What IS morality, really?
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17-06-2016, 03:32 PM
What IS morality, really?
This question has been exercising my mind a lot recently because, although theist arguments that it's God's work aren't strong, none of the counter arguments seem particularly strong either because no one seems really sure what it really is.

Many very smart people have been thinking about that for a long time so it seems more than a little vain to claim that I have an answer but I really think I do.

Morality, and the whole edifice of moral right and wrong, is the community's idea of what individual behaviour will help or harm that community.

Most people are members of several communities; family, town, church, city, state, county, teligion, sect, race, genus, world. Also there are many moralities which are common to most communities, thou shalt not kill, for instance, because if people went around killing each other it would do great harm to most communities, but larger communities carve out exemptions even for that to enable war and punishment.


Every moral value I've been able to think of was, at least once something a then powerful community thought was important to the health of that community. Every change in moral value that I've seen can be (very easily) traced t either a power shift between competing communities, or a visible change in the needs of a community, or both.

I've had this concept mulling round my head for weeks and the more I think about it the sounder it gets. I think it's about time to give it an airing.

Morality is a community's view of what individual behaviour is good or bad for the community.

Discuss.
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17-06-2016, 05:00 PM
RE: What IS morality, really?
Welcome to TTA.

Thread moved to the Philosophy section because there is no morality in theism Laughat

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17-06-2016, 05:38 PM
RE: What IS morality, really?
(17-06-2016 03:32 PM)neilxt Wrote:  This question has been exercising my mind a lot recently because, although theist arguments that it's God's work aren't strong, none of the counter arguments seem particularly strong either because no one seems really sure what it really is.
Yes, it's a vague concept, not clearly defined at all.
However it does include the concepts of "moral right" vs "moral wrong", of "moral choice" vs "coerced choice", of "moral obligation".

(17-06-2016 03:32 PM)neilxt Wrote:  Many very smart people have been thinking about that for a long time so it seems more than a little vain to claim that I have an answer but I really think I do.
A lot of people have their ideas on how to determine "right" vs "wrong"
Whatever the bible, torah, quran, etc says is wrong
Whatever harms people
Whatever harms sentient beings
Whatever harms animals
etc

(17-06-2016 03:32 PM)neilxt Wrote:  Morality, and the whole edifice of moral right and wrong, is the community's idea of what individual behaviour will help or harm that community.
I don't agree with this. In my opinion Morality is a personal belief. Any rules in a community or society are just that, laws and rules, they aren't morality. If you enforce rules they you are coercing, and taking action under coercion means that you are not free to make moral choices.
Also, just because the majority of people in your society or group things something is wrong, that doesn't mean that it is in fact wrong, you are still free to believe that it isn't wrong. Each person has their own beliefs, their own morality or not.

(17-06-2016 03:32 PM)neilxt Wrote:  Morality is a community's view of what individual behaviour is good or bad for the community.
The concept of morality naturally comes up because we live in a society of other people. In order to do that successfully we naturally understand that it wouldn't be safe if people could go around killing each other and stealing, so we consider those to be immoral, then we create laws which means they become illegal rather than immoral.

But anyway, each person has their own view of what is acceptable or unacceptable and they label those as moral or immoral. It is rare for two people to completely agree on everything, so morality is a personal belief. It isn't a community thing, however we do influence each other.
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17-06-2016, 05:41 PM
RE: What IS morality, really?
(17-06-2016 03:32 PM)neilxt Wrote:  This question has been exercising my mind a lot recently because, although theist arguments that it's God's work aren't strong, none of the counter arguments seem particularly strong either because no one seems really sure what it really is.

Many very smart people have been thinking about that for a long time so it seems more than a little vain to claim that I have an answer but I really think I do.

Morality, and the whole edifice of moral right and wrong, is the community's idea of what individual behaviour will help or harm that community.

Most people are members of several communities; family, town, church, city, state, county, teligion, sect, race, genus, world. Also there are many moralities which are common to most communities, thou shalt not kill, for instance, because if people went around killing each other it would do great harm to most communities, but larger communities carve out exemptions even for that to enable war and punishment.


Every moral value I've been able to think of was, at least once something a then powerful community thought was important to the health of that community. Every change in moral value that I've seen can be (very easily) traced t either a power shift between competing communities, or a visible change in the needs of a community, or both.

I've had this concept mulling round my head for weeks and the more I think about it the sounder it gets. I think it's about time to give it an airing.

Morality is a community's view of what individual behaviour is good or bad for the community.

Discuss.

Simples. It's a combination of the instinct of survival of the species and empathy.

[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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17-06-2016, 05:54 PM
RE: What IS morality, really?
(17-06-2016 05:41 PM)Dom Wrote:  ...
Simples. It's a combination of the instinct of survival of the species and empathy.

Except a species does not have the survival instinct... that's at the level of the individual ... kinda like St.Evil just said.

Tongue

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17-06-2016, 06:03 PM
RE: What IS morality, really?
(17-06-2016 05:54 PM)DLJ Wrote:  
(17-06-2016 05:41 PM)Dom Wrote:  ...
Simples. It's a combination of the instinct of survival of the species and empathy.

Except a species does not have the survival instinct... that's at the level of the individual ... kinda like St.Evil just said.

Tongue

Yes, but that doesn't mean that the individual does not instinctually preserve others of the same species.

[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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17-06-2016, 06:07 PM
RE: What IS morality, really?
(17-06-2016 06:03 PM)Dom Wrote:  
(17-06-2016 05:54 PM)DLJ Wrote:  Except a species does not have the survival instinct... that's at the level of the individual ... kinda like St.Evil just said.

Tongue

Yes, but that doesn't mean that the individual does not instinctually preserve others of the same species.

In fact, social animals behave altruistically quite often. Preservation of the community enhances survivorship of the individual.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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17-06-2016, 06:21 PM
RE: What IS morality, really?
(17-06-2016 06:03 PM)Dom Wrote:  
(17-06-2016 05:54 PM)DLJ Wrote:  Except a species does not have the survival instinct... that's at the level of the individual ... kinda like St.Evil just said.

Tongue

Yes, but that doesn't mean that the individual does not instinctually preserve others of the same species.

*instinctively Tongue

Yabut, that's not what you said.

Community =/= species.

I wish it did.

Sadcryface

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17-06-2016, 07:07 PM
RE: What IS morality, really?
(17-06-2016 06:21 PM)DLJ Wrote:  I wish it did.

Sadcryface

You wish what did what? Huh

[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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17-06-2016, 07:22 PM
RE: What IS morality, really?
so why do christians claim their god is the authority on morality?
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