I don’t buy this relativism idea. I think there is a morality that is in some meaningful sense objectively true. However, I do not claim to already know what the perfect morality is. This is surely comparable to the good scientist, who believes that there is an objective world to investigate but does not claim to already know everything about it. Understanding is fuelled by doubt, not certainty.

Thus I accept that other people have different systems of morality from my own and I do not a priori assume that theirs is wrong where mine is correct. I can be convinced that my morality is flawed and someone else’s is superior. I admit that it does not happen often, for I am a stubborn git, but it can happen and it has happened in the past. I do not accept that all systems of morality are equivalent. That is the same as saying that there is no morality at all, which is as witless as solipsism.

I think it is important that people, in their personal lives and in their roles as part of a larger society, remember the importance of doubt. As soon as we are absolutely certain of something, so certain that nothing could change our minds, then we might as well just give up there and then.

Published in: on March 22, 2009 at 12:28 pm  Comments (1)  

One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I don’t buy relativism either, at the end it leads to nowhere; everything becomes equally true and nothing remains arguable. Relativism in morals is mere comparing subjective analysis, made using different and incomparable methods. Within the framework of one ideology there is better possibility to agree the methods used in approaching the matter or to agree the concepts etc. But even so every person makes his own translation or adaptation of the matter. For example you ask Lutherans what is moral and what is not; if you let them use the official descriptions made by church council you seem to get very homogeny group of answers, but if you demand them to use their own wordings, practical examples and deny them using any common ‘church jargon’ you might end up in a situation when you start to doubt whether these people are from the same church at all. But there has to be morals, it describes the goals for an individual to achieve, makes personal victories possible, man without any is pathetic…a poor looser. So I think it is better to have a subjective view on the matter which is comprehensive to oneself, rather than vague common analysis which remains remote from real life, jargon only very few would understand. On the other hand I am over practical woman and poor philosopher…



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