Ominous wrote:Would it help if, instead of using the terms 'objective' / 'subjective', we use 'unbiased' / 'biased', or will you assert that all knowledge is also biased by definition?
No, because that’s not what I’m arguing. I agree that a moral system can theoretically be unbiased. You have no argument there. My issue is with the statement that moral rightness and wrongness are objective values.
Good, now we're on a point of agreement, and hopefully a conversation can continue. From this point forward, let us acknowledge that, when some say 'objective' vs. 'subjective', they really mean 'unbiased' vs. 'biased'.
Let us also define 'right/good' to simple mean 'having a positive value in an unbiased system', and 'wrong/evil' to mean having a negative value in an unbiased system.
Now that we're all on the same page, let's ruminate a bit more about what would be the positives in an unbiased system.
We're dealing with a species, so actions that advance or protect the species as a whole would, I presume, be 'good'. Actions that are detrimental to the species would be 'bad'.
By this definition, experimentation on unwilling test subjects would, on the surface, have to be considered 'good', since the sacrifice of individuals to increase the knowledge and welfare of the whole would be a positive. However, when we factor in the practical backlash of the majority of the population, fearing that they may be the subject of such experiments, forcing an end to any such experimentation, the net result is negative. This conclusion can be reached without resort to requiring additional elements; whether you believe a particular individual's life to be inherently valuable or valueless, the same conclusion is reached.
Unbiased morality can, I believe, be achieved by weighing a limited set of criteria and determining the action's impact based on our understanding of human nature and human reactions.