Re: ESSAY: 'Debunking 'Hippy dippy moral philosophy'

From: Marc Geddes (
Date: Wed Jun 16 2004 - 23:14:28 MDT

--- fudley <> wrote: > On Wed, 16
Jun 2004 13:28:21 -0400, "Randall
> Randall"
> Randall Randall <>
> > supposing the existence of morality which has
> > physical consequences like, say, gravity,
> Even in the unlikely event that morality turns out
> to be a force of
> nature Iíd feel no more obligation to do what it
> says than to do what
> gravity says and always keep my feet on the ground.

So you'd be quite happy to jump off a 200 feet cliff
without a parachute?
> > humans will turn out to have no ability to measure
> the
> > morality of an action?
> Even if morality is objective I would not feel bound
> to follow its
> precepts because the probability of those physical
> consequences
> corresponding to something that would make me happy
> are purely random.
> Of course objective morality might say I shouldnít
> care if Iím happy, or
> it might say I should care, I donít know and I donít
> care what it says.

I would dispute your assertion that: 'the probablity
of those physical consequences corresponding to
something that would make me happy are purely random'

Remember if morality is objective it is in some sense
a fundamental property written into the structure of
the universe. So it was present during the very
proccess of human evolution itself, placing certain
limits of how humans turned out. I should be quick to
add that I'm not advocating some mystical or
teleological force at work here. I'm just saying that
physical law and objective morality would not be
seperate, and physical laws do place some limitations
on evolution (although there was a great deal of
randomness, the laws of physics didn't allow for
infinite degrees of freedom). Read up on complexity
> > The term "objective" presupposes evidence, and
> therefore, a "reason".
> Believers in this concept claim there is evidence
> that morality exists
> outside the individual, they do not offer a reason
> you should follow
> this morality.
> Objective morality is related to ultimate good and
> it is supposed to be
> the end to a long chain of "why" questions, you
> don't ask why you should
> do good. The religious take the "why" chain one more
> step and say
> "because God want it that way" but you must never
> ask "why should I do
> what God wants". The entire objective morality thing
> is downright
> medieval.

It's the total opposite of medieval. By medieval I
presume you mean belief in the supernatural and
unquestioning dogma. Objective morality is the
opposite. It proposes to treat moral questions as
another branch of science, which can be investigated
through empirical observation and the use of reason.
And objective morality would also imply a reasoned
explanation as to why you should follow it.

If anything is medieval it's the current view of
morality as a subjective social construct i.e follow
the government unquestionably, it's all what you feel
like doing etc.

> > "People have nothing to do with it" is a specific
> hypothesis
> > about an objective morality,
> Well, I concede there may be some things nearly all
> people try to avoid
> because it makes them unhappy and some things most
> people try to embrace
> because it makes them happy, but wait a minute,
> there is a word for that
> sort of thing, subjective.

You seem to be confused about the term 'subjective'.
Perhaps I didn't explain clearly. There is a
difference between subjective experience (what one
directly feels or wants) and subjective knowledge
(what one believes). When I was using the term
'subjective' I was referring to subjective
belief/knowledge. By 'objective ' morality I just
meant that I thought moral KNOWLEDGE existed external
to the person. But that doesn't preclude a
correlation with subjective EXPERIENCE.

> > and your confident assertion that this is so
> contradicts
> > your assertion that no such thing exists.
> My confident assertion is that if objective morality
> exists it is of
> absolutely no interest to me, but Iím a libertarian,
> if you want to run
> you life by what that silly little meter says be my
> guest.
> > All your arguments work equally well to 'prove'
> that there
> > is no such thing as an objective temperature.
> I like some things and dislike others and will act
> to maximize one and
> minimize the other, and the reading on the
> ridiculous meter will not
> change the consequences of those actions in the
> slightest under any
> circumstances. However if the meter registers
> temperature not ethics and
> it reads 100 degrees below zero and my action is to
> walk around in a
> Speedo there will be consequences regardless of my
> subjective estimate
> of the temperature.
> John K Clark

I repeat: Objective knowledge can correlate with
subjective experience. Objective morality would be
correlated to empirical facts. So following or not it
following would certainly have consequences.

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