Mailbag Monday: A weekly segment that covers readers' questions and concerns about all things Philosophy, Bro, and Philosophy Bro that don't quite fit anywhere else. Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with 'Mailbag Monday' in the subject line.
Bro, i got a problem
So alright, you got this shit with ethics and not murdering for no reason and shit.
But if you keep asking 'why' long enough you discover that any sort of ethic-based code of living is eventually derived from either
- intuitive feelings (i FEEL it's not right to murder)
- or dogmatism (i can't murder because the bible says so)
and it eventually leads to some sort of nihilism where every fucking thing is subjective and you got like 2 philosibros arguing against eachother and im like 'yeah theyre both kinda right but whoever to believe doesnt really matter anyway cause its so fucking subjective'
Should i just pick whatever i 'feel' is right or live in apathy all my life?
Dude, you keep asking "why" long enough, you're going to have waaaaaay bigger problems than, "I'm not sure what's right or wrong anymore." Descartes tried it, and he had to rely on the existence of God and a really fucking suspect notion of how ideas work to get him anywhere other than, "Well, I exist right now at this moment in time insofar as time is maybe a thing." The external world, other minds, right and wrong, your memories of childhood, pretty much everything is fucked if you ask "why?" long enough.
In that sense, 'feelings' and dogmatism are really kind of the same thing - someone just asserting that this is the thing that grounds morality. You have to start somewhere! But people have derived morality from plenty of places - our capacity for pleasure and pain, our ability to reason, some sort of hypothetical contract - it's all over the place, man. It sure looks dogmatic when someone says, "It's utility that makes things right and wrong." Why? "Because. Because if we didn't get utility from things, we wouldn't have to bother." Well c'mon, that's just saying the same thing over again. But what are you supposed to say? What would an alternative to 'dogmatism' look like?