Experiencing love is not like a preference for chocolate over vanilla ice cream.
If you can experience love deeply with no psychological trauma or distortion of objectivity marring one's judgment I do not believe you can fail to value it.
Meta: But without any sort of metaphysical hierarchy in which to ground that value it is nothing more than sentiment. You can't make it be more important than it is if there is no transcendent place for it to register in the meaning of the universe. If it's just as and that's all there is then its just the way we feel and that's worth nothing more than my own little personal feelings.
It's so odd how atheists smirk and deride and belittle the subjective when it's used in a God argument. then their ethical foundation is based upon the subjective.
You simply cannot have it both ways. Atheists usually belittle the idea of "objective" morality. So that means the alternative has to be "subjective." so which is it?
Your claim that its just a "matter of taste" is simply a denial of the intrinsic value of love.Meta: No it's being honest about the consequences of a universe with no transcendence. I am perfectly happy to carry the banner for the cause of the value of love, but only because I think love proves the reality of God in some strange mystical way.
You seem to think nothing has any value, even love, if that value isn't derived from a transcendent source.
Meta: Not that it doesn't have any value, but it's value is realities, limited and discordable. Come on you know people. One day it's hooray for love and that's why I'm moral, the next day it's "O well there's no sin so I can sleep with a married woman it wont really hurt anything." I mean come on, these things are easy to discord when the time comes and it's more convenient to do so.
you know people do this. How many people talked big about democracy then when the 9/11 happened they were willing to give up freedom for security? Or they supported torture for protection from terrorism, because suddenly all those find words about democracy and decency and all that didn't sound so fine when theyw ere afraid of being blown up.
I contend that the value of love derives solely from its own intrinsic qualities.
Meta: But how can it have any intrensic qualities if it's just a side effect of chemicals in our heads? It's nothing more than an accident that got out of hand. Unless of course it has some source beyond that.
Love is subjective, another time atheists would saying "that's subjective" meaning it's worthless.
Here is my central point on meta-ethics. The place where most people go dead wrong on the issue from the very start:
SUBJECTIVE DOES NOT MEAN ARBITRARY NOR WORTHLESS.
Meta: I'm glad to hear that, you are a rare individual. I really do think you are. But how do you base anything on that unless you are willing to see love soemthing beyond just biological organisms in a cold empty universe that has no meaning?
Subjective simply means experiential as opposed to somethings existence independent of experience.Meta: Yes and no. It derives from the subject/object dichotomy. So the subject is the individual the object is something everyone can observe. Subjective is more just experience, it's also closed to the view of others, it's one person's view point that can't be shared with another (except in so far as it is inter-subjective, meaning they don't share it but have similar subjectivity). Those are tied in of course.
DE: Naturally, morality is all about the experiential. Where there are no experiences there can be no morality. Rocks and trees don't suffer, they don't hope, they don't love and they don't face moral dilemmas.
Meta: Obviously morality is practiced by subjects, But it's not about experiences. ti's about grounding axioms. That's what makes ethics work. Grounding axioms is what it's all about. you can't ground them in subjectivity.
You are not just listening. You think I'm telling you some Christian stuff this is standard ethical theory that you would get in any college class.
Its only when subjectivity (combined with sentience) enters the world that morality becomes a possibility.Meta: of course but that doesn't mean that subjectivity is a grounding for axioms. That's like saying your care wont work without gasoline so therefore you can put gas in your radiator.
I don't know. I'm usually short when I try reaching for a good analogy.
DE:To illustrate what I mean by subjective not being equivalent to arbitrary let's look at the example of physical agony. We'd all agree that the experience is, in and of itself, a bad thing (though, of course, possibly a sometimes necessary thing in some circumstances). No one in their right mind values it in and of itself.
Meta: no now wait a minute. you have hold of the wrong end of the stick here. My argument was never that it's arbitrary. Its' that it doesn't' count for anything if there is no transcendence. Unless there is a higher meaning how can it have higher meaning? The only meaning it has is the meaning you want it to have. but because it is subjective you can't use it to sort between competing feelings. If You feel love dictates that you help people, I say I don't feel that way, what are you going to say to get me to believe that I should care what little personal feelings you have?
And why is agony to be devalued? If we look for some "objective" reason we go wrong from the very start. Its devaluation is due precisely to the subjective content of the experience itself.Meta: what if you encounter members of a warrior culture and they don't value agony they see it as something to be ignored, a weakness? How do you sort out the value of it from their person feeling that it should be ignored?
I'm not saying atheists don't love I'm saying most of the time they don't value the subjective until they need to like now.
Subjectivity as such is highly relevant (central in fact) to ethical questions (since such questions are in large part about what the subjective experience of life would be like for people as a whole who followed one set of values as opposed to another).Meta: No it' s not. name one major ethicist who believes this? you don't find that in any major ethical idea. G.E. Moore with emotivism said that morality si emotive but he didn't try to say that that was a grounding, he used it to discorded the value of morality. He was an atheist and as such he felt that morality was an outmoded concept. that's the closest you come in real ethical theory.
do you not understand that there are major conversations that have been highly developed about ethical theory? I( mean you seem to be blazing a trail of your own. Shouldn't you care what the major thinkers have said?
You have not come to terms with duty and obligation nor have you told me how ethical axioms are grounded.
It is not pertinent to many other questions. Not all questions are about our subjective experience. Many are about how things are independent of that experience.Meta: how do you choose between competing values if your grounding is relative and subjective?
If love is just a chemical reaction due to a side effect of the neural transmitters how does that ground moral axioms? just subjective.
Again, subjective does not mean arbitrary. Unlike you I do not dismiss subjectivity in moral questions. Subjectivity is at the heart of the issue.
Meta: saying it's not arbitrary does not expalin how it's grounded.
(1) what grounds it?
(2) how do you sort between competing values
(3) if there is no higher meaning in life why would this meaning anything?
Some subjective experiences (like love) are intrinsically positive in nature (though of course they can be distorted toward harmful objects and twisted in various ways, one of the things that makes meta-ethics complicated is the intricate ways subjective experience and objective fact are intertwined in questions of morality).
Meta: without prior grounding how do you determine a standard by which we could say the departure therefrom is "twisted?" That would seem to suggest a prior standard.
If love is the character of God it grounds them becasue God created the universe so love is written in as the basic meaning of our being.
All I have to do is experience love to see it as the basic value for any sane and psychologically sound human being.
Meta: This is recusive. How do you determine what is "sane and psychological?" without a prior standard? You can appeal to love because that's the thing is question. So how do you say we can see that love is sane and psychologically sound? That's the thing you are judging not the grounding of itself. So you have to have a prior standard by which you judge love in order to say that it is so.
how do you translate "psychologically sound" into ethical? why should we think those are the same thing?
Lets imagine there is no god. Can you honestly say you would see no valid reason to think it better to be a loving person than a sociopath? Part of a community of loving individuals rather than a community of sociopaths?Meta: Of course I would, but that doesn't make it moral. You are not answering the basic questions about grounding. All you are doing is telling me what you like. It's just the yeah boo theory. You have no basis for grounding other than "I think think is good." what is good, It's what I like. what if someone doesn't like it, what if I say "no?" How to do you handle that?
hypothetically let's say I answer that by saying "no, I don't care about love you are nuts. I take what I want and the only moral grounding is 'don't get caught.'" what can you tell me to make that bad other than "that's not what I would do?"
why should I care what you would do?
see you have to answer that to answer the thing about grounding.
The answer is obvious. All you have to do to recognize it is to get over this strange, unfounded idea you seem to have that subjectivity equates to arbitrariness.
Meta:arbitrary is your gig, that was not my statement. i never said that. you are the one with that problem. My argument is your axioms are not grounded. The subjective by its nature as relative cannot ground anything. to ground something we have to objective standards.
that's apt to create a misunderstanding and lead to the conclusion that I'm one of these people who runs around talking about "objective morality." That's not really the issue either. But the point is, yes we are subjective creatures and objectivity is largely a pretense. But we have to have moral grounding that has some teeth. We can't just apparel to feeling niceness and subjective things that can't translate inot standards that everyone can know up front are putting the "ought" into the equasion.
you can't get an ought out of subjectivity.
March 27, 2009 7:01 AM
Blogger David B. Ellis said...
morality is about duty and obligation not just good vibes and candy ass sentiment.
What is duty but a codification of the behaviors natural to a person motivated by love?
Meta: no. why would you think that? that's the Hume's fork fallacy. you are trying to derive an ought from an is. Nature says "you are this way." But it can' tsay "You should be this way." It does not have it in itself to say "ought." just saying "this is" is not the same as saying we ought...
March 27, 2009 7:08 AM
Blogger David B. Ellis said...
it's about doing what you should do.
And are not the things we should do the ones that come naturally to the person motivated by love?Meta: you are making groundless assertions. you have no ability to slip ought in there. how can you go from 'is' to 'ought?' Hume says it's a fallacy.
Call it candy-ass sentiment if you like but its the sort of sentiment that makes people willing to risk life and limb. There's nothing candy ass about it.Meta; no it's not. it's great stuff. but it's great stuff not because it makes me feel nice and it's what I like but because it's written into the nature of reality, the ultimate goal of being, it's the basis upon which being is.
many theologians have recognized a basic connection between being and love. Both are united in God. God is the ground of being and the basis and source of love.
March 27, 2009 7:11 AM
Blogger David B. Ellis said...
I don't feel that I have the right to force others to like them just because I do. So that's not morality. But don't commit adultery, that can be forced upon everyone, because it's a moral motion.
that which is moral = that which we can legitimately force others to do?
I can see a lot of problems with such an idea.
I thought you put great stock in free will. In people's opportunity to CHOOSE to do right or wrong rather than their being forced to do right.
Meta: Free will is not canceled by the need to be moral. In fact beign moral would be impossible if it was not a free choice. Moral decision making reqjuires taht one choose freeling to be good. that's the basis of life, that's why God created us in the first place, so we could be free moral agents and willingly choose the good.
but we have to undrsatnd the nature moral agency and then choose it forourselves.
March 27, 2009 9:47 AM