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Re: On the Origins of Morality: Supernatural, Biological, ...

Re: On the Origins of Morality: Supernatural, Biological, ...

What I mean by that is that the choice is not a matter of your perspective. It’s not something that’s “wrong for you” but “right for me” (given the exact same circumstances). ”

The idea of something being right or wrong independent of perspective is still assuming the conclusion you are trying to make. I have never said that it is a matter of (pure and relative) perspective. Indeed I did say that merely making the statement doesn’t make it right. In the same way, merely choosing an option doesn’t make it moral either. What I do say though is that the rightness or wrongness of an action arises out of the entire context of that action. So there is never any such thing as “the exact same circumstances”. The idea of there being repeatable “exact same circumstances” only arises from the (erroneous) presupposition that there are absolute rules of morality.

Obviously in the case of an action such as going to war, the action will have an effect on many things and there is no single focal point on which to judge the issue. This results in a perception that some kind of rule is to be applied which can be said to be completely general. Thus anyone making the decision to go to war or not would be acting immorally if his decision was limited to his own personal perspective on the issue. But conversely it is also in my view immoral to shy away from the consideration of any and all perspectives by dissolving them all into a simple rule. The rule “war is evil” for example does not take into consideration the oppression and hardship that one nation may be experiencing at the hand of another. The rule rides rough-shod over the historical considerations.

But the toothpaste decision is 99% validated by the individual’s own taste. The same principle applies as in the war decision: you take as much of the context into account as you can. It only appears to be relative and individual because it just happens that the entire context is to do with the personal taste of a certain individual.

The idea that morality should be independent of context originates from the desire to protect society from decision makers (at all levels) who only take into account their own personal interest in making decisions. It is not meant to render the decision making process independent of all context. And the reason why it is necessary to take as much of the context into account as possible is because we care for the world as it is in its real historical existence, not in some artificial imagined, would-be world.

On the Origins of Morality: Supernatural, Biological, and Relational Possibilities By: Jacob (99 replies) 21 March, 2009 - 03:10