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Are there morals without humans?

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I don’t care about the subject of morality, but I have found myself recently thinking about morality. If I had to say what kind of moral position I hold, it’d be moral relativism. I’ve been thinking about a possible world without humans. If humans didn’t exist, but all other animals today did exist, would there be morals? I will imagine in this possible world that animals that have been domesticated by humans do not exist, but their ancestors and offspring that might have come about from natural selection do.

If morals do exist, even if humans do not, how does one determine that morals would still exist? Invoking the belief in a god wouldn’t matter because even if this god was good, there wouldn’t be any way to determine his goodness. In fact, if that which is immoral is that which offends this god, then there wouldn’t be immorality, since he couldn’t be offended by anyone. He couldn’t be offended by animals, since animals aren’t in need of any kind of salvation.

I wondered if my lack of belief that morals aren’t objective or independent of humans made me a moral nihilist. It might or might not be. It seems to me it’s not so definitive. I do accept that morals serve a purpose in society. I think they are a social construct based on the ability to experience empathy and to think rationally. I am willing to admit that morals have existed before humans existed, but not to the degree we can understand. After all, morals have progressed as our past can attest.


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