Monday, September 10, 2007

Fear of Moral Relativism

The Barefoot Bum, Larry Hamelin, has a post called, "Modernism, Postmodernism, and Ethics" which contains the following quote:

As authoritarian-submissive as we are, we still want the authority of some true for everyone, any truth, to underlie our ethical beliefs. It's a very scary thing—even for many atheists—to admit that we're simply on our own regarding ethics. There is no God, no Daddy, not even the Universe, that can determine our choices. We're suspended above the abyss of ethics with no net of truth.

"many atheists" in this quote references my blog, suggesting that I have some psychological fear of living in a world without "moral truth".

As far as criticism goes, it does not go far. An actual criticism of my view would have to say, "Alonzo holds proposition P, and here is the evidence that proposition P is false." But, then, the statement was not supposed to be criticism. It was supposed to be illustrative of a point - an assumed example of a person with a fear of life without moral truth.

Naturally, I hold that an actual argument would be hard to make. Ultimately, the bulk of what I write about is rather simple. I have a set of desires. I have tools available that will allow me to influence the desires that you have. Naturally, I have more and stronger reason to cause you to have desires that will fulfill my desires than to cause you to have desires that would thwart my desires.

At the same time, you have reason to have me to have desires that will fulfill your desires and reason to inhibit me from having desires that will thwart your desires.

If we take a population, there are some desires that people generally have more and stronger reason to promote than others.

Am I saying that these outcomes are independent of our desires? Of course not - I deny that sort of value. All that I am saying is that, given our desires, there are some states of affairs that we will prefer to others. And, consistent with this, given our desires there are some desires that we have more and stronger reason to promote than others.

If there is some proof that these propositions are so absurd that only a person with a deep fear of life without morality would accept that they are true, then I would really like to see that proof. In the absence of such proof, The Barefoot Bum needs to come up with a better example.


Hume's Ghost said...

This atheist is glad there is not a dictator with unlimited magical power in the sky.

6billionghosts said...

chemicals for disintegrating a dead fetus in the womb ingested at 6PM on friday by sunday puking up parts of it into the toilet. she is smiling while puking up the parts because it's been a burden on her for so long,. her bathroom is filled with plants the bathtub and everything and the crawling vines it's quite pretty actually she had to flush twice to get all the parts down. she lies in the bathtub with the plants and a fluorescent light that flickers, one tube does and the other tube stays on, it's not above the tub cos that would be dangerous, it's on the other side of the bathroom, lets her get a little less light with the shower curtain protecting her. the fetus parts come back up from the toilet later so instead of getting frustrated with the plumbing she lays them out to dry and then makes a collage with them and some pictures she's drawn with charcoal and pencil and crayons. they are colorful and serene. she is relieved and welcomes the emptiness.