17 September 2014

Narrative Morality

There have been projects to derive morality from science, but I view this approach to morality as poorly-suited to accept the facts of culture, as culture, being a dynamical system, is something science has traditionally shied away from as being too complex to render reductively to any degree of satisfaction. That may change in the future, but I think that once again it is plausible to suggest that liberal arts may be required to lead the way.

Whereas scientific morality sought to wring universal truths from scientific fact, my project is to find universal truth in human culture. Whereas human culture itself is fantastically diverse and might at first suggest the useless relativity of postmodernism, when understood as a dynamical system it can be conceived that the whole of human culture is in fact derived from simple starting mechanisms which are universal: namely language and narrative. Language, for what culture exists that does not use a natural language, and narrative, for this is the first and foremost thing humans do with language. Indeed, much scientific thought has gone into the apparent fact that humans think and understand themselves and their world through the narrative form. 

Yet what can language and narrative teach us about morality? Can they even be the basis of a new philosophy? 

What do you think?