On morality

Friends, this is the beginning of a sketch on morality that I have been developing and I would so much welcome comments and questions in developing it further. I am trying to describe my moral position from a philosophical point of view.

Before we proceed, let us deal with definitions. The Stanford Encyclopedia of philosophy defines descriptive and normative morals values thus;

  1. descriptively to refer to some codes of conduct put forward by a society or,
    1. some other group, such as a religion, or
    2. accepted by an individual for her own behavior or
  2. normatively to refer to a code of conduct that, given specified conditions, would be put forward by all rational persons.

That said, I will begin by getting gods out of the picture by introducing the Euthyphro dilemma which dispensed with the notion that gods are required for morality.

The theory am developing is that morals do not exist. Yes, you read it correctly. Morality is an illusion one that we have created for practical purposes. It is an illusion that our race has developed over time to propagate its survival in the universe. To enforce this illusion, there is shame and threat of punishment that are used to restrict urges. The realization that if this urges were not restricted, there would be chaos. Moral codes are just practical tools and that is it.

To justify morality, those men and women who went before us had to claim that man was responsible for his actions. Man had to be seen as a moral agent, one capable of making moral judgments concerning any particular action. This notion has been passed down to us that it is accepted by almost everyone as being true. They convinced their follows that there were moral values or norms that had to be adhered to.

In Human, all too human Nietzsche writes

The super animal, the beast in us wants to be lied to; morality is a white lie, to keep it from tearing us apart. Without the errors inherent in the postulates of morality, man would have remained an animal. But as it is he has taken himself to be something higher and has imposed stricter laws upon himself. He therefore has a hatred of those stages of man that remain closer to the animal state, which explains why the slave used to be disdained as a nonhuman, a thing.

In order not to make this a long treatise, I welcome all questions and comments.

Related articles

1. on ethics part i-moral philosophy’s third way 

2. quasi realism

3. William Craig on morality and meaning