Published on September 19, 2006 By stutefish In Ethics
So I thought it might be interesting and fun to put forward the following two questions for discussion:

Is morality the same in all times and places, or does it vary from time to time and place to place?


Is your moral code the one true moral code, and all others are wrong; or is your moral code one of many, all more or less equally true?

To get the ball rolling, here's my answers:

Morality is the same in all times and all places. It does not vary.

There is one true moral code, and all others are wrong. I seek this code, and try to live by it to the best of my understanding. I try to learn more about this code and understand it better.

If you're interested in discussing this topic, please comment on this article with your thoughts and feelings.



Comments (Page 1)
on Sep 19, 2006
Hmmmmm I would agree with you. There is nothing new under the sun. As bad as we see our world getting morality speaking....it's not as bad as it was during the times of Sodom and Gommorah but I'm thinking we're getting close.

I also agree there is one true moral code although many would say our moral codes are subjective, to each his own. I also try to live to the best of my ability in following this code but fall woefully short at times in doing so. But we need to realize defeat is not falling down but in the staying down so I keep on trying to live up to it.

on Sep 19, 2006

Is morality the same in all times and places, or does it vary from time to time and place to place?

No it changes with the times, it use to be considered "moral" for your lord and master in feudal times to boink your wife before you did.


Is your moral code the one true moral code, and all others are wrong; or is your moral code one of many, all more or less equally true?

My moral code is one of many, what is right and moral for me, might not be for you.

on Sep 19, 2006
I would agree with you.  I would also agree that we are still seeking that one true moral code.
on Sep 20, 2006

I don't think that "legal" automatically means "moral". It's entirely possible that nobody thought the law of "your lord and master in feudal times to boink your wife before you did" was moral, but rather either suffered under it because they had no choice, or brazenly implemented it because they had no accountability.

It's also important not to confuse the fundamental principles of morality with the customs which different societies evolve to uphold those moral principles.

If one of the principles of morality is "loyalty and devotion to a proper authority", then perhaps this law was a good custom evolved to promote this moral value.

Since then many customs have changed, and we would probably not consider such a custom to be proper expression of the unchanging moral principle.
on Sep 20, 2006
Guy's observation about seeking the one true moral code is dead on.

It reminds me of why I became a Mason.
on Sep 20, 2006
So... why did you become a Mason, thatoneguyinslc? I assume the gist of it is "to seek the one true moral code". Would you be willing to share some of the details of your choice?
on Sep 20, 2006
I agree with Stute. I believe that certain elements in life, such as morality, are universal concepts. Love, good, evil, sadism, authority, etc. are all constants that don't change over time. They are not subjective. For example, if there was a culture that believed that unprovoked murder was acceptable, the problem is not that we have different views on morality. The problem would be that they are wrong.

Of course, some of these concepts are less understood than others. Our interpretation of some may be open to debate (i.e. what is evil?). But I strongly believe that the concepts are constants and not subjective.
on Sep 20, 2006
I think there's lots of different moral codes. A couple are a waste of time but most have some value in them. It depends entirely on what you intend to achieve whether one is appropriate or not.

Mine is suitable to me at the moment, but that doesn't mean I'm not going to add or subtract tenets as time goes on. There should always be room in a moral code to learn something new.
on Sep 20, 2006
Cacto, when you say

It depends entirely on what you intend to achieve whether [a particular moral code] is appropriate or not.

It seems like you mean that a moral code is justified by the goal of the one who adopts it. Is my understanding correct?

I mean, if my goal were world domination, would it be morally correct of me to adopt a code that allowed for the assassination of rivals and the imprisonment or execution of dissidents?

Also, do you think there is a difference between a moral principle and a particular culture's customs around that principle?

I mean, a maiden of the south sea islands, bare-breasted and grass-skirted, may be every bit as true to the moral principle of modesty, according to the customs of her culture, as a Victorian matron buttoned up from ankle to throat and wearing a veil over her face. It seems to me that the underlying principle is the same in both cultures, even if the customs for expressing it are very different.

on Sep 20, 2006

Just out of curiosity, can Mormons be Masons?
on Sep 20, 2006
I'm split on this one... In the eyes of God there is only one moral code and it hasn't changed since "In the Beginning..." On the other hand, there are God's laws and there are the laws and customs of man. If you are in a society where it is ok to steal, as long as you don't steal from members of your own clan, then your moral code will allow you to steal... but will God deem you innocent in the judgement. I know a lot of people who do things that I think are against the laws of God, yet what they are doing is completely acceptable in the eyes of society. So, I guess I'm saying that the morals set down by Our Father in Heaven don't change generation to generation, but the morals of Man do. Some might just brush that aside because they put one above the other, however, if you are obeying one but not the other, can you expect it to be ignored by the other?
on Sep 20, 2006
I think there is one, and only one true core moral code. I think if you look at all the major ones across all cultures and boundaries, you will find a core set of similarities. These are rules and morals that are almost bred into us (almost I say because people do deviate from time to time). The core of it all being "Be Nice" From that flows a lot of the more specific rules of human culture, such as don't kill, don't steal, give to those in need etc.

They get muddied, they get over complicated, they have meaning and mysticism wrapped around them to lend them more weight, but in the end I think the truth is much more simple than most of us are willing to give it credit for. These are morals and concepts that do not morph with current sensibilities or levels of tolerance. Those that are so maliable are obviously not strong enough to be core cultural values. Just look at the morphing attitudes on sex throughout all of human history. It comes and goes. It changes degrees depending on prevailing political and religious winds.

Murder though... that one stays pretty consistent.
on Sep 20, 2006
One true moral code?...Nah, don't believe it...my code is one of several...it is outdated, but I stick with it.

Morality is always changing....with the times and with different cultures.

Those are my answers...

on Sep 20, 2006
Is morality the same in all times and places, or does it vary from time to time and place to place?

An interesting question, and I'm sure after our other discussion my answer won't surprise you.

Morality is unique to each person. Even if a person subscribes to some "group think" morality (based on church, synagogue, mosque, whatever) they still have their own interpretation of just what that morality is. I think Plato (or was it Socrates?) would argue that MORALITY just is, and we couldn't describe it correctly if we tried.

Is your moral code the one true moral code, and all others are wrong; or is your moral code one of many, all more or less equally true?

My moral code works for me. I'd like to live up to it but, alas, there are times that I don't for whatever reasons and I have to deal with that. I think my moral code would be one of many and I'll stop there before writing a book
on Sep 21, 2006

... When you peek beneath the Manchurian Candidate’s fascinating plotline, however, you learn that it is not \"just a movie,\" but is based upon actual cases of government-sponsored brainwashing, torture, Nazi collaboration, bizarre interrogation tactics, biological warfare and cover-ups. And though such an assessment sounds like paranoid lunacy, a quick study of CIA operations like MK-ULTRA (mind control), Operation ARTICHOKE (extreme interrogation) and Operation Paperclip (the Nazis’ role in exporting both), along with their connection to the murder of Dr. Frank Olson, reveals otherwise.

In 1950, the U.S. government established the first program to develop human mind control techniques. Known under a variety of codenames (most notably MK-ULTRA) throughout its 23 year history, this program was designed to exert such control, according to declassified documents, that an individual would do another\'s bidding, \"against his will and even against such fundamental laws of nature such as self-preservation.\" 25 years later, the Rockefeller Commission uncovered CIA plans for \"programmed assassins\" and said that MK-ULTRA led to American citizens being drugged, kidnapped and tortured on American soil...

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