The Concept of Morals

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Read preview. Excerpt This book is quite independent of my previous writings. Read preview Overview. Sims Praeger, Common types of primary sources include works of literature, historical documents, original philosophical writings, and religious texts. Journal of Information Ethics, Vol. Ethics in Accounting: An Indispensable Course? Aristotle The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Morals vs. Ethics | | Ethics Defined

We use cookies to deliver a better user experience and to show you ads based on your interests. You will see, as we proceed, that we do not do ethics without at least some moral theory. Most take moral theories to be prescriptive.

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The descriptive accounts of what people do is left to sociologists and anthropologists. There have been many different proposals. Many claim that there is a necessary connection between morality and religion, such that, without religion in particular, without God or gods there is no morality, i. Divine Command Theory is widely held to have several serious flaws. Most think that right and wrong are not arbitrary -- that is, some action is wrong, say, for a reason.

Difference Between Morals and Ethics

Lawrence Kohlberg , Jean Piaget , and Elliot Turiel have cognitive-developmental approaches to moral development ; to these theorists morality forms in a series of constructive stages or domains. In the Ethics of care approach established by Carol Gilligan , moral development occurs in the context of caring, mutually responsive relationships which are based on interdependence , particularly in parenting but also in social relationships generally.

Moral identity theorists, such as William Damon and Mordechai Nisan , see moral commitment as arising from the development of a self-identity that is defined by moral purposes: this moral self-identity leads to a sense of responsibility to pursue such purposes. Of historical interest in psychology are the theories of psychoanalysts such as Sigmund Freud , who believe that moral development is the product of aspects of the super-ego as guilt-shame avoidance. Because we are naturally prone to be empathic and moral, we have a sense of responsibility to pursue moral purposes, [26] [27] we still, at least occasionally, engage in immoral behavior.

Such behaviors jeopardize our moral self-image; however, when we engage in immoral behaviors we still feel as though we are moral individuals. Moral self-licensing attempts to explain this phenomenon and proposes that self-image security increases our likelihood to engage in immoral behavior. When our moral self-image is threatened, we can gain confidence from our past moral behavior. The more confident we are, the less we will worry about our future behavior which actually increases the likelihood that we will engage in immoral behaviors.

As an alternative to viewing morality as an individual trait, some sociologists as well as social- and discursive psychologists have taken upon themselves to study the in-vivo aspects of morality by examining how persons conduct themselves in social interaction. Moral cognition refers to cognitive processes that allow a person to act or decide in morally permissible ways. It consists of several domain-general cognitive processes, ranging from perception of a morally salient stimulus to reasoning when faced with a moral dilemma. While it's important to mention that there is not a single cognitive faculty dedicated exclusively to moral cognition, characterizing the contributions of domain-general processes to moral behavior is a critical scientific endeavor to understand how morality works and how it can be improved.

Cognitive psychologists and neuroscientists investigate the inputs to these cognitive processes and their interactions, as well as how these contribute to moral behavior by running controlled experiments. Often, the differential neural response to specifically moral statements or scenes, are examined using functional neuroimaging experiments.

Critically, the specific cognitive processes that are involved depend on the prototypical situation that a person encounters. Nonetheless certain cognitive skills such as being able to attribute mental states—beliefs, intents, desires, emotions to oneself, and to others is a common feature of a broad range of prototypical situations. In line with this, a meta-analysis found overlapping activity between moral emotion and moral reasoning tasks, suggesting a shared neural network for both tasks. The brain areas that are consistently involved when humans reason about moral issues have been investigated by multiple quantitative large-scale meta-analyses of the brain activity changes reported in the moral neuroscience literature.

Kant & Categorical Imperatives: Crash Course Philosophy #35

This supports the notion that moral reasoning is related to both seeing things from other persons' points of view and to grasping others' feelings. These results provide evidence that the neural network underlying moral decisions is probably domain-global i. An essential, shared component of moral judgment involves the capacity to detect morally salient content within a given social context. Recent research implicated the salience network in this initial detection of moral content. The explicit making of moral right and wrong judgments coincides with activation in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex VMPC while intuitive reactions to situations containing implicit moral issues activates the temporoparietal junction area.

Stimulation of the VMPC by transcranial magnetic stimulation , has been shown to inhibit the ability of human subjects to take into account intent when forming a moral judgment. According to this investigation, TMS did not disrupt participants' ability to make any moral judgment. On the contrary, moral judgments of intentional harms and non-harms were unaffected by TMS to either the RTPJ or the control site; presumably, however, people typically make moral judgments of intentional harms by considering not only the action's harmful outcome but the agent's intentions and beliefs.

One possibility is that moral judgments typically reflect a weighted function of any morally relevant information that is available at the time. On the basis of this view, when information concerning the agent's belief is unavailable or degraded, the resulting moral judgment simply reflects a higher weighting of other morally relevant factors e. Alternatively, following TMS to the RTPJ, moral judgments might be made via an abnormal processing route that does not take belief into account.

On either account, when belief information is degraded or unavailable, moral judgments are shifted toward other morally relevant factors e. For intentional harms and non-harms, however, the outcome suggests the same moral judgment as the intention.

Content: Morals Vs Ethics

Thus, the researchers suggest that TMS to the RTPJ disrupted the processing of negative beliefs for both intentional harms and attempted harms, but the current design allowed the investigators to detect this effect only in the case of attempted harms, in which the neutral outcomes did not afford harsh moral judgments on their own.

Similarly VMPC-impaired persons will judge an action purely on its outcome and are unable to take into account the intent of that action.

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Mirror neurons are neurons in the brain that fire when another person is observed doing a certain action. The neurons fire in imitation of the action being observed, causing the same muscles to act minutely in the observer as are acting grossly in the person actually performing the action. Research on mirror neurons, since their discovery in , [46] suggests that they may have a role to play not only in action understanding, but also in emotion sharing empathy. Cognitive neuro-scientist Jean Decety thinks that the ability to recognize and vicariously experience what another individual is undergoing was a key step forward in the evolution of social behavior, and ultimately, morality.

If morality is the answer to the question 'how ought we to live' at the individual level, politics can be seen as addressing the same question at the social level, though the political sphere raises additional problems and challenges. Moral foundations theory , authored by Jonathan Haidt and colleagues, [51] [52] has been used to study the differences between liberals and conservatives , in this regard. Self-identified conservative Americans valued care and fairness less and the remaining three values more.

Both groups gave care the highest over-all weighting, but conservatives valued fairness the lowest, whereas liberals valued purity the lowest. Haidt also hypothesizes that the origin of this division in the United States can be traced to geo-historical factors, with conservatism strongest in closely knit, ethnically homogenous communities, in contrast to port -cities, where the cultural mix is greater, thus requiring more liberalism.

Group morality develops from shared concepts and beliefs and is often codified to regulate behavior within a culture or community. Various defined actions come to be called moral or immoral. Individuals who choose moral action are popularly held to possess "moral fiber", whereas those who indulge in immoral behavior may be labeled as socially degenerate.

The continued existence of a group may depend on widespread conformity to codes of morality; an inability to adjust moral codes in response to new challenges is sometimes credited with the demise of a community a positive example would be the function of Cistercian reform in reviving monasticism; a negative example would be the role of the Dowager Empress in the subjugation of China to European interests.

Within nationalist movements, there has been some tendency to feel that a nation will not survive or prosper without acknowledging one common morality, regardless of its content. Political Morality is also relevant to the behavior internationally of national governments, and to the support they receive from their host population.

Noam Chomsky states that [55] [56]. Those who do not rise to the minimal moral level of applying to themselves the standards they apply to others—more stringent ones, in fact—plainly cannot be taken seriously when they speak of appropriateness of response; or of right and wrong, good and evil. In fact, one of the, maybe the most, elementary of moral principles is that of universality, that is, If something's right for me, it's right for you; if it's wrong for you, it's wrong for me.

Any moral code that is even worth looking at has that at its core somehow. Religion and morality are not synonymous. Morality does not depend upon religion although for some this is "an almost automatic assumption". Conceptually and in principle, morality and a religious value system are two distinct kinds of value systems or action guides. Within the wide range of moral traditions, religious value systems co-exist with contemporary secular frameworks such as consequentialism , freethought , humanism , utilitarianism , and others.

There are many types of religious value systems. Modern monotheistic religions, such as Islam , Judaism , Christianity , and to a certain degree others such as Sikhism and Zoroastrianism , define right and wrong by the laws and rules set forth by their respective scriptures and as interpreted by religious leaders within the respective faith.

Other religions spanning pantheistic to nontheistic tend to be less absolute. For example, within Buddhism , the intention of the individual and the circumstances should be accounted for to determine if an action is right or wrong.

For modern Westerners, who have been raised on ideals of universality and egalitarianism , this relativity of values and obligations is the aspect of Hinduism most difficult to understand". Religions provide different ways of dealing with moral dilemmas. For example, there is no absolute prohibition on killing in Hinduism , which recognizes that it "may be inevitable and indeed necessary" in certain circumstances. Philosopher David Hume stated that, "the greatest crimes have been found, in many instances, to be compatible with a superstitious piety and devotion; Hence it is justly regarded as unsafe to draw any inference in favor of a man's morals, from the fervor or strictness of his religious exercises, even though he himself believe them sincere.

Religious value systems can diverge from commonly held contemporary moral positions, such as those on murder , mass atrocities, and slavery. For example, Simon Blackburn states that "apologists for Hinduism defend or explain away its involvement with the caste system, and apologists for Islam defend or explain away its harsh penal code or its attitude to women and infidels".

These values can be resources for finding common ground between believers and nonbelievers. A number of studies have been conducted on the empirics of morality in various countries, and the overall relationship between faith and crime is unclear. Dozens of studies have been conducted on this topic since the twentieth century. A study by Gregory S. Paul published in the Journal of Religion and Society stated that, "In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy, and abortion in the prosperous democracies," and "In all secular developing democracies a centuries long-term trend has seen homicide rates drop to historical lows" with the exceptions being the United States with a high religiosity level and "theistic" Portugal.

On April 26, , the results of a study which tested their subjects' pro-social sentiments were published in the Social Psychological and Personality Science journal in which non-religious people had higher scores showing that they were more inclined to show generosity in random acts of kindness, such as lending their possessions and offering a seat on a crowded bus or train. Religious people also had lower scores when it came to seeing how much compassion motivated participants to be charitable in other ways, such as in giving money or food to a homeless person and to non-believers.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the capacity of a group's members to maintain belief in the face of opposition or hardship, see morale.

OPR, Ch.I.1: Social Morality

For the novella by Stephen King, see Morality novella. For the film, see Morals film. Main article: Ethics. See also: Sittlichkeit. This section does not cite any sources.