The Gamification of Public Discourse

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« on: February 27, 2020, 10:52:42 pm »
The Gamification of Public Discourse

An interesting talk.

Some "notes:"

Interesting distinction between echo chambers and filter bubbles.

How echo chambers maximize intelligibility.

How we tend to "trust" numbers more than qualitative results.

Even touches a little on our usual "hot button" education topic.


Is there any interest in my posting videos like this?  Will anyone watch them?  Maybe if I take some better notes and do better write ups?

OK, let me try again with some better notes:

A sort of initial thesis presented that we might be using, as a society, simplified morals as "pleasure."  That is, complex or nuanced morality is uncomfortable, so simplified, or clear morality has the pleasure of making us feel more secure and confident.  The speaker's concern though is that if this is the case, it does allow for the "gaming" of this system, where agents could present simplified moral stances to essentially manipulate people.  And, (maybe, possibly) since people enjoy the clarity, they are more than willing to accept the manipulation, even were it exposed as manipulation [my editorialized stance here].

A distinction, credited to the book Echo Chambers, by Jamieson and Campbell, between filter bubbles and echo chambers.  Filter bubbles as the case where you do not hear the "other side" and an echo chamber where you are informed to essentially not trust the "other side."  The speaker wants to note that we seem to be, as a society, much more in the latter than the former.  This is an interesting distinction and I would tend to agree, it is less of a non-hearing, and far more of a blanket mistrust of the "other side."

Clarity appeals to us because we need to sort of ration out our time and attention.  So we develop heuristic methods to give us a sense of when to begin and end investigations.  The sort of aesthetic quality is maybe one those those sort of heuristic method, so when things are clear we "feel" like an investigation has been sufficiently done.  Appeals to quantitative results, i.e. numbers, often give us this feeling of clarity because they eschew all the contextual details and relate, essentially, extremely well to themselves (i.e. makes comparison easy).

A notion of what the sort of social proliferation of "porn," in the sense of "food porn" and so on.  Pleasure without the attending costs and consequences of actually engaging with the thing.  So, food enjoyed without having to bother cooking it, paying for it, and the consequence of actually eating it.  So, the speaker draws the comparison that the echo chamber, the moral simplification is of the same sort, moral simplification for pleasure without having to engage in the more uncomfortable engagement with the complexity of the moral issues.

That means all this can be "gamed" by agents, looking to promote the moral simplification.

Of course the video lays all this out better than I can summarize though.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2020, 03:29:50 pm by H »
I am a warrior of ages, Anasurimbor. . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury. -Cet'ingira

TaoHorror

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« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2020, 12:35:06 am »
Yes, I love this stuff. I don't always have the time to read if life sweeps me away, but I have been able to check out most of what's posted here.
It's me, Dave, open up, I've got the stuff

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« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2020, 01:13:59 pm »
Definitely post. Some kind of summary or writeup would be interesting - with full knowledge that I'm likely not going to watch the video. A with sci's posts, I almost never read the full article but I do usually read his quoted bit and at least some of the commentary from you and others.
One of the other conditions of possibility.

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« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2020, 03:30:10 pm »
I tried to do a better summary.  The video is still better though, haha.
I am a warrior of ages, Anasurimbor. . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury. -Cet'ingira

sciborg2

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« Reply #4 on: February 29, 2020, 11:27:21 am »
I tried to do a better summary.  The video is still better though, haha.

Summary was good, thanks for that, will try to watch the video though I am really bad at watching this sort of content even with the new speed up features on Youtube.

I think the challenge here is moral quales often do suggest a "purity" regarding particular issues. Sadly they are not the same issues for everyone [nor the same quales for the same issues].

Perhaps what's needed is a way to get people to reflect on morality itself, and how it is worth considering the quales you feel are not necessarily the ones others feel. OTOH, as the author Matthew Stover once noted, morality is precisely those rules that you think need to be enforced as otherwise we're talking about mere preferences.

I mean I do think people are gaming the "system" - see all the political pundits whoring themselves out to whatever mob will have them on Patreon - but I am not sure the issue is complexity. For example is the complexity of fetal biology really what makes someone pro-choice or pro-life? For the former the complexity is all the varied examples where delivering a baby would likely result in adverse outcomes whereas for the latter any argument for complexity is equivalent to trying to justify killing babies.
« Last Edit: February 29, 2020, 11:29:18 am by sciborg2 »

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« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2020, 12:49:10 pm »
I mean I do think people are gaming the "system" - see all the political pundits whoring themselves out to whatever mob will have them on Patreon - but I am not sure the issue is complexity. For example is the complexity of fetal biology really what makes someone pro-choice or pro-life? For the former the complexity is all the varied examples where delivering a baby would likely result in adverse outcomes whereas for the latter any argument for complexity is equivalent to trying to justify killing babies.

Well, IIRC, I think the speaker's point was that engagement with morality is generally complex, unless you just take a "my way or the highway" approach.  So, anyone, or anything, offering up a "simplified" view on it can "game" the system, because that sort of approach has a good bit of "intrinsic" value to many people.  That value being, in part, the "pleasure" of not having to think things through, or bear the often uncomfortable results of seeing the world as thoroughly ambiguous, or at least not in some way "objectively" clear.
I am a warrior of ages, Anasurimbor. . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury. -Cet'ingira

sciborg2

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« Reply #6 on: March 03, 2020, 12:19:12 am »
I mean I do think people are gaming the "system" - see all the political pundits whoring themselves out to whatever mob will have them on Patreon - but I am not sure the issue is complexity. For example is the complexity of fetal biology really what makes someone pro-choice or pro-life? For the former the complexity is all the varied examples where delivering a baby would likely result in adverse outcomes whereas for the latter any argument for complexity is equivalent to trying to justify killing babies.

Well, IIRC, I think the speaker's point was that engagement with morality is generally complex, unless you just take a "my way or the highway" approach.  So, anyone, or anything, offering up a "simplified" view on it can "game" the system, because that sort of approach has a good bit of "intrinsic" value to many people.  That value being, in part, the "pleasure" of not having to think things through, or bear the often uncomfortable results of seeing the world as thoroughly ambiguous, or at least not in some way "objectively" clear.

I guess this depends on what we mean by complexity - is it that situations are complex or morality is complex? I think most people have principles they feel are important with some of these being shifted depending on context. For example "stealing is wrong" can be mitigated by circumstance, whereas "raping a child is wrong" is one of those things that is wrong no matter context.

I do think where we go wrong is assuming morality that is clear to us now is somehow evident across ages, versus the flip side that morality is relative. As a "Hermeticist" w.r.t morality I think moral truths are out there but obfuscated. [So the relativist is wrong but so is the Platonist to an extent.]

To give an example, was reading a murder mystery written in the 50s where the characters end up debating homosexuality. While the authorial tone seems to suggest being gay isn't "Evil" with a capital E it is an erroneous choice. At first glance I could say, "wow what a homophobe!" but my own opinions about homosexuality started with believing gays were as fictional as unicorns to thinking it was some odd lifestyle [of the mentally ill]. I only figured homosexuality was something worthy of civil rights after watching the movie Philadelphia.

So this author's moral grasp in 1950 would, arguably, be better than my own as he could see farther through greater fog. But it also gets into the question of moral transference - since morality is always a set of qualia how do we even convert people to the right way of thinking? What does it mean to instill moral principles?
« Last Edit: March 03, 2020, 12:24:13 am by sciborg2 »

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« Reply #7 on: March 03, 2020, 01:12:51 pm »
I guess this depends on what we mean by complexity - is it that situations are complex or morality is complex?

Well, I think I mean, more so, that both are complex, because Being is complex.  That simply flows from the issue that the Universe itself (whatever that is) is complex.  It's all complex, we just do all sorts of things to "flatten" it, by heusitics, by concepts, and so on, so that we can get anything done at all.

Quote
I do think where we go wrong is assuming morality that is clear to us now is somehow evident across ages, versus the flip side that morality is relative. As a "Hermeticist" w.r.t morality I think moral truths are out there but obfuscated. [So the relativist is wrong but so is the Platonist to an extent.]

I don't know, I'm not sure how to summarize my views.  I do agree with you final point, that the relativist and the Platonist are both incorrect, because I don't think there are "moral truths" just waiting "out there" but I also do not think that it's just a fun-to-go where everything is "relative" and there isn't anything to Ground anything.

For example, I read this paper: Why I am an Objectivist about Ethics (And Why You Are, Too) and while I was agreeing at points, I disagree in the end (I think).  But I am probably working with a different notion of what "Objective" means.  Really, I'd take more of a hard-line and say Objective as the paper wants to use it, isn't an opposite of Subjective, but rather means something more of "reaching an objective" that is, a goal.

In that sense, I could see the point being made then.

Quote
To give an example, was reading a murder mystery written in the 50s where the characters end up debating homosexuality. While the authorial tone seems to suggest being gay isn't "Evil" with a capital E it is an erroneous choice. At first glance I could say, "wow what a homophobe!" but my own opinions about homosexuality started with believing gays were as fictional as unicorns to thinking it was some odd lifestyle [of the mentally ill]. I only figured homosexuality was something worthy of civil rights after watching the movie Philadelphia.

So this author's moral grasp in 1950 would, arguably, be better than my own as he could see farther through greater fog. But it also gets into the question of moral transference - since morality is always a set of qualia how do we even convert people to the right way of thinking? What does it mean to instill moral principles?

That is the crux though, right?  Is there a "right way" of thinking?  Isn't it all just sorts of "normative claims" all the way down?

See, what is why, above, I can't take "Objective" to mean anything like a thing-in-itself, a non-Subjective.  Rather, I can only really take it seriously as a "goal-orientation."  So, where the 1950's wanted to make the claim that homosexuality is an "error" based on the normative stance that a romantic relationship's "objective" (read: goal) is procreation.  From that line of thinking, you can surely make the case that is rational to then conclude it is an "error."

The thing is, what if we don't share that goal?  What if we have different "objectives?"  What happens to that "Objective" morality?

OK, this is probably a bit too much for a pre-coffee rant.  Hopefully there is something lucid in here that can be salvaged.
I am a warrior of ages, Anasurimbor. . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury. -Cet'ingira

sciborg2

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« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2020, 08:44:50 pm »
I guess this depends on what we mean by complexity - is it that situations are complex or morality is complex?

Well, I think I mean, more so, that both are complex, because Being is complex.  That simply flows from the issue that the Universe itself (whatever that is) is complex.  It's all complex, we just do all sorts of things to "flatten" it, by heusitics, by concepts, and so on, so that we can get anything done at all.

Quote
I do think where we go wrong is assuming morality that is clear to us now is somehow evident across ages, versus the flip side that morality is relative. As a "Hermeticist" w.r.t morality I think moral truths are out there but obfuscated. [So the relativist is wrong but so is the Platonist to an extent.]

I don't know, I'm not sure how to summarize my views.  I do agree with you final point, that the relativist and the Platonist are both incorrect, because I don't think there are "moral truths" just waiting "out there" but I also do not think that it's just a fun-to-go where everything is "relative" and there isn't anything to Ground anything.

For example, I read this paper: Why I am an Objectivist about Ethics (And Why You Are, Too) and while I was agreeing at points, I disagree in the end (I think).  But I am probably working with a different notion of what "Objective" means.  Really, I'd take more of a hard-line and say Objective as the paper wants to use it, isn't an opposite of Subjective, but rather means something more of "reaching an objective" that is, a goal.

In that sense, I could see the point being made then.

Quote
To give an example, was reading a murder mystery written in the 50s where the characters end up debating homosexuality. While the authorial tone seems to suggest being gay isn't "Evil" with a capital E it is an erroneous choice. At first glance I could say, "wow what a homophobe!" but my own opinions about homosexuality started with believing gays were as fictional as unicorns to thinking it was some odd lifestyle [of the mentally ill]. I only figured homosexuality was something worthy of civil rights after watching the movie Philadelphia.

So this author's moral grasp in 1950 would, arguably, be better than my own as he could see farther through greater fog. But it also gets into the question of moral transference - since morality is always a set of qualia how do we even convert people to the right way of thinking? What does it mean to instill moral principles?

That is the crux though, right?  Is there a "right way" of thinking?  Isn't it all just sorts of "normative claims" all the way down?

See, what is why, above, I can't take "Objective" to mean anything like a thing-in-itself, a non-Subjective.  Rather, I can only really take it seriously as a "goal-orientation."  So, where the 1950's wanted to make the claim that homosexuality is an "error" based on the normative stance that a romantic relationship's "objective" (read: goal) is procreation.  From that line of thinking, you can surely make the case that is rational to then conclude it is an "error."

The thing is, what if we don't share that goal?  What if we have different "objectives?"  What happens to that "Objective" morality?

OK, this is probably a bit too much for a pre-coffee rant.  Hopefully there is something lucid in here that can be salvaged.

Question - do you think the statement "It's wrong to rape a child" is dependent on cultures and goals or is it as true today as it was in antiquity and will be as true in when we're past the Singularity?


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« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2020, 09:01:38 pm »
Question - do you think the statement "It's wrong to rape a child" is dependent on cultures and goals or is it as true today as it was in antiquity and will be as true in when we're past the Singularity?

You bait me with a loaded question,  ;D

I think it does depend on something.  Now, if we want to call whatever that is culture, then sure.  The thing, to me, is that it depends on whatever it is that "tells" us that children are valuable things to be protected.  I mean, consider, if somehow someone was a member of a society of people for whom there was no value to children for some reason, then it would likely not be normative to ascribe any particular sentiment or moral value to your given case, right?

In the end though, I think we are probably working with differing ideas of Objective though.  To me, we might be able to get at something "objective seeming" but never the Objective in-itself.  In this way, morals might seem objective, in so far as they lack the distinct subjective quality.  To me, though, that doesn't make morals objective, rather something more like a collective or shared subjective ground (maybe).
I am a warrior of ages, Anasurimbor. . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury. -Cet'ingira

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« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2020, 09:33:08 pm »
Question - do you think the statement "It's wrong to rape a child" is dependent on cultures and goals or is it as true today as it was in antiquity and will be as true in when we're past the Singularity?

You bait me with a loaded question,  ;D

I think it does depend on something.  Now, if we want to call whatever that is culture, then sure.  The thing, to me, is that it depends on whatever it is that "tells" us that children are valuable things to be protected.  I mean, consider, if somehow someone was a member of a society of people for whom there was no value to children for some reason, then it would likely not be normative to ascribe any particular sentiment or moral value to your given case, right?

In the end though, I think we are probably working with differing ideas of Objective though.  To me, we might be able to get at something "objective seeming" but never the Objective in-itself.  In this way, morals might seem objective, in so far as they lack the distinct subjective quality.  To me, though, that doesn't make morals objective, rather something more like a collective or shared subjective ground (maybe).

So if you were transported to a culture that celebrated child rape you wouldn't try to change the system?

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« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2020, 09:48:12 pm »
So if you were transported to a culture that celebrated child rape you wouldn't try to change the system?

Well, of course I would, but that is because I am already "raised into" a different set of normative expectations.  That is, I am already a product of a different system.  I could label my view as "objective" but what makes it demonstrably so?

Unless I could point to something at least "objective seeming" like a goal, or something, I could likely make the case that there is something immoral about it.  But if I were to just say, "that's not right" on what am I going to be basing that other than subjective valuation?

I just don't see how anything could be a "pure" objectively moral.  You need subjectivity to even have a notion of the moral.  I'd see it as a related, but ultimately still different, case if we want to say that moral can have an "objective seeming" ground.  But again, that would not make morality objective, rather, we are just beginning with a ground that seems so.

Does this distinction make sense?  Not a rhetorical question, it seems so to me, but I am not sure I am making the case in a way that is understandable.
I am a warrior of ages, Anasurimbor. . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury. -Cet'ingira

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« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2020, 01:00:11 am »
So if you were transported to a culture that celebrated child rape you wouldn't try to change the system?

Well, of course I would, but that is because I am already "raised into" a different set of normative expectations.  That is, I am already a product of a different system.  I could label my view as "objective" but what makes it demonstrably so?

Unless I could point to something at least "objective seeming" like a goal, or something, I could likely make the case that there is something immoral about it.  But if I were to just say, "that's not right" on what am I going to be basing that other than subjective valuation?

I just don't see how anything could be a "pure" objectively moral.  You need subjectivity to even have a notion of the moral.  I'd see it as a related, but ultimately still different, case if we want to say that moral can have an "objective seeming" ground.  But again, that would not make morality objective, rather, we are just beginning with a ground that seems so.

Does this distinction make sense?  Not a rhetorical question, it seems so to me, but I am not sure I am making the case in a way that is understandable.

It seems to me like you're saying that while it would feel visceral, the moral quales would just have to be conditioned...but this seems like - to rephrase - that while you do feel visceral moral quales that seem closer to mathematical truths than gustatory preferences you cannot reconcile this notion of Truth with a picture of the world you're holding in your head?

But if the issue with moral and mathematical truth claims is they rely on subjective feeling arguably distinct from and removed from whatever the Actual is...then how much more removed is the intellectual picture of the world you're constructing from your philosophical reading?

Another way of looking at it from the Tart Toter in Adventure Time** ->

This cosmic dance of bursting decadence
and withheld permissions twists all our arms collectively,
but if sweetness can win, and it can,
then I’ll still be here tomorrow, 
to high five you yesterday my friend.

Peace


**One of the great anti-mechanistic, pro-initatory works of our time
« Last Edit: March 04, 2020, 01:35:56 am by sciborg2 »

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« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2020, 01:47:55 pm »
It seems to me like you're saying that while it would feel visceral, the moral quales would just have to be conditioned...but this seems like - to rephrase - that while you do feel visceral moral quales that seem closer to mathematical truths than gustatory preferences you cannot reconcile this notion of Truth with a picture of the world you're holding in your head?

I think it would be more with the notion of Objectivity or the Objective in-itself I hold.  To me, I still can't wrap my head around how, even if morality were Objective, that we would access them without somehow Subjectively evaluating, or valuating, them.  In this case, while there might have been a moral Noumenal from which the moral Phenomena might thus flow, what can we justifiably say that we know of the Noumenal, when all we have access to is the Phenomenal?

There seems to me to be only two options, we either assume the Noumenal (Objective) and the Phenomenal (Subjective) are the same, or we assume they are not the same.  The issue though, to me, is that no matter which we choose, we are still just assuming.  This is why, to me, while we might make the claim that we ground this, or that moral principle in the Objective, there is no way we are, since all we actually have is the Subjective experience not immediate access to the Objective in-itself.

So, I am still lost how, even if there is Objective Morality, we might come to know it?  All we could, as far as I could tell, Subjectively evaluate the Objective at which point it is no longer Objective, but mediated by Subjectivity.

Quote
But if the issue with moral and mathematical truth claims is they rely on subjective feeling arguably distinct from and removed from whatever the Actual is...then how much more removed is the intellectual picture of the world you're constructing from your philosophical reading?

Hmm, well, I am certainly not making the case that I have access to the Objective, or Noumenal, at all.  At best, all I could possibly claim is to document the disconnect (or possible disconnect) between the Phenomenal and the Noumenal.  I could not say what the Actual is, only to say that I don't see how we could have anything but mediated access to it.

Then that leaves us in the same sort of place that Euthyphro was, right?  We'd claim the moral is moral because the Objective Moral tells us so, yet, the only way we'd know those via some Subjective method, no?  Then we are still in the same place we were before, with only Subjective valuation to go off of, whether or not the Objective is "truly" out there or not.
I am a warrior of ages, Anasurimbor. . . ages. I have dipped my nimil in a thousand hearts. I have ridden both against and for the No-God in the great wars that authored this wilderness. I have scaled the ramparts of great Golgotterath, watched the hearts of High Kings break for fury. -Cet'ingira

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« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2020, 09:43:56 pm »
I think it would be more with the notion of Objectivity or the Objective in-itself I hold.  To me, I still can't wrap my head around how, even if morality were Objective, that we would access them without somehow Subjectively evaluating, or valuating, them.  In this case, while there might have been a moral Noumenal from which the moral Phenomena might thus flow, what can we justifiably say that we know of the Noumenal, when all we have access to is the Phenomenal?

There seems to me to be only two options, we either assume the Noumenal (Objective) and the Phenomenal (Subjective) are the same, or we assume they are not the same.  The issue though, to me, is that no matter which we choose, we are still just assuming.  This is why, to me, while we might make the claim that we ground this, or that moral principle in the Objective, there is no way we are, since all we actually have is the Subjective experience not immediate access to the Objective in-itself.

So, I am still lost how, even if there is Objective Morality, we might come to know it?  All we could, as far as I could tell, Subjectively evaluate the Objective at which point it is no longer Objective, but mediated by Subjectivity.

Hmm, well, I am certainly not making the case that I have access to the Objective, or Noumenal, at all.  At best, all I could possibly claim is to document the disconnect (or possible disconnect) between the Phenomenal and the Noumenal.  I could not say what the Actual is, only to say that I don't see how we could have anything but mediated access to it.

Then that leaves us in the same sort of place that Euthyphro was, right?  We'd claim the moral is moral because the Objective Moral tells us so, yet, the only way we'd know those via some Subjective method, no?  Then we are still in the same place we were before, with only Subjective valuation to go off of, whether or not the Objective is "truly" out there or not.

Is the atomic composition of salt subjective? The gravitational constant? The truth of the Pythagorean theorem?

I realize people claim to be suspicious of, say, mathematical truths, all the while confidently relying on the technology born of that mathematics. But to me this is the distinction between the armchair philosophizing of academia and the real world living of truth claims.

That said I would agree we could always be wrong about our morality, based on historical shifts...but then why did moral quales bring about changes in history? We can intellectualize this but moral quales seem of a piece with the quales that ground Reason. To me the statement, "Raping a child is wrong" doesn't seem bound by culture or context, and is as true as Pythagoras' Theorem.

I could be wrong, just as the proofs underlying the algorithms we use for flight could be wrong, just as we could be in the Matrix or this could all be a dream...but does anyone really take that seriously in their actual course of life besides maybe the insane?

As for Euthyphro, I think that specifically is an argument against Divine Command given Plato had no qualms with making a distinction between the Good and mere sophistry. Of course Plato also realized that getting to the Good was itself not an easy task...and he did seem pretty okay with slaver if not some pedo shit...
« Last Edit: March 04, 2020, 09:47:26 pm by sciborg2 »