A collective consciousness is a fundamental component in an immanent ontology of an authoritarian morality. The moral authority is immanent in this collective consciousness. It is in this collective consciousness where individuals receive the thinking of the moral authority.
This ontological presupposition goes beyond assuming that there is thinking over and above that of individuals. It assumes that there is one comprehensive collective consciousness which includes thoughts not produced by any specific individual or society.
This assumption is not my wild fantasy. It is called by many “human reason.” But because there is so much error, stupidity and malice in it, I prefer to think of it as human thought which is available to cave men and today’s geniuses. It is the medium by which individuals are linked in a web of meaning or intending with all other humans. For instance, it is in this web where we link ourselves with those who built the monuments of Stonehenge. We link with them by trying to figure out what they meant or intended.
We are so certain of the reality of this medium that we ignore it. Descartes was more certain of this medium than of his own personal existence. He simply took for granted the social reality of the thinking in his method of doubting. All the while he was searching for certainty, he was thinking about communicating his philosophy into this web of thinking.
I am only citing an item for an ontology. I am not presenting a systematic philosophy – a metaphysical theory. So, I am not saying that this universal thinking is all that there is. I am not proposing an idealistic metaphysics. I am not saying that this universal thinking is separate from the physical. There is no dualistic metaphysics. I am only claiming that a presupposition of our moral language is this universal thinking whereby thoughts about good and bad, obligations and duties are, at least potentially, available to all humans living, dead or yet to be.
Of course, there are proper subsets of this collective consciousness which are free from error, stupidity and malice. And some of these subsets seem not to be the construction of any individual or society. The rules of logic and mathematics are classic examples of subsets of human thought which seem not to be a human construction. Some have thought that fundamental claims about the physical structure of the universe are thoughts not created by humans. (I suggests that Kant’s question about the possibility of synthetic apriori judgments was how these judgments got into human thought without anyone inventing them.)
Many have also thought that some basic moral judgments are in this subset of thoughts which are universal in all sets of thinking but are not the invention of any humans. They are given to be discovered.
I am one of those who regard certain moral thoughts as given; not constructed. I cannot here make any effort to show how it is possible for there to be such thoughts.
My goal here has only been to show that this assumption of a collective consciousness with a subset of imperative thoughts from an outside source provides objective truth or assertion conditions for our moral thoughts. Our moral thoughts are correct when they are the same thoughts as those from this special subset.