Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by Clarkmonster, Nov 24, 2011.

  1. Just curious what your thoughts are on Nihilism. And yes there are different types of nihilism. But, I don't really care which one you are interested in. I'll give you an example of a nihilistic argument.

    (1) There is an is and ought gap

    (2) Nothing will fill this gap.
    (3) There is no such thing as morals

    Backup for (1) There is a difference between the state of affairs that exist for things that we call moral or immoral and the justification for why it is moral. Morality does not exist in a state of affairs it exists in some type of intuition of what is right and wrong. Note. This is also compatible with some type of biological explanation of morality. It might be what part of how we evolved to form civilized societies and what not.

    Backup for (2) There is no state of affairs in the word that necessarily entails a certain moral judgment. In other words, every state of affairs that exists in the world can be interpreted. If there is room for interpretation then there is no necessary connection between our moral concepts and the state of affairs that we call moral (this can be both actions and intentions). We will never get a moral principle that is not relativistic in some sense.

    So, we conclude that there is no such thing as morals. Morals do not necessitate our actions. They are mere social conventions or biological dispositions to act. We might use these social conventions or biological dispositions to determine what to do. But, realize in accepting this we are giving up the idea that there is one morally correct course of action. And this seems to be the entire point of an ethical principle.
  2. #2 DBV, Nov 24, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 24, 2011
    I agree morals are a manmade construct, but I also believe there is an inherent good and bad in every action. Even if they are defined by subjective observation. I think morality is pretty relative, but it does exist imo.

    Whether or not they necessitate our actions depends on how conscious you are of them. It is possible to survive on pure first impulse, but things may go bad quickly without considering what's best.
  3. Could you expand on this? Because what you just said made absolutely no sense to me.
  4. This is the definition of "truth at all costs".
    I don't agree with nihilism, but if you do you accept the idea that a murderer or rapist should not be sentenced to jail or experience some form of justice, all for mere "truth".
  5. #5 PlatonicStrtgst, Nov 25, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 25, 2011
    This is widely accepted to be false FYI

    counter example = intrinsic good

    And if you accept the reality of intrinsic goods, utilitarianism is the obivous stance to take.
  6. There is a big difference between what is actually true about morality (i.e. that it is entirely an arbitrary human construct) and the moral ideas necessary for the functioning of society. For society to function, a person needs to be protected, and the prohibition of murder and rape falls into that. However, laws concerning that which only affects one's self (drug use) or those that consent (homosexuality laws), are extraneous to the reasonable functioning of society.
  7. Einstien once beautifully said, we must be compassionate with eachother. What is the alternative?

  8. Exactly. Without the arbitrary moral system we developed, we would never have progressed beyond the level of cavemen. While the system of morality we have developed is not absolute or empirically correct, it is, at the basic level, not a bad thing either.

  9. IS arbitrary the right word? It kind of demeans it, cause its not so arbitrary if you consider the intrinsic goods and bads presented, utilitarianism (the morality I suppose your refering to) is sort of imperatively FORCED on us, its almost objective, relative to humans at least. I think the fact of intrinsic value (pleasure or pain) takes the arbitrary aspect out of it, and makes it objective for humans, though perhaps, not an objective truth.

  10. except when we are talking about morals we are considering an individual's pleasure or pain. And there are relativistic concerns when seen in this light. Intrinsic goods don't get you out of the is-ought gap. If you are talking about "intuiting" something as good then you are trapped in the ought. If you are talking about something like pleasure or pain you are trapped in the is. And appealing to what most people think is a clear cut logical fallacy. You aren't supporting your argument in any way.
  11. OP Check out the neurotransmitter oxytocin. There is some great speculation that this chemical is the "God" gene. Also many neurosurgeons are now agreeing that some information is being developed inside the brain from it's construct not just from external experience. Meaning that there is a chemical inside of us that makes us make certain "moral" assumptions and biases our actions. I'm not saying it's one way or another just something interesting to consider.
  12. #12 DBV, Nov 25, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 25, 2011
    I guess it's easier to understand once you consider the positive and negative forces throughout the universe. The irony is both are required for existence to work the way it does.

    Here, I'll give you some examples:

    life is the process of death
    All birth will inevitably be destroyed, only to create birth of something else.

    "What goes around, comes around"

  13. wait what are you talking about?

    The "is/ought" gap is the gap between matters of fact and values. As explicated by Hume, there's no way (logically) to get from the way things are (is) to the way things should be (ought) without the necessity of some type of mediating concept or idea. This is also sometimes referred to as the "naturalistic" fallacy.

    The reason that it's seen as fallacious is that arguments based on this type of reasoning will be subject to an infinite regress of interrogatories. To whatever answer is posed, we can always ask "why?". But a successful answer to "why?" will always involve a value judgement of some kind. But value judgements are not matters of fact supposedly, and thus they are the mediating concept required to join "is" and "ought".

    How ever, this is untrue, value judgements are matters of fact, because humans actually do experiance pain and pleasure and both have intrinsic value. Pain is objectively bad, and pleasure is objectively good, so value judgements can be made, its the mediating concept or idea.

    The Triviality of the Debate Over 'Is-Ought' and the Definition of 'Moral', by Peter Singer
  14. I'm not exactly sure what the issue at hand is here, but I'll give my insight as to what I think is going on...

    A moral code is a system that classifies actions as right or wrong. Similarly, describing an action as moral states that it is right. There is no arguing there, right? The problem comes from stating that the moral value of an action is an objective matter. Are you saying that because there are no objective morals, they don't really exist, but rather what we call morals are really "social conventions or biological dispositions to act"?

    I'll agree that there is no objective system that we evaluate our judgments from.
    But, "An action is moral because it is right" is a true statement. What constitutes as right is a function of personal judgment. Therefore an action can be moral, regardless of subjectivity.

    If we are not to look at it in this light, the adjectives of the human language become useless. Ice cream could not taste "good," a woman could not be "beautiful," and dog shit could not smell "disgusting."

  15. Ya but why is it intrinsic? You're just begging the question if you say because, "value judgments are matters of fact". That is the very question that needs answering. Maybe Peter Singer has some compelling arguments to believe what you are saying is true. But, just because he said, "Value judgments are matters of fact" is no reason to accept it is true.

    It is obviously true that value judgments have to deal with matters of fact. But, that is no reason to think that value judgments are justified by matters of fact. You need additional argumentation.

Share This Page