• Judaka
    114
    Are you just saying that ALL information must be interpreted by an agent, so it is all subjective? So does that mean if life disappears then everything vanishes because there are no agents to interpret?ZhouBoTong

    I am not saying it must be interpreted by an agent, I am distinguishing between facts and the interpretation of facts.

    If all beings disappear, the universe will still exist but "meaning" won't.

    "1+1 = 2 means 1+1 = 2."

    1+1 =2 is an objective truth but that doesn't "mean" 1+1 = 2. The idea that 1+1 = 2 means 1+1 = 2 is just a human trying to justify his belief that 1+1 = 2. In this case, what they think 1+1 =2 means and what it actually is are the same thing. At least as far as the evidence suggests.

    I am not claiming that Susie doesn't stack more cups than Bob in 30 seconds or that it's subjective that she does. If she does then she does. If that is all one pointed out then who can blame them? It's the truth.

    You interpret the fact that Susie can stack more cups than Bob to mean that Susie is better at stacking cups than Bob. You call these rules and say you're being objective but it's just your opinion. You've said the fact that Susie stacks more cups than Bob means she's better at stacking cups. Whatever follows the word "means' is subjective. Regardless of what anyone thinks.

    If you are just arguing that because one cannot be better at "nothing" and so it's just a fundamentally incorrect statement to claim you're "better at nothing" then I would advise you to really think about what is being said by "I am better than you". I think the person saying that knows exactly what they mean and why they think that - it's just like calling one movie better than another and it's commonplace and not controversial at all. They've omitted their criteria for their assertion but that doesn't mean they have none.

    If you disagree then which part? You believe meaning is not subjective or that rules have special properties which elevate them from being arguments with contestable premises and conclusions?
  • TheMadFool
    3k
    I will stick with, facts are objective, opinions are subjective.ZhouBoTong

    What's the difference between fact and opinion?

    Personally speaking, a fact is true whether you believe it or not. An opinion doesn't have to be true but may be held as a belief.

    Don't you see any facts to ground morality on?

    Isn't suffering-joy a fact. People may deny it but still feel pain at the loss of a loved one and joy when winning a lottery.

    I don't know what Kant would've said about such a hedonistic outlook but I'm sure the categorical imperative is meaningful only to the extent that it has the potential of making people happy and not suffer.
  • TheMadFool
    3k
    I think the existence of happiness and suffering is objective. The idea that reducing suffering is good, I would count as subjective (I whole-heartedly support this as a good starting point for morality - analyzing the facts as objectively as possible leads me to BELIEVE that is as good a starting point as any), but isn't morality by definition, "how one ought to live"? Doesn't the ought make it subjective?ZhouBoTong

    How do we think of "oughts" vis-a-vis morality? The moral oughts have a source - our wants/wishes. Our wants boil down to dislike of suffering and like of happiness. Right? So, it seems to me that moral oughts have an objective basis right there.

    Another thing to note is that if our moral oughts were purely subjective then we should be seeing a lot of contradictions from person to person, place to place, culture to culture, etc. every possible level of humanity should have contradictory views on morality. This is not the case. As I mentioned in my previous post all lines are converging at one point - encourage happiness and discourage suffering.
  • Terrapin Station
    6.9k
    But once we take it to this extreme, language has lost its purposeZhouBoTong

    The purpose (According to whom? Purposes are alwaysto someone) of language is to pretend that value judgments/evaluative utterances are objective in some contexts? :joke:
  • StaggeringBlow
    5
    Are those who are wrong, worse than those who are right? Are criminals worse than non-criminals? Are people better than ants?ZhouBoTong

    Depends on what they are wrong about, and, even if they are "wrong". Ultimately, there has to be someone (or something?) that decides what is right and wrong. Who or what is that? Not trying to sound like Ayn Rand here but.... unless we have a clear, unanimous "leader", I believe it is relative.

    This is not to say I don't have my own ideas of right and wrong. I do. But I don't view myself as better than anyone else (overall). But that is just ME.

    So, my short, concise answer to your question is: NO (to all of them)
  • kill jepetto
    55
    Yes, it's called Heaven and Hell.

    One example:

    Some people have good genetics, some people have bad genetics; the odds are better for people with good genetics.

    You can get good genetics in the next life by being moral throughout your life.

    Some people with good genetics may expereince a bad life; which, is where other examples may arise.

    There are many ways a heaven or hell can be created; such as: environment, competition, fear, pain/pleasure, etc.

    Given you are in lot's of pain and on your death bed, and I'm healthy and taking lot's of pleasure, I'm a man who's better than you, but if I was evil and you were good, you might just be going to heaven and I'm on my way to hell - so it's down to the righteous judgement.
  • ZhouBoTong
    49
    I am distinguishing between facts and the interpretation of facts.Judaka

    And there is no such thing as a fact that could never be interpreted differently? Can't we just be more specific with our words?

    "If I place my naked hand palm down onto a wood table, and then I take a hammer and hit my hand as hard as I can (I am not an invalid), then I will suffer some sort of injury."

    How is that statement in any way debatable? Unless we say words have no REAL meaning?

    Are we going to argue over what injury means? Any basic understanding of the word will suffice in this case.

    How about "the chemical symbol for water is H20" ? or "water is wet"? What are the various interpreted meanings for these statements?

    If you disagree then which part? You believe meaning is not subjective or that rules have special properties which elevate them from being arguments with contestable premises and conclusions?Judaka

    I am afraid we can't see the same planet on this issue. I can agree that the word "better" may always be subjective because it has a terribly vague definition (it might be subjective by definition). But generally, if we care to take the time, I think we can use language and math (and therefor rules of games) in an objective fashion.
  • Judaka
    114

    In a universe without life, nothing needs to mean anything, things just are. No matter what the limitations of understanding between people are, nothing can change this fact. Meaning comes from interpretation, evidence is also interpreted - all that we are subjected to through the senses is interpreted and given meaning.

    Meaning is essential to intelligent beings, it cannot be dispensed with even if you try. We are ignorant beings trying to understand the universe and meaning is an essential tool for us to do that with.

    People distinguish between degrees of contentiousness, intersubjective verification has the lowest level of contentiousness within public knowledge. Even I think people who contend with it are fools. We make rules for what mandates belief, what deserves belief and what doesn't. These are all things that don't happen without intelligent life. I do these things because I am an intelligent life form, it is imperative that I do this and do it well.

    There are things I assume are real to the point where I won't entertain conversations about them not being real, there's no evidence to support it and I care about evidence. In that regard, we're the same.

    That's why I care a lot about the limitations of evidence and how evidence works and I care that it doesn't work by just creating arbitrary rules and making conclusions based on those rules. That's not evidence, that's nothing.

    Rules are arguments and some arguments are more convincing than others. How convincing they are is subjective but to me what I want depends on the context but if we're talking objective truth then it's something approximating the scientific method.

    People can tell me what trees are and I don't argue because what do I care if they call a tree what I think looks like a bush, I am happy to play by the rules. When the conclusions people make start to matter to me that's when I start to consider whether I still want to play by the rules or not. If I decide I don't want to play by the rules then that's that, they make arguments and I can make arguments too.

    That probably begins before we start talking about qualifying the relative value of things but it's unquestionably a consideration once you've started talking about that. You can't make rules for deciding the relative value of things and skills and monopolise the discussion by claiming the rules make your arguments objective, what nonsense.
  • ZhouBoTong
    49
    What's the difference between fact and opinion?TheMadFool

    I am very interested here (because it is a bit of a struggle). I THINK facts are "what are", opinions are what agents think about that. Well that was a crappy attempt...

    Personally speaking, a fact is true whether you believe it or not. An opinion doesn't have to be true but may be held as a belief.TheMadFool

    Yes, the above works for me.

    Don't you see any facts to ground morality on?

    Isn't suffering-joy a fact. People may deny it but still feel pain at the loss of a loved one and joy when winning a lottery.
    TheMadFool

    I agree these are the facts we base our morality on. But I don't see how to get past morality (how we ought to live) as subjective.

    Our wants boil down to dislike of suffering and like of happiness. Right? So, it seems to me that moral oughts have an objective basis right there.TheMadFool

    But there are people (I agree not many, and most we would question there sanity), who would disagree with this moral framework, or at the very least have varying priorities of suffering and happiness (some are far more focused on reducing suffering, with increasing happiness being almost irrelevant).

    I like to think this question will help, but is probably just some reducto absurdo (haha, my best attempt at latin), anyway: If our morality is objective, why does it apply to animals far differently than it applies to humans? Is it a fact that animals are inferior to humans?

    And as far as the mention of hedonism goes, I am not saying we cannot condemn certain behaviors, we should just be aware that we are just saying that we collectively THINK this is wrong (and that is enough to act on - but not to make it objectively correct - it is not a fact).

    I kind of rushed this, so I will go back and re-read your posts when I get the chance.
  • TheMadFool
    3k
    I agree these are the facts we base our morality on. But I don't see how to get past morality (how we ought to live) as subjective.ZhouBoTong

    What do we mean by ''we ought to do x''? It's a directive to follow a certain course of action and it needs a justification. I can't simply say ''we ought not steal'' or ''we ought to give money to the poor''. People will ask ''why?'' That query, the ''why?'', is another way of asking whether the basis of a moral injunction is objective or not. I guess I'm saying that the objectivity of an ought is simply the objectivity of its basis and that I've stated is the undeniable fact of suffering-joy.

    If our morality is objective, why does it apply to animals far differently than it applies to humans? Is it a fact that animals are inferior to humans?ZhouBoTong

    The way we treat animals is changing. There are many animal protection organizations now than in the past. We have laws against mistreatment of animals. I agree that the present situation is not what ought to be BUT we understand the trend and we can see the destination - humane treatment of animals
  • ZhouBoTong
    49
    What do we mean by ''we ought to do x''? It's a directive to follow a certain course of action and it needs a justification. I can't simply say ''we ought not steal'' or ''we ought to give money to the poor''. People will ask ''why?'' That query, the ''why?'', is another way of asking whether the basis of a moral injunction is objective or not. I guess I'm saying that the objectivity of an ought is simply the objectivity of its basis and that I've stated is the undeniable fact of suffering-joy.TheMadFool

    Ok, this sounds like part of the creation process for the Categorical Imperative. As you might expect, Kant never sold me on its objectiveness. However, I may have mentioned in this thread somewhere that I am open to objective morality if we had an infinite (sounds impossible) series of if-then statements that covered EVERY hypothetical statement ever, then I would be comfortable with objective morality. But to say that since we all have "reason" we can objectively base morality on our shared use of "reason" implies that we all have similar reasoning or reasoning abilities...and that seems ridiculous. For example, here is an example from some college:

    "The Golden Rule, as Kant well knew, is a deeply misguided ethical principle. To see this, consider the following somewhat salacious example.

    The Horny Martin Example

    Suppose that Martin is 20 year-old college student. Suppose further that Martin has never been out on a date. The woman of his dreams finally agrees to go out with him. So Martin gets all dressed up and takes her out to a nice dinner, after which they drive up to Lookout Point. And...

    Martin does unto others as he would have done unto himself, with disastrous consequences.

    Because the same result cannot be obtained by application of the Categorical Imperative, it follows that the Golden Rule and the Categorical Imperative are not extensionally equivalent. "
    "
    -http://www.qcc.cuny.edu/socialsciences/ppecorino/MEDICAL_ETHICS_TEXT/Chapter_2_Ethical_Traditions/Categorical_Imperative.htm

    For me, rather than showing the Golden Rule to be silly, it shows objective (as in shared or universal) reasoning to be a silly concept. If Martin is incapable of understanding that "he would not want to raped in some situations" (the correct application of golden rule vs some over-literal word play nonsense) then what likelihood does he have of correctly using reason to create or understand categorical imperatives?

    I may have just called Kant's reasoning "silly", which suggests I may be missing something, but I am sticking with it :)
  • ZhouBoTong
    49
    The purpose (According to whom? Purposes are alwaysto someone) of language is to pretend that value judgments/evaluative utterances are objective in some contexts? :joke:Terrapin Station

    Haha. Darn right. I actually just meant "to communicate" but I think you got that. I do believe we have taken this about as far as it can go...maybe in a couple years we can have the conversation again and see if anything has changed :smile:
  • ZhouBoTong
    49
    This is not to say I don't have my own ideas of right and wrong. I do. But I don't view myself as better than anyone else (overall). But that is just ME.

    So, my short, concise answer to your question is: NO (to all of them)
    StaggeringBlow

    I cannot say if there is an actual "right" answer for this. But you answered exactly as I would have, so huzzah!
  • ZhouBoTong
    49
    so it's down to the righteous judgement.kill jepetto

    So God would say some people are better than others? That seems to directly go against the idea that "god loves all of his children". I am not religious, but I thought that people go to hell as a result of sin, not God's judgement (yes I know potato, potaato), but I have had many Christians argue that God does not judge us. Faith in him allows humans to escape the consequences of sin.
  • Terrapin Station
    6.9k
    Haha. Darn right. I actually just meant "to communicate" but I think you got that. I do believe we have taken this about as far as it can go...maybe in a couple years we can have the conversation again and see if anything has changedZhouBoTong

    Are you still in the process of formulating your views? (If you were thinking me, I'm a guy rapidly approaching 60, and a lot of my views have been the same for four decades or so)
  • StaggeringBlow
    5
    So God would say some people are better than others? That seems to directly go against the idea that "god loves all of his children". I am not religious, but I thought that people go to hell as a result of sin, not God's judgement (yes I know potato, potaato), but I have had many Christians argue that God does not judge us. Faith in him allows humans to escape the consequences of sin.

    Actually, according to the Bible, God is the ONLY judge, but, being omniscient, he judged us BEFORE time. The problem with God, or, rather, our attempt to comprehend him is that we can't because, assuming that God is omniscient, and that we are not even close to that, we can't reconcile Him or his thoughts in our minds. It's either a cop out or a fact.
  • ZhouBoTong
    49
    Are you still in the process of formulating your views? (If you were thinking me, I'm a guy rapidly approaching 60, and a lot of my views have been the same for four decades or so)Terrapin Station

    Unfortunately, I do not have enough faith in my own memory to know that my view today is the same as yesterday. Each new thing I learn changes things, but also each time I forget a previously well understood argument, my view may slightly change.

    I am approaching 40, so perhaps I just need time. I agree that on major things I am unlikely to change, and in that sense, you are probably right. However, I do not feel that I have talked to many people in life that put the amount of time and effort into thinking about these topics, as many of you have. So, since I am new to actually discussing these topics (I have been reading you all for years), perhaps my mind will change. But, more than likely, you are right.

    My brain is strange, it demands that I disagree adamantly with the views I disagree with, but then expects me to find common ground with everyone...hopefully I will get over that and be a bit more comfortable disagreeing.
  • ZhouBoTong
    49
    Actually, according to the Bible, God is the ONLY judge, but, being omniscient, he judged us BEFORE time. The problem with God, or, rather, our attempt to comprehend him is that we can't because, assuming that God is omniscient, and that we are not even close to that, we can't reconcile Him or his thoughts in our minds. It's either a cop out or a fact.StaggeringBlow

    Makes sense. I definitely understand that every Christian is entitled to their own interpretation of the bible. I probably spent too much time hearing the Seventh Day Adventists' view.
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