No morality, just ethics?
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18-10-2014, 11:35 AM
No morality, just ethics?
I've never read anything in philosophy, no classes, so I'm a total noob. Read a few things here and most philosophy goes right over my head.

I've been thinking about many of the morality debates I've had on youtube (<waits for choking, gagging, laughing to stop>). I've come to think that when we discuss atheists having morality, we're playing into theist hands. They define morality as obedience to god, and we've been socially programmed to think that morality is a desirable trait. As such we argue that we have morality, too. Instead, perhaps we should be saying we have ethics, not morality. Ethics, as I understand it, is basically the analysis of whether a given activity unduly harms or endangers another's person or property without sufficient cause. This would avoid the entire trap. We would also avoid terms such as 'good' and 'evil', instead referencing 'unethical' and 'ethical'. It would mean that 'moral', 'good', and 'evil' are appeal to emotion buzzwords.

Thoughts? How far off base am I? Not that I might not use the argument on YY anyway since commenters there are generally about as philosophically literate as I am. Angel
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18-10-2014, 12:15 PM
RE: No morality, just ethics?
Ethics or social conscience...

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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18-10-2014, 12:54 PM
RE: No morality, just ethics?
(18-10-2014 11:35 AM)OddGamer Wrote:  I've never read anything in philosophy, no classes, so I'm a total noob. Read a few things here and most philosophy goes right over my head.

I've been thinking about many of the morality debates I've had on youtube (<waits for choking, gagging, laughing to stop>). I've come to think that when we discuss atheists having morality, we're playing into theist hands. They define morality as obedience to god, and we've been socially programmed to think that morality is a desirable trait. As such we argue that we have morality, too. Instead, perhaps we should be saying we have ethics, not morality. Ethics, as I understand it, is basically the analysis of whether a given activity unduly harms or endangers another's person or property without sufficient cause. This would avoid the entire trap. We would also avoid terms such as 'good' and 'evil', instead referencing 'unethical' and 'ethical'. It would mean that 'moral', 'good', and 'evil' are appeal to emotion buzzwords.

Thoughts? How far off base am I? Not that I might not use the argument on YY anyway since commenters there are generally about as philosophically literate as I am. Angel

I will not use ethics to define my personal moral code. The term "ethics" is typically used to describe the moral standard of a group. How the religious define morality is irrelevant to what it actually is.

Look at this way. Religious individuals can't even define "God". They can't tell me where it is or how it does what they claim it does. They can't tell me what it looks like or what its motivations are. If they can't even explain the foundations of their bogus belief, how can I expect them to associate said dribble with a well-defined concept and have it make sense?

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18-10-2014, 01:50 PM
RE: No morality, just ethics?
I think that many atheists and theists alike, can agree on the 'golden rule' theory of ethics and ''morality.'' That being that one should just treat others with the same modicum that he/she wishes to be treated. Once that goes to the wayside, things tend to go astray. If you want to be respected, respect others. If you don't want someone to steal from you, don't steal from others. Not that there is a correlation or causation effect, but just saying, that 'do unto others as you wish them to do unto you' is a pretty good rule of thumb. Morality is subjective in nature, I feel...and religious people will have people believing it's objective in nature.

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18-10-2014, 02:11 PM
RE: No morality, just ethics?
*modicum is not the right word...what word am I thinking that sounds similar to that? Consider

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18-10-2014, 04:01 PM
RE: No morality, just ethics?
Morality means being empathetic and fair. It means promoting the greater good. There are no clear cut well defined moral systems (other than the philosophical ones). Morality is really an extension of group think, for the preservation of the individual and the community; this means that morality is very contextual and constantly changing, even without a dramatic shift in culture or popular moral theory. People who claim that you cannot have morality without god don't understand what morality is, and you can rather easily demonstrate that morality and religion are not the same thing. You can use a hyperbolic example to illustrate this point. Ask them, if all that the bible says is good is actually morally good, if slavery, or rape, or genocide or every morally permissible, given that they are written in the narrative of the bible? Ask them that, if they received a revelation from God compelling them to kill children or members of their family, if they would do it? Most people say no, because their notion of right and wrong stem from social conditioning and empathy, not from religion.
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19-10-2014, 02:01 PM
RE: No morality, just ethics?
You might find it helpful to think of morality and ethics as such. From http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/.

Ethics: Set of moral principles, especially ones relating to or affirming a specified group, field, or form of conduct. This does not mean 'group think', just that as in everything individuals who think a certain way are inevitably lumped together and labelled. Like athiests. Or christians. Even extends to fraudsters, lawyers and bus drivers.

Morality: Principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour. Despite what this sounds like Morality is simply defining an issue ie. I believe Littering is bad. If you then go and litter, you are behaving badly.

As we can see, atheists have ethics, christians have ethics. These change from person to person there is not 'universal' ethics, or morality bar the following. If a person has a set of ideals then does the opposite thing, they are not a morale person. This is universal. That's it. So when a christian prattles on about 'universal morality' point out that the most morale person would have no ethics!

So in short, ethics defines what we should and shouldn't be doing. If we build our own philosophy we can decide what our ethics are to a greater degree than someone who just adpots a religion or group. Morality is how we actually follow our ethics.

This helps immensly when talking to a christian as they no longer have the high ground. They have bought into a set of ethics, and may not even practice those ethics as they really should. On the other hand we go to the trouble to define our own ethical behaviour, can express it, and if we do not closely follow it we see ourselves as immoral.
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19-10-2014, 07:29 PM
RE: No morality, just ethics?
In the end, whatever we can make them agree that we have, they'll say we got it from God even though we don't know it. (Or want to admit it)

There's no winning either way. No

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19-10-2014, 10:28 PM
RE: No morality, just ethics?
(18-10-2014 11:35 AM)OddGamer Wrote:  I've come to think that when we discuss atheists having morality, we're playing into theist hands. They define morality as obedience to god, and we've been socially programmed to think that morality is a desirable trait. As such we argue that we have morality, too.
...
This would avoid the entire trap. We would also avoid terms such as 'good' and 'evil', instead referencing 'unethical' and 'ethical'. It would mean that 'moral', 'good', and 'evil' are appeal to emotion buzzwords.
I really dislike use of moral language. I have opinions, I recognise that my choices and actions have consequences. I recognise that others have diverse ideas, opinions, wants and needs. I recognise that we cohabitate within societies and that we often have conflicts of interest.
I cannot judge whether another person is behaving immorally. I cannot hold them to my opinions and standards as they are operating under their own opinions and needs and wants. It is not my place to judge others, to stop them or punish them for being immoral. I am not a god, I am a human. I take care of myself and let others take care of themselves. If other people's actions are a threat to me then I react, otherwise I tolerate.

I view the morality system as a way for people to justify to themselves interfering in other people's affairs. To seek to control, to get conformance. For some reason many people want to control others within their own society even when the actions of others have no impact on themselves.
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19-10-2014, 10:31 PM
RE: No morality, just ethics?
(19-10-2014 10:28 PM)Stevil Wrote:  I cannot judge whether another person is behaving immorally. I cannot hold them to my opinions and standards as they are operating under their own opinions and needs and wants. It is not my place to judge others, to stop them or punish them for being immoral. I am not a god, I am a human. I take care of myself and let others take care of themselves. If other people's actions are a threat to me then I react, otherwise I tolerate.

And if other people's actions are a threat to people other than yourself?

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