Is Ethics Subjective or Objective?

Neither and both.

Morality means the individual’s leap to meaning in life, it is an ideology that in theory can be non-violent if the individual decides martyrdom for that meaning is part of the meaning of their life. Ethics is essentially a group’s morality, it is the social construct by which a social group arbitrates morality conflicts among members of its group so that the conflicts do not disrupt and destroy the group’s ability to exist and maintain its social construct meaning and power. By necessity, ethics must involve an element of violence though this is not obvious since usually most members are not involved in the enforcement aspect of the ethics. Even an ethics of non-violence will be enforced by violence. If an ethics has no violence element, it is simply a social construct ideology that makes nice parlor conversation but is meaningless in the struggles of life and eventually will achieve social suicide by disappearing from history. All social groups have a code of ethics including such as the mafia, the Russian mob, and the lowest street gang on the West Side of Chicago. In my experience, these latter are more honest, consistent, and loyal to their ethics than the vast majority of moral busy bodies that enforce “legal” codes of ethics that are in denial of their violence. However, complying with the code of ethics of the mafia for example does not make you a moral person.

Morality and ethics are not the same.

Law is simply an ethics with a monopoly on violence.

Language is “objective” when it describes by means of hypotheses subject to Ockham’s Razor and makes quantifiable predictions that can be tested and falsified in repeatable parameter controlled experiments. Objective truth is pragmatic: its truth is ontologically real as long as the words of its truth work to solve the described problem. “To be is to be the value of a bound variable”. Willard Van Orman Quine. “Subjective” misses one or all of these attributes.

Thus, an ethics that works or is successful in having a social group survive its struggles with the universe and other social groups is objectively good; one that does not work but leads to the group’s destruction or loss of power is objectively bad. However, for any given individual in the group who disagrees with the ethics but is forced either by violence or threat of violence to comply with it, it is subjective and a basis to struggle against it regardless of whether or not the ethics is objectively good in terms of survival for the group. Existentially, social history is the struggle between these two objective and subjective meanings.

 

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