Humanism

Pretty much sums up the frustration of modern academics

This topic contains 175 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Reg the Fronkey Farmer 4 months, 1 week ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 136 through 150 (of 176 total)
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  • #31851

    Davis
    Participant

    I would do it the same way the people in the study did, using a representative sample of the world’s societies.

    That wouldn’t PROVE anything. That would just be anthropological documentation of human behaviour. Not finding a single human society that agreed or disagreed with any moral law doesn’t prove (or falsify) it as a moral truth. A moral truth cannot be verified or falsified like a scientific law. It is in an entire different realm, culturally dependent, completely subjective and only meaningful within a moral system. “Universal moral law” is an absurdity. They don’t exist. They cannot.

    I’m just putting a point of view that some people have.

    Why would we care about what these people have to say. It’s nonsense.

    The “background” of moral philosophy has not produced much of any use.  I’ve availed myself of it where necessary.

    Well it hasn’t served you enough. We aren’t asking you to read Kant’s magnum opus on morality or volumes of analytical philosophy. Just a short intro. Read the bloody book Simon. For god sakes it should take you only a few hours. Zheesh

    #31852

    Unseen
    Participant

    No. To assert as much is the logical fallacy called “composition.”

    How can you assert, therefore, that there are no universal morals? How would you design a study to show that there are or are not? I would do it the same way the people in the study did, using a representative sample of the world’s societies. I would have a longer list of universal principles to look for.

    Were a prohibition on murder to be a fact, to deny it would be an absurdity like denying that water is wet.

    For the 19th time, I agree with you. I’m just putting a point of view that some people have. I am not one of them. I do not think this.

    I think Davis has suggest you background yourself a bit in moral philosophy. I agree.

    The “background” of moral philosophy has not produced much of any use. I’ve availed myself of it where necessary.

     

    Any further “studies” would be superfluous and gratuitous. It’s been established factually that different societies have different moral codes. I’m not the one making an extraordinary claim here. “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

    Many people believe all kinds of stuff. So what? Why are you asserting this obvious fact?

    Thomas Edison discussing his many failed attempts at making the light bulb: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Moral philosophy has shown us what won’t work, which would be progress. But even that assumes there is any there there. Perhaps the failure you see in moral philosophy is due to your assumption that somehow, some way, there absolutely must be some factual, eternal, objective, necessarily existing basis for our moral beliefs…perhaps that “failure” comes from the possibility there there is none. The progress moral philosophy has made for many philosophers is the notion that morality is a human invention serving very human psychological needs.

    #31853

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Any further “studies” would be superfluous and gratuitous. It’s been established factually that different societies have different moral codes. I’m not the one making an extraordinary claim here. “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

    That’s a simplistic cop-out.

    there absolutely must be some factual, eternal, objective, necessarily existing basis for our moral beliefs…

    There is.  It’s called being a human being on planet Earth.

    The progress moral philosophy has made for many philosophers is the notion that morality is a human invention serving very human psychological needs.

    That’s all well and good, and I agree with this.  But the reason I see it as largely a failure is that it hasn’t put anything useful into the hands of ordinary people.  Religion, on the other hand, is stuffed full of moral philosophy that ordinary people can use.  That’s where religion succeeds and philosophy has so far failed.

    Traditional moral philosophy turns itself inside out studying something that it acknowledges it’s never seen: actual morality.  I’ve spent 8 years studying actual morality.  I think that’s a more tidy way round.

    #31854

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Not finding a single human society that agreed or disagreed with any moral law doesn’t prove (or falsify) it as a moral truth. A moral truth cannot be verified or falsified like a scientific law.

    Use your eyes to read the words I have written, about 20 times:

    For the 19th time, I agree with you. I’m just putting a point of view that some people have. I am not one of them. I do not think this.

    Kant’s magnum opus on morality

    Why would I read this?  It’s a failure.

    #31855

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Not finding a single human society that agreed or disagreed with any moral law doesn’t prove (or falsify) it as a moral truth. A moral truth cannot be verified or falsified like a scientific law.

    Yes, even though I agree with you, I will still put the other side:  would not a universal principle be a good candidate for a moral fact? What’s the difference?

    #31856

    Karuna
    Participant

    I think Simon you are using the correspondence theory of truth. In a basic way it means what you believe is true can be proven by finding out the corresponding empirical fact in the world.

    For example if you think that the Pyramids are in Egypt. Then if you go there and see them then what you believe corresponds to truth.

    However there are different types of truth.

    For example there are logical truth. Which don’t need empirical evidence.

    Like you know that square circles are impossible.

    Or thruth in mathematics,

    Or counterfactual truths

    In fact Kant stuff is a priori So it would be pointless to go out looking in the world to prove or disprove his philosophical arguments.

    There is a book short book called “The Problems of philosophy” by B Russell

    Which is good introduction.

    There are also another book called “Kant a complete introduction” by R Wicks.

    I found that book useful as the author explains in simple language Kant’s way of thinking and Arguing, and his theory of knowledge first.

    He then later sections explains his moral theory.

    I don’t have any formal training in philosophy so for me it was useful.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    #31857

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    When people say “objective morality exists”, what they usually mean is “my morals are objectively true”.  So, they are confounding what is psychologically true for them, with objective truth.  I think that at heart is the problem they face.

    I agree with *everyone* that “moral truth” is always going to be unproveable either way.

    As for universal moral principles, that’s much more plausible.  But the sub-set chosen by @unseen is set up to fail.

    #31858

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    That would just be anthropological documentation of human behaviour.

    I.e., human morality.  I’m not saying that the study proves universal principles, but it has found some good candidates.

    It also comes down to the question, how many people have to agree with a principle to make it a principle?  Anti-social people believe they can take what they want from others.  Does that make anti-social behaviour an ethical principle?

    #31859

    Hume and Kant both believe that philosophy should dig beneath the surface of morality and present a theory of its foundation. When it comes to morality’s foundation, they seem to agree on two things. First, morality’s foundation cannot be located in religion. Second, it cannot be found in mind-independent facts about the world. Yet they disagree about the rest of the story. Hume locates the foundation of morality in human nature, primarily in our emotional responses to the behavior of our fellow human beings. By contrast, Kant locates the foundation of morality in the rational nature that we share with all possible finite rational beings…….

    ……..These rival conceptions of morality and its foundation correspond to two very different approaches to moral philosophy. Hume’s approach could be called naturalistic, empirical, or experimental. His moral philosophy is part of his larger endeavor to provide a naturalistic explanation of human nature as a whole. Hume’s approach relies on and reflects his philosophy of mind, which is empirical in its approach. He treats ethics, together with psychology, history, aesthetics, and politics, as the subject of his “moral science”. Hume often seems more interested in explaining morality as a natural phenomenon than in setting out a normative ethical theory, treating moral action as part of the same physical world in which we explain things in terms of cause and effect…………

    ………In sharp contrast with Hume, Kant insists on the need for an a priori investigation of morality’s foundation. His detailed treatment of virtue and moral judgment draws heavily on observations and ideas about human nature. But Kant makes explicit that morality must be based on a supreme moral principle, which can only be discovered a priori, through a method of pure moral philosophy. By “pure” or a priori moral philosophy, Kant has in mind a philosophy grounded exclusively on principles that are inherent in and revealed through the operations of reason. According to Kant, morality’s commands are unconditional. We could never discover a principle that commands all rational beings with such absolute authority through a method of empirical moral philosophy. An empirical approach, he argues, can tell us how people do act, but it cannot tell us how we ought to act. Moreover, we must keep the pure and empirical parts of moral philosophy clearly distinguished, since if we do not, we could find ourselves confusing conditional truths, such as what is prudentially good for certain individuals or species, with unconditional truths about fundamental moral requirements.

    Source

    #31860

    Unseen
    Participant

    Unseen wrote: Any further “studies” would be superfluous and gratuitous. It’s been established factually that different societies have different moral codes. I’m not the one making an extraordinary claim here. “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” That’s a simplistic cop-out. there absolutely must be some factual, eternal, objective, necessarily existing basis for our moral beliefs…

    There is.  It’s called being a human being on planet Earth.

    So, to summarize, being human on planet earth is an eternal objective fact.

    I deny that. It’s simply not true and is, additionally, beside the point.

     

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by  Unseen.
    #31862

    Davis
    Participant

    It also comes down to the question, how many people have to agree with a principle to make it a principle? Anti-social people believe they can take what they want from others. Does that make anti-social behaviour an ethical principle?

    What a moral principle is depends entirely on the moral system. Deontological systems generate entirely different principles than utilitarian ones. Virtue ethics is also an entirely different ball game. If you have developed your own idiosyncratic systems then fine, whatever principles emerge from them…are principles. I don’t think there are moral-principle police. I can certainly look at the frame work of a moral system and then claim that some moral laws are inconsistent with that framework. That’s all I can do. Point out that they are inconsistent. The logic isn’t sound. What I cannot do is confirm that they are or not absolute moral truths. Cause those don’t exist. We live in an empty meaningless universe and we won’t find any absolute moral truths hidden under some carpet somewhere out there in the universe.

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by  Davis.
    #31864

    Unseen
    Participant

    Unseen wrote: Any further “studies” would be superfluous and gratuitous. It’s been established factually that different societies have different moral codes. I’m not the one making an extraordinary claim here. “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

    That’s a simplistic cop-out.

    Who is promoting simplistic ideas here? Not me!

    #31865

    Unseen
    Participant

    I’m not saying that the study proves universal principles, but it has found some good candidates.

    It also comes down to the question, how many people have to agree with a principle to make it a principle?  Anti-social people believe they can take what they want from others.  Does that make anti-social behaviour an ethical principle?

    Let’s imagine a principle that is so widely held that everyone agrees it must always be followed. (I can’t think of one, but just for the sake of argument…) Does it follow ipso facto that it actually must be adhered to by all people under every circumstance?

    No. That simply does not follow.

    By their nature, principles have no truth value. Truth is true believe it or don’t. Principles are not true or false, they adopted or not adopted. We follow them or we don’t.

    #31869

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    Hume and Kant

    I’m with Hume: morality is an evolved psychological matter.  I think Kant went wrong by trying to insist it’s rational and moreover, absolute.

    As an evolved psychological matter, we can investigate it from an evolutionary standpoint.  I think that modern morality rests on four or five evolved phenomena:  1) the pressure to thrive, survive and reproduce; 2) empathy; 3) cooperation; 4) physical disgust; 5) primate mate-guarding.

    #31870

    Simon Paynton
    Participant

    a principle that is so widely held that everyone agrees it must always be followed. (I can’t think of one, but just for the sake of argument…) Does it follow ipso facto that it actually must be adhered to by all people under every circumstance?

    That’s the nature of normativity or ought-ness – it exists in the minds of people.  So, if everyone thinks something must be adhered to, then it must.  What happens if someone fails to adhere to it?  That’s their free choice.

    So, to summarize, being human on planet earth is an eternal objective fact.

    I deny that. It’s simply not true and is, additionally, beside the point.

    It’s true, unless some of us are snails living on Mars.  It’s entirely the point, since it means that we all share commonalities in our existence, and these commonalities can plausibly give rise to at least a common structure for morality.

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