We human beings have sense organs to perceive whatever is around us. But then we say we have the mind to judge. My point is that if we assume, or I should say realize, that human sense organs have limited input output capabilities, how can we so confidently say we can judge right or wrong using our mind?

Do we consider the mind to have unlimited capabilities or is it just arrogance resulting out of our human nature?

  • What else would you use, if not your mind?
    – David H
    Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 17:57
  • Absolute, objective standards, perhaps? Commented Sep 28, 2013 at 15:37
  • You might find something interesting in the question & answer I posted, How could 'objective morality' be known/investigated?
    – labreuer
    Commented Oct 29, 2013 at 6:50
  • Vague, and opiniin based. And not really coherent, between title and post
    – CriglCragl
    Commented Feb 28, 2018 at 23:13
  • We can make what judgements we like. We won't find 'good' or 'evil' 'out there' in the world.
    – user20253
    Commented Mar 1, 2018 at 13:15

3 Answers 3


Absolute good - positive effect

Absolute evil - negative effect

Unfortunately, we do not live in a world of absolutes. Study some religions, they are basically training manuals for how to be "good".(I am sure some are not, that statement is not absolute.)

  • I have to admit that "positive effect" and "negative effect" don't sound too absolute to me. But your characterization of good and bad itself seems OK. Commented Sep 24, 2013 at 7:34
  • Whenever we start asking about ethics, the most common answer is study religions!Why is it so important?And by the way I'm not interested in "how to be good". I want to know what is good and the basis for defining it.
    – vivek
    Commented Sep 24, 2013 at 14:20
  • At the core of most religions you will find pathways to enlightenment. Like a martial artist studies, and gains different belt colors to represent his proficiency. As you study religions you undergo a similar process, no snazzy belts but it will enlighten you. Commented Sep 24, 2013 at 20:52
  • How do we define positive and negative then? WHat is postive to the Neo Nazi and what is positive to the Christian may not be the same.
    – Neil Meyer
    Commented Sep 27, 2013 at 7:36
  • Break anything down to small enough pieces, and negative and positive will be the same for everyone. Commented Sep 28, 2013 at 1:41

Do we consider the mind to have unlimited capabilities or is it just arrogance resulting out of our human nature?

It has something to do with our concrete examples of the absolute. Many philosophers considered "god" as an example of the absolute, Immanuel Kant considered "the moral law within me" as something absolute, and for Plato "ideas" were examples of the absolute. Today, many people still believe that (at least) the (small) natural numbers are something absolute. (Also "love" is today often advertised as ... hmmm, let's say as less relative than many other things.)

If you don't have access to good (and convincing) examples of the absolute, it is difficult to "measure" how relative your normal judgments are. Also, if you are convinced that there is no such thing as the absolute, everything seems to be much more absolute than it really is, relatively speaking.

  • Of course but I don't believe in the absolute nature of things so it is even more difficult to perceive anything created by our nervous system(the mind) as absolute.I'm talking about good and bad It is just a process isn't it and you can't but deny that human mind has no absolute judging capabilities.But there is a trouble in this analogy as well .What if the humans are free from this bondage of "perceived"good and evil?There'll be chaos isn't it?
    – vivek
    Commented Sep 24, 2013 at 1:45
  • @VivekJha If you replace "created by our nervous system" with "discovered by our nervous system", "perceived by our nervous system" or "revealed to our nervous system", you might perhaps better understand how it can happen that "we consider the mind to have unlimited capabilities", if our judgement capabilities are not calibrated well enough by good (and convincing) "practical" examples. Commented Sep 24, 2013 at 7:13
  • You mean the mind acts like a some kind of measuring instrument?
    – vivek
    Commented Sep 24, 2013 at 13:48
  • @VivekJha No, I just try to answer your question "Do we consider the mind to have unlimited capabilities or is it just arrogance resulting out of our human nature?" If you say something is "created by our nervous system", then of course it's hard to understand why somebody could judge it more absolute than it actually is. But if you realize that people might view their "creations" more as some sort of "revelation" or "discovery", then perhaps its easier to see how they can be wrong without necessarily being arrogant or naive. Commented Sep 24, 2013 at 20:24
  • SO then you say that whether it's good or evil it is there, firm and we have limited reach of judgement or I should say perception right?And hence it means that there exists something like absolute good and absolute evil and there is dualism indeed!But I fail to understand this for if the division indeed existed,we'd not be the judges at all..
    – vivek
    Commented Sep 25, 2013 at 13:30

Many philosophers (the moral relativists, for example) argue that there is no such thing as objective morality. So if we take that into account, there cannot be absolute good or evil, for such absolutes would be in subjective view.

Moral realists, on the other hand, would offer that we can have objective morality, which would lead to absolute good or evil. You talk about sense capacity and our ability to utilize it, so I recommend Sam Harris’ “The Moral Landscape” for more information on how we could obtain objective morality.

In the end, I suppose, depends on which camp you reside in: moral relativism or moral realism.

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