[extropy-chat] Re: moral relativism

ben benboc at lineone.net
Sun May 8 11:04:33 UTC 2005

samantha said:

"The discussion was not about absolutism or at least I hope it has not
gone that far astray from anything worth talking about."

"In this you have made the entire discussion more of a fruitless
muddle than it was.  Congratulations."

Well, i'm sorry if i'm contributing to the muddle, that's obviously not 
my intention.

I can see what you're saying about absolutism vs objectivism, but as i 
said, i think that the pope's original announcement was not about 
relative morality as opposed to objective morality - i.e., moral 
arguments based on objective reality - but about relative moral 
viewpoints as opposed to absolute ones (he's a PRIEST. What does he care 
about objective reality? He cares about what god tells him is the 
absolute truth). This discussion has drifted away from that, and i was 
trying to point this out.
You might think that absolutism isn't worth talking about, and 
personally, i would tend to agree - in an ideal world. But there are 
many people who have absolutist viewpoints, and some of them are very 
influential. This makes it worth talking about. here's an example of why 
(taken from a recent letter in the New Scientist): The catholic church 
knows perfectly well that their policies on AIDS prevention are killing 
people. They know this and approve of it, because they know that "The 
wages of sin are death". This is hardly a moral stance derived from 
objective reality.

I'm just trying to understand things, same as everybody else. Sometimes 
this means more muddle before things (hopefully) become clearer. Being a 
bear of little brain, i was a bit confused about the use of the term 
'objective', now i think i understand better.

Jef said:

"Giulio, do you think *all* moral issues are equally relative, or was
this an exceptionally easy case?

What if Sue were contemplating murdering some adult, perhaps based on
simple jealousy.  Would you still say that the answer is simply that Sue
should do as she wants?"

I would doubt that Guilio (or anyone in their right mind) would say that 
people should do whatever they want. This is not what moral relativism 
is, although many people try to portray it as such.

I get the impression that the phrase 'moral relativism' is being taken 
to mean different things to different people.

Just what do the people here understand it to mean? Ditto with moral 


More information about the extropy-chat mailing list