What Color Is Purple, Red or Blue – A Discussion of Moral Absolutes in Philosophy Considered


As one who deplores the concept of perception based arguments and is always working very hard to try to find a black-and-white morality of situations and things that I encounter in my life, I've also come to understand the challenges with the concept of moral absolutes. Religions are filled with them, and they can be quite challenging, contradictory, and problematic. Especially when it comes to a God or gods causing havoc and natural disasters amongst people who they are supposed to love, created in their image, and from a God or gods which is supposed to be an all-loving being.

When we talk about moral absolutes we could talk about colors. For instance the color red is the color red, it isn't anything else. Just as the color blue is the color blue, it isn't yellow, orange, or green for that matter. However, what if we ask ourselves; "what color is purple?" And what if after asking that question we give the individual taking the pop quiz one of two choices. Either they can answer red or they can answer blue. The only proper moral move there would be to refuse the question. For the color purple isn't red or blue.

Okay so, when does red become pink? The answer is simple; when you add enough white to it, but when is that amount consider the crossover? Is it a specific percentage? Or do you just "know it when you see it," yes, these are all challenges aren't they? If you are wondering about moral absolutes in philosophy there's a very good book I believe you should read (it's a classic) titled;

"Hume – Moral and Political Philosophy," from the Hafner library of classics, edited by Henry D. Aitken, McMillan Publishing Company, London, England, 1948, 401 pages.

In using this debate about colors and absolutes, we find that argument breaks down, as I've explained above. I do not state this to give credence to those who refuse to see black-and-white morality, or even those on the other side of the coin who claim a strict moral ethic code of conduct, even when it contradicts the very works that they hold so dear as their moral foundation and basis in their own life experience herein (religion).

Could it be that both are right, and this is just a circular argument and conundrum of philosophy? If so, that does throw a wrench in the challenges of defending moral absolutes. Could it be that morals are perception based, learned experiences, and observations from the inner psyche flowing out, further reinforced by the human ego and mind?

I think if you read more of David Hume's philosophy on morality you might get a better sense of it all, and that what I recommend that you do before you pass judgment on another, or live someone else's moral code of conduct as recited to you by the primary religion of the society you grew up in. Please consider all this and think on it.

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