For a moral proposition to be objective, a statement or proposition should be true regardless of the person saying it. For instance, everybody agrees that taking another persons life is bad. As much as we agree with such statements, defending them is quite hard. Many people resort to religion and make statements like killing is bad because God is against it. A fact should be able to be defended without invoking religion. Many arguments in favor of objective morality have failed to hold water in the secular world. This is partly because morals seem to change over time. They also vary from individual to individual. Also, it seems as though different communities the world over, have their moral standards. For example, in the past, it was an abomination for two unmarried people to live together and get intimate. However, in the contemporary world especially the westernized nations, this is widely accepted. In my opinion, moral propositions are subjective because they lack universality.
All morality is culturally produced. Different cultures have developed different standards to deal with issues faced every day. The lifestyle practiced by one community is not necessarily suitable for another community. Every community and individual does what is best for them given their context. I believe morality only comes in whenever society wants to deal with counterproductivity. Different people develop in different cultural spaces and therefore set their standards as to what is right or wrong. For instance, the concept of murder has evolved. In the contemporary world, there are circumstances where it is acceptable and other circumstances where it is not. I believe it is not possible to have one true morality.
Establishing absolute morality is impossible. In the contemporary world, law and religion provide guidance in peoples daily lives. People have come to place a lot of importance in these laws and consider them as absolute truths. I, however, believe this should not be the case. The laws and guidelines provided by religion are only meant to make different people live in harmony with one another. We can say we live in a civilized society because of these laws, but it does not mean that they are absolute and universal. Freuds theory of cultural relativism makes outstanding claims regarding the subject of absolute morality. Freuds theory largely borrows from the maxim beauty in the eyes of the beholder and therefore as much as we establish different laws to govern behavior, we cannot say with absolute certainty that there is one true morality.
Many conflicts in the modern world involve moral facts and values. Even though there are outstanding differences, many people still cannot differentiate between the two. Moral values differ from facts in that while facts carry an objective reality to them, moral values carry subjective elements. For instance, questions such as what is the height of Mount Everest? have a definite answer while questions such as Is it appropriate to go to work on Saturday? have different answers depending on different perceptions and attitudes. David Hume illustrates different ways in which we break away from the is/ought fallacy. He advances the theory that during many circumstances, what we ought to do is entirely based on our perception of what is morally right. Our sentiments and feelings make us morally obliged to take part in a given activity or action.
Breaking away from the is/ought fallacy is not hard. We simply have to overcome the empathetic element in our reasoning. For instance, in a murder case, if we do not let our sympathy cloud our judgment, we can objectively reason and come to an understanding as to why a given situation is as it is. In breaking the is/ought fallacy, we cannot rely on a few facts to come up with a conclusion. Communities that lived in the past were strongly opposed to the idea of two unmarried people living together because they felt it was morally wrong. They were repulsed by the whole idea because they felt it was disrespectful. The issue caused moral conflicts. However, in the contemporary world, that fallacy has been debunked, and it is now okay for two unmarried people to live together. The older perception towards the issue was not based on facts but entirely on morals.
The is/ought fallacy occurs when individuals start to think that because a certain situation is a way it is, it should remain that way. However, this should not be the case. It is not always in an individuals best interest to maintain the status quo. A few aspects of morality are derived from this kind of thinking. For instance, a majority of the electorate in the USA might not agree with the concept of the electorate college but they still support the institution because they have been made to believe that it is necessary. We can only break the is/ought to fallacy if we go against the status quo. A majority of concepts which have been imposed on us have become law and we blindly follow them. Human beings need to be able to question everything and ascertain that anything that happens in ones life happens for a concrete reason.
There are activities which have been done for a long time that they have become law or moral obligations. People have a tendency to accept certain modes of life that they never stop to think and reason. If it were up to me to decide what is right and wrong, I would have gone against many of the widely-accepted moral obligations. Individuals only need to decide on what is best for them and follow their instincts no matter what everyone else thinks. For example, I do not subscribe to the notion that the use of alcohol is bad. In some occasions, the use of alcohol is justified. Celebratory moments are usually not complete without drinking.
Nietzsche and Sartre advance the notion that the universe or cosmos does not carry any meaning. They are of the opinion that it is the humans who come up with moral values and attempt to bring meaning to life. Value by itself is highly subjective. What may be valuable to one individual may not be valuable to another. Facts, on the other hand, hold the same meaning regardless of who states them. They are not subject to outside influence or perception. They are independent of themselves.
In conclusion, I believe moral propositions are relative because they are subject to change over time. Moral propositions vary from one community to another and therefore lack a universal bearing. A majority of conflicts in the world today are caused by different perceptions of moral value and facts. While moral values are subjective, facts are defined and do not change over time.
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