What IS morality, really?
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03-07-2016, 10:21 AM
RE: What IS morality, really?
(01-07-2016 07:03 PM)Stevil Wrote:  When you say "moral opprobrium" are you looking for some kind of response from some people?
I'm not looking for it, I'm saying that's where it comes from, at first, anyway.

(01-07-2016 07:03 PM)Stevil Wrote:  If I cheat on my pregnant wife, would you be looking to see if there is some reaction from some people?
For what purpose? What am I looking for, to find out? If said pregnant wife knew and accepted or approved would that be cheating? What is they were Muslims and it were his second or third wife? Or first? Your question makes a vast number of assumptions. My thesis exists to question and resolve those assumptions; not to pass judgement on some particular moral code.

So let's say 5 people come at me, calling me a dead beat husband, a loser, a cheat, shouting at me and such. Does that count as "moral opprobrium".

(01-07-2016 07:03 PM)Stevil Wrote:  Are those 5 loud people a representative of my community?
Which community? You have several.

(01-07-2016 07:03 PM)Stevil Wrote:  Are you saying that in order to assess the morality of the community, we are to look for the squeaky wheel?
That is SO much not even closely related to what i'm saying that it's hard to answer.

In order to examine moral values you have to know where they come from and why, you can't even start to assess the intrinsic, objective value of a moral value until you do that. They come from community. They exist to serve community in the world of individuals.
(01-07-2016 07:03 PM)Stevil Wrote:  So if abortion is legal, but a 0.001% of the population takes to the abortion clinic by picketing it and bombing it, or shooting up people. Does that mean that abortion is immoral within the community?
Opposing abortion rights serves some needs of one set of communities. Defending abortion rights serves different needs of different communities. Understanding what communities those are and what needs they serves gives us foundation on which that can be sensibly debated.
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03-07-2016, 10:26 AM
RE: What IS morality, really?
(02-07-2016 04:58 AM)The Polyglot Atheist Wrote:  Are you saying (th golden rule)'s in the Bible? Where is it?
Matthew 7:12English Standard Version (ESV)
12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
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03-07-2016, 10:28 AM
RE: What IS morality, really?
(02-07-2016 07:43 AM)Chas Wrote:  It is not original to the Bible, it predates it.

Not at all surprised, but so not the point.
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03-07-2016, 10:42 AM
RE: What IS morality, really?
(02-07-2016 08:28 AM)larrymccall010513 Wrote:  We have all been mentally conditioned to see morality as black and white, with the gray area arising when a problem comes about that cant be resolved with in the black an white parameters.
I think that at least part of that [grey] probem comes from overlapping communities with different needs.

(02-07-2016 08:28 AM)larrymccall010513 Wrote:  If ones survival is at stake I believe any of us would toss societies standard of morality
It does not change what's moral only how individuals process that moral code

(02-07-2016 08:28 AM)larrymccall010513 Wrote:  Most OPEN MINDED people make positive decisions,
Being open minded is a moral imperative for scientific and liberal communities. It may not serve all communities or individuals (I'm thinking specifically of fundamentalist communities) so may not be considered a positive moral value in those communities.
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03-07-2016, 10:54 AM
RE: What IS morality, really?
(03-07-2016 10:26 AM)neilxt Wrote:  
(02-07-2016 04:58 AM)The Polyglot Atheist Wrote:  Are you saying (th golden rule)'s in the Bible? Where is it?
Matthew 7:12 English Standard Version (ESV)
12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

Thanks. But if you need to edit my quoted message (please don't), at least don't add mistakes lol.

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03-07-2016, 01:45 PM
RE: What IS morality, really?
(03-07-2016 10:21 AM)neilxt Wrote:  Opposing abortion rights serves some needs of one set of communities. Defending abortion rights serves different needs of different communities. Understanding what communities those are and what needs they serves gives us foundation on which that can be sensibly debated.
Beliefs are held by individuals.

If you have no way of discovering what the moral beliefs of a community are then how are you to make a claim that a community has a specific set of morals?

Also, as you have pointed out, each person belongs to multiple communities, so you can't look to individual people to understand what the morality of a specific community is.
But if you do look to an individual within the context of a single community, you will find there is a great variance in their own moral beliefs, they will stick to their own moral beliefs despite your so call understanding of what this community's morals are.

Moral beliefs are an individual thing, they are not dictated or derived from a community.
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04-07-2016, 05:54 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.

In my humble opinion, the origins of morality begin as a partly inherent human characteristic now known as the Ethic of Reciprocity, or more commonly known as the Golden Rule.

Each of us learns very early from experience that it is wrong to bring any harm to anyone else. To do no harm encompasses numerous areas which include not harming anyone physically or emotionally, for if we do we may experience the pain of guilt.

We are selfish creatures, but we really cannot help it because there is really not one single thing we can do that is not actually a selfish act to some degree. Therefore, from our life experience, we quickly learn that to avoid bringing pain to ourselves in the form of guilt or other, we abstain from doing harm to others.

On the flip side of the coin, we have compassion, which is another painful emotion. We can often be moved by compassion to help someone. If we don't help them, again we feel guilt.

Therefore, our sense of morality is borne out of our own selfishness, a selfishness which does what is required to ensure our personal happiness as opposed to the negative sensations of guilt and other things which negatively counter our personal pursuit of happiness.

We appear to be moral because we cannot help to be otherwise. Others will suppress this innate sense of morality in an effort to increase or preserve their own happiness, sometimes to the point of taking the life of another.

Morality is just a nice word to mask the truth of the human condition. It dresses up the reality that we are incapable of a selfless act, and presents an image that is more pleasing to our psyche as opposed to the negative connotations of simply accepting the human condition for what it truly is.

Selfish.
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04-07-2016, 06:40 PM
RE: What IS morality, really?
(03-07-2016 10:21 AM)neilxt Wrote:  Opposing abortion rights serves some needs of one set of communities. Defending abortion rights serves different needs of different communities. Understanding what communities those are and what needs they serves gives us foundation on which that can be sensibly debated.
We could take a look at the Catholic "community'.
They are an organisation who claims to have authority on moral beliefs. They require their congregation to belief what they tell them to believe.
This is a community with a documented set of "morals", although, having documented them and enforcing them means that they are rules or laws rather than morals, people are coerced rather having "free will" and making personal choices. So in many ways this is disqualified as a morality and is merely a law. But none the less, they label them as "morals".
So can we have a "sensible debate" with the Catholic Church?
What needs does the anti-abortion "law" have for them?
Well, they claim that it is God's law, that we aren't to kill people.
They claim that a fertilised egg is a person.

So, is it possible to reason with them?
We could try to argue at what stage in the development cycle it becomes a person. Perhaps someone claims that it isn't until it develops a nervous system, or perhaps someone claims that it isn't until it is feasible outside the womb.
But how do we find the true answer as to when it is or isn't a "person".
Perhaps we need to look of the purpose of the classification.
Someone might claim that once a fetus develops a nervous system then it can feel pain and perhaps they think giving pain to a human is wrong.
Someone might claim that once the baby is outside of the womb then the mother can't "morally" choose to kill it because it is no longer "invading" her body. They might be of the position that if the unborn can be removed without killing it then the mother has a moral obligation to remove it via a non fatal method, if she wants it out of her.
But the church (and myself) might claim that it is a living, growing thing with human DNA. It has a potential future, it will not always be in a "sleep" state, and hence it is a person. (Not just a potential person) we don't become potential people when we are sleeping or if we are in a coma.

So if the debate is with regards to aborting non persons or "potential" people then you won't be able to convice the Catholic Church, you won't be able to have a sensibly reasoned debate.
I guess in some ways they did give in with regards to ectopic pregnancy, although they took the unreasonable route of insisting that the tube be removed rather than just the fetus. But at least the mother gets to live rather than be forced to obey Church rules and die.

So the point I am getting at is that with an organisation which claims to have moral authority they can have a leader discuss moral topics with you. You are not likely to convince them to find middle ground though. They will believe they are right and you will believe you are right. If you point out a conflict they will insist you are wrong and that you ought to give them moral authority over you.

For organisations (communities) that don't claim to have moral authority, you have no representative with which you can debate with.
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10-07-2016, 03:13 PM
RE: What IS morality, really?
(03-07-2016 01:45 PM)Stevil Wrote:  Beliefs are held by individuals.
And yet, and yet... nearly everyone carries the religion they were raised in. Most people retain the values of the region they were raised in. The more isolated a person is within a culture the less inclined they are to adopt moral imperatives that exist outside that culture.

what becomes a moral is that part of a culture that is in some way important for the survival of that culture, not what is imprtant to individuals for their personal needs.
(03-07-2016 01:45 PM)Stevil Wrote:  If you have no way of discovering what the moral beliefs of a community are then how are you to make a claim that a community has a specific set of morals?
It's easier to look at it the other way around. Most are never formalized anyway. In fact large, old communitie, like religions, have tendency to turn "obeying and not questioning" an old, no longer useful, cultural value into a cultural value in its own right.
(03-07-2016 01:45 PM)Stevil Wrote:  But if you do look to an individual within the context of a single community,
I don't think there's any such thing. Everybody has at least a few communities with overlapping and varying needs. Family, neighborhood, religion, country.
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10-07-2016, 03:44 PM
RE: What IS morality, really?
(10-07-2016 03:13 PM)neilxt Wrote:  
(03-07-2016 01:45 PM)Stevil Wrote:  Beliefs are held by individuals.
And yet, and yet... nearly everyone carries the religion they were raised in. Most people retain the values of the region they were raised in. The more isolated a person is within a culture the less inclined they are to adopt moral imperatives that exist outside that culture.

what becomes a moral is that part of a culture that is in some way important for the survival of that culture, not what is imprtant to individuals for their personal needs.
I've never been raised with religion. My parents are atheist. My kids haven't been raised with religion, their parents are atheist.
Sure people are influenced by others, by their parents, by their teachers, their friends, by tv, movies, books, etc.
But there is still no such thing as a set of comminity morals. There is a large variety of people with differing values, beliefs and situations. We influence each other such that people in NZ more likely to think one way and people in Saudi Arabia are more likely to think another way. But, aside from this informal, unofficial influence, there are no official set of morals. The individual is still free to choose their own values, to choose their own morals.
Given how global the world is. In NZ we have Muslims, Jews, Christains, Bhudists, Hindus, Wiccans, etc. You name it, we probably have it. We also no doubt have people that have recently immigrated from various countries and cultures too. We also have people that have lived here over 30 years and still haven't really learnt much English, perhaps from China, they live in a suburb full of Chinese people, they go shopping in Chinese stores, they watch Chinese TV, they listen to Chinese radio. They have little to no English friends. But, they are still part of the NZ community.
What becomes morals is what is important for the individual. There is no organised, coordinated authority on this. There is a great level of divergence of people within the melting pot we call our community.
(10-07-2016 03:13 PM)neilxt Wrote:  
(03-07-2016 01:45 PM)Stevil Wrote:  If you have no way of discovering what the moral beliefs of a community are then how are you to make a claim that a community has a specific set of morals?
It's easier to look at it the other way around. Most are never formalized anyway. In fact large, old communitie, like religions, have tendency to turn "obeying and not questioning" an old, no longer useful, cultural value into a cultural value in its own right.
Didn't quite understand you there.
How do you discover what the moral beliefs of a community are?
(10-07-2016 03:13 PM)neilxt Wrote:  
(03-07-2016 01:45 PM)Stevil Wrote:  But if you do look to an individual within the context of a single community,
I don't think there's any such thing. Everybody has at least a few communities with overlapping and varying needs. Family, neighbourhood, religion, country.
Well then, we just have individuals, each with their own beliefs, each influenced (to varying degrees) by their interactions with the world, society and the communities they participate within.
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