Grey Areas with Moral Absolutism

Reply Fri 30 Oct, 2020 05:33 pm
For background, “Moral Absolutism is the ethical belief that there are absolute standards against which moral questions can be judged, and that certain actions are right or wrong, regardless of the context of the act.” These inherent moral standards are most commonly seen among religious people. When simplifying this definition and applying it to the world we live in, moral absolutism is a way of labeling the inherent goodness or badness of an action, regardless of context. The last part is important, because this lays the foundation for my objection. While some absolutists use ethics that follow from their axiological beliefs, I believe, as a relativist that it should be the other way around. This is because while the deontological approach seems appealing on paper, it can situationally produce horrific outcomes. Take for example, an absolutist position that the wellbeing of the masses will always be better than the wellbeing of the few. Now under this principle, we can apply it deontologically, without a problem, to the situation of a human experimenting. However, through the scope of a moral relativist, a situation such as sacrificing a few hundred people through human experimenting in an attempt to produce a cure for an entire population raises obvious questions. How would one go about choosing the humans who will die for a greater cause? These people did nothing to deserve to die, so is it ok to kill them to raise the wellbeing of an entire population? Another problem lies in how one chooses which absolute standards to believe in in the first place. Many religions have absolute moral standards that somewhat overlap, but when considering cases that apply outside of this common ethical ground, which religion, and which absolute moral standards should be chosen? There is no way to know for sure. Hence, I always see philosophical grey areas as a problem for the moral absolutist.

A Moral Absolutist defines actions as intrinsically right or wrong.

If one can’t consistently apply absolutist values in every situation, one should not hold them.

Absolutist values cannot be applied in every situation because the world produces events that require human responses that are too specific and situational to fit rigid guidelines of “right and wrong”.

One should not hold absolutist values. (2,3 MT)

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Reply Fri 30 Oct, 2020 07:20 pm

Relativism loves you
Absolutism puts gods above you
That's why you need to doubt it
I'll make you so sure about it
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Reply Sat 31 Oct, 2020 09:04 am
Either there is Moral or there isn't.
I happen to believe conservation of energy through group cooperation is a thing!
The Moral Social contract use to be about that but "Admins" in this world are bureaucrats and technocrats without an inch of emotional intelligence. They have a very poor account of Economic hidden VALUE.
Hopefully Humanity will balance them out to their rightful corner as the clash of civilizations and Globalization settles down like the collision of 2 Galaxies usually settles overtime.
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Jewels Vern
Reply Sun 1 Nov, 2020 04:15 am
The problem is not the morality, it is the authority, or as you phrase it, "Who decides?" If you don't give one person that authority then the question falls to personal choice, not morality.
Reply Fri 4 Dec, 2020 08:04 am
@Jewels Vern,
I like the way to put that last bit. I have always felt that people calling a personal preference or choice morality, just sounded so wrong.
I'm not sure what you meant by "give one person that authority", but the question "Who decides?" is a good one.
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Reply Fri 4 Dec, 2020 08:23 am
This is a fake choice. Morality is not absolute or a "personal choice". Morality is a social construct.

Consider language. You speak English (and maybe something else). You don't speak Urdu. It wasn't a personal choice that you spoke your native language... you need to speak you native language to have a good life. Of course, in another place people need Urdu.

Neither English nor Urdu is correct in a universal sense (I have been to places where English will get you nothing).

Morality is like that. You need to accept (or at least understand) certain moral values to get along in society. Our culture has the ownership of personal property as a moral value that we consider unquestionable. None of us would consider it moral for me to come and take your jacket. Not only cultures function that way... and if you find yourself in a culture that doesn't have personal property, you are going to have to learn a new morality.
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Reply Fri 4 Dec, 2020 08:33 am
Our sense of morality comes from Colonialism. (I am speaking as an White American).

White people came to the Americas and Australia from England and Spain (and a few other European contries). We found other cultures here with vastly different ideas about morality.

So we wiped them out.

Most White people consider Polygamy to be a barbaric practice. When what is now California was colonized, the good moral Conquistadors found that the Native Americans who lived their practiced polygamy, and that was all the reason to wipe out these cultures... genocide in the name of morality.

White people are still trying to stamp out polygamy in indigenous tribes in Australia.

People who argue for Moral Absolutism usually believe that Northern European Morality is superior to any other culture's morality. And, when they argue that other cultures were "noble" .. they are pointing out that these cultures conformed to Norther European ideals.

Moral Absolutism is about forcing indigenous cultures to conform to White European ideas.
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