Friday, June 4, 2010

Objective Moral Standards

The first time the word "objective" was apparently used was "1610s, originally in the philosophical sense of 'considered in relation to its object'".

Objective moral truths are in relation to the object, rather than subjective in relation to pragmatic or other types of ends.

The object which such objective truths are in relation to is the standard that makes morality necessary: the life of Man both as species and as individual. This is set according to what Aristotle called "Man qua Man", or to put it another way, what is it about man that makes morals necessary?

It cannot be simply the preservation of the species--Hitler was doing that by preserving what he believed were Aryans. What Aristotle, Aquinas, Wm. of Occam, Averroes, and other rational thinkers could not conceive of didn't become a concrete idea until Jefferson and others like Madison and Patrick Henry and Thomas Paine read the works of Locke and Rousseau.

Locke, along with Rousseau, described a civilization in which government is "by the consent of the governed." This led to the American realization that there was such a thing as "individual sovereignty." This was logical, since to give consent to a government to do for you what is best not to do vigilante style, and what is best for "the general welfare", and what leaves you the most time on your hands for such things as living---to give consent you must first have that which you are giving away.

"Locke's theory of natural rights was, indeed, the theory of natural rights to which the Declaration would refer..."Individual sovereignty was not a peculiar conceit of Thomas Jefferson: It was the common assumption of the day..."

It is individual sovereignty, until the 18th century only a vague idea in the minds of freethinkers and libertarians, that is the source of the need for moral standards. "Objective truths" are those that correspond to man's nature as the rational animal: he must be given the freedom to utilize that rationality as nature has given it to him.

But more than that, it is that each man must be protected from force and coercion that would prevent him from utilizing that gift of individual sovereignty that nature gave him.

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