Philosophical Foundations of moral value dependent on social practice

Introduction:  I understand Moral as rules that govern human behaviour, and it can be to show right and wrong in our action or thought; through my understanding, the moral value dependent on social practices in many ways:

Cultural norm: individual grew up with families, communities and in society with certain cultural norm which govern their behaviour by showing right and wrong. Example; Taboos are immoral

State law: Every nation has law and judiciary system mostly derives from moral value. Example: it is immoral to betray nation or to kill other fellow citizen.

Religious rule: Most of the religion has do and do not rule based on the law of their religions.  Example: sin is immoral or cursing priest is not a moral act.

Main argument:  My main argument starting with answering the question of what are moral values and the moral value dependent on social practices.

Moral values: I am influence my theology and I understand the Moral values was the standards of good and evil, which govern an individual’s behaviour and choices. Individual’s morals may derive from society and government, religion, or self. Some moral values derive from society and government, of necessity may change as the laws and morals of the society change. One of the best example in modern society is of the impact of changing laws on moral values may be seen in the case of marriage vs. “living together.” In past generations, it was rare to see couples who lived together without the benefit of a legal matrimonial ceremony. In recent years, couples that set up household without marriage are nearly as plentiful as traditional married couples. But, not only are such couples more plentiful, they are also more accepted by other individuals in our society. Thereby I support the argument that moral value dependent on the social practice.

Moral values dependent on social practices: We know that the moral values refer to a set of moral principles that guide human on how to evaluate right versus wrong. Most of the people use moral values to justify decisions, intentions and actions were dependent on Cultural norm, religious rules and state law, and it also defines the personal character of a person in our human society. Individuals with high moral values usually come from the background of high socio-political class, religious groups, socially active people, and professionally well train men were typically displays characteristics of integrity, courage, respect, fairness, honesty and compassion; because of their moral values dependant on social practices. The basic foundation of human’s character is developed during a child’s early years which partly shaped by the values and beliefs of parents, in the society. Social institution and peer interactions also play an important role in moral values formation.  Sometime! Most of the people in society confuse the ethics with moral values.  Ethics refer to a set of standards of behavior expected by a group of people to which an individual is a member, while moral values stresses on a person’s moral code describes the right or wrong of action.

When we remember the Mr. Jeremy Bentham’s “utilitarian concept on principle of moral and legislation, greater happiness for greatest number”  Where the individual moral value were conflicting with the interest of state, organizations, and public and so on. On the other hand, moral value and ethics can’t be confused in the society: Common ethics at times are in conflict with moral values, especially in workplaces under state (institution). And the public policies views for the greater good for society are usually conflict with moral values. Since the utilitarian theory are based on the greatest happiness of the greatest number of society, lead to effect moral right of an individual. Other utilitarian like Will Kymlicka stated that “preference satisfaction-but some preference might be harmful, because utilitarianism’s attraction focus on human well-being and measures all actions by their ability to improve human well-being” For example, the utilitarian might call another society’s practice ‘ignorant’ or ‘less moral’, One of the example can be taken as; a state/company’s demand on overtime, in which an employee may feel that moral obligations to his family are sacrificed to fulfill his work obligations. Ironically speaking, the people can lose their jobs because of low moral values. Tardiness, theft and poor working habits can be attributed to personal character. The moral value based on a sense of right and wrong according to conscience of moral courage and moral law.

 The characteristics of moral values dependent on social practices: Moral values are deriving from within one’s own self on social practices; this is clearly demonstrated in the behaviour of older infants and young toddlers. If the child was forbidden to touch some object early on, they know enough to slowly being observed before touching said object. There is no need for this behaviour to be taught because it is instinctive. Once, however any form of discipline is applied to modify the child’s behaviour, the child now gains the capacity within himself to distinguish his right behaviour from his wrong behaviour. Now, the child can make correct choices based on his own knowledge. The choices that are made by an individual from childhood to adulthood are between forbidden and acceptable, kind or cruel, generous or selfish. A person may, under any given set of circumstances, decide to do what is forbidden. If this individual possesses moral values, going against them usually produces guilt in general understanding.

Cultural norm, state law and other law:  An individual grew up in the community with the influence of family, friends, country, under certain culture norm. The individual learn natural law, God law and state/community law as a part of their culture; some examples are refraining from lying, killing, cheating and stealing. It includes being honest with yourself as well as with others.  And the question arises that, what do we believe morally and how should we act? We know that your way is not the only way; it is one of several billion ways. Acknowledge the dignity, freedoms and rights of others. Immanuel Kant on Reason and Morality, talk about “the Autonomy as normal adult are fully self-governing in moral matters. His views support that we impose a moral law on ourselves and the law give us obligation to act in certain ways and the structure of must reflect the moral autonomy of individuals.”  Some Morals value help by creating a civilized society where the greater good is valued over personal gain at others’ expense. Morals can be looked as a guide, a set of standards or a blueprint for our behavior. They help us to think about the consequences of our actions before we take them; listen before we speak, and consider the lives and rights of others.

Religion rules: Most religions have built-in lists of do and don’ts, a set of codes by which its adherents should live. Individuals who are followers of a particular religion will generally make a show of following that religion’s behavior code. It is interesting to note that these codes may widely vary; a person whose religion provides for polygamy will experience no guilt at having more than one spouse while adherents to other religions feel they must remain monogamous. Forgive and compromise is very important in morality of religious doctrine, they usually taught that leave past hurts and misunderstandings behind and move forward. Stop any cycles of causing pain to oneself or others. Don’t seek revenge but seek peace because human life is beautiful and short.

However, not all people are following a strict moral code because of various reasons; one reason is the scarce of resources in the society.  And, some people’s moral values differ so drastically from other people as to be the cause of conflict.

Example on social judgment:

  1. Government police arrested the innocent person and punishing him for opposing illegal land acquisition by the state for public purpose: According to utilitarian justification, punishment is justified because it is in interest of the society, whereas according to john Rawls, punishment is justified a wrongdoing merit punishment, but it is not morally right to punish innocent person.


Conclusion:  Moral values are the standards of good and evil, which govern an individual’s behavior and choices. And the moral values to justify decisions, intentions and actions were dependent on Cultural norm, religious rules and state law, so on and so forth. The moral value were dependent on social practices; cultural norm, State law and religious rule. And because of social practice an individual have integrity, courage, respect, fairness, honesty and compassion.  Kant says “the Autonomy as normal adult is fully self-governing in moral” and thereby, social practices are very important for moral values.

-kharingyo Shimrah


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