• tim wood
    3k
    Where would that fact obtain?Terrapin Station
    You were asked a question with a yes/no answer. That question you did not answer. And even now you do not address.

    Really? How about, "Bad is bad." Or, "Good is good."
    — tim wood
    Yes, in those cases, too, if those terms are used as assessments.
    Terrapin Station
    Whatever it is about X that is bad, to predicate that badness about X - that is in this case understood to be bad - in the predication loses its badness?
  • Terrapin Station
    12.4k
    You were asked a question with a yes/no answer. That question you did not answer. And even now you do not address.tim wood

    That's some location.

    Ignoring that you completely ignored the question I asked, even though you supposedly have an issue with that, you're not saying that you couldn't understand "Sure, I feel that it is wrong" as me uttering a "Yes" opinion, are you?

    Whatever it is about X that is bad, to predicate that badness about Xtim wood

    Badness isn't a property that things have. It's a value or preference judgment about things.
  • ChrisH
    146
    One last try: murder is wrong, yes or no?tim wood

    Asking this of someone who has already stated that they believe moral right/wrong is a matter of subjective opinion and demanding a yes/no answer is like asking "Have you stopped beating your wife, yes or no?".
  • tim wood
    3k
    Actually, it isn't. Yours is the fallacy of many questions in one. My question to Terrapin is an attempt to find a starting point in a discussion, which you may have noticed he flees from. There is a deep illogic and chaos in denying objective morality, and a deep confusion about what "objective" means. T Clark above - I've already quoted it twice; you can find it above - remarked about things held "universally." Big clue there.

    And, people believe in all kinds of things - which in itself does not make them so. And, this isn't an I-believe site. It calls itself The Philosophy Forum. If that mean anything, it means subjecting your beliefs to question. Not simply asserting them absent support or argument and running away from discussion - the troll's way.

    By refusing to say murder is wrong, Terrapin is in effect saying that it is not the case that murder is wrong. Because murder,in itself, does not allow of degrees, if it is not wrong, and cannot be partly wrong and not wrong, then it must be right. He consents, presumably, always to the right; therefore he consents to be murdered.

    As to punishment for the crime of murder. That too must be a matter of feeling. We "feel" like putting the murderer away. But probably the murderer feels differently about it - at least he might. On what right then, do we imprison the murderer - there being no right? Or is it all who has the biggest and most guns and the will to use them?

    Terrapin's argument is that these determinations in question are "value or preference judgments." By that he means, I think, that the matter judged, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder, not the thing itself. Granted and so what? The thing is so in judgment! The logic - the axioms and rules - of arithmetic allow you to conclude that two plus two are four. The judgments of people including yourself also allow you to conclude, and in lots of ways. But not that you cannot reach any conclusions!
  • Echarmion
    632
    Ah, okay. And what would you say is an example of this?Terrapin Station

    Let's say your moral stances is "lying is always wrong". Let's suppose, for the sake of argument, that this is merely an expression of what you feel.

    Now you visit this forum and see a thread about the morality of lying. Being that you feel your moral stance strongly, you want to participate. But you cannot write "that's how I feel" because you know that's not how you justify a position in philosophy. So you have to figure out an argument for your position.

    If other people make counterarguments, you will then have to either evaluate your position and address the arguments, or ignore them. If you do the former, your position is now no longer one of emotion, since you're applying reasoning to support it and implicitly accept that reasoning is how you support such positions. If you do the latter you end up with a cognitive dissonance where you at the one hand have claimed that your position is reasonable, but on the other failed to support it. This also means your position is now no longer one of merely emotion.

    You could of course refrain from any argument altogether, insisting that you merely have a feeling. That is not, however, how people normally operate with respect to moral stances. If it were, there'd be no need to even have a term for "moral stance".
  • Terrapin Station
    12.4k


    But whether people believe/accept it or not, foundational moral stances ARE simply ways that they feel. There's no way to justify them on facts, since you can't derive an ought from an is. Again, this is the case whether people believe or act like it is or not.
  • tim wood
    3k
    There's no way to justify them on facts, since you can't derive an ought from an is.Terrapin Station

    Already exhibited to you, I think more than once. See Mortimer Adler, for example. It's annoying that you snipe, and never acknowledge, and when confronted, flee. When you want to have a substantive discussion, engage. Until you do, you're acting the part of a troll, which in this place, is the same as being one.

    Don't want to deal with me? Take on Echarmion. Imo has made an excellent argument. But how shall you deal with it? So far, you haven't.
  • Terrapin Station
    12.4k
    Already exhibited to you, I think more than once. See Mortimer Adler, for example.tim wood

    I've explained to you in detail why Adler doesn't work. We can do the dance again if you like. Re fleeing, I respond if you respond to me. You simply ignore the responses or only reply in a trolling way.

    I responded to Echarmion. He can respond if he wants.
  • tim wood
    3k
    Per Adler. You get from an ought to an is in a hypothetical syllogism: roughly, if doing X gets you Y, then if you want Y then you ought to do X.

    As I recall, you wanted to consider "ought to do X," disregarding the "if you want Y. Was that it? Please address the argument itself.

    And you replied to Echarmion. In no sense at all did you respond to him. You ought to know the difference.

    You simply ignore the responses or only reply in a trolling way.Terrapin Station
    Let's not go there. I have a question for you. Is murder wrong? Please read and understand the question. And you might glance at my response to ChrisH just above.
  • ChrisH
    146
    My question to Terrapin is an attempt to find a starting point in a discussion, which you may have noticed he flees from.tim wood

    No, he answered you in the only way he could given his beliefs about moral attitudes.

    Because murder,in itself, does not allow of degrees, , and cannot be partly wrong and not wrong, then it must be right.tim wood
    You don't seem to have grasped the fact that you're arguing with someone who believes that things are only morally right/wrong from an individual subjective perspective.

    It's quite pointless insisting "if it is not wrong......it must be right." if the person you're talking to simply does not accept your starting premises.
  • Magnus Anderson
    335
    By refusing to say murder is wrong, Terrapin is in effect saying that it is not the case that murder is wrong.tim wood

    If what you asked him is "Do you agree that murder is wrong?" then he did answer your question, his answer being "Yes, murder is wrong".

    Even if he did not answer your question that wouldn't mean (as you seem to be claiming) that he does not think that murder is wrong.

    No answer != negative answer.

    Terapin is right in the sense that some of the moral statements are nothing more than expressions of one's personal preferences. In some cases, saying "Murder is wrong" means no more than "I don't want people to be murdered". But in many cases -- in fact, in most of the cases -- moral statements aren't mere expressions of one's wants, desires, goals, etc. Rather, they are expressions of what someone thinks is the best thing to do in order to maximize chances of attaining certain goal. In most cases, what "Murder is wrong" means is "If you want human species to survive for as long as possible, don't kill other people". Such statements DO have a truth value.

    It's really as simple as that.
  • Terrapin Station
    12.4k
    As I recall, you wanted to consider "ought to do X," disregarding the "if you want Y. Was that it?tim wood

    No, that's not it.

    What I pointed out is that "if you want Y" does NOT imply that you ought to do Y, or that you ought to do X, which achieves Y.

    "You ought to (do what's necessary to) achieve what you want" is not a fact. That would have to be a fact in order for either "If you want x, then you should do x" OR "if you want x, and y is necessary for x, then you should do y" to be implied by wanting x.

    Let's not go there. I have a question for you. Is murder wrong?tim wood

    I answered this already. YES, in my opinion it's wrong.
  • Echarmion
    632
    But whether people believe/accept it or not, foundational moral stances ARE simply ways that they feel. There's no way to justify them on facts, since you can't derive an ought from an is. Again, this is the case whether people believe or act like it is or not.Terrapin Station

    I don't think the "simply" belongs here. Moral stances may originate as feelings. But they have another dimension when other subjects enter the picture, and start to communicate. That's why i think it's accurate to say that there is an interpersonal layer where things like "moral truths" reside. This does not make them facts, or justifiable from facts.

    If we're going with the subjective / objective dichotomy, then morals are subjective. There is no way they could be objective, since what object would they refer to? But in the subjective there are different forms of thought. There are things that are not reason-able, like emotions or preferences ("blue is my favorite color"). But there are also things that are reason-able, like "murder is wrong", because these kinds of brain-states, whatever we want to call them, contain in them a connection to other subjects. Not some kind of mystical ether, but just the way we thing these kind of thoughts contains our relation to others.
  • Terrapin Station
    12.4k
    I don't think the "simply" belongs here. Moral stances may originate as feelings. But they have another dimension when other subjects enter the picture, and start to communicate. That's why i think it's accurate to say that there is an interpersonal layer where things like "moral truths" reside. This does not make them facts, or justifiable from facts.Echarmion

    Truth is a subjective judgment about the relation of a proposition to something else. So "truth" isn't the right word here certainly.

    But there are also things that are reason-able, like "murder is wrong", because these kinds of brain-states, whatever we want to call them, contain in them a connection to other subjects.Echarmion

    Are you defining "reason" as "a connection to other subjects"?
  • tim wood
    3k
    No, he answered you in the only way he could given his beliefs about moral attitudes.ChrisH

    Yes. Point to you. I get sometimes hung up on this being and attempting to be a philosophy site. Which I take to be a place to learn. Not everyone participates with either that understanding or that agenda. Still though, he represents his views as authoritative and makes categorical statements. Red flag to me - my bad!
  • Echarmion
    632
    Truth is a subjective judgment about the relation of a proposition to something else. So "truth" isn't the right word here certainly.Terrapin Station

    That's fair enough. It's perhaps closer to validity. Or we could just call it justification.

    Are you defining "reason" as "a connection to other subjects"?Terrapin Station

    No, not exactly. But I think it's a defining characteristic of reason that it is shared among humans. So it being accessible to other people is an aspect.
  • tim wood
    3k
    I answered this already. YES, in my opinion it's wrong.Terrapin Station
    Given where we've been, your answer is deeply disingenuous. You're not asked for your opinion. To my ear, you've been asked the equivalent of, '"is two and two four?" And you've answered, "yes, in my opinion."

    If all it is is your opinion, and you go to the store, make a purchase, and realize you're not getting the change you expect, because the merchant has his own opinion about arithmetic - not favorable to you, what are you going to do about it? You've surrendered reason to opinion. Reasoned argument, then, ruled out. Are you going to shoot him?

    So is murder being wrong just your opinion? It must be, because you have certainly insisted that it is. But that means that murder in itself is not wrong. What are you going to do with or about the murderer? You've denied reasoned argument. Are you just going to shoot him? And you had better, because under these rules there is nothing to prevent him from - you get the picture.

    So how do you respond to this? Still just opinion?
  • Magnus Anderson
    335
    Given where we've been, your answer is deeply disingenuous. You're not asked for your opinion. To my ear, you've been asked the equivalent of, '"is two and two four?" And you've answered, "yes, in my opinion."tim wood

    You did ask for his opinion. And his opinion is that murder is wrong. Maybe you wanted to ask him a different question, a question such as "Is murder objectively wrong?" But you did not. At least not clearly. And asking him such a question would lead you nowhere. What would you do when he responds with "No, murder is not objectively wrong"?
  • tim wood
    3k
    What I pointed out is that "if you want Y" does NOT imply that you ought to do Y, or that you ought to do X, which achieves Y.

    "You ought to (do what's necessary to) achieve what you want" is not a fact. That would have to be a fact in order for either "If you want x, then you should do x" OR "if you want x, and y is necessary for x, then you should do y" to be implied by wanting x.
    Terrapin Station

    "That would have to be a fact... to be implied by wanting x. Please cite your authority for this. I'm certain it's just plain wrong - beyond being merely mistaken - but I can learn. Please cite.
  • tim wood
    3k
    And asking him such a question would lead nowhere. What would you do when he gives you an answer such as "No, murder is not objectively wrong"?Magnus Anderson

    The original purpose of the question was to establish a clear starting point. Had be answered as you suggest he might have, that might well have been it.

    As to the question itself, "Is X wrong," I do not see therein any reference to opinion. And you may not have understood his answer. Were there doubt about an answer, then he might well have an opinion. But that is not Terrapin's answer. His answer is that it just is, a matter of opinion. I have suggested just a little above how that leads to problems.

    In sum: opinion in the absence of knowledge is one thing. Opinion as knowledge quite another.
  • Terrapin Station
    12.4k
    Yes. Point to you. I get sometimes hung up on this being and attempting to be a philosophy site. Which I take to be a place to learn. Not everyone participates with either that understanding or that agenda.tim wood

    You don't seem as if you're trying to learn anything. You seem as if you want to be a teacher and you're basically offended if you're not accepted as such.
  • tim wood
    3k
    You don't seem as if you're trying to learn anything. You seem as if you want to be a teacher and you're basically offended if you're not accepted as such.Terrapin Station

    How the F is this responsive to anything? And going back across many threads, I identify this as an evasive tactic of yours. Anything to avoid engagement. Is this the best you can do; is this all you can do?
  • Terrapin Station
    12.4k
    But I think it's a defining characteristic of reason that it is shared among humans.Echarmion

    Shared in what sense? The show and tell sense? Do you mean literally having the same reason somehow?
  • Terrapin Station
    12.4k
    How the F is this responsive to anything?tim wood

    Are you trying to learn there? Or is this you wanting to be a teacher and being offended that you're not accepted as such?
  • Terrapin Station
    12.4k
    You're not asked for your opinion.tim wood

    Whose opinion am I supposed to be giving?
  • Magnus Anderson
    335
    As to the question itself, "Is X wrong," I do not see therein any reference to opinion.tim wood

    Whenever you ask someone a question such as "Is X Y?" you are asking for their opinion. If I were to ask you a question such as "Is Socrates a man?" I would be asking for your opinion (which could be right or wrong.)

    Terrapin's opinion happens to have no truth value because it is a mere expression of his personal preferences. When he tells you that murder is wrong all he's saying is that he doesn't like people to kill each other. The only way you can disagree with him is by claiming that he's lying about his preferences .e.g. by saying "No, dear Terrapin, you are lying, you don't mind it when people kill each other!"

    The real problem with emotivism is that it's making a claim that EVERY moral statement is merely an expression of one's personal preferences. That's simply not true.

    Terrapin's moral statements might be nothing more than mere expressions of what he likes and dislikes but my moral statements are not.
  • Magnus Anderson
    335
    Here's a moral statement:

    "The surest way to end up in heaven is by not lying to other people."

    When we try to simplify it, we get something like:

    "Don't lie!"
    (Because you'll end up in hell if you do and you don't want to go to hell, don't you?)

    It's a false statement but that's irrelevant. What's relevant is that it has a truth value. In reality, it is either the case that when you lie you go to hell and when you tell the truth you go to heaven -- or it is not.

    The fact that people want to go to heaven is irrelevant.

    Most moral statements are like that. I am not saying that every moral statement is like that, even less so that every statement -- moral or not -- is of that sort. I am simply saying that most moral statements are in fact statements about the way the world outside of the thinking subject works.
  • Terrapin Station
    12.4k
    Terrapin's moral statements might be nothing more than mere expressions of what he likes and dislikes but my moral statements are not.Magnus Anderson

    Although of course I simply think you have a mistaken belief that your moral statements are not expressions of personal dispositions, preferences, etc.

    "The surest way to end up in heaven is by not lying to other people."Magnus Anderson

    I wouldn't actually say that that is a moral statement because it doesn't express whether it's right or wrong to lie or end up in heaven, or whether one should or should not lie or end up in heaven.
  • Magnus Anderson
    335
    I wouldn't actually say that that is a moral statement because it doesn't express whether it's right or wrong to lie or end up in heaven, or whether one should or should not lie or end up in heaven.Terrapin Station

    That's true. The statement is not a moral one. A moral statement would be something like "Lying is wrong". The above statement tells you how the universe works (in the form of "The surest way to make Y happen is to do X") but it does not tell you whether lying is right or wrong. So I stand corrected.

    However, I would still argue that most of our moral judgments are not based solely on our personal preferences (what we like and what we dislike) but also on how the universe works.

    In most cases, we decide whether a given act, such as lying, is right or wrong by:

    1) choosing a goal: do we want to go to heaven or hell?
    2) understanding how the universe works so that we can do what is necessary to do in order to attain our goal (what happens when you lie? what happens when you tell the truth? what happens when you keep quiet?)

    If lying is precisely that which is necessary to do in order to attain our goal, then we say that lying is right. If it is precisely that which we must not do in order to attain our goal, then we say that lying is wrong.

    My beef with emotivism is that it claims that moral judgments are based solely on one's personal preferences.

    That's not true.
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