Moral Relativity?

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 NEXT
 

Logiclul:
Well the guy really makes my sister happy. And I don't really know if her judgment is wrong or not, I just know that in my opinion it likely is. Also if I'm defending her rights, shouldn't I be allowing her the right to make her own decisions (she is 18 and an adult, after all). He has made others girls happy before and still turned rotten though.

It seems like subjectively I should intervene, but objectively I should not.

It sounds like you are just trying to be a good bro (which is what I would do). While you may say that my point will sound like i'm advocating subjectivity, just hear me out.

What I would do is discuss it with her, tell her your thoughts, your concerns, your reasonings, and ask her to not go with him. At this point you have done all in your respective power to defend her, but the choice is ultimately with her. While you have obeyed a moral law, you need not be concered how it turns out (in respect to obedience. as a brother you should be very concerned.)

What I'm driving at is this: Whether or not she decides to go with the "jerk" or not, if you have done everything in your power (that is, not having gone to the point where you have to force her) to defend by informing her then you have lived by that objective standard. Regardless of what happens next, you still did it. And therefore it can vary on a case by case basis, but the requirement is still to obey the moral law.

deepseadiver:

I apologize. In hindsight I realize I may have let my emotions run rampant. @chadachada. I hope you will forgive my thoughtless jab at you and your views. While I maintain that we will never agree, I will try to be more cordial (and realistic) in future.

Hey deepseadiver, I noticed earlier that you have a way of explaining yourself clearly and not getting off topic. Thanks for keeping this discussion readable, because ethics is a fantastic topic and fun to argue about. I've only read the first page, your posts and those responding to your posts, because I can't understand most of the other arguments being made. I'd like to throw a couple of points into this discussion and as you put it, give it a little more meat. I'm not too skilled at making clear points, so I copied some words from a philosopher that I believe makes a pretty strong argument against moral relativism. I know it's not your position, but Logiclul if you want to address it or if someone else wants to address it, please do.

The moral relativist believes that ethical truths are relative to groups smaller than humanity as a whole. Moral relativism is the view that what determines the truth or falsity of moral beliefs is just what is endorsed by the prevailing culture. According to moral relativism, moral truths are made by the dominant view in a society, not merely propagated by the dominant culture.

To allow just one fundamental universal ethical truth that is independent of the say so of individuals or groups is to abandon relativism in favor of a realist view of ethical truth.

Sometimes our view about the moral status of some practice changes. A person might, for instance, think that eating meat is morally unproblematic at one time and then become convinced that animals deserve some kind of moral regard that speaks against eating meat. When a person's moral views change in this fashion, they do not merely drop one moral belief in favor of another. Typically, they also hold that their previous moral view was mistaken. They take themselves to have discovered something new about what is morally right. Likewise, then the prevalent moral belief in a society undergoes a significant change, as in the civil rights movement, we are inclined to see this as a change for the better. But the relativist cannot account for changes in our moral beliefs being changes for the better. This is because the relativist recognizes no independent standard of goodness against which the new prevalent moral beliefs can be judged to be better than the old prevalent moral beliefs.

A closely related problem for moral relativism is the moral reformer's dilemma. We recognize a few remarkable individuals as moral reformers, people who, we think, improved the moral condition of their society in some way. Common examples might include, Buddha, Jesus, Ghandi or Martin Luther King. While the relativist can allow that these individuals changed the moral views of their societies, none can be said to have changed their societies for the better according to the relativist. Again, this is because the societal moral relativist recognizes no standard of moral goodness independent of what is accepted in a society according to which a society that has changed can be judged to have changed for the better. A relativist that takes ethical truth to be relative to the dominant view in a society seems to be committed to taking institutionalized racism to be morally right relative to per-civil rights American society and wrong relative to post civil rights American society. But since standards of goodness are determined by the prevalent views in a society, there is no standard goodness to appeal to in judging that the change our society underwent in the civil rights movement is a change for the better. According to societal moral relativism, anyone who takes Martin Luther King to have improved American society by leading it to reject institutionalized racism is just mistaken about the nature of ethical truth.

http://personal.bellevuecollege.edu/wpayne/Moral%20Relativism.htm

Do moral relativists believe that no society can change for the better? Are we just as moral now as we were in slavery days or when we were living in tribes? Are the Nazis morally justified? I believe not. Happy MLK day everybody!

Edit: A lot of people are arguing for individual moral relativism. I would then ask, is it possible to grow as an individual and become a better person? Why should one work harder or improve the lives of those around him if it is equally moral not to? If one always chooses to do the right thing from somewhere within himself, what is the source of that preference, and is it common among men?

Glass Joe:

Do moral relativists believe that no society can change for the better? Are we just as moral now as we were in slavery days or when we were living in tribes? Are the Nazis morally justified? I believe not. Happy MLK day everybody!

Hey there.

Just wanted to say I think you made an excellent point which I had never even considered before.

Basically, the concept of society bettering itself is non-existent to a moral relativist. And I'm willing to bet they don't realize that...

Cheers.

@Glass Joe. Well chap, I am truly honored. Thanks for the encouragement. You make some very good points. I wish I could state them better, but, alas, I cannot.

To all you other gents out there. I need to go, but when I get back I hope to continue.

Thanks all for a jolly good talk!

Hopefully I can rejoin soon.

Cheers!

MonkeyGH:

chadachada123:
If you were even beyond grade school, you would know that the burden of proof is not on the non-believers. YOU are the one making the assertion that an untouchable being with no physical (or logical) evidence exists, and YOU are the one that must provide proof without looking like a fool. The same is to be said of unicorns, etc. It is all well and possible that unicorns, ghosts, and gods exist, but without evidence, it is asinine (to say the least) to try and say that it is OUR job to convince you that something which already has no evidence does not, in fact, exist. You're free to believe in fairies or whatever else you'd like, but when you are telling other people that these things exist, it is entirely your job to provide proof, and if none is provided, the logical choice of these other people is to deny your claims as unsupported.

You are not a seasoned debater. You know nothing of logical fallacies. If you do know of them, you are choosing to ignore them to make your claim seem more feasible, or at least to place doubt in the realm of science.

By me even answering you, it gives the impression that your "ideas" are on equal footing as mine. It is akin to a geologist speaking to a flat-earther at a live debate, as if the flat-earther is anything but a closed-minded person with no understanding of simple logic, let alone the arguments for morality or the existence of gods.

*Whistles* That's quite the statement. I'm a Bible-believing Christian as well, which is why I opposed the idea of subjective morality in the first place. By the way, I appreciate the implication that I'm not yet in grade school. ;)

I've always seen the evidence of God's existence as self-evident. Look out a window and you'll see trees, grass growing, various facets of nature. His creation declares his existence, because something created implies a creator. I do not believe that the big bang theory is an adequate explanation for what we behold today in nature simply because you cannot have absolute nothingness produce something. Physical impossibility in it's most basic form.

The only logical conclusion a person can make is that you need something that never had a beginning.

Hold on now, you weren't the one that started saying "God exists, but the burden's on you atheists to disprove it," the other poster was. THAT's what I said is indicative of grade school logic, not the mere belief in god. The misplacing of burden of proof and/or trying to proselytize without proof is what's childish, neither of which you seem to be doing.

(There actually is a physical explanation that could create a big bang from "nothing," because quantum mechanics blah blah blah fluctuations blah blah vacuum energy, there's an awesome video by Lawrence Krauss that explains it pretty well, but it's an hour long) (So, yeah, it's possible for the universe to have arisen from "nothing," nothing except the laws of physics and chance).

chadachada123:

MonkeyGH:

chadachada123:
If you were even beyond grade school, you would know that the burden of proof is not on the non-believers. YOU are the one making the assertion that an untouchable being with no physical (or logical) evidence exists, and YOU are the one that must provide proof without looking like a fool. The same is to be said of unicorns, etc. It is all well and possible that unicorns, ghosts, and gods exist, but without evidence, it is asinine (to say the least) to try and say that it is OUR job to convince you that something which already has no evidence does not, in fact, exist. You're free to believe in fairies or whatever else you'd like, but when you are telling other people that these things exist, it is entirely your job to provide proof, and if none is provided, the logical choice of these other people is to deny your claims as unsupported.

You are not a seasoned debater. You know nothing of logical fallacies. If you do know of them, you are choosing to ignore them to make your claim seem more feasible, or at least to place doubt in the realm of science.

By me even answering you, it gives the impression that your "ideas" are on equal footing as mine. It is akin to a geologist speaking to a flat-earther at a live debate, as if the flat-earther is anything but a closed-minded person with no understanding of simple logic, let alone the arguments for morality or the existence of gods.

*Whistles* That's quite the statement. I'm a Bible-believing Christian as well, which is why I opposed the idea of subjective morality in the first place. By the way, I appreciate the implication that I'm not yet in grade school. ;)

I've always seen the evidence of God's existence as self-evident. Look out a window and you'll see trees, grass growing, various facets of nature. His creation declares his existence, because something created implies a creator. I do not believe that the big bang theory is an adequate explanation for what we behold today in nature simply because you cannot have absolute nothingness produce something. Physical impossibility in it's most basic form.

The only logical conclusion a person can make is that you need something that never had a beginning.

Hold on now, you weren't the one that started saying "God exists, but the burden's on you atheists to disprove it," the other poster was. THAT's what I said is indicative of grade school logic, not the mere belief in god. The misplacing of burden of proof and/or trying to proselytize without proof is what's childish, neither of which you seem to be doing.

(There actually is a physical explanation that could create a big bang from "nothing," because quantum mechanics blah blah blah fluctuations blah blah vacuum energy, there's an awesome video by Lawrence Krauss that explains it pretty well, but it's an hour long) (So, yeah, it's possible for the universe to have arisen from "nothing," nothing except the laws of physics and chance).

What did the laws of Physics and the laws of Chance arise from?

chadachada123:
Lot's of words

Okay, then no harm done.

However if the universe needed the existence of the Laws of Physics and the Laws of Chance to already be in existence to work, that's not really nothing, is it? :)

Also, like deepseadiver said, where did those come from in the first place?

MonkeyGH:

Glass Joe:

Do moral relativists believe that no society can change for the better? Are we just as moral now as we were in slavery days or when we were living in tribes? Are the Nazis morally justified? I believe not. Happy MLK day everybody!

Hey there.

Just wanted to say I think you made an excellent point which I had never even considered before.

Basically, the concept of society bettering itself is non-existent to a moral relativist. And I'm willing to bet they don't realize that...

Cheers.

On the contrary. Nihilists like myself are very aware of this particular caveat...

deepseadiver:
What did the laws of Physics and the laws of Chance arise from?

MonkeyGH:

Okay, then no harm done.

However if the universe needed the existence of the Laws of Physics and the Laws of Chance to already be in existence to work, that's not really nothing, is it? :)

Also, like deepseadiver said, where did those come from in the first place?

I would also like to point out that the concept of proof being the burden of one party or another doesn't necessarily apply to speculative topics like metaphysics. Who has the burden of proof is another argument all together, but for the sake of finding a real solution I believe it would make sense for both parties to provide evidence for and against each other's claims respectively.

So since I do not believe our morals come from divine command, MonkeyGH and deepseadiver, my question to you both is this. Is what is moral moral because it is a reflection of God's nature, or is God's nature a reflection of what is moral?

If all of a sudden, it became clear that God was commanding us to torture innocent puppies, would it become morally permissible to do so? Or would God never command us to torture innocent puppies because it is immoral and God is morally perfect?

Also thanks for the kind words about my earlier post, this stuff is really fascinating to me.

Kaulen Fuhs:
On the contrary. Nihilists like myself are very aware of this particular caveat...

Oh no, nihilists are crazy. Dark philosophy man bad juju.

Let's not confuse "moral relativity" with "extenuating circumstances"--that can get tricky. But assuming that's not at hand, moral relativity is generally bullshit in how it's applied. It usually boils down to "well it's okay because that's how they normally/usually/always do it over there" or some justification for "we shouldn't be intervening because X is just their way of life," even when X is things like throwing people in prison for being gay or granting almost no rights to women or deciding that "hey, you have not lived up to my expectations as a son/daughter/brother/sister, so I am duty-bound to kill you" or the like. On small things, like whether you shake someone's hand or bow or do the kiss-on-the-cheek business, moral relativity (if even applicable) is not of any consequence, since no one is anything more than somewhat awkward after getting one when expecting another. But when it comes to something that is actively infringing on someone's rights or actively harming someone (murder, violence, rape, any form of abuse, theft, defamation, etc), it's absolutely wrong--but, let's not forget those magical words, "extenuating circumstances." It's why things like murder in self-defense is acceptable, or stealing a loaf of bread to feed your starving family, or hitting someone because you had good reason to believe they were going to hurt you in some way.

But as pertains to this topic: trying to argue that moral relativity in the sense of "well MY morals dictate X so it's okay for me to do X" is absolutely bullshit, and people trying to pass that off as justification are idiots. Yes, harsh wording, but I stand by it. It's an immature, childish, selfish, egocentric and frankly ignorant viewpoint to take.

Oh no... have we hit the religion point now? I was hoping it would, you know, last longer before this changed from an objectivist/subjectivist/whateverist argument into a religious one. I'm sort of torn on whether or not I should jump in or backpedal.

So I won't do either, I'll wait until someone else does that. Although I don't think I've ever been in a proper religious debate, so when it eventually gets there, that'll be fun.

Maybe if it gets into the religious bit, it could keep the OT in mind?

Ah well, 'night all.

EDIT: Oh look, we're back on track, never mind!

Re-EDIT: Or not. Well, maybe we'll get both.

deepseadiver:
one cannot believe part of the Bible, and not believe another part. The book was not written like that. I thank you for your acknowledgemnt of it, but I ask: what is the point of taking any morals whatsoever if you are just going to pick and choose?

The Bible was not written as a cohesive book. It was cobbled together from a group of religious texts by the Council of Nicea in 325 ACE. The very process that created the "Bible" is the very process you clain that one, including yourself (presumably) cannot do.

Some texts were direguarded while others of questionable sources were included. Over the years even the very institutions that claim the authority to preserve and enforce the "absolute" nature of Bible have picked and choosed from the Bible.

Marriage was largely a part of major buisness deals and conflict resolution. It had little to do with love or procreation. The author of most of the New Testament, Paul, even said that sex is an abomination. If you must indulge in it get married, or castrate yourself in order to save yourself from that abomination. Now the modern church is claiming that God wants you to get married, to have sex, and to have lots of babies. Gone is the sacred tradition of castration to save yourself from the abomination of sex.

Naeo:
But as pertains to this topic: trying to argue that moral relativity in the sense of "well MY morals dictate X so it's okay for me to do X" is absolutely bullshit, and people trying to pass that off as justification are idiots. Yes, harsh wording, but I stand by it. It's an immature, childish, selfish, egocentric and frankly ignorant viewpoint to take.

Yeah, going to jump in here and deliver something succinct, that's something that gets thrown around a lot and is pretty silly.

1) If you believe it's morally acceptable to kill puppies, well, you'll probably think it's okay to do so, so I guess such a person would actually argue that way.
2) Despite your claims to morality, the law will still punish you, not on the grounds of morality, but on the grounds of you being a public menace, a danger to others, in need of rehabilitation, to make you an example, a violator of animal rights, etc. The law will punish you for the common good, and it will do so because that's the reasonable thing to do in the situation, even if morality is taken out of the question.

Smiley Face:

Jarimir:

Smiley Face:
What I Said

I'll take your challenge!

It is immoral to intentionally and/or knowingly harm another innocent and nonthreatening person for your own amusement or benefit. It is moral to help another person especially when not expecting nor are otherwise aware of a direct and immediate return benefit for yourself.

Here's the proof that I can think of:

1. Having someone harm you certainly is detrimental to your own life and goals.
2. A population of individuals that ONLY harm each other for personal gain WILL NOT be able to achieve things that a group of cooperative individuals CAN achieve.
3. I cannot think of a single aspect of human progress that DIDNT result through cooperation and wasnt built upon achievements derived from previous acts of cooperation.
4. Social animals benefit from cooperation, even if not every individual cooperates fully, or even if the "rules" of that cooperation are not as complete as they could be.
5. Even solitary animals abide by "rules" that have evolved to reduce or mitigate one individual's ability to harm another. Things like "territory" and mating. How would there be any tigers if every tiger killed every other tiger in their vicinity?
6. Helping another person increases the odds that they will be able to help you in the future.
7. A population of individuals made fit and stable by mutual cooperation will be in a better possition to cooperate and achieve goals in the future.

Here's a RL example of the last point that addresses a debate raging in my country currently. A rich man paying taxes that are used to help feed a family through food stamps. Individuals in that family are able to survive and grow. Those taxes support an education system used by those individuals who in turn are able to build the roads the rich man drives on, build the house he lives in, and buy the products that his company sells from the money they are able to earn. Further tax revnue provides subsidies for higher education, producing skilled laborers for the rich man's company to hire.

How "rich" would this man be- if he had no road to drive on or had to build it himself, if he had no car to drive or had to build it himself, if he had no house to live in or had to build it himself, if everyone around him had to steal things from him in order to survive, if no one bought the products his company sold, or if there were no skilled labor for his company to hire?

Here's the thing - everything you've said is true, except that what you're describing isn't objective morality. It's the way a good (not 'morally good', but 'this pie is good') society functions. People construct a society that promotes 'the common good', but this ISN'T because they have the Big Book of GOOD and EVIL, which tells them what to do, and they do it 'Because that's the way things are' - which, by the way, is what moral objectivists do, to some extent or another - rather, society is constructed to work towards the common good because it's in everyone's best interest.

Knowingly harming an innocent isn't bad because there is a law of the universe, in the same way that there is a law of gravity, that IT IS BAD - it's just STUPID. Most people don't want a society where that can happen, and as such things are in a state that you're going to get the law to come down on you, and there's no real damn point to what you're doing in the first place. Note that the key factor here is that all of these judgements are being made BY PEOPLE - and before anyone goes there, no, the law cannot be defined as objective morality, I've already explained why.

I honestly see some views of objective morality as a sort of later-life ideological handholding - people can't realize that doing good is something they should want to do, so the 'objective morality' idea keeps them in line until they throw it away and replace it with something better, like, I don't know, REASON.

Or, to provide another form of argument, I'm invoking Occam's Razor. If 'moral behaviour' can be entirely explained by people acting with some common sense, tacking on a wishy-washy system of judgements that you say are ALWAYS ALWAYS TRUE, FOR ALL TIME, is superfluous, contrived, and laughable.

Why does "objectivity" have to conflict with "practicality". Why couldnt the practical nature of a course of actions REINFORCE the objective nature of those same actions?

Also you dont need a "Big Book of GOOD and EVIL". I've summed it up in 2 sentences. Perhaps we could BOTH AGREE that anything beyond that is indeed "superfluous, contrived, and laughable".

Here's how to work around the "subjective morality" when it comes to stuff like murder.

"My morality teaches me that murder is okay, because morality is subjective."

"Well, MY morality is every bit as valid as yours (because subjective=subjective) and it says that murder is not okay. Since I have the power to send you to prison for murder, I'm going to do that now. Have fun debating subjective morality in prison, because in the end the power given to me by the populace speaks louder than your beliefs."

And, natch, there is the whole thing about how you can believe whatever you want, but when your beliefs actively harm other people, somebody is going to step in and stop you.

Jarimir:

Smiley Face:
Quotes-within-quotes and lots of text and stuff

Why does "objectivity" have to conflict with "practicality". Why couldnt the practical nature of a course of actions REINFORCE the objective nature of those same actions?

Also you dont need a "Big Book of GOOD and EVIL". I've summed it up in 2 sentences. Perhaps we could BOTH AGREE that anything beyond that is indeed "superfluous, contrived, and laughable".

Here's the thing though - you have summed up some of the most basic tenets of conventional morality (I assume by your '2 sentences' you mean when you said "It is immoral to intentionally and/or knowingly harm another innocent and nonthreatening person for your own amusement or benefit. It is moral to help another person especially when not expecting nor are otherwise aware of a direct and immediate return benefit for yourself.")

The problem is that, while this is your opinion, it isn't a fact. You have to prove that this is a truth about the nature of reality on the same level that the laws of gravity are if you want it to be objective truth. I could agree that those are good things. Everyone in the whole world could agree those are good things. But doing that doesn't make them a universal law in the same way that gravity is. Objective morality means that there are answers to what is right and wrong that apply to everyone, at every time, from every culture. These answers can never change, and have to actually be built in to reality, because if they're not, they're just part of the subjective human experience. Moreover, in order to make any claims about them, you have to be able to demonstrate the actuality and the nature of this moral-rules-built-into-reality thing. You haven't done that.

Religions try to get around this by going 'God says X is right and Y is wrong', and using that as their objective standard. This runs into problems in that it's tricky to prove that what you're touting stems directly and unalteredly from a divine force and not a 1500-year dead liar, and even once you're there you run into the Euthyphro Dilemma that's being thrown around, although that one is, in my opinion, resolvable.

Glass Joe:

Kaulen Fuhs:
On the contrary. Nihilists like myself are very aware of this particular caveat...

Oh no, nihilists are crazy. Dark philosophy man bad juju.

Yeah, I get that a lot :|

Smiley Face:

Jarimir:

Smiley Face:
Quotes-within-quotes and lots of text and stuff

Why does "objectivity" have to conflict with "practicality". Why couldnt the practical nature of a course of actions REINFORCE the objective nature of those same actions?

Also you dont need a "Big Book of GOOD and EVIL". I've summed it up in 2 sentences. Perhaps we could BOTH AGREE that anything beyond that is indeed "superfluous, contrived, and laughable".

Here's the thing though - you have summed up some of the most basic tenets of conventional morality (I assume by your '2 sentences' you mean when you said "It is immoral to intentionally and/or knowingly harm another innocent and nonthreatening person for your own amusement or benefit. It is moral to help another person especially when not expecting nor are otherwise aware of a direct and immediate return benefit for yourself.")

The problem is that, while this is your opinion, it isn't a fact. You have to prove that this is a truth about the nature of reality on the same level that the laws of gravity are if you want it to be objective truth. I could agree that those are good things. Everyone in the whole world could agree those are good things. But doing that doesn't make them a universal law in the same way that gravity is. Objective morality means that there are answers to what is right and wrong that apply to everyone, at every time, from every culture. These answers can never change, and have to actually be built in to reality, because if they're not, they're just part of the subjective human experience. Moreover, in order to make any claims about them, you have to be able to demonstrate the actuality and the nature of this moral-rules-built-into-reality thing. You haven't done that.

Religions try to get around this by going 'God says X is right and Y is wrong', and using that as their objective standard. This runs into problems in that it's tricky to prove that what you're touting stems directly and unalteredly from a divine force and not a 1500-year dead liar, and even once you're there you run into the Euthyphro Dilemma that's being thrown around, although that one is, in my opinion, resolvable.

We have started to prove that through games theory. A variety of senarios have been tested through a large number of simulations and multitude of tweaked variables. I dont believe this research is exhaustive nor has it reached an absolute conclusion. I do believe much more work needs to be done.

Hell, we havent exactly pinned down gravity yet. There are many unanswered questions. There are aspects of the Theory of Gravity that still exist in a purely theoretical relm because we simply cannot recreate the conditions necessary here on earth, nor, are there any phenomena near enough to lend to direct observation. Some scientists believe that gravity acted in a way that is very different than what we observe today durring the early part of the formation of the universe. Others have speculated that gravity stayed the same but another force that we have yet to observe is responsible for the theoretical conclusion that led scientists to believe that gravity behaved differently durring this period.

I have left "God" out of my responses intentionally because, while I do believe in God, His existence has not been scientifically proven. Therefore, any mention of Him or His will has no place in a logical debate. If we can prove the existance and importance of objective morallity without invoking the will of an invisible, magic boogey-man, then it will be many orders of magnitude more powerful and acceptable to a larger segment of the population.

lionrwal:
I was having a discussion with my friend about his justifications for piracy, and he told me a story about "moral relativity." Basically it went that these two people murdered someone, and they claimed that it was because of moral relativity, and the judge gave them a very short sentence instead of life. If you don't know what it is, it's the belief that you can't impose your own morals on someone because there are no set morals for anyone. This was literally his only justification.

I do believe that people have different sets of morals, but I don't buy that someone could believe murder is good.

So what's your take on moral relativity?

Moral (cultural) relativity is a topic of frequent debate between sociologists.

At the moment, it is impossible to prove if any morality is hard-wired or environmental, so it's not really worth arguing about.

However, there are completely sane tribes in Africa where the adult males rape the young males at a certain age to "bring them into manhood", there are people who eat their dead, and there are places where beating your wife is commonplace, so the idea that morality could be relative to an environment or culture is not as far-fetched as you make it out to be.

Smiley Face:
The problem is that, while this is your opinion, it isn't a fact. You have to prove that this is a truth about the nature of reality on the same level that the laws of gravity are if you want it to be objective truth. I could agree that those are good things. Everyone in the whole world could agree those are good things. But doing that doesn't make them a universal law in the same way that gravity is. Objective morality means that there are answers to what is right and wrong that apply to everyone, at every time, from every culture. These answers can never change, and have to actually be built in to reality, because if they're not, they're just part of the subjective human experience. Moreover, in order to make any claims about them, you have to be able to demonstrate the actuality and the nature of this moral-rules-built-into-reality thing. You haven't done that.

I fully intend to stay out of this debate, but I have to point out one thing:

You cannot relate gravity to morality. Gravity is a physical, testable effect on reality. Morality is an idea. You can no more prove (or disprove) the existence of objective morality than you can the existence of God. It's purely conceptual, and thus cannot be proven or disproven.

That said, morality is (almost certainly) an evolved trait in the human psyche. It's objective insofar as one's need for socializing is objective. It's simply hardwired into the vast majority of humanity that some things are good and some things are bad. There's plenty of room for debate about the subjectivity of it, as everyone has different reactions to violations of moral guidelines, but every single individual a competent psychologist would declare mentally sound agrees on a handful of salient points. Specifically: "murder is bad" and "protect the children" (amongst others, but these are the most prominent). These have been literally hardwired into our brains through thousands upon thousands of years of evolution.

If that doesn't count as objective standards, this debate cannot ever be decided.

Might have been said before, but I did not read 7 pages of posts.

The problem with relativism is that it is self-defeating beyond a certain point. While it is wise to acknowledge that no opinion, standard or culture is superior in an absolute sense. That is, acknowledged by all to be true.

This is because what constitutes ethics and aesthetics are what W.B. Gallie dubbed 'Essentially Contested Concepts'. If you want to know what he means, get together a random group of ten people, and try to find a definition of 'democracy' or 'beauty' that is completely accepted and adopted by all. You'll see that an absolute definition is impossible.

As for moral relativism, all moral is equal from an Archimedean Point. If you take the view from nowhere, there are no grounds to judge the cannibal for murdering an American prospector, or the American prospector for not murdering and eating the cannibal.

However, and here's the fallacy inherent to (moral) relativism pushed too far: there is no such thing as an Archimedean Point, there is no view from nowhere when human beings are concerned. I think the most extreme moral relativist position you can take that is still viable, is something like this:

You can't morally judge two cannibals in Cannibalistan for murdering and eating an American tourist who was visiting Cannibalistan on his own free will, and who was aware of the cultural habit of eating American tourists.

Or, to put it out of the hypothetical sphere: you can't blame the people in Islamistan for stoning women who went outside without a male family member. But that, too, feels wrong.

So while relativism is (I think) right on an abstract level, if is wrong when translated to every day human practice. And I personally think that all philosophy should serve practical reality, and not the other way around.

Mortai Gravesend:

JoJoDeathunter:

Mortai Gravesend:

But that isn't proof. There is no reason to believe that whatever I desire is somehow an objective moral fact. This is especially evident since people's desires can conflict, so what people want clearly is not a consistent or reliable source for truth. Using what people prefer as a source of truth is quickly dismissed by it being contradictory.

People's desires do conflict, but there is always one single root towards the maximum happiness. I won't pretend to know what that always is, I believe I have a good idea but you would need to know everything to see the best course of action every time.

There's no reason to believe there is one way to maximum happiness. Further, you have yet to establish that maximum happiness is best. So far your only argument for it involves people's desires. But I've pointed out that is a flawed basis to determine truth.

I disagree, by sheer probability what do you think the chances are of two actions leading to exactly the same and highest amount of happiness? Hugely low, even if the difference is tiny that still means there is one best course of action. Maximum happiness is what sentient creatures such as ourselves prefer, if two wishes conflict then the one that will cause the least harm should prevail. I have already established that sentient creatures desire what they prefer, that is an objective fact shown by people aiming for what they want every day.

JoJoDeathunter:

Mortai Gravesend:

JoJoDeathunter:

People's desires do conflict, but there is always one single root towards the maximum happiness. I won't pretend to know what that always is, I believe I have a good idea but you would need to know everything to see the best course of action every time.

There's no reason to believe there is one way to maximum happiness. Further, you have yet to establish that maximum happiness is best. So far your only argument for it involves people's desires. But I've pointed out that is a flawed basis to determine truth.

I disagree, by sheer probability what do you think the chances are of two actions leading to exactly the same and highest amount of happiness? Hugely low, even if the difference is tiny that still means there is one best course of action. Maximum happiness is what sentient creatures such as ourselves prefer, if two wishes conflict then the one that will cause the least harm should prevail. I have already established that sentient creatures desire what they prefer, that is an objective fact shown by people aiming for what they want every day.

Now you're being pretty damn dishonest. I didn't ask you to prove that they desire what they prefer. I asked you to prove that maximum happiness is what is best. And I pointed out that desire and preferrence don't work as a basis for establishing truth. So going on about it being what is desired and/or preferred is irrelevant.

Mortai Gravesend:

JoJoDeathunter:

Mortai Gravesend:

There's no reason to believe there is one way to maximum happiness. Further, you have yet to establish that maximum happiness is best. So far your only argument for it involves people's desires. But I've pointed out that is a flawed basis to determine truth.

I disagree, by sheer probability what do you think the chances are of two actions leading to exactly the same and highest amount of happiness? Hugely low, even if the difference is tiny that still means there is one best course of action. Maximum happiness is what sentient creatures such as ourselves prefer, if two wishes conflict then the one that will cause the least harm should prevail. I have already established that sentient creatures desire what they prefer, that is an objective fact shown by people aiming for what they want every day.

Now you're being pretty damn dishonest.

I'm disappointed, up until now you've argued well without resorting to personal attacks or slurs, unlike several other posters on this thread.

I didn't ask you to prove that they desire what they prefer. I asked you to prove that maximum happiness is what is best. And I pointed out that desire and preferrence don't work as a basis for establishing truth. So going on about it being what is desired and/or preferred is irrelevant.

Sentient creatures want what they prefer. Sentient creatures prefer happiness. Therefore sentient creatures want to be happy. As we are sentient creatures, it therefore makes sense to aim for goals that maximise happiness, so as many sentient creatures will get what they want as possible. The only way this isn't the "best" option is if you ignore our sentient values and desires, which is quite frankly pointless as morality means nothing to a plant or a rock, as useless are trying to study video game design from the point of view of a cheese sandwich.

Jarimir:

Bunnymarn:

Jarimir:

Cut

Cut

So far as I understand the conslusions of certain games theorists, the "possitive value" is a consequence of cooperation. Ignoring results one can say that the action is also possitive, but without taking the effects into account I would say that determination IS subjective.

Your "Island Senario" does bring up some interesting points. However, the "necessary action" leading to "automatic success" (survival) for the other two individuals I feel is a bit contrived or short sighted. What if the individual that is eaten had a disease that then kills the other two? What if the castaways discover that they can build a raft to escape the island but they need 3 people to built it properly, or there is a large creature living on the island or in the surrounding water that requires 3 people to kill it? Then, you have a situation where murder ultimately doomed all three people rather than saved two. Usually it's water and not food that is the limiting factor in survival situations anyway. An island with enough water to support 2-3 people should also support an ecosystem that produces a significant ammount of food.

I am not sure why morality and utilitarianism have to be at odds. I dont see the statement, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" as an immorral statement. An actual murder usually doesnt even benefit the individual commiting it; usually it turns out to be the opposite. If there is a senario where killing 1 person is necessary to save the lives of more than 1 person with no other alternatives, then I would say that act is not immoral. It is immoral to take someone's freedoms away from them, but we've deemed it necessary and benefitial to put certain individuals in jail, and I do believe we are better off because of this practice. Even the justice system requires the cooperation of a great many individuals in order to work. No developed society is dependant on 1 person acting as police officer, judge, lawyer, and prison warden.

Maybe morality is subjective if you restrict it to actions. Maybe "objective morality" exists in results and effects. Maybe that's one reason why morality gets "confused". People want a list of actions they can and cannot do that no matter what will be moral, and insisting on such a list is an act of subjectivity.

I just am tossing that last part out there, as I am not 100% sure of it. Hence, all of the "maybes".

Also I am ready to have the "altruism vs rationalized self-interest" debate, so BRING IT ON!

See, I would see it the other way around when it comes to morality. If there is an objective morality, then, to me, it would only be taking into account the action. If it took into account the effects, then it would have to predict/foresee every possible outcome to determine whether there is an exception to something like "murder is wrong".

I wasn't really concerned about possibilities and the actual reality for my hypothetical situation (I know it is realistically wrong). I was just simply asking whether two people killing one to save themselves would be moral. Though, I'm not sure that really comes into the realm of morality (someone correct me?). The point I'm trying to make is that 'objective' morality/ies (such as the Bible, as people claim it is), seems to me to be completely based on the action. For example, the "keep the Sabbath day holy" commandment is only about the action. From it, you must conclude that working on Sunday would be a sin/immoral or whatever (if you believe in God). But what about places like hospitals? Should they really shut-down on Sundays, regardless of the consequences, just because God deemed that you can't work on Sunday?

That's why I think morality based on action and consequences must be subjective, since it's up to a person/society's perceptions of both the action itself and, more importantly, the actual results of the action which will deem whether or not something is moral or immoral.

Also, I take it that you're more on the side of objective morality (sorry if that's wrong or if you have already stated that you are), so I have to ask you: if there is an objective morality, why does it matter to me as a thinking, subjective individual?

JoJoDeathunter:

1) Yes, I do.
2) Here is the entire list of objective rules I follow:

Do undo others as you would have them do to you

I follow it best I can. Questions?

Are you honestly saying that if I don't mind my possessions being stolen, it's completely fine for me to go and steal from others?

deepseadiver:

My whole argument is based on the existence of an absolute, sovereign, creative God, who creates the rules, and expects us to live by them. While you may not agree with that, I do have a flawless system of objective morals provided by God, and nothing you can say will ever undermine that argument. Just saying: "Well, I choose not to believe in God" and "Well, you can't say that cause I don't believe in God" just doesn't cut it. WHY doesn't God exist? Give me something solid please. I have yet to see anyone else (including grichnoch and monkeygh) give anything close to the definitive system of morals and beliefs that I have.

Can I ask, this God of yours, does he have a divine plan for you or any expectations that you must abide by? And why is this God's existence more valid than Thor or Amun Re or Allah or Tlaloc, and so on?

Sorry, but one last question: how can you assert that your system of morality is 'flawless'? How do you know God didn't just feel like being an ass and deliberately mislead you? (I don't mean any offence, just a hypothetical).

JoJoDeathunter:

Mortai Gravesend:

JoJoDeathunter:

I disagree, by sheer probability what do you think the chances are of two actions leading to exactly the same and highest amount of happiness? Hugely low, even if the difference is tiny that still means there is one best course of action. Maximum happiness is what sentient creatures such as ourselves prefer, if two wishes conflict then the one that will cause the least harm should prevail. I have already established that sentient creatures desire what they prefer, that is an objective fact shown by people aiming for what they want every day.

Now you're being pretty damn dishonest.

I'm disappointed, up until now you've argued well without resorting to personal attacks or slurs, unlike several other posters on this thread.

I didn't ask you to prove that they desire what they prefer. I asked you to prove that maximum happiness is what is best. And I pointed out that desire and preferrence don't work as a basis for establishing truth. So going on about it being what is desired and/or preferred is irrelevant.

Sentient creatures want what they prefer. Sentient creatures prefer happiness. Therefore sentient creatures want to be happy.

OMFG. I said I didn't ask about that.

As we are sentient creatures, it therefore makes sense to aim for goals that maximise happiness, so as many sentient creatures will get what they want as possible. The only way this isn't the "best" option is if you ignore our sentient values and desires, which is quite frankly pointless as morality means nothing to a plant or a rock, as useless are trying to study video game design from the point of view of a cheese sandwich.

Claiming something 'makes sense' is not proof that it is true. And appealing to sentient values does not prove that it is true either. In fact appealing to VALUES is practically shooting yourself in the foot when you're trying to prove something is objectively true. Pointlessness has nothing to do with objective truth.

deepseadiver:

Logiclul:
Well the guy really makes my sister happy. And I don't really know if her judgment is wrong or not, I just know that in my opinion it likely is. Also if I'm defending her rights, shouldn't I be allowing her the right to make her own decisions (she is 18 and an adult, after all). He has made others girls happy before and still turned rotten though.

It seems like subjectively I should intervene, but objectively I should not.

It sounds like you are just trying to be a good bro (which is what I would do). While you may say that my point will sound like i'm advocating subjectivity, just hear me out.

What I would do is discuss it with her, tell her your thoughts, your concerns, your reasonings, and ask her to not go with him. At this point you have done all in your respective power to defend her, but the choice is ultimately with her. While you have obeyed a moral law, you need not be concered how it turns out (in respect to obedience. as a brother you should be very concerned.)

What I'm driving at is this: Whether or not she decides to go with the "jerk" or not, if you have done everything in your power (that is, not having gone to the point where you have to force her) to defend by informing her then you have lived by that objective standard. Regardless of what happens next, you still did it. And therefore it can vary on a case by case basis, but the requirement is still to obey the moral law.

Well you certainly solved my problem, and for that I thank you, but what moral code guided you? Certainly not one which was adapted from society...?

@bunnymarn There is a difference between believing that there is a God and being Christian (where you assume a purely good God). Hypotheticals like that then get thrown out from a Christians' perspective.

Bunnymarn:

deepseadiver:

My whole argument is based on the existence of an absolute, sovereign, creative God, who creates the rules, and expects us to live by them. While you may not agree with that, I do have a flawless system of objective morals provided by God, and nothing you can say will ever undermine that argument. Just saying: "Well, I choose not to believe in God" and "Well, you can't say that cause I don't believe in God" just doesn't cut it. WHY doesn't God exist? Give me something solid please. I have yet to see anyone else (including grichnoch and monkeygh) give anything close to the definitive system of morals and beliefs that I have.

Can I ask, this God of yours, does he have a divine plan for you or any expectations that you must abide by? And why is this God's existence more valid than Thor or Amun Re or Allah or Tlaloc, and so on?

This right here. I'm not going to get into the debate of WHETHER a divine force created the world, but the thing is, you have to demonstrate three things:

1) Whether there is a divine force
2) That the divine force in existence is the one YOU think it is - not a non-interactionist force that just started the ball rolling and left it there, and not my personal favourite, THE ALMIGHTY ZEUS.
3) That your idea of Divine Mandate (i.e. the bible) is the correct, verbatim, word of god, and not a misinterpretation or a downright lie. Short argument here: The bible claims to be the word of god. But, the bible was written by people. And people LIIIIEEEEEE. So, it isn't a necessary truth even in the case of the existence of a specific god.

The third one is the kicker in my opinion. Ultimately, short of Direct Divine Revelation, the justification people have for believing religious tenets is because a) they don't seem to be objectionable at first glance, and b) because someone told them it was true. This is not correct ground for metaphysical fact.

Not that I want to belittle anyone's faith, that's just the way I see it.

Bunnymarn:

JoJoDeathunter:

1) Yes, I do.
2) Here is the entire list of objective rules I follow:

Do undo others as you would have them do to you

I follow it best I can. Questions?

Are you honestly saying that if I don't mind my possessions being stolen, it's completely fine for me to go and steal from others?

No, because that would make them unhappy (assuming they don't want their possessions being stolen), and you wouldn't want anyone to make you unhappy, so you'd still be breaking the rule.

Mortai Gravesend:

JoJoDeathunter:

Mortai Gravesend:

Now you're being pretty damn dishonest.

I'm disappointed, up until now you've argued well without resorting to personal attacks or slurs, unlike several other posters on this thread.

I didn't ask you to prove that they desire what they prefer. I asked you to prove that maximum happiness is what is best. And I pointed out that desire and preferrence don't work as a basis for establishing truth. So going on about it being what is desired and/or preferred is irrelevant.

Sentient creatures want what they prefer. Sentient creatures prefer happiness. Therefore sentient creatures want to be happy.

OMFG. I said I didn't ask about that.

As we are sentient creatures, it therefore makes sense to aim for goals that maximise happiness, so as many sentient creatures will get what they want as possible. The only way this isn't the "best" option is if you ignore our sentient values and desires, which is quite frankly pointless as morality means nothing to a plant or a rock, as useless are trying to study video game design from the point of view of a cheese sandwich.

Claiming something 'makes sense' is not proof that it is true. And appealing to sentient values does not prove that it is true either. In fact appealing to VALUES is practically shooting yourself in the foot when you're trying to prove something is objectively true. Pointlessness has nothing to do with objective truth.

But if values are universally true of something, then it is relevant in saying whether something is objectively true. An alternate morality is only possible when you have different starting values to base that morality off, something which is impossible for humans and probably other sentient creatures too. From taking an initial set of values, one logical (and therefore universal) morality will emerge at the most efficient at producing those values. Just because morality can't be measured with a meter or device doesn't mean it isn't real, just as love between two people or the borders of a country can't be physically measured either but certainly exist.

Logiclul:

@bunnymarn There is a difference between believing that there is a God and being Christian (where you assume a purely good God). Hypotheticals like that then get thrown out from a Christians' perspective.

I read this wrong the first time.

Even so, it could have been the devil disguised as God. Surely a Christian would have to prove why God is only good if they want him to hold any significance to anyone beyond themselves.

EDIT:

JoJoDeathunter:

Bunnymarn:

JoJoDeathunter:

1) Yes, I do.
2) Here is the entire list of objective rules I follow:

Do undo others as you would have them do to you

I follow it best I can. Questions?

Are you honestly saying that if I don't mind my possessions being stolen, it's completely fine for me to go and steal from others?

No, because that would make them unhappy (assuming they don't want their possessions being stolen), and you wouldn't want anyone to make you unhappy, so you'd still be breaking the rule.

You're assuming that being happy is inherently more desirable than being unhappy and that another person can "make me unhappy". They can annoy me, anger me, disappoint me, hurt me, etc, but why can they make me unhappy?

Agayek:

Smiley Face:
The problem is that, while this is your opinion, it isn't a fact. You have to prove that this is a truth about the nature of reality on the same level that the laws of gravity are if you want it to be objective truth. I could agree that those are good things. Everyone in the whole world could agree those are good things. But doing that doesn't make them a universal law in the same way that gravity is. Objective morality means that there are answers to what is right and wrong that apply to everyone, at every time, from every culture. These answers can never change, and have to actually be built in to reality, because if they're not, they're just part of the subjective human experience. Moreover, in order to make any claims about them, you have to be able to demonstrate the actuality and the nature of this moral-rules-built-into-reality thing. You haven't done that.

I fully intend to stay out of this debate, but I have to point out one thing:

You cannot relate gravity to morality. Gravity is a physical, testable effect on reality. Morality is an idea. You can no more prove (or disprove) the existence of objective morality than you can the existence of God. It's purely conceptual, and thus cannot be proven or disproven.

That said, morality is (almost certainly) an evolved trait in the human psyche. It's objective insofar as one's need for socializing is objective. It's simply hardwired into the vast majority of humanity that some things are good and some things are bad. There's plenty of room for debate about the subjectivity of it, as everyone has different reactions to violations of moral guidelines, but every single individual a competent psychologist would declare mentally sound agrees on a handful of salient points. Specifically: "murder is bad" and "protect the children" (amongst others, but these are the most prominent). These have been literally hardwired into our brains through thousands upon thousands of years of evolution.

If that doesn't count as objective standards, this debate cannot ever be decided.

But here's the thing - that's what strong objective morality is, saying that moral laws are as much an in-built part of reality as the laws of physics. Read Plato, that's what he's saying. If you agree that can't ever be proved, I'm right on board with you.

Your argument is saying that certain 'moral judgements' are biologically inbuilt via evolution. I'm fine with that idea, it certainly makes a lot of sense. My point is that while that's an objective fact about reality, it's not an objective basis for morality. While I may have the in-built instinct that murder is wrong, I also have the in-built instinct to commit acts of violence when provoked - which is also considered wrong. If following animal instincts was all it took to be a moral creature, that would defy the conventional point of morality - to mitigate those impulses. Morality is seen as a choice made by rational creatures - following instinct, on the other hand, is something every life form does.

Our judgements of what is moral come from elsewhere, and while they're justified by things that may be objective on some level, like the law, or whatever, they're not the standard of objectivity that true objective morality needs to live up to.

True objective morality says that 'killing a person, given these circumstances, is morally wrong'. And that this holds true for anyone, at any time, anywhere. The judgement is eternal, immutable, and unchanging. And for it to be Objective, it has to Not be a human creation, it has to be TRUE, a TRUTH, in the way I've been talking about.

Seem like way too ridiculous and impossible to prove? THAT'S WHAT I'M SAYING.

JoJoDeathunter:

Mortai Gravesend:

JoJoDeathunter:

I'm disappointed, up until now you've argued well without resorting to personal attacks or slurs, unlike several other posters on this thread.

Sentient creatures want what they prefer. Sentient creatures prefer happiness. Therefore sentient creatures want to be happy.

OMFG. I said I didn't ask about that.

As we are sentient creatures, it therefore makes sense to aim for goals that maximise happiness, so as many sentient creatures will get what they want as possible. The only way this isn't the "best" option is if you ignore our sentient values and desires, which is quite frankly pointless as morality means nothing to a plant or a rock, as useless are trying to study video game design from the point of view of a cheese sandwich.

Claiming something 'makes sense' is not proof that it is true. And appealing to sentient values does not prove that it is true either. In fact appealing to VALUES is practically shooting yourself in the foot when you're trying to prove something is objectively true. Pointlessness has nothing to do with objective truth.

But if values are universally true of something, then it is relevant in saying whether something is objectively true. An alternate morality is only possible when you have different starting values to base that morality off, something which is impossible for humans and probably other sentient creatures too. From taking an initial set of values, one logical (and therefore universal) morality will emerge at the most efficient at producing those values. Just because morality can't be measured with a meter or device doesn't mean it isn't real, just as love between two people or the borders of a country can't be physically measured either but certainly exist.

No, in fact it is not relevant. Agreement does not make something true. Whether there is an alternate morality or not does not make it a facet of reality that is independent of opinion.

It is also not impossible. That's an absurd notion. That people desire their own happiness does not mean that they need to base their morals on everyone being happy.

MonkeyGH:

baconfist:

Morals change quite often, and they are simply a reflection of current public opinion in a given area.

Sure. Examples? What are some morals that have "changed" recently?

Also, what's your source for saying that? Where can I find the information to inform me that some specific moral has changed today?

Really you need examples? You can throw a grain of sand and hit a dozen examples.

I'm probably being trolled here but..

1. Gay marriage still morally wrong in many peoples eyes but currently happening more and more.

2. The sexual revolution of the 60-70's.

3. The abolition of segregation.

4. It's no longer ok to marry a 13 year old.

I've passed over hundreds of examples here like how people tend to live together without being married or have more children out of wedlock. These things used to be huge moral problems and now being bastard born doesn't even matter.

Glass Joe:

The moral relativist believes that ethical truths are relative to groups smaller than humanity as a whole. Moral relativism is the view that what determines the truth or falsity of moral beliefs is just what is endorsed by the prevailing culture. According to moral relativism, moral truths are made by the dominant view in a society, not merely propagated by the dominant culture.

To allow just one fundamental universal ethical truth that is independent of the say so of individuals or groups is to abandon relativism in favor of a realist view of ethical truth.

Sometimes our view about the moral status of some practice changes. A person might, for instance, think that eating meat is morally unproblematic at one time and then become convinced that animals deserve some kind of moral regard that speaks against eating meat. When a person's moral views change in this fashion, they do not merely drop one moral belief in favor of another. Typically, they also hold that their previous moral view was mistaken. They take themselves to have discovered something new about what is morally right. Likewise, then the prevalent moral belief in a society undergoes a significant change, as in the civil rights movement, we are inclined to see this as a change for the better. But the relativist cannot account for changes in our moral beliefs being changes for the better. This is because the relativist recognizes no independent standard of goodness against which the new prevalent moral beliefs can be judged to be better than the old prevalent moral beliefs.

A closely related problem for moral relativism is the moral reformer's dilemma. We recognize a few remarkable individuals as moral reformers, people who, we think, improved the moral condition of their society in some way. Common examples might include, Buddha, Jesus, Ghandi or Martin Luther King. While the relativist can allow that these individuals changed the moral views of their societies, none can be said to have changed their societies for the better according to the relativist. Again, this is because the societal moral relativist recognizes no standard of moral goodness independent of what is accepted in a society according to which a society that has changed can be judged to have changed for the better. A relativist that takes ethical truth to be relative to the dominant view in a society seems to be committed to taking institutionalized racism to be morally right relative to per-civil rights American society and wrong relative to post civil rights American society. But since standards of goodness are determined by the prevalent views in a society, there is no standard goodness to appeal to in judging that the change our society underwent in the civil rights movement is a change for the better. According to societal moral relativism, anyone who takes Martin Luther King to have improved American society by leading it to reject institutionalized racism is just mistaken about the nature of ethical truth.

http://personal.bellevuecollege.edu/wpayne/Moral%20Relativism.htm

Do moral relativists believe that no society can change for the better? Are we just as moral now as we were in slavery days or when we were living in tribes? Are the Nazis morally justified? I believe not. Happy MLK day everybody!

Edit: A lot of people are arguing for individual moral relativism. I would then ask, is it possible to grow as an individual and become a better person? Why should one work harder or improve the lives of those around him if it is equally moral not to? If one always chooses to do the right thing from somewhere within himself, what is the source of that preference, and is it common among men?

Of course I'll respond! First I'll explain why Payne's argument is wrong, then I'll get to your questions:

He first assumes that it is possible to have no moral for a situation and still make decisions based on it. If one eats meat, then they have a moral code which allows them to do so. That is to say, that they feel "one may eat animal as it is basic nourishment", or something similar, as most people have SOME view on the subject. And if we take that class, and narrow to meat-eaters, then we will find in Payne's example that if they become vegan, that they are then DROPPING one moral principle for another.

There is a way for society to improve, and that is for it to change to reflect the majority's moral beliefs when it does not. Slavery didn't end because the moral code which says no slavery all of the sudden spoke up and said "what the hell are you guys doing", it ended because the majority finally had the moral code which said "slavery is wrong". Their moral code finally changed.

That society was indeed moral from a subjective standpoint of the time. Using our current morals they weren't moral of course, however morals, being subjective and based off of experience, change.

The Nazis were, subjectively, morally justified. They were a minority acting on their moral principles just as MLK was a minority acting on his. I can compare MLK and Nazis because they were indeed doing the same thing: trying to drastically change a society to fit their moral principles. We think of MLK as just and Nazis as evil because the Nazis' failed and MLK succeeded.

A subjectively 'better' person is one who follows his own moral beliefs more accurately in life. An objectively 'better' person is one who follows the basic moral beliefs which the strong majority all possess more accurately in life.

It is moral to improve the lives of those around you most likely. It is doing good for your neighbor, it is lending a helping hand. I don't understand this point.

I already have explained the source of the preference, you'll have to find that post for yourself, but it is in response to Gregrench or something, and uses Axiom i, Theorem p, and Set T as examples.

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 NEXT

Reply to Thread

This thread is locked