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Old 04-15-2007, 04:04 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Tyrion
Also, the main problem I have with moral objectivity is that humans can never be truly objective; we always have some bias because we always have an opinion and a limited view of existence.
If something is objective, isn't that to say that it exists outside of human bias? In other words, wouldn't it be reasoned out rather than opined?

Originally Posted by Tyrion
<snip> and so it would impossible for humans to ever create a totally objective moral system.
Indeed it would probably be impossible for humans to create an objective moral system. However if objective morality does exist, it would not need to be created just as we didn't "create" the principles that govern mathematics or the physical laws of our universe.

Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
One man's pain is another man's pleasure.
That is true but that is obviously not a basis for any objective system of morals.

Originally Posted by Jae Onasi
Also, maximize morality is not always inversely proportional to distress.
I actually agree with you here. Sometimes following the moral option requires some exposure to pain or distress. Anyone that has children knows that immunization is not a lot of fun for your little ones. It's not uncommon to have to restrain a child so that they can be poked with a big sharp needle and injected with solution that will cause them to become mildly ill for a few days.

If we were to follow a mathematical model for morality, the formula might spit out a result that says the pain and distress caused by immunization would make the process immoral. Since the comparative result (disease or general illness) is not certain, our formula might lead us astray. Then again, math has never been my strong point and my reliance on conceptualization might be doing me a disservice here.

Regardless, I'm pretty sure this is why all the ethics courses fall under the philosophy umbrella rather than applied sciences

Thanks for reading.

EDIT for teekay's post above:

As for the defintion of distress, it's true I didn't make any attempt to define it. I have a dictionary that I could quote if it makes any difference. I think each creature knows distress when it feels it. I did suggest that each distress is a local phenomenon that must be converted to some sort of universal scale so that it could be weighed against other organisms' distresses.
Would it be inaccurate to interject that what we're looking for is a creature's capacity for suffering as compared to its capacity for happiness? A bee has relatively diminutive capacity for suffering or happiness especially when compared to the highly allergic human that it is about to sting, correct? So it wouldn't be immoral to kill a bee that was trying to attack you. Conversely, a cat has a relatively higher capacity of suffering and happiness, therefore it would not be moral for an allergic person to randomly kill cats.

Also, we would then have to somehow show individual suffering/happiness as compared to social suffering/happiness (e.g. deontology). For instance, is it moral for someone to throw oneself onto a grenade in order to save a group of complete strangers? How about to save a hive of honey bees?

Lastly, I'd like to inquire about the component of will. If I'm a doctor and I have 5 patients that will all die within an hour if they do not receive organ transplants and I have a patient that just died that happens to have matching organs, would it be ethical to perform the transplants if the deceased is not an organ donor? What if the potential donor were not dead but in a persistent vegetative state? Unconscious from a head wound, but expected to make a full recovery within hours? Fully alert and there to see about a sprained ankle?

I think my point is that you can have a completely objective set of morals that are not represented by one equation. Mathematics is objective, yet we do not try to nail the study down to just one rule, rather we accept that there are a wide variety of rules. Similarly, just as "math" represents arithmetic, algebra, calculus, geometry, finite mathematics, etc, "morality" might not be reducible to a single line of logical statements.

Somehow I feel as though I derailed the section that I quoted, but hopefully, I have not.

Thanks for reading.

Last edited by Achilles; 04-15-2007 at 08:12 AM.
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