Sorry Craven, I am going to push you a little further. (Understand that I do this with the utmost respect, and that I don't support Slavery at all). I am just trying to illustrate a philosophical problem that I think is important and interesting.
No problem, I don't mind a push.
"A mind is like a wheelbarrow, it goes only as far as it's pushed" - My adaptation
There are two statements in your response to me that I challenge on logical grounds...
I've already responded to them but will try to do so more coherently.
"... it is wrong based on human nature"
"...slavery falling into disfavor has more to do with its inherent injustice..."
I think you are projecting your values (which I happen to share) into a Universal (or as laptop says 'absolute') morality that isn't real.
I really can't think of another way to make this clear. But: I agree.
I will go on to state that this is a given, when morality is discussed.
The first point you make is that I would not like myself to be a slave (and you are correct). But historically this has not been a basis for morality. I think the "golden rule" first showed up a mere 2000 years ago.
And the point that I'm trying to make is that the pervasiveness of something isn't really a measure of its validity.
I don't think the inception of the golden rule changed anything except awareness of that notion.
Many cultures have had a "survival of the strongest" value that would morally justify me enslaving those weaker than I. Of course you (and I) find this reasoning repulsive. But, logically, this way of looking at things is no less subjective than ours.
I agree. And to keep all cards above the table will repeat that: morality is subjective
A person with the ability to own slaves needs to make a moral judgement about whether to own slaves or not on her own values.
Correct. This person should also note what rights he himself would like to be afforded and how best to secure those rights.
Perhaps the forwardinbg of those rights as universal is simply the most logical way in which he can do so.
More grist for the mill.
The term "inherent injustice" is very problematic since it is still based on cultural values. I would argue that Americans can't even agree on what this term means (and we are from the same culture).
Yeah, we're still on a subjective subject.
Lemme clarify the "inherent" part to include the given.
"Slavery has inherent elements that I assert to be an injustice. I state this with the explicit disclaimer that justice is subjective."
My point is that it is impossible to speak of "inherent injustice" or a Universal "right" and "wrong".
Yeah, and my point was that when one speaks of right and wrong, it's usually a given that they acknowledge that it's a subjective matter.
Again an example:
"I will see you tomorrow."
Perhaps I won't. But those are "known caveats".
But as an aside, of course you can speak of universal rights and wrongs. You apply them universally. But that doesn't mean others will agree ot that it's not subjective.
"It's always wrong to unecessarily harm the majority."
That is a universally applicable statement. It's validity is subjective but one can , indeed, speak on universal levels.
But I now run the risk of arguing about one of your known caveats.
Each society (and individual) must decide on a set of values. In the history of humanity there have been many different solutions to this problem. Several of these systems of values have accepted slavery.
I agree, but what I'm saying is that I do not consider those positions to be justified.
I do assert universal values based on my subjective opinion of them.
I assert that slavery was always wrong. Yes, this is my opinion on a subjective issue.
As you say, we all "face the same dillema" when it comes to defending our values. Remember that our circumstances are not that different then those of people who were absolutely sure that slavery was morally justified.
I agree, but they were wrong (disclaimer: my opinion on a subjective matter).
We don't have any more access to Universal truth than they had, and we aren't that much different in how we think.
Perhaps, this is also very subjective.
Who knows what future societies will find offensive in our way of life...
But again, who cares? The prevalence of an accepted notion is no fool-proof measure of its validity.
Perhaps those in the future will be wrong. <shrugs>