Questions with Definitive Answers: Moral and Selfish Dilemmas

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In summary, the conversation discusses whether questions about morality have definitive answers and if they are as important as questions in other subjects such as Physics or Math. The consensus is that there is no one definitive answer and it ultimately depends on one's personal goals and values. However, it is generally agreed that being moral and not selfish is in one's best interest in order to live in a functioning society.
  • #1
Definitive... or not?

Do questions like “Why should I be moral?” or “Why shouldn’t I be selfish?” have definitive answers like some questions in Physics, Math, Chemistry, or other subjects? Does having a definitive answer make a question more or less important?
 
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  • #2
These are subjective questions, for which no definite answer exists. The same applies to your last (normative) question.
 
  • #3
Actually there is a definitive answer and I've just composed it on the spot!


It is logical that if we all think and do what is best for all sentient life, now and in the future, we can generate the maximum amount of "pleasure" possible.

There is no point in leading a life of hedonism as this would make you a slave to yourself and your existence as a sentient form of life with free will, would end.


It's a shame isn't it. I'm a philosophical genius and all I'm doing is posting on some forum on the internet.
 
  • #4
Well the definite answer seems to be very obvious, you should be moral and not selfish if you live and depend on another to live your life. The problem might seem to be the definitions though. (This i think is the same point the truth made)
 
  • #5
NoGeniusJustSensible said:
Do questions like “Why should I be moral?” or “Why shouldn’t I be selfish?” have definitive answers like some questions in Physics, Math, Chemistry, or other subjects? Does having a definitive answer make a question more or less important?

"Why should I be moral?" Assuming that you live in a society, you have made a contract with that society to obey its morals, ethics and laws. In return you get the benefits of living in that society, protection, trade, income etc.
An immoral person would break or not live up to his end of the contract and thus be getting something for nothing and be subject to punishment and/or expulsion. It is in our own self interest to be moral.

We all are and should be selfish to the point of serving our self interests and survivability. Being greedy or piggish however is different, again getting something for nothing or more than what you pay for.
 
  • #6
the question is not should i be moral. it is WHY should i be moral? does WHY? have a definitive answer? will everyone have the same answer for this question?
is it at all like a science law which we assume to be DEFINITIVE?
AND DOES THIS BEING DEFINITIVE make it any more or less important than any other qustion?
 
  • #7
NoGeniusJustSensible said:
the question is not should i be moral. it is WHY should i be moral? does WHY? have a definitive answer? will everyone have the same answer for this question?
is it at all like a science law which we assume to be DEFINITIVE?
AND DOES THIS BEING DEFINITIVE make it any more or less important than any other qustion?

I doubt that everyone will have the same answer; but, to answer your question, "WHY should I be moral?" the answer is to serve your own best interests with in the society or culture in which you live. The answer always comes down to that one consideration and your own best interests, once prioritized, rarely include instant gratification. First of course is survival, next is quality of life such as health and well being, last is happiness and self fulfillment and all of this with other people, your family, your society etc.

There is no absolute, definitive answer of why or what. It is all economics and politics. What is wisest, best for me, my life, my family, my society. As no man is an island living totally unto himself all of those separate interests usually come up with the same set of rules of behavior which we call morals, ethics and laws.
 
  • #8
NoGeniusJustSensible said:
Do questions like “Why should I be moral?” or “Why shouldn’t I be selfish?” have definitive answers like some questions in Physics, Math, Chemistry, or other subjects? Does having a definitive answer make a question more or less important?

Yes, they have answers. But before you can specify them, you have
to state your goals as Royce alludes.

If your goal is to participate in an orderly and just society then amorality
and excessive self-interest work counter to those goals.

If you goal is to coast through life on the effort of others like some sort
of sociological parasite, then you will find a different set of answers.

As to the why, it is simple. The choices you specified have real objective
consequences to you and the people around you.

So the final answer is "because if you are immoral or selfish you will be a
burden to the rest of us and will acquire the existential features of a leech."
 
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  • #9
Antiphon said:
Yes, they have answers. But before you can specify them, you have
to state your goals as Royce alludes.

If your goal is to participate in an orderly and just society then amorality
and excessive self-interest work counter to those goals.

If you goal is to coast through life on the effort of others like some sort
of sociological parasite, then you will find a different set of answers.

Isn't the very fact that you have goals a type of morality? The question of whether or not to be "moral" is fundamental and comes before you make the goals.
 
  • #10
Retort

NoGeniusJustSensible said:
the question is not should i be moral. it is WHY should i be moral? does WHY? have a definitive answer? will everyone have the same answer for this question?
is it at all like a science law which we assume to be DEFINITIVE?
AND DOES THIS BEING DEFINITIVE make it any more or less important than any other qustion?

Why be moral? if you can pose this question then pose another, why not be moral? If you haven't an answer for either ask...'why breath if it means i still have to think so hard?' LOL!
 
  • #11
good sentiment Royce, couldn't have said it better

Royce said:
I doubt that everyone will have the same answer; but, to answer your question, "WHY should I be moral?" the answer is to serve your own best interests with in the society or culture in which you live. The answer always comes down to that one consideration and your own best interests, once prioritized, rarely include instant gratification. First of course is survival, next is quality of life such as health and well being, last is happiness and self fulfillment and all of this with other people, your family, your society etc.

There is no absolute, definitive answer of why or what. It is all economics and politics. What is wisest, best for me, my life, my family, my society. As no man is an island living totally unto himself all of those separate interests usually come up with the same set of rules of behavior which we call morals, ethics and laws.


Perhaps this person needs some direction, questions like, why be moral? are almost fundamentally self-handicapping.

Morality has a lot to do, from a personal approach, with conscience, if you have one then you don't ask why, but you ask, how, where and when!

Read the bible dude, its not perfect and god only knows its been adapted and rewritten out of reality but there are some basics everyone can associate with regardless of faith, belief or religion.

Regards

A.Christ
 
  • #12
luxv66 said:
Isn't the very fact that you have goals a type of morality? The question of whether or not to be "moral" is fundamental and comes before you make the goals.

Actually, no. Acting morally is a choice and the goal is more fundamental
to answering the question of why you would choose to be moral.

I don't mean just any goal, I mean that the choice to be moral or not is made
so that a particular goal is accomplished.

It does not answer the question to say that morality is fundamental and
you should choose it.
 

1. What is a moral dilemma?

A moral dilemma is a situation in which a person is faced with two or more conflicting moral principles and must make a decision that may result in harm to others or go against their personal values.

2. What is a selfish dilemma?

A selfish dilemma is a situation in which a person is faced with a decision that will benefit themselves, but may also harm others or go against their moral principles.

3. How do you make a decision in a moral dilemma?

There is no one definitive answer to this question, as each person's moral code and values may differ. However, some possible approaches include considering the consequences of each option, consulting with others, and weighing the potential harm to oneself and others.

4. Is it always better to act in a moral way, even if it may not benefit you?

This is a subjective question and ultimately depends on an individual's personal beliefs and values. Some may argue that acting morally is always the right thing to do, while others may prioritize their own well-being in certain situations.

5. Can a selfish decision also be a moral decision?

In some cases, a decision that benefits oneself may also align with moral principles. For example, choosing to prioritize self-care and setting boundaries with others may be seen as a moral decision that also benefits oneself. However, in most cases, a selfish decision goes against traditional moral values of putting others before oneself.

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