Moral philosophy isn’t too well advanced in some respects or as equally advanced as other areas of philosophy; the philosophy of logic for example. The modern world tends to prefer simple formulae or rules with a virtual algorithmic simplicity, structure and logic for making moral decisions, and that is improbable and maybe illusory in light of the broad variety of potential situations to which anyone might wish to apply a moral template for making a morally correct (or incorrect if from a negative and malevolent alternative reality) decision.
It has been said that morality is what people and society actually do. Moral relativism is something of a pejorative fact of mass social behavior without any sort of transcendent foundation. Many there are that take the broad road leading to nothingness or worse in eternity. Others simply believe scripture as inspired and correct thought from God about proper human behavior and follow that as best they can.
There have been a few simple moral expressions of genius. One considers the Golden Rule and Kant’s Categorical Imperative as tow examples. That kind of moral paradigm for making a moral decision is the exception; the field might be compared to primitive, pre-electronic sailing in which dead reckoning was as valuable as sailing maxims and general guideline and no simple formula for determining what sails to put on, directions to travel, vector for a heading and so forth could serve as a unified tool. Building a moral system with technical rigor in the modern era was perhaps started by British empiricists such as Bentham and Mill who invented the philosophical method of utilitarianism.
Utilitarianism follows the basic principle of finding the greatest good for the greatest number of people. In that regard it is more or less a sort of expansion of the Golden Rule, though it has added in the problem of sometimes choosing evil to be allowed if the harm to a minority is far less than the great good done to a majority. An example would be saving a metropolis of millions from a nuclear blast by destroying the citizens living in a comparatively small town in order to stop a nuclear missile there from being launched at the metropolis from a terrorist missile launch truck that had parked and set up in a Wal-mart parking lot with the launch sequence already under way. What to do in the circumstance might need to be determined by a Commander in Chief that had a B-52 loaded with high explosive bombs flying over the small, sleepy town. Her utilitarian criterion for making a morally valid choice would probably bring her to order the annihilation of the sleepy little town for the greater good.
If utilitarianism was the first modern system for moral philosophy that provided a more detailed technical paradigm for evaluating moral challenges and responses, the criticisms of utilitarianism have been of equal value in finding numerous ways wrong moral choices or no valid moral correct choice could be made with utilitarian criteria.
One derivative of utilitarianism is the currently popular field of consequentialism whereby one may determine if a choice is morally correct depending upon the outcome of the moral choice. Obviously there are innumerable problems with consequentialism that might be found not the least of which is the somewhat familiar legal problem of determining proximal causes for events and assigning responsibility to them; the consequences of moral choices cannot easily be found if the consequences of the moral choice intervention aren’t the direct cause of subsequent events or if development of circumstances through causal interactions external to the moral choice have brought a good outcome. No credit to the maker of a moral decision should be given if a good outcome was not a consequence of her choice. The Commander that chose to drop the bomb on the sleepy little town would have made a valid moral choice in consequentialist criteria if the launch on the metropolis millions was prevented, yet a bad choice if the missile was not a real missile threat but some kind of promotion by a radio station for a newd sexy dating service, or if the B-52’s bombs landed on an oil pipeline that caught fire and sped along flames and gas explosions to a dozen metropolitan areas down the line. It is difficult to determine the moral validity of an act by the consequences for the moral choice is then contingent upon the consequents with retro-causal responsibility given along the temporal line of time. In effect no moral choice is made at all and circumstances determine the morality as if it were like the end-justifies-the-means moral choice system.
Consequentialism has a dark side to it that could usefully be considered anti-utilitarian as every quantum particle has an anti-particle. Moral choices that wreak the most evil to the greatest number of people could be evaluated by the consequent harm. For example; if sending kids of the U.S.A. back to public school in September causes a third wave of Corona 19 virus in October resulting in deaths of older parents and those with weakened conditions, that consequence of ordering kids back to school could be considered a bad moral choice if a moral criterion was used for making the bad decision, and otherwise just a dumb decision.
Covid 19 challenges have given a lot of politicians and others the opportunity to make bad decisions. Political managers experience challenges to innovate ways of keeping business and public health safety environments healthy simultaneously. Politicians may be unable to meet the challenges. From some moral viewpoints taking jobs for which one isn’t well qualified is immoral.
The public would have benefited from smarter politicians finding more intelligent ways to keep the economy working and citizens safe from infection in 2020. There was a profound lack of cleverness and inventiveness in addressing the challenges. Recently full face masks that cover the eyes as well as filter nose and mouth been introduced to the market- even small producer-manufacturers in the U.S.A. and of course Chinese manufacturers via ebay have slowly started sales. Full face coverings including eyes can be made weatherproof and work in a variety of business and urban areas with population densities unsuitable for the undefended. Full face masks fairly effectively defend against covid infection in public places.
A challenge for creating and building up functioning moral philosophy to reach an algorithm status of formalization that can be mass-produced and made into a computer app is necessary reductionism that must occur in defining/describing the complete complex of compresent conditions and events. Language and human understanding may have inadequate comprehension of what was involved in creating a situation asking for moral intervention; the moral premises may be wrong and a moral choice for an intervention may bring a wrong conclusion. Faulty or incomplete input processed with a moral determination algorithm engine can output junk Just as in a syllogism, if the premises are incorrect the conclusion will be incorrect.
One may of course simplify moral engines in processing certain data (regarding people as external empirical data) such as the famous Hell’s Angel’s maxim; ‘Kill them all and let God sort them out’. Intentionally overly simplistic moral engine processing criteria can result in undesirable output consequences.
Formulating valid moral questions concerning race are quite challenging to make exclusive of all races. Race is a physical characteristic rather than a thought or idea. If one makes the premise that
1) all white people are human
2) all black people are human
then it follows that premise 1 and 2 are equivalent regarding humanity from a question of morality concerning humans. That is it would be difficult to make a moral proposition concerning either black or white people as a questions for humans that wouldn’t mean each group. It is easier to construct moral questions regarding ideas that lead to actions regardless of race.
For example, if it is said to be morally wrong for a black woman to have an abortion then it should be equally valid for women of any race. The paradigm has something of Kant’s categorical imperative about it. The same principle should be applicable to race and political economy.
Kant’s categorical imperative of creating laws that would apply if it were a universal law is consistent with the idea that it would be more effective to concern oneself with economic changes to relieve the poor of any race in the United States as humans instead of searching for ways to change or better the conditions for particular races that leading to a pursuit of non-rational or racist legislative remedies.
There is a long way to go in the construction or even exploration of potential systems of moral philosophy just as there are in exploring philosophical paradigms for cosmology and in relating physical cosmological and quantum construction systems to theological points of view concerning the potential for divine capacity to contain systems of physical cosmology.
The Lord Jesus Christ provided a moral system through the example of his own life conduct, the things he said, and in prophecies of future events concerning the end of the age of mankind instead of giving a moral formula to calculate the right or wrong of a moral choice made by a content-less agent existing within an empirical commune of cipher-individuals. Not just anyone can provide and ontological and deontological reference system that changes the nature of believers so they can respond to moral challenges on the basis of character rather than calculation thus abbreviated empirical algorithms used to justify perhaps innately conditions moral choices are valued by some.