1. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    24 Nov '05 14:10
    I've heard these words expressed in tones of mortal horror...Could someone remind me why moral relativity is undesirable?
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    24 Nov '05 14:49
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    I've heard these words expressed in tones of mortal horror...Could someone remind me why moral relativity[sic] is undesirable?
    Moral relativism (both individual and cultural) hold that there are no absolute morals - no absolute good and evil.

    Moral relativism is rightly criticised by many because, if society were to adopt a relativist position, it would be impossible to criticise any action, however despicable it may be. Infanticide, rape, murder - none of these can be considered "evil" because, under relativism, evil does not exist.
  3. DonationPawnokeyhole
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    24 Nov '05 15:05
    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    Moral relativism (both individual and cultural) hold that there are no absolute morals - no absolute good and evil.

    Moral relativism is rightly criticised by many because, if society were to adopt a relativist position, it would be impossible to criticise any action, however despicable it may be. Infanticide, rape, murder - none of these can be considered "evil" because, under relativism, evil does not exist.
    That is not quite right.

    If moral relativism were true, it would not be impossible to criticize any action; rather, it would be impossible for the criticism of any action to be objectively justified or unjustified, in virtue of being objectively right or wrong.

    Note that one can be a moral objectivist without being a moral know-it-all; ontological objectivity does not imply epistemological certainty. Otherwise put, whereas all moral know-it-alls are moral objectivists, not all moral objectivists are moral know-it-alls. Hence, one does not have to be a moral subjectivist to be a moral skeptic.
  4. DonationPawnokeyhole
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    24 Nov '05 15:07
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    I've heard these words expressed in tones of mortal horror...Could someone remind me why moral relativity is undesirable?
    If you believe it could or couldn't be undesirable, you are probably not a moral relativist!
  5. London
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    24 Nov '05 15:12
    Originally posted by Pawnokeyhole
    That is not quite right.

    If moral relativism were true, it would not be impossible to criticize any action; rather, it would be impossible for the criticism of any action to be objectively justified or unjustified, in virtue of being objectively right or wrong.

    Note that one can be a moral objectivist without being a moral know-it-all; ontological ...[text shortened]... e moral know-it-alls. Hence, one does not have to be a moral subjectivist to be a moral skeptic.
    Good point. Certainly a moral objectivist does not have to know every "good" moral proposition. However, he has to be certain of at least one good moral proposition; otherwise he is in the same position as the moral relativist regarding justified criticism* of moral action.

    ---
    * includes praise as well!
  6. Standard memberKellyJay
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    24 Nov '05 15:56
    Originally posted by Pawnokeyhole
    That is not quite right.

    If moral relativism were true, it would not be impossible to criticize any action; rather, it would be impossible for the criticism of any action to be objectively justified or unjustified, in virtue of being objectively right or wrong.

    Note that one can be a moral objectivist without being a moral know-it-all; ontological ...[text shortened]... e moral know-it-alls. Hence, one does not have to be a moral subjectivist to be a moral skeptic.
    I do not think it would be impossible to critcize any action in a world
    of moral relativity, only that recieving a critcizism would always fall on
    deaf ears, because it would always be recieved as "what do they
    know" type of attitude. This of course doesn't mean that there isn't
    a true right and wrong, only that it can be ignored to suit the desires
    or morals of whatever group is being criticized.
    Kelly
  7. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    24 Nov '05 17:17
    Originally posted by Pawnokeyhole
    If you believe it could or couldn't be undesirable, you are probably not a moral relativist!
    I'm not really sure. Certainly I believe that human morals have evolved over time--that what was once considered good from a certain perspective now attracts the censure of the majority, while what is widely considered good today would have offended moral proprieties in former days. I offer the recently superceded moral code of bushido as an example.
  8. DonationPawnokeyhole
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    24 Nov '05 17:33
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    I'm not really sure. Certainly I believe that human morals have evolved over time--that what was once considered good from a certain perspective now attracts the censure of the majority, while what is widely considered good today would have offended moral proprieties in former days. I offer the recently superceded moral code of bushido as an example.
    By "you" in my original post I mean, well, you in particular!

    Of course, you could, in your original enquiry, have meant "undesirable" in an entirely subjectivist, subject-dependent way, in which case, your enquiry would not imply any subscription to moral objectivism (even cheaper than subscription to RHP!). But the way you ask the question suggests to me you might consider it possible in principle that someone could generate an answer that implies moral relativism would be an objectively good or bad thing. If you do, then you are moral objectivist.

    Also, more generally, variations in moral judgments do not by themselves imply that a given moral judgment cannot be right ro wrong, any more than variations in judgment about the height of an individual implies that he or she really isn't any particular height. So variations in human morality over time are neither here nor there.
  9. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    24 Nov '05 17:42
    Originally posted by Pawnokeyhole
    But the way you ask the question suggests to me you might consider it possible in principle that someone could generate an answer that implies moral relativism would be an objectively good or bad thing. ///So variations in human morality over time are neither here nor there.
    Wouldn't that depend on the quality of the answer? LH's, for example.

    Consensus as to right and wrong is irrelevant with regard to something really being right or wrong?
  10. DonationPawnokeyhole
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    24 Nov '05 17:471 edit
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    Wouldn't that depend on the quality of the answer? LH's, for example.

    Consensus as to right and wrong is irrelevant with regard to something really being right or wrong?
    Answer to the second question: strictly speaking, yes.

    I believe that consensus tends to correlate with moral accuracy, but I do NOT think it either causes it or constitutes it.

    Question: if consensus makes right or wrong, which consensus do you pick?
  11. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    24 Nov '05 17:51
    Originally posted by Pawnokeyhole
    Question: if consensus makes right or wrong, which consensus do you pick?
    Doesn't take long to figure out the ramifications of that question.

    Was Genghis Khan right or wrong?
  12. DonationPawnokeyhole
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    24 Nov '05 18:03
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    Doesn't take long to figure out the ramifications of that question.

    Was Genghis Khan right or wrong?
    Was Genghis Khan right or wrong?

    Yes. Definitely one or the other! To some objective degree.

    Or perhaps, when it comes to killing others, do you think Genghis Khan but Immanuel Kant?
  13. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    24 Nov '05 18:07
    Originally posted by Pawnokeyhole
    [b] Was Genghis Khan right or wrong?

    Yes. Definitely one or the other! To some objective degree. [/b]
    However do people attain this objectivity without reference to some authorised code?

    (Ha ha).
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    24 Nov '05 18:12
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    However do people attain this objectivity without reference to some authorised code?
    And that is the million-dollar question.
  15. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    24 Nov '05 18:19
    Originally posted by lucifershammer
    And [b]that is the million-dollar question.[/b]
    From a pataphysical perspective, every event is an exception. Might objective morality not be unnecessary if every moral choice is contingent upon one particular instance, thus not repeatable?
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