Wednesday, August 01, 2012

My answer to Moral Realism

Mother T
self giving nature of love and being

This is a discussion form my message boards with a poster I first met on CARM called "Lance." he's a moral realist meaning he asserts the moral reality of axioms a prori with no basis in an agent of bounding, meaning in that view one need to appeal to God as a means of grounding morality. He's never actually answered my question about how one determines the goodness of an axiom.


Lance:
In particular, this thread is an answer the the moral argument posed as an argument to the best explanation. The argument might look something like;

(1) There exists a moral principle P who's truth-value or truth-aptness requires explanation.
(2) On theism, an explanation for P's truth-value or truth-aptness is available to us
(3) On atheism, there is no available explanation for P's truth-value or truth-aptness
(4) Therefore, by inference to the best explanation of P, theism is supported over atheism.

Now this argument certainly has problems, the most obvious of which is that premise (3) can very easily be objected to by merely adopting a metaphysical theory of ethical truths, or a theory of ethical truths respectively. Examples of these might be Platonism or Kantian ethics. Now the argument would then reduce to a quibble over whether the atheistic theories were significantly worse than the theistic ones which, I do not think the theist could actually support. Though this becomes a messy debate and the winner would just be who ever knows more about metaphysical theories of ethical truths, or theories of ethical truths. There's a much simpler solution;

Theists, in general, look very favorably upon the principle that metaphysically necessarily true propositions require no explanation for their truth-value or truth-aptness, but can be explained in virtue of the propositions own necessity. Such a principle is widely used in Leibnizian cosmological arguments as support for the existence of a god so certainly we can say, at least, that by denying this principle theists are making their position significantly weaker. It's also notable that theists typically use this explanatory principle to demonstrate that, if God exists, his existence is a brute fact. Now if they're going to deny this explanatory principle but then turn around and try to argue that the atheist is irrational for believing in moral truths without being able to explain or "ground" their existence, likewise they are going to be irrational for believing in God without being able to explain or "ground" God's existence. Without arguing that it's irrational to accept some ontology without being able to explain or "ground" that ontology, though, It's not at all obvious how exactly the theist would conclude that the atheist is being irrational.

Let's break this down:

Lance:Now this argument certainly has problems, the most obvious of which is that premise (3) can very easily be objected to by merely adopting a metaphysical theory of ethical truths, or a theory of ethical truths respectively. Examples of these might be Platonism or Kantian ethics. Now the argument would then reduce to a quibble over whether the atheistic theories were significantly worse than the theistic ones which, I do not think the theist could actually support. Though this becomes a messy debate and the winner would just be who ever knows more about metaphysical theories of ethical truths, or theories of ethical truths. There's a much simpler solution;


Meta:That's cheating in a sense. Kant was a Christian he made a moral arguemnt for bleief in God which says we need the concept of God as a regularity or concept for morality. To then turn around and assert that Kantian ethics can be used as an independent ethics that allows us to escape belief in God is somehow like a violation of the OT injunction not to cook a young goat in its mother's milk.

Platonism also can be construed in a sense as a theistic view, or at least if not theistic as a not an obvious alternative to theism. Since Augustine put the forms in the mind of God he sort took Platonism on board as a form of Christian theology.

Lance:
Theists, in general, look very favorably upon the principle that metaphysically necessarily true propositions require no explanation for their truth-value or truth-aptness, but can be explained in virtue of the propositions own necessity.


That is becuase it contains the explanation in self evident form. Not the same as saying it has no rational.

Lance
Such a principle is widely used in Leibnizian cosmological arguments as support for the existence of a god so certainly we can say, at least, that by denying this principle theists are making their position significantly weaker.


Meta:Can you quote this from Leibnitz So I'll know what you are talking about? No offense but I have a feeling you are confusing a self evident proposition with one that has no rationale.

Lance:
It's also notable that theists typically use this explanatory principle to demonstrate that, if God exists, his existence is a brute fact.


I don't think God's existence is ever understood as a brute fact. Brute facts have no basis in rationality they conform of any kind of metaphysical rationale or sense, they just are. NO one thinks God's existence is irrational or that it's just some arbitrary fact with no relation to rational truth. You seem to be confusing self evidence with lack of rationale. The existence of God is not an arbitrary brute fact in my view. Yet the explanation of it's alteration is self contained and self evident.

God has no higher rationale than itself becuase it is the nature of being to be, and God is the basis of being, being itself, what it means to be. That doesn't mean it has no rationale. The rationale is found in both the principle of being and that of love, the self giving out or resistance to nothingness.

Lance:
Now if they're going to deny this explanatory principle but then turn around and try to argue that the atheist is irrational for believing in moral truths without being able to explain or "ground" their existence, likewise they are going to be irrational for believing in God without being able to explain or "ground" God's existence.


Meta: that's what I'm saying God's existence is grounded in the nature of being. Which is to say its' self grounding. that is not the same has having no ground.


Lance:Without arguing that it's irrational to accept some ontology without being able to explain or "ground" that ontology, though, It's not at all obvious how exactly the theist would conclude that the atheist is being irrational.


Meta:Theistic or Christian ontology is self explanatory, which is part of the necessary nature of God. Not arbitrary and inexplicable. It's expalined in the nature of being and in the nature of love.

Lance:It then becomes an easy appeal to intuition, and thought experiments about other possible worlds, to show that moral principles are metaphysically necessary. It seems to me, at least, that if there ever was a contender for metaphysical necessity, it would be moral truths.



If moral truths are metaphysically necessary and metaphysically necessary truths do not require an explanation or "grounding" to be rationally accepted, then premise (1) of the moral argument is demonstrably false. On the other hand if the theist argues that moral truths are not metaphysically necessary they have a burden of proof that I'm quite sure they could not meet. Lastly, if the theist denies that metaphysically necessary truths do not require an explanation other than in virtue of their necessity, they are not only forfeiting a great many arguments which could make their case much stronger, but they can no longer accept God's existence as a brute fact.


Meta:that proves my point. you are just conflating necessity with brute fact. Being necessary doesn't mean being arbitrary it means being self evident. the rationale is part of the self evident aspects of necessary truth.

Husbands are married men not becuase they just happen to arbitrarily so but because that's what it means to be a husband.

Good is good because it's a logical implication of love, and love is the basis of reality because it's part of the core of being. It's the nature of being itself to love, which is exhibited in the self giving aspect of both being and love. This is the background of the moral universe. That is grounding. that in and of itself is grounding.

Theistic moral truths have no escaped grounding they have escaped a long complex grounding that can't be readily understood. They are grounded in the eternal necesasry nature of God's being and in the self giving aspect of God's character.

Saying that axioms can escape grounding because they are self explanatory is like saying all husbands re not married men becuase that's what a husband is but just for some arbitrary irrational reason where by husbands are construed as married men for not reason at all.

If moral truths are metaphysically necessary and metaphysically necessary truths do not require an explanation or "grounding" to be rationally accepted,


In my view that that is the mistake that lies at the crux of the whole argument. That's what Lance's whole view rests upon and it explains why find his view mistaken.In my view saying this is a huge mistake becuase the necessary aspect of propositions is not an excuse to avoid grounding, but contains it's grounding within the self evident nature of it's necessity.

The self evident nature of moral axioms can only be asserts with the moral grounding agency of a transcendental signified to give it authority. Saying that self evidence isn't grounding is like saying married men aren't husbands becasue that's what husbands aer, but that they are just arbitrary husbands for no reason. It just happens that for no reason at all married men seem to gravitate toward husbanding.

The choice of the signifier "husband" to describe the state of marriage for men is arbitrary. It could be called "Pentecost" it cold be called "frog breath tree hopper" or anything else but the meaning of the signifier is not arbitrary. its' set by the context and the context in which we understand the term "Husband" is that of being a married man.


Now it might work to say to make the arguemnt Lance makes if one dealt with a form of theism such that God was construed as a big man in the sky. Yet it doesn't' work at all for eternal necessary being, since the necessary nature of moral axioms as the expiation of love, the background of the moral universe, is expressly self evident with eternal necessary being.

This is so becuase we are not dealing with the will of some figure and the divine command theory that "truth is true becuase God says it is." Rather we are dealing with an expression of the nature of being which manifests itself in love as it's primary axiom, and which is at the same time a self expression of the very nature of being (God's character). Thus there's nothing arbitrary about it, it simply happens to be an axiom derived from the self evident nature of being (ie God's love).

4 comments:

Miles said...

be sure to post that on there. By the way, Lance seems to view you as an atheist for some wierd reason. . . .I think he's definitely more from the analytical school rather than the continental.

Metacrock said...

Post what? I thought the thing was posted on the board first. Lance is a strange guy. He believes in God, he just thinks God is evil.

Miles said...

Ah, the schopenhauer answer. interesting.

Metacrock said...

I don't know but that he's really an atheist using a ploy. Funny how it all keeps coming back to Schopenhouer.