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Katieeee Offline
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Moral and ethical decline? Agree or Disagree? - March 11th 2009, 05:01 AM

It is obvious that society has changed drastically then what it was even twenty years ago. Do you qualify or refute the statement that we have reached an ethical and moral decline in society? Or would you say that these changes in views and opinions are necessary for the sake of progress? Or do you agree with both? And where would you say a line should be drawn on what's right and wrong? Or is that view subjective to each person? In otherwords, are there any set morals that every person should have (besides the obvious ones like murder or rape)?

I ask that you all be respectful of each other's views though. Let's not turn this into one of those "You're a stupid facist prat" threads :]

EDIT: And I suppose this could also go under religion/philosophy, so mods if you find it to be more appropriate there, feel free to move it :]
   
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Re: Moral and ethical decline? Agree or Disagree? - March 11th 2009, 06:07 AM

Okay, well let me explain my terms here.
Formalism - A perspective believing in universal laws; There is one law, or moral, that applies to everybody.
Contextualism - A perspective believing that each moral and ethical decision is based off of the individual circumstances.
Relativism - A perspective saying that each moral and ethical decision can be different depending on the culture. For example, like, sacrificing animals is okay in some cultures, but not in others.

I am a fairly strong believer in Contextualism. Meaning, that I believe the ethical right and wrong, depends on the person. While I may have views, such as gay marriage is okay, maybe it's not okay in someone else's case. But I believe (Called the Millian Harm Principle) that as long as something doesn't hurt others it is okay.

Many people believe in relativism, which is awesome, but then you have to consider, are we talking about the morals and ethics of the world as a whole? The United States? Europe? Perhaps some countries have progressed, and other regressed with their morals.

But honestly, with all of these perspectives, you are only one person saying if something is right or wrong. So there is no set answer, obviously, on if things are right or wrong.

If you believe in formalism, and also believe that the same morals and ethics apply now from back twenty years ago, then it's quite clear that we have regressed, or gotten worse with our values, at least that's my opinion.

So overall, I believe there is not a set "This person morally should do this".


Moving on from being excited that I can apply philosophy class..

In my personal opinion, I can't say as a whole. I think some people, as individuals, have gotten better morals, and some worse.
When you look at the news, it's hard to say. So many bad things happen. But then again, how much does mass media change our views of how the world is, and how much does it give us our morals? Whether it's conciously or not. "Hidden Ciriculum" so to speak.

Though, I also wasn't alive twenty years ago, and wasn't interested with anything going on in the world until two or three years ago. So I can't say from personal witness what I believe.



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Re: Moral and ethical decline? Agree or Disagree? - March 11th 2009, 07:26 AM

I believe that the morals and ethics have changed from before, however, they are still there and are quite strong. I view them as being purely subjective, and I have my own that I live by regardless if they are illegal or unethical or unmoral to society.

It is fairly obvious there have been more news about killings and rapings, however, has that really changed? I think the only thing that's changed are sometimes the weapons used and the more and more TV/newspaper/radio/internet broadcasts. One could argue that because of more press, the morals/ethics have declined, however, these acts have been occurring for quite some time.

I find it good that ethics have been decreased in society. They only get in your way with what you want. For example, you want to do an experiment that would be ground-breaking but no, these lousy ethics are in the way.

They are purely subjective, not an ounce of objectivity, so there's no morals or ethics anyone else should have to live by.
   
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Re: Moral and ethical decline? Agree or Disagree? - March 11th 2009, 07:32 AM

I simply do not think we can compare our current society to past societies. With the rise and fall of economies, changes in technology, and other things, it's like comparing apples to oranges. Both are fruits and they grow on trees, and that's basically it for similarities.

Also, I agree with Maria, somewhat.



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Re: Moral and ethical decline? Agree or Disagree? - March 11th 2009, 02:04 PM

Do you have any stats on your original claim that the moral whatever is in decline?

Furthermore, this depends on the geographical, regional area; MOREOVER, what is "moral" - I'm pretty sure all off us would say that killing a rape victim by stoning is not the way to go... but Saudis would disagree with you. To other people acceptance & stopping the hate toward homosexuals for instance - is a moral decline & something very bad because they consider those people an abomination.
So by what do you judge the decline/growth in morality?


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Re: Moral and ethical decline? Agree or Disagree? - March 11th 2009, 02:08 PM

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Do you have any stats on your original claim that the moral whatever is in decline?
Perhaps I didn't make myself quite clear. I personally don't see things as a moral decline; I don't believe that it's necessarily a moral decline. As Jesse was saying, society changes and we makes make the changes neccesary to improve and progress. I was merely asking what everyone thought, not stating what my view was.


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Re: Moral and ethical decline? Agree or Disagree? - March 11th 2009, 06:29 PM

After watching any recent movie, I think it's easy to see that (at least in America, I can't speak for other cultures) that the moral line has been pushed down somewhat. For instance, the public has been steadily getting desensitized to things that used to be completely taboo: rape, murder, sexual abuse, violence in general, theft, adultery. However, just because our standards have changed (my personal opinion is that our society is a little more crude now) that doesn't at all imply that there is an across-the-board ideal that all humanity should strive for. Even in America, I could make an argument that these changes have come along with progress. No matter how different a culture gets there will always be individuals with morals that differ.


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Re: Moral and ethical decline? Agree or Disagree? - March 11th 2009, 06:42 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by YourNightmare View Post
It is fairly obvious there have been more news about killings and rapings, however, has that really changed? I think the only thing that's changed are sometimes the weapons used and the more and more TV/newspaper/radio/internet broadcasts. One could argue that because of more press, the morals/ethics have declined, however, these acts have been occurring for quite some time.
I agree, the media are to blame for a perceived drop in morals in recent times. When "papers" not fit as toilet paper such as the sun or right wing sheets of hate like the the Daily Mail have high circulation people will believe morals are in decline. Morals have changed yes and in a lot of cases for the better. 50 years ago there would have been very few atheists willing to be public about their lack of religion and even fewer when Darwin published The Origin of Species.

On the streets people are still polite and helpful if you need it for the most part anyway and I don't think that'll change any time soon
   
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Re: Moral and ethical decline? Agree or Disagree? - March 11th 2009, 06:57 PM

I think the main difference between now and whenever else (in the past) is that everything is now more exposed; sex- particularly extramarital sex, which has been around as long as sex itself- is now more discussed more openly, and allowed. Which is great.

For me, the issue isn't morals so much as taste. It's always okay for people to have sex before they're married, and enjoy it, but I'm a bit old-fashioned in that I'd like them to stop talking about it so much. Not that it needn't be discussed, obviously, because people get better and safer at it with the free flow of ideas. It's just that it's too often used in tasteless jokes and shit that just isn't funny and it's become demoralized. I think.

Obviously sex is just one example. I know I sound really boring. But good topic! I'll post more later.
   
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Re: Moral and ethical decline? Agree or Disagree? - March 11th 2009, 07:33 PM

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Originally Posted by asyoulikeit View Post
After watching any recent movie, I think it's easy to see that (at least in America, I can't speak for other cultures) that the moral line has been pushed down somewhat. For instance, the public has been steadily getting desensitized to things that used to be completely taboo: rape, murder, sexual abuse, violence in general, theft, adultery. However, just because our standards have changed (my personal opinion is that our society is a little more crude now) that doesn't at all imply that there is an across-the-board ideal that all humanity should strive for. Even in America, I could make an argument that these changes have come along with progress. No matter how different a culture gets there will always be individuals with morals that differ.

But were there as many rapes, murders, sexual abuse and so forth as before? How can you compare something back then, to something now if it is not the same? They are taboo subjects, but I also don't think that shows anything about morals if it's taboo or not.



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Re: Moral and ethical decline? Agree or Disagree? - March 11th 2009, 07:34 PM

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But were there as many rapes, murders, sexual abuse and so forth as before? How can you compare something back then, to something now if it is not the same? They are taboo subjects, but I also don't think that shows anything about morals if it's taboo or not.
I cannot talk for the US but in the UK crime is actually falling
   
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Re: Moral and ethical decline? Agree or Disagree? - March 11th 2009, 08:16 PM

I think if anything, we're more moral than before. We have laws forbidding discrimination against people based on gender, sexuality, income, age etc etc...hell, we even have laws regarding the ethical treatment of non-human entities like animals, even the environment. Far as I can tell, up to about a century ago, people didn't have much concern for the rights of a woman. At many points in history, rape was perfectly acceptable. Homosexuals are getting more rights than they've ever had. People are beginning to care about lower income people, rather than just leaving them to their fate. Children have rights. Workers have rights. Even outside laws, I think society in general is becoming much more accepting of different groups (however slow the process is, it's happening) We don't have less morality, we have a different kind.


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Re: Moral and ethical decline? Agree or Disagree? - March 11th 2009, 08:40 PM

I agree with Jessica. The world seems much saner than ever before; which is, of course, really saying something because it's still an insane and random place.
   
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Re: Moral and ethical decline? Agree or Disagree? - March 11th 2009, 08:41 PM

I agree that morals and ethics have changed over the last 20 years, for the better and the worse.
Lawfully we are far more moral than 'before'. Laws to punish everything from rape to dropping litter. But that doesn't stop people committing crime does it? Only a proportion of committed crimes are reported, let alone the amount that are actually charged and sentenced.
We are far 'looser' with morals regarding sex and drinking etc. Some people say we've gone too far, but some say the morals were too tight before.
The Northern Ireland situation really interests me, I obviously wasn't around during the Troubles, but it is a clear example of people standing by their beliefs whilst their morals go out the window. And now that paramilitary action has started to rise again, everyone is standing by their morals without ignoring morals on murder and violence.
Blarg I make no sense. I guess what I mean is that I think people learn from the past. And I think that sometimes they can take it too far. But there are some people who will not change their moral/ethical beliefs.
   
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Re: Moral and ethical decline? Agree or Disagree? - March 12th 2009, 04:25 PM

I think what's changed is the way people emit their morals or ethics... People seem not to come across as they have any anymore. But when the time comes and its needed, they come out. Or maybe there's only some people that still have them, but when an emergency occurs and needs help there's always that one person to take action, thus the existance of moral and ethics. But perhaps it only lies within some.


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Re: Moral and ethical decline? Agree or Disagree? - March 12th 2009, 05:05 PM

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I agree that morals and ethics have changed over the last 20 years, for the better and the worse.
Lawfully we are far more moral than 'before'. Laws to punish everything from rape to dropping litter. But that doesn't stop people committing crime does it? Only a proportion of committed crimes are reported, let alone the amount that are actually charged and sentenced.
We are far 'looser' with morals regarding sex and drinking etc. Some people say we've gone too far, but some say the morals were too tight before.
The Northern Ireland situation really interests me, I obviously wasn't around during the Troubles, but it is a clear example of people standing by their beliefs whilst their morals go out the window. And now that paramilitary action has started to rise again, everyone is standing by their morals without ignoring morals on murder and violence.
Blarg I make no sense. I guess what I mean is that I think people learn from the past. And I think that sometimes they can take it too far. But there are some people who will not change their moral/ethical beliefs.
At the moment I would disagree with the part in bold, at the moment it is standard gun crime and while that is bad calling it paramilitary action is not really the case. Paramilitary is like the S.A killing communists on the streets of Berlin and Munich in the early 30s and roamed bands of men armed overtly killing at will
   
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Re: Moral and ethical decline? Agree or Disagree? - March 12th 2009, 05:13 PM

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But were there as many rapes, murders, sexual abuse and so forth as before? How can you compare something back then, to something now if it is not the same? They are taboo subjects, but I also don't think that shows anything about morals if it's taboo or not.
True, I didn't word that well I think the level of crime isn't due to a rise or fall in morals; I just think that more things are acceptable now (or at least ok to talk about, make fun of, etc.) than before. Not saying whether those subjects are morally wrong; as proven before, the beliefs are different in every culture and I think diversity in this is good. But I guess the point about being lawfully more moral is right....that's a hard argument to prove, though, as there seem to be more crimes possible today because of the advances in technology. If that makes sense at all.


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Re: Moral and ethical decline? Agree or Disagree? - March 13th 2009, 01:29 AM

Eh, I can't say that the world's ethics have really declined. Sure, things have changed, policies have changed, but nothing to say "The world is on a decline."


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