Moral truths are complex and difficult to ascertain. They may not even be singular. This doesn’t mean they don’t exist or are relative | Timothy Williamson, Maria Baghramian, David D. Friedman.

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Have any of you actually taken a philosophy course? Relativism is converse to absolutism, and objectivism to subjectivism. Just because something is relative doesn’t mean it’s not objectively true. Your personal subjective opinion has no bearing on the fact that I like strawberry ice-cream. Meanwhile this yoho ancap is pretending like relativism is opposed to objectivism because he favors some crass rule utilitarianism he wants to pretend can be derrived like an absolute natural law. Problem is you can’t chose to disobey gravity the way you can chose to go against morality. And no moral theory is true in all cases unless it’s “whatever people do is moral” but that’s just subjectivism.


If moral reality/intuition were truly analogous to physical reality/senses, then I challenge Friedman to design a moral experiment such that any two trained philosophers will emerge with the same recordings of intuitional data.


In this debate, philosopher’s Timothy Williamson and Maria Baghramian and economist and anarcho-capitalist theories David D. Friedman discuss the challenges of moral absolutism, and whether society and culture is moving from a relativist outlook towards something more realist. Williamson argues so-called moral absolutism is often misconceived as holding moral truths are both simply and known. He argues that their complexity and the difficulty (perhaps impossibility) to identify them doesn’t mean we should conclude there are no moral truths. Though the circumstances in which an action is carried out might be tremendously complex, there is still theoretically a truth about whether it was right or wrong. Baghramian makes the case for moral pluralism, which is not moral relativism. She claims that if the aim of ethics is human flourishing, there are multiple ways in which that can be achieved. As such, we might be able to agree on things that are morally wrong – like the torture of children for fun – but must accept there can be more than one answer to what is morally right. She argues this will depend on disagreement over first principles in moral thinking – for example the primacy of duty of care and toward the community vs the primacy of autonomy and liberty. Both can claim to be pursuing human flourishing, but will take different views on what an individual should do in a given circumstance. Friedman argues there is a moral reality in the same way there is a physical reality, deeming himself a moral realist. He argues we perceive both reality – in the latter instance by means of our senses and in the former by means of moral intuition – and rely on consistency between sources of information to determine the reliability of our judgments. He argues that moral disagreements tend to be around the higher level theories built out from moral perceptions, and that there is generally a high level of agreement when individuals are asked for their moral perceptions of a specific situation.


Physical reality is that which exists independent of our own observation. Moral reality doesn’t exist outside of conscious beings’ observations.


I’m sceptical of their being any moral statements that people agree on, that cannot be rendered as false if you change the context in some way.