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Morality - Rational Moral Universalism vs Divine Command Theory
in Philosophy

By ZeusAres42ZeusAres42 114 Pts
A number of people believe that it's the will of a divine being that sets the foundation for what is ethical and what's not and that this divine being is the ultimate authority on it. Not only do I disagree with the Divine Command Theory but I find it fallacious and potentially dangerous as well as scary.

I agree that Moral Universalism (Not to be confused with absolutism or relativism) can and does exist regardless of whether you are atheist, agnostic or religious or other differentiating features. I also like to think of Moral Universalism somewhat akin to a "common sense morality" shared by millions of us all across the globe.

Now one of the refutations of the Divine Command Theory is that certain moral codes we see all over the globe today existed long before the idea of any Deity was even conceived of as seen in also other religions and philosophies that don't worship a Deity such as Buddhism, Jainism, Taoism, Confuciousism and so forth.

Moral Universalism does exist and it is inherent in our biology. As the Dalai Lama said, "Unless we have some kind of  mental dysfunction we all share the desire to be happy and for no harm to come our way." This is also true from a scientific standpoint. Also from a Science point of view, most of us have a thing such empathy and compassion among other useful emotions that are at the root of us not causing harm to other beings.

Albeit scientists have come up with research about as to why in some cases the harming of others may affect our survival and because of that's it's best not to do so this still does not exclude the general foundational basis for universal morality inherent in our biological makeup. Nor does this lead to the conclusion that a Divine Authority sets the foundation of what's ethical and what's not as that would not follow logically from the premise.

So in conclusion Moral Universalism is something that exists that is devoid of any Divine Being and is also regardless of whether one is religious, atheist or agnostic. Simply speaking, all that's a need for this universal morality is to be human with the desire to not be harmed and an emotional as well as rational understanding as to why we shouldn't cause harm to others; this is what sets the foundation for universal morality; other ascriptions need not apply.



















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Arguments

  • TKDBTKDB 135 Pts
    Who is teaching, this particular kind, of self thought up rationalized thinking?

    Maybe a college, or a self founded "think tank?" 
    ZeusAres42Plaffelvohfen
  • ZeusAres42ZeusAres42 114 Pts

    Your comments of derision which obviously stems from preconceived notions do absolutely nothing to advance your position in a civil discussion. In fact, it just actively undermines it.
    Plaffelvohfen
  • TKDBTKDB 135 Pts
    @ZeusAres42

    So says you, utilizing the internet, at your casual, self convenience, to self convey what you mindfully came up with, via your pre conceived opinion?

    I learn more from the internet, via what special interest groups, or advocates, or activitists, are utilizing the internet, because they lack the desire to publicly express their self driven opinions, to the public, via the common place news media outlets, local and nationwide?

    So you make, and turn a bit of the internet, into your own type of an artificial speak easy?

    So by asking you this:

    (Who is teaching, this particular kind, of self thought up rationalized thinking?

    Maybe a college, or a self founded "think tank?")

    And your response is this?

    "Your comments of derision which obviously stems from preconceived notions do absolutely nothing to advance your position in a civil discussion. In fact, it just actively undermines it."

    de·ri·sion
    /dəˈriZHən/
    noun
    1. contemptuous ridicule or mockery. 

    You proved my point, through your above efforts.

    Religion gets mocked, via the internet.

    Some of those Parents, who don't use illegal drugs, get mocked.

    The citizens of the U.S., get mocked by some of the gun owners, because some don't own a gun, like some of the gun owners do?

    Exactly how civil is it, for those non illegal drug using parents, those religious individuals, and those citizens, who aren't gun owners, to get mocked via the internet? 


    ZeusAres42Plaffelvohfen
  • ZeusAres42ZeusAres42 114 Pts
    edited May 13

    Exactly how civil is it, for those non illegal drug using parents, those religious individuals, and those citizens, who aren't gun owners, to get mocked via the internet?

    No one said it was or even implied it. I am beginning to wonder that reading comprehension may not be your strongest point. And no one is mocking those people, not me anyway.

    Your attempt at mockery is no more than an act of desperation because you feel offended by what you assume someone means which are again based on nothing more than presuppositions.



    PlaffelvohfenDee
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 1569 Pts
    I agree that the divine command theory is counter-productive and makes little logical sense, but I do not see moral universalism as a significant improvement over it. It still assumes that there are some morals that are inherently right, regardless of the individual perspective.

    I subscribe to moral relativism, which states that morals are a product of our individual reasoning, and can be virtually anything. And while in a society there is a need for a certain set of morals consented upon, individual morals do not have to conform to that set.
    ZeusAres42
  • TKDBTKDB 135 Pts
    edited May 13
    @ZeusAres42

    How many probable innocent people, were killed today, via a criminals, or offenders illegal gun violence crimes today, on Mother's Day?

    The above is what desperation looks like.

    How many parents, moms and dad's both use medicinal marijuana, and recreational marijuana, around their kids today, on Mother's Day?

    The above is what desperation looks like.

    How many parents, mom's and dad's both, went to the thousands of the various religious buildings, along with their kids, and various family members, today on Mother's Day?

    Thousands of people, and innocent people, were affected by other's today, via Mother's Day.

    "No one said it was or even implied it. I am beginning to wonder that reading comprehension may not be your strongest point."

    "Your attempt at mockery is no more than an act of desperation because you feel offended by what you assume someone means."

    "Since you don't actually have anything to provide that would continue a line of rational discourse then I suggest that you preach your nonsensical garbage to someone else that may be more susceptible to outright stupidity; perhaps a person on the same lower evolutionary scale as yourself."

    "Perhaps a person on the same lower evolutionary scale as yourself."


    vain
    /vān/
    adjective
    1. 1.
      having or showing an excessively high opinion of one's appearance, abilities, or worth.

    Are you trying to maybe sterotype me with some sort of internet user type of vain classism? 

    I subscribe to life, being unhindered by those wantingly try to hinder it, via their anti religious, anti family, anti kid, child, anti public, and anti peaceful attitudes, via some and their individual internet discriminations. 



    ZeusAres42
  • DeeDee 309 Pts
    @ZeusAres42

    You say .....Moral Universalism does exist and it is inherent in our biology. As the Dalai Lama said, "Unless we have some kind of  mental dysfunction we all share the desire to be happy and for no harm to come our way.


    My reply ....Morality is  rooted in particular cultures and tradition and is ever evolving with society and societal changes. A follower of Islam and Sharia law will have a totally different ideation of what makes him happy in comparison to an Atheist.


    You say ........Simply speaking, all that's a need for this universal morality is to be human with the desire to not be harmed and an emotional as well as rational understanding as to why we shouldn't cause harm to others


    My reply ......But humans hurt others and do so in a lot of cases using their particular moral code to justify such actions , again in several societies in the world a follower of Islam will agree on the harshest punishment for apostates because of their rejection of Allah they see this as perfectly rational and a duty as a good Muslim to act accordingly.

    How do you resolve such positions when it comes to moral universalism?

    ZeusAres42
  • ZeusAres42ZeusAres42 114 Pts

    If you feel offended by what's said in the original post when it contains no trace of vitriol then there really isn't anything I can say or do to help you. I do apoligze for my last remark, however, as that was due to a few drinks and needless anger, and I have since edited it to be more reasonable anyway. That will be all from me to you for now. Have a good day. :)
  • TKDBTKDB 135 Pts
    edited May 13
    @ZeusAres42

    I'm not offended, I'm saddened, that some individuals, have used, and still use the internet, to discriminate against other's?

    The truth to that discrimination?:

    There were shootings across the country yesterday, and innocent people died on Mother's Day.

    And some parents, moms and dads alike, likely or probably, used their legal, and illegal drugs yesterday, around their kids, and families on Mother's Day?

    And parents, and kids, and families went to church yesterday on Mother's Day, despite how some of the anti religious use the internet to discriminate against those same religious parents, kids, and families.

    Your impression has already been made, so thank you for educating me on your individual philsophies. 


    "If you feel offended by what's said in the original post when it contains no trace of vitriol then there really isn't anything I can say or do to help you. I do apoligze for my last remark, however, as that was due to a few drinks and needless anger, and I have since edited it to be more reasonable anyway. That will be all from me to you for now. Have a good day."
  • TKDBTKDB 135 Pts
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_universalism

    Moral universalism

    "Moral universalism (also called moral objectivism) is the meta-ethical position that some system of ethics, or a universal ethic, applies universally, that is, for "all similarly situated individuals",[1] regardless of cultureracesexreligionnationalitysexual orientation, or any other distinguishing feature.[2] Moral universalism is opposed to moral nihilism and moral relativism. However, not all forms of moral universalism are absolutist, nor are they necessarily value monist; many forms of universalism, such as utilitarianism, are non-absolutist, and some forms, such as that of Isaiah Berlin, may be value pluralist.[citation needed]

    In addition to the theories of moral realism, moral universalism includes other cognitivist moral theories, such as the subjectivist ideal observer theory and divine command theory, and also the non-cognitivist moral theory of universal prescriptivism.[3][4] "

    Overview:

    "According to philosophy professor R. W. Hepburn: "To move towards the objectivist pole is to argue that moral judgements can be rationally defensible, true or false, that there are rational procedural tests for identifying morally impermissible actions, or that moral values exist independently of the feeling-states of individuals at particular times."[5]

    Linguist and political theorist Noam Chomsky states:

    "if we adopt the principle of universality: if an action is right (or wrong) for others, it is right (or wrong) for us. Those who do not rise to the minimal moral level of applying to themselves the standards they apply to others—more stringent ones, in fact—plainly cannot be taken seriously when they speak of appropriateness of response; or of right and wrong, good and evil."[6] "


    History:

    "The United NationsUniversal Declaration of Human Rights can be read as assuming a kind of moral universalism. The drafting committee of the Universal Declaration did assume, or at least aspired to, a "universal" approach to articulating international human rights. Although the Declaration has undeniably come to be accepted throughout the world as a cornerstone of the international system for the protection of human rights, a belief among some that the Universal Declaration does not adequately reflect certain important worldviews has given rise to more than one supplementary declaration, such as the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam and the Bangkok Declaration.[7]

    Global environmental treaties may also assume and present a moral universalism. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is founded upon the "common heritage of mankind". Protecting this heritage is presented in the treaty as a shared moral duty requiring protective actions based on "common but differentiated responsibilities". This has been criticised as anthropocentric and state-centric but it does assert universal goals.[8] "

    Attempts to define a universal morality

    "In his Groundwork of the Metaphysics of MoralsImmanuel Kant attempts to derive a supreme principle of morality that binds all rational agents. Similarly, divine command theory presents a form of universalism, by way of the unconditional morality of God's commandments. "


  • ZeusAres42ZeusAres42 114 Pts
    edited May 13


    I agree that the divine command theory is counter-productive and makes little logical sense, but I do not see moral universalism as a significant improvement over it. It still assumes that there are some morals that are inherently right, regardless of the individual perspective.

    I subscribe to moral relativism, which states that morals are a product of our individual reasoning, and can be virtually anything. And while in a society there is a need for a certain set of morals consented upon, individual morals do not have to conform to that set.

    You make a good point. However, from my understanding so far is that moral universalism is basically like an umbrella term for the following:

    Further, all of these including universalism is what relates to a form of Moral Objectivism. I subscribe to the following for being a very strong form of Moral Objectivism:
    Moral universalism does not neccessarily imply that morals exist apart from humanity itself, but considers sources of morality outside of opinion. Universal truths about human nature and/or reason may come into play as reasons for the universality and objectivism of morality.

    I can see and agree that the above is an improvement over the divine command theory. Albeit I have only read a little bit of his stuff so far I also currently think the above might be an improvement over German philosopher Immanuel Kant who went about at showing how Moral Universalism can exist within rational agents outside the scope of the divine command theory; this is depicted in his notions about categorical imperatives. https://www.britannica.com/topic/categorical-imperative

    However, from what I know so far there have been some critiques over the years showing problems that one or more of Kant's theories failed to solve. Ever since then, however, lots more great people have come along and made more improvements and contributions to the morality debate. And from what I quoted above I think that is a very valid position for the modern day.




  • ZeusAres42ZeusAres42 114 Pts
    @Dee

    You too put forward great points. Anyway, here goes:

    You say .....Moral Universalism does exist and it is inherent in our biology. As the Dalai Lama said, "Unless we have some kind of  mental dysfunction we all share the desire to be happy and for no harm to come our way.


    My reply ....Morality is  rooted in particular cultures and tradition and is ever evolving with society and societal changes. A follower of Islam and Sharia law will have a totally different ideation of what makes him happy in comparison to an Atheist.
    This is what I would call a subjectivity aspect of morality. I am not saying that there is no subjectivity surrounding morality but what I am saying is that I do agree that there are universal moral truths that we are all bound by due to certain universal truths that we're all bound by.

    You say ........Simply speaking, all that's a need for this universal morality is to be human with the desire to not be harmed and an emotional as well as rational understanding as to why we shouldn't cause harm to others

    I would first like to take an issue on this part as I think back in reflection this might be a depiction of simplistic thinking on my part. There could be other factors too for moral universalism of which I am not currently aware of. However, I do believe these are among them.

    My reply ......But humans hurt others and do so in a lot of cases using their particular moral code to justify such actions , again in several societies in the world a follower of Islam will agree on the harshest punishment for apostates because of their rejection of Allah they see this as perfectly rational and a duty as a good Muslim to act accordingly.

    How do you resolve such positions when it comes to moral universalism?
    This is a great point and I'm glad you mentioned it. This particular point in case that you talk of is what I would say is a perfect epitome of a person/s adhering to the Divine Command Theory, as well as involving a level of subjectivity here. Indeed, what is moral to one person may not be to another. However, this still doesn't equate to there not being any universal moral truths bound by common universal truths of human nature.

    Furthermore, these groups that do ghastly brutal things in the name of a divine being only make up a small portion of the global population thankfully; albeit they do get a lot of media coverage at times.

    Moreover, these are not the actions of most religious people but they are the actions of extremists, radicals, fundamentalists, etc. It is not rational, sane or reasonable from an objective point of view that to say it is morally justified to kill or torture someone in the name of a God which was described in a book by ordinary people like yourself before you.

    Having said that, however, there are still plenty of people that will still find it completely reasonable from their point of view to do anything so long as it's in the name of God. This is most likely due to years of reinforcement of radical indoctrination. One of the ways in which to challenge a radical's point of view who strongly subscribes to the Divine Command Theory is to propose to them The Euthyphro Dilemma.

    The Euthyphro Dilemma consists of a bunch of questions that lead to another bunch of questions where eventually the
    Divine Command Theory is refuted. The first question posed is
    Are morally good acts willed by God because they are morally good, or are they morally good because they are willed by God?

    I am almost certain that many other things have been put forward since that have also refuted the Divine Command Theory.

    Lastly, I would just like to point out that I don't think moral universalism and absolutism should be confused as being the same thing although both forms are considered by some to be forms of moral objectivism. I also don't think moral absolutism is reasonable either as that implies there can be no reasonable exceptions to moral codes/standards. Moral universalism I would have thought would imply that there are reasonable exceptions to the general moral standard which can be described as universal. For example, if the moral standard is though shal not lie and you happen to be looking after an innocent person in your home from a known violent killer and then that killer knocks on your door and asks you if he/she is there or not then I think most of us unless we're warped in some way would deem it the most reasonable and right thing to do is to lie and say something like "no, I never saw this person before." Morality and reason can coexist; they need to be seperated from one another.












  • DeeDee 309 Pts
    @ZeusAres42


    You say .....You too put forward great points. Anyway, here goes: 

    My reply .....Thank you , it’s always a pleasure communicating with you as I like the way you approach these intriguing subjects

    You say .....This is what I would call a subjectivity aspect of morality. I am not saying that there is no subjectivity surrounding morality but what I am saying is that I do agree that there are universal moral truths that we are all bound by due to certain universal truths that we're all bound by.

    My reply .....What is a universal moral truth that applies to everyone? 

    There are universal facts of that there is no doubt that is facts that no matter what we think are still facts , moral truths I can think of not one? 



    You say .....This is a great point and I'm glad you mentioned it. This particular point in case that you talk of is what I would say is a perfect epitome of a person/s adhering to the Divine Command Theory, as well as involving a level of subjectivity here. Indeed, what is moral to one person may not be to another. However, this still doesn't equate to there not being any universal moral truths bound by common universal truths of human nature. 


    My reply .....What are common universal truths of human nature can you give me an example? 

    You say .....Furthermore, these groups that do ghastly brutal things in the name of a divine being only make up a small portion of the global population thankfully; albeit they do get a lot of media coverage at times. 

    Moreover, these are not the actions of most religious people but they are the actions of extremists, radicals, fundamentalists, etc. It is not rational, sane or reasonable from an objective point of view that to say it is morally justified to kill or torture someone in the name of a God which was described in a book by ordinary people like yourself before you. 

    My reply ......No I’m deliberately not talking about radicals and apologies if I gave that impression, I’m talking about a sizable proportion of the worlds population that follow Sharia law which allows for the mistreatment of fellow humans for what we would deem acceptable behavior morally.

    People worldwide suffer from so called moral rulings from all religions not just Islam.

    Another non religious example is a practice most of us follow which I predict future generations will look on with repugnance as in I’m a meat eater as most others are a fair proportion of philosophers thing future generations will be appalled by this practice , I agree .

    We are similar to people who once believed slavery justified we see it as a social norm , why is an animals pain and suffering relegated to not important by people who see themselves as moral agents? 

    You say ......Having said that, however, there are still plenty of people that will still find it completely reasonable from their point of view to do anything so long as it's in the name of God. This is most likely due to years of reinforcement of radical indoctrination. One of the ways in which to challenge a radical's point of view who strongly subscribes to the Divine Command Theory is to propose to them The Euthyphro Dilemma. 

    The Euthyphro Dilemma consists of a bunch of questions that lead to another bunch of questions where eventually the 

    Divine Command Theory is refuted. The first question posed is 

    Are morally good acts willed by God because they are morally good, or are they morally good because they are willed by God?

    http://www.philosophyofreligion.info/christian-ethics/divine-command-theory/ 


    I am almost certain that many other things have been put forward since that have also refuted the Divine Command Theory. 

    My reply .....I’m familiar with the Euthyphro Dillema and have heard believers dismiss it in many different ways , normally the play what I call the “Mytery Card “ as in they claim “god works in mysterious ways “ and variations of this theme 

    D C T is illogical nonsense , if there was an objective morality and it came from god , can he change it?    If not god is not all powerful, if yes then it’s not objective 

    D C T falls at the first step as it’s based on accepting an unproven as in a god 

    You say.......Moral universalism I would have thought would imply that there are reasonable exceptions to the general moral standard which can be described as universal. For example, if the moral standard is though shal not lie and you happen to be looking after an innocent person in your home from a known violent killer and then that killer knocks on your door and asks you if he/she is there or not then I think most of us unless we're warped in some way would deem it the most reasonable and right thing to do is to lie and say something like "no, I never saw this person before." Morality and reason can coexist; they need to be seperated from one another. 


    My reply .....But for Universalism to apply in certain cases it has to apply to all people at all times surely , the same is true of objective morality.


    Also your case is interesting as most the worlds population are believers every major religion teaches lying is wrong and immoral , in your case is an immoral action as in lying still immoral or now deemed moral on account of its aim?




  • ZeusAres42ZeusAres42 114 Pts

    You say .....This is what I would call a subjectivity aspect of morality. I am not saying that there is no subjectivity surrounding morality but what I am saying is that I do agree that there are universal moral truths that we are all bound by due to certain universal truths that we're all bound by.

    My reply .....What is a universal moral truth that applies to everyone? 

    There are universal facts of that there is no doubt that is facts that no matter what we think are still facts , moral truths I can think of not one?

    I think I first need to clarify that there are three types of moral objectivism with moral absolutism being the hardest form of moral objectivism:

    Moral universalism is the position in meta-ethics that some moral values, or moral system, can be applied universally to everyone — or at least everyone in similar circumstances. It is also known as universal morality, moderate moral realism or minimal moral realism, and is a form of ethical objectivism. http://www.philosophy-index.com/ethics/meta-ethics/universalism.php
    Moral absolutism is the meta-ethical view that some forms of human conduct are right or wrong (alternatively, good or evil) in any context. Even for the purpose of doing good, bad actions are always bad and cannot be justified. http://www.philosophy-index.com/ethics/meta-ethics/absolutism.php
    Moral universalism is not the same thing as moral absolutism albeit they are both form s of moral objectivism. It is hence for the above that I hold moral universalism as being a form of reasonable form of morality. Just briefly, at this point, I would like to point out that when I said "rational moral universalism" I meant "reasonable moral universalism." However, I'm not going to go too deep into that as we could get lost in semantics/linguistics.

    Now, since you mentioned the above I would like to point you towards some very informative stances of what I would call aspects of reasonable moral universalism:

    1. "Science can answer moral questions by Sam Harris"


    2. "Richard Dawkins on absolute morality"


    3. "Christopher Hitchens ~ The Morals of an Atheist"



    Pretty much this bit here of mine I also think covers all of your other responses. So I think I will leave it at that for now.













    Plaffelvohfen
  • DeeDee 309 Pts
    @ZeusAres42

    Thanks for that will get back to you on Monday 
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