Are we more -- or less -- moral than we think?

Feb 22, 2011

If asked whether we'd steal, most of us would say no. Would we try to save a drowning person? That depends—perhaps on our fear of big waves. Much research has explored the ways we make moral decisions. But in the clinch, when the opportunity arises to do good or bad, how well do our predictions match up with the actions we actually take?

A study by Rimma Teper, Michael Inzlicht, and Elizabeth Page-Gould of the University of Toronto Scarborough tested the difference between moral forecasting and moral action—and the reasons behind any mismatch. Published in , a journal of the Association of Psychological Science, the findings look encouraging: Participants acted more morally than they would have predicted.

But lest we get sentimental about that result, lead author and psychology PhD candidate Teper offers this: "There has been other work that has shown the opposite effect—that people are acting less morally" than they forecast.

What's the missing link between moral reasoning and moral action? Emotion. Emotions—fear, guilt, love—play a central role in all thinking and behavior, including moral behavior. But when people are contemplating how they'll act, "they don't have a good grasp of the intensity of the emotions they will feel" in the breach, says Teper, so they misjudge what they'll do.

For this study, three groups of students were given a math test of 15 questions. One group was told that a glitch in the software would cause the correct answer to show on the screen if they hit the space bar—but only they would know they'd hit it. This group took the test; a $5 reward was promised for 10 or more right answers. Another group was given a description of this moral dilemma, and was then asked to predict whether or not they would cheat for each question. The third group just took the test without the opportunity to cheat.

During the trial, electrodes measured the strength of participants' heart contractions, their heart and breathing rates, and the sweat in their palms—all of which increase with heightened emotion. Not surprisingly, those facing the real dilemma were most emotional. Their emotions drove them to do the right thing and refrain from cheating.

The students asked only to predict their actions felt calmer—and said they'd cheat more than the test-takers actually did. Students who took the test with no opportunity to cheat were calmer as well, indicating the arousal that the students in the first group were feeling was unique to the dilemma.

But emotions conflict, and that figures in decision making too. "If the stakes were higher—say, the reward was $100—the emotions associated with that potential gain might override the nervousness or fear associated with cheating," says Teper. In future research, "we might try to turn this effect around" and see how emotion leads people to act less morally than they forecast.

"This time, we got a rosy picture of human nature," coauthor Michael Inzlicht comments. "But the essential finding is that emotions are what drive you to do the right thing or the wrong thing."

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Simonsez
4.3 / 5 (6) Feb 22, 2011
This test does not accurately measure morality, what it measures is emotional control and response.

Can one even compare the moral quandary of whether to save a person from drowning if you know that person has committed a heinous crime to someone but also saved your relative from harm, to whether or not to press the spacebar on a computer to cheat for five dollars.

If someone told me they'd give me five dollars for 10 correct answers to a test, and then told me oh by the way here is how to cheat at the test wink wink, I would attempt to answer the questions correctly and then cheat if I felt I wasn't getting enough correct to get my money. There really isn't going to be much of an emotional quandary there.

Now if they told the participants that if they were caught cheating they'd be disqualified from the reward, that'd be a better marker but still shy of a "true" moral dilemma. Money creates a "fudge factor" that is not present in other sorts of morality scenarios.
Glyndwr
3.6 / 5 (12) Feb 22, 2011
morality is a human construct.
pauljpease
3.7 / 5 (6) Feb 22, 2011


If someone told me they'd give me five dollars for 10 correct answers to a test, and then told me oh by the way here is how to cheat at the test wink wink, I would attempt to answer the questions correctly and then cheat if I felt I wasn't getting enough correct to get my money. There really isn't going to be much of an emotional quandary there..


What? Oh, maybe you meant to say "there really isn't going to be much of an emotional quandary FOR ME." Maybe for you stealing five bucks isn't a big deal. And that's why wall street wants to hire people like you, because taking money if you can find a way to take it without getting caught is not an "emotional quandary" for you. What if that $5 you earned by cheating comes out of an honest person's paycheck? Because it did, it always comes from somewhere.

MorituriMax
4.3 / 5 (6) Feb 22, 2011
I'm as moral as I need to be to maintain my current social location and lifestyle.
210
4.5 / 5 (4) Feb 22, 2011
I'm as moral as I need to be to maintain my current social location and lifestyle.

Indeed:
What you describe in your singular statement is a concept called "Situational Ethics." Such an outlook would make you a CONDITIONAL moralist AND someone who could never, EVER be completely or reasonably trustworthy. Being worthy of trust BY ALL HUMANS is the supreme expression and intent of all pure moral doctrine. You espouse a moral point of view that embraces 'outcome at all costs' until-DISCOVERY OR EMBARRASSMENT! This is of course, your affair, but I predict and history confirms that unless you are mentally ill or extremely young, you WILL probably, probably regret this life-choice and very soon/quickly!!!
-word to ya muthas-
LivaN
3 / 5 (2) Feb 23, 2011

If someone told me they'd give me five dollars for 10 correct [...] emotional quandary there..

What? Oh, maybe you meant to [...] did, it always comes from somewhere.

Bad test. Morals are derived as an evolutionary mechanism to protect one's reputation, or favourable environment. Simply, as Simonsez said, answer as many as you can right, if you will fail the test then cheat to pass. Since no one would know if you cheated, there is no effect to one's reputation or enviroment.
Being worthy of trust BY ALL HUMANS is the supreme expression and intent of all pure moral doctrine.

Which is doomed to fail in this world where the fittest survive. Morals have a place which is expressed quite nicely by MorituriMax. Anything more and you open yourself to the possibility of being taken advantage of.
hush1
4 / 5 (4) Feb 23, 2011
Principle? Moral? You know...
Sleep with me? For a hundred trillion dollars?
Sure.
Sleep with me? For a dollar?
No.

Why not?
Who do you think I am?

I know who you are.
We are arguing about price, not who you are.

When is the price right?
To abandon moral principles.
dogbert
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 23, 2011
As Simonsez said, the test measures emotional control and response. It does not measure morality.

A moral person does what he perceives to be right even when his perception conflicts with his emotions. Morality is not based on emotion.
Johannes414
1 / 5 (2) Feb 23, 2011
Revulsion and outcry over evil crimes is connected to the existence of absolute morals. Other explanations fall short and lead to a moral vacuum.

For instance, the gassing of 6m Jews is universally morally wrong - not open to personal interpretation. The nazi's knew it was wrong, and tried to hide the evidence as much as possible.
Ethelred
1 / 5 (1) Feb 24, 2011
For this study, three groups of students
This is the key item of the article.

Didn't ANY of you have to participate in psych experiments when you took a mandatory psych class?

Anyone?

Phsyc tests of students are of dubious value. The students know it is a psych test. They HAVE to sign up for them. Some are going to screw with the test for the hell of it. Some, like me, will be trying to figure out what they were REALLY testing as both the tests I did had an attempt to obfuscate the purpose of the test.

I have no trust in college psych studies.

Ethelred
hush1
1 / 5 (1) Feb 25, 2011
morality is a human construct.


The definition of irony.
morality is a human emotional construct.

Irony.
The language of adjectives.
dogbert
1 / 5 (4) Feb 25, 2011
The moral person chooses to do what is right rather than what is wrong. Emotion cannot define right and wrong. The person who merely reacts to emotion is not acting morally.
kaasinees
3 / 5 (8) Feb 25, 2011
Right or wrong is different for every person, thus morality is relative.
dogbert
1 / 5 (3) Feb 25, 2011
Though there will always be situations where the moral course may be unclear, morality based on a moral standard is not relative. Relative morality is just the common practice (which may be very immoral) or it is just the choices of the individual which may have little to do with morality.
Skeptic_Heretic
4 / 5 (4) Feb 25, 2011
Though there will always be situations where the moral course may be unclear, morality based on a moral standard is not relative. Relative morality is just the common practice (which may be very immoral) or it is just the choices of the individual which may have little to do with morality.

Then do what a multitude of philosophers before you could not and give us a definitive outline of objective morality.
kaasinees
2.5 / 5 (8) Feb 25, 2011
There is no moral standard.
All you can ask of a person is to be compassionate not moral.
dogbert
1.4 / 5 (9) Feb 25, 2011
kaasinees,

There is a moral standard which millions of people use every day. That standard is defined by the God of Abraham.

There are many others such as yourself who admit to no standard of morality or behavior, but denial of a standard does not elininate the standard.
kaasinees
2.5 / 5 (8) Feb 25, 2011
No it is people like you who assume silly things to be true, like the bible, and go about bashing science facts like evolution, now bashing me because you think i am atheist.

Who is in denial?

Morality is a personal thing. For example you believe the bible can either make you a satan worshipper, a god believer or a denier/athiest, that is the moral of the story.
Skeptic_Heretic
4 / 5 (8) Feb 25, 2011
There is a moral standard which millions of people use every day. That standard is defined by the God of Abraham.
You mean the guy who was going to kill his kid because of a voice in his head? The "child killer" is the epitome of morality?!?
There are many others such as yourself who admit to no standard of morality or behavior, but denial of a standard does not elininate the standard.

Just tell us what the standard is. That's all you have to do. If it is self evident and objective as you say, there will be no disagreement.
mysticshakra
1 / 5 (5) Feb 25, 2011
Most people are only moral when it is easy and does not conflict with what they want.It is also worth noting that the morality most people claim to hold to is inherited or forced upon them by peers groups, parents or culture. People rarely sit down.amd rationally come to a set of moral standards. Moral standards change with time, people and culture; yet none of these agree in part or in full with any.others.

Almost everything becomes negotiable under the.right circumstances.

Johannes, there is no such historical event as "the gassing 6 million Jews". That is a religious tenet.

dogbert
1.7 / 5 (6) Feb 25, 2011
kaasinees,

Why do you attack me? You said there is no moral standard, thus identifying yourself as not affiliated with the God of Abraham. I did not accuse you of atheism. I have not attacked your god either.
Skeptic_Heretic
4.3 / 5 (6) Feb 25, 2011
Johannes, there is no such historical event as "the gassing 6 million Jews". That is a religious tenet.

Holocaust denial. Amazing. I thought this had gone extinct outside of some small anti-semetic persian circles.
Thrasymachus
1.8 / 5 (5) Feb 25, 2011
Morality is about more than just the difference between right and wrong. It is also about how we motivate ourselves to discover and pursue what is right, and discover and avoid what is wrong. Attitudes and dispositions are essential features in any choice.

And there certainly can be an objective moral standard that does not rely on the edicts of a violent desert demon, or his hippy son. The very idea of morality only makes sense if we accept that we can be voluntary causes of events. Insofar as the task of making sense of our world is inherent to rational beings, then this requirement extends to ourselves as voluntary causes. What we do must make sense as a mode of behavior, it must be indefinitely repeatable (i.e. universalizable), and it must extend the reach and effectiveness of voluntary causation.
Modernmystic
1.8 / 5 (6) Feb 25, 2011
morality is a human construct.


So is science. What's your implication?
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (2) Feb 25, 2011
There is no moral standard.
All you can ask of a person is to be compassionate not moral.


Define compassion without using the concept of morality or anything relating to it.

Right or wrong is different for every person, thus morality is relative.


Thus telling people the bible is silly is inconsistent with your own worldview....

Telling anyone they're wrong for doing ANYTHING is in fact inconsistent with anyone who REALLY believes in moral relativism.

Murder can't be wrong or right. Child molestation can't be wrong or right. Theft, lying, cheating, fraud, election rigging, firing squads, water boarding, actual torture.

Also being compassionate isn't right or wrong. Neither is standing up for human rights, giving to the poor, being a good parent, being honest, defending another human against assault, rape, murder...nothing.

It right and wrong is an AXIOM of the concept of morality...

Which is it?
Skeptic_Heretic
4.4 / 5 (7) Feb 25, 2011
Define compassion without using the concept of morality or anything relating to it.
The ability to place yourself in someone else's shoes.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (4) Feb 25, 2011
Define compassion without using the concept of morality or anything relating to it.
The ability to place yourself in someone else's shoes.


That's empathy, which is central to any proper moral system I can think of. Try again.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (4) Feb 25, 2011
So are you pre-defining morality within your question? If so, one need only point to your question as the definition. Otherwise you're asking us to define a term without using its definition. That can't be done textually.
kaasinees
2.1 / 5 (8) Feb 25, 2011
That's empathy, which is central to any proper moral system I can think of. Try again.


Empathy is part of compassion not morality. Empathy is that allows a person to sense another persons emotions.
Sympathy is realizing someones suffering which is another part of compassion, not morality.

Compassion is what drives humanity, not morality.
kaasinees
2.1 / 5 (7) Feb 25, 2011
Define compassion without using the concept of morality or anything relating to it.

see my previous post.

Telling anyone they're wrong for doing ANYTHING is in fact inconsistent with anyone who REALLY believes in moral relativism.

you make no sense, and talk nothing but hypocrosy.

Murder can't be wrong or right. Child molestation can't be wrong or right. Theft, lying, cheating, fraud, election rigging, firing squads, water boarding, actual torture.

None of that finds place in a compassionate being, a humane being, has nothing todo with morality.

Also being compassionate isn't right or wrong.

Being compassionate is being humane.
Modernmystic
1 / 5 (3) Feb 25, 2011
So are you pre-defining morality within your question? If so, one need only point to your question as the definition. Otherwise you're asking us to define a term without using its definition. That can't be done textually.


I'M not defining morality, that's already been done. Are we grunting and clicking at each other or are we speaking ENGLISH? When you decide at let me know we can proceed, otherwise conversation with you is not only pointless, but not conversation.
Modernmystic
1.6 / 5 (7) Feb 25, 2011
Empathy is part of compassion not morality. Empathy is that allows a person to sense another persons emotions.


And how will you have morality without this? How do you know what is compassionate to someone else? Quit being blatantly deliberately obtuse.

Compassion is what drives humanity, not morality.


You live on a planet called Earth?

None of that finds place in a compassionate being, a humane being, has nothing todo with morality.


What's compassionate to you may not be to someone else, remember there's no right or wrong in your argument. I could enter a maternity ward and club infants on the head and claim I'm being compassionate saving them from the cruel world. There is NOTHING in your worldview that can refute that action if you're not being hypocritical and self consistent.

So quit being hypocritical and telling people that their biblical based morality is silly, because as a self consistent moral relativist EVERYTHING goes.
kaasinees
1.8 / 5 (5) Feb 25, 2011
Sigh... i suggest you look up compassionate and morality up in the dictionary.. or just admit you are wrong.
Skeptic_Heretic
4.2 / 5 (5) Feb 25, 2011
So are you pre-defining morality within your question? If so, one need only point to your question as the definition. Otherwise you're asking us to define a term without using its definition. That can't be done textually.


I'M not defining morality, that's already been done. Are we grunting and clicking at each other or are we speaking ENGLISH? When you decide at let me know we can proceed, otherwise conversation with you is not only pointless, but not conversation.

Ok, this is when people start treating you like a jackass, because you're asking for it. I refuse to play this game with you again.
Modernmystic
1.5 / 5 (8) Feb 25, 2011
So are you pre-defining morality within your question? If so, one need only point to your question as the definition. Otherwise you're asking us to define a term without using its definition. That can't be done textually.


I'M not defining morality, that's already been done. Are we grunting and clicking at each other or are we speaking ENGLISH? When you decide at let me know we can proceed, otherwise conversation with you is not only pointless, but not conversation.

Ok, this is when people start treating you like a jackass, because you're asking for it. I refuse to play this game with you again.


No, actually it was me refusing to play your little games...
Modernmystic
1.5 / 5 (8) Feb 25, 2011
Sigh... i suggest you look up compassionate and morality up in the dictionary.. or just admit you are wrong.


OK so are you ACTUALLY saying there is no right and wrong or were you just trying to "look cool" to the leftist atheist crowd on the board?

It seems like you were doing just that because you're perfectly fine bashing people who base their morality on biblical principles...then out of the other side of your face say "everything is relative"....

Are you also saying that compassion has no relation to morality?

That's what you seemed to be saying, are you now saying you were wrong, just misunderstood?
kaasinees
2.3 / 5 (6) Feb 25, 2011
base their morality on biblical principles...then out of the other side of your face say "everything is relative"....

Ok that sentence is contradictive.
I have said it before and i will say it again, moral is personal, one may be a god worshipper or a satan worshipper, to make things easier for you to understand.

Are you also saying that compassion has no relation to morality?

Indeed.
dogbert
1 / 5 (5) Feb 26, 2011
If you admit to no standard, moral becomes whatever you choose to define as moral. Each person defines their own version of moral which may change in any way at any time. The concept becomes essentially meaningless since it has no concrete meaning.

If, however, you admit to a standard, then that standard determines what moral is. It does not change with time or circumstance.

hush1
not rated yet Feb 26, 2011
For the sake of futility, let's just say feelings and emotions belong to the same set.
Going overboard, I assert inanimate objects are void of this set. Like a computer voicing the words: "This is a construct."

Low, and behold, the computer exhibits an 'emergent' phenomenon, displays a quantum property (only because the set contains those possibilities) and the computer voices the words:

"This is a human construct"
...while zapping me dead with a spark. :)
soulman
5 / 5 (2) Feb 26, 2011
Each person defines their own version of moral which may change in any way at any time

That's more or less right, though I wouldn't say that it can change in ANY way. A person's world view tends not to change radically or frequently. It's more a process of refinement.
The concept becomes essentially meaningless since it has no concrete meaning

Concepts need not have concrete meaning to be useful. Everyone has an idea of what is and isn't moral to them. It centers around compassion, empathy and fairness (unless they get their 'morality' from religious dogma).
If, however, you admit to a standard, then that standard determines what moral is

How the hell are you going to get any group of people to agree to an arbitrary set of rules and edicts? The only way I can see that happening is if they can't think for themselves because they're in some kind of sect.
It does not change with time or circumstance

And that is exactly why it should NOT be 'standardized'!
Ethelred
5 / 5 (5) Feb 26, 2011
If, however, you admit to a standard, then that standard determines what moral is. It does not change with time or circumstance.
Of course it does. Any moral standard based on the golden rule will change with circumstances and time. Yours almost certainly is NOT the standard.

Or do you still advocate slavery as the Bible was just fine with it?

If you don't then you then you don't think the Bible is a standard for morals and that is what people claiming is THE standard on this thread.

Ethelred
dogbert
1 / 5 (4) Feb 26, 2011
soulman,
How the hell are you going to get any group of people to agree to an arbitrary set of rules and edicts?


That would be the problem of the god who set the standards, wouldn't it?

Just a point in reference to your "unable to think for themselves" argument, there are many highly intelligent people who believe in a god. Many scientists, professors, etc. You do not have to be atheist to claim intelligence. There are intelligent and unintelligent people in both groups.

soulman
5 / 5 (3) Feb 26, 2011
That would be the problem of the god who set the standards, wouldn't it?

I don't understand that comment.

Just a point in reference to your "unable to think for themselves" argument, there are many highly intelligent people who believe in a god. Many scientists, professors, etc. You do not have to be atheist to claim intelligence. There are intelligent and unintelligent people in both groups.

I believe I used the terms 'religious dogma' and 'sect' as opposed to a general belief in a deity (though of course, there is still overlap with the latter).

The reason I chose those phrases is because they signify a more fundamentalist, rigid stance on thinking in general, but especially in specific areas, so your rebuttal is just a man of straw.
Skeptic_Heretic
4.3 / 5 (6) Feb 26, 2011
Just a point in reference to your "unable to think for themselves" argument, there are many highly intelligent people who believe in a god.
They're not too logical if they think the source of their basic morality is an immoral, mass murdering, baby killing, rapist dictator who hates women.
dogbert
1 / 5 (5) Feb 26, 2011
I believe I used the terms 'religious dogma' and 'sect' as opposed to a general belief in a deity (though of course, there is still overlap with the latter).


Yes, you used the terms as they are meant to be used, in the perjorative sense. You cannot say "religious dogma" in any way but perjorative.

How the hell are you going to get any group of people to agree to an arbitrary set of rules and edicts?


That would be the problem of the god who set the standards, wouldn't it?


I don't understand that comment.


Really?
beau2am
5 / 5 (3) Feb 26, 2011

How the hell are you going to get any group of people to agree to an arbitrary set of rules and edicts?


That would be the problem of the god who set the standards, wouldn't it?

I, also, can't tell the point you're trying to make here, dogbert.
Are you implying that it's not your problem to get any group of people to agree to a set of rules and edicts, because it's God's?

Please clarify.

dogbert
1 / 5 (4) Feb 26, 2011
beau2am ,
We were discussing morals from the points of view that morals are malleable or static. I pointed out that morals based on a standard are static.

Soulman then said "How the hell are you going to get any group of people to agree to an arbitrary set of rules and edicts? ". My response was that that was not my problem, it was the problem of any entity setting such a standard.

Doesn't seem like an exchange which is hard to follow or difficult to understand.
mininova
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 26, 2011
The difference between morals and compassion or empathy, is that to be moral requires Free Will.
For example: Anyone would say a mother is compassionate to her child, but she never had the thought "Yes, I think I will be compassionate towards my little girl."
However, Morality requires that one make an independent decision. You must see both the temptation and the Good and choose the latter. I believe this is also what separates us from animals (Free Will that is) in the Christian view.
Sadly, Free Will does not exist (source - all of physics or if you must, the existence of an all knowing God), so neither does any true sense of morality. Compassion and empathy remain.
beau2am
5 / 5 (3) Feb 26, 2011
beau2am ,
We were discussing morals from the points of view that morals are malleable or static. I pointed out that morals based on a standard are static.

Morals are neither. Morals are a concept. They aren't real things. You can't measure morals.

Justice is also a concept. Can you measure justice?
What unit do you use?

Since a concept is an idea -and people create ideas -and people are dynamic --I imagine one could argue that any concept is dynamic. Including the concept of morals.

Soulman then said "How the hell are you going to get any group of people to agree to an arbitrary set of rules and edicts? ". My response was that that was not my problem, it was the problem of any entity setting such a standard.
Perhaps if more religious people believed that getting a "group of people to agree to an arbitrary set of rules and edicts" wasn't actually their problem -but instead it was their god's- I wouldn't have so many people encouraging me to swear and drink less.
dogbert
1 / 5 (4) Feb 27, 2011
Morals are neither [malleable or static]. Morals are a concept. They aren't real things. You can't measure morals.


When morals are considered a malleable concept, changeable and individualized, they do become essentially meaningless, but whether malleable or static, they are certainly measurable.

Murder, adultery, bigamy, theft, assault, libel, perjury, rape, etc. are all moral concepts which are also measurable and punishable legal concepts.
hush1
1 / 5 (1) Feb 27, 2011
How the hell are you going to get any group of people to agree to an arbitrary set of rules and edicts? The only way I can see that happening is if they can't think for themselves because they're in some kind of sect.


We, the sect mathematicians of the world, do hereby, gleefully declare, our God: Math.

How the hell do you think we united all of you to agree?
Don't go accusing us of thinking.

Don't go looking for flaws, simply because math is a human construct. At the very most, we are incomplete, not flawed.

Our world has implications for lesser constructs: Morals.

:)
soulman
5 / 5 (2) Feb 27, 2011
Yes, you used the terms as they are meant to be used, in the perjorative sense. You cannot say "religious dogma" in any way but perjorative.

Of course I did, because such extremist philosophies are abhorrent forms of intellectual abuse. I always choose my words carefully.
Murder, adultery, bigamy, theft, assault, libel, perjury, rape, etc. are all moral concepts

They're not concepts, they're just laws designed to protect the individual (or rather, to punish the perpetrator) living in a civil society.

Oh, and I certainly wouldn't include adultery in that list.
hush1
not rated yet Feb 27, 2011
:) > :(
or
:( < :)

So, rallying around an interest in 'free will' (freely defined, to be existent or non-existent) add as much as you want to either side of the inequality as long as everyone is more happy and less sad.

In the spirit of soulman, the 'laws' of inequality. :) lol
dogbert
1 / 5 (2) Feb 27, 2011
Oh, and I certainly wouldn't include adultery in that list.


Interesting that you do not find breach of contract immoral.
hush1
1 / 5 (1) Feb 27, 2011
Interesting that you do not find breach of contract immoral.


Maybe all natural forces or all higher forces of Nature exempt the contractee from being held liable to contract?

Dunno. "all natural forces or all higher forces of Nature" can be anything. Lightning to sex libido.

I sure soulman's answer will be not long in waiting.
soulman
5 / 5 (1) Feb 27, 2011
Interesting that you do not find breach of contract immoral.

Interesting that you do. Just goes to show how relative the concept of morality really is.
dogbert
1 / 5 (4) Feb 27, 2011
No, just goes to show how relative your morals are.
beau2am
5 / 5 (2) Feb 27, 2011
When morals are considered a malleable concept, changeable and individualized, they do become essentially meaningless, but whether malleable or static, they are certainly measurable.

A "concept" is a construction of the mind. Therefore, a concept only has meaning because we GIVE it meaning -using our minds.
-If something has meaning, it's because our mind gives it meaning.
-If something is meaningless, it's because our mind gives it no meaning.

Murder, adultery. . . are all moral concepts which are also measurable and punishable legal concepts.
Murder, bigamy, and etc -are not moral concepts. They're actions. Moral conceptions define whether an action is "right" or "wrong" (as in "that's a moral action" or "that's not a moral action").
All conceptions are creations of the mind.
Murder's also a concept -but not a moral one. A moral would just define the "right" and "wrong" of murder.
How do you "measure" a moral concept? What unit do you use? ..Moraliters? heheh
dogbert
1 / 5 (4) Feb 27, 2011
beau2am,

Morals attach right/wrong meaning to actions and even to a failure to act.

If there is no moral standard, actions (and failures to act) are as moral or immoral as the individual chooses to view them. Where there is a standard, however, actions have a defined meaning which is not subject to change.

How you assign morality to an action determines whether the term "moral" has a real meaning or whether the term has a transient or changeable meaning.

Morality without a standard is and remains essentially meaningless.
Skeptic_Heretic
4.4 / 5 (7) Feb 27, 2011
Morality without a standard is and remains essentially meaningless.
Then tell us what the universal standard is. You keep dancing around it, like a broke dick version of Kant.

How do you square your exampled racism from other threads as a moral practice?
dogbert
1 / 5 (6) Feb 27, 2011
Skeptic_Heretic,

Do you have to take your racist hate to every thread?

Go away.
beau2am
5 / 5 (2) Feb 27, 2011
Morals attach right/wrong meaning to actions and even to a failure to act.
More precisely: PEOPLE attach the labels of "right" and "wrong" (aka morals) to actions and failures to act (ie, people moralize).

If there is no moral standard, actions (and failures to act) are as moral or immoral as the individual chooses to view them.
Well, even if all humans shared the same moral standard, all actions and failures to act would STILL be as moral or immoral as the individual chooses to view them.
-It's just that all the individuals would agree with each other.

Where there is a standard, however, actions have a defined meaning which is not subject to change.
Actions have a defined meaning whether or not there's a standard. Definitions change when people change their minds about what something means.
Even if there was a standard -if everyone changed their minds about what defined an action or morals relating to it, then the standard defined meaning would change.
dogbert
1 / 5 (5) Feb 27, 2011
beau2am ,

Yes, if your standard is consensus, then of course, you have no standard and if everyone changed their mind, the consensus opinion would change.

We are repeating ourselves.

Only an unchanging standard results in unchanging morality.

hush1
not rated yet Feb 27, 2011
What's the missing link between moral reasoning and moral action? Emotion. Emotions—fear, guilt, love—play a central role in all thinking and behavior, including moral behavior.


(From the posted article.)
This is why math enjoys such wide-spread acceptance. Of all human languages, the language of math is 'least' 'human'.

"Emotions play a central role in all thinking and behavior."
"Actions" of math and the "reasoning" of math 'enjoy' the 'least' "central role" of emotion in all thinking and behavior.

As long as the researchers insist that the "missing link between moral reasoning and moral action" is emotion and that emotion "play a central role" for all thinking and behavior, there will be no solution to the quadrature of the circle.
beau2am
5 / 5 (4) Feb 27, 2011
Yes, if your standard is consensus, then of course, you have no standard . . .
No. If your standard is consensus -you still have a standard.

The Earth revolves around the sun.
-That is both the standard and consensus view.
-Everyone agrees, AND it is still a standard.

We are repeating ourselves.
No, I'm clarifying semantics and logical fallacies in your writing. And since you agree with my clarifications (because they're logical), I think you see no reason to disagree. And, I imagine that -since you don't disagree- you assume that what I've been saying is what you've been saying the whole time.
It isn't, though. Otherwise I probably wouldn't have posted.

Only an unchanging standard results in unchanging morality
Agreed.
Skeptic_Heretic
3.6 / 5 (5) Feb 27, 2011
Skeptic_Heretic,

Do you have to take your racist hate to every thread?
My hatred of racism is a defining characteristic of my morality. You have failed to produce your standard although you've been asked for it multiple times. This means you do not have one. There is no standard morality.
Go away.

You first.
Ethelred
5 / 5 (5) Feb 27, 2011
I pointed out that morals based on a standard are static.
What standard?
Morality without a standard is and remains essentially meaningless.
What is the standard?
Interesting that you do not find breach of contract immoral.
So what is the standard you prefer?
No, just goes to show how relative your morals are.
What are YOUR morals based on?
We are repeating ourselves.Only an unchanging standard results in unchanging morality.
Yes you are repeatedly evading the question. What is the standard you think is imitable?
Do you have to take your racist hate to every thread?
Apparently YOUR standard allows for lying.

So are you EVER going to answer the question of what you think is an appropriate UNCHANGING standard?

Ethelred
dogbert
1 / 5 (5) Feb 27, 2011
Ethelred,

The discussion is about morals. Try to stay on topic.

Name calling is childish and unproductive.
soulman
4.8 / 5 (6) Feb 28, 2011
Name calling is childish and unproductive.

So turn the other cheek, but be sure to answer his question first, as many would like to know.
Ethelred
5 / 5 (3) Feb 28, 2011
Dogbert EVADES again.
The discussion is about morals. Try to stay on topic.
I did.
Name calling is childish and unproductive.
I agree. Most of the time. However YOU did lie. See the next quote for you lie.
Do you have to take your racist hate to every thread?
Name calling and a lie making you a hypocrite base on the this evasion of yours.

Now can the evasion and answer the VERY on topic question.

You can ignore the reality above but I will point the continued evasion as long as it goes on.

What is the moral STANDARD you think is the right one?

Ethelred
Ethelred
5 / 5 (3) Feb 28, 2011
So turn the other cheek,

He doesn't need to as I did not engage name calling. I did point ou that he lied and that accusation is another lie.

If pointing out obvious lies is name calling I think the all the dictionaries need an update.

Ethelred
dogbert
1 / 5 (4) Feb 28, 2011
soulman ,

I will not engage in a personal attack with Ethelred (or with you). Whether or not I have a standard on which I base my morality is irrelevant to a discussion of the nature of morality. Neither is your standard or lack thereof.

Ethelred's name calling is childish and designed to provoke a childish fight.
Ethelred
5 / 5 (3) Feb 28, 2011
I will not engage in a personal attack with Ethelred

Too late you already did.
Whether or not I have a standard on which I base my morality is irrelevant to a discussion

False. YOU are claiming a standard that does change in any way at any time. Without knowing the actual standard we have to assume that you don't actually have that. Taking you behavior into account then if you do have such a standard available I find it difficult accept that it is one you are following.
Neither is your standard or lack thereof.

You don't have a standard as YOU are engaged in name calling. Again.
Ethelred's name calling is

Is nonexistent. And irrelevant to your continued evasion of an appropriate question.
designed to provoke a childish fight.

Since I did not call you any names it is YOU that are fighting. And it is clear to anyone reading this that you made the bogus claim to evade the question.

What is the standard you are using?

Ethelred
soulman
5 / 5 (1) Feb 28, 2011
Whether or not I have a standard on which I base my morality is irrelevant to a discussion of the nature of morality.

It is perfectly relevant, as you well know, because no one else is talking about standards of morality that are set in stone (lol) - you are doing that. And, as no one else can identify with your curious position, it's perfectly reasonable to ask you to reveal this standard of yours, so that we can progress the discussion.
Neither is your standard or lack thereof.

I've already explained that I didn't have a rigid definition, and that it derives from a confluence of things like compassion, empathy and fairness. Concepts which themselves don't have rigid definitions.
Ethelred
5 / 5 (3) Feb 28, 2011
And, as no one else can identify with your curious position, it's perfectly reasonable to ask you to reveal this standard of yours, so that we can progress the discussion.
I know perfectly well what his standard is. He isn't going to answer the question because it might make it harder for him to continue to pretend to be something other than what he is.

I really don't know who he thinks is fooling after the Skin color discussion. Newbies and himself maybe.

Ethelred
soulman
5 / 5 (2) Feb 28, 2011
I know perfectly well what his standard is.

As do I, but it's fun to see to what lengths he'll go duckin' and weavin'.
beau2am
not rated yet Feb 28, 2011
it derives from a confluence of things like compassion, empathy and fairness. Concepts which themselves don't have rigid definitions.

My definition of compassion is: A willingness to be there for someone and to help end their suffering.
(It doesn't mean that we WILL be there -or that we WILL end their suffering -just that we're willing to be there and willing to help end their suffering)

That's the definition I use.
hush1
not rated yet Feb 28, 2011
Hmmm. Both conscience and consciousness lack working definitions. Moral stems from those definitions - from definitions not yet defined for Science.

There have been many attempts to give conscience and consciousness working definitions.

Like sensing intuitively there must be working definitions for the 'science' of conscience and consciousness - a first step towards opening the door for such words to scientific methodology.

To be human will remain unscientific.
Meanwhile, other questions remain.
Is there a 'compassionate' science?
beau2am
5 / 5 (1) Feb 28, 2011
Is there a 'compassionate' science?
I don't think so by definition. If science is just knowledge or the study of something -then I don't think 'compassionate' (or even 'un-compassionate') works logically... unless we're studying the 'Science of Compassion' perhaps.
I think I might be incorrect on this point, though.

I certainly think we could arrange for 'compassionate research'.
Skeptic_Heretic
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 28, 2011
Whether or not I have a standard on which I base my morality is irrelevant to a discussion of the nature of morality. Neither is your standard or lack thereof.
Except when you attempt to establish that there is a standard, you must then state what that standard is.

If you have no standard, then your aspersions cast above are nonsensical.
hush1
not rated yet Feb 28, 2011
Is there a 'compassionate' science?
I don't think so by definition. If science is just knowledge or the study of something -then I don't think 'compassionate' (or even 'un-compassionate') works logically... unless we're studying the 'Science of Compassion' perhaps.
I think I might be incorrect on this point, though.

I certainly think we could arrange for 'compassionate research'.


:)
Compassion enjoys a lot of consensus on this particular thread.
'Science' is anthropogenic. Despite 'safeguards'. Despite definitions and knowledge - that change with time.

Agreed. (To your last statement) :)
sailor_girl
not rated yet Mar 22, 2011
Hey everyone,
I have to critique this study and was wondering if anyone could help me out and tell me what's wrong with it? Or give me some insight of things that are wrong with the testing.
Thanks