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L&FP, 48m: The legitimate authority of knowable moral truth in service to justice, thriving and prudence

In the current thread on an unfortunate event with a newborn, there is an exchange of comments: BA, 45: Suppose the overwhelming majority regarded dumping newborns in dumpsters as good. Would it then be good? Sev, 56: Presumably, it would be good in the minds of the majority who approved of it. It would not be a good thing from my perspective. This, of course reflects the core relativist thesis that rejects objective, warranted, generally knowable moral truth, and so I commented, 57: “thereby hangs the fatal error of relativising and undermining knowable, warranted, objective moral truth reducing it to clash of opinions backed by power. Justice evaporates.” Such brings us back to a core issue, legitimate, morally anchored authority Read More ›

L&FP, 48L: Can we restore confident knowledge of moral truth?

Yes. But it will be contested. As Dallas Willard highlighted: Human life has an inescapable moral dimension. That is, it essentially involves choices with reference to what is good and evil, right and wrong, duty and failure to do what ought to be done . . . . What characterizes life in so-called Western societies today, however, is the absence, or presumed absence, of knowledge of good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice: knowledge that might serve as a rational basis for moral decisions, for policy enactments, and for rational critique of established patterns of response to moral issues. In short, we are up against a culture-dominating, institutionally entrenched narrative that even though lacking warrant, is backed by Read More ›

L&FP, 48j: Dallas Willard’s (partial) list of reasons for the unwarranted disappearance of moral knowledge

As we continue to explore the issue of the marginalisation of moral knowledge, let us highlight from 48b, Willard’s (incomplete) list of key causes: (2). How did this disappearance [of moral knowledge] come to be the case? Not through a discovery of some kind: e.g. that there was no such knowledge. But through a lengthy historical process of idea change. Some components: (A). The dismissal of theology from the domain of knowledge [i.e. the study and systematic knowledge of God, cf Rom 1:28 – 32], and the failure to find a secular basis for ethics [–> how can evolutionary materialism found ethics?].(B). Disappearance of the human self and knowledge of the self from “respectable” knowledge. (The “soul” from Plato on.) Read More ›

L&FP, 48i: Dallas Willard on the legitimate authority of knowledge (vs the radical narrative of oppression)

In the course of exploring the marginalisation/disappear-ING of moral knowledge, Professor Dallas Willard gave an expanded definition of knowledge that also draws out the legitimate authority of knowledge; including, moral knowledge, i.e. knowledge of duty to right conduct etc. As we can see from his handout for a 2010 video lecture: What is knowledge and what does it do? Knowledge is the capacity to represent something as it is, on an appropriate basis of thought and experience. It and it alone confers the right and perhaps the responsibility to act, direct action, formulate policy and supervise its implementation, and teach. This helps us see what disappears along with “moral knowledge.” He goes on to note on the “[f]ear or resentment Read More ›

L&FP, 48h: Building sound Government on a built-in, Natural Law base (The US Declaration of Independence as a case study)

The natural, built in law framework in 48g culminates: . . . in civil society with government, justice is a principal task of legitimate government. In short, nihilistic will to power untempered by the primacy of justice is its own refutation in any type of state. Where, justice is the due balance of rights, freedoms and responsibilities. (In Aristotle’s terms as cited by Hooker: “because we would take no harm, we must therefore do none; That since we would not be in any thing extremely dealt with, we must ourselves avoid all extremity in our dealings; That from all violence and wrong we are utterly to abstain, with such-like .”) Thus also, 11] Eleventh, that as the US DoI, 1776 Read More ›

L&FP, 48g: Is a child the moral equivalent of a fish we catch and eat for lunch?

Here, we follow up from the yardstick case of a child kidnapped, sexually tortured and murdered. No 60 in L&FP48a: >>Compare to such, a fish, that we lure to bite on a hook, then land, kill and eat for lunch without compunction. (And even for those who object to so treating a fish, they will do so by extension of the protective sense we have about say the young child — not the other way around.) But, unless there is a material difference between a young child and a fish, that sense of wrong is frankly delusional, it is just a disguised preference, one that we are simply willing to back up with force. So, already, once we let radical Read More ›

L&FP, 48f: Orwell exposes how Language and meaning are being relativised, too, with hints on how to correct it

When we have to resort to Orwell, it is a sad sign of how far the rot has gone. LF&P 48, no 146: >>it seems language itself (so, dictionaries and other reference resources by extension . . .) is under the gun of the elephant game. Orwell wrote about Newspeak replacing Oldspeak in the interests of IngSoc . . . English Socialism (the National Socialist English Worker’s Party we suppose), and how part of the dumbing down was to make it impossible to conceptualise heresy against the partyline. There was also Doublethink: To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to Read More ›

L&FP 48e: Plato’s anticipation of and exposure of radical relativism (and linked evolutionary materialism) c 360 BC in The Laws, Bk X

Now that the six blind men and the elephant paradigm is broken, we may look at Plato with fresh eyes. Here, 92 in LF&P 48a: >>Plato . . . is highly relevant to our own mutiny on the good ship civilisation. For, the lessons of sound history were bought with blood and tears; those who neglect, forget, dismiss or disdain those lessons doom themselves to pay in the same coin over and over again. Let’s therefore listen to Plato, as he lays out how ancient evolutionary materialism on the part of the sophists and others of the avant garde of c 430 BC led to radical relativism, amorality, nihilistic factionalism and chaos — and we will also trace the like Read More ›

L&FP, 48d: The failed six blind men of India paradigm for relativising thought, truth and knowledge

Again, let’s go out of chronological order in 48a (Plato comes later as there is a dismissive attitude) and speak to a paradigm story used to radically relativise our thinking from elementary school days on. Here, 143: >>In a world in which abstract processes such as logical inference and explicit argument are increasingly “other” and subject to hyperskeptical side-stepping . . . a world where logic is fast joining morality in the zone of disappeared seemingly discredited “fake” knowledge (oh, the folly of neglecting and dismissing things that were so hard-bought) . . . we have to take up a narrative fight. Take, then, certain blind men B1 to B6 in India — irony — and a narrator N1, with Read More ›

L&FP 48c: Supplement, addressing the disappearance of core knowledge of first principles of right reason (aka Logic)

In the course of speaking to disappearance/restoration of moral knowledge, I realised that there was need to stop the rot on core right reason also. Accordingly, I commented at 153 in LF&P 48a, and as it is obviously logically prior, I now headline out of rough chronological order: The issue of self-referential incoherence, regrettably, does not seem to move objectors anymore. That is strongly suggesting to me that we are seeing a SECOND “loss” of knowledge: logic in the historic sense, of first principles and practices of right reason. In short, relativism spreads. First, it attacks morality thus justice: [ NB: Plato, The Laws, Bk X, c 360 BC, in the voice of Athenian Stranger: “[Thus, the Sophists and other Read More ›

L&FP, 48b: Dallas Willard and the disappearance/ restoration of [authority of] moral knowledge

Knowledge, of course, is best understood as warranted, credibly true [and so, reliable] belief. Where truth is, similarly, accurate description of actual entities, states of affairs etc. Willard, in the closing decades of his life, spoke to the disappearance of moral knowledge (and was writing a book which was completed posthumously in 2018, five years after his passing), as was picked up at 43 in the discussion thread for LF&P 48a: [DW, in “Where Is Moral Knowledge?,” 2007:] when I speak of the disappearance of moral knowledge, I am not saying that it does not exist, or that it is unattainable. Those are views sometimes maintained in academic circles and by cultural icons who presume to be “in the know” Read More ›

L&FP, 48a: Is the denial of objective moral truth an implicit truth claim about duty to right conduct etc? (Thus, subject to Reductio?)

Over the past month or so, there has been an exchange of comments regarding my OP L&FP 48, where I note how New Atheist Stefan Molyneaux, in his “Universally Preferable Behavior” (2007), stumbled across the Ciceronian first duties of reason. As a part of that, sometime objector VL raised the claim: Obviously, for one to say that it is objectively true that there are no moral truths is absurd. But that is not what those who are arguing against the idea of objective truths are saying . . . I responded in comment 1110, and think it worth the while to headline that response, with slight adjustments: >>Saying and pretty directly implying are of course two distinct things. Relativists typically Read More ›

L&FP, 48: [Former?] New Atheist Stefan Molyneaux and his “Universally Preferable Behavior” (2007) illustrate inescapably binding, intelligible and identifiable first duties of reason

I ran across this work, and find an interesting discussion, starting with a fairly roundabout way to show what a first, undeniable principle or truth — branch on which we all must sit stuff — is like:: Given that every human action – including making philosophical statements – is chosen in preference to every other possible action, arguing that preferences do not exist requires a preference for arguing that preferences do not exist, which is a self-contradictory statement. [p. 33] So, next, we have another roundabout way of summarising duties/oughts as universally prefer-ABLE behaviour: The proposition before us is thus: can some preferences be objective, i.e. universal? When I say that some preferences may be objective, I do not mean Read More ›

Dinesh D’Souza on socialism:

Let us watch: Food for thought. END PS: As it seems necessary here is the historically anchored political spectrum with Overton Window: And, here is what we need to know on culture/colour revolution pushes

Barna profiles a generation on the cliff’s crumbling edge — 78 million US Millennials

Barna’s current report, “New Insights into the Generation of Growing Influence: Millennials In America,” is a portrait of a generation adrift, dancing on the edge of a cliff, and reflective of generations of civilisational betrayal by intellectual, policy/political, media and educational leadership leading to a destabilised culture. And so, this cannot wait, triple bereavement life crisis or no, this needs to be highlighted and preliminarily assessed here at UD: The report’s snapshot summary tells the grim story in outline: And: Also, we may add on Religious identification, affinity and affiliation: We can start with the obvious, as within living memory of those of us who were of age to notice, between 1989 and 1991, Marxism’s credibility as a principle of Read More ›