Lay Vegan's "#NameTheTrait is a Terrible Argument for Veganism" - Response

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Human_Garbage
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Lay Vegan's "#NameTheTrait is a Terrible Argument for Veganism" - Response

Post by Human_Garbage » Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:22 am

Mostly copy pasting my youtube comments, but I feel I'll get a more valuable discussion by posting it here. Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VVeWVuFVrI&t=0s

Hi Lay Vegan, Thanks for tackling a fairly esoteric topic in great detail. First of all, I think you're playing it up far too much when you say "NTT is one of the worst arguments on the youtube platform". Second, you never mention what ethical arguments you think are stronger than NTT (though I understand this is simply part 1).

You also mention tackling the health aspects of veganism in reaction to rationality rules comments. I think you should be careful how you do this, because it was clear from that snippet you showed that he merely said he saw some studies showing pescetarian diets to be better for health and longevity than vegan counter parts. This is a very different claim then him saying that veganism is "unhealthy" or "untenable", so please don't take that angle.

I don't really understand why you spent 15 minutes criticizing NTT, only to introduce a third premises which you say fixes it. You should have steel-manned it first, and spent the video trying to criticize that.

Here's my problem, I feel like I can use your same criticizms of NTT 1.0 to "debunk" this NTT 2.0. You're missing a premise. There is no premise that says the trait that deems individuals of value is sentience, or that a being must be sentient to possess a trait that gives them value. You're presupposing that sentience is what gives us moral value. I could simply say, I don't believe sentience is what gives us moral value, and reject premise 3. Name the Justification falls in the same way... I can name any justification I want and call it morally relevant.

"NTT 2.0" remains a Socratic method to have the respondent evaluate their own moral framework, instead of one that logically reaches a conclusion about what moral value is. It's only effective if they already agree sentience is the trait that gives us moral value. Furthermore, any argument that did try to reach a conclusion about what moral value is, still falls victim to moral subjectivity, because there is no proof for objective morality.

Additionally premise 1 doesn't even define what kind of "value" we're talking about. Plenty of non-vegans think animals have value, that's why their flesh is sold for money in stores. This argument does not get you to reach veganism!

Ask Yourself is a moral nihilist. From a quick look at your twitter, it looks like you aren't? This might be the heart of the disagreement. There is no ontological existence of moral value to be extracted from reality, only actions which humans subjectively decide is worth pursuing/avoiding. I would like to see you present a moral argument for veganism that doesn't fall victim to this criticism of the "four terms".

Point to where you think I'm wrong. Thanks!

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Post by Red » Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:46 am

Hey Human Garbage, you should post an intro thread just to assure us you're not a bot (I doubt you are, but you know rules and regulations).
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Post by esquizofrenico » Thu Jul 12, 2018 3:40 am

Hi, HG. If you don't mind me asking, what do you mean when you say you're a moral nihilist. Is it that saying "Female genital mutilation is horrendous" is similar to saying "Black is the best colour for cars"?

I see a lot of people nowadays using the "that is just your opinion" argument against veganism, that five minutes later start foaming at the mouth because a feminist has said that the USA is just as sexist as Irak because of the pay gap. I am not saying in any way that I have solved the is/ought problem, but I see a lot of people pretending to be radical relativists when they clearly are not.

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Post by Red » Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:58 am

I can't speak for Lay, but there are like 10 threads on this forum that discuss NTT, try rummaging around for them, and you'll probably find some relavant answers.
Human_Garbage wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 12:22 am
There is no ontological existence of moral value to be extracted from reality, only actions which humans subjectively decide is worth pursuing/avoiding.
What makes you say that?
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Post by Human_Garbage » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:04 am

esquizofrenico wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 3:40 am
Hi, HG. If you don't mind me asking, what do you mean when you say you're a moral nihilist. Is it that saying "Female genital mutilation is horrendous" is similar to saying "Black is the best colour for cars"?

I see a lot of people nowadays using the "that is just your opinion" argument against veganism, that five minutes later start foaming at the mouth because a feminist has said that the USA is just as sexist as Irak because of the pay gap. I am not saying in any way that I have solved the is/ought problem, but I see a lot of people pretending to be radical relativists when they clearly are not.
When I say "moral nihilist" (I know there's a big confusion of terms here), I mean that morality is not ontologically real. Much in the same way purpose is not ontologically real. I was not put here with a purpose, yet I can still pursue my purpose. Much like morality, we we're not put here with an objective code of ethics, but it's very much in our interests to create and abide by one.

I am not a moral relativist. I think if there can be one morality that is best for everyone. I'm a universalist.


Hope that clears it up.

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Post by Porphyry » Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:00 pm

Human_Garbage wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:04 am
esquizofrenico wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 3:40 am
Hi, HG. If you don't mind me asking, what do you mean when you say you're a moral nihilist. Is it that saying "Female genital mutilation is horrendous" is similar to saying "Black is the best colour for cars"?

I see a lot of people nowadays using the "that is just your opinion" argument against veganism, that five minutes later start foaming at the mouth because a feminist has said that the USA is just as sexist as Irak because of the pay gap. I am not saying in any way that I have solved the is/ought problem, but I see a lot of people pretending to be radical relativists when they clearly are not.
When I say "moral nihilist" (I know there's a big confusion of terms here), I mean that morality is not ontologically real. Much in the same way purpose is not ontologically real. I was not put here with a purpose, yet I can still pursue my purpose. Much like morality, we we're not put here with an objective code of ethics, but it's very much in our interests to create and abide by one.

I am not a moral relativist. I think if there can be one morality that is best for everyone. I'm a universalist.


Hope that clears it up.
Greetings: When you say that 'morality is not ontologically real' you are making a distinction between morality and other manifestations in the cosmos. I wonder if that is coherent (from an ontological perspective). For example, if looked at from the perspective of causation, I cannot discern any ontological distinction. Both trees and moral systems arise due to causation, though, obviously, the causal factors differ. But from the perspective of causation as such, they are ontologically equivalent. Therefore, from the perspective of causation as a fundamental category of existence, trees and chairs, as well as moral systems, share the same ontological status. Perhaps you are claiming that manifestations that arise due to human mentation differ from things, like trees, that arise due to physical causes. But as a fundamental category, causation is causation. // Again, both trees and moral systems are dependent on other things for their appearing in the cosmos. You could say they lean on other things for their existence. But that does not mean they are unreal; unless you are claiming that existing dependently means that something is unreal. But if that is the case, then trees and chairs and human beings are also unreal. // Thanks for the post.

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Post by Human_Garbage » Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:30 pm

It feels like you're trying to point out there's no distinction when there clearly is one. Unicorns are not "real". Of course, we can still have a cognitive perception of unicorns, we can think about what one looks like, we can draw pictures of them, etc... But noone in their right mind would argue unicorns ontologically exist. That's the distinction I'm getting at.

So yes, things that only exist dependently on human thought are unreal.

Trees and chairs and people were all discovered via interfacing with reality. Taking measurements about the material world and assigning categories and names. We cannot take a measurement of an action like murder, and receive back any sort of data that suggests to us "murder is wrong". We only get things like: murder causes grief, murder is bloody, murder is the theft of someone's life, etc....

But nowhere will reality tell us "murder is wrong" in the moral sense, because reality does not make prescriptive statements about the wrongness of anything. Atleast not in a way we can discern.

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Post by sunflower » Sun Jul 15, 2018 8:33 pm

We cannot take a measurement of an action like murder, and receive back any sort of data that suggests to us "murder is wrong.
Do you think we can know anything about the universe other than what is tangible, e.g., mathematical truths? Do you think we can obtain knowledge of the universe via logic and reason?

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Post by brimstoneSalad » Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:32 pm

@Human_Garbage You might want to mention @Lay Vegan and even @Margaret Hayek (who was the main creator of the other argument you mentioned) regarding the NTT matters.

In terms of ontology, @Porphyry's response above was brilliant and I don't think I can say it any better.
We have an article on the skeptic community strawman of moral realism here:
wiki/index.php/Objective-subjective_distinction

I'll only add that I think you're quite confused about what it is for something to be as a concept (and being understood to be a concept) vs. being (or supposing to be) physically real. "Unicorns" aren't meant to be limited to concepts, and the conceptual descriptions are also impossible (references to magic).
As long as a concept is KNOWN to be a concept, and as long as it is consistent, then it is ontologically real as such (as an information structure; as real as software on a computer, for instance, but not physically out there with us).
Much like morality, we we're not put here with an objective code of ethics, but it's very much in our interests to create and abide by one.
I am not a moral relativist. I think if there can be one morality that is best for everyone. I'm a universalist.
That's a realist, at least a minimal realist. I think you'd agree with constructivism.
It's also "ontologically" real morality in the universe as a concept (conceived of) that inevitably emerges from rational beings working things out among themselves... kind of like game theory, even mathematics, any system that has an inherent function to rational beings and exists as a conceptual framework. That's nothing like a unicorn which is supposed to be something physical that hasn't manifested and beyond that possesses impossible qualities so it can't manifest as it's supposed to.

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Post by Human_Garbage » Sun Jul 15, 2018 10:00 pm

I was really trying hard to give as much charity as I could to your comment @brimstoneSalad , but when you say that my position is actually that of a moral realist it really threw me for such a loop that I don't think it's even possible for me to engage in a discussion with you. There's too vast a difference in our definition of terms that I don't want to spend hours coming to agreement on.

The very wiki article you linked to me admits that moral universalism and and moral subjectivism are not mutually exclusive terms (though it does so in a condescending way), I would at least refer you to read your own article before you call me out.

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