I find myself incapable of believing that all that is wrong with wanton cruelty is that I don’t like it

I am not satisfied with what I have read or said on the philosophical basis of ethics. I cannot see how to refute the arguments for the subjectivity of ethical values but I find myself incapable of believing that all that is wrong with wanton cruelty is that I don’t like it. I have no difficulty in practical moral judgments, which I find I make on a roughly hedonistic [i.e. utilitarian] basis, but, when it comes to the philosophy of moral judgments, I am impelled in two opposite directions and remain perplexed.

Bertrand Russell, in Ray Monk, vol.2, replying to D.H. Monro’s critical essay on ‘Russell’s Moral Theories’, 1960

This is a fancy, philosophical way of saying, ‘I have no reason to reject relativism but something within me doesn’t like it.’ In other words, his philosophy couldn’t explain his moral impulses.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: