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.
There's an Absolute Vodka, but I prefer Scotch or Tequila. The universe is absolute what? What kind of order; order by size, mass, color, personal preference ...?
I usually write everything out all long and detailed but I found that a lot of people just end up seeing it all blur together and miss it all anyway. I am saying the universe appears absolute by nature. Anything that is not absolute appears to only exist on the conceptual level.
I mentioned change as an example. Change exists on the conceptual level. What is actual, is that whatever is, is what it is. So if a subject of focus was something, that something that it was has ceased to be. What it is turning into, also is a projection, another concept, no matter how accurate of a concept it is. It isn't that yet. All that there ever is, is what I am calling actual.
Sorry missed your other question about order before I posted so this is an edit, but order forms structure at every level in the universe of any kind. Size, mass, color all of it. Any structure of any kind is solely based on order.
So if something is absolute it is a part of objective reality? Anything that is not absolute is only a part of a conceptual reality, but things in absolute reality can exists in both, I presume?
Does change exist only in a conceptual level? Because we may not be talking about the same thing. Change is a generic term for the effects matter undergoes over time. At any given point in time given a physical object, we can know exactly what is happening to that object as it changes. Consider rust. It's the oxidation of iron. It's a chemical process that happens at the molecular level. It's not a concept; it's the movement of electrons. If you break down any change in the physical world, it all comes down to the transference of energy. When I click "add reply" on this comment, somewhere there will be a server storing a few more digital bits of encoding, a change in its hard drive space if you will. This happens because of the kinetic energy from my finger being interpreted into a string of complicated Morse Code and sent thousands of miles through cables across land and maybe even beneath oceans. Again, it's the movement of energy. If I really wanted to (and knew all the specifics), I could quantify exactly how much energy it would take to do this. It's not a conceptual, but absolute, if we define absolute as part of objective reality.
So how does morality, as being originally only a concept of a human mind, become also a part of objective reality?
What I mean is that observation of a succession of events requires a concept of the past. Things in the past are not actual anymore. Things in the future are not actual yet. Things in the past actually were, but "were" is a concept. Were exists on the conceptual. We can conceptualize the past, but the past will never be actual again.
Conceptual realities can be accurate, but that doesn't make them actual.
It seems that something doesn't have to be a part of objective reality to be absolute, but rather just unchangeable on its own level of reality. So if that is conceptual, it has to be unchangeable.
Like your example, "if you quantify how much energy it would take" the operative word is "would" which is clearly conceptual. Yet if the measurement is accurate, it is also absolute.
See I think that morality, like change can only exist in minds. It is purely conceptual. But I contend that all things conceptual are based off of structural order. Concepts are based on thought structure. Thought structure is bonded by order. Anything built from order can be perfectly ordered. Anything perfectly ordered is a perfect form.
Nothing conceptual can ever become actual unless it is produced from material from the actual universe. Someone can conceptualize an invention, however that invention does not exist until it is created from materials from the level of actuality
And that's why I reject the notion of absolute morality. If it can only exist in minds, then it isn't absolute. It might possibly be objective, but that's a different beast.
I can understand that. However I take it one step further and as I said to Karen, I would contend that morality is derived from the nature of an actual functional aspect of the the physical universe.
It seems to be why it worked so well for even our most primitive ancestors.
"Someone can conceptualize an invention, however that invention does not exist until it is created from materials from the level of actuality."
So you are trying to say that since morality is an idea it doesn't actually exist; it's still in the limbo of conceptual existence much like the idea in an inventor's mind before creating something, but when we act within the world it's as if the inventor assembled the pieces. Morality come into actual existence when we act. So essentially morality is the effect of causes created by our actions?
Sagacious, no, I am just trying to paint the picture of how much of what we consider reality isn't really part of actual reality it is part of our constructs used to describe it in ways we understand.
I'm inclined to go with an answer more like @Daniel - that there is an objective morality, but not absolute in the universal sense.
@John, can you give a concrete example or two of what you would consider a moral absolute? I'm curious about how the absolutes are defined. To me, we work out morality as a society, and what was moral for Neanderthal is not necessarily moral for us today.
I'm especially curious about your view of absolute morality because of the prior discussion on slavery (which, by the way, I still intend to get back to...).
I disagree that the base foundation for morality is order, but I'm not certain how you are picturing that. Do you mean that order is the fundamental morality? Or that the goal of morality is order? Or that morality requires order in order to exist? Order seems to me to be one means of maintaining the well-being of a society and its people, which has to be included as a fundamental purpose of human morality. But order in and of itself seems to have little to do with morality, otherwise, dictatorships could be seen as the most moral form of government.
I think you are talking about social order, but when I say order I am referring to the thought structure that composes an idea's substance. First principles.
I can't give you a concrete example of what would be a moral absolute. If it can be established that their existence in the conceptual is directly tied to something actual, we can begin to determine in many cases what is more moral.
I would contend morality is not absolute in the sense of actuality, but I also contend that morality is derived from the nature of an actual functional aspect of the the physical universe.