Don't like the snow? You can make a bookmark with the following text instead of a url: javascript:snowStorm.toggleSnow(). Clicking it will toggle the snow on and off.
Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!

Three Arguments on Moral Realism

MrMisterMrMister Valuing scholarship above all elseRegistered User regular
edited December 2008 in Debate and/or Discourse
There were a few arguments brought up in the last moral realism thread which I wish to address in an organized fashion. The arguments I will consider are, as I label them, the argument from social evolution, the argument from irrationality, and the argument from queerness—that last one sounds funny, but it’s actually the real name of the argument in the metaethics literature. All of these arguments purport to show that some aspect of the picture underlying moral realism is flawed, and hence that it should be abandoned. For the most part the posters I associate with these arguments are: Darthmix and Qingu with social evolution, Morninglord with irrationality (edit: it turns out I was wrong), and Violent Chemistry and Incenjucar with queerness. Apologies if I missed or mischaracterized you.

First, I will consider the argument from social evolution. Social mores, this argument goes, contribute to the competitive fitness of a society, and hence over time are subject to the same lawlike generalizations that govern physical adaptation in species. From this, we can conclude that the content of our moral opinions is determined by selective pressures rather than rational argument and access to moral facts.

There are two major problems unique to this argument. The first is that it’s unclear how well the analogy with selection pressures on genes actually applies to moral opinions. Some preliminary problems: what consitutes a ‘society,’ as taken to be an object of selection? A school district? A family? A country? What counts as sexual reproduction? What are the selective pressures? What counts as mutation? How do we count and isolate discrete moral opinions such that they are competing with one another? How do we individuate moral opinions from other sorts of opinions? The analogy between genetic evolution and cultural evolution may seem appealing on the face of it, however, it is not at all clear how to nail down any of the specifics. And if the specifics can’t be made to match, then it’s not clear that moral ideas really will be governed by the same sort of lawlike generalizations as genes.

The second problem for this argument is that it relies on a problematic appeal to exclusion. The appeal is thus: if moral ideas are governed by lawlike generalizations such that we can predict their change over time only by reference to certain social facts, then it is not the case that moral ideas are discovered through rational investigation. I call it an appeal to exclusion because the fact that moral ideas are governed by lawlike generalizations in the social sciences is supposed to exclude them from also being the product (or possible product) of rational investigation. However, this is not necessarily the case. Consider my action of drinking a glass of water when I’m thirsty. This action can be explained as an instance of rational action and goal fulfillment. It is also the case that it can be (in principle) predicted entirely by reference to the physical states of the matter making up my body and immediate surroundings. So, the fact that the matter making up my body is governed by a set of physical laws such that its behavior is entirely predictable on those grounds alone does not threaten the fact that those very same actions can be the product of rational thought. There need to be additional reasons to suppose that not only are our moral ideas governed by social science laws, but they are also not (and can not be) the product of rational investigation.

That brings us to the argument from irrationality, as supplied by Morninglord. I take this quote to exemplify it:

“There's a lot of evidence that people don't really so much choose to do anything socially, as be mutually influenced. The idea of rational decision making is, unfortunately, a fallacy when it comes to everyday life. It works in very academic, structured, trained disciplines, but everyday people don't do it.”

This, on the face of it, gives us good reason to think that moral ideas cannot be the product of rational investigation. After all, if there is no such thing as rational investigation, then how could moral ideas be the product of it? Of course, I cannot give thorough commentary without being familiar with the literature in question. I am initially skeptical, however, not that such literature exists, but that the experiments in question clearly support a conclusion that would be threatening to the person believing in moral facts. Interpretation of the results is, in itself, a philosophical endeavor—especially when you get into things like trying to decide what counts as rational decision making.

But even beyond that, the believer in moral facts need not suppose that everyday people engage in detailed moral reasoning every time they are presented with a decision. In fact, I think that few philosophers would contend that ordinary people give their beliefs the same rigorous analysis that ethicists do. The moral realist need only suppose that there are moral facts and that they can be uncovered through the academic, structured, trained reasoning that ethicists engage in, and furthermore, that if one is interested in bringing one’s self into line with moral facts that they should follow the results of that sort of reasoning.

Finally, we have the argument from queerness, due to Mackie, wherein the objection is that moral facts would have to be very metaphysically queer in order to exist, and hence that we should think they don’t. I’m going to copy a passage from a paper of mine wherein I explain the argument from queerness:

Mackie’s error theory consists in two related claims. The first is the conceptual claim that our concept of morality is the concept of an objective, prescriptive, categorical fact. The second is an ontological claim that there are no such facts. In essence, our moral discourse presupposes a type of thing which doesn’t exist, and hence assertions within that discourse are uniformly false. This diagnosis could be understood analogously to a modern evaluation of the medieval discourse on witches—since there is no such thing as a witch, all the historical assertions on witches, from “witches cast hexes” to “witches can’t make broomsticks out of pine trees” are systematically false. For any of them to be true there would have to be witches, and there are no witches.

So, what is an objective, prescriptive, categorical fact? A fact is prescriptive if it tells us what to do, and prescribes a course of action. Furthermore, a fact is categorical if it applies regardless of our particular motivations. For example, I can’t release myself from a categorical obligation to donate to charity by citing my desire to save money. Finally, a fact is objective if it somehow exists out there in the universe, independent of human inclination, and ready to be perceived and interacted with.

Why are there no such facts? Mackie raises two objections, one metaphysical and the other epistemic. In the metaphysical objection he likens the existence of an objective, prescriptive, categorical fact to the existence of the Platonic form of the good. Such a fact, he holds, would have to be intrinsically motivating to everyone who came into acquaintance with it, and its existence would entail that there were states of affairs which intrinsically had the demand for a certain action. There would have to be states with to-be-pursuedness somehow built into them. But this isn’t something we ever find in the world—the states we are acquainted with are inert, and have no such baggage.

His epistemological objection is closely related. Our normal conception of perception doesn’t account for how we could come to know the moral baggage of any particular state of affairs. Hence, even if we posit such metaphysically queer stuff as states with to-be-pursuedness intrinsically built in, it’s still unclear how we could ever come into contact with and know their moral baggage.

Due to the metaphysical and epistemic worries about objective, prescriptive, categorical facts, Mackie concludes that there are no such things, and furthermore, that our moral discourse must thus be uniformly false.

This is similar to the arguments put forward by Violent Chemistry and Incenjucar. Moral facts do not exist because they require a sort of magic that simply doesn’t occur in the world. Now, of all the above objections I find this one to be the most significant, and I am not entirely happy with the state of my response.

My response is, in essence, that Mackie’s error theory entails nihilism. Our day to day experience gives us overwhelming evidence that nihilism is false. In fact, it’s much more plausible to believe that nihilism is false and Mackie’s argument hence contains some flawed thinking than it is to believe that nihilism is true and Mackie’s argument is correct. Hence, I believe that nihilism is false and so is Mackie’s argument for error theory.

MrMister on
«1345678

Posts

  • MoridinMoridin Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    MrMister wrote: »
    My response is, in essence, that Mackie’s error theory entails nihilism. Our day to day experience gives us overwhelming evidence that nihilism is false. In fact, it’s much more plausible to believe that nihilism is false and Mackie’s argument hence contains some flawed thinking than it is to believe that nihilism is true and Mackie’s argument is correct. Hence, I believe that nihilism is false and so is Mackie’s argument for error theory.

    What is the overwhelming evidence that nihilism is false?

    I can't really develop more of my argument unless I know your reasoning here, so, sorry for the single question reply.

    sig10008eq.png
  • MrMisterMrMister Valuing scholarship above all elseRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    I'll get to that in a minute. I am exhausted from birthing that wall of text.

  • MorninglordMorninglord Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    That quote is out of context. I do not want it taken literally, as it was being backed up by other information around it.

    It's also a very simplistic picture that insinuates there is an "answer" one way or another when there is not. This is a terrible literary device that I have tried unsuccesfully to drill out of my head. That's not true, only that there is some evidence for people being influenced socially. I sometimes get too lazy when writing on this forum.

    Location: Sydney, Australia
    My Dark Souls 2 Diary Day 6 and 7 Updated
    (PSN: Morninglord) (Steam: Morninglord) (WiiU: Morninglord22) I like to record and toss up a lot of random gaming videos here.
  • MrMisterMrMister Valuing scholarship above all elseRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    That quote is out of context. I do not want it taken literally, as it was being backed up by other information around it.

    Do you think that you've been mischaracterized, or that the arguments I've presented do not actually engage your position? If so, is there a more suitable statement of what you think?

    Edit: and also, regardless of whether it's precisely your position, I think that it is a worthwhile position to refute. Someone out there might believe it!

  • MorninglordMorninglord Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    MrMister wrote: »
    That quote is out of context. I do not want it taken literally, as it was being backed up by other information around it.

    Do you think that you've been mischaracterized, or that the arguments I've presented do not actually engage your position? If so, is there a more suitable statement of what you think?

    Well, keeping in mind I am bad with language because of some minor mental disabilities, so I sometimes have the wrong definition of a term.

    What I was thinking when I made that statement, by irrationality, is that all people do not have a voice in their head that goes "Okay, I have encountered situation B. My world view says I should act this way in situation B, so I will now do this. Okay all options checked, engage situation B response."

    Instead what usually happens is Situation B occurs, and many different reactions happen, based upon the environment.
    Now, some may be like the thought above, especially if the person has been trained and has time to think about it. A gaming example would be a turn based strategy game?

    But some may not, it really depends on the situation. People can react and then justify it later. (Gut judgements, intuition, is the common definition) They also generally make decisions that are against common rationality. For example, ignoring the base rate of a situation in favour of what seems "more likely". Which is, in the evidence I was thinking of, skewed in favour of stereotypes rather than pure percentage likelihood.

    But your conclusion as a result of that statement is simplistic, assuming that rationality doesn't exist. And it clearly does. The question is do we actually use rational thought in these situations.

    But the definition of "rationality" you are using is a serious of logical connections that came out of philisophical thinking, right? That exists, and is a learned skill. I just wanted to make it clear that it is a learned skill, that not everybody does it and that this should be kept in mind.

    Location: Sydney, Australia
    My Dark Souls 2 Diary Day 6 and 7 Updated
    (PSN: Morninglord) (Steam: Morninglord) (WiiU: Morninglord22) I like to record and toss up a lot of random gaming videos here.
  • MrMisterMrMister Valuing scholarship above all elseRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Cool. I don't think we actually disagree on anything, in that case.

  • MorninglordMorninglord Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Fair enough. I just wanted to make sure.

    Location: Sydney, Australia
    My Dark Souls 2 Diary Day 6 and 7 Updated
    (PSN: Morninglord) (Steam: Morninglord) (WiiU: Morninglord22) I like to record and toss up a lot of random gaming videos here.
  • zakkielzakkiel Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Your objection to the appeal to exclusion opens up a whole extra can of worms. To start: what is the physicalist's definition of rational thought? In fact, what is the physicalist's account of rationality?

    Smash Bros - 4639-8632-8299 (WA)
  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Why is nihilism the only alternative to moral realism exactly?

    While racing light mechs, your Urbanmech comes in second place, but only because it ran out of ammo.
  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    I'm really looking forward to seeing actual evidence that nihilism is false rather than a simple emotional appeal as is the norm.

    freefallagentad_zps635a83ed.png
  • MorninglordMorninglord Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    zakkiel wrote: »
    Your objection to the appeal to exclusion opens up a whole extra can of worms. To start: what is the physicalist's definition of rational thought? In fact, what is the physicalist's account of rationality?

    Is this at me?

    I don't think there is a consensus for either question from a neuroscientists standpoint, which is why it's so hard to describe to someone else.

    Don't think there is in cognitive either, or social.

    Differential has "knowledge" which the philsophical definition of rationality could be thought of as falling under. But they don't really define where it comes from in terms of the physical, they work with how it differs between people.

    It's not actually an important question to an empericist science.

    Location: Sydney, Australia
    My Dark Souls 2 Diary Day 6 and 7 Updated
    (PSN: Morninglord) (Steam: Morninglord) (WiiU: Morninglord22) I like to record and toss up a lot of random gaming videos here.
  • PodlyPodly good moleman to youRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    MrMister wrote: »
    Why are there no such facts? Mackie raises two objections, one metaphysical and the other epistemic. In the metaphysical objection he likens the existence of an objective, prescriptive, categorical fact to the existence of the Platonic form of the good. Such a fact, he holds, would have to be intrinsically motivating to everyone who came into acquaintance with it, and its existence would entail that there were states of affairs which intrinsically had the demand for a certain action. There would have to be states with to-be-pursuedness somehow built into them. But this isn’t something we ever find in the world—the states we are acquainted with are inert, and have no such baggage.

    I'll make a post about this tomorrow, but this is a shoddy notion of subjectivity. Namely, it still structures itself within the notion of subjectivity as Cartesian theater.

    follow my music twitter soundcloud tumblr
    hlB028K.png?1
  • HachfaceHachface Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    I'm really looking forward to seeing actual evidence that nihilism is false rather than a simple emotional appeal as is the norm.

    Really genuinely curious.

  • YarYar Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    I'm really looking forward to seeing actual evidence that nihilism is false rather than a simple emotional appeal as is the norm.
    It's false by definition, AFAIC. Truth is not accessible to us objectively, it is only known to us in usefulness, meaning, purpose, value, etc. If such things don't exist, then truth does not exist and all is false. Including nihilism. Paradox!!

  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
  • YarYar Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Yeah but it's true. Nihilism can't possibly live up to a consistent standard of "truth."

  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Nihilism, at least the sort that I've ever argued, is simply the lack of evidence of moral truth. If there is something more to the concept of nihilism than the equivalent of "atheism" towards morals, then my argument is whatever the proper word for that is. Isms are dangerous to argue with because people always attach a bunch of shitty baggage to it.

    freefallagentad_zps635a83ed.png
  • Evil MultifariousEvil Multifarious Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Yar wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    I'm really looking forward to seeing actual evidence that nihilism is false rather than a simple emotional appeal as is the norm.
    It's false by definition, AFAIC. Truth is not accessible to us objectively, it is only known to us in usefulness, meaning, purpose, value, etc. If such things don't exist, then truth does not exist and all is false. Including nihilism. Paradox!!

    isn't the very nihilistic argument you just described exactly the argument about the nature of truth that you've made in several threads within the past month or two?

    Inquisitor wrote: »
    I fucking hate you Canadians.
  • PodlyPodly good moleman to youRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Yar wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    I'm really looking forward to seeing actual evidence that nihilism is false rather than a simple emotional appeal as is the norm.
    It's false by definition, AFAIC. Truth is not accessible to us objectively, it is only known to us in usefulness, meaning, purpose, value, etc. If such things don't exist, then truth does not exist and all is false. Including nihilism. Paradox!!

    If you reject that paradoxes are paradoxical, as nihilism is want to do, then it doesn't matter.

    follow my music twitter soundcloud tumblr
    hlB028K.png?1
  • MorninglordMorninglord Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Hah. I've been spelling Empirical wrong.

    Anyway, Icenjucar, you should just switch to a philosophy of science, specifically Empiricism. It gets everything done that you want Nihilism to do, as a natural function of needing any argument to be backed up by observations of the world.

    Location: Sydney, Australia
    My Dark Souls 2 Diary Day 6 and 7 Updated
    (PSN: Morninglord) (Steam: Morninglord) (WiiU: Morninglord22) I like to record and toss up a lot of random gaming videos here.
  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited December 2008
    Yar wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    I'm really looking forward to seeing actual evidence that nihilism is false rather than a simple emotional appeal as is the norm.
    It's false by definition, AFAIC. Truth is not accessible to us objectively, it is only known to us in usefulness, meaning, purpose, value, etc. If such things don't exist, then truth does not exist and all is false. Including nihilism. Paradox!!

    Isn't nihilism more along the lines of "truth does not exist and all is thus neither true nor false" than "truth does not exist and thus all is false"? Because I have a hard time conceptualising "false" without "true", since the former is simply "~true".

    So nihilism wouldn't claim nihilism is false, it would claim that it was either true or false and who can really say anyway let's go listen to some Fallout Boy.

    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
  • PodlyPodly good moleman to youRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Yar wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    I'm really looking forward to seeing actual evidence that nihilism is false rather than a simple emotional appeal as is the norm.
    It's false by definition, AFAIC. Truth is not accessible to us objectively, it is only known to us in usefulness, meaning, purpose, value, etc. If such things don't exist, then truth does not exist and all is false. Including nihilism. Paradox!!

    Isn't nihilism more along the lines of "truth does not exist and all is thus neither true nor false" than "truth does not exist and thus all is false"? Because I have a hard time conceptualising "false" without "true", since the former is simply "~true".

    So nihilism wouldn't claim nihilism is false, it would claim that it was either true or false and who can really say anyway let's go listen to some Fallout Boy.

    Not really. "Not True" and "False" are different operations in logic. My favorite example is a person's being alive, dead, and undead. A dead person is not alive, but not undead either. Because, you know, then they'd be zombies.

    follow my music twitter soundcloud tumblr
    hlB028K.png?1
  • DasUberEdwardDasUberEdward Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Why is nihilism the only alternative to moral realism exactly?

    it isn't.

    steam_sig.png
  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited December 2008
    Podly wrote: »
    Isn't nihilism more along the lines of "truth does not exist and all is thus neither true nor false" than "truth does not exist and thus all is false"? Because I have a hard time conceptualising "false" without "true", since the former is simply "~true".

    So nihilism wouldn't claim nihilism is false, it would claim that it was either true or false and who can really say anyway let's go listen to some Fallout Boy.

    Not really. "Not True" and "False" are different operations in logic. My favorite example is a person's being alive, dead, and undead. A dead person is not alive, but not undead either. Because, you know, then they'd be zombies.

    That's a pretty terrible analogy, since "undead" would be a perfectly valid term if it hadn't been co-opted by horror fic writers to mean certain types of monsters. Can you explain to me how the truth of a statement is not a binary thing? And if it's binary, what's the difference between "false" and "not true"?

    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
  • StarcrossStarcross Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Why is nihilism the only alternative to moral realism exactly?

    it isn't.

    What are the others? It seems to me that either moral truths exist (moral realism) or they don't (nihilism).

  • PodlyPodly good moleman to youRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    MrMister wrote: »
    Why are there no such facts? Mackie raises two objections, one metaphysical and the other epistemic. In the metaphysical objection he likens the existence of an objective, prescriptive, categorical fact to the existence of the Platonic form of the good. Such a fact, he holds, would have to be intrinsically motivating to everyone who came into acquaintance with it, and its existence would entail that there were states of affairs which intrinsically had the demand for a certain action. There would have to be states with to-be-pursuedness somehow built into them. But this isn’t something we ever find in the world—the states we are acquainted with are inert, and have no such baggage.

    I started a critique of the Cartesian elements necessary for this to be true, but then I stopped because if I wanted to do it properly is would be a whole analysis of Western ontology and epistemology. So perhaps we can pursue this dialogically. I think that the labeling of something as a "categorical" fact is completely off base. Rather, if something like an objective, prescriptive fact is going to be found (as was Kant's ethical project), they will not be found categorically. There is no "one ought act this way". A categorical proscription relies on the predication of something which can logically be understood a priori. This is not how it works. Rather, phenomena reveal themselves, they blossom before us in presentation, as they always-already necessarily were. (If you would like, which I'm sure you would not, I can elaborate on the etymological break that happened in the translation of the Greek phusis into the Latin Natura. Proscriptive, objective commandments are not categorical truths but existential ones.

    follow my music twitter soundcloud tumblr
    hlB028K.png?1
  • PodlyPodly good moleman to youRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Podly wrote: »
    Isn't nihilism more along the lines of "truth does not exist and all is thus neither true nor false" than "truth does not exist and thus all is false"? Because I have a hard time conceptualising "false" without "true", since the former is simply "~true".

    So nihilism wouldn't claim nihilism is false, it would claim that it was either true or false and who can really say anyway let's go listen to some Fallout Boy.

    Not really. "Not True" and "False" are different operations in logic. My favorite example is a person's being alive, dead, and undead. A dead person is not alive, but not undead either. Because, you know, then they'd be zombies.

    That's a pretty terrible analogy, since "undead" would be a perfectly valid term if it hadn't been co-opted by horror fic writers to mean certain types of monsters. Can you explain to me how the truth of a statement is not a binary thing? And if it's binary, what's the difference between "false" and "not true"?

    I exist = true.
    I am dead = false.
    Robert J. Buttenheimer is dead = not true.

    I have no reason to believe that Robert J. Buttenheimer ever existed, but that is not enough reason to say that the nihilation of his existence is either a true or a false statement.

    follow my music twitter soundcloud tumblr
    hlB028K.png?1
  • MorninglordMorninglord Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Sometimes I think somebody needs to sit down and create a less dichotomic logic that is less constraining.

    True/Not True/You Don't Have Enough Information To Decide Either Way Right Now So Either go Find It Or Don't Make A Decision Until You Do

    Why is it that this last most important clause is never really properly defined

    Location: Sydney, Australia
    My Dark Souls 2 Diary Day 6 and 7 Updated
    (PSN: Morninglord) (Steam: Morninglord) (WiiU: Morninglord22) I like to record and toss up a lot of random gaming videos here.
  • chrono_travellerchrono_traveller Registered User
    edited December 2008
    Podly wrote: »
    I exist = true.
    I am dead = false.
    Robert J. Buttenheimer is dead = not true.

    I have no reason to believe that Robert J. Buttenheimer ever existed, but that is not enough reason to say that the nihilation of his existence is either a true or a false statement.

    I don't think you can say your last statement there is not true. Its simply unknowable or unprovable. It is neither true nor false. However, saying something is not true is indicating that it is false, yes? If you know that something is not true, then by logic, you must know that it is false.

    The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it. ~ Terry Pratchett

    George R. R. Martin is not your bitch. ~ Neil Gaiman
  • MorninglordMorninglord Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Not true. True. False. Not False.

    These cannot explain "neither true or false".

    They're an extremist dichotomy by definition.

    Holding to the idea that they're the only states that can exist, is, frankly, ridiculously lazy.

    They only apply in circumstances where such states can be reasonably said to apply, based on a well reasoned argument to back up why they should be said to apply.

    They are not an "idiots guide to thinking about everything in the entire world".
    They're just damned helpful.

    (This is just my thoughts, if there are philosophies or philosophers out there that have already covered this point good on em, they are good peeps.)

    Location: Sydney, Australia
    My Dark Souls 2 Diary Day 6 and 7 Updated
    (PSN: Morninglord) (Steam: Morninglord) (WiiU: Morninglord22) I like to record and toss up a lot of random gaming videos here.
  • MrMonroeMrMonroe Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Whether or not you have any evidence to support your knowledge of the current medical state of Mr. Buttenheimer is irrelevant to whether your original statement was true or false. Your knowledge of the situation only has bearing on whether you are lying or not, not on whether the statement was true or false. Either he's dead or he isn't, and you running your mouth about it doesn't change that.

  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    edited December 2008
    MrMonroe wrote: »
    Whether or not you have any evidence to support your knowledge of the current medical state of Mr. Buttenheimer is irrelevant to whether your original statement was true or false. Your knowledge of the situation only has bearing on whether you are lying or not, not on whether the statement was true or false. Either he's dead or he isn't, and you running your mouth about it doesn't change that.

    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
  • HamHamJHamHamJ Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Starcross wrote: »
    HamHamJ wrote: »
    Why is nihilism the only alternative to moral realism exactly?

    it isn't.

    What are the others? It seems to me that either moral truths exist (moral realism) or they don't (nihilism).

    Moral Pragmatism and such. There can exist moral truths that are not also objective, prescriptive, and categorical.

    While racing light mechs, your Urbanmech comes in second place, but only because it ran out of ammo.
  • IncenjucarIncenjucar QA Tester -> Game Producer Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Hah. I've been spelling Empirical wrong.

    Anyway, Icenjucar, you should just switch to a philosophy of science, specifically Empiricism. It gets everything done that you want Nihilism to do, as a natural function of needing any argument to be backed up by observations of the world.

    I don't do philosophical schools. Therein lies madness. I just take specific stances. The moment you join a school of philosophy someone brings up that someone else in that same school is a crazy jackass and suddenly you're implicated by association. See what kind of stupid shit happens when I even reference one to describe my position through shorthand?

    freefallagentad_zps635a83ed.png
  • YarYar Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Yar wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    I'm really looking forward to seeing actual evidence that nihilism is false rather than a simple emotional appeal as is the norm.
    It's false by definition, AFAIC. Truth is not accessible to us objectively, it is only known to us in usefulness, meaning, purpose, value, etc. If such things don't exist, then truth does not exist and all is false. Including nihilism. Paradox!!

    isn't the very nihilistic argument you just described exactly the argument about the nature of truth that you've made in several threads within the past month or two?
    Yeah I like to fixate on things until I tire of them and move on.

    Anyway, regarding nihilism, it generally implies a much stronger disdain for truth than just moral truth. Nihilism generally denies that anything can ever exist or be true or known or communicated.

  • MorninglordMorninglord Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    Hah. I've been spelling Empirical wrong.

    Anyway, Icenjucar, you should just switch to a philosophy of science, specifically Empiricism. It gets everything done that you want Nihilism to do, as a natural function of needing any argument to be backed up by observations of the world.

    I don't do philosophical schools. Therein lies madness. I just take specific stances. The moment you join a school of philosophy someone brings up that someone else in that same school is a crazy jackass and suddenly you're implicated by association. See what kind of stupid shit happens when I even reference one to describe my position through shorthand?

    Problem with that? You need to explain the Philosophy of Icenjucar, from the ground up, everytime you want to talk about something.

    And you don't.

    So you come off as confused. Be a good idea to put forth the axioms and definitions you stand by and use if you want to take that stance, as some people that might otherwise have useful information to share might not take you seriously.

    Location: Sydney, Australia
    My Dark Souls 2 Diary Day 6 and 7 Updated
    (PSN: Morninglord) (Steam: Morninglord) (WiiU: Morninglord22) I like to record and toss up a lot of random gaming videos here.
  • Sol InvictusSol Invictus Registered User
    edited December 2008
    Podly wrote: »
    I exist = true.
    I am dead = false.
    Robert J. Buttenheimer is dead = not true.

    I have no reason to believe that Robert J. Buttenheimer ever existed, but that is not enough reason to say that the nihilation of his existence is either a true or a false statement.

    That would be neither true, nor false. Stating that it is either 'not true' or 'not false' would imply that being either true or false are default premises, which certainly isn't the case. For the purposes of eligibility, I would suggest using the term "unknown" (Rather than unknowable, which would instead imply that it is not possible to ever know this detail, positing a logical fallacy, because it is not possible to determine if something is 'unknowable' if we do not know of it.).

    In any case, I believe that knowledge is either 'known' or 'not known' (being as yet undiscovered, or is, in fact, unknowable. But we wouldn't know that). There is no in-between.

    Hellmode. We write about video games.
  • zakkielzakkiel Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    zakkiel wrote: »
    Your objection to the appeal to exclusion opens up a whole extra can of worms. To start: what is the physicalist's definition of rational thought? In fact, what is the physicalist's account of rationality?

    Is this at me?

    I don't think there is a consensus for either question from a neuroscientists standpoint, which is why it's so hard to describe to someone else.

    Don't think there is in cognitive either, or social.

    Differential has "knowledge" which the philsophical definition of rationality could be thought of as falling under. But they don't really define where it comes from in terms of the physical, they work with how it differs between people.

    It's not actually an important question to an empericist science.

    No, it's not directed at you. Nor is a question of neurology; presumably we could determine whether an alien is rational or not despite it having a completely different basis for cognition. What I mean by "account" is really, "How do physicalists translate the idea of rationality into physical terms?"

    Smash Bros - 4639-8632-8299 (WA)
  • MrMisterMrMister Valuing scholarship above all elseRegistered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Podly wrote: »
    Not really. "Not True" and "False" are different operations in logic. My favorite example is a person's being alive, dead, and undead. A dead person is not alive, but not undead either. Because, you know, then they'd be zombies.

    Not so much, at least in classical logic. In classical logic "P is true" is just "P." "P is not true" and "P is false" are both represented by "~P." Furthermore, "~~P" is equivalent to "P" (so not not-P is the same as P). In your example of death, life, and undeath, if all three are possible then none are binary possibilities, so they cannot be represented by a single predicate. Similarly to how you can't use a single predicate to denote whether a shape is a square, circle, or triangle. It can only report two values, and there are more than two options.

    There are other systems, but from what I understand they are generally of limited interest.

  • zakkielzakkiel Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Yar wrote: »
    Yar wrote: »
    Incenjucar wrote: »
    I'm really looking forward to seeing actual evidence that nihilism is false rather than a simple emotional appeal as is the norm.
    It's false by definition, AFAIC. Truth is not accessible to us objectively, it is only known to us in usefulness, meaning, purpose, value, etc. If such things don't exist, then truth does not exist and all is false. Including nihilism. Paradox!!

    isn't the very nihilistic argument you just described exactly the argument about the nature of truth that you've made in several threads within the past month or two?
    Yeah I like to fixate on things until I tire of them and move on.

    Anyway, regarding nihilism, it generally implies a much stronger disdain for truth than just moral truth. Nihilism generally denies that anything can ever exist or be true or known or communicated.

    One can be a nihilist about lots of different things. In the context of this thread, I think it's obvious that Incenjucar meant moral nihilism, which is a perfectly coherent position.

    Smash Bros - 4639-8632-8299 (WA)
«1345678
Sign In or Register to comment.