Almost everyone seems to believe that we live in a world with objective norms; norms about what we should and shouldn’t do; norms about what is good and what is bad, what is right and what is wrong. We are always interested in discussing what is morally right or objectively valued but do we ask whether anything is anyhow valued?
The error theory already asked whether norms exist at all and what we may mistake as an objective value. Error theory rejects the idea that there are objective moral norms and values that are independent of us.
Ethical claims are mostly agreed to be objective and controlling. An objective claim is a claim about the way the world is, it is the truth of the world out there, independent of what people think about the world. If a norm says that killing is wrong, then killing would still be wrong even in civilizations that permit it or even force it. To say that a claim is objective is to say that it exists objectively and does not claim anything about us. If we say: ‘Don’t allow abortion’, this is what we want. But if we say ‘Abortion is wrong’, we are saying that there is some independent fact, an objective norm created not by us or by anyone. It just exists objectively.
What we mistake to be an objective claim is only a personal demand but enclosed in a mistaken normative language. Ethical claims only arise when people say what they want, and this could never be objective.
A group of persons, and maybe every person on earth can be mistaken about some accepted beliefs, but it is not logical to claim that all of them are mistaken about their language and what they mean when they use normative words.
People observing an act tend to make moral judgments, and consider that they are only stating an existing norm. The moral judgments we make are things we consider to be true, things that we consider to lead what we are doing and what we are willing to do.
Some people tend to think that moral knowledge itself is a proof of existence of objective norms. They claim that norms are sensed as something forced from an external independent source of the person himself. They say that their moral knowledge results from interacting with objective norms and normative properties.
But senses don’t support objectivity at all. All our senses are identified and explained by science and they don’t respond to objective norms that tell us the normative property of things. ...