If I piqued anyone’s interests with my previous entries maybe I can start this one with an open ended question. Do you think there can be such a thing as moral science?
To define it, it would be equal essentially to physical or biological science in that it would describe universal processes that go on in the world or within a specific set, like human beings.
A moral science would thus describe at the very least, a framework according to which to determine how ALL people form their morals and at most determine the actual morals that are universal to all people.
It is important to distinguish this from the imposition of ones morals on to others. This would not be the objective of moral science anymore than it is an objective of physical sciences to impose ones arbitrary idea of why objects attract each other on to all others to believe. It is about observing, hypothesizing and then testing the hypothesis.
Someone attempted to create such a scientific framework already. I’m not sure he’s the only one (probably not), but he’s the one who caught my attention. He is Stefan Molyneux and his theory is called “Universally Preferable Behavior“. I’ve read Part 1 where he explains most of his theory and I have to say it’s quite interesting. Stefan Molyneux is quite an unorthodox and somewhat controversial philosopher with a bit of a cult following. My assumption is that the latter is due to him being one of those easily impressive people with leadership qualities that tend to, intentionally or not, attract a little too much zeal from those impressed. I’m not a big fan of personallity cults, but it’s no reason to completely dismiss the man and his ideas. Often the best and most revolutionary ideas have been brought about by most controversial of persons.
But I’m not necessarily making up my mind about whether UPB is a valid moral science theory or not. By default I do subscribe, to an extent, to moral relativism if not because I believe that morals are always subjective and cannot be a part of predictable patterns, then because I don’t yet understand such patterns. Just because something hasn’t been discovered yet, doesn’t mean it wont be, and attempts like the UPB are thus worth paying attention to.
One thing I continue to believe as strongly as ever though is this. I can hardly go wrong if I adopt only a single moral principle, or just The Principle if you wish, a “prime directive” to use trek-speak: non-initiation of force. Whether one is a moral absolutist or a moral relativist if both can agree that at least we wont force each others beliefs and morals on to each other we can make tremendous proggress as we continue to journey through life and explore the world and our beliefs.