November 08, 2013

Strange Notions hosts a debate: "Tough Questions about Objective Morality"

Brandon Vogt's excellent "Strange Notions" site is hosting a series called "Tough Questions about Objective Morality".  Here's what they have to say about the debate:
"... "Does objective morality depend on the existence of God?" We'll hear from two sharp young thinkers. Joe Heschmeyer, a Catholic seminarian in Kansas City, Kansas, will argue the affirmative view. Steven Dillon, a gifted philosopher and a former Catholic seminarian, will argue the negative."
Joe Heschmeyer begins his opening statement with these words:
"The resolution that I’m affirming is that objective morality depends upon the existence of God. I should probably explain what I understand that to mean, and what it doesn’t mean. In calling morality “objective,” I mean that the morality of certain actions exists independently of our subjective assessment."
 Here he is using the words "objective" and "subjective" as we have been. To say morality is "objective" means it does not change based on the assessment of the speaker. The truth of morality is "out there" in the thing - in the action itself - rather than in me.

If I say "I like that Bob did xyz" and you say "I don't like that Bob did xyz", we may both well be telling the truth. The "liking" is inside us and subjective. It relates to the subjects--to us.  If I say "Bob acted morally" and you say "Bob acted immorally" and if morality is objective, then one of us is wrong. Period.

Now, we haven't gotten close to grounds for the statement "morality is objective" (seminarian-Joe, above, is going to beat blogger-Joe to it by quite a way), but we've defined our terms. And, hopefully, we're seeing that these definitions are going to be important!

No comments:

Post a Comment