Morality Absolute or Relative

Surprisingly, both relative and absolute moralities are at work within us.

Is there an absolute moral standard?

Is there an absolute moral standard?

Morality shows itself by its effect on our decisions, on our behavioral choices.

Personal Morality

Each person develops a personal morality that is based on their biological inheritance (3S Imperatives–Satiety, Safety, Sex) united with their personal experience. Personal morality is idiosyncratic (relative) and descriptive. Your personal morality is a description of how you rate the morality of actions rather than a demand that you act contrary to your nature.

The Lawrence Kohlberg’s idea that personal morality changes as we age explains the progression we experience.

  • First, as an infant, an act’s morality can only be pleasurable or unpleasant (good or bad). That is, satisfying our bodily requirements is the only functioning part of our decision-making in infancy.
  • Between ages 3-7, we start to form long-term memories. With recall of past events and past consequences, we begin to develop a sense of our continuity and a desire to maintain it. In the nuclear family, our personal choices confront the family morality, where decisions are rewarded or punished. That is, a new standard of morality is enforced by power.
  • With puberty, sexual consequences arise to prominence in our decision-making. As we experience life outside the house, we see that our understanding of right or wrong (good or bad) is not the only view. Others can see things differently.
  • In school, we start to evaluate good and bad according to logic. Are the rules consistent? Are the rules applied to all? What are the exceptions?
  • It isn

  2 comments for “Morality Absolute or Relative

  1. Robert Hamill
    September 14, 2018 at 6:17 pm

    One coworker held his religious morality above all, yet his personal responsibility also demanded that work demands must be met. In Happy Path (http://www.rhamill.com/writing/happy-path/) the immovable man meets an irresistible force.

    On the morally weaker side, one fellow bragged to me that he often was called to fix a certain type of software problem. He decided rather than fix the root cause, he’d leave it for future congratulations of his wizardry.

    Similarly, a guy in physical installation told me he placed the equipment so it’d get wet and periodically fail. It was an easy fix that he could work as a relaxing Friday afternoon job or, if finances required, good Saturday overtime.

  2. Mark Gorkun
    September 14, 2018 at 2:11 pm

    Bob, i fodnative piece. How about a live example of a moral or ethical dilemna from your work experience? Thanks. MG

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