A contemporary German philosopher (I forget who) once said that the best about two chairs is that you can sit between them. Right now this is the comfortable position that I happen to find myself in. In a critique of an article published earlier this year in the Journal of Medical Ethics (Giubilini and Minerva on "after-birth abortion") I claimed that morality was fundamentally irrational in the sense that there is no moral belief that is, as Don Marquis put it, "utterly compelling to any rational person". Moral convictions can always be contested, and it is never unreasonable to do so. Moral beliefs are not the results of rational reflection, but rather starting points. They are more like axioms upon which we build our world: foundational bricks in the house that constitutes the way we look at, think about, and relate to ourselves and the people and things around us. To believe, for instance, that it is wrong to torture people, is neither rational nor irrational. We may, of course, be able to explain why we think it is wrong, but nothing that we can say by way of an explanation is such that no rational person can deny its moral relevance. In that particular article, however, my main point was that the appearance of rational compellingness that many bioethicsts (especially those with roots in the analytic tradition) attempt to lend to their personal views is just that: mere appearance. It is a rhetorical device that is often used to trick the reader into accepting conclusions that intuitively they are inclined to reject.
This of course raises the deeper question why it is so important to people to be able to see their moral views as rational. It is almost as if we feared that we might have to give up our moral convictions if they turned out to lack a rational foundation. We seem to need or want some assurance that we are right and those who don't agree with us are wrong. We want our moral convictions to be true, and the idea that they might not be is disquieting. Makes it more difficult to stand up for one's views, to feel righteous about them and to fight those who oppose them.