why morality?


This question is really bugging me. I can’t see how morality can lie at the bottom (foundation) of a value system- I’ve known this my whole life but never really confronted the hideousness of it. I often lied to myself behind some concept of social morality or (later) God that was indisputable, even if it was just an idea or feeling. They can be clever lies. But it’s a crutch, it’s just your head, a substitute for power. Just a person trying to express grief at frustration. If it doesn’t go beyond that, it’s just sad… even in the knowledge through ‘righteousness’ that you are not alone, the only thing you share through this concept with others who suffer is grief.

Morality in itself doesn’t make the foundation, it’s the need for people to cooperate with each other that does. It’s on this cooperation and human interaction that the rules of Morality where formed. People need each other to survive, this means people must live together, and when people live together they need a way to make sure that they don’t step on each other’s toes.

At first glance it might appear that morality needs some authority to have value. It doesn’t, morality at it’s simplest is, treating others as we want to be treated. From this maxim all other rules of morality are formed. If we ignore this rule we end up in a world of chaos everybody fighting everybody. This would not be a pleasant way to live. It’s in everybody’s mutual interest that we all live by a code of morality. Some codes are stricter then others, but at the base of all of them is the need for civil order.

Law, it could be said, has superseded the need for morality, as now we have laws to create civil order. But even the laws must be fair, and what is fair needs to be derived from morality, as fairness is a subset of morality.

I don’t think Law can’t supercede morality as it is created from it, law just guarantees morality’s universal application within a society.

As for a basis of why Morals are necessary, there are various justifications for it’s foundation of a value set, see Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Mill’s Utilitarianism or Kant’s Groundworks of the metaphysics of morals for several different philosophical attempts to justify it’s application. Though kant’s work is daunting to say the least :wink: Aristotle’s is perhaps the easiest to read, but Mill makes his case very well as well.

However all 3 of these stances have their objections.

Sadly, you are absolutely correct. Unless one believes in God, it does seem there is no reason to be truely “moral”. Before I began questioning the existence of God, it was a lot easier to be a good a person. Presently I still abide by right and wrong, but only because it is so ingrained in my very persona I can’t do otherwise. Logically I think I should take a Machiavellian approach to life, as since no one else seems to be truly moral, I wonder why should I. I can honestly say that I found life easier and more enjoyable when I believed I should do good “no matter what”. Now I just have a burning inclination that I am being taken advantage of at times, that I have been manipulated to have a victim’s mentality. I used to think every moment and action was my “goodness” being tested. I wish I could still operate under those pretenses. So if anyone can answer the question “Why be moral?” I sure as hell would like to know. Anyway, good question Beet Juice; I hope you find an answer that brings happiness. I’ll leave everyone with a quote that I can’t seem to forget-

“Morality is the trickery of the sheep, to quiet the lion’s roar.”

The reason to be moral (rational) is for the benefit of yourself, others, which would then in turn reciprocate back to yourself.

cough Natural Law cough

What about natural law, guys? What is rational for the community and the individuals in that community? Ex: Cold blooded murder benefits no one; therefore it is bad.

Isn’t that the same as morals? Almost any moral stance will be the same stance as someone argueing from a rational objective standpoint, and almost any moral opinion can be defended in that way.

that is a very shallow interpretation. Grief, bah! Sure grief can be shared, but so can comfot and support, and all that other positive junk.

deletes about 3 paragraphs. I need to take this next part to the rant house, if i ever get the motavation to re-type it.

EDIT: And no, I probably will not be back for a long long time to defend anythign I jsut said, so have at it, and have fun with it.

see http://www.ilovephilosophy.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=138780. And I don’t think “humans” are egoistic, they all share what’s within and is the only “thing” that exists.

I think morality in itself is an attempt at rational explanation of our likes and dislikes which as Nietzsche said (I think) only came about when people saw logic as a means of convincing other people and forcing their own paradigm upon them.
Personally I do not consider mysef a moral person. I dislike to see people suffering, I don’t hurt people unnecessarily because they would make my life miserable in return for it, but these are simply preferences of mine which ultimately need no rationl explanation or justification; they’re just there.