Okay, just recently I realised that with evolution comes a presumption of relative morality, and I've always thought about morality being objective.
But now, reading through and learning a lot more about evolution I now understand how morality in fact is very subjective, and the proof can be seen around the world with different cultures ascribing different things as moral and immoral. And even individuals in the same culture.
I've never really believed in a god, but I've always believed in an objective morality. That we all have a natural instinct of what is right and wrong, and that this natural instinct is the same for all of us. I can now see how I am wrong. But here's the real problem.
I still refuse to believe in it (relative morality). I have a fear, no... I know that if I KNEW for sure, that there was absolutely no doubt that relative morality is correct I'd become one of the most immoral guys in this planet. I'd start "playing" girls just to get sex and doing one night stands. I'd cheat everywhere I could in the working life and so on...
I know this isn't the case for most. For many I know this wouldn't change much in their life but in mine... I KNOW I would become like that and I have no idea why I wouldn't want to be like that, now that I know (not KNOW) that relative morality is in fact correct.
So, should I hold onto my illusionary belief of absolute morality or will someone here help me find ways to deal with knowing the truth and still not turning "immoral"?
I know it may sound crazy to some but it's seriously a real problem to me.
I can only reply at random times so it might take a while to answer everyone.
crashfrog Then I suspect you just don't know what moral relativism is. You've already accepted that moral relativism is true. You're reacting to some strawman conception of moral relativism, probably one you got from church.
Now you're assuming a little too much. I've never been part of a church or a christian. I already told I've never even believed in a god :)
crashfrog Why? Wouldn't the harm those things would do to you and to others be enough to dissuade you? Surely you're not some kind of sociopath, incapable of feeling empathy for others, right?
I would never kill anybody or anything like that, I don't like killing. But having one night stand for example is different. I'm not really harming anyone now am I, assuming the girl was also looking for a one night of sex?
It's more about that I would start doing things I want, as selfish as they might sometimes be. I believe I only have a right to live if I obey this "natural inmade instinct" that I have. That my main goal in life is to not act like a jerk to others and that I have a responsibility to not do some things that I'd maybe do otherwise.
I think that I was given freedoms, but also responsibilities when I was chosen to be born instead of that someone else. That if I was to break these responsibilities or went outside my given freedoms I would have violated my "birth rights" and wouldn't no longer be considered worthy of living.
crashfrog Moral relativism is simply the recognition that morality depends on the situation. Is it right to steal? No, but what about stealing to feed a starving family? Moral relativism is simply the recognition that moral situations are often complex and nuanced, and simple statements like "thou shalt not steal" fail to encapsulate the proper response to every situation.
But if stealing in certain situations is ultimately good and sometimes bad that would mean that there actually is an objective morality. Just a harder one to define. Stealing is only good in these situations blablabla , killing is only good in these situations blablabla. What I understood is that moral relativism means that everyone makes up their own morality, and not that in some situations a normally bad action might be good in some situations.
kuresu If you feel that it is wrong to steal, why would you steal? if you feel that it is wrong to cheat, why would you?
But if I felt that way only because I thought there was something real in this world that said stealing is bad in situations when you don't need it to live.
f you seriously, honestly believe that something is wrong or right, why would you change your behavior if you eliminate the "objective" part of morality? this makes no sense to me (that you would, that is).
Because if there really is no such thing as "morality" and just voices in my head why would I need to obey it?
The question here concerns some sloppy thinking on Neutralmind's part. (Not that this is meant to be a criticism ......
I take no offense. I know that's what it is and I wished for some help to make my thinking process a little less sloppy. The way this thread is headed it looks like just another absolute vs. relative morality thread. That's why the "I really don't want this topic to go down this way" Rob
I'm still trying to figure out Crash's post so it may be some while till I post again.
Chiroptera I don't get it. If you know that your belief is "illusionary", then you don't really believe it, do you?
I know evidence highly points towards relative morality but I still can't be certain. Because if there actually was an objective standard of morality, it would be pretty bad if I had done some things believing in making my own morality instead of "obeying" the objective moral code.
Come to think of it now. How would I ever know I'm doing something "objectively" good and not just something I think is objectively good.... Aww nuts :(
crashfrog Do you think maybe the people who are telling you that it's wrong don't have your best interests at heart? But regardless of that - if you don't want to do it, which you've said you don't, then why would you?
Yeah well, I guess it has not much to do with my view of morality. Come to think of it, I just don't think I would enjoy a one night stand to be honest. But that's just one thing, I think there's something I'd want to do but won't because I think it's wrong in my view of morality. And would be changed if I was certain that morality is relative and so isn't actually true. I feel a lot would change, I just can't point my finger on it
Sure, you'd be doing things that other people might not approve of, but what does that matter? Let them live their own lives. Aren't you smart enough to decide things for yourself?
Actually, most of my friends are what I consider immoral, drink, have one night stands, some use drugs, don't think about morality etc. . It's not my parents influencing me either. If I suddenly changed my way of life to "immoral" I would actually be more approved everywhere I go. So it's not that there's outside pressure influencing me.
You were born. It happens. Get over it. You are the one that has to live your life. If you feel you have responsibilities, you're the one that has to meet them.
But, that's what I'm saying aren't I? I have to meet those responsibilities 'cause I owe it... To life.
If you knew that morality was subjective, how would what you were doing be immoral?
In the perspective of there being a morality standard it would :D But, if morality is subjective then it wouldn't be immoral of course. I guess my response is a non-answer then, because I have no idea how to get around that question :laugh:
Chiroptera Your answer in this posts assumes that there is an objective morality. We already know what the problem would be if you behaved immorally while there were an objective morality. I thought your original question was that you were on the verge of accepting that morality is not objective, and you were distressed about the implications if morality was subjective.
And now you're all telling me that if I know there's no objective morality I shouldn't care about learned or my inner moral codes. So as I see it, the problem still is the same. That I don't want to act immorally because my inner morality is telling me something I want to do is immoral and so I won't do it. But knowing morality is subjective I'm never really doing anything morally "wrong", so I should just ignore that voice inside me ?
Well, that is what you are claiming, isn't it? That if there were no absolute standard, then you would quit listening to this inner voice of yours? At least, that is how I have been intepreting the quandry you have been presenting since the OP.
Yes seems so. So, I've been believing in a subjective morality all along? But is that the same as relative?