Who's to Say What's Right or Wrong? - By Richar Sharvey

Monday, April 28, 2008
In my my meandering path through this vast cyber-world, I occassionally find a gem. Richard Sharvey (1981, 1986)contributed to my intellectual wealth, by writing this essay. The man built a down-to-earth foundation for his lofty ventures into the upper firmament.

He answers the question, "Who's to Say What's Right or Wrong?" with; "People Who Have Ph.D.s in Philosophy, That's Who..."

This is a short read, and well worth the effort.


"...Who's to say what's right or wrong?" The whining tone with which this question is usually asked seems to suggest that there is only one possible answer: "nobody." And this then suggests that there just are no such things as right and wrong at all--that the words "right" and "wrong" are merely grunts like "mmmm" or "echh" with which English-speaking human animals express personal subjective approval and disapproval, caused by custom, habit, and cultural bias that are purely conventional and have no basis in reason. (cp. "Who's to say whether fat men are more attractive than skinny ones?") This rhetorical interpretation of the question, as containing its own answer of "nobody," may just amount to the following unsound argument (using the (a) and (b) from above):

(b) is true
(b) is inconsistent with
(a)therefore, (a) is false.