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Moral relativism explained...

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    His confusion stems from the mistaken belief that all values are equal, so our social problems are the result of the onlooker's discriminatory attitude rather than the acts committed by those with different values.

    As a society have we become scared of telling right from wrong?
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    Propoganda has scared us.

    For example

    Here's one you could present to them,

    Western European culture have more liberal, liberating, and tolerant attitudes towards homosexuals, in comparison to Central African views, in which homosexuality is a crime all the way from fines to death.

    Therefore,

    Our culture is superior in that respect as supression, discrimination against people who have done nothing wrong, is bad.

    What are their respones?

    1. Racist

    2. Correlation does not imply causality.

    Its flat out denial. Nobody really believes in moral relativism, they only espouse it because they like to feel self-righteous and take the moral high ground, yet they don't understand tolerating the intolerant is bad in whats called a clausic case. In the the poeple that are being intolerant of the intolerant, are doing so because that latter's views are less moral than the formers, that moral, in my example, is freedom of homosexuality.

    Try getting that passed a pompous pseudo-lefty and there response will either be an ad hom or that you may have a good point but you are racist anyway so your cause is invalid.
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    (Original post by prog2djent)
    Propoganda has scared us.
    Indeed, another term for moral relativism could be the racism of low expectations. Moral relativists feel it necessary to hold white Europeans upto the highest standards possible, so that means non-sexism, non-racism, an almost slavish adherence to human rights etc etc but where other cultures are concerned they lower the benchmark accordingly. How is that not racism? Treating different cultures/races differently is the hallmark of a racist, but as usual lefty relativists are prepared to make an exception when they're the ones making unsavoury comments.

    There's nothing liberal and tolerant about endorsing systemic homophobia, the left shouldn't allow skin colour to cloud their judgement.
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    (Original post by chefdave)
    His confusion stems from the mistaken belief that all values are equal, so our social problems are the result of the onlooker's discriminatory attitude rather than the acts committed by those with different values.

    As a society have we become scared of telling right from wrong?
    Personally, I think it's more likely that his "confusion" stems from a lack of reason to believe (i.e. evidence) that morals statements are objective descriptions of reality. I think you have something else the wrong way around, too: his belief that "all values are equal" is not where his relativistic moral worldview comes from; rather, his relativistic view necessitates that all values are equal - if no-one's values can be correct, then it is absurd to say that some are more correct than others. And, if morality is relative/subjective, then it is nonsensical to talk of some values being "better" than others. Use of the word "better" in that context already presupposes an objective standard!

    I don't think we've become scared of telling right from wrong, as such; rather, I think we simply have more doubts today about our ability to tell right from wrong.


    I'll be honest and say that I do struggle with moral anti-realism (i.e. relativism). When I hear of things like babies being tortured, there is a part of me that screams "that's wrong!" But, when I think about it for any length of time, I realise that I have no reason whatsoever to equate my personal instinctive reaction towards something with an objective moral statement about that thing. Why should I assume that it is objectively wrong to do something simply because I (or, indeed, any number of people) instinctively feel that that something is wrong?
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    (Original post by prog2djent)
    Western European culture have more liberal, liberating, and tolerant attitudes towards homosexuals, in comparison to Central African views, in which homosexuality is a crime all the way from fines to death.

    Therefore,

    Our culture is superior in that respect as supression, discrimination against people who have done nothing wrong, is bad.

    What are their respones?

    1. Racist

    2. Correlation does not imply causality.
    I don't know about other moral anti-realists, but I'd simply request that you justify your allusion that suppression and discrimination are actually wrong. I'm not denying that they are unfair, I'm not denying that they are detrimental to a stable society and I'm not saying that I don't personally dislike them. All I am saying is that I have no reason to suppose that the moral statements "suppression is wrong" and "discrimination is wrong" describe objective reality and, until I do have reason to suppose that they do, I won't assume that they do.
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    (Original post by Implication)
    I don't know about other moral anti-realists, but I'd simply request that you justify your allusion that suppression and discrimination are actually wrong. I'm not denying that they are unfair, I'm not denying that they are detrimental to a stable society and I'm not saying that I don't personally dislike them. All I am saying is that I have no reason to suppose that the moral statements "suppression is wrong" and "discrimination is wrong" describe objective reality and, until I do have reason to suppose that they do, I won't assume that they do.
    What kind of argument do you want? There are loads of arguments as to why those things are wrong.

    If you want a particular one, it's fairly obvious how a prohibition on racial discrimination would arise from the Original Position. What's wrong with that argument?

    Now, I suspect you'll say "oh, that's not the sort of argument I want". Well ... isn't that enough? Rawls provides great reasons why we shouldn't racially discriminate. Why isn't it enough?

    EDIT: I'm not big on meta-ethics, so go easy on me.
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    Watch this, you may find it very enlightening. A new way of thinking about ethics.



    Harris also has a book, The Moral Landscape, which goes into much more detail about this idea and its potential practical application.
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    (Original post by FrigidSymphony)
    Watch this, you may find it very enlightening. A new way of thinking about ethics.



    Harris also has a book, The Moral Landscape, which goes into much more detail about this idea and its potential practical application.
    This is dumb and doesn't establish what it sets out to establish (ie. that science can answer moral questions). At best, it establishes the much weaker thesis that empirical premises (answerable via the application of science/economics/etc) figure in moral arguments. But virtually everyone already thinks that.

    Also, he begs the question in favour of some form of utilitarianism repeatedly. Bad video. Harris is not taken seriously within academic philosophy.
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    (Original post by RawJoh1)
    What kind of argument do you want? There are loads of arguments as to why those things are wrong.

    If you want a particular one, it's fairly obvious how a prohibition on racial discrimination would arise from the Original Position. What's wrong with that argument?

    Now, I suspect you'll say "oh, that's not the sort of argument I want". Well ... isn't that enough? Rawls provides great reasons why we shouldn't racially discriminate. Why isn't it enough?

    EDIT: I'm not big on meta-ethics, so go easy on me.

    Correct: there are loads of arguments as to why those things are wrong, but they all (all those that I have heard, at least) begin from premises that already require other, less specific things, to be objectively wrong! My stance isn't that I don't believe any specific moral statements (such as "discrimination is wrong") to be objective descriptions of reality, but that I don't currently believeany moral statements whatsoever to be objective descriptions of reality. Thus, I will also require justification for the premises of such arguments.

    In truth, I'm not big on meta-ethics either, I just go with what seems rational to me... so, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the Original Position Rawls' idea that the "fundamental" principles of justice are those that would be selected by individuals selecting from behind a "veil of ignorance"? If I've got that right, how does this demonstrate that the selected moral statements describe objective reality? Even if all agents would agree on the same principles, this doesn't demonstrate that these principles possess objective truth! Rather, it demonstrates that these principles would be agreed on by all unbiased agents... does that not make moral statements selected in this manner necessarily subjective in nature?
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    Oh wow. I was cringing so hard I could barely finish watching it. The way he throws out buzz-words like "subjective", the meaning of which I very much doubt he has any idea, makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time.
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    (Original post by Implication)
    Correct: there are loads of arguments as to why those things are wrong, but they all (all those that I have heard, at least) begin from premises that already require other, less specific things, to be objectively wrong! My stance isn't that I don't believe any specific moral statements (such as "discrimination is wrong") to be objective descriptions of reality, but that I don't currently believeany moral statements whatsoever to be objective descriptions of reality. Thus, I will also require justification for the premises of such arguments.

    In truth, I'm not big on meta-ethics either, I just go with what seems rational to me... so, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the Original Position Rawls' idea that the "fundamental" principles of justice are those that would be selected by individuals selecting from behind a "veil of ignorance"? If I've got that right, how does this demonstrate that the selected moral statements describe objective reality? Even if all agents would agree on the same principles, this doesn't demonstrate that these principles possess objective truth! Rather, it demonstrates that these principles would be agreed on by all unbiased agents... does that not make moral statements selected in this manner necessarily subjective in nature?
    What do you mean by "describes objective reality".

    Ronald Dworkin (can't remember where) says that moral anti-realists are looking for some moral particle, which he derisively calls "morons" (haha!). But why is that what we need to be looking for? Why can't it just be the case that X is moral if X is supported by good reasons? Morality is concerned with how to act, yes? Well, if that's right, then it seems fairly natural to focus on reasons for acting, and whether they are good or not.

    Obvious response: OK, but what makes a good reason? You've just pushed the problem back one stage!

    Reply: Well, some of the things that make good reasons are fairly obvious. That a reason would convince a suitably situated observer (ie. one that's without bias - and here we are back at the Original Position). And so on.

    Other criteria might be more complex. But this doesn't matter. There's an interesting bit in Putnam's THE COLLAPSE OF THE FACT/VALUE DICHOTOMY in which he points out that the practise of science is depedent on epistemic values. We use these values (eg. simplicity) in selecting which scientific theories to favour. Yet these epistemic values are not defined by precise syntactic rules, we can imagine one culture having different views on "simplicity" to another culture, and so on. Yet this does not impugn the objectivity of science. Companions in guilt arguments like that are quite strong I think.

    But yeah ... I don't really care about the realism/anti-realism debate. There's a great bit in Blackburn's RULING PASSIONS where he argues pretty convincingly that it doesn't matter for how we actually do morality. But, it seems to me that (at least some) anti-realists are looking in the wrong place. For moral primary qualities, not reasons.

    EDIT: Sorry if that's a bit garbled.
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    (Original post by prog2djent)
    Propoganda has scared us.

    For example

    Here's one you could present to them,

    Western European culture have more liberal, liberating, and tolerant attitudes towards homosexuals, in comparison to Central African views, in which homosexuality is a crime all the way from fines to death.

    Therefore,

    Our culture is superior in that respect as supression, discrimination against people who have done nothing wrong, is bad.

    What are their respones?

    1. Racist

    2. Correlation does not imply causality.

    Its flat out denial. Nobody really believes in moral relativism, they only espouse it because they like to feel self-righteous and take the moral high ground, yet they don't understand tolerating the intolerant is bad in whats called a clausic case. In the the poeple that are being intolerant of the intolerant, are doing so because that latter's views are less moral than the formers, that moral, in my example, is freedom of homosexuality.

    Try getting that passed a pompous pseudo-lefty and there response will either be an ad hom or that you may have a good point but you are racist anyway so your cause is invalid.
    That's interesting. You've based your whole post on the premise that homosexuality is moral. Do you have any definitive evidence for this moral position and does your derivation have any basis that it MUST be itself correct (you also claimed that discrimination against "people who have done nothing wrong" is immoral). That sentence in and of itself has many flaws, one of which is that you have already declared homosexuality to be 'not wrong' and so the argument is circular.
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    morality is defined by what is best for human experience.

    i remember once debating a 'moral relativist' who said that child sacrifice was NOT an immoral cultural practice just because western 'civilised' society thought so.

    i asked how the child who was being sacrificed would respond to such a claim?

    i never got a response.

    i realised then that moral relativists only see events through their own needs. they are simply not capable of seeing events through the eyes of the victim. they have no empathy -- in other words, they are psychopathetic.
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    (Original post by RawJoh1)
    What do you mean by "describes objective reality".

    Ronald Dworkin (can't remember where) says that moral anti-realists are looking for some moral particle, which he derisively calls "morons" (haha!). But why is that what we need to be looking for? Why can't it just be the case that X is moral if X is supported by good reasons? Morality is concerned with how to act, yes? Well, if that's right, then it seems fairly natural to focus on reasons for acting, and whether they are good or not.

    Obvious response: OK, but what makes a good reason? You've just pushed the problem back one stage!

    Reply: Well, some of the things that make good reasons are fairly obvious. That a reason would convince a suitably situated observer (ie. one that's without bias - and here we are back at the Original Position). And so on.

    When I talk of moral statements "describing objective morality", I mean that they are referring to an actual property of the universe that exists independently of sentient beings. So, for example, is there a real property of the universe or reality that makes x wrong? Obvious sarcasm aside, Dworkin appears to kind of half get what I'm talking about before mocking it - such a physical property need not be manifest as some kind of morally charged particle, but for morality to exist objectively, moral statements must describe something real.

    For example, when I have a drink in my hand, the statement "I have a drink in my hand" is a description of objective reality. It is possible that I am mistaken or deluded in some fashion or that my senses deceive me, but most of us would accept that my drink does exist independently of myself (and others) in some fashion, even if I do not perceive it as it exists objectively. I could be wrong about how it exists (i.e. what it is), but we still accept that it does.

    The "obvious response" is the appropriate response - whether or not a reason is "good" is entirely subjective unless we already presuppose that good is defined objectively (which clearly begs the question)! Looking at Rawls' Original Position doesn't help: it doesn't show that the moral fundamentals that would be "selected" are objective. Even if every single person in the world believed in exactly the same set of moral statements, this would not be evidence that those morals were objective. How does the fact that "a suitably situated observed" would agree with moral statement y mean that moral statement y describes reality? Indeed, even what situation is "suitable" is subjective!


    I think it might help if you could come up with an argument that a specific moral statement is objectively correct. Then I can try and explain to you why I see the argument as invalid - or, if I accept its validity, you will have begin to convert me to moral realism


    (Original post by Rawjoh1)
    But yeah ... I don't really care about the realism/anti-realism debate. There's a great bit in Blackburn's RULING PASSIONS where he argues pretty convincingly that it doesn't matter for how we actually do morality. But, it seems to me that (at least some) anti-realists are looking in the wrong place. For moral primary qualities, not reasons.
    But the trouble is that moral realism requires that there are certain objectively correct qualities of the universe regarding morality!
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    (Original post by Implication)
    When I talk of moral statements "describing objective morality", I mean that they are referring to an actual property of the universe that exists independently of sentient beings. So, for example, is there a real property of the universe or reality that makes x wrong? Obvious sarcasm aside, Dworkin appears to kind of half get what I'm talking about before mocking it - such a physical property need not be manifest as some kind of morally charged particle, but for morality to exist objectively, moral statements must describe something real.
    OK. I have two things to say about that.

    Firstly, it's not clear that moral properties like this don't exist. Take my Rawlsian example:

    - X is just only if it would be chosen by beings in the Original Position, subject to various formal constraints blah blah blah

    Well that can be the case even if in fact there are no beings.

    That objection can be got round if we're more precise, and formulate an account of objectivity specifically in terms of primary qualities. Which brings us to my second point, namely that this isn't the only understanding of objectivity on offer. John McDowell, for example, does not buy that understanding (he'd say something along the lines of "X is objective if it figures in our best explanation of the world", and he thinks this includes morality. For other people, eg. orthodox Marxists, morality would not need to figure in this best explanation. So it's complex, basically). So, I don't see why we accept the primary qualities understanding of objectivity without an argument, especially as it rules out various substantive positions (eg. realism about colours).

    The "obvious response" is the appropriate response - whether or not a reason is "good" is entirely subjective unless we already presuppose that good is defined objectively (which clearly begs the question)! Looking at Rawls' Original Position doesn't help: it doesn't show that the moral fundamentals that would be "selected" are objective. Even if every single person in the world believed in exactly the same set of moral statements, this would not be evidence that those morals were objective. How does the fact that "a suitably situated observed" would agree with moral statement y mean that moral statement y describes reality? Indeed, even what situation is "suitable" is subjective!
    It isn't question-begging.

    1. X is good if it is supported by good reasons
    2. Good reasons are those which <insert your favourite moral theory here>

    No circularity there. At best, premise 1 is unsupported. But I think it can be supported, and I sketched an attempt a couple of posts back. Morality is concerned with how people act, and people act based on reasons. So it makes sense to say that the strength of reasons is the relevant thing for us to look at (this doesn't beg the question in favour of deontology. "Good reasons" could be consequentialist in character). We assess the strength of reasons all the time in ordinary life, there are clear and pretty widely accepted tools for doing so (is there bias? etc).

    That's not bulletproof, by any stretch of the imagination. But it's a start. Is it going to convince the most hardened moral anti-realist. No, probably not. But then, they haven't got an argument to convince the most hardened moral realist either, so that's not saying much.

    "Suitably situated" was acting as a placeholder, so that I didn't have to offer a long and boring specification of the various constraints that are placed on the deliberators in the Original Position. Obviously, which constraints should be in place are up for debate, and there is a lot of debate about them. But we look at each proposal on a case by case basis. There are strong arguments for constraints of finality etc. But that's a pretty formal debate, so the placeholder works fine for our purposes.


    I think it might help if you could come up with an argument that a specific moral statement is objectively correct. Then I can try and explain to you why I see the argument as invalid - or, if I accept its validity, you will have begin to convert me to moral realism
    Too broad a debate I think. Such an argument would be long, and have many premises that are not self-evident and so require long justification.

    Hopefully the stuff I've sketched (and I stress it's just a sketch) gives you a flavour though.

    Ultimately, I agree with Blackburn that objectivity doesn't matter. I guess that's one reason why I'm not so concerned about giving a bulletproof argument. Let's look at an ordinary moral statement:

    (M) Cheating on your partner is wrong

    and then a slightly different one:

    (O) Cheating on your partner is objectively wrong

    What does O have that M does not? Nothing of much use, says I. If someone disagrees with M, we can hear their argument.
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    (Original post by RawJoh1)
    OK. I have two things to say about that.

    Firstly, it's not clear that moral properties like this don't exist. Take my Rawlsian example:

    - X is just only if it would be chosen by beings in the Original Position, subject to various formal constraints blah blah blah

    Well that can be the case even if in fact there are no beings.
    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.


    (Original post by RawJoh1)
    That objection can be got round if we're more precise, and formulate an account of objectivity specifically in terms of primary qualities. Which brings us to my second point, namely that this isn't the only understanding of objectivity on offer. John McDowell, for example, does not buy that understanding (he'd say something along the lines of "X is objective if it figures in our best explanation of the world", and he thinks this includes morality. For other people, eg. orthodox Marxists, morality would not need to figure in this best explanation. So it's complex, basically). So, I don't see why we accept the primary qualities understanding of objectivity without an argument, especially as it rules out various substantive positions (eg. realism about colours).
    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 convince me (or, indeed, anyone) that morality was objective by the conventional definition Semantics, I know!

    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?


    (Original post by RawJoh1)
    It isn't question-begging.

    1. X is good if it is supported by good reasons
    2. Good reasons are those which <insert your favourite moral theory here>

    No circularity there. At best, premise 1 is unsupported. But I think it can be supported, and I sketched an attempt a couple of posts back. Morality is concerned with how people act, and people act based on reasons. So it makes sense to say that the strength of reasons is the relevant thing for us to look at (this doesn't beg the question in favour of deontology. "Good reasons" could be consequentialist in character). We assess the strength of reasons all the time in ordinary life, there are clear and pretty widely accepted tools for doing so (is there bias? etc).
    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 justification specifically 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!

    (Original post by RawJoh1)
    Ultimately, I agree with Blackburn that objectivity doesn't matter. I guess that's one reason why I'm not so concerned about giving a bulletproof argument. Let's look at an ordinary moral statement:

    (M) Cheating on your partner is wrong

    and then a slightly different one:

    (O) Cheating on your partner is objectively wrong

    What does O have that M does not? Nothing of much use, says I. If someone disagrees with M, we can hear their argument.
    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 considered 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.
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    (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 justification specifically 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.
    Will get back to you on this, might be a few days though, got work commitments.
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    There is no evidence of an objective morality, so to dismiss moral relativism is silly.

    People should kindly prove which morals are objective, or why morality is objective.
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    (Original post by Implication)
    Personally, I think it's more likely that his "confusion" stems from a lack of reason to believe (i.e. evidence) that morals statements are objective descriptions of reality. I think you have something else the wrong way around, too: his belief that "all values are equal" is not where his relativistic moral worldview comes from; rather, his relativistic view necessitates that all values are equal - if no-one's values can be correct, then it is absurd to say that some are more correct than others. And, if morality is relative/subjective, then it is nonsensical to talk of some values being "better" than others. Use of the word "better" in that context already presupposes an objective standard!

    I don't think we've become scared of telling right from wrong, as such; rather, I think we simply have more doubts today about our ability to tell right from wrong.


    I'll be honest and say that I do struggle with moral anti-realism (i.e. relativism). When I hear of things like babies being tortured, there is a part of me that screams "that's wrong!" But, when I think about it for any length of time, I realise that I have no reason whatsoever to equate my personal instinctive reaction towards something with an objective moral statement about that thing. Why should I assume that it is objectively wrong to do something simply because I (or, indeed, any number of people) instinctively feel that that something is wrong?
    Aren't human beings boundedly rational?

    Why does, or should, everything have a rational basis behind it? I think given how human beings behave, it's silly to say that everything should be logical.

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Updated: March 25, 2012
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