What Does Morality Really Mean? - Deepstash
Describing Morality

Morality is a set of standards that help people to live cooperatively in groups. Morality is not fixed. What is acceptable in one culture might not be admissible in another culture.

Sometimes, acting in a moral manner means individuals must sacrifice their short-term interests to benefit society. Individuals who don't do this may be considered immoral.

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  • Freud's morality and the superego: Sigmund Freud suggested people developed morally when they set aside their selfish needs for the values of important socialising agents (e.g. parents)
  • Piaget's theory of moral development: Jean Piaget theorised that moral development unfolds over certain stages as children learn to adopt moral behaviours for their own sake.
  • B.F. Skinner's behavioural theory focused on the power of external forces, such as praise and the desire for positive attention.
  • Lawrence Kohlberg's moral reasoning consisted of six stages of moral development.

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Morals usually shift over time, for example, pre-marital sex was once viewed as wrong, but many now find this acceptable. In some regions, cultures and religions, contraception is considered immoral, while other people consider contraception moral.

There are seven universal morals: be brave, be fair, defer to authority, help your group, love your family, return favours, and respect others' property.

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Some people believe morality is personal, while ethics refer to the standards of a community.

Both laws and morals regulate behaviour in a community. Both have firm foundations in the idea that everyone should have autonomy and have respect for others. Some argue that laws and morality are independent, while others believe they are interdependent.

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