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Sev, JDK, the value of philosophy [esp. metaphysics] and addressing the intersubjective consensus challenge

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In the PZM on the state of atheism thread, some key fundamental issues have emerged:

JDK, 12: >>to both ba[77] and kf: because I think your belief in the power and importance of metaphysical philosophy is excessive and misguided . . . >>

Sev, 17: >>[to BA77,] You consistently ignore the possibility that a consensus morality can be achieved through inter-subjective agreement.>>

Both of these deserve notice, and I responded. This, I now headline, as it goes to the core of the many vexed debates that are going on not only in and around UD but across our civilisation. Pardon, JDK, I here redirect to the correct source:

A summary of why we end up with foundations for our worldviews, whether or not we would phrase the matter that way}

KF, 26: >>a long time ago now, I realised that if one asks the why of warrant in succession for a claim, say A, an interesting chain occurs: A as B, B as C, C as . . . (Long before I ever heard the term, Agrippa Trilemma.)

Thus, we face three options: infinite regress, ultimate circularity, finitely remote terminus. Infinite regress is absurdly impossible, warrant vanishes poof. Circularity at such a level is begging a question. So, we face a finite chain to a set of first plausibles, only a relatively few of which can be self-evident. Thus, worldviews are inevitable, the issue is, to have a responsible and reasonable faith-point. This brings to bear comparative difficulties analysis and grand inference to the best current explanation.

That process of comparative difficulties on factual adequacy, coherence and balanced explanatory power [neither simplistic nor an ad hoc patchwork quilt] is an exercise in metaphysics. Which can be termed critical analysis of worldviews. In this context, ontology [the study of being], logic [including in principle, logic of structure and quantity, i.e. Mathematics], epistemology [knowledge], ethics [critical assessment of morality], wider axiology [e.g. aesthetics, study of beauty], political philosophy [study of governance and justice] and of course meta-study of domains of scholarship and praxis [education, science, law, religion etc] also naturally emerge.

So, philosophy is a mother-lode and controlling discipline.

Indeed, much of our framing of the intellectual disciplines comes from branches of Aristotle’s inquiry. Metaphysics, literally was studies in the volume following that on nature, phusis. Which last is the root of my home discipline, physics.

The importance of philosophy, then, is not to be dismissed. At least, if we intend to be responsible and reasonable.

(And yes, I am very aware that “Philosopher” is often a dismissive epithet. That points to some of the mess our civilisation is in. And of course, education is deeply shaped by philosophy, or else it will be shaped by ideology and will end in propagandistic agit prop and indoctrination. Resemblance to current trends is not coincidental.)

Coming back to your specific appeal to inter-subjective consensus implying cultural relativism as a way to address ethics without taking on the IS-OUGHT gap at world-root level, SM is right and so is ES58 when he points to the coerced consensus of Nazi Germany. Let me clip SM in 18:

[JDK Sev:] “You consistently ignore the possibility that a consensus morality can be achieved through inter-subjective agreement.”

[SM:] Discounting it as useless is not ignoring it. You’re making the very error you’re accusing BA[77] of.

A consensus morality is about as useful as any other consensus. There was once a scientific consensus that the Earth was the centre of our universe.

It was wrong.

The problem with a consensus morality formed by flawed people ought to be obvious but just to make it plain:

It is guaranteed to be wrong.

I again point to the caution by Lewis Vaughn:

Excerpted chapter summary, on Subjectivism, Relativism, and Emotivism, in Doing Ethics 3rd Edn, by Lewis Vaughn, W W Norton, 2012. [Also see here and here.] Clipping:

. . . Subjective relativism is the view that an action is morally right if one approves of it. A person’s approval makes the action right. This doctrine (as well as cultural relativism) is in stark contrast to moral objectivism, the view that some moral principles are valid for everyone.. Subjective relativism, though, has some troubling implications. It implies that each person is morally infallible and that individuals can never have a genuine moral disagreement

Cultural relativism is the view that an action is morally right if one’s culture approves of it. The argument for this doctrine is based on the diversity of moral judgments among cultures: because people’s judgments about right and wrong differ from culture to culture, right and wrong must be relative to culture, and there are no objective moral principles. This argument is defective, however, because the diversity of moral views does not imply that morality is relative to cultures. In addition, the alleged diversity of basic moral standards among cultures may be only apparent, not real. Societies whose moral judgments conflict may be differing not over moral principles but over nonmoral facts.

Some think that tolerance is entailed by cultural relativism. But there is no necessary connection between tolerance and the doctrine. Indeed, the cultural relativist cannot consistently advocate tolerance while maintaining his relativist standpoint. To advocate tolerance is to advocate an objective moral value. But if tolerance is an objective moral value, then cultural relativism must be false, because it says that there are no objective moral values.

Like subjective relativism, cultural relativism has some disturbing consequences. It implies that cultures are morally infallible, that social reformers can never be morally right, that moral disagreements between individuals in the same culture amount to arguments over whether they disagree with their culture, that other cultures cannot be legitimately criticized, and that moral progress is impossible.

Emotivism is the view that moral utterances are neither true nor false but are expressions of emotions or attitudes. It leads to the conclusion that people can disagree only in attitude, not in beliefs. People cannot disagree over the moral facts, because there are no moral facts. Emotivism also implies that presenting reasons in support of a moral utterance is a matter of offering nonmoral facts that can influence someone’s attitude. It seems that any nonmoral facts will do, as long as they affect attitudes. Perhaps the most far-reaching implication of emotivism is that nothing is actually good or bad. There simply are no properties of goodness and badness. There is only the expression of favorable or unfavorable emotions or attitudes toward something.

In the end, starting with our minds governed by duties to truth, rationality, fairness, prudence etc, we are forced to face moral government of our lives as more or less responsible, reasonable, significantly free agents. Indeed, without that, reasoning and knowing, etc fall to pieces. And so, the IS-OUGHT gap is central.

This means we face the challenge of bridging (which is only possible at world-root level, post Hume). Put up any candidate you like: ______ . After centuries of debates, we will readily see why on comparative difficulties assessment we will come back to there being just one serious candidate: the inherently good creator God, a necessary and maximally great being, worthy of loyalty and trust, thus of the responsible, reasonable service of doing the good in accord with our evident nature.

But we live in a day of those who find God irksome and wish to remove him from any reference in serious thought or action. The moral incoherence, chaos and irresponsibility of our day are readily explained on that attempt to saw our civilisation off from its life-giving root.

Perhaps, we should first reassess why we are so inclined, and where it will predictably end, once the most ruthless nihilists fully seize power?

That has happened before, indeed within living memory.

And, in part, that is why I will not cede the God-despisers a veto over the substance of ethical and general discussion.>>

And yes, on ethics (as well as many other subjects), on many points there is broad consensus. That is a sign that there is an objective core that is intelligible enough to be accessible. But that is not the same as, the general authority of consensus secures truth.

That’s why SM was right to point out that if the world agrees the earth is [U/D: the “centre” — really, sump — of the universe, or as we can add,] flat, that does not make it so. BTW, c. 1492, the debate with Columbus was not over roundness but size, and the critics (relying on work tracing to Eratosthenes c. 300 BC) were right.

How Eratosthenes got Earth’s circumference more or less right c. 300 BC

[U/D: It took some serious work to establish heliocentrism and onward to realise we live in one galaxy among many. Mere consensus does not establish truth, and mere controversy does not overthrow it.]

In short, we do need to ground ethics and we do need to take philosophical considerations seriously. END

Comments
JDK, it seems we are at cross-purposes. Reality is what is -- the world in its fullest sense. Truth accurately describes reality -- but reality comes first. But as we may err, we need warrant in order to have knowledge, here, warranted, credibly true (so, reliable) belief. Belief, as we are subjects and agents: we have to actually acknowledge and accept as so in order to know. That's background, which I elaborated here. Now, you seem fixated on the notion that I am making some sort of moral argument to God, or that I am reasoning in a theistic-question-begging circle. Only, it should be patent that I am not. Notice, I am pointing out criteria of falsification of worldviews and/or their key claims:
showing that a metaphysical possibility is incoherent or runs afoul of decisive realities does suffice to falsify it
This is an issue of comparative difficulties analysis, where incoherence and/or manifest factual error of a key claim can be enough to shatter a worldview. Those ill-advised enough to deny or dismiss the triple first principles of right reason are forced to implicitly appeal to those principles just to try to object. Self-falsification by self-referential incoherence. Likewise, those ill-informed enough to deny the basic historical reality of a certain C1 carpenter and teacher from Nazareth in Galilee show a serious problem with selective hyperskepticism. This has nothing to do with mere perceptions, but a lot to do with warrant that transforms truth claims into knowledge, here, knowledge of fundamental, pivotal realities. Where, for over a hundred years it has been understood that the Kantian ugly ditch between our inner world of perceptions and ideas and the extra-mental one of things in themselves has been adequately bridged. Here is the key remark by the famed Victorian age British Philosopher, F H Bradley:
We may agree, perhaps, to understand by metaphysics an attempt to know reality as against mere appearance, or the study of first principles or ultimate truths, or again the effort to comprehend the universe, not simply piecemeal or by fragments, but somehow as a whole [--> i.e. the focus of Metaphysics is critical studies of worldviews] . . . . The man who is ready to prove that metaphysical knowledge is wholly impossible . . . himself has, perhaps unknowingly, entered the arena . . . To say the reality is such that our knowledge cannot reach it, is a claim to know reality ; to urge that our knowledge is of a kind which must fail to transcend appearance, itself implies that transcendence. For, if we had no idea of a beyond, we should assuredly not know how to talk about failure or success. And the test, by which we distinguish them, must obviously be some acquaintance with the nature of the goal. Nay, the would-be sceptic, who presses on us the contradictions of our thoughts, himself asserts dogmatically. For these contradictions might be ultimate and absolute truth, if the nature of the reality were not known to be otherwise . . . [such] objections . . . are themselves, however unwillingly, metaphysical views, and . . . a little acquaintance with the subject commonly serves to dispel [them]. [Appearance and Reality, 2nd Edn, 1897 (1916 printing), pp. 1 - 2; INTRODUCTION. At Web Archive.]
In short, yet another instance of self-referential incoherence thus self-falsification. No, though we may err, we can also know. Know to sufficient degree that action is prudent, or even to degrees where failure to act is irresponsible -- moral certainty. Beyond lies self-evident certainty. Now, you are fixated on if. But the problem is, the hypothesis you project as underlying antecedent premise is irrelevant. The arguments regarding duty do not pivot on the imposition of the God of ethical theism as start point for reading off implications. As can be seen above and elsewhere. Nor is the chain of inferences a stage to some deductive proof that p1 to pn, therefore there is a God. That the world is such that moral creatures like us are duty-bound to the point where to claim that some c is true implicitly carries with it claimed duties to the truth, is patent. We therefore see how our life of thought, our mindedness is inextricably entangled with moral import. Your own arguments inevitably illustrate the point. And so pervasive is this, that to assert or imply that all claims of form "we have a duty d to X (but may fail or refuse to carry out d as we are free)" are false is to instantly entangle duties to truth, so that the attempted denial falls into self-referential incoherence. That is, where P is a moral truth-claim, ~P is perforce also of the same character. So, it undermines itself. That there are moral truths is undeniable. So, it is hopeless to try to make a truth claim that there are no successful -- actually true -- moral truth claims, as such is in turn a truth claim with entangled moral truth claims. You or others may feel otherwise, perceive otherwise or argue otherwise, but all such will be futility. As the truth claims made in such arguments all will be entangled with the same claims they deny. Going further, we see there is a moral component to reality. Where reality is not to be equated to physical reality, often termed "the universe." So, already one leg of the "or" above is gone. The other fails by way of being a projected strawman. We are talking to naturally evident realities that may be seen by observing the structure of arguments. Here, to claim X is true is inevitably to entangle one or more duties d to X. This may or may not be somehow connected to the world being a creation of God, but it does not assume such in any question-begging way. We are looking at the realities of argument and particularly those tied to making a truth claim. Much the same can be said of duties to acknowledge a correct logical inference. So, the if you have again posed has collapsed. Further to this, do you not observe how your arguments pivot on who and on perceptions, then distancing from presumably suspect who's and their feelings, perceptions and conclusions, etc? By contrast, what I have argued pivots on what: truth, entangled duties to truth, logic. In short, objectivity. Where as I have pointed out from F H Bradley, the Kantian ugly gulch between the inner world of perceptions etc and the outer one of things as such in themselves, has been long since bridged. The issue is warrant, which is objective. Trying to distance from a who and dismissing warranted conclusions on the hypothetical possibility of error fails. Indeed, it is the genetic fallacy in some form or other. Reconsideration is in order. KFkairosfocus
June 2, 2018
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No, what you or anyone thinks, irrespective of whether your reasoning seems logically impeccable to you, has no effect on how the world really is. If there is no God, and no moral component to the universe, then that's the way it is, and your belief that it is otherwise is irrelevant. That may lead to conclusions about human beings that you find totally unacceptable, but the universe doesn't care about your feelings, or what you think is irrefutable logic.jdk
June 1, 2018
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JDK, showing that a metaphysical possibility is incoherent or runs afoul of decisive realities does suffice to falsify it. Kindly, see above. KFkairosfocus
June 1, 2018
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Follow-up on the existence of moral truth: https://uncommondescent.com/philosophy/responding-to-sev-moral-claims-are-not-about-what-is-but-about-how-we-ought-to-behave-primarily-towards-one-another-they-are-not-capable-of-being-either-true-or-false/kairosfocus
June 1, 2018
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es58: Please note that I listed that as a logical possibility, which it is. If in fact that is the way the world really is, which is possible, you can "pass" on believing it, and act as if it were not true, but those would be your chosen meaning: not liking a metaphysical possibility is not evidence that it is false.jdk
June 1, 2018
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F/N: I add, I have nowhere suggested infallibilism. I have by clipping provided a cogent summary of why cultural and subjectivist relativism fail. In short, they are not credible bases for moral reasoning. Such reasoning, instead needs to seek solid first principles and then should use correct logical principles to construct a knowledge base. Such can be held by an individual and by members of a community. But it is not the who but the what of logic, principles, premises and inferences tested against logic that warrant the knowledge framework. For that process, key test cases such as the one I have used about a kidnapped, sexually abused, murdered child are instructive. They help us elucidate key principles and to reason about them in a coherent fashion. That is how bodies of objective, credible knowledge are built up. Of course, that this has to be said at all shows just how deep is our confusion as a civilisation. KFkairosfocus
June 1, 2018
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re my post @32: referring to JDK @8: ..."consciousness" there is already a term for such "consciousness", it's called evil.es58
May 31, 2018
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JDK@8: wrote:
creatures which manifest that consciousness are truly responsible for creating their own meanings, values, and norms of conduct
And if the "norm" you arrive at is Nazism, fine and dandy? What a system! I'll pass on such a "consciousness", thanks.es58
May 31, 2018
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Sev, mathematical realities are not empirically observable but are very real, i.e. you are failing to recognise abstracta as having reality. It is subjects who perceive and reason out mathematical realities per first principles and logic, and the results hold objectivity by means of logical warrant. And yes, they have empirical consequences; so much so, that mathematical reasoning on the logic of structure and quantity is deeply embedded in the sciences. Where also, by being connected to the coherence of being, that abstract reasoning by subjects brings out powerful insights and predictive power. BTW, to observe and infer successful prediction are also subjective mental acts. To share such in writings and talks etc using textual or visual or aural symbols is again a mental process involving subjects. And more. So, it should be no surprise to see a direct parallel from the world of maths to moral first principles, logical reasoning on such principles, requisites of coherence in the world of agents and predictable consequences. Indeed, as a famous case in point, Kant's Categorical Imperative in part highlights that a sound maxim of action is universalisable and by contrast, evils are not -- they parasite off the premise that most people most times do not act like that. For instance, even in Crete, truth is the dominant form of communication, or else communication and community would utterly break down. (And BTW, that solves the so called liar paradox.) So, moral principles can be truths, referring accurately to the order of reality experienced, sensed and logically reflected on by agents. Indeed, without this, Mathematics, Science, Medicine, Jurisprudence etc would break down, as they all turn on the premise that our mental life is pervaded by duties to truth, reason/logic, prudence, justice etc. So, not only is moral truth real truth, but it is a critical component of our world of thought and thoughtful action, undergirding the engines of progress for our civilisation. The undermining of moral thought, knowledge, truth and action is therefore counter to the long term good of our civilisation. KFkairosfocus
May 29, 2018
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JDK, rephrasing the admission that on certain views morality is a human delusion that perceives an obligation not matched to anything fundamental in reality (not just the physical world) does not change the force of our minds then being pervaded by a major delusion. On such a theme, grand delusion is the direct consequence, self-referentially undermining the life of the mind. Further to this, social relativism also ends in serious consequences as I have summarised by citing LV's helpful chapter summary. KFkairosfocus
May 29, 2018
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@
[JDK Sev:] “You consistently ignore the possibility that a consensus morality can be achieved through inter-subjective agreement.” [SM:] Discounting it as useless is not ignoring it. You’re making the very error you’re accusing BA[77] of.
Dismissing it as useless out of hand is just a way of ignoring it.
A consensus morality is about as useful as any other consensus. There was once a scientific consensus that the Earth was the centre of our universe. It was wrong.
Positing the Earth as the center of the Universe is a claim out what is. We were able to determine whether it was true or false by comparing it to what we observed. Moral claims are not about what is but about how we ought to behave, primarily towards one another. They are not capable of being either true or false.
The problem with a consensus morality formed by flawed people ought to be obvious but just to make it plain: It is guaranteed to be wrong.
As above, a consensus morality is neither true nor false, right or wrong in any objective sense. If the consensus is that a society is made safer, more stable and generally beneficial by the voluntary adherence of all to agreed moral principles, then you could argue they are right in the sense of leading to what most if not all agree is a desirable outcome but that is all.
I again point to the caution by Lewis Vaughn:
Who is Lewis Vaughn?
. . . Subjective relativism is the view that an action is morally right if one approves of it. A person’s approval makes the action right.
In that person's view, not in any absolute or objective sense.
Subjective relativism, though, has some troubling implications. It implies that each person is morally infallible and that individuals can never have a genuine moral disagreement
No, subjective relativism does not necessarily entail moral infallibility. And far from precluding the possibility of genuine moral disagreement it actually allows it.
Some think that tolerance is entailed by cultural relativism. But there is no necessary connection between tolerance and the doctrine. Indeed, the cultural relativist cannot consistently advocate tolerance while maintaining his relativist standpoint. To advocate tolerance is to advocate an objective moral value. But if tolerance is an objective moral value, then cultural relativism must be false, because it says that there are no objective moral values.
It is perfectly possible to advocate for tolerance without claiming it is an objective moral value. In fact, it is necessary to advocate a subjective moral belief in order to persuade others to come to the same view. An objective moral value should need no advocacy, rather it should be possible to demonstrate its truth by comparing it to some observable reality.
Like subjective relativism, cultural relativism has some disturbing consequences. It implies that cultures are morally infallible, that social reformers can never be morally right, that moral disagreements between individuals in the same culture amount to arguments over whether they disagree with their culture, that other cultures cannot be legitimately criticized, and that moral progress is impossible.
Cultural relativism no more entails infallibility that does subjective relativism and none of the other claims follow necessarily from it. Who is Lewis Strange?Seversky
May 29, 2018
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kf, we are going over old ground: I got involved because you highlighted something I wrote in the OP. Something you don't seem to understand (I don't expect you to agree, but it would be nice if I thought you understood) is that yes, I agree that human beings have a moral nature, but that doesn't mean the universe as a whole has a moral nature. Therefore, the fact that I talk about right and wrong is not evidence for your position, as you seem to imply.jdk
May 29, 2018
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"I don’t see any objective evidence of a moral component to the world" None so blind as those unwilling to see. Your soaking in it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dzmTtusvjR4bornagain77
May 29, 2018
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kf, your "logic", like all metaphysical assertions, includes lots of assumptions that go beyond what we can really know. Your insistence that somehow logic compels the conclusion that the world has a moral component is exactly one of the examples that illustrates my point that "your belief in the power and importance of metaphysical philosophy is excessive and misguided." Please see 16 above.jdk
May 29, 2018
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JDK, This is what I had to say:
any metaphysics that does not include a rooting of morality then faces the problem that our thought life is pervaded by our sense of duty to truth, to right, to justice, to prudence, to logic and much more. This perception would then be a pervasive delusion, a grand delusion. Instantly, we have reduction of mind to delusion, and thence self-referential incoherence
The logic is correct and the fact of pervasion of morality in our thought life is even illustrated by how you expect that I ought to be concerned to be right. My point stands. KFkairosfocus
May 29, 2018
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More seriously, re 21, I don't see any objective evidence of a moral component to the world, but I do think there is both objective and subjective evidence for human beings having a moral nature. I know I have a moral nature.jdk
May 29, 2018
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Full of quotes by theists ...jdk
May 29, 2018
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Nothing says objective compelling evidence like a youtube video. :)Allan Keith
May 29, 2018
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jdk, regardless, your claim "So it is a logical possibility, and one not capable of being adjudicated by us, that the world as a whole has no moral component” is a false claim since we can empirically detect a 'moral component' to the world (as well as to ourselves).
Morality: Objective and Real or Subjective and Illusory? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnrrIvz8mSE
bornagain77
May 29, 2018
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to Allan. FWIW, I'm currently reading a book that I found out about here on UD, "What Is Real?: The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics", by Adam Becker. It is more about the history philosophy of the interpretation of what quantum physics means about the nature of reality than it is about the specifics of quantum mechanics (This is good for me because I'm fairly familiar with a layperson's understanding of QM, although people without that background might have a harder time understanding the significance of the philosophy.) Anyway a strand of major debate runs through the last 80 years or so about whether we are justified in making drawing conclusions about some reality (which might be called metaphysical) that lies behind "the quantum curtan", inaccessible to us because of the nature of how QM phenomena present themselves to us. Another issue being discussed in the book is whether and how the metaphysical issues of QM impact or are relevant to the macro-world. So this has all been interesting, and I'm just up to the 60's: in fact, reading about Kuhn's book on scientific revolutions right now. So, in respect to your question, "But can’t science be used to study the impact of the metaphysical on the material world?", I would say that there have been several different schools of philosophical thought about this. I lean towards seeing metaphysical beliefs as useful structures, but not accessible to being declared "true" structures. However, I'm really enjoying how the book presents different possible answers to this question. Got to hurry off now ...jdk
May 29, 2018
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djk, >blockquote>No, science is about learning about the physical world. Science can’t investigate the metaphysical. But can't science be used to study the impact of the metaphysical on the material world?Allan Keith
May 29, 2018
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Just to be clear, I did not say, "the world as a whole has no moral component." I don't know whether that is true or not, but whether it does or not, I believe that human beings have a moral nature. What I said was,
So it is a logical possibility, and one not capable of being adjudicated by us, that the world as a whole has no moral component.
Completely and accurately quoting me would be nice.jdk
May 29, 2018
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"the world as a whole has no moral component." As usual, jdk is making a patently false claim.
Morality: Objective and Real or Subjective and Illusory? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnrrIvz8mSE
bornagain77
May 29, 2018
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"Such a metaphysics undercuts itself decisively." Such a metaphysics undercuts a lot of things that you think are essential, but that doesn't mean you are right. What you think ought to be true, and want to be true, really has no effect on how the world actually is. So it is a logical possibility, and one not capable of being adjudicated by us, that the world as a whole has no moral component.jdk
May 29, 2018
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F/N: Time stamps I see bear no relationship to any reasonable time zone, is WP being buggy? BTW, I also note stickiness as a common problem on the recent comments gadget. KFkairosfocus
May 29, 2018
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JDK, any metaphysics that does not include a rooting of morality then faces the problem that our thought life is pervaded by our sense of duty to truth, to right, to justice, to prudence, to logic and much more. This perception would then be a pervasive delusion, a grand delusion. Instantly, we have reduction of mind to delusion, and thence self-referential incoherence: via an infinite cascade of Plato's cave worlds. Such a metaphysics undercuts itself decisively. And, evolutionary materialism is only one case in point, through it is a quite relevant one in our civilisation. KFkairosfocus
May 29, 2018
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at 10: "science is about learning about the physical world. Science can’t investigate the metaphysical." Wrong again. Science is impossible without metaphysics, especially logic and mathematics.
Metaphysics Excerpt: Like mathematics, metaphysics is a non-empirical study which is conducted using logical thought alone. Like foundational mathematics (which is sometimes considered a special case of metaphysics https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metaphysics
Moreover, both logic and mathematics, though absolutely essential for science, are immaterial.
Naturalism and Self-Refutation - Michael Egnor - January 31, 2018 Excerpt: Furthermore, the very framework of Clark’s argument — logic — is neither material nor natural. Logic, after all, doesn’t exist “in the space-time continuum” and isn’t described by physics. What is the location of modus ponens? How much does Gödel’s incompleteness theorem weigh? What is the physics of non-contradiction? How many millimeters long is Clark’s argument for naturalism? Ironically the very logic that Clark employs to argue for naturalism is outside of any naturalistic frame. The strength of Clark’s defense of naturalism is that it is an attempt to present naturalism’s tenets clearly and logically. That is its weakness as well, because it exposes naturalism to scrutiny, and naturalism cannot withstand even minimal scrutiny. Even to define naturalism is to refute it. https://evolutionnews.org/2018/01/naturalism-and-self-refutation/ What Does It Mean to Say That Science & Religion Conflict? - M. Anthony Mills - April 16, 2018 Excerpt: In fact, more problematic for the materialist than the non-existence of persons is the existence of mathematics. Why? Although a committed materialist might be perfectly willing to accept that you do not really exist, he will have a harder time accepting that numbers do not exist. The trouble is that numbers — along with other mathematical entities such as classes, sets, and functions — are indispensable for modern science. And yet — here’s the rub — these “abstract objects” are not material. Thus, one cannot take science as the only sure guide to reality and at the same time discount disbelief in all immaterial realities. https://www.realclearreligion.org/articles/2018/04/16/what_does_it_mean_to_say_that_science_and_religion_conflict.html An Interview with David Berlinski - Jonathan Witt Berlinski: There is no argument against religion that is not also an argument against mathematics. Mathematicians are capable of grasping a world of objects that lies beyond space and time…. Interviewer:… Come again(?) … Berlinski: No need to come again: I got to where I was going the first time. The number four, after all, did not come into existence at a particular time, and it is not going to go out of existence at another time. It is neither here nor there. Nonetheless we are in some sense able to grasp the number by a faculty of our minds. Mathematical intuition is utterly mysterious. So for that matter is the fact that mathematical objects such as a Lie Group or a differentiable manifold have the power to interact with elementary particles or accelerating forces. But these are precisely the claims that theologians have always made as well – that human beings are capable by an exercise of their devotional abilities to come to some understanding of the deity; and the deity, although beyond space and time, is capable of interacting with material objects. http://tofspot.blogspot.com/2013/10/found-upon-web-and-reprinted-here.html
Thus, once again, atheistic materialism is, by its very nature, shown to be unscientific. Moreover, the fact that the 'metaphysics' of mathematics imposes itself so forcefully on the physical domain (i.e. physics) is considered nothing less than a miracle by both Wigner and Einstein:
The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences - Eugene Wigner - 1960 Excerpt: ,,certainly it is hard to believe that our reasoning power was brought, by Darwin's process of natural selection, to the perfection which it seems to possess.,,, It is difficult to avoid the impression that a miracle confronts us here, quite comparable in its striking nature to the miracle that the human mind can string a thousand arguments together without getting itself into contradictions, or to the two miracles of the existence of laws of nature and of the human mind's capacity to divine them.,,, The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. We should be grateful for it and hope that it will remain valid in future research and that it will extend, for better or for worse, to our pleasure, even though perhaps also to our bafflement, to wide branches of learning. http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc/MathDrama/reading/Wigner.html On the Rational Order of the World: a Letter to Maurice Solovine - Albert Einstein - March 30, 1952 Excerpt: "You find it strange that I consider the comprehensibility of the world (to the extent that we are authorized to speak of such a comprehensibility) as a miracle or as an eternal mystery. Well, a priori, one should expect a chaotic world, which cannot be grasped by the mind in any way .. the kind of order created by Newton's theory of gravitation, for example, is wholly different. Even if a man proposes the axioms of the theory, the success of such a project presupposes a high degree of ordering of the objective world, and this could not be expected a priori. That is the 'miracle' which is constantly reinforced as our knowledge expands. There lies the weakness of positivists and professional atheists who are elated because they feel that they have not only successfully rid the world of gods but “bared the miracles." -Albert Einstein http://inters.org/Einstein-Letter-Solovine
bornagain77
May 29, 2018
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That's right: some metaphysics would not include a moral component. That may in fact be the way the world is.jdk
May 29, 2018
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F/N: I clip BBC's summary on Taoism, as a point of reference:
Taoism at a glance http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/taoism/ataglance/glance.shtml Taoism is an ancient tradition of philosophy and religious belief that is deeply rooted in Chinese customs and worldview. Taoism is also referred to as Daoism, which is a more accurate way of representing in English the sound of the Chinese word. Taoism is about the Tao. This is usually translated as the Way. But it's hard to say exactly what this means. The Tao is the ultimate creative principle of the universe. All things are unified and connected in the Tao. Taoism originated in China 2000 years ago It is a religion of unity and opposites; Yin and Yang. The principle of Yin Yang sees the world as filled with complementary forces - action and non-action, light and dark, hot and cold, and so on The Tao is not God and is not worshipped. Taoism includes many deities, that are worshipped in Taoist temples, they are part of the universe and depend, like everything, on the Tao Taoism promotes: achieving harmony or union with nature the pursuit of spiritual immortality being 'virtuous' (but not ostentatiously so) self-development Taoist practices include: meditation feng shui fortune telling reading and chanting of scriptures Before the Communist revolution fifty years ago, Taoism was one of the strongest religions in China. After a campaign to destroy non-Communist religion, however, the numbers significantly reduced, and it has become difficult to assess the statistical popularity of Taoism in the world. The 2001 census recorded 3,500 Taoists in England and Wales.
While Taoism obviously proposes a natural law ethical framework (in some ways rather like stoicism), it does not ground such. Nor does JDK's summary of its conception of the divine seem to be accurate. Perhaps, JDK is familiar with a variant form. If that form proposes a world-root being and that the way it advocates is reflective of the character of that being, such would be a form of ethical theism; and that is enough for our purposes -- the God of the philosophers is fine for current concerns. If not, and the Tao seemingly stands on its own as the nature of things, then we are right back to ungrounded ought, along with the need to resolve the problem of the one and the many. Besides, insofar as morality is about choice, duty, rights etc, it is inherently about responsible, rational, substantially free agents. The way is not just there, it needs to speak to the world of the personal. So, it seems likely that JDK has ended up in agreement, if he has actually proposed a world-root level bridging of IS and OUGHT. If instead he leaves the Tao as an impersonal essence embedded somehow in the cosmos but not connected to God as world root being, the coherence of cosmos falls apart -- despite the claims on unifying and creativity. Perhaps, he means a sort of impersonal pantheistic concept, which is again a world root being conceived of as root of the moral, but which fails to address the character of morality as in material part a function of agency, that is the world of personal being not impersonal entities. We are back to variants, somewhat imperfect, on the same basic point as made. KFkairosfocus
May 29, 2018
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No, science is about learning about the physical world. Science can't investigate the metaphysical.jdk
May 29, 2018
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