Is morality subjective or objective?

Discussion in 'Ethics, Morality, & Justice' started by Sarkus, Dec 2, 2021.

  1. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Looks like this is going to be put to the test very soon. POTUS has just declared that Roe v Wade is universally flawed and has been rescinded, because "life is sacred".

    But is life sacred"? It never has been universally true at all and that is not a subjective perspective.

    "If everything that has ever lived is dead and everything alive is going to die, where does the sacred part come in?" (Carlin).

    Objectively, the Universe (or God) determines that life is a temporary condition and there is no definitive "expiration date".

    "Right to Life" is a subjective man-made law . Do you know why? Because we are alive!

    This law is only applicable to people who are alive. Dead people don't really care about life anymore now do they? Nor does a fetus.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2022
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  3. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    POTUS has done no such thing.
    SCOTUS, however, has issued a ruling that appears to have overturned their original ruling on the matter.
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  5. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    If it pertains to a class it is NOT universal! If the term is parsed it is no longer applicable.

    Consider , if I said this is partially universally applicable, you'd laugh.

    As I said, even if it is universally applicable to humans it is purely subjective.
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  7. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Sorry, I meant to say SCOTUS. (my mistake).
    The question remains the same. If it is not based on the right of life of the fetus what is the problem? It stood for 50 years. What has changed? Women do not have a "universal" right to govern their own body anymore? Does the term "universal" not apply to all women as a class?

    Where is the logical consistency?

    Why not sterilize men? That will stop unwanted pregnancies. After all, it is the male that does the fertilizing, no?
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2022
  8. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I'm not sure I get your point nor do I follow your logic? For the record, I do support a woman's right to chose though that has no bearing here.

    There is some logic to the Court's decision although I think it is bad policy. I agree with Justice Robert's opinion that it's over-reaching and that the decision should have been a narrow one based on the case before them (Mississippi law).

    The logic that is OK is that there is no mention in the Constitution (of abortion) and that is what the Court is saying and why Roe is being over-turned. However since that has now been the law of the land for so long there is no good reason to over-turn it now (over-reaching).

    What I don't follow are your comments about "man-made" laws. All laws are man-made. All laws are subjective. What do you mean this law only applies to those who are alive? A fetus is alive and if you don't agree with that, then this law doesn't only apply to those who are alive.

    In a word...what are you talking about?
  9. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    That doesn't make it objective, does it?
    Moreover, it does not universally apply to all living things, does it? It doesn't apply to cattle, a noble mammal.
    It doesn't apply to whales, an intelligent mammal. So the term right to life does not universally apply to living beings.
    And obviously it did not apply to dead humans. If they did not die from a natural disease, they died from wars which certainly do not respect the right to life.

    And it was in response to this:
    There is no objective morality. If all moral laws are man-made then they are always subjective, not objective.

    Universal laws in physics are not subjective man-made laws. They are inherent in the fabric of universal spacetime.

    Which law is known as universal law of motion?

    Reality is independent of the existence of man and what laws he makes.
    Natural laws are objective, all human laws are subjective, no?
  10. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

    Correct fetus is alive but wholly dependant on mother for its life

    It only begins its own life at the moment the umbilical cord is cut

    Even then it may have been born premature or with existing complications and require medical care to continue to live

    For those contemplating home births something to consider. Obviously screening of mother and fetus takes place before home birth is considered

    However those who advocate home births because "pregnancy is not a disease to be treated in hospital" are correct with the statement need to also consider normal births do not have complications until they do

    Little off topic but close enough

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  11. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Sharia Law has arrived at the US shores!

    Nobody cares about the health or safety of the mother in childbirth.
    She will have that baby even if it is in a manger or go to jail for murder!
  12. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    This shouldn't really be turning into a semantics lesson for you, Write4U.
    You can either decide to accept the word with the meaning intended in context, or you can insist upon just a single definition for the word, and in doing so be forever at odds with those who choose otherwise.
    "Universal healthcare" in the UK - quite incredibly it doesn't pertain to US citizens living in the US.
    "Universal Credit" in the UK - doesn't pertain to Australians living in Australia.
    So, please, try to comprehend the contextual meaning.
    This is a strawman, though.
    "Partially" and "universally" are mutually exclusive.
    Both require a context, however, as to what population is being considered, what the "universe" under discussion is.
    E.g. when talking of "women's rights", the universe is all women.
    Not men.
    So if something, in that context, is universal, then it should be understood to apply to all women.
    If something is deemed partial, then it would apply only to a subset of that universe, i.e. a subset of all women.
    See, now you're getting it.
    Playing at semantics, when there really is no need, just confuses and sidetracks any discussion.
    Sure, that's one view.
    However, many think otherwise: that it could be objective.
    Being human is universally applicable to humans, and it is objective, for example.
    One idea of morals being objective is that they are given to us: notably by God.
    These morals, in their view, are the same for everyone, and thus anyone going against them are "immoral".

    Another idea of morals being objective is that for a given set of values, for a given situation, there is only one possible morality.
    The issue here, though, is whether the subjective nature of the values is sufficient for morality being considered similarly subjective.
    Similarly, if I choose when (subjective) to throw up a ball in a vacuum, the physical laws of the universe (objective) will determine when the ball lands on the ground.
    Is the time of the landing subjective or objective?
    From what point is the nature, "subjective" or "objective", of the timing of the landing to be considered?
  13. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    The concept of God is always subjective. You cannot assign objective truth to an unknown quantity.
    And how does the Universe acquire a sense of morality. After all, the universe is absolutely neutral about "concepts" of "good or bad". The inherent morality lies in "conservation of energy" and that means there can only be change and when there is change something dies for something else to live. So where is the morality in that?
    Who is the judge? All human considerations are subjective. We can identify and codify objective truths, but by the famous expression, "human science is only a subjective symbolically codified approximation"
    True , but that does not depend on human observation or symbolism.
    In human time it is subjective, in universal time it is an objective product of duration and depends on several variables. For one, when there is "ground", we are no longer talking about a "vacuum", no?
    Subjective from the "POV of the Observer", objective from the deterministic Universal Laws of Gravity?

    A better example may be Einstein's example of the Doppler effect on the travelling train whistle, where both observers subjectively hear a different pitch from their POV, but neither hears the objective true pitch of whistle located on the travelling train.
    ===> A <===lower pitch====<-train whistle, true pitch->====higher pitch===> B ===>
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2022
  14. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    Our concept, yes.
    Our belief, yes.
    The reality of God (i.e. whether God actually exists or not), however, is objective.
    I.e. irrespective of anything we may think, do, say, etc, either the proposition "there is a God" or "there is not a God" is true.
    We just don't happen to know which it is.

    Yes you can.
    An objective truth is simply one that is irrespective of personal viewpoint, opinion, belief, etc.
    Either I am left-handed, or I am right-handed.
    It is unknown, but whichever it is is an objective truth - i.e. it is independent of anyone's belief, opinion, viewpoint.
    It is just a truth you haven't yet established for yourself.
    It doesn't.
    Morality, as explained previously, is only meaningful to those that know of the concepts of "right" and "wrong".
    The universe also isn't left- or right-handed.
    But it is an objective truth that I am one of those.
    So what?
    There is no morality in CoE; it is a meaningless concept applied to CoE.
    Morality is a human construct, but so is left- and right-handedness.
    No, they're not.
    As said, I am either left- or right-handed.
    Your belief as to which I am is certainly subjective.
    But the reality is that I am only one of those.
    It is an objective truth that I am right-handed.
    No bias in an individual could make "Sarkus is left-handed" be true.
    So what.
    This isn't a matter of science, trying to model reality and only approximating.
    This is about what is objective and subjective.
    Neither, some might suggest, does morality.
    Stop being ridiculous.
    One can have a vacuum inside a container.
    No, from the POV of the either it can still be either, depending on what they are considering as the "act".
    If the "act" commences at the start of the choosing process, this is subjective: it is up to the person to decide when, and thus the timing of when the ball hits the floor is up to the individual.
    If the "act" commences when the ball is thrown, this is objective, because it is then independend of the person.

    Thus it is with morality, at least in some arguments: are we talking about subjective values and objective morality stemming from them, or is the whole value/moral combination what is being considered subjective, etc.

    You could argue that the universe is deterministic and thus all actions are "objective" but that starts to go down the route of whether anyone has any moral responsibility, and to be honest, I don't see the issue of determinism as being pertinent to the spirit of this thread.
    While this conveys a distinction between objective and subjective, I'm not sure it is an effective analogy for the issue of morals stemming from values, and the subjective/objective nature of the relationship (e.g. subjective values and objective morals coming from them).
    The train example would be an analogy for objective source and subjective interpretation.
    Not what I was trying to provide an analogy for.
  15. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    How can a question if something is or is not be objective truth? That's just semantic sophistry.
  16. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    You continue to misunderstand.
    The question is not the objective truth.
    The answer, whichever it is, is the objective truth: either the answer is "God objectively exists" or "God does not objectively exist".
    One of those propositions is objectively true.
    I.e. one of those is the reality for all, whether we are aware of that reality or not.
    Our own personal view of whether God exists, and whether God exists subjectively ("God exists for me" etc) or objectively, is subjective.
  17. Write4U Valued Senior Member


    If I posit that unicorns exist, would you consider that a legitimate exercise in objectivity?

    The point is not if there is a question if an objective God exists.
    The point is that there is a statement "God exists" but it is not supported by any evidence.

    No one has been able to even describe God, except in some vague platitudes shrouded in mystery and magic.
    Can a Supernatural being even objectively exist in our universe?

    Is that not why we call it "faith" and "belief"? It certainly is not "knowledge".

    It is a subjective assumption, like belief in Santa Claus. There is no objectivity involved. It's sophistry.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2022
  18. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    Don't dismiss what you're not understanding as sophistry.
    That is to close yourself off from ever understanding it.

    Imagine, if you can, that there is a giant ball hovering in our atmosphere.
    Imagine that this is the objective reality, that there really is this giant ball.
    This is the objective reality for everyone, and every thing.

    Now, for some people that ball may be completely obscured from their view by a mountain.
    They can not see the ball, they have no idea (other than what people tell them) that there is a ball.
    So their subjective view is that there is no ball.

    For those that can see the ball, they will also have a subjective view of the ball, depending upon their own position/perspective etc.
    But the objective reality for all these people is that there is a ball.

    Now, imagine, if you can, a world where there is no giant ball hovering in the atmosphere.
    This is now the objective reality.
    However, some people may be convinced that there is a ball, and that they can see it.
    This is their subjective view.

    If we don't know what the objective reality is, i.e. we don't know whether there is a ball in the atmosphere, then our position on whether there is one can only be a subjective view, which may or may not match the objective reality.

    This is not sophistry, but something you really should understand if you're to meaningfully discuss whether morals are subjective or objective.

    Objective reality is what it is; it is the same for everyone once you strip away all personal bias, perspective, position etc - which is what makes it objective.
    Subjective reality is what is "true for us", i.e. it is the interpretation of the objective reality according to our own personal perspective, bias, situation etc.
    Subjective reality is all we have in the absence of knowing what the objective reality is.
    ??? "Exercise in objectivity"?
    If unicorns exist, that is the objective reality.
    If unicorns don't exist, that is the objective reality.
    There is no exercise involved.
    In the absence of absolute proof or knowledge of the objective reality, if you believe that they exist then that is your subjective reality, which may or may not correspond to the objective reality.
    Similarly if you believe that they don't exist, then that is your subjective view.
    If you don't know what the objective reality is, you can only ever have a subjective viewpoint of it.
    I think you're confusing the issue.
    This isn't about whether or not God exists, nor is it about evidence of whether God exists or not, but about whether morals are objective or subjective (and more recently from there into what is objective or subjective with regards reality).
    I am not concerned about whether God exists or not.
    However, one argument for objective morals is that they are God-given, that they are (or should be) the same for all, irrespective of our own personal (i.e. subjective) view on the matter.
    That's not the point.
    The point is that IF God objectively exists then that is the objective reality for us all, whether we are aware of it or not.
    Belief in something is a subjective view that may or may not match objective reality.
    Unless you are of the viewpoint that there is no objective reality, and that everything is subjective, then there IS objectivity involved.
    Our belief (subjective view) on the matter may or may not match the objective reality of it.

    Objective morals (to bring it back to the matter at hand) are morals that are universal (to humans, being the only species we know to whom the concept has meaning), that are the result of the way the universe operates, or handed to us by God, or whatever other reason one might argue for.
    Just because a rock has no morals does not make morals therefore subjective.
    Just because a rock is not human does not make the existence of humans subjective.
  19. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Objectively speaking, human morals are subjective and apply to humans only. The rest of living creatures live by the objective survival mechanism of "fight or flight" instinct.
    Except maybe the Bonobo, but then they live by objective survival mechanism of making love.

    Any discussion of an exterior objective moral agency is sophistry.

    Morals aren't discovered, morals are man-made. Scientific truths are discovered, they are inherent in the logic of the universe.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2022
  20. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    I know the analogy to Plato's cave.

    Allegory of the cave

    Note that these levels of objective reality are deductions made as a result of observation.
    But I don't even see a shadow of God. There is no observation whatever, other than thunder and lightning and we know what that's all about.

    The biblical God is a total figment of the imagination and can never be proven or falsified. Yet millions of people have gone to war because God "told" them it was a good idea! The greatest folly of a human belief system that started before homo sapiens emerged from our common ancestry with other hominids.
  21. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    That was in context of morals. Morals are associated with "behavior". Human behaviors are always subjective.
    The use of "objective" or "subjective" as a property of human behavior is misplaced .

    I was commenting on the Universe having moral properties. It is obvious that the Universe "behaves" absolutely "neutral" in regards to "good or bad". It has only Logic. (Plato)
  22. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    You merely claim they are subjective, because that is your subjective viewpoint.
    Whether morals are subjective or objective is a philosophical debate precisely because we do not know one way or the other, and thus you saying/claiming them to be subjective is just your subjective view.
    This, on its own, is irrelevant to the matter.
    Being human only applies to humans yet you are objectively human.
    That is irrelevant, but also your view that those instincts are objective is also just your subjective viewpoint.
    Further, you are being inconsistent: something applying to humans only you have deemed subjective, yet an equivalent for other species you are seeming objective.
    it's good that you feel able to dismiss the opposing argument as sophistry, as it means you can safely be ignored on the matter.
    That does not make them subjective.
    A helicopter is man-made.
    Your view of what it means for something to be objective or subjective is, despite efforts to explain otherwise, unfortunately hindering your ability to be meaningful in progressing the debate at hand, so I will bow out from responding further to you on this matter, as it shouldn't be a matter of semantics.
  23. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    Yes living people can make that subjective claim because they are alive.
    For what reason would humans make any claim about a universal rule that there exists such a thing as universal morals like "Life is sacred"?
    Cause humans are alive! It is from pure self-interest. It is a human concept, we made it up.
    But we don't set the rules of the Universe. We make subjective human rules for humans.

    The point is that we don't even practise morals. We pretend to be so noble, but we are probably the least worthy of all living organisms. We make up lofty rules and completely ignore them except for an occasional gesture and then we are rewarded with a medal for "meritorious service".

    For all our technological accomplishments , humans may well become the cause for the 6th Global Extinction Event.
    What is the sixth mass extinction and what can we do about it?

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    What’s causing the sixth mass extinction?

    If there is such a thing as Universal moral behavior, the Earth is letting us know we are failing miserably in that department. Hence my reference to Universal morals as being completely neutral .
    You mess up, you pay the price, period.

    "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction" is the objective Universal moral.
    How you live by that moral tenet, is a subjective decision. We don't do too well.

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