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post #31 of 101 (permalink) Old 01-20-2017, 08:17 PM
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Re: Ethics and Morality

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Originally Posted by Red Sonja View Post
Philosophy and religion are both subjective by definition, whether our beliefs align or not is irrelevant.
It was surmised, I think, in the op that philosophy was objective, or on the first page. Sorry if I got that wrong.

Isn't philosophy just a set of beliefs and what are those beliefs based in? I think the rest of my questions for this are actually in my last post. oh well..duh..I'm certainly not perfect. Sometimes I think out of order.


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post #32 of 101 (permalink) Old 01-20-2017, 08:47 PM
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Re: Ethics and Morality

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I'd go one further and say that morality is about right and wrong, which is only relevant to human experience. If there were no humans at all, the universe would still go on, operating in accord with the laws of physics and the realities of geology, biology, ecology and so on.

But there would be no morality because it's only humans who decide to label things right and wrong. (And maybe some aliens on a distant planet, but that's speculative, and then morality would be contingent on their experience.)
What human has the authority to tell us what is right or wrong? Why are they right? Because the majority agrees with each other? What happens when the majority gets it wrong? How will you know? Time and personal experience? Then, was the majority immoral?

Or...

Is it all based in feelings? What if my feelings are hurt because I misunderstood? Was what hurt my feelings right or wrong to do or say?

Sorry about that last post. I went back a page and didn't see my post. Must have forgot to click on submit reply? doh.....


Edit: If, as someone posted, certain cultures were considered inferior and were believed in need of supervision and corrective action as well as taught morals and work ethics and it was all so moral, isn't it possible that humans are all immoral? Is it possible we are just foundering on the rocks? What then, is morality based in, the mostly unused brains of humans?

We can't cure cancer. How can we know what is moral? Isn't that more difficult to ascertain?

It must be based in more than human thinking. That's been proven to be faulty.

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post #33 of 101 (permalink) Old 01-20-2017, 09:26 PM
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Re: Ethics and Morality

Ethics/morality is all relative, because it all depends on your initial assumptions. You can question those, but not everyone will agree to the same basic assumptions, which leads to different conclusions. What philosophy and ethical studies do, is reveal the variety of assumptions and the resulting conclusions, without coming to final conclusions.

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post #34 of 101 (permalink) Old 01-20-2017, 09:42 PM
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Re: Ethics and Morality

I think there are ethics based in morality and morality based in perfection. I don't think we can achieve them, but we can aspire to them based in what we believe are perfect morals.

You can figure out where to find perfect morals. I think that is where we all differ: not in our thinking, but in our beliefs.

I think philosophy is based in beliefs, no?

Either way, all of us are immoral and through that, unethical.

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post #35 of 101 (permalink) Old 01-23-2017, 11:27 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Ethics and Morality

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Originally Posted by 2ntnuf View Post
What human has the authority to tell us what is right or wrong? Why are they right? Because the majority agrees with each other? What happens when the majority gets it wrong? How will you know? Time and personal experience? Then, was the majority immoral?

Or...

Is it all based in feelings? What if my feelings are hurt because I misunderstood? Was what hurt my feelings right or wrong to do or say?

Sorry about that last post. I went back a page and didn't see my post. Must have forgot to click on submit reply? doh.....


Edit: If, as someone posted, certain cultures were considered inferior and were believed in need of supervision and corrective action as well as taught morals and work ethics and it was all so moral, isn't it possible that humans are all immoral? Is it possible we are just foundering on the rocks? What then, is morality based in, the mostly unused brains of humans?

We can't cure cancer. How can we know what is moral? Isn't that more difficult to ascertain?

It must be based in more than human thinking. That's been proven to be faulty.
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Originally Posted by 2ntnuf View Post
I think there are ethics based in morality and morality based in perfection. I don't think we can achieve them, but we can aspire to them based in what we believe are perfect morals.

You can figure out where to find perfect morals. I think that is where we all differ: not in our thinking, but in our beliefs.

I think philosophy is based in beliefs, no?

Either way, all of us are immoral and through that, unethical.
This is the basis of the Catholic understanding of original sin. They say "we're all immoral, we're all born flawed, and it should be our goal to strive to be as moral as we can within that framework." It's about aspiring to be better. But better implies a worse, a good and a bad. So the statement itself presupposes that there is indeed a fixed morality...

Do you hear the people sing / Lost in the valley of the night?
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For the wretched of the earth / There is a flame that never dies.
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post #36 of 101 (permalink) Old 01-23-2017, 11:29 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Ethics and Morality

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Originally Posted by Married but Happy View Post
Ethics/morality is all relative, because it all depends on your initial assumptions. You can question those, but not everyone will agree to the same basic assumptions, which leads to different conclusions. What philosophy and ethical studies do, is reveal the variety of assumptions and the resulting conclusions, without coming to final conclusions.
So is it your proposition that truth can only be reached through consensus? That because people disagree on morality, then morality must not exist?

Do you hear the people sing / Lost in the valley of the night?
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For the wretched of the earth / There is a flame that never dies.
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post #37 of 101 (permalink) Old 01-23-2017, 11:39 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Ethics and Morality

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Originally Posted by VermisciousKnid View Post
Do physical phenomena make a good analogy for morality? There's no opinion about the atomic weight of a hydrogen atom. There's a fact about it that's based completely in science. If you claim that atoms are tiny fireflies propelled by God you aren't dealing in science. You're dealing in faith.

There's no fact about morality that's based in science. There's no question about morality that's provably correct. Therefore questions of morality rely on opinions. That's an uncomfortable answer because opinions can be swayed easily. History has shown us that at any given point in time we believe that we know everything about morality, yet 100 years later we change that opinion. That proves that morality is relative.
Why would they not be analogous?

Let's be clear, if you are advocating for moral relativism, and that morality does not exist, you start with a self-defeating statement. "It is true All moral statements are opinions" (or subjective). Except, by definition, your statement is an opinion (or subjective), therefore not true...

Now we can easily evoke some imagery, that would cause most people to reject moral relativism:

By saying that there is no morality, and only opinion, you are stating that this man


is morally indistinguishable from this man.


You are stating that this


is morally indistinguishable from this

Do you hear the people sing / Lost in the valley of the night?
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For the wretched of the earth / There is a flame that never dies.
Even the darkest night will end / And the sun will rise...
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post #38 of 101 (permalink) Old 01-23-2017, 11:57 AM
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Re: Ethics and Morality

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Originally Posted by Kivlor View Post
Why would they not be analogous?

Let's be clear, if you are advocating for moral relativism, and that morality does not exist, you start with a self-defeating statement. "It is true All moral statements are opinions" (or subjective). Except, by definition, your statement is an opinion (or subjective), therefore not true...

Now we can easily evoke some imagery, that would cause most people to reject moral relativism:

By saying that there is no morality, and only opinion, you are stating that this man


is morally indistinguishable from this man.


You are stating that this


is morally indistinguishable from this


That's a fine example of argumentum ad absurdism. A really good and stunning one.

I said this and only this: morality and physics (by which I mean anything having to do with matter) occupy different non-intersecting domains. You can't use one to infer anything about the other. If you do you are a kook.

I made no statement about the equivalence of all moral positions.
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post #39 of 101 (permalink) Old 01-23-2017, 01:01 PM
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Re: Ethics and Morality

i know of no naturally understood moral law that is successful in bringing humans to coexist harmoniously. every culture has their own moral and ethical code, every generation, every religion.

is it ethical to deceive somebody you are doing business with? is it ethical to kill people? is it moral? everyone on the planet can take the simple questions and place them in a context of a war and their answers may change. if you refuse to kill, but could safe millions by killing one, is it ethical or moral to refuse to kill them?

hence why i believe the only natural moral code is to find out what is the most successful strategy to coexist with the rest of the planet. that means employ tit-for-tat strategy as the starting point in everything you do, simply because it is the only self correcting strategy.

so far as individual decisions, morality does not exist save for one reference point: what is good for you soul is moral. if we had nobody else to interact with, then only the things that cause us to exist within ourselves more peacefully are moral. because we are capable of spinning anything in our own minds to mean anything, then i would have to conclude that morality does not exist in the individual alone.

biologically, the only reason to have any kind of moral or ethical code is to further our survival and continued existence. if we are to assume that our species becomes more capable of surviving by culling our weak, then it is a moral and ethical thing to do. however, killing usually would not be a moral or ethical thing to do for the individual because of how it destroys our psyche and diminishes our ability to live harmoniously with others. therefore, it would usually not be ethical or moral to kill at all. we have to put that assumption on it in order to call it ethical or moral. we have to put a condition on it. which is natural, we don't exist in a void.

without a god, the only need for a moral code is for the benefit of the species. even with a god, i find a hard time believing that there really is an inherent natural moral or ethical code when it comes to humans as an animal, but just the opposite when it comes to humans as spirit. lets say God gave us a law to live by because we were ignorant and prone to destroying us. that means that there was no moral code naturally ingrained in us. he had to give us instructions. but, then lets say we grow and we learn that, oh yea, the whole point was to learn to love people. and then suddenly we will taylor our every decision to make sure we are going to achieve the thing that the moral instructions were created for to begin with.

at that point, we are above the moral code. the moral law. we dont need it anymore, we now "get it".


so lets say we are above the law and are thrown into those ethical and moral dilemmas. if we choose to act for the purpose of loving our fellow man, and do our best to coexist with them and teach them how to find joy and how to teach others the same, then is there anything we can do that can be called immoral?

morality does exist.

its called love.

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post #40 of 101 (permalink) Old 01-23-2017, 01:19 PM
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Re: Ethics and Morality

speaking further on this topic, is it any wonder that the great mystics and gurus are always telling us to wake up? become aware?

if you loved the world, and you were aware of everything, how could you do anything wrong? if you love the world, but are ignorant, then how could you do anything immoral? you would always be trying to love the world, but would simply make mistakes out of your ignorance.


well, if that i the case, then i might say that anyone who is ignorant is immoral. so, morality is about awareness?

i think this is why people like Anthony DeMello stated that love is awareness...

thinking about it, im inclined to agree with him.


"The ecologist is continually having to look at the aspects of nature with which he is unfamiliar and perforce must be an amateur for much of his working time.... professionals may carp at omissions, misconstructions, or even downright errors in these pages. perhaps ultimately they may forgive them for the sake of the overall vision that only the amateur, or the ecologist, blithely sets out to experience."G. Evelyn Hutchinson
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post #41 of 101 (permalink) Old 01-23-2017, 03:30 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Ethics and Morality

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Originally Posted by VermisciousKnid View Post
That's a fine example of argumentum ad absurdism. A really good and stunning one.

I said this and only this: morality and physics (by which I mean anything having to do with matter) occupy different non-intersecting domains. You can't use one to infer anything about the other. If you do you are a kook.

I made no statement about the equivalence of all moral positions.
Like I said, IF you are claiming morality is subjective--something others here are claiming--then my comment logically follows. With that said, for those who are advocating subjective morality, my argument stands. If you are not, feel free to ignore it, you need not defend against it.

You are limiting logic to merely deductive, and ignoring the inductive. Inductive reasoning is primarily how morality and ethics are explored, and is used in the sciences as well.

Claiming that anyone who disagrees with you is crazy is what we call poisoning the well. Now, we can actually test your claim that morality and science don't intersect, and find it lacking. Science is merely the attempt to describe and understand the world we operate in. Morality is a description of the actions we take in that world. Take murder for example. When we describe the killing of a man, we are describing the scientific aspects, and then morality as how we interpret that. When we say "murder is wrong" we are saying something scientific, and something more. If the two did not intersect, one would have nothing to say about the other.

I'm enjoying your ridiculous line of reasoning, VK, because if we take it to its logical conclusion, and presume it is true, it confirms for the theists that they are right: "man cannot be moral without God's word." And it is absolutely against all the atheists who claim "We can be moral without religion!" If what you are saying were true, morality, should it exist, could only come from God or gods, and could never be explored by an atheist. I have a feeling that a lot of lefties will take issue with this.

ETA: Oh, I found the part that made me respond to you RE: Relative morals. You flat out said:
Quote:
That proves that morality is relative.
Which again, would be a contradicting statement, if you believed it, because you believe that they can't intersect, therefore can prove nothing about each other if your premise were true. Like I said, the problem with Moral Relativism is that it is inherently self-defeating.

Do you hear the people sing / Lost in the valley of the night?
It is the music of a people / Who are climbing to the light.
For the wretched of the earth / There is a flame that never dies.
Even the darkest night will end / And the sun will rise...

Last edited by Kivlor; 01-23-2017 at 03:36 PM.
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post #42 of 101 (permalink) Old 01-23-2017, 04:29 PM
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Re: Ethics and Morality

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Iíve engaged with a lot of commenters here, and I regularly engage from a position of morality and ethics. Some have vehemently opposed this position, others just argued that my morality / ethos is incorrect.

So Iím curious my fellow TAM members, do you believe in morality? In ethics? If not, why not? If so, why?

For the sake of continuity, Iíd like to use the following definitions of morality and ethics so we don't get too confused:
ďMorality is understanding the distinction between right and wrong and living according to that understanding, and ethics is the philosophy of how that morality guides individual and group behavior. The two are closely related, with morality being the foundation of ethics.Ē

In other words, Morality is defining what is right and wrong. Ethics is the philosophy by which we ask questions RE: Morality and itís place in society.
I have seen men butchered and done it myself. Every side I was paid to support believed in the "Morality" of their position. The certainty of their cause...They rarely (at least as far as I was able to observe) considered the "philosophy" that created their Moral Position and it's certainty.

I believe right and wrong exists. But I am forever forced to be distrustful of words....especially those spoken by True believers. Where the meat meets the meat...there is no right or wrong...only that which is expedient.

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post #43 of 101 (permalink) Old 01-23-2017, 06:39 PM
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Re: Ethics and Morality

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This is the basis of the Catholic understanding of original sin. They say "we're all immoral, we're all born flawed, and it should be our goal to strive to be as moral as we can within that framework." It's about aspiring to be better. But better implies a worse, a good and a bad. So the statement itself presupposes that there is indeed a fixed morality...
Son of a b....

You know? I really didn't try to give you a RC argument. I haven't been a real part of the church for many years. I think 20 or more. I was attempting to be as neutral as I could.

I actually was trying to tell you there is morality. It's based in beliefs. If you don't believe in a perfect being, you can't believe in morality. It's true none of us is perfectly moral. If we don't believe in perfect morality, how can we believe in moraity at all?

So, my conclusion was that none of us is moral for that reason.

One, those who don't have any beliefs can't be moral. They might use some other word, but it can't be morality.

Two, those who believe cannot be moral either, because only a perfect being can be moral. Those who believe can only aspire to those perfectly moral standards.


I think Married Dude gave a good example. Is it moral to go and kill, mame and destroy for a president? I think it's a job. Those who do it, I do not envy, but I am grateful for having to protect me and my country.

But, when have we been in jeopardy of losing our country to another power in a violent manner? I'm sure it's been around 75+ years. All the rest of the attempts that held any weight have been from within and/or in a nonviolent way.

Is it moral to destroy a country or someone with nonviolent means? I guess that's another thread?

Thanks for starting this thread. It has been interesting and thought provoking.

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post #44 of 101 (permalink) Old 01-25-2017, 10:31 PM
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Re: Ethics and Morality

Virtually every religion and philosophical system has a version of the Golden Rule. As Rabbi Hillel said (translated, of course): "If something is hateful to you, do not do it to another. That is the the whole of the law; the rest is commentary."

And as for the very important question of under what circumstances one can rightly use force against another, the answer is only in defense or to regain what was rightfully yours, not to gain something that was not yours originally. This is called the "Non-Aggression Principle", abbreviated NAP, and is the bedrock of libertarianism.

Of course, "merely" following the NAP doesn't make you a good person. You can be a real jerk whom no one wants to deal with voluntarily and still follow the NAP, but if you do follow it, then you are free to act as nastily as you wish without physical retaliation, in a libertarian society. You may have a lot of trouble getting things accomplished due to others' shunning you, but you will be free to live that way if you wish to. Most people don't want to be so limited in their interactions with others, so that acts as a brake on jerky behavior.

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post #45 of 101 (permalink) Old 01-26-2017, 02:28 AM
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Re: Ethics and Morality

Interesting debate. My husband, like me, is an atheist and yet is probably the most moral person there is.
I also know many theists that are quite moral but I do believe that atheists can indeed be the most moral/ethical people. Why? As atheists we strive to do good and to be good people not so that we earn some sort of reward in the form of eternal life nor because we fear some sort of punishment. We choose (and like me unfortunately at times fail repeatedly) to be good human beings because we are all born with the capacity of being good.
This might be more of a thread jack and I apologize for it but one of my pet peeves is the erroneous belief that atheists are incapable of being moral. I do admit I am not the best example but we all know prisions are filled with Muslisms, Jews, Christians etc who have committed horrible crimes and yet somehow is atheists that are look down on as if we lived to do harm. Also, we do not worhsip the devil, the devil is a mythical creature...I do not believe in any made up creature good or evil: no eastern bunny, tooth fairy, devil, etc etc.
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