Objective vs Subjective Morality

General philosophy message board for Discussion and debate on other philosophical issues not directly related to veganism. Metaphysics, religion, theist vs. atheist debates, politics, general science discussion, etc.
Kaz1983
Junior Member
Posts: 54
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2019 5:27 am
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

Re: Objective vs Subjective Morality

Post by Kaz1983 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:17 pm

brimstoneSalad wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 6:08 pm
And I said in a universe like our own but with no humans or other sentient life, there would be nobody there to name them. BUT those things would still be what WE (in our universe with humans) call red, blue, etc.
Colour is neither objective or subjective. Not wavelengths, or any other "external information" buy colour. It's made up of physical properties that make you perceive colour. Like you have said there are 2 different types of colour. You acknowledge this.

Would you agree if you were going by a standard definition of colour (which I was..) that if there "no humans on the earth there would be no colour"? That might not make sense to you but to the general public that's interesting in philosophy.. there is a reason why there is such a big disagreement over whether colour is subjective or objective. And I understand now that our definition of colour were both different.

My definition was one which is one the general public would agree with (but I know that is an appeal to popularity fallacy..) but it does have truth to it.... So yeah I'm not clueless, that's all I'm saying.. man I'm just working off a different definition, that's all. No perception of colour = no colour. You had your own definition, which was more complex and detailed. That's all good.
You suggested there would be no color as we know it, but there would be. We know color in the objective sense, not just the sense of qualia. There would be color as WE know it,
There would be no colour as we perceive... That's what I should have said, because that's what I meant.

The potential for us to perceive colour. will always be there, that is objective. Your right.

There is a reason why there is disagreement on whether colour is subjective or objective, as I said.

There just wouldn't be anybody in that universe to know it. There wouldn't be any color as they know it, but only because they don't exist and they know nothing.
You don't need somebody standing in front of a ball and calling it red for it to be red. All we need is to understand the concept of red. And we do understand that concept, thanks to physics we understand it very well.
There is a difference between absolute objectivity and scientific objectivity.Are you trying to tell me it's absolutely objective? But yeah,I get what you're saying about standing in front of a ball and calling it red.. blah blah, I don't disagree with you but like I said before I was going off at different definition.-that resulted in,with nobody to perceive coloured there would not be any colour? ..

It doesn't matter how many times you say it, going by the basic definition of colour, there is none if you can't perceive it. Like I have said a lot, going by your definition there is colour independent of humans existing. Just because I was going off a different definition, no need to be so arrogant about the fact that you have a point -a good one, it really just depends what your definition of colour is I suppose. Or whether you're talking at just about the perception of colour, depends on what you define as colour or not.
I made the distinction of qualia on page 2 of this thread, right after you brought up color.
I continued to emphasize the distinction between the qualia or experience of color and the objective fact of it as understood through physics in pretty much every post since then for three more pages. Even being very explicit about these being two fundamentally different usages, as in my example of the word "bat" at the start of page 4.
You probably had some good points in there, but you were yelling at me.. kinda annoying, so can you blame me for missing a few of your points? Like that said, it doesn't matter how right you think you are -no need to be arrogant and yelling at people.. it's kinda off-putting.

Anyways if you think you're so much smarter than other people, maybe you should talk to them like they are your average person? .. not an intellectual person like yourself.. talk to others in simple language, rather than rant rant rant or at least from my end that was what you were perceived to be doing. Even if you believe that I was wrong, and the definition I was choosing to use as detailed and complex as yours. You got me on that, I will admit that.
Last edited by Kaz1983 on Thu Aug 22, 2019 2:17 am, edited 6 times in total.

Kaz1983
Junior Member
Posts: 54
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2019 5:27 am
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

Post by Kaz1983 » Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:32 pm

I suppose from a scientific point of view your right.

But from a philosophical point of view it's interesting and not as clear cut as you think..
________________________________________________

One of the big problems has to do with how subject and object can coexist. Because a subject exists in one kind of fashion, has one “essence” or way of being, and an object has another.

For it is part of the “essence” of a subject to know itself and other things. That’s one of the first things we think about when we think about “subjectivity”: it has to do with interpretation, opinion, perspective, thoughtiness.

Objective things, on the other hand, are characterized by “unthoughtiness”, i.e. they are just there, in the world, doing their own thing, independently of whether they are being thought or not.

So this “incommensurability” (meaning mismatching measures) has caused problems for philosophers all throughout history, and one of the most important movements in all of the history of philosophy was a 100 year attempt to solve it.

This is German Idealism, and it is both one of the most powerful and interesting movements in philosophy, and one of the hardest to understand. To summarize roughly, the solutions offered by several of these Idealists were:

Kant, the first and perhaps the greatest:

We don’t know objects, so there is nothing “objective”. What we know are things that are built by our subjectivity or reason (“Vernunft”). Because we build them ourselves, we can understand them, because they are already “thought stuff”, so to speak.

However, Kant allows for a certain “thing in itself”, which is the thing as it exists “before” our mind gets ahold of it and creates the “thoughty” substitute.that we can manipulate in our mind or subjectivity.

Fichte and Schiller:

Kant didn’t go far enough… the “thing in itself” has to go, to be replaced entirely by the subject, which in a sense produces the entirety of the world of our experience. Fichte and Schiller are very difficult, and are not well studied today, but they were a logical extension of Kant, for if the subject creates the thing we know, we cannot leave “things in themselves” lying around, for they constitute a limit to the activity of the subject and a barrier to knowledge.

For ultimately Kant is leaving something lying around that can’t be assimilated by the mind/subject. So the subject has to be everything.

Hegel:

Probably the most powerful of all the German Idealists, he is tremendously difficult to understand in detail, but in general lines he is quite clear and very interesting. Basically, he sees history as a progression from object to subject. In fact, he interprets this as a progression from God-as-real-but-unknown to God-as-real-but-known.

He calls this the “journey of the Absolute”, where “Absolute” means both the totality of all that is, as well as God. So, we begin with an opposition between being (“isness”) and non-being (“pure notness”), and through the “dialectic” there is an overcoming of this opposition. The overcoming of opposition is central to Hegel’s view of reality, and he sees this “movement” as being central to what it means to “be”.

So he tries to show how the universe/Absolute develops from reality without knowledge (the initial state of isness vs. notness) to knowledge (unity of isness and notness), or, to put it more clearly, hopefully, the overcoming (“Aufhebung”) of division at the most basic level of reality. So ultimately for Hegel there is no division in reality, and as a result we never have to run up against the subject-object distinction.
________________________________

That's not mine, but interesting none the less 8-)

User avatar
brimstoneSalad
neither stone nor salad
Posts: 9499
Joined: Wed May 28, 2014 9:20 am
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

Post by brimstoneSalad » Thu Aug 22, 2019 7:40 pm

Kaz1983 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:32 pm
I suppose from a scientific point of view your right.
Science is part of philosophy: a very, very important part.
You'll find, much like the "god of the gaps" other speculative philosophy through the ages actually caves to scientific advancement.
Kaz1983 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:32 pm
But from a philosophical point of view it's interesting and not as clear cut as you think..
You're confused. "Complexity" in this area is mostly a result of a category error, and most argument on the issue is more of a semantic one.

Remember the two distinct definitions dealing with color (the two general spheres being objectively defined or defined in terms of qualia)?
Well, imagine a bunch of philosophers going at it without having understood that they're talking about different things.

Most arguments in philosophy actually do boil down to semantics; there are very few real disagreements once everything is clarified.

Of course one of the biggest battles is over what "is" or "exists" really means, but you can avoid that entirely on the grounds of it being insubstantial to any useful issues -- like ethics.

You don't need to know even that solipsism is false, you don't need to know that other people or other sentient beings are even real in any sense without your perception, to know that you should not be cruel to others because they *might* be real, and if nothing is real there's no consequence to erring on the side of caution.

Kaz1983 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:17 pm
Not wavelengths, or any other "external information" buy colour.
What?
Kaz1983 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:17 pm
It's made up of physical properties that make you perceive colour.
No, in physics it's literally wavelength. Nothing to do with perception. Perception is only the reason we have words for them.

Kaz1983 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:17 pm
Would you agree if you were going by a standard definition of colour (which I was..) that if there "no humans on the earth there would be no colour"?
No. The "standard definition" you cited was incorrect. The most correct standard definition is that under which color is an objective fact independent of observers. I explained why this is.

Most people, upon being shown that the dress is actually blue and black, will not continue to insist that it *was* white and gold if they saw it that way before. Most people will not claim that it's a different color now, but instead will recognize that they were mistaken about the color of the dress because at the time it *looked* white and gold to them.

People generally understand that when it comes to sense issues there's a difference between seeming (subjective) and being (objective).

This is how normal people intuitively understand color, and the intuition of an average Joe off the street is more correct than any number of philosophers you can find to say things don't actually have any color.

The only way people are conceptually wrong is when a concept is not coherent.

I explained all of this already.
Kaz1983 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:17 pm
but to the general public that's interesting in philosophy..
No, to the general public it sounds dumb as shit.
There's a subset of the general public who are interested in weird philosophical stuff, those who find people puzzling about whether the moon exists when you're not looking at it insightful -- it's this subset who find that interesting. The majority of them may or may not be stoned 24/7.
However, the GENERAL public at large thinks that stuff is dumb and has no use in their lives.
Kaz1983 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:17 pm
there is a reason why there is such a big disagreement over whether colour is subjective or objective. And I understand now that our definition of colour were both different.
There is a reason: people in general are dumb and not good at taking a step back to examine the semantic assumptions they're making.
When it comes to philosophy, there are also a lot of torch bearers for obsolete positions for the sake of academic novelty... but that's another issue.
Kaz1983 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:17 pm
My definition was one which is one the general public would agree with (but I know that is an appeal to popularity fallacy..)
No, when it comes to what words mean, common usage is actually very important, that's not a fallacy. Common usage is only wrong when there are more concerning confounding factors.
However, you're wrong on that being a definition compatible with common usage.
Yes the general public would say "yeah sure that's color" if you showed them the definition, but they would also to the other definitions.
If you want to find out what definition is really correct, you need to probe a bit deeper and ask people questions about the implications of those definitions. In that case, you'll find that the objective, scientific definition is actually the correct one.
Kaz1983 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:17 pm
but it does have truth to it....
It's valid as an alternate definition of color, but to avoid confusion you should clarify that you're talking about qualia. General understanding of the concept of color AND scientific (physics and chemistry) aren't compatible with that alternative definition.

I mean, you can come into a philosophical argument and say a cat is a kind of dog by virtue of a special definition, you just have to be clear about that.
Kaz1983 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:17 pm
There is a difference between absolute objectivity and scientific objectivity.Are you trying to tell me it's absolutely objective?
Science in principle aims for absolute objectivity, but in practice most experimentation involves the potential for human error to be introduced.
However, while possible it's very very small, and human error in a well designed experiment is much smaller than the deviation or error of other instruments.
Kaz1983 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:17 pm
Just because I was going off a different definition, no need to be so arrogant about the fact that you have a point -a good one, it really just depends what your definition of colour is I suppose. Or whether you're talking at just about the perception of colour, depends on what you define as colour or not.
The thing is I told you that several times. If you reread my posts, you can see my annoyance escalating as you missed the plot multiple times. I just wanted you to recognize that. I don't like wasting time talking past one another.

And you haven't gotten my other point yet: that the objective definition is actually the correct one.

Sure, we can say there are two definitions, and there are in the sense that some people are using the other one. But that doesn't make them equal.
Like if you say "baseball bat" it's possible you're talking about a flying mammal that sleeps in a hollowed out baseball or something, but that's not going to be how most people are going to take it.
Kaz1983 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:17 pm
You probably had some good points in there, but you were yelling at me.. kinda annoying, so can you blame me for missing a few of your points?
When repeated? Yes.
I know you catch more bees with honey than vinegar, but this is a serious discussion forum. You should read more carefully and try not to miss anybody's points, doubly so when those point are reiterated with an accompanying complaint about you missing it.
Kaz1983 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:17 pm
Like that said, it doesn't matter how right you think you are -no need to be arrogant and yelling at people.. it's kinda off-putting.
Nothing wrong with being arrogant if you're right. The issue is when arrogance is compounded with ignorance; which is how your posts came off to me.
Kaz1983 wrote:
Wed Aug 21, 2019 11:17 pm
Anyways if you think you're so much smarter than other people, maybe you should talk to them like they are your average person? .. not an intellectual person like yourself.. talk to others in simple language, rather than rant rant rant or at least from my end that was what you were perceived to be doing. Even if you believe that I was wrong, and the definition I was choosing to use as detailed and complex as yours. You got me on that, I will admit that.
1. This is a philosophy forum. There's an expectation of a little more knowledge of these issues than the average person, and there's an expectation that you can look up a word if you don't know it. If you still don't understand what I'm saying, there's no shame in asking.

2. You made the claim, which is taking on a position that carries with it a larger burden in the conversation.

3. Lowering the discourse to the level of the average person is easier said than done. This is actually a difficult problem in education and science communication. I was in your position of grappling with these things probably two decades ago... can you clearly remember your mindset 20 years ago? It's not easy to remember what it's like to not know any of this stuff. I have no idea what you need explained in more detail and what I can breeze over with a once sentence answer. The same for educating people in physics, chemistry, etc. The only way I know is if you follow up with questions: but for that you need to do your best to read and comprehend everything I'm saying so you can ask about what you don't understand.

Kaz1983
Junior Member
Posts: 54
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2019 5:27 am
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

Post by Kaz1983 » Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:20 pm

I know it's gonna make your day, but yeah - I've got better things to do with my time (which is the truth) Ohhh btw your right when it comes to colour being scientifically objective (I deffo 100% agree).. I said that before:
Kaz1983 wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 3:47 am
A. Objective

Means that you are ‘relying on facts’, that are true regardless of what anyone claims to know. For something to be objective, it needs to be free of all subjectivity.

B. Objectivity in science

The results of any test for example must be able to be demonstrated by third parties. Objectivity in science helps advance our collective understanding of the world.

C. Subjective

______________________________________________

Your trying to say B is true, therefore A is true.

I believe both B and C are true.
By this stage tho' "it's like flogging a dead horse", completely pointless but I'm sure you will want to get the last word in....

Does being arrogant (regardless of if you're right or wrong) and always making sure you get the last word in, make you feel good or something?

Anyways like I said, there has been a big disagreement over whether colour is objective or subjective for a reason... the truth always lies somewhere in the middle.

User avatar
brimstoneSalad
neither stone nor salad
Posts: 9499
Joined: Wed May 28, 2014 9:20 am
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

Post by brimstoneSalad » Fri Aug 23, 2019 4:50 pm

Kaz1983 wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:20 pm
I know it's gonna make your day, but yeah - I've got better things to do with my time (which is the truth)
Take your time Kaz, but the point of covering the objectivity of color is to get back onto the point of objectivity of morality -- something that, unlike color, is very important.
If it's been a while just make sure you tag me by typing @ and then username.
Kaz1983 wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:20 pm
Anyways like I said, there has been a big disagreement over whether colour is objective or subjective for a reason... the truth always lies somewhere in the middle.
Good job... :roll:
https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/middle-ground

Kaz1983 wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:20 pm
Your trying to say B is true, therefore A is true.
No. Stop straw-manning me. And I already explained all of this. If you want to drop it then drop it and stop making claims.
Do we need to go over the epistemology of science AGAIN?
Kaz1983 wrote:
Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:20 pm
By this stage tho' "it's like flogging a dead horse", completely pointless but I'm sure you will want to get the last word in....
You just made another claim, you think me debunking it is a last word? Only if you're too lazy to defend your positions.

And the fact that your memory is too short to remember the point does not mean there is none. Again, and as Sunflowers understood, this discussion was a proxy for a discussion on objective morality; something we should get back to because that's actually an important topic.

Stop being a baby. If you don't have time then leave it and stop making assertions you won't defend. If you have time later and you want to LEARN (there are few better uses of your time than learning) then you're welcome back to continue and discuss the nature of objective morality and scientific epistemology.

Kaz1983
Junior Member
Posts: 54
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2019 5:27 am
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

Post by Kaz1983 » Fri Aug 23, 2019 8:51 pm

Sunflowers wrote:
Mon Aug 19, 2019 8:48 pm
Katz,

Unlike Brimstone salad I actually know what I'm talking about.

'Objective' is ambiguous - it can mean 'goal' (the objective of a project); it can mean 'impartial' (that's the sense in which science is objective); and it can mean "exists extra-mentally".

These are completely diffeerent meanings of the term and so they mustn't be conflated (just as 'bank' can mean 'financial institution' and 'side of a river or hill' or 'turn' - completely different meanings of one and the same term).

'Subjective' is the oposite - the antonym - of one of those meanings alone. it is the opposite of 'objective' when objective means 'exists extra-mentally'. (It is often misused to mean 'biased' - that's not what it means)

So, 'subjective' means 'in the subject', where 'subject' is a mind. So, subjective means 'made of mental states'. Made, in other words, of feelings and that kind of thing.

Pain is individually subjective. It is made of a certain feeling or range of feelings. Thus, if I feel in pain, necessarily I am in pain.

There is debate over whether colour is subjective or objective, which is why thinking about colour is not a good way of gaining insight into morality. But it can be used to illustrate the difference between subjective and objective.

if - if - colour is individually subjective, then if the object appears green to me, it 'is' green to me. There is no 'colour hte object is independent of perceivers' because colour exists as mental states, and mental states can only exist in perceivers (subjects).

That view is controversial, but it is just to illustrate what it would mean for colour to be subjective.

If - if - colour is inter-subjective (collectively subjective) then if the object appears green to the relevant community of subjects (such as those in typical lighting conditions etc.) it is green, for 'being green' on this view just is to be appearing green to that community.

Again, that view is also controversial, so forget wether it is true or not, the point is just to illustrate what it would mean for colour to be inter-subjective.

If - if - colour is objective, then the colour is something had by objects independently of the mental states of any perceivers. So, the object appears green to me, but that does not entail that it is green. It may be good evidence that it is green, but it does not constitute the greeneness.
LIkewise, if the object is objectively green, then even if the entire community of humans see it as yellow, this does not entail that it is yellow, just that the entire community of humans are making a mistake.

But I stress, it is unwise to use colour as a model for morality, for the status of colour is more in dispute than the status of morality. And so you'd be using the less clear to try and illuminate the more clear, which is irrational.
Yes words can have different meanings, depending on the context.

Kaz1983
Junior Member
Posts: 54
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2019 5:27 am
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

Post by Kaz1983 » Sat Aug 24, 2019 4:08 am

I already said I acknowledge your right. I was working off a definition of colour that didn't explain it in detail correctly.

If we agreed on the definition of colour beforehand, I would have agreed with you straight away. But that's just my opinion.

I just consider objectivity science to be different than absolute objectivity. That's where we disagree, I think.
brimstoneSalad wrote:
Fri Aug 23, 2019 4:50 pm
Good job... :roll:
https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/middle-ground
I'm recognising that there has been a big disagreement between whether colour is subjective or is objective. I'm not saying the truth is in the middle, just it's a controversial subject but like I said, your position is right - my position is wrong.
this discussion was a proxy for a discussion on objective morality; something we should get back to because that's actually an important topic.
I get that I'm completely wrong on this and I acknowledge that's the case. Let's not "flog a dead horse", it's pointless because we both know your right on pretty much everything apart from science being completely (absolute) objective or not (but if science isn't completely (absolute) objective, pretty much nothing is objective)

Yes or No question:

Do you believe there's a difference between absolute/complete objectivity and something being scientifically objective.

Is there a difference between the two?
Stop being a baby.
Your right and no I'm not trying to be passive-aggressive.
If you don't have time then leave it and stop making assertions you won't defend. If you have time later and you want to LEARN (there are few better uses of your time than learning) then you're welcome back to continue and discuss the nature of objective morality and scientific epistemology.
What do you base your objective morality on?

The more I read about in moral nihilism/error theory, the MORE it interests me (ask me why?) (Ohhhh fyi I use to believe in objective morality, because subjective morality doesn't make sense to me)

See if you don't believe in objective morality - it doesn't make sense to make objective statements like "murdering for the pleasure it gives you is always wrong" from a subjective framework, that makes zero sense.

User avatar
brimstoneSalad
neither stone nor salad
Posts: 9499
Joined: Wed May 28, 2014 9:20 am
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

Post by brimstoneSalad » Sun Aug 25, 2019 11:02 pm

Kaz1983 wrote:
Sat Aug 24, 2019 4:08 am
I just consider objectivity science to be different than absolute objectivity. That's where we disagree, I think.
Do you think there's a chance that your disagreement there is based on an incorrect definition?
Kaz1983 wrote:
Sat Aug 24, 2019 4:08 am
(but if science isn't completely (absolute) objective, pretty much nothing is objective)
Pretty much nothing, or actually nothing?
There's a big difference between the two.

If it's only pretty much nothing, and there IS something that's objective, then the objective/subjective distinction still holds up and the definition is coherent.

If *literally* nothing is objective, then you've used faulty definitions which have made the objective/subjective distinction meaningless. That's a problem.

So, if you're holding up a definition of objective here, you need to explain what actually qualifies.

Does math qualify?
We could say 2+2=4, but then even that relies on human judgement and symbolic interpretation.

If you can't find anything that qualifies as actually objective, then you should abandon this bad definition you're using.

I can tell you something subjective:
Chocolate is delicious.
Now I can tell you something objective:
This particular chocolate has a mass of 1 kg.

There's a large and fundamental difference between these kinds of statements, and that's what makes the subjective/objective distinction philosophically meaningful and interesting. If you use some odd or extreme definition which attempts to disqualify anything from being objective, then the whole concept has lost meaning and interest; more importantly it's lost utility.
Kaz1983 wrote:
Sat Aug 24, 2019 4:08 am
Yes or No question:

Do you believe there's a difference between absolute/complete objectivity and something being scientifically objective.

Is there a difference between the two?
That's a category error.

The principle facts that science is investigating are absolutely objective.
Our *interpretation* or *knowledge* of those facts isn't absolutely objective: only 99.99999% or somewhereabouts, given a couple reasonable assumptions.

I don't subscribe to any special definitions of "scientifically objective". What we have in science is a P-value based on known unknowns, and then we have an open existential question/assumption (e.g. are we just brains in vats and can we know anything?).
The question of whether we're brains in vats isn't a subjective one. It either is or it isn't. And to the same extent, we may be laboring under some or another delusion of perception that's distancing us from reality; one science can't overcome. To whatever small and possibly unknown extent we're left with errors deriving from interpretation, there's potential subjective contamination. Whether that contamination has happened or not is a possibly unanswerable question.

Kaz1983 wrote:
Sat Aug 24, 2019 4:08 am
What do you base your objective morality on?
Interests or "preferences".
Kaz1983 wrote:
Sat Aug 24, 2019 4:08 am
See if you don't believe in objective morality - it doesn't make sense to make objective statements like "murdering for the pleasure it gives you is always wrong" from a subjective framework, that makes zero sense.
You're confusing moral objectivism with moral absolutism.
Sensible objective morality takes into account circumstance. And it's actually much more coherent to talk about outcomes being either better or worse, or people being better or worse, rather than absolute claims of something being simply "wrong" or "right" or "bad" or "good". We can normalize morality to derive sensible statements about those things, but the process to do so is a bit more involved.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 39 guests