• Banno
    4.7k
    "...is good" is simple and unanalysable, according to Moore.

    Consider a particular naturalist claim, such as that “x is good” is equivalent to “x is pleasure.” If this claim were true, Moore argued, the judgement “Pleasure is good” would be equivalent to “Pleasure is pleasure,” yet surely someone who asserts the former means to express more than that uninformative tautology. The same argument can be mounted against any other naturalist proposal: even if we have determined that something is what we desire to desire or is more evolved, the question whether it is good remains “open,” in the sense that it is not settled by the meaning of the word “good.”
    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/moore-moral/

    Moral judgements, like all judgements, are true, or they are false. This follows from their predicate-subject form.

    Moral propositions imply an action. That is, one ought act in accord with true moral propositions.
  • Banno
    4.7k
    Contrast to those who say good is subjective.

    If goodness is subjective, then you can be right and I can be right, even if our views contradict one another.

    Hence a subjectivist cannot claim their moral view is true.
  • frank
    2.1k
    Is your aim to just talk about truth? Or did you want to talk about how people come to support moral claims, whether from personal sentiment or social norms?
  • Banno
    4.7k
    Both...

    It seems that Moore might say that a moral statement can be both true and an expression of what one thinks we ought do.

    Contrast that with those who might consider moral statements only to express a preference - that is, what one ought do.
  • frank
    2.1k
    It seems that Moore might say that a moral statement can be both true and an expression of what one thinks we ought do.

    Contrast that with those who might consider moral statements only to express a preference - that is, what one ought do.
    Banno

    Lots of good advice and moral admonition is passed down from generation to generation in the form of sayings and stories. And every generation discovers the same thing: that wisdom is not imparted by sayings, but only through experience does one come to understand the meaning and truth of an ancient string of words.

    So back at you: it's both.
  • creativesoul
    4.2k
    It seems that Moore might say that a moral statement can be both true and an expression of what one thinks we ought do.Banno

    Contrast that with those who might consider moral statements only to express a preference - that is, what one ought do.Banno

    it's both.frank

    Moral statements can and do express a preference. Not always, as evidenced by conflicting personal wants and moral duties.

    Some moral statements are truth-apt. Statements of ought regarding previously made promises, in particular, are such statements.

    A position arguing against the claim that moral propositions are truth-apt would base the denial upon their own moral belief(thought/belief about the rules of acceptable/unacceptable thought, belief, and/or behaviour).

    Typically, the conversation hinges upon the notion of moral fact being used, which turns upon the notion of fact being used. This involves one's notions regarding what sorts of things can be true/false and what makes them so.
  • Banno
    4.7k
    So can anyone analyse goodness?
  • creativesoul
    4.2k
    :blush:

    I don't see why not Banno. It's been done for centuries.
  • creativesoul
    4.2k
    "There ought be a rose garden" is true if one promised to plant a rose garden.

    "There is a cat on the mat" is true if there is a cat on the mat.

    True moral statements correspond to moral facts.

    True statements correspond to facts.

    Overtly expressed truth conditions report what must happen in order for the positive assertion in question to be true.
  • creativesoul
    4.2k
    "...is good" is simple and unanalysable, according to Moore.Banno

    The expression, assuming sincerity in speech, reflects one's moral belief. That would be belief about acceptable/unacceptable thought, belief, and/or behaviour(belief about morality).

    That's about as far as that analysis allows us to go.

    "Is good", however, is not equivalent to goodness. The latter is a product of metacognition. The former is an expression of one's thought/belief about morality. It's a moral judgment.
  • Wallows
    7k
    So can anyone analyse goodness?Banno

    Yes, but only through intersubjectivity.
  • Wallows
    7k
    Go on...Banno

    The issue that you presented of seeming inescapable relativism for moral claims is mitigated by adhering to what can be shared about the content of moral propositions between parties.
  • Banno
    4.7k
    If goodness is subjective, then you can be right and I can be right, even if our views contradict one another.

    Hence a subjectivist cannot claim their moral view is true.
    Banno

    ...the content of moral propositions between partiesWallows

    But making it a "we" doesn't help... so far as I can see: We can be right and they can be right, even if our views contradict one another.

    @creativesoul wallows towards "One ought keep one's promises". But @Wallows, isn't "One ought keep one's promises" true? How can it be, if there is no moral truth? Is ""one ought keep one's promises" not a moral proposition? But it clearly implies a general action, even if not a specific one.
  • Banno
    4.7k
    The expression, assuming sincerity in speech, reflects one's moral belief.creativesoul

    Shouldn't it also reflect the truth? Else, why bother?
  • Wallows
    7k
    But making it a "we" doesn't help... so far as I can see: We can be right and they can be right, even if our views contradict one another.Banno

    Well, isn't it about what can be agreeable to more than one individuals that derives truth value of moral propositions?
  • Banno
    4.7k
    isn't it about what can be agreeable to more than one individuals that derives truth value of moral propositions?Wallows

    Moral truth is what is popular?
  • Wallows
    7k


    More rigorously as consent or consensus?
  • Banno
    4.7k
    They are reasons for belief - justifications. Neither implies truth.

    The question is : is what is good, what is consented to?

    And the answer is no.
  • emancipate
    43
    If goodness is subjective, then you can be right and I can be right, even if our views contradict one another.

    Hence a subjectivist cannot claim their moral view is true.
    Banno

    They can claim that their moral view is subjectively true. True for them and anyone who agrees with their position (whatever that may be). Seems like subjectivism taken to the extreme must privilege the right to be different. Acknowledging a plurality of truths. He can only claim his truth to be a partial truth. His truth is also false for others.
  • Wallows
    7k


    Well, this just seems like a rehashing of Hume's is-ought problem. Isn't it?
  • VagabondSpectre
    1.3k
    I would try to break down the different truth requirements of moral propositions:

    If moral propositions imply actions, can we treat them from the perspectives of validity and soundness?

    Actions are morally valid if they follow from the moral propositions that imply them.

    Actions are morally sound if the moral propositions that imply them are true.

    There's no apparent room for subjectivity with regard to validity, but the truth of moral propositions, the premises of our moral deeds, are famously vulnerable to variation.

    Following the line of reason @Wallows begat, instead of looking at moral actions as deducible from a set of universal tenets, we could look at it as an endeavor to negotiate and compromise through the conflict that naturally emerges from those varied and sometimes conflicting premises.

    If we can agree on premises as interacting-individuals, or interacting-groups, then we can at least ensure the validity of or moral acts. Where we disagree or run into conflict, we're left to compromise (or not) in whatever way we think best serves our goals. In these cases, moral arguments tend to take an inductive form where they're strong or weak depending on how well they appeal to existing values.

    Rather than wonder what kind of metaphysical setup might give rise to objectively true moral propositions, I prefer to stop the buck and just accept the values that we do have. If we assume morality ought to serve human values, we can still derive appropriate actions even in the face of conflict/variation, it's just a whole lot messier (i.e: probabilistic).
  • Echarmion
    191
    "There ought be a rose garden" is true if one promised to plant a rose garden.creativesoul

    Can you elaborate on this notion of promises as moral fact? In itself, a promise is communication about my intent. How does it turn into a sort of fact?

    They can claim that their moral view is subjectively true. True for them and anyone who agrees with their position (whatever that may be). Seems like subjectivism taken to the extreme must privilege the right to be different.emancipate

    The issue is that moral judgements are about what should be done. They're not speculative and individual like the question what a person would do, given a set of circumstances. A partial truth cannot support an general statement, so how can the subjectivist make any moral statements?

    Following the line of reason Wallows begat, instead of looking at moral actions as deducible from a set of universal tenets, we could look at it as an endeavor to negotiate and compromise through the conflict that naturally emerges from those varied and sometimes conflicting premises.

    If we can agree on premises as interacting-individuals, or interacting-groups, then we can at least ensure the validity of or moral acts. Where we disagree or run into conflict, we're left to compromise (or not) in whatever way we think best serves our goals. In these cases, moral arguments tend to take an inductive form where they're strong or weak depending on how well they appeal to existing values.

    Rather than wonder what kind of metaphysical setup might give rise to objectively true moral propositions, I prefer to stop the buck and just accept the values that we do have. If we assume morality ought to serve human values, we can still derive appropriate actions even in the face of conflict/variation, it's just a whole lot messier (i.e: probabilistic).
    VagabondSpectre

    I agree with you that "deducing" moral actions is not possible. That would imply that there is a list of every possible moral act somewhere which we have access to. For the same reason, expecting morality to be "objective" also makes no sense, since we are not trying to figure out an object.

    I think Kant correctly stated that morality is practical. It only exists where subjects actually interact. A lone subject in an empty universe has no need for morality. So I think the process by which we figure out whether or not an act is moral is similar to induction, as you say, but it is not quite the same. I'd rather call it subsumption. That is the same process one uses to apply a law to a case.

    Subsumption is often described as a process of constant back and forth that both interprets the rule and classifies the circumstances. It's just that in law, you start out with a rule that's already refined to a specific area of interest, while in morality you have just the most general rule.

    A legal judgement is not true or false in relation to some objective reality. Instead, it's "truth" is based on the proper method of justification being used. A judge may arrive at a verdict for purely emotive reasons, but he will have to justify that verdict using the proper form of arguments. I think that morality requires a similar approach.
  • creativesoul
    4.2k
    creativesoul wallows towards "One ought keep one's promises".Banno

    Not at all actually.

    Although, I do hold that one ought keep one's promises, that does not ground what I'm getting to here, nor can it be reduced to such. I'm leading to something a bit different.
  • creativesoul
    4.2k
    Can you elaborate on this notion of promises as moral fact? In itself, a promise is communication about my intent. How does it turn into a sort of fact?Echarmion

    On my view, facts are 'states' of affairs, events, what has happened and/or is happening, the case at hand, the world, etc.

    Making a promise is the moral fact of the matter.
  • Echarmion
    191
    On my view, facts are 'states' of affairs, events, what has happened and/or is happening, the case at hand, the world, etc.

    Making a promise is the moral fact of the matter.
    creativesoul

    But only the promise is part of the state of affairs. Neither the act which is being promised, nor a rule linking the one to the other are something that has happened.
  • creativesoul
    4.2k
    The expression, assuming sincerity in speech, reflects one's moral belief.
    — creativesoul

    Shouldn't it also reflect the truth? Else, why bother?
    Banno

    Belief presupposes truth.

    Prefixing the term truth with "the" is very problematic here.
  • creativesoul
    4.2k
    But only the promise is part of the state of affairs.Echarmion

    The promise is what makes it a moral state of affairs.
  • Echarmion
    191
    The promise is what makes it a moral state of affairs.creativesoul

    But that means that you have a rule that says "promises turn the act that is promised into a moral state of affairs". I think it's a sensible rule, I just don't understand your approach.
  • emancipate
    43
    The issue is that moral judgements are about what should be done. They're not speculative and individual like the question what a person would do, given a set of circumstances. A partial truth cannot support an general statement, so how can the subjectivist make any moral statements?Echarmion

    Notice my comment was about subjectivism at the extreme end of the spectrum. I think there can be different degrees between subjectivism and objectivism, so that these are not simple binary opposites. I am not one for general truths. Every situation exists as a complex milieu, with its own specifics. One size fits all: doesn't. There is no ought but that which is created, individual or collectively.
  • jorndoe
    644
    I could have all the preferences and opinions in the world, yet still not like getting hurt.

    I'm willing to put up with the shorter discomfort of going to the dentist to avoid the possibly longer troubles otherwise.
    My preference would be neither, but I ought go to the dentist (which presumably holds for most).

    Are there moral truths that do not, in one way or other, depend on (experiencing) minds?
    Seems odd if someone were to say "the hurricane ought not murder anyone", "hurricanes are immoral".

    Hm maybe something's off with the subjective versus objective thing.
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