Discussion in 'Religion & Philosophy' started by Steerpike, Dec 9, 2008.


Statement ES/ER is:

Poll closed Dec 16, 2008.
  1. True

  2. False

    0 vote(s)
  1. Steerpike

    Steerpike Registered Member

    Statement ES/ER is the basis for Ethical Subjectivism and Ethical Relativism.

    Appraise the statement for truth and then answer this question:

    What does this mean for Ethical Subjectivism and Ethical Relativism?

    Correct answers may get positive rep.

    Note: The poll is public so if you vote one way and post another, then others will be able to see that.

  2. ExpectantlyIronic

    ExpectantlyIronic e̳̳̺͕ͬ̓̑̂ͮͦͣ͒͒h̙ͦ̔͂?̅̂ ̾͗̑

    There are facts where ethics are concerned (though no ethical facts), but what should be done cannot be derived solely from them. You need a normative to get a normative. Anyways, feh to ethical subjectivism and relativism, and up with a more generic sorta ethical anti-realism.

    The whole subjective/objective dichotomy is incredibly vague and arbitrary. Consider Moore's paradox: it's raining, but I don't believe it. The problem with the statement rests in the fact we don't believe someone can know the objective fact that it's raining, and yet also have subjective belief that it's not. Everything we know is subjective, in that all our knowledge originally came to us through subjective experience (a posteriori), or else is pieced together from a consideration of as much (a priori). This all obviously depends on what we mean by "subjective", but that's exactly the problem: nobody can agree on how to use the term!

    Relativists just think there are ethical propositions which are true for some and false for others. That just seems an awful confusing way to look at things, though.

    Now, a generic ethical anti-realist just thinks there are no ethical facts. It's a fact that snow is white. That people should go out and hike more, is your opinion. It may have a strong basis in the facts, but is hardly a fact itself. There is no (and never has been) anything in reality that can be said to correspond to "people should go out and hike more", beyond someones personal opinion (which is physically manifested in a state of affairs involving someones brain, but that's wholly irrelevant).
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2008
  3. PretzelCorps

    PretzelCorps Registered Member

    I can see the potential truth in that statement.

    Assuming there is no perfect, written "Guide to Ethical Well-Being", nor a perfect omnipotent entity that established some sort of ethical codex of "right and wrong" pre-creation... Ethics, as we know it, has been developed over centuries --> Sure, one can say that there are facts regarding ethics (ie: don't cut random people's arms off); One can also argue, however, that we do not cut of random people's arms, because we are mostly all of an agreed opinion that it wrong to cut off people's arms.

    I've never met anyone, who has met anyone that liked having their arms cut off --> That does not necessarily make it impossible, though.

    An ethical decision is one that makes as many people as possible, out of a group, either comfortable, happy, secure, or experience what they might consider 'positive feelings' (or the opposite --> Avoiding what they might consider 'negative feelings')

    Since it is impossible to ever make all decisions and policies ones that will benefit/not hinder all beings within the universe (or even just on Earth alone), one can argue it is thus impossible to say that there is a universal and objective truth to ethics --> Only a set of beliefs which the vast majority of people agree on.

    It's late here, so I hope I got that all down correctly. :sick:
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2008
  4. Tucker

    Tucker Lion Rampant

    Unless human existence were a bad thing, or if the comfort, security, etc. of a minority or individual were primary, both of which could be (and have been) argued. Pointedly, however, these propostions can themselves be evaluated only on clearly subjective bases.

    In other words, there is no ethical reality beyond consensus; morality is no less an artificial construct than, say, the generally accepted seven-day week. With that established, the conclusion must be that moral nihilism is inherent in the true natural order of things.

    Another way to look at it is this: the entire Universe could cease to exist and no one would care.

    Unless, of course, there is a God. But what are the odds of that?
  5. Wade8813

    Wade8813 Registered Member

    Ethics that aren't objectively true are virtually useless. You say it's wrong to murder, but if ethics are only based on opinion, anyone who disagrees can murder you, and it's ethically okay.

    There are some people, who will do what they want, regardless of the law, or ethics. But some people modify their behavior based on what they feel is right or wrong. But when they're told that ethics are only a matter of opinion, then ethics lose all meaning, and it can't act as an inhibitor. If they're in a situation where they believe they can't be caught by the law, then they'll do whatever they feel like, because there is no meaningful right or wrong.

    Not necessarily. I'm fairly sure it's wrong to execute 10 people in order to make 1000 people slightly happier.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2008
    Babe_Ruth likes this.
  6. ExpectantlyIronic

    ExpectantlyIronic e̳̳̺͕ͬ̓̑̂ͮͦͣ͒͒h̙ͦ̔͂?̅̂ ̾͗̑

    I'm not so sure about that. If someone knows something is widely disapproved of, they may very well avoid doing it to avoid guilt. Empathy or the fear of guilt is all that would hold someone back from doing something cruel in any such case.
  7. Tucker

    Tucker Lion Rampant

    It appears that you contradict yourself. In this second quote you're effectively touting the usefulness of what I'll call the Boogeyman Effect, in which behavior is governed by the knowledge of potential consequences and not by some objective ethical truth.

    For what it's worth, I'd like to point out as an anthropological footnote that the notion of what is 'ethical' varies from group to group, and that there do exist remote pockets of humanity which maintain, without the presumption of rigidly objective ethicality, a relatively stable societal stasis.
  8. Wade8813

    Wade8813 Registered Member

    There's at least 3 different things at play here - empathy, peer pressure, and a sense of right and wrong.

    People who avoid actions only because those actions are disapproved (peer pressure) lose the reason to abstain if A) they become desensitized to peer pressure, B) they feel they won't get caught by people who disapprove, or C) they find people who DO approve, who's opinion they care about more (like when friends pressure you to do things everyone else says is wrong).

    Empathy and a sense of what's right or wrong are very intertwined, but different. For instance, I feel that it's wrong to steal $1000 from Bill Gates, even though empathy indicates he would never miss it. A parent who disciplines their child might empathize with the child disliking the punishment, but knows that it's still the right to do.

    The law does provide a "bogeyman effect".

    But what I'm saying, is that if something is objectively unethical, you might not even need the bogeyman effect as deterrent.

    If you're convinced the bogeyman CAN'T get you, what's to stop you from doing something? Objective ethics is the only thing I can think of.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2008
    PretzelCorps likes this.
  9. Tucker

    Tucker Lion Rampant

    Why must it be objective? For that matter, how can ethics be objective, given that the consensus within a society of what is right and wrong changes over time? I'm just throwing that out there; I'll invoke the PretzelCorps defense and plead that it's three in the morning here and I may be past my nightly mental peak.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2008
  10. Steerpike

    Steerpike Registered Member

    You are onto something here. You have the same act with two contradictory views. Both views can't be right (true).

    (RMau V ~RMau)

    What about an evaluation of the statement itself?
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2008

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