Objective Morality Essay
My intent in composing this is to reason for the being of an nonsubjective morality based wholly on rational and scientific logical thinking. By “objective morality” I do non merely intend that morality exists in the sense that assorted societies consider assorted actions to be immoral. What I mean is that certain actions are inherently right or incorrect regardless of what any society thinks about them. In other words. I mean that there is an “objective morality” which exists independently of human beliefs and human civilisation.
There are many people who have the sentiment that it is non possible to believe in such an nonsubjective morality without besides believing in constructs such as God or an ageless psyche. I believe that they are incorrect. I will try to demo that an nonsubjective morality exists and that this morality is the same regardless of which faith. if any. is right. Many people believe that without a spiritual model. the lone possible decision is that all morality is nil more than a human concept without any nonsubjective being.
In other words. what morality a individual or a civilization accepts is like picking a favourite spirit of ice pick. Some persons prefer strawberry ice pick. other persons prefer cocoa. and no person’s penchant is “more correct” than another’s. In a similar mode. they argue. different persons and different societies have assorted favourite moral belief systems. and merely as with ice pick. no peculiar set of moral beliefs is “more correct” than any other. A common statement for this type of thought is the following. Throughout history. different civilizations have had immensely different moral systems.
In fact. on about any moral issue. it appears that there is perfectly no understanding or consensus shared by even a bulk of the civilizations throughout history. In add-on to this. there appears to be no manner to turn out the high quality of one moral system over another utilizing logic entirely. So the lone manner in which one moral system can really be the right one is if faith is the tie ledgeman. That is. whichever value system the “correct religion” advocators is the right value system. Otherwise. there is no manner to make up one’s mind between them. I believe that this type of statement is easy refuted.
In order to reason for the being of an nonsubjective morality. I will hold to make more than merely indicate out the defects in lines of concluding such as this. I will hold to supply my ain statements that an nonsubjective morality does be. and I will hold to discourse where this morality “comes from” . I will besides hold to explicate a procedure by which we can try to find what it is. This is what I intend to make. I would foremost. though. like to take some clip to indicate out some of the mistakes in the logical thinking above. There are two points that the statement above makes.
The first regards the deficiency of consensus sing morality. The 2nd involves the inability to turn out the high quality of one moral system over another utilizing logic entirely. It is true that throughout history. different civilizations have held immensely different beliefs about morality. These civilizations have besides held immensely different beliefs sing natural physical Torahs. Consider. for illustration. the belief in gravitation. Presently. it is believed that the phenomena which we call gravitation is the consequence of the fact that objects with mass cause a curvature in “space-time” .
Under this model. we believe that a clock located in a high gravitative field will look to run slower than an indistinguishable clock in a part with low gravitation. We besides believe. under this model. that the way of something without mass. such as a beam of visible radiation. is affected by gravitation. This was non ever the instance. At the beginning of the 20th century. for illustration. it was believed that the phenomena of gravitation is the consequence of the fact that all objects with mass exert an attractive force on each other.
Harmonizing to this position. the way of a beam of visible radiation should be unaffected by gravitation and indistinguishable redstem storksbills should run at the same velocity everyplace. This had non ever been the instance either. At an earlier clip it was believed that the natural topographic point for objects such as stones was on the land while the natural topographic point for things like steam was up in the sky. Harmonizing to this position. stones fell to the land while steam rose because everything tends to travel to its natural topographic point. If we do a more thorough scrutiny. including all the civilizations throughout all of history. we will happen an even larger assortment of sentiments sing the jurisprudence of gravitation.
This does non. though. mean that there is no nonsubjective jurisprudence of gravitation which exists independently of human society. The beliefs in gravitation which I described are efforts by human societies to come close world. Clearly. some estimates are better than others. Possibly the current belief in the curvature of space-time is besides wrong and will subsequently be replaced by an even better estimate. However. most people would hold no job holding that the curvature of space-time account of gravitation is a better estimate to world than the accounts which came before
it. All that this shows is that even though different civilizations hold really different beliefs about a certain issue. this does non needfully connote that there is no nonsubjective world behind these beliefs. The claim which I will be reasoning for is that this is the same for morality as it is for gravitation. All the moral beliefs which came before us and all the moral beliefs today are. in precisely the same manner as in the instance of gravitation. estimates to the aim world which exists independently of human existences.
Although likely none of these estimates correspond to reality precisely. as with gravitation. some estimates are better than others. For illustration. the value system of a society which condones bondage but condemns cannibalism is wrong. but it is a better estimate to world than that of a society which condones both bondage and cannibalism. The claim that no 1 has yet been able to turn out the rightness of a peculiar moral system through logic alone is besides right. However. if we continue the analogy with gravitation. we will recognize that no 1 has besides been able to turn out the being of gravitation through logic entirely either.
The ground we believe that a stone will fall to the land is because that is what we have ever observed when we have let travel of stones in the yesteryear. There is a little more to it than that. of class. but non much. Our current theory of gravitation predicts many specific phenomena. These include stones falling to the land. planets revolving the Sun. the creative activity of ocean tides by the Moon. and indistinguishable redstem storksbills running at different velocities. The lone ground why we do believe in our current theory of gravitation is because every clip we have observed these phenomena. what we saw corresponded with what the theory predicted.
If we were deprived of these observations. we would hold no ground to believe in gravitation at all. There is no manner. utilizing logic entirely. that a individual can turn out the being of gravitation or the high quality of one theory of gravitation to another. It is merely by utilizing logical logical thinking in combination with observation that a individual can reason for the being of gravitation. Even so. it is non be possible to make so with entire 100 % confidence. The fact that the current theory of gravitation has ever made right anticipations in the yesteryear does non vouch that the theory will give right anticipations tomorrow.
What a individual can make. though. is to demo. by utilizing logical logical thinking in combination with observations. that our theory of gravitation is most likely true. This is what I intend to make for morality. There are. of class. some differences in reasoning for an nonsubjective moral jurisprudence and an nonsubjective gravitative jurisprudence. Possibly one of the most important is that it is possible to build equipment which quantitatively measure the effects of gravitation. That is. it is possible to build a velocity sensor that tells you that a stone is traveling with a speed of 10 metres per second at a certain minute in clip.
On the other manus. it is non presently possible to build a morality metre which tells you that a certain action is incorrect with an immorality of 10 immorality units. However. this is an obstruction which I believe can easy be overcome. I will explicate the manner in which I overcome this obstruction a small spot subsequently. For now. I would merely wish to indicate out that the fact that we can non construct such a sensor does non automatically connote that an nonsubjective morality does non be. It was non that long ago that we were unable to observe or mensurate the being of negatrons.
This. nevertheless. does non connote that negatrons did non be in that clip period. Electrons ( objectively ) existed regardless of whether or non we could construct devices which detected them. The same. I believe. is true for morality. I have divided my treatment into four parts. The first portion is this debut. In the 2nd portion. I attempt to demo that it is objectively incorrect to torment another individual for pleasance. and I discuss where this nonsubjective morality “comes from” . In this 2nd portion. I do non cover with something even as mildly complicated as tormenting one individual to forestall the agony of another.
Since I am seeking to demo that an nonsubjective morality exists independently of human beliefs. merely demoing that there exists one action which is objectively incorrect should be sufficient to show my place that some nonsubjective morality exists. However. merely believing that an nonsubjective morality exists should non be plenty to fulfill anyone’s enquiry into the affair. In portion three. I discuss how we can find what this nonsubjective morality says about controversial moral issues. As in the instance of gravitation. I merely claim to hold a method to happen good estimates to this nonsubjective moral jurisprudence. non to acquire it precisely right the first clip.
By passing more clip using this method to a peculiar moral issue. we will obtain better estimates. I give illustrations of how this method can be applied to issues such as abortion. war. carnal rights. and coercing your morality on others. I besides discuss if an action which does non harm anyone can be immoral and if it is of all time right to state that one life is “worth more” than another. In add-on. I give a method for set uping a belief about if another being possesses consciousness. which is utile in trying to find if we have an duty to move morally towards that being.
The 4th portion is comparatively independent of the remainder of my treatment. In portion four. I briefly discuss other alternate positions about the nature and beginning of morality. I touch on several subjects. I discuss how a belief in God can be reconciled with the place which I advocate and why I think that it is non logically consistent to keep the sentiment that a belief in God is necessary in order to believe in an nonsubjective morality. I discuss moral systems based on thoughts like karma and perfect justness which are frequently associated with reincarnation. I besides discuss a few other positions sing morality and what I think their defects are.
I talk about what I think is incorrect with thought of morality as merely a societal behaviour which evolved to assist our endurance. I besides discuss why I think that it is non possible to successfully establish the foundation of a society on self involvement or a societal contract. I besides mention why morality is much more than merely trying to maximise a certain measure such as felicity. Nowhere in my presentation do I discourse whether any peculiar faith is right or wrong. I limit my presentation to discoursing the development of a belief in an nonsubjective morality without appealing to spiritual instructions.
I do. though. demo how my place can be reconciled with assorted spiritual beliefs. I besides show how the definition of morality which I am about to give can be reconciled with the theory of development and natural choice. In add-on. I discuss if moral beliefs better in the long tally with the transition of clip. My definition of the word “morality” does non match to the manner in which the word is normally used. but I believe that this definition closely approximates what “morality” is. In order to better explicate my definition. I would foremost wish to give an illustration of what “morality” is non.
Suppose that a adult male comes home after shopping for nutrient at a supermarket. When his boy sees him. he remarks on what good and moral people the proprietors of the supermarket must be. He comments that the shop proprietors must hold been really sort and generous to give all this nutrient to his household. How do you believe that his male parent will reply? Clearly. the male parent will reply that the supermarket proprietors did non give him the nutrient because they were sort or generous people. but because it was in their ego involvement to make so. Although the shop proprietors might so be good and moral people. this action is in no manner any indicant of this.
They did what they did because they believed that the action would gain them. and for no other ground. This action. the male parent would reason. says nil about the morality of the shop proprietors. I will now give my definition. All actions can be placed into one of two classs. Some actions can belong to both of these groups at the same time. However. all actions must belong to at least one of these classs. The first group consists of all actions which we do out of self involvement while non harming others. Simple illustrations of this are siting a bike or watching telecasting.
These are activities which we engage in because we believe that these activities will profit us. If an action belongs entirely to this class. so it is of the same type as that of the supermarket proprietors in the old illustration. and has nil to make with morality. The 2nd group consists of two types of behaviour. The first type is behavior which either injuries or intends to harm others. The 2nd type is behavior which we engage in. non because we believe that it will somehow profit us in the long tally. but because we believe that it will profit others.
This includes any action we do. and any action which we refrain from making. non for ourselves. but for others. It is with this 2nd group of behaviours with which morality is concerned. Morality. so. is prosecuting in behaviour. non out of self involvement. but because it is in the involvement of others. This is how I define morality. Many people would reason that selfless actions belonging to the 2nd group which I described do non be. That is. they would reason that every action every individual does is done out of self involvement.
If a adult male gives money to charity. they say. he does so merely because he gets a warm and fuzzed feeling indoors. If a adult female donates blood. it is merely because making so makes her experience good about herself. This line of concluding claims that all these apparently benevolent actions are truly done out of self involvement. That is. people engage in such activities merely to acquire these good internal feelings which they want. I disagree with such thought. Although it is right that a adult female who gives to charity will likely obtain a warm and fuzzed feeling
from making so. it is wrong to presume that this is the lone ground why she engages in this activity. This is an illustration of an action which can at the same time suit both of the groups which I described. That is. this adult female may be giving to charity both because she feels good after making so and because she wants to assist others. In this instance. so long as it is non done wholly out of self involvement. it is still related to morality. Some actions which people engage in autumn entirely into my 2nd class. and could ne’er be explained in footings of ego involvement.
An utmost illustration of this is when a individual. who does non believe in an hereafter. makes a disconnected 2nd determination to give up his life for others. as in a instance of a soldier throwing his organic structure on a unrecorded manus grenade in order to salvage his companions. There is no manner to reason that the soldier is making this because he seeks a warm and fuzzed feeling indoors. since he is non traveling to populate long plenty to bask it. Human existences frequently attempt to carry others into acting a certain manner by indicating out that it is in their ego involvement to make so.
A police officer may state. for illustration. that you shouldn’t steal because there is a good opportunity that you will travel to imprison if you do. Similarly. a female parent may state her boy that he will be punished if he his found misbehaving. None of this. though. in any manner influences anyone to go a moral individual. It merely tells people how to act in their ain ego involvement. The lone lesson this would leave on the kid is that if he wants to avoid penalty. he should non misconduct. This will non forestall him from misconducting the minute he knows that his parents aren’t watching. or after he grows up and moves out of his parents’ house.
Similarly. this type of concluding will non convert a individual non to steal if he finds himself in a state of affairs where the opportunities of being caught are little or non-existent. Nor is at that place. based on self involvement entirely. much ground for constabulary officers. Judgess. and jurisprudence shapers to non mistreat the power of their places. What faiths frequently do with respects to morality is to reason that it is ever in a person’s ego involvement to act “morally” . Some faiths teach. for illustration. that if you engage in slaying. colza. or anguish. you will travel to Hell.
Others teach that if you engage in such activities you are traveling to hold a really unfortunate following reincarnation. Others may believe that there is no life after decease. but that you will be punished in this life for prosecuting in improper Acts of the Apostless. However. this does non truly state anyone to be a moral individual. This. once more. merely tells people how to act in their self involvement. If a adult female refrains from killing other people merely because she does non desire to travel to Hell. or if a adult male gives to charity merely because he does non desire to be reincarnated as an insect. so these activities have nil to make with morality.
As in the instance of the supermarket proprietor. these people are merely moving in their self involvement. A spiritual individual can. of class. be moving morally if he engages in activities for the intent of profiting others every bit good as seeking a wages. It is merely that. as with the supermarket proprietor. although an action may hold the side consequence of profiting other people. it is non related to morality if seeking a wages or avoiding a penalty is the lone motive. But so the inquiries before us are the undermentioned.
Without doing an entreaty to faith. why is it that we “should” act “morally” ? Why is it that we “should” prosecute in activities which benefit others and forbear from activities which harm others? In a state of affairs where which class of action is moral is itself a affair of argument. how is it possible. without utilizing spiritual constructs. to persuasively reason that a peculiar reply is in fact the right one. It is these types of inquiries which I will try to reply.