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Where do you get your morals from?
in Philosophy

The question of morality is a complex question. What is your answer?
  1. Live Poll

    Where do you get your morals?

    19 votes
    1. religious text
      10.53%
    2. utilitarianism
        5.26%
    3. the legal system
        5.26%
    4. conscience
      26.32%
    5. other
      52.63%



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Arguments

  • All of the above.  There is no single source for determining what is good or right.  And every source you would singly turn to could be legitimately challenged in some ways on some things.  Life is simply too complex for the answers to boil down to one source of morality, especially when that source was written in the Bronze Age.

    Each of us as living creatures study and learn and then hold what we learned up to the test of is that really right or not?  A modern Muslim man may read Koran verses about killing infidels and then face a choice - take it at face value unquestioned, or think about it as a living sentient being and come to his own conclusion it is not morally right to kill a stranger just because they aren't Muslim.  We each face these individual choices all our lives.  The wise person knows to weigh them all and make the best decision on their own.  The fool is the person who declares "that's what it says" and then cuts someone's head off because of it.
    DrCerealBaconToeswaffleeezPolaris95
  • MikeMike 90 Pts
    edited August 2018

    The evolution of a moral code of conduct is a function of the “Golden Rule” driven by a “universal morality,” through the interaction of life’s “unalienable Rights,” which is an outgrowth of the physical constructal law.


    DrCerealTheocrat
  • I believe this question has no answer.

    Morality is the product of an innumerable amount of factors leading up to the way you exist in the present.
  • You are the greatest source of inspiration to yourself. No one else can move your thoughts as much as you yourself can. It is the same with moral and ethics the more good-natured you become and the more good thoughts you nurture you become a great human with morals. You are the ultimate master of your life. What you do with it is totally up to you! :+1:
  • The human brain is like a computer. Formative programming of this computer will ultimately dictate how we respond to events in later life.

    I would question; is how we respond to events a conscious decision or a sub-conscious decision? 

    Are we actually in control of our minds and bodies, or are our minds and bodies actually in control of us?
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 1451 Pts
    My morality is a result of my experience and observation. The base axiom I make is that it is better for people to be happy than unhappy. Based on this axiom, and on observing what actions make people happy or unhappy, I have developed the moral guidance on how I should act in what situation. If the way I act generally leads to smiles and laughter, then this is a moral behavior; if it generally leads to long faces and tears, then it is not. 

    However, I also have a certain hierarchy in my mind. For example, my personal happiness is more important than that of anyone else, and whatever I do, first, is supposed to serve my interest. For example, when I do charity, I recognize that I do it because it makes me feel good - this is the honesty of my character I have always been proud of.
    After me go my closest friends. Then relatives. Then acquaintances. Then random people on the street. And so on down the ladder.
  • Your morals come from your life experiences.  
  • In order to have a conscious experience and not exist as a simple inanimate object, one must incorporate certain dimensions of quality into their existence - i.e., we must be able to experience good and bad in some capacity. There are two ways of consciously experiencing quality: for the self (i.e., pleasure and pain), and for the non-self (i.e., good and evil). If I focus only on my own pleasure and pain, I may neglect the quality of others' experiences; therefore we create morals/ethics to help remind and guide us toward the good and away from evil. This is basic logic; the truly fascinating part is that it appears that our own pleasure is impossible without these morals. You could not create a being, for example, and supply it with its every desire in isolation of morality; it would simply consume at an increasing rate until it was presented with a moral challenge, at which point it would experience pain. If this were not true, then morality would be moot; we would simply worry only about ourselves and never consider others because our own pleasure and pain is all that we would consciously experience. But we have ingrained in us a responsibility toward others, a desire to do good and be part of something larger than our own sphere of personal pleasure and pain. As to exactly what the nature of this is, I would say that privilege cannot exist independently of responsibility. Like getting a promotion at a job, you cannot achieve ability without also assimilating responsibility in accordance (i.e., a response-ability) to that ability. Perhaps it is that ability and responsibility are inextricably linked, or perhaps there is a more metaphysical conscious connection between all of us that necessitates this noumenon; after all, if we were all parts of a single being, then it would make sense that we could never ignore others any more than cells of our own body can ignore the whole.
  • GandGand 14 Pts

    The basis for morality is empathy, which is basically the capacity to relate to other people, share their feelings and to care for them.

     Empathy is the result of human evolution and natural selection, as along with our high intelligence and tool using ability it enabled us to work together in social groups in a way that was to the benefit of all within that group.

     Working together as a group gave us an advantage that an individual wouldn’t have. As a group we were able to hunt far more effectively, taking on and killing large game, even something the size of a mammoth, it also enabled us to compete with and defend ourselves against big heavily armed predators.

     We ended up at the top of the food chain, a good place to be in the survival stakes.

  • My parents. They taught me how to behave, I ain't need no bible to tell me how to live or whats right and wrong, its common sense. 
    George_Horse
    “Communism is evil. Its driving forces are the deadly sins of envy and hatred.” ~Peter Drucker 

    "It's not a gun control problem, it's a cultural control problem."
    Bob Barr
  • someone234someone234 626 Pts
    edited August 2018
    Morals are shown, not said. Laws are said, not shown.

    I aim to act morally and know why the law is the law. This is the inverse mentality of aiming to act legally and know why my morals are right.

    I found myself to be a toxic troll online and disgusting person IRL following the latter mentality.

    Worry less about the why and more about the what. If your inner moral compass says nothing is wrong, then you need to emotionally alter yourself by interaction with animals and humans. Eye contact is important to see them as real sentient beings etc.
    Applesauce
  • Just gonna toss in another possible source of morality. When you do something "bad," in this case let's define that as going against your morals, the human brain will fight like hell to convince itself that that action was justified, either because of extenuating circumstances, or you completely view the action as moral now.
  • Many people here are saying that morality is obvious. But I disagree. We are the only species that follows the moral code that we have, and many animals are quite violent. It's not a matter of intelligence either. This is what I believe. Humans are naturally self-interested social animals. If we are social, then I ought to do good to my neighbor in hopes that my neighbor will do good back to me. This is the basis of all morality. It is simply based on self-interest by being unselfish, ironically.

    I don't think that this should be taught to people, however, because it can lead to the mentality of "that person will not benefit me, so I ought not to do good to him/her", even though through doing bad things to that individual you are going to be disliked by people who like that individual, and possibly put up a reputation which might not be beneficial for you.
  • I love how no one has answered this dude's question with anything remotely foundational.  
    someone234
  • @Theocrat What is your answer that is foundational?
  • @someone234

    one could also ask which came first, morality we made into law, codified as law and the standard by which all should live.  The religious law did the same thing as people were acting morally before it.  Now, how, where and why it came to be, it's difficult to say with any certainty as there are many plausible theories.  Only humans have morality as we define it and in the scope that it is in our lives.

    "I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
    Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood"
    The Animals
  • @Applesauce Please word your question in such a way I can answer it. Currently the only way I can seem to reply to the question is 'yes morals came first but no, they don't matter less than law'.
  • @someone234

    it was rhetorical question :grin:

    I answered my own question.

    but if you examine the Original question it applies, which came first?  Which ever is first means everything subsequent is predicated on the first wouldn't it?  And therefore your morality is actually begotten by the first ultimately.


    "I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
    Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood"
    The Animals
  • @Applesauce Completely incorrect. The law is based on far more than morality.
  • The only place one can get them: God via His Word.
  • @Applesauce Completely incorrect. The law is based on far more than morality.
    Indeed, law is just morality with teeth.  Thus, the question is not can we legislate morality, but who's morality will we legislate.  I say definitely not the "morality" of the reprobate left.

    someone234Applesauce
  • @Theocrat No, there's literally a lot more to law than morals such as economic strategy and psychological manipulation strategy.
    DrCereal
  • @Theocrat No, there's literally a lot more to law than morals such as economic strategy and psychological manipulation strategy.
    Maybe to you, but not for all of us.
    DrCereal
  • Theocrat said:
    @Theocrat No, there's literally a lot more to law than morals such as economic strategy and psychological manipulation strategy.
    Maybe to you, but not for all of us.
    No, what someone234 said was a factual statement.
    We don't not tariff imports or exports because it's morally right to do so.
    Bis das, si cito das.
  • @Applesauce Completely incorrect. The law is based on far more than morality.

    Completely incorrect?  Wow dishonest much?  Explain how finding murder morally wrong is based on law rather than the morality gave rise to the law.  Which came first deciding murder was wrong or laws saying it was?

    regardless of the pedantic details, which came first and which one was the basis for the other's existence (law and morality)

    "I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
    Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood"
    The Animals
  • @DrCereal

    correct what he said (economic strategy etc) had nothing to do with morality so it's off topic and irrelevant (tariffs)

    the question was

    "Where do you get your morals from?"


    "I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
    Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood"
    The Animals
  • DrCereal said:
    Theocrat said:
    @Theocrat No, there's literally a lot more to law than morals such as economic strategy and psychological manipulation strategy.
    Maybe to you, but not for all of us.
    No, what someone234 said was a factual statement.
    We don't not tariff imports or exports because it's morally right to do so.

    Is it?  Says who and why should I believe them? 

  • @DrCereal

    correct what he said (economic strategy etc) had nothing to do with morality so it's off topic and irrelevant (tariffs)

    the question was

    "Where do you get your morals from?"



    Actually, economic freedom is a moral issue, which means you imposing some strategy on it is immoral.
    Applesauce
  • Theocrat said:

    @DrCereal

    correct what he said (economic strategy etc) had nothing to do with morality so it's off topic and irrelevant (tariffs)

    the question was

    "Where do you get your morals from?"



    Actually, economic freedom is a moral issue, which means you imposing some strategy on it is immoral.
    hhhmm ok, yeah I can see that, "fair" trade is a moral statement as is greed etc  So he is still wrong but for a different reason, I agree.  What's "fair" must be decided before tariffs are imposed, true?  So there must be a moral decision made prior for anything to be implemented, law or otherwise. 
    "I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
    Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood"
    The Animals
  • Morals are inherently subjective, and dictating policies based on morals and not on facts is one of the reasons so many states fail economically.

    Policies should be dictated based on how well they respond to the objective world around us, and it so happens that free trade leads to a much better outcome (meaning higher degree of happiness) for everyone than protectionism, hence it should be promoted.
  • @MayCaesar

    sure but the concept, the origination is in morality isn't it?  what is fair in other words.  why can't you charge 50% interest on a loan legally?  Because it's not fair.  Same is true with tariffs.  you can only charge what the other country allows aka think is fair or willing to tolerate as fair.  and when they argue the amounts charged, what is the #1 criticism, that it's not fair.  Again trade and bartering was all based on the subjective of what was fair, rooted in morality.

    "I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
    Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood"
    The Animals
  • someone234someone234 626 Pts
    edited August 2018
    @Applesauce It's a law because of several reasons other than it being morally 'wrong' and the size of punishment to the act is also something morals don't accurately quantify and the morals of punishment scaling in the eyes of the victim's family are going to be so different to that of the perp's in most cases.
  • @Applesauce

    I do not think fairness has much to do with it. On a true free market, you absolutely can charge 50% interest - it is another matter that few people will agree to take such a loan, and your business plan will probably fail if you try to make it an integral part of your company.

    I see it differently. Two people, one from Mexico and another from Japan, want to trade. One has 10 apples, another has 10 pears. They meet together, say, in Mexico City to perform an exchange. A Mexican bureaucrat comes over and says, "You should share your profits with the government" - and takes a toll of 2 apples and 2 pears. Both merchants are unhappy with the deal and feel robbed (because they were).

    It is the individual happiness that leads to the concept of individual freedom. I suppose you could say that a respective moral system is also built on that concept - but, in my opinion, in general a moral system should dictate what you "should" do, not what you "must" do. There is a difference.

    When I "should" share my wealth with others and I feel like I should do it, then I'll probably do it on my own - or maybe I will not, if I do not value this moral stance this much. When I "must" share it, however, then I have no choice, because not sharing it will lead to negative physical consequences for me.

    So, I would separate morals from objective considerations. Enforcing morals by law is how any dictatorship starts.
  • @MayCaesar

    The government takes it's tax and then either redistributes it (entitlements/moral) or is used in some other way for the greater good, again morality.  We aren't talking about enforcement but rather the genesis of laws, the precursor to laws is morality, and perhaps Occam's razor is best way to explain.

    Are laws meant to be just/justice,  if so what determines that they are just is morality/fairness.

    "I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
    Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood"
    The Animals
  • @Applesauce It's a law because of several reasons other than it being morally 'wrong' and the size of punishment to the act is also something morals don't accurately quantify and the morals of punishment scaling in the eyes of the victim's family are going to be so different to that of the perp's in most cases.


    punishment is a moral decision/judgment.  But again you can't truly get your morals from the legal system when the whole concept of law arose from agreed morality.  I'll admit there could be some law not based, influenced or created from/because of morality, I can't think of any examples atm.

    I believe laws are a direct result and could not have happened w/o morality.  Therefore if you believe your morality comes from "the legal system" this is incorrect as the legal system came from morality.

    "I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
    Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood"
    The Animals
  • @Applesauce

    Morality is subjective, and the clashes of different moral systems is the reason so many policies are so heavily debated, since people think their moral stance must develop the law.

    For example, take the matter of universal basic income (UBI). Proponents can say that UBI is needed, because it is immoral to let people starve when you can help them. Opponents can say that UBI should not exist, because it is immoral to take resources away from people without their consent. 
    I think that both points miss the mark. What should be asked instead is this: "Which approach leads to ahigher quality of life in the state?" Now, how exactly quality of life should be quantified is up to the debate - but the general point is that we focus on practical considerations and on the outcome, not on an abstract system that dictates what is "right" and what is "wrong".

    Think of it as cursing: cursing is considered bad in general, but it is not restricted, it is just discouraged by the societal culture. I can say the F word with no repercussion. It is deemed that people free to say the F word, even if they do not say it, are happier than people who are not free to say the F word. In general, freedom is found to highly correlate with happiness: the more things people are free to do, the more venues they have to satisfy their needs and desires.

    From this concept of freedom, policies are born: "Which policies maximize the personal freedom of each individual?" This is my approach to policing, at any rate, and I think it is the most practical one.

    ---

    Unlike the laws, I see morals as more of a display of personal values. The difference between a moral and a law, in my view, is this: if it is immoral to verbally assault people, I will not do so, but I will not expect those who do to be punished - and if it is illegal, then punishment is in order.

    Laws definitely may somehow be based on morals (especially if certain morals in the society are so pervasive, even one person acting against them will disrupt the social order) - but I think that this is just a correlation: morals and laws are different entities stemming from the same origin - the need for happiness.
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