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Why should we adopt morals?

Morals cannot be proven philosophically and are not needed for a stable society that already punishes people for doing things that are detrimental to our society. Morality only hinders us, as it makes us, as a country, (I'm in the USA) obligated to give money to poor countries and not torture terrorists who have crucial intelligence needed to ensure the national security.

Topics: morality

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  • Apr 14 2013: Imagine that you are chess player and you see a chess board setup. You might say, checkmate in 6 moves. Someone see this would wonder how you could know this. You might say it is just intuition, but it is really an automatic quick lookup on a subject you understand in depth.
    If you see a person stealing a ladies purse, you might say that is wrong. How do you know that. It is because you we taught at a very young age that stealing is bad and later in life, you can apply this rule in an instant without thinking.
    Our morals are rules that we adopt or are taught when we are young and apply without thinking from then on.
    You can bypass your morals with some effort and a lot of rationalization by saying something like, this terrorist has information that we need so torture is acceptable in this case, even though you really know that it is wrong to torture people. If you stopped and actually used your mind rather than your quick lookup system (morals) you would realize that the information you obtain under torture is not reliable and not worth the effort.
    Perhaps then you might also realize that claiming everything shitty you do to other people is for national security even though you know its is wrong.
    Our morals are a quick index system into those values that we believe make us what we are. Our actions based on those morals tell others what we really are and our rationalizations around those morals also tell others what we really are.
    • Apr 14 2013: But not all info obtained under torture is unreliable, there are certain times in which doing actions that are against modern day morals may be beneficial. Besides, I don't understand, I never apply morals without thinking, I just know that if I were to do something considered "immoral" by society my reputation would decrease (even though I was taught morals by my parents). That's why I behave morally, it's rather artificial for me than it is natural to you. And with legal codes that prevent people form hurting each other and destroying society why would we need artificial, absolute morals that don't account for the fact that there are exceptions you must make in certain situations either for your own well being or for the well being of other people whom you have a responsibility to protect because they are fellow citizens.
      • Apr 15 2013: To quote former FBI Agent Jack Cloonan from a FRONTLINE program about Guantanamo, "[Everything] that I was told was that there was nothing coming out of there of any value, nothing."

        Under duress, people will say anything.
        • Apr 15 2013: But then why would the U.S. keep Guantanamo open, and choose to continue to receive a lot of criticism for it? Torture may not work all the time, or even most of the time, but surely it has some value, governments may not admit it because it might make them look bad but their is still may be value. In addition, if you were being tortured, lying would only hurt you more, because if you lie, your torturers are bound to find out (by acting on your false intelligence) and that translates into more pain for you.
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      Apr 14 2013: Interesting....in response, civilization obviously is a major factor in our formation of moral values, beginning with assimilation into societal regulation and knowledge of norms from birth. However, I also consider the universal consciousness in the way that all of the information we in this century have obtained and can learn/have learned from previous generations and previous societies most definitely creates a human reaction and moral subjectivity that certainly forces us to form a decision about what is right and what is wrong.

      I think every human, unless unfortunately you are encumbered with some mental illness of psychopathy, has an inbred intuition that they either accept or deny once presented with a decision about what is right and what is wrong.

      The whole idea of a legal system, of lawyers and statutes that state, for example, that such and such crime was committed in self defense, is a format and preparation for the exceptions.
      • Apr 15 2013: I would like to think that overall, civilization is moving forward in terms of enlightenment and for the most part, since we no longer burn witches to save their souls or hold blood sports in arenas, that is probably true.
        Recent reversals on the part of modern islam shows that progress is not always a straight line path.
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          Apr 15 2013: I think humanity is definitely getting smarter, and I do think enlightenment/spirtuality and the additional attention more recent society has given to the great thinkers and spiritual teachers of the past has led us to a morally-aspiring sense of humanity.

          Unfortunately when unfair leadership, inadequate resources or sustainability (starvation, no work/no hope) exists, morality seems to take to lacking. Our education and each countries contribution toward advancing technologically, spiritually, in all ways does help us move forward in terms of positivity and goodness in humanity.
        • Apr 15 2013: I disagree, the law was probably inspired by people saying: "I want an environment in which I can succeed and limit the threat of people randomly stealing from me and forcing me to start all over again financially." Law can not only be seen as a moral entity but as a selfish one that people used to create a climate in which they could enrich themselves while being relatively safe.
      • Apr 15 2013: But the fact remains, that our legal system doesn't have to rely on morals. Laws are just a way to weed out detrimental members of society do that they cannot do harm. People who kill out of self-defense are protected because they obviously don't present a threat to society.
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          Apr 15 2013: I can understand where you're coming from - the legal system is set up so that the people are protected from physical harm, greed, unfair business practice, etc.

          If you consider the commonly known precursors leading to the need for an order of law and punishment - stealing/preventing theft, killing, marriage divorce court, neighborly fights (I'm imagining Judge Judy here)...etc., it is important to note that these things that are punishable in America are stated as certain moral values and given high value in philosophy and especially religion, as for example, the ten commandments.

          How would we judge a case of two persons arguing about an issue if there was no moral basis or previous statute upon which to derive either a socially acceptable ideal or a fair judgment?
        • Apr 15 2013: It does not rely on morals because you can't guarantee that people will follow their inner voice.
          The law was however, based on morals. It is the codification of the rules under which people will interact with each other. It attempts to treat all people fairly and equally and to not make rules that are contradictory (that doesn't always happens but is usually sorted out using precedents)
      • Apr 15 2013: This is a very good question and one that I have been pondering about for a long time, this is the answer I have come up with: Philosophically, it is impossible to prove that any one belief is right. modern day morals may be the opposite of what God(assuming there is one) wants us to do. In fact, all philosophies are founded on moral axioms, or assumptions, such as the belief that one should be altruistic, or something of that nature, but in reality those axioms can't be proven (which is why they're called axioms). Given this, I've become a moral agnostic, but in becoming one, and in being someone who is an objective spectator of the world with no "skin in the game" as I am still a high school student without a job and with parents who will be able to provide for my education regardless of the nature of the current political climate when it comes to taxes and other things, I have come to adopt (partially) utilitarianism. I adopted this philosophy because it considers everyone to be equal, and because I think that no one philosophy can be proven right, they must all be esteemed equally, and thus, all people and all their beliefs should be esteemed equally (this is the basis of utilitarianism), because you cannot prove one person is better than another, philosophically speaking of course. That being said, since you can't esteem any argument with a philosophical basis. Philosophical arguments have been rendered invalid according to my logic and what remains is a practical basis for solving problems. As an objective spectator, I believe that in order for the highest amount of people to be well off they must fight for what will help them and their nations and so when two people have an argument the one who fights for the well being of more people will be the one who is favored according to my system of philosophical axiom denial and practicality that would serve most of us, regardless of whether that practicality may be morally wrong or not.
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          Apr 16 2013: I don't know what to make of your answer.

          You say you believe in utilitarianism, and define it as all beliefs should be esteemed equally,

          and THEN you turn around and say...." I believe that in order for the highest amount of people to be well off they must fight for what will help them and their nations and so when two people have an argument the one who fights for the well being of more people will be the one who is favored according to my system of philosophical axiom denial and practicality that would serve most of us, regardless of whether that practicality may be morally wrong or not."

          Sounds contradictory to me...could you explain further?
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          Apr 16 2013: I respect and appreciate your response to this, however, I clearly see you are basing your judgments on a purely philosophical and in no manner, as I could see explained, that which is religious whatsoever.

          You must consider the prominence and importance, established by so many throughout all understandable realization of time and it's dimension, the relevance of religion, whatever religion that may be, (I am a believer that whichever suits you best, in the end you will understand and it will help you understand the nature of reality however it will assist you in finding peace and fulfillment, so long as you are true to yourself, the maker will not deny you, but do consider this fully); in establishing this basis, the contradiction I also see as if you believe in any sort of right and wrong, good and bad, heaven and hell even you must acknowledge that at some times, the "mob mentality" or majority vote is not necessarily the correct one.

          As an extreme example, consider the 1940's (which no one wants to do, myself included) and how propaganda and the defeated mindset of the German's at that time allowed for such a disillusion to dissolve into the general public, creating general if not humanity-driven physical chaos to the point that those who "fight for the well being (what is this? How do we base this?) of more people (are these people INSANE?) and the actuality that might really be realized to the point where terrible evil is considered, confirmed and committed. People need guidance. This is where the ten commandments, where Jesus Christ, where each and every other religious philosopher, prophet and commendable person in general comes into place as a definite "pillar of the earth". (I love that book.)
      • Apr 16 2013: The fact remains though, that mob mentality is the closest we will ever get to realizing what direction we should take when it comes to purely philosophical matters, that don't have an answer to that can be proven by science. And I'm not doubting the effect of religion and spirituality on this world. But the fact remains that religion isn't necessarily right and has been used many times to justify the killing or oppression of certain groups of people. Because of this religion is in a practical sense detrimental to our society and to the world.
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          Apr 16 2013: You are definitely contributing to this mob mentality when you state:

          "religion is in a practical sense detrimental to our society and to the world."

          In order not to have mob mentality, you must identify "which" religions.

          Not all religions are detrimental.
          Not all participate in war.

          Some actually do alot of good.

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