Should We Be Moral Relativists?

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INTRODUCTION

This is a short introductory essay to defend objective moral values. In philosophy, the term ‚Äėobjective,‚Äô is defined as the existence of an object independent of human mind (mind-independency); ‚Äúthe object would ‚Äúbe there,‚ÄĚ as it is, even if no subject perceived it.‚ÄĚ1 In contrast, the term ‚Äėrelative‚Äô refers to the perception of an object by the subject (mind-dependency).

Ethics Relativism Morality

‚ÄėRelativism‚Äô espouses true or false moral judgments relative to language, culture or biological makeup.2¬†For instance, relativism need not consider polygamy as crime, for cultures or people can justify polygamy relative to their thought paradigm. Relativism denies objectivity and appeals to man‚Äôs mind.

Alternatively, ‚ÄėObjectivism‚Äô espouses truth and falsity as independent of mind, so to claim and appeal to the reality of objective moral facts. Therefore, objectivism will rule polygamy to be a crime by appealing to the existence of objective moral laws (which is discovered and not invented by humans). This is similar to objectivism affirming the objective reality that sun is more massive than the earth.

THESIS

I ‚Äď A Case for Objective Moral Values:

‚ÄėObjectivism‚Äô or ‚Äėwe should not be moral relativists‚Äô could be reasonably defended by positing the presence of ‚Äėobjective moral values.‚Äô Moral relativism opposes ‚Äėobjectivism‚Äô by negating the presence of objective realities.3 But if objective moral values can be postulated to exist, then moral relativism could be reasonably debunked.

 (1) Objective Reality is Factual

There are objective realities. The fact that sun is more massive than earth is an objective reality. This fact does not depend on anyone affirming or negating it.

(2) Objective Moral Values are a Reality

It’s morally wrong to not assist a person in need when we are able to. Similarly genocide is morally wrong; it is morally wrong to deliberately and systematically eliminate a group of people. These are universally affirmed objective moral values and do not depend on people’s mind (whether anyone believes or accepts, it is morally wrong to not assist a person and to commit genocide). Thus there are universally affirmed objective moral values.

(3) An Objective Basis is Necessary for Objective Moral Values to Exist

The ‚Äúobjectivism‚ÄĚ proposed by Ayn Rand (1905-1982) posits man‚Äôs selfishness or man‚Äôs survival as the objective foundation to objective moral values.4 But human selfishness cannot be sustained as an objective foundation against an argument that a certain human subjectivity ought to be involved in deciding opposing values of human selfishness.

Would it be objectively true if the Nazi’s argued that it was morally right for them to eliminate the entire Jewish population because the Jews were an economic burden to Germany? The human selfishness of the Nazis was predicated upon the economic crisis in Germany, but in stark contrast, the human selfishness of the Jews was predicated on protecting their own life. So the Randian objectivism would crumble when two opposing cases of human selfishness collide with each other. Thus one ought to subjectively decide between the opposing objective moral values espoused by the two groups.

But ‚ÄėGod‚Äô can be reasonably posited as the sole objective source for moral values. God, as the greatest conceivable being, transcends humanity and the space-time coordinates. Hence God is an objective reality and the sole objective basis for objective moral laws.

However, proof of God’s existence ought to be reasonably provided, if not, God cannot be posited as the basis of mind-independent objective moral laws. Many arguments for God’s existence have been reasonably and plausibly posited, such as the Teleological Argument,5 Cosmological Argument,6 Moral Argument7 etc.

Since objectivity, objective moral values, and an objective moral value giver (God) can be posited, a reasonable conclusion is that there are objective moral values. Hence, we should not be moral relativists.

II ‚Äď A Case for an Immoral World:

Moral relativism would stimulate an immoral world without any restraint whatsoever. When moral values are predicated on human mind, morality would be a slave of the dogma that controls that human mind. If one’s dogma is cannibalism, he would appeal to moral relativism to justify his devouring of his neighbor. Since moral relativism promotes an immoral world, we should not be moral relativists.

CONCLUSION

Two mutually contradicting statements cannot be true within the same context, at the same time and for all people. So objective and relative moral values cannot both be true for they contradict each other. The presence of objective moral values and the case for an immoral world portrays that moral relativism exists by ignoring or suppressing the truth of objective moral values. Therefore, we should not be moral relativists.

END NOTES:

1http://www.iep.utm.edu/objectiv/#SH2a

2http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/relativism/

3http://www.iep.utm.edu/moral-re/#H3

4http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ayn-rand/

5 J.P Moreland, Scaling the Secular City ‚Äď A Defense of Christianity, (Michigan: Baker Academic, 1987), p43-76.

6 Ibid, p15-42.

7http://www.reasonablefaith.org/moral-argument#ixzz2mPz3C86b

This article was posted at http://rajkumarrichard.blogspot.in/2013/12/should-we-be-moral-relativists_28.html

Original Blog Source: http://bit.ly/2th89GR


 

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