• Pfhorrest
    2.8k
    There have been a lot of threads here lately touching on topics of moral objectivism, relativism, nihilism, etc. I don't mean to rehash them all again here, but I'm getting a distinct impression that most people at this forum are moral relativists or nihilists, and I want to check if that's only because people only respond to argue about things they disagree with, or if it's actually the case.

    Terms in this area can be murky and conflicting, so to clarify, by "moral objectivism" here:

    - I don't necessarily mean what's also called "moral absolutism", the view that the same things are good or bad in all contexts no matter what. (So consequentialism and situationalism still count as morally objective in the way I mean here).

    - I don't necessarily mean what's also called "robust moral realism", the view that moral sentences describe objective features of the world. (So ideal observer theory, divine command theory, universal prescriptivism, etc, still count as morally objective in the way I mean here).

    I mean only what's also called "moral universalism", which is just the claim that, for any particular event, in its full context, there is some moral evaluation of that event in that context that it is correct for everyone to make, i.e. that the correct moral evaluation doesn't change depending on who is making it.
    1. Are you a moral objectivist? (see above for clarification) (35 votes)
        Yes
        54%
        No
        46%
  • Janus
    9.2k
    I think there is an inherent logic in moral thought. In other words I think it is a fact that moral concern is at its basis concern for the well-being of others. I also believe there are facts regarding what constitutes well-being and who or what different people consider to be others worthy of moral consideration. Does that make me a moral objectivist in your view?
  • RogueAI
    191
    There should be an option for "morality doesn't exist".
  • Janus
    9.2k
    Why should there be such an option, when it patently does exist.
  • RogueAI
    191
    How would morality exist if solipsism is true? How could morality exist if free will is impossible?
  • Janus
    9.2k
    Solipsism obviously isn't true, so...
  • 180 Proof
    1.5k
    @OP - Yes.

    A précis on (an) 'objective (i.e. subject/pov-invariant) morality':

    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/355166

    So as a metaethical designation, I think of myself, at minimum, as a moral naturalist instead (probably due to the Randian association with the term "objectivist").
  • Pfhorrest
    2.8k
    That option is “no”.
  • Pfhorrest
    2.8k
    If you think that what makes a moral claim correct or not is whether someone agrees with it (so what those different people think changes what is correct from viewpoint to viewpoint), then no.
  • RogueAI
    191
    I guess it would be. I completely misread your poll. I could have sworn there were two options: moral objectivism and moral relativism. Funny, how the mind plays tricks on us.
  • RogueAI
    191
    Solipsism obviously isn't true, so...

    I don't see the obviousness, but I would certainly prefer it not to be true.

    How would morality exist without free will?
  • Pfhorrest
    2.8k
    I’ve slightly reworded the OP to mention nihilism to hopefully avoid that conflict for others.
  • Janus
    9.2k
    No I don't think that. As I said I think there are facts of the matter re human well-being.
  • Pfhorrest
    2.8k
    Sounds like a yes then. It was this bit that made me think you meant otherwise:

    and who or what different people consider to be others worthy of moral considerationJanus

    As though the facts about well-being depended on who thought whose well-being mattered or something.
  • Janus
    9.2k
    Regardless of whether there is free will, whatever that is taken to mean, it is obvious that moral thinking goes on, from which it follows that there is morality.
  • Janus
    9.2k
    As though the facts about well-being depended on who thought whose well-being mattered or somethingPfhorrest

    Well I would say there are facts about what constitutes well-being for any person or even organism. There are also facts about who thinks which human beings' or organisms' well-being matters.
  • Congau
    222
    I certainly hope there are more moral objectivists than relativists here, since moral relativism effectively means the belief there is no morality. If something is right for me and another thing is right for you, and we are somehow both right, the real implication is that none of us is right. If your culture and upbringing, your habits and feelings, justify your moral behavior in the sense that I am forced to acknowledge that you acted in the right way although I would have acted differently myself, there is no morality. Whatever a person does, can be explained by his background and will be consistent with it, and if that is the measure, it will not be possible for a person to act wrongly unless he himself admits his wrongdoing. So, if nothing is wrong, there is no morality.

    That being said, different circumstances and different people do require different actions. For a big and strong man, it may be right to stay and fight the intruder, while a small and weak person should better run away. That is not moral relativism.

    I doubt that some of the self-proclaimed moral relativists really hold that view. Everyone thinks that some actions are wrong.
  • Noble Dust
    3.8k


    I agree there's an inherent logic to morality, and not even necessarily in a "it's just common sense" way; often it's not common sense. All I have to say at the moment is that I've been consulting the I Ching fairly regularly over the past year, and have developed a sense of there always being a correct action, thought, or attitude to take at any given time. "Well being" as you say, occurs when the correct path is taken, and does not occur when it's not taken. That's the logic of morality; a simple 1 or 0. A sort of pure logic that doesn't have to be guided by emotion. So yeah, I voted yes.
  • Pfhorrest
    2.8k
    Well I would say there are facts about what constitutes well-being for any person or even organism. There are also facts about who thinks which human beings' or organisms' well-being matters.Janus

    The question then is which of those facts matters for determining the morality of something. If several people disagree about whose well-being matters (or about what constitutes well-being), are none of them wrong, some of them wrong, or all of them wrong? Only “some” means moral objectivism.
  • Janus
    9.2k
    The question then is which of those facts matters for determining the morality of something. If several people disagree about whose well-being matters (or about what constitutes well-being), are none of them wrong, some of them wrong, or all of them wrong? Only “some” means moral objectivism.Pfhorrest

    Given that I think there is no purely rational, or unbiased, way of justifying proposals that some deserve moral consideration and others don't, then I would say that anyone who says that some should be privileged are wrong. So, among those "several people" you referred to only those saying that the same moral consideration is deserved by all would be correct.
  • Scemo Villaggio
    7
    Pasted portion of my only remaining post after my first three:

    I subscribe to a hard deterministic reality.... meaning, I do believe in objective truth seen through a subjective lens.Perspective and communication focus that Lens.


    I call myself a "moral relativist"( for lack of a better term), This consists of:


    -My belief, that my goals and motivations are the very best tool I have for improving my perceived situation.This being the fundamental basis of confident choice making.


    -My belief, that through increased mindfulness I can make rational decisions about my goals in specific situations based on critical thinking and reflection.My fundamental process for in the moment assessment.


    -My belief, that there are common attributes shared by groups, these attributes dictate proper ethical behavior within those groups. There are groups within groups that dictate differing dynamics for optimum goal completion(ex. religious people within secular organizations). In essence, we are all humans on this planet that breathe eat and sleep in very similar ways... This puts all humanity within a large group that dictates some very specific optimal methodologies for improving situations: Breathe, eat, sleep etc. As you begin dividing that group into subgroups, more nuanced methodologies will emerge as you become aware of the specific layers of groups you fall into for your current situational calculation.

    -My belief, that all people act within their own perceived best interest (you too, Gandhi!)


    -My belief, that If you can see yourself as part of a collective whole, and appreciate that you are an integral part of that whole, you will act within your best interest to make that whole better. I addition, as you develop this way, you discover that the most efficient sustainable change begins within yourself and moves outward
    So, in summation:

    I think "NO" but am not sure as I haven't really tried to draw distinctions between labels for our moral compass.
  • InPitzotl
    310
    I certainly hope there are more moral objectivists than relativists here, since moral relativism effectively means the belief there is no morality.Congau
    I don't think your reasoning works... it seems to presume that all moral options are either objectively well ordered, or have no ordering. As such, your reasoning is easily defeated by an objective partial ordering. For example, suppose it's simply the case that among 5 possible options A, B, C, D, and E; that A is worse than each of C, D, and E; and B is also worse than each of C, D, and E, and that these are the only objective orderings.

    In this situation, we don't have an objective morality in the sense defined in the OP:
    the claim that, for any particular event, in its full context, there is some moral evaluation of that event in that context that it is correct for everyone to make, i.e. that the correct moral evaluation doesn't change depending on who is making it.Pfhorrest
    ...because whether C, D, or E is the best option may depend on particular value sets... so it's (at least relatively) relative. Yet, we also don't have an anything-goes situation, because either of C, D, or E would be preferable to either of A, B; and hence, there would still be such a thing as morality.

    FYI, I'm not attempting to convince you of moral relativism here... I'm simply claiming that your reasoning seems to be based on a hidden assumption of a well ordering of moral judgments of options.
  • Noble Dust
    3.8k


    What exactly are these moral options? Concrete actions, for instance?
  • InPitzotl
    310

    They are, exactly, abstract perfectly spherical cows; they are hypothetical fictitious moral options highlighting a gap in a specific line of reasoning... no more, no less.
  • Noble Dust
    3.8k


    I can't see how purely hypothetical moral options are useful in dealing with morality.
  • InPitzotl
    310
    I can't see how purely hypothetical moral options are useful in dealing with morality.Noble Dust
    Can you see how reasoning properly is useful in dealing with morality?
  • Noble Dust
    3.8k


    Yes, I doubt anyone is questioning that.
  • Pfhorrest
    2.8k
    :100: :up: :clap:

    Given that I think there is no purely rational, or unbiased, way of justifying proposals that some deserve moral consideration and others don't, then I would say that anyone who says that some should be privileged are wrong. So, among those "several people" you referred to only those saying that the same moral consideration is deserved by all would be correct.Janus

    That sounds like moral objectivism as I mean it, then. :up:

    (To clarify, the "some" option before didn't mean that only some people matter, but that at least some people in a disagreement about who or what matters must be wrong, because there is such a thing as being right -- in your case, and mine, the right ones being reckoned those who think everyone matters. The "all of them are wrong" option would be moral nihilism, and the "none of them are wrong" option would be moral relativism, which I'd argue is tantamount to nihilism anyway).

    Most of what you're saying about partial orderings is morally objectivist in the sense I mean. It's only when you get to that C, D, and E might be "correctly" ranked differently by different people that you get relativist. If it is correct for everyone to assess C, D, and E as equally permissible, and A and B as equally impermissible, then that is a morally objective evaluation. It only becomes relativist if, for example, C is better than D according to one party, and D is better than C according to another party, and both of them are correct about those orderings "to each other" or something.
  • InPitzotl
    310
    Yes, I doubt anyone is questioning that.Noble Dust
    Good... then we agree. This is just a tool to help with the reasoning.
  • Isaac
    2.8k
    There have been a lot of threads here lately touching on topics of moral objectivism, relativism, nihilism, etc. I don't mean to rehash them all again here, but I'm getting a distinct impression that most people at this forum are moral relativists or nihilistsPfhorrest

    Hopefully this won't feel like too much of a breach of your request that I don't respond to any of your discussions, but I'm curious as to who these people are. I've got the distinct opposite impression such that I can't think, off the top of my head, of a single contributor here who's a moral relativist apart from myself. Who else are you thinking of?
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