Jump to content

Welcome to the Freedomain Radio Message Board


Sign In 

Create Account
If you're interested in joining the philosophical discussion, click "sign in" or "create account" on the right of the page. If you're creating a new account, please be sure to include an explanation as to why you're interested in joining the message board community. This verification requirement is included to cut down on possible troll and spam accounts.

If you have supported Freedomain Radio financially and would like immediate access to the message board - or - your donation status is incorrect, please contact Michael at operations@freedomainradio.com with your information and the situation will be addresses ASAP.
 
Guest Message by DevFuse

LISTEN TO A 24/7 STREAM ON THE NEW FREEDOMAIN RADIO iOS APP!

DONATOR ONLY PREMIUM CONTENT - For more information on donator levels click here


67 Philosopher King files - 74 Gold files - 48 Silver files - 51 Bronze files

One new video and podcast on the Caitlyn Jenner story has been added to the Gold donator section.


If your donator status is incorrect, please contact Michael at operations@freedomainradio.com with the relevant information and it will be corrected as soon as possible.


Photo

Moral rules and (non) enforcement

ethics UPB

  • Please log in to reply
58 replies to this topic

#36
Robert Rak

Robert Rak

    Aubergine Dream

  • 1009 posts

What the UPB theory shows is that some preferences, when generalized in a certain way, cannot be universalized. If UPB wants to be a valid ethical theory, then aspects that are ethically relevant should not be generalized away.

 

UPB is not an ethical theory. It is a framework for evaluating ethical theories using logic. I have no idea what you mean by "when generalized in a certain way". 

 

You imply morality is optional in two senses:

1) it is possible to violate the moral imperative. I agree, it is not physical law.

2) the moral imperative applies only if you want to be good. I disagree. It are especially those that do not want to be good, that need the moral imperative.

 

An imperative is when you declare an action to be necessary. A moral imperative certainly exists if your goal is to be good, but what is the basis for a moral imperative (for morality to be necessary in other words) when you do not have that goal?

 

I see the same problem of circularity here (morality ~= virtue ~= goodness).

 

I'm not seeing circularity at all. Can you explain that a bit better?

 

Morality = The standards/principles/rules that distinguish between right and wrong

Virtue/Goodness = Behavior in accordance with those moral standards

 

So one word describes the standards themselves, while the other describes behaviors that follow those standards. 

 

If the implication of UPB is not intended to be a moral obligation (an "ought"), what would you say are its implications for our personal life or for society?

[facts] --derivation--> [UPB content] --application?--> [our life]

So this question is not about the derivation or content of UPB, but about its application.

 

Where are you getting the idea that UPB results in a moral obligation? The application of UPB is evaluating proposed moral theories for basic consistency. 


  • 0

To make a point of maximizing automatic functioning and minimizing awareness of one's life is to welcome death before its time.


#37
square4

square4
  • 117 posts

If I initiate the use of force against you, I create a debt to you. Defensive force is enforcement of that debt, not enforcement of a "moral rule."

 

 

When someone has a debt, this means he owes the other person an amount of money. The word "ought" used to be the past tense of owe: "he aught me ten pounds". So the concept of an "ought" is historically derived from the concept of a debt.

 

Isn't the focus on application a consequentialist approach? If its is, then would you agree that morality is that which results in the best outcome for man as an individual, and for man as a species?

 

I would agree that in the long run, morality gives the best outcome for humans, but I would include also non-human sentient beings in the equation. But the point I was trying to make is something different:

 

If UPB seeks to determine what we ought to do (if that is its application), then we must judge its derivation based on whether it is suited for the goal of determining what we ought do.

If UPB seeks to determine what is good for society, then we must test if its derivation is suited for determining what is good for society.

If UPB seeks to determine something that is undefined or defined in a circular way, then it cannot be tested for validity. We can then only check its internal consistency, not its external consistency.

 

UPB is not an ethical theory. It is a framework for evaluating ethical theories using logic. I have no idea what you mean by "when generalized in a certain way".

 

For example, person X attacks person Y, is generalized to: a human being imposes his personal preference on another human being, based on the assumption that the difference between the two human beings is not ethically relevant. The man in coma is generalized into a human being, based on the assumption that ability is not ethically relevant. The preference/rule "Don't eat fish" is generalized into: Don't eat (at all), or Don't eat organisms, based on the assumption there is no ethically relevant difference between a fish and a cabbage. The way generalization is performed to a large degree determines what the outcome will be of UPB.

 

I'm not seeing circularity at all. Can you explain that a bit better?

 

Morality = The standards/principles/rules that distinguish between right and wrong

Virtue/Goodness = Behavior in accordance with those moral standards

 

So one word describes the standards themselves, while the other describes behaviors that follow those standards.

 

I expect a standard to be either:

a) applicable for a specific goal, for example a safety standard: if you want to be safe, then do this.

b) applicable regardless of our goals, so a moral standard, such as: don't steal.

But to say a standard fulfills the goal of being compliant, then this does not give us any information about the standard, because it is true for any standard.

 

Where are you getting the idea that UPB results in a moral obligation?

 

 

The UPB theory of Stef in the UPB-book seems to imply it.

"The proposition before us is thus: can some preferences be objective, i.e. universal? ............. Thus when I talk about universal preferences, I am talking about what people should prefer, not what they always do prefer." (p.33)

From the little truths of “I should not murder” we can get to the great truths such as “the initiation of the use of force is morally wrong.” (p.96) [emphasis added]

If his theory does not intend to imply a moral obligation, then I have really misunderstood him.


  • 0

#38
Robert Rak

Robert Rak

    Aubergine Dream

  • 1009 posts

For example, person X attacks person Y, is generalized to: a human being imposes his personal preference on another human being, based on the assumption that the difference between the two human beings is not ethically relevant. 

 

Oh well yeah. It takes specific instances and generalizes them into principles. If you don't do that then what you have is not a moral rule, just "Here is what I did in Y situation". 

 

I expect a standard to be either:

a) applicable for a specific goal, for example a safety standard: if you want to be safe, then do this.

b) applicable regardless of our goals, so a moral standard, such as: don't steal.

But to say a standard fulfill the goal of being compliant, then this does not give us any information about the standard, because it is true for any standard.

 

The standard applies to the goal of being good, but morality itself is not being good but a description of the rules that distinguish it from evil. 

 

The UPB theory of Stef in the UPB-book seems to imply it.

"The proposition before us is thus: can some preferences be objective, i.e. universal? ............. Thus when I talk about universal preferences, I am talking about what people should prefer, not what they always do prefer." (p.33)

From the little truths of “I should not murder” we can get to the great truths such as “the initiation of the use of force is morally wrong.” (p.96) [emphasis added]

If his theory does not intend to imply a moral obligation, then I have really misunderstood him.

 

If you keep reading that bit on page 33:

 

Thus when I talk about universal preferences, I am talking about what people should prefer, not what
they always do prefer. To use a scientific analogy, to truly understand the universe, people should use the
scientific method – this does not mean that they always do so, since clearly billions of people consult
ancient fairy tales rather than modern science for “answers.” There is no way to achieve truth about the
universe without science, but people are perfectly free to redefine “truth” as “error,” and content
themselves with mystical nonsense.

 

 

In other words, if your goal is to understand the universe, then you should use the scientific method. In the same way that if you want to be good, you should do X. There is no obligation to be moral though.


  • 0

To make a point of maximizing automatic functioning and minimizing awareness of one's life is to welcome death before its time.


#39
TDB

TDB
  • 264 posts

ethics or morality will refer to enforceable preferences.[...]
A problem with these definitions is that they diverge from what is commonly understood to be morality and aesthetics, and this is confusing.

I agree this turns the words into jargon, Stef does not use the common meanings. This risks ambiguity or equivocation. But you seem to think this is just wrong. I think he should define his terms carefully, that's all.
Another confusing issue, I believe he defines the same terms in other places in slightly different ways, or uses them in ways that clearly his meaning is different.

Another problem is that the definition tries to categorize two behaviors at the same time: 1) the behavior itself, and 2) the reactionary rule-enforcing behavior.

I think you could look at the entire book as a justification of enforcement, generally. I do wish he would be more explicit about enforcement.

Enforcement always has side effects.

What if enforcement consists of a stern look? He really does not give any details on enforcemeent, if I recall.
 

ethics is a matter distinct from enforceability, although it is a related concept. What would your response be to this argumentation?

I do wish he had gone into detail on this issue of enforcement and how/when/whether it is justified and in what form.

What the UPB theory shows is that some preferences, when generalized in a certain way, cannot be universalized. If UPB wants to be a valid ethical theory, then aspects that are ethically relevant should not be generalized away.

Could you give an example? I do not follow this in the abstract. When does ethically relevant stuff get generalized away? Okay, I saw your later explanation. I have some problems with the man in a coma also.

You imply morality is optional in two senses:
1) it is possible to violate the moral imperative. I agree, it is not physical law.
2) the moral imperative applies only if you want to be good. I disagree. It are especially those that do not want to be good, that need the moral imperative.[...]
If the implication of UPB is not intended to be a moral obligation (an "ought"), what would you say are its implications for our personal life or for society?

I see UPB performing 2 functions. 1) When someone tries to justify a violation of the rules or a denial of the rules, or a bogus rule, I can call BS. 2) It is useful when justifying enforcement of rules.
Those who do not want to be good have a choice. They can opt out of morality, in which case they are inviting us to treat them like animals. Or they can pretend to opt in, in which case they have no grounds to complain when the rules are enforced.
Perhaps you are really asking a different question, something like "can philosophy convince Hitler not to kill Jews, and if not, isn't it useless?" I doubt Stef could teach Adolf to play nice, but I don't think that means philosophy is pointless, either.


  • 0

#40
square4

square4
  • 117 posts

There is no obligation to be moral though.

 

I have difficulty understanding your ethical theory.

- some behavior is evil: this sounds like moral realism

- there is no moral obligation: this sounds like moral nihilism.

How would you categorize your ethical theory? Can you point to a prominent philosopher or article that shares your view? Do you think that Stef shares this view? If so, could you point to where he specifically says this? From what I have read and heard, I got the impression that Stef affirms moral obligation.

 

What if enforcement consists of a stern look? He really does not give any details on enforcemeent, if I recall.

 

In the UPB-book, "good" is defined as: "universally preferable and enforceable through violence".(p.64), so it is not about stern looks.

 

I see UPB performing 2 functions. 1) When someone tries to justify a violation of the rules or a denial of the rules, or a bogus rule, I can call BS. 2) It is useful when justifying enforcement of rules.

 

To justify means to show something complies with the moral standard. Translated to neutral words, this means the function of the standard is:

1) to show that deviances from the standard do not comply to the standard

2) to show that enforcement of the standard complies to the standard

which is similarly circular. I think the only way to solve it, is to establish a link to a separate goal, value, or obligation.

 


  • 0

#41
TDB

TDB
  • 264 posts

In the UPB-book, "good" is defined as: "universally preferable and enforceable through violence".(p.64), so it is not about stern looks.

enforceable != enforced, that is, if I am justified in enforcing, that does not obligate me to enforce. If violence is justified, that does not imply it must be used. Also, Stef defines his terms in different ways in different places (and makes mistakes), I am trying to figure out a consistent meaning. If you apply his definitions strictly, you end up with gaps and contradictions. It is a puzzle, you have to solve it.

 

My version of the principle of charity is, you must be able to summarize an idea before you can criticize it. And by summarize, I mean in the sense that the original author would nod its head and say, "Yes, this is just what I meant." Just taking a scrap and inserting it into your own system to show it doesn't fit does not amount to a serious criticism.

 

[update]

On the other hand, enforcement is a very important issue, on which Stef is mostly silent. This is a gap. On  one hand, all of UPB seems to me to be a justification of enforcement, on the other, he says very little about it, and specifically does not show how it is justified. When it does involve violence, it fits in his category of ethics, and so if it receives the standard treatment, it is either prohibited or obligatory. Niether of those work for him, so it must be a special case, and needs a lot of explaining.    

To justify means to show something complies with the moral standard.

By one interpretation of UPB, the moral standard is external to UPB, UPB merely shows whether a justification contradicts itself or not. Here is the set of justifications, here is the subset that contradict themselves or are practically impossible (defined as "false"), here is the subset that do not (defined as "true"). This is actually one of my critiques/questions about UPB, seems like criteria for "truth" should be more definite and positive. It sort of makes up for that in other ways, but still, makes me uncomfortable.


  • 0

#42
Robert Rak

Robert Rak

    Aubergine Dream

  • 1009 posts

 

I have difficulty understanding your ethical theory.

- some behavior is evil: this sounds like moral realism

- there is no moral obligation: this sounds like moral nihilism.

How would you categorize your ethical theory? Can you point to a prominent philosopher or article that shares your view? Do you think that Stef shares this view? If so, could you point to where he specifically says this? From what I have read and heard, I got the impression that Stef affirms moral obligation.

 

You should read UPB again in that case. From page 43,

 

First of all, we must remember that morality is clearly optional. Every man is subject to gravity and
requires food to live, but no man has to act morally. If I rape, steal or kill, no thunderbolt strikes me
down. Moral rules, like the scientific method or biological classifications, are merely ways of rationally
organizing facts and principles relative to objective reality.

  • 0

To make a point of maximizing automatic functioning and minimizing awareness of one's life is to welcome death before its time.


#43
square4

square4
  • 117 posts

You should read UPB again in that case. From page 43,

 

First of all, we must remember that morality is clearly optional. Every man is subject to gravity and
requires food to live, but no man has to act morally. If I rape, steal or kill, no thunderbolt strikes me
down. Moral rules, like the scientific method or biological classifications, are merely ways of rationally
organizing facts and principles relative to objective reality.

 

Based on the context, it seems to me that Stef is writing here about morality being optional in the sense that it is possible to do evil, because unlike physical law, moral laws are not automatically enforced. No thunderbolt strikes us down if we do evil. This is very different from saying that the obligation of morality is optional.


  • 0

#44
Robert Rak

Robert Rak

    Aubergine Dream

  • 1009 posts

Based on the context, it seems to me that Stef is writing here about morality being optional in the sense that it is possible to do evil, because unlike physical law, moral laws are not automatically enforced. No thunderbolt strikes us down if we do evil. This is very different from saying that the obligation of morality is optional.

 

I never said moral obligations are optional. I said that morality itself is not obligatory. 


  • 0

To make a point of maximizing automatic functioning and minimizing awareness of one's life is to welcome death before its time.


#45
square4

square4
  • 117 posts

I never said moral obligations are optional. I said that morality itself is not obligatory. 

 

That was a miswording on my part. The intended meaning was the same.


  • 0

#46
Robert Rak

Robert Rak

    Aubergine Dream

  • 1009 posts

That was a miswording on my part. The intended meaning was the same.

 

Wait but now your statement is confusing to me.

 

Based on the context, it seems to me that Stef is writing here about morality being optional in the sense that it is possible to do evil, because unlike physical law, moral laws are not automatically enforced. No thunderbolt strikes us down if we do evil. This is very different from saying that the obligation of morality is optional.

 

What does this mean then? Since saying that morality is optional and not obligatory are the same thing.


  • 0

To make a point of maximizing automatic functioning and minimizing awareness of one's life is to welcome death before its time.


#47
square4

square4
  • 117 posts

Wait but now your statement is confusing to me.

 

 

What does this mean then? Since saying that morality is optional and not obligatory are the same thing.

 

1) Something is optional if there is a physical possibility to otherwise.

2) Something is obligatory if there is a physical possibility to do otherwise, but it is our obligation to do it.

On the one hand, there is a physical possibility to violate any moral rule, and in this sense, morality is optional. On the other hand, moral obligation is not conditioned upon us wanting to be a moral, but it applies to anyone. In this sense, morality is not optional.


  • 0

#48
Robert Rak

Robert Rak

    Aubergine Dream

  • 1009 posts

1) Something is optional if there is a physical possibility to otherwise.

2) Something is obligatory if there is a physical possibility to do otherwise, but it is our obligation to do it.

 

Obligatory means required or mandated, as in not optional. So if there is a possibility to do otherwise than it's not obligatory. 

 

On the other hand, moral obligation is not conditioned upon us wanting to be a moral, but it applies to anyone. In this sense, morality is not optional.

 

Oh that's not true at all. Moral obligation is only binding on you if you want to be good. Morality applies to anyone regardless of what they want, but moral obligation is something that only occurs for people who have being good as a goal, who have a conscience in other words. That's why people without a conscience are so dangerous: moral obligation means nothing to them. 


  • 0

To make a point of maximizing automatic functioning and minimizing awareness of one's life is to welcome death before its time.


#49
square4

square4
  • 117 posts

Obligatory means required or mandated, as in not optional. So if there is a possibility to do otherwise than it's not obligatory.

 

Suppose you lend me money for one year, then after one year, I should pay you back. But based on your reasoning, I have no obligation to pay you back, if I have the physical possibility to do otherwise, which seems to me rather absurd. It is a strange definition of obligation. Which word then can I use to express the idea of obligation that applies regardless of our possibility to do otherwise? If you lend me money for one year, then after one year, I [must/ought to/am obliged to/??] pay you back.

 

moral obligation is something that only occurs for people who have being good as a goal, who have a conscience in other words.

 

I would say that the acknowledgement of moral obligation only occurs when people want to be good.


  • 0

#50
TDB

TDB
  • 264 posts

Moral obligation is only binding on you if you want to be good. Morality applies to anyone regardless of what they want, but moral obligation is something that only occurs for people who have being good as a goal, who have a conscience in other words.

I have been interpreting "binding" to mean "enforceable." I don't think I have a good quote to support my interpretation and I am feeling too lazy to look for one. Do you have a quote to support your interpretation? It just doesn't seem to fit. OTOH, if Stef meant "enforceable", that is probably the word he should have used. Still, I am uncertain.
  • 0

#51
Robert Rak

Robert Rak

    Aubergine Dream

  • 1009 posts

I have been interpreting "binding" to mean "enforceable." I don't think I have a good quote to support my interpretation and I am feeling too lazy to look for one. Do you have a quote to support your interpretation? It just doesn't seem to fit. OTOH, if Stef meant "enforceable", that is probably the word he should have used. Still, I am uncertain.

 

Binding means it creates an obligation. Enforceable means to compel with force. Not everything that is binding involves force. Science/truth is a good example. Here is a quote from page 40 that may help.

 

We all know that there are subjective preferences, such as liking ice cream or jazz, which are not
considered binding upon other people. On the other hand, there are other preferences, such as rape and
murder, which clearly are inflicted on others. There are also preferences for logic, truth and evidence,
which are also binding upon others (although they are not usually violently inflicted) insofar as we all
accept that an illogical proposition must be false or invalid.
 
Those preferences which can be considered binding upon others can be termed “universal preferences,”
or “moral rules.”

Something is obligatory if there is a physical possibility to do otherwise, but it is our obligation to do it.

 

Yeah the problem is you are using the word physically, which has nothing to do with obligation. There are no 'oughts' in reality. Also, saying that something is obligatory if it's our obligation to do it is circular.

 

I would say that the acknowledgement of moral obligation only occurs when people want to be good.

 

No, if you don't want to be good then there is no obligation for you. The obligation comes with the goal. Like if I want to lose weight then I'm obligated to choose the appropriate diet. If I don't care about my weight then I'm not under any obligation in regards to what I eat.


  • 0

To make a point of maximizing automatic functioning and minimizing awareness of one's life is to welcome death before its time.


#52
square4

square4
  • 117 posts

So if there is a possibility to do otherwise than it's not obligatory.

 

 Also, saying that something is obligatory if it's our obligation to do it is circular.

 

It was not intended as a complete definition. If you have ever lent or borrowed money, promised something, or entered into a contract, you know what obligation is. Never does a contract stipulate the obligation to obey gravity, asking you to promise that you will obey gravity. Why? Because there is no possibility to do otherwise. Why might it be important to realize this? Because otherwise, it might seem as if you have fully explained obligation (and ought-statements), and it might seem there is no need to search for its true meaning. Secondly, the continued use of loaded words, that have a different meaning in daily use, might have the psychological effect of preventing you from realizing the full consequences of the position you are taking.


  • 0

#53
TDB

TDB
  • 264 posts

Binding means it creates an obligation. Enforceable means to compel with force. Not everything that is binding involves force. Science/truth is a good example.

Thanks for the clarification. But "obligation" doesn't seem quite right either. A mathematical proof is binding in this sense, it's either right or wrong, sufficiently adept mathematicians would all agree. (There are some controversies in math, but they tend to get ironed out.) What obligation is created by a mathematical proof? Would it be fair to say that within the context of ethics, bindingness and enforceability are identical? Nearly so? And. I still disagree with your earlier quote:

Moral obligation is only binding on you if you want to be good. Morality applies to anyone regardless of what they want, but moral obligation is something that only occurs for people who have being good as a goal, who have a conscience in other words.

That sounds like you're saying that if you don't want to be good, you can deny the norms and premises of argument, and the derivation of UPB. Clearly you mean something else, but I don't know what. Quibbling as usual, but goodness is too abstract for a goal. It is more a side constraint we accept (or reject) as we pursue our goals.
  • 0

#54
Robert Rak

Robert Rak

    Aubergine Dream

  • 1009 posts

It was not intended as a complete definition. If you have ever lent or borrowed money, promised something, or entered into a contract, you know what obligation is. Never does a contract stipulate the obligation to obey gravity, asking you to promise that you will obey gravity. Why? Because there is no possibility to do otherwise. Why might it be important to realize this? Because otherwise, it might seem as if you have fully explained obligation (and ought-statements), and it might seem there is no need to search for its true meaning. Secondly, the continued use of loaded words, that have a different meaning in daily use, might have the psychological effect of preventing you from realizing the full consequences of the position you are taking.

 

If it's circular, then it's not a definition. I have no idea what you are talking about in the second part. Obligation means required, as in required to fulfill the condition. Not required as in unavoidable like gravity.....

 

Thanks for the clarification. But "obligation" doesn't seem quite right either. A mathematical proof is binding in this sense, it's either right or wrong, sufficiently adept mathematicians would all agree. (There are some controversies in math, but they tend to get ironed out.) What obligation is created by a mathematical proof? Would it be fair to say that within the context of ethics, bindingness and enforceability are identical? Nearly so?

 

The obligation in math is that if you accept the validity of the methodology, pending errors on the part of the mathematician, you must accept the results of its application. Ethics has to do with enforceable preferences, and it is binding. Those are two different characteristics, so why are you trying to combine them?

 

That sounds like you're saying that if you don't want to be good, you can deny the norms and premises of argument, and the derivation of UPB. Clearly you mean something else, but I don't know what.  Quibbling as usual, but goodness is too abstract for a goal. It is more a side constraint we accept (or reject) as we pursue our goals.

 

No, I'm saying that it's only binding if you accept it as valid and have a desire to be good. In other words, morality is optional. How is being moral too abstract to be a goal? We're all familiar with don't hit, don't steal, etc, we just didn't have a logical framework to explain what we knew intuitively.


  • 0

To make a point of maximizing automatic functioning and minimizing awareness of one's life is to welcome death before its time.


#55
TDB

TDB
  • 264 posts

The obligation in math is that if you accept the validity of the methodology, pending errors on the part of the mathematician, you must accept the results of its application.

The correctness of the math and the correctness of the application are two separate things. Keynesian economists have various equations, which are correct as far as the math goes. But they are incorrect with regard to application, as in, they describe an imaginary economy, with no necessary relationship to the one we actually experience. I still don't understand what you mean by obligation in this context. The Pythagorean Theorem for example. Are you saying if I accept the proof I must accept a calculation of the hypotenuse of a triangle based on the formula? As if someone would accept one and reject the other in some case, so we need a separate word? As if there could be someone smart enough to understand the proof, who yet refused to accept the calculation because he lacked some desire analogous to the desire to be good? Maybe the desire to be sane? Is it just an analogy? I really don't get it.

Ethics has to do with enforceable preferences, and it is binding. Those are two different characteristics, so why are you trying to combine them?

Because I am confused. I am trying to understand what Stef means when he says something is binding. At first, I was not able to follow at all. When I made this connection, binding=enforceable in the context of ethics, things Stef said made sense. Can you think of a case within the context of ethics where something is one but not the other? Since everything in ethics is enforceable, that boils down to "is there any moral proposition that passes UPB tests that is not binding, or in some other way enforceable but not binding?" By my understanding, the answer is no. So I think enforceable <=> binding, within the context of ethics. We can define them differently, perhaps, but the set of things with one property is identical to the set of things with the other. Or maybe I am way off target. Maybe I don't know what "enforceable" means either. How can a preference be enforceable? I know what it means to enforce a rule or a constraint or a restriction or a prohibition, and so I can think about which of those might or might not be enforceable. What does it mean for a preference to be enforceable? Perhaps that in order to act upon my preference, to choose my preferred outcome/action/plan/whatever, I must use force? May use force? "May" would imply it is justified, which I don't think matches. "Must" might work, but it seems incredibly jargony, the reverse of my intuition. "Forceful preference" would seem to express that concept better. "Violent preference" even better. For me to get my way, someone must get hurt. Is that it?    

No, I'm saying that it's only binding if you accept it as valid and have a desire to be good. In other words, morality is optional. How is being moral too abstract to be a goal? We're all familiar with don't hit, don't steal, etc, we just didn't have a logical framework to explain what we knew intuitively.

Well, then it is an abstract goal. Morality is a constraint, not a specific outcome. Okay, I am not articulating this well, and maybe it is beside the point. Forget "too abstract." Maybe you're saying morality is a hypothetical, "if you want to be good, you must not violate these constraints." Someone can accept that statement as true, then reply, "I do not want to be good, so I need not follow the constraints, so it is optional." Is that what you're saying? My reading of UPB is that if someone claims "I am justified in violating this rule and no one is justified in enforcing it against me for the following reasons X," they contradict themselves (in spite of whatever X may be) because by arguing they must accept the norms and premises of argument, upon which the rule they deny is based. By denying the rule's applicability to them, they deny the premises and norms of argument, and contradict themselves. It is like they are saying "let's have a discussion and try to reach the truth, but I will do my best to trick you into believing a lie, and if it looks like the discussion is moving in a direction I don't like, I will 'win' by threatening to kill you if you don't shut up." Obviously, that discussion is not about the truth, it is about dominance and manipulation. When someone tries to justify violating a UPB validated rule, this is their message, put in less blatant language. You can violate the rules, you can remain silent, but you can't justify breaking the rules, that is how I was interpreting the optionality of morality. You can violate morality (optional) but you can't justify your violation (binding).
  • 0

#56
Robert Rak

Robert Rak

    Aubergine Dream

  • 1009 posts

As if there could be someone smart enough to understand the proof, who yet refused to accept the calculation because he lacked some desire analogous to the desire to be good? Maybe the desire to be sane? Is it just an analogy? I really don't get it.

 

It's really not that complicated. If you understand and accept the methodology, then you also accept the conclusions of its application. You could think that math is a bunch of bullshit, or that there are better ways to determine the amount of change that you should pay the store clerk, but if you accept math as valid then when someone uses it to calculate how much change to give you, then you will accept the results of that calculation as also valid (barring any errors made by the clerk).

 

Can you think of a case within the context of ethics where something is one but not the other?

 

A bully punches a kid and steals his lunch money. He has enforced a preference but there is nothing binding about it. I defined both 'binding' and 'enforceable' and gave you a page from UPB explaining both. I'm really not sure what is unclear here.

 

You can violate morality (optional) but you can't justify your violation (binding). 

 

Of course someone can justify their violation. They would be incorrect, but they can still do it, just like they can choose whether to follow morality or not. Nothing stops me from shouting, "2+2=5!!!". I have to both want to know the truth around numbers and accept mathematical rules as valid before the conclusions of mathematics are binding on me. If I don't want to know the truth or reject the methodology for determining it, then there is no obligation for me to use math.


  • 0

To make a point of maximizing automatic functioning and minimizing awareness of one's life is to welcome death before its time.


#57
TDB

TDB
  • 264 posts

If you understand and accept the methodology, then you also accept the conclusions of its application.

Exactly, but why describe this as obligation? When you accept the first, you implicitly accept the second, because the first is the general case of the second. Why would anyone use the word "obligation" to describe this acceptance of both being logically inseparable? Obligation has the wrong connotations for me.  

A bully punches a kid and steals his lunch money. He has enforced a preference but there is nothing binding about it.

So the bully's preference for having his victim's lunch money is an enforceable preference? If so, I finally understand, but I think Stef might have done better to call it a glyphnork preference, and then define glyphnork. That is *so* not what I thought when I read "enforceable."  

Of course someone can justify their violation. They would be incorrect, but they can still do it,

You use the word "justify" differently from me then. Using my interpretation/definition, if they are incorrect, they have not justified.

I defined both 'binding' and 'enforceable' and gave you a page from UPB explaining both. I'm really not sure what is unclear here.

I'm sorry, I tried to explain my confusion. I think Stef often uses words in an unusual way, and when I plug in their ordinary meaning it sounds wrong. I read those quotes and was just baffled. Slowly I am working through this. I appreciate your willingness to stick with me. Maybe I'm close to getting a grip on this. Can I define "binding" as "logically necessary?" Does that work for you?
  • 0

#58
Robert Rak

Robert Rak

    Aubergine Dream

  • 1009 posts

Exactly, but why describe this as obligation? When you accept the first, you implicitly accept the second, because the first is the general case of the second. Why would anyone use the word "obligation" to describe this acceptance of both being logically inseparable? Obligation has the wrong connotations for me.

 

You can say required, binding, necessary, or mandatory instead if you like those words better. Maybe you are thinking of obligation in terms of fulfilling a promise and the common usage of the word is what makes it seem strange here. ('When you accept the first, you are obligated to accept the second' is accurate regardless)

 

So the bully's preference for having his victim's lunch money is an enforceable preference? If so, I finally understand, but I think Stef might have done better to call it a glyphnork preference, and then define glyphnork. That is *so* not what I thought when I read "enforceable."

 

Enforceable is literally 'to compel by force'. In the context of the book Stefan is using it to distinguish between preferences that are aesthetic (I like ice cream) and those that are not (Give me your money). If it helps, think of enforceable preference as 'any preference involving the use of force'.

 

You use the word "justify" differently from me then. Using my interpretation/definition, if they are incorrect, they have not justified.

 

That's funny, we are indeed using different definitions. This is from Merriam-Webster:

 

Justify - to provide or be a good reason for (something) : to prove or show (something) to be just, right, or reasonable

 

 

Can I define "binding" as "logically necessary?" Does that work for you?

 

Yeah absolutely, that's what Stefan means by it. 

Slowly I am working through this. I appreciate your willingness to stick with me. Maybe I'm close to getting a grip on this.

 

It took me quite a while and many subsequent readings of UPB to get it. Saving someone else some time is a worthy endeavor. :P


  • 0

To make a point of maximizing automatic functioning and minimizing awareness of one's life is to welcome death before its time.


#59
TDB

TDB
  • 264 posts

It took me quite a while and many subsequent readings of UPB to get it. Saving someone else some time is a worthy endeavor. :P

Thanks, I think I understand better now.
  • 1





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: ethics, UPB