pendothrax on June 21, 2010, 03:20:19 pm
I have been subjected to the current groupthink standard of defining morality, and it grates my soul to be honest.  the first direction a "moral" person is supposed to look is first the standards of the state" is this iilegal?",  then the printed standards of the company, then the interpretation of the company's directions and views, and only then would a "moral" person use their personal standards for judgement.  this seems completely backwards to me.  I am interested in other peoples opinions on this. 

my two cents from work.

SandySandfort on June 21, 2010, 07:01:23 pm
I have been subjected to the current groupthink standard of defining morality, and it grates my soul to be honest.  the first direction a "moral" person is supposed to look is first the standards of the state" is this iilegal?",  then the printed standards of the company, then the interpretation of the company's directions and views, and only then would a "moral" person use their personal standards for judgement.  this seems completely backwards to me.  I am interested in other peoples opinions on this. 

my two cents from work.

I'm having a bit of trouble understanding your question. Could you give us some context? Being the literal sort, I would appreciate some hypothetical example to make it real for me.

Brugle on June 21, 2010, 07:10:05 pm
Ultimately, it's up to you.  Maybe you decide that the state's standards override everything else, but that's your decision.  Even if Bog speaks to you from a burning bush, it's still your decision whether to obey.

As far as I'm concerned, the reasonable thing is to cut out the middleman and decide for yourself what's right.  It makes sense to seek advice from those who specialize in ethical philosophy.  Some of that stuff is difficult.

On the other hand, in my opinion, playground ethics covers most of it: don't pick fights, don't steal other kids' toys, and keep your promises.

quadibloc on June 21, 2010, 08:25:54 pm
Under normal circumstances, obeying the law doesn't conflict with doing what is right. Neither does respecting the property rights of your employers, or the terms of your employment agreement with them.

This is true even if one isn't entirely comfortable with some aspects of how the company functions, such as the level of support it provides to customers.

There are unusual circumstances, of course. Usually, when a company is injuring others through force or fraud, it is also breaking the law, so in that case taking appropriate action isn't merely permissible, it is an obligation.

Of course, though, ultimately what really is right and wrong does take precedence over any human law or agreement. The Holocaust - and Negro slavery - proved that.

Is something similar to that going on right now? Some might say that there is; abortion is legal. But that's a harder case to call, and because of that, I think that the moral virtue of humility calls for opponents of legal abortion to engage in peaceful political action, not armed rebellion, at this time.

The decision to follow one's ultimate moral beliefs instead of the law of the land is not one that should be made lightly. What you know to be genuinely right and wrong should take priority - but instead of automatic priority, such a decision requires serious reflection. And when the laws in question are those of a democracy, rather than a dictatorship, some of that reflection involves considering whether or not one's thinking may be flawed on the moral issue in question.

Sean Roach on June 22, 2010, 01:48:40 am
It seems to me that if any action fails one test it fails, then it doesn't matter the order you apply the conditions.  You might as well apply the strictest conditions first, since if it fails that, you then don't need to continue with the looser conditions.
Of course, this is simplistic in the extreme.
Furthermore, you might want to pass it through certain conditions first just to avoid the temptation.  If you pass it through your own moral code first, you won't be tempted to 'bend' your moral code since it passed the other conditions.  If you pass it through the law first, you won't be tempted to ignore the law if it is the only holdout.
Personally, I'd pass it through my own moral compass first, as it's more immediate.  You can puzzle out why a thing is wrong after your gut nixes an action.

On the other hand, if alternative methods are applicable, you really need to break it down.  The goal and the method have to be evaluated separately.  The goal is unlikely to conflict with the law of the land, though it might very well conflict with personal ethics, or the mission statement of a group even if you can find a method that is legal.

Of course, it's also after one AM, and I'm pretty much rambling and well outside my area of experience.

terry_freeman on June 22, 2010, 07:27:13 am
One of Heinlein's characters in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress defined rational anarchy as something like this: I choose to obey the laws and mores when they do not conflict with what is morally right.

pendothrax on June 22, 2010, 02:57:39 pm
i perhaps missed some important information.  this is the essense of a new round of trainings passing through the corporate world, which litterally do prioritize morality as starting with whether an issue is illegal, then proceding to written instructions from the home corp, then the philosophical direction set by the home corp, and then allows individual standards to apply , providing they do not conflict with the other three.  not a question, just re stating an experience.

MacFall on June 23, 2010, 11:18:42 am
That's because the corporate world is a corrupt, state-sustained, collectivist culture.
Government is not, as is often believed, a "necessary evil". Rather, it is a plain evil of such power that it has been able to convince people of its necessity.

NemoUtopia on June 23, 2010, 06:59:05 pm
Yes, but what do you expect them to say? The reason corporations are allowed to exist is because they comply with the law and are expected to have their employees comply with whatever policies and standards the corporation has. They're certainly not going to tell you 'follow your heart, especially when it makes us and the law out to be the bad guy.' It's bass ackwards, for sure, but when the system supports a suit leading to bankruptcy or having The Man simply shut you down they don't exactly have much choice.

That said, just because the corporation's advice is established on group-think and compliance with the big sticks does not mean that the actual individuals who are your co-workers and superiors are going to hold moral actions against you. It's obviously not so simplified that you can ignore the law and policy to follow morality, but values dissonance and personal consequences are going to affect things. Until we get a lot closer to true free-market that's simply reality. And that is ignoring ethics, which is its own quagmire.

Annnnd I was wondering how long it was going to take, but there it is. If abortion were as simple as slavery and genocide it wouldn't be a dilemma for everybody. I'll be happy to talk about it through PM or in another thread, but abortion is just about the very definition of gray-area morality no matter how much both camps want to make it simple.

quadibloc on June 23, 2010, 07:04:24 pm
Annnnd I was wondering how long it was going to take, but there it is. If abortion were as simple as slavery and genocide it wouldn't be a dilemma for everybody. I'll be happy to talk about it through PM or in another thread, but abortion is just about the very definition of gray-area morality no matter how much both camps want to make it simple.
I wasn't thinking of trying to discuss it here, but simply to give an example of how morality could seem to come in conflict with the law, and yet, as the matter might be in a gray area, giving weight to the law is, in such a case, not unreasonable.

NemoUtopia on June 25, 2010, 05:45:49 pm
Fair enough, and I definitely see what you're saying now.