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Is Morality Objective?
#26

Is Morality Objective?
(11-02-2018, 08:41 AM)vulcanlogician Wrote: It is worth noting that some ethicists (such as Kant) view treating oneself poorly as a moral transgression. Therefore, morality doesn't depend upon a social dimension.

Kant can assert that all he wants - it's his opinion.  And that is subjective.
Philosophy is about asking questions.
Science is about answering questions.
Theology is about avoiding questions.
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#27

Is Morality Objective?
(11-02-2018, 09:52 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:
(11-01-2018, 11:14 PM)Chas Wrote:
(11-01-2018, 04:53 PM)Thoreauvian Wrote: "Better" is pragmatically whatever is effective.  Circumstances alter cases.

What is effective may differ from person to person, making it clearly not objective.

I assert objective moral standards exist.  

And those are ... ?

Quote:However, many people still hold to subjective standards, like religiously indoctrinated ones.  They are not the best people to consult about what is and isn't effective.  The standard is what helps people to survive and thrive, not what is in accordance with religious dogma.

Again, "thrive" is not an objective measure.
Philosophy is about asking questions.
Science is about answering questions.
Theology is about avoiding questions.
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#28

Is Morality Objective?
(10-31-2018, 01:32 PM)EvieTheAvocado Wrote: I think here's some great two videos on the matter of objective morality:





I've tried to talk to people about objective morality before... but it's hard getting through to people. So perhaps YouTube can help as these two videos are very accessible and easily understood by most people (I hope).

Nobody uses blurbs these days...

I'm bored and feel like torturing you smarter folk with my banality, so here I am.

So making the colossal assumption that I am understanding all the tapdancing, basically the videos come down to different uses of the word "objective." This individual is suggesting that "axiomatic oughts" ('self-evident thoughts or feelings of obligation which exist without proof or argument.') are objective in the scientific sense; that they are in some manner demonstrable. Rather than the philosophical sense; that a thing is free-standing, it exists without other things.

I failed to notice how he justifies ramming a priori knowledge through the independent demonstrability-defined scientific definition of objective. For something to be considered scientifically it by definition must be examinable, meaning it must have some form of evidence or proof (in the more mathematical realms), which he declares don't apply to those thoughts; they just are.


He closes the second video saying that 'morality deals with objective facts that are relative to subjects.'

Throughout both videos, the claim that 'one ought to survive' comes up. In the first, it is pointed out that that is a desire engineered by evolution rather than a statement of reality. But lets ignore that. Lets accept this statement; it is "self-evidently true" that Douglas McBedsheets ought to live on.

To me, this raises the question:

What about the 1 million-odd people a year who have the exact opposite thought; they ought to die. Or rather, those who had before they followed that self-evidently true thought? And of course the beyond counting numbers of others who just haven't acted yet.

So are both of those stances simultaneously objectively correct? If they are, doesn't that render things subjective under the philosophical definition after all anyway while making the initial definition tapdance a pointless exercise?
If they aren't; whence cometh suicide?
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#29

Is Morality Objective?
If 'I ought to survive' is objectively true, that some people choose to kill themselves doesn't make it any less true. If 'I ought to survive' is an objectively true moral statement, then people who commit suicide are immoral. I personally don't accept 'I ought to survive' as being objectively true though.
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#30

Is Morality Objective?
(11-02-2018, 01:46 PM)Yonadav Wrote: If 'I ought to survive' is objectively true, that some people choose to kill themselves doesn't make it any less true. If 'I ought to survive' is an objectively true moral statement, then people who commit suicide are immoral.  I personally don't accept 'I ought to survive' as being objectively true though.

Which is why I am stipulating that 'I ought to die' is also an 'objectively true' thought and therefore a moral statement of the same calibre.

If both are true by this framework, then we have a framework which is internally contradictory in regards to objective facts, which all things being equal does not compute in a scientific description of objective things. Either that, or ultimately this moral framework is philosophically subjective and up to individual decision which is what scientific objectivity was bought up to get around to begin with.

Of course, we could say that 'I ought to die' is not one such axiomatic thought, but that demands qualification on how precisely then we are differentiating how one thought can be self-evident and an objective moral statement and the other is not, but that was never addressed in either video.
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#31

Is Morality Objective?
(11-02-2018, 12:04 PM)Chas Wrote:
(11-02-2018, 09:52 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:
(11-01-2018, 11:14 PM)Chas Wrote: What is effective may differ from person to person, making it clearly not objective.

I assert objective moral standards exist.  

And those are ... ?

Quote:However, many people still hold to subjective standards, like religiously indoctrinated ones.  They are not the best people to consult about what is and isn't effective.  The standard is what helps people to survive and thrive, not what is in accordance with religious dogma.

Again, "thrive" is not an objective measure.

How strange that you didn't notice I defined what I meant by objective moral standards in the same post: "What helps people to survive and thrive."  I guess you are looking for "Do this but not that" as "objective," but that kind of thinking is typically based on religious dogma.  Nor am I saying that what we understand as objectively true doesn't improve with time; it obviously does.  But that is more about our lack of information than our lack of standards which refer to realities.

When you see morality as both objective and relative, as I do, you understand that situations alter cases.  Killing another human can be justified morally when it's to prevent that person from killing others arbitrarily, for instance.  This is a relatively commonsense idea of moral behaviors. 

Thriving can be an objective measure when you consider it statistically.  For instance, if you are in constant pain, and your quality of life is near zero, you have survived but you have not thrived.  This is why suicide can be the moral solution in such situations.
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#32

Is Morality Objective?
"Is Morality Objective?"

No. It can't be. Prima facie and shit.
Amor fati.
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#33

Is Morality Objective?
(11-02-2018, 02:48 PM)Thoreauvian Wrote:
(11-02-2018, 12:04 PM)Chas Wrote:
(11-02-2018, 09:52 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote: I assert objective moral standards exist.  

And those are ... ?

Quote:However, many people still hold to subjective standards, like religiously indoctrinated ones.  They are not the best people to consult about what is and isn't effective.  The standard is what helps people to survive and thrive, not what is in accordance with religious dogma.

Again, "thrive" is not an objective measure.

How strange that you didn't notice I defined what I meant by objective moral standards in the same post: "What helps people to survive and thrive." 

Your defining it so does not make it so.

Quote:I guess you are looking for "Do this but not that" as "objective," but that kind of thinking is typically based on religious dogma. 

I'm not looking for anything other than an actual, defensible definition.   You haven't provided one.

Quote:Nor am I saying that what we understand as objectively true doesn't improve with time; it obviously does.  But that is more about our lack of information than our lack of standards which refer to realities.

"Improve" and "standards" are not determined objectively.  They are relative terms.

Quote:When you see morality as both objective and relative, as I do, you understand that situations alter cases.  Killing another human can be justified morally when it's to prevent that person from killing others arbitrarily, for instance.  This is a relatively commonsense idea of moral behaviors. 

What part is objective and how is it so?

Quote:Thriving can be an objective measure when you consider it statistically.  For instance, if you are in constant pain, and your quality of life is near zero, you have survived but you have not thrived.  This is why suicide can be the moral solution in such situations.

Again, that is a value judgement.   Not everyone would agree that constant pain makes one's quality of life near zero.
Philosophy is about asking questions.
Science is about answering questions.
Theology is about avoiding questions.
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#34

Is Morality Objective?
(11-02-2018, 09:08 PM)GirlyMan Wrote: "Is Morality Objective?"

No. It can't be. Prima facie and shit.

Yeah, that.

If a god would tell us what is and isn't moral, that would appear to be objective morality to humans.
But it's not.  It is that god's opinion.  Now if the meta-god revealed morality to that god ...

Yet another infinite regress.
Philosophy is about asking questions.
Science is about answering questions.
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#35

Is Morality Objective?
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#36

Is Morality Objective?
(10-31-2018, 07:31 PM)EvieTheAvocado Wrote:
(10-31-2018, 02:01 PM)Chas Wrote: Since he mentions both, I will simply say Hume defeats Kant, one to nil.

The idea that you can't get an ought from an is assumes that there is more to what is than what is.

Murder is an "is". Surely there are justifications on occasion for killing another human (self-defense is what I'm thinking of). What more is there to murder than "he needed killin'"?

Morality is clearly subjective. It relies upon the subject and the morality they espouse. But what justifications are reasonable to whom?

I think that too many people get their oughts from ises, myself: "That's the way it's been done, so it's right." Put me in Hume's camp. I know what I prefer, what I think is right, and while that has the input of "is", I get my oughts from what I think is right, and most others do as well. And we should be afraid of those who are happy to accept their morals from outside influences.
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#37

Is Morality Objective?
Seeing as how morality is an evolved social construct it would be utterly amazing if it were not subjective. From murder to cannibalism to incest, our species has broken every taboo we have ever developed. There may be underlying objective forces that drive morality in one direction or another, but they're so deeply buried in layers of subjective social optimization that one cannot call the final outcome objective in any sense.

We ought to, but we do not too!

If you want objective, look to the natural laws. Nobody's violating gravity just because they belong to the in-group. Nobody creates matter ex nihilo because they're feeling smug. This is what objective rules look like and it's what morality hasn't got in spades.
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#38

Is Morality Objective?
(11-03-2018, 12:14 AM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote: Morality is clearly subjective. It relies upon the subject and the morality they espouse. But what justifications are reasonable to whom?

But that's only one sense of subjective... and in that sense, isn't science also objective?

Science relies on the subject (the scientist) to collect data, and it relies on the scientist's ability to perceive data (their subjectivity). So in what sense is science objective? There is a fact of the matter that the data they collect either is or is not correct. And how is morality not objective in that sense as well?

Quote:I think that too many people get their oughts from ises, myself: "That's the way it's been done, so it's right."

Perhaps that's just the wrong is to get the ought from? After all, that is the naturalistic fallacy. But the question is, is it really always a fallacy to get an ought from an is if all oughts are ultimately ises and it's not a fallacy to get an is from an is?

The reason why the naturalistic fallacy is, generally speaking, a fallacy, is because [i]simply the fact that something is the way it is naturally, or, simply the fact that something always has been that way, is not a sufficient reason for saying that it SHOULD be that way. But that is not to say that there can't be ANY 'is reason' for an 'ought reason', if all 'ought reasons' are ultimately 'is reasons'. If all values are ultimately a particular kind of fact. Or, to look at it another way, if some values or oughts are as axiomatic as facts are (which is perhaps why it makes sense to say that they are a certain kind of fact).... then there seems no reason why we can't get an ought from an ought, if the first ought that we get the second ought from is as axiomatic as a fact.

Quote:Put me in Hume's camp. I know what I prefer, what I think is right, and while that has the input of "is", I get my oughts from what I think is right, and most others do as well. And we should be afraid of those who are happy to accept their morals from outside influences.

The interesting thing is this:

Wikipedia Wrote:Various scholars have also indicated that, in the very work where Hume argues for the is–ought problem, Hume himself derives an "ought" from an "is". Such seeming inconsistencies in Hume have led to an ongoing debate over whether Hume actually held to the is–ought problem in the first place, or whether he meant that ought inferences can be made but only with good argumentation.

The only thing that Hume was specifically saying was that you can't get an ought from an is by simply jumping to it as a total non-sequitur. He was commenting on the fact that many people go straight from talking about to how things are to saying how they should be. He never said that it wasn't possible to give good reasons for why things ought to be the case, he was saying that he considers it a fallacy to jump straight from the is to the ought without proper argumentation.
My Argument Against Free Will Wrote:(1) Ultimately, to control your actions you have to originate your original nature.

(2) But you can't originate your original nature—it's already there.

(3) So, ultimately, you can't control your actions.
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#39

Is Morality Objective?
(11-02-2018, 12:45 PM)Mediocharist Wrote: I failed to notice how he justifies ramming a priori knowledge through the independent demonstrability-defined scientific definition of objective. For something to be considered scientifically it by definition must be examinable, meaning it must have some form of evidence or proof (in the more mathematical realms), which he declares don't apply to those thoughts; they just are.

They are observable in exactly the same way.

Take the axiomatic ought that suffering is bad, for example. Suffering can be observed. Take also the fact of evolution... evolution can be observed.

Both are empirical matters.

You may say that only the suffering can be examined, the badness of the suffering cannot itself be examined. But that's where the axiom comes in. The axiom is that suffering is bad. That badness itself cannot be observed... but that is just like how we can't observe the fact that evidence itself is relevant to evolution. It's like you saying "Sure, we can observe the evidence for evolution, but we can't observe the fact that evidence itself is even relevant."

We take it as an axiom that evidence and logic are important and relevant to reality. In the same way, we can take it as an axiom that suffering is bad. Once we take those axioms, suddenly things make sense. Sure, you can't make sense of objective morality WITHOUT axioms. But you can't make sense of science, logic, mathematics without axioms either.

So if you are to say that morality can't be objective in ANY sense and is ENTIRELY subjective, then you must, by exactly the same logic, admit exactly the same of literally everything. You must say that, ULTIMATELY, everything is subjective, and nothing is REALLY objective, because everything is ULTIMATELY based on axioms that can't themselves be justified. Otherwise you are special pleading.

But note, that by doing this, you are simply only using one sense of objective and ignoring the other sense when most people would say that logic, science and mathematics are at least objective in some sense... and there's a big difference between having a biased an unbiased judge, or an objective or unobjective judge, at a court case, for example. Even if all premises are ultimately unjustified.

Perhaps EVERYTHING IS RELATIVE. And NOTHING IS ABSOLUTE (except, perhaps, reality itself, because that fact is itself relative)... but objectivity and absoluteness are not always the same thing, and subjectivity and relativity are not always the same thing.
My Argument Against Free Will Wrote:(1) Ultimately, to control your actions you have to originate your original nature.

(2) But you can't originate your original nature—it's already there.

(3) So, ultimately, you can't control your actions.
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#40

Is Morality Objective?
(11-02-2018, 12:03 PM)Chas Wrote:
(11-02-2018, 08:41 AM)vulcanlogician Wrote: It is worth noting that some ethicists (such as Kant) view treating oneself poorly as a moral transgression. Therefore, morality doesn't depend upon a social dimension.

Kant can assert that all he wants - it's his opinion.  And that is subjective.

Only if he is wrong (in fact, not even if he's wrong).

If someone is absolutely 100% right about something, and it's a matter of fact that they're right, how is that not objective?

Kant is bad example because I think he is 100% wrong. But if he was right it wouldn't be a subjective matter. And the fact that he's wrong is also an objective matter.

To say that it is not an objective matter is to say that he's neither right nor wrong... and that doesn't even make sense. Something either is or is not correct, and something someone says either does or does not represent reality or correspond with the facts. Something is either true or it is not.

Ultimately, literally everything (every thing) is objective, in at least some sense. The only 'things' that aren't objective aren't things, or objects, at all.
My Argument Against Free Will Wrote:(1) Ultimately, to control your actions you have to originate your original nature.

(2) But you can't originate your original nature—it's already there.

(3) So, ultimately, you can't control your actions.
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#41

Is Morality Objective?
(11-03-2018, 10:42 AM)EvieTheAvocado Wrote:
(11-02-2018, 12:45 PM)Mediocharist Wrote: I failed to notice how he justifies ramming a priori knowledge through the independent demonstrability-defined scientific definition of objective. For something to be considered scientifically it by definition must be examinable, meaning it must have some form of evidence or proof (in the more mathematical realms), which he declares don't apply to those thoughts; they just are.

They are observable in exactly the same way.

Take the axiomatic ought that suffering is bad, for example. Suffering can be observed. Take also the fact of evolution... evolution can be observed.

Both are empirical matters.

You may say that only the suffering can be examined, the badness of the suffering cannot itself be examined. But that's where the axiom comes in. The axiom is that suffering is bad. That badness itself cannot be observed... but that is just like how we can't observe the fact that evidence itself is relevant to evolution. It's like you saying "Sure, we can observe the evidence for evolution, but we can't observe the fact that evidence itself is even relevant."

We take it as an axiom that evidence and logic are important and relevant to reality. In the same way, we can take it as an axiom that suffering is bad. Once we take those axioms, suddenly things make sense. Sure, you can't make sense of objective morality WITHOUT axioms. But you can't make sense of science, logic, mathematics without axioms either.

So if you are to say that morality can't be objective in ANY sense and is ENTIRELY subjective, then you must, by exactly the same logic, admit exactly the same of literally everything. You must say that, ULTIMATELY, everything is subjective, and nothing is REALLY objective, because everything is ULTIMATELY based on axioms that can't themselves be justified. Otherwise you are special pleading.

But note, that by doing this, you are simply only using one sense of objective and ignoring the other sense when most people would say that logic, science and mathematics are at least objective in some sense... and there's a big difference between having a biased an unbiased judge, or an objective or unobjective judge, at a court case, for example. Even if all premises are ultimately unjustified.

Perhaps EVERYTHING IS RELATIVE. And NOTHING IS ABSOLUTE (except, perhaps, reality itself, because that fact is itself relative)... but objectivity and absoluteness are not always the same thing, and subjectivity and relativity are not always the same thing.

The basis of this warped form of "objective morality" is to use "objective" in a deliberately unusual manner from the usual context of discussion: to use the term in its definition as a descriptor of an independently verifiable thing, rather than the more typical definition as a free-standing entity not requiring outside support.

But to do that, we have to conjure this idea of an a thought or feeling which is subject to no evidence and such is itself taken as a free-standing entity, while placing it within a framework which requires capacity for provability.

To me, this does not track. It's a blatant internal contradiction; using one definition to escape the other and then generating an exception within it which itself fits the other definition.

Now you can of course take a leap, faceplant deep into the solipsistic sandbox, and declare nothing works if you discard the axiom of axioms. And maybe that's right.

Except it isn't.

Science and mathematics make perfect sense with or without intracontradictory applications of a term meaning 'independently verifiable' to cover 'extant without evidence'. Why? Because they function consistently regardless of whether you think the only thing that exists is your mind, or if things actually exist.

We can accept that evidence is relevant to things it is evident of because to do otherwise is to be less informed on the state of reality as all but the most infinitesimal fraction observe it than a goldfish.

Now, I'm just a simpleton so take what I say with a K2 of salt, but there's a saying passed down through all human history, found in all languages in one form or another" If it works, it works.

Everything else are just so many word games.


Of course all this doesn't address the rest of what I said. How does this framework of free-standing, self-evident moral truths work with contradicting truths without the system ultimately falling to individual interpretation and thus succumbing to the problem of the philosophical definition of objective which this whole edifice was built to get around to begin with, or to some hitherto unexplained, equally self-evident method of differentiation between specific truths.
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#42

Is Morality Objective?
(11-02-2018, 02:48 PM)Thoreauvian Wrote: When you see morality as both objective and relative, as I do, you understand that situations alter cases...

Agreed.  One can't say that all or any claim must be either objective or subjective without considering its relativity to the subject and/or the situation.



Quote:Thriving can be an objective measure when you consider it statistically...


Yes... the human instinct for survival is innate for example.
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#43

Is Morality Objective?
(11-03-2018, 10:31 AM)EvieTheAvocado Wrote:
(11-03-2018, 12:14 AM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote: Morality is clearly subjective. It relies upon the subject and the morality they espouse. But what justifications are reasonable to whom?

But that's only one sense of subjective... and in that sense, isn't science also objective?

(On the assumption that this is a typo and you meant to write (isn't science also subjective?)No, because the scientific method is specifically designed to remove subjectivity from observations. That is why one of the key qualities of a theory's truth-value is its ability to be replicated by other scientists.

This is distinct contrast to differing conceptions of morality that not only vary from culture to culture but from person to person as well. There is no body of agreed observations to which one might appeal for most moral claims.
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#44

Is Morality Objective?
(11-03-2018, 10:31 AM)EvieTheAvocado Wrote: Perhaps that's just the wrong is to get the ought from? After all, that is the naturalistic fallacy. But the question is, is it really always a fallacy to get an ought from an is if all oughts are ultimately ises and it's not a fallacy to get an is from an is?

The fact that one is establishing a premise without examining it is problematic. I prefer to examine my premises for veracity no matter who it is that taught me. Accepting matters simply because they always have been is fallacious thinking precisely for that reason: it allows errors in thinking to propogate.

Also, the emboldened passage should probably be demonstrated before I think about getting sucked into a philosophical vortex of verbiage and whatnot. History shows morality evolving on a consistent basis, so I find this hypothetical doubtful, to say the least.
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#45

Is Morality Objective?
(11-02-2018, 09:35 PM)Chas Wrote: "Improve" and "standards" are not determined objectively.  They are relative terms.

I think this one statement illustrates the crux of our disagreement.

That "improve" and "standards" are relative does not mean they are not objective. As I have said, I think morality can be both relative and objective.

You seem to be defining "objective" differently than I do.
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#46

Is Morality Objective?
(11-03-2018, 01:01 PM)Thoreauvian Wrote: That "improve" and "standards" are relative does not mean they are not objective.  As I have said, I think morality can be both relative and objective.  
You seem to be defining "objective" differently than I do.

Yes.  If I improve the quality of well water in Sudan from (say) 1500 number E.coli/ml to (say) 0 number E.coli/ml,
then that's an objective improvement, or a more acceptable standard.  There's nothing subjective about it at all.
Of course—relatively speaking—it's an improvement of the water quality too, but its degree of improvement is still
objective.  One can always argue the subjective point, but not the objective.
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#47

Is Morality Objective?
(10-31-2018, 07:31 PM)EvieTheAvocado Wrote:
(10-31-2018, 02:01 PM)Chas Wrote: Since he mentions both, I will simply say Hume defeats Kant, one to nil.

The idea that you can't get an ought from an is assumes that there is more to what is than what is.

What does that mean? 

Quote:Kant's moral framework is nonsensical as he's a deontologist and only consequentialism makes sense.

That is your opinion and therefore is subjective, not objective.

Quote:But objective morality does make sense consequentially.

So what?  More opinion.  Deadpan Coffee Drinker
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Science is about answering questions.
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#48

Is Morality Objective?
(11-03-2018, 10:48 AM)EvieTheAvocado Wrote:
(11-02-2018, 12:03 PM)Chas Wrote:
(11-02-2018, 08:41 AM)vulcanlogician Wrote: It is worth noting that some ethicists (such as Kant) view treating oneself poorly as a moral transgression. Therefore, morality doesn't depend upon a social dimension.

Kant can assert that all he wants - it's his opinion.  And that is subjective.

Only if he is wrong (in fact, not even if he's wrong).

If someone is absolutely 100% right about something, and it's a matter of fact that they're right, how is that not objective?

First you must demonstrate factually that something is true.

Quote:Kant is bad example because I think he is 100% wrong. 

Your opinion is not objective.

Quote:But if he was right it wouldn't be a subjective matter. And the fact that he's wrong is also an objective matter.

Yet another bare assertion.  Facepalm

Quote:To say that it is not an objective matter is to say that he's neither right nor wrong... and that doesn't even make sense. 

Of course it makes sense - it is his opinion.  Neither he nor you have supported anything with facts.

Quote:Something either is or is not correct, 

Nope.  "Blue is the best color" is neither right nor wrong - it is a subjective judgement, an opinion.

Quote:and something someone says either does or does not represent reality or correspond with the facts. Something is either true or it is not.

Nope.  Something can be true, false, or indeterminate.  Not everything is bivalent.

Quote:Ultimately, literally everything (every thing) is objective, in at least some sense. The only 'things' that aren't objective aren't things, or objects, at all.

OK.  Morality is not an object.  Q.E.D.
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#49

Is Morality Objective?
(11-03-2018, 01:01 PM)Thoreauvian Wrote:
(11-02-2018, 09:35 PM)Chas Wrote: "Improve" and "standards" are not determined objectively.  They are relative terms.

I think this one statement illustrates the crux of our disagreement.

That "improve" and "standards" are relative does not mean they are not objective.  As I have said, I think morality can be both relative and objective.  

You seem to be defining "objective" differently than I do.

Not everyone agrees what "improve" means in every case.  Are narrow neckties a fashion improvement over wide ones? Are bow ties an improvement over both? Consider

What standards are correct for fashions?
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#50

Is Morality Objective?
(11-08-2018, 01:37 AM)SYZ Wrote:
(11-03-2018, 01:01 PM)Thoreauvian Wrote: That "improve" and "standards" are relative does not mean they are not objective.  As I have said, I think morality can be both relative and objective.  
You seem to be defining "objective" differently than I do.

Yes.  If I improve the quality of well water in Sudan from (say) 1500 number E.coli/ml to (say) 0 number E.coli/ml,
then that's an objective improvement, or a more acceptable standard.  There's nothing subjective about it at all.
Of course—relatively speaking—it's an improvement of the water quality too, but its degree of improvement is still
objective.  One can always argue the subjective point, but not the objective.

Not everything is objectively measurable.
Philosophy is about asking questions.
Science is about answering questions.
Theology is about avoiding questions.
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