Thursday, March 1, 2012

Moral philosophy affects everyone

As March begins, I was thinking of a possible theme for the month, you know, a focus for all of the posts. Technology? No, I started another blog for that (haven't written the first post Cosmology? No. I find cosmology very interesting. I read the articles and books, yet I do find myself stuttering and rambling on when I talk about it with others mostly because I'm not a cosmologist so I'm not inclined to include the depths of cosmological arguments in my conversations with people; I'm just not very good at presenting them. Origin of life? Nope, mostly for the same reason I don't plunge into cosmology. Do I understand the arguments? Of definitely, but it's not a serious interest. Moral philosophy? Bingo! That's the one!

Why moral philosophy? Because it affects everyone. You can easily say, "Uh, blogger dude, the intricacies of the universe affect everyone too man." Good point, but not everyone cares. Sad to say, but it's true. The same with the origin of life. The ordinary person most likely doesn't care who his ultimate ancestor is, much less if it is an ancestor common with other species; he just cares about getting his morning coffee, reading the headlines (or watching morning cartoons), and heading off to work. You could say that same ordinary person who doesn't care about science probably doesn't care about morality either. Maybe. Or does he care? I say he does. Moral philosophy affects everyone: our language, our "oughtness," our actions are all rooted in some moral philosophy - I say an objective one.

Everyone believes in objective morality. That's a bold claim isn't it? Relativist moralists are actually living moral objectivists (is that a word?) without knowing it. Almost every moral relativist claims objective moral rules when he or she is affected by moral relativism, e.g. LGBT rights, black rights, women's rights, the list goes on. Why on moral relativism should you treat those who are a different race from your own with equal value and dignity? Or women? Why given moral relativism should they deserver to be treated with equal value and dignity? Why should we help the poor, the sick, and those "weaker" than ourselves if morality is relative? I think questions like those get to the heart of everyone, which is just one reason moral philosophy affects everyone. 

We encounter moral philosophy everyday; not just in our interactions with other persons, but we also encounter moral situations when we are alone, when no one is watching or listening. You're alone in your room surfing the interweb and you become a little curious when you see a headline that reads, "J-Lo showing some leg at the red carpet." You check it out thinking there's nothing wrong with that. Wrong? See? Moral philosophy. What makes it "wrong" or "right"? Or, you're alone on the street and see someone in the process of a mugging. The mugger and the victim didn't see you scurry behind the corner of the building, nor did anyone else. What do you do? What is the "wrong" and "right" thing to do? Another situation a little closer to home for those of you who don't live in areas with high crime rates: you're walking along the sidewalk (or driving down the road) and see your best friend's wife hugging and kissing on another guy. What is the "right" and "wrong" thing to do in that situation? They didn't see you, so you can easily avoid the situation. 

Moral philosophy affects everyone from the obvious to the not so obvious situations. Every day of your life some kind of moral situation. My goal for March is to post a lot of "stuff" on moral philosophy. I hope you enjoy the posts and learn something from them.


  1. Some folks have been discussing similar questions over at Moral Relativism Magazine. Moral questions and decisions certainly affect everyone. I wouldn't use "moral relativism" as a synonym for apathy, a refusal to engage in debate, or a belief that there are no right answers. Rather, I see relativism as an alternative answer to the question of how moral decisions are made. One type of relativism might hold that moral decisions are made in part by analyzing relationships between people and ideas, and some of these relationships may change over time. Moral answers are not written in the fabric of the cosmos waiting for us to discover them and to pledge our unthinking obedience to them. The answers have to be continuously uncovered through the way that we relate to each other which is complex and changing.

  2. Kilo papa, I deleted your comment for the excessive language and because it was totally off-topic. Did you read the post? Or see the title then assume it was saturated with Christian content?


Reformed Seth appreciates and encourages your comments, but we do have guidelines for posting comments:

1. Avoid profanities or foul language unless it is contained in a necessary quote.

2. Stay on topic.

3. Disagree, but avoid ad hominem attacks.

4. Threats are treated seriously and reported to law enforcement.

5. Spam and advertising are not permitted in the comments area.