Morality is a philosophical view concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour. Overall, morality is a particular system of values, which are dictated by individual’s inner standards or principles. There are two views on morality; they are skeptical and non-skeptical views. Moral skepticism is a collection of views that denies or challenges various reasons of morality. On the opposite hand, this paper will explore a non-skeptical view that supports the moral ideas indefinitely.
Morality and Skepticism
The concept of skepticism of morality is quite unusual to find these days. Arenson (2020) argues that it is very unusual for philosophers to identify themselves as skeptics nowadays. Skepticism is usually seen as a threat to be dispelled, not as an attitude to be easily adopted. Arenson (2020) states “when skeptical principles are put in opposition to the principles of nature, they vanish like smoke, and leave the most determined sceptic in the same condition as other mortals” (p.21). When the question comes to morality, it is, arguably, in human nature to follow the unwritten rules and codes. Skeptics argue that individuals who follow morality make a conscious and a well-rounded decision in doing so.
However, a traditional (non-skeptical) view supports morality as something ethereal, non-measurable and non-factorable. Morality is a philosophical view concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour. As well as that, morality is a particular system of values, which are dictated by person’s inner standards or principles, according to non-skeptics. Skeptics believe that such system of values is not innate and should therefore, be continuously questioned (Arenson, 2020) in order to find the best possible pillar to base a moral decision on. Non-skeptics, however, believe the opposite, that such pillar is innate and has been adopted many years ago by our ancestors to the extent, when morality is inherited like a second nature and the subsequent decision-making process is fully unconscious.
Non-Skeptic View of Morality
One of the main arguments of moral skepticism is the idea that an individual makes a conscious decision before the action, which undermines the idea of morality being unconscious. Skeptics argue that there is a conscious moment seconds before an individual is making an action or decision. They even suggest that there are neurobiological findings that demonstrate that there is a conscious intention that happens milliseconds before the action (Caruso, 2018). On the other hand, such findings are widely criticized, and thus are not fully considered argumentative to prove that conscious decision can exist disguised as unconscious.
Moreover, recent works in psychology and social psychology on automaticity and the adaptive unconscious, has shown that the causes that move individuals are often less transparent to themselves (Caruso, 2018). The individuals might assume diverging in many cases from the conscious reasons, they provide to explain and/or justify their actions. Non-skeptical view of morality suggests that all the actions are taken on a subconscious level, thus making invisible concept of morality responsible for the actions. Thus, it indicates that the conscious mind exercises less control over behavior than it has been traditionally assumed, making humankind less conscious, rational, responsible agents. Pettit (2018) argues that morality goes hand in hand with personhood. The appeal of being moral is nothing more or less than the appeal of being a person with integrity, a person integrated around suitably sustainable commitments.
Any concept of desirability, including one of moral desirability, is designed to mediate prescriptions for what individuals desire, including by implication, intend, and in that sense, it is essentially practical. It will mediate suitable prescriptions in relation to agents or agencies who have the capabilities required for being fit to be held responsible for the choice made. Thus, such concept can be used to prescribe for what an individual should do, for how they should be, or for what they should collectively establish (Pettit, 2018). This concept may prescribe how individuals should act in the external world and what views or internal attitudes they should cultivate. These concepts may come in different varieties and they mean moral desirability. Whenever something is desirable, it is usually due to satisfying certain considerations. As well as that, by almost all accounts, the considerations that make an alternative morally desirable, rather than desirable by any other way, are characteristically unrestricted.
These considerations are not restricted to the self-interests of a particular individual, code of law, evidence and so on. The considerations that argue for morale desirability over another option outweigh competing considerations that reflect just a restricted range of interests or a restricted standpoint of concern (Pettit, 2018). The main skeptical argument about morality, is that it is a conscious, in some cases self-driven, decision that is made on the evidence. However, following the traditional view it is clear that morality and the evidence would face one another, thus making an individual choose between the moral a concept and the concept based on the evidence. This is one of the dominant differences between the skeptical and non-skeptical views on morality. Skeptical view believes that the concept of evidence is included into the concept of morality, which is arguably not always the case. The evidence sometimes can go against morality, when an individual makes an unconscious choice.
Morality is a philosophical view that helps an individual to distinguish good from bad. There are two views on morality, as defined by many philosophers; they are skeptical and non-skeptical views. Moral skepticism is a collection of views that denies or challenges various reasons of morality. Skepticism questions the innate nature of morality, instead stating that morality is a conscious choice. Non-skeptical view supports the idea that morality is in individual’s nature. Non-skeptical view claims that morality goes hand in hand with personhood, thus being an inseparable part of the person’s character. This leads to an idea that morality is an unconscious decision-making act that does not include many variables apart from the individual feelings.
Whereas many skeptical researches argue and try to prove that there is, in fact, a moment of consciousness when making a decision that will bear a moral responsibility for an individual, there are also findings that prove the opposite. Recent works in psychology and social psychology has shown that the causes that move individuals are often less transparent to themselves and nearly impossible for individuals to justify. This means that there is an unconscious control over individuals’ behaviour, supporting the non-skeptical idea that morality and moral responsibility are innate to human nature. Moreover, the findings on moral desirability show that when given two considerations while making a decision, the rational consideration will come opposite to the consideration, which is based on morality.
While skeptics will argue that morality should consist of external factors and observations, non-skeptics believe that morality might come as an opposite to the external factors and observations. Overall, the non-skeptical view on morality supports the idea that morality should not be questioned since it is a given. As well as that, it should not be dependent on external evidence and factors. Lastly, decisions based on morality are subconsciously made, as opposed to being a conscious logical chain of thought.
Arenson, K. (2020). The Routledge handbook of Hellenistic philosophy (pp. 1-55). Routledge.
Caruso, G. (2018). Skepticism about moral responsibility. Stanford Archive 2019.
Pettit, P. (2018). The birth of ethics: Reconstructing the role and nature of morality. Oxford University Press.