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Louis Pojman on Subjective Ethics

"A Critique of Moral Relativism", in Ethical Theory (Wadsworth, 1998), 41.

If there were only one person on earth, there would be no occasion for morality because there wouldn’t be any interpersonal conflicts to resolve or others whose suffering he or she would have a duty to ameliorate. Subjectivism implicitly assumes something of this solipsism, an atomism in which isolated individuals make up separate universes. Subjectivism treats individuals like billiard balls on a societal pool table where they meet only in radical collision, each aimed at his or her own goal and striving to do in the others before they themselves are done in. This atomistic view of personality is belied by the facts that we develop in which we share a common language, common institutions, and similar rituals and habits, and that we often feel one another’s joys and sorrow. As John Donne wrote, “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent.”