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Still Waters

How do we make moral decisions?

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Still Waters

When it comes to making moral decisions, we often think of the golden rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Yet, why we make such decisions has been widely debated. Are we motivated by feelings of guilt, where we don't want to feel bad for letting the other person down? Or by fairness, where we want to avoid unequal outcomes?

Some people may rely on principles of both guilt and fairness and may switch their moral rule depending on the circumstances, according to a Radboud University -- Dartmouth College study on moral decision-making and cooperation. The findings challenge prior research in economics, psychology and neuroscience, which is often based on the premise that people are motivated by one moral principle, which remains constant over time. 

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190418164342.htm

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DebDandelion

Interesting read. I have always postulated that moral code is determined by the society that we are raised in, hence there are different moral codes for different societies. This means (for me) that your moral code is determined by the society you are raised in, and if you never question that you adopt the moral code in totality. If you do question that moral code, or some aspect of that moral code you will find that you adjust your code as you see fit. Fairness is not always part of the society's moral code, depends on the functioning of the society. 

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Alchopwn
On 4/21/2019 at 2:46 PM, DebDandelion said:

Interesting read. I have always postulated that moral code is determined by the society that we are raised in, hence there are different moral codes for different societies. This means (for me) that your moral code is determined by the society you are raised in, and if you never question that you adopt the moral code in totality. If you do question that moral code, or some aspect of that moral code you will find that you adjust your code as you see fit. Fairness is not always part of the society's moral code, depends on the functioning of the society. 

That is only partly true about different cultures having different moral codes.  In fact, most societies have the same moral rules, but they place different emphasis on them.  For example, as Confucianism uses the family as the model for all society it has promoted an excessive importance on the power of parents over children, whereas in the West, while parents have a high degree of control over children, it is understood that children too deserve freedom, and parents are thus compelled not to abuse their authority. It is a matter of degree.  In some cultures theft demands death, in others theft demands dismemberment, in others a financial fine of some level, and it is a pretty rare society where personal property isn't respected, but they do exist.  Interestingly, all societies have strict prohibitions against in-group (family and friend) murder, and against arson, and nearly all societies place them pretty high on lists of what not to do.  These, it seems, are universal human laws.

On 4/21/2019 at 5:47 AM, Still Waters said:

The findings challenge prior research in economics, psychology and neuroscience, which is often based on the premise that people are motivated by one moral principle, which remains constant over time. 

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190418164342.htm

Yes, that was a weakness in prior studies.  

Leading questions skit from Yes Prime Minister

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