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

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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 emphasise diversity of opinions among individuals and cultures etc, but that has never been a matter of controversy. Nor, do presumably well informed relativists merely intend [to confess their inexplicable] ignorance of such accurately described states of affairs regarding duty, right conduct etc, they imply longstanding want of warrant and no reasonable prospect or even possibility of such warrant. That is, my summary statement accurately reflects the bottomline stance of relativists.

I thank you for acknowledging that that summary proposition is indeed reduced to absurdity.

Going on, manifestly, we are an error-prone race, and across time, space etc have many, many areas of profound disagreement. The normal procedure in such areas, is to identify sound first principles for the area, starting with first principles of right reason, logic. Then, if self evident first truths can be listed, a framework for the field can be identified and developed into a body of well warranted so reliable and objective knowable truth independent of the error proneness of our individual or collective opinion-forming. From which, we then have a body of knowledge and best practice to work with.

For logic, the general tool, there is an established body of knowledge and Epictetus long since put its branch on which we all sit character on record:

DISCOURSES
CHAPTER XXV

How is logic necessary?

When someone in [Epictetus’] audience said, Convince me that logic is necessary, he answered: Do you wish me to demonstrate this to you?—Yes.—Well, then, must I use a demonstrative argument?—And when the questioner had agreed to that, Epictetus asked him. How, then, will you know if I impose upon you?—As the man had no answer to give, Epictetus said: Do you see how you yourself admit that all this instruction is necessary, if, without it, you cannot so much as know whether it is necessary or not? [Notice, inescapable, thus self evidently true and antecedent to the inferential reasoning that provides deductive proofs and frameworks, including axiomatic systems and propositional calculus etc. We here see the first principles of right reason in action. Cf J. C. Wright]

Notice, the classic framework of a set of first principles: inescapable, so inescapably, self evidently true. Thus, warranted and objective.

Now, regarding our sense of being duty-bound to right conduct etc, conscience is so pervasive that it was only in recent centuries that it was fully seen as distinct from consciousness. Thus, on pain of self-referential discredit to our mindedness, we have to recognise validity of sound conscience and its testimony. Where, soundness implies due application of right reason and prudence towards warranted [so, objective] conclusions and linked due recognition of limits. Where, in the face of risk and uncertainty, prudence points to least regrets and similar precautionary principles. Similarly, “due” is of course directly connected to duty. What we do is under government of what we can reasonably identify as what we ought to do. But, too often, don’t. As a rule, with damaging consequences.

Underneath, is the naturally evident end of cognition, truth, accurate understanding and description of entities, states of affairs etc in reality, whether tangible or abstract. That is, if we regard our mindedness as grossly defective and dominated by our known error proneness we undermine cognition and credibility of mind.

Further to this, we realise we are a common and social race in two complementary sexes with linked requisites of child nurture such that our mutual thriving under the civil peace of justice is a reasonable criterion, i.e. there is to be due balance of rights, freedoms, duties. Where, per sound conscience, a valid rights claim must not be such that it taints sound conscience of others. This, being a coherence criterion.

If you have been keeping track, I have outlined precisely the Ciceronian first duties as are listed in the OP as having been stumbled across by SM:

1: to truth,
2: to right reason,
3: to warrant and wider prudence,
4: to sound conscience,
5: to neighbour,
6: so too to fairness, and
7: to justice,
. . . ,
x: etc.

In short, c 50 BC, Cicero was not putting up random notions but was recognising the sum and substance of centuries of “the highest reason,” on a subject of highest importance, which frames government and sound law.

My comment on this, was to observe a familiar pattern, which again crops up in the latest raft of objections. Namely, that these Ciceronian first duties have the Epictetus characteristic: they are pervasive, inescapable, branch on which we sit first principles. As I noted, even objectors routinely appeal to same in order to gain persuasive power for their objections. For instance, above there is much failed appeal to duties to right reason that I allegedly fail to meet.

The onward point is, from these longstanding classic principles, the moral, legal and governmental ideals and framework of our civilisation was built. As noted above, the US DoI 1776, charter of modern constitutional democracy, is a case in point. But latterly, selective hyperskepticism has been used to undermine such, frankly, the better to promote lawlessness, licence and libertinism at expense of sound governance.

That is, we have had a mutiny on the Platonic ship of state.

Such mutinies don’t end well.>>

A further comment I made in response to VL’s attempt to dismiss an algebraic expression of a reductio of the relativist thesis, is also worth noting, from 1112:

>>[T]he following [duly informed by the just above context that is readily accessible to those who would ponder] is patently not “meaningless”:

Let a proposition [= an assertion that affirms or denies that something is the case, e.g. Socrates is a man] be represented by x [–> symbolisation]
M = x is a proposition asserting that some state of affairs regarding right conduct, duty/ought, virtue/honour, good/evil etc (i.e. the subject is morality) is the case [–> subject of relevance]
O = x is objective and knowable, being adequately warranted as credibly true [–> criterion of objectivity]

[–> patently meaningful; u/d Jan 8: x is a proposition and is to be tested with regard to having properties O and M, M also being a subject-domain regarding duty to right conduct etc, i.e. morality]

It is claimed, S= ~[O*M] = 1 [–> the there are no objective, warranted, knowable moral truths claim, again meaningful]
However, the subject of S is M, [–> by simple inspection]
it therefore claims to be objectively true, O and is about M [–> pointing out the implicit thesis that relativists claim to know the accuracy of their claim or implication, on warrant]
where it forbids O-status to any claim of type M [–> patent]
so, ~[O*M] cannot be true per self referential incoherence [–> reductio]

++++++++++
~[O*M] = 0 [as self referential and incoherent cf above]
~[~[O*M]] = 1 [the negation is therefore true]
__________
O*M = 1 [condensing not of not]
where, M [moral truth claim]
So too, O [if an AND is true, each sub proposition is separately true]

That is, there are objective moral truths; and a first, self evident one is that ~[O*M] is false.

The set is non empty, it is not vacuous and we cannot play empty set square of opposition games with it. That’s important. [–> square of opposition issues]

Your attempted dismissal fails. The argument is meaningful and relevant to the underlying thesis of relativism. Relativists are not confessing general ignorance and openness to be instructed otherwise, they are rejecting validity of objective claims regarding right conduct etc on grounds of irresolvable difference, demand for tolerance etc.

Of course, due tolerance is an onward objective moral principle. Namely, that as we are error prone and need due freedom of inquiry and community, a fairly wide range of opinion and discussion must be tolerated on pain of undermining liberty. Where, similarly, other credible evils must be put up with and regulated as opposed to abolished due to “hardness of men’s hearts,” pending moral growth of society. An excellent comparison is abolition of slavery starting with the trade and the fate of prohibition as peak temperance movement in the US and how it had the unintended consequence of empowering organised crime. Similar arguments can be made regarding Marijuana.

In short, due tolerance is an objective moral principle and has due limits.>>

What I find further interesting is that in 2018, a posthumous, completed book based on a Manuscript by Dallas Willard came out, The Disappearance of Moral Knowledge. That book’s Amazon Blurb reads:

Based on an unfinished manuscript by the late philosopher Dallas Willard, this book makes the case that the 20th century saw a massive shift in Western beliefs and attitudes concerning the possibility of moral knowledge, such that knowledge of the moral life and of its conduct is no longer routinely available from the social institutions long thought to be responsible for it. In this sense, moral knowledge―as a publicly available resource for living―has disappeared. Via a detailed survey of main developments in ethical theory from the late 19th through the late 20th centuries, Willard explains philosophy’s role in this shift. In pointing out the shortcomings of these developments, he shows that the shift was not the result of rational argument or discovery, but largely of arational social forces―in other words, there was no good reason for moral knowledge to have disappeared.

The Disappearance of Moral Knowledge is a unique contribution to the literature on the history of ethics and social morality. Its review of historical work on moral knowledge covers a wide range of thinkers including T.H Green, G.E Moore, Charles L. Stevenson, John Rawls, and Alasdair MacIntyre. But, most importantly, it concludes with a novel proposal for how we might reclaim moral knowledge that is inspired by the phenomenological approach of Knud Logstrup and Emmanuel Levinas. Edited and eventually completed by three of Willard’s former graduate students, this book marks the culmination of Willard’s project to find a secure basis in knowledge for the moral life.

In short, something is rotten in the state of our civilisation and we need to work to recover moral knowledge as a key piece of cultural capital. Or, the consequences will be dismal. END

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

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    Okay, Is the denial of objective moral truth an implicit truth claim about duty to right conduct etc? (Thus, subject to Reductio?)

  2. 2
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: A blog on DMK

    https://www.biola.edu/blogs/talbot-magazine/2019/the-disappearance-of-moral-knowledge

    >> it will be helpful to get clear on what the disappearance of moral knowledge is not. Dallas did not think that moral knowledge does not exist, nor did he think it was unattainable. In fact, the largest portion of his book (chapters 2–7) seeks to show that no successful arguments were made within 20th century ethical theory for either of those ideas. Moreover, the disappearance of moral knowledge has very little to do with whether or not persons in Western culture have less moral knowledge than they did prior to the disappearance. What has disappeared, according to Dallas, is the public availability of moral knowledge as a reliable resource for human living. In other words, the authoritative institutions of our culture — primarily, the university but also the church, education and government — no longer present moral knowledge as the way things actually are grounded on an appropriate basis of evidence.

    “The institutions of knowledge in contemporary Western society do not possess a recognized body of moral knowledge, and hence do not make it available as such to the individuals and groups they serve,” Dallas writes. “… This is not a situation that a thoughtful person can easily accept or be happy about. Is it really true that what many take to be the most important aspect of human existence, the moral, must be lived blindly, driven only by instinct, feeling, uncertified opinion, tradition, or one or another type of force?” (p. 44).

    This shift in the overall cultural attitude towards moral knowledge is devastating for both individuals and society as a whole. To fail to recognize that, for instance, “lying is wrong” is how things are and can be based on appropriate evidence and instead come to treat it as mere feeling, or tradition, or uncertified opinion is to undermine the way that good and bad, right and wrong are meant to function in human life. Without a vision of the good life as truly good, human desire is left to want what it wants without the constraint of knowing what is good, better and best. Knowledge of good and bad, right and wrong recognized as knowledge (and not, for instance, as mere feeling) provides authoritative guidance for living. Dallas held that the authority of such guidance degenerates and, in fact, disappears when the authoritative institutions of Western culture cease presenting moral knowledge as publicly certifiable.>>

    In short, mutiny on the ship of state, has consequences.

    KF

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    Notice, ” Dallas did not think that moral knowledge does not exist, nor did he think it was unattainable.” The pretence that those notions are a made up strawman fails.

  4. 4
    Origenes says:

    KF @

    A statement about unicorns is not a unicorn.

    And a statement about moral truths is not a moral truth. A statement about statements, however, is a statement.

    However a thesis that rejects objective warrant regarding claimed duties of right conduct etc …

    We are discussing this claim:

    **There Are No Objective Moral Truths**

    According to you this claim/proposition is a ‘moral truth’, however a moral truth is a claim about behavior. This claim does not define & attach value to a behavior, which is what moral truths do.

    … is a proposition on the subject of right conduct etc.

    It is a proposition on moral truths, IOWs it is a claim about moral truths. The fact that it is a proposition on moral truths, does not make the proposition itself a moral truth. Similarly a proposition on unicorns is not a unicorn itself.
    Moral truths define & attach value to a behavior, [e.g. “murder is wrong”], in contrast, the proposition “there are no objective moral truths” does no such thing.
    “There are no objective moral truths” is an ontological proposition on moral truths, it is not a moral proposition on moral truths. It is an ontological proposition about the (non)existence of a certain type of moral truths. It is not a moral proposition because it does not define behavior and attach value to it. If “moral truths” can be said to be a behavior [which is not the case], then the claim “moral truths are wrong” would be an example of a moral proposition on moral truths, and that claim would indeed be a self-referentially incoherent claim.

  5. 5
    jerry says:

    This will go nowhere.

    So far Cicero only mentioned 4 times.

    But maybe a thousand comments? Still nowhere.

    All could be answered in less than 200 words. So far about 2500 words.

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    Origenes, when one declares or directly implies that positive moral truth claims are all without adequate warrant to be regarded as objective, that is a massive claim on the subject of duty to right conduct etc. The resistance to something that manifest simply tells me that this is pivotal and the point will not be conceded as the habit of relativising and subjectivising spreads ever more across the life of the mind. KF

  7. 7
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, actually, there is some need to establish a few things and to headline them. We need to see what has gone so wrong with a major domain of knowledge. KF

    PS: Cicero’s synthetic summary of the classical heritage is pivotal. He is mentioned as of right.

  8. 8
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    :)) No objective moral truths means nobody should ever complain about an “injustice”. It’s about subjective morality of a criminal vs subjective morality of victim. Everybody has his own truth. No morality is superior to another morality just diferent. BUT OBJECTIVE MORAL TRUTH EXIST. objectors should just go to school.
    PS: Actually should go to church because public school are managed by comunists.
    PPS: It’s your obligation to find the real Church .
    PPPS: Hint : It’s not Catholic Church /Protestant Church /or Any Church that sprout from first 2 Churches.

  9. 9
    chuckdarwin says:

    All that, simply to get to this:

    In short, something is rotten in the state of our civilisation and we need to work to recover moral knowledge as a key piece of cultural capital. Or, the consequences will be dismal.

    How this constitutes a profound insight escapes me. We’ve been hearing some iteration of this woeful cry at least since Socrates drank the hemlock. When someone makes a statement that something is “rotten about the state of our civilization” what they are really saying is that the world does not meet my expectations of how the world should be. It’s a glass half empty way of looking at the world….

  10. 10
    kairosfocus says:

    CD, there has been an institutional breakdown across the past century leading to a loss of key moral capital, in a time when we find the Nazi holocaust, the Communist democides and the abortion holocaust. That is suggestive and your lack of sensitivity to such is a sign of the problem and its pervasiveness. KF

    PS: A common yardstick moral truth is that it is self evidently wrong, evil, wicked, to kidnap, sexually torture and murder a young child for fun. The issue is that those who deny do not discredit this truth, but that they show themselves morally broken. Over years here at UD what we have seen in response to this unfortunately real case, is evasion. That is morally irresponsible and enabling of evil.

  11. 11
    Joe Schooner says:

    In short, something is rotten in the state of our civilisation and we need to work to recover moral knowledge as a key piece of cultural capital. Or, the consequences will be dismal.

    As CD has mentioned, this is a claim that has been made for centuries. Just walk into any seniors residence and you can hear this type of doomsday rant from many of the residents. It is probably something related to age.

    CD, there has been an institutional breakdown across the past century leading to a loss of key moral capital, in a time when we find the Nazi holocaust, the Communist democides and the abortion holocaust. That is suggestive and your lack of sensitivity to such is a sign of the problem and its pervasiveness.

    And in the 19th century there was the Circassian genocide, the genocide of indigenous peoples in North America, Central America, South America, New Zealand and Australis. In the 18th century there was the Dzungar genocide and genocides of indigenous peoples around the world. There was the inquisition, there was the crusades. There was the destruction of cultures by British colonialism. And it goes on throughout the centuries. So, maybe you can enlighten people as to when there wasn’t an “institutional breakdown”?

    It’s almost as if moral values are subjective in origin.

  12. 12
    kairosfocus says:

    JS, made for centuries does not mean not relevant or serious now. The build up to a distractor is obvious. KF

  13. 13
    Joe Schooner says:

    The build up to a distractor is obvious.

    No. The presentation of actual facts is obvious.

    Current society definitely has some challenges, but conditions, freedoms and opportunities for individuals are much better today that they were 20, 30, 50, 100, 200 or 300 years ago.

  14. 14
    Origenes says:

    KF @6

    Origenes, when one declares or directly implies that positive moral truth claims are all without adequate warrant to be regarded as objective, that is a massive claim on the subject of duty to right conduct etc.

    Irrelevant, and I don’t think that it is helpful to rephrase the proposition/claim under discussion:

    ** There are no objective moral truths/propositions **

    Propositions on existence are ‘ontological’ propositions. “I exist” is an ontological proposition, and so is “there are no objective moral truths.” An ontological proposition is not a moral proposition, even if you really want it to be — see #4.

    The resistance to something that manifest simply tells me that this is pivotal and the point will not be conceded as the habit of relativising and subjectivising spreads ever more across the life of the mind.

    Cut the constant preaching. Our disagreement is a definitional matter.

  15. 15
    Joe Schooner says:

    JS, made for centuries does not mean not relevant or serious now.

    You can’t claim a recent institutional breakdown using recent historical events as relevant examples and then declare that similar events that have been going on all through history are irrelevant.

    If the examples you cite are an indication of institutional breakdown then this institutional breakdown has been going on for hundreds of centuries.

  16. 16
    vividbleau says:

    Origenes
    “I exist” is an ontological proposition, and so is “there are no objective moral truths.” An ontological proposition”

    Yes!! This is what I have been saying all along. No ontological status, no existence, it’s a word describing what does not exist, it is slapped on to describe “what is”, which is just likes and dislikes, convergence about behaviors ( what is) etc,etc.

    The subjectivist refer to something that they assert has no existence as if it does. Wild.

    Vivid

  17. 17
    Viola Lee says:

    The “subjectivist” asserts that objective moral truths don’t exist: that is the ontological disagreement. However, the subjectivist asserts that moral truths do exist, but that their nature and origin are from within the subject, not from without, and that the nature of their “truth” is different from the nature of the “objective truths” believed to exist by the “objectivist”.

  18. 18
    Origenes says:

    Vividbleau @16

    I am not sure if I understand you correctly.
    My positive claim is that moral laws have a subjective origin. According to KF, this implies that I have to defend the negative booby trap claim “there are no knowable warranted objective moral truths/propositions”. Also, according to KF, that latter claim is self-referentially incoherent. I happen to disagree on both points (WRT the latter see #4 and #14).

    The subjectivist refer to something that they assert has no existence as if it does. Wild.

    Again, that tortured negative claim is formulated by KF, I simply claim that moral laws exist and have a subjective origin.

  19. 19
    vividbleau says:

    Origenes
    “I simply claim that moral laws exist and have a subjective origin.”

    Moral laws that exist ontologically” To be clear I’m not asking if you have an ontological existence

    Vivid

  20. 20
    vividbleau says:

    VL
    I promise I will be nice and if I can’t be nice I will withdraw from the conversation.

    “The “subjectivist” asserts that objective moral truths don’t exist: that is the ontological disagreement. However, the subjectivist asserts that moral truths do exist…..”

    Yes they don’t exist but they do , that’s exactly what the subjectivist asserts.

    Vivid

  21. 21
    Joe Schooner says:

    The subjectivist refer to something that they assert has no existence as if it does. Wild.

    Then you haven’t comprehended what has been said about subjective moral values. For the individual their subjective moral values are as real as you believe your objective values are to you.

  22. 22
    Origenes says:

    Vividbleau:

    Moral laws that exist ontologically” To be clear I’m not asking if you have an ontological existence

    I don’t understand what you ask here. You cannot say “existing ontologically” and “ontological existence.” You simply cannot use that word this way.
    An ontological claim can be a claim about whether or not something exists. Ontology is a branch of philosophy that focuses on ‘existence’, ‘being’ and ‘becoming’.

  23. 23
    vividbleau says:

    JS
    “Then you haven’t comprehended what has been said about subjective moral values.”

    What don’t I comprehend? There are no subjective “moral” values however there are subjective values. Moral, morality , etc, has no ontological existence.

    “For the individual their subjective moral values are as real as you believe your objective values are to you.”

    Yes they do but the difference is I believe in something that actually exists and the subjectivist believes in something like unicorns that does not exist.

    Vivid

  24. 24
    Joe Schooner says:

    Yes they do but the difference is I believe in something that actually exists and the subjectivist believes in something like unicorns that does not exist.

    Subjective moral values are real. They exist within each individual.

    Moral :”concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of human character”

    Subjective moral values are concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of human character. The fact that these are subjective judgments does not mean that they are not moral values.

  25. 25
    Viola Lee says:

    Vivid, the distinction is that this hypothetical subjectivist believes that moral truths don’t exist “objectively” in the sense of existing independently as a separate entity of some type (immaterial/transcendent) and then coming into human beings from an outside source, so to speak. Such a world of external objective moral truths doesn’t exist.

    But morality exists as one aspect of human nature. Origenes has been trying to explain that.

    However I see from your response to JS at 23 that I think it is not likely that we will come to an understanding of what the subjectivist believes.

    You write to JS, “Yes they (moral values or truths) do but the difference is I believe in something that actually exists and the subjectivist believes in something like unicorns that does not exist.”

    So when I say have a particular moral belief you are saying it really doesn’t exist? But it exists in me! I live my life within a foundation of moral beliefs, and they certainly exist as much as any other aspect of who I am as a human being.

    I think I will leave it that.

  26. 26
    vividbleau says:

    VL
    “I think I will leave it that.”

    Ok have a great weekend.

    Vivid

  27. 27
    Viola Lee says:

    Joe, well said at 24.

  28. 28
    Origenes says:

    Vividbleau @
    Perhaps now I have a better understanding of your question. Maybe this imperfect comparison helps:
    Suppose that patriotic feelings are not imposed on us from beyond, but instead have a subjective origin. IOWs suppose that the love for our country is something a majority of people subjectively converge on. Now you may ask: Is there such a thing as national pride that creates a feeling of oneness among the people? You may even ask if patriotism exists at all, and if so in what way? A difficult question. However, as a matter of common sense, we may agree that it does exist and has its own powerful dynamics.

  29. 29
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks, it should have long since been clear from what is summarised in the OP and the note on Dallas Willard (as well as much else about for many years) that relativists etc are not simply admitting ignorance but are trying to support just what was summarised. But of course, now that its reductio implications are clear, we see evasions and accusations of booby traps etc. Add to that the telling evasion of a direct real world example, kidnapping, sexual torture and murder of a young child for fun. Note, the attempt to distract from the all time worst mass killings, all under regimes that undermine objectivity of morality, all over the past century where morality was undermined. Note here, particularly the ongoing mass killing of our living posterity in the womb, 800+ millions and another million per WEEK, and we begin to get the true measure of our times. We then see that what has been going on is doubling down on enabling a ruinous ideology, driven by indoctrination — the unwarranted disappearance of moral knowledge — and probably by imagined advantages of relativism. The bottom line is, we now have the measure of an evil, irresponsible, irrational day and what it is going to take to have a reformation. Let us just hope against reasonable expectation of consequences, that the price will not be bloody beyond belief. But as at now, we can safely proceed on the premise that we are dealing with indoctrinated enablers and therefore declare intellectual independence. No, your specious and snide objections will not hold our knowledge hostage. KF

  30. 30
    kairosfocus says:

    PS, we can start from the entirely warranted note that even objectors to the first duties of reason are forced to pay homage, reflecting their branch on which we all sit, first principles character. We have already seen in the OP where due tolerance is a consequence of the system [as part of liberty], but where plainly there are due limits. Tolerance is not an excuse to impose a topsy turvy world in which perverse but fashionable evils such as mass slaughter of our living posterity in the womb are celebrated and sound moral knowledge is denigrated. That’s a beginning.

  31. 31
    Joe Schooner says:

    Origenes@28, very good point. Some people are morally outraged when football players take a knee during the anthem. Is that moral outrage due to an objective moral value or a subjective one. Given that the level of patriotism and moral outrage at not respecting the anthem varies from country to country, it stands to reason that it is subjective. The reaction in the US is not surprising given the fact that every morning throughout school, kids pledge allegiance to the flag. A practice not followed in most other countries.

  32. 32
    Origenes says:

    KF: Notice, the classic framework of a set of first principles: inescapable, so inescapably, self evidently true. Thus, warranted and objective.

    I quoted this sentence by KF, because it succinctly shows his line of reasoning: self-evident >> warranted >> objective. The crucial term here is “objective.” I may very well be mistaken, but I don’t think that the Greeks of old would have agreed with KF’s interpretation of that term. According to KF, ‘objective’ means independent from the subject, as in completely severed from the subject, as in coming from the great beyond.
    We had an extensive debate about the claim “I am self-aware.” According to KF this is a self-evident truth, which by definition makes it “objective.” It is indeed a self-evident truth, but only to the subject involved, which does not make fact and objectivity. To make a long story short, I do not agree at all with KF and I am convinced that his position is untenable.
    At some point in our debate, and this is what I wanted to highlight here, I argued that warrant does not change origin. Note that KF has argued a thousand times that objectivity [that is, independence from the subject] is established by warrant.

    Origenes: I hope we can agree that your love for your family has a subjective origin, right? Ok, when there is warrant for your love for your family (perhaps in the form of letters), then your love for your family still has a subjective origin. Weird isn’t it? The thing is, warrant does not magically change origin, no matter how desperately you need warrant to have that capability in order to make your argument.

    He never responded. For KF warrant is the road to objectivity [independence from the subject], but here he is presented with a refutation of this theory: warrant does not change origin.
    So, moral laws can be self-evident & knowable & warranted, but the road towards an ‘objective origin’ is still a long one.

  33. 33
    kairosfocus says:

    Origenes, self evidence is just one form and degree of warrant.A SET is true, is seen as necessarily so on inspection for one with the experience to understand it and as further so on pain of patent absurdity on attempted denial. In the case of branch on which we all sit pervasive first principles such as first principles of right reason, the denial would collapse credibility of mind and/or reason and/or communication etc. The summary is, pervasive/inescapable [even objectors like Epictetus’ interlocutor cannot but resort to sitting on the branch], so inescapably true and self evident. Generally, not proved, start points for proof, i.e. attempted proofs will be found to also be dependent on them as Epictetus showed. Obviously, this high degree of certainty establishes correspondingly high warrant thus objectivity, as is the case for logic and the bare fact of self-awareness, rocks have no dreams and cannot be deluded that they dream. It seems to me, part of your objections rest on want of familiarity with relevant concepts long since discussed, repeatedly explained and referenced. KF

    PS, misrepresentation of independence from our error-proneness by being filtered and tested is an epistemological, not ontological consideration. That is on warrant, reliably known; not an inference as to ultimate root. Ancient Greeks did not discover the Gettier problem leading to the decades of discussion behind warrant. As I recall, you struggled with the Gettier issue. Ontology has to do with being, with roots of reality, which is far beyond warrant. Yet again your refusal to address our error proneness and need to filter to have a reliable picture, is a root challenge. You will note that distinction of warrant to enhance reliability vs root of being or source of reality etc on pain of further negative credibility. Red herrings on arbitrary subjects will not be followed up into a forest of tangents. First things are first and there is neither time nor energy for such.

  34. 34
    StephenB says:

    Origenes:

    I quoted this sentence by KF, because it succinctly shows his line of reasoning: self-evident >> warranted >> objective. The crucial term here is “objective.” I may very well be mistaken, but I don’t think that the Greeks of old would have agreed with KF’s interpretation of that term. According to KF, ‘objective’ means independent from the subject, as in completely severed from the subject, as in coming from the great beyond.

    I think your last comment reveals the misunderstanding. In this context,
    “independent from” is not synonymous with “completely severed from” In the present context, It means “distinct from” the subject’s experience, but, nevertheless, connected to it. Most of what I know about the Natural Moral Law began with the “experience” of apprehending a few self-evident truths, followed by the experience of drawing out hundreds, maybe thousands of derived moral truths that were *not* immediately evident.

    In a court of law, for example, the overarching principle of justice is served by “due process,” and the principle that a defendant should be presumed innocent until proven guilty. These observances are also derived from the self evident principle that human beings have inherent dignity.

    For my part, I am inclined to stop using the word “objective” altogether and appeal to the self evident and “universally binding truths” found in the natural moral law. Too many here do not even know what the term objective means, and too much sophistry has been built around a confusion that is the product of now doing the requisite reading. The point is that we can’t make up our own morality as we go along and expect to be in correspondence with reality..

    If these moral truths did not precede us, then they would not already have been present in all the major world’s religions, nor would they have a history that goes back thousands of years. As Aristotle insisted. these truths were not invented, they were “discovered.” As far as I can tell, Kairosfocus is saying the same thing: He is referring to universally binding moral truths. I don’t think that anyone can disagree with the meaning of the word “universal,,” so that is my preferred term.

  35. 35
    kairosfocus says:

    JS, the outrage has to do with patriotism vs a cultural form marxist, often demonstrably false, unbalanced, unfair and distorted narrative of oppression and shaming to create an utterly distorted understanding of civilisation heritage that undermines the BATNA of lawfulness that in turn blocks slide into lawless ideological oligarchy; tied further to respect/disrespect for the memory of hundreds of thousands who died or risked life and limb fighting under that flag for liberty. The disregard for truth and due respect are relevant issues onward, but have little to do with core first duties other than exemplifying blatant disregard for truth, soundness and neighbour being chaotic. Again, side tracks and politically loaded domineering narratives of dubious warrant — consider the cynical rewrite that dismisses the significance of the DoI 1776 — show how the suppression of knowable warranted truth about duty to right conduct etc has significant consequences. Not least, reframing key events, celebrations and symbols adversely is a classic cult programming tactic, I have seen that done with even birthday celebrations. The mutineers are wanting to seize the helm, but lack character and competence to navigate soundly in dangerous waters. Those who enable them are enablers of a voyage of folly predictably leading to ruin. KF

  36. 36
    StephenB says:

    “now doing the requisite reading should be “not doing the requisite reading.”

  37. 37
    kairosfocus says:

    SB, retreating on key terms will only foster more newspeak corruption through the habit of nihilism rooted in relativism. That is, vocabulary no 2 will also be subjected to manipulation, distortion and fallacies with doubling down. Instead, explanation and correction then identifying and naming intransigence and doubling down in falsity are where we will have to end up. We are dealing with those who will not hesitate to twist and distort language; beyond a certain point it is not mere misunderstanding it is willful assault on rational, responsible communication itself multiplied by gross disrespect. That is, a form of willfully speaking with disregard for truth, in hope of gaining advantage from what is said or suggested being taken as true. KF

    PS, This is the dictionary definition from CED that has repeatedly been twisted:

    Kindly, ponder the very carefully worded definitions from Collins English Dictionary [CED], where high quality dictionaries record and report correct usage:

    SUBJECTIVE: subjective
    adj
    1. belonging to, proceeding from, or relating to the mind of the thinking subject and not the nature of the object being considered
    2. of, relating to, or emanating from a person’s emotions, prejudices, etc
    : subjective views.

    OBJECTIVE: objective
    adj
    1. (Philosophy) existing independently of perception or an individual’s conceptions: are there objective moral values?. [AmHD helps: 1. a. Existing independent of or external to the mind;]
    2. undistorted by emotion or personal bias
    3. of or relating to actual and external phenomena as opposed to thoughts, feelings, etc.

    Dictionaries of course summarise from usage by known good speakers and writers, forming a body of recorded knowledge on language. So, we may freely conclude that:

    objectivity does not mean empirical, tangible external/physical object or the like, it can include items contemplated by the mind such as mathematical entities etc and which due to adequate warrant are reasonably INDEPENDENT of our individual or collective error-prone cognition, opinions, delusions, biases and distortions etc.

    Objectivity, is established as a key concept that addresses our error proneness by provision of adequate warrant that gives good reason to be confident that the item or state of affairs etc contemplated is real not a likely point of delusion. Yes, degree of warrant is a due consideration and in many cases common to science etc is defeasible but credible. In certain key cases, e.g. actual self evidence, it is utterly certain.

    Beyond a certain point, it is not mere misunderstanding but agit prop style distortion and ideological agendas that we are dealing with.

    Note, that a key consideration for me has been that our understanding of objectivity must not commit the blunder of implying that entities and states of affairs of mathematics such as the null set { } –> 0 are not objective. This is a basis on which I have noted that the bare fact of consciousness, being self evident, is an objective abstract state of affairs.

  38. 38
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: One of the factors in the institutional lockout on moral knowledge has been the joining of two key blunders. First, the Kantian self referential incoherence of imposing an ugly gulch between our inner perceptions and contemplation and the outer — dare I say, objective — world of things in themselves. Second, undermining the credibility of rational, intelligible and describable self-contemplation so that the empirical “scientist” no longer regards introspection and rational contemplation or its communication as credible evidence. This leads to the self-referentially absurd shoals of relativism, subjectivism, emotivism and solipsism while cutting off retreat to safer waters. Our mutineers on the good ship civilisation first included intellectuals who should have known, thought and taught better. We need to recognise the fatal little errors in the beginning issue pointed out by Aquinas and highlighted in recent times by Mortimer Adler. Then, we can build a due reformation.

  39. 39
    StephenB says:

    Origenes:

    We [KF and I] had an extensive debate about the claim “I am self-aware.” According to KF this is a self-evident truth, which by definition makes it “objective.” It is indeed a self-evident truth, but only to the subject involved, which does not make fact and objectivity. To make a long story short, I do not agree at all with KF and I am convinced that his position is untenable.

    Any fact is, by definition, an objective truth about the real world, which can be discovered through your experience. It begins with your experience, *but it doesn’t end there.* In my opinion, your error is in believing that it does end there, right inside your own head. But inside your head is the capacity to know something that is not inside your head, something that is not synonymous with you or your capacity for self awareness. That is the whole point of thinking. It is not just about becoming aware of your own experience, but also in understanding your relationship with the world around you.

    You are also aware that you exist, but that knowledge does not end with your experience, it extends into the world outside of your mind and it is also about something outside of your mind, namely the objective fact that you do, indeed, exist. Your experience of knowing that you exist, which is subjective, is not synonymous with the fact that you do exist, that is to say, the truth of the matter, which is objective. The truth is distinct from your experience, but it is not severed from it, it is connected to it. In the same way, epistemology is distinct from metaphysics, but is connected to it. I think you place too much emphasis on the former and not enough on the latter.

  40. 40
    kairosfocus says:

    PPPS, in short I am more confident in my judgement and that of the general run of history that mathematics develops objective knowledge involving a body of credible truths on various abstracta of logic, structure and quantity than any attempted definition that would imply otherwise. So, I reject any such definition, for cause, as fallacious and failed.

    That is, mathematics here is a key test case, a known good yardstick. Let us call it yardstick zero.

    For morality, in memorial to a brutalised and murdered child, I will similarly assert as moral yardstick 1:

    [MY1:] ASSERTION . . . MORAL YARDSTICK 1: it is self-evidently wrong, bad and evil to kidnap, torture, sexually violate and murder a young child [for fun]. Likewise, by corollary: if we come across such a case in progress, it is our duty to try to intervene to save the child from such a monster.

    Here, the point is that anyone who denies demonstrates defective conscience and breakdown of moral rationality, and those who evade demonstrate enabling of the morally insane. So, key, yardstick test cases help us establish the circle of responsible rational discussion towards sound knowledge. Knowledge denoting warranted, credibly true [so reliable[ belief. No quarter will be given to newspeak or doubletalk. Likewise to, we ignored this before how dare you raise it again. No, irresponsible objectors do not get a Wilson’s Arte of Rhetorique sidestep veto.

    From rational contemplation of key test cases much will follow.

    This intellectual strategy will be key to the outline of a road to reformation to be developed DV below in coming days.

  41. 41
    kairosfocus says:

    Origenes, you again double down on errors long since corrected. That becomes the fallacy of the closed mind. For record, the bare fact of self awareness is self evident to EACH of us in a race of similar beings. We communicate rationally and testimony of contemplation and reasoned thought are responsible evidence. Thus humanity has a built up body of knowledge on consciousness to the point of having medical scales to measure; such as Glasgow. You have shown yourself intransigent in error, this is a note for record. We are moving on and will not be further detained by such intransigence. KF

  42. 42
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: As an example of moving ahead, MORAL KNOWLEDGE RESTORATION THESIS:

    Given moral yardstick cases and branch on which we sit first principles from Cicero etc, it is not only possible to

    (a) be in demonstrable moral error, but also

    (b) there is hope that such moral errors can be corrected by appealing to manifestly sound core principles of the natural, built-in moral law. Thus,

    (c) we can now see that a core of law is built into moral government of our responsible, rational freedom (through our known, inescapable duties to truth, right reason, prudence [including, warrant], sound conscience, neighbourliness [thus, the golden rule], fairness & justice, etc). On these,

    (d) we may frame moral knowledge, moral understanding and so too just civil law as comporting with that built-in law of our morally governed nature, towards upholding and defending the civil peace of justice through sound government (and broader governance).

    This thesis will be used to elaborate from first principles and yardstick cases.

    Irresponsible objectors will reveal that status by unresponsiveness and/or verbal gymnastics, distortions and distractors.

    KF

    PS: The civil peace of justice is due balance of rights, freedoms, duties. This implies that no legitimate rights claim can compel another to taint sound conscience. To justly claim a right one must manifestly be in the right, therefore. And such a right, in the name of the inherent dignity of a rational, responsible, enconscienced and significantly free creature, implies a binding expectation that others will uphold one in particular ways starting with protection of life, liberty, innocent reputation and the like. (Yes, trollish slander is a violation of another person.)

  43. 43
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Willard’s discussion on disappearance:

    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” about such things. I cannot take those views up here, but I believe them to be profoundly and clearly mistaken. I am saying, however, that moral knowledge is no longer, as it once was, readily available to persons in the normal course of their lives. That is “the disappearance of moral knowledge.”

    We have knowledge of any subject matter when we are capable of representing it as it is on an adequate basis of thought and experience. That is what “knowledge” means in ordinary life, and what you expect of your electrician, auto mechanic, and physician. The subject matter might be the English alphabet, the history of golf, the structure of the hydrogen atom, or others. The “adequate basis” can, sometimes must, include the word of others who have knowledge. We call our knowledge in that case knowledge by “authority”—though the word is more august than the fact. By far the most of what we know we know “by authority,” but that does not mean that it cannot be questioned or, in most cases, that there are no other ways of discovering it or verifying it. Most people who know the multiplication tables have never yet thought out a tiny portion of them to see for sure, and why, they are true. But they do know them, because those tables are given to them in a social context that warrants their acceptance as true. And they are true, and it is possible for a bright and enterprising child to think them out to see that they are true and why they are.

    But knowledge can “disappear.” This is because its public presence and availability depends upon the maintenance of a social context with authoritative institutions that sustain, refine and disseminate it. If for whatever reasons social institutions fail to do this, the respective knowledge will “disappear,” cease to be available.

    Food for thought.

    Notice his discussion of a body of knowledge, that “[w]e have knowledge of any subject matter when we are capable of representing it as it is on an adequate basis of thought and experience.” We can readily connect that to the more atomic view that knowledge is warranted, credibly true [and so reliable] belief.” Bodies of knowledge are brought together in a coherent whole that facilitates effective learning, practice and advancement. For most users, there is dependence on institutionalised expertise, so that one can be confident that one knows based on cultural support. So, if that breaks down ordinary people are left to fend for themselves, leading to the challenge that for technical matters, few are well equipped to build such a body. Multiply by institutionally dominant messaging that such knowledge does not exist or is even somehow oppressive towards fashionable favoured groups and we begin to see just how far wrong and chaotic things can get.

    Hence, needed restoration and hence likelihood of trolling and polarisation.

    But morality is so central that we need to address it.

    KF

    PS: Recall, justice is a moral issue, take that as a yardstick, no 3, of how important this is. A good slice of the beginning of philosophy was discussion of justice. Anything that undermines sound justice is anti-civilisational and a threat to human thriving.

  44. 44
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS, Cicero, of course was discussing justice and law hundreds of years after Plato and co.

  45. 45
    Origenes says:

    StephenB @34

    In this context, “independent from” is not synonymous with “completely severed from” In the present context, It means “distinct from” the subject’s experience, but, nevertheless, connected to it.

    The crucial question is: does “independent from the subject” refer to origin, because the central claim of objective morality is that moral laws have an “objective origin”, that is, that they originate from a source outside humanity. You & KF have argued repeatedly that warrant (e.g. in the form of self-evidence) establishes objectivity, which, according to you, implies a non-human origin.
    It does not, which I have illustrated with the love for family example (see #32).
    One other example: “I am self-aware” is a claim which obviously has a subjective origin. It is also a self-evident truth, which makes it, according to you, ‘objective’. However, despite this alleged established ‘objectivity’ [by means of warrant], the origin of the claim “I am self-aware” (obviously) remains unchanged, namely subjective.
    When we apply this to your argument for objective moral laws, we see that pointing out warrant and self-evidence do not make the case for objective origin. IOWs warrant and self-evidence are no arguments for a non-human origin of moral laws.

    For my part, I am inclined to stop using the word “objective” altogether …

    I am with you on this.

    … and appeal to the self evident and “universally binding truths” found in the natural moral law.

    I note that subjective morality also offers an explanation for the self-evident and universally binding nature of moral laws. The general idea is that, by applying the golden rule, people converge on moral laws.

    The point is that we can’t make up our own morality as we go along and expect to be in correspondence with reality.

    Ok, I would like you to make that argument. I note that subjective morality does not claim that we make up our own morality on a whimsical basis. Instead subjective morality offers a solid subjective basis, e.g. it points out a universally shared dislike for being murdered, which cannot be described in terms of “making stuff up.”

    If these moral truths did not precede us, then they would not already have been present in all the major world’s religions, nor would they have a history that goes back thousands of years.

    Subjective morality is based on the premise that we are all fundamentally similar beings. Case in point, our forefathers shared our dislike for being murdered.

    As Aristotle insisted. these truths were not invented, they were “discovered.”

    This seems to be in line with subjective morality. Perhaps it can be said that we “discover” our dislike for being murdered; or put more generally: that we discover our shared subjective nature. Again, I would like to stress that subjective origin does not imply making stuff up at random.

  46. 46
    Origenes says:

    Origenes, you again double down on errors long since corrected. That becomes the fallacy of the closed mind.

    Why is it, KF, that you always have to start off your ‘arguments’ with empty claims and ad hominem? Who are you trying to fool? It is in fact quite embarrassing.

    For record, the bare fact of self awareness is self evident to EACH of us in a race of similar beings. We communicate rationally and testimony of contemplation and reasoned thought are responsible evidence.

    The point that you fail to address here is that self-awareness (obviously) has a subjective origin. Warrant in the form of self-evidence does not change that simple fact. IOWs warrant does not change origin, which undercuts your entire argument. In the context of objective morality, your mistaken idea was that when X is established as “objective”, the case for a non-subjective origin is made. It doesn’t work that way — see #32, #45
    Ad hominem attack aside, you have nothing.

  47. 47
    kairosfocus says:

    Origenes you have already been adequately corrected. And there is abundant substance you refuse to acknowledge. It’s over. KF

    PS, for record for those who might overlook the merits:

    Kindly, ponder the very carefully worded definitions from Collins English Dictionary [CED], where high quality dictionaries record and report correct usage:

    SUBJECTIVE: subjective
    adj
    1. belonging to, proceeding from, or relating to the mind of the thinking subject and not the nature of the object being considered
    2. of, relating to, or emanating from a person’s emotions, prejudices, etc
    : subjective views.

    OBJECTIVE: objective
    adj
    1. (Philosophy) existing independently of perception or an individual’s conceptions: are there objective moral values?. [AmHD helps: 1. a. Existing independent of or external to the mind;]
    2. undistorted by emotion or personal bias
    3. of or relating to actual and external phenomena as opposed to thoughts, feelings, etc.

    Dictionaries of course summarise from usage by known good speakers and writers, forming a body of recorded knowledge on language. So, we may freely conclude that:

    objectivity does not mean empirical, tangible external/physical object or the like, it can include items contemplated by the mind such as mathematical entities etc and which due to adequate warrant are reasonably INDEPENDENT of our individual or collective error-prone cognition, opinions, delusions, biases and distortions etc.

    Objectivity, is established as a key concept that addresses our error proneness by provision of adequate warrant that gives good reason to be confident that the item or state of affairs etc contemplated is real not a likely point of delusion. Yes, degree of warrant is a due consideration and in many cases common to science etc is defeasible but credible. In certain key cases, e.g. actual self evidence, it is utterly certain.

  48. 48
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Proceeding on what is focal and productive rather than distractive, polarising and fallacious, here is an introductory discussion by Kulp, Knowing Moral Truth, using a similar case approach:

    Let’s assume that Lanza was in possession of his senses when he commit-
    ted this [Sandy Hook] slaughter—an assumption admittedly difficult to confirm because
    Lanza killed himself before a psychiatric examination could be performed.
    That is, let’s suppose that Lanza chose to do what he did, and therefore was
    responsible for his actions. At first blush, there could scarcely be anything
    more straightforward than that what Lanza did was morally wrong in the
    extreme. 4 Similar moral judgments seem applicable: impermissible, unjus-
    tifiable, contemptible, abhorrent, cruel, vicious, perverse . . . the list is long.
    A central thesis of this book is that what appears to us at first blush is in the
    end, after rigorous analysis, quite correct: Lanza’s behavior is a paradigm
    case of moral wrongness.

    Who in the world could think otherwise? Well, there are a lot of people
    who, officially at any rate, think otherwise: thoughtful people, in fact. But
    these people assuredly don’t represent the views of the proverbial “man in
    the street.” The average person would find the Sandy Hook Shootings not
    only deeply upsetting, but profoundly morally wrong—and would point to
    the immorality of the event as (at least part of) the cause of their upset.
    Indeed, they would consider this act wrong no matter where it occurred,
    when it occurred, or who performed it. It is wrong, period . . . .

    But it is at this juncture that our average person parts company
    with some of the intellectual cognoscenti. For some of these “experts” would
    find the act morally wrong only in some restricted, qualified respect, not
    “wrong, period,” as does the average person. They think, for example, that it
    is only wrong “from our perspective.” Other experts would for a variety of
    different reasons find the very concept of “moral wrongness” and its cog-
    nates misguided or ill conceived—perhaps even lacking in meaning
    . For all
    of these folks, it can’t be true simpliciter that the Sandy Hook killings were
    morally wrong.
    But certainly, this is in stark contrast to our ordinary think-
    ing. [–> This of course underscores the force of my algebra in the OP]

    {LATER, amplifying: . . . . many philosophers think that all of this is fundamentally miscon-
    ceived. The Confederacy’s endorsement of the chattel slavery of black peo-
    ple? Well, it all depends on your perspective: relative to the Confederacy, it
    was morally fine; relative to the Union, very bad. The French didn’t like it
    either, nor did the British; but it would appear that the African slave traders
    had little objection to it. Soon we will have to put these matters much more
    carefully, but the general point is that the moral rightness or wrongness,
    permissibility or impermissibility, praiseworthiness or condemnability of
    chattel slavery or the Holocaust or of whatever act or policy or set of social
    mores is at issue, is perspectively relative, that is, relative to a standard of
    judgment. If we don’t share that standard, then of course we are not going to
    agree with the judgment, nor need we. But again, we certainly don’t ordinari-
    ly think that way . . . I suspect that many
    of us would be sympathetic to the sentiments of Wittgenstein’s student and
    an important philosopher in her own right, G. E. M. Anscombe when she
    tells us, “if someone really thinks, in advance, that it is open to question
    whether such an action as procuring the judicial execution of the innocent
    should be quite excluded from consideration—I do not want to argue with
    him; he shows a corrupt mind.” 18}

    There are many variations on the theme that our ordinary, common sense
    moral thinking is systematically wrong . . . . along with common-sensists like Moore and the mid-eighteenth-century
    Scottish philosopher Thomas Reid, and along with American pragmatists
    like John Dewey and Charles S. Peirce, I [Kulp] believe that we must “begin where
    we are”—that it is futile to first search for some sort of indubitable Cartesian
    starting point, immune to challenge, before beginning philosophical in-
    quiry. 12 And where we are with regard to morality is, I submit, well repre-
    sented by our reaction to the Sandy Hook Shootings. We are horrified; we
    condemn it as atrocity; we consider it morally wrong no matter who perpe-
    trated it, when or where. This is of signal importance; for it is the moral and
    epistemic “[lodestar]” that properly guides development of our abstract moral
    theories. I would even go so far as to say that, if a conception of the nature of
    morality entails that the killing of the Sandy Hook Elementary School chil-
    dren and staff members is other than egregiously wrong, so much the worse
    for that conception of morality
    . . . It is in this fashion that we will proceed.

    This should give pause to those who imagine dismissiveness or evasiveness on the force of the algebra and associated propositions is reasonable. It also shows how paradigmatic cases can serve as yardsticks to guide a sounder approach that what led to the breakdown Willard highlighted.

    We too will proceed.

    KF

  49. 49
    Origenes says:

    When things don’t go your way:
    Make threads unreadable by flooding them with copy pasted worn arguments and irrelevancies, never actually respond to pertinent counter arguments, proceed with empty claims of victory & ad hominem attack, and hope that the casual reader won’t notice that your position is untenable.

  50. 50
    kairosfocus says:

    Origenes, projections, polarisation, language twisting and intransigence lead to a point where it is clear that there is no hope of reasonable discussion. I am proceeding on substance having given you more than adequate correction long since. It’s over. KF

  51. 51
    Blastus says:

    Judges 17:6 KJV
    In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

    and again

    Judges 21:25 KJV
    In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

    The 400 year period of Judges was marked by turmoil.

    Thank you KF! Willard’s cited work was unknown to me and I look forward to investigating it.

  52. 52
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I proceed further with Kulp:

    There are different types of knowledge. 19 For example, there is knowl-
    edge “how”— knowledge how to ride a bike, for instance. Perhaps you can’t
    really tell someone else how to ride a bike—surely a five-year-old child
    could not provide much of an explanation—but you (and the five year old)
    may nevertheless ride with aplomb: you know how to ride a bike. And there
    is “objectual knowledge,” that is, knowledge of an object. Although you may
    not be able to provide a description of the low-hanging doorway, because
    you haven’t really focused your attention on it, you know of the low door-
    way’s presence, and ducked your head accordingly. 20 And there is “proposi-
    tional knowledge,” that is, knowledge that a proposition is true. Thus, if I
    know that the leaves of an oak tree are green, or that the sum of two and three
    equals five, then I know that the proposition ‘The leaves of an oak tree are
    green’, or that the proposition ‘Two plus three equals five’ is true. This is
    often referred to as “knowledge that,” because it is knowledge that such-and-
    such is the case.
    In subsequent chapters we will have to get much clearer on propositional
    knowledge, but the point to be taken is that much if not all of our moral
    knowledge is propositional. Thus, if we know something to be true or to be
    false regarding morality, we know the truth or falsity of a moral proposition.
    Take the following propositions:
    P1: Chattel slavery, such as was practiced in the southern states of the United
    States prior to the American Civil War, is morally wrong.
    P2: It is prima facie morally praiseworthy to return kindness with kindness.
    If we know that chattel slavery as practiced in the antebellum South is wrong,
    then we know the truth of the moral proposition expressing it. And if we
    know that it is morally praiseworthy, unless there is specific reason to the
    contrary, to return kindness with kindness, then we know the truth of the
    proposition expressing this. Similarly for the following propositions:
    P3: A normative ethical theory is defective if it entails the falsehood of the
    principle that, ceteris paribus, like cases should be treated alike.
    P4: Kant’s deontological ethics has greater explanatory power regarding the
    indefensibility of chattel slavery than does Mill’s utilitarianism.
    If we know the truth, or the falsity, that a normative ethical theory is defec-
    tive if it entails the falsehood of the principle that like cases should be treated
    alike, absent specific reason to the contrary, then we know the truth, or the
    falsity, of the proposition expressing this. And similarly regarding the ex-
    planatory power of Kant’s deontology vs. Mill’s utilitarianism.
    P1–P4 are all examples of what in the contemporary literature are called
    “first-order” moral propositions. They are first-order because they are propo-
    sitions the subject matter of which is “within” morality, that is, within the
    conceptual domain typically designated “the moral.” 21 It will be convenient,
    however, to distinguish between propositions like P1 and P2 [Class A], in contrast to
    propositions like P3 and P4 [Class B]. The former have to do with judgments about
    specific acts, policies, etc.; the latter have to do with normative principles or
    criteria applicable to the judgment of particular acts, policies, etc . . . .

    There is, however, another type of moral proposition, which are common-
    ly called “second-order” moral propositions. These are propositions about
    morality, that is, propositions about the nature and status of morality itself.
    Here are several examples:
    P5: Moral judgments are true or false only relative to a specific society or
    culture.
    P6: There are no first-order moral truths, nor are there any first-order moral
    falsehoods.

    These are propositions not about the moral defensibility, permissibility,
    rightness, etc., of a particular act, policy, or attitude, as are P1 and P2; nor are
    they about the defensibility, appropriateness, etc., of particular normative
    theories or principles, as are P3 and P4. They are, rather, propositions having
    to do with the nature of morality—its general features, its conceptual status,
    etc . . . the subject
    matter of what is often termed “metaethics” is exemplified by propositions
    like P5 and P6.

    So, we see how we have various classes of moral propositions, assertions of what is or is not the case regarding duty to right conduct etc. Those who would not take such from me directly, perhaps might listen to Christopher B. Kulp, published by Lexington Books
    An imprint of The Rowman & Littlefield, 2017, along with others cited.

    Even if not, we can take due note that the attempts to suggest or declare that relativists etc do not hold as I summarised are in error, and that there are indeed propositions on ethics that are as I described.

    KF

  53. 53
    Joe Schooner says:

    JS, the outrage has to do with patriotism vs a cultural form marxist, often demonstrably false, unbalanced, unfair and distorted narrative of oppression and shaming to create an utterly distorted understanding of civilisation heritage that undermines the BATNA of lawfulness that in turn blocks slide into lawless ideological oligarchy;

    Do you honestly think that the outrage of people over a black man taking a knee during the anthem has anything to do with what you just wrote? Isn’t it possible that their outrage has more to do with 12 or more years of indoctrination and brainwashing?
    tied further to respect/disrespect for the memory of hundreds of thousands who died or risked life and limb fighting under that flag for liberty.
    A flag is just a symbol. The stars-and-bars symbolized a south that enslaved people. As such, it is no longer considered acceptable to display other than under historic perspective. Much like the NAZI flag. For many in America the American dream never materialized. They are availing themselves of their right of free speech and right of protest.

  54. 54
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    A flag is just a symbol. Much like the NAZI flag

    Brainwashed alert !

  55. 55
    Joe Schooner says:

    It’s over.

    It’s been over for quite some time. KF continuously erects strawman versions of what subjective values are to knock them down. He then argues about the consequences of his strawman version of subjective values. He adds a splattering of irrelevant cut and paste and quotes from Cicero and Plato. And then rounds it off with a nonsense algebraic proof of objective values which is nothing more than ‘if you claim something doesn’t exist, the claim is self-referential therefore it exists.

    And when his errors are pointed out he resorts to ad hominems.

  56. 56
    kairosfocus says:

    Blastus, Willard is a voice I used to love to hear due to the power of his mind, but we lost him to cancer. KF

    PS: There is another key reference in the Bible that should give us pause:

    Isa 5: 18 Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of falsehood,
    who draw sin as with cart ropes,
    19 who say: “Let him be quick,
    let him speed his work
    that we may see it;
    let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near,
    and let it come, that we may know it!”
    20 Woe to those who call evil good
    and good evil,
    who put darkness for light
    and light for darkness,
    who put bitter for sweet
    and sweet for bitter!
    21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
    and shrewd in their own sight!
    22 Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine,
    and valiant men in mixing strong drink,
    23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe,
    and deprive the innocent of his right!
    24 Therefore, as the tongue of fire devours the stubble,
    and as dry grass sinks down in the flame,
    so their root will be as rottenness,
    and their blossom go up like dust;
    for they have rejected the law of the LORD of hosts,
    and have despised the word of the Holy One of Israel.

  57. 57
    Joe Schooner says:

    JS: A flag is just a symbol. Much like the NAZI flag

    LCD: Brainwashed alert !

    Flag: “a piece of cloth or similar material, typically oblong or square, attachable by one edge to a pole or rope and used as the symbol or emblem of a country or institution or as a decoration during public festivities.
    “the American flag””

  58. 58
    kairosfocus says:

    JS, you are further spinning out a tangent and are seeking to polarise. I have given you enough, save I suppose, to note that many who used going to a knee in the face of anthem and flag were of various races so obvious appeal to accusation of racism on your part is loaded. Likewise, correctives are on the table (as though such were really needed in addition to what was already put) that demonstrate the relevance of my summary proposition regarding relativists etc, and you have no cogent response. You too are now clearly counter productive and have had more than enough opportunity to take a different path. It’s over, time has come to look to restoration of recognising validity of moral knowledge. KF

  59. 59
    Joe Schooner says:

    I have given you enough, save I suppose, to note that many who used going to a knee in the face of anthem and flag were of various races so obvious appeal to accusation of racism on your part is loaded.

    You have never heard of people protesting in support of others?

  60. 60
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Let us take back up the MY1 case, the child kidnapped, sexually tortured and murdered for fun.

    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 relativism and subjectivism loose, we are looking at the absurdity and chaos of the nihilist abyss, might (and manipulation) makes for ‘right.’

    At the pivot of the skeptical objections to objective moral truths such as MY1, notwithstanding persistent reduction to absurdity [see algebra in OP], is the pose that since we may err and since famously there are disagreements on morality, we can reduce moral feelings to subjective perceptions tastes and preferences, dismissing any and all claims of objectivity much less self evidence. So, the objector triumphantly announces: there is an unbridgeable IS-OUGHT gap, game over.

    Not so fast, as there is no better reason to imagine that we live in a moral Plato’s Cave world, than that we live in a physical or intellectual Plato’s Cave world.

    That is, we consider the imagined world of Plato where the denizens, having been imprisoned from childhood, all imagine that the shadow shows portrayed for their benefit are reality. Until, one is loosed, sees the apparatus of manipulation, then is led outside and learns of the reality that is there to be discovered. Then he tries to rescue his fellows, only to be ridiculed and attacked.

    Where, given its importance, let us observe how worldviews shape community life:

    WORLDVIEW + CULTURAL/POLICY AGENDA = IDEOLOGY
    IDEOLOGY + POWER = REGIME
    REGIME + MARCH OF FOLLY = RUIN

    Such are the matches we are playing with.

    The sound approach is to recognise that MY1 is a test and those who object or evade its force reveal their moral deficiencies.

    From this, we may proceed to outline a moral framework (of course, taking a side glance at Cicero’s summary):

    1] The first self evident moral truth is that we are inescapably under the government of ought, leading to first duties of responsible reason.

    (This is manifest in even an objector’s implication in the questions, challenges and arguments that s/he would advance, that we are in the wrong and there is something to be avoided about that. That is, even the objector inadvertently implies that we OUGHT to do, think, aim for and say the right. Not even the hyperskeptical objector can escape this truth. Patent absurdity on attempted denial. Expanding slightly, as this has to be hammered home: our rational, responsible intelligent behaviour is inescapably under the moral government of known duties to truth, to right reason, to prudence [so to warrant], to sound conscience, to neighbourliness [thus, the Golden Rule], to fairness and justice, etc. Thus, we find morally rooted law built into our morally governed nature, even for our intellectual life. Thus, too, the civil law extends what is already built in, to our social circumstances, turning on issues of prudence, justice and mutual duties; if it is to be legitimate. Notice, this is itself a theory on what law is or at least should be. And yes, all of this is fraught with implications for the roots of reality.)

    2] Second self evident truth, we discern that some things are right and others are wrong by a compass-sense we term conscience which guides our thought.

    (Again, objectors depend on a sense of guilt/ urgency to be right not wrong/duty on our part to give their points persuasive force. See what would be undermined should conscience be deadened or dismissed universally? Sawing off the branch on which we all must sit. Where, this is no mere emotive appeal to feared consequences, it is an argument by exposing self-referential incoherence. Conscience, when sound, accurately points to duty; accordingly to violate it damages one’s soul, and therefore there is a right to follow sound conscience that is integral to the person and to the civil peace of justice. To be coerced in violation of conscience, is a violation of the person; e.g. rape. But this is as opposed to the need to correct warped, unsound or benumbed souls. This means, conscience must align with morally tinged truth, and must seek wisdom, prudence, right reason and humility to recognise differences, doubts, errors, risks and uncertainties.)

    3] Third, were this sense of conscience and linked sense that we can make responsibly free, rational decisions to be a delusion, given how pervasive these are, we would at once descend into a status of grand delusion in which there is no good ground for confidence in our self-understanding.

    (That is, we look at an infinite regress of Plato’s cave worlds: once such a principle of grand global delusion is injected, there is no firewall so the perception of level one delusion is subject to the same issue, and this level two perception too, ad infinitum; landing in patent absurdity. That is, we here expose further self-referential incoherence.)

    4] Fourth, as the algebra in the OP indicates, it is true that we are objectively under knowable, warranted obligation of OUGHT. That is, despite any particular person’s (or group’s or august council’s or majority’s) wishes or claims to the contrary, such obligation credibly holds to moral certainty, independent of particular biases, errors, delusions or the like of individuals or groups. That is, it would be irresponsible, foolish and unwise for us to act and try to live otherwise.

    5] Fifth, this cumulative framework of moral government under OUGHT is the basis for the manifest core principles of the natural moral law under which we find ourselves obligated to the right the good, the true etc. Where also, patently, we struggle to live up to what we acknowledge or imply we ought to do.

    6] Sixth, this means we live in a world in which being under core, generally understood principles of natural moral law is coherent and factually adequate, thus calling for a world-understanding in which OUGHT is properly grounded at root level.

    (Thus worldviews that can soundly meet this test are the only truly viable ones. If a worldview does not have in it a world-root level IS that can simultaneously ground OUGHT — so that IS and OUGHT are inextricably fused at that level, it fails decisively.)

    7] Seventh, in light of the above, even the weakest and most voiceless of us thus has a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of fulfillment of one’s sense of what s/he ought to be (“happiness”). This includes the young child, the unborn and more.

    (We see here the concept that rights are binding moral expectations of others to provide respect in regards to us because of our inherent status as human beings, members of the community of valuable neighbours. Where also who is my neighbour was forever answered by the parable of the Good Samaritan. Likewise, there can be no right to demand of or compel my neighbour that s/he upholds me and enables me in the wrong — including under false colour of law through lawfare; usurping the sword of justice to impose a ruthless policy agenda in fundamental breach of sound conscience and so too that civil peace which must ever pivot on manifest justice. To justly claim a right, one must first manifestly be in the right.)

    8] Eighth, like unto the seventh, such may only be circumscribed or limited for good cause. Such as, reciprocal obligation to cherish and not harm one’s neighbour of equal, equally valuable nature in community and in the wider world of the common brotherhood of humanity. (This helps us frame just law.)

    9] Ninth, this is the context in which it becomes ever more clearly self evidently wrong, wicked and evil to kidnap, sexually torture and murder a young child or the like as concrete cases in point that show that might and/or manipulation do not make ‘right,’ ‘truth,’ ‘worth,’ ‘justice,’ ‘fairness,’ ‘law’ etc. That is, anything that expresses or implies the nihilist’s credo is morally absurd.

    10] Tenth, this entails that 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 notes in what is the charter of modern constitutional democracy, government is and ought to be subject to audit, reformation and if necessary replacement should it fail sufficiently badly and incorrigibly. For preference by regularly scheduled, free, fair, honest elections held every several years.

    (NB: This is a requisite of accountability for justice, and the suggestion or implication of some views across time, that government can reasonably be unaccountable to the governed, is its own refutation, reflecting — again — nihilistic will to power; which is automatically absurd. This truth involves the issue that finite, fallible, morally struggling men acting as civil authorities in the face of changing times and situations as well as in the face of the tendency of power to corrupt, need to be open to remonstrance and reformation — or if they become resistant to reasonable appeal, there must be effective means of replacement. Hence, the principle that the general election is an insitutionalised regular solemn assembly of the people for audit and reform or if needs be replacement of government gone bad. But this is by no means an endorsement of the notion that a manipulated mob bent on a march of folly has a right to do as it pleases. Where, too, the manifest integrity of electoral systems is equally an imperative. Otherwise, it matters not who votes, but who cheats and who counts, as Stalin notoriously suggested.)

    12] Twelfth, the attempt to deny or dismiss such a general framework of moral governance invariably lands in shipwreck of incoherence and absurdity. As, has been seen in outline. But that does not mean that the attempt is not going to be made, so there is a mutual obligation of frank and fair correction and restraint of evil.

    From this we can construct a sound framework for civilisation.

    KF

  61. 61
    kairosfocus says:

    JS, you are now getting close to the don’t feed the trolls threshold. KF

    F/N: Just for reference, the US National Anthem’s four verses:

    O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
    What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
    Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
    O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
    And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
    Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
    O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

    On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
    Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
    What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
    As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
    Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
    In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
    ‘Tis the star-spangled banner, O long may it wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

    And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
    That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
    A home and a country, should leave us no more?
    Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
    No refuge could save the hireling and slave
    From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
    And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

    O thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
    Between their loved homes and the war’s desolation.
    Blest with vict’ry and peace, may the Heav’n rescued land
    Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
    Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
    And this be our motto: ‘In God is our trust.’
    And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave

    The attempt to attaint the US flag as a symbol of racism and of slavery speaks for itself on the hostile, bitter, cynical, accusatory mentality at work. I have seen the like as a common cult programming tool, to alienate recruits the better to indoctrinate them.

  62. 62
    Joe Schooner says:

    JS, you are now getting close to the don’t feed the trolls threshold. KF

    When you make a ridiculous inference that white people can’t protest about racism, you approach negative credibility territory.

    But is the moral outrage about kneeling during the anthem based on an objective value, or a subjective one?

  63. 63
    kairosfocus says:

    JS, word twisting strawman rhetoric. I gave you a brief good faith answer already, and see nowhere cogent responsiveness to either substantial evidence or correction of errors such as suggesting that my summary proposition regarding relativists is inaccurate. That speaks, and it speaks to the point of the Ciceronian first duties. KF

  64. 64
    Joe Schooner says:

    JS, word twisting strawman rhetoric.

    Readers can see for themselves if this is true.

    JS: A flag is just a symbol. The stars-and-bars symbolized a south that enslaved people. As such, it is no longer considered acceptable to display other than under historic perspective. Much like the NAZI flag. For many in America the American dream never materialized. They are availing themselves of their right of free speech and right of protest. [-please note that there was no claim or inference that the flag is a symbol of racism. Although there are many who believe it is. -]

    KF: I have given you enough, save I suppose, to note that many who used going to a knee in the face of anthem and flag were of various races so obvious appeal to accusation of racism on your part is loaded. [-note the inference that because white people are also taking a knee that the protests can’t be about racism. -]

    JS: You have never heard of people protesting in support of others?

    KF: The attempt to attaint the US flag as a symbol of racism and of slavery speaks for itself on the hostile, bitter, cynical, accusatory mentality at work. I have seen the like as a common cult programming tool, to alienate recruits the better to indoctrinate them. [-note the fallacy of motive-mining to discredit the opponent. The comment by JS was a cautionary tale. If society doesn’t do something to address the real inequity between the races, the flag will come to symbolize racism for many. Which would be tragic given its origin. -]

  65. 65
    Joe Schooner says:

    KF, given that you insist on misrepresenting what people say, and since this is your thread, it is time for me to leave this thread to pursue more constructive activities.

  66. 66
    jerry says:

    it is time for me to leave this thread to pursue more constructive activities.

    Hallelujah!!!

    Maybe all these nonsense discussions will come to an end. And in less than 100 comments. Let’s hope all follow Joe’s leadership.

  67. 67
    StephenB says:

    KF

    SB, retreating on key terms will only foster more newspeak corruption through the habit of nihilism rooted in relativism.

    I agree. Notice my comment @39, which puts “objective” back on the table for me. I thought earlier that it might be helpful to explain Origenes epistomological error at a deeper level, but it is evident to me now that he is tied in to morality by consensus, which is illogical. However, I plan to clarify one other item. There are no subjective moral truths, only subjective moral *values.* Origenes is proposing to characterize subjective values as moral truths. Moral values can be arrived at through consensus, but moral truths cannot.

  68. 68
    Viola Lee says:

    With that as a distinction, I would say that there are moral values, but not moral truths.

    Each of us have moral values, but due to our common human nature, the culture we are part of, and the broader culture of the great wisdoms of all mankind, a lot of our values are shared by many others, if not virtually all of mankind. Consensus about moral values is good for society and helps solidify our commitment to our own values, but values originate in the individual, and can sometimes differ from the consensus around one. This is all part of moral values having their origin in the subjective experience.

  69. 69
    vividbleau says:

    Origenes
    “The point that you fail to address here is that self-awareness (obviously) has a subjective origin. “

    Would not the origin of self awareness be something outside itself? To be aware of self doesn’t one have to first be aware of something “non self”?

    Vivid

  70. 70
    kairosfocus says:

    JS, you continue toxic side tracks turning on distortions and accusations, obviously motivated by hostility to what is being shown in the focal discussion and reflecting intent to derail discussion. There will be no further warnings, patience for cause has been exhausted. Later, I am going back to Plato who you dismissed without regard to truth or right reason, to address roots, substance and anti-civilisational consequences of that ancient sophistic folly, relativism. Unsurprisingly, Plato saw through the rot 2360 years ago, JS showed disregard for truth, right reason, warrant and simple fair mindedness. There is moral knowledge to recover and this thread will continue to do so with you or without you. KF

    PS: For those who may be confused and will not scroll up to 35, I explained in brief why disrespect for patriotic symbols hallowed by blood and tears will for cause be deeply offensive to many decent people. Claiming to be protesting does not ever justify such disrespect. There is no need to further entertain derailing. Worse, you deliberately invidiously associated the US flag and anthem with the nazi party flag. That is not the action of a reasonable, civil or responsible person, it is the act of a troll, and I suspect likely a recycled troll.

  71. 71
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, “values” is not the issue, opinion or feelings etc are not the issue, truth is and it has been adequately shown and reinforced that the relativist/subjectivist view is as I have summarised. The reductio follows and it is undeniably true that there are knowable, warranted, intelligible truths regarding duty to right conduct etc. Relativism etc are dead. KF

  72. 72
    kairosfocus says:

    SB, you have a point on values. KF

  73. 73
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Viola Lee
    I would say that there are moral values, but not moral truths.

    🙂 I guess you didn’t read C.S. Lewis-Mere Christianity

    In war, each side may find a traitor on the other side very useful. But though they use him and pay him
    they regard him as human vermin. So you cannot say that what we call decent behaviour in others is
    simply the behaviour that happens to be useful to us.
    And as for decent behaviour in ourselves, I
    suppose it is pretty obvious that it does not mean the behaviour that pays. It means things like being
    content with thirty shillings when you might have got three pounds, doing school work honestly when
    it would be easy to cheat, leaving a girl alone when you would like to make love to her, staying in
    dangerous places when you could go somewhere safer, keeping promises you would rather not keep,
    and telling the truth even when it makes you look a fool.

    The moment you say that one set of moral ideas can be better than another, you are, in fact, measuring
    them both by a standard, saying that one of them conforms to that standard more nearly than the other.
    But the standard that measures two things is something different from either. You are, in fact,
    comparing them both with some Real Morality, admitting that there is such a thing as a real Right,
    independent of what people think, and that some people’s ideas get nearer to that real Right than
    others. Or put it this way. If your moral ideas can be truer, and those of the Nazis less true, there must
    be something—some Real Morality—for them to be true about.

  74. 74
    vividbleau says:

    Origenes
    “The point that you fail to address here is that self-awareness (obviously) has a subjective origin. “

    How is this any different than saying that the origin of self is the self (the subject)?

    Vivid

  75. 75
    StephenB says:

    SB: In this context, “independent from” is not synonymous with “completely severed from” In the present context, It means “distinct from” the subject’s experience, but, nevertheless, connected to it.

    Origenes:

    The crucial question is: does “independent from the subject” refer to origin, because the central claim of objective morality is that moral laws have an “objective origin”, that is, that they originate from a source outside humanity

    That is a separate question, which I will get to in a moment. The
    immediate concern is your assertion that “independent of” means “completely severed from.” In this context, independent means “distinct from the individual’s experience, but nevertheless connected to it.” Because you don’t acknowledge that connection, you also cannot acknowledge the epistemological process by which the subject, as the investigator, comes to know the object of the investigation, which is moral truth. Because you don’t acknowledge this relationship between subject and object, you try to reduce the whole process to a subjective experience and nothing more, as if the subject cannot escape the contents of his own mind and grasp his relationship with the outside world. I pointed this out earlier when I said this:

    Any fact is, by definition, an objective truth about the real world, which can be discovered through your experience [and verified by sources outside of you.] It begins with your experience, *but it doesn’t end there.* In my opinion, your error is in believing that it does end there, right inside your own head. But inside your head is the capacity to know something that is not inside your head, something that is not synonymous with you or your capacity for self awareness. That is the whole point of thinking. It is not just about becoming aware of your own experience, but also in understanding your relationship with the world around you.
    You are also aware that you exist, but that knowledge does not end with your experience, it extends into the world outside of your mind and it is also about something outside of your mind, namely the objective fact that you do, indeed, exist. Your experience of knowing that you exist, which is subjective, is not synonymous with the objective fact that you do, in fact, exist, The truth is distinct from your experience, but it is not severed from it, it is connected to it. [That is precisely the reason that we can apprehend it *through* our experience.]

    Now to your other point. Does moral truth come from outside the individual? Yes. It can come from the revealed truths of religion (not our present concern) and from nature, that is, the knowable objective truth about morality, expressed and understood as the Natural Moral Law. Through our experience with the outside world, we can develop and deepen our knowledge of the Natural Moral Law. Notice again the connection between the subject (the investigator) and the object (the object of the investigation) – the principles of objective morality. It is at this point, and only at this point that “consensus” comes into play. Once we understand the basic principles of morality, we can come together, develop them by establishing relevant corollaries, and decide on the best way to apply them in our everyday life. (Recall the example of “due process,” which was developed from the principle of justice). The one thing we cannot do through consensus is establish the basic moral principles. We can only accept them as they present themselves to us. Subjectivism can provide moral *values* but it cannot provide moral *truths.*

    You & KF have argued repeatedly that warrant (e.g. in the form of self-evidence) establishes objectivity, which, according to you, implies a non-human origin.

    A self-evident truth is, by definition, an objective truth because it is a reference to a truth that can be understood by anyone who grasps it, it is not solely a private thing with the individual subject. That is one of the reasons that we know it originated from the outside.

    It does noIt does not, which I have illustrated with the love for family example (see #32).

    The love of one’s family is a subjective experience that, considered alone, has no moral implications at all. It is simply a subjective experience, nothing more.

    One other example: “I am self-aware” is a claim which obviously has a subjective origin. It is also a self-evident truth, which makes it, according to you, ‘objective’.

    Excuses me please, but you are, once again, confusing your experience (and the claim about your experience), both of which are subjective, with the truth value of your claim, which is objective. The origin of your experience and your claim is you; the origin of the truth found in your claim is outside of you. You can know the objective truth about morality through your experience of apprehending it as a self-evident principle, but you cannot create that truth through your experience since it comes from the outside – that is, from nature, especially human nature, both of which are in the objective order. All experiences are subjective experiences; all truths are objective truths.

    However, despite this alleged established ‘objectivity’ [by means of warrant], the origin of the claim “I am self-aware” (obviously) remains unchanged, namely subjective.
    When we apply this to your argument for objective moral laws, we see that pointing out warrant and self-evidence do not make the case for objective origin. IOWs warrant and self-evidence are no arguments for a non-human origin of moral laws.

    The warrant comes from the understanding that a self-evident truth cannot come from anyplace other than outside of the mind, even though it is discovered by the mind. The subject, the investigator, grasps the object of the investigation, the objective moral truth. You fail to understand this connection because you labor under the misconception that the object is “completely severed from” the subject.

  76. 76
    Origenes says:

    @39 StephenB on the claim “I am self-aware.”

    Any fact is, by definition, an objective truth about the real world, which can be discovered through your experience.

    What is your definition of ‘fact’? What is your definition of ‘objective’? You are well-aware of the definitional problems in the context of the claim “I am self-aware.”

    It begins with your experience, *but it doesn’t end there.* In my opinion, your error is in believing that it does end there, right inside your own head.
    But inside your head is the capacity to know something that is not inside your head, something that is not synonymous with you or your capacity for self awareness. That is the whole point of thinking. It is not just about becoming aware of your own experience, but also in understanding your relationship with the world around you. You are also aware that you exist, but that knowledge does not end with your experience, it extends into the world outside of your mind and it is also about something outside of your mind, namely the objective fact that you do, indeed, exist.

    The fact itself, as fact, is not at issue here. Perhaps it makes sense to say that a claim itself is an objective thing. But at issue is what the claim is about, namely the experience of self-awareness.

    // As an aside, we are discussing the claim “I am self-aware” not the claim “I exist.” You seem to have mixed them up.//

    You are also aware that you exist, but that knowledge does not end with your experience, it extends into the world outside of your mind and it is also about something outside of your mind, namely the objective fact that you do, indeed, exist.

    Again, you seem to want to focus on the claim itself, irrespective of what it points to, and you consider claims/ knowledge to be objective things. That’s fine, however, at issue is what the claim is about; in this case the experience of self-awareness.

    Your experience of knowing that you exist, which is subjective, is not synonymous with the fact that you do exist, that is to say, the truth of the matter, which is objective.

    Whether or not true claims as claims can be said to objective things is irrelevant here. What matters is, what claims are about [what they point to]. And here the question is, do they point to subjective or objective things.
    I say “I am self-aware” is a claim about a fundamentally subjective experience. Whether or not claims themselves are objective things is an entirely different matter.

  77. 77
    Origenes says:

    Vividbleau @69 @ 74

    O: “The point that you fail to address here is that self-awareness (obviously) has a subjective origin.”

    Would not the origin of self awareness be something outside itself? To be aware of self doesn’t one have to first be aware of something “non self”?

    Excellent question. I have been thinking about these problems for many years and have come to the conclusion that self-awareness cannot be analyzed. Bear with me here. For one thing, it cannot be analyzed in time, as you propose here. So, you cannot say: first A and next B.
    Back to your question. “To be aware of self doesn’t one have to first be aware of something ‘non self’?”
    The short answer is “no”. Because if you are not already self-aware, then you cannot be aware of non-self. Something that is not aware of itself, can also not be aware of non-self. IOWs in order to be aware of non-self, self-awareness is presupposed.
    – – – –

    O: “The point that you fail to address here is that self-awareness (obviously) has a subjective origin.”

    How is this any different than saying that the origin of self is the self (the subject)?

    My mistake. What I meant to say was “The point that you fail to address here is that the claim ‘I am self-aware’ (obviously) has a subjective origin [comes from the subject].”

    As you may have noticed StephenB & KF want every truth to be “objective”, that is, to come from the great beyond … including the truth “I am self-aware.”

  78. 78
    Origenes says:

    StephenB @75

    O: One other example: “I am self-aware” is a claim which obviously has a subjective origin. It is also a self-evident truth, which makes it, according to you, ‘objective’.

    Excuses me please, but you are, once again, confusing your experience (and the claim about your experience), both of which are subjective, with the truth value of your claim, which is objective. The origin of your experience and your claim is you; the origin of the truth found in your claim is outside of you.

    It is you who is confused. The question is not whether or not a claim itself is an objective thing, or whether or not the truth value of a claim is an objective thing. These questions are irrelevant. Instead the question is whether the thing that the claim is about [what it points to], is objective or not. In this case it points to the fundamentally subjective experience of self-awareness. (see also #76).
    – – – – –

    In this context, independent means “distinct from the individual’s experience, but nevertheless connected to it.”

    So, you want “objective” to mean “distinct from the individual’s experience, but nevertheless connected to it.”
    You have also stated that the claim “I, StephenB, am self-aware” is “objective.” It follows that you hold that this claim is also about something that is “distinct from your individual experience.” Let that sink in for a moment …. Allow me to highlight it:

    ** Your experience of yourself, your self-awareness, is distinct from your individual experience ….**

    I am sitting here and do not know how to proceed our debate. I really don’t. We have been here before. I have stated multiple times that what you say is absurd. Somehow you don’t agree. Somehow you think it makes sense to say what you say. I cannot understand how it can possibly make sense to you what you are saying.
    Thank you for discussing with me, but if you do not retract your absurd claim, this is where it stops for me.

  79. 79
    William J Murray says:

    Origenes said:

    The short answer is “no”. Because if you are not already self-aware, then you cannot be aware of non-self. Something that is not aware of itself, can also not be aware of non-self. IOWs in order to be aware of non-self, self-awareness is presupposed.

    I don’t think self-awareness and awareness of not-self can be separated in order of appearance. Without an experience of some sort, there is no awareness at all, and one can parse the line between self and other down to that which is having the experience, and the experience. That is the fundamental delineation between “self and other.” You can’t have one side of the coin without the other side simultaneously existing as well.

  80. 80
    Viola Lee says:

    Yin/yang.

  81. 81
    kairosfocus says:

    Vivid & Origenes, the issue on the table, for cause, is restoration of moral knowledge. The side track on defining subjectivity vs objectivity and why warrant (so, right reason) has long been answered from credible high quality dictionary and other sources, the material issue being our error proneness and need for a reliable knowledge base. The basic bare fact of consciousness is well warranted and generally known. As to onward tangents on roots of first person self awareness, those are irrelevant to a civilisation-critical issue. Further to which, across thousands of comments, Origenes, regrettably, for cause, you have satisfied me that discussion will deadlock through hyperskepticism. Given past discussions, I was willing to go through a fair bit of discussion but eventually a bottom line must be drawn for cause. KF

  82. 82
    Viola Lee says:

    And what is that bottom line going to be, KF? I’m curious.

  83. 83
    StephenB says:

    SB: Any fact is, by definition, an objective truth about the real world, which can be discovered through your experience.

    Origenes:

    What is your definition of ‘fact’?

    A fact is simply a lower level truth that consists of correct information about the world and the people in it. A higher level truth would explain the *meaning* of the fact (which is arrived at through the study of philosophy), and the highest level truth would explain the *significance* of the fact and its meaning (which is arrived at through the study of Theology). All three levels exist in the objective realm.

    What is your definition of ‘objective’? You are well-aware of the definitional problems in the context of the claim “I am self-aware.”

    The claim is simply an expression of your experience, which is subjective, but the truth found in that claim is objective because it consists of information about your relationship with the world that is infallibly true, or at least true beyond a reasonable doubt. So I am disputing the notion that there are definitional problems.

    Remember something else. You are not the source of your self-awareness. That can be explained only by whatever (whoever) it was that caused you to come into existence, which is the necessary condition for being self aware. You have considered only one half of the the puzzle by saying, I think, therefore I exist. The other half is the reverse: I exist, therefore I can think.

    Perhaps it makes sense to say that a claim itself is an objective thing.

    I don’t think so. Your claim is an expression of your experience, which is subjective.

    But at issue is what the claim is about, namely the experience of self-awareness.

    It is about more than that. It is about your *experience* of self awareness and the *fact* of your self awareness; they are not the same thing. The experience is subjective but the fact is objective. Or again, your experience is only about you, but the objective fact that you derived from your experience [your self awareness] extends into [and is also about] your relationship with the world that you interact with as a self-aware being.
    .

    I say “I am self-aware” is a claim about a fundamentally subjective experience. Whether or not claims themselves are objective things is an entirely different matter.

    Nothing has changed here. Your experience of self-awareness, and your claim to that effect, are subjective, but the truth value of your claim is objective. All experiences are subjective; all truths are objective.

  84. 84
    vividbleau says:

    KF
    “As to onward tangents on roots of first person self awareness, those are irrelevant to a civilisation-critical issue”

    That maybe so but it is not irrelevant to Origenes. The hinge upon that which Origenes argument turns are issue’s surrounding his claims regarding self awareness, if you don’t deal with that issue you are wasting your time.

    For the record I think I was well on my way to weaken his argument but your thread your rules. Adios

    PPS SB

    “Remember something else. You are not the source of your self-awareness. That can be explained only by whatever (whoever) it was that caused you to come into existence, which is the necessary condition for being self aware.”

    Yeppers

    Vivid

  85. 85
    StephenB says:

    Origenes:

    The question is not whether or not a claim itself is an objective thing, or whether or not the truth value of a claim is an objective thing. These questions are irrelevant. Instead the question is whether the thing that the claim is about [what it points to], is objective or not. In this case it points to the fundamentally subjective experience of self-awareness.

    I don’t think you are grasping the point. I am referring to that very thing. I am saying that the fact of your self awareness is objective, which is not the same thing as your experience of self awareness.

    So, you want “objective” to mean “distinct from the individual’s experience, but nevertheless connected to it.”

    As I recall, I was challenging your claim that “independent” from the subject means “completely severed from it.” It doesn’t mean that. It means “distinct from but connected to the subject.” I have been raising that point consistently.

    You have also stated that the claim “I, StephenB, am self-aware” is “objective.”

    Did I say that the claim that I am self aware is objective, or did I say that the fact of my self awareness is objective. Perhaps I need to clarify something. Where did I say it and what were my exact words?

    ** Your experience of yourself, your self-awareness, is distinct from your individual experience

    Again, something has gone wrong here. Tell me what I said and where so that we can track this thing down. I don’t think I ever said anything like that.

  86. 86
    Viola Lee says:

    I seldom actually read KF’s OPs very carefully because they are so redundant but I just noticed that he started this one by quoting the start of something I said in the previous thread. It would have been nice if he had actually quoted the next couple of sentences so as to have been a little fairer in representing my thoughts.

  87. 87
    StephenB says:

    KF: you said this to Vivid“

    As to onward tangents on roots of first person self awareness, those are irrelevant to a civilisation-critical issue”

    Vivid said,

    That maybe so but it is not irrelevant to Origenes. The hinge upon that which Origenes argument turns are issue’s surrounding his claims regarding self awareness, if you don’t deal with that issue you are wasting your time.

    I agree. I think you should invite him to continue on his track (if it is not too late) He seems to have left the playing field.

    Vivid continues

    For the record I think I was well on my way to weaken his argument but your thread your rules. Adios

    Again, I agree. I am sorry that Vivid seems to be history, I think he was adding a lot of substance to the discussion.

  88. 88
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Viola Lee
    would have been nice if he had actually quoted the next couple of sentences so as to have been a little fairer in representing my thoughts.

    also:

    Viola Lee
    but values originate in the individual, and can sometimes differ from the
    consensus around one.

    “Little fairer” comparing with what ? With your opinion or with KF opinion? Hahaha! Did you say :”The values originate in the individual” ?Well if is not an objective standard to judge between 2 different individual opinions then your individual opinion is not better/worse/fairer/unfairer,etc. than KF ‘s individual opinion or Hitler ‘s individual opinion it’s just DIFFERENT. 😉

    So the 1 mil $ question :Why did you complain if you really think that there is no objective standard to judge between your ,KF’s and Hitler’s opinion ?
    Possible Answers:
    1. Because your hypocrisy.
    ……
    ……
    101.Because you have no clue what objective means….

  89. 89
    kairosfocus says:

    Vivid & Origenes, the issue on the table, for cause, is restoration of moral knowledge. The side track on defining subjectivity vs objectivity and why warrant (so, right reason) has long been answered from credible high quality dictionary and other sources, the material issue being our error proneness and need for a reliable knowledge base. The basic bare fact of consciousness is well warranted and generally known. As to onward tangents on roots of first person self awareness, those are irrelevant to a civilisation-critical issue. Further to which, across hundreds of comments in which there was adequate drawing out of how we contrast full orbed first person experience [I used a man deluded that he is a brain in a vat] with the bare self evident fact of consciousness [rocks have no dreams and cannot be deluded that they have, we have dreams and contemplations, and can share their content with others who are also self aware building up the in common certain and objective knowledge of our self awareness] , Origenes, regrettably, for cause, you have satisfied me that discussion will only deadlock through hyperskepticism. Worse, in reply to accurate summary of relativism and drawing out of its reductio, you resorted to loaded insinuations about booby traps, disrespecting my integrity. Given past discussions, I was willing to go through a fair bit of discussion but eventually a bottom line must be drawn for cause. I am drawing that bottomline now, KF

  90. 90
    kairosfocus says:

    SB, kindly see the above. KF

  91. 91
    Origenes says:

    …. the issue on the table, for cause, is restoration of moral knowledge.

    I suggest you take a look at the title of the OP.

    The side track on defining subjectivity vs objectivity and why warrant (so, right reason) has long been answered from credible high quality dictionary and other sources …

    You have cited this:

    OBJECTIVE: objective
    adj
    1. (Philosophy) existing independently of perception or an individual’s conceptions: are there objective moral values?. [AmHD helps: 1. a. Existing independent of or external to the mind;]

    I have highlighted the relevant part.

    You have stated a thousand times that the claim “I am self-aware” is a self-evident and objective truth. Ok ….

    (1.) The claim “I am self-aware” is an objective truth.
    (2.) An objective truth is existing independent of or external to the mind.
    (3.) The claim “I am self-aware” is independent of or external to the mind.

    The conclusion (3.) is an absurd statement. I have pointed that out multiple times. You have responded multiple times with irrelevant citations of Cicero, accusations of hyperskepticism & sidetracking, talk about my credibility and empty claims of victory.

    ________________

    {UD EDITORS: See 93 below https://uncommondescent.com/philosophy/lfp-48a-is-the-denial-of-objective-moral-truth-an-implicit-truth-claim-about-duty-to-right-conduct-etc-thus-subject-to-reductio/#comment-744580 }

  92. 92
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Plato scoops the news on modern relativists by 2300 years. (Unsurprising, as he is one of the top couple of dozen or so minds in our civilisation’s history.)

    Of course, when this was pointed out in a previous thread, it was instantly derided and dismissed as irrelevant by one of the ever present objectors. So, I take time to pause and note that the failure of Athenian Democracy through a voyage of folly on the ship of state . . . also, 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 pattern in our era:

    Ath[enian Stranger, in The Laws, Bk X 2,360 ya]. . . .[The avant garde philosophers and poets, c. 360 BC] say that fire and water, and earth and air [i.e the classical “material” elements of the cosmos — the natural order], all exist by nature and chance, and none of them by art . . . [such that] all that is in the heaven, as well as animals and all plants, and all the seasons come from these elements, not by the action of mind, as they say, or of any God, or from art, but as I was saying, by nature and chance only [ –> that is, evolutionary materialism is ancient and would trace all things to blind chance and mechanical necessity; observe, too, the trichotomy: “nature” (here, mechanical, blind necessity), “chance” (similar to a tossed fair die), ART (the action of a mind, i.e. intelligently directed configuration)] . . . .

    [Thus, they hold] that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.-

    [ –> Relativism, too, is not new; complete with its radical amorality rooted in a worldview that has no foundational IS that can ground OUGHT, leading to an effectively arbitrary foundation only for morality, ethics, so too justice, law and government: accident of personal preference, the ebbs and flows of power politics, accidents of history and and the shifting sands of manipulated community opinion driven by “winds and waves of doctrine and the cunning craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming . . . ” cf a video on Plato’s parable of the cave; from the perspective of pondering who set up the manipulative shadow-shows, why.]

    These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might,

    [ –> Evolutionary materialism — having no IS that can properly ground OUGHT — leads to the promotion of amorality on which the only basis for “OUGHT” is seen to be might (and manipulation: might in “spin”), opening the door to cynicism, hyperskepticism and nihilism . . . ]

    and in this way the young fall into impieties, under the idea that the Gods are not such as the law bids them imagine; and hence arise factions [ –> Evolutionary materialism-motivated amorality “naturally” leads to continual contentions and power struggles influenced by that amorality at the hands of ruthless power hungry nihilistic agendas], these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is,to live in real dominion over others [ –> such amoral and/or nihilistic factions, if they gain power, “naturally” tend towards ruthless abuse and arbitrariness . . . they have not learned the habits nor accepted the principles of mutual respect, justice, fairness and keeping the civil peace of justice, so they will want to deceive, manipulate and crush — as the consistent history of radical revolutions over the past 250 years so plainly shows again and again], and not in legal subjection to them [–> nihilistic will to power not the spirit of justice and lawfulness].

    Echoes in our time are not coincidental, and are tied directly to the suppression of otherwise readily accessible, well warranted, objective moral knowledge. For example, in introducing his 2014 In Search of Moral Knowledge, R Scott Smith notes:

    we seem to have lost a common body of moral
    truths that we all could know. [–> thus, the summary proposition in the OP]

    One key way of characterizing our present moral climate is that, generally
    speaking, westernized people tend not to view moral claims as giving us
    knowledge
    [–> as in, generally accessible, well warranted, reliable truth]. This is connected to the received “fact-value split”—a mindset
    we have inherited from at least the time of Hume and/or Kant. According
    to that view, the natural sciences are the set of disciplines that uniquely give
    us knowledge, whereas disciplines such as ethics, religion and the human-
    ities in general give us just our constructs, whether personal opinions, pref-
    erences or mere tastes
    . This view has become known as strong scientism. A
    weaker version of scientism maintains that ethics, religion and the human-
    ities give us knowledge, but it is of an inferior sort to that of the natural
    sciences. [–> and must bow to it] In light of such a mindset, it is only fitting that we have a vast plurality of moral opinions. [–> the diversity appeal, which does not warrant the no knowledge claim]

    For those immersed in such cultures, it is easy to see how people (especially
    emerging adults) would take for granted this plurality and bifurcation of facts
    from values as simply the way things are, morally speaking. [–> indoctrination] Western cultures,
    such as the United States, deeply reinforce the notion that morality is in the
    eye of the beholder, something Allan Bloom noted decades ago. 2 Indeed, de-
    scriptively, we are very pluralistic morally However, morality involves more
    than just whatever is the case; at its core, it is a normative enterprise
    But, should morality be seen as being “up to us” and therefore deeply
    pluralistic? Is it true that morality is basically a human construct? If so,
    to what extent, and in what way(s)? Alternatively, could it be that some
    older ethical views that maintained that morals are not human constructs
    are perhaps true after all, even though such views have been marginalized
    or “discredited”?

    We thus see the emergence of evolutionary materialistic scientism, duly dressed in the lab coat as a key context for the narrative that there is just moral debate and opinion, not well warranted knowledge. Or, as Plato summarised the Sophists etc:

    [Thus, they hold] that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.

    That is, as Plato then aptly drew out, “They are told by them that the highest right is might, ” leading to, “and hence arise factions, these philosophers inviting them to lead a true life according to nature, that is, to live in real dominion over others . . . ”

    What we see going on about us is, for the historically literate, unsurprising.

    But am I making a fallacious emotive appeal to consequences — a favourite dismissive retort by one of the objectors (who refuses to acknowledge that he is here appealing to duty to right reason) — here?

    No, I am laying out historically warranted dynamics and patterns, which open the door to lawless oligarchy.

    We need to value and learn from history and see how to avoid repeating its many costly blunders.

    Here, following Smith, Scientism is key.

    The notion that evolutionary materialism-dominated Science dominates or even monopolises knowledge is a gross fallacy. First, pace Sagan and Lewontin et al, the attempt to imply that Science is the only begetter of truth or knowledge is not a scientific but instead an epistemological, i.e. philosophical claim dressed up in a lab coat. It is self-referentially incoherent and absurdly false.

    Next, the pattern of responsible warrant leading to reliable, knowable truth is not monopolised by science.

    So, yes we are error prone but as the OP summarised:

    Relativists typically emphasise diversity of opinions among individuals and cultures etc, but that has never been a matter of controversy. Nor, do presumably well informed relativists merely intend [to confess their inexplicable] ignorance of such accurately described states of affairs regarding duty, right conduct etc, they imply longstanding want of warrant and no reasonable prospect or even possibility of such warrant . . . .

    Going on, manifestly, we are an error-prone race, and across time, space etc have many, many areas of profound disagreement. The normal procedure in such areas, is to identify sound first principles for the area, starting with first principles of right reason, logic. Then, if self evident first truths can be listed, a framework for the field can be identified and developed into a body of well warranted so reliable and objective knowable truth independent of the error proneness of our individual or collective opinion-forming. From which, we then have a body of knowledge and best practice to work with.

    There is not the slightest reason why we cannot apply such a procedure to develop — or rather, restore confidence in — a body of moral knowledge, thus first duties of responsible reason and onward frameworks for sound ethics, law, governance, civilisation.

    Such was outlined in comment 60 above.

    Which in reality echoes what was already done in our civilisation across thousands of years but which has latterly been ill-advisedly disregarded.

    As for the evolutionary materialism itself that now comes to us dressed in a lab coat, it is first noteworthy that it failed 2400 years ago in Athens, failed in key part because it undermined responsible rationality.

    In the modern guise, let it be sufficient to note that it cannot reasonably account for the coded, linguistic information content in the living cell much less our responsible rational freedom that allows us to credibly think for ourselves.

    In Haldane’s classic — but as usual too often sidelined (yes, we know the standard rhetorical tactics only too well) — words:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain [–> taking in DNA, epigenetics and matters of computer organisation, programming and dynamic-stochastic processes] I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209. Cf. here on (and esp here) on the self-refutation by self-falsifying self referential incoherence and on linked amorality.]

    So, now, let us again refuse the patently fallacious stunt, oh, we sidestepped it already, why pay any attention now, and ponder the algebraic reductio in the OP:

    Let a proposition [= an assertion that affirms or denies that something is the case, e.g. Socrates is a man] be represented by x [–> symbolisation]
    M = x is a proposition asserting that some state of affairs regarding right conduct, duty/ought, virtue/honour, good/evil etc (i.e. the subject is morality) is the case [–> subject of relevance]
    O = x is objective and knowable, being adequately warranted as credibly true [–> criterion of objectivity]

    [–> patently meaningful; u/d Jan 8: x is a proposition and is to be tested with regard to having properties O and M, M also being a subject-domain regarding duty to right conduct etc, i.e. morality]

    It is claimed, Cultural Relativism Thesis: S= ~[O*M] = 1 [–> the there are no objective, warranted, knowable moral truths claim, again meaningful; it is abundantly vindicated that this is a correct summary of a commonly held view by relativists, whether asserted, assumed or implied. To get to subjectivism, simply reduce the scope of the group in question to a party of one.]

    {U/D, Jan 12:} [ NB: Plato, The Laws, Bk X, c 360 BC, in the voice of Athenian Stranger: “[Thus, the Sophists and other opinion leaders etc c 430 BC on hold] that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.” This IMPLIES the Cultural Relativism Thesis, by highlighting disputes (among an error-prone and quarrelsome race!), changing/varied opinions, suggesting that dominance of a view in a place/time is a matter of balance of factions/rulings, and denying that there is an intelligible, warranted natural law. He continues, “These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might . . . “]

    However, the subject of S is M, [–> by simple inspection]
    it therefore claims to be objectively true, O and is about M [–> pointing out the implicit thesis that relativists claim to know the accuracy of their claim or implication, on warrant]
    where it forbids O-status to any claim of type M [–> patent]
    so, ~[O*M] cannot be true per self referential incoherence [–> reductio]

    ++++++++++
    ~[O*M] = 0 [as self referential and incoherent cf above]
    ~[~[O*M]] = 1 [the negation is therefore true]
    __________
    O*M = 1 [condensing not of not]
    where, M [moral truth claim]
    So too, O [if an AND is true, each sub proposition is separately true]

    That is, there are objective moral truths; and a first, self evident one is that ~[O*M] is false.

    The set is non empty, it is not vacuous and we cannot play empty set square of opposition games with it. That’s important. [–> square of opposition issues]

    We have a start point for restoring moral knowledge, let us proceed.

    KF

    PS: Recall, the core, branch on which we sit first duties, following Cicero:

    1: to truth,
    2: to right reason,
    3: to warrant and wider prudence,
    4: to sound conscience,
    5: to neighbour,
    6: so too to fairness, and
    7: to justice,
    . . . ,
    x: etc.

    Yes, THAT is what objectors have sought to undermine, often appealing that I have failed to properly warrant i.e. appeal to right reason and prudence. Branch on which we all sit . . .

  93. 93
    kairosfocus says:

    Origenes, you have been corrected many times for cause with no effect; why should I or others indulge you further in doubling down on error? KF

    PS, for record:

    Kindly, ponder the very carefully worded definitions from Collins English Dictionary [CED], where high quality dictionaries record and report correct usage:

    SUBJECTIVE: subjective
    adj
    1. belonging to, proceeding from, or relating to the mind of the thinking subject and not the nature of the object being considered
    2. of, relating to, or emanating from a person’s emotions, prejudices, etc
    : subjective views.

    OBJECTIVE: objective
    adj
    1. (Philosophy) existing independently of perception or an individual’s conceptions: are there objective moral values?. [AmHD helps: 1. a. Existing independent of or external to the mind;]
    2. undistorted by emotion or personal bias
    3. of or relating to actual and external phenomena as opposed to thoughts, feelings, etc.

    Dictionaries of course summarise from usage by known good speakers and writers, forming a body of recorded knowledge on language. So, we may freely conclude that:

    objectivity does not mean empirical, tangible external/physical object or the like, it can include items contemplated by the mind such as mathematical entities etc and which due to adequate warrant are reasonably INDEPENDENT of our individual or collective error-prone cognition, opinions, delusions, biases and distortions etc.

    Objectivity, is established as a key concept that addresses our error proneness by provision of adequate warrant that gives good reason to be confident that the item or state of affairs etc contemplated is real not a likely point of delusion. Yes, degree of warrant is a due consideration and in many cases common to science etc is defeasible but credible. In certain key cases, e.g. actual self evidence, it is utterly certain.

  94. 94
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: See 92 on relevance to OP.

  95. 95
    Origenes says:

    // Once more on the issue raised in the OP.//

    According to KF the claim “there are no knowable warranted objective moral truths” is itself a “knowable warranted objective moral truth” and is therefor self-referentially incoherent.

    Let’s remove irrelevant parts:

    ** there are no objective moral truths **

    KF’s claim is that this is itself a moral proposition. However it is a statement about what is, that is, it is an ontological proposition about objective moral truths. It tells us what is and what is not. Similarly, “I exist” is an ontological proposition about “I”.
    Moral propositions specify & rate a behavior; e.g. “murder is wrong.” The proposition “there are no objective moral truths” does not specify & rate a behavior and is therefor not a moral proposition.

    KF has responded that it is a proposition which has moral implications. He is right about that, but that does not make a moral proposition. Arguably the claim “abortion is legal in all U.S. states” also has moral implications, however it doesn’t tell us what is right and wrong, it is a statement about what is.

  96. 96
    Origenes says:

    Origenes, you have been corrected many times for cause with no effect …

    According to you [see #91], the following is true:

    The claim “I am self-aware” is independent of or external to the mind.

    I have pointed out multiple times that it is an absurd statement.
    Now you claim, by essentially repeating your absurd statement, that you are correcting me. This is yet another example of your empty victory claims. It doesn’t work that way, KF.

    p.s. We both know that you need it to be true, but that it isn’t. Why not admit that your position is untenable?

  97. 97
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Origenes
    There are no objective moral truths
    KF’s claim is that this is itself a moral proposition. However it is a statement about what is, that is, it is an ontological proposition about objective moral truths. It tells us what is and what is not.

    Origenes, you have no idea what you’re talking about. You argue like a baby, you have no clue about what means objectivity/subjectivity/ontology. You also miss-understand KF ‘s patience with you. He giving you attention doesn’t mean that you say something valuable or that it’s a real battle of ideas between you two.
    Objective morality is a problem solved thousands of years ago.

  98. 98
    kairosfocus says:

    Origenes, sigh; our self awareness is a first person phenomenon but also it is not delusional or a mere matter of imagination, we are AWARE of it and that is its proof; rocks have no dreams. Just for a note observe the CED first summary of subjective: “belonging to, proceeding from, or relating to the mind of the thinking subject and not the nature of the object being considered.” The point — as repeatedly noted but ignored again and again — is, once there is warrant, there is ground to accept as reasonably independent of our error proneness. The challenge of error proneness has to be faced; thus the significance of warrant, which you have resisted. And no this is not absurd. After exchanges across hundreds of comments I actually have little confidence that this will make any difference to you but maybe others will take due note for record. I am not going to allow this thread to be dragged off track from a vital focus. KF

    PS, it is obvious that you do not understand what a metaethical proposition is, as I took time to excerpt on above. It is clear that relativism from Plato’s day to now implies no generally knowable, warranted, so objective moral truths. But this is a truth claim about duty to right conduct etc — it denies the binding nature and truth of things like thou shalt do no murder, assigning it to whatever groups or individuals prefer — and becomes self referentially absurd as a result. But, again, the very dynamic of relativism leads to imagining one can make up and insist on meanings and values or logic for oneself, which were it to become general would reduce rationality and language to chaos. And yes that is the CI I am using to expose the parasitical, ruinous nature of such relativism.

  99. 99
    Viola Lee says:

    KF writes, “I am not going to allow this thread to be dragged off track from a vital focus.”

    I continue to be curious about what you are going to do: how are you going to “not allow” people to talk about subjects, or take positions, that you don’t want them to? This is a discussion forum, and when people discuss they bring up different positions and points, and the discussion proceeds according to the preferences of those involved. And the main focus of the thread has to do with what is objective and what is subjective: what do those words mean, which kinds of things are objective and which subjective, etc.

    Self awareness is central (and I’m virtually certain Origenes has never implied it is delusional or a mere matter of imagination). I am aware of things internally, in my self, that no on else can experience. Those are subjective experiences in that they are my experiences and they are objective in that I myself (my internal beliefs, thoughts, feelings, etc.) am the object of my experience. These are thoughts entirely in keeping with the topic of the thread even if they are not in keeping with your view of the subject.

    So I think you are wrong to continue to dismiss other people’s thoughts in this thread as somehow something that you have the right to correct or dismiss or otherwise discount.

  100. 100
    Origenes says:

    KF @

    Origenes, sigh; our self awareness is a first person phenomenon but also it is not delusional or a mere matter of imagination, we are AWARE of it and that is its proof; rocks have no dreams.

    A horribly deceptive response. Attacking a straw man. Show me where I have argued that self-awareness, or consciousness, is a delusion. You cannot.

    Just for a note observe the CED first summary of subjective: “belonging to, proceeding from, or relating to the mind of the thinking subject and not the nature of the object being considered.”

    Why don’t you ‘observe’ that? Any reasonable person would notice that self-awareness perfectly fits the first part of the description. Self-awareness “belongs to, proceeds from, or relates to the mind of the thinking subject.” And WRT “… and not the nature of the object being considered”, I do hope you understand that we are discussing a subject who observes itself, as opposed to a subject observing a separate object.

    The point — as repeatedly noted but ignored again and again — is, once there is warrant, there is ground to accept as reasonably independent of our error proneness. The challenge of error proneness has to be faced; thus the significance of warrant, which you have resisted.

    It is deeply dishonest for you to say that I have ignored this point. Why do you allow yourself to say such things? The opposite is true. I have pointed out repeatedly that warrant does not do what you want it to do. Warrant does not change origin (see #32, #45, #46). You want “I am self-aware” to have an objective origin, [that is, independent from the subject] which is absurd. You have repeatedly ignored my refutation of your absurd attempt.

    And no this is not absurd.

    According to you [see #91], the following is true:

    **The claim “I am self-aware” is independent of or external to the mind.**

    I will let the readers decide who has negative credibility.

  101. 101
    Viola Lee says:

    I see that Origenes made any important point similar to mine: “I do hope you understand that we are discussing a subject who observes itself, as opposed to a subject observing a separate object.”

    This is one of the mysteries of being a conscious and self-aware being. We observe ourself: the self which observes and the self which is observed are part and parcel of the same being. The Eastern religions in particular take this mystery as central to coming to truly grasp what we are as a conscious being.

  102. 102
    StephenB says:

    Origenes:

    @78, you said this about me::

    You have also stated that the claim “I, StephenB, am self-aware” is “objective.”

    I don’t believe that I said that. I have insisted all along that it is the *fact* of my self-awareness that is objective, not the claim. So I asked you @85 to cite my exact words and tell me where they can be found. So far, you have not responded, so I am asking you for the second time to provide this information.

  103. 103
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Viola Lee
    I am aware of things internally, in my self, that no on else can experience.

    :))) Hahaha. To know that you must have access to somebody else experiences and you just said it’s impossible. Logic is not your friend.
    PS: If you are a boy and as adult nobody saw your willy ,do we know that you have a willy ? Same thing with self-awareness. Are you a human ? You are self-aware unless you think that you are Napoleon.
    The fact that we can’t “see” directly the process it’s irrelevant . We know that exist ,we know that it’s a fact ,we can see and experience each other self-awareness through communication ,actions and ,experiences.

    Who in the world would say that we don’t know that self-awareness exists objectively unless we have direct access to all self-awarenesses of all peoples? Origenes and Viola Lee believe that 🙂 Congratulations!

  104. 104
    JVL says:

    No big surprise but I am STILL NOT able to post a reply to the following thread:

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/if-math-is-a-reality-atheism-is-dead/#comments

    It’s been at least 96 hours now. I can post to other threads. Does anyone thing this is just some weird error?

  105. 105
    Querius says:

    JVL @104,

    I think it’s a weird error. It happens occasionally to me as well.

    Have you tried logging out and logging in again?

    -Q

  106. 106
    Viola Lee says:

    to LCD: I am quite certain that other people also are self-aware. This is not the issue. I am saying that no one else experiences my self-awareness. Yes, they experience actions which are related to that self-awareness: talking, moving, etc, but my internal experience is utterly private.

  107. 107
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Viola Lee
    to LCD: I am quite certain that other people also are self-aware. This is not the issue. I am saying that no one else experiences my self-awareness. Yes, they experience actions which are related to that self-awareness: talking, moving, etc, but my internal experience is utterly private.

    You missed the point. Discussion was started by Origenes(doesn’t know what objective/subjective means) ,he said that self-awareness is not objective because can’t be direct acessed by others. Privacy of self-awareness experience doesn’t mean uniqueness or impossibility to be understood by other billions of people that experience the same self-awareness. This was just a childish stratagem of Origenes to contradict KF’s objective morality theme.

    There are few million of certain type of car and you tell us that your particular licence plate make impossible for others owners to know/understand what type of car you have if you don’t tell them? Yes they know because they also own the same type of car.

  108. 108
    Origenes says:

    StephenB @102

    SB: you said this about me::
    “O: You have also stated that the claim ‘I, StephenB, am self-aware’ is ‘objective’.”
    I don’t believe that I said that. I have insisted all along that it is the *fact* of my self-awareness that is objective, not the claim. So I asked you @85 to cite my exact words and tell me where they can be found. So far, you have not responded, so I am asking you for the second time to provide this information.

    In the previous thread, at #514, you are commenting on Kairosfocus’s claim *I, KF, am self-aware* :

    According to anyone’s definition of a fact, including the one I presented, KF’s statement that he is self aware is most definitely a fact. It is an objectively true statement that is easily verified.. It is not just his opinion.
    As I have pointed out countless times, the evidence for KF’s self awareness, as exhibited by his behavior, is undeniable. All humans, except those with serious mental deficiencies, are self aware. This is a demonstrable fact and you are wasting your time (and everyone else’s) when you try to argue against it.

    Also in the previous thread, at #476 you comment on my dispute with Kairosfocus’ on his claim * I, Karosfocus, am self-aware, and I cannot be in error about that *
    My position is that this claim consists of two claims:
    (1.) I, Kairosfocus, am self-aware.
    (2.) I, Kairosfocus, cannot be in error about (1.)

    And I argue that both claims do not meet the requirements of ‘objective’. Kairosfocus holds that both claims are objective.

    Your comment on this disagreement:

    I think KF is on solid ground here. Most dictionaries (I consulted several) emphasize the difference between opinions and facts. Here is something from a website called Key Differences:
    (….)
    So, again, I think that KF has the better argument here, especially since he has summed up a much longer and detailed account in as few words as possible..

    P.s. hope this suffices, because seraching through the previous thread is a nightmare.

  109. 109
    Viola Lee says:

    If objective means something about which we can not be in error, then my claim that I am aware is an objective fact.

    If objective means something which exists outside of and independent from the person experiencing it, then my claim that I am aware is a subjective fact.

    As far as I know, objective in the second sense is what is meant by those who claim “objective moral truths” exists.

    If there isn’t a solid agreement about what objective means, this discussion will never reach much clarity. I know KF has offered dictionary definitions, but they vary a lot.

    >>>>

    THREAD OWNER: VL, Objective has to do with doing such due diligence of warrant that we credibly have a reliable conclusion, it is not generally (though, sometimes it misused as) a synonym for absolute truth, the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Science and Mathematics are two good paradigms, the one with tangible objects the other, abstracta. As I repeatedly pointed out, the fact that the null set cannot be found anywhere as a tangible entity and is an object of contemplation but is objective shows that the independence of the thinking or perceiving subject is independence from error proneness. Objective truth on the subject of duty to right conduct etc is accurate description of states of affairs in that regard. The claim that there are no such, is intended to be objective and is on said subject so is self-refuting, hence the OP. Yes dictionaries vary and people interpret as they will, that’s why I have pointed to the mathematical case as needed corrective and it is part of why I cite a high quality dictionary. Even Wikipedia gets this one pretty straight:

    In philosophy, objectivity is the concept of truth independent from individual subjectivity (bias caused by one’s perception, emotions, or imagination). A proposition is considered to have objective truth when its truth conditions are met without bias caused by a sentient subject.

  110. 110
    Origenes says:

    Viola Lee @

    If objective means something which exists outside of and independent from the person experiencing it, then my claim that I am aware is a subjective fact.

    Exactly.

    If there isn’t a solid agreement about what objective means, this discussion will never reach much clarity. I know KF has offered dictionary definitions, but they vary a lot.

    Here are some definitions offered by StephenB:

    Objective information is provable, measurable and observable. In contrast, subjective information is relative to the subject, i.e. the person making it.
    The objective statement can be checked and verified.

    This clearly refers to ‘objects’, that is things that are seperate from the subject.

    An objective statement is based on facts …

    The fact is something, that has actually taken place or known to have existed, which can be validated with pieces of evidence. They are strictly defined, and can be measured, observed and proven. It refers to something that makes statements true and used in connection with research and study.

    A fact can be an event or information, based on real occurrences which can be tested through verifiability, i.e. they are supported by proofs, statistics, documentation, etc. Therefore, a fact is nothing but a verifiable truth or reality which are agreed upon by consensus of people.”

    This is not about self-awareness …

  111. 111
    Origenes says:

    Ok, so what if self-awareness is a subjective fact? Ok if you insist let’s say it has a subjective origin. Whatever. Why does KF want it to be objective anyway? This is such a boring discussion! Why are we even discussing this in the context of objective morality?

    Because KF needs every truth to originate from the great beyond, in order to make his argument for objective morality work. He needs “objective” to point to a source outside of the subject [humanity] in step (4.) and (5.) of the following:

    The argument for objective morality:
    (1.) Killing and raping a toddler for fun is self-evidently wrong according to all sane people.
    (2.) A self-evident truth is by definition an objective truth.
    (3.) “Killing and raping a toddler for fun is wrong” is an objective truth.
    (4.) ‘Objective’ by definition does not come from the subject, instead it comes from a realm outside of us subjects.
    From (3.) and (4.)
    (5.) There are objective rules (first duties), coming from realm outside of us subjects (wink wink), guiding us.

    >>>>>>

    THREAD OWNER: Strawman, again, nowhere do I make the argument you set up to knock over. The MY1 case is a case where self evidence is seen from how one who objects reveals himself to be monstrous, i.e. if your scheme cannot duly recognise what that gruesome murder was, it is irretrievably defective. Second, you still cannot acknowledge the link between warrant and addressing our error-proneness so we have a reliable conclusion. Facts, being things or events or circumstances known — per warrant — to be the case or to exist. Self-evidence being a rare, high degree of warrant, what is self evident is objective but say in science or courts of law many things are well warranted and objectively so that are not self evident. Objectivity comes through warrant and so established reliability thus independence from our error proneness. You will also observe that you again illustrate — by mistaken appeals to what you think is failed reason on my part (and linked strawman fallacies) — what I have noted about Ciceronian first duties. Namely, as Epictetus highlighted for logic, they are branch on which we sit, pervasive first principles that even objectors cannot but appeal to to gain persuasive effect. That branch on which we sit first principle pervasiveness is the type of inescapability they have and so we have every right to se them as true and self evident as start points of responsible reason. This is NOT the religious appeal you set up as a strawman.

  112. 112
    StephenB says:

    Origenes:

    You have also stated that the claim “I, StephenB, am self-aware” is “objective.”

    SB: I don’t believe that I said that. I have insisted all along that it is the *fact* of my self-awareness that is objective, not the claim. A claim could be false.

    In the previous thread, at #514, you are commenting on Kairosfocus’s claim *I, KF, am self-aware*

    OK. Then you admit that I didn’t refer to myself at all in that context. It was not a quote even though you put it in quotes. I could have let that pass, but then you go completely off your rocker and attribute the following position to me:

    ** Your experience of yourself, your self-awareness, is distinct from your individual experience ….**

    This is pure madness. I would never say such an absurd thing nor does it follow from anything I have ever written. You just made it up. Again, I could have let even that pass as a comical error, but when you insisted that I retract it when I didn’t even say it, that was just a bridge too far.

    What I argued was this: To say that the objective realm is ”independent” of my experience does not, mean, as you mistakenly believe, “completely severed from it.” It means “distinct from, but connected to it.” That is a long way from what you tried to make out of it.

    With respect to Kf’s statements @476 and @514 at the other thread, I hold that his two statements (1) he exists and (2) cannot be mistaken about it both qualify as objective statements of fact because they represent truths about himself *and his relationship to the world with which he interacts.* It is not solely a private affair. That has been my position all along and, so far, no one has presented a good argument against it. I don’t accept the preposterous notion that no one here knows what the word “objective” means. I am not buying it for a minute. It is just a futile attempt to escape from the force of Kf’s (and my) rational arguments.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>

    THREAD OWNER SB, yes you are correct but you are dealing with the sort of breakdown that springs from disregard to first duties and the irrationality of relativism. Once the notion is planted that objectivity can be disregarded it is a battle of competing narratives and disputing factions without reference to canons of truth, right reason or warrant. One hopes some will begin to see why I have concluded that if we don’t get this straight, rational discussion is at an end.

  113. 113
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, there is reason to think yes, but try a flushing of your browser and the usual. KF

  114. 114
    kairosfocus says:

    Origenes, SB and co, I notice the slide away from focus and the linked demonstration that no evidence, no explanation will move the one determined to double down and frankly to side track. I particularly notice how for a long time now Origenes has refused to acknowledge that we are error prone so our first person contemplations etc may have errors in them, leading to the need for filtering via right reason etc to provide a more reliable result through warrant. The connexion between warrant, reliability and objectivity has been highlighted many times but without any willingness to be positively responsive. The conclusion is, we are not dealing with a discussion that can progress due to intransigence. I AM THEREFORE ASKING THAT SUCH EXCHANGES CEASE AS DISTRACTIVE AND UNPRODUCTIVE, I DO NOT WANT TO TAKE MORE DRASTIC MEASURES BUT I AM WILLING TO DO SO. KF

  115. 115
    vividbleau says:

    KF
    Hard to believe you are chasing away one of your most, If not the most, articulate advocate for your cause. What is SB supposed to do just sit there and allow his words to be twisted , his position to be mischaracterized?

    Vivid

  116. 116
    kairosfocus says:

    Vivid, there comes a point where enough is enough and we have to realise that we are seeing the irrational consequences of subjectivism in action. No degree of argument, no evidence, no explanation will correct the sort of intransigence we are seeing and enough has been said, over and over, for a reasonable person. We cannot afford to have every UD thread in effect sidetracked in this way, especially one as significant as this. The message is, DON’T FEED THE TROLLS (AND LET THAT TERM BE ENOUGH AS WARNING). KF

  117. 117
    vividbleau says:

    KF
    “No degree of argument, no evidence, no explanation will correct the sort of intransigence we are seeing and enough has been said, over and over, for a reasonable person”

    What do you expect. You are dealing with people who actually think that the origin of their self awareness is their self. That they are self aware before they are self aware. That they are not self aware and self aware at the same time and in the same relationship. That effects are their own cause. That the football games I watched on TV today doesn’t correspond to a reality ( Objective) independent of the subject. Now they all will deny that they do but they can’t escape the “law” I am speaking about the law of logic. What I said above is a summary of the logical absurdity’s within their arguments

    I certainly don’t engage them with any expectation to dissuade them, they are unpersuadable but hope is eternal. I write what I write in hopes of influencing anyone who may from time to time come to this site and don’t participate, probably few and far between. I also do it because the interaction stimulates my thinking.

    Vivid

  118. 118
    vividbleau says:

    KF
    I think the funniest response was the person who for weeks on end has been analyzing self awareness says to me in a response to a question of mine says self awareness can’t be analyzed. ! To repeat this person has been analyzing self awareness for God knows how long and now all of a sudden when I analyze it I am told it can’t be analyzed. Crazy

    Vivid

  119. 119
    Origenes says:

    StephenB @112 [part 1]

    I made the following false statement:

    You have also stated that the claim “I, StephenB, am self-aware” is “objective.”

    You did not write it. I was wrong by putting it in quotes. I apologize for this.

    Maybe the following explains my mistake: In the previous thread, at #713, you argue that your claim “I, StephenB, exist” is an objective statement, because you regard the body to be part of the “I”, which can be measured.

    My mind (intelligence) and the dimensions of my body, both of which are part of my “I,” can be measured. I have been observed by thousands of people. Why does all that not count as proof of my existence in the objective realm?

    I wondered if you apply the same reasoning to the claim “I, StephenB, am self-aware”, so that, in effect, this claim would also be an objective statement. At #712, I asked you:

    When you make the claim “I, SB, am self-aware”, does that involve your body as well?

    Your reply:

    Yes, I would argue that my brain, which is part of my body, and my mind, which is a faculty of my soul, are both involved in my experience of self awareness.

    . . . .

    However, I was mistaken by assuming that this answer meant that you apply the same reasoning to the claim “I, StephenB, am self-aware” and would go on by declaring it ‘objective’. Again, my apologies.

  120. 120
    Origenes says:

    Vividbleau @

    I think the funniest response was the person who for weeks on end has been analyzing self awareness says to me in a response to a question of mine says self awareness can’t be analyzed. ! To repeat this person has been analyzing self awareness for God knows how long and now all of a sudden when I analyze it I am told it can’t be analyzed. Crazy

    When I say that the self-awareness cannot be ‘analyzed’, I mean to say that it cannot be split into separate parts. Consciousness is truly one thing. And when I told you that it cannot be analyzed in time, I meant to say that there is no such thing as a sequence of distinct actions leading up to self-awareness.
    In my view there is no starting point from an unconscious state which by a series of steps leads to self-awareness. IOWs self-awareness is always presupposed.
    I do not regard this discussion about whether or not the claim “I am self-aware” is objective truth, to be an analysis of self-awareness itself.
    Anyway, good to hear that you were amused.

  121. 121
    kairosfocus says:

    Origenes, you have again been corrected. I ask of you that you refrain from further side tracking. KF

  122. 122
    kairosfocus says:

    Vivid, where the rejection of objectivity and first principles leads. That should be a wake up call. KF

  123. 123
    Viola Lee says:

    KF writes, “Origenes has refused to acknowledge that we are error prone so our first person contemplations etc may have errors in them.”

    And might not your first person contemplations have errors in them?

    And I doubt Origenes has “refused to acknowledge that we are error prone.”

    And it appears that you are saying that only people who agree with you are welcome here, and those with other views are nothing but distracting trolls.

    And you keep saying (shouting this time) that if this does desist you will take DRASTIC MEASURES. What? Close the thread? Ban the commentator. What will happen the next time you write an OP on the same topic, which you inevitably will? Perhaps you should preface the thread with “only compatible views welcome”.

    The alternative to this might be to accept that there are substantial philosophical and metaphysical views different from yours in the world, and that it doesn’t hurt for people to try to articulate their differing views with each other. Discussions at this forum are not bringing civilization crashing down, so perhaps you ought to lighten up and let people discuss/argue about the things they are interested in.

  124. 124
    kairosfocus says:

    I have annotated several comments.

  125. 125
    Origenes says:

    StephenB @112 [part 2]

    …. but then you go completely off your rocker and attribute the following position to me:
    ** Your experience of yourself, your self-awareness, is distinct from your individual experience ….**
    This is pure madness. I would never say such an absurd thing nor does it follow from anything I have ever written.

    Good to hear! Good to hear that, unlike KF, you want none of it. This statement is indeed pure madness.

    You just made it up.

    No sir, I certainly did not. In #91 I explain clearly and accurately where this absurd statement comes from.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>

    THREAD OWNER, yet again a misleading strawman caricature, turned into abusive ad hominem. I have highlighted that the independence in question is independence of our error proneness, which needs not be external to mind, e.g. I have repeatedly highlighted how mathematical abstracta are objective though not tangible. In the same way, the bare fact of self awareness — as noted I used a case of one delusional that he is a brain in a vat to contrast details of contents that are erroneous — is self evidently true, even as rocks have no dreams and cannot be deluded that they are self aware, by contrasting case. The bare fact of self awareness is warranted, is independent of our error proneness by that warrant and is objective. This sort of incorrigible strawman fallacy is a part of why I am concluding that discussion onward would be fruitless.

  126. 126
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, regrettably, he has persistently refused to acknowledge how error proneness in our first person experience leads to the need of warrant through right reason and resulting objectivity. He has refused to acknowledge the chain of reasoning and over many weeks has side stepped that first premise. This has fed deep misunderstanding of objectivity and a misperception of denigrating first person experience, cognition etc. so that objectivity is seen as a devaluation of that first person experience, similarly on how the bare fact of self awareness can be objective. More can be said but I have no confidence in fruitfulness of further attempted discussion, this thread needs to get back to due focus. KF

  127. 127
    Viola Lee says:

    KF, you write in your “editorial comment” on one of my posts, “Objective has to do with doing such due diligence of warrant that we credibly have a reliable conclusion,” and you quote Wikipedia, “In philosophy, objectivity is the concept of truth independent from individual subjectivity (bias caused by one’s perception, emotions, or imagination). A proposition is considered to have objective truth when its truth conditions are met without bias caused by a sentient subject.”

    The phrase “due diligence of warrant that we credibly have a reliable conclusion” is empty of meaning without more specifics. I think my position on moral values has been done with due diligence and that I have reached a credible and reliable conclusion.

    You feel the same about yourself. But your beliefs contain “individual subjectivity (bias caused by one’s perception, emotions, or imagination”, just as everyone else’s do, to varying degrees.

    It is not a certainty that your beliefs are the ones with “credible warrant, devoid of subjective bias”, and mine aren’t

  128. 128
    Viola Lee says:

    Question, KF. The vast majority of people in the world believe it is morally wrong to murder another person. I imagine they would think that they had good reason (warrant) to believe that was a credible conclusion, reached for rational reasons as opposed to subjective bias. Is that fact itself enough to say that one ought not murder other people is an objective moral truth? Is that all you mean by objective in respect to moral truth?

    My understanding is that you mean more than that by objective.My understanding is that you mean a truth that exists independent from its existence as a belief in individual people, with an ontological status of its own.

    Can you clarify? Does objective for you mean what I described in the first paragraph or the second?

  129. 129
    Origenes says:

    KF @126

    VL, regrettably, he has persistently refused to acknowledge how error proneness in our first person experience leads to the need of warrant through right reason and resulting objectivity.

    For you warrant is the road to objectivity. “Objectivity”, according to definitions offered by you, means existing independent of or external to the mind.

    OBJECTIVE: objective
    adj
    1. (Philosophy) existing independently of perception or an individual’s conceptions: are there objective moral values?. [AmHD helps: 1. a. Existing independent of or external to the mind;]

    You argue that objective morality has an origin independent of and external to us subjects. You argue for an objective origin by way of pointing to warrant, such as the self-evidency of certain moral truths [e.g. toddler].
    IOWs according to you, warrant points to objective origin. Warrant makes objective origin. That is your attempt. That is why you keep harping on warrant; to get to an objective origin, an origin outside of humanity.
    I have pointed out repeatedly that warrant does not do what you want it to do. Your attempt fails. Warrant does not change origin (see #32, #45, #46).

  130. 130
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, due diligence of warrant points to the use of right reason resting on canons of logic, evidence duly evaluated etc and yielding a responsible, reliable conclusion. I have used summary language in a context where many of these themes have been explored in this very series over years, and where something like Copi’s Logic or the like will provide much. I am not making up some suspect novel notion, as you know or should know. I note I use warrant specifically to account for what is in the Gettier counter examples to justification, following Plantinga and others. KF

    PS: Again, it is not “my” beliefs that count but what is warranted. The refusal to acknowledge that focal issue as the pivot of what I have been pointing out is saddening.

  131. 131
    kairosfocus says:

    Origenes, enough, kindly take a time out from this thread so it can return to a reasonable, responsible focus on a pivotal matter. I have already warned on side tracking. KF

  132. 132
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    @Viola Lee :
    When you say that you are right and KF is wrong HOW do you compare those 2 views and reach the conclusion that you are right and he is wrong ?

  133. 133
    Viola Lee says:

    I didn’t say I was right and KF was wrong.

  134. 134
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Viola Lee
    I didn’t say I was right and KF was wrong.

    KF , did you hear? Viola Lee said you are right. 🙂

  135. 135
    Viola Lee says:

    re 131: Origenes is asking you questions, KF, that go to the heart of your position. It is interesting to see how much they seem to threaten you.

  136. 136
    jerry says:

    When will Kf learn that he is the target no matter what he says? That has been obvious for a year and a half.

    But the irony is that Kf feeds these attacks on himself.

  137. 137
    Viola Lee says:

    He’s a target because he writes OPs, people disagree with him, and when they do, as you point out, he tends to repetitively persist.

  138. 138
    Origenes says:

    Origenes, enough, kindly take a time out from this thread so it can return to a reasonable, responsible focus on a pivotal matter. I have already warned on side tracking. KF

    I couldn’t disagree more on the accusation of side tracking. But you are the boss. So, this means adios.
    One final request if I may. Can you provide a clear concise answer to Viola Lee’s question in #128?

    Can you clarify? Does objective for you mean what I described in the first paragraph or the second?

  139. 139
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Viola Lee
    re 131: Origenes is asking you questions, KF,

    🙂 KF already answered ,Origenes have to go to school few years to understand . Looks like you also have the same level of understanding like Origenes if you ask KF to answer .Better you go to school together.

  140. 140
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, do you notice how you have turned a discussion on first principles, logic, evidence and warrant into a projected clash of opinions with more than a hint of implied attempted imposition on my part? That personalisation and polarisation is one of the notorious tactics from Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals and it is also a reflection of the relativist notion that — there being no generally knowable, warranted, objective truth to appeal to — all is a power clash of battling narratives and agendas. Such is instantly self-referentially incoherent as it implicitly claims to be objective truth (which it denies the possibility of), and it fails as a matter of logic. As a part of the mutiny on the good ship civilisation, it is a contributory factor in the ongoing anti-civilisational voyage of folly that manifestly tends to ruin. KF

    PS: If you have a substantial cogent case make it, otherwise the proper conclusion is that there is resort to needless fallacies of polarisation reflective of coming up sadly short on merits.

    PPS, for record, on the self referential absurdity of general form relativism:

    the truth claim, “there are no [gernerally knowable] objective truths regarding any matter,” roughly equivalent to, “knowledge is inescapably only subjective,” is an error. Often, such is presented through the diversity of opinions assertion, with implication that none have or are in a position to have a generally warranted, objective conclusion. Sometimes the blind men and the elephant fable is used, overlooking the narrator’s implicit claim to objectivity.

    Let’s symbolise: ~[O*G] with * as AND. It intends to describe not mere opinion but warranted, credible truth about knowledge in general. So, ~[O*G] is self referential as it is clearly about subject matter G, and is intended to be a well warranted objectively true claim. But it is itself therefore a truth claim about knowledge in general intended to be taken as objectively true, which is what it tries to deny as a possibility. So, it is self contradictory and necessarily false

    PHASE I: Let a proposition be represented by x
    G = x is a proposition asserting that some state of affairs regarding some matter in general including history, science, the secrets of our hearts, morality etc, is the case
    O = x is objective and knowable, being adequately warranted as credibly true}

    PHASE II: It is claimed, S= ~[O*G] = 1, 1 meaning true
    However, the subject of S is G,
    it therefore claims to be objectively true, O and is about G
    where it forbids O-status to any claim of type G
    so, ~[O*G] cannot be true per self referential incoherence
    ++++++++++

    PHASE III: The Algebra, translating from S:

    ~[O*G] = 0 [as self referential and incoherent cf above]
    ~[~[O*G]] = 1 [the negation is therefore true]
    __________
    O*G = 1 [condensing not of not]
    where, G [general truth claim including moral ones of course]
    So too, O [if an AND is true, each sub proposition is separately true]

    CONCLUSION: That is, there are objective moral truths; and a first, self evident one is that ~[O*G] is false, ~[O*G] = 0.

    The set of knowable objective truths in general — and embracing those that happen to be about states of affairs in regard to right conduct etc — is non empty, it is not vacuous and we cannot play empty set square of opposition games with it.

    That’s important.

    Also, there are many particular objective general and moral truths that are adequately warranted to be regarded as reliable. Try, Napoleon was once a European monarch and would be conqueror. Try, Jesus of Nazareth is a figure of history. Try, it is wrong to torture babies for fun, and more.

    Ours is a needlessly confused age, heading for trouble.

  141. 141
    kairosfocus says:

    Origenes and VL, there has been more than adequate explanation of what objectivity is, why warrant is pivotal to it and why we need to go through warrant process as we are error prone. There is no need for further side tracking. KF

  142. 142
  143. 143
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: 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 an elephant, E. B1 – 6 are brought up to E and each somehow only engages a part, p1 – 6, composing attempted global narratives on partial encounter. N1 then announces the somewhat comical tale and the moral becomes a paradigm of pluralism and radical relativisation of experience, insight, understanding , analysis, warrant and claimed knowledge.

    It’s all over, but the shouting.

    NOT.

    There is a seventh man, sighted but even more self-blind, the narrator N1. He quietly takes up the implicitly objective global view and uses it to subvert the perspectives of his perceived blind inferiors. And of course, with his superior insight he at once supplants a laborious process of interaction, exchange of experiments and observations, interaction and synthesis by B1 – 6, to build up a composite picture. And, does anyone seriously doubt the reality of the subject matter, E? (Thus, truth as accurate description of E? [In a world of acid doubt and celebration of such as an intellectual virtue, [selective, hyper-]skepticism, this needs to be duly noted.])

    So, we have yet again a case of self reference, inviting incoherence once the implicit objectivity of N1 is improperly used as a magic key to discredit B1 – 6. No, instead we must realise the self-reference and refrain from the relativist’s error. The denial or suggestion that there is no knowable, warranted, objective truth is subverted by the self reference of the narrator’s implied account. Sadly, this subtlety escapes ever so many, as does the reductio strategy of demonstration: assume ~H then deduce from it an absurdity, especially a self contradiction. From this emergence of principle of explosion, reject ~H, i.e. ~(~H) –> H.

    Now, we can go further.

    First, what if there is no true narrator, s/he is just the next blind man over, N1 = B7. On this supposition, we are then left to correct the pretence to transcend blindness, perhaps by reductio, then by exchange of experiments and observations, discussion and the like we may seek to have a more reliable overall view through analysis and correction. We may even need to clarify what it means to be sighted.

    This is of course the historic Western paradigm of the community of scholarship, exploration/experiment and critically aware discussion towards objective synthesis. And to the extent that warrant is indeed established such can create an objective knowledge base that uses logically guided reasoning to compensate for and correct biases. Obviously, open ended and ideally self-correcting. However, prone to captivity of skeptical ideologies.

    This is of course the Western paradigm of the community of scholarship, exploration/experiment and critically aware discussion towards objective synthesis. And to the extent that warrant is indeed established such can create an objective knowledge base that uses logically guided reasoning to compensate for and correct biases. Obviously, open ended and ideally self-correcting. However, prone to captivity of skeptical ideologies.

    Another possibility is the existence of a genuine global narrator, N*. Learning to calibrate such and its narrative and granting it trust on establishment of reliability and insight is a major exercise in a cynical, hyperskeptical age. Hence, Plato’s parables of the cave and the ship of state.

    (It is not coincidental that certain objectors were very dismissive towards these parables, they expose key gaps in preferred narratives. As for the story of Epictetus and his interlocutor on necessity and branch on which we sit pervasiveness of logic, the concept of pervasive, antecedent, self evident first principles is so alien to the current conventional wisdom that it is routinely side stepped. But it is plain that we need to address cogently paradigmatic real world yardstick cases and related pivotal thought exercises.)

    So, there is more to the story than meets the eye.

    KF

  144. 144
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, regrettably, they will just challenge the narrative that there is such a thing as relativism’s thesis that there are no generally knowable, objective, warranted truths on duty to right conduct etc. They then smuggle in their implied narrator as default. And they defy exposure of self referential incoherence or other forms of absurdity as they have become immunised to logic and to absurd, ruinous dynamics and trends. We are just resorting to emotive reaction to consequences. Thus is the anti-rational, anti-civilisation agenda exposed. KF

  145. 145
    ram says:

    [SNIP, non scientific and not authorised [ no more distractors]

  146. 146
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Going on, 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 be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself—that was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word—doublethink—involved the use of doublethink.

    Principle of explosion on steroids: ex falso quodlibet, from the false, anything.

    Related, though apparently not actually used by Orwell, is Doublespeak; manipulative, onion-layered language with increasingly hidden inner meanings for the core and a very different message for hoi polloi. This is of course outright deceit, lying and corruption of language, meaning and communication. One form is the pretence that perfectly good and well defined existing language is dubious, corrupt, oppressive and needing to be overthrown in the name of liberation or sounder understanding or ideologies dressed up in the lab coat. Another is willful confusion of a perfectly good word such as truth with opinion or the like. And more.

    Most subtle is self-referential, often self-contradictory language or claims. For this builds in the obfuscation by explosion problem. Do not overlook brazen denial when such is exposed.

    Then comes the sting in the tail, cynical defence of cognitive dissonance by turnabout projection to the despised other. Did you know that in 1939 Poland first attacked Germany? (So, it was promoted, by seizing, dressing Concentration camp prisoners in Polish uniforms and murdering them, putting their bodies next to sites of attack. Such is of course also the big lie stratagem of the official promotion of whoppers so big that ordinary people could not believe they were false. And in defining this, Hitler and company conveniently projected the tactic to the British and a World War I context.)

    We could go on, but hopefully this is enough to open eyes to the linked problem of corrupting language.

    KF

  147. 147
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: Closely linked, the corrupt revision and censorship of news and archival materials by Minitrue, the Ministry of Truth. These days, pre-news corrupt ideological narratives and censorship, forcing the need for alternative sources with balancing or marginalised facts and analysis. Which, are then subject to further censorship. (Yes, RAM, being such an alternative in defence of soundness, science and principles of civilisation is part of UD’s purpose.)

  148. 148
    Viola Lee says:

    Incredible. I don’t know what Ram said, but he was obviously guilt of distracting KF from his monolithic domination of the thread! 🙂

  149. 149
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, please. After months and thousands of comments across several threads that were sidelined, with locked in strawman mischaracterisations, putting words in mouths that don’t belong there, twisting of even basic dictionary discussions, and more, it was time to move on. There is a serious subject on the table, which does require significant attention without further pointless side tracking. KF

    PS, kindly recall, commenting is a privilege on good behaviour. In an Internet age where you can set up your own blog in a few minutes, there is no right to side track, strawman caricature, resort to personalities, inject extraneous matter or otherwise indulge disruptive conduct.

  150. 150
    Viola Lee says:

    If it is time to move on, why did you write a 1200 word, four-post rant. Why don’t you just move on?

    And the people who you have dismissed don’t agree, I don’t think, that we are guilty of all those things that you accuse us of: our position is that we have been discussing things intimately associated with the topics you have brought up. But you asked that we leave, and that we move on, so move on, why don’t you? If you want to take your ball and go home, then don’t simultaneously keep posting and telling others they can’t respond.

  151. 151
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, please, I have continued to substantially address the focal matter at stake, that is not a “rant.” KF

  152. 152
    Querius says:

    Is The Denial Of Objective Moral Truth An Implicit Truth Claim About Duty To Right Conduct Etc?

    Yes. The denial of objective moral truth, facilitates a personal moral “truth” that absolves the person holding such an opinion of any moral culpability.

    This is a very convenient position, but it comes at a cost that no one is willing to pay, namely that they lose the right to criticize the actions of anyone else. The result is chaos.

    Notice the vehemence of opinion here filled with ad hominems that articulate personal moral truth statements. If moral truths don’t exist except on a personal basis, the shouting is both illogical and falsifies the beliefs of those who deny objective moral truth. Thus what each of the deniers are really asserting is that there is indeed an objective moral truth and it’s theirs.

    To end such a debate, deniers must resort to majority opinion as arbitrator and then force such as cancel culture.

    To draw reliable conclusions about any issue, including moral issues, one needs to have a clear understanding of attitudes, actions, and their consequences.

    Today, the sharing of observations are actively being censored. In previous generations, theater (and novels) were used to create “morality plays” with false outcomes as Blaise Pascal noted in his day.

    The book of Proverbs is a collection of observational wisdom portrayed as objective truth. Similarly, the Wisdom of Lao Tse, written hundreds of years before Christ does the same regarding the Tao.

    So, live your life. Your attitudes will have a profound effect on your success; your chosen perspective toward God will have a profound effect on your attitudes. Many people have found this to be objective moral truth, but you’re completely free to reject objective moral truth and live out the results.

    What you cannot do is reject objective moral truth and then criticize others’ beliefs as I’ve read here.

    -Q

  153. 153
    kairosfocus says:

    Q,

    interesting observation.

    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 opinion leaders etc c 430 BC on hold] that the principles of justice have no existence at all in nature, but that mankind are always disputing about them and altering them; and that the alterations which are made by art and by law have no basis in nature, but are of authority for the moment and at the time at which they are made.” This IMPLIES the CR Thesis, by highlighting disputes (among an error-prone and quarrelsome race!), changing/varied opinions, suggesting that dominance of a view in a place/time is a matter of balance of factions/rulings, and denying that there is an intelligible, warranted natural law. He continues, “These, my friends, are the sayings of wise men, poets and prose writers, which find a way into the minds of youth. They are told by them that the highest right is might . . . “]

    Then, it goes for truth and reason, where untruth is the foundation of injustice.

    We must never forget the pivotal moment when Pilate — about to knowingly condemn an innocent man to judicial murder then wash his hands of the affair, due to balance of power plays — says to him, “What is truth?”

    For, Jesus had reached this point in his interrogation:

    Jn 18:33 So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”

    34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?”

    35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?”

    36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” [–> Notice, rejection of the appeal to the sword, cf. Peter and Malchus’ ear . . . he obviously tried to take off his head, but the High Priest’s servant ducked so he only got the ear, likely the left one.]

    37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?”

    Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world— to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.

    Our civilisation is at this point again, and we are dismissive of truth, right reason and moral government in accord with sound first principles.

    We are not even at the level of the widely derided and dismissed Decalogue at the foundation of the Common Law system . . . in his Book of Dooms, Alfred the Great of the West Saxons, begins the substance of law thusly: “when God was speaking to Moise, this is what he said [and paraphrases the Decalogue for a Saxon audience]” . . . No, here is what we refuse to acknowledge even as we inevitably appeal to it in even objecting:

    [Ciceronian first duties]

    1: to truth,
    2: to right reason,
    3: to warrant and wider prudence,
    4: to sound conscience,
    5: to neighbour,
    6: so too to fairness, and
    7: to justice,
    . . . ,
    x: etc.

    Yes, THAT is what objectors have sought to undermine, often appealing that I have failed to properly warrant i.e. appeal to right reason and prudence. Branch on which we all sit . . .

    Our collective folly as mutineers on the good ship civilisation, is all too plain.

    KF

  154. 154
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I think we need to pause and look at the is-ought gap and fact-value dichotomy, which I think lurk under the notion that what has been put forward is a weak — likely, ill informed — argument. So, I “rant” — NOT — on:

    For this, I draw attention to a point noted from Arthur Holmes 19 years ago, in a course I presented on Philosophy, unit on Ethics, sustainability and development (in turn, building on a public ethics lecture given 1 1/2 years before that and subsequently published as keynote paper in CJET):

    However we may define the good, however well we may calculate consequences, to whatever extent we may or may not desire certain consequences, none of this of itself implies any obligation of command. That something is or will be does not imply that we ought to seek it. We can never derive an “ought” from a premised “is” unless the ought is somehow already contained in the premise . . . .

    R. M. Hare . . . raises the same point. Most theories, he argues, simply fail to account for the ought that commands us: subjectivism reduces imperatives to statements about subjective states, egoism and utilitarianism reduce them to statements about consequences, emotivism simply rejects them because they are not empirically verifiable, and determinism reduces them to causes rather than commands . . . .

    Elizabeth Anscombe’s point is well made. We have a problem introducing the ought into ethics unless, as she argues, we are morally obligated by law – not a socially imposed law, ultimately, but divine law . . . . This is precisely the problem with modern ethical theory in the West . . . it has lost the binding force of divine commandments.

    Much of the force of that comes out when we go on further with Holmes:

    If we admit that we all equally have the right to be treated as persons, then it follows that we have the duty to respect one another accordingly. Rights bring correlative duties: my rights . . . imply that you ought to respect these rights.

    Or, more broadly, the civil peace of justice is due balance of rights, freedoms and [correlative] duties. My right to life entails a binding moral claim of worth and dignity such that you have a duty to respect and even protect my life. Negligent homicide is a breach of law, much less murder. Ultimately, historically, that traces to the vision that being equally made in and stamped with the image of God, we have an equality in creation order and a quasi-infinite worth such that the wealth of a planet’s resources is nowhere near equal to the value of a soul. Hence, sound understanding of true values.

    So, we challenge the relativist crying out for equality [too often, twisted by perverse arguments], justice and rights, do you REALLY believe we have rights that ought not to be violated?

    If so, it’s over.

    If not, you have exposed your hypocritical manipulativeness.

    Fail, by reductio to moral absurdity.

    With the ghost of a real, murdered child duly moaning out its tale of kidnapping, sexual torture and murder most foul, all for perverted “fun” at the expense of a life.

    This then brings to focus paradoxes of our embodiment. For, the child was killed, a living body by foul force and abuse was willfully reduced to death. A fellow human being was robbed of life, echoing thou shalt not steal raised to the level of stealing what on good authority is worth more than the physical resources of a planet.

    But, the soul, seat of our self-aware consciousness, is invisible. So, in a world maddened by crude empiricism, its reality is doubted, denigrated as religious claptrap then dismissed. Then, we run into the difficulties Haldane highlighted so long ago now — and which, of course, there is a rhetorical sidestepping of when they are on the table. Namely:

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain [–> taking in DNA, epigenetics and matters of computer organisation, programming and dynamic-stochastic processes] I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.” [“When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927], Chatto and Windus: London, 1932, reprint, p.209. Cf. here on (and esp here) on the self-refutation by self-falsifying self referential incoherence and on linked amorality.]

    Of course, this actually shatters the fact side. For, a fact is something reliably — and, often, readily (man in the Clapham Bus stop standard) — known to exist, be a state of affairs or to be the case on adequate warrant. Evolutionary materialistic scientism and its fellow travellers shatter the ability to know facts including basic empirical facts. (Recall here those who would evaporate our in common physical world.)

    So, we are looking at mutineers on the good ship civilisation who not only would undermine morality, but also logic and basic ability to know facts.

    Reduction to absurdity.

    Further to all of which, Plato speaks through the Athenian Stranger (ghost of the judicially murdered Socrates?) in The Laws, Bk X. Let us at least be willing to hear him out:

    Ath. Nearly all of [the avant garde c 430 BC on], my friends, seem to be ignorant of the nature and power of the soul [ = psuche], especially in what relates to her origin: they do not know that she is among the first of things, and before all bodies, and is the chief author of their changes and transpositions. And if this is true, and if the soul is older than the body, must not the things which are of the soul’s kindred be of necessity prior to those which appertain to the body?

    Cle. Certainly.

    Ath. Then thought and attention and mind and art and law will be prior to that which is hard and soft and heavy and light; and the great and primitive works and actions will be works of art; they will be the first, and after them will come nature and works of nature, which however is a wrong term for men to apply to them; these will follow, and will be under the government of art and mind.

    Cle. But why is the word “nature” wrong?

    Ath. Because those who use the term mean to say that nature is the first creative power; but if the soul turn out to be the primeval element, and not fire or air, then in the truest sense and beyond other things the soul may be said to exist by nature; and this would be true if you proved that the soul is older than the body, but not otherwise.

    [ . . . .]

    Ath. . . . when one thing changes another, and that another, of such will there be any primary changing element? How can a thing which is moved by another ever be the beginning of change? Impossible. But when the self-moved changes other, and that again other, and thus thousands upon tens of thousands of bodies are set in motion, must not the beginning of all this motion be the change of the self-moving principle? . . . . self-motion being the origin of all motions, and the first which arises among things at rest as well as among things in motion, is the eldest and mightiest principle of change, and that which is changed by another and yet moves other is second. [–> notice, the self-moved, initiating, reflexively acting causal agent, which defines freedom as essential to our nature, and this is root of discussion on agents as first causes.]

    [ . . . .]

    Ath. If we were to see this power existing in any earthy, watery, or fiery substance, simple or compound-how should we describe it?

    Cle. You mean to ask whether we should call such a self-moving power life?

    Ath. I do.

    Cle. Certainly we should.

    Ath. And when we see soul in anything, must we not do the same-must we not admit that this is life?

    [ . . . . ]

    Cle. You mean to say that the essence which is defined as the self-moved is the same with that which has the name soul?

    Ath. Yes; and if this is true, do we still maintain that there is anything wanting in the proof that the soul is the first origin and moving power of all that is, or has become, or will be, and their contraries, when she has been clearly shown to be the source of change and motion in all things?

    Cle. Certainly not; the soul as being the source of motion, has been most satisfactorily shown to be the oldest of all things.

    Food for thought in a materialist age that tried to reduce cognition to computation, only to find out that computation is a blind, dynamic-stochastic cause-effect process irrelevant to rational inference per ground-consequent or best explanation per factual adequacy, coherence and due balance that is neither simplistic nor ad hoc.

    This leaves us as embodied, self-aware, self-moved [thus free] creatures governed by branch on which we sit first duties:

    1: to truth,
    2: to right reason,
    3: to warrant and wider prudence,
    4: to sound conscience,
    5: to neighbour,
    6: so too to fairness, and
    7: to justice,
    . . . ,
    x: etc.

    If we have rights, it is because we first had duties as rational, responsible, self-moved thus significantly free creatures with naturally evident ends. Such as, that our cognition manifestly naturally targets truth via right reason and warrant informed by wider prudence [including, recognising error proneness]. Where, as members of a race of equally so endowed creatures — endowments in key part constitutive of our nature so we cannot justly complain that such is alien, arbitrary imposition — we have duties to neighbour thus fairness and justice including respect for legitimate rights. Where, not everything asserted a right is so, as since no one may justly force another to taint sound conscience, to duly claim a right [thus, binding duties on others] we must first manifestly be in the right. Imposition of various perversities such as the slaughter of 800+ million of our living posterity in the womb under false colour of rights is a blasphemous mockery.

    Thus, too, we live in a world where we demonstrate that IS and OUGHT are fused at the root. After Hume, that means the only plausible candidate roots for reality are those that not only have manifest capability to build a world but must be inherently good and utterly wise.

    But that points to an onward discussion of the ontological-metaphysical roots of a world with such embodied, ensouled, reasoning, self-moved, conscience guided creatures as we are.

    The key for now is that we are morally governed creatures led through intelligible, branch on which we all sit first principles. Yes, the Ciceronian first duties that for month after month we have observed objectors implying even as they so stridently object. Especially, when they cry that we err, or have failed to reason rightly or to warrant or are suspect of unfairness and potentially tyrannical theocratic — we know what lurks under “religious” — imposition.

    It is time to restore sound reason, including first duties and recognition of knowable moral truths.

    KF

  155. 155
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: And, what are legitimately, first principles of right reason . . . basic logic now clearly being implicated in the “disappearing” of knowledge.

    I find what was likely a Rhetoric 101 example cited by Paul of Tarsus to deal with irrationalism, is a good place to begin, being a real life case in action that is more specific than Epictetus’ decades later exchange with the man who demanded that he prove that logic is necessary:

    1 Cor 14:7 If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is played? 8 And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? 9 So with yourselves, if with your tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air. 10 There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning, 11 but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me.

    Even an objector, to make said objection intelligibly, must communicate. To do so, he or she will rely on distinct identity of phonemes, glyphs, sounds etc. Modern computer technology rests on the binary digit, 1/0, t/f, hi/lo etc based on distinct states. Music depends on tones. And so forth.

    In short, the law of distinct identity is pervasive in rational thought and intelligible communication etc. It is indeed a branch on which we all sit, first law of thought. One, that carries with it as close corollaries, non-contradiction and excluded middle. For, contemplate a world W, in which there is A, a bright red ball on a table. We dichotomise, W = {A|~A}. No x in W can be A AND ~A, any Y in W will be A or else — exclusive or — ~A not both or neither. A diagram would make this plain at once.

    We have here the famed first three laws of thought, and note that the key is, distinct identity, once we may demark an A, then all else follows. And even those trying to develop a paraconsistent logic or the like or arguing over Quantum theory will be using distinct identity to communicate. (See here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZTJTfjYu1k on the principle of explosion. )

    Going beyond, make explicit, concept of being, what is or is not, is possible or impossible. We may readily ask why and hope to have a reasonable answer. This is the weak, inquiry form principle of sufficient reason which leads to exploring logic of being and possible worlds, ways this or a world may be, as sufficiently described through a set of propositions. Above, we used the red ball on a table world, no need to explicitly describe a planet, sun, Jupiter, quasars etc.

    We can then do a two-fold dichotomy creating a 2 x 2 matrix: a candidate B can be possible or impossible of being, and of possible beings, may be contingent [in at least one world and not in at least one world] or necessary [framework for any world to exist such as two-ness etc].

    From such, we readily see as a fifth principle, cause and effect, principle of causality. That is, in a world W’, B is, but in a close neighbour W” it does not, e.g. a fire. The difference being cause.

    And so forth.

    Going further I would identify the seventeen laws of Boolean Algebra as first tautologies demonstrable from truth tables, etc.We can look at modal operators such as possible or necessary, and much more. S5 is famous.

    Going back, we have Aristotle’s syllogisms and framework, which is rehabilitated once we reckon with existential import more in line with his thought and not C17 – 18 thinking. That is:

    [Logicians should also note Terence Parsons’ rehabilitative argument here at SEP. It turns out that if we accept the natural language force of the A form [top left], All S is P — that S is non-empty, and render the O form [bottom right], as not every S is P (following Ackrill’s rendering of Aristotle in De Interpretatione 6–7 and with reference to Prior Analytics I.2, 25a.1–25 also) then the classical square of opposition is fully valid. As he goes on to observe: “On this view affirmatives have existential import, and negatives do not—a point that became elevated to a general principle in late medieval times.[6] The ancients thus did not see the incoherence of the square as formulated by Aristotle because there was no incoherence to see.”

    The point is, there is no basis for undue suspicion regarding basic principles of right reason.

    KF

  156. 156
    Viola Lee says:

    Way to move on, KF. 🙂

  157. 157
    Joe Schooner says:

    Way to move on, KF.

    Interesting stats about this thread:

    Total words: 33,786
    Kairosfocus: 18,043 (53%)
    Origenes: 6,290 (19%)
    J. Schooner: 1,285 (3.8%)
    V. Lee: 1,494 (4.4%)

    It seems like someone is expending a disproportionate amount of words and effort (53%) to counter comments from three individuals (26.8%).

    Food for thought.

  158. 158
    Viola Lee says:

    Yes, he told us all to go away, and then he keeps saying things like “So, we challenge the relativist …”, even though he is not willing to discuss with those who challenge him, and to deride us (“If not, you have exposed your hypocritical manipulativeness.”) even though he told us to respond no more.

    Frankly, this appears to me to be pathologically obsessive. He told his challengers to go away, and yet he can’t stop posting thousands of words, most of which he has posted earlier in the thread.

  159. 159
    Querius says:

    Kairosfocus @153, 154, 155,
    Finally, a cogent series of thoughtful posts without any ad hominem attacks. I have some thoughts and perspectives to add to yours, but I need some more time and thought to make them succinct.

    As for your relativism critics, I’d simply respond that according to their own relativism, their statements are only true for them and no one else. Any other relativists are, of course, free to make their random assertions that apply to their own “gravitational energy well” of self that emits no light, but rather only the philosophical equivalent of Hawking radiation. This adds a new perspective to the term, “self absorbed.” 😉

    -Q

  160. 160
    Viola Lee says:

    “random assertions”? My assertions are hardly random.

  161. 161
    Joe Schooner says:

    Frankly, this appears to me to be pathologically obsessive. He told his challengers to go away, and yet he can’t stop posting thousands of words, most of which he has posted earlier in the thread.

    Yes, there is very likely a pathology involved, which is also evidenced by his rambling and obtuse style of writing. It is in the style of a lecture or sermon, not a structured argument.

    The biggest frustration is his refusal or inability to understand the arguments made by those who disagrees with him. Rather than make an attempt he just erects strawman versions of his opponents views.

  162. 162
    kairosfocus says:

    It is obvious from the just above that little or no attention has been paid by objectors to substance. In the end, symptomatic of the problem being addressed.

  163. 163
    Viola Lee says:

    Joe writes, “The biggest frustration is his refusal or inability to understand the arguments made by those who disagrees with him. Rather than make an attempt he just erects strawman versions of his opponents views.”

    Exactly.

  164. 164
    Joe Schooner says:

    Exactly

    It is sad, because he is obviously a very intelligent person. Yet he can’t envision anything as possibly being correct if it resides outside the high walls he as erected around his preconceived notions.

  165. 165
    Viola Lee says:

    I used to teach a technique to high school seniors in both regular and Honors English called Socratic Seminar, intending to teach students ways to have civilized, productive discussions with people of differing views. One of the specific techniques was to paraphrase back to someone what they had said before responding so as to show that you properly understood their point. In part, that helped kids learn to not erect strawmen and thus argue against their own misconceptions of the other person’s views.

  166. 166
    kairosfocus says:

    Q, I have taken time to lay out as a series of comments, material that will help us to recognise moral knowledge as credible, objective and substantial. Along the way, it became clear that logic too is being exiled from what is acknowledged and so I took a few moments to lay out a short note on it. All of this responds to the clips I gave early on on the state of knowledge regarding duty to right conduct etc. KF

  167. 167
    Joe Schooner says:

    VL, yes, WJM, Origenes, JVL and yourself have used this technique to get an understanding of what other people are thinking. Sadly, it usually results in accusation of detracting, sidetracking and going off on tangents by some people.

  168. 168
    Viola Lee says:

    KF writes, “The point is, there is no basis for undue suspicion regarding basic principles of right reason.”

    If by “right reason” you mean the use of logic (which the post that ended with this quote was about), then I don’t believe anyone has any “undue suspicions” about it. I certainly accept that we must use the laws of logic in our our thinking, development of our ideas, and discussion with others, and I don’t see any evidence that anyone else on this thread would disagree with me about that.

  169. 169
    jerry says:

    Those who are critical of Kf, lay out in a
    succinct
    way any incorrect thinking he has made on this thread and then elsewhere.

    But first this thread before going on.

    basic principles of right reason.”

    “Right reason” is a technical term and has a clear definition. It’s much more than just logic.

    From the man himself.

    True law is right reason in agreement with nature; it is of universal application, unchanging and everlasting; it summons to duty by its commands, and averts from wrongdoing by its prohibitions…It is a sin to try to alter this law, nor is it allowable to repeal any part of it, and it is impossible to abolish it entirely. We cannot be freed from its obligations by senate or people, and we need not look outside ourselves for an expounder or interpreter of it. And there will not be different laws at Rome and at Athens, or different laws now and in the future, but one eternal and unchangeable law will be valid for all nations and at all times, and there will be one master and ruler, that is God, over us all, for he is the author of this law, its promulgator and its enforcing judge. Whoever is disobedient is fleeing from himself and denying his human nature, and by reason of this very fact he will suffer the worst punishment.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero

  170. 170
    Viola Lee says:

    As an exercise in productive discussion, KF, would you kindly acknowledge this statement by me: “I accept the necessity of everyone using the laws of logic in their thinking and communicating their thoughts.”

  171. 171
    Viola Lee says:

    Jerry, the thread to which I was responding, 155, was primarily about the use of logic, which is the part I responded to.

    Also, could you supply the “clear definition of right reason” to which you refer.

  172. 172
    Joe Schooner says:

    Those who are critical of Kf, lay out in a
    succinct
    way any incorrect thinking he has made on this thread and then elsewhere.

    This has been done here and in the previous thread, repeatedly. There is no value in repeating them at this point as they were all simply dismissed.

    “Right reason” is a technical term and has a clear definition. It’s much more than just logic.

    And nobody has argued against it. What was being disputed was whether we had an objective duty to use it. KF has not provided sufficient evidence to warrant the conclusion that this is an objective duty.

    But, again, what is the point in flogging this issue over thousands of comments, over multiple threads?

  173. 173
    jerry says:

    What was being disputed was whether we had an objective duty to use it

    If one doesn’t then, one dies and their love ones die.

    Right Reasoning

    P -> q. If p is true, q is true. Example of Right Reasoning.

    If p is false or unknown p still implies q and logic is correct but not Right Reasoning. q could still be true but not logically true. It could also be false.

    Right or correct logical reasoning is not necessarily Right Reasoning.

    https://uncommondescent.com/laws/should-we-recognise-that-laws-of-nature-extend-to-laws-of-our-human-nature-which-would-then-frame-civil-law/#comment-724570

    I take this as a no. That there are none

    This has been done here and in the previous thread, repeatedly. There is no value in repeating them at this point as they were all simply dismissed.

  174. 174
    Viola Lee says:

    Yes, I understand and agree, the correct use of logic is not all there is to “right reason”.

    But you said there was a ““clear definition of right reason”. Could you provide that definition?

    Added in edit: I see you added a quote from Cicero 169, but that is not a “clear definition”, for a variety of reasons. Can you provide the clear definition?

  175. 175
    jerry says:

    Can you provide the clear definition?

    I did.

  176. 176
    Joe Schooner says:

    I take this as a no. That there are none

    Then you take it wrong.

  177. 177
    Viola Lee says:

    re 175: Where: the Cicero quote? That’s not a “clear definition.” Is that what you are referring to?

  178. 178
    jerry says:

    Then you take it wrong.

    As I said, I take your answer as a no until something concrete appears.

    I’ll repeat: Right Reasoning

    P -> q. If p is true, q is true. Example of Right Reasoning.

    If p is false or unknown p still implies q and logic is correct but not Right Reasoning. q could still be true but not logically true. It could also be false.

    Right or correct logical reasoning is not necessarily Right Reasoning.

    https://uncommondescent.com/laws/should-we-recognise-that-laws-of-nature-extend-to-laws-of-our-human-nature-which-would-then-frame-civil-law/#comment-724570

    It also has the connotation of describing what is in sync with human nature. Hence, Cicero’s quote and much of its use throughout history. But the actual definition is above, not limited to human nature.

    It’s more than logic. It’s logic applied to true propositions.

    Again: Cicero missed a whole lot of human nature. He apparently absorbed Plato’s Republic which justified keeping most of the people in bondage for the next 2000 years.

  179. 179
    Viola Lee says:

    Jerry, I see the same thing at the link that you posted as you have posted here, so that doesn’t help.

    Saying that right reason is logic applied to true propositions is a good statement, I think, but it leaves open what are and are not true propositions, which is where the disagreements lie. Very few educated people actually make a simple logic error in the strict sense.

  180. 180
    Querius says:

    Kairosfocus @166,

    Q, I have taken time to lay out as a series of comments, material that will help us to recognise moral knowledge as credible, objective and substantial.

    Thank you. I’m still digesting it and working to formulate a coherent response from my perspective.

    Along the way, it became clear that logic too is being exiled from what is acknowledged and so I took a few moments to lay out a short note on it. All of this responds to the clips I gave early on on the state of knowledge regarding duty to right conduct etc. KF

    Agreed, and I’ve taken note of the distractors from the original proposition.

    While I consider logic as an essential tool, I also believe the following:

    a. Logic is not monolithic in the sense of closure and uniqueness–there must exist other systems of logic as is the case with other forms of mathematics that are incompatible as demonstrated by Kurt Gödel. There are consequences to this view.

    b. Logic, particularly propositional logic, might be compared to mathematics using only integers. The proposition itself might be “wrong,” such as in loaded questions: “Yes or no, do you still beat your spouse?” A different example is found in the Bible where Joshua asked the Angel of the Lord, “Are you for us or are you against us?” To this question, Joshua received a reply beginning with the word, “No.”

    I’m considering your posts in more depth, but please understand that I’m not a logician by background.

    Again, the simplest response to someone espousing relativism is to acknowledge that their own view requires that “truth” applies only for themselves individually and cannot apply to anyone else by definition. To overcome this intrinsic limitation, evangelistic relativists resort to force of consensus, force of censorship, and cancel culture.

    -Q

  181. 181
    jerry says:

    but it leaves open what are and are not true propositions, which is where the disagreements lie

    Then the argument is over what is true or not.

    Where are the specific disagreements on what is true or not?
    ————–
    Definitions from a course on Natural Law – https://uncommondescent.com/laws/should-we-recognise-that-laws-of-nature-extend-to-laws-of-our-human-nature-which-would-then-frame-civil-law/#comment-725225

    A. Relativism – especially in the form of cultural relativism – prefers to see ethics as merely customary and regional rather than normative or universal. In fact, morality comes from the Latin term mores, which means “customs.”

    B. Subjectivism – particularly in modern life – denies that there are objective moral standards and urges that values need to be embraced and chosen by individuals. We find these ideas in the modern period with Nietzsche and in the ancient period in Plato’s Gorgias.

    C. Skepticism – considered specifically with regard to morals offers theoretical objections to the very possibility of knowing universal moral truths.

  182. 182
    William J Murray says:

    I think the core problem is KF’s use of the word “duty.” This word calls out for that to which the duty is owed and for established consequences, but KF refuses to make that argument. The “duties” he is referring to are supposedly innately recognized and inescapable.

    I’ve been attempting to refashion something generally like KF’s “First Duties” under a different, less problematic lexicon. Instead of “inescapable duty to truth,” I’ve come up with “inescapable pursuit of true statements.” I think a good argument can be made that sentient beings cannot avoid attempting to make true statements about their experiences, at least internally. Even an attempt to deceive oneself so as to feel better about something is a sort of inverted truth-seeking; IOW, “it is true that to feel good about doing X, I must somehow hold or justify statement Z false,” even though statement Z is true. IOW, a lie or liar is still pursuing true statements about something, even if it is what he/she must lie about.

    However, what KF and others also insist on are that there are certain things that we are all pursuing true statements about whether we admit it or not. This usually comes in the form of fundamental “moral” values, such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. IOW, in some way, every sentient being is pursuing true statements about protecting their life, their liberty, and their pursuit of happiness, or natural law, roughly equivalent what might be called the universal natural “good” for all possible sentient beings. In this sense, “pursuing what is good” would be an innate an inescapable aspect of any sentient beings existence.

    The problem, as I see it, comes with the “pursuit of happiness” aspect of the natural good because we have people whose happiness is derived at the expense of the lives, freedoms or happiness of others. KF et al would consider this a malfunction or a corruption of the natural good, the argument generally containing some review of humans as social beings and that violating the social good, or the social golden rule of “the good,” represents a malfunctioning human being. Or, as Jerry makes the case, a parasite that lives off the bounty of the social contract but uses it in ways for his or her own benefit at the expense of others.

    I don’t think you can get all the way to “malfunctioning” or “corrupt” without appealing to some ontological premise of what a human is supposed to be, but I’m still working on that. I think that in this light I can at least begin to make sense out of the idea of “an inescapable duty to truth and the objective good” by reframing it as “an inescapable pursuit of truth and (possibly) universal (or objective) good,” where “objective good” is reframed as fundamental directional goals of any possible sentient being.

    So, in short, the nature of “duty” and “objective good” might now be understandable without even bringing in any God if we just use different terminology and look at it from a “all possible sentient beings” perspective.

  183. 183
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, it can be established that we have duties under sound conscience and that there are knowable duties without engaging a huge exercise in worldview construction and critique. The latter is already duty dependent, especially as regards first principles. What can be said is, there is a spiral progression, where key themes are visited in successive loops building up a more comprehensive structure, but the issue we have is to do the first loop. KF

    PS, pursuit of happiness is old fashioned language for discovery and moving towards one’s calling or purpose in life. Interfering with another person’s ability to do that in sound conscience — big condition — is a fairly serious matter. It also rules out predatory redefinitions that lead to the sort of gruesome murder of a child as was noted or the like.

  184. 184
    kairosfocus says:

    Q, the C1 Rhetoric 101 exercise establishes a baseline, without distinct identity so too its close corollaries we cannot even communicate intelligibly; think about alphanumeric characters. Onward stuff needs to be compatible with that. KF

  185. 185
    William J Murray says:

    KF, how about you just let me know in simple words if I’m on what appears to you to be the right track or not, in general terms of what you have been attempting to explain.

  186. 186
    Viola Lee says:

    to KF: Re 184, and from 170 above.

    “I accept the necessity of everyone using the laws of logic in their thinking and communicating their thoughts.” I agree that with you that “without distinct identity so too its close corollaries we cannot even communicate intelligibly.”

    I think it would be helpful, and I would appreciate it, if you would acknowledge this agreement with you about logic.

  187. 187
    Querius says:

    Kairosfocus @153,

    The issue of self-referential incoherence, regrettably, does not seem to move objectors anymore.

    Let me suggest that the goal of some objectors is not to “follow the logic,” but to find objections, create smokescreens, and to deploy distractors (e.g. shouting “squirrel” in a dog park). The self-referential worldview is a means to an end rather than an end in itself.

    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.

    While I agree that relativism has spread, typically through appeals to cosmic justice (as Thomas Sowell states it), which results in the moral equivalent of wallowing in warm, soft mud. But let me suggest that one can certainly construct an objective worldview based on evolutionary eugenics, worldwide ecological sustainability, and social justice, all of which rationalizes forced sterilization, genocide of “redundant populations,” and an authoritarian government that needs to insert itself constantly in all aspects of society. In other words, the nanny state puts all adults in diapers and results in everyone in society screaming constantly for attention. It’s a bureaucrat’s paradise.

    First, it attacks morality thus justice:

    This is both the means and the end. Morality and justice are torn away from individuals and become wards of the State. Duty to State becomes the highest morality and State control becomes the highest level of justice. Yes, I agree with Plato that the principles of justice have no existence in nature (nor of nature’s god), but survival and reproduction is supreme. The authoritarian State then becomes nature’s god. Control of the public narrative is a subtler form of might makes right. Although, I’d say that Trial by Combat and Rule by Combat—without proxies—would be much more entertaining and satisfying nowadays. But I digress.

    Then, it goes for truth and reason, where untruth is the foundation of injustice.

    I’d suggest that both untruth and incomplete knowledge mask injustice. Again, note Thomas Sowell’s differentiation of types of justice in his book, The Quest for Cosmic Justice.

    We must never forget the pivotal moment when Pilate — about to knowingly condemn an innocent man to judicial murder then wash his hands of the affair, due to balance of power plays — says to him, “What is truth?”

    It seems like Pilate’s rhetorical question (or resignation) is highly appropriate today. And even without deliberate misinformation, disinformation, and mal-information that’s flooded all our public narratives, the dynamics of Bayesian logic in an environment of incomplete or unreliable information can result in wildly different conclusions.

    Our civilisation is at this point again, and we are dismissive of truth, right reason and moral government in accord with sound first principles.

    I feel Jesus’ earlier answer to the apostle Thomas is significant in the context of Pilate’s rhetorical question: “What is truth.”

    “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 (ESV)

    From my perspective, I feel that our society has moved beyond relativism into a Nouveau Puritanism that’s intolerant of any heretical discussion from the Accepted Social Narrative. Similar to Bolshevism in the last century, what’s orthodox and safe one day can change to heresy the next, leading to liquidation nowadays by cancellation rather than by summary execution. What were once considered petty indiscretions from the past can be conveniently resurrected to destroy anyone at any time.

    We are not even at the level of the widely derided and dismissed Decalogue at the foundation of the Common Law system . . . in his Book of Dooms, Alfred the Great of the West Saxons, begins the substance of law thusly: “when God was speaking to Moise, this is what he said [and paraphrases the Decalogue for a Saxon audience]” . . .

    Yes, of course. “All that matters is the struggle,” as one current American politician supposedly stated. Everything else is irrelevant unless it can be useful to the struggle, including anything written by Cicero.

    Your hopeful reference to Cicero and other deep thinkers of the past reminds me of Rudyard Kipling’s 1865 poem, The Gods of the Copybook Headings.
    https://www.poetry.com/poem/33442/the-gods-of-the-copybook-headings

    You probably know that “copybook headings” refer to the aphorisms printed at the head of the pages of English school childrens’ copybooks of the time.

    Yes, THAT is what objectors have sought to undermine, often appealing that I have failed to properly warrant i.e. appeal to right reason and prudence. Branch on which we all sit . . .
    Our collective folly as mutineers on the good ship civilisation, is all too plain.

    As the apostle Paul wrote to Galatians,

    Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.

    Or as H.L Mencken once sarcastically wrote:

    “Democracy is also a form of worship. It is the worship of Jackals by Jackasses. It is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it. Good and hard.”

    -Q

  188. 188
    Joe Schooner says:

    Jerry@178, how does this prove that right reason is an objective duty that we are obliged to follow?

  189. 189
    kairosfocus says:

    JS, do you not see that you just implied duty to right reason and to adequate warrant towards truth, in your objection to Jerry? “Proof, I don’t need no stinking proof . . . what I say goes and what you say, counts for nought.” KF

    PS, in short you are inadvertently illustrating the branch on which we sit inescapability of first duties of responsible reason. Inescapable, so inescapably true and pervasive first principle truth. The attempt to object relies on them for persuasive appeal, that to prove has already built them in, such are antecedent to proof. It is pointless and self defeating to saw off a branch on which we all must sit. Hence, the irony in Epictetus:

    DISCOURSES
    CHAPTER XXV

    How is logic necessary?

    When someone in [Epictetus’] audience said, Convince me that logic is necessary, he answered: Do you wish me to demonstrate this to you?—Yes.—Well, then, must I use a demonstrative argument?—And when the questioner had agreed to that, Epictetus asked him. How, then, will you know if I impose upon you?—As the man had no answer to give, Epictetus said: Do you see how you yourself admit that all this instruction is necessary, if, without it, you cannot so much as know whether it is necessary or not? [Notice, inescapable, thus self evidently true and antecedent to the inferential reasoning that provides deductive proofs and frameworks, including axiomatic systems and propositional calculus etc. We here see the first principles of right reason in action. Cf J. C. Wright]

  190. 190
    kairosfocus says:

    WJM, you are seeing some of the picture. KF

  191. 191
    ram says:

    WJM: I don’t think you can get all the way to “malfunctioning” or “corrupt” without appealing to some ontological premise of what a human is supposed to be, but I’m still working on that.

    One of the rubs is that humans vary in their value sets. People fall on a spectrum for each of the values, such as collectivism vs individualism, and what “fair” means, etc., and this drives a lot of the human squabbles. Sure, the Golden Rule is sort of a generally desireable thing for most people, but when working out the particulars, thing can get rocky, particularly in democracies. (Autocratic govenments generally quash the impulse in individuals.) Enculturation of religion and philosophy come into play, of course. Point is, different starting assumptions lead to different conclusions about what “the best” society “should” be. Of course, you know all this already. As an ontological premise, how can it be anything other than a matter of faith or some subjective experience where one believes one is in touch with the actual ontological basis of reality?

    As for KF, he uses the word “duty” to cover too many things including what a person generally needs to go from a desire to a goal, including basic survival. For example, we need to breathe and eat to survive (assuming a person wants to survive), and he calls these things “duties.” By misapplying the word, he muddles up his presentation. And the fact that he doesn’t like to directly answer questions doesn’t help. He also tends to not directly reply to points made, but rather replies with some opaque generalites without closely touching the posts he’s replying to. (None of this is to say KF is a bad guy. From what I can tell, I’m sure he’s a good man. Better than some of the cranks around here. Just not a good writer.)

    –Ram

  192. 192
    ram says:

    KF: you are inadvertently illustrating the branch on which we sit inescapability of first duties of responsible reason.

    Reason is a tool for survival and to effect goals. And it can be intentially misused in the service of effecting goals. One must rely on reason (and sometimes its misuse) to achieve goals, but this is a misuse of the term “duty.” I suggest ditching the term, and trying to explain your philosophy without it. Maybe you’ll finally make some headway.

    Moreover, when someone cannot do a terse bullet point summary of one’s philosophy, or position of any kind, it’s a good sign that it’s muddled. Watch any of the flat-earth videos on YouTube for examples of this. I’ve tried to get you to do it in the past, but you won’t or can’t. How about giving it a try?

    –Ram

  193. 193
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry & VL, there are some truths that are self-evident. Never, enough to build a full orbed worldview but like a naturally straight and upright plumb line, able to expose crooked, out of true [not plumb] walls and crooked yardsticks turned into false standards. Relativism, subjectivism, emotivism and its root in logical positivism fall to such plumb lines. Where, distinct identity is per C1 Rhetoric 101 example so root level that we literally cannot have musical or linguistic communication without it. It brings with it its close corollaries non contradiction and excluded middle as can be seen from a red ball on the table world. We can go on to use truth tables to set up the 17 core tautologies of Boolean Algebra, which points to the positive value of tautologies. Right reason of course serves truth and justice which are about as fundamental as motivating naturally evident ends get. Reason can be abused, so there are fallacies as a sub study [one of regrettably huge scale, there are many ways for reasoning to go wrong]. Speaking of, reduction to absurdity is a classic pattern to establish truths, ~H —> incoherence, falsity or otherwise clear absurdity, so H. There is no substitute for common sense and there is such a thing as reliable testimony and there are also credible authorities. Where figures don’t lie but liars figure. KF

  194. 194
    Joe Schooner says:

    JS, do you not see that you just implied duty to right reason and to adequate warrant towards truth, in your objection to Jerry?

    The big wheel keeps on turning.

    He no more has an objective duty to right reason or to truth than you do. People make a subjective decision to use logic and to be truthful, as they see it, because they have found that it tends to be more beneficial to them than the alternative. As we find it beneficial to us we expect others to find it beneficial as well. Your insistence to make it more than what it is is due to your beliefs, not to evidence or warrant.

    But expecting you to make any effort to try to understand this and address it objectively, even if you don’t agree, was a mistake. A zebra can’t change its stripes. Returning to this thread was a mistake and a waste of time.

  195. 195
    kairosfocus says:

    Ram, in your objection you noted first that misuse of reason may help towards certain goals, which is inadvertently revealing. You also imply said first duties in objecting. I guess it is really hard to recognise that we find ourselves sitting on a branch and so it is unwise to saw away at it. But, that is the nature of first principles. Where in today’s hyperskeptical, increasingly illogical, personalise and polarise rhetoric world, any other terminology will also be attacked in turn once it points where some do not wish to go: evidence starting with say voice of conscience, that we are under force of oughtness (and wider wisdom) as a direct consequence of being free in mind in ways that say a spider programmed to spin webs and catch insects is not. KF

    PS, on duty, from Collins:

    duty (?dju?t?)
    n, pl -ties
    1. a task or action that a person is bound to perform for moral or legal reasons
    2. respect or obedience due to a superior, older persons, etc: filial duty.
    3. the force that binds one morally or legally to one’s obligations

    Quite often, duties are naturally evident, the golden rule and parasitical, exploitative nature of evils (so, their chaotic impact once present in any significant degree in a community of social creatures such as we are) are often helpful in seeing such. Our minds and rationality naturally target truth, we recognise we have rights once we feel the bite of violation, simple reciprocity will tell us much about the civil peace of justice as due balance of rights, freedoms and correlative duties.

    PPS: If that is still not clear to you, do you have rights? If so, they are binding expectations of moral character that highlight duties others owe you due to your inherent worth as a fellow human being. I cannot just walk in and run you through until you are dead, then proceed to steal your goods, pausing to rape and also kill wife and daughter, then go on to the next house to do the same, etc. Start from the crude level of a viking raid and the need for trained soldiers and/or sailors to defend the coast. That is where Alfred started.

  196. 196
    kairosfocus says:

    PPPS, the concept, rape already implies much about rights.

  197. 197
    kairosfocus says:

    JS, we may subjectively decide to heed or demand fulfillment of duty to truth but there it is in all its manifest branch on which we sit character. The evasion of error proneness and need for warrant to establish reliable, objective truth as a baseline is all too obvious. No community can thrive on even a modest proportion errors or lies . . . lies especially parasite off our need for truth and gain dishonest advantage; start from there. KF

  198. 198
    Viola Lee says:

    Re 194: me, too, Joe.. My bad for coming back after KF told us to get out. I’ve been here done this before; feel a bit like Charlie Brown and the football, somehow thinking things will be different this time. I should know better.

  199. 199
    kairosfocus says:

    Ram, I am not laying out a worldview or personal viewpoint; which in a hyperskeptical age would also require elaborate defence. I am addressing a needless hole in our civilisation’s knowledge base, the erosion of credibility of knowledge of warranted moral truth and linked undermining of right reason, core logic. KF

    PS: Have you ever heard that if a worldview can be put in a nutshell, it belongs there? For, worldviews all bristle with difficulties as philosophy is the department of hard questions that have no easy, simplistic, sound answers. So, the major method of phil is comparative difficulties, the assessment and balancing of alternatives on factual adequacy, coherence and explanatory power [neither ad hoc nor simplistic]. That already forces the sort of carefully balanced nuance loaded statements that are seen in legal drafting and the like.

    PPS, I recall that challenge being raised in recent weeks only to meet silence when answered. I sum up my worldview in a nutshell, as a 12 step recovering cynic.

    – First, the challenge of warrant forces the Agrippa trilemma, where infinite regress is futile and question begging circularity is fallacious, so
    – we all have finitely remote first plausibles that define our faith points, our worldviews, which are addressable on comparative difficulties. Thus,
    – we face difficulties under the department of hard questions [those with no easy answers]
    – on comparison, I find that reason and responsibility, recognising that freedom is an antecedent of rationality and knowledge, are better than the alternatives.
    – Error exists, its attempted denial is instantly absurd, this is self evident warranted objective knowable truth and schemes that are popular but fail this first fact fail utterly. General relativism, subjectivism, emotivism, logical positivism and the like fall here, they are not serious.
    – Arguments work by emotions, credibility of experts, witnesses and authority, fact and logic. Of these,
    – emotions depend on accuracy of underlying perceptions, judgements and expectations, – authorities are no better than facts, logic and underlying assumptions but are 99+% of practical knowledge bases [think, schools, libraries, parents]
    – fact, logic and assumptions leads back to worldview structures and faith points.
    – evolutionary materialistic scientism, dressed up in a lab coat first fails by incoherence of scientism: Science monopolises or utterly dominates knowledge is epistemology a branch of philosophy not science
    – evo mat further fails the Haldane test, self-moved rationally contemplative mind required to compose even that scheme cannot be explained on a wetware computational substrate, it refutes itself.
    – evo mat also cannot explain moral government (and the linked voice of conscience), without implying grand delusion so it fails again
    – its domineering voice then exposes it as an oppressive tool, as we are seeing with officialdom and the current mismanaged pandemic
    – we find ourselves under law of conscience, prudence, truth, reason, neighbourliness, fairness and justice, pointing to is-ought gaps.
    – such post guillotine and so called Euthyphro dilemma can only be bridged in the roots of reality and set up a bill of requisites, the inherently good and utterly wise
    – such points to a familiar figure as candidate to beat.
    -Also, on logic of being and possible worlds, we find possible vs impossible beings, of the former contingent vs necessary . . . caused vs world framework
    – where the world proceeds by thermodynamically constrained causal temporal stages, of finite duration; years for convenience.
    – Such cannot be transfinite in the past, as traversal of such by steps is an infeasible supertask [use hyperreals to see that], pointing to necessary being world root
    – the first point of a worldview then is its world root.
    – much more including value of sound history and lessons bought with blood and tears.

    Already, an incomplete outline points to a large scale exercise of warrant on comparative difficulties.

  200. 200
    es58 says:

    A: there is no absolute objective morality!
    B: are you sure?
    A: absolutely!

  201. 201
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, I hesitate to feed a sharp exchange but notice a point that needs correction. So, kindly stop misrepresenting what I said in ways that are ad hominem laced, suggesting that one participant would be well advised to take a time out after many threads and hundreds of comments addressing his concern and a clear deadlock despite the point that as we are error prone warrant is necessary to establish the objective as reliable; where independence is from that source of bias, error proneness. Unless, you mean that you demand a right to side track and indulge personalities, where I pointed to the disruptive nature of such behaviour and noted that comment is a privilege on good behaviour. And no, I am not willing to entertain a crocodile death roll. KF

  202. 202
    kairosfocus says:

    ES58, yes. Though I would more focus on truth with such a quip. The implications of being without principle seem to be lost on many today. KF

  203. 203
    kairosfocus says:

    L&FP, 48b: Dallas Willard and the disappearance/ restoration of [authority of] moral knowledge https://uncommondescent.com/ethics/lfp-48b-dallas-willard-and-the-disappearance-restoration-of-authority-of-moral-knowledge/

    –> more to come

  204. 204
    kairosfocus says:

    headlining, LF&P 48c: Supplement, addressing the disappearance of core knowledge of first principles of right reason

    https://uncommondescent.com/ethics/lfp-48c-supplement-addressing-the-disappearance-of-core-knowledge-of-first-principles-of-right-reason/

    –> more to come (I have been using this thread to lay out a framework)

  205. 205
    kairosfocus says:

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

    https://uncommondescent.com/education/lfp-48d-the-failed-six-blind-men-of-india-paradigm-for-relativising-thought-truth-and-knowledge/

    –> more to come

  206. 206
    Joe Schooner says:

    As KF only tolerates comments that validate his views, it is recommended that all his future posts be set to “comments off”, as he has done with his three most recent OPs.

  207. 207
    kairosfocus says:

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

    https://uncommondescent.com/atheism/lfp-48e-platos-anticipation-of-and-exposure-of-radical-relativism-and-linked-evolutionary-materialism-c-360-bc-in-the-laws-bk-x/

    –> more to come, again

  208. 208
    kairosfocus says:

    JS, lying to project an ad hominem, this confirms your negative credibility and trollish attitude. The issue I have had to deal with is disruptive, side tracking and too often uncivil behaviour. there are hundreds of UD threads over many years that make it clear that the issue is not disagreement but disorder. Indeed, I suspect you are a recycled troll. KF

  209. 209
    kairosfocus says:

    PS, JS of course you refuse to note that there is an open thread in which on topic discussion can freely continue on topic, the substance of the new OP’s being taken from what you and others have by and large studiously evaded in this thread.

  210. 210
    kairosfocus says:

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

    https://uncommondescent.com/ethics/lfp-48f-orwell-exposes-how-language-and-meaning-are-being-relativised-too-with-hints-on-how-to-correct-it/

    –> more to come, but pausing for now

  211. 211
    jerry says:

    Kf is septupling down on incomprehensible OPs that no one will read. And he promises more obscure convoluted posts to come.

    Your objectors were on the run till you interfered. Now they are basking in their prescience at your irrelevant posts.

  212. 212
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, not irrelevant and not incomprehensible. The suppression of moral knowledge has to be answered. KF

  213. 213
    kairosfocus says:

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

    https://uncommondescent.com/ethics/lfp-48g-is-a-child-the-moral-equivalent-of-a-fish-we-catch-and-eat-for-lunch/

    –> more, later on.

  214. 214
    Viola Lee says:

    Mania.

  215. 215
    kairosfocus says:

    VL,

    Plato’s Socrates in Ship of State, on the mutineers:

    The sailors are quarrelling with one another about the steering – every one is of opinion that he has a right to steer [= selfish ambition to rule and dominate], though he has never learned the art of navigation and cannot tell who taught him or when he learned, and will further assert that it cannot be taught, and they are ready to cut in pieces any one who says the contrary. They throng about the captain, begging and praying him to commit the helm to them [–> kubernetes, steersman, from which both cybernetics and government come in English]; and if at any time they do not prevail, but others are preferred to them, they kill the others or throw them overboard [ = ruthless contest for domination of the community], and having first chained up the noble captain’s senses with drink or some narcotic drug [ = manipulation and befuddlement, cf. the parable of the cave], they mutiny and take possession of the ship and make free with the stores; thus, eating and drinking, they proceed on their voyage in such a manner as might be expected of them [–> Cf here Luke’s subtle case study in Ac 27].

    Him who is their partisan and cleverly aids them in their plot for getting the ship out of the captain’s hands into their own whether by force or persuasion [–> Nihilistic will to power on the premise of might and manipulation making ‘right’ ‘truth’ ‘justice’ ‘rights’ etc], they compliment with the name of sailor, pilot, able seaman, and abuse the other sort of man, whom they call a good-for-nothing; but that the true pilot must pay attention to the year and seasons and sky and stars and winds, and whatever else belongs to his art, if he intends to be really qualified for the command of a ship, and that he must and will be the steerer, whether other people like or not-the possibility of this union of authority with the steerer’s art has never seriously entered into their thoughts or been made part of their calling.

    Now in vessels which are in a state of mutiny and by sailors who are mutineers, how will the true pilot be regarded? Will he not be called by them a prater, a star-gazer, a good-for-nothing?

    [Ad.] Of course, said Adeimantus.

    KF

  216. 216
    kairosfocus says:

    –> highlight:

    [Athenian Stranger:] “Now in vessels which are in a state of mutiny and by sailors who are mutineers, how will the true pilot be regarded? Will he not be called by them a prater, a star-gazer, a good-for-nothing?”

  217. 217
    Joe Schooner says:

    Mania.

    Quite obvious, don’t you think? What do you think isKF’s goal is for posting these hundreds of thousands of words. Surly he doesn’t think that his efforts at UD will make any difference to society. Or even change anyone’s mind at UD.

  218. 218
    jerry says:

    What do you think isKF’s goal is for posting these hundreds of thousands of words

    Maybe there is an external audience we are unaware of. There is probably nothing that is wrong in his postings, just hard to decipher and certainly not necessary for the two dozen readers that will visit them.

  219. 219
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    @KF ,do you have children? You should formulate your answers here as for children not older than 4 years old. You have to think at some kind of explanations that have very simple concepts (eventually with kitties and puppies )and not more than 20 words.

  220. 220
    Viola Lee says:

    LCD: good suggestion, although 14 (8th graders) might be a more realistic target.

  221. 221
    Seversky says:

    “You do not really understand something unless you can explain it to your grandmother.”

  222. 222
    Joe Schooner says:

    Maybe there is an external audience we are unaware of.

    That is definitely possible.

    There is probably nothing that is wrong in his postings, just hard to decipher and certainly not necessary for the two dozen readers that will visit them.

    There are several here who think there is something wrong with what he is saying. But it is self-evident 🙂 that his writing style is unnecessarily convoluted and overly verbose.

  223. 223
    Seversky says:

    That is, we have had a mutiny on the Platonic ship of state.

    Such mutinies don’t end well.>>

    But what if the captain is an incorrigible incompetent and the mutiny is raised by experienced navigators who see the captain has set their vessel on a course that could lead to its foundering on hidden shoals?

  224. 224
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev, it is demonstrable that the mutineers are incompetent. The “Captain” is not capable [= general population]. In those days the merchant-owner generally hired a technician to be sailing master. KF

    PS: The first thing is to establish the state of affairs in respect of the unjustified disappearance of moral knowledge. Given known language twisting, there is a constraint on “simplicity.” Where, if the reason the story on the blind men and the elephant breaks down is not clear, the problem is a conflicting crooked yardstick being held on to:

    There is a seventh man, sighted but even more self-blind, the narrator N1. He quietly takes up the implicitly objective global view and uses it to subvert the perspectives of his perceived blind inferiors . . . . So, we have yet again a case of self reference, inviting incoherence once the implicit objectivity of N1 is improperly used as a magic key to discredit B1 – 6. No, instead we must realise the self-reference and refrain from the relativist’s error. The denial or suggestion that there is no knowable, warranted, objective truth is subverted by the self reference of the narrator’s implied account.

    Self-referential incoherence is the key point where the relativist’s general conclusion breaks down, again and again. A: You cannot know the absolute truth! B: Are you absolutely sure of that?

  225. 225
    jerry says:

    There are several here who think there is something wrong with what he is saying

    Then they should write in short declarative sentences what is wrong.

    It’s one thing to criticize style which commenters have done several times, it quite another to criticize substance. I generally find nothing wrong with his reasoning once deciphered. (exception – I have disagreed with him on some points of history and epistemology but not much)

  226. 226
    Viola Lee says:

    KF quotes, in seriousness, “A: You cannot know the absolute truth! B: Are you absolutely sure of that?”

    That is stupid! No one here who doubts objective moral truths has ever claimed to be absolutely sure of that. I have clearly discussed the provisional nature of my beliefs.

    I suggest you soak that strawman in oil and set it afire!

  227. 227
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS, the attempted comeback suggests unfamiliarity with the specifics of the parable [and the real world case in Ac 27], after several years.

  228. 228
    Viola Lee says:

    The parable makes no difference. Someone who doesn’t believe in absolute truths obviously doesn’t believe that that belief is an absolute truth. It is intellectual malpractice to think that. I, as a representative case, understand that I might be wrong, but taking everything into account that I can, as an educated, mature adult, think that is very unlikely compared to alternative explanations about morals, which I and others have outlined here. This argument, which is what you refer to as a reductio ad absurdum, doesn’t apply at all, because the premise that the person is claiming to be making an absolute statement, of which he is 100% sure, is false.

  229. 229
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Viola Lee

    KF
    “A: You cannot know the absolute truth!
    B: Are you absolutely sure of that?”

    No one here who doubts objective moral truths has ever claimed to be absolutely sure of that. I have clearly discussed the provisional nature of my beliefs.

    🙂 Looks like you are absolutely sure about a truth [=that you discussed your provisional nature of your beliefs ]

    Isn’t it funny? You deny absolute truth(as a concept) but shamelessly use an absolute truth(the absolute truth that you discussed about your provisional nature of your beliefs and nothing else )

    Viola Lee
    Someone who doesn’t believe in absolute truths obviously doesn’t believe that that belief is an absolute truth.

    Are you absolutely sure that what you just said is a truth?

  230. 230
    Viola Lee says:

    Silly!

  231. 231
    kairosfocus says:

    VL, changed context again, setting up and knocking over a strawman. The attempted dismissal of the elephant story brings its relevance out; noticeably you sidestep where I actually draw out the issue, both above and as separately headlined . . . a clue as to what is going on; evidently, a strawman hunt. Blind men B1 – 6 are set up to be knocked over as having partial perspectives hastily generalised, whilst the sighted narrator N1 notices disparities and derides their naive absolutism or presumption to have each caught the whole picture. But, in the common post modernist use of this story to dismiss objectivity and synthesis through discussion . . . all that stuff on totalising metanarratives, what is overlooked is that THE NARRATOR IMPLIES THAT S/HE HAS THE KEY OBJECTIVE TRUTH. This identifies and shatters the anti-objective knowledge [moral or general] thesis through self-referential incoherence. The same message in the algebra you have tried to dismiss. Of course, I go on to note positive uses of the story that would help our understanding of scholarship, science, building a consensus of knowledge and even addressing introspection — and even revelation — as a potential source of knowledge but all of that is neatly side stepped. Strawmen are a lot easier to knock over. KF

    PS: I gave the “absolutely sure” joke as a very limited illustration. A clue to that is that I do not normally discuss in terms of absolutes but objective truth. Where, long since, the defeasible nature of most knowledge has been drawn out. What do you think lurks in the very careful formulation, knowledge — in the common, weak sense used in science and most day to day matters including Courts — is warranted, credibly true (so, reliable) belief?

    Where, science and similar cases have been given over and over as reasons why a defeasible . . . defeat-able . . . definition is given. When or if evidence undermines credibility of a theory or knowledge claim, its credibility or reliability take a hit; hence, open-endedness.

    That the implicit claim to objectivity by a relativist is not absolutely held does not in any way undermine the force of the reductio. Notice, it is formulated on an OBJECTIVE claim. Just scroll up to the OP.

    PPS: BTW, the definition of knowledge is an example of the challenges involved in drafting claims and arguments on subjects like this. That seemingly simple definition is anything but simplistic.

    PPPS, likewise, the framing of the elephant story opens up a world of profitable discussion around research programmes, paradigms, ideologies, common sense knowledge, knowledge in community, knowledge by introspection, power and value of testimony, even how revelation can be part of knowledge. If we were in a less contentious setting, that would be profitable for exploration. Alas, the patterns we see above do not point in that direction for now. But the for reference OP will be there long after the rhetorical brush fires and smoke from burning strawmen soaked in ad hominems in this thread have burned to ashes and cooled off or drifted away with the winds.

  232. 232
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Viola Lee
    Silly!

    Is this true?

    Viola Lee
    Yes!

    Are you absolutely sure?

    This is the shortest demonstration of existence of the objective truth.

  233. 233
    Joe Schooner says:

    Sev, it is demonstrable that the mutineers are incompetent. The “Captain” is not capable [= general population].

    Do you really have that low a regard for the “general population”? The first thing that anyone who has travelled extensively learns is that the vast majority of people, regardless of country, are generous and helpful, and want the same things out of life that you and your neighbours do.

    You don’t see the glass as half empty or half full. You see it as leaking profusely, with the “general population” trying to tip it over. This in spite of all the evidence that shows that the average human today is much better off than the average human of any time in the past. Longer life expectancy. Lower rates of violent crime. Lower abortion rates. Lower infant mortality. More opportunities for women, minorities and homosexuals. Better health care. You name it. By almost every metric, people are better off today than they have been in the past.

    Yes, there are challenges. As there have been in every generation. But living life complaining about the modern generation and pining for the past that never was is just a sad, pathetic way to live.

  234. 234
    kairosfocus says:

    JS, I am actually summarising from Plato, it is his framework . . . and again it is evident that after several years, objectors are not familiar with relevant details. His statement about the “Captain” [= Merchant-Owner], with my annotations:

    Imagine then a fleet or a ship in which there is a captain [–> often interpreted, ship’s owner] who is taller and stronger than any of the crew, but he is a little deaf and has a similar infirmity in sight, and his knowledge of navigation is not much better. [= The people own the community and in the mass are overwhelmingly strong, but are ill equipped on the whole to guide, guard and lead it]

    Now, let us consider, and we will see that for cause one does not compose a government by randomly selecting from the general population, whether the legislature or the executive or the judiciary or the senior civil service or the military leadership. There are serious issues of technical capability, decision making wisdom, character soundness, strategic/policy intent and alternatives, ability to respond to surprise or crisis etc to be addressed, and more. All of which require a level of focus and effort sustained for years to attain bare adequacy. Compare say Churchill in WW1 [Dardanelles], in the 20’s [fiasco with the Pound], in the 30’s, in WW2 and again in the 50’s.

    And no, a legal education is not adequate for this.

    The general population does not have that capability, but can be educated to a level where they may be able to vote in an informed sound way, or at least prudently. In Socrates’ day, failure to be prudent and rising intra-Greek imperialistic intent tainted with corruption led to the fiascos of alienating the wider Greek community from the Athens that had championed them in defending them from Persia. When Sparta emerges as a champion of liberty, something is truly broken. Then, once war began, loss of leadership through plague was a material factor starting with Pericles. Onward, exceedingly foolish decisions such as the attack on Syracuse in Sicily led to disasters and ultimate ruin.

    The net effect was to discredit Democracy for 2,000 years.

    Coming to our time, it remains clear that community leadership and technical leadership still require unusual capability and character. The people at large are natural owners of the community and its state, subject to general natural law principles and the like. But, there is no question that capable people of good character etc are needed but often are wanting.

    And there is a political Gresham’s law once a population gets bad political and social habits: bad politics drives out good, as otherwise capable and willing people become alienated by nihilistic, ruthless, dirty factionalism. (Very similar to how unchecked trollishness can drive out sound commentary in a blog.)

    So, Plato’s parable is still relevant.

    The mutiny on the good ship civilisation has led to undermining of logic, language, history [a key source on learning from errors of the past], moral knowledge foundational to cultivation of virtue, ending in material distortion of policy issues and decision making, an irresponsible media culture and more.

    We are facing precisely the resulting pattern Plato’s Socrates highlighted:

    The sailors are quarrelling with one another about the steering – every one is of opinion that he has a right to steer [= selfish ambition to rule and dominate], though he has never learned the art of navigation and cannot tell who taught him or when he learned, and will further assert that it cannot be taught, and they are ready to cut in pieces any one who says the contrary. They throng about the captain, begging and praying him to commit the helm to them [–> kubernetes, steersman, from which both cybernetics and government come in English]; and if at any time they do not prevail, but others are preferred to them, they kill the others or throw them overboard [ = ruthless contest for domination of the community], and having first chained up the noble captain’s senses with drink or some narcotic drug [ = manipulation and befuddlement, cf. the parable of the cave], they mutiny and take possession of the ship and make free with the stores; thus, eating and drinking, they proceed on their voyage in such a manner as might be expected of them [–> Cf here Luke’s subtle case study in Ac 27].

    Him who is their partisan and cleverly aids them in their plot for getting the ship out of the captain’s hands into their own whether by force or persuasion [–> Nihilistic will to power on the premise of might and manipulation making ‘right’ ‘truth’ ‘justice’ ‘rights’ etc], they compliment with the name of sailor, pilot, able seaman, and abuse the other sort of man, whom they call a good-for-nothing; but that the true pilot must pay attention to the year and seasons and sky and stars and winds, and whatever else belongs to his art, if he intends to be really qualified for the command of a ship, and that he must and will be the steerer, whether other people like or not-the possibility of this union of authority with the steerer’s art has never seriously entered into their thoughts or been made part of their calling.

    Now in vessels which are in a state of mutiny and by sailors who are mutineers, how will the true pilot be regarded? Will he not be called by them a prater, a star-gazer, a good-for-nothing?

    Such, is manifestly suicidal, with nukes in play as a further factor.

    KF

  235. 235
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Reminder on a focal issue, from 48b:

    [Dallas Willard, 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” about such things. I cannot take those views up here, but I believe them to be profoundly and clearly mistaken. I am saying, however, that moral knowledge is no longer, as it once was, readily available to persons in the normal course of their lives. That is “the disappearance of moral knowledge.”

    We have knowledge of any subject matter when we are capable of representing it as it is on an adequate basis of thought and experience. That is what “knowledge” means in ordinary life, and what you expect of your electrician, auto mechanic, and physician. The subject matter might be the English alphabet, the history of golf, the structure of the hydrogen atom, or others. The “adequate basis” can, sometimes must, include the word of others who have knowledge. We call our knowledge in that case knowledge by “authority”—though the word is more august than the fact. By far the most of what we know we know “by authority,” but that does not mean that it cannot be questioned or, in most cases, that there are no other ways of discovering it or verifying it. Most people who know the multiplication tables have never yet thought out a tiny portion of them to see for sure, and why, they are true. But they do know them, because those tables are given to them in a social context that warrants their acceptance as true. And they are true, and it is possible for a bright and enterprising child to think them out to see that they are true and why they are.

    But knowledge can “disappear.” This is because its public presence and availability depends upon the maintenance of a social context with authoritative institutions that sustain, refine and disseminate it. If for whatever reasons social institutions fail to do this, the respective knowledge will “disappear,” cease to be available.

    KF

  236. 236
    kairosfocus says:

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

    https://uncommondescent.com/laws/lfp-48h-building-sound-government-on-a-built-in-natural-law-base-the-us-declaration-of-independence-as-a-case-study/

    –> comments here as usual

  237. 237
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Lieutenant Commander

    Viola Lee
    Silly!

    Is this true?

    Viola Lee
    Yes!

    Are you absolutely sure?

    This is the shortest demonstration of existence of the objective truth.

    This is your answer? “Silly?” :)))
    Let me translate :the word “Silly ” means that you make a declaration that certainly you know the truth about something and what I said is obviously false.
    But I think your attention span last only few seconds so I remind you that you said there are no objective moral truths but to deny that you have to use an objective moral truth -the very thing you try to deny it=SELF-REFUTATION ALERT , SELF-REFUTATION ALERT ,SELF-REFUTATION ALERT 😉 . If you really believed that are only subjective moral truths then your “subjective truth” has the same value as my”subjective truth” so why in the world would you say “Silly” unless you make a declaration that objective truth exists and you figured out better than others what is the truth.

    🙂 Who allowed you to became teacher should be investigated by police.

  238. 238
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I have found a video presentation of the disappearance of moral knowledge thesis by Professor Willard and have added two clips and a link to a handout to 48b.

    https://uncommondescent.com/ethics/lfp-48b-dallas-willard-and-the-disappearance-restoration-of-authority-of-moral-knowledge/

    KF

  239. 239
    kairosfocus says:

    PS, a key snippet from Willard’s handout:

    (1). What is the disappearance of moral knowledge? It is the social reality that the
    knowledge institutions (primarily the universities, but also the “churches”) of our society
    do not presume to offer knowledge of good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice to
    the public. It is not a part of “testable” cognitive content of any recognized area of
    scholarship or practice. (The illusion of professional “ethics.”)

    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.”

    (2). How did this disappearance 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.) [–> the self-moved, rational, responsible, conscience guided significantly free agent]
    (C). All cultures come to be regarded as “equal.” None are morally inferior [–> diversity and radical tolerance]. Just “different.” Then there is no moral truth of the matter across cultures. [–> the denial of warranted, generally knowable objective truth on duty to right conduct, virtue etc; which cf OP has been shown to be self referentially incoherent so false]
    (D). Moral distinctions and standards viewed as power plays. (Nietzsche, Marx,
    Freud) [–> might makes right]
    (E). Fear or resentment of knowledge itself as oppressive. Colonialism. [–> linked disappearing of logic and truth backed by warrant so of knowledge]
    (F). Growth of the idea that it is always wrong to make moral judgments: that
    only bad or disgusting people do that. [–> the test case of a kidnapped, sexually tortured, murdered child] Pushes moral judgments out of the public domain. [–> marginalisation]
    (G). The failure in Philosophy to recover moral knowledge. [–> institutional failure, the mutiny on the good ship civilisation issue]

    Food for sober, sobering reflection.

  240. 240
    kairosfocus says:

    Today’s addition

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

    https://uncommondescent.com/education/lfp-48i-dallas-willard-on-the-legitimate-authority-of-knowledge-vs-the-radical-narrative-of-oppression/

  241. 241
    kairosfocus says:

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

    https://uncommondescent.com/ethics/lfp-48i-dallas-willards-partial-list-of-reasons-for-the-unwarranted-disappearance-of-moral-knowledge/

  242. 242
    kairosfocus says:

    L&FP, 48k: Dallas Willard on the key self-referentiality in the Relativist thesis that there are no generally knowable, objective moral truths

    https://uncommondescent.com/ethics/lfp-48k-dallas-willard-on-the-key-self-referentiality-in-the-relativist-thesis-that-there-are-no-generally-knowable-objective-moral-truths/

    –> B O’H, thanks

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