TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

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

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Apr 14 2013: G'day Rajiv

    But isn't making murder illegal a moral stance? There are different degrees of morality for example I could make a moral law saying that no one is permitted to dive a car on the roads because it's too dangerous or I could make up moral laws giving us a right to drive on the roads but only if we follow certain governing laws that will try to keep us safe. I agree we can go over board but only in the degree of morality as all laws are supposed to be based on moral standing to some degree.

    • Apr 14 2013: No, murder isn't necessarily a moral stance. I can be against it regardless of my morality because if murder was legal the society that I'm currently able to operate in while being relatively safe would crumble.

      • thumb
        Apr 15 2013: That seems like a moral rationale to me.

        How do you define morality?
        • Apr 15 2013: It isn't morality because I'm not saying that people who kill are "evil" or that god hates them. In other words, I'm not having a philosophical stance on murder. I'm just recognizing that, regardless of whether what is actually right or wrong, I want to be able to live safely and as a result, would support any law that punishes people for murder simply because of my own want, whether it is right or wrong, to live safely. In other words, my rational does not stem from a presumption or theory of philosophical truth, but instead a recognition of my own (and most other peoples')desire to live safely, regardless of whether that desire is right or wrong.
      • thumb
        Apr 25 2013: So ethical systems are only moral systems if there is a god belief involved or claims of evil are involved, in your world view, or you think you have the absolute truth about what is good or bad?

        Mine position of what is ethical or moral also does not stem from a belief in some divine command or another, or that I have the absolute truth, but I am happy to debate what I think is a reasonable basis for morality in the broader sense, and consider each moral or ethical dilemma on its merits.

        One thing I dont like about your definition of morality is you are saying you and I have no morals, we are immoral because we dont subscribe to any divine command ethical system.

        I suggest you might be better off using a more typical definition of morality such as principles for determining what is right or wrong and distinguish between those that are based on logic, science and reason, and those based on divine command, scripture, revelation.

        I have a moral system, its just not based on scripture, revelation etc. I think it is actually superior to religious systems of morality.
      • thumb
        Apr 27 2013: Things that improve the human condition, reduce or avoid suffering (of humans and other animals) are preferred to those that cause harm or suffering.

        Some situations are relatively straight forward. Running around raping or killing causes a lot of harm and suffering. Treating people consistently, and fairly, honest dealing, respecting the freedoms of others within limits generally improves our lives. Intent and consequences should be considered.

        The difficult moral issues involve a clash of values, or benefits for some at the expense of others. Is abortion moral involves the rights of the woman versus the fetus. What are the limits of religious freedom, is it acceptable to genitally mutilate baby boys and girls in the name of religion or tradition.
    • Apr 15 2013: i would say no, it's legal. some murders are moral (not my morals personally though), such as "honour killing" and such, the idea that to fail to kill a person or a group of people is bad. i think we make laws or rules based on our morals. the moral belief that people should be free to move about but also free from unnecessary danger results in driving laws.
      • thumb
        Apr 15 2013: G'day Ben

        I am talking about murder Ben not killing in honour like a soldier would however some would also call this murderer so it really depends on ones mode of thought I suppose in what's killing & what's murder.

        I think all laws are based on morality either it to just save lives as in road laws or to kill as in soldering to again save lives but of course that's not always the case in war but it is the case in road laws.

        Rajiv is right, if all laws were morally based to too much of an extent we wouldn't defend ourselves because we would be overly moral but soldiers moral is quite different to a true Christians morals. Morals aren’t’ just morals it really depends on the principles behind these morals & one rally isn’t wrong or right over another they are just different modes of thought one lives by.

        • Apr 15 2013: i was thinking of religious "honour killing" actually, such as murdering a girl who was raped to "save" her from the disgrace.

          christian morals now there's a can of worms! thou shalt not kill, unless it's the first born of egypt etc. also we now recognise that punishing someone for the crime of another is amoral, yet it was common practice in the bible. same for collective punishment.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.