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Moral Values

Cognisant

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Morality is defined by values, if you value the greatest good for the greatest number then you are a utilitarian and you would thus consider killing one person to harvest their organs to save the lives of three other people morally justifiable, perhaps even a moral obligation. Conversely if you value individual rights and liberty this would seem monstrous to you and you would rather preserve the individual's right to live even if this came at the expense of others, e.g. "We don't trade lives" - Captain America, Infinity War, before proceeding to gamble the lives of half the galaxy on the possibility that he might save one.

There's a lot of fun drama to be had pitting one set of values against another but ultimately their relative merits are circumstantial, when it is a matter of setting a precedent the life and liberty of the individual may be more or less important than the many. You shouldn't kill someone if you can get away with doing so because that sets an awful precedent (there's always a bigger fish) but if they're infected with a deadly and highly contagious disease (i.e. bitten by a zombie) you would be a fool not to. This says nothing about the values themselves other than the fact that no one set of values could possibly be the ideal choice for every situation and before you even try to prove me wrong I'm going to predict that you will err towards values that are as vague as possible to give yourself as much interpretative flexibility as possible.

Which neatly brings us to my conclusion, morality may be defined by our values (in other words we use values to define our sense of morality) but it is not derived from those values. Rather morality is derived from the human condition, believe it or not but the universe wasn't made for us and it doesn't give a shit about us, what is good is not good because it is good, it is good because we have decided it is good, all that is good and bad and righteous and evil is meaning that we impose upon existence by our existence, by being human.

Basically I'm making the case for ethical egoism which isn't in of itself a set of values like every other moral philosophy but rather a different perspective on morality itself, that we would err towards vague values if forced to choose because the ability to adapt one's values to the circumstances is an essential part of moral decision making.

There is no one right answer, no substitute for wisdom, no free pass on personal responsibility.

So if follows that religious morality is an oxymoron.
 

Animekitty

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I know there is a right answer and a wrong answer. and degree of rightness and wrongness. values measure more and less of good and bad. choice is also involved with multiple answers of the same worth. how do we pick from options of equal worth?

The individual imo is the arbiter of themselves.
But then there is collectivism where agreement is in the group.

religion and government are both collectivist
anarchy and personal responsibility are the opposite

religions fight governments in @Cognisant climate
responsibility fights nihilism in the next climate

I might have gotten this wrong but I think this is how the split takes shape.
 

Cognisant

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I know there is a right answer and a wrong answer. and degree of rightness and wrongness. values measure more and less of good and bad. choice is also involved with multiple answers of the same worth. how do we pick from options of equal worth?
It's a cop out isn't it? Pointing out that moral values are interchangeable doesn't tell someone how to choose in a given situation.

My conclusion is that morality is derived from the human condition and the only condition anyone can truly understand is their own so it wouldn't be entirely wrong to say it's a matter of survival, but the survival of what? How do we define ourselves?

I think this varies by the individual indeed it may even come down to genetics, someone who is more cooperative than competitive would likely be more willing to sacrifice their own good for the good of others which may or may not be an optimal strategy depending upon largely unpredictable factors.

Basically I can't decide for you as your morality is a matter of self expression.

Also as deterministic as this all is it doesn't preclude judging people for the choices they make, as unconditionally valid as they may be choices are never without consequences. We must each of us decide for ourselves who we wish to be and the consequences we wish to risk for being that person.

It's still a cop out. I give up.
 

Niclmaki

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“...for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” - Hamlet, Shakespeare

As to the deconstructing of religious morality, I tend to agree. There does not exist an objective morality. We’re all freestylin’ it out here. However, a general convention of morality and values ought to be established amongst people. Religions held this job before, but now it’s in constitutions and charters of rights.

I say “ought to” because besides the social advantages (Eg. if you and your neighbours agree it’s wrong to steal, you don’t need your guard up 24/7), it should keep updating itself as new situations and ideas popped up.

To reference the Hamlet quote, he is not saying good and bad do not exist, just that they do not exist objectively. We *must* do the thinking and come to that determination.

This is all a bit moot though, most people will adapt their morality and values to explain their actions and habits, not the other way around.
 

ZenRaiden

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In way yes humans decide values the way they do, because they are human. Part it is how we live as collective creatures and part reflects our limitations physical and mental. Part of it comes from how we solve problems and experience the world.
Part of it is simply osmosis, and cultural transfer. Older generations transfer values onto younger generations.

Most people, most days most of the time do not think deeply of any morality. They just accept it from others like parents, peers, teachers, other authorities and from personal and instinctual inclinations.

Most of us humans simply do almost nothing to construct moral values. We simply form them from the get go and we rarely change them.

Not sure why your conclusion is necessary. Also not sure why your attempt at giving your outlook some specific name is necessary. Moral labels are not helpful, because me being utilitarian and you being utilitarian I am sure we would disagree on moral values regardless of our agreement on the naming of them.

People, families, groups we interact with, age, location, job, scenario, culture, etc. define your values, and I assure you that most people most of the time will be people with whom you interact have not for one second given an honest thought to any moral value they possess.
Even people who do think about moral values most of the time spend effort on justifying them rationalizing them and proving them to others that they work. Rarely people challenge their own assumptions be it moral or other kind.
 

Animekitty

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It's a cop out isn't it? Pointing out that moral values are interchangeable doesn't tell someone how to choose in a given situation.
If we are to be a moral anarchist no choice is a true choice accept in the present moment. But can we trust A.I. to always act morally in the moment? A.I. morals must be defined by relationships. Only then choice maters. What is your Higher cause @Cognisant

 
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