Morality : Perceptions & Perspectives

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For intentional harms and non-harms, however, the outcome suggests the same moral judgment as the intention. Thus, the researchers suggest that TMS to the RTPJ disrupted the processing of negative beliefs for both intentional harms and attempted harms, but the current design allowed the investigators to detect this effect only in the case of attempted harms, in which the neutral outcomes did not afford harsh moral judgments on their own.

Similarly VMPC-impaired persons will judge an action purely on its outcome and are unable to take into account the intent of that action. Mirror neurons are neurons in the brain that fire when another person is observed doing a certain action. The neurons fire in imitation of the action being observed, causing the same muscles to act minutely in the observer as are acting grossly in the person actually performing the action.

Research on mirror neurons, since their discovery in , [46] suggests that they may have a role to play not only in action understanding, but also in emotion sharing empathy. Cognitive neuro-scientist Jean Decety thinks that the ability to recognize and vicariously experience what another individual is undergoing was a key step forward in the evolution of social behavior, and ultimately, morality.

If morality is the answer to the question 'how ought we to live' at the individual level, politics can be seen as addressing the same question at the social level, though the political sphere raises additional problems and challenges. Moral foundations theory , authored by Jonathan Haidt and colleagues, [51] [52] has been used to study the differences between liberals and conservatives , in this regard.

Self-identified conservative Americans valued care and fairness less and the remaining three values more. Both groups gave care the highest over-all weighting, but conservatives valued fairness the lowest, whereas liberals valued purity the lowest. Haidt also hypothesizes that the origin of this division in the United States can be traced to geo-historical factors, with conservatism strongest in closely knit, ethnically homogenous communities, in contrast to port -cities, where the cultural mix is greater, thus requiring more liberalism.

Group morality develops from shared concepts and beliefs and is often codified to regulate behavior within a culture or community. Various defined actions come to be called moral or immoral.

Morality and justice: An expanded theoretical perspective and empirical review

Individuals who choose moral action are popularly held to possess "moral fiber", whereas those who indulge in immoral behavior may be labeled as socially degenerate. The continued existence of a group may depend on widespread conformity to codes of morality; an inability to adjust moral codes in response to new challenges is sometimes credited with the demise of a community a positive example would be the function of Cistercian reform in reviving monasticism; a negative example would be the role of the Dowager Empress in the subjugation of China to European interests.

Within nationalist movements, there has been some tendency to feel that a nation will not survive or prosper without acknowledging one common morality, regardless of its content. Political Morality is also relevant to the behavior internationally of national governments, and to the support they receive from their host population. Noam Chomsky states that [55] [56]. Those who do not rise to the minimal moral level of applying to themselves the standards they apply to others—more stringent ones, in fact—plainly cannot be taken seriously when they speak of appropriateness of response; or of right and wrong, good and evil.

In fact, one of the, maybe the most, elementary of moral principles is that of universality, that is, If something's right for me, it's right for you; if it's wrong for you, it's wrong for me. Any moral code that is even worth looking at has that at its core somehow. Religion and morality are not synonymous.

Morality does not depend upon religion although for some this is "an almost automatic assumption". Conceptually and in principle, morality and a religious value system are two distinct kinds of value systems or action guides. Within the wide range of moral traditions, religious value systems co-exist with contemporary secular frameworks such as consequentialism , freethought , humanism , utilitarianism , and others. There are many types of religious value systems. Modern monotheistic religions, such as Islam , Judaism , Christianity , and to a certain degree others such as Sikhism and Zoroastrianism , define right and wrong by the laws and rules set forth by their respective scriptures and as interpreted by religious leaders within the respective faith.

Other religions spanning pantheistic to nontheistic tend to be less absolute. For example, within Buddhism , the intention of the individual and the circumstances should be accounted for to determine if an action is right or wrong. For modern Westerners, who have been raised on ideals of universality and egalitarianism , this relativity of values and obligations is the aspect of Hinduism most difficult to understand".

Religions provide different ways of dealing with moral dilemmas. For example, there is no absolute prohibition on killing in Hinduism , which recognizes that it "may be inevitable and indeed necessary" in certain circumstances. Philosopher David Hume stated that, "the greatest crimes have been found, in many instances, to be compatible with a superstitious piety and devotion; Hence it is justly regarded as unsafe to draw any inference in favor of a man's morals, from the fervor or strictness of his religious exercises, even though he himself believe them sincere.

Religious value systems can diverge from commonly held contemporary moral positions, such as those on murder , mass atrocities, and slavery. For example, Simon Blackburn states that "apologists for Hinduism defend or explain away its involvement with the caste system, and apologists for Islam defend or explain away its harsh penal code or its attitude to women and infidels". These values can be resources for finding common ground between believers and nonbelievers.


A number of studies have been conducted on the empirics of morality in various countries, and the overall relationship between faith and crime is unclear. Dozens of studies have been conducted on this topic since the twentieth century. A study by Gregory S. Paul published in the Journal of Religion and Society stated that, "In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy, and abortion in the prosperous democracies," and "In all secular developing democracies a centuries long-term trend has seen homicide rates drop to historical lows" with the exceptions being the United States with a high religiosity level and "theistic" Portugal.

On April 26, , the results of a study which tested their subjects' pro-social sentiments were published in the Social Psychological and Personality Science journal in which non-religious people had higher scores showing that they were more inclined to show generosity in random acts of kindness, such as lending their possessions and offering a seat on a crowded bus or train.

Religious people also had lower scores when it came to seeing how much compassion motivated participants to be charitable in other ways, such as in giving money or food to a homeless person and to non-believers. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For the capacity of a group's members to maintain belief in the face of opposition or hardship, see morale. For the novella by Stephen King, see Morality novella. For the film, see Morals film. Main article: Ethics. See also: Sittlichkeit.

This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. January Learn how and when to remove this template message. Main article: Ingroups and outgroups. Main article: Moral psychology. See also: Science of morality. Main article: Mirror neurons. Main articles: Ethics in religion and Morality and religion. See also: Divine command theory , Divine law , Morality without religion , Religious law , and Secular ethics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford University. Retrieved 22 March A Dictionary of Philosophy. The maxim 'Treat others how you wish to be treated'. Various expressions of this fundamental moral rule are to be found in tenets of most religions and creeds through the ages, testifying to its universal applicability. He posits that it "express[es] the essence of a universal morality.

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Self-Perception, Empathy and Moral Self-Concept Predict Moral Concerns in Adults

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Unifying Versus Dividing

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