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  1. #11
    Senior Member _Violence_'s Avatar
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    The lack of moral absolutism is not a moral absolutism in and of itself.

    There is no logical contradiction here.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by _Violence_ View Post
    The lack of moral absolutism is not a moral absolutism in and of itself.

    There is no logical contradiction here.
    Oh, I get it now.

    A "no moral absolution" isn't a moral. Unless you make it a moral, right?

  3. #13
    DoubleplusUngoodNonperson
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    yeah i think his idea could be framed better....

    Suggesting there are no moral absolutes implies an absolute relativism with regards to moral theory. But there's not really a contradiction if you posit the universal moral relativism first, which is an absolute..... but not necessarily a moral absolute. It's a generalizd absolute, yeaH?

    but, if you put "absolute moral relativism" in the category of moral absolutes, you would have a contradition.

    hmmmmm...

    does "absolute relativism" contradict itself then? a constantly unchanging change?

  4. #14
    Senior Member _Violence_'s Avatar
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    Yes, moral relativism is not the same thing as "universal/absolute relativism."

    However I really despise this "universal/general/absolute relativism." I think it is not difficult to make the argument that it is in fact, a logical paradox. If someone disagrees, feel free to enlighten or explain in detail about what I am missing.

    My personal take on this matter is that "moral relativism" or "subjective morality" does not in anyway contradict the objectivity of physically observable phenomena or empirical data (in regards to the physical universe).

    In that regard, the laws which govern physics would be "objective" since they are concerned with the workings of physical reality.

    Morality, on the other hand, is merely intellectual squabble. Since we cannot quantify, or measure, our thoughts, then where is the tangible post, or objective ideology in which we can refer whether an idea is in fact "true" or "false?"

    IMHO, the only way to consider morality itself "objective" is via an external entity - god/gods/supernatural beings of some sort.

    I think as an atheist, the only intellectually honest conclusion would be that morality itself is simply NONEXISTENT, not merely a debate of subjectivity vs. objectivity, or relative vs. absolute. Such a debate would, once again, only be intellectual jibba-jabba, and completely meaningless since ALL values are non-existent.

    Anyhow, I'm out for some drinks.

    Enjoy

  5. #15
    Senior Member milkyway2's Avatar
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    lawl

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by sleepy View Post
    Agree. Fairly obvious, if I can be so bold as to state so. The only thing that matters is what makes you happy. That's the exception to your rule The absolute of the non absolute, even if being happy is being sad.
    That's a similar point though.

    If morality exists, it is an absolute morality. Which does not contradict morality being subjective or relative. Since anything relative or subjective has to have an absolute nature to it in order to exist.

    Morality clearly exists, so something about it is absolute. Most people conclude the absolute part to be seeking experience of happiness, with varying definitions of happiness, but there are other ideas as well.

    And of course, seeking the absolute morality is much like seeking the absolute reality. Possessing no idea what either would look like if you found them, how do you know when you've found them?

  7. #17
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert165 View Post
    I just realized this and its kind of funny. You can't even make the statment "There are no Moral absolutes" because in doing so, You've just made an absolute statement, about a moral issue.
    I think you're onto something here. Morality is a set of dictates about the choices people ought to make. A moral absolute is a statement that applies to all cases and all scenarios. Yet the statement that there are no moral absolutes is one of such statements! In other words, it is true in all cases that a judgment that any moral action is correct in all cases must not be accepted. Yet by virtue of having accepted this judgment we have accepted a moral maxim that we have just prohibited.

    The liar paradox has the same structure. If I say that everything I say is false, I cannot claim that the statement that everything I say is false as a true statement. One way to resolve these two paradoxes is to claim that everything besides the maxim that there should be no moral absolutes, that there are no moral absolutes with the exception of the statement that there are no moral absolutes.

    The same goes for the Liar paradox. Everything I say is false with the exception of the statement that everything I say is false.
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  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    In other words, it is true in all cases that a judgment that any moral action is correct in all cases must not be accepted. Yet by virtue of having accepted this judgment we have accepted a moral maxim that we have just prohibited.
    I think this issue is caused by confusion over the term "morality".

    I ask the question "What would an absolute morality be like?".

    Take the example:

    Factual statement: All swans are red.

    Moral statement: All swans should be red.

    The difference between the two, is that the factual statement already dictates behaviour and reality, the moral statement does not. The moral statement can be acted against, the factual statement cannot.

    What exactly does the statement "There are no moral absolutes" dictate in terms of behaviour and reality?

    If it dictates behaviour already, it is a factual statement.
    If it dictates behaviour only after it has been acknowledged, it is a moral statement.

    If "there are not moral absolutes" is true, how does it already dictate the behaviour of the human race? How would the world be any different if moral absolutes existed, than if they didn't? The very nature of morality means it does not dictate behaviour or reality, and can be acted against. So if "there are no moral absolutes" is a factual statement like it seems to be, by the very nature of the word "moral" in the sentence, it cannot dictate behaviour or reality, and thus cannot be a factual statement.

    It thus appears to be both a moral statement, a factual statement and neither, which resembles the liar paradox indeed. Resembles it enough to have the same solution, I think. The solution being that it is not a statement at all, it merely possesses a few traits that cast the illusion of a statement.

    (In summary: A sentence cannot be both a moral statement and a factual statement. The sentence "there are no moral absolutes" is a statement. This sentence is both a moral statement, and a factual statement. Reductio Ad Absurdum, rejecting the premise that it is a statement.)

    The same would apply to "there are moral absolutes", and thus arises the confusion over the term "morality", and what exactly it means. A good way around the problem is to make all moral statements factual ones (reductio ad absurdum rejects the first premise instead). Usually by twisting any moral statement into "want" statements. This casts meaninglessness onto "should" and "ought" sentences with regards to morality, forcing translations. And this, more significantly, means all factual statements become moral statements as well.

    (Rejecting the premise that it is both a moral and a factual statement appears non-sensical)

    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    Everything I say is false with the exception of the statement that everything I say is false.
    That is still a paradox.

    It still states that "everything I say is false" is true. Which is a paradox. That sentence cannot be true or false without inciting a paradox or vicious regress.

    Everything I say is false, except for this sentence.
    ^Not the liar paradox. You've simply changed the sentence, so it is not a solution to the liar paradox. Which still parallels your solution fine, but I must emphasise that point for my solution.

  9. #19
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    I think this issue is caused by confusion over the term "morality".
    Your solution to the paradox of moral absolutes appears to be declaring that a statement of 'there are no moral absolutes' in itself is not a moral statement. Hence, the confusion about the definition of the term morality is that in some cases it embodies factual statements and normative. In other words, in some cases moral statements describe what is and in other cases they prescribe what ought to be. You've pointed out that moral statements by definition cannot be concerned with what 'is' and are to be strictly concerned with what ought to be. Thus anyone who regards a moral statement as a factual statement is simply confused about the definition of morality.

    Your suggestion is that the statement of there are no moral absolutes is a factual statement or it denotes a fact about morality. Hence, in itself it is not a moral statement.

    I am inclined to think that this view is false. This statement is only as factual as the statement of all Nazis are evil or not all nazis are evil, and so on. How so? The statement of there are no moral absolutes is prescriptive rather than descriptive on the account that it implicitly suggests how people should make moral judgments. In other words, it conveys the message that people should not believe that a certain way of acting is absolute or right or wrong under all circumstances.

    Simply put, under your criterion the statement of there are no moral absolutes does qualify as a moral principle because it dictates how humans should behave.

    Take the example:

    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    What exactly does the statement "There are no moral absolutes" dictate in terms of behaviour and reality?".
    It dictates that people should not regard any particular moral judgment as right or wrong under all circumstances.


    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    The difference between the two, is that the factual statement already dictates behaviour and reality,?".
    There is a subtle distinction to take note of. A fact about the world dictates behavior in a way that is different from how a moral statement does. A factual statement does not directly prescribe how people should behave or tell them what to do, it merely constructs the entire scenario where certain actions are possible yet others aren't. So by virtue of the fact of gravity, no human being can jump from the top of a skyscraper with no flying aids and avoid falling. This alone creates no prescriptive statement that people should not jump from skyscrapers, a moral statement however could have such a prescription as we could have a moral statement for or against jumping of a skyscraper.




    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    If it dictates behaviour already, it is a factual statement
    If it dictates behaviour only after it has been acknowledged, it is a moral statement..,?".
    It dictates behavior only after it has been acknowledged as there is nothing inexorable about the statement that there are no moral absolutes as there is about the statement that if you jump off a skyscraper on earth with no flying devices, you will fall. A person can construct an internally consistent system of morality where there are moral absolutes. The only trouble with such a system is that it fails in the field of applied ethics as it entails nearly irresolvable conflicts between people holding moral absolute views that are antithetical to each other.

    Accordingly, since the statement that there are no moral absolutes can be 'acted against', it is not factual. Notably, the statement that is truly factual such as if you jump from a skyscraper with no flying aid, you will fall.


    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    If "there are not moral absolutes" is true, how does it already dictate the behaviour of the human race? ?..,?".
    People who endorse the maxim of 'there are no moral absolutes' will make different moral judgments than those who do not. For example, a person who does endorse such a maxim cannot conclude that lying is wrong under all circumstances. A person who does not endorse this maxim and therefore believes in moral absolutes cannot draw such a conclusion.


    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    How would the world be any different if moral absolutes existed, than if they didn't?..,?".
    Clearly, behavior of people who do believe in moral absolutes would be different from the behavior of those who do not. I think this clearly evinces the moral essence or the directive efficacy of a statement that there are no moral absolutes. As I have shown in the previous example, it has the power to cause people to make choices in a certain way.


    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    The very nature of morality means it does not dictate behaviour or reality, and can be acted against.?..,?".
    True, however the statement that there are no moral absolutes can be acted against as people can construct logically consistent systems of ethics that permit moral absolutes.





    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    The same would apply to "there are moral absolutes", and thus arises the confusion over the term "morality", and what exactly it means.
    This is where I think you've gone wrong. You've quite aptly noted that there cannot be any factual or descriptive statements about morality. Yet, you've mistakenly regarded the statements regarding that moral absolutes either do or don't exist as a factual rather than a prescriptive statement. On that note you argued that such statements ought to be abrogated. However, I have shown that these statements have the same structure as nearly all other moral statements such as Nazis are evil, or the President is good. All of these statements can be translated into prescriptions, hence anything that is evil is deserving reproach and anything that is good is deserving praise. Thus, the first statement is tantamount to Nazis are reproachable and the second is tantamount to the President is praiseworthy. If we were to accept your method of distinguishing moral from non-moral statements, the above moral statements that I have cited would have to be abrogated along with the statements that moral absolutes do or do not exist. Your suggestion destroys morality altogether or creates a system where no moral judgment can be constructed.

    To avoid this, I have suggested that the statements of the president is good, nazis are evil, there are moral absolutes and there are no moral absolutes only appear factual but truly are not, they are mere prescriptions about how people should make moral decisions. The third statement posits that people should make judgments that apply to all scenarios, yet the fourth posits that they should never do that.




    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    A good way around the problem is to make all moral statements factual ones (reductio ad absurdum rejects the first premise instead)...Usually by twisting any moral statement into "want" statements. This casts meaninglessness onto "should" and "ought" sentences with regards to morality, forcing translations. And this, more significantly, means all factual statements become moral statements as well..
    It seems to me that here you are changing course. Previously, it seemed to be the case that you have been arguing the statement of 'there are no moral absolutes' does not cause a paradox because in itself it isn't a moral statement as it is a factual one. That would have been sufficient had it truly been the case that 'there are no moral absolutes' is a factual and therefore a non-moral statement. Yet, I've shown that this is not so. Let me try and interpret this next course of reasoning you're putting forward.

    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    A good way around the problem is to make all moral statements factual ones (reductio ad absurdum rejects the first premise instead)...
    I don't think its possible to convert all moral statements into statements of fact. For example, Hitler is bad. One may say that it is a fact within the context of a certain moral system, however, it is not a fact within the context of another potential moral system. For example, a person of sadistic and perverse moral values can regard the abominations of a third reigh as good or desirable. This, however, is not a fact in the same sense as laws of physics are. Its not a fact in the regard that you've defined a fact or something that cannot be acted against. You can very much act against the proposition that Hitler is bad.

    This seems to be the very opposite of what you've argued earlier in this post. At first you were suggesting that there is a fundamental distinction between facts and morality or if something is a factual statement, its not moral. If something is moral, as you said, then its not factual as it can be acted against. Yet here you've denied this fundamental distinction. Furthermore, as I have just shown above, I don't think you could plausibly eliminate such a distinction. No moral judgments is such that it cannot be acted against, or no moral judgment constitutes an inexorable law of nature.

    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    This casts meaninglessness onto "should" and "ought" sentences with regards to morality, forcing translations. And this, more significantly, means all factual statements become moral statements as well..
    I don't think that you've shown how all factual statements become moral statements. How would that be possible? To refute this claim I can cite at least one factual statement that cannot become a moral statement. A car is black. One may add a moral or a prescriptive statement to it and claim that because its black we should not leave it under the sun for too long as it will surely overheat. However, in this case we are merely adding a moral statement to a factual claim. The factual claim in itself does not contain a moral statement.

    Perhaps you were referring to statements similar to Hitler is bad which may translate as Hitler is morally reproachable. However, in this case it was never a fact that Hitler was bad as the statement started out as a moral claim. I still don't see how you can ensure that all factual statements are moral statements and furthermore than all moral statements are factual statements. Strikingly, the statement that all As are Bs and all Bs are As means that A is logically equivalent to B. In other words, in all cases the truth value of A is the same as the truth value of B. In the philosophical context, it is another way of saying that A and B are the same.

    If all moral statements are facts and all facts are moral statements, it follows that there is no distinction between a factual and a moral statement. That surely cannot be true as we can cite at least several instances of factual statements that are not moral and of moral statements that are not factual.

    I have previously cited a factual statement that isn't a moral one, for instance the fact of a car's black color by itself exerts no moral prescriptions. Regarding a moral statement that isn't a factual one, consider the previously cited statement that Hitler is bad. Its possible to act against this moral judgment by constructing an internally consistent moral system where Hitler isn't bad.

    All in all, I was thoroughly confused by the last move in your post. Not only is it false, but its also not helpful to your argument. For the sake of this discussion, suppose that it is true that there is no distinction between a moral and a factual statement. How could this resolve the paradox of moral absolutism?

    It would follow that it is factual and a moral statement that there are no moral absolutes. However, this statement smuggles a moral absolute into the moral system it constructs. Since all factual statements are moral and vice versa, there is no way to place the absolute statement of 'there are no moral absolutes' into a category that is different from other non-absolute moral statements.

    It would be possible to place them into different categories if there was a fundamental distinction between facts and moral statements. The fact that you have established this distinction made it possible to consider whether the statement that appears moral or 'there are no moral absolutes' is factual and not truly moral. However, since the distinction has been eradicated, such a separation has become impossible.

    In the last part of your post it appears to be the case that you've undone what you've endeavored to accomplish in the first part of the post.









    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    ^Not the liar paradox. You've simply changed the sentence, so it is not a solution to the liar paradox. Which still parallels your solution fine, but I must emphasise that point for my solution.
    Changing the sentence is one way to avoid the paradox. A paradox by definition cannot be solved, it can only be avoided.
    Last edited by SolitaryWalker; 01-13-2010 at 02:46 PM.
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  10. #20
    Senior Member sketchymcsketcherson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robert165 View Post
    I just realized this and its kind of funny. You can't even make the statment "There are no Moral absolutes" because in doing so, You've just made an absolute statement, about a moral issue.
    No offense, but does this fact really effect anything?

    This reminded me of the following Philosoraptor:

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