Etisk kunskap finns inte

Eftersom en objektiv moral inte existerar går det förstås heller inte att införskaffa kunskap om vad som ytterst är rätt och fel att göra. Men som Bertrand Russell utvecklar behöver vi ändå inhämta kunskap för att klargöra hur givna mål (enligt vår egen uppfattning) bäst uppnås:

When I speak of knowledge as an ingredient of the good life, I am not thinking of ethical knowledge but of scientific knowledge and knowledge of particular facts. I do not think there is, strictly speaking, such a thing as ethical knowledge. If we desire to achieve some end, knowledge may show us the means, and this knowledge may loosely pass as ethical. But I do not believe that we can decide what sort of conduct is right or wrong except by reference to its probable consequences. Given an end to be achieved, it is a question for science to discover how to achieve it. All moral rules must be tested by examining whether they tend to realize ends that we desire. I say ends that we desire, not ends that we ought to desire. What we ‘ought’ to desire is merely what someone else wishes us to desire.*


*Russell, Bertrand (1957). ”What I Believe.” I Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects. London: George Allen & Unwin: 60.