I continue to take a beating on my defense of moral relativism. Initially, the main purpose of my defense was to make only one claim:
To acknowledge cultural conditioning in morality does not prevent one from judging specific actions of another culture.This claim still seems indisputably correct.
As is my wont, I took the one claim further and laid out a thumbnail defense of moral relativism. I was perhaps mistaken to do so, now that I reflect on matters. For one thing, I am not a philosopher and before these posts I have neither fully explored nor concretely adopted any particular philosophical stand related to morality. My mistake, then, has been to lock myself into a position of moral relativism before I have thoroughly investigated the scholarship in and around it.
Nevertheless, certain elements of relativism and objectivism seem irrefutable:
- Cultural factors do play a role in what people consider moral and immoral behavior. Surely, we can agree on this?
- An objectivist position that asserts universal rightness or wrongness of specific behavior/category X is indefensible. How can any human phenomenon, such as morality, be universal?
I've also made a severe charge against some of the objectivists I have encountered:
Here's what I think actually is going on with these folks: What they are really after is sufficient justification for imposing one-world under Christianity. They're looking for the reason, not to use it necessarily but for the security of having it. They are like a nation that trusts only itself with nuclear weapons and doesn't get why that would make everyone else nervous.Honestly, these statements frighten me a bit because they are serious. Yet, I am not sure they are incorrect. That's why I have not revised or stricken them. Perhaps someone can show me a reason to think I am wrong on these charges, but Christianity's self-appointed mission to evangelize strikes me as a reason to think I'm correct.
So what now? I will read up over the next week or two and aim to come back with a better articulated version of my position--whatever it may be--and why I think it is the most reasonable.
A week or two is virtually no time, and the matters under discussion can legitimately take a lifetime to argue and to study. I know that, and I mean no disrespect to the subject or the people who study it. My modest aim is to put together something coherent and more considered; my aim, in other words, is to improve.
I need 2012 to be about my dissertation, more than anything else. Many topics, and indeed blogging itself, will probably be placed on the back burner next year.