Not too many people talk about morality anymore, but whether you know it or not morality is an irresistible, powerful force in our lives. To explain, this article will go over the basics of what morality is, why it is important, and what are the major types of morality that are shaping our lives. Also for businesses, there is an explanation on codes of ethics and its association with morality.
What Is Morality and Why Is It Important?
To best understand morality and its types, it is good to review what morality is and why it is important. To explain morality at its essence, and each of its variations, are a set of rules that guide our behavior and how we make decisions. So even though each type of morality may have a lot of similarities, there can be a lot of differences. And even more importantly, the type of morality you choose to live by may be the most important decision you make in your life. To further explain, I’ll describe below what morality is and highlight why it is so important in shaping our lives and the world we live in.
“Morality claims our lives. It makes claims upon each of us that are stronger than the claims of law and takes priority over self-interest.”The Nature of Morality
What Is Morality?
Morality, interchangeable with ethics, refers to a set of principles that guide an individual’s behaviors and decisions. In particular, these principles are often shaped by cultural and religious beliefs, as well as personal values. Also, morality helps us to determine our action or behavior based on what is good over what is bad. In addition, it also helps us to determine what is right over what is wrong. Lastly, It deals with how we treat each other to promote mutual welfare, growth, creativity,and meaning in life.
“To educate a person in the mind but not in morals is to educate a menace to society.”Theodore Roosevelt
Why Is Morality Important?
The following list highlights 6 reasons why morality is important.
1. Promotes Trust and Cooperation Within Society.
When people act consistently within their moral beliefs, it builds trust and fosters cooperation among individuals. Moreover, this can create a sense of unity and community, which is essential for the functioning of any society.
2. Creates Order And Stability.
A strong moral foundation helps to provide a sense of structure and order within society. Hence, this can help to prevent chaos and conflict. Additionally, it allows people to live their lives in a more predictable and safe manner.
3. Encourages Responsible and Fair Behavior.
Morality helps to guide people towards behaving in a way that is responsible and fair. This can include things like respecting the rights of others and being honest and trustworthy. Additionally, following your morals leads to you treating others with kindness and compassion.
4. Promotes Personal Growth and Development.
Having a strong sense of morality can help people to grow and develop as individuals. Additionally, it can encourage people to think critically about their actions. This in turn, enables people to strive to be the best version of themselves.
5. Builds Character And Integrity.
Morality helps to shape an individual’s character and integrity. In particular, it can help people to become more honest, reliable, and trustworthy. Indeed, these are important qualities to have in both personal and professional relationships. See Unvarnished Facts’ Lacking Integrity – How To Detect It In a Person for more on integrity.
6. Contributes To The Greater Good.
Morality encourages people to consider the well-being of others and to act in a way that promotes the greater good. This can include things like volunteering, helping those in need, and working towards the betterment of society as a whole.
For more on why benefits and challenges with morality, see Enlightio’s Why Is Mortality Important?
Types of Morality.
As philosophers and theorists have pondered mortality for thousands of years, it is surprising that there is not a consensus and comprehensive list of types of morality. To keep it simple, I have broken types of morality into four categories. From what I can see, there are three major types of morality: religious, culture, and humanism, and then I have grouped other types of morality under their own group. Further under this grouping, I list these other types of morality at the end of this article, and provide references for more detailed explanation on each.
1. Types of Morality – Religious.
Divine or religious morality is based on a set of traditional beliefs, values, and sacred texts that are believed to have been handed down by a higher power. This type of morality is often linked to a particular religion and its teachings, such as the Ten Commandments. It emphasizes the importance of following the teachings of a particular religion and adhering to a set of rules and guidelines. Examples include the gods (the Greeks and Romans); Yahweh or God (the Jews); God and His Son, Jesus (the Christians), Allah (the Muslims); and Brahma (the Hindus), to name a few.
The followers of religious morality believe that these divine beings or principles embody the highest good themselves. Further, they believe that these divine beings reveal to human beings what is right or good and what is bad or wrong. However, this type of morality does not necessarily lean on any sort of empathy, logic, or personal experience to determine what is immoral.
2. Types of Morality – Cultural.
Descriptive or cultural morality is based on the beliefs, values, and norms that are shared by a particular society or culture. Also, this type of morality can vary from culture to culture, and its guidelines are often determined by the customs and traditions of a particular society. So there are many sets of beliefs or morals for each culture. Also, this type of morality is descriptive in that each culture has its own unique set of descriptive guidelines. For example, a particular culture may have a different understanding of what is considered appropriate or inappropriate behavior.
3. Types of Morality – Humanist (“Do No Harm”).
This humanist morality is based on the idea that people should act in a way that does not harm or cause suffering to others. Additionally, this type of morality is focused on personal fulfillment. At the same time, this type of morality emphasizes the importance of empathy and compassion, and encourages people to treat others with respect and kindness. Also, it is based on the belief that all people have the right to live a life free from suffering and oppression. In general, this type of morality is based on reasoning and scientific evidence based on research within such scientific domains such as medical and psychology.
“A man without ethics is a wild beast loosed upon this world.”Albert Camus (1913 – 1960), French Author, Philosopher, and Journalist
4. Other Types of Morality
There are many other types of morality, such as utilitarianism, virtue ethics, and natural law theory to name a few. These types of morality often take into account the unique circumstances of an individual or a society, and are based on different philosophical and ethical principles.
For more detailed explanations of other types of morality, see VeryWellMind’s What Are Moral Principles? where this article break morality into two types, absolute and relative. Also see University of San Diego’s The Nature of Morality and Moral Theories that provides a description of the full range of theories on morality. This includes Moral Subjectivism, Cultural Relativism, Ethical Egoism, Divine Command Theory, Virtue Ethics, Feminist Ethics, Utilitarianism, Kantian Theory, Rights-based Theories, and Contractarianism.
Morality In Business – The Code Of Ethics.
As a side note, it is common for businesses to have a code of ethics that you can classify as a type of morality. For purposes of this article, business ethics would fall under morality based on culture. The purpose of a business’ code of ethics is to provide a guide to their business operations on how to be ethical.
Common issues in a code of ethics include employer-employee relations, discrimination, environmental issues, bribery, insider trading, and social responsibility. These codes of ethics can be compliance-based, value-based, or a code of ethics common across a given industry or profession. Also, these codes of ethics can be based on government mandates or voluntary specific to one business. See Investopedia‘s Code Ethics for a more detailed discussion.
For more information from Unvarnished Facts, see more articles on values
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