Moral Objectivism and Rationalism 28 replies

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Locomotor

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#1 12 years ago

I just finished writing this essay for my Sociology class. It is my basic philosophy between moral objectivism and subjectivism.

The concept of moral subjectivism refutes itself. According to this concept, "right" and "wrong" don't exist in reality, they exist only in the reflections of our own emotions toward a given concept. If "right" and "wrong" don't exist in reality they can't then be rationally attributed to any real concept.

For instance, if I were to say "this red car is blue", there is no way for a subjectivist to refute that, because that kind of judgment is only a reflection of my own feelings toward the color of the car, hence the presence of "moral subjectiveness". If that were true, it would be impossible for the colors "red" and "blue" to even exist in any real sense, and the car could be neither, because the colors would only exist in the self-observation of one person's feelings toward the color of the car compared to another person's self-observation of his feelings towards the color of the car. Therefore, neither color could exist in reality, only in an illicited emotional self-observation. In an objective sense, however, the car is either red or blue, and that color exists in reality, and can not be rationally disputed.

I could as easily say "black is white" as you could say "white is white", and according to subjectivist rule, an infinite number of correct judgments could be made toward the two colors, and "black" could, in fact, be itself while being "white" at the same time. In effect, neither color could exist in reality, only in self-observation. If you would try to dispute my comment that "black is white", you would have, in one rebuttal, destroyed the entire point and purpose of the entire moral subjectivism philosophy, that the concepts of "right and wrong", "red and blue", and "black and white" exist only in the eye of the beholder, not in reality. In an objective sense, however, black is black, white is white, neither is both, and neither of their existences can be rationally disputed. Claiming "It is wrong to impress your values upon me" would defeat itself, and the entire concept of moral subjectivism, for if it is wrong for me to impress my values upon you, it is just as wrong for you to hold a belief that I am wrong, for your judgment wouldn't be based on subjective rule. It would be based on your own objective view that it would be wrong for me to do so. Moral objectivism is the only rational way to apply any kind of meaningful judgment upon any real object or concept. Because moral objectivism exists and subjectivism doesn't, I have the ability to rationally say that one concept is wrong while the other is right.

Discuss.




EON_MagicMan

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#2 12 years ago

I'm not sure comparing moral stance to the color of something is a fair comparison, the analogy just doesn't work. If you really wanted to, you could pinpoint the exact color and shade on the color spectrum. The color is completely objective. The thing that is subjective is your opinion on the color. The color of the car is the color of the car, but your feelings towards the color subjective. There is no objective opinion on the color of the car, just like there are no objective morals. The color of the car is there no matter what, and it's that color. The morals however, are better compared to people's opinions on the color. Of course, there are general moral guidelines that most people go by, so most people would agree that murder is wrong, just as they would agree that a slick silver is better than an eighties purple when it comes to cars. Still, there is nothing objective saying that the silver is better than the purple, just like there is nothing objective saying murdering someone is wrong. Of course, that being said, a good moral guideline is "am I harming someone?". That's why we take a general consensus as people and make it into a law (hence why murder or theft is illegal-- most people consider it immoral- did the Crusaders find it immoral to kill muslims?). Some people find pre-marital sex immoral, some people don't. There is absolutely nothing out there to denote that objectively, as with any morals.

So that aquamarine colored car, is, objectively, R103, G185, B184 and some light values, to put it in computer terms. Nobody can argue that. You can, however, argue whether it's a nice color or not.




Locomotor

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#3 12 years ago
Originally posted by EON_MagicMan The color is completely objective.

But, according to subjectivism, anyone's opinion could define the color of the car. Someone's misintrepretation of "red" could justify the incorrect identification of the car's color. Though, if there is no real objectivism to thought, there's no reason why the incorrect observation couldn't be in fact correct after all.

there are general moral guidelines

According to subjectivism, there aren't. They would exist only in what you make of them. Objectivism is the concept that there are those guidelines and that not only do we not have complete authority in our emotional responses to concepts, but that those concepts themselves can demand certain responses.

Some people find pre-marital sex immoral, some people don't. There is absolutely nothing out there to denote that objectively, as with any morals.

Correct, but my point was in showing the irrationality behind accepting universal subjectivism. "Morals" are only a small chunk of the equation. I should've pointed out that this has no exact pertainence to any specific "moral" issue, but objectivism vs. subjectivism as a whole.




Guns4Hire

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#4 12 years ago
For instance, if I were to say "this red car is blue", there is no way for a subjectivist to refute that, because that kind of judgment is only a reflection of my own feelings toward the color of the car

I'd give you an F. Either the car is red or blue or you are colorblind. :smokin:




Locomotor

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#5 12 years ago

Correct! My point was in pointing that out, but I think you got it.




Mr. Matt VIP Member

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#6 12 years ago

Everything is subjective. According to a blind person, there is no visible light spectrum at all! If everything were objective, this discussion itself wouldn't even exist, because everyone would have exactly the same opinion about everything.




Locomotor

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#7 12 years ago
Originally posted by Mr. Matt According to a blind person, there is no visible light spectrum at all!

That's not true at all, they wouldn't be able to experience it, but they would know that it existed.

If everything were objective, this discussion itself wouldn't even exist, because everyone would have exactly the same opinion about everything.

If everything was subjective, nobody would have any opinion about anything except their very own interpretation.




Mr. Matt VIP Member

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#8 12 years ago
LocomotorThat's not true at all, they wouldn't be able to experience it, but they would know that it existed.

Only if you told them, and only if they believed you...

If everything was subjective, nobody would have any opinion about anything except their very own interpretation.

Read some history books, try and see if everything happened the same according to every historian.




Locomotor

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#9 12 years ago

That wasn't my point. I mean that noone's intepretation could be refuted by another person, because everything would be subjective.

I should probably point out that the rationality dispute that I wrote about is between accepting either objectivism or subjectivism as a whole, that would encompass all thought.




EON_MagicMan

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#10 12 years ago
LocomotorBut, according to subjectivism, anyone's opinion could define the color of the car. Someone's misintrepretation of "red" could justify the incorrect identification of the car's color. Though, if there is no real objectivism to thought, there's no reason why the incorrect observation could be in fact correct after all.[/quote] No you couldn't, there is a definite way to measure the color of the car. There is, however, no definite way to measure right or wrong, just as there is no way to measure which color is better. How do you propose right and wrong be measured indefinitely? There is absolutely no way. [quote=Locomotor] According to subjectivism, there aren't. They would exist only in what you make of them. Objectivism is the concept that there are those guidelines and that not only do we not have complete authority in our emotional responses to concepts, but that those concepts themselves can demand certain responses.

Well that's true, you're right, according to subjectivism there aren't, but in a realistic context, that's how many people define their morals. Many religious people wonder how atheists can develop a moral code, with nobody to own up to? Still, (depending on your beliefs), likely story is, the Bible's moral code is the moral code of it's authors, and not some absolute moral code. Same with the Quran, which holds differences on the subject of morality, when it comes to certain issues. Yet, muslim countries of old (DISCLAIMER: I'm saying this rather baselessly for the sake of analogy, so bear with me) basing their laws off of it, may consider it extremely immoral for a women to not be faithful to her husband, and in fact, worthy of execution. Some would say that it is immoral to execute the woman for doing so, but who's to decide?. The emotional responses of the people of that region watching the execution publically would be 'She got what she deserved, for the gravely immoral deed', in other words, the execution would be the moral thing to do. An observer from a different place might have something completely different to say-- a different emotional response.

Correct, but my point was in showing the irrationality behind accepting universal subjectivism. "Morals" are only a small chunk of the equation. I should've pointed out that this has no exact pertainence to any specific "moral" issue, but objectivism vs. subjectivism as a whole.

As I said before, the morals we almost accept as 'objective', i.e, murder is wrong, are something that as a society we've come to agreement with-- on the basis that it is harmful to someone. Same with theft. If there are objective morals, then we certainly don't know them. With human beings, however, morality is subjective, and are developped while growing up (why kids may not know right from wrong). From there, the emotional response to various situation will vary from person to person, as morals are learned and subjective.