Talk:Morality

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Science Based Morality[edit]

If there is such a thing as objective morality it has to be science based. If it's not science based then where would objective morality come from? Science does have answers if you accept the basis that the positive evolution of humanity is better than the extinction of humanity. And since morality is a human construct then if humans go extinct morality goes away.

Objectivity is not axiomatic ... "1 + 1 = 2."[edit]

The article falsely refers to the mathematical tautology "1+1=2" as objective truth. That is incorrect. Mathematics is axiomatic and therefore mathematic formulae are true by definition, they are tautologies, they are analytcial. Science, on the other hand, is not axiomatic. Scientific claims are not true by definition, but by comparison with facts, they are synthetical. Out of this reason, they cannot be proven in a strict sense and rely on inductive reasoning and always may be wrong. Mathematics can be strictly proven by deductive reasoning. Now, objectivity refers to scientific claims, but not to mathematical sentences. The writer of this article mixes up these different issues. — Unsigned, by: 178.82.204.60 / talk / contribs 16:27, 27 June 2015


The above states that objectivity is not axiomatic, but there is nothing in the definition of objectivity that hinders axiomatic truths from being objective. Objectivity is simply facts without bias or opinion according to any given dictionary. Mathematics is without bias because it relies on deductive reasoning in which the reasoning is founded upon axioms that must be accepted by the respected authorities in a given math field. Deductive reasoning eliminates the possibility of bias. Any bias included would simply make it wrong or fallacious. The axioms could potentially be seen as including bias, but there is no real reason to be suspicious other than mere skepticism. Science on the other hand is not an absolute truth creating machine, and involves statistics in which bias is repeatedly having to accepted due to certain conditions. Science has a system to check and balance the possible biases, but bias will always exist in the realm of statistics in a realistic world. Moreover, if math is not objective, since science relies so heavily on statistics, it would be impossible to conclude that science is objective. Therefore, if science is objective, math is objective.

An example of axioms and definitions not hindering objectivity is the very subject at hand: objectivity. Assume that objectivity cannot rely upon a definition or an axiom. Then when one goes to prove that 'x' is objective, one will conclude that 'x' is objective. However, 'objective' itself relies upon a definition or axiom, and therefore it is not objective. If something is not objective then how can it possibly be used in proving something to be objective (i.e if math is not objective, and if it is needed to prove science then science can not be objective). This is clearly absurd, the word objective can be used in proving something to be objective. However, this relies on the word objective to be objective. Thus, something that relies on a definition can still be objective. Otherwise, there is nothing objective because all language is defined, and "there is nothing objective" is yet another contradiction.

I'm new to this, so someone else can make this look right.

Consequentialism does not equate to relativism[edit]

I've noticed on this article that there seems to be a misconception that there is confusion over the meta-ethical stance of relativism and the normative ethical position of consequentialism.

In order for consequentialist ethics to work, there needs to be an objective morality, as the argument is that an action can be judged to be good or bad based on the consequence. This means that the action still can be judged as good or bad, and that good and bad are real things that actually exist.

Relativism is the cognitive claim that ethics are relative and exist on certain levels (which can be cultural, individual, etc...). This position does not lead to consequentialism necessarily. For example, cultural relativism holds that somebody is right or wrong on an action if their culture agrees that the action is right or wrong. Therefore, a deontological system would be a legitimate way of judging morality for some cultures.

The difference is obvious, as consequentialist argue that there is an objectively moral “right choice” to every situation, and that the “right choice” is the one with the best outcome. It is important to make the distinction between the two, as many moral realist have been consequentialist. Mill, for example, argued that good was objective and that it was equal to happiness. Therefore, in every situation, the right thing to do is that which produced the greatest possible happiness. This is an example of a consequentialist arguing that morals are not a matter of perspective, but are in fact objective.

Taking a stab[edit]

Since we have broken up the various types of moral relativism I thought I would elaborate various types of moral absolutism.

There are fundamental errors here[edit]

I have read through this page, and have found fundamental flaws in the logic and misunderstanding of the relativist view:

The biggest issue is that you claim that the moral relativist claim that morality “should” be relative. But upon closer inspection, this cannot work as an argument, as they argue there is no “overall” morality in the world but that made by humans. So how do they come to the conclusion that morality “should” be relative? In short, it is saying “morality is relative, so you cannot tell somebody to do something” - this is illogical, because if morality is truly relative, then why should there be anything “wrong” with enforcing a relative system on another – after all – it is only “wrong” by one persons standards.

As a side note, if morality is completely relative, then it makes it impossible to condemn any religious practice, as by the relativist argument, they aren't actually doing anything “wrong” - indeed, it is impossible to do “wrong” as morality does not exist. So whilst you're right in saying that moral relativism gives no justification for oppressing things like gay marriage, it also gives no justification for opposition to the oppression of homosexuality.

This article falls into the trap of thinking that moral relativism is a reason for tolerance. But what is tolerance but a way of saying “it is morally right to allow others to be free”? If there is literally no morality, tolerance and oppression have the same moral value, which is that they have no moral value. — Unsigned, by: Ehicsguy / talk / contribs

The article sort of addresses this:
In its purest form, moral relativism is an example of a self-refuting idea; the principle that "all moral frameworks are relative" being, itself, an absolute moral framework. In practice, though, it tends to be "All moral frameworks except mine are relative" which is instead an example of special pleading. The above critique, however common, is rather weak as moral relativism should not be classified as a "moral framework" as it does not prescribe any moral values or principles. Moral relativism in it's purest form is the observation that all moral frameworks share a common trait - that they are not absolute. Moral relativism
In the end, ideas about morality and morality itself are distinct. Moral relativity merely asserts that morality is a human construct and should be treated as such. And I think you'd be hard-pressed to demonstrate that's untrue without being some rather substantial propositions. Ikanreed (talk) 20:34, 14 January 2015 (UTC)
That is not a valid response. First, you say ideas "about" morality and morality itself are distinct; but how? If the ideas are about morality, then surely they are saying what it is. If they aren't, then they aren't talking about morality. The issue is that you are confusing normative moral relativism with descriptive moral relativism. It is true that there are many different moral systems and people disagree about morals (that's descriptive relativism), but that does not allow for the jump to normative relativism. Just because people disagree, that does not make it relative, it can mean that somebody is wrong.
Furthermore, you say that "Moral relativity merely asserts that morality is a human construct and should be treated as such" - but this is wrong. By which standards "should" morality be treated in any way. You cannot have a "should". If somebody wants to order everybody else about and tell others to do what they want, then by which standards do you say they are wrong to do so if morality is just a human construct? You cannot say that they shouldn't, because tolerance is a relative, according to moral relativism, so you have no way to say that they are wrong. This is not saying relativism is a self-defeating property, it is pointing out that if moral relativism is true, there is really no reason to do or not do anything; anything goes under relativism, including intolerance.
If you disagree with the content of the article, I suggest that you change it. Herr FuzzyKatzenPotato (talk/stalk) 19:23, 15 January 2015 (UTC)
That whole point is misguided, Ehicsguy. In no way does moral relativity mean that there can be no standards, it just means that any standards are relative. You should brush your teeth, not because it is intrinsically wrong, but because you don't want them to rot. If you did want them to rot or you simply didn't care, that relative standard would no longer apply. You still have a way to say if people are wrong, but our judgement is relative. Sometimes a goal or some other basis for some relative morality is shared and we can tell another person that he is misguided and wrong relative to this common ground. Anyway, if you want to be accurate, you should treat morality as relative. Apeximius (talk) 12:17, 2 January 2017 (UTC)

Moral skepticism is not baby eating[edit]

Please remember to anyone who wishes to edit this section that "Ethics" and "Morality" are separate terms in a philosophical context, a "moral skeptic" is not necessarily an "ethical skeptic". People seem to be editing this section assuming it's Objectivism / immoralism / or some form of justifying the holocaust and baby eating which is leading to understandable (but still misguided) gut reaction edits. Moral Skepticism is a school of thought where people have ethical convictions but do not think they can be justified or they can be called knowledge, not egoism. Material was simply added to an empty section from the philosophical academia, this sites mission statement may be pro-science and anti-crank but if you don't understand the idea you are removing from the website then you are behaving in the same way as theists who assume atheists can't be good people without god or have a similar gut reaction. If you really want to vandalise it at least read something like what is posted below so you aren't simply reading the name and making false assumptions about the content which I suspect is what is being done.

https://philosophynow.org/issues/103/Ethics_Without_Morals_by_Joel_Marks — Unsigned, by: 82.44.104.86 / talk / contribs

Speaking of gut reacting to other people’s edits — my reason for undoing you was that your edit was grammatically ill-formed. Now that you have offered a better phrasing, I left it in. Thanks for making the point on the difference between ethics and morality for all to see, though — I'm a philosophy student myself, and clarity is key. All the best, Reverend Black Percy (talk) 11:31, 28 March 2017 (UTC)