Elsewhere on the internet...

The League of Reason has some social media accounts! You can find us on Facebook or on Twitter for some interesting links and things.

Are moral values objectively real?

Post new topic Reply to topic  Page 2 of 5
 [ 96 posts ] 
Are moral values objectively real?
Author Message
MarsCydoniaUser avatarPosts: 827Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:15 pm

Post Re: Are moral values objectively real?

Vic 2.0 wrote:Oh, and I'd like to add that this is NOT an appeal to intuition. Appeal to intuition is when you say to yourself "This makes sense to me, and therefore it's more likely to be true". By contrast, I'm not appealing to ANY initial thought or "common sense". I'm appealing to "senses" in the exact same way we use the word "senses" in our understanding of the PHYSICAL world.

I don't want to keep repeating that yours and Craig's defense of the second premise is an appeal-to-a-sense-that-looks-like-intuition-but-is-not-intuition but I really do not seem to possess that sense.

You know what sense I do possess however? Sight.

So prove that your sense-that-looks-like-intuition-but-is-not-intuition is real and that I am simply flawed or lying to myself.
"Slavery is morally ok" -
"I don't know how the burden of proof works in the mind of atheists but I don't have to prove my claims" -
Public information messages from the League of Reason's christians
Thu Feb 23, 2017 1:34 pm
Vic 2.0Posts: 23Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2017 10:51 pm

Post Re: Are moral values objectively real?

hackenslash, I'm not going to go chasing alleged refutations of what I've said here. I figure, that if you can't summarize why I'm wrong HERE then it's very unlikely such refutations exist at all.

MarsCydonia,

"I don't want to keep repeating that yours and Craig's defense of the second premise is an appeal-to-a-sense-that-looks-like-intuition-but-is-not-intuition but I really do not seem to possess that sense."

It should not "look like intuition" to you, because as I've explained, the word "sense" is being used in the exact same way as we use the word to refer to our PHYSICAL senses. It is not an appeal to intuition such as "common sense". Nor is it a feeling as in "I have a bad feeling about this". It is a sense that presses upon us not from sitting and asking "What sounds right?" but from a feeling comparable to physical feeling or the other physical senses.

And I think the person who claims to not have this sense is being disingenuous. No, I cannot PROVE that you can sense it's wrong to, say, rape and murder a little girl. But I highly suspect that outside of this conversation on an internet message board, you experience exactly what I am talking about on a regular basis.

And the parallel isn't set up to prove to others that there is a moral realm, but to answer skepticism AGAINST it.
Thu Feb 23, 2017 1:55 pm
MarsCydoniaUser avatarPosts: 827Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:15 pm

Post Re: Are moral values objectively real?

Vic 2.0 wrote:It should not "look like intuition" to you, because as I've explained, the word "sense" is being used in the exact same way as we use the word to refer to our PHYSICAL senses. It is not an appeal to intuition such as "common sense". Nor is it a feeling as in "I have a bad feeling about this". It is a sense that presses upon us not from sitting and asking "What sounds right?" but from a feeling comparable to physical feeling or the other physical senses.

Asserting is not showing.
"Slavery is morally ok" -
"I don't know how the burden of proof works in the mind of atheists but I don't have to prove my claims" -
Public information messages from the League of Reason's christians
Thu Feb 23, 2017 2:16 pm
hackenslashLime TordUser avatarPosts: 2354Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:43 pm Gender: Cake

Post Re: Are moral values objectively real?

Vic 2.0 wrote:hackenslash, I'm not going to go chasing alleged refutations of what I've said here. I figure, that if you can't summarize why I'm wrong HERE then it's very unlikely such refutations exist at all.


I didn't suggest you chased a fucking refutation, I specifically linked you to it.

Why can't apologists behave honestly?

Seriously, you're well out of your depth here.
Thu Feb 23, 2017 2:36 pm
momo666Posts: 30Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 11:25 am Gender: Time Lord

Post Re: Are moral values objectively real?

momo666, perhaps you can pick up where others have left off, and respond to my counterarguments, if you are so inclined.


Could you perhaps summarize what you think are unanswered counter arguments ? I will respond to the ones you've made in this comment. If you think there is some extra that needs attention, give me a hand please.
Also I have a request. Unless my gold fish memory has failed me again, I don't think you have answered Dragan Glass point. Namely :
"I'd argue that hard solipsism - if not solipsism per se - is disproved by the fact that we have (evolved) specific senses to detect light, etc, which implies that these have an external reality."


I also would like your view on Mars Cynadonia point:

And he adds that for any argument one might give to be skeptical of the reality of the moral realm, we can give parallel arguments for skepticism regarding the reality of the external world as we perceive it. IOW, we can doubt our physical senses in the same way we can doubt our moral senses. I think this is good grounds for justifying belief in objective morality.


There's two problem with this:
1. That the external physical reality we can perceive with our sense is equivalent to a metaphysical reality that we can perceive only through intuition.




I don't think it follows that if you can't prove the "brain in a vat world" exists, that therefore you're immediately justified in thinking it doesn't. That's a non sequitur which, BTW (since the anti-theists here are STILL trying to make this thread about religion and Dr. Craig), is used frequently by anti-theists who say "There is no evidence that a god exists, therefore god doesn't exist". It's just a complete non sequitur.


I don't think I've suggested that. But either way, how is it possible to be "justified" thinking that X does not exist when X has been defined purposefully so that it cannot be falsified ?
Also, it's true that evidence of absence does not show that X is false. But until X is shown to be true, we can surely assume it is not true(by this I don't mean I make the positive assertion that it is false but merely withholding the attribute of being true), just like we can't assume it is not false. Why ? Because true/false are attributes we cannot assume until we show that is the case. So then what does the question mean but a bare assertion ? Much like me saying "Prove my dragon does not exist".


Oh, and I'm certainly not tasking anyone to prove we are NOT brains in vats; that's not the point of the parallel. It's simply to show that since we believe (quite rationally!) in the external world as we perceive it on the basis of our senses, we're equally rational to believe in the moral realm on the basis of our senses too. Although the fact that we believe in the external world as we perceive it without evidence serves to crush evidentialism (which is, again, like the anti-theists' bread and butter), that's not the point of its mention here.


But there are a lot of things we do not perceive on the basis of our senses. We certainly cannot feel neutrons in any way, but we are still able to show their existence.
We could also conceive a machine that does some pattern recognition when it sees what we claim to see, for example. Wouldn't that be an experiment that proves that since other things, that do no posses our sense, see the world in roughly the same way as we do ?
Furthermore, I find this claim of "believing in the external world quite problematic". As I've said earlier, it's one thing to doubt the existence of something you can test and something that has been defined properly. But what you are trying to do here is make it sound as if there are two options on the table: the "real world" and the "simulation" when in fact the latter is merely a mental concept created on purpose to be unfalsifiable.
As for why do we believe in the external world as we perceive it, I've already mentioned that I think the question is incoherent. Before one can ask how do we know the state of things is X and not Y, on must first show a rationale base for Y. For example, if I ask "Why does matter have mass, how do you know it is not possible for there to be matter with no mass".
A good way to answer that would be the following: - Make sure we both mean the same thing by "mass"
- I try to find a possible way for the laws of physics to allow for matter with no mass but fail
- You then come in and show how, at least, it is possible
-After we know it is possible, we can then answer the question

But it seems to me that the one who posits the brain in a vat question is unwilling to do any of those. I come again at the apple analogy. I can create a concept called "vat apple" and then ask an observer how does he know the apple he is eating is a "real apple" BUT if I truly want an answer then there are some necessary steps I must first take. It is not enough to simply ask the question.

P.S. Hackenslash will probably castrate me for the physics nonsense I've just spewed. I was merely trying to make a point. I would appreciate a better example for future use.

Also, some other points, I will put a number in front of them for easier reference, cause I see you don't use the quote system.

1) You say that this "sense" of morality is akin to our physical senses. Surely you know that a physical sense (burning your finger) is different from feeling "bad" after murdering someone. The latter is a mental construct, the first is a physical one; a stimuli based physical reception station.
2) What if this feeling of guilt after murdering someone could be answered by evolution. Something like some sort of survival mechanism that prevents us from killing our own species. What would that do to this sense of moral objectivity ?

And now to answer your question, "What do you think about your opponent asking how did you reach the conclusion that the world is a simulation/ it is possible that the world we are experiencing is an illusion ?"

Well it's just a logical point of fact that the world we experience COULD be an illusion; that's hardly a controversial statement/question in philosophy. As for anyone who may believe the world IS a simulation, I'd say they must believe it on equal amounts of evidence as we have for OUR belief that it ISN'T a simulation (namely, zero evidence).



Ah but that is the crux of it. As mentioned earlier. If I say a seed could become a tree, I can only make that claim if I know what a seed is/does. I can't say, for example, that a seed can become a computer. In order for me to make the transition from potentiality to possibility, I need to know the attributes of the objects in question.
My mental construct not having any inherent contradictions within it is not enough to show that it exists. And before I can say it is possible, I need a basic description of its properties. Before I can say my conscious elf exists, I need to at least mention that the said elf is not a cube of carbon.

I also object in putting the two claims (world is real - world is an illusion) on equal footing. Call the world we experience "state of things X". What you are basically saying is that we have no evidence for believing that "state of things Y" is not the case.
But don't you see there are certain steps you have to make before asking me that question ?
Thu Feb 23, 2017 8:23 pm
Vic 2.0Posts: 23Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2017 10:51 pm

Post Re: Are moral values objectively real?

hackenslash, yes, you wanted me to chase an alleged refutation by clicking the link and then looking for what you could've easily typed up (if it were a sound refutation).

momo666, it is the very reality of the same senses that TELL us we've evolved at all, that are on trial in that age-old philosophical question. That is why belief in the reality of the external world as you perceive it is an evidenceless one, because you have to assume the reality of the senses on trial (which is circular logic).

Now, I did respond to every argument I could glean from Mars Cynadonia's post. But I will do it again:

"That the external physical reality we can perceive with our sense is equivalent to a metaphysical reality that we can perceive only through intuition."

The problem is that it ISN'T intuition we're talking about, but an actual sensing OF the moral realm. A feeling, but not in the sense of "This doesn't feel right". A sense, but not in the same way as the phrase "common sense". We do not say "It makes sense and sounds right to me that 'It's wrong to rape little girls'". Rather, we say "I can SENSE that it's wrong to rape little girls". And that's not to mention the presumption that the external physical "reality" is indeed real, which is the entire point of bringing up skepticism of our "physical" senses.

And if something cannot be falsified, then it's simply the matter of fact that you can't disprove it, and therefore where WOULD you get the justification for saying it's false?

"Also, it's true that evidence of absence does not show that X is false. But until X is shown to be true, we can surely assume it is not true(by this I don't mean I make the positive assertion that it is false but merely withholding the attribute of being true)"

Well see, those are two different things, or wordplay to make an irrational stance sound more rational than it is.

I would also say that even if the concept of this all being a simulated world was thought up by people with an agenda (intentionally coming up with an unfalsifiable theory), it would do nothing to refute the argument itself (that everything could very well be a simulation). To suggest otherwise is to commit the genetic fallacy. For example, if I say "Kids whose parents do not stay together are more likely to be unsuccessful in life" purely because I have an unhealthy obsession with marriage being strictly adhered to, it still wouldn't mean that the statement itself was wrong.

Oh, and BTW, the "vat apple" analogy isn't a very strong one, it seems to me, because we don't know of such an object existing but we do in fact know that electrodes can stimulate the human brain to make a person "see", "hear", etc. things that are not there. So we know it's possible in a very different way, than just being LOGICALLY possible.

"P.S. Hackenslash will probably castrate me for the physics nonsense I've just spewed."

Well hackenslash needs to calm down :P

"You say that this "sense" of morality is akin to our physical senses. Surely you know that a physical sense (burning your finger) is different from feeling "bad" after murdering someone. The latter is a mental construct, the first is a physical one; a stimuli based physical reception station."

This is assuming the very thing I'm responding with skepticism OF. How do we know the so-called "PHYSICAL" senses are not in reality mental ones? The answer is, we don't. Forget the mad scientist version of the "brain in the vat" question, how bout this just all being a very detailed DREAM? The point remains that these are akin to each other, unless we presuppose the very thing we're supposed to be questioning (and in that case, why not presuppose the moral realm too?)

"What if this feeling of guilt after murdering someone could be answered by evolution. Something like some sort of survival mechanism that prevents us from killing our own species. What would that do to this sense of moral objectivity ?"

It doesn't seem to me that it would conflict with believing moral values were objective. One could simply say "We evolved so that we could better DETECT morality, than before". But conversely, what if we only experience our PHYSICAL senses for the sake of some other, hidden purpose? What if we are Boltzmann brains who would go mad if we knew the truth, and therefore we evolved these senses to lock us into an imaginary world for the sake of our sanities? ;)

I'll reiterate again, because I think this is a crucial point, that we have NO knowledge of ANY world, with respect to this question. We don't know of any world in which we are not brains in vats. And so it seems like your objection to putting the two possibilities on equal footing just doesn't work, because it presumes we have more reason to be skeptical of one than the other. And that's just not true.
Fri Feb 24, 2017 6:52 am
MarsCydoniaUser avatarPosts: 827Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:15 pm

Post Re: Are moral values objectively real?

Vic 2.0 wrote:This is assuming the very thing I'm responding with skepticism OF. How do we know the so-called "PHYSICAL" senses are not in reality mental ones? The answer is, we don't. Forget the mad scientist version of the "brain in the vat" question, how bout this just all being a very detailed DREAM? The point remains that these are akin to each other, unless we presuppose the very thing we're supposed to be questioning (and in that case, why not presuppose the moral realm too?)

So to resume your argument:
"You don't doubt your physical senses, so believe me when I say you have a metaphysical one for sensing objective morality. If you don't believe you have one, you're lying. I don't have to provide evidence".

I'm convinced!
"Slavery is morally ok" -
"I don't know how the burden of proof works in the mind of atheists but I don't have to prove my claims" -
Public information messages from the League of Reason's christians
Fri Feb 24, 2017 10:13 am
hackenslashLime TordUser avatarPosts: 2354Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:43 pm Gender: Cake

Post Re: Are moral values objectively real?

Vic 2.0 wrote:hackenslash, yes, you wanted me to chase an alleged refutation by clicking the link and then looking for what you could've easily typed up (if it were a sound refutation).


No, genius, what I linked you to was in its entirety a refutation. You didn't have to look at anything.

Run away, though, They all do in the end.
Fri Feb 24, 2017 10:32 am
LaurensSocial EditorUser avatarPosts: 2950Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:24 pmLocation: Norwich UK Gender: Male

Post Re: Are moral values objectively real?

Vic 2.0 wrote:I've been listening to a lot of William Lane Craig for the past few months. He presents a good argument in defense of his premise "Objective moral values and duties do exist", by simply appealing to our collective senses. We sense that at least certain things are truly right or truly wrong. We sense, for example, that it is morally wrong to torture an innocent child. And he adds that for any argument one might give to be skeptical of the reality of the moral realm, we can give parallel arguments for skepticism regarding the reality of the external world as we perceive it. IOW, we can doubt our physical senses in the same way we can doubt our moral senses. I think this is good grounds for justifying belief in objective morality.

What are some of your thoughts on this? Do you think that anything is objectively, truly wrong? Or is it just a product of culture, evolution, etc.? And if it is subjective, then how do we go about condemning those who torture and kill children for their own entertainment? Are they really no more wrong than we are? After all, if it's subjective and a product of culture and evolution, then what justifies our stance seems to justify theirs equally.

Just because we sense things it doesn't mean that sensed something exists objectively.

The first thing I would say is that culture can have a huge impact on what we sense. If we are to look at some of the food eaten in certain cultures, some cultures routinely consume things that would make us physically repulsed. Lets say for example a certain culture enjoys eating crickets. I'd actually feel a bit sick if I was made to eat one. Not because this sense of disgust implies eating insects is wrong, but because my culture has dictated to me that eating insects is wrong to the point at which the idea repulses me. Its clearly not inherently wrong because a certain culture not only eats them but enjoys it.

Now if we go back in time to the inquisition. You see the torture of a 16 year old girl, and you ask why they are doing it. They respond saying that under similar torture someone else had confessed that this girl was a witch and thus it was their duty to not only do God's work in killing her but to extract other information before doing so, so that they could continue to do God's work. To them they are not repulsed by the idea of doing this. In actual fact they might feel proud of it. Whereas you might look at the distressed, screaming, crying girl and feel repulsed that someone could so callously torture a young woman. Clearly that sense wasn't always there or else it wouldn't have happened. The best explanation is that our sense of morality evolves over time as we progress in civilization. No doubt some things that we have no qualms about doing today will be deemed as morally repugnant in future.

Sent from my SM-G920F using Tapatalk
Like the League of Reason on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter

Shameless Self-Promotion
Listen to my music on Soundcloud
Like my music page on Facebook
Fri Feb 24, 2017 10:37 am
Vic 2.0Posts: 23Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2017 10:51 pm

Post Re: Are moral values objectively real?

MarsCydonia says,

"So to resume your argument:
"You don't doubt your physical senses, so believe me when I say you have a metaphysical one for sensing objective morality. If you don't believe you have one, you're lying. I don't have to provide evidence".
I'm convinced!"

That's not my argument at all. You may very WELL lack a sense of morality, but that's where I'LL have to play the skeptic and say that I suspect you really do sense that things like child rape are wrong. Obviously, we're at a stalemate when it comes to that, but it's irrelevant to the point I'm making. As I've said (and you seem to have ignored), this parallel isn't set up to prove to others that objective morality exists, but to defend against skepticism that it doesn't. And it does that extremely well! And so if your implied conclusion from "I don't have a sense of morality", is "There is no moral realm", that just doesn't follow. Just like if I were blind it wouldn't mean there was no such thing as light.

As philosopher Louise Antony stated in her debate with Craig, "Any argument for moral skepticism will be based upon premises which are less obvious than the existence of objective moral values themselves." And that seems to me to be true.

hackenslash, you seem to be switching into Troll Mode now. But I think it's suspicious, that you're spending more time and energy trying to get me to visit your link than you would've if you had simply summarized the refutation yourself here.

Laurens,
"Just because we sense things it doesn't mean that sensed something exists objectively."

Well precisely. And my point is that this goes for our so-called "physical" senses as well. And so while we can play the role of the eternal skeptic, sooner or later we'll have to choose between trusting our senses and rejecting what they're telling us.

"The first thing I would say is that culture can have a huge impact on what we sense. If we are to look at some of the food eaten in certain cultures, some cultures routinely consume things that would make us physically repulsed."

And so our senses can be altered by our environment and experiences. Now, first, I must point out that this can apply to truly objective things. Being around certain chemicals for extended periods of time may affect your ability to taste ANYTHING. But more to the point, I concede that there ARE subjective examples of taste as well as morality. So I wouldn't mean to imply that EVERYTHING is either right or wrong (unless we agree that "right" can just mean "okay", so as to conclude that the taste of broccoli and the act of playing basketball are "right"). But that of course doesn't mean that the very sense itself isn't telling something about that realm, whether it be about the "physical" realm or the moral one. And indeed that IS confirmed in experience, because sometimes a person might sense immorality in an event without even identifying it AS immoral (the same victim of the aforementioned child molestation being a prime example). But whether I like broccoli or not, I can taste it and by that sense confirm that it exists.

I don't agree, either, that if the sense of immorality were there (when that torture was taking place) then it wouldn't have happened. I think it's simply a choice we make to ignore/downplay the senses we do experience. A person may be in great pain and refuse to acknowledge it with action. That pain is telling them to get to the doctor! And in such cases where it is ignored until it's too late, we don't deny that the person was in pain. We just say "They should've heeded their senses". Same for morality.

But real quick now, WERE those people wrong to torture children? Or were they justified simply because they thought they were?
Fri Feb 24, 2017 2:59 pm
Dragan GlasContributorUser avatarPosts: 2954Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:55 amLocation: Ireland Gender: Male

Post Re: Are moral values objectively real?

Greetings,

Welcome to LoR, Vic 2.0! :D

Vic 2.0 wrote:hackenslash, yes, you wanted me to chase an alleged refutation by clicking the link and then looking for what you could've easily typed up (if it were a sound refutation).

momo666, it is the very reality of the same senses that TELL us we've evolved at all, that are on trial in that age-old philosophical question. That is why belief in the reality of the external world as you perceive it is an evidenceless one, because you have to assume the reality of the senses on trial (which is circular logic).

Why would we have "eyes" that are sensitive to particular wavelengths in the electro-magnetic spectrum as against others?

If this is a "dream", to use your analogy, on what would we base our dreams if not our experience of life (physical reality)?

In Descartes' day, the notion of a demon creating an illusion of reality - as he proposed in his famous "dilemma" - was perfectly reasonable. Nowadays one would be hard-pressed to find anyone who believes demons exist. It's partly for this reason that the notion of a deity ("God") as a disembodied entity isn't accepted anymore.

But let's suppose that disembodied entities can exist - which raises the question as to how they can exist in a vacuum (in the sense of they're coming into existence "out of nothing" - that there's no sensible explanation of how they can exist) - you're still left with the fact that *something* exists external to oneself. Even if you also are an illusion, *something* exists to cause "you" to exist. In which case it is now not Descartes who faces the dilemma but the demon. Perhaps the demon is itself an illusion created by *something* that actually exists.

The brain-in-a-vat analogy still rests on the fact that the brain, and the vat (along with the wires connected to the brain, and the computer that creates the stimuli to fool the brain - and the power supply, etc, etc - even the people who built the computer, etc) actually exist.

That they have a physical reality.

In any iteration of Descartes' Dilemma, *something* has to exist - which then raises the question of how it came into existence.

This is why I think that hard solipsism - if not solipsism per se - doesn't hold true.

Vic 2.0 wrote:Now, I did respond to every argument I could glean from Mars Cynadonia's post. But I will do it again:

"That the external physical reality we can perceive with our sense is equivalent to a metaphysical reality that we can perceive only through intuition."

The problem is that it ISN'T intuition we're talking about, but an actual sensing OF the moral realm. A feeling, but not in the sense of "This doesn't feel right". A sense, but not in the same way as the phrase "common sense". We do not say "It makes sense and sounds right to me that 'It's wrong to rape little girls'". Rather, we say "I can SENSE that it's wrong to rape little girls". And that's not to mention the presumption that the external physical "reality" is indeed real, which is the entire point of bringing up skepticism of our "physical" senses.

I get the sense - pun intended - that you believe some sort of metaphysical equivalent of the body exists - ie, the soul - which contains the "moral sense" as an actual "thing", rather than the qualia.of morality.

You're making the same error as Descartes - where he assumed that the mind was a separate entity from the body (dualism), you're assuming that the "sense of morality" is separate from our physical senses.

Vic 2.0 wrote:And if something cannot be falsified, then it's simply the matter of fact that you can't disprove it, and therefore where WOULD you get the justification for saying it's false?

For the same reason, from where would you get the justification for saying it's true?

Vic 2.0 wrote:"Also, it's true that evidence of absence does not show that X is false. But until X is shown to be true, we can surely assume it is not true(by this I don't mean I make the positive assertion that it is false but merely withholding the attribute of being true)"

Well see, those are two different things, or wordplay to make an irrational stance sound more rational than it is.

I would also say that even if the concept of this all being a simulated world was thought up by people with an agenda (intentionally coming up with an unfalsifiable theory), it would do nothing to refute the argument itself (that everything could very well be a simulation). To suggest otherwise is to commit the genetic fallacy. For example, if I say "Kids whose parents do not stay together are more likely to be unsuccessful in life" purely because I have an unhealthy obsession with marriage being strictly adhered to, it still wouldn't mean that the statement itself was wrong.

Oh, and BTW, the "vat apple" analogy isn't a very strong one, it seems to me, because we don't know of such an object existing but we do in fact know that electrodes can stimulate the human brain to make a person "see", "hear", etc. things that are not there. So we know it's possible in a very different way, than just being LOGICALLY possible.

"P.S. Hackenslash will probably castrate me for the physics nonsense I've just spewed."

Well hackenslash needs to calm down :P

"You say that this "sense" of morality is akin to our physical senses. Surely you know that a physical sense (burning your finger) is different from feeling "bad" after murdering someone. The latter is a mental construct, the first is a physical one; a stimuli based physical reception station."

This is assuming the very thing I'm responding with skepticism OF. How do we know the so-called "PHYSICAL" senses are not in reality mental ones? The answer is, we don't. Forget the mad scientist version of the "brain in the vat" question, how bout this just all being a very detailed DREAM? The point remains that these are akin to each other, unless we presuppose the very thing we're supposed to be questioning (and in that case, why not presuppose the moral realm too?)

"What if this feeling of guilt after murdering someone could be answered by evolution. Something like some sort of survival mechanism that prevents us from killing our own species. What would that do to this sense of moral objectivity ?"

It doesn't seem to me that it would conflict with believing moral values were objective. One could simply say "We evolved so that we could better DETECT morality, than before".

That presupposes teleology in evolution.

Vic 2.0 wrote:But conversely, what if we only experience our PHYSICAL senses for the sake of some other, hidden purpose? What if we are Boltzmann brains who would go mad if we knew the truth, and therefore we evolved these senses to lock us into an imaginary world for the sake of our sanities? ;)

I'll reiterate again, because I think this is a crucial point, that we have NO knowledge of ANY world, with respect to this question. We don't know of any world in which we are not brains in vats. And so it seems like your objection to putting the two possibilities on equal footing just doesn't work, because it presumes we have more reason to be skeptical of one than the other. And that's just not true.

We can show that the physical world exists - we have no evidence that the metaphysical world exists.

And, lest you say that that leaves the door open to the latter's existence, I would point out that - as Sean Carroll notes - we know all the particles and forces of which the body is made: there's nothing that indicates a "soul" or "mind" exists, nor that could transfer information to a "spirit plane of existence".

Kindest regards,

James
Image
"The Word of God is the Creation we behold and it is in this Word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man."
The Age Of Reason
Fri Feb 24, 2017 3:16 pm
Vic 2.0Posts: 23Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2017 10:51 pm

Post Re: Are moral values objectively real?

Hello Dragan Glas, thank you.

"Why would we have "eyes" that are sensitive to particular wavelengths in the electro-magnetic spectrum as against others?"

I'm not sure I understand your question, but the parallel of skepticism of our physical world is asking DO we have eyes. Are we justified in believing our physical senses, any more/less than our moral senses?

"If this is a "dream", to use your analogy, on what would we base our dreams if not our experience of life (physical reality)?"

If it's all just a dream, there ISN'T an experience of life...

Not that it's the topic but when you say "the notion of god as a disembodied entity isn't accepted anymore", where are you getting these stats? I think most Christians (including most Christian scholars) DO believe that god is a disembodied mind.

And I'm certainly not saying we should doubt that WE exist, in the conscious states we are aware of. I'm referring to the brain-in-a-vat analogy only, because it's enough to make my point here. And so this isn't a matter of saying "Perhaps NOTHING exists", it's a matter of asking "Can we trust any of our senses to tell us what is real?"

"I get the sense - pun intended - that you believe some sort of metaphysical equivalent of the body exists - ie, the soul - which contains the "moral sense" as an actual "thing", rather than the qualia.of morality."

Not at all; I think it could be more akin to logical and mathematical truths, what is moral and immoral. Though I agree with Craig that this doesn't provide what he calls a FOUNDATION for moral values, I'd argue that in light of his response to the Euthyphro dilemma neither does theism.

And with all due respect, this doesn't seem to be a response to the point you quoted, which was showing why my argument doesn't commit the fallacy of appealing to intuition.
Fri Feb 24, 2017 4:13 pm
hackenslashLime TordUser avatarPosts: 2354Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:43 pm Gender: Cake

Post Re: Are moral values objectively real?

Vic 2.0 wrote:hackenslash, you seem to be switching into Troll Mode now. But I think it's suspicious, that you're spending more time and energy trying to get me to visit your link than you would've if you had simply summarized the refutation yourself here.


It's entirely up to you, and frankly, I couldn't give a flying fuck whether you read it or not, but you've put far more effort in avoiding it than you would have in reading it. You claim to be interested inb answers to your question, and all my thoughts on the subject are summarised there, and indeed I gave a brief précis of them here, but you swiftly rejected it, and have avoided the full argument ever since.

Feel free to go on impugning my motives, as fallacious as that is, but you don't get to assert that the refutation doesn't exist.

The summary of my position is as follows:

Your position is asinine, and fails to understand what morality is, along with committing a false dichotomy.

For more, read the fucking post. Remember that you came here. Entirely up to you if you want to remain ignorant.
Fri Feb 24, 2017 5:03 pm
Dragan GlasContributorUser avatarPosts: 2954Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:55 amLocation: Ireland Gender: Male

Post Re: Are moral values objectively real?

Greetings,

Vic 2.0 wrote:Hello Dragan Glas, thank you.

"Why would we have "eyes" that are sensitive to particular wavelengths in the electro-magnetic spectrum as against others?"

I'm not sure I understand your question, but the parallel of skepticism of our physical world is asking DO we have eyes. Are we justified in believing our physical senses, any more/less than our moral senses?

"If this is a "dream", to use your analogy, on what would we base our dreams if not our experience of life (physical reality)?"

If it's all just a dream, there ISN'T an experience of life...

The basis for the dream has to come from somewhere.

Even a Boltzmann brain has to have memories that are consistent with rules or laws - if not from Nature, then from where? Hence my earlier question regarding eyes sensitive to particular wavelengths in the EM spectrum as against others.

Vic 2.0 wrote:Not that it's the topic but when you say "the notion of god as a disembodied entity isn't accepted anymore", where are you getting these stats? I think most Christians (including most Christian scholars) DO believe that god is a disembodied mind.

Perhaps it was poorly communicated on my part. I meant that when you actually look at the notion of disembodied entities, it's a lot harder to justify their existence than someone who's viewing it from within traditional religions.

Vic 2.0 wrote:And I'm certainly not saying we should doubt that WE exist, in the conscious states we are aware of. I'm referring to the brain-in-a-vat analogy only, because it's enough to make my point here. And so this isn't a matter of saying "Perhaps NOTHING exists", it's a matter of asking "Can we trust any of our senses to tell us what is real?"

I think I answered that point - if not, please let me know where my answer is weak.

Vic 2.0 wrote:"I get the sense - pun intended - that you believe some sort of metaphysical equivalent of the body exists - ie, the soul - which contains the "moral sense" as an actual "thing", rather than the qualia.of morality."

Not at all; I think it could be more akin to logical and mathematical truths, what is moral and immoral. Though I agree with Craig that this doesn't provide what he calls a FOUNDATION for moral values, I'd argue that in light of his response to the Euthyphro dilemma neither does theism.

And with all due respect, this doesn't seem to be a response to the point you quoted, which was showing why my argument doesn't commit the fallacy of appealing to intuition.

If you haven't done so already, I think you need to watch the video posted by MarsCydonia.

Kindest regards,

James
Image
"The Word of God is the Creation we behold and it is in this Word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man."
The Age Of Reason
Fri Feb 24, 2017 5:13 pm
Vic 2.0Posts: 23Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2017 10:51 pm

Post Re: Are moral values objectively real?

Meanwhile, hackenslash, you posted a lengthy comment to complain that I'm not going to that link (whereas, again, you could've just summarized it here) and you've completely neglected to engage with ANY of the arguments and counterarguments I've given. Face it, if there were a good refutation for my reasoning someone would've articulated it right here on the thread by now.

Dragan Glas says,
"The basis for the dream has to come from somewhere."

Still not sure what you mean. If you mean it has to have a SOURCE, then I agree that for this to be a simulation there would need to be something making that happen. But remember, I'm not referring to the question "Is there a reality?" or "Do I exist?" I'm saying that we trust our SENSES to give us an ACCURATE picture of reality. I see no reason why a person shouldn't trust their moral senses in the same way.

Also, James, I appreciate your civil approach to this topic and to me personally. I won't be taking the time to watch videos, go to other pages, etc. because in my experience that's never profitable (at times, it turns out to not even be RELEVANT). But I know that if people have enough faith in the arguments provided elsewhere, they will be more than happy to summarize them here. I haven't linked to any of William Lane Craig's podcasts or his website, after all. I've given the points I think are good.
Fri Feb 24, 2017 6:21 pm
hackenslashLime TordUser avatarPosts: 2354Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:43 pm Gender: Cake

Post Re: Are moral values objectively real?

Vic 2.0 wrote:Meanwhile, hackenslash, you posted a lengthy comment to complain that I'm not going to that link (whereas, again, you could've just summarized it here) and you've completely neglected to engage with ANY of the arguments and counterarguments I've given. Face it, if there were a good refutation for my reasoning someone would've articulated it right here on the thread by now..


Why are you lying about my having summarised it? Run the fuck away. I don't care, but the material is still there.

A couple of nice fallacies in this offering here, though, namely the appeal to motive and affirming the consequent.

As for your 'reasoning', I've seen no instance of that as yet.

Won't bother responding further unless you bother to address the linked post.
Fri Feb 24, 2017 7:32 pm
MarsCydoniaUser avatarPosts: 827Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:15 pm

Post Re: Are moral values objectively real?

Vic 2.0 wrote:That's not my argument at all. You may very WELL lack a sense of morality, but that's where I'LL have to play the skeptic and say that I suspect you really do sense that things like child rape are wrong. Obviously, we're at a stalemate when it comes to that, but it's irrelevant to the point I'm making. As I've said (and you seem to have ignored), this parallel isn't set up to prove to others that objective morality exists, but to defend against skepticism that it doesn't. And it does that extremely well!

"You don't doubt question the reality of your physical senses so why doubt the metaphysical sense I assert you have. If you doubt it, you're a liar. I don't have to provide evidence it exists" is the whole of your "argument" so you're confusing "not at all" with "exactly".

I do have a sense of morality. What you have to show but apparently refuse to show is that my sense of morality is not my own but that I am somehow sensing metaphysical objects by a sense as of yet undemonstrated to exist.

And you're still under the false impression that your "argument" defends against skepticism of this undemonstrated sense that senses an undemonstrated reality. It doesn't for reasons you've ignored.

Physical senses are not the same thing as metaphysical ones not matter how often you assert they are. And you've asserted it quite often but not once have you shown that such senses exist.

Vic 2.0 wrote:And so if your implied conclusion from "I don't have a sense of morality", is "There is no moral realm", that just doesn't follow. Just like if I were blind it wouldn't mean there was no such thing as light.

That's actually more akin to your position than mine:
"I sense something, a moral realm, so there is a moral realm" does not follow but yet you think it does. It's not even an implied conclusion on your part but an affirmation, undemonstrated and unsubstantiated.

As I've stated, it's not my sense of morality that I doubt, it's that this "sense" senses something existing objectively in a metaphysical reality.

Vic 2.0 wrote:And if something cannot be falsified, then it's simply the matter of fact that you can't disprove it, and therefore where WOULD you get the justification for saying it's false?

As Dragan Glass re-stated and which I'll state again: how does that justify saying it's true?

I can repeat it "how do you know?" and "why don't you show it?" for you to ignore again and convince yourself your belief is warranted but that will not make it so.

Until something is demonstrated to exist, which you have not and appear to refuse to do, how are we warranted to believe it exists?

Vic 2.0 wrote:Face it, if there were a good refutation for my reasoning someone would've articulated it right here on the thread by now.

How did you evaluate, beyond your personal subjective opinion, that there is no good refutation for your "reasoning"?

Because personally, since it appears we're allowed to use personal evaluations, I'm still waiting for good reasoning on your part and I have mmuch confidence that I will be waiting a long time. While good refutations have been provided aplenty with no rebuttals on your part.

Strange isn't it? How we disagree on this subjective matter? But yet we wouldn't on an objective matter such as the shape, size, color, etc. of a car.

Hmmm, where do moral values and obligations fall to?

And to add:
Vic 2.0 wrote:I'm saying that we trust our SENSES to give us an ACCURATE picture of reality. I see no reason why a person shouldn't trust their moral senses in the same way.

...
So I'll point this out again:
Person 1 has a sense of morality that gives him a picture of reality where it's acceptable to buy and own human beings as slaves.
Person 2 has a sense of morality that gives him a picture of reality where it isn't acceptable to buy and own human beings as slaves.

Person 3 comes along and has a sense of morality that gives him a picture of reality where it's acceptable to buy and own human beings as slaves.

Therefore, should it be obviously real that it is morally acceptable to buy and own human beings as slaves? How would a person go to determine which person is flawed/lying to themselves and which person has an accurate picture of morality?

Who am I kidding, I won't be getting an answer...
"Slavery is morally ok" -
"I don't know how the burden of proof works in the mind of atheists but I don't have to prove my claims" -
Public information messages from the League of Reason's christians
Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:06 pm
Vic 2.0Posts: 23Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2017 10:51 pm

Post Re: Are moral values objectively real?

You are now INTENTIONALLY misrepresenting my argument, because I've corrected you on this already. You say,

""You don't doubt question the reality of your physical senses so why doubt the metaphysical sense I assert you have. If you doubt it, you're a liar. I don't have to provide evidence it exists" is the whole of your "argument""

Again, I am NOT asserting that you sense morality (even though you yourself go on to affirm that you do, so I don't see what you're complaining about). The argument is not to prove the existence of objective morality, it is to respond to skepticism of it. It is to say that I've no more reason to doubt MY moral senses than I do to doubt my "physical" senses (Remember that to call them "physical senses" as a way of asserting they're better established than the "metaphysical" sense of morality is to assume the accuracy of those senses, which are what's on trial to begin with - that is, again, circular logic). They could just as easily be "in the mind" as the moral senses most people do indeed seem to have.

And again, someone NOT having a moral sense does nothing to show that the moral realm doesn't exist, just like a blind person not being able to see light doesn't stop it from existing.

I never called you a liar, but I think you're going out of your way to distort my rebuttals NOW, sure.

So I would like this... misunderstanding between us to disappear before I continue conversing with you in particular.
Fri Feb 24, 2017 9:56 pm
momo666Posts: 30Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2015 11:25 am Gender: Time Lord

Post Re: Are moral values objectively real?

momo666, it is the very reality of the same senses that TELL us we've evolved at all, that are on trial in that age-old philosophical question. That is why belief in the reality of the external world as you perceive it is an evidenceless one, because you have to assume the reality of the senses on trial (which is circular logic).

But are they really on trial here ? It seems to me that the one who proposes this type of argument merely threathens to put it on trial, never actually going though with his threat.
Words like "real", "true" or "false" are concepts we use to describe things and their relationship to the external world. What this argument does is in itself a form of circular reasoning. It tries to use methods of verification derived, in part, from the observation of the external world and in the next breath call into question the reality of the external world using methods of verification that are a derivation of the said external world. It really is a form of sophisticated gibberish.

It seems to me that the one putting forward such an argument is guilty of circular reasoning, not the one questioning it.

The problem is that it ISN'T intuition we're talking about, but an actual sensing OF the moral realm. A feeling, but not in the sense of "This doesn't feel right". A sense, but not in the same way as the phrase "common sense". We do not say "It makes sense and sounds right to me that 'It's wrong to rape little girls'". Rather, we say "I can SENSE that it's wrong to rape little girls". And that's not to mention the presumption that the external physical "reality" is indeed real, which is the entire point of bringing up skepticism of our "physical" senses.

Yeah, you kind of lost me. Could you expand on this "sense" you are talking about ? Cause I can assure you, it does not seem to be as obvious as burning your finger. Obviously we are talking about something deeper here.

And if something cannot be falsified, then it's simply the matter of fact that you can't disprove it, and therefore where WOULD you get the justification for saying it's false?

You don't. But that does not stop you from saying it is not true. Since you also lack the justification of saying it is true, that you can do. But we can go deeper than that. What justification do you have for thinking that is a possibility ?
Not to mention, what differentiates a claim that cannot be falsified from a bare assertion ? Surely our standards are not that low.

"Also, it's true that evidence of absence does not show that X is false. But until X is shown to be true, we can surely assume it is not true(by this I don't mean I make the positive assertion that it is false but merely withholding the attribute of being true)"


Well see, those are two different things, or wordplay to make an irrational stance sound more rational than it is.

I am not trying to be funny or anything. I think that is a rational position. My vat apple might not be possible to test, and therfore I cannot say it does not exist. But I also cannot say it does exist. I can not say it is false. I can not say that is true. Being true is a propety it has not yet achieved.

Oh, and BTW, the "vat apple" analogy isn't a very strong one, it seems to me, because we don't know of such an object existing but we do in fact know that electrodes can stimulate the human brain to make a person "see", "hear", etc. things that are not there. So we know it's possible in a very different way, than just being LOGICALLY possible.


There is something of a double standard here and a possible crack in the armor. Why would it matter if we do not know of a vat apple existing ? The whole point of this argument is the discussion of unproven, unfalsifiable mental concepts. We also do not know of functioning brains in a vat but that obviously is not enough to stop the conversation.
About the crack in the armor. You actually postulate a way that this vat world is functioning. In doing this you betray the fact that you are copying observations of our world and applying them to your mental concept. So you say that it is possible in a very different way, but that way is an observation deduced from our world. So how exactly is this working ?

This is assuming the very thing I'm responding with skepticism OF. How do we know the so-called "PHYSICAL" senses are not in reality mental ones? The answer is, we don't. Forget the mad scientist version of the "brain in the vat" question, how bout this just all being a very detailed DREAM? The point remains that these are akin to each other, unless we presuppose the very thing we're supposed to be questioning (and in that case, why not presuppose the moral realm too?)


Come to think of it, they are mental aren't they ? Our nerves don't actually feel pain, our brain releases chemicals forcing us to listen to the nerves. So I think I require a clarification here. How do we rephrase the question to make sense ? Because at this point, I hear "How do we know our mental state(pain) is not in reality a mental state ?"

It doesn't seem to me that it would conflict with believing moral values were objective. One could simply say "We evolved so that we could better DETECT morality, than before". But conversely, what if we only experience our PHYSICAL senses for the sake of some other, hidden purpose? What if we are Boltzmann brains who would go mad if we knew the truth, and therefore we evolved these senses to lock us into an imaginary world for the sake of our sanities?


Hold on a second there. You mean if we could explain fully why we "feel" bad when killing someone, for example, that would not do anything to your argument ? There would be no need for any metaphysical talk after that point. It would just be adding meaningless and unnecessary entities where they are not needed. It would be like saying the world needs a huge elf to keep spinning even though we understand fully why it is spinning and at no point does it require a metaphysical extra entity.

Not only that, but should we get that explanation, you can no longer play the solipsism card. Anything else extra you suggest needs to be backed up. If this "sense" of morality is indeed found to be fully biological, any suggestion for extra components requires evidence and argument. The paralel to the brain in a vat won't cut it at that point.

Also, are you a dualist ? Cause that implies a whole lot of stuff on by itself. I think you are not, if I'm not mistaken you see moral truths to be similar to mathematical ones. But if that is the case, what is this "feeling" you are talking about? I can certainly "feel" like infinity is impossible, but mathematics tells us that is not the case. So it seems to me that this "feeling" is merely an evolutionary trait; ie. we can't deal with ignorance, better a wrong answer than none at all.

I'll reiterate again, because I think this is a crucial point, that we have NO knowledge of ANY world, with respect to this question. We don't know of any world in which we are not brains in vats. And so it seems like your objection to putting the two possibilities on equal footing just doesn't work, because it presumes we have more reason to be skeptical of one than the other. And that's just not true.


We have knowledge of a world. That in which we find ourselves. From there on we create concepts such as "true" and "reality" to describe how good our mental map is in accordance with what we observe.
To question the reality of the world we find ourselves in while using the tools created in order to reflect the world we observe seems like circular reasoning to me.
As for which one world should we be more skeptical about that seems rather simple. The world in which we are brains in a vat is a mental concept, created using tools that we invented in order to check our hypothesis against the external world.

If one is to take the solipsism question seriously, then surely the brain in a vat problem is one assumption further away than the assumption/observation that our external world exists. I don't see how they can be equal in any way.

By the way, maybe you can answer this question for me. I heard it somewhere and I am curious: How do you differentiate between the metaphysical and the non-existent ?
Fri Feb 24, 2017 10:01 pm
Vic 2.0Posts: 23Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2017 10:51 pm

Post Re: Are moral values objectively real?

"But are they really on trial here ?"
If our "physical" senses are not on trial, then our moral senses shouldn't be either. That's the argument, in a nutshell.

"It seems to me that the one putting forward such an argument is guilty of circular reasoning, not the one questioning it."
Not at all, because the logic is sound even if we assume the physical world as we perceive it ISN'T real. We don't have to rely on any experiences we have in this world (imaginary or otherwise) for the logic of the question to be valid.

And obviously the moral sense is not going to have a physical feeling to it (unless you count feelings of disgust or something like this maybe?) Nevertheless it's definitely a sense people use frequently (whether they admit it in conversations loosely related to religion or not).

"The whole point of this argument is the discussion of unproven, unfalsifiable mental concepts."

Absolutely not. Remember that it is first and foremost about that moral sense we tend to heed, and then about DEFENDING our trust in that sense by showing how a parallel attack could be leveled at the belief in the reality of the external world as we sense it.

And so I'll gladly concede that your vat apple analogy is hereby defended from one angle, but the question of where you get the SENSE of a vat apple (particularly if it's, as you say, to all senses identical to actual apples) still reveals how the analogy isn't altogether good.

Thank you for admitting, however, that in both cases we could write the senses off as purely mental. I think that concession further shows how strong this parallel really is.

"Hold on a second there. You mean if we could explain fully why we "feel" bad-"

Why are we putting "feel" in quotations. Are you trying to be sneaky? :P It would still be a feeling, whether it was a product of evolution or otherwise. And I'll add that evolution says we evolved EVERY sense we have, and so this further completes the parallel! We evolved the sense of SIGHT, for example. Does that mean light didn't exist before we saw it? Or that we should question whether or not it's real because we understand how we came about seeing it? Absolutely none of these attempts to refute belief in objective morality work.

"Also, are you a dualist ?"

I really don't have a view on that subject.

"We have knowledge of a world."

That's simply false, for the reasons I've given. We have experiences, but we can by no means say that we've better reason to think the "physical" senses we experience are any more trustworthy than our moral senses.

"How do you differentiate between the metaphysical and the non-existent ?"

I would simply go by the dictionary definitions? One means "in addition to the physical world" and the other means "it doesn't exist in any way".
Fri Feb 24, 2017 11:42 pm
PreviousNext
Post new topic Reply to topic  Page 2 of 5
 [ 96 posts ] 
Return to Philosophy

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests
cron