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Thread: Are most decisions moral decisions?

  1. #1 Are most decisions moral decisions? 
    Forum Ph.D.
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Are most decisions moral decisions?

    In an attempt to comprehend the nature of ethics/morality one will find a forest of writings but essentially each person must build his or her own model of what ethics/morality means. Somewhere along the way toward becoming an enlightened person regarding this matter we all must settle on that which makes sense for us. That does not mean that we remain static about the matter but it means that we settle on some model that is our personal guide until we decide to change it.

    I cannot remember where I read it but is resonates for me; ‘all decisions, wherein there is a choice, are moral decisions’. One may find quibbles to get around this message but the essence of the matter is that for a person seeking to be moral, all judgments from which decisions are derived warrant careful consideration.

    Our community and our family mold our moral sense as we grow up. But at some point we must remold that model to fit our adult self. I am an American and my sense of ethics/morality was codified by the Declaration and the Constitution as I grew up and it is what determines, to a large extent, my adult sense in this matter.

    The Declaration declares ‘We hold these truths to be self evident, all men are created equal and they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights’. The Constitution sets forth a listing of the rights of all citizens that are to be protected by law. These declarations are part of my heritage and are what I accept as the foundation of my sense of morality.

    It appears that the two concepts ‘right’ and ‘good’ form the foundation of any moral system. The ‘good’ is ‘rational desire’ and the ‘right’ has varying meanings. The status of the right seems to be the important variable that determines what one’s ethical/moral model becomes.

    I call my model of morality as being a closed system as opposed to an open system. I call my system a closed system because ‘right’ is clearly defined in the Declaration and the Constitution as being prior to the good. That which is right has a fence around it with a big “No Trespassing” sign and is closed to usurpation by the good. A different system could be called an open system when there is no closed area representing rights but that the right is considered as being that which maximizes the good.

    I suspect that often we do not have the knowledge and understanding to determine at the time we make our decisions which matters might be immoral, or amoral, as opposed to moral. I think that a moral person needs to have that consideration constantly in mind and thus to form habits that help to keep us on track even though we often act unconsciously. It is all a part of developing character I guess.

    This is not to say that we must become fanatical about it. Is flossing a moral act? If I floss or do not floss, does it, in some minute way, affect others? I think so. Is watering my lawn a matter for moral consideration? It might be.

    Questions for discussion

    Would you say that an act can be a moral or immoral without our being conscious of the matter? Can a sociopath perform an immoral act?

    Where do these two concepts, right and good, fit into your model of morality and or ethics? I use the term ethics/morality to mean that the two terms are the same for me.

    Assume that some young person reads my OP and is inspired by it to study what morality is all about. Then that person goes on to read a response and s/he sees that the responder ridiculed the OP. This then deflates the idea to study morality. Can the ridicule be considered to have been an amoral act?

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  3. #2  
    Forum Professor marcusclayman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Indeed all decisions are moral in nature, whether or not the decision itself is moral, immoral, or amoral.

    If you decide to preach amorality, or nihilism, this is in itself a decision that is moral in nature. You think it is right to be right and wrong to be wrong. You might say "I don't think I'm right, I just think your stupid" but it's semantics, you are using words to cover up the fact that you believe "smarter" is "righter," and that "morality" is "stupid" and thus "wrong," IE, moral.

    The frontal cortex is responsible for it all. Morality in it's most basic form is the comparison of "like" and "dislike," based on information stored in the long term memory, and the calculation of statistics to determine probably rewards.

    Of course this all happens quickly and mostly on the subconscious level... but it all happens in the frontal cortex, for the most part

    a moral act, more or less, is that which will get your genes the most rewards. Stealing, killing, raping, enslaving, etc, will not get your genes the most rewards because as time goes on the probability increases that your bloodline will be cut off by aggravated competitors.

    cooperation, within reason, will get us the most rewards... but then again, everything within reason, will get us the most rewards

    Dick, be Frank.

    Ambiguity Kills.
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