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Old 10-04-2010, 11:17 AM   #1124501  /  #51
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Morality is an emotional statement. Nothing more.
QFT.
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Old 10-05-2010, 12:13 AM   #1125522  /  #52
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Morality is an emotional statement. Nothing more.
You mean in the way that love and hate are "nothing more" than emotions?
Dont you think love is measurably better than hate?
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Old 10-05-2010, 12:32 AM   #1125538  /  #53
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Dont you think love is measurably better than hate?
Both are interpretive and contextual.

Take for instances Christians and Muslims, both of these superstitions use the term "love" to describe what is objectively hate. This is done largely for monetary and political reasons, but the emotions behind the concepts are relative.
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Old 10-05-2010, 01:03 AM   #1125594  /  #54
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Morality is an emotional statement. Nothing more.
The illusion by which it appears to be more than that is an inevitable one, however.

If you say "people ought not to do X", the meaning is not exactly the same as "I don't like it when people do X". A bunch of other, related, messages are bundled with it, such as: "Those who understand the consequences of doing X also don't like it when people do X"; and "People ought not to like it when people do X". Since the latter message is another "ought" statement, it can be similarly unpacked; and so on, recursively.

But the raw materials of this recursive tangle are indeed just emotional statements.
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Old 10-05-2010, 01:04 AM   #1125597  /  #55
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Dont you think love is measurably better than hate?
I hate it when people abuse kids. Would it be measurably better to love it when that happens?
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Last edited by Brother Daniel; 10-05-2010 at 01:25 AM. Reason: removed a potential distraction from the point
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Old 10-05-2010, 01:21 AM   #1125605  /  #56
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But the raw materials of this recursive tangle are indeed just emotional statements.
Packaged is a good way to frame this.


This is especially obvious when you move away from the big moral points like murder, rape, and theft to the more questionable "moral" constructs like opposition to same-sex marriage, reproductive choice, and recreation drug use. To avoid the outright emotional appeal, the subject is often hidden in a wrapped package of social responsibility and religious ethics.

Last edited by Rathpig; 10-05-2010 at 01:26 AM.
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Old 10-05-2010, 02:54 AM   #1125679  /  #57
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Morality is an emotional statement. Nothing more.
You mean in the way that love and hate are "nothing more" than emotions?
Dont you think love is measurably better than hate?
Why would it be? Hate is very useful.
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Old 10-05-2010, 06:53 AM   #1125817  /  #58
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Morality is an emotional statement. Nothing more.
You mean in the way that love and hate are "nothing more" than emotions?
Dont you think love is measurably better than hate?
To look at this post from another angle, why is "nothing more" necessarily a bad thing? "Nothing more" can simply be a statement to identify the limits of something. It does not have to be an attempt to devalue something, as you seem to be implying here. The point here seems to be to not laden morality with baggage that it does not deserve.

And yes, love and hate are emotions. What did you think they are?
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Old 10-05-2010, 07:53 AM   #1125842  /  #59
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Morality is an emotional statement. Nothing more.
The illusion by which it appears to be more than that is an inevitable one, however.

If you say "people ought not to do X", the meaning is not exactly the same as "I don't like it when people do X". A bunch of other, related, messages are bundled with it, such as: "Those who understand the consequences of doing X also don't like it when people do X"; and "People ought not to like it when people do X". Since the latter message is another "ought" statement, it can be similarly unpacked; and so on, recursively.

But the raw materials of this recursive tangle are indeed just emotional statements.
This view commits you to agreeing with a Nazi if he says that Jews ought to be burned in ovens, because it is, after all, true that he would like it (and that he doesn't like it when people like it, etc.). Of course, that doesn't mean that you have to be ready to say "Jews ought to be burned in ovens", any more than agreeing with Paul's claim "I'm tall" means that you also have to be ready to say "I'm tall", but if you recognize that the author of that claim would like it if Jews were burned in ovens, it does mean that you are committed to agreeing with him (in the form of, for example, "yes" or "evidently" or "that's true"). You're manifestly violating your own definition if you're refusing to agree with Nazis when they say that we ought to burn Jews in ovens.

Iow, this would make the ought claim quite objective (at least according to how people who endorse that term want to use it). Of course, it would be indexical (i.e. uttering it would mean something different when uttered by different people) in precisely the same way "I don't like cabbage" is - but it wouldn't be subjective. You're confusing two entirely different sorts of relativity.

Last edited by Preno; 10-05-2010 at 08:18 AM.
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Old 10-05-2010, 06:16 PM   #1126305  /  #60
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I didn't say anything about objectivity or subjectivity, and I don't believe that you've supported your final claim (that I'm confusing different kinds of relativity).

Also, I think you missed my suggestion that an ought-statement also includes (as part of the bundle) a claim about how other people would feel if they understood the consequences of the action in question. Thus, such a statement is (if one accepts my unpacking of it) not purely indexical, and there is plenty of room to disagree with the hypothetical Nazi.
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Old 10-05-2010, 06:23 PM   #1126316  /  #61
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I didn't say anything about objectivity or subjectivity, and I don't believe that you've supported your final claim (that I'm confusing different kinds of relativity).

Also, I think you missed my suggestion that an ought-statement also includes (as part of the bundle) a claim about how other people would feel if they understood the consequences of the action in question. Thus, such a statement is (if one accepts my unpacking of it) not purely indexical, and there is plenty of room to disagree with the hypothetical Nazi.
The only part of your definition that wasn't indexical in this way was: "Those who understand the consequences of doing X also don't like it when people do X". That's manifestly not part of the meaning of the ought construction. I have no idea where you got that from (certainly not from observing how it's actually used). I think that Jews ought not be burned in ovens, that doesn't mean that I think Nazis don't understand the consequence of burning Jews in ovens.
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Old 10-05-2010, 07:55 PM   #1126504  /  #62
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The only part of your definition that wasn't indexical in this way was: "Those who understand the consequences of doing X also don't like it when people do X". That's manifestly not part of the meaning of the ought construction.
"Manifestly"? I don't think so.
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Originally Posted by Preno
I have no idea where you got that from (certainly not from observing how it's actually used).
Think of it as a working hypothesis. It seems to be consistent with the way ought-statements are used ordinarily -- i.e., outside of discussions like this one, wherein people are trying to get all meta about exactly this question (wtf do ought-statements mean?) -- but I admit I haven't gathered enough data.

Ought-statements do seem to carry a sort of implicit popular appeal. Why else would you have Godwinned the discussion? Why is your example so forceful? Precisely because world opinion about the Nazi genocide is so strong!

Hence my hypothesis that a message roughly of the form "and others agree with me about this" is an inherent part of the content of an ought-statement. But that raises the question, "which others"? When I referred to "those who understand the consequences", I was taking a tentative stab at defining those "others" in a way that wouldn't be free of content.

It seems to me that ought-statements do carry something analogous to an anathematization of those who disagree. Perhaps the precise nature of that curse will vary with the speaker.
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I think that Jews ought not be burned in ovens, that doesn't mean that I think Nazis don't understand the consequence of burning Jews in ovens.
Substitute your own curse, then.
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Old 10-05-2010, 08:48 PM   #1126568  /  #63
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I have no idea where you got that from (certainly not from observing how it's actually used).
Think of it as a working hypothesis. It seems to be consistent with the way ought-statements are used ordinarily -- i.e., outside of discussions like this one, wherein people are trying to get all meta about exactly this question (wtf do ought-statements mean?) -- but I admit I haven't gathered enough data.
I certainly agree with that methodology, but the conclusion doesn't seem consistent with my experience.
Quote:
Ought-statements do seem to carry a sort of implicit popular appeal. Why else would you have Godwinned the discussion? Why is your example so forceful? Precisely because world opinion about the Nazi genocide is so strong!
I used the example because I could uncontroversially assume that you would not, in fact, agree with that statement.
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Hence my hypothesis that a message roughly of the form "and others agree with me about this" is an inherent part of the content of an ought-statement.
So people who are aware that their opinion is a minority one or even unique thereby automatically irrational?
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It seems to me that ought-statements do carry something analogous to an anathematization of those who disagree.
Even if that was the case, how does reducing the condemnation of an act to an anathematization of those who disagree helpful in explaining the meaning of ought constructions? I mean, if "anathematization" were among the notions I could use as an explanans, I could straightforwardly state that to say that you ought not do X is to anathematize those who do X. If you want to add people who disagree with that judgment to the list, fine (although I disagree), but I don't see that definition gets us anywhere.
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Quote:
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I think that Jews ought not be burned in ovens, that doesn't mean that I think Nazis don't understand the consequence of burning Jews in ovens.
Substitute your own curse, then.
I don't automatically curse people who disagree with me on some moral claim (although in this particular case I would).

Last edited by Preno; 10-05-2010 at 08:51 PM.
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Old 10-05-2010, 10:46 PM   #1126778  /  #64
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See kids, entirely emotional.
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Old 10-05-2010, 11:34 PM   #1126878  /  #65
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Dont you think love is measurably better than hate?
I hate it when people abuse kids. Would it be measurably better to love it when that happens?

If people love their children they will not abuse them and your hate will disappear.

Love trumps everything.
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Old 10-05-2010, 11:38 PM   #1126886  /  #66
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Morality is an emotional statement. Nothing more.
You mean in the way that love and hate are "nothing more" than emotions?
Dont you think love is measurably better than hate?
To look at this post from another angle, why is "nothing more" necessarily a bad thing? "Nothing more" can simply be a statement to identify the limits of something. It does not have to be an attempt to devalue something, as you seem to be implying here. The point here seems to be to not laden morality with baggage that it does not deserve.

And yes, love and hate are emotions. What did you think they are?
I think they are qualitatavely different.
Hormones might be "just hormones" and all be "equal".
But I view love and hate as opposites. (When used in the context here)
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Old 10-05-2010, 11:52 PM   #1126913  /  #67
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If people love their children they will not abuse them and your hate will disappear.

Love trumps everything.
Yes, it's a well-known and amply documented fact that social, economic and political problems can be solved using the power of love.
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Old 10-06-2010, 12:53 AM   #1127031  /  #68
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If people love their children they will not abuse them and your hate will disappear.

Love trumps everything.
Yes, it's a well-known and amply documented fact that social, economic and political problems can be solved using the power of love.
Thanks Preno!

Imagine what would happen if even just for 1 single day out of 365 nobody on earth shot anybody, stabbed anybody, stole from anybody, lied to or cheated anybody, everybody shared food they didnt need with someone hungry instead of throwing it in the trash.

Police forces and armies and navies could take a day off. Think of all that unused ammunition. Half the hospital beds would be empty. Insurance companies might go broke but the money we pay them in premiums could be spent on social, economic and political proble.......WAIT!

What problems?
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Old 10-06-2010, 01:50 AM   #1127086  /  #69
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Old 10-06-2010, 06:29 AM   #1127260  /  #70
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You mean in the way that love and hate are "nothing more" than emotions?
Dont you think love is measurably better than hate?
To look at this post from another angle, why is "nothing more" necessarily a bad thing? "Nothing more" can simply be a statement to identify the limits of something. It does not have to be an attempt to devalue something, as you seem to be implying here. The point here seems to be to not laden morality with baggage that it does not deserve.

And yes, love and hate are emotions. What did you think they are?
I think they are qualitatavely different.
Hormones might be "just hormones" and all be "equal".
But I view love and hate as opposites. (When used in the context here)
I notice you did not really answer the question. If not emotions, what are they? If they are emotions plus something, what is that something?

Night and day can be considered opposites. Is day superior to night?
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Old 10-06-2010, 10:34 PM   #1128476  /  #71
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I certainly agree with that methodology, but the conclusion doesn't seem consistent with my experience.
I'll try to keep a lookout for a discussion involving ought-statements where my suggestion of their meaning doesn't seem to fit.

It may be that ought-statements have wildly different meanings to different people; that we are fooled into failing to notice the big differences by the convenient compatibility of the form of the ought-statements with many different ways of understanding them; and that when we try to unpack them, we are each biased by our own introspections. But that's wild speculation on my part.
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Originally Posted by Preno
I used the example because I could uncontroversially assume that you would not, in fact, agree with that statement.
OK.
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Originally Posted by Preno
So people who are aware that their opinion is a minority one or even unique thereby automatically irrational?
I meant to use conditional language for the non-indexical hidden message: "You wouldn't like it when people do X either, if you understood...". So (if you accept my scheme) you can rationally hold a moral opinion while being aware that your position is a minority one, by attributing a lack of understanding to the majority.
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I mean, if "anathematization" were among the notions I could use as an explanans, I could straightforwardly state that to say that you ought not do X is to anathematize those who do X. If you want to add people who disagree with that judgment to the list, fine (although I disagree), but I don't see that definition gets us anywhere.
It seems to me inescapable that when you hold some statement P as true -- and not merely "how I feel about things" -- then you're automatically attributing some kind of deficiency to those who don't recognize the truth of P. Usually, we're too polite to make that judgement explicit, but it goes with the territory.

And if P is a moral statement, then it matters to the people who agree with it. That's (part of) the point of moral statements. (Isn't it?) The deficiency that is tacitly attributed to those who disagree now takes on a moral quality. Hence my use of the word "curse", although that word may sound a little strong in most cases.
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Old 10-06-2010, 11:31 PM   #1128571  /  #72
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It may be that ought-statements have wildly different meanings to different people; that we are fooled into failing to notice the big differences by the convenient compatibility of the form of the ought-statements with many different ways of understanding them; and that when we try to unpack them, we are each biased by our own introspections. But that's wild speculation on my part.
Well, my position is that there's nothing to unpack them into. Our understanding of ought-statements consists just in our practical ability of moral reasoning (rather than vice versa). It's not like there is some further question, above and beyond our ability to reason with them, concerning whether we really do understand such statements or what (else) such understanding consists in.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Preno
So people who are aware that their opinion is a minority one or even unique thereby automatically irrational?
I meant to use conditional language for the non-indexical hidden message: "You wouldn't like it when people do X either, if you understood...". So (if you accept my scheme) you can rationally hold a moral opinion while being aware that your position is a minority one, by attributing a lack of understanding to the majority.
It seems to me that here you're trying to avoid appeal to the normative "you shouldn't like it" (which would obviously be of no help when trying to define "ought", which is basically just a more formal variant of should) by using a regular counter-factual, which doesn't really work in general.

I mean, why would we think that Nazis don't understand the consequences of burning Jews? If you don't include moral consequences it that, it doesn't seem to be true. If you do, then it collapses into the triviality that they would agree with me about not burning Jews if they agreed with me about not burning Jews.

Of course I can save myself from contradiction by holding the position that they don't understand the consequences, but I would need some additional motivation for that, other than the fact that they disagree with me about the claim in question. If you allow me to infer that someone doesn't understand the implications of the claim from the fact that they disagree with me about it, then again (this part of) the proposed definition collapses into triviality. If, on the other hand, you do propose some actual criteria for determining whether someone understands the implications, then it will in general be possible for them to understand the implications without agreeing with me (which would then prevent me from claiming that Jews ought not be burned).
Quote:
Quote:
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I mean, if "anathematization" were among the notions I could use as an explanans, I could straightforwardly state that to say that you ought not do X is to anathematize those who do X. If you want to add people who disagree with that judgment to the list, fine (although I disagree), but I don't see that definition gets us anywhere.
It seems to me inescapable that when you hold some statement P as true -- and not merely "how I feel about things" -- then you're automatically attributing some kind of deficiency to those who don't recognize the truth of P. Usually, we're too polite to make that judgement explicit, but it goes with the territory.
Okay, but this sort of general argument doesn't buy you more than that if I hold a moral claim to be true, then I must also consider those who disagree with me about it to believing a falsehood.
Quote:
And if P is a moral statement, then it matters to the people who agree with it. That's (part of) the point of moral statements. (Isn't it?) The deficiency that is tacitly attributed to those who disagree now takes on a moral quality.
If I think one shouldn't be sexually promiscuous, then it does matter to me if you are promiscuous, but it doesn't (without further argument) follow that it matters to me if you believe otherwise, unless this belief would actually result in you being promiscuous. The merely belief that you shouldn't be promiscuous doesn't commit me to morally condemning/cursing/anathematizing someone for whom, although he doesn't see anything wrong with being promiscuous, it simply isn't his cup of tea.

But more importantly, you now seem to be explaining moral condemnation in terms of moral condemnation (or one sort of moral condemnation in terms of another, yet unexplained, sort of moral condemnation).
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Old 10-07-2010, 03:06 AM   #1128952  /  #73
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To look at this post from another angle, why is "nothing more" necessarily a bad thing? "Nothing more" can simply be a statement to identify the limits of something. It does not have to be an attempt to devalue something, as you seem to be implying here. The point here seems to be to not laden morality with baggage that it does not deserve.

And yes, love and hate are emotions. What did you think they are?
I think they are qualitatavely different.
Hormones might be "just hormones" and all be "equal".
But I view love and hate as opposites. (When used in the context here)
I notice you did not really answer the question. If not emotions, what are they? If they are emotions plus something, what is that something?

Night and day can be considered opposites. Is day superior to night?
I dont find night and day to be opposites in the same category as good versus bad. Night and day are not choices we make. We can on the other hand exercise control over whether we act morally or immorally
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Old 10-07-2010, 03:08 AM   #1128956  /  #74
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night can be a choice if you kill yourself
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Old 10-07-2010, 03:56 AM   #1128992  /  #75
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I dont find night and day to be opposites in the same category as good versus bad.
In this you are correct.

Night & Day are descriptions of physical condition.
These are positionally relative statements on the location of the Earth's orbit.
These statements can have truth value.

Good & Bad are descriptions of emotion.
These are emotionally relative statements on a given topic.
These statements can not have truth value.
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