Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 1 decade ago

Can someone please explain the difference between these two?

What's the difference between:

This is wrong. and

I don't like this.

If morality is relative, aren't we only affirming the second when we state the first? Many, for example, believe that restricting free speech is 'wrong'. My question is: wrong according to what standard? How can we say anything is wrong when there is no universal morality? Is your moral outrage really based on morality? Or is it that you just don't like not getting your way? Thanks in advance for the kind and thoughtful responses I'm sure this is going to get.


fedup: So if the majority decided to restrict free speech, that would be ok?

Update 2:

tcid: good point. But if morality is truly relative, then murder is only wrong because some/most people don't like it.

Update 3:

Kenshin: correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to be assuming some sort of absolute moral imperative to promote happiness. But isn't such an imperative merely another left-over illusion from a by gone age?

Update 4:

Pheonix: if you *were* to say it's wrong, wouldn't you just be saying you don't like it. If not, why? What's the difference?

Update 5:

Pheonix: I've been very careful not to inject my views into this question. I'm not advocating murder and mayhem. I'm simply exploring the consequences, if any, of moral relativism.

Update 6:

Kenshin: I think you're redefining morality. But that's fine. But the question remains. When, in the absense of any universal moral standard, we use moral language, are we merely expressing our desires? (sorry bout the complicated sentence.)

Update 7:

But Pheonix: where does the idea of "rights" come from? Don't rights presuppose a non-negotiable moral standard? If not, your rights are only as good as your ability to fight for them, using the police as surrogates.

Update 8:

Thanks Rick: but are you sure that's the way you operate in public? If no one else accepts your view, how can they understand that you don't mean the same thing as they do when using moral language?

Update 9:

Herf: I would take it as yet another example of immoral prejudice against short people :)

13 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    'Wrong' and 'Right is mostly determined after the fact.

    Repression of free speech leads to tyrany and ignorance, which leads to a poor quality of life.

    Herego, it is wrong, if we would prefer to live a happy life.

    Similarly murder, theft, and rape is wrong because it brings suffering. Since we would all rather live happy lives, murder, theft, and rape are considered immoral.

    However this can easily be overriden if an source of authority forces you to accept one sense of morailty over another.


    "correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to be assuming some sort of absolute moral imperative to promote happiness. But isn't such an imperative merely another left-over illusion from a by gone age?"

    Not at all.

    What I am getting at is IF we would prefer a life of happiness over pain, which I think we can all agree on, we will choose to recognize certain actions as "right" and other actions as "wrong" based on whether or not they caused more suffering than happines. Thereby decerning what is moral and and what is immoral.

    I believe choosing to live a happy life is just common sense, there is no requirement that we should however. We want to be happy, safe, and secure, because that is our ingrained human nature. Morality has nothing to do with it, but instead is derived FROM this quest.

    If you consider morals from the perspective of the individuals in any society you will see that the desired outcome of moral laws is always to the benefit of the group. Even Mayan human sacrifices, although ghastly from our perspective, were performed to bring prosperity to the land and favor from the gods. Ofcourse we know today this is foolishness, but to the Mayans it was necessary to ensure their survival, success, and happiness.

    Morality is relative, over individuals and society. But in the end, all moral rules developed by humanity has been with the desire outcome of a greater benefit to the individual and society.

    Ofcourse everything is much clearer in hindsight, and I'm sure the Mayans wouldn't have commited human sacrifices if they understood meteorlogy.


    "..we use moral language, are we merely expressing our desires?"

    Absolutely. Our desire for peace, security, and happiness, and what we deem to be for and against those desires.

  • Kendra
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    The date.

  • RickB
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    I don't believe morality is relative--I believe the only sensible standard of morality is what nurtures human life. And since the requirements of a healthy life are objective (i.e. not subject to opinion polls), I think morality is objective too.

    That's not to say that it's easy to figure out. There are plenty of rational disagreements about what ultimately nurtures humans, so it's tough to discover what's the morally right thing to do. But that's not the same as saying that all opinions about morality are equally valid.

    An analogy can be drawn with science. There are a lot of unanswered questions in science, but that doesn't mean that scientific facts are arbitrary or relative, and it doesn't mean that all opinions about the physical world are as good as all others. In science, though we may not know what all the facts are, nevertheless the facts are objective and grounded in reality, not on whim, and are not subject to vote. I belieive the same is true of morality...that there are objective moral standards grounded on objective requirements for a healty life. We may have a difficult time discovering and formulating those standards (because humans are pretty complex things); but utlimately they're _real_, and not subject to personal preference.

  • You can dislike something without thinking it is wrong.

    I dislike country and western music, but I wouldn't say it was wrong.


    My rights stop where your nose begins.

    Can you agree to a definition of a moral wrong when that action infringes upon someone else's rights?

    Murder is wrong because it takes away someone else's right to live.


    In no way does country and western music infringe upon my rights. If someone were to blare it at high volume at 2:00 in the morning, the noise would infringe upon my (and my neighbors') right to a decent night's sleep.

    That doesn't make the music wrong (even though I don't like it at ANY time) but the act of playing it at that time.

    If you are on back country road then it is not wrong at 2 AM, because it is not infringing upon anyone's rights there.

    For me to say it was wrong because I don't like it would be for ME to infringe on other people's rights to listen to what they choose to do. Therefore it would be WRONG for me to SAY it was wrong - just because I didn't like it.

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  • 1 decade ago

    The difference is that you can like something that is wrong and you can sometimes not like something that is right. an example of liking something that is wrong is cheating on a gf/bf. it's wrong but at the same time it can make you feel good. and example of not liking something that is right is sitting through a long church service that seems to go on forever.

  • 1 decade ago

    majority rules in what is wrong or right. you rule in what you do not like or do like


    a few years back we did not like it when they put seat belts in the cars and told us to wear them, but the majority won and now it is considered wrong to drive without your seat belt on. so if they try to pass a law restricting the freedom of speech, and the majority wins, well in a few years ...

  • 1 decade ago

    I dunno, maybe it's just timing, but did you notice how the "name" atheists of R&S (most of them) didn't touch this one? Hmmmmmm . . .

    Kenshin is interesting, but seems to have removed the question from R&S and placed it in Philosophy, specifically Utilitarianism (Singer, etc.)

    Clearly, morality is *not* relative.

    But, just to have a little twisted fun . . . say you order a hamburger without pickles. You get, however, a cheesburger with pickles. Yes, that is wrong (incorrect), and you probably don't like it. BUT, is it another *level* of wrong if the person that made your burger did it wrong intentionally? (I dunno, maybe they didn't like your accent, lol.)

    Great question!

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    " this it wrong " seems more like its generally accepted to be the wrong thing to do.

    " i dont like this " is more like one person's opinion of right and wrong.

    that's just my view of it.

  • 1 decade ago

    It is wrong if God says it is. The rest is your personal preference.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Definitely something to chew on. Thank you!!!

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