• Janus
    6.7k
    yes, that is my entire point - there is no meaningful value judgement that can be made about competing moral views if you hold to subjectivity - they can only be different - there is no meaningful subjectively better or worse.Rank Amateur

    This is true if you are holding to a notion of individual subjectivity. If you hold to a notion of collective subjectivity or inter-subjectivity, then not so much.
  • S
    8.5k
    It muddies the waters because it is a false, or at least weak, analogy. We don't tend to care much what others like to eat, provided it doesn't smell too bad. When it comes to morals almost everyone agrees about the basic principles, and those principles are based on what makes for a harmonious community.

    Kant was basically right: there would be a contradiction in saying that you want to live harmoniously with others, but that you think it is OK to lie, cheat. steal, exploit, rape and murder. If you are honest and say that you don't really care about living harmoniously with others, but that it suits you to remain in society because you don't like being alone, you wouldn't be able to survive alone, you need others to exploit and torture lest you be bored, and so on; then there would be no contradiction. But would such a person be moral, immoral or amoral?

    (What I don't like about Kant's CI is the notion of duty).
    Janus

    I still don't agree that it muddies the waters. I think that you're throwing mud into the water and blaming it on the analogy.

    What supposed relevance is a harmonious community in the very specific context of this discussion, as opposed to the context of morality in general? I care about a harmonious community to some extent, but so what? I would steal from a rich corporation if I could get away with it, whether we assume that that's immoral or otherwise. I wouldn't rape or murder, even if I could get away with it. None of this seems relevant in terms of the debate that's going on.
  • Rank Amateur
    1.5k
    This is true if you are holding to a notion of individual subjectivity. If you hold to a notion of collective subjectivity or inter-subjectivity, then not so muchJanus

    there still is no better or worse, you can have more or less widely agreed - inside or outside the predominate view, even the overwhelming predominate view - but if you hold to subjectivity - still can't get to better or worse. You can add comparative terms, but you still can't add qualitative terms and hold to subjectivity.
  • Janus
    6.7k
    I would steal from a rich corporation if I could get away with it, whether we assume that that's immoral or otherwise.S

    How would you justify that to yourself?

    None of this seems relevant in terms of the debate that's going on.S

    As I see it "the debate that's going on" is itself a litany of irrelevancies and category errors.
  • S
    8.5k
    Yes, that is my entire point - there is no meaningful value judgement that can be made about competing moral views if you hold to subjectivity - they can only be different - there is no meaningful subjectively better or worse.Rank Amateur

    I know what your conclusion is. I was questioning this supposed argument you referenced.

    Then please show me how it is possible, before you invoke the fallacy - show it applies please.Rank Amateur

    But I think that you need to go back and reconsider the explanations already given, not that I need to repeat them. It should go without saying that without a contradiction, then it is possible. And there's no contradiction. That a contradiction results from one of your premises that we don't accept is in itself trivial.

    And they are welcome to their view, but it has no real meaning to anyone else.Rank Amateur

    That's not true, because people become moral subjectivists. They're not born that way. I became one myself, because I found it convincing enough. But yes, obviously if you're not convinced by it, and that can't be changed, then it is meaningless in a sense. That's not unique to moral relativism, it is true in general. How do you suppose we see your position?
  • Janus
    6.7k
    there still is no better or worse, you can have more or less widely agreed - inside or outside the predominate view, even the overwhelming predominate view - but if you hold to subjectivity - still can't get to better or worse. You can add comparative terms, but you still can't add qualitative terms and hold to subjectivity.Rank Amateur

    I can't see why you would say that. If the vast majority of people agree, that is feel the same way, about the broader moral issues: theft, deception, murder, rape, pedophilia, and so on, then there is a shared cultural set of morals. To say that you wish to live harmoniously with your fellows and yet hold contrary views about those matters, would be to contradict yourself. You would be a liar or a fool in that case.
  • Rank Amateur
    1.5k
    I know what your conclusion is. I was questioning this supposed argument you referenced.S

    non answer to the response to your question

    But I think that you need to go back and reconsider the explanations already given, not that I need to repeat them.S

    non answer to my challenge to your claim of fallacy

    That's not true, because people become moral subjectivists. They're not born that way. I became one myself, because I found it convincing enough. But yes, obviously if you're not convinced by it, and that can't be changed, then it is meaningless in a sense. That's not unique to moral relativism, it is true in general. How do you suppose we see your position?S

    nothing at all to do with the point - but thanks for sharing
  • Mww
    490


    A command of pure practical reason. Without acceptance of the Kantian notion of duty, however, moral law, and by association, the notion of imperatives, becomes irrelevant, along with the entire deontological rational philosophy.

    Which is fine. There are plenty of others.
  • Rank Amateur
    1.5k
    I can't see why you would say that. If the vast majority of people agree, that is feel the same way, about the broader moral issues: theft, deception, murder, rape, pedophilia, and so on, then there is a shared cultural set of morals. To say that you wish to live harmoniously with your fellows and yet hold contrary views about those issues, would be to contradict yourself. You would be a liar or a fool in that case.Janus

    tell me any meaningful difference between what you propose as subjective, and those beliefs are to a high degree objectively immoral. Just some coincidence that the vast majority of subjective moralist all view them the same way ?
  • S
    8.5k
    Fantastic response. Bravo.

    Here's what I conclude:

    1. You have no argument, or at least no valid argument.

    2. You aren't willing to help yourself out of your own incredulity. Rather, you want us to repeat our earlier attempts ad neaseam, even though there is little evidence that you'll get it this time instead of repeating the same problems.

    3. You don't realise that your criticism of moral relativism as meaningless is not uniquely a criticism of moral relativism, but applies in general and can easily be turned back on you.
  • Mww
    490


    “....litany of irrelevancies and category errors....”

    Agreed.

    Thanks for showing up.
  • Janus
    6.7k
    Yes, I think Kant was right about the contradiction involved in saying that lying, theft, exploitation, theft , murder, etc. are good, but he was wrong to say that duty is the highest moral imperative.
  • Janus
    6.7k
    tell me any meaningful difference between what you propose as subjective, and those beliefs are to a high degree objectively immoral. Just some coincidence that the vast majority of subjective moralist all view them the same way ?Rank Amateur

    Those beliefs are objectively immoral if you count universal inter-subjective agreement as being objective. But I would see that agreement as being socially evolved, not as given from on high.
  • S
    8.5k
    This is true if you are holding to a notion of individual subjectivity. If you hold to a notion of collective subjectivity or inter-subjectivity, then not so much.Janus

    The distinction seems trivial, since a collective is made up of individuals. So what if lots of us have in common a moral judgement. The topic is meta-ethics, not normative ethics. All I can think of are normative points or more value judgements. Where's the supposed relevance, given the confines of the topic?

    Either way, the better and worse is relative, it's not that everything is equal. What's not to understand about that? Better or worse by my standard, better or worse by the popular standard...
  • Rank Amateur
    1.5k
    Those beliefs are objectively immoral if you count universal inter-subjective agreement as being objective. But I would see that agreement as being socially evolved, not as given from on high.Janus

    no issue - don't care very much on the basis of the objectivity - just there has to be some degree of objective standard in order for their to be some value judgement.
  • Janus
    6.7k
    Individuals are part of the inter-subjective web, not totally autonomous, self-creating atoms.
  • S
    8.5k
    Individuals are part of the inter-subjective web, not totally autonomous, self-creating atoms.Janus

    And again, what's the supposed significance of that, given the strict confines of the topic?
  • Rank Amateur
    1.5k
    Here's what I conclude:

    1. You have no argument, or at least no valid argument.

    2. You aren't willing to help yourself out of your own incredulity. Rather, you want us to repeat our earlier attempts ad neaseam, even though there is little evidence that you'll get it this time instead of repeating the same problems.

    3. You don't realise that your criticism of moral relativism as meaningless is not uniquely a criticism of moral relativism, but applies in general and can easily be turned back on you.
    S

    you of course realize that relative to my point of view all of equally applies to you. Ironic
  • Janus
    6.7k
    Yes, and the objective standard (although obviously it is not an object) is the shared set of mores which have evolved. But there is no absolutely 'hard and fats' rule book which can cover every contingency with all its nuances; so some individual subtlety and creativity is called for.
  • S
    8.5k
    Those beliefs are objectively immoral if you count universal inter-subjective agreement as being objective.Janus

    So this was what you were getting at. Well no, I don't, because it isn't. It's not universal for starters, and it isn't objective. It is subjective.
  • S
    8.5k
    You of course realize that relative to my point of view all of equally applies to you. IronicRank Amateur

    You of course realise that I have not committed to relativism in general, just moral relativism. Ironic indeed. We can swap around for this part if you want to. You're wrong, irrespective of what you think. Reason is objective, not subjective. Facts are certainly not subjective. Nor rocks. Nor meaning, as I conceive of it.
  • Rank Amateur
    1.5k
    agree as I have said a few times - my view is there is a continuum with pure subjectivity on one end and pure objectivity on the other - and we all place ourselves individually, and society generally somewhere along that continuum.
  • Janus
    6.7k
    And again, what's the supposed significance of that, given the strict confines of the topic?S

    That should be obvious; I am talking about the context of inter-subjectively shared values being the overarching context within which, perhaps even against which, individuals define their own sets of moral values. How do you think it is not significant?
  • Janus
    6.7k
    So this was what you were getting at. Well no, I don't, because it isn't. It's not universal for starters, and it isn't objective. It is subjective.S

    On the broader issues it is, for all intents and purposes, universal. The fact that there might be some deviants who think that what most people consider to be heinous acts are actually good is what is morally and subjectively irrelevant.
  • Janus
    6.7k
    I agree with the caveat that there actually is no pure subjectivity or objectivity.
  • Mww
    490


    I’m not sure he said duty was a moral imperative, but rather a principle which justifies the possibility of moral law. No reason for positing a law if one feels no sense of being bound to it. Stronger and more fundamental than the alleged “moral feeling”, but serving the same purpose, at the root of moral worthiness.
  • S
    8.5k
    That should be obvious; I am talking about the context of inter-subjectively shared values being the overarching context within which, perhaps even against which, individuals define their own sets of moral values. How do you think it is not significant?Janus

    Well, for a start, it wasn't clear to me what you were getting at, so why would you ask me that as though I actually knew exactly what you were getting at and was denying the significance of it? Just saying that it should be obvious is naive. Just be clearer next time. It's not difficult. If you had simply said that the last time, I would've understood.

    Anyway, now that you've explained yourself properly, I'm not saying that I don't see the supposed relevance. But I don't agree. Primarily, my morality is founded individualistically. My moral feelings are my moral feelings, not those of all of the other subjects. Whether they happen to share my feelings or not is neither here nor there. I appeal within myself, not outside of myself to others.
  • S
    8.5k
    On the broader issues it is, for all intents and purposes, universal.Janus

    This is just smoke and mirrors. It simply isn't universal. Full stop. Adding "for all intents and purposes" completely undermines your claim. We could all just say "for all intents and purposes" morality is objective, or universal, or absolute, and be done with this debate. But it's deeper than that.

    The fact that there might be some deviants who think that what most people consider to be heinous acts are actually good is what is morally and subjectively irrelevant.Janus

    I agree that it's irrelevant normatively, but normative ethics is itself irrelevant in this context, so you aren't saying anything relevant in making that point. I don't share the moral judgements of the deviants in terms of all of the big stuff, like rape and murder, so in that sense they don't matter, but that sense is relative and subjective. Still no objective morality.
  • Joshs
    437
    "Tell me any meaningful difference between what you propose as subjective, and those beliefs are to a high degree objectively immoral. Just some coincidence that the vast majority of subjective moralist all view them the same way ?"

    Clearly, any aspect of human behavior to which standards, laws and prohibitions are applied cannot considered morally relative in an absolute sense. A word like murder, as opposed to killing, presupposes the intentional violation of a standard.

    But its important to see that there are different kinds of moral relativisms. Maybe the easiest way to approach 'relativism' to start from meaning relativism, since morality cannot be determined without first having a theory of truth, since any understanding of morality and ethics begins from what truth is taken to be. So lets see how the notion of truth relativism has evolved with regards to the understanding of science.
    It could be argued that Descartes was the first relativist in that he recognized that humans construct theories of truth rather than simply directly observing it in the world as earlier philosophers believed. So Descartes was the first to realize that truth is relative to a model of the world.But Descartes still believed that scientific and moral truth were a function of mirroring, through cognition, the way things are in the world. Kant radicalized Descartes by arguing that not only is truth a function of our constructions and concepts, but that those concepts can never get at a final exhaustive truth (we cannot reach the thing in itself). So for Kant truth is relative to our evolving schemes. In science we can disprove but never exhaustively prove any theory. The truth of any scientific theory is contestable. But we can assymptotically approximate ultimate truth. He modeled his moral theory on this idea of universal truth that we have to assume but never see directly.

    This is Kant's moral relativism. Hegel did Kant one better by seeing truth as relative not only to our holistic schemes but sees those schemes and categories themselves as evolving. So Hegel introduced the idea of cultural relativism. Each culture's moral standards are on the way to something true in a totalistic sense but they havent arrived there yet. Marx took Hegel's idealist dialectic of moral truth and put it in the material plane of human economic arrangements. Marx kept the idea of morality as a cultural becoming, however. We become morally better through the dialectical development of economic arrangements.
    Nietzsche was among the first to throw out this idea that becoming is an improvement toward some ultimate telos, challenging us to think beyond good and evil. For him there is no moral progress or progress of truth, only contingent perspectives that cannot be arranged according to conformity with an ultimate reality.
    So Nietzsche gives us a relativism from top to bottom, with no grounding or telos. People often ask, how does one keep one's own philosophy of radical relativism from being itself a morality in claiming itself as a truth? The answer is that the terms of such a philosophy are meant to be contestable and internally self-reflexive. SO Nietzschean truth is not truth in the traditional sense. It is more a being-in-transformation.
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