- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Dancing with dillatantes [sp?]

Posted by: Joel Jacobson ( none, USA ) on April 05, 1999 at 16:39:56:

In Reply to: of a dalliance with a demon thing OR the fact value distinction revisited- areply (of sorts) to Joel posted by Copenhagen on March 30, 1999 at 15:48:07:

: 1) Deriving 'ought' from 'is'.

: First consider a logical syllogism:

: Major premise: All men are mortal
: Minor Premise: Socrates is a man
: Conclusion: Socrates is mortal

: The conclusion cannot be denied without self contradiction, it is a logical necessity.

: Now, if we were to make the syllogism read:

: All animals rear their young
: man is an animal
: therefore man ought to rear their young

: then we have a conclusion that contains a copula that is not in the premesis. So the conclusion does not follow as a strict logical necessity.

I'm glad we agree as insistance on such would produce:
A) All human's rear their young
B) Joel does not rear his young
C) Joel is not human (tee hee hee)
A truly confounding result (feel free to chime in Lark).

: OK, fine. But if you want to adopt this approach, that the first syllogism is the ONLY demonstrable truth then one must also adopt a scepticism about all the assertions of natural science. ie NO PROPOSITION ABOUT THE FUTURE FOLLOWS FROM ANY NUMBER OF PROPOSITIONS OF THE PAST (ie the problem of induction).
: (You will notice that Hume, in his treatise took exactly this view, and as a result his philosophy, while acclaimed is also seen as an epistemological dead end)

A major development since Hume is in the philosophy of mind. Hume believed that the mind was an empty bucket that filled up with knowledge as it experienced things. It seems pretty obvious now that such is not the case. The human mind is an active organ that, while it possesses no knowlege before experience, creates avenues for conjectural and hypothetical knowledge through other experiences. See my tiger example below for how knowledge, and following that values, become objective.

: Note also that a problem deriving 'is' from 'ought' does not arise if we can come to some agreement on a major premesis.

My point exactly. Most here, keep on trying to foist off moral decisions on their environment without taking personal moral responsibility. For instance: If only we could produce the right system (environment) people would always act moral. But, it ignores the personal aspect of active minds coming together to produce moral results that we can actively ascribe as moral. Morality is an active function of the self and its extensions into society through interaction with others.

: 2) 'natural law'

This is a major bone I pick with my "libertarian" friends. Anyone claiming 'natural law' is simply putting forward their own value systems.

: I notice you have adopted an approach of moral pluralism. I am not sure how you can deny that this is relativistic. For it posits that there can be no 'true' moral value (At least this seems to be your thesis).

I certainly think my value system superior to other's beliefs. However, I do respect other's value systems for the reason that their's may in fact be superior to mine. As I stated in my prior post, if one really was a relativist all "value judgements" would be properly seen as random. Personnally, I find that an untenable solution to the problems confronting the human race. I hope I made clear ealier that relativism and monism are one and the same.

: However when dealing with issues of morality, it is important to distinguish between values and beliefs. People can quite easily share common values, but seem to be in conflict, due to differing belief syst4ems.

Pardon my presumptuousness; while I agree with you I feel I can restate this clearer. When we have disagreements we can come together and find issues that we agree on in order to make the world better for everyone. This is truly what we call compromise. Remember, though, we can only compromise where we have common interests and the ability to come to agreements based upon specific and concrete knowledges of ours and others value systems. See my tiger example below: the two tribes had like values, not going to war; but different values as well, worshiping, or not, tigers. We are simply unable to compromise with most people on most issues due to simply lack of knowledge.

: eg. In a certain country it is considerred wrong to kill cows, no matter that the population is starving. As such they would seem to have different values from those of us who place human lives above the lives of cows. But when wee examine what their actual beliefs are, it is that they believe the souls of humans come to inhabit cows when they die. Hence to eat a cow would be to eat another person. They do not condone it, we do not condone it...

True, but watch what happens given a more drastic example. Two villiages exist taht are aware of each other. Both have a tradition between the two with staked out property ownership that has evolved over several generations. The only difference is that one villiage thinks all tigers sacred while the other village does not. In addition, this is a primitive age with all but the most rudimentary tools and living facilities. We have the three important conditions:

a) each tribe respects each other's property
b) each tribe possesses different beliefs, which, it feels, is superior to the other tribe's beliefs
c) each tribe respects the other tribe's "right" to have thier own beliefs

In this world, the tribe believing all tigers sacred would
a) become extinct
b) develop the other tribe's value systems
Thus, the only manner of truly measuring between value systems is through constant feedback and interaction with the results different value systems produce. Voila! Trial and error experimentation (which most here abhor).

: To accept that there are no objective values, is to deny the reality of human experience, the 'cry of pain' that EVERY human soul admits (to paraphrase simone weil) when some atrocity is commited against them.

First, I do believe in objective values but . . . that is just my opinion. See, the inevitable result of deriving "Ought" from "Is" becomes that people think that whatever they feel "is" the objective value system then "ought" to be how everyone should act. Tyrants and kings have forced other's to adhere to their own particular value systems. However, someone engaging in philosophical objectivism is also engaging in philosophical relativism, and in this, when you are deriving "ought" from "is" you are simply pushing your particular variety of "is" as if it were the only "is" in existance. At least kings were straightforward about it when they forced others to follow their rules.

: Well, out of time...
: Thankyou and goodnight.

No . . . Thank You!

Follow Ups:


The Debating Room Post a Followup