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"Cosmology, Theology and Meaning" - Tim Maudlin

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  • #76
    Why exactly is it lazy? Surely the classical theist believes God is the ground of all things, so why would it be lazy to think he is the ground of goodness? Goodness itself must surely be intimately connected with the nature of things if it is to have objective meaning. That rather seems to follow from how Plato himself seems to wish to identify goodness with something basic to reality. Theists do have an answer to this dilemma, and a pretty easy one, though I am not sure it is a matter of atheists lacking one - they don't need one, as they don't believe in God nor a singular ground of being.

    Or perhaps, as others have said, you are confusing different questions, like how do we know there is objective goodness or how do we understand the nature of created goodness, with the dilemma.
    Last edited by Jeremy Taylor; 05-13-2019, 10:13 PM.

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    • #77
      Originally posted by Jeremy Taylor View Post
      Why exactly is it lazy? Surely the classical theist believes God is the ground of all things, so why would it be lazy to think he is the ground of goodness? Goodness itself must surely be intimately connected with the nature of things if it is to have objective meaning. That rather seems to follow from how Plato himself seems to wish to identify goodness with something basic to reality. Theists do have an answer to this dilemma, and a pretty easy one, though I am not sure it is a matter of atheists lacking one - they don't need one, as they don't believe in God nor a singular ground of being.

      Or perhaps, as others have said, you are confusing different questions, like how do we know there is objective goodness or how do we understand the nature of created goodness, with the dilemma.
      Theists are free to make definitions of Goodness and show that God is the foundation of Goodness. The problem arises when they expect others to think that their definition is the only true valid definition. That is why I call them lazy.

      As cleverly pointed out by Calhoun, the problem is which definition of Good is valid. For my specific criticism of Thomistic ethics, I refer you to post #20.
      Last edited by nojoum; 05-14-2019, 05:50 PM.

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      • #78
        If there is an objective standard it must surely be in the very nature of things, and in classical theism God is the root of all things, so one would expect he is either the good itself or the root of it. Only by objecting to divine simplicity do we really seem to have an objection to this view. What you are objecting to in post #21 is how we understand the relationship between this standard and created goodness/human virtue and morality, specificity the Thomistic understanding. That is different from the Euthyphro Dilemma. It is true that identifying God with the good still leaves us to flesh out our understanding of his relationship to created goodness and human virtue/morality.

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        • #79
          Originally posted by Jeremy Taylor View Post
          If there is an objective standard it must surely be in the very nature of things, and in classical theism God is the root of all things, so one would expect he is either the good itself or the root of it. Only by objecting to divine simplicity do we really seem to have an objection to this view. What you are objecting to in post #21 is how we understand the relationship between this standard and created goodness/human virtue and morality, specificity the Thomistic understanding. That is different from the Euthyphro Dilemma. It is true that identifying God with the good still leaves us to flesh out our understanding of his relationship to created goodness and human virtue/morality.
          As I said before, I should have directly talked about what makes something Good rather than the Euthyphro Dillema. I agree that any objective standard has to be related to the nature of things, however, I don't accept the equivalence of being and goodness from Thomistic point of view. Thereby, I don't accept the goodness of God via such reasoning (i.e, God is purely actual and thus perfectly good). Moreover, based on this view, I can contest the possibility of defending the morality of Justice, love and etc from the Thomistic point of view as I have done so in post#20. Furthermore, as I have argued in post 20# homosexuality does not seem to be wrong while it is in fact heavily punished (stoning to death) according to Abrahamic religions. This in itself is enough reason to cast doubt into the morality those religions.

          Regardless, I think as John has mentioned before, it is impossible to answer the question of what makes something Good within a thread. It is better that I study and then ask any small questions (in the sense of it being answerable within a thread) that I have during my investigations.
          Last edited by nojoum; 05-16-2019, 08:47 AM.

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          • #80
            My main objection was to the lazy comment. If there is objective goodness, then surely this makes the good something inherent in the nature of things, and on a classical theist metaphysics, God is at the root of all things, so it surely makes sense to see them as very closely related. How one relates the two exactly is a more involved question, but it hardly seems lazy to think the classical theist, or Thomist, assumes they can be so related.

            Surely It is also rather strange, in my opinion, to single out the Abrahamic faiths on homosexuality. Revisionism aside, just about every pre-modern culture considered homosexual acts to be at least inferior. As an empirical matter, I'm not sure it is correct to equate heterosexual and homosexual acts and relationships, especially male homosexual ones. Long term fidelity, for example, is quite high in even unmarried heterosexual relationships and even amongst males in these relationships, but is statistically negligible amongst male homosexuals and even lesbians are much more promiscuous than male heterosexuals in relationships. Whatever one may say of the Thomistic ethic, I don't buy the claim homosexual acts and relationships are analogous to even modern Western heterosexual ones.
            Last edited by Jeremy Taylor; 05-16-2019, 12:03 PM.

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            • #81
              Originally posted by Jeremy Taylor View Post
              My main objection was to the lazy comment. If there is objective goodness, then surely this makes the good something inherent in the nature of things, and on a classical theist metaphysics, God is at the root of all things, so it surely makes sense to see them as very closely related. How one relates the two exactly is a more involved question, but it hardly seems lazy to think the classical theist, or Thomist, assumes they can be so related.

              Surely It is also rather strange, in my opinion, to single out the Abrahamic faiths on homosexuality. Revisionism aside, just about every pre-modern culture considered homosexual acts to be at least inferior. As an empirical matter, I'm not sure it is correct to equate heterosexual and homosexual acts and relationships, especially male homosexual ones. Long term fidelity, for example, is quite high in even unmarried heterosexual relationships and even amongst males in these relationships, but is statistically negligible amongst male homosexuals and even lesbians are much more promiscuous than male heterosexuals in relationships. Whatever one may say of the Thomistic ethic, I don't buy the claim homosexual acts and relationships are analogous to even modern Western heterosexual ones.
              I do not think there is much more to say about the lazy comment. I have made my case and I still do not find your defense convincing. Anyway, It was my mistake to discuss people (e.g., make ad hominem attacks); rather I should discuss ideas.

              I think you are drawing unintended conclusions. My point is that I do not see why should homosexuality merit death as punishment. Moreover, the fact every pre-modern culture considered it inferior or anything else does not help. Abhrahamic religions claim to be given by God and thus should stand the toughest standards. In no way, capital punishment seems a fair treatment of homosexuals. I have other reasons to cast doubt into Abrahamic religions but I was also lazy myself (Karma is a b**ch) and did not expound on it. My attitude toward religion is a bit nuanced, I think there are some good elements to them and some bad elements as well. One should be skeptical of them and only adopt the good in them. Unfortunately, such attutide is not well-recieved (to say the least) by the proponents of these religions.
              Last edited by nojoum; 05-16-2019, 12:27 PM.

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              • #82
                Okay, but I don't at all understand the exact nature of your disagreement, what precisely in the classical theistic or Thomsitic account you are disagreeing with or why. In particular, given the assumption of objective goodness, how can one account for the good itself except as intimately connected with God? Certainly, that leaves a lot of details to fill in, but that doesn't undermine the foundations.

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                • #83
                  Originally posted by Jeremy Taylor View Post
                  Okay, but I don't at all understand the exact nature of your disagreement, what precisely in the classical theistic or Thomsitic account you are disagreeing with or why. In particular, given the assumption of objective goodness, how can one account for the good itself except as intimately connected with God? Certainly, that leaves a lot of details to fill in, but that doesn't undermine the foundations.
                  I do not have an account of Goodness. That is my homework to be done. My problem with the Thomistic account is that it assumes equivalence between Goodness and metaphysical actuality. Basically the more you are actual, the more you are fullfilling your final causes and the more good you are. However, in my opinion final causes themselves should be evaluated for their goodness (if it is good to have such final causes), whereas in Thomistic ethics, fullfillment of final causes is taken as good. Another problem with Thomistic ethics is the difficulty which one would have in defending the morality of Justice simply because Justice is about the fullfilment of the final causes of someone other than the self. It would be also incosequential to say that for examples we humans have conscience as part of our essence which prevents us from doing injustice to others. This is unacceptable precisely becauase Justice is about others not the fullfilment of your final causes. It is a very selfish account of Justice if we ground in our conscience. The concept of Justice simply transcends a person, it's not a natural property. The closest thing one can think of is somelike an abstract object like mathematics.
                  Last edited by nojoum; 05-17-2019, 07:26 PM.

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                  • #84
                    Originally posted by nojoum View Post

                    I do not have an account of Goodness. That is my homework to be done. My problem with the Thomistic account is that it assumes equivalence between Goodness and metaphysical actuality. Basically the more you are actual, the more you are fullfilling your final causes and the more good you are. However, in my opinion final causes themselves should be evaluated for their goodness (if it is good to have such final causes), whereas in Thomistic ethics, fullfillment of final causes is taken as good. Another problem with Thomistic ethics is the difficulty which one would have in defending the morality of Justice simply because Justice is about the fullfilment of the final causes of someone other than the self. It would be also incosequential to say that for examples we humans have conscience as part of our essence which prevents us from doing injustice to others. This is unacceptable precisely becauase Justice is about others not the fullfilment of your final causes. It is a very selfish account of Justice if we ground in our conscience. The concept of Justice simply transcends a person, it's not a natural property. The closest thing one can think of is somelike an abstract object like mathematics.
                    I already mentioned many posts back that the Thomistic account of the seven virtues includes justice (alongside prudence, temperance, fortitude, faith, hope and charity), so it is identified as one of the final causes linked to the substantial form 'human'. Justice involves acting and being in a certain way and is something humans aim to achieve or manifest, which is why it is a final cause.

                    I don't understand what justice divorced from animate, living things would be.

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                    • #85
                      I am gonna part my ways with this thread since I believe we are merely talking past each other and the thread is already just too long. I have received my answers and I would like to thank for everyone's contribution.

                      But before leaving I mention briefly two things. First of all it is better to answer my criticism to Justice from Thomistic point of view rather than just repeating your words. Secondly, Just because we don't how something can work, it does not mean we should go to the easiest answer and take it as truth. It is ok not to know things.
                      Last edited by nojoum; 05-18-2019, 11:04 AM.

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                      • #86
                        Here you go. Now you have a clear point of contention to argue over.

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