Marx and Woman (was Re: Gender & Free Speech)

Wed Mar 22 19:29:28 PST 2000

In a message dated 00-03-22 17:21:07 EST, you write:

<< J: And for an moral realist like me, that just shows that some people have

been wrong in their moral beliefs. People used to think that slavery was OK,

but they were wrong then, Slavery is never OK.


>In point of fact a lot of people felt slavery was and is ok and it took the

old adage that might makes right to shut them down.

People think that, but they are wrong. I don't see that the exsitence of current moral difference makes moral relativism any more plausible than the existence of past moral differences. Nor does the fact that some people are impervious to reason make their views justified by any lights.

> By some of the latest

estimates some 27 million people are in slavery as I type. David Ellerman

argues quite convincingly in a way different from Marx[ists] that in the

"west" the renting of human beings is slavery.

Yeah, yeah, but you knwo what I mean. Chattel slavery is qualitatively different from wage labor even if some of the same things are wrong with both of them.

> There are classes of social

facts that people call morals but history itself refutes moral realism.

It can't do that. All it can show is that people disagree. They disagree about lots of things, including whether evolution is true, whether there is a God, whether the world is round. Taht does not mean that some views are not wrong and others are not right.

> It

is the tacit and explicit adherence to moral realism that is the source of a

lot of the authoritarian behaviors we still find on this planet. It is a

desperate platonism wielded by those who want, ultimately, the final word in

debates that don't yield to bivalence[ not that you're like that at all


I am all for bivalence. I think tr\wo valued logic is just grest,, and moral statements are capable of truth valuation as true or false--not true for me and false for thee, but just true or false.

Even if it is true that moral realism is a source of authoritarianism and a symptom of intolerance for ambiguity or something like that, the proposition that moral judgments are objective might still be true.

It is an error to think that relativism promotes tolerance. I can think, well my moral views are right for me, but not for you. However, my moral views say that your cherished values are evil, so I am morally justified by my lights in forcing you to give them up. Of course, that's not OK by your lights, but mine (we will say)\, which are right for me, do not include tolerance.

> Who on this list wouldn't have plotted to murder Hitler after,

say, 1938?


Why is this supposed to support relativism? Moral realism better explains why it would have been OK to do this--because Hitler's actions even up to then were objectively evil. Or, if you will, just evil. Not evil for us and not for him. They were evil, and if the Nazis thought otherwise, they were wrong.


More information about the lbo-talk mailing list