The value of anything is established by its properties. If values aren't really arbitrary, then there is an absolute morality. The rest of this is trying to explain why values can't be arbitrary, they can only be misunderstood as arbitrary.
This thread is an argument that order is the basis of all concepts. Order is very rigid, so when you build a concept like a moral system on it, like all concepts should be built, it is going to lead to absolute results. Morality is based on values, and the only way to justify morality is to prove your values are accurate. My argument is that values aren't arbitrary, thus there is an absolute morality.
Original post below:
Many atheists shy away from absolute morality because it sounds religious. I argue that there has to be an absolute morality because the universe is absolute. This may seem wrong as there are many subjective things. I am contending that this isn't true because subjectivity resides on the conceptual level and like disorder and change is not a part of actual existence, but rather merely descriptive. Absolute morality has to exist because the base foundation for morality is order, which enables it to have structure as a social concept. This means that even as a concept, it has to have an absolute and most perfect form as a social concept.
I have been working on this for a while, and I think I am nearing completion, but I am wondering what faults may be found with this line of thought... I have had to return to the drawing board to correct my errors a few times already.
This below is an addendum:
What I am contending is that once morality is conceived as a concept, the nature of order upon which any concept is structured necessitates a most perfect form.
Individual perception causes humans to see the concept with innaccuracy in contrast to the order with which the concept maintains structure in conceptual reality. This creates subjectivity.
But where I am really going with this is that order is the base functional principle of any structure in the universe.
At the very foundation of the level of actuality lies order. Without order, molecules neither form nor bind. Order enables structure, which in turn enables every other level of existence. Order permeates every level of existence as its foundation, including anything that exists on the conceptual level. For this reason, structural order serves as the archetypal basis that justifies having a moral system.
Disorder is mistaken as coexisting with order, but it exists on the conceptual level only and is a name given to an observation of change. It is not a counterpart to order. That means disorder is not actual. It is conceptual.
These things tie together to start to point out that best action can be established on the basis of the order of the universe, and the lack of actuality of disorder which would be its only challenger.
The ultimate of "nothing is there" is nothingness itself, but if you want to call nothingness disorder, you're going to have an uphill battle with most people. The absence of anything to be ordered and disorder are not synonyms.
It fits the OED definition of disorder. : disrupt the systematic functioning or neat arrangement of
The disruption always occurs because of nothing is able to hold whatever structure we are looking at together.
Even if the connection in a part of that structure is partially still there or only weakened, just zoom in for a closer look at the structure of that connection itself.
You will see that the structure of that connection is weakened because nothing is there in those places that used to make that connection strong.
Stealing is immoral. How do you punish a 2 year old for taking the rattle of a 1 year old? Any thing that is subjective cannot be absolute. (Give some people a Rogets Thesarus and they think they are Voltaire).
Well, for starters, the premise that there must be absolute morality because the universe is absolute is, well, completely meaningless, as far as I can tell. What do you mean 'the universe is absolute'?
If you do go back to the drawing board, you might want to actually apply some paint or ink, because all I sense right now is a scent - one that is not pleasing unto me.
Yeah, well I thought I would keep it simple in the introduction. It keeps people interested. But what I really mean is in my reply to John Major
Why not just edit your post and include 'what you really mean' in the actual discussion description rather than having it buried on page...page - what damn page?
Still has that scent to it, and it's growing stronger.
WHY does there have to be an "absolute morality"? What that would amount to is that when someone does something it is a FACT for all societies and cultures and for all time that some action is right or wrong, and not just a time- and culture-bound idea, concept, or opinion.
Are you arguing, in effect, that without an absolute morality you can't have a basis for saying that something is REALLY right or wrong and not just what some person, people, or culture says is right or wrong? In that case, I agree with you 100%. I just don't see you getting past that.
In order to have an absolute morality, you need a metaphysical reality for it to exist in, and there you are coming painfully close to a religious idea. The only workable alternative to the metaphysical reality is a theistic deity who can dictate right and wrong and back it up with "Because I, God, say it is so."
Okay, there is one more possibility, but I don't give it much credence, and that is that somehow we come hardwired with some sort of morality in us. But if that's the case, then we don't need a theory of morality.
I don't contend there has to be absolute morality in that sense. I am saying in light of order, all ideals have to have an absolute form. But that doesn't mean that the ideal as we understand it is anything like how it logically must be when quantified. I agree with most of what you said. But we as humans operate on something like a metaphysical reality with our shared conceptual reality, which is a construct based reality that helps us define things in the physical reality as a group. It is beyond any one individual by nature as it is a social construct.
The point is, if order is all there is, then every measuring device can be set and must be set precisely according to it and this makes what appeared unquantifiable now potentially quantifiable.
I wouldn't say that a shared conceptual reality is a social construct as much as it currently is a construct of sound (spoken language) and images (words/pictures/video). Without a way to describe concepts to others, we have no shared conceptual reality. I guess you could consider the act of sharing these concepts as social? But I see social constructs as connections between individuals like family or tribe rather than the particular actions between individuals. Maybe social constructs are groups of individuals who share a conceptual reality and they are many and multi-various. Hmmmm...
It is really hard to try to describe them, but we treat them as real when they are merely conceptual. Everyone seems to share the belief in their reality. I think you understand what I was getting at though. I am sure that better ways to explain this will come to light.
I'm pretty sure that what is frustrating many of us is that it's hard to distinguish your very dense prose from something coming out of some sort of grammatical sentence generator.
So, how about getting your head out of the clouds and telling us something practical. Your theory is a big "so what?" if it doesn't tell people how to make difficult choices, if it can't tell a court how to arrive at the most just decision in a hard case.
Is there a practical application in the offing? If not, why should anyone care?
It does, but in order to get to the practical application you need to establish first principles.
Why it matters concerns whether the ideal is valid. No longer do we have the luxury to say that there is no right or wrong as some do.
What this also does is calm the concerns of the religious that since morality is seen as not only to our benefit but justified by God, removing God removes the justification for morality.
It properly identifies morality as not being justified by God but rather by order.
But it also keeps people from thinking of archetypal morality as a religious concept when it doesn't require God.
And above all, it provides a non-selfish reason to justify being a good person.