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#487601 04/16/03 06:53 PM
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Off to get married
Awesome! Congratulations Yorik!


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#487602 04/16/03 07:08 PM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by cram:
O.k. let’s see, based on your Pirsig style criteria:

Q. Is it better to be alive or dead?
A. Alive


No. It is my preference to be alive, but I could not, eo ipso, state that being alive is somehow "better" than being dead, as though there is some sort of objective truth on the matter.

Me? I personally prefer being alive. That mere fact does not make it "better" in some sort of objective, qualititative way.

Q. Is it better to eat or to starve to death?
A. Eat


Same on this, and on the rest of your questions.

Q. Is it better to kill or be killed
A. Kill

Q. Is it better to have shelter, or live outside?
A. Shelter

Q. Is it better to be part of a tribe, or be independent?
A. Tribe

Q. Is it better to kill or starve to death?
A. Kill


These values are independent of any higher power, does this make them subjective or objective?

These personal preferences of yours (and mine, and many other people's) objectively exist as personal preferences, but they do not define in any way that an objective morality exists. The fact that you live does not make it "right" or "wrong."

As far as I can tell, these value judgements are both objective and subjective, so I'm not sure if I believe the separation of the two is even possible. Or necessary.

With the help of religion one can truly assess whether or not these things are "better than" or "worse than" other consequences from what they believe to be an objective standpoint. Without religion one cannot do so. They can only deal with these issues subjectively, such as to say "better for me." "Better for me" is not, however, intrinsicly and inherently "better."

Nika.

#487603 04/16/03 07:13 PM
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Originally posted by cram:
Well sure, we could say "what if you've got SARS and you don't want to infect anybody else, so you kill yourself." But we are trying to simplify not complicate.

Either way, this value judgement is independent of a higher power. The hypothetical person in the above may be thinking of what his "higher power" would want. But what is really happening is he is making a sacrifice based on societal needs. It is just wrapped in "higher power" gift paper.
Tom,

It's still a matter of each person's personal desires. That makes it subjective. It's not like you can say that living, eating, breathing is "better" according to some sort of master plan...

...unless you believe that there is a master plan.

Nika.

#487604 04/16/03 07:38 PM
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That mere fact does not make it "better" in some sort of objective, qualititative way.
I disagree, being alive is objectively better than being dead.

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These personal preferences of yours (and mine, and many other people's) objectively exist as personal preferences, but they do not define in any way that an objective morality exists. The fact that you live does not make it "right" or "wrong."
Mebbe so, but this is where the concepts of right and wrong stem from. Once you build a base of these simple value judgements, you can extrapolate more complex judgements based on them. Sprinkle in ‘higher power’ to taste.

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With the help of religion one can truly assess whether or not these things are "better than" or "worse than" other consequences from what they believe to be an objective standpoint.
Absolutely true, but this does nothing to further the morality = ‘higher power’ concept. This is a social construct in a religious guise.

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Without religion one cannot do so. They can only deal with these issues subjectively, such as to say "better for me." "Better for me" is not, however, intrinsicly and inherently "better."
I obviously disagree. I think that religion came later to help justify any “better for me” choices. How do you make yourself feel better about genocide?


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#487605 04/16/03 07:41 PM
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...unless you believe that there is a master plan.
Oh, I most certainly do. It's called Natural Selection.


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#487606 04/16/03 08:07 PM
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Originally posted by fantasticsound:

Whoa! Hold on. You claim to have proven something. Here's a hint... You've proven absolutely nothing.

Why is morality intrinsically tied to belief in a higher power?

Put simply, without an all powerful, higher power, morality is completely subjective. You cannot be truly objective about anything, based on your own upbringing and experience. You're inherently biased to believe your principles are the right ones. What makes you so righteous? It's entirely arrogant to assume your principles are the only ones that make sense.

To some, it's alright to kill in self defense.
To some, it's alright to kill for honor
To some, it's alright to kill for enjoyment.
To some, it's alright to kill.. just because it's alright, to them, to kill.

This is only one example of the subjective truth that comes from lack of a higher power.
OK, fantasticsound, slow down. You've misconstrued what I said. You're assuming one thing and totally ignoring the possibility of another. The absence of a belief in a higher power does not necessitate one to be one's own arbiter of morality (or reality, for that matter). There are other explanations, and mine was pretty well spelled out in the original post (maybe your worldview didn't allow you to assimilate it). I believe that there is objective morality apart from my own perception of it. Whether I recognize it or not, the morality or quality stays with the object or act. I have nothing to do with it.

This is not arrogance; in fact it's quite the opposite.

You say that I've proven nothing -- I believe you're referring to my disproving of Nika's original assertion that atheism and belief in objective morality are mutually exclusive; my "proof" that he's wrong is simply to state that I am a walking example of both ideas residing in the same mind (which he asserted was impossible). Maybe I'm a walking contradiction ... but I'm still upright, so that does disprove his assertion, right?

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I'm comfortable with you having high minded principles, but your basis for those principles is, indeed, completely subjective. You could decide it's ok to drown animals tommorow. Without a higher power, that could be a moral principle.
Fantastic, you seem to be stuck on this idea that a higher power is necessary to deem actions as objectively good or bad, otherwise any determination that we humans could make would be subjective. My belief, which is outside of these two options, is that objective truth exists (I do not know it's origin) and I seek to know that truth; it exists apart from my perception or my recognition of it, and I could even believe that something is objectively good or bad and yet, I could sometimes be wrong.

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All morality becomes completely subjective unless a higher power commands you obey his/her/it's will.

My take on what's moral will never be exactly the same as yours unless we believe God insists we be good in a proscribed manner.

Without a higher power there can be no absolute moral truth. Everything becomes subjective.
Fantastic, you're making an unneccesary leap here, so allow me to point something out. You are assuming that non-deists are only capable of perception, while deists are capable of something less subjective through an act of faith. Here's the key -- it's possible for atheists to have faith too. My idea about objective truth residing in the object is purely a leap of faith, is it not? Is there much difference between you obeying the commands of your deity and me following my faith?

I'd be interested in your response if you have the energy.

#487607 04/16/03 08:58 PM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by cram:
I disagree, being alive is objectively better than being dead.

You being alive may be your preference, but may not be the preference of someone else.

Nika:

These personal preferences of yours (and mine, and many other people's) objectively exist as personal preferences, but they do not define in any way that an objective morality exists. The fact that you live does not make it "right" or "wrong."

Tom:

Mebbe so, but this is where the concepts of right and wrong stem from. Once you build a base of these simple value judgements, you can extrapolate more complex judgements based on them. Sprinkle in ‘higher power’ to taste.


So you are defining right and wrong how? Just because I personally prefer it does not make it objectively "right." It makes it a subjective matter.

Absolutely true, but this does nothing to further the morality = ‘higher power’ concept. This is a social construct in a religious guise.

So society makes things right and wrong then? Is that objective? In the 1100's the "right" thing to do per society's mandate was to start the Crusades. Does that make it right just because society upheld it? Also, if different societies disagree then it cannot be objective. It can only be subjective.

I obviously disagree. I think that religion came later to help justify any “better for me” choices. How do you make yourself feel better about genocide?

I simply didn't follow this one. Sorry.

Nika.

#487608 04/16/03 08:58 PM
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Originally posted by cram:
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...unless you believe that there is a master plan.
Oh, I most certainly do. It's called Natural Selection.
So natural selection is the arbiter of right and wrong? So Hitler was right and the Jews were wrong?

Hmm.

Nika.

#487609 04/16/03 09:14 PM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by dtobocman:
The absence of a belief in a higher power does not necessitate one to be one's own arbiter of morality (or reality, for that matter). There are other explanations, and mine was pretty well spelled out in the original post (maybe your worldview didn't allow you to assimilate it).

I'm not Neil, but I did see your post and I did not see who the arbiter of right and wrong is, or rather who or what establishes right and wrong.

I believe that there is objective morality apart from my own perception of it. Whether I recognize it or not, the morality or quality stays with the object or act. I have nothing to do with it.

I understand the concept of this. The fact that it can exist without you knowing it, perceiving it, or being a viable arbiter of it in fact would make it objective. I understand your point, there, and thus we are definitely talking about "objective" right and wrong.

But what establishes right and wrong? From what are they derived? If you answered earlier I apparently missed it or did not understand it.

Fantastic, you seem to be stuck on this idea that a higher power is necessary to deem actions as objectively good or bad, otherwise any determination that we humans could make would be subjective.

Yes, both Neil and I are saying that.

My belief, which is outside of these two options, is that objective truth exists (I do not know it's origin) and I seek to know that truth; it exists apart from my perception or my recognition of it, and I could even believe that something is objectively good or bad and yet, I could sometimes be wrong.

I totally agree w/ respect to the existence of objective "truth." I believe in the same thing, and that makes us objectivists, or realists. I still don't understand where "right and wrong" comes from if not ordained and determined by a higher power. This is what I need an explanation on.

Fantastic, you're making an unneccesary leap here, so allow me to point something out. You are assuming that non-deists are only capable of perception, while deists are capable of something less subjective through an act of faith. Here's the key -- it's possible for atheists to have faith too. My idea about objective truth residing in the object is purely a leap of faith, is it not? Is there much difference between you obeying the commands of your deity and me following my faith?

Totally agreed there, also. Leaps of faith are needed for atheists also (depending on the definition of "leap of faith.") But still, where does objective right and wrong come from?

Nika.

#487610 04/16/03 09:22 PM
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You being alive may be your preference, but may not be the preference of someone else.
Nika this is entirely my point. It is individually objective but socially subjective, the two are not separate.

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So you are defining right and wrong how? Just because I personally prefer it does not make it objectively "right." It makes it a subjective matter.
See above answer.

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So society makes things right and wrong then? Is that objective? In the 1100's the "right" thing to do per society's mandate was to start the Crusades. Does that make it right just because society upheld it? Also, if different societies disagree then it cannot be objective. It can only be subjective.
Yes, no, and yes and no. Comprende?

Quote:
I said; I obviously disagree. I think that religion came later to help justify any “better for me” choices. How do you make yourself feel better about genocide?

Nika said; I simply didn't follow this one. Sorry.
If it was the ‘higher power’s’ will, it absolves the populace of responsibility, thus assuaging consciences. It turns a selfish personal act into an unselfish good for the populace.

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So natural selection is the arbiter of right and wrong? So Hitler was right and the Jews were wrong?
Hmmm, I don't recall saying that. We are the arbiters of right and wrong, and we are the products of natural selection. While connected, one is not the cause of the other.


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#487611 04/16/03 09:22 PM
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David,

It just dawned on me that something might be worth clarifying. As an objectivist and a realist I do definitely agree with the concept of "right and when it comes to objective statements and substituting the terms "correct and incorrect." For instance, whether something is "red" yields an objective truth. Whether somebody is alive or dead yields objective truth. Whether or not the world is round yields objective truth. I do agree with the concept of objective truth, and thus believe in "right and wrong" as it relates to this. I also agree that this truth exists regardless of our ability to know it. I think we're cool on all of that.

Where we differ is in the use of "right and wrong" in respect to morality - i.e. whether an objective truth exists in regards to what "right behavior" and "wrong behavior" is. It is in that issue where I cannot understand where the objective truth in the matter comes from.

Nika.

#487612 04/16/03 09:32 PM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by cram:
Nika:

You being alive may be your preference, but may not be the preference of someone else.

Tom:

Nika this is entirely my point. It is individually objective but socially subjective, the two are not separate.


Eh? I'm missing something.

Let's try this: Saddam Hussein's being alive - good or bad?

To Saddam it is good. To Bush it is bad. Is there an arbiter of this if there is not a god? Is it society? Which society? To the Iraqi Ba'ath party it was good. To the Kurds it was bad. Is there an arbiter of this if there is not a god?

The fact that there is not a commonly held ground, and because no person's views trump anyone else's, and unless there is a god, there is no objectivity to the matter - just individual subjective approaches.

Nika:So society makes things right and wrong then?

Tom: Yes

Nika: Is that objective?

Tom: No

Nika: In the 1100's the "right" thing to do per society's mandate was to start the Crusades.
Does that make it right just because society upheld it?

Tom: Yes

Nika: Also, if different societies disagree then it cannot be objective. It can only be subjective.

Tom: No


You've totally lost me. You say that society is the arbiter of right and wrong, though that is clearly not objective. I must be missing a part of your argument.

Nika.

#487613 04/16/03 09:42 PM
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So what was the question again?


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#487614 04/16/03 09:47 PM
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I'm saying (I thought clearly ;\) ) that they are both in play. Personally objective can be societally subjective, and maybe vice versa. It's not so simple that you can separate them into black and white. And I believe it would be a mistake to try.

My other point (which I think you already got) was that these objective and subjective points of view are independent of any 'higher power.' Religion is helpful in aiding in the fine distinctions, but not necessary. The existence of a moral code predates any christian construct anyway.


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#487615 04/16/03 10:30 PM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by cram:
I'm saying (I thought clearly ;\) ) that they are both in play. Personally objective can be societally subjective, and maybe vice versa.

No wait. How can something be "personally objective?" It is either objective reality or it is subjective (personal). Your use of the term "personally objective" is like using the term "filthy clean." The two terms are mutually exclusive by definition.

My other point (which I think you already got) was that these objective and subjective points of view are independent of any 'higher power.'

OK. But I don't understand yet where objective truth comes from in regards to what "right behavior" and "wrong behavior" is. It can't be based on what society says, because the mere fact that society says something does not make it the arbiter of what the objective truth on the matter is. Again, society says to partake in the crusades. Does that make it right, by definition, eo ipso?

It can't be from individual people, because then it becomes SUBjective.

Religion is helpful in aiding in the fine distinctions, but not necessary. The existence of a moral code predates any christian construct anyway.

The existence of a code of ethics in terms of "laws" goes way back, but that does not make the laws inherently "right" by definition. And not all humans have ever agreed upon any moral code.

I am willing to say that something can be "right" in relation to the law, and that fact can be objective. I am willing to say that something can be "right" in relation to its benefits to society, and that fact can be objective. I am willing to say that something can be "right" in its relation to its benefits to family, and that fact can be objective. I am willing to say that something can be "right" in its relations to its benefits to self, and that fact can be objective. In each of those situations we are saying that something is or is not adhering to a distinct code.

But to say that something is inherently "right" without having a law to adhere to, or a code to uphold is illegitimate use of the term, from my understanding of how it is used. Therefore, without clarifing which "code" is being used (law, society, teacher's oath, family rules, personal preferences, boy scout oath, etc.) one implies that the code must be universal and inherent. The notion that such inherent and universal codes can exist without the existence of god is what we are discussing. I say no.

Nika.

#487616 04/16/03 10:52 PM
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O.k., let's do a fer'instance then.

My survival is paramount I will do anything to ensure it, Objective (personal).

My survival is inconsequential and only important if I contribute something meaningful to the collective, Subjective (societal).

Both are comments are concerning my life/death. But both arrive at different conclusions. They exist independent of each other, but they may under the right circumstances intersect.

Even further, both of the comments are true, and both of the comments are 'right,' even though they come to opposite conclusions. How can this be?


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#487617 04/16/03 11:03 PM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by cram:
O.k., let's do a fer'instance then.

My survival is paramount I will do anything to ensure it, Objective (personal).


The notion that your survival is paramount TO YOU is a subjective evalution.

The fact that you will do anything to ensure it is an objective statement.

My survival is inconsequential and only important if I contribute something meaningful to the collective, Subjective (societal).

Agreed that that was a subjective evaluation.

Both are comments are concerning my life/death. But both arrive at different conclusions. They exist independent of each other, but they may under the right circumstances intersect.

I don't see how either statement gets us closer to the existence of objective "rightness" without god.

Nika.

#487618 04/16/03 11:14 PM
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My survival is paramount I will do anything to ensure it, Objective (personal).

The notion that your survival is paramount TO YOU is a subjective evalution.
Oh brother, I didn't want to get into a semantics thing. >>>sigh<<< Try this then;

Being alive is better than being dead, and I will do anything to ensure that I stay alive.


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#487619 04/16/03 11:27 PM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by cram:
Oh brother, I didn't want to get into a semantics thing.

Well when saying that something does or doesn't exist, coming to some common ground about the terms is unfortunately necessary. I'm not sure you and I are in agreement on the difference between subjective and objective statements, yet, and therefore we may not be able to clearly communicate about the existence of an objective morality if a god does not exist.

Try this then;

Being alive is better than being dead,


Subjective.

and I will do anything to ensure that I stay alive.

Objective.

Nika.

#487620 04/16/03 11:30 PM
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Being alive is better than being dead,

Subjective.
We have nothing to talk about then. Thanks for your time.


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#487621 04/16/03 11:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Nika:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by David Tobocman:
I'll disprove that argument very easily -- I am one of these realists that believe in evolution, do not believe in a "higher power" (per se), and also believe there is right, wrong, good, and bad in the world. I also believe that they exist as objective truth (in other words, I don't ascribe these qualities, they reside with the object and I perceive these qualtities, if I am able).

OK, so "right" and "wrong" imply that the function of an item is appropriate with respect to its endowed purpose. For example, can a beam of light do something "right" or "wrong," or does it just "do?" Does a rock do something "right" or "wrong" or does it just "do?" Does a tree do something "right" or "wrong" or does it just "do?"

How do humans fit into this equation? If, as an atheist, one believes that we humans are merely the concoction of the same chemical matter and follow the same natural laws, and that everything we do is simply based on our chemical and electronic state at the time, and that, as a mechanical/biological/physiological/chemical reaction we simply "do" things then how does one ascribe "right" and "wrong" to this behavior any more than one does that with a tree?
You slipped up right there -- I specifically said that I don't ascribe these qualities; they reside with the action or object -- I merely endeavor to correctly interpret the moral state or quality of an act, object, person, etc.. Moreover, my interpretation is totally inconsequential, as is yours, to the morality or quality. Not only is your question about "how do we ascribe..." answered in the negetive ("we don't ascribe..."), but it's also immaterial to the quality or morality that exists objectively apart from our perception.

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Doing something "right" implies that you are doing it according to the purpose or the goal that was given. If one is an atheist and believes in complete inconsequentiality and irrelevance and a total lack of global purpose then there is not a purpose or goal to existence. Without such there can be no "right" or "wrong."
Here's one atheist that does not believe in "complete inconsequentiality and irrelevance and a total lack of global purpose". Your assumption that deism is required to believe in global purpose is a mistake. I don't believe that evolution is an act devoid of morality -- in fact, I believe it to be the ultimate act of morality, and evolution at its most clinical is pretty well tied into the purpose and meaning of life (this is, of course, my personal belief -- I'm only stating it to show you that there is belief and purpose outside of a belief in God). It's interesting that you take the most clinical form of evolution as an example of lack of purpose and I take it as a the most extreme example of the presence of purpose, don't you agree?

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People "do" things. That "doing" does not have intrinsic or inherent value. It only has the value that other people ascribe to it...
Says you. I believe otherwise (and I cannot prove this belief).

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don't really see how the "higher power" thing relates to the morality thing in the least. One doesn't preclude or necessitate either. Morality doesn't need to be ordained by a higher power. Not only that, but it exists whether I or you perceive it or not.

Morality, by any definition I can find, and also interpretting the definition from the common usage of the word as used by humans, implies the existence of an objective right and wrong. Without it there can be no morality. As I expressed above, if there is no purpose to existence but it just "is" and we just "do" then there can't be a "right" or "wrong" way of doing it, thus there can't be a morality.
Hey, you're the one who brought up the requirement of a higher power for morality to exist -- I was only addressing your assertion. If you don't see a purpose to existence, then you're obviously going to have problems with the existence of morality and quality. I'm just trying to show that nihilism and atheism are very much not the same.

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I think that your inability to decide whether Hitler was wrong is pretty sick. Let me help you -- Hitler was wrong. Say it -- you'll feel better.

My ability to "decide?" Who granted me the authority to do such things? If objective morality does exist, as you are purporting above, then how is it that I have the ability to decide these things? I thought Hitler's righteousness or wrongliness simply exists, de facto. If that is the case, then where is my wherewithall to establish such things? You make this sound very subjective when you throw the Hitler comment in there, as though I have the ability to "subjectively" come to this conclusion, but the problem is that we're discussing "objective" morality and whether or not it exists, independent of a god. We were not discussion "subjective" matters.
In my philosophy, your "ability to decide" determines the kind of person you are (you are obviously only deciding for yourself, not actually ascribing quality or morality). You have no authority to endow an object or person with quality or morality, but your ability to perceive the object's or person's inherant quality or morality will indicate the type of person you are. Abstaining from making the determination is your right -- I just think that if you do one day decide that Hitler was wrong, that you can feel safe that you have not endowed him with this quality -- you would only be describing yourself as one who can perceive evil. I still think you'd feel better if you tried it. ;\)

Quote:
Your idea that preference equals quality is also misguided and not well thought out.

I think your response is also not well thought out. I never said "preference=quality" in any capacity. I said that I have personal preferences and I strive to obtain those. I gave no "quality" evaluation to whether or not I do. You're reading something in to what I'm writing that never existed. If you go back and review what I wrote, the only time that I referred to "quality" was in the concept that objective "quality" does not exist as relates to this discussion.
Sorry about that -- I try very hard to make accurate inferences. I equate quality and morality, and you made many references to morality, which I transferred to statements about quality. Here's what you originally said regarding preference:
In other words, like others have said in this same thread, things happen. No right nor wrong about them. They just do. There are some things that I, personally prefer, on a biological and physiological level. There are things I don't prefer. The fact that I do or don't prefer an action does not allow me the opportunity to say that the action falls into one category or not, implying that those categories are objectively based in objective reality.
My thought is, in your context, that one's preference plays no part in whether an action is right or wrong. The rightness or wrongness exists apart from one's ability to perceive it. Again, this is an unprovable assumption, a leap of faith that I have made, and you're free to leap or not. When it comes to quality, my observation about opera helps to illustrate the objectivity of quality. I guess that with morality, one could say that an immoral act might feel good at the time (preference), but can be seen as detrimental to long-term goals in the end (morality-quality). Does that help to clarify?

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I can only say that the idea of universal agreement is in the realm of preference and perception and does not comment on the amount of quality that objectively resides with the object.

"Quality" dictates that it is capable of being compared against something else and a determination can be drawn about whether or not it is "better" or "worse" than the other. How can either this exist if one does not believe that some things are objectively "better or worse" than other things? And I don't understand your use of the word "preference" above.
"Preference" is a term I used to indicate subjectivity, as it is the ultimate form of subjectivity; I, David, prefer A over B. It says nothing about the nature of A or B; it only talks about the nature of David. Similarly, a society's universal agreement about the preference of A over B only indicates the nature of the society, not the nature of A or B.

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I cannot prove to you that this is true, but I just wanted to let you know that it's my belief that "higher power" and "universal agreement" have nothing to do with morality.

If morality requires "right and wrong" and "right and wrong" require purposes and goals, then where do those objective purposes and goals come from?
Ah, good question. I don't have an answer other than I believe that they exist. For instance, if we take evolution in its most clinical form (I believe that evolution is a primary natural goal or purpose), I believe that impediments to evolution are, by nature, immoral. This is where we can see how quality and morality are the same thing. Evolution is nature's search for pure quality; impediments to evolution are contrary to this search for quality, and in my philosophy, are immoral. I guess that the purposes and goals eminate from nature; of course I'm only one non-omniscient person trying to determine what that goal and purpose might be.

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Nika, you're a smart and funny fellow, but you seem to be a little philosophically constipated (can I say that?). I don't think that by writing this that I am attacking you for your beliefs because, as far as I can tell, you don't believe in anything but pragmatism, which is really the absence of belief.

Hmm. Very few would say that I have an absence of belief, though most would say that I am utterly pragmatic in my approach. I have a lot of beliefs.

It's okay that you're a nihilist (one who believes in nothing),

Oh, but I'm definitely not a nihilist. As I said above, I'm a realist. The two are nearly opposites so I can't be both. I DEFINITELY believe in the existence of an objective reality. But I cannot believe in the existence of objective morality without the existence of a deity, or something to ascribe purposes and goals.

As you learn in ethics classes, ethics relates to a given code. One can behave "ethically" by behaving according to the code. This does not make their actions "objectively" right but makes them right only as compares to the code. For example, one can do something "legally right," in that they behave according to the code of law. One can do something "professionally right" in that they do something that subscribes to the code of their profession (such as the code of the bar, or the hypocratic oath, etc.) To say that people can do something simply "right" without qualifying the code implies that there is a universal code. Where is that code if there is no god?
First, thank you for not getting bent out of shape; you've shown a lot of understanding and maturity by not taking my statements as personal attacks.

My response is that ethics is deeper than how you are characterizing it. My view is that there can be a universal code that is not universally recognized, but moreover, morality exists apart from the context of any society's accepted code. This is my personal leap of faith, and you have to acknowledge that, in an ethics class, one cannot teach the class from the standpoint of faith. In order to teach ethics in an empirical fashion, one must rob morality of its mystical nature and boil it down to something that everyone can agree upon. The ethics class form of ethics has been neutered in true academic fashion. I've already explained how the universal code exists without a deity at the center (nature is at the center, I guess).

As to whether you're a nihilist or not, I guess I made a wrong assumption, but an understandable one, as you had offered up only pragmatism as your belief. I'm not sure whether an inclusion of a belief in the existence of an objective reality really excludes one from being a nihilist. Does a nihilist exist only on an existential plane? Can one be a nonexistential nihilist? I've always thought so; maybe you disagree.

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{snipped....}(4) Hitler was wrong.

Is that your "subjective" evaluation of him?
It's my subjective opinion of what has occured in objective reality. Yes.

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Originally posted by cram:
We have nothing to talk about then. Thanks for your time.
Tom,

No offense meant, and none taken over here if you are not interested in furthering the discussion.

Again, I say, to clarify my point, Saddam thinks its better to be alive than dead. Many think otherwise. Is there an objective truth about which one is "better"? Is there an objective truth about which one is "right"? Is there an objective truth about which one is "good"? People that believe in higher powers say that god establishes objective "betterness," "righteousness," "goodness," etc and therefore the answers are "yes," there DOES exist absolute and objective truth on the matters.

People that don't believe in higher powers say the answer is "no." They say that you can personally prefer one or the other, but that there is no objective truth about whether Saddam Hussein being alive is "good" "better" or "right." It becomes a subjective preference.

Nika.

#487623 04/16/03 11:57 PM
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I'm sorry, I didn't mean to give the impression I was offended, it's cool. \:D I just feel that if the difference between being alive and being dead is subjective to you, then we have no common ground. I've never liked Nietzsche's philosophy, and I'd rather not debate his ideas. Starting from the premise that life and death have equal value is anathema to me.

I'm sure somebody else will want to discuss Nietzsche with you.


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#487624 04/17/03 12:19 AM
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Nietzche was a bright guy, but I don't follow his teachings.

I do believe in an objective difference between life and death. I just don't believe in an objective "righteousness" of the difference. I believe in a subjective righteousness of the difference.

The concept that there can be an objective righteousness of the difference between my life and my death without the belief in a god of some form is anathema to me. Subjective? Sure.

Nika.

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The concept that there can be an objective righteousness of the difference between my life and my death without the belief in a god of some form is anathema to me. Subjective? Sure.
O.k., I've already countered the morality = god thing. So are you saying that your subjective faith is the source of your subjective morality, and by extension the source of your subjective reality?


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Originally posted by cram:
[QB][QUOTE] The concept that there can be an objective righteousness of the difference between my life and my death without the belief in a god of some form is anathema to me. Subjective? Sure.
O.k., I've already countered the morality = god thing.

Yes, but we have not agreed on this yet.

So are you saying that your subjective faith is the source of your subjective morality, and by extension the source of your subjective reality?

Sorry, you lost me here again. I believe that an objective reality exists. I believe that my view of it is subjective. I don't believe in an objective "right and wrong" with respect to the notion that there is not a universal code. Thus the concept of morality, which is related to right and wrong, is foreign to me. I believe that I have preferences and I work to satisfy those, but that is so mechanical that it hardly seems like "morality" to me, so I don't call it that. We can if you'd like to, but it doesn't seem to be based on the same thought process by which we use the term "morality" in our society. I do things because I have certain desires - no right nor wrong about it.

Nika.

#487627 04/17/03 01:09 AM
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Quote:
O.k., I've already countered the morality = god thing.

Yes, but we have not agreed on this yet.
What's to agree on? I'm right! ;\)

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I believe that I have preferences and I work to satisfy those, but that is so mechanical that it hardly seems like "morality" to me, so I don't call it that.
Where did you acquire these preferences?

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We can if you'd like to, but it doesn't seem to be based on the same thought process by which we use the term "morality" in our society. I do things because I have certain desires - no right nor wrong about it.
We can call it whatever you want, the term 'morality' fits quite well though according to the dictionary. It may not be the same thought process' used by society, but you end up at the same 10 commandments roadhouse right? I'm curious about this though; if you end up at the same 10 commandments roadhouse, does it matter how you got there? A rose by any other name?

It's 5:00...


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David,

Thank you for your comprehensive reply. I will try to post more later, but am rushing off to see "Gandhi" right now (purely, of course, to improve upon my "morality" \:\) ).

I guess the big question is where the purposes and goals come from if not from a God. I understand that you think they exist, independant of our knowledge of or about them. But if you think they exist, where does their existence come from? Does it only relate to humanity or also to trees, rocks, styrofoam, light particles, and more? Can those things "misbehave," or be "not good?"

Also, what is the reason that you think those purposes and goals do exist? I understand that you had to make a "leap of faith" but that leap had to have been based on something empirical at some point, no? Or is it more a desire for them to exist rather than a reason to think that they actually do?

I suppose another point is that there may, indeed, be an objective right/wrong, but it may be entirely inconsequential. If it can never be known, judgment is never passed on it, and following it or not following it has no consequences, does it matter? Perhaps my "magic 8 ball" at home is the arbiter of right/wrong. OK, so I do something wrong, according to it. Does it matter? Why bother to even pay attention?

Hmm.

Cheers!
Nika.

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"Being alive is better than being dead,
Subjective."

Agreed. There are many right now who are begging for death, may they be granted it.


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"There is nothing I regret so much as my good behavior. What demon possessed me that I behaved so well?" -Henry David Thoreau
#487630 04/17/03 06:31 AM
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by cram:
Where did you acquire these preferences?

They are purely physiological.

We can call it whatever you want, the term 'morality' fits quite well though according to the dictionary.

Umm, no. The term, according to the dictionaries I've looked at requires the concept of right and wrong, a concept that I don't ascribe to. Therefore, I question its use in this context.

It may not be the same thought process' used by society, but you end up at the same 10 commandments roadhouse right? I'm curious about this though; if you end up at the same 10 commandments roadhouse, does it matter how you got there?

Not in terms of my dealing with people on an everyday basis.

Nika.

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