Friday, May 29, 2009


A while back, I ended up trying to think of some little meme-worthy slogans about morality. One that came to mind was something along the lines of "If morality is objective, it's random."

The rationale behind it is essentially this: I think morality is more or less "technically relative": It's based on our instinctive needs and desires. Presumably we all want to live, therefore we outlaw murder. Essentially, we can deduce general principles to use to maximize everyone's satisfaction in life. It's messy at points, but it's fairly firm. Much more so than the typical fundie's morality.

Objective morality, well, if there's a "Don't murder" objective moral law out there... How do we find it? If magic men in the sky are supposed to tell us, how did they figure out that law? If the magic men define it, well, what gives them the ability to do so? What's the basis behind the existence behind these laws? Are they completely baseless?



MWchase said...

Other ways to think about objective morality:

"A recent discovery indicates that murder is acceptable, in the presence of a strong magnetic field."

I had some sort of other idea, but it either wasn't very good, or I mangled it.

Bronze Dog said...

Close to that: XKCD covers it well.

James K said...

There is literally no substitute for using your own moral judgement. Even if you delegate your moral reasoning to an authority of some sort, that still a moral judgement on your part.

And you're right, even if there was some objective morality you would still have to choose to follow it. Look at the Ori from Stargate SG1, by a reasonable definition they were gods, but that doesn't mean people were morally obligated to do as they said.