the window and stop even having a dialectic. You are making nonsense out of the argument.

    You are also making your own interpretation of my argument before counter-arguing, this is a fallacy.
    The rest of your argument is out of this misinterpretation of the deduction argument I presented.

    "Survival is well-being" isn't a fact. It's a preference. It's a way that people feel, where they would rather than one set of facts obtains (survival) than another set (a lack of survival).Terrapin Station

    What is your definition of well-being for a person? Please provide the definition in order to support your argument. Well-being is what it is, it's not a preference. Well-being has a clear definition and that definition is a fact of what well-being is.

    The emotional value is that you prefer raising their dopamine levels to the alternative.Terrapin Station

    Why are you ignoring the point I'm making? I provided a moral method to use in order to be morally good. The method is detached from feelings and emotions. Using the method you can assess choices through the well-being of people. The choice is to follow the moral method and guideline. You are making an argument that is totally ignoring the entire purpose of ethics philosophy. So your argument becomes a non-argument. If the question is "how can we assess good morals", then your points of emotions becomes invalid. If a person that has zero empathy is told to follow this moral guideline in order to function according to good morals in society, he can do it without having empathy. Then, because of this, the choice of raising dopamine levels has nothing to do with emotions, the choice is to follow the moral guideline, that's the first choice and that choice is made out of the necessity of having good morals in our society. If there is no reason to have good morals in society, then you can throw ethics philosophy out the window since it's irrelevant to you and it's irrelevant to assess morality at all.

    So what is your point? That we can't have good morals without emotions? So far I've not seen a solid argument for that. You are intentionally misunderstanding the entire method in order to make your point.

    Why would they do that over the alternative(s)?Terrapin Station

    An irrelevant point to the allegory. Invent a reason, like, they need to stay on our planet but will be killed if they start a war with us. So they have to live with us and function in society like if they were people. But since they have no emotion or feelings like us, they need a method to assess good moral values.

    What you are doing now is ignoring the actual argument and nitpicking irrelevant things instead of actually focusing on the argument at hand.

    I asked you to look into the method and provide a counter argument for why it can't be used without emotion and feelings. So far you have not done that.
  • TheMadFool
    3.4k
    On a subject as difficult as morality I think ''feeling something is wrong'' is both noble and expected. Noble because people are trying to be good even if it's just in vague terms and expected as even those dedicated to the subject haven't made any breakthroughs.

    I don't think we should summarily dismiss the ''feeling something is wrong''. If we gather data and study it we may be able to discover an underlying rationale to such feelings. What I mean is that ''feelings'' may hide ''reason'' and we could be making a big mistake by rejecting them in our quest for a rational understanding of morality.

    As for your question on the disconnect between dislike and immorality, I agree. There are things one dislikes but which may not be immoral and the inverse may be true too. What concerns me is that dislike isn't appropriate to the issue. A more relevant emotion would be pain. I don't say joy because people sometimes take joy in hurting others. Pain, however, is more uniform in nature - even a masochist feels pain. So, I suggest you use pain rather than dislike in the matter of morality. The connection between morality and dislike is too weak. Pain is a better partner.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k
    You miss that the deduction was about well-being. Are you saying "not surviving" is well-being?Christoffer

    I'm saying that nothing, objectively is well-being. If you want to focus on the brain chemistry factors re a feeling of well-being, that's fine, but (a) that still isn't objective (because we're talking about a mental state, which makes it subjective by definition), and (b) there's no objective fact that creating the brain states in question are preferential to not creating them.

    Re conventional definitions of well-being, those aren't objectively arrived at of course. What's being reported is what the term is commonly used to denote. Those common denotations are strictly subjectively produced (as are all denotations).

    It's an objective fact that particular denotations are more common. But that doesn't make the denotation objectively correct.

    What is your definition of well-being for a person?Christoffer

    My subjective characterization of well-being includes survival, good health, etc. (at least roughly, I wouldn't say at all costs or necessarily as an uncompromised trump card for everyone in every situation).

    I don't pretend that those preferences are somehow objective. There's no need to. We should focus on the correct realm/domain for the phenomena in question.

    Why are you ignoring the point I'm making? I provided a moral method to use in order to be morally good. The method is detached from feelings and emotions.Christoffer

    You're ignoring the point I'm making. Your method is not at all detached from feelings and emotions.


    If a person that has zero empathy is told to follow this moral guideline in order to function according to good morals in society, he can do it without having empathy.Christoffer

    A hypothetical person who has "zero empathy" can follow someone else's guidelines, sure. And those guidelines will count as "good morals" to people who agree with those preferences. They'll count as "bad morals" to people who disagree with those preferences. The "zero empathy" person won't have any moral view of it one way or the other insofar as they're not engaging with their own preferences, and they won't be doing anything that has anything to do with morality, except in some other persons' assessments (good or bad or whatever depending on the views in question).

    Then, because of this, the choice of raising dopamine levels has nothing to do with emotions,Christoffer

    Yes it does. If someone is making a choice to do something, they're making that choice for a reason, for preferences over the alternative. (It may not be simple and direct, but it will still be for preferences over alternatives.)

    "Good morals," by the way, are the morals that one agrees with.

    Invent a reason, like, they need to stay on our planet but will be killed if they start a war with us. So they have to live with us and function in society like if they were people. But since they have no emotion or feelings like us, they need a method to assess good moral values.Christoffer

    If they have no emotions or feelings whatsoever, then they have no reason to choose not starting a war and being killed or anything else. They have to have preferences to make those sorts of choices.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k
    Pain, however, is more uniform in nature - even a masochist feels pain. So, I suggest you use pain rather than dislike in the matter of morality. The connection between morality and dislike is too weak. Pain is a better partner.TheMadFool

    The significance of pain (for morality, at least) is that people don't like it.
  • Echarmion
    464
    People compare it to how they reason, what makes sense to them.Terrapin Station

    But in order for that to work, they need to have a similar ability to reason. They need to understand at least how the other's reasoning works in order to compare it. Their mind needs to be able to "run" the sequence of reasoning.

    That's how we can establish things like logical validity. Doesn't that mean it's possible to also establish other kinds of validity or "truth" between subjects?
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k


    When it's more dissimilar or not understood is when you get the "bad reasoning" judgment.

    Re validity, there are different species of logic and different definitions of validity. For example, validity is different in relevance logics than in traditional logic. (And quirks with the traditional definition of validity was really the whole initial motivation for relevance logics.)
  • Christoffer
    543
    I'm saying that nothing, objectively is well-being. If you want to focus on the brain chemistry factors re a feeling of well-being, that's fine, but (a) that still isn't objective (because we're talking about a mental state, which makes it subjective by definition), and (b) there's no objective fact that creating the brain states in question are preferential to not creating them.Terrapin Station

    This is the reason you don't seem to understand the method in the first place. What is and what isn't well-being is what is being assessed by the method and through that assessing the moral choice. Well-being has its definition and I have not said anything about it being objective. I've said an objective method to assess good morals, not objective well-being. That's why I ask you to look at the method I presented, since your whole argument is based on a misunderstanding of the method, therefore, your argument becomes a non-argument against the method.

    You're ignoring the point I'm making.Terrapin Station

    Your argument is flawed since you have written it out of the notion that well-being has objective parameters on humans when my method is about assessing the well-being. So you have initially ignored the entire method and argument I've made and so there are no points for me to care for when your argument is flawed in the first place. You are arguing about things I haven't even presented. My method is about assessing the well-being not that well-being is objective in itself.

    A hypothetical person who has "zero empathy" can follow someone else's guidelines, sure. And those guidelines will count as "good morals" to people who agree with those preferences. They'll count as "bad morals" to people who disagree with those preferences.Terrapin Station

    Have you even looked at the points in the guideline? I want you to make an argument for how they are "bad morals" in any rational sense.

    If they have no emotions or feelings whatsoever, the they have no reason to choose not starting a war and being killed or anything else. They have to have preferences to make those sorts of choices.Terrapin Station

    You are nitpicking the allegory again. Must I do entire worldbuilding on this in order for you to understand the actual point? I can easily say a reason, they are like plants, they have no emotions but they do choices through survival programming. War equals death to their species, hence to survive they need to adapt. They have no emotion to this, they must simply do it. So the choice is still made without emotion or feelings.
  • TheMadFool
    3.4k
    The significance of pain (for morality, at least) is that people don't like itTerrapin Station

    Exactly...why beat around the bush with the unnrcessarily broad category of like/dislike and get to the point - pain, the feeling of it, the sharing of it. The basis of all morality.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k
    I've said an objective method to assess good moralsChristoffer

    This is way too long from post to post. So let's try sorting out one thing at a time. I like to tackle something and move on.

    An objective method to assess whose "good morals"?
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k


    Well, but dislike is primarily because it's not only pain that's disliked and that factors into moral views.
  • Christoffer
    543
    An objective method to assess whose "good morals"?Terrapin Station

    Presented earlier. I've explained it on earlier pages.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k


    You've been typing a few hundred words per post. Suddenly you can't retype or copy/paste a handful?
  • Moliere
    1.7k
    . I said that it doesn't make sense to not dislike x but to feel that x is immoral where we're not equivocating.Terrapin Station

    Is "not disliking" different from "Liking"? The double negative confuses me. I'd say it's quite possible to like something you believe is immoral. Not sure about "not disliking".

    When you divide up a referent into its aspects I'd say that doesn't quite get at the structure of desire very well. Our desires are often in conflict. Saying "I love and hate such and such" makes more sense than to say "I like this part of such and such and hate this part of such and such" -- not because of the logic, but because these two sentences don't say the very same thing and the first sentence references a real phenomena -- a love-hate relationship. It's the sort of relationship where you simultaneously feel conflicting emotions about so and so or such and such, and isn't about dividing up someone or something into various aspects.

    Temptation is similar to a love-hate relationship, except that there is a moral dimension whereas that is not necessarily the case with a love-hate relationship. Isn't this why the moralists among us are actually more driven to stamp out the things they find morally disgusting? Because they also feel called by them?

    Not always, but certainly some of the time.

    @ChrisH -- this is still farily general, but more specific. Does this help?
  • Moliere
    1.7k
    The point here, to get back to the OP, is that moral realism is appealing because it explains why it is we can feel desire for something while simultaneously thinking that something is morally wrong. If there is a fact to the matter, if our feelings don't dictate right and wrong but only direct our actions, then it makes sense to say that I like such-and-such but I believe that it is wrong.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.3k
    I think there is a serious problem for morality especially secular morality when people suffer a serious crime like being murdered and there is no justice. It makes morality obsolete.

    People have been killed in terrible ways or died in slavery and there has been no justice. It is rather futile moralizing about an event like this when there is no hope of justice. Religious moralities have offered an afterlife justice of some sort or karma. But if you don't believe in this or objective morality then lots have people have suffered with no recompense, recognition or hope.

    So just "feeling" X is wrong at some stage after and event or conceptually doesn't really help anyone.
  • Terrapin Station
    11.3k
    Is "not disliking" different from "Liking"?Moliere

    "Not disliking" can include "being indifferent towards" for example.

    You'd have to give a plausible account of someone liking and disliking the same thing without equivocation, where what's really going on isn't that they like x (about F) but not y (about F).
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