Friday, February 3, 2017

Does Morality Exist?

    Does morality exist separate of humanity or is it a social construct that changes based on the circumstances in which humanity lives at any given time? On the one hand, thoughts on what is moral seem to change with the times. It is not moral to sacrifice virgins to Aztec gods. It is not moral to enslave a race of people to pick cotton. It is not moral to conduct a Holocaust of Jews. Yet at times, there were people who morally justified such actions. On the other hand, our conscious lets us know through a 'gut feeling' whether our actions are moral. So what is the status of morality?
    It is true humanity is a social species and has adopted moral instincts to fit within the society in which we live. These instincts do not necessarily define what is moral. Human sacrifice, slavery, and genocide may have been morally acceptable within the societies in which they were practiced, but it does not make those practices moral. Few would let the practitioners off the hook morally even though the actions were morally acceptable at the time. Humans are elevated above the animals as separate, rationale beings and out treat each other as such. People are not let off the hook because there is an objective way we should act, and going against that objective way has bad consequences. With this in mind, the immorality of human sacrifice, slavery, and genocide, though extreme examples, becomes clear.
     Just because we make subjective judgments on moral issues on a smaller scale, it does not follow there is no objective moral truth. Our thoughts on a particular matter can be influenced by the time period and society in which we live, but that does not mean there is not an objective truth on the matter. We simply may not know what it is. Or are even capable of knowing, for that matter.
      If objective morality exists, we are all experiencing it subjectively The matter comes down to the question of whether it is moral because people believe it is moral or do people believe it is moral because it truly is moral?    

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