Equestrian wrote:I knew that when I came back to this board Huxley would have a heaping pile of dung waiting for me.
Horse dung, no doubt. My father used large amounts every spring in his garden. We had the best tomatoes and bell peppers in all of Southern California.
Equestrian wrote:As a moral relativist, you restrict yourself to only making assertions regarding what "is." The "is" defines the "ought." You can never argue from the "is" (morality is a human construct) to the "ought" (therefore slavery is wrong). If morality is a human construct, there is no way things ought to be. There is only the way things are.
Wrong again, ranger. As a moral relativist I not only have no problem whatsoever making assertions regarding what "ought," I contend that I have a far superior method than you do for defining that "ought." I can reason to what "ought," while you cannot. You can only accept what someone else has told you.
Equestrian wrote:Again, this begs the question: Why are you arguing that morality is a human construct? The mere fact that you are here arguing your case, affirms the contradiction. You are arguing that your personal criteria of morality is objectively true. Why else would you be making your case, and why ought I listen to you?
You "ought" to listen to me if and only if you believe it would be a good thing for me to listen to you. If you do not believe it a good thing for me to listen to you, then you "ought" not listen to me.
Again, it is not very complicated. Yet you demonstrate a studied insistence on not understanding.
Equestrian wrote:I don't see how your premises (in the form of questions, no less) in any way invalidate the contradiction. Do you think by throwing "naunced" in your statement that you've managed to resolve the contradiction? This type of argument may work with the grade-schoolers you impress, but it carries no weight in this debate.
Since those comments are completely non-responsive to the questions I asked, am I to assume that you have conceded the point? You make no additional effort beyond bald assertion to describe any contradiction in my position, so I can only conclude that I have adequately answered your previous objection.
Equestrian wrote:This is just a repackaging of the same tired argument I've already refuted. If you act on your beliefs, you are confirming that morals are objective; you are confirming the oughtness.
Wrong. If you act on your beliefs, and if that action impinges on the interests of anyone else in the community, then you have introduced a moral question. You are allowing
(though not confirming) that an "ought" exists in the circumstance. An "ought" may exist... but then again, it may not.
Equestrian wrote:If oughtness is merely a human concept, then there are no moral implications.
That sentence is complete absurdity. There is no conceivable rational connection between the first clause and the second. It is also simply and factually false.
If "oughtness" exists then here are moral implications. It does not matter the origin of the ought.
Equestrian wrote:The implcations just are, with no relation to right and wrong.
Another statement that is simply, factually false. The existence of any "oughtness" is an explicit contention of a right or a wrong. The concepts can not be decoupled.
Equestrian wrote:I see an "ought" in there somewhere, don't you?
Of course. How wonderful that, even in spite of yourself, you are beginning to catch on.
Equestrian wrote:So you say thoughts "ought" to be completely free. Since law is derived from thoughts, then law "ought" not have any restrictions. If law "ought" not have any restrictions, then the community is subject to coercion.
Nothing in that construction makes any sense whatsoever. Please try again, only this time make an explicit effort to connect the dots between each sentence. Maybe take a crack at assembling a set of classical syllogisms. As far as I can tell, you are stringing together random ideas with inappropriate use of the conjuctions, "if" and "then."
Equestrian wrote:Morality does not stand on law. Law stands upon the necessary foundation of morality. If law is not based on an objective good, and is only established to enforce group preference, then the law is nothing more than a raw exercise of power.
Well, again, you are having a very difficult time assembling your thoughts in a way that they logically follow each other.
Yes... law stands upon the necessary foundation of morality. But whether or not that morality has any relationship with "an objective good" is the core of the issue we are discussing. Many moral systems are not objectively good, but we base laws on them anyway. Shari'a would come immediately to mind as an example.
Some laws absolutely are exercises of raw power, some are not. Much of that depends on the moral system upon which they were founded.
Equestrian wrote:Your entire notion of "community consensus morality" fails to account for reform, or dissent.
I believe you have that exactly backwards. The acknowledgment of even the possibility
of reform or dissent is an admission that moral systems cannot possibly be based on anything that is absolute. Moral systems evolve with the zeitgeist
; this is simple historical fact.
Equestrian wrote: According to the consensus of the community in America, slavery was at one time considered morally right. The Abolisionits were therefore morally wrong. There was no objective reason to abolish slavery.
Ignoring that your final sentence does not actually follow from the previous two, how is that any different from:
"According to the consensus of the community in America, slavery is considered morally wrong. Any slaveholders are therefore morally wrong. There is no objective reason to establish slavery."
Both cases acknowledge that the moral system in place at the time in question was derived by community consensus. Both communities even used the identical information basis for defending their respective consensi; the Judeao-Christian Bible. Both the slavers and the abolitionists explicitly insisted that their moral system was founded on an absolute objective truth.
At least one of them was wrong.
Your entire position is premised on the existence of something for which you yourself appear to be having a hell of a time defending, and which you regularly find yourself accidentally attacking: "absolute
Equestrian wrote:Slavery is actually wrong. By actually wrong I mean that even if in the opinion of a person or community of persons or an entire society, slavery was right, it would still be wrong. Indeed, if everyone in the world thought that slavery is right, they would all be wrong. Slavery would still be actually wrong.
That is the current zeitgeist
, yes. It is also your (and my) deeply held belief.
Still entire nations have existed that believed (as you do) in absolute morality, and yet sill disagreed with us on the issue of slavery.
Equestrian wrote:Standard form syllogism:
Premise 1) Slavery can be actually wrong only if moral law exists.
Premise 2) Slavery is actually wrong.
Therefore moral law exists.
Given the premises a moral relativist can never say that slavery is actually wrong in the way I defined above. At best, the moral relativist can say that slavery is wrong and that most people agree with him. He can never say that slavery is wrong in and of itself. All he can say is that he personally does not prefer slavery.
Find me a willing slave, and destroy the syllogism.
Why would I want to destroy the syllogism?
I simply point out that it says nothing about that moral law being absolute. It is therefore quite irrelevant to the discussion.