Alongside avoiding emotional investment in ideas, semantics is one of the most difficult parts of philosophy, because agreeing on the names of things is not simple. Language is a social process, and each actor in that process needs to agree for a word’s meaning to have authority: there needs to be a consensus.
I recently read a post by Coel Hellier that argues for the subjectivity of morality. This was counter-intuitive to me, but he argues well. So I set about trying to clarify my stance by looking at the problem in my own terms. It is worth noting that a 2013 study showed that 56% of professional philosophers identify as moral objectivists (realists), making it by far the dominant position. The following summarises my own thoughts on the matter.
True ideas are those that correspond to a standard. This standard could be a system of axioms, as in mathematics or logic, or it could be, and by default usually is, reality. Let’s look at some claims about the world, and then evaluate their truth. I’m going to look at five types of claim: definition claims, theoretical claims, empirical claims, moral claims and aesthetic claims. I’ll be using Hume’s fact-value distinction to classify them. This is not an exhaustive list; but it should still be insightful because I think it covers the major bases.
I recently enjoyed watching the 2003 Documentary Flight From Death: the Quest for Immortality. However, I couldn’t find a transcript anywhere, so I wrote my own. Hopefully putting it here will save others some time if they need it too, but this one is not quite complete, because I didn’t find the last five minutes useful, but if you need that section, it won’t take long to write it down yourself.
Today, being the 88th day of the year, is piano day. For the last while I’ve been preparing an album of improvised music to release for this event, and now, here it is!