• Count Timothy von Icarus
    2.3k


    Maybe I phrased it poorly. I think your posts explain why we should act a certain way in principle, but there remains the subjectivity involved in which acts actually best reduce harm in practice. The ol' Aristotelian/Marxist "theory versus praxis."

    For example, the doctor who faces a patient with a good deal of pain who must decide if pain medicine reduces harm in the short term, versus if it increases the risk of greater harm in the long term if the person might become addicted to opiates; that sort of thing.

    My point was just that, even if we face these sorts of objections on praxis, it is clear that greater knowledge of the world, ourselves, and each other, helps us with praxis. So, even if we cannot say, "we know for sure that this course of action is the one that best reduces harm," we can say things about concrete goals that must be achieved to help us answer those sorts of questions. In this way, I can see an argument that other goods, namely freedom and the expansion of knowledge, can also be justified through the need to reduce harm as best we are able.



    What is happening in the situation can. E.g. drug dealing is immoral, but the situation of drug dealing is a fact. It cannot be considered immoral. See, morality has to do with acts, activity action. A situation is not itself an activity. It is a context, a frame of reference, concerning activities that happen in it. I don't know if this makes sense to you.

    It makes sense. I don't think it's necessarily inconsistent to say that only acts have moral implications, but neither do I think that this is the only plausible way to look at it. Saying situations can't be more or less moral simply because they are not acts is sort of begging the question, no? The claim of moral realist consequentialists is that some states of affairs simply are more moral than others.

    Isn't drug dealing bad in virtue of the states of affairs it brings about? A pharmacist sells drugs and we don't see that as evil.

    You are talking too about acts, that can be good or bad and that bring about sates of affairs.

    Right, but aren't acts good or bad in virtue of the states of affairs they bring about? If our acts had no effect on how the world was, how could we say they were good or bad? We don't tend to think of immoral acts in video games as immoral for this reason. The question is: how do you define good and bad acts without reference to the states of affairs we think they are likely to produce?

    So, I guess the question is, why is consequentialism wrong? Don't acts gain their good or evil character because of the states of affairs we expect them to produce? The act of pushing a button isn't, in itself, evil. But we might say pushing a button that fires a rocket at a mix of militants and civilians is immoral. Why is the act immoral in this case? It seems to me like it is immoral because we have good reason to expect that it results in a state of affairs where innocent people are harmed.


    And this is how we generally address pragmatism in ethics and trade-offs. Firing the rocket at a crowd that includes civilians may generally be an evil act, but if said militants are close to breaching a nuclear weapons facility and intend to kick off a massive nuclear war by firing off a warhead at India- or is it Bharat? - we might decide the act is moral. Why are looser rules of engagement sometimes warranted and sometimes not? If it isn't states of affairs that determine the morality of acts, how is pragmatism justified?

    It can't be simply the biological acts, which in modern warfare often just involve clicking a mouse and some buttons. The morality seems to come in light of the causal chain those acts kick off and what sort of states of affairs we either promote or prohibit based on our actions. The normally immoral drone strike becomes moral in the face of failing to attack likely resulting in the state of affairs where a nuclear war is begun, etc.
  • Mww
    4.7k
    it does affect you in the sense that your time is ‘sped up’ or ‘slowed down’ relative to another person.Bob Ross

    Again, not if that person and I are in the same inertial frame. As I said before, it is true there would have been a ~12 x 10-8sec (dunno how to type exponents, sorry) discrepancy in elapsed time in my age upon flying to Rome, and yours, if you didn’t. Not that either of us would have noticed…..
    ————

    I know you think we are saying different things, but hear me out…Bob Ross

    Bob: ‘thing-in-itself’ > sensations > intuitions > understanding > representation
    Mww: ‘thing-in-itself’ > sensations* > intuitions > understanding > representation
    *The reverse engineering of what was sensed does not produce knowledge of the thing-in-itself but, rather, the mere ‘thing’.

    If your asterisk holds, mine should read, thing > sensation > intuition > understanding > representation, which would then be right if, in addition, representation is exchanged for knowledge. It’s a methodological sequence, start here, end there. In either case, the production of knowledge doesn’t belong here, re: the proposition, “reverse engineering of what was sensed produces knowledge of the mere thing”, is false.

    Where do you start when you reverse engineer what was sensed? If in the series as you’ve given it, starting at representation and working backwards is inconclusive, in that which of the two kinds of representation, phenomenon or conception, is not determined. If the start is knowledge, on the other hand, working backwards arrives at understanding represented by conception, then intuition represented by phenomenon, then sensation, then the appearance of the thing, and the sequence is upheld.

    Nevertheless, the experiment doesn’t work as stated by the totality of the sequence, insofar as reversing the sequence eliminates the possibility of knowledge of the thing, effectively reversing the system to its inception, to wit, the occasion for its use, which is the mere appearance of some undetermined thing, hence the fallacy of knowledge production.

    Furthermore, metaphysically, if we adhere to the conditional as written, reverse engineering what was sensed, under the implication the reversal begins with the sensation itself irrespective of the remainder of the methodological system, we haven’t accomplished anything at all. The ol’…..you can’t unring that bell. Now reverse engineering isn’t engineering, but reversing time, which gives, say, in the case of the mosquito bite, that time before the mosquito bite. It should be clear we cannot say, after the sensation of being bitten, we were not bitten, but only that there was a time before being bitten.
    (Easy to see where this could go, given sufficient interest)

    So….switching to science, surround yourself with all sorts of test equipment. The experiment is restricted to the reversal of sensation, again, say, of the mosquito bite, which focuses the equipment right down to the pores and little tiny hairs on the skin, at the epidermal level and the nerves at the posterior epidermal level. The sensation empirically manifests as an object having penetrated the skin and affecting the nerve endings, so reverse engineering that, is backing that object out of the skin, removing the affect on nerves, insofar as the non-penetration of the skin is exactly the same physical condition as not even having the particular sensation the experiment is meant to depose.

    Do you see you have to stop right there? And because you have to stop right there in order to conform to the demands of the experiment you prescribed, you STILL don’t know to what the object that penetrated the skin belongs. You wanted to reverse what was sensed….that’s what you stipulated….which does not give you the initial cause of it. Hence, you don’t have knowledge of the thing to which the object of the sensation belongs, repeating the fallacy of knowledge production.

    And you think we’re done here? Oh HELL no, we’re not!!! Expand the test equipment focus to include the immediate surrounding space. Now you got proof of the initial cause, now you perceive the thing to which the reverse-engineered, skin-penetrating, sensation-giving object belongs. Ask yourself whether, right here, right now, it can be said what that thing is.
  • Bob Ross
    1.5k


    Hello Count,

    Moral realism is irrelevant because there are no objective facts about morality. But isn't that the very question at hand?

    I think you may have misunderstood the OP (which is totally fine): it is not that moral realism is insignificant because there are no facts but, rather, that if it were true it would be irrelevant. I am questioning the value of moral realism, and not its truth (or falsity).

    In many conceptions of moral realism, as I will discuss further below, facts about good and evil are facts in the same sense the fact of who won the 1986 World Series is a fact

    This is fine, and it should be. To me, a moral fact is an obligation which exists mind-independently.

    It might be useful to differentiate here between propositions, statements about the world that are true or false, and states of affairs, descriptions of reality that either obtain or fail to obtain.

    A proposition cannot be good or evil.

    The content of a proposition can be evaluated to being good or evil, which I think has your idea of ‘states of affairs’ subsumed under it. Irregardless, I am not entirely following why this distinction needs to be made. If you claim that state of affair A is morally evil, then you are stating a proposition such that state of affair A is morally evil.

    In terms of what you quoted from @Alkis Piskas, if I remember correctly, I differ with them fundamentally on what a proposition is (and thusly what a fact is). They seems to be claiming it is a proposal about the future, moral judgments are about the future, facts are about the past, and thusly (as the argument goes) moral judgments can never be facts. I find many things wrong with this.

    First, the classic "God is the arbiter of what is good and evil." Here, we have a creator of the universe. We can ignore the Euthyphro question about whether God loves what is good because God is good or if what is good is good because it is beloved by the God(s)

    Although, as an example, I totally understand what you are saying (although I don’t think it really pertains to the OP, as noted above); but I don’t think one can, if we were to discuss whether moral realism is compatible with God’s existence (which, again, is not anything related, at least directly, to the OP) then I would say that God and moral realism is incompatible; for either (1) God is the arbiter of moral judgments (and it is subjective) or (2) God’s nature (or something else) conditions God’s will such that it furnishes God with the moral goodness (like a platonic form) (and thusly is objective, but now God doesn’t exist because there is something greater than God, which defies God’s very basic definition of being that which no being is greater).
  • Leontiskos
    2k
    I think you may have misunderstood the OP (which is totally fine): it is not that moral realism is insignificant because there are no facts but, rather, that if it were true it would be irrelevant.Bob Ross

    I think @Count Timothy von Icarus' reply is on point given that the OP fails to make this argument. The OP grants moral facts with its right hand and takes them away with its left. "You can have moral facts but you cannot have fundamental obligations," is the same as saying, "You can have moral facts but you cannot have moral facts." A fundamental obligation is one kind of moral fact, and if there are no fundamental obligations then there are no moral facts.
  • Leontiskos
    2k


    What is your position on the relation between Kant's Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals (1785) and his Metaphysics of Morals (1797)? Some, such as Allen Wood, allow for the possibility that Kant's moral thought developed significantly in the interim, and that the Groundwork was in some ways superseded.
  • Bob Ross
    1.5k


    Hello Mww,

    As I said before, it is true there would have been a ~12 x 10-8sec (dunno how to type exponents, sorry) discrepancy in elapsed time in my age upon flying to Rome, and yours, if you didn’t. Not that either of us would have noticed…..

    But this concedes that it does affect you! I get that relative to your inertial frame nothing affected you, but the whole the point is that it is relative to other inertial frames; and if it affects you, then it must be explained (or accounted for) in Kantianism: I believe you saying, and correct me if I am wrong, that space and time themselves are not behaving differently (depending on where one is) but, rather, the description of space ‘curving’ and ‘time’ dilating are just shorthands of explanations of the behaviors of the content of one’s pure forms of experience (such as speed and gravitational displacement).

    If your asterisk holds, mine should read, thing > sensation > intuition > understanding > representation, which would then be right if, in addition, representation is exchanged for knowledge. It’s a methodological sequence, start here, end there. In either case, the production of knowledge doesn’t belong here, re: the proposition, “reverse engineering of what was sensed produces knowledge of the mere thing”, is false.

    I have a hard time with this, because there is no ‘thing’ and this denotes the thing-in-itself as completely irrelevant to what we are representing: so, in your view, the ‘things’ becomes effectively what the ‘things-in-themselves’ were supposed to be. Now the ‘things-in-themselves’ are just imaginative, unprovably existent, “objects” of the world.

    If in the series as you’ve given it, starting at representation and working backwards is inconclusive, in that which of the two kinds of representation, phenomenon or conception, is not determined.

    Exactly, which I would say that this entails that we do not reverse engineer, ever, the things-in-themselves but, rather, only the best guess based off of the limitations of our senses and understanding; for we cannot start anywhere else but the representation in “front” of us.

    If the start is knowledge, on the other hand, working backwards arrives at understanding represented by conception, then intuition represented by phenomenon, then sensation, then the appearance of the thing, and the sequence is upheld.

    What do you mean by “start with knowledge”? You cannot start with anything but the representations that you have (of the inner and outer senses) and reverse engineer, at best, what is necessary for the possibility of it. Anything else is pure imagination.

    which is the mere appearance of some undetermined thing, hence the fallacy of knowledge production.

    Exactly, why think, if Kant is right, that there are things-in-themselves? I think the root of the problem, as I noted before, is that Kant is presupposes a causal kind of relationship when transcendentally determining our a priori faculties and then using them to say that causality is only valid within those representations: kind of self-undermining.

    Now reverse engineering isn’t engineering, but reversing time, which gives, say, in the case of the mosquito bite, that time before the mosquito bite. It should be clear we cannot say, after the sensation of being bitten, we were not bitten, but only that there was a time before being bitten.

    Then it seems as though reverse engineering the process of producing a representation (e.g., sensibility, receptivity, intuition, cognition, etc.) since it requires time, which was supposed to be a pure form, and nothing else, of the faculty of intuition in the first place!

    So….switching to science, surround yourself with all sorts of test equipment.

    I don’t think science helps us with this dilemma one bit, since we are contrained to the two pure forms of our experience; and so it seems impossible to know, even transcendentally, that they are produced (themselves) by our intuition.

    So….switching to science, surround yourself with all sorts of test equipment. The experiment is restricted to the reversal of sensation, again, say, of the mosquito bite, which focuses the equipment right down to the pores and little tiny hairs on the skin, at the epidermal level and the nerves at the posterior epidermal level. The sensation empirically manifests as an object having penetrated the skin and affecting the nerve endings, so reverse engineering that, is backing that object out of the skin, removing the affect on nerves, insofar as the non-penetration of the skin is exactly the same physical condition as not even having the particular sensation the experiment is meant to depose.

    By reverse engineering, I am not saying to remove all the senses, for then we have nothing sensible left (as Berkeley rightly pointed out): instead, I mean that the object within our representations is the sensations (e.g., the sense of site of it, the sense of touch of it, etc.). What was sensed is only reverse engineered insofar as we converge our representations of it. I think it is very flawed to think that one can look at a mosquito, separate the sense of the feeling of the bite, and hold that the mosquito exists tangibly as (close to) what one saw of it but sans the sensations of touch that one had; for the sense of site is equally a sense, and thusly just as dependent on the subject as the sense of touch.

    Hence, you don’t have knowledge of the thing to which the object of the sensation belongs, repeating the fallacy of knowledge production

    This just circles back to the major problem that Kant demonstrates, but adamantly tried to dogmatically refute: that we cannot know a priori that we sense, intuit, nor cognize: we are stuck with being conditioned, ultimately, by the two pure forms of experience and they shape how we understand ourselves after that.

    And you think we’re done here? Oh HELL no, we’re not!!! Expand the test equipment focus to include the immediate surrounding space. Now you got proof of the initial cause, now you perceive the thing to which the reverse-engineered, skin-penetrating, sensation-giving object belongs. Ask yourself whether, right here, right now, it can be said what that thing is.

    No. Because this test is still dependent on your sense of site (at a minimum); take that away, and the mosquito returns back to a giant question mark: something insensible.
  • Mww
    4.7k


    Truth be told, I don’t have Metaphysics of Morals as a completed volume, so am not qualified to compare it with the Groundwork, which I do have. I have the first division of Metaphysics, The Science of Right found in the Philosophy of Law, Hastie, 1887, but not the second division, The Science of Virtue.

    From what I do know, I say my position on the relation between the two is….the Groundwork is personal, the rest is anthropological, or perhaps more precisely, the rest shows distinctions between the personal and the anthropological. You know…..Kant and his incessant dualism: whatever this is, there is always going to be that. All that, in juxtaposition to The Metaphysics of Ethics, which I also have, tends to keep ‘em separated.

    As to the development of his thought, there is the mention in the secondary literature that it isn’t so much a development, but an elaboration, re: Palmquist, 1990. Development carries the implication of significant change, as you say, being superseded, whereas mere elaboration doesn’t necessarily. But still, just the conceptions themselves, Groundwork for morals on the one hand and Morals themselves on the other, is highly suggestive of at least a progression, which is a sort of development.

    My primary interest has always been reason itself, and always my reason. Not yours, not anybody’s; just lil’ ol’ me. As such, I don’t care about your knowledge, or your morals, or your ethics, but leave them to you or them, to do with as you, or they, wish. Because of that, Groundwork has always held the most sway for me, which probably explains why I haven’t bothered to examine Metaphysics with the same zeal.

    Sound about right to you? You see it differently?
  • Bob Ross
    1.5k


    Hello Leontiskos,

    The OP grants moral facts with its right hand and takes them away with its left. "You can have moral facts but you cannot have fundamental obligations," is the same as saying, "You can have moral facts but you cannot have moral facts." A fundamental obligation is one kind of moral fact, and if there are no fundamental obligations then there are no moral facts.

    The fact that no fundamental obligation is a moral fact does not negate the existence of moral facts. The point is that the moral facts are not doing any of the work in a rational moral system: its the hypothetical imperative(s) which is(are) the fundamental obligation(s).

    On another note, as argued in the OP, a moral fact cannot be a fundamental obligation, as that would be circular logic.
  • Mww
    4.7k
    Not that either of us would have noticed…..
    -Mww

    But this concedes that it does affect you!
    Bob Ross

    How do you figure I’m affected by the very thing I didn’t notice? I concede a thing happens, an effect on me, but from that I don’t have to concede I am aware that it happens, an affect in me. The food I eat has an effect on me, but I’m not aware of it.

    the whole the point is that it is relative to other inertial frames; and if it affects you, then it must be explained (or accounted for) in KantianismBob Ross

    Nothing in a different inertial frame affects me in mine. My watch ticking at its rate at 450mph has no effect on your watch at 0mph. The only affect on me when returning from 5 years in space, is DAMN, you got OLD!! It is absolutely impossible for me to justify, given only the account determinable from my frame of reference, that I simply didn’t age as fast as you. It is the case, therefore, there is no way to explain the relativity of inertial frames from a purely metaphysical Kantian point of view.
    ————-

    I have a hard time with this, because there is no ‘thing’ and this denotes the thing-in-itself as completely irrelevant to what we are representing: so, in your view, the ‘things’ becomes effectively what the ‘things-in-themselves’ were supposed to be. Now the ‘things-in-themselves’ are just imaginative, unprovably existent, “objects” of the world.Bob Ross

    But there is a “thing” iff there is a sensation. Or, technically, there is the appearance of a thing iff there is a sensation. Which does make the thing-in-itself completely irrelevant to what we’re representing, yes.

    Yes, things effectively represent what things-in-themselves SHOULD be, iff intellect doesn’t conflict with Nature.

    Yes, things-in-themselves are existent in the world, necessarily presupposed by our phenomenal representations.
    ————-

    I would say that this entails that we do not reverse engineer, ever, the things-in-themselves but, rather, only the best guess based off of the limitations of our senses and understanding; for we cannot start anywhere else but the representation in “front” of us.Bob Ross

    Reverse off our best guess presupposes we’ve already made it. If we’ve already made our best guess, we’re way past representation, which is the starting point for what the best guess is going to be. Reverse means backwards. Backwards from best guess, that which we’ve already done, gets us to representation. To say we start from representation when in reverse, contradicts the method by which we arrived at the best guess.

    What do you mean by “start with knowledge”?Bob Ross

    Because knowledge is the systemic epitome of best guess!!! You had a chain of mental events ending in representation, but that’s wrong. The chain of mental events ends with knowledge, so in reversing, THAT is the start. But still, reversing from mere sensation does not involve the whole series of mental events, in which case, reversing does not start from knowledge. But it cannot start from representation either, insofar as, at the point of sensation, there isn’t any representation to reverse from.
    ———-

    I think the root of the problem, as I noted before, is that Kant is presupposes a causal kind of relationship when transcendentally determining our a priori faculties and then using them to say that causality is only valid within those representations: kind of self-undermining.Bob Ross

    This is kinda hard to unpack, but here goes…..

    Ok, causal kind of relationship: in determining our faculties, he presupposes they work together. Nothing wrong with that.

    Then he uses the faculties as he has determined them to be, to make it so causality only works within them. But that can’t be right, because if it is, there is no way in which there can be any other kind of causality working outside those faculties, in which case, it becomes impossible to explain the ontology of natural objects. Even if there is a limit on our knowledge of what they are, there is no uncertainty in the fact that they are. If we deny or even doubt the appearance of objects because Nature is not itself causal, we destroy the very notion of an internal cognitive system, relying on pure subjective idealism.

    …..why think, if Kant is right, that there are things-in-themselves?Bob Ross

    Two reasons: the representations in us presuppose corresponding things external to us, and, Nature is causal in itself, but that doesn’t mean we have to know anything about either of those two things. In fact, whatever it is that we do know about, comes from us, and there is nothing whatsoever that qualifies what we know, except what we know. No wonder we’re such a bunch of potentially confused creatures.
    ————

    ”Hence, you don’t have knowledge of the thing to which the object of the sensation belongs, repeating the fallacy of knowledge production.
    -Mww

    This just circles back to the major problem that Kant demonstrates, but adamantly tried to dogmatically refute: that we cannot know a priori that we sense, intuit, nor cognize: we are stuck with being conditioned, ultimately, by the two pure forms of experience and they shape how we understand ourselves after that.
    Bob Ross

    We cannot know a priori what we sense or intuit, but we can certainly cognize a priori.

    There not two forms of experience; there are two forms by which experience is possible, which indeed we are stuck with. Theoretically.

    The two forms by which experience is possible do not condition or shape how we understand our-SELVES, but only how we understand real objects external to us. Our-SELF is a subject, and no subject can at the same time be an object, therefore our-SELF, as mere subject of which can only be thought as conception, has no need of phenomenal representation, hence is not conditioned by that which makes them possible. And this, among others, we cognize a priori, or technically, transcendentally.
    ————-

    ”Ask yourself whether, right here, right now, it can be said what that thing is.
    -Mww

    No. Because this test is still dependent on your sense of site (at a minimum); take that away, and the mosquito returns back to a giant question mark: something insensible.
    Bob Ross

    Correct: no. But if no, where the does “mosquito” come from? The reversing doesn’t turn back into a giant question mark; it never was anything but that, an undetermined something, from which you have no warrant to label it as a named thing. It was always and only just a thing. What…..you think that sensation came ready-equipped with a name? And we knew of it just from the sensation given by it? If that’s the case, why is there a cognitive system, and by association, an intellect, at all? What’s the brain for, if “mosquito” is given immediately from a sensation? I know you don’t think that’s how it works, so….where did “mosquito” come from in your view?
  • Leontiskos
    2k
    The fact that no fundamental obligation is a moral fact does not negate the existence of moral facts. The point is that the moral facts are not doing any of the work in a rational moral system: its the hypothetical imperative(s) which is(are) the fundamental obligation(s).Bob Ross

    Hypothetical imperatives cannot ground obligation, which is why the existence of moral facts would presuppose the existence of fundamental obligations.

    On another note, as argued in the OP, a moral fact cannot be a fundamental obligation, as that would be circular logic.Bob Ross

    I think the OP is nothing more than a circular denial of moral facts, a begging of the question. Positing the existence of moral facts without the existence of fundamental obligations makes no sense at all, and isn't a true positing of moral facts. In reality what you call a "moral fact" is a hypothetical imperative, and what you call a "fundamental obligation" is a moral fact. Thus you are granting hypothetical imperatives while denying moral facts (categorical imperatives). This is the same old consequentialist argument that has been popular for centuries, at least since Sidgwick.

    If you think I'm wrong then set out your definition of a moral fact.

    (Again, the point here is that @Count Timothy von Icarus' replies are on point. He is defending moral facts because the OP denies moral facts.)
  • Bob Ross
    1.5k


    Hypothetical imperatives cannot ground obligation, which is why the existence of moral facts would presuppose the existence of fundamental obligations.

    By ‘obligation’, I mean something which one ought to do—that’s it.

    However, if by ‘obligation’ you tie it, in definition, to moral facticity; then, yes, an obligation would presuppose the existence of a moral fact. Nevertheless, this is would incorrect to use your definition in parsing my OP (since I did not use it that way): I mean a fundamental normative statement.

    Under your definition, you are just noting that there are fundamental normative facts within moral facts (i.e., there’s a hierarchy to moral facts) which are necessary not one’s “fundamental obligations” in the sense that meant it, since there are more fundamentally some taste which is committing you to the moral facts in the first place.

    Positing the existence of moral facts without the existence of fundamental obligations makes no sense at all

    There can exists a fundamental moral judgment which is subjective that is fundamental to one’s moral system, and there can equally exist moral facts.

    In reality what you call a "moral fact" is a hypothetical imperative, and what you call a "fundamental obligation" is a moral fact.

    No. By moral fact I mean a moral judgment which exists mind-independently, and I do not mean that they are themselves hypothetical imperatives (for those are moral non-facts: tastes). Likewise, I think I already clarified above what I mean by ‘fundamental obligation’.
  • Bob Ross
    1.5k


    Hello Mww,

    How do you figure I’m affected by the very thing I didn’t notice? I concede a thing happens, an effect on me, but from that I don’t have to concede I am aware that it happens, an affect in me. The food I eat has an effect on me, but I’m not aware of it.

    Oh I see: I was not intending by “affected” that you were aware of it (as the ego).

    It is absolutely impossible for me to justify, given only the account determinable from my frame of reference, that I simply didn’t age as fast as you. It is the case, therefore, there is no way to explain the relativity of inertial frames from a purely metaphysical Kantian point of view.

    But if it isn’t accounted for within Kant’s view, then doesn’t it pertain to the things-in-themselves; which Kant say we cannot know? I have no problem with the idea that you don’t perceive the time dilation, but the fact that there is such a thing is either accounted for (1) in Kant’s metaphysics or (2) it pertains to the things-in-themselves.

    Backwards from best guess, that which we’ve already done, gets us to representation. To say we start from representation when in reverse, contradicts the method by which we arrived at the best guess

    I didn’t quite follow this part. But I agree that:

    The chain of mental events ends with knowledge, so in reversing, THAT is the star

    So I cannot say we start with representations but, rather, experiences; and reverse engineer that.

    Even if there is a limit on our knowledge of what they are, there is no uncertainty in the fact that they are. If we deny or even doubt the appearance of objects because Nature is not itself causal, we destroy the very notion of an internal cognitive system, relying on pure subjective idealism

    It sounds like you are claiming to know something about the world-in-itself: that it has causality. Am I correct in that? If so, then that does get around the worry I invoked but introduces a new one: if space and time are the possible forms of experience, then how is positing a ‘world-in-itself’ space and time not transcendent metaphysics (of which Kant adamantly is against)?

    the representations in us presuppose corresponding things external to us, and, Nature is causal in itself, but that doesn’t mean we have to know anything about either of those two things

    To me, the second reason here is purely transcendent metaphysics; and the first I have a hard time justifying, since all we know is conditioned by are possible forms of experience.

    The two forms by which experience is possible do not condition or shape how we understand our-SELVES, but only how we understand real objects external to us. Our-SELF is a subject, and no subject can at the same time be an object, therefore our-SELF, as mere subject of which can only be thought as conception, has no need of phenomenal representation, hence is not conditioned by that which makes them possible. And this, among others, we cognize a priori, or technically, transcendentally.

    That makes a lot more sense! Building off of this, then what do you think of our self’s actions being also represented in our outer sense? Doesn’t that prove we know at least some things-in-themselves (or thing-in-itself)?

    What’s the brain for, if “mosquito” is given immediately from a sensation? I know you don’t think that’s how it works, so….where did “mosquito” come from in your view?

    I am not saying that we don’t represent the world (viz., that we just know from direct sensations), so I should have been more careful with my terms: I mean that the mosquito is made up of the representations, the experiences, we have of—it is constructed of purely qualities and, thusly, to remove those qualitative properties (of which we experience) is to remove completely that thing which we called a mosquito; and I am uncertain as to what it could be in-itself nor as this ‘thing’ that you mentioned.
  • Leontiskos
    2k
    then, yes, an obligation would presuppose the existence of a moral fact. Nevertheless, this is would incorrect to use your definition in parsing my OP (since I did not use it that way): I mean a fundamental normative statement.Bob Ross

    I did not give a definition, and what I said is, "the existence of moral facts would presuppose the existence of fundamental obligations." I did not say—as you incorrectly claim—that "an obligation would presuppose the existence of a moral fact."

    By moral fact I mean a moral judgment which exists mind-independently...Bob Ross

    How could a judgment exist independent of minds? Judgments are judgments of minds.
  • Mww
    4.7k
    I was not intending by “affected” that you were aware of it (as the ego).Bob Ross

    Yeah…that’s dialectical inconsistency on my part. Properly spoken, it should have been, there is awareness of it, rather than I am aware of it. There’s no I (as the ego) in the senses, to be sure. Recall as well, I’ve said we are not conscious of the machinations of the faculty of intuition, and it is true there is a blind spot between the senses and the brain, but there needs to be something like intuition and with it phenomenal representation, in order to intelligibly explain that of which we are conscious, even if only from a metaphysical point of view.

    Let it be resolved that to be affected is to grant the necessity of real external objects effecting the senses. Now it may be clear I cannot notice from the effects of the ticking clock right in front of me, that another identical clock, in some significantly different place and under certain conditions in that place, is ticking at a rate different.
    ————-

    But if it isn’t accounted for within Kant’s view, then doesn’t it pertain to the things-in-themselves; which Kant say we cannot know?Bob Ross

    It could, sure. That’s what Schopenhauer did with his theory of world as will and idea, made it so the Kantian thing-in-itself just goes away. Still, Kant’s view is quite broad, so it’s possible to account for some things within that view using a different method, while discounting others. We know this, because some of his ideas are still in force today. Or, I suppose, to be accurate, some of his ideas haven’t been sufficiently refuted.
    ————-

    It sounds like you are claiming to know something about the world-in-itself: that it has causality. Am I correct in that?Bob Ross

    It does sound like that, but adhering to the theory shows the sound to be just conventional simplicity. You said it yourself, the chain of mental events for knowledge. For me to know the causality of Nature, I’d have to be affected by causality, intuit causality and represent it as a phenomenon, understand causality and represent it as a conception, synthesize each representation into a cognition of causality. Right off the bat it is impossible to represent causality as a phenomenon because causality is not conditioned by space and time. Causality does not have extension in space; things do. So given the interrupted chain of mental events, I cannot KNOW causality, but I can still think it as a conception. Which it is, in transcendental philosophy, being termed a category, and is entirely a function of logic alone.

    Just as space and time are the necessary conditions a priori for experience, the categories are the necessary conditions a priori for the understanding of conceptions. So it is in thinking alone, that logically Nature must be causal, because it is absurd, and eventually contradictory, to suppose it is me….or you or Bob or Julie or Sir Charles……that is necessary cause of the things both by which all of us are affected, and at the same time, the things only some of us and possibly none of us, are.

    So no, I cannot say I know the world has causality. All I can say is that logically, it must. If a logical system combines with a transcendental philosophy, and if there is a non-contradictory truth given from it, such is a tacit authorization of reason, to call that truth pure a priori knowledge, insofar as given a certain set of conditions, the conclusion could not be otherwise.
    ————-

    ”the representations in us presuppose corresponding things external to us, and, Nature is causal in itself, but that doesn’t mean we have to know anything about either of those two things

    (…) the first I have a hard time justifying, since all we know is conditioned by are possible forms of experience.
    Bob Ross

    Yeah, but we don’t know either the representations of things or those real things corresponding to them. What we know, knowledge proper, emerges as the culmination of a procedural methodology. The conditioning of a procedure, then, indicates that which relates the components in it to each other in order for it to be methodological.
    ————-

    I am uncertain as to what it could be in-itself nor as this ‘thing’ that you mentioned.Bob Ross

    Exactly right. To be uncertain is to not know, precisely relevant to the point. It follows that there is uncertainty simply because the means for it has not been called into play by mere appearance. Not that certainty will occur upon such means, but it absolutely never will without it.

    Such is metaphysics, which is, after all, what we’re talking about.
  • Bob Ross
    1.5k


    Hello Leontiskos,

    I did not give a definition, and what I said is, "the existence of moral facts would presuppose the existence of fundamental obligations." I did not say—as you incorrectly claim—that "an obligation would presuppose the existence of a moral fact."

    I apologize: I must have misunderstood what you were saying. The claim that “the existence of moral facts would presuppose the existence of fundamental obligations” simply does not follow by the definition of ‘obligation’ that I gave. There can be no such subjective obligation while moral facts still exist. Again, and correct me if I am wrong, I am interpreting you to be using the term ‘obligation’ to refer to an prescriptive statement that is objective, which is the only way I can fathom that one would think moral facts presuppose the existence of obligations—let alone fundamental ones.

    How could a judgment exist independent of minds? Judgments are judgments of minds.

    That is the whole point of moral realism: that the moral judgment is objective, which is to say that it exists mind-independently (i.e., independent of any subject: mind: person: thinking being). E.g., biological functions (for physicalists and potentially substance dualists), a priori knowledge (for Kantians), a platonic form (for platonists), a law of nature (for naturalists), etc.

    These deploy a moral judgment as categorical, which is to say it exists independent of whatever a given mind produces or generates.
  • Leontiskos
    2k


    Okay, thanks. I think that is a common approach to the matter. Wood's thesis (in the preface of his translation of the Groundwork) caught me off guard a bit. He posits that the 13 years between the two works brings with it significant development, and a working out of the problems of the Groundwork.

    Sound about right to you? You see it differently?Mww

    I own and have read the Groundwork a few times, but I do not own and have not read The Metaphysics of Morals. I have never heard of "The Metaphysics of Ethics" construed as a separate work.

    I am not a Kantian. I was mostly curious whether I would be talking past you if we ever get into a discussion where I have the Groundwork in mind but you have the latter work in mind. It sounds like we wouldn't be.
  • Mww
    4.7k


    What would you say is the main reason you’ve read Groundwork a few times, but you’re not a Kantian? Would it be that you weren’t persuaded by it enough to investigate other works, or you weren’t impressed with it at all?
  • Bob Ross
    1.5k


    Hello Mww,

    Properly spoken, it should have been, there is awareness of it, rather than I am aware of it.

    Yes, I am saying it ‘affects’ you insofar as your senses are aware of it.

    and it is true there is a blind spot between the senses and the brain,

    So this is where I haven’t fully quite captured your metaphysical theory: are you saying that the world-in-itself (1) has causality and (2) that our representations of it are (for the most part) accurate? Otherwise, I don’t know why you would appeal to scientific investigations of the brain, since they are also representations and not things-in-themselves (unless there is a somewhat accurate bridge between representation and thing-in-itself).

    Let it be resolved that to be affected is to grant the necessity of real external objects effecting the senses.

    Yes, I agree. But doesn’t this now negate the idea that we cannot know anything about the things-in-themselves if we are allowed to use our representations to determine that there are such real external objects effecting us?

    For me to know the causality of Nature, I’d have to be affected by causality, intuit causality and represent it as a phenomenon, understand causality and represent it as a conception, synthesize each representation into a cognition of causality

    The more I speak to you, the more I think you have developed (or adhere to) a model of reality, which is extracted from the trusting of one’s experiences, whereof we represent the world to ourselves and our representations are somewhat accurate of the things-in-themselves.

    Right off the bat it is impossible to represent causality as a phenomenon because causality is not conditioned by space and time. Causality does not have extension in space; things do. So given the interrupted chain of mental events, I cannot KNOW causality, but I can still think it as a conception.

    Interesting, so would you say you believe that the world-in-itself has relations, which are not meaningfully called physical causality?

    So it is in thinking alone, that logically Nature must be causal, because it is absurd, and eventually contradictory, to suppose it is me….or you or Bob or Julie or Sir Charles……that is necessary cause of the things both by which all of us are affected, and at the same time, the things only some of us and possibly none of us, are.

    This makes sense if we assume that are representations are accurate enough to tell us there are other conscious beings; but, yeah, that makes sense.
  • Leontiskos
    2k
    What would you say is the main reason you’ve read Groundwork a few times, but you’re not a Kantian? Would it be that you weren’t persuaded by it enough to investigate other works, or you weren’t impressed with it at all?Mww

    Off the top of my head, I think Kant takes some starting points that are not tenable. For example, that self-legislation is possible and that there is morality apart from inclinations (or that moral behavior and inclination-behavior are conceptually separable).

    I think the project is interesting, and when reading Kant in general I can see where he is coming from. It's a fairly tight system, and that's always a nice thing to have. In truth I take an Aristotelian-Thomistic approach and I haven't seen a need to leave it behind (except perhaps in a few recondite areas).

    I would be somewhat curious to get my hands on The Metaphysics of Morals and skim through it to see what Kant's moral reasoning looks like at a more concrete level.
  • Mww
    4.7k
    …..are you saying that the world-in-itself (1) has causality and (2) that our representations of it are (for the most part) accurate?Bob Ross

    I’m saying we have to grant that the things in the world are caused. Even if we don’t know what causes things, if there’s some thing right in front of my face, I’m further along accepting something else caused it to be there, than I would be if I denied it.

    Granting the fact we are not conscious of that which transpires from the output of the sensory apparatus and the input to the brain, and supposing the Enlightenment metaphysicians figured this out as well, we cannot say anything about the accuracy of our phenomenal representations. As every Kantian worth his salt can recite verbatim, “….intuitions without conceptions are blind…”.

    Otherwise, I don’t know why you would appeal to scientific investigations of the brain….Bob Ross

    The brain is just another thing, right? I’m just saying there’s some degree of correspondence between scientific and metaphysical knowledge claims. Or, lack of them.

    …..would you say you believe that the world-in-itself has relationsBob Ross

    I wouldn’t word it that way. I’d say everything in the world appears related to something else.
    —————

    I think you have developed (or adhere to) a model of reality, which is extracted from the trusting of one’s experiences, whereof we represent the world to ourselves and our representations are somewhat accurate of the things-in-themselves.Bob Ross

    I’m ok with that. And because you and I will agree on many more things than not, it is more than probable our cognitive systems are congruent in their respective matter, but merely similar in their respective operational parameters.
  • Mww
    4.7k
    Kant takes some starting points that are not tenable. For example….that moral behavior and inclination-behavior are conceptually separable.Leontiskos

    Observation proves that is the case, either in ourselves or in our observing others. It sometimes happens that even knowing what is to be done, isn’t.

    I take an Aristotelian-Thomistic approach and I haven't seen a need to leave it behindLeontiskos

    I can certainly can sympathize with that.
  • Leontiskos
    2k
    Observation proves that is the case...Mww

    Whereas I would say that observation proves that we do not do things that we are not inclined to do (things for which we have no inclination). Moral acts are just like other acts in this respect. If moral acts are not caught up in our inclinations, then moral acts do not exist.
  • Bob Ross
    1.5k


    Hello Mww,

    I apologize: I thought I responded to you, but I must have forgotten.

    I’m saying we have to grant that the things in the world are caused. Even if we don’t know what causes things, if there’s some thing right in front of my face, I’m further along accepting something else caused it to be there, than I would be if I denied it

    I don’t have any issue with that as a model of experience, but I don’t think it works for the metaphysical claims Kant was making. However, I think we’ve discussed my complaints pertaining thereto sufficiently (and don’t want to beat a dead horse here).

    The brain is just another thing, right? I’m just saying there’s some degree of correspondence between scientific and metaphysical knowledge claims. Or, lack of them.

    Yes, this only works if you grant that we can know the things-in-themselves, to some degree, by investigating the appearances (i.e., science)--only then to turn around and conclude we can’t. It’s a nice Kantian paradox he puts himself into.

    I wouldn’t word it that way. I’d say everything in the world appears related to something else.

    That’s fair.

    I’m ok with that. And because you and I will agree on many more things than not, it is more than probable our cognitive systems are congruent in their respective matter, but merely similar in their respective operational parameters.

    True.
  • baker
    5.6k
    However, I have begun to be suspicious of the benefits of moral realism—to the point of outright claiming it is useless to the normative discussion even if it is true.Bob Ross
    From the perspective of moral realism, the very discussion of morality (and philosophy in its entirety) is useless. By its nature, moral realism is opposed to a reflexive, meta-view of morality.
  • baker
    5.6k
    Thank you, but I'll do what I think appropriate, regardless. Why, indeed, shouldn't I? De gustibus non est disputandum.Ciceronianus

    The question is, how well does this outlook hold under the pressure of life's difficulties.

    If you were put in a concentration camp, or even just the daily grind taking a toll on you, would you still be confident in yourself, still sure that you know what is appropriate and what isn't?
  • 180 Proof
    14.7k
    Yes, in praxis, no doubt, other positive goals can be useful; I think what I've presented on this thread hints at a prolegomena to a future minima moralia. :smirk:
  • Michael
    14.8k
    There is no such thing as a moral fact, even in the case that they do exist, which is simultaneously a fundamental obligation; that is, the core principle which commits oneself to the moral facts, in the case that they exist, is necessarily a moral non-fact. This is readily seen by asking the simple and obvious question: “why is one obliged to the moral facts?”.Bob Ross

    If something is wrong iff one ought not do it then by definition if something is wrong then one ought not do it.
  • Bob Ross
    1.5k


    From the perspective of moral realism, the very discussion of morality (and philosophy in its entirety) is useless. By its nature, moral realism is opposed to a reflexive, meta-view of morality.

    I didn't follow why this would be true: can you please elaborate?
  • Bob Ross
    1.5k


    This just sounds like a tautology built off of the definition of 'wrong'.
  • baker
    5.6k
    If there is such a thing as "moral facts", then there is nothing to discuss, no room for philosophy, only for pedagogy, dogma, and proselytizing.

    Further, moral realism in its crudest form is the principle "might makes right". This means that what is right depends on whoever happens to have the upper hand, at any given time. This is a type of situational morality, transient and unpredictable. Philosophy is useless for such things.
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