tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4631023797563841554.post3996903440333186554..comments2018-09-01T09:14:39.142-05:00Comments on Maverick Christian: The Argument from Moral KnowledgeMaverick Christiannoreply@blogger.comBlogger7125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4631023797563841554.post-3107568481635639562018-04-13T22:12:11.817-05:002018-04-13T22:12:11.817-05:00So, you can't just say, "the fact that I ...<em>So, you can't just say, "the fact that I have this moral intuition justifies p2." You have to add something else to that--some qualifier which prevents your justification for p2 from undermining your p1.</em><br /><br />That's where justifying premise 1 comes in.<br /><br />You haven't quite spelled out your reasoning for why you think the argument is question begging, but perhaps it's this: my two choices for justifying premise 2 are: (a) "Intuition warrants our belief in morality even if atheism is true"; or (b) "Intuition warrants our belief in morality but not if atheism is true." This is a false dilemma. Another option is "Intuition warrants our belief in morality" period such that this justification for premise 2 is agnostic about whether intuition would warrant morality's existence if atheism is true. Instead, whether intuition warrants morality's existence if atheism is true is saved exclusively for premise 1.<br /><br />Maybe you think that the argument is question begging because I claim that intuition warrants morality's existence (when justifying premise 2) but such intuition would not warrant morality's existence if atheism is true (when justifying premise 1). But then the argument is "question-begging" only in the sense that I need to justify both premises.Maverick Christianhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/04286456663634536819noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4631023797563841554.post-8792347333066033262017-07-11T00:31:58.011-05:002017-07-11T00:31:58.011-05:00The problem is that pointing to your moral intuiti...The problem is that pointing to your moral intuition is not, on its own, a sufficient justification. If it were, your first premise would be undermined by that fact.<br /><br />So, you can't just say, "the fact that I have this moral intuition justifies p2." You have to add something else to that--some qualifier which prevents your justification for p2 from undermining your p1. <br /><br />And that's where you end up begging the question.<br />Calehttps://www.blogger.com/profile/17231108214219274750noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4631023797563841554.post-48194206043075581262017-07-09T21:18:02.822-05:002017-07-09T21:18:02.822-05:00You're not actually offering a different appro...You're not actually offering a different approach, here. This "approach" produces exactly the same result that I point to above. <br />Calehttps://www.blogger.com/profile/17231108214219274750noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4631023797563841554.post-34940272017684266512017-07-08T14:08:56.017-05:002017-07-08T14:08:56.017-05:00I disagree with how you've assigned the probab...I disagree with how you've assigned the probabilities. I prefer a more direct approach. Let A be atheism (the negation of theism), ¬A be the truth of theism, M be "moral knowledge exists" and ¬M be "moral knowledge does not exist." Personally, I'd put P(~M|A) ≈ 0.92 and P(M) ≈ 0.98. Given that, the probability that both premises are true has a lower limit of 90%. I see no reason why one should favor your approach over mine.Maverick Christianhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/04286456663634536819noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4631023797563841554.post-13976919846119163372017-07-08T14:02:08.576-05:002017-07-08T14:02:08.576-05:00That's not what begging the question is. Begg...That's not what begging the question is. Begging the question is when the only reason to believe the premise is if one already accepts the conclusion. Moral intuition justifying premise (2) does not fit that category.<br /><br /><em>However, he also claims that, if atheism is true, moral intuition doesn't provide justification for moral knowledge.</em><br /><br />Right, so justifying the first premise <em>and</em> justifying the second premise means one has to accept the conclusion, but that's not question begging; that's deductive validity (i.e. the conclusion following from the premises).Maverick Christianhttps://www.blogger.com/profile/04286456663634536819noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4631023797563841554.post-67414066964682721262017-07-07T23:12:28.689-05:002017-07-07T23:12:28.689-05:00Wade is reticent to spell out his justification fo...Wade is reticent to spell out his justification for p2, but he has given us enough that we can go though his evaluation for him.<br /><br />First, he stares in the article that our justification for moral knowledge comes from our moral intuition, so we can safely assume that he would rest his defense of p2 on this intuition.<br /><br />However, his first premise calls this very intuition into question. Specifically, he states that, if atheism is true (or, equivalently, if this is false or if God does not exist) then moral intuition does not provide justification for moral knowledge.<br /><br />So, does Wade's moral intuition provide justification for p2? Since he has called the reliability of moral intuition into question with his first premise, this is a question we must consider when we get to his second premise.<br /><br />Let M be the proposition that moral intuition does indeed provide justification for moral knowledge.<br /><br />Let A be atheism (as used above, which is how Wade has used it in this argument)<br /><br />Wade's first premise requires that P(M|A) < 0.5<br /><br />The total probability of M is <br /><br />P(M|A)*P(A)+P(M|T)*P(T)<br /><br />As far as Wade's argument goes, the most charitable values to use for P(M|A) and P(M|T) are 0.5 and 1, respectively.<br /><br />He needs both to be high, but if P(M|A) > 0.5 then his first premise fails. So, these are the highest values.<br /><br />Since Wade doesn't want to beg the question by assuming that theism is probably true, we'll put the priors for A and T equivalent to each other.<br /><br />P(M) = P(A) = 0.5<br /><br />So, now, the total probability of M--under the best circumstances for Wade's argument --is P(M) = 0.75<br /><br />Seems good, right? <br /><br />Unfortunately, no. See, the probability that Wade's argument is sound is equal to the probability of P1 plus the probability of P2, minus one.<br /><br />The probability of P2, under these maximally charitable assumptions, is 0.75, and the probability of P1 is also 0.75.<br /><br />The probability that Wade's argument is sound, then (again, under these assumptions) is 0.5, exactly.<br /><br />The problem for Wade is that we could easily establish that these assumptions are far too generous to Wade's argument.<br /><br />For example, there is some chance that This is true, but that our moral into are still not reliable. Hence, P(M|T) = 1 is an overestimate, and if we reduce this value, the probability that Wade's argument is sound falls with it.<br />(Note that reducing the value of P(M|A) doesn't help Wade either*)<br /><br />In fact, the only way that Wade can salvage his argument from itself is to insist, in the step where he justifies his second premise, that Theism is probably true.<br /><br />However, the fact that he has to insist on the truth of theism in order to justify his second premise with the confidence the argument requires means that he must beg the question in order to prosecute his argument successfully.<br /><br />*If, for instance, P(M|A) = 0.1, then P(M) = 0.55. the probability of premise 1 would then be 0.95, and the probability that the argument is sound would still be 0.5.<br /><br />In the end, it is simply impossible for Wade to justify his second premise without contradicting his first premise or begging the question.Calehttps://www.blogger.com/profile/17231108214219274750noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-4631023797563841554.post-89902900701288585422017-07-07T23:12:18.205-05:002017-07-07T23:12:18.205-05:00Okay, so we can spell out the error in Wade's ...Okay, so we can spell out the error in Wade's reason pretty clearly, I think, and it boils down to how he justifies premise 2: the claim that he does indeed have moral knowledge.<br /><br />Wade's argument rests on the claim that justification for moral knowledge comes from moral intuition.<br /><br />However, he also claims that, if atheism is true, moral intuition doesn't provide justification for moral knowledge.<br /><br />When we come to premise 2, then, Wade is stuck in an intractable position:<br /><br />On the one hand, he must claim that his moral intuition is a sufficient justification for p2. <br /><br />On the other hand, he must claim that his moral intuition *isn't* a sufficient justification for p2, *if atheism is true.*<br /><br />In order to have sufficient justification for p2, then, Wade must both appeal to his moral intuition *and* claim, in the step of justifying p2, that atheism is false.<br /><br />But, wait: that atheism is false is the conclusion of his argument. Hence, his justification for p2 requires him to beg the question. Calehttps://www.blogger.com/profile/17231108214219274750noreply@blogger.com