Take the Freaking Red Pill
April 30, 2009 § 14 Comments
I am morally certain that some folks use the term “morally certain” as a rhetorical claim of certainty when in fact they are anything but certain.
This is not the only place in our culture where the term “moral” seems to be employed to mean “unreal”. But it is a rather insidious one, it seems to me, because every time someone employs the term “moral certainty” in this way it reinforces the idea that morality is unreal.
I’ll explain how I think the term ought to be used. When someone says “I am morally certain of X” (as in e.g. “I am morally certain that Bob is about to murder me” or “I am morally certain I am married to Jane”), what he ought to mean by it is “I am certain enough of X that I am betting my immortal soul on X being true”. That is what the “morally” modifier entails, after all. The “morally” modifier does not mean “unreal”, as in “uncertain certainty”, and people should really stop using it that way for reasons already stated.