*This is the first post in the Part 1 of the essay. In the coming days, newer posts will consider the contours of a potential universal science of morals.
My purpose here is to try and reinstate the science of morals as the foundational knowledge of ‘what ought to be done’, in line with the material sciences* that tell us what we know, why we know and how we can know. This would involve taking moral science out of the messiness of religion-mediated value and virtue and re-orienting it towards growth through observation, investigation and experimentation with all its modern or contemporary implications. For science, though it comes from the Latin root ‘to know’, has broken with etymological bounds to acquire several additional dimensions: science has come to mean something exact, precise and universally applicable. But science is also falsifiable; it is something that can be countered or subject to change with time. The knowledge of what ought to be done – which is called the science of morals – is, like all science, a set of natural, inviolable laws. But within that framework of enduring permanence, it also allows for paradigm shifts with time.
[More to come in the coming days]
Note: I use the term ‘material’ to contrast the science of morals, which has to do with the subtle or non-tangible, with all other sciences that have to do with things concrete or perceivable.