People follow moral principles as guidance to ensure they are acting morally. These consist of traits like sincerity, justice, and equality. Everyone has a varied set of moral values based on their upbringing and priorities in life.
A Brief History of Morality
Moral values have a long history that can be traced to Ancient Greece and Ancient China. These societies valued moral concepts because they thought that for individuals to succeed, they needed a firm grasp of right and wrong.
Greek philosophers like Aristotle, who were interested in understanding the definition of virtue, were the first to research moral principles. Philosophers like John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Immanuel Kant later examined moral ideas.
Moral principles have been examined in the context of moral growth in the study of psychology. The development of morality in children and the application of ethical principles in various settings have piqued the interest of psychologists. For instance, psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg examined how boys from multiple cultures developed morally.
Different Moral Standards
Moral principles can be either absolute or relative. Universal and unchangeable are absolute principles. Relative moral standards vary depending on the circumstance.
Absolute Principles of Morality
Absolute moral standards are founded on unchanging truths about what it means to be human. For instance, murder is wicked because it defies the laws of nature. These are also called normative moral principles or socially accepted moral standards. Here are some cases of unchangeable ethical standards:
- Don’t murder.
- Speak truthfully.
- Be mindful of the things you say and do to other people.
- Observe others’ property.
- Treat those in need or suffering the same way we would like to be treated if the tables were turned.
Relevant moral Standards
Relative morality is based on circumstances and attitudes that can change over time, from person to person, or in different contexts. The individual’s beliefs determine their relative moral ideals. Relativism refers to how people view themselves regarding what is good or wrong. In other words, when someone declares something to be excellent, they usually mean it is beneficial for them or at least benefits their well-being. Here are several instances of relative moral standards.
- Spending money on a luxury item is unethical.
- It is morally right to take care of our world and keep it safe for future generations.
Moral Principles’ Effect
Moral values are crucial for society because they teach people how to get along and coexist peacefully. They instill in us the belief that all people are entitled to the same rights and that treating people differently based on their race or ethnicity is unacceptable. Additionally, persons who live by moral standards typically enjoy a higher quality of life than those who don’t.
Moral values can impact a person’s identity and sense of worth. For instance, honest people can think of themselves as decent because they uphold the moral obligation to always tell the truth. And for those who believe in equality, not discriminating against those who are different from them may help them feel better about themselves.
Guidelines for Creating Good Moral Principles
Numerous approaches to creating moral concepts cut beyond culture, religion, and nation. If you’re beginning your search for morality, you can think about reading up on characters in various philosophical works.
However, there are other doable actions one can take to acquire sound moral principles:
- Consider your course of action in an ethical situation and the reasons behind your choices.
- Make sure your behaviors are consistent with your ideas of what is right and wrong by asking yourself this question.
- Avoid applying double standards, such as being kind to one person while being less to another.
- If it helps, make a list of your moral tenets and place it somewhere you can easily see it, like in your workspace or in a mirror.
- If you’re not flawlessly upholding your moral convictions, don’t worry. It matters most that you are making an effort.