Is morality subjective?

I used to believe that without the existence of a God, a higher power whose opinion means more, that morality could not exist. That it was just opinion, and in a society, just popular opinion. I justified this by pointing out the concepts of morality change throughout time and cultures. Few societies think of themselves as immoral, and usually manage to justify their actions to themselves. The mercurial nature of 'morality' seemed to suggest to me that it was nothing more than subjective.


I have since been reading alot more, from alot of different sources. My own sense of morality is strengthening, solidifying. I find my sense of right and wrong becoming clearer to myself, though it still is very much in the growing process. Additionally, I am finding that those who pursue knowledge and desire to grow and work towards that growth have tended to arrive at similar conclusions about what is moral and what is not. Now admittedly, these people would, for the most part, be in my culture. So there is still that doubt.

Do you feel that, with education from numerous sources, people will arrive at similar conclusions of what is moral and what isnt, thus suggesting a more universal morality? Or do you still feel that it is purely subjective?

"Do you feel that, with education from numerous sources, people will arrive at similar conclusions of what is moral and what isnt"

Yes I think peoples views of what is moral and what isn´t will converge with time, especially since we live in such a globalized Soceity, influencing eachother more and more.

But that doesn´t mean that it exists Universal morals, they will still be subjective and a matter of preference.

So FudoMyoo, you feel that it will still be just a general acceptance of rules and guidelines, not that there is inherant right and wrong? I mean, in cases like rape and murder, it is pretty accepted that these will be wrong. But what about grey-er areas.

Say...bondage? Purely consentual on both sides, and nobody else is hurt. What about consentual incest between cousins? Is this immoral since nobody is hurt, even though society generally condemns it. Homosexuality is still considered immoral by a lot of people, but alot of the stigmas about it are being removed through education.


My general rule for living morally is 'do what you want, so long as you dont infringe on the freedom of others'. Meaning, if your actions wont have a negative effect on other people, theyre acceptable. I believe we have been given the ability to reason and choose, and we should be allowed to exercise that.
Other things like murder and whatnot we'll have to have clearly spelled out laws to protect individuals.

"So FudoMyoo, you feel that it will still be just a general acceptance of rules and guidelines, not that there is inherant right and wrong?"

Yes, that´s right. That´s how I view it.


"What about consentual incest between cousins? Is this immoral since nobody is hurt, even though society generally condemns it."

imo there is nothing wrong with it. I happen to have a cousin that is hot as hell too. :-)

What is right or wrong may not be subjective, but how to distinguish it is.

I´ll take the instinct for survival. That is common ground (I hope).

Based on this principle, I can think that anyone who menaces my survival is wrong. It can happens thru a person physically hurting me, with a knife for example, it also can happens that my boss firing me unfairly, which would leave me without money, and I would not be able to buy food and I would starve to death.

The first example is clear: fight or run. The second example is not that clear. It is as stressful as the first example, but indeed a person can think on different ways to get ouf of that difficult situation, that will not necessarily lead to death.

If I have no scholarship enough, if I don´t have self-esteem enough, probably I´ll be blaming on the employer about my personal disaster. And if "he is wrong", I may fight him.

So, in my opinion, to act moraly depends on the level of inteligence and self-knowledge a person has.

The inteligence is necessary to understand the consequences of one act more than labeling the act as wrong per se. For example, a friend of mine had his 16yo son shot by a drug dealer. The bullet transpassed his chest, but he is alive and well, and the trafficant was arrested. My friend recognizes that it was a bad that became good, because he was slowly seing his son entering the world of drugs and he was not able to stop him. The shot did it. I don´t mean "let´s shot boys that are becoming addicted", that would be insane. But perhaps a person less balanced would try to kill the trafficant with his own hands, puting himself in risk and perhaps leaving his family in misery.

Do you blame a child for breaking a glass, do you punish? Ain´t the punishment only the enough to make the child to understand that it is dangerous, expensive to buy, and so on? Yet, in an early age, even the simple concept of "dangerous" doesn´t get in, and the child keeps trying. Why? Because the child is not able yet to understand it.

There are many people that were raised in a way that only personal survival is important. They cannot see it another way. They learn to be tricky, smart, learn to fool other people to get what they want. And they believe they want what the tv propaganda told them so.

Only being intelligent and having an average culture a person can understand that acts lead to reactions, and can foresee the future consequences of what they are doing. Even then, it is not enough. A person must have empathy, must care about someone else, to begin to have a view of the society as a whole. Only then they will bring other persons into the equation of survival.

As John Nash demonstrated, cooperative games are better to survive in a society. We still need to learn it.

In general, it is not good to be a person with a serious genetic problem. I know some people with Down sindrom may be the light of love in their homes, but many of them may be a nightmare, specialy if they are poor and have no way to give them a good treatment.

There is, incest can have a bad consequence, that is to give birth to a not so healthy child, which, in the past, people would have no means to deal with.

Until today it is common practice among Amazon indians to kill newborn babies that are not healthy: they will cause big problems to the tribe. As much as I can remember, ancient Greeks used to do that too. Indians also kill twins for cultural reasons: they believe that necessarily one will have a good spirit, and the other will have a bad spirit. As they can´t distinguish it, they kill both, to not put the tribe in risk. (Brazilian government has been trying to adopt those childs to save them from death, but sometimes it is impossible - also I`m talking about the indians that are still not mixed with the western culture).

So are you saying that they're wrong for killing those babies, or that its justified since its potentially 'for the tribe'? Do you even have the right to tell them its wrong?

I´m not judging anything. I´m showing facts.

In my opinion it is wrong to kill. I don´t want to be killed, therefore I don´t do it to anyone else. Golden rule, you know?

What I mean is, they were educated that way. Can the Brazilian government judge them for murderer? It is a whole culture, perhaps all the women on one single tribe might have killed a baby or two, and to arrest them all would put an end to their culture.

Perhaps we can distinguish "killing babies" as wrong. But in the case of those indians, ain´t the attenuatings high enough to not let them into jail?

Nowadays there are still some untouched tribes in deep Amazon forest. The antropologists decided to not be in touch with them, until they find out a way that will not dizimate them with western diseases, nor will lose their culture. They also try to protect them from other cultures. It has been demonstrated that, whenever a Christian missionary group tries to bring them the Saviour, the rates of suicide skyrockets, since they use to put the emphasys on sin more than in love. I don´t think that to let them inside a bubble is the right option, though.

Looks like I'm going to have to give my friend, FudoMyoo, the verbal beatdown again. Allow me to fire up the engines and come back to this thread.

BTW, Fudo, there are a few new Yamasaki Academies in Sweden. I'll get the names and addresses for you.

-David Jacobs

"Looks like I'm going to have to give my friend, FudoMyoo, the verbal beatdown again."

lol, again??? It never happened even once my friend, and you know it. :-)


"Allow me to fire up the engines and come back to this thread."

Be sure to fill her up with gas too this time. ;-)


"Fudo, there are a few new Yamasaki Academies in Sweden. I'll get the names and addresses for you."

Yes, I know, thanks. There is an academy in Gothenburg now (Pilo Stylins academy) and one in Stockholm too I think.

However I live in Rio, Brazil, but I´m good friends with those guys too.

DonnaTroy, am I right in thinking that you attribute immoral behavior to lack of knowledge?

Yes, you can put it that way. But I´m not talking only about rational knowledge, but more like a deep understanding of a situation.

Don´t you think egoism hurting others can pay off very well?

Sorry, I don´t know the exact meaning of the expression "pay off".

A person feels subjectively better afterwards.

"Don´t you think egoism hurting others can feels subjectively better afterwards very well?"

Yes. I guess it comes from the relief a person has after a "fight". "I win", the person may think. It is a short time way of thinking, and the egoist don´t think about the consequences. Or can think only about scaping from the consequences. Usualy this same egoist believes that everything that happens in life against him/herself is another person´s fault, or destiny´s, or God´s fault. They are unable to recognize their own faults, and that there is a relation between their actions and the reactions that life sends back.

I feel sorrow for people like this, they still are in the beginning of the morality lader, and will suffer a lot.

Gentlemen, first an actual definition of MORALS and MORALITY must be established before we are to quibble over meaning and boundaries.
When you type morals into dictionary.com you get 6 adj defs and 3 n defs.

Personally (and in this arguement, I have no other source), I find the 2nd n def the best so I will post it and use it as my refrence.

A concisely expressed precept or general truth; a maxim.

This is how I see morals. If we can agree on this (or another) definition the discussion can continue- until such time when we are all in agreement, we are simply dancing around the fire.

IMO, all CORRECT morals come out of the basis of group survival. Human evolution and behavior has been governed by social groups. Long before we learned to speak, walk upright or even make tools- we lived in groups. When intelligent but physically weak animals live together in groups (and we have only the great apes as refrence) certain behavior patterns emerge. 1- When attacked w/o the ability to run away, all capable members of the group fight, the strong defending the weak! Do you realize what an evolutionary advantage that is for a species long term? 2- Hiearchies emerge. No group of beings can exist without a leader. No animal or human society has ever lived by commite (yes, small experimental groups have tried this, and ALL failed long term). The hiearchies are generally based on who can provide for the group the best AND who can play politics the best.

With these two conditions, we see quite clearly that the difference between a den of thieves and a tribe together is that in a den thieves, every man is out for himself while in a tribe, all men are out for the good of the tribe- this leads to long-term success. This leads to communication, tool making, invention, and most important team work! To use another example, when coaching a team sport like basketball or football, the absolute worst thing that can happen is if your top 3 players get "the disease of me". When they become concerned with how much time they have on the field, how many plays they make, etc. and not about the team winning each and every game and how they can help that- the entire team suffers.

With this in mind, all morality must then stem from group survival. The death of a single individual while others (esp. the young) make their escape is insignifigant! Why do we send our young men off to die and not our young women (even today, women are not allowed in combat positions on the front lines)? Because it is IMMORAL to waste good mothers! Fathers can be had from the older generation, but mothers- they must be young and strong. Why is it wrong to commit adultery? Because the whole troop will fall under suspision and be ripped apart by paranoia! Why is it wrong to murder within the tribe without need? Because all men must work towards the benefit of the tribe! Why is it ok to kill members of another tribe? Because we require the resources for our tribe and our young- we must survive!

This is my position. Morality, is merely a phenotypic expression (compounded by civilization) of traits breed into us by envrionmental need. Those who followed them survived the longest. In a world where lions and wild dogs were king- a man alone will not last- but a tribe together, with tools and language (danger, water, hungry, going hunting, need berries, etc) can last a long time out there if it had too.

MS

"Why is it ok to kill members of another tribe? Because we require the resources for our tribe and our young- we must survive! "

great morals, lol

That's all you have to say to my entire arguement?

well, that was the sentence that sticked out. and enough to not feel very attracted to it. A chain is not stronger then its weakest link..

I´m sure you can see what horrible actions that could be justified from your system of morals.