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.
Well David Buss calls love an irrational preference. I know you "can" value, but it is a lot better to love your dog, than it is to love a grain of sand. You can't love your dog without a concept of truth, otherwise you wouldn't know what your dog is and what the sand is. That is what I mean by misdirected. You can have truth without love. You can't have love without truth. Honestly, though, I don't think love is necessary to do the right thing.
If the foundation of morality is love, and love is an irrational emotion (I'm thinking of abused wives and beaten children who love their parents), what does that say about our morals?
I've decided I'm going to try and throw in my lot with Karen Armstrong and her Charter for Compassion. I feel I've got exactly what she's looking for.
Your first sentence is incorrect. The 'value' of something isn't the product of its properties, it's a subjective opinion each of us places on that something based on how we percieve it, regardless of its innate properties.
what's the value of the bible? Depends on who you ask, and what they think about it. What's the value of a sandwich? Depends on how hungry you are. What's the value of a starving African child? Depends on where you live and a thousand other things.
Value is subjective and has little to do with the properties of the subject, and lots to do with the properties of the valuer.
I for one agree with you.
"How valuable is it?" presupposes an answer to the question "of value to whom?"
This is not to say that value is completely subjective, though it is contextual. A filet mignon is valuable, a glass full of sewage is not, largely because of what each will do to or for me or another person, if I (or they) were to consume it.
For me the filet mignon is just an over priced piece of meat. The glass of sewage, I can show you how to use it as fuel in a Microbial Fuelcell.
Coming from a deep ecology sensitivity, nothing is waste really, it really is a matter of creativity and understanding of physics, chemistry, biology, and materials. 'Value', is really a result of understanding, and limits to creativity. If something has no value to you, it just might be that you don't understand what it is.
True to all of that.
Context is important. The sewage would be of no value whatsoever to most animals, but can fertilize plants and feed bacteria. The point being it hasn't got an absolute value irrespective of a valuer.
I agree with YOUR first sentence. .
What is a "property"? Working backward, a description is a list of properties. What properties are listed, though, depends upon the interests and needs of the party the description is by/for. For example, what are the properties of an ocean current? It's one thing for a fisherman, another thing for a meteorologist, another thing still for an oceanographer, and something else entirely for a whale.
The Bible has a value to a Christian that is far different from the value perceived by a pagan needing to get a campfire started.
Neither the oceanographer or the whale is cognitively advanced enough nor perceptively skilled enough to get the properties right. If a person was able to be, that person would be able to tell you what the right way was for either the whale or the oceanographer to factor in that current.
If people can't get properties right then knowledge isn't possible, according to your theory.
You're saying whales don't get properties right? They understand them enough to combine them with their instinctive understanding of the firmament and/or the magnetic field of the earth to end up where they intend, don't they?
Understanding them enough, doesn't mean that they got the properties right. They don't and nobody really does. You said "it's one thing for a fisherman, another thing for a meteorologist". Someone who got the properties right would notice all of those things, even if they didn't matter for the decision that needed to be made. Otherwise they failed to notice properties and their relationship to other objects in reality. Someone who got the properties right would be aware of all the relevant applicability.
You say not getting them all right would make knowledge impossible. Complete knowledge isn't possible. That doesn't mean that you can't have pieces of knowledge. It just means it is pretty hard if not impossible to fully understand things.
But it all boils down to justifying morality. People who are religious don't feel they have to be perfect, to uphold a standard of perfection. Complete understanding, in the same sense, needs to be one of the unobtainable ideals that help us get that "understanding morality enough" to happen. All that is being worked on here is how to justify that something is truly better than another. You have to look at perfect if you are going to figure that out. You have to look at what the system is trying to do, rather than what it does, in order to figure out how to make the system better.