Morality is a conventional concept of rules, principles, assessments, norms, based on the paradigm of assessments of evil and good, which took shape in a certain period of time. This is a model of social consciousness, a method of regulating the behavior of a subject in society. It develops in both individual and social form of subjective relations.
The concept of morality from the point of view considered by psychologists is a fragment of the human psyche that has been formed at the deep level and is responsible for assessing events occurring in different planes with a meaning good and not good. The word moral is often used as a synonym for morality.
What is morality
The word "moral" originates from the classical Latin language. It is formed from the "mos" of the Latin word having meaning - temper, custom. Referring to Aristotle, Cicero, guided by this meaning, formed the words: "moralis" and "moralitas" - moral and morality, which became equivalents to expressions from the Greek language: ethics and ethical.
The term "morality" is mainly used to designate the type of behavior of a society as integral, but there are exceptions, for example, Christian or bourgeois morality. Thus, the term is used only to refer to a limited group of the population. Analyzing the relations of society in different epochs of existence to the same action, it should be noted that morality is a conditional value, changeable in connection with the accepted social order. Each nation has its own morality, based on experience and traditions.
Some scholars have also noticed that different moral rules apply to subjects not only of different nationalities, but also to subjects belonging to the "alien" group. The definition of a group of people in the vector "own", "alien" occurs at the psychological level of the ratio of the individual with this group in different ways: cultural, ethnic, and others. Identifying itself with a particular group, the subject accepts those rules and norms (morality) that are adopted in it, consider this way of life more fair than following the morality of the whole society.
A person knows a large number of meanings of this concept, which is interpreted from various points of view in various sciences, but its basis remains constant - this is the definition by a person of his actions, the actions of society in the equivalent of "good-bad."
Morality is created on the basis of the paradigm adopted in a particular society, since the designations "bad or good" are relative, not absolute, and the explanation of morality or immorality of various kinds of acts are conditional.
Morality, as the union of the rules and norms of society is formed over a long period on the basis of traditions and laws adopted in a particular society. For comparison, you can use the example associated with the burning of witches - women who were suspected of using magic and black magic. In such a period as the Middle Ages against the background of adopted laws, such an action was considered a highly moral act, that is, good. In the modern paradigm of adopted laws, such atrocities are considered absolutely unacceptable and stupid crimes against the subject. At the same time, such incidents as holy war, genocide or slavery can be delivered. In their epoch in a particular society with their own laws, such actions were taken as the norm, were considered absolutely moral.
The formation of morality is directly related to the evolution of various ethnic groups of humanity in its social key. Scientists who study the social evolution of nations, consider morality as a result of the influence of the forces of evolution on a group as a whole and on a person individually. Based on their understanding, the behavioral norms prescribed by morality change during the period of human evolution, ensuring the survival of the species and their reproduction, contribute to the guaranteed success of evolution. Along with this, the subject forms in itself a "pro-social" fundamental part of the psyche. In consequence, a sense of responsibility for their actions, a feeling of empathy, guilt.
Accordingly, morality is a certain set of behavioral norms, which is formed over a long period of time, under the influence of surrounding conditions at some point forms a set of established ideological norms that contribute to the development of human cooperation. It is also aimed at avoiding the individualism of the subject in society; the formation of groups united by a common worldview. Sociobiologists consider such a point of view in a number of types of social animals, there is a desire to change the behavior of the person striving for survival and preservation of their own species during the period of evolution. That corresponds to the formation of morality, even in animals. In humans, moral norms are developed more sophisticated and diverse, but are also concentrated on the prevention of individualism in behavior, which contributes to the formation of nationalities and, accordingly, increases the chances of survival. It is believed that even such norms of behavior as parental love are consequences of the evolution of the morality of mankind - this type of behavior increases the survival rate of the offspring.
Studies of the human brain, conducted by socio-biologists, determine that parts of the cerebral cortex of the subject that are involved in the period of human employment with moral issues do not form a separate cognitive subsystem. Often, in the period of solving moral problems, areas of the brain are located that localize the neural network, which is responsible for the subject's ideas about the intentions of others. The neural network is also involved in the same measure, which is responsible for the individual's presentation of the emotional experiences of other personalities. That is, when solving moral tasks, a person uses those parts of his brain that correspond to empathy and empathy, this indicates that morality is aimed at developing mutual understanding of subjects between themselves (the individual’s ability to see things through the eyes of another subject, to understand his feelings and experiences). According to the theory of moral psychology, morality as such develops and changes in the same way as a personality is formed. There are several approaches to the understanding of the formation of morality on a personal level:
- cognitive approach (Jean Piaget, Lorenz Kohlberg and Elliot Turiel) - morality in personal development goes through several constructive stages or areas;
- a biological approach (Jonathan Heidt and Martin Hoffman (Martin Hoffman)) - morality is considered against the background of the development of the social or emotional component of the human psyche. Interesting for the development of the doctrine of morality as a psychological component of personality is the approach of the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, who suggested that morality is formed as a consequence of the desire of the "super-ego" to leave the state of shame and guilt.
What is morality
The fulfillment of moral norms is the moral duty of the subject, the violation of these measures of behavior is a sense of moral guilt.
The norms of morality in society are generally accepted measures of the behavior of the subject, which arise from the established morality. The combination of these norms forms a certain system of rules, which in all respects differ from the normative systems of society such as: customs, rights, and ethics.
In the early stages of the formation of moral norms were directly associated with religion, which prescribes the value of divine revelation to moral norms. Each religion has available a set of certain moral norms (commandments) binding for all believers. Failure to comply with the prescribed moral standards in religion is considered to be Greek. In various world religions there is a certain regularity in accordance with moral norms: theft, murder, adultery, and lying are the indisputable rules of behavior of believers.
Researchers engaged in the study of the formation of moral norms put forward several directions in understanding the meaning of these norms in society. Some believe that the observance of the rules prescribed in morality, is a priority in the guise of other norms. Followers of this trend, attributing to these moral norms certain properties: universality, categorical, immutability, cruelty. The second direction, which is studied by scientists, assumes that the attribution of absolutism, generally accepted and binding moral standards, plays the role of a certain fanaticism.
According to the form of manifestation, some moral norms in society are similar to legal norms. So the principle of "do not steal" is common to both systems, but by asking the question why the subject follows this principle, one can determine the direction of his thinking. If the subject follows the principle, because he is afraid of legal responsibility, then his act is legal. If the subject follows this principle with conviction, because theft is a bad (evil) act, the direction vector of his behavior follows the moral system. There are precedents in which the observance of moral norms is contrary to law. The subject, considering it his duty, for example, to steal the medicine in order to save his loved one from death is morally right, while absolutely breaking the law.
Exploring the formation of moral norms, scientists came to a certain classification:
- norms affecting questions about the existence of the individual as a biological being (murder);
- rules on the independence of the subject;
- norms of social conflicts;
- rules of trust (loyalty, truthfulness);
- rules relating to the dignity of the subject (honesty, justice);
- privacy standards;
- norms about other norms of morality.
A human being has freedom of choice and he has the full right to choose the path of following moral norms or vice versa. This choice of a person who puts good or evil on the scales is called moral choice. Having such freedom of choice in real life, the subject is faced with a difficult task: to follow personal needs or blindly follow due. Having made a choice for himself, the subject bears certain moral consequences, for which the subject himself is responsible, both to society and to himself.
Analyzing the features of morality, you can extract several of its functions:
- Regulation function. Adherence to moral principles leaves a certain mark in the mind of the individual. The formation of certain views of behavior (what is allowed and what is not allowed) occurs at an early age. This kind of action helps the subject to adjust his behavior in line with the usefulness not only for himself but also for society. Moral norms are able to regulate the subject's individual convictions as much as the interaction between groups of people, which favors the preservation of culture and stability.
- Evaluation function. Actions and situations occurring in a social society, morality, assesses in the aspect of good and evil. The actions that have taken place are evaluated for their usefulness or negativity for further development; for this, on the part of morality, each action is assessed. Thanks to this function, the subject forms the concept of belonging to oneself in society and develops his own position in it.
- Parenting function. Under the influence of this function, a person forms an awareness of the importance not only of his needs, but also the needs of the people who surround him. There is a feeling of empathy and respect, which contributes to the harmonious development of relationships in society, an understanding of the moral ideals of another individual, contributes to a better understanding of each other.
- control function. Determines control over the use of moral norms, as well as condemnation of their consequences at the level of society and the individual.
- Integration feature. Following the standards of morality unites humanity into a single group, which supports the survival of man as a species. And also helps to maintain the integrity of the spiritual world of the individual. The key functions of morality are: appraisal, educational, and regulatory. They represent the social significance of morality.
Morality and ethics
The term ethics is of Greek origin from the word ethos. The use of this word signified the actions or actions of a person who were personally authoritative to him. Aristotle defined the meaning of the word "ethos" as a virtue of the character of the subject. Subsequently, it happened that the word "ethicos" is an ethos, denoting something related to the temperament or disposition of the subject. The emergence of such a definition entailed the formation of the science of ethics - the subject of virtue studying the character of the subject. In the culture of the ancient Roman empire was the word "moralis" - defining a wide range of human phenomena. Later derived from this term "moralitas" - referring to customs or character. Analyzing the etymological content of these two terms ("moralitas" and "ethicos"), one should note the coincidence of their meanings.
Many people know that such concepts as "morality" and ethics "are close in their meaning, they are often also considered interchangeable. Many people use these concepts as extensions of each other. Ethics, first of all, is a philosophical trend that studies morality. Often the expression "ethics" is used to denote specific moral principles, traditions, customs that exist among the subjects of a limited group of society. The Kantian system examines the word morality, using it to denote the concept of duty, the prince Types of Behavior and Commitment. The word "ethics" is used by Aristotle's reasoning system to denote virtue, the indivisibility of moral and practical considerations.
The concept of morality as a system of principles forms a set of rules that are based on years of practice, and allows a person to determine the style of behavior in society. Ethics is a section of philosophy and theoretical justification of these principles. In the modern world, the concept of ethics has preserved the original designation, as a science in the ranks of the philosophy of studying the properties of man, real phenomena, rules and norms, which are moral norms in society.