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  1. Nov 20, 2003 #1
    My brother was playing Animal Crossing, and was trying to decide whether to buy a Fall Plaid outfit or a Gray Tartan outfit, and I got to thinking(which I rarely do, but it happens on occasion) about choices.

    You've heard by all the teachers and crap at school about "make good choices" this or "don't make bad choices" that.

    What determines whether a choice is good or bad?

    The consequence?
    That would mean that if you killed an innocent person to save two other people that it would be a good choice.

    The morality/ethics of it?
    That would mean that if you saved a snake, but later, it bit and injected venom into Curt, that it would be a good choice.

    I asked my mom what she thought(she's religious) and she said that it's whatever God wills, which is a simple answer, but very vague.

    So what are your thoughts?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 21, 2003 #2
    I think it's a combination of the consequences and the ethics of the circumstance prior to choosing.

    As to the snake biting someone later on, that shouldn't count against you, since you didn't intend this.
  4. Nov 21, 2003 #3


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    (Mentor: Shuffle this over to Value theory, please)

    The observer's opinion of it makes it good or bad. If after you did it, you regretted it, then clearly it was a bad thing for you. Different people may have different opinions - there is no universal good/badness principle.

    My way of judgement usually comes by way of intention, but tossing a coin works just as well. :wink:
  5. Nov 21, 2003 #4
    Good or bad choices varies differently from people of different religion, culture, or habit.

    For example, it's common to find chinese people
    (they are usually villagers)
    eating Dog meat but it's considered to be illegal
    in other countries.

    It also depends on the outcome
    you desired and how you view any unexpected outcome.
  6. Nov 22, 2003 #5

    Another God

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    What makes choices good or Bad = How do we evaluate our choices = VALUE theory forum.
  7. Nov 22, 2003 #6
    You're wrong....

    i dunno actually, but it'd make sense to me that there must be some universal good/badness principle. I just don't think anyone has realized it yet. Or maybe not good/bad, but definetly right/wrong. To me, every choice is the right choice... but thats cause i believe in say destiny or fate... but i could be wrong. I believe in reincarnation too... so i also believe that there are very specific decisions we need to make correctly inorder to reach higher levels in our next lifetimes, and not every choice will be the right one to help you gain insights... But i'd really bet, that if physics and science and all the natural laws and principles we have for everything else is valid, then i'd bet some similar laws work for goodness too, and its just a matter of time before we write those equations too.
  8. Nov 22, 2003 #7

    Another God

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    Thats interesting. What reasons do you have for believing in reincarnation, levels of life, and goodness/badness? Can u give us any sort of points of evidence or reason for believing such things are tangible realities that should be formulated into equations?
  9. Nov 24, 2003 #8

    Isn't that a bit self-centered, FZ+? I mean, shouldn't the standard of whether something was "bad" or "good" be determined by the people it affects, and not the one "affecting" (bad grammar, probably; point made, hopefully ).

    Seriously, if I were to do something, and then feel bad, but I was told not to feel bad, because the outcome was "good" (whatever that means ), then my having felt bad was misplaced since the action was "actually 'good'".

    I don't know, that seems right to me.
  10. Nov 24, 2003 #9
    Then who sets the principle? You? Me? God?

    What's the difference, in your opinion?

    *chuckles to self* Sorry, but if every choice is the right choice, then there's not way you are wrong. And if every choice is the right choice, then there can be no distinction between right and wrong, since there are no wrong choices. That's why I don't like the idea of fate, personally.

    But, if we are fated to make the right choice, then we will, and there's nothing we can do to change that. Therefore, to believe in both fate and reincarnation is to believe that the eternity of our constant reincarnation is all predestined...right?
  11. Nov 24, 2003 #10


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    I'm not a believer in moral or ethical codes. I believe in morality, and ethics, but I think there is a subtle difference. Make any code, and you can find a situation that follows the letter of the code, but not the spirit.

    Morality is a personal concept. Laws define how you mustact toward your society, not morality. Morality is a personal choice for each individual. You choose if there is such a thing as good and evil. You decide if your actions fall into one catagory or another. Laws generally follow a loose consensus of morality, but they are not morals. Laws are about actions and consequences; morality is about personal feelings.

  12. Nov 24, 2003 #11

    Another God

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    How about this: What you call morality, is what you think should be the law. As it isn't, you feel compelled to act in line with your morality, because you believe that the current law is inherently flawed. If you had your way, than the morals which you live your life by, would be made the law, and everyone would have to live that way.

    Does that fit in line with how you think?
  13. Nov 24, 2003 #12
    Mentat, yeah i know i'm all contradictory and stuff. But i still believe in it all, even if i techinically can't... i do. And reincarnation doesn't really have much to do with predestination. And even though i believe tons of other things, i dunno if i believe in predestination either. but i think that because we all inherently have some sense of good and bad in us, there must be some real distinction between the two. And even if varries from person to person, i still think there might be some formula or something someone could create to acount for all those variables.

    and i have a lot of reasons for believing that stuff AG, just no time right now to explain. I will though sometime. Maybe i'll even be the one to write these formulas...
  14. Nov 24, 2003 #13


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    i don't think any one conscious thing/person/"god" determines what is good or bad ultimately...in society, a judge is the ultimate entity that makes this decision, and we all hope s/he is basing their decision as objectively as possible...

    outcome of choice is certainly a subjective perspective...for example...

    a tornado takes down your house, but all of your family is safe...it sucks to have your house gone...luckily, you have excellent insurance, and you are able to rebuild a more solid and bigger home - a blessing in disguise...


    you find a better paying job, you save up money to buy a new car, after a few months, you realize your boss-who works very close to you-is a royal jerk, after 6 months, you change jobs and take a pay cut because you can't stand your boss...

    i think really, whomever the choice affects ultimately decides if it will be a good one or not...
  15. Nov 25, 2003 #14
    Well, my usual response would have something to do with the fact that "variables", as limiting factors in matters of choice, do not exist in a predestined Universe...however, I really just want to say that there should be a thread started on this issue that you raise: Why do we believe some of the things we believe?
  16. Nov 25, 2003 #15


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    Some of my beliefs I think should be generalised to society as a whole - the obvious things like no murdering, stealing or wanton destruction. Other things, I don't believe other people should be held to. I personally think that it is immoral to waste personal gifts, like talents. If you sing well you should sing. But I don't think talented people should be forced to pursue their talents.

    One problem is, part of my morality is respecting that other people have a different morality. If I try impressing my morals on others, I would be hypocritical, but if I don't support my morality, I lose self-respect. I realize laws must be a workable agglomeration of the people's various morals. If the laws are close to my moral code, I'd consider them good. If they do not, I consider them bad. If they are bad enough, they reach a threshold of activism, or even civil disobedience. If they are even worse, rebellion of some form is the answer, or emigration. Fortunately, I have only felt the need for civil disobedience twice.

  17. Nov 25, 2003 #16

    Another God

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    Couldn't you then say that there are your morals, which should be imposed as law, and then there are things which you feel/like/wish to happen, which are just personal preferences? As personal preferences, which you realise aren't for everyone, they aren't really morals. They are simply personal preferences.
  18. Nov 26, 2003 #17


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    I suppose you could say that, it may just be semantics. I still think these more nebulous ideas fall more into morality than just personal preference though. When I think of preference, I think of liking chocolate more than vanilla. While I think no less of someone who prefers vanilla, I do think less of someone who is wealthy yet uncharitable. I do not, however, think that people must be charitable.

    Is this nebulous area ethics? The dictionary definitions I've read have almost no difference between ethics and morality. I think it would be a useful distinction of the words, but if I'm the only one who uses it that way, it won't work out. :wink:

    So, I have these belief sets:

    1. Beliefs that I think are necessary for society that must be law. These are the ones that would incite me to some activism if they were not law.

    2. Beliefs that are value judgements of a personal nature. I will live by them, and would prefer others doing so but I can tolerate others not doing so.

    3. Beliefs that are preferences of a personal nature. Whether others share these beliefs is of no importance.

    I don't think there are specific words for these catagories.

  19. Nov 27, 2003 #18

    Another God

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    Thanks for that, that has been helpful

    I was probing, because I came to the conclusion that 'ethics' and 'law' should in fact be the same thing. I know it currently isn't taken to be, but I think it should be. While many people have 'ethics' which are outside of the law, that is a representation of what they think the law should be. You have raised a good point though, and I will consider it more.
  20. Nov 28, 2003 #19


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    Well, realistically, the majority of actions end up affecting far further than your initial expectations, and it is simply not plausible to ask everybody, much less get a consensus. And on another level, the fact that you choose to listen to their praise/admonishments afterwards is a demonstration of my claim - you are exercising your personal sense of morality, for looking for external justification.
  21. Nov 30, 2003 #20
    There are a lot of threads that debate goodness and badness to one degree or another.

    The common postings in all of them seem to go one of three ways.

    1. It's up to society to determine right and wrong

    2. It's up to the individual to determine right and wrong.

    3. There is a God that has determined right from wrong.

    Case #1 societies through history have shown their inability to maintain any kind of enduring standard. An empire may begin pure and noble but always seems to end in moral decay & coruption, rome & the soviet union for example. So it does appear that society is unable to determine this consistently.

    Case #2 if individuals are responsible for this determination and everyone can decide for themselves then this is just a recipe for chaos. Check out a mob after a sporting event, or during a riot when people are left up to their own - things go bad quickly.

    Case #3 God has determined right from wrong then we are responsible to listen and follow this direction.

    When I look around me at nature and see it's order and perfection Case #1 & Case #2 just do not fit. I believe our only choice is to seek for God's truth until it is found, then believe it with everything we have.
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