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Moral Stands

  1. Jun 1, 2006 #1
    I understand the moral stands of Absolutism, Objectivism and Realism now what i am wondering, is their a stand that says humans have no morals at all and we just fool ourselves into thinking what is right and wrong, or is this in one of the ones i named above and I should just learn them better.
    I wonder this because I want to know is their a side that says we have no true morals and what that side is. Any help would be appriciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 8, 2006 #2
    The question doesn't make sense to me.
    A moral is simply a belief concerning whether a particular type of action or behaviour is right (good) or wrong (bad). A belief is just that - a belief. Belief does not entail truth - thus the mere fact that I believe proposition P is true does not mean that P is true.
    How can one "fool oneself" into thinking that one has a particular belief if one does in fact not have that belief?

    Yes, it is possible that an individual could have no morals (ie no beliefs about whether particular types of action or behaviour is right or wrong), but such an individual would be an aberration and a social misfit.

    Best Regards
  4. Jun 8, 2006 #3


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    Existentialism states that each of us has no prior essential nature and we are free at every moment to make choices which cannot be limited by fixed concerns. So this philosophy teaches that there is no moral background to our actions. In fact Sartre called the recourse to traditional standards mauvais foix (bad faith), meaning you have betrayed your own freedom.
  5. Jun 12, 2006 #4
    Moral nihilism states that there is no morality, or that morality does not matter. Is this what you were looking for?

    Human ideas of morals emerged from basic ideas that can be deterministically linked with game theory and genetic evolution. It is easy to show that the optimum strategy for survival (as well as for reward) in a social context is usually one that tends towards being mainly cooperative and ethical. The intuitive ideas we have about ethics and morals in small social groups follows quite naturally from this.

    What is more difficult to explain, however, is the belief in "higher morals". Why should it be the case, for example, that we believe all humans have equal rights? This certainly does not necessarily follow from the "small social group" behaviour above. Even more difficult to understand is the notion that animal rights are equivalent to human rights.

    These higher morals are neither objective nor absolute, they are subjective intellectual exercises. For the higher morals, there seems to be no rational or logical explanatory reason, except that we simply accept the notion “all humans have equal rights” as an article of faith.

    A higher moral is a premise. It is simply a proposition which is assumed true. I might assume all humans have equal rights, or I might assume all conscious beings have equal rights. Or I might assume other moral premises. To me, that's simply moral subjectivity.

    Best Regards
  6. Jun 12, 2006 #5
    Basically I wanted to know if their was an idea that morals don't exist in people and individuals have no morals but we just do what we think other people want us to do as not to look like a bad person. We don't actually have a bases for thinking something is right or wrong but we just act and think like what other people want us to think and act about what is wrong and right.
  7. Jun 12, 2006 #6
    It is true that our beliefs and behaviour are influenced by our upbringing, our peers and other people with whom we come in contact, but
    I don't think any self-respecting person would claim that they "just act and think like what other people want us to think and act".

    At the end of the day, each of us (if we claim to be free) must take a stand on what we believe to be "right". Although our beliefs will indeed be influenced by others, it is not simply a case of doing what others want us to do. (If we are in a group of people with bad morals, they may want us to behave as badly as they do - this is a case where our own moarl values should tell us not to do what they want us to do)

    Best Regards
  8. Dec 7, 2006 #7

    But in protecting your method you've contradicted your statement. Who is to say that those with "bad morals" have said negative attributes if there was not dogmatic theory to say that they do? If we were from a group that had those previously stated bad morals then we would think of them as proper ideals, and in turn our own moral values would be one in the same with theirs. I agree with the thought that the claim of morality is completely subjective, and with it being completely subjective, it is inherently nonexistant naturally.
  9. Dec 13, 2006 #8
    There are days when I am amazed that the cars go down the freeway, and there is not mass chaos, that we can walk down a sidewalk, in relative safety, and we can hold multitudes of attitudes regarding multitudes of issues, and still draw a relaxed breath. I do not think that we have to take a stand, on most days, I think we have to be ourselves on most days, and consider the rights of others, to do the same. I don't think that the "morals" of others, have much to do with how I act, and I pay little attention to the acts of others, outside my immediate sphere. I consider that my life, is mine, and all the other 7 billion or so humans don't have to do what I want, or feel as I do, or worship as I do, or behave as I do. I would defend myself if I had to, and sometimes taking a stand about an issue pertinent to me is self defense. I think that if parents behave responsibly around their children, and care for their children, then people as a whole would be better behaved toward each other in general, and a lot of this intellectual chest thumping, moralizing, posturing, judging, and human misbehaving would be decreased in the face of the good life.
  10. Dec 19, 2006 #9
    Actually, there's a couple of different views which state that no ethical facts exist (technically, it's more appropriate to say that no facts exist which could make a person's ethical convictions about a particular event/circumstance true, but you get the idea).

    Nihilism, and perhaps the more interesting "non-cognitivism" (which is heavily related to logical positivism) come to mind.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2006
  11. Apr 29, 2007 #10
    JCCol asks: "is there a stand that says [1] humans have no morals at all, and [2] we just fool ourselves into thinking what is right and wrong."

    Well, I think that [2] is a True statement in most systems.
    Out of the Billions of people on this earth, how many of them agree with what I think is Right and Wrong? (I mean, agree with everything that I think.)
    So far in my Life, I have found exactly ZERO people who agree with me on everything.

    Therefore, I make up my own Right and Wrong. Then I decide (or fool myself into thinking) that all of the things I think are Right are ACTUALLY Right. Heck, they are ONLY Right because I think they are.
    When you disagree with me, I know you are Wrong, because I fooled myself into believing that the opposite of your view is Right.

    As far as believing that people have NO Morals, I would look into a very narrow Church.
    This is very close to what your issue is.
    There are 100 people at this Church.
    THEY are the people with Morals; the rest of the World is im-moral.
    So THEY will go to Heaven, and the rest of the World will rot in Hell.
    To them, the whole World is im-moral (and they believe it deeply).

    In fact, they will say that even THEY were im-moral, until they arrived at the Church.
    So they can hold-on-to their perfect view: All people are im-moral.
    They are moral, only because God (personally) picked them out and POOF! made them moral beings in this totally im-moral world.
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2007
  12. Apr 30, 2007 #11
    Anything that comes out of a human being's mouth is just make up.
  13. May 1, 2007 #12
    I'm very glad that you backed this overly simplified/general statement up with valid support.
  14. May 2, 2007 #13
    You obviously agree with me?
  15. May 2, 2007 #14
    Why don't you offer some support for your claim so I can decide if I agree with you.
  16. May 3, 2007 #15
    Can you conceive non-existence? Can you remember if this was the first time you were alive or not? - I agree with you, of course. I find it kind of funny actually. I am getting to a really weird point in my life - I get these bursts of apathy and sensations of not being able to feel, almost physically numb. I also become very sad but shortly stop caring even about the questions and feelings that oppress me. I believe that I carry a "noble" or "good natured" attitude towards anything I encounter in life but life seems more and more like a dying party and everyone is looking for any drug to make them crazy. The only way I can describe how I view life now is "We are all just dancing on top of such an interesting dimension but I am not sure if its even real"
  17. May 3, 2007 #16
    Your personal experience isn't valid support. You through out the proposition "Anything that comes from a human being's mouth is just made up". Please offer support for this, or don't expect us to adopt your position.
  18. May 4, 2007 #17
    If human beings didn't happen, then human ideas wouldn't and couldn't have been created. Ideas like concrete and street cars wouldn't exist. I can't conceive concrete not existing.
  19. May 8, 2007 #18
    First of all that isn't http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/logical-consequence/" [Broken] support. Secondly you are confusing "ideas" and "abstract concepts". Abstract concepts very well might exist without sentient beings to think about them. Your last statement is ambiguous.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  20. May 9, 2007 #19
    First of all you claiming that my support isn't valid, isn't valid. I am only supporting the notion that when man dies so does his ideas. I wasn't aware that this was an abstract concept. I agree that the subject may be abstract but discipline can always be applied.
  21. May 9, 2007 #20
    And Raolduke represents the Relativist school of thought, another-morality-doesn't-exist philosophy. The general idea behind this is that because morality is a human concept it only applies to humanity. From that you equate moral ideas with any other human concept, and because human thought is fallible you can pretty much conclude that morality is objectively meaningless, and relative to every individual (or every culture, etc, depending on the brand of thought).
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