It is predominantly accepted that if something is true it is accurately corresponding to what actually is real. For example, if 1 + 1 = 2 is a true mathematical equation then we are accepting that if one thing is added to another thing the real result is that there is now two things.
This necessarily is not a truth we created, but a truth we discovered. People have assigned values to signs (numbers or letters) to explain that truth in a communicable form. Therefore, when a person sees the sign “1” we know it signifies the singular. Similarly, if a person sees the sign “I” it also signifies the singular in a Roman numeral fashion. However, regardless of the sign used, it has the value of representing what really is accurate. No one held a conference to decide if one object and a second object make two objects, it simply does. It is a reality, a truth.
To illustrate further, gravity is something real, it did not become real when we discovered it and gave it a name, it has been real. Man didn’t create or invent it. The real existed apart from our apprehension of that reality.
Therefore, when I use the term “really real” I am indicating that which is truly actual apart from our thinking about it. It exists or is true whether or not we know it or accept it.
To dig a little deeper, morality is either a reflection of what we think about the world and our humanity and does not correspond nor conform to any real good, or that which is really right morally is that which most accurately reflects the good.
If the former is true and there is no real good that morality corresponds to, then the only anchor for morality is that which we as humans devise. Those that agree with those morals remain free, and those who do not get punished by the system which enforces those ideals. So if humans devise that stealing is not an acceptable behavior then some form of punishment or retribution may be brought upon those who steal. But in the long run, the only wrong committed is that a person decided to do something outside of the cultural norm. Eventually a new cultural norm could be adopted and stealing made acceptable. This I think is similar to the argument given that slavery was acceptable and thus right and now not acceptable and wrong. Thus, morality changes over time or is different from one culture to the next. In this view, there is no good. Right and wrong are continually in flux based on whose perspective one is viewing the world for the oppressor and the oppressed see it very differently.
Now, in contrast to this view, there is the idea that morality is to be a reflection of what is truly good. Good exists, and what is right conforms to what is good. Something then is either really right or really wrong. We can do something that is wrong and not know it’s wrong, and it still be wrong. This view would say that if it is really good for mothers to love their children then it is good even if no one believes it to be so. If it is good for fathers to be kind to their children, then it is really good and right.
Moral principals, or laws themselves can be judged because they are to be reflections of what is right, and in them is not rightness itself. Thus if the government says that murder is wrong, their authority does not make it really true that murder is wrong. They could be incorrect and the law could be out of line with what is good, or it could be a reflection of what is really true and murder is indeed very much wrong. But there is a sense that we can judge if a moral is right or wrong, because there is an external good by which we judge. We might not be aware of this good, we might have a worldview that denies it, but we still think in conformity with the idea that we can reason about a moral that an entire culture upholds as right and we can contemplate whether it really seems right or not. There is something by which we judge it even if we haven’t understood it yet.
We use degrees of perfection all the time. Killing a child is worse than killing a fly. Or some would say we ought not to kill a fly either, especially if you are the President of the
So the two choices that I see on the table for those who accept the reality of humans living in relation to morality are that morals follow only from the human intellect and emotions and have no real correspondence with any real good or that morals are to reflect the real good and can do so in degrees of accuracy some being a bad or grossly distorted reflection and others being the best reflection available to us.
I hope that has cleared up the discussion a little. If I have not accurately retold the perspective of morals existing without a perfect good, then please show me where I erred. Notice I did not use the term “objective” or “subjective” or “absolute” anywhere above in this post to be as plain as possible.