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    Thread: Dreamviews philosophy subforum sucks balls (so let's talk meta-ethics)

    1. #1
      I am become fish pear Abra's Avatar
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      Dreamviews philosophy subforum sucks balls (so let's talk meta-ethics)

      Why does this subforum suck so hard? Honestly, nearly every single goddamn thread sounds like a pondering a stoner could come up with or asks for an opinion, or contains largely opinions with a lack of rigorous justification, and practically no threads discuss any academic philosophical problems.

      So anyway, let's discuss the sexiness that is moral error theory, which basically makes the claim that all positive moral claims are false.

      According to moral error theory:

      "Killing babies is morally permissible" is false.
      "Eating animals is wrong" is false.
      "Altruism is good" is false.

      "Killing babies is not wrong" however is a negative moral claim, so it isn't necessarily false. It could be true or false.

      One major objection to moral error theory is that this leads to contradictions.

      According to moral error theory, "killing babies is morally permissible" is false. And "killing babies is wrong" is false. That would make the opposite claim true, i.e. "killing babies is not wrong" is true. This is linguistically equivalent to saying "killing babies is morally permissible" is true. But, fuck, we started out this argument by saying that very statement is false. This contradiction means moral error theory is shitty, right?

      WRONG-O, turns out that objection is invalid.

      "That which is not wrong is morally permissible" is a positive moral claim, so under moral error theory this statement would be false. That means "killing babies is not wrong" is not logically equivalent to saying "killing babies is morally permissible." So there is no contradiction, and moral error theory stands hard as a rock.

      Discuss.
      Last edited by Abra; 12-13-2012 at 12:40 AM.
      Abraxas

      Quote Originally Posted by OldSparta
      I murdered someone, there was bloody everywhere. On the walls, on my hands. The air smelled metallic, like iron. My mouth... tasted metallic, like iron. The floor was metallic, probably iron

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      D.V. Editor-in-Chief Original Poster's Avatar
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      Firstly I think you're comparison between stoner conversation and this sub-forum already reveals your narrow mindedness. It appears you don't like subjects that challenge fundamental assumptions. In fact the entire format of your thread is very sophist.

      For instance, you have not sufficiently explained why moral error theory is a valid concept to begin with. Shouldn't you at least go into greater detail as to why moral error theory makes that claim? I don't see the purpose in discussing whether or not moral error theory is paradoxical if I don't even know why it warrants discussion on its own.

      I'm at best some sort of Humean, stoic, evolutionary ethicist and at worst a complete epistemological relativist. I can't even converse with you on the subject of moral error theory from the parameters you have set because true and false are not terms I would utilize when discussing morals. So it appears you've had the same effect on me that this subforum's stoner conversation material has had on you.
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      I am become fish pear Abra's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      Firstly I think you're comparison between stoner conversation and this sub-forum already reveals your narrow mindedness. It appears you don't like subjects that challenge fundamental assumptions. In fact the entire format of your thread is very sophist.

      For instance, you have not sufficiently explained why moral error theory is a valid concept to begin with. Shouldn't you at least go into greater detail as to why moral error theory makes that claim? I don't see the purpose in discussing whether or not moral error theory is paradoxical if I don't even know why it warrants discussion on its own.

      I'm at best some sort of Humean, stoic, evolutionary ethicist and at worst a complete epistemological relativist. I can't even converse with you on the subject of moral error theory from the parameters you have set because true and false are not terms I would utilize when discussing morals. So it appears you've had the same effect on me that this subforum's stoner conversation material has had on you.
      The stoner comment was specifically inserted to troll stoners. Looks like I ruffled your feathers, there. As for your second sentence: holy shit! A philosophy thread that wants to discuss whether an assumed framework is consistent?! We can't have that, as that is clearly not philosophy. Oh wait yes it is.

      I made this thread to talk to people who already know what moral error theory is. Here's a general summary that you could've looked up on your own, with a reference to an entire paper which I don't currently have the time to summarize (maybe some time next week though). The point of this thread is to see whether my objection to the contradiction objection is sound, not to discuss the merits of moral error theory.
      Last edited by Abra; 12-13-2012 at 05:04 AM.
      Abraxas

      Quote Originally Posted by OldSparta
      I murdered someone, there was bloody everywhere. On the walls, on my hands. The air smelled metallic, like iron. My mouth... tasted metallic, like iron. The floor was metallic, probably iron

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      Xei
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      You haven't defined what a positive claim is. I have a feeling that either the concept is inconsistent, or else a proper definition trivialises the whole thing; but I'll let you respond of course.

      To suggest an answer based on the examples you gave though, positive moral statements are all of the form "X is good" or "X is bad". 'Wrong' and 'permissible' are two antonyms. That is to say, synonyms. Contrariwise.

      Is that true?

      But then it seems that negative moral statements are of the form "X is not good", but then semantically this seems like it should be equivalent to "X is bad", which is a positive moral statement.

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      Having no idea what a moral error theory is, I innocently clicked on this thread and - as I read your original post and tried to interpret what it means - I realized I walked into a grammar nazi orgy and got surprised from behind. Why do you want to make me Google a new term this early in the morning? I mean, granted, its not a Monday, and I've even already had some coffee

      But, day-um.

      Your feathers were rustled first, before anyone else because evidently you don"t like hippies I'm sorry. And then you jumped on someone else because they looked at what you posted, scratched their head, and no doubt said, WTF.

      Thank you for the laugh, happy Thursday to you, from a hippie. Who is still going WTF lol.
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      Now that we've had the obligatory upset hippie, let's continue.

      I read the section of the Wikipedia article you linked, Abra. The second argument in particular interests me, as it operates against moral universalism. I must state that I know little about moral error theory beyond what I read in that article, but I can say that the argument made there seems to me to be circumvented by moral relativism, in as much as it allows for real moral claims without congruity across all people. Although perhaps that's exactly the point that I'm missing.

      As a side note, I feel like the world would be a much happier place is more people had a genuine understanding of meta-ethical moral relativism and its normative implications.

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      I'm clueless as to why you think I was upset. I wasn't. I was merely attempting to explain that trying to confine conversations to specific courses taught in philosophy class is a poor style of philosophy, in my opinion. This thread simply stinks of elitist pseudo-intellectualism and frankly the OP came off snobbish. But again, just because I see no value in OP's attitude regarding what warrants philosophical discussion, that doesn't mean I was upset. Xei explained my problem with the OP more thoroughly than I could. Now that I've read a little on moral error theory, let me explain my problem that I just sort of vaguely mentioned originally. It's not that all moral claims are false, it's simply that no moral claim is true. Whether it's a positive one or not, it's not true. But that doesn't make it false. It comes down to simple epistemology. Claims are interpretations of reality, and can never represent reality with complete accuracy. Any position aside from moral skepticism appears ridiculous once you consider the fact that words can't even define reality to begin with, let alone right and wrong.

      As I've said before, true skepticism is not cynicism regarding obscure claims. It requires a disbelief in even the most basic knowledge. And it requires one to see past true and false. Even if such things as universal morals did exist somehow, none of us can possibly know what they are, we will still continue to justify our actions based upon our unique model of reality. And I agree with supernova, if we took some time to realize this we could solve a lot of disagreements.
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    8. #8
      I am become fish pear Abra's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Xei View Post
      You haven't defined what a positive claim is. I have a feeling that either the concept is inconsistent, or else a proper definition trivialises the whole thing; but I'll let you respond of course.

      To suggest an answer based on the examples you gave though, positive moral statements are all of the form "X is good" or "X is bad". 'Wrong' and 'permissible' are two antonyms. That is to say, synonyms. Contrariwise.

      Is that true?

      But then it seems that negative moral statements are of the form "X is not good", but then semantically this seems like it should be equivalent to "X is bad", which is a positive moral statement.
      I am still trying to figure out what constitutes a positive moral claim myself. Because if it is just a statement which positively attributes a moral quality to some action or thing, then it seems that "that which is not good is bad" is a positive moral claim, being positive in that it is claiming something has the moral attribute of being bad, which under moral error theory would be false. So they are not logically synonymous, though intuition makes us think they are. Still waiting on someone from my uni to get back to me on this (what exactly constitutes a positive moral claim), was trying to see if anyone on Dreamviews had a clue.

      I think moral error theory is awesome, so I'm trying to defend it by refuting an objection. Of course, I want to see if there's something wrong with my formulation. The only error I could see is that making positive moral claims about moral terms is somehow different than making positive moral claims about actions and non-moral things, but I can't see any relevant difference besides "one is a moral term and the other is not," and blasting my argument based on that difference alone would be a pretty unfounded blast, more like a squirt.

      I also think that "killing babies is wrong" is false, but "I believe killing babies is wrong" is true, granted that is what I actually believe. When I add "I believe" to it, it paints moral claims as a desired state of affairs that I have. But saying "killing babies is wrong" universally, or in general, is false. I will probably make a thread on moral error theory and/or subjective relativism in general once I figure the positive moral claim thing out.
      Last edited by Abra; 12-13-2012 at 07:04 PM.
      Abraxas

      Quote Originally Posted by OldSparta
      I murdered someone, there was bloody everywhere. On the walls, on my hands. The air smelled metallic, like iron. My mouth... tasted metallic, like iron. The floor was metallic, probably iron

    9. #9
      Member blackbirdrising's Avatar
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      Sometimes, all it takes is a little Captain Picard.

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      I am become fish pear Abra's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Original Poster View Post
      blah blah irrelevant blah

      Xei explained my problem with the OP more thoroughly than I could. Now that I've read a little on moral error theory, let me explain my problem that I just sort of vaguely mentioned originally. It's not that all moral claims are false, it's simply that no moral claim is true. Whether it's a positive one or not, it's not true. But that doesn't make it false. It comes down to simple epistemology. Claims are interpretations of reality, and can never represent reality with complete accuracy. Any position aside from moral skepticism appears ridiculous once you consider the fact that words can't even define reality to begin with, let alone right and wrong.
      This leads to irrefutable contradiction, tho, which is why most peeps have altered the original formulation such that all positive moral claims are false, rather than all moral claims.

      Also, it appears you don't believe in the law of excluded middle.

      And you believe moral claims are not truth-apt.

      But you only need one of these beliefs to state a position.

      Are you a skeptic of all knowledge, or just moral knowledge? Also, you've assumed quite a lot about me from this thread, and a lot of what you've assumed is false. I am a moral skeptic, that doesn't mean I can't discuss a viewpoint that is gnostic. In fact, it shows I have the opposite of a narrow-mind.

      @blackbirdrising: I am a stoner and a pacifist vegetarian. I guess that'd make me a hippie. I like to berate myself in my own threads. :3

      >inb4 you can't be a moral skeptic and claim every positive moral claim is false

      I don't have a good argument right now for why moral skepticism holds equal ground as moral error theory in my mind, but the gist of it is that it does not make sense to attribute things with "good" or "bad" in the first place (try to give me a logical argument that concludes with "X is bad" and I will show you an illegal move, or at least a move that requires further justification). So anything that claims something is good or bad is false, because nothing is good or bad.

      Also, we can't "know for sure" if any given negative moral claim is true.

      But I guess claiming to know that nothing can have the attribute of being good or bad is different from claiming it is unprovable that something is good or bad. Practically, I agree with moral error theory. Epistemologically, I am forced to agree with moral skepticism.
      Last edited by anderj101; 03-20-2013 at 04:11 AM. Reason: Merged
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      Abraxas

      Quote Originally Posted by OldSparta
      I murdered someone, there was bloody everywhere. On the walls, on my hands. The air smelled metallic, like iron. My mouth... tasted metallic, like iron. The floor was metallic, probably iron

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      Quote Originally Posted by Abra View Post
      Why does this subforum suck so hard? Honestly, nearly every single goddamn thread sounds like a pondering a stoner could come up with or asks for an opinion, or contains largely opinions with a lack of rigorous justification, and practically no threads discuss any academic philosophical problems.

      So anyway, let's discuss the sexiness that is moral error theory, which basically makes the claim that all positive moral claims are false.

      According to moral error theory:

      "Killing babies is morally permissible" is false.
      "Eating animals is wrong" is false.
      "Altruism is good" is false.

      "Killing babies is not wrong" however is a negative moral claim, so it isn't necessarily false. It could be true or false.

      One major objection to moral error theory is that this leads to contradictions.

      According to moral error theory, "killing babies is morally permissible" is false. And "killing babies is wrong" is false. That would make the opposite claim true, i.e. "killing babies is not wrong" is true. This is linguistically equivalent to saying "killing babies is morally permissible" is true. But, fuck, we started out this argument by saying that very statement is false. This contradiction means moral error theory is shitty, right?

      WRONG-O, turns out that objection is invalid.

      "That which is not wrong is morally permissible" is a positive moral claim, so under moral error theory this statement would be false. That means "killing babies is not wrong" is not logically equivalent to saying "killing babies is morally permissible." So there is no contradiction, and moral error theory stands hard as a rock.

      Discuss.
      what

    12. #12
      I am become fish pear Abra's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by ♥Mark View Post
      what
      read the rest of the thread, mrak.
      Abraxas

      Quote Originally Posted by OldSparta
      I murdered someone, there was bloody everywhere. On the walls, on my hands. The air smelled metallic, like iron. My mouth... tasted metallic, like iron. The floor was metallic, probably iron

    13. #13
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      Quote Originally Posted by Abra View Post
      This leads to irrefutable contradiction, tho, which is why most peeps have altered the original formulation such that all positive moral claims are false, rather than all moral claims.

      Also, it appears you don't believe in the law of excluded middle.

      And you believe moral claims are not truth-apt.

      But you only need one of these beliefs to state a position.

      Are you a skeptic of all knowledge, or just moral knowledge? Also, you've assumed quite a lot about me from this thread, and a lot of what you've assumed is false. I am a moral skeptic, that doesn't mean I can't discuss a viewpoint that is gnostic. In fact, it shows I have the opposite of a narrow-mind.

      @blackbirdrising: I am a stoner and a pacifist vegetarian. I guess that'd make me a hippie. I like to berate myself in my own threads. :3
      Right, like I said in my first post in this thread, I am at best a Humean, stoic, evolutionary ethicist and at worst a complete epistemological relativist. I do not believe it is within human capacity to have knowledge, and confusing a belief with knowledge leads to the same problems as universal moralism. The claim makes sense that if you have two contradictory ideas, one must be true and the other must be false. However, that has absolutely nothing to do with what I know. I can't say for certain which is true and which is false. I'm not trying to include a middle, I'm merely aware of the fact that I know nothing. Claims cannot be ruled true or false by any amount of logic or reasoning. They can at best be labeled probable or improbable, and even that is pushing it.

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      I'd say because all philosophy besides science is as boring as hell (and not really existent). Any claims about morals really have to talk about them in relation to the goals they serve such as satisfying empathy, providing safe environments, and maximizing productive prosperity.

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      You argument in favor of a science is an epistemological argument in the first place. Philosophy remains relevant. Good day.
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      Hence, me saying all philosophy besides science. lol

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      ...And epistemology, apparently.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      besides science, yes.

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      Are you trolling? This sounds like something I'd say if I were trolling.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      Prove me wrong.

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      Prove what wrong? You just made an epistemological argument that all philosophy which isn't science (including epistemology) is irrelevant. Do you not understand the face-palm here?

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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      All of the topics under the modern study of "Philosophy" (like the nature of objects, casualty, determinism/indeterminism, mental states, and brain-experience relation) are only really asking questions dealt with by science.
      Last edited by Wayfaerer; 01-06-2013 at 08:18 PM.

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      Do you even know what epistemology means?
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      It's the study of how we should define and obtain "knowledge". A good evidence-based scientific method seems to lead to the most beautiful, useful, and interesting outcomes. Doesn't seem like there's any other "epistemology" of obtaining knowledge worth spending time on. I'm not really sure how other people try to define "knowledge" but I only see it making sense as the most evidence-supported claims, and not exactly what's "true" in any absolute sense.
      Last edited by Wayfaerer; 01-07-2013 at 05:50 PM.

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      You are making an argument about what knowledge is useful and what isn't, and on what type of thinking is useful and what isn't. Epistemological relativism is the argument that all knowledge depends upon unproven posits, including scientific knowledge. By the very fact that I can even make an argument in return to yours that you cannot prove scientifically gathered knowledge is more true than any other information, I prove the point that science is not the end of philosophical thinking.

      Everything works out in the end, sometimes even badly.


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