I'm agreeing with you in practice but taking a different view, perhaps, in spirit. I don't think you can rate morality objectively with any degree of certainty, though we must have some form of ethics for society to work, so we have to try. I do think that there may in fact be best or worst, better or worse moral codes, but we may not be able to identify them or even recognize them. There may be little practical value in acknowledging moral truth exists if we can't know or prove it, but for some reason it seems important to me to do so.Peter Holmes wrote: ↑July 19th, 2018, 12:37 pmHi, chewybrian.
I appreciate what you say, and understand the feeling.I think this search for moral truth should be the main focus of philosophy, rather than trying to understand the nature of matter, infinity, consciousness, etc. Nope, I can't prove that, either!
As you'd guess, I think 'moral truth' is an illusion, because our moral values and judgements aren't - and can never be - factual matters - things that can be true or false. And that's the point of my argument against moral objectivism.
I think it amounts to taking away the chance for people to cop out, to not try to be good because they can't be perfect, or to rationalize bad behavior because it can't be proven bad with any certainty. We HAVE to try, and we continue to suffer because people don't always try to do the right thing. We probably have the resources to provide food, clothing, shelter, health care and education to the entirety of humanity right this minute, and perhaps we could if every one of us was trying to do the right thing, instead of working so hard to justify our selfishness, or living in fear or deprivation resulting from such selfishness.
In my prior post, I gave the least coverage to the most important point, so perhaps I should expand on that. I think we are failing in philosophy by putting everything in the wrong order, as Epictetus warned against 2000 years ago. Basically he says:
Step one--Morality: Get your own priorities in order. Align your desires and aversions to pull you in the right directions. If you find yourself wanting something that is not good for you, or shunning something that is good for you, rest assured you need to revisit step one. If you are ever upset by events outside your control, or unable to get a handle on things which are in your control, revisit step one. Most people need to revisit step one, or even to visit it for the first time! Most people I know allow their happiness to be driven by events outside their control, for example.
Step two--Ethics: Learn to apply your morality in your choices and actions. Respect the duties that naturally follow from morality in your relationships with others. Make sure your daily habits coincide with your personal code. Make all your actions such that you wish they would be a universal code for all people to follow.
Step three--Everything else: If (and it's a big if) you have the first two in order, then you may be ready to go on to understanding nature of the universe, setting life goals, determining the truth or falsehood of great philosophical arguments, writing a constitution, being a judge or serving on a jury, or other such challenges that require your virtues be in working order first. We still have this 2000+ year old problem of people wanting to rush to step three without getting the first two in order. Most of our politicians have accepted office for which they lack moral fitness that should be required, for example.
If philosophers or politicians worked out steps one and two first, then we could make begin to make progress in the right direction on step three, and we would have much less to argue about on the way. If we keep rushing to step three without the foundation of the first two...well, you can see how little progress we are making in the world today, and how dangerous we are to each other.
http://classics.mit.edu/Epictetus/disco ... three.html <(chapter two)