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Old 19th August 2019, 02:55 AM   #361
Belz...
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Cheetah claims to be able to know by reasoned argument.
I'm going to sound like a broken record but I have no idea how even that would work. And then what? It'd be entirely hypothetical.

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But even if it turned out that we couldn't know the answer, there are plenty of questions which have definite answers but whose answers we will never know. That doesn't mean that those answers don't exist.
For all intents and purposes, yes it does.
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Old 19th August 2019, 06:08 AM   #362
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
I'm going to sound like a broken record but I have no idea how even that would work. And then what? It'd be entirely hypothetical.



For all intents and purposes, yes it does.
How many feathers are there on all the birds in the world right now? That's a question whose answer we will never know, but it clearly has an answer. And it's not having an answer would have meaningful implications for the world. It would mean that the total of all feathers is not a simple sum, that there's something going on beyond what we understand about addition works. And that something, while whatever it is might not allow us to add up all the feathers, would have some implications for how the world works. Finding that out might have important implications for other things that we could know.

Whether or not a question has an answer is independent of our ability to answer it. The world exists even when you're not looking at it.
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Old 19th August 2019, 06:12 AM   #363
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
How many feathers are there on all the birds in the world right now?
Err... let me get back to you on that.

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That's a question whose answer we will never know, but it clearly has an answer.
Yeah but the question isn't "are there invisible magical fairies?" The latter is unverifiable even in principle, so even if the actual answer is "yes", for all practical purposes, there aren't. Just like spirits who can't interact with our universe don't exist or, for that matter, do other universes in a hypothetical multiverse. If there's no way to know, then, as I said for all practical purposes, they don't exist.

And really, is it a universal morality if there's no way to even know it, and if it makes no difference to anything? In order to be a universal morality it would have to either affect your behaviour, or issue judgment for violators. None of that occurs, on top of it being unknowable.


Oh, and the answer is 34.8 trillion.
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Old 19th August 2019, 06:43 AM   #364
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Originally Posted by caveman1917 View Post
Well I think that's a stupid idea that doesn't work anyway, even assuming people could agree on what those morals would be. Your post referred to the Holocaust, but morals aren't what stopped it, what stopped it was the Red Army. Similar observations can be made about strikes/insurrections in relation to social welfare programs under capitalism.
Again, you're missing the point of the thread. We all know that strikes can work. The question is, how do you know the established order is wrong? How do you know that striking against it is morally right? How do you argue for your viewpoint, beyond just threatening those who do not share it?

The thread doesn't need a sermon on the value of striking, especially if the sermon doesn't explain the moral value of striking.
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Old 19th August 2019, 06:57 AM   #365
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Err... let me get back to you on that.



Yeah but the question isn't "are there invisible magical fairies?" The latter is unverifiable even in principle, so even if the actual answer is "yes", for all practical purposes, there aren't.
I disagree. It might be unvarifiable, but basic theories might imply that they exist. Their non-existence would imply that those basic theories are false. That seems like a practical implication to me.

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Just like spirits who can't interact with our universe don't exist or, for that matter, do other universes in a hypothetical multiverse. If there's no way to know, then, as I said for all practical purposes, they don't exist.
Other universes are a good example. For instance we know that a level 1 multiverse exists, we just don't know how large it is, but it's certainly more than a few times larger than the observable universe, yet those regions are completely beyond our ability to investigate.

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And really, is it a universal morality if there's no way to even know it, and if it makes no difference to anything?
There being no way to know wouldn't imply that it makes no difference. If it's wrong to keep slaves, even if you can't know for sure, then it's still wrong.

Mind you, I'm not arguing that it is impossible to know. I don't think it is. I'm only arguing that it's possible that it's impossible to know.

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In order to be a universal morality it would have to either affect your behaviour, or issue judgment for violators. None of that occurs, on top of it being unknowable.
I think we have different concepts of what morality is. In my conception morality is what you should do, whether or not you actually do it is a different thing.


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Oh, and the answer is 34.8 trillion.
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Old 19th August 2019, 07:23 AM   #366
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If a question doesn't have an answer even beyond theoretically, as in the fact that the question doesn't have an answer is built into it's DNA as a question then I sincerely question it's validity as a question.
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Old 19th August 2019, 07:50 AM   #367
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Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
Should ethics even have rules?
No, it should not. If there was some perfect set of ethical rules we could simply follow to produce perfectly moral behaviour, morality would become simply mindless rule-following without having to use our sense of morality at all; and that would be pretty much the opposite of morality.

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Should it be like mathematics and be internally consistent? Can it be?
No and no it can't. Morality is (as I see it) how we deal with inherently competing and incompatible interests and how to prioritise which rules to follow and when. Every moral rule we can think of, can be taken to an extreme or we can find ourselves in extreme circumstances where following them will lead to outcomes we would not recognise as "moral".
When faced with a true moral dilemma we are not just faced with a problem for which we may not have invented a rule yet; it is a clash between different moralities.
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Old 19th August 2019, 08:20 AM   #368
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
I disagree. It might be unvarifiable, but basic theories might imply that they exist. Their non-existence would imply that those basic theories are false. That seems like a practical implication to me.
And what does that change? My theory about fairies implies that they exist, and that they move atoms around. But we can't detect them because they are invisible and magical. What difference do they make? None whatsoever. Now what?

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Other universes are a good example. For instance we know that a level 1 multiverse exists
Wait, wait. We do? No we don't. There is a very high probability that the universe is not unique, but we don't know it for a fact. But if those universes can never be detected in any way, they are, for all practical purposes, non-existent.

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There being no way to know wouldn't imply that it makes no difference. If it's wrong to keep slaves, even if you can't know for sure, then it's still wrong.
And what would be the consequences of it being wrong?

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I think we have different concepts of what morality is. In my conception morality is what you should do, whether or not you actually do it is a different thing.
But by definition that is determined by opinion. It has effect in the real world inasmuch as people act on those opinions. How would an objective morality even work?
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Old 19th August 2019, 09:28 AM   #369
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
I think the idea is that there is an objective morality but any individual may be wrong about what it is. He's confident that an answer exists but not that he has found the right answer.

That's how I read it anyway.
Yes, though I'm a bit more confident at least on some issues, I know I could be mistaken.

I'll try using the slavery example a bit differently. Let's say at a particular time and place in history, 100% of the earth's population agreed it was okay to enslave your enemies, rape them, kill or enslave their children, etc. They wouldn't like it done to them or their own group, but considered it acceptable to do it to others.

To me, even if there were such unanimity, that would not make it morally acceptable. Ethically acceptable by societal codes, but not morally. I believe that there is an objective morality by which such behaviour is always wrong, even if literally everyone alive believes it is okay, and even if literally everyone believes it is morally acceptable, literally everyone is wrong. That's the subjective morality, not objective. Even if the slaves and people being raped and killed believed what was being done was moral, would not make it so, and even if they believed it was. Contrariwise, if one person believed slavery was wrong, and helped slaves escape, even if others thought it was wrong, even if they thought it was wrong, it would be objectively morally just (vis-a-vis Huck Finn, tormented that in helping Jim escape he is doing wrong...).

While I am religious and so see some moral absolutes in that light, I also think that in some cases, even proceeding from reason alone, it may be possible to arrive at objective moral truths on some topics, by logic, reason, Kantian ethics, whatever, and the golden rule may be one such, even if it's application in various circumstances is less certain. For instance, letting adult people do what they want even if dangerous to them, do we distinguish between suicide because of painful disease versus suicide because of treatable mental illness they don't want treated, or do we intervene to try to put them in a condition in which they can exercise their reason? What about drug addiction versus recreational non-addictive behaviour that carries the risk of addiction? Do we prohibit dangerous foods or drugs but allow dangerous sports, or prohibit the latter also? Protection of speech is one of the toughest.
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Old 19th August 2019, 09:49 AM   #370
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Originally Posted by epeeist View Post
I'll try using the slavery example a bit differently. Let's say at a particular time and place in history, 100% of the earth's population agreed it was okay to enslave your enemies, rape them, kill or enslave their children, etc. They wouldn't like it done to them or their own group, but considered it acceptable to do it to others.

To me, even if there were such unanimity, that would not make it morally acceptable. Ethically acceptable by societal codes, but not morally. I believe that there is an objective morality by which such behaviour is always wrong, even if literally everyone alive believes it is okay, and even if literally everyone believes it is morally acceptable, literally everyone is wrong.
Yes, but it's not objective morality. It's your morality. Humans tend to think that their morality is better, simply because we base so much of our lives on it. But that's not the same thing as it being objective.

Hell, even if God were to exist, his judgment would still not be objective, in the sense that it would be his perspective. I really think that there is no way anyone can make a case for an actual, objective morality. And no one ever has.
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Old 19th August 2019, 03:38 PM   #371
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Again, you're missing the point of the thread. We all know that strikes can work. The question is, how do you know the established order is wrong? How do you know that striking against it is morally right? How do you argue for your viewpoint, beyond just threatening those who do not share it?

The thread doesn't need a sermon on the value of striking, especially if the sermon doesn't explain the moral value of striking.
As I said earlier, I'm with Sidney Parker on this whole question. Morality is a myth, moral claims are nothing but the dressing up of particular interests, and I have no use for this myth. I don't know that the established order is morally "wrong" or that striking against it is morally "right" nor did I ever claim such, or would I even know what such statements mean in the first place. I know that the established order is against my interest and striking against it is in my interest, that's all I need to know.

I suppose, if you're desperately looking for a sermon - in the sense of a moralizing tale - then you can define "morally good" as "in my interest" and "morally bad" as "against my interest" which, although probably the most honest definition of morality, is also a pointless diversion from simply discussing interests in a clear-headed way without muddying things up with so-called morality. So I don't really see the point.

Maybe you missed the point of my original response to your post which prompted this tangent, I wasn't promoting strikes as such, but expressing agreement with what you posted and applied it. You applied it from the perspective of Hitler and the Holocaust, I applied it from the perspective of the working class, mostly since only applying it from the perspective of Hitler seemed to give the idea an undeserved negative connotation.

ETA: as for arguing my viewpoint, what needs arguing? That the things I claim to be in my interest are indeed in my interest? That needs no argument. Or that such things are also in other people's interests? That follows from the structure of capitalist society, divided in the working class and bourgeoisie. It's not just in my interest to, say, get more paid vacation days but also in the interest of my co-workers for them to also get that, hence...en grve! Morality doesn't even come into it.
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Old 19th August 2019, 07:48 PM   #372
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
And what does that change? My theory about fairies implies that they exist, and that they move atoms around. But we can't detect them because they are invisible and magical. What difference do they make? None whatsoever. Now what?
Now we try to test that theory in other ways. If there are no ways to test it, we can dismiss it.

I was talking about if there were another theory that implied the existence of fairies that we could test in other ways.



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Wait, wait. We do? No we don't. There is a very high probability that the universe is not unique, but we don't know it for a fact. But if those universes can never be detected in any way, they are, for all practical purposes, non-existent.
We do. For instance: https://arxiv.org/abs/1101.5476
According to this paper the volume of the universe is at least 250 times that of the observable universe. Of course it may be infinite, but we know that it's at least 250 times greater than the observable universe.

(I'll try to reply more later, got to run!)
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Old 19th August 2019, 09:19 PM   #373
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
As for selfishness, we exist as individuals therefore everything we do is ultimately selfish to some degree. There's no way out of that.
The problem with that is that we end pretty much with radical moral relativism: Donald Trump, Mahatma Gandhi, Charles Manson and Stephen Hawking all act fundamentally selfishly, as everyone does. The interesting thing is not the similarity but the wildly different outcomes of this "selfishness". This said there cannot be any "objective" criteria for a code of morality and ethics. As a liberal I want to maximize liberty for all - and as a social liberal in addition with the help of natural science and technology to maximize liberty from poverty and want for all. My ideal society would be the Culture from Iain M. Banks' scifi-books...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Culture

But my premiss is highly subjective and simply cannot be presented as "objectively correct".
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Old 20th August 2019, 02:38 AM   #374
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
And what would be the consequences of it being wrong?
The consequence of slavery being morally wrong is that you shouldn't engage in slavery.



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But by definition that is determined by opinion.
I don't see that at all. If morality is objective then by definition it's not determined by opinion, that's what it being objective means.

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It has effect in the real world inasmuch as people act on those opinions. How would an objective morality even work?
It would simply mean that moral questions would have answers that are independent of people's opinions.
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Old 20th August 2019, 02:54 AM   #375
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
The consequence of slavery being morally wrong is that you shouldn't engage in slavery.
And what if I do anyway? "Being wrong" means nothing objectively. It only means something for those holding that value. You've still not explained how it would work if it was an objective, universal truth.

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I don't see that at all. If morality is objective then by definition it's not determined by opinion, that's what it being objective means.
Indeed, that's the problem. No one has ever managed to establish how that would work, because it can't.

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It would simply mean that moral questions would have answers that are independent of people's opinions.
Answers determined how and which work how?

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According to this paper the volume of the universe is at least 250 times that of the observable universe.
Which has dick all to do with the multiverse.
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Old 20th August 2019, 06:02 AM   #376
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Which has dick all to do with the multiverse.
Belz, a level 1 multiverse is a multiverse which has a size greater than 1 hubble volume. It's conventional spacetime just larger than the observable universe. Regions beyond the horizon are forever beyond our reach because we can never interact with them. That is the sense in which they are different universes. All talk about "the multiverse" that's motivated by inflation, for instance, is talk about a level 1 multiverse. Those other universes are really "out there", just really far away.

This is very different from, say, the multiverse that you'll get from the many worlds interpretation of QM, though I'm an Everettian too.
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Old 20th August 2019, 06:03 AM   #377
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I'm realising that we are far enough apart in our thinking about morality that I'm going to have to spend some time trying to put myself into your worldview before I can attempt to reply to your other points. I think I'll be able to do so tomorrow.
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Old 20th August 2019, 06:04 AM   #378
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Belz, a level 1 multiverse is a multiverse which has a size greater than 1 hubble volume. It's conventional spacetime just larger than the observable universe. Regions beyond the horizon are forever beyond our reach because we can never interact with them. That is the sense in which they are different universes.
I guess if you're using a VERY broad definition of "universe", sure. It's ridiculous, though. That it can't be observed might put it out of our ability to determine if it exists, but it doesn't put it in a different universe. I'm talking about other actual reality bubbles, so to speak.
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Old 20th August 2019, 07:07 AM   #379
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
I guess if you're using a VERY broad definition of "universe", sure. It's ridiculous, though. That it can't be observed might put it out of our ability to determine if it exists, but it doesn't put it in a different universe. I'm talking about other actual reality bubbles, so to speak.
Well, Im using accepted terminology. Those regions are causally disconnected from us.
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Old 20th August 2019, 07:20 AM   #380
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
And what if I do anyway? "Being wrong" means nothing objectively.
In your view, is 2 + 2 = 4 objectively true? And if so, what are the consequences for getting it wrong? What if I don't care about mathematical accuracy?
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Old 20th August 2019, 07:20 AM   #381
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Well, Im using accepted terminology. Those regions are causally disconnected from us.
They're not causally connected to us here. But if you move further you'll see more. So it's causally connected to other parts of the universe that are in range. I'm talking about things that are not causally connected to our universe at all i.e. other universes, so that there is no way to detect them even in principle, regardless of where you are in our own spacetime.
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Old 20th August 2019, 07:22 AM   #382
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I'm still not getting where we're supposed to go intellectually or argumentatively after the very core idea that a specific question has an answer (not just rejecting any accepted answer or even arguing that it's impossible to answer practically) has been soundly rejected.

"Morality" needs to have an answer we can at least agree on socially or there's gonna be a lot of human misery we're going to "and then?" ourselves into.
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Old 20th August 2019, 07:24 AM   #383
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Originally Posted by I Am The Scum View Post
In your view, is 2 + 2 = 4 objectively true? And if so, what are the consequences for getting it wrong? What if I don't care about mathematical accuracy?
Well, the consequences of getting it wrong are that your calculations aren't going to match reality, which you'll certainly notice. Furthermore, what do we mean by "objective morals", exactly? What does it mean for something to be "wrong"?

Sorry, the concept just doesn't make sense. It just sounds like people trying to give their own values more weight. At least math, as a construct, can be applied to real things objectively.
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Old 20th August 2019, 07:28 AM   #384
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
They're not causally connected to us here. But if you move further you'll see more. So it's causally connected to other parts of the universe that are in range. I'm talking about things that are not causally connected to our universe at all i.e. other universes, so that there is no way to detect them even in principle, regardless of where you are in our own spacetime.
There really is no way to interact with them, even in principle. The universe is expanding. If you travel toward some other part of it in hopes of observing something over the horizon, the expansion will outpace you.
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Old 20th August 2019, 07:30 AM   #385
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
There really is no way to interact with them, even in principle. The universe is expanding. If you travel toward some other part of it in hopes of observing something over the horizon, the expansion will outpace you.
There's great.

Hey here's a question... what in a blue blazer's button hole does any of this have to do with little Timmy getting his cancer medication to ease his suffering?
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Old 20th August 2019, 07:32 AM   #386
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
I'm still not getting where we're supposed to go intellectually or argumentatively after the very core idea that a specific question has an answer (not just rejecting any accepted answer or even arguing that it's impossible to answer practically) has been soundly rejected.

"Morality" needs to have an answer we can at least agree on socially or there's gonna be a lot of human misery we're going to "and then?" ourselves into.
I agree. If there is no objective morality, then what exactly are we having subjective opinions about? If we want to have moral discussions we pretty much have to at least start with an axiom that moral questions have answers.

I couldn't help but make this reply, but as I said, I'll try to spend some time to understand the subjective morality viewpoint before commenting further.
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Old 20th August 2019, 07:33 AM   #387
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
There's great.

Hey here's a question... what in a blue blazer's button hole does any of this have to do with little Timmy getting his cancer medication to ease his suffering?
Well, I think it's basically what you said: we have to agree to start from somewhere in order to just move on and deal with real world problems. And saying "moral questions have answers" seems like a pretty fundamental starting point.
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Old 20th August 2019, 07:35 AM   #388
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You can "and then" any objective statement into subjectivity, to the point where I'm almost over "objective/subjective" as anything meaningful in this context.
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Old 20th August 2019, 07:38 AM   #389
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
There really is no way to interact with them, even in principle.
There is if you live on another planet further away. For them the observable universe is different, but it's still the same cosmos.
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Old 20th August 2019, 07:42 AM   #390
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Well, the consequences of getting it wrong are that your calculations aren't going to match reality, which you'll certainly notice.
Sorry, that doesn't add anything. "Not matching reality" is just another way of saying "getting it wrong."
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Old 20th August 2019, 07:51 AM   #391
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Originally Posted by I Am The Scum View Post
Sorry, that doesn't add anything. "Not matching reality" is just another way of saying "getting it wrong."
You wouldn't be equivocating two definitions of the word "wrong", would you?

Morally wrong and factually wrong are not the same thing. That's why the idea of objective morality doesn't make sense: it's logically contradictory.

2+2 = 4 is provable by adding 1 four times and getting the same results. Of course, numbers are a made-up thing that just represent objects, so it's true by definition. Perhaps you should have picked the acceleration of gravity at ground level, or something similar which is true because it's a physical fact.

But so far no one has managed to explain what an objective moral value would look like, or even how we'd be able to determine them.
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Old 20th August 2019, 08:20 AM   #392
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
If we want to have moral discussions we pretty much have to at least start with an axiom that moral questions have answers.
Moral questions have no answers and that is exactly why moral discussions between people with substantially different beliefs about morality so complicated. When speaking about morality, they are simply not talking about the same thing.

The best one can hope for with such discussions is that people gain a better understanding of what our people are believing, and for that reason discussions on morality are a very important thing; we may even find similarities between moralities so that people with very different views can peacefully coexist. We should not deceive ourselves into thinking that this is akin to discovering "moral truths". It isn't. It is the opposite; it is letting go of the idea of objective morality and substituting it for an intersubjective one.
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Old 20th August 2019, 08:27 AM   #393
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Originally Posted by Earthborn View Post
Moral questions have no answers.
Yeah we heard people the first 100 times.

What we're all waiting on where the discussion is supposed to go now when all possible answers have been pre-rejected.
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Old 20th August 2019, 08:38 AM   #394
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
There is if you live on another planet further away. For them the observable universe is different, but it's still the same cosmos.
There are regions of this 250 hubble volume space that are inaccessible to any part of our observable universe. If you only want to consider those regions separate universes, I'm okay with that.
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Old 20th August 2019, 08:44 AM   #395
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Yeah we heard people the first 100 times.

What we're all waiting on where the discussion is supposed to go now when all possible answers have been pre-rejected.
Appeals to enlightened self interest, and hopes that the person you're appealing to shares something like your idea of self interest.

Most people like to take care of themselves, so even if you don't share their moral code, you should still be able to negotiate some kind of moral agreement.

On the other hand, there are limits. Some people get a kick out of the idea of future generations. Me? Not so much. So moral appeals to my interest in future generations will generally fall flat.
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Old 20th August 2019, 08:56 AM   #396
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
There are regions of this 250 hubble volume space that are inaccessible to any part of our observable universe. If you only want to consider those regions separate universes, I'm okay with that.
I believe I've been very clear on what I consider to be a different universe.

Can we stick with moral questions and lay off the theoretical physics and cosmology?
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Old 20th August 2019, 08:59 AM   #397
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
I believe I've been very clear on what I consider to be a different universe.

Can we stick with moral questions and lay off the theoretical physics and cosmology?
Why? What do we have to go to (g)your recursion and stop?

It's turtles all the way down and all the turtles look the same from where I'm standing.
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Old 20th August 2019, 09:01 AM   #398
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
Why? What do we have to go to (g)your recursion and stop?

It's turtles all the way down and all the turtles look the same from where I'm standing.
I'm sorry, what? What's your question?
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Old 20th August 2019, 09:07 AM   #399
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
I'm sorry, what? What's your question?
I'm saying his recursion is exactly as valid as yours.

If we're not allowed to start at "suffering is bad and should be reduced" as self defining then "What is the nature of reality" is no further down the turtle poll then "Prove to me suffering is objectively bad."
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Old 20th August 2019, 09:14 AM   #400
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
I'm going to sound like a broken record but I have no idea how even that would work. And then what? It'd be entirely hypothetical.

I have seen it argued here many times that science cannot decide what is right and what wrong. Science can inform your choice and help you achieve it, but a person has to make the subjective moral choice.


Why not make morals a science then?



Build your morality on a objective base, founded in reality, universally applicable, and then use science, logic and reasoning to develop the structure and see where it leads.
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