(This is a disjointed argument where people talk past each other)
We don’t need morality
But then it would be right to do any terrible thing.
I don’t see why that would follow. I don’t see why I need any moral mechanism to throw criminals in jail, or to write laws and enforce them.
Before you said “morality” now it’s “moral mechanism. You are fudging words.
I don’t think so. “Morality” is like a function machine where you throw in actions and out pops “moral” or “immoral”
Okay, but even the law needs such a thing.
I don’t think so. Say you throw in an action and out pops “immoral”. Either there is a consensus about it being immoral already, in which case the machine is superfluous; or there is no consensus: then you either let people decide for themselves, or (if everybody is against it) you can’t do anything about it. Say you throw in “divorce” or “usury” and out pops “immoral”. What then? What good is that?
You could use it to work towards what is right. You could use it to guide your own life.
Assuming you’re right. Another option is to assume that the morality function machine you made is faulty. And there’s the problem. The only reason you need morality is to make the tough choices that are somehow repugnant to what you want. But when something is repugnant to what you want, it counts as evidence that the machine got the wrong results. You could even get the best of both worlds and assume that the result that pops out is perfectly true, except in your particular case.
Then you would know you were kidding yourself.
I doubt it. Look, no human machine or process is so good that it can take into account all possible circumstances, so the only rational way to take morality is as admitting many exceptions. But what good is a morality that admits exceptions? How would you decide among the exceptions anyway? You need another morality function machine to throw the exceptions into, ad infinitum.
Well, I guess we just muddle along as best we can.
No we don’t! That’s the one thing we never do! Whatever account of morality you have, most people are wicked. We’re not mediocre, we’re numb! That might be the one moral fact we actually know!