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AgnosticBoy

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For debate:
Do objective morals exist?
 

AgnosticBoy

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I haven't found any system of morality that establishes BOTH moral ontology (a foundation for objective morality) and a moral epistemology (a reliable way of knowing what those morals are). The theistic systems seem to have a good foundation but then they must first establish that God exists. Secular systems fall short when it comes to establish an objective moral ontology and it gets worse when it comes to moral epistemology. For instance, some may say that morality is a product of natural selection and that the process is objective. The problem is that morals are also derived from cultural needs, as well. How can we establish which morals are derived from culture/human input vs. those are about survival alone? Is survival even the only factor? Why would it be given the fact that the Universe at large doesn't care about survival? Why does survival objectively matter if a large asteroid can crash into Earth and wipe out man?
 
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AgnosticBoy

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Just some late night thoughts... 🌙

If evolution or any naturalistic system of morality produced objective morals, then why is it that good people (those who follow the rules) suffer and die unnatural deaths?

Why is it that some who don't follow the rules can die peacefully? How did the Roman Empire survive hundreds of years while allowing the practice of pederasty? I would expect an objective moral system to have natural consequences as opposed to just those imposed by society - otherwise, why follow them if nothing bad will happen?

Perhaps such moral systems lead to a society where only the strong and successful survive.
 
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William

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Morals are social opinions. Is there any known biological life-form other that human, where we can observe morality in practice? That would be the first place to look, as the confusion of human societies are too complex to gauge whether morals are objective or subjective - natural or contrived [assuming nature itself isn't a form of contriving].
 

William

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Search "is there observable morality in animals"

In The Bonobo and the Atheist, renowned primatologist Frans de Waal argues that moral behavior in humans is not predicated on religion. Drawing from extensive research on animals—primarily bonobos and chimpanzees, our nearest primate relatives—as well as research on fossil records of early hominids, he shows how evidence of moral sentiments, like empathy and altruism, predate the advent of religion by millennia and co-evolved in non-human primates as well as in humans. {source]
 

William

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Do objective morals exist?

I suppose that, this being a philosophical question, it is reaching beyond the known observation that morals do indeed objectively exist within human cultures.

Thus they can also be observed within nature - particularly within said human cultures.

It appears then that morals are a natural bi-product of biological life-forms, and are [currently] only able to be observed in the out-put of human expression/behavior, and not in moons and other planets...

The production [natural] brough about the advent of morality into nature, and so on that point I would have to answer the question with "Yes" - but only in relation to bio-logical animals which have evolved to the state whereby they are able to bring moral into their reality...

Search "Objective"
1.
(of a person or their judgement) not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts.
["historians try to be objective and impartial"]
Search "Morals"
1.
lessons that can be derived from a story or experience.
2.
standards of behaviour; principles of right and wrong.

Search "Ethnics"
1.
moral principles that govern a person's behaviour or the conducting of an activity.

2.
the branch of knowledge that deals with moral principles.


On the surface it appears that "objective" and "Morals" are oxymoron, thus the explanation for the thread Q. How do we combine the two opposing positions?
 

AgnosticBoy

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On the surface it appears that "objective" and "Morals" are oxymoron, thus the explanation for the thread Q. How do we combine the two opposing positions?
I don't see a conflict between 'objectivity' and your second definition for morality, i.e "standards of behaviour; principles of right and wrong." The objectivity part doesn't require that we take human assessment completely out of the picture, but rather it requires that we leave out opinion. The question requires that one show that there are moral standards that all humans should be following. That requires an assessment so we'll always be in the picture, even if nature is the foundation for morality.

Is there any known biological life-form other that human, where we can observe morality in practice? That would be the first place to look, as the confusion of human societies are too complex to gauge whether morals are objective or subjective - natural or contrived [assuming nature itself isn't a form of contriving].
Search "is there observable morality in animals"
Very good point to factor in. Non-human animals wouldn't have come up with their own moral standard, yet they seem to follow some standards of behavior. I've observed some animals even disciplining their young.

The problem with making nature or biology the foundation of objective morality is that then it justifies the psychopaths or the male lions that kill the other male lions and their offspring just so they can take over the pride. Both are following their nature or biology. At best, I think we can say that morality is part of nature, but that alone does not tell us which morals are good or bad.
 

William

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I don't see a conflict between 'objectivity' and your second definition for morality, i.e "standards of behaviour; principles of right and wrong." The objectivity part doesn't require that we take human assessment completely out of the picture, but rather it requires that we leave out opinion. The question requires that one show that there are moral standards that all humans should be following. That requires an assessment so we'll always be in the picture, even if nature is the foundation for morality.
Can you name any human moral rule which is not based upon opinion?
Very good point to factor in. Non-human animals wouldn't have come up with their own moral standard, yet they seem to follow some standards of behavior. I've observed some animals even disciplining their young.
Perhaps it is the opinion on the parent that discipline is required. Are we to factor that in to the invention of morals?
The problem with making nature or biology the foundation of objective morality is that then it justifies the psychopaths or the male lions that kill the other male lions and their offspring just so they can take over the pride. Both are following their nature or biology. At best, I think we can say that morality is part of nature, but that alone does not tell us which morals are good or bad.

Is it good or bad that males lions kill off the competition?

Or is it simply that the opportunity presents itself to do so?

How would our world be if every male lion was spared this?

Sometimes I think that we "Disneyfy" the real world by superimposing our fantasies of a perfect world onto something we do not regard as a perfect world.

Perhaps therein, humans invented morality in order to try to force a perfect world onto the real one they have been experiencing.

If so, this opens up the question;

Q: "What is it about humans which has the ability to comprehend a [supposed] "Perfect World", which is so obviously different from the real world?"

We search for answers...

What have our sciences done to answer this question?

Or is it a matter that our sciences are being used specifically like unto the male lions, suppressing the main herd while they go about sailing into a particular direction they have selected for themselves?

For the herd notes, [for example] that as grandiose as the latest space telescope is - hurtling and unfurling [fully shaded] toward it's destination some million miles out and, simply to peer into the secrets of the past to 'try and understand'...the heard understands that the money could be 'better spent' on creating a perfect world here in the heart of imperfection - so why is that not been done?

Why is the rest of the herd being experimented on and used for that one purpose?

Just so a few lions can have their names recorded for all time?

Is that moral?

_________________________________________________________________

Does it matter, since morals are really human inventions and are not aligned with the actual reality?

And to the Theist who might believe such, I would add a question to that one.

Q: Since this is not the perfect world you imagine, since you are thinking of kingdoms of plenty where this kind of thing cannot take place, why do morals matter hereabouts in this world, when they seem to serve better in these other imagined next level worlds?

For me in the middle, [Agnostic] I am somewhat undecided. I see the potential for humans to actually build a perfect world for themselves - irrespective of the chaos - and see those in the sciences attempting to do that.[through none other than the devices of the Sciences]
Unfortunately - not everyone is in favor of the perfect world envisioned - of the fiction-like story scientists are opening the door to...and so those not in favor are factored out, through invention...just like how the male lions deal with the male off-spring...not with morals but simply through the natural rule of the game-play of this reality...the School of Hard Knocks.
 

AgnosticBoy

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Can you name any human moral rule which is not based upon opinion?
I can't.

Perhaps it is the opinion on the parent that discipline is required. Are we to factor that in to the invention of morals?
We can be certain that it is not just opinion since non-human animals do it. I actually find some satisfaction in that because it is one of the few "facts" that we have about morality since it is backed by evidence.

Is it good or bad that males lions kill off the competition? Or is it simply that the opportunity presents itself to do so? How would our world be if every male lion was spared this?

Sometimes I think that we "Disneyfy" the real world by superimposing our fantasies of a perfect world onto something we do not regard as a perfect world.

Perhaps therein, humans invented morality in order to try to force a perfect world onto the real one they have been experiencing.

If so, this opens up the question;

Q: "What is it about humans which has the ability to comprehend a [supposed] "Perfect World", which is so obviously different from the real world?"

We search for answers...

What have our sciences done to answer this question?

Or is it a matter that our sciences are being used specifically like unto the male lions, suppressing the main herd while they go about sailing into a particular direction they have selected for themselves?

For the herd notes, [for example] that as grandiose as the latest space telescope is - hurtling and unfurling [fully shaded] toward it's destination some million miles out and, simply to peer into the secrets of the past to 'try and understand'...the heard understands that the money could be 'better spent' on creating a perfect world here in the heart of imperfection - so why is that not been done?

Why is the rest of the herd being experimented on and used for that one purpose?

Just so a few lions can have their names recorded for all time?

Is that moral?

_________________________________________________________________

Does it matter, since morals are really human inventions and are not aligned with the actual reality?

And to the Theist who might believe such, I would add a question to that one.

Q: Since this is not the perfect world you imagine, since you are thinking of kingdoms of plenty where this kind of thing cannot take place, why do morals matter hereabouts in this world, when they seem to serve better in these other imagined next level worlds?

For me in the middle, [Agnostic] I am somewhat undecided. I see the potential for humans to actually build a perfect world for themselves - irrespective of the chaos - and see those in the sciences attempting to do that.[through none other than the devices of the Sciences]
Unfortunately - not everyone is in favor of the perfect world envisioned - of the fiction-like story scientists are opening the door to...and so those not in favor are factored out, through invention...just like how the male lions deal with the male off-spring...not with morals but simply through the natural rule of the game-play of this reality...the School of Hard Knocks.
Can't find anything to disagree with here. It was good morning reading :coffee:

I can also say that we may never come up with a factual list of morals to abide by. I only bring up the topic to see if morality can be looked at in such a way. But if it can not, then of course we still need morality for practical reasons. I also think we'll need to learn to live with the perspective that our morality is not shared by everyone, but we still need to cooperate. Sorta like getting along despite our different worldviews and labels.
 
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William

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Perhaps it is the opinion on the parent that discipline is required. Are we to factor that in to the invention of morals?
We can be certain that it is not just opinion since non-human animals do it. I actually find some satisfaction in that because it is one of the few "facts" that we have about morality since it is backed by evidence.

What to you base your argument here on? Why should being an animal 'other than a human" make the slightest bit of difference re - opinion?

Take away the act of language, and opinion can still be noted.

For example:

Search "Mother keeps tabs on baby Orangutan"[/U]


Clearly opinion is involved in the body language of both Mother and Child...

This can and does evolve into morals.... "Do as I ask" "Do as you are told"...rules and regulations...
 

AgnosticBoy

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We can be certain that it is not just opinion since non-human animals do it. I actually find some satisfaction in that because it is one of the few "facts" that we have about morality since it is backed by evidence.
What to you base your argument here on? Why should being an animal 'other than a human" make the slightest bit of difference re - opinion?
I stand corrected. Based on your video and other research, I accept that non-human animals can have opinions and act on them. However, they don't have opinions in the same capacity as we do. Much of their opinions are instinctual instead of being consciously formed. The latter type is more relevant to my point, like when we invent religions or moral standards.
This can and does evolve into morals.... "Do as I ask" "Do as you are told"...rules and regulations...
It does, but I would not call it objective even if it is how things are. One example is if I lose my arm that doesn't mean that humans are supposed to have one arm. Having one arm is an impairment.

Thinking of is vs. ought, objective morality is not about how things are but how things should be.

I find the Christian position to be useful in that it makes me not assume that the natural world is all there is or that it is good just because it's natural. With that in mind, it leads me to question if evolution is good or would yield such, even if it is a foundation for morality. Euthyphro dilemma applies to both the theistic and naturalistic views.
 
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William

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However, they don't have opinions in the same capacity as we do. Much of their opinions are instinctual instead of being consciously formed.

This is unknown at present. How do you mean 'consciously formed'? Do you mean it is that humans think in terms of language constructs to do with spoken word?

[Not all humans think with words.]

I see no reason as to why we would have to conclude that animals with limited vocal capacity are somehow, therefore , acting on instinct.
 

AgnosticBoy

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This is unknown at present. How do you mean 'consciously formed'? Do you mean it is that humans think in terms of language constructs to do with spoken word?

[Not all humans think with words.]

I see no reason as to why we would have to conclude that animals with limited vocal capacity are somehow, therefore , acting on instinct.
By consciously formed, I meant deliberately forming a belief. I brought up an example of inventing a religion. In contrast, there are some beliefs that are so mundane that we don't have to actively form them. They form themselves and some may even be a product of instinct. For instance, if you want to open the door and then push it open, then that means you have an 'implicit belief' or acceptance that the door will open when pushed.
 

William

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By consciously formed, I meant deliberately forming a belief.
What is a belief but an opinion?

Has it been established that morality is the product of opinion?

If so, we can add belief to that list.
 

AgnosticBoy

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What is a belief but an opinion?

Has it been established that morality is the product of opinion?

If so, we can add belief to that list.
I'm undecided on whether or not all of morality is a product of opinion. Some standards are, and I'm unsure about others.
 

AgnosticBoy

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Which others?
There are moral standards that seem to be natural, like those that directly threaten survival. The moral standards based on opinion are likely to be the ones that we add to build on top of the basic standards. For instance, we can say that committed relationships are part of a moral standard that helps to ensure reproductive success and child rearing. But on top of that we also add on lifelong contracts (i.e. marriage), rules on divorce, rules on adultery, and so on, and that's where opinion and culture (or collective opinion). comes in.

On a side note, it's refreshing to go through an intellectual discussion involving two people that are willing to admit to not knowing. This makes debates feel like a process of searching for answers as opposed to those that tend to involve two members that already have their know it all minds made up, and both are not willing to budge not one inch from that. I know there are issues where things are known with a lot of certainty so debate on those matters should be more straightforward - less gray areas :).
 
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William

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Like all things unfolding, morals must have existed within "The Seed of Origins" - the unseen object which existed prior to exploding [germinating] as the "Big Bang"
 
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AgnosticBoy

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Here's another aspect to consider when talking about morality: are they fixed or are they subject to change.

I would imagine if morality was based on survival, then the morals that existed for prehistoric humans would most likely not apply to us today since we live in a different environment. For instance, I think humans back then would not have argued much about how long jail sentences or punishment should be because they probably had no infrastructure to hold prisoners. So most probably faced the death penalty. That would not be moral today given we have more resources, in the form of jails, to house prisoners. We're much more selective on who gets the death penalty.