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The Irrationality of Richard Dawkins

Re: The Irrationality of Richard Dawkins
May 06, 2011, 01:12:40 PM
Colours are not subjective. They can be strictly defined as light with a wavelength between a given range. Of course, you can argue whether a specific wavelength is called either green or blue, but that is just semantics. Speaking of which, if you are not sure non-subjective things / events exist, which obviously means you must exclude most of science from the label objective, what exactly do you mean by subjective?

Also, I'm still confused by your statement that morality exists in objects.

Colour is not defined by their wavelengths a priori. Colour, as in the specific qualia associated given the name as that colour, happens to come about via light of particular wavelengths hitting our retinas

I'll mention again that the subjective/objective divide is used in several different ways. Non-subjectivity may not exist in the sense of everything that exists only existing through experience (idealism), however we can then define objectivity in terms of inter-subjective relations (which manifests itself as the material realm). Alternatively, we may define the objective as that part of our experience which is represented as external to us, and the subjective as that part of our experience which is internal to us. In the former sense, qualia is subjective, in the latter it is objective. The former requires existence outside of the individual, the latter does not.

I will use the division of subjective vs. objective to refer to either of those two divisions without necessarily specifying which I mean.

Re: The Irrationality of Richard Dawkins
May 06, 2011, 01:20:26 PM
Colours are the result of subjective experience of objective properties.  I suppose it could be said that morality is the subjective realisation of objectively "better" methods/modes of action, but then, you have to use a qualifier like "better" in that conception morality, which is using the concept to define itself.  To add to that, most people's moralities are definitely not "better" methods of action ("Thou shalt not kill"?  What if it's an enemy/rapist/retard?), though this may be seen as simply the result of having a different perspective.  I would agree with the statement "moralities exist", but I cannot find any evidence of a single moral entity/property or group of such things embedded within the physical, objective reality (in the way that colour is).  If it/they did exist, given the vastness of the moral plane and different peoples' ideas of what is right and wrong, such a "fundamental morality" would have to be incredibly basic (along the lines of "do what you understand to be the right thing", which is, even then, completely ignored by many).

Defining morality in terms of logic is going to be very difficult, and perhaps never exact. I wish to point out the following: that logic and morality are distinct analytical processes, and that values apply to both, and that both logic and morality can be perceived as applying to external objective relations, or internal subjective relations. I suggest the hypothesis that a person will typically conceive of either logic applying internally and morality externally, or of logic applying externally and morality internally.

I'm only really arguing because I wished to convey these concepts through dialectic processes, not to change either of our personal understandings.

I'd assumed this much at the beginning.  Rarely, nowadays, do I go into an argument believing that I can drastically shift another's perception of the world.  Alter, perhaps, in some minor way, but the same would happen to me in that case.  I'm definitely looking at the subject from perspectives with which I am barely acquainted, having last set aside this discussion almost a year ago (though, of course, it's an eternal subject of debate).

I don't expect to change people's views immediately, or have my own changed in such a way, but you must never underestimate just how much understanding may be shaped in the long term, even without the participants knowledge. In reading a work of philosophy, you may well find yourself with the same outlook after finishing as you had before you had started, but the implications of what you had read may be entirely clear years down the track.