Morality so far as we understnad it might conceivably be thus based on divine commands, and therefore have, for us, a duty-based form; but if we reject this mythology abd see morality as a human product we cannot intelligibly take duties as its starting-point. (171)
I found this very interesting, especially his choice of the word "mythology". It seems to me that he is calling this divine thinking nonsense. My confusion lies in the end of the statement. Why does a human invented theory of moraliy not account for duties, or them as a starting point? Perhaps I have misunderstood so far, but one can have rights or duties as premises, and there are duties or rights that follow, respectively. Why does the creating matter in this case?
I also found the passage on the bottom of 174 and top of 175, when Mackie talks about individualism and the members of A and B. He claims that those who are more co-operative, less quarrelsome and more successfull will do better in the group. Why shouldn't they? He further explains that some inequalities are indeed justified. For some reason, this example reminded me of Social Darwinism....
Further on that page, Mackie's views align with Dworkin. The homosexuality example came to mind when he says: "People differ radically about the kinds of life they choose to pursue...based on such comparative evaluations." (175) He ties this into his larger arguement that people have a right to "progressively choose how they shall live". It is their fundamental freedom.
I will try to re-read this, because I am not understanding all of it.
14 hours ago