Are there objective values? Russell Blackford doesn't think so, and neither do I. I've said why - in what sense - I don't in a previous post. Here I just want to take up a question Russell raises in passing. He writes:
Admittedly, there seems to be a widespread tendency for human beings to believe that objective values exist, so perhaps those of us who are sceptical ought to be able to say a bit about why this might be if objective values do not, in fact, exist.
It's a pertinent challenge. When a lot of people take something to be the case which you think isn't the case, it's a good principle to ask what the sources of their belief might be.So far as objective values are concerned, I have two suggestions. First, there is the worry that if there are no objective values then anything goes morally or, to put the same thing differently, any moral viewpoint is as good (or as bad) as any other. I don't think this has to follow, for the reasons I give in the penultimate paragraph of that earlier post of mine, but those reasons may be thought to be not sufficiently powerful or definitive.
Second, might not a belief in objective values be motivated by similar impulses to those at work in religious belief? If we live and then we die and that's the end of it, there's a certain bleakness of prospect that nothing about human continuity and culture, or belonging and remembrance, can quite undo. Similarly, if the universe is simply indifferent as between good and evil, right and wrong, and the better side of those antinomies is merely down, or up, to us, there could well be a worry that we - humankind - can't be sufficiently relied on. Objective values would be a search for external supports.