Morality from Nature? Explore More Content
Can we get objective moral values from nature? Is it enough to just do what comes naturally?
It’s really popular nowadays to justify one’s, let’s say, sexual behavior, especially those kinds of sexual behaviors that are controversial, by saying, “I’m just doing what comes natural. I was born that way. This is the natural way for me.” And apart from the factual claim that’s being made there, which I’m not going to address right now—whether one is born or not with homosexual tendencies—there’s another thing that is a concern to me.
Seventeenth century philosopher Hobbs once said, as he observed the state of nature, that life and an unregulated state-of-nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. In other words, I’m not sure that nature is the best place to take our cues, morally speaking. In Hobb’s view, we invented morality in a utilitarian way just to be able to survive in the unregulated state of nature because just doing nature’s thing is pretty nasty. Animals do what comes naturally when you think about it. Human beings though, when guided by true morality, are protected from the “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short life” that, ‘just living naturally,’ brings you.
I don’t think claiming that your behaviors are natural is going to be a sound way to argue for their morality. Only a morality that’s contrary to nature that doesn’t allow you to live like animals do—who always do what comes naturally—that’s the only thing that’s going to be a proper foundation for society. The justification, ‘I’m just doing what’s natural for me,’ is no good justification at all.