#1
I got into a rather dull and stagnant discussion about morals today that some of you may have seen and since then I've been thinking about one point in particular. This might be a bit long-winded, but trust me, you'll make it to the end in one piece.

I was arguing earlier that morals are taught, and that you are not born with an inherent sense of right or wrong. This is not what the thread is about, but if you wish to discuss it, go ahead. I was continuing to say that state laws can have much bearing over your morality, but that not all of them are based on morals (drug laws, for example.)

Of course, different countries have different values and different laws, and as such, they have different morals. Citizens of lawless states such as we see in parts of Africa and the Middle-East at the moment can appear to have a distinct lack of morals.

Since I was discussing morals relating to laws and conflicting perspectives of opposing states, I kind of came to a conclusion that it was wrong for one party to brand their own morals 'correct' other party's morals as inherently 'wrong.' For example, it Country A took issue with human rights abuses, and Country B was negligent of human rights, it would be wrong of Country A to attempt to lecture Country B on the morality of what they were doing, and even more wrong to threaten them to change their ways, or vice-versa.

Still with me? I think we're nearly there.

Through the course of the day, I began to wonder if it was morally wrong for somebody to impose their morals on somebody else.

It's difficult to explain my thought process, but I eventually reached a mind-**** of a moral dilemma...

Is it hypocritical say that it is morally wrong to impose your morals on somebody?

Subsequently, is this hypocrisy morally justifiable?

TL;DR: Just start reading after the 4th paragraph, you lazy bastard.


EDIT: This is now open for discussion;
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Bigger question imo, Why is hypocrisy wrong?



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Last edited by Butt Rayge at Nov 18, 2011,
#3
It depends what morals they are, and to what extent Country B are breaching them. I believe that if it's something that directly affects and lowers the quality of somebody's life, then Country A has a right to interfere.
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#4
No it's not okay to force your morals onto someone else. But the exception is the serial-whateverist going around hurting people because that's morally okay with them.

I think there needs to be a small definition of moral so no one gets hurt.
#5
I'm too tired to think about that....
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#6
Why do you assume that many people in the Middle East and africa have less moral values than you?
#7
Quote by Butt Rayge


Is it hypocritical say that it is morally wrong to impose your morals on somebody?

Subsequently, is this hypocrisy morally justifiable?

TL;DR: Just start reading after the 4th paragraph, you lazy bastard.


It's only hypocritical when you take the stance that everyone is free to live by their own morals and then proceed to impose your own on them when they do something you disagree with. There's also a distinction between thinking people should live by certain morals and actually taking an action, if the situation arises, where you apply your own morals over theirs.

Bigger question imo, Why is hypocrisy wrong? If anything it's inevitable, and hypocrisy in personal moral stances and ethical stances of society should be embraced or things like the justice system wouldn't work.
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#8
Quote by LD_Luke D
Why do you assume that many people in the Middle East and africa have less moral values than you?

I don't, and that's not the point of the thread.

Some of them certainly have different morals though.

I'll take this opportunity to reiterate. This thread is not about dictating who's morals are right and who's are wrong, nor is it about which actions and values are morally right or wrong.

This is what we should discuss;
Quote by me

Through the course of the day, I began to wonder if it was morally wrong for somebody to impose their morals on somebody else.

Is it hypocritical say that it is morally wrong to impose your morals on somebody?

Subsequently, is this hypocrisy morally justifiable?


Is that clear?
#9
Well since morals are just a socially created concept by our species, I'd say the hypocrisy is not morally justifiable.
#10
Quote by theguitarist
Bigger question imo, Why is hypocrisy wrong?

I was also thinking about that, but wasn't sure if I could fit it into the OP without it getting too convoluted. I'll stick this quote in, though.
#11
You can have a subjective view that there is nothing wrong with imposing your morals on others. There's nothing contradictory about that. In the same way you can hold it to be an absolute and objective truth that people can follow any morality.


In any case, don't feel compelled to go down a route of absolute brute relativism. Even accepting that values may be subjective, doesn't mean that you just have to accept everyone has their views and that's that. Two people could think different things right or wrong in the same situation despite actually having the same values due to different knowledge of the particulars of the situation, of what they values actually pertain to etc.
Two people may think they completely differ on a subject but if they both understood all the facts of the situation they may agree.
#12
Quote by Butt Rayge
Is it hypocritical say that it is morally wrong to impose your morals on somebody?

Subsequently, is this hypocrisy morally justifiable?

TL;DR: Just start reading after the 4th paragraph, you lazy bastard.

It would be hypocritical to impose morals that you yourself do not abide by.

Just because you don't act in accordance with your own morals, doesn't make it morally bad to impose them on others.
#13
Hypocrisy isn't wrong, it's just seen as a baseless way of trying to make a point and therefore people aren't likely to listen to you, unless you enforce it in some way i.e. terrorism or similar.

If we're considering the situation in Afghan (and probably Iraq too, but I'm slightly more ignorant of the circumstances there atm) where the coalition is spending as much time aiding the population that supports them as taking out the population that opposes them, then I am fully supportive of that.
The Taliban are no longer a legitimate political force. They were built from rebel militia, and have descended back the same way, while trying to force the "free" people the same way as them, while killing the ones who do not follow. Terrorism is an illegal act, and really if we're in their country and they want us to play by their rules, then they've condemned themselves to their deaths. It's hypocrisy on both sides, but the support of the general people there seems to be in favour of the Western occupation by the majority, which in some horribly contrived analogical way gives us the right of power to subdue the insurgency.

Don't really have a tl;dr for that, so sorry if it makes no sense. Trying to do other things at the same time./
Last edited by SkepsisMetal at Nov 18, 2011,
#14
Hypocrisy can be a sign of an inconsistent or contradictory system though, which I think IS negative, and in some way a technical impossibility if fully understood.
Someone cannot, if they actually understand what they are saying, say "I believe x, but I do not believe x". It is not humanly possible to both hold a belief and not hold the exact same belief.

Similarly (and more relevant to ethics) you can't actually hold that you both should and should not do something. You may see reason for both doing something and not doing it, but if you do or do not do it it means that somewhere overall you actually believe you should do one or the other.
When someone says "I should do this work, but I can't be bothered" what they mean is that they understand reasons for the work and what would come of it, but as a matter of fact value their laziness more.

If someone said "Everyone should share! But I won't." they may, in common parlance be being hypocritical, but it just shows that at some level they do not believe of understand what they just said.
Saying that though, there is nothing irrational or impossible about someone saying "everyone else should share, but I shouldn't". They might be a bit of a dick and have a hard time justifying it, but that's not hypocritical, it's just stupid.
#15
I would still argue that you are born with a innate sense of right and wrong, wich is ofc influenced by your culture etc. You can see this in very young children and even in animals.

In the point you made about banning or advocating alcohol. You need to
have a open discussion about such cases, the result maybe the prohibition of it in some cultures. Wich in the end this would probably be good for the general health in this culture. There maybe many ways that are right. Not banning it may be right for some other culture. (It would never be right to force people to drink)

It's precisely because this is not a black and white picture you need to have an open discussion about this, to develop a fair and well thought out system. There are however black spots on this picture you can't argue about.

You can't say it's morally right to force half of a countrys population to live in clothbags and if they don't you throw battery acid in their faces.
#16
We covered this in my last year of Sixth Form in Philosophy and Ethics.

Sadly I can't remember an of it.

I'd have to say though that I feel that we must have inherent sense of conscience even if it's only a hardwired base tribal conscience from when we had to look out for those close to us back we were trying to stab mammoths with sticks or what ever.

And imo, without trying to sound racist, that's what is being shown in Africa isn't it, a form of tribal us v them mentality? I'm not big on the news but I heard it was another genocide type thing.
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#17
I'd say that hypocrisy isn't wrong, just a sign of a poor sense of reasoning or logic. As for imposition of morals: forcing them is wrong, suggesting them or debating them is perfectly okay and healthy.

As for sense of right and wrong: being very much into biological arguments, I believe that we are born with genes which "code" us be predisposed to having certain morals (based on the same code which our parents have), after which we develop morals through the way we grow up. Basically, it's both nature and nurture, though I have no evidence for this: I'm just taking an informed guess.

I've probably read the OP wrong somewhere, but meh.
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#18
Sounds like you might enjoy and share some views with philosopher Jessie Prinz:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ae-jz5usFAk

This video is an hour and a half long, but it was an excellent watch, and if you do like to contemplate philosophy or are interested in it (mainly aimed at OP) then it's definitely worth it.
The view your looking at is called "Cultural Relativism" or "Moral Relativism". If you can't be bothered to watch the video, look it up for a summary. However, Prinz's brand of CR is kind of unique and I really do recommend watching the video.
(Not saying I agree 100% with him...he brings up great points, but can also be argued with).
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#19
Quote by dig up my date
Well since morals are just a socially created concept by our species, I'd say the hypocrisy is not morally justifiable.


Is just? Why does it have to be reduced because of its origin. Morality is highly important to civilization. Also, TS it becomes a cluster****, I'm a relativist as you are and I don't think one culture should tell another what to do, but now we're such a smaller world. We have a world economy and becoming I don't know more unified, or at least dependant on one another and cultural clash becomes a big issue. Like say you're an oil business right now and you have to deal with the middle east and your CEO is female. Now the middle east's less than feminist culture is hurting you in a completely seperate culture, and the options come down in culture clash to either assimilating or forcing the opposing culture to assimilate to you, and usually it's a question of who is stronger.
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#21
Quote by WhiskeyFace
Well you're admitting to moral relativism, so there is no real morality. Both countries are wrong.


There is morality. The cultures dictate the morality.
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#22
Quote by theguitarist
It's only hypocritical when you take the stance that everyone is free to live by their own morals and then proceed to impose your own on them when they do something you disagree with.


Tell this to hardcore atheists, please.

Anyway, I think it depends on the extent of the immorality. If country B doesn't give its people, say, one right that country A has, then country A shouldn't care. But if country B is actively harming its people and has the potential to harm country A, then country A is more justified, not fully, but moreso. Again this is a case by case basis.

And also, what constitutes imposing your own morals on someone? Obviously stuff like what Westboro does is insane and hypocritical. But for example what if someone was addicted to smoking, and another person said 'hey, I'm not forcing you to not smoke, but it's really bad for you.' I wouldn't consider that imposing morals, it's more about looking out for other people's safety.
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#24
Quote by Banjocal
I'd say that hypocrisy isn't wrong, just a sign of a poor sense of reasoning or logic. As for imposition of morals: forcing them is wrong, suggesting them or debating them is perfectly okay and healthy.



Isn't that just a moral stance that is prone to being contradicted itself? Eg if someone does something you disagree with, like they murder a whole bunch of babies I dunno, but they feel it is morally justified to them, and you punish them for it/are in support of them being punished or having their morals changed (through rehabiliation/therapy/etc) because of it, forcing your definitions or right or wrong on them, are you not then contradicting yourself? Or are you saying that you would be indifferent and at most want to just attempt to change their morals, in which case do you draw the line at which morals are imposed based on your own precepts of right and wrong?

I know punishment is a weak area to probe this, but I'm lazy atm, just trying to point out that everyone contradicts their stated moral stances in some way. However, I suppose you can argue that it's due in part to natural irrationality & mood creating a separation between what you know is right and what you actually do.

Then again I think irrationality and the hypocrisy it causes is vital to people's personalities, they'd be boring bots otherwise.

Edit:

Quote by thePTOD
Tell this to hardcore atheists, please.

which is why I rather identify myself as agnostic, though I have heard some compelling arguments why atheists should be proactive and aggressive, usually along the lines of 'heavily religion based attitudes are impacting (usually indirectly) on other people/nations/laws/trials/govt policy and so in turn affecting our otherwise non-religion affected lives' so I'm a bit mixed about it. On one hand they should chill out and leave the people to their faith, on the other religion shouldn't be impacting on people who don't want any part of it, so aggressive atheists might be justified in their attitudes.
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#25
Quote by WhiskeyFace
They're wrong. "Because we reckon so" is not a good argument for why something is right or wrong. Doing something that goes against convention of a certain culture is socially unacceptable but does not necessarily have anything to do with morality.


That's not the argument they use. Culture build moral viewpoints off of history, tradition, and the collective opinion. Socially unacceptable stuff does go against the convention of morality, that's why it's socially unacceptable.
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#26
Quote by tayroar
That's not the argument they use. Culture build moral viewpoints off of history, tradition, and the collective opinion. Socially unacceptable stuff does go against the convention of morality, that's why it's socially unacceptable.

Yeah, that's pretty much the same thing. You can't argue those things into moral values. You can only say "don't do that, because we don't like it!". You may be able to say why you don't like it, but you can't explain why I ought not to do it. Moral relativism is nihilism.

Not the mention that 'culture' is something that exists in peoples minds anyway. It's not that the earth is broken up into little sections that we call cultures.
#27
Quote by theguitarist
Isn't that just a moral stance that is prone to being contradicted itself? Eg if someone does something you disagree with, like they murder a whole bunch of babies I dunno, but they feel it is morally justified to them, and you punish them for it/are in support of them being punished or having their morals changed (through rehabiliation/therapy/etc) because of it, forcing your definitions or right or wrong on them, are you not then contradicting yourself? Or are you saying that you would be indifferent and at most want to just attempt to change their morals, in which case do you draw the line at which morals are imposed based on your own precepts of right and wrong?

I know punishment is a weak area to probe this, but I'm lazy atm, just trying to point out that everyone contradicts their stated moral stances in some way. However, I suppose you can argue that it's due in part to natural irrationality & mood creating a separation between what you know is right and what you actually do.
All moral stances are prone to contradiction. In the situation of a person thinking murdering babies was morally justified, I would refer them to a psychiatrist, not my opinion those morals would be caused by mental instability (at least, that's what the law would say). Try not to read too far into what I said: you are generalising my opinion/theory to extreme situations to which it would obviously not apply.

As for
in which case do you draw the line at which morals are imposed based on your own precepts of right and wrong?
I would find a large number of people trained in law and psychology to debate such a thing, and come to a generalised opinion of moral different judgements and when and how they should be imposed depending on the situation.


Then again I think irrationality and the hypocrisy it causes is vital to people's personalities, they'd be boring bots otherwise.
I agree, but I still consider hypocrisy unintelligent.

I am mostly apathetic to morals, as I have a somewhat odd view on ethics and morals (asspurgers, apparently), but you get the idea. For the most part, forcing opinions is something I dislike (though in your example, it may be a different case), but I feel that people should never feel unsure whether to voice their opinion or not: I like to hear what others think.
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#28
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Yeah, that's pretty much the same thing. You can't argue those things into moral values. You can only say "don't do that, because we don't like it!". You may be able to say why you don't like it, but you can't explain why I ought not to do it. Moral relativism is nihilism.

Not the mention that 'culture' is something that exists in peoples minds anyway. It's not that the earth is broken up into little sections that we call cultures.


The earth isn't broken up into sections, but there are clear differences. Just because something isn't physical doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
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#29
Quote by tayroar
The earth isn't broken up into sections, but there are clear differences. Just because something isn't physical doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

I never said it didn't exist, I said it didn't exist how most people think of it. Culture is why people behave certain ways, and how they interpret certain symbols. It exists in peoples minds, but I don't think 'subjective' is the right word because it is public. It's like language. I'm not saying cultures don't have views on morality, I'm just saying they're wrong. When it comes to real morality, as in, actually being able to explain why something is right or wrong and why we ought to or ought not to do something, moral relativism just leads to nihilism.
#30
First off I'd like to make the distinction between morality and ethics. Morality is your sense that distinguishes right and wrong. Ethics is your sense of how to achieve moral goals; the science of morality.

I'd argue that we ARE born with a sense of morality as we have both a sense of well-being and empathy (for the most part). However, we are born without a sense of ethics. We construct ethics as we go along using logic, norms, and values which are often acquired by socialization. Therefore, people have differing perspectives on how to achieve the best possible world even though their fundamental morals are the same.

The best possible world is that which morality is achieved perfectly; well-being is maximized and misery is non-existent. There are no sure-fire ethics to achieve the perfect world and so we can only invoke probabilities. Some ethics will have a greater possibility of increasing well-being than others and so can be considered more ethical. However, remembering that people differ in values, the probabilities of ethics will be calculated differently from person to person.

For example, those that value the afterlife to be true could sacrifice their well-being in this life to maximize it in the next and consider it to be very ethical while those who do not hold the same values for the afterlife will see it as being unethical.

As certain values will contradict each other, the only objective set of ethics would be the one that only considers values that can be empirically verified. By it's objectivity, it would be ethical to impose it on others through means consistent with itself. On the other hand, imposing any set of of subjective ethics would probably be unethical in an objective sense.
#32
Quote by theguitarist
which is why I rather identify myself as agnostic, though I have heard some compelling arguments why atheists should be proactive and aggressive, usually along the lines of 'heavily religion based attitudes are impacting (usually indirectly) on other people/nations/laws/trials/govt policy and so in turn affecting our otherwise non-religion affected lives' so I'm a bit mixed about it. On one hand they should chill out and leave the people to their faith, on the other religion shouldn't be impacting on people who don't want any part of it, so aggressive atheists might be justified in their attitudes.


I agree that religion shouldn't be forced on anyone, but I don't believe "You're a f--king retarded person who is a lesser being than me because you believe in a higher power and don't want to burn churches, and I know for a fact every single non-atheist forces their beliefs on everyone else, even though I put everyone down because they don't believe exactly the same as I do." is going tog et anyone anywhere. Before people complain about what I've just said, I have legitimately met people who believe that ^
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