Equestrian wrote:By holding to moral relativism, you are holding to a position of moral neutrality.
No, I am not. That would be your first error in this post.
Equestrian wrote:But as you have demonstrably proven on this board, on numerous occasions, moral relativism is not itself a neutral position. Hence your argument self-destructs.
No. Your straw man might self destruct on that point, but my position remains untouched by it since I have never held to a position of moral neutrality.
Equestrian wrote:ountless times I've heard moral relativists argue that:
"All moral views are equal and worthy of respect, and we should not impose our moral views on others."
Another straw man. I have honestly never once heard a moral relativist make such an argument. If you have, then I suggest you offer this response to them, since it seems completely irrelevant to anyone who is arguing in this thread.
I myself have repeatedly argued not only that all moral views are not
equal and worthy of respect, I have argued specifically that rationally derived moral views are generally superior to
those derived from alleged "divine revelation." I have lost count of the number of times I have made that point, but at least some of them have been made directly to you. It is fascinating how you then continue to argue against a position I do not hold, and that you know full well I do not hold.
It is merely another in a long line of instances where you are apparently unable to actually challenge my views, and so you attack imaginary positions held by no one and pretend you have attacked mine. It may make you feel better, but it does nothing to advance your argument.
Equestrian wrote:Utterly laughable. I have not conceded the point as you've offered nothing to negate the contradiction.
You have, to this point, pointed out no contradiction. You have manufactured contradictions in the straw men you are so fond of, but since they are not my arguments, those contradictions are not mine.
Equestrian wrote:You've contended that morality is derived from communal consensus and simultaneously derived from the individual (subjectitility). If morality is grounded in communal consensus--that is that everyone's moral notions are congruently derived from what is advantageous for the community--and at the same time grounded in the personal view of each individual, then all it takes is for one individual to postulate a moral notion that cares nothing for the benefit of the community.
Sometimes you come so close to "getting it" and then you turn and run screaming from the conclusions you so deeply do not want to reach.
Individuals "postulate a moral notion that cares nothing for the benefit of the community" all the time
. We call them "psychopaths" and when they act on that personal moral notion in a way that violates our community established laws we call them "criminals."
What about that do you find contradictory?
Equestrian wrote:If you stop a rapist from raping a woman, your action did not function on the consensus of the community.
What does "function on the consensus of the community" even mean? If you stop a rapist from raping a woman you have acted on the moral system (and the legal system) emplaced by the community. That is a key reason we develop moral systems in the first place; to elicit behaviors that are of benefit to the community.
Equestrian wrote:Nonsense. If oughtness is dependent on ones own personal view, then it doesn't exist in any objective sense. I can define it any way I want, you can define it as you see fit, and neither of us would be right or wrong. But here you are, employing it as if there is an objective, actual definition for oughtness.
Like IoshkaFutz, you continue to tie yourself in knots. Its really not that complicated.
If you are a community of one, then yes, you can define "ought" any way you want. After all, outside of a community there can be no moral questions. So "oughts" are completely personal and subjective since they are also completely meaningless.
If you are a community of two or more, then "ought" is defined by community consensus. Only in a community does a moral system become meaningful, since its purpose is to mediate between competing interests of individuals. A community may reach consensus on "oughts" that derive from reason, or "oughts" that are inherited from ancestors, or "oughts" that are entirely arbitrary. It is my entire argument that "oughts" derived from reason are superior to those derived in any other way.
Equestrian wrote:How can there be an "explicit" contention of right or wrong when there are no "explicit" right or wrongs.
The same way that there can be an explicit contention of anything, regardless of whether or not the contention is true.
Equestrian wrote:You said: "That is why actions have moral implications and can be subject to community coercion, while thoughts do not and should therefore be completely free."
First, you are using "ought" in an objective sense as if the moral notion that "thoughts "ought" be completely free," ought be adhered to universally.
Second, you claim that morality is relative to the individual. You claim that thoughts should be completely free (including personal notions of morality). Since law is derived from thoughts (including personal notions of morality), * then law should be completely free.
Note where I have inserted the asterisk. This is one significant place (among others) where your chain of reasoning breaks down. The second clause does not follow from the first.
The statement "law is derived from thoughts (including personal notions of morality)" is not inclusive of the entire process of law derivation. Law is derived from thoughts, but not only
from thoughts. Law is derived from a diversity of thought, study, research and debate. In includes inputs as varied as statistical analyses, historical testimony, and risk benefit analyses.
Law is not
free, but fundamentally constrained (when it is just) to protecting the community's combined interests in freedom, stability, security and justice.
Equestrian wrote:There is no objective right and wrong to 'regulate' what gets legislated into law. If thoughts (including personal notions of morality) and law are completely unfettered, then the people may be subject to coercion from those in power who make the law.
subject to coercion from those in power who make the law. This is simply true, regardless of the fettering or freedom of thoughts. Please tell me this is a not a surprise to you.
Equestrian wrote:It's a historical fact that morality evolves with the zeitgeist? No, its a historical fact that laws evolved, not morality. There are no "historical facts" about morality.
Your own previous discussions of slavery demonstrate the breathless stupidity of that statement.
Equestrian wrote:You assert that morality is derived from communal consensus. What is moral is what is prosperous for the community. Slavery was advantageous for the community, thus morally just.
Now here is a perfect demonstration of the superiority of a rationally derived moral system to one alledgedly derived from "divine revelation." Slavery was not
"advantageous to the community." It was advantageous to certain members
of the community, at unacceptable cost to other
But it was accepted as moral based on the community consensus that it was part of "God's divine plane" for humanity. It was defended (at least in this country) by two groups of people, both explicitly basing their conviction on the text of The Bible. One group was the "Monogenists" who believed that slavery was justified by the "Curse of Ham" on the "black race." The other were the "Polygenists" who believed that slavery was justified because blacks were not even human, but "livestock" created on the Sixth Day of creation.
In this way, the moral system that allowed slavery based on "divine revelation" is inferior to a moral system that rationally includes a consideration of the costs of slavery and determines them unacceptable and detrimental to the well being of the community.
Equestrian wrote:Yes, you're catching on. One of them was objectively wrong. You have just appealed to moral objectivism. What happened to your moral zeitgeist?
That is not what I said.
I said "At least one
of them was wrong." This leaves the door open to both
of them possibly being wrong. The Zeitgeist
may change again. Who knows?
Equestrian wrote:Again, it doesn't necessarily follow from the mere fact that people hold to different moral beliefs that morals are relative. It could very well be the case that people disagree about the nature of certain moral things and somebody is right.
You continue to flog your favorite rhetorical horse while ignoring my actual argument.
It is demonstrated
that moral systems are diverse, even when claiming to be divinely revealed.
It is demonstrated
that what is moral to one culture may be immoral to another, even when claiming to be divinely revealed.
It is thus demonstrated
that moral systems are the product of human diversity, not divine revelation.
It absolutely could very well be that somebody is right. My position is that since all moral systems are the product of human diversity, not divine revelation, moral systems derived by reason rather than alleged "revelation" are more likely to be right.
Equestrian wrote:Slave holders, in any time frame, were and are absolutely wrong. If slavery was considered a morally virtuous act in any given community and in any given period, then it would have been morally virtuous for the slave holder to own the slave and morally virtuous to be a slave to the slaveholder, as morality is derived from what is advantageous to the community.
Need I point out that there are currently in excess of 2 million prisoners in he American penal system? That is by all measure the slavery of roughly 0.7% of the American population, and they are enslaved because it is "advantageous to the community."
Once again your argument in favor of moral absolutism founders on the rocks of reality. The zeitgeist may have changed regarding the status of slavery, who we allow as slaves, what we allow slaves to do, who owns them and who benefits from the slavery... but never has it been true that "slave holders, in any time frame, were and are absolutely wrong."
We are at a point in history where slavery is considered very nearly absolutely wrong... except when we enslave criminals to protect the community from them.
Equestrian wrote:People would desire to be a slave because it is the moral thing to do.
Again, you have that completely backwards. People also do not desire to be prisoners, even though it is the moral thing to do.
Our sense of right and wrong (upon which our communities build their moral systems) derives from empathy. We personally abhor slavery because
we personally would not desire to be one. We communally codify slavery as immoral because, as a community, we overwhelmingly would not desire to be enslaved.
It is not true that "people would desire to be a slave because it is the moral thing to do," Instead, it is not the moral thing to do because people would not desire to be slaves.
This is not rocket science.