Does universial morality exist
- Pages: 4
- Word count: 951
- Category: Morality
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Our morality seems to very often stem from the regulations set by the leaders of a state or country. This is how we come upon our own justifications. However these rules must have derived from something else. What was the original stimulus of morality, and is this knowledge humans have of morality objective? This is going to be the main question of my discussion. This essay will then touch upon the possibilities of an objective morality through reasoning with Absolutism and Immanuel Kant’s Ethics.
It will then move on to the counter argument, the possibilities of an objective morality not existing by reasoning with Moral Relativism and Albert Camus’ works on existentialism. This essay will also look at the reason and the relative opinions on each possibility. Universal Morality projects that objective laws and absolutism exist in our universe prohibiting the possibility of subjective moral concepts. So when one thinks he is being morally individual he is not because Absolutism permits that everyone follows the same system of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ Absolutism is a meta-ethical view that holds strong opinions on the means to do right.
For instance if one were to lie even if it were to promote a good deed, it is considered immoral. It is easy to see the good and view the world as an absolutist one. For example, as children we are taught that lying is wrong no matter what. Humans tend to develop a tolerance to lying through experience and the knowledge to rationalize lying. So in a way, humans do follow the absolute values because most of the time, we all consider lying bad. However, humans often justify such actions with the consequences.
Immanuel Kant backed his deontological theory by introducing his duty ethics. Ought implies can” We ought to try and strive for the highest good. Kant believed that all humans have been programmed to strive for the highest good. He believed that that was our aim in life, therefore permitting that humans would all try and do more of the same good to achieve the highest objective good. For instance, we are taught in school that stealing is bad because it makes people unhappy. We then do not steal because it would make us feel guilty for doing something bad. This same statement applies to lying.
Kant therefore insists that humans are striving for the highest good in life and in that case must carry our duty as humans by avoiding going against objective moral laws, like lying. I think that universal morality could be true because there does seem to be a correlation between the laws and morals of different cultures around the world. However this theory can be seen as weak, because there is no way of completely proving objective moral laws. Many people disagree with it because it proposes that humans do not have the freedom to make their own decisions defeating the possibility of objective knowledge.
On the other hand, possibilities of universal morality existing is just as great. Moral relativism suggests that moral values are applicable only within certain cultural boundaries or within an individual. An existentialist believes that the individual must hold a core of subjective morals that acts as the foundation to an individual’s moral action. For example, a moral relativist would propose that if you felt like smoking at school in break even though school rules say not to, your morals are the judge of your actions, therefore if you agree that smoking at break is right then nothing should stop you.
Moral relativists convey the idea that all human beings have a choice. A choice to choose what is right and what is wrong depending on their upbringing, environment, mind and genetics. This is basically saying that, no one can stop you from doing what you want to do. They can only disagree, because their own morals are different. Albert Camus portrayed ideas of existentialism through many of his literary work in the 1940’s and 50’s. Such as, one of his books called ‘The Outsider’ which explored the concepts of existentialism and ‘freedom’.
The protagonist results in killing a man because he was simply bored, hot and felt like pulling the trigger at a man at the time. The book mirrors the existentialist theory and is evident in showing that possibilities of subjective morals – morals by choice at any moment in time. However not many people would agree on this theory as is would create chaos in every society. There would be no control if everyone decided to kill someone and the world would break under objective agreements.
In conclusion, I believe that to some extent universal morality does exist because the world has lived upon generations of the same ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs’ so there has to be something in nature that makes humans agree on what most of us consider ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. On the other hand I do believe that we have the opportunity to have objective knowledge, although our experience may not be original our decisions are still personal, therefore objective knowledge does exist. Objective knowledge involves having your own suggestions and opinions.
Existentialism is a fine example of permitting the existence of objective knowledge however I think it may be taking it a step too far, it seems impossible for a society to survive if people only followed what they believed to be right and disagreed on everything else. In my opinion objective knowledge is as much of a commoditiy as any of our daily essencials that define what us humans are. With out a desire to have a choice or personal opinion on what you know (objective knowledge) our spieces would be dull and boring, we also would not be the advanced thinkers we are today.