Should ideas be challenged morally

5 min read  •  04 Nov 2021

Thinking is a good creative practice. The beauty of the process of thinking lies in the fact that there is no limit to it, this limit is both qualitative and quantitative. It leads you to different ideas and perspectives, ideas which might or might not be morally accepted. But when we happen to have these thoughts, which aren't familiar to our social surroundings, which are not talked openly about or which are told wrong/immoral to us, then these reasons act as a constraint in the process of thinking further. Instead of discovering our own answers, we unconsciously agree to the things which have been told to us, which eventually results in making choices for ourselves which are not free choices. In order to make a free choice, free thinking is a must, thinking in a space where there are no constraints. It could lead to any kind of thought or idea, good or bad, right or wrong, which could be judged later.

morality: subjective or objective?

Different people have different understanding of morality, and it's subjective or objective nature. But before going into if its subjective or objective, we must know what these terms actually mean.

  • subjective: if we say trueness of something (eg. xyz) is subjective, it means that the trueness of xyz depends from person to person. In other words, the trueness of xyz depends upon the observer (eg. person) rather than the object (eg. xyz).
  • objective: if we say trueness of something (eg. xyz) is objective, it means that the trueness of xyz doesn't depend upon any exterior observer. Whether the observer (eg. person) exist or not, the trueness of xyz will solely depend on the object (eg. xyz) itself.

Let's see an example:


In the above example, the object is the number (or text) and the subject is person. Both persons have different opinions and both are subjectively right. The trueness of number being 6 or 9 depends upon the subject i.e. person. Hence, this is a subjective opinion. Looking at the same example objectively, we cannot state that it is 6 or 9 but we can say it could be 6 or 9 depending upon the perspective it has been seen.

Now that we understand the difference between subjective and objective, we could continue to think about if morality is subjective or objective? One way to approach the answer to this question is to think for some instance or example where the consideration of morality differs with respect to its subject (people). If the trueness of morality changes depending on person, it's subjective.

Before continuing to read this further, take a pause and try to think of something, whose trueness of morality depends upon the subject (person), and yet in both case the person seems right with their perspective (just like the above example). Let get to some of these examples,

  • This example would be slightly in context to India. Let's take an idea of a person having second marriage, the reason could be an unsuccessful relationship, demise of the partner or any other reason. This idea could be considered moral or immoral depending upon different people.
  • In India, there used to be a historic practice of widow sacrifice known as Sati. It was a practice in which a woman who out of moral heroism chooses sati, rather than choosing to enter ascetic widowhood. At that time, majority of people used to consider it as moral.
  • In our school days, we all have been taught to respect our elders, by giving morality as the reason behind this. This is another example which many people will consider as moral and others don't.

morality is subjective? well, we had three examples, which on reading can make you think that morality is subjective, but it may also lead you to the thought that what if someone does something obvious bad and because of their different opinion we can't put it in objectively immoral category.

what if

If we try to remember events from history, we can see that ugly things have happened to us in the past. Even in present date, crimes like, harassment, assault, violence, abuse happens. The opinion of morality between the person who did wrong and to whom they did could be different. This opinion is also subjective, but is this right? Can we say morality is subjective now?

In order to answer the question, if its subjective or objective. We might need to ask other questions:

  • do we need morality: the central idea behind purpose of morality is considered to serve justice, and enhance quality of human life. Morality is there to solve its purpose, just like anything else.

It is good to have some morals, to solve its purpose. But it should not restrict a person's possibility to a new thought or perspective. This possibility of new perspective could be a good or bad, but it shouldn't be challenged morally. Then, the question arises, how should we challenge if a thought or perspective seems bad?

Instead of challenging an idea with morality, a much better approach could be: sense. It is much much better to say that your idea is stupid instead of saying your idea is immoral.