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Old Yesterday, 05:58 AM   #521
Lithrael
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Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
Life can live without duplicating, it cannot duplicate without living. That is why 'self preservation' is the most basic instinct, it is universal.
Even this much requires things like thinking of an insect colony as an individual, and adding the caveat ‘self, or egg’ for things like cephalopods.

I’m pleased to see that these days, more posters point out that while you can do lots of science with your axioms, your axioms themselves cannot really be scientific. A person must choose what criteria they are using and which goals they think are correct. They can say why they considered x or y goal to be universal but that’s still just, like, their opinion, man.

Science can say what’s better for/at (thing) but it can’t tell you what’s better full stop. You have to slot values in on your own.
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Old Yesterday, 06:04 AM   #522
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Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
Morality has to do with what is considered right and wrong, good and bad. Correct?
Yes, I think that's the bedrock of it.

Quote:
I'm looking at life as a whole to highlight things are universally good and bad as a foundation. What is wrong with this approach?
Well as I said, what's wrong with it is that you have not established such a universal.

Quote:
Look at how life on the planet changed, proliferated and spread once eukaryotes evolved. The same for multi-cellular life. The same for nervous systems. The same for social behaviour. Symbiosis. Stuff like that.
New strategies have evolved, for sure. But they each come with a cost. What's to say that humans are more successful than salmonella? We both eat and reproduce, so we've got the basics.

Quote:
There is a definite trend in evolution towards cooperation, it evolved at multiple levels and life became more successful as a result.
I disagree wholeheartedly. Cooperation to any appreciable scale isn't as common as its complement. I still think you're anthropomorph... morphing. Gods, I hate that word.

Quote:
In this case I mean 'successful' as in it allowed life to explore more options and exploit more niches previously unavailable
I don't want to sound overly pedantic or confrontational, but how is that not, to use your own words, "some criteria you happen like"? What's special or objective about exploring more options and exploiting more niches?
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Old Yesterday, 06:14 AM   #523
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I mean, and it’s trivially easy to go wrong with axiomatic morality too; think of the fictional ‘oops’ AI scenario where the robot figures it’s a good idea to eliminate all suffering by not having anything be alive anymore. It’s not wrong, is it? Or do you think you can prove scientifically that life is better than barren rocks? How much better does it have to be before it’s ‘worth’ the inevitable suffering? How can you possibly answer that with science rather than opinions and/or feelings?
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Old Yesterday, 07:21 AM   #524
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Originally Posted by Lithrael View Post
I mean, and it’s trivially easy to go wrong with axiomatic morality too; think of the fictional ‘oops’ AI scenario where the robot figures it’s a good idea to eliminate all suffering by not having anything be alive anymore. It’s not wrong, is it? Or do you think you can prove scientifically that life is better than barren rocks? How much better does it have to be before it’s ‘worth’ the inevitable suffering? How can you possibly answer that with science rather than opinions and/or feelings?
To be fair, that's why nobody uses negative utilitarianism. Positive utilitarianism (maximizing happiness, rather than minimizing suffering) has its own set of problems, but none as cool as the biggest nuclear explosion ever though.
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Old Yesterday, 08:06 AM   #525
Lithrael
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Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
To be fair, that's why nobody uses negative utilitarianism. Positive utilitarianism (maximizing happiness, rather than minimizing suffering) has its own set of problems, but none as cool as the biggest nuclear explosion ever though.
True, but I think that looking at ‘ways of looking at morality that don’t work’ is great fun. Like, I think it’s a natural first principle that people want to go for in 2 am freshman philosophy, to try out negative utilitarianism first, because it’s easier to say what you don’t want.

In any case I don’t think that you can’t actually make a scientific argument for moral principles. You can axiomatically declare that having some life around is better than not having any life around, but you can’t prove it, and if you can’t prove that you certainly can’t prove that having a really good time is better than having a **** time. You can always push it back by one more why. Why is it better to have a good time? Because it improves health metrics. Why is it better to be more healthy? Because then xyz. Why is it better to xyz? Etc etc.

I’m not trying to say morality is not useful but pretending it’s objective is obnoxious. And so it’s a face plant off the starting line to go ‘ok we have to work out what objective morality is and we can all agree on it, and then we can all start working together on it for a better world.’ I think it’s far better to go ‘we have to work out what moral principles most of us can agree on, and then we can all start working together on it for a better world.’

If that’s just a semantic difference to you then what are you doing here on page 14 or whatever? I get that it feels satisfying to go “slavery was always objectively wrong” and it feels like the ‘lite’ version to go “slavery was always subjectively wrong by criteria a b and c but a lot of people thought it was fine because of criteria d and e and also it made some people a lot of money so it kept going for quite a while, and continues in spirit today,” but I’m pretty sure that being subjectively wrong is already the most amount of wrong something can be, morally.
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Old Yesterday, 08:28 AM   #526
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
I don't have an idiosyncratic definition, here. Objective is something that is true for all; that cannot NOT be true for all. Opinions are not objective, but the fact that you hold said opinions is.



None whatsoever. That's my point, really. Morality has always been dependant on the person or group. I'm asking those who claim that there could be an objective morality how it would work: how we could detect it, what it would look like, what consequences it would have, etc. So far zilch.



I have no idea how you got from here to there.



There is no such thing as an objective moral value.
Isn't your belief that morality is always subjective, itself an objective moral principle? Your objective moral principle is that, every person or group defines their own morality which is morally right for them.
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Old Yesterday, 08:44 AM   #527
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Originally Posted by epeeist View Post
Isn't your belief that morality is always subjective, itself an objective moral principle? Your objective moral principle is that, every person or group defines their own morality which is morally right for them.
I think that’s an observation, not a principle. Similarly, it’s not my objective moral principle that objects go down when dropped, but we can’t put it past humans to come up with the idea that it’s morally right for things to be on the ground.
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Old Yesterday, 08:54 AM   #528
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Originally Posted by epeeist View Post
Isn't your belief that morality is always subjective, itself an objective moral principle?
Does it prescribe a behaviour or assign a value to one? No, ergo no.

What do you think moral principles are?
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Old Yesterday, 10:34 AM   #529
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Yet to be convinced of any objective morality, but is there a functional difference between 'self preservation' and 'self interest'?
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Old Yesterday, 11:13 AM   #530
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Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
Is it not obvious? Life can live without duplicating, it cannot duplicate without living. That is why 'self preservation' is the most basic instinct, it is universal.
I would say that there is something more fundamental to life than either self-preservation or reproduction. Those are both strategies for achieving the preservation of genes.
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Old Yesterday, 11:18 AM   #531
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Originally Posted by jrhowell View Post
I would say that there is something more fundamental to life than either self-preservation or reproduction. Those are both strategies for achieving the preservation of genes.
And not necessarily your own, as demonstrated by many species including ants and bees. And eunuchs.

Anyway, I struggle to imagine that anyone would call the copying of genes to be an objective moral imperative.
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Old Yesterday, 11:51 AM   #532
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
And not necessarily your own, as demonstrated by many species including ants and bees. And eunuchs.

Anyway, I struggle to imagine that anyone would call the copying of genes to be an objective moral imperative.
Yes, it is more about preserving the information content of the genes than the particular molecules.

I just thew this out there. I don't see how the discussion of the fundamental nature of life has anything to do with morality. I am in the no objective morality camp.
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Old Yesterday, 11:55 AM   #533
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Right. I didn't think you meant anything more than that. I was adding to your point.
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Old Yesterday, 12:19 PM   #534
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Originally Posted by Lithrael View Post
True, but I think that looking at ‘ways of looking at morality that don’t work’ is great fun.
Yes I agree, it's why I choose "going out with the biggest bang ever" rather than something mundane like "everyone shoots themselves."
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Old Yesterday, 01:29 PM   #535
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Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
Yes I agree, it's why I choose "going out with the biggest bang ever" rather than something mundane like "everyone shoots themselves."
I think everyone shoots themselves is a great idea!

On the count of three: ONE...TWO...THREE...BANG!

Suckers! I just inherited the whole world!
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Old Yesterday, 05:06 PM   #536
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Long post is long!!

Originally Posted by Robin View Post
That is the thing. If there was an objective morality and I knew what that objective morality was then I could make reasoned arguments to show what is right and not right.

If others knew what the objective morality was then they would be able to set out those arguments.

But as I don't know any such arguments and have never heard any then, even if there was an objective morality then I don't know what it is and apparently neither does anyone else, so the only motivation for my actions is still that which I want.

And also, no-one has given me any reason to think that there should be any such thing as an objective morality, or what sort of thing it should be.
Yep.

Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Again when it comes down to "Well why care about suffering" I don't have an answer. I get this is a point of disagreement but I sort of feel that "suffering is bad and we shouldn't want it in ourself or others" is a reasonable place to just... start the discussion.
Sure. The problem of this thread in particular is that we started early with ‘let’s define what’s moral and make sure we can defend those definitions so we can all agree and move forward’ instead of ‘let’s define some axioms, chew over what works for us, and see what kind of functional framework of morality we can get going.’

For example, apparently it’s already well known that negative utilitarianism has serious drawbacks, since first of all you have to tape on the obvious corollaries, because the most surefire way to eliminate suffering is to eliminate the capacity for suffering. So an early step in the debate you want to have (as opposed to the one we’re having) would be to propose, then withdraw or elaborate on, ‘minimize suffering,’ and move on to ‘maximize well-being,’ and then start chewing on what well-being means.

Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
We can't achieve moral answers while in the same breath denying the concept of moral answers exist.
Sure we can, if we don’t freak out over the idea that they’re provisional, as opposed to True.

Originally Posted by mumblethrax View Post
A problem with ethical subjectivism (as it's being related in this thread) is that it requires us to say that if A held X at point t, A was correct to do so, and if A then held ~X at t+1, A was again correct to do so, despite the fact that one view is the negation of the other. This tends to make subjectivism difficult to distinguish from nihilism.
I think you’re injecting the ‘correct’ into that set of ideas there. Those were A’s old moral judgements, now he has new ones; A, today, thinks he was wrong when he considers his past position. He obviously did not consider it wrong back when he held it. The whole point of ethical subjectivism is that there isn’t any ‘correct’ to be, besides what we give it, and we give it such an astonishing breadth of things that absolute consensus is impossible.

Originally Posted by mumblethrax View Post
Someone who answers "Why did Rome fall?" with "Because it existed. You see, it was necessary for Rome to exist before it could fall" is just full of ****. That's not what we're asking when we ask "Why did Rome fall?" We are looking for specific causes, not any old necessary condition.

Similarly, someone who answers "What is the basis with morality?" with "Empathy is the basis of morality. You see, without empathy, morality could not exist" is full of ****. When we ask for a basis for morality, we are not asking for any old necessary condition. We are specifically looking for a logical and philosophical foundation.
Really? For me empathy is a pretty serious underpinning of morality. I see morality as a combination/uneasy truce of ‘how are we going to get all these people to get along reasonably well? I want to live, eat and have stuff, and so do all these people and there are some conflicts of interest’ and ‘can we do that and also try to help and respect everybody? It makes me feel bad to think of people suffering, even if I’m ok.’

Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
Morals are always a product of information and values. Science is a source of information and nothing more. I'm in favor of promoting science as it offers our best source of accurate information.

I think we SHOULD or OUGHT to value increasing overall well being and personal freedom. Well being doesn't mean necessarily a reduction in suffering or an increase in happiness and personal freedom doesn't mean you can do what you please. And there is no question at times these values can be conflicting. So it's not always easy to solve that dilemma.

But of course, this is a reflection of my values.
Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
Morality must be a function of utility in order to be sustainable: high ideals don't last long against reality.
I like these thoughts.

In looking for some basic principles to aim for as a goal of morality, a few people here have skirted and I’d like to emphasize, in addition to the positive goals of health and whatever comprises well being: a chance at self-determination, opportunity, mobility, if it is wanted.

In morality 101 what do they say? A moral society is what? One that rewards effort fairly? One that treats its members equitably? One that provides welfare for the needy? One that provides its members some kind of buffer from the effects of crime, war, natural disaster? One that protects its common resources from exploitation? One that protects its members from exploitation?
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Old Today, 03:35 AM   #537
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Belz... and Lithrael, everyone.
Originally Posted by Lithrael
A person must choose what criteria they are using and which goals they think are correct.
My reasoning, where do I go wrong, trying to be subjective.

Morals and ethics are about what is good and bad.
As such it's domain of applicability would be all that are able to experience good and bad.
Do all that are able to experience good and bad have any universal values concerning good and bad?
Yes, they all want well-being.
What is well-being?
Science can tell not only what it is, but why it is and what all experience it.
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Old Today, 03:57 AM   #538
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Originally Posted by Tony99 View Post
Yet to be convinced of any objective morality, but is there a functional difference between 'self preservation' and 'self interest'?
In evolutionary terms YES!
Which, I suppose, means yes... definitely.

Evolution of Cooperation: Combining Kin Selection and Reciprocal Altruism into Matrix Games with Social Dilemmas

Kin Selection

Reciprocal Altruism
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Old Today, 04:03 AM   #539
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Originally Posted by jrhowell View Post
I would say that there is something more fundamental to life than either self-preservation or reproduction. Those are both strategies for achieving the preservation of genes.
Yes, totally agree.
You and Belz... and most seem to be missing the point.
Good and bad are feelings, feelings have evolved specifically because it preserved genes.
Science can tell us all about how that works and why.

Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Anyway, I struggle to imagine that anyone would call the copying of genes to be an objective moral imperative.

Our morals and ethics are based on feelings that have evolved in a social context because it was successful in preserving genes. Again, science can tell us all about how that works and why.
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Old Today, 06:17 AM   #540
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The concept of 'well-being' is so apt in this context where literally everything we are discussing is based on feelings.
Feelings based on genes. Feelings that lead to behaviour that enabled the genes to spread through the population, replacing genes that had resulted in different, less successful feelings and behaviour.


If strings are the basic units of matter (who knows ), I think well-being might be like the string of feelings or something.
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Old Today, 06:39 AM   #541
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Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
Yes, totally agree.
You and Belz... and most seem to be missing the point.
Good and bad are feelings, feelings have evolved specifically because it preserved genes.
Science can tell us all about how that works and why.



Our morals and ethics are based on feelings that have evolved in a social context because it was successful in preserving genes. Again, science can tell us all about how that works and why.
I am not seeing how this connects to objective morality.

What feels good and feels bad is often different from what is good and bad for you because evolution can't see the bigger picture. For example overeating feels good and exercising feels bad to many people.

Similarly our sense of morality evolved in the context of competing tribes and so what seems intuitively good and bad to us may not be in our best interests for survival in a global culture.
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Old Today, 07:05 AM   #542
Lithrael
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Originally Posted by jrhowell View Post
I am not seeing how this connects to objective morality.

What feels good and feels bad is often different from what is good and bad for you because evolution can't see the bigger picture. For example overeating feels good and exercising feels bad to many people.

Similarly our sense of morality evolved in the context of competing tribes and so what seems intuitively good and bad to us may not be in our best interests for survival in a global culture.
I agree. While Cheetah probably has something in mind like ‘science tells us we want sweet things so badly because of these reasons in our evolutionary history, so we can figure out that the optimal amount of sweet things is actually x,’ only for morals, it sounds fraught with natural fallacy type problems. A culture of bedbugs would have to argue that the reason you want to stab your mate any old place is really just because it successfully spreads genes, and that morally you should not do that because it negatively impacts her health and now that you’re civilized, you have time to go look for her actual sex organs. Sorry, tangent, I just got a bunch of field mite bites so bugs are on my mind.

There’s so many human behaviors that are good at spreading genes but that are also on a continuum, like, a population will have members that are very empathetic and members that are sociopathic, because both work when both are present, but no society will function if they are all one way or the other, so how do you take that bell curve and have science tell us what, out of all that, we ought to be aiming for?

Actually JR already put it better than I did but oh well.
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Old Today, 07:13 AM   #543
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Quote:
I am not seeing how this connects to objective morality.
Is this objective?
Morality is a direct result of gene survival in the environment it evolved in
Quote:
What feels good and feels bad is often different from what is good and bad for you because evolution can't see the bigger picture. For example overeating feels good and exercising feels bad to many people.

Similarly our sense of morality evolved in the context of competing tribes and so what seems intuitively good and bad to us may not be in our best interests for survival in a global culture.
Yes exactly, our morality is optimized for a tribal lifestyle, competing for limited resources, as are our appetites. The world we live in now is much different, some feelings that were productive and necessary in the past are now counterproductive, the environment has changed.
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