I was in the shower today and I began thinking about philosophy as I often do in such lonesome places. Now an idea popped into my head which seems to question the whole concept of morality, in fact, it shakes it to the core. Consider this:
- We have ideas about what is right and wrong (a sense of morality)
- We derive these ideas from other ideas (for instance, while creating a general principle on what situations allow for one person to kill another person, we draw on already known concepts of right and wrong. If the principle allows such an obvious wrong such as killing 2 year olds because we enjoy it, we alter it.)
- These ideas in turn were reasoned using other ideas which we know to be true (or false)
But this is where it seems to break down. These ideas result from these ideas and so on and so forth, but we have a problem, where did the first (or firsts) moral statement come from. If the basis of every moral statement draws upon previously known ones, how can some original statement be made since it lacks any other moral knowledge to work from.
We might arrive at two possible solutions to this problem (neither of which I am very happy with).
- The ideas loop, they assume that a is true because b is true and b is true because c is true and c is true because a is true
- We simply made an assumption at the starting point.
Option number one obviously suffers from the circular logic fallacy. Option number two makes our morals, at best, a stab in the dark.
What might one consider as perhaps a third option? Perhaps I was mistaken in my understanding of how we develop our current ideas of morality?