Re: [asa] Dawkins new book

From: Schwarzwald <>
Date: Mon Oct 26 2009 - 01:03:03 EDT

Heya Tom,

Some replies below.

I don't see why not -- unless, of course, you have inflated the meaning of
> "objective" to include particulars that don't belong to a strict definition
> of "objective," such as (1) grounded in an unassailable source and/or (2)
> universal in scope and application. But neither of those are required in
> order to achieve objectivity. I'm assuming that "objective" means something
> like "public," or "not simply residing in, or justified by, the subjectivity
> of a particular individual."

No, I don't think I'm inflating the meaning of objective here (What would it
then be? Super-duper objective?). If anything, I think if objective is being
equated with public opinion (As in, a social standard - some spoken or
unspoken agreement in a given community or culture that X is wrong) or
something similar ("This rule is posted in public, anyone can read the rule,
therefore it's an objective fact and therefore the rule is objective!"),
objectivity is being downgraded.

>>>And by this I mean, insofar as someone says "Well, perhaps there are
> objective and external/fundamental moral values, purposes, and meanings to
> life and reality", they are rejecting the materialist-naturalist worldview.
> To even search for these things is to question or reject the truth of the
> stated philosophy.<<<
> But why should anyone believe that anything such as "external/fundamental
> moral vlaues, purposes and meanings to life and reality" is necessary for
> something to be objective?

Because I'm talking about objective moral values, purposes, intrinsic
meanings, etc. Not mere objective facts like 'The cat is on the mat'. Not
objective in the sense that "the rules of Monopoly are objectively right and
wrong, because they're written on the inside of the box, and the location
and pattern of the ink is an objective fact."

> Am I missing something here?

It seems so to me. If you think what I mean by (for example) an objective
morality is something like "Can it be written down on a piece of paper and
posted on a wall, and more than one person can agree that that rule is
written there and they agree to follow it", then yes, we're just not
communicating with each other. I thought I made that clear when I agreed
that people can come up with rules, that these rules can even be
"consistent", etc - and that these features were unimportant for what I was
talking about.

Nihilists aren't nihilists because they don't believe there's such a thing
as ink.

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Received on Mon Oct 26 01:03:28 2009

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