• Banno
    8.3k
    if there's any actual truth it must be objective,Pfhorrest



    That is just to accept the contention that there is a worthwhile distinction to be made between objective and subjective truths, and then to say that all real (Scotts?) truths are objective.

    I don't think that's a worthy compromise. It's rather that the subject/object distinction is ill-applied to truth.
  • Banno
    8.3k
    ...and all of this is an extension of the notion that truth is pretty much redundant - unanalysable.
  • Enai De A Lukal
    94
    Oh I'm not accepting it so much as I'm saying that its a battle not even worth fighting here. But I absolutely do think its a misguided and ultimately more or less worthless distinction (in really any context that I've ever encountered or can imagine). I'm definitely also sympathetic to the deflationary view of truth just in general.
  • Banno
    8.3k
    Sure. Understood.
  • Gregory
    1.1k


    I don't understand what objective morality means. It seems to me it's all contingent on what the conscience tells each person. We are social animals, so morality is a tricky question. But we are a type of animal, and questions like abortion, which some call murder, is difficult. If someone means by saying "this moral opinion is objective" that "we all feel this way", we have to ask if homo erectus felt that way, and if morals evolve. I'm sticking to my argument though that one's soul or karmic state is objective
  • Banno
    8.3k
    I don't understand what objective morality means.Gregory

    Good, because that's my contention - it is senseless.

    Here's an analysis that is not the subject/object distinction, but which runs in a similar vein.

    That I like vanilla is a fact about me. I don't expect that you also like vanilla. It's not a moral preference.

    My "preference" for not kicking puppies is different to my preference for vanilla precisely in that I do expect you not to kick puppies. Hence what characterises moral statements is that they are taken to apply generally.

    This general applicability might be taken to look like objectivity. It is however quite different.
  • Pfhorrest
    2.5k
    I don't understand what objective morality means.Gregory

    It means there is some standard, that is not itself simply one person or group's opinion, against which anyone's opinions on what is good or bad can be judged as more or less correct than others.

    Just like objective reality means that there is some standard, that is not itself simply one person or group's opinion, against which anyone's opinions on what is true or false can be judged as more or less correct than others.

    This general applicability might be taken to look like objectivity. It is however quite different.Banno

    What would "objectivity" be in this case that would be different from that? I mean, what you're describing is what I'd call a claim of objective morality, which claim may or may not be entirely correct. Is that last clause all you mean to distinguish it from being actually objectively moral?
  • Judaka
    602

    I understand your points and in a different world where people did not use truth in other contexts such as "things true to me" in any shape then I could wholeheartedly agree. We do not live in that world, there are many circumstances where one can talk about "their truth" as "their perspective" and "their reality". If you want to dislike all of these instances, I don't have an opinion on that but I won't be assuming that people who use the word "truth" in any context are trying to make a claim of objective moral truth.

    It's not just "my truth" either, I think I could find many examples where upon further investigation, the word truth is used but is not meant to be taken as a declaration of fact.

    I consider this to be a linguistic dispute about the redundancy of "objective" in the usage of the term "objective truth". You say it's a redundancy but I say it clarifies what exactly is being said and helps me to understand. We may just have to agree to disagree on this.
  • Banno
    8.3k
    what you're describing is what I'd call a claim of objective morality,Pfhorrest

    Indeed, yet it makes no mention of objectivity. It is just an analysis of the logic, the grammar, of certain sorts of statements. Again, the aim is to remove the baggage of objectivity.
  • Gregory
    1.1k
    Saying it is eternally wrong to lie is to make something temporal eternal. It smacks of Platonism
  • Enai De A Lukal
    94


    Sure but we don't have to oblige such abuses of language by adopting them ourselves, especially not when we're having philosophical discussions where clear and precise language is advisable and productive. That something is "true for me" is a misleading way of saying that you hope/want something to be true, that you are going to believe or behave as if it were true (i.e. regardless of whether it actually is)- or, I suppose, a peculiar way of characterizing a matter of taste or personal preference (i.e. that Coca-Cola is the best cola is "true for me"). But "relative" or "subjective" truth is not a thing, and so "objective" is not distinguishing anything here and so not doing any work (+ potentially opening up a separate can of worms in the bargain- like I said its not only redundant, but an unnecessary source of potential controversy or confusion).
  • Judaka
    602

    "My truth" is just a recognition that the way I perceive things which is true for me internally is not necessarily true externally. I see beauty, I see evil, I think "delicious" and so on. Is it true that chocolate is delicious? Well, for me it is. This includes but is not limited to opinion, I see beauty and think delicious can be explained as having evolutionary utility. I don't even have a choice in the matter.

    If I said "you deserve a reward!" and you said "that's true" there is simply no way that I would think that you are talking objectively. It wouldn't happen and I would be shocked if you said "no, actually, what I mean is, if you think I don't then you're just wrong, it's a FACT that I deserve a reward".

    I can simply not accept that it is a total redundancy when the language being used in literally thousands of contexts does not make it clear whether we're speaking objectively or not. If you say, it's better that it wasn't this way, maybe but it is that way. We can agree to disagree but I am going to continue in my ways and I think it would make things harder for me if I stopped.
  • Banno
    8.3k
    "My truth" is just a recognition that the way I perceive things which is true for me internally is not necessarily true externally.Judaka



    Isn't that just what we call your belief? Again, removing all that internal/external paraphernalia, whilst at the same time returning to common parlance.
  • Enai De A Lukal
    94


    Right, so like I said, "true for me" as a peculiar way of describing matters of taste or personal preference (i.e. whether chocolate is delicious). But then, why talk of truth when we mean opinion or taste? Or why talk of truth when we mean belief or perception (much less hopes or wishes)? And I certainly don't see why the prevalence of a confused usage should be a persuasive argument for adopting it in a philosophical context, if anything philosophy ought to be helping dispel linguistic and conceptual muddles not adopting/perpetuating them.
  • Isaac
    2.5k
    Check against observations?Pfhorrest

    Really, You'd happily label a proposition 'true' based solely on your own observation? That seems uncharacteristically hubristic. I'd at least entertain the possibility that I was wrong and not claim 'truth' until I'd had that observation confirmed, by the consensus of others. Take your approach and UFOs are true.
  • Judaka
    602

    Not really, being human and morality is part of this, puts me in a place of experiencing and seeing things in a particular way, that while subjective, is not within my control and cannot be characterised as belief.

    Honestly, the way you two are describing subjective truth as preference and belief is painting a different picture for me. I may be more inclined to think the same way about truth if I felt that subjectivity is belief and preference.
  • Isaac
    2.5k
    That's making justification consensus-based, not truth.Banno

    Wouldn't then the resulting propositions be labelled 'well-justified'? But they're not, they're labelled 'true'. If we want to know the meaning of a word we must look to its use. 'True' (among other things) is used of proposition where we would expect and epistemic peer to agree with it given the same evidence. Those are the situations in which we use the term. We don't ordinarily go around adding '...is true' to the end of every proposition.

    We use it mostly where there is, or could be, some disagreement '...no, it's true'. What we expect to happen is the person then agrees with us (or is more likely to) that's why we added it the unadorned proposition. We expect that if they don't agree with us, they will find themselves in error later (some action will lead to unexpected results - ie, they will come to agree with us one way or another.

    We sometimes use it as a summary for the simple repetition of a collection of propositions too large or unforeseeable to repeat. "Everything in that book is true", "They always tell the truth", but here it is deflationary - we could simply repeat all the propositions - but even if we did, we might still embellish some with "...it's true", if we wanted extra agreement.

    What I can't think of is a single example of the use of the term that's not measured by agreement. The membership criteria for that which is within the set {propositions which are true} are propositions which we expect an epistemic peer would agree on given the same evidence.

    But we've trod this ground before, I know we don't agree on this and probably never will, that's why I made the comment to @Enai De A Lukal, and not in response to your post. Not that I'm not quite happy to go through it all again with you, I perfectly enjoyed it last time, but we are repeating ourselves, and so if you're the only person interested in refuting this line of argument, people might get bored - and we can't have that.
  • Isaac
    2.5k
    Here's an analysis that is not the subject/object distinction, but which runs in a similar vein.

    That I like vanilla is a fact about me. I don't expect that you also like vanilla. It's not a moral preference.

    My "preference" for not kicking puppies is different to my preference for vanilla precisely in that I do expect you not to kick puppies. Hence what characterises moral statements is that they are taken to apply generally.

    This general applicability might be taken to look like objectivity. It is however quite different.
    Banno

    Perfect. I would add though, that, in some cases, I also think there's something wrong with the other person if they want to kick puppies. It's not just an expectation about behaviour, it's an expectation about character.
  • Banno
    8.3k
    and cannot be characterised as belief.Judaka

    Then there is perhaps space for a chat about characterising belief.

    Anyway, cheers.
  • Banno
    8.3k
    Oh, yeah. Hence virtue ethics. I decided not to go down that path in this thread.
  • Isaac
    2.5k
    I decided not to go down that path in this thread.Banno

    Fair enough, your point was sufficiently made without it. It's of interest to me how some moral pronouncements fall into that category, but others don't. Refraining from sex before marriage, we expect the person to desire it, but suppress that desire for moral reasons. With kicking puppies we expect the person to not even want to kick puppies. I think here the religious takeover of morality (with its ideas of original sin) has caused two perhaps completely separate aspects of psychology to be lumped under one term - but that's an aside here.
  • Banno
    8.3k
    the religious takeover of morality (with its ideas of original sin) has caused two perhaps completely separate aspects of psychology to be lumped under one termIsaac

    Interesting.

    Our Christian Brethren might not be able to see that distinction, and insist that we ought not even want to indulge in premarital fucking. So much the worse for their view.
  • Kenosha Kid
    519
    It's the view eviscerated in the first part of Philosophical Investigations.Banno

    Funnily enough, I didn't actually have Wittgenstein in mind because I wasn't thinking specifically of philosophical problems. I was coming more ftom a structuralist angle, but yes... more succinctly, words do not need objective meaning to be used successfully in language. What we do need is feedback from others that suggests consistency in language use, e.g. someone handing me an apple while saying "Have an apple!" As long as everything is consistent, we proceed as if objective truth were forthcoming. But it isn't.

    It is apparently simple to hijack this system to get people talking about things with no objective reality, with no means of establishing or querying objective truth, and with apparent consistency.
  • Banno
    8.3k
    It is apparently simple to hijack this system to get people talking about things with no objective reality, with no means of establishing or querying objective truth, and with apparent consistency.Kenosha Kid

    Things like mortgages?
  • Kenosha Kid
    519
    Things like mortgages?Banno

    Well yeah, value generally. I had theology in mind.
  • Kenosha Kid
    519
    Objectivity is just the absence of bias, as subjectivity is bias. If the two of you have shared experiences to refer to, then that is all you need for objectivity enough for the two of you. And total objectivity is just the limit of that process: what accounting for more and more sharable experiences converges toward. We can’t ever finish that process, but there being an objective truth just means that that process converges toward something.Pfhorrest

    Yes, with the caveat that, just because there is apparent convergence, it doesn't follow that there is some mind-independent truth at that limit. Convergence can be dependent on starting values.
  • Banno
    8.3k
    Who did that?
  • Adam's Off Ox
    52
    My "preference" for not kicking puppies is different to my preference for vanilla precisely in that I do expect you not to kick puppies. Hence what characterises moral statements is that they are taken to apply generally.Banno

    But you are still referencing your preference. The 'your' in the preceding sentence justifies the use of the word subjective. It is no nonsense to say that others may hold a different preference. So the morality as you come to believe it should apply to everyone else does not make it a truth just because it has a universal scope.

    The experience of the should-not-ness of kicking puppies is local to you. That you and I may share that experience doesn't mean the experience is truer than the person who prefers kicking puppies or even prefers kicking puppies for everyone. We may come to a state of solidarity, but that is not the same as identifying a truth.

    I think we agree that there is value in avoiding the phrases like "objective truth" and "subjective truth." Where we differ is that you want to dispense with the objective/subjective dichotomy where I see value in moving past the illusion of "truth" entirely.

    The way language works still offers plenty of options to express claims that produce useful outcomes.
  • Banno
    8.3k
    I see value in moving past the illusion of "truth" entirely.Adam's Off Ox

    Ah, so none of what you say is true.

    So be it.
  • Enai De A Lukal
    94


    I would genuinely love to watch the spectacle of someone trying to "moving past the illusion of truth entirely" with complete consistency. I'm extremely skeptical that its even possible, but would be quite curious to see what it would look like in practice, even just the attempt.
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