Are there universal moral truths or does everyone define them themselves?
I think everything eventually boils down to a huge, iterative game of Prisoner's dilemma. Everything we do, say, and become a part of is a direct result from our previous experience. Humans display a systematic bias towards cooperative behavior. So, we cooperate toward a "greater good" for the most part, but are still self-interested enough not to become too invested in things which go against our rational nature.
Picture a million people in a pitch-black room. Each of us has a flashlight. For the most part, we pay a lot of attention to to the things within our immediate vicinity. However, there are occasions where random groups may come together to better highlight some new, unseen feature of the terrain. We highlight it, we measure it, we gain knowledge which we may (or may not) feel the need to share with others.
To answer the question, no. I don't believe in "moral absolutes". There are features of the landscape which we can only illuminate together. And we learn from that shared experience together.
Hope that made sense.
I believe there are universally accepted moral rocks, but I don't believe moral absolutes exist.
I believe that there's a "best" choice for any given dilemma, but I don't believe in an absolute morality, per se. I believe that morality arises (typically as altruism) in any given social group. Morals are therefore negotiated and constantly refined by that group.
This article is one of my favorites on a related topic.
I'm of the opinion that morals are circumstantial, codes of behavior that we negotiate among ourselves. There are moral codes that are more common than others but that's all. I would never consider anything negotiable to be absolute.
I think the main thing is that morality is applied individually, as each person sees fit. Nobody sees the same truths or circumstances in the same ways and their morals are at least somewhat shaped by their unique perspectives. I believe that there are moral generalities embraced by most, but to me, moral absolutes would be embraced by everybody. I don't believe that possible. I'd welcome someone willing to point out any flaws in my thinking.
One of my philosophy professors put it to me this way, "Is killing an infant just for fun ever morally ambiguous?" I feel like there are moral absolutes, but only if we get specific like that. Killing is obviously morally permissible for a lot of people, particularly in self-defense. However, I've yet to meet someone who says killing an infant just for the fun of it is okay.
There are rumors of child snuff porn on the dark net, if true it would appear that some people find it entertaining. And before anyone asks I am not going to investigate to find out if it's true.
But is that morally right? Would they even say that? Or would those people be sociopaths and have no barometer for right or wrong?
I'm not really sure. Kant's categorical imperatives are pretty good, if you allow for the caveat of "under ordinary circumstances " meaning that you are allowed to lie if the results of truth telling is murder or something. But even then, the exceptions are following their own rules. Which does suggest that morals are absolute and regular.
Oh! Absolute vs relative morals debate! Nice :)
I mainly believe in Kants's moral philosophy, in that moral truths emerge from a standard in rationality.