Where do we draw the line on what is ethical,, moral or the reverse thereof?

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Reply Sun 17 May, 2009 01:04 am
I am aware that there have been similar threads,

My question revolves around what is ethical and moral and what are the boundaries to them?

To a wife of an aboriginal , it is both moral and ethical to eat the brain of her dead husband to keep his essence within herself

To me killing a bird gives me a guilty conscience and I feel it as subjectively immoral (I have never killed a bird)

What I am aiming at here is not some ethical philosophy, but to find by debate if there is an innate ingrained universal morality, which no human will step over.

Is there a bar that no one will step over, or is it constantly being raised or lowered due to circumstances of the day?

These differencing in morals and perceptions of morals might account for most of the troubled history down the annals of human history and suffering
 
Sympathypains
 
Reply Sun 17 May, 2009 08:12 am
@Alan McDougall,
Well the old Confucius, Jesus thing works pretty good. Do unto others, etc.

I guess one should try to add some degree of consideration to other cultures and they should to yours.

There are the problems of becoming too tolerant and ironic when one becomes tolerant of intolerance.

I guess basically allowing all to do as they will, as long as it doesn't interfere with another's well being, or the ability for one to do as they will, coupled with the highest level of fairness humanly possible, then you have a very simple framework for universal morals and ethics.
 
Alan McDougall
 
Reply Sun 17 May, 2009 08:27 am
@Sympathypains,
Sympathypains wrote:
Well the old Confucius, Jesus thing works pretty good. Do unto others, etc.

I guess one should try to add some degree of consideration to other cultures and they should to yours.

There are the problems of becoming too tolerant and ironic when one becomes tolerant of intolerance.

I guess basically allowing all to do as they will, as long as it doesn't interfere with another's well being, or the ability for one to do as they will, coupled with the highest level of fairness humanly possible, then you have a very simple framework for universal morals and ethics.


Then eat your husbands brains when he dies like I do, it is not that easy when you think more deeply about it

Hi from sunny South Africa Smile
 
Sympathypains
 
Reply Sun 17 May, 2009 08:49 am
@Alan McDougall,
If their culture accepts it, if the dead man gives his consent prior to dieing, and since the dead can not suffer from their brains being eaten, then, imho it is not immoral, by the definitions I raised.

I personally would find no objection if they gave my body as food to animals when I died. I no longer need this old piece of flesh and it would no longer cause me any pain, so I don't see where the rub is.
 
Alan McDougall
 
Reply Sun 17 May, 2009 10:42 am
@Sympathypains,
Sympathypains wrote:
If their culture accepts it, if the dead man gives his consent prior to dieing, and since the dead can not suffer from their brains being eaten, then, imho it is not immoral, by the definitions I raised.

I personally would find no objection if they gave my body as food to animals when I died. I no longer need this old piece of flesh and it would no longer cause me any pain, so I don't see where the rub is.


Yes but I am searching for a universal human morality, a morality not connected to culture etc

Peace and light
 
Lily
 
Reply Sun 17 May, 2009 10:51 am
@Alan McDougall,
I don't think there's any universal human morality, but I think it's wrong to kill in most cultures, at least to kill people who not are your enemies.
 
rhinogrey
 
Reply Sun 17 May, 2009 11:22 am
@Alan McDougall,
If there is any sort of universal dividing line, I would imagine it would be along family lines.

Ie, "you don't mess wit' my tribe, buddy"
 
Sympathypains
 
Reply Sun 17 May, 2009 11:33 am
@Alan McDougall,
Alan McDougall wrote:
Yes but I am searching for a universal human morality, a morality not connected to culture etc

Peace and light


I would say the golden rule is universal within cultures, but there is no rule that is universal to all cultures no, even killing is deemed honorable under certain circumstances in certain cultures, even for family members.

---------- Post added at 12:35 PM ---------- Previous post was at 12:33 PM ----------

rhinogrey wrote:
If there is any sort of universal dividing line, I would imagine it would be along family lines.

Ie, "you don't mess wit' my tribe, buddy"


There are honor killings where fathers kill their own children when the deem it necessary. When the children go outside of the established social norms.
 
rhinogrey
 
Reply Sun 17 May, 2009 11:47 am
@Alan McDougall,
"There are" eh?

My point stands, then. If we can't find a universal morality in familial relations then what the hell is left?

The golden rule? Psh.
 
salima
 
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 03:16 am
@Alan McDougall,
alan, i thought about this a lot too. i think there are two things involved-the individual's concept of ethics and that of society.

i wondered to myself if it were possible to raise a human being away from all other human beings, like in some of the novels or myths, i.e. tarzan, romulus and remus, would they have a sense of anything being wrong? how would they arrive at that?

i used to define unethical as something that would make me feel shame if i did it, but where does the shame come from? how would one develop shame if there were no other society members to disapprove of us?

i believe social conditioning is what is responsible (or used to gain impunity) for acts like honor killings, and also why some people are inappropriately ashamed of certain acts or even their own bodies.

obviously different societies have different sets of ethics, but there is some common ground where we can agree. i thought for a start there ought to be a formal agreement between all nations. in other words, laws could be put through a computer from all countries and see where we agreed. at the same time we need definitions for those crimes from each, they have to be the same. that isnt the same thing as ethics, it would only be crimes punishable by law, but it might be a start. i chose it because the laws are already in place and we wouldnt need anyone's co-operation to compare.

and even then, people are individuals. universal codes of ethics could never be expressed in a way inclusive enough to guide anyone in all the possible situations they may come across in life. individual ethical judgment calls have to be made.

sorry i havent gotten very far in this. i have developed my own set of ethics, but i would like to know how i did it...and why. it has come about abstractly as a result of my life experiences. but i wouldnt be able to write up a set of rules, i think it is always dependent on a given situation.

i am still struggling with that people on the railroad tracks scenario...
 
xris
 
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 03:54 am
@salima,
Defining the term morals is the first part of the debate.A tribe that kills the first born for instance, is that a moral issue?A father that kill his daughter because she has married outside of his faith,is that a moral issue? I cant say it is a moral issue in the same sense as its their morals not mine.In all honesty when a certain tribe or group of people act in manner that harms others or restricts others freedoms they are just immoral.It can never be claimed its their moral standards, as it is so obviously is not.Universal boundaries do exist and a society that steps outside of them is condemned by those who observe.
 
Fido
 
Reply Wed 27 May, 2009 07:59 pm
@Sympathypains,
Sympathypains;63545 wrote:
If their culture accepts it, if the dead man gives his consent prior to dieing, and since the dead can not suffer from their brains being eaten, then, imho it is not immoral, by the definitions I raised.

I personally would find no objection if they gave my body as food to animals when I died. I no longer need this old piece of flesh and it would no longer cause me any pain, so I don't see where the rub is.

What would make such behavior immoral is mad cow disease which many cannibals suffered from, especially those who ate nervous tissue... If incest did not cause so many obvious and immediate anomalies, then it too might be moral... Eventually, if an activity negatively affects the life of society it will be seen as immoral....

---------- Post added at 10:05 PM ---------- Previous post was at 09:59 PM ----------

xris;65212 wrote:
Defining the term morals is the first part of the debate.A tribe that kills the first born for instance, is that a moral issue?A father that kill his daughter because she has married outside of his faith,is that a moral issue? I cant say it is a moral issue in the same sense as its their morals not mine.In all honesty when a certain tribe or group of people act in manner that harms others or restricts others freedoms they are just immoral.It can never be claimed its their moral standards, as it is so obviously is not.Universal boundaries do exist and a society that steps outside of them is condemned by those who observe.

Morality is not always obvious...The Native Americans killed the evil twin, or let it out for adoption, and as a result more mothers survived and more of their babies survived, and so the gene for twinning became more common among them...Society was smart enough to keep too many babies from killing their mother which would result in death for both mother and child... Society has a better sense of its own good and its own life than most individuals can ever arrive at, so morality is community...
 
xris
 
Reply Thu 28 May, 2009 03:30 am
@Fido,
Morals never allow for killing or the restrictions of freedom, we all make certain decisions on difficult problems but they are not made on moral grounds but on necessity.Morals should ride above other concerns.Stand back and a moral answer is always available it might be more difficult but its there.
 
Fido
 
Reply Thu 28 May, 2009 01:40 pm
@xris,
xris;65348 wrote:
Morals never allow for killing or the restrictions of freedom, we all make certain decisions on difficult problems but they are not made on moral grounds but on necessity.Morals should ride above other concerns.Stand back and a moral answer is always available it might be more difficult but its there.

With all due respect; you do not know what you are talking about....Morals often demand that people kill, and sometimes that they die for their communities...Morality is community...
 
rhinogrey
 
Reply Thu 28 May, 2009 06:17 pm
@Fido,
Fido;65423 wrote:
With all due respect; you do not know what you are talking about....Morals often demand that people kill, and sometimes that they die for their communities...Morality is community...

Yeah, good point. Similar to what I was trying to get at early in the thread.
 
xris
 
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 05:35 am
@Fido,
Fido;65423 wrote:
With all due respect; you do not know what you are talking about....Morals often demand that people kill, and sometimes that they die for their communities...Morality is community...
well with even more respect you are surely not telling me that morality is community , are you? We might just as well say there is no such thing as morality if it cant be defined in positive manner.Just say we have human activity based on some tribal or religious terms..morality is conforming to a moral principle that is basically good.You cant extract that meaning and develop into any society that falls short of a moral standard and say that is moral.
 
Fido
 
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 07:09 am
@xris,
xris;65526 wrote:
well with even more respect you are surely not telling me that morality is community , are you? We might just as well say there is no such thing as morality if it cant be defined in positive manner.Just say we have human activity based on some tribal or religious terms..morality is conforming to a moral principle that is basically good.You cant extract that meaning and develop into any society that falls short of a moral standard and say that is moral.


Surely...Every community has its price... Morality is the dues we pay to play...It has nothing to do with any principal...It has everything to do with a specific reality for everyone, their community...Those who want to reduce moral behavior to a certain set of principals never get it, and never will.... It is learned, but it cannot be taught because it is learned before a person is conscious of learning, as an a'priori...
Consider this: When ever you learn anything new you are changed...When a person learns morality they know nothing consciously, and so are not changed, but made...
 
xris
 
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 10:28 am
@Fido,
Fido;65536 wrote:
Surely...Every community has its price... Morality is the dues we pay to play...It has nothing to do with any principal...It has everything to do with a specific reality for everyone, their community...Those who want to reduce moral behavior to a certain set of principals never get it, and never will.... It is learned, but it cannot be taught because it is learned before a person is conscious of learning, as an a'priori...
Consider this: When ever you learn anything new you are changed...When a person learns morality they know nothing consciously, and so are not changed, but made...
I dont think we agree because your view of morality is the group agreement on how the rules of the group are formed.My opinion is that morality rises above individuals or groups of people, it is the reality by the common consensus of thousands of years of debating moral standards, eventually all will agree.It can be modified or learnt but it cant be classified as localised tribal weaknesses.Universal truths exist.Religion by its blind obedience waters them down ,greed by certain groups can weaken them but they cant change them.
 
Fido
 
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 10:52 am
@xris,
xris;65559 wrote:
I dont think we agree because your view of morality is the group agreement on how the rules of the group are formed.My opinion is that morality rises above individuals or groups of people, it is the reality by the common consensus of thousands of years of debating moral standards, eventually all will agree.It can be modified or learnt but it cant be classified as localised tribal weaknesses.Universal truths exist.Religion by its blind obedience waters them down ,greed by certain groups can weaken them but they cant change them.

What you say might be true if some one were forming a group...Prehistoricaally in to historical time people have had their groups that they are born into, and that culture represents a certain amount of aquired knowledge...The problem with made societies like our own is that everyone brings their own cultural values with them, and no one stops to ask upon which point everyone agrees... And Western culture in particular has the philosophy of the individual which undermines all natural morality...We have examples where people from honor economies come here and are not told they must abandon their natural morality, and when they kill some one, usually a daughter or a wife for dishonoring them, then we presume they have the same morality... In fact, they usually have a better one, though less kind or forgiving... But, It is wrong to presume upon a shared morality just because people happen to live here...

Look...The bed rock of morality is health...No society can survive supporting behavior that is destructive, or self destructive..That is why the incest taboo is universal morality... The chances of an anomily occuring from a father daughter consguineous relationship are 50%... Such evidence would soon re-educate people to the morality of proper breeding if they were to forget...Like wise with blood shed, theft, war, adultry, and etc... When people realize that others are hurt, society is hurt, and no good comes of it; and so health is at the bottom of all morality... Clearly, much morality enters our sense of justice, and much justice enters our sense of law; but all these: Morality, Justice, and law, are all forms of relationship... They are to an extent a dynamic relationship...The other part, the form is more stable, but it too can be changed over time, and can be even taken over... And we see this time and again where the physical leaders of society lose their moral authority to govern, and so lose all...It is because their behavior has robbed the meaning out of the morality they say they uphold...The challenge always is to keep morality meaningful; and to keep people from turning a necessary form to their own benefit...
 
Alan McDougall
 
Reply Mon 1 Jun, 2009 03:21 am
@Alan McDougall,
Sorry guys for apparently not partaking in my own thread. I was away on a trip and will read each response ASAP

Alan
 
 

 
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