- Local time
- Today, 10:36
- Dec 12, 2009
- Rules are made to enforce morality.
- Morality is based on principles
- These principles are derived from values.
- Values are determined by context.
- The context is being material entities in a material universe.
If a sweet roll is good someone taking your sweet roll is bad, if you do a task and get a sweet roll that's good, if someone else does the same task and gets a better reward that's unfair, animals get this innately because they're subject to the same basic needs we are. A monkey stealing fruit from a market stall knows to scurry away quickly because although it doesn't understand things like monetary value or that theft is a crime it still knows that it's doing a bad thing, that it's potentially making a human angry.
The human condition is our context, we all need certain things, we all want certain things, depending upon how difficult those needs/wants are to satisfy our society changes its values. Some cultures highly value human rights, some don't, some cultures value individuality, some don't, indeed some cultures value conformity, in some cultures people are expected to be subservient to their elders. In some cultures women are expected to be strong & independent whereas in others they're expected to be submissive and subservient and either culture will consider the other immoral because that culture's values conflict with their own.
Principles are the implications of values, if you value freedom then implicitly anything that restricts freedom of choice, freedom of speech, freedom of travel, etc, is immoral, unless of course using your freedom infringes upon the freedoms of others (internal consistency) or infringes upon the privacy of other (conflicting values) in which case you need to come up with principles that define the acceptable limits of freedom/privacy.
Rules are how these principles are enforced, importantly they are not moral principles themselves, for example just because theft is illegal dosen't mean it's always immoral, think Robin Hood.
You can talk about interesting moral dilemmas like is it right to kill one child to harvest their organs and thereby save the lives of a dozen other children but that's not how our society works, or rather when it does said child will be from a Falun Gong concentration camp in a country that puts little value on human rights and the organs will go to the children of wealthy/influential families who can afford/obtain such services. The morality of it is a question of values, in western society individual human rights are highly valued because individual humans are valuable, in China the individual is relatively worthless and not sacrificing oneself for the good of others may be seen as selfish.
Alright that should be enough to get the debate going.