At the dinner table tonight, I brought up the concept of morality. Reading the texts from these various civilizations and trying to understand their different, sometimes strange ways of life made me really confused and, actually, kind of sad for some reason. Is morality truly objective or subjective? For example, ancient Greeks believed that avenging your father by killing his murderer was the write thing to do. Was it, in fact, the right thing to do? Or did the Greeks get it wrong? To us, the answer seems obvious: the Greeks were wrong because murdering another person is flat out wrong. My brother played devils advocate at our dinner table, though, and pointed out that maybe morality is subjective. Maybe killing another person isn't actually wrong, but we believe it is because thats our perspective. And mind you, that perspective is heavily influenced by the society we've grown up in, the religion we follow, etc. He went so far as to say that maybe if we weren't influenced by any of these external factors, we would have grown up with a completely different set of morals, and killing someone would not fall under the "wrong"category. Who knows? It's difficult to grasp at first, this concept that whats "right" and "wrong" to us might not actually be "right" and "wrong".
On the other hand though, maybe their is an objective moral path that a greater power knows about. If so, its depressing to think that the majority of the world lives their life on the wrong path. Think about it... with so many different religions that consist of completely disparate ethical guidelines, we can't all be getting it right. I think Taoists and Confucianists would agree with the latter argument: morality is objective. Nietzsche would vouch for the opposite.
I'm going to try to build a table (subjective vs. objective) or further discuss the philosophers we've studied (plus a few more?) who took a stand on this concept, so look out for my next post!