Seanc

Objective morality

67 posts in this topic

58 minutes ago, Seanc said:

If this applies to all humanity then at some point in time someone's life will cause another to lose his and someone's pleasure will cause someone else pain. Where does you theory fit in then? Seems your talking more about natural instincts more than morality

You're not being very specific so I'm not sure what I'm even responding to.  I also never claimed that my "theory" of morality had all the answers or an answer for every situation.  

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19 minutes ago, Bonky said:

You're not being very specific so I'm not sure what I'm even responding to.  I also never claimed that my "theory" of morality had all the answers or an answer for every situation.  

I was only pointing out the flaws in the vague descriptions that you gave, I cant go into anymore detail unless you do also. Not trying to be sound confrontational which is hard through text. only trying to be clear and direct. 

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So let's clear things up.  Earlier in this discussion I stated:

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If you agree that "Life is preferable to death. Pleasure is preferable to pain. Health is generally preferable to sickness" then moral structure can easily take place with reason and rationality.  

 

You responded by saying:

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if the reason and rationality applies only to yourself then sure, but how does "your" morals explain situations where your life takes another's or your pleasure causes another pain?

Reason and rationality don't just apply to me, neither does the statement "Life is preferable to death. Pleasure is preferable to pain. Health is generally preferable to sickness".

 

So given the presupposition:  "Life is preferable to death. Pleasure is preferable to pain. Health is generally preferable to sickness".  Do you agree or not agree that reason and rationality can guide morality?

 

 

 

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27 minutes ago, Bonky said:

 

 

So given the presupposition:  "Life is preferable to death. Pleasure is preferable to pain. Health is generally preferable to sickness".  Do you agree or not agree that reason and rationality can guide morality?

 

 

 

If thats all I took into account then I would agree but morality is more than preferences. Morality is the distinction between right and wrong. You could protect your life, your pleasure and your health and still commit terrible acts to others. 

I think what your trying to get at is that since the human race can agree on those 3 aarea,  morality is only needed for human preservation and therefore it originated within us for that reason. Please correct me if I'm wrong just a guess

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On 1/4/2017 at 6:13 AM, Seanc said:

I'm sure this has been discussed many times but the few active discussions I saw went off topic with evolution and such so I decided to start a new thread. 

I have been reading different apologetic books and pondering an answer from an atheist perspective(which I am not).

To start off I believe that C.S lewis explains best in that objective morality is not instinctual. His example goes like this: You see a man drowning, he's a stranger. Two instincts come up. The first being the "herd instinct" to save the man. The second is the "survival instinct" to keep yourself safe/alive. The second instinct is the stronger of the two but morality pushes you toward the weaker one. It tells you that you ought to save the man because it is "right".

The other point he makes is that its more than just a "social convention" that its more than just what is taught to you and that if you can judge two different peoples morals and say one is better and the other lesser then you are implying there is a Real morality or a Real right independent of what people think. 

So my question is and I'm basing this off a question I was posed with is would we only lean closer to what "you" were taught? Does it surpass my understanding and learning? Is it objective? 

Before I submit this I want to say that I believe in an objective morality but I need help to further understand it before i even try to explain it to someone else. Anyone got an answer?

Hi Shawn,

I like this topic but cannot read every answer so you may have heard this already...

I too like CS Lewis a lot.  His book, Mere Christianity, is the best explanation of Christianity that I've ever read.

How to explain Objective Morality?  There are two ideas on morality.  One is subjective and one is objective.

SUBJCTIVE MORALITY  is pretty much what our modern day society is practicing.  You know, if it feels good, do it - I'm not hurting anybody - It's none of your business - etc. etc.  It means that morality is SUBJECTIVE to what the individual person believes to be CORRECT AND MORAL.   It depends on the CIRCUMSTANCES, it depends on how I FEEL about it.  It could change from situation to situation or person to person.  Nothing is set or permanent.  This causes much confusion and leads to a society that is not STABLE.  Moral values are thus lost in time.

OBJECTIVE MORALITY means that what we know and practice does not depend on what WE, as humans believe, but what a greater power tells us is CORRECT AND MORAL.  We cannot change our mind about something from situation to situation or act because of what WE believe, but we act in accordance with what the objective moral law is and in all cases the objectivity must come from something greater than us to be of value - that someone is God, of course.  Beliefs do not change and are steady and firm.  This makes for a society that is stable.  

What is morality anyway:

Knowing right from wrong.   Being of virtue.  A set of rules and principles of conduct.  Being good in character and conduct (good by God's definition).  Based on principles of right conduct instead of custom.

A baby, for instance is not a moral being because he doesn't know right from wrong.

 

In Objective Morality the background is steady and firm.

In Subjective Morality the background is always changing and is not stable.

 

Fran

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On 1/3/2017 at 11:13 PM, Seanc said:

I'm sure this has been discussed many times but the few active discussions I saw went off topic with evolution and such so I decided to start a new thread. 

I have been reading different apologetic books and pondering an answer from an atheist perspective(which I am not).

To start off I believe that C.S lewis explains best in that objective morality is not instinctual. His example goes like this: You see a man drowning, he's a stranger. Two instincts come up. The first being the "herd instinct" to save the man. The second is the "survival instinct" to keep yourself safe/alive. The second instinct is the stronger of the two but morality pushes you toward the weaker one. It tells you that you ought to save the man because it is "right".

The other point he makes is that its more than just a "social convention" that its more than just what is taught to you and that if you can judge two different peoples morals and say one is better and the other lesser then you are implying there is a Real morality or a Real right independent of what people think. 

So my question is and I'm basing this off a question I was posed with is would we only lean closer to what "you" were taught? Does it surpass my understanding and learning? Is it objective? 

Before I submit this I want to say that I believe in an objective morality but I need help to further understand it before i even try to explain it to someone else. Anyone got an answer?

 
 

I enjoyed C.S. Lewis's chapter on morality in Mere Christianity. I think he really digs into the issue. To try to help you understand the idea around objective morality, Christian philosophers use two terms. Moral ontology and moral epistemology. It's actually really helpful to understand the difference because so many get them confused. Moral ontology refers to the idea that an objective morality does exist. Moral epistemology deals with how people come to know morals, vices and virtues. The fact that people differ on their opinions of what is and isn't a moral duty has to do with moral epistemology. Moral ontology is unaffected by such questions because they have no bearing on whether an objective morality actually exists. If objective morality exists, it means even if every single human being on earth believed that killing innocents was right, they would still be wrong. So in that sense, yes it can surpass your own understanding.  However, being Christians we do have a pretty good option here. We can ask the very source of objective morality for guidance, that being God. Not to mention, we have Jesus' own words in the Bible to guide us. Furthermore, all humankind has some access to it as others have mentioned, God wrote it on man's hearts. That's why I believe we all have a sense of morality. Why we all feel at times we've been treated unfairly, or fairly. Why we see things as vices and virtues. Why we praise "good" actions and condemn "bad" ones. Why most of us agree that raping children is wrong. We are moral agents because God made us in his image capable of discerning such a thing. 

Also, I don't think many believe in absolute morality. There's a difference between objective and absolute morality. I saw that mentioned somewhere. Absolutes would mean things like lying is wrong in all situations at all times. However, if a murderer broke into your home and asked where your family was, I think it's clear it'd be morally wrong to be honest and tell them where they were so they could go torture and murder them. 

Most atheists I've talked with believe in an objective morality when actually pressed on the issue, they just have no idea how to explain it. There's many things wrong with the answer "human flourishing."(Which is the answer I've gotten most often).  I've met very few moral nihilists. And even they have a difficult time with it because it conflicts with their emotions and experiences. 

Edited by Pie
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