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Are there absolute truths in morality, that is, can a scientific criterion be applied to morality?

Are there absolute truths in morality, that is, can a scientific criterion be applied to morality?

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July 10, 2023

Question: Are there absolute truths in morality, that is, can a scientific criterion be applied to morality?

Answer: Yes, philosophy is a science identifying facts of reality by observation and logic. And, one fact of reality is that human beings are living organisms and as living organisms some things are absolutely good and absolutely bad for us. For example, the fact that human beings have a big brain, and that our survival and our survival well depends on how we’re learning to use it. So, thinking and thinking rationally is a need for human beings just as swimming is a need for fish, flying is a need for birds, and photosynthesis is a need for plants. The difference is that human thinking is significantly volitional; it’s a matter of choice. And that also makes it a moral, scientific matter.

Stephen Hicks Ph.D.
About the author:
Stephen Hicks Ph.D.

Stephen R. C. Hicks, Ph.D., is Professor of Philosophy at Rockford University, Executive Director of the Center for Ethics and Entrepreneurship, and Senior Scholar at The Atlas Society.

He is author of The Art of Reasoning: Readings for Logical Analysis (W. W. Norton & Co., 1998), Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault (Scholargy, 2004), Nietzsche and the Nazis (Ockham’s Razor, 2010),  Entrepreneurial Living (CEEF, 2016), Liberalism Pro and Con (Connor Court, 2020), Art: Modern, Postmodern, and Beyond (with Michael Newberry, 2021) and Eight Philosophies of Education (2022). He has published in Business Ethics Quarterly, Review of Metaphysics, and The Wall Street Journal. His writings have been translated into 20 languages.

He has been Visiting Professor of Business Ethics at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Visiting Fellow at the Social Philosophy & Policy Center in Bowling Green, Ohio, Visiting Professor at the University of Kasimir the Great, Poland, Visiting Fellow at Harris Manchester College of Oxford University, England, and Visiting Professor at Jagiellonian University, Poland.

His B.A. and M.A. degrees are from the University of Guelph, Canada. His Ph.D. in Philosophy is from Indiana University, Bloomington, USA.

In 2010, he won his university’s Excellence in Teaching Award.

His Open College podcast series is published by Possibly Correct Productions, Toronto. His video lectures and interviews are online at CEE Video Channel, and his website is StephenHicks.org.  


Instagram Takeover Questions:

Every week we solicit questions from our 100K followers on Instagram (a social media platform popular with young people. Once a month we feature Stephen Hicks' answers to select questions, transcripts below:


Also several articles, selected for likely interest to Objectivist audiences:

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