Archive for January, 2014

More thoughts on where morals come from and “objectively real morals”

January 30th, 2014 No comments

[Borrowed and edited from a Facebook comment]

Let me put in my two bits worth (anybody else use that ancient slang anymore?) on where morals come from and “objectively real morals”.

Simply, think evolution and #Ostrom.

Mankind is hardwired as a species to cooperate with close groups, and to be suspicious of outsiders. We are a “rule-perceiving and -acquiring” species, and we soak up the rules of the groups we are socialized in. Further, throughout our evolution, all groups have moral concepts about right and wrong behavior, which evolved both (1) to enhance cooperation and dampen collectively damaging behavior and (2) to adapt the group to the environment in which it dwelt. (Of course there has always been and always will be a tension between individual wants/goals/strategies and the “collective good” — and there always has been and always will be gamesmanship over this.)

Because we internalize ethics, we have a tough time perceiving and discussing exactly what the rules are. Yet as we speak, we are constantly trying to abide by largely subconscious moral codes, to act within such codes in ways that are personally advantageous, and to restrain the “bad” behavior of others, thereby continuously contributing to the ongoing evolution and adaptation of moral codes.

Bottom line? Our moral codes are group-based and situational, because that is who we are as critters on God’s green earth. 😉

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