Why Be Moral?

Should you think about your duty, or about the consequences of your actions? Or should you concentrate on becoming a good person?

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RCSaunders
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Why Be Moral?

Post by RCSaunders »

While philosophers debate what morals or ethical principles are, or if morality is objective or subjective, the one question that is carefully evaded is:

Why should anyone observe any moral standards?

The possibility of moral principles assumes individuals a have choice about how they behave. If human behavior were determined by something other than individual choice, whether there were moral principles or not would not matter, since no one could choose either to observe or evade them.

If there really are moral principles, however, then one must choose to either conform to those principle or defy them. The question is, even if there are moral principles, why should anyone bother with them? What difference does it make if someone lives morally or not?
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Re: Why Be Moral?

Post by IvoryBlackBishop »

Well, then by the same token, why shouldn't they?

If you're arguing affirmatively that they shouldn't, then this is some kind of nihilistic "inverted" morality in which it is "good", or one is under some type of "obligation" to do evil, while avoiding doing good.
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pilgrim1917
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Re: Why Be Moral?

Post by pilgrim1917 »

Greetings, I think your question is significant in a discussion of morals. Those promoting a life based on morals can gain strength for their argument when the question is answered well. Those against a moral life can devise "good reasons" to abandon morals. Both sides of the argument have many possible answers. Personally, I believe that life is eternal and that I will be judged on the moral content of all the actions I took or failed to take.
Impenitent
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Re: Why Be Moral?

Post by Impenitent »

if you get what you give, give only that which you would accept being to be done to you or yours...

-Imp

for consistency
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RCSaunders
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Re: Why Be Moral?

Post by RCSaunders »

pilgrim1917 wrote: Wed Mar 11, 2020 11:34 pm Greetings, I think your question is significant in a discussion of morals. Those promoting a life based on morals can gain strength for their argument when the question is answered well. Those against a moral life can devise "good reasons" to abandon morals. Both sides of the argument have many possible answers. Personally, I believe that life is eternal and that I will be judged on the moral content of all the actions I took or failed to take.
If one believes there are eternal consequences depending on observing some moral code or principles, that would be a reason for being moral. It is obviously yours. I appreciate the frank answer.

Whether there are such consequences or not is another question, not for this discussion.

I will point out that the question is not about rejecting or being against moral principles, but whether one should observe moral principles whether they believe in them or not, and if they should, why they should. Not everyone will have your answer, of course.
Last edited by RCSaunders on Thu Mar 12, 2020 2:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RCSaunders
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Re: Why Be Moral?

Post by RCSaunders »

Impenitent wrote: Thu Mar 12, 2020 12:02 am if you get what you give, give only that which you would accept being to be done to you or yours...

-Imp

for consistency
What you seem to be saying is that it is moral to give only that which you would accept, and that do so would be for consistency. But the question is, why should anyone be moral or consistent? Why not be immoral and inconsistent?
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Re: Why Be Moral?

Post by Nick_A »

=RCSaunders post_id=446250 time=1583953415 user_id=16196]
While philosophers debate what morals or ethical principles are, or if morality is objective or subjective, the one question that is carefully evaded is:

Why should anyone observe any moral standards?

The possibility of moral principles assumes individuals a have choice about how they behave. If human behavior were determined by something other than individual choice, whether there were moral principles or not would not matter, since no one could choose either to observe or evade them.

If there really are moral principles, however, then one must choose to either conform to those principle or defy them. The question is, even if there are moral principles, why should anyone bother with them? What difference does it make if someone lives morally or not?



Man made morality is relative. Collectives invent their own morality to assist their acquired psychology
1943
"No matter how idealistic and necessary a group is, each member must first be loyal to his conscience.” Albert Einstein, in Einstein and the Poet – In Search of the Cosmic Man by William Hermanns (Branden Press, 1983, p. 73. – conversation in August 1943)
1954
“We will be destroyed unless we create a cosmic conscience. And we have to begin to do that on an individual level, with the youth that are the politicians of tomorrow…. But no one, and certainly no state, can take over the responsibility that the individual has to his conscience.” Albert Einstein, in Einstein and the Poet – In Search of the Cosmic Man by William Hermanns (Branden Press, 1983, p. 141. Conversation in Summer of 1954)
Objective conscience is a universal principle a person can remember. You have to decide if it is worth making the sincere efforts necessary for remembering or continually debating man made morality.
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Re: Why Be Moral?

Post by Veritas Aequitas »

RCSaunders wrote: Wed Mar 11, 2020 8:03 pm While philosophers debate what morals or ethical principles are, or if morality is objective or subjective, the one question that is carefully evaded is:

Why should anyone observe any moral standards?

The possibility of moral principles assumes individuals a have choice about how they behave. If human behavior were determined by something other than individual choice, whether there were moral principles or not would not matter, since no one could choose either to observe or evade them.

If there really are moral principles, however, then one must choose to either conform to those principle or defy them. The question is, even if there are moral principles, why should anyone bother with them? What difference does it make if someone lives morally or not?
As I had stated you do not understand the idea of 'Morality' because you are ignorant of your own inherent human nature.
  • Morality = principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behaviour with the focus on being right & good and to avoid wrong and evil.
There are inherent secular objective absolute moral laws [can be justified from empirical evidences] but they are only to act as GUIDEs and NEVER to be enforced externally by some authority.

Why should anyone observe any moral standards?
No one should be forced to observe any inherent objective moral standards but rather they should [be educated to] be aware such moral standards exist inherently within them and objectively.

Here is the argument why all humans will tend positively towards morality;
  • 1. DNA wise all humans are "programmed" to survive at all costs [at least till the inevitable] to ensure the preservation of the human species. Prove if this is otherwise?

    2. To ensure 1, all humans are "programmed" with the potential to be good and moral with the faculty of morality within the brain/mind of the person. This potential within humans are slowly unfolding from since hundreds of thousand of years ago.

    3. From 1 & 2, the above are driven by inherent secular objective absolute moral laws [ideals] which act as GUIDES [note as GUIDEs ONLY] to drive humans toward the impossible-to-achieve-ideals.

    4. These ideals are inherent and no one can be forced [against his Will] externally to comply with these ideals by any external authority.

    5. Whilst there are no outward enforcement, however, in time with greater evolution of the human psyche these inherent ideals will naturally corral all humans towards the ideal via the inherent function of the moral faculty. There are evidences to demonstrate this is ongoing at present on a rough basis.

    6. The function of morality circuit of the brain will somehow induce pains and sufferings subconsciously when anyone act not in alignment towards the ideal. This is the function of the slowly increasing and activated Mirror Neurons where one will naturally mirror the pains of others when they see or do evil to others. This is the underlining of the Golden Rule.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_neuron
    There are other parts of the brain which is involved to align the person toward the moral ideals naturally.
My point is, there are POTENTIAL secular objective absolute moral laws embedded within the DNA of all humans which are slowly unfolding at present.
At present, humans are ignorant of these absolute moral laws as a guide and some [the evil prone] will naturally act not in alignment with these ideal absolute moral laws.

However, the potential of the moral faculty within humanity is unfolding in an increasing numbers of individual[s] and that is driving them in alignment with the impossible ideal. This is evident by the increasing concern and discussion on the issue of Morality and Ethics. There are also evidence of morality and ethics progressing unconsciously and crudely within humanity at present in contrast to say 50,000 years ago.

The essence of morality and ethics is not about making the right or wrong decision [casuistry] at all times but rather for one to develop one's internal moral compass and act naturally and spontaneously with a net-positive contribution to the overall good of mankind.

So what is critical at present is for individuals to understand the hidden principles of the faculty of morality so as to establish an efficient Framework and System of Morality and Ethics to ensure smooth implementation and progress in the future years [realizable within the next 50, 75 or >100 years].

It seem your ignorant and indifferent attitude is 'F... morality!' don't talk, don't explore, don't research, nor seek possibilities of establishing an efficient framework and system to promote morality and ethics for the future of mankind.
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RCSaunders
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Re: Why Be Moral?

Post by RCSaunders »

Nick_A wrote: Thu Mar 12, 2020 5:18 am Objective conscience is a universal principle a person can remember. You have to decide if it is worth making the sincere efforts necessary for remembering or continually debating man made morality.
Perhaps you need to read the post again. I'm not debating anything. I'm only asking the question of why anyone should observe moral principles. Is it so they won't suffer a bad conscience? If their conscience does not bother them (as it wouldn't for sociopaths and pschopaths) is it alright for them to be immoral?
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henry quirk
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Why Be Moral?

Post by henry quirk »

I'm guessin' by being moral you're talkin' about the old standards (don't kill, don't steal, don't lie, etc.).

Practically: being moral is about peace-makin' and -keepin' (I won't mistreat you, you won't mistreat me, we'll both be free to do other things besides self-defendin' 24/7).

Less practically: being moral is about the self-maintenance of one's spirit.
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Re: Why Be Moral?

Post by RCSaunders »

Veritas Aequitas wrote: Thu Mar 12, 2020 7:25 am It seem your ignorant and indifferent attitude is 'F... morality!' don't talk, don't explore, don't research, nor seek possibilities of establishing an efficient framework and system to promote morality and ethics for the future of mankind.
I think you need to reread the post. I made no arguments at all, I only asked a question. Whatever you think morality or ethical principles are, why should any individual choose follow them? That's the question. What's your answer?

Is the only reason a person should be moral for the sake of, "the future of mankind?" If that is what all you wrote was meant to say, the question still is, why should any individual do anything for, "the future of mankind?"
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Re: Why Be Moral?

Post by RCSaunders »

henry quirk wrote: Thu Mar 12, 2020 2:44 pm I'm guessin' by being moral you're talkin' about the old standards (don't kill, don't steal, don't lie, etc.).

Practically: being moral is about peace-makin' and -keepin' (I won't mistreat you, you won't mistreat me, we'll both be free to do other things besides self-defendin' 24/7).

Less practically: being moral is about the self-maintenance of one's spirit.
Thanks Henry. I'm not making any judgements about the responses on this thread, at least yet. I am really interested in the answers to the question.

I will say, that so far, your last sentence is the most convincing. I'll say why later.
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Re: Why Be Moral?

Post by Immanuel Can »

pilgrim1917 wrote: Wed Mar 11, 2020 11:34 pm Greetings, I think your question is significant in a discussion of morals. Those promoting a life based on morals can gain strength for their argument when the question is answered well. Those against a moral life can devise "good reasons" to abandon morals. Both sides of the argument have many possible answers. Personally, I believe that life is eternal and that I will be judged on the moral content of all the actions I took or failed to take.
So do I.

But I would add this: that morality is not simply about the individual. It's about how the individual treats other people. If one were literally the only being in the universe...of if there were others, but none of them counted for moral purposes but the individual himself...there would be no possibility of moral duty at all. You can't "owe yourself" to do anything "yourself" doesn't want to do, in such circumstances, nor even "owe yourself" to do things "yourself" wants to do. There are no moral considerations in anything then.

But the Great Commandment has two parts: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart...," and "love your neighbour." There are two sources of other moral 'counters' outside the individual who is being commanded: God, to whom all duty is ultimately owed, and one's neighbour, who is to be regarded as every bit as important as the individual, precisely for the reason that he/she is of equally of value to God as you, the individual self, is.

But if one believes there is no God, then neither is there any moral duty. Nor is there the possibility of one. Nor can one owe anything to one's neighbour, even if he still exists; for he, like you and like all beings, is nothing special, nothing but an accidental collection of cosmic dust.

And one cannot owe any duties to space dust.
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Re: Why Be Moral?

Post by pilgrim1917 »

Let's consider what kind of age we are living in, to get some insight on why the question, "Why be moral?" is surely an appropriate question for us to be asking in the first place.

What name do we give our age? Philosophical positions of the past, positions where morality wasn't as hotly questioned, were more certain about morals. Moral violations resulted in armies being formed to defeat despots who disregarded moral governing. Martin Luther, an intellectual and a man of religion, began an era of questioning and moral rebellion he didn't intend to start, because popes and bishops of the Catholic Church were violating expected moral and ethical practices within the Church.

Later in the 18th century the Age of Reason and the Enlightenment came, the questioning continued, then passed and moved into another age of human thought, the age of political theories and movements, a seeking for utopia, manifesting in revolutionary approaches and actual revolutions, all focused toward different re-makings of human society and mankind itself. The revolutions continued, small ones and big ones, into the 19th and 20th centuries, right up to today: Rights of Man, the major works of Karl Mark, various French philosophers especially, including Foucault, who wrote:

"Justice must always question itself, just as society can exist only by means of the work it does on itself and on its institutions."

Perhaps that is what we are doing in this Forum. But where are we now, in the current age of ideas? We seem to be having to ask this question about moral behavior again, one that didn't need asking for centuries. Yet, here we are, asking it. My hypothesis is that we are living in the Age of Philosophical Uncertainty. Immanual Kant made this assertion on moral behavior, among many others. He wrote it was important to,
“Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end, but always at the same time as an end.” Thus, moral and ethical treatment of others for its' own sake. Just because it is right. That was Kant's position, held by many at the time and going forward, until today. Can our age promote that conviction and not expect a very big debate? I suspect a debate would ensue and continue and for a good while.
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Re: Why Be Moral?

Post by Impenitent »

RCSaunders wrote: Thu Mar 12, 2020 1:54 am
Impenitent wrote: Thu Mar 12, 2020 12:02 am if you get what you give, give only that which you would accept being to be done to you or yours...

-Imp

for consistency
What you seem to be saying is that it is moral to give only that which you would accept, and that do so would be for consistency. But the question is, why should anyone be moral or consistent? Why not be immoral and inconsistent?
the only reason not to is that that would be returned...

-Imp
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