It leaves it up to us individually and collectively to figure out what we hold to be permissible and impermissible. Where we draw the lines changes over time. I do not think we are moving toward or away from some absolute state of knowledge of moral truths. It is not in the hands of contingency, it is in our hands, and without knowledge of absolutes our moral judgments are always contingent.
When you say moral truths with an 's' clearly you caste the issue in a way that fits your thinking, but the issue was never about, and I have not wavered on this, principles on what is ethically right or wrong. These vary; as we all know, once a matter is processed through institutions of ethical determination, like legal and political ones, there is no end to range and complexity of human affairs. Nor do want to talk about "moving toward" anything, which is just a metaphysical red herring. Both of these are red herrings. There is only one descriptive proposition I am concerned about and that is pain and happiness as such, to use general terms. It is a classification of a dimension of being human that is easy to identify: just look to the other side of caring, that which one cares about, and examine the valuative aspect of it, not the utility aspect or the legal aspect, just the valuative aspect. Just like looking at judgments elusively for their rational structures.
"In the hands of contingency" was just a manner of speaking.
Suppose we conclude that since pain is inherently bad we are morally obligated to eliminate pain in all its forms. Some people attempt to do this with their own children, protecting them from anything and everything that will hurt them. In my opinion, the results are not good. It does not allow them to grow stronger or cope with adversity. The opioid crisis is in part the result of an attempt to eliminate pain. Physicians have begun to rethink the idea of providing pain-free medical procedures through the use of opioids. They are now counseling patients to expect and endure some degree of pain. Pain may be bad but the consequences of trying to eliminate it worse.
Eliminate pain? Interesting notion, and I would say a hard one to argue for or against. But I am not defending some practical thesis. I am just describing, like a good phenomenologist.
The possibility of being mistaken is the hallmark of fallible creatures. It has nothing to do with metaphysical certainty. It simply makes no sense to say that I am in pain but that I might be mistaken.
I don't think the epistemological move is a helpful one. It neutralizes and interferes to ground horrible pain in the measure of certainty. Turns the matter into language and argument without giving due recognition to the presence of pain as presence. This why I say, light a flame and apply it to your finger and let it register properly; or, imagine the terrible realities of being burned alive and the like. It is not to sensationalize. It is just that "talk" is inherently reductive, and this leads to a misrepresentation of the presence of things. Here, theory needs to be reminded lest it underestimates it subject, which is what we do with value in the news, in second hand reporting, in our daily narratives, and in our intellectualizing. We are used to talking about things as words. By my thinking, best to go to performance of something by Antoine Artaud to get some kind of, what...existential revelation. It takes this kind of thing to give the presence of pain and horror its due. I think most theorists have forgotten that we actually exist (to borrow from Kierkegaard).
What does this mean other than if it appears to be orange it appears to be orange?
I don't know how the term "appears" helps. Why bother with this? I am trying to put focus on the presence and not the interpretation, and not caring that the latter is essential in the apprehension of the former. Value-in-Being is what makes this possible, though this is hard to defend. Value presents itself through interpretation and is not diminished in its nature int eh process, and since all apprehensions of the world are valuative (there is no experience that is not valuative) experience possesses this, what I will call, absolute. Just a word that means noncontingent, and this is best witnessed in something like horrible pain.
I place the caring within the biology of the human animal.
As do I. But I don't really know what a human animal is outside of the explicit interpretative terminology at hand. Then, the question goes to whether I reached, in the acknowledgement of this, just more possibilities of self referential disclosure, or I am brought to a significant threshold of understanding beyond the collective mentality that informs terms like 'human animal'. Value, the "disclosure" of something not ready to hand tells us the latter.
If care is put aside then I may be indifferent to the pain of others. It does not hurt me. It is not bad for me that you are in pain
Granted, and the way I see it, not caring is a sign of moral depravity. And to anticipate: does this mean that surgeons are morally depraved because they can control their reactions to human suffering? I do not think being able to compartmentalize indicates depravity at all. But one could argue that the worst behavior could be construed as mere comparmentalizing. There is an argument there that seems worthy, but I won't go into it here.
Is it an attempt to find meaning in what is meaningless or an assertion that there is meaning is suffering and dying but it haunts us unless or until find it? I see it as the former. And, of course, our inability to find meaning in pain and suffering itself causes pain and suffering.
I wonder if you would think like this if you were on the cross (not that I place any stock in this kind of thing, but it is a wonderful symbol of human suffering). My point is, your response is too distant from that which is set before you to be understood, and I suspect this is due to the way logic and language have occluded all of the offending realities, the superfluities, to use Sartre's word, that spill beyond the boundaries of language and announce the strangeness of our world.