TED Conversations


This conversation is closed.

A unified moral code

OK, so on my other discussion "Do right and wrong exist?" there's a rather hefty debate raging on the existence of objective moral truths vs. subjective morality. I still hold that the only way to know any kind of objective morality is through personal communication with God. (If you'd like to dispute that with me, go to the "Do right and wrong exist?" discussion please.) I made the point that with subjective morality, nobody can agree with each other and any discussion of "what's the right thing to do about this issue?" breaks down into squabbling and nobody gets anywhere. Several of you on that other discussion claimed that by using reason and science, a unified moral code could be developed that the majority of mankind could agree with, a la Sam Harris. I disagree, I don't think it can be done.
So prove me wrong! Right here on TED, I want the TED community to hammer out a moral code. It needs to be applicable to daily life and issues of our time like illegal immigration, abortion, animal rights, environmentalism, government spending, business ethics, and income inequality. Don't worry about all the objective vs. subjective stuff, as long as it works. Go ahead. Define right and wrong in the way that will most benefit society. Be specific and measurable, and collaborate with everyone else. Once some kind of accord has been achieved, I'll try to put it to the test by suggesting a variety of moral dilemmas and we'll see if it holds. I doubt that we'll even get to that point, but go on, defy me!


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Mar 2 2013: What is considered to be right or wrong is up to the current state of mind and culture of people. What was right 700 years ago is morally wrong these days. As culture evolves and people evolve so as their morals with them. To set up morals that work “forever” is impossible. Morals are the current interpretation of what is right and what is wrong in a given society. In example some animals might be ok to eat in some cultures in others they being treated as pets. Are they right or are they wrong? None, they are just different. At other times your accepted morals can go out the window in just a second. When you have to struggle for survival your way of looking at things is dramatically changing. You will do things that were unacceptable for you but now are necessary.
    When you say that morals can only be established through or with God, than you are right, because this view is an interpretation of those who believe a God. But for others who believe a different God or maybe even several other ones your interpretation will not work.
    To simply sum it up: an accepted moral code is a current interpretation of what is right and what is wrong by a given society. It changes over time and it can fluctuate even in short periods due to pressing conditions and may also differ based on religion, region, ethnicity etc.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.