Sunday, September 24, 2017

Is belief in moral realism properly basic?

Yes, you can argue that belief in moral facts is properly basic, and use something like Plantinga's Reformed epistemology to justify moral beliefs. But if you object to Reformed epistemology for God, then why accept it for morality?

Also the existence of a moral fact doesn't seem to follow logically from anything we know or can know scientifically. Bertrand Russell makes this argument:

I conclude that, while it is true that science cannot decide questions of values, that is because they cannot be intellectually decided at all, and lie outside the realm of truth and falsehood. Whatever knowledge is attainable, must be attained by scientific methods; and what science cannot discover, mankind cannot know.

Making moral beliefs properly basic is difficult to square with a science-based epistemology.

Furthermore, this kind of moral realism is also hard to square with ontological naturalism, at least as I understand it. The naturalism I am concerned about holds that physics is causally closed, physics is non-normative, and everything else supervenes upon and is determined by the physical.

I'm inclined to think that basic moral beliefs are properly basic. But when the ontological and epistemological implications of this are spelled out, this "fits" well with a theistic world-view, and does not fit well with a naturalistic one.

2 comments:

Ron said...

Plantinga distinguishes between and inductive approach to identifying properly basic beliefs and a Methodist approach. On thevindictive approach, we do a mental "survey" or beliefs that are just basically universally accepted and seemingly obvious (e.g., external world, other minds, the reality of the past, etc.). As an empirical matter, moral realism is not widely accepted in this way. Surveys show widespread acceptance of various forms of non realism.

On a mehodist approach, we identify a criterion for identifying properly basic beliefs. One such criteria would be Sennett's "universal sanction." Moral realism doesn't satisfy universal sanction. Can you identify another criteria which moral realism would satisfy?

Joe Hinman said...

I really cannot understand what the fuss is about on moral realism.It seems like atheists trying to be presuppers, the presuppositionaist (Christian apologist) says I assume my persups are right because they are mine deal with it,there's a God, end of discussion," The moral relist says "of course there are moral facts we all km now this there is no doubt. What;'s the difference?

Doc R. writes:

"Also the existence of a moral fact doesn't seem to follow logically from anything we know or can know scientifically. Bertrand Russell makes this argument:

I conclude that, while it is true that science cannot decide questions of values, that is because they cannot be intellectually decided at all, and lie outside the realm of truth and falsehood. Whatever knowledge is attainable, must be attained by scientific methods; and what science cannot discover, mankind cannot know."

that is leapfrog to conclusions but one thing we cant know is the truth of a moral oughta apart from grounding,Moral realists don't really want to give reasons.

"Making moral beliefs properly basic is difficult to square with a science-based epistemology.

Furthermore, this kind of moral realism is also hard to square with ontological naturalism, at least as I understand it. The naturalism I am concerned about holds that physics is causally closed, physics is non-normative, and everything else supervenes upon and is determined by the physical."
That is goo stuff I appreciate the way you make the two sets of assumptioms work against each other,