Morality, Science and Religion

First , we will have to understand what morality is.

Generally speaking, it’s the set of principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong (or good and bad behaviour).

Morality deals with the system of values and it is through the funnel of values do we determine right or wrong.

It must be noted that both Ethics and morals relate to “right” and “wrong” conduct. While they are sometimes used interchangeably, they are different: ethics refer to rules provided by an external source, e.g., codes of conduct in workplaces or principles in religions. Morals refer to an individual’s own principles regarding right and wrong.

In other words, Ethics addresses the questions of morality. That means, how an individual views and decides on questions like:

Should I kill an animal?

Should I steal?

Should I lie if it helps a good cause?

These are easy examples but they are good enough to test our values. As you can see, the questions regarding morality deal with Ought/Should, i.e., What should one do in a given situation?

The Is-Ought Problem

David Hume presented the Is-Ought problem in the sphere of moral philosophy.

Hume suggests that it is not obvious how one can derive Ought from Is.

In other words, you cannot simply make value judgements from facts.

This is the dominant interpretation of Hume’s words, although there are some who suggest that he might be questioning the mechanism through which we can derive values from facts. We should look at both views.

First, can values be derived from facts? And if not facts, then where do we derive them from?



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