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Thread: RETRIBUTIVISM

  1. Top | #91
    Contributor ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    But you are getting a wrong conclusion.
    Me, and the researchers, I guess.

    Your evidence-denialism, which has been a feature of your postings in a few threads, might fit in nicely at the seminary too. Although I strongly suggest that you at least study the texts when you get there, better than you do here, so that you know what they actually say.


    I admire your stamina and work ethic. There appear to be no lengths you will go to or no limit to the number of hoops you will try to jump through to protect your redundant and undemonstrated claims.

    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    First, that is about favoritism. Even if people prefer to be around those more 'like them', that does not mean they would disagree about the correct moral judgment.

    Second, if human morality is pro-discrimination, favoring the in-group, that would not mean there is no fact of the matter, or even that it is relative in the relevant sense. It would mean people have obligations, say, not to harm their in-group members for fun or to steal from them, etc. (where the group is instinctively picked), but lesser or no obligations not to harm out-group members for the same reasons, and so on. You are confusing a group-centered, biased morality with no morality.
    Although you may or may not have noticed, you and I have not been disagreeing much for quite some time now as to whether there are at least some of what might be called moral facts (albeit against an obvious backdrop of relative variation, for which reason I think your claims about moral facts are overstated). But I now in retrospect think it a bit unfortunate that you were quite happy to allow me, for quite a while, in various threads, to agree that there were moral 'facts' of a certain sort, albeit clearly stated by me from the moment I accepted it to be on a particular basis and not on the basis of them being external or independent to humans, without making it clear and obvious, when talking to me, that you disagree with me about that, even though you clearly did and do disagree.
    Last edited by ruby sparks; Yesterday at 09:00 PM.
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  2. Top | #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    Me, and the researchers, I guess.
    I do not know about that. While humans often seem biased against strangers, the bias takes the form of false beliefs about what those strangers intend, believe, etc. I do not see researchers saying that those assessments would persist upon agreement about the nonmoral facts of the matter.

    But if you think otherwise, why don't you quote them making statements that support your claims against my view?

    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    Your evidence-denialism, which has been a feature of your postings in a few threads, might fit in nicely at the seminary too.
    The fact that you believe I engage in evidence-denialism in spite of what you can read in my posts would be a good fit for the seminary (well, in terms of absurdity, but I do not know whether your judgment of my posts is clouded by RIP, or just because you are angry with me).



    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    I admire your stamina and work ethic. There appear to be no lengths you will go to or no limit to the number of hoops you will try to jump through to protect your redundant and undemonstrated claims.
    I don't need to 'demonstrate' claims that are part of ordinary human experience, like the claim that humans generally can move small objects in their vicinity, or that some traffic lights are red, or that humans with AIDS or cancer or the flu are ill, or that humans can and sometimes feel pain, and so on. The same goes for there being moral facts. If you intend to challenge that, the burden is on you.


    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    Although you may or may not have noticed, you and I have not been disagreeing much for quite some time now as to whether there are at least some of what might be called moral facts (albeit against an obvious backdrop of relative variation, for which reason I think your claims about moral facts are overstated). But I now in retrospect think it a bit unfortunate that you were quite happy to allow me, for quite a while, in various threads, to agree that there were moral 'facts' of a certain sort, albeit clearly stated by me from the moment I accepted it to be on a particular basis and not on the basis of them being external or independent to humans, without making it clear and obvious, when talking to me, that you disagree with me about that, even though you clearly did and do disagree.
    Actually, when you talk about the 'independent to humans' stuff, you badly misconstrue my words, and attribute to me beliefs I do not have at all. Given the lack of clarity of your posts, I couldn't tell (I still can't) how much we disagree. Sometimes you say that you agree there are some moral facts. But then you go on to challenge them. It's rather weird. But to reiterate: I do not claim they are independent any more than claims about illness or color are. I tackled your arguments and showed that they failed, so I know your position is not correct, but how wrong it is is hard to tell because it's not precise enough for that.

    For example, you claimed:

    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    Yes, the grass stops being green if there is no entity to deem it to be green. Similar for Ted Bundy being bad. And, in the final analysis, whether anyone was ever what is called ill.
    You tend to talk about this alleged "final analysis" that is never actually done, but clearly that is false. It's some sort of confusion. Dinosaurs had different colors, and scientists discover, discuss, etc., their color, even though no one was there to see it (their species-relative color vision saw something different, not what the scientists are talking about), and of course, people who had cancer were ill, and that is not the sort of fact that future events could retroactively change. This is just a mistaken theory that for some reason you hold.

    Another error: you said:

    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    Can it be reasonably demonstrated that there was ever grass or electromagnetic radiation when there merely were no human brains? Yes. The latter two are therefore, by any reasonable standard, demonstrably independent of human brains and the former isn't that, and you are more or less left with nothing but an arguably controversial bald assertion about the supposed independence of morality, an assertion that has no evidence, can't be demonstrated, and that is also redundant to explanations.
    Well, if you restrict your scenario to human morality, I might as well restrict the cancer comparison to human brain cancer, which did not exist before there were human brains. Alternatively, we can consider Tourette's syndrome. By your standard, it seems that Tourette's syndrome and human brain cancers are also 'dependent' (whatever that means), and if all humans were to die, then no human ever had Tourette's syndrome, which is patently false.

    In short, your account of 'independence' is pretty obscure, but the parts that are clear enough to make an assessment are clearly wrong.
    Last edited by Angra Mainyu; Today at 02:26 AM.

  3. Top | #93
    Contributor ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    I do not know about that. While humans often seem biased against strangers, the bias takes the form of false beliefs about what those strangers intend, believe, etc.
    The experiment would seem to undermine that suggestion. What was believed about the 'like me' and 'not like me' puppets was not false. Interpreting scientific results correctly does not seem to be your strong suit. I wonder if that's why you feel you can try to reject them so often, especially when they don't agree with your own claims and beliefs. Try again with that one.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I read the rest of your post carefully but I find a lot of it very questionable. In particular, the way you are comparing things like cancer or AIDS or Tourette's Syndrome, grass, wavelengths, etc, to morality is imo very confused for reasons previously given many times. And in particular your heavy reliance on 'ordinary human experience' (and things like intuitions, perceptions, everyday language, folk-psychology, analogies, colloquialisms, etc) is, I think a basic flaw that runs through many of your claims. Those considerations have much more in common with religion than anything else.

    But I can cut through all that and just say I think you are wrong about moral judgements, and indeed moral 'facts', being independent of what humans deem them to be. We are now talking about the claim that morality is independent. The rest, as they say, is now merely commentary on that.

    So, on that issue of supposed independence (I'm underlining it for you so that you understand, I hope, that we're not talking about moral 'facts' in the way I previously accepted):

    Cancer, AIDS, grass, colour, and wavelengths are still not necessarily good analogies to morality regarding independence, for several reasons given. They may be, but possibly, like all analogies, only in some ways (see side note below also).

    Human morality (ie the human sense of morality) did not, I would tend to assert (subject to being shown or convinced otherwise) exist before humans and would therefore cease to exist when humans cease to exist. This is not true of wavelengths, cancer or grass. It may be true of human cancer, yes, obviously, and historically the case, obviously. Duh.

    Colour is slightly different, that, in the end, never really exists (except in the colloquial sense, such as 'lights are red' or 'dinosaurs were green') unless there is an entity to have the experience of it, given that colour is a sensory experience, and the experiencing entity doesn't have to be human. The idea that there is actually redness and greenness 'out there' is dubious and controversial. There are, it seems, only wavelengths of a certain type of radiation that are transmitted by or reflected from something.

    If you think I misunderstand your specific claim about independence, which I might, then please clearly and succinctly state what that claim, about morality, is, and leave off analogies with other things at least initially?

    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    Side note: this issue of the applicability or not of analogies, or supposed contradictions between them and the issue at hand, comes up in other moral discussions, eg abortion. In order to decide if abortion is right or not, it is often compared, via analogy, to other things, but in the end, it seems, abortion is not the same as any of those other things, and so in the end there is nothing to fully compare it to, and we are left having to decide without recourse to analogies, in the end. It's possible this may be the case with the issue here, where we are comparing morality itself to other things.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    For example, are you claiming that there was morality and moral facts, in the universe, before there were any living things, and therefore independent of them?
    Last edited by ruby sparks; Today at 12:29 PM.
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  4. Top | #94
    Contributor ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Regardless of any answer to that last question, I can't think of a single moral 'fact', ie something that all 'fully non-defective' humans (temporarily assuming there is such a thing objectively-speaking, which I doubt) agree on that could not be fully explained by saying it's dependent on human brains, and by extension human values, beliefs, attitudes, etc.

    Can anyone think of one? Even, 'slowly torturing a human infant to death for fun is wrong' (I can't think of anything worse off the top of my head) wouldn't qualify. That could be fully explained by saying that's merely what is deemed to be the case by human brains. It's not a law of the universe, which, in case anyone hadn't noticed, is a very, very hostile and dangerous place, where damage and destruction happen a LOT, including the harm and suffering and deaths of living things, sometimes at the hands of other living things, sometimes at the hands of their own species, sometimes even, infants at the hands (or paws or hoofs or whatever) of their own mothers.

    I'm not saying the animals that do that find it pleasurable, necessarily, I'm not sure if all species can experience pleasure, but there will nonetheless always be that type of reason, that it will fit, be ok, be what the chemicals in the system dictate is what feels right, or what is automatically the thing to do in the case of creatures that can't have feelings at all (beetles perhaps). The underlying reason is likely to be that it doesn't tend to reduce, and may even enhance, the chances of survival and reproduction of the species (or the genes in the gene-carrying vehicles that are the members of that species). In any case, you get the point. There are full explanations without recourse to supposed brain-independent moral facts.

    Saying something like, 'X is or was still a wrong even in a universe where there are no humans and never have been (eg our universe 500 million years ago)' would be controversial, undemonstrated, possibly unfalsifiable, and redundant.

    Saying something like, "humans don't have to be instantiated at a particular time for it to be a fact that it would be wrong if humans were instantiated" doesn't help much. It seems to help, if we imagine a future universe in which all humans, or even all living things, have gone, because we can then say "it was a fact when there were humans and it would be a fact if humans were ever to exist again" but that's really no different. Moral facts could still be human brain-dependent and it being otherwise would be untestable and redundant to explanations.

    And if someone wants to make claims like that about morality, well, good luck to them. I guess it can't be demonstrated to be incorrect. When they're done they can do the existence of invisible elves. I don't see why not, if they want to. It'd be open season. Almost anything could be claimed.
    Last edited by ruby sparks; Today at 04:13 PM.
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  5. Top | #95
    Veteran Member Treedbear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    Regardless of any answer to that last question, I can't think of a single moral 'fact', ie something that all 'fully non-defective' humans (temporarily assuming there is such a thing objectively-speaking, which I doubt) agree on that could not be fully explained by saying it's dependent on human brains, and by extension human values, beliefs, attitudes, etc.

    Can anyone think of one? ...
    Actually, yes. I think all moral values are traceable to a basic metaphysical truth of the universe (the largest context). And that is that things exist because they survive. If they don't survive they cease to be part of the universe. And in the case of living things they need to have the ability to survive, which is the evolutionary basis of morality. It's also the reason that it is (in the broadest conception of the term) relative. Species exist because they have the ability to adapt and evolve. In a nutshell you might say that at the most fundamental level existence = good, and extinction = bad. In the case of human morality it applies primarily to our own species, and all moral decisions have their roots in that which benefits our species.

  6. Top | #96
    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    Why need an attitude be dependent on anything. The 'explanation' would work as well if one pulled it out of one's arse or related it to a butterfly.

    I'm starting off day in a bad mood I guess.

    Excuse. Just finished taxes.

  7. Top | #97
    Contributor ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    Regardless of any answer to that last question, I can't think of a single moral 'fact', ie something that all 'fully non-defective' humans (temporarily assuming there is such a thing objectively-speaking, which I doubt) agree on that could not be fully explained by saying it's dependent on human brains, and by extension human values, beliefs, attitudes, etc.

    Can anyone think of one? ...
    Actually, yes. I think all moral values are traceable to a basic metaphysical truth of the universe (the largest context). And that is that things exist because they survive. If they don't survive they cease to be part of the universe. And in the case of living things they need to have the ability to survive, which is the evolutionary basis of morality. It's also the reason that it is (in the broadest conception of the term) relative. Species exist because they have the ability to adapt and evolve. In a nutshell you might say that at the most fundamental level existence = good, and extinction = bad. In the case of human morality it applies primarily to our own species, and all moral decisions have their roots in that which benefits our species.

    Yes. I hadn't thought of that.

    It would mean stretching the definition of 'moral' a bit. It wouldn't necessarily be a propositional attitude, or at least not a reported one (a fox can't report it) and a flower surely can't even have an attitude.

    So whether it's something that's at the root of morality as opposed to being morality itself, might be debatable.

    But it does satisfy in some ways, because it's an answer. It's a universal cause, possibly even a motivation, at a pinch (even one not consciously felt) at least for living things, therefore also a basis and a reason (for what become moral facts). I hesitate to call it a life force but maybe I shouldn't.


    I'll certainly have to agree with Angra that there's at least one universal fact about.....something .....about morality....that does not depend on human brains, or even the having of a brain at all.

    It still leaves the question of whether this fact was true before life existed. Some moral realists, perhaps all of them for all I know, would say that it did. That, I think, would be going beyond accepting that it is independent.

    Nor would it seem to help to decide whether punishment or forgiveness was deserved. That would seem to pragmatically depend on outcomes, including all the ones that happened already during evolution. As such, there would still seem to be a place for forgiveness, as part of this or that strategy, even if not as often as punishment, at least for very social species such as ours.
    Last edited by ruby sparks; Today at 08:58 PM.
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