The debate "There is an objective morality" was started by
June 1, 2020, 4:26 pm.
23 people are on the agree side of this discussion, while 21 people are on the disagree side.
That might be enough to see the common perception.
It looks like most of the people in this community are on the agreeing side of this statement.
diecinueve posted 16 arguments, jrardin12 posted 1 argument, safalcon7 posted 1 argument to the agreers part.
Allirix posted 14 arguments to the disagreers part.
Yatumba, safalcon7, jrardin12, Indra_Sharma and 19 visitors agree.
Allirix, Nemiroff, PL, Guerre, AerichJ, Cdawgthree and 15 visitors disagree.
Happiness and suffering cannot be measured without a benchmark from which feeling better is happiness and feeling worse is suffering. You say we should kill those who suffer, but suffer with respect to what? If we take another benchmark that suffering would be happiness.
The benchmark must be taken from the feeling that the person would have if the action that we want to evaluate was not carried out. For example, someone hits me and we want to know if that is good or bad. We take the feeling I would have if he hadn't hit me as a benchmark and compare it to how I feel now. I feel worse, therefore hitting is bad.
So if we want to know if killing is good or bad, we take as a benchmark the feeling that he would have if they don't kill him and compare it with how he would feel if they kill him. He would not feel better or worse, since the dead do not feel, therefore killing would be amoral.
But there we do not take into account the fact that nobody wants to die, so if killing was allowed, we would live in fear and therefore we would suffer, to that is added the suffering that people who love us would feel. So killing is bad
"but it is indisputable that feeling good is better than feeling bad" >>>> Not at all....
Feeling good FEELS better but it is not indisputably better. Suffering trains risk-aversion, which keeps us alive. Without the pain of suffering to scare us away from risky choices, we don't last long.
If suffering is ALWAYS bad, then since death stops bad feelings we should ALWAYS kill those who suffer. You can't invoke "if you're suffering things will likely get better so using death as a cure is bad because it forgoes future happiness". That requires future feelings to matter, but you threw them away in the abortion debate because they aren't real yet, they're only abstract.
If happiness is ALWAYS good and suffering is ALWAYS bad then killing yourself while you're happy is good. You go out while you're happy and you're never able to suffer again.
So if you ignore the value of future feelings and believe happiness > suffering all the time then you can justify murder as morally right and committing suicide as bad.
suffer = feel bad, happy = feel good
but it is indisputable that feeling good is better than feeling bad, so it is indisputable that this is the best basis for morality, not only for me, but for everyone
The difference is mathematical axioms don't require a subject to say what is valuable and what isn't. Mathematics is descriptive. It just describes what it sees.
Morality is prescriptive. It says what is valuable. There's no known way to prescribe inherent value to something without a subject. You value feelings above all else so it's, therefore, the best basis for morality from your perspective. But there's nothing independent of you or any other being making feelings more valuable than something else like population size, absolute freedom, or even oxygen density. It's all arbitrary without a subject prescribing value to it. Or if you can find an objective basis.
Isn't mathematics based on axioms that can't be proved? And yet they are objective.
Sure, but that's a different argument.
then it is not objective, but it is the only valid morality, since it is the only one that is based on something so evident that it does not need proof
What you're implicitly saying is if our goal is to make people happy then we ought to do things that make people happy. But there's no objective reason to have making people happy as the goal. It's a subjective reason based on how much you value how people feel
Feeling good feels better than feeling bad, yes. That's impossible to refute. Using feelings as a basis for morality therefore makes sense. But selecting how we feel as the metric is a subjective choice. It's not automatically objective because you can't think of any other metrics you like.
Isn't feeling good objectively better than feeling bad? If it is not then it must be considered as an axiom, since it is so evident that it does not need proof
The framework you're using is:
"For agent A to achieve goal B, A ought to do C"
You're plugging happiness or "no suffering" into B and "doing things people like" into C. And that's fine. If happiness necessarily follows from doing what people like then that's objective. And that's how you've defined it so I have no objections to it being objective.
What I am saying is you're pushing the ought to the subjectively valued goal of happiness. You're not providing a fundamentally objective basis for morality at all. Without an objective basis it's not actually an objective morality.
It's like using perfect logic to link a premise to a conclusion. That makes a valid argument, but if the premise is subjective then the valid argument isn't objective. Your string of logic blinds you to your subjective premise.
So, "we ought to make people feel happy" isnt objective according to you @Allirix. While it certainly falls under the "Happiness makes us feel good". isnt it objective then?
What does it mean that we should do something? It means that it will make things better, but better in what way?
The only thing I can think of is to feel better. What other way is there to make things better?
Trying to cram objectivity into morality is a fool's errand. Objectivity is a concrete product of the world, morality is entirely abstract.
Yes, descriptions of reality like "suffering makes people feel bad" and "happiness makes people feel good" are objective. But asserting "we ought to make people feel good" isn't objective. It's just an abstract assertion made by us because that's what we feel is right.
There are plenty. But even if there weren't that's not proof your selection of measures are objective.
What other measures for morale are there?
But all actions cause some level of suffering to some and some level of happiness for others. So your ideal model of all or nothing happiness/suffering doesn't apply to many things at all.
You also still haven't explained why happiness and suffering are objectively the right measures to use for morality. Yes we feel they are, but actually coming up with non-contingent objective logic for it is the holy grail of modern philosophy.
like = like is not the logic, like = good is what you're trying to prove, it's not a proof itself.
in the example you gave, objective morality could be declared if net suffering were known, the problem is that it is very difficult to calculate how much you will suffer for not studying, since it depends on many factors and possible results. So the problem is not that objective morality is wrong, but that there is uncertainty in suffering.
Where I think it could be said that the model "falls" is in cases where one person suffers and another is happy. Objective morality says that you should not make suffer, therefore that action should not be done, but it also says that you should make happy, therefore you should do it. Since nothing can and cannot be done at the same time, there is no point in considering objective morality in these cases.
Wait are you saying your model falls down when a situation creates both happiness and suffering?
playing makes you happy, but not getting the job of your dreams will make you suffer, so it is a case of suffering + happy so you cannot declare objective morality
deeper self being the self that when you sit down and critically think about what you want and need Vs whatever you feel like in the moment.
Studying vs playing a game for instance. Your emotions might compel you to play the game, so that's what you want to do, but if you were to step back and seriously think about what you want it'd be getting that A so you can get the job of your dreams.
What objective morality says is that we should not do something that makes someone suffer. Depending on the definition you use, it can mean "what makes someone suffer" or "what you do knowing that makes someone suffer" or I don't know if you have another definition. What cannot change and is therefore objective is the fact that we should not make anyone suffer.
An action that results in consequences they like is good in both definitions. An action that they thought they would like but makes them suffer should not be done, but they did not know that they would suffer, therefore it is bad in the first definition but not in the second. I think the second is better, because there is no point in saying that something is bad if it cannot be avoided, but in the end they are just words, the important thing is to try not to make anyone suffer.
And I don't understand what you mean by someone's deeper self
Also, could you make the distinction between what someone wants right now (short term) and what someone's deeper self wants (long term).
And between an action that actually results in consequences they like Vs an action that they expect they will like, but when it happens they don't so they suffer
>> that is a problem of the definition of bad and does not affect objective morality.
Morality defines what is bad so I'm not sure how this makes any sense. Could you clarify?
Objective morality does not say that potentials are not important, what I said that cheating on your partner is not bad was in case you are sure that she will not find out.
If you were referring to what I said about abortion, the problem is not that the potential for happiness is not important.
"Everyone likes something that they like to happen", more specifically it would be "Everyone likes something to happen if they like that right now". For example, I like to eat chocolate, so it is good to give me chocolate. You do not like chocolate, therefore it is not good to give you chocolate, but if time passes and you start to like chocolate, then now it is good to give you chocolate, however, the fact of giving you chocolate before you start to like it is still not good.
The same goes for abortion. A fetus does not mind living, therefore killing it is not bad. If time passes and the fetus grows, now it likes to live, therefore killing it is bad, however, the fact of killing it when it was a fetus is still not bad.
And the knife thing depends on the definition of bad. If we use the one that I said "what should not be done", then what you did was bad, since you gave a knife to someone who if you give it will kill her husband, and that should not be done. However, now I think that a better definition of bad is "what you do knowing that it should not be done", so what you did was not bad. In any case, that is a problem of the definition of bad and does not affect objective morality.
What if I gave steak knives to a friend as a present. When she opens my present, the decorative pattern on the knives somehow reminds her of something horrible that her husband did. This memory makes her so angry that she voluntarily stabs and kills him with one of the knives.
Did I do bad? My action caused suffering
In reality it's impossible to know if you will successful hide the truth forever. So there's always the potential that she will figure it out and suffer. That's why potentials are important in ethics. Otherwise censorship, lying, manipulation, deception, etc can all be moral.
She wants to feel loved and she feels loved because she doesn't know that I hate her. I want to have the status and I have the status. No one loses
But you yourself would be wrong for hating her.
yes, it is good. If she never realizes that you hate her, to her it's like you don't hate her
What if I secretly hated my partner but was happy to have them as a partner for status. If they never find out is this still good? Is it good because the status makes me happy and if they never find out they never suffer?
As long as you keep loving your partner the same way, I don't see why it would be bad
So cheating isn't bad if the partner never finds out?
If your partner finds out that you are cheating on her, she will suffer.
If the child does not bathe, he will suffer more than he suffers from bathing.
If you forced the child to do something without any use it would be bad.
Believing we shouldn't do what people don't like isn't an objective morality.
Forcing a child to have a shower isnt immoral just because they don't like it
Cheating on your partner and never telling them isn't moral because you like the feeling of cheating.
Liking, or preference, is not an objective source of morality. It's quite literally one of the most subjective sources for morality
First of all, what is evil? That something is bad implies that we shouldn't do it, so I think that evil is what we shouldn't do. And what are the reasons why we should not do something? The only one that occurs to me is that someone does not want us to do it, that is, that he does not like that to happen, I cannot demonstrate that, but I am sure that everyone think that this is bad.
So what makes an objective basis for morality is not that liking = liking, but good = liking
Correct me if I'm wrong but I think you're first 2 points just describe reality, not extract an objective moral code from the universe.
we cannot like what we don't like,
we always like what we do like.
Wrapping the words suffering and happiness around liking and not liking don't change this fact. But just as the statement 1=1 is amoral and descriptivist, so are your statements.
So I don't think saying liking=liking leads to an objective basis for morality. All you're doing is saying liking is something you value, possibly the only thing you value, therefore it should be the basis for morality.
Ignoring the lack of objective basis, with your 3 points at the end:
1. Suffer + No happy = bad
2. No suffer + Happy = good
3. No suffer + No happy = neutral
You're missing the dilemma of:
4. Suffer + Happy = ?
Which covers the vast majority of issues in reality.
If you believe suffering and happiness are quantifiable then maybe what you meant were:
1. Suffer > Happy = bad
2. Suffer < Happy = good
3. Suffer == Happy = neutral
Then you're pretty much just a utilitarian. While the 'utility' or happiness or suffering are objective measures of subjective experience, the choice of what measures to use are not objective.
To say that aborting is bad because of lost potential happiness is objectively incorrect because taking potential happiness away from a fetus does not make it suffer.
assuming i agree, would a set of vague objective guidelines equate to a full blown objective moral system?
can you provide any real world examples?
-No one likes something to happen that they don't like.
-Everyone likes something to happen that they like.
These are objectively correct statements. I will call "suffer" the fact that something we do not like happens and I will call "be happy" the fact that something we like happens.
Therefore, suffer is objectively bad and be happy is objectively good.
If these are the only objective causes of morality, then there are three cases in which objective morality can be declared.
1.- Something that makes someone suffer and does not make anyone happy is objectively bad.
2.- Something that makes someone happy and makes no one suffer is objectively good.
3.- Something that does not make anyone suffer or make anyone happy is objectively amoral.