Michael Stuart Kelly

Moral Truth versus Factual Truth

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Moral Truth versus Factual Truth

This one is especially for Moralist (Greg). I believe he will fall in love with Jordan Peterson.

I know I have.

The odd part about this debate between Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson, even though it got stuck on the meaning of truth by two headstrong intelligent men, is that I can see the point of both of them.

And I can also see some really bad consequences of taking either side as THE ONE TRUE fundamental frame to the exclusion of the other--meaning one beats the other in the conceptual hierarchy, so to speak, and someone taking this predominance to the extreme.

In Peterson's worst case scenario of the truth standard (morality foundational), we can get a messianic person who sees the big moral picture so much he abolishes whole parts of valuable science for being immoral or amoral, and in Harris's worst case truth standard scenario (science foundational), we can get an equally messianic science person who sees everything through contextless events and calls each one truth, resulting in making weapons of mass extinction and breathtaking cures as part of the same "truth."

The problem arose over the use of the word "true." Peterson insisted it always had to include a moral context component and Harris insisted it did not. At least they both agreed on the word "correct." But what Harris called truth, Peterson said it could be correct, but not true.

This sounds like semantics, but I have a feeling it is far more important than it seems.

Here's just an example. I can't remember who came up with the following hypothetical (but, man, does Harris come up with some silly ones--at least this one was not so silly). They said suppose a person was in a room that was not on fire, but the rest of the house was. Harris says one could say it's true that the room was not on fire. Peterson says this is not true because in a short time the room will burn up.

This is not trivial. Harris leaves out an overwhelming context and calls a proposition about the immediate event "truth" while Peterson ignores the immediate event and calls a proposition "truth" only within the larger context, using the context mostly to characterize the truth. 

On a personal note, I just discovered Jordan Peterson. I have now gone through about 7 or 8 hours of his videos. I am a huge fan so far. Despite some jargon-related issues, I see his approach and Rand's highly complementary to each other. In fact, he digs the "Rand" out of philosophers she dismissed, so to speak. And he tends to disagree with some of the same fundamental points she does regarding their works.

Apropos, he even does that with Biblical stories in Genesis. He once described how apes or human ancestors learned how to abstract from observing similar things over and over, then noticed essential patterns of some aspects of those things and kept them in mind while dismissing the rest, even dismissing the specific things themselves, and made concepts. And he related how this process and further growth of it is reflected in these stories. It's breathtaking. He does not use Rand's term "conceptual common denominator," but he practically described it and related it to ancient Hebrew stories, or more specifically, to the context of them. That's just one example, but, alas, that particular example belongs to a different lecture than the one above. :) If people are interested, I might post it in this thread.

I see a complement between Rand and Harris, too, but only on the surface with certain approaches and jargon, especially the "is and ought" thing. Underneath, however, he is a much different animal than she is. I always sense an underlying layer of collectivism in his thinking (with him as one of the elites controlling the human cattle, of course), although he doesn't openly say so. But he's very, very intelligent.

Michael

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2 hours ago, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Moral Truth versus Factual Truth

 

In Peterson's worst case scenario of the truth standard (morality foundational), we can get a messianic person who sees the big moral picture so much he abolishes whole parts of valuable science for being immoral or amoral, and in Harris's worst case truth standard scenario (science foundational), we can get an equally messianic science person who sees everything through contextless events and calls each one truth, resulting in making weapons of mass extinction and breathtaking cures as part of the same "truth."

This is one of the few issues on which I disagree with Sam Harris (who I admire and value a great deal).  Sam believes an objective "science of morality" is possible.  I do not. I believe moral judgement will forever remain in the realm of Doxa (opinion and judgement).  You have stated the issue  very well.  Kudai to you (one kudo,  many kudai). 

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That "science" is not science. Scientists need ethics which is rightly implicit in their work and ethics is a sub-category of morality with much overlap. You can call morality and ethics and philosophy generally "doxa," but you cannot have them without doxa--that is, morality and philosophy are always with us and they can be doxa-ed until the cows come home. Your doxa, my doxa. Objectively it's all doxa. So you apply reason and come up with the best doxa you can and act accordingly (and carefully). Now, human nature can be objectified and if done right we can come up with an "Objectivist Ethics." Did Rand do that right?

Again: while science has and must have a philosophy of science, doxa yes or doxa no, sans science a lot can go for the human organism can put up with a lot of bull shit. Just sayin' there's doxa and there's doxa. I have my doxa and you have yours. We all have working philosophies no matter how messed up they are and we can avoid pain if we correctly ID human nature and human needs, personally and socially.

--Brant

Rand called a lot of things "science" without understanding the divide between what is and is not science: reason and reality are the basis for the Objectivist philosophy and science, but science is yet to happen just as morality and politics are yet to happen--be identified--so "doxa" goes one way and science another, neither to be denigrated absent the practical results

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1 hour ago, BaalChatzaf said:

 Sam believes an objective "science of morality" is possible.  I do not. I believe moral judgement will forever remain in the realm of Doxa (opinion and judgement).   

Geez, the same argument you take with you to every thread, Bob.

The unbreakable connection from facts of reality to a rational morality is -- value. No human life, nobody who CAN value; nobody and nothing who or which can BE valued; no you; no science; no 'truth'; no morality; no nothing.

Can we get past this?

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18 minutes ago, anthony said:

Geez, the same argument you take with you to every thread, Bob.

The unbreakable connection from facts of reality to a rational morality is -- value. No human life, nobody who CAN value; nobody and nothing who or which can BE valued; no you; no science; no 'truth'; no morality; no nothing.

Can we get past this?

Not really.  There is no clear way of quantifying the matter so science will simply not apply.  I am sorry that your are unhappy with the way humans deal with moral questions.   It would be nice if we could make it a scientific matter.  But there is no obvious way to do it. 

Yes. I am solid pro science. Science and Mathematics are the best and greatest things of an abstract nature that humans do or even can  do.  Anything that is not science or reducible to science (in a practical way)  is either Doxa or Tiddlywinks.

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20 minutes ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Not really.  There is no clear way of quantifying the matter so science will simply not apply.  I am sorry that your are unhappy with the way humans deal with moral questions.   It would be nice if we could make it a scientific matter.  But there is no obvious way to do it. 

Yes. I am solid pro science. Science and Mathematics are the best and greatest things of an abstract nature that humans do or even can  do.  Anything that is not science or reducible to science (in a practical way)  is either Doxa or Tiddlywinks.

Does science apply itself to facts of reality? Are scientists human beings? Is human life a fact of reality? Can humans have life without knowing value? Or can "value" exist without man's life? Seriously. The stolen concept fallacy, you are implicitly counting upon several concepts while negating them, dividing science from life from value from morality. 

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26 minutes ago, anthony said:

Does science apply itself to facts of reality? Are scientists human beings? Is human life a fact of reality? Can humans have life without knowing value? Or can "value" exist without man's life? Seriously. The stolen concept fallacy, you are implicitly counting upon several concepts while negating them, dividing science from life from value from morality. 

Yes, yes, yes,yes. 

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Here is Jordan Peterson kicking some serious butt.

Serious, serious, bootei...

This is a man who connects philosophy to politics in a manner that excites people in a good sense, especially about freedom of speech--it makes them think and want to act at the same time.

Jordan is getting so well known, this video appeared on Real Clear Politics video:

Jordan Peterson: Why You Have To Fight Postmodernism

Jordan also mentioned an Objectivist philosopher in this video. He referred to Stephen Hicks and his Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault. For those who want to read Stephen's book for free, he provides a pdf on his own website: Explaining Postmodernism (pdf).

I can't recommend this video highly enough.

Michael

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On 6/3/2017 at 5:29 PM, BaalChatzaf said:

Yes, yes, yes,yes. 

"Yes" - to "can humans have life without knowing value"??

"Yes" - to "can *value* exist without man's life"!???

Is this you playing dumb or being sarcastic?

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3 hours ago, anthony said:

"Yes" - to "can humans have life without knowing value"??

"Yes" - to "can *value* exist without man's life"!???

Is this you playing dumb or being sarcastic?

Here is the sequence of questions:  

Does science apply itself to facts of reality? Are scientists human beings? Is human life a fact of reality? Can humans have life without knowing value?

By value I assume you mean  the value implicit in moral judgement.   

So all my yes responses are for real.  And I never play dumb.  I am not dumb. And I am probably smarter than you are. 

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1 hour ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Here is the sequence of questions:  

Does science apply itself to facts of reality? Are scientists human beings? Is human life a fact of reality? Can humans have life without knowing value?

By value I assume you mean  the value implicit in moral judgement.   

So all my yes responses are for real.  And I never play dumb.  I am not dumb. And I am probably smarter than you are. 

Smarts aren't quite enough. You replied ~yes~ to "Can *value* exist without man's life?" And who would be 'the valuer', how - and of what? Only man's life and consciousness make possible the concept of value, and make essential men's value judgments. You recall? - ought from is?

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40 minutes ago, anthony said:

Smarts aren't quite enough. You replied ~yes~ to "Can *value* exist without man's life?" And who would be 'the valuer', how - and of what? Only man's life and consciousness make possible the concept of value, and make essential men's value judgments. You recall? - ought from is?

No ought ever came from an is by purely deductive logic.  It requires a hypothetical connection. 

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16 minutes ago, BaalChatzaf said:

No ought ever came from an is by purely deductive logic.  It requires a hypothetical connection. 

Above the hypothetical, I think it requires a ~metaphysical~ view, i.e. man, the nature of his consciousness. You treat this (value) as epistemological.

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Consciousness is a relationship identification tool.  Every concept requires a relationship be established (Perception works the same way).  For that relationship to be valuable to you, it has to be relevant to your goals and purpose.

You therefore need two things:

1) A factual relationship

2) A relevant relationship (to your goals and purpose at hand)

Epistemology is the bridge that connects Metaphysics to Ethics and Vice Versa (tool for survival)

 

 

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On 6/7/2017 at 1:57 PM, BaalChatzaf said:

No ought ever came from an is by purely deductive logic.  It requires a hypothetical connection. 

The game of chess has rules that say what it is. One one these rules is checkmate. Based on these rules, including checkmate, it is possible to deduce that one ought not play this move because it allows your opponent to checkmate your king. Maybe this qualifies as an ought coming from an is by purely deductive logic.

 

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From my youth I remember Monopoly has a similar point and time of impact when you realize the person with the most property cannot be beaten. Yet it is still fun to bankrupt another player even if you are going to ultimately lose. Star Trek three dimensional chess? I never could get the sense of it becaurse toy companies never made a set.

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