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Red Letter Philosophy

Oct 25, 2019

If morality cannot be reduced to culture or emotion, then what is it?  Perhaps it is simply a subjective thing.  But there’s a problem with this.  In the words of Jordan Peterson, “we cannot invent our values, because we cannot merely impose what we believe on our souls.”   Perhaps what makes us uncomfortable is that the moral seems unavoidable.  It surrounds and makes sense of our intellectual (or spiritual) lives, much like Co2 surrounds and makes possible our biological lives. 

We can wrap our minds around a reality that is seemingly purely physical.  When one thing causes another, we are dealing with something objective and material.  Things, objects can be  weighted and measured.  We are also familiar with psychological realities.  When we speak of the psychological we are dealing with the subjective and immaterial.  We are dealing with feelings, desires, and motives.  But when we speak of the moral, we are not dealing with something purely physical, and yet we are not dealing with anything purely subjective.  We are dealing with something objective and immaterial.