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.
Empathy tends to fall off rapidly as we get away from people whose ways and appearance are familiar and comforting.
What do you mean by order? Does it include randomness (which I take as a near synonym for chaos)? I ask because if I said "I shuffled this deck of cards so many times that the cards are now in a random order," that is a grammatical and meaningful sentence anyone can understand, and the upshot is that randomness/chaos isn't incompatible with order and is in fact a kind of order.
The cards in that case are random, but still neatly stacked on top of each other in order. Order doesn't include randomness as far as I can see. I think that is a differentiation issue.
Ok, let me see if I can wade through this...
"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."
Are you using some sort of mission statement generator? Conceived as a concept? Are you saying once we've conceived morality or are you trying to highlight that it is a concept? What makes you think that all concepts are structured on order? Necessitates? Really? You are gonna fly with that?
Let me see if I can try to phrase it in a way that doesn't make me want to smoke weed and see if I'm even close here.
Morality is a concept. Concepts have underlying systems of order. All systems of order have a perfect form.
I agree that morality is a concept. I'm not sure that all concepts have underlying systems of order. I can agree that systems of order have lowest possible states of entropy - even if unknown to us. I don't think entropy applies to concepts, so I'm not certain if we could call them an ordered system.
Still getting that scent.
Heather, how is thought structure, which forms concepts not dependent on order?
To answer some other questions, yes I am highlighting it as a concept to and trying to explain the ramifications of it being a concept.
Thought structure is indeed dependent on order - a LOT of it. That about which we think, however, is not dependent on our thoughts being orderly.
Good neurological health relies on a lot of very structured systems - but the notions that bounce around in our skulls are not hard wired into those systems. If we plucked your eyes out at birth you would have no notions of images, not even in your dreams. The same for sound, which includes the language that you use internally for formulating notions such as 'absolute morality'.
You could spend a lifetime filling your head with nonsense and end up with extremely disorderly thoughts but the notions you would have would seem just as valid to you as this concept of 'absolute morality'. Oh, maybe that explains more than I had expected.
Okay, I understand that but even the most flawed thoughts still have some sort of structure even if they have a lot of flaws within that structure. All thoughts attempt to have complete structure.
Thought's don't 'attempt' anything. People typically attempt to find order/structure in their thoughts but our very notions of order/structure vary widely from person to person.
For most westerners, binary evaluations of good & bad seem inherent while a lot of classic eastern thinkers can't grasp why we would view everything that way. Even taking shades of grey and looking for some sort of optimal parameters based on compromises, one often finds that multiple radically different solutions can all lead to maximized efficiency. There is no reason, whatsoever, to blindly assume that any complex system has a single optimized solution.
But without structure of some kind those thoughts can not exist.
As Albert Ellis says "perceptions become a person's reality". Yes that is talking about the subjectivity of perceived realities. Thoughts are the attempt to build a structured mental concept of reality that matches what is observed. On this basis, I claim that they are subject to "order", even if the perception of the individual having the thought is highly inaccurate.
In this case, however, you are talking about objective reality - something that can be measured by different people who can compare their results. We may all have different ideas about the Grand Canyon, but the general pattern will trend toward the actual measurements of the Grand Canyon.
So, based on this, you are saying that there must be a Morality Canyon out there somewhere that we can go measure. Unfortunately there is not. There is no objective morality towards which human perceptions trend. That you would like there to be has no impact on this reality.
The mind creates order out of disorder (gestalt psychology) and often the order of the perception isn't reflected "out there" in reality and can result in paradoxes (the famous duck/rabbit or the "is it two faces or a vase?"). However, you seem to be saying that there is an order out there in the universe which somehow relates to making moral choices which are actually true and universal. Is that so?