Skip to 0 minutes and 7 secondsWhen people are discussing a humanist outlook, they sometimes put that question in the following
Skip to 0 minutes and 12 secondsform: they say, 'are there any objective moral standards that a humanist, or anybody for that matter, is bound to observe? Are there any objective constraints on how we can think about the good?' And do you know, I think there are. I think there are certain facts about human beings and about human nature, which tell us that there are definite red lines about how we behave towards other people. So for example, people are capable - and so indeed are all sentient creatures, other animals - of suffering or of experiencing pleasure, of being afraid, of being alone.
Skip to 0 minutes and 50 secondsNo human being likes to be cold or lonely or deprived of opportunities or locked up or treated unkindly, and those are just objective facts about people. And those objective facts tell us about how we should behave towards them. When we see somebody in pain, somebody suffering, somebody sad, somebody lonely, somebody deprived, that tells us what we need to do, how we might be able to help a little bit. Because those facts are facts that we ourselves experience, we have first hand knowledge of them. They teach us, therefore, about those parameters, those borders, so to speak, within which and beyond which, our moral life and moral action, and our ethical outlook in general, should lie.
AC Grayling describes where we might begin to find answers about how we should behave towards others.