A New, Objective (?) Moral Theory.

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Reply Mon 28 Sep, 2009 09:44 pm
This is an outline of a monograph which I hope you will be interested in. It tries to rationally solve all fundamental moral problems as far as possible - arguing that a great deal is possible. It defends what it claims is an objective theory, namely one as evidence-based as humanly possible. (The monograph's Introduction discusses controversies concerning notions such as objectivity, evidence and knowledge, and defines terms here.)
This new theory agrees with many of the prescriptive conclusions of certain other theories, accepting that hence those theories are significantly correct, but gives those prescriptions what it argues is a sound(er), less vulnerable basis, a rationally irrefutable basis.
The theory has one primary and hence ultimate, objective standard/end, and plural a-objectivity, secondary ends irrelevant (orthogonal) to achieving that ultimate end. (Analogously:- Suppose the primary artistic end is 'Draw circles'. To achieve this end it is irrelevant whether circles are drawn via secondary-end preferences for this rather than that colour, drawing-implement etc.)
The only ultimate, objective standard/end is argued to be 'Be pro-objectivity' or, here-equivalently, 'Be pro-knowledge'. This end might seem morally inappropriate, e.g., too cognitive and narrow. But it only involves knowledge, just some knowledge, and is not that knowledge as such. And, if carefully examined, the theory's basis and standard/end are seen to involve much besides knowledge/objectivity: they concern morality and life-as-a-whole. E.g.:- The basis permits great liberty and cultural, sexual, artistic, lifestyle and much other diversity regarding secondary ends. The primary standard/end has implications for gender issues, rights, the environment, medicine and animal-welfare, implies non-sexism, non-racism, types of happiness, justice, equality, freedom, virtues, duties, autonomy, education, sympathy, sociability, peace, direct-democracy, altruism, flourishing, fairness and much more. Emotions and other subjective experiences are considered important, and crucial in some cases.
An objective moral end must at least be coherent with or positively-related to objectivity and, hence, objectivity's internal end (aim/purpose) and nature - knowledge. ('Be pro-objectivity' and 'Be pro-knowledge' obviously achieve that.) Relatedly, if a moral principle can be rationally claimed to be knowledge, the principle must be coherent with or positively-related to knowledge generally. ('Be pro-knowledge' obviously achieves that.)
The evidence for the theory's objectivity or knowledge-status involves that unique coherence between the theory and objectivity/knowledge, plus related arguments and observable evidence.
Part II of the monograph discusses those and other specific, practical implications at length. Part I explains and defends the theory's basis, primary standard/end and their general guidelines - though many representative practical implications are suggested during this. To discover an objective moral theory or moral knowledge, Part I unavoidably begins with a somewhat abstract investigation of what an objective theory or moral knowledge must be - but the discussion soon concerns morally substantive matters and suggested specific practical applications.
Those general guidelines include warnings regarding some suggested practical specifics being vague or perhaps mistaken hypotheses - recommending careful research, rational fallibilism and (self‑)criticism. However, vagueness and mistakes here are often resolvable or minimisable, suggesting that increasingly we can approach a very clear, practicable, basically-objective moral theory.

I'm hoping you will be interested in reading, criticising and commenting on the monograph. If so, please email me at [EMAIL="[email protected]"][/EMAIL]XXXXXXXX, and I'll send it to you.
Thank you,
Frederick

(Moderator edit and note: E-mail address removed to prevent spambot harvesting. Members interested in receiving a copy of the monography should request it by sending a PM to the author. jgw)

 
salima
 
Reply Tue 29 Sep, 2009 01:18 am
@Frederick Kym,
can this be understood by the layman? if he is sufficiently motivated?
 
Adam101
 
Reply Thu 1 Oct, 2009 02:42 pm
@Frederick Kym,
What if knowledge doesn't make you happy...isn't that oppressive to tell people that they have to be knowledgeable or in the pursuit of knowledge in order to be acting morally correct?
 
deepthot
 
Reply Thu 1 Oct, 2009 03:48 pm
@Adam101,
Adam101;94629 wrote:
What if knowledge doesn't make you happy...isn't that oppressive to tell people that they have to be knowledgeable or in the pursuit of knowledge in order to be acting morally correct?



I think you may have misunderstood him, Adam. When he speaks of a rationally-irrefutable basis, or a one ultimate standard, I believe he means: the primitive assumption upon which the rest of his model, his theory, stands. Every theory, or axiomatic system, needs some primitive assumptions, some undefined terms, some axioms or postulates which are not to be challenged except on grounds of reasonableness, or esthetics.

He is saying: Are you in favor of knowledge? If so, then everything else I'm going to say follows from that. And you have no reason not to accept it, once you said "Yes," in answer to that original question. He is here in an attempt to persuade philosophers and philosophy students as to its soundness -- not yet the general public. For the latter it will have to be sold the way you speak to children - perhaps in terms of rewards and punishments; perhaps codified into statute laws, to serve as sanctions for violation of its findings. Ideally the law is supposed to help put ethics into action. But that assumes that the Justice System has been permeated by awareness of good ethiical concepts and theories. This has largely not yet occurred.
 
Adam101
 
Reply Thu 1 Oct, 2009 03:55 pm
@Frederick Kym,
I must have misunderstood.
 
 

 
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