Action Arena #1:
Reality about Human Morality

Action

In Bulletin 21, Brights Central suggested that any project in this arena employ common definitions. (Establishing common definitions for terms such as "morality" and "ethics" was seen as helpful to this endeavor.) BC offered a supporting rationale (below) and implemented a poll that invited Brights’ input.

Results

Actual poll results were reported in Bulletin 22.

There proved to be great diversity, and so the definitions below were proposed as a means to yield a degree of common understanding and move the project (Area A) forward. However the tendency toward interminable nonproductive discussion continued.

Pragmatism

Lest the overall endeavor dissolve, the initial approach was abandoned, along with the definitions below. Subsequently, another set of participants found that progress could be made with aid of review panelists and without reliance on definitions.

The early approach is shown below only for archiving purposes.


Rationale

The subject matter known as ethics and morality has a long history. The various terminology and usage extends through many generations and carries extensive definitional baggage. A brief Google search of “define: ethics,” “define: morals,” and “define: morality” demonstrates clearly the absence of consensus regarding meanings within these complex and interrelated realms. Fierce arguments ensue regarding distinctions (e.g., ethics vs. morality) with plausible lines of reasoning to be had in many directions.

Since philosophic discussions often consume enormous time and generally generate little light, Brights Central (BC) is desirous of short circuiting the process to the extent possible. An operational assent regarding terminology will enable the project to advance straight away. Thus, we would ask your consideration of the pragmatic definitions proposed for employment in this project.

Morals (noun): motives, intentions, and/or actions of an individual (or a group of individuals) arising from a personal (or collective) sense of right conduct.

(Example: The morals of “graffiti artists” elevate a desire to mark territory above interest in maintaining an attractive public commons.)

Morality (noun): a set of motives, intentions, and/or actions of an individual or a group conforming to principles or standards of right conduct.

(Example: Our nation is honorable and righteous, and our morality is superior to the morality of those who oppose us.)

Ethics (noun): the study of morals and morality (Note: the field may entail philosophical, religious, and/or scientific examinations).

(Example: Human ethics has long been central to the work of philosophers and religious scholars, but simian ethics excites many contemporary biologists.)

To minimize ambiguity, other commonly used terms such as moral values, social values, ethical and moral rules, are subsumed under the above definitions.


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