Where do you get your morals and ethics?

The upper-crust forum for scholarly, polite, and respectful discussions only. Heavily moderated. Rated G.
User avatar
bill4long
High Priest
Posts: 397
Joined: Thu Oct 28, 2021 3:56 am

Where do you get your morals and ethics?

Post by bill4long »

Where do you get your morals and ethics?

Particularly the grounding, down at the very bottom.
The views and opinions expressed by Bill4Long could be wrong and are subject to change at any time. Viewer discretion is advised.
User avatar
Gadianton
God
Posts: 3823
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2020 11:56 pm
Location: Elsewhere

Re: Where do you get your morals and ethics?

Post by Gadianton »

morals and ethics obviously come from evolution like all other human institutions. That means, what's good is generally what works for the preservation of humans (and especially humans in power).

how do (I) ground morals?

While I think ethics is an interesting topic and I kick it around once in a while, at the end of the day there is no ultimate grounding, and so I just go by common sense evaluation of what society has passed down.

Nobody has ever rigorously grounded their morals.

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/metaethics/

^^^people should be generally familiar with this kind of material before getting too insistent on how morality is "grounded", because chances are, whatever a person's idea is how morality is grounded, it probably sucks.
User avatar
bill4long
High Priest
Posts: 397
Joined: Thu Oct 28, 2021 3:56 am

Re: Where do you get your morals and ethics?

Post by bill4long »

Gadianton wrote:
Mon Jul 31, 2023 12:04 am
morals and ethics obviously come from evolution like all other human institutions. That means, what's good is generally what works for the preservation of humans (and especially humans in power).
Obviously? Um, not at all obvious. But I'll spot you your ideology, since I asked.
While I think ethics is an interesting topic and I kick it around once in a while, at the end of the day there is no ultimate grounding, and so I just go by common sense evaluation of what society has passed down.
Common sense?

Okay. Go on...
Nobody has ever rigorously grounded their morals.

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/metaethics/

^^^people should be generally familiar with this kind of material before getting too insistent on how morality is "grounded", because chances are, whatever a person's idea is how morality is grounded, it probably sucks.
Okay, so "from evolution" is all ya got. Fair enough. Thanks.
The views and opinions expressed by Bill4Long could be wrong and are subject to change at any time. Viewer discretion is advised.
honorentheos
God
Posts: 3746
Joined: Mon Nov 23, 2020 2:15 am

Re: Where do you get your morals and ethics?

Post by honorentheos »

bill4long wrote:
Sun Jul 30, 2023 11:06 pm
Where do you get your morals and ethics?
"Good judgment comes from experience and a lot of that comes from bad judgment."

At one time I borrowed them wholesale with the assumption there was some form of definitive, objective right and wrong behind them that someone else had done the work in defining.

I learned this was a good way to find oneself in moral dilemmas as often as not.

I don't know that I'd go as far as Gad in saying ethics are grounded in evolution. Maybe more that they are an emergent characteristic of humanity being eusocial. But I fully agree with Gads point about grounding and the value of the material at th stanford.edu link. I may be wrong but thought EA may have shared it on the old board as well.
User avatar
Moksha
God
Posts: 5724
Joined: Wed Oct 28, 2020 3:13 am
Location: Koloburbia

Re: Where do you get your morals and ethics?

Post by Moksha »

Civil laws sprang up and a more just, equitable, and uniform means of promoting desired behaviors.
Cry Heaven and let loose the Penguins of Peace
User avatar
Gadianton
God
Posts: 3823
Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2020 11:56 pm
Location: Elsewhere

Re: Where do you get your morals and ethics?

Post by Gadianton »

Okay, so "from evolution" is all ya got. Fair enough. Thanks.
You're asking two questions.

Where do we "get" morals?
How do we "ground" morals?

We get our morals from the cultures we're born into and cultures are constrained by survivability - evolution. Morals must be at least consistent with humans surviving.

Nobody "grounds" their morals in society. Nobody says killing somebody is wrong just because society says so. But nobody really gets their morals from where they say morals are grounded. They get their morals from society.

In secular society, we generally go with weighing consequences of actions. Killing someone is bad because of the consequence to the person being killed. cutting someone with a scalpel is good because the pain from the cut is justified by the person getting cut ultimately living.

But it's difficult for most of us to imagine that consequences to humans equates a moral truth equivalent to gravity.

For many people, it's easy to imagine God, or an ultimate "authority" as the explanation for why something is good. This is even more ridiculous, however, if thought about a little.

for H:

for clarity, re-word my "evolution" as "from cultures we're born into as constrained by evolution". That's where we GET morals. I believe there are ambitious projects to GROUND morals in evolution, J.L. Mackie, but I'm not claiming this. That argument fails.
yellowstone123
High Priest
Posts: 371
Joined: Sat Apr 15, 2023 1:55 am
Location: South East Idaho
Contact:

Re: Where do you get your morals and ethics?

Post by yellowstone123 »

Wow! Thanks to everyone who contributed.
What's faster than a .45 caliber bullet fired from a 1911 A1. The main spring of the gun below the barrel that seems to escape faster when you turn the barrel bushing with a special tool.
User avatar
ceeboo
God
Posts: 1005
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2021 1:22 pm

Re: Where do you get your morals and ethics?

Post by ceeboo »

bill4long wrote:
Sun Jul 30, 2023 11:06 pm
Where do you get your morals and ethics?
Human beings have a universal belief in right and wrong - We all have this universal belief because we were all created by the Creator/God.

C.S. Lewis has said, "moral codes from cultures throughout world history vary over what specific behavior they consider moral, but there is an underlying agreement that objective moral values and duties exists."

How about Darwinian evolution? Can this adequately explain universally shared objective moral values? No.

Evolution can only account for preprogrammed behavior - I can't speak about moral choices. Moral choices are made by free agents and only free agents. No internal mechanisms can make determinations (It reduces morality to mere descriptions of behavior). The morality that evolution needs to account for goes way beyond conduct. At the very least, it needs to address motives and intentions. Motives and intentions are nonphysical elements that simply can’t evolve in a Darwinian framework. In addition, it seems to completely ignore the most important moral question of all - Why should any of us be moral in the future? Evolution cannot answer that question. Morality consistently directs what future behavior ought to be. Darwinian evolution can only attempt to describe why humans acted in a specific way in history.

What has the most robust explanatory power for universal morality? God.

Particularly the grounding, down at the very bottom.
All of us - Even those who don't believe in God - still believe in objective morality, because the moral law is written on our hearts. Belief in objective morality (as opposed to subjective morality) is simply unavoidable.

Romans 2:14-15

14 Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it.
15 They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.
User avatar
Res Ipsa
God
Posts: 9337
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2020 6:44 pm
Location: Playing Rabbits

Re: Where do you get your morals and ethics?

Post by Res Ipsa »

ceeboo wrote:
Mon Jul 31, 2023 4:14 pm
bill4long wrote:
Sun Jul 30, 2023 11:06 pm
Where do you get your morals and ethics?
Human beings have a universal belief in right and wrong - We all have this universal belief because we were all created by the Creator/God.

C.S. Lewis has said, "moral codes from cultures throughout world history vary over what specific behavior they consider moral, but there is an underlying agreement that objective moral values and duties exists."

How about Darwinian evolution? Can this adequately explain universally shared objective moral values? No.

Evolution can only account for preprogrammed behavior - I can't speak about moral choices. Moral choices are made by free agents and only free agents. No internal mechanisms can make determinations (It reduces morality to mere descriptions of behavior). The morality that evolution needs to account for goes way beyond conduct. At the very least, it needs to address motives and intentions. Motives and intentions are nonphysical elements that simply can’t evolve in a Darwinian framework. In addition, it seems to completely ignore the most important moral question of all - Why should any of us be moral in the future? Evolution cannot answer that question. Morality consistently directs what future behavior ought to be. Darwinian evolution can only attempt to describe why humans acted in a specific way in history.

What has the most robust explanatory power for universal morality? God.

Particularly the grounding, down at the very bottom.
All of us - Even those who don't believe in God - still believe in objective morality, because the moral law is written on our hearts. Belief in objective morality (as opposed to subjective morality) is simply unavoidable.

Romans 2:14-15

14 Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it.
15 They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.
Hi Ceebs,

Interesting stuff. I don't believe in fairies. If someone told me that I actually believed in fairies, I'd simply reject their statement out of hand because what I believe is subjective to me.

I don't believe in objective morality. So, my friend, that leaves me in an odd position. I doubt that you are peeking into my brain and purporting to know my subjective beliefs better than I know them myself. Or I can guess that you and I don't mean the same thing when we use the label "objective morality." So, I should probably ask you to define "objective morality." :D
he/him
When I go to sea, don’t fear for me. Fear for the storm.

Jessica Best, Fear for the Storm. From The Strange Case of the Starship Iris.
User avatar
ceeboo
God
Posts: 1005
Joined: Fri Feb 19, 2021 1:22 pm

Re: Where do you get your morals and ethics?

Post by ceeboo »

Res Ipsa wrote:
Mon Jul 31, 2023 4:27 pm


Hi Ceebs,
Hey RI!
Interesting stuff. I don't believe in fairies.
I don't believe in fairies either.
If someone told me that I actually believed in fairies, I'd simply reject their statement out of hand because what I believe is subjective to me.
Fair.

So you are equating fairies with my suggestions about objective morality? Or am I missing your point?
I don't believe in objective morality.
I'm not challenging you and I am not debating you - I am seeking clarity on your position here - that's all. So, you don't believe that we all share a common understanding/knowledge about right and wrong? Or am I missing your point again?
So, my friend, that leaves me in an odd position. I doubt that you are peeking into my brain and purporting to know my subjective beliefs better than I know them myself. Or I can guess that you and I don't mean the same thing when we use the label "objective morality." So, I should probably ask you to define "objective morality." :D
I would define objective morality (basically) as a thing that is true that is outside of ourselves - not fluid, rather it's fixed. For example, if we were to ask 100 random people at a gas station in Nebraska the following: Is it morally wrong to take a steel bar and physically break the jaw of a four-year-old child? I would submit that 100 out of 100 would say that it is morally wrong to do so.

So, if 100 out of 100 would say it's wrong, I would submit that this is objective morality at work.
Post Reply