• Brett
    3k
    What’s behind the search for objective reality? What do we expect to find there? What do we expect to gain from it?

    The idea that that God did not exist, therefore no laws of God and consequently subjective morality, was shocking, not just because it challenged religion, the church, and social structures, but because it tore away the idea that there was a reason for things happening, a way to live and an order to things that would explain who and what we were.

    The proof of Gods existence could be found in miracles, in prayer and the existence of saints. Tragedy had be taken at face value as acts of God, their cause known only to God. God and the Devil fought over our souls, over right and wrong.

    Through a belief in God people accepted an objective reality, even though they did not, or could not, separate subjectivity from objectivity, or were even aware that the world could be looked at in that way. To deny God was to tear away the security of a greater power that acted on the world and guided us.

    Having denied God we were left with the dilemma of objectivity; does it exist, can it be proven, who are we, what do we really know? Included in the dilemma is; what is right and wrong, do morals exist or are they relative, and if so whose morals should prevail?

    It appears that in the absence of an objective reality everything unravels and we struggle to hold onto what we have arrived at.

    We constantly search for evidence of this objective reality and constantly fall short. We hope to find the truth about what’s real so that we can know who we are, what’s important and how we should live.

    Kant said that we cannot have certain knowledge, that we can only have knowledge within a phenomenal world of ideas, that it ends at the bounds of the noumena realm. So we must act as if it is possible for us to have this knowledge. If not we are left with the idea that life is meaningless. Without this faith, then, we find ourselves living in a world of meaninglessness.

    We cannot imagine an objective reality without giving it form, and the only possible way to address objectivity is in faith, just as those did with God. But faith is a nasty word, tied up with the corruption of the church, ignorance, and blind adherence to dogma.

    I’m suggesting that we already live this objective reality, that it’s made real by our actions and what’s behind those actions; morality and everything that goes with it.

    The idea of caring for others, the value of life, was not created by Christianity, it had to exist first. Just like the idea, I believe, that caring for others is in human nature and not some sort of contrived idea for keeping the peace, something contrived to contribute towards your survival over others.

    Our capacities for caring, our morals, where do they come from? We didn’t invent them. “To invent or create anything, you must already have both very specific wants and equally specific powers” (Midgley, Heart and Mind). Wanting something must happen before choosing. Caring must come before the world it shapes.
    I’m aware my whole premise rests on this being true, and I recall other conversations about this that became a long slog. But I can only make my case on what I believe to be true. So I’m arguing my case on the basis of this being true.

    What I’m positing is that this is who we are. It’s not a subjective idea of ourselves. Morality is the objective reality and it addresses all the questions about what’s real so that we can know who we are, what’s important and how we should live.
  • fresco
    578
    Polarities like 'subjective-objective' and 'reality-appearance' are rejected by pragmatists. What we call 'morality' is a statistical bundle of empathic consensual behaviors which may have evolutionary advantages for species or group survival. The consensus tends to shift historically according to access to resources, or in cases of intergroup conflict in which groups tend to 'dehumanise' each other and thereby suspend 'moral action' towards them. Selectivity also operates within society and gives rise to 'inequality' issues.
    NB Your appeal to 'truth of premises' is irrelevent to a dynamic shift model.
  • Charlie P
    2
    What we call 'morality' is a statistical bundle of empathic consensual behaviors which may have evolutionary advantages for species or group survival.fresco

    Ok, so what of our conscience...?
  • fresco
    578
    'Conscience ' is the term we use for sometimes uncomfortable internal dialogue indulged in between different facets of 'self' with different agenda's not all of which correspond to consensual norms. It's about those socially acquired facets 'living with each other'. No doubt 'buffers' are often erected to avoid cognitive dissonance
  • Brett
    3k


    The consensus tends to shift historically according to access to resources, or in cases of intergroup conflict in which groups tend to 'dehumanise' each other and thereby suspend 'moral action' towards them. Selectivity also operates within society and gives rise to 'inequality' issues.fresco

    No one would suggest that we are perfect. There is obviously a discrepancy between what we hope for and what we do. That does mean that man is not a moral creature. Unless you’re saying that it’s only cultural influences that enables you to look back at history and make judgments about the shift in human behaviour. There does seem to be the ability to put our morals on ‘pause’, and no matter how bad things have got the moral position has eventually asserted itself.
  • Brett
    3k


    'Conscience ' is the term we use for sometimes uncomfortable internal dialogue indulged in between different facets of 'self' with different agenda's not all of which correspond to consensual norms.fresco

    What might it be that creates this discomfort? The ‘different’ agendas’ which sometimes do not correspond to consensual norms are the the morals the individual cannot ignore, which causes the discomfort. It’s the consensual norms that can sometimes override the morality of the individual and cause the problems you allude to. Consensual norms are what fluctuates, not the individual moral view of things.
  • Brett
    3k


    What we call 'morality' is a statistical bundle of empathic consensual behaviors which may have evolutionary advantages for species or group survival.fresco

    Surely something must first exist before it can be consented to.
  • armonie
    82
    たはずの君を
  • fresco
    578
    Of course 'consensus fluctuates' because it has both universal and parochial status and is subject to history as stated above. It is transmitted via language which itself has both universal and local aspects.
    Only religionists tend to associate 'morality' with ontology...in particular the 'existence of God' to 'account for morality'. Evolutionary biologists and neuroscientists will tell you that what we call 'morality' is a term belonging to 'folk psychology'. It can be directly related to oxytocin mechanisms in mammalian brains which can 'explain' why even voles can display what we call 'moral behaviour'. (Patricia Churchland)
    Of course religionists can always try to play their trump card that 'all knowledge, existence, brain chemistry, etc, are in the gift of the Creator'...but in that case farewell 'debate' !
    BTW Unless you are 'a naive realist', consensus evokes 'existence', not vice versa. (Consider the evolution of terms like 'atoms' or 'global warming' to illustrate that).
  • Brett
    3k


    , consensus evokes 'existence',fresco

    How so?
  • fresco
    578
    Look at my 'language comment' inserted above. For an 'exiential relativity' debate, see my topic history.
  • Brett
    3k


    I looked at your topic history. Your ideas are obviously fixed. I’m not convinced, but I’ll do more reading on the subject.
  • Brett
    3k


    Consensual norms are what fluctuates, not the individual moral view of things.Brett

    You said ‘of course consensus fluctuates’, but you did not address the remainder of the sentence.

    So I’m assuming you believe morals fluctuate, or do not exist.

    'morality' is a statistical bundle of empathic consensual behaviors which may have evolutionary advantages for species or group survivalfresco

    What are empathic behaviours if not the beginnings of morals? As I understand your position agreement must be reached on the meaning of empathy before acting on it or before it can even exist. But empathy is something felt. It doesn’t need to be made real in words or agreement.
  • fresco
    578
    With my 'pragmatists hat' on, I don't do 'reality' ...only 'utility'. So for me the concept of 'morality' stands or falls on the basis of its utility, which is related to the context of its usage...i.e. the norms of 'good' interactional behaviour expected by a society. Obviously those 'norms' could be formalised in a religion but are more generally enscribed in secular law. But the origin of those norms is most likely to he explainable by inheritance those mechanisms we call 'empathic'. But we equally can be said to inherit 'tribal competition' which can subdue empathic behaviour.
    The fact that the concept of 'morality' is not normally applied to other species implies that its 'existential status' is particular to homo sapiens. That IMO points to only one dichotomy...either 'humanity is special' and has 'free will' because of 'divine design', or 'humanity is special' due to its conceptualization behaviour via language which reifies concepts like 'morality' and 'existence' by the consensual use of persistent 'words'.
    "Philosophy is the battle against bewitchment of our intellect by the use of words" Wittgenstein
  • Possibility
    2.2k
    The idea of caring for others, the value of life, was not created by Christianity, it had to exist first. Just like the idea, I believe, that caring for others is in human nature and not some sort of contrived idea for keeping the peace, something contrived to contribute towards your survival over others.

    Our capacities for caring, our morals, where do they come from? We didn’t invent them. “To invent or create anything, you must already have both very specific wants and equally specific powers” (Midgley, Heart and Mind). Wanting something must happen before choosing. Caring must come before the world it shapes.
    I’m aware my whole premise rests on this being true, and I recall other conversations about this that became a long slog. But I can only make my case on what I believe to be true. So I’m arguing my case on the basis of this being true.

    What I’m positing is that this is who we are. It’s not a subjective idea of ourselves. Morality is the objective reality and it addresses all the questions about what’s real so that we can know who we are, what’s important and how we should live.
    Brett

    But morality is still a limited construction of that objective reality from the qualitative hierarchies of value in relation to subjective human experiences. It addresses these questions, sure - but it’s not as ‘objective’ as you think.

    That’s not to say that we invented our morals, as such - rather that they’re incomplete (and possibly even incorrect) structures of reality. We can only structure and predict the ‘objective reality’ (ie. meaning) of individual human behaviour in relation to how we evaluate our experience of past behaviour. We make judgements and predictions about future behaviour based on those structures, refine and adjust them to reduce prediction error, and share them with others to reach a consensus on what is ‘real’ in an objective sense. It’s no different from any other aspect of reality - except that we struggle to extend a consensus of the qualitative aspects of our experience beyond the human perspective.

    This hasn’t seemed all that important a distinction - until we began to realise that our very survival relies much more on how the rest of the ecosystem evaluates their experience of our past behaviour than we thought.

    We structure our reality not just in relation to the three dimensions of space and the fourth of time, but in relation to value hierarchies that integrate the fifth dimensional qualitative aspects of our experience: hotter or colder, longer or shorter, higher or lower, lighter or darker, softer or harder, more or less, etc - and we then structure those value hierarchies according to a sixth dimension of social meaning: rich or poor, sick or healthy, good or bad, etc.

    Gods developed from an awareness that there was more going on in reality than we could deduce from our senses or predict from past experience, more than we could structure in the four dimensions that we could agree was ‘real’. The qualitative aspects to our experience that could not be explained and predicted in relation to the familiar events and objects of four dimensional reality became the subject of myths and stories, religion, philosophy, metaphysics and science. Good and Evil, Love and War, the movements of the sky and the seasons; pain and loss, lack and humility, illness and death, why this child is the only one in her family with red hair, etc...

    We formulate structural systems such as language, logic, measurement, mathematics and morals that enable us to reduce these five and six dimensional aspects of reality to four, three and even two or one dimensional information. But our dependence on these formulas and concepts (and the extent to which we no longer refine or adjust them to reduce prediction error, but instead ignore, isolate and exclude contradictory information from our experience) lead us to believe that reality is only what fits into these structural systems.

    ‘Caring for others’ refers to a six dimensional reality that awareness, connection and collaboration is inherent in all matter and underlies every interaction in the universe, regardless of value. Morality is only how we interpret that for ourselves.
  • christian2017
    1.4k
    Through a belief in God people accepted an objective reality, even though they did not, or could not, separate subjectivity from objectivity, or were even aware that the world could be looked at in that way. To deny God was to tear away the security of a greater power that acted on the world and guided us.Brett

    Why do you say they could not separate subjectivity from objectivity. That is an assumption on your part and partly based on Hollywood and liberal betrayal of Medieval people. Isaac Newton is the most influentual contributor to modern Mechanical Engineering. Many people think Modern Mechanical Engineering is based on later developments but in fact most modern mechanical devices are produced using Newtonian Physics. Even modern computing can be entirely built using 19th century equations and very often they are.

    Isaac Newton was a christian and Medieval people were alot smarter and more open minded then many people are today.
  • Brett
    3k


    Why do you say they could not separate subjectivity from objectivity.christian2017

    I suppose I hadn’t made it very clear in my posts how far back I’m referring to. But I am talking about a period much earlier than the one you mention.

    Edit: I’m not just talking about a Christian god but all gods and spirits.
  • Brett
    3k


    With my 'pragmatists hat' on, I don't do 'reality' ...only 'utility'. So for me the concept of 'morality' stands or falls on the basis of its utility, which is related to the context of its usage...i.e. the norms of 'good' interactional behaviour expected by a society.fresco

    Yes, I agree with this and it contributes towards the thoughts I have. But I also feel that in early stages the ‘good interactional behaviour’ was more from co-operation than what was expected. In time when that behaviour had contributed towards building, had actually established, a secure functional community, then it would have been expected as a set of

    or 'humanity is special' due to its conceptualization behaviour via language which reifies concepts like 'morality' and 'existence' by the consensual use of persistent 'words'.fresco

    This I also agree on.
  • christian2017
    1.4k


    Are you familiar with Hammurabi? He mostly combined prior laws but did make new laws. I'm not sure they were as dumb as people assume. He is dated to around 1770BC. Much of the lack of the sophisticated mathematics was due to a lack of automation. Automation can in some cases cause more problems then it solves. I would argue the embracing of mathematics is the corner stone of intellectual thought.
  • christian2017
    1.4k


    If you view a particular field of study as a system, you can use systems analysis and design principles to break each phrase and notion down into many some what discrete mathematical equations and even lines on a graph. If given enough time you can turn any field of study into a math problem.
  • khaled
    2.8k
    The idea of caring for others, the value of life, was not created by Christianity, it had to exist first. Just like the idea, I believe, that caring for others is in human nature and not some sort of contrived idea for keeping the peace, something contrived to contribute towards your survival over others.

    Our capacities for caring, our morals, where do they come from? We didn’t invent them.
    Brett

    Nor do we share them so they're not "objective" either. Look at serial killers and psychopaths for an example.
  • Brett
    3k

    I’m not sure if I’m saying people are dumb if they couldn’t separate subjectivity from objectivity. Even today there are people who cannot see past their own subjective view on things.

    What I am suggesting is that people assumed God’s existence and his word as an objective truth without understanding what they were doing. Obviously there were people who understood this, but I doubt the general population had a grip on it, even in the late 19th century.
  • Brett
    3k


    Nor do we share themkhaled

    Of course we share them. The fact that there are people who can commit acts of evil does not mean that the vast majority of people do not share similar moral values. Otherwise why the abhorrence?
  • khaled
    2.8k
    key words:
    the vast majorityBrett

    The vast majority =/= everyone
    And objectivity requires everyone
  • Brett
    3k


    Sorry, I’ve read your post a few times and I can’t make sense of what you’re getting at. Can you summarise it?
  • Brett
    3k
    Objective reality;
    That which exists that is independent of the human mind.

    In evolution the development of physical attributes is independent of the mind.

    The human mind does not chose the attributes of the body that gives it the most advantage.

    The future determines which attributes are advantageous.

    In its primitive state, 1 million years ago, mankind’s needs were rudimentary: food and shelter.

    Co-operation contributed success in achieving these aims.

    Co-operation involves sharing and understanding. These are capacities we had. We did not and could not create them. As I quoted Midgley;

    “To invent or create anything, you must already have both very specific wants and equally specific powers”.

    How could you consciously create sharing or understanding if you were unaware of a need for it?

    “The human Will is not a mechanism for generating new thoughts out of nothing.” (Midgley).

    These things come from the working out over time the things individuals had in them “as their original character” (Midgley), from the development of combinations of the things individuals had in them.
    Isn’t that like the development of a physical attribute?

    So if you did not know of these things and they developed over a long period of time, in spite of yourself, from a combination of the things individuals had in them, could they really be called subjective actions or thoughts?
  • Possibility
    2.2k
    So if you did not know of these things and they developed over a long period of time, in spite of yourself, from a combination of the things individuals had in them, could they really be called subjective actions or thoughts?Brett

    The underlying impetus behind the actions are not subjective. It is how we describe and explain those actions and thoughts, how we structure the concepts that determine and initiate consciously cooperative or uncooperative action, which is a subjective view of reality.

    People, animals, chemical reactions, molecules and atoms have collaborated since the ‘big bang’. It’s a process that is fundamental to the existence of the universe. The underlying impetus of matter to collaborate refers to an objective reality.

    That we call it ‘cooperation’ and attribute ‘survival value’ to it, however, is a subjective view of that reality. Objectively, I would argue that this view is inaccurate - collaboration has nothing to do with survival. That we use it for that purpose is subjective - it benefits us, but our survival is not objectively ‘good’, nor is it necessary.

    I hope that’s a little clearer. If not, please let me know which parts are not making sense.
  • Brett
    3k


    [quote="Possibility;356455"
    ]The underlying impetus behind the actions are not subjective[/quote]

    That’s enough for me.

    Yes, when we address them it is subjective. But the underlying impetus is objective in the sense that it exists independently of the human mind. Even if we did not have the language to talk about it the impetus would still be there.
  • A Seagull
    621
    If morality is the objective reality, then we are all doomed.
  • Brett
    3k


    If morality is the objective reality, then we are all doomed.A Seagull

    How so?
  • A Seagull
    621
    Because if objective reality is a dream, then we are nothing.
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