The Objective Basis of Morality Challenged

1611 Words Nov 19th, 2006 7 Pages
The Objective Basis of Morality Challenged

The origins of morality and what is defined as "good" or "bad", "unethical" or "moral" can easily boggle the mind. It is a topic that can be debated almost endlessly. There are many factors that must be taken into consideration to provide valid philosophies; yet there will still always be debatable elements. Two concepts of morality that are in direct opposition of each other are moral objectivism and moral relativism. Moral relativism can be subjective, in which morals are particular an individuals own beliefs; or, they can be conventional, in which morals are specific to a society and vary from culture to culture. On the other hand, moral objectivism does not leave room for opinions; it reasons
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There is no fixed ideal of good or bad. So in the case of working in the library, while letting your friend smuggle the rare book would seem wrong because it does not allow other people to have access to this resource and would possibly get you punished; what if your friend was on the verge of discovering a solution to global warming, and the only way for him to sufficiently perform his research is to have access to this book indefinitely, and to do so requires that he must smuggle this invaluable book. Then, this act may be considered good in this context, but not good for a different friend who might only want the book because it is rare and would sell very highly on eBay. In this circumstance morality is very subjective. If this was the case then perhaps Nagel could not argue that stealing the book is wrong because the person's intentions were out of a "direct concern for others." In this circumstance there is no such thing as a moral absolute. There will always be exceptions relative to the situation because a person's intentions or the consequences of their actions will always vary from situation to situation.
From a relativist's standpoint, one could also argue against Nagel and his belief that ethical obligations cannot be restricted to legal obligations. The reason that stealing from the library is wrong because it is a rule could be perfectly feasible because it is a cultural norm in this society and
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