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January 26, 2015 / 6 Shevat, 5775
 
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Objective Morality

Human beings are not objective. We're highly subjective creatures.
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R. Shmuel Goldin sharing "Unlocking the Torah Text" with a friend.

R. Shmuel Goldin sharing "Unlocking the Torah Text" with a friend.

There was something else in HRHG* Goldin’s book (R. Shmuel Goldin’s “Unlocking the Torah Text”), I wanted to complain about.

As part of the Beraishis discussion he went on for a page or two about subjective morality, and how the people who use it are horrible lowlifes who need to understand the objective morality is the best thing ever. He concluded with a few phrases about how any attempt to employ subjective morality destroys the world or something.

Of course my eyes nearly rolled out of my head.

Look, let’s not argue about whether or not Objective Morality exists. In fact, here, I’ll make this easy: I stipulate that Objective Morality exists.

OK?

But, that doesn’t make HRHG Goldin’s claim any less absurd.

Human beings are not objective. We’re highly subjective creatures who see everything through our own unique set of experiences.
So even if Objective Morality exists, any human attempt to understand and apply it is going to be subjective. That’s unavoidable. So Nazi Morality and Dali Lama Morality and Orthodox Jewish Morality are all equally subjective as they are all perceived, understood, and applied by subjective people.

But – and this is important – the fact that all moralities are equally subjective does not mean they are all equally good. Western morality or Jewish morality are just as subjective as Nazi Morality, but at the same time Western Morality is far superior to Nazi Morality, and this fact can be demonstrated.

* I was yelled at for being disrespectful earlier, so I am erroring on the side of caution

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About the Author: DovBear blogs at: DovBear. For lack of a better metaphor, please consider this blog a very large shabbos table, where we sit together and discuss the parsha, the news, and other events of the day. Sometimes we yell, often we gossip, and, once in a while, the talk turns salacious. Our arguments are lively, but at the end of the day, its all just talk. The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of The Jewish Press


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3 Responses to “Objective Morality”

  1. Menachem Rephun says:

    If all morality is subjective than how can you objectively demonstrate that one is wrong and the other is right. If a Nazi feels he is doing something noble by shoving Jews into crematoria and gas chambers, does that mean he is right? I would say that that behavior is objectively evil

  2. Menachem Rephun says:

    If all morality is subjective than how can you objectively demonstrate that one is wrong and the other is right. If a Nazi feels he is doing something noble by shoving Jews into crematoria and gas chambers, does that mean he is right? I would say that that behavior is objectively evil

  3. Menachem Rephun says:

    When good and evil become mere abstractions, the foundation of society begins to collapse. Human morality has to be derived from Hashem, because if human society is the only arbiter of right and wrong, then people will revert to being animals when those rules are no longer in place

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