Just Moral Claims

A helpful discussion on objectivity of morality on comment section of blog post here:

A: It is impossible for moral facts to exist independent of what humans may believe or think about them. When a lion eats the antelope is the moral or immoral act in the lion’s mind even considered? Humans may consider it but do not interfere but If the cat catches your pet bird would you not clobber the cat so the bird can escape?

All morals, indeed all virtues emanate from humans and while it may be a consensus that babies should not be thrown in the air and caught on bayonets it is no more an objective moral than the tsunami that followed the Sumatra Indonesian earthquake of Christmas 2004 killing more people than any other tsunami in recorded history, with 227,898 dead or missing, is moral or immoral

There are Christian men, women and children being slaughtered, seemingly for the fun of it, for religious reasons by those who place no value on the moral values of Christians or anybody else.

Clinging to the notion that objective morality independent of what humans believe or think is such a nonsense idea it can’t even be argued against with reason because the concept itself has no reason, is baseless, is not formed by any reason and therefore is beyond the scope of reason to refute it.

B: Animals are not moral creatures and have no moral obligations, so looking to the animals to inform you about right and wrong is pointless. Same thing with natural phenomenon. Just because a mindless tsunami results in the death of people does not mean that human beings have no moral obligation not to murder people.

Neither does the fact that certain people fail to keep the moral law testify against the moral law. That only testifies to their rebellion against it, in the same way that my proclivity for speeding does not negate the speeding laws but shows my proclivity toward disobedience.

The objectivity of morality should be evident to any sane individual. Anyone who can say that torturing a baby for fun has no moral quality to it is morally insane and should be marginalized by society. The existence of moral facts is just as obvious as the existence of mathematical facts.

A: True the existence of moral facts is obvious, and those without morality may be insane but there are no ojective morals, every moral fact is subjective and dependent on what humans think and believe, that’s the main point. Without humans there are no morals.

B: Perhaps we are using our terms differently, because I see no distinction between “moral facts” (that you say exist) and “objective morals.” If “moral facts” are subjective and dependent on what humans think, then they are not moral facts, but moral opinions. And if morals are just opinions, then there is no reason to even retain the category of “morality.” It’s all just preferences. The preference for black shirts is no different than the preference to beat your wife. Any sane person knows that’s not true, though.

A: That there are morals is a fact; that there are morals without humans is not and doesn’t make any more sense than the tree that falls in the forest makes no sound if humans do not hear it.

Reciting sport scores is about as objective as one can get away from being subjective; sport scores are facts not opinions but even sport scores result from human activity; if it is a fact that all morals are the opinions of humans then nothing else about morals matter? No moral is an island waiting for humans to discover it, honor or dishonor it.

There is no chicken egg first conundrum here; what comes first the Moral or the Human? The answer is easy.

The Human.

B: Given your statements, I think you bring confusion by saying “moral facts” exist. All that exists on your view is “moral claims.” But moral claims are just fictions since there is no objective basis for them in reality. They are invented by humans. On your view, morality is not real. It’s just personal preferences, cultural mores, utilitarian acts (things that help us get the ends we choose to value), or acts that help us survive. But if that’s what morals really are, then we shouldn’t even have a category for morals. After all, there is no distinction between “I don’t like carrots” and “I don’t like genocide.” They are both just preferences. Neither is there a distinction between “One shouldn’t wear white socks with black pants” and “One should not rape children.” Both are just social mores. Morality-speak is meaningless, and thus should be eliminated from your vocabulary.

But I know you can’t do that because you recognize that there is a qualitative difference between not liking carrots and not liking genocide. When is just a preference, while the other is a moral intuition. The same goes for the color of socks and child rape. You know they are not the same. That’s why people like you continue to speak of “morality” even though the word is vacuous in meaning on your view. You can’t escape it because you recognize that certain acts have a moral quality about them, while others do not, and that moral quality inheres within the act rather than just in the human mind that beholds it.”


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