Absolute moral standards and fiction.
Vanderthtown, "According to objective morality, was it moral to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki?"
It's certainly worth discussing if the bombing was an act of terroisam, as opposed to an act of war?
Well I suppose a case can be made that all is fair in war, including torture, making deals with the enemy, selling out our allies, bombing/gassing civilians etc. If indeed the minimization of human suffering is the aim of objective morality, one could justify killing millions of innocents to save billions.
Vanderhoven7 " well I suppose a case can be made that all is fair in war....."
I think the only case that can be made is that man isn't good, and that those that have the power have the right, which is why the wheels of " war, torture, making deals with the enemy...." will roll on.
While Romeo & Juliet is fiction, it was pretty normal for men in their late teens/early twenties to marry young teenage girls in Shakespeare's time. That was a case of art imitating life.
A better example might be the Marquis de Sade's writings since most of the behavior his heroes and heroines engage in would be condemned in almost any society or era. And yes, it is much easier to empathize (is that the right word? Maybe 'grok' would be a better term.) with evil people when we know they are fictional. Partially because fiction is a context in which normal social rules do not apply (at least in this country free speech has always been protected), but also because, in fiction, we get to experience everything from behind the bad guy's eyes. The nature of the medium makes it impossible to not identify with the villain to some degree.
According to objective morality, was it moral to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki?
This hinges on whether, ultimately, it saved more lives than it destroyed. Proponents of the action would argue that it prevented much larger loss of life (or at least, loss of enemy lives in preference).
The real question is how far out the "consequences" of any action should extend, what costs and benefits should be included and which excluded from the scale and why.
Got to have a trustworthy sociopolitical scientist to help us objectively get things right then. I wonder if aside from allowing torture and bombing of civilians, if it were discovered that loving man-boy relationships could be socially and psychologically beneficial, if pedophilia could one day be construed as objectively moral behavior. And could there then also be benefits of slavery of the few (millions) for the benefit of the many (billions)?
I don't think that could ever be proven or shown based on simple reasoning - there is no benefit to it. It does remind me a little of Sam Harris's railway carriage issue:
Is it right to pull a lever and cause a runaway carriage to kill 1 railway worker vs 5 on another track?
Is it right to push someone to their death to hit the lever to save the 5 workers? (still only 1 dies).
Is it right to harvest the organs from a healthy person in order to save 5 lives?
That reminds me of the Canadian reporter who was covering the gorilla war in Nicaragua. A village he was in was surrounded by insergents who lined up 20 village men for execution. When the reporter pleaded for them the leader offered a deal. If the reporter himself would shoot one man of the 20 he would spare the 19. The wailing village women pleaded with the reporter to kill the oldest man and save the rest
The reporter under duress shot the old man. Then the insurgent leader killed the remaining 19. When the reporter got back to Canada he was arrested and charged with murder.
He got life
could there then also be benefits of slavery of the few (millions) for the benefit of the many (billions)? - Vander
That is the ethics of Yahweh not those of a post-enlightenment society.
Morality does not reduce to arithmetic. A world where universal human rights are respected represents a higher peak in the moral landscape than one where the weak can be enslaved.
It does remind me a little of Sam Harris's railway carriage issue: Is it right to pull a lever and cause a runaway carriage to kill 1 railway worker vs 5 on another track? - Simon
I have always answered no to that dilemma. I would not kill one to save 5. The victim cannot be used as a commodity without their consent.
I have always answered no to that dilemma. I would not kill one to save 5.
The truly righteous could of course sacrifice themselves to save the 5.
I wouldn't, not for strangers, unless I really knew and cared about at least one of them.
This is also where you need a boundary - how do you know the 5 are good people who deserve to be saved and not convicts who've murdered children? What if one goes on to become the next Hitler? etc...