(Original post by Implication)
Oh absolutely! Sorry if I've not made myself clear; I'm not saying that there can't
be any objectively correct moral statements; merely that I have not yet come across a valid argument or any evidence in favour
of them and so, as with any other thing, I do not currently believe that they exist.
So yes, it is possible
that moral statements chosen by agents in Rawls' Original Position correctly describe objective reality. But it is equally possible that there are other correct statements describing objective morality and those chosen by agents in the Original Position are wrong, or that there aren't any objective moral statements at all, and those chosen by agents in the Original Position are simply subjective statements that just happen to be chosen by an unbiased selector.
Sorry, I'm a little lost here
Particularly with what you say McDowell might claim - "X is objective if it figures in our best explanation of the world". This is simply false! It isn't the definition of objectivity; something doesn't become objective just because we use it to explain the world! He's welcome to use the term "objectivity" in this fashion if he wants, but it wouldn't
But yeah like I said, I'm a little lost. What is the "primary qualities understanding of objectivity"? Are you saying that it is
possible to find an objective system of morality where moral statements don't descibe something objectively real?
Well you're right that it's not circular if one can insert that which is the result of an arbitrary moral system as the definition of "good"... but then that makes whether or not X is good completely
subjective - exactly what I thought your argument was supposed to be disproving
But yes, I agree that "good reasons" could be consequentialist or
deontological in character...
If someone says to me "x
is objectively the "right" thing to do", I would seek justification for that assertion in the same way that I would seek justification if they'd said "I own an orange dog". Obviously I wouldn't expect their argument to include things like "I have a photo of the right thing to do" in the way that someone might use a photo of their orange dog to support their assertion that they own an orange dog, but I would
seek empirical justification. Empirical
because, for their statement to describe objective reality, there must be something real about it... and assertions about the universe cannot be justified by a priori
arguments alone. I cannot evidence my claim that something exists in the universe if I don't use anything about that universe in my proof!
Of course, an entirely defensible world-view would be if an individual were to take certain moral principles or fundamentals as axiomatic. The only criticism that could realistically be made of such a worldview would be if it turned out to be inconsistent in some fashion. But then, someone could claim to take anything as axiomatic if they really wanted to... and we could go down the slippery slope that leads to Agrippa's Trilemma and the philosophy that all beliefs are ultimately unjustified!
Well, I actually think M is exactly the same as O by implication - if there are no objective morals, then statements like "x
is wrong" are nonsensical without a specified framework inside which they are consider wrong. You'd be fine saying "cheating on your partner is cruel
to your partner", "cheating on your partner is detrimental to your relationship" etc. but, without any objectively correct moral statements, it's pretty absurd to talk of things being "right" and "wrong"... which is why I, being a moral anti-realist, try to talk of things being unhelpful, helpful, detrimental to x
, beneficial to y
etc. etc. rather than right or wrong.
I call myself a moral anti-realist rather than a moral relativist or subjectivist because I think they are equivalent. Admitting that morals are relative is equivalent to admitting that morals do not really exist - if they are subjective then they necessarily lack objective existence. An "ordinary moral statement" (such as the one you supplied) presupposes - by implication - that morality is objective.