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Are actions right because

  1. Feb 15, 2005 #1
    God or society says they are right?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 15, 2005 #2
  4. Feb 15, 2005 #3
    I guess there are many ways to define right. This kind of discussion depends on very defined terms. Do you define right as good? Or is it not sinning? Different religions say certain actions are right or wrong, and different societies agree or disagree with parts of them. I personally believe that aboslute right or wrongs cannot be proven and that it is up to each person to define what is good.

    Example. A long time ago it was "right" to have slavery. Preachers would have condoned it. They would tell you God agrees with slavery. Now, most of us are against slavery. This is a good example of showing that the "right" thing changes from time and that it is not so absolute.

    What are your thoughts?
     
  5. Feb 16, 2005 #4
    Isn't "God" just another part of the "society" that accepts Him? Either way, society will decide what "right" is simply because society is the only thing that can put pressure on you to behave a certain way or not.

    However, if God has already decided what is "right" and what is "wrong", and if He's really "God" in the usual sense (and thus the most important part of any society), then He quite likely has the power to "pressure" you to behave one way or the other.

    Note: "Pressure" doesn't mean "coerce" or "force" or anything like that. It means that you get good results from doing one thing ("good", here, means "favorable to you") and bad results from doing the opposite.
     
  6. Feb 16, 2005 #5

    GeD

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    No, they are not.
     
  7. Feb 16, 2005 #6

    GeD

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    What that shows us, is that the "right" thing is only defined according to the times. Right or wrong are not phenomena, they are an invention. There is no right or wrong thing, since it is not so much that the "right" thing changes - but only our definition of it.
     
  8. Feb 16, 2005 #7

    GeD

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    The ability to decide what is right or wrong doesn't make it necessary that the thing wielding that ability has the power to do so.

    But you have almost hit the mark - POWER will define what people will follow and think is good or bad. Thus, anyone who has truthfully found a "good" realizes that he has been seduced by its power, not because of it's "inherent" goodness.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2005
  9. Feb 18, 2005 #8
    This is somewhat reminiscent of Euthyphro, but expound a bit on the concept of being "seduced by the power of a true good".
     
  10. Feb 18, 2005 #9

    GeD

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    It's simply that people usually follow/believe "truths" that increase their own power (ie. their influence over people/world around them and their freedom of action). It is not the case that somehow things are inherently in the "good category" or "bad category", simply because we or someone has labeled them that way.

    It's better to realise that truths are about gaining/maintaining personal power (which involves not only influence, but also of personal freedom to act).
     
  11. Feb 19, 2005 #10
    Neither. Similarly to how neither "god" not society can decide the laws of physics (because they are fact, not opinion), I dont' believe that the ethics of a situation can be decreed.
     
  12. Feb 19, 2005 #11

    GeD

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    Not that we've proven that there are actual laws of physics - only theories which seem to predict and mimic phenomena.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2005
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