Poll: Where do you stand ethically/morally?
Ethical Egoism
Moral Relativism
Kantianism/Categorical Imperative
Utilitarianism
Emotivism
Hobbes' Social Contract Theory
Religious Based
Other
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Moral Philosophy: Where do you stand?
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27-05-2012, 11:26 AM (This post was last modified: 27-05-2012 12:39 PM by TrulyX.)
Moral Philosophy: Where do you stand?
I did my best to list and define the major philosophical, ethical/moral theories/ideologies; if you have a problem with one of my explanation/definitions, feel free to question and correct them as needed. I'm only human and don't have the best understanding of all of the theories, so in all likelihood, I misrepresented one or totally messed up one of the explanations.

Simple. Pick a moral/ethical theory that you think best defines your views on morality/ethics. It would be nice for anyone and everyone to answer, regardless of your knowledge or time spent thinking about the issue, and to give a brief explanation as to why you feel the way you do. I also would encourage anyone with their own personal views, or someone who likes a theory, or combination of theories, that I didn't post, to respond other, add that theory to the conversation, and move on from there.

Also, if you have a different view, in any way, on ethics, of government/politics, business, or even in general, than you do on morality, feel free to make and explain that distinction.

Ethical/Moral Egoism
- a person ought to, out of moral obligation, do what is in their own self-interest i.e. what is moral is determined by whether or not an action was in the self-interest of the person taking that course of action.

Ethical/Moral Relativism- the rightness or wrongness of an action is determined by a culture's and/or an individual's personal preferences.

Kantianism/Categorical Imperative- Kant's view that morality is based not on the consequences of an action nor on the preferences, or interests, of the person involved, but that, the only objective basis for moral value would be the rationality of the good will, expressed in recognition of moral duty.

"Act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will
that it should become a universal law without contradiction."- First formulation of the Categorical Imperative

"Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or
in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end, but
always at the same time as an end." - Second formulation of the Categorical Imperative

Utilitarianism- the rightness or wrongness of an action is determined by whether or not that course of action is the one that maximizes the overall happiness.

Emotivism- the view that moral judgments do not function as statements of fact but rather as expressions of emotional attitudes.

Hobbes' Social Contract Theory- based on the idea of a 'natural state/state of nature' in which any person has a natural right to the liberty to do anything he wills, and will do anything to preserve his own self-interest and life, and life is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short and at constant war; to prevent this natural state, it's right to adopt a 'social contract' that everyone follows, on the grounds that others will also follow it, to maintain order and prevent constant state of war.

Religious Based- morality based on religious traditions and/or texts.

Other- any alternative theory I left out, a combination of the above theories and/or your own personal theory or views on ethics and morality.

The Paradox Of Fools And Wise Men:
“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.” ― Bertrand Russell
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27-05-2012, 02:28 PM (This post was last modified: 27-05-2012 08:16 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Moral Philosophy: Where do you stand?
I don't believe in -> [Image: 3957281319_5f5059eed1_s.jpg]

Don't fit in any of the boxes, maybe am an "eventual" Utilitarian.

Have an essentially Ancient Hebrew / Joseph Campbell-Oprah Winfrey / Whatever Floats your Boat position.

"Follow your bliss; and don't hurt anyone".

The Ancient Garden Myth, (about attempting to "eat" from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good AND Evil"), despite it's hijacking and misuse by the guilt ridden Christians, (Paul and Augustine), has some wisdom, in my view. As long as humans live in spacetime, there is no escape from the human condition, (no "savior" needed or possible BTW). Choices are necessary. One cannot "eat" from the Tree, (and attempt to "encompass" BOTH)...ie not choose. Tillich, (famous 20th C. Christian theologian/scholar), and Buber, (Jewish Philosopher), agree.

You choose that which promotes your "authentic" self. That assumes a lot, (you could be a serial killer). Assuming an "ordered" personality, might be OK, (question of "limits of ordered" is interesting .. but not applicable .. very boring. Works for me.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein Certified Ancient Astronaut Theorist and Levitating yogi, CAAT-LY.
Yeah, for verily I say unto thee, and this we know : Jebus no likey that which doth tickle thee unto thy nether regions.

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27-05-2012, 07:09 PM
RE: Moral Philosophy: Where do you stand?
I don't know if what I believe fits any of those... basically I view morality as anything that affects animals (including people) with ethics being everything else in a sense. For example, killing can be morally wrong, cheating is ethically wrong (based on my own personal viewpoints--as there is no absolute).

The "Ethical/Moral Relativism" seems accurate in the sense there are no absolutes for all, or even given all situations... Basically I find that what is moral depends on the society and beliefs of the society that parents teach their children--with variations coming from interactions within and interpersonal relationships where the person may discover that things are more shades-of-grey than black-and-white--meaning things are not right or wrong, rather right or wrong depending on context and circumstances.

At the same time, what the individual finds morally right (and ethically) would depend on their avoidance of pain and seeking pleasure, while weighing in costs of actions and risks. For example, a student may not cheat because they are not wanting a guaranteed A, rather they fear the consequences of being caught. A person may not cheat on their partner because of the fear of consequences. A person may not kill another because of the consequences, or they may kill someone because of the consequences if they don't. Really, even I have an issue with the terms morals and ethics as I don't entirely believe they exist, rather it's a person's decisions they make that are in accordance of their desires and wishes, which may be just seeking pleasurable feelings and avoiding negative ones.
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28-05-2012, 12:08 AM
RE: Moral Philosophy: Where do you stand?
Any one, stipulated moral imperative seems impossible to fully justify. Utilitarianism sounds nice so long as you dont belong to a minority group that opposes the social norm and are viewed as some sort of depraved radical.

Religious based morality posits the highest possible supernatural ethics with no justification other than the ambiguous writing of human beings trying to out do one another in describing a supernatural will that seems essentially ineffable. This is particularly dangerous as it alows sophistry to over ride our limited understandings.

Kantian philophy holds that absolute truths exist and must be followed irrespective of the circumstance. For example lieing,while hiding Jews from Nazi torturers, is still a lie and unjustified in Kant's 'big picture'

Moral relativism, my preferred position, from an individual choice perspective, in that all choices subject to rigorous debate, in good faith, while still inadequate, seems like a reasonable starting point.
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28-05-2012, 05:57 AM
RE: Moral Philosophy: Where do you stand?
My moral philosophy is closest to Kantianism, I think. But not quite, I mix in some Maslow and progressive philosophy.


Besides acting morally, we have an obligation of progress, to prevent stagnation or return of old outdated ways, to solve problems and develop new skills, technologies, moral qualities and so on. To act against the progress is immoral and dangerous.
Progress changes moral rules, so it's impossible to formulate an absolute morality. Progress may be sometimes unpleasant, so we can't have a moral code that is focused on immediate happiness. We should rather develop progressively in such a way that makes it easier to act morally and therefore be happy. Morality is very rewarding, if we can afford it.


Various individuals or societies are at various degrees of progress. They should be motivated (which means, benevolently and appropriately manipulated) to develop, but within their possibilities and next immediate goals, not ours.
There is an objective ladder (or Maslow's pyramid) of values and we all are somewhere on it. This determines what we see as valuable, admirable, desirable, moral, immoral, punishment, and so on. Our first duty is to get along with each other and the environment, our second duty is to develop our potential, which will eventually get us to the very next step on that ladder.


As for my personal moral code, I'm not a saint. I find it acceptable to copy data that aren't personal (but not steal them, damage, make profit on, or claim them as my own) and to keep property that someone lost, if it's not too personal or valuable (wallet, ID, car, keys, etc). For example, I once found a working cell phone. It had no contacts inside nor any messages, so I decided to keep it.
But I'm very touchy about starting conflicts and wasting things and energy.

If you claim there are nuances to principles, there are no nuances to getting arrested or shot for disobeying the power.
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28-05-2012, 10:43 AM
RE: Moral Philosophy: Where do you stand?
I really do not fit neatly in to any of these boxes and certainly not the religious.

" Generally speaking, the errors in religion are dangerous; those in philosophy only ridiculous."
David Hume
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28-05-2012, 01:40 PM
RE: Moral Philosophy: Where do you stand?
At first glance I quite like Hobbes's thing there. Isn't that pretty much what we have? Social contract + law enforcement which makes everyone follow it even though they're not signatories? But I like moral relativism too... 'Cos that also seems true to me. Everyone does what they think is 'right' or maybe they fool themselves into applying the label 'right' to the things that they just do anyway. And a nice strong dose of inherited teaching of 'this good, that bad' makes Tarzan a very confused boy.
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28-05-2012, 03:26 PM
RE: Moral Philosophy: Where do you stand?
Some believe ethics and morals are the same. I like to take them apart for argument.
Ethical behavior is what we do when no one is looking, based on what we think is ethical.
Moral behavior is what we do when others are watching, based on what others think is moral.
It's all just opinions based on human wisdom from experience.
Ethical systems are the attempt to formalize ethical rules so to argue over rules.
Pick your poisons wisely.

The old gods are dead, let's invent some new ones before something really bad happens.
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28-05-2012, 04:07 PM
RE: Moral Philosophy: Where do you stand?
We actually used a lot of these as voting criterion for debate when we did Lincoln-Douglas debates.

What we learned is that each is a fallacious belief through a rather simple exercise. We said "__________ is true if _______" and "_________ is false if __________"

Of course when paired up with a moral on any particular topic each one of these does show it's strength. For instance, Utilitarianism (which by the way is common good, or good for society) paired with societal welfare in the case of "It is our moral obligation to assist others in need" will almost always be successful.

What is the most commonly good in my opinion though? My example, I have a tendency to hold societal welfare as a very high value, and I do follow the basis of Utilitarianism with a certain bit of egoism (which isn't egoism if it is right with utilitarianism, but I won't go into my justification strategy). Of course, human emotions will always keep me from being the perfect utilitarian.
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30-05-2012, 06:26 AM
RE: Moral Philosophy: Where do you stand?
I don't like my morals packaged like an iPhone from China.

“We are all connected; To each other, biologically. To the earth, chemically. To the rest of the universe atomically.”

-Neil deGrasse Tyson
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