Recently I have come across an article which lightened my sight, even though, from the original post Discussion on Whether It’s Good or Evil I have asked about the origins and development of ethics. And in this article Where Does Morality Come From? still couldn’t answer how it develops.
Long before I have this assumption: The society is based on a “profit chain” structure, that people do whatever good or bad is ultimately sourced from thus things that can benefit them, or detriment them.
I can’t figure sometimes somebody’s motive from their actions, is he doing this because it’s a right thing to do or is he plotting something else?
We encounter this situation regularly, we don’t read minds we don’t know their motives, thus the inquiries of why they do it and how they do it.
I don’t know, is it real? Is ethics based on this kind of “profit chain”? It looks a bit similar to Naturalism, which believes that there is moral facts and it’s like the laws of physics, ethics has some unbreakable laws too.
It’s similar but first on the viewpoint I personally don’t believe Naturalism because there’s no such thing as the laws of ethics, no, ethics can be broken, and humans are most usually the committer. But is there a “profit chain”? Here lies unknown. It makes sense if there’s a profit chain to direct people’s actions rather than some mumble unbreakable laws of ethics.
I think one of the most important thing regarding ethics is reasoning/rationality. But this thing is not eternally exist in our history until French Enlightenment Era. As the article mentioned about it, it’s an important means/tool to assess moral situations.
But not everyone has the ability to reason.
I don’t think codes, principles, rules, these existing ethics are the answer to my question, as in Ancient Rome Plato had argued furiously with other philosophers about the origin of ethics and how we should treat ethics.
The fact that we all can learn is that ethics develops from time to time.
And here while I am talking ethics, I am not talking morals, morals is personal beliefs, personal values on ethical/moral things. So there is and there should be patterns to trace of social ethics.
In a society, where social agreement on something is norm, the norms form ethics. So as in we can understand, like: In China, people believes the one who killed another one deserves to die. In US, same. In Japan, same. In most of the world, maybe everyone can have this conclusion, whether, it’s from laws, from education or simply, from norms, as in ethics.
But where does it come from? Since when do humans believe a killer deserves to die?
And have you ever questioned on battlefields? Soldiers kill men do not require to get death sentence, they are the same who have committed the same action as the killers. But they do not deserve to die and moreover get rewarded for it. Hitman is the same concept as soldier, but they are to be sentenced death.
We do believe that morals is subjective, but on some extent I think ethics is objective, since it’s “everyone agrees on it”. Social agreements.
Deism is something that in between Universalism and Relativism. Deism believes that there might be some supernatural forces aside of our world and kind of gives our lives meaning, and the world builds on rationality, science and logic.
In my mind, very long ago, I had this thought, that we are all, including the universe, actually are a playground, an experiment field of a larger scale something. We may just be some live manikins inside a glass globe, some giants(relatively giants since we are inside a glass globe) are observing us and never told us their existence.
To believe there is something out there, a bigger, a lager existence, that’s bigger than us is relieving – to fear something big that might or might not exist.
It’s not like theism that you believe there’s a God in the sky, it’s just some kind of belief there is something out there that we can’t explain is protecting, maybe, or observing us. At least we have yet to receive any harm.
This is Deism, to at least believe something, not completely atheism but not theism as well.
But at least from nowadays scientific perspective, Deism seems more or less just a belief, a faith. Because if it’s not there, then it is not there, this is science. You need proofs to support your assumption.
The study relates to origin of ethics is called Meta-Ethics. Meta-Ethics investigates the source of existing ethics, it’s one of its field of study.
From a vague overall skim, these are the three stands for origin of ethics:
One answer is Moral Naturalism, according to which moral facts (like “killing innocent babies is wrong”) are facts about the natural world, just like “the boiling point of water is 100 degrees” is a fact about the natural world.
Another answer is Constructivism, according to which something about the structure of rationality and reasoning gives rise to morality.
Another answer is Moral Non-Naturalism according to which there are non-natural facts about what is right and wrong (they way we might think that “2+2=4” or something is a fact but it’s not some physical fact about the natural world).
All three couldn’t really answer the origin of ethics. For one, Naturalism doesn’t exist as I stated above, because people break it, there’s no moral facts. Two, Non-Naturalism is like stating there isn’t any ethics, everything is subjective, that’s false to reality because there are, social agreed moral actions, thus ethics is exist. And the last, Constructivism, it’s like Deism, starts from reasoning. But every reasoning starts from French Enlightenment Era, so this does not explain what happens before it and go back to our primitive stage of society.
With more information, from anthropology, there is answer to this. There is an answer to a question.