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.

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No, you're the last person I'd ever think perfect --

The point is to be the best you can be.  No ethical system has gotten it perfectly right.  That doesn't mean they were pointless.  It is okay to be evolving.  We don't need to have arrived.  It isn't all or nothing.

The justification I am working for is not the justification of why the system is right.  What I am seeking to establish is that the aim to develop a more perfect moral system is justified in the first place.  

Not only that, but that morality isn't just tied to personal benefit, but that there really is a notion of the "right" thing to do for which we can strive.  It shows that morality isn't just about benefit.  It is, and always has also been tied to what is right.

You used the term "more perfect." Perfection is an absolute, not a relative concept. There's no such thing as "relatively perfect." 

If your system doesn't help us know with certainty what is absolutely right and what is absolutely wrong, then whence comes the word "absolute" in this thread's subject line, "There has to be an absolute morality"?

"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union."  More perfect works there so it can work here.

There is a difference between "there has to be absolute morality" and "This is absolute morality".  The point is to say simply that there has to be courses of actions that are best.  The point is that "best" while it is subjective according to circumstances, isn't as subjective as people think.

In the end, in any decision, people who fully understood the relationship that all the related factors had with each other, would all agree that the best action is the same thing.  We can already do that with simple stuff.

"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union."  More perfect works there so it can work here.

It works politically perhaps, but otherwise that phrase is an oxymoron. If something is perfect, it's at its zenith. How much more zenithy can a zenith be?

I didn't know you were using absolutness in such a flexible, poetic sense. In that case, though, it's meaningless for this discussion. Absolute may mean a few things in ordinary speech but it means just one thing in philosophy.


Oh come on Unseen, even you're not that dense, though like a politician, if it will serve your purpose, you can pretend to be - you know that, "more perfect union" does not mean more than perfect, it clearly means, "closer to perfection."

I'm not in this debate, but if you're going to debate, don't try to switch the train to a different track!

I don't know what you mean by poetic.  Having a "best" or right decision is pretty absolute.  If there is a best decision, it is then sensible to try to make the best decision.  If there isn't a best decision, there is no justification in trying to make the best decision.  

Any individual should be able to review the circumstance and all the relevant data, process it all accurately and say "that person did what was best".  Best is absolute, but not universal.

An 'absolute' ethical model should offer the 'user' a very nice computational method/calculus to determine best or optimum moral/ethical decisions.

But if you are just flying by the seat of your pants, why call it an absolute?

I figure that, if you atleast 'try' to make informed ethical/moral decisions, you are already a little taller the your other litter mates! 

Morality is rooted in what is best.  Best is "the absolute" that is strived for.  Best has to be grounded.  Even if we can't get to it, it is absolutely irrational to strive toward something that isn't real.  If "best" isn't grounded in solid reality it has nothing to validate it.

I think a lot of people kept thinking I was trying to present a moral system.  The point of this thread from the get go, is that what is "best" can be grounded to reality.  

That means we aren't striving for something arbitrary.  I am not identifying what is best, I am simply pointing out that what is best is tied to reality.

Best in what sense? From what or who's perspective? Best is a statement of value and as such it is subjective (from a mind). 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but this seems to mean that you agree with Sam Harris that suffering could be considered a basis for morality? 

I personally don't think we can take the subjectivity out of morality and I think that that is just fine, it allows us to learn and become better people over time. It would suck to already have all the (moral) answers, i'd much rather keep discovering.

Sadly, 'the best you can do', might be a far cry from what someone else might be able to do. Even if you are doing 'the best you can', total screw ups can happen. It would seem to me that for a system to be absolute, this could mean 'it does not screw up'. If the system is dependent upon a perfectly able human being for its application, then screw ups would be more common than hopped for.

The theist moral ethical model seems to expect some near -perfect result, else you could burn in hell. I expect that the subpar function for most of us would condemn most to hell by age 12. A very good ethical/moral model would atleast demand a significant mental ability in its users, waiting till age 18 for a condemnation to hell would be more christian. 

I'll say what I said to Unseen but add this:

From whose perspective doesn't interest me.  Flawed perspectives that fail to account for data will often come to flawed conclusions.

I think you are mistaking me as saying situationally subjective decision making will go away.  It wont.  In the end, in any decision, people who fully understood the relationship that all the related factors had with each other, would all agree that the best action is the same thing, unless you have a tie, in which all options that tied would all be agreed on as best out of all other available options.


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