A Map With A Few of My Paths to Objective Morality

Yesterday I kicked off a series called “Paths to Objective Morality”. In response to commenters vigorously challenging my choice of vocabulary in calling morality “objective”, I decided to lay out my justification for my word choice systematically and to explain how it will be justified in each of the major components of my overall account of morality. This post serves as one of the most comprehensive one-post overviews of what is going on in my moral philosophy and should be able to serve as a master post and map for the “Paths to Objective Morality” series itself.

Why I Make The Semantic Choice To Call Morality Objective Despite Being Uncommitted to an Ontology of Human-Independent Moral Facts

The main question in morality is, “How can we determine that we genuinely must do something even when it goes against our immediate, personal feelings, desires, will, perceived interests, etc.?” This is the normative question. Why must we do anything? What makes anything obligatory?

If there is to be genuine morality in the traditional sense of the word there are going to be some things that it can be truthfully said that one simply must do and some things it can be said that simply one must not do.

Inherent in the structure of morality is the assumption that there are potentially things which would pull against morality. Desires might compete with what one morally must do. Or the will. Or one’s feelings. Or one’s personal interests. Morality must be that which has some sort of genuine authority to compel even against these countervailing sources of reason or motivation to disobey what it insists upon.

If morality in the most consistent and genuine sense of the word is to be affirmed as something that really binds people in some way then it must prove that it has some sort of authority to override the various competing factors one finds within oneself that might lead one to choose against morality. A genuine morality must establish a source of reason and motivation to the subject such that the subject knows. We can call this several things. What should we call this thing that morality must establish it has in order to be genuinely the real and binding thing with true authority over people that people’s around the world and for all time in one way or another believed existed in some way? We could say that it is its normative force. I think  that’s a good term. We can also say that it is morality’s objectivity, taken in a particular sense. When we talk of the normative force of morality as being its objectivity we are conveying the sense in which morality is not merely acquiescence to what is subjective within us. It is not merely following our subjective desires, subjective feelings, our subjective interests, our subjective wills. In its most fundamental and binding respect it is not something that arbitrarily changes with the idiosyncrasies of each particular person or each particular situation. In some way it transcends them and gives a reason that can, with objectivity independent of the subject’s feelings, will, desires, interests, override these things and give the subject a command that the subject knows she must obey instead and knows she has a good reason to obey instead.

Now many ideas have grown up about how it is necessary for the world to be in order for morality to have this normative force and objectivity that can override the idiosyncrasies and partialities and prejudices and weaknesses of subjectivity. One strategy for explaining objectively overriding, normative force is to posit that there is a set of objective moral facts that are in some sense completely independent of humans. On this idea, somehow it is part of the fabric of the world that murder is wrong, for example, and this is the case whether or not there are humans.

Now some would say that to say that morality is objective we would have to posit this theory about how reality is. We would have to posit the existence of these facts that are totally independent of humans. But I think that we can say that morality is objective in the sense of having normative force to override what we subjectively feel, desire, will, etc. without having to posit that it is objective in the sense of existing human-independently as quarks and atoms and trees do.

All that is necessary for morality to be objectively normatively forceful for us is that it be independent of our subjective wills, subjective desires, subjective interests, and subjective feelings sometimes. It does not have to be independent of our being all together. It could theoretically be inextricably tied to humanity and yet still have objective force for us in the sense that sometimes when we are having subjective feelings, desires, wills, and interests which oppose it, we can apprehend it in our thought and realize, “despite what I subjectively want, I realize objectively that I must do as morality says.” This is the relevant sense of morality that has historically been the core meaning of the term. I want to prove that morality really can veto subjective states of mind with rational force such that it is irrational to ignore it. I want to prove that morality can establish itself through a number of rationally objective considerations from a number of rational angles.

I do not think I should abandon the word “objective” here, simply because I grant that the view that there are objective moral facts that are totally humanly independent is doubtable. I want to say that maintaining the meaning of “objectively normatively forceful” to override subjective states within us is more crucial to the historical meaning of morality than this one theory of reality that has been proposed to explain and give force to that objectivity.

While there are descriptive facts that are very relevant to understanding morality, the primary question of morality is normative: Why must we do or not do some things. It is not primarily descriptive the way science is. It is not primarily about a particular description of the world but primarily about determining what must be done and why. Therefore, when considering the phrase “moral objectivity” it is more important to me that we preserve (if at all philosophically possible) the ability to say morality is normatively objective (i.e., has sufficient reason in it to override what is subjectively felt, willed, desired, etc.) than that we retain the sense of “objective morality” where it means a description of the world as containing a particular kind of objective moral facts. That hypothesis is only interesting and important insofar as it has hope of establishing the normative sense of objective morality which is more integral to the received meaning and practical force of the very concept of morality itself.

This is why if I can establish that there are rational reasons to defer to norms against our momentary subjective preferences, I would say that morality is in the main “objective”. It is a way of affirming that morality is ideally capable of the kind of normative force that people have claimed for it.

How Explanations, Justifications, and Contextualizations of Morality May Be Revised Without Undermining Morality’s Character as Having Objective Normative Force

For it to have objective normative force, it does not have to have a lot of things often hypothesized in the past as existing to explain or justify it.

For one thing morality does not need to be completely unchanging. It could be something that is responsive to contexts. It can vary substantially with objectively relevant different cultural conditions across times and places. And while often we experience the tension between our subjective states and objective norms when it is incumbent upon us to follow rules we don’t feel like following at the moment, and so must treat rules as though inherently binding and not merely important for their use to us, ultimately those rules may not have a character by which they are always absolute or always totally independent of our interests. All they need to be able to do is sometimes have normative force to override our immediate subjective states of mind.

And even though we have to sometimes treat rules as though they are important independent of all considerations of consequences that our subjective preferences may be tempted to over-prioritize, nonetheless, in the long run and on the macro level, rules may be ultimately justified by reference to the way they lead to some ultimately important consequence or objective good. I think there is such an objective good—objective in the strong, human independent sense—and that it is power.

Power As Our Objective Good

Our power, in brief, is our good because we are constituted of it. Put simply, we are our powers. They constitute us. They make us up. We do not simply have reason, emotional capabilities, technological capacities, artistic abilities, physical strengths, social skills, sexuality, aesthetic sensitivity, etc. We only exist in and through such powers. Each of these broad categories of powers is composed of a large set of subset powers and can combine into more and more complex and efficacious powers. Definitionally our powers’ greatest possibilities for realization of themselves is our greatest good. (Accomplishing this total greatest power possibility often means curbing some powers in various ways for the sake of the total net power.)

The most objective sense of the word good we have is this one of functional effectiveness. “x being effective at bringing about y” is “x being objectively good at bringing about y“. “x and y functioning effectively together to a greater or lesser extent to make a z” is “x and y functioning well as a z“. To the extent that something functioning to an extent as a z fulfills the formal functional possibilities for z’s it is an effective, or good, z. Each power is understandable as one of these functional abilities, a form of effectiveness, objectively describable from a third person point of view. Each power is an ability of some set of x, y, z etc. to function together as a functional power in the world. Each functional power is, descriptively, an empirically “good” instance of that power insofar as that functioning happens well according to that kind of function that it is.

That goodness accumulates such that the more total functional power we have the more objective goodness we have. Our functional powers as humans extends beyond just functioning powerfully within ourselves. We are most powerful when we empower others such that our powers are able to function through them and multiply its effectiveness. This is the core of why contributing maximally to the total power of the total human community is our own highest apex of our own power.

Moral rules gain their objective normative force from the instrumental ways that they ultimately serve the total human community’s total growth in power. Since our interest in our own power is fundamentally tied to that total power, those rules gain objective normative force for us too. So objectively normative moral force with the ability to override our short term, micro level subjective interests need not be completely independent of our personal interests for its normative force (although this is often thought to be necessary). In my view, ultimately for us to really be bound to morality it must ultimately come back to our own objective interests. The normative force of morality comes from the ways that it instrumentally allows us to fulfill what I think are our objectively determinable interests. Those objectively determinable interests may be at odds with our subjective feelings, desire, will, or misperception of our actual interests. What I think is ultimately happening in morality is that it is overriding our misperception of our interests and our tendencies to subjectively desire in short term and micro level ways, in order to fulfill our ultimate interests on the macro and long term level, considering our good from a third person standard of what maximizes our total power.

Rational Standards For Coherent and Consistent Norms and Actions

Objective normative force is sometimes found in the need to square our moral judgments, our will, our desires, our beliefs, etc. all as internally consistent, coherent, free of practical contradictions, and not self-undermining. In these ways, morality can rationally compel us to realize we objectively must act in some ways and not in others comparable to the ways that concerns about consistency, coherency, and avoiding contradictions rationally compel us to believe in some ways and not in others.

Objectified Subjective Interests

Sometimes, objective normative force works against our subjective experience of our interests by determining what they them themselves are really after. For example, oftentimes our objective good involves simply fulfilling our subjective interests. But sometimes we misperceive even how to fulfill our subjective interests. We may, for example, have the subjective desire to take a medication we think will remedy our illness but in fact a different medication will actually do the trick far better. In that case Peter Railton points out that we have an “objectified subjective interest” in the latter medication. Our ultimate subjective desire is to feel better and to have that which makes us feel better, even if in our actual, subjectively experienced desire is for something else. Sometimes, I would argue, objectified subjective interests can lead to objectively normative reasons to be moral against our actually experienced subjective desires.

Intersubjectivity

Now another way that we can get objectivity in normative force is through what is known as “intersubjectivity”. We can observe that all relevant agents share a set of beliefs, desires, or interests. This can provide a degree of invariance between people that makes an appeal to what they share universal (at least to all relevant people) rather than idiosyncratically subjective. Appealing to something that all (or virtually all) subjectively recognize as desirable is more like appealing to something that is objective, since it is the same for everyone, than appealing to something subjective. So when, say, a legislator appeals to the importance of preventing flooding that would destroy the city and kill thousands of people, she is appealing to a goal that is at least intersubjectively desirable to all who would be in danger (and I would argue, further, objectively good). To speak technically we would call this intersubjective. If this was all there was to morality’s normative force we would probably have to call morality only “intersubjectively” grounded. But ultimately it is just another of many ways that morality is more like objective on net than subjective. It is the character of the appeal as being appealing to all independent of the idiosyncracies that separate them as subjects that is decisive in making it moral, rather than their subjectivity itself.

I will explain these various considerations that make morality objective in more depth in my future “paths to objective morality” posts. I just wanted to lay out an overview of more of the terrain and why I am inclined to call it, when speaking simply, a situation in which the ideal of objective moralities is a legitimate one to talk about. While we will never attain to total objectivity, it is an ideal we can approximate to one extent or another with numerous rational tools at our disposal.

Your Thoughts?

To read more of the substance of my arguments for objective morality, read any of my many posts on the subject. Most of them are listed below:

The Contexts, Objective Hierarchies, and Spectra of Goods and Bads (Or “Why Murder Is Bad”)

Goodness Is A Factual Matter (Goodness=Effectiveness)

Grounding Objective Value Independent Of Human Interests And Moralities

Non-Reductionistic Analysis Of Values Into Facts

Effectiveness Is The Primary Goal In Itself, Not Merely A Means

What Is Happiness And Why Is It Good?

On The Intrinsic Connection Between Being And Goodness

Deriving An Atheistic, Naturalistic, Realist Account Of Morality

How Our Morality Realizes Our Humanity

From Is To Ought: How Normativity Fits Into Naturalism

Can Good Teaching Be Measured?

Some People Live Better As Short-Lived Football or Boxing Stars Than As Long Lived Philosophers

The Objective Value of Ordered Complexity

Defining Intrinsic Goodness, Using Marriage As An Example

The Facts About Intrinsic and Instrumental Goods and The Cultural Construction of Intrinsic Goods

Subjective Valuing And Objective Values

My Perspectivist, Teleological Account Of The Relative Values Of Pleasure And Pain

Pleasure And Pain As Intrinsic Instrumental Goods

What Does It Mean For Pleasure And Pain To Be “Intrinsically Instrumental” Goods?

Against Moral Intuitionism

Moral vs. Non-Moral Values

Maximal Self-Realization In Self-Obliteration: The Existential Paradox of Heroic Self-Sacrifice

On Good And Evil For Non-Existent People

My Perfectionistic, Egoistic AND Universalistic, Indirect Consequentialism (And Contrasts With Other Kinds)

Towards A “Non-Moral” Standard Of Ethical Evaluation

Further Towards A “Non-Moral” Standard Of Ethical Evaluation

On The Incoherence Of Divine Command Theory And Why Even If God DID Make Things Good And Bad, Faith-Based Religions Would Still Be Irrelevant

God and Goodness

Moral Mutability, Not Subjective Morality.  Moral Pluralism, Not Moral Relativism.

How Morality Can Change Through Objective Processes And In Objectively Defensible Ways

Nietzsche: Moral Absolutism and Moral Relativism Are “Equally Childish”

Immoralism?

Is Emotivistic Moral Nihilism Rationally Consistent?

The Universe Does Not Care About Our Morality. But So What?

Why Be Morally Dutiful, Fair, or Self-Sacrificing If The Ethical Life Is About Power?

A Philosophical Polemic Against Moral Nihilism

Why Moral Nihilism Is Self-Contradictory

Answering Objections From A Moral Nihilist

If You Don’t Believe in Objective Values Then Don’t Talk To Me About Objective Scientific Truth Either

Is Anything Intrinsically Good or Bad? An Interview with James Gray

My Metaethical Views Are Challenged. A Debate With “Ivan”

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • http://stevebowen58.blogspot.co.uk/ Steve Bowen

    I think what you are doing is conflating objectively desirable consequences with an objectively good action. I don’t see this as necessary unless you are really so wedded to arriving at an objectively normative moral principle on the subjective basis that this is of itself a good thing.
    In some ways your paragraph on intersubjectivity is sufficient to arrive at a normative morality (sans moral realism) without redefining it as objective. Effectively a rational consensus is reached on objectively desirable consequences. The more the situation is defined the greater intersubjectivity you will achieve. For example ‘killing is wrong’ could seem more subjective than ‘killing this person at this time in these circumstances is wrong’.
    Whilst I agree that from a pragmatic point of view intersubjectivity may approach an illusion of objectivity asymptotically, I don’t think it helps to redefine this as actually objective. After all philosophy is careful with its definitions for this very reason even though it really only matters to people involved in meta-ethical debate and not to most people making everyday moral choices.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/camelswithhammers/ Daniel Fincke

      I agree that a technical distinction between objectivity and intersubjectivity is good for philosophers to maintain since it marks a real difference. But I think that if the effect of telling people as a shorthand “morality isn’t objective” were to have them underestimate just how closely intersubjectivity matches objectivity in practice is to risk misleading them when they come away from it thinking “oh, morality isn’t objective, therefore it’s idiosyncratically personal/a matter of one person’s will against another’s/arbitrary/non-binding” etc. on and on all the things that in common parlance saying morality is “not objective” entails.

      I am all for philosophical precision. I just want our shorthand statements to be ones that convey a greater sense for the practical truth when speaking in the imprecisions (and shorthands) of ordinary language.

  • Mike W. Laing

    The most objective sense of the word good we have is this one of functional effectiveness. “x being effective at bringing about y“ is ”x being objectively good at bringing about y“. “x and y functioning effectively together to a greater or lesser extent to make a z“ is ”x and y functioning well as a z“. To the extent that something functioning to an extent as a z fulfills the formal functional possibilities for z’s it is an effective, or good, z.

    This is exactly applicable to inanimate matter. There is nothing, and there is existence. Existence is good. Existence means possessing effectiveness. The more varied the possible effectiveness, the more possible ways existence can be realized, therefore variation is good.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/camelswithhammers/ Daniel Fincke

      This is exactly applicable to inanimate matter. There is nothing, and there is existence. Existence is good. Existence means possessing effectiveness. The more varied the possible effectiveness, the more possible ways existence can be realized, therefore variation is good.

      There is not nothing. There are only existing things.

      But, yes to the rest of it, inanimate matter is functionally good at various possible functions in various possible configurations it winds up in. Our goodness, our value, is just a particular instance of the general good of functioning in the universe.

  • staircaseghost

    Morality must be that which has some sort of genuine authority to compel even against these countervailing sources of reason or motivation to disobey what it insists upon.

    Couldn’t agree more! Now let’s see if your proposals can consistently hold this precept in mind. And remember, there are two (2) components to a thing being objective morality. First, it must be objective. Second, it must actually be morality! It does you no good if you can “objectively determine” whether something is a nutritious breakfast since “nutritious breakfast” is not what anyone means by “moral”.

    Our power, in brief, is our good because we are constituted of it. Put simply, we are our powers…. [d]efinitionally our powers’ greatest possibilities for realization of themselves is our greatest good.

    You will not find me arguing against the notion that self-realization is a generally noble goal. But I have to take issue with the bald assertion that our greatest good is “definitionally” self-realization of our “powers”, or that “being constituted of X” entails X being a good.

    Not without argument it doesn’t. And that which can be asserted without argument can be dismissed without argument. You are not entitled to simply assume that every “power” everything has is good. On the face of it, the “power” of the bombs in Boston to sever limbs was “more greatly realized” by the addition of shrapnel. So it seems that your “definition” cannot possibly be accurate.

    The most objective sense of the word good we have is this one of functional effectiveness. “x being effective at bringing about y“ is ”x being objectively good at bringing about y“.

    But this is, obviously, a hypothetical imperative, and not the categorical one that moral realism demands.

    You began by talking about morality being something which “has some sort of genuine authority to compel even against these countervailing sources of reason or motivation,” but “All things considered, I don’t want to bring about Y” a perfect defeater to the command that I bring about Y.

    Q.E.D.

    Moral rules gain their objective normative force from the instrumental ways that they ultimately serve the total human community’s total growth in power.

    “I don’t want to ‘serve the total human community’s total growth in power’, especially when this conflicts with my goals for myself and my loved ones.” There goes the objective normative force, up in a puff of smoke.

    Again, you will have no difficulty supplying examples where I would agree this would be a good thing. But what you are trying to do is make a theoretical identification of the two, so all I need is a single counterexample. In my experience, Neo-aristotelians almost never structure their arguments so as to anticipate and deal with these counterexamples.

    What is your evidence that someone who denies he is obligated to sacrifice himself on the altar of ‘the total human community’s total growth in power’ has made some empirical, logical, or conceptual error?

    We can observe that all relevant agents share a set of beliefs, desires, or interests. This can provide a degree of invariance between people that makes an appeal to what they share universal (at least to all relevant people) rather than idiosyncratically subjective.

    Now I’m confused. Didn’t you write a post, approvingly quoting Nietzsche saying: “Their usual mistaken premise is that they affirm some consensus among people, at least among tame peoples, concerning certain moral principles, and then conclude that these principles must be unconditionally binding also for you and me,” which he refers to as “childish”?

    It’s no sin to change views; have you changed your mind since then?

  • Dan Adamsky

    The link between power and functional effectiveness is put beautifully clearly, and I want to thank you personally for explaining succinctly something that I have had a difficult time explaining to people about Nietzsche’s moral philosophy for a long time. I’m going to crib this in conversation.

    However, I want to ask–and this seems especially relevant given that the last commenter skipped from humanity to all being–if you believe that power/functional effectiveness extends to other living creatures. I’ve always interpreted Nietzsche’s concept of power that way, as I don’t see any way that non-human creatures are morally distinguable from humans (only that their interests and our can sometimes be in conflict, at least apparently). Plus, Nietzsche explicitly refused the idea of human exceptionalism (for lack of a better word) in multiple instances (Antichrist 14 comes to mind). If this is the case, then must not power extend beyond merely human effectiveness? Living effectively as a human is certainly objectively different than living effectively as a camel or a bacterium, but there must be a broader power that constitutes functional effectiveness as a living creature, or even further, as you previously noted, functioning as an existing entity in the universe. With this in mind, I would amend your statement: “contributing maximally to the total power of the total human community is our own highest apex of our own power,” by substituting, at least, “living creature” for “human.” The utterly mind-boggling complexity of expanding that to the broadest good of effectively existing is perhaps a bridge too far, at least pragmatically. But the world of living things on the earth is at least closer to the realm conceivable variables to a certain degree. Obviously, this opens up the idea to questions of what is right or wrong to kill and in what circumstances, but I think we’re already there even when we’re limited to speaking about human interaction.

  • http://www.allexperts.com/ep/2724-111189/Atheism/Jeffrey-Eldred.htm Jeffrey Eldred

    My thoughts are very similar. I would say that intersubjectivity gives you almost everything though. We all acknowledge something to be valuable, at the very least some sense of value to being alive and some sense of value to experiencing happiness. Applying an intersubjective standard allows us to generalize these value to a concern for all persons. From there we can build all social and political principles, frameworks to accommodate and maximize happiness and life for all.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    Now some would say that to say that morality is objective we would have to posit this theory about how reality is. We would have to posit the existence of these facts that are totally independent of humans. But I think that we can say that morality is objective in the sense of having normative force to override what we subjectively feel, desire, will, etc. without having to posit that it is objective in the sense of existing human-independently as quarks and atoms and trees do.

    I didn’t bother reading any further than that. If you want to argue for normative morality, fine. If you want to redefine the word objective to mean normative, then you are merely playing word games. What a waste of electrons.

    • http://patheos.com/blogs/camelswithhammers/ Daniel Fincke

      I didn’t bother reading any further than that. If you want to argue for normative morality, fine. If you want to redefine the word objective to mean normative, then you are merely playing word games. What a waste of electrons.

      It’s not a waste of electrons to use words in their colloquial senses. Colloquially, when people want to know if morality is objectively real, they want to know whether it is normatively binding. That’s really it from a practical standpoint.

  • http://nirmukta.com/author/arvind-iyer/ Arvind Iyer

    Is there some kind of academic consensus on the use of the word ‘intersubjective’? It seems to be used as often to painstakingly distance one’s moral philosophy from cognitivism, as to define a continuum where near-universally shared merges into objective. This article seems to be doing the latter, at least in the part that says : morality is more like objective on net than subjective
    In an earlier discussion which can be readhere, the term ‘intersubjective’ is a useful expedient to provide a scientific-historical metanarrative of morality. That narrative was unconcerned with whether ‘intersubjectivity’ is equidistant from positivism and solipsism, but I am curious where most career philosophers would position that term on the subjective-objective slider.

  • Z

    Do you think moral intuitions or moral emotions exist, or are we confusing them for something else?

  • Kiel Gillard

    A question about intersubjectivity. You have the example of the legislator making a judgement to save those who could continue to use their powers effectively for the community. But the definition preceding the example mentioned “virtually all” the people experienced near universal subjective desires, interests and beliefs.

    For something to count as intersubjective, are you suggesting the subjective desires etc have to be grounded in the effectiveness of some total powers? Or are you suggesting the subjective desires etc have to be regularly occurring?

  • Jaimie

    I guess you can debate the use of certain words like “objective” till the cows come home. But I was mystified at your continuous use of the words “power” and “authority” in your post.
    For Buddhists, obeying a rigid set of rules is not what makes a person moral. It is the overcoming of our egos and the commitment to lovingkindness and compassion that gives a person the ability to make moral choices. We prefer to call it ethical conduct, however, because the word morality can take on some pretty dogmatic tones. For some reason, morality always gets muddled up with power, as it did in this post. It’s complexities are overlooked.
    Buddhists do not believe in dogmatic absolutes. Naturally, one must differentiate between what the laws of the land are to discuss how morality fits in with that. Without that, we might as well talk about blind obedience to authority, what ever, or whomever that may be.
    I think it is very dangerous to assert that we make choices that go against our desires or interests. That needs some clarification pretty quick. There is an enormous difference between, say, holding back unchecked anger, and making a difficult decision that others may not agree with.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robert.m.ellis.1 Robert Michael Ellis

    I think I agree with much of your use of the term ‘objectivity’ here, though I also think you are confusing power itself with the integration of powers. The way I would like to put it is that moral objectivity is no different from other forms of objectivity, in enabling us to address conditions. Those who insist that objectivity has to mean a God’s-eye-view are merely locking themselves into a way of thinking that makes morality incomprehensible. Objectivity, instead, has to be incremental to relate to our experience and be justified within the grasp of that experience.
    However, the Nietzchean idea of morality as power is just as unhelpful by itself. Merely having the means to achieve what I want now is at best one small piece in a large jigsaw puzzle of moral progress: it’s integrating what I want now with what I want at other times, what I unconsciously want, and what others want that is the far more profound challenge of moral objectivity.
    For more info see my website http://www.moralobjectivity.net


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