Can Morality Be Objective without God?

9. Conclusion

Book cover: Ideas That Matter: The Concepts That Shape the 21st Century by A. C. Grayling

To wrap up this talk, let me summarize what I've tried to show:

  • I began by pointing to two prominent theologians' views that morality cannot at all be objective without assuming the existence of a divine law-giver.
  • I introduced the scenario of three friends discussing the ethics of voluntary euthanasia to illustrate how the notion of impartiality fits in our everyday moral reasoning.
  • Next, I highlighted how the wider philosophical and theological program attempting to ground 'objectivity' in ethics with mind- or human-independent facts fails to account for how moral judgments express attitudes.
  • In particular, I also pointed out how Divine Command Theory is caught on the horns of the Euthyphro dilemma.
  • I then properly contrasted being 'objective' in ethics with its antithesis; that is, being 'subjective' in the sense of being self-serving, parochial and biased.
  • Lastly, I offered examples showing how 'objectivity', in the sense of 'impartiality', has a long and distinguished tradition in both moral philosophy and religious ethics.

To find out more, you are welcome to visit my web site, especially the Ethics sub-section under the main section titled 'Philosophy'.

Thank you for taking the time to listen to what I had to say. Now I’m interested in hearing what you have to say and in engaging in the discussion.

Copyright © 2017

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