Saturday, October 15, 2016

Good without God?

 Where does the objectively valid moral standard come from for being moral except from religion, or at least metaphysics (something like the Form of the Good).  If on the other hand it is subjective whether something is right or wrong, then all we mean by being moral is that we like what they do. If that is all you mean, then, sure, there are plenty of nonreligious people who meet that standard. But is that interesting?


50 comments:

Legion of Logic said...

Let's say we discover an island civilization or some deep Amazon tribe. For the entire known history of this society, they have considered it virtuous to forcibly rape as many women as possible in order to spread their seed far and wide. The women of this society, of course, are essentially slaves, yet have neither known nor heard of any other way of life.

Trick question: On what grounds, other than personal opinion, does an atheist express moral outrage against this society?

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: "On what grounds, other than personal opinion, does an atheist express moral outrage against this society?"

You should look into a moral theory called ideal observer. Also, similarly, Desirism.

If one accepts that other sentient beings exist, and that those fellow sentient beings also have desires (to do things, and to not have things done to them), then the rest is just a matter of politics. Which kind of explains morality, I think.

John Moore said...

You can scatter many seeds far and wide, but that doesn't necessarily mean you will spread more of your genes down to the third or fourth generations. Remember the parable of the sower. There is moral value in fertile soil and patient cultivation.

Crude said...

If one accepts that other sentient beings exist, and that those fellow sentient beings also have desires (to do things, and to not have things done to them), then the rest is just a matter of politics.

'So long as you grant me a huge number of assumptions and also pretend I didn't make any assumptions then POW it's easy.'

Legion of Logic said...

"You should look into a moral theory called ideal observer. Also, similarly, Desirism."

Ideal observer? I suspect that everyone's idea of this hypothetical ideal observer would closely align with their own morality, so I don't see how this is even remotely useful in any real-world situation.

Far as desirism goes, that's great if you subscribe to it, but it again rests upon an assumed premise - the thwarting of others' desires is "wrong". If it can't be demonstrated that it's wrong, other than as an opinion, then neither the ideal observer nor desirism gives actual grounds to condemn my hypothetical society. That's no different that if I was personally offended by the color pink, and considered any male wearing pink to be immoral because that was the position I subscribed to. Is a man in a pink shirt thus behaving immorally simply because I believe it?

"You can scatter many seeds far and wide, but that doesn't necessarily mean you will spread more of your genes down to the third or fourth generations."

They don't know much about genetics at this point in their development.

John Moore said...

"They don't know much about genetics at this point in their development."

They don't need to know. It's instinctual, or also in the culture. There never was an actual uncaring culture, because that's a losing strategy.

Whales evolved from dog-like creatures, even though they had no idea about evolution. We're talking about what actually happens.

Legion of Logic said...

"We're talking about what actually happens."

Interesting that you are telling me how it is in my hypothetical society, but very well. Let's use an Arab country that requires multiple witnesses for a woman to prove she was raped, otherwise she can be imprisoned and beaten.

bmiller said...

@ Legion of Logic,

Ghengis Khan "actually happened". As I recall, John concluded that he was "one of the most moral guys ever". His story is not too much different than your first scenario.

From http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/02/0214_030214_genghis.html:
Khan's empire at the time of his death extended across Asia, from the Pacific Ocean to the Caspian Sea. His military conquests were frequently characterized by the wholesale slaughter of the vanquished. His descendants extended the empire and maintained power in the region for several hundred years, in civilizations in which harems and concubines were the norm. And the males were markedly prolific.

Khan's eldest son, Tushi, is reported to have had 40 sons. Documents written during or just after Khan's reign say that after a conquest, looting, pillaging, and rape were the spoils of war for all soldiers, but that Khan got first pick of the beautiful women. His grandson, Kubilai Khan, who established the Yuan Dynasty in China, had 22 legitimate sons, and was reported to have added 30 virgins to his harem each year.

Joe Hinman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe Hinman said...

Joe Hinman said...
Cal Metzger said...
Legion: "On what grounds, other than personal opinion, does an atheist express moral outrage against this society?"

You should look into a moral theory called ideal observer. Also, similarly, Desirism.

If one accepts that other sentient beings exist, and that those fellow sentient beings also have desires (to do things, and to not have things done to them), then the rest is just a matter of politics. Which kind of explains morality, I think.


you reduce morality to politics? so you grant that there is no valid basis for morlaity apart from God. so you grant the moral argument for God?

Joe Hinman said...

They don't know much about genetics at this point in their development."

They don't need to know. It's instinctual, or also in the culture. There never was an actual uncaring culture, because that's a losing strategy.

false there have been several. a famous article written I think in the 30 by an anthropologist who was disproving the moral argument who wrote about cultures in decline where there was no morality,people were paranoid and there was no natural affection, aONe was in south pacification one was native american. they isolated and obscure. Not the typical native Amerikcan.

Whales evolved from dog-like creatures, even though they had no idea about evolution. We're talking about what actually happens.

I think you are totally missimg the point

Joe Hinman said...

Ghengis Khan "actually happened". As I recall, John concluded that he was "one of the most moral guys ever". His story is not too much different than your first scenario


...John who?

bmiller said...

@Joe Hinman,

John Moore. Here:

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=10584495&postID=7816743185072340373

October 08, 2016 3:16 AM

Ilíon said...

When it comes to morality, it's not that 'atheists' want to toss out the baby with the bathwater, it's that they want to wash the baby without any bathwater ... or a basin.

Joe Hinman said...

bmiller said...
@Joe Hinman,

John Moore. Here:

his link here

October 08, 2016 3:16 AM

October 16, 2016 12:02 PM

John Moore said...

It just happened that Genghis Khan was extremely successful in passing along his genes. On the other hand, I made the point that we probably can't draw any lessons from Genghis Khan's life, because he was a special person living in his own historical period. In other words, we can't say raping and pillaging is moral. After all, if you or I started raping and pillaging right now, we'd get thrown in the slammer. It wouldn't be a successful strategy at all.

Goal-oriented ethics means measuring things by the actual outcome, so it's hard to make general rules. A simple rule probably wouldn't apply in all circumstances.

Joe Hinman said...

94 Comments - Hide Original Post
Some would make this argument. The parts of morality that are productive for society are those parts that religious and nonreligious people agree with (murder, theft, etc.). The parts of morality that religious people accept and nonreligious people reject are the parts of morality that are really harmful (such as opposition to homosexuality). Therefore whenever religion adds anything, it adds something counterproductive.

(1) the obvious response is that your argument begs the question, is it thye case tht ban on gayness is bad for society? that in itself is a discussiomn not a foregone conclusion., don't bet on what vie you think I hold. logically the argument beggs the question.

(2) what makes you think religion didn't invent normality itself? It was religious thinking that told us murder is wrong not secular thought. You can't prove murder is wrong logically without first stipulating the value of protecting life.the axioms you need to prove logically that murder is wrong are not grounded in logic. they are grounded in value.

at it's most basic level ethics is axiologoical.religion was the first arbiter of value


btw Metacrock's blog for Monday 10/17/16

Is Science undercutting the ground or belf in God?

Joe Hinman said...

John Moore said...
It just happened that Genghis Khan was extremely successful in passing along his genes. On the other hand, I made the point that we probably can't draw any lessons from Genghis Khan's life, because he was a special person living in his own historical period. In other words, we can't say raping and pillaging is moral. After all, if you or I started raping and pillaging right now, we'd get thrown in the slammer. It wouldn't be a successful strategy at all.

Goal-oriented ethics means measuring things by the actual outcome, so it's hard to make general rules. A simple rule probably wouldn't apply in all circumstances.


ethics is not about successful strategy., I am not interested in reducing right and wrong to gene frequency. this is symptomatic of the sickness of modernity.

Joe Hinman said...

ok I said "belf" instead of "belief." don't you know about belf? It was an art center in the renaissance. (Dyslexia)

John Moore said...

Joe Hinman makes a good point that we're approaching the whole topic of ethics from different angles. We'd need to translate these arguments into the other's language in order to understand each other.

If you say ethics is mainly about rules, I would ask "rules for what?"

If you say ethics is all about duty, I'd ask "Duty to whom, and why?"

Maybe we can both agree that ethics is all about what we should do. Why should we?

Legion of Logic said...

"On the other hand, I made the point that we probably can't draw any lessons from Genghis Khan's life, because he was a special person living in his own historical period. In other words, we can't say raping and pillaging is moral. After all, if you or I started raping and pillaging right now, we'd get thrown in the slammer. It wouldn't be a successful strategy at all."

Is this what passes for a condemnation of raping and pillaging?

grodrigues said...

"On the other hand, I made the point that we probably can't draw any lessons from Genghis Khan's life, because he was a special person living in his own historical period. In other words, we can't say raping and pillaging is moral."

Translation: "On the other hand, I made the point that we should not follow the logical consequences of my theory. I am just making stuff up as I go along."

Joe Hinman said...

John Moore said...
Joe Hinman makes a good point that we're approaching the whole topic of ethics from different angles. We'd need to translate these arguments into the other's language in order to understand each other.


thank you

If you say ethics is mainly about rules, I would ask "rules for what?"


there two major categories of ethical theory teleological or consequential and deontologiocal. One type of deontological is about rules,called, oddly enough, "ruel deontology." both are valid as ethical theories also most ethcists now days think teleological is wrong headed but the latter tends to be more popular because people not trained in ethical theory think it makes more sense. Deontologiocal ethic not focused om rules is about duty and obligation and rules are subset of that.In my own view I'm more of a deontological ethicist. It's not invalid to think ethics is about consequences but why I prefer one over the other is a complex discussion,


If you say ethics is all about duty, I'd ask "Duty to whom, and why?"

to whom depends upon your theory. As am ethical philosopher one thinks the good is based upon either consequences or keeping duty or obligation, or rules. then what kind of theorist will determine to whom. A christian ethicist thinks duty is to God. An atheist might thinkvdtuy or society per haps.


Maybe we can both agree that ethics is all about what we should do. Why should we?


that;s not adequate, we should do a lot of things, ethics is abouit what we do in relatiom to other people and how we treat them. that's why duty and obligation is about,

btw society is other people.duty to society isw dity to other people

Joe Hinman said...

On the other hand, I made the point that we probably can't draw any lessons from Genghis Khan's life, because he was a special person living in his own historical period. In other words, we can't say raping and pillaging is moral. After all, if you or I started raping and pillaging right now, we'd get thrown in the slammer. It wouldn't be a successful strategy at all."

Is this what passes for a condemnation of raping and pillaging?

I am not willing to nix raping and pillaging just on the consequence of going to jail. Nor am i interested in Genghis Khan as an ethical role
model

Ilíon said...

John Moore: "You can scatter many seeds far and wide, but that doesn't necessarily mean you will spread more of your genes down to the third or fourth generations. Remember the parable of the sower. There is moral value in fertile soil and patient cultivation."

John Moore has, probably inadvertently, given the lie to the foundation of the so-called "sexual revolution" ... and of much Darwinistic "reasoning".

Now, it must be understood that the "sexual revolution" didn't just happen; it was the culmination of at least a century of "patient cultivation" by sexual perverts of the lust that all people possess. An important part of this cultivation was to convince society-at-large that "evolution has programmed men to be sexually promiscuous" because, allegedly, "scatter[ing] many seeds far and wide" is the evolutionarily/reproductively most successful strategy for men.

But, the truth of the matter is, sexual promiscuity is not, and never has been, a successful, much less the most successful, reproductive strategy amongst human beings. On average, sexually promiscuous humans have fewer offspring, long-term, than sexually chaste humans do. This is, of course, blatantly true in the modern age of abortion and contraception -- for reproduction is the very last thing that sexually promiscuous persons desire -- but it has also always been the case in history.

It is the case, and always has been the case, and always will be the case, that the most successful long-tern reproductive strategies for human beings are those which most nearly align with, or conform to, the Judeo-Christian moral understanding of sexual expression.

Ilíon said...

John Moore: "Goal-oriented ethics means measuring things by the actual outcome ..."

Genghis Khan was "moral", because he succeeded. Adolph Hitler was "immoral", because he failed. Curiously, both would agree. At any rate, Hitler would agree that the German Volk were "immoral", because they were too weak to conquer the world.

John Moore: "Goal-oriented ethics means measuring things by the actual outcome, so it's hard to make general rules."

Translation: might makes right.

John Moore: "A simple rule probably wouldn't apply in all circumstances."

The Sovereign Creator disagrees: the Rule of Love applies in all circumstances.

bmiller said...

It's curious.

Why are no atheist readers jumping in to defend regarding Ghengis Khan John or tell him why he is wrong.

Very curious.

bmiller said...

oops.

rather:

Why are no atheist readers jumping in to defend John regarding Ghengis Khan or tell him why he is wrong.

Joe Hinman said...

John Moore: "Goal-oriented ethics means measuring things by the actual outcome ..."

This is why I said teleologocal ethics is poplar among people who don't study ethics. it seems practical, scientific, based upon results.The fallacy is it assumes a pre determined goal against which the result is judged. That requires a value system and would just as easily work as deontology. Teleologocal ethics requires a deontology to give it a goal toward which it works.

Edward T. Babinski said...

Dear Legion of Logic, When you can explain the differences in commands, behaviors (including Solomon's hundreds of wives and concubines) and divinely allocated punishments between the Old and New Testaments, then maybe we can begin to discuss so called absolute morality.

I don't view morality as having arisen via theories so much as via practice. The vast majority of people like being liked and hate being hated, ostracized, etc. And we all prefer feeling safe and secure rather than at the mercy of our neighbor's whims. Hence laws, police, etc. In a similar fashion we hate being at the mercy of nature's whims, hence insurance policies and disaster relief organizations, and the national heart association etc. The vast majority hate the idea of their lives or belongings being taken from them at someone else's whims, or via nature's incalculable accidents, diseases and disasters. So the idea, "Do not kill," began to take off rather easily, even "love your neighbor" began to catch on. It made sense. And with the advent of literacy and the writing of novels, and later, movies, TV, and the Internet, people gained added insight via seeing things through other people's eyes, seeing the pains, pleasures, hopes and fears of everyone else on the planet, including people of other races or despised cultures, and how similar they were with their own. The first lengthy narrative written by a slave of all that he went through affected people more directly and readily than anything written in the Bible.

Legion of Logic said...

Edward,

On what grounds would you condemn a wicked society? Popular opinion (aka might makes right)? Personal opinion?

Or would you not agree that there is such thing as a wicked society?

Ilíon said...

^ Closer to home: on what grounds does he object that *I* say that *he* is dishonest, and indeed, far worse that merely dishonest?

It *always* comes back to intellectual honesty.

Joe Hinman said...

Edward T. Babinski said...
Dear Legion of Logic, When you can explain the differences in commands, behaviors (including Solomon's hundreds of wives and concubines) and divinely allocated punishments between the Old and New Testaments, then maybe we can begin to discuss so called absolute morality.

I don't view morality as having arisen via theories so much as via practice. The vast majority of people like being liked and hate being hated, ostracized, etc. And we all prefer feeling safe and secure rather than at the mercy of our neighbor's whims.


Metacrock:You are still not dealing with meta ethical theory, you are not dealing with what makes something right or wrong. You are talking about what is not what should be,in philosophy this is called Hume's fork trying to get and ought from an is. can't do it.

We know that environmental and social factors create ethical behavior, or negate it, there appear to be some genetic building blocks and determiner kinds of behavior some of them overlap with ethical behavior (Paul says God put the moral law on our hearts so we should expect to find genetically influenced ethics in a Biblical universe).

Nevertheless none of that actually deals with how we what is right or why we should seek it.For that we need philosophical and theologically based ethical theory.

Joe Hinman said...

Legion of Logic said...
Edward,

On what grounds would you condemn a wicked society? Popular opinion (aka might makes right)? Personal opinion?

Or would you not agree that there is such thing as a wicked society?

I would like to know your answer to that too.Jut to start I will tell you my answer: share cultural value systems based upon traditions such as the Christian tradition for for social pratoce for personal ethical practoce of course the Christian traditiomn itself.

bmiller said...

@ John Moore,


"It just happened that Genghis Khan was extremely successful in passing along his genes. On the other hand, I made the point that we probably can't draw any lessons from Genghis Khan's life, because he was a special person living in his own historical period. In other words, we can't say raping and pillaging is moral. After all, if you or I started raping and pillaging right now, we'd get thrown in the slammer. It wouldn't be a successful strategy at all."


John,
Would you personally rape and pillage if you could get away with it? Would you actually live out your theory? After all, if the Genghis Kahn strategy was the most moral and successful strategy of all time, why would you not?

Cal Metzger said...

Legion: "Ideal observer? I suspect that everyone's idea of this hypothetical ideal observer would closely align with their own morality, so I don't see how this is even remotely useful in any real-world situation."

I don't think you understand the concept, then. In an Ideal Observer scenario, the morality is determined by the facts of all those beings who are affected by applying that morality. A version that might help solidify the concept for you is to consider the morality that a society might effect, and to then consider yourself inhabiting any of the roles within that society. From there it's pretty simple to see that the most reviled acts among humans (murder, rape) and the most consistently abjured (theft, deception, malingering, etc.), as well as the norms (basically, reciprocation) are all the result of recognizing the benefit and cost of individual actions and how they affect other individuals as well as the greater society.

You see, under Ideal Observer theory, rape IS bad, because given the chance to belong to a society in which rape is common because it's encouraged, and another in which rape is not common because it's discouraged, AND you are equally likely to be the rapist or the rapee, we will undoubtedly choose the society in which rape is prohibited.

So, not only is it kind of useful, it actually helps clarify and explain morality very nicely.

Legion: "Far as desirism goes, that's great if you subscribe to it, but it again rests upon an assumed premise - the thwarting of others' desires is "wrong"."

Hmm. Desirism isn't really something one ascribes to. Desirism is more of a proposal for organizing our thinking around morality. But what exactly is wrong with assuming that thwarting desires is wrong? Do you understand that EVERY moral theory has to make an assumption like this -- that the premise you think can't be demonstrated t is basically the crux of every moral theory?

Legion: "If it can't be demonstrated that it's wrong, other than as an opinion, then neither the ideal observer nor desirism gives actual grounds to condemn my hypothetical society."

This is the kind of thing people write when they don't understand the problems inherent in moral theory, and when they don't understand Ideal Observer or Desirism, and how these two systems actually propose the theoretical grounds for a moral system. They may not be practicable, but they are perfectly sound theoretically, and they both have the advantage of recognizing real things (sentient beings, relationships between sentient beings, and the desires of sentient beings) as opposed to imaginary or abstract things (gods, objective morals).

Legion: "That's no different that if I was personally offended by the color pink, and considered any male wearing pink to be immoral because that was the position I subscribed to. Is a man in a pink shirt thus behaving immorally simply because I believe it?"

Again, the above comment just demonstrates that you don't understand Ideal Observer, nor Desirism. I think that Desirism takes more work to understand (you can read about it here: http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=2982#basics ), but I don't think it takes that much effort to understand Ideal Observer.

Keith Barracks said...

@John Moore
@Cal Matzer
If evolution produces a tendency towards objective morality, along with religion, how can you be sure that the rest of your mind, and the way it processes the world, is reliable?

Science can't prove a thing without philosophical assumptions, like wether there is actually an external world, or if we are actually perceiving reality or not.

Cal Metzger said...

Barracks: "If evolution produces a tendency towards objective morality, along with religion, how can you be sure that the rest of your mind, and the way it processes the world, is reliable?"

It seems like you're bringing up the EAAN. I think the EAAN is basically a meaningless objection, similar to why a brain-in-a-vat objection is meaningless. Why do you think it's relevant to this discussion?

Barracks: "Science can't prove a thing without philosophical assumptions, like wether there is actually an external world, or if we are actually perceiving reality or not."

I basically agree with this.

Keith Barracks said...

Your correct in that I'm lodging the EAAN. I bring it up because people generally believe there is objective right and wrong, but your saying that it's false. I'm saying if some of our equipment is faulty, (and so producing our beleif in objective right and wrong,) how can we be sure of our other facilities given evolution?

I'm not lodging an argument that if some of our Axioms are false, how can we trust the others, I'm sure it can be lodged against a lot of worldveiws, it is merely a connecting line of thought to the argument.

How is it meaningless?

Keith Barracks said...

Your correct in that I'm lodging the EAAN. I bring it up because people generally believe there is objective right and wrong, but your saying that it's false. I'm saying if some of our equipment is faulty, (and so producing our beleif in objective right and wrong,) how can we be sure of our other facilities given evolution?

I'm not lodging an argument that if some of our Axioms are false, how can we trust the others, I'm sure it can be lodged against a lot of worldveiws, it is merely a connecting line of thought to the argument.

How is it meaningless?

Cal Metzger said...

Barracks: "Your correct in that I'm lodging the EAAN. I bring it up because people generally believe there is objective right and wrong, but your saying that it's false."

It's a little more complicated than that, because morality is a product of the members of a given society and their relationships (thus, it's subject to all of its members), but it can also be seen as objective in that the given morality lies outside merely an individuals' preferences and desires. Another way of looking at is that morality is dependent on all the beings it serves (thus it could be said to be subjective, in some ways), and yet it is also theoretically calculable and different than any individual's preferences (and thus offers a kind of objectivity).

Barracks: "I'm saying if some of our equipment is faulty, (and so producing our beleif in objective right and wrong,) how can we be sure of our other facilities given evolution?"

This seems to be a concern for someone who insists that morality exists objectively in the sense of moral realism (that there are real moral facts independent of the beings who apply that morality). I don't hold that objective moral facts exist independently of the beings who employ a morality, so this is not a concern of mine.

Barracks: "I'm not lodging an argument that if some of our Axioms are false, how can we trust the others, I'm sure it can be lodged against a lot of worldveiws, it is merely a connecting line of thought to the argument. / How is it meaningless?"

It's meaningless because it doesn't matter one way or another. We are stuck with the reality we can comprehend, and the reality we can comprehend is the one that affects us. If there is a reality that doesn't affect us, and that can't be known, then it's existence is, by normal definition, meaningless -- it has no effect, it doesn't matter, and it can't be known. Meaningless.

Keith Barracks said...

"This seems to be a concern for someone who insists that morality exists objectively in the sense of moral realism (that there are real moral facts independent of the beings who apply that morality). I don't hold that objective moral facts exist independently of the beings who employ a morality, so this is not a concern of mine."

The point is that the majority of humanity says that there is. So the majority of humanity is in your veiw wrong. Thus, the majority of humanity believes in some falsehood in virtue of it being produced by (in your veiw) faulty faculties.

"It's meaningless because it doesn't matter one way or another. We are stuck with the reality we can comprehend, and the reality we can comprehend is the one that affects us. If there is a reality that doesn't affect us, and that can't be known, then it's existence is, by normal definition, meaningless -- it has no effect, it doesn't matter, and it can't be known. Meaningless."

Ah. I think I understand. Your saying that this arguement implies a meaningless reality? And as such renders the arguement useless?

The reality it is showing isn't meaningless, since it is defined as simply "unknowable" And as such, can be comprehended in virtue of being known as unknowable.

Cal Metzger said...

Barracks: "The point is that the majority of humanity says that there is. So the majority of humanity is in your veiw wrong."

If that is the case, then yes.

Barracks: "Thus, the majority of humanity believes in some falsehood in virtue of it being produced by (in your veiw) faulty faculties."

People can be wrong about something for a lot of reasons. They can be ignorant. They can use bad processes or be too strongly affected by biases to reach the demonstrably correct conclusion. They may not have the mental faculties, discipline, or interest to delve deep enough into the matter. One doesn't have to question our metaphysics to acknowledge that people, even a majority, can sometimes be wrong about a given topic.

Barracks: "Ah. I think I understand. Your saying that this arguement implies a meaningless reality? And as such renders the arguement useless?"

Yes, thank you for getting that!

Barracks: "The reality it is showing isn't meaningless, since it is defined as simply "unknowable" And as such, can be comprehended in virtue of being known as unknowable."

This seems like word salad to me, obfuscating the point that the reality the EAAN proposes remains meaningless.

Joe Hinman said...

Cal I think what you are really saying is you refuse to submit the agenda of another mind, So if you have to make reality meaningless small price to pay for having your own way

Joe Hinman said...

It's a little more complicated than that, because morality is a product of the members of a given society and their relationships (thus, it's subject to all of its members), but it can also be seen as objective in that the given morality lies outside merely an individuals' preferences and desires. Another way of looking at is that morality is dependent on all the beings it serves (thus it could be said to be subjective, in some ways), and yet it is also theoretically calculable and different than any individual's preferences (and thus offers a kind of objectivity).

yet you are left without a basis upon which to ground your axioms. Cal what if Trump won, bear with me here guys, not political per se. Suppose he won (for me horrible) and his value system enforced over the decades until after years of Trumpopioa society as a whole came to thank of mortality as synonymous with Trump speak and trump views,would you than say that view is the standard and that's ok as long as it's societie's comtract?.

Keith Barracks said...

Meaningless is what is commonly attributed to words or praises that mean absolutely nothing. For instance, if I were to tell you that strictly speaking, it is both hot and cold outside, I would be talking about the outside, but nothing is really attributed too it. If I were to say that I'm a married bachelor, I'm really just saying that I'm a man.

Meaninglessness is therefore either a contradiction in terms, or lack of definition. Both of us I think agree that it has a definition, so our disagreement must be the former.

Plantinga is describing a world in which we imagine that evolution is carried out to creatures much like ourselves, but to these creatures they perceive a world absolutely different then what is actually there.

Applying this to ourselves, we conceive of a world in which this applies to us, It would follow from this world that if it's true, reality is in fact unknowable to us. And this is where it gets interesting, I'm assuming here is where you say that it becomes meaningless. If reality is in fact unknowable to us then we know that it's unknowable to us. But I don't see anything contradictory in a conceptionalized world were we know that part of something else(reality) is unknowable to us. Since we know that it's a reality in which nothing else can be attributed.

So (if I misunderstood what you were saying initially, my apologies) this isn't a meaningless reality, but a reality period. We can't know anything else about this reality, except that we can't know anything else about it. But that's in virtue of attributing to it the property of unknowable.

I don't see how this is a contradiction in terms. So, this reality is in effect knowable, in virtue of being unknown.

Am I missing anything?

Cal Metzger said...

Joe: "Cal what if Trump won... that view is the standard and that's ok as long as it's societie's comtract?."

No. You should read up about Ideal Observer and Desirism (I provided a link above). It's more complicated than a combox will permit, and your question suggests you don't have a basic understanding of the concepts.

Cal Metzger said...

Barracks: "Meaninglessness is therefore either a contradiction in terms, or lack of definition. Both of us I think agree that it has a definition, so our disagreement must be the former."

I explained how I am using the term meaningless above. I wrote: "It's meaningless because it doesn't matter one way or another. We are stuck with the reality we can comprehend, and the reality we can comprehend is the one that affects us. If there is a reality that doesn't affect us, and that can't be known, then it's existence is, by normal definition, meaningless -- it has no effect, it doesn't matter, and it can't be known. Meaningless."

If you want to substitute a different word for meaningless, go ahead. But that is how I am using the word, to convey what I stated. If you don't like my definition, fine -- it's what I explained by how I am using the term "meaningless" that we are discussing.

Barracks: "Applying this to ourselves, we conceive of a world in which this applies to us, It would follow from this world that if it's true, reality is in fact unknowable to us. And this is where it gets interesting, I'm assuming here is where you say that it becomes meaningless."

No, I think you have that exactly wrong. I don't know why you are having trouble following this -- it seems like you want to discuss the EAAN, now what I am writing in relation to it?

Barracks: "If reality is in fact unknowable to us then we know that it's unknowable to us."

What? No. In Plantinga's argument, we don't know that there is a different reality that we don't apprehend, we just acknowledge that there could very well be a greater reality that our evolved cognitive faculties don't exactly represent. But at no point does Plantinga assert that we can know this ultra-reality exists.

Barracks: "So (if I misunderstood what you were saying initially, my apologies) this isn't a meaningless reality, but a reality period."

It seems that you still misunderstand me. If there is an ultra-reality, but it has NO EFFECT on the reality we can apprehend and interact with, then THAT ULTRA REALITY IS MEANINGLESS TO US. This is a fairly simple point, and one that is acknowledged all the time in philosophical dicussions, e.g., regarding the difference between reality perceived by a brain in a vat and reality perceived by the creatures we perceive ourselves to be -- we might actually just be brains in a vat, but the distinction is ultimately unknowable, and it really doesn't make any difference to us one way or another.

Keith Barracks said...

Ah, now I see.
Your right, the way your describing this ultra reality, one that we can't know, and has no effect on us, is a reality that is really pointless talking about.

But from what I understood Plantinga wasn't referring to an ultra reality at all, but simply reality as it could be understood if both Athiesm and naturalism are true. I'm not referring to a reality that has no effect on us, I'm referring to the one we can't see how it effects us. It is not that there are things not yet perceived, it's that all things probably aren't perceived correctly.

Cal Metzger said...

Barracks: "It is not that there are things not yet perceived, it's that all things probably aren't perceived correctly."

But seeing as how the morality I am describing is based on the perceptions that we have, what's your point?