Turn on thread page Beta

Is Morality Black and White? watch

    Offline

    4
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by elizah)
    There are no such thing as morals. They don't exist objectively.
    meh, depending on how you define 'morals', moral statements can express just as much 'objective truth' as many other statements we make about the universe
    Offline

    10
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Flowersong)
    meh, depending on how you define 'morals', moral statements can express just as much 'objective truth' as many other statements we make about the universe
    "It is wrong to kill people" doesn't exist in the universe as some particle or molecule or some mathematical truth. What people fail to understand is that nothing carries intrinsic meaning, per se; we are cells and particles with brain capacity who try to find meaning in an erratic universe, and we think that the concepts that humans have established are universal truth, which isn't only stupid, but straight up hilarious.
    "It is morally wrong to kill people" is something which is CULTURALLY defined. All cultures typically place value on life itself, and thus, deriving people of their lives by killing them has been pretty much universally established as "wrong", but that is because WE have decided that it is, based on our cultural context and social context and standards.
    What about cannibalistic tribes? What about female genital mutilation? What is more right versus wrong, the way we live or the way they live?
    Morals are based on cultural and social context and thus do not "objectively" exist.
    Offline

    4
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by elizah)
    "It is wrong to kill people" doesn't exist in the universe as some particle or molecule or some mathematical truth. What people fail to understand is that nothing carries intrinsic meaning, per se; we are cells and particles with brain capacity who try to find meaning in an erratic universe, and we think that the concepts that humans have established are universal truth, which isn't only stupid, but straight up hilarious.
    "It is morally wrong to kill people" is something which is CULTURALLY defined. All cultures typically place value on life itself, and thus, deriving people of their lives by killing them has been pretty much universally established as "wrong", but that is because WE have decided that it is, based on our cultural context and social context and standards.
    What about cannibalistic tribes? What about female genital mutilation? What is more right versus wrong, the way we live or the way they live?
    Morals are based on cultural and social context and thus do not "objectively" exist.
    I don't think your argument has that much substance. How are you defining morality? Obviously there isn't a magic piece of paper floating around the universe that says 'do not kill' on it, but I think you'd struggle to find any moral realists who actually mean anything like that when they claim that moral statements convey objective truth. For example, Sam Harris and many other moral realists claim that the only sensible way to talk about what is right wrong, and which states of the universe are better than others, is in terms of the suffering and wellbeing of sentient creatures. And the moment you accept that conception of morality, it's as ridiculous to claim that morality is subjective or culturally relative as it is to claim that science is. The action that has the greatest benefit to sentient creatures is the same action regardless of your culture.

    I think 'do not kill' is a very bad example, because not many people who have spent any time thinking about ethics seriously think that it is always wrong to kill people. It's trivial to construct hypothetical scenarios in which the right thing to do invovles killing!
    Offline

    20
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by elizah)
    "It is wrong to kill people" doesn't exist in the universe as some particle or molecule or some mathematical truth. What people fail to understand is that nothing carries intrinsic meaning, per se; we are cells and particles with brain capacity who try to find meaning in an erratic universe, and we think that the concepts that humans have established are universal truth, which isn't only stupid, but straight up hilarious.
    "It is morally wrong to kill people" is something which is CULTURALLY defined. All cultures typically place value on life itself, and thus, deriving people of their lives by killing them has been pretty much universally established as "wrong", but that is because WE have decided that it is, based on our cultural context and social context and standards.
    What about cannibalistic tribes? What about female genital mutilation? What is more right versus wrong, the way we live or the way they live?
    Morals are based on cultural and social context and thus do not "objectively" exist.
    I largely agree although even your example of killing people has been considered right, e.g. human sacrifice, execution of blasphemers, homosexuals, traitors etc.

    To the OP, I'd answer no. I think the fact our morals have changed wildly over time and between countries is pretty damning evidence that an objective moral code is non-existent.
    Offline

    18
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by Plantagenet Crown)
    I largely agree although even your example of killing people has been considered right, e.g. human sacrifice, execution of blasphemers, homosexuals, traitors etc.

    To the OP, I'd answer no. I think the fact our morals have changed wildly over time and between countries is pretty damning evidence that an objective moral code is non-existent.
    Our knowledge of just about everything has changed wildly over time though, that doesn't at all imply that all truths are subjective. And how could it? To argue so surely belies a fundamental misunderstanding of the distinction between objectivity and subjectivity, does it not? The whole point is that an objective truth is independent of whether people believe it or not; not that everyone throughout history agrees on it!

    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Offline

    16
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by elizah)
    If your nails exist, then they are either black or not.
    If objective morality exists, then it's either right or wrong to kill people.
    If objective morality exists, we ought to kill or ought not to kill.
    This can be simplified into right or wrong, but what "we ought to" is closer to objective morality explanation.

    But morality doesn't exist. It doesn't exist as some particle or atom out there in the universe, or as a force operating on its own. It's not a set of rules given to us by a divine power. Morality as a concept is an idea, a thought, an opinion. It exists in the realm of consciousness. If reality exists, then your nails exist as dead cells. They are something extended, but morality isn't. Morality is culturally defined by humans. Nothing is thus inherently moral or immoral. It lacks universal or relative truth.
    Morality has always been identified as residing in our conscious. Big problem here is circling. the idea that morality is cultural consists with how different cultures are. How different moral standards have been over time. But What changes is not what we call morals but a peoples understanding of it. This natural law that defines humanity, is accepted or decline. We do not have to act according to morals as we are not bind to it. We are not robots who come across the three rules of AI and automatically stop when attempting to do something we ought not to.

    Again, objective morality is independent from our opinion - which would allow different ideas about morality to exist.
    Yeah, but the burden of proof is on the individual making the claim. If it's questionable, on what basis should I then believe in it?
    Morality is experienced at a personal level and takes personal steps to developing our understanding of it.

    Otherwise, we all have our own claims.
    Sure, but that reality could be a vacuum or somewhere else, and it is not by necessity this reality.

    This makes no sense. our conscious exists in one reality, in which all things reside to be true or false. Whole point is similar characteristic that reality and morality does not exist just because we think it does.
    They aren't interchangeable, but the idea of morality exists in this reality. It doesn't exist as some universal force outside of it.
    Never said it did. Morality would not need to exist as a "force" in order to be objective. Again, we are not set up like AI in which we must behave in one distinct manner. That is not what objective morality does nor as it is described.
    brb let me google "is the oppression of women bad" and let's find out the culturally defined moral of it which is relevant today in 2k16 and neglect what scientists and philosophers and great minds said about it 2500 years ago
    This is ridiculous. 2500 years ago is relative to today. The reasons why we ought not to kill have not changed, but developed to include scientific practices.
    [Quote]Yes.[/]


    I like how you think. But. Studying is not the same thing as objective morality. In my opinion, we can NEVER discern what these objective morals may be because "study and research" doesn't work because that's affected by cultural and social context. Morality is affected by emotions and emotions are affected by cultural exposure.
    If one restricts themselves to one possibility, than their views would be restricted as well. Just as a person would think the world is flat if they only read material that supports it - a person looking at one description of morality would think of that sort. However, in both cases...in either situation...we have a person not grasping the full truth. In both cases, we have an opportunity to learn more.

    Yes, there is difficulty in understanding morality, but still possible.
    Offline

    15
    ReputationRep:
    Ultimately I think morality is just a balancing act between happiness and harm and every issue exists on a spectrum. Sadly this leads to people trying to define happiness and harm in ways which allow them to maintain their current views. I certainly don't believe in objective morality as context is everything isn't it? It's immoral to go out and throw a bucket of water over a random old woman because although it might cause you some kind of spiteful happiness the harm caused outweighs it. If the woman is on fire however suddenly it becomes morally positive. The woman is happy because she's been helped and you're happy because altruism naturally feels good.
    Offline

    8
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by elizah)
    "It is wrong to kill people" doesn't exist in the universe as some particle or molecule or some mathematical truth. What people fail to understand is that nothing carries intrinsic meaning, per se; we are cells and particles with brain capacity who try to find meaning in an erratic universe, and we think that the concepts that humans have established are universal truth, which isn't only stupid, but straight up hilarious.
    "It is morally wrong to kill people" is something which is CULTURALLY defined. All cultures typically place value on life itself, and thus, deriving people of their lives by killing them has been pretty much universally established as "wrong", but that is because WE have decided that it is, based on our cultural context and social context and standards.
    What about cannibalistic tribes? What about female genital mutilation? What is more right versus wrong, the way we live or the way they live?
    Morals are based on cultural and social context and thus do not "objectively" exist.
    I like that you framed it 'we think that the concepts that humans have established are universal truth' because the most influential ethical theories, by Plato and Aristotle for example, certainly had their realism about universals and propositions (and numbers) as the foundation for their right and wrong. For Aristotle, for example, what was good for something depended on their final cause. Its when you defend some type of conceptualism or nominalism that you could undermine their arguments. So when say humans have decided that killing is wrong as though it was a popular agreement, propagated simply by utility, nothing could be further from the truth. There are a number of ethical theories arguing for objective morality that are based on philosophical positions, at least the defender of those positions argues, cannot reasonably be denied. So it is far from obvious that morality really is some kind of popularity agreement.

    Also, simply stating the cultural differences between what is considered right and wrong does not make a substantial defeater all by itself. No body says that people are infallible in their opinion on morality, its that morality is objective regardless of their opinions. This is to confuse epistemology with ontology.

    I was going to jump into a rant about the inherent problems in saying that brain capacities try to find meaning, but this post is long enough without going off topic.

    Posted from TSR Mobile
 
 
 
The home of Results and Clearing

1,021

people online now

1,567,000

students helped last year
Poll
A-level students - how do you feel about your results?
Useful resources

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.