The space between moral absolutism and moral relativism
Posted on July 29, 2011
Philosopher (and friend) Massimo Pigliucci has published the first in a series of three essays on the foundations of ethics over at his blog, Rationally Speaking. This first article proposes a third way to think of ethics, between objective and relativist approaches to morality. Here’s a taste:
[H]uman beings share certain (local to the species) attributes, such as preferring a long and healthy life to a nasty and short one, and it is those parameters of humanness that set the axioms of our moral thinking. Ethical reasoning, then, consists of what sort of rules and outcomes logically emerge from that particular set of assumptions. Just like a good mathematician would do, we pick the most promising axioms and work with them, but we acknowledge that sometimes the search gets stuck into unproductive corners of logical space and we go back and — cautiously — tweak the assumptions themselves and get back to work.
Enjoy your weekend.