Monday, 25 October 2010

Morning Scepticism: Definition

There is a difference between how we define something and how we conceive it. The question of morality for example is not one of definitions but one of conception. As much as people can argue over different schools of thought, it's still around a particular conception. In this sense it's impossible to define morality out of existence because the concept still remains.

2 comments:

Reasonably Aaron said...

I suspect the problem with morality is that when people speak of morality they are talking about something different than moral theorists.

1. I feel X (some moral proposition) is true
2. Y is objectively true

While I can't define 1 out of existance (as it's an observation), one can easily do that to 2.

There seems to be a lot of equivocation between 1 and 2 - something which needs to be justified.

Kel said...

Agreed, there is always that problem. But I don't find it very helpful that because 1 therefore there's no such thing as 2, as some tend to argue. Or even worse because A and B use different methodologies to derive 1 that there can be no chance of 2. Which makes as much sense as saying because there are creationists means there's no objective truth in biology.

In mathematics for example, we hang on principles that aren't there but have objective value. Same goes for morality to my mind, there are in principle objective ways to go about working out what are the right ways of going about things. That we have it is another matter, but in terms of metaethics I think there's a case to be made for objective morality.