today i'm going to summarise an article on a philosophy topic on our perception of "right" and "wrong" things.
The article is started with a weird story about a girl called Virtue, who was taken for a town trip by some random aliens. They observe the city, being invisible to everyone else. The spot a man trying to steal a purse from some random lady and Virtue says that it is wrong. The aliens and Virtue start to talk about how earth beings sort 'right' and 'wrong' things. They came to a conclusion that the five senses have nothing to do with spotting the 'wrongness'. In the end of the story they found out that 'wrongness' neither can be legitialy inferred or seen/heard.
Then there is more hard stuff - the author gives us some solutions.
David Hume (1711 - 1776) has suggested that we detect 'wrong' and 'right' basing on our moral properties, which are created by our emotions. So, we have like a pair of spectacles, where the linses are our moral values. This is called 'the spectacles theory'. But there is a problem - where do we get our moral values and properties then?
G. E. Moore (1873 - 1958) gives a solution - people have the sixth sense called 'intuition'. We accept our values because we feel that way and we think that it should be right for us. But then another problem appears - where does the intuition comes from? And sadly there is no proper answer and it cannot be explained yet.
So, coming back to Hume's spectacles model. The main three versions of how we get these spectacles.
- the first version is Subjectvism. We claim that something is wrong because it seems wrong to us as individuals. the problem with this model is that different people have different views on 'right' and 'wrong' things. So, for one person drinking Red Bull is right cuz she feels like it. She is right, because she bases on her feeling and says the truth which she approves. Yet another person thinks that drinking red bull is wrong cuz it's his opinion. And again, he cannot be wrong: for him things are this way. So two people with different views are both right.
- the second version is Intersubjectivism. It is similar to Subjectivism, but the 'spectacles' were created not by a person, but by a community where he or she exists. Once again, different communities have different views. But the point is.. if a community thinks that something is wrong, surely that doesn't 100% mean that the things are really wrong! There is no proof that it is wrong, so how can people and communities decide?
- the third version is called Emotivism. The principle of Emotivism is that we do not state whether a thing is 'right' or 'wrong'. We don't claim, we express. There is nothing behind what we say. We just say it, there is no fact behind our saying. It's like saying 'Happy Halloween', i'm not saying whether it's true or false, right or wrong, I just express myself. So, if we view the phrase 'drinking red bull is right' in the emotivism way it is the same is 'yaaaay for red bull!'.
All these three versions state that moral value is not a feature of objective reality though.
In the end of the article the 'objective property' is discussed. If we say that our school has 20 floors that doesn't change the fact that it has just 2 floors. But from a view from a plane it could seem that it does have 20 floors. The point is - we can be mistaken anyway, without knowing it, and things are either right or wrong. And it doesnt matter what we think about it - it will still be right or wrong because it's an objective property.
There is also a possibility of an error considered. It could turn out that actually nothing is right or wrong, and even this 'error' point of view is right and wrong.
So, on what do we base our right-wrong feelings? If on moral values, then which ones? How do we decide which values are good enough to base an opinion on?
Or are there any moral values that created all those right-wrong feeling? Maybe it was installed in us by the nature? Where do moral values come from anyway???
All those questions were left by the author to think of by ourselves.