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Does morality exist independently or is it totally conditioned by beliefs of an individual?

 
 
gavin25
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Jun, 2010 01:31 pm
@Eudaimon,
I do not think there is an independent morality. I also don't believe I would want, much like i would reject god. Morality must be thought out and subject to change. Also claiming that there is an absolute morality would define how other intelligent life might also behave...
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Tue 22 Jun, 2010 10:49 pm
@Eudaimon,
Eudaimon wrote:

Discussion in the thread I started two days ago lead me to ask this question. Moral relativism, as I understand that, claims that there is no standard for morality and everything depends on the set of beliefs hold by a person. For example, killing is called immoral when performed for selfish actions. But if it is made in the name of God or state (at war, or in death penalty) it is moral.
I disagree with such a view and I think that morality has an independent status. I think that when a soldier kills his enemy he knows he's doing an immoral act, yet he justifies himself somehow, but his act remains immoral nevertheless and he understands that. And the same with terrorists, the know they do bad, but they have justification.
The difference seems to lie in that how we adopt, assimilate that morality, whether we have something which is deemed to be above it (like God's will or law, or our own selfish interests).


If by "existing independently" you mean completely unconditioned, then your question is self-answering. But I don't think I understand what you mean by "morality existing independently". Obviously, when I make a moral judgment, I make it on the basis of what I believe about the world. In fact that does not apply only to moral judgments, it applies to any judgment (say) that the cat is on the mat. That judgment is no independent of my belief that there are cats and there are mats, and, obviously, those beliefs were learned by me. They did not suddenly pop into my head out of nothing. And the same goes for a judgment like abortion is wrong. So that I think that your question is based on a false dichotomy, The idea that there can be such a thing as a judgment that has no background beliefs. The question is, however, whether I cannot make an independent judgment (for instance that the cat is on the mat) even though that judgment is no independent of background beliefs about the world. Can't I independently judge that the cat is on the mat. Or that abortion is bad even if I do have background beliefs?
0 Replies
 
Eudaimon
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Jun, 2010 12:43 am
@gavin25,
gavin25 wrote:

...Morality must be thought out and subject to change.

Yes, it must be, but it's not how it works. I may work out a system according to which it is good to kill people, at least some of them (like Hitler and others did). But that won't be moral and I shall feel that. Those who kill at war think they are doing right thing but that doesn't free them from remorse and nightmares. That's a fact.

gavin25 wrote:

Also claiming that there is an absolute morality would define how other intelligent life might also behave...

Not necessarily, explain thy thought.


Kennethamy --- I think I have to repeat my self in the answer to thee. I am not going to argue about how our judgements come into being, psychology and all the rest of it. My thoughts concerning this subject are put here, if they are interesting to anyone: http://able2know.org/topic/153326-1#post-4182789. What I am saying is that despite believing in God, State, Money or whatever, we feel what morality is. And even if we do something what we think right according to our belief system, we still know it's moral value. Thus, in this sense morality is independent.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Wed 23 Jun, 2010 06:14 am
@Eudaimon,
Eudaimon wrote:

gavin25 wrote:

...Morality must be thought out and subject to change.

Yes, it must be, but it's not how it works. I may work out a system according to which it is good to kill people, at least some of them (like Hitler and others did). But that won't be moral and I shall feel that. Those who kill at war think they are doing right thing but that doesn't free them from remorse and nightmares. That's a fact.

gavin25 wrote:

Also claiming that there is an absolute morality would define how other intelligent life might also behave...

Not necessarily, explain thy thought.


Kennethamy --- I think I have to repeat my self in the answer to thee. I am not going to argue about how our judgements come into being, psychology and all the rest of it. My thoughts concerning this subject are put here, if they are interesting to anyone: http://able2know.org/topic/153326-1#post-4182789. What I am saying is that despite believing in God, State, Money or whatever, we feel what morality is. And even if we do something what we think right according to our belief system, we still know it's moral value. Thus, in this sense morality is independent.


I think you must mean that we have moral intuitions about moral matters. As in the celebrated case of the obliging stranger:

http://ethicsandmorals.tribe.net/thread/0f5e70bc-313a-45bc-992a-08678654fb83

The issue here is that even if we all agree that roasting the little stranger is, as William Gass says "vicious", and we all agree, we are still faced with the question, of justification. For suppose that some moral theory does not condemn the action as vicious, what then? I think you might find the following very helpful here:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/reflective-equilibrium/
0 Replies
 
Jackofalltrades phil
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Jun, 2010 07:16 am
I agree with ken....... morality is dependent on our background.

so, Morality is not absolute, it is relative. But that should not be construed as saying that morality is not universal.
kennethamy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Jun, 2010 07:31 am
@Jackofalltrades phil,
Jackofalltrades phil wrote:

I agree with ken....... morality is dependent on our background.

so, Morality is not absolute, it is relative. But that should not be construed as saying that morality is not universal.


If morality is relative, as you say, then how can it also be universal? I guess I don't understand those terms very well (which is not surprising, since neither term is the name of anything clear). And, what would it be like for morality to be absolute, since I really don't know what it is you have in mind by that term either? My moral beliefs are conditioned by my background and education. But how else could it be? What would it even mean for my moral beliefs not to be conditioned by my background and education?

But, although it is true that my moral beliefs are conditioned (or relative, or whatever) that is a lot different from saying that morality itself is conditioned (or relative, or whatever). Moral beliefs are one thing. Morality is another thing. Now, it is true that you may believe that all there are, are moral beliefs, and that there is no morality, so that my moral beliefs are really about nothing. And you may be correct. But that really has to be argued for. You cannot just assume it is true, or worse, confuse my moral beliefs with what they are supposed to be beliefs about.
Jackofalltrades phil
 
  1  
Reply Sat 26 Jun, 2010 03:19 am
@kennethamy,
Firstly, i am sorry for replying so late. Excuse me for the delay.

Morality for me is what it is as was explained in my earlier post, here.
http://able2know.org/topic/153279-1#post-4182313
Now, to your main question ........ 'If morality is relative, as you say, then how can it also be universal?'

URL: http://able2know.org/reply/post-4186849

It is simple. Moral beliefs or the collective sense of it which we term 'morality' is found in all human societies. Irrespective of geography, political persuasions, gender, age, nationhoods or racehoods. therefore morality is universal, although moral beliefs are relative (relative to individuals).

For example: it is just like saying that 'sports' is an activity found in all nations and groups, but basketball found favour only in few countries.
0 Replies
 
 

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