Author Topic: What drives your moral/ethical stance on issues?  (Read 266 times)

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Offline magicmiles

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What drives your moral/ethical stance on issues?
« on: May 04, 2014, 07:14:02 PM »
It seems to me that we tend to be rather inconsistent with regard to applying our ethical and moral values, or at least with regard to the extent to which we apply them.

For instance, one might object to horse racing on the basis that the horses suffer physical harm from being regularly ridden hard (broken legs, being whipped etc.). The form that objection takes might be entirely passive (only provide an opinion if asked) or more active (protesting at racetracks, petitions, enlisting political support etc.).

That same person might have absolutely no objection to purchasing products which have been created in overseas warehouse with appalling conditions and safety procedures.

That's just one example, not necessarily the best available, but I hope you get my general thinking. What do you think dictates our moral stances? Is it self-interest? Popularity/publicity of an issue?

Please note that I am in no way trying to start a discussion on absolute moral standards. For the purpose of the discussion I am assuming that we all have our own standards which we develop.
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Offline Nam

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Re: What drives your moral/ethical stance on issues?
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2014, 10:59:40 PM »
I like it, I like it. I don't, I don't.

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Online screwtape

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Re: What drives your moral/ethical stance on issues?
« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2014, 09:41:14 AM »
I don't understand your question.  Your explanation and example do not seem to align to me.

If I ignore the example and just answer the questions at face value, I would say two things drive morals - societal and cultural norms and personal preferences.  Both of which can be manipulated in various ways. Niether of which are particularly rational or consistent.
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Offline Jag

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Re: What drives your moral/ethical stance on issues?
« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2014, 10:39:00 AM »
I agree with screwtape - I'm not sure that I'm clear on your question. But hey, that's never stopped me from attempting an answer so here ya go:

An example of how I apply my moral stance to every day issues: as much as possible and within my means, I attempt to limit my use of single-use plastic. One way I manage this is by making many of my household cleaning supplies. This has an added bonus of avoiding the smell of chemicals in commercial products (certain chemical scents give me a headache), but that's a bonus, not a driver. I try to put more attention on reduce in the first place, reuse whenever practical, as opposed to recycling as my default.

Another one: I found out a few months ago that Jockey (the undie company) is a big supporter of the Koch brothers. So now I buy my bras and undies from Hanes.

And another: many years ago, I made the decision to not spend my shopping dollars at Walmart because I strongly object to their business practices. I do not push my decision on anyone else, and do not make an issue of it if others choose to shop there. I also don't kid myself into thinking that my puny expenditures make any difference whatsoever, but my conscience insists that I continue refusing to support them.That one is sometimes hard for me - the workers and the suppliers are actually more likely harmed by my decision than Walmart is - but I stand by my choice because it's the one I can live with ethically in consideration of my interpretation of the bigger picture. New information could change my mind.

Is this what you are looking for? My behavior in an ethical sense is driven by my awareness that there may be an ethical matter to consider. If I don't realize, for whatever the reason, that there may be an ethical or moral aspect to consider, then it's irrelevant - I can't act on that which I don't know anything about. If I am aware of it, I apply what I know against my personal standards (extremely broad strokes could be defined as "do as little harm as possible") and decide accordingly. Limiting harm is challenging, and often requires that I make trade-offs.

Honestly it's no different that what you do, other than the perceived origin of the standard we use to measure our personal behavior against our personal ethics. You see God where I see psychology, sociology and social norms/cultural influence. I've been heavily influenced by science, which pushes me to respect the limits of our current resources and avoid waste as much as possible.
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Offline One Above All

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Re: What drives your moral/ethical stance on issues?
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2014, 01:58:54 PM »
I live by many laws, but here are the top three (in descending order of importance).

Always tell the truth.
Preserve life at all costs (except when it would conflict with the first law and in the case of self-preservation).
Preserve free will at all costs (except when it would conflict with the previous two laws).


However, I realize that this is not a fair system to impose on everyone, so I have a different set (again, descending order of importance) I think is fair.

Preserve life at all costs (except in the case of self-preservation).
Do not willingly cause harm (except where it would conflict with the previous law).
Preserve free will at all costs (except where it would conflict with the previous two laws).
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
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Offline Nam

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Re: What drives your moral/ethical stance on issues?
« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2014, 03:32:19 PM »
I live by many laws, but here are the top three (in descending order of importance).

Always tell the truth.
Preserve life at all costs (except when it would conflict with the first law and in the case of self-preservation).
Preserve free will at all costs (except when it would conflict with the previous two laws).


However, I realize that this is not a fair system to impose on everyone, so I have a different set (again, descending order of importance) I think is fair.

Preserve life at all costs (except in the case of self-preservation).
Do not willingly cause harm (except where it would conflict with the previous law).
Preserve free will at all costs (except where it would conflict with the previous two laws).

So basically:


1. A human  may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

2. A human must obey the orders given to it by other human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

3. A human must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

;)

-Nam
This thread is about lab-grown dicks, not some mincy, old, British poof of an actor. 

Let's get back on topic, please.


Offline magicmiles

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Re: What drives your moral/ethical stance on issues?
« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2014, 04:01:57 PM »
I suspected I hadn't asked my question very well, so thanks for providing answers anyway.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the ethical decisions we make seem to be selective. I know that isn't exactly an apple falling on the head type of observation, but its just something I think a lot about.

My own take on it is that we generally respond to moral/ethical prompts up to a certain point of personal inconvenience, but if we were to be absolutely consistent in applying our moral standards to our lives we would probably live very uncomfortable lives.

This is sort of all tied in to general discontent I've been experiencing for some time now with the way we live in wealthy countries. I'm just so completely tired of the obsession with money, jobs, the million trivial things we get bombarded with daily. But at the same time, I like being comfortable and I enjoy the fruits of the system.

I live by many laws, but here are the top three (in descending order of importance).

Always tell the truth.
Preserve life at all costs (except when it would conflict with the first law and in the case of self-preservation).


I couldn't help being Devil's Advocate with this. Scenario: you see a man run past you, clearly very scared, and hide behind a doorway. A few seconds later you see two men run up with bulges in their pockets which you suspect to be guns. They ask you if you have seen the person you just saw hide. Do you tell the truth?
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Offline One Above All

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Re: What drives your moral/ethical stance on issues?
« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2014, 04:14:34 PM »
I couldn't help being Devil's Advocate with this. Scenario: you see a man run past you, clearly very scared, and hide behind a doorway. A few seconds later you see two men run up with bulges in their pockets which you suspect to be guns. They ask you if you have seen the person you just saw hide. Do you tell the truth?

I've heard examples several times. Here's the answer:
Yes. Would I enjoy it? No. Would I try to be deceitful? Yes.[1] Why? Because, while I think truth is more important than life, I feel life is more important than truth. I believe it is due to me being a living, sentient organism, rather than, say, a virus or bacterium.
 1. Truth =/= Honesty
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Offline Jag

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Re: What drives your moral/ethical stance on issues?
« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2014, 04:41:25 PM »
To an extent, we're also limited by the choices we have available to us, and some of those are determined by earlier choices that are beyond changing. You do the best you can with what you have to work with.

So, are we talking about consumer behavior or something else? Your third and fourth paragraphs seems to indicate consumerism, but your question to One doesn't. Lots of things can potentially have ethical consequences, what are you interested in discussing?
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Offline magicmiles

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Re: What drives your moral/ethical stance on issues?
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2014, 04:46:43 PM »
To an extent, we're also limited by the choices we have available to us, and some of those are determined by earlier choices that are beyond changing. You do the best you can with what you have to work with.

So, are we talking about consumer behavior or something else? Your third and fourth paragraphs seems to indicate consumerism, but your question to One doesn't. Lots of things can potentially have ethical consequences, what are you interested in discussing?

To be honest, I can't marshal my own thoughts properly on this topic yet so probably best I let it be for now. 
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Re: What drives your moral/ethical stance on issues?
« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2014, 06:45:16 PM »
"I couldn't help being Devil's Advocate with this. Scenario: you see a man run past you, clearly very scared, and hide behind a doorway. A few seconds later you see two men run up with bulges in their pockets which you suspect to be guns. They ask you if you have seen the person you just saw hide. Do you tell the truth?
"

easy i get a safe distance and ring the police.
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