Morality and the Universal Moral Rules

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Morality and the Universal Moral Rules

A person's morality is important because it benefits people and society as a whole/ Photo By rawpixel via 123RF


Personal morality is extremely important not only for people's personal well-being but also for their relationship with others. As defined by the Research Gate, morals "are the rules that govern which actions are right and which are wrong." It helps people have integrity with themselves and whoever they meet. At the same time, moralities are codes that help organizations form the basis of their laws. 

Morality will not only help people to follow laws or rules but also guide them on how they will treat other people with respect and dignity.

According to an article by Psychology Today, a person's morality is important because it benefits people and society as a whole. Moral traits have social value, for instance, a person who is compassionate and honest is mostly associated with being secure and potentially starting a fruitful relationship with.

This shows that morals teach us how to become a better person and know the difference between right and wrong. Clearly, morality is much more than about ourselves but also about how we will treat others.

Morals teach us how to become a better person and know the difference between right and wrong/ Photo By langstrup via 123RF


Morality in Human Beings

The world would become a much worse place to live in without people who are kind, exhibit goodness to other people, and generous. According to an article by, Christopher Boehm, an evolutionary anthropologist, had studied different human cultures all over the world for 40 years. He aims to understand the social and moral behavior of people. 

According to Boehm's recent book entitled "Moral Origins," he stated that the big game hunting had caused human mortality. He cited that survival significantly coined to one tenet - to cooperate or die. He mentioned that altruism or exhibiting generosity to those unrelated to you was already common 15,000 years ago. Some people would think that they are only taking but not giving, best at cheating, and many more.

However, that was not the case back then. In fact, Charles Darwin was extremely surprised that there are young men around the world that would voluntarily go to war and die for their countries. Obviously, this kind of situation is not fit in the general idea that natural selection pushed individuals to only care for their self-interest. 

Moreover, Boehm added that morality is continuously evolving at a cultural level. For instance, it has been known that in the past years, many of us all over the world have been interested in the cases of bullies. Another example is that psychopaths back then were easier to determine and easier to deal with but now, many psychopaths live freely in society.

The Morality-As-Cooperation Theory

While a lot of people are thinking that morality comes from within ourselves, it has been argued that biological and cultural also come into play. This theory is known as “morality-as-cooperation." 

According to a study published online in The University of Chicago Press, the theory was created mainly to identify distinct problems of cooperation in people and their solutions. At the same time, the morality-as-cooperation theory foresees specific forms of a person's cooperative behavior.

The study also added that there are seven well-established types of cooperation. These are recognizing of possession; division of disputed resources; dovish displays of submission; hawkish displays of dominance; conflict resolution through contests; coordination to mutual advantage; the allocation of resources to kin; and social exchange. 

Thus, the researchers from the University of Oxford's Institute of Cognitive & Evolutionary Anthropology found in their study entitled "Is It Good to Cooperate? Testing the Theory of Morality-as-Cooperation in 60 Societies" what they believe to be the seven moral rules of the world. According to an article by Science Daily, the rules include respecting other's property, dividing resources fairly, being obedient to superiors, being brave, returning favors, helping your group, and helping your family. 

The research, which conducted a survey of 60 different cultures around the world, has analyzed ethnographic accounts of ethics from 60 societies. The data comprises of about 600,000 words from over 600 sources. 

Dr. Oliver Scott Curry, lead author and senior researcher said, "The debate between moral universalists and moral relativists has raged for centuries, but now we have some answers. People everywhere face a similar set of social problems and use a similar set of moral rules to solve them."

Dr. Curry also added that the seven moral rules of the world show that everyone everywhere shares a common moral code. All have agreed that promoting common good as well as cooperating is the best thing to do. Additionally, although these moral rules are all common in most societies, they differ in how they prioritize or rank them. Co-author Prof. Harvey Whitehouse added that historical descriptions of cultures from around the world are their basis in conducting the study. 

Furthermore, the researchers hope that this study will help in promoting mutual understanding between people of different cultures around the world. 



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