LESSON 2: MORALITY AND MORAL STANDARDS
In the first lecture I have tried to explain you the concept of Business Ethics, its importance in the organization, and arguments against its implementation. Along with that we did a small activity so as to make everything clear. In this lecture I shall talk about morality and moral standards. Points to be covered in this lecture: Characteristics of Morality
To say that morality is a public system incorporates the essential feature that everyone who is subject to moral judgment knows what kinds of actions it prohibits, requires, discourages, encourages, and allows. It also guarantees that it is never irrational to act morally. It would take considerably more space than is appropriate here to show that defining morality as a public system that applies to all rational persons also results in morality being a universal guide to behavior that all rational persons would put forward for governing the behavior of all moral agents. I should make clear that the claim that all rational persons would put forward this system only follows if limitations are put on the beliefs that rational persons can use and if they are attempting to reach agreement with similarly limited rational persons. To say that morality is an informal system means that it has no authoritative judges and decision procedures that provide unique answers to all moral questions. When it is important that disagreements be settled, societies use political and legal systems to supplement morality. These formal systems have the means to provide unique answers, but they do not provide a moral answer to the question.
Meaning and characteristics of morality Meaning and origin of moral standards
What do you actually mean by morality?
Morality can be explained in all these ways:
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Morality can be defined as the standards that an individual or a group has about what is right and wrong, or good and evil. Moral quality or character; rightness or wrongness, as of an action; the character of being in accord with the principles or standards of right conduct. Not imposed from outside, but innate and can even be unconscious. We have a fundamental urge to connect. Ultimately, it’s our moral qualities that force us to live in harmony with the unconscious; doing so is the highest form of morality. Morality is individual; the morality of a group decreases as its size increases. Morality is an informal public system applying to all rational persons, governing behavior that affects others, and has the lessening of evil or harm as its goal. Morality is a complex of concepts and philosophical beliefs by which an individual determines whether his or her actions are right or wrong. Often, these concepts and beliefs are generalized and codified in a culture or group, and thus serve to regulate the behavior of its members. Conformity to such codification is called morality, and the group may depend on widespread conformity to such codes for its continued existence. A “moral” may refer to a particular principle, usually as informal and general summary of a moral principle, as applied in a given human situation.
Example: An important example of such a moral question is whether, and if so under what conditions, to allow abortion. There is continuing disagreement about this moral question, even though the legal and political system in the United States has provided fairly clear guidelines about the conditions under which abortion is allowed. Despite this important and controversial issue, morality, like all informal public systems, presupposes overwhelming agreement on most moral questions. No one thinks it is morally justified to cheat, deceive, injure, or kill simply in order to gain sufficient money to take a fantastic vacation. In the vast majority of moral situations, given agreement on the facts, no one disagrees, but for this very reason, these situations are never discussed. Thus, the overwhelming agreement on most moral matters is often overlooked.
The claim that morality governs behavior that affects others is somewhat controversial. Some have claimed that morality governs behavior that affects only the agent himself/herself. Examples of behavior that supposedly affects only oneself, often include taking recreational drugs, masturbation, and developing one’s talents. The final characteristic of morality — that it has the lessening of evil or harm as its goal — is also somewhat controversial. The Utilitarians talk about producing the greatest good as the goal of morality. However they include the lessening of harm as essential to producing the greatest good and almost all of their examples involve the avoiding or preventing of
harm. The paradigm cases of moral precepts involve rules which prohibit causing harm directly or indirectly, such as rules prohibiting killing, causing pain, deceiving, and breaking promises. Even those precepts that require or encourage positive action, such as helping the needy, are almost always related to preventing or relieving harms. Moral Standards
Points to Ponder Till now we have discussed what is ethics, business ethics, morality and moral standards, but students you should always remember that what is right and moral for you may be wrong and immoral for me or to any other person sitting in the class. In a way we can say that Ethics is a very subjective matter. Ok, tell me one thing that how are you now going to react when you will see a person lying in a pool of blood on the road. Are you going to help him or will avoid him because of the fear of Delhi police? Hope now you will start using your conscience and will do what you feel is right and there will be no hiccups before taking any action.
Morality can be defined as the standards that an individual or a group has about what is right and wrong, or good and evil. Moral standards include the norms we have about the kinds of actions we believe are morally right and wrong as well as the values we place on the kinds of objects we believe are morally good and morally bad.
Moral standards include the norms we have about the kinds of actions we believe are morally right and wrong as well as the values we place on the kinds of objects we believe are morally good and morally bad. Moral norms can usually be expressed as general rules, ie. “Always tell the truth.” Moral values can usually be expressed as statements describing objects or features of objects, ie. “ Honesty is good.” Origin of Moral Standards During childhood moral standards are absorbed from family, friends and various societal institutions. Later in life experiences, learning and intellectual development help a person in forming these standards.
Moral Standards Vs. Non-Moral Standards
Define morality. Discuss some characteristics of morality.
Moral standards deal with matters, which can seriously injure or seriously benefit human beings while it is not the case with non-moral standards. Examples of non-moral standards include the standards of etiquette by which we judge manners as good or bad, and the standards we call “law” by which we judge legal right and wrong. Moral standards are not formed or changed by the decision of particular authoritative bodies and the validity of these standards lies on the adequacy of the reasons that are taken to support and justify them. If a person has the moral obligation to do something, then the person is supposed to do that even if this conflicts with other non-moral values or self-interest. Moral standards does not evaluate standards on the basis of the interests of a particular individual or group, but one that goes beyond personal interests to a universal stand point in which everyone’s interests are impartially counted as equal. Moral standards are associated with special emotions and a special vocabulary. If a person tells a lie so as to fulfill a purpose and then afterwards he starts feeling guilty or ashamed of his behavior.
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