Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Subjective morality = Objective morality?

Earlier this week I did a post about word play and I mentioned there that the post was inspired by an exchange that had to do with objective versus subjective morality. It may surprise some people that morality is subjective. Simply put if morality was not subjective we would still be hanging people from crosses and marrying off our daughters when they were 12 years old. But, besides in some backward countries, this does generally not happen anymore. That means our/mine/your morality has changed (or not changed). So as simple as this example may seem. I was highly irritated when I got told this as it made my head ache.

I underlined the things in this paragraph that will probably also give you head ache. Either that or I am simply too stupid to understand what this person is saying to me.

"So one can believe in an objective morality but also believe that we can take people's moral beliefs into consideration, just that they are not the sole determinant. That objective morality can define some parameters (murder is wrong for example) does not mean it has to leave no gray area. It also doesn't mean the objective truth is simple. "Murder is wrong" is a simplification. For instance killing in self-defense or as part of a just war. Still once all exceptions, unlesses and clauses that say "in the case of X use your own judgment" are accounted for and put into a sentence you have an objectively moral sentence. Hence some of what you call subjective or relative morality is part of objective morality but the ways in which morality is subjective or relative are themselves objective and morality is not in every single way subjective or relative."

Sorry, I apologize for that throbbing pain in your temples. Please if I am reading this wrong I implore you to set my right. However, it seems to me that this is a basic misunderstanding of what the words objective and subjective mean. Or its someone trying to say that subjective = objective, which is a very common argument I encounter in these morality discussions. The problem is that you cant pretend two things are the same when they are clearly not and they have been pre-defined to be two different things. Lastly, you cannot make bare assertions without backing them up.

Then to tie up this misunderstanding I got told something about atheism that must clearly be not true. In fact this gem of knowledge is something that may surprise the atheists out there reading this and that is:"You probably think you have to be a relativist (or really according to the way the word "morality" should be used, a nihilist) because you are an atheist."

There you have it atheists have to think morality is subjectivei.e.  we are all nihilists. Seems this guy does not know much about atheism, as some atheists believe morality is objective. That and also atheism is purely the rejection of god claims as their is not enough evidence. That is all it is, but hey what do I know?