Event Title

The Historical and Contemporary Understanding of Moral Value

Presenter Information

Carson Cope, Winthrop University

Faculty Mentor

M. Gregory Oakes, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Philosophy and Religious Studies

Location

DiGiorgio Campus Center, Room 220

Start Date

24-4-2015 2:35 PM

Description

In the following essay, I argue that, while historically moral value has been posited as coming from an objective source (such as God) and while this objective source has been understood as a necessary condition for the existence of moral value, in the absence of an objective source of moral value (such as the death of God) there exists a potential for the creation of moral value, so that moral nihilism does not follow from the lack of an objective source of moral value. I look at Plato, Augustine, and Kant, who assert that moral value requires an objective source to exist. For Plato, the form of the good is the objective source of moral value, for Augustine, God, and for Kant, the categorical imperative. Next, I examine Frans De Waal, Bernard Reginster, and Simone de Beauvoir, who provide potentials to avoid moral nihilism. Frans De Waal rejects Veneer Theory that posits morality as a thin veneer over an otherwise selfish nature and instead asserts that the building blocks of morality are evolutionarily ancient. Next, Bernard Reginster interprets Nietzsche’s will to power as the will to overcome resistance and subsequently advocates an ethics of creativity. Finally, Simone Beauvoir asserts that we should treat every man’s ultimate end as freedom. I conclude that, in the absence of an objective source of moral value, there exists a potential for the creation of moral value, so that moral nihilism does not follow from the lack of an objective source.

Comments

Winner, Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Scholarship in Senior Capstone Seminar, Winthrop University Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, December 2014

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Apr 24th, 2:35 PM

The Historical and Contemporary Understanding of Moral Value

DiGiorgio Campus Center, Room 220

In the following essay, I argue that, while historically moral value has been posited as coming from an objective source (such as God) and while this objective source has been understood as a necessary condition for the existence of moral value, in the absence of an objective source of moral value (such as the death of God) there exists a potential for the creation of moral value, so that moral nihilism does not follow from the lack of an objective source of moral value. I look at Plato, Augustine, and Kant, who assert that moral value requires an objective source to exist. For Plato, the form of the good is the objective source of moral value, for Augustine, God, and for Kant, the categorical imperative. Next, I examine Frans De Waal, Bernard Reginster, and Simone de Beauvoir, who provide potentials to avoid moral nihilism. Frans De Waal rejects Veneer Theory that posits morality as a thin veneer over an otherwise selfish nature and instead asserts that the building blocks of morality are evolutionarily ancient. Next, Bernard Reginster interprets Nietzsche’s will to power as the will to overcome resistance and subsequently advocates an ethics of creativity. Finally, Simone Beauvoir asserts that we should treat every man’s ultimate end as freedom. I conclude that, in the absence of an objective source of moral value, there exists a potential for the creation of moral value, so that moral nihilism does not follow from the lack of an objective source.