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Define Morality

 
 
Reply Thu 18 Jun, 2015 03:10 pm
There is currently an active thread entitled "Relative Morality"
But what is morality?
Is it absolute, based on irrefutable standards?
Is it based on premises derived from standards?
Is it relative, varying according to one's world view?
Does it require judgements based on our simple understanding of good and bad?

I am guessing we would all prefer to live in a "moral" world. What would that mean?
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Type: Question • Score: 16 • Views: 7,112 • Replies: 166

 
Fil Albuquerque
 
  3  
Reply Thu 18 Jun, 2015 03:52 pm
Morality is the set of behavioural rules applied in social context that procures to secure the maximum possible efficiency at group complex tasking through protecting the well being of its elements. Its goal is to increase significantly the probability of survival of a communal group through the medium of mutual cooperation. This system is Universal for all social species, it is not based on abstract pre concepts of good and evil, but rather is funded on promoting the least possible suffering for its group members. For example ants have absolutely no notion of good or evil but have an instinctive grasp on communal survival and group health based on the principal of mutual cooperation and self sacrifice. In sum Morality is the old coinage for what is known today as Neo Darwinian strategies of survival. A mechanism evolved out of natural selection that ensures genetic successful continuity of progeny within group context.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Thu 18 Jun, 2015 03:55 pm
I can think of nothing better than to live in a world which has abandoned the smoke and mirrors of "morality."
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Krumple
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Jun, 2015 06:08 pm
@neologist,
I like Fil's response so I'm not going to rehash something that was already said because I agree with it. I just want to point out a few things that are specific with morality.

If you are alone on a island, morality is totally and completely irrelevant. Morality is only necessary in a group setting, even if that group has only two people.

The other thing about morality is that it is not set in stone and it can be fine tuned. There is no clear cut natural tendency to know what is morally right or wrong, despite some trying to argue that we do have this innate knowledge.

We have to be taught it. And when some people are not properly taught they tend to over step what is morally acceptable behavior.

What is accepted today as being morally right, may in fact in the future change to being morally unacceptable. It is because we decide as a group, a society what is acceptable and debate it. Often times morality has gray areas that are not clear cut. This is why it can take a long time before something changes.
farmerman
 
  3  
Reply Thu 18 Jun, 2015 08:23 pm
@neologist,
It is the number of moles of solute per liter of solution.
neologist
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Jun, 2015 10:23 pm
@farmerman,
I wonder how many a2kers know that?
It's certainly more easily comprehended than the OP.
Folks are already halfway to Mars on human behavior issues and the thread is only 1/2 day old.
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JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Jun, 2015 10:54 pm
I tend to think of morals or morality as institutionalied or FROZEN ethics (decisions reflecting values).
Ionus
 
  0  
Reply Thu 18 Jun, 2015 11:47 pm
I don't know about a definition, but we get our morality from animals . There are certain things you don't do because of your instincts on morality .
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Krumple
 
  0  
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2015 12:46 am
@JLNobody,
JLNobody wrote:

I tend to think of morals or morality as institutionalied or FROZEN ethics (decisions reflecting values).


It is probably the case that there will always be certain aspects to human society that will be undebatable when it comes to morality. It also seems that there are things we come to accept that seem so obvious that we question why it took so long before we accepted it and adopt it as a standard moral behavior.

It definitely seems to be based on what we value. The more value we place on the aspect of our society the stronger the reaction to morality dealing with it. If our values shift then so too will our morality.

A really good example of this is the hypothetical situation where some major natural disaster occurs where modern society is threatened. Perhaps billions of people die and only a few hundred thousand survive. Every day life is different than how we currently experience it. Perhaps its a battle for survival.

Just how solid would your morality be when faced with a situation we take for granted on a daily basis? I think a lot of people would easily claim they would have no problem maintaining their current status of morality but I find that suspect. Or perhaps the self proclaimed hero would rather parish than give up their current moral system just to survive.

0 Replies
 
fresco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2015 04:52 am
@neologist,
"Morality" is the name given to the need to live with yourself as a member and a microcosm of society, such that potential actions are tempered by anticipation of social consequences.
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Fil Albuquerque
 
  0  
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2015 05:57 am
@JLNobody,
JLNobody wrote:

I tend to think of morals or morality as institutionalied or FROZEN ethics (decisions reflecting values).


Well this one is original.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2015 11:23 am
@Krumple,
Krumple wrote:
What is accepted today as being morally right, may in fact in the future change to being morally unacceptable. It is because we decide as a group, a society what is acceptable and debate it.

You're mixing up morality and mores. They're not the same thing. For instance, slavery was once acceptable, now it's not. That doesn't mean, however, that slavery was once moral and now it's not. Slavery has always been immoral, and those who owned slaves at a time when slavery was legal were still acting immorally, even though they were acting legally. Just because something is socially acceptable doesn't mean that it's moral. That's the same obvious mistake that moral relativists always make.
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2015 11:27 am
@joefromchicago,
So to simplify what Joe is saying...

What you believe to be right are morals. What other people believe are right are mores.

All moral absolutists have to go on is their own beliefs. Just because they believe sincerely they are right (and everyone else is wrong) doesn't make it so.


joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2015 11:48 am
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

So to simplify what Joe is saying...

What you believe to be right are morals. What other people believe are right are mores.

Well, if by "simplify" you mean "totally misinterpret," then I agree. But even that garbled translation is better than the moral relativist's version, which is "whatever I believe is right is moral, and whatever you believe is right is moral." That, as I understand it, has always been your position -- simplified, of course.
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maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2015 11:50 am
@joefromchicago,
I define morality as a system of defining right and wrong within a cultural context. Morality is very useful for humans, as a social creature, at establishing a functioning society. This is why every successful culture in human history has a system of morality (much the same as every successful culture has a language).

Moral absolutists claim there is one true way to define right and wrong. This of course means that only one culture at most can be moral, and that when there are two different cultures with different ideas... one of them is wrong. There have been plenty of moral absolutists throughout history basing their ideas on everything from God's will, to the need for order to natural selection.

The claim that "I am right. I am right for all times. And, any culture that disagrees is wrong" is a little uncomfortable... especially coming from someone who holds to a modern Western view of morality. The people dictating morality now come from a culture that subjugated, often brutally, many other cultures on its rise to power.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2015 11:59 am
@joefromchicago,
You ought to read more about Romans and the origins of the law before coming up with that clean cut surgeon knife of yours...and this is not a matter of being absolute or relative either. There is an order to it, there is universality on how it works, but the specifics are not ground in stone. Of course if all you want to say is that what is now inadequate is now inadequate you are obviously right. Not that it explains much.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  3  
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2015 12:00 pm
@maxdancona,
maxdancona wrote:

I define morality as a system of defining right and wrong within a cultural context. Morality is very useful for humans, as a social creature, at establishing a functioning society. This is why every successful culture in human history has a system of morality (much the same as every successful culture has a language).

What you're describing aren't morals, they're cultural mores. That's not morality, that's sociology.

maxdancona wrote:
Moral absolutists claim there is one true way to define right and wrong. This of course means that only one culture at most can be moral

That's begging the question.

maxdancona wrote:
The claim that "I am right. I am right for all times. And, any culture that disagrees is wrong" is a little uncomfortable... especially coming from someone who holds to a modern Western view of morality. The people dictating morality now come from a culture that subjugated, often brutally, many other cultures on its rise to power.

"Culture" is largely an irrelevant concept in ethics. That you insist upon its centrality betrays your own fundamental misunderstanding of the topic.
maxdancona
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2015 12:06 pm
@joefromchicago,
Modern Western morality is based on the the myth of human rights. If there is no such thing as human rights... then Western ideas about about morality crumble.

Do you agree with that Joe?

The problem is that there is no reason to believe that humans have rights. There is no science behind these rights. And this is a fairly recent idea. Throughout history most societies haven't had this idea of human rights.

To have a Western system of morality. You need to have faith. You need to believe in human rights even though there is no evidence that such rights exist.
Fil Albuquerque
 
  0  
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2015 12:06 pm
...yeah Ethics must be alien born...good lord.
0 Replies
 
maxdancona
 
  0  
Reply Fri 19 Jun, 2015 12:13 pm
@joefromchicago,
Quote:
"Culture" is largely an irrelevant concept in ethics.


Of course it culture is relevant in ethics. Different cultures have wildly different ideas about ethics. If you think that Western cultural views about ethics represent some universal truth, than so be it... but our ideas don't work very well outside of a similar cultural context.
 

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