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Quine's Avatar Jump to comment 20 by Quine

Hi RH,

We had some extensive discussions about these things when Sam Harris put out his TED video prior to his book on his Moral Landscape idea. I get that you would like to have an answer to the "just subjective" criticism. That would be nice, but I am quite sure it is never going to happen. How we set the axioms will always be subjective. It is subjective to decide you ought to live another day, or even another minute. Hume was correct, and that is why I believe it is better to bite the bullet and admit that there are no objective morals. The hard part is showing the religious that they are also going along with the subjective while they have deluded themselves into thinking they have objective (and true) morals.

At the same time, I agree with Sam that you can get together and agree on axioms that allow you to then rate one subjective system as more desirable to live under than another. Also, I can generate a moral system that is not subjective by rolling dice on the inclusion of moral rules picked out of all the moral systems every used. Not subjective, but also not objective in the way people would want. (A random morality is a system of oughts generated from what is, but is not what Hume had in mind because it is not provably correct.) If I started with a random system (for Sam that would be a noise level in the Moral Landscape), I almost certainly can think of improvements, thus we can think our way to a better system of oughts, but that will still be based on our subjective desires.

We need to reclaim "subjectivity" and use our best judgment to get on with making a better world.

Tue, 30 Aug 2011 23:13:17 UTC | #865702