Author Topic: Subjectivism  (Read 129 times)

Dagda

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Subjectivism
« on: January 14, 2010, 04:24:13 PM »
Dear reader, I was once a subjectivist. What an odd subjectivist I made; you see I was a theist and had to do quite a lot of philosophical acrobatics to make my ethical considerations fit with my theistic beliefs. I have since reformed into a respectable objectivist (at this point I would post a little smiley face if I did not think they debased the language in much the same way as excessive hugging debases a conversation), but I did think it might be fun to discuss ethics with atheists. Dear reader please pull up a chair, pour a glass of wine and let the debate commence!  

I abandoned subjectivism for a number of reasons, but the most important factor was the complete lack of evidence of any kind for subjectivism (I am a disciple of logical positivism). I have heard many arguments in favour of subjectivism, and all failed to convince.

The second consideration for any would-be subjectivist is that the moral argument has failed to provide a reason why objective moral language exists in our speech patterns; we tend to talk about morality in definitive terms, why would this be if morality was subjective?

The third and last point-for now-is that a society in which morals are assumed to be subjective would not be one in which the majority of people would be comfortable in, and I will add this last section so that my sentence does not end in a preposition (again the smiley face if I was a different kind of person).

I realise there is not much meat on the bones here, but I will expand the three points above if the thread takes us in that direction (oh dear, now I am talking about threads like they are independent entities; I really have become an e-freak).
That which does not benefit the hive does not benefit the bee either-Marcus Aurelius

tergiversant

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Re: Subjectivism
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2010, 05:10:22 PM »
Quote from: "Dagda"
The second consideration for any would-be subjectivist is that the moral argument has failed to provide a reason why objective moral language exists in our speech patterns; we tend to talk about morality in definitive terms, why would this be if morality was subjective?

For precisely the same reason that we humans by and large tend to talk about morality as a set of well-defined prescriptions handed down from an authority figure such as Dad, Cæsar, Jesus, Moses, Buddha, or whomever.  It is far easier to appeal to authority than to justify each moral principle within a carefully constructed moral framework such as Mill's utilitarianism or Fyfe's desirism.  We humans come with an in-built urge to defer to authority, because the kids among our potential ancestors that didn't heed their parents' warnings generally died young.

Moreover, the argument from language is inherently weak.  We tend to talk about minds as if they are free-floating entities apart from brains.  We tend to invoke agent-oriented intentional language in various bizarrely inappropriate ways, e.g. "water seeks its own level" "karma is a bitch" "texas sucks" etc. as if most any concept can be readily expressed by means of anthropomorphic shorthand.  Humans use language in loads of weird ways, and that tells us something about us as human subjects, but it doesn't tell us anything about objective reality outside of us.