• Issac Scoggins
    Is there an ultimate standard of morality, something outside physical reality?
  • Cavacava

    Hi and welcome to TPF.

    I think RD is right but because of the way you have framed your question. While there may be no "ultimate standard of morality", morality is very much a social construction which does have ultimate local authority and I think it can be viewed on pragmatic terms as successful or unsuccessful behavior.
  • LD Saunders
    It's not that big of an issue, actually. People tend to needlessly complicated this issue of whether there is objective morality. Just start with your definition for morality. What is it? If you define it something along the lines of getting along well with others, then there are better and worse ways of doing that, which makes morality objective, and even subject to science. Now, if you define morality to be something else, like, whatever a God says it is, then I think you are actually referring to something that has no significance and cannot be established as true in any way.
  • Maw
    Something "existing" outside "physical reality" doesn't sound meaningful at all.
  • tim wood
    Nothing outside physical reality that provides an "ultimate standard of morality"? Let's approach it this way: according to you, is there anything outside of physical reality? (By "outside" I understand you to mean "that isn't.")
  • charleton
    Is there an ultimate standard of morality, something outside physical reality?
    2 hours ago
    Issac Scoggins

    How could this even be possible? There is no morality without moral beings. Moral beings are real.
  • charleton
    Something "existing" outside "physical reality" doesn't sound meaningful at all.Maw

    Something existing outside reality is a contradiction in terms.
  • Saphsin
    I'm probably closer to moral anti-realism (they're not real in the sense that atoms and molecules are real) though I don't think that encapsulates my view. I just don't see how it provides a problem for objectivity.

    I think of moral norms in a similar manner as chess rules or surgery procedures, we don't "discover" them as if they are "out there" in the world, yet they are constrained by physical circumstances, and we can discuss them in a way that doesn't defer to arbitrary human tastes.
  • LD Saunders
    Morality is largely hardwired into our brains due to evolution. Even when it comes to our political views and how we divide into left and right-wing parties across the globe, we are basically divided as a result of evolution, which gave rise to political personality traits. Sometimes evolution favored xenophilia, as breeding outside one's group could promote beneficial genetic diversity, while at other times, evolution favored xenophobia, breeding within one's group and avoiding outsiders, like in cases where pathogens could be a real problem being introduced by outsiders. Because evolution sometimes favored liking outsiders and at other times disliking them, people divide into left and right wing parties over such things as immigration policies, and this is a discussion we are having due to our biological evolution. The same can be said for people's attitudes regarding inequality and human nature, these differences are also mainly due to our evolutionary history sometimes favoring an egalitarian society and other times a hierarchical one, and sometimes favoring mutual support and at other times, not so much.

    Most of our political arguments are just cover stories we use to endorse our biological predispositions.
  • BC
    Welcome to The Philosophy Forum, Mr. Scoggins down in Big D. Let me hang this around your neck:

    Is there an ultimate standard of morality, something outside physical reality?Issac Scoggins

    First of all, what does the intensifier "ultimate" mean to a standard of morality? A system defines what is right and wrong. What is it that would be more right and wrong?

    Where, outside of physical reality, would this ultimate standard be lurking? God? If you think God provides the ultimate standard of right and wrong, say so. (Lots of people think it's God's doing.) If not god, then who? What? Where? Why?
  • LD Saunders
    Mr Phil: Changing political views? There have been studies done that accurately predicted adult's political orientations based on personality tests given to them as little kids. The facts are that some people do change their political views, but largely we don't do so.
  • LD Saunders
    Mr Phil: You are ignoring what evolution tells us about why you love your mother. It is essentially based on biological evolution. Now, how does evolution affect behavior? Through proximate and distal causes. You are simply ignoring the proximate cause --- your mother loves you, which is why she took care of you. This was evolution's way of making her more successful in passing on her genes. It's the love, by looking at a "cute" baby, that is the proximate cause for the more distal cause of successfully passing on her genes. Evolution also explains parent-child conflicts, sibling-rivalry, kin selection, etc. If you want to take a very non-scientific view of evolution, then I guess you would come to the conclusion you did. But you seriously think generations of scientists would have overlooked such questions?

    Why is it that most people accept the idea that parents treat their children better than strangers? Evolution provides the perfect explanation. No moral philosophy does.
  • Caldwell
    There is no morality without moral beings. Moral beings are real.charleton

  • Caldwell
    I completely agreeRené Descartes
    What are you agreeing with?
  • Caldwell
    So, you agree with this:

    morality is very much a social constructionCavacava

    Then, are you agreeing that morality is real? Hint: the answer is yes.
  • LD Saunders
    Rene: The mods deleted my comment, which was basically stating that you don't know what you are writing about, that studies have shown toddlers have a moral sense, which they most definitely did not learn from society. You are basically the equivalent of a young earth creationist, a complete science denier, and that I am sick and tired of science deniers on here, so I am done. Science forums really are far superior to philosophy forums, where basically people write nonsense and expect to be taken seriously.
  • Londoner
    Why is it that most people accept the idea that parents treat their children better than strangers? Evolution provides the perfect explanation. No moral philosophy does. — LD Saunders

    Yet moral philosophy might question whether we should treat our children better than the children of strangers. And some of us might actually try to treat all children equally.

    If evolution was the driver for our morality, then surely we humans ought not to be capable of even thinking such contrary ideas, let alone putting them into practice.

    Or, if we can adjust the theory that evolution is responsible for morality so that it 'explains' both putting our own children first - but also not putting our own children first - then as a theory it will be unfalsifiable and therefore no longer scientific.
  • UglyHarris

    Society is a moral construct. Before society can even begin to form there has to be a decision that leads to a better living situation for all involved (or at least some involved). This decision has to be grounded in a morality, whether it is a formal system or not is not important. The reasons for the change in behaviour may be selfish, or subjective, but they can be altered over time.

    This first decision is a moral one, and from it stems all social functions. Morality is real, but moral systems that codify certain behaviours is learned.

    The 'objective' moral system does not exist, but objective morality does exist, it is simply the actions of any living being that can be considered to either benefit or disadvantage any other living being.
  • charleton
    Mr Phil: You are ignoring what evolution tells us about why you love your mother.LD Saunders

    Evolution cannot tell you anything. Evolutionary theory can suggest how certain traits persist. But cannot suggest 'reasons' why.
    Millions of creatures (including humans) have been born, persist and live to make viable progeny that DO NOT love their mothers.
    I could name a few humans who hate their mothers and yet still have loving relationships with their children; others still that have children in whom they have no interest.
    Where is your evolutionary psychology now?
  • Caldwell
    Yes, but it is not absolute or existing outside of physical reality and it is a social construct. I never suggested that there was no such thing as morality.René Descartes

    It's okay. We're not looking for absolute, just real.
  • Caldwell
    exactly my point as well. Regardless of how you want to consider the origins, if you admit morality is a real thing, and that it determines what is right and wrong, an absolute claim on morality is an absolute moral claim. Its like drinking milk, talking about what you think of it, and denying its existence simultaneously, while admitting what you have in your hand and enjoy to drink and talk about is called milk.Mr Phil O'Sophy

    :smile: Good god!
    Yes, once you admit it is 'real', it exists.
Add a Comment