¶ … Lenn Goodman's "Some Moral Minima"
Lenn Goodman's essay "Some Moral Minima" cannot be said to fail in the usual sense, because his argument is not strictly faulty, only irrelevant. He argues that certain things are inherently wrong, which in the case of his argument is true but only because "right" and "wrong" are meaningless concepts, given use when applied to an event that itself gives them meaning. In fact, any notion of "morals" is by definition made-up, so any argument about right and wrong morals is as supportable with evidence as an argument about the relative combat capabilities of any given Jedi in the Star Wars series. There is supporting evidence, but only in the fictional universe in which the concepts exist. Therefore, Goodman's critique of relativism succeeds, but only in replacing one faulty conception of reality with another.
This essay will argue that "Some Moral Minima" suffers from faulty assumptions regarding reality, rather than morality, because it does not seem useful to engage a false dichotomy on its own terms. This is why the argument in which Goodman engages is actually between the notion of "morality" as something other than human evolutionary cultural creation and the realization that concepts like morality only exist as creations of human consciousness and language. Thus, the relativism Goodman critiques is in fact just another iteration of the same faulty thinking, because neither Goodman's position nor the relativism he presents acknowledge the fundamentally fictional nature of the topic under discussion. "Fiction" here should not be taken to mean something derogatory or irrelevant, but rather to acknowledge that while human action and thought has absolutely no bearing on the fundamental functioning of the universe, and draws no inherent guidance from it, human thought has constructed meaning in the face of the universe's amorality, and at this historical moment the human species has evolved such that it functions for the greatest benefit of the whole species and its constituent organisms when certain patterns of optimal behavior are recognized and accepted, which from time to time are fetishized and worshipped as "morals." In murder is wrong, not because "it destroys a human subject," but because the word "murder" contains "wrongness" as an integral part of its definition (Goodman 89). The series of chemical and physical actions and reactions that precipitate the death of a person have no moral weight, whether or not those actions include electrical impulses in the brain of a second person. If, however, those processes are considered within any number of the linguistically-limited conceptions of reality created by the human species, then those processes may be categorized within one of those linguistically limited conceptions as either "right" or "wrong." Goodman never acknowledges that this is the case, so when he scales up his basic assumption that "murder is wrong" in an attempt to identify the first of his moral minima, his problems expand exponentially. "Why is mass murder any different from a criminal's slaying a marked victim? Why is genocide uglier than murder? The answer lies in the intent, not just the scale of the crime […] Genocide is a denial of our common humanity. It raises the horror of murder to a higher power by negating not only individual but shared aspirations" (Goodman 89, 93). That genocide is generally distasteful to humans can be explained much more simply if one considers the manner in which all events are given meaning by humans; that is, considering the reception of genocide with a proper understanding of the rules that govern that reception.
Put simply, because all human meaning is generated from the interaction of symbols humans have generally agreed to mean…
Moral Minima" by Lenn E. Goodman. (2010) The Good Society 19(1): 87-94 Discussion of morality is almost always contentious. Who defines morality? Whose morality is it? Can one culture's morality be imposed on another's? Can the Westerners judge non-Westerns based on Western understandings of morality and vice versa? These are obviously legitimate questions. Philosophers, social scientists, human rights activists, politicians, and even criminals engage in this debate. In the last
By Goodman's analysis, the systematic murder of one million people motivated by the specific intention of genocide is morally worse than the systematic murder of one million and one people selected arbitrarily. The author does not explain why the motivation for unjustified murder is such an important distinction; it would seem that unjustified murder is always wrong and that the scale of victims is always a more accurate measure
Relativism n "Some Moral Minima," Lenn Goodman argues things simply wrong. Do Goodman ? Using specific examples, explore challenges Goodman presents relativism. Determine universal moral requirements, defend answer. Moral minima: Goodman's arguments against relativism Given the increasing globalization of modern society, combined with the influence of postmodernism, the philosophy of moral relativism has become increasingly popular and accepted within the academy. However, according to Lenn E. Goodman's essay "Some moral minima," some things
Relativism and Mortality Goodman and Relativism For centuries, philosophers have debated the nature of our ethics and laws. Many have seen them as a relative concept, under the structure of relativism, where there is no universal foundation for the structure of ethics and law because individual societies differ so dramatically and should have their own ethical structures relative to their unique needs and structures. However, Lenn E. Goodman tends to disagree with