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Old 04-10-2012, 11:23 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:

"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."

Is this objectively true, subjectively true, objectively untrue or subjectively untrue?

Please state which you think and give an explanation as to why you think it.
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:06 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Objectively untrue because it contains at least one objectively untrue statement and a sentence with a false AND (true or false) statement is false. Not all humans are born with equal rights.

Also niggers.

#YOLO
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Old 04-11-2012, 01:31 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I think brotherhood is too pushy and broad.

Would prefer to see it broken down and not prescribe interaction. Human rights don't really need to be attached to social interaction.

Factually it is correct, I would say, since people are born with human rights, some of them are just instantly and permanently violated.
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Old 04-11-2012, 01:37 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Humans have had royalty since the beginning of history.


The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:06 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Which makes it right?

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Old 04-11-2012, 05:19 AM   #6 (permalink)
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It's a pretty good indication of it being natural.


The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.
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Old 04-11-2012, 05:41 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Right, but not of it being ethical.

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Old 04-11-2012, 09:21 AM   #8 (permalink)
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It's a pretty good indication of it being natural.
So where do you stand on rape and slavery?
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:52 AM   #9 (permalink)
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It's pretty hard to say that something like rape and slavery is objectively wrong when nature seems to indicate they are natural and as old as society itself.


The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:53 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I think those are exactly the types of things that any document called "Decleration of Human Rights" is trying to prevent?

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Old 04-11-2012, 11:13 AM   #11 (permalink)
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It's pretty hard to say that something like rape and slavery is objectively wrong when nature seems to indicate they are natural and as old as society itself.
A guy gets a couple bucks and all of the sudden raping people is natural.

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You often seem to think that the lowest-hanging-fruit makes you some sort of comedy genius. You're just not a good person. You're spiteful, constantly negative, and bring others down to make yourself feel better. I just don't have room for that.
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:07 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Ha.

Just saying it's very hard to say something should be the case when the millions of years of humankind's existence have been otherwise.


The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:10 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ FC View Post
It's pretty hard to say that something like rape and slavery is objectively wrong when nature seems to indicate they are natural and as old as society itself.
Rape and slavery are older than society; or least rape certainly is, but some sort of movement towards preventing them is as old as society itself as well.
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Old 04-11-2012, 06:28 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I don't really see what argument you're making here, FC. As humans the only real tools wo have to "progress" are rational dialogue and democracy, which, while not perfect and I know you would much rather be under a benevolent dictator (as you've mentioned previously), history has shown time and time again that benevolent dictators soon turn malevolent, or their successors do. On top of that, any sort of dictator, no matter how kind, would be basically impossible in the Information Age.

Theft, murder, and especially murdering leaders/royalty has been around since before civilization as well. Does not compute.
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:22 PM   #15 (permalink)
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DJFC:

I think being controversial is sexy and it’s easy to be glib.

Part of what makes us human is precisely our ability to rise above our nature (or perhaps I should say rise to meet it?), primarily through rational thought; morality, ethics, law and social contract are examples of this. I find the defense of rape and slavery intellectually weak, despite how cute you may or may not be trying to be. Monarchism and the divine right of kings versus popular sovereignty are more interesting though still difficult to defend. You certainly seem to learn towards an aristocratic world view and I’d like to hear more about it.

Everyone:

More specifically, I’m interested in the reasons why people are taking the positions they are on the issues that have been brought up thus far – it’s not what your position is but why it is. Which brings me back to the question In my original post – with any position you take, is it absolute? Is there any objectivity when we talk about ideas of things, or is everything subjective, swimming in a sea of relativism? Where does our authority to claim something is right or something is wrong come from? From God? Evidence? Reason?

Explain yourselves.
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:23 PM   #16 (permalink)
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On top of that, any sort of dictator, no matter how kind, would be basically impossible in the Information Age.

#YOLO
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:26 PM   #17 (permalink)
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We have very unkind dictators, they exist.

We also have something close to a kind dictator in Monaco.
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:47 PM   #18 (permalink)
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We have very unkind dictators, they exist.
Right, which is why I made it a point to say "no matter how kind". Nobody is saying malevolent dictators dont' exist --- but they are able to exist because of their malevolence, e.g. suppression of free speech and dissent, censorship, etc.

Good point on the Castro comment though.
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:57 PM   #19 (permalink)
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#YOLO
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:57 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Where does our authority to claim something is right or something is wrong come from? From God? Evidence? Reason?

Explain yourselves.
I'm just now beginning to delve into morality myself. I don't consider myself a relativist, but I'm not sure why. I'm obviously interested in the evolutionary basis of morality; in regard to the basics (stealing, murder, etc.), I would like to think our basic morality has evolutionary foundations (with obvious genetic exceptions such as psychopaths and those with brain tumors affecting their judgment, etc.)

Sam Harris wrote a book a few of you are probably familiar with,

The Moral Landscape - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

and Daniel Dennett has addressed a bit of the cultural roots of morality in

Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



I haven't read The Moral Landscape yet and there seems to be a bit of decent criticism of science determining human values, but I'm going to read it anyways.


Repug will probably accuse me of Scientism, because that's the hip new thing among apologists now, but science is clearly the best tool we have for discovering things about the world. As he hasn't further explained (despite me asking him to) his view that certain things can be determined as "absolutely true" using pure Rationalism, I'd like to hear that now. I would be interested in hearing how he can find such truth without evidence, which would put it in the realm of science.




As an aside, while probably nobody here is arguing for religion being a basis for morality, I really hate it when they do. This is part of a reply to someone's Facebook post I wrote the other day, and it's relevant to our discussion:

Quote:
Christianity really pulled it's "morality" out of thin air though, didn't it? I always find it amusing when Christians point that out; what new morality was introduced to humanity by Christianity when it arrived on the scene?

Most, if not all of the big moral issues (don't kill, don't steal, be good to others, etc.) were already evolutionarily rooted in and practiced by human cultures before Christianity even existed. (Although it's interesting that Christianity felt no need to add things like "don't rape", "don't keep slaves" and "don't abuse children" to it's top 10 list).

The extra things (like homosexuality, not to mention all the other nonsense in Leviticus) are now being seen as non-issues of morality as we progress. So what, specifically, about Jesus can we not find in myriad other moral teachers and religions throughout history, other than the promise of eternal punishment if we don't follow him (and even that may have been borrowed from a prior religion)?

Most of the teachings of Jesus, the person, were agreeable and good. But you can follow moral teachings of a fellow human just fine without surrendering your reason to religion. The claim religion has on morality reminds me of the land settlers just "took" when they got to America. It was already there...they just forcefully took ownership.

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Old 04-11-2012, 08:54 PM   #21 (permalink)
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“I don’t consider myself a relativist, but I’m not sure why.”

This strikes at the heart of that matter, doesn’t it? Why do you believe what we do? In this case, perhaps it’s some vague sense that relativism just can’t be right because then things we don’t like (like murdering an innocent person) wouldn’t be morally wrong…Or maybe relativism is just too emotionally unsatisfying for us to accept? Maybe we apply relativist morality when it suits us, but then abandon it when it doesn’t?

“I’m interested in the evolutionary basis of morality.”

This doesn’t address the real issue. Evolution can explain why we have morals, it can explain the neurological reasons for it, but it can’t say whether those morals are right or wrong. You can’t put a moral dilemma into a test tube and see if it changes colors or not.

“There seems to be a bit of decent criticism of science determining human values.”

Actually, I would argue science can determine what human values are, but that it can’t determine whether those values are right or wrong. You seem to be more interested in the roots of how humans developed morality rather than contemplating the validity of those morals in and of themselves. What I mean by that is, you could take a social science standpoint and say murder is wrong because it harms society or it breaks the law or it breaks a social contract, and the consequences of it are x, y and z and therefore its bad…But that’s not what we’re talking about.

“Repug will probably accuse me of Scientism, because that’s the hip new thing among apologists now.”

I’m not a Christian nor am I an apologist. What are you talking about?

“Science is clearly the best tool we have for discovering things about the world.”

The natural world…What about abstract concepts like morality?

“He hasn’t explained his view that certain things can be determined as ‘absolutely true’ using pure Rationalism.”

I never claimed that, but I do find it a very interesting topic.

“I would be interested in hearing how he can find such truth without evidence, which would put it in the realm of science.”

Let me give you an example that Kant put forth regarding mortality called the categorical imperative.

Hypothetical imperatives compel action in given circumstances: If you want to become a better chess player, you ought to study the games of Gary Kasparov.
Much of our conduct is governed by such “oughts.” For example: We have a certain desire (to become a better chess player), and we recognize that a certain course of action will help us get to what we want (studying Kasparov’s games) so we conclude that we should follow the indicated plan. It tells us what to do provided that we have the relevant desire. A person who does not want to improve his chess would have no reason to study Kasparov’s games. Because the binding force of the “ought” depends on the desire, we can escape its force simply by renouncing the desire.

Moral obligations, by contrast, do not depends on our having particular desires. Categorical imperatives are phrased like this: You ought to do such and such, period. The moral rule is not, for example, that you ought to help people IF you care for them. Instead, the rule is that you should help people REGARDLESS of your particular desire.
Kant holds that just as hypothetical ought’s are possible because we have desire, categorical oughts are possible because we have reason. Categorical ought’s are binding on the rational person simply because they are rational.

How can this be?

Kant says, because categorical ought’s are derived from a principle that every rational person must accept: the categorical imperative: “Act only according to that maxim by which you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.”

Kant gives examples as how this works. Suppose a man needs to borrow money, and he knows that no one will lend it to him unless he promises to repay. But he also knows that he will be unable to repay. He therefore faces this problem: Should he promise to repay the debt, knowing that he cannot do so, in order to persuade someone to make the loan? If he were to do that, the rule he would be following would be: whenever you need a loan, promise to repay it, regardless of whether you believe you actually can repay it. Now, could this rule become a universal law? Obviously not, because it would be self-defeating. Once this became a universal practice, no one would any longer believe such promises, and so no one would make loans. No one would believe what was promised to him but would only laugh at any such assertion as vain pretense.

You can read more about his idea of categorical imperatives on Wikipedia.

Now, regardless of whether or not you agree, this is an example of using rational thought to come up with a justification for objective morality. I myself don’t know if I agree with Kant here, but it’s a famous argument because it’s the only one put forth thus far that asserts objective morality without relying on the existence of God.

More to the point, it shows that issues such as these are beyond the reach of science, because science deals only with the natural world. You can’t use empiricism to determine the objectivity of ideas. Do you understand that? You may argue fine, then there can be no objectivity outside of the natural world, and you may be right, but that’s as far as you can go, in which case you accept the Materialist world view and all of the bleak relativism and hopeless existentialism that comes with it.

But do you understand what Rationalism is, or should I keep going?
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:02 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:42 PM   #23 (permalink)
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“I don’t consider myself a relativist, but I’m not sure why.”

This strikes at the heart of that matter, doesn’t it? Why do you believe what we do? In this case, perhaps it’s some vague sense that relativism just can’t be right because then things we don’t like (like murdering an innocent person) wouldn’t be morally wrong…Or maybe relativism is just too emotionally unsatisfying for us to accept? Maybe we apply relativist morality when it suits us, but then abandon it when it doesn’t?
Right, that's why I fucking said it you dumb son of a bitch. You're pretty unlikeable. I'll address your other bullshit later.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:49 PM   #24 (permalink)
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You mad, bro?

Repug, isn't Kant's conclusion, at least how you describe it, derived from observing human behavior which is evidence from the material world?

#YOLO
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:26 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Blonde View Post
Right, that's why I fucking said it you dumb son of a bitch. You're pretty unlikeable. I'll address your other bullshit later.
Yeah, I'm the unlikable one.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Mistoffelees View Post
You mad, bro?

Repug, isn't Kant's conclusion, at least how you describe it, derived from observing human behavior which is evidence from the material world?
It should be stressed that Kant's noteworthy because he took Hume's empirical worldview which up to that point seemed indisputable and managed to merge it with a Rationalistic worldview, thus creating a hybrid that is still the framework to this day.

I think you're question is fair, but nuanced. Everything has to partly be based on experience, sure, because to exist is to experience existence. But there is such a thing as a priori knowledge that is independent of experience and true by definition. For example: "All bachelors are unmarried." I think Kant's argument of the categorical imperative falls under that. Essentially you can come to rational conclusion purely inside of your mind without getting up off the couch and going outside to experience them.

Or did you mean something else?
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