Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Outsider Test for Human Rights, or OTHR

We might ask what evidence there is that rights exist. You have a feeling that everyone ought to be treated equally. Isn't that just your social conditioning? If you grew up in India, and were raised to believe that people occupy different positions in the caste system based on the Law of Karma, wouldn't you think that the idea that everyone was created (or evolved?) equal was slightly ridiculous?

36 comments:

Stardusty Psyche said...

OP "We might ask what evidence there is that rights exist. You have a feeling that everyone ought to be treated equally. Isn't that just your social conditioning? "
--In part yes, but there is an element of biological drive for a social species to behave socially.

"If you grew up in India, and were raised to believe that people occupy different positions in the caste system based on the Law of Karma, wouldn't you think that the idea that everyone was created (or evolved?) equal was slightly ridiculous? "
--Yes, and the same can be said for slavery, racism, and a great many things that divide society into strata even here in the USA.

No moral absolute, demonstrably true moral propitiation, or real moral fact has ever been identified and generally communicated. The feelings of human rights, like all moral judgements, are personal senses of ought. To the extent they are agreed upon generally a large number of people have simply reached a consensus.

oozzielionel said...

Was propitiation meant to be proposition? Interesting slip.

Joe Hinman said...


No moral absolute, demonstrably true moral propitiation, or real moral fact has ever been identified and generally communicated. The feelings of human rights, like all moral judgements, are personal senses of ought. To the extent they are agreed upon generally a large number of people have simply reached a consensus.

Because you only accept one kind of knowledge as valid, but you can't demonstrate by that kind of information (science) that it is the only valid form of knowledge.

There is no more reason to accept numbers as normative for moral axioms than we assign to "personal sense of ought" To say no moral proposition is demonstrated is merely a value judgement just as realities as any other.moral consensus may be demonstration

Jim S. said...

I'm wondering whether we can apply the Outsider Test to the existence of other minds. I don't think inference provides a strong enough reason to believe in other minds, so our belief in them isn't based on inference. But then, wouldn't it fail the Outsider Test?

brownmamba said...

I think the India example is a poor one as it could easily be stated that the "Law of Karma" does not exist and thus any normative view that it implies would require a justification independent from such a law. Perhaps the moral "feeling" is socially implemented, but metaphysical facts aren't.

I don't think "rights" require some special metaphysics to be a meaningful concept. The validity of the "right to be treated equally" stems from the impartial nature of ethical behavior which is the basis of such guidelines as "The Golden Rule".

Victor Reppert said...

And what is the justification of that?

Hugo Pelland said...

And what is the justification of that?
Shared values as human beings?
Of course, many would prefer to have a god as justification, but until we can demonstrate that such a god exists and how we could even possibly understand what that god think are human rights, we have to fall back to our interpretations of the world we are in.

brownmamba said...

"What is the justification of that?".

I presume you mean 'do I have a justification for the impartial nature of ethical behavior?'. To elaborate a bit, I would say to the extent persons have similar interests, they warrant similar treatment. To say otherwise would make ethics arbitrary.

Of course, we don't live in a society of clones. But people tend to have similar needs, desires, and capacities (otherwise a functional society would hardly be possible).If we ought to treat people with similar interests equally, then it follows that we should treat each other equally, at least in terms of basic interests.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Joe Hinman said.. September 16, 2017 12:03 AM.


SP No moral absolute, demonstrably true moral propitiation, or real moral fact has ever been identified and generally communicated. The feelings of human rights, like all moral judgements, are personal senses of ought. To the extent they are agreed upon generally a large number of people have simply reached a consensus.

" Because you only accept one kind of knowledge as valid, but you can't demonstrate by that kind of information (science) that it is the only valid form of knowledge."
--Name a few, hell, name just one.

Or is diffuse arm waving all you are capable of?

Name even 1 absolutely good, or absolutely bad or any sort of absolute moral proposition.

Name 1.


Stardusty Psyche said...

brownmamba said..
September 17, 2017 5:19 PM.

" To say otherwise would make ethics arbitrary."
--Ethics are arbitrary.

You can have an organized system of ethics based objectively on certain postulated principles. But those principles are themselves not proved and are just consensus sensibilities.

Joe Hinman said...

my answer to jeff Lower on the issue of flipping POE into a God argument

Metacrock's blog

Stardusty Psyche said...

Joe is incapable of naming a single moral absolute.

Not surprising, no theist ever can. Theists only speak of moral absolutes in the abstract, always unable to name a specific example.

David Brightly said...

Why does everything need a justification? Why not say, Here I stand, I can do no other?

Does Don't let your children starve! need a justification?

Stardusty Psyche said...

David Brightly said.. September 22, 2017 1:22 AM.

" Why does everything need a justification?"
--If you wish to hold unjustified beliefs that is up to you. That is how many, if not most, people function. I find that mode of thought to be on a range between benign dullwittedness to dangerous willful ignorance.

" Why not say, Here I stand, I can do no other?"
--That's what the scorpion said to the frog.

" Does Don't let your children starve! need a justification?"
--If you wish to assert that is a moral absolute, then yes.

If not letting the children you created starve is good and letting the children you created starve is evil then the Christian god is evil. If the Christian god is by definition good then letting the children you created starve is good.

You might want to think your assertions through more thoroughly to see if you can justify them, else you land up expressing nonsense.

David Brightly said...

Well, the seeking after justifications can go on forever. If we are to live rather than merely philosophise we have to take a stand somewhere. That means accepting what our senses and conscience tell us. Nothing dull-witted or wilfully ignorant about that.

Justify your demand for justification, please.

Victor Reppert said...

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.

Stardusty Psyche said...


Victor Reppert said...
"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."
--Indeed, yet we see the somewhat embarrassing spectacle of atheists asserting objective morality.

I happened upon some debates including Erik J. Wielenberg. His "reasoning" included statements about "obvious" acts of right and wrong. It was all very poorly thought out and nothing more than argument from emotion, argument from incredulity, and argument ad populum. Yet he is out there selling books. Go figure.

As near as I can tell there is a human desire for a behavioral anchor, a reference for what one ought to do, a need for guidance, a method of attaining clarity in a chaotic life. This desire is a significant factor in the widespread adoption of religion, but when theism is rejected on rational grounds that human desire remains.

Thus, not a few atheists have engaged in the irrational project of seeking out a naturalistic derivation for objective morality. The rational position is that humans live in a godless universe that is absent objective morality, and the universe does not care if we find that disturbing or not.

Miguel said...

Indeed, I think the "Outsider Test" can be repeated for basically anything and any position; it will simply boil down to skepticism. Try to place yourself as an outsider from modern Western beliefs in inductive natural science -- you won't be convinced by all thar talk of repetition! Try to place yourself as a solipsistic outsider to those who believe in an external world. Will your belief in an external world really have a leg to stand on??? And so on.

If it's just a matter of finding justifications, then that's not too complicated. It is the rational and correct view the fact that there is a God and there are objectively true moral propositions. But there could, in principle, be different justifications for different positions.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Miguel said...

" It is the rational and correct view the fact that there is a God and there are objectively true moral propositions. "
--Please name a few objectively true moral propositions.

Miguel said...

Sure.

"Intentionally murdering an innocent human being is wrong" would be an example of such an objectively true moral proposition. It is wrong not merely because of convention, but because it is contrary to our natural ends and duties as human beings.

A more basic one could be "Good is to be done and pursued while evil is to be avoided". There is no possible way out of this proposition if we understand the terms (as we all normally do) in our language. That we can then rationally infer that certain things and actions good and others are evil is a fact of life. It's not just convention; it is objective, because it necessarily follows from the kinds of beings we are that there will be certain things that will be good for us, and others that will be bad for us. It's not convention or even just evolutionary advantages. It's modally necessary propositions that follow from what subjects and predicates we are talking about.

Miguel said...

A man who thinks that the proposition "It is okay for us to torture an innocent human being for fun" is true is not only morally reprehensible, but stupid as well. It's irrational.

Stardusty Psyche said...


Blogger Miguel said.. September 29, 2017 1:59 PM.

".. it is contrary to our natural ends and duties as human beings."
--Please provide your demonstrably objectively true argument for what "our natural ends" ought to be, and our "duties as human beings" ought to be.

" A more basic one could be "Good is to be done and pursued while evil is to be avoided". There is no possible way out of this proposition if we understand the terms (as we all normally do) in our language. "
--Please provide your demonstrably objectively true definitions of "good" and "evil".

" It's not just convention; it is objective, because it necessarily follows from the kinds of beings we are that there will be certain things that will be good for us, and others that will be bad for us."
--Please objectively prove what is "good" for each and every human being, and what is "bad" for each and every human being.

" It's not convention or even just evolutionary advantages. It's modally necessary propositions that follow from what subjects and predicates we are talking about."
--In other words, when you beg the question you get the conclusion stated in your premise.

Stardusty Psyche said...


Blogger Miguel said.. September 29, 2017 2:02 PM.

" A man who thinks that the proposition "It is okay for us to torture an innocent human being for fun" is true is not only morally reprehensible,"
--Please provide your objective proof of this.

" but stupid as well."
--Please prove being stupid is bad.

" It's irrational."
--Please prove that this individual is acting against his own self interest.

Miguel said...

No, I'm not begging the question, I just don't really have the time or interest to discuss this in length here. I can't answer every single question just like someone can't have a conversation if they have to stop and explain each term and then explain the explanation and so on ad infinitum. I'm just giving a small summary here.

1) You simply asked me for an example of an objectively true moral proposition, and I gave you some examples. We are naturally directed towards healthy eating for the self-preservation of ourselves, for instance; this statement will be understood as far more plausible than the statement that "we are naturally directed towards walking by handstanding", for example. The fact that people will accept the first and reject the second is because it is evident, from the way our bodies are constituted, and the way we are, and what these examples involve, that the first is plausibly true and the second is plausibly false. I am not yet establishing a "moral importance" in this analysis, but merely pointing out the fact that we can, indeed, speak of natural functions or teleology, and that certain actions or things are more appropriate for different beings based on their objective, natural constitution (hence why we can even study evolution and understand different mechanisms of adaptation, for example).

2) You seem to be presupposing the idea that "moral rightness" is some kind of *property* of acts (whether it is a nonnatural property, or a supervenient property). That is controversial, however, and it is not at all necessary to defend a metaethics that poses that all rational people *ought* to act in a certain way in given situations. That is to say, normativity does not require that the normative be a "property" of acts. Rescher argues that "rightness" is a contextual feature of a relational sort; being (morally) right is a contextual feature related to the setting of one object within its environment. This is purely objective, even though it is not a property of acts or quality. That being said, morality concerns people's interests, a moral system is instituted in a society or community as a way to make people's lives more fulfilling and *better* -- indeed, in every moral system, we are supposed to be happy by doing what is right, even if it is painful; we are supposed to delight in goodness and to *prefer* it over and above evil or lesser goods. What Rescher asks is: "will a purportedly ethical system of behavior, if systematically adopted, enhance the satisfaction of life and lessen its burdens and negativities?". My answer is "yes". And that is obvious simply by observing the kinds of beings we are and our natural ends, and what is more conducive to our needs, self-realization and happiness. As shown in 1, there are natural dispositions that are proper to human beings by virtue of what a human body and mind is like, and also what is conducive to our well-being and happiness. The fact that we are rational beings is important, for instance, since it means we are disposed towards understanding reality and expressing it in logical thinking, etc, hence truth is conducive to our self-realization and happiness. (This sort of reasoning explains why we also should not be ruthless and selfish even if we somehow think we can get away with it, beyond other pragmatic concerns).


Miguel said...

Basically, we can grasp what is conducive towards a human being's functions, flourishing, best interests and happiness -- and we can identify that in nature. It is not always easy, but per 1, some things are naturally more proper for human beings than other things, and are more conducive towards their growth and happiness.

And if we are rational, we will, and should, want what is best for us, what is more conducive towards our flourishing and happiness. There is a rational normativity here.

(And virtues that have been identified throughout the ages -- such as courage, charity, honesty, and so on -- also derive from our character as rationak beings. That, however, is running into specifics, while I was just talking about metaethics).

There is, in other words, a completely objective set of actions every rational human being should follow -- objective morality -- even if someone doesn't believe in "moral properties", because rightness is a contextual feature. Where atheist philosophers who also defend objective morality miss the mark -- such as Sam Harris -- is not only their sloppy treatment of what "morality" is (and whether it is a quality or a contextual feature, etc), but also how they instead end up writing about evolutionary conventions for cooperation; what is important is actually the natural ends; what is right follows from what things *are*, and advantageous cooperation makes sense only in light of immanent teleology and natural law. Other atheist philosophers who defend objective morality get this -- for instance, Philippa Foot, with her work "Natural Goodness".

Of course, if someone doesn't accept immanent teleology, or essences, for example, then this argument won't work or will have to be revised, at least. But those are different discussion. And there are assumptions for pretty much any argument

(PS I myself don't know what Rescher's position on the philosophy of nature was, so I don't know whether he would tie it like I did here; I'm not trying to represent Rescher's (or any other specific philosopher per se) views here.)

Stardusty Psyche said...

Miguel said.. September 29, 2017 4:49 PM.

" We are naturally directed towards healthy eating for the self-preservation of ourselves, "
--Please prove self preservation is objectively good.

"this statement will be understood as far more plausible"
--Please prove plausible statements are objectively good.

" the second is because it is evident, "
--Please prove that following evident truth is objectively good.

" we can, indeed, speak of natural functions or teleology,"
--Please prove your perceptions of natural purpose are objectively good.

" natural constitution "
--Please prove your natural constitution is objectively good.


And on and on and on...

You present nothing but fuzzy notions of what appeals to your personal sensibilities.

Prove any of it is objectively good.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Miguel said.. September 29, 2017 5:04 PM.

" Basically, we can grasp what is conducive towards a human being's functions, flourishing, "
--Prove human flourishing is objectively good.

" And if we are rational,"
--Prove rationality is objectively good.

" courage, charity, honesty, "
--Prove these are objectively good.

" There is, in other words, a completely objective set of actions every rational human being should follow"
--You have demonstrated none, not even one.

Miguel said...

Did you not understand what I just said about how you are pressupposing "moral rightness" as a property of acts, when it could be understood as a contextual feature of relational sort? Or did you just ignore my entire post and proceeded to vomit two troll posts that do not touch on what I just said?

You keep insisting that good must be some sort of nonnatural property of acts or things, or that this is the only way we can possibly justify a normative system of rules of behavior for all rational persons. I just told you that not only is your assumption unproven and controversial, but that I have presented an alternative.

This is a discussion of metaethics and yet you keep conflating it with a discussion of specific ethical/unethical actions. I have, however, given examples of objectively true moral propositions -- about murder, lying, and so on.

Every rational human being has to seek happiness. Each of us *necessarily* chooses what we deem to be good, what we deem to be conducive to our own happiness, what we *prefer*. To act, to choose, is to select preferences and take part in valoration. If we cannot *fail* to choose what we believe is a greater good between two options. If we are rational, we WILL choose what we perceive to be more conducive towards our happiness -- what we think is better for us. Ultimately, however, what is good or bad for us -- what is more conducive towards the happiness and flourishing of a human being -- is not just up to subjective feelings, but objective; it follows from our nature, and this is something we can observe. Suicide, for instance, cannot possibly be conducive towards our happiness, because taken in itself it would imply our destruction -- therefore we would not even be able to reap any "benefits" whatsoever we could (incorrectly) believe we would "get" by ceasing to exist; we cannot possibly "feel better" or "be in a happier state" by killing ourselves, the benefit is illusory. As rational beings, it is also more conducive to our happiness and flourishing that we seek what is TRUE instead of what is FALSE, and indeed when analyzed carefully we cannot fail to see that truth is more desirable than falsity (hence even someone who is unsatisfied with a certain truth will seek to *deny* it, to believe that it's false and the opposite true, perhaps even by self-deception).

It is objectively better for us that we survive and that we eat food when needed, to satiate our hunger. A defective human will seek to starve himself (and in so doing, he is choosing what he somehow prefers, what he thinks is better between the two options), but indeed he would be happier as a human if he were to act in accordance to his natural necessity. Unless he is starving himself as a way to uphold a truly higher good (and as rational and social beings, we are also naturally directed towards certain virtues and cooperation, and hence why we admire virtuous people).

Miguel said...

However, you insist (without argument) that the "moral good" *MUST* be some kind of nonnatural property attaching to actions. What I have shown, however, is that there is an absolutely normative way of living for every rational human being. It is normative inasmuch as a rational person will, and has to, believe what is true and deny what is false; if you deny this, you will be sabotaging reason itself and it will be self-refuting. Indeed I would say that you are misunderstanding language itself. So, rational persons have to believe what is true and reject what is false. By the same token, rational people must seek happiness. Rational people must desire what is good, i.e. desirable; between two available courses of action, rational people must choose the course they find to be better, more suited to their own interest. As a result, rational people will also have to choose what is truly a better course of action for them, and not just what appears to be the best but is actually not the best; I argue that to a large extent the best course of action (what will be more conducive to happiness) is determined by our nature as human beings. Taken in themselves and in isolation, just for a quick example, "eating a tomato" is necessarily more conducive to human happiness and flourishing than "commiting suicide". And this is also why there even was such a thing as cooperation for human survival in our evolutionary history (whether or not it involved immoral practices in certain points): it's no huge coincidence that so many humans prefer warming themselves instead of freezing to death; eating good food instead of starving to death; being sociable and having children than murdering people; trying to be smarter instead of dumber. It just follows from the norm of what human beings are like, as rational, physical creatures with specific needs.

You may want to reject immanent teleology or whatever you like, if you want to deny the argument. But that is your assumption towards one of the premises in my valid argument. The logic is impeccable.

Howwver, you keep insisting (without argumenr) that "moral goodness" must be some kind of nonnatural property that attaches to actions. This view is not necessary for a normative system of behavior for rational human beings. Every rational person has to choose what they perceive to be a greater good, what they think is more desirable, what they think will make them more happy. And there are certain actions and things that are objectively more conducing towards human needs and happiness than others; this is not a convention, it is natural, it follows necessarily from the sort of beings we are -- rational animals -- with the specific needs and natural desires we have.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Miguel said...

" Did you not understand what I just said about how you are pressupposing "moral rightness" as a property of acts, when it could be understood as a contextual feature of relational sort?"
--Right, morals are relational, or relative, not objective.

No such thing as objective morality has ever been demonstrated.

If you know of any objectively true moral propositions please name a few.


" Every rational human being has to seek happiness."
--Why? There are many reasons to do that which makes one unhappy. Prove happiness is objectively good.


" It is objectively better for us that we survive"
--Prove that. Perhaps it is better to die. Prove survival is better.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Miguel said...

" However, you insist (without argument) that the "moral good" *MUST* be some " rational person will, and has to, believe what is true and deny what is false;"
--Prove that. Perhaps it is better to live in delusion than face reality.

" if you deny this, you will be sabotaging reason itself and it will be self-refuting."
--Prove that refuting oneself is bad.

" rational persons have to believe what is true and reject what is false"
--Prove that. Perhaps believing falsehoods is better.

" By the same token, rational people must seek happiness. "
--Prove that. Why? If I want to be unhappy how can you say I am objectively wrong?

"Rational people must desire what is good,"
--Objectively define "good" While you are at it, objectively define "bad".


" i.e. desirable; between two available courses of action, rational people must choose the course they find to be better, more suited to their own interest. As a result, rational people will also have to choose what is truly a better course of action for them, and not just what appears to be the best but is actually not the best; I argue that to a large extent the best course of action (what will be more conducive to happiness) is determined by our nature as human beings. Taken in themselves and in isolation, just for a quick example, "eating a tomato" is necessarily more conducive to human happiness and flourishing than "commiting suicide". And this is also why there even was such a thing as cooperation for human survival in our evolutionary history (whether or not it involved immoral practices in certain points): it's no huge coincidence that so many humans prefer warming themselves instead of freezing to death; eating good food instead of starving to death; being sociable and having children than murdering people; trying to be smarter instead of dumber. It just follows from the norm of what human beings are like, as rational, physical creatures with specific needs.

You may want to reject immanent teleology or whatever you like, if you want to deny the argument. But that is your assumption towards one of the premises in my valid argument. The logic is impeccable.

Howwver, you keep insisting (without argumenr) that "moral goodness" must be some kind of nonnatural property that attaches to actions. This view is not necessary for a normative system of behavior for rational human beings. Every rational person has to choose what they perceive to be a greater good, what they think is more desirable, what they think will make them more happy. And there are certain actions and things that are objectively more conducing towards human needs and happiness than others; this is not a convention, it is natural, it follows necessarily from the sort of beings we are -- rational animals -- with the specific needs and natural desires we have."
--Blah blah blah. You have provided zero objective moral propositions.

Miguel said...

I guess you're either a troll, or you're just dumb. You have provided zero arguments for your assumption that "moral rightness" is a nonnatural property/quality that attaches to actions and things. And yet this is a crucial assumption for your stubborn denial of objective morality. But anyway, if you're just dumb, I'll try explaining it one last time, by taking one of your questions:

"Prove that. Why? If I want to be unhappy then how can you say I am objectively wrong?"

It is not that I have to say that you are objectively wrong; the suggestion that someone would "want to be unhappy" simply makes no sense. You are misusing language and entertaining nonsense. If someone wants something, they find something desirable in it in some way or another, and that is why they want it. No one can possibly want what is bad, just as no one can possibly want to be unhappy. What *can* happen is that someone can desire something bad that they SEE as "good", something that is under the guise of the good. If you paid attention to anything I wrote, you wouldn't have the need to ask such a silly question as "can't I want to be unhappy"; you wouldn't even have asked me to define "good" or "bad". You just had to pay attention to what I wrote. When I said rational people must desire what is good, I was merely stating the trivially true fact that when people take a certain action, it is because they perceive it to be "good" in one sense or another. To ask me to explain why we must desire what is desirable makes no sense.

Rational people necessarily want to be happy; it makes no sense whatsoever to even entertain the idea that you could "want to be unhappy", as that would translate in the nonsensical proposition that you somehow would enjoy being unhappy, that you would be happy being unhappy. It makes as much sense as someone who commits suicide because they are severely depressed: under close scrutiny, it makes no sense at all, since it would imply that the person somehow thought they would be happier, or better off, if they were dead or didn't exist -- but if they're dead or nonexistent, they cannot reap any possible "benefits" whatsoever, they cannot be in any "better state", they cannot be "happy", if at the very least for the simple fact that they would not *be* at all. It is irrational. They would not be suffering anymore, true, but this could not even be classified as a benefit or any good thing, since technically they would not even be able to enjoy this absence of suffering in any way.

A rational person necessarily seeks to be happy, and that is clear. What I argued after that is that what is conducive to a human person's happiness is not entirely subjective, but to a large part determined by the kind of being they are. As rational animals, there are certain actions and things that are naturally more conducive towards our own happiness -- and if we we are rational, we will therefore seek what is truly more conducive towards our happiness, and we can identify some of these things by merely analyzing reality and the kind of beings we are, with our specific needs and dispositions. "Keeping warm" our "studying nature" is naturally more conducive towards our happiness than "committing suicide". This is not a convention, it is objective, it follows from what these actions and things are in relation to human beings.

If you still don't understand, then I don't think I can simplify it any further here. If you're trolling: do whatever you want, at least this was good exercise and might interesting to someone genuinely curious.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Miguel said...

" I guess you're either a troll, or you're just dumb."

I said --Please name a few objectively true moral propositions.
September 27, 2017 8:30 PM Delete

You said "sure"

But you have named none. Not a single objectively true moral propositions.

All you have done is blather on with very long and vague assertions of your personal sensibilities.

"It is not that I have to say that you are objectively wrong; the suggestion that someone would "want to be unhappy" simply makes no sense"
--Prove making sense is objectively good. You said "sure", but you have presented zero objectively true moral propositions.

"No one can possibly want what is bad"
--You are a child.

"A rational person necessarily seeks to be happy, and that is clear"
--Prove that.

"If you still don't understand"
--I understand you have childish views and somehow think your little sensibilities are objective moral truths.

Miguel said...

If you're not a troll, then you really didn't understand what I just said, Stardusty. I don't feel like repeating myself, and I don't think I can make it any simpler than what I already did. You beg the question in favor of numerous unsubstantiated assumptions -- mechanicism, nominalism/conceptualism, AND the bizarre fact/value distinction -- and I let that slide, trying to explain at least the form of objective morality. Then you somehow believe that "being a contextual feature of a relational sort" is the same as being "non-objective" and with no reference to real objects and their environment anyway, when it's clearly not the case (FYI, "average" is also a contextual feature of a relational sort, just like "moral rightness" as presented in my argument; "average" is completely objective. Contextual features can be objective. As is "moral rightness" in the cases I described). I gave you multiple examples of objectively true moral propositions and all you do is ask me to prove why, and then you proceed to ignore the proof or misunderstand it completely. What's the point, then?

"Prove making sense is objectively good". Really? At that point, what I was saying wasn't just yet that "making sense is objectively good", but that your criticism was nonsense. 2 + 2 equals 4 and nonsense is, well, nonsense. If your belief is nonsensical then you ought to abandon it. If you accept that, you accept a normative proposition, a norm that we come to expect from thought. If you don't, well, you're a moron, and you're refuting yourself. You might as well deny the principle of non-contradiction.

The move from such self-evident normative facts to the sort of normative facts we find in morality is one I presented there. You didn't understand it, though, and that's too bad; I don't think I can make it any simpler for you to try and wrap your head around such self-evident facts such as "when people perform a certain action, it is because they perceive it to be good, desirable or appropriate in some sense or another". Better luck next time; I hope other people who have been reading my comments were actually able to learn a few things from it, or at least to develop an interest in authors such as Nicholas Rescher, Philippa Foot, etc.

Stardusty Psyche said...

Miguel said...

" I let that slide, trying to explain at least the form of objective morality."
--You have presented no objective morality at all.

" I gave you multiple examples of objectively true moral propositions"
--No you didn't, not even 1.

" and all you do is ask me to prove why,"
--That is a requirement of an assertion of an objective truth, that you be able to prove it.

" and then you proceed to ignore the proof"
--Your "proof" is just you rattling off your personal sensibilities.

""Prove making sense is objectively good". Really? "
--Argument from incredulity is all you offer, yet you consider that "proof". How absurd.

"2 + 2 equals 4"
--Prove 2 + 2 equals 4. You can't.

"a norm that we come to expect from thought"
--Argument ad populum is another one of your so-called proofs.

"such self-evident normative facts"
--Argument from "self evidence" is not a proof.

"You didn't understand it, though, and that's too bad;"
--I understand that you are so bad at reasoning that you think your fuzzy sensibilities, feelings of what seems self evident to you, and what is "normal" somehow constitute objective truth.

John Loftus said...

As the person who has named and argued for the OTF, let me say that an OTHR is merely asking for a justifying reason for embracing this or that human right. Since no religion passes the OTF this means the justification for human rights must be found in secular reasons based on whatever evidence is available. The OTHR does not automatically entail people will agree, but it does offer a standard that reasonable people should embrace.

If nothing else, since people without religion are demanding to live under secular democracies, a secular democracy is probably the best way to eventually achieve a consensus about human rights, even though it's far from perfect.