Looking at whether morality is subjective, or objective involves adopting an objective approach, for to subjectively support the subjective standpoint, would create a baised debate at best, and would be circular reasoning at worst. To subjectively arrive at an objective standpoint would be a contradiction. Some may try to argue that to examine objectively would also add a bias or be circular reasoning, but this is not the case, for to examine it objectively would be to acknowledge a variety of subjective views, since this is objectivity. So how should the issue be examined objectively?
If one were to look at a saucepan, there are a number of angles one could look at. Some angles would show one handle, while others would show both. Some angles would give no hint as to the fact that the saucepan is hollow, while other angles make it abundantly clear that it is hollow. The subjective view is any of the views above, none of which will really give you a complete awareness of all the characteristics of the saucepan.
A subjective view of morality, always seems to come down to the moral viewpoints and justifications of the perpetrators of acts that are generally regarded as immoral by others. We could be referring to Hitler and the Holocaust, or a the rape of a spouse, or the stoning of an adulteress, but the subjective approach always looks at whether the perpetrator feels their action was wrong. This is a very popular way of looking at morality, probably finding it’s roots in very conflicting religious views in a world where religious tolerance has become a popular buzzword, although I doubt as much a popular sentiment.
One of the main issues here seems to be the issue of judgement, does one person have the right to judge another on moral or religious grounds. I would have to go with the more liberal viewpoint here, but with addenda. People probably don’t have the right to judge each other, but we should be able to judge actions, and whether they are right or wrong, assuming we can come to a reasonably objective view of morality, and societies in general accept the right of judges to judge, so very few people actually would be puritans of the liberal view. With judgement being somewhat universal even in the most liberal societies. It seems to be a non-issue, provided the judgement is on actions from an objective perspective. I will cover how universals are relevant in a future post.
If we now return to our saucepan. Some moral issues can be examined from the perspective of the perpetrator; the victim, and society as a whole. Like the saucepan, we can change the angle and view the issues, at least in some cases, from different angles. This in itself should be enough to prove moral issues are indeed objective. The problem is, it is enough to provide a basis, but it leaves too many questions to provide a solid position. There are many issues still on the table, which I’ll cover in future posts. These issues include, how we would define morality? What framework would we work within? How would we conduct research within the framework? These are some of the issues that I wish to discuss regarding the issue of objective morality, but I’d be interested to know what readers takes are on this issue.
To conclude, the answer to how we would look at morality objectively is relatively simple, just look at every perspective. The real issues come after that, which is why this isn’t the last word on this matter by any means.