Ethical eternalism

This page is unfinished. It may be a mere placeholder in the book outline. Or, the text below (if any) may be a summary, or a discussion of what the page will say, or a partial or rough draft.

There must be a correct ethical system that reliably determines right and wrong. Adopting it will guarantee we will always do and be good, not evil.

This is the founding assumption of ethical eternalism. It’s pure wishful thinking—wistful certainty. There’s no reason to believe such a system exists; in any case, we certainly haven’t found it, after millennia of trying. So don’t hold your breath waiting for it before making ethical decisions.

Religious ethical systems can be maintained only through faith, in the face of contradictions—increasingly unattractive.

The ethical systems promoted by academic philosophers are equally implausible, even if they are supported by reams of complicated arguments. Bizarrely, advocates of each agree it has profound flaws they have no idea how to fix, and yet… since there must be a right system, their arguments boil down to “our fundamental flaws look less bad than yours.”

  • “Consequentialism is at least coherent, even if it gives obviously wrong answers most of the time”
  • “Deontology at least gives right answers in typical situations”
  • “Virtue ethics at least doesn’t insist that you do obviously wrong things, like the other two do”

Since there are well-known, excellent refutations for each eternalist ethical system, this page doesn’t need to go into much detail.

Rather, it will simply point out that eternalist ethics is bound to fail, because ethical issues are inherently nebulous. Worse than just being wrong, eternalism provides unbounded certainty for ethical opinions, which leads to extremism, and catastrophic atrocities committed on the basis of moral absolutism.

Navigation

This page is in the section ⚒︎ Ethics,
      which is in Doing meaning better.

The next page in this section is ⚒︎ Ethical nihilism.

The previous page is Schematic overview: ethics.

General explanation: Meaningness is a hypertext book. Start with an appetizer, or the table of contents. Its “metablog” includes additional essays, not part the book.

Subscribe to new content by email. Click on terms with dotted underlining to read a definition. The book is a work in progress; pages marked ⚒︎ are under construction.