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Thread: The is/ought issue.

  1. Top | #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wiploc View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    In Scenario 2, Bob reduces happiness by killing Jack, as he prevents all the future happiness of his murderer. But it is not the case that Bob has a moral obligation not to stab Jack.
    I suspect we've been here before.

    I'm a rule utilitarian. You can contrive a situation in which the rule doesn't satisfy, but that doesn't make it a bad rule generally.
    I would need more information about your variant of utilitarianism, also this is a side issue, but the point is that in some situations, it is not morally wrong to decrease happiness, so it is not the case that conceptually, to be morally wrong is to decrease happiness, and also it's not a case of a necessary equivalence that is not a conceptual equivalence (like water and H2O).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC
    To claim that X is immoral is the same as saying you ought not do X
    In the moral sense of 'ought', yes (well, there are some nuances one could debate, but those are details). That is precisely the point. An 'ought' follows from an 'is' using only logic and the meaning of the words. The question is about moral terms vs. non-moral terms, not about'ought' vs. 'is'. But you are missing the central point. You are agreeing with me! (again, save for some nuances).


    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC
    The ought is structurally embedded and implicit in the claim that something is immoral.
    In the moral sense of 'ought', yes, but you might as well say that the 'is immoral' is structurally embedded and implicit in the claim that you ought not to do something. And my point in that part of the OP is precisely that; it's not about is vs. ought, it's about moral language vs. non-moral language. But alas, that happens with color, or illness, or pretty much anything.


    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC
    It's not a case of what follows from a proposition that X is immoral.
    Oh, no, it does follow.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC
    It's just circular reasoning and a tautology to say we ought no do things that ought not be done...because they are 'immoral'.
    Well, it is a tautology, sure, that is my point in that part of the OP; it's not about is vs. ought, it's about moral language vs. non-moral language. But alas, that happens with color, or illness, or pretty much anything.

  3. Top | #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronburgundy
    Your premise of "It is immoral to do X" has no semantic meaning other than "I feel that people ought not to do X."
    That is false. You can see that when people engage in moral debates. They do not see each other as talking about what each of them feels. Otherwise, they would be talking past each other. Imagine this:

    Bob: I feel that people ought not to have gay sex.
    Alice: I feel that it is not the case that people ought not to have gay sex.
    Bob: Ah, okay, so looks like we have different feelings!


    But now imagine:

    Bob: People ought not to have gay sex.
    Alice: It is not the case that people ought not to have gay sex.
    Bob: We disagree.


    In other words, at least the "I feel that" is out of place. Moreover, it might be debatable whether 'A ought not to X' in the moral sense of 'ought' means the same as 'It would be immoral for A to X', or 'If A intends not to behave immorally, then A ought not to X'. If this is so, the moral 'ought' is a means-to-ends 'ought' with an implicit end.

    But let me reiterate: these are details. I included the points about deriving a moral 'ought' from 'is immoral' for the sake of thoroughness. It seems some readers are just misreading it.

    Quote Originally Posted by ronburgundy
    Thus, you are not deriving an "ought" from an actual "is", but an ought from and ought.
    Oh, no, I'm deriving an 'ought' from an 'is'. Clearly, 'is immoral' does not contain the word 'ought'. And that is precisely the point in that part of the OP. it's not about is vs. ought, it's about moral language vs. non-moral language. That is of course a side note.

    Quote Originally Posted by ronburgundy
    An "is" is a statement about the objective world that does not depend upon how any mind subjectively feels about it.
    No, an 'is' is a statement of the form 'A is B' in English.

    Quote Originally Posted by ronburgundy
    "Immoral" has no referent other than how the thing relates to way some mind feels about it.
    I do not see a good reason to believe so. Of course, there is no immoral behavior without minds. For that matter, there is no psychotic behavior without minds. But there is a fact of the matter as to whether a person behaves immorally, or psychotically.

    Quote Originally Posted by ronburgundy
    The only way your argument makes sense is if you use the word "is" to mean "ought", which is the same as using "implies" to mean "is". So, by the same abuse of meaning, I can say "X implies Y, therefore X is Y."
    That is not my argument. It is a side note.



    Quote Originally Posted by ronburgundy
    As for "seeing red", yes that is completely subjective experience, like morality. Thus, there is no objective truth to "that is red" without reference to such subjective experience.
    Imagine a court case, in which it is disputed whether the driver ran a red light. Surely, there is an objective fact of the matter as to whether the light was red.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wiploc View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Wiploc View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    In Scenario 2, Bob reduces happiness by killing Jack, as he prevents all the future happiness of his murderer. But it is not the case that Bob has a moral obligation not to stab Jack.
    I suspect we've been here before.

    I'm a rule utilitarian. You can contrive a situation in which the rule doesn't satisfy, but that doesn't make it a bad rule generally.

    Are you the justice guy? You think justice is a real thing, that can be identified, that is good of itself, that is the goal?
    There are some behaviors that would be just to others, sure, and others that would be unjust. In that sense, justice is a "thing" (in the sense that also immorality is a thing). But you do agree that immorality is a real thing that can be identified, right?

    And no, I'm not "the justice guy". I'm just a person who believes - like nearly every adult human being in the world - that there is generally a fact of the matter as to whether a human behavior is just or unjust.

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    Will anyone actually address the real issues at hand?

    Please? Any objections that do not miss the points?

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    Super Moderator ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    Imagine a court case, in which it is disputed whether the driver ran a red light. Surely, there is an objective fact of the matter as to whether the light was red.
    Loaded comparison (yet again). It may be that there are objective facts about the traffic light (at least in terms of wavelengths or energies of light) but not about morality. This has been put to you repeatedly, in many threads, so it is very odd indeed that you doggedly persist with the comparison.
    "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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    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    Imagine a court case, in which it is disputed whether the driver ran a red light. Surely, there is an objective fact of the matter as to whether the light was red.
    Loaded comparison (yet again). It may be that there are objective facts about the traffic light (at least in terms of wavelengths or energies of light) but not about morality. This has been put to you repeatedly, in many threads, so it is very odd indeed that you doggedly persist with the comparison.
    You fail to realize why your objections fail, but you also fail to realize that I'm talking about color in a number of very different contexts, as my replies are adjusted to the claims of each of my interlocutors. In this particular post, I was replying to ronburgundy, who was actually saying that color was subjective, and I was saying that it was not. It's as if you think a single objection applies to all sorts of different arguments, regardless of their content - either that, or you're just not reading the exchanges: you just read 'color' and deploy your favorite objection.

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    Super Moderator ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    Imagine a court case, in which it is disputed whether the driver ran a red light. Surely, there is an objective fact of the matter as to whether the light was red.
    Loaded comparison (yet again). It may be that there are objective facts about the traffic light (at least in terms of wavelengths or energies of light) but not about morality. This has been put to you repeatedly, in many threads, so it is very odd indeed that you doggedly persist with the comparison.
    You fail to realize why your objections fail, but you also fail to realize that I'm talking about color in a number of very different contexts, as my replies are adjusted to the claims of each of my interlocutors. In this particular post, I was replying to ronburgundy, who was actually saying that color was subjective, and I was saying that it was not. It's as if you think a single objection applies to all sorts of different arguments, regardless of their content - either that, or you're just not reading the exchanges: you just read 'color' and deploy your favorite objection.
    Yes I know ronburgundy was making a specific point, but you have used it with me a lot too. It's a dodgy comparison.

    As would be:

    1. There is an objective fact of the matter as to whether a light is red.

    2. There is an objective fact of the matter as to whether deliberately running a red light is immoral.

    Now, both may be true, but the former would be considered less controversial (in terms of wavelengths of light at least) and so appealing to it via comparison to support the latter is dodgy.

    By the way, you say the ideas behind a lot of your posts are not originally yours. Whose are they? Can we see an exposition of them?
    Last edited by ruby sparks; 09-10-2020 at 12:45 PM.
    "Let us hope that it is not so. Or if it is, let us pray that the fact does not become generally known."

  9. Top | #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    As would be:

    1. There is an objective fact of the matter as to whether a light is red.

    2. There is an objective fact of the matter as to whether deliberately running a red light is immoral.
    First, in my reply to ronburgundy, I was not making a parallel, since he accepted the parallel and held that neither is objective, whereas I was saying that they both were, but not using the parallel as it was pointless because he was saying neither was objective.

    Second, I was not making that parallel in this thread at all. Rather, this thread is meant to deal with the is/ought objection, not with a claim that there is no objective fact of the matter as to whether it's immoral to run the red light.



    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    By the way, you say the ideas behind a lot of your posts are not originally yours. Whose are they? Can we see an exposition of them?
    I do not know who came up with them first. I saw some of the key ones in posts by B20 (and he keeps making those good points, so you can find them easily). Others in works philosophy blogs, but it's been a long time so I don't remember the source of each. Finally, a few I added myself, so in a sense those are my ideas, but are not the main ones and also it's unlikely that I'm the first one to come up with them.

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    Super Moderator ruby sparks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angra Mainyu View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    As would be:

    1. There is an objective fact of the matter as to whether a light is red.

    2. There is an objective fact of the matter as to whether deliberately running a red light is immoral.
    First, in my reply to ronburgundy, I was not making a parallel, since he accepted the parallel and held that neither is objective, whereas I was saying that they both were, but not using the parallel as it was pointless because he was saying neither was objective.

    Second, I was not making that parallel in this thread at all. Rather, this thread is meant to deal with the is/ought objection, not with a claim that there is no objective fact of the matter as to whether it's immoral to run the red light.



    Quote Originally Posted by ruby sparks
    By the way, you say the ideas behind a lot of your posts are not originally yours. Whose are they? Can we see an exposition of them?
    I do not know who came up with them first. I saw some of the key ones in posts by B20 (and he keeps making those good points, so you can find them easily). Others in works philosophy blogs, but it's been a long time so I don't remember the source of each. Finally, a few I added myself, so in a sense those are my ideas, but are not the main ones and also it's unlikely that I'm the first one to come up with them.
    Ok.

    Regarding what ronburgundy said, I would agree with him in the sense that I believe colour is a subjective experience, not an objective property of objects or light (eg electromagnetic waves, energies of some sort, surface textures or reflectances) using the definition of subjective as: 'dependent on a subject, eg a mind (or brain)'. There may be other definitions of subjective (or objective).

    Also, saying 'It is immoral for agent A to do X' is strictly speaking an 'is' statement, so technically you can get to an ought at least fairly directly from that. The main problem, as I see it, is that it already contains a moral value judgement, and as such it has not been reasonably demonstrated to be an objective (or universal) 'is' (even if it is expressed in the form of an 'is' statement).
    Last edited by ruby sparks; 09-11-2020 at 04:43 PM.
    "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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