In many aspects of our lives people can view things subjectively, such as works of art, religion, beliefs etc. I have heard though that morality is similar, that it is a subjective exercise in judgment. This would imply for every possible action that I could commit against another human being it could be viewed as good by one person and evil by another. So I would like the following situations to be examined subjectively such that both a good interpretation and an evil one can be reached.
A man enters a house and goes upstairs finding a woman asleep. He proceeds to rape and kill her. Having enjoyed this exercise he casually leaves the house.
A banker notices that he can manipulate the price of certain stocks by changing the interest rate his bank charges on certain loans. He uses this knowledge to his benefit on the stock market and puts the profits in off-shore accounts so that he won't have to pay taxes on them.
A young woman notices that a child is about to be hit by a bus, she leaps in front of the bus to save the child. She pushes the child out of the way and instead gets hit by the vehicle.
Remember to show how each of these situations is one of subjective morality and that it can be shown that the actions taken by the people can be viewed as both good and bad. Also, supposition is not allowed, all the information that you are allowed is given.
I think you can judge an action from an objective standpoint, whether it be from a religious or humanist perspective, or one from the many other branches of thought, from existentialism to nihilism. However, all these objective standards are subjective because we have no proof of some objective set of moral laws. We have to create or morality. The way we judge things can be objective relative to a moral standard. But the moral standard itself will always be subjective. Situation 1 is the only one where I cannot think of a system of belief that would justify such an act, but unfortunately, I'm sure somebody out there would find this sick action okay. Situation 2 can be argued as moral from an objectivist/hedonist perspective, and immoral from a christian/muslim/humanist/marxist perspective (just to name a few). Situation 3 can be argued as immoral, or at least unwise, form a nihilistic or objectivist philosophy, and moral from many others. Even if a certain standard is held be a vast majority of people, it is still technically subjective, at least in my opinion.
I'm a bit vague as to what you're asking me to do. Are you asking me to imagine a situation where the presented circumstances can be justified as good or evil or are you asking for something else entirely?
That said, what do you define as morality? What do you define as subjective or objective? I would have to agree with Jackson that the "rules" we all ascribe to that define morality is in and of itself subjective. There is no objectivity when it comes to morality because, one could argue, there is no external law which defines what is or is not moral that is universal not only to humanity but to all living things. For instance, while situation 1 is certainly immoral according to human standards, such as they are and in most places, to a spider this would seem (if we allow anthropomorphism for the sake of the argument) perfectly normal and natural and baffling as to why this would be an issue. "What do you mean I can't kill and eat my mate afterwards? What kind of ludicrous and arbitrary rules are you coming up with?" In Situation 2, to a squirrel, the question of manipulating "profits" (in this case, the collection and stealing of nuts and other stored foods from other squirrels) would seem both logical, acceptable, and preferable. In situation 3, I can hardly think of any mosquito or cicada that would willingly sacrifice itself to save the life of another. You might even argue that we should only consider the "higher intelligence" species, but even this is morally gray. I've found that, compared to bottlenose dolphins or chimpanzees, humans are actually pretty swell. Bottlenose dolphins will keep harems of female sex slaves with them, and male bachelor pods have been known to hunt down, gang rape, and drown female dolphins (http://scienceray.com/biology/marine-biology/not-so-cute-dolphin-ga...). Why do they do that? Your guess is as good as mine, but I can't imagine it's for any moral reason. I don't remember chimpanzees, but it was something about intertribal warfare and cannibalism, among other things.
Gravity is universal. It affects everything, and no matter how much we squawk and scream, gravity will not change. "Morality" as defined by humans is not necessarily something that is shared even by the species on our own planet, never mind universally, and it changes constantly.
Morals are basic principals or ideas of wrong and right. For example, if I were to steal from you, that would obviously be wrong of me. It's immoral. Wrong is wrong and right is right. No subjectivity is shown when dealing with morals.
Morality, on the other hand, is a person's values of morals. Values are a subjective matter as no one can tell another person what to value. It's his opinion. In the example in which I stole, I did not value the morals saying it's wrong to steal. My morality allowed me to do wrong.
I'll try to show this when explaining the situations.
Situation 1: From the perspective of the man, he felt he was benefiting. How he was benefiting, I couldn't say. Maybe he wanted the pleasure or disliked this woman. No matter, he felt he gained something. He payed no attention to the negative consequences. He also may have even known this was wrong, but he didn't care because he did not value such morals. From a point of view seeing this as evil, a woman is being abused and her life is being taken away. Any person who is moral would be appalled because of what he (the moral person) believes and values.
Situation 2: Frankly, I do not understand this situation enough to analyze and explain it.
Situation 3: From the woman's point of view, she was doing what is right. She wouldn't be able to live with herself if she let that child get hurt! Her morality allowed her to make sure no one was hurt or lost their life if she could help it. Now, maybe from a close relative of the woman's point of view, this was selfish. She sees that someone close to her is in badly injured and now has medical bills to pay. In this situation, she is amoral or without morals. She doesn't care about that child. All she cares about is that this act hurt someone close, so she isn't happy about it.
You are adding to the situations. I wanted you to stay within the realm of the information that I gave you, that way it is more like real life. In your everyday life you, just like everyone else, tend to draw snap judgments about actions and people based on severely limited information.
To make myself a little clearer I am not asking how the situation can be good or bad depending on one's viewpoint, rather I am asking how the third parties view point can be both good and bad. i.e. you observe the situation and can logically arrive at the conclusions that the person did both the right thing, and following a different line of logic, the wrong thing.
Well morality is subjective if it's not inherent in the universe. So without a deity morality is manmade and therefore inherently subjective or nonexistent.
S1: Good: The man had a good time and for him it was worth the suffering of the woman since he got to enjoy himself
Bad: People shouldn't harm others.
S2: Good: Man has no moral obligation to abide by the law, nor be forced to pay for the laws existence.
Bad: He's a citizen of the country and therefore should abide by the law instead of manipulating the system.
S3: Good: The woman sacrificed her life for the life of a child.
Bad: You're not morally obligated to look out for others, only yourself. That's how the strong survive and the weak die.
That was kind of half assed, but it would be a lot easier with more detailed and specific examples. Anyways, even if this sounds bad to you and one side is obviously more correct than the other that's just how opinions work and it's how subjectivity is defined. To be Death Grips is obviously a better band than Nickleback and Mad Men is obviously a better show than The Big Bang Theory but other people disagree. I don't understand why, but it's how it works.
The point of having less information is to make the situations that I presented you with more realistic. You are not a god so you won't know all the specifics of how people interact.
Thanks for the interpretations, I was having a bit of trouble understanding the concept of subjective morality because for me it has always been objective.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_relativism might help you. From what I understand, it's basically "the way you are brought up will change whether something is good or bad."
That said, it's nigh impossible to find any justification to your situations without adding information. Context means a lot in the action.
For instance, although deplorable, S1 would probably be considered acceptable (or at least annoying) in more heavily patriarchal societies (I hate to have to name cultures, but the central Asian cultures are pretty patriarchal and highly discriminatory towards women). In such an instance, if a man forced himself on a woman, the WOMAN would be stoned because she is considered an adultress - whether or not she WANTED him to partake in such an act does not matter to some societies. She is considered to have seduced the man and the entirety of the act is considered wholly her fault. This is considered just and moral in said society, and even the woman's family would agree.
Situation 2 would be considered moralistic if the man is depriving an unjust and/or totalitarian government from its tax revenue. If, for instance, a Syrian banker decided he did not like the Assad regime, this would be considered a righteous act by anyone not in the Syrian government.
I'm pretty sure this violates the strictures you imposed about "less information" but that's where I think the idea of moral relativism comes into play.
wow... well if you feel a need to justify that first one as good... I highly advise you see a doctor. as for the second, that's cheating, he isn't doing anything to get the money, he isn't even stealing, in conclusion its not only wrong its also boring. and finely in the 3rd situation... well I suppose that's natural selection at work if the girl can't manage to push the kid out of the way without getting hit herself (I mean honestly, at least go for the tackle).
Showing that the first situation can be good is an exercise in subjective morality. Most people would tend to agree that what the man did is sick but it is good to understand how some person somewhere might feel justified.