• Qwex
    366


    I think you're wrong, Metaphysician Undercover.

    We don't decide what's good, we make an able judgement, at most.

    What we are judging, surpasses judgement. Resources are still going to deplete whether we judge what's good or not. Do you see?

    However, without moral philosophy, nothing is good.

    Good - like truth - is an invention.

    Authoritive figures, who have judged good, who only know, and are catalysts of, the universe's beneficent nature, spread good amongst communities.

    Who's saying that beneficent nature is good? Benefience is benefience. Good is a man made term that's like "I agree with the benefits".

    I think anyway, I might be wrong but you're definitely wrong.
  • unenlightened
    5.1k
    But this weaving together tends to hide the distinction between the scientific principles produced from empirical observations of past events, and the made up shit, which are the principles by which the scientific principles are applied toward producing future events.Metaphysician Undercover

    I have many times pointed out here how the same people that applaud Hume's ought/is distinction object rather strongly to his will-be/has been one. And these are equally limits to reason, and thus to philosophy. But they do not limit life which makes profitable predictions and moral systems by its actions without reference to the strictures of reason. It is unreasonable to expect the future to be like the past. And it is unreasonable to expect it not to be. And especially, it is unreasonable to conclude that there will be no future.

    Perhaps one might conclude, philosophically, that the future is made up, and that morality is made up. But it cannot be made up by analytic philosophy at least. Rather, as Anscombe declares it is made up by psyche, and the phenomenon is then examined by philosophy.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.5k
    Perhaps one might conclude, philosophically, that the future is made up, and that morality is made up. But it cannot be made up by analytic philosophy at least. Rather, as Anscombe declares it is made up by psyche, and the phenomenon is then examined by philosophy.unenlightened

    I think you misrepresent the potential extent of analytic philosophy. Do you agree that the made up shit, where it seeps into various forms of manifestation, from myths, religious stories, psychological theories, to physical theories about the nature and origin of life and the universe, has had an important affect on morality? This is supposed to be an empirical fact, based in observation. It's a description. Therefore the way that the made up shit is created, and used by moralists, is a valid object of analytic philosophy. The art of actually making the shit up, we might ascribe to some other form of philosophy, like dialectics. Or have you another suggestion as to how we might account for making shit up, without actually making the shit up ourselves?
  • unenlightened
    5.1k
    Do you agree that the made up shit, where it seeps into various forms of manifestation, from myths, religious stories, psychological theories, to physical theories about the nature and origin of life and the universe, has had an important affect on morality?Metaphysician Undercover

    Yes. And given the phenomena of such made up stuff, one can philosophise. But a philosophy that makes up the phenomena - no that's not philosophy. Again, this is the whole thrust of Anscombe's piece, that without the divine will the concept of moral oughts has no content and dissolves into an emotional (psychological) appeal, not a theory with any content. Again you are confusing the philosophy of made up shit, with made up shit philosophy.
  • Qwex
    366
    I think morality requires special treatment.

    We don't need to define, in words, what beneficent action, judgement and calculation is.

    It would be better without the word morality.

    Why refer to morality and not intellect?

    Am I being moral or intellectual when I say the Earth benefits from Flora and Fuana?

    However morality is just that, it is this intellectual beneficence stuff.

    It's best left wordless as not to disrupt what we'd define it as.

    To define it would be harmful, we'd all pause or error, whenever we judge if somethings are good.

    It can be sensed though, this mode of activity where we judge, calculate and act goodly or evilly.

    Bring it up as a concept sure, but it's surely an indefinite concept.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.5k
    Yes. And given the phenomena of such made up stuff, one can philosophise. But a philosophy that makes up the phenomena - no that's not philosophy.unenlightened

    I agree that strictly speaking, it is not the endeavour of philosophy to make the stuff up. However, made up stuff is abundant in our society, and to judge the made up stuff as good or bad is philosophy. Therefore there is no shortage of work for the moral philosopher in our society, as there is much made up stuff to be judged. If you are implying that the philosopher ought to produce the distinction between good and bad, then you are asking the philosopher to make stuff up. But principles concerning that distinction already exist, as part of the made up stuff, so the philosopher need only refer to this.

    Again, this is the whole thrust of Anscombe's piece, that without the divine will the concept of moral oughts has no content and dissolves into an emotional (psychological) appeal, not a theory with any content. Again you are confusing the philosophy of made up shit, with made up shit philosophy.unenlightened

    For what reason does a human being need a "divine will" to judge the made up stuff as good or bad? Human beings themselves, as part of being human, have a will, and therefore a capacity for judging good and bad. It is only if someone feels the need to impose consistency, to judge another's judgement as consistent or inconsistent with a "higher" judgement, and seek to enforce compliance, that a divine will might be invoked.

    This clearly does not remove the content from the concept of moral ought, because each individual must decide, in each instance of circumstances, what is the good action. This decision, "what I ought to do now" must be made regardless of whether there is a divine will. The fact that one must make such decisions is the basis of a moral theory with content.

    It's only if you associate "ought" with obligation, such that a person is obliged by some external force (other human beings, the state, or God for example), that this problem might arise. However, this is inconsistent with our nature of free choice. We are not obliged to choose. Furthermore, if some "oughts" are inferred by obligation, there are still very many which are not. I can say "I ought to help my sister today", and that "ought" is based in love or something else, as I feel no obligation to do such. Therefore "ought" cannot be characterized by obligation.

    That some of us are inclined to judge another's judgement of good or bad, in comparison to some further principles of good and bad, or impose such principles onto others, to validate obligation prehaps, requires making stuff up, and is therefore not actually philosophy.
  • unenlightened
    5.1k
    For what reason does a human being need a "divine will" to judge the made up stuff as good or bad?Metaphysician Undercover

    History.

    You don't have to agree with Anscombe, and nor do I. Her argument though is that moral oughts only make sense in that context. Rather like money only makes sense in the context of property. I'm going to stop here though for a bit, and let someone else or no one else take over.
  • Isaac
    2.9k


    I don't think Anscombe is that concerned about committing atrocities (in the article, I mean, not on a personal level). I think you're adding undue weight to her 'corrupt mind' phrase, which doesn’t seem to have much of an impact on the rest of the argument.

    I take it to be more simply "philosophy does not have the foundations to do morality without external law".

    Whether she's advising we therefore get the foundations, or whether she's advising we therefore get the external law is moot. Probably the latter considering her religion.

    In terms of what that means for modern morality, the biggest problem is that we do nonetheless continue to advise, proscibe, admonish and even punish people on the grounds that they 'ought' to have done otherwise. Unless we're going to abandon everything from etiquette to Human Rights legislation, then we'd better had get a handle on what our 'oughts' ought to be.

    So we either return to religious law, fight it out regardless of rational argument, or work on improving those foundations. Personally I'm for the latter, but there doesn't seem to be a great deal of support for it in philosophical circles.
  • unenlightened
    5.1k
    the biggest problem is that we do nonetheless continue to advise, proscibe, admonish and even punish people on the grounds that they 'ought' to have done otherwise.Isaac

    Yes we do. This is going a bit off topic, but the importance is large. The generation that lived through the holocaust and WW2 is almost gone, and the same partisan populist rabble-rousing politics is returning in force. And the resistance to these dangerous trends has no philosophical ground on which to stand. As the discussion has shown, Anscombe even here in the thread has been castigated for refusing to countenance the extremes of moral opportunism consequentialism.

    Psychologically, the position is psychopathic, and psychopaths are more and more being voted into power. This is the physicalist's psychology, that equates morality with emotion as another form of desire. And that is me pathologising psychology, as I am wont to do.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.5k
    History.

    You don't have to agree with Anscombe, and nor do I. Her argument though is that moral oughts only make sense in that context. Rather like money only makes sense in the context of property. I'm going to stop here though for a bit, and let someone else or no one else take over.
    unenlightened

    What I think is that this is a misrepresentation of the history of moral philosophy. Many people, in the past, have wanted to justify their sense of what they think other people, or themselves, "ought" to do. And to enact this justification, might require for them, reference to a divine mind, as you seem to imply. But that is not moral philosophy, its. more like a sort of apologetics, defending the "oughts" with references to "God". It's a defense, or attempted justification, of what they've already decided. But apologetics is not philosophy, and this is just a vicious circle of justification, as others will justify "God" with reference to "oughts".

    Moral philosophy, being philosophy, is aimed at finding the truth concerning moral issues. Philosophy is not an activity of rationalizing, or justifying existing bias or prejudice. As philosophers, to find the truth we must accept the evidence. And what is evident in the world is that people often know what they ought to do, yet they do otherwise. So there is more to morality then simply knowing what one ought to do. This is the dilemma which has perplexed moral philosophers for millennia, since moral philosophy's inception. This was Socrates' and Plato's dissatisfaction with the sophists who claimed to teach virtue. Teaching an individual the virtues could not ensure virtuous behaviour by that person. So creating morality within a person is a completely different thing from teaching a person how they ought to act. Therefore virtue is not a form of knowledge. And this dilemma is more properly the subject of moral philosophy, rather than the attempt at justifying any sort of "ought".

    Because of this fact, that people do not do what they know they ought to do, moral philosophy cannot be based in any sort of conception of "ought". That is why moral philosophers, throughout the history of moral philosophy, have instead, turned towards this sort of question of what moves the will. The reason why the intellect cannot guide the will is understood as the force of the appetitive part of the human being, which often manifests as the force of habit. But this force itself may be overcome by will power. So if the will is separate from the intellect and not necessarily moved by the intellect, and also not necessarily moved by the appetite, it must be free.

    Therefore, history, and analysis of this dilemma, has produced as a starting point for moral philosophy, the freedom of the will. The activity of the will is not moved necessarily by intelligible principles ("oughts" and other principles of action), nor is it necessarily moved by the irascible and concupiscible appetites. So this one-sided portrayal of moral philosophy which you have presented, moral philosophy being an attempt to justify a 'system of oughts' as the means of compelling good behaviour, without reference to the accepted principles of moral philosophy, which recognize that good behaviour cannot be compelled by any 'system of oughts' , but must be freely chosen, is a complete misrepresentation.
  • Isaac
    2.9k
    Psychologically, the position is psychopathic, and psychopaths are more and more being voted into power.unenlightened

    I think it's far more complicated than that, and I think there's a good argument for the "I just won't countenance that" position being to blame as much, if not more, than the consequentialists.

    The 'psychopaths' we have in power right now were voted in on relatively popular support (or at least not widespread rejection). Not wanting to sound too elitist, but how many Trump supporters do you seriously think are moral relativists? I'd place my bet on 'none whstsoever'. They're social conservatives.

    The problem, I think, is very much attached to the motive behind Anscombe's refusal to countenance. We all agree that, say, murder, is wrong - so instead of treating that with any degree of honest investigation, we treat it as a fact which doesn't require justification. Fine, thus far - until the charismatic figure comes along and says "you know that thing which we all know is wrong and doesn't require any justification? Well, homosexuality is one of those things. It's just wrong, and we all know it. Don't ask me to justify why it's wrong, we've all just agreed some things are wrong and don't require justification. Don't argue against me, I refuse to countenance such arguments ". Sound at all familiar?

    It's a common trend to deal with grounded facts that are simply undoubtable and I'm on board with the principle, but if left without any analysis at all, all sorts of premises we definitely should be doubting get smuggled in with the bedrock.
  • unenlightened
    5.1k
    how many Trump supporters do you seriously think are moral relativists?Isaac

    You cannot be serious! Do you think Trump has any regard for divine law at all? Adultery, false witness, covetousness, are not merely committed but boasted of by him, just for starters. Any religious connection is a degenerate religion of convenience. I am not a great fan of all this divine law stuff myself, but you cannot blame Trumpism on religion. Absolutely the reverse.
  • Isaac
    2.9k


    How do you explain the strong link between support for Trump and the religious right then? Or the link more generally between religion and social conservatism. If Trump stands for entrepreneurs (by which we mean trample on anyone in the way), race-preferences and nationalistic jingoism, who is more associated with those things in America, the religious right or the secular left?
  • Isaac
    2.9k
    Any religious connection is a degenerate religion of convenience.unenlightened

    That's exactly the point I'm making. The moment you say "don't question this one, it's just a basic moral fact" you can slip in just about anything else you like under the same guise. If you've got enough charisma people will swallow it because they've been primed not to question what's right and what's wrong.
  • unenlightened
    5.1k
    How do you explain the strong link between support for Trump and the religious right then?Isaac

    We'd have to take that to the Trump thread and I don't have the stomach for it. I do have a long-winded explanation, but it's way off topic.

    The moment you say "don't question this one,Isaac

    No one is saying that. Anscombe is saying that if you have a theory that says it is good in certain circumstances to pervert the course of justice, then you have a perverted ethic. You cannot usefully argue with someone who claims that black is white.
  • Isaac
    2.9k
    I do have a long-winded explanation, but it's way off topic.unenlightened

    Fair enough.

    if you have a theory that says it is good in certain circumstances to pervert the course of justice, then you have a perverted ethic. You cannot usefully argue with someone who claims that black is white.unenlightened

    That sounds the same as "don't question this one" to me. What's the difference? You seem to be saying nothing more than "don't question that 'the course of justice' is morally right". How does that immunise society from "don't question that homosexuality is morally wrong". If we're not questioning either, then how do we know to ignore one and attack the other?

    If you want to appeal to common humanity to tell the difference, I'm 100% behind you. But... If you want to appeal to common humanity without any rational investigation to back you up, then you've just left yourself open to exactly the same problem. A charismatic figure comes along and appeals to 'common humanity' mostly agreeing that races shouldn't mix (this has actually been done, not even making this up). What are you going to appeal to now?

    I can cite a dozen or more studies on racial segregation which provide a good body of justification for the fact that it's not beneficial to the society it's in. But if you don't want to even question the idea that it might be, then what are you going to fling against the leader who says it is?
  • unenlightened
    5.1k
    If you want to appeal to common humanity to tell the differenceIsaac

    I don't. A system of justice is an institution that decides guilt and innocence. So if we had convinced ourselves that homosexuality was wrong then the system would declare the guilt of a homosexual. And if we changed our convictions, then it would change and declare the innocence of a homosexual.
    But if we convince ourselves that the innocent can be found guilty, then whatever our opinion of homosexuality, we can find people guilty or innocent regardless. I'm shocked to find that this needs so much labour to explain - the difference seems vast and obvious. If it is good to find the innocent guilty, then it is good to find heterosexuals guilty of homosexuality. Things fall apart.
  • Isaac
    2.9k
    we convince ourselves that the innocent can be found guilty, then whatever our opinion of homosexuality, we can find people guilty or innocent regardless. I'm shocked to find that this needs so much labour to explain - the difference seems vast and obvious.unenlightened

    Innocent and guilty are nothing more than labels for what those in power intend to do. If I was part of a community for whom being 'guilty' of something meant nothing more than a point on my driving license then I'd care very little whether I was innocent or guilty (see how much it's going to matter to Stone).

    Homosexuals should not be put in prison just because of their sexuality. Whether they're put in prison because they're guilty of breaking some law, or because they're innocent (yet imprisoned because false imprisonment of homosexuals is legal), makes not one jot of difference.

    So no. The whole thing thing does not fall apart if we start imprisoning the innocent. If the innocent (in this hypothetical society) happen to be bad people for whatever reason, then it is good that they are imprisoned. The rational structure does not have precedent over the reality it creates. That really would be perverse.
  • unenlightened
    5.1k
    If the innocent (in this hypothetical society) happen to be bad people for whatever reason, then it is good that they are imprisoned.Isaac

    If you do not see the madness of your post, then I cannot help you. Seriously, you amply demonstrate why Anscombe will not argue. My work here is done.
  • Isaac
    2.9k


    Whatever. People slinking off in a huff is about as close as I ever get to a polite "I see your point", round here so, I'll take your umbridge.
  • Qwex
    366


    Not trying to drop the bomb or anything but...

    A lot of people are probably going to hell for acts like that.

    It gets in the way of good.

    If it makes you feel any better these types end up peg legged or uncomfortable.

    Calm yourself.

    Think about it, they rely on a darkness born of a social trend.

    It's the smallest, meaningless dark that proves nothing about the users intellect. It's far too perverse.

    I'd put them in hell, and they will end up in hell.

    I could, morally, without a expression, move close to one of them and take the leg. They are that meaningless and insignificant.
  • unenlightened
    5.1k
    I'll take your umbridge.Isaac

    I have no umbrage to offer, I simply do not know how to talk to people about innocent bad people.
  • Isaac
    2.9k
    I simply do not know how to talk to people about innocent bad people.unenlightened

    Really? Innocent just means 'has committed no crime', right? So if there's a state where certain bad acts are nonetheless not illegal, you have an innocent bad person.

    If you're taking innocent to mean 'committed no wrong', then your example of the guilty homosexual makes no sense, they have done nothing wrong, the law is wrong, not them.

    So what am I missing in a definition of 'innocent' which makes an innocent bad person an incoherent object, yet a homosexual can be rightly labelled 'guilty' depending on the law of the land?
  • unenlightened
    5.1k
    the guilty homosexual makes no sense, they have done nothing wrong, the law is wrong, not them.Isaac

    Hold on to that thought: - The law can be wrong. And an example of a law that was wrong was the law against homosexuality. So if the law is wrong and someone has been convicted under that law then there has been a miscarriage of justice, and an innocent has been convicted.

    But if we convince ourselves that the innocent can be found guilty, then whatever our opinion of homosexuality, we can find people guilty or innocent regardless.unenlightened

    That is to say, for example, that we we might find a heterosexual guilty of homosexuality, because he is a 'bad person' in some other way or because in some other way it is good. And this would also be a miscarriage of justice.

    Notice that 'justice' here is the moral term, not the legal term.

    Now what Anscombe and I are saying is that though miscarriages of justice happen, of both the kinds indicated, wrong law and wrongful conviction, if there is a philosophy that says that wrong law or wrongful conviction are good things in principle if they make things better for other people, then there is nothing more to be said.

    See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ones_Who_Walk_Away_from_Omelas
  • Isaac
    2.9k
    if there is a philosophy that says that wrong law or wrongful conviction are good things in principle if they make things better for other people, then there is nothing more to be said.unenlightened

    Right, but we seem to be back to the beginning again. Say I'm in a society fundamentally opposed to homosexuality, so much so that it is illegal. You're using innocent here in the sense of someone who has done no wrong, not someone who has broken no law, right? So I campaign to have this 'wrong law' overturned so that 'innocent' people are not convicted (innocent according to your definition). I campaign to get a law which protects their rights. I do so by showing that tolerance of sexuality is better for society.

    Then this hypothetical society's version of Anscombe comes along and says "this man is not innocent, he is guilty, homosexuality is wrong, everyone knows that (and indeed in this hypothetical society everyone does 'know' that). A law protecting their rights would be a wrong law - we all know that if there is a philosophy that says that wrong law or wrongful conviction are good things in principle if they make things better for other people, then there is nothing more to be said."

    End of campaign.

    Only the society I just described isn't quite so hypothetical, is it?
  • unenlightened
    5.1k
    Then this hypothetical society's version of Anscombe comes alongIsaac

    No. She does not say that. She says that if the law is wrong then the man is innocent and it is wrong to say that he is not innocent. And you are wrong to be accusing Anscombe of saying the exact opposite of what she is in fact saying. It is exactly the idea that moral justice cannot be compromised in this way that is the point she is making. IF you are willing in principle to compromise justice and say that it is good, THEN she will have nothing to do with you. Clearly, not everyone knows that; clearly she is of the opinion that consequentialism at least opens the door to such positions. To put it as simply as possible... Injustice cannot be justified, ever. Disagree all you like, but not on the grounds that she is justifying injustice.
  • unenlightened
    5.1k
    Consider the case of the law about which side of the road to drive on. In this case the 'correct' side is arbitrary but definite and varies from place to place. If you drive, then it is your business to know which side is the correct side and drive on that side an if you are an American diplomat's wife and kill someone by driving on the wrong side of the road in the country you are in, you are in the wrong. The law in this case is arbitrary but reasonable and necessary, and we know what is just. Unlike sexuality, where one cannot choose which side find attractive and no one is harmed if it is not the side they want it to be. We can argue these things out and get them wrong and correct ourselves.

    But we cannot have that debate about justice v injustice itself, only about whether this law or that behaviour is just or unjust.

    To take an extreme, if you are suspected of having corona virus, then the government in the UK has taken emergency powers to confine you for a period in quarantine, and this is an infringement of your freedom in the interest of public health justifiable or not, we can argue. If it is justified, it is not an injustice, and if it is unjust, it cannot be justified.
  • Banno
    9.3k
    Nice to see @unenlightened having so much fun.
  • Isaac
    2.9k
    She says that if the law is wrong then the man is innocent and it is wrong to say that he is not innocent.unenlightened

    How do we establish if the law is indeed wrong? That's the point. All Along you're using these terms 'just', 'injust', 'innocent'... As if they had clear universal meanings. The briefest glance at history will show they most assuredly do not.

    So when you say...

    Injustice cannot be justified, ever. Disagree all you like, but not on the grounds that she is justifying injustice.unenlightened

    ...what's really being said is "(what I consider) injustice cannot be justified (by you)." Your version of what is unjust can very much be justified by my view of what is just. By saying that this cannot even be discussed, you're saying that some people's versions of what is just cannot be challenged by another's.

    If you try to keep the terms within a person's singular viewpoint, the position breaks down. The association she makes between 'just' and 'wrong' means that no person could even think, on pain of incoherence, of doing something which is both 'unjust' and yet 'right' because she makes the terms synonymous.

    Unlike sexuality, where one cannot choose which side find attractive and no one is harmed if it is not the side they want it to be.unenlightened

    A matter which has only come to light as a result of people considering that it merits investigation. At one time forced heterosexuality was like driving on the right side of the road "reasonable and necessary, and we know what is just." That's literally what people thought about it. The only reason anything got changed is because people questioned what was (at the time) considered so obvious and reasonable that it was beyond doubt, that even entertaining the alternative was the sign of a corrupt mind.

    we cannot have that debate about justice v injustice itself, only about whether this law or that behaviour is just or unjust.unenlightened

    I understand that, but it's not the terms themselves which are relevant. You might as well say we can debate whether it is right to do 'right' and wrong to do 'wrong'. No one (not even the dreaded consequentialists) are suggesting that an unjust act might be 'right' and by that meaning 'justice' in the sense Anscombe is later using it. To do so would be incoherent and there are (to my knowledge) no examples of this in the canon of moral philosophy. If this is what Anscombe is concerned about, her fears are unfounded.

    No, the consequentialist is saying that a situation may arise where some act against common justice (unfair punishment) may need to be done for the greater good. Well. That time is now. If we want our children's children to have a fighting chance, we must unjustly be deprived of our goods and services. No justice system in any country would make it law that a person must give up their legal property to save an as yet unborn generation. It is fundamentally unjust. Yet it is exactly what we ought to do.
  • unenlightened
    5.1k
    How do we establish if the law is indeed wrong? That's the point.Isaac

    We argue it out. But I am only going to argue it out with people who will accept that if the law is wrong then it needs changing, because if we don't agree that far, then the argument is fruitless. And I absolutely am not going round that roundabout again with you or anyone else.
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