Our server costs ~$56 per month to run. Please consider donating or becoming a Patron to help keep the site running. Help us gain new members by following us on Twitter and liking our page on Facebook!
Current time: June 27, 2022, 2:52 pm

Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
morality is subjective and people don't have free will
#1
morality is subjective and people don't have free will
There's been a few threads recently about free will and morality, so my apologies for starting another one. The thing is, they got me curious about something so I wanted to ask you guys. 

So first of all, 2 things:

1. It seems many of you hold the opinion that morality is subjective. Meaning there is no real, set in stone, right or wrong. Basically, if one person thinks a particular act is good, and another person thinks that same act is bad, nether one of these 2 people is actually correct. It's all just a matter of opinion, like one person thinking red is the best color and another thinking blue is. 

2. It also seems many of you hold the opinion that people don't actually have free will. Their acts are purely a result of circumstances and are not freely chosen. Basically the person could not have acted any differently because their action was only a result of their own inherent nature and whatever circumstances put them in the position to commit that act.

So my question is this... for those who feel both these things are true - if there is no real right or wrong, and if people don't have the freedom to choose their behavior - then why do you get angry about people acting (or thinking) any certain way? After all, not only is there no right or wrong anyway, but these people don't even choose to act as they do. 

So how can you justify being angry at the person who rapes, kills, steals, lies, cheats, is conservative, is religious, likes Trump, IS Trump, etc etc? Am I missing something?
"Of course, everyone will claim they respect someone who tries to speak the truth, but in reality, this is a rare quality. Most respect those who speak truths they agree with, and their respect for the speaking only extends as far as their realm of personal agreement. It is less common, almost to the point of becoming a saintly virtue, that someone truly respects and loves the truth seeker, even when their conclusions differ wildly." 

-walsh
Reply
#2
RE: morality is subjective and people don't have free will
I am interested in the responses of people who believe both those things.

Personally I only believe one of those things. Would you have a different question for me?
Reply
#3
RE: morality is subjective and people don't have free will
Would it make more sense to get angry if there was objective morality and free will?
The fool hath said in his heart, There is a God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
Psalm 14, KJV revised edition

Reply
#4
RE: morality is subjective and people don't have free will
What I don't understand is how Christians can both believe in god's perfect plan and free will at the same time.

I believe only some morals are subjective. I also believe we all have free will, but that some outcomes are out of our control. I mean, I more than believe it. That's a fairly observable position.
Reply
#5
RE: morality is subjective and people don't have free will
(May 15, 2017 at 1:58 pm)Catholic_Lady Wrote: There's been a few threads recently about free will and morality, so my apologies for starting another one. The thing is, they got me curious about something so I wanted to ask you guys. 

So first of all, 2 things:

1. It seems many of you hold the opinion that morality is subjective. Meaning there is no real, set in stone, right or wrong. Basically, if one person thinks a particular act is good, and another person thinks that same act is bad, nether one of these 2 people is actually correct. It's all just a matter of opinion, like one person thinking red is the best color and another thinking blue is.

While moral values certainly are subjective, that does not mean they are held as matters of no consequence.  When you say those who hold morality to be subjective must therefore recognize that a difference in moral values is just a matter of opinion, you are only partially correct.  Moral opinions have both cognitive content and feeling/value content which taps into emotions.  When people disagree vehemently regarding moral values, the vehemence comes not from the cognitive component, but from the feeling/emotional component.  It is entirely reasonable to stand up for your subjectively held moral values.  

It is actually a strength of recognizing their subjective nature that one can then look objectively to the axiomatic principles underlying the disagreement.  Then, if the disagreement is in regard to a matter the law permits each person to decide for himself, then I have to back off and let it be.  Always insisting on doing what one feels is morally right (conceived of in an objective sense) may lead a person to insist in ways that are antisocial, like the antiabortion proponent who decides to shoot an abortion providing doctor. In the extreme, a person who insists on objective morals is often a dickish social bully.

To me, it is essential in a secular society that people be able to recognize when people's morals disagree and to seek peaceful ways to address those disagreements.  I'd go so far as to say it is better morally to develop the capacity to recognize what is or is not your prerogative when others act in ways which violate your moral standards.  No one should mistake their own hand for the hand of their god.  What is or is not your prerogative is contained not by how strongly we may feel about a matter but by ones acceptance of the social norms of the society in which they live.  So while morality doesn't change because of the social order, how one chooses to act on their own moral values sometimes should.


(May 15, 2017 at 1:58 pm)Catholic_Lady Wrote: 2. It also seems many of you hold the opinion that people don't actually have free will. Their acts are purely a result of circumstances and are not freely chosen. Basically the person could not have acted any differently because their action was only a result of their own inherent nature and whatever circumstances put them in the position to commit that act.

I don't personally say that we lack free will because I do not hold to an extreme standard for what constitutes "free will".  I think most of the discussion on this expression revolves around varying definitions of the term.  There are circumstances which can impinge on a persons usual degree of choice over there actions, and the law recognizes this.  


(May 15, 2017 at 1:58 pm)Catholic_Lady Wrote: So my question is this... for those who feel both these things are true - if there is no real right or wrong, and if people don't have the freedom to choose their behavior - then why do you get angry about people acting (or thinking) any certain way? After all, not only is there no right or wrong anyway, but these people don't even choose to act as they do. 

So how can you justify being angry at the person who rapes, kills, steals, lies, cheats, is conservative, is religious, likes Trump, IS Trump, etc etc? Am I missing something?

Since I am only a moral subjectivist and not free will denier, it looks like your question is not addressed to me.
Reply
#6
RE: morality is subjective and people don't have free will
(May 15, 2017 at 2:55 pm)Alex K Wrote: Would it make more sense to get angry if there was objective morality and free will?

Absolutely. If a person freely chooses to commit an act that IS objectively wrong (rather than just a matter of opinion), it makes much more sense to hold the person accountable and thus feel anger towards them. I don't see how it wouldn't.

(May 15, 2017 at 3:05 pm)Whateverist Wrote:
(May 15, 2017 at 1:58 pm)Catholic_Lady Wrote: There's been a few threads recently about free will and morality, so my apologies for starting another one. The thing is, they got me curious about something so I wanted to ask you guys. 

So first of all, 2 things:

1. It seems many of you hold the opinion that morality is subjective. Meaning there is no real, set in stone, right or wrong. Basically, if one person thinks a particular act is good, and another person thinks that same act is bad, nether one of these 2 people is actually correct. It's all just a matter of opinion, like one person thinking red is the best color and another thinking blue is.

While moral values certainly are subjective, that does not mean they are held as matters of no consequence.  When you say those who hold morality to be subjective must therefore recognize that a difference in moral values is just a matter of opinion, you are only partially correct.  Moral opinions have both cognitive content and feeling/value content which taps into emotions.  When people disagree vehemently regarding moral values, the vehemence comes not from the cognitive component, but from the feeling/emotional component.  It is entirely reasonable to stand up for your subjectively held moral values.  

It is actually a strength of recognizing their subjective nature that one can then look objectively to the axiomatic principles underlying the disagreement.  Then, if the disagreement is in regard to a matter the law permits each person to decide for himself, then I have to back off and let it be.  Always insisting on doing what one feels is morally right (conceived of in an objective sense) may lead a person to insist in ways that are antisocial, like the antiabortion proponent who decides to shoot an abortion providing doctor.  In the extreme, a person who insists on objective morals is often a dickish social bully.

To me, it is essential in a secular society that people be able to recognize when people's morals disagree and to seek peaceful ways to address those disagreements.  I'd go so far as to say it is better morally to develop the capacity to recognize what is or is not your prerogative when others act in ways which violate your moral standards.  No one should mistake their own hand for the hand of their god.  What is or is not your prerogative is contained not by how strongly we may feel about a matter but by ones acceptance of the social norms of the society in which they live.  So while morality doesn't change because of the social order, how one chooses to act on their own moral values sometimes should.


(May 15, 2017 at 1:58 pm)Catholic_Lady Wrote: 2. It also seems many of you hold the opinion that people don't actually have free will. Their acts are purely a result of circumstances and are not freely chosen. Basically the person could not have acted any differently because their action was only a result of their own inherent nature and whatever circumstances put them in the position to commit that act.

I don't personally say that we lack free will because I do not hold to an extreme standard for what constitutes "free will".  I think most of the discussion on this expression revolves around varying definitions of the term.  There are circumstances which can impinge on a persons usual degree of choice over there actions, and the law recognizes this.  


(May 15, 2017 at 1:58 pm)Catholic_Lady Wrote: So my question is this... for those who feel both these things are true - if there is no real right or wrong, and if people don't have the freedom to choose their behavior - then why do you get angry about people acting (or thinking) any certain way? After all, not only is there no right or wrong anyway, but these people don't even choose to act as they do. 

So how can you justify being angry at the person who rapes, kills, steals, lies, cheats, is conservative, is religious, likes Trump, IS Trump, etc etc? Am I missing something?

Since I am only a moral subjectivist and not free will denier, it looks like your question is not addressed to me.

Yeah, not quite lol. But thanks for giving your thoughts anyway. 

(And of course there are circumstances where a person's will is limited, like if they're being forced by outside forces to do something/etc that they would otherwise rather not do. I am not referring to this type of scenario.)
"Of course, everyone will claim they respect someone who tries to speak the truth, but in reality, this is a rare quality. Most respect those who speak truths they agree with, and their respect for the speaking only extends as far as their realm of personal agreement. It is less common, almost to the point of becoming a saintly virtue, that someone truly respects and loves the truth seeker, even when their conclusions differ wildly." 

-walsh
Reply
#7
RE: morality is subjective and people don't have free will
I'm the exact opposite of Whateverist, lol. I'm a moral objectivist and free will denier, lol.
Reply
#8
RE: morality is subjective and people don't have free will
[Image: ae26d7cc476c9d78ae71183ab3e7c439.jpg]
Reply
#9
RE: morality is subjective and people don't have free will
(May 15, 2017 at 2:55 pm)Alex K Wrote: Would it make more sense to get angry if there was objective morality and free will?

I think it would because it would imply that philosophical desert made sense in a rather ultimate way. It would make non-consequentalist retribution make sense. It would make an eye for an eye make sense.
Reply
#10
RE: morality is subjective and people don't have free will
I'll field that question.  The answer is simple; humans are flawed.  We don't always act rationally.  As a matter of fact, we rarely act rationally!  lol

Our nature is such that we react first with emotions, and apply rational after the fact, in most cases. I do try to apply the rational that I should not get angry since I know people didn't chose to do, say or believe whatever made me angry, but it takes some effort, and I often fail initially, but am so far always able to eventually get past it and accept people as they are, after some work and constant reminding on my own part.  I usually lose it after I've been personally stressed or judged a lot, then it can take time to get back into the "zone".   Smile

This isn't even a new concept. Some eastern philosophies that are much older than christianity use this idea of radical acceptance.  Things are what they are and could not have been any other way, and that it is not only pointless, but harmful to be angry for people being the way they are.  As with most good things in life, and for most people, putting this into practice takes work.  It does not come naturally.  Particularly when we are often taught as children to be all judgy towards ourselves and others.

Here is an old story:
________________________________________________________
"Master, you must help me," said the visitor. "I am at my wit's end."
"What seems to be the problem?" The sage asked.

"I am having a hard time controlling my anger," the visitor said. "It's just the way people are. I see them criticizing others while totally unaware of their own faults. I do not wish to criticize them because I don't want to be like them, but it really upsets me."

"I see," said the sage. "Tell me something first: Aren't you the villager who narrowly escaped death last year?"

"Yes," the visitor nodded. "It was a terrible experience. I ventured too far into the forest and ran into a pack of hungry wolves."

"What did you do?"

"I climbed up a tree just in time before they converged on me. These wolves were big and I had no doubt they could tear me to pieces."

"So you were trapped?"

"Yes. I knew I wouldn't last long without water and food, so I waited for them to relax their guard. When I thought it was safe enough, I would jump down, make a mad dash for the next tree, and then climb up before they converged again."

"This sounds like quite an ordeal."

"Yes - altogether it lasted two days. I thought I would surely die. Luckily a group of hunters approached when I got close enough to the village. The wolves scattered and I was saved."

"I'm curious about one thing," said the sage. "During the experience, were you ever offended by the wolves?"

"What? Offended?"

"Yes. Did you feel offended, or insulted by the wolves?"

"Of course not, Master. That thought never crossed my mind."

"Why not? They wanted nothing more than to bite into you, did they not? They wanted to kill you, did they not?"

"Yes, but... that is what wolves do! They were just being themselves. It would be absurd for me to be take offense."

"Excellent! Now let's hang on to this thought while we examine your question. Criticizing others while being unaware of their own faults is something that many people do. You might even say that it is something we all do from time to time. In a sense, the ravenous wolves live in every one of us.

"When the wolves bare their fangs and close in on you, you should not just stand there. You should certainly protect yourself by getting away from them if at all possible. Similarly, when people lash out at you with venomous criticism, you should not accept it passively. You should certainly protect yourself by putting some distance between you and them if at all possible.

"The crucial point is that you can do so without feeling offended or insulted, because these people are simply being themselves. It is their nature to be critical and judgemental, so it would be absurd for us to take offense. It would be pointless for us to get angry.

"Next time the hungry wolves in human skin converge on you, remember: it's just the way people are - exactly as you said when you came in."
___________________________________________________________
It is something in our nature that we must constantly work to overcome, as we are emotional beings, not Vulcans. Smile
“Eternity is a terrible thought. I mean, where's it going to end?” 
― Tom StoppardRosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead
Reply



Possibly Related Threads...
Thread Author Replies Views Last Post
  Should poor people have kids? BrokenQuill92 78 2531 November 29, 2019 at 11:59 pm
Last Post: BrokenQuill92
  Not another morality post!! Mechaghostman2 5 471 February 18, 2019 at 11:53 am
Last Post: The Grand Nudger
  Do you have friends who don’t share your political views? Losty 13 1206 November 19, 2018 at 12:00 am
Last Post: GrandizerII
  Why is there people who bother people for no reason? Macoleco 6 536 October 2, 2018 at 6:51 am
Last Post: Cod
  Cordless headphones, I don't have the words... Gawdzilla Sama 9 956 July 9, 2018 at 5:44 pm
Last Post: Gawdzilla Sama
  Dreaming is free,.....and evidence free... Brian37 6 817 October 2, 2017 at 4:29 am
Last Post: ignoramus
  How Long Does Someone Have to be Dead Before People stop Referring to them as Late? Rhondazvous 10 2542 May 18, 2017 at 11:58 am
Last Post: vorlon13
  Have our lizard people overlords gotten lazy, or arrogant? CapnAwesome 5 1102 March 19, 2017 at 1:19 pm
Last Post: downbeatplumb
  Real world example of "I don't even know what I don't even know" ErGingerbreadMandude 24 3228 January 25, 2017 at 12:34 pm
Last Post: KUSA
  AF "Mafia" Forum Game (PSA for people who have no idea what it is) Tiberius 29 2101 January 4, 2017 at 9:11 am
Last Post: emjay



Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)