Are Moral Questions Actually Unanswerable?

When making a moral claim, what exactly are we expressing?

Are we speaking simply about our state of mind, our emotions, or are we speaking about something real, external to ourselves? Is morality objective or subjective? Is it a feature of the physical world that can be accessed scientifically or is it a feature of the mind that is inaccessible to science?

Moral philosophers line up on both sides of the question and duke it out, and I could spend the majority of this post recounting the various aspects of the subject and all of the arguments on either side, and still not answer the question of who is correct. In the end—just looking at the questions asked above and reflecting on the work of various moral philosophers over have written over the centuries—the only answer, to me, that seems to answer all of the question is: YES.

See also: Jonathan Haidt Discussing Moral Psychology

Yes, when we make a moral claim we are expressing our state of mind and something external to ourselves. Yes, morality is both objective and subjective. Yes, morality is a feature of the world that has some measure of scientific access and, at the same time, it is inaccessible to science.

Now, Triggerman, you might say, you’re trying to have your cake and eat it too.

And at first glance, that’s how it might seem. But, then have you really thought about it or have you just picked a hill, planted your flag, and now fight to defend it? Too often it seems like the latter is the case rather than the former.

This is not to discount anything that I’ve written formerly, rather it’s a careful informed perspective that refuses to be backed into a corner. I’m on a path that requires me to seek coherence, as well as an unwillingness to sacrifice truth for consistency.

I will definitely be unpacking this more as I go along on this journey and post more reflections and engage in interaction. But this goes to the question that is the title of this post.

If you believe that the answer is necessarily “no”, then, to me, it would seem that you do not have a dog in this fight. However, if the answer is “yes”, then you will probably enjoy the journey.

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