If ethical facts were like matters of fact such as the location of Paris or the serial number on my computer, which allow objective status, then one could have ethical objectivity.
But it seems fairly clear that ethical "facts" do not have that kind of epistemological status (e.g. of verifiability, for example), and that while one can determine whether Paris is the capital of France (because we understand and agree to certain rules and procedures), one cannot determine, for example, if hurting animals is a right action.
From another point of view, even if people learn about "good, sound, ethical theory" what they are either learning is actually various theories with differing ethical injunctions, or are indoctrinated into only ONE "good, sound" set of norms. If they are learning various perspectives, then it seems they will not arrive at an objective ethical system; if they are learning only ONE, then they preclude the possibility that another theory is either more objective than theirs or closer to the "truth."
You write:"it seems fairly clear that ethical "facts" do not have ... verifiability, ..."
The gist of my thesis in the o.p. was precisely that such facts DO have verifiability - though they might not yet have been verified - but that they haven't is just an accident of history: in the future they well could be. It might be done by a consensus of polling agencies, with global outreach, arriving at pretty much the same conclusions after each takes its own distinctive poll, and the mass media broadcasting those results in an assertive, "breaking news" manner which will have a ring of plausibility and legitimacy to it. How would the consensus reached on this be any different from any other inter-subjectively agreed-upon fact?
Ethical facts will then be 'matters of fact such as the location of Paris.' That fact too is a matter of public consensual agreement.
You further write: "while one can determine whether Paris is the capital of France (because we understand and agree to certain rules and procedures), one cannot determine, for example, if hurting animals is a right action."
No, not yet. You should date your claim here. In ten years what you said could be obsolete, out-dated, antique, couldn't it?
Many engineers alive today relied on a sliderule not that long ago; today that seems outmoded. The same with the typewriter versus the word processor. New technologies come along, new social inventions, even new social institutions. To operate with these new inventions we had to agree to certain rules and procedures. Why would moral techniques be any different? They wouldn't.
Yes, of course, my proposed Ethical discipline, my new paradigm for the field of study and research, does not take a stand on the eating of animals, comes to no conclusions one way or the other on the issue -- it has not yet been applied to that topic. But so what? Does it preclude that some bright young scientist will come along and extend it so that it covers experimentation in that field in order to arrive at (tentative - like all the rest) conclusions consistent with the system? No. Not for that topic, nor for any other moral dilemma or topic.
---------- Post added at 02:10 AM ---------- Previous post was at 12:47 AM ----------
I believe ...that morality is a universal, or relatively impartial concept that can be applied to all relevantly similar things, but I don't believe that morality is ... mind-independent.
Who ever said that is was? I know you can read ! Tell me exactly just what is "mind-independent" -- and how you know this.
Didn't several minds have to get together and agree on the distance from the Earch to the moon, and on the rules and procedures to determine it?
The first problem with moral objectivism is that you're assuming that because X causes harm, X is therefore wrong, in spite of what a mind thinks about X.
I assume no such thing. It would follow as a deduction from my definition - in my system - of "wrong" and of "harm." Then, when the system finds application by some creative ethical "engineers" (viz.
, artists at application), as it likely one day will, a public consensus will agree that the theoretical model made sense. Hopefully, "good sense."
You write: "The ... notions of goodness and badness are strictly a result of subjective, mind-independent perspectives."
Of course they are. So what? You could say the same for the notion of "acceleration" or "valence" or "charmed quark." Or "hyperspace", "complex number, "vector," "radian." Does that mean they are not useful to us? Good Heavens! I don't see this as the problem that you do. I use the word "good" in common speech every day, and manage to communicate - with no problem.
You say much the same thing when you write: "I value morality because ... I have perspectives of goodness and badness. I value morality for its utility and practicality..."
These constructs are not facts of the 'Natural sciences,' but are facts of nature to the extent that human Earthlings are a part of nature.
You write: "...notions of right or wrong, and good or bad... don't actually represent reality."
They represent my reality. ...My wife's too. But then maybe we are eccentric.
We - the human family - have human natures. And while my model is a Non-naturalist one, in G. E. Moore's sense, the data of ethics are facts of human nature - which the discipline studies and seeks to explain and thus to understand.
The facts may be gathered by cleverly well-designed technologies, such as projective/objective value surveys to learn what human groups (and individuals) value. Psychologists and psychotherapists avail themselves of such tools every day. They consult manuals, such as Buros, to find out the best ones to use. But these are serious scientists going about their business. If you would claim they are not real scientists they would give you a good argument.
p.s. How did you do on those exams you wanted to pass?
It may be good for all readers here to review what I wrote in Ichthus91 's thread on "Purpose of Ethics", on p. 2, in Post #17, at the end of this page::
The ideas there may have been overlooked yet perhaps they are relevant to this current discussion. They present a bit more of my orientation. Still more back-up is to be found in my two free internet books, citations to which you will find in my previous threads and posts.