beings even after human beings have departed from the scene and even if such

Beings even after human beings have departed from the

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beings, even after human beings have departed from the scene, and even if such principles are never exemplified. Here's an example designed to cement those points. It isn't pretty. I propose that the following moral principle is eternally true: it is wrong to hammer nails into a living baby, chop it into a billion pieces, boil the remains and force its mother to drink the concoction. Thank God such a thing has never happened. Hopefully it never will. Neither of these points alters the truth of the principle. Lest you think that such a principle comes into existence only when human babies do, imagine the scenario only slightly changed. Suppose, a thousand years from now, that we encounter beings just like us in every way, except that their sustaining systems are silicon-based, rather than DNA-based. Still, it would be wrong to mutilate and murder such a baby. The fact that such beings don't exist, and probably never will, doesn't alter the truth of the amended principle. If you agree with that, then you have come around to the idea that moral principles might be eternal. For such principles can be true even if they are never exemplified (much like the principle about the trillion-sided figure). They can be true prior to the existence of the things they mention (the alien infanticide example). They can be true even prior to the existence of a language, or a language-user, capable of formulating them (two atoms and two atoms...). Since that is so, what is to prevent us from saying that they were always true? For consider: if such principles are allowed to be true even prior to the existence of the things they mention, then at what earlier point did they become true? I don't see any non-arbitrary moment one could rely on. Short of that, it seems that they were always true. Brief recap. The main criticism we are entertaining in this chapter is the one that charges ethical objectivists with an obscure account of the origins of moral truths. If moral skepticism is false, then moral principles are not human inventions. If the Divine Command Theory is false, then God doesn't make them up, either. No one else is left. So it must be that no one makes up the moral rules. But if that is so, then it seems that objectivists are committed to the existence of eternal moral truths, and that seemed very implausible. My reply: first, an objective morality need not be an eternal one. Moral principles could be
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58 relevantly like those that govern DNA, photosynthesis, etc.--they came into being only when the things they describe took on a determinate nature. Yet I also bit the bullet, and in the last few pages have tried to show that the idea of eternal moral laws is not as weird or implausible as might have been thought. Who makes up the moral rules? No one. Then where do they come from? Well, where do the laws of chemistry, or physics, or mathematics come from? It may sound lame to say that such laws come from the way the physical, or chemical, or mathematical world is ordered. It's not that illuminating an answer. But it does have the virtue of being true. And not every question admits of
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  • The Maids, United Nations General Assembly, nihilists, University of Kansas, Russ Shafer-Landau

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