Is there a name in the philosophical literature to the belief I hold, namely that moral statements, even if true, are useless, since just because something is good doesn't mean it will happen?

And are there any philosophers who subscribe to that view?

Because if I am the only one, that would mean I have a monopoly on a true fact, and I will be proud of it.

This is part of my larger belief system that counterfactual statements do not have truth values, or if they do have truth values, they are vacuously true because the antecedent is true. And I construe morality as one type of counterfactual statements, namely, "The world would be a better place if X happened". If I am the only person who believes that, I would feel very proud.

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    While I think I get the idea of what you're proposing, there's a couple points where I'm not following your logic here. For instance, the claim "moral statements even if true are useless" sounds like something that either Hegel or the logical positivists (specifically AJ Ayer) said, but it has very different meanings in both cases, neither of which necessarily connects to the "since just because something is good doesn't mean it will happen", because I don't know any moral theory that suggests "ought implies does" – virmaior May 20 '15 at 13:12
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    You also seem to be hiding the hard work in your last paragraph under the "better" descriptor. Whatever helps makes something "better" would seem to imply some other parameter is at work in morality than just a counterfactual about the world. – virmaior May 20 '15 at 13:13
  • Believing something unique is very easy. Believing something unique and true is very, very, difficult. – Ask About Monica May 20 '15 at 15:33

There is an approach to all modal logics that says all modal statements are all true and meaningless without appropriate context. If I say X might happen, I need to additionally qualify 'might': What range of possibilities am I talking about? The range in which the Big Bang is possible? Or the range in which black pegasus centaurs rule the world?

In that sense, all moral statements are always both true and meaningless. There is likely to be someone for whom reckless murder is morally obligatory in the presence of blue curtains. If there isn't, we can easily imagine him. He is a fun guy -- if you avoid blue curtains. As a person with maroon curtains, who am I to argue with him? I will just avoid being around both him and blue curtains until the men in white suits take care of him for me.

Your deduction contains a layering of two modalities: necessity and obligation. To be saying anything, you have to inject a context that links the two. Until you say why you think likelihood and morality are linked in this way, your statement is equally true, but meaningless.

Most people do not think the different modalities are very linked at all. In conventional morality there are many things that I should do but won't. And there are even things I should do but can't. If we have agreed that money matters, then when I owe you money, I should pay you. If I can't, that is forgivable but still a minor-league failing to meet an obligation. It has nothing to do with whether or not I ever actually pay you, it has to do with whether we agree on the rules of money.

At the same time, if you consider all statements meaningless that are not descriptions of the past or predictions of the future, that is merely physicalism as a moral position. If you take it seriously, given that most places have a legal system, and consequently nothing motivates you to act on certain modal statements, however meaningless they might be in absolute terms, you will probably eventually end up confined.

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  • "The good that I would do, I do not. And what I would not, that I do." Romans 7:19 – user16869 Apr 22 '16 at 2:07

You need to read about politic pragmatism, i.e., you need to read Rorty and his irony. He defend, partially, what you said.

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  • Greetings. Is this meant as a comment on the question or an answer? It does not seem sufficient on its own to stand as an answer. – virmaior Jun 12 '15 at 0:15

The idea of moral incoherentism formulated by D. Loeb (described in "Moral Incoherentism: How to Pull a Metaphysical Rabbit out of a Semantic Hat") may be relevant. In it he argues that the (seemingly) intractable issues in metaethics imply that the idea of morality is incoherent.

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