About the moral values thing, it sounds kinda like you haven't read the sequence on metaethics

More a case of read but not believed.

Morality is a set of things humans care about. Each person has their own set, but as humans with a common psychology, those sets greatly overlap, creating a general morality

That isn't saying anything cogent. If moral values are some specific subset of human values, you haven't said what the criterion of inclusion in that subset is. On the other hand, if you are saying all human values are moral values, that is incredible:-

Human values can conflict.

Morality is a decision theory, it tells you what you should do.

A ragbag of conflicting values cannot be used to make a definitive decision.

Therefore morality is not a ragbag of conflicting values.

Perhaps you think CEV solves the problem of value conflict. But if human morality is broadly defined, then th CEV process will be doing almost all the lifting, and CEV is almost entirely unspecified. On the other hand, if you narrow down the specification of human values , you increase the amount of arbitrariness.

Morality is not arbitrary any more than circularity is arbitrary. Both refer to a specific thing with specific qualities. If you change the qualities of the thing, that doesn't change morality or change circularity, it just means that the thing you have no longer has morality, no longer has circularity.

Your theory of morality is arbitrary because you are not explaining why only human (twenty first century? Western?) values count as morality. Rather. you are using "morality" as something like a place name or personal name. No reason need be given why Istanbul is Istanbul, that's just a label someone put in an area of Earths surface.

But morality cannot be a matter of arbitrary labeling, because it is about having a principled reason why you should do one thing and not another......however no such reason could be founded on an arbitrary naming ceremony! No more than everyone should obey me just because I dub myself the King of the World! To show that human values are morality, you have to show that they should be followed, which you don't do just by calling them morality. That doesn't remove the arbitrariness in the right way.

Because the map is not the territory, normative force does not come from labels or naming ceremonies. You can't change what is by relabelling it, and you can't change what ought to be that way either.

Note how we have different rules about proper names and meaningful terms. You can name things as you wish , because nothing follows from it, because names are labels, not contentfull terms. You can make inferences from contentfull terms, but you should apply them carefully, since argument from tendentiously applied terms us a common form of bad argument. Folow the rules and you have no causal series going from map to territory. Choose one from column A, and one from column B and you do.

Morality is a fixed equation.

What you are describing isn't fixed in the expected sense of being derivable from first principles.

If aliens care about different things, it's not about our morality versus "their" morality. It would be about THE morality versus THE Glumpshizzle. The paper-clipper is used also as example. It doesn't care about morality. It cares about clippiness

How does that pan out in practice? If (1) humans have the one true morality, then we should apply it, and even force it in others. If (2) morality is just a set of arbitrary values, there is little reason humans should folow it, and even less justification to impose it.

These are contradictory ideas, yet you are asserting both of them!

BTW, denial of your claims that morality is a unique but arbitrary thing doesn't entail believing that clipping is morality. You can have N things that are morality, according to some criteria, without Clipping being amongst them.

Moreover, alternative r theories don't have to disclaim any connection between morality and human values.

[Disclaimer: My ethics and metaethics are not necessarily the same as those of Bound_up; in fact I think they are not. More below.]

Human values can conflict. Morality [...] tells you what you should do. A ragbag of conflicting values cannot be used to make a definitive decision. Therefore morality is not a ragbag of conflicting values.

I think this argument, in order to work, needs some further premise to the effect that a decision only counts as "definitive" if it is universal, if in some suitable sense everyone would/should arrive at the sam... (read more)

Open thread, Jul. 25 - Jul. 31, 2016

by MrMind 1 min read25th Jul 2016133 comments


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