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Morality: How are thing's determined to be moral or immoral?

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posted on Sep, 12 2009 @ 01:10 PM
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I was having a discussion with someone on the nature of morality. I was curious what everyone thought on the subject.

Does one need a higher authority to maintain a sense of morality? The person I was discussing this with is religious and calls this higher authority god, while others call the higher authority societies laws.

One issue I'm having trouble with is not only that, but also the implications involved. How can one claim to be moral when one is moral out of fear of punishment from a higher authority?

I myself am of the belief that every individual has the capacity for morality built in and a common sense understanding of what morality is right out of the box. Without needs for explanations, higher authorities or fear of punishments.

The way I look at morality is such, if I would not want an immoral act performed against my self, then how can I justify committing the same against another person. If I can not justify that act, then I would assume that act to be wrong or immoral to some degree and thus something one should not do.

Another issue I have is that if a person should require morality to be explained or have consequence/fear of punishment, then is that person truly moral or only moral just because of that fear of punishment?




posted on Sep, 12 2009 @ 01:30 PM
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reply to post by sirnex
 


Hmm.. Very good post. I'll take a swing at this...

I have beliefs that some would call religious, although they are firmly based in ideas of logic and some scientific basis. I don't subscribe to the abrahamic beliefs, but I do feel that there is a sense of balance in the universe.

So that background aside, I have morals and ethics. They all center around one rule.. Maintain balance..and by derivation, treat others the way you would want to be treated.

Everything else I do and feel as right and wrong derive from that premise. I treat people nicely because I would like to be treated nicely. I believe whatever I do will eventually come back to me.

In a sense, i suppose morality is a offshoot of selfishness. We follow rules because we don't want to endure the consequences. On the flip side, I don't impose my moral beliefs on others because I do not wish them to impose theirs on me.



posted on Sep, 12 2009 @ 01:36 PM
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Actually it is all about what is accepted in a society. Person from society X considers totally moral to eat his enemy, but would think of lying as a total taboo. Person from society Y is ok with white lies, but considers cannibalism a total taboo.
And it can change, and does change. According to enviromental pressure.



posted on Sep, 12 2009 @ 01:40 PM
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Yip it's all about culture.I think some laws are universal about what is moral except it only becomes immoral at a certain time compared to other cultures, if you understand what i mean.In any case morality is not set in stone for the most part..it is shaped by the peoples in a society and is always changing because people and cultures are always evolving.

[edit on 12-9-2009 by Solomons]



posted on Sep, 12 2009 @ 01:48 PM
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Imo the vast majority of us have a genetic morality for the survival of the species, this may be modified for each culture but the basics remain the same.



posted on Sep, 12 2009 @ 02:02 PM
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And so, if morality is nothing more than what is sociably acceptable at the time as governed by differing cultures, then in a sense there is no innate fundamental of morality.

If morality is entirely at the whims of society and culture, then who determines what is moral? Does the individual determine morality or does the ruling class determine morality?

If morality is determined by the ruling class with consequence/punishment given for breaking that code of morality, then what does this say of the moral standing of the individual living under rule of that ruling class?

Can an agreed upon base of morality be conceived upon where the basis is nothing more than common sense of individuality? Such as I would not kill because I do not want to be killed.



posted on Sep, 12 2009 @ 02:12 PM
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reply to post by sirnex
 


Morality is due to pressure from environment. Environment can be scarcity/abundance of resources, will of higher standing members of society, tradition,religion,cultural "age" of society and numerous other reasons. There is of course a default set, but it is pretty low level and can be easily overriden. We are a complex creature, so everything about us as individuals or as a society - is a complex thing. Even in the same society different age groups have slightly differerent moral values.
I do not think anyone can really plan what moral values would eventually be. Even in religions you can trace "erasure" of original values to what it is now. And it will change in the future.



posted on Sep, 12 2009 @ 02:45 PM
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I think morality is basically NOT doing things that infringe on the "rights" of others.

I know some people think it depends on society, but that's just, IMO, what kind of immorality is ACCEPTABLE in those societies.

For instance, can one really try to argue that it's okay to beat a woman for being seen in public without a head dress? Someone in America would say no, someone in an strict Islamic state would say yes, but that doesn't make beating her okay on a fundamental level, just acceptable.

Ask the woman whether or not she liked being beat. She may say she deserved it because society had brainwashed her into thinking that, but I wouldn't think she would say she enjoyed it and would prefer not to be beat.



posted on Sep, 12 2009 @ 02:51 PM
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reply to post by sirnex
 




Morality


Morality is a purely subjective phenomenon.



How are thing's determined to be moral or immoral?


In any manner, in accordance with whomever is deciding for themselves what is moral. Again, morality is a purely subjective phenemenon.



Does one need a higher authority to maintain a sense of morality?


No.



The way I look at morality is such, if I would not want an
immoral act performed against my self, then how can I justify
committing the same against another person.


Ok, but in that evaluation you have assumed that only people are eligible for consideration, yes? For example, you yourself wouldn't want to be cut to tiny pieces by a knife, but presumabely you feel no "moral" implications for using a lawnmower on the grass in your yard?

If you believe that grass "doesn't count because it's not a person" that is a decision of morality, and once again...it is a purely subjective decision. There are people, for example, who believe that it is immoral to kill and eat animals. And there are people who believe that it's ok. Upon what could such a decision be objectively made?

I suggest that there is no objective basis. Morality is a purely subjective phenomenon.



posted on Sep, 12 2009 @ 08:13 PM
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reply to post by LordBucket
 


You make a great point.

I just have to ask though, based on your reasoning, does this mean that we should ignore immorality? Can there be such a thing as TRUE morality?

I mean, what about wife abuse or child abuse. some cultures see this as okay. Does that mean other's don't have the right to stand up for the woman/child who is being abused?

but this can also apply to animals I suppose. I wouldn't be cool with a vegetarian knocking a juicy burger out of my hand to stand up for their morality.

where do we draw that line? Is there a line when it comes to morality?



posted on Sep, 12 2009 @ 08:21 PM
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Originally posted by nunya13
reply to post by LordBucket
 


You make a great point.

I just have to ask though, based on your reasoning, does this mean that we should ignore immorality? Can there be such a thing as TRUE morality?

I mean, what about wife abuse or child abuse. some cultures see this as okay. Does that mean other's don't have the right to stand up for the woman/child who is being abused?

but this can also apply to animals I suppose. I wouldn't be cool with a vegetarian knocking a juicy burger out of my hand to stand up for their morality.

where do we draw that line? Is there a line when it comes to morality?


I say there line on morality should be on the induviduals actions. In no way does anyone have the right to dictate morality to me or decide that something I am doing is amoral (according to their standards) and force me to stop.

That being said, they can try and most humans will. That is expected. In the end it comes down to whether I can be bothered to resist their attempts and/or fight back. My community operates under a set of laws based, to some extent, on what it popularly believes to be moral. I can choose to ignore those laws because they do not apply to my standards, but said society will impose their standards on me by way of the police, etc. I can choose to resist or acquiess.



posted on Sep, 12 2009 @ 08:47 PM
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reply to post by nunya13
 




based on your reasoning, does this mean that we should ignore
immorality? Can there be such a thing as TRUE morality?


Based on my reasoning, there is no such thing as "should." There is only choice. You might choose to beat your wife, or you might choose not to. If your neighbor is beating his wife, you might choose to intervene, or you might choose not to.

"Morality" is a code of "rules." There is no room for rules in a thinking being. In any situation, make whichever choices you wish, and be prepared to face the consequences of those choices.



I mean, what about wife abuse or child abuse. some cultures see this as okay.
Does that mean other's don't have the right to stand up for the woman/child who is being abused?


Questions like this have meaning only if we perceive "moral rules" as some external thing, apart from ourselves, that we're "supposed to" obey. If you perceive yourself as a thinking being, capable and worthy to make whichever choices you choose, situations as you describe take on a entirely new perspective. There is no more worry over what "society sees as ok." There is no more debate over illusory "rights." If a man chooses to abuse his wife or child, that is his choice. Just as it is their choice whether to allow it, flee, or fight back. And it is their neighbors choice whether to break down the mans door in an act of vigilanteeism.

We are thinking beings. Rules and codes are substitutes for thought and self determination.



where do we draw that line?


Draw the line wherever you choose for it to be drawn. It is not "the rules" that will experience the consequences of your actions.

It is you.


[edit on 12-9-2009 by LordBucket]



posted on Sep, 12 2009 @ 09:06 PM
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Originally posted by nunya13
reply to post by LordBucket
 


You make a great point.

I just have to ask though, based on your reasoning, does this mean that we should ignore immorality? Can there be such a thing as TRUE morality?

I mean, what about wife abuse or child abuse. some cultures see this as okay. Does that mean other's don't have the right to stand up for the woman/child who is being abused?

but this can also apply to animals I suppose. I wouldn't be cool with a vegetarian knocking a juicy burger out of my hand to stand up for their morality.

where do we draw that line? Is there a line when it comes to morality?


Morality, in regards to humans, is a built in feature. Humans can easily determine right from wrong simply by the way things make us feel. No normally functioning human conscience can escape the unsettling feelings that follow a wrongful action. What's even better, we know something is wrong without ever committing the mistake! Just the thought of immoral behavior is enough to trigger a warning.

My personal beliefs assure me that society cannot determine morality, nor can culture. To me, an entire culture committing wrongful acts, that would trigger my built in immoral compass, does not make those acts morally acceptable. Society can never make the unrighteous righteous by agreeing it is so. Believing it can would serve to justify pure evil! For those that believe in Satan, culturally accepted morality supports the Devils work as righteous and moral. I cannot agree.

Peace.



posted on Sep, 13 2009 @ 04:44 AM
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I don't know whether there is a supreme being, so I can't help you with that
.

There seems to be a lot of agreement among people about what kinds of behavior raise moral issues. But there is a lot of disagreement among people, even within the same culture, never mind across cultures, about the right thing to do.

Can I torture dogs? Apparently not if I am football player who likes pit fights, but maybe I can if I manufacture cosmetics and want to test whether the product causes skin irritation. That's the culture I live in. In other cultures, maybe the answer is yes, but only if I eat them afterwards. Or no, they are the incarnations of Umamabandu.

So, easy enough to get agreement that whoever tortures dogs needs a story about why it's OK, but hard to find agreement about which stories are good enough.

Bottom line? I think humans beings do pretty much whatever we want to do. Stories are cheap when we want one, conveniently unavailable otherwise.

If I want to do something, then I will come up with a story. "Yes, I'm torturing this puppy, but if I don't do it, then the terrorists win." If somebody asks me to do something I'd rather not do, then I find, by some amazing coincidence, that I just can't think of a story for that. "Gee, I'd like to help you out, but what you're asking is immoral."



posted on Sep, 13 2009 @ 04:50 AM
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reply to post by sirnex
 


If you stick by what Jesus taught, you will never go wrong, even if you do not believe in Jesus.

He said to love your fellowman (difficult), and He said to love your neighbour (difficult), and He said to bring peace to everyone, something our world just does not do.

He also said to forgive, and that is difficult also.

So just stick with what Jesus taught and you will be OK (just about impossible).



posted on Sep, 13 2009 @ 02:37 PM
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I study Morality and it is a major factor in my work on Assignee's Prerogative.
If you would like to get a brief understanding about "The Domain of Morality" you can read my post about it and other topics here.

www.abovetopsecret.com...

You can go into more detail at my site
www.anti-socialengineering.com...



posted on Sep, 13 2009 @ 05:36 PM
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Illiteracy: How can we be a moral people capable of determining right & wrong when we allow imbeciles who do not know how to use an apostrophe (nor when NOT to use one) to spill their ignorance on the internet?



posted on Sep, 13 2009 @ 05:48 PM
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Oh I see! OP writes the word God with a "lower case" g. That explains everything.



posted on Sep, 14 2009 @ 03:04 PM
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Alright, considering that morality can and most likely to an extant is subjective, being an conscious and intelligent species then, is there any moral issues that can be reached in agreement with all of man kind?

Basically, we set aside all differences of religion, politics, and current laws. What underlying set of ground rules/morals can be reached?

I would go with killing/murder as being an immoral act. The only reason I can think to justify that is that I wouldn't wish anyone to commit that act against me, so how can I justify committing that on someone else?



posted on Sep, 14 2009 @ 04:38 PM
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I would go with killing/murder as being an immoral act.

The United States has a military whose purpose, according to one of its senior officers, is to kill people and break things. Other countries have militaries, too. Off hand, their purpose seems similar to the U.S. purpose, with occasional differences of opinon about what to break and whom to kill.

Anyway, the senior officer didn't seem worried about the morality of his assessment, or that people would think of him as a moral leper, or think less of the military for being a killing and vandalism enterprise.


The only reason I can think to justify that is that I wouldn't wish anyone to commit that act against me, so how can I justify committing that on someone else?

If I think somebody would and could kill me, then I am well along to having a justification for killing them. That's called pre-emption, I think.

The principle is not just a hypothetical. People really have died for wishing to kill Americans, and having some potential for doing so; probably for wishing to kill other nationalities, too.

I think you might get cross-cultural agreement on waste. Don't kill more people than you need to in order to accomplish a goal (Heinlein said it better somewhere; he was ex-military). Don't break more of other people's things than you need to in order to accomplish a goal.

But I don't think you'll get huge intra-cultutal agreement on what goals justify some killing and which do not justify any killing at all. Hell, you don't even have agreement on what killing is. Look at the abortion debate.

Cross-cultural would be hopeless,



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