Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Could we Love Without God?






Last time, I discussed Jason's article on Secular Outpost, his argumemt, "God's nature Does not make his commands non-arbitrary." He starts by asserting:
Many modern defenders of the divine command theory frequently claim that God’s commands are not arbitrary because they flow from his essential nature. Their argument is bad. That a commander issues consistent commands based on his/her own character does not mean that those commands are not arbitrary. Whether a command is arbitrary depends on whether there are reasons for the command. [1]
He proposes a God which he calls Zutpoter (sky father)  whose nature is based on greed thissuppose to prove:
That God is essentially loving gives us information concerning the kind of motives he will act on. But that he has loving motives does not entail that he has reasons any more than the fact that Zupater has motives entails that he has reasons. If we do not acknowledge the distinction between reasons and motives, then the responses of DCT’s defenders to the arbitrariness problem will appear compelling. Once our attention is drawn to it, however, we can see the weakness of their position.[2]
I argued that love is a special motivation that works as a basis for ethics in a way that nothing else,  I argued that Love and being are more compatible than being and greed. Being requires a positive orientation that is giving and building; greed seeks to take and destroy, it's not conducive to fomenting more being, but love is so conducive. Moreover,  God cannot be separated from his nature, The standard set by love is part of God it's not something hanging over God's head nor is it a motivation in the way we understand motivations,an urge a biological drive we can't fight ,but it becomes a reason and can be explained and understood. It's a reason to move toward and end goal and that is a reason in itself.

Jason's allies tried to reduce this argument of God;s nature to another arbitrary scheme. Our of this discussion we the side is, can;t we love without God? Thus in do doing there is nothing speical about love that would make it a unique divine nature.




Ryan M.: 
Saying love matters because love is God's nature is basically falling for the trap of admitting that greed would matter if greed was God's nature.
Me:  
No that is what you expect me to say because you hear other Christians saying it, that's not what I'm saying,
What you're doing there is trying to make God's nature important, but what is being questioned overall is why God's nature at all is a non arbitrary stopping point for morality. 
I don't have to make God';s nature important, everything about God is important a priori, that's not the same as saying it;s only good because God says it is, but God cam';t be separated from his nature, God, being ,love, the good all same thing. Good is is based upon love to bey an arbitrary decision that has no meaning but because love is expresses what goodness is about, 
The answer given by you, apparently, is that God's nature is not arbitrary because it is God's nature. You can't appeal to it being non arbitrary due to God's nature being love since you've made the concession that love is only important precisely because it is God's nature rather than the other way around. 
It's not arbitrary, being God's nature doesn't make it arbitrary it does make it binding. It's not arbitrary because it's compatible with being itself and with creation in a way that test case negatives like greed aren't.[3]
Out of this arises the issue that we love anyway apart from God so love is not such a special thing. My response is that we might feel an emotional sensation we call "love" were there no God, that does not mean love would function as it does as the back ground of the moral universe. That aspect of love that allows it to be the axis of morality is only possible because it is is synonymous with God's nature and thus is mandated and binding by God's authority. There are two sub issues here before I g into proof on that statement.

First, I define love (agape) as the will to the value and betterment of the other. That means not only love is willing yourself to value the other in the sense according to the other basic human dignity, but also being willing to seek the betterment psychically emotionally and otherwise, of the other. Secondly, The fact of love's positivity and it's conducive aspect with being itself means that love is important in and of itself this cannot reversed,we can't merely say Greed is conducive to being because it's not. We can't turn around and say hate is the background of the moral universe, because the positive nature matters, the fact God feels positive  does not make it arbitrary its still a rational reason. It is conducive to the goal of being itself which is to be and to foment being.

Yet there is reason to think we would necessarily love or even feel the emotion we label love without God, love is a form of consciousness. Love cannot impersonal or inanimate so consciousness is a necessary pre condition to love,it is not necessarily the case we must have turned out conscious. David Chalmer's argues for what is called the Explanatory gap, which means we have no idea why we are conscious. Not only do we not know enough about what  consciousness is but we don't even know that it had to be,[4] We could be ants sharing one communal consciousness, The term was actually coined by philosopher Joseph Levine (N. Carolina State) it addressed the inability to account for psychological phenomena a even by physiological theories. The focus was our subjective sensation,qualia, but it can include mental functions such as perceptions and reasoning, [5]

In perhaps its weakest form, ...[the explanatory gap] asserts a practical limit on our present explanatory abilities; given our current theories and models we can not now articulate an intelligible link. A stronger version makes an in principle claim about our human capacities and thus asserts that given our human cognitive limits we will never be able to bridge the gap. To us, or creatures cognitively like us, it must remain a residual mystery (McGinn 1991). Colin McGinn (1995) has argued that given the inherently spatial nature of both our human perceptual concepts and the scientific concepts we derive from them, we humans are not conceptually suited for understanding the nature of the psychophysical link. Facts about that link are as cognitively closed to us as are facts about multiplication or square roots to armadillos. They do not fall within our conceptual and cognitive repertoire. An even stronger version of the gap claim removes the restriction to our cognitive nature and denies in principle that the gap can be closed by any cognitive agents.[6]
There is no guarantee that we should been able to love, the assertion by atheists that they are loving without God is merely an exercise in begging the question, If God created us to love he did not create us to love only if we believe in him,It wouldn't make any sense for him to do that because we could not fall in love with him, as unbelievers. They are approaching love as a rational proposition rather than an ability an inclination.

I spoke of love--and by this I mean agape, (special Godly love akin to charity but more)--as "the axis of morality and refereed to it as having a special nature. We can see this concept in the work of Joseph Fletcher, philosopher and ethcist who proposed the ethical theory known as  "situation ethics in the 1960s. He argues that love is the background of the moral universe(St, Augustine) and love is the only true ethical norm.[7] One night well ask if love is the only norm what of justice? Justice is a norm is it not? It is but Fletcher argues that justice is a form of love,

We cannot separate love and Justice; neither one should be given priority over the other. For instance, we cannot decide to give away all our money to those in need, without also paying back those we owe money to (our creditors). To give away all our money to the poor may appear to be doing a loving thing, but if we don’t also repay what we owe, then it is actually an unjust (and, therefore, unloving) deed....People also suffer and end up being treated badly when love and justice are separated. We cannot hold the law above persons, and neither can love be selective. All voices must be heard, and all demands considered equally. Love cannot be sentimental nor can it be concerned with just individual relationships. We should love all our neighbours (plural), not merely our neighbour....Justice is love calculating and working out its duties and obligations. In terms of social policy, situation ethics appears to have much in common with UTILITARIANISM (but in this case it replaces ‘the greatest good for the greatest number’ principle with love (agape)). Situation ethics also agrees with DEONTOLOGICAL ETHICS, in that we should always seek to do the good (our duty), this being to, “seek the goal of the most love in every situation.”[8]

In relation to all of ethics we find that love forms the basis of a complete ethical system which transcends conventional approach of choosing either or teleological or deontological, he argues that justice is love's distributive aspect,

none of this would work with out God because it would lose the force of moral authority since it would only be rooted in a subjective sensation and the accent of a chemical reaction. The skeptics own attempts at reversing it show that they don't regard ethics as anymore than this. It's not arbitrary because it;s based a rational reason it's part of God, part of his character so it must be part of his motivation for creating. It would not achieve the same effect to enshrine some evil motive and say hate is the background of the moral universe and injustice is its distributive property because it would not create positive sense or foment being.

If it is just the way it turned out that God is love and not hate and that's the way it is still not arbitrary because there is a purpose and a unity between God,his character and the nature of being that can;t be entangled, that forms a purpose that entails reasons.



Sources


[1] Jason's article on Secular Outpost, his argumemt, "God's nature Does not make his commands non-arbitrary."

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] David Chalmers, "Phenomenal concepts and explanatory gap," Philosophy Program, RSSS
Australian National UniversityCanberra, ACT 0200, Australia.2006 (accessed 7/26/17) URLhttp://consc.net/papers/pceg.html


[5] Joseph Levine, "Materialism and Qualia: The Explanatory Gap" Pacific Philosophical Quarterly in 1983.   in "Materialism and Qualia: The Explanatory Gap" published in Pacific Philosophical Quarterly in 1983.  


[6] Robert Van Gulick,  "Consciousness", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2017 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2017/entries/consciousness/>.
https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/consciousness/#ExpGap

[7] Joseph Fletcher, Situation Ethics, The New Morality, Louisville, Lodon: Westminster John Knox Press, 1966,  69,


[8] "Situation Ethics (Part 6): The Third Proposition - Love and Justice are the same
That Religious Studies Website (June 17, 2015) (accessed 7/26/17)
URL
http://thatrswebsite.blogspot.com/2015/06/situation-ethics-part-6-love-and.html




6 comments:

Eric Sotnak said...

"Being requires a positive orientation that is giving and building; greed seeks to take and destroy, it's not conducive to fomenting more being, but love is so conducive."

It seems to me this comment shares the same basic idea as is found in the classical theistic thesis that evil is a privation. Put somewhat succinctly, ontological positivity entails moral positivity. But I find that in fact this type of view turns out to be incredibly clunky when we try to extract any precise predictions from it. Logically, it seems to imply some variant of the Leibnizian Principle of the Best (this is the best possible world) which is notoriously subject to plausible counterexamples.

Joe Hinman said...

Eric Sotnak said...
"Being requires a positive orientation that is giving and building; greed seeks to take and destroy, it's not conducive to fomenting more being, but love is so conducive."

It seems to me this comment shares the same basic idea as is found in the classical theistic thesis that evil is a privation. Put somewhat succinctly, ontological positivity entails moral positivity.


evil is absence of good. Augustine


But I find that in fact this type of view turns out to be incredibly clunky when we try to extract any precise predictions from it.

Unclear! I've taken lessons from Bowen. I really don't know what you mean,


Logically, it seems to imply some variant of the Leibnizian Principle of the Best (this is the best possible world) which is notoriously subject to plausible counterexamples.

I don't think that follows, if evil is the absense of the good this is the best of all possible worlds (the BAPW) how does hat follow

Eric Sotnak said...

"if evil is the absense of the good this is the best of all possible worlds (the BAPW) how does hat follow"

It doesn't obviously follow.
But much depends on exactly how the grounding relation works. When you say that P is grounded in G, does that mean that from G we can deductively infer P? That is, is the relation between G and P necessary? (this is substantively the same point made by Morriston in that paper you discussed in a prior post) If we want some weaker account on which G explains P but where P does not follow of necessity from G, then it seems fair to ask whether G really explains P after all.

Suppose a classical theistic view where God chooses P by libertarian free will. Suppose, too, that P is good (assuming that God's chosing P is not, alone, what makes P good, i.e., voluntaristic DCT is false). Now suppose that there is an alternative to P, B, that would have been better than P. What explains G's choosing P rather than B? You can't answer that God chose P rather than B because of God's loving nature, since God's loving nature would not only also have explained the choice of B over P, but in fact it seems that if God is maximally loving, we would expect him to have chosen B over P. If you lather rinse and repeat this line of reasoning, we end up with the Leibnizian expectation that the greater God's moral perfection, the better the world he will choose, which gets us to the Principle of the Best.

Joe Hinman said...

I do actually believe in free will, so God is purposely hamstrung by reacting against our decisions. Love often must allow the other to do the wrong thing, because the loving thing is not to force the other to do right agaisnt the other's will.

The variables are too complex to sort out, that's way we must trust and have faith.

Eric Sotnak said...

"Love often must allow the other to do the wrong thing, because the loving thing is not to force the other to do right agaisnt the other's will."

Lest you think I am only a naysayer, I agree with this. I also think there is plausibility in holding that love (or something very much like it) is part of the foundations of ethics. But I am unpersuaded that we need to make this part of a metaphysical fabric of reality.

Joe Hinman said...

"Lest you think I am only a naysayer, I agree with this. I also think there is plausibility in holding that love (or something very much like it) is part of the foundations of ethics. But I am unpersuaded that we need to make this part of a metaphysical fabric of reality."

fair enough, fair enough, but then we have to discuss metaphysics,You know Heideggarian land science is metaphysics.