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GoatLord

Objective versus subjective morality

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Proposal: Morality is a human construct, derived from evolutionary mechanisms designed to ensure the propagation of a species. Behavior that is counter to that (such as mass killings) could be considered immoral, if mortality is tied to whether or not said behavior disrupts propagation. The complexities of human interactions necessarily complicate morality, which is why there are constant debates about what sorts of actions are morally acceptable, many of them having little or nothing to do with propagation.

One could say, then, that morality is, objectively speaking, the tendency to avoid behaviors that disrupt propagation. However, there are isolated tribes whose social norms might necessarily appall the average person. The condolence of murder, pedophelia and cannibalism, for instance, would suggest that the tribe is immoral, when in actuality we are projecting our own sense of moral objectivism onto the tribe. This would suggest that morals are entirely relative to any given society, since, despite how much we may object to their barbaric practices, we cannot argue that they are disrupting propagation, since they would have died out if that were the case.

Conclusion: Morals, and basic notions of good and bad, are designed to keep us in check, but do not exist beyond abstract concepts. They are subject to change depending on how social norms are established over time. Therefore, they cannot be sources of objectivity.

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Morality is an abstract concept, those tend to be very hard to discuss or even percieve in an objective fashion. I woud safely bet that, on average, higher intellignce correlates to 'morals' that are generally beneficial for the species, IE not killing people at random, not breeding like rabbits, valuing and prioritizing discovery and expansion of knowledge, etc.

I think there's something to be said for population culling, however tribal acts of barbarism are probably not the best way to go about it. I think the one child law in China was an incredibly wise decision on the whole as the planet simply cant support all the breeding we're doing, but even that law has a whole list of problems - Many cultures seek to have male children (fucked if I know why, this mentality belongs in the stone age and would certainly be eradicated via education) so you end up with a gender imbalance. Not as bad as everyone starving to death, but still not optimal.

Long story short, if morality was objective, there would have been 999999% less conflict throughout human history, but arguably just as little progress as well. History shows that conflict results in just as much progress as it does destruction.

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Being somewhat reductionist, we can say that given that morality is an outright artificial construct... the differing views of objective vs subjective morality don't really matter. Ultimately... objective morality is going to be based on subjective consensus anyway.

So... there is no right... there is no wrong... there is no good... and there is no bad... there is only that which you do not want or that which you do.

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I have always been of the belief that doing something good is to affect someone or something positively, Bad is to affect someone or something negatively. And all things done to ones self lies in a beautiful grey where it is your right to do whatever to oneself....
greatest thing is no god required.

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What is negative? So a forest gets razed, all those trees were doing horrible things like absorbing sunlight and making sugar. Now that they're gone, there's much more room for there to not be things.

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Negative would be continuously removing trees being oblivious of the repercussions.
Researching a renewable alternative would be a positive. Its not only us living on the planet.
Cutting a tree or 1000 isn't a negative, cutting them all is....because it affects us negatively.

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I generally agree with GoatLord's conclusion and reasoning.

It's subject to change based on the majorities point of view. Although quite often Morality can be integrated and treated with objectivity such as some fundamental laws literally born and enforced (I'm thinking Equity for some countries) but the origins and influence of said values are derived subjectively, based on how people felt was just and fair.

I guess in general neither Totalitarian or Utilitarian actions are more objective than the other, it's all a matter of our point of view.

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See, there's no reason for life to not exist. The only reason we care about making sure living things exist is because we are living things with empathy for other living things. So we share the (understandably) biased opinion that living things should be treated with respect and try an alright amount to maintain the systems that support it.

Now think about all the rocks we break, we're not rocks and rocks don't live. If you break a rock it doesn't hurt the rock, a rock has no feelings. But it does physically damage the rock. The rock is harmed. But it doesn't matter. It's a fuckin rock.

Now if we were rocks, and rocks could think, nobody would be breaking rocks.

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scifista42 said:

Anything that cannot be mathematically proven is subjective. This is a subjective fact.


I almost feel like that's objectively true, because the truth of mathematics relies on a system designed to result in truth. It 2+2=4 has to be true because the rules state that it is. We can only assume the "real" world contains truth if we can identify the rules which govern it. Some might say quantum mechanics or string theory would count as rules, but they're just approximations. They're no more real than the math describing them (in other words, they are real in an abstract, non-physical way). I feel the same way about morality.

That said, the whole empathy thing is very helpful. Since there's no apparent objective morality, it's useful to take our self-preservation techniques--such as not killing others--and apply them in more specific ways. Even though I consider it subjective, I think it's useful to see morality as a way of determining whether one's actions will throw things out of balance, since a lack of balance is a negative way to be.

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I think morality is mostly subjective, but there are 3 scenarios where I think it is possible to just prove it wrong:

1. The premise of it is based on something that can be objectively proven (as in OUTRIGHT proven) or disproven rather than merely being subjective.

Example:

Guy 1: "You should not eat pork because it isn't safe".
Guy 2: "No research suggests it's harmful to eat and I feel fine".

2. If it doesn't accomplish what it is suppose to do.

Example: "Even though we flog people as punishment for disrespecting us, as is commanded by our traditions, for some reason the people still don't like us very much".

3. The morality is paradoxical.

Example:

"Commandment number 1: Thou Shalt not kill!

Commandment number 2: Always make sure you kill those nasty people across the street when you cross them because I don't like them!"

For me this is really all just a matter of logic and reason. As long as somebody's morality doesn't suffer from any of the above 3, even if I may not agree with it I also won't consider it "incorrect" per say either. Just different.

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scifista42 said:

Anything that cannot be mathematically proven is subjective. This is a subjective fact.

GoatLord said:

I almost feel like that's objectively true

Let me rephrase it:

Anything that has not been mathematically proven yet is subjective. This is a subjective fact.

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Sure it does!

"New Jersey is to my left."
Factually true, but not necessarily true to anyone else.

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