Revisiting moral objectivity at values education research

Year: 2001

Author: Tan, Tai Wei

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

A recent international conference on values education addressed "the growing disparity, increasing violence, deteriorating environment, and shrinking altruism" of "postmodern living", and how best values education might respond in such environments. This paper suggests that the root cause is the widespread assumption of moral subjectivism in our time. Long after some influential philosophers, who decried moral objectivism, had been in vogue, social scientists including educational sociologists and psychologists, public and political personnel, and lay-persons have continued to flag moral relativism. They are supported at this by some, mostly younger philosophers, who seem not to know that important answers to moral subjectivist criticisms of moral objectivism have since been provided. The paper will highlight some of these answers. Some parts of them will be supplemented. It will synthesize them, via a critique that will add elements where these are needed, in order to suggest a case for the reinstatement in our time of an objective basis for moral education.