Free forums attract trolls like a bug light on a July night.
I'm pretty sure that's Slate on a troll alternate account.
Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like the Perfect Health Diet a lot.
Griff's cholesterol primer
5,000 Cal Fat <> 5,000 Cal Carbs
Winterbike: What I eat every day is what other people eat to treat themselves.
bloodorchid is always right
Excellent post, and extremely thought provoking. I've thought about this a lot though, and I disagree with your position.
It's a really great question, because, using myself as an example, I'm inclined to say that things like rape or murder are wrong. Just flat out wrong, regardless of what any other individual, society, or culture believes. But of course, your position is that morality is subjective, that I have no truly objective grounds for calling these things wrong, that my moral standards are in no way more "correct" or "true" than any other standards.
I disagree. I think morality is actually objective. If we consider morality to be the standards of action which promote the greatest possible well-being (which is an acceptable definition I think, right?), then I think we can effectively determine which actions are morally superior to others. Well-being is something that can be assessed objectively, even if we don't have the means to be precise about it or quantify it. Rape and murder (to take easy examples) clearly have a negative effect on the well-being of the victim, so if morality is a question of well being (as I think it is), then these actions are clearly morally wrong, and that is an objective fact.
I think morality is a lot like nutritional science. Morality is about well-being, and nutrition science is about health. The murder and rape examples were easy, their effects on well-being were obvious, it'd be like asking a nutritionist if a person should drink battery acid, easy answer because the effect on health is clear.
I like the morality/nutrition analogy even more though for pointing out the problem of nuances, complexities, and subtleties. Sometimes in nutrition we don't know the answer. Example: what carb/fat ratio should person x eat? If we're talking about optimizing health, then there actually is an objectively correct answer to this question. Unfortunately, there are just so many variables, and human health is so insanely complex, nuanced, and multifaceted, that we'll never figure out the exact answers to questions like this one. The best we can do is approximate. The same thing happens with moral questions. Well-being may be even more complex and nuanced than health (actually it must be, as it would actually encompass health). For this reason we'll come across a great deal of moral questions that are hard to answer (or even impossible for us) and we'll have to approximate or give it our best guess, but this doesn't mean that an objective answer to the moral question doesn't exist.
In my view, morality is a human creation, but if it's about well-being, then it seems to me that morality is actually objective.
The only way I see that you might argue against my position would be to claim that morality is not fundamentally a question of well-being, that that's not what we mean when we talk about morality. But if you're going to argue that then I'd like to know how you define morality.
Not sure I understand the wording of your question Sakura. I think there is a lot we understand about morality (and nutrition for that matter). There are easy questions that we have answers to, harder questions that take some work, and some really tough ones that we may never be able to solve exactly. We just get along doing the best we can, hopefully improving as we go.
Well, I guess when you approximate, it becomes a very subjective stance because you are allocating more value to the ones you judge to be correct. If you want something wholly objective, you have to also take into account infinite possibilities, which can only be possible if you have access to another dimension.
Sorry if this is too confusing to understand. I don't know how to properly verbalize many concepts I create, so people just usually stare at me in disbelief or pity because they never get the gist of what I'm saying.
Oh I see, yes you're correct -- when we approximate or guess we are, by definition, just taking our best stab at the truth. Our approximations may be close to the truth, or we may miss by a mile. Obviously we are attempting to get the right answer, but you're absolutely correct, our guess is subjective. My point was that the truth we are aiming for is an actual objective truth.
Take a math problem for example. Math problems have actual objective right answers. Sometimes the answer is easy to figure out, and we can claim to know the solution. Now imagine an extremely difficult math problem that we can't solve because we just don't know how. If you were asked for the answer to this problem then the best you could do is guess. Your guess would be subjective, but the actual answer exists, and it is objective.
My argument is that morality is objective, even if we sometimes don't know the answers and are forced to guess.