The value of anything is established by its properties.  If values aren't really arbitrary, then there is an absolute morality.  The rest of this is trying to explain why values can't be arbitrary, they can only be misunderstood as arbitrary.  

This thread is an argument that order is the basis of all concepts.  Order is very rigid, so when you build a concept like a moral system on it, like all concepts should be built, it is going to lead to absolute results. Morality is based on values, and the only way to justify morality is to prove your values are accurate.  My argument is that values aren't arbitrary, thus there is an absolute morality.

Original post below:

Many atheists shy away from absolute morality because it sounds religious.  I argue that there has to be an absolute morality because the universe is absolute.  This may seem wrong as there are many subjective things.  I am contending that this isn't true because subjectivity resides on the conceptual level and like disorder and change is not a part of actual existence, but rather merely descriptive.  Absolute morality has to exist because the base foundation for morality is order, which enables it to have structure as a social concept.  This means that even as a concept, it has to have an absolute and most perfect form as a social concept.  

I have been working on this for a while, and I think I am nearing completion, but I am wondering what faults may be found with this line of thought...  I have had to return to the drawing board to correct my errors a few times already.

This below is an addendum:

What I am contending is that once morality is conceived as a concept, the nature of order upon which any concept is structured necessitates a most perfect form.

Individual perception causes humans to see the concept with innaccuracy in contrast to the order with which the concept maintains structure in conceptual reality.  This creates subjectivity.

But where I am really going with this is that order is the base functional principle of any structure in the universe.  

At the very foundation of the level of actuality lies order. Without order, molecules neither form nor bind. Order enables structure, which in turn enables every other level of existence. Order permeates every level of existence as its foundation, including anything that exists on the conceptual level. For this reason, structural order serves as the archetypal basis that justifies having a moral system.

Disorder is mistaken as coexisting with order, but it exists on the conceptual level only and is a name given to an observation of change. It is not a counterpart to order.  That means disorder is not actual.  It is conceptual.

These things tie together to start to point out that best action can be established on the basis of the order of the universe, and the lack of actuality of disorder which would be its only challenger.

Tags: Morality

Views: 2369

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

The universe is absolute? I see, great argument. There must be an absolute best color too then.

I'll bite Korsan.  On what basis must there be? 

Morality, right/wrong - they are human concepts. In nature, there is no right or wrong, no morality - just survival, and random chaos.

For there to be absolute morality, someone will have to define what is moral & what isn't. And that's a big step towards religion.

If it is directly tied to a functional aspect of the physical universe, then the concept is bound to that physical aspect.

But even existing in the purely conceptual, someone wouldn't have to define it for there to be an absolute version.   Concepts are based on thought structure. Thought structure is bonded by order. Anything built from order can be perfectly ordered. Anything perfectly ordered is a perfect form.  Subjectivity is due to variant perceptual inaccuracy.  Since morality is a conceptual ideal, it exists in perfect form even if not understood.

It wouldn't be a step toward religion.  It would be a step toward greater accuracy.

 

No, only ideals are absolutes.  But that doesn't make them actual.  I think it really important to distinguish what is conceptual and what is actual, because we refer to both as reality without that distinguishment far too often.

Like this.  God is a real concept.  But God is not real.

Morality did not exist before us, and it will not survive our extinction unless another species carries the torch.  The functional principle it is tied to is what is actual.

Michael, I didn't discover it beyond dispute since anything can be disputed even without good grounds.  I did discover this beyond reasonable dispute though. But certain things do not need to be accepted as real if there is no good evidence for them being there.  I believe this is what justifies saying invisible unicorns aren't real either. 

But my contention that ideals are absolute comes from what I was saying to Askay: Concepts are based on thought structure. Thought structure is bonded by order. Anything built from order can be perfectly ordered. Anything perfectly ordered is a perfect form.  Subjectivity is due to variant perceptual inaccuracy.  Since morality is a conceptual ideal, it exists in perfect form even if not understood.

So... morality is like the Force? Both are real concepts, but neither exists in our universe in a measurable way? If there was no morality before it was conceived as a thought by a person the same way that the Force did not exist until George Lucas conceived of it as a thought, then neither one is part of the physical universe, because without their respective creators they never were/are/or will be. Am I understanding what you are trying to say?

"The functional principle it is tied to is what is actual." What are you talking about when you say "functional principle," and what is your definition of "actual?" That sentence translates to me as, "The process based on a natural law it (morality?) is tied to is part of a concrete reality," which makes it sound like you are saying that an imagined idea, like the Force, is somehow part of reality because it comes about from some process that is a part of reality? 

I'm trying to understand, but you speak with a higher level of philosophical study that most people don't comprehend. People like me.

If it is directly tied to a functional aspect of the physical universe, then the concept is bound to that physical aspect.

That's a huge if. And since humans are the only beings that seem care about morality, or that animal morals aren't that great, I'd say such a statement requires the universe to be built for humans to be moral, or built with a purpose. Seems like religion to me.

Even conceptual constructs needs to be grounded in something tangible. Mathematics for instance, can be simulated physically. Take one stone, then take another - they will always add up to two stones. You need base cases, there are no such base cases when it comes to morality.

A quote from A Game of Thrones comes to mind - 

Power resides where men believe it to reside.

Same applies to morals. If men believe something to be moral, then it will be considered moral.

Yes, but morality exists on the conceptual level and is limited to humans at the moment, and the functional aspect exists on the physical level and it seems all living things follow that principle.

How they go about doing it depends on their complexity of thought.  Something like morality exists in ape communities in some sense.  I remember the study of monkeys that proved they had a concept of fairness.

Dear Folks:

The bible might contain a blueprint for a moral life, but you are stuck with messy humans that would apply it. It might be nice to have a 'moral calculus', like an app. on your cell phone. You input the importand details of a situation, and out pops the absolute correct thing to do. If you are a christian, you have a ready made moral mapping, as long as you stay within a rather confined decision space, which might make their moral calculus much more simple. Behind all of this seems to be the assumption of a perfect determinism.

Where would you begin?

I would favor a propositional model, made up of premises/assertions, and a computational method. Not all ethical or moral decisions are open ended, and some must be made in a vast web of possible social impacts. An 'ecology of effect' should be assumed.

A possible computational model might consist of a high order matrix, initial state details would have to be encoded, which would then pass through the matrix to determine a vector, or the moral decision as an output. Since the inputs are mostly in a text format the encodeing could offer a special problem of language ambiguity, a reduction to a symbolic representation might be helpful.

Since many decisions are open ended, or not confined, a chain of matrix operations matched to the resulting vector would need to be done in recursion. If memory serves, this is called a Marcove Chain.

A theory of 'moral computation' might be a great PHD paper in mathematics and ethics.

The other option might inviolve: FLYING BY THE SEAT OF YOUR PANTS! OR DO THE BEST THAT YOU CAN! This has always been my fall back position..LOL    

James, I think this is very interesting.  Because morality is an ideal tied to order, it seems it can be done.

Dear John:

I tried doing something like this in school during my first run at a philosophy degree. The little paper was meet with a short blank stare and a long note indicating that my reach exceeded my grasp..;p).

You might look into Bayes' Theorem. If you cound find a way to give weighted values to certain decisions based upon the probability of a positive result, you might be able to test each one, to determine the best. To be able to determine an exhaustive list of possible decisions I expect will be the 'hard' part. If an ethical/moral choice can be considered the act of a rational being, some 'calculus' could be helpful or even mandatory.

You could take each option and unpack it to list positive and negative outcomes and compair between them. I one that generates the greatest probable good could be the best candidate. Your weighting will depend upon your metaphysical commitments, in this case not absolute. 

RSS

Support T|A

Think Atheist is 100% member supported

All proceeds go to keeping Think Atheist online.

Donate with Dogecoin

Members

Forum

Things you hate.

Started by Devlin Cuite in Small Talk. Last reply by Gregg R Thomas 13 minutes ago. 72 Replies

Videos

  • Add Videos
  • View All

Services we love

We are in love with our Amazon

Book Store!

Gadget Nerd? Check out Giz Gad!

Into life hacks? Check out LabMinions.com

Advertise with ThinkAtheist.com

© 2014   Created by Dan.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service