Would social manners fall under the umbrella of morals and/or ethics?
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14-05-2012, 10:33 AM
Would social manners fall under the umbrella of morals and/or ethics?
I've been thinking through a new article I've been thinking about writing that deals with a fairly ironic incident I had this past weekend.

In a nutshell, I noticed a kid in a public playground whose leg was stuck in a metal grid and was asking for help but whose parents/family could not hear. I alerted the family to the kid's plight and they promptly came over to help him get out.

The family didn't thank me nor did they instruct the young child to do so (he was probably like 5-6 years old).

While I understand that they are not obligated to say thank you, it's one of those things that I generally believe to fall under the "good manners" category, and I do feel that good manners can have a positive/self-reinforcing impact on society. That generally positive impact on society would suggest that manners fall under the broader ethics category, but I was wondering what everyone else thought.

I don't want to overreach and suggest that their lack of thankfulness shows a lack of ethics/morals if there's no real basis for that assertion.

P.S. The reason it was ironic and comical, is that these "unthankful" folks had just come out of a church that was adjacent to the play ground!

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14-05-2012, 12:10 PM (This post was last modified: 14-05-2012 12:19 PM by Ghost.)
RE: Would social manners fall under the umbrella of morals and/or ethics?
Well, I think you've already answered the question. It has to do with manners.

Manners or etiquette are just those behaviours that help a society grease the wheel as it were.

I'm from Canada (and they think I'm slow, eh) and round these parts we say "sorry" a lot. I worked in an upscale Montreal neighbourhood once for an Egyptian man who had a lot of Middle Eastern employees. He had to teach them to say sorry to customers because they just didn't say it. They weren't jerks, people just didn't say it where they were from. To a Canadian, they might seem like they were without manners. But that's not really the case.

All of that is to say that manners are culturally specific. Religion is a part of many cultures and some people learn good manners from them and some, evidently, do not. In their defense, they may have just been in douchebag parent oh my God my child is in jeopardy and I turn into a retard mode.

You also have to be careful not to judge all of Christianity based on that couple. If Christianity taught people to never say thanks, then you'd have a case, but I don't think that's what's up. Sounds like an oversight or simple self-absorption.

Anyhoo, I think that if you write about it, you just have to be careful about the difference between relative manners and a lack of manners. Manners are relative between cultures. Someone WITHIN a given culture may lack manners. Ie, if a given culture says, "after a soccer match, win or lose, shake the other team's hand and say 'good game'," and one guy moons the other team and screams, "suck my salty cock sack!" then that child can be said to have no manners. If he doesn't shake their hand because that's just not how they roll where he's from, then that's not a lack of manners, that's a cultural difference.

I think that ethical questions are a little weightier than please and thank you.

ON EDIT: Oh, and if you really want to get into the whole science of holding doors open and saying thank you and giving your seat to little old ladies, Foucault would say that you're being a disciplined subject who is interpolating and acting as an agent of ideology by participating in the atomisation of power by engaging in self-surveillance.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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14-05-2012, 12:10 PM
RE: Would social manners fall under the umbrella of morals and/or ethics?
I think manners are just part of being a decent part of society. Also, good manners are sorely lacking these days.

I still hold doors open for people, any age, gender, whatever...it's something I have done as long as I can remember. It's amazing how often people breeze right by without so much as a glance. Like it's my job. Please and thank you are even hard to come by. I offered an elderly gentleman my seat at the pharmacy the other day and got weird looks from everyone else that was seated. Good manners are not the norm any more, they seem to be the exception.

What you did in alerting the family to the child's predicament was the right thing to do. What you witnessed was a family with no manners teaching a child how to be the same. Unfortunately.

As my brother would have said to them (tongue in cheek)...Ain't ya got no fetchin' up?

I'm not anti-social. I'm pro-solitude. Sleepy
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14-05-2012, 12:40 PM
RE: Would social manners fall under the umbrella of morals and/or ethics?
(14-05-2012 12:10 PM)Anjele Wrote:  As my brother would have said to them (tongue in cheek)...Ain't ya got no fetchin' up?

Ain't ya got no fetchin' up?

I've not heard that before... not certain I completely understand it... but I like it! Thumbsup


Simple consideration for one's fellow human being, does seem to be overlooked and lack of teaching by example is certainly the culprit.

It really sucks. Shy

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14-05-2012, 12:48 PM
RE: Would social manners fall under the umbrella of morals and/or ethics?
Ghost, thanks for sharing all those details. Didn't necessarily address my main point directly, but interesting observations nonetheless.

Anjele, you touched on one of the main things I've been pondering, which is how this family's failure to say thanks is likely teaching their child make the same omission.

What I'd like to know is if this allegedly "cultural" difference (e.g. not thanking people when they do something for you that's of value) has an impact of any kind of society (sort of like how primates use grooming as a form of "thanks" that helps strengthen societal bonds and hierarchy).

Sounds like I'll have to do some digging in Google Scholar or something...

As Ghost mentions, I don't want to assert the existence of something that isn't really there. That would be decidedly uncritical/unskeptical.

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14-05-2012, 01:12 PM
RE: Would social manners fall under the umbrella of morals and/or ethics?
Quote: Would social manners fall under the umbrella of morals and/or ethics?
Simple answer: no, not even close.



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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14-05-2012, 01:19 PM (This post was last modified: 14-05-2012 01:31 PM by Anjele.)
RE: Would social manners fall under the umbrella of morals and/or ethics?
(14-05-2012 12:40 PM)kim Wrote:  
(14-05-2012 12:10 PM)Anjele Wrote:  As my brother would have said to them (tongue in cheek)...Ain't ya got no fetchin' up?

Ain't ya got no fetchin' up?

I've not heard that before... not certain I completely understand it... but I like it! Thumbsup


Simple consideration for one's fellow human being, does seem to be overlooked and lack of teaching by example is certainly the culprit.

It really sucks. Shy
Haha! I am pretty sure he means...weren't you raised right? Or; WTF were you raised by wolves?
Back to the original issue...

It seems today that many people have a sense of entitlement that plays out in their not even acknowledging a gesture of kindness or the presence of manners. Now I will sound like an old lady...and it gets worse with every generation. Now this doesn't apply to everyone, there are people of all ages out there with wonderful manners but it seems to be less and less.

Had you not done anything to help the child you could have been perceived as a jerk or worse. The fact that you did step up and your actions were then ignored and seemingly not appreciated is a reflection of their character. It's things like that incident that make me wonder if it's still worth it for me to put forth the effort to display manners. But I figure I will keep doing what I have been doing all my life, in that area, maybe...just maybe, someone will learn by example. And why lower myself to their selfish behavior?

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14-05-2012, 01:32 PM
RE: Would social manners fall under the umbrella of morals and/or ethics?
(14-05-2012 01:12 PM)TrulyX Wrote:  
Quote: Would social manners fall under the umbrella of morals and/or ethics?
Simple answer: no, not even close.


Do you have any supporting evidence other than "because I say so?"

I'm not saying "because I say so" won't suffice, well yes, actually I am saying that.

Just curious, mainly about the connection to ethics (e.g. behavior that improves society as a whole). I don't think this falls into the moral category in any real sense (but would love to hear any arguments suggesting it does).

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14-05-2012, 03:22 PM
RE: Would social manners fall under the umbrella of morals and/or ethics?
Reference: Ethics, Theory and Practice, 10th edition, Thiroux and Krasemann, Page 8, last paragraph.
"Not all human behavior is classified as moral, however; some of it is nonmoral and some of it social, having to do with manners, or etiquette, which is essentially a matter of taste rather that of right and wrong".
However, Hume argued that all morals are simply a matter of taste.

The old gods are dead, let's invent some new ones before something really bad happens.
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14-05-2012, 03:25 PM (This post was last modified: 14-05-2012 03:34 PM by TrulyX.)
RE: Would social manners fall under the umbrella of morals and/or ethics?
(14-05-2012 01:32 PM)lightninlives Wrote:  Do you have any supporting evidence other than "because I say so?"

I'm not saying "because I say so" won't suffice, well yes, actually I am saying that.

Just curious, mainly about the connection to ethics (e.g. behavior that improves society as a whole). I don't think this falls into the moral category in any real sense (but would love to hear any arguments suggesting it does).
I'm not saying you can't throw it into the conversion, but it would kind of be like me throwing myself into a conversation about the best basketball players of all time.

I also wouldn't consider manners "behavior that improves society as a whole" either, and that is even if I considered ethics to be behavior to improve society. I don't know if that is how you were attempting to define ethics or just how you were trying to draw the connection. I assume that is just how you were trying to draw the connection, and though, like I already pointed out, I think the connection can be valid, I don't find it very fitting within the conversation.

Basically, it's as bad as, or maybe even worse, than throwing religion into the conversation.

Would anyone seriously raise an argument that would lead to someone who didn't cover their mouth when they coughed to be considered to have committed an immoral act? Or the type of people who don't agree with you culturally to be deemed immoral and acts that don't agree with you culturally to be deemed unethical?

My main point is that manners are relativistic and subjective. Morality can't be relativistic; it has to be absolute and universal.

As far as it being brought into ethics, it could not be brought into the main discipline of ethics as it pertains to society in general, as I pointed out. If the question just meant manners as they apply to other specific ethics (e.g. of journalism, law, business, etc), I guess it could be suited for that, but then again, there is no way to draw an absolute conclusion (i.e. an absolute conclusion wouldn't exist or better yet, it would be all preference), so you'd have to debate the practicality of it; anything that could be considered absolute, or just a hell of a lot less subjective, would fall under morality/ethics in general.

To explain that last point further, take journalism. You might argue that a journalist should practice good manners by wearing certain clothing or talking a certain way, but then how would you argue your way past an alternative view, without bring in a personal preference, such as you liking them to wear a suit and tie, because that's how you would like to see them dress. Anything regarding the important parts, such as how the journalist obtains information, would fall under the ethics of journalism in general. One could argue that really it would fall under ethics/morality in general, and that the same could be said for any other field.


Quote: "Not all human behavior is classified
as moral, however; some of it is nonmoral and some of it social, having
to do with manners, or etiquette, which is essentially a matter of taste
rather that of right and wrong
".
Damn. That kind of made me trying to explain it pointless. I should have been paying attention to what was already posted.

Quote: However, Hume argued that all morals are simply a matter of taste.
It's hard to argue against that point of view without blatantly begging the question, but that point of view, besides requiring quite a set of balls, also requires quite a bit of skepticism too.

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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