Morality? I don't need no stinkin' morality!

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I just read about Lawrence Kohlberg's morality stuff, and this guy really pushes my buttons. Morality is COMPLETELY subjective. What is considered moral in one culture may be completely immoral in another, and things that an "enlightened" society think of as moral might merely be a pipe-dream due to their clouded way of thinking.

I think one of the problems with our society today is people being overly sympathetic and then trying to also be overly moral. Is it moral to allow someone to die due to their own stupidity? And I mean not ignorance, for surely if someone does not know any better letting them do something stupid would be unfair. Society believes that letting people climb Mount Everest is a choice we can let them make, yet it's morally wrong to let adults decide if they want to wear a seat belt or not.

Is the use of this copyrighted image moral? Well I wouldn't care if others used it had I made it, so it must be moral.

Now we have "universal healthcare" in the name of morality. Now, will being a smoker or being fat be immoral, because they are literally costing me tax money to pay for their inevitable health care? So every time I see a fat person, I now have the moral grounds to get up in their face about losing weight, because they are costing me money to save them when they have a heart attack?

I think moral enlightenment comes when one can truly look at a situation through every involved party's perspective; only then will one be truly thinking outside the box.


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Profound post. Morality is an incredibly interesting concept to me. I like your last sentence "[...] moral enlightenment comes when one can truly look at a situation through every involved party's perspectives [...]. This idea is shared by a philosophical leader named Immanuel Kant. He had this idea called categorical imperative which means something is moral if you would allow everyone else to make the same choice universally.

I'd also agree that morality is subjective, but there must be some universality that outweighs cultural differences. Like stealing for example. I've never heard of any culture that finds stealing acceptable.

Anyways, once again awesome post.

I agree with perre066 that moral is subjective, but morality has boundaries. It's not acceptable for murdering, rape and such. What kind of people would think that would be okay?

I found your post really interesting. I've thought about morality before, but never really in depth and with examples of different moral/immoral situations. I know this is completely unrealistic, but I wonder if what life would be like if everyone had the same sense of morality.

I also find this interesting, especially the part about looking through other peoples' perspectives. I think we usually only see our own opinions as being right simply because we are unwilling to think about others' situations.

And to the comment on the top, stealing is one of the prime examples of the question what is moral: would you steal bread to feed your starving family? Even throughout different cultures this question is still found unanswerable by most people.

morality is completely subjective, and I don't think we will ever get to a point in time where we can lay down one set of rules for all to live by, and they will be followed to a T. The whole experience of living is perplexing, because we are part of humanity, yet our entire existence is played out alone in our own heads. you can not merely tell someone to do something, you have to find a way for them to accept that your goals coincide with their own, and then they will follow your words.

This was a thoughtful blog. All the examples used here are good ones. In any case you can argue both ways on different subjects, that's why I don't think we will ever reach an agreement on things like seat belts and others. I do agree with Wille360 about murder and rape not being acceptable. In my opinion things like that shouldn't even be up for discussion.
Great ending line. That is completely true. You need to be able to see things through everyone's eyes before you can make actual judgements about right and wrong.

kinc0027 - When writing my comment I didn't really clarify what how I meant the connection between universal and subjective morality. I meant to express the subjective differences, but also say that to some small degree some things are universally moral or immoral. The stealing part is meant to be universally bad, except when confronted by subjective differences. You can make any "immoral" decision acceptable given the right circumstances.

The point is they both go hand-in-hand; If we didn't have universal morals, then people who thought killing would be okay, would have killed all the people who thought it was bad, and we would all be the children of people who were killers; so there is a good chance we would be okay with it also - obviously this isn't how we are so to some extend most of us must find killing immoral.

kinc0027 you are right about the stealing for your family in a time of need, I hadn't thought about that. I feel as though it is still looked down upon in most situations even for starving children. Maybe we can do something else to provide for these starving children so that they don't have to turn to stealing. Stealing allows the person to be devious, and use trickery in their life.

I don't think morality is entirely subjective. There might, after all, be certain moral instincts that are common to the species. I guess that doesn't make morality "objective"; in order to be objective, morality would have to somehow "exist" in the real (material?) world; it would have to exist as a fact independent of thought. But it would mean that our morality isn't completely governed or determined by our upbringing .

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This page contains a single entry by nemze007 published on March 22, 2012 11:17 PM.

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