Is morality objective?

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Morality in practice varies from place to place and time to time. But should it? Can we figure out if there is some universal moral code which applies to all persons in all places, or is custom king?

Morality is objectiveEdit

  •   Argument Logic (A = A) is an objective fact. Ethics can be based on logic through the universalization of the duty that exists intrinsically in the interests: (1) "My interests should not be frustrated"; (2) "The interests should not be frustrated"; (3) We add the consideration of the omissions: "A priori, the interests should not be frustrated". In this way we arrive at an objective ethical norm.
    •   Objection While it may be possible to logically derive moral rules from axiomatic claims about interests, these particular axioms are unproven and there is no objective reason to accept them.
    •   Objection There are complex number systems in mathematics such as quaternions and octonions that break the most basic mathematical properties such as commutativity and associativity, and yet we have found uses for them in reality such as using quaternions in computer animation. In quantum physics, concepts such as superposition and entanglement hint at a reality that our most basic principles do not support. Thus we cannot conclude that our logic is an objective fact.
    •   Objection Even if our logic was an objective fact and we could use our mathematics to completely explain reality, this does not support the objectivity of morality. Imagine I make up a concept "blorg". Can math automatically denote how much "blorg" one thing has compared to another? Not without a definition of "blorg". Can math create a definition for "blorg"? No. If I make up a universal definition for "blorg", then math just comes after to apply that definition to situations. But math does not figure out what "blorg" is. Similarly, we need to decide what morality is before we can use math to apply morality to situations. If we decide what morality is, then it is not objective.
  •   Argument Although there are some differences in moral practice, there are substantial similarities in what many cultures think should be correct behavior and there are also some taboos which are very common in practice. These can form a basis for a cosmopolitan morality.
    •   Objection If morality were objective, one would expect all of morality to be objective, not just that part of morality which the vast majority of human cultures tend to agree on. How could "is murder bad?" have an objective answer while "is premarital sex bad?" does not?
      •   Objection Such is a false standard. There are substantial similarities, but we did not say equalities. Humans are dumb at times.
    •   Objection It is possible that humans evolved to feel that some acts are repulsive while other acts are good. Thus, there are other explanations for these similarities.
    •   Objection A cosmopolitan morality is not an objective morality. Objectivity is completely independent of sentient beings, by definition.
    •   Objection Humans are about 99.9% genetically similar to each other. We cannot argue that humans coming to the same conclusions implies that they are understanding an objective reality, when it is likely their genetic and ultimately cultural similarities influence these relative manifestations of morality.
  •   Argument Humans decide actions based on what they call 'morality'. All of human psychology is an objective part of the Universe. Therefore morality is an objective part of the Universe.
    •   Objection A decision made based on human psychology is by definition a subjective decision.
  •   Argument Objective morality exists under the guise of modern game theory.
    •   Objection Game theory describes strategic decision making, not which decisions are morally wrong or right. You would need a morality which says that acting rationally is good while acting irrationally is bad to call game theory a morality. And that would of course be a subjective morality. Rationality does not call itself morally good.
  •   Argument The purpose of morality is the determination of the moral value of any action or intention; the inherent goodness or badness of any action, intention or decision. What is moral is that which is "good" or "right", and what is immoral is that which actively opposes what is moral. Morality therefore becomes the differentiation of what is right, and what is wrong, and we can find any and all actions, intentions and decisions on this moral spectrum. What is then moral? That which somehow promotes or advances happiness, wellbeing and health, or somehow diminishes superfluous harm, suffering and pain, or does both. What is immoral then becomes; that which somehow minimizes happiness, wellbeing and health, or that which somehow causes or result in unnecessary harm, suffering and pain, or again, does both. The fact that unjustified murder causes unnecessary and avoidable harm, and contrarily that saving a life avoids it, is neither subjective nor relativistic, but rather completely independent of presupposed collective or individual moral ideologies and institutions. Happiness, wellbeing, health, harm, suffering and pain are all real things, the existence of these phenomena are not contingent on human sentience or consciousness, and thus not qualified to be considered subjective. The perception of these occurrences merely as subjective functions, a perception shared by many, forgets to take into consideration that they are really nothing but psychological manifestations of objectively occurring biological processes. Bodies live, and then they die, all while the subjective sentience assumes its own overwhelming importance in the objective, external world, while concomitantly having none. Brains experience joy and suffering, happiness and harm, independently of any subjectivity, as biological processes. This is objectively measurable, and therefore objectively verifiable, and taken to its logical conclusion, objectively true. Subjectivity is independent of, and separate from, the external, objective world. Still, it is in this external, objective world, that the moral determination demonstratively occurs. We can therefore conclude that, since the moral determination occurs in the objective world, independent of our sentience and in a world independent of our sentience, it is something separate from that which is subjective. Therefore, morality is objective.

Morality is not objectiveEdit

  •   Argument Philosophers, religion reformers, and legal theorists have argued for millennia about what objective morality should be. Since they haven't come to a conclusion yet, they never will.
    •   Objection Problem of induction! "This question has never been definitively answered in all of human history" was once true for every question that has been answered definitively by philosophy, logic, mathematics or science.
  •   Argument It is hard, if not impossible, to find ANY moral issue on which every culture agrees. If morality were objective, we could expect to have at least some basic agreement, like with basic chemistry. But we don't have such agreement, so morality must be subjective, or intersubjective, but in any case not objective.
    •   Objection This argument aims to ground Ethics in existing morals. All existing morals could be wrong. Other people defend that Ethics is based on reason, independently of existing morals.
    •   Objection Although there are some differences in moral practice, that doesn't mean that there should be differences from culture to culture (see is–ought distinction).
      •   Objection By that same is-ought distinction, whether morality is subjective is distinct from whether it should be subjective.
  •   Argument The matter of which is applied is always subjective. Any standard deemed objective, if applied to moral, would surely give rise to an objective moral standard. But surely other equally objective standards can be applied, so there is no single objective standard.
    •   Objection If there is an objective set of moral rules, then no set of rules that contradicts said rules can be objective since such a set would be wrong. Any set of rules that complements said objective moral standard without contradicting it could just be included in that moral standard. Thus, if morality is objective, then there are no sets of objective rules that meaningfully differ from each other; there is simply one set of rules.
  •   Argument The question "Why should I act morally?" cannot be answered. If it is answered along the lines of "because it is the nature of morality" then you are justifying morality with morality, which is circular logic. It is like a law that says "you must adhere to the law". If I don't care about the law then I won't care about the law that tells me to adhere to the law. If it is answered with anything other than morality itself then that reason is a ulterior motive, and needing ulterior motives to act morally goes against the definition of morality.
    •   Objection This doesn’t actually answer the question. “Why should I act morally?” Is a different question from “what is moral?” Or “is morality objective” In the same vein (to use the stated analogy), “why should I follow the law?” Is a different question than “what is the law?” Or “is the law objective?” Notice, the first question does not have an answer, yet laws can be objective. Therefore, morality can be objective even if there is no reason to be moral.
  •   Argument Morality, as defined by humans, is meant to determine the goodness or badness of an action or intention. To consider if an action is good or bad objectively, then there must be some objective end-goal so that we can measure the extent to which this action pushes towards or away from it. Humans may have very similar end-goals baked into our biology related to species survival, but that does not constitute a universal end-goal. Even if someone were to make the claim that the universal end-goal is space expansion, or any other claim, there is no possible proof for these claims.
  •   Argument Nothing is objective. We must first define a concept before we are able to observe it in the world. There is no single way to define a concept that does not exist until we define it.
  •   Argument For morality to be objective, it must by definition be true uniquely a priori. Knowledge of objective moral principles, if such knowledge can even be considered objective in itself, would necessarily result in the application of such objective moral principles in relation to experience in the external world, since the inherent purpose of morality is its application in actuality. By the examination of the consequences of its application, we can derive the objective moral principles from that experience. But this would inevitably render the objective moral principles subjective, in the sense that human understanding necessitates interpretation, and since deriving a principle a posteriori establishes the principle inherently and inescapably dependent on experience unknowable by reason alone, and therefore subject to human bias. Objective morality is objective only insofar as it exists independently of human understanding, and becomes subjective forthrightly as it is begun to be understood or grasped. But, the objective moral principle is still a priori unchanged, whereas its essence a posteriori goes fundamentally changed. Thus, objective morality fundamentally necessitates that identical moral principles can be simultaneously both subjective and objective. The law of noncontradiction prohibits this. Therefore, it is not logically possible for objective morality to exist.

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