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Mainpage » QA Forums » Queer Thinking » Topic: Secular Ethical Theories?

Topic: Secular Ethical Theories?

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:: Lynn
:: QA10 Community Goddess
lynn is so thankful for this site [Avatar]
Okay, there is a wide variety of secular ethical theories, all contrasting, complimenting, and coexisting with each other. I suppose on a day to day basis, people don't tend to ponder things such as ethics, what is right, what is my world view, etc.

ANYWAYS, I am slightly curious, what is your secular ethical theory?

To start with, I will define ethics as best I can. Ethics is the quest to find "the good": that thing sought as an end in itself that brings about true happiness. There are much broader, more accurate, and easier to understand definitions but for the purpose of this thread, I will just allow for that slightly mediocre one. Also, feel free to tell and explain your concept of "the good", is it knowledge, enlightenment, self actualization, etc.

So it is easier for people to define their secular ethical theories, I will just name a few of the major ones:

Ethical Egoism: essentially what is ethical is what brings about the most happiness to you. It is all relative to your own ego and perception.

Utilitarianism: Depending on if you are act or rule, but I won't go into that concept. It is essentially what brings about the most happiness to the largest number of people, yourself counting the same as all others.

Deonotology: Seeks the good separate from immediate happiness and desires, it is governed solely by reason. One should do a duty for the sake of it being a duty. (Kant was a huge proponent in this one)

Existentialism: Really too hard for me to even try and define in a way people will understand so instead I will quote google on this one.

A philosophical theory or approach that emphasizes the existence of the individual person as a free and responsible agent determining their own development through acts of the will

Naturalism: the concept that human instinct is inherently good and ethical and what truly corrupts is the existence of civilization.


Tradition: Really don't want to define this one but whatever. -.- essentially ideas and concepts handed down from generations are ethical, much deeper than that, but I doubt that anyone has this secular theory anyways.

Humanism: touches largely on maslow's concept of self actualization and that the good is found in the actualization of one's true potential.

Stoicism: dates back to the stoics in Greece, it seeks the good in the denial of desires and as individuality is also a desire, depending on how radical we get, denying the existence of one's self.

Contemplation: seeks the good in the exercise of the mind and intellectual though.

^^ nuff on those, anyways, there are many more and if you care enough to look them up, feel free to post those.

ONTO WORLDVIEW

What is eternal to you? What has a beginning and end?

List of basic worldviews:

Theism: god is the creater and the eternal, there is no other eternal as he created matter and the human soul

Materialism: matter is the eternal and all is matter

Dualism: The concept that both materials and "soul" are eternal.

Spiritual monism: Only the eternal spirit exists.



That was really a horribly half-assed explanation of all those and for that I apologize.

ANYWAYS, lets here it people, what are your ideas, why do you hold them, what do they mean to you, how does that relate to your daily life?
Hate leaves ugly scars, love leaves beautiful ones. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966

Love is the poetry of the senses. ~Honoré de Balzac
  Edit: Lynn, Sat 1 Oct 11, 11:49PM
Post: #560429 Link to this post, Sat 1 Oct 11, 11:24PM
:: Lynn
:: QA10 Community Goddess
lynn is so thankful for this site [Avatar]
No bites?
Hate leaves ugly scars, love leaves beautiful ones. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966

Love is the poetry of the senses. ~Honoré de Balzac
  Post: #560779 Link to this post, Sun 2 Oct 11, 9:34PM
:: ClubSilencio
:: QA4 A spot of tea please, Alfred!
QA Member's Avatar
Alright, I'll bite. I'm just not entirely sure what my ethical outlook is. It is probably something close to utilitarianism and consequentialism in that I examine the consequences of an action to determine if it's ethical. That outlook however gets complicated when you get into the "would you kill one innocent to save the lives the of 100?" etc. The consequentialist says "yes" because it's about the net good and saving 100 is worth more than killing one, but other people see murder as always wrong and that the only option is to allow the 100 to die.

I'll tell you which option I hate the most, though: deontology. The derivation of ethics from "rules"...it's absurd and it's amazing how many millions of people follow this one. It's a big part of why so many hate homosexuality, because their God tells them to, because it's a "rule" and they can't question it.
WAKE ME IF YOU'RE OUT THERE!
  Edit: ClubSilencio, Sun 2 Oct 11, 9:42PM
Post: #560787 Link to this post, Sun 2 Oct 11, 9:41PM
:: Lynn
:: QA10 Community Goddess
lynn is so thankful for this site [Avatar]
*claps* Emoticon: Smile :) Thank you Logan. I am definitely a humanist... XD Psychology major so who is surprised but I would also have to agree with a hatred for deontology as well as naturalism and ethical egoism. I am sorry, but human instincts and are exactly what I would ever consider ethical. I suppose that any universal moral ethic would need to at least be based partly on human instinct as a "real", however instinct is selfish to say the least, as is ethical egoism obviously.
Hate leaves ugly scars, love leaves beautiful ones. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966

Love is the poetry of the senses. ~Honoré de Balzac
  Post: #560793 Link to this post, Sun 2 Oct 11, 9:47PM
:: winnersmw
:: QA9 Grand Elder
QA Member's Avatar
Pfft, Lynn, this is way too boring.

...kidding xD

I think that you'd be doing something wrong if you were absolutely certain of your ethical mindset. There's so many factors to take into consideration that I think the best answer would be to say "I think this but I could be completely wrong", which doesn't sound the best, but honestly, probably is closest to accuracy. (casually disregard the fact that I'm claiming we shouldn't ever be sure, yet I'm sure we shouldn't ever be ;3 )

I'd say that humanism is closest to what I believe. Screw Stoicism and Tradition. I can see the advantages of Utilitarianism, and perhaps I believe that quite a bit as well. However, Existentialism and Contemplation seem a bit useless xD Not useless in that they serve no purpose, but useless to our purposes. Further, Existentialism seems like, um, a bit obvious? Existentialism: We're all free and we have some measurable effect on the world. ... -_-

Good thread, Lynn! Emoticon: Smile :)
"I am reminded of a colleague who reiterated 'all my homosexual patients are quite sick'—to which I finally replied 'so are all my heterosexual patients'." -Ernest van den Haag, psychotherapist
  Edit: winnersmw, Sun 2 Oct 11, 9:52PM
Post: #560796 Link to this post, Sun 2 Oct 11, 9:50PM
:: Lynn
:: QA10 Community Goddess
lynn is so thankful for this site [Avatar]
Thank you Shawn. Emoticon: Smile :) Figured we needed a new thread to debate on.
Hate leaves ugly scars, love leaves beautiful ones. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966

Love is the poetry of the senses. ~Honoré de Balzac
  Post: #560806 Link to this post, Sun 2 Oct 11, 9:59PM
:: winnersmw
:: QA9 Grand Elder
QA Member's Avatar
Sucky that this thread didn't go further :/
"I am reminded of a colleague who reiterated 'all my homosexual patients are quite sick'—to which I finally replied 'so are all my heterosexual patients'." -Ernest van den Haag, psychotherapist
  Post: #664603 Link to this post, Tue 10 Jul 12, 2:40AM
:: Lynn
:: QA10 Community Goddess
lynn is so thankful for this site [Avatar]
Lol, the only ones I have that did go far are personality quiz ones. C'est la vie, right?
Hate leaves ugly scars, love leaves beautiful ones. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966

Love is the poetry of the senses. ~Honoré de Balzac
  Post: #664630 Link to this post, Tue 10 Jul 12, 3:47AM
:: CrazyDramaKid
:: QA9 Grand Elder
QA Member's Avatar
ok, im really hoping i get the point of this XD

i actually think a lot about what is right and wrong, because i have a pretty loud conscience
though, i'm pretty sure i've got my moral compass finely tuned

i think that with everything that we do, we have the opportunity to influence others
and we need to always make the decisions that help people, and dont cause them pain.
it leads to some pretty tough choices, but the right thing isnt always easy.
and we need to remmeber that we are all human beings, and we all have these crazy and suckish lives forced upon us.
i know for a fact that if my enemy was struck down, i would help them back up. they may have deserved to get struck, and hopefully they learned something from it, but they could just as easily hurt me when they are standing, but they still deserve to stand.
however, i would still choose my friends over anyone else. i would choose anyone who has helped me over anyone else.

i believe in God, and that it is what we do on Earth that earns us the right to Heaven.
and i think that even non-christians can make it there too, if they are good people.
idk if i missed something, or if i totally got the wrong idea of this thread lol
Patience-Resiliance-Versatility-Spirit-Creativity-Cleverness-
Faith-Love-Perserverance-Hope

So,If you care to find me; look to the Western sky. As someone told me lately, everyone deserves the chance to fly

don't let my supposed "confidence" fool you, I'm still just a scared little kid. that doesn't mean I won't keep fighting.
  Post: #664635 Link to this post, Tue 10 Jul 12, 4:10AM
:: atomuskus
:: QA7 Taking responsibility
Techie Shaun is paradoxical, indefinitely [Avatar]
I lie between utilitarianism and humanism. There are utilitarianistic concepts that go too far and become unethical, and there are humanistic concepts too callous to the good of the greater populous that they become unconscionable. Though I think I also fit in the contemplationist category because I believe that everything can be reasoned logically and that the most important thing in life is thought and understanding. If you lack thought, are you nothing but an automaton and therefore only valuable as a machine?

As far as a worldview, I do not have a defined one. I have no reason to believe in any deities or souls, but that doesn't make matter eternal or everything. Matter can be both created and destroyed. The definition of matter is also very questionable right now though, there are things far smaller than matter, there are things smaller than quarks, and what about quanta? Can we consider the various quanta to be matter?

There are many things we could never confirm, a solid worldview appears to be a dangerous thing. We could never confirm that we are not a computer simulation of a higher civilization as we would always be within the maximum processing power and space of said computer. Do I think that is the case? I think it is useless to even think about it, it has no effect on anything if it is true or false. Is there a reason to think it can't be? No, in fact it would explain many current mysteries of quantum physics.
  Post: #664665 Link to this post, Tue 10 Jul 12, 6:18AM
:: Falconfly
:: QA5 Having the neighbours round
QA Member's Avatar
Suffering is the only evil. Don't make other's suffer if they don't deserve it.

My whole philosophy is based on that notion.
  Post: #664687 Link to this post, Tue 10 Jul 12, 10:13AM
:: Inch
:: QA6 Livin' it up!
QA Member's Avatar
My ethical outlook is, if I say so myself, kind of weird. But hey, maybe not.

I'm probably a mix of Utilitarianism and Stoicism. I believe that "the good" is found in making the world as a whole a better place. The way I think, though, it's led me to look at the world as a ladder of sorts.

There are some people high up on the ladder. They're good, kind people and they have good lives. Lower down on the ladder are cruel people and people with really shitty lives.

The people on the upper half should help the people on the lower half up, either by teaching them to be kinder or improving the quality of their lives.

The best way to live, by my mindset, is to sit between the two halves of the ladder and help people up.

As for worldview, I'd probably be a skeptical Dualist. I believe that anything is a possibility. At the same time, I don't believe that there are "eternals" or "absolutes". Mildly self-contradictory, perhaps, but meh.
I will never be afraid again
I will keep on fighting 'till the end
I can walk on water
I can fly
I will keep on fighting 'till I die
  Post: #664694 Link to this post, Tue 10 Jul 12, 11:23AM
:: SkinnyMonster
:: QA4 A spot of tea please, Alfred!
QA Member's Avatar
I think I am somewhere between Humanism and Contemplation. I believe that at least a lot of positive feeling are reached when someone discovers their true/full potential. Also, I believe and practice keeping the mind working. The brain is a muscle and if it is left unused, it will not be any good to anyone.
According to this quiz http://quizfarm.com/quizzes/ne...our-world-view/
 New Window
I am a Modernist; "I think everything has a scientific expiation and religion is not necessary." I guess I kind of am; I don't really believe in spiritual things and I believe that nothing lasts forever.

Thank you for posting this! I was really interesting. Emoticon: Smile :)
  Post: #664712 Link to this post, Tue 10 Jul 12, 2:12PM
:: Twiggey
:: QA5 Having the neighbours round
QA Member's Avatar
I don't know why m saying this but I Am totally anaturaliam kinda person if that makes sense I like chocolate and cow Emoticon: Smile :)
To live is to do what makes you happy not others. If what you love is different then stand against the tide of "normality" never stop fighting for happiness.
  Post: #664714 Link to this post, Tue 10 Jul 12, 2:18PM
:: Moonstone
:: QA8 High Householder
QA Member's Avatar
Nice list, I'm surprised people actually know what this is Emoticon: Grin :D *gives you sticker. I'm a mix between Ethical Egoist and Existentialist. I believe what is ethical means slightly different things to everyone. No one's perception of ethics should match exactly with someone else's. Also, due to our different views of Ethics the way we respond to it differs. What I consider ethical and what my Mom considers ethical are two very different things...>__<

Now that I think about it, I'm not sure I interpreted Ethical Egoist correctly :/

And I'm Existentialist because I believe we make our own actions. No divine intervention handing us signs telling us to go left or right. But hey, maybe it's because I fear not being in control of my future. The thought of a Divine being controlling my life frightens me greatly. D:

Yet again, not sure if I interpreted this correctly, I just like reading this thread..and thought I should participate. so yes, you got a pity response Emoticon: Grin :D

I'm not sure about World View..I don't think i've lived long enough to properly answer this..

I'm leaning towards Materialism at this moment..Ask me this again in 50 years. XD
  Post: #664744 Link to this post, Tue 10 Jul 12, 6:04PM
:: TealSkye
:: QA8 High Householder
QA Member's Avatar
I am an Atheist, with an agnostic Mindset.

By definition, I do not believe in any deity(deities), and I personally do not believe there is one at all. Recognizing that Atheism is not a belief, but a lacking there of, I respectively add, much like an Agnostic, I don't think any one can honestly know the answer.

Quite simple, no matter what, we can choose to perceive new information however we see fit, and that is perfectly okay.

There is a slight slip of 'Spiritual Monism', in my mind however.

I believe the essence of our experiences, and our ability to experience and evolve, is separate from the physical and environmental totems existing in it's stead. Our human-distinctions, a more dramatic, and intelligent ability to reason, and decide, and want, are separate from everything else in our universe.

In my humble opinion.

To me thoughts are what propel these experiences. Our lives are reflections of our conscious mind, and perhaps even the turbulence within it.

In basics, a more refined, and more in-depth personal defining of 'like' attracts 'like'. Therefore Utilitarianism and Ethical egoism help consist my ideals by default.

I like to be happy Emoticon: Grin :D

Brilliant topic suggestion btw, was nice reading the other comments.
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  Edit: TealSkye, Tue 10 Jul 12, 7:46PM
Post: #664761 Link to this post, Tue 10 Jul 12, 7:42PM
:: fortune_cookie
:: QA10 Community God
Saied is floating somewhere between being in denial (numb) and heartbroken for a while [Avatar]
I believe that human nature runs solely on instinct until society pushes social rules to control instinctual habits.

For example, a natural response of a human being is to defend themselves against someone that threatens their safety or ego. Yet society creates rules saying that one must act in a way of "class" and let the insult or threat roll off without a fight.

That's why people feel the need to "bite their tongue" in many cases. Natural instinct says to fight, yet conditioning says to hold back.

I do however believe that human nature does possess the ability to love naturally and that when someone loves someone they have natural ethics that they use when dealing with that particular individual.
"Take me or leave me. Accept me or walk away. Love me or hate me, but don't make me feel like less of a person if I don't fit your idea of who I should be." -Unknown

"You can't make a half sandwich. If it's not half of a whole sandwich, it's just a small sandwich." -Dr. Sheldon Cooper (The Big Bang Theory)

“Taking the first step with the good thought, the second with the good word, and the third with the good deed, I enter Paradise.”-Persian Proverb
  Post: #664765 Link to this post, Tue 10 Jul 12, 7:51PM
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