Objections to Minimal Moral Realism

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Frank Quasar
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Re: Objections to Minimal Moral Realism

Post by Frank Quasar » Tue Nov 20, 2018 6:32 am

@brimstoneSalad I was initially doing comic and concept art as a course because I wanted to strive for a career path that would be relatively relaxed/best suit my skill set. I do enjoy creating the illustrations within that fashion, and my peers told me I should push towards that path and create something for myself in the future.

On my first day during induction I realised I made a big mistake, and I regretted picking the course, terribly. It was a 2 week process before I was successfully released, and now I'm pursuing architecture instead. I know I won't enjoy it, and it will definitely bring far more immense stress, but I believe it can provide a better degree in the long term for job opportunities as oppose to what comic and concept art could ever yield.

I should've transferred this year, but for some reason the lady who was in charge of my documents/transfer communication failed to respond. Not sure why, but I got the letter which confirmed my place on the course, now I have no other choice but to apply next year.

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Post by brimstoneSalad » Tue Nov 20, 2018 1:37 pm

@Frank Quasar Sounds like you made the right choice! Sorry to hear about that administrative mess up.

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Post by Frank Quasar » Wed Dec 12, 2018 2:24 pm

@brimstoneSalad

Found this video where Dr. AVI discussed minimal moral realism with a guy known as "Realistic Nihilist". Pretty interesting discussion, to say the least. Feel free to watch if you're ever bored and have the time to do so. I think this is one of the only few times I've found an in-depth discussion on this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B7qdVOS ... BtmYNvA6H4

(Ignore the time-stamp that's there. The entire video goes over the discussion)

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Post by brimstoneSalad » Thu Jan 17, 2019 7:37 pm

@Frank Quasar I think Avi fell off the internet, maybe for good this time.

Where there any interesting arguments in that you can summarize and think I should address?

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Post by Frank Quasar » Fri Jan 18, 2019 10:41 am

brimstoneSalad wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 7:37 pm
I think Avi fell off the internet, maybe for good this time.


He has, I think it might've been due to some issues that he was having in terms of work and whatnot. It's a shame, though.

He had some good influence on Ask Yourself's NTT shtick, and he was one of the three people (other two being JHC and Alex Malpass) who helped to formulate the new NTT syllogism/deductive validity tree, or at least contributed in some aspect.

Speaking of which, will you be covering the new material in your article in regards to what Ask Yourself has provided in his latest video?
brimstoneSalad wrote:
Thu Jan 17, 2019 7:37 pm
Where there any interesting arguments in that you can summarize and think I should address?


There were some interesting points, but I haven't watched the video in a while. I'll re-watch it and provide some summaries for you when I'm able to do so. I don't think it's incredibly important, though. The only reason why I even linked it was because I found it interesting that a conversation on minimal realism took place and to such an extent. They hardly shed any light on it.

I'll stop pasting these extremely long videos and asking you to watch them, lol. I understand if you don't have the time, so from now on I'll just collect summaries alongside the time-stamps instead.

There was an interesting exchange towards the end, though. They were talking about some objections against ethical subjectivism, and AVI expressed some concerns about the absurd entailments of the position. The objection seemed to be closely related to the problem of "genuine moral disagreements" under ethical subjectivism (contradictory propositions), if I'm not mistaken.

AVI also stated in the video that he might consider being a minimal moral realist at most.

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Post by brimstoneSalad » Sat Jan 19, 2019 12:58 pm

Frank Quasar wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 10:41 am
Speaking of which, will you be covering the new material in your article in regards to what Ask Yourself has provided in his latest video?
Yes, but I've been pressed for time this week so I have not had a chance to watch it yet.

Thanks for any cliff notes you can make. It does sound interesting.
Frank Quasar wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 10:41 am
AVI also stated in the video that he might consider being a minimal moral realist at most.
That's good to hear, I hope he comes back some time.

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Post by Sunflowers » Fri Jul 19, 2019 11:16 pm

What is 'minimal moral realism'? From your replies to objections, I am left not knowing what it is.

Presumably to qualify as a form of moral realism one must accept that this proposition "X is wrong" is true, where X specifies some activity or other.

But subjectivists and objectivists about morality will agree to that, as their disagreement is over what the truth-makers for that proposition are, not whether it is true.

So is 'minimal moral realism' just the name for a metaethical theory that is realist about morality, but agnostic about the truth conditions of moral propositions?

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Post by Frank Quasar » Sat Jul 20, 2019 5:27 am

Sunflowers wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 11:16 pm


What is 'minimal moral realism'? From your replies to objections, I am left not knowing what it is.


The idea is that minimal moral realists believe that (1) we are expressing moral propositions which can either be true/false, and (2) some of these propositions are in fact true. However, they remain agnostic in regards to the "mind-independent" thesis, but accepting both (1) and (2) is sufficient enough to constitute as a minimal moral realist.
Sunflowers wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 11:16 pm
But subjectivists and objectivists about morality will agree to that, as their disagreement is over what the truth-makers for that proposition are, not whether it is true.


Yeah, subjectivists essentially fall into this camp as they also agree with (1) and (2), too. However, Brimstone, as well as many others, have tried to make the case that we require a non-arbitrary basis for morality, so in some sense they are very much distinct from subjectivist who bite the bullet on arbitrariness (the problem of arbitrariness ensues for them as an entailment).
Sunflowers wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 11:16 pm
So is 'minimal moral realism' just the name for a metaethical theory that is realist about morality, but agnostic about the truth conditions of moral propositions?


It accepts the idea that we express propositions (unlike the non-cognitivst), and that some of these propositions are in fact true (unlike the error theorist), but they remain agnostic on the metaphysical thesis in regards to mind--independence (unlike the moral realist who affirms this).

Mind independence, which is to say that these evaluative facts, such as "murder is wrong", hold independently of one's personal beliefs, attitudes and desires/preferences.

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Post by Sunflowers » Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:20 am

Ok, so a 'minimal moral realist' believes some moral propositions are true but is agnostic about whether their truth-makers are subjective or objective.

But you've defined moral realism as the belief that some moral propositions are true and their truth makers are objective.

That's a bit odd to me, for that means that if I start out as a minimal moral realist, but then subsequently cease to be agnostic and endorse some kind of subjectivist position, I'm now not a moral realist.

I know no-one really polices these terms and that it is down to everyone to stipulate what they mean by them, but wouldn't it be more fitting to reserve the term 'moral realism' for the view that there are some true moral propositions (thus precluding error theorists and non-cognitivists) and to replace 'minimal' with 'agnostic'. 'Objectivist moral realism' could be used to refer to those moral realists who believe the truth conditions of morla propositions are objective, with 'subjectivist moral realist' for those who think their truth conditions are subjective.

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Post by Frank Quasar » Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:50 am

Sunflowers wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:20 am
Ok, so a 'minimal moral realist' believes some moral propositions are true but is agnostic about whether their truth-makers are subjective or objective.

But you've defined moral realism as the belief that some moral propositions are true and their truth makers are objective.
Yes, the way I defined it is how it is standardly understood.
Sunflowers wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:20 am
That's a bit odd to me, for that means that if I start out as a minimal moral realist, but then subsequently cease to be agnostic and endorse some kind of subjectivist position, I'm now not a moral realist.


Yes, you wouldn't be by the standard understanding of these terms in the literature. You wouldn't be a proper moral realist, someone who thinks propositions such as "murder is wrong" is true, and independent of the mind, rather, you'd remain as a minimal moral realist about value. If you also deny that morality should be non-arbitrary (for the minimal realist, this would amount to the summation of ALL values, not restricted to a specific gender, race or person etc.), then you'd fall outside the camp of minimal moral realism, too.
Sunflowers wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:20 am
I know no-one really polices these terms and that it is down to everyone to stipulate what they mean by them, but wouldn't it be more fitting to reserve the term 'moral realism' for the view that there are some true moral propositions (thus precluding error theorists and non-cognitivists) and to replace 'minimal' with 'agnostic'. 'Objectivist moral realism' could be used to refer to those moral realists who believe the truth conditions of morla propositions are objective, with 'subjectivist moral realist' for those who think their truth conditions are subjective.


Not really, I think there is a sufficient difference between mere subjectivists and minimal moral realists. The term moral realist applies to those who think there are true propositions, and that these true propositions go above and beyond the mind of agents. The last caveat is essential to their thesis.

Also, I think the minimal moral realist label is sufficient. These folk are in stark contrast to subjectivists who adhere to arbitrariness, and accept it, whereas the minimal moral realist tries to strive for a non-arbitrary system by including the summation of all values. There are also other variables that come into play, but I think the minimal moral realist label is sufficient to work, it's just about understanding the subtle distinctions between them, the subjectivists, and the actual moral realists.

Calling them "agnostic" wouldn't do them justice because subjectivists can potentially fall into this camp, but nonetheless be incredibly different grounds than that of a minimal moral realist who is also agnostic on the metaphysical thesis of mind-independence. The minimal moral realist, as a label, does do justice to their beliefs about morality, far more so than "agnostic", in of itself.

Anyways, sorry for the excessive text ramble, but I hope this clears things up. Out of curiosity, what sort of meta-ethical position do you lean towards? Are you a subjectivist? Moral realist? Error theorist? Or non-cognitivist?

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