Thanks for all your responses.
(Original post by ChaoticButterfly)
Yes but why should I care? There is no reason why we have to care about anyone else/thing. There is no god telling us to. We are jut a configuration of atoms with sentience.
There is a reason why we should care about others, but you're right that there's no reason to follow reason. Essentially, you're asking the question "why follow logic" or "why follow the correct moral philosophy?".
To which I would reply: asking the question "why follow logic" is circular, because you're expecting a logical answer.
This may not satisfy you, or the other posters, but as I said earlier, I think that the word "ought" is erroneously expected to have magical powers and compel us to do something, but it doesn't.
My argument is that there is an objective moral system, or at least a "correct" one, but that there's no compulsion to follow it. But, then you'd be doing something "wrong", or "incorrect", which is the whole point.
(Original post by RobML)
Neither is there any logical justification for not putting one's own preference-satisfaction above that of other people's. So neither does it follow that aiming to maximise our own preference-satisfaction means we should do so for others.
There is a justification - why should my preferences matter but those of other beings? A rational being would ask: What is the real nature of the situation of myself among numerous others? Is it really rational for me to care more about what happens to me than to other people?
Consider that each other person's wants are just as real to them - indeed, "just as real," period - as yours are to you. That you experience what happens to you differently than what happens to them is just a subjective illusion. Furthermore, your reference to yourself as "I" and to others as he or she is a grammatical illusion of relative application. There is not a difference in kind between an "I" versus a "he" or "she" like there is between circles and squares. A being who seeks objectivity must believe that the feelings of others as real and valid as her own, and that "there is no inherent specialness about 'my' feelings or desires."
(Original post by VV Cephei A)
But we are aiming here to find ontological grounding for moral values and duties, in something that is truly objective, and completely independent of human thought or desire. In order for you to say "we have an objective duty to maximise everyone's preference-satisfaction", you would have to explain where that duty stems from and what makes it objectively true. You may consider it illogical to put our own preferences above others, but even if true, that wouldn't mean that doing so is a moral evil. Plenty of things humans do are illogical, but morally neutral; there is no objective moral requirement that we act logically
. I don't agree with the statement either; there are perfectly logical reasons why humans put their own personal preferences above those of others.
Without conscious life, morality isn't going to exist. So, if your definition of "objective" is "completely independent of human thought or desire", then you won't find what you're looking for. What I've outlined is the correct way to live, and seeing as ethics is concerned, ultimately, with the question "how are we to live?", I think this provides an answer - the answer.
As I was saying to ChaoticButterly, asking "why ask logically?" is a circular argument, because you're expecting a logical answer. In other words, you're presupposing the existence of logic by just participating in this discussion. If you really want to be sceptical about logic, then go ahead, but then you'd have to withdraw yourself from arena of debate.
There's no compulsion in my system of ethics, but that's besides the point: one can fail to maximise the preference-satisfaction of all sentient beings, but then one would be doing something illogical and incorrect.
I'd like to hear some of the logical reasons people have for putting their preference-satisfaction above that of others.