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Is "Maximizing freedom of others" just word play for "maximizing well-being"?

Yes
1 (33.3%)
No
2 (66.7%)
Other
0 (0%)

Total Members Voted: 3

Author Topic: In the Value Problem...  (Read 149 times)

LucasTonussi

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In the Value Problem...
« on: August 21, 2017, 07:01:14 AM »
Excerpt from Harris x Craig debate.


Quote
So how does Sam Harris propose to solve the Value Problem? The trick he proposes is simply to re-define what he means by “good” and “evil”, in non-moral terms. He says, “We should “define ‘good’ as that which supports [the] well-being” of conscious creatures.9 So, he says, “questions about values . . . are really questions about the well-being of conscious creatures.”10 And therefore, he concludes, “it makes no sense . . . to ask whether maximizing well-being is ‘good’.”11 Why not? Because he’s redefined the word “good” to mean the well-being of conscious creatures. So to ask, “Why is maximizing creatures’ well-being good?” is on his definition the same as asking, “Why does maximizing creatures’ well-being maximize creatures’ well-being?” It’s just a tautology. It’s just talking in circles! So Dr. Harris has “solved” the Value Problem just by re-defining his terms. It’s nothing but wordplay.

At the end of the day Dr. Harris isn’t really talking about moral values at all. He’s just talking about what’s conducive to the flourishing of sentient life on this planet. Seen in this light, his claim that science can tell us a great deal about what contributes to human flourishing is hardly controversial. Of course, it can--just as it can tell us what is conducive to the flourishing of corn or mosquitoes or bacteria. His so-called “moral landscape”, which features the highs and lows of human flourishing isn’t really a moral landscape at all.

Thus Dr. Harris has failed to solve the Value Problem. He hasn’t provided any justification or explanation for why, on atheism, moral values would objectively exist at all. His so-called “solution” is just a semantical trick of an arbitrary and idiosyncratic re-definition of the terms “good” and “evil” in non-moral vocabulary.

Second question: does atheism provide a sound foundation for objective moral duties? Duty has to do with moral obligation or prohibition, what I ought or ought not to do. Here, the reviewers of The Moral Landscape have been merciless in pounding Dr. Harris’s attempt to provide a naturalistic account of moral obligation. Two problems stand out.


Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/is-the-foundation-of-morality-natural-or-supernatural-the-craig-harris#ixzz4qOGK8qrq


If someone want to comment on the following as well:

Claim from an atheist I debated:

"My object moral standard is maximizing other people's freedom".

Problem, I, Lucas, see on that sentence.

To maximize other people's freedom is just subject and change from person to person.
Therefore its not object.

Is this line of reasoning correct?

Please,
Leave your comment.




------
Phil 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2017, 07:07:24 AM by LucasTonussi »

bruce culver

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Re: In the Value Problem...
« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2017, 07:41:15 AM »
Excerpt from Harris x Craig debate.


Quote
So how does Sam Harris propose to solve the Value Problem? The trick he proposes is simply to re-define what he means by “good” and “evil”, in non-moral terms. He says, “We should “define ‘good’ as that which supports [the] well-being” of conscious creatures.9 So, he says, “questions about values . . . are really questions about the well-being of conscious creatures.”10 And therefore, he concludes, “it makes no sense . . . to ask whether maximizing well-being is ‘good’.”11 Why not? Because he’s redefined the word “good” to mean the well-being of conscious creatures. So to ask, “Why is maximizing creatures’ well-being good?” is on his definition the same as asking, “Why does maximizing creatures’ well-being maximize creatures’ well-being?” It’s just a tautology. It’s just talking in circles! So Dr. Harris has “solved” the Value Problem just by re-defining his terms. It’s nothing but wordplay.

At the end of the day Dr. Harris isn’t really talking about moral values at all. He’s just talking about what’s conducive to the flourishing of sentient life on this planet. Seen in this light, his claim that science can tell us a great deal about what contributes to human flourishing is hardly controversial. Of course, it can--just as it can tell us what is conducive to the flourishing of corn or mosquitoes or bacteria. His so-called “moral landscape”, which features the highs and lows of human flourishing isn’t really a moral landscape at all.

Thus Dr. Harris has failed to solve the Value Problem. He hasn’t provided any justification or explanation for why, on atheism, moral values would objectively exist at all. His so-called “solution” is just a semantical trick of an arbitrary and idiosyncratic re-definition of the terms “good” and “evil” in non-moral vocabulary.

Second question: does atheism provide a sound foundation for objective moral duties? Duty has to do with moral obligation or prohibition, what I ought or ought not to do. Here, the reviewers of The Moral Landscape have been merciless in pounding Dr. Harris’s attempt to provide a naturalistic account of moral obligation. Two problems stand out.


Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/is-the-foundation-of-morality-natural-or-supernatural-the-craig-harris#ixzz4qOGK8qrq


If someone want to comment on the following as well:

Claim from an atheist I debated:

"My object moral standard is maximizing other people's freedom".

Problem, I, Lucas, see on that sentence.

To maximize other people's freedom is just subject and change from person to person.
Therefore its not object.

Is this line of reasoning correct?

Please,
Leave your comment.




------
Phil 1:21 For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.


I tend to agree with Sam Harris that maximizing wellbeing as the ultimate good is a reasonable philosophical axiom. Once taken in axiomatic fashion, i.e., without proof or argument, kind of like a "properly basic belief" then one can with some level of epistemic objectivity judge whether a certain action is commensurate  or not with that objective.

What I think Dr. Craig is demanding Sam Harris is just unreasonable, i.e., to provide an ontologically objective moral standard. There is a reason why we speak of "moral values", i.e., because they are evaluations and an evaluation is necessarily ontologically subjective (mind-dependent). Right? In order to have a value one must have an evaluator and an evaluator is a mind, hence values are mind-dependent, ie., ontologically subjective.

My approach to understand morality it is to look at morality from an evolutionary point of view. Human beings are social animals. We do not survive well as "lone wolves" but have evolved to survive as members official groups, i.e., societies. We are also sentient beings and much of our behavior rather than being innate is learned. One thing that we learn is what to value. Now the hallmark of any society is "reciprocity" which basically means living together in mutual beneficial relationships. No society can survive long and prosper unless the members of that society value reciprocity. And this value is what we call the moral value. It has been expressed in various ways, but one way of expressing it is the "golden rule" , i.e., to treat others as one would wish to be treated themselves. That is reciprocity. And that is the fundamental moral value. It is ontologically subjective, yes, as all value must be. However, it is epistemically objective, i.e., it is determined not by personal opinion or social fashion, but by social evolutionary imperative.

This is not exactly the same approach as Sam Harris takes, but it leads to pretty much the same conclusion.
"The world is my country and my religion is to do good."

LucasTonussi

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Re: In the Value Problem...
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2017, 09:57:21 AM »
Quote
I tend to agree with Sam Harris that maximizing wellbeing as the ultimate good is a reasonable philosophical axiom. Once taken in axiomatic fashion, i.e., without proof or argument, kind of like a "properly basic belief" then one can with some level of epistemic objectivity judge whether a certain action is commensurate  or not with that objective.

If you deliver a axiom like that by some kind of an atheistic consensus that have no God in their hearts.
I can bring a broader and greater in value axiom: God (Creator of Universe/Life) is the ultimate good and this is really a theological axiom.

Quote
What I think Dr. Craig is demanding Sam Harris is just unreasonable, i.e., to provide an ontologically objective moral standard. There is a reason why we speak of "moral values", i.e., because they are evaluations and an evaluation is necessarily ontologically subjective (mind-dependent). Right? In order to have a value one must have an evaluator and an evaluator is a mind, hence values are mind-dependent, ie., ontologically subjective.

Christian can answer the ontologically question, so another good reason for me to not be an atheist, there are hundred other reasons btw.

Quote
My approach to understand morality it is to look at morality from an evolutionary point of view.

Between the social animals humans are the worst social species that ever lived. Humans are selfish rather than social helping one another. Civilizations will battle each other for land. Humans will force other humans to do unpleasant things. Ants are really social beings, humans aren't. You have to just look at humanity's history to check this out. Of course populations of humans (Indigenous people), civilizations, they work together to develop some kind of society or community. Although I can't see that humans are social beings just because of that. The Christian worldview proposes a real social (love) attitude towards your neighbor. In the other hand:

Humanism an outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to -> human rather than divine or supernatural matters.
(First of all humanism lacks automatically a Moral Standard)

Humanist beliefs stress the potential value and goodness of human beings, emphasize common human needs, and seek solely rational ways of solving human problems.
(Humans are sinners, Therefore is impossible to achieve that perfectly without a objective moral standard (oms) -> God). OMS independent of the sinning factor. God (Creator) is not a sinner therefore He can be a OMS for humans.

Quote
Human beings are social animals. We do not survive well as "lone wolves" but have evolved to survive as members official groups, i.e., societies. We are also sentient beings and much of our behavior rather than being innate is learned. One thing that we learn is what to value. Now the hallmark of any society is "reciprocity" which basically means living together in mutual beneficial relationships. No society can survive long and prosper unless the members of that society value reciprocity. And this value is what we call the moral value. It has been expressed in various ways, but one way of expressing it is the "golden rule" , i.e., to treat others as one would wish to be treated themselves. That is reciprocity. And that is the fundamental moral value. It is ontologically subjective, yes, as all value must be. However, it is epistemically objective, i.e., it is determined not by personal opinion or social fashion, but by social evolutionary imperative.

[Craig x Nugent - Questions and Answers Period]
[Question to] Michael, and it says, "When evolved morality conflicts between different brains, how do we judge what is good... without circular recourse to another evolved moral value?

Ok, what I'm suggesting is that morality is initially the early stage of morality among social animals which is empathy and compassion and cooperation and reciprocity evolved on the basis of just being social animals. Then, when we developed the ability to reason, then we can move on to understand the concepts like fairness and justice that comes from our ability to reason. And that if hypothesize a number of people using pure reason to try to identify a universal moral code that is based on a society that they don't know what role they would play within, therefore that they are impartial because they can't pick what's best for them personally. But that is the closest that you can get. It's not perfect, but that is the closest that you can get to something that is objective in the context that it is independent of any individual's mind because it's based on the idea of applying pure reason.

Thank you Michael. I think that Michael's views on this are deeply incoherent. On the one hand he seems to want to say that morality is just a property of our brain wiring from which it follows that if you rewound the film of human evolution and shot it over again a very different sort of creature might have evolved with a very different set of moral values, and it would be an example of speciesism to say, "My values are objective and true and yours are not." But now he also seems to want to say that reason can discover what actually are the objective moral values and duties regardless of how we've evolved, but then I said that begs the question, as we saw with Shelly Kagan, it just assumes that all rational persons cannot be moral nihilists, and we know that's not true. People like Joel Marx, whom I quoted as well as many others, deny that there are objective moral values and duties. So I just don't see any basis for this assumption apart from theism.


Related to evolution:
Evolution of Proteins: https://youtu.be/8LQcA6k7Qbc?t=36s.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2017, 10:04:01 AM by LucasTonussi »

bruce culver

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Re: In the Value Problem...
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2017, 11:01:37 AM »
Quote
I tend to agree with Sam Harris that maximizing wellbeing as the ultimate good is a reasonable philosophical axiom. Once taken in axiomatic fashion, i.e., without proof or argument, kind of like a "properly basic belief" then one can with some level of epistemic objectivity judge whether a certain action is commensurate  or not with that objective.

If you deliver a axiom like that by some kind of an atheistic consensus that have no God in their hearts.
I can bring a broader and greater in value axiom: God (Creator of Universe/Life) is the ultimate good and this is really a theological axiom.

Quote
What I think Dr. Craig is demanding Sam Harris is just unreasonable, i.e., to provide an ontologically objective moral standard. There is a reason why we speak of "moral values", i.e., because they are evaluations and an evaluation is necessarily ontologically subjective (mind-dependent). Right? In order to have a value one must have an evaluator and an evaluator is a mind, hence values are mind-dependent, ie., ontologically subjective.

Christian can answer the ontologically question, so another good reason for me to not be an atheist, there are hundred other reasons btw.
No, the ontological question is insurmountable. Even on theism moral values would be ontologically subjective. You are simply substituting a supernatural subject as the evaluator in place of human evaluators, though I would argue that the ultimate evaluator is not human beings themselves but the process of social evolution.Of course an unconscious process cannot evaluate anything in the sense that conscious agent can, but it can cause human beings to have the inclination to make the necessary evaluation.

Quote
Quote
My approach to understand morality it is to look at morality from an evolutionary point of view.

Between the social animals humans are the worst social species that ever lived. Humans are selfish rather than social helping one another. Civilizations will battle each other for land. Humans will force other humans to do unpleasant things.

That is because our socialization is learned rather than hard-wired. That is no way runs counter to my thesis, unless you don't quite understand my thesis.

Quote
Ants are really social beings, humans aren't.

No, humans are really social beings, but thy are sentient social beings, whereas ants are not. You might notice that I often preface "social being" with the word "sentient", that is because it is a key concept in understanding my thesis.

Quote
You have to just look at humanity's history to check this out. Of course populations of humans (Indigenous people), civilizations, they work together to develop some kind of society or community. Although I can't see that humans are social beings just because of that.

But they are social beings because of that. Human beings, except for the odd-ball hermit, live in social groups, and that makes them social beings by definition. The difference between humans and non sentient social beings is that we are not hard-wired to behave socially. A human being requires socialization, a post natal programming of our brains to value reciprocity. It's why even in high school the walls are covered with posters which in big letters spell out words like RESPECT and COOPERATION.

Quote
The Christian worldview proposes a real social (love) attitude towards your neighbor. In the other hand:

Humanism an outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to -> human rather than divine or supernatural matters.
(First of all humanism lacks automatically a Moral Standard)

I disagree, the moral standard of reciprocity is determined for us by social evolutionary imperative. You will not find that humanist social values differ that much from theistic ones. It's just that we deny that there is some supernatural origin for these values.

Quote
Humanist beliefs stress the potential value and goodness of human beings, emphasize common human needs, and seek solely rational ways of solving human problems.
(Humans are sinners, Therefore is impossible to achieve that perfectly without a objective moral standard (oms) -> God). OMS independent of the sinning factor. God (Creator) is not a sinner therefore He can be a OMS for humans.

IMO this last statement is loaded with unwarranted theistic assumptions. There is no reason why a naturalist has to consider human beings morally incorrigible.

Quote
Quote
Human beings are social animals. We do not survive well as "lone wolves" but have evolved to survive as members official groups, i.e., societies. We are also sentient beings and much of our behavior rather than being innate is learned. One thing that we learn is what to value. Now the hallmark of any society is "reciprocity" which basically means living together in mutual beneficial relationships. No society can survive long and prosper unless the members of that society value reciprocity. And this value is what we call the moral value. It has been expressed in various ways, but one way of expressing it is the "golden rule" , i.e., to treat others as one would wish to be treated themselves. That is reciprocity. And that is the fundamental moral value. It is ontologically subjective, yes, as all value must be. However, it is epistemically objective, i.e., it is determined not by personal opinion or social fashion, but by social evolutionary imperative.

[Craig x Nugent - Questions and Answers Period]
[Question to] Michael, and it says, "When evolved morality conflicts between different brains, how do we judge what is good... without circular recourse to another evolved moral value?

Ok, what I'm suggesting is that morality is initially the early stage of morality among social animals which is empathy and compassion and cooperation and reciprocity evolved on the basis of just being social animals. Then, when we developed the ability to reason, then we can move on to understand the concepts like fairness and justice that comes from our ability to reason. And that if hypothesize a number of people using pure reason to try to identify a universal moral code that is based on a society that they don't know what role they would play within, therefore that they are impartial because they can't pick what's best for them personally. But that is the closest that you can get. It's not perfect, but that is the closest that you can get to something that is objective in the context that it is independent of any individual's mind because it's based on the idea of applying pure reason.

I agree with this, but I think it could be articulated much better. In fact, I think what I am doing in this thread is basically better articulating an argument very close to this one.

Quote
Thank you Michael. I think that Michael's views on this are deeply incoherent. On the one hand he seems to want to say that morality is just a property of our brain wiring from which it follows that if you rewound the film of human evolution and shot it over again a very different sort of creature might have evolved with a very different set of moral values, and it would be an example of speciesism to say, "My values are objective and true and yours are not."

No, I think a good case can be made that these values are imperative to any sentient social society. You cannot have a society of sentient social beings that do not value mutual respect and cooperation. Unfortunately we may see the truth of this axiom playing our in front of our eyes, if we don't get back to some kind of respectful social discourse in this country. We also need to get back to valuing truth, and that is an area where...well...I don't want to take this in a a political direction....


Quote
But now he also seems to want to say that reason can discover what actually are the objective moral values and duties regardless of how we've evolved, but then I said that begs the question, as we saw with Shelly Kagan, it just assumes that all rational persons cannot be moral nihilists, and we know that's not true. People like Joel Marx, whom I quoted as well as many others, deny that there are objective moral values and duties. So I just don't see any basis for this assumption apart from theism.

WLC is conflating ontological and epistemic objectivity here. What nihilist philosophers deny if they know what they are talking about is ontologically objective moral values. Heck, I deny that also. It's an incoherent concept anyway, so I have no idea how anybody thinks they are possible. However, that should not lead to the conclusion that there are no epistemically objective moral standards.

In case, you are wondering. Ontological objectivity means mind-independent existence.How in the world could values exist independent of minds? Epistemic objectivity means not being a matter of personal opinion or fashion.

Now, in many cases what is ontologically subjective, i.e., mind dependent, is also epistemically subjective, a matter of opinion. However, that is not always the case. And it is not the case with the fundamental moral value of reciprocity. It is not a matter of opinion that that is fundamental moral value. It has been determined by social evolutionary imperative not by personal opinion and not even just by social convention. We could all get together and decide that we would no longer value reciprocity, and the end result would be that society would disintegrate rather rapidly.
[/quote]

BTW: The evolution of proteins is somewhat irrelevant because I am talking about social evolution which is only analogous to biological evolution. They are closely related but not the same thing.
"The world is my country and my religion is to do good."

LucasTonussi

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Re: In the Value Problem...
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2017, 05:23:16 PM »
Quote
No, the ontological question is insurmountable. Even on theism moral values would be ontologically subjective. You are simply substituting a supernatural subject as the evaluator in place of human evaluators, though I would argue that the ultimate evaluator is not human beings themselves but the process of social evolution.Of course an unconscious process cannot evaluate anything in the sense that conscious agent can, but it can cause human beings to have the inclination to make the necessary evaluation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NAzPLUFkuA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0218GkAGbnU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxiAikEk2vU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5YdtMxls-c
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQPRqHZRP68

Christian worldview has foundation (premises, theology, hermeneutics) to answer the ontological question. I'll not insist anymore.

Quote
Even on theism moral values would be ontologically subjective.

Wrong. The Ultimate authority of God comes from His eternal authority. His nature is the grounding for what its good.
biblehub.com/luke/18-19.htm
biblehub.com/mark/10-18.htm

Quote
That is because our socialization is learned rather than hard-wired. That is no way runs counter to my thesis, unless you don't quite understand my thesis.

I pointed a counter example. Re think your premises.

Quote
No, humans are really social beings, but thy are sentient social beings, whereas ants are not. You might notice that I often preface "social being" with the word "sentient", that is because it is a key concept in understanding my thesis.

Humans are based on whatever economically advantageous. Review your premises.
Ant's are really social, Ant's support natural selection through cooperation. And Ant's are continuing to be Ants anyway.
Christians tend to overcome and try to be equal Jesus Christ and follow His teachings to love one another.

Quote
A human being requires socialization, a post natal programming of our brains to value reciprocity. It's why even in high school the walls are covered with posters which in big letters spell out words like RESPECT and COOPERATION.

Humans social behavior is based on economic establishment.
Most respect and cooperation is based on economics which do not explain the origin of love and consciousness in human beings.

Quote
I disagree, the moral standard of reciprocity is determined for us by social evolutionary imperative. You will not find that humanist social values differ that much from theistic ones. It's just that we deny that there is some supernatural origin for these values.

Explain the origin of consciousness.
Explain the origin of love in human beings.

Love has no explanation outside God's nature, Who expressed Love first creating a Universe where humans would exist and giving them the responsibility to lovely respond back to their Creator.

1) Are qualities like 'compassion', 'love', 'justice' good because they are found in God's nature, or good independently of God?
2) To claim they are good independently of God is to propose Platonism.
3) Platonism fails.
4) Therefore, they are Good because they are found in God's nature.
Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-plausibility-of-grounding-moral-values-in-god#ixzz4rHEP3DVi.

Again, 'compassion', 'love', 'justice' is not explained by evolution and is not explained by the way humans normally agree with each other in a society, and are able to live with each other. Most are based on economics and how money flows.

True love exists between humans.
The concept of justice exists between humans.
The concept of compassion exists between humans.
(Theologically speaking) Therefore God exists because His nature is Love, Goodness, and MOST important Justice.

In a naturalistic world view justice is unjustifiable. Its just one human acting weirdly toward another. Each is another good reason for me to not be a atheist. Because I know very well the concept of Justice.

And ultimate justice is just found in God's nature. In Jesus Christ nature.

Once. Jesus Christ sacrificed himself for us, on the cross. So if we believe and hold on to that belief we will be saved because the of this ultimate act of compassion. Repent from our sins (fact we are sinners) is another way to understand Christ's sacrifice. Humbleness is another way to understand God's ultimate reality, and God's ultimate sacrifice for human beings.



Quote
IMO this last statement is loaded with unwarranted theistic assumptions. There is no reason why a naturalist has to consider human beings morally incorrigible.

Humans are sinners.
God (Creator) is not a sinner therefore He can be a OMS for humans.
God is eternal, personal, all knowing, omniscient, all powerful, His nature is good, love, truth, way: He can be a objective standard.

If human are just the byproduct of cause and necessity you are not responsible towards anything.
Since you are.
God exists.

Quote
WLC is conflating ontological and epistemic objectivity here.

I think he knows the distinction pretty well.

"Moral ontology has to do with the objective reality of moral values and duties. Moral epistemology has to do with how we come to know moral values and duties. The moral argument is wholly about moral ontology; it says nothing about how we come to know moral values and duties. Thus, the argument is completely neutral with respect to the relative clarity or obscurity of the moral realm. It would be wholly consistent with the argument to maintain, for example, that it is only through an inner divine illumination that we come to know moral values and duties and that those who suppress God’s illuminating their minds find themselves groping in moral darkness." Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/how-can-people-be-so-morally-obtuse#ixzz4rHIRAl18


Moral Theory  -----> Normative Ethics  -------> Moral ontology
                                       -------> Moral epistemology
                                       -------> Moral linguistics
                                       -------> Definition of Morality
              -----> Meta-ethics ------> Particular Claims
                                 ------> General Systems


Paul, the apostle, says, “When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus” (Rom. 2.14-16). On Paul’s view you don’t have to be aware of the source of your moral duties in order to know your moral duties.



Questions:

Could you please show a list of premises, short and precise, to defend positively your position?
Like all the arguments Alvin Plantinga presents.

Ontological argument:

1. A being has maximal excellence in a given possible world W if and only if it is omnipotent, omniscient and wholly good in W; and
2. A being has maximal greatness if it has maximal excellence in every possible world.
3. It is possible that there is a being that has maximal greatness. (Premise)
4. Therefore, possibly, it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly good being exists.
5. Therefore, (by axiom S5) it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly good being exists.
6. Therefore, an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being exists.

Just the list of premises, defending positively. Please.

List of premises showing on a naturalistic worldview, evolution, what have your:
Showing the concept of Justice, Meaning of Life, Love, Compassion exists.

In the animal kingdom there isn't such thing as: Meaning of Life, Love, Compassion, or even Justice.

Again, please. Just the premises. Thanks.





--
Religion: "Strict observance of law and conscience.  Religious means originally observant, conscientious, strict" (The Etymology of Religion.-By SARAH F. HOYT, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md., https://www.jstor.org/stable/3087765).
« Last Edit: August 30, 2017, 05:28:47 PM by LucasTonussi »

bruce culver

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Re: In the Value Problem...
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2017, 09:25:35 PM »
Quote
No, the ontological question is insurmountable. Even on theism moral values would be ontologically subjective. You are simply substituting a supernatural subject as the evaluator in place of human evaluators, though I would argue that the ultimate evaluator is not human beings themselves but the process of social evolution.Of course an unconscious process cannot evaluate anything in the sense that conscious agent can, but it can cause human beings to have the inclination to make the necessary evaluation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NAzPLUFkuA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0218GkAGbnU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OxiAikEk2vU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j5YdtMxls-c
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQPRqHZRP68

Christian worldview has foundation (premises, theology, hermeneutics) to answer the ontological question. I'll not insist anymore.

Sorry, Don't see anything in those videos that makes sense of the idea of ontologically objective moral values. Yes, morality may just be an evolutionary adaptation, but that doesn't make it non existent?  Countries have no ontologically objective existence, and yet nobody is going around saying "The United States doesn't exist" It still epistemically objective existence, and so do moral values. Sure, we feel that there should be something deeper, because we have also evolved to feel revulsion at moral evil. We feel it in our bones, but that doesn't make it ontologically objective. And accepting that it is ontologically subjective and the result of evolution doesn't in any way make moral evil any less repugnant to me.

Wrong. The Ultimate authority of God comes from His eternal authority. His nature is the grounding for what its good.
biblehub.com/luke/18-19.htm
biblehub.com/mark/10-18.htm[/quote]

Authority is ontologically subjective also. Can authority exist independent of minds? I fail to see how to make any sense of such a claim. Authority can be epistemically objective, but ontologically? hmmmm. It's not something that's even occurred to me a possibility, so I haven't really considered it. I won't claim to know it is impossible. I'm having a lot of trouble making any sense of it right off the bat though. Let's say I'd have to see an argument for that.  Also, "good" is a value judgement, so that doesn't serve to move us out of ontologically subjective territory.

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That is because our socialization is learned rather than hard-wired. That is no way runs counter to my thesis, unless you don't quite understand my thesis.

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I pointed a counter example. Re think your premises.

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No, humans are really social beings, but thy are sentient social beings, whereas ants are not. You might notice that I often preface "social being" with the word "sentient", that is because it is a key concept in understanding my thesis.

Humans are based on whatever economically advantageous. Review your premises.
Ant's are really social, Ant's support natural selection through cooperation. And Ant's are continuing to be Ants anyway.
Christians tend to overcome and try to be equal Jesus Christ and follow His teachings to love one another.

That's OK, Jesus taught reciprocity as the foundation of morality, as such he was an astute moral teacher. So were Confucius and rabbi Hillel and many others. I have little problem with Christian morality per se, I just don't agree that it has any divine origin. I could be wrong, but I see no reason to believe such.

I 'm not sure what you are trying to argue about ants. I recognize that ants are hard-wired social animals whereas human social behavior is more learned, but ants and humans are still both social animals.

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A human being requires socialization, a post natal programming of our brains to value reciprocity. It's why even in high school the walls are covered with posters which in big letters spell out words like RESPECT and COOPERATION.

Humans social behavior is based on economic establishment.
Most respect and cooperation is based on economics which do not explain the origin of love and consciousness in human beings.

Well, yes, love is very well explained evolutionarily. Consciousness is a whole other ball of wax. I'm not going to claim to know how that evolved.

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I disagree, the moral standard of reciprocity is determined for us by social evolutionary imperative. You will not find that humanist social values differ that much from theistic ones. It's just that we deny that there is some supernatural origin for these values.

Explain the origin of consciousness.
Explain the origin of love in human beings.

Love makes sense evolutionarily as obviously bonds of affection would increase social cohesion. Again, consciousness is another question. But not having a naturalistic explanation does not justify jumping to the theological conclusion, otherwise lightning would've been proof of God before people understood its natural causes.

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Love has no explanation outside God's nature, Who expressed Love first creating a Universe where humans would exist and giving them the responsibility to lovely respond back to their Creator.

1) Are qualities like 'compassion', 'love', 'justice' good because they are found in God's nature, or good independently of God?
2) To claim they are good independently of God is to propose Platonism.
3) Platonism fails.
4) Therefore, they are Good because they are found in God's nature.
Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/the-plausibility-of-grounding-moral-values-in-god#ixzz4rHEP3DVi.

All of those are quite understandable as products of evolution, neither platonism nor theism are required.
On your view who determines that God's nature is good? That's a value judgment. If God is going to damn me for eternity because I don't see any reason to believe in Him, then from my subjective point of view God would not be good. Of course, as I don't believe any such thing, I am not judging God as being bad. That which IMO does not exist, IMO can be neither good nor bad.

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Again, 'compassion', 'love', 'justice' is not explained by evolution and is not explained by the way humans normally agree with each other in a society, and are able to live with each other. Most are based on economics and how money flows.

True love exists between humans.
The concept of justice exists between humans.
The concept of compassion exists between humans.
(Theologically speaking) Therefore God exists because His nature is Love, Goodness, and MOST important Justice.

Well, I completely disagree with your premise, so...

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In a naturalistic world view justice is unjustifiable. Its just one human acting weirdly toward another. Each is another good reason for me to not be a atheist. Because I know very well the concept of Justice.

Justice is easily explained evolutionarily as it is a corollary of the principle of reciprocity, which as I've pointed out is foundational social value. No reciprocity= no society. There's nothing weird about it, and for certain human society long predates the invention of money, so that argument is DOA.

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And ultimate justice is just found in God's nature. In Jesus Christ nature.

Ultimate justice is found in the principle of reciprocity.

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Once. Jesus Christ sacrificed himself for us, on the cross. So if we believe and hold on to that belief we will be saved because the of this ultimate act of compassion. Repent from our sins (fact we are sinners) is another way to understand Christ's sacrifice. Humbleness is another way to understand God's ultimate reality, and God's ultimate sacrifice for human beings.

Well, that is what you believe, and that is fine with me. But I respectfully disagree.

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IMO this last statement is loaded with unwarranted theistic assumptions. There is no reason why a naturalist has to consider human beings morally incorrigible.

Humans are sinners.
God (Creator) is not a sinner therefore He can be a OMS for humans.
God is eternal, personal, all knowing, omniscient, all powerful, His nature is good, love, truth, way: He can be a objective standard.

If human are just the byproduct of cause and necessity you are not responsible towards anything.
Since you are.
God exists.

If you mean ultimate responsibility, I agree. However, I think proximal responsibility is a reasonable expectation, and in any case, personal responsibility is a social and psychological imperative. We must take responsibility and be held responsible for our actions or there is no possibility of civil society. That should be  quite enough justification for any reasonable person I think.

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WLC is conflating ontological and epistemic objectivity here.

I think he knows the distinction pretty well.

"Moral ontology has to do with the objective reality of moral values and duties. Moral epistemology has to do with how we come to know moral values and duties. The moral argument is wholly about moral ontology; it says nothing about how we come to know moral values and duties. Thus, the argument is completely neutral with respect to the relative clarity or obscurity of the moral realm. It would be wholly consistent with the argument to maintain, for example, that it is only through an inner divine illumination that we come to know moral values and duties and that those who suppress God’s illuminating their minds find themselves groping in moral darkness." Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/how-can-people-be-so-morally-obtuse#ixzz4rHIRAl18

Yes, he knows how to make the distinction when it suits his argument, but he also knows how to conflate the two when that suits his argument. That is part of what makes him such a good rhetorician. However, the passage you quote doesn't touch on my argument, because I am not arguing that there is any internal inconsistency in the theistic argument. I am arguing that it doesn't jibe with reality because there is no coherent sense to the idea of ontologically objective values. Sure, God, if he existed, could make his perfect and absolute moral judgments known to us, and that would then be how we know morality.

I am just saying that even then they would be ontologically subjective and anyway, there is no reason to think that is the source of moral values or how we know them. Social evolutionary imperative explains perfectly well why humans value reciprocity and why they pass that value on to their offspring. If they did not, society would collapse in a morass of immoral behavior.

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Moral Theory  -----> Normative Ethics  -------> Moral ontology
                                       -------> Moral epistemology
                                       -------> Moral linguistics
                                       -------> Definition of Morality
              -----> Meta-ethics ------> Particular Claims
                                 ------> General Systems


Paul, the apostle, says, “When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus” (Rom. 2.14-16). On Paul’s view you don’t have to be aware of the source of your moral duties in order to know your moral duties.

Yes, Paul said that. I don't see him as an authority on the issue. Paul lived long before the development of social evolutionary theory. He had a prescientific, mythical understanding of morality that IMO is simply outmoded and no longer tenable. Of course, you are entitled to disagree with my opinion. I'm just trying to let people understand why I disagree with the moral argument. Some may see the sense in what I'm saying, and others may not. That's OK.



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Questions:

Could you please show a list of premises, short and precise, to defend positively your position?
Like all the arguments Alvin Plantinga presents.

Ontological argument:

1. A being has maximal excellence in a given possible world W if and only if it is omnipotent, omniscient and wholly good in W; and
2. A being has maximal greatness if it has maximal excellence in every possible world.
3. It is possible that there is a being that has maximal greatness. (Premise)
4. Therefore, possibly, it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly good being exists.
5. Therefore, (by axiom S5) it is necessarily true that an omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly good being exists.
6. Therefore, an omniscient, omnipotent and perfectly good being exists.

Just the list of premises, defending positively. Please.

List of premises showing on a naturalistic worldview, evolution, what have your:
Showing the concept of Justice, Meaning of Life, Love, Compassion exists.

In the animal kingdom there isn't such thing as: Meaning of Life, Love, Compassion, or even Justice.

Again, please. Just the premises. Thanks.

Well you see, I'm more of an empiricist. I'm inclined to look at empirical evidence and reason from there rather than from some kind of first principles. I know the latter is more popular with theists, and I think that is part of the problem we often have communicating.  So, I didn't come to my conclusion that moral values are natural and the result of social evolution by starting from some first principles and deductively reasoning from them.


Instead as a naturalist I see everything as being the result of natural processes, and the key process for understanding living beings is evolution. Humans are living beings, so if we want to understand human nature, we have to understand evolution. So, I look at morality and I try to make sense of it evolutionarily, and I have found that after some time contemplating the issue that it all makes good sense. It requires a little sophistication though like understanding that human beings are sentient social beings, so we are not like social insects that are hard-wired for altruistic behaviors. You also have to understand that it is not the survival of individuals but survival of genes that drives biological evolution. You also have to understand the difference between the evolution of inherited traits through biological and social evolution of our learned behaviors and things like that. However, once all this is taken into account its not hard at all to account for moral emotions and moral values as the products of evolutionary forces. Maybe even more telling, it is not at all difficult to understand moral evil either. In fact, this is where I would say the evolutionary understanding makes far more sense than a theistic one.

What I mean is it makes little sense that God would create beings that he loved and then leave the development of their characters up to a brutal struggle for survival that leaves them painfully conflicted between their basically selfish survival drives and their learned moral values. It's funny because I see the Garden of Eden as basically a fabulous account of the point in human psychic evolution where we became conscious of this inner struggle. Of course, the authors had no idea about evolution, but they did have a sense of the conflict of good and evil tendencies in the human psyche and were trying to find some way to explain that.

Personally though I think it is odd that people would think this rather naive ancient understanding is superior to a modern evolutionary understanding. It's somewhat analogous to someone going to a witch doctor instead of a modern medical doctor when they don't feel well.





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Religion: "Strict observance of law and conscience.  Religious means originally observant, conscientious, strict" (The Etymology of Religion.-By SARAH F. HOYT, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md., https://www.jstor.org/stable/3087765).
"The world is my country and my religion is to do good."

 

anything