Thoughts About Morality

This blogger has posted on morality several times. The main stumbling blocks in the discussion seem to be:
  • Is there objective morality?
  • How do we determine what is moral?
Many secular people focus on the universality of the Golden Rule in some form and/or doing the least harm to the greatest number of individuals as being objective morality. Perhaps this is the place to start.

Jonathan Haidt has noted that avoiding doing harm and being fair seem to be universal moral foundations. However, he also states that other foundations, such as ingroup loyalty, authority/respect and purity/sanctity, are important for a significant number of people. The first two focus on the individual while the latter three focus on the group. Do you need to balance these two interests? Do the group foundations need to be considered to understand morality?

Russell Blackford has written a critique of Sam Harris' Book The Moral Landscape in which he states that well-being really can't be measured as there is no metric for such. Thus, "we cannot make objectively binding comparisons of well-being unless we have a metric for well-being." Does this place the subject out of the realm of objectivity? Is it looking at the trees instead of the forest?

In spite of the diversity of opinion on morality, this blogger believes that there is objective morality but it is multi-factoral and dependent on the situation. Because we have limited cognitive and reasoning abilities, we may never universally agree on what is moral in all situations. However, that is no reason to throw up our hands and say the discussion is fruitless. With persistent use of reason and science, humanity can strive toward that elusive goal and become better individuals and a better society.

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