What is Morality?
Morality is the distinction between right and wrong actions. It is the guideline for all rational agents. Its definition is complex, but essentially, morality is the difference between what is right and what is wrong. This article will discuss the Normative kind of morality and the Natural kind. Both types of morality have some similarities and differences.
In its most basic sense, morality is a code of conduct that rational individuals endorse. However, certain conditions must be met for a person to be considered a moral agent. To be a moral agent, a person does not have to be a group member.
For example, there are norms for anger and guilt that people should feel if they do something immoral. These norms will help a person decide whether or not a particular action is acceptable. Likewise, there are norms for praise and blame. Although these concepts may be an excellent place to start, morality does not always have to be a matter of emotion.
The most common paradigm case for moral rules is the prohibition of harm. The concept of a just society follows this. This theory also allows for other matters more important than avoiding harm. It also recognizes the importance of customs, religions, and sanctity. The members of a community commonly accept these principles.
The concept of morality has undergone various changes in the last century. Some critics, including Catholic intellectuals, have attributed this change to moral relativism. They have argued that Europe’s postwar decadence resulted from a lack of moral norms, with sexual activities de-coupled from procreation, which has led to depopulation and the breakdown of families.
Morality has two kinds: natural and normative. Natural kind refers to the nature of things. Natural kind terms are often used in law, but their meaning depends on the best theory of nature. Non-natural terms include reasonable and cruel terms, which are often used in legal discourse but have no scientific basis. For example, the First Amendment recognizes freedom of speech as a right but does not define it as a natural kind.
The natural kind theory can be derived from Aquinas’s analysis of form. It also rests on the necessity of synthetic a priori causal properties. This theory can be used to develop a theory of obligation. Similarly, moral naturalism is compatible with synthetic metaphysical truth.
Moral naturalism is a form of realism that scientifically makes sense of moral facts. This view has many advantages over other types of realism. Naturalists often prefer it because moral facts and properties can be construed as a matter of fact and not mere opinion. Moreover, it can be more appealing than realists, who may seem committed to far-off metaphysical entities. The naturalist’s view avoids this pitfall by removing the mystery and promoting a more rational epistemic narrative.
The most influential version of analytic naturalism is Frank Jackson’s Moral Functionalism. Jackson argues that ethical properties are natural and descriptive and that morality is a natural kind of a world. Jackson appeals to the supervenience of the moral on the descriptive so that no two worlds can be identical in terms of description and ethics.
Guide for all rational agents
It is possible to define morality as a guide to behavior for all rational agents. However, this does not mean that all moral agents endorse the same guide. Morality may also be conceived as a guide for a particular type of behavior. It is impossible to define morality, so it does not apply to a particular type of behavior.
Kant argued that moral agents do not put forward a universal guide to behavior. Instead, they set up moral rules for themselves that govern behavior that might cause harm to others. A typical example is recreational drug use, which may not harm others but indirectly harm others by supporting illegal activities.
A more general definition of morality is to promote harmony in society. Morality may be defined according to the social goals of individuals. Some philosophers, such as Stephen Toulmin, have taken the definition of morality to be a general goal, like social harmony. Others, such as David Baier, have taken the definition of morality as the production of the greatest good for all. Regardless of the definition, utilitarians have consistently included the lessening of harm as a necessary condition of producing the greatest good. In other words, morality almost always involves preventing harm.
In this way, the definition of morality can be a valuable tool for defining the ethical guidelines that human agents should follow. Depending on the particular moral rules that people adopt, they may choose to adopt a more detailed definition of morality.