The problem of justifying morality
The question of why a person should adhere to the norms of morality (if you must) and what exactly the rules troubled mankind and philosophers, in particular, for a long time. Ancient philosophers, especially Socrates, Plato and Aristotle many addressed at the topic. They tried to justify morality on reason and in this sense, their justifying, or rather attempts to justify, may be named attempts to rational justification. However, despite the fact that their intention was good, it was doomed to fail as a rational science then just took his first steps and it’s method itself was not yet observed in the air.
Socrates ended his attempts by the famous "All I know is that I know nothing." The pupil of Socrates, Plato, impressed while reading his teacher on the path of rational justification of morality, tried to find a justification in the ideal, suggesting the existence of the world of ideas, which proved an ideal morality and we must only get to know it. But because rational knowledge is possible only starting from the experience and about any experience in the world of ideas can not be a perfect speech, Plato came, ultimately, to something like a barracks socialism. Aristotle made an important step in linking individual morality with the interests of society as a whole. But beyond the call to abandon the excesses and keep the golden mean he has not moved.
As a result of the failure of attempts at rational justification of morality ancient world during the Roman Empire came to moral nihilism, unsurpassed to this day that if was not the main reason, then, at least, contributed to the fall of the empire. But even before the Roman Empire fell, there came a radical change in the issue of justification of morality. Replace by attempts at rational justification of morality came through its support by religion (Christianity). Now the moral standards should comply not because of their objective merits, but because it's commanded by God and because of those who violated those rules, the afterlife, the eternal and not transitory, expected life of hell.
This way of justification had the advantage of avoiding the difficult task of rational justification, and confers moral spiritual depth of service to the highest supra-personal aim. However, it had the disadvantage that the Christian doctrine in its basis, the New Testament does not contain any detail the development of moral standards. The Old Testament, included in the Christian Bible, gave more specifics on this part (the Commandments and the Law), but is not enough, taking in account the myriad situations created by life and requires assessment of possible human actions in these situations, for good or ill, moral or immoral. For most of these situations, the Bible did not provide a ready recipe for correct behavior. It did not give also a formula or algorithm, through which we could deduce new rules for new situations from those that are in the Bible.
As a result, in the Middle Ages, philosophers and theologians have again had to apply to the ancient teachings of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle in an attempt to synthesize the Christian doctrine and teachings of these philosophers. However, the synthesis turned eclectic. He could not get otherwise, because the correct synthesis can be either two rational theories, as it is in natural sciencies (wave and corpuscular theory of light - in the quantum one). Or - the two religions (with the help of new prophets, who had been a "vision" with indication to include in the Christian doctrine of the transmigration of souls, etc.). As a result disputes over the justification of morality and of its specific rules continued. But despite these disputes, maintained in a narrow range of theologians theorists, the authority of Christian morality in the broad masses in the Middle Ages was quite high. It stuck to the authority of the Catholic Church, sway in
But over time this authority began to fall, which was connected precisely with great confusion in determination and justification of the tenets of the Church in general and moral standards in particular. The Inquisition and its brutal persecution of heretics, religious wars, the sale of indulgences, etc., all directly stemmed from the lack of clarity and unambiguity of the Church teaching, though maintained, fed by greed and lust for power of the Church Fathers. But greed, ambition, etc., are contained in the human being nature in all sectors of society in all times and restricts only by the authority of morality, which is weakening, if the basis of morality is vague and unreliable.
The authority of the Church especially quickly began to fall from the early modern period under the influence of the effervescence of a rational science. Church, as a result of a misunderstanding of teachings of Christ, on which it has built herself, a long time resisted the development of science and when, in spite of this resistance, the science has to win and bring tangible results, it is painful blow to its credibility. But the rapid decline of morality in society did not happen immediately after that. Moreover at this time the attempts to give a rational justification of morality once again intensified. A striking example of such attempts is the philosophy of Kant.
Kant tried to make it through the "moral imperative", which provides the soul of every man. However, the "moral imperative" itself was in need of justification, which Kant did not return. Secondly, it was completely unclear how to infer from it specific moral norms. Finally, the presence of a "moral imperative" in the soul of every human being contradicts to experience, which was especially evident after the first and second world wars with the slaughter of tens of millions of people using gas to concentration camps, etc. And correspondence to experience is a fundamental requirement of rationality of theory , which, incidentally, was already well-known to representatives of rational science at the time of Kant.
Although Kant and other philosophers of that time failed to give a rational justification of morality, but the belief that such justification exists, in principle, for a time kept in the community and it supports the willingness of many to comply with moral norms.
The situation is qualitatively changed with the advent of the philosophy of existentialism with names such as Sartre, Heidegger, Kierkegaard, Jaspers, and others.
Existentialists attacked first science and attacked not from the standpoint of religion, and with items that can be called a rationalistic in the sense that they are repelled by the facts and made them the logical conclusions.More exactly, the conclusions that they seemed logical. Another matter whether they were true or not. They drew attention to the fact that science has from time to time change their concepts, conclusions and reasons, and concluded from this that the science gliding on the surface of things, does not penetrate into the depths. It is supposedly good to use it to build machines, but not for justification of morality. Because that is accepted by science today for "good", tomorrow it can be enrolled in the "bad". It followed a complete relativization of morality, and the only values that remained after this, and proclaimed by the existentialists, are a pleasant sensations and freedom of the individual from society.
Another theoretical pillar of moral nihilism, flooded Western civilization in the era of so-called modernism, was also rational to form the teaching of psychoanalysis, the founder of which is Freud. Freud has "proved" that the man had no control over their instincts and desires and therefore, how could we justified morality, he still would not be able to observe moral norms, but try to respect them, especially in the field of sexual relations, leads only to mental disorders.
Substantial theoretical and philosophical contribution to the relativization of morality, which led to the era of modernism, also made of Nietzsche and Marx. Nietzsche declared that every nation has its good and its evil. He is a talented and passionately castigated the vices of contemporary society, above all, hypocritical man in the street, the "little man", but also clerics, politicians, poets, etc. But that ended with his rationality, and he gradually slipped to appeal to the emotions of the reader and did it very successful.
Marx relativize morality on the other line. If Nietzsche's good and evil was different in different peoples, according to Marx, it was different for different social formations. Bank robbery under capitalism - is a crime, and with the transition to socialism – it is "expropriation of expropriators" and good thing. Marriage and family - is a bourgeois relic and under socialism should be eliminated. By the way, in defense of his moral theory Marx argues for the rational mind. Moreover, he claimed, and his followers still claim that Marxism is the world's only scientific (rational ae) doctrine. The claim is based on that Marxism, in contrast to existentialism, asserts absoluteness of scientific knowledge. He say knowledge reflects reality, and so reflects, that the newly extracted knowledge does not change anything in the previously obtained. On this point the Marxists fought fiercely with the existentialists. Vehemently, but unsuccessfully, because, as we know, science is still changing its concepts, conclusions and their justification.
Thus, we can say that none of these philosophical
currents of modern times, which led to the
relativization of morality and as a consequence to moral nihilism and to the era of
modernism, regardless of whether they claimed to enroll them in a rational or
not, at the towards the end were not rational. And they could not be, because,
although the rational science in this era was already developed and largely forged his
method of substantiation of scientific
theories, but this method has existed so far only as a stereotype of natural
scientific thinking and was not represented explicitly. Representatives of natural science possessed this method like people speaking their native language own its grammar before you wrote it - they speak enough correctly, although the grammar (not yet
written) not studied. But humanists and philosophers, in particular, this
method generally did not own and did not know it until now. The lack of
rationality of Marxism, particularly on the question of morality, can be seen
from the fact that the Soviet Union, where Marxism was a state ideology, his
moral theory twisted into opposition - the notorious bourgeois family and
marriage, rather than wither away, become the basic unit socialist society. At
the same time no one even did not curtsey to the side of Marx in this regard that
it would be unthinkable in a rational science.
The situation that prevailed in Western society on the part of morality in the era of modernism, there is no need to describe, because the era that are not yet fully moved away and therefore well known to all. But the situation in the moral philosophy of this period beautifully described by Russian philosopher A. Guseinov (Гусейнов) in such passage:
exotic figure is not the one who denies the moral criteria, but the one who
recognizes their absoluteness. If we use historical symbols, we can say: Today
the as ideological outcast rather would be regarded Socrates, than
Thrasymachus. And today Rousseau would not have to write a treatise on
"Whether the development of science purification of morals?". He
would simply say, as one of Western professors, that in the model of modern science ethics plays
the same role as a bicycle brake on intercontinental aircraft”.
The one thing wrong in this passage Guseinov, is that he attributed this characteristic to the "now". In fact, we are now, although not yet fully emerged from the era of modernism, but basically we have been living in the era of postmodernism.
You can very differently to define the phenomenon of modernism and postmodernism. This is a very complex phenomenon related to a number of different aspects of society and its members and therefore they can be identified through some parametres, but you can through the other, depending on what we are more interested in these phenomena. I will take this, I do not remember whose, definition: "Modernism is the irony, and postmodernism is the irony to irony." This refers to Modernism is the irony in relation to morality, to its norms, its justification, etc., as well as to the reason, his ability to adequately learn the reality, to the truth. This is the irony, a fierce denial, derision, scandalous behavior, proving that "but I do not care." Postmodernism is still an irony to all the previous, but softened by irony to modernism itself, his offensive, severity, ferocity of his denial. This is a kind of "Take it easy", "I do not deny the general morality, but do not take it seriously." This is pluralism: each one has its own truth, you have own norms of morality, and I have - my own. This is rubber dimensionless tolerance: the main thing is no one no one interfered, and behind that one can make love even with a horse, if the parties agree. This is the impropriety something to prove and justify, particularly in the sphere of morality. Most decent is to talk about this same morality generally, without specifying what you mean by it, simply to demonstrate your positivity, culture and erudition: "Aristotle said ..., but Kant said." (Or, "as Kant said, though perhaps he does not say"). You can and should take a stand on individual items. Swear, for example, sexual exploitation of children. Children - is sacred and, taking this position, you do not run the risk that you enroll in the marginals, which are outside the "irony of irony." But gay touch, in the sense to require them to prevent or at least a moral condemnation, can not. Immediately you get into these very prohibitive marginal. Thou shalt be called homophobic, equal to xenophobes, but your arguments no one will listen. In general, do not have arguments, do not need to justify, and the more serious level to justify, the Baule do not. It is strongly prints beyond "irony to irony."
The broad masses of a philistine such an approach is even satisfied. The native does not like to strain the brain with all sorts of justifications, especially if their light may discover that he had a finger in the pie itself. But the talk of the need morals, He's very fond of. As Nietzsche said in his "Zarathustra": "They talk about the need for virtue, but think about the need for the police."
In general, postmodern situation is somewhat better than the modernist (were banned at least the most notorious excesses, such as pedophilia), but in something worse - the disease being pushed inward. From modernists could argue, they run up the dispute (although preferred and still prefer to act through a desire to shock and incite mass hysteria). Since with post-modernists you can not argue. One who want to ground something (and not to conduct a conversation in a salon-style: "Aristotle – a smart guy, and Kant is also smart") is simply pushed out of the philosophical and media space. They did not publish him and do not give the platform to represent his theory. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that, as I said, general method of substantiation of the theories, elaborated by the natural sciences in the course of their development, so far not been presented explicitly, as in the humanitarian sphere it isn’t generally known, even at the level of stereotype thinking. The above-mentioned phenomenon of rational (ae natural) science - changing concepts, conclusions and their substantiation in the transition from one of the fundamental theory to another, has not yet received a proper explanation and interpretation. And to replace the existentialists who were not strong in the natural sciences (themselves were "slipping on the surface”), came the post positivists (Quine, Kuhn, Feyerabend, Popper, Lakatos and others), well-informed in these sciences, which, by using this phenomenon of science rather strengthened the argument for the existentialists of the relativization of science. What else have contributed (albeit unwittingly) relativizing morality. All this makes extremely difficult the task of rationale substantiation of morality, so the more, to bring him to the consciousness of society.
In this situation, start the rationale substantiation of morality only wanted to refute the arguments of the existentialists, and especially the post positivist, which relativized scientific knowledge, to rebuilt again the reliability of the knowledge and to clarify what exactly a rational science gives us, what kind of truth. I did this by developing a new theory of knowledge ("Неорационализм", Kiev, 1992, Part 1) and based on it general method of substantiation of scientific theories. (Философские исследования, № 3, 2000,; № 1 2001; № 2, 2002, and a number of articles on the Internet: www.philprob.narod.ru, etc.). Or, you can say, I explicitly introduced this method, produced by the most natural science in the course of its development. In contrast to the classical rationalism, I do not deny the above-mentioned phenomenon of rational science, its ability to change their concepts, conclusions and their grounding. Unlike the logical positivists (Russell, Hilbert, etc.) I'm not trying to fix sound science, making it so that it continue to not change its concepts and conclusions. But I show that despite the fact that science is changing its concepts and conclusions (and they should be changed in the transition to a new fundamental theory), it does not change the method of substantiation of its theories (the general method of subsnantiation). And a theory grounded according to this method does not cease to be true when you change it with a new fundamental theory (classical mechanics - the theory of relativity, the theory of relativity - relativistic quantum theory, etc.). When such a transition only clarifies the border of truthness of the previous theory (though, using the method of substantiation, we can to know minimal border of truthness of the theory in advance). I have also clarified the meaning of truth, which gives us a rational science. Finally, I showed the possibility of using the general method of substantiation in the humanitarian field, with appropriate adaptation, related to the inability in this area of accurate measurements.
Further, relying on the general method of substantiation of scientific theories, I have built a rational justification of morality ("Неорационализм", Part 4). I will not repeat here all this construction, I shall describe only on what it was founded, its, so to speak, the idea and the result.
But before that I want to note that even not building this rational grounding, we have good reason to believe that such a justification is possible. The reason for this - in the real history of morality. Morality has been known to mankind long before the ancient philosophers and before the advent of Christianity. Moreover, long before the emergence of religion as such, even in its most primitive form of it. Even in the most primitive tribes of the past and today (where they are preserved) are known rules "Thou shalt not kill" and "Thou shalt not steal". They exist and operate, in one way or another, even in the animal pack. At this early stage of their existence they can not be caused by any convention. They can only be objectively conditioned and be result of evolution. Those tribes, but until the pack, in which does not work "Thou shalt not kill" related to members of the flock itself, cease to exist: break up, destroyed, etc. That is, the mere fact of living people in society dictates to impose morality. Another thing is that because of the complexity of human nature and society, the imposition of this objective, this evolution does not lead to a unified, accepted by all people and nations of all times morality. As with any evolution, it seems to be thrown tentacles in all directions, forming a different system of morals in different societies and providing a more natural selection to reject those who, in their moral choice is far away from the truth, from the optimum. This path of evolution rendered a good service of all life on stage before the appearance of man and at an early stage of mankind. But modern humanity, developing through science its power, including destructive, can not afford to define their future natural evolution, carrying out its progress through the death of an incalculable number of individuals and species. In addition to the pain of such a path, we risk simply destroy ourselves as a species, but at the same time and our planet.
From this excursion into the history of the origin of morality it follows, that for to build rational theory of morality we must begin with careful consideration of human nature and society. Since then I started.
Of course, modeling the individual and society - the problem is highly complex. And you can, even not starting this simulation, cling to the fact that all human beings are very different, different from each other, too and societies and people, and draw the conclusion that morality is individual, each with its own, or that it should be different for different societies, for example, for states with different orders, as Marx thought, or for different people, as Nietzsche thought. Well, personal morality - that, in general, nonsense. It can not be moral, according to which "I spit on you and you to me do not you dare". Moral - is something that is taken in the relationship between people of community. (And today because of globalization requires universal human morality). Such common, not individual morality is possible due to the fact that since all human beings belong to one species, the general in their nature more than the individual, despite all the richness of human individuality. Also in every society and among all peoples general greater than the differences (in spite of the importance of these differences). This something in common, that is in the nature of each person, and something in common, that is in the nature of any society, should be the basis of the model to determine the optimal morality.
In human nature common to all people included, above all, his physiological needs: to drink, eat, sleep, meet the sexual instinct. But as the need for an interesting life: fun, adventure, risk. The need for freedom. Finally, emotional (family, relatives, friends, pets, etc., etc.) and spiritual (serving supra-personal: the people, country, God, truth, beauty, etc.) needs. Regarding the latter can be objection, that not all feel this needs, but I show that they exist and have considerable potential.
The nature of society I include into the model through the ties that do not depend on the system, the level of technology, etc., depend only on the fact of public life, the need for human interaction (as opposed to the life of Robinson Crusoe on his desert island) .
The model also includes the moral parameters corresponding moral norms such as: "Thou shalt not kill" and "Thou shalt not steal", but not presented as definitive guidance as well as variables that can be varied to find the optimum, and compared with each other. For example, instead of "Thou shalt not steal" in the model - "stealing is not good." And this "not good" can have different degrees: from the "so bad that it is necessary to chop off his hands”, until, as in Romania, "to steal, of course, no good, but if theft was made talently, it is even deserve admiration”.
Next, using well-trodden path in the natural sciences to find the optimum, we construct an “aim function”, in this case the function of quality of life, expressed through the measure of satisfaction of the above human needs an average in society. This function has the form:
F = Σf(i) • Πk(ij)
f (i) - a numerical coefficient that reflects the importance of the corresponding (i - one) needs, from those listed above.
k (ij) - functional, reflecting the link between the i-th need and j-th demand parameter model, in particular, a sort of moral norm.
Of course, unlike the natural sciences in the humanitarian sphere we can not find the numerical values of the coefficients f(i) and k(ij). It is popular even the view that the parameters in the function of the quality of life are non commenshurable each with other on principle. Like, how to compare the moral norms with freedom or physical needs? In fact, it is not only possible, but exist in constant practice. The social form of life compels us to do so. The Criminal Code provides for punishment of imprisonment, and at different specific time frame for violation of different rules of morality. And for the violation of other rules - fines, ie, impairment of physiological and certain other requirements in concrete measure.
But the exact quantitative values of these parameters, we certainly can not give, as there, and in principle, can not be units such as kilograms or meters, for parameters such as freedom, justice, spirit, love and etc. And it is not allows us to apply this mathematical tool, designed to solve problems at the optimum in the natural sciences. But the mathematics - it is only appropriate form of the logic. The logic of the same tasks at optimum, worked out in the natural sciences, we can apply here in the form of qualitative variation of variables. That's what I did. How exactly did, anyone can see in the book “Неорационализм».
Conctrning the conclusions in such a way, then, of course, they can not claim absolute accuracy. But is useful to recall that the findings of Natural Sciences also do not have absolute accuracy, due to the imperfect measurement accuracy. Of course, in this case the degree of inaccuracy is much higher. But we do not need here the accuracy of Natural Sciences. I would say that such accuracy would be here even harmful, it would have emasculated the brightness and beauty of life, its game, too fettered the freedom of choice. Nevertheless, and the accuracy that can be achieved with qualitative (no numerical values of the coefficients) construction of the function of quality of life and with qualitative solution of the optimum problem (with the help of qualitative variation of parameters), provides important theoretical and practical conclusions. They are as follows.
First, we prove the very possibility of rational justification optimal morality. The sense of optimality here is that if society accepts the best morals and stick to it, the quality of life for its members, other things being equal, be higher than in case of the acceptance of any non-optimal morality. Naturally, this is not about the quality of life of every member of society in isolation, but about average for the society's quality of life. Personal happiness to everyone, can not be guaranteed by means of any morality and any system of society, and can only be promised by dishonest philosophers and politicians, or by Barmalei from famous movies, saying that he can in 5 minutes to make everyone happy. "And who does not want to be happy, to the sharks."
Of course, such content of justification of morality does not inspire everyone to comply with its rules. There will always be people who do not care about the average quality of life in society and who are only interested in their personal happiness. But if it inspires most people, the rest will be forced to join against their will. How to make the optimal morality was accepted by the majority of society, as, in general, the society adopted this or that morality - is a separate and not a simple question. I will not dive into it, I will note only that the major role here is played by art and mass media. But art, mass media, politics, etc., can instill as the proper moral in society so and not the correct and only theory can determine what moral is correct and will benefit society..
being equal" in this definition means - at the same level of development
of industry and agriculture, with the same social system, etc. It is clear that
not only right moral suspects
normal life in society. Ensuring physiological needs depends
primarily on the economy, and
ensuring the needs of liberty - on the fact whether he
is living in a democratic or a totalitarian society, etc. But the quality of
life in a particular society depends on, too, accepted morality, other things being equal.
Secondly, we have received solution of the problem of absoluteness - relativity of morality and thus - solution of a longtime, so to speak, the eternal dispute between moral absolutists and hungry for a fully inclined to relativize it. Moral has the absolute core in form of norms in categorical terms such as "Thou shalt not kill" and "Thou shalt not steal", which does not depend on any of the people in question or of any social order. The absoluteness of here, of course, also not absolute. Absolutely absolute, in general, nothing happens. Absoluteness in this case has sense of invariability, ie, independence from the regime, the people, the level of technological development, etc. At the same time, this normative morality is absolute, even in this sense, only for people living in the community, for the relationship between these people. It does not apply to people's attitudes towards animals (trying that today, by the way, there are) or to hypothetical aliens from cosmos should they ever will appear. In these cases also be appropriate to seek an optimal rate relationship, but in no case, can not be automatic extend to these cases the optimal morality to human society.
But the optimal morality has also relative side or part of it, a relative in two senses. First, besides the invariant core of morality, there are certain standards of morality, which still depend on the social order or the level of technology and even from the people for whom they are taken. I will not analyze here all these cases, referring the interested persons to the same "Неорационализм», give only one example of such dependence. Fairness in the distribution of wealth, ie, of the so-called gross national product, of course, depends on the system or the economic structure and can not be the same for slavery, feudalism, capitalism and socialism. For each system has its own optimal distribution of wealth and, incidentally, the definition of her - no easy task and at the same time is very important for the successful and crisis-free economic development.
Second, the norms of morality from the invariant core of it possess the convention, that they are correct, true, etc., only for certain normal conditions of use. And may be some circumstances in life in which these rules are canceled or changed. Even "Thou shalt not kill" means do not kill just for anything, for personal gain, etc. But in war, just imposed a war or in self-defense when there is no other means to protect the life, then it is possible or even sometimes need kill. The development of this conditional morality - a task, which mankind has been forced to engage in a long time, say, developing the Criminal Code. And not only. The elements of conditional morality are found in the Bible, in Deuteronomy Moses. Confucius dealt many and successfully with conditional morality, and that have rendered and continues to serve as a good service to the Chinese people. But these developments do not cover and a small section that requires living life in all its infinite variety generated situations. The theory of optimal morality gives an effective tool for further development in this direction.
The proposed model also allowed to correct rules of morality, included in its invariant kernel. This kernel, in general, coincides with Bible moral (Ten Commandments plus). It includes, for example, "Thou shalt not kill" and "Do not steal," "love your neighbor" (in the sense of treating him with affection and not do nasty things), do not lie, do not gossip, do not bear false witness, do not commit adultery, a ban on all sexual distortion, etc. Some of these rules were refined in comparison with common in many Christian denominations sense. For example, "Do not commit adultery" does not mean a ban on extramarital sexual relations, provided that both parties are not bound by marriage. This is largely a coincidence, one might say, expected. After all, God is all-good concept, and therefore can not teach people bad. If the Bible is not from God, and is the creation of the people themselves, then proposed to her morality - the result of evolutionary selection. And since the people, adopted Christianity, created Western civilization, dominant in the world today, and reached (by popular opinion, at least) the highest quality of life, Christian morality should be close to optimal. Such coincidence favours all mankind to take optimal morality. After all, Muslim morality is very close to Christian, and Buddhist is not far from it. This agreement of rational approach to moral with religion one is very important for reconciliation of science with religion. It turns out that science and religion, albeit from different positions, but in the field of morality they teach one the same.
Also this model allows define a field of morality outside of the invariant core, where it is possible ethnoethics, which doesn’t contradict to universal one. For example, different communities may vary adopted by the degree of freedom of extramarital sex people not related by marriage: from complete ban to their complete lack of conviction regardless to their quantity and quality. All this would not conflict with the optimal universal morality. It is possible differences between peoples and nations in relation to alcohol and drugs (not to be confused with the attitude to the crimes committed while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs). This moral field outside the core universal morality can also define a measure tolerance of different phenomena to be moral judgments.
And, perhaps most importantly, that gives the optimal moral theory, it provides the definition and rationale base for distinguishing "good" and "bad", good and evil, for countless situations posed by life and not falling, not described by existing norms of morality. This is especially important today, when, through science, we quickly transform the reality in which we live, (GMOs, cloning, the possibility of genetic modification of the individual, etc.) and more urgent becomes the question: Quo Vadis? - Where are you going , mankind?