Moral relativism vs objectivism


In this article, I’m trying to narrate my question and try to answer it, as written words and sentences is more descriptive and organised than being confound to the boundaries of mind.

To start with I will lay the foundation of my question, can moral truth be found independently from the context or not. As simple as it seems the question is quite complicated to answer, from one hand if moral truth is independent this leads to perceive moral truth as something we discovered or still or will discover, and absoluteness one of its core feature. while if it was dependent this will lead to perceive moral truth as an invention following some epistemological progression what ever the progression criterion may be and truthfulness is being judged based on the context.

In order to be able to understand the issue, we need to go back to basics. We need to define what moral means in order to be able to define what moral truth means. 

Moral as a noun can be defined as a lesson or wisdom from a story or an event incase “the moral of the story is ….”, also it could be defined as category of things that we predefined as good or right. such as “moral action”, “he did the moral thing”, “that was immoral thing to do”, “you have no morals” and the meanings “good”, “right”, “wrong/bad”, “empty”.

Moral as an adjective depends on our perception of the noun from a categorical point of view, for instance if we said “he is a moral man” this inclines that we have an idea what moral means , and moral can can be quantified in the sense of the moral sets intersection formulated as   where C is our predefined coefficient, then the argument is valid, and this will lead us to say it or approve it if we are judging what has been heard. 

I’m pretty sure that we don’t do sets intersection because at the time of the argument we can’t quantify all the finite attributes that belongs to the moral category and then do an intersection will all the finite attributes that we are aware off in the person’s category. Secondly I’m not sure if our moral category is static and finite, but what our brains most probably do is fuzzy intersection of some weighted values in both categories as certain values holds more weight than other based on our personal experiences. Also one thing to take some moral attributes can’t be evaluated during judgment due to the lack of information, which leads to wrong judgement that can be mutated afterward. 

One could argue that how this has anything to do with the core question that I’m trying to answer. And I would say that it is quite relevant as if we are unaware of the fact morals is like a pouch that hold some items of similar nature that made it belong to that pouch, and that pouch plays a major role in our judgements, then it is going to be hard to base our judgement on anything.

Now lets talk how do we define a moral category, I would say it’s apparent that couple of things attributes to what should we put in this category. Our upbringing plays a major factor as it lays the foundation of our definition and shape of the moral category, Then the social interactions and emotion experience toward those interactions, and finally our rational supposing we have one.

Lets dissect each attribute separately starting with upbringing. Infants starts to have a mental frame about reality based on observation and interactions with the surroundings that starts with small interactions such as touching looking listening…etc, and the interactions start to get more detailed and complex as they grow, as the knowledge that they build or the mental model of the world is incremental. I will not go through if infants are prewired with some knowledge as this will not contribute that much to what we are looking for. The basic interactions framework for infants start with hearing and smelling as they are more tuned than seeing, and sounds has different frequencies and different frequencies, and infants learn to distinguish those and isolate those frequencies in categorical manner there is a category for every individuals and objects around the infant, the difference one person could speak in different frequencies and infants learn to distinguish frequencies in sub categories for specific person, and shape some reaction toward sounds and frequencies, based on repetition, when one is calm he/she would have a certain frequency footprint that can be used to reflect the emotional state, which is different from the frequency when one is anxious. So infants start categorising what’s normal and what’s not in terms of frequencies.

When eyes and mechanical motion evolves some more, a child can perceive how people around him talk and look, and start enforcing the previous knowledge by associating faces to the different sounds that comes out of them. at that time the infant start to having better mental depiction of reality, regarding the people around him. This knowledge will lay the foundation of his initial experience of what should go under moral category and what’s not, as if he did something wrong he will understand that something wrong has been done by observing the reactions of one person based on how he speaks and how he looks while speaking, at that time infants have created new categories (GOOD, BAD). The content of GOOD and BAD will be enriched by every experience they endeavour. After the children enhances their vocabulary and start to understand language semantics. They will enrich GOOD and BAD categories some more notice that what is good is right and what is bad is wrong, their will be no difference between those categories until they start incorporating motive were both categories start having some differences and the child by that time have the understanding that he did a bad thing but it felt good while doing it as it fulfilled his motive.

During that time children has some vague definition of what moral category should hold, as morality at that points reduced to all the actions in GOOD and Right should be moral on the other hand all the actions that is BAD and wrong should be immoral as such   but there is a gap in the definitions as there could be something in BAD category while being in RIGHT and the other way around, for those cases they will be enriched based on motive, experience and reasoning at a later stage.

Then the child go to school and due to the circumstance he has to interact with more people around him, some has the same age and mental capacity and some not, and he will study and experience what should be moral and what should, specially if if one has to study religion or theology that go along or contradicts what one’s learned at home from the people around him/her.

One could say that based on the previous argument children have different content of their categories based on home, school, social norms, and also one could argue that the basics are common as most parents and school teachers they think and educate with platonic views about how children should be, the difference is how do they perceive platonic world for a children, but nonetheless don’t steal don’t lie ….. is a common practice based on self interest or intrinsic need of fulfilment.

What we established so far that moral truth for children is subjective based on the environment and objective in its self.  This applies also to adults with one slight different (“knowledge and reasoning”), and this is where the objectivity diverges from one to another.

Moral universalism: which could be defined our moral system is universal and can be applied to every one, and this sort of views are common between the religious people. This moral view dictates that morals are outside the space of opinion and available independently. 

Moral absolutism: which could be defined at non-contextual based view of morals as such bad thing is always bad even if they lead to good things, and this is also common among the religious people, but also available among intellectuals as some ethicals views of Kant leads toward absolutism.

Moral Realism: which could be defined as logical way to approach moral truth as moral sentences can be perceived as logical proposition that can be reasoned about based on logic, which also incline that moral truth can exist. This is common between the rationals.

What about moral relativism, as we failed to define it, relativism in terms of morals can be defined that moral truth could only be found based on some view point or stand point such as culture, historical period….etc. moral relativism opened the gate to debate about the moral values and whether they have some intrinsic truth away the context or opinion. It questions whether moral truth can be found in religion and if so it doesn’t mean that it is objective, as it could hold some truth from a historical standpoint and narrative.

So how could we related moral subjectivity to moral relativism. Will to start with both of them they need a stand point and context to or identify, and I believe this is good enough to continue.

And I will take Homosexuality as an example. Judaeo Christian and islam doctrines forbids such behaviour and categorise it as immoral. While now days this is becoming a norm, and me coming by reasoning from a religious like background I believe in the absolutism of the moral values, but I always see that moral relativism can’t exist as the foundation of the definition is lacking and the moral truth holds no value more than it grants some sort of justification to actions. Maybe moral relativism have some value in an abstract universe. 

I tend to see relativism is way of justifying the non-existence objectivism in the moral values, and it go along with out intentions and tendencies to justify our actions from our stand-point, and the issue become apparent if most of the society agree on the stand-point due to education and politics. 

On the other hand relatives create a moral paradox , as something can be justified for us but unjustifiable to other because we don’t share the same standpoint or we don’t understand the standpoint of the others, and the other way around is valid also. 

To be continued……

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