Shanice Octavia McBean, 19, Philosophy undergraduate.
"I love standing outside, on my own, contemplating the immense beauty of nature. The silent air is amazing to listen to with all its peace and tranquillity. But I don’t mind the occasional tweet of a bird mid-flight, or the wistful rustling of winds through trees. Or even a single car passing by or a mother calling to her child; reminding me of the presence of humanity. It doesn’t make me feel like an external observer of the beauty of nature: it reminds me that I am nature…"
It’s something I’m writing personally, indepdent of class and will hopefully get in published in a undergraduate magazine/journal. :)
My motivation for this being it is a widespread view within secularism that morality is based on individualistic sentiments and that without divine authority objective morality is impossible and morality as a whole lacks meaning.
It’s clear this is dangerous: it validates the actions of the terrorist, the homophobe, the serial killer and completely invalidates all the efforts of people trying to move equality and freedom forward in our society. I am certainly uncomfortable with this and have realised that subjective morality is one theory: it’s not the be all and end all. Woop! :D
I used to think subjective. I used to accept that without God, there was no way to tell other societies and peoples that their behaviour was either right or wrong.
I have since discarded this view. For two reasons: it’s wrong and it’s dangerous.
It’s wrong because we need to distinguish between absolute morality and objective morality. Nobody can ever have absolute morality. Not even the religious. They can claim they can, but given the relativity of religious morality world-wide and over the centuries they have no claim to absolute morality.
Objective morality, on the other hand, is a different story. For me, having objective morality this means in any given situation one can say, with conviction and aiming at truth, what is right or wrong. Objective means representing facts and I think there are some facts about morality.
Now why do I think there are facts about morality? :) Well, I’m currently writing a paper about this very issue and I’m so far on 2000 words and nowhere near finished, so I won’t be able to explain fully here why I think there are facts about morality. Although I can point to my inspiration of this view: Sam Harris (The Moral Landscape) - my system is not his, they differ in many many respects. But my system was inspired by his.
Given how we have constructed the concept of morality and its general defintion we can derive facts about morality. Of course this is contingent on the definition of morality we provide, but this type of criticism is inept as it holds for everything. Maths is contingent on the axioms we have arbitrarily created, but few would say maths was, resultingly, subjective.
This all probably makes little sense but in summary: given the concept of morality what it means to be moral - this concept being universal - we can say a lot, objectively, about morality i.e. the definition of behaving morally is to behave correctly, ‘goodly’, increase well being, survival etc. it seems to me a logical contradiction to say behaving morally can decrease well being. the purpose of behaving morally seems to me - intuitively and necessarily - to involve the concept of well being. if, then, there are facts to say about well being, there are facts to say about behaving morally and thus by negation, immorally.
This is all very vague, I’m sorry. I’m writing on this topic at the moment and it’s hard for me to try and account for all the objections people throw at me for this view in one tumblr post. But when I finish the paper and send it out, I will also publish it on tumblr. That way I can clearly answer this. But in short, yes, I think morality can be objective. Not absolute, but objective :) x
Common sense reveals that there is no correlation between self-respect and whether or not you show your tits on the internet or how many people you sleep with.