Why moral relativism might be OK after all

"Surfin' bird" serves the good, obviously.

UPDATE: In this syllogism here, I suggested a paradox, but this may be false. Humanism may take the position that there is no objective morality possible, but this condition may not cause a paradox because the net effect of this would impact politics, not morality. 


One of my (many) concerns with Humanism is my bias against its general assertion that no rigid, objective morality exists. In other words, there is no objective “good.”

“Ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience.” (“Humanist Manifesto III”)

As described, this begs the question of what human need is and who gets to determine it and who gets to determine who gets to determine it. Every sweat-slicked, red-faced windbag who’s donned a military beret has claimed to understand human need, and thus justify every sleazy thing they do to achieve it.

This is a very real aspect of human nature, so it’s important that any secular morality addresses it. But what if those of us who are seeking an objective good don’t really have to?

Follow this line of thinking with me:

If objective good exists, it can be quantified.

And if it can be quantified, it follows that more good is better than some good.

But what if we say that no objective good exists?

Because if no objective good exists, then good is subjective.

And if good is subjective, then it is up to the individual to determine their own good.

And if it is up to the individual to determine their own good, it follows that the condition in which people would be most free to determine their subjective good would be the best system.

Thus a rationale for liberty follows, even in a universe with no objective good.

By embracing moral relativism, the chain of logic suggests an objective moral position for government. Neat paradox, eh?



About SWIRLosopher

The SWIRLosopher is Sean Trapani, a professor emeritus of advertising who - despite a degree in philosophy - has abandoned all reason and is trying to make a living in the wine business.

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