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Morality - a Scientific question

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Greebo
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... but then he presumes answers. "Why don't we have ethical obligations toward rocks?" Well, who says we have ethical obligations toward anyone?

As you do not evidence knowledge of the difference between morality and ethics, if ever we do business, I will protect myself from the moral hazard of your potential for unethical behavior.

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As you do not evidence knowledge of the difference between morality and ethics, if ever we do business, I will protect myself from the moral hazard of your potential for unethical behavior.

I think I missed the argument. Enough with the rhetoric, please.

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  • 2 years later...

Sam Harris’ The Moral Landscape (2010) has received a substantial review from a Randian perspective by Ari Armstrong in the Winter 2012 issue of The Objective Standard.* (Cf.)*

 

“Sam Harris’s Failure to Formulate a Scientific Morality”

—Harris’s Hedonism

—Harris’s Utilitarianism

—Harris’s Dearth of Reasons

—Utilitarianism’s Totalitarian Implications

—The Individualist Alternative

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Science cannot answer moral questions since science deals with determined event and morality belongs to the realm of choice. Determined choice is a contradiction in terms. Science, however, can explain certain threads of human behavior.

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Sam Harris is one of the "New Atheists" and from having read some of his works there is NO WAY he could be called an Objectivist. His morality as I have been able to piece it together from readings consists of the unsupported assertion that morality consists of reducing suffering--he once said we are ethically indefensible as long as someone else in the world somewhere is suffering while we aren't. (And his emphasis on suffering at the start (we don't feel obligated towards rocks because rocks cannot suffer) tells me, only 2 minutes in as I write this, that he hasn't changed much.

I *do* like the fact that he does say you can rationally study morality and values though. I just wish he himself would do so.

His entire book -The Moral Landscape-  while very entertaining and sometimes intellectually challenging fails to make the case that science can deal with the problem of ethical values.  His book, if you will,  expresses a fond wish.  The only way for him to prove his case is to produce a science such that its conclusions would be assented to by any rational or ethical person.  Which is very unlikely since there are many ethical systems,  some pairs of which are contradictory or contrary.  It is impossible for all ethical systems to be "true"  in the metaphysical sense. 

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Isn't he just attempting make Buddhism sound more secular? 

 

Mahayana Buddhism  in particular. 

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahayana

His stated goal to to find a genuinely scientific-objective bases to morality.  He has not yet succeeded in reaching his goal.  Perhaps his doctrinal inclinations are at work in his thinking,  but he is attempting to find a basis for morality in fact and logic.

 

ruveyn1

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His stated goal to to find a genuinely scientific-objective bases to morality.  He has not yet succeeded in reaching his goal.  Perhaps his doctrinal inclinations are at work in his thinking,  but he is attempting to find a basis for morality in fact and logic.

 

ruveyn1

You do realize that the SCIENCE that determines what is objective is philosophy, right? I assume by your statement you think that morality (and philosophy?) is not the subject of facts or logic?

"Which is very unlikely since there are many ethical systems,  some pairs of which are contradictory or contrary.  It is impossible for all ethical systems to be "true"  in the metaphysical sense. "

You do realize this applies to all the special sciences as well?

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That is in fact not what is either sufficient or necessary to prove something.

Then specify an experimental or empirical way of testing a scientific theory that purports to derive ethical principle from the physical laws of nature?

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Then specify an experimental or empirical way of testing a scientific theory that purports to derive ethical principle from the physical laws of nature?

Read the Objectivist Ethics in The Virtue of Selfishness.You obviously have no idea what Oism is about or has to say on almost anything.If you do, present particular challenges to Oist ideas showing that your not just here to spout whatever nonsense that comes to you. Otherwise you are simply here to troll. Edited by Plasmatic
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Read the Objectivist Ethics in The Virtue of Selfishness.You obviously have no idea what Oism is about or has to say on almost anything.If you do, present particular challenges to Oist ideas showing that your not just here to spout whatever nonsense that comes to you. Otherwise you are simply here to troll.

Actually I "spouted" nothing.  I asked a question  which you choose not answer.

 

Can you show or at least outline a method of deriving ethical laws from the physical laws of nature and a method for empirically corroborating that derivation.  This is a question,  not a "spout". 

 

ruveyn1

Edited by ruveyn1
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Yes, you asked a question, the form of which is invalid in light of the actual nature of objectivity, the relationship of facts to principles and the correct conception of logic . I short, you show no sign that you have read anything by Rand and instead are trying to loaf around wasting the time of people who come here to talk with folks who are genuinely interested in at least learning about Oism.

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His stated goal to to find a genuinely scientific-objective bases to morality.  He has not yet succeeded in reaching his goal.  Perhaps his doctrinal inclinations are at work in his thinking,  but he is attempting to find a basis for morality in fact and logic.

 

ruveyn1

 

 

He has mentioned Buddhism before in some other talks. I think he is influenced by it.

 

Many Buddhists would argue that their beliefs are based in fact and logic, not faith. Although some forms of Buddhism have mythological structures associated with them, all in all the core belief system is much more convincing without it. 

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Then specify an experimental or empirical way of testing a scientific theory that purports to derive ethical principle from the physical laws of nature?

Why? I never said Ethics is science. I just pointed out that your assertion about the nature of proof is wrong.

Ethics isn't a science. It can however be proven to be true.

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Nicky said:

"Ethics isn't a science. It can however be proven to be true."

What reasoning process lead you to reject Philosophy as a science?

Philosophy is not empirically bases.  A prior principles are assumed at the foundation of philosophy.  Also most philosophical systems cannot be empirically falsified.  When something contradicts the system,   the system "explains it away".  Physical empirical science does not work that way.  That was why the history of physical science is littered with the bones of busted theories.

 

ruveyn1

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Nicky, it's not a good practice to use Wikipedia to as a foundation for such complex subjects.

Let Ms Rand's word spur you to:

"Check your premises and those of the speakers who told you so. There is a science whose task is to discover and define fundamental principles. It is the forgotten, neglected, subverted and currently disgraced base of all the other sciences: philosophy."

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Philosophy is not empirically bases. A prior principles are assumed at the foundation of philosophy. Also most philosophical systems cannot be empirically falsified. When something contradicts the system, the system "explains it away". Physical empirical science does not work that way. That was why the history of physical science is littered with the bones of busted theories.

ruveyn1

Wrong on all counts. The axioms are empirically validated, the a priori doesn't exist, and Popper's falsification is garbage. If you want to know why, try actually reading Rand on the subjects. When you do, make a thread challenging what you've read and I will then spend more time on dissecting the errors you keep asserting. Edited by Plasmatic
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Wrong on all counts. The axioms are empirically validated, the a priori doesn't exist, and Popper's falsification is garbage. If you want to know why, try actually reading Rand on the subjects. When you do, make a thread challenging what you've read and I will then spend more time on dissecting the errors you keep asserting.

Popper's garbage is the following principle of logic a -> b   - b  therefore -a.  Even Aristotle knew that piece of garbage.

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