Monday, April 06, 2009

From C. S. Lewis's The Poison of Subjectivism

From Lewis's The Poison of Subjectivism

If "good" means only the local ideology, how can those who invent the local ideology be guided by any idea of good themselves? The very idea of freedom presupposes some objective moral law which overarches rulers and ruled alike. Subjectivism about values is eternally incompatible with democracy. We and our rulers are of one kind only so long as we are subject to one law. But if there is no Law of Nature, the ethos of any society is the creation of its rulers, educators and conditioners; and every creator stands above and outside his creation.

You can read the entire essay on the link.

13 comments:

Steven Carr said...

' But if there is no Law of Nature, the ethos of any society is the creation of its rulers, educators and conditioners; and every creator stands above and outside his creation.'

But society does determine what are anti-social acts.

Humanity is what determines what is inhumane.

LEWIS
and every creator stands above and outside his creation.

CARR
SO God can never become fully human?

Rob G said...

"Humanity is what determines what is inhumane."

So race slavery was humane until the 1800's or so?

Exposure of unwanted infants was humane until the 2nd century A.D.?

Torture was humane until...when?

How is it decided? Democratic vote? Word of the king? General trend of society?

Ilíon said...

And, can it change back again? -- If there are no set goal-posts, is not any change (or no change at all) as "good" as any other?

Steven Carr said...

ILION
If there are no set goal-posts, is not any change (or no change at all) as "good" as any other?

CARR
An excellent point, well-made.

What are the 'goal-posts'?

What is the objective of moral behaviour?

Is it to improve the well-being of humanity in general and individuals in particular?

Or is the objective of moral behaviour to glorify God? Or glorify Allah?

These questions are so easy that I expect experts on morality to give me the standard text-book answer on what the objective of moral behaviour is.

Jeff Carter said...

Mr. Reppert:
You've had a number of interesting posts recently, including this one on subjectivism; the concept of objectivity' what Russell has said about ethics and science; and why Christianity makes sense to you.

And, the questions raised above (comments on this post) serve to illustrate the futility of trying to base morality on objective rationalism.

I elaborate on this - how philosophy has demonstrated the inadequacy of reason; how the inner self, my 'I' is a more firm foundation than the world; and how Christianity speaks to the realm of the 'I' in my post, "Clarifying the Debate on Subjectivity and Objectivity."

I would be interested to know my position gets to points you have raised earlier: a) how naturalism is destroyed by the necessity of the 'I'; and b) the inaccessibility of inward perceptions.

My point is that the inward realm is a more firm ground but not for judging others.

Ilíon said...

It's unfortunate that 'subjective' and 'objective' have the meanings, or at least the nuances, that they do. For instance, 'subjective' could be a more useful word if it meant something like "of or relating to subjects" rather than "of or resulting from the feelings of the subject, or person thinking, rather than the attributes of of the object thought of" (as my old 1963 Webster defines it)

Jeff Carter said...

Ilion -
Yes the tyranny of the objective culture has left us with little or no language with which to speak of the subjective; though some believe the mythopoetic may be useful.

Steven Carr said...

CARR
What are the 'goal-posts'?

What is the objective of moral behaviour?

Is it to improve the well-being of humanity in general and individuals in particular?

Or is the objective of moral behaviour to glorify God? Or glorify Allah?

These questions are so easy that I expect experts on morality to give me the standard text-book answer on what the objective of moral behaviour is.

CARR (now)

Still no answers to what the whole point of moral behaviour is?

Is the objective of moral behaviour to glorify Allah?

Is it to maximise the number of people who get to go to Heaven?

Who can say?

Ilíon said...

Steven Carr: "Still no answers to what the whole point of moral behaviour is?"

Please! You're what they call a "troll:" your long-term behavior indicates you have no interest whatsoever in getting to the truth of the matter. Why would I spend any time on you when I have other, and more interesting, persons or things on which to spend it?

If you *did* have any interest in getting at the truth of the matter on the sorts of things discussed at Mr Reppert's blog, you'd start by admitting that atheism has been conclusively shown to be false: for, in fact, atheism is self-refuting. So, were you an honest man, you'd at least become a "theist," even if you did not yet become a Christian.

And, were you an honest man, and a "theist," you'd approach these matters with a bit more humility. I mean, even aside from the intellectual humility you ought to have based upon your long-standing denial of the obvious reality of God.

Steven Carr said...

Rathr than answer an easy question, Ilion takes time out to say he has better things to do than respond to posts by me.

Like calling people 'trolls' and 'dishonest'.

A far more productive use of his time , I'm sure.

Ilíon said...

Everyone knows that Ilíon considers it a far more productive use of his time to deal with the root of the problem -- intellectual dishonesty -- than with the surface manifestations.

Pagan said...

i reall need your help what did c.s.lewis mean in the book of the poison of subjectivism what is going to "end our species" ,what was his reason for saying it and what is the problem with a theoretical error?

id said...

Natural law is an unfortunate myth of western civilization. Darwin put it to rest, but so many Christians want to resurrect it. True Law does not proceed from Nature but from God. God as creator and lawgiver is the source of all true and just law. What or whoever is the source of your law is, in the final analysis, the god o God of the system.