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Immorality

George S

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Looking at not what is moral but what is immoral it occurred to me that all immorality has one thing in common. The lie.

An honest thief can be a moral man in all other regards. His lie is his claim to others that he owns his stolen goods, his to use, his to sell.

Not all lies are immoral of course. And not all untruths are lies, but mistakes. But deception is always a part of immorality.

There was a time when Might makes Right was the way the world was. Land was claimed by "Right of Conquest." A King could order anyone in his realm executed. And he could pardon anyone as well. Every soldier pledged loyalty to his King. They fought and died at his order. It was immoral to break that pledge; to have lied.

To go to war over a lie -- immoral.

The current crime of the day is lying to the FBI.
 

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A thief can be quite honest when selling their stolen goods to other thieves.
And a rapist can blatantly take what they want because they can.
No lying required.
 

abaddon

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If you steal the FBI's chance to know a truth that would help people if they know it ... something that'd harm people if they don't know it... THAT is the immorality. You've only asserting lying is sometimes immoral but didn't really explain why. Societal moral norms are generally based on what you cannot take from others: their lives, their freedoms, their property.

So isn't it taking things that's immoral? Does it really matter that a thief claims the stolen goods are his? Isn't it that he took them and thereby hurt other people that's the wrong in what he did?

Similar with the king. It's not that anyone lies to the asshole that matters. There's no good reason to be obedient to authority except inasmuch as, maybe, it helps people. If he wants you to steal things from people in a war (which is what wars are for) and you choose to break the pledge, then why is that immoral? Isn't it more immoral to obey him if he's saying "hurt these people for me"?
 

steve_bank

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Why is a lie immoral? A lie in context can be better than truth. Is morality always a black and white choice?

If anything IMO morality is about consequences not absolute rules.
 

Loren Pechtel

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Looking at not what is moral but what is immoral it occurred to me that all immorality has one thing in common. The lie.

No. The lie is to protect the person from punishment for their actions. However, when they are too powerful to punish there's no need for the lie, yet there can still be immorality. Look to some pretty vile dictators for examples.
 

untermensche

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His lie is his claim to others that he owns his stolen goods, his to use, his to sell.

No lie.

He does own them.

What does ownership mean beyond control and ability to use freely?

And since he does own them he is free to sell them.

The immorality of theft is based on the idea of personal property.

It is a violation of the principle of personal property. That a person owns something when they either buy it or exchange something for it or are given it.

Nothing about lying.

And of course going to war based on lies, as the US did in 2003, is about lying.
 

Tom Sawyer

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I once heard it said that immorality is something that causes unnecessary harm to another individual. If something doesn't do that, it's tough to argue that it's wrong.
 

Wiploc

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I once heard it said that immorality is something that causes unnecessary harm to another individual. If something doesn't do that, it's tough to argue that it's wrong.

Many would say it's also immoral to do unnecessary harm to yourself.

If you don't brush your teeth now, you'll get tooth decay later. If you don't do your homework, you won't get a good job. If you get drunk at lunch, you'll get fired that afternoon. If you have an affair, you may ruin your marriage.

Morality consists either of giving up some personal benefit so the group gets a greater benefit, or of giving up some immediate personal benefit for a significantly greater personal benefit later.

Or so I believe, and I assume many others do too. Though I have been told that my theory of morality is not "robust."
 

George S

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His lie is his claim to others that he owns his stolen goods, his to use, his to sell.

No lie.

He does own them.

What does ownership mean beyond control and ability to use freely?

And since he does own them he is free to sell them.

The immorality of theft is based on the idea of personal property.

It is a violation of the principle of personal property. That a person owns something when they either buy it or exchange something for it or are given it.

Nothing about lying.

And of course going to war based on lies, as the US did in 2003, is about lying.

He does not have the right to claim ownership. His ownership was illegally or immorally acquired. Even the personal use of stolen merchandise is a tacit statement of "I not only own it by possessing it, but it is right and proper that I do." It is deception.
 

George S

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I once heard it said that immorality is something that causes unnecessary harm to another individual. If something doesn't do that, it's tough to argue that it's wrong.

On Hannity's forum we came up with a morality that commenters felt encompassed morality.

Simplified morality.

Respect human life. Promote the well being of other humans. To make your life meaningful make others' lives meaningful to them. No first use of force from a slap in the face to war. No taking others' property by force, stealth or deception. No sex without consent (children cannot consent); that is, not by force, stealth or deception. Violation of an oath is immoral.

Sandbox morality.
No hitting nor throwing sand. Don't take a toy another is playing with. Keep your clothes on. Keep your promises.

ETA: Note that insulting or offending is not immoral. There is no such thing as "fighting words." Words and ideas are immoral only when converted into immoral actions. eta: Although false accusations are immoral, being lies and all. Reputation is a kind of property.
 
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Lion IRC

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I once heard it said that immorality is something that causes unnecessary harm to another individual. If something doesn't do that, it's tough to argue that it's wrong.

Killing an unborn baby seems like unnecessary harm.
 

Tom Sawyer

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I once heard it said that immorality is something that causes unnecessary harm to another individual. If something doesn't do that, it's tough to argue that it's wrong.

Killing an unborn baby seems like unnecessary harm.

I feel it lacks the "harm" aspect, but if you disagree about that, then it would be an excellent example.
 

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Well you just invalidated your own (simplified) moral framework.

Everyone agrees harm is bad but we don't know or agree what constitutes "harm". And everyone agrees we should avoid unnecessary harm but we don't know and can't agree on an (unselfish) definition of "unnecessary"
 

Tom Sawyer

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Well you just invalidated your own (simplified) moral framework.

Everyone agrees harm is bad but we don't know or agree what constitutes "harm". And everyone agrees we should avoid unnecessary harm but we don't know and can't agree on an (unselfish) definition of "unnecessary"

Ummm ... yes? The meaning of those terms and when and how to apply them would be the entire context of moral philosophy. It would serve as a base concept to analyze what would or wouldn't fall under the definition.
 

rousseau

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Promote the well being of other humans.

This is an interesting one because it implies a constraint:

- promote the well being of others at what sacrifice to my own well being? And who falls within the bounds of my sacrifice?

Which brings us back to the need for moral thinking in the first place. But by nature and necessity we need to look out for ourselves, and our relations, before others.

What is nature's solution? Social acceptability. Not giving at all? Not ok. Giving while maintaining my own security, no problem. So in practice we end up giving the appearance of benevolence, while we comfortably hoard our excess. That's not a moral failing, imo, just the reality of people living in a community.

Given the above I think the best moral line would be 'if you can, help, if you can't, at least do no harm'. Which in practice is usually what we see most people doing.
 

untermensche

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His lie is his claim to others that he owns his stolen goods, his to use, his to sell.

No lie.

He does own them.

What does ownership mean beyond control and ability to use freely?

And since he does own them he is free to sell them.

The immorality of theft is based on the idea of personal property.

It is a violation of the principle of personal property. That a person owns something when they either buy it or exchange something for it or are given it.

Nothing about lying.

And of course going to war based on lies, as the US did in 2003, is about lying.

He does not have the right to claim ownership. His ownership was illegally or immorally acquired. Even the personal use of stolen merchandise is a tacit statement of "I not only own it by possessing it, but it is right and proper that I do." It is deception.

If you possess it and control it you own it.

It is no lie to say you own it.
 

WAB

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He does not have the right to claim ownership. His ownership was illegally or immorally acquired. Even the personal use of stolen merchandise is a tacit statement of "I not only own it by possessing it, but it is right and proper that I do." It is deception.

If you possess it and control it you own it.

It is no lie to say you own it.

If someone stole your car, and the police found the thief, would you tell the police that the thief "owned" your car, since he possessed and controlled it while he had it?
 

Bronzeage

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I once heard it said that immorality is something that causes unnecessary harm to another individual. If something doesn't do that, it's tough to argue that it's wrong.

Killing an unborn baby seems like unnecessary harm.

That depends upon whether a woman wants to graduate from college on time.

The problem humans have with determining what is moral and what is immoral stems from two things. First, we want to think ourselves to be moral, so it's a simple matter to shift the definitions and put our actions inside the boundaries.

The second is more difficult to grasp. Any moral code and the morality it sanctions, only applies to the group. Our problem today is, the whole world is now our group. When Samson killed thirty men, in order to pay off a bet, he didn't kill fellow Hebrews. It was no harm, no foul.

The purpose of morality is to allow humans to live in close proximity. Humans must live in cooperative groups, or we will quickly drop to one of the lower links in the food chain. We're so good at cooperating, the chances of be eaten by a beast of prey is just not a realistic concern. Our biggest threat is each other. Moral codes develop in every human society to allow a human to fall asleep without fear of being attacked and robbed by someone in his group. After that, it's just a matter of definitions.

The severity of any moral code is directly related to the threat level the group faces. In harsh environments, where starvation is a constant threat, property rights are particularly strict. In places such as that, a grown woman might be stoned to death, if she had sex with an unapproved partner. To do otherwise, would be immoral.

For a species as intelligent as we are, there are times when we are very slow learners. Our moral codes are created to deal with threats that existed thousands of years ago, but change very slowly as old threats are replaced with new ones.
 

untermensche

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He does not have the right to claim ownership. His ownership was illegally or immorally acquired. Even the personal use of stolen merchandise is a tacit statement of "I not only own it by possessing it, but it is right and proper that I do." It is deception.

If you possess it and control it you own it.

It is no lie to say you own it.

If someone stole your car, and the police found the thief, would you tell the police that the thief "owned" your car, since he possessed and controlled it while he had it?

Ownership exists as long as control exists.

If some charlatan talking about souls and heaven controls your mind they own it.
 

untermensche

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For a species as intelligent as we are, there are times when we are very slow learners.

Proof we are not all that intelligent.

We get to pretend we are intelligent because we have had an education and stand on the shoulders of others, because we know things we could never have figured out on our own, because we have a complex language already in place.

The individual human minus an education is not that intelligent.

They will do things like elect Donald Trump.
 

Bronzeage

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For a species as intelligent as we are, there are times when we are very slow learners.

Proof we are not all that intelligent.

We get to pretend we are intelligent because we have had an education and stand on the shoulders of others, because we know things we could never have figured out on our own, because we have a complex language already in place.

The individual human minus an education is not that intelligent.

They will do things like elect Donald Trump.

Man is the only animal capable of whining, or needs to.
 

untermensche

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For a species as intelligent as we are, there are times when we are very slow learners.

Proof we are not all that intelligent.

We get to pretend we are intelligent because we have had an education and stand on the shoulders of others, because we know things we could never have figured out on our own, because we have a complex language already in place.

The individual human minus an education is not that intelligent.

They will do things like elect Donald Trump.

Man is the only animal capable of whining, or needs to.

Really?

My dog whines all the time.
 
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