Ben Dean

5Joined Nov 2021

Comments
4

EA Debate Championship & Lecture Series

I did Policy Debate, the format from that video, in high school and college. Policy Debate has its problems, but I think the fast delivery style is good on balance,  since it lets a single debate cover so much ground. Speed reading is comprehensible with practice. Here's an example from college debate with better audio quality --definitely weird, but clear enough to understand.

Dismantling Hedonism-inspired Moral Realism

I think an important distinction is that her position focuses on the intrinsic nature of pleasure and pain as feelings, not any relationship they have either to some even more fundamental concept of "objective value" or to our judgements, thoughts, and desires. We know pleasure feels good in the same way we know what the redness of red is like. Defining pleasure in terms of behaviors, beliefs, or desires can't capture this in the same way that the wavelength of red light doesn't convey the experience of seeing red. The power of this argument comes from taking this direct concept of phenomenal goodness ("feels good") and inflating it into a full fledged account of moral goodness (hedonic utilitarianism).

Put another way: If we started out with no language for normativity, we wouldn't be able to describe pleasure and pain without inventing one. (Try it!).

So pleasure has a "what we should value" property in the sense that "should" is already defined in terms of pleasure. But at a more basic level, value just is pleasure in the way water just is H2O.

Since moral knowledge in this view is just a special kind of descriptive knowledge the subjective position seems to flow from the objective one in a relatively straightforward way.

This argument is a bit circular, but I think that's hard to avoid in general re: qualia. Of course discussion of qualia in your OP is relevant.

Dismantling Hedonism-inspired Moral Realism

But Hewitt Rawlette's theory is naturalist ("synthetic naturalism").

It is extremely important that it be understood that I am not suggesting that our normative phenomenology represents some further realm of normativity, that it somehow acquaints us with normative properties that also exist detached from phenomenal experience, perhaps in actions or in non-mental states of affairs...

My proposal is that intrinsic goodness and badness just are felt qualities.

Emphasis in original. As she points out, arguments like Hare's don't really work against this kind of realism ("Hare's dismissal of objective value...") .