Right, preference for ice cream is not a moral issue. Suffering is. And there's no need to be concerned about how I relate to non-human life. There's not even a need to be concerned about how I relate to non-life. That's actually the beauty of embracing objective morality rooted not even in God's own preferences but in essence and, ultimately, the non-distinction between Existence and Good.
Be that as it may, you are threatening to go down the same path kenny did. You are implicitly asking an epistemological question--how we know how to relate to non-(human)life. But such matters are completely unrelated to my argument. I could be a racist fool who thinks that the earth is ours for the raping. I could be wrong about every conceivable moral issue. I could not have an iota of an idea of how to explain to you my moral convictions beyond an appeal to personal sentiment. And none of that would matter. What does matter is the argument itself:
Either moral language can be predicated objectively to acts or it cannot. If it cannot, morality itself does not exist. If it can, objective moral values exist. For all my long OP, this is actually a very obvious point. If the color "red" just did not exist, then the word "red" wouldn't refer to anything. Put differently, suppose I said, "look at that red apple." That sentence presumes that at least three things really and truly exist: looking, redness, and apples. Moreover, it assumes that those three concepts are related to each other in such a way that those words can meaningfully (not just grammatically!) be strung together. Against that, remember Chomsky's point that "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously." Just as that sentence is non-sense, the sentence about red apples would be non-sense if redness simply did not exist, that is, if there were no property in apples to which the word "red" corresponds.Exactly
the same thing is true about morality, because exactly the same thing is true about ALL predication. A word either refers to something or it does not. So when we say, "slavery is evil" we are taking the word "evil" and assuming it refers to something real
. Now there are three, and ONLY three, ways in which we can interpret this sentence:
1. "evil" has no reality of any kind. In this case, the word refers to absolutely nothing and is meaningless. We may as well say, "slavery is aoiwnafaslkrl."
2. "evil" has merely cognitive reality (like unicorns). since things that only have cognitive reality do not, by definition, exist in actual, non-mental things, then there is no "evil" in slavery (which is an actual, non-mental thing). Therefore, the word "evil" in the sentence refers to nothing at all. Again, the sentence means exactly the same thing as "slavery is aoweinfaweoihfawl;fh." If, though, the phrase is taken to refer not to slavery (since there is no evil in slavery) but rather to my own self, such that "evil" refers to my preferences, then the phrase actually means, "slavery is something I detest/prefer did not exist." notice that the words "slavery, something, I, detest/prefer, exist" all refer to actual realities
. But since "evil" is not an actual reality, but only a cognitive one, we can't predicate it to something. So the phrase isn't talking about slavery after all, but rather talking about me
and my preferences
3. "evil" has objective reality. therefore, the phrase is attributing something real (evil) to something real (slavery).
That is ALL the options. To claim that good or evil have no objective reality is to claim that things like slavery aren't really evil and things like humility aren't really good. It's all mere preferences. And THAT makes a mockery of suffering, and you should be ashamed and embarrassed that you would even entertain such a notion. Because you are saying that suffering isn't really evil after all. Sure, you don't prefer it. But the only difference in that and me not preferring chocolate is degree. It is exactly the same thing. I don't prefer chocolate. You REALLY don't prefer suffering. But they are exactly the same idea by nature
, and the fact that you would reduce the suffering of people to a mere preference is absolutely disgusting. You may object that you are not
reducing it so, but that's just your failure to be intellectually honest about what your beliefs entail.
The objective/subjective divide is great but problems and suffering arise when we take these things too seriously. I worry you take these things to heart, subject and object are useful, not real.
And this, of course, is absurd. You are collapsing the distinction between the knower and the known. This idea entails radical monism, in which everything is the same thing, including truth and falsehood. That violates the law of non-contradiction and is self-defeating.
Now, if your response to my argument is just to say that everything is really the exact same thing, then I'll write you off as exactly as foolish conspiracy theorists who think Bush was behind 9/11, that we never landed on the moon, or that we're all in some giant Truman Show of our own. f you are going to go as far as to deny reason itself in order to avoid submitting to what reason insists upon, then pretending not to recognize hyperbole and attempting to derail serious conversation through that is the least
of your problems.
So, again, I ask, would you like to engage with the substance of what I'm saying, or are you going to continue to fuss about implications (that don't even follow, which further demonstrates your failure to grasp the original point) and attack reason itself?