"Morality is a Sham: Defending Moral Error Theory"

Next we come to the recent philosophy club meeting.

Trust me Lausten, I’m on my best behavior, I do my best to set aside my inclination to cynicism, am polite, listen doing my best to follow what’s being said, am respectful. I’ll admit it was interesting and time well spent ;-). I am trying to learn and figure out what I’m missing. Reminiscence of my 20s attitude toward the God mysticism thing.

“Morality is a Sham: Defending Moral Error Theory”

The metaethical options
… Moral realism
… Moral relativism
… Error theory

Case for Error Theory

  1. … it’s simple

  2. … it is explanatorily powerful

  3. … The argument from queerness (that is strangeness)

Up to here felt like rhetorical fancy dancing.

  1. … It fits best with the evolutionary history of humans.

This is where things started making sense. The fact that morality is a useful fiction in a natural biological world setting where “truth” doesn’t exist.

My take away from the presentation/discussion is that “Morality only exists within a specific framework.”

Which feels easy to grasp given the Appreciation for the Physical Reality ~ Mind divide, with it’s explicit first order recognition of our evolving origins.


I can see why it doesn’t make sense to the westernized self-absorbed thinking, backed by self-serving actions, the paradigm that made civilizations and empires possible.

But the thing is today we really are in the beginnings of radical transition away from normal, and into extremes we can’t even imagine, and not just politically.

Bottomline is that our biosphere will be changing and getting harsher and survival will take a very different and way the heck less hubristic outlook upon this planet and personal priorities.

Rather than “Morality is a Sham”
Why not recognize our animal nature and the fact that your consciousness is produced by your body.

Sure our moral structure only exist within frameworks we create, but that doesn’t justify calling morality a sham. Oh but provocative, is always more fun then simple solid learning from the evidence at hand.

It seems there’s only revulsion and avoidance at the heart of today’s issues, that is humans inability to honestly face what our desires & greed costs in destruction for other places and creatures.

MAGA Guys (& others) are busy blaming their favorite enemies for the immigration crises, happily disregarding that it’s our collective disregard and greed that has made these far off lands unbearable

Yes, our own collective greed over the past century and more.
But no one wants to know about that, instead our rich want to save humanity by colonizing Mars, and they rather fight then learn and switch.

Oh so why not feel a wee bit hostile towards good old god-shackled schools of philosophical thinking and mind games as we know them?

PS. Don’t take my word for it.

Examination of the poverty-environmental degradation nexus in Sub-Saharan Africa

I’ll bet all of us would be doing all we could to also escape their fate.
Sadly such condition will reach some of us (we are the old crowd) and all our children.

I hope the class covered the problems with error theory. Seems like a trap or a little word play to me. If it says we live in a natural biological setting, then it’s merely shifted to claims of what is natural. Moral judgments are now justified as “natural”.

I prefer moral realism where you state an “if” that you want and build on it, as in “if you want clean water don’t dump waste in it”. The argument against that would then be that desire for clean water is fictional, a philosophical error, a made up goal. Well, good luck with that.

Well isn’t that what much of philosophy is all about, little word traps here, a bit of rhetorical fancy dancing there? The smart guys trying to show each other, who’s the smartest.

I shouldn’t have stayed up to write that previous comment, (then again it probably wouldn’t have been written in that case, so there’s that), rereading it looks like I buried the lead, which had more to do with the philosophers love of ginning up provocative, trying to blow those young minds. It’s fun, I know why it happens but I’m more serious kind of old guy now.

My question is why philosophers like melodrama so much?
The more I think about it, the more the sport’s arena analogy comes to mind.

What feels to my stick-in-the-mud sensitivities, over stressing the provocative, to deconstruction for deconstruction sake:

“Morality is a Sham”

Why not a more pragmatic descriptive? Why not a clear statement:

“Morality exist within specific frameworks, that we create.”

It leaves the rattled student something constructive to work with.
What does “Morality is a Sham” actually offer a student. By way of lessons for learning how to better understand one self? Ending with a joke.

Instead of our first order obsession being all about our wonderful complicated selves with our unfathomable human consciousness, and society.

Why not make our own evolved biological body, from a bottom up evolutionary biological perspective, the center of interest for a while? The lessons learned from understanding the changes that happened to make us possible is critically important to self-awareness.

After all, everything you know is processed through your body/mind, our unfathomable mind, is the reflection of the inside of our body communicating with itself.

You are you, because you inhabit your one and only human body!
It really is as simple as that.

It seem self-evident to me we’ll never find peace in our thoughts, until we learn to appreciate and trust our body’s physicality and not just its mortality, but also its innate knowledge, and ability to teach. For those who strive to be attentive.

Nothing grand, no pot of gold, nor the ultimate answer, it’s more like arriving at home, contentment, as journey well traveled and a young boys endless questioning and wondering satisfied with time left over to appreciate the days. But that’s just me an old man, one time traveler, staring down at 69 years. And endlessly thankful that I’m not staring down at 17.

You’re addressing Error Theory and how it says that morality is a sham, right? Not the general idea that any talk of morality is a sham. It’s that particular theory that is flawed.

You should check out the Carrier blog I posted. It’s long, but skip to the section just before the final conclusion. He says all the things you say, even directly rips Chalmers. He does it with references to the specific science involved. I wish he had more references but there’s plenty to grab onto. He does it while making an argument against a bad theologian, but you can filter that out.