User:Woozle/positions/2013/objective morality

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While I don't think there is any such thing as universal objectivity (this seems sufficiently indisputable to me that I put it down as fact in Issuepedia's objectivity article), the scope of morality in general tends to extend at least to "sentient beings with whom we can negotiate rationally", and to some extent to "all beings with whom we can potentially communicate", as communication is an action and our communications therefore have moral impact.

The existence of modern technology (especially global telecommunications) means that this group includes pretty much everyone on Earth, and is likely to eventually include many who leave it or are born off-planet.

Within that scope, it seems to me that the only valid morality is one which examines how all human beings are affected by any given policy or decision, and evaluates it entirely in terms of net good. Anything else is not sustainable, as evaluations that are either more locally-concerned (i.e. selfish) or based on other functions which ultimately equate to authoritarianism and right-wing "might makes right" philosophy tend to result in general destruction, including extinction of those who hold such philosophies.

A morality which creates conditions likely to result in its own destruction over the long term is pretty much definitionally invalid.


"Net good" can be very, very difficult to evaluate, and it is often best to look primarily at local effects in order to make any kind of meaningful evaluation at all. I'm not arguing that everyone should decide how it will affect people in another country if you decide to drive to work instead of bicycling.

If a large company is making energy policy decisions based primarily on their stock valuations rather than their effect on global warming, however, then that is (by my definitions) objectively morally wrong because there is no global-scope evaluation in which this is beneficial.