subjective morals and veganism

Vegan message board for support on vegan related issues and questions.
Topics include philosophy, activism, effective altruism, plant-based nutrition, and diet advice/discussion whether high carb, low carb (eco atkins/vegan keto) or anything in between.
Meat eater vs. Vegan debate welcome, but please keep it within debate topics.
Post Reply
Twizelby
Full Member
Posts: 197
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 3:56 pm
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

subjective morals and veganism

Post by Twizelby » Wed Nov 05, 2014 8:28 pm

How do you respond to subjective morality. I like utilitarian ethics but even Peter Singer doesn't have a good way to deal with subjective morality. The closest I can get to responding to this is
"is the greatest possible suffering for all creatures bad?" I think people would answer yes, if they were honest, in which case there is an objective standard. so then the greatest possible good is to decrease suffering. That only places veganism and any other ethical endeavor on a sliding scale rather than plateaus. How do you deal with subjective morality and ethical principle?

User avatar
brimstoneSalad
neither stone nor salad
Posts: 9387
Joined: Wed May 28, 2014 9:20 am
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

Post by brimstoneSalad » Wed Nov 05, 2014 8:47 pm

Along with its close relatives, egoism and nihilism, the arguments against it are primarily semantic.

Egoism is not a form of ethics, because it is precisely what results when you remove ethics completely from the equation; it is the naïve default of behavior of self interested beings. Likewise, subjective ethics are whatever a person arbitrarily elected to value; with no basis or consistency beyond that, they're merely an extension of egoism.

Values of any kind are always based on interest, without which they are incoherent. At at the polar opposites of positively valuing interests stand only the default of self interest of many and various kinds, which are by no means morals, and 'selfless' value of others' interests, which is the root of all legitimate morality.

Twizelby
Full Member
Posts: 197
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 3:56 pm
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

Post by Twizelby » Wed Nov 05, 2014 8:52 pm

so basically you are saying that the existence of others self interest gives the individuals life value because to them objectively their life matters? correct me if I am misreading your position.

User avatar
brimstoneSalad
neither stone nor salad
Posts: 9387
Joined: Wed May 28, 2014 9:20 am
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

Post by brimstoneSalad » Wed Nov 05, 2014 9:14 pm

You can value your own interests, which is at best amorality. This includes egoism, as well as subjective ethics wherein you just value whatever you happened to be interested in valuing at your convenience.

Or you can value to some degree the interests of others, which is morality.

What makes this morality is that it is distinct from the default of mere self interest.

Generally speaking, wild animals, from wolves to deer to frogs to fish to insects, are NOT moral, they are amoral. The notion that egoism is morality is the claim that every sentient being is innately moral, which is absurd. It makes meaningless the very concept.
Morality is something different, something other, something special that you do that goes beyond self interest.

so basically you are saying that the existence of others self interest gives the individuals life value because to them objectively their life matters?
Uh, no.

Morality is valuing others' interests. That is, the wants of other sentient beings. If you are moral, you will value to some degree those wants beyond your own wants (I don't mean more than your own wants, sometimes they are competing, but being moral to some degree means caring about that at all).

Amorality is just following the default of your own interests (sometimes that includes caring for others due to instinct or hormones; this is not innately a form or morality).

User avatar
Soycrates
Junior Member
Posts: 80
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2014 5:44 pm
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

Post by Soycrates » Thu Nov 06, 2014 2:04 pm

You can't just redefine morality to exclude subjective moralists because you don't agree with their position.

User avatar
brimstoneSalad
neither stone nor salad
Posts: 9387
Joined: Wed May 28, 2014 9:20 am
Religion: None (Atheist)
Diet: Vegan

Post by brimstoneSalad » Thu Nov 06, 2014 7:09 pm

Soycrates wrote:You can't just redefine morality to exclude subjective moralists because you don't agree with their position.
I knew you'd say that.

1. It's not redefining it. The subjective moralists are the ones who hijacked the term and attempted to redefine morality as subjective in order to just ignore the entire discussion. Sure, they did it over two thousand years ago, but it has never been very popular or accepted. There's plenty of bullshit that's just as old or older which is also illegitimate. You can put a false title to something, but it doesn't make it that thing. The concept of morality is far older and more essential than anything you're referencing, and one people have been working to define and understand for thousands of years. Ignoring the entire question is not an answer.

"How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg."

2. I assume you're trying to play the linguistic descriptivist card, but even there you are wrong- most people consider morality objective and reject the notion that subjective whim-based 'morality' is legitimate. And as to that point, you can't have your cake and eat it too:
So it's not surprising that I would say yes, you have to be some sort of spiritual or religious to call anything sacred.
Otherwise, you're using the word incorrectly.
Are you a strict descriptivist, or aren't you? Because sacred has perfectly non-controversial common meaning beyond supernatural religious context; it was in that context that it was being used.

3. Even if that was descriptively valid, which it isn't, descriptivism is WRONG. Particularly in these kinds of philosophical contexts where words have to be defined in the discussion to have a clear, useful, and coherent meaning. When stupid people define things stupidly and uselessly, it's perfectly legitimate to reject their definitions.
Moral subjectivists define morality in a way that makes it useless at best and more often incoherent - it's an invalid attempt at redefining the term (just as was Rand's self contradictory attempt at defining it as egoism).

Moral subjectivism is pseudo-morality. It is not legitimate, it's just another form of amoral hedonism, given a fancy title to make it seem legitimate.
Calling something doesn't make it so.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests