Is Moral Realism a Dogmatism?

If you’ve read my posts on the subject before, you know that I’m not a big fan of relativism.  To re-hash my general take on it, I find moral relativism to be anti-progress.  It seems a fairly passive kind of moral stance, shutting out possibilities for positive change.  I’m still inclined to take the position that this to some degree follows from moral relativism.  However, I just saw a talk a few days ago by a non-relativist philosopher where he took it upon himself to evaluate the arguments that moral realists usually use on moral relativists in order to evaluate their quality.  His general point was that the arguments that moral realists bring to bear on relativists are often not very good.  Somewhat to my dismay, I had used some of the arguments that he persuasively demonstrated to be of rather poor quality.  For example, one of the tacts that I have previously taken with moral relativists is that there is simply no point in talking to them.  What the speaker said was that the relativist might as well say the same to me.

I do not want to hold morality as a kind of dogmatism.  Unfortunately at the moment I feel that I at least have only the bones of an argument to support it.  There are enough naive intuitions that we hold that it is not hard to consider the prospect that morality is just another such concept, something that is immediately present in human experience without much basis in truth.

I do not consider myself wholly defeated on the matter however, since I think that I look on morality in a non-standard way.  That is to say, I think that I’m in less trouble then many proponents of morality because in my current project (which I’ve discussed in the past), my goal is to propose that human life is by nature an ethical project (in the broad sense that human life is only the activity of choosing what to do).  Therefore I have some basis for arguing that we are constantly engaged in a kind of ethical activity, from which I may be able to derive some kind of morality.  However, this project is still in its inception, and so it can be hardly considered an air-tight defense of any sort.

I don’t know.  Do any of my readers have any thoughts on the matter?


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One thought on “Is Moral Realism a Dogmatism?

  1. Pingback: Truth and Objectivity | A Blog About Nothing

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