Of course morality is subjective.

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  • Theweakeredge
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    You cannot derive an is from an ought, and you cannot derive an ought from an is

    What do I mean by that?

    Is - is referring to the state of reality, we live on planet Earth, writers write, jumping off of buildings is dangerous, etc, etc.. These are all descriptions of reality. They are telling us what reality is. 

    Ought - is referring to the state or reality we would prefer, you should be good, you should not lie, you should help others etc, etc.. These are prescriptions of reality. They are telling you what reality should be.

    To distinguish one from another is to distinguish fact from value, the fact-value difference in epistemology. 

    Essentially - you cannot claim that you should do something because something is the case. Why? Well, because that would assume the goal. Or the direction of the morals, there is no link between the specific moral claim and the claim of reality except for your own subjective take. However, if you were to include another ought in there, well, perhaps I should explain in an example.

    P1: Biting another person hurts
    Con:  Therefore you should not bite other people

    That is a non-sequitur, the conclusion does not necessarily lead from the premise, what if someone finds pain enjoyable? Therefore the accurate syllogism would be as follows:

    P1: Biting another person hurts
    P2:  people should avoid pain 
    Con: Therefore people should not bite other people 

    Do you see the difference? The second premise is something that changes the validity of the conclusion. 

    While it could still be the case that some people don't avoid pain, or shouldn't avoid pain, it makes the argument a sequitur, where the conclusion follows from the premises.

    But how does that lead us to morality being subjective?

    Simply put, that second premise simply cannot be based on a fact of reality, there is no link, and the conclusion can also not be based on a fact of reality, at every level there is a preference, or a goal inserted to make the syllogism valid. It is literally impossible for a moral ought to be based on entirely factual things, there has to be a prescription of which facts are preferrable and which aren't. This is the subjective nature of morality.


  • secularmerlin
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    --> @Theweakeredge
    Well stated.
  • MisterChris
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    In my subjective opinion this is objectively false.

    Wait...
  • Theweakeredge
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    --> @MisterChris
    A good take away there - to make a prescription is building on top of another prescription - you can add in facts to make that prescription more or less authoritative morally, but by themselves, you have to make assumptions to jump from that fact to the should.
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @MisterChris
    Excellent point humorously put.
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @Theweakeredge
    P1: human beings are social organisms.

    P2: some level of altruism is necessary for the survival of social organisms.

    C: human beings are objectively and biologically obligated to some level of altruism as a species. 

    This of course does not make any claims about the form, features, metric or prescribed levels of said altruism which are largely based on the subjective sensibilities of any given social group.


    As detailed in this informative video environment plays a decisive role in this metric.
  • Discipulus_Didicit
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    --> @Theweakeredge
    Essentially - you cannot claim that you should do something because something is the case. Why? Well, because that would assume the goal.
    In the case of people that believe morality to be objective that goal is assumed to be "to obey God".
  • Tarik
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    there has to be a prescription of which facts are preferrable and which aren't.
    There’s no such thing as a preferable fact, you observe them, you acknowledge them, and you accept them that’s it. There’s nothing to prefer here.

    For example what would you say if I asked what fact should be preferred and why, the sky being blue or the grass being green?
  • Theweakeredge
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    Incorrect, you have not comprehended the text above - the action to take based on a fact is the part that is subjective. I made that very clear.
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @Discipulus_Didicit
    Appeals to some god(s) doesn't actually lend any particular credibility to the idea of objective morals. The god(s) moral pronouncements can still be assumed to be nothing more than the god(s) subjective opinions about morality unless one could somehow demonstrate that these moral pronouncements were NOT CONTINGENT UPON the god(s) opinions. Assuming that morality isn't contingent upon any god(s) you must still demonstrate an objective moral standard INDEPENDENT of the demonstration of the god(s) you are positing.
  • Tarik
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    Incorrect, you have not comprehended the text above - the action to take based on a fact is the part that is subjective. I made that very clear.
    But that doesn’t make that action an ought which is what morality includes.
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @Tarik
    Morality is nothing more than a list of things one should or shouldn't do. Laws if you will. That is all it is. The actions one takes are not restricted by these laws in the same way one is constrained by say the laws of gravity. The difference between the two is the difference between objective and subjective. 
  • Theweakeredge
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    Morals are just a list of principles which inform what is good and what is bad, whether you prefer one principle over another is the intrinsically subjective bit, again I don't think you quite understand what morality is. 
  • Tarik
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    --> @secularmerlin
    Morality is nothing more than a list of things one should or shouldn't do. 
    The only way you prove that is through a God that says you should or shouldn’t do something.

    The actions one takes are not restricted by these laws in the same way one is constrained by say the laws of gravity.
    And that’s what separates the objectively good from the objectively bad.
  • Discipulus_Didicit
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    --> @secularmerlin
    My post was less about the subjective vs objective debate as a whole and more a response to the specific argument presented in the OP.
  • Tarik
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    Morals are just a list of principles which inform what is good and what is bad, whether you prefer one principle over another is the intrinsically subjective bit, again I don't think you quite understand what morality is. 
    Again, your explanation likes clarity because I agree but I receive that different from how you’re giving it to me I receive that as “objective” morals are just a list of principles which inform what is “objectively” good and what is “objectively” bad. You are right about one thing though, I don’t understand what subjective morality is that’s why I view it as objective.


  • Theweakeredge
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    Principles cannot be objective, they are subjective, furthermore which principle to prefer is the subjective part: You cannot derive an is from an ought.
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @Tarik
    Morality is nothing more than a list of things one should or shouldn't do. 
    The only way you prove that is through a God that says you should or shouldn’t do something.
    I do not need to prove that subjective moral systems exist owing to a number of observable human moral systems that are just that. Namely at the very least all human moral systems that are not directly based on some proposed god(s). Indeed the burden falls to you to demonstrate that some god(s)exist in the first place or else you cannot even put forward any god(s) as a possible cause for or source of anything. 

    The actions one takes are not restricted by these laws in the same way one is constrained by say the laws of gravity.
    And that’s what separates the objectively good from the objectively bad.
    Good and bad are definitionally subjective. They are only useful terms in this context based on some subjective standard. That being said if we can agree to some subjective standard we can objectively determine if some actions are good or bad for the purposes of maintaining or promoting that standard.
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @Discipulus_Didicit
    I understand and also assert that my clarification wasn't without merit. 
  • Tarik
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    Principles cannot be objective, they are subjective
    Prove it.
  • Tarik
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    --> @secularmerlin
    Namely at the very least all human moral systems that are not directly based on some proposed god(s).
    You’ve yet to prove those systems to be “moral”.

    Indeed the burden falls to you to demonstrate that some god(s)exist in the first place or else you cannot even put forward any god(s) as a possible cause for or source of anything.
    Keep that same energy when you want to call something subjectively moral.

    They are only useful terms in this context based on some subjective standard.
    What subjective standard is that?
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @Tarik
    You’ve yet to prove those systems to be “moral”.
    Appeals to authority do not absolve you of this problem. On other words while I do not disagree that this is problematic I would invite you to prove that some god(s) moral pronouncements are "moral"... right after you prove that any god(s) actually exists (a tall order in and of itself to be sure).
    They are only useful terms in this context based on some subjective standard.
    What subjective standard is that?
    That depends. It is subjective. My preferred standard is the promotion of wellbeing and the minimization of harm. If we agree to that as our standard then we can make objective statements in a much as we can determine what does harm. In no case however could we use a standard that one of us rejected and still be having the same conversation. 
  • Tarik
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    --> @secularmerlin
    Appeals to authority do not absolve you of this problem. On other words while I do not disagree that this is problematic
    You mean not providing support of my claims? I only made an assertion about God AFTER you made yours about subjective morality, so explain to me how is it fair to ask me of something that you refused to provide yourself?

    My preferred standard is the promotion of wellbeing and the minimization of harm.
    That’s a pretty vague standard considering there’s no consensus around a single definition of well-being, harm is also just as controversial considering not everyone agrees on what is and isn’t objectively harmful.
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @Tarik
    You mean not providing support of my claims? I only made an assertion about God AFTER you made yours about subjective morality, so as far as I’m concerned it’s not fair to ask me of something that you refused to provide yourself.
    You are aware that human beings have systems of rules, laws and expectations both explicit and implicit which are sometimes at odds with one another? And that these systems are referred to at least colloquially as moral systems? My argument is not that these have some inherent inarguable weight or that any one system is preferable over any given other but merely the rejection of your claim that any higher form of morality than this exists and also that some higher authority beyond human sensibilities and legislation  would necessarily make that system objective rather than the subjective opinion of this hypothetical higher authority. 
    That’s a very vague standard considering there’s no consensus around a single definition of well-being, harm is also just as controversial considering not everyone agrees on what is and isn’t objectively harmful.
    Yes I agree. I just cannot think of a better standard and in general it serves me well enough as a metric of what is "good". That put of the way appeals to a higher authority do not resolve this issue in any way owing to theists inability to agree on exactly what this higher power wants or even what it is (ie. which god(s) from a selection of thousands actually exists)
  • Tarik
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    --> @secularmerlin
    And that these systems are referred to at least colloquially as moral systems? 
    They’re only referred to in that regard by people who think like you.

    I just cannot think of a better standard and in general it serves me well enough as a metric of what is "good".
    That’s just lazy, you can’t think of a better standard so you’re just gonna settle for one with many holes? How do you demonstrate how well it served you?

    That put of the way appeals to a higher authority do not resolve this issue in any way owing to theists inability to agree on exactly what this higher power wants or even what it is (ie. which god(s) from a selection of thousands actually exists)
    You’re right the answers to these questions are complicated but I’m not advocating for any “particular” religion I’m just saying that there’s no point in choosing a belief that you can’t prove or believe is proven.