Through this maturing process, the person may develop standards that are more intellectually adequate and so more suited for dealing with the moral dilemmas of adult life.
What are the characteristics that distinguish moral standards from standards that are not moral? This is not an easy question to answer. However, ethicists have suggested five characteristics that help to pin down the nature of moral standards. First , moral standards deal with matters that we think can seriously injure or seriously benefit human beings. For example, most people in Nigerian society hold moral standards against theft, rape, enslavement, murder, child abuse, assault, slander, fraud, law-breaking, and so on. All these plainly deal with matters that people feel are quite serious forms of injury. Second , moral standards are not established or changed by the decisions of particular authoritative bodies. Laws and legal standards are established by the authority of a legislature or the decisions of voters. Moral standards, however, are not established by any authority, nor does their validity rest on voting procedures. Instead, the validity of moral standards rests on the adequacy of the reasons that are taken to support and justify them; so long as these reasons are adequate, the standards remain valid.
Third , and perhaps most striking, we feel that moral standards should be preferred to other values including (especially) self-interest. That is, if a person has a moral obligation to do something, then he or she is supposed to do it even if this conflicts with other, non-moral values or self-interest. Fourth , and generally, moral standards are based on impartial considerations. The fact that you will benefit from a lie and that I will be harmed is irrelevant to whether lying is morally wrong or not. Recent philosophers have expressed this point by saying that moral standards are based on “the moral point of
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- Fall '15
- Ethics, moral standards, DEWI SUSILOWATI