Tuesday, February 12, 2013

How would we measure objective morality?

There is a question at the end of this, so be patient. Thank you. :-)

Here are 3 basic assumptions about the world:

1. There is some kind of objective material reality we can observe/measure beyond our minds (lets assume for the sake of argument we're not just a brain in a jar somewhere).
2. Our senses aren't 100% reliable (given things like the McGurk Effect and Optical illusions etc...)
3. Our senses aren't 0% reliable (given that we can pretty safely assume, when on earth, that when we let go of an object it will drop like the last time we let go of an object).

Given these assumptions, humans have developed the scientific method to try and get close to the truth about the material world around us.

The scientific method involves a number of things

A. Coming up with an idea about how something in the world might work (hypothesis).
B. Creating some way (experiment/survey etc...) of checking that hypothesis is true/false (falsifiability).
C. Running the experiment a number of times and opening our methodology to others to allow them to carry out the experiment as well (repeatability).
D. Publishing our methodolgy, assumptions, results and conclusions to allow others to check them (peer review).

It's the best system that humans have come up for to try and measure how material reality works. It may not be perfect but it has given us the space station, smart phones, antibiotics and anaesthetics.

If, as some people suggest, morality is objective and exists outside of the human mind and that our senses aren't 100% reliable, what methodology would people use to try and get close to an understanding of what objective morality is and getting a general agreement on it?

If anyone has an answer to this, I'd be interested to read it in the comments.

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