What is objective morality?

This blog answers: What is objective morality? What are the arguments for objective morality?

What is objective morality?

Objective morality refers to the conception that morality is natural, meaning that it’s already in our nature. It is the belief that morality is and should be universal. People who believe in objective morality believe that the universe, or some god, has already set up objective rules for us. 

The term objective means that our subjectivity does not influence mortality, that is what’s right or wrong is right or wrong regardless of how we feel about it, who says so, or what context or culture we are in. 

This makes morality extremely complicated because it argues, in a sense, that morality does not rely on the existence of the mind for its existence. Objective morality argues that morality is embedded in nature. 

Moral objectivists argue that we don’t need the human mind to develop moral principles because they are already there in nature. Murder is wrong, it always has been, and it always will be. Due to this, moral objectivists argue that what’s right or wrong is right or wrong regardless of what context or culture we are talking about. 

Morality could be defined as our conception of what is right and wrong and why we believe so. Being moral means being able to distinguish between right and wrong intentions, decisions, and actions. 

However, all people do not have the same conception of right and wrong. What might be wrong from my point of view may be totally right from your perspective. People derive moral principles from various sources. 

Some use religion as a standard for morality, while others use philosophy or culture. Every religion has a different set of moral rules. Likewise, different philosophical schools of thought look at moral issues in different ways. 

For instance, some belief in deontological morality while others favor consequentialism. Deciding what’s ethical and what’s not is very hard because life is unbelievably complicated. What’s right in one context may be totally wrong in another. 

Similarly, what’s right in one culture might be wrong in another. For example, people generally believe that lying is bad. However, there might be situations in life where lying is the only moral thing to do. That’s why moralists, religious scholars, and philosophers hardly ever agree with each other. 

Some people believe that morality is universal or should be universal, while others disagree with this. Moral objectivism refers to the belief that morality is or should be universal. Others believe that morality is not immune to change and that it can and does evolve. This perspective is referred to as moral subjectivism or simply subjective morality. 

What are the arguments for objective morality?

Some arguments for objective morality are: 


Of all people, religious people are more likely to believe that morality is and should be objective. The reason for this is that religious people believe in divine authority. They believe in God and believe in him as a source of morality. 

They argue that morality should have a source. They argue that this source has to be supreme and therefore it has to be god. They believe that we are all sons of god and that god has already decided objective morals for all of us. 

We don’t need to argue about morality or attempt to make our own moralities because God has already provided us with comprehensive sets of rules. Almost all major religions believe that morality is subjective. This doesn’t solve the issue of morality because there are hundreds and thousands of religions which subjectively disagree with each other. 

Every action has a consequence

Secular people who believe that morality is and should be objective argue that morality is embedded in nature. They argue that every action has a consequence that has an inherent right or wrong nature to it. 

They give examples of universal behaviors and ways of thinking to justify their point. For instance, they argue that murder, in general, is wrong in every culture and according to all humans. Similar is the case with lying, stealing, etc. 

There has to be someone who decides what’s right or wrong.

Moral objectivists argue that there has to be someone who decides what’s right or wrong. We can’t decide what’s right or wrong for each other or for ourselves because we are biased and may bend the rules in our favor.  Religious people solve this issue by arguing that God is the source of morality. Secular moral objectivists argue that morality is embedded in nature irrespective of the existence of the mind. 


We are moral creatures. We always have to deal with the issue of what’s right and wrong. We inherently want to do right but we don’t have a true and complete consensus on what’s right and wrong. Some people argue that moral principles are objective while others argue that they are relative. However, moral objectivists (such as religious scholars) rarely agree on what’s right and wrong among themselves, which furthers the case that morality is in fact subjective. 

Frequently asked questions: What is objective morality?

Is morality truly objective?

Morality is not objective because it is not immune to change. Just as we evolve so does our morality. Our conception of right and wrong changes over time. 

Similarly, we rarely have a consensus on right and wrong, which has always been the case. Apart from that, moral principles themselves are bendable. For instance, killing someone is wrong but it might be right in certain contexts. 

Is there a scientific basis of morality?

There is an evolutionary basis of morality. Psychologists such as Lawrence Kohlberg and Jean Piaget discuss moral development from a psychological perspective. 

Morality is also an increasingly common subject of neuroscience. Neuroscientific studies show that brain areas such as the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPC) and temporoparietal junction area are associated with morality. 

How is objective morality different than absolute morality?

While objective morality is universal, it still does take context into account to some extent. Absolute morality argues that things are either absolutely right or absolutely wrong, regardless of what the context is. For instance, an absolute moralist may argue that murder is wrong no matter what the context is.