How do you know the difference between right and wrong?

Tools    





Registered User
How do you know whether or not you feel something is right or wrong objectively, or whether it's just the result of social conditioning?

For example, if your parents were racist, you might feel that interracial dating is wrong because you grew up around racists who felt the same way - but had you not grown up around them, you probably wouldn't have felt it was wrong looking at it with an untainted mind.



Registered User
You mean there is a difference?
Yes, objectively I'd say there's a difference.

I don't believe in moral nihilism - I think that morality is programmed into all of our biology, in the same way that animals are never taught right and wrong, but instinctively know the "correct" way to behave.

I believe humans are born with the same instinct because we did evolve from animals, and share their biology and design.

Unfortunately I think social indoctrination causes us to confuse what we've been accustomed to believe, with what is truly right and wrong.



Hey it's the return of Ace! Where you been?

So is the question: how do I as an individual determine what I think is right or wrong? Or is the question about the broader nature of right/wrong...or is the question more about how an individual perceives and learns social values?



I thought everything I did was right... that I can do no wrong.... hmmmmm are you telling me thats a lie?



Registered User
Hey it's the return of Ace! Where you been?

So is the question: how do I as an individual determine what I think is right or wrong? Or is the question about the broader nature of right/wrong...or is the question more about how an individual perceives and learns social values?
I've been needing a break from the forum for awhile, glad to see you still around CR.

I'm focusing on the broader nature since I think at the core level, right and wrong is based on universal principles and ties in with our biological design.



I'm not sure if I can come up with anything salient on the broader nature of good and evil. I can see what society in general views as good or evil in behavior and it slowly changes as time flows. Think of a river, as we travel further down that river-road new values are adopted and old ones abandoned. Of course the change is not universal, like a wave, the changes don't cover all the pebbles on the beach. And some pebbles are out of reach of the surf, so at least to our human memory of civilization, some values seem immutable. But given enough time...right and wrong can shift like magnetic poles. Sorry, I don't really have a direct answer.



Hmm, the argument around animals is not convincing as they just eat and screw, as a general rule. Murder, for example, is not something most animals spend too much time debating. Survival is inherent, it seems, as most animals won't commit suicide unless it's due to a parental need to protect (though there are examples of this not being and the case and examples of those animals that will die for their partners and not just their kids). Humans also eat and screw, just like animals, for the same reasons. The argument as to why all animals feel the need to procreate is just as relevant therefore as how humans perceive the difference between right and wrong, if we are to believe that animals (in which I include humans) have any kind of innate behaviour.

The simple answer to this is 'opinion'. Mine is most likely different to yours and if we believe the argument that right or wrong is innate, in the same way that we believe survival is, we would all think the same way about everything, which we clearly don't (as example, I await your next post on the subject with interest, as it might just argue this point, therefore ironically proving it). Influence is responsible for many things and that may be familial or social. There is no evidence to suggest that racist parents will raise only racist children and, if we took the trouble to check, I'm sure the opposite is just as likely. Individualism should be embraced, as at higher levels (like us), this is what separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom. If only all humanity could use this ability for the greater good, then the planet would be a much better place to live on, for us and the (allegedly) stupid, ignorant animals that share it with us.



How do you know whether or not you feel something is right or wrong..
It's called rationalization. One should learn from their mistakes, and when one fails from their misdeeds that person should realize it shouldn't be done again. Obviously a person knows not to commit a immoral sin or a wrong act that would cause them to be in danger, but some people just do not know exactly the difference between what is right and what is wrong. And they need help.

Parents should teach their children in the first place how to behave and the difference between the two. The consequences between each other. If a person decides to do wrong instead of what's right and injure their lives and others in the long run, that is unfortunately their problem.

Right and wrong refers to one's physical and mental behaviors. It's that they know inside their head and then act out. Although it's not right, to actually tell another that they are doing wrong when they are doing something you just simply just don't like. And can be rectified by simply being civil and speaking to them like a normal human being.



This is what the Bible says:
Does it make you feel good? Then it's the wrong thing to do.
__________________
Originally Posted by doubledenim
Garbage bag people fighting hippy love babies.

Bots gotta be bottin'



It's called rationalization. One should learn from their mistakes, and when one fails from their misdeeds that person should realize it shouldn't be done again. Obviously a person knows not to commit a immoral sin or a wrong act that would cause them to be in danger, but some people just do not know exactly the difference between what is right and what is wrong. And they need help.
And some people know the difference between right and wrong and choose to do the wrong thing anyway. People can rationalise anything in their own mind.
__________________
“The Universe is under no obligation to make sense to you.”
― Neil deGrasse Tyson



And some people know the difference between right and wrong and choose to do the wrong thing anyway. People can rationalise anything in their own mind.
They can, but choosing to do the wrong thing anyway just isn't rational.



And some people know the difference between right and wrong and choose to do the wrong thing anyway. People can rationalise anything in their own mind.
I think the important word in this sentence is 'know'. How they do know is kinda the point of the original question.



This is what the Bible says:
Does it make you feel good? Then it's the wrong thing to do.
In a sense, most things that feel good usually DO have some negative consequence either to yourself or to others.

Look at the foods we really like (arguably, liking what we like could also be largely due to conditioning). But most everything people really like is bad for you.



They can, but choosing to do the wrong thing anyway just isn't rational.
Not from your point of view. But every one of us builds a personal 'picture' of the world with our own set of 'rules'. Mine is going to differ from yours in some respects. Rational means different things to different people.



I think that morality is programmed into all of our biology, in the same way that animals are never taught right and wrong, but instinctively know the "correct" way to behave.
I could see that being true in a sense. By that I mean our biology makes us feel 'good' or 'bad' when we do things we feel strongly about. That could be called our 'conscious' and biologically those good or bad feelings are a result of dopamine or other substances being released into our brains. Hence the programmed biology part of it.

But I don't believe we are born with a moral/legal code in our DNA, as what is viewed as right or wrong is always changing.

Take capital punishment. Some feel strongly that it's wrong...while others feel it's the right thing to do. Go back in time to 500 years ago and the punishment for high treason in the English court was to be hung until half dead, then drawn and quartered. Which is where the condemned had his intestines cut from his living body and burnt in plain sight of his view. Then his body was cut into 4 sections. Hopefully he passed out by this time. Today we call that barbarically cruel and wrong....500 years ago they called it justice.



Master of My Domain
This is what the Bible says:
Does it make you feel good? Then it's the wrong thing to do.
You're missing the point here.

The kind of "good feeling" it's describing is that when the feeling goes against basic moral standards. Also, the bible clearly allows drinking, smoking etc. but not to point where you can't live properly according to the bible. It isn't just "don't do anything taboo or else", it's way more flexible and reasonable than you think. You just basically generalized the entire 700 something pages.