Is morality objective?

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Morality in practice varies from place to place and time to time. But should it? Can we figure out if there is some universal moral code which applies to all persons in all places, or is custom king?

Morality is objective[edit]

  • Argument Argument Logic (A = A) is an objective fact. The Ethics can be based on the Logic through the universalization of the duty that exists intrinsically in the interests: 1) "My interests should not be frustrated". 2) "The interests should not be frustrated". 3) We add the consideration of the omissions: "A priori, the interests should not be frustrated". In this way we arrive at an objective ethical norm.
    • Objection Objection While it may be possible to logically derive moral rules from axiomatic claims about interests, these axioms are unproven and there is no objective reason to accept them.
  • Argument Argument Although there are some differences in moral practice, that doesn't mean that there should be differences from culture to culture. This is a problem of the is–ought distinction.
    • Objection Objection By that same is-ought distinction, whether morality is subjective is distinct from whether it should be subjective.
  • Argument Argument Although there are some differences in moral practice, there are substantial similarities in what many cultures think should be correct behavior and there are also some taboos which are very common in practice. These can form a basis for a cosmopolitan morality.
    • Objection Objection If morality were objective, one would expect all of morality to be objective, not just that part of morality which the vast majority of human cultures tend to agree on. How could "is murder bad?" have an objective answer while "is premarital sex bad?" does not?
      • Objection Objection Such is a false standard. There are substantial similarities, but we did not say equalities. Humans are dumb at times
    • Objection Objection It is possible that humans evolved to feel that some acts are repulsive while other acts are good. Thus, there are other explanations for these similarities.
  • Argument Argument Humans decide actions based on what they call 'morality'. All of human psychology is an objective part of the Universe. Therefore morality is an objective part of the Universe.
    • Objection Objection A decision made based on human psychology is by definition a subjective decision.
  • Argument Argument Objective morality exists under the guise of modern game theory.
    • Objection Objection Game theory describes strategic decision making, not which decisions are morally wrong or right. You would need a morality which says that acting rationally is good while acting irrationally is bad to call game theory a morality. And that would of course be a subjective morality. Rationality does not call itself morally good.

Morality is not objective[edit]

  • Argument Argument Philosophers, religion reformers, and legal theorists have argued for millennia about what objective morality should be. Since they haven't come to a conclusion yet, they never will.
    • Objection Objection Problem of induction! "This question has never been definitively answered in all of human history" was once true for every question that has been answered definitively by philosophy, logic, mathematics or science
  • Argument Argument It is hard, if not impossible, to find ANY moral issue on which every culture agrees. If morality were objective, we could expect to have at least some basic agreement, like with basic chemistry. But we don't have such agreement, so morality must be subjective, or intersubjective, but in any case not objective.
    • Objection Objection This argument aims to ground Ethics in existing morals. All existing morals could be wrong. Other people defend that Ethics is based on reason, independently of existing morals.
  • Argument Argument The matter of which is applied is always subjective. Any standard deemed objective, if applied to moral, would surely give rise to an objective moral standard. But surely other equally objective standards can be applied, so there is no single objective standard.
    • Objection Objection If there is an objective set of moral rules, then no set of rules that contradicts said rules can be objective since such a set would be wrong. Any set of rules that complements said objective moral standard without contradicting it could just be included in that moral standard. Thus, if morality is objective, then there are no sets of objective rules that meaningfully differ from each other; there is simply one set of rules.
  • Argument Argument The question "Why should I act morally?" cannot be answered. If it is answered along the lines of "because it is the nature of morality" then you are justifying morality with morality, which is circular logic. It is like a law that says "you must adhere to the law". If I don't care about the law then I won't care about the law that tells me to adhere to the law. If it is answered with anything other than morality itself then that reason is a ulterior motive, and needing ulterior motives to act morally goes against the definition of morality.
    • Objection Objection This doesn’t actually answer the question. “Why should I act morally?” Is a different question from “what is moral?” Or “is morality objective” In the same vein (to use the stated analogy), “why should I follow the law?” Is a different question than “what is the law?” Or “is the law objective?” Notice, the first question does not have an answer, yet laws can be objective. Therefore, morality can be objective even if there is no reason to be moral.

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