Forum: Arts / Philosophy

Philosophy
Is there really no right or wrong?
By YumYumDoughnutPremium member Comments: 8688, member since Sat Jul 10, 2004
On Sat Jan 02, 2010 01:12 PM
Moved to Philosophy by TheMidlakeMuse (78507) on 2010-01-02 13:14:31 moved to more appropriate forum

I hear people say " Well thats your opinion, there is no right or wrong" on a constant basis. If there is no right or wrong, how do we know what moral princples are? How is a government founded if there isn't a seperation between right or wrong?

I am pretty confused when it comes to this.

I also hear people say " The world isn't black or white, there are many grey areas". How can this be? How can something be half right and wrong?

14 Replies to Is there really no right or wrong?

re: Is there really no right or wrong?
By majeremember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 5889, member since Sat Sep 29, 2007
On Sat Jan 02, 2010 01:23 PM
There's differences between morally right and wrong and legally right and wrong. Obviously not every persons morals are the same.

"Right" and "wrong" are human terms and have been ingrained in most of our brains.

It also depends on whether or not you believe that humans are inherently "good" or "evil."

Just some random thoughts to consider.
re: Is there really no right or wrong?
By AlwaysOnStagePremium member Comments: 7417, member since Sun Apr 18, 2004
On Sat Jan 02, 2010 01:28 PM
In order to function as a society, in order for government to work, they have to have the general consensus of 'right' and 'wrong' enforced to some degree. Like, it is wrong to slaughter the King's deer, or it is wrong to rape a young girl in the alley.

I might argue, in the broader scheme of things, that because I don't believe in a higher power or higher calling, that anything mankind does is pretty much unimportant and there is no "Right and Wrong" in regards to human behavior.
re: Is there really no right or wrong?
By Chaconnemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 6359, member since Thu Jul 12, 2007
On Sat Jan 02, 2010 01:46 PM
There was recently a book on this subject called "Wittgenstein's Poker." Shortly after WW II, at a meeting of the Oxford University philosophy club, the emminent philosopher, Karl Popper, came from London to Oxford to give a lecture on "Are There Any Philosophical Problems?" He came at the invitation of Lord Bertrand Russell, one of the most important philosophers and mathematicians of the first half of the 20th Century. Also in attendence was Ludwig Wittgenstein, like Popper a refugee from the Nazis and the scion of perhaps the wealthiest family in pre-war Austria; and, a colleague and protege' of Russell at Oxford. During the course of Popper's lecture, Wittgenstein became so aggitated at Popper's premise that there are no philosophical problems that he took a fireplace poker and started gesticulating it at Popper (but apparently far enough away to not cause any harm.) Lord Russell managed to get Wittgenstein to put the poker down, but the incident became famous in philosophical circles because it addressed essentially the same issues that Jazz Lover raises. The answer is, of course, unknowable but can make for spirited discussion. I had some of the same sorts of discussions during my second year of college with other second year collegians and in my 47 year retrospect from that year can now appreciate why 2nd year students are called "sophomores." "Sophomore", the term, is derived from the Greek for "Wise Fools."

I recommend the book, now about five years old, as a good study in what a really good academic pissing contest can be like. :)

Jon
re: Is there really no right or wrong?
By Shnaynaymember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 9967, member since Sat Aug 03, 2002
On Sat Jan 02, 2010 01:59 PM
Each and every person has their own moral principles, or lack thereof, in each and every society. Some people's principles - and the principles of a society as a whole, in some cases - may never go further than "suvival of the fittest" - essentially, kill or be killed. There is no room for right and wrong, good and evil, only survival.

In more developed societies - well, some situations are so desolate that morals still may not extend much beyond those of primitive, survival-driven societies; here, this applies more to invidivuals, but individuals are what society is made up of and therefore, a large sector of society may base their judgements of "right" and "wrong" (which are principles of developed societies) on the primitive factors of underdeveloped societies.

Laws are founded by government based on monetary gain for someone - most often the government itself, and therefore, the laws have very little to do with true right and wrong.

Every person's right is another person's wrong, and vice verca.

peace out
sh'naynay
re: Is there really no right or wrong?
By schuhplattlerPremium member Comments: 3037, member since Sat Dec 23, 2006
On Tue Jan 05, 2010 05:55 PM
If something enhances survival, it is right. If it weakens or threatens survival, it is wrong.
The only complication to this is where one person's survival threatens or weakens another's, where one family's survival threatens or weakens another's, where mankind's survival weakens or threatens the survival of other life forms, etc, etc.

In short, rightness and wrongness must be defined in terms of survival.
re: Is there really no right or wrong?
By MarlaSingermember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 3906, member since Fri Jul 25, 2008
On Tue Jan 05, 2010 06:30 PM
I think what people are trying to say when they say that there's no "right" or "wrong" is that it's all relative. Is stealing wrong? What if you're stealing to feed your family (cliche example, I know)? Is premarital sex wrong? Some people believe so with every fiber of their beings. I don't agree with them, but their opinion is every bit as valid as mine. Pretty much anything can be seen differently from someone else's point of view. Even something that seems as straightforward as murder can have a whole history behind it that complicates the entire matter.

Something else to think about - At any given moment, most of us are constantly striving to make the best decisions for whatever situation we're in, about everything from what to have for dinner to what career to pursue. The next day, or the next month, or the next year, we may find out that the decision we made was actually a really bad one, one with serious ramifications for ourselves or for our loved ones. Does that make it wrong, if our intentions were good? Some people would still say "yes" (the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, right?), but for most of us, it's hard to say.

Laws are not put into place to tell us what is right or wrong. They exist to impose order on society. And, as Shnaynay said, someone usually gets richer as a result.
re: Is there really no right or wrong?
By Heartmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 15032, member since Thu Feb 14, 2002
On Sun Jan 31, 2010 02:20 PM
Of course there's no real "right" and "wrong." It's an abstract concept left up to each individual's own moral judgment. What would we do, get together as a species and vote?

As for developing an understanding of the "grey area," see: Robin Hood. Steal from the corrupt rich to give to the poor; stealing back something that was already stolen.

As for governments, most modern governments are founded on the principles best established by John Locke (supported and elaborated on by many other classical political philosophers). That is, that there is a Natural Law, ultimately a set of basic philosophies that all human beings can agree on ("bestowed upon us by our Creator"). These are pretty basic things: everybody is free to do what they want, they should not mess with others unless their safety or survival is threatened, and so on. (Locke, Hobbes, et al list these.) Joining together, humans eventually decide to give up some of these liberties for the security of a government that protects the Natural Law. (When the government violates the Natural Law, it is no longer a valid government; see: American Revolution.) What each country believes are the core foundations of this law are spelled out in its Constitution. (NOT the Bill of Rights. Rights are different.)

It works as a political philosophy. I do not believe it is reality. There are NO ideas that all human beings will agree with as being right or wrong. There is ALWAYS an exception. We can't even agree on it being wrong to kill people. There is no absolute moral authority, only personal morals.
re: Is there really no right or wrong?
By dancer_all_daymember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 2326, member since Thu Feb 12, 2004
On Wed Mar 17, 2010 10:22 AM
There is no such thing as right or wrong. It only exists because we created it.

Personal morals, government and the justice system, laws... they're ALL created by humans. In the world outside our own human one, it doesn't exist.
re: Is there really no right or wrong?
By d4jmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 12490, member since Fri Aug 27, 2004
On Wed Mar 17, 2010 10:31 AM
Let's break up this agreement-fest and make it an actual discussion - I think everyone will agree that the rape and murder of a child is wrong. So if everything is relative then what kind of situation is this? It seems to me that it is wrong on in all definitions, legally, morally. Even if you make a case for the perpetrator being mentally ill and 'not his fault' (which makes me gag but let's use the argument) it's still wrong. Even if you don't believe in morals it's still wrong in our gut. My point being, it seems to me that we know wrong when we see it sometimes.
re: Is there really no right or wrong? (karma: 1)
By Louisemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 17315, member since Thu Jun 06, 2002
On Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:13 AM
^ Except that the person committing the rape or murder obviously didn't think it was wrong. Yeah, sometimes people regret it but that's usually because they get in trouble. Lots of people DON'T regret raping and murdering. It's obviously not wrong to them. And therein lies the problem - things are only right and wrong because humans made it so. It's not like we're born with a instructions for life already in our tiny hand. So is a knowledge of right/wrong innate? Clearly not if we don't all adhere to the same set of rights and wrongs.

/typing out loud
re: Is there really no right or wrong?
By d4jmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 12490, member since Fri Aug 27, 2004
On Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:27 AM
^Interesting point, though I think that some of those perpetrators DO know that it is wrong but they do it anyway.
re: Is there really no right or wrong?
By AlwaysOnStagePremium member Comments: 7417, member since Sun Apr 18, 2004
On Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:45 AM
^ Perhaps they know it's legally wrong, but they don't feel that it's morally/religiously wrong.

The first example that comes to mind is I'm reading Crime and Punishment and Raskolakov doesn't think the murders he has committed are morally wrong (until the story gets where it's going) because the rules of man do not apply to him. He knows OTHER people don't like it, and that OTHER criminals are caught and punished, but he is convinced of his own innocence.
re: Is there really no right or wrong?
By dancer_all_daymember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 2326, member since Thu Feb 12, 2004
On Wed Mar 17, 2010 11:59 AM
On nat geo I saw a show about sharks. There was one scene where food was scarce and they all ripped one of their members to shreds and ate him to the bone in a few seconds. Do the sharks go after their fellow killers and punish them? No cause there is no wrong or right. And the killer sharks didn't display any signs of remorse either.

My boyfriend has 4 pet zebra finches. One of the females laid an egg that hatched and the other female ate the baby. Did they all turn their backs on her, or punish her? Nope, cause there is no right or wrong.

It was created by humans. Probably so that we can all leave peacebly in this creation we call "society."
re: Is there really no right or wrong?
By d4jmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 12490, member since Fri Aug 27, 2004
On Wed Mar 17, 2010 12:21 PM
I don't think that one's conscience (or feeling in your gut or whatever) is a human-created thing, (but rather a God-created thing, but that point is outside the scope of this discussion).

Anyhoo, if we go back to the stealing for a good reason idea: Sometimes your conscience will still bug you even if you did something 'wrong' like stealing that was 'right' for your family at the time. So for instance, if I had to steal to survive, I would try and make up for it later when I found myself in better circumstances.

And as for animals killing and eating their babies and other animals in the wild behavior: I don't identify humans as solely animals, I guess you could say I think of us a animals-PLUS. The 'plus' being that something extra special that you can't define, go ahead and call me race-centric, lol! :)

:)

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