Monday, August 01, 2005

Conversations with Angie: Moral differences do not show that morals aren't universally known


I think there are a few ways to show that the differences in moral views do NOT indicate that objective moral values are not universally known.

First, as I said before, it only takes one objective moral value that is known to establish that objective moral values can be known. People may differ in all kinds of moral views, but if there's one moral view that is universally known, then objective moral values can be known.

Second, what sometimes appear to be differences in moral values aren't really differences in moral values at all. Rather, they are differences in the facts informing the situation. A good example of what I'm talking about is the abortion debate. On the one hand there are people who think abortion is wrong, and on the other hand you have people who think abortion is not wrong. That appears to be a significant moral difference, doesn't it? But in most cases, there is no moral difference, but a difference in opinions about the facts. Both sides agree that it's wrong to take the life of innocent human beings. Where they differ is in the factual question of whether or not the unborn are examples of innocent human beings. So it isn't a moral difference afterall.

Third, people have motivation to justify themselves. There are some things we know to be wrong but wish we didn't. People have an amazing ability to rationalize and to talk themselves into what they want to believe. This is especially true with sexual morality. Until birth control came along, people could not escape the consequence of sexual immorality as easily as they can now. Being able to avoid the negative consequences has made it easier for us to ignore the moral implications. The conscience becomes weak with neglect, and the sexual urge is one of the strongest urges we have. It's no wonder people are so apt to convince themselves that it's okay.

There are several other reasons people may appear to differ on morality, but I think these three are the primary ones, so I'll just skip the rest of them. There's a book by Hadley Arkes called First Things, and he goes into some detail about this. J. Budziszewki goes into this also in his book, The Revenge of Conscience. Now that I think about it, one of the chapters in that book is posted on the internet if you're interested in having a look-see.

Well, I was just writing about why I think objective moral values exist, but the email was getting very long, so I've decided to wait and send that to you in another email another time.


Conversations with Angie:  More reason why moral differences are consistent with universally known moral values


At 8/02/2005 4:07 AM , Blogger A better man than you said...

kind of a night-owl, aren't you?

At 8/02/2005 4:45 AM , Blogger ephphatha said...

Yeah, kinda.

At 8/02/2005 6:23 PM , Blogger daleliop said...

By choice?

At 8/02/2005 10:03 PM , Blogger ephphatha said...

Sorta kinda. I work at night.


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