In a discussion on The Limits Of Science with Lawrence Krass, Dan Dennett, and Massimo Pigliucci, Dan Dennett makes an analogy with chess (and its rules) to morality. The analogy goes something like this. He says the game of chess has been improved over time. Things like the addition of the castling rule, things like the en passant rule, and so on have improved the game. These are done because people like to have a fast-moving game, or one that doesn’t take forever. He then said something like, if you had two groups of people that disagreed about the different rules of the game, each thinking a different set of rules was superior and if one side couldn’t convince the other of their perspective, then there really wasn’t a “right answer”. He implied that there would be a right answer if one group could convince the other one of the superiority of their side, and he thought that this was like morality.
However I think, if you take Sam Harris’ perspective on morality as I typically do, you notice that even for Dennett there is a reason why different versions of chess would be better, and it doesn’t come up for a vote. People prefer certain types of games and this leads to an increase in the well-being of those people that play them. Certain rule changes would be better because some changes would lead to longer games, or more difficult games, and thus decrease overall well-being. It becomes an objective fact about human consciousness and games. Both in the area of morality, and in this analogy, there would be right and wrong answers to those questions based on the well-being of people. Dennett’s analogy might be closer than he thinks, but not in the way he intends.