Is morality objective or subjective?

Author: Fallaneze ,

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  • Fallaneze
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    For the purpose of this thread, "objective morality" is the position that some moral propositions, like "killing someone without sufficient justification is morally wrong" are *factually* true. If morality is subjective, all moral propositions, such as the one mentioned above, can only be an opinion-based truth (not a fact-based truth.)




  • Reece101
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    --> @Fallaneze
    In terms of morality I define objectivity as a shared/common idea (not necessarily moral) while subjectivity is kept to an individual (not necessarily immoral).

    So for me morality is both subjective and objective. 

    Morality: principles concerning the d͟i͟s͟t͟i͟n͟c͟t͟i͟o͟n͟ between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour.


  • RationalMadman
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    Morality is subjective, Law is objective and Ethics is the mixing of the two.
  • zedvictor4
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    --> @Fallaneze
    Anything derived from internal data processing is subjective.

    So I'm not sure if there is really such a thing as objectivity.

    Because to assume that one is proffering an objective thought is to be subjective.

    I would suggest that social morality can only be a collective decision, based on a subjectively acquired consensus.
  • Reece101
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    --> @zedvictor4
    So you’re a solipsist?
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @Fallaneze
    People being killed is dependent on people existing to be killed... and also to determine what constitutes sufficient justification which is itself a subjective judgement on our part. I would call that pretty subjective. 
     If morality is subjective, all moral propositions, such as the one mentioned above, can only be an opinion-based truth (not a fact-based truth.)
    As for this^^
    If enough people accept a standard for judging morality, say by observing a set of agreed upon laws established by an accepted government or the dogmatic rules laid out by a very old and self contradicting book, then it is an objective fact that you will be punished if proven guilty (another subjective distinction) regardless of your personal opinion.

  • Fallaneze
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    --> @secularmerlin
    By "fact" I mean "true independent of opinion." 

    All that matters is whether the proposition is factually true - it does not matter whether the proposition happens, can happen, has happened, will happen, or is likely to happen.

    The moral proposition can be factually true while still having a subjective interpretation of what constitutes sufficient justification.




  • secularmerlin
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    --> @Fallaneze
    Without any intelligence to make moral judgements there is no morality. It is and can only be a matter of opinion even if having enough people share an opinion can create the illusion of objectivity by holding people to the same standard whether they personally agree or not.
  • Fallaneze
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    --> @secularmerlin
    Or morality doesn't disappear even if nobody existed, just as math wouldn't disappear even if nobody existed (2 + 2 would still equal four even if nobody were around).There just wouldn't be anybody around to cognize that abstract concept. The ability to cognize an abstract concept is different than whether that abstract concept is a fact-based truth or an opinion-based truth.

  • secularmerlin
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    --> @Fallaneze
    Math is a thought process. Without thoughts there is no math.
  • Fallaneze
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    --> @secularmerlin
    The mathematical relationships between things wouldn't disappear if humanity became extinct. 
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @Fallaneze
    They are not mathematical relationships they are just relationships. Math is merely the language we have invented to discuss them.
  • Fallaneze
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    --> @secularmerlin
    Yes I'm saying the relationships would still be there even if everyone died out. There would still be mathematical truths that could be described by language 
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @Fallaneze
    The universe would continue to move and if someone where alive to describe those movements they could invent language to do so but the movements are not the math describing the movements they are the movements. Math is a human invention used to give us convenient reference points when discussing the universe nothing more.

  • zedvictor4
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    --> @Reece101
    Well, we are pretty hopeful that what we perceive externally is correct.

    Though there is that momentary lapse when  external imagery or sensation is converted into internally recognisable data.

    Interaction with our external environment would also appear to be fairly conclusive though.

    So solipsist? No not really.

    I would prefer to be regarded as someone who aspires to be realistic.

  • Reece101
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    --> @zedvictor4
    I would prefer to be regarded as someone who aspires to be realistic.

    Don’t we all.
  • Fallaneze
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    --> @secularmerlin
    Math doesn't come from the universe. Numbere are abstract concepts and therefore aren't comprised of anything physical.

    Also, fractions and negative numbers can't be described by the theory that our knowledge of math corresponds with observation of material objects. You can't observe something that wasn't just a collection of positive "1's." 

    Calculus was discovered simultaneously by Liebniz and Newton. If math is just an invention that wouldn't happen.
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @Fallaneze
    Math is just a language. That using this language two men came to similar conclusions is not at all surprising. As for fractions that is referring to a part of an object and negative numbers refer to a deficit of objects. That math allows us to refer not just to apples we see but slso.to apples we owe or are owed or just that we need is amazing but it is a testament to human ingenuity not a ln inherent property of the universe.
  • Fallaneze
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    --> @secularmerlin
    I didn't see where you addressed my point that math is abstract and therefore not comprised of anything physical.

    I'll wait for you to show that math is just a language.

    Newton and Liebniz independently discovered calculus. By saying they drew similar conclusions because they used the same language of math is incoherent. Leibniz and Newton spoke different languages and arrived at their conclusions using symbology from their native languages. 

    Under a correspondence theory of math, every number is accounted for by its correspondence with a physical object. Parts of a whole, like a shattered rock, would merely be a collection of "1's", not fractions. A. Negative number can't have anything to physically correspond to.


  • Fallaneze
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    But we're starting to go down a rabbit hole. I was interested in discussing whether morality is objective or subjective.
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @Fallaneze
    But we're starting to go down a rabbit hole. I was interested in discussing whether morality is objective or subjective.
    Agreed. Math is really off topic.  In order to prove morals are objective I propose you show a truly objective standard. One that can be measured like one measures the temperature of soup or the speed at which venus orbits the sun. Do you have such a standard and if so why do humans not seem able to agree on the small minutia of morality? If such a metric existed would we not simply be able to get out the moralometer and measure the badness in men's hearts? Why would we bother with legal systems and juries? Surely if morality could be measured we wouldn't need to judge people innocent or guilty. Judgement is by its very nature subjective. A judgement is essentially an opinion. 

  • Fallaneze
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    --> @secularmerlin
    That is an erroneous starting point. We begin by asking ourselves whether moral subjectivism or moral objectivism is the more rational belief. Then, we examine the evidence on both sides to see which moral theory the weight of the evidence supports. Whichever moral theory has more evidence to support it should be the accepted theory.

    Not have a tangible "morality-o-meter" doesn't evidence moral subjectivism since this subject is abstract to begin with. Not having an empirical verification system an epistemic issue, not a ontological one. 

  • secularmerlin
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    --> @Fallaneze
    If there is no evidence that there is any objective morality (no perfect standard that can be calculated mathematically or measured physically) but there is evidence that people hold different subjective opinions about morality then subjective morality has been demonstrated and objective morality has not. Under those circumstances it is more rational to believe in the proposition that has been demonstrated than the one which has not.
  • Fallaneze
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    --> @secularmerlin
    "Evidence" means facts or information indicating whether something is true. We have evidence that there are objective moral truths. Rationally, intuitively, and empirically, the moral statement "punishing an innocent person is morally wrong" has more evidence supporting the conclusion that it's factually true than not. It's erroneous to require a mathematical or physical measurement to evidence objective morality. 

  • secularmerlin
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    --> @Fallaneze
    Innocent is prescriptive in this case not descriptive. We define  innocent as not guilty of wrongdoing. Everyone agrees (most everyone anyway it is subjective after all and some people do believe in general purpose punishment as a deterrent) that we should not punish someone who is not guilty of wrongdoing. What we disagree on (because it is subjective) is exactly what constitutes wrongdoing. That innocent people should not be punished is generally agreed upon. Who I'd and is not innocent is not. Please do not conflate prescriptive language with descriptive language it only muddies the water.