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Thread: The Great Contradiction

  1. Top | #611
    Contributor ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    How about this? You link to a study, and I tell you whether or not I accept the empirical findings of it - of course I do -, and the authors' interpretations? (it might take some time, since my vacations are over).
    Ok, I will try one or two more hypothetical scenarios.

    This has to do not just with you doing an act, but choosing when to do it.

    Imagine you are seated in front of a hypothetical button on the table in front of you. Your hand is poised just a few centimetres above it. You are asked to press the button whenever you want to. Electrodes are attached to your head and linked to a machine that reads your brain pattern. The machine beeps when it detects the pattern corresponding to 'button is going to be pressed'. No matter how hard you try, you can't press the button before the beep.

    Or another hypothetical machine that does something similar. This time the brain activity is recorded. Separate, independent reviewers, looking at the information retrospectively, not having seen the experiment, can predict when you were about to press the button, and indeed in that case which hand you were going to use, since there were two buttons. In fact they can predict it with at least some accuracy up to a number of seconds before you pressed, which is an enormous amount of time in neuronal-transmission terms.

    Both of those scenarios are summaries of actual recent experiments. They do not prove anything, partly because neuroscience has yet to mature, but they suggest that we may not have the abilities we intuitively think we have.

    I have already cited 2 or 3 others in this thread, and since you dismissed those, I have my doubts as to whether you reading the whole library would make any difference, since you are essentially being an evidence denialist. Also, its not really my job to spoon feed you. If you're interested, go find the material yourself. There are copious amounts of it. If you're not, carry on being under-informed.

    And if you want to advance your earlier claim that free will can be exercised subconsciously then you should have tried to do that already, since I did ask you to elaborate on it several times to no avail. Which I thought was a bit odd. It would certainly have been interesting to hear an answer from someone so keen to rely on intuitions, since I doubt it is the case that the sort of free will we and others intuitively believe in is the sort in which decisions are made before we feel we consciously make them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    But science is not at all suggesting that it's an illusion that I can write this of my own free will.
    Science is very much doing that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    We've been through this already, so I will not repeat my previous arguments again.
    Good, because your arguments were very unconvincing and your colloquial definitions were very inadequate and essentially a dodge.

    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    Why would you forgive someone who does not want forgiveness and is just laughing at you?
    Good question, but not the one I asked you. In any case, why add in that the person is laughing? I do believe you're trying to provoke my emotions. That's slightly dubious, and makes me wonder if your own views on retributions have more to do with emotion than reason.

    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    But regardless of your motives, suppose you're not the victim, and suppose it's not not a slap in the face, but, say, a man raped a woman for fun. Or what if it's robbery, with a beating and all? Or armed robbery, as muggers do all the time?
    I don't see why we shouldn't have done my scenario. Or were you worried that your maxim, "retribution is a good in an of itself" might not apply to it?
    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    No, it does not weaken it at all. Why would you think so?
    Ok so you don't think it weakens it. That figures.

    You still need to answer the question anyway. If you want to say that retribution is, of itself, the morally right response, then I think you would need to show that an alternative, forgiveness, is not a morally right response.

    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    Just retribution is a good in an of itself.
    So you keep saying.
    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    so I constructed the scenario to show that it is a good in an of itself.
    No you didn't. You constructed a scenario with a certain type of consequences, and used those consequences to try to make your point. When I changed the consequences to equally valid ones, you tried to deny the validity of them, in line with your generally denialist approach to all the issues we have been discussing.

    You did not in fact, during the discussion, present a single example of either (a) a moral universal or (b) a case of retribution being morally right of itself, let alone showing that that is necessarily or generally the case. You merely alluded to both or made bald clams about them.

    One last thing, that we have free will, that there are moral universals and that retribution is morally right of itself are all your positive claims. I don't think you have sufficiently taken on the burden of them. You have relied too much on asking people who are merely skeptics, such as myself, to prove a negative.

    Imo, it is also very unfortunate that you have not been more open-minded here.

    Thank you for the discussion nonetheless.
    Last edited by ruby sparks; 02-09-2020 at 11:26 AM.
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  2. Top | #612
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    Quote Originally Posted by The AntiChris View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    But if there is no fact of the matter as to whether a person behaves wrongfully, then what are the behaviors that the state is to ban so that perpetrators are pragmatically punished imposing deterrence, incapacitation and/or restoration?
    Why should they (behaviours) be any different to the ones we currently criminalise?
    I can't think of a reason. The legal prohibitions themselves are already essentially based on behaviours which result in damage and/or harm.

    Subsequent negative moral judgements about the biological machine causing the damage/harm are (a) arguably an additional and slightly separate consideration, albeit related by being in some ways modulated (amplified or attenuated) by the relative strength or weakness, respectively, of a belief in free will, and (b) responses which seem to have changed and varied during the history of human interactions, often because additional mitigations are better appreciated as our knowledge and understanding of why and how humans function the ways they do has improved.

    Further, as regards retributive urges (which often follow on the heels of negative moral judgements about personal responsibility), a stronger belief in free will seems to result in stronger versions of these also.
    Last edited by ruby sparks; 02-09-2020 at 03:17 PM.
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  3. Top | #613
    Member aupmanyav's Avatar
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    In a civil society, we should go according to what law says. Laws may differ from one country to another. In Muslim countries, it is the nearest kin of the murdered person who decides whether the murderer should live or die. And if the murderer is to live then what compensation should be given to the sufferers. You may not agree with this view, but it is the law of that country. Any one who follows that is perfectly justified.

    Secondly, it is the prerogative of the country to decide what punishment should be for any crime. We may say that it is soft or harsh (according to our view), but the government of the country is the final authority.

  4. Top | #614
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wiploc View Post
    If I came off as hostile, sorry. I was probably feeling a little hostile. You wrote "We have an advocate of retribution in this thread. ... I'm not on Joe's side. I think he's irrational. I do not favor retribution." That's insinuating that retributionists are on Joe's side. You ought not to have done that. Retributionists are not on Joe's side either.
    I reject and repudiate your inference about my intentions.
    If you didn't intend to make that insinuation, you should choose your words more carefully. (As should I, no doubt.)

    Are you offended because I'm playing amateur psychoanalyst at you?
    Yes, repeatedly. You keep accusing me of having motives that you just made up and attributed to me.

    Sorry, but what do you expect? You made an argument that comes off as crazy.
    Maybe we seem crazy to each other. Does that license me to lie about your motives?
    I didn't lie about your motives. If I misrepresented them, well, as you so aptly put it, "For this, I apologize. I did the best I could." The essence of retribution is that it's a second strike, not a first strike. You say you were trying "to construct a pure-retribution scenario". And what you came up with was a first strike. How does anybody do that without emotions having clouded his judgment? Of course maybe I stink at figuring out your emotions. And since I don't seem to be able to theorize about them without offending you, I'll just keep my inferences about them to myself.

    It seems, if not pure villainy, then innocent of villainy only by reason of insanity. To me the notion of punishing a crime by killing an innocent looks like it fits a philosophy of maximizing total happiness far better than it fits a philosophy that takes into account who deserves happiness and who doesn't. If the purpose of punishment is deterrence then it makes not a particle of difference whether the punished person is guilty -- it only matters whether he's popularly thought guilty, or whether he's loved by the guilty person.
    Spoken like someone who thinks utilitarianism doesn't make sense.

    Someone who is a utilitarian would say that there's more utility in punishing the guilty and letting the innocent go free.
    Someone who thinks utilitarianism doesn't make sense would regard that as the utilitarian kicking deservingness out the front door and then letting it back in through the servants' entrance. Utilitarians typically appear to be deciding what's right and wrong in any specific case the same way most people do -- subconscious prompting from their moral intuition -- and then to be giving credit for the judgment to the abstract ideology they've bought into, the same way most people do. They appear to compartmentalize just as much as anybody else.

    But that isn't to say you are a typical Utilitarian; and I mustn't theorize about your subconscious. So I'll just ask. If you were a utilitarian prosecutor, and your purpose for punishment were deterrence, and happiness increases when you successfully deter crime, and you had a suspect in custody who practically everyone thought was guilty, and you found yourself in a position to undetectably destroy the one vital piece of paper that would show he's actually innocent, and there was no feasible way for you to lay your hands on the real criminal, can you present a calculation showing that there's more utility in punishing the guilty and letting the innocent go free, i.e., that total happiness would be decreased by making that evidence disappear, given that total happiness would increase if the evidence hadn't existed in the first place because you had the right perp? Can you explain, in this scenario, how revealing that the real criminal got away with it to all those tempted to crime would increase happiness?

    Perhaps your answer is "That's a problem with Act Utilitarianism. I'm a Rule Utilitarian". You say "There's more utility in punishing the guilty and letting the innocent go free." Well, more utility than what? A rule is simply a generalization of acts. You can generalize an act in a million different ways. The rule "Punish the guilty and let the innocent go free" no doubt leads to more happiness than the rule "Punish the innocent and let the guilty go free", true. But "Punish the innocent and let the guilty go free" isn't the rule the better rule is in competition with. Nobody is proposing a policy of always punishing innocent people and letting guilty people go free. No, the rule it's in competition with is "Punish the guilty and let the innocent go free, except when you probably can't get the guilty person but you can still create the perception that crimes are punished, provided you'll probably get away with it, and provided even if it's found out you punished the wrong man it will be seen as an honest mistake." (This isn't some unreal abstract hypothetical either. The latter is pretty much the actual policy being effectively chosen by local governments all over America, every time they choose to underfund the Public Defender.)

    So can you explain how a prosecutor following the "Punish the guilty and let the innocent go free" rule would be increasing happiness more than a prosecutor secretly following the "Punish the guilty and let the innocent go free, except when you probably can't get the guilty person but you can still create the perception that crimes are punished, provided you'll probably get away with it, and provided even if it's found out you punished the wrong man it will be seen as an honest mistake." rule?

    ... Morality is not specifically human behavior. It's monkey behavior. When a philosopher comes up with a moral theory like Utilitarianism or the Categorical Imperatives or Divine Command Theory or what have you, there are two ways he can do it. He can do it by trying to conform his theory to the moral judgments being issued by the inherited gadgets in our brains that our monkey ancestors evolved to carry out the moral judgment function they needed, or else he can do it by defining morality to be whatever his theory says it is and then trying to reprogram our monkey brains to conform to his theory.

    To my mind, the latter approach is completely wrong-headed. ...

    When you claim retribution is villainy, you're de facto claiming the evolved monkey moral sense is villainous.
    That's absurd. I never said anything like that. I never thought anything like that. You're going to ridiculous lengths to make up unsavory opinions and attribute them to me.

    We're done here.
    I didn't say you ever said anything like that, or thought anything like that. I said "de facto", i.e., that it amounts to the same thing. That doesn't mean you're aware it amounts to the same thing. What I was claiming is that the evolved monkey moral sense being villainous is an inescapable consequence of retribution being villainy. All I was proposing about you was that either you haven't thought through the implications of your claim, or you're unfamiliar with how central retribution is to other monkeys' moral senses, or else you're implicitly taking for granted that the human moral sense is a new and fundamentally different kind of thing from the monkey moral sense it evolved from.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wiploc View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    And the trait (the sense of natural justice) might not be limited to being applied to humans or entities that could reasonably be said to even have agency. Perhaps that is where you think the villainy comes in?
    Wanting to hurt people for no good reason is the villainy. Wanting it so bad that we're willing to stunt our intellectual growth by rationalizing, for instance, that evolution wants us to hurt people for no reason, that's just an evil side effect of wanting to hurt people for no reason.
    So can you explain who it is who's supposed to be rationalizing, for instance, that evolution wants us to hurt people for no reason? It sounds like you mean AM and me. In the words of the master, that's absurd. We never said anything like that. We never thought anything like that. You appear to be going to ridiculous lengths to make up unsavory opinions and attribute them to us. If you think that such a rationalization is implied by our arguments, you're very much mistaken.

    Entirely apart from the fact that evolution obviously doesn't want anything, and the fact that even if it did this wouldn't justify anything any more than some hypothetical god's preferences would, you keep adding your own "for no reason" gloss to your opponents' arguments. We do not want to hurt people for no reason. We have a reason: justice. An ideological conviction that justice isn't a good reason is not adequate grounds for you attributing to us the view that it's okay to hurt people for no reason. Stop doing that. We do not favor hurting people for no reason. Equating "reason" with "means for increasing happiness" is an equivocation fallacy.

    Those of us who care about justice for its own sake could equally well characterize your view and the view of Utilitarians in general as "Wiploc is claiming it's good and righteous to make bad people happy for no reason. He claims the happiness of a good person and of a bad person count equally in moral calculations for no reason." If we did that, would you feel we were characterizing your position fairly?

  5. Top | #615
    Contributor ruby sparks's Avatar
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    I have started a new thread on retributivism.

    https://talkfreethought.org/showthre...460#post763460
    "Let us hope that it is not so. Or if it is, let us pray that the fact does not become generally known."

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    Contributor ruby sparks's Avatar
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    nm
    "Let us hope that it is not so. Or if it is, let us pray that the fact does not become generally known."

  7. Top | #617
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    Quote Originally Posted by The AntiChris
    I still don't understand your problem.
    I still do not understand why you do not understand it. I have been careful to describe the details, so I'm a bit confused too
    I will try again, in light of your new reply.

    Quote Originally Posted by The AntiChris
    When we talk about formal methods of punishment it's always in the context of dealing with law breaking. If you were in any doubt, I said this a little later:
    Quote Originally Posted by The AntiChris
    Everyone has retributive intuitions and probably always will. I accept there will always be retributive elements in criminal justice systems. All I'm arguing is that in, my view (I know you don't agree), by focussing on consequentialist punishment strategies (informed by empirical research) and reducing retributive infuences in our criminal justice systems, we have a better chance of reducing reoffending and making society safer.
    Criminal justice systems deal with law-breakers.
    If by 'Criminal justice systems' you mean law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, judges, and the like, then they deal with law breakers. However, lawmakers (whoever they are, depending on the system) decide which laws to pass, and which actions will be criminalized. When you said

    Quote Originally Posted by The AntiChris
    I think we should do the minimum necessary (where appropriate) to achieve deterrence, rehabilitation, societal protection and restoration. These are all considered, by most, to be forms of punishment but they're not (in my view) "deserved" - they're pragmatic responses to wrongdoing (they're consequentialist reasons for punishment).
    you said "they're pragmatic responses to wrongdoing", not to law-breaking. So, as far as I could tell you were talking about how to set up criminal law, perhaps among other situations. The problem is this: if there is no fact of the matter as to which behaviors are wrongful, how are lawmakers supposed to ascertain which behaviors to criminalize?

    Quote Originally Posted by The AntiChris
    Why should they (behaviours) be any different to the ones we currently criminalise?
    Is that 'should' a moral 'should'?

    Anyway, that depends on the behavior. But for example, in the past, the UK criminalized sex between two men. There are countries that currently do so. Granting the theory that there is no fact of the matter as to whether consensual sex between two men is always immoral (or sometimes, or whatever), how are lawmakers of those countries (or how were past lawmakers in the UK) to decide whether to criminalize sex between two men? (my position: it is extremely unjust to criminalize it, as they do not deserve negative retribution for having consensual sex with each other, leaving aside the specifics of each case in which it might be wrong for other reasons).

    Also for example, you said:

    Quote Originally Posted by The AntiChris
    I reject the retributive notion of moral desert. I'm suggesting there is a pragmatic element to desert claims (and in doing so I'm attempting to salvage the idea of deserved punishment).
    While I disagree with you about desert claims, this also makes it clear as far as I can tell that you are talking about (what you think is) moral desert, not a mere legal issue of how to deal with people who break the law, regardless of whether the law criminalizes immoral behavior.


    Quote Originally Posted by The AntiChris
    The question makes no sense.

    You might as well ask: "If there is no fact of the matter as to whether a particular food is tasty, how do you decide what to eat?"
    The question I asked makes perfect sense, and that is not a proper parallel. A proper parallel would be: Suppose someone proposed to criminalize eating foods that are not tasty - not all, perhaps, but some non-tasty foods. Suppose that the person who proposes that also says that there is no fact of the matter as to whether a food is tasty. Then, it would make perfect sense to ask him: 'If there is no fact of the matter as to whether, say, tomatoes are tasty, how are lawmakers to decide whether to criminalize eating of tomatoes?', or generally 'If there is no fact of the matter about whether foods are tasty, how are then lawmakers to decide whether to criminalize eating such-and-such food item?


    My point is that as far as I can tell, you proposed to punish (some) people who behave wrongfully, for pragmatic reasons. You did not suggest punishing also the innocent who break the law (e.g., men who have sex with men for fun, all other things equal). But the question is: if there is no fact of the matter as to whether behaviors are wrongful, how are lawmakers to decide which behaviors to criminalize? For example, if there is no fact of the matter as to whether consensual sex between two men is (always, or sometimes, etc.) wrongful, how are lawmakers to decide whether to criminalize consensual sex between two men? (or more men, or smoking pot, or whatever).

    That is what I do not understand about your proposal. I hope the above clarifies what it is that I don't get.

  8. Top | #618
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    Ok, I will try one or two more hypothetical scenarios.
    But you're not linking to a study. I offered that so that you could test whether I rejected empirical findings.

    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    Imagine you are seated in front of a hypothetical button on the table in front of you. Your hand is poised just a few centimetres above it. You are asked to press the button whenever you want to. Electrodes are attached to your head and linked to a machine that reads your brain pattern. The machine beeps when it detects the pattern corresponding to 'button is going to be pressed'. No matter how hard you try, you can't press the button before the beep.
    Clearly, my decisions have previous causes. If some of those causes can be identified, then the decision can be predicted. The degree of accuracy is not going to be perfect - it is never so, for anything in the universe -, but even if it were, that would only tell me that, at best, some scientists have identified some of the causes of my choices (and figured how to measure them). I would still be choosing of my own free will whether and when to press the button.

    For that matter, if they could predict when I will press the button 100 million years before I do so, I would still be pressing it of my own free will.


    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    Or another hypothetical machine that does something similar. This time the brain activity is recorded. Separate, independent reviewers, looking at the information retrospectively, not having seen the experiment, can predict when you were about to press the button, and indeed in that case which hand you were going to use, since there were two buttons. In fact they can predict it with at least some accuracy up to a number of seconds before you pressed, which is an enormous amount of time in neuronal-transmission terms.
    Or aliens from a parallel dimension can predict it with some accuracy up to a number of millions of years before I pressed. What is your point here?

    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    Both of those scenarios are summaries of actual recent experiments. They do not prove anything, partly because neuroscience has yet to mature, but they suggest that we may not have the abilities we intuitively think we have.
    Well, they might suggest that you do not have the abilities you think you have. I wouldn't know. What abilities do you think you have?

    They do not suggest that I do not have the abilities I think I have.

    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    I have already cited 2 or 3 others in this thread, and since you dismissed those, I have my doubts as to whether you reading the whole library would make any difference, since you are essentially being an evidence denialist. Also, its not really my job to spoon feed you. If you're interested, go find the material yourself. There are copious amounts of it. If you're not, carry on being under-informed.
    No, you misunderstand. I reject their relevancy. But I'm defending myself of charges of denying science. If you give me the links, I can take a look at the studies, and you will see that I accept the empirical findings.

    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    And if you want to advance your earlier claim that free will can be exercised subconsciously then you should have tried to do that already, since I did ask you to elaborate on it several times to no avail.
    I did not claim that. If you are talking about the scenario you presented and which I misunderstood, I already clarified that part. I also asked you for a link about this particular point because you claimed some compatibilists claim that one can unconciously act of one's own free will, and I suspect a misunderstanding. But maybe they are claiming that in a relevant sense. If you give me the link, I can take a look.

    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    Which I thought was a bit odd. It would certainly have been interesting to hear an answer from someone so keen to rely on intuitions, since I doubt it is the case that the sort of free will we and others intuitively believe in is the sort in which decisions are made before we feel we consciously make them.
    Yes, you said it was a bid odd. In light of your reply, I realized there had been a misunderstanding, and explained my position. At any rate, if you can link to a place where it is explained what you or the compatibilists you talk about mean by exercising free will unconsiously, I can make a proper assessment. As it is, I do not know what you mean I'm afraid.


    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    Science is very much doing that.
    No, it is not. If you believe so, I would like for some argument, evidence, anything at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    Good, because your arguments were very unconvincing and your colloquial definitions were very inadequate and essentially a dodge.
    Quite the opposite, the colloquial definitions are the only relevant ones, as I have explained carefully.

    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    Good question, but not the one I asked you. In any case, why add in that the person is laughing? I do believe you're trying to provoke my emotions. That's slightly dubious, and makes me wonder if your own views on retributions have more to do with emotion than reason.
    You presented a general scenario. Why not add that the question is laughing, if your scenario is supposed to work even then? Of course, I'm trying to provoke an emotion called moral outrage.
    As to my views on retribution, no, they are not based on emotion. On the other hand, my support for retribution is, but then, so is our support for anything you support. Reason alone does not give you a motive.

    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    I don't see why we shouldn't have done my scenario. Or were you worried that your maxim, "retribution is a good in an of itself" might not apply to it?
    No, not at all. If that person assaulted you for no good reason, retribution would be just. A potential way: not to talk to them anymore. Or to tell them they're behaving immorally. Or slapping them back (whether it's a good idea overall is another matter)


    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    You still need to answer the question anyway. If you want to say that retribution is, of itself, the morally right response, then I think you would need to show that an alternative, forgiveness, is not a morally right response.
    I said it is in an of itself a good. I did not say it's the only good. I did not say that forgiveness for what is done to you is never a morally correct response. It might depend on the case.


    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    No you didn't. You constructed a scenario with a certain type of consequences, and used those consequences to try to make your point. When I changed the consequences to equally valid ones, you tried to deny the validity of them, in line with your generally denialist approach to all the issues we have been discussing.
    That is false.

    First, I was repeatedly told in this thread that retribution against people who deserve it for their wrongdoings was in several ways bad, so I constructed the scenario to show that it is a good in an of itself. But I wasn't making a consequentialist argument. I said more than once just retribution is an end in an of itself, not a means to a further end (though there might be secondary goals).

    Second, the scenario works. S1 is a better world than S2. That makes my point regardless of whether S1 is better than S3.

    Third, your accusation is both unwarranted and false. I pointed out that your scenario was psychologically unrealistic in a relevant sense. Monsters like that do not realistically change. But I still made the assessment.


    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    You did not in fact, during the discussion, present a single example of either (a) a moral universal or (b) a case of retribution being morally right of itself, let alone showing that that is necessarily or generally the case. You merely alluded to both or made bald clams about them.
    Actually, I did present a case of (b), namely when I compared S1 and S2. As for (a), I did not because I wasn't even trying because no one asked. It is always immoral for people to torture other people purely for fun.That is a moral universal. Another? It is always immoral for people to rape other people purely for fun. Not that it would matter to the points I'm making.


    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    One last thing, that we have free will, that there are moral universals and that retribution is morally right of itself are all your positive claims. I don't think you have sufficiently taken on the burden of them. You have relied too much on asking people who are merely skeptics, such as myself, to prove a negative.
    No, as I have explained repeatedly, I have no burden. When you challenge something that is part of ordinary human experience, the burden is all on you. If I claim that the headphones on my table are red, I do not have the burden that to show that there is such thing as a red thing (I might have the burden to show you that there are such headphones if I care for that, but that's another matter). If I claim that other humans have minds, generally can feel pain, and so on, I have no burden. If I claim humans generally have the ability to move a mouse or other small objects in their vicinity, I have no burden. If I claim that humans generally act of their own accord, or that some people behave immorally, or that red traffic lights are red, or that some people are in pain, etc., I have no burden.


    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    Imo, it is also very unfortunate that you have not been more open-minded here.
    It is very unfortunate that you keep making accusations not based on the evidence available to you. I do not believe you do this deliberately, but the fact that you believe what you say about me is unfortunate.

  9. Top | #619
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    I hope the above clarifies what it is that I don't get.
    I'm afraid I don't find your style of argumentation particularly easy to follow. But I'll try.

    You ask:

    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    if there is no fact of the matter as to whether behaviors are wrongful, how are lawmakers to decide which behaviors to criminalize?
    Lawmakers don't decide. Lawmakers implement the will of the people (in a democracy).

    So now you ask: if there's no fact of the matter, how do the people decide? The people are a collection of individuals - individuals decide.

    So now you ask: if there's no fact of the matter how do individuals decide which behaviours to respond to with disapproval?

    Essentially you're asking how we make moral judgements if there's no fact of the matter independent of our beliefs, feelings or other attitudes.

    The simple answer is we make moral judgements based entirely on our individual beliefs, feelings and attitudes because there is no independent fact of the matter.

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    Contributor ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The AntiChris View Post
    The simple answer is we make moral judgements based entirely on our individual beliefs, feelings and attitudes because there is no independent fact of the matter.
    I would add the caveat that certain moral traits may be widespread within a species, possibly (I'm not sure) to a level where they could be approximately described as 'universal' (to that species). But that would only seem to be an approximation, a question of numbers and percentages, not an absolute.

    Or perhaps there are more possible combinations of brain states and more subsequent nuances to beliefs about moral judgements than there are or ever have been individuals on the planet, which might effectively mean that you are right, because then, no two might be or ever have been the same.
    Last edited by ruby sparks; 02-11-2020 at 11:52 AM.
    "Let us hope that it is not so. Or if it is, let us pray that the fact does not become generally known."

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