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    David Hume said something about Facts and Values.





    Guess it’s about trying to figure out some basic stuff we all want to have answers to,?

    Like why there is natural evil in the world, even if there is a free will defence by Alvin Plantiga.

    Why do innocents suffer?

    In the old testament in the book of Job.

    theodicy has some good explanation, but so has Jung

    In “Answer to Job”


    Or even Euthyphro dilemma?




    God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?
    Friedrich Nietzsche

    Sapereaude What Is Enlightenment?” Kant?

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by  Karuna.


    Maybe Simon Payton it might go like this.

    Cooperation as a fitness for obligate cooperators in Hunter gatherer group. As a survival mechanism. From cooperation primitive fairness develops likely through instincts. Joint attention joint goals.

    Increasing numbers in those groups and competition between groups also primitive division of labour in groups. Leads need to identify who is in the group and who is not.
    Leads to development of primitive group cultures. Shared narratives, art, beliefs, norms.

    As the group culture is transmitted across generations. Being obligate cooperators, fitness now means alignment to the social norms and culture. Before it was adaptation to the physical environment, now fitness also includes adaptation to the group created culture and norms.

    Dialectical relationship between cultural evolution as in memes and biological evolution in that culture. Human brains evolve to adapt to that culture. ( Normal cooperative psychology Vs pathologic psychology)

    Development of higher culture and through transmission over generations across time and refinement through language and storage & transmission and discussion peer review.

    Example logic from primitive logic to propositional to predicate. Or primitive cooperation leading to cultural evolution through Menes to justice as fairness.




    Cultural Evolution = Social Justice=Justice as fairness




    Simon Payton,

    The book by Michael Tomasello you refer to.

    The same author has written a summary of his findings. In this short free access article.

    It maybe helpful for people on this discussion to read it.

    Maybe it might make your arguments more clear?


    The book you mentioned by James Rachels.

    The elements of moral philosophy.

    That’s pretty good as well,

    Simon Blackburn book I haven’t read it.



    I read, about it when you attack the person instead of the person’s argument.

    I think it’s called argumentum ad hominem,

    That’s what poor politicians do not what you do in moral philosophy.

    Anyway Michael Tomasello’s life work is  evolutionary anthropology.

    His book which Simon Payton is describing a natural history of human morality.

    It’s not a book about moral philosophy. It’s a thesis on how humans developed morals, from different scientific perspectives.

    I think the reason there’s no answer in this argument is because people are making arguments from different areas.

    For example

    It’s if you have a new bridge crossing a river.

    One person might discuss how the bridge was constructed say for example a structural engineer.

    Another person might look at the cost of building the  from a moral point of view. For example if in the area similar bridges there was a very high rate of suicide by people jumping from them.

    The structural engineer and the moral philosopher are both discussing the common subject the “bridge” but from different disciplines.



    In summary of this discussion? pretty much sums up the frustration of modern atheists!



    In my opinion

    Appeal to Nature is an argument and informal fallacy where something is believed to be good because it is natural, or bad because it is unnatural.

    Evolution and biology  are non-moral.

    ( It’s not in the same category as morals)

    It’s a category mistake to equate the two.

    In this current universe cooperation in humans  exist because this is what the environment was to create this particular evolved fitness phenomena.

    If the environment was different ( what determines the environment are physical processes) then a different type evolved fitness phenomena would arise potentially with no cooperation.

    Think of the Dinosaurs and the random event which led to their end which changed the environment from which mammals evolved. If that never happened then there potentially would be no humans.

    Biology Evolution and the natural world has no teleology. If you did happen to think that there is a purpose for evolution, to create humans to then for morality to develop.

    Then it’s kind of like saying the physical world has a purpose to create humans and their morality. It’s just another way of expressing a belief in God.

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by  Karuna.


    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.











    You could say that It’s useful to have morality. Also we all experience morality every day. It’s one of the things which keeps societies stable. Mackie is asking an ontological question about moral facts.

    In my opinion he’s not saying that there are no  human morals.

    For example take the human construct of money. Say an American dollar. It exists for us in our everyday lives, we use it.

    But does it exist independent of human minds? Like gravity?

    Point being that things which are human constructs do appear real to people & they can be very useful.

    In the Groundwork Kant says the same thing you do. It’s obvious that there is a common morality

    ( transition from common rational morality to Philosophical morality)

    But what do you have to presuppose it’s existence?

    He goes on to look at his own metaphysical explanations, then to pure practical reason.

    But there might be a more simple and empirical explanation for human morality.

    One which looks at our evolutionary history as a species and biology.

    I wonder if Kant knew about Evolution and biology would he think differently about the metaphysics of morals?



    I read some stuff by JL Mackie, about this. The question he puts  is if moral facts do exist. That if they are real, if they exist independent of human minds? What are they like?

    For example we know that gravity exists as a fact in the physical world.

    Even if there were no minds the fact and properties of gravitational force would still be true.

    But moral truths are not like truths about gravity. In some sense they are queer/strange when we look at them compared to other facts.

    The other thing is if there are moral facts which are similar to other facts like the properties and facts about gravity.

    Then we would all agree to what they are. But there are among human cultures different moral ideas exist. Even the philosophers have their different moral theories, Kant, Mill,  Aristotle and others.

    What you then have is Philosophers using their techniques of making philosophical arguments to support or refute particular moral theories.



    I think what Simon Payton is saying is that each culture has forms. Like platonic forms or archetypes. There is such a thing as Spartan, and Quaker helping as a structure. Or there is such a thing as law.
    Is it the form which is universal, compared to the specific content.

    The relative part is the contents of the structure so Spartan laws would be different to Quaker laws. However in my opinion both the Spartan and the Quaker would to some extent agree what a law is and what its use is in their respective societies.



    I was thinking, if humans went through a Hunter gatherer stage and later formed complex societies. Then when they were in small groups they needed cooperation to survive.
    That cooperation requires group norms like don’t kill don’t steal stuff like that.
    This cooperative behaviour would actually be adaptive.
    Culture would aid in the transmission of those norms.
    This might be the common morality of all human groups. If you like a base morality.
    It’s base because they are the norms and requirements for any cooperative group.
    Like a primitive social contract?
    Then depending on local circumstances you will get a superstructure of relative moral norms contingent of local factors and history and culture
    I think this is what Noam Chomsky was saying in the video. That if there is culture then you have to presuppose at least a common morality. Because a specific type of norms are required to aid social cooperation. For culture to be transmitted it requires cooperative group stability over the generations.

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