Small groups

Map of morality

 

The elements of morality are related to each other in various ways.  Below is a simplified diagram showing some of the elements and how they are linked.  

Text map

This diagram can be translated into a text map.  

Below is a simplified text map of morality.  Each concept is directly related to the ones in the following brackets.  

 

 

 

 

Structure of morality  

Morality can be thought of as similar to mathematics, in that (at least at this interpersonal level) it consists of a collection of facts, logical relations between the facts, and principles (of thriving cooperatively) arising from this situation.  

The moral principles outlined above are simply necessary when people interact together in small groups, with certain goals in mind.  Probably, a computer could be programmed with those facts and goals, and would arrive at the same principles.  

Importantly, these principles are closely linked, in that any one contains elements of others, and they are generally used in combination and balanced together.  For example, the Golden Rule contains elements of reciprocity, fairness, mutual respect, and potentially, all three kinds of empathy (cognitive, emotional, empathic concern).  We may employ any and every principle at any one time.  

Some aspects of morality have ethical content – they represent what is considered the best of moral behaviour, since they are directly concerned with primary goals/values (such as thriving).  The corresponding interpersonal moral principles, concerned with maximising these primary values or goals in a cooperative way, would probably consist of: helping in response to need, fairness, unconditional love, and at least in the West in the 21st century, human rights.  

 

 

 

Objective morality and human rights

 

... the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.

Paul the Apostle – Romans 2:15

 

We all need some kind of moral authority to refer to.  This makes perfect practical sense, as morality can be considered the art of living well.  Religious people are able to refer to God as the authority, which is perfectly valid, except that opinions vary widely over what “God” thinks is the right thing to do.  

We may construct objectivity by several different means, for example:  

  1. the universal ethics that all healthy people feel in their hearts (in fact, every healthy individual member of any Homo species).  
  2. ethical principles that achieve what are considered the “highest” values.  

Currently in the West, the highest value seems to be “thriving”, in that human rights are considered paramount in every situation.  (See Perfect Compassion.)  Other ethical systems may prioritise other values, such as “controlling female sexuality”, some cultural values, or perhaps “warriorship”, “loyalty”, etc., whatever it might be.  

If we prioritise human rights, we are saying that people are the most important thing.  

If we combine these two kinds of objectivity, and choose cooperative thriving and fairness as our primary value, then we arrive at Perfect Compassion, and by extension, human rights and unconditional love.  This has the automatic corollary that encouragement and enforcement of some kind are necessary, in order to help prevent people from defaulting on their moral obligations.  

 

 

 

 

Large-group aspects of morality (from Moral Foundations theory)  

Text map

 

 

 

 

Map of cooperation

The concepts are arranged by association with each other.  

See plain text file

 

 

Map of the moral compass

See narcissism; narcissism and the moral compass

Large groups